Knock, Knock

ImageSo there is another year waiting at the door. Peeping from the window. Nailed on its toes trying vigorously to catch a glimpse from the pea hole. Greasing the welcome mat with its boots like a wild anxious hound. Excited and impatient like a little child. Honking and tootling the bell like a cornet. 2014 is just here.

This time around the year, you see a subtle retirement settling in people- the smell of a holiday, and the gingerness that drafting resolutions brings. The year that is passing starts withdrawing into the gaudy frame of a neat silver mirror, serving more memories and little reminders; the new year ahead – a welcoming window of undiscovered opportunities. And yet we swear by our soul, and fill our cups with resolutions and goals of all demeanours. Everything from resolving to grow thinner and more fit, and working harder on professional areas, adopting a pet, stop smoking or averring bad fortune, and becoming more spiritual, to finishing a novel that has gathered dust waiting on your bookshelf.

Some prepare themselves to step into the shoes of someone new, a father, a lover, a better student, a more promising employee…Goals suspended into thin air by chords of optimism, and determination. This period of time before the first of next year, is a pandemonium of dreams, conjectures and wishes, tall hopes and mighty ideas. The air has a whole new hue of buoyancy to it and the aura is filled with anxiety. Plans and haughty patchwork ready to make the most of the coming 365 days.

Our own conundrums entertain us this week. We find ourselves wondering what the year ahead will bring us, and little on what in the year ahead we may find. Pretty certain on what not to meet with- the conventional ways of ill-luck, sadness, and failure, and still pondering how to get there. With our own definitions of happiness, prosperity and success varied and needing patchwork, comes the custom of ending cards with ‘May the new year bring you gallons of the same.’ Old ones go down, and new calendars come up. The flowers in the vases change colour, and on the inside, we vicariously refurbish ourselves.

When I liquidate to the time I am in, I realize the amazing amount of prominence that the moment we are in has.

To me and many of us, these passing days are opportunities to leave behind bad memories, wrongs done, mistakes made, to say things left unsaid, and bury the hatchet for the future which comes not like every morning on each 1st January.

But if you think about it, it is just yet another morning, but it is the concept of completion that brings immediate warmth to the soul. The aspects of moving ahead bring ecstasy, and somewhere, parts of us, meet much wanted closure. But most of all, the New Year ahead, is an excuse for hope. Hope that is healthy and beautiful all the same. And thus an excuse, that is well needed.

Each New Year we swear to do accomplishable tasks, and decorate dreams for our future. However in the festivity we must not forget that in the very essence of another year, it is the spirit of beginning that we cherish, and the chi of what is to come that we celebrate. All of which remains unpredicted, and unsettled. Such is the furnace of hope, beaten to the core of human nature.

So, I hope you live to your resolutions, and I hope you remember that you cannot go back to the days of your future, so live and be happy, and fall in love and make mistakes, survive through what this year will bring- the good days and the bad ones, break rules and stay proud, and forget not, that this year will be extraordinary- just like each.

Well, as of now, I must leave, for the bell is ringing louder, and I must prepare to open the door. I say, you do too.  

 

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Confronting Prejudice

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Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not the law.

If I were to begin by naming the problems existent in our country today, in light of a system that is submerged entirely in corruption, I will succeed to a fair degree in generating despise in you towards our nation’s working. It is not news that many of these evils pertain due to the gorgeous amount of loopholes in the reverend legal system of India, while others exist due to lack of execution. On that score, India has succeeded in living up to yet another piece of law, held sancta by the 150 year old section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,  that criminalises activities “against the order of nature” , including homosexual acts.  Let us join the dots, we live in a society that is a democracy in name. Where freedom and equality are promised, and never delivered. And hitherto we have spun a law that absolutely repudiates rights to those considered ‘different’ in absence of effective law to guarantee equality at all in the first place.  We come from a nation with the longest constitution, where people live in peril, in bellow, with their rights- denied.

The Delhi High Court, in 2009, gave a verdict in favour of the filed PIL, reading down the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, with respect to consensual homosexual acts between adults. In its ruling it prescribed:

If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’. This Court believes that Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect of life, is manifest in recognising a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as ‘deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracised.

Where society can display inclusiveness and understanding, such persons can be assured of a life of dignity and non-discrimination. This was the ‘spirit behind the Resolution’ of which Nehru spoke so passionately. In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual.”

But we must remember that we come from a society of prejudice, where popular opinion beats the just, and where equality remains to be a word in black and white. And thus the Supreme Court ruling of 11 December 2013 has blown life again into the veneration of our so-called culture that was beginning to cripple.

Homosexuals are in the first place human beings. Just like you and I, and each individual, they have the liberty to make sexual choices. Persons and even governments often choose to justify their position on grounds of health. To them I ask, over every sexual act between males and females cataracts the possibility of AIDs, what law in queue would criminalise that? Individuals and governments rationalize their position on grounds of religion. To them I question, how do they deem religion, which itself is an interpretational nexus, fit enough to negate someone’s individual choices? To those who call it against nature, I rejoinder, that nature is not homophobic; nature is not and never will be tantamount to chauvinism.

What section 377 propels is discrimination, orthodox and injustice; an effort to paint the society one colour, which is practicality not possible. India remains diverse come what may. Culture and moral can simply not be the backbone of our legal system, for they themselves are subjective and individual in nature.  It appalls me to write this article, for I understand not, where this is taking us. In the world we live in, to open our minds to opinion is vital. But instead India chooses to make a transition that reverses equality, and in such grapple, we must confront what is dawning upon us, for I am afraid, if not, we will wake up in a country where bubble prejudice will be the law of the jungle.

Eating Velvet

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They say trivial things break chronic writer’s blocks the best, just like quick remedy and warm soup. Even though in today’s conundrum I explore an itsy-bitsy little theme of interest, it is something that comes from the heart, being the food lover that I am.

One of the biggest tragedies existent in this cruel world of today is possibly one’s inability to cook while having a warm taste for food and an appetite that returns like a boomerang. A good food-y does not necessarily cook well, but this can often, in moments of parody be quite a pandemonium.  After all, food is one of your best inanimate friends. Fizzy, buttery and peppered popcorn for heartbreak, cold ice cream with espresso for moments of ecstatsy, curled and tasty noodles for cold evenings and pancake mix that makes for a perfect early sunny morning. Yes, I relate better with minute maid foods that can be cooked in the microwave (read: inability to light the stove) and no, I did not mention lasagne, Mexican prawns or crème brulee (read: not much of a, if I may say so, fancy food-y).  

But when you leap from cooking French fires to something as precious and challenging as baking a red velvet cupcake, it heats things up a bit. No, it is not out of leisure that I do so, or out of some burning vehemence to cook, it is for my sister’s grand 21st birthday. Consider this a suicide note of dramatic fashion: I shall either cook amazingly delicious and soft velvet cupcakes or die in the effort of eating the [more probable] undercooked, chemically stained, sugarless, inedible muffin lookalikes. In light of the latter, understand that the baker must verify under oath the demeanour of the flour he sold me, the cheesemonger must vow similarly and the velvet is ought to be the proof of the pudding. In the fortunate event of the court finding the truth of the matter, the velvet must be convicted…oh and I have my doubts you might want to pull up a good show with the whipped cream, and then, the world shall know that it was but a stealthy velvety conspiracy against me and I happen to be not so bad a cook. Smell the sarcasm, and blow your nose if you will.

Also, I must squeeze in a little word of respect for Jerome K. Jerome, a man who can wander into the strangest and most bizarre of retrospects known to the literary world and make it seem effortless, lyrical and acquittal all the same. One, who has today, influenced greatly my pen and type pad (the ring of which I happen to like).

I prepare the vanilla, the buttermilk, the food colouring and the pretty eggs, I victual my vial of courage and I get set to bake. The course of this advent I cannot determine, dear reader, yet with all my heart I hope I survive this baking, hitherto I remain proud and contented to have made through an otherwise chronic writer’s block.