Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Day I Became a Woman.

Is it a question? Is it a statement?

I don’t know.

I didn’t know what it would lead me to when I started watching the film. Set in the rocky seaside country of Iran, the film begins with a coming to age of a little girl- Hava. Nine years is all that she is. Set apart by her grandmother already from her best friend- a boy. Traditions speak in less words, more actions. Words merely cajole out the liveliness, the need of an action. Words could be soft, endearing, flowing as the smooth glacier flows when the summers run wild and loose. Words could be harsh- the sound of a typhoon starting and then gorging up everything that comes in its way. Hava’s mother, her grandmother, and Hava herself use words. Dull but endearing words devoid of any use of their faces. Only the little girl so long uncovered, unhidden in the blackness of a veil that her mother and grandmother have been cajoled or forced to wear around them. Cajoled or forced- one will never know.

Hava is to turn nine today. Her birth time, mid noon, rocks forth in her prospects of becoming a woman or continuing as she is- a young girl turning nine. Her mother teaches her a trick to know time- to hold time in her being, in her actions, in her hurriedness, in her lateness, in her every step as she takes along the sea shore, even when she sits, even when she stands, even when she watches as the sun moves along- without stopping for her. She runs out of her home, running against the wind, her scarf up and down in folds. Her veil- her new possession, a gift from her mother and grandmother. In all likeliness, a beautiful satin black veil, a shimmering piece of cloth, meaningless otherwise, unless it falls on the head of a little girl turning nine. Meaningless otherwise unless it rests on the shoulder of an old woman guarding her womanhood, her dignity, her last years. So, holding the sea-breeze in her scarf, Hava runs. Hava runs like the hava (wind) itself.  

In the ticking minutes of her last hour as a girl, she checks the remaining time with the stick that she carries. Every time she checks, the sun has moved a little close to overhead, the minutes run a little too long, and the time to her womanhood, approaching sooner than she knows. And, yet she tries. She runs to her friend- Hassan.

Hassan asks her to wait for her near the shore. And, she traces her way to the shore, the scarf now and then, shifting and falling off of her head. Her tiny hands reach for it, the satin of the cloth slipping between her fingers- mellifluously. Sitting on the white sand, she waits and watches. She digs up a little hole, puts her stick once again just to reaffirm her saved girlhood. Oh! Yes. Few more minutes come to her rescue again. Her eyes follow to the outlines of the remnants of a newly-built boat. The boys working on it, send forth stolen glances aimed at her innocence, of finding some hidden treasure with her that could complete the object of their adventures- their boat and Hava’s black veil. The veil hasn’t yet recognized Hava as its owner and neither has Hava learnt what the veil would become for her in the forthcoming minutes. Alas! Freedom. She exchanges her veil for a little toy. Happiness. The blackness of her veil now the sail of the boys’ boat. Her head uncovered again- the head of a young girl.  

Tired of waiting now and the stick still defiant in becoming her accomplice, Hava runs back to Hassan’s house. There by the window, she shouts her pleas. Oh! The beauty of their conversation. Oh! See them talk- a conversation warmed by the knowledge of each other for so long, a conversation that has an understanding far beyond their ages combined, a conversation that has anger, a little disappointment, and instant reconciliation. A friendship surviving on the grounds of a city alongside the seashore.

And, yet in the comfort of their friendship and the sweetness and sourness of the candies they eat, Hava checks the time allotted to her by her mother. She measures the length of the stick’s shadow in the tininess of her hands, her fingers outreaching beyond their dexterity. No matter how long it was before, no matter how short the shadow has become now, Hava eats her candies in a hurry- a hurriedness known only to her and the stick that tells her the time to her womanhood. Oh! She is okay with it. She is aware of her limited time. She is aware of the hurriedness with which her sweets disappear as they exchange the sweets between them. Hasaan and Hava. Hava and Hasaan. A little giggle. A childish whisper.

At last, her mother comes to pick her up. A black veil in her hand, she skilfully covers her daughter’s head. Her daughter, now a young woman. One hour between forgetting her daughter as a girl and learning her as a woman. The difference- a black veil. 

A girl in every minute of the eleventh hour.

A woman from every minute beginning the twelfth.
Inspired by watching the film The Day I Became a Woman.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Rape is Not an Agenda and What Women Fear?

I have been meaning to write this post since we, women were asked to recheck the meaning of the word "rape".


1the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will

2 (especially of a man) force (another person) to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will
For all sane reasons of why I don't pray to a named God, I now, worry that I should have. The truth, however, is that I am angry. I don't want a man to tell me what rape means, what happens when a girl or a woman gets raped. His position in the government does not sanction him any power, any authority, any right to say things which cannot be processed in his chicken-headed brain.

For all similar reasons, I don't want a man telling me that some girls rape easy.

Factually, if you look at the statistics, no woman and for that matter, no man wants to get raped. 

Secondly, rape has nothing to do with politics. So, let this be the last election that I am made to listen to rape as being an agenda to be discussed in such demeaning ways.

Thirdly, a rape victim is a human being. He/she deserves respect whether he/she was raped twenty years ago or three months back.

Lastly, God cannot be so cruel as to intend rapes or pregnancies through rape to happen. Human beings are. A rapist chooses to rape. A person who is raped does not choose to get raped. Let that be cleared once and for all. Let's not bring God into issues that are even beyond His comprehension.

“When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘rape schedule.’ I was baffled by the term, but as she went on to explain, I got really freaked out. Because I realized that I knew exactly what she was talking about. And you do too. Because of their constant fear of rape (conscious or not), women do things throughout the day to protect themselves. Whether it’s carrying our keys in our hands as we walk home, locking our car doors as soon as we get in, or not walking down certain streets, we take precautions. While taking precautions is certainly not a bad idea, the fact that certain things women do are so ingrained into our daily routines is truly disturbing. It’s essentially like living in a prison - all the time. We can’t assume that we’re safe anywhere: not on the streets, not in our homes. And we’re so used to feeling unsafe that we don’t even see that there’s something seriously fucked up about it.” ~Jessica Valenti

As women, this is what we do. We have a "rape schedule". We rush to our homes before it gets dark, we take a man-friend along to places we have never been before, we ask our boyfriends or fathers to pick us up from the subway, we dress according to the place (not too tight, not too loose), we tend to avoid eye-contact with men, we are told to walk demurely, we are reminded again and again and again that we are women who are on a "rape schedule". And, whether we want it or not, we have accepted it.

We analyse the first man we talk to in a party- scan him, think a thousand times before saying hi. We do things that would probably help us not become rape victims. If we live in big cities, we ensure that we avoid all those dark alleys where "bad things" happen.

A lot many things. As women, we do a lot many things.

As women, then we are also told to believe in love, to meet men, to fall in love with someone, get married, have children, live life without fear.

It is a lot difficult than it seems, trust us.

We are scared. We are scared when we look at the men in our lives- our fathers, boy friends, husbands, sons. We see them when we sit together a watch a story on a woman who was raped in one of those dark alleys. We see how they react. We want to know what their stand is. We want to know whether they will stand up for those women as they stand for us. We try to talk to them about these issues, about womanhood, about rapes, about the elections, lest they become indifferent about these issues.

As women, we live in a constant fear.

So, let this be the last election when I am being told what rape means. Rape means rape. Rape victims are regular human beings as they were before they were raped. Some girls don't rape easy. Most rapists however, do. They rape easy.

Any party, any representative, if they want to win anything, take us- the women, in your support. You know, we will be there braving storms and earthquakes rooting for you just because you stood for us. We will be there dancing and crying our hearts out because you would do the same for us. We don't need empowerment through your policies or plans or schemes. We want acknowledgement for being women, for being half the population, for being us. We want respect, to be believed in, to be trusted with that we are more than just capable.

To put it in a simple way, you cannot tell me that I rape easy and expect me to vote for you.

That's all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why We Think This Woman Is Amazing.

Sometimes it's amazing to see how some people handle criticism and come up with a response that is not just 'not attacking' towards the person who makes fun of you but at the same time the most beautiful response. It amazes to know how some people can be completely 'hate-less'. 

Follow this link and read the article to know what we're talking about.

"By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?" - Balpreet Kaur

Sunday, August 19, 2012


In this life, we meet so many people.

There a few who will let you rise. Then there are others who pull you down.

There are some who would want to fly with you but their fears would not let you.

Lastly, there are some who let you go.

You. Have. The. Power. To. Choose. The. Person. You. Want.

You deserve someone who makes you feel better about yourself. Not with manufactured lies but with the sole knowledge that you have a power within, untapped, undiscovered, unknown. That power, when it comes out, it shakes the roots of your existence, it brings together all of your self into one being. 


image source: thisiswhatimean

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I am Conflict.

I, recently started with my Masters program at one of the premier colleges for social work. 

On the very first day of our 9-day orientation program at college, our field director asked us to use this time to introspect upon our decision to choose social work. 

All of us thought, she was being arrogant. That she was wanting us to willfully leave because in her opinion none of us deserved to be here... to be in the field of social work. But, sure we were. Hadn't we prepared for months altogether to get in here? Hadn't we survived the interview sessions where our professors grilled us to our core? 

Sure, we deserve this! We deserve this and more. 

A couple of days before, another professor asked us to define conflict. We all had our own definitions. Some of us believed it to be a clash of ideas, of philosophies. Quite a few believed conflict to be the difference between needs and wants. When wants are more than can be satisfied- boom! there was a conflict in the making. I, for one, didn't have a definition. 

I am like that. I make my opinions later when all has been said and done. 

On the last day of our orientation program, we were taken for field visits- a  very important component of social work. 

There, we were, 96 of us, walking carefully on the mud-bathed roads of a thriving slum.  

It had been raining the day before and it will continue to rain for another couple of days. Flies burst out like shooting stars on a black night. People walked with conscious steps, skipping a puddle or two. Thatched roofs leaked in the merciless rains. Children ran and laughed, nonetheless. 

On another rainy day, as I sit and think about tomorrow, my tomorrow includes what dress I will be wearing, what classes I can bunk or attend, I am warm, protected, and blessed. 

I am blessed with the knowledge that I have a dream that I am working on. I am blessed because I have more than I need. 

But, how is it that we are so comfortable and warm even when it rains outside while for someone else, everything would be similar if not worse? How is it that I get a chance to better my life when someone births and dies without much promise?

I believe, this is conflict. 

If I get a chance, so should everyone else.

Maybe, I am conflict.