Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Life and Lies of a Feminist

".....answer me this, kids, how on earth is a son more beneficial to the parents than a daughter? After all these years of my adult life, what I have found is that no boy cares for his parents more than girls do. Boys are reckless and insensitive maggots. Daughters are emotionally more mature and sensitive, and this capability makes them care about...", and on and on droned our English teacher, her enthusiasm fuelled by her false perception of feminism. She claims to be a feminist, and we are pretty sure she believes it too. Except she isn't really one.
This is a piece I've been wanting to write for a long time. There are perhaps more articles on feminism, sexism and mysogyny on the web and in print, than there are bytes on my laptop's hard disk drive. But I still wanted to write my own. Why? Well, because I like to write; because I, human as I am, love to express my own opinion on every matter; and because it is a topic that's rather close to my heart. But more than anything else, I wanted to write this because I believe that, when it comes to feminism, there are infinite varieties of misconceptions in an average person's mind. The most common of these misconceptions is one that makes us mistake feminism for misandrism. Basically, we don't have a clear definition of the word feminism in our minds. Indeed, many of us have ironically baffling notions regarding this term. The very thought of such people going around professing their so-called feminist ideas is horrifying.
Feminism is not a simple term that can be explained, or understood, with the help of a single sentence. It is a complex term, it takes patience to explain, and a broad and open mind to absorb its vastness.
Let's begin with the basics. Feminism is a good thing. It is so obvious a fact that writers often completely leave it out. I think it would be apt to quote Sherlock Holmes (A Game Of Shadows) here, "It is so overt, that it is covert."
There are many out there who question the very integrity of this phenomenon. I have personally heard and read numerous arguments against feminism. I would love to counter them, but it would be pointless, and a waste of my time. Here, all I am trying to make you understand is that no matter how strong an argument against feminism might sound, the feminist movement is, in its true form, a good thing. I am not asking you to blindly believe me, which you wouldn't, of course, even if I did ask you to. But, my word, by the time you are done reading, you will truly believe it.
Secondly, feminism is NOT about hating men. That is a whole different thing! The word for that is misandrism. So, don't shame feminism by calling yourself a feminist just because you hate men and think that 'all men are the same'. Just because you have met a couple of jerks in your life does not make it a universal fact that all men are jerks.

Feminism is not just about loving womankind, either. The English teacher I've mentioned above is all about praising girls and consistently infuriating the guys in our class by saying that all men are thugs. All girls are NOT 'good'. Not all girls have good manners or good handwriting or amazing emotional maturity (have amazing emotional maturity - sounds better than 'have leaky eyes' and 'are boring') or are responsible! Girls can be equally careless and irresponsible, and they have every right to be. Praising womankind all the time is not good because it leads to sky-scraping expectations for every girl to be 'ladylike'.
Feminism preaches that every girl is unique, and deserves to get the oppurtunity of growing up to be the woman of her choice. To be clear, unique does not mean independent and outgoing. Unique means unique. There's this stereotype regarding modern girls - that they are all less sensitive and extremely independent. Even that is wrong. Every girl has an individual identity. They are not sheep, to be fooled into believing that they have to conform to a particular norm. I, being a feminist, not only believe that all girls are different, but also support the fact that all boys are unique. I just don't understand why the society cannot digest this simple fact and let people create their own identities.
Finally, the roots of feminism come from the idea of equality. That all humans are equal. It is a bizarre fact that more people are ready to sympathise with the minorities for fighting for their right, but they go into denial mode when women ask for theirs, despite women making up half the population and being reponsible for the existence of the other half! Shame, indeed!

If you are wondering how a 16-year-old girl can have such opinions, I have two things to say to you. Firstly, 16 is not that young an age, okay? (At this, you can imagine me pouting my lips and rolling my eyes.) Secondly, I read. I always had this sense of pride about being a girl. So, every time I read a book, or any story for that matter, I learn a bit about feminism. Caitlin Moran, a feminist and writer, has been an inspiration for me. Her book, How to be a Woman, taught me a lot of in-depth stuff about being a woman, and not in the usual boring, mechanical way. Her observations about various phases of a woman's life are sure to tickle the reader's funny bone. And she helped me to shout out loud, 'Fuck you, the patriarchy!'
I think every girl should read it. In fact, if a boy gets past his embarassment and picks up this book, he will find a treasure of secrets about women, unravelled by a woman, that could actually make him understand them better. Just saying. ;)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Diary of a One-year-old

Apparently, I will turn one tomorrow. My parents are making a very big deal out of it. They are planning some sort of "party", I overheard them talking about it. But hey, I don't even know what a party is. It will be my first one. It seems to me like they expect me to be excited about it, but tbh, I'm kind of confused.

~ A couple of hours later ~

Oh no, now mum is buying new clothes for me! I keep screaming at her, trying to tell her I don't want them. But she keeps saying things like, "Oh honey, you must be hungry!" or "Are you sleepy, baby girl?". Come on, mum. New clothes are itchy! Don't you get it? I'd rather move around in my nappy! But it's too late now. She has already bought them and now nothing can spare me the horror.

~ The D-Day ~

On this day, one year ago, I was born. I am quite excited, I think. These clothes are itchy, but I guess I can't do anything except come to terms with reality.
We have come to a place that I've never seen before. At first it was just mum, dad, me, and my annoying four-year-old brother (he's more excited than I am). But then, more people began to enter the scene, and now I am in a room full of noise and strange big people. They all look the same. Except some of them have long hair and others have shorter ones. I can see a guy my age tugging at the hem of his mother's shirt. He seems crazy to me. He looks at me, and sticks out his tongue. I wrinkle my nose. Finally, someone who gets me.
Then, a big person with long hair comes over, pinches my cheeks, flashes its toothy smile and says something that sounds like gibberish to me. Whatever it says seems to make it happy. Well, to each his own. But that's not where it ends. Lots of big persons come over and I'm handed over from unknown person to unknown person. It makes my head spin. Oh, who cares. I just let them do their thing and focus on sucking my thumb. They laugh at me. Talk about rudeness! Like, hullo, I'm right here!
Okay, this is too much. Now I have a stalker. Imagine that! This big person holding this big flashy thing over his shoulder is following me. I want my mommy RIGHT NOW. But, you know how I am, too easily distracted. My eyes fall upon an open space with colourful dancing lights on the floor. I go over to the lights and try to catch them, but they keep jumping just out of reach. It's annoying, but fun at the same time, because I am determined. But after some time I get bored and look around for mommy again. I spot her standing next to the crazy boy I had seen earlier. He looks bored as shit. Well, he can join the club.
I walk up to him, negotiating my way between long legs and toppling several times. No need to laugh, walking is a new skill, I have yet to master it. So, eventually I reach there. As soon as I get there, the guy smiles, walks up to me, and starts pulling at my locks. So, I was right. He IS crazy.
His mother tries to do something. I think she's trying to stop him, but it's all in vain. Finally, I have to put my foot down. I mean, I literally slam my foot down onto his. He screams and runs for his life. Oh yeah, hide behind your mommy, li'l guy!
I take a long victory lap around the dance floor once I manage to get back there. But it's not empty anymore. Big people have started stomping their feet onto it now. I guess they're playing the same game with lights that I had discovered. Such cheaters, I tell you! But from where I'm standing, it looks likes an attempt to stomp over me. I'd better get out of the way ASAP.
A big girl picks me up as I try to walk up to the gift pile. I look up. I recognise that face. She's a cousin, I think. Yeah, she's the one I like. She is moving her lips and making faces. I have no idea what she's trying to do. Perhaps she's trying to speak my language. She's doing a bad job of it. She carries me over to a round table and sits me on her lap. Then, she picks up a spoon from the table and plunges it into a bowl of soup - she wants to make me eat! I like you, hon, but that's just not gonna happen. I wriggle my way out of her grasp and run for my life.
I run till I find mommy. Then I tug at her clothes and scream till she notices me. I point over to the table where my cousin is sitting, and wail till my throat burns. My mother announces, "she must be sleepy," to the group of big people she had been talking to, and carries me to where dad is standing. I get handed over to dad. As soon as I get into his arms, I press my face into his shoulder and he carasses the back of my head. Phew! It's been one hell of a day! I am never partying again!
Eventually, the noise around me fades, and I get pulled into the amazing world of dreams.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

News Flash!


Wow. Two great things happened in the last two days. One shames misogyny while the other shames the muggles who once told me my fandom was over.

On Friday, September 13, justice was served. Or at least that's what a majority of Delhites (including me) think. The Delhi gang-rape convicts were given a death sentence. I know, right? Not such a scary 'Friday the Thirteenth', after all.
But hey, let's not get all contented and satisfied. Yet. At least I'd rather not believe it till it actually happens. I mean, they said they'll appeal in higher courts and who knows, their punishment might be reduced. For all we know, this might as well have been just an attempt to calm down the masses. I personally think we should not forget about this as yet.
Speaking of the argument about whether the guilty deserve a punishment so severe, I don't even want to see your face if you think they don't. What had the girl done to deserve to die in such extreme pain? This wasn't just murder or just sexual molestation. It was a disgusting blend of both, topped with sociopathic brutality. If anything, these people deserve worse. But I am pretty sure that, in a country like ours, a more brutal punishment would never be carried out. If execution is the worst punishment allowed by our system, so be it. Such extreme misogynists do not deserve a treatment any softer than this. Fuck you, the patriarchy!


******

And now the most amazing news of my life as a fangirl (please refrain from condemning me for putting this news in the same post as the more serious news about the gang rape convicts).
On Thursday, September 12, mugglenet reported that J. K. Rowling has confirmed the news that she will be script-writing for the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!!! I usually do not use so many exclamation marks, but I'm SO. DAMN. EXCITED.
Anyway, by doing this, J. K. Rowling has set ablaze the hearts of the HP fandom, yet again. Yesterday I personally witnessed all social networking platforms - facebook, twitter, tumblr, you name it - brimming with posts about this great news. I was, in fact, one of the proud contributors of these posts. Many posts were figurative threats telling muggles to beware. Those muggles who claimed that, with the release of the last HP film our fandom will come to its mortal end. Except, ours is an immortal fandom. So, to them, we want to say, "Told you, bitches, we will be here until the very end. When we said 'Always' we meant it."
JKR said that the new movie series (oh yes, it's not just a single movie) will be based upon the adventures of Newt Scamader, the fictitious author of Harry Potter's textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But the story will be set in New York, seventy years before Harry's time. The basics of the Magical World will be the same, but the movie will be an insight into American Wizardry and how things were at that time, in the magical community. So it will definitely be a new section of an amazing journey that began in 1997 for us Potterheads all over the globe.
We are hoping that we will come across young Albus in this new spin-off, or at least that there will be a time jump and we will see Luna, as she later gets married to Newt Scamander's son, Rolf. We've all put our speculation caps back on and our predictions are getting wilder by the moment. We want this new film right now! No, no, Warner Bros., take your time (but it'd better not be too long) and make a movie that beats the previous eight. So, no pressure. ;)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Happy Birthday, I Suppose?



Crap, I missed my blog's birthday! I feel so bad! I'm so sorry, bloggie!!
Okay, I'm lying. I'm not sorry. Neither do I feel bad (duh!).
I mean, seriously, people treat things like this in a way that's too nauseating for me to think about following them. It's just a damn blog, for god's sake! I mean, I love it, and all that, but birthday? Are you kidding me?

But yesterday, this thing happened.
I was in school, and my friend was like, 'So, you write a blog, right?'
And I was like, 'Yeah, so?'
Then she asked me when I started it, and I couldn't recall.
So I came home and went online to check. It so turned out that Blogspot only tells me the month in which I started my blog: August 2011. No specific date. So then I looked for my first post, and it turned out that I had deleted it a couple of months back (out of embarrassment, I'm sure). But that's not what my first thought was. I thought, 'Whoa, I started this thing two years back!'
It was this thought, then, that made me go through some of the blogs that I follow to check if it's a norm to post something special on your blog's birthday.
What I discovered is that some people write a whole post about their blog and why they love it, most others post a usual post and just mention that they are dedicating it to their blog (honestly?), while there are only a few
bloggers who don't bother to do anything special.
I guess I fall under the third category of bloggers, because I simply forgot the date on which I "gave birth" to my stupid little blog. And I only realised this after it has already turned two. I should be ashamed. (Only, I'm not.) To top it all, I still don't know its exact "date of birth". I regret not having gotten a
birth certificate made. But, c'mon, cut me some slack, I'm a 16-year-old single mom (Jeez! That just sounds creepy).
Any way, I think I've made it pretty clear that I don't give a rat's ass (I love that phrase) about my blog's birthday. But I do feel bad (and this time I'm not kidding) about the number of posts I've written till date. Only thirteen! And that's inclusive of my first post (the one I deleted).
Now that's just painfully sad.
So today, I take a pledge (ineffective during exam time) to write at least one post
every... let's say, two weeks. Seriously, a post every fortnight is the least that my "bloggie" deserves. I do love it, after all. (But that still doesn't make me feel any less weird about calling my blog 'he' or 'she'.)

Friday, 30 August 2013

The Rechristening


I renamed my blog, yay!
I also changed the URL, which means google will no longer direct people who stumble upon the titles of my previous posts to this address. But I doubt that's gonna make much of a difference.
So, my blog’s new name is weird, and I like it all the more for it, due to obvious reasons. And as for the new URL, it is not surprising how well suited I am to that title, again, for obvious reasons. All right, so maybe the reasons are not-so-obvious to you. But I’ll save you the need for brainstorming by telling you the simple reasons why I chose this blog name and what it means. That’s why I’ve written this, of course.
The thing is, I’m a total bookworm, or an egghead, as my friends like to point out. But, the word ‘bookworm’ didn’t sound very… let’s say, catchy (don’t you give me that look, I’m only as narcissistic as you are!). So before creating my blog on WordPress, I did some research, during which I stumbled upon the word ‘bluestocking’. It does not have the same meaning as the word ‘bookworm’, but a similar meaning, and one that better describes me.
A bluestocking is an educated, intellectual woman. The term most often refers to a specific group of 18th-century intellectual women. Until the late 18th century, the term had referred to learned people of both sexes. However it subsequently was applied primarily to intellectual women. The term later developed negative implications, and in some instances such women were stereotyped as being less lady-like.
Well, I obviously copied that from Wikipedia. Anyway, I like this term because it not only implies my bookish-ness, but also says something about my feminist thinking. And as for ‘such women’ being ‘stereotyped as being less lady-like’, well, what can I say? I really give a rat’s ass about that.
Now,  why I love to read (and, to some extent, write), can be summed up somewhat like this. Firstly, as Mark Twain said, and I damn well agree, “The man who does not read good books is at no advantage over the man that cannot read them.” As far as writing is concerned, I have to quote D. H. Lawrence here. “I like to write when I feel spiteful; it’s like a good sneeze.”
As I mentioned, I was trying to find a suitable blog name for my WordPress blog. So, here's the URL for that:
http://thebentuponbluestocking.wordpress.com
Also, if you're wondering why I felt the need for another blog, let me tell you it was only that I wanted to follow certain WordPress blogs, so I had to register for that. But then I thought I might as well make it a twin blog for my blogspot one, so as to have a wider readership. :)

Great, so now I am rambling like a barmy old codger (except, I'm really not one). But even after so much rambling, I have not given a hint of an explanation about why the new URL suits me. But then, I guess you would have worked that out by now. Am I right, or what?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Modernization's Going to the Dogs

All of you out there, you think you’re modern? Think again.

People have got to realize that a good education, a full pocket, and a luxurious lifestyle do not make you modern. If your thinking and your opinions are still medieval, then you’re kidding yourself when you call yourself modern. I mean, you think that if you’re living in, or wearing fashionable and up to date clothes, or speaking good English, then you qualify as a ‘modern’ person? You really think that a poor person who works day and night to earn a square meal can’t be modern, just because he can’t afford all the fancy appliances? Well, you’re missing the point, aren't you? Modernization is not about your way of living. It’s about how you think. IT’S THE FREAKIN’ THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.

Some people think they’re modern because their careers are their priorities. So they’re on the right track, aren't they? Well, that’s not what I think. Education does matter, I will never deny that, but it can only take you so far.

You know, most of the time we don’t even realize that our opinions are the exact opposite of modern. Some justify such opinions as ‘practical’, and ‘factual parts of life’.
I'm thinking, factual parts of my arse, more like.

Okay, I've been crude. Sorry about that, but it was kind of necessary in order to get my point through to you. So ask yourself these questions if you actually want to face reality, because if you be honest with yourself and answer these questions from your heart (okay, that was a stupid thing to say, your heart is an organ that pumps blood. It has got nothing to do with your emotions, or anything other than your circulatory system. If you think that your heart can think for you, you might as well think that your blood can do the same. That was just a way to make “normal” people understand my meaning.), you might just realize how medieval you are (there’s also the possibility of you thinking how silly I am to ask you these questions, but hey, this is serious, okay – so you've got to be truthful to yourself).
  1. Let’s start with the easy ones. I don’t want you to panic at the very first question.  Do you secretly try not to come into physical contact with homeless people or any other class of people? Look, nobody’s judging you because you’re answering to yourself, so be honest.
  2. Do you feel that if, among a married couple, the wife has long hours of work and the husband has to look after the kid more than his wife does, it’s inappropriate? But, รก la fois, if the roles are exchanged, it’s not really a big deal? I know your instinctive answer to this one would be - “No, of course not.” But you need to think about it. Think of real life situations, try to put yourself out there.
  3. This one’s for the people with high school kids. Do you think that your child should play safe and take up the subject of your choice, and not theirs? You’d say, “We just want her to be successful in life, and not regret her decision later.” Well, guess what? It’s high time you let your kids make their own decisions, and let them learn from their own mistakes. Admit it, you've made your own mistakes too, and you learnt from them. They will, too, if you let them.“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you've lived so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.”
  4. Do you have ANY kind of generalized opinion, or basically a stereotype, about ANY section of people? Like, do you think that all Afro-Americans are poor, or uneducated, or anything? If you do, slap yourself right now. It’s necessary. Look, you need to understand that no two people are the same. You just cannot generalize a group of people. All modern women aren't the usual stereotype of loud and smart and outgoing and independent. Women are of all kinds. People are of all kinds.                                                         
  5. Do you like Harry Potter? Okay, now that’s just inappropriate. Sorry. Wrong question. (But, believe it or not, Harry Potter did teach me a lot. A lot about values and ethics, a lot about our conscience, a lot about life, basically.)
  6. Can you see the grey? I mean, do you just see life in black and white, or can you spot the grey area in between? Basically, are you judgmental? This is the toughest one, you know. Because we, as humans, hold grudges, we all do. What we don’t realize is that everyone has their own story. Some people do terrible things. It does not necessarily mean that they’re terrible people.
  7. Do you make fun of, or do not respect religion in the name of modernization? I’m not asking you whether you believe in any religion, so don’t get me wrong. Look, I’m not a religious person, but I do have a faith, I believe in ethics. Above all, I have faith in my conscience. And my conscience tells me that I have no right to judge a person who does, or does not believe in God. Nobody’s got that right. The same goes for people who condemn atheism. So, do you, or don’t you?
  8. Now I’m starting to run out of questions, because I have so many, and I can’t pick which are the more important ones. Okay, so do you think that being slim and fit is modernism? Or that rotund people are ancient? Well, obesity is unhealthy, but gives you no reason for judgement. I don’t give a gust of stinking Chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to me has skinnier knees than me. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?


So, anyway, I know I've quoted enough of J. K. Rowling for you to think of me as some kid who thinks she knows the world because she read Harry Potter. But I don’t give a shit. Actually, I just wrote this down to vent my anger. Writing, reading, painting – it’s just stuff that soothes my nerves. So, this is me signing off.


But before I do that -
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Now those are words of wisdom. Modern wisdom.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Wrackspurt Attack


As I sit here, beside my bed,
Memorizing names of towns and townsfolk,
Wrackspurts invade my head
Making my brain fuzzy, as if in a stroke.

I look around my room and sigh:
I'm surrounded by distractions!
My drums grin at me, looking wry,
Luring me away from decimals and fractions.

I glance at my bookshelf dreamily,
At those hard-bounds fat and thin,
They all smile and wink slyly,
Inviting me to the adventures within.

Alas! More often than not,
I begin to doodle absent-minded-ly.

My bed appears soft as ever,
I wonder whether I should dare to kip.
The exams start in two days, I remember
As the Wrackspurts leave, I feel my heart skip.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Camaraderie

Friendship is a complete package,
It is a fun yet serious affair
It comes with a simple tag,
Reading: Handle with Care

They are said to be rich,
the ones who have friends
With them they can do anything,
Overcome hurdles, fight fiends.

Friends do have misunderstandings,
But there's never hatred in excess
They're bound to forgive and forget,
And rejoice in each other's success

True friends are tightly bound,
By laughter and by tears
They know each other's strengths,
They know each other's fears

They're there with you when it's dark,
And when brightly shines the sun
The only way to have a good comrade,
Is to be a good one!




A Sonnet on Laughter

"How should we view a problem?"
"Find the funny side of upsetting issues,"
Tears caused by hateful words on vellum,
Are wiped by laughter's tissues.

Break all your heavy weapons,
Use the effective weapon of laughter
Laughter will suck out all the venom
And there'll be prosperity thereafter.

Let laughter calm your soul
Or ignite your contagious joy
Stop sadness from taking it's toll
Use laughter as your sepoy.

Remember: there will be a new dawn.
Life's not so simple, but it will go on.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Final Goodbye

This year (2012-13), death was all around us. At first, it was our skating sir. And then, they all went down - one after the other, as death took its toll. Our school's janitor, a preschool girl, a freshman year girl - people from our school, people I didn't really know, but mourned nonetheless. But it was not until a few days before my birthday, when my best friend's sister left us forever, that it hit me - the sudden finality of death. How it overwhelms some of us with emotions, how it leaves some others hollow. But this sad dawn of realization made me reflect upon the event of my own final goodbye. You'd find it hard to believe that a sixteen-year-old can think that way. But death is inevitable, isn't it? So why do people fear even the thought of it? So yeah, I'm curious. 
Not as curious about how it will happen as I am about what will happen around me. Will people cry? I wish they don't. No use crying over spilled potion. In fact, I think I will be better off that way - dead and peacefully away from this cruel world. So I don't want people to cry, because I'd be happier. 
I mean, what use is our life? What is our purpose? We come and we go. All these people died of natural causes, and left their families hollow. That's what we'll all do, some day or the other. But over time, we will be forgotten. We'll be as insignificant as some person who died decades ago. But I wish I can see how it all unfolds after my demise. Don't we all? 
"To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." ~Albus Dumbledore




Bundle of Joy

You never know what you're missing out on. I, at least, never did. Not until one balmy autumn evening. My story goes something like this.One peaceful moonlit night, an angel paid a visit to my dreamland and made me a promise. I, unlike most of you, had always believed in angels. And so I believed that he would keep his promise. He promised me that he would come to live with me, here, on Earth - straight from paradise. It was a strange promise, and I could never understand why he chose me - mine was a satisfied soul, I never thought that my life was missing anything.
Yet I was, of course, eager.The clock ticked away, months changed on the calendar. When at last I had given up all hope, he fulfilled his promise. That balmy autumn evening, an angel had indeed landed on earth - in the form of my little brother. But I never quite see him as a brother. He is more like a son to me. People might find this strange, sweet, or silly, but that's just how I see him.
My eyes dampened, and my heart elated, as I beamed down at that tiny glowing face. He smiled at me, as if trying to say, 'See, I kept my promise.' That day I realized that my life really had been missing something. Today I can't even imagine life without him. Today, my life is complete.