Saturday, March 27, 2010


I loved her the moment I set eyes on her .Ow on second thought, I think I am not being entirely honest here. The truth is I started loving her only after I laid my hands upon her and that too after two or three times. But the fact is I felt an internal connection with her and that love or admiration or whatever one want to call it hasn’t waned one bit.

I still vividly remember the day she literally stormed into my life. It was not a pleasant or an adorable entry as one would imagine about a long standing relationship. It was on the contrary a tumultuous one, I got beaten up that day on account of her and had to spend that night on a hungry note.

I was about 11 or 12 at that time and was anxiously waiting for my dad to come back from office . You know when guys turn 12 and if they still wait ‘ANXIOUSLY’ for their father to return home, there could be only two possible reasons.

One – he would be bringing something yummy yummy to eat .

Two- A Cricket bat or maybe a whole cricket kit.

It was definitely not the first one because my class test marks were in my bag and no amount of yummy yummy was going to make me wait for him ‘ANXIOUSLY’ with that ticking time bomb in my bag.

The package in his hand was in no way long enough to be a cricket bat and definitely not round enough to be a tennis ball or football. My mom was to blame for she was the one who was giving me high hopes saying that dad would be bringing you something today you would really like. Aaah moms!!!!!!!!!!!

The bright colorful wrapper was peeled off and there she was ..Dressed in a bright red coat…the fat, sturdy and monstrous BOOK. I guess there is no need to explain my rage and the reason for my blue buttocks afterwards. It was indeed a stormy start.

Technically speaking it was not a book but a dictionary ‘MERRIAM WEBSTER’S NINTH COLLEGATE DICTIONARY’. A big fat one with 1564 pages, so heavy that I could have killed my brother with that. Sorry if I sound a little blunt but I was really short of weapons back then.

That’s how she walked into my life, the little red rays of fun . We had a pretty good run over the years; I remember carrying her in my bag to school with the intention of throwing some real tough words at my English teacher. I stood outside the class for 2 hours after that futile attempt for I didn’t consider the fact that the dictionary was pretty big not to be noticed by the teacher.

I remember running to my home with the sole aim of knowing the meaning of the word ‘puberty’ hoping that it would mean ‘handsome’ as that was what I told my friend when he asked me for its meaning. Those days I never said ‘I don’t know’. Too arrogant even then.:D

The sweet days we had, the best book to play book cricket and I once even scored a 200 with my Mariam.

She was my first dumb bell, she was my stool to reach up on the Milkmaid shelf in the kitchen, she was the one who held my hand through many discoveries mostly teenage ones.:D

It was a safe haven for so many personal things of mine. It was the home of my feather collection. The secret abode of the news paper clipping and pictures I used to secretly cut from Malayala Manorama. The place I hid the PTA letter to my parents, the money I got from my grandfather, my favorite Kapil Dev card and so many things.

There are still a few left over feathers from my old collection even now and take my word she still smells young and fresh.

It was such a great pleasure being with her because every time I opened her there was something in it for me to learn. The joy of finding a new word , unearthing its meaning ,trying out its pronunciations brought about such happiness in me that made me closer to her and that’s why the dictionary is not just an ‘IT’ for me ,but a ‘SHE’.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women’s Reservation bill -My take

I was really in for it when the stalwarts of our democracy decided to flaunt the much hyped and the little bit controversial women’s reservation bill in both houses of the parliament earlier this month. Soon after this decision was made, there were hues and cries from all over the country, most staunchly defending and wooing for the bill while some openly crying against it.

In all my heart I hope that the bill would come into effect and that there would be the prescribed 1/3 reservation for women in parliament and all democratically elected bodies, but that’s what my heart wants and not what my demented little brain agrees to.

So here I am just trying to put together the loads of crap that are running in my head regarding this issue. I might be called a MCP after this attempt of mine, but the truth being I really believe the women in our country deserves much more than a mere 33 % reservation.

1. My first issue is whether we want the participation of the women in the policy making of the parliament to be always restricted to 33%?
What I cannot make out is why just 33% and how did they come at this math?
Let’s say we have a women population of 47% and if the intention is to get a fair representation for women, then shouldn’t the reservation be 47%?

2. Equality is one of the corner stone of our constitution though in reality it doesn’t exist in the least. The good intention of the bill is to bring about equality of sexes perceiving that a mere 33% women in the all the legislative assemblies would bring about a vast change in the gross inequality and injustice that our women are facing? For politically empowering women, the change has to start from the grass root level itself.

3. If we have a reservation for women in the assemblies and not enough women in the grass root level of the political parties,a situation would arise where the women who would contest elections in those reserved seat be a mere puppet in the hands of the male leaders .It would lead to more RABRI DEVIs in the Indian political scenario than more MAYAWATIs or GAURI AMMAs.

We should initially make sure that there are women involved in the day to day activities of political parties or maybe a reservation system there where in number of women should be so and so percentage within the party itself. This would bring more capable ,socially motivated women into the mainstream and they would be able to bring about a change and empower politically, socially and economically deprived women than a hot shot, daughter/wife of a pot bellied political leader .

4. One of the staunchest arguments in support of this bill I have heard is that women could not do any worse off than the present horde of men making the policies. What kind of an argument even for the argument sake is that?
During my stint at working in a corporate environment and working alongside many women, I have seen that they are much better than their male counterparts in whatever they do even after taking care of hordes of personal things that we(men) cannot even imagine doing. If that’s the case, then y have a bill because women can’t do any worse and not because they can do wonders?

5. One of the biggest flaws inherent in the bill is the rotation of seats reserved .Let us consider a constituency reserved for women in the first tenure and the woman who gets elected does a great job for the people in that constituency .When the next election comes ,that particular constituency would not be a reserved one and hence the woman who has put so much of effort for the well being of constituency would very well be replaced by a male candidate because most political parties would not want to give seat for women other than the reserved ones. So that means the work the elected woman candidate does in her constituency wouldn’t do her any good as she would be forced to contest in another place the next time around.

6. Legislators would not be elected based on merit if there is reservation ---This is one of the biggest criticism about the bill … I don’t think that is a big issue as 80% of the present lot in the parliament also don’t merit to be there in the first place but I sincerely hope the women who make it to the parliament would not be mere pushovers.

Even with all these issues, I hope the bill will go through .It may not bring about a whole lot of change that the women in our country deserve but it is something worth a try. Who knows, maybe it really can make a difference.

This article is in no way an opposition to the proposed bill, instead its just a mere reminder that women empowerment should not just stop with a bill assuring reservation in the legislative assemblies but should be the first step for a broader ,visionary policy.