Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Enough jokes on us Ladies!

Received this text from a friend and thought of it to be.. umm.. allow the message to speak for itself.

Enough jokes on us Ladies. Now, it's time for some male bashing (for a change) : 

Q: What is the difference between men and puppies?
A: Puppies grow up.
Q: If you drop a man and a brick out of a plane, which one would hit the ground first?
A: Who cares???

Q: What did God say after he created man?
A: I can do better than this! And then he created woman!!!
Q: What's the difference between an intelligent man & a UFO ?
A: Dont know, havnt seen either.
Q: What are two reasons why men don't mind their own business?
A: i) no mind
    ii) no business
Q: What makes men chase women they have no intention of marrying?
A: The same urge that makes dogs chase vehicles they have no intention of driving.
Q: What do you do with a man who thinks he's God's gift?
A: Exchange him!
Q: Why do men like smart women?
A: Opposites attract!

Share this with women who need a laugh and men who can handle it.

*All you ladies out there, inputs are MOST welcome!*


Monday, 14 January 2013

The lifeline of Mumbai

I came across this website: and this article: It is a wonderful article and thought I should share.

A Deathline Or A Lifeline

Mumbai local trains, It’s a complete package of entertainment, Mumbaikars hate it, love it, curse it, & care for it. I’m speaking about The Mumbai Local, the life line & the death line of Mumbai. Half of the Mumbai crowd travels in mumbail local trains. Every train commuter knows it very well that the Mumbai Local Train holds a prominent place in his/her life. Every Mumbaikar has a super unique bonding with The Mumbai Local.Push, pull, run, shout, abuse, snatch or jump or do anything possible but get inside the train. This is what The Mumbai Local offers to its commuters. The Mumbai Local train easily becomes one of the most fascinating part of every commuter and one learns & builds up the required bonding with The Mumbai Local very easily. Mumbai teaches everything & so does The Mumbai Local.
You find various types of daily commuters, But every commuter rants one same thing the moment he steps inside the train… “Bhai aage jaa na.. darwaje pe kyu khada hai..?” (Brother, go inside the train.. why are you standing near the door of the train compartment..?) No matter the train is over-crowded or empty, you will hear this line repeatedly. People unintentionally tend to advise or scold the co-commuters and the reason for this ranting is the frustration they suffer & carry in their daily lives.
Some commuters just shout at others, some of them just laugh at others. Some commuters keep reading the never ending newspapers & some commuters plug in their ear phones to play some music. You will find a group of students discussing about exams or planning for a mass bunk.
Some commuters sleep, some commuters sing a song & travel their way to their own dream world. Some chant God’s name, some abuse. Some commuters talk cricket or politics & some keep their mouths shut. Some commuters just sit back & watch whats happening around.
The most interesting people you find in the train are the one who have become part of an undesired friendship & bonding with the co-commuters & the bonding between them is so strong & awesome that these groups of people compose songs / lyrics of their own. They create music with the plastic bottles which sound like the Tabla instrument. Some create music by banging their tiffin boxes, some bang their hands on the outer side of the compartment, while some talented guys have the ability of making different vocal sounds. Let me share an experience :
One of the groups I came across was the group that boarded the local at CST. They were about 8-10 guys singing their way to the glory.
The song started as soon as the train started at CST. I was travelling from CST to Thane. Believe me, it was one of the most lovable & memorable time of my life. They took us through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s era of Indian Bollywood. The songs & the music was so pleasing to hear. Then suddenly, one of them started singing a song of his own. Well that guy was great. All the commuters present in the compartment were having a good time inspite of their stressful day in the office.
You make so many “Hi-Bye friends”. You make some friends with whom you just exchange a smile every day. You make some friends with him you shake hand every day.You sometimes end up your day meeting your old friend in the same compartment or on the platform.
There are a few commuters who keep reading the advertisements bills sticked inside in train compartment walls which promise to uncover your future life with their astroligic power. You will find names like Joshi Pundit Baba, RamKunj Baba & few other computerized Babas.(no offence)
Another interesting and exciting stuff is that some commuters chant “Ganapati Bappa Morya.. Mangal Moorti Morya” when train arrives Dadar station & “Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai” when train approaches CST. Some people keep on shooting a video of whatever happens in the train so that they can share it. While some like me keenly observe the happenings so that they can write an article like this. Hahahah :P
Stuffs like, Fights, robbery, violence, never ending phone calls, bomb blasts, hawkers, dabbawalas, Mumbai Police under-cover agents and many many more interesting things happen in The Mumbai Local which you and me will never ever even think about.
The worst things happen in train. But even the bomb blasts have not been able to break the bonding that has been developed between the commuters & the train over the period of years. May be we do not have any other choice but to use The Mumbai Local for moving from one place to another, but we still risk our lives to travel in The Mumbai Local every day. Proud to be a Mumbaikar!
If you are a daily commuter, I hope that I have been able to create a small picture in your mind where in you have seen one of the unknown commuters whom you meet almost every day.
Thanks a ton for reading. Please share if you liked it.


The Awesomest Person EVER : Mother

A mother's job is the toughest in the world. Hands down. No argument. Here's a typical day of a Homemaker Mum's life in Mumbai.

A homemaker with two kids:
So, she has two kids, one is in school, the other in college, also doing an internship. How does the day look?
05:30am : Wake up & freshen up
05:35am : Boil milk and get started with cooking for packing lunch and breakfast
05:45am : Wake up the elder kid for college
06:10am : Pack breakfast and lunch for the elder kid
06:15am : See the elder kid off, have coffee and browse the newspaper
06:30am : Wake up the younger kid and startpacking lunch box for the younger one
06:45am : Wake husband up
06:50am : Once the lunch is packed, prepare coffee for hubby & mom in law
07:00am : Browse newspaper again
07:15am : Hubby and wife decide what to pack him for lunch
07:20am : See the younger kid off and start cooking for hubby
07:50am : Start packing hubby's lunch and ask what he wants for breakfast
07:55am : Start preparing breakfast for hubby & mom in law (at times, different dishes)
08:15am : Serve hubby & mom in law breakfast
08:30am : See the husband off
08:35am : Put the clothes in the washing machine
08:45am : Clean the kitchen and keep things ready for the maid
09:00am : Maid arrives, supervise her work
09:45am : Maid leaves, go for taking a shower
10:00am : All freshened up, commense Puja
10:15am : Have a small cup of coffee and browse the newspaper
11:00am : Attend to paying of bills, cleaning the house here and there and other misc household chores
11:30am : Start preparing for lunch
12:30pm : Once lunch is all made, switch the TV on
12:40pm : Feed mother in law
01:00pm : Have lunch and watch TV simultaneously
01:30pm : Keep lunch ready for the younger kid
02:00pm : Younger kid returns home
02:10pm : Sit for lunch with the younger kid
02:45pm : Get the kid ready for classes
02:55pm : Send the kid to class & start tidying up the kitchen
03:30pm : Boil milk for coffee
03:45pm : Coffee for self and mother in law
04:00pm : Random discussions/arguments/fights with mom in law
04:30pm : Start folding up the clothes that were put for drying
05:00pm : Younger kid returns
05:10pm : Start preparing snacks for the kid
05:45pm : Feed the child
06:00pm : Start preparing dinner (since elder child has dinner immediately after coming home)
06:30pm : Elder child returns
06:40pm : Serve the elder child coffee
07:00pm : Serve the elder child dinner
07:30pm : Husband returns home
07:40pm : Serve the husband coffee
07:45pm : Start dinner preparations
08:30pm : Assemble everybody at the dining table, switch TV off
09:00pm : Dinner over, clean the table and kitchen
09:30pm : Boil milk
09:40pm : Serve everybody milk
09:50pm : Get ready for bed
10:00pm : Watch TV
10:30pm : Go to sleep

This is no easy feat.

And when the Mother is a working professional, the added burden of professional duties, responsibilities and deadlines is in picture. I know. My mom has been a high achieving working professional for 25 years and now she is a home maker. I'd like to see her relax under my care, enjoying time with my Dad. I know I cannot do both work and family together. So, family (as in, husband, kids) is the last thing on my list. Priority list:
1. Career
2. Parents & Sibling

It ends there.

Online dating

I met him online. On a dating website. (Oh, hush the gasps, this is not a courtroom drama!) He had a not so noticeable id. I had some amazing id that potrayed me as the amazing urbane quintessential girl. He buzzed me. I buzzed him back. We chatted for a few days via the website's email. I then gave him the email id that I had prepared especially for this alias that I was playing. We started Instant Messaging there. It was kind of an addiction. I know that if I start again, it still will be. It was easy to share all those intimate details, worries, frustrations and routines of my monotonous, boring, depressing and dramas of my then teenage life with an unknown face in the crowd. An unknown virtual stranger. It was like a dream blowing of steam, knowing it will never come back to me. It will never haunt me. Ever.

I gave away my real identity. He had only changed his first name. Then, we exchanged numbers. He did not force or coax me to. I was hesitant and refrained. He accepted. Eventually, after a period, I agreed. We spoke to each other. Not all the time. But enough to have a smile on my face everyday. I was afraid I would fall for him. I'm not the one to trust or commit myself easily. He didn't push. I was comfortable. After 2 years, he admitted, he liked me. I liked him too, I said as much. But this nag in my head kept pestering me, why didn't I have those butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings toward him like it always happens when I like like someone? Then I realized, I like him as a friend. My fault was I didn't express as much. I was stupid. Idiotic. What more to say.

We continued to speak, he continued to express himself. He wanted to meet me. Again, he was (and still is and will always be) a perfect gentleman. He didn't force me to meet him. I wasn't ready. I said as much. He said he understood and didn't bring up the subject again. The sad part was, I wanted to meet him too. More than anything. But, I (as always) was low on confidence. The fact that if I meet him, it may so happen that I am waiting for him, he looks at me, doesn't find me good enough and walks away. Also, my dream of the faceless-strangers-sharing-secrets would be shattered. He suggested meeting some 3-4 times after that, over a period of 2 more years. I still had  a big fat no.

By then, our talks weren't all that regular. Maybe because I didn't take his calls much. I am a no nonsense person. Lovey dovey, cheesy talks mean nothing to me. I like facts and conversations that are to the point, be it with colleagues or family. He is more of a romantic. He likes to drag conversations around. I got bored. I used to get so irritated that I used to cut his calls, not take his calls, only text him, respond in monosyllables. I felt bad at times. I really did. But I've had (still do) zero patience for this behaviour of his that I call insanity. I spoke to my friend in the States and she told me she'd kill for her boyfriend to be like this guy. He wasn't my boy friend. No. No. Oh, no! I wasn't ready, you see.

He asked me one day, what this relationship of our's meant to me. I said he was a friend, nothing more. He was killing himself trying to get me, which wasn't going to happen. I tried and tried and tried but just couldn't fathom those feelings toward him. He was roaming around in no man's land and he was missing out on so many opportunities, maybe we should just cut off all contact and move on, for good.

He agreed.

No contact, nothing. I spoke to him on the 11th of this month (after a 6 month gap). He called and asked me whether I'd like to watch the new movie, Matru something. I said no. Why? "I have my braces now! I don't want you to see me like this." His retort? "You are such a child. When will you grow up?" Anyway, meeting him for another year was a No-No. I asked him point blank, you are in contact again, what do you want with us?

His response was "I need you. I try really hard to not think of you, to stay away from you, but I just can't. I want us to be friends (which we have been for more than 4 years now) and I want us to be in a relationship. I want to be with you."

I said, I have my own reservations regarding a relationship. I don't like to be tied down. Least of all when I am so young and have my whole life ahead of me. I am preparing for my MBA/MiM. After hearing this, he said a  relationship was a No-No for him were I to move and settle in a foreign land.

The next day, he texted me. "You are very happy in your limited social circle of your close knit family and few close friends. You told me long ago that you find it very hard to expand our circle. I find that very endearing. I will not change you. I will not force you. I am leaving everything to time and fate. If we were to happen, we will happen. If not, we will atleast be friends."

"Thank you", is what I told him.

My point of narrating all this? Relationship or no, I have gained a wonderful friend. Also, I am still a scared little girl afraid of showing her true emotions who believes that crying is a sign of weakness. Showing how you really feel is for losers. I know my mindset will change. I am a person who prefers real experiences as compared to being taught what is right and wrong. I like learning it the hard way. I always have, which has left me a little scarred for life. I don't mind. Yes, it does make meeting people and opening up to them awfully dificult. But, this is what you have aliases for. :)


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A whole load of nothingness here in the city

I have absolutely nothing interesting to write about. Nothing. Nothing. Oh, maybe something.

The other day, my senior-at-work and I were discussing how crappy our lives were. We're in the field of accountancy, the senior's a professional already while I'm work in progress. All this and all we want to do is travel the world. We read all these travel blogs and think, we can write this. We so can! Why not!? Because this is how mundane life is, this is how it is "supposed to be", because we're tied, because we're answerable to someone, somewhere. I hate it. We hate it. Living in Mumbai makes it all the more difficult. Don't get me wrong, I love the city and I also know for a fact that were I to live elsewhere, I'd grow restless to get back here and I'd be missing the flooded and clogged monsoon, the pull and push of local trains, the buses tilted  to the left (due to the huge crowd in it and hanging outside both doors), the traffic, the pollution, the congestion, the absolute lack of privacy, etcetra. I can go on. The bottom line? I love this city. Being born and brought up here, I wouldn't trade anything for my life in the city (Mumbai or some place similarly paced, say, New York or London or Amsterdam or Boston, only cleaner : P ).

My senior was telling me about her dear ones living in various parts of the world, I must tell you, I was jealous. Her cousin living in Pune wakes up at 8.45am, gets ready and is at work at 9.30am. Her neighbour living in France took the bus, train, bus and a little walk to the office, it took her 8 minutes to get to work from home. I am so MAD!! This friend living in Delhi, it takes her 30 minutes to get to work and back home.


Wow, this ought to be fun to share. All you non-mumbaikars, take a look(read):

Waiting for the bus, outside my home : 15 minutes
After boarding the bus, to reach the station : 45 minutes (moderate traffic, with heavy traffic, time taken is close to an hour and 15 minutes)
Board a local train, depending on the destination, whatever time, for me, it's half an hour, excluding mega blocks and signal snags.
After getting down from the train, wait for the bus : 15 minutes
Board bus, time to reach the destination : 35 minutes (moderate traffic)

So, one way, for a middle class girl, working at a small office 20 kms away from home is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

At the end of the day, I have an average commute time of 4  hours and 40 minutes in my kitty. Many may think that she might as well put the time to good use, after all, time is money! Oh, you are so wrong! The best pass time during travelling in my opinion is reading (listening to blaring music over headphones is pointless, in my opinion unless you are in the music industry). Now, reading maybe possible only when the bus or train is empty, or partially so. When you have to board a crowded train or bus(which is everyday) wherein you have to stand STICKING to the person next to you, so much so that his/her hot breath is felt on your arms, the stink of his sweat is all over your nostrils and if he's listening to music, God help you, the proximity is such that you can even listen to that.

This is the reality of an ordinary average working class Mumbaikar. We travel 4 hours in order to put in 8 hours of work, we get, say, 7 hours of sleep, say, 3 hours of meal time, and we have 2 hours left in a day (which we ideally use for ranting and raving and complaining about the useless life and system in place). At the end of the day, the week, we are so exhausted that all we dream about are wonderful vacations and just don't have the energy, money or time to take one.

Life sucks!! I could use some advice.

Damn, I thought I had nothing on my mind but, voila! :)


Friday, 4 January 2013

Post on the Delhi rape case

I came across this blog and the post while browsing:

Blog name:
Author: Sharell Cook

The content of this post has opened a whole new arena of thought process in my brain now.

The recent gangrape and beating of a 23 year old Indian woman in Delhi (and her subsequent tragic death) has shaken not only India but the world. It dominated the news in Australia, where I was visiting my family last month, along with the shocking statistic that a rape happens every 22 minutes in India. It’s a grave matter because India’s international reputation is now at stake and the situation has left the world waiting for answers and action to be taken.
I didn’t want to write anything about the rape for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s left me with a lot of negative feelings and I don’t want to dwell on them as it will make living in India disturbing for me. Secondly, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve reached a stage where I feel less inclined to want to write about contentious issues in India. I’ve gone through a phase of “locking horns” with India and questioning how the country functions. Now, I’ve reached a stage of resignation. It is what it is, and as I’m not a citizen of India, it’s not really my place to judge and criticise.
However, I’ve been asked to write something about the rape situation here in the hopes of igniting a constructive discussion, so I’ll briefly share my views about it.
The simple thing to do is to just blame the men for raping — after all they’re committing the act. Where’s their self control? It goes deeper than that though. The core of the matter is why men think that they can keep behaving in such a way. And, the reason is because Indian society and the legal system supports such behaviour.
Take an example such as Hitler. He was the perpetrator of many horrific acts. Yet, he would never have been able to carry them out if so many people didn’t support him.
In India, the rape of women is directly or indirectly supported by a range of factors including:
  • the lesser status of women in society and the manner in which they are shunned if rape does happen to them.
  • an ineffective legal system where women are discouraged from reporting rapes, and the rapists can get free through such means as offering bribes. India’s legal system is also notoriously inefficient and long winded, and conviction rates for rapes low.
  • politicians who have cases of rape and sexual harassment against them being commonplace. Political parties support them and allow them to enter politics.
It’s the attitude of Indian society towards women and rape victims that’s particularly disturbing. A friend of mine wrote an excellent, well researched, blog post about it.
She states:
“I was sad to discover the “11% Truth” about rape in India – or what happens to a child or woman after being a victim of a rape or incest. I surveyed and asked If a girl or woman is raped in India, will she have the same chances in life as anyone else? (for example, to find a good husband, live a normal family life, etc…). A resounding 89% of Indians believe that she never will. That means that only 11% of victims will end up leading a happy ‘normal’ life if anyone were to find out that she’d been raped. In part, that explains very vividly the low number of reports filed following a rape. Keeping it a secret seems like the only chance some girls have to find a good husband later.”
She also reveals:
“When I asked If a girl is raped, does this bring shame – or embarrassment – onto the family of the victim? 50% of respondents answered YES. A large number of respondents left follow-up comments to that question like, “my personal answer is no, but the real answer in many Indian families would be yes.” I read countless stories of village girls and women thrown out and banned from their homes after being raped. This is done to minimise damage to the family’s status within the community and reduce the level of shame brought down upon them as much as possible.”
From this, it is clear that the fundamentals of Indian society need to change. I dearly want to believe that the girl’s death will be a catalyst for this much needed change. It’s a hope that I’m clinging to because I don’t want to accept the alternative — that her death will be in vain and forgotten about in years to come, and that the attitudes that support rapes and mistreatment of women will prevail.

Effective writing, really though provoking. Like I have stated before, I wonder why we are still living in the dark ages while all that could be heard earlier was "India will emerge a super powers".

However, at what cost?


Thursday, 3 January 2013

TOI 03.01.13 editorial

This editorial by Ms. Bachi Karkaria in the TOI on 03.01.13 is something I would like everyone to read. I absolutely love her writing, be it Erratica or the Q&A column she does in Mumbai Mirror. Madam, I really enjoy your writing. Here is the article:
Wring out the old, ring in the dawn of the Age of Ordinariness

'May you live in interesting times.' That's what the Chinese say when they want to wish ill on someone. My single wish, not masked in doublespeak, is 'May we live in ordinary times.' In 2013, we should count ourselves lucky if we can get off the roller coaster of the past few years and live a life more ordinary. 

Scoff not at this unambitious boon. It would be an extraordinary blessing to get back the simple routines of life. Let me list some of them.

That young women don't have to live within the lakshman rekha of the hemline.

That they can reclaim the uneventfulness of a bus ride. That a 23-year-old girl can have ordinary dreams, even ordinary frustrations, and not have to become an icon of courage, a symbol of shame, or the rallying point of a nation's conscience.

That all women can say 'yes' to all the things they want to do. And, if that's too much to ask, that they at least get the right to say 'no'. To the boss, boyfriend or even husband without being slashed with a blade, having their skull smashed open with a sickle, or being disfigured for life in an acid attack.

That young people can visit a park or a pub without ending up at a leering police station.

That our children can return to the ordinariness of hopscotch and homework instead of the daily possibility of blood on the playground. That they will be spared classroom killings and suicide. That they regain their birthright of childhood.

That the most workaday objects no longer mutate into weapons of mass devastation. That a tiffin box once again contains nothing more explosive than the 'gunpowder' sprinkled on the idli inside it. That scooters are once again packed with bhaiya, his biwi, bachchey and Snowy the Pomeranian instead of with RDX.

That we get back the security of returning home safe without fear of being run over by a drunk or untrained driver ploughing through the pavement.

Indeed, that we can get back the pavements now savaged by the building of metro and monorail. That our cities and small towns get a reprieve from their sentence of death by improvement so that ordinary life isn't savaged by pollution, diversion and disruption. That mall will stop being spelt m-a-u-l.

Speaking of which, here's hoping that politicians stop being mauliticians, and thereby aid our return to ordinariness. That netas stick to their job description, and replace greed with governance, expediency with efficiency.

That babus become redundant so that we can get on with our lives. That we can build a house or get a gas connection, that we can be born or die without having to pay a bribe.

Am i being foolishly optimistic? No, for the first time, there's reason to hope. The year just past may have ended with a crucifixion, but it was also replete with signs of resurrection. Whether in the anti-corruption movement or in the massed outrage against the Delhi gang rape, the aam admi and aurat served notice that they were no longer prepared to exist only as a political slogan. They became a flesh-and-blood (and sometimes bloodied) force, clearly visible to the naked TV eye. They appeared in numbers large enough to fill entire Ramlila grounds, which no political jantar mantar could 'chhoo' away in one fell swoop.

So in 2013, it's entirely possible that they will achieve critical mass. That together, they can make it the year of ordinary people demanding the right to live a life more ordinary. We could call it our own moral aam-arment movement.


Alec Smart said: "So, the US pulled back from its fiscal tiff. Peace on earth, good bills to all men.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Reader's Digest, I love thy jokes!

I have to say this. I LOVE RD! I have been a big fan ever since mum introduced me to them.

So, the January, 2013 issue of RD (India) has this one joke (all of them are great, this one joke had mum and me laughing for hours on end):

Page 52
Humour Editor Andy Simmons has his own book Now that's Funny, filled with jokes, anecdotes, essays and interviews from his nine years at RD.
Favourite dolt who reminds me that I am smarted than atleast one person:
Londoner X arrived home to find her husband, Y, in front of a mirror "just staring at himself, his pupils tiny." Y, a newly trained hypnotist, had accidentally hypnotized himself while rehearsing a new act and had been standing like that for five hours." 
I'm still laughing :) Hopefully, so will you.


Article on Delhi gang rape in TOI on 30.12.12

This article in TOI on 30.12.12 is an editorial by Rupa Sengupta. I can tell you that I agree with every sentence, every word of it and I am sad to say that my parents, like many expected the highlighted sentences of me.

Why is freedom still denied to midnight's girl children?2012 will end at the stroke of the midnight hour. But India won't stop mourning the death of Nirbhaya, a young rape victim so named by this newspaper for her fearlessness in the face of adversity. This paramedical student's undeserved fate serves as a reminder that - after six decades of Independence - the modern Indian woman is free to do simple things like meet a friend, walk on the street, and catch a bus at night - only at her own risk. Whatever happened to her freedom, promised at the stroke of midnight back in 1947?
Nirbhaya's is the story of millions of Indian women, open to insults, subject to ambush, vulnerable to attack, destined for demonisation. Yes, women are stalked, molested and battered the world over. But, barring some barbaric places, the world over it isn't social custom for girls to be killed even before they're born. The world over, they aren't forbidden choice in work, love or marriage by politically coddled khaps. The world over, they aren't set ablaze with sickening regularity for not meeting dowry demands or failing to bear sons. Nor do most politicians, the world over, think it perfectly kosher to justify rape by blaming the victim.
The men who victimised Nirbhaya were monstrous products of this very society that would have women surrender body and mind or else metamorphose into a strumpet in male eyes. Surely freedom means nothing if, despite their shared humanity, women are thought inferior to men, and so coerced to serve them in the flesh or be stripped, whipped and worse.
It's time to ask some questions - and loudly. How many times has a girl child been told not to run wild like her brothers, because she must inculcate passivity? How many times has a girl student been told that the art of masochism prepares her for life more than the habit of scientific enquiry? How many times have teenagers, barely post-puberty, been paraded in the marriage market as sideshows to the 'dahej'*? How many times have brides been made to acquiesce to conjugal deflowering and impregnation as the sole justification for their existence?
Perhaps as many times as 'virtuous' women are told that the night is out of bounds save to tramps and trollops. All because nocturnal obscurity works in the fevered minds of predators a mysterious transformation of woman into slut cum prey. How many times must the midnight hour - the instant this country won freedom - be a witching hour, associating woman with evil so that society can deploy male lust as a weapon of punitive exorcism?
What are you doing out at night? That's what her tormentors asked Nirbhaya and her companion one December night. Shall we not, as midnight's children, demolish that abominable question by saying women need answer neither to society's moral police nor to its criminal spawn?
That Nirbhaya's heroism moved so many people in a nation where gender bias breeds rampant brutality suggests we can. As a new year approaches, let it inspire in us the resolve to reform society and politics, challenging every one of their conspiratorial assaults on one half of the Indian population. Nirbhaya's refusal of victimhood in her darkest hours teaches what we always knew: that human dignity is inalienable and the human spirit indomitable. It is this light of inner freedom that midnight's girl children must hold on to.
For, Nirbhaya's story doesn't tell women to dread the world because beasts lurk in it, behind trees, beyond each bend, in vehicles with dark windows. It enjoins us to remake the world so that every member of a long-oppressed sorority can trust it as a guarantor of equality, security and justice. Our freedom is only half-won unless Nirbhaya's sisters can walk on the road on a winter night, board the bus that comes along, and find their way home - the way Nirbhaya hoped to.

It gets me thinking. Why do we women put up with this hellhole? There must be some way out of it. Only thing, it is unknown as of now.


* Dahej is Hindi for dowry.