#MeToo, Courage or Comfort?

As you know, I am taking part in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge and the prompt for this weekend was a quote from Dr. Brene Brown. “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both”.

While pondering over this, I was also reading all the “#MeToo” posts on face book and elsewhere.

The first thing that struck me was that although all my close friends had put up the #MeToo tag, none of us had ever really spoken about these experiences to each other. I am talking of my closest friends, the ones with who I share everything. If the topic ever came up, it was just shrugged off with a, “Hota hain, it happens.”

Were we uncomfortable talking about it or were we just resigning ourselves to the fact that nothing could be done about it? I guess it was a little bit of both.  We were uncomfortable talking about it because of the memory of feeling violated and yet unable to do anything about it.

When I put it up as my status, I was aware that it is not really going to tackle the problem, but as Rubina Ramesh said in her post on Facebook, “Proud to be a woman. WE do have voice. A few years back, none of us would have been bold enough to speak against abuses and eve teasing. Of harassment and those pinches in the dark movie theatres. Yes, a hash tag will not change the perverts – but they now know we have raised our voices. Kudos to whoever started this.”

The reactions to this campaign were varied. One that surprised me most of all was by a friend who said that she would never say “me too” as it smacked of being a victim. She then went on to say that women are not silent victims but can and must fight back.

While this may be true of a very few women, most of us find it difficult to fight. I mean, how do you fight when you are a kid and the perpetrator is someone much older and stronger and someone in the family? When people tell you over and over again that you mustn’t say such things, you eventually learn that it is better to shut up.

And even if you fought, saying that it happened to you too, just brings home the fact that it doesn’t matter how strong you are and how much you fight. Every day you face the same thing over and over again. As my daughter’s friend, Reshma put it:

For all the times I have had to re-think an outfit choice because I was traveling by public transport. For all the panic-filled phone calls from my mom whenever I am out late. For all the strategic sitting/standing in a crowded bus so I won’t have someone’s crotch pushing up against me. For thinking it was normal to get stared at. For constantly living in the fear that rape is a very real possibility #MeToo. Here’s hoping this movement will help the next generation to re-think how we want to shape society and make it better for all”

And then of course there are people who get the campaign but are wondering if any of the perpetrators will own up to their crime. A lot of posts came up on this.

“ Not sure what the #metoo is supposed to achieve?Wasn’t it obvious all along? Just checking” says Achuthan Chari and goes on to say, “I don’t see any doer in the glare unfortunately..”

And as if in answer to that Guri Singh posted this:

I am a reason that a few females write #metoo in their status. 
I am the reason you wrote
“Me too”
I am ashamed of my past behavior.
I am unlearning what I have learned and then learning to become a conscious human.

Catcalling 
Body shaming 
Judging a woman for wearing a dress she wants to wear.

While I have changed for the better, I am not proud of my past.

I commit to being a better human being holding safe space for everyone void of judgement.

I commit to being a conscious male that helps make this world better for the folks who identify with female gender (and other non-binary genders)

I am deeply ashamed and sorry for my behavior in the past. It saddens me that sooooo many of women and others have experienced sexual assault/harassment.

I  just wish there were more guys like him to take ownership of their actions.

I would like to end with this post by a friend because this campaign has made a lot of us uncomfortable, yet we found the courage to stand up together to let others know that they were not alone.

“It’s hard for any woman to write #metoo, it’s harder than you think. It means she has to think about the times someone uninvited, unknown, uncalled for invaded her personal space. If that’s not alarming I don’t know what is.”

 

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge and I hope you enjoy reading my posts here. If you do, please leave a comment. It motivates me to write more. 

Muffin and the torn shoes

Mamma entered the living room early in the morning. “Muffin, what have you done?” she yelled at the six month old pup who was seated in the middle of the floor surrounded by bits of what had been a shoe.

Muffin sat looking at Mamma with the most innocent eyes as if to ask, “What? What did I do?”

It was the last straw. Mamma lifted her by the scruff of her neck and gave her a good shaking. “You have bitten through the sole of my special shoe! Now how am I supposed to take you out for a walk? You know I can’t walk for long without those shoes! You will be the death of me! And do you know what will happen to you if I die?”

Mamma put her down and limped away in a huff. By now Muffin was truly terrified. She had never seen Mamma so angry before. Would Mamma really die? And would it be because she had eaten Mamma’s shoes? Oh no! What could she do? And what would happen to her?

She hurried after Mamma, “Tell me Mamma, what will happen to me? What will happen?” But Mamma was too upset to pay any attention to her.

She skittered off to ask Trigger, the old stray dog, who lived near the gate. Mamma had adopted him, but he refused to come into the house. He preferred to roam the streets, coming home only to eat and sleep.

“Trigger! Trigger!” Muffin barked! “What happens to puppies who cause the death of their mammas?”

Trigger heaved a huge doggy sigh! “What have you done now?” he woofed back at her.

“ I ate up Mamma’s shoes and she says I will be the death of her. What do they do to puppies who are the death of their mammas?”

Trigger gave a wolfish grin and said, “If anything happens to Mamma, you will be taken to the doggy court and then either you will be given to “The Cruel Master” who whips the puppies for every mistake they make, or you will be put down.”

“What do you mean, put down?”

“You will be given an injection and you will go to sleep forever.”, said Trigger in a sinister voice, “you will never get up, you will die just like your Mamma, because you made her die.”

“Oh no! Not the Cruel Master!” yelped Muffin dramatically. “I’d rather die! And if Mamma dies because of me, I deserve to die!”

And she sadly waddled her way into the house, where Mamma found her lying on her back, sometime later, as still as could be.

“Muffin, what are you up to now?” Mamma asked with a laugh.

“I am practising to be dead.”

“What? Why?”

“For when you die because if I am going to be the death of you, I dont want to be sent to the Cruel Master. I also want to die.”

And she flopped down again.

Mamma burst out laughing and bent down and picked her up, “Come here you crazy dog.  Give me a hug!No one is going to die! ”

“We’re not!” She wriggled to the ground and rushed out barking at the top of her voice, “Trigger! Trigger! We’re not going to die!”

She ran round and round the garden while Mamma stood there shaking her head and muttering,” You really will be the death of me!”

 

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge and I hope you enjoy reading my posts here. If you do, please leave a comment. It motivates me to write more. 

Bated Breath

She hummed to herself as she happily went about her chores. They had got back from their honeymoon just a couple of days ago and she was still feeling the novelty of being a married woman.

“It is fun being married”, she thought. “Just like playing house-house as a kid, but only now I have a real house to look after. Instead of a toy kitchen set, I have a real kitchen. No more mud pies and leaf chapattis. Now I can experiment with dishes and hope Vinay enjoys them.”

She stood in the middle of the room and looked around. Though the living room was functional, it was a bit cluttered and lacked something. She glanced at the clock. She had finished all her chores and had a few hours to spend before Vinay got back from work.  She decided to give the living room a facelift.

Newspapers got stacked to be sold. The furniture got rearranged a bit to give the room a more airy look. The tangle of shoes and slippers near the front door got sorted into a carton. The curtains needed to be changed but she couldn’t find any other set of curtains in the house. “Maybe one of my saris will come in handy” she thought. And right enough she found a barely used cotton sari that she had forgotten she had. “Mom must have put this in when she was helping me pack,”

She remembered seeing an old man with a sewing machine in front of a clothes shop in the nearby shopping centre. He had a board that said, “Altaration done here”. She had smiled at the spelling then. An hour later she had her curtains sewed and ready to be put up. On the way she picked up a bouquet of flowers.

She dug out a set of candle stands from the gifts they had received and placed them on the side table.

“‘There”, she said to herself in satisfaction, “that’s so much better!”

Happily she got ready to greet her husband when he came home from work and waited with bated breath to see what his reaction would be when he saw what she had done.

She never expected the stinging slap across her face accompanied with the words, “Don’t you dare change anything in my house. I will not tolerate it!”

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge and I hope you enjoy reading my posts here. If you do, please leave a comment. It motivates me to write more. 

 

 

Platform 9 ¾ #Terminal

I am taking part in the Write Tribe Problogger Challenge 2017 and the prompt for today’s post was “Terminal”. I pondered it, mulled it over, wracked my brains but couldn’t come up with anything. Then while chatting with my daughter I mentioned my dilemma to her. And she asked me, “What’s your interpretation of it? Is it like an airport terminal? Or maybe death – terminal to the after life? Or platform 9 ¾  – terminals we don’t know exist.”

And being a diehard Harry Potter/J.K.Rowling fan, I could immediately see the potential of the third option.

How many times do we go through life, not realising that we have options. Not realising that there is a Platform 9 ¾ which is waiting to take us on a different journey?

We are so trained (for want of a better word) to do what is expected of us. Be good children, do well in school, do well in college, get a good job/spouse, settle down, have kids. Baaa…. baaaa….baaa..

We live our lives travelling the same line day in and day out. It doesn’t matter if our jobs are so stressful that they are killing us. (At least you are earning a good salary no?) It doesn’t matter if we face domestic violence (at least he provides for you na?) We are expected to put up with it all for the sake of conformity.

But what if one day life gave us a letter saying that there is a better life ahead but that instead of staying on the train we are on, we have to change terminals, change routes?

What if this is a route that none of those around us have travelled or even heard of? How many of us would get off and go? Or would we be hesitant and scared?

Would we listen to our Uncle Vernons, the people who will deride and humiliate us for making the choice? Or would we find the courage to crash the walls that hold us in and go on to that platform that is calling out to us? To board that train that is going to take us to journeys unknown?

If we do, maybe, just maybe  there is magic around the bend, and  just like harry Potter, we will find our Hogwarts and discover that we are magic.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge and I hope you enjoy reading my posts here. If you do, please leave a comment. It motivates me to write more.