Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stilted shoes and Oprah

Long time back, I happened to see a show of Oprah showing how centuries back in ancient china women were forced to tie their feet right from childhood to get a beautiful(???) albeit small feet. This was considered a fashion despite the fact that it broke the bones in the feet and practically made the women imobile. It was garish to see the shoes and those feet. Today, while coming for work, I happened to see a woman wearing those high heeled stilted shoes. I think the this version which women consider professional and very fashionable it but a morphing of those ancient chinese shoes and women's habit, but in a more sublte and less aggressive way. Is this the vanity of women or is the society forcing it on her? Not sure except the fact that it is totally ludicurous.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stupid, convoluted people

All I wanted to know was, where was the post office near my office. Is that such a difficult question to answer? "I know where it is and it is here, in such and such place..." or "I dont know". What possible answer can anyone think outside this?!!! This guy who works with me told me everything except that, going to the extent that he is taking too much pains in explaining where it was and that he has to make a movie for it...What did I do to deserve such morons in my life..Arggggghhh :-(
Monday, January 09, 2006

Women – From my perspective

I have been meaning to write in this topic for a long time. Since this is an interesting but a heavy topic, it has taken more than three weeks for me digest all my cluttered thoughts and organize them. I intend to write about women from various perspectives, namely, family, culture, society and religion. I will start from family since it is the easiest and it is from here every man is deeply influenced. Most my thoughts will be within the context of Indian woman.
It is conventional to say that husband/ father/ son are the head of the family depending upon what is his main role. It has been so almost everywhere in the world. So is the woman really a secondary figure supporting man? At a cursory glance it seems to be the case. Until recently he has been the only breadwinner which got him this coveted place. Of course everyone now knows that modern woman pretty much does every job a man does with equal ease, may be with more grace. Apart from this established fact, they play a wonderfully important role. I believe they are the gel which practically holds the family together.
According to my mom, in any situation, if we substitute or interchange man with woman and vice-versa and still if our conscience accepts that change without any pride, guilt, trouble and questions, then equality is established. I have used this formula so many times in so many situations in life, and it has been very rare that I have felt the way my mom has described. In other words, despite the fact that I am really broad minded (or so calls my sister!), well educated, reasonably intelligent, expressive and seen a lot of world, “male chauvinism” hides deep in the recess of the mind. Is it a cultural thing, is it in every man’s genes, is it with the upbringing – I really don’t know. Only with this understanding, I say, equality and freedom for woman is a long, long way. The most disturbing fact in this is that women themselves are pitifully (or blissfully!) unaware of this fact.
It is often said that a woman is protected (or supposedly protected!) by father when she is a daughter, husband when she is a wife and son when she is a mother. Even great religions say this fact and proclaim that they have taken great care of the women. This is total nonsense and saying that the woman is inferior to man throughout her life in very cleverly formulated words. To me, she can think, work and reason equally, that given a civilized society she can pretty much take care of herself and also others.
Personally, my mother and sister has been a great influence on me. They are always full of surprises, handling every situation with grace and known familiarity. It is from them I learnt to look at woman with more respect and understanding. Sometimes, they seem to do so many things that it seems to, long back in the distant past, all the men sat together and decided that if given all rights and freedom, they themselves might be relegated to secondary status and thus took away thought and reason from woman, put on the cultural bonds, blunted women’s mind with family, love, care and other related things. This direction of thought really scares me, since only then I realize how dependent men are over women. Practically, the life of a man falls apart without the woman. If every man reading this essay imagine a situation where there is or will be no woman in his life, how does he feel about it? They say a woman completes a man, may be it is the other unsaid part. That, we men are all but a part of bigger entity called woman.
Thursday, January 05, 2006

Everybody seems to write about reservation, why not me?!!!

Firstly, I am not able to come to a conclusion whether reservation (atleast about the version that exists in paper) is good or bad. I read most of the links from Sen's post and I think reservation falls into one of those grey areas. "A mind is a wonderful thing to waste", not sure who said it, but it is quite true. Does not make a difference if it is an upper caste mind or lower caste mind. But when stomach growls, mind and logic take back seat. Reservation will definitely help the downtrodden. I have no problem in understanding this point. Few questions for which I dont know the answer but would love to know are

1. Is the reservation and the way it is being implemented in India, helpful to the people?

2. Apart from the regular statistics of caste percentage in India as a whole, what is the caste percentage when it comes to number of students applying for MBBS, BE/BTech (including IIT), LAW, Arts and sciences. I have a premonition that such a statistic if available is going to vastly be different from the general all India statistic (note: I m not interested in the number of students appearing or passing 12th std).

3. Only reasonable outcome of reservation could be economic empowerment. Social equality comes by change in people attitudes which will take a generation. So, if money is the deal (which is really nice for people who dont have it - and lower castes seem not to have these green thingies in general!), then for how many generations should an SC/ST family be granted reservation?

4. Reservation in private sector jobs is a stupid idea. On the other hand, redistribution of land has been proved (take the case of West Bengal) to drastically reduce poverty and bring "up" lower castes. So why does the supporters of reservation and the political parties never talk about this?

My final conclusion is that reservation by economic status makes more sense than reservation by caste when it comes to education. I am also under the impression that, this would any way result in the automatic removal of most of the higher castes and few of the really well to do lower castes from the reservation. But, I am pretty sure such a tag of economic status cannot be maintainted in our country as it is now. The best thing that could happen is a total reorganization of lower caste lists and conduct a proper investigation as to why so many "lower caste" lists have grown suddenly. To those who support reservation, never ever say merit can be sacrificed. That is nonsense. Just remember you are not fighting for the downtrodden but for those "higher castes" who have entered into reservation as lower castes. And as for those who oppose reservation (assuming you are from upper caste), the world is not a fair place. Learn to deal with it, tough luck. But never ever be so arrogant to assume you are clever and so is everyone in your caste. That again is bullshit.
On a final note, we can have endless discussions on these topics, eat pizza, have a beer and go to sleep under A/C. Something's wrong with the previous sentence. That's right. "Be the change you want" - Gandhi. So educate a poor kid, grow a tree and do some good that touches profoundly atleast 4 or 5 people in your life time. May be we dont need reservation, if we can all reserve some little part of our heart. :-)
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