It’s a Chakras thing

 

7-chakras-beginners

“It’s a Chakra thing,” she said, her calm and serene smile making her look like one of the Mother Mary statuettes placed in various niches of the Catholic school Mama had sent me to as a child.

Our own goddesses looked fierce and had “Don’t mess with me” written all over them.  I wish I had the spunk of the goddesses.  With great effort I brought myself to the present, but tears filled my eyes.  I seemed to weep all the time lately, even into the dough I’d knead for our meals.  The first born kept getting into fights.  The baby tried to wipe my tears away, and failing that, he would sing to me or cuddle.  Just the other day, he had wept with me, scared and confused.  I had to snap out of it, for ther sakes.  This guru was my only hope.  I had heard she was good, but it wasn’t working.  She had told me “I can only help you if you want to be helped.”

Damn her!

“We are all creatures of energy.  We need to find our connection to the primal force, and once we establish the connection, we will shine. We will possess inexhaustible energy.”

I blinked and cast a surreptitious glance at the others sitting cross-legged next to me in our class, trying to visualize them as shiny round bubbles of something bright and pulsating, may be light bulbs on electricity.  Nah!  Too far-fetched.

That fat auntyjee looked like Pillsbury doughboy.  The old fella looked like a  candle with a dull yellow flame, bent, weepy and spent.

Here I was, age 28, mother of two kids, single and jobless.  And I had sold the last gold chain I owned to pay for this very expensive meditation course.  I had to make it work, or else.

“There are seven energy centers in our body. We have to keep them clean, powerful and pure.  They correspond with the seven colours of the rainbow.  They respond to external stimuli like music, simple music, wood sound, string sound.”

“I’m tone deaf “ my mind declared, rebellious and angry.

She continued, “Simple music puts us in a state of harmony, of peace.  Then we can meditate on the colours.  We will start with Red, the colour of the root chakra, and slowly progress upwards to violet, the top of the head.  Breathe deeply, inhale …. Exhale”

My mind was fixated on the colour red …. The colour of a bride’s sari.  Was it because she was stepping into a bloody minefield?  Was it because she was being sacrificed that she was wrapped in the colour of blood?  It was as though a dam had burst, I wept silent gasping sobs.

Somewhere music played, the simple soothing notes of a santoor.

Muscles of my back, neck and shoulders relaxed, the red lightened up, turned into orange, and then faded into yellow, transformed into green, the heart chakra.  I felt love, boundless love, joy, a connectedness.  The universe and I.

I was not alone, I had never been alone, I could never be alone.

The santoor kept weaving its magic.

Blue – communication.  The truth.  If we are brave to hear it, we can be truly free.  Free to understand the wind, the rustle of the leaves, even the blade of grass has a story to tell.

Purple and then Violet

Joy.

I smiled after being in a funk for almost a year.

I was reborn.  My life had begun.

Written for Indiblogeshwari’s That Tuesday Thingy

 

 

 

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The Commercial Pilgrimage

A very popular pilgrimage is that to the  four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small):BadrinathKedarnathGangotri and Yamunotri – all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas.  It is considered to be a journey that the devout undertake for earning punya … a term I have no English equivalent for – perhaps good deeds?  But then many undertake it in the summers, to escape the heat and placate the Gods at the same time.  Killing two birds with one stone…

Everyone has a personal religious journey to undertake.

There was a time in life when I was overwhelmed with life itself and everyone and everything that was happening to me.  I did what people normally do, when confronted by impossible odds.  I turned to religion.  Since I live life and do everything with passion, when that did not work for me … I went whole hog; I turned to world religions, to occult, to spiritualism and to astrology.  I wanted answers to the question that plagued me, “Why me?”

I did not get the answer to my question, but I got much more.  I got a world view on how human beings made sense of their surroundings, of nature and environment through religion.

In my humble view, all religion stems from one basic fact; it teaches us how to live in harmony with our surroundings, with nature and with each other.  It is a set of rules to live life by.  Rules which, when flouted, have disastrous consequences.

“Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” [John 2:16]

 The Bible says that Jesus cleaned up the House of God by throwing out the merchants, the money traders and people who were plying their wares.

Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

The Koran has very strict rules on attire, behavior and conduct when one visits the mosques.

The Hindu religion, like every pagan religion has its root in nature worship.  We have myths woven around banyan trees, peepul trees, tulsi plants.  We consider our mountains holy.  We have huge temples and shrines built on rocks and hill tops.  Kailash Parbat is the abode of Shiva, the Himalayas are given a religious significance.  We, by rights, should be a very eco-friendly country should we not?

How did commerce get into it?

I went to JagannathTemple in Orissa once and was put off by the rampant commercialism.  I came back upset; there was no sense of piety there.  I visited Vaishno Devi twice and then turned away.  I get more happiness chanting and meditating in the confines of my bedroom sitting on my bed than I get when I go to these places.  But then each to his/her own.  My purpose here is not to upset any one else’s religious sentiment.

Religious tourism is a huge commercial force.  And hotels have been built to cater to pilgrims who can afford to be the religious tourist, afford the Char Dham Yatra.  The priests in the temples almost salivate as they take our donations, by hook or by crook.

Everyone is familiar with the images of the buildings being washed away in those awful floods.  Six floors to a building, or more, and built so close to Kedarnath, that one does not have to walk too far.  Pilgrimage in comfort.

Shiva in water

The images scared me and shocked me.  To me, they seem to be a scary version of our belief of washing our sins away by taking a dip in Ganga.

Are the Gods mocking us?

Are the divine forces sending us a warning?

Our ancients built these shrines with a purpose in mind.  The purpose was that spiritualism stands for harmony with nature.  They were situated far away in the lap of nature, where piety and peace would be found.

Nature is a stern taskmaster.  And a powerful one.  It is sending us a message … those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  As a Devi worshipper I implore to all …

“Stop turning my Mother’s house into a marketplace!”

 

Rape of a minor

The recent Delhi rape of a minor reminded me of what happened in December, both in Delhi and also close to my house when Damini was struggling for her life  ….

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A six year old was gangraped and left in our neighboring colony – left to die.  Some good Samaritans from our area collected whatever was left of her, a bleeding scrap of womanhood, torn from cunt to ass, stomach badly injured (yes, I will not gloss over facts), and deposited that pitiful heap at the hospital.

Then the tamasha started …

The girl came from a very poor family – surprise surprise!

The boys were from a village close by, and they were unpleasantly shocked that the girl still clung to life.  Why did she not oblige them and die?  Worse – she recognized them.

They were even more intimidated that citizens, the educated and comparatively well off ones cared.

So they looked around and got some local neta (belonging to their caste) into the picture.

The neta tried to bully the doctors into listing the child as a patient who was 22 years old.  Apparently child protection laws are not as lax as the woman protection laws.  The doctors (it was a government hospital) refused, stating that they could not justify the treatment that they were providing the child as the same they would have given a 22 year old in this case.

The neta bullied …

The doctor went on leave rather than argue with the politician.

The child fought for her life, clung on to it grimly, though even a small movement from her made her pee, though some of the intravenous meant to feed her oozed out of her stomach.

Women activists that I had contacted wanted to start a morcha – create a noise.

Backdoor negotiations were going on to hush up the case.  A price was being settled upon.  A price for the life of that abused girl child.  I even heard someone say, “What is left of her, anyway?”

Within a few days of her being taken to the hospital … she was found in the hospital dustbin, dead.

Her parents, migrant labour, were nowhere to be seen.

A janitor told me  with a shrug: “She would have required constant medical help as long as she lived.  Gareeb aadmi, (poor people), how can they afford it?”  I opened my mouth to say something nasty and saw that stony look in his eyes.  How many times had he faced the tyranny of the rich or well connected? And how many times had he been forced to cut his losses in a similar way?

I went out, sat in the car trying to come to terms with what I had seen, just been a part of.  The cold December morning seemed colder, dead, horribly so, like that small thing that had once been a six year old girl playing in the colony… before she was raped.  There was nothing left to do but ring the women activists who had planned a dharna.  There was nothing left to fight for.

It jolted me out of my upper middle class complacency.  We take our safety for granted, we girls/women who belong to the upper classes.  I know we are not safe – but we are much safer than our poor sisters, who have no recourse to “political connections” and the law.

I talked to a cousin who is a family counselor, a psychiatrist, trying to come to terms with something so grim.  She explained that to some men, women are objects.  I knew that!

But did I?  I knew it, like every woman in this country knows it – but we somehow do not want to admit it.  An artist’s representation of what men view women as – yes even a six year old child ….

I have removed the picture since I have no copyright to it, and the owner of the picture objected to the usage without permission.

What was done to that child and the child who was found recently in Delhi is complete objectification.  Use, abuse, throw.  If the girl survives, bad luck.  It will cost some money – which can be paid, and the abusers walk away with impunity.

The police will try to hush up the case – even slap a woman if she protests.  And why should they not?  They have been brought up to think of us as stupid cunts.  How dare a woman raise her voice?  How dare she look me in the eye and challenge me?  If she does, she deserves to be slapped and shown her proper place in the society!

Scene from the protest in Delhi in December

 Anti_RapeProtests_Delhi_AP1

 

 Nothing has changed ….

We are human and have the right to live lives of dignity. 

A post I had to link here, thanks Priyanka Dey for this very powerful post

 

Rape and its aftermath

Mark of Shame

I do not think any person in the country is not following the recent rape and its aftermath.

I often write about women, and how strong they are. I admire the spirit of women who live, laugh, love and nurture. But the recent events have shaken me. The thing is – bloggers like me are fortunate. We were born to educated people, nurtured in – maybe not gender equal atmosphere, but were given some opportunities, and since our families loved us, we were not suppressed – not much at least. (Here I am talking about my generation.)

And we were lucky. We did not climb into a wrong bus and got raped.

But we got groped. We encountered sleazy teachers, certain cretins who visited our homes and touched us inappropriately. We went out to buy vegetables and got whistled at, we also had fellow students who tried to – as is euphemistically termed “acted fresh”.

And we were told by our mothers that our brothers and fathers would set the person right – if the act was dastardly. If not, we were told to ignore and move on. Just don’t provoke men. They are “like this only”.

The list of provocative behavior is endless

(AT HOME)

1. Do not laugh loud

2. Do not talk sweetly … but do not be rude and cold

3. Do not react angrily

4. Do not sing … the servant may be listening.

5. Do not sit outside and read

6. Do not comb your hair in the verandah

7. Do not hang out your underclothes to dry in full view of public

8. Lock your room door before you enter the bathroom, on the chance that the servant may be in your room when you emerge

9. When you talk to your school friends on the phone, do not talk loudly. Your voice should be low.

10. Do not mingle with your brother’s friends.

OUTSIDE

1. Do not go out alone

2. All the above rules 1-10 have to be observed with suitable modifications.

3. Do not be over familiar with any boy and with girls who have brothers of the same age as you

4. If you have to visit your school friend’s home, your brother will go with you.

Mind you this was the sixties and the seventies. I obeyed. There wasnt much choice.

But did that stop anything? Boys would follow and whistle. There would be cat calls. Me being what I am, I would turn my cycle and charge at them. I would throw stones and shout gaalis. It encouraged them. That was not a deterrent at all.

So behavior as per the above listed rules did not work. Reacting angrily did not work.

What did I want?

Just to live my life …

Forty years have passed. Has anything changed? No.

Sure we are more educated, our girls have been “granted” more freedom. But has the country changed? Have the men who walk the streets changed? No and they won’t. Because they do not think they are responsible.

It is the woman’s fault. She is the instigator, she asks for it.

What did the girl who got raped want? What was she asking for?

She bought a ticket on a bus and wanted to go home. That is all she was asking for…. She was not asking for rape.

She was wearing decent clothes. She was accompanied by a male friend.

This, as per Shiela Dixit and Delhi Police is appropriate behavior, and falls within the norms of safe practice.

But the rape happened.

CLOTHES DO NOT GET A PERSON RAPED, BEING OUT AT NIGHT DOES NOT GET A PERSON RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A WOMAN GETS THE WOMAN RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A CHILD GETS THE CHILD RAPED.

Men who do it are the rapists. They are the violators. Men rape women and children. That is a fact.

The politics of raising my voice on social networks

There seems to be politics when you raise your voice on social networks. A word of warning : Do not ask me to shut the fuck up. It never works

It seems that in today’s India raising your voice in outrage brings about a few reactions that are very interesting.

1. Oh come on, lets talk about cheerful things

2. Stop talking and do something about it.

3. Yeah, this was bad but there are far worse cases

4. So and so social strata has it worse

5. Don’t you have anything better to do?

And yes, I am talking about the recent rape case.

I’d love to talk about cheerful things, but somehow this news item has freaked me out. I do not have a daughter but deeply fear for girls and women on the roads. Yes it has affected me.

What has disgusted me is this insidious competitive spirit that has crept into expressions of outrage. Certain women have taken to social network with enthusiasm in the spirit of “Uski sari meri sari se safed kaise?”

One status was :

oh plz jst stop updating ur status against ds DELHI RAPE KAND.if u really care dn side ur expnsive laptop n cozy blankets….come out n protest.v 9 v cant change it by protestng bt atlst v can slap ds govt in public..

I completely empathize with the sentiment but would like to put certain things on record

a) This is not a competition. People who can not travel (since they have jobs to do, dinner to cook, children’s homework and needs to attend to) are not doing any less. They are raising their voices.

b) As citizens of this country their voices are valuable too. Remember it is one vote per person, so their voices count.

This case came into lime light coz’ the girl is brutalized and is struggling for her life in the national capital. Everyday numerous gang rapes take place in tribal belt, who talks about them? Soni Sori is beaten and then a staff is shoved up her genitals did you even hear about her? There are many Sonis out there. She hails from middle class thus showing middle classes how vulnerable they are as women and families of women. No body cares what happens to tribals and dalits, middle class speaks only when it is about them.

I humbly beg to submit that I care, but since the media did not cover it and since I am an ordinary middle class person who is not a social activist, there was no way I could have known or raised my voice about it.

And does my not raising voice against what happened to Soni Sori make my raising my voice on this case any less effective? Is this a *&^%$* competition?

And dear readers, is my raising my voice in protest not important? How in this crazy skewed climate that I find on social network have I deserved to be termed as

arm chair debaters who want a change without actually doing anything about the change it self.

A girl is struggling for her life and if one feels outraged others try to act superior and shut our voices!

Weird!

Happy Diwali to One and All

Our office is a very Hindu one – any more Hindu we would have been issued saffron uniforms 😛

Just kidding

We have navratri pujan in the office. Everyone gathers in the huge reception, where a havan kund is installed and havan is held – twice a year on navratri. Our Sikh, Christian and Islamic brethren join in. Communal harmony in action.

I love it. Just like I love the gaudy colours of Hinduism, marigold, saffron, red, magenta, gold and bling.

Rituals and all are fun, but I don’t get too emotional about them. I love the festivities. I like Christmas trees, Santa, the little hanumans who paint themselves and wear a tail and come to fair grounds. The little Krishnas lovingly decorated by proud Mamas for pageants.

To me, my Godji is the one I talk to nonstop and never hear the dreaded line “RITU SHUT UP!”

Anyone who can hear me blathering and never say that, even once, is truly divine!

Some pics of the office all dressed up for Diwali

THE SHERA WAALI MANDIR

THE PORCH AND RECEPTION

Oh how I love the festival!

And how thankful I am for the inflation. There are less crackers and pollution thanks to our Government which has slept when it should have checked the galloping rise in prices.

Thanks to them the festival is all about lights, chocolates, mithai and shopping.

Just the way it should be.

So guys wish you all a very happy Diwali

Dear God ji, I want to be born a woman again

The belief in reincarnation is implicit in our faith.  We seem to have this blind faith that we will not get it right the first time, or even many times, and are doomed to take birth again… and again … and again

Talk about failing so many times in the same class.  At least the gizmos, the technology and stuff changes – or one so hopes.

But do we get to be born as the same sex or even human again?  I kind of hope so.  Hence the prayer :

Dear God ji I want to be born a woman again.

Here I am not being original, we even have a  soap called “Agley Janam Mujhe Bitiya hi Keejo”

I don’t have anything against men.  I am as heterosexual as they come, and I appreciate my sons, who are very masculine, uff they are men, what to do.  In fact if they think I am going out of limits or DIL is, they don’t hesitate to air their views, in no uncertain terms.

It is just that in my world view women hold the centre stage.  Helen of Troy caused a huge war.  Cleopatra was one kickass queen.  Draupadi is far more interesting than the rest of the characters.  Mayhem, blood anarchy … it is just what my soul craves for.  No – not to be in the thick of the fight, but to be the cause of it, perhaps.

I find Ma Kali the most fascinating of all the gods in the pantheon. I am her huge fan, all my prayers are addressed to this epitome of female strength.

Women power … The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The patriarchy and the Khaaps fear us, and rightly so.  We are the power that moves them, we are the sex that gives birth to the next generation and we are what they desire.  Yayyy to womanhood.

Having said that, recently I have had issues with someone I call the Mother-in-law from Hell.  Of course this person pretends to be

1. Not a Mother in Law

2. Not a woman (at times)

3. A crusader

I take objection.  I love being a woman, am proud to be one

I have a very high opinion of women, they are ferocious when messed with. Darling Crusader, admit it – you are female.  And your little toy/puppet/son has left you for his wife.  And its got your goat.  Your ferocity is proof enough.  So are the six comments in my spam queue.

Sorry dear, I did not read the six of them, I just skimmed through.  My Papa always told me not to read rubbish.  It pollutes the mind.

I admire your tenaciousness, your ferocity.  In my eyes your pain makes you great, an epic figure.  Kind of like a Greek tragedy where a person immolates himself or herself for a lost cause.

The young will leave the old and build their own nest. It is the universal law.  Will you, like a besotted fool scream in the face of universal laws?

I hope not.  Faaltu ka drama.

You have within you power – female power.  Rise above this and do something great.  Dying of heart-break is not great – it is for silly fools.

Everyone has adversities in life , and everyone has had heart breaks, self included.  So what did we do? We just picked ourselves up and re-invented ourselves.  Women can do that so easily.  We can be girls, mothers, sexy sirens, office workers and so many other things.  Cooks, news reporters … oh the possibility is endless.  The actress in us can be satisfied with the drama of all these roles.

Did I say I love being a woman?  Well I say that once again.  To be a woman in these times is the very best!  Educated, independent and self driven.

Do I sound patronizing?  What to do?  Your big tragedy of sons leaving their parents for wives and their own kids does not sound worth the hullabaloo you create.  It sounds like the mentality of an obsessed stalker.  Do you do that?  Missed calls, anonymous letters, stalking the son and his wife on various social sites, even visiting the son’s office?  Ooops have I given you ideas, dear?

Yes women are bitches too – self included. I love that trait in me.

And I am independent, busy and do not like being spammed by comments like yours.  I do not like being called names, especially by rank strangers who are pathetic losers and do not have the guts to write under their own names.  Pathetic cowards.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION :

1. I am single, I have not met any man who can convince me to sacrifice my precious independence.  Son Snatcher I am not!  I decided my ex hubby was not worth fighting for.  He could continue to be his darling mother’s infant.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

2. I built my own home, with my own money, and gave my sons a loving home.  I can not be called a home breaker.

3. The third letter called me EVIL WOMAN.  Hmmmm I kind of like that.  It has a certain zing to it, power even.  Good is insipid and does not have the same fire does it?  So thank you.

Furthermore, I am a proud woman, and I will report any malicious mails that slander me and my family henceforth to the cyber crime cell.  Consider yourself warned.  I don’t make empty threats.  I am tenacious and definitely more in touch with my power than you and do not lack courage.

I blog under my name, I do not hide behind identities and send stupid mails to people. I stand by my word.

I am a woman and love being one.

I AM STRONG.

Dear God ji!  This navratri, I pray for the feminine strength of Ma Kali.  I have found my rakshasa (demon) to slay.  And yes, agley janam mujhe bitiya hi keejo.

Yours truly

The One and Only Ritu Lalit

 

Decline

There once was a princess.  She was rather pampered by her family, never allowed to take any decisions, or shoulder responsibilities.  Her father always said, “Oh she is a princess.  She will rule.”

Since she was gorgeous, when she grew up, she had many suitors.  But the pampered princess could not make a decision.

Sadly for her, her father died.  Her brothers found her a pain and consulted their prime minister on where to marry her off.

She was married off into a kingdom far away

She hated her new home.  They believed in simple living and high thinking.  There were no pretty things to wear, silken sheets or attendants and servants to attend to all her needs.  On the top of that, her husband was not impressed by her beauty.  He found her a pampered silly immature little girl.

But the princess was hurt by his indifference.  While flatterers and yes men would not have won her heart, his indifference stung her and perversely made her fall in love with him.

Desperate to win his approval, she sought advise from certain courtiers who had accompanied her to her marital home.

Some told her to smile and fawn on him…..

Others told her to show indifference …

Yet another told her to fight with him  ….

Or cry ….

Or go back to her maternal home in the hope that he would miss her

But one said,

My lady, you have to understand your man.

This kingdom is not near the river, it is not in the hills.  The terrain is rough, and fierce tribes live here.  Survival can only happen if every one works.  So it takes team work to live in this kingdom.

Many civilizations have come and gone in the river kingdom of your father.  You know why?

Because 50% of the populace thinks that they do not need to work, they can live off the people who work – just because they are royal or noble.  Or because their fathers or grandfathers did something really great.

So the other 50% start resenting this.  They start feeling that they should not work, because worthless lazy bums will benefit from their work.

And the kingdom goes into decline.

Your husband wants to see you making an effort, he wants to see you behave responsibly.

…..

 

Thoughts on the wedding of a niece …

1.  Why is it that the boy’s family is considered oh so superior in a traditional Hindu set up?

2.  Why is it that the girl is given wise advice on how she should bend over backwards to adjust?  I am sure the groom gets no such advise ….

3.  Why is the food always fried and if not – dollops of ghee/butter is poured into it?

4.  Why do weddings happen always in winters?  It is so chilly in the night brrrrrr!

5.  Why does some one always throw a tantrum?  It is full on drama time, with tears, sulks and tantrums, followed by the jhappis and smiles 😉

6.   Why do the pheras have to happen in the wee hours of the morning – in this weather?

Ahhh the long commutes to farm houses, the frazzled nerves, the meetings with long lost and forgotten relatives one never wanted to meet ……

Ahhh the kulfis and gol gappas and gajar halwas and piping hot gulab jamuns …

Ahhh the dhol beats, the tired sleep deprived but fun filled nights

The booze drunk on the sly, the stolen puffs of cigarettes …

The bottles of alcohol hidden in car boots, along with ice, soda and glasses.  Apparently this set up is called car-O-bar 😀

Big Fat Punjabi Weddings are the best – especially if they are in the family.

Now I better get dressed and leave for the pheras