Friday, 27 September 2019

A woman who reclaims

I'm a woman in a saree
I'm a woman in hijab
I'm sometimes a Devi, at others just shabab
The bondage of the sendur, the suppression of a Naqab.

The moment I want to shed, you shudder and you cringe,
Yet me and mine for centuries, have been on fringe.

You tell me I should know my place and have grace
You tell me 50 percent of humanity, this world has no space
For me and mine, unless we succumb
To your rule, and stay under your thumb.

A 'chinki' from Assam, A 'chikni kudi' from punjaab
You barely even recognize us as individuals,
what to say of our names and identities junaab?

By the way, could you call your sister 'maal'
Or maybe your mother 'chhinaal'?
Which by the way means 'object' and 'slut' like you call us all.

You can't call your sister or mother that
But wait, isn't that for your Jiju and dad?
To call them these names while all of you together,
Look at me and mine from these frames?

You laugh it off, sometimes participative, rarely apologetic,
mostly a spectator of the game.

You, yes you. You my friend drive the culture of abuse,
the culture of silence, and the culture of shame!


WHAT are you so afraid of?
WHY are you so keen?
On holding on to a past
That has long ONCE been.

Why does my freedom scare you?
Why does my freedom scare you,
My freedom in body, mind and soul?
Why does it scare you?
Why does it scare you,
Me being perfect, complete and whole.

© Anupama Garg 2019

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

असुविधाजनक बातें - भाग 4

कल लिखते लिखते प्राइवेसी पर कुछ विचार आये दिमाग में | तो प्राइवेसी या निजता आखिर कुछ है भी, या महज़ एक छलावा है ? देखने में मुद्दा सीधा सपाट है | ज़िन्दगी में जो मेरे घर की चारदीवारी में हो, वो प्राइवेट | जैसे - सेक्स प्राइवेट, बीमारी प्राइवेट, मानसिक रोग प्राइवेट, शादी के बीच की तकलीफ प्राइवेट, भाइयों का झगड़ा प्राइवेट, प्रेम प्रसंग प्राइवेट, क्या खाते हैं प्राइवेट आदि आदि | तो फिर मेरा अगला सवाल - फिर बलात्कार प्राइवेट क्यों नहीं? आत्महत्या, घरेलू हिंसा, कोर्ट केस, हॉनर किलिंग, ये सब प्राइवेट क्यों नहीं?

मुझे नहीं मालूम, कि हममें से वास्तव में कितने लोग प्राइवेसी के कांसेप्ट को वाकई समझते हैं, और कितने इसे मात्र सुविधा की तरह इस्तेमाल करते हैं | लेकिन मुझे जो दिखता है, वो ये है कि प्राइवेसी की आड़ में दबाव, शर्मिंदगी, चुप्पी, डर, धमकियाँ, और पता नहीं कितनी दूसरी चीज़ें छुपाई जाती हैं | प्राइवेसी का हव्वा ही एक लम्बे समय तक औरतों को दवा, इलाज, और डॉक्टर न मिल पाने का कारण था | यही कारण है आज भी बड़ी होती बहुत सी बच्चियां रजोनिवृत्ति या मासिक धर्म या प्रेगनेंसी या सेफ सेक्स से जुड़े सवाल नहीं पूछ पातीं | शहरों में शायद फिर भी कुछ चीज़ों के हालात थोड़े फ़र्क़ हों, मगर मनोरोग आज भी ऐसा विषय है जिनके बारे में कोई खुल नहीं बोलता |

सवाल ये है कि ये प्राइवेसी तब कहाँ चली जाती है, जब अच्छे भले पढ़े लिखे घरों के लड़के, किस लड़की के साथ सोये थे, ये चटकारे ले कर एक दुसरे को बताते हैं? ये प्राइवेसी तब कहाँ चली जाती है, जब PayTM से खरीदे कंडोम्स के ट्रांसेक्शन G B Road के किसी मेडिकल स्टोर के अगेंस्ट दिखता है? इस प्राइवेसी का क्या करेंगे जब डॉक्टर से यौन परामर्श न लेने के कारण यौन रोगों का इलाज नहीं हो पायेगा?

ओह वैसे, शायद आप भूल रहे हों | ऐसे बहुत से लोग हैं, दिव्यांग जन , कुछ विशेष रोगों जैसे पक्षाघात / लकवा, खास तौर से paraplegia से पीड़ित लोग, जिनके लिए प्राइवेसी की संकल्पना सिर्फ नाम मात्र को होती है | वो चाह कर भी प्राइवेसी नहीं हासिल कर पाते, कम से कम सामान्य लोगों जितनी नहीं | मैं ये नहीं कहती कि व्यक्तिगत स्पेस की ज़रुरत नहीं | बस इतना कह रही हूँ कि जिसे हम स्पेस, प्राइवेसी, निजी कहते हैं, अगर वो हमें समय पर मदद मांगने से रोकने लगे, तो किस काम की?

अगर किसी ने अपने निजी #metoo का ज़िक्र प्राइवेसी के चलते न किया होता, तो इतना विमर्श न हुआ होता | अगर लोगों ने हीमोफीलिया, कैंसर, डिप्रेशन के बारे में बात न की होती, तो सहायता समूह न बनते | अगर तलाक, दहेज़ उत्पीड़न, घरेलु हिंसा के बारे में लोग मुंह न खोलने लगते, अगर सती प्रथा को प्राइवेट मसला मान कर इग्नोर किया जाता, अगर बाल विवाह और शरीर की परिपक्वता की बात न की जाती, और ये कह दिया जाता, की ये तो निजी मसले हैं, तो कहाँ होते हम आज?

तो आज के विमर्श में मेरा आपसे सवाल यही है, कि प्राइवेसी सिर्फ सुविधा है, या ज़रुरत? और किस हद तक? वो कौनसा स्तर है, जहाँ प्राइवेसी मर्यादा से बदल कर शर्म बन जाती है?

©Anupama Garg 2019

Monday, 16 September 2019

असुविधाजनक बातें - भाग 3

ऐसा क्या है सेक्स के बारे में जो हम उस बारे में बात नहीं करना चाहते ? कहीं ऐसा तो नहीं कि शुरुआत में कपड़े पहनने की जो आदत इंसान ने अपने शरीर को सुरक्षित रखने के लिए डाली थी, कहीं वही हमारे बीच की दीवारें बन गई है ? कहीं ऐसा तो नहीं कि सुरक्षा से शर्म, और शर्म से चुप्पी की ओर चलते हुए हमने निजीपन या प्राइवेसी को एक अंधेरे कोने में बदल दिया है, जहाँ हम खुद भी नहीं झांक पाते | मुझे इस बात में शुबहा नहीं कि आपकी व्यक्तिगत जिंदगी आपकी अपनी है, मगर मुझे इस बात का अफसोस है कि इस निजता की आड़ लेकर लोग कैसे रिश्तों में दोगलापन बरत पाने की छूट ले लेते हैं |

आप अपने पति या पत्नी के साथ सेक्स की बात भी नहीं करेंगे, आप किसी काउंसलर के पास जाने के बारे में सोचेंगे नहीं, मगर आपकी ही जितनी सीमित सोच वाले किसी दोस्त की ये सलाह कि मल्टी रॉड लगवाने से महिलाएं मोटी हो जाती हैं, मान लेंगे? आप अपने जीवन साथी/यों से बात करने से जी चुरायेंगे, मगर आपको ये उम्मीद है, कि आपके एक्स्ट्रा मैरिटल अफेयर में आप खुश रह पाएंगे | ज़ाहिर सी बात है एथिकल पॉलीएमोरी या नीतिपरक बहुप्रेमी प्रथा के बारे में न तो आपने पढ़ा है, न पढ़ने की ज़ेहमत ही उठाना चाहते हैं | कई जिन्होंने कुछ अधकचरा पढ़ लिया होता है, उन्हें ऐसी बातों की आड़ ले कर सिर्फ सेक्स करना होता है, वो सेक्स जिसके बारे में भी कुछ ख़ास समझते नहीं हैं वे |

अक्सर हम जब पकड़े जाते हैं तो जस्टिफाई भी करते हैं | मगर इतनी हिम्मत नहीं होती कि ये कह सकें, कि एक से ज़्यादा लोगों से प्यार करना है | और उसकी जड़ इस बात में छुपी है, कि आपको सम्बन्ध, सम्भोग और स्नेह में फ़र्क़ करना आता भी नहीं और आप ये फ़र्क़ सीखना चाहते भी नहीं | और अगर कोई और इन मुद्दों पर खुल कर बोले या अपना सच स्वीकार करने की कोशिश करे, तो या तो आप उसे डरा देते हैं, और या उसे शर्मिंदा करने की कोशिश करते हैं | आप हाथों हाथ उसे बेशर्म, गैर जिम्मेदार, इम्मोरल,अनैतिक, धोखेबाज़ और ऐसे ही अनेक शब्दों के तमगे पहना देते हैं |

सच ये है कि संबंधों का कोई जायज या नाजायज होने का तरीका नहीं होता, मगर ऐसा जरूर है कि कुछ लोगों ने किसी वक्त में अपनी सहूलियत के हिसाब से कुछ नियम बनाए थे | सवाल यह है कि क्या वही नियम पीढ़ी दर पीढ़ी हमें ढोते जाने चाहिए ? जिस वक्त दुनिया की आबादी कुछ चंद करोड़ लोग थी, उस वक़्त जो नियम लागू होते हैं क्या आज साढ़े सातअरब की जनसंख्या पर आप वही नियम लागू कर सकते हैं ? क्या यह संभव है कि जो नियम जमीन और जायदाद के चलते बनाए गए थे, और जिनके द्वारा परिवार, विवाह, और एकपत्नी या एक पति रखने की प्रथा चालू की गयी थी, आज भी वही प्रथा चलाकर आप सबको खेती की ज़मीन दे पाएंगे? सबका पेट भर पाएंगे ?

क्या यह संभव है कि मानव अब वह मानव नहीं रहा, और मानव का यह बदलाव अच्छा या बुरा नहीं, मात्र एक तथ्य है? यह तथ्य स्वीकारने में समय और प्रयास दोनों ही लगेंगे, कि समाज के ढांचे , और संबंधों के आमूलचूल स्ट्रक्चर में कुछ परिवर्तन तो आया ही है, कुछ जारी है और कुछ आता रहेगा | इसलिए संवाद करना और भी जरूरी है |

ना तो मैं यह कह रही हूं कि आप हवा के बहाव में बह जाएं और ना ही यह क्या बरगद के पेड़ की तरह बंद कर पुरानी लीक पकड़े रहें | मैं सिर्फ यह कह रही हूं कि यदि इन मुद्दों के बारे में हम खुला संवाद कर पाएंगे तो बदलती मानवीय सभ्यता की बदलती जरूरतों को भी आराम से एड्रेस कर पाएंगे | इसका नतीजा यह होगा कि बेवजह के टकराव, बेवजह के झूठ, लाचारी, और बेईमानी में निश्चित ही कमी आएगी और ईमानदारी से बने ऐसे रिश्ते आने वाली पीढ़ी की भावनाओं, विचारों और मानसिकता को बेहतर तो जरूर बनाएंगे |

लेकिन यह हो सिर्फ तभी पाएगा जब हम अपने पहले से जमे हुए विचारों को, खुद के लिए बदलने में दिलचस्पी लेंगे | यह तब हो पाएगा जब हम परिवार के ढांचे, समाज की संरचना और नैतिकता की मिसालों को बदलने के लिए तैयार होंगे | ज़ाहिर सी बात है यह काम आसान नहीं होगा | यह काम कुछ 2, 5, 10 लोगों के करने का भी नहीं है | यह काम समूची मानवता को सामूहिक तौर पर करना होगा | अब सवाल यह है यह करने के लिए पहला कदम क्या होगा? मेरी नज़र में, संवाद और विमर्श, इस बदलाव की ओर पहला सुदृढ़ कदम होगा |

"सवाल यह नहीं कि मुद्दा क्या है | सवाल यह है कि संवाद कैसा हो ? विमर्श कैसा हो?

©Anupama Garg 2019

Sunday, 15 September 2019

असुविधाजनक बातें - भाग 2

कल की बात से आगे बढ़ाते हुए......

एक सवाल आज ही मुझसे किसी ने ने पूछा - डेटिंग तक तो ठीक है, मगर आपको सेक्स के बारे में बात करना ज़रूरी क्यों लगता है? मेरा उनसे प्रतिप्रश्न था - यदि मैं जियोग्राफी या गणित या फिल्मों की बात करती तो आपको दिक्कत होती?

वे - नहीं,मगर सेक्स व्यक्तिगत है |
मैं - तो क्या मैं स्वास्थ्य की बात कर लूँ ?
वे - हाँ, क्यों नहीं?
मैं - मुझे जब डिप्रेशन हुआ था, उस बारे में?
वे - हाँ हाँ ज़रूर, क्यों नहीं ?
मैं - लेकिन वो भी तो व्यक्तिगत है?
वे - हाँ लेकिन सेक्स के बारे में बात नहीं करते |
मैं - वो मैं समझी, मगर क्यों?
वे - यार तुम तो ज़िद पर अड़ गयी हो !
मैं - चलिए कुछ सवालों के जवाब दीजिये | आपकी शादी हुए १० साल से ज़्यादा हुए, बच्चे भी हैं, सेक्स किया था?
वे - वो तो सब करते हैं |
मैं - लेकिन Asexual लोग नहीं करते | आप जानते हैं, asexuality क्या होती है?
वे - ......(सन्नाटा)
मैं - छोड़िये, दूसरा सवाल! आप अब भी सेक्स करते हैं?
वे - ( सकुचाते हुए) - हाँ, पर उतना नहीं |
मैं - खाना भी बहुत कम खाते होंगे फिर?
वे - दोनों में क्या सम्बन्ध है? खाना तो बीवी उतना ही खिलाती है |
मैं - तो सेक्स क्यों नहीं करती? ये आप जानते हैं?
वे - नहीं, कहती मूड नहीं और मैं ज़ोर नहीं डालता |
मैं - आपको क्या मन करता है?
वे - अब मैं इस पर क्या ही बोलूं? सेक्स की इच्छा तो होती ही है |
मैं - तो आप मानते हैं की ज़रूरी है?
वे - हाँ वो तो है ही |
मैं - और आपको लगता है, कि इस विषय में आपका अपनी पत्नी से बात करना उचित और ज़रूरी नहीं है?
वे - शायद तुम ठीक कह रही हो | मुझे तो ये भी नहीं पता कि उसे 15 साल बाद पसंद क्या है?
मैं - अब अगर मैंने सेक्स की बात अपनी वाल पर, या व्हाट्सप्प पर नहीं की होती, तो क्या आपको पता चलता कि एसेक्सुअलिटी (asexuality) नाम की कोई चीज़ भी है? या कि आपको अपनी पत्नी की पसंद - नापसंद भी नहीं पता - क्या आप ये जान पाते?

सवाल यह है कि वह कौन से मुद्दे हैं जिन्हें हम सुलझाना तो चाहते हैं, मगर जिनके बारे में हम बात नहीं करना चाहते, जिनके बारे में हमें संवाद करना और विमर्श करना कोई सिखाता नहीं ? इन मुद्दों में से सवाल सेक्स के इर्द-गिर्द घूमते हैं चाहे वह शादी में पति-पत्नी के बीच बनने वाला यौन संबंध हो, या वह जबरदस्ती किया गया किसी का बलात्कार, या यौन कुंठा ओं के बारे में के बारे में किसी से बात ना कर पाने की लाचारी, और या फिर प्यार और सेक्स में फर्क न कर पाने से पैदा हुयी उलझन |

ये सारे ही सवाल ऐसे हैं, जिनके कोई सीधे जवाब हैं ही नहीं | इन सभी सवालों से हो कर गुजरने वाले रास्ते और गलियां भूल भुलईंया जैसे लग सकते हैं | और इन पहेलियों को सुलझाने का एक ही तरीका है - लगातार संवाद | जब हर स्तर पर संवाद संभव होगा,तभी इन सवालों के बहुमुखी जवाब भी मिलेंगे |

© Anupama Garg 2019

Friday, 13 September 2019

असुविधाजनक बातें - भाग 1

सवाल ये नहीं है कि मुद्दा क्या है? सवाल ये है कि विमर्श कैसा हो? संवाद कैसा हो?

मुझे नहीं मालूम कि हम में से कितने लोग वास्तव में रेप की बात करना चाहते हैं, और कितने लोगों को रेप के बारे में बात करना सिर्फ कूल लगता है | मुझे यह भी नहीं मालूम कि कितने लोगों को रेप के बारे में सिर्फ इसलिए बात करनी होती है क्योंकि बलात्कार के बारे में बात करना जरूरी है, या इसलिये क्योंकि उनके आसपास हर कोई बलात्कार के बारे में बात करता है और क्योंकि उन्हें एक सोशल स्ट्रक्चर में फिट होना है | 

लेकिन मुझे यह जरूर मालूम है कि बलात्कार जैसे मुद्दों के बारे में जितना कैजुअली हम लोग बात करते हैं उतने कैज़ुअल ये मुद्दे है नहीं | इन मुद्दों की गंभीरता को सिर्फ सजा देने भर से एड्रेस नहीं किया जा सकता | इन मुद्दों को एड्रेस करने के लिए यह जरूरी है कि इनके बारे में गंभीरता से विमर्श हो | इस विमर्श में ये ढूंढने की कोशिश की जाए कि आखिर बलात्कारी मानसिकता कैसी है ? वह क्या है जो किसी पुरुष, या किसी स्त्री को अपनी इच्छा दूसरे पर थोपने के लिए मजबूर कर देता है?

कहीं ऐसा तो नहीं कि हम यह भूल जा रहे हैं कि बलात्कार पुरुष का भी हो सकता है ? कहीं ऐसा तो नहीं कि हम बलात्कार जैसे मुद्दों की आड़ में कुछ दूसरे सवाल नजरअंदाज कर रहे हों ? कुछ ऐसे मुद्दे जिन्हें समझाने का कोई तरीका हमें नहीं आता, संवाद से जुड़े मुद्दे, जिनमें बात करनी पड़े ऐसे मुद्दे, जिनमें अपना आडम्बर छोड़ कर, अपना झूठ छोड़ कर, अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी उठानी पड़े, जिनमें सामने वाले को समझना पड़े - कहीं ऐसे मुद्दों को न एड्रेस कर पाने का नतीजा तो नहीं, कि कोई भी मुद्दा हो, हम विमर्श कर ही नहीं पाते ? कहीं ऐसा तो नहीं कि 'बलात्कार' 'बलात्कार' चिल्लाने से, नारे लगाने से, हमें जो ऊपरी संतुष्टि मिलती है, उसी संतुष्टि तक हमारी सोच सीमित है?

सवाल ये नहीं है कि मुद्दा क्या है? सवाल ये है कि विमर्श कैसा हो? संवाद कैसा हो?

© Anupama Garg 

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Letters of Love 5 - Live the Life You Love

This is a Letter of Love to Myself.

This is my opportunity to remind you that your parents, your siblings, your close family and the best of your friends have always wanted freedom, joy and happiness for you. You have wanted the same for yourself.

You're a brilliant person, a vibrant loving human, a complex puzzle and a simple human. Since the very childhood, you've been a bright spark, a talented speaker, a brilliant student, a poet, a writer, an orator, a singer, a creative hands-on DIYer, and a lot more.

And, you've also been a monster, a cribber, a complainer, a bitch (:D), a whiner, a loser, and / or whatever anyone may have said about you, or you may have said about yourself.

However, over the last few years or so, you've seen the true manifestation of what a human being is all about. You knew it physically first, intuitively next, sexually as well as spiritually around the same time and now you know it intellectually too. You have experienced what it is to think and meditate upon 'Aham Brahmasmi', what is it to get it tattooed on your arm, as well as what it is to experience it first hand.

You've suffered depression, you've experienced intense joy, you've suffered hunger, poverty, insecurity, and also luxury and comfort. You've been through fear, anger, love, insecurity, success, accomplishment and more.

It has been a great life this far and just when you were reaching a bottleneck, the universe opened so much more for you. It has been a life well lived and a life well loved. It has been a life full of people and it will continue to be so.

This letter is as much about what it has been as what it will be about. Life beyond this point will be what it will be. It will be what you manifest, what you create, what you say, it will be. So watch carefully and manifest what you want this life to be.

May this life henceforth continue to be a life that is well lived, a life well loved, a life well fought, a life which throbs with a life of its own. May you experience what being truly alive is, every moment from here.

Most of all, remember...

सुखावसाने इदमेव सारं, दुःखावसाने इदमेव ज्ञेयम्।
देहावसाने इदमेव जाप्यं, गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति॥

© Anupama 2019

__________________________________________

For those of you, who I promised to post your letters, I am sorry I got too tempted to not forget my own feelings for myself, so I ended up writing this, out of turn. The regular flow should start again today.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Letters of Love 4 - Rosy


Rosy is a vibrant, happy, extroverted person. Had I met her on a casual day on the street, or in a café, I wouldn’t believe that this lady could hesitate in saying anything to anyone. When I facilitated this letter, we talked about a lot of things but kept dancing around the main subject. Knowing her as briefly as I have known her, I knew she will open up slowly, but authentically and beautifully.

Thank you for allowing me to see inside your beautiful heart Rosy and sharing what you shared. I hope some justice to your feelings and thoughts has come through my pen.
____________________________________________________

Dearest Papa,

Honestly, I’m pretty overwhelmed. However, I know you perhaps understand that already. You already know how much effort it takes me to start topics and conversations, specially with you. That said, one has to begin somewhere. So, I’ll begin with the most recent conversation / chat / texts you and I shared. I told you I had a breakthrough with mom, but when you asked me what a breakthrough is, I told you I’ll explain it to you over the next call. That call is still due.

In the meanwhile, this letter is here.

I want to tell you through this letter, that I love you. Deeply, immensely and with a lot of respect and affection. I may not be as expressive of our affection as I want and I may have a thousand explanations for why I am the way I am, but the truth is that I am your daughter.

Since I was a young child, I have watched you from afar. From the hostel, from my room, from the other end of the dining table, I’ve observed you as a strong man. When you lost my first mother, I have no idea how you found strength to think of us. When you loved mummy the way you do, I have no idea, how you found the courage to do so. When you provided for us, despite all failures, relentlessly, I cannot fathom, where you found your unconditional love from.

After all these years, I don’t even think that you were not expressive of your affection. I do not have complaints from you. Truly. I do however, want us to open up something new, something that you and I have never done before. The ability to talk freely and let it flow.



Papa, I know it won’t be easy. You’re a strong man and I am your daughter. You’re a practical man with high values and a fierce sense of responsibility and independence. I’m a daughter who has always sought to make you proud. I know I succeeded. You may not have said it in so many words, but you have shown it. To everyone else. And I am just happy to know that I have made my father proud.

I would love to hear your approval. The way everyone knows you're proud of me, I want to know it too. I want to hear it in your words, I want to hear it from you.

However, I do feel helpless when I can’t just randomly pick my phone up, call you and say that I wanted to check on your fractured arm. I wish I could casually call you and just share what my day was like, hear what yours was like. 

I do not think there is any point wondering what would our relationship be like, if we had…. However, I really, sincerely want our relationship to bloom into what it can be. A relationship of a middle-aged woman with her aged father. A relationship where we can finally, freely say – I love you papa. A relationship, where I can hope to hear you talk and share freely, with no reservations, whatsoever. A relationship, where you can tell me directly - Rosy, I'm proud of you!

As difficult it may be, you and I are a resilient pair papa. We are used to create a lot of value, a lot of success, a lot of beauty from bare minimal resources. You and I have always done that, haven’t we?
 
This letter is an invitation for us to create a very loving, communicative and beautiful relationship together.

I love you papa. I know you love me too. I know you're proud of me as well. Just waiting to hear it from you.

Your loving daughter,

Rosy

© Anupama 2019

Friday, 8 March 2019

Letters of Love 3 - Dear Dr. A

This is my letter of love to Dr. A. Dr. A and my relationship was that of a mentor and a mentee at a given point of time. After so many years, my perception of right and wrong has changed. However, if anything, my emphasis on consent has only increased. This is my letter to Dr. A.

Note - Dr. A is an anonymized name for the person. Any attempts at identifying this person by anyone who reads this, are not my responsibility.

________________________________________________________________________


 Dear Dr. A,

I was barely an adult when we had first met and I had a young girl's crush on you. I have a very strong feeling you knew it too and you used it to motivate me to study harder. You did not exploit that crush, you were very attentive, responsible and empowering as a fully adult man dealing with a teen.

However, at some point, you were upset to discover that I had a similar crush on someone who you thought was absolutely nowhere when compared to you. That is when you first got competitive and wanted to connect with me as a man would want to connect with a woman.

I clearly remember you telling me not to commit to any young man unless I really knew what I was getting into and that they might take me for a ride. However, when you grew competitive with a young man I chose to briefly experiment / explore with, you were willing to take me for a ride :D

For sometime I was upset. For the remaining, I just ignored you.Till we reconnected years later that is. However, your insistence on some or the other sort of physical / sexual intimacy or sexting / or talks didn't wane really.

All said and done, this letter of love is not about making a monster of you and a saint of me :D For the simple reason that you're not a monster. You're a human being. You're a man. You have various other references to contexts about why you behave, the way you behave.

I have written this letter of love to tell you that to me, you're a possibility. A possibility of being connected with people, a possibility of communicating authentically, which I might have done years earlier, had I known how to.

This letter of love is not about who did what and why. We did what we did, when we did it and or whatever reason we did it for. Both you and me.

This letter of love is about the fact that you and I are no longer in touch. We don't necessarily have to really be friends, that's certainly a possibility too :) However, this letter is more for completing what we left incomplete. What I left incomplete was I just gave up on the possibility of you ever getting my perspective. What I left incomplete was that I never trusted you to understand and respect my no. What I gave up on was the hope that you would truly understand my respect, affection without adding a sexual inuendo to it. Today I open up all those possibilities again.

I invite you to a possibility of being connected again. What you choose to do with these possibilities, is for you to choose. I write this letter of love to be free and be who I truly am. A person, a woman, a loving friend, a non-sexualized, non-objectified person.

Welcome to the world of love Dr. A.

Much love,
Anupama

© Anupama 2019


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Letters of Love 2 - Ravi Singh




Ravi is a very quiet, but thoughtful person. I recently met him when we were doing some training together. When I conceptualized this project, he was one of the first people who gave me the permission to write a letter on his behalf. In his phone call with me, Ravi shared with so much honesty, the deep love he has for his parents, his wife, his kids, his siblings and their families. I hope this letter does justice to what he wanted to express. It was a privilege hearing him share and write for him.

___________________________________


Dear Mummy, Papa,

This is my letter of love to you.

This is to tell you how much I love you. This is to tell you how much I miss being with you. This letter intends to share very briefly what drifted us apart, but more about what brings us together.

The truth is this – You’re my source and I love you. I am yours just like an apple grows from the seed that allowed itself to be buried deep into the ground. You allowed yourselves to give up on some of your dreams in order to raise the three of us as well as you knew. You allowed us to be stupid and live with some of our stories, because you knew we needed that space. You allowed yourselves to guide us, to care for us and to raise us with love.

I want to tell you that I truly understand you’re human too. And that it is not my place to sit in your judgement. It is not my place to be entitled and ask ‘why?’ or ‘why not’. However, it is certainly my place to give you the love that I withheld from you at a point in time. 

Through this letter, I give you your son back. The son who loved you unconditionally. Through this letter, I give you my word that I will continue to love you and my siblings and my wife and my kids and the whole extended family till I live.

<a href="https://pixabay.com/photos/india-indian-family-happy-1139717/">Image</a> by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/JudaM-1486966/">JudaM</a> on Pixabay

I want to invite you to create more love with all of us. You were the ones who taught me how to love, how to stand for what is right. Today, I ask for your support in standing by my wife’s and kids’ side. Today I ask you to love us all again like you did then.

I might have been stupid and put distance between us, but I do hope that you will help me bridge it. Just like you helped me with Maths problems in childhood, you will also help me with life’s problems. Just like you allowed me to work with you during grocery shopping, or sometimes in the home, you will allow me to work with you in life.

Mummy, Papa, we have spent 10 years away from each other and not one day goes by when I don’t wish that you were here. I want you to know your daughter-in-law. I want you to know your grandchildren. I want them to have the values that only their grandparents can give them. Please allow us all to have that privilege. I am afraid that we may not have endless years together. Why not make the most of what we have?

For the love, which we always will have, please allow us to stay with you. The house doesn’t matter, home does. And our home is incomplete without you both.

Let's love again? Unconditionally? Please?

Your loving son,
Ravi


 © Anupama 2019

Saturday, 9 February 2019

I have a problem with "Krishna Says"

I have a problem with people who talk random pep talk in the name of "Krishna Says". Because, no Krishna doesn't say it!

  • For one, you have never bothered to read the damn book. So stop insulting the text, the numerous great interpretations, those who read it and actually imbibe it. How about you actually listen to some good commentaries or read the text yourself. There's enough translation available and if you have basic skills, it's very much possible.
 I mean look at this Man, this much revered and so-called ( to pacify atheists ) God, that you attribute your mediocrity to. Does he look like he's telling Arjuna that it's easy to forgive in words, but not in mind, standing in a battlefield? I mean seriously people??


  • Next, you choose to just misinterpret (which is still OK, assuming that's your own understanding), abuse the text by inserting totally generic, shallow pep talk in the name of Krishna Says. I get equally frustrated with those who quote any share to Ghalib or any piece of poetry to Gulzar, or sensational statements to celebrities for instance. Specially when you can prove that it wasn't said by them.
  • Next, while you want all the world to applaud your mediocrity, you cannot actually take someone's random story when they call your BS out, without naming you. Instead of acknowledging your mistake and learning from it, you question their publicly acclaimed, proven credentials and then go on an ego trip. So much for Krishna says about forgiveness.
  • Next you block them. I say, good riddance :D Did I look like I care?

So then why this post? Simply because I think a lot of us speak very mindlessly and with very low levels of awareness. After which in our ignorance we want it to be validated.

Since we do not want to own what we are saying or sharing, we irresponsibly attribute it to someone, most easily a public figure who is dead, not keeping track of what people speak in their name, or even better, a Mythological figure / Scripture.

These are signs of ignorance, laziness and ego. How many of us really are willing to let it go and research on what we post? Or at least own up that it is not what "Krishna Says" or "Bhagvad Geeta Says" etc.

 © Anupama 2019

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Letters of Love 1 - Ma


My most loving Ma,

The first letter of love I write, has to be to you. Who else, if not the woman who bore me for 9 months, breastfed me for 2 years and then has loved me unconditionally alongside her man for the last 34? 

The truth ma, is that when I think of you, when I write to you, when I speak to you, when I fight with you, I am never not teary :D Either of joy, or of concern, fear, sadness, solidarity, love, irritation, frustration at the distance and what not. But there’s not one moment when I don’t feel intense love for you in some or the other form.

As you age and as I do too, I see your tiredness in perspective. I see your life in as much perspective as I can. Since your mother and MIL have left this world, I dread the day when I will (for we all must) face your loss. Will I be able to cope with the strength that you showed? Will I be graceful as you are?

When I consider having a family, I wonder ma. Will I be as giving, as loving, as selfless as you have been? I have never seen you argue with anyone except in rare circumstances. I’ve seen you serve one and all. I have seen you adopt one and all, my friends, those of your sons, those of your husband’s, the neighbour’s children, the orphan maid with 4 children of her own, labour that made our home, plants, stray animals, what not.  Yet, you’ve managed to make each of us feel like we belong, in our own unique way.

You may not have read to us as many stories as papa did, you have given us enough that mattered. Your own stories, I will never have a dearth of, to tell kids in the family and to the kids of the larger family in the world. The realistic stories of a loving mother who has dealt with happy times, the not so happy, the easy, the tough and more.



Had you not been the mother that you are, I would have never learnt to share your love. I remember you asking me in rhetoric with your gentle voice when I was throwing a fit over the maid calling you ‘mummy’… “Munna, kal ko bhabhiyaan aayengi, tera apna pati bhi to mujhe ma bolega beta, tab bhi aise hi ladegi?”

That moment, you explained to me what motherhood really is about. It’s not just about bearing and rearing children, it’s about giving. Unconditionally. 

I have seen you give in different roles. To your elders, you have played the role of their mothers when you nurtured them, when you served them and continue to do so. With your peers, I have seen you play the role of the fairy Godmother, no matter what advice, support they may need. With your youngers, I have seen you hold them as children in your lap, and as secret keepers when they needed it.

I see you fight for me, when I won’t; no matter who you may face; your relatives, or dad’s or the ever-meddling general public. I see you fight for dad, without him even knowing. I see you fight for the boys, when they only partially realize what you have done and continue to do.

I am happy that you have looked after your health and I want you to continue doing it. As I approach later thirties in a few years, I hope to be able to see you happier, relaxed, settling in your role as the matriarch of the family (though you’ve ruled like a queen in your own right anyway, all through).

I wish I was a worthier daughter, married, a mother myself. However, I also know that you will understand better than any other person in this world that I need to be out there and go get much more for myself. You also understand my insecurities, my hurt, my disappointment, my fear, joys, sadness, anger and the myriad of nuanced emotions that I experience and let spill over to you.

I realize in hindsight that I haven’t been an easy child to raise. But for you mother, I would have been a disaster. And but for you, I am anything but a miracle. 

As I close this first letter in what is hopefully going to be a series of them, I hope to be a better and a more loving daughter, a closer comrade, the friend that you’ve made in me, the patient adult that you have so patiently nurtured in me. It is time now for me to step up and nurture you, protect you, love you as unconditionally as you have done all my life this far.

With that ma, I’m glad that you’ve learnt to say ‘I love you too, Munna’ rather than a thank you, when I say ‘I love you Ma’. 

Much love to you,
Your loving daughter

© Anupama 2018