Friday, September 20, 2013

America is good, mostly..

I'm not one to defend the US or India, but this off-late bashing of the United States for the recently crowned Miss America is getting a little out of control. Sure, she's the first Indian American, who deserves some respect to overcome cultural barriers and stereotypes. But to expect everybody in America will get on the 'multicultural bandwagon' is ridiculous to say the least.
No doubt, there were some racist pricks across the country who took offense to the fact that she didn't look exactly like Barbie, but is that really that bad? I mean, to say that everywhere else in the world we have an acceptable level of racism except for the United States is a big lie, to say the least. Let's take India, for example. There are enough racists in India to ensure that newly crowned Miss America Ms. Nina Davuluri never sees the world stage. A lot of Indian people living in India are obsessed with skin color. It is automatically assumed in India that the lighter your skin color is, the better/more beautiful you are. It doesn't matter your eyes are bigger than your mouth, or that you look sideways when you're trying to look straight - that is the bottom line 'truth'. So to somehow imply that all of America is racist and evil because some ignorant losers think that Ms. Nina is not American enough is simply inaccurate. In ever country, there are ignorant people.
If anything, we should be proud of the USA that a dark skinned Indian girl got to be the woman of the year, she couldn't have had this privilege in her own 'home' country. So just stop whining and be thankful.
Be thankful that you live in a country that for the most part respects who are as oppose to what you look like. Even though it would be easy for me to pretend that I'm a target of racism - I'm not. Most people try to be politically and socially correct by not assuming they know everything about me based on my skin tone or my name. They give me a chance. They let me speak. They listen when I speak. They are genuinely impressed when I can do crazy math in a matter of seconds. That is more than what I can say about my motherland - India. I'm so tired of being called not 'pretty enough' because I'm not light enough or that I should use the cream 'Fair and Lovely' because the mean the same thing. Aren't my grandma's days over yet?
Geez, stop giving America a hard time about this. We got other bigger issues we need to discuss and worry about. How about the fact that we have experienced 250 mass shootings this year alone? How about the fact that 48 million of our people are on food stamps? Do we really need to spend all our energy discussing the ignorant 2% who think the current Miss America isn't American enough? We need to focus on constructive criticism, because simply criticizing doesn't accomplish anything.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shameful Embarrassment..

It's been a while I've been in India.. But being here has been bittersweet. It's exciting to bring my little boy here to visit his grandparents and scores of other relatives but it's sad to see that recent events here have tainted my experience as a whole. Gang rapes and utter disregard for women's right to be treated with respect has put me off a lot more than I expected. As I walk through the crowded bazaars and bargain with witty shop keepers I constantly find myself looking over my shoulder to make sure I'm not being followed, eve teased, or treated like a piece of meat by locals.
I'm sure I'm not alone. There are millions of girls who feel this insecurity, especially in the capital. It is discouraging to see even after all that's gone down in the last few months there is no awareness in the general male public regarding women's sentiments regarding these issues. Why is it so difficult to leave the perversion at home and not carry it around everywhere they go? It is an interesting discussion as to why our society is like this.
Intellectuals and feminists argue that Islamic countries treat women unfairly with Sharia law. They are secondary to men and even in the eyes of the law they have little rights compared to their counterparts. But the best thing about these countries is that they have very strict laws in place for rapists and sexual harassers. They are castrated and shamefully punished when they are found guilty. But in the veil of democracy and a fair and just trial, thousands of Indian men escape the cruelest of punishments for the most horrendous crimes due to lack of evidence. Evidence - such a strong word with the gross implication that burden of proof lies in on the state. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy, except that in a corrupt nation where policewallas can be bought out and just a few rupees in bribe will cover up almost any 'evidence' it holds little to no value.
Raping a 4 year old girl should not require a fair trial. When it is clear that there was an interaction between a deviant and this little girl, there should be no more questions asked. Hang the bast*ard. He doesn't deserve fairness. He is unworthy of a democratic and due process. He didn't give that little girl a chance. Why does he get one?
Sure, you can blame it on the corruption. Things like this happen because of disregard of the law, but there is a much bigger question in play here. Why are these Indian men such monsters? Why do they act in devious ways with innocent girls? What is driving this traumatic culture? Yes, culture. India boasts of a rich heritage and a varied culture. But when things happen repeatedly in a society, it becomes the culture. Gang rapes are the culture now. Should we be proud of being a Hindustani now? I was always proud to say I come from a land of tremendous diversity and acceptance, but I no longer want to associate with this place if we are going to do nothing about such monstrous acts. This blog won't make a difference, I know that. I'm not that naive. But there needs to be more action than talk. I'm tired of prime time news channels covering this issue with no productive outcomes. I'm tired of watching my back as I walk around in public. I'm tired of 'this doesn't happen with educated people' excuses.
India is a rural country. Most people are not educated. But lack of education shouldn't make us monsters. We need to change some things - NOW. The Indian youth needs to make some noise. Get out of your fantasy lands where money buys fairness and locks it away in a box. Let's lock up these animals instead.
Where are we headed? Let's not let these events define who we are as a people, because today, we're all ashamed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

So Much to Lose..

When stupidity is louder than common sense
When instead of sleeping safe, we prefer awakening tense
When we disagree not to defend principles but to bring people down
When compromising is viewed as a weakness and its powerful that frown

New lows threatening genuine goodness linger
Yes, it's easier to have discussions now, just point that finger
What doesn't change is the need for progress
The need to stop and listen before that angry egress

This country where we celebrate opportunistic freedom
Is blurred in political lines instead of working in tandem
Purpose, intention, empathy
Leap over, it's all in jeopardy...

What am I to tell my son of the world he lives in?
Is it better to wobble with guns than muscle with emotional strength?
Will being armed make him more of a man?
So he can rise up violently to a grand occasion of another's hostile plan?

I can't let him forget that kindness is louder than bullets
I can't let him believe that his conscience is a puppet
If he can stand up against the odds
When it is easier to buckle up and nod
He will reach his utmost potential
Regardless of policy, power and rendition