Monday, 19 December 2016

Be nice to me, 2017

2016 has been a wild ride for a few reasons. I did a lot of things I said I would never do. I tried. You see, 'failing' is irrelevant. I realised life is a bitch and came to terms with the idea of 'letting go'. Now, I live my life peacefully. I had a break-up in January; had a plastic surgery on my foot following an accident in February -- Switched jobs in July -- lost friends eventually. But everything is for good.

Thought I could quickly write down what all I learnt in the mean time...

1. Family is important any day, and you can trust only them.
2. When you are taking 'important' decisions in your life, don't consult many. The more you talk to, the more confused you end up be. Listen to yourself. Trust your capabilities and gut-feeling.
3. Darling, not every battle is worth-winning. Some are not even worth-fighting for. Never get into anything half-assed.
4. Prioritise what you really want in life. Health is primary; job is secondary.
5. You aren't right about people all the time. The first impressions aren’t everything.
6. People will disappoint. They backbite. Life is tough. You gotta move on.
7. Learn to say 'NO'. Life becomes better.
8. You are responsible for your happiness. We all deserve to be happy.
9. Never hesitate to remove toxic people from your life.
10. When people tell you that they are too busy to see you, they really mean it. Go by their actions, not words.
11. Save money. Learn to be selfish. That's okay!
12. It's necessary to be independent. Like Socrates said, "Find yourself, think for yourself."
13. Whatever happens, life goes on.
14. Life doesn't go by your plans. Everything is temporary. We may end up choosing wrong careers, wrong partners. That's absolutely fine. Don't make excuses for people and things that want to leave.
15. Be patient. Good things happen to those who wait. We can't control time.
16. We ought to face our fears. Running away doesn't help.
17. No matter what happens, don't sulk. Get-up, dress-up, and show-up.
18. Never compromise on your sleep for someone.
19. Not everyone is who they say they are.
20. Respect yourself.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

'Stop creating a scene; it’s just a dog'

My family has been feeding stray dogs regularly since 2011. There are 20 dogs now, but earlier, the count was higher. Not all neighbours are happy with us…many see dogs as a nuisance and a ‘sanitation threat’.

Four months ago, I saw a Corporation van pick up three pregnant dogs. Three men dragged the pups after beating them up with a steel rod. One of them bled.

“I take care of these dogs, please set them free. They’re pregnant. Maybe, you can take them with you after they’ve delivered,” I told them.
They refused and claimed that someone in our neighbourhood had complained about the dog-menace, and hence the visit. I tried to stop them but they asked for money.

“Where’s the license-tag? If you want them back, then pay `1,000 (per dog). If you don’t, then we cannot guarantee what will happen to them. We won’t leave them in the same place either. If they are that important to you, keep them in your bedroom. Stop creating a scene. They’re just dogs after all,” they said, and took them away.

I went to the Corporation office to meet the concerned official. I was told that he was busy with back-to-back meetings. Later, I was able to get hold of him over the phone, and explained the whole story to him. He said that while Corporation is responsible of catching the dogs, the rest — including operations like sterlisation and leaving them back on the same streets they were picked from — lies with the Blue Cross.
“Sometimes, we do the sterilisations as well. That depends on the zone the animal belongs to,” he said. I interrupted the conversation and asked if the dogs had been killed. He said, “No”, and enquired about the date, time and where the dogs were taken away from. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give him the exact details as I had forgotten everything.

The official added, “Why didn’t you bring this to our attention immediately? We are trying to be kind to the street dogs and our men have stopped all the ‘catching and killing’. Did you tell them who you are — that you work for the press, etc? They would have not been rude.”
Then, I contacted Dawn Williams of Blue Cross. Why are pregnant dogs on the streets taken away? He said, “Both male and female dogs can be sterilised, but not when a pregnant dog close to her due date. Ideally, these people should have explained to you why they are taking the dogs. Each dog (after they reach us), will be tagged and given numbers. After sterilisation, either we, or the Corporation leave the dog at the place we picked them up.”

Dawn explained how Blue Cross had persuaded the Corporation to neuter them and administer anti-rabies vaccines before discharging them. “The infected and diseased dogs were killed earlier, now it is not so. Corporation dog-catchers will not demand money to do their job, but the sub-contractors do…they come in the middle of the night. They shouldn’t do it, but it happens. In any case, Corporation isn’t the villain,” he clarified.

But isn’t it the job of the Corporation to monitor what’s going on? “I always tell people to bring proper evidence before they approach us with complaints. Photos or videos bring more clarity. When someone stops you from taking photos — that’s an offence. Legal action can be taken that case,” he insisted.

He has a word of advice to thise feeding stray dogs. “If you’re looking after dogs, attend to their medical needs too. People should interact with street dogs more. By doing that, dogs become more friendly and there are fewer chances of them biting us. Also, when someone familiar with dogs approaches them, they obey and it’s easier to get them vaccinated, instead of someone forcing it on them.”
And what about the dogs that were taken away from my neighbourhood? Your guess is as good as mine!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Speaking up is the answer

Many women dream of a romance that will blossom from a glance in the street. But when it's not mutual, then this rom-com can slide into a horror film! It was funny in the first few days when he chased me down the street on a two-wheeler, as I rode to work from home. Initially, I never took him seriously. I thought he was some random jobless guy! It stopped being funny when it became a routine - which continued almost for three weeks.

The reality of being stalked by a man is a mixture of disturbed sleep, violent nightmares and isolation. I didn't want to approach the local police station because I thought this would somehow eventually stop. But it never did. Though many times my friends suggested that I tell this to my parents, I didn't want to trouble them. They are aging. So, I chose to remain silent.

He used to wait at the street-end everyday between 12.30 and 1 pm. That's when I regularly come to work. A few well-wishers suggested that I change my route. "Avoid your two-wheeler, come by an auto or a taxi. Don't let things get aggravate. Your safety is important," they said.

Picturise this: The creepy-mindless stalker stops me everyday and softly describes how he finds my private body parts desirable. I know - that's weird. And that's what he did. He started following me and also tried to find out where I live.

"Hey. I am interested in you. Can we go on a date? You have a good physique. Why don't you respond, woman? How long you are going to make me wait," he said once. Though those words were disturbing, I didn't respond to him. I thought if I didn't talk back, he would not come again. My assumption went wrong (like always) and he kept doing the same.

A couple of days later - I guess it was a Sunday. The IT parks in and around were shut. By 11.30 am, the sun was blazing as I reached Guindy. Unfortunately, my two-wheeler had conked off. As there was no mechanic shop nearby, I decided that I push my vehicle and walked all the way to office.

I was praying to god that the guy shouldn't be there. But I saw him standing at the same place!

He came running to me and said, "May I help you?" and caught hold of my hands. "I love you," he then smiled. I didn't know how to react and I lost my cool totally. It was freaking me out.

I started backing off. It was almost like I owed it to him. I was terrified. I asked him to stop. I developed courage to confront him, finally.

"Are you civilised and educated? You are neatly dressed up; I think you must be working for some IT company! I know that I look attractive. But have you looked yourself into the mirror? You look disgusting. Absolutely. The next time I see you stalking me, I'll file a complaint with the police. Get it?" I shouted. All these days, I remained quiet, but I don't know what made me say all this that day.

"Women like the thrill of being chased, right?", he laughed.

"I know if I keep doing this, you'll somehow talk to me. But... I am sorry! You were quiet. So, I thought you were equally interested in me. Had you told me this the very first day, I would have stopped waiting or stalking you (however you name it)," he said.

Yes, you read it right and I was shocked by his explanation.

"You're sounding narcissistic and don't attempt to justify your behaviour. I feel like a nuisance. No means 'no'. It can never be 'yes'. When some women like me say 'no'. It f***ing means 'no'," I said.

You know what? I didn't see him from the next day.

And, the message here is that - women should speak up! Men are like predators, they hunt and when they know what they want, they go for it at all costs. From that day, I realised that I need to fight back and I have been telling this out to protect any other potential victim.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lessons while on a train

There are some people who make nothing of catching trains. I have been catching trains all my life, I have been afraid I should not catch them. No faith in my own watch can affect my doubts as to the reliability of the watch of the guard or the station clock or whatever deceitful signal the engine driver obeys. Moreover I’m oppressed by the possibilities of delay on the road to the station. There may be a block in the streets; the bus may break down, the auto wallah may be drunk or does not know his way, or think I don’t know the way. It is never until I am safely inside (as I am now) that I really feel happy. I travel half sleepy, sitting comfortable by the corner seat, hearing people gossip. Preferably the ladies’ bogie witnesses a bunch of interesting activities which extremely irritates the co-passengers. Whenever I have a number of assignments curtailing my sleep, I work all the way by having an urge to complete them. When I am idle, I observe what exactly happens in and around. But I am sure; everyday some interesting thing is there to share with my family.

One fine Tuesday morning, I was travelling by the suburban train when I faced an indifferent thing, in fact an embarrassing event, till date. I was leaning by the corner seat where a stout woman came and sat near me. It was a double seat and the space was not enough to share. But I managed to cope somehow as the train was crowded.

The woman took out some oranges from her bag and began to eat them one by one. She was decently dressed in a sari. To my utter disappointment, she was correcting answer scripts with one hand and eating oranges held in the other. I came to the conclusion that she must be a teacher. Slowly she kept aside all the answer scripts and was eagerly scrapping the peels of oranges. She had a plastic cover on her lap and all the peels were on the cover. Some of the peels had got scattered all over. Then she emptied the plastic cover and all the peels fell down. The railway bogie was already unclean with plastic covers, chocolate wrappers, banana peels, broken hair-clips, dried coriander leaves, discarded travel tickets, and squeezed papers, so on. The woman should have thrown all the scrapped orange peels out of the window. It wouldn't have taken much time to do that. I kept observing her actions. She was least bothered and took out some groundnuts. As a socially conscious citizen, that irked me a lot.

I asked her to pick up all the orange peels and throw them outside the window. She furiously questioned who was I to ask her and told me to mind my job. For half-an-hour, I was arguing with the woman to make her understand her mistake. At last with an unfulfilled heart, the woman nodded her head, murmuring something which I was unable to hear. A teacher must be an example to others but the person whom I met was an exception. The railway authorities do provide good facilities for a comfortable journey but some people spoil it. It is disheartening to note such actions.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Appa and Facebook

Having Appa on your Facebook list could be one of the most disturbing things ever. He would upload all your childhood photos, including the awkward ones taken during the kindergarten prayer sessions when you had to wear a fluffy yellow dress and wore that horrible shade of pink color lipstick and had a mix of chocolate smears around your mouth. Worst of all, the front-tooth missing pictures he had uploaded would have gotten the maximum likes and comments. “Look at my daughter’s pink ribbon and her rippling long hair” would be the album’s title. Shabba!

He would write “My daughter has just won the music competition at her college, I am so happy about it” on your wall for the whole world to see. And being an arduous Facebooker, it took me a while to understand that a lot of people were deriving amusement from those statuses.

He would also update all stuff you have been doing on his profile. His friends would ask “Music competition huh? Still the classical geek…isn’t? And man, Subhakee hasn’t even changed one bit!” He would upload ‘My daughter’s first sari day’ and you may get queries about your friends as well. “Andha paiyyan epdi? He doesn’t sound nice. Was he your schoolmate? How often do you talk to him? Yedhuku un photos ku 150 likes? Adhuvum pasanga vera 'like' pannirkaanga?"

You would be reminded in a few consecutive phone calls to send that photo of yours writing notes in class which you showed to your Appa long back in some infectious enthusiasm. And finally, outta desperation, when you mail it personally, it would appear on his profile, the next day, “How industrious! Isn’t she a cutie?”

Also, when you are online, Appa from his workplace would send this on chat, "Hi Kanna, I would be late. So, inform Amma not to cook anything for me". And you would immediately go offline. And needless to say about these game requests like – Farmville and Shitville!

The crowning glory is the online publishing of your family birthdays, anniversaries and even the other ‘special days’ with the cake marks on your face, including those moments when you had your mouth wide open to gobble down that big well rolled mound of rice.

And every day, there will be fresh filter philosophy posted for the benefit of the world at large. You were hearing it all these years, now you get to read online. So, if you guys wanna introduce your Appa or Amma to FB, think twice! But jokes apart, these kinda experiences are cute and funny.