30 Oct 2012

Ways To Help Women Stay Safe

October is my second favourite month (December comes first by the way! ) and it also happens to be the 'Violence Against Women Awareness Month'. So, this post is about a rabid and disgusting disease that is plaguing India - violence against women, and on how to ensure our safety!  India has been crowned the worst place to be a woman (among G20 nations) and I'm not surprised. Everyday, newspapers bring news of women being molested in different parts of the country. And true to our motto of 'unity in diversity', women all over India are united in suffering from eve teasing and violent forms of sexual abuse.

Kerala is supposed to be a state of educated and socially aware and responsible people but we are not better off in providing safety and security to the women folk. Infact, Kerala has surprised everyone by topping the list as the state with the most number of crimes being reported against women. We try to convince ourselves by saying that its because the crimes get reported here unlike in other states. But no one can turn their heads to the fact that in Kerala, women are getting raped in trains, homes and workplaces. A few days back there was a shocking story of a sick, bed ridden mother and her daughter who were raped in broad day light by two men who broke into their house.

There is also another form of violence that often goes unreported - eve teasing. The word 'eve teasing' itself  is very misgiving. It sounds like some kind of mild amusement, which its not! Any form of abusive action committed against women which falls short of rape, comes under 'eve teasing'. Almost every girl I know have at least once witnessed or experienced some form of eve teasing. That is how rampant it is.

Talking about our problems and worrying is not gonna make much difference, its time to act.We cannot always expect the men folk to come to our aid. Understanding our weakness and overcoming it is what we have to do. So, I've made a list of things that women can do to ensure their safety at home and while outside.

1.  Be Vigilant
I know that sounds a little scary, but better safe than sorry. Especially when you are traveling alone, be aware of the people around you. And whenever possible tell your family and friends where you are going and when you are expected to return. Keep police control room number and the number of a friend or relative on speed dial.

2. Dress Appropriately
Remember, what might seem normal in certain circles of the society might be provocative in more conservative sections. Don't invite trouble by dressing inappropriately.

3. Appear Confident
Criminals tend to target scared and lost looking women. So, don't look lost, be confident.

4. Carry Sharp Objects
It is very good if you know some form of martial arts but not everyone has the time to learn it. So, Plan B is to make use of the things you carry with you. Small sharp objects can be a very good weapon. Drop a sharp pin or pen into your purse when you step out of home. It might come handy when you need to distract the assailant and escape.

5. Water Bottles, Umbrellas , Torches and Sprays
We all know of pepper spray and how it can be the single most effective tool in the arsenal of women. In case you can't get hold of one, use deodorant, hair spray or air freshener instead. They are all very effective. Carry them whenever possible.
You can slip in a water bottle, umbrella or if you are traveling at night, carry a torch. All these can be used to strike down your opponent.

6. At Home
Always lock the door properly and don't open it for strangers. Know your neighbors and maintain a good relation with them. If a mechanic or plumber is due to arrive, request a neighbor to be present at the time.

7. Trust your Instincts
Always trust your instincts and common sense. If you think something is not right, flee immediately.

Every woman has her own methods to ensure safety. So if you have any such methods, do share it.
Lets take our safety into our own hands!!

13 Oct 2012

Happy B'day To Me..!!

Today is my birthday! So yeyy..Hapy birthday to me! I've lived through 21 very beautiful years of life. And every single birthday was special. But this time around something has changed. The childish joy with which I waited for October 13, is no longer there. Maybe its because I've grown too much. ;) What is age but a mere number and birthday, a reminder that you are one step closer to death.. Very pessimistic,I know.

Wish I could freeze time, or better still, go back in time. I remember when I was a kid, all my friends wanted to grow up and go to college. But even then, I just wanted to remain a kid. Always playing, laughing, running to parents when something hurt, crying shamelessly, being silly, not trying hard to be politically right, not bogged down by responsibilities, not worrying incessantly about future.. I guess I knew then itself that life can't get any better.

But we still live with the hope that next year will be better and that better things are yet to come. Of course, lot of good things happened in my life. I can say with confidence that I have lived 21 years to the fullest. But I wish I din't mature this fast. I wish I could be that kid again without worrying about people staring at me and asking, "Are you crazy?". I wish people could all forget living right and live by their heart. I wish everyone could just go back to being kids in their heart.. I wish everyone could throw away the garb of false pretenses and twisted notions about right and wrong and just be themselves.

There is an interesting story about an African tribe that I heard from my friend. When a lady of the tribe gets pregnant, all the ladies go into deep forest and meditate.They meditate till the pregnant lady can tune herself to the heartbeat of her yet to be born child. Then as she listens, she can hear a song from the heart of the child. She sings the song and all the women sing along. That song becomes the song of the child. When the child grows up and commits any mistake, everyone in the tribe sit together and sing that song to him, to remind him who he really is. Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that the way we all should be? Connected to our hearts, always remembering our true selves?

So, here is my birthday wish,
Let everyone listen and understand the song of their heart and never loose themselves in the madness of this world! :)

8 Oct 2012

Date A Girl Who Reads

seongyosa . Interestingly, she herself had read it in coypatalagsa‘s blog. In short, this article has been going around a lot. Its not surprising that it gained so much popularity, just read it and you will see why. I really couldn't resist the temptation to re-blog it!!So, here it is..

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second-hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamier is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted.

Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her.You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

4 Oct 2012

The Krishna Key

Book:    The Krishna Key
Author:  Aswin Sanghi
My rating: 3.5/5

I had heard about this anthropological thriller by Ashwin Sanghi long before BlogAdda put it up for reviewing. So when I got an opportunity to review it, I was really excited. I haven't read Ashwin's previous books,The Rozabal Line and Chanakya's Chant, so I din't really know what to expect. The Krishna Key is a result of the author's extensive research and references alone take up 11 pages of the book.  I really appreciate the author for all that research and hardwork, its simply mind bogging. As for the story, it has a story line clouded by facts, but still manages to keep you hooked.

The story of Sri Krishna forms the backdrop. Intertwined with history and supported by archeological evidences and vedic literature, the book embarks on uncovering secrets hidden away for centuries.Was Krishna just a mythological character or is there more to him? Is it time for the prophesied next avatar of Krishna, Kalki? Was ancient Indian knowledge far more superior to our present day technologies? These are some of the questions which are posed in the book.

The protogonist Ravi Mohan Saini is a historian accused of murdering his close friend and leading symbolist and linguist, Anil Varshney. Anil was on the verge of a path breaking historical discovery when he was gruesomely murdered in his bedroom. A special seal believed to be linked with Krishna's era, one of a set of four, is stolen from Anil's room. It is upon Saini to prove his innocence and solve the mystery behind the seals. With the help of his student Priya, Saini embarks on a journey tracing the paths of history, while staying clear of the cops behind him and outwitting others who are desperate to get hold of the seal.

Ashwin can aptly be called Dan Brown of India. The book will totally change our perspective on the puranas. Through simple and effective language, Ashwin manages to keep the readers hooked. But the author is so eager to list out all the fantastic historic proofs and conspiracy theories that he discovered during his research that, the plot slips away. This book is excellent as a documentary but doesn't impress as a fiction thriller.There are a lot of errors in the book and it could have gone through better proof reading. If you have an interest in the Vedic era, our mythologies and like a lot of facts and conspiracies, this book will be an engrossing read, go for it! If history and facts bore you to death, you might want to skip this book.

A very well researched and well marketed book which could have turned out better with a stronger and more impressive story line.The author Ashwin Sanghi really deserves applause for his research! :)

This review is a part of the Book Review Program organised by BlogAdda.