Story of a lost journalist

November 16, 2010

Memory Bravery (not an apt title, but it rhymes)

Filed under: Jim and Me Conversations — Cris @ 00:23

I suffer, I suffer.

“From what milady?”

Fancy pal Jim popped up from nowhere, I should find out how he does that (and stop it!).

“It is a disease Jim.”

“Does it have a name?”

“Ye some call it amnesia, some call it dementia, some call it alzh… alzh.. err it is complicated”

“Gotcha. You lost memory”

“I did not! Just a wee bit on the outer side.”

“It has sides?”

“Oh yea it is a huge mass which comes with an inside and an outside.”

“Really? Enlighten me.”

“You see, the inside is like a bank. You save your best moments in there. So anytime you want to have one, you unlock it and get one out.”

“So the outside?”

“It is the less wanted ones, like the stuff you carry in your purse – bus tickets, chewing gums, bills, you know the lot.”

“So why worry? Better to have it erased aint it?”

“No! You never know when the bill would come back to you and say ‘Remember me?'”

“Or it could say ‘how you doin’ ”

“Jim you are missing the point.”

“Oh right. You would not remember the bill.”

“No and it becomes harder when, unlike your purse, the ‘outside’ of memory holds people.”

“You forgot people?”

“Not all of them.”

“Oh yea, you forgot Bill.”

“Come on I am serious. There are these people Jim, I know I have seen them somewhere but I can’t place them. And problem is, they remember me!”

“I get it. It is what I call the debtor’s theory. People always remember their debtors, but debtors never remember people.”

“Jim”

“Ok ok you have no money”

“Jim!”

“I mean no debts”

“Better.”

“So what is the trouble”

“They smile, I smile. They call by name, I smile. They ask questions, I smile.”

“A little too cheerful perhaps.”

“What is happening to me?”

“You must be dying.”

“No I am not!”

“Oh well, no harm in hoping.”

“That’s it! You are dead.”

“Hey but I am your pal. Remember me? The good-lookin guy called Jim…… Ooooooooooouch!”

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November 11, 2010

‘But I am a girl’

Filed under: My Musing Moments,People — Cris @ 02:28

The other day, I was telling my friends about moving to another city. Somewhere in the conversation, we mentioned about another friend of ours in Bombay who went there recently. And at one point I said: “But I am not like him.”
“Why” they asked.
I said: “Cause he can stay anywhere.”
“Why cant you do that?” they asked again.
“I am a girl. I could be kidnapped!”
And one of my friends said: “Ahhh finally. I am so happy and relieved to hear you say that (nee ithu paranju ketathil enikku santhoshavum samadanavum thonnunnu).”
I retorted: “But you should be sad.”

Shouldn’t they be? What is the good thing about a girl not being able to enjoy the same peace of mind as a boy? (or about a girl letting herself think so?)

My friend said this because he, like many others, considers me an utter core feminist, who wouldn’t say one word that might make a girl sound helpless. And I immediately hated myself for saying the ultimate line “but I am a girl”.

I realize it is not about what you say, but do. And I never never have to prove to anyone “how mighty and self-dependant a girl is”. No.

But somewhere along the line, it becomes a matter of conviction. Again, not words, but action could do it. Because, belief does not come without conviction, neither does acceptance.

So who needs belief, who needs acceptance? “You be your own self, and let the rest of the world go to hell”

If you think one way, what is wrong in voicing it aloud? Why do you have to speak carefully so you fit the image you want to project? As much as I’d like to say otherwise, I cant help saying this – yes you have to be careful. Not to fit an image. But there is something about conviction I place importance on. You cant convince everyone, agreed. But when or if at least one person hopes for a difference, because they look up to someone, because they see someone doing what they wish to see, you cant let them down.

It is not about being the brave one who suppresses. No. It is about the need to be all that you believe in, happen through you. And you become the smallest little negligible speck of light that finally fell upon the world. It is big, in a small way.

The lines are meaningless I know. Isn’t it funny that you find it most difficult to express what you feel most strongly about? No wonder all proposals end up messed-up tongue-tied affairs!

PS: I used the g-word (girl). But I am no young thing :-). It just seemed the right word, and the one used at the time. Us oldies have a habit of still sticking to the g-word. Cheers.

November 2, 2010

Jeans and T-Shirt – what’s the big deal?

Filed under: My Musing Moments,People,Personal,Problems — Cris @ 12:19

There is a 2-minute walk from my house to the nearest auto rickshaw stand. Couple of days ago, I was on my way to catch an auto. There is an empty hall-cum-library on the way and men sometimes gather around on the ground outside. On this occasion there were around four or five young men talking aloud. I was wearing jeans and t-shirt and my trademark hat.

As I passed them, the men started hooting and shouting. One of them said: “Dei ninakonnum ammem penganmaarum ille?” (Don’t you have a mother and sisters?)
I’m sure this was not from any concern. Only to start a dialogue of some sort. Another replied: “Athinu ithu pennano? Ithu charakkalle?” (Is this a girl? Isn’t she a commodity?)
Lots of laughter.

My usual response to “commentadi” is pretending not to have heard anything. Ignore it completely. Am afraid, accustomed to my usual ways, I did the same here. Just walked past them, didn’t glance, didn’t stop, acted like I didn’t even know they existed. This was not a planned reaction. Just the usual.

Now I regret. I don’t mind subtle “commentadi”. It is natural that men and women may appraise each other on the streets, on the roads, etc. but when it comes out as an insulting comment, deliberately made to hurt the subject, or provoke her, things change.

From experience and from guy friends I have understood that the only way to stop such behaviour is by reacting to it. If you just ignore it, they may believe that you don’t mind, or even that you enjoy it. Be it a turn of your head or a stare or words, you need to react. It is only after taking my auto that I realized how offensive the comments were. And they were standing at a distance from me, so had to say it really aloud for it to reach me.

What would be the intention behind such comments? What pleasure do they get out of it? I don’t understand.

Few days ago, there was a discussion on a google group I am a member of – about a news article on a Malayalam daily. It was about a girl getting into a tussle with an older man who it seems criticized her for her choice of clothes (jeans and tshirt again). During a bus trip the man sat near the girl, who was in her early twenties, and told her he disapproved of what she wore, and to dress properly. She said something back. The article says that this man touched her after she told him not to and she slapped him. She beat him more after he got down from the bus. Half the people in the bus were with the girl, and the other with the man. The girl was arrested for assaulting the man.

In the course of the discussion, several viewpoints came out – one being the all-too-familiar ‘fault of the girl in choosing to wear a provocative dress’. I find this reaction too lowly to even respond to it. It just isn’t worth it. And there is absolutely no use trying to talk sense into such people. They will not change their mind no matter what, unless probably something of this sort happens to their own kith and kin.

I thought Trivandrum was mature enough to confront a pair of jeans and a t-shirt! But looks like we are a long way away. And I might add here, all the guys near my house were in some sort of jeans-t-shirt wear. Maybe they drool over their own ‘commodity selves’ every morning in front of the mirror.

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