Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Veiled, suppressed, subservient....AND LOVING IT

Before I begin this post, let me tell all my readers that this is not some bigoted Islamist rant against the 'rest of the world'. This is also not something I have been influenced into believing, knowing how easily influenced I am. This is merely a representation of my thoughts, those trivial questions that pop up in my mind when I am straining my poor befuddled brain for constraints and coherent sentences. Now, onward we march...

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms.] (An-Nur 24:31)

This here is the most ill-quoted, probably the most abused ayah in the Qur'an. The meaning of that one verse could be misconstrued, misinterpreted, mistranslated and miswhatever-to-suit-one's-views. The plight of the uneducated Muslim women in the hands of these "scholars" is indeed as sad as they come.
The Muslim woman, yes, is a picture of misery when looked at from the eyes of a stranger. She is veiled, she is carrying one child on her hip, resting the other on her lap, and probably has another hanging on to her leg, is not seen or heard even in her own household, might have to put up with other women who are legally her husband's wives,etc. We pity them, we even wonder why they don't really break free of all those bonds, but do we really have to blame the religion for it?
Islam, quite plainly, advocates that a woman, when in the presence of a stranger, should be covered from head to toe, barring her face, her palms and her feet. It also does not support a woman's walking around the place, rather, the religion says that a woman's place is at home.
However, before one jumps up and shouts in vehemence against the injustice meted out to Muslim women, one could stop and give it a thought. First, why is the Hijab such a big deal? If a nun is allowed to wear her habit, if a Gujarati/ Rajasthani/ Punjabi woman is seen as a picture of modesty when she covers her head, if a Malayalee Christian (Syrian or not, I don't know) covers her head in church, if a 'North Indian' kudi drapes her dupatta on her head (as in KJo movies), then why is it that only a Muslim woman is looked down upon as the silent sufferer?
Okay, consider this. How many of us walk out in the blasted sun and cover up our faces, necks, hands and feet? If we were to call every Muslim who wore the Hijab as 'Al Qaeda', then how many young girls (and boys) these days actually look like recruiters for the Organisation?
The Hijab, simply put, is not something that restricts you. In our own ways, each of us take a conscious decision about how much skin we really want to show to the rest of the world. While some of us would like to be a Bipasha Basu clone, others would like to be the next saint. That does not make anybody right or wrong. If a Muslim woman chooses to cover herself from head to toe, who are we to go about accusing her of shaking the very tenets of feminism? After all, does feminism really only grant you the liberty to walk around in a bikini or a halter top? Does it not give you the freedom to chose how you live your life? So, if I think of my body as my own business, and want to cover it up, then why can't I?
Look at the brighter side, no one really sees all that extra fat, those extra curves or those blemishes. Your skin is less tanned and pollution- free, and your hair doesn't get greasy or limp.
Considering all that, one wonders if perspective is all that matters.

remembering the light...

Diwali has always been one of my favourite festivals. The lights, the colours, the noise, the sweets, ah, the revelry! Being in Hyderabad these last couple of years, all that has somehow translated to a very hectic day with those people who mean so much more than even family, sometimes. The running around, the bossing, the leg- pulling, the cooking, the dressing up, the eating, oh, the hogging!!!
Today, when I look back at all that was, all I can think of is, no matter how much I disliked some things you did, how much I cribbed, how hurtful you were to me sometimes, how mean I was to you; no matter how far I go, or how many days go by without my calling you up (that has almost become a habit now), you will always be the ones who lighted up my life in so many different ways...from that first diwali with gajar ka halwa to the last one where all of us just forgot our differences and laughed...

Will I ever live those days again?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dear Dad

Nineteen years. Nineteen whole years since that fateful morning when I felt lost because you were nowhere in sight. When I asked someone I have only always seen with you, about your whereabouts because the crowd was daunting. A lifetime since I wondered why you never came back home to take me in your arms and pamper me. Eons since I have learned to take care of everything and everybody around me.
But then, why is it that at every turning point in my life I want you to be proud of me? Why is it that I can always feel your love for me? With every good thing in life, why do I still feel your caring presence? That you are holding my hand and taking me along like you did on the beach, all those summers ago? Is this what everybody meant when they said you will live on forever in our hearts?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The ecstasy that is....

I have realized that the human mind is equipped to dislike, to even hate; but it is not equipped to clean the slate everytime somebody wrongs me. So, every time I remember something, from a life that was, I close my eyes, and smile- for the life that was, the pleasure that was, the camaraderie that was, and the freedom that is. And the ecstasy that is...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ties that bind.... and gag!!!

So, people who have known me well enough are sure to know what a humongous family (extended, though) I have. And as is the case with every huge family, everybody happens to be in your face at the wrong time.
There are all sorts- people who have a problem that some kid is getting married at 18, others who have a problem that some of us are unmarried at 25, yet others who think that Xyz should not be married because Abc (who happens to be two months older) is not married yet(Abc and Xyz have the same great-great-grandmother). Then, there are the uncles who think love marriages should not be allowed, and yet others who think if the boy/girl is Muslim, it is alright (provided the family is as crazy as ours, as rich- not richer, if it is a bride we seek; as religious- not more religious if it is the groom we seek, and so on); and there are others who call up the boy's/ girl's parents and threaten to dispose of the family in the Arabian Sea (though the same uncles will partake in the wedding feast seated next to the groom/ bride).

What would one do without family members? They are there to hold your hand while you play the piano, they are there to grab your hand when you are falling, they are there to leave your hand when it is jammed. They are there to wipe away your tears of laughter, they are there to make you cry in frustration. They teach you to listen to your heart, but they only expect you to hear theirs. They teach you to dance as if there is no tomorrow, and then they teach you to dance to their tunes. They teach you to stand on your feet, and then they cut off your feet when you don't toe the line. You learn the rules, and then, just when you think you have mastered them, you see the fine-print. They teach you to love, and then they teach you to hate, and love all over again.The FAMILY is, after all, the best teacher.

They are happy when you win, happier when you succeed, and happiest when you fail at something they did not want you to succeed at anyway. They smile when you are in love, smile a little more secretively when you fall out of it, and smile the most when you marry someone of their choice. You learn to question, answer and shut up, all at once. You also learn to appreciate your many accomplishments and vociferously applaud another's success, however grudgingly.

The family is your one source of pure unadulterated hatred, venom, anger, wrath, sorrow, sarcasm, jealousy, pride, pleasure, togetherness and happiness. Hate them, love them, kill them, annihilate them, they will still come back to haunt you.

After all, aren't we all made of glue?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Why is it that one little incident sparks off an avalanche of memories?

A tiny scene in a movie I have watched a zillion times, of a woman falling down the stairs (a very serious thing which brought about the whole change in mood in the movie), sparked off memories of all the times I have fallen, and the number of people and things I have sometimes unwittingly dragged in my wake. There have been times on escalators, school staircases, and there was one little stair in my apartment complex that actually was a tribute to my "falling" skills. But sadly, it does not exist any longer!

Now that brings to mind how things change over time. People, relationships, priorities, even buildings change. Where there was once a nice coffee factory, there stands an ugly mall. While once upon a time your hand was held while crossing the road, now you help people cross the same road which has become two lanes larger. People who used to love to chat up about ,canteen samosas, movies and homework, now talk about themselves, their children, their trips to Paris, Rome and the shopping festival.

The same girl who loved getting on escalators now wonders why children can be so irritating as to go up and down escalators in crowded malls. The girl who once fell down a flight of stairs with (and because) her hands linked in two of her friends' (on either side, obviously) now wonders why it is so necessary for people to hold hands while walking, and if they realize how comical they look to passersby.

Is this what growing up is all about?

One thing is for sure. No matter how much I grow up, I will never be able to write or say something that is cohesive, follows a straight pattern, and does not jump from one thing to another. This post is proof for that!