Friday, May 15, 2009

A series of extraordinary incidents

[caution: long post]
I witnessed a very unfortunate incident a few months back. Actually I witnessed the eerieness for about 7 months- throughout which I was aware I was not in the best of situations.
So let us begin at the very beginning. I came to work in Bangalore and as any other girl, my first concern was a safe place to stay near my office area which happened to be on M.G Road. So I went PG (s)hopping. They come in ALL sizes I tell you- small, medium, large, cheaply priced, moderately priced, exorbitantly priced, in a super homely locality, to a barely decent locality to plain shady localities. Now, the funniest part is, the three never co-incide to give a combination you'd like (unlike your Permutation and Combination answers which suggest one resullt would have teh ideal situation- that ideal I never came across!). So after almost 6 days of depressing search, I got something close to what I liked and here I must add, my mother loved it. With all the shady Landlord/Landladies that she had come across in the 6 days, she was floored by this lady's polite behaviour and how she treats the PG girls just like her daughter. She went on to elaborate how she has a daughter and knows what are the concerns of having a dauther because of the safety reasons. She had the best deal- nice room, with food (All three meals !! woo hoo!!), laundry charges included and I just had to share it with another girl.
As you must have realised by now my point, so the meals were there and three only if you hankered/begged/shouted at them. If you didn't ask for your food, you didn't get it. The laundry wouldn't be done for days if not weeks if one didn't go and poke them (literally). The room mate peed on my bed because she hated me. Just because she was in the room before me, it was apparently owned by her. The landlady did nothing to solve the isue. She would remember me only on the first day of the month when she wanted rent. When any guests came I was not allowed to step out of my room. I got a lock and a point to charge my phone after three months of hankering. The rest of it is slowly fading away from my memory. Then there was cat hair in the food- the servants forcibly trying to feed me beef and goat hoofs and narrating tales of how the landlady is a tyrant and doesn't pay for her cerebral palsey hit child. I felt bad for the little girl and decided to fund her weekly physio-therapy once a month which was Rs. 250/-. This I also realised would stop the servants from being so non-chalant or disgusted when doing the laundry or serving me food. I thought ok, so I help a child and I also get my work done. But well, charity I learnt you shoulld do unconditionally- do not expect any work done for the money/things you give away in charity. OK, my mistake. So I did most of the things myself- washed my clothes, made food for myself when they forgot about my hunger (which was most of the days). This was in addition to to their demands of ruling the house when the Landlady wasn't around. The Landlady as I pointed out just came to claim her monetary share. She had a weird fiasco going with the peeing-roommate of mine and came to discuss "things" with her in our room at 2am in the morning! The roommate was allowed to bring "male friends" inside the house anytime she felt but no other PG girls could even bring their fathers / brothers inside. Appraently all men are prohibitted. But the roommate definitely got some huge benefits form her. Her rent was lesser, she could leave / enter the PG anytime. It took some time for me to realise the Landlady benefitted monetarily form the room-mate's actions. So why didn't I move out? Well, my mother felt the best PG she herself saw and approved had turned out like this, then all others would be worse if not equally bad, so it made no sense for me to move. With all my logics, she just increasingly felt her younger daughter was just getting more away from her, and her motherly control. She felt I was being "too independent" when I found out another moderate place close-by to my office. She went into the motherly emotional blackmail so much so that I had to yeild and give up thinking about moving out.
Last December she came to visit me and she realised what I was going through. Well such things you have to be in the middle of, to realise exactly how bad it is. She approved to my moving out. She decided that once the servant shouted at her the moment I asked food for my mother and I lost my cool. Anyway drama happened, Landlady pretended nothing was wrong and happily asked money for my mother's stay. On one of the last days of my mother's stay, the servant's husband threatened to throw me out physically form the PG because my friend (who is a girl, by the way) had come to visit me. My mother said enough I cannot let you stay here any more. I packed my bags in two hours and left. When I later went to pick up my deposit money from the Landlady a week after, she refused to give it, shouted, yelled, shrieked, but my friend who went along with me was not budging without the payment. The servants also joined in the hurling of abuses because I was asking back for my money. When they saw I had a local language speaking girl with me, they started abusing in the local language. When my friend wouldn't budge still (I was already weak-kneed by then with all the abuses and shouting), the servants asked me and my friend to lie naked with the servant man and they would take pictures and only after this would I get my money back. I was not staying there for another minute. I was honestly scared. After we left, we decided to go to the police station to file an FIR because my friend and I had been threatened to be raped. We tried lodging a complaint and the Ashok Nagar Police Station (right beside Mayo Hall) but the Officer in Charge refused to lodge my complaint on the ground that since it was a Women's P.G, he would need a woman officer so he couldn't lodge the complaint as it was 10.00pm. He very unassuringly told me to get back the next morning and would take my complaint. I felt a loss. Loss that I was taking all this humiliation and I could feel the Police Officer had spoken to the Landlady before I reached there. I didn't go the next day. I didn't feel I would be given justice. Anyway after my parents heard this they forbade me from going to the Police because my Landlady was a nasty lady clearly and they didn't want me to get in any sort of connection with people who were so ugly. My friend who accompanied me was definitely upset that we being lawyers and moreso human beings how could we take it lying down. We should have protested.
I agree, I should have protested. But I was scared for my life and more than that I was scared when that man-servant he said he would rape me. I was honestly scared. Maybe, I should have gone there the next day, lodged a complaint but I didn't because the Police in our country scares me more than it instills any faith of what-so-ever kind in me. O.K., if may be I was in my home town I would have gone ahead and done something, taken a guy with me (yes, I feel more secure that way and no, whatever they teach you in sociology is not correct- women are helpless- atleast women like me are. We get scared at the thought that we would be raped- yes that IS a scary thought for me) and then possibly at least made an attempt to ruin the reputation of her PG. But I didn't do that- I took it lying down, because I didn't want to be the victim who is "discussed" everywhere because she was raped. The idea scared me- that was the most scary thought and the scariest thing that has happened to me. To change that scary moment maybe I am willing to let ALL my future room mates pee on my bed sheet. Here I must add, while I had last visited my old PG to get my money, the ex-roommate was also fighting and mocking my friend and me. I still wonder what her connection is with those shady men and how the Landlady fits in the whole equation....
So, as much as I disappointed my friend with "not taking action" while she was willing to do anything to stand by me, she doesn't possibly realise to the extent women like me are controlled by thier idea of chastity and fear about the same being robbed off them. Women like me don't wear short skirts late at night even though we love to feel the breeze, because we are too scared we might attract the wolvish "outside men" to be tempted to take away our chastity. Women like me are too scared to show off thier bodies even though that makes them feel good. We cover ourselves up, don't wear "loud" make up, we only go out with our fathers or brothers or our bethroted. Maybe we don't always do these things but we do it when we are scared- scared of losing our chastity. Yes, my dear Friend that is why that night I was delirious and crying. Someone had threatened me that they would take away my most prized possession and unlike my bottle of honey (which my maid drinks from), I cannot replace it. I felt alone and very scared. Another girl who was my age and also had been threatened the same way, I didn't think was enough to protect me from the harm those goons could cause me. Therefore I didn't do anything about it.
A week later I heard form a friend (who continued to live in that PG) that the landlady and the man-servant had followed us to the Police Station and got assured by the Officer in Charge that he wouldn't take down my case even if I went the next morning. My Friend was tremendously upset with me over this incient, she still is. Maybe I am writing this for her, maybe I want more people to read this and never go to that PG again which at first looks like a safe haven for your daughter but then you are wiser after your daughter stays there. I could link the website where she promptly advertises about the flexibility and good condition of her PG but somewhere I think I am still scared. What harm can she possibly do? Do I think she will sit and read this blog and trace me down? Well maybe she won't but then I am restrained form doing so for reasons I cannot articulate. There is a fear they have instilled in me which prohibits me from "taking any step" to actively take things up against them. "What purpose will it serve?", I say. Nothing will bring back the humiliation of that day when a man-servant in a all girls' PG dared to tell me he would rape me with the Landlady standing right there and she dares to talk about how secure her house is for girls! Well why shouldn't she? She gets away with it, she still puts her advertisement in the ever popular "Free AD Mag" on the Paying Guest Accomodation section and advertises it as "Girl's Abode, - Rooms available on sharing-single basis, with or without food." yes this happens right at the heart of Richmond Road, right beside Richmond Hotel (very close to the Coffee Cafe Day). She calls it a Dwelling for Kanyas.
(I am so tempted to link her add here. I know no one reads, but that small chance of someone reading it......)
So why am I writing all these things after so many months? Whenever I talk about it, my family feels "Thank God you are out of there now," my Friend feels I was being a wuss when I didn't stand up for the wrong that was done to me and her also, and that I have no right to complain. It is not nice to hear I am a wuss and lily-livered from anyone moreso form a friend. I know why I didn't go back there- I have my reasons, not everyone will understand, just like my mother didn't understand what hell I was gooing through till and when she was there. Anyway, the reason why I am writing this is because how we get swayed away by our own standards of good and bad. I thought it was unsafe for me to take a stand and fight. I don't know what would I be fighting- the police refused to take the complaint, my Friend says she would take it up with the media and get negative publicity for the landlady and her aides. Would that help me? I don't know, I think it would bring negative pulicity to me also and that was "bad" for me in my books. I didn't want to be exposed to their wrath any more. I had had enough.
But I am in touch with the friend who stayed on in the PG. She tells me all kind sof weird tales about the place. How the purported man-servant once threw money like one would at a person in a dance bar or some such thing because she was apparently "asking for it" by wearing "immodest clothes". That girl who was on the receiving end of the money throwing continues to stay there I hear. They raise their voice against the landlady for hot water/food. The Landlady remains interested only in the money nothing else. The last I heard from the friend satying there was that, the landlady was going to her "NRI sons" in America for 6-9 months and the servants plan to "teach the girls a lesson" (those exact words) for wearing improper clothes and for demanding food and space to live. The point is, how can a PG meant for the "safety and security" of girls say such unabashed things which is against the basic decorum of human behaviour? Isn't the onus more on them? Possibly not, because my friend continuing in that place claims, she stays there because she has no choice and as long as she is nice to them, they don't bother her (yes indeed). Well when she sat and heard from the landlady sermons about that she should not be friends with me any more because I am not a good girl, I believe she had a choice (and I hope it did bother her).
Anyway I've had many discussions with my friends (both the one continuing to stay there and the one who went with me back there to get back my moeny and stand by me) regarding this. But none of us agree on what was the exact and absolutely correct thing to do in the situation I was in. All three of us have different opinions. The fact is, I went through this, and only I know how much relieved I am to be out of there. I have got threats form them after that also, asking me to not go to the police or media else they'd "teach me a lesson" (they threaten to do that a lot I must add!). Well possibly they are also scared that they did this because they were scared I might go to the media as my Friend had threatened that night I would. But what they don't realise that we are all so caught up in our own sense of good and bad, wrong and right that at least I will never be objective enough to say what was right in the situation I was then.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

...few of the rest of the 25

So I was at number 10....
11. When anyone says, "What ideas do you have for a gift for Blip (say Blip is a colleague, and say it's Blip's was born on that day/getting the license to screw someone over and over again day/ has been sacked but pretending to be quitting day/is getting nearer to years not lived than lived day)?" what the person actually means, "We have decided on the gift and the showiness of the same, you better give that grand out of your pocket so that our gift doesn't look less showey!!"
12. Some one says, "Blip is a very colourful character! (and smiles a kind which you cannot categorize) they imply "Wait till you get to work with Blip, he/she will suck teh joy out of your life! I had my time gruelling with blood and sweat, now you see what awaits you."
13. Office boy asks you, "Mam, do you want tea?" he means "You better not, I have just finished washing all the cups.
14. Some one asks you, "What are you working on?" they mean, "Here!! I have a lamb to be slaughtered, so what if I slept over my deadlines!!"
15. Some one says, "Did you know Blip is getting married? Wow..." (and the mush continues..) they mean "How long will I be the only 30+ left around, not married and not even involved!"
16. "I understand what you are saying...." means "I don't give a crap about what you are saying, do it this way or do it this way, either way my way is the right one!"
17. "Did you hear Blip has been made partner of the firm? Isn't that super!" means when the hell will all these people stop beating me all the fucking time?"
18. When the boss says, "I don't like people reading news paper in the office.", he/she really means, "Enough of Orkut and Facebook! Come on, aren'tyou people too old for that!" (this might just be typical to my boss may bot be applicable to all work places.)
19. "Hey! You are wearing a pink shirt!" means "Isn't your outfit inappropriate for office?"
20. "Did you see Blip's new hair style?" means "Did you see how dorky Blip looks now?"
21. Go back to points 1 to 20
22. See 21.
23. See 22.
24. See 23.
25. See 24 and you have the ways to decipher work-place lingo!

Friday, May 01, 2009

25 Phenomenal Things You...

....learn about people at work:
1. When one asks "have you lost weight?" they actually mean- Bitch how could you look leaner than you already are, here I am bursting in my size "M" shirt because I refuse to be categorized as a "L" (even though no one upturns the collar to check the tag).
2. When they ask the receptionist "When is Boss in town, I really needed to talk to him/her.." they actually mean- I hope he/she isn't back today, then I can squeeze in the baby shower at 5.30pm.
3. Some one says "How come you are doing blah blah?" (with genuine curiosity) they mean "How the fuck didn't I think of it/ How come no one told you off till now for doing blah blah!"
4. They say, "I know with all your problems....." they mean- "Come on! Don't give me that reason again!"
5. When they say, "Wow, you have such an exciting life, all adventures and all that!", they mean "You freak, how come you are at a corporate house and still manage to have a life? Wait till I bring this up for the next polite conversation with Boss! *evil grin*"
6. "I am a voracious reader" means "I read Mid-day, Cosmo and the like".
7. "Brad Pitt is delicious looking." means "Why the fuck haven't I got laid till date despite the fact that I am (way beyond) twenty-eight?" (admission of years lived beyond these years is taboo you must note).
8. "So what did you do for the weekend?" actually means "Oh my GOD-if there is another second of akward silence in this lunchroom I will jump out of this window, for the Mother of God say something!"
9. "Hey you should really have come for that party/function" implies "Bitch how did you get away with not coming, I never have as brilliant excuses as you do! *makes mental note to maintain diary of excuses*"
10. "Really, is it that good?" means "I don't know what you are talking about, I can see your lips moving though!" *yawns loudly in the mind while eyes sparkle*
rest to follow..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pr(i)e(t)ty Zinta!

You should look at her blog to believe that in fact the rescession has hit India finally! She is unable to hire a writer to post in her blogs and has to think and type it out herself- what else will explain such shoddy English usage, grammatical error and non-coherence of thought process and last but not the least absence of reason or issue for the post. The post I managed to read is called "Mumbai Mirror Journalist Should Be Suspended!"- yes, the heading IS indeed like that and she DOES have an exclamation mark in the title.
So the summary of the grammatical bonfire is that Ms.Prom Queen is upset over the gossip a fellow Journalist reported (sic) about her affair with some person I fail to recall and its too painful to retrieve from her three page rant. The problem seems to be, Ms. Prom Queen defends that she also cheered for Shah Rukh Khan along with all her friends so why are they linking her up with this particular Celebrity (lets call him Mr. Prom King). So her point being (I really hope she indeed have a point) I was jumping (read cheering) at any moron that turned up at the Lakme Fashion Week why are you only linking me with Mr. Prom King, why don't you link me to the real King. *guffaws* Ahem- back to the post, she is also Really, really, really mad, if you must know, this journalist messaged her up at 12 in the night and asked her a question about her "link up" and she called him back and he didn't pick phone (well Priety, maybe he was pooping- don't you know sometimes the pressure comes in the middle of the night right after your mid-night ice-cream snack; you sang that really real to life issues handling film called Salaam Namaste where you crave for ice-cream in the middle of the night?); So the lournalist didn't take her call and reported that she was seeing this Mr. Prom King. She brings up really relevant issues of responsible journalim only forgeting to mention it, she lingers around how she is super mad and how she has led a clean life and told the media everything that she was doing. She repeatedly repeats and I repeat at teh cost of repitition that she has been in the industry for 10 years and no one knows how long this Journalist has been around and she is more credible and the Journo is not. She then repeats the same thing again and again about the 10 years in the industry point so much for teh reader to re-think the fact whether her age is finally catching up with her or whetehr she wants to prove a point with all the admission of years lived in her life- may be she wants us to remember you can still be in your twenties even after entering the industry in twenties and stay taht way even after 10 years, or maybe she can count only till 10 or maybe she had a bad dessert for her meal- one would never know.
Also the fact that she has ten thousand friends and each of those friends have 10,000 friends each so she could be posing with any one of those 10000^10000 friends- her point being what? She has so many friends or she can ccount?
Then she comes back to the point that she is credible and she is has been in the industry for 10 years (did I say that already? ;-) ) Then there is a huge hue and cry in awful English about her speculated romance/ break-up with Ness Wadia and by this time she is so upset over all the rambling she has done that she forgets the point and says that she is credible and the Journo is not. It's essential to note how she is furious about "all these journalists" and points that Mumbai Mirror should have verified with her before publishing that article. She doesn't really pick up an issue with the MM per se, her venom (as much as she could possibly comprehensively muster through the typing, which I note is a difficult job) is directed straight at the Journalist and she goes back through these points again and again and again in as many ways as she can with the limited power of expression at her disposal.
The highlight of the blog although are the comments- there are comments which are not remotely related to the issue (or lack of it) at hand and state the usual things like "I am only 8 years old but I am your great fan, I am from New Zealand and tell me when you come next I will meet you" to the humdrum "I loves the way you writes Priety Zinta. you are the besssst. People are jealous so gossipping" and also there are people who apologize to her for the misery caused to her pretty life because of the said Journalist but that she should keep in mind that all of them are not bad and that the author of the comment is also studying journalism and will take care such things never happen and that he/she will always verify thier facts before posting! (I almost died there!) Till I came across this comment which stated as follows in gist "when 100 ppl got awarded padmasheree the media reported only Aishawarya Rai and Akshay Kumar as being awarded the prestigious prize, the stated celebrities didn't have a problem. They didn't shout why are you not mentioning the other 98 achievers, I am assumin you (Priety Zinta) also wouldn't have protested had you been in their situation and got such undue media attention so why are you crying sore when they talk abt ur link-up/break-up. Deal with it. What goes around, comes around." One guy suggested the following and I quote:
"The filth beamed by TV news channels is primarily manufactured in BOLLYWOOD. Be it provocative dance sequences, cheap languages, multiple relationships and now even cheerleaders of IPL. You are part of the same sleazy system.
THOSE WHO ARE UGLY LOOKING TAKE UP JOURNALISM and others like you, Kareena, Aishwarya or others become role model. The end product for masses in this country is PURE FILTH and morally bankruptsocieties. Media is irresponsible but people like you also use it your advantage and jump in front of camera at the first available opportunity.
The damage done by Bombay mirror is NOTHING when compared to DAMAGE DONE TO morallity of Indians BY PEOPLE IN YOUR FRATERNITY
One guy actually asked her to hire someone to write her posts because he was jarred by her language and that he found it difficult to make it through the end of her post reflecting my sentiments.
I am thinkning of applying for the post- what say eeh?

Big B Review

No one reads my blog. Let me give you the count of people who read it- My senior who is besotted with me (in an asexual manner) [Senior] friend who I am almost married to [Shakira] but then again that is another post, [Anubhab] (who has given up posting in his blog because I caused so much agony through my key board- no pun intended seriously!) He has only been reduced to leaving the sole comments on my blog; a few scholarly people who I used to know as a kid and their partners, (that too is for vested interest so that I read their’s. I lost my bachelor readers since I gave up posting on dating!

Anyway so what does a failed blogger do? Just what a failed Actor does- starts critiquing others’ acting. So shall I- “review” celebrity blogs! Thanks to Shakira for the idea!

So to begin with Mr. Bachchan’s blog.

He started by vomiting about which team won which match in IPL and in what fashion- last hope to make people at least read about it through the glorious man- himself! I wonder how much Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals had to pay him for “endorsing” about their teams in BigB@Bigadda- has anyone else noticed the Reid and Taylor add on the left hand corner of his picture on the purported Blog? I hope Mr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan wasn’t charged to be quoted on the blog in the description. Ok going on to more pressing issues addressed on his blog- he states how he has missed home food when he was not in “comfortable environment” i.e., home. Guess why the food that Mrs. Bachchan (Senior) gives him is the “best food in the world”? Well it’s a very original and never stated reason, you will marvel at it- wait for it, well it’s the fact that he had not had it in a long while!!! Now how ingenious is that? Tell me? Did you ever think that home food would taste yummy because you haven’t had it in a long while? I wonder how he comes up with life moving statements man! My whole perspective on home food has changed now! *tears rolling down my cheek due to realization, joy and sorrow mixed at the same time*. Then, he also talks about his Apple MacBook Pro (I can feel the model get costlier by this statement- poor [Anubhab], will have to settle his dreams on a new brand of laptop now). The importance of the model in Mr. Bachchan's life is reflected here when he points out how the laptop changed his life in the following statement, [Link]
“GOODNESS !! Its the 29th of April in the morning and the time on right hand corner of the MacBookPro says Wed 1:22 PM.”

This is followed by how if not for the Apple MacBook Pro he would have been established a “cerebral mess” which is of course left to the comprehensive discretion of the reader. (on this point he rambles a bit to prove his point on the cerebral mess argument) This I will suggest with a skill of a niche reviewer (sic) that is OK because the “mass” is not targeted by this model in any case or is it?

From here we move straight to the part were he laments about his misfortune because he is given special attention by the airport staff and “forced to break queues” and how his Lucknowi-roots just hold him back to do so. He does mention his embarrassment at being given special attention- so why doesn’t he hold his ground and say “No”? Maybe he should be given a high-school lecture on “How to say NO”. How is that for a perspective. He has the time to sit and lament about it on the internet, why doesn’t he just save that time (his and others’ in the queue) by not breaking the rule. Apparently he just saves time because “much to his dismay” someone or the other before him recognizes him and “volunteers” him forward- and much to his embarrassment it seems! It must be so embarrassing no, to be besotted with so much adulation isn’t it- but I have a solution, why doesn’t he just follow the rule, I’m sure he doesn’t get embarrassed to “quote his price” to the people hiring him! Anyway, he doesn’t forget to names drop about how he was even recognized in “Heathrow airport in London”. Wow no?? I mean come on he was even spotted and recognized in Heathrow airport- it’s like Me stating you know someone recognized me as a brown skinned- even though he was colour blind- achievement indeed. Then Mr. Bachchan also (not so) subtly points out the morons who don’t recognize him and express disgust at the (un)due favour granted to him at airport terminals and states that he whisks past them so that he doesn’t have to catch the “occasional” disgust at his aura surrounded presence. How different am I from him I wonder, when I stealthily move myself up the line and whisk past quickly so that no one notices or expresses disgust- I guess I have a great person in the making in me! :D He also mentions how the mobile photography disturbs him right when he is working on his shoes or getting his dismantled objects back from the scanner- my dear Mr. Bachchan, ask women about mobile photography and the irritation about the same, let’s see- whether a lecherous bastard taking the pictures of my leg is more disturbing or when I am trying to tie my hair and the bastard with the hunkie junkie fat phone and pot belly (both equally ordained with jewellery) g(r)azes at my tee shirt and makes me feel violated- I think definitely Mr. Bachchan’s case is more serious. He adds as a foot note almost that he did in fact work for such attention but guises it in a manner only in time to make my mobile photography objections sound much trivial than his violation of privacy.

Last but not the least he sums up saying his wife and kids (sic) are calling him for lunch and if he delays going there for any more seconds he will not get any food. I completely understand, it’s just like the daily wage labourer who is denied his wage if he is ill and doesn’t manage to reach his work place on time right? How similar a life Mr. Bachcan leads- like any ordinary man isn’t it!

~ Phenomenally Yours.