What If?

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star,

To wake up where the clouds are far behind me.

Where troubles melt like lemon drops,

Away above the chimney top,

That’s where you’ll find me.”

I had heard those lines in the movie “Blended” for the first time and the words slipping out of Drew Barrymore’s mouth made me so so happy because it pinched my imagination.

There’s so much happening in life, constantly,that breaking free from the clasps of reality and escaping into a virtual world of myths and magic becomes my respite. That’s when I get to wonder into the “what if”s of life.

What if there’s a world of magic that exists parallel to our world?

What if when we wake up suddenly from our deep sleep, it’s actually a magician’s spell gone wrong?

What if when we forget our answers during our exam, it’s a wizard playing a mean trick on us?

Or maybe when we find fifty rupee notes in the pockets of our pants, it’s a sweet witch, rewarding us for not having that last bit of pizza that she so wanted to try?

What if Hansel and Gretel is based on a true story and there really exist houses made up of chocolate and cakes?

What if you woke up in a land of lemon mojitos and chicken wings?

What if I tell you that your maid didn’t steal the broom but a teenaged wizard did?

There cannot be any end to the “what if”s but that’s exactly what keeps us going, isn’t it?

What if an elf is making me write this stuff while I’m actually sleeping? What if…?

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Feminism.

I have grown up amidst fascinating tales of Indian mythology. One thing however always intrigued me and that was the role of the female characters in every aspect that caused such drastic change of events. Every event described at Kurukshetra spiraled down to one dynamic character – Draupadi. While the entire war of Kurukshetra which made Mahabharata an undying epic, happened because of the dishonour that was meted out to her, all people can talk about is the bravery of Arjuna and the intelligence of Krishna. Noone wants to discuss the agony of a woman who if I may say was molested in front of her “drunk in ego” husbands who found it convenient to stick to their promise and honour themselves. It’s astonishing that she doesn’t get her bit of credit for tolerating dishonour and living with it. While I don’t intend to take away from the heroic acts displayed by the male character, it puts me off to think that the female characters are still dissected and their sanctity, questioned. So much, for bearing the brunt of having five husbands and tolerating demons. However, the one thing that every female character displayed throughout, was feminism.

Considering the contemporary situations, I sometimes wonder why feminism is now used as a curse word. Feminism, which caused revolutionary changes in the society, is abused everyday – left, right and centre. The weightage of the word is reducing everyday because people find it easier to give in and go with the flow rather than defying the norms by which I do not mean putting up pictures of bloody sanitary pads on our social media accounts. It shouldn’t be reduced to that. We are much more than our vagina and that’s the whole point.

On one hand, rape culture is weighing down upon feminism while on the other hand, bigotry is strangling it. Rape culture – some people deny the very existence of it and you know, there can never be a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist at all. While we are encouraging rape culture in every way, bigotry by the way, has become yet another phenomenon. People aren’t ready to listen.Bollywood, one of the many religions in India, is what stands for me as the epitome of bigotry. Since a huge percentage of the population gets influenced by films, the industry should be held responsible for nurturing ideas that shouldn’t be nurtured. Hilarious part of it all still is selective outrage over issues. Using communal vines to deal with an already communal issue reads as “an eye for an eye” and some people have quite evidently, turned blind already. They shove every bit of the bigotry under the banner of feminism, thus making it so meagre that the very concept of feminism stands as obscure as obscurity can prevail.

It astonishes me to think that people these days find it convenient to label a person cool or uncool based on whether he or she is a feminist or not. “Feminism is for fools”, they say, without realizing that several years back, a feminist had to fight for her opinion to matter, for her opinion to be heard because of whom, we feel so entitled. People find it easier to crack a joke on feminism than acting on it because it isn’t “cool” anymore, you see. People have gone to the extent of coining a new word – feminazi, for shaming feminists. While calling a feminist, a feminazi, is fine for them, calling a rapist, a rapist, will turn their whole world topsy turvy. While “I don’t care” is supposedly the attitude that cool people these days throw at others, it is absolutely hilarious that people cannot stop caring. They cannot stop caring about the aftermath of them declaring themselves feminists. They cannot stop caring about the backlash they’d receive on our social media sites. A stranger’s opinion about you should not be more important to you than the agony of a woman. We witness an absurd breeze of “anti-feminism” ,which by the way is selling well these days and people are giving in to it. We are struggling to find a thin line between “feminist” and “feminazi” or so we are made to believe. We are struggling to hold on to our beliefs.

Considering the more empowered section of homo sapiens – men – who didn’t have to fight for their right to speak or dress as they wished to, it is unfair on us feminists to be immediately declared “anti men” with the blink of an eye. With increasing crime rates which include murder, female foeticide, honour killing and sexual abuse, feminism is definitely the need of the hour and we shouldn’t have to struggle so much to accept it. You can abuse a feminist for declaring men as trashy but can you not see where it’s coming from? With all that’s happening in the country, can you really blame her for holding each of you responsible for women related crimes? Why can a man not shoulder the responsibility rather than questioning whether a feminist brings in his or her father and brother in the trash zone? You shouldn’t have to hide behind such an argument to escape explanations. If you are powerful in some way, use it, for making things better. In no way, would I advocate a disbalance here because let’s be very honest, the entire system is already disbalanced with people trying to grasp whatever small tit bits they can, to prevent change.

Our country being considered as one of the worst places regarding security of women only hints towards the fact that feminism is a prerequisite for each and every person from every point of view.

But all this is exactly why we need to go that extra mile and hold our heads high because it is here to stay. It is feminism.

Perfectly Imperfect?

Clench , unclench, clench – my fists gave away the restless state of my mind and the sound of the fan annoyed me even more. I decided to listen to some good, soothing music and write down something because writing seemed to do “it” for me these days.

As I finished writing the first line, I noticed a spelling mistake and I tore that page off. To some people, this might seem strange and a rather foolish thing to do because anyway there would obviously be errors that I would have to strike off later. This however, has been my habit since school days. Everytime I started writing a new topic on a new page, I would tear that page off because of minute errors as I wanted a perfect beginning.

This set off my train of thoughts and I realised that everyone around me wanted a perfect beginning. A perfect beginning at a job, in the new college, in a relationship and while trying to pen down one’s thoughts. We human beings tend to forget that genesis of mankind wasn’t perfect either. The Australopithecus and Neanderthals were far from perfect but evolution led us to an apparent stage of perfection. This meant that the beginning might be messy and chaotic and we might struggle in the journey but a perfect ending dissolved every other concept that seemed relatively less perfect because perfection at the end is a relative concept. The perfect beginning might be a mirage, it might lead us to something shallow and non existent which would make no sense in the long run. Imperfectly perfect made perfect sense.

This thought made me happy. It was like getting drunk on a goblet of motivation, which I highly appreciated because as a twenty one year old, even the broken lead of a pencil made everything in my life fall apart…or so it seemed. That small ounce of retrospection gave me temporary conviction in my abilities and made me believe that one day, Elon Musk would find me and send me on a space journey, in his space car.Okay maybe I was a bit too high on motivation…well, whatever!

Flashback

“SHEEEEESH!!”, I gasped as I spat out the Bourn Vita on the floor. It was too hot for my tongue! Annoyed by my wrong judgement of the warmth of the beverage, I sat down on the bed, looking outside the window, wondering where to gather all the motivation from, to deal with my 9-5 lecture sessions! It had rained the previous night, so everything smelled wonderful. That earthy fragrance that accompanies the breeze after a shower, gave a soul to everything around me. I put on some good music and my thoughts wandered away into the oblivion, away from the ceaseless chaos that is my life.

While I was absorbed in my thoughts, a Maruti van drove in and shattered the still picture that I was staring at, outside my window. It broke my chain of thoughts. Few minutes later, a girl who seemed to be not more than twelve years old, came out of the house outside which the car was parked. The first thing I noticed as she stepped outside was her school uniform. The ironed pleates on her skirt, the red bag with a silver water bottle tucked in the side pouch, the identity card hanging from her neck and the honking of the van, everything brought back a zillion memories. Memories that I wouldn’t ever want to get rid of.

As the car drove away, I wondered if the driver would scold her for being late,just like I used to get scolded, every day! The sight brought back flashbacks from my school days, the golden days of my life – a flashback of me running like a wild goose to reach my class on time, a flashback of me telling my parents that I did not receive my report card in order to escape a beating and how it magically found a way back inside my bag, right when my school van driver started honking outside, a flashback of me fighting with my friends over their lunch boxes because I never liked my own lunch, a flashback of me leading my basketball team, a flashback of me running around during school fests and a flashback of me thinking everything will be better once I get out of school. Twenty one years old me smiled back at the thought of a fourteen years old me, gushing at that one message from my crush back then!

“Sumedha Baa, class??”, someone called out and broke my chain of thoughts, yet again. I answered in the affirmative, wondering whether anyone would let me think peacefully the entire day! I looked outside the window again and the flowers seemed prettier against the dull, grey background. I told myself,”If the flowers can bloom so beautifully while putting up with us homo sapiens, I can attend eight hours of lectures with my fellow homo sapiens, without losing my sanity.” With my little quota of motivation, I set off for the day!