The Parents

Sindhu S.:

Life is a riddle…

Originally posted on Carter Library:

Morning_sun_coffee_newspaper_table_590Today, my mother is dead 13 years. One of the last things I promised her was that I would look after her husband. “When I’m gone,” she said, “he will have nobody.”

A few years later I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen, in her vacant chair, having coffee with her husband. I remember it was about nine in the morning and he was telling me how he needed some help in the house. “I had me an old n***** woman once …” he began, and I set my coffee cup hard on the table. He dipped his head, laughed, and tapped me on the arm. “Oh kid, lighten up,” he said, “I don’t mean nothin’.” A few minutes later he offered me a Little Debbie snack cake and told a joke. “There was this n***** …” the joke began. I said, “Knock it off, or I’m leaving.” He kept…

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Would You Say That to a Man?

Sindhu S.:


Originally posted on Of Means and Ends:


“I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.”

I was in my mid-20s and a promotion opened up in my division at work and I planned to apply for it. Given the hierarchy in our department, one male coworker and I were the natural ones to consider for the job. When the topic came up, that’s what he said to me: “I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.” I don’t remember what I said in the moment, but I remember quietly seething and thinking, “Don’t do me any favors. Go ahead and apply and I’ll still get it.”

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Remembering my father

images (1)April 12, 2015, close to 10.30 a.m, a nurse knocked the door and told me I was called to the Medical Intensive Care Unit of the Medical College Hospital, where my 84-year-old father was undergoing a really painful course of treatment for his diabetes-induced kidney failure and the resultant multiple organ collapse for seven long days. He had earlier been in and out of hospital for over a month.
When the doctor told me that my father had suffered a cardiac arrest a few minutes ago and was no more, all I said was: “So, he has escaped all that pain?”
Did I weep that moment? No.
I felt shockingly relieved that his “torture” was finally over. “Please ask them not to torture me,” his words – between sleep and wakefulness, amid groans two days before he passed on – had left my heart bleeding ever since. And for two painfully-long days, I tried pleading with doctors not to put any more needles into his red, swollen body, with endless needles and tubes sticking out from every possible spot – if they could not administer painkillers or sedatives alongside. They insisted his weak body could not take painkillers and dialysis was the only course of treatment to keep him alive, so they could try and treat him for the urinary/blood infection he had!
I tried to convince them that if administering pain was all they had to offer in the name of treatment for someone on the verge of death – I knew he would go any day, I believe they did too – it was a pointless direction they were heading. They said that was what they HAD TO medically do! It made me feel so USELESS.
The last time he spoke to me cheerfully was a month and a half ago, when he was unwell, in a hospital bed, but in a better condition. Back then, he had many bad days, but definitely some good days. His face lit up and his arms closed me in as he lay there exhausted and in pain but conscious. His lips spoke clearly and lovingly.
“See, my little daughter is here, my little daughter is here.”
The affection in those words was priceless. It made me realise that he too saw me as I really were. I had never ever grown beyond the five-year old me mentally. Though caught in a 45-plus body, my soul forever remained scared, stranded, lost, as confused as I used to be at the age of about four or five.
Achan (Dad), if you can read this or hear my soul speak, I want to say; I am really truly sorry for the many times I have disappointed you perhaps, disobeyed you, disgraced you. But now you also can see-I hope-I was LOST, each time, every time I did something wrong, inappropriate. I was only trying to fit in initially, then break free, desperate to find myself, feel accepted, loved the way you did love me when I was the tiny girl you walked to the temple YEARS ago.
Please guide me, drop hints in my dreams, maybe we can still communicate, telepathy, some signs, clues, influence my thoughts somehow. I need you to tell me when I am wrong, stop me before I mess up things, people. I still do not know which path to walk, when to stop walking, when to sleep, when to wake up, when to weep and when to laugh. I am still your little girl, I need you, every wakeful moment, and other times.
We will sit down and have a long chat someday, when my time comes to leave this body and meet you, at leisure. Then, I will explain, every wrong thought I ever had, every wrong word I ever uttered and every wrong turn I ever took in my life’s journey. I know you will understand and forgive me, unconditionally, as you always do. Till then, stay close, stay safe, stay happy. Love you achan…

Holy Cow!


Can it be happening?

India is outraged by a documentary showing a tragedy called women of India.

Face it. It’s a FACT.

Don’t understand how exposing gender inequality in India will harm my country! And dear women, what are you protesting against, your self interest?

And all this before the film is even out.

The film:

Their argument: Showing interview of the rapists and men blaming women for getting raped will make those men heroes! Heroes? In the eyes of whom? Potential rapists, who were waitng for inspiration in the form os a documentary? Haven’t heard a more absurd thought.

Things have reached such a flashpoint that the director Leslee Udwin has now appealed to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to intervene and help lift a ban imposed in India. Politicians and protesters had ganged up against the screening of the film made around the brutal rape in December 2012 of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh in Delhi. The rapists are still in jail, giving out arrogant statements.

Leslee’s India’s Daughter includes interviews with one of the men convicted for the crime, who is now in prison in Delhi and waiting for the supreme court to hear his appeal against the death sentence for over a year (what a joke! Really), after a fast court trial verdict. Instead of focussing on hanging the rapists at the earliest, authorities are banning the domestic broadcast of the film and trying to prevent it from being shown worldwide.

‘I made a film on rape in India. Men’s brutal attitudes truly shocked me,’ says Leslee.

Of course, MOST of India’s men consider women as their property, rather domestic animals, not just sex slaves. FACT. We like it or not. 05_india_g_w

Men, introspect. Not just how you view any random woman, but also what you think about, how you treat your own women, be it mother, wife, sister or daughter, colleague, just any woman you are lucky to be around.

I do not think exposing a criminal’s mindset equals to glorifying a rapist, provided adequate editing and blurring of images are in place.

With or without the film, most Indian men think like Nirbhaya’s rapists, and more. While in other countries men have to woo his woman, in India men can get them in arranged marriages to women they haven’t even spoken to, even once, and also get paid a dowry for taking the woman as wife. How sick is that? And that is our proud tradition, going on gloriously for centuries. But my countrymen would be shocked if I call it a redundant practice.

Don’t believe this, see how some big shots reacted to the India’s Daughter:

India’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Venkaiah Naidu said, “This is an international conspiracy to defame India.”

India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh assured parliament that the Indian government was already exploring ways of stopping the worldwide broadcast. A notice had been sent to BBC4, which will show the film on Sunday in Britain, he said. “We will not allow anyone to leverage such unfortunate incidents (the 2012 Delhi rape) for commercial benefits,” he added.

India, see sense, face it – gender inequality is our Problem No. 1. We can’t shut eyes and call it night. Not anymore. Let’s get out of the dark ages.

This harrowing documentary gives an insight into a horrific crime that sent shockwaves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women.

This is why I am fully behind India’s Daughter.

The BBC will broadcast Storyville – India’s Daughter. Do watch.

The home minister alleges Udwin had not submitted the full, uncut footage of the interview for approval by jail authorities. If that is true, and if she has manipulated the footage to misrepresent facts, legal action can be taken against her. So why all this overreaction?

But Udwin says she had taken the full 16 hours of “raw, unedited footage” to the jail, but a three-member review committee, after watching it for three hours, told her: “We can’t sit through all this, it’s too long”.

“So I submitted an edited version which was cleared.”

Knowing my countrymen, I BELIEVE HER.


India no country for young women


I am still in shock; 13 young women, who were persuaded to undergo a “simple” STERILIZATION (tubectomy) lasting a few minutes died because the doctor (butcher) used a RUSTED UNSTERILIZED equipment. Another 70 are in hospital, 20 critical. The women came forward to undergo the surgery after health counselors assured them the minor process would be over in minutes and they could be back home to take care of their families by sunset with an incentive of $23.

The process was over in less than three minutes; the doctor conducted 83 surgeries (according to news reports) in less than five hours in a dilapidated building using the same rusted surgical equipment on the poor women one after the other, mechanically, nipped them!

It happened in my country two days ago in a mass sterilization camp. I am not shocked that women are treated as second class citizens in the country, quite used to it. But how can you use dirty, rusted! surgical equipment on ANYTHING ALIVE?

The women were in terrible pain while they waited for their death, some lasted a day, some two, others are still going through.

It is not new either, the pathetic state of government hospitals in India. Overcrowding, filthy hospitals with dirty operating rooms and toilets overflowing into patient wards are common; I was appalled by these some 15 years ago while covering the health beat for a national daily.

But this is brutal. My last blog was addressed to PM Modi, where I had requested him to take population control seriously, appoint a Minister specifically for it, (who could also put migration-regulations in place). But butchering women is not how you do it Mister. And why contraception programs should be women-centric. Nip them, men. Makes more sense. And, besides, one man off action secures multiple women against unwanted motherhood – let’s face it.

Br (butcher) R.K. Gupta, needs to be tried in a fast track court and get the severest of punishments, and quick, as quick as the tubectomy he specialises in, with the same blunt weapons. Only then the orphans left behind will get some kind of closure. Women wait for their turn with their kids in toe outside a sterilization camp

Shocking facts:

  • Victims died reportedly due to dirty surgical equipment or contaminated medicines.
  • Gupta’s mass sterilization took less than three hours with the help of two assistants working in a dirty, abandoned private hospital.
  • Sterilization is the most popular form of birth control in India; about 4 million people a year undergo surgery. Almost all are women.
  • Guidelines were set following reports that some doctors were carrying out as many as 200 surgeries a day. At least 600 similar deaths occurred between 2009 and 2012.

Dear Prime Minister Mr Modi…

By 2028, India will be more populous than China, according to the recently released OPEC World Oil Outlook. I have no reason to contest that report. My only doubt, however, is: Do we really need those many years to top that list?


A normal day in Mumbai, uff—

Garbage on a Mumbai beach

The report made me aware of one of my worst fears – crowds. I am very scared of crowds. My other fears include dirt, dust, anger (my anger included), violence and love. There are a few other things as well, but not as scary.
Anyway, this blog is dedicated to my country, India. Some of the things that keep me away include its ever growing population and the continuing government apathy, overflowing garbage bins, and the role of women in society.

Slums, housing senseless migration to citiesI wish Prime Minister Narandra Modi would take up population control with as much enthusiasm as his clean India campaign (which I appreciate much). It is an urgent need. As much, if not more. Because, while we can shame people who litter public spaces, as we can see them in the act, population grows in private spaces, away from the public eye, all the time!

Add to it, the new drama ‘kiss of love’. Are they nuts? These women who participate in a public kissing and hugging protest, in a country like India? I can vouch that all the women taking part are signing themselves up for molestation. Let’s admit, most Indian men consider women sex objects, except immediate family members. In a society which has online sexual stimulation aplenty, but very few no-strings-attached opportunities, frustrated males are in big numbers. Take care women. TAKE CARE!!

And, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, we need a Population Control Minister, Please. Urgently.

Good news: Abusive “pickup artist” Julien Blanc kicked out of Australia

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Julien Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Julien

Writing about abhorrent misogyny pretty much every day of every week can get a tad depressing. So I’m glad to have some actual good news to report. Good news, at least, for non-misogynists.

The #TakeDownJulienBlanc campaign has taken off internationally, and the “pickup artist” who advocates choking women as a clever “opener” has been kicked out of Australia, his visa revoked.

In an op-ed in The Independent yesterday, self-described “Aggressive Chinese Girl” Jenn Li explained why she started the #TakeDownJulienBlanc campaign and what it has accomplished so far:

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