Sunday, April 29, 2012

The other world of dreams...

The blue of the sky
reflects in my heart
as if
you are looking into my eyes
from the world above....

I woke up drenched in sweat. In a winter's night.

Felt like someone was talking to me and it snapped within a fraction of second. I was not able to recollect what it was about. But it seemed very pleasant and comforting.

And slowly it started pouring into my head like a recollection of some snippets of real life.

This is something from the days when I was exasperated about Mithi's condition. It was frustrating to watch a angelic child in pain and distress and the feeling that I am of no use. Those were the days when my own health had started getting affected and I used to fear if something happens to me who would take care of my doll.

The times of the most intense disgust had awakened a resolve in me. I decided to pray for Mithi's departure from this painful world. It was a world full of pain and disability for her. It was better if she went to a better place. I started praying for her release from this excruciating pain. Difficult it was as it meant she wouldn't be with me. Still I did pray as there was no other way.

One or two days into these prayers when I started feeling guilty about it. After all I used to console her saying Mama loves her and will always be with her. All her world was her mama who kept talking to her the whole day and there was almost no exposure to the outside world. Her eyes used to keep looking for me and a hug , a kiss or just a pat sometimes would comfort her. Saying that mama loves Mithi was as common as breathing and probably the lifeline too for both of us. She got comforted and thus comforting me seeing the relieved face.

And here I was praying for something that would take her away from me, I wouldn't be with her always. The realisation struck me hard. The guilt was like a sharp knife piercing through me.

That was the day when I told her. I told her Mama is praying for her to be taken away by God, asking if she is happy with it. She nodded the way she used to, by drooping her eyelids. And with a faint smile. Her smiling muscles were impaired as well. But she had the most wonderful smile believe me.

The twitch of the corner of her lips, the smile that was, and the dimly lit twinkle that her eyes revealed into a fragmented smile, made me comfortable. I knew she wanted the same way and that she was convinced mama is wanting something good. She joined me in my prayer and we did every single prayer together thereafter.

God would take Mithi softly put into an Udankhatola (a flying playpen if translated in English) and make her body alright. She would walk there and play. And then we would meet there.

This became our daily prayer. Holding hands and saying this to each other when we were alone, lying in the bed. For almost a year.

And the prayers worked. Not only in relieving her of the pain, but doing it in a way that was the least bothersome and tormenting for me as well. The dreadful day was handled in the best possible way.

This dream had revealed something serious to me. The sweat soaked body was not distressed but relieved.

The trail of my awakened thoughts took me to the dreams that were a regular frequency till a few weeks back. I would see both of us in different places with Mithi being in the same condition. Myself carrying her delicately so her neck is in the right place and her limbs are dangling like they did in real life. These dreams were numerous, every time there will a similar kind of situation but different places and we as different people. Both of us always worried about her well being. I was always caressing or protecting her limbs or carrying her in my lap protectively.

There was this uncanny feeling that she was my daughter in every life that I had and this ailment was there every time. A disheartening thought. An excruciating feeling.

And then I stopped getting these dreams. Did this new dream come with a message?

I was still clueless and yet with a pleasant feeling of being with someone very comforting.

Drenched in sweat, as I splashed water on my face, the realisation occurred that those prayers might have relieved her from the suffering for always. I couldn't remember a thing from this dream but there was a feeling that I have been with her, she telling me how it worked. With a broader smile, a brighter face.

Was it a message for me from the other world?

A comforting message for sure.

Have you ever been to the world of dreams?

All of us dream something or the else everyday but have you woke up after a dream feeling you were there physically? Lucid dreams.

It has been a regular thing with me, I used to have lucid dreams and would get disoriented when awake, sometimes confused and sometimes the memory of the dream would meld with real memories to make them one, un-distinguishable. Real.

I saw many incidents that were about to happen, layouts of the streets I had to inhabit and the feel of the house I was to shift. Many times in the past, I would get an idea of how the things would turn out in close future.

How dreams take you to another world. A real world, as if you are just in another city or in another compartment of the same train you are travelling. The visions are so real, the feelings tangible. I have witnessed many of my lucid dreams coming to reality. I would recall just the way I felt in the dream when I would experience the same feeling in reality, when the dream unfolds in cold realty.

Some times a restlessness that I felt in a particular dream would be experienced in real life and my mind would travel back to the same dream subconsciously...the memory of the restlessness would veer back to the dream eventually.

This time the dream was to comfort me.

It was like another puzzle unfolding and I am definitely feeling a lot better.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

about not being a feminist and still working for the cause...

It's wonderful sometimes how we are introduced to some friends. In the age of the internet the coincidences have taken a new meaning. It was by chance that my attention was drawn towards a facebook status update by Dhiren. He had shared about a group called The Purple Pact and the description said it is about Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. I clicked the like button and as I was checking the details I got a message in my inbox saying thanks for joining this group.

This girl was telling about how the group is targeted at conditions like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and spine degeneration, I replied that i knew these terms as my daughter had scoliosis as one of her symptoms. I was in for a huge surprise when this girl said she knew Mithi and that she has been reading my blog and knew everything about me and Mithi. I was dumbstruck as she proceeded to tell me that she has been praying silently, never having the heart to comment on this blog. I was touched. And I was back into the vortex that keep awaiting for me to trip. I am thankful to all those who prayed silently.

This girl is Sagarika Chakraborty and she shared that it took her a lot of time to have the courage to come out in the open with this medical condition of hers. She asked me if I could contribute to this blog called Purple is The Color of The Season.

I immediately agreed.We talked about it in detail and I suggested a diet plan for her as well. Which proved beneficial of course. Then I wrote a post on the blog regarding dietary role in combating the symptoms.

A few days went by and I stumbled upon a status update again that said this girl had written a book. I pinged her immediately and she giggled in the fb lingo. And then she asked me to read the book as well. That was something I brushed off saying formal things as I was in no mood to read another book by a novice. Honestly.

It was then that I asked her what this book is about. It revealed it was about the women and their sufferings.

Another reason for me to not to go for a book like this. Not that I don't have a heart but I just didn't want any stressful reading as there is enough stress already to tackle. A discussion began as I wanted to know her views on her idea of feminism. She said she is not a feminist and that perked up my ears. Absolutely.

Someone who wrote about the sufferings of women and still is not a feminist is sure something I would approve of. I want an understanding of the social malaise and not a futile hullabaloo over a few issues. A deep understanding will be the right solution in long term and all the symptomatic reactions to immediate happenings would die down as soon as a new girl is raped on the streets. These are my reasons of not being a feminist. I just cannot pick up one cause and segregate it from all the other social issues. Evereything else is interconnected and works in totality.

Some more prodding by Sagarika's side, she wanted my opinion on the book. And I made up my mind to read. Not someone to be convinced so easily, I succumbed to have a look what a young mind had to say about gender issues.

The book is named A Calender Too Crowded. It mocks at the appointed dates for the betterment of women in general. Does so quite well.

I ordered the book and read the first story immediately. About a story a week was my target as I never want to get overwhelmed with poignant tales of misery. There is actually a lot of misery we all have witnessed and the stories in this book are something all of us have seen around. Sagarika is a gifted writer and you completely relate to the stories. We all have witnessed some or the other social malaise, inequality and suppression. Some religious rigidness thrown in for a good measure and the situation becomes even more glum.

A weekend travelling routine gave me another opportunity to read a few more stories. And some more time to ponder upon them.

I liked a particular story called When The Ganges Run Dry. This is something I have witnessed in my own family. Thank God my grandmother (daadi) was not like that but many of her next generation women were the same. As if the Ganges could clean all sins and you are free to go on polluting the river of your own worldly sins...this line is mine :-)

Another story about a prostitute who goes on to educate her daughter in a boarding school is very touching. Selling a Body to Gain a Mind. Questioning the conscience at the right points. Not making a noise.

And that is the thing I liked about this book.Questioning the conscience at the right points. Not making a noise. Not telling others to do what they need to. Just getting up and start walking. No one would stop when you start walking. I applaud when a young mind thinks like this.

Squatting on the societal norms and blaming others is passe. Make your calendar and start marking the days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A change for sure. But how?

Looking at the mindset of policemen in our country It looks like they just have garbed themselves as the law keepers and haven't come out of the societal mold they were brought up in. I am sure there are fewer of them in the force. After all we have seen good cops too.

Still it is a sad situation. I am talking about those crooked minds in the police force.

They know they are the law keepers, they practice it in their own ways but probably find themselves fit for citing the skewed, cockeyed reasons behind a crime. A particular kind of crime most of the times. Crime against women.

Even more sadly, frustrating actually,  those reasons come from a deep rooted mindset they have grown up with, coming from the same rotting decaying society where the power and the influence decides who is fair. And the conventional wisdom is never to be questioned. Someone who defies the norm is considered to harbor 'the wrongs'. Those wrongs could be violation of body and freedom of some one too. If the victim has defied some norms, it is quite right for the powerful and influential to align the cause of the crime with the victim.

It is spectacularly easy when the one who defies the norms and becomes a victim is a woman. Aligning the cause of the crime with the victim.

Quite interestingly, the powerful and influential can defy the norms themselves according to their own convenience and that would not be liable to questioning.

These policemen of our times are just confirming to the old societal pattern.

Reasons are many.

There is no aptitude required to join any profession in our country. Anyone can join any profession mostly depending on the grades they secure during schooling and later how much influence they have in the recruitment circles. Networking to get the job.

Deep rooted malaise.

Then there are the parents who decide even before the child is born what profession he/she would follow. Many times generations after generations follow the footsteps of parents in joining Politics, Medicine, Engineering, Law, Sports, Business, Police force or Army/Navy/Air force. Ah yes, the three forces also look down upon each other. You are again expected to follow the tradition, in a proud way.

No wonder the Doctors end up being businessmen or shrewd politicians sometimes, Lawyers trade the truth and Policemen join hands with criminals or are found thinking/speaking/behaving like them.

No wonder.

Misplaced talent, mangled beliefs and minds frozen in the stone age can't do any better.

Now, a change is required. Actually an overhaul.

Oh that we all agree but how?  How is the change that is so crucial in recent times, would come?

Do punishments work?
Or bullying and blaming on national television or on social media?
Or bringing some systemic changes to uproot the evil.

While bullying and blaming the policeman or any professional who is incapable or is taking advantage of his/her power or position, is not going to work in this kind of situation. The reason is, such policeman have the belief system so ingrained in their minds that they would see the blaming as a dent on their ego and chances are, they would bounce back with enhanced energy levels. The law keeping would suffer and there will be an environment of rivalry between the change seekers and the resistant, reluctant, power hungry, corrupt minded policemen.

Punishments would work

If it is the kind that Ms Kiran Bedi suggested. The annual CR should include a column of gender sensitivity or communal sensitivity etc. If that column is marked negatively, the whole career of the insensitive policeman would suffer and they would all think twice before uttering something like that. Though the deep cleansing would still be required.

Some more ways to bring them to discipline should be looked for. Psychological, behavioral and motivational research can suggest some good measures.

Bringing the changes at systemic levels are so much required in all the professional fields. There should be an aptitude test before joining a profession and there should always be an induction training which includes sensitivity on all issues that affect law keeping in the case of police force. This aptitude test and induction training would help in teaching and medicine a lot too. And politics for sure.

Having said that, I am glad that some of the police officers are making such mistakes. Of blaming the victims and taking the crimes lightly, hence benefiting the criminals to a large extent.

I mean the mindset was always there, they were always reluctant to budge when a woman approached them for reporting a crime, it's only now that they have become vocal about their mindset. Thanks to the curious reporters who have been laughed at for huffing and puffing to find the right words at the scene or either war or elections till now. The spy cam journos have done the rest of the excavation to unearth the deepest folds of a mind of a typical policeman.

This way the malaise that was so deep rooted and yet unaccounted for is being unearthed and there is a talk on how to sensitize the police force. The criminals have always been acquitted (65% of rapists get acquitted by the courts on some or the other grounds) or benefited by the system somehow, to a large extent. The recent vocal behavior of some of the policemen, on or off the camera, has opened the lid off a rotten gutter.

Cleaning looks like an emergency measure now. The need to change is a priority now.

The process, the change, will not be an overnight miracle, but there should be some change in the aptitude and attitude of the law keepers.

I am hopeful.

This post is an entry for Stayfree women for change.