Today’s task was to turn on the radio to my favourite station and write a post using the song that was playing as a prompt.
The song that played was Avril Lavigne’s “I’m with you.”
I listened to the words and realised how sad the song was. There is so much pain and loneliness in the words.
I’m looking for a place I’m searching for a face Is anybody here I know ‘Cause nothing’s going right And everything’s a mess And no one likes to be alone Isn’t anyone trying to find me? Won’t somebody come take me home?
As I listened my heart went out to all those people who were alone and had no one to hold their hands. And then it struck me that sometimes even with a lot of people around, you still feel lonely. Yesterday, I had some time between classes and I was hungry so I went to pick up a vada pav. There is a small open sort of park opposite the vada pav seller’s shop and people take their food and sit there to eat it.
As I looked around, I saw that there were a lot of people who were alone, sitting quietly, eating their snacks. “Who were they? Why were they alone?” I wondered. And as I listened to the song today, this is what I wrote:
Who are you?
You sit in the park
Eating a vada pav or a plate of bhel
Who are you?
Someone whose kids have settled abroad?
A single parent looking for some me time?
Someone who has lost their spouse?
Friends too busy with their family while you have none?
Can’t relate any more to lover’s tiffs or disobedient kids?
When I was a kid, I was insatiably curious. May be it has got something to do with the fact that I am a Sagittarian, but learning something new was and still is an adventure. As a kid, learning was easy. Everything was new and there were so many questions. In fact I am sure almost every sentence of mine started with a why. Which is why the minute I opened my mouth to speak, my mother would say, “Because the sky is very high!” But to give them credit, both my parents and my grandparents always took the trouble to answer me to the best of their ability.
Then came the world of books and I could now read up whatever I wanted to know. The library was my favourite place and Dad brought home magazines like Science Reporter and Children’s world which took me on fantastic journeys in learning.
As I grew up, learning became more sophisticated. Life skills and job skills needed to get added to academic skills and so there were computer courses and stenography courses to name a few.
Then came the Monster! It sucked all the joy out of learning. The more you learnt, the more it felt as if you knew nothing. You got information, but now you could no longer be sure it was true. The Monster spewed hate as much as it built bonds. And it left a whole generation of people who were once considered wise, redundant.
I used to look forward to growing old, to my grandkids coming and asking me, “Grandma why……?” But the monster has taken that away from me. Today if I want to know something and ask my kids, the only answer is, “Google it, Ma.”
And I want to tell them, “Believe me, you are not my first go to in a problem. I have googled it, but the monster was waiting there with so much information, that I forgot what I wanted to know in the first place. You ,my kids are my last resort, my last hope of trying to find some simple ____________.
Oh dear, what was the word I was looking for? I think I’d better Google it!
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.”