Who Empowers?

Merriam-Webster says to empower is to give official authority or legal power to act on ones behalf.

It could also mean to enable

It could also be to promote the self-actualization or to influence.

Do we need someone to really empower us? Doesn’t the constitution already empower every citizen of the country immaterial of the sex? The fundamental rights go

  1. Right to equality
  2. Right to freedom
  3. Right against exploitation
  4. Right to freedom of religion
  5. Cultural and educational rights
  6. Right to constitutional remedies.

On one hand we have given the rights to patriarchy, age, and whatever suits us and the other hand we talk oppression. The issue here is actually ignorance, we know not either of our duties or of our rights, how many women actually ask their spouse what they are signing up for when they get married? Think of it, college women are typically given to declaring for one or the other thing, my mother’s generation it was marriage, my generation we were confused, now it is career, and only later did they find to their surprise that they should cope with both – while men try to figure out how to get out doing either.

Like my grandmother told me, that we need to be more generous and favourable to the men than our ancestors, particularly the ones from the north, and we do this by not putting unlimited power into the hands of the husband, the saddest thing a girl can do is to dumb herself for a man; at the end of the day, all men could be tyrants if they could.  How dare someone, be it a masculine gender or his mother, tell me how to dress, how to talk, how to behave any being who does that is not human. The fact is all women can make it on their own, it’s not about needing a man or not – it just means every woman knows she can do whatever she sets out to do—the disempowerment here is not knowing what she wants to do.

The north Indian society, has always been patriarchal and male chauvinistic they would rather deal man to man than a woman, when they have to deal with a woman, particularly an articulate woman, they struggle to place her, she is not married to any man, clearly she is not the mother of a son, she has not gone to school with his sister, and she is definitely not going to bed with him.. That leaves him asking what the hell is happening here? What is she here for?

True that we begun raising our daughters like sons… we still do not have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters. If only one generation would take action, in raising their children as humans instead of raising boys and girls then the society can get rid of this misogyny lot earlier. woman power

Let’s take a pause…  think this over, when your parents choose your groom, the criteria is…more qualified than you, higher income than you… older than you… all the power equation…for every woman who we know who has been given substandard treatment by her parents, used by her husband or boyfriend, discriminated by her employers, and ridiculed by society is a man who has been burdened with family responsibility since childhood, humiliated by his girlfriend, bullied at work, pushed by society and harassed by his wife, everybody is fight a battle of their own.

Through life there are distinctions, clothing for men, and clothing for women, etiquette for men, and etiquette for women, toilets for men, and toilets for women but at life’s end it is the same six feet under or the pyre of wood for everyone.

Barking up the same tree —



Grade sheet 2016

#life lessons

  1. The year begins with the deafening sounds of crackers over Mandovi and we realize life is drudge when a normal 10-mnts zip down the drive turns into a 100-mnts stake out.
  2. Every channel goes berserk with proposals and projections and choose to call it hopeful prediction.
  3. Then comes Loveria the valentine’s madness the annual war between sanskari baccha and dil ka saccha.
  4. The exam fever.. CBSE vs. ICSE while all the government seats are hogged by forgotten state syllabus — thank God I am over it and its a long wait for my grandbabies to arrive.
  5.  It is a free universe, April showers need  not shower in April.
  6. May day… the domestic tourists on the move trains and planes are overflowing, so are the side walks with Garbage
  7. Heat wave hits Delhi in June,national media gets hysteric…the rest of the country does not matter.
  8. July we have not begun celebrating 4th of July as yet, it might be this year’s Trump Card.
  9. Blaring music heralds the advent  on Lalbaug Ka Raja,
  10. Burning of Ravana and Diwali sales are the high light. we have a new Sanskaar Halloween.
  11. Before I say “bless you” December is here and like all good intellectuals people post out prompts to take stock of the grades, the pluses and minuses, my report card vs. Yours, who has read the most book, gone on most holiday’s .. I rather gorge the Christmas cakes
  12. Epiphany Money is an illusion…I used to think it was delusion.

As for my growth, it lateral, changes from the girl with long braids and short skirt I have become the Auntie Acid with long skirts and short hair (read no hair) as for being better of course there is more of me to go around.

Hope I have qualified for the 13th lesson.

Free At Last

Off went her weight,

Off went her pinched face,

Off went her long tresses…with them like the strength that Samson lost, she lost the resentment she harboured, the yearning and the disappointment. Somehow he did not matter anymore nor did his indifferent behaviour hurt. No more were there cycles of hurt, forgiveness and Karmic bondages, and he had set her free.

With Tulasidas it was his wife’s comment, “if you had loved God as much you would have realized him by now.” Too had, that neither Tulasidas nor his wife figured that it was God that they were experiencing. With her it was it angry declaration, ”How much of my space will you violate?”

One is brought up to believe that marriage is about weaving energies and spaces to create a pattern, sometimes a stitch dropped sometimes one had to pick an additional stitch, sometimes new colours weave into it , but if she was violating his space, she had no business to be there, that simply set her free …

Its strange how we tend to remember hurt and the angry words more often than the kisses and flowers, the moment he hurled, ”how much of my space will you violate?”

her lonely struggle, as she made the beds, shopped for groceries, which he did take over because he felt she did not know how to do it, her guilt that the slipcover material did not match because she was too tired to find the match, eating cold left over for dinner, piloting for rehearsals and shopping on a dying two wheeler with the kids bags and manovering the traffic, and the question as she lay beside him each night, a question which she afraid to ask even of herself, the silent question–,”is this all” seemed to be trivialized.

When he hurled,  ”How much of my space will you violate” all that she saw, was the door slammed to keep her out, this from everyone whom she believed to family, for whom she tried to create a place where one is free from attack, a place when one experiences secure relationships and affirmations, a place where people understood each other, nurtured each other, there was no need to perfect, but the need to be honest, loving supportive … maybe that was utopia.

Isn’t that the greatest tragedy? When someone rejects us, no matter how they abuse our love we hope against reason that somehow they will come back to us. but this time when he hurled, ”how much of my space will you violate”  she realized that she was forcing a partnership on someone who did not believe in it, it was rape of kind, because his space had not invited her in, and she had jumped into with a foreplay. Indeed he felt violated.

She had not recognized his response to these transgressions; he was alternately aggressive or withdrawn, now he had physically retreated too. She had always thought that there were two kinds of people who drained our energy, those who we love, and those who we fear and in both instances it was we who let them in, here she saw the third, the stagnant.

The words hurled at her shook to an epiphany, when she realized she no longer need to be thankful for the crumbs thrown at her after his energy was fed by his mother, brother, sister, work, travel and friends, she could hunt for her own food. She no longer needed to look at the closed door and seek to enter; she could open another door or window and fly right out. Little thrill here and little flutter there, at the end of it she would come home, and home was a person, ….herself.

In the Quest of Happiness



What does happiness mean to me? do I go looking for happiness?

Let me answer the second question first, no i do not go looking for happiness.  There is an interesting quote from Abraham Lincoln which I really like “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

To me happiness is a puzzle, I am really curious about this emotion that seem to manifest differently in different people, in the quest of happiness my first query was what is happiness? W hat happens to the body? What happens to the mind? What happens emotionally.

How would I recognize that what I am experience is being happy.  Is the experience uniform for all mankind, or is it individualistic.  So many questions, I figured let me at least try to get some data so that I can start working from there.

The Natyashastra talks about navarasa but ananda, is not rasa, it is an anubhava or experience and the Natyashastra says that there could be people who are happy when they are unhappy. The minute you eliminate the sorrow from the space, they will find a new issue to moan over. So I am still left with the question what is happiness?

If  I were to answer my questions with my own humble input then happiness would probably be – happiness could probably be distinguished as two types, type 1  subjective assessment of one’s life in general, this definition would  conclude that if I am pleased ie satisfied with the way my life goes then I am happy.

The second though would well being, how people feel from day to day and the proportions that we experience positive and negative feeling.

Interesting both is self assessment. Though both are connected they are not necessarily equivalent. This could be why scientists study it separately.

The self assessment is are by and large reliable though it could be influenced by assessments provided by family and friends.  Happiness level would definitely be correlated with physiological responses like people who perceive themselves as happy show higher activity in the left part of the prefrontal cortex and lower levels of stress induced cortisone.

When we are happy our body actually undergoes chemical changes endomorphins and serotonins are liberated.

If I were to speak in terms of chakras, then the first would be related to the Manipura chakra the chakra of experiencing power, and the other would be anhata chakra the chakra that concerns with our emotions. But to experience both swadhistana chakra needs to be healthy too.

This is one interesting  TED talk  I heard — https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy

At the end of the day I am still left with questions I started.

Maybe like George Washington said–“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”  ― George Washington BurnapThe Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures


At the Grief Circl

afterlife– Image courtesy Google



It was the grief circle, and Mrigank Singhal was saying “You have just lost someone; you can either grieve about the person, or smile over the time shared with the person. Or you can do both,”

Kangana wondered what she was doing here … her mind kept drifting to the night of 30th December. The events had started before, when maybe the 26th the last day she say Kamlesh.

He had come to visit Keeya, their daughter, with a Christmas cake.

“Why you brought this we are not even Christians?

“The prisoners who I go to share the Lords word, they gave it to me,”


“Because they love me,”

“take it back” Keeya had yelled, ”You have time for those people, you have no time for us.”

“They love and respect me,”

“You have to earn respect, nobody will respect you just because a father, or son” Keeya had retorted, before she banged the door and stomped out.

“Is this how you brought her up, she does not know how to talk to her father’ Kamalesh had lashed out at her.

How could she tell him, that having an affair with your son’s classmate was the best way to loose any respect the children had for him. It was the morning of 30th,

“Ma.. Baba is not responding to my calls, its two days since i am trying to contact him.” That was Kunal’s call.

“Ma.. Baba wanted me to change those shirts for him, but when I call him he does not pick the phone.”

image courtesy internet

Well then came Rajesh’s phone from Sholapur all enquiring about Kamlesh. Kangana was annoyed; it was not as if she knew of all Kamlesh’s moves, after all they had been living separately for four years now.  The fifth call was from Kamlesh’s mother, when Kangana was out on a drive with Nomratha they had decided to drive and at every cross road, they tossed the coin, if it was heads they turned right if was tails they turned left, the idea was they would just see where the day took them.

Kangana got off the car at Nomratha’s place and took her scooter down as she crossed Campal she thought she would take Kamlesh to task for not responding to calls.

The lights of his flat were on; she went up the stairs there was waft of some odour coming.

She rang the bell, banged the door, but the sound of the TV drowned it all.

The best option she thought was to burrow the spare key and open the door.

“Aunty, Kamlesh is not opening the door, can I borrow the key.”

“Maybe he does not want to talk to you”

“I would have been okay aunty but I am getting faint gas smell. So let’s just check it out”

Reluctantly Florie aunty the eighty year old land-lady gave her the key, ”Baigo, kosa, ticha baroobar vas  ge ” auntie commanded Kosa her maid.

When Kangana opened the door, the stench was terrible, Kosa opted to stay out, Kangana made her way to the kitchen and on the floor was Kamalesh with maggots eating his face, the hot plate burnt out, the television ranting.

Kangana sat down for a minute, collected herself.

She called the cops, Kosa over heard her calling the cops,

She then called her friends, sent messages to the children, three deep breathes, suddenly something snapped within her and tears flowed out,

To the Kangana was not sure what the tears were all about, their relationship had gone through the worst, they stayed separate, she was willing to divorce him as long as he assured her security for the children. But the tears did flow.

She wondered how did one answer a question like this. Mrigank’s question has either come from a place where he has just lost someone, or he is romanticizing a loss. She remembered her conversation with her counsellor, grief had to go through its cycle.. There would be denial an absolute refusal to accept the loss. There would anger directed to the person who left. This would alternate with depression until the person is willing to move on. then there will be bargaining, this could be with anyone, from God, to therapist there are people who bargain with themselves. Finally there is acceptance and resolution and the person begins to put their life back into order.indispire

She heard the group out; she knew she had to this by herself. She had got over the anger, and depression and denial. She was willing to accept the reality of the  mess and move on. the truth of it, he had move on, she had stayed stuck she had frozen thirty years of her life

ps: grief circle is a circle where we practice healing grief. .The group meets once a week. If you are interested you can contact either through a DM or as a comment on this blog.


Image courtesy Google



It has been a fantasy.. That I had a twin who was my caretaker, friend, philosopher and guide. She was something like super brain and super girl rolled in one.  I would only inspire her, with “My twin go” war cry.

A quiet Saturday evening I am at Carasid, at I sat at my usual corner table. It was my artists date, it was also the time for socializing. Last evening I was immersed in my sketch book like I normally am. On the next table was bunch of young girls, were confident, bubbly bits of conversation that drifted was intelligent nothing to do with movies or make up.

A  bunch of tourists, with their loud manners, terrible English and  obscene Hindi entered, just as decided to wrap up before being drowned by the crowd, I saw a person zooming, for moment I was taken aback, she looked so familiar.

I realized she looked the image I reflected in the mirror, on the days I felt extremely ugly, clumsy and intellectually challenged. In other words she looked me.

Now that was intriguing.

I got on my bike and drove her direction. I lost track of her.

twins 2
Image courtesy Google

Last week end I was back at Carasid, this time I kept a watch for her, and there she was, zipping past, strangely she owned the Harley Davidson a bike I had dreamt of before the doctor banned me. I followed her right to the book store she entered. To ensure I did meet her, I double parked.

She was furious, at being double parked, she tried to spot who did that, and presto she spots me, she was so much like me, I could tell she saw it too. The eyes went from split one of anger to wide open one of astonishment.  She must have wondered how many imposters do I have.

Suddenly it struck to me, all those greetings and polite conversations; they were for her, not me. did every one, do the mistake? Who is the right one, and who is the imposter, it was uncanny.

I do agree in moments of soliloquy I’ve said, this phrase so many times, it has become reassuring mantra instead of actual words: Mytwingo” if I did have a twin we would have been born in the mid sixties when twins were rather rare, a bit of magic involved of course, twins were like, the cousins of unicorns or siblings of elves. I would imagine, tapping my shadow and evoking Chayya like the Indian goddess Sanjana did. We would have telepathy, and she would be the one person in the entire world I would totally be myself with. I would not need to explain my actions to her, I would not need to clarify. I would not doubt, I would not worry.

indispireBut none of that happened, here she was standing right in front of me, and I realize that she is my long lost twin… the impact of that realization came in with a bang, and excruciating pain… in the next few minutes, the paramedics came picked me up that brought me to my senses I had bumped right into a parked Harley-Davidson, owned by a woman who looked remotely like me.

Coming to think of it “Look alikes” may be the result of one of the various possible futures happening simultaneously.

Time wrapped.

Our Classroom from standard 10

A shaft of sunlight pierced the dark clouds, and Hema looked up to see a silver lining, it’s a sign she thought.

They quietly stood by watching Tukra digging the spot, the spade hit the casket and it clanged.  As they brought the casket up, there was the ringing only the way the modern telephone can ring. This was set to the strains of Chittibabu’s  Fond Memories.

The trio of Sushma – Hema and Jaya were taken aback.

Inspired by their schools creation of a time capsule, as fifteen year olds, Sushma, Hema, jaya and Rekha had created their own time capsule. The idea was to place their dreams, and life visions, favourite toy, hate person and come back when they were fifty and see how they fared. But Rekha’s dying wish had been for the three of them to open the time capsule. So here they were and there were the strains of Fond Memories.

Last evening the old schoolmates had the reunion. Of course there was a memorial for Rekha, meeting up contemporaries, it was as if men and women happily or unhappily told everyone who will listen that they didn’t have an academic turn of min, or that they weren’t blessed with good memory and yet they could recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off information on Shahrukh Khan or Aamir Khan.  Maybe because their lives more interesting.

But this day they were digging up those promises they had made to themselves. Those dreams were written long ago around then however; they did not look backwards for very long. They kept moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because they were curious… curiosity had lead them down new paths.  They were path breakers and trendsetters. Last evening proved that they were still the hell raisers.

It is straight logic; a person who is hungry will hunt for food high and low until it is found. The same logic for knowledge and information.  In the current scenario one did not even have to move out for knowledge and information. It was just lack of interest that came through.

Being back at school was quite pathetic, it brought back memories of everyone trying hard to be something they weren’t it was like, “I don’t know who I am, so how can I even try to be who I am much less who I’m not?..I don’t even fit the misfits…I don’t fit anywhere.” Coming to think of it, the young have always had the same problem, how to rebel and confirm at the same time.

Of course peer group steps in they stop copying their parents and copy one another.

The ringing would not stop. Finally, Jaya said,

“Let’s open the casket.” The others looked on with breathe held tight.

Hema opened the casket and moved the lavender sachets, the musty lingering fragrance of lavender was faint, and it was not as they thought it would be. The ringing now seem to stop for a while, toffee boxes in which they had placed their stuff still intact

Hema handed each one the box with their name.

Rekha’s had been left intact. The label said open me. Jaya opened the box. Nestled where Rekha’s dream and vision had to be was Rekha’s i-phone, on which it said, turn the audio recording, on and Rekha’s voice came…

My best buddies through thick and thin, sick and sin, over the last year I learnt so much. I heard the roaring sea slap against the rock, I head the whistling wind tackle the pine on the Himalayas. I felt the pouring rain that made me dance; I have skipped on the grass wet with dew. I laughed, I cried, I smiled I grieved, I shared this each time, with each one it was a i-phone5 now I rest and you move on with a i-phone 6.indispire

A phone to remind you of our days together as teenagers, the last phase of our life when we were happy that a phone call was for us…Adieu.