Sunday, June 28, 2015

Marital Rape & India

Totally disgusted, ashamed and betrayed; thats how I am feeling currently. Working for my domestic violence research paper, I come across this piece of knowledge. 

"Marital rape is not a crime in India". 

At first look I wonder how does rape become different before and after the marriage. Consensus was not involved before and nor is it found post marriage, then what sanctions rape to be an act which will not be challenged if done in marriage ! Rape , before or after marriage is violation of the sacred soul of a person against their will. It is an attack towards their integrity and individuality, a contravention of human rights and all this entails that it be called  a gross felony ! 

Marriage, I believe is a sacred association of two souls which vow to take care of each other till time tears them apart. It is supposed to be a benign relationship and not just a passport to exercise someone's coercive control towards the woman. Its a consecrated coalescence of two disparate souls which become one in mind and body with rituals in presence of the light of Lord. What can be the cause of forcing self on the other person now that one is married, I fail to understand.  If its not like we dreamt it would be like, we can try to create it, can't we? It will be frustrating, no doubt, but that is the only solution ! Just because you married someone does not mean they become your property and hence eligible for any kind of treatment. In fact, its an opportunity to adorn this relationship with love, trust and faith which will lead to glory. As humans we have a purpose:  to act humanly and with humility. 

But, the world would have been a different place if such kind of thinking prevailed among the masses. Crime happens when we discount the fact that the other person ,whosoever it might be, our wife, our daughter or anyone is an individual human first. And as an individual human, he/she has his own set of hopes, aspirations, constraints & choices. As fellow humans its our duty to respect their choices. In the past one year, if I have to mention that one solid lesson which I have learnt and found really useful , it has to be this:

"The action or behavior of other people towards you might feel extremely unwarranted, uncalled for and undeserving, but you have to respect it. Because sometimes our own decisions have no explicable rationale behind them. And it helps to control the rage. Rage will never get you anywhere. Period"

And now that I know this, I feel eligible to write what I am writing and what I have already written. Its natural that a person's pride is hurt and ego is punctured when the other person does not comport in the way he/she desires, but then why do they have to? Human has been bestowed with free will, he can choose to indulge into his own actions but not at the cost of other human being. 

Coming back to topic of marital rape, I think its a very wrong message that our country is sending to our youth and girls. They will believe that its alright to be abused and violated by their husbands. They will comply with this antiquated law and die in depression on being ravished. Boys on the other hand will believe that girls are their property post marriage who are supposed to comply to everything, denial of which necessitates punishment.  Marriage certainly should not exempt rapists from being called as rapists. These kind of laws will only strengthen the minds of junk people who treat their wives worse than animals. Does it mean that dignity of a lady is not valuable after she is married? How can the law be so sure that under the garb of marriage a woman does not suffer the humiliation when attacked by the person who is supposed to protect her? Marital or non-marital , rape should be a totally culpable crime. It is a clear cut violation of human right. 

I cannot help thinking about those women who are victims of sexual domestic abuse in the four walls of their homes. Law will not come to their rescue, family members will condone it and she will not talk about it due to fear and shame! Day after day like a carcass she will face her tormentor only to die bit by bit, everyday. This should not exist in a society that calls itself civilized and aims to become the next super power. And we say after marriage husband will take care. But who will take care, when he turns vile? Who will take care, when he turns into an ogre? Whom will she turn to? Helpless, she will either commit suicide or face it much against her inner will. Its painful to imagine it, I cannot believe that this happens in our society which boasts of education and so much economic growth. 

Women need to become stronger than ever. The very definition of a girl/lady/woman needs to undergo a change, the definition which we have heard as we have grown up, the definition which we have seen taking form as we have grown into adults. Money or fame does not make anybody immune from such kind of harsh realities, everyone is vulnerable to this atrocity. It actually makes me feel ashamed when the purveyor of logic approve of marital rape by citing, "various factors e.g. level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc." Citing that approval of law has "the potential of destroying the institution of marriage" only wastes my time on reading it. Is this violence and brutal act not destroying the trust that is the foundation of sacrament called as marriage? Is this act not defying all vows that were taken while marrying? If this is not destruction then I do not know what is or can be. 

Our policy makers need to understand this logic. "Violation without consensus irrespective of being married or not, is a CRIME". As humans created in the image of God, it surprises me how callous we can be at those times, when we have power to become emancipators. I am beginning to think that India is a strange society, it will uphold rules at the cost of someone's life and dignity. And this kind of thinking does not please me an inch, because as an Indian I feel proud to be a part of rich culture, heritage and value system. My country's history has been a great source of my knowledge as a grown up and has made me what I am. 

Till the time this law is upended we can train ourselves to the lesson mentioned in bold above. I think that will solve majority of problems and restrict people from indulging into crimes related to bodily pleasures, which are nothing but ephemeral. Human body is a marvel and deserves love and not coercion. :) To all the educated ladies reading this, I would like to re-iterate "We have a choice when we find us at the receiving end, the choice will be hard but it will be worth it. Healing will take time, but life of dignity will appear". And to all the educated males, "Women are gentle creatures, not everyone is worthy of love or respect I agree but certainly nobody is worthy of violation. Thank you for understanding". 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Daily Inspiration

Morning jogs are one of the most divine ways to begin the day. It takes a huge amount of mental strength and toughness to get out of bed in the early hours of the day but you never regret that decision; such is the after effect of morning jog or any workout for that matter. It been 8 months that I have been jogging regularly and I totally am addicted to it now, so much so that if I do not eschew my bed for it, I am sure that my day will be not as happening. So, in a way it has become the most important ritual of the day to begin with. On my jog I meet familiar faces , young people , old people (who make me extremely happy ), people who have disastrous BMI index (I can very well feel their pain, it will take time and dragging self for morning jog can be astronomically difficult), cyclists and a gamut other. Of late I have changed my running track and there I have been observing a lady. 

Now, you may think , what is so special about this lady. Well, at first sight when I had just seen her I was overwhelmed with her mental grit and fortitude. I have seen her daily. This lady is bent, she has a back problem, so its a kind of hump that she has developed and she is old. When you see old people who have comparatively less energy than youth, being regular in their morning regime: how do you feel? I think it is THE BEST trigger, drive and motivation one can obtain for becoming regular in the workout. And this lady has jogging shoes also, isn't it beautiful? Yes, yes, she walks in her saree and is a delight to watch: she seems like a warrior, heading despite any damn thing. So, today while I was going back to my home after gymming I decided to talk to her. Walking parallel to her, feeling infinitely  happy I greeted her , "Good Morning". She smiled like a child who becomes happy when he gets the toy he wanted. I told her,"I see you everyday on walk and it makes me happy". She replies (yes she knows English ), "Yeah. Doctor asked me to walk because I have had open heart surgery". I did not know what open heart surgery is. So, she explained to me that her valves have been replaced. I asked since how long she has been walking, she said "Ten years". Long time since the surgery. My next question was obvious, "Does it help". She said, "Most definitely. It helps a lot". I thanked her for talking to me tenaciously and warmly. I bid her a nice day ahead and with her answers I ran to cross the road to reach my home. 

Talking to her filled me with energy and I walked jumping twice as much as I was before I met her. She inspires me. Early morning when I wake up, I think, "If she can in this age, there is no reason I can't". And I jump out of my bed peacefully. It must be taking huge effort for her , it does but she never procrastinates. Bent, but not broken !! There are a lot many other stories. Once I saw an old couple on walk, holding hands : was a delight to see their solidarity even at this age. They were talking to each other and laughing, hand in hand. We as young generations have so much to learn from these people. I think she is beautiful, because she is determined and relentless. Her desire to keep her heart healthy means that she cherishes her life, she wants to live it to the fullest and despite pain and peril she has decided to work towards getting situations better : Absolutely Venerable. 

Most of the people, or say, all the time most of the people delay exercise, workouts because there is no realization about the importance of the human physical well-being. Not exercising is tantamount to delaying your greatness. And doing the tough thing early morning makes you feel invincible for the entire day. So, next time you feel like dropping out or feel too lethargic, or can't even bother, remind yourself : "She is bent, and she is old and she walks regularly. If she can, you most definitely can". Life is a treasure, every day that we get is a blessing. Being unhealthy is not the way to live life. When we are healthy, we can embrace life and its boons and challenges alike. And know what? It makes you happy, it makes you smile, it makes you confident and it does make you smart-looking! Hats Off to this Lady of Courage ! I am in total awe of her mental strength. I have tried to described how I feel, but the feeling is beyond words. 

I look at her , I smile , I smile and I only smile....

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rachel. One Year. Gotham.

Sitting inside the four walls of my house here I am remembering everything that happened on 12th June 2014- official first day as TOI journalist. Among all the things that happened on this day,  there is one feeling, one essence and one name that has been in my heart for this one long year and strangely continues to be. I still remember how smart and a true professional Rachel looked in the black checked shirt and nicely ironed pants. More than that, her nicely trimmed cropped hair added to her charm, her persona. Just one day before while I was still in New York, I was wondering how it would be to embrace Bangalore, who will be friends, who will be there to love and exactly the next day you meet/see someone who seems like "can-be-confided" person. You look up at the sky, smile at God and thank Him, because you know that from here on there is someone whose glimpse will be enough to make you happy and at peace in the new city.

Strange are some wires between people, which continue to be strong despite every conceived storm that tries to lash it out. 365 days have passed and Rachel still makes me happy like that on the first day. People might like to believe that its an unrequited friendship, I say its not. Its a special bond because it has lasted for one full year without exchanging any pleasantries, which means exactly what not everyone can think. It means, that there is an authentic feeling of care and respect for Rachel's decisions. It means that indifference might be the opposite of love but it cannot extinguish the love that resides in the heart of nomads. Heart is a panglossian organ, it will believe everything but never pay heed to what the situations force it to capitulate to. And I am glad, I have one like it. Amidst this silence and overt indifference of one long year, never have I stopped believing in what I believed on 12th June 2014. I have imagined Rachel and me indulging in discussions about wiping crime from the city of Gotham, spreading Love so that Joker's motives are quashed. I have lived every moment over and over again in my heart, and yes that has made me happier in rainy gloomy nights. It has made me happier when I have lost my badminton matches, it has made me happier when I have been tired after a day's long work. 

Rachel might not be a rose in the garden of people, but there is something she has which no rose has. That something cannot be indited in words- heart has its own language that no advanced Parser can parse. As I complete this year of knowing Rachel, I feel grateful. That flower which blooms in someone else's garden is enough to make you happy even if you long it to be in your garden. Rachel has been like that one flower in my life for this past one year.

Medical equipments doctors have removed from my body. They say I need to spend my last time without any medical equipments and depart peacefully without any pain. They are wrong. I have a greater pain inside of me with which I am departing. The pain of an untold story. The pain of never trying the third time to tell Rachel that I adored her without any threat, that I really believed that she was the most beautiful first being on which my eyes fell. The pain of never telling her that despite her indifference I only had love to offer. The pain of succumbing to fear rather than listening to the voice of my gut. The pain of not being able to  spend a single one minute looking into her eyes. If I could only realize then, when she was near that death is anyway inevitable I would have allowed myself to open my heart to her without thinking of any consequences. 

Dying can be painful when you have to die with these three words that you always wanted to say to someone : "I Love You".

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