Skip to content

Time to be a Game Changer

by

Time: 4:20 PM IST
Venue: A small cabin inside my regular workplace.
Current Scenario: Loads of clients demanding their wants.
Action taken: NOTHING. Watching a random video sent by a confidante and finally making a contribution by writing this post.

Dear avid bloggers, readers and the random page hunters who are accidently reading this post to kill their time,

Here’s a big HELLO to all of you from my side. This is me… A random web surfer who likes going through random profiles, writing stuffs on random topics, rambling, ranting, abusing and cussing over the same things that most of the common men talk about.
Poverty. Corruption. Slavery. Treachery. Unemployment.
You name it and I join the bandwagon. Yes. It’s me. The common man.

Currently, my location is your IP address. That’s because currently you are reading this post on your gadget and that’s where I have popped up. Yes. I am the common man that you are seeing around your area, on a nearby table in the cafe that you are currently sitting in, a house near your neighbourhood. You name the place and that’s where I turn up. Because it is me. The common man.

I came across this link while searching for a good read to kill my time. It talks about the top ten revolutions that the world has witnessed. Though I can add up a few more that have been witnessed in recent times like The Egyptian Revolution, The Libyan Revolution but there is a strange feeling that makes me sad for not being a part of any of these revolutions. I am the common man. And I have an intention to contribute towards doing something good for the benefit of the society.

This is when I came across a history (in the making) to be a part of. If you think this is a revolt then I am one of those revolters. If you think this is a rebellion against the injustice meted to the random people then I am a rebel. And if you think this is the cause that you too are fighting for then yes I am your FRIEND!

Yes. I raise my voice against the injustice meted over my brothers and sisters in Uganda.
Yes. I raise my voice against the apathy of its people.
Yes. I raise my voice against the inhumane and the barbaric acts being witnessed out there.
Yes. I raise my voice in support of KONY2012.

I wouldn’t like you to read what is KONY2012 about. Rather I would show you what is the whole issue about.

Decide for yourself. Do you want to be a game changer? Or do you wish to remain a mere spectator?

The choice is yours.

Till then… Warm Regards.

Peace, Poetry and Power,

Bhavin Shah
http://www.bhavinshah.in

Advertisements

Education & India: Part 1 of 2

I’m a student and I have problems with the education that is supposedly ‘imparted’ to me. That’s where this post begins from and that’s also where the part 2 of this post will end.

There’s a reason I chose ‘Education “&” India’ instead of what should have been ‘Education “in” India’. It being the same reason that we can’t and don’t produce enough talent, educated talent. There is no education in India. It’s a myth. And whatever is, is the word education & its association with India. Thus, the title.

I remember my kindergarten and primary school days. Everyday, I used to be more than eager to attend school. Not because of my friends, teachers or to study. (Or may be it was one of them, I was too little then to remember anything about it now.) One of the reasons being, like most others of my age, who were in other schools from mine, I didn’t have the worry of appearing in exams and performing poorly, at an age when I barely even understood what ‘competition’ meant.

Having come a good 8-10 years since that point, having come through secondary school, junior college and studying in an engineering college today, most the facts, myths and so-called-beliefs about education in India, are busted to me, and these are undeniable (of course, a few exceptions).

  1. Education is a business. A business, like none other. And a bountiful one, for that matter.
  2. The quality of education, depends on the fees of the school or college you are in, nothing else.
  3. There’s nothing really to ‘learn’ or ‘understand’. You rote, mug up, puke it out in your exam papers, get the marks, go to a good college/university, repeat the previous steps, get a job.
  4. You don’t have a heart. You don’t have a life. You have just competition to face. And that too, a fierce one.
  5. You may lose your admission to someone less deserving, but from a backward class. So, if you’re a student from the general category, you have to hate those who are not.

These are the things that are understood, told to, perceived, and accepted by everyone who is a student in any part of India right now (Please don’t shower me with exceptions right now, please?). The point is, everything that I’ve said above, is just the gist of the things I have understood in the last few years.

We make robots, not students or humans, in packs of thousands and thousands. Those who compete for every mark they can get, in every exam they ever give. We can’t think out of the box because our education cripples us to think in one line. Every time we think outside those boundaries, we are losing out on our marks, our parents are on our backs to score, and then we’re back on track to the end of the manufacturing line, till the end, again.

And then we’re proud in saying that NASA, Intel, Microsoft, Google, doctors in USA, etc. are Indians. Ivy League colleges have Indian deans. Heads of MNCs are Indians. Did they study in India? And did they ever say that solely their study in India made them their life in USA? Or any country of the world, for that matter? Why do educated (and/0r) wealthy Indians send their children abroad for studies?

Simple.

We all, each one of us who is alive in this country, knows that the education system of the country is something we are not and can’t be proud of. And if we are, we are just fooling ourselves, truly.

And, no matter how much we talk about changing it, it’s not changing. Just not.

They say, Bollywood does what anything else can’t. For the latest, polio was eradicated completely after Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ke’ campaign (applauds), and there are numerous other examples which each one of us knows about. In fact, the reason India changes, is when Bollywood calls it to. And even after having our eyes soar of crying while watching ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and laughing till our stomach hurts, while watching ‘3 Idiots’, we didn’t particularly learn anything from either.

Or may be we did, but did we apply it to our lives? We are happy and when we’re out of the theatres, that’s it? There goes our desire to study and make our children study (for those who are, or will be parents) in a better and more sensible environment?! Just like that?

Well, for anyone else it may. For me, it doesn’t. For Not Just The Talks., it doesn’t. I’m tired, really tired of not doing anything. And I am going to. From now, and I will keep doing, for everything that I say on this blog that I will.

In this 2 part blogpost, I’m going to cover a few things that are my real concern with the education system in India. In part 1, I will talk about the over-all situation of education in India (a lot of which I already did) and then about the school-specific problems and reforms I think are the need-of-the-hour. In part 2, it will be a broad go from colleges (junior, graduate and PG) to reservation.

Also, I had designed what ‘My Dream School’ should/would be like, describing it with every minute detail, 2 years ago. I will put that up on my personal blog, after these 2 posts.

And so, to part 1…

The first thing that we need to bust, for every entrepreneur, coaching class owners and teachers and politician who enters the education sector with a view to exploit, earn, and be seen noble. Well, it is not a diamond-mine, you retards. We’re humans, children. Innocent, delicate, culpable, and we’re impressionable.

But, at the same time, we are not stupid, mindless or unaware to not see what you do! Enough said.

It hurts to see such things happen, mostly in colleges, and I’ll talk about it in detail in my next post.

Then comes my other major concern, the quality and techniques of education. They say, those who fail at everything else, teach in India. Seems pretty true with the quality of teachers I have seen in my post-school life (even in coaching classes). Techniques, well, rote learning never had me backing it. I always was the guy who understood every concept and wrote them down in his words. Still am. And will always be. But, I think over such theoretical studies (which is primitive and the portion is worn out, not in-sync with the current scenario of the world), practical knowledge, applications, logic, and promoting these, should be emphasized.

We live in a digital world. I know that digitization hasn’t penetrated so deep in the Indian cities yet (let alone villages), but, using technology and internet to our benefits, is the only way forward. Not being slaves to them, but, making them our media to communicate and ease our lives, yes. I would want to say do away with paper stationary completely and go digital! But, that’d be utopian and nonsensical. Reducing it, by a major, would do the trick to begin with.

Next up, the competition we are faced with. The forceful studying. Why should I study physics when I know I don’t want to be a physicist or even an engineer? What if I know I want to go medical? Or musician, actor, director, author, archeologist, sportsperson? Who deserves to make that choice if not me? Of what I do with my life? And that’s what we need. The ability to choose our lives, through what we are good at, over what we can force ourselves to be good at.

Coming to the last part of this post. Schools.

Kindergarten. The most expensive and weird business I have observed. Utterly unnecessary expenditures. People coughing up sums of money to get their kids into some XYZ K.G. where he/she’s just gonna play?! Interviews of a 4-year kid for giving him/her admission? I think that’s the lowest our society can (and more so I hope, should) fall to.

Well, I think where I studied, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, has left pretty good an impression on me about the no-exams-till-sixth-grade thing. Let your children enjoy life till they are 10 or 11, parents! Let them play, laugh, dance, sing, and be happy. Why burden them with studies till then? Why bombard them with the pressure to score?

Although, at the same time, teaching them their very well basics and building their blocks, for the future.

Marks for everything co- and extra-curricular. You have the right to get recognition for something exceptional that you do in the fields which are not related to academics in any way. But, they’re still very important. You have that right. And that should be given to us. That develops a student, in all the aspects of his personality, and not just as a popping parrot who would answer your questions, in the words of the text-books.

That’s pretty much it for now… Part 2 is gonna be much more hard-hitting and intense, I promise.

Till then, adios!

Update (02-04-2012): The part 2 of this post is up here.

It’s not just India. It’s the world. KONY 2012.

As Indians, we know how it is like to live in a diverse country. And thus, it’s easier for us to multiply those daily culturally different experiences by 7 so that we can somewhat figure out what the situation of the 7 billion people alive in the world we live in, and their diversity, is. Or, may be we can’t imagine.

Africa. The first thing that comes to our minds (all of our minds) when the name of this continent strikes, is that it is a third-world continent. Not a country, a continent. We have come to generalize Africa as a third world continent, as almost all of its countries are such.

Having said that, the second thing that pops into my mind (not sure about anyone else) is the way the people live over there. Since the advent of imperialism, the African people have suffered to the hands of their European, American, Australian and Asian colonizers. And wars (inter-country and intra-country both), have always been existent in the whole continent for power, control and most of all, resources.

Coal, mineral oil, silver, gold, diamond. Every single time, the same old story. No difference. Some random army guy with a lust for power and money, turns a rebel. Kills people without a reason, kidnaps kids from villages and tribes. Turns guys into his soldier and girls into sex workers. Millions are killed, everytime a civilian war has begun in the continent. Every (literally) bloody single time.

Movies like Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda, The Last King Of Scotland, among others, have shown us what the situation of the people there is, truly. And, those blood-smeared faces and bodies, those sad-but-hopeful eyes, those acts of cruelty, everything, is something I can’t forget.

One thing that has been common, in all these movies is that they depicted a phase of revolution, instability that was. Not existent in the current world scenario. But, it always frightens me, what if it was real, even today? And well, we know for sure, it is. Just that we want to close our eyes to it.

Now comes the sad part. The world doesn’t even know, most of the times. We see a 2-minute coverage of such situations in our daily prime-time news, every once in a while, we get sad, we speak foul about the people doing it, and then we’re back to doing what we were doing. That’s it! That’s all we have done all along.

Not anymore. Not anymore for at least me or the other bloggers posting for NJTT.

KONY 2012

Enough is enough, and this carnage has to stop.

I saw this video a few days ago, and then sent a personal message to 50 of my Facebook friends (the most influential of the lot), to share it, as much as they could. And truly, I’m saddened by the lack of response.

I posted it myself on multiple groups, pages, etc. And there has none or barely any activity. Right now, I hope that changes.

So, what is KONY 2012? What the freaking hell is this all about?

Joseph Kony is a thug, simply said. Grown into power in one such struggles (as described earlier), he is a military dictator who has done many a wrong-doings that he deserves to be punished for. He holds the 1st spot (much above Saddam Hussain, bin Laden and others) in the world’s top criminals list (since the first edition of the list), let out by International Criminal Court, for his crimes in Uganda and has never been caught, till date. Till date.

That’s the important part. And that’s what you must watch the video for. To find out how to get through this ’till date’ part. It is a long video (30 minutes). But trust me, it’ll be a well spent 30 minutes of your life.

‘Not Just The Talks.’ began as a platform to speak and bring about change within India, and for the people of this country. But, we at NJTT feel that if any such movement needs our support, we won’t shy for it. It’s for the humanity, for our brothers and sisters, the world over. And thus, today, I myself, Pratik and Raj, support this cause fully and will do as the video demands, when it demands. Kony has to be brought to justice, and we hope he will be, too.

Make sure you watch the video, I repeat, for the nth time probably.

As the little girl says before Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal The World’ song, ‘I think about the generations, and they say they want to make it a better place for our children and our children’s children. So that they they they know it’s a better world for them and I think they can make it a better place.’

So can we.

Let’s make this world a better place.

Peace.

(Before posting this, I have read a few articles that talk against this whole movement like this and this. But, I also have read, and would want you to read this before raising any fingers against this movement. We support it, we absolutely don’t endorse it.)

Women: Perpetual monarchy, unless…

This post, is more of a continuation to the last post made by Setu; for he had rightly mentioned that there’s a lot unsaid, not that he intended to; whatever, heck, I’d like to add certain happenings that bug me to an extent that I mindlessly hurl abuses at people at people not remotely associated with the cause. Getting straight to the point(s), clubbing together what Setu has aforementioned and rants of my own. No I probably wont categorize them, my posts are as random as they can be anyways.

Firstly, for quite a population in our country, female children are considered a liability. A vexatious object, a beautiful creation, which is to be loathed. The funny part being, not only is the hatred parted by masculine side of the family; but the feminine half exchanges the un-pleasantries never the less.  Believe me, please do; I write this not on witnessing some melodramatic idiot-box crap; but my own discretion of events witnessed first-hand. I was 13 years old then, but had a fair sense of rage on the plight of my then female colleagues. The delivery ward, the families, some overjoyed, some worried. Worried about the third girl child delivered, the anguish of broken expectations of having a male child starkly written on their faces, the fear of the third marriage that they will have to conduct; the misery I expected that mother to go through in the days to come…

Lashed, slapped and kicked women have been for embalming a curse in the family by delivering but boys, torched at times, just because the husband was incapable of producing a sperm carrying an y chromosome. And that creep, after screwing his so called wife just stands and watches his MOTHER do the bashing, and at times, joins her. There are times I wish the torture devices in Saw really existed. I’d love to cut such people up too.

There’s a step two as well. When the initial disappointment of watching the girl child being pulled (or pushed, whatever) out of the womb gets past, the next test is that of the colour. And I hate the way MS Word puts that squiggly red underline and tells me that ‘colour’ is spelt ‘color’. It’s always gonna be ‘colour’ for me, get that straight you American prick. I have seen FAMILIES FROWN ON KNOWING THAT THE GIRL IS WHEATISH IN COMPLEXION. “KNOWING”. DO YOU GET IT? ON BEING TOLD, OVER TELEPHONES, THAT IT’S A GIRL, AND SHES BROWN. I was in a train and when I overheard this guy talking and ‘tsk-tsk’ing, I swear I wanted to push him off that running train, hoping he bangs on a rod and another train runs over him. GOD, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! And these advertisements on fairness creams and products; they just leave me flabbergasted at times! I do not understand on what’s about this race to get fair! Why does complexion matter at-all?! Blemishes, pimples, dark spots and stuff, I Understand (I don’t, I can just name them); but why do you want to change a shade of paint that’s forever yours?  And that ‘excuse’, I just hate to, loath to, feel deeply disgusted to say that it’s the mothers and grand-mothers who cruelly tell the daughters that “Aisi kaali rahi toh koi acha milna mushkil hoga hume. Huliya Sudhaar khudka”. That literally translates to ‘If you remain this dark, it’ll be difficult for us to find a suitable groom. Improve the way you look and carry yourself”. Accusations imposed on the poor thing carrying her wretched parents hopeless genes, and also the pre-declaration of them finding the partner she will be spending 70% of her life with. Her soul mate, a man she’ll have to learn to love and respect eventually, regardless of what he is and how he behaves. The concept of arranged marriages may fancy some, but sorry, no matter how much you convince me, I will forever loathe them. I always prefer custom-built PC’s anyways.

Ah yes, the ambitions. “Kya zarurat hai aur aage padhneki? Tu chup chaap kitchen ka kaam sikh warna sasuraal ke taane khaane padege hume; sun-na padega ki maa ne kuch sikhaya nahi.” Which translates to ‘What’s the need of studying furthermore? Just shut up and learn the kitchen work otherwise we’ll have to endure the taunts of your in-laws, they’ll say that the mother has taught you nothing”.  Yeah, I agree that kitchen work and household chores are to be learnt. BUT NOT BY WOMEN ALONE. NOT WHEN THERE’S AN EQUALLY AGED BROTHER IN THE HOUSE SITTING AND CHUCKLING AT THE PLIGHT OF HIS SISTER WATCHING TELEVISION AND EATING CHEETOS. I’m a pretty good chef myself and I feel insanely lucky to be brought up in a house where such nonsense doesn’t occur. Would it, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t let it last for long. I can go on and on about this stupid practice that’s common in households, even valid at times cause the girls are plain lazy at times; but the way its said. But the way they indicate that your future lies as a housewife, cleaning, mopping cooking… Damn you. Damn you all. And what on earth do you mean by “Kya zaroorat hai?” You bunch of dimwitted gits! And I bellow fire.

As for the leer and cheap jokes; I tend to walk away after a stifled shut up. That doesn’t stop them and never will. I just walk off because cheap bastards are like pests, omnipresent. But that most definitely is not the reason for disallowing her for outings with her best friends. No, it isn’t.  There’re a host of reasons, criteria’s, I daresay, for a girl, to qualify before she can head out and have a pleasant day with her friends. First the members are asked. Common practice, happens in general, to know whom to contact just in case something happens and stuff. But for many some, It is to find out the Girl : Boy ratio. If boys exceed, it’s a no mostly. If not, it will be considered, unless it’s an all girls outing. Yes. All of us guys are rapists. And yeah, if you see a group of fella’s having a great time together, you most definitely deem the girls as sluts and go “Tch tch tch look at that girl with so many guys”. You definitely don’t mind your own business and look at the miserable and stupid life you’ve lived so long. Seriously, say that in front of me, I will flog you, so hard, that Stephen hawking will appear an athlete to you. Oh and the racism. Sometimes they are refrained if the company consists of a GIRL (or guy or an eunuch) of some other sect of the society.

But in reality, will I? Will I do anything at-all? If I hear a mother talk bullshit to her daughter, will I intervene and fight? Can I be rude to a seemingly nonsensical being? No. I cannot. Constrained and narrow mentalities continue to prevail, with some amongst us in our generation who still believe in such bullshit, about pride and society and crap. In the text above I have tried to highlight a fact; that the mothers, grandmothers who have gone through all these inane circumstances; continue to do so with their very children, their newly born daughters; beings, that can be given a new lease of life, of life without those prevailing boundaries, of life filled with joy, content and fulfillment. I have done and fought my best against these slime in nostril ideologies, with some (if compared with the number of people suffering, negligible) amount of success. The ones who hold the trigger are you guys. You can fire the bullet and blast this melancholy little by little. Or you can withhold the bullet and gunpowder and let the corrosion continue within. Please guys, I really really request you to act; to fight back injustice happening to you and/or people whose suffering you witness. I’m not asking you to start a catfight if your mother asks you to cook or something, but if she’s talking the type of aforementioned bullshit; stand up. Fight back. AND PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT LET THIS TYRANNY RESUME IN THE GENERATIONS TO COME. GROW UP. Stop this un-necessary injustice. And I feel no shame in admitting that what Setu rightly said in his post, “No man will ever acknowledge that her life is harder than his. If you ask me, I would say that the man who cannot acknowledge this, is a male chauvinist coward.”

This ones to the society’s unsung heroes, this one’s for the brave hearts bearing and braving every passing day, this one’s for women; hopefully to not be vowed for woes hence, atleast after going through the two pieces of text above; if at all they have had an impact on you.

Your responses are most welcome in the comment section below.

Signing off, Raj.

Primary Blog: epicthought.wordpress.com

Women, Vowed to be Woed.

Disclaimer: As the author of this post, I personally recommend only those who are aged 16+ (an adult according to many republics around the globe) to go ahead with reading this post. Others, a sincere request, don’t read it right now at least. Please abide by this request. And as always, this is just a point of view, solely my own.

All those who have been regular readers of my posts for Not Just The Talks., would wonder why this post. Those who aren’t, this part is for you. I had said in my previous post that the first topic I talk about will be ineducation.

But, here I am today, posting about the Social Evils, the topic I was planning to write about the last. Reason? Events occurring in and around my life that pushed me to the limit of acceptability of things happening the way they are, have been, but, will not.

It’s a fact that the life of women is hard. Like, really hard. And then there’s another fact. No man will ever acknowledge that her life is harder than his. If you ask me, I would say that the man who cannot acknowledge this, is a male chauvinist coward.

Having said that, the life of a baby girl forming as a foetus in a mother’s body, her being born, her teenage, her adulthood, her life in complete, flashes in front of my eyes. And over it all, the problems she faces in all those (mind you, much more than what a guy would face in one particular phase) seem to occupy my mind. From being abandoned even before being born, to being burnt alive. From not getting the support of her family when she needs it, to having to give up her dreams just because she has to ‘run a home’. From being pushed into a marriage as soon as she completes 18 or graduation (luckily that!) to being divorced for not being a virgin. That’s the life we Indians are known to give the women whom we promise to treat as equals! That’s our tradition!

In this post, I think I’ll stick to going from phase to phase, starting at the youngest.

1) The Innocent Infant:

A few months ago, I read a Mumbai Mirror report (sorry, don’t have the link) of some particular kind of sonography machines being seized from clinics across Mumbai. Now I’m no expert in medical equipment (thus the inability to name the instrument), but I know for one, that it was the machine which could help parents recognize the gender of their baby, even before it is born. They’re not allowed to be used in India, as per the law of the country.

The reason? Female foeticide. The abortion of a foetus, in the process of its development, because it is recognized to be a girl. I remember reading a report in TOI a few years ago of a massive unearthing of female foetuses found dumped in Noida.

And I’m not afraid to say that the reason this happens is the Indian culture, the heritage we are so a part of.

It is a social stigma (or so they say) since ages, for a girl to be born in a family. She brings bad luck, she’s a curse, etc., etc. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say more, everyone of us knows the various pronouncements of it. And that is, not just in rural India, but even in the urban, so-called civilized India. Similarly, that is not just in the lower strata of the Indian society, but equally deep-rooted in the higher, economically ahead families.

My take: Sex determination instruments, should be allowed, lawfully. The parents of the child have the right to know what gender their offspring is going to be!

Yes, knowing that the ‘tradition’, ‘culture’, and the orthodox India that we live in, will then promise to thereby reduce the female population furthermore. But, is this the solution?

The deep-rooted misconceptions, the evils that make us inhumane have to be rooted out. And there is considerable progress in this direction, which I won’t fail to accept. But, there’s an even more considerable lot that remains to be done. That change can be brought about by us, the youth, in our actions and thoughts. That’s what I’m talking about.

2) The Growing-up Stage (if you’re 16, I’m pretty sure you know what I mean to say):

Puberty. The phase where a girl becomes a woman (over-rated, I believe).

Just a few days back I heard of a girl not getting to perform some specific ritual in her own brother’s wedding, just because she would ‘probably’ be on her monthly cycle. The particular incident reminded me of what I have seen, heard, read in all these years. Women not allowed in temples, in ceremonies, in festivals, etc. is not just a popular myth, but a fact that is of the worst and most illogical of them all.

The times when they need support of their families, those trying times, they being treated by their families like they are a mistake to be born as girls, in the name of rituals and religion, is the worst thing that can happen to her. For Christ’s sake, those monthly periods are the reason she gets to be a mother at some stage of her life!

My take: Women, girls, stand up for what your rights are. Take a stand. Don’t let the compact-minded, orthodox elders determine what you get to do and what you don’t. To guys, support those girls who stand up for this. They need you to be there for her.

Enough said.

3) Ambitions in vain:

I’ve seen this too much to be true. Fought for it, till I won. And I will, all my bloody life!

Having to forgo what they want to do with their lives, what they want to become, just because the life they want to pursue asks of them long working schedules, so that they can manage their homes as well as they are supposed to, so that they can serve their in-laws, and what not… It makes me want to die in hell, every time I hear something like this. What kind of a society, what kind of a country do we live in? Seriously this?

My take: No one, forget the gender he/she/it is, should ever have to let go of their dreams, ambitions, or the professions they want to see themselves in, just because of such stupid inhibitions of the third-world country that ours was.

4) Born to Marry:

It seems so to me, and aptly I assume, that women are born to marry. They are married the first thing they qualify as per the law (sometimes even before) or they complete their basic graduations. No questions asked, no wishes heard, tears falling to deaf ears.

What if the girl doesn’t want to marry at such a tender age? What if she wants to work? What if she wants to go for a job? ‘Nope. Nothing doing. You’re a girl. What will the society say if there’s a spinster of your age about us? Think about the image of your parents, grandparents…’ And it all goes on and on… Finally, the girl gives up her own dreams, desires and compromises to live the life her family expects her to live.

My take: The age when anyone (not specifically a girl) should marry, is when they feel they’re both physically, mentally and economically mature to sustain their ownselves and their families. And that, is their personal choice, not something that parents or other elders, should have a say in. It’s not a number game, it’s how psychologically prepared you are to take the responsibility of living a life linked to another human being, in any and every way.

5) Cook, Serve, Starve:

Yes, the post-marital life.

The secondary member of the family. The person who should make sure food is available at the times demanded. The person who should keep the house clean. The person who has to make sure the clothes are well washed, dried and ironed. The person who has to keep the home full of supplies necessary.

Oh, these are not the tasks of different servants! This is what an ‘Indian bahu’ is expected to do and be.

My take: Common! You really expect me to say anything here? (And by the way, getting a different servant for everything is not the solution!)

6) A body that’s never hers:

It’s usual for a girl to have snide comments passed on her, to be an object of visual abuse, to be made fun of in every possible and cheap way. That’s something she has to be fine with, completely.

Everyday, everyday, every bloody day, there’s at least one news report of a girl being raped somewhere. Just yesterday, I saw the account of a girl on TimesNow who was raped at gunpoint. I had read in TOI that according to the number of cases of rape, filed every year, there was a rape occurring in the country every 4 minutes. And that’s the rapes whose reports are filed with the police!

I can’t believe how horny men are and can be. Seriously. And these are the same men, who will then divorce their wives because they didn’t qualify the virgin test (I can’t be more blunt, sorry).

I can’t imagine the trauma the girl who is expected to live a life of normalcy after she is forced into a sexual encounter. I just can’t imagine.

My take: This is not just a problem in India, but over the world. All I can say is, not every guy is a jerk. Women must know to protect themselves from jerks. They’re everywhere, sadly. (I loathe myself for being unable to provide a sane solution for this, trust me.)

This brings me to the conclusion of this post. There’s a lot more that each one of us knows about, and many of you would’ve probably even expected me to write about. But, writing or not writing about it. The thoughts we have, the feelings we feel, the actions we take, make the change. That’s the reality. And that’s the only reality.

I’m disappointed in the women of this country for bearing everything that has been happening to them over generations, and them not standing up for it. I’m disappointed in the men of this nation, for not standing up for their wives, sisters, daughters. I’m disappointed in the culture of this country, and the Gods of this diverse country, if this is what they’ve preached and that’s what we follow. I’m disappointed in the respected Constitution of India, for not being able to bring the change and wipe of the socially backwardness of our country. I am. But, I also add that it’s never too late.

But, I am hopeful, too.

We live in a democratic, free country. A country where everyone is promised to  be treated equally with the rights they are conferred upon. And that’s what I will fight for. That’s what I want you to fight for.

And I know that we are making progress even as I write this. I know that we would have made progress even in the time from when I type this to when you read it. That’s because we are not alone. There are thousand, probably millions others, who think the same way that I and you do (I know you think alike me because you’ve read 1900 words of this extensively long post so far).

Yes, right now, to the moment, I feel that women, are vowed to be woed, by virtue of them being the feminine kind of the human race. And yes, I hope that changes by the time I make my way to hell…

I’m sorry if I have hurt the sentiments of a particular section of the society, or any person in particular. I didn’t mean to.

Signing off… Until the next post… Peace.

Note: To all those who know me personally, I hope this post doesn’t change the relationship we share, in anyway.

-Setu Shah

Primary blog: http://setu4993.blogspot.com

E-mail: setu4993@yahoo.co.in

To Freedom, To Life.

It’s been a while since my inaugural and only post for Not Just The Talks, ‘It’s Time To Not Just Keep Talking.‘ came by. Well, to be real, a long time. All this while, I have been wanting to push forth this effort that was born in my and my friends’ minds, sometime back in March last year, but couldn’t, for some reason or the other. Regardless of that, any apologies I make today, for promising to initiate change, and then not committing to it, cannot be justified for.

Having said that, I do add that today, as I write this post, I am deeply motivated to make my efforts count, anew. This time, I won’t stop. No one can stop me. And if you join in, I know for once that you will make sure no one can stop you. Because, at the end of the day, we know that this is about not just talking, it’s about living. So, to the post for today…

Freedom. A word with a million meanings and interpretations. Never has a struggle for a better humanity, a better civilization, a better country, or a better person, even, begun without the desire of freedom, in its fundamental sense. Here, I talk about these very fundamentals, of our very century, and of our very mindset, which we seek.

To freedom from ineducation.

One of the most prevailing, and according to me, the root of all the problems we face today. Ineducation. In fact, I think that even the education that is imparted to us today, is a form of ineducation. There’s no denying that the education system we are a part of today, is terribly and incredibly flawed. And even though the law-makers and educators deny that, deep inside, even they know that it’s so.

Some may argue that Indian professionals reach the top jobs world over and have reputations like none other. About professionals, let’s get it straight, MNCs recruit Indians not because they are more knowledgeable, but because they’re easy preys to their not-so-lucrative offers, cheaper salaries, and dreams of working abroad in an MNC and making everyone in their extended families proud and jealous, over those professionals who graduate from ivy league institutions the world over. That’s a fact, everyone knows.

At the same time, I don’t doubt the intellect or the ability of Indians. I’m just pointing out the dubious situation our education system, puts us in. Also, the uneducated lot among us, the ones who are not lucky enough to experience the very basics of education, are affected worse. And that, in my opinion, is the freedom we desire and need, first.

To freedom from corruption.

Much has been said, seen, done and talked about the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement in the last 8 months. And there’s enough evidence that there’s no lacking the utter desire of change of the people of this nation. But, what are we fighting? I believe, we are fighting we are fighting our own psyche, the Indian psyche, which we have born and bred upon, which is filled with a fact we don’t think we can challenge, corruption.

Let’s face it, corruption, in its nascent and most innocent forms, is instigated into our mindsets, right from the day we understood material and monetary portions of life. It begins at toys, clothes and shoes, goes to watches and gadgets, and ends up in a funny juxtaposed monetary reality which we blame on the Governments that govern us, the bureaucrats that work for us, the judiciary that gives us justice, the police that protect our rights, and the people who try to ease our lives, everyday.

They are the sons and daughters of the same motherland. They have learnt it the way we did. And they became the masters of greed because we trained them on how to receive more, to get our work done easiest and fastest. And to the count of this day, even in the wrong-est possible ways. The freedom, the fight for corruption isn’t about one bill or one Government or a couple of Ministers, it’s about a deeply rooted comprehension of the reality forth us. That freedom, is ours to take or leave.

To freedom from social evils and social bondage.

For me, the society is any group of individuals which aims at strengthening and helping each one of them, in their own special ways. But, living in India, changes the definition to the very opposite of it, completely. We live in a society which is headed by illiterate goons who shred it into pieces on the basis of caste, creed, language, religion, sex and what not! Then, there are the religious, caste, gender implications which you ‘must’ abide by to be a part of the society that you are a part of. Otherwise, you and your family, will be thrown out of it. How fair!!

I thought secularism something we Indians were proud of. I really did. But, when I see TV commercials about websites promoting only inter-caste marriages, read about reports of dowry, Sati among other malpractices, I laugh at my own self for thinking that today morning, I woke up in a better India. In fact, even watching censored scenes from Hollywood movies, in an Adult-only movie, makes me feel about how constrained the way we Indians think, is! Freedom from this orthodox life, we sure need.

As far as I know, ‘Right to Freedom’, is a fundamental right given to us by the Honourable Constitution of India. But, we are afraid, feared. To change and to be free, from even all that we think is wrong. Because we think the system will change us, instead. I speak today, for the generations to come by, because I know that if not us, they will stand for freedom, and I would rather gift it to them than see them fight for it. I would rather fall fighting for the freedom that I deserve, than sit back and watch the world in the current avatar. I would rather have my last breath knowing that I tried, than feeling pity on my country, my motherland.

In the coming posts, I will be writing about my take on each one of these, with the solutions that I think are the steps we take to begin with, in detail, stay tuned. As for this list, it’s not a comprehensive one, but well, these are those issues which I feel are the most important.

Till then, fight for your freedom, in your own little ways. I will, too. And after a few years, if not tomorrow, we will wake up in an India we would be more proud to call ours.

For a better India, for freedom, to the death!

Setu Shah
Primary blog: http://setu4993.blogspot.com/

Walking The Talk!

  After much ado, here we are at long last. Not Just The Talks has seen as many roadblocks as any great venture must, until it becomes great. And this is just the beginning. I hope and believe that the process of change that we henceforth strive to make true, sees the right end. But as they say, the only thing constant is change; I am presented with a never ending, but indispensable task.

  The idea behind Not Just The Talks occurred to me in the middle of one of those ‘Cribbing-about-the-country’ moments, a time when everybody is automatically licensed to point fingers, curse, complain, shovel oneself safely away from responsibility, and end it with a sweet dessert- Playing the ‘Blame Game’. Oh yes, how immensely satisfying it is, to mount the load of all your misery on the shoulders of a politician, who is almost always is tagged corrupt because of his job; or the ‘slow’ judiciary, which has cases pending for more than a decade; or even your local corporator, because he failed to fill in the potholes on the road, having made you step in a puddle of mud. A natural favourite among people of all age groups, this set of conversation almost always becomes a part of our daily talks, at some point of the day. And yet, the next day, there is more to crib about.

  It took me 17 years and a few more months of cribbing, to realise the futility of complaining about stuff, unless…
                                                                (The big unless! )

…unless there was something I could do to change it. Yes, that makes sense. How long do I keep talking about the slums and shanties, pavement dwellers and the nuisance that they are, about the fact that our city creates more garbage everyday than it can handle, and that most of that garbage is in public places, making living conditions less than ‘liveable’? What sense does it make if we all talk about it all, but do absolutely nothing to change it? There comes the crossroad, the decision that will make you either an eternal cribber (“India hai boss, idhar kuch nahin hone wala!”) , or a person who can join hands with the millions of our working population to be the change  you always wanted (“Ekdum foreign ka ishtyle!”).

I chose the latter. I can’t bear to see my sidewalk strewn with waste, or the trains I travel in, stained with Paan. I can’t read my newspaper with headlines of scams and grafts, and still not care. Every time a student gains admission to a college without any merit or talent, except that of filling the Principal’s pockets with cash, my nerves are tested. It pains my heart to see the poor homeless families on the pavements (our city has plenty of them), without the BMC or any competent authority coming to their aid. It frustrates me to see how new projects undertaken to improve our city, seldom see the rightful end they deserve, not making up for months of painstaking labour and the traffic snarls they produce. It is sad indeed, to watch it all happening, and sit mum about it with a feeling of helplessness. All the more, it fills me with great anger to see youngsters of my age say that there’s nothing we can do to change this. We all somehow, have learned to live with it. Something we need to give up, ASAP. How can you live in the digital age and say there’s nothing to do?? Where there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way. And that’s exactly what I plan to do here. Pave the way for change to happen.

  And that’s where Not Just The Talks enters, folks. Inspired somewhat, by the great Egyptian Revolution that began with a simple call for change via a youtube video and ended with the annulment of the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, Not Just The Talks aims to work in a similar manner. It is a call for change. The change, that will help us see our dream of an ideal city, ideal country turn into reality. The change, which will no longer have us wish for roads like in USA, Freedom like in England, Industrialisation like in Australia; you get the drift. The aim is to transform ourselves into a new nation, which has it’s core values firmly in place. However, be forewarned. The process of change is never possible unless it begins from changing our ownselves. Otherwise, any thoughts about bringing about a sweeping change, are nothing better than plain wishful thinking.

  Having said this, I call upon you, reader, to join hands with me in discussing and finding solutions to issues lingering around us, social, economic, hygiene related…Anything that needs to be changed.  United we shall stand, working together, because that’s what we’re here for. Not just the talking folks! Winking smile

Until later!