Blunt Words Cut Deep?

We are often told that what we say is hurtful or insensitive. Similarly, in the quest of being honest, people often tend to quell the soft tone of their speech, failing to stick by their statements or promises. As blunt as our words may be on the surface, they end up pressing the right nerve and some take them as sharp statements.
My thoughts on how we must deal with such opinions, how a kind heart yearns for nothing more but honesty and commitment, how at times its difficult to voice your expectations, how we deserve truth but no mind-games, how its important to be unapologetic and how words must be spoken only when meant and hold as much importance as actions do, how you end up hurting yourself and your words still labelled as blunt but deep.
Title: Blunt Words Cut Deep?
Lost in my thoughts,
I am honest with what I say,
My words may be blunt,
But cut deep, they say. 
As unpretentious as I am,
Mind-games aren’t what I understand.
I see life as a short play,
With plenty to convey.
In this skit of life as I express my heart,
I want you to gently play your part.
As heart suffers for being kind,
Is it dependency or vulnerability in my mind?
Not all thoughts reach my lips, 
Like early morning dew on leaves which patiently drips.
I counsel myself to not contain, 
Like a butterfly, not amused by the mundane. 
Asking for not much,
I want to hear the truth.
With none of your lies or tricks misconstrued. 
To me, action matters but so does the word,
My eyes though say a lot, but it goes unheard.
With expectations & emotions unfurling in my head, 
Some things are better done than just said.
I am not perfect, 
Hurtful or wrong as I may be, 
Genuineness is what I offer, 
Like the sky which has nothing to hide, 
So am I, imagining to be by your side. 
Don’t misinterpret my words, tell if I expect a lot, 
For life is too short. 
Yet when my actions say it all, 
They believe, my words are not just blunt,
But cut deep, do they? 
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On Women’s Day and Beyond: A Poem for the Perfectly Flawed Woman

Since it is not just about today, but everyday! My tribute to all the amazingly fearless women out there.

The Perfectly Flawed Woman

If I don a short skirt as I cross the street,

I am stared at by both men and other women – as they pass a stare scanning me, from my face to my feet…

To those who judge me for the amount of make-up I put and if I like to cook,

Hey people, there’s a lot more to me than how I look…

Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,

No superpowers but I am definitely human.

I may be terrible at pleasing the rest,

But when it comes to being a friend, daughter, sister or partner, I am no less than what defines the best…

I make mistakes and I cry,

But only to bounce back and retry,

It’s my life and it’s not a lie,

Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,

No superpowers but I am definitely human.

If only others had flaws like mine,

World would be a much better place with less crime.

If only the existence of a woman was celebrated every day,

The world would belong to us but without a fray.

Let’s question if you would choose to be perfect or human,

Now that the tagged ‘perfect’ is mostly not a gentleman.

Go for being an imperfect human, while we say…

Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,

No superpowers – but I am definitely human.

 

Reflection In The Shallows

Quite often our thoughts seem to entwine between what our mind processes and what our heart feels. We do face situations or are rather are put through certain crossroads where we are compelled to make a choice no matter how involuted the pick is.
As they say, to have the ‘best of both worlds’, isn’t as simple as it sounds!  My thoughts on the idea of ‘reflecting’ when the options available are shallow… Like how most of us wish for how life should go our way, there come repeated reminders of how it is not all sunshine but also hay!!!
Reflection In The Shallows
 
As I stood at another crossroad,
It was not just a few choices I had to make.
 
There was a plethora of emotions which swung in my mind,
As disappointments and secret expectations confined.
Yet another crossroad and life tested me for being emotional, naive and kind.
 
When only few could understand me, many chose not to as I now fill with fright.
I stand scared at this crossroad,
While an experience of how beautiful life could be passed and glowed for a while.
Smiles got reason but didn’t last as hopes went futile.
 
When the world is full of hate,
Why can we not spread a smile, love all and frame our own fate?
As I stand on this crossroad, I don’t wish to but I hesitate.
 
Scared of being let down, I build a guard around me,
I wish for someone to break through it and tell me that my smile does matter
That it was not a crossroad at all and no hopes of mine would now shatter.
 
Only if the human behavior I wanted ever came true,
Life would no longer be a crossroad but a canvas on which I drew…
Experience is indeed the best pedagogue. While the crossroads make you go numb for a while, it is the satisfaction post making decisions, which does infuse a sense of liberation into your kindling souls.

A Dog’s ‘Purpose’…

This is in memory of my dear pet dog, Simba. He left us on October 19, 2017, a day ahead of the Indian festival of Diwali. For a 6 year old golden labrador as active as him to die of a stomach infection just within a day of ailment, was an extremely unexpected and uneasy situation for my family to go through.  Of what they tell me, he had tears in his eyes while he was being treated. When I think of it (which I do almost daily), one of the biggest regrets of my life or rather one of the unluckiest things to have happened to me was that I couldn’t see him one last time. The same  morning when I reached home to celebrate Diwali, I was shocked to realise that he wasn’t their to jump, rejoice and welcome me- that he was gone the same day just 4 hours before I arrived…

This little piece is an expression of what Simba or for that matter all the dogs who leave behind their human companions alone in this world would tell us if they met us or rather if they could speak. A glimpse into a Dog’s mind, analyzing what their ‘Life’s Purpose’ is… This, I feel is what Simba wishes to tell me:

 

I may not be able to snuggle in your bed, lick your hands or hold you with my paws … 
But I loved you unconditionally because for me, you had no flaws… 
Today, I may not be around you but I am always watching you. I still crave for the love which is all I ever wanted from you.
I always made you laugh and smile when I lived, even when I’m gone, sorrow is the last thing I want to see you with.
I want you to remember me with a smile for else it will fail the purpose of my life.
I know I left you suddenly, you couldn’t anticipate. But see, that’s again something I did with a purpose for seeing me suffer for days would have made you feel worse, my mate. 
I may not virtually exist to wag my tail, welcome you home and then hide, 
But my soul does remember playing with you when you’re alone as I know you miss me being by your side… 
When you get a new one, assume its me for if it were in my hands, I would spend all my lives with you- this, my dear friend was, is and will be my life’s purpose. 

 

Simba was more than just a pet. I may not have been quite expressive with him which is my general pattern of behaviour with the people I adore the most, but whenever I felt low, all I needed to do was go play with him for a minute or two and I would be all fine- he was therapeutic- a dog which made everyone who visited our house- even dog haters fall in love with him…

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This ‘Raksha Bandhan’, care beyond gender!

Happy Raksha Bandhan to all of you. And for all those who don’t have a brother, don’t be disheartened, your sister is your best guide, well wisher and protector for life. Today, I thought of coming up with something different. This blog is a thoughtful presentation of what and so much more which the festival can shower us with.

This Raksha Bandhan, let’s discover the emotional story of two sisters. While the younger one (Naina) always missed having a brother, especially as Rakhi came around the corner, the elder one ended up finding love, care and security in her younger sister.

Click here, to watch the video: 

‘Bandhan’- a short film on Raksha Bandhan

This short film is an attempt to convey that a sister can be a hero, a brother, a mother, she can be everything- because you don’t really need a brother to celebrate the feeling of being secure.
And hence, have  alook at this video which sends forth a warm Happy Raksha Bandhan message for all the sisters and brothers in the world. Thank you all,  for the feeling of doing ‘raksha’ or any ‘bandhan’ in the world doesn’t need a gender approval.

Do watch, comment, like or share if its relatable.

Feminism: Solution to Patriarchy or a Hoard of New Problems itself?

By Naina Sharma

(This article is on demand by Blogurnalism reader)
Feminism is no easy concept and at the same time way too distinct from what we call a patriarchy. In simple words, feminism can be defined as a movement towards establishing equal socio, political and economic rights between men and women. Patriarchy on the other hand, is a system of society where men or dominant or rather preferred. Complexed through varied definitions and waves of developments, feminism and patriarchy have evolved and require constant modification pertaining to the manner in which they are perceived, as they may or may not be befittingly applicable to the changing society. While some relate the present demands of the feminist enthusiasts to the historically imbibed patriarchy, some others simply see it as an over-rated concept which is distorting the balance of the men-women relationships.

RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR RIGHT TO EQUALITY?

We can sense that something is certainly not going right when we hear the Delhi Metro filled with announcements like- “Please vacate the chairs for ‘women’ and the differently abled”.
Treating women equal to disabled people is definitely not right on so many levels and certainly not what modern feminists would have wished for. This is just another paradigm which conveys the extent to which feminism has been misconstrued in our country.
While the definition of patriarchy is quite clear, Feminism is most often differently defined. When feminism means rights for women, the benchmark shouldn’t be set or restricted to the rights enjoyed by men. It calls for equality which applies for both the genders. If a woman did not get voting rights through the universal adult suffrage until late 20th century, feminists in today’s era wouldn’t have demanded rights similar to those belonging to men but because sadly, the basic rights are always enjoyed by men, it is quite often interpreted as a hunt on men’s rights.
Feminism, as interpreted, is not about snatching rights but by distributing them at an equal pedistle and then leaving it onto a women’s capacity to decide whether she wants to exercise those rights or not. What cannot be denied is that rights have been curtailed through pressumptions regarding women’s actions both in the public and private sphere. It is not about freedom to earn, or freedom to work after marriage but solely about freedom to ‘choose’. Choice has never quite often remained in the hands of women, owing to the patriarchal structure and once given the power to choose, it would then be upon the two genders to support and co-exist in the most suitable way.

HARMS OF FEMINISM: PHYSIOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS vs PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSTRAINTS

There are a few ways in which feminism can do more harm than good to women in the longer run, going against its own objectivated Grail. Though a movement with a wis intent, it has created a world where women as viewed as victims. And this is where women need to move beyond the boundaries of patriarchy. What once existed cannot continue to define women as a victim forever. They are and need to be strong enough to let go off the patriarchal barriers. You can be a woman and not be a victim. Women don’t have to hide under the umbrella of feminism when the world, law, judiciary views woman as an equally capable adult. if you have the perception that the world is out to get you.

A woman who can let an entire human out of her body is strangely considered to be quite fragile and infantile. Thanks to viewing it as a battle rather than step towards empowerment.

Prolonged dependence on feminism as a label has created a sphere of competition between men and women. This has created more problems than solving many where life has become a race for the two genders to decide on who is better rather than filling the gap of what the other lacks. Well, there is definitely more to a human than his /her gender. If a man is a better cook than you, he is so because he is talented, this hasn’t got much to do with him being a man. Just like women don’t wish to be shouted at as defined through male dominance, similarly, men don’t wish to be dominated either.

….. SO, SOLUTION, PROBLEM, BOTH OR NONE?
The problem doesn’t lie in giving women an option to choose- to choose between being an homemaker or a working woman, what creates issues is when women try to change themselves drastically in order to satisfy the societal demands of the feminists. If feminism isn’t confused with disrespecting men or trying to bow them down, if it is a call for equality, then so be it.
If the extreme feminists wish to outrun all the chivalrous acts of men and if feminists wish to not be treated in a coy manner then again there exist two categories of women. One, who would want to be treated with care and two, who do not wish to seek men’s help in any case. Remember, if a man helps a woman it shouldn’t be treated as a favour and it is women who need to understand that for it is a two way street. Since men are in many ways dependent on women, if women accept the same it wouldn’t do any harm to their feminist goals.
Personally, more than getting entangled in a term which has been constantly changing its meaning over years, I would wish to be a female who has the freedom to choose and treat the requirements of both genders as equal. While patriarchy talks of male dominance, feminism doesn’t speak of female dominance at all. One speaks of superiority and the latter of equality, at least in terms of actions. So yes, in order to boost the process of shedding supressive male dominance, we do need feminism as a catalytic initiator. Once the job is done, it is upto the women to lead a life which neither looks upon them as victims nor as self centered. So, yes feminism to an extent is a solution to patriarchy. But yes, only to an extent. Remember, the idea is too hyped that only a handful would know of Matriarchies existing in parts of Kerala and Karnataka. Yes! Matriarchies exist too. And yes, men are feminists too. So feminism isn’t a battle between men and women, it is a movement for women- a movement which can flourish better in cooperative cognizance between the two genders, thereby shunning patriarchy in the process itself. Patriarchy is not the only problem feminism must deal with. It is in fact the non-patriarchal societies who endorse feminism way more than the  rest, suggesting that feminism is being applied today, under the situational considerations of the past decades. The concept needs alteration for women in a modern society aren’t victims. They have the rule of law to solve problems more than any book on feminism would.

 

(Picture Courtesy- Factmyth.com)

Death by Intoxicated Food vs Affordability: An Indian Dilemma

By Naina Sharma

“An Act to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” This is the Food Safety and Standards Act of India framed in 2006. An Act dedicated towards ensuring healthier food consumption for people, stands helpless in front of the junk food packets or even the street food stalls serving across the country.

An inquiry by the KABP (Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices) study on food and drug safety in India surveyed 20,719 households from five regions spread over 28 states.
About 13.2 percent households reported that at least one person in each household
suffered from foodborne illness during the previous 15 days of the survey. At
community level 3 percent of the villages surveyed indicated that there was at least one
foodborne disease outbreak in the community during previous one year. It is reported
that distribution (%) of foodborne diseases according to food safety awareness and
practices by region wise (North, South, East, West and North East) indicated that
occurrence of foodborne disease was high in the western region (24.2 percent) from the
nearest region i.e. North East (10.9 percent).

 

The reasons are plentiful. There are innumerable bacterial pathogens which can be commonly found in street eateries. Many of these cause vomiting, diarrhoea, vomiting, appetite loss, typhoid, food poisoning, clostridium perfringens, abdominal cramps and in most severe cases, death. The presence of coliform in surveys conducted across the markets of the Indian Capital (New Delhi) over the past few years, indicate the absence of clean water giving way to unhygienic conditions during the food preparation. 

The fact that 22% of the Indian population lives below its official poverty limit of less than $1.25 dollars a day is quite an alarming peek into the reasons why the slum dwellers are forced to feed on food reminisces dumped as the street garbage. This is a reality which substantiates the reports by WHO (World Health Organization). WHO reports suggest that is mainly African and South-East Asia Regions which have the highest burden of food-borne diseases where 1 in 10 people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 4,20,000 die as a consequence.

While schemes providing free and healthy meals to the poor is one of the keys to the problem, the numerous deaths of school going children due to intoxicated mid day meals puts a question mark on the credibility of the same. How I wish- food being a basic prerequisite to survival wasn’t something the Below Poverty Line Indian population required to ‘pay’ for to ‘buy’ a living!