The nights are foggy and cold. But Asaram Bapu (or whatever he makes his motley of brain-dead followers call him) made sure that many fumed with anger last night. His opinions aren’t even worth of being spat on; but there are hordes of people who drink every word of his as the elixir of enlightment, and who will implement these absurd beliefs and suggestions in their own homes. That’s what worries me. Girls would be asked to fall at the feet of their brothers and call for mercy, to spare their honour (which we are told resides in a thin membrane; one's thoughts, deeds and the way one leads their life hardly matters, it’s all about that membrane!). They would be asked to recite a prayer when a brother-in-faith cum closet rapist leers and hovers over her. He might drop dead or miraculously recognize the sister in the woman he wanted to rape. Who knows? In the world of all-knowing godmen, the women who get raped had obviously forgotten to invoke a few Gods in her daily prayer, or crossed the threshold of her home with the left foot first, walked under a ladder, wore black, forgot to fast, or worse were atheists who jiggled cleavage, ate spicy chowmein (this was suggested by the Khap not long ago as the cause of untamed libido!), roamed the streets after dark, and basically did everything to deserve being raped! Last night I watched in dismay that woman trying to defend Asaram’s comments the News Hour debate. How can one expect a safe world for women when there exists such members of their own gender who follow the derogatory discourse of self-styled, rogue godmen as the absolute truth?
The nights are still foggy and cold. I am buried under three layers of woolens. I drink umpteen cups of chai. I have upped the capsaicin intake. I don’t want to leave the gym, and its central heating. I asked a (married) friend in Delhi how she had been surviving the nights, when the mercury drops to record lows. Her answer embarrasses me and I shut up. Every morning I feel distressed to read the news of people dying in the cold wave in North India. Lives lost just because of the lack of access to a warm blanket! I had asked another friend, who has the authority of being a part of the government, if/ and how he tackles these sad loss of lives in his district. He replied that they had arranged for large fires being lit at public places and had even distributed a few thousand blankets to the people who don’t have access to the bare necessities of life. It made me feel so proud of him; not just because I heard of these measures being taken to combat the problem, but because I have complete faith in their implementation. We, as citizens, too can aid such efforts by donating woolen clothes and blankets to clothing drives and NGOs. We often wonder whether such small steps would ever make a real difference. It would, at least to a few lives; and continuous and collective efforts will make a much greater impact.
I’m on a rough patch emotionally; on the verge of losing a loved one forever; learnt embarrassingly late that the one I had (stupidly) pined for so long, is in love with someone else; books don’t interest me enough, nor does writing; uncertainties about my future haunt me; my simple dreams clash with the ambitious expectations of others. Stubborn hopes cling to me even when I’m fully aware of their absurdity. I write when I feel like. I connect with only the people who matter. Early mornings and a good part of the day are spent in studying for an exam in February. Today I listened to ‘Always on My Mind’ in a loop. In the evening I read a few pages of Boredom by Alberto Moravia. I am trying to learn the importance of letting things follow its own course. Sometimes expectations weigh things down. Nonchalance makes every little development a pleasant surprise. I’m learning about life.