Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Women, jails and kanimozhi

So the media and politicians have suddenly discovered that the conditions in Indian prisons are appalling and it is not safe or comfortable for women to be in jail.. all because Tamil nadu’s little princess Kanhimozhi is currently residing in Tihar jail. Not counting the fact that she is in one of the high security ‘VIP’ areas of the jail and protected from the slightest bit of abuse or discomfort because of her high political connections, congress president Sonia Gandhi suddenly decided to declare that she is “worried” about kani’s safety in the prison…

I decided to skip the rest of the 9 ‘o clock news after 10 mins of listening to a rather nonsensical debate on NDTv abouy whether denial of bail to a woman for such a crime was a bad move on the court’s part.. politician Renuka Chowdhry, Sadia Dehlvi, activist Madhu Kishwar and senior advocate KTS Tulsi were the talking heads on the panel tonight.. thank god for the latter two because the comments made by the first two put me in serious danger of getting a heart attack due to sheer indignation..

Comments like “it’s not safe for women to be in jail”, “the court is obliged by law to give bail to women” and the gem of the lot “well there are other women in jail but they are there for more serious crimes, kanimozhi has only a charge of corruption against her”

What these people did not seem to get was that they are simply reinforcing the gender stereotypes by insisting that the sex of the accused should be more important than the crime committed.. The enormity of what kanimozhi is involved in was dismissed in the interest of faux- sympathy for jailed women..

even more annoying was the fact that they seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that there is no law that makes it compulsory or even obligatory for a court to release a woman on bail.. What S.437 of the CrPC states is simply that the court “may” direct that the person accused of a crime which is punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty be given bail if such a person is under age 16 or a woman or is sick or infirm.

There’s nothing in any law in the country that says that women cannot or should not be thrown in jail if they’ve done something to deserve it.. and the scam that kani is involved in is much more dangerous for india’s security than any murder or terrorist activity.

In 1973, justice Krishna Iyer had clearly said that the Supreme Court considered economic crimes to be detrimental to the security of the state, and a person accused of an economic crime did not deserve gentle treatment. (sure he said this in respect of probation given to a smuggler, but the essence of the sentiment remains the same)

Apart from the obvious legal issues I may have with the statements made on tv today, they indicate a deeper malaise. That is the depiction of women as frail creatures who need special protection and are too delicate to even be given the correct punishment of they commit crime. It’s this faux-protectionist attitude, smacking of chauvinism that really strikes a blow against the self esteem of every woman who has wanted to be taken seriously.

How is it that supposedly responsible and liberated politicians and social activists can proclaim on national television that women are too vulnerable to be punished? Renuka Chowdhury today brushed aside Madhu Kishwar’s comment about how more than one woman politician has undergone incarceration in the past. She even managed to keep a straight face as she claimed that Sadhvi Pragya, currently in jail for involvement in terrorist activities, was fair game because terrorism was a far more serious crime.

I said a rather loud thank you to Nidhi razdaan , the anchor, for pointing out the fact that sexist arguments to demand protection for a woman ultimately caused incalculable harm to women’s rights movements.

Ironically, she quoted another UPA ally Mamata Bannerjee who had proclaimed during one of her endless protests that she stood for the causes she espoused and demanding special treatment as a woman was an insult to her dignity.

I totally agree.

Monday, May 23, 2011

a walk to remember

i adore this movie.
absolutely, completely.

and yes i know its a teenage version of a mills and boon with a preachy ending. thank you very much. i adore it anyway..
the story, the magic of finding who you really are and what you really want from life..

not least for the amazing soundtrack. its got sooo many from my favorite songs list.. :

 learning to breathe.. switchfoot

its gonna be love

something about you...

dancing in the moonlight..

only hope .

cry- mandy moore

you- switchfoot

and the one song that i can listen to no matter what mood i'm in..
dare you to move..... switchfoot

this is probably the ONLY movie whose entire soundtrack i remember... including all the hindi movies i love to watch... i was asked a while ago if there was any band/soundtrack that i really loved... i can't believe i didnt remember this one right away... i watched this movie again today.. purely for the music, and realised that this right here was a soundtrack i'll still adore when i'm 80...

mi familia

so my family's suddenly given me a huge shock by changing without me noticing it.. or to be fair, anticipating it.. not only are the brats grown up, owl engaged to be married, abby's hit the big three O, parents have become suddenly cool about me choosing career over even a conversation about marriage.. ati, anu and vrin, my younger sisters have grown up to the extent that i now no longer feel all 'elder- sibling-ey'.. and that all just happened all of a sudden...
anu got her 12th board results today.. 91.5 %.. and i've been jumpinng around the house with happiness and pride since chachu called in the morning with the news.. ati's finished with college and is trying to choose between postgrad or job.. vrin, who always did hold her own against me even when much younger, has bagged an awesome internship with an apparel and accessories manufacturer after creating jaw droppingly gorgeous stuff as part of her accessory design course..
i feel so boringly insignificant all of a sudden.. the entire family's at grandmom's rt now celebrating anu's result and i'm at home half heartedly preparing for the criminology exam tomorrow.. and i dont even have cool stuff to brag about anymore.. i've not done anything remotely exciting for a very very very long time now..
:(     sighhh

ah well.. i'm just gonna look at this as MY influence that they're doing so well.. akhir mera aashirwad jo mila hai.. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jenny kissed me

so this was a poem we learnt in class 5 i think.. or maybe 6th... i remember this huge argument in class with Indu Yadav ma'am, our english teacher about whether Jenny was a cat or a woman.. compounded by the fact that our english book did not carry the poet's full name but carried it as Leigh Hunt, which to us sounded like a girl's name, and added to our confusion about what exactly  'jenny' here was..
 and i loved this random sounding verse so much that i set it to a tune.. and proceeded to sing it for days together.. i have no idea why i suddenly thought of it now after so many years.. but suddenly the tune popped into my head and i HAD to look it up and post it..

Jenny Kissed me. - James Henry Leigh Hunt.
(here's what i found about it on the Wondering Minstrels blog)

Jenny kissed me when we met,

Jumping from the chair she sat in;

Time, you thief, who love to get

Sweets into your list, put that in!

Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,

Say that health and wealth have missed me,

Say I'm growing old, but add,

Jenny kissed me.

ah silly childhood memories :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

is it 2 am or 2 pm.. my brain can't quite make up its mind..

i don't know what it was that compelled me to write or what it is now that my fingers hesitate to move.. it sometimes feels like the child-woman- storyteller inside of me has gone silent.. or has simply lost the voice i once had, or maybe just the words..
i found three stories that i had started to write... when i was still trying to write a romance novel.. overdose of mills n boon and far too much romance on my brain.. then i abandoned the stories just like i abandoned the fairytale dream they contained.. and all i'm left with now are a few sheets of paper, snatches of dreams put down in ink and photos of the places i wanted my storybook couple to live their romance in... i can't write..
i've been asked why i haven't finished them yet.. my reply is always the same.. its because whatever i write is a part of me.. i live my dreams in what i write.. and currently my dreams are in suspended animation.. i can't write..


the brats have taken to sleeping in my room these days.. the cooler is on here and i've split the double bed so that i have one half and they share the other half.. even at 15, with a hint of hair on their faces, and the childish features slowly disssloving into the harsher planes of adulthood.. they look so cute when they're asleep.. like my boys are still my boys.. as if they never grow up when they're asleep... though theire voices have broken and they're getting slimmer and taller and more grown up by the day.. they're in 10th now.. and so intent on proving the're all grown up.. sometimes i wish they  could've stayed children forever..


"don't be afraid to express who you are and who you want to be"... you said to me at a time when all i wanted to be was a mother... and then i woke up from the dream and realised i was still a child myself..