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Things are getting SO much better….

 

Disclaimer before you read further- I have technically no real exposure to all legal, social, etc. facets of the Women’s Reservation Bill, and therefore, my acquiescence or lack thereof is as far from educated as it is possible to be.

The only reason I’m talking about this is because I was reading “Maximum City” bu Suketu Mehta (finally) and he mentioned the Women’s Reservation Bill, saying that it would probably be passed in the next few years. That is when I turned the pages back to check out when the book was first published –2004. I know- technically it doesn’t seem a long time ago- its just 2009. But then I realized it’s going to be 2010 soon, and further, that 2004 was when I was a fourteen year old in 9th class. THAT seems like a long time ago.

Now my skepticism as to the passing of the Bill comes through this- in order that the Bill be passed, the law makers in parliament need to be sensitive to the issue of lack of representation for women. And that is something, which I have realized within a year of living in a world outside my school, where girls were on top of the political ladder generally, that men very rarely are able to do.

Other than typical male thick-headedness and superiority complex- for which I hope some day a genetic cure will be available- this is also the typical perspective of the oppressor group as opposed to the oppressed or wronged group. The former don’t understand the needs of the latter simply because they are not living the realities of the latter. If a high caste Hindu has to live one spat-on day of the Scheduled Caste, perhaps he wouldn’t complain so much about his son taking a seat in a university. As Bethany from Boston Legal said – “You simply cannot separate (a community’s) history of persecution and the threat of future persecution from its politics.”

So here’s the problem – you need women and understanding men for the passing of the bill. The latter are the rarest or rare breed, and the former are slowly becoming extinct in India. In order for a woman to be voted into Parliament, you will probably need about twenty men behind her as allies, since the gender wise voter pool would be male. You could say that the women might be willing to vote for a woman without twenty men behind her but here’s the problem- we don’t have that many women. Our sex ratio is one of the worst in the world, and it’s not getting any better, and the women who are still around generally don’t even vote- reasons would obviously include patriarchal dominance.

‘But no, lets us men just keep believing we are the masters of the universe and have the right to dictate terms.’

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2009 in Bakchodi, Issue, Random, Rant

 

Normal

One of the things that disturb me hugely about the way homosexuality is perceived, is the fact that gays and lesbians are called “queer”. If you think about it, it’s rather an odd name to give to a group of people isn’t it? “Queer”- as if who they are make them strange. And from there, as if everyone else is not queer, and completely normal. And picking it up from there, what exactly is normal anyway?

I’m not even going to start discussing the law here, since I have learnt that no matter what side you’re on, it’s a long, cliché debate that refuses to end no matter what anyone says.

I don’t have a problem with gayness. In fact, being a girl, I have often wished I found the female form attractive, since quite obviously, there is not much to like in the male form (for further information on this, check out the part in that sucky movie “Gigli” with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in it where she’s doing yoga and he asks her why she prefers women). I definitely find women more aesthetically appealing than men, but regretfully, I have yet to be attracted to one. Plus women are too whiny sometimes; I don’t think I want to deal with that.

However, my view on what gayness is all about, i.e. “how does it start?”, “are you born with it”, “are you just imagining it”, etc. is slightly different. As far as I’m concerned, these questions don’t matter. And I don’t mean that in the “they don’t matter because they are humans too and we’re going to treat them just like one of us” way, although that would be great, if people thought that. What I mean is, these questions are of no consequence whatsoever even while looking at gayness in a supportive, scientific, rational manner.

I remember when I first thought of this. I was watching “Transamerica” – brilliant movie btw – and something Toby’ character struck me. He was a prostitute for both men and women, and he did not mind or like or dislike one more than the other. He had an aim, a sad one from most standards, but an aim nevertheless – he wanted to get to California, dye his hair blonde and star in gay porn. And the strange part was, he wasn’t gay, at least not by the definition we generally tend to give to gays. He had no problem with sleeping with guys, and no problem sleeping with girls. And he was definitely willing to try and sleep with Bree (don’t let me get into the goosies- the bad kind- the incest thing gives me) despite the fact that he knew she used to be and still sort of was, a man. And in the end, he does get a job as a gay porn star, and he doesn’t seem disgusted at all by kissing a guy (albeit a good looking one) even if he did have problems getting an erection despite a blue pill.

That movie made me think of homosexuality in a completely different way. Think of a marriage with one gay party. In general, this marriage would have issue, i.e. there would be kids in this little happy family. Now, if gay guys were attracted to guys only how on earth did he (to put it crudely) get it up enough times with his wife to produce at least three kids? And before yall start screaming and waving your arms about, let me clarify. I’m not saying the guy is imagining it, and he’s actually straight. What I’m saying is that the definition of homosexuality and gayness is very narrow. It can’t simply be understood as a situation wherein a person is attracted to a person of the same sex only. Not all gay people are disgusted by the thought of sleeping with someone of the opposite sex, although that may be the case with some.

In the same way, straightness is an over-rated condition as far as I can see. Quite simply, while I’m not currently, nor in the past have been attracted to women, the thought of being with a woman is not disgusting. It’s ok. I would prefer to be with a man as of now, but if I ever end up falling for a woman, I won’t think it’s weird.

I have read several period novels and history books, with references to homosexuality. And the thing is, in most or some cases, homosexuality isn’t just that. Someone may be attracted to both men ad women, and may in society not talk about the part that makes them gay. While no-one talked about it, it was acceptable (btw, yes I know of the term bisexual and there is a reason I’m not using it).

In fact, one’s sexuality should ideally not even be of any bother to society. As long as you’re not forcing things on people, what you do in your own bedroom (or kitchen, or living room, or floor) is your own business. It is with religion that the question of sexuality even becomes an issue. I don’t know what most religions have got against sex, but as far as Christianity is concerned, sex and any pleasure you derive from it (you should try not to though) should have one primary aim- to produce kids. Thus, the anti-contraceptive policy of the Catholic Church. And if you’re gay, dear God, you’re can’t produce the little rascals even if you wanted to!

As far as I have learnt of Hindu Jurisprudence, progeny seems to be the primary aim of a marriage here as well. But other than the prejudice that exists in modern society against homosexuality, historically, I don’t think Hinduism minded homosexuality too much, at least judging by sculptures in various Hindu temples. Or sexuality at all for that matter, since we did come up with the world’s best known sex-book. Relax, from this point onwards, I shall leave my organized-religion-bashing for another day.

Maybe we’re all just a little bit gay; and this next bit I can say with a bit more conviction- most of us who are straight, are probably straight because we’ve never wanted to try it with someone of the same sex, maybe we’ve never met some one who makes us want to try.

To sum up, my thoughts match quite accurately with this line from Trainspotting (I like the movie, btw. And definitely more than Slumdog Millionaire) – “if you ask me, we’re heterosexual by default not by decision. It’s just a question of who you fancy. It’s all about aesthetics and its fuck all to do with morality.”

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Issue, Public statement

 

Since I wrote that one post, I have had a lot of time to think about what exactly I could possibly write about. But in the words of Patrick Maitland, one doesn’t always get around to it. But yesterday or day before or somewhere around that very narrow spectrum of time, I had a sort of brain-wave. I will write about the truth. That’s something right? It won’t be necessarily about important world events or even national events. It will be about anything and everything. It will be my opinion, and this is important for me, I will only ever say the truth. It’s important because somehow or the other I always seem to be skipping the Truth especially if certain subjects come up. I’ve begun already, seeing as I’m admitting for one of the first and very rare times, that I actually lie.

One of the things I’m supposed to be doing other than writing on my pointless, but hopefully-soon-to-be-full-of-points blog is to be reading a certain article on Family Law about the restitution of conjugal rights. For those of you who are not in law school (very few most probably) the restitution of conjugal rights is a provision given in the Hindu Marriage Act wherein if in a marriage, if one party (it could be the husband or the wife) leaves without any “Reasonable excuse”, then the other person can go to Court and demand for Restitution of Conjugal Rights. Basically, the Court will serve an order to the leaving, escaping or abandoning party (whichever way you want to look at it. Being a cynic I prefer the last one generally) asking them to come live with their abandoned spouses, or else.

Well, or else what? Basically, or else, according to a certain Order 21 Rule 32 of the Civil Procedure Code, the Court takes away any property of the leaving party and holds it for a certain period of time wherein said party is supposed to see sense and go back to the abandoned spouse. If he or she does not do that, then his or her property is left at the hands of the Court. The Court then, like a shmarty, sell off whatever property it is, and give most of the acquired money to the abandoned spouse, as a compensation for not having been able to bring them back their abandoning spouse to them. A certain amount of the said money acquired – a balance – goes to the abandoning spouse too. There’s a Rule 33 of the same Order which is specifically for men. In this one, the Court after a period of time in which the husband has to come back to his wife (after the court has ordered him to do so) if the husband in fact does not return, then the Court can order the husband to pay the wife a certain amount of money at periodic intervals.

Overall, not such a bad law. I will never deny that there is in fact a great need for such a law, even if it is a colonial hangover law. What with more than 70% of the women in India still completely dependent on their husbands in one way or the other, there has to be some mechanism wherein they can get their way to a decent living, if not a sort of strange justice that sadly has to involve them begging their abandoning husband’s to come back to them. It is disgraceful that this is the only remedy available to a woman, but it is. There is nothing else the average, rural, lower middle class or lower class woman can do except to ask for her husband to be returned to her, or for some sort of compensation instead of his person. At least as of now, that is the case.

But what really worries me is something about this institution called marriage. The most cynical person would say it is one of the only ways two people can have sex in any society without any form of condemnation from anybody, and so people who can see that they like each other enough to try and have sex only with each other for the rest of their lives exchange a certain no. of vows in order to have said sex on a regular basis, albeit with the same person every time. A normal, practical person would say it is a bond of sorts two people who are mutually attracted to each other and love each other make in order to commit themselves in the eyes of society, and to declare that they at some level or the other belong to each other. Well, that I think sums up the general world view on the institution of marriage, at least as far as a reasonable person is concerned.

What worries me is simply that marriage as I see it in India is very different from that broad definition. Marriage is not between two people, it is between two families. It is not a choice made by the said two people; it is more often than not, one made by their families. Any sort of attraction, let alone a shared mutual attraction between the guy and the girl is hardly of any concern. And let us not even get into the subject of love being of any importance as far as the Great Indian Marriage is concerned.

What a marriage should ideally be is a business between two people alone. Whether they love each other, or if they ever fuck, or if they want to have little monsters, anything at all is the business only of those two people and no one else.

Strangely enough, as modern as we are “accused” of being too modern for our own good, my generation seems to be largely apathetic to this point of view. Sure, we fuck around, we do what we want, especially the guys since they don’t have their hymens to lose, we have as many “relationships” as we want, and somewhere, we may even fall in love. But the question to ask is how many of us stick it out when the going gets tough? Especially when the toughness is the creation of one’s family? How many of us actually stick to our convictions and marry those we love, and how many decide finally, that our parents know us better than we do. That their experience can tell us something more about us than we can find out ourselves? Sadly, very few. When things get tough, when either or both the families disapprove, someone usually ends up giving up, and the other gets left in the dust.

Speaking of which, the whole deal about marriage is something I just do not understand. Back in the days when I had considered being a psychologist, I used to frequently listen to radio shows giving advice, read the agony aunt columns, and all the rest, just to see how sucky reality was. A frequent question was- I am married to a person I don’t love. I loved and still love someone else. This person still loves me, and we talk often. We couldn’t get married because of “certain circumstances”. What should I do? The usual reply is – you are married, and that’s a fact. So stick it out.

At first glance, it seems like a proper response. If you are actually stupid enough to marry someone you don’t love, then honey, it’s your problem. Till here, it makes sense. But the question is, is that marriage sullied where the parties to the marriage, or one of the parties, let go of it? Or is that marriage sullied, where either one does not like the other, does not love the other, and is not happy with the other?

For all practical purposes, in India, sticking it out would perhaps be better, considering the legal problems, the sullying of the “family name”, and all the whispers that will eventually and inevitably follow you. But at the end of the day, all of these are in fact, concerning the rest of the world. Not considering the two separate individuals who are party to the marriage. Again, we come back to the question, should anything but the way these two feel about each other matter in a marriage? All the things which constitute a marriage, living together, making decisions together, having sex, and making little monsters are all things which should be of any concern to these two alone.

Sure, there are those who feel that love is not a necessity for marriage. I am inclined to agree with them, but if they wish to apply that to themselves, they should have the insight to not fall for someone else, an when they do, then that is a problem that can have a thousand different solutions- mutual extra-marital affairs, divorce, a single extra-marital affair, plain boredom and sadness in married life. Resigning to something less than what you wanted, and/ or the rarely seen result of suicide. Take your pick. As bhai keeps saying – whatever makes you happy.

It ends only in this- which marriage is sacred? The one that is based on everything but compatibility, mutual respect and/or love? Or the one based on nothing but compatibility, mutual respect and/or love? Good luck answering that.