Category Archives: thinkspace

#MeToo

It was one of the lucky Sunday that I had a weekly off on. I have lately found an interest in cycling, that Sunday too I had decided to cycle for 50 km. Hence after completing half the journey, I reached banks of Ganga in Haridwar.

While walking along the Ghats, I reached a famous place in Haridwar named as Har Ki Pauri. Despite being just another common day, it had attracted huge numbers of devotees. Everyone was there for different reasons and was from a different class. Some of them were doing a Pooja for someone recently passed, someone was doing prayer with family and someone was just there on a picnic. Few of them were coming via fancy cars, having n number of material with them and most importantly accompanied by a priest. On another hand, some had chosen Ghat as a bed last night and had hardly anything to offer than the prayers. Only one thing was common among all of them and that was praying to Ganga. Dubki (taking bath) in Ganga was an integral part of that prayer.

Walking along the banks, observing all this, I reached an area with relatively less crowd. I finally decided to sit there while sipping a cup of tea. I opened my mobile to post about my cycling journey on Facebook. As soon as I opened Facebook, I noticed a #metoo message. The way in which it was written I couldn’t avoid reading it. As i scrolled down the newsfeed, I realized that there were many more such messages posted that day. Unaware of what was going on I googled what was all this and got to know the situation. I was happy to see such a taboo subject was being discussed showing a mirror to everyone.

Suddenly, i looked back as a thought stricken my mind. There were so many women who were practicing the ‘dubki’ in the auspicious place. No matter what was the background and what were they doing there, everyone was doing it. And after the Bath, they obviously had to change the cloths. Both the times, they faced an issue of being observed by people. They were conscious but helpless. Few men found it like an open opportunity to ogle. The men who were supposed to be there for auspicious reasons had assumed that they are permitted to check the women out. I thought may be the people who were working there every day may not be practicing this as it is common for them. But after some observation I found my assumption to be wrong. The situation was so worse that, some ladies tried hiding behind hardly helpful boxes while others had accepted that there is no use of all hiding.

I was wondering how these #metoo issues were very much accepted? Who would be writing #metoo on behalf of so many women who don’t have facebook but have seen serious #metoo situations? So I just thought of initiating on their behalf.

I am a Hindu and I am not a lyncher

I was returning from Bangalore to Mumbai by flight. The flight got delayed and landed at Mumbai airport at 1. I got an Ola cab at about 1.30 and boarded it. I didn’t remember exact address of the flat as we had just shifted there so I had entered a nearby landmark in drop location. The cab arrived 10 minutes after booking; the driver was a Muslim guy. It was evident by his appearance of a long beard in typical shape and the taqiyah (Cap).
We had very good conversation and after driving for almost 15 minutes he even told me,“Most of the passengers these days act in a professional way and very few fall in category where you either connect to them or want them to get out of your cab as soon as possible”
I laughingly asked him,
“I hope you are not about to ask me to get down, are you?”
He replied immediately,
“Why are you pulling my leg, sir. I had this kind of conversation after long with someone, so you should know you belong to first category and not second one”
After some time while looking at map, I suddenly remembered that I had not entered exact address so I told him,
“Brother, I have entered a nearby landmark and the exact address will be about 300 to 400 meters away from it. Will that be a problem?”
He replied, “I am myself the owner of this car and I am not answerable to anyone. So that won’t be a problem.”
“……..But just a few days back after a trip, two guys took a Muslim driver to an empty road and hit him quite a lot”
And then there was some question or apprehension in that silence which was indicating a doubt, asking me to confirm that I am not going to do something wrong.
I asked him,“For how long have you been here in Mumbai and for how long have you been driving? How many Ola cars must be there in Mumbai?”
He replied, “My dad had shifted here when he was young. So, I was born here and I have been driving from the time Ola just came to the city. I don’t know how many Olas are there but must be in 1000s”
(In our earlier conversation he had told me that he drives every night and his driver drives the same cab in the morning.)
I replied to him,
“So let’s assume there must be at least 20000 rides in a day in Mumbai, why are you looking at one wrong example. Also, there must have been a case of misbehaving by Muslim passengers too, sometimes. There have been so many instances related to terrorism, did I doubt you?”
A lot of dialogues like this were exchanged between us for which he agreed that he is doubting unnecessarily and he has received a lot of love from Hindus. He told me how his daughter has a Hindu best friend and I told him how a Muslim kid in front of my house grew up at our home.
While getting down I told him,
“because there won’t be a movie which will tell, I am a Hindu and I am not lyncher.
Or a movie which turns around suddenly on a message – Hindu dhokha nahi dete.
Let me tell you, we too are good people, or even better and peace loving if you look at average; though represented exactly opposite by media”
…………………
There has been general tendency these days that if anything happens with minority they will highlight separately, like
-If a passenger had a fight over a seat they will name it as fight over beef
-The attack on pilgrims got less footage than an after incident where a cleric in Hisar had quarrel with local goons
-its important for media to highlight even a day-to-day quarrel if that involves a cast storyline than highlighting some real important issue
To my Hindu brothers, being more of pro-Hindu I agree there have been a lot of differentiation with you, just to get the vote bank. I agree to a point that if we are talking about Kabristan then we also shall talk about Shamshan. We shall get right treatment not inferior, given that there are only two countries which represent you in this world.  But as Mahatma Gandhi had said an eye for an eye will make works blind,  attacking someone isn’t a good idea. Also these acts will be highlighted by media, giving rise to do called “secular” parties again and then making things worse. So let’s focus on creating a country with equal opportunities for everyone including ourselves than losing a path and in long term losing behind.

Can you please share that…

I had to board a bus from Vashi to Pune. I was familiar with boarding point and hence chose to travel from there.However, during booking as I was choosing the boarding point, I noticed some change in the address. As I reached the boarding point, I realized it was less than a km away from the old address and a notice which was put up there explained me the scenario. A huge number of buses were blocking the road at previous boarding point and hence it was shifted to a place where there were no shops or houses around.

 

I had reached the place almost half an hour before the scheduled time, afraid of sudden traffic jams, which is a usual phenomenon in monsoon season in Mumbai. As I waited there for some time, I scanned through the people around me and noticed there were only two people who were passengers. The remaining crowd there included a beggar, two snack sellers and few porters to board parcels on the buses. Waiting there for an hour, naturally I didn’t make attempt to talk to the crowd around. Why would I, right? Only those passengers and I, we were exchanging gazes. After standing there for 15 min, bored of standing I just asked a fellow passenger, “VRL?” (The name of bus) and he nodded affirmatively.  

 

I tried checking the bus location on a link provided but it failed multiple times. So finally called the bus and found that it was running late by around 30 minutes. The bad news was accompanied by rain, which was making its presence felt by now. Rain and Mumbai are like bff’s in this season. Initially it was just drizzling. I looked at that fellow passenger and he too showed helplessness. In the meantime, the coolies put a plastic cover on boxes and hid under it.

We stood there like ‘dudes’, as if we chose to stand in the rain. But then rain had its own way to break that attitude. It started increasing its pace slowly. We looked at the tree behind and tried to adjust below the thickest branch it had. Now, the snack sellers also chose to get under plastic covers and the fellow passengers exchanged gaze and smiled at our incapabilities.

 

After few minutes, suddenly it started raining cats and dogs and we were finally frustrated. I was looking at my formal leather shoes and feeling sad about them. All I could do was put my mobile in the bag and try to protect the bag as I wasn’t sure about its capabilities to resist water. I had given up already and assumed I will go all wet to Pune. Already my mind was flooded with thoughts that the passenger next to me in the bus will be irritated and all. And my thought process broke as some voice fell on my ears. I looked in the direction of sound and there was this person who was shouting at us from below the cover,

 

“Jaldi se aajao, aajao,  aajao”

(come fast,  come,  come)

 

I thought for few seconds and then ran to that plastic sheet.

 

The guy asked me,  “why were you getting wet when you could have covered yourself here “

I said, ” just like that”

 

But I thought to myself.

I got wet as I had created an unnecessary constraint around me of what’s right and what’s not

 

I got wet because I was reluctant to associate with those people

 

I was reluctant because I had some self-image

 

 

N out of everything I realized I was hesitant to take the offer, whereas he was ready to share whatever resources he had. I won’t have expected that from someone having good resources like an umbrella.  

It’s not about what you have but how much you are really ready to share. 🙂