Category Archives: Journals and Notes

Would you read all that my days have to tell, about the world and about myself?

What makes us choose Salman Khan’s heroism over the ruthless rape culture?

Do you know how may Salman Khans we can possibly find in a single glance around us? It infuriates me to the hilt when the heart of the matter becomes ‘how Snapdeal was almost boycotted when Mr. Aamir Khan made an obnoxious comment, apparently’ and ‘now, would you ban Salman Khan films?’ and not to forget the bhaai bhakts, what do you want to say now?’

The core of the problem shifts paradigmatically to chauvinism again. Social media is talking about ‘Salman Khan made an obnoxious statement’. The actor is being blamed while only a handful understand the crux of the matter which is: how prevalent rape culture is in our society.

It’s easy to fight against a problem, a human mistake. But a culture that has seeped down to our bones and made our hollow minds so captive to the heroic manhood around us, I suppose, now needs a civilisation to end and be reborn.

The language we talk in is male-centric. What kind of a process do we enter by calling ourselves ‘awakened’ and ‘activists’ while the language we use, the ideas we hold are so unconsciously blotted with silhouettes of egoistic heroism that only romanticises the wrong idea of manhood? A woman can be compared to vices, marriages are made fun of, ‘colour’ and ‘shape’ are open to judgement, women are ‘rated’, sold and bruised mentally, physically and emotionally and this culture is not even a problem.
A man who has made a prolific mark in Indian cinema and has almost claimed power over the Indian judiciary makes a statement which is obnoxious and walks off. The problem doesn’t end here. A single statement that has outraged each one of us is not going to make much difference to someone like him. Audiences will continue to watch his films, he will remain the bhai that he is. Banning his films or not following or admiring him for his work is not the solution one is looking for out of this controversy. I wonder what kind of difference that is going to make.

The right question, I guess, would be: is it possible that he repents for what he said? Would he realise how his ideas about women are shaped by the false grandeur about manhood in his life?

But are we still talking about the right problem? It’s not about Salman Khan. It could be any man in the corner of your street or even in your own house for that matter because rape culture has innumerable victims. It’s about how, in spite of the fact that women have entirely changed the scenario from being the sacrificing figures to souls full of voice and justice, it is so easy for a man to make have an image of women this low in his mind, publicly talk of it and live as conveniently as he wishes to.

Another side of the story that I happened to read was about how Salman Khan compared his ‘tough’ schedule to the suffering of a raped woman: ‘It’s not simply tough for a rape victim, the experience is traumatic and deadly’. And how I beg to differ on that! Why is a raped woman a ‘victim’ in the first place?

I remember activist Kamla Bhasin asking in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ that if a woman is bitten by a dog, who would be the culprit. It’s the dog. Undoubtedly, it’s physically painful and outraging. But under the given understanding of the idea of rape, it is mentally and emotionally difficult for a woman to come out of it. I feel it’s high time that we stopped ‘sympathising’ with a raped human, making him/her feel like a ‘victim’, building a discourse that holds rapes as the end of someone’s dignity or sexual and emotional life. Isn’t empathising a better way to let a person cope with rape? Sympathising with a raped woman somehow presents her as weak, someone to be felt sorry for. But in reality, weak is the man who raped her, not the woman. Feel sorry for a man who is a coward and not for the rape survivor.

The problem here is not a celebrity but the inbuilt mindsets we have inherited and carried forward without introspection and questioning. Rape culture is prominent around us where without thinking and realising one can normalise every aspect of rape.

Nobody exactly knows what kind of a day it would be when we would stop talking in the language of films, stop considering celebrities as gods and know the art of raising the right questions, the right way. Had this been understood for its root issue it would have not been called the ‘Salman Khan controversy’, simply because it is not.

Also published here:




10:40 pm

I’m sick again. Have you ever met a person in your life who gets sick because of waiting, thinking too much, taking everything way too personally or may be someone who does nothing the whole day, I mean who doesn’t go out to any office or work, doesn’t see the stark sunlight hitting right in the eyes and doesn’t have to taste the mud swirling in the air for no reason and yet gets sick at the end of the day because of waiting for a day. A day. Yes all I know about this day I’m waiting for is that it exists. On a page still left to turn of a calendar, it is written. This one day I’m waiting for. Other than that I don’t know anything. I’m escaping from everything and running mercilessly towards the unknown. Why am I waiting? Because I think something rather everything will change after this one day. And I’m not thinking of any larger than life transformations only: but of smaller ones first. I’ll have money, the air I’ll breathe will be cleaner, the place I’ll live in would be small and decorated as I’d like, no noise of stupid television shows or vendors out in the streets of my colony, I’ll work better, the people will be good, I’ll have things to plan and look up-to, I’ll buy what I like, roam wherever I wish to. This is the deadliest illness of all you might have seen. And I’m suffering from it. I spend my days preparing for this one day when I think my life will get better. Waiting. Waiting so much that it has now become an illness. It pinches in my throat when I gulp my saliva in. My heartbeats are now faster and my body: every space in my body is full of purposeless wants and hopes. I can’t believe. Can you? I was so tired of this life here in this one caged room looking at the worst faces in my life that one opportunity of seeing this one day after sometime has made me a dead body but full of aches. And I have lived enough to tell this tonight that this is the worst of states for any human alive. Dead and aching. While you’re alive and there’s pain, there’s some hope, some satisfaction in being able to survive till another dawn, another morning. And when you’re dead: you’re dead. But these days in life where death and pain sit in the vacuums of my bones, my life is devoid of everything except the pain. Not even agony, anger, tears or those unnamed feelings. Mere pain.
I tried writing again today. More than usual. I ate fine. This house I live in is full of negativity. That’s the truth of all truths. Everyone’s face, when I look at it, I see a stagnation so steep one can’t stand it for a second. Not a single line of love on their foreheads. Not even any want of it. Want of anything actually. I can’t believe my eyes sometimes. That they’re alive. In the middle of all this I want to look for love. Someone who says or does a few little things and I feel the life that has now hidden itself beneath the dead slumbers accumulated in me. But all I can see is even the person you want to love and get loved back, even this person is full of his own fears and pains. Does it even mean anything? To love and expect to be loved back again. Every night saying I love you, does it mean anything after a time? Doesn’t it become a meaningless habit, like life itself.  Am I asking for too much or am I destined to get too less? Why is it so difficult to think and make a day a little better than usual for the people we love? Is it too much to do? A flower, a beautiful long message, a poem to read, a letter, small bit of anything prepared or created only for me, a few hours spent only to think about how this togetherness could be better, a surprise visit, a message that shows how ecstatic my presence makes you feel,  something I would love to talk about other than your work, tests and auditions, a thought you couldn’t forget about me, a song you heard and you couldn’t stop missing me, one night when you wait for me to sleep peacefully, one day when everything fades away and the only thing I see you wanting is me, persistence of giving up on anything but love, you, me. I don’t even want all of this altogether but I guess it’s just a story this paper can hold because in reality life has happened to you like everyone else and it has ruined everything. Everything.