Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Diwali to everyone!!!!!!

diwali meant:

crackers bought  a week beforehand and hidden in a cupboard to be given to me a day or two before diwali
kaju ki burfi, and a small box of plain burfi just for me
family gatherings
warnings to not get too close to the crackers
laughter and a resigned 'humne bhi aise hi kiya hai" when i proudly said i wanted bombs and not childish phuljharis and anars...


diwali isn't the same without you babaji...


Monday, October 24, 2011

Jaa Chudail

i've always hated people who indulge in personal politics.. people who would just for the heck of it make up stories to trouble others, to get out of doing work or to simply make themselves look or feel better.. i'm not gonna take some holier than thou road and say that i hate them coz they lie.. but because they actively hurt other people by making up things when things would have been just fine without them havong to have said anything whatsoever

another kind of people i really have trouble handling is people who never ever listen to anything anyone has to say.. who are such hypocrites that they go back on the sentence they speak the moment it leaves their mouth coz their ego can't take it..

unfortunately i've had to deal with both such people just today.

this is for both of you.. may you live long and realise what kind of people you are....


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

to march or not to march

Delhi university has a large number of people heavily into student politics and whenever there is a hot potato issue in National politics, one can be sure there will be some tamasha or the other happening in the university as well..  
There is a Save Irom Sharmila Karavan' from Srinagar to Imphal currently travelling through Delhi and some people involved in that protest came to Delhi University. 






Here they met a few people who objected to their slogan of 'End the AFSPA' and a louly shouting match ensued... with the Delhi police playing referee and keeping the two 'peaceful' groups from beating each other up



"desh hamare Raam ka, nahin kisi ke kaam ka!" vs "desh ke gaddaron ko, joote maaro saalo ko!"



soon there were more policemen than protesters around..


i stopped for a few mins to ask what was going on, and fell into a discussion with one of the organisers about the protest and its aims. While the pamphlets they were distributing focused solely ob Irom Sharmila and the atrocities that have occurred because of the misuse of the AFSPA, the posters, slogans etc were all about repealing the Act. 
This again is a burning issue that i don't know how to take a stand on.
while people may label me a fascist, i understand why such wide powers of use of force and arrest are needed in an area where any harmless looking child may be carrying a bomb. but it is also a fact that such laws are used more to harass innocent civilians than what they are actually intended for. 
As a student of law i can't ignore the fact that such wide discretionary powers are an affront to our constitution. but i also know that such laws are necessary to protect the country and actually to protect teh very people they end up harming. 
Yes there are horrific stories of misuse.. but is anyone capable of imagining what the situation would've been like had our soldiers, who give up everything to stand up and protect us, had to deal with administrative red tape every time there was an emergency? what would happen if the soldier on the ground had to wait for instructions from a civilian who was safely ensconced in an office and making decisions about how to 'handle a situation'? 

its a brutal world that they live in. the soldiers AND the civilians who have to survive under teh shadow of guns. 














Wednesday, October 12, 2011

my painting


It’s the most magical place you would ever see.. full of books and flowers and mirrors and light.. of stories of beautiful princesses and their handsome princes and happily ever afters.. its got pictures of puppies and babies and all the pretty things you can imagine… its even got a beautiful wall made of glass.. a wall size mirror before which I preen and pretend to be the queen of my world..
It is my kingdom…
and its besieged by monsters…

it is the mirror behind which they  sit.. watching me, watching everything I do, I can never see the but I know they’re there.. talking among themselves but never talking to me..

 oh they think they're being nice to me..
they send me food and clothes and new clothes and other pretty things,

they don’t think I know where I am…

but I do
I remember all of it.. from before
I remember the knife that I twisted and watched the colour spread slowly across his body.. and then the floor
I remember the little fountain that burst out when I took it out from his chest
I remember being fascinated by the glistening red
and the way it felt on my fingers when I started to paint
I painted the walls with flowers and clouds and a heart
it was the most perfect heart ever.. perfect and red and gleaming
it was my most beautiful painting

but then I had to come live in this room
it has everything I could ever ask for
but the only people I ever see are the ones that aren’t really there
they never speak to me
they don’t touch me

and that’s when I want to run away from the mirrored room and hide

I hate them..
they don’t let me paint…. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

two roads diverged in a yellow wood.......

journalism. law. journalism. law. journalism. law....
i have less than six months to decide..

i have pros and cons lists
i have opinions of friends
i have inputs from parents...

and i cannot make up my freakin mind!!!!!
maybe.. as someone told me recently.. careermaking is as much by chance as by choice.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

lost. found. lost



I see you
that mirage
the passing shadow whose source I cannot find

I know you
know not from where
 but every beat of my heart recognizes your footsteps

I can feel you
the whisper in the wind,
the tentative touch that I can’t ignore

I can hear you
in songs, stories, dreams, all my life, but have I ever even met you?

I wait
for the day I catch up to the rushing mirage
for the day the breath of a whisper turns to words
for the day I find you
and myself 
again

and it is just fitting that my 260th post in the sixth year of my blog is about you guys.. :)

I've wanted to see the festivities at Durga Puja in a 'real' Bengali setting for a while now... i have seen the 'car'zy crowded gala that is the 'visarjan' at the Yamuna's ghat once.. preceded by the last couple of minutes of dancing and 'gulaal' throwing and stuff at the Kalibari in central Delhi, arguably one of the biggest in Delhi... I have even seen the huuuuge pandals and crowds of the CR park Pujos... but that was all assignment for work.. THIS year, (and i'm still keeping my fingers crossed that i actually get it) i'm gonna be attending the pre- visarjan festivities WITH FRIENDS!!!

so tinni, sap, sasthi, shippy... here's hoping the morning's plan works out :)
and i want some niiiice food!!

Shubho Vijayadashami!!! (hope i spelt it right)
n Happy Dusssehra!!!!!!!!!!

hope you all have great fun

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

consent, sexual abuse and "love"... how does one judge?

so a senior of mine sent me a mail about a discussion regarding this Article in the Times of India..
I invite all to comment.

the text of the article is this:

‘Love not crime’, teen’s lover freed
TIMES NEWS NETWORK 
New Delhi: “The act of falling in love cannot be punished in the way other criminals are punished”. With this observation, a trial court acquitted a 22-year-old on charges of raping his 15-year-old girlfriend, although it held him guilty of kidnapping as he had not taken the consent of her parents. The girl went missing on April 1, 2010, on which her father lodged a complaint that she had been kidnapped. She, however, returned home after a week. The teenager told the court that she had gone on an “outing” to Haridwar with her lover of her own will. The court also noted that the relationship between the two was later approved by both families. Convicting Sanjay, a resident of Jahangirpuri, on charges of kidnapping, additional sessions judge Anju Bajaj Chandna sentenced him to three months in jail, but the term was set aside against the imprisonment he had already undergone during trial. “It is clear that emotion of love and affection compelled the convict to take this step wherein he failed to acknowledge the presence and sanctity of consent of the parents of the girl,” the court said.
“Sanjay is a young man and is in the process of making his career and future. In my opinion, no purpose would be served by sending him behind bars where he would be living in the company of hardened criminals.”
The judge added that the three months which Sanjay spent in jail was sufficient to teach him a 
“Sanjay is a young man and is in the process of making his career and future. In my opinion, no purpose would be served by sending him behind bars where he would be living in the company of hardened criminals.”
The judge added that the three months which Sanjay spent in jail was sufficient to teach him a “Sanjay is a young man and is in the process of making his career and future. In my opinion, no purpose would be served by sending him behind bars where he would be living in the company of hardened criminals.” The judge added that the three months which Sanjay spent in jail was sufficient to teach him a lesson.
The prosecution alleged that said that the girl returned home on April 8, 2010, when a case was registered against Sanjay that he had kidnapped her and raped her.
The girl, however, told the court that she had gone to Haridwar with Sanjay for an outing on her own free will. The court refused to accept Sanjay's submission that he had not forced the girl to accompany him, saying the minor's consent was not valid. “I am of the opinion that even if no force has been used, the offence of kidnapping would be made out,” the judge said.
The prosecution alleged that said that the girl returned home on April 8, 2010, when a case was registered against Sanjay that he had kidnapped her and raped her.
The girl, however, told the court that she had gone to Haridwar with Sanjay for an outing on her own free will. The court refused to accept Sanjay's submission that he had not forced the girl to accompany him, saying the minor's consent was not valid. “I am of the opinion that even if no force has been used, the offence of kidnapping would be made out,” the judge said. The prosecution alleged that said that the girl returned home on April 8, 2010, when a case was registered against Sanjay that he had kidnapped her and raped her. The girl, however, told the court that she had gone to Haridwar with Sanjay for an outing on her own free will. The court refused to accept Sanjay's submission that he had not forced the girl to accompany him, saying the minor's consent was not valid. “I am of the opinion that even if no force has been used, the offence of kidnapping would be made out,” the judge said.


and the text of the mail was this:



This article appeared in Times of India, Pune edition on 26th Sep, 2011? Under IPC section 375, this should be a case of child sexual abuse because the girl is 15 years old and the abuser is 22 years old. Do you think this is a justified exception since age of consent is an artificial delineation and ignores the reality that younger adolescents may also be indulging in sexual activities? Do you think the judge is being humane in not criminalizing a consensual romantic relationship since the girl has declared her consent to the sexual relationship?
Is this a dangerous precedent? Does it leave too much to the discretion of the judge? Will it lead to failure of the law to protect young children from sexual abuse? We think the article raises a lot of tricky questions related to child protection and law. 



My reply to this email was the following



If i may put forward my views..
yes, decriminalising consensual sex is the need of the hour. adolescents today are much more aware of their minds and bodies and are exposed to a lot of inputs from all over the word. However, we will be missing a very essential point if we only take into account the fact that the girl says that she gave consent out of 'love'. further, what this question here is doing is assuming that "love" essentially involves sexual relations.

while i agree with sir (a previous email from another lawyer that said that consent is important because children are often punished under such laws) that "love is a delicate and soft emotion", it is, at the end an Emotion which is very transient and can easily be confused with infatuation or plain pressure. 

I personally know of situations where school and college students feel the need to consummate their "love" because of peer pressure... "you will say yes if you love me" is a much used line and not just in movies.. friends, movies etc a encourage exploration of sexuality. I can't take a national perspective but in elite schools of Delhi, losing one's virginity before leaving school is rapidly becoming a way of adding to one's "coolness". it gets even worse in colleges where being "single' is an invitation for taunts.

moreover, for someone as young as 15, there is ample scope for confusion between "love" and hormones... at that age, 'love' usually is a overdose of hormones.

the problem is of how one defines consent... and how one judges whether the person concerned is capable of giving consent..
as for the case that was mentioned in the email, i find it impossible to believe that the 22 year old in question did not know the age of the girl he was supposedly in "love" with. Nor do i believe that this 22 year old could not have waited for the girl to be a little more mature if he really "loved" her.
the sole reason why society governs sexual relationships is because society as a whole has to bear the burden if this "love" results in the production of a child/transmission of STDs/ mental or physical abuse of the girl or boy. we are running nationwide campaigns asking parents to not get their daughters married before age 18. one major point in the campaign is that she is NOT physically ready for sexual relations or childbearing. why then are we assuming that a teenager will be aware of safe sex practices or will in a situation where they think they're "in love" even stop to think of the consequences of their actions???

a 15 year old is a class 10 student. when the education system has been made easier and external examinations done away with on the premise that these children are "unable to handle the pressure", HOW does one imagine they can handle the pressure of a relationship??

Sure, two 15 year old having consensual sex should not be punished because neither of them really know better.. but a 22 year old, asking a 15 year old for sex in a "romantic relationship"???? i fail to agree that "consent" was there in such a relationship. If one of the partners was old enough to know better, they deserve to be punished for breaking the law..
I agree that consensual sex should not be punished... But i fail to read "consent" in a relationship that is as unequal as the one described in this case.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

a child is but clay.. life molds him any which way

I have been volunteering with the Juvenile Justice board's legal aid cell this past week and for the next couple of weeks.. and each day as i read more files, interact with more children, hear more of their stories and see the despair/defiance in their eyes, i come home wondering about the future of these children.. because they ARE children... 10-12 year old boys working with pickpocket gangs, 15 year olds convicted of rape, attempted murder, robbery...
and all because no one taught them better... these are children of parents who barely have time or energy to look after the child's mental and emotional welfare after working all day to ensure that there is food on the table.. most of them drop out of schools which are little more than overcrowded rooms with minimal teaching facilities.. they get introduced to substances like correction fluid, smack, ganja etc by adults/ other children who then gradually lead them to a life of crime.. t starts with petty thefts to feed the drug habit, and then graduates into grievous crimes including robbery and murder...

The law says that these children have to be treated not as criminals but as children who have lost their way.. "Juveniles in conflict with Law". there is an entire statute, the Juvenile Justice (care &protection) Act 2000 to ensure their safety and rehabilitation.. there is an elaborate system that has been envisaged on paper, that people are trying o bring into existence slowly.. legal aid, education, skill training etc are given to these children free of cost..
and yet the atmosphere in the Juvenile Justice Board room is that these children must have done something wrong coz they just belong to that kind of background.. i met a mother in the last few days who refused to take her child back from the observation home because she couldn't deal with his addiction or his constant clashes with the law.. i've seen a father ask the board to keep his son in the children's home in the hope taht his child will learn something good from the experience.. I've seen a little boy who barely look s10 years old be charged with theft, keeping stolen goods, and causing hurt with dangerous weapon... all this while the child in question stands around sullen or bewildered about what is happening

these children don't get security of a caring family, or education, or even protective friends..
thats why they take drugs and alcohol and indulge in antisocial and illegal activities.. i recently met a 15 year old drug and alcohol addict who had cut gashes on his entire arm with a blade to help him get a better high while drinking.. his father is an alcoholic and his mother passed away years ago.. he is now completely addicted coz there is no one to see him at home and there is no negative reinforcement of his criminal behaviour outside of  the court..

i wonder how different this boy's life would have been had both parents been there to help him and had actually given him a straight path....