Raw Material

Today, she decided to try on the mauve cotton suit. It complemented her frame beautifully and brought out the depth of her eyes. Innocently, she went about her way when alas, the seams ripped open. Just like the other time, when her black denim jacket unraveling at the shoulders.

Her friend had been facing a similar problem with her clothes. One day it was the yellow chiffon dress that tore down her back while some days later, it was the blue silk skirt that frayed all around the hem. It seemed that the tacks and safety pins held only for sometime until the clothes eventually fell apart, worse than ever.

No matter how many times they tried to repair their garments, change their tailors, use assorted fabrics or try out different styles, they never really held together. It was a frustrating time. It was a bitter time. It was a puzzling time.

Only a close examination made them realize that the material of their clothes had been of poor quality, handled with little care and mended without a thought. Of course, their stitching was not going to hold for long when the material itself was falling to pieces.


Just like the law can only do so much. Unless the mindset changes, no number of death penalties and rulings can make an impact on the horrifying rape and molestation cases taking place in the country. In fact, I’ll go to the extent of saying that law is just an easy way out. It is WRONG as a solution. Fear of death should not be the check-post for a criminal! The law may work for two minutes, but unless we examine and address the fabric of society’s perceptions, I do not really see an end to the number of ‘Nirbhayas’ the nation is producing.

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Seven BnW Photos: Day 6 Welcome

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Taken at Keithelmanbi Village, Manipur. It was amazing to see how easily people popped over at each other’s houses unannounced and always be greeted with a warm welcome. When was the last time any of us just decided to visit someone and did not call or plan ahead?

I am participating in the Seven Days. Seven Black and White Photos of Your Life. No People. No Explanation. Challenge Someone New Each Day.

I nominate Moushmi for this challenge.

Warped

Dreams and aspirations lie astray,

As I was taught restraint and obedience,

As I was directed to modesty and diffidence,

As I learnt to be demure and sympathetic.

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Wrapped as a daughter, a wife and a mother.

A philosopher. A cheerleader. A dictator.

A cook. A lover. A tutor.

Warped in multiple identities but The One,

Several faces at the loss of The One.

The price I paid.

Of simply being a woman.

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I am under veils of mystery,

Independence boxed by sentinels of society,

With their double standards and patriarchal mindsets.

The waters churn a storm beneath the calm,

The rocks brew lava within the silence.

A dam waiting to burst. A volcano itching to erupt.

Waiting for the dominoes to fall.

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Often called by the name of the rose.

Soft as petals. Rich in fragrance.

Unforgiving as thorns.

Simply a woman.



My Gender

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“Because of your gender…”

“Because of your gender…”

“Because of your gender…”

It has become a revolving chorus in my head. I have been stubbornly silent for the past month – afraid of what might just spill out if I start ranting. I think I have calmed down enough to finally talk about it.

Basically, it has been a circus at work and I have been trying for a while to make a few horizontal transitions into a new department. I have never quite handled something like the new opportunity and the prospects are exciting as well as challenging.

While the murky politics of the movement played out, I got to meet with the super-duper-head of the new department a few weeks back. We are talking about one of the movers and shakers of the company and I couldn’t believe I was getting to speak to him. I walked into the conference room with my head held high and overwhelmed with what I had prepared to speak with him.

And it went downhill like nobody’s business. Not because he wasn’t happy with my work or my skills, not because he didn’t speak properly with me.

But because he stated precisely four times, that I am going to have tough time adapting to the new role given my gender. Given that I am a female. That his advice to other folks is different as they were all men. 

Four times.

Without even looking or knowing about my background or the work I have been leading these past few months. 

I chose to keep a straight face and not respond during any of those circumstances. I was expected to, I think, but I couldn’t dignify those comments with a reaction. I was afraid of what might spill out. I have never faced such blatant sexism – it is usually equivocal. And it delivered a sucker punch to my self-confidence.

I have cried and vented enough to people and I do not wish to put it writing – I am wondering if it makes me cowardly to want to forget it happened. It has been almost a month and I am trying hard to not dwell on it during those idle moments.

On one hand, I want to prove that any role is beyond gender.

But more than that, I just want to forget the way I felt when I walked out of that room – small, shrunken and insignificant.