Monday, December 01, 2014

ENS-1, Annie -0

I've been living in the world of books for a long long time... taking my cues and inspirations from the characters i read.. wishing my life could get magically sorted with the stroke of  a pen... but whose life do we really know about anyway??

at the end Marianne does give in to the pressures of her sister and "everyone else" around... does that mean she settles or does she actually be happy..?
Elinor finds her love, as do Elizabeth and Jane... its the not quite the heroine sisters who you are left wondering about... does Lydia ever be happy or is she forced to live the rest of her life regretting the bad decisions she made at 15? is it enough that Brandon fancies himself in love?

I have always wanted the fireworks.. the impossible love that makes you feel giddy like you're soaring into the sky and nothing else matters.. I always said that i stayed because it was the only place where i felt like home.. like that is where i was meant to be...

Marianne had the good fortune to have been 18 years old.. I am much older and was regretfully not born in the 1800s.. I am supposedly an intelligent grown up..

so do I let go of the rainbows and butterflies and agree to the compromise of "maybes" and cynical realities where the teenage fantasy of love does not exist and what you really want is someone who cares about you and you understand and share values with and have the society's blessings to be with....?

I haven't bought a new M&B in a while... i gave up on the "no matter what we will sort it out and live happily ever after" tripe years ago... so why does it raise a wall of revulsion in me when everyone around me wants me to come to my senses and do the sensible thing??
in any case, there is no way in hell of finding a spark if you never let yourself go anywhere near fuel...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

let us pause a moment and think of what consent means

Before anyone reads the rest of this, let me clarify that that this blogpost is more about the definition of consent used in the judgment and NOT about the age of the woman or the stage of her menstrual cycle, because most of the social media outrage has been on the court commenting that the deceased rape victim was menopausal.

so there is currently a heated debate going on among court reporters covering Delhi High court about this judgment and the way all of us have covered this story. because even though this judgment was reported last week in every newspaper, including mine, DNA’s story today is the only one which has raised the issue of the language used by the judge in his judgment as opposed to the legal reasoning we all chose to report, because frankly NO one wanted to take on the judiciary and face a potential contempt charge for pointing out flawed reasoning or injudicious use of certain words in a judgment given out by a very senior and very respected judge of the High court.

at the outset, I would like to apologise to this deceased woman. I as a reporter am also guilty of failing to play up this story as much as it deserved to be. I failed to highlight the story and raise the questions the DNA story and the later Legally India story has.. 

the debate among the reporters weirdly enough, is more about how much trouble the DNA guys are likely to be in as opposed to what the judgment is all about.
lets examine the facts- woman, age 60, died due to asphyxia caused by the food in her stomach going back up… in layman’s terms she choked on her own vomit and died.
fact 2- the death occurred during or very near the act of sexual intercourse
fact 3- there are injuries on her vagina, indicating forceful sex, something that the court itself has recognized and taken note of in the judgment.
fact4- there are no other injuries anywhere on her body, which the court has taken as evidence that she did not resist the sexual intercourse, no matter how forceful it may have been

the problem with the Indian legal system is that we tend to give benefit of the doubt to rapists and murderers because somehow, somewhere we cannot accept the idea that RAPE can happen without the victim fighting tooth and nail to throw off her rapist.. she doesn’t need to be battered half to death to protect her virtue.. and in this case, since she was supposedly drunk, the court has simply said that there is nothing to prove lack of consent.
one particular bright spark among our group of reporters, and may god give him SOME sense at some point in life, started arguing that ofcourse people have sex when they are drunk. “daaru pi ke sex nahi hota kya?” was his argument.
now while his argument as an abstract comment on the stupid decisions people sometimes make while drunk is one thing, in this situation, in this debate, it was probably THE stupidest argument made…. the woman is drunk out of her mind. the guy is also drunk, the woman’s husband goes out of the house coz he wants to go drink with a buddy instead of his wife and their neighbor. and just a few minutes later, she’s found dead with her clothes array and injuries on her vagina..
WHY on earth is this not rape?? how is a drunk, passed out woman presumed to have given consent???
the court has gone by the legal principles of proof beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted the 46 year old man of both rape and murder. that part no one can argue with because benefit of the doubt and presumption of innocence is so inherent a part of our legal reasoning that the judge HAD to have given that decision as far as the murder is concerned.
but RAPE? didn’t we recently amend the entire law on sexual offences to say that if she is incapable of giving consent for whatever reason it will count as a rape? severe intoxication IS under Indian law a legal excuse. if someone is drunk, they could NOT have given consent.
and what about the injuries on the woman?? the court in its judgment has said categorically that there are injuries on her vaginal area indicating forceful penetration. does that not count?? how did the court come out with the reasoning that “forceful” is not the same as “forced” in this particular case??

the woman is NOT capable of giving consent. There are injuries on her genitals. she is SO drunk that the sex forces her to vomit and she chokes to death..
HOW IS THIS NOT RAPE?? sure this is not murder, but this is culpable homicide. unintentionally or not, the act of forced sex killed her. how are we letting the “oh she was drunk” argument cloud the debate so much that the rapist goes free.

what would your reaction be if the woman in question was not a drunk old housemaid from the slums but the 22 year old daughter of a businessman who had tequila shots and was then given rohypnol at an upscale bar?

would you still say she may have given consent so the act was not rape because there is no injury? would you still say that forceful sex is not the same as forced sex??

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tort law has nothing on us...

Its not denial.. Iḿ just selective about the reality i accept... Bill Watterson

“I felt I was drawing close to that age, that place in life, where you realize one day what you'd told yourself was a Zen detachment turns out to be naked fear. You'd had one serious love relationship in your life and it had ended in tragedy, and the tragedy had broken something inside you. But instead of trying to repair the broken place, or at least really stop and look at it, you skated and joked. You had friends, you were a decent citizen. You hurt no one. And your life was somehow just about half of what it could be.” 
― Roland MerulloA Little Love Story

I try to deny that something exists.. i closed my eyes and pretended because I was told that its not there and I believed the lie... why? because i wanted to.. because accepting the truth would mean i lose something precious.. it would mean that i failed yet again..

does that make me a hypocrite?? a liar??

if you made sure put up disclaimers and warning signs everywhere, who do you blame if someone gets hurt anyway..?

how far would absolute liability apply when the "hazardous material" is emotional...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Patriarchy, DDLJ and disappointing brothers...

my brothers have seriously disappointed me.. not the brats, the remaining horde of cousins/best friends that I have, have seriously dashed all my DDLJ fed ideas of how Karva Chauth is supposed to be…
yes I know that is a very very bad line to use if I want to sound like an adult at all and not like a starry eyed tween… but I DID expect better from my big brothers.. I swear I did.. first of all, I will never in my life understand how fasting prolongs someone else’s life.. this is the 21st century ladies and gentlemen.. WHY are we still following the patriarchal model where the woman has to “sacrifice for the happiness of the family” and somehow starving the poor soul would bring salvation to the family…
secondly.. if you HAVE to believe that this deity with no sense demands fasts in exchange for years on earth, why aren’t the husbands fasting for their wives’ lives? why shouldn’t the husband “show his love and devotion” to the marriage just like the poor starving wife?
in any case.. if we have to go along with this loony idea that the husband’s life has to come at the cost of his wife’s health and sanity, WHY the effing hell is it not reciprocal? specially when the scriptures go on and on about being an “ardhangini” and the married couple being the basis of all life and society??
and (read this as being said in an irate voice with a stomped foot) why did no one out of the dozens of the newly and not so newly married couples of my generation put their foot down and DO something?
sure the previous gen has waaayyyy too many married couples for me to have harboured any remaining hope, but they are all old people, in arranged marriages where ‘the family’ scuttled all attempts at overt mush.. atleast in front of the children..
 but this lot?? my generation! they ALL have married for love and stay far enough away that the entire gamut of aunts and aunts in law and grandmothers and mothers does not descend on them to make them do whatever arcane ritual the lunar cycle demands.. and yet… Karva Chauth remains as boring and old people-ey as ever for my assorted brothers and bhabis…
whatever happened to the “don’t bother babe, religion is stupid, keeping yourself hungry is not prolonging my life”.. or “okay since it’s a required married people ritual, I’m fasting with you (Thanks SRK for that one) or at the very least “ since you’re stuck doing this, let me get up at the crack of dawn and cook you something nice and shower you with presents”…
ANYTHING??? hello?? guys??
Do you HAVE to be all boringly unromantic to my bhabis and be all “what are you getting worked up about” at me??
Go watch DDLJ again … all of you.. if I’m not allowed to question the cultural imperative and must accept that the fast must be kept, I’m gonna continue to be SO disappointed at the lack of reciprocal fasts and dancing and presents and unapologetically unromantic behavior in general... Shahrukh Khan.. you have some serious explaining to do.

Friday, August 22, 2014

i fear oblivion.. i fear it like the proverbial blind man who is afraid of the dark....

I just finished reading "The Fault in our Stars' by John Green.. maybe its he inherent selfishness in me, but the words that touched me the most in this beautifully written tale of pain and love is the quote from the "book" Hazel and Augustus fall in love with...'The Imperial Affliction'..

"There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. there was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be a time after. and if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does."

 I too fear oblivion sometimes.. have to wonder if anyone at all will remember me when  i no longer exist, whether my existence in this world has changed anything for anyone anywhere, even if only as the proverbial flutter of the distant butterfly wing, the first, minuscule domino... And then there are times when i wonder if anyone will remember me the "right" way... and not just in the superficial way of people who brush past you in life and yet think they have touched enough of your essence to claim that they KNOW you..
and after reading this book, i wonder if there has ever been any moment in time, or will ever be such a moment that my existence, or someone's existence in my vicinity, has changed life so indelibly that whatever short time we have left in the world will forever MEAN something simply because you have had some time where you really lived and loved and your life wasn't just the endless flow of days but time paused and you really KNEW that you were on the cusp of having an experience that will change you....
I will write you a sequel.. finish the unfinished story that means peace to you... 

Friday, May 30, 2014

sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me... yeah right...

I work as a journalist. I'm trained as a lawyer, and my dream is to become a writer... and yet when it really truly matters, when it comes to things that have the power to seriously hurt me and upset me and make me want to cry and scream and hit back, i get quiet..
I may rant and fight and do whatever when it comes to protecting or lecturing someone else, but somehow i go mute when it comes to me.. I've never been able to stand up to bullying when I was the one being picked on, i've never been able to say the right thing as a response to an emotional attack or when i'm feeling vulnerable..
somehow i've gotten past every incident... being lots in the music in my head and whatever cloud i happen to be floating in at the time also helped..
but there are times when it gets to me..
when it makes me question everything about myself as to why the bloody hell i allowed it to get that far or stood there and said nothing...
I still have to figure out how to handle this particular incident... How does one react without being downright rude in a professional environment wen people around you cross the line from making a joke at your expense to actually hurting you by making "jokes" about your work and work ethic..
one is simple... ignore, and concentrate on my work so that the "little things" they found hilarious to laugh at no longer exist..
the other is to confront.. but i hate confrontation and they already realised that they crossed the line and sort of apologised ans said it won't happen again...

i think ice is better than fire in this situation... its not like i'll be missing anything i care about missing....