Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rachel Corrie

I don't know why it took me so long to write about her but I now am. The world should know her.

This is the speech she gave when she was in 5th grade:
I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because those people are mostly children.
We have got to understand that the poor are all around us and we are ignoring them.
We have got to understand that these deaths are preventable.
We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.
My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.
My dream is to give the poor a chance.
My dream is to save the 40,000 people who die each day.
My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.
If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.
If we all help and work together, it will grow and burn free with the potential of tomorrow.

– Rachel Corrie, aged ten, recorded at her school’s Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger

She was an American who left to Palestine to lend her support for the people out there. Her protest was non-violent and like all the other people who wanted to do good for the humanity, she was killed by the Israelis. Crushed by the merciless blades of a bulldozer. She stood up and looked straight at the operator. He carried on and ran over her. Then he moved back and buried her deeper into the sand. She was only able to say : "My back is broken". She was taken to a hospital and later, she died. The American government funds the Israelis and they are yet to say anything about this issue.

These are two interesting links and if you're reading this blog, I request you to please take a look at them.

Palestine will miss you Rachel Corrie. So will the rest of the world. We hope that the Gaza strip will not be taken over by wrongful hands. Rest in peace. You are and will always remain to be mine and many other people's hero. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Shawshank Redemption - Salvation comes from within

Thoroughly bored as I was, I decided to watch a movie as I had downloaded enough of them on my computer to last me for a lifetime. I didn't really decide which one to watch until one in the morning. I finally made up my mind and thought that I'd watch 'The Shawshank redemption'.

I was glad that I did. It was amazing. We've heard about genius. This movie was genius on the highest pedestal. I am not exaggerating. This is about one prisoner in the Shawshank prison who was convicted even though he was innocent for murdering his wife and her lover. Right from day one, he started planning his way out. It was meticulous, it was fool-proof and it was unbelievable. He was ordered two life sentences back to back. He got out in 20 years. For the time that he stayed there, Andy Dufresne did a lot. He gave Shawshank the finest prison library. He once played an Italian opera on the PA system and the whole prison heard it. Music was something their weary lives seldom comprised of. Andy obviously did not get away with it.

Andy was a financial tax consultant to many of the officers. He became indispensable to them. Everyone somehow was in awe of Andy. He was tortured by the warden, raped by a gang of prison bullies called 'The Sisters' and he was made to do all the work while others took the credit. But Andy Dufresne did not give up. He still had hopes. His close friend and inmate 'Red' often told him that hope would drive him to insanity. Any man would have believed Red. He had stayed in the prison for long and he could get anybody anything reasonable inside the prison. He was an important man. But Andy wouldn't. Andy still hoped.

20 years later, with the help of a rock hammer and Rita Hayworth (Not saying how), Andy escaped from the great Shawshank prison. He went to Mexico just like he wanted. Later, when his friend Red was released on parole, he went to the place where Andy told him he'd find something. It was a letter and some cash. Then came my favourite lines in the movie. The letter said: "Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things and good things never die." With directions Red joined Andy in Mexico, later.

Whoever would have thought that after serving years in prison, one could go to the Pacific Ocean and to Mexico and could get engaged in building a fine hotel on the beach? Andy would have. And he did. When you have an dogged desire to do something, you end up doing it. No matter how long it takes and no matter what the task is. All it takes is hope, a will of steel, courage, conviction and perseverance. Maybe some lateral thinking too.

SP: It took him a rock hammer and a Rita Hayworth poster to do this.

Try figuring that out before watching the movie!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A day with my best friend

For you TP :)

When I first joined my college, there were two people who I thought I could NEVER be close to. One of them, is this girl who is ebullient and cranky and wants to do ten things at one time. Vaish. Today she is good company when I'm bored. Nice girl. The second is TP. Brilliant woman. And I MEAN brilliant. She aces quiz. So good at it that she made it look easier than a nursery rhyme. Economy, literature, politics - you name it. TP knows it. OK so she is a little opinionated and gives her opinions when not asked sometimes but it is sort of hard for her to see even teachers talk crap and just sit there.

I never really spoke to her properly in the first year but as we advanced into the second, I got to know her better. The first response that you would elicit by TP's mention is 'Intellectual'. But as I interacted with her, I got to know that beneath those owly spectacles and assertive arguments, TP was a really nice person. She has absolutely no arrogance or haughtiness. Yes she has really high self - esteem and she has what it takes to back it up. An amazing writer, TP can shuffle and juxtapose her words so well that I have little doubt that if she ever writes a book, it will sell like hot cakes. Not just because she can make it sound good but because she believes in what she writes and her conviction just makes my respect for her go two-fold. A strong feminist, armed with a library of facts and figures in her head, TP is quite a scare to some chauvinists!

But at the end of the day, my favourite thing about my best friend is that she can really listen to you. If she wouldn't have been there I don't know how I could have waded my way through college thus far! Maybe sometimes she is busy and doesn't get to spend much time with me. But when she does, it is one of the best days of my life. Because she will sit there and listen to you rant, vent out your fury about anything from the stupid budget or the size of Cadbury's chocolates. She's this not just to me but to her lil baby brotha, T and some other people. And I'm sure we all love her.

TP, thanks for today and everyday. You make friendship a celebration. :) I have absolutely no doubt that you'll have no trouble climbing your way up to the top. Thanks for being you and thanks for being there :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Feminism - NOT male bashing!

Why do people not think for themselves? One day, some women formed a group and stood up on the soapbox and hurled abuses at men. They called themselves feminists.

The media and the people contemptuously dubbed feminism as "evil". Huge error. If I claim to be a doctor and kill someone, will the whole world blame doctors? Doesn't make any sense does it? Why should it be any different for feminism? Today, every time I say I am a feminist, the immediate retort is: "Male basher!". I have some good male company who appreciate that I am a feminist and they know I don't bash them.

If it weren't for early feminists, women wouldn't be writing blogs or going to schools. They would be withheld in the kitchen, forced to draw a veil upon their face and raise kids. Fortunately today some women blog and wear what they want and are not ashamed if they can't cook. Not that they don't face problems.

There is not a single law from which women can seek respite for things like "eve teasing" which is nothing short of sexual harassment. The law states that nobody is allowed to insult the "modesty" of a woman! Ha! How broadminded.

Be it a roadside or public transport. The woman has to put up with so much all the time. Either it's a man ogling at her or it is a man trying to touch her. When the woman retorts, she is looked at strangely. "How can a woman do that in public? Eek!" And that line is coming from personal experience so don't even TRY to refute that statement.

In this society of patriarchy, men have all the power. However, there are some men who suffer too. Why? Because they are not "tough" and "macho" per se. Some men cry, you know. And what do they get told? "Stop crying like you are a girl!". So much for equality. If a guy really WANTS to cook, he gets laughed at. Cooking? Men should be doing engineering, you know! Cooking is a woman's cup of tea. Irony is that half of the time, the women say it themselves. Homosexuals are often looked down upon by straight men. "That is sooo gay!". And the same men watch lesbian porn. Talk about hypocrisy.

Also, some have a notion that women are not "smart enough". Why? They haven't invented many things! Now here I can a) Give you a long list of things that women invented, b) Tell you to be realistic. If you know your history even barely, you will KNOW that women did not have much previously. And all those religious books which have preordained rules for women - I am almost certain that they are made up. Men wrote those books to suit themselves. If it is the word of god then I certainly don't believe in a god who doesn't believe in egalitarianism! Today, boys are dropping out of colleges in the UK because they can't compete with the girls who are getting higher grades. Oh well, so much for the stupid mindset.

For those who think feminism is just a caper, we are not people who are gamboling around over here seeking for attention and frisking away in glory. We have reasons to believe that patriarchy is destructive and that women are oppressed due to it. And until ANY domination is wiped away, we are not going to step down. If feminists fight for women's rights and do not stand ANY kind of abuse or subjugation, unless you are a pervert or an MCP, there should be no trouble at all.

After all, there is more to a woman's life than just "nurturing" and "sacrificing". There is freedom out there. Mere existence is barely life.