Tag Archives: Society

Gossip Queens

18 Jan

Someone who’s visiting the city recently pinged me on the “Networking website”. I responded, and introduced myself. He asked me whether my last name was A, B or C. (Yes, there are apparently 3 people with my first name in this city.) When I confirmed which it was, he responded saying he was glad he’d asked me that, because he’d been warned about my “mental and personal hygiene”,  and signed off.

This is the third instance that I’ve gotten the idea that I’m being gossiped about. What I cannot imagine for my life is why. My flatmate (the gay one) has warned me time and again to not be as talkative and naive when interacting with the “community” in this city, and that it’s the bitchiest of all, in the country. I didn’t believe it, since I always thought I surrounded myself with people of reasonable character and intellect. Clearly I was wrong.
Some weeks ago, an acquaintance, who is a friend of my flatmate’s (which I can’t imagine why, since my flatmate keeps lamenting how much he badmouths just about anyone he knows), was telling him that he heard from everyone that I had bad breath! He was telling my flatmate! What was he thinking? That my flatmate wouldn’t tell me that he’d said that? And the flatmate was given yet another opportunity to turn around and say, “I told you so”.
A week after the flatmate told me, I’m at a party and I come across Queen Bitch. I give him a polite nod, and he stops to make conversation. I make an excuse and move on, since I have no desire to engage in idle chatter with him. Some minutes later, someone stops me to introduce me to him, at which point I have to interrupt “Oh, we’ve met” and move away. Some more minutes later, I’m standing and talking to a few folks, I turn right and Queen Bitch presents himself there as well. How two faced can the guy get???
It’s of little surprise that another friend from long ago (that Queen Bitch and I have in common), who used to call on the phone often, and make an effort to stay in touch, is now barely cordial when we meet (and put me on a very, VERY limited list on Facebook. I outright removed him).

This is the third incident I hear of being spoken about. The first occurred sometime last year, when a friend suggested I keep a low profile, since he’d observed smirking at the mention of my name. I think I wrote this piece about it, but it could’ve been something family-related instead.

I really can’t imagine how I’ve landed myself in these circumstances. I don’t even know what people out there are saying about me, and who all particularly are doing so. Or if I even know all of them. Or how many of them will avoid me on the basis of what they’ve heard about me.

I need to stop being such an innocent, vulnerable lamb. But to begin with, I think I’ll have to change cities and pretty much start over. Which is difficult since I dislike Delhi, and I’ve ruined Bangalore for myself.

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Hath I No Pride At All?

21 Nov

For the third year running, I’ll be giving the Queer Pride Parade next Sunday a miss. During the first, 2 years ago, I was shacked up in some horrid college campus in UP, for a summer course. Last year, I simply didn’t have the courage to attend, what with being home for the summers and having family around.

This year, there’s a weekend outing planned for us new recruits by the company, on that weekend, and we only return to town Sunday evening, hours after the queer festivities conclude.
This is unfortunate, given how effortless it would’ve been to participate this year as compared to the last 2. On the other hand, I cannot opt out of the company outing, as it is an important connect with all the batchmates, and extremely avoidable.

So I guess one’ll have to wait for Queer Pride 2011, and for once hope that nothing comes in the way…

Raging tempers…

8 May

So I broke off (platonic equivalent of break-up… is there a better phrase that is as compact and more established? Okay, parted ways) with old friend, Pankaj, today. This once, it was him who did the honours (block on Gtalk, delete from Facebook) and not me (and I wouldn’t succumb to those actions in this matter, which I consider trivial), and I would like to have that on record.

Anyway, it started with an argument. He read this article very fleetingly, and made an elaborate and (I feel) ill-informed opinion on it. I objected in strong words. We argued. It ended badly.

He says Kasab should’ve been shot as soon as the investigators derived from him that he had no information to offer.
[He also feels that Kasab may as well have been accommodated at the Taj, since his cost of daily up-keep would’ve probably come to the same amount of Rs. 85-lakh per day. {The figure in the news article reads Rs. 8.5 lakhs per day. As I said, he read the article in one fleeting glance. Thank you for pointing it out, Tauja!}] But I’m not saying that Rs. 8.5 lakhs is an acceptable amount either.
But that he maintains that Kasab should’ve been shot as soon as they figured out he had no more valuable information to offer, ergo without trial is worth discussing.

When celebrities or politicians are accused of any crime, and receive special treatment in their trials etc. etc. the common man is up in arms saying that they should be treated like anyone else.
So is it fair for us to deny Kasab a trial? Would that not be equivalent to denying him the rights accorded to the common man? Or should nobody be accorded a free and fair trial?
Is it healthy for us to nurture such glaring hypocrisies in our attitude? Or should we just go ahead and rewrite the constitution to accord different rights to different types of people? Or just go about making exceptions everywhere and then fighting over which exception is fair and which is not?

Are most/all of the democratic countries of the world (Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, peeps…) stupid in allowing the accused, any accused, of any crime a trial before convicting him of charges? (And the right to appeal the sentence in higher courts.) Would we be okay if tomorrow YOU weren’t allowed to appeal in a higher court? Sure, Manu Sharma would have been acquitted.
Or maybe we could just make an exception here and an exception there, and then argue over it forever?

I welcome your comments on the questions phrased above. What I do NOT welcome are comments about how the judicial system needs to be improved. Yes, the judicial system needs to be improved. The trial should’ve been completed in a matter of months and not 18. We all know that, and I’m sure we’d all agree on it too. So let’s discuss the issue that I wrote this entire post to discuss. We can discuss Judicial reforms on a later date, capisce?

Oh, and one more thing. Rs. 1,500 crore for a cricket team in a month-long intra-national cricket event. Rs. 31 crore over protecting the escape of the most dreaded criminal this country has ever set hands on, over a period of one and a half years. Am I the ONLY one who thinks the 31-crores is REALLY inconsequential here?

Victims for Life

9 Apr

The news about Prof. Siras was extremely depressing, and wholly unexpected at the time that it happened. The mystery that surrounds it is just so disturbing. If it was undoubtedly true that he took his own life, I would hardly be surprised. It is something that countless people from the community must be considering on a very regular basis.

But then, nothing is known for sure and it’s just so perplexing. Was it blatant murder or was it induced murder? And how much does it matter?

A victim of phobia, in a supposedly scholastic environment. Or was it more because it was a minority institution of that specific minority?
Either way, how safe are we, if we aren’t safe in an institute of academic learning and repute? Unsafe to the extent that we can be pushed to our end, by one way or another?

Ode to a watchmaker

24 Feb

I’m not much of a watch-person. I don’t know why but I simply don’t fancy them. Given all the money in the world, I’d never venture to acquire a collection. So it’s of little surprise that when the strap on my 4-year old excessively-scratched watch went broke for the third time some months ago, I didn’t bother buying a new one but set out to look for a watchmaker to spring on a new strap.

I don’t know how it is that I encountered that little shop in a run-down building hidden behind another relatively run-down building, after failing to find the relatively renowned store in the small town near my University.
For some reason I was drawn towards that shop, and months later, my mind ceases to forget that day (a feat quite unheard of for my memory). But something about that shop, and its owner was so old-world and so un-commercial. He did not try to hardsell, he did not give any “assurances” about what he was selling me. I asked him for a strap, he placed everything that he had before me, I selected, he wordlessly obliged. No frowns, no frustration, no impatience. He was a man who was so content with what he was, what he had. No grudge against those who had commercialized his profession, and cut into his income. Simplicity, sincerity, humility. A common man. It was as if he hadn’t stepped out there and seen the Titan’s and the Fast-tracks. Except that he had, and he wasn’t bothered.

It was once again one of those moments where I felt like emptying out my entire wallet for him, as an attempt at not charity, but compensation for all the business that he’d lost owing to our fascination with branded-wear. Quite the way all the shoe-makers were wiped out the day we developed a fascination for sneakers.

Maybe someday, if I’m able to return to that small watchmaker’s shop, I will. And buy a watch or two.

Unsung blends in…

9 Jan

So another accomplishment of a different kind… Unsung went tonight to a party at his cousins’ place… a perfectly straight party with seemingly straight people…
Now these specific cousins are those that I don’t really blend with. They’re your typical Delhite crowd… the kind for whom booze is like water, cigarettes are morning-afternoon-evening tea, and so on… clubbing regulars, fancy-bar-drivers and so on. Now Unsung doesn’t really gel in too well if there isn’t intellectual conversation on politics, religion etc to be found. But not only did Unsung induce mild conversations of that nature, he blended in perfectly with the spoil-brat friends of the cousins, was laughing away, inducing laughter, sharing smokes, borrowing smokes, dumbing up, dumbing down, being introduced to people. In short, I went there knowing 3 cousins and vaguely knowing 1-2 others, but left bidding several of them brotherly goodbyes!

I huge accomplishment in terms of social interaction and not feeling awkward in an environment that he’s almost always very uncomfortable in.
Booze helped a little bit, yes 😛

Now he’s going to sleep at 4 a.m. and hopes to be up in time… It’s a big day! Unsung might just get to meet a fellow blogger… none other than BlogQueen, Chandu!

The “Nature” of Suicide

9 Aug

[Please read this post all the way till the end before dropping a comment]

A recent post on Pesto Sauce’s blog got me thinking. About suicide.

I’m not suicidal. I’ve never attempted to kill myself, and am frankly petrified at the very thought of attempting it (particularly the thought of the pain one would have to subject oneself to, whatever the mode of suicide was to be, before one’s body would give in.)
But it’s that lack of suicidal trait in me that makes me step back and not judge someone who is.

Confused?

Think of it this way. Lots of people say that being gay is being mentally sick. That it’s because an individual went astray, became perverted or corrupted by temptation or western civilization. Yet, several of us have never known heterosexuality, or what it’s like to be straight or “normal” and would associate with our sexuality from ever since we can remember, but those people who think we’re mentally sick, and do not know that this is how we were born would not be convinced of the same unless they went through it themselves. Frankly, I doubt that even the straight people reading this blog firmly acknowledge or believe that sexuality is something that we were born with, however open-minded, accepting and encouraging you are.
My point is that only a gay person can truly know what goes on in the mind of a gay person.

Hence, only a suicidal person can know what really goes on inside his head, and everybody else is simply jumping to unwarranted conclusions when they say that suicide is cowardice.
What if suicide is comforting? What if death brings bliss? Why should we deny a person his right to what makes him happy?

Back in my school years, there was simply nothing that I had to look forward to (except maybe the next summer vacations… a month or two away from school). I was extremely depressed and pessimistic. I often went to sleep with the comforting thoughts of dying and being liberated from my insipid existance. Today, life is much better but the thought of death brings tremendous comfort. The thought that I wouldn’t have to wake up another day and face a million other challenges.
Challenges are not exciting when you face them alone… not to everyone. Not everybody has something or the other to look forward to. Some live life because they have to, taking each day as it comes with no concrete plan or expectations. When they get tired, they take a blissful moment and think about death, liberation. Moksha.

Thus, when I hear of people who attempt to commit suicide, I do not jump at calling them cowards. Maybe some of them are. But I cannot generalize. Because I’m not suicidal myself, I do not know what goes on in the mind of someone who is. Hence, I cannot draw a just judgement. Just the way that someone who isn’t gay is likely to come to an inaccurate judgement of my “condition”.

I could extend the same train of thought to the case of paedophiles. It is another classic group of people that we’re all too quick to condemn. However, attraction (including sexual attraction) is natural, right? We cannot contain it. Some people cannot help being attracted to people of the opposite sex, some others cannot control their attraction to members of the same sex.
Maybe it’s quite the same way that some men (and maybe women) are attracted to people who are extremely young of either sex. Maybe the feeling is completely natural. I do not know, because I do not have those emotions within me, so I cannot jump to conclusions on those individuals, unless I was in their shoes.
So does that vindicate paedophilia? According to my dictionary, it might, because my dictionary defines paedophilia as “A sexual attraction to children”, and for all we know, this attraction may be in their nature. But does it justify a person forcing him or herself onto a child because of his something that is possibly innate?

It does not. Because it causes harm to someone else. To the child, who is not emotionally mature enough to express consent, or is never asked for it. Paedophilia may not be wrong but acting on it must be condemned because it harms someone else.

Quite the same way, I feel that suicidal tendencies may not be wrong because we do not know what the person with those inclinations is having to face in life. We may not know what are his or her reasons behind wanting to call it a day. For all we know, they may want to commit suicide because the thought of it makes them happy but if the act would bring grief to anyone who is close to the individual contemplating suicide, then that may amount to causing harm to another, and is a factor that must be resolved before any such act, between all the people involved.

Many are quick to say that suicide is an act of cowardice. I think it is cowardly to jump to conclusions about someone else’s life or character without trying to understand it.
Many proudly say that life is beautiful. I think it’s a very subjective matter, and not a sweeping statement to be made. YOUR life may be beautiful, but it is in finding this so-called “beauty” that many of us fail.