A Story a Day – #1 The Three Worlds


* I haven’t been writing for the blog for a long time. And that is a disgusting thing. Finally decided to stop being lazy and challenge myself with one story everyday. Do let me know what you think of these series of short stories, that will be my incentive to write*

As the day ended, the hues of pink evening sky changed to the mundane black of the night. Asha followed her evening routine before putting up a fake mask of effrontery on her face.

She sat in the moonlit balcony of her one bedroom house on the second floor, sipping milky and heavily sweetened tea; something she drank every evening before leaving for work. She would be rendered homeless, if her landlords ever discovered what she did for a living.

Asha had acquired the dilapidated flat after an arduous search; one of her regular clients from work had helped her get it. It was close to impossible for an audacious single mother to find a habitat in a small town like Lakshmigarh, especially when she claimed to work night shifts at a call centre.

The gaunt woman on the first floor always gave Asha dubious looks whenever they passed each other. It was because of her thirteen year old daughter, Neha, Asha had decided to move into a proper house. A brothel was not an ideal place for a child to grow up in. Neha had picked up uncouth language from the pimps and prostitutes in the brothel. She used words she didn’t know the meaning of at school.

Four years back Neha’s school had summoned Asha, after Neha had hit and called her classmate a ‘sisterfucker’ .That coming from a nine-year old had flabbergasted her teachers. Listening to them morosely, Asha decided to make the move. She did not want her daughter to become what she was and wanted to keep her away from the deleterious world of sex trafficking and prostitution.

Neha was now old enough to understand that her mother was a prostitute. This was a fact that remained tacit between the two. What she thought of it, no one knew.

Being a Saturday evening, there was going to be fewer customers to serve. People did not frequent the brothel much on weekends. The older men did not have excuses for to cover-up their absence on non-working days and preferred spending time with family. The younger still came.

The iniquitous business started at 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays, instead of the usual 7pm, allowing Asha two hours away from the clutches she wanted to free herself from, two hours less of being in clothes she abhorred and two hours less to pretend she liked fucked by strange men.

Realizing it was 8pm, she hastily finished her tea, went inside and instructed Neha to heat her dinner and have it. She was not going to be back until 7am the next morning. She generally came just in time to see Neha off to school. Once Neha left, rest of the day was spent sleeping.

The brothel was in a covert corner of Laxmigarh, where no one except people seeking unsolicited sex treaded. Asha ambulated in the alleys of the town, which looked like a ghost town by 9pm. Very few people ventured outside at night and those who did weren’t generally doing it for the right reasons. She never availed a rickshaw, not that they weren’t available at night, she preferred walking.

As soon as Asha entered the dimly lit insides of the brothel, Shyam, her pimp, said, “Arre, Asha, why are you late, I have been waiting for you, there is a special demand for you tonight. Be quick and change, can’t keep the customers waiting.

The brothel did not look like one from the exteriors. It was like any other house with two stories. During the day, it looked like a completely different place. Most of the prostitutes stayed there unlike Asha. They did not have to pay anything, apart from that saved them from the hassle of looking for a house in the town. They disguised the place to make it look like a working people and college student hostel during the day.

Every girl was allotted a room, rooms had been categorized is three ways-silver, gold and king. Asha was the queen of a king room, she had experience and was one of the most sought after girls.

“Who is he? Has he come here before?” Asha asked.

“I don’t keep track the visitors” answered Shyam brusquely. “Now rush, don’t keep him waiting, bad for business” he said with a wink.

Asha sighed and made her way to the top floor into her king quarters. She did not encounter anyone, everyone was busy, it was prime time.

She opened the door; her dress was laid on the bed already. It was a scintillating red dress; on the floor next to the bed were her six-inch boots. It was not pragmatic to put all these things on; she would have to be austere for the act. Generally, the clothes came off within the first five minutes.

She quickly put on the lipstick, the darkest shade of red, applied body glitter and changed. This ritual of dressing up scantily took her roughly three minutes. Three minutes for transition into a world where she had no daughter, the world where she was valued and the world that made her life meaningful and meaningless at the same time.

This world where she was valued gave her no identity, and the world where she had an identity gave her no value. She was torn apart between these two worlds, neither bolstered her, she let herself be meandered by both.

She sat on the bed, in anticipation, although this was not the first time someone had specially asked for her, but encounters like these made her eager. Not because of sex, that was something she never looked forward to anymore. She remembered when she started as a fifteen year old, she was petrified, men intimidated her in the beginning but eventually she got used to it. There were times when she wanted to flee away from the brothel but she did not know what she’d do to earn money. This was all she knew to do, she never learnt anything else.

The door opened, a tall, lean man smoking a cigarette came in. He wore glasses and was nothing like any of the customers she had entertained before. He wore a black business suit, his tie loose, looking closely she saw his eyes were bloodshot. She stood up with the intention to seduce him. The purpose of entering that room was lucid and the time was evanescent, no one wanted to waste time on obsolete things.

She went to him, unbuttoned his blazer and threw it on the couch. Next, she removed his glasses and placed them nicely on the table. He had not given any reaction until now and just kept standing uprightly. She pulled him closer by his tie, their bodies were now touching, and she could smell the mixture of smoke and alcohol on his breath. He had not even uttered a single word. Asha was baffled but understood, sometimes they took their time. The more time they took, the better it was for Asha, it meant more money.

She grazed her hand through his hair; they were nice, silky hair, like a woman’s. He suddenly shoved her away and sat down on the couch where his blazer was.

“What happened?” she asked.

He shook his head, stood up and came to her.

“Why does a beautiful and able woman like you do all this for money?” he said in a deep voice.

“That’s not for you to know, be quick, there are other people waiting. Do not waste both your and my time.”

“You are right, I don’t have to know this, sorry for being intrusive. Shall we begin?”

“Yes, please.”

Questions like these meant the end of spontaneity for Asha. They got her thinking, why and how she had got her here. Her focus drifted from work to her cobwebbed past that was long gone.

She was fifteen when her mother died, she had never seen her father, and there were no siblings. When her mother died, she had nowhere to go, she knew of her father’s brother who had a huge business there. She didn’t know what the business was, with no clue and helpless, Asha went to her uncle. He took her to Laxmigarh, a town she had never been to and just heard of.

He introduced her to prostitution, a part of the business he ran. The business included kidnapping or luring girls from the rural areas of Eastern UP, Bihar and Nepal. Sometimes they enticed these girls on the pretext of getting them lucrative jobs. It was a massive racket. Since then, there had been no looking back for Asha.

In the nascent days she had found the entire brothel and the people there odious but as days and years passed she was inured to the world of prostitution.

The man grabbed her by the waist, and caught her unawares while she was in a daze. He slipped his hand inside her dress and started fondling her. She decided to let him do whatever he wanted and just move with the flow. They moved towards the bed.

He removed the red dress that had now clung to her body for longer than usual.  He embraced her and began to kiss her. Just as their lips touched, there was a knock on the door.

They ignored it.

Getting no response, the person knocked again and this time louder and gradually started banging the door.

“Stop everything and come out, we are in trouble. Be quick, abandon whatever you are doing” said the person outside in an alarmed voice. Asha recognized the voice; it was Anil, the boy who did all the odd jobs for the brothel inmates.

Asha in a panic pushed the man away and instructed him not to open the door, until she came back. She went inside to get into her normal clothes.

She wondered what might have gone so wrong, this had never happened before. The worst fear, police was paid off by the brothel once every month, to keep the place running without any hindrance.

She came into the room, to find the man missing and door flung open. There was absolute commotion outside.

“Don’t let anyone get out of the premises, make sure every room here is empty and assemble them at the reception area” said someone in a domineering tone.. To her horror, Asha saw the man giving all instructions was in the police uniform.

Apparently the worst had come true. But she wondered how? Had there been a disagreement with the police? It seemed an unlikely thing to happen. She was petrified; and had no idea of what was going to happen next.

She did not want to leave the room and just as this thought crossed her mind, a police constable came inside.

Chalo, what are you thinking? Is there anyone else in this room?” he said.

She shook her head and moved out of the room. The corridor was full of people, there were the customers rushing out, they obviously didn’t want to be found here during a police raid, a few prostitutes were screaming and pushing the policemen away.

Rani was climbing down the stairs forlornly, when Asha caught up with her.

“What went wrong tonight?” Asha asked.

“A new Superintendent of Police got transferred to Laxmigarh; he got a tip off about the entire trade and instructed his team to conduct a search tonight. The officer who used to take a bribe from us, could not do anything about it” Rani told her.

“Where did this Superintendent get the information from?”

“That no one knows, but they say he is here tonight, he posed as a customer to be sure of the entire affair.”

As they reached the reception area, they saw everyone lined up. The siren of police jeeps could be heard.

“Everyone is here, sir. We have checked all rooms and they are all empty. Let us start taking them to the police station” said one of the inspectors to a man whose back was towards Asha.

The words police station sent a chill down her spine. What would her daughter do if she was arrested? This was a peril of being a prostitute; you could not have a normal life. The normal was bound to be disrupted by something like this.

“Good job, check once more. Call the media, seal this place. Get these people to the station and interrogate them there itself. Register a FIR against the owner of this place” said the man who had been addressed as sir by the inspector.

He turned and to Asha’s surprise it was the man who had been in her room sometime back. She was shocked, is that why he seemed so reluctant to have sex? How had he come to know about her and specially demanded for her?

He saw her gaping at him and came to her.

“Next time before you tell your neighbours, you work at a call centre, make sure it exists. The call centre you kept pretending to work in was closed seven months back. Your neighbours suspected you reported to the police .We have been keeping a close watch on your everyday activities since then. Your daughter will be taken care of; she is going to an orphanage” saying this he walked away.

Asha was handcuffed and made to sit in a police jeep, she looked outside. She was going to the prison for a crime she never wanted to commit and her daughter was going to bear the brunt of it.  It was a vicious circle; she was now part of a third world, unwillingly again.

The Flightless Bird


It was perched on a rock;

fluttering its wings feebly.

The cold wind blew;

sweeping its feathers.

It had kissed the skies;

flown into the horizons;

got lost in the clouds.

Freedom gone;

the hummingbird sang in a melancholy.

The warmth of its dwelling replaced;

it sat on the rock by the lake.

The song of the bird;

went unheard as the wind roared

and waters raged.

It cried for help;

the water muffled its wings.

The warm sun cast away;

it scouted for a warm place;

only to discover its wing clipped.

It lay helplessly;

hoping for the storm to pass.

As the storm subdued;

the song of the hummingbird died.

Restless, it couldn’t fly;

the exhausted bird retired on the rock.

By srishtikush Posted in Prose

End of an era and beginning of another


College ended, I turned 21 precisely eight days ago, work starts in less than 48 hours from now. Life is good in a lot of ways. Four years in college ended with the blink of an eye. When I travel back in time, so much seems to have happened. It seems like yesterday, when I, back then a fresher was walking in the college in a black superman t-shirt with a couple of friends.

One of the few days that my sleepy conscious allowed me to remember vividly. At 17 we felt grown-up, entering college gave us the feeling that we owned the world. Little did we know life was bigger than this. Entering college was just a baby step, unknowingly we stepped in to our adult lives, the reality that we were growing up never dawned upon us. I am sure it never will, it never should.

The transition has been nothing but beautiful, life has unfolded in a miraculous manner. Every moment counted, every moment had something new and exhilarating in store.

Nostalgia engulfs me as I pen this down, all the memories of times good and bad forcefully gush into me. Obviously, there are things I will miss about college, I will miss being the obnoxious rebel occupying the last corner bench every morning. I will miss being in the same class room with my cronies, smuggling food during lectures, skipping college for movies, trips to all the roads not taken, those were the stolen days from the oh-so monotonous timetable.

In all this insanity, somewhere again in my sub-consciousness EP!C Magazine happened. With it came audacious dreams, dreams larger than life itself, dreams that remain unfulfilled but the optimism prevails. I have been on a journey to find a purpose in life, add meaning to it, make it worthwhile, EP!C has helped me do that. People associated with it have kept me hopeful, they have instilled in me the ‘everything is possible’ feeling in me. Honestly, we haven’t done much and 2.5 years later we still have a long way to go but it is good to be a part of something like this.

Along came the opportunity to work on something as big as SHEROES, it is enthralling to have an opportunity to work with a team so experienced. Right things have happened at the right time. BTW if you still haven’t signed-up on SHEROES(sheroes.in), go do it, we look forward to have each one of you as part of the community.

I have talked about everything significant except people. I love human beings, they are the most interesting creatures on earth. They just entice me with their ways. Many came my way, many left. There are few who will never leave, they have been the greatest support system. Nothing can replace these friends, guides, mentors and well, I don’t need to say this but my family too. When all else fails, there is still family, a thought that makes me live on in sad times. After four years of college I am thankful to the friends whose backs I still have, they are the most amazing people I have come across. Among the people who left , a lot of them will remain etched in the by-lanes of memories, the memories might fade but they never will vanish. I am grateful to everyone who has touched or been part of my life in any way.

Life is short, sometimes it is good to pause and think. I just hit the resume button. Over and out.

Review: Indian Rock bands


Indian rock is neither here nor there; it is a fusion of western and Indian music while the lyrics are deep-rooted in the motherland. The rock music might have evolved to a great extent in the country but it still is at a nascent stage. We are far from seeing greats like Guns n Roses, Metallica or Led Zep.  It is unfortunate that a lot of rock bands in India are disbanded without even launching properly.

But the rock lovers need not be very disappointed; we still have Indian rock bands trying to leave their mark. Here are a few bands that you must listen to if you are a rock-lover:

1)      The Bicycle days:

This Bangalore based band released their debut album Calamitunes in June-2013. The Bicycle Days is a confluence of varied approaches to music and the idea of song. The most refreshing thing about them is they have something to say, their lyrics are their perception of the contemporary world. There are social commentaries, dialogues, haunting vocals and plenty of opinions to connect with. The album has seven songs. Mould and truce have poetic lyrics and the vocalist uses a haunting voice. Crawl has a Radiohead-like feel to it, basically nothing very new about it. Indignation is a medley of a lot sounds and a favourite from the album. On a 5 scale The Bicycle Days gets a well-deserved 3. 

 2)      The supersonics:

Supersonics is a post-punk band from Kolkata; they split in 2010 but reunited in 2012.  They released their first album Maby Baking was released in 2009 and was Indecision’s Album of the year. The band has catchy songs and great energy while performing. Maby Baking has eleven songs, each done in a different way. We are, we are and Blotter are the best songs from the album. The latter is a soft song, different from rest of the songs, they did. In most of the songs like Far From Human Race, Major Minor the vocalist Ananda Sen adopts a baritone, which a lot of people might not like. The Supersonics get a 2.5 on 5 scale.

3)      Odyssey:

No Hay Banda, their first album was released back in July. Odyssey is one of the few bands based in Gujrat. Its music is a slight blend of rock and psychedelic. They do not perform frequently since the members are scattered all across the world.

 Their song Where you been has Hindi Classical music, rest of the songs have English vocals.  Bringing back tigers is a heavy rock number, dealing with philosophical matters. Their first single, B Flat Minor, is wonderfully slow and mellow, Nostradamus is slightly long at 12 minutes but is soulful. No Hay Banda is about experimentation and Odyssey is a band that makes music for itself and not for its commercial appeal. They get a 4 on 5. It is probably one of the best in the lot. Sad part is you won’t find their music on Youtube, it is available on iTunes and bandcamp.

4)      Thermal and a Quarter:

This band doesn’t fancy being called just an Indian Rock Band; they are through and through a Bangalore band. Thermal and a Quarter is the one of the oldest bands in country, formed in 1996, they have released 5 albums till date. You won’t hear raga-rock clichés like the strains of a gratuitous sitar (or veena) in their music. Their songs have a sound that is completely original with hard-hitting lyrics. The music isn’t completely rock, it can be blues, funk, jazz, prog, maybe even some soul. TAAQ have toured all across the world including USA, United Kingdom, West Asia and East Asia. Songs to catch are Grab me, If Them blues, For the Cat and Meter Mele one and a half for their neat baselines, terrific drumming and jazzy leads. TAAQ gets a 4 on 5 too.

 

5)      Little Babooshka’s Grind(LBG):

 LBG a Chennai based band was formed in 1996; they took a two year break in 2009 and came back in 2011. LBG are the pioneers of Indian rock music making electro-rock songs. Their music is a bit old school, with some exceptions Wake up…Break up, Codeine, Money. In all they have done around 35 originals, not a lot for a band that has been together for so long. Few other songs to listen are Part of me, Revolution Breathe and Two Frequencies.

Gandhi and his principles


In the midst of all the political mayhem in the country we observe 144th birth anniversary of father of our nation, the man who was titled Mahatma- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I don’t consider him the sole leader responsible for bringing independence in India, but there can never be any doubt over Gandhi’s greatness and grandeur. He was the kind of leader India will never have again.

He shook the British in his own gentle way, we have grown-up reading about Khilafat movement, quit India movement, non-cooperation movement and the dandi salt marchThis messiah of non-violence and satyagrah (truthfulness) has been strongly criticized by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Roberts.  Roberts, a British Historian called him “a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist — one who was often downright cruel to those around him.” Christopher Hitchens, too penned down similar views, in his essay- The Real Mahatma Gandhi.

I beg to differ from the above views, yes, Gandhi unlike Nehru was a religious man, a staunch Hindu but he never had a predilection for a particular religion. Muslims accused him of being the harbinger of Hindu ‘Raj’; Hindu nationalists accused him of being insufficiently dedicated to their cause. His idea of religion was not totally esoteric. He knew that every religion was connected with some belief system supported by rituals. He tried to get rid of the rituals as far as possible. To Gandhi religion was a human institution made by human ingenuity to solve practical affairs as well as spiritual matters. All his life he struggled and fought against inequality. It is absurd to accuse or misinterpret him on these lines.

And as far his sexual behavior is concerned, that is not for us to discuss, there was nothing immoral or moral about it, a man has the right to choose his sexual preference.

Moving on to his politics, which was debatable a number of times, but necessary during British rule. His policy of self-suffering and fasting moved masses. That is how he obviated the riots in Bengal from getting worse after independence, this is just one example. He always managed to ignite a spark among all Indians, whatever religion they belonged to. He fasted in 1932 to protest the voting scheme for separate political representation for Dalits; Gandhi did not want them segregated. Although none of these policies will work in modern India, which was ostensible when Anna Hazare tried fasting. Modern India has narcissist, demented and retarded leaders, the country now needs a miracle to bring in a good government.

Gandhi’s economic politics was probably one policy most of us will disagree with. Gandhi challenged Nehru and the modernizers in the late 1930′s who called for rapid industrialization on the Soviet model; Gandhi denounced that as dehumanizing and contrary to the needs of the villages where the great majority of the people lived. He was probably what we can call a neo-luddist. His model of progress and development was definitely not ideal.

We have to agree Gandhi did not adopt the most conventional principles, he was criticized, condemned, redeemed and defended throughout his life. But we need to accept despite all his flaws and fallacies, he was a man of unmatched greatness and no one was or will ever be capable of what he manged to do.

The 21 golden rules for sisters


The boys have talked enough about their super cool, Bro code, courtesy Barney Stinson. It is time we girls have a code as well. There are some rules that need to be followed with your best girl friends. The breach of any of the rules can be deadly. If you think your best friend is your sister or more than a sister, you will probably never need this guide but just for fun I jotted a few things that fall under the sister code. Gentlemen you can ignore this one.

1) Do not keep any secrets from the sisters, they know you well and will not like you keeping secrets.

2)  If a sister asks you to keep something to yourself, do it. Don’t tell it to the world.

3) You never ever date your sister’s ex

4) Neither do you flirt with their boyfriends or latest crushes

5) Your best friend’s brothers are off-limits, don’t hit on them either.

6) You don’t bitch maliciously about your sisters behind their backs.

7) Chicks before dicks.

8) A sleepover with your best friends VS date with boyfriend. You go for the sleepover.

9) You are never jealous when your sister does well. Let’s keep the world classy. We already have too much green around.

10) If a sister needs you, be there, no excuse works.

11) Fights happen, don’t ruin friendship over petty issues.

12) Never neglect sisters when you meet someone new. They are the best you can have.

13) Back her up. Stand next to the sister no matter what.

14) Just be there, even when you don’t know what to say, your presence will be enough.

15) Never say no to an all girls-only lunch. You will miss on a lot and might not get invited the next time.

16) Keep promises. Broken promises are worse than broken hearts.

17) Do not ever, I repeat EVER, fight over guys.

18) Be honest, if a sister asks how she looks, tell her the truth.

19) Never call a sister slut publicly.

20) Pledge to go on every stalking mission with the sister when she feels her Mr right is wrong.

21) Drama is bound to happen, deal with it.

How is Just Dial fleecing everyone?


Even when you are sick you cannot be sure of getting the desired treatment from the place you want. There is no guarantee of services from the backend, and the consumers probably has no idea that they are being conned.

On 26th August, 2013 a friend Vanya Kaushik called up Lal Path Labs Sector 16, Chandigarh, she needed to get done blood tests of her grandmother. Lal Path labs which is a pioneer medical testing laboratory in the country, assured Vanya, that the tests will be done next morning that is on 27th August, 2013. They were charging Rs 350, where Rs 300 was the fee for the tests and Rs 50 for providing services at home.

Astonishingly someone claiming to be from Lal Path Labs turned up at their place on the same day, 26th August, 2013. When enquired why he had come before the scheduled appointment, he said, there were no prior preoccupations and the tests could be done immediately.

Suspecting no more, the Kaushik family let him do his job. He charged them Rs 400 and left. Since the guy charged more than the actual cost, Vipul Kaushik, a family member called Lal Path labs and inquired about the sudden increase. Mr Kaushik was shocked when the lab denied sending anyone and stating that their tests were still pending.

Worried because of intrusion in privacy and violation of consumer rights, the family decided to call all the labs they had availed services from earlier. All labs denied having done the tests.

Meanwhile, the family called Lal Path again, inquiring if someone had turned up with the reports, they denied completely sounding hostile. The family suspecting something fishy went to the lab in Sector 16 and demanded an explanation.  After an hour of heated discussion, one of the employees called up someone to ask if he had done the tests. Apparently he had and this guy worked for some other lab in Sector 37.

Now exasperated, the family asked how had someone whose services they did not seek turn up at their doorstep claiming to be someone else! They had called up Lal Path labs to conduct the tests, they were registered, an entry was made in their name. Below is the picture giving the proof that Lal Path was supposed to conduct those tests.

IMG-20130827-WA000

Where did this guy posing from Lal Path lab come to know, that tests needed to be done at a particular place? Where did he find out the Kaushik’s home phone number and rest of the details? Bizarre, right?

The answer is pretty easy, Justdial, the biggest online directory in the country had intercepted the call between the family and Lal Path labs. Once they had all the information of the conversation that happened, they mailed all the details to the other lab. Here is the copy of the mail that the other lab in Sector 37 (Mediquest Labs)  received from Just dial. They forwarded it to the family after being inquired about their source of information.

Scam

So does this mean, Just dial is tapping phone calls of various organizations and leaking information to other organizations? Are these organizations paying Just Dial for this?  Who is to be blamed? Just Dial? Organizations paying Just dial?How can these  calls be intercepted? Is there any role the network providers are playing in the tapping of phones without authority?  Are we safe when conducting business deals over phone calls?

The marketing head of Lal Path labs admitted to the breach in code of conduct but neither he nor the lab in-charge said anything on record. Just dial was called later in the evening but they refused to talk. Several mails to them have gone unanswered. The family received the following anonymous hand-written note early in the morning. They have no idea who could have sent the note, but it is very lucid it is either Just Dial or the other organization. Who is to be blamed? What action has to be taken? This is a clear case of violation of customer privacy and rights.  How many people are affected by this?

Anonymous letter

Anonymous letter

Why Feminism?


Modern-feminism1

The moment you claim to be a feminist you are assumed to be a whiny, liberal, bra burning misandrist involving in male bashing. Feminism is anything but that. Feminism is anti-misogyny but not pro-misandry. It is not for matriarchy but is against patriarchy. Feminism is instilling a feeling of equality among men and women. A man can be a nurse without being called gay and a woman can be a mechanic without being called manly.

There are times when people question whether feminism is something the world needs. But is that even a question to be raised? How many times do you hear about a man being raped by a woman? Is a man looked down upon or called ugly if he goes out wearing shorts with hair on his legs? It is so disgusting to live in a world where women are treated as objects of pleasure, where rape jokes are cracked and women are still held responsible for rapes.

Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by knowing more about the social and political roles of women. Feminism is a radical notion that women are humans beings just like men. Equality among men and women is not a concept, it is something all of us should be striving for, because the misogyny that exists in all cultures is not a part of human existence. It kills the purpose of an amicable co-existence, it discriminates two human beings whose prowess cannot be and should not be differentiated.

I do not want to be feminist to rule the world, I need it because someone groped me when I was nine, when I didn’t even know what it meant. We need feminism because we do not want that every time a woman walks on the street lewd gestures or comments are passed. We need feminism because the size of our breasts does not determine our worth. We need feminism so that a man can cry or express his feelings without being called a loser or a whimp. Emotions are not manly or womanly, they are just human.

Women have been called the weaker sex for time that seems like more than forever. Out of  7 billion people in world roughly 1 billion women are sexually assaulted, they get bottles shoved inside them, are victims of acid attacks and many more horrendous crimes we cannot imagine happening in our worst nightmares. A woman isn’t raped because she was drinking at midnight, or because of what she was wearing or because she wasn’t careful enough. She is raped because someone did that to her, someone who thought himself he had the right to exploit a woman’s body in any way.   And that is why we need the moment called feminism and need to fight for gender equality.

There are issues that I didn’t even address here, equal pay for equal work, being regarded as humans with equal intelligence. These are things that need to be dealt with as well. Isn’t it outrageous when a man working as your equal at workplace gets a higher pay?  We need feminism for every valid reason, true well-understood feminism to change the archaic and demented beliefs we have now followed for centuries.

Image Courtesy

Mark Your Diaries – SHEROES Summit 2013 is here


Sheroes-Logo

Aug 23, 2013, New Delhi: Fleximoms (www.fleximoms.in) presents the SHEROES Summit (www.sheroessummit.com) – India’s largest OpportunityScape for Women.

The theme of the SHEROES Summit 2013 is ‘Creating Shared Value’ – for Indian women and businesses.

As women professionals choose from a range of career choices,entrepreneurial, flexible jobs or going back to work with large companies – it is imperative for businesses and women professionals to find sustainable shared value.

The dates for the SHEROES Summit are:

  • Mumbai August 30, 2013
  • New Delhi on September 6, 2013
  • Bangalore on September 27, 2013

The SHEROES Summit brings together stakeholders in context of women and work – CEO’s, business owners, women professionals, career coaches, entrepreneurs and women professionals across stages of life. The SHEROES Summit 2013 celebrates choices women make for themselves and making them work for them.

The SHEROES Summit connects businesses face-to-face with a wide range of women professionals. The Summit is an opportunity for women and companies to network and spot trends.

On the offer at the SHEROES Summit are sessions on Personal Motivation, CEO Track, Entrepreneurial Track, Industry Trends with CEO’s and horizon-gazing of opportunities. These include a wide range of first ever programs and opportunities, that some of the companies are introducing at the SHEROES Summit.

A diverse set of speakers will share perspective at the Summit. These include -DebjaniGhosh, Managing Director, South Asia, Intel Corporation, AnandLunia, Founder, India Quotient, PrashantBhaskar, Founder PlugHR, RakeshShukla, Founder, The Writers Block, Pearl Uppal, Founder 5ideas, Harshal Shah, Director Marketing, AegonReligare, RashmiBansal, Author, Entrepreneur, Ansoo Gupta, CEO Pinstorm, NavyugMahnot, Founder, CEO, QAI India, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, CEO, One97 and PayTM, DeepaShenoy, CEO, Lumiere Solutions and Kris Nair, Founder FusedCow.

The SHEROES Summit connects the top female talent with organizations who seek to create value by building gender-balanced businesses, reduce attrition and allied costs, improve profits and do social good. The Summit is backed up some of the leading organizations including PayTM, AegonReligare, Philips and Monster.

One can find more details about the Summit at www.sheroessummit.com

Or send us a tweet at @sheroesindia or leave us a message at www.facebook.com/sheroesindia

Phone:

Pallavy: +91-9818318196

Aparna: +91-9910911006

About

The SHEROES Summit believes in possibilities that lie ahead of us as gender balance and sustainable value become core to our work and life. SHEROES believes in making our choices work for us. SHEROES Summit is convened by Applied Life Pvt Ltd, based in New Delhi. 

By srishtikush Posted in SHEROES

Behind the Beautiful Forevers-Katherine Boo: Review


behind-the-beautiful-forevers

This is one of those books that will probably leave you devastated. After you are done reading, you will think about it for long. It is a well-known fact- Mumbai slums are ghastly, life is grim in those garbage strewn makeshift houses of the not so fortunate. Turning the pages of this impeccably done book, you experience an upsurge of emotions, you are angry, instigated, bewildered, disturbed, all at the same time.

Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbai’s International Airport. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a result of thorough investigation and research. There are times when you hope that Boo made up the story but unfortunately what the books tells is the grotesque truth.

Abdul, an enterprising young Muslim Annawadian, the only major earner of his family, makes a living out of sorting garbage. He along with sister and father is convicted in a crime that was never committed by them. What comes next for this family is a despairing tale of court trails, the mother Zehrunisa has to face the apathy of government officials and police. She pays of a major chunk of their lifetime earnings in bribes to get the three bailed out.

Asha- is upcoming and undeclared slumlord, she comes from the rural Maharashtra with dreams to fly higher than the sky.With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl“-Manju—will soon become its first female college graduate. Asha finds her niche in political corruption and is successful in her ultimate endeavor.

Boo tragically showcases the end of many young lives in the slum, Manju’s best friend, Meena consumed rat poison, so did Sanjay, a young man beaten up by police. Very often dead bodies are discovered near the slum, nobody cares who they are, nobody identifies those bodies. Diseases like Tuberculosis are stated as the causes of these deaths. The truth remains unknown.

Behind the beautiful forevers is a spectacular work of reportage and gives the most illuminating insight in the lives of India’s poor, their ambitions, their struggles and sacrifices. Apart from being the a good work of reporting, Boos also tells the story incredibly well.

“A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught”

There is a lot to digest after finishing this, Boo puts everything very emphatically, a must read for anyone who cares about the slums and its dwellers around the country.