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My Feminist Manifesto

January 7, 2010

I decided to write this after a heated discussion about feminism with my classmates.

To me feminism is personal. I have been extremely fortunate to have good men in my life. My father, brother and male friends have been true and good in both word and action. But there are of course the women who are victims of incest, rape and other forms of ridicule by these very forms of men. These are the rights which need to be claimed. I feel it is the act of taking up responsibility of one’s sexuality and choices. I have never experienced discrimination because of my gender thus I cannot voice the opinion of the general but my own.

Achievements?

I would argue that feminism is not an achieved goal and is still a long way from it. To me it is not about achieving equality, thrashing men or assuring a woman of her worth or just being a doll. To me feminism is helping the underprivileged woman to enjoy her luxury of life and the right to embrace my freedom to choose and live my life. Be it for or against whatever elements.

Who is She?

A woman should not be defined by her sexual characteristics, she possesses a brain, pair of eyes, legs or any other part which might define her as a human first and a woman later.  Learn from their mistakes as well as achievements and recognize how their issues differ with culture and nations.

What is feminism?

There was a time when I was confused if feminism was about detesting men or celebrating womanhood or something between both. I have read articles which started with claiming equality and ended with world domination. But with the help of putting a broader picture, I have realized that feminism is not an absurd notion filled with radical notions and destructive ideals. I think we have achieved what we set out for, Equality! No woman is denied a job or a place in society. At the same time, not ignoring the gender based killings, that are so prevalent and hushed up, where woman are murdered and raped.

Its pretty simple actually end the rape culture and identify the integral part of the problems women face. There is hate against humanity in general and women are just the easy target to identify. There are crimes committed in the name of God which cannot be justified. With time and learning I have realized that it is not about wiping men off the planet but being there for the underprivileged, discriminated and victimized. Be aware of our gender, take responsibility for our actions, respect our body and treat others as you would want to be treated.

Is it impossible to be a feminist and love men!?

I believe in standing up for what I believe is the right thing and this freedom cannot be curtailed by any forces. I refuse to attribute my moody days, blues and confusion to the menstrual cycle or me being a female. This is the woman that I am and I hope I will not be as impassive of a feminist as I may seem now, and that with age and experience I might put a whole new perspective together.

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Oh No, Snow!

January 7, 2010

For my first experience with snow, it wasn’t a very pleasant one. Ever since I landed in London, I was waiting for it to snow, for my first ever experience. But well as it got colder and colder and the temperature dropped and dropped I wanted to choke on my wishes.

Ice ice baby!

Before it snowed, I had a disastrous ice-skating experience. With five major falls including once when I pulled a few strangers down with me, I assumed I had a broken backside for the coming few weeks. I held on to the railings like my life depended on it. Come to think of it did to an extent. There were instances when I would be stuck somewhere in the middle of the ice rink with no support on either side. Then my legs would be as stiff as a board and I would wait for help.

So I learned ice skating wasn’t my thing. Neither was skating and I was a poor learner. But I did not expect the realization I was about to make.

It snows!

I missed the first snowfall of the winter because I was down with flu and to even go anywhere close to an agent which would aggravate my condition was the last thought on my mind. But the view from my window was the prettiest ever. The heater stopped working. After replacing it with a temporary fan-type thing, I went on to admire the beauty of snow.

As natural as it can get! ©Aparna Ashok

The day came when I had to face my fears. After dressing up as an Eskimo, I slowly took the dreaded step on the snow. And slide… I thought I was back on the ice rink. My heart sank, but I blamed it on the shoes. And not before long I realized that I was a sloppy walker on snow. But there were plenty of others who at first seem to have a grip on their feet and then just glide to the side. No one falls though, they somehow manages to balance it. Oh well me too, so far so good.

Beauty and the Beast

Then before long, my university was knee-deep with snow. Snowfalls, showers, ‘deceiving sun’ (as coined  by Bashir Sa’ad Abdullahi) – not pleasant conditions to live in. Frequent tube delays, unexpected school closures, and other disruptions to normal life. Not pleasant, not at all.

Nevertheless, it is one of the most soothing scenery I have ever seen. There is a serenity, a calmness about the blanket of snow that now covers the once-green lands. Mother nature never stops charming us with her beauty.

Britain vs Snow

January 7, 2010

A BBC archive footage shows Britain’s strife with snow through the years.

And I cannot help but think “When will they learn? When will they figure how to cope?” But honestly, no one ever gets used to such chilly conditions.

In 2009, UK witnessed the worst snow in 20 years. Come 2010, severe icy conditions were witnessed and public life came to a standstill; and Britain prepared for the worst snow in 50 years.

©Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi

A heavy widespread snow fall can single-handedly bring down this powerful economy and halt all forms of life. Last year, major financial losses upto £1bn, was reported when almost 20% of the working population did not make it to work. It was the same scene this year.

Several fatalities were reported and more than 200 drivers were rescued in Devon overnight. Moreover, there was a shortage of supply for grit and salt making the roads a nightmare to walk on.

Commuting, Not!

The number of travel delays and commuter issues caused by the snow are endless. Rails were suspended, buses and cars were abandoned after being ambushed in the snow. Dangerous driving conditions were reported across the country.

Eurostar was suspended several times and is now running on limited services. In December, more than 2000 passengers were trapped inside the Channel Tunnel for hours. This has caused huge losses, cancellations, delays and just a whole load of inconvenience for passengers.

All Hail Snow

It managed to capture headlines in major newspapers across the world. It hit the already recession-torn city pretty badly.

©Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi

It snows in most places around the world but why does it cost the UK economy so heavily and what leaves them so unprepared? There are two possible arguments for this. Either, it is just another victim to media sensationalization or  because of the fact that it happens only every few decades?

Or an even simpler explanation to coax all the environmentalists – Global Warming.

The Fate of a Cop in India?

January 6, 2010

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie

A disturbing visual of a cop dying on the road and pleading for help. Mute witnesses, state cars, ministers all around. something so real and gory could pull back anyone who would want to try to help. Is it not pointless to be stuck in such a situation. staring glaring watching and just more watching? Deep inside one might feel his/her stomach churning with disgust and heart beating out so loud with the call to help the needy. But here the needy is filled with such grotesque sight that anyone would dare to exercise a mobility caused by sympathy. on second thought – that is a human there. and that too someone who was not supposed to be the “victim” at the first place.

Ranting about others opinion? It would it be selfish to say what matters is my opinion alone? Yes I wouldn’t know how it would be unless I be there in on the scene. but what is that we lack here? What is that we are looking for? What is the conclusion that I am arriving at? That would be the appropriate word that would not if an answer; but a mere act of being spoken about this happening satisfy the point of me writing this blog, Where is the justice? What ought to be done?

No matter how many react to this incident the policeman’s life will not be returned. Maybe a compensation to his family. Now isn’t that the very price that the assailants would get? Compensation and a bit more and another victim to add to their list. Can we prevent this from happening again? No we can’t. but have it under the radius of “reduction”.

This is a different take on this horrifying incident that shocked the world yesterday. It is easy to start a blame game involving the media, politicians, ethics and what not. Just a lot of questions to be answered and a nation at shame.

Celebrity Prescriptions

January 6, 2010

From Marilyn Monroe to Elvis Presley  to Heath Ledger and recently Michael Jackson. The list of the who’s who of celebrities who died from abusing prescription drugs is a long one. Most of these celebrities died at the peak of their careers and at a young age. Of course there are  millions of people who die from prescription drugs who aren’t rich and famous.

by Michelle Meiklejohn http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Legal or illegal?

There are two types of such drugs that can be abused; one is prescription drugs where doctors prescribe these medicines to relieve illness, conditions (both mental and physical) and pains. And the other is over-the-counter drugs, which like the name implies means can be bought over the counter and do not require prescriptions.

Just because they are legal doesn’t mean they are less dangerous than other banned drugs. They are deadly when abused. Abusing these drugs means taking them more often than recommended. And an accidental addiction is formed. These “need pills” may vary from sleeping pills, anti-depressant, flu medicines to aspirin.

Celebrities often succumb to depression, relationship issues, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety etc. and use such medications to tackle the problems. Such deaths are an indication that with fame comes a lot of other baggage and it is not very easy to wear a pretty face and carry on.

Denial

Being a celebrity, denial is a better option than seeking help or admitting that one needs help. Addiction has always been a terrible weakness for man. It is easy to tell someone to take control of oneself if they are losing a grip. But advice has always been free and nothing like being on the giving end than the receiving. People seems to have a got an idea of this grave situation with death tolls from this issue mounting like never before.

Many blame it on the fast and modern lifestyle which leads to different forms of stress. Sometimes it is the choice of the individual other times the doctors are to be blamed. But that isn’t the issue here but the growing number of unintended deaths. It won’t be long before the world take cues from Hollywood because this has become a universal problem.

Fate, Coincidence or Just Plain Bad Luck?

January 6, 2010

It is just so easy to be frustrated these days. Ever thought it’s going to be a jolly sunny day and got out wearing white cottons and returned drenched in the rain and semi-naked? You go to school thinking it won’t be so cold because the weatherman said so and then you spend 8 hours freezing your insides. Wondered why it happens? Sometimes I think it is because of some bad decision I took before, like not trusting my instincts than the weatherman. Sometimes I blame fate saying it was inevitable and was meant to happen. And at other superstitious times I blame the absence of luck in my life.

Karma

It is one of the most brilliant concepts to keep a grip on one’s deeds and to balance right and wrong. In simple words it means what goes around comes around. Most religions have varied interpretations of karma. Quite a number of people still believe that bad luck is a consequence of your previous action. In short, we infuriate the Higher power and He simply punishes us.

Fate

Destiny. It is something we believe is the purpose of our life in this world. What are we born to do? There are many who have questioned their purpose in this world. Some are lucky to have realized it and even fulfill it. . Others just question and look for a sign. Some older women tell me that it is my fate that has led to me what I am now. An invisible line over your head, and that the way your life will be is written down the day you were born. A pre-destined destiny?

Coincidence

Yet others believe it is your actions and choices that decides the fate of your life. You decide your life. And it plays out as co-incidence, luck or whatever. It all narrows down to making the right choices. Maybe we made the right decision one day and things played out well. Maybe we did not. Karma, luck, fate etc. are what leads to coincidences.

To believe is a big thing. It is what keeps the universe going and it is what keeps us going. Be it luck, fate, or coincidence, the circle of life goes on.

Captain Planet! Who is the hero?

January 5, 2010

Our world is in peril, Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet. She gives five special rings to five special people. US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Ok! So seems like this played out into a reality except that they failed to summon the great Captain Planet to save the world.

Talking about the Copenhagen Climate Summit is like stabbing a dead meat. But nevertheless I cannot afford to miss the opportunity to stab. And I want to make this as simple as ABC so here goes:

  • It is easy to ignore and deny something that happens right in front of us. Especially if you are a powerful country and you pretty much control the world.
  • You sit through in total oblivion all the major issues in the world. Ignorance is bliss. Always. And then wait for it to finally melt and disappear. Did you know, apparently, the world is going to end on December 21st, 2012?
  • A Scandinavian friend once said that Danes are the happiest people in the world. Pretty ironic , them being hosts to a summit dealing with crises don’t you think?
  • The activism and the protests against the conference spoke volumes; more than the conference itself.
  • The most magnificent part of the summit was 200+ countries attended the summit and both the developed and developing countries blamed each other. Nothing more fascinating that imagining a large group of delegates from all around the world playing the blame game and pointing fingers at each other.
  • The reactions were splendid. Do not miss out on the common editorial 56 newspapers in 45 countries carried about the Summit.
  • “Brokenhagen, Flopenhagen, COPenhagen, Dopenhagen, Mopenhagan, Gasemhagen, Hiemhagen…” What can I say but keep them coming!
  • As always US is willing to lead. But what came across was a general lack of ambition.
  • Some interesting pictures of global warming – time photo-gallery . There is still some serene ‘dying’ beauty about it.
  • Just another proof of our very skeptical age.
  • Yes, there is global warming.
  • We should reduce our carbon footprints.
  • Read this somewhere, “The Earth will save itself, that is what it does. It is the Human Race that needs saving.”
  • In short, the UN and whoever involved has (OBVIOUSLY!) failed to deal with the biggest crisis in human history.