Saturday, 10 July 2021

Dare not clip my wings

'Don't be gendered!'
'Not All n3m!'
'I'm a humanist, not a feminist.'
'You're turning into a Feminazi.'
'I was just kidding.'

How about - Don't tell me what to think, how to feel, how to act, unless I invite your entitled and intrusive opinion?

How about - Do not tell me who to be, unless my existence is 'harming' you, yours, or other humans?

How about - Leave my space if you do not like the sheer amount of self-work I put in to reach a point where I can speak my boundaries clearly?

How about - Do not assume my consent, just because I am nice?

How about - keep your labels to yourself and shove them up where they belong!

No, you were not kidding. Let me explain to you. Won3m have been conditioned for centuries, and ever since in living memory, to play it small. to behave like docile little doves, like mothers, like 'easy', like prudes, like uptights, like sluts. 100s of lables - moody, tantrum-throwing, drama queen, husband-beater, and what not have been attached to them. What you (n3m) actually have been using these lables is for clipping our wings, and justifying your juvenile behaviour.

You weren't called out for so many years, decades, generations. Today you're being called out, and you don't like it. I understand it, but you really need to take it gracefully. Not because there's a vendetta, but because I will be who I will be, not necessarily in sync with who YOU want me to be.

The thing is, my deal n3mfolk, is simple.

1. I tell you not to respond to me a certain way, you stop!
2. I tell you not to hug me a certain way, you stop.
3. I tell you I want to sleep in my bed, and not share yours, you fucking listen!

Nope! No don't speak that stuff about - oh but a relationship is supposed to be both ways. Maybe. You state your needs. I state mine. If they are compatible we proceed, if I tell you a 'no' don't negotiate. OK? If you're that sort of a man, I might consider your consent just as equal as that of mine.

On the contrary, don't treat me like a little dove, who is getting detatched from this world too much too soon. If I am doing so, it's my prerogative, it's my right.

Do not manspread. Just because I share my number with you, doesn't mean I want to talk to you randomly. Just because I say a gentle 'I love you' to you, I do not want you to 'manspread into my bedroom, or in my physical space, I do not want you to crawl into my inbox. Just because I invite you over for the lunch, doesn't mean I want you to invite you to hook up with me.

Won3m, do not let them convince you, argue with you, debate with you. You do not have to get into debates about your choices as long as you're not harming them. You do not have to live by their standards. Tell them 'no' as much as you feel like. You do not have to listen to their understanding of your heart, or your mind. You have to listen to YOUR understanding of it.

You do not have to clip your wings just because it's convenient (you might still do so). You do not have to tell other won3m, that it is not right to feel like you want to spend your life by yourself. You do not have to tell other won3m that they shouldn't feel sad. You do not have to set a pity party. Do not victimize other won3m, do not victim shame them, but do not pity them either please. 


At least not with me.

I will not allow anyone to clip my wings, to convince me how I should conduct my personal life or my business (specially when I do not intrude their boundaries, when I do not harm them or their loved ones or even others in general, when I do not bully anyone). However, you intrude my space once! Just once, I have had it. I will pour fire, rain acid, and lash my tongue at you with so much caustic, that you won't even know what hit you.

Get it? Good. Don't get it? Good anyway!


#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  10 - 10.07.2021 

Friday, 9 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 9 - प्रेम होगा तो क्या होगा

पहले तो समझ लो कि अधिकतर प्रेम होगा ही नहीं। कुछ देखोगे तुम कुछ लोगों के बीच घटते हुए।  उसे प्रेम समझोगे।  फिर चाहोगे कि  तुम्हारे साथ भी घटित हो  वो। जब नहीं घटित होगा तो तुम उसके पीछे पीछे दौड़ोगे।  लेकिन वो तो रेस है, वो प्रेम कहाँ है?  तुमसे प्रेम करने के लिए तुम्ह पर बंदिशें लगायी जाएँगी, तुम्हें लालच दिया जायेगा, तुम्हें बदलने को कहा जायेगा।  तुम सब करोगे।  लेकिन ये तो शर्तिया व्यापार है, प्रेम कहाँ है? तुम प्रेम करोगे बिना लाग लपेट के, तो तुम्हें बेवकूफ या झूठा समझा, दिखाया, और महसूस करवाया जायेगा।  और क्योंकि तुम प्रेम चाहते हो बदले में, तो तुम उनकी राय खुद पर हावी भी होने दोगे।  बदले में तुम्हें जो मिलेगा, वो तो विनिमय है, वो प्रेम कहाँ है? एक बात ज़रूर होगी।  तुम, जो कि प्रेम करने और पाने निकले थे, स्वयं से ज़रूर प्रेम करना बंद कर दोगे, कि अब तुम बदल गए होंगे।  सो, प्रेम मिला भी नहीं, और  तुमने खो जाने भी दिया।  ये तो प्रेम नहीं है।  तो फिर, जब वाकई प्रेम होगा तब क्या होगा ?


#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  9 - 09.07.2021

Thursday, 8 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 8 - Giving without losing yourself - 2

Continuing with a lot of difficulty from yesterday, the second part of the subject statement was 'without losing yourself'. This one is the tricky part. Like I shared above, I considered boundaries. However, I also considered about the question of - what really is the 'self'? So, when we say we do not want to lose ourselves, what is it that we do not want to lose - The body, the Mind, the Possessions, my personality, the traits in me which I embrace, or those in me which I run away from.

What of the times when I want to give someone something, but I do not like them otherwise? So, I find it equally disturbing to not give to them. Should I at such times, give, or not give? Would I be then losing myself, or not?

What would it mean to lose myself really?

I don't think there is anything like losing yourself really. In truth one is always lost. In the imagination of what is it like to 'give'. But, if one does indeed find oneself, then one cannot give anymore. One doesn't become either. Then one simply is. If you just are, and if the so-called receiver just is, where is the boundary, where is the losing, or the holding back really?

OK, I can't keep up with this thought anymore, so I will revisit it at some point perhaps. Till then thanks for the topic suggestion Elizabeth. It brought about some much needed inwards journey that has triggered a lot of other thoughts. On that note, till the next time.

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  8 - 08.07.2021

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 7 - Giving without losing yourself - 1

I am avoiding. I am running away. Not just from myself, but from everyone else and everything else as well. I am cranky, I want to eat, drink, be merry, not have a worry in the world. I am torn apart by the knowledge that I know these indulgences aren't really my thing either. They worry me, never because of health reasons, but because the restlessness that got me to talk to Swami Shyama Chaitanya Ji, is now changing shape.

The anger, is now turning to tiredness, and then lack of resolve, and then desparation. Loneliness gnaws me when I try to quietly sit and watch. My watching happens through this journal. The moment I watch deeply enough, I start feeling tired. My body starts fidgeting, and I want to run away. Till yesterday I was calling it intellectual withdrawl. Today, I am calling it the writers' block.

As a result, I went to FB today and asked for writing ideas. While some good ones came up, one stood out. Chaitanya Nagar asked me if writer's block is real or it's just a name for something we don't quite understand? I think a few weeks ago I would be upset that he's trying to analyze me from J Krishnamurti perspective again, as he so often seems to be doing. However, today I didn't feel any resistance. My response was - I think any sort of block is just a name for something we do not understand (for whatever reasons) or do not want to accept. And I didn't have any troubles admitting to myself that I am running away. Maybe in observing this escape I will find the key!

So anyway, I picked up one of the topics that were suggested - Giving without losing yourself. I started writing and got tired again. So here goes part 1:

I had hit writer's block. In the middle of a long process that I am doing. I needed a break and requested for topics and got this one along with a few others.

My initial instinct about this topic was to think of boundaries. You can give without losing yourself if you can establish clear boundaries. However, on second thought, I am wondering. What really is giving? Does one really give? What does the act of giving even mean? Is it about sitting at a higher pedestal and doing charity? Is it about one side of a transaction? Is it about doing something, so that in return you receive something you need or want?

I was reading an article on medium today and it said people do favours to you to lure you into their toxic traps. It said people also ask favours in order to be liked by you. You see the human mind is wired in a way that receiving makes you feel obliged (which means now you must like the person). On the other hand, giving is an act that the brain equates with liking the person that you're giving something to. You like them, and that's why you must be doing them a favour, right?

I was reading something else too. I read a post by @Himanshu Kumar about Ashok Bhai and Lata Ben. I have pasted the link in the first comment for those of you who can read Hindi. What would it take for someone to do so much for others, and get whatever they were offered in return? When I read about Ashok Bhai, Lata Ben, Contractor Didi, Fr. Stan Swamy and the likes, I wonder if they knew they were giving?

Is a giver someone who does it because that's how their core is designed? If they do, then do they crib when they don't get anything in return? Even acknowledgement? Are they taken for granted?

So let me put it this way - I was suggested a topic to write, because I requested for ideas, as a favour. Now instead of actually writing how I feel about it, or what I think about it, I am busy coming up with more questions, some answered, others not.

But one thing that I can clearly see is this - In giving there is contribution, Liz (Elizabeth Merill I am taking the liberty to address you so, please suggest if you would prefer otherwise). No matter what we do, there is contribution happening, there is 'giving' happening, whether we acknowledge it or not. So, the fact that I asked a question on facebook, reflects that I wanted to 'give' myself the chance to benefit from the thoughts of others. It also means that unwittingly some people were given the chance 'by me, by the universe, by coincidence' to contribute to my life in this moment. I 'received this contribution, and I am now 'giving back' this write up.

The key however, is for me to remain humble. To accept that I am not necerssarily 'giving' something. I am sharing, contributing, whatever other phrase. Because in sharing there is pleasure, the joy multiplies, no one is left out, no one is burnt out. So, maybe giving as a verb needs to be replaced by sharing!

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  7 - 07.07.2021

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 6 - Sickness

Addictions, predilections, temptations, distractions, are all sicknesses. Does this mean I judge myself for caving in yesterday evening to partying? Or the few times before that? Does that make me weak? Does that make me judgeable? No, if at all, it makes me only human, with an awareness that I can change it if I want. That I will need to put in the hard work. The hard work in avoiding my emotions, my experiences, my cravings, my fears, my loneliness, and all that I deem ugly within. The poet in me will want to demonize or romanticize it all. However, if the rational part of my being starts to observe it quietly, patiently, maybe even gently, like one would sooth a child throwing tantrum, then I would know that nothing is ugly within. That no sickness is to be judged, that seeing the sickness itself means that the process to treat it has begun. So, today I am going to see my upset stomach, my headache, and my symptoms. The symptoms of what happens when you do not patiently listen, and plunge into something with hope, without seeing it for what it is - temptation, a mere distraction.

Today, I am going to allow myself to lose out on what I am trying to recover, and just chant - I'll be fine!

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  6 - 06.07.2021

Monday, 5 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 5 - Simply Documenting

I am chatting with someone who sounds interesting. I have chucked a few out, and am not chatting with any of them any longer. Any old time acquaintances apart from the closest ones, seem to trigger me more than make me aware of what I want or not. Sometimes I wonder if I am desperate for a relationship. Then I also wonder why I want one. Also, if desperation is really wrong. Which takes my thought to whether there is anything really right or wrong? And then I can imagine a person or two frowning at me, talking to me down their noses, because I can't seem to capture what J Krishnamurti says.

I shrug my head and mutter WTF. I am going to chat with this seemingly interesting guy. Let's plan a date, let's discuss some work, let's drink a few cocktails. And before I know, I am deadbeat, drunk, and safely dropped home, triggered at a friend who's staying with me. There are things I cannot say, things I am not allowed to feel, things I do not know how to explain. What does lack of privacy do to me? What does it mean to stay with someone who shared all the space with you, but is neither a bf, nor your brother, and is just a temp flatmate?

There's a lot of anger. There's a lot of frustration, and also either victim mode or else perpetrator mode active. Lots of old-time wounds are also resurfacing. Sometimes I wonder if that's because of how the next few years might reflect for me numerologically? Next I feel it doesn't matter.

For now, running away from my emotions and frustrations on working for a seemingly inefficient client, as it may be, I will go and meet this guy in the evening. And let's see what unfolds.

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post  5 - 05.07.2021

Sunday, 4 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 4 - Why do I write?

Last two days I was trying to write for catharsis and I realized all I was doing was babble away! It sounded like random ramblings with no head or tail, despite having themes, so I decided that I will try to journal about themes that are relatively more specific, or themes that are resurfacing for me time and again. There are a few things I have resolved for myself, but there are many others which are pending resolution, and so they keep coming up.

Interestingly it is obvious that I am trying to avoid facing issues that come up, emotions that well up, the fear that scares me, the anger that gnaws at me. In the process of this avoidance, I go out, I party, I consume substances, I binge food, I indulge in movies, or I binge-watch netflix. The truth? I seem to be not doing the only things that I MUST do to be able to face all this - sing, read, introspect, write, fulfill the ritual.

I sit and daydream these days. It feels nice. It scares me, sure. It makes me wonder why I want to do anything that I claim to want to do. If there is really anything that I want to do.

I get triggered at everything in others that I despise in myself. Then I sit and wonder why should I despise these things, whether in others or in me. I surprisingly do not get triggered at things that I was earlier getting triggered by. Then I sit and I wonder again if the triggers have changed or if I have.

I also wonder what  or who really is this I? I am tired already, but I am not going to stop. I will keep thinking and documenting this journey for whatever this journey is.

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post 4- 04.07.2021

Saturday, 3 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 3 - The Price of Freedom

 अगर तुम आज़ादी चुनोगी तो शायद अकेली रह जाओगी
तुम्हें इक्का दुक्का लोग समझ पाएंगे
तुम अपनी बात समझने के लिए शायद छटपटाओगी

 लोग तुम्हारा अपमान करेंगे
तुम क्षोभ में उन्हें दूर करोगी, या खुद दूर हो जाओगी

व्यवस्था,  समाज, हज़ार प्रकार के ढाँचे तुम्हारे साथ अन्याय करेंगे
तुम बेड़ियों  में छटपटाओगी
और अगर बेड़ियाँ तोड़ेगी तो असुंदर कहलाओगी

किस्म किस्म के लेबल जब तुम खुद पर से उतार कर
अपनी आज़ादी पर खुद की मिल्कियत जमाओगी
तब अकेलेपन से तुम आज़ादी की कीमत चुकाओगी  

लेकिन याद रखना
चाहे कितना भी अकेला महसूस करो, अकेली होगी नहीं तुम
जेल तोड़ कर, सजा काट कर आज़ाद हुयी
कुछ गिनी-चुनी औरतों की बहन बन जाओगी
और एक दिन इस बहनापे के लेबल से भी मुक्त हो कर
हर मज़लूम के साथ तुम्हारी आवाज़ खड़ी होगी
 उस दिन आखिरकार तुम खुल के मुस्कुराओगी
देह मिटटी हो जाएगी तुम्हारी,
रूह आसमान
और तुम उस दिन, पूरी कायनात की हो जाओगी | 

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post 3- 03.07.2021

Friday, 2 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 2 - Early Childhood

A few things that stand out for me from my childhood - Being a child prodigy (no I did not mean the meaning of the word prodigy back then). I remember feeling awkward, I vaguely remember that I hated being touched by anyone except immediate family, my grandmothers, and an older aunt of mine. In retrospect I remember that I was conditioned and trained to not be touched, or hugged, or shown physical gestures of affection by anyone. It took me decades, to become the cuddlebear I am today. Is that good, is that bad, is that energetically safe, I do not know. But I do know that my parents did their best to protect me in a big, bad world where little girls gets molested, children get abused, and so much more.

I am not sure why this aspect of my early childhoood comes to my mind so prominently at this moment, but I have promised that I will try to write for catharsis and to make sense of my own life. I promised someone that I will at least ATTEMPT to write about my journey and my experiences and my explorations, and put it out there if I feel like it; in the hope that someone else might find some value in it. Not from the point of view of validating my thoughts, but from the value of them not feeling alone or lonely in whatever their journey is.

My childhood was loaded to say the least. It was lonely in a very not-so-sad way. It was very evolved in one way, and extremely ignorant and naive in another. However, one thing it most certainly was - It was protected, nurtured, supported. It was spent with parents trying to do their best, and providing us with the best options for our growth and accomplishments. Sometimes I wonder if my brothers feel the same way, sometimes I am sure that they do, and then I remind myself that my job is not to look into the minds of others, but in my own mind.

On a side note I think, if I could discover myself fully, then would I not be able to discover others too as well? In that case, isn't all existence one? But that's food for meditation another day. As it is, last few months, the minds has been super distracted, more than every before. It makes me wonder. Do all minds work so much? Do all people feel the need to think so much, feel so much, analyze so much? Do people pretend to be dumb? Do people take a sort of snobbish pride in being dumb when some of them try to put me down for how my mind works? Is there really something like a normal mind, or a sane mind really?

OK back to track. So, childhood. My childhood was one more thing - full of contradictions, and as a result of my inability to harmonize them, it was also full of conflict, some of it inter-generational in nature. My anger at the unfairness in the world. All my childhood and teenage, and now my adult life, there were a few things I could never bear - unfairness, unjustified (in my opinion) authority, and bullying. For the longest time, I didn't even know my reasons behind them, over decades I have discovered some. Over decades I have also discovered some about how they affect me personally or shape my life. However, over years I have also somehow felt very tired of the process of discovery.

This moment for instance. I have been writing for 15 minutes straight and I am not editing anything. I am not deleting anything that I am writing, I am not changing anything except probably a spelling here or a spelling there. However, when I try to dig deeper into my childhood, my mind tries to create a defence mechanism. It blocks my memories, it makes my physically jittery. It's OK I tell myself, but I feel impatient to write when I think like that. I feel my right foot twitching and I can almost heart a frustrated groan. If feet could speak, eh?

When I try to do exercises like these, specially by myself, when someone else isn't holding the space, it is very difficult, I can sense my body, and my energy differently. I can feel myself and this world and everything around me differently. Is that meditation? I do not know.

Something wierd is happening here. I am usually good at writing in structure, in bullet points, in an organized form. Damn it, I coach people into that skill. Yet, I try to write these musings and despite taking up topics, I ramble everywhere. But so be it, in the hope of the fact that I might perhaps be able to figure out something in this whole chaotic existence.

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post 2- 02.07.2021

Thursday, 1 July 2021

July 2021 - Post 1 - Let's Begin


Disclaimer - This series of posts is for my benefit mainly, It has a very selfish motto - to reconcile my understanding of my life, to make sense of it and to honor it, or for that matter to shed it.

This month has import in life. Or maybe it doesn't. But it doesn't matter. What does matter is that people come to your life for various reasons. Relationships happen for a reason, life also happens for a reason. What is the reason tough? What is the purpose though? I do not know.

I am interacting with someone special these days. Their presence in my life is a non-judgemental, reassuring presence. They are not a close friend or family, and there is no romantic interest involved, so obviously it's even more soothing. Think of it like a very reassuring mentor-mentee relationship.

Our exchange on chat / phone call tells me that maybe I am not too far away and off from the line. It also tells me that there is a need for me to deep dive, to make sense of my journey, to make sense of all my explorations. It also reassures me that introspection and making sense of what you have done all this while in your life doesn't have to be necessarily done in a certain structure, but that it helps to have a structure.

Wasn't it structure that I sought when I explored organized religion or even certain spiritual practices? Was I not looking for structure, when I followed a so-called path to education or career? Wasn't structure my primary quest when I tried to pursue relationships, or even my journey into music, sexuality, literature, poetry, writing, or for that matter even social frameworks and interactions?

The real question for me however is - Did I ever really seek structure? Or was I conditioned into it? Was I ever interested in what the world wanted of me, or was my inner need for freedom stronger?

Sometimes I wonder what would it be like to live in someone's mind, who doesn't rebel, who is not restless, who has come to terms with their life. Sometimes I wonder what would it be like to be someone who doesn't feel the need to question much.

Would life then be easier, or would it simply make more sense to keep questioning? Is there a way to change one's core? One's samskara as one might say? Would it matter what level of Samskara you change? Would it vary on the basis of the body you have or the mental framework you might be?

In all honesty, I am simply ranting at the moment. But unless I begin ranting, I will never be able to begin discovery. So, here goes nothing!

#चेतो_दर्पण_मार्जनम्_अनुपमा - Musings Post 1- 01.07.2021

Monday, 28 June 2021

महिला पुरुष पार्टनरशिप - 1

  अगली कुछ पोस्ट्स सीरीज़ में आएँगी  | ये विशेष तौर पर पुरुषों के लिए है | आपसे दो निवेदन हैं -

1. सिर्फ पढ़ें | रिएक्ट करने कुछ दिन बाद आयें | मेरा यकीन मानिये बहुत सम्भावना है कि आपका आज का रिएक्शन और चार दिन बाद का रिएक्शन बहुत अलग अलग हो |
2. ध्यान रखें कि ये पोस्ट आपको किसी भी चीज़ के लिए कन्विंस करने के उद्देश्य से नहीं लिखी गयी है | आप इस में लिखी किसी भी बात से सहमति रखें या नहीं आप इसके लिए स्वतंत्र हैं | लेकिन बदले में ये भी ध्यान रखें कि  महिलाओं को कन्विंस करने की कोशिश मेरी वाल पर न करें | मेरे यहाँ ईमानदारी और खुद के जिए हुए यथार्थ के अलावा बात करने वाली सवारी अपने सामान की खुद ज़िम्मेदार होती है !

मुझे ये कहना है कि मैं बहुत थक गयी हूँ | हम में से अधिकतर बहुत थक गयी हैं | हम इस बात से थकी हुयी हैं, कि जब हम आप लोगों को 'न' कहती  हैं,तो आपको लगता है ये आपका मौका है हमसे मोल-भाव, निगोशिएट करने का | हम कहती हैं, हमें hookup नहीं करना, आप ' न' का सम्मान नहीं करते बल्कि हमें convince करने लगते हैं कि hookup में कुछ बुरा नहीं | अब इसे देखिये एक बार - hookup  में कुछ बुरा नहीं, ठीक है | लेकिन एक आप ये मान लेते हैं कि हमें ये पता नहीं | दूसरा आप ये मान लेते हैं, कि हमें जो पता नहीं, वो बताने की, वो सिखाने की ज़िम्मेदारी आपकी  है | तीसरा आप ये मान लेते हैं कि अगर हमें ये पता है तो हमें इसे स्वीकार कर के इसपे एक्शन लेना चाहिए | इन तीनों धारणाओं को बनाते समय, आप हमसे नहीं पूछते कुछ भी  | ऐसे में ये धारणाएँ काल्पनिक हो जाती हैं, वास्तविक नहीं | अब इसमें ये भी जोड़ लीजिये कि औरतों  को अमूमन रेप से, एसिड अटैक से, स्टॉकिंग से, दबाव से, भी जूझना  पड़ता है | ऐसे में, आपकी ये काल्पनिक धारणाएँ हमारी लड़ाई में हमें आज़ादी नहीं देतीं बल्कि हमारी लड़ाइयाँ बढ़ा देती हैं | हमारे लिए एक और मोर्चा खुल जाता है जूझने के लिए | हम थकती हैं ये सोच के कि सिर्फ इसलिए कि आप को हमने दोस्त माना, या कि हम सोशल मीडिया पे हैं, या कि हम आपसे ऑफिस में, कॉलेज में, किसी पार्टी पे मिलीं, आप को लगता है कि आपकी हमारे बारे में धारणाएं सच हैं | हम थकती हैं, अपनी एजेंसी हासिल करने के लिए, जो अपने अपनी धारणाओं के चलते हमसे छीन ली | हम थकती हैं ये सोच के कि हम आप पर भरोसा नहीं कर सकतीं |

मुझे ये मालूम है कि आप लोगों की ज़िन्दगी में भी बहुत दबाव हैं | मेरे लिए ये बातें ज़्यादा दबाव, कम दबाव के बारे में नहीं हैं | लेकिन हम पीढ़ियों से थकती आ रही हैं | और मैं इन पोस्ट्स में आपसे सिर्फ तीन चीज़ें पूछना चाहती हूँ -

1. क्या आप  पोस्ट से सहमति या असहमति जताये बिना, हम औरतों के लिए ये स्पेस बना सकते हैं, कि हमें आपसे बार बार नहीं कहने की ज़रुरत न पड़े | एक बार काफी हो?
2. क्या आप बिलकुल भी ग्लानि या गुस्सा महसूस किये बिना, अपने खुद के, अपने परिवार के और पुरुषों के, अपने मित्रों के व्यवहार में ऐसी हरकतों को नोटिस करने (और अगर आपकी हिम्मत हो तो उन्हें call out ) करने की कोशिश कर सकते हैं?
3. क्या आप ये कोशिश कर सकते हैं कि आप हमें ये बता कर कि ब्लॉक कर दो, इग्नोर कर दो, हमारी सुरक्षा का ज़िम्मा भी हम ही पर डाल कर हमारी थकन और न बढ़ाएं?

क्या आप हमारी पीढ़ियों की थकान कम करने में हमारे पार्टनर्स बन सकते हैं ?

 - Anupama Garg 28.06.2021

Thursday, 24 June 2021

A thousand shades of Fatherhood

So, Father's day just went by, and here is a sort of an introduction from another of my books which is in pipeline. Hope you enjoy it!

Mishti fervently typed away!

The deadline for her book was yesterday. "Everything in my life needs to have been done yesterday, so it's OK", she defended herself and rolled her eyes. How does one write about one's parents?

How does one write about one's mother, or even one's father? Does one glamorize the role they played? Does one complain and whine about their shortcomings? Does one look at them objectively, as one attempts to do with oneself?

"Afterall doesn't it take a village to raise a child?" So then why should fatherhood be limited to just one man? Why should not one celebrate, or critically evaluate even, all father figures in one's life?

Why should not be grateful for the firm discipline a mother instills, or the maternal love that the father shows?

Why should not one celebrate the teacher who dropped you home when you were being stalked by a guy and landed at his place nervously?

Why would one not talk about the lover who walked out on you, because you had daddy issues? And another who simply embraced them? And those, who one doesn't have a relationship with, but wishes silently, that they be the man you might want to raise children with?

How does one celebrate the paternal, but non-patronizing male friends who would comfort and provide solace in bleak moments of desperate loneliness, despite being misjudged as a boyfriend for that?

Oh, and how does one accept, even embrace... the mentors, bosses, colleagues who are misogynistic and patronizing, simply because they assume familial familiarity at the workplace? Also, those who are genuinely empowering and show it through their actions, how does one celebrate them?

Mishti's thoughts wandered to the complexities of fatherhood for gay couples, for polyamorous households, for single fathers, for single women who acted both as mothers AND as fathers for their children.

A deep breath! A sigh!

"Didi, bahut raat ho rahi hai khana kha lo ab!" Shankar Bhaiya said, his voice reflecting only the slightest of impatience.

Mishti lifted her head up and wondered what would her life be like without Shankar Bhaiya. The life of a workaholic, insomniac, trigger happy, thriving single woman who worked odd hours, travel at a whim, and was barely bothered about food or sleep simply because she enjoyed the rest of her life too often!

She remembered, how half her acquaintances were concerned about her safety when she hired Shankar Bhaiya. But Mishti trusted her gut. And Shankar Bhaiya earned her trust over 10 long years. If shit is supposed to still hit the roof, it will, what is there for me to do.

What about the fatherhood of Shankar Bhaiya which extended to Mishti, even beyond his own family?

"Bas, do minute Shankar Bhaiya!", Mishti responded with a smile, finished her draft, hit the enter key to send it to her editor. As she walked to the dining table, she got on to a group video call with her family and close friends. It was time to celebrate Father's day, away from her family after all. It was time to celebrate a thousand shades of fatherhood!


Disclaimer - Image source - Internet. Not being used for commercial purposes. 

© Anupama 2021  (24.06.2021)

Thursday, 10 June 2021

A leaf from my experiments journal...

I was a part of online communities for long before I first became a member of a community offline. This community was connected to each other because of their sexual preferences, and it was a new thing to me. A new concept. Some of them were queer, others in open relationships, and there were others who experienced with pain and pleasure. That said, I was intrigued, as always - by the concepts. More importantly by the importance of consent.

However, 10 years later, I can tell you that people can manipulate consent. And you have to live with the consequences. I can tell you that the thought of consequences was the one thing that I did not consent to most things unless I wanted to.
Know, that things are layered, relationships nuanced, interactions multi-dimensional. What you might be consenting to, isn't necessarily the same in theory, as when it happens to you, or when you do it to someone. And sometimes it will be a one-way street because it will either bring you in touch with a hidden aspect of your core, or because it will simply alter you. Thankfully I have never had to deal with anything that would cause irreversible legal ramifications, but that can happen too, if you are not sorted.
The lessons though, are not something you will forget. Ever. Here's one from my playbook:
I learnt that when people try to convince you too hard, it's never to your advantage. No matter who the people are. The real well-wishers will have one solid, decent, lengthy discussion. They will not throw parties to lure you, nor gift you conditional friendship. They will establish healthy boundaries, and not intrude unless you invite them to. 
So the next time, someone tells you that you MUST have sex in order to know who you really are, you don't have to dis/agree right there. Give it some time, see if they are being pushy.
The next time, someone tells you it's OK to drink and party, when you don't want to, err on the side of caution.
The next time, someone tells you that your autonomy on your body can ONLY be expressed through sex, ask them how different are they from those pushing you for virginity. Check their responses out.
The next time, ANYONE tells you to do ANYTHING and cannot show you a direction or clearly answer your questions about WHY, you PAUSE.
You may still do it, or not do it, but don't make a decision under manipulation. Also remember, one kind of conditioning isn't better than another. So, choose the one you feel comfortable with, that you want to live with, that you want to experiment with.
- Anupama 10.6.2021

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

From Kavi/yitri-priya to privileged poet/esses


Presume not, O Poet!
For the curve of my lips, may not be an invitation,
Instead it might be simply sarcasm.
Presume not, O Man!
For my curves might not be intended to bear your child,
but simply as extra padding to the heat and the cold.
Dare not presume, you naive idjit,
For you do not know what child-birth, or even periods mean,
and you never will, so pray, don't be bold.
Stop glorifying my sex, just like you can stop condemning it.
Stop trying to turn every conversation about me,
into a simple session of mansplaining for your convenience.
You see, my mind isn't designed to be at your service.
It's instead designed to decide for myself. 
Stop assuming my consent,
for you imbecile,
A no isn't an invitation to negotiate.
A no isn't a maybe,
and since you cannot understand this,
go back to the play school, and learn the word again!
A no is a no is a no!
You maybe a great poet/ess,
You may assume and stare,
You may seek attention,
When critiqued, you may cry unfair,
But let me ask you this,
Do I really care?
So next time,
keep mum if you don't know what to say.
It might save you some face,
and not put your bigotry on display.
Anupama - 09.06.2021

Saturday, 1 May 2021

A Tale of Humility, Humanity, Hope, and Hugs

She walked on, trudged on, in the dark tunnel. All she had was a voice that called out to her... Her doctor's voice over the phone. Tired, exhausted, but reassuring. In that moment, she was humbled. This man who had a family of his own, hadn't seen them in weeks, because he wanted to ensure that he didn't carry the Pandemic home. This man had lost more patients in the last one year, than in his entire career of more than 3 decades. This man felt helpless as the system failed him. Yet, he found it in him, to reassure her, to advice her, to support her through the sickness of her family. She was humbled!

She paused before she dialed the next call. She was tired, numb, grief-stricken. It felt selfish to be grateful that her family was safe. She shrugged her feelings off. Survivor's guilt. She prayed again, a superstition maybe. She planned her meditation session. And then she got back to it. The number rang, she got lucky!

Oxygen cylinders were available. She called up the person she was supporting through the helpline where she was volunteering. "Didi, please share the oxygen lead to someone else, our patient is no more." Beep.... The line went dead. And with it, another bit of her humanity.

She binge watched, season after season, series after series. Anything to distract herself. Anything to lose herself, anything that could take her to a point where she wouldn't have to write 'take care', 'stay safe', 'be well', 'sorry for your loss', 'rest in peace'. She immersed herself in work, work she had been superb at, and currently was dysfunctional at. She was unable to sing much, unable to write much, unable to think, feel.

She was numb. But there was still hope. There was the vaccine, there was the possibility of all people above 18 getting it. There were lessons people might learn, intelligent questions people might ask, responsibilities people might take. There was still hope. As bleak, as threadbare, as fragile as it was... There was still hope.

She called them. She was finally going home. After days. Rather weeks. She had been stuck away from them. Not in a hospital, not in a quarantine centre, but in a distant location. She had spoken to them every day, seen them on a video call at least twice a week, but she longed for the touch. She longed for the hugs. She reached home. They hugged. There it was. Her anchor to her humanity. Finally.

She felt human again. She lived again. She loved again. She hoped again. She prayed. Once Again.
© Anupama 2021

Friday, 9 April 2021

कोविड में प्रेम

एक प्रेम सम्बन्ध के झंझावात से निकली शिवि , जब तक अकेलेपन के सोग को अकेलेपन के उत्सव में थोड़ा बहुत बदल पायी, तब तक, सारी दुनिया कोविड के चक्रव्यूह में गहरा धंस चुकी थी | टिंडर, OKCupid वगैरह पे जाने का मतलब ही क्या था, किसी से मिलना तो था नहीं, आइसोलेटेड रहना था | 
फिर 2 महीने के लगभग lockdown, वर्क फ्रॉम होम, और खुद को व्यस्त रखने के अनगिनत उपायों के बाद, धीरे धीरे कहीं कहीं जाना शुरू किया | 5 महीने बाद घर गयी | 5 महीनों तक घर रही, फिर 1 महीना किसी दोस्त के, क्योंकि दम घुटने लगा | न घर पे डेट करने की संभावना, न दोस्त के शहर में | 

अब जब शिवि लौट कर उस शहर आयी है, जिसे अपना कहती है, तो नौकरी छोड़ कर काम ढूंढ रही है | वरना घर लौट जाएगी, ऐसा तय है | लेकिन अब काम से काम कुछ लोगों से बात करना शुरू किया जा सकता है ऐसा लगा | अकाउंट तो बना लिया, कुछ ठीक से प्रोफाइल भी दिखे | लेकिन सिर्फ काम ही करना होता तो भी कोई बात थी, दुनिया बीमारी की अगली लहर से जूझ रही है | 
भाई की तबियत नासाज़ है, माँ symptoms दिखा रही हैं | और ऐसे में जब शादी शुदा मर्द दोस्ती करना चाहते हैं, सिंगल्स ज़बरदस्ती अपने entitlement के साथ इनबॉक्स में चले आते हैं | दसियों साल से जानने वाले पुरुष भी दोस्त बन कर नहीं, मालिक बन कर ज़िन्दगी में लौटना चाहते हैं, तो मन करता है दुनिया को भाड़ में जाने को कह दे | 
आखिर कैसे करे कोई कोविड में प्रेम?

© Anupama 2021

Thursday, 18 March 2021

मैं किसान हूँ


तुम जो मुझ पर बन्दूक तानते हो
तुम जो मुझे आगे कर बन्दूक तानते हो
भूल जाते हो
मैं अभिमन्यु नहीं हूँ
मैं फंस भी गया,
तो चक्रव्यूह भेद कर बाहर किसी तरह आ ही जाऊँगा | 
मैं कृष्ण भी नहीं
इसलिए विध्वंस की शक्ति पा भी गया
तो अर्जुन को आगे नहीं करूंगा
और १००वें अपशब्द पर चक्र भी नहीं चलाऊंगा | 
राम नहीं हूँ मैं
इसलिए लाँछन से बँध कर
गर्भवती धर्मपत्नी को बनवास नहीं सुनाऊंगा |
मैं किसान हूँ
मेरी सुनोगे तो धरती से सोना उपजाऊंगा
और मुझे मार दोगे तो शायद चुपचाप मर भी जाऊँगा|
लेकिन तुम खाओगे क्या ?
बंदूकें या बंकर में छुप कर
अपने हाथ से चली गोली?

© Anupama 2021

I love you


1. I love you for as long as you want me to. You tell me enough number of times, to go away, eventually I will.
2. I love you enough to trust you with my life. You take mine, I will bounce back. You try an attempt at another's, I will leave.
3. I love you and I will be around for you, till I can. There might come a day when I might fall. I will tell you.
4. I love you even when we part, but I won't say it, I won't consciously work on it. I then will love you only as I love 7.5 Bn other people.
5. I love you despite my insecurity, despite your ego, despite my anger, despite your bullying. However, I love you enough to leave you alone as a grown adult to learn from your own mistakes.
6. I love you despite the shit, and unless you're sick, I will clean mine, and you will clean yours.
Despite all this, and then some more, I will keep saying to this universe, out aloud... I love you!

© Anupama 2021 March

Saturday, 13 March 2021

On Writing:

Why do people write? Why do they write from their lives? How much of writing is fair? How much is acceptable? How much of reality should be documented or narrated in writing, and where does one draw a line? Do writers have ethics? Do writers have a messy mind palace? Do writers have fucked up lives? Do writers have open hearts, fragile egos, overly sensitive personalities?

Why do people write? Why do they write from their lives? How much of writing is fair? How much is acceptable? How much of reality should be documented or narrated in writing, and where does one draw a line? Do writers have ethics? Do writers have a messy mind palace? Do writers have fucked up lives? Do writers have open hearts, fragile egoes, overly sensitive personalities?

I do not know enough writers in this world to stereotype them. I haven't even read enough of them in all honesty. I can only look into my subjective experience and talk from it, or at best my observations and discussions with a few of them. Is this statistical research? Nope. Is this backed by data? Nope. At best this is experiential sharing. At worst anecdotal in nature. So, dear reader, read with caution, at your own peril 🙂

When I first began writing I was 2 and a half. I didn't know this, I don't cognizant remember this. But I have been shown by my father the sheet of paper, on which I wrote a two-line rhyming poem for my younger brother.

The first time I remember writing consciously, was when I was almost 12. A classmate had read a poem she wrote in the assembly. As a child who was known for oration, her literary taste, I felt challenged, and so happened my first poem. Little did I know, it would become my safe space, it would become my haven, it would become my go-to source of respite.

Not by my very gracious immediate family, but I have been judged for my thoughts, my writings, by not one, not more, but almost everyone at first. My teachers found my thoughts depressive, unsuitable for my age, overly mature was a kind compliment some of them used for my work.

My psychiatrists went on to assume that my writing isn't my way out, but a stronger pull into depression. In fact I was once told by a very senior Psychiatry prof, that I should stop writing if I want to feel better. I never visited him again.

My psychiatrists went on to assume that my writing isn't my way out, but a stronger pull into depression. In fact, I was once told by a very senior Psychiatry prof, that I should stop writing if I want to feel better. I never visited him again.

Do all writers grow through deep melancholy like I did? I don't know. I do not think I dealt with sadness. I was a diagnosed albeit improperly for the longest time, patient of depression. Writing kept me sane. It kept me functional. It made me feel accomplished, even though the youthful romantic notions of being a victim were ingrained deep within.

I never showed my work around except for the initial few years. I still show very limited work to the larger world. Imagine how prolifically I must write to bombard you all with so little 😃 And there is yet so much more that awaits being poured on either a sheet of paper, or a screen. Imagine what a clutterbox my head might be.

My mindpalace you see, is a fascinating place. It has over decades absorbed and soaked information like anything. It brings out the right memory, the right emotion, the right human face in front of me. I haven't traveled much, so the right setting or landscape still doesn't happen as easily, but the rest, does.
Books, a large number, despite my everlasting claim of reading insufficient number of them, are my portals. My mindmap knows which one to refer when talking of philosophy, which ones for business, which ones for sexuality, spirituality, science, commerce, trade, interior design and decor, gender equality, you name it, my mind has a reference.

I take no pride in saying that I have found books to be a very productive engagement. I also have no shame in admitting that they are my escapes. They drive my sense of accomplishment. I feel equally overwhelmed, as I revel in my perpetual friends.

You see, this mind palace can be as tiring as enjoyable. It can be obsessive, it can also be called a passion, and it can be called madness as well. However, it allows me to write. It allows me to empathize. I cry when I read about the tattooist, and I can empathize with the psychopath, even though I am confident that they should be kept away from the larger society. I can weep in joy when a romantic pursuit comes to its obvious conclusion. I can be in despair and wring my hands when a hero is in a moral dilemma.

And then, when I write, this all comes alive. All my personal misery, my guilt, my joy, my heartaches, my celebration, my pride, it all comes alive. So does that of people around me, as I relive vicariously and precariously, the moments of my interaction with them. I imagine, I try to feel what they might have felt. I wonder what thoughts they might have. Oh and most times, I am not aware that I am doing it consciously.

As I write in this moment, a part of my brain is wondering who does this writing sound like. There are elements of dialogue from Anne with an E, others from Always a Witch, and then I hear myself repeat the dialogues from The Man from Earth, and there's one bit that makes me think of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl.

I do not really care, when someone calls me superfluous for wanting to process all this together. I am OK to feel frustrated when my thoughts run faster than my fingers, but I am not OK when I can't / don't / won't write.

Now about the ethics of writing. I have heard a few times, stupid, crazy shit from people. Writers are poor. Truth? Everyone except Adanis and Ambanis are! Writers are mahan. No we are not! We are human, we have similar needs, desires, we express them better sure, but no we are not mahan, and we do not feel compelled to be mahan. Writers have a responsibility to their readers. Yes and no. As an entertainment writer, my responsibility is to entertain. As a non-fiction writer, my responsibility is to present a thought well. As an innovative writer, or as a thinker-writer, my responsibility is to present novel concepts lucidely, maybe. But none of us is responsible for all of this together, and more, and that for free.

You want to read what I write, buy my books. You want to read for free what I write, read what I distribute. You want me to write about something YOU want, PAY up! Unless you're a friend, unless we engage in a contributive space, WHY THE FUCK will I write for you for free? Why will you enjoy at the cost of my domestic expenses? Why don't you ask Ambanis to let you live in their house for free? Or Adanis for free electricity for that matter.

I MIGHT CHOOSE TO GIVE YOU FREE CONTENT TO READ. But I WILL decide what, when, how much. Take it or leave it. I give two damn hoots! Offended much? Good!

Are we fragile, as much as anyone else. Do we have egoes, self esteem, self-respect, just like any other person next door. And pray tell me, why should I not take pride in my work, like a coder takes in his? Please stop calling me the arm chair activist, for if it's easy, you're welcome to try it yourself. Promise I will be more generaous than you are.

No it's not just about 'is' or 'was'. It's not about the word counts for those of us who write commercially. Because if I say Mr. Ratan Tata 'was' (instead of an 'is') the chairman of Tata Trust, it would be a mess. So don't be a cheapster if you want a writer to work for you, pay up.

Your product is shitty. Change it, improve it for fuck's sake. Don't expect me to make a snake look like a necklace. Even if I do, it won't sell. It's a dead snake. Get a necklace first please.

How much revealing is too much revealing? As much as the revealed decides. Consent is underrated. Even in writing, and I don't do that shit. Will I not tell a story, or lie about it, because it will break a home, yes. Will I shy away from telling stories from my life, just because someone's sensibilities? Please take your senbilities and insert them as appropriate!

Offended much again? Good!

There's a lot more to be said, about the process, the style, the tools, the technique, and what not. However, I'll conclude this by saying one simple thing. A visionary, revolutionary woman who came and wrote before me, said - “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.” ― Anais Nin. She also said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."

For me these two combined, are good enough to justify the dance of the cosmos within me. Through words.

© Anupama Garg 2021

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Why is Sexual discourse important?

 कल रात एक पोस्ट पर एक कमेंट किया, लेकिन ये विचार अस्तित्त्व को सौंप कर सोई थी, कि  जब सुबह उठूँ तो थोड़ा हिम्मत से, थोड़ा और साफगोई से, थोड़ा और मन खोल के कह और लिख पाऊँ  |

उससे पहले कुछ चीज़ें | एक बड़ी उम्र तक (लगभग 4 साल पहले तक ) मैंने ये कहा है कि मुझे अपनी लड़ाइयों से फुर्सत नहीं है, इसलिए, मैं feminism ही नहीं किसी भी तरह  की political debate से दूर रहना चाहती हूँ | दूसरी बात - मैं cishetro हूँ | और मैं यौन जागरूकता पर बहुत सालों से बात करती रही हूँ छुप छुप कर | सिर्फ पिछले एक साल में, कुछ दोस्तों के साथ, कुछ अजनबियों के साथ बात करते करते, अब जा कर अपने नाम से, इस ID से बात करने लगी हूँ | पिछले चार सालों में हम बहुत बदले हैं, हमने बहुत सी additional लड़ाइयाँ लड़ी हैं, हमें उन बातों को सरोकार बनाना पड़ा है, जिन बातों को हमने कभी सरोकार की तरह देखा ही नहीं | और मेरे लिए इसमें व्यक्तिगत तौर पर दो चीज़ें शामिल रहीं | एक स्त्रियों की ज़िन्दगी को नज़दीक से परखना | दूसरा intersectionality को समझना |

इसलिए मैं अब जो भी लिखने जा रही हूँ, वो सब मेरे अपने भोगे यथार्थ, या आस पास  भोगे यथार्थ हैं | और ये संख्या शायद आपकी कल्पना से बड़ी हो | मुझे नहीं पता कि ये किसी तरह का विमर्श है या नहीं | व्यक्तिगत तौर पर मुझे फ़र्क  भी नहीं पड़ता, लेकिन मुझे लगता है, कि ये बातें कही जानी ज़रूरी हैं | हो सकता है आप में से कुछ लोग मेरी बातों को इसलिए ख़ारिज करें कि मैंने स्त्रीवाद की लम्बी लड़ाई  नहीं लड़ी | कि मेरी अपनी misogyny अभी गयी नहीं | कि मैंने स्त्रीवाद से पहले यौनिकता को समझा | लेकिन मेरा सिर्फ  इतना कहना है  - ये लोगों के जीवन के सत्य हैं | ये बहुत सी उन औरतों के जीवन के सत्य भी हैं, जो इस पोस्ट को पढ़ कर शायद ये कहें 'ये सिर्फ sensationalizing है' | ये मुझसे पिछली पीढ़ियों के भोगे हुए  यथार्थ भी हैं, ये अगली पीढ़ियों में बिलकुल ख़त्म हो जायेंगे, ऐसी कोई उम्मीद नहीं है मुझे |

सो अब वो बातें किन्हें मैं असल में कहना चाहती थी

कुछ देर के लिए स्त्री'वाद' को अलग रखते हैं, सिर्फ औरतों की बात करते हैं | मैं ३१ साल की थी, जब मैंने पहली बार ये जाना कि इस देश की करोड़ों औरतों को टॉयलेट नसीब होने पर कैसे जूझना होता है | जिन्हें खेत में जाने से पहले अनजान मर्दों की उपस्थिति से डरना होता है | जिन्हें या तो अलसुबह, या धाम ढले खेत नसीब होता है | बाकि समय मिला तो ठीक नहीं तो जो है सो है | "अठै  तो यान ही चालै बाई राज'  पचासों बार गाँवों में बचपन में सुना है मैंने | बचपन से ब्लैडर होल्ड करने की, घर से टॉयलेट जा के निकलने की सीख मुझे मिली | भाइयों को भी मिली, लेकिन कारण अलग थे | उन्हें तहज़ीब के कारण सिखाया जाता था , मुझे इसलिए कि लड़की को सड़क पे टॉयलेट करने कहाँ मिलेगा | लेकिन 2015, देर रात, मैं एक पार्टी से लौटी, ब्लैडर फुल, होटल का लू इतना गन्दा कि इस्तेमाल का मन नहीं | सड़क पे मेरा दोस्त गाड़ी रोकने में खुश नहीं, और घर डेढ़ घंटा दूर | उस रात ने Feminism की लड़ाई के लिए मुझे पहली बार अवेयर किया |


 मैं 18 साल की थी, जब मेरी एक सहेली भाग ने भाग के शादी कर ली | मैंने बचपन से अपनी दादी से बहुत लड़ाई कि थी, कि कहीं गलती से मेरी शादी मेरी इच्छा के खिलाफ, बचपन में करने की सोचना भी मत, वर्ना मैं घर छोड़ के भाग जाऊंगी | दूसरी ओर मुझसे बेहतर, मुझसे ज़्यादा अच्छे घर से आने वाली ये सहेली?? उसी साल पापा के एक बहुत नज़दीकी दोस्त के बेटे ने प्रेम विवाह किया | सबने ख़ुशी ख़ुशी भैया की शादी रचाई | मैंने फिर पापा से पूछ ही लिया, कभी मैंने प्रेम विवाह रचा लिया तो? कभी मैं भाग गयी तो? पापा ने बहुत ही आराम से, बिना रिएक्ट किये सिर्फ एक ही बात कही - 'उसकी क्या ज़रुरत है ? घर लाना, मिलवाना, अच्छा होगा तो हम शादी कर देंगे, कुछ गलत लगेगा तो बता देंगे | हमारी रज़ामंदी न हो, और तुम्हें फिर भी करनी हो, ज़िद ठान लो तो तुम्हारी ज़िन्दगी की असली ज़िम्मेदार तो तुम ही हो " | और भी बहुत बातें, लेकिन ये चंद वाक्य मेरे साथ रहे |

22  साल की उम्र में मैं घर वालों को 'convince' करके पढ़ने दिल्ली आयी | यहाँ लोकल गार्डियन थे | उन्हें अजीब लगता कि छोटे शहर की छोटी सी लड़की अपने आप हॉस्टल ढूंढ रही है, क्लास के लड़कों से बात कर रही है, उनके साथ बेंच पे बैठ के समोसे खा रही, और फिजिक्स के न्यूमेरिकल्स कर रही है ? और उनके बचपन के दोस्त जो मुझसे २० साल बड़े हैं, मेंटरशिप और फ्रेंडशिप के नाम पर मेरी maturity में एजुकेशन करना चाह रहे थे | कहानियाँ तो खूब बनाईं सुनाई गयीं हमारी माँ को, जब हमने आँख दिखा दी पहली ही बार | लेकिन उनकी दोस्ती उन्हें मुबारक, मेरी माँ का हीरा मैं थी | मम्मी आयी, हॉस्टल चेंज करवाया, एक और मामा  जिनके बच्चे हमारी उम्र के थे, उन्हें कहा गया मेरा ध्यान रखने को |

मैंने माँ को कहा मुझे वापस ले चलो | उन्होंने कहा 'आज नहीं, घर वापस तभी आना जब scheduled है | आज अगर लौटा के ले गयी, तो कभी बहार पेअर नहीं रख पाओगी | मुझे भरोसा भी है, और अगर कुछ हो जाये तो डरना मत, सब संभाल लेंगे | "


इस दौरान  मैं 4 साल से depression से आलरेडी जूझ रही थी, लेकिन मैं उसकी डिटेल्स में अभी नहीं जाऊँगी | दिल्ली मेरे लिए कमोबेश शॉक  ही था | लेकिन माँ ने जब मेरे दूसरे मामा को कह के मुझे उनके घर भेजा तो कहा, "उसकी तबीयत ठीक नहीं है " | मामा ने पूछा तबीयत को क्या हुआ, मैंने कहा कुछ नहीं | मामा और माँ ने फिर बात की, मामा ने माँ से पूछा क्या हुआ, और माँ ने कुछ बताया | मामा  मुस्कुरा दिए धीरे से,  बोले,ओह कोई बात नहीं, ये सब होता है, सब ठीक हो जायेगा |

मेरे साथ जो रहा वो था ये | मुझे ये यकीन ही नहीं, था, कि इस देश में मिडिल क्लास 'की लड़की' को मानसिक स्वास्थ्य सम्बन्धी किसी समस्या से गुजरने का हक़ भी है | घर वालों ने कभी कुछ नहीं कहा, लेकिन आसपास जो दो चार केस देखे थे, उन्हें देख के मुझे हमेशा एक ही बात लगी - मुझे ऐसा नहीं बनना |

मेरी सहेलियों की एक एक कर शादी होने लगी थी | मुझे हैरत होती थी कितनी आसानी से इन लड़कियों ने सब पढ़ा लिखा ताक पे धर दिया था |


अब आते  हैं मुद्दे की बात पर | Cis hetero हूँ | और जवानी की उम्र में, सबको अपने पसंदीदा जेंडर के लोगों के लिए आकर्षण होता है | लेकिन अच्छी लड़कियां sex नहीं करती | अच्छी लड़कियाँ सेक्स की बात भी नहीं करतीं | लड़के लेकिन करते हैं ! और ये सच है, कि सेक्स का कन्वर्सेशन उत्तेजना, उत्सुकता तो जगाता ही है | ये नैसर्गिक है, स्वाभाविक भी है | बस एक बात ध्यान रखें, कि भाषाई तथा शारीरिक तौर पर लैंगिक हिंसा इसका एक बहुत बड़ा हिस्सा है | 

अगर सेक्स और उसके बारे में संवाद ज़रूरी नहीं, तो बच्चियों को रेप के बारे में कैसे समझायेंगे? उन्हें कैसे सम्बल देंगे इस बात का कि किसी लड़के को पसंद करना गलत नहीं है, गुनाह नहीं है ? कि किस करने से प्रेग्नेंट नहीं होते | कि प्रेग्नेंट होना कोई एक्सीडेंट नहीं होना चाहिए, वो planned इवेंट होना चाहिए | कि प्रेगनेंसी के अलावा भी चीज़ें हैं जिन्हें समझना ज़रूरी है | कि जैसे आपका सामान्य स्वास्थ्य आपकी ज़िम्मेदारी है, वैसे ही आपका यौन स्वास्थ्य भी | इसलिए सेक्स के बारे में खुल के बात करना ज़रूरी है ये समझने में बहुत वक़्त लगा |


मेरे लिए यौन विमर्श का हिस्सा सिर्फ reproduction नहीं रहा | लेकिन बहुत सी  महिलाओं की  लड़ाई अभी भी वहां अटकी है, ये भी समझती हूँ | सेक्स, सेक्सुअल ऑर्गन्स, सेक्सुअल हेल्थ, जेंडर, सेक्सुअलिटी, इन सब बातों के बारे में न कोई बात करता है, न करना चाहता है | अधिकतर इन मुद्दों को अगर समझाया भी जाये तो वो ऊपर ऊपर सतही तरीके से कह दिया जाता है | जब हम लोग छोटे थे, तो माँ लोग कहतीं 'कौआ काट गया है, इसलिए किचन में नहीं जाएँगे " |

अब हम बच्चे जल्लाद - कहाँ है कौआ, कब आया, हमें क्यों नहीं दिखाया, कहाँ काटा , कैसे काटा , भगाया क्यों नहीं, इंजेक्शन लगवाने चलो, आदि आदि | शुरू शुरु में नाक में दम कर दिए थे | फिर एक दिन हमारी भी बारी आयी | गर्ल्स स्कूल, टॉयलेट में स्टेंस देखे, बड़ी दीदियों से पूछा - जवाब मिला जो कंस्ट्रक्शन साइट की मजदूर औरतें हैं, उनको कैंसर हो जाता है | पहुंचे माता के पास - बोले मजदूर औरतों के लिए कुछ करना है हमको |

पहली बार पीरियड क्या होता है, समझाया गया | जब हमारी बारी लगी तो हमको पता था | हमारे लिए सेनेटरी नैपकिन २० साल की उम्र तक माँ ही लाती रहीं | पहली बार सेनेटरी नैपकिन २० साल की उम्र में खरीदा, इमरजेंसी में | जनरल स्टोर से | दुकानदार नज़र चुरा के दिया | अख़बार में लपेट के काली प्लास्टिक की पन्नी में बाँध के मेडिकल स्टोर वाला देता | हम सोचते लोग बेवकूफ हैं क्या, उन्हें नहीं मालूम ऐसे क्या दिया जाता है? भक! सामने सामने लेकिन सीक्रेट | अब तो सब मिलता है | दिल्ली वगैरह में बिना पन्नी के भी मिल जाता है |

कल्पना कीजिये कितनी बॉडी शेमिंग कूट कूट के भर दी जाती है | किचन में नहीं जाना इसलिए, सारे घर वालों को पता है कि पीरियड हुआ है | दूध नहीं लेना और माँ घर नहीं है - इसलिए दूध वाले भैया, पड़ोस वाली चाची को भी पता है पीरियड हुआ है | लेकिन किसी को बताना मत, दाग न लग जाये, blah blah. अब हंसी आती है, तब कट के रह जाते थे भीतर ही भीतर |


मैंने पहली बार पोर्न २३ साल की उम्र में देखा | जाने कैसा तो जी हो आया | आज भी अच्छी सुरुचिपूर्ण erotica बहुत चाव से पढ़ सकती हूँ, लेकिन पोर्न बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाती | क्योंकि पोर्न और इरोटिका दोनों में औरत अधिकतर भोग्या है, लेकिन visual frames गले नहीं उतरते | मुझे 6 साल लगे ये डी-कोड करने में कि असली ज़िन्दगी और पोर्न में ज़मीन आसमान का अंतर है | लेकिन मुझे 6 साल लगे, क्योंकि मुझे 6 साल तक कोई ऐसा इंसान नहीं मिला, जिससे मैं खुल के बात ही कर पाती इस बारे में | और ये तब, जब कि मैं यौन विमर्श वाली कुछ communities का हिस्सा थी पहले से |

अब अगर ये कहूँ कि ये सब बातें मेरे स्त्रीवाद का हिस्सा नहीं हैं तो ये झूठ होगा | मुझे शिक्षा आसानी से मिली, इसलिए मेरी लड़ाई, थोड़ी आगे बढ़ पायी | मुझे मानसिक स्वास्थ्य सम्बन्धी सम्बल घर में मिल पाए, इसलिए मैं उसके आगे बढ़ पायी | मुझे सुलझे लोग मिले बात करने के लिए, इसलिए मेरी व्यक्तिगत स्वतंत्रता की लड़ाई थोड़ी आगे खड़े हो शायद | लेकिन सब कुछ सुन्दर नहीं था |

Communities में वो लोग भी थे, जो आज़ादी का जामा पहन के, यौन शोषण करना चाहते थे | लेकिन वैसे लोग तो दफ्तरों में भी मिले, वैसे लोग तो घरों में भी दिखे, वैसे लोग तो दोस्तों में भी मिले | तो क्या दुनिया पे भरोसा करना छोड़ दूँ? या क्या अपना सच कहना छोड़ दूँ?

मुझे यौनिकता के बारे में सलीके से बात करना गैर-मुल्क के लोगों ने सिखाया | उन्होंने घंटों मुझसे चैट्स की, मेरे सवालों के जवाब दिए | ये जानते हुए कि उनकी आधी बातों को मैं ये कह के खारिज करती थी "इन्हें मेरे culture और मेरे सामाजिक परिवेश की समझ नहीं है |"  और ये सारी चीज़ें, मैं आज तक इस्तेमाल करती हूँ | मैं कभी विदेश नहीं गयी, लेकिन इन चीज़ों ने मदद तो मेरी यहाँ भी की | Safe रहने में, सही resources access करने में, लोगों को बेहतर समझ पाने में, अपने से छोटी लड़कियों को मज़बूत बना पाने में |

आज दसियों साल बाद, जब उनमें से कई लोग गुज़र गए हैं, कइयों के बारे में मुझे अब कुछ नहीं पता; मैं शुक्रगुज़ार हूँ उन औरतों और आदमियों की, जिन्होंने मुझे ये समझाया, कि मेरी यौनिकता मेरे जीवन का भी एक महत्त्वपूर्ण हिस्सा है, और मेरे स्त्रीवाद का भी |

मेरे लिए यौन विमर्श स्त्री विमर्श का हिस्सा है क्योंकि:
1.  वो मुझे हिम्मत देता है कि मैं अपनी माँ से कह सकूँ कि आप मेरे लिए लड़का ढूंढें, लेकिन वो जो मुझे हर स्तर पर बराबर समझे, जो मुझे भोग्या नहीं, साथी समझे | जो STD रिपोर्ट और करैक्टर सर्टिफिकेट में फ़र्क़ समझता हो |
2. मेरा यौन विमर्श मुझे हिम्मत देता है, कि कोई पुरुष जब लीचड़ चुटकुला सुनाये तो मैं उसे ठीक से समझा सकूँ कि internalized misogyny कैसी दिखती है |
3. यौन विमर्श मुझे marital रेप को मैरिटल रेप कहने की समझ और हिम्मत देता है |
4. यौन विमर्श ने मुझे consent की परतें सिखायीं | सिखाया कि alcohol के लिए न बोलना, और सेक्स के लिए न बोलना, दोनों एक बराबर हैं | और दोनों का सम्मान होना चाहिए |
5. यौन विमर्श ने मुझे न  कहने के creative, सलीकेदार, non -negotiable तरीके सिखाये |
और भी बहुत कुछ

ये सच है कि मुझसे पहले बहुत औरतों ने सतीप्रथा के खिलाफ लड़ाई लड़ी, गोली बन कर राजस्थान के राज घरानों में दम तोड़ा, बहुत सी पढ़ने के लिए लड़ती रहीं, बहुत सी जाति से जूझती रहीं, बहुत सी workplace harassment से लड़ती रहीं | बहुत सी को दो वक़्त खाना नसीब नहीं, medical care नसीब नहीं | जिन्हें मयस्सर है, उन्हें इस्तेमाल करने में guilt फील होता है |

ये सब मेरी व्यक्तिगत समस्याएं नहीं हैं | लेकिन इसका मतलब ये नहीं, कि ये महत्त्वपूर्ण नहीं हैं |  पर मैंने ये सब तब पहचानीं, जब मुझे अपनी यौनिकता को समझने की कोशिश करते करते  15 साल गुज़र गए | औजब मुझे morality की परतों को एक एक कर धकेलते हुए, अपने अस्तित्त्व को स्पेस देने की कोशिश करते हुए इतने साल गुज़र गए हैं |

हम औरतों को सिमट कर रहने की conditioning है, ऐसा मुझे लगता है | और ये इतनी internalized है कि हम priorities के पीछे spectrum की width को छुपाते हैं | हम लड़ते हैं, खुद के लिए, एक दूसरे के लिए भी, लेकिन एक सीमा के बाद रुक जाते हैं | इस में गलत कुछ नहीं | इसमें थकन भी होती है, ये भी सच है, लेकिन यही वो वक़्त भी है, जब आप खुद से, और दूसरी औरतों से कहें, "सुनो, तुम जो कर रही हो, उसमें मैं तुम्हारा साथ न भी दे पाऊं, तो भी मैं चाहती हूँ कि तुम भी जीतो ! " यही वो वक़्त है, जहाँ आप किसी को दूसरी औरतों के संघर्ष को जब छोटा करते देखें, तो कहें " तुम्हें ये समझना ज़रूरी है, कि अभी सफर  बाकी है, अभी सबको  बहुत सीखना है | दूसरों को सिखाओ, लेकिन तुम भी सीखो " यही वो समय है, जहाँ आप लड़कियों के साफ़ टॉयलेट, सेनेटरी नैपकिन को ज़रूरी समझें, लेकिन ब्रा स्ट्रैप और 'माय बॉडी माय राइट्स' के लिए लड़ने वाली लड़कियों  और औरतों को नीचे न दिखाएं |

ये लड़ाई नहीं है, ये काम है | जो हमें अपनी औरतों, लड़कियों, और बच्चियों के लिए ही नहीं, पुरुषों, लड़कों, और बच्चों के लिए भी करना है | रास्ता कुछ भी हो सकता है | किसी का रास्ता शिक्षा से हो के गुज़र सकता है, किसी का  लॉ से, और किसी का सेक्सुअलिटी से |
और भी बहुत कुछ है कहने के लिए, लेकिन वक़्त लगेगा | 

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