Monday, August 31, 2009

The Non-Males' Story

This post probably takes birth following my friend's post on how hard it is to be one's true self when one carries two XX chromosomes instead of an X and a Y. I also had a conversation with an old friend who talked of why he did not want his sister to write JEE despite her being academically brilliant and having opted for the science stream in +2. The reason he cited was, this is an unhealthy environment for girls, it takes too much out of you being a girl in this place.How many of us can truthfully disagree with that? The first thing that a school junior of mine uttered, on being asked how she was finding IIT Bombay, was, it feels scary being a girl here.
Girls suffer the torment of being placed under a judgmental microscope practically everywhere but I'm just going to talk about this esteemed centre of excellence. For some crazy reason (I still cant figure out what), I always believed that education was associated with character and an open mind. My naivety in associating academic excellence with education is another issue. I can still recall the culture shock I got, back in my freshman year, when I realized that a majority of even the so-called educated guys in an esteemed and reverred academic institute were in character no way different from roadside hooligans.
Right from the freshie night anti-cheerings and the countless sick messages received to bets on what you would wear in class to gossiping of graphic liasons with every guy you speak with to attributing every single achievement of yours to unscruplous means, every girl here learns to accept that she cannot expect any respect from her male counterparts here.
A dear friend had once tried to surmise a reason for guys here being even worse than the guys in regular colleges, a fact that he believed to be the case. His reasoning was that nearly 95 percent of the guys who made it here had spent their growing up years absorbed in just books, obviously a healthy interaction with girls was absent, especially at a time when they were maturing. Upon coming here, they were introduced to countless hours of pornography that eventually resultsed in them viewing the female species as mere objects, nothing more.
Another reason that people kept pointing out was the male ego walking ten miles ahead of the entities themselves. Its hard for guys to accept that girls can be equal to them. When the equality in skill gets proven, its time to find other faults. The fact that they then no longer consider the girls female but coin a term non-males for them should give an indication of the levels to which they would go to display their contempt.
Whats even more disheartening is that when, in such a place, we girls should have stuck together, we failed to do just that. We turned out to be each others' worst enemies. Instead of supporting each other, we pulled each other down when one of us got something we all wanted.
You can attribute it to the male ego or the skewed sex ratio but the fact remains that it does take a lot out of you to retain your sanity here if you're a girl. Of course we do evolve to adapt to the environment. We get used to people talking rubbish and just accustom ourselves not to pay heed. And if we cannot develop that resistance and immunity to these arrows , we wear cloaks of invisibility and hide inside our shells, at least no arrows are launched then. We dont wear skirts to class even if its sweltering 41 degrees outside with an 88% humidity to match. We train ourselves not be hurt when we realize that erstwhile friends had been talking behind our backs. We accustom ourselves to keep our feelings inside us and not let them out even if they lead to insurmountable stress accompanied by pcos.
A place of learning should be characterised by freedom, to explore one's strengths and not by prejudiced societal diktats. People might argue that its the Indian society where we grew up but somehow I believed that people of such high mental callibre would have an associated moral fibre to think independently and choose what they believed was right. Sadly, I was disappointed.
PS: That apart, I must say I have been lucky to have friends here who have not only treated me with respect but also supported me in my endeavours. may their tribe increase. And unfortunately, most of the girls here have not been that lucky.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Third Degree

The cover page of Greg Iles' Third Degree had something thought provoking to say.

PS: This is not plagiarism. It is through mutual consent ;).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Piggy Paranoia

The last few weeks have witnessed an obsessively incessant paranoia about swine flu. From mass quarantines to entire states declaring shutdowns, signs of people's fear are everywhere. Aren't we over-reacting, to say the least. I mean, come on, more people die of regular influenza every day, which is just as contagious. And an even larger number die every 3 hours of tuberculosis, which again falls into the highly contagious category. And I am not even talking road accidents yet. I seem to remember a similar scare following the Avian influenza outbreak and the SARS epidemic. I guess people do get scared and panic easily given this level of hoopla. Some might reprimand me for being insensitive and remind me that the diseases did claim lives. True. And so have cholera and drunken driving. I had intended to argue, by way of this post, that being so totally paranoid is not really rational, but halfway I realized I am just terribly missing Iced Tea (serving of any cold drinks has been suspended everywhere on campus as a precautionary measure).
Yeah that's the sign at Basera :(

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me: India turns 63

This post comes a little later than its supposed publishing date but ah, never mind. I was home the previous week, the first Aug 15 at home after four years and in accordance with the Independence Day tradition of my pre-JEE days, I had wanted to watch the traditional Independence Day programmes on television; 63 things India should be proud of; the past year round-ups; promises ahead etc. Well it was different this year. Not only were they absent but every news channel seemed to be trying to grab its share of the TRPs and every pseudo-celebrity was vying for their fifteen seconds of fame commenting on King Khan being detained at Newark Airport. Also prominently present were Shahid Kapur and Priyanka Chopra busily promoting Kaminey. Somehow didn't seem right. Not like the festival I remembered.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good to be Bad???

Was having this discussion with my mom and she alleged that our generation has a problem of equating being "bad" to being cool. So arrogance is sexy, drinking and smoking is hep, its fetch to be unemotional and cold, being manipulative is admired, infidelity is studness. Then came across the following lines scribbled on the back of a notebook which made me wonder if she was right after all :
You think you know
But you never can
Nothing is ever what it seems
Masks are the latest fashion
Deceit runs through as the deepest passion