Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Stagnant River

It was a not-so-cold day of early December on the southern plain of Terai. The fog had just started descending to the land from the sky but the cold proper was yet to grip the population majority of which lacked the adequate clothes to tolerate it. The day was thus warm and pleasant from the morning. The river which had a dam built downwards was in slow motion as if to share the calm of the surrounding. The small bubbles and other tiny particles of debris were floating glittering bright with the rays of light that fell on them at acute angle. The warm yet cool rays of light traveled in bands between the Sisau trees that lined the eastern bank of the river. The images of the trees in the water seemed to touch the blue sky at the bottom of the river.

A crow flew across the river to sit on a branch of a tree on the other side as few others were heard crowing at distance interrupting the calm of the morning. The distant rumbling of the speeding vehicles with their blazing horns reminded what a rush was there in the real life in the city. A cartoon like sketch of a human being lay there in front of Ramesh, carved in a block of concrete probably meant for keeping the belongings of the deceased before they were cremated in the adjoining cemetery. The sketch looked pretty distorted despite the utmost effort of the artist to make it look like a human being; this is probably why so few among the people are successful artists.

The 'Ghat' or the cemetery bore a deserted look as the morning sun made it look perfectly tranquil. The partially burnt wooden logs scattered beside the river made it clear at least one corpse was cremated in past few days. A piece of cloth was seen revolving along a small circle in the water close to this bank. Ramesh was suddenly filled with sympathy for those who died planning throughout their life and failing to implement even a single of them. Even those who died after aging adequately kept planning for years, let alone the unlucky ones who are forced to leave this world earlier. This gloomy reality reminded him of the desperation with which he had exited his room to take refuge of this cemetery in the early morning; quite unusual by any standards. The tranquility in this remote corner of human dwelling had almost made him forget the sorrow that was there in his personal life. 'How can an unfortunate creature like me afford such pleasant moments?' he ruminated as often.

The sun was now closer and warmth was growing. And this warmth in winter was an uncommon commodity in this section of earth where the fog ruled almost the whole of the winter. The shadows of the trees were now shorter and the floating particles in the river seemed to travel faster. More crows were now flying tree-to-tree and the chirpings were of more variety. The dew drops on the leaves of grasses began to vanish though the leaves in the shadows of trees were still wet.

Suddenly a beggar appeared as if from nowhere. He was probably of Ramesh's own age but looked much older with the wrinkles gifted by poverty all over the face. He wore a dirty grey shirt that was probably white when new with a pair of pants that most have been black when they were bought by some benefactor. He had a long face with untidy beards looking longer than they actually were by the emaciation that made the facial bones protrude. He was also wearing a rusted thin jacket that was unable to cover the front part of his trunk as there was no working zipper. As he came nearby, it turned out that he was not a beggar instead did the precious job of scavenging the useful things out of the waste: there was a huge sac made by sewing many pieces at his back that contained the plastic bags, papers and many other materials collected from the heaps of the waste. He walked stooped burdened by the weight of the luggage and was apparently moving to other location from the city and had taken the unusual short-cut through the cemetery.

"He is probably more unfortunate than me," Ramesh guessed and hoped to get some solace by talking with him. He politely invited this prematurely aged man to seat beside him. The man hesitated at first but eventually obliged as probably this was his time to take some rest even otherwise. After making little formal talking, he began a query about the past of this strange man. This scavenger was probably having difficulty speaking with a gentleman and was frequently looking for excuses to leave. Ramesh was able to coax him into telling part of the story. He was from a family of relatively good fortune until a terrible disaster befell on them erasing all those fortunes, but he was apparently unable to explain what exactly the disaster was.

"We had a good home beside a river in the mountains. We even had a cowshed with a cow and a kid water buffalo. I had two brothers and a sister. My father used to fish in the river and mother? Well I never knew what my mother looked like. Those who have their mothers are the lucky people in this world. Those who lose them early are destined to suffer…." The stranger forced himself to silence and stood up suddenly. "It is already too late for me, master, I leave now." He did not wait for the approval of Ramesh and walked faster than he had came.

This story reminded Ramesh of a poignant story that he had heard decades back in the village when he was a kid. A couple was charged of a serious misconduct and expelled from a village with their two children. The already poor family had now become destitute and took refuge in a small hut erected on a small piece of land carved on a steep slope beside a river. The nearest human dwelling from there was at one and a half hour walking distance. They began fishing in addition to working in the fields for daily wages and were somehow able to make a livelihood.

Once the obviously poor couple was going through particularly tough moments and they had been unable to earn any money by working for weeks. The scanty stock of foods had depleted and frequency of their meals was reduced from twice daily to once daily for days. One day the husband decided to make a breakthrough and set out for a longer period so that he could go to distant places to work and earn some money. To some extent, he was successful. But when he returned back with some money and grains his still-beautiful world was annihilated by this cruel thing called hunger. His wife was lying down motionless on a mat on the floor; pale, bluish and silent. To his shock, the two kids were still feebly sucking her nipples. No one ever knew when she died as she was ice-cold when he touched. It was certain she had starved herself to feed whatever grains were remaining to her children. Though extremely fragile physically and mentally, the family of the three survived the disaster and the incident made the villagers lenient so that the man got work more frequently and they also gave him some grains even for no work.

By now the rag-picker had vanished at the other side of the trail leaving no trace of his presence at this stretch of land. The story of that ill-fated couple and their children made him difficult to resist drawing similarities between those kids sucking the nipples of their dead mother and this poor fellow who had also lost his mother early and was now employed in a job that carried the least decency and honor possible in the society. A surge of guilt passed through Ramesh as he recalled his dreams of childhood that were full of fantasy to eradicate this cruel thing called poverty from the world. After almost three decades later, he was no different from the every other gentleman who had dreamt big but achieved little. The sense of gloom increased and his mood was getting darker though it was about midday with bright winter sun illuminating the world with only traces of fog in the horizon. Even the mountains were now visible in the north with a grey haze of winter. The water in the river seemed to move faster and the shadows of the Sisau trees had moved from west to the north of the trees themselves.

The crux of his problem was that he was fired from the job the day before for no apparent reason and he found it difficult telling this bad news to his family that lived in a remote village behind those mountains. This brightness of the day, this tranquility of the riverside was only making him restless and he shivered with the thought of some day ending up carrying that huge sac on the back. Over the years when his attempts to ascent along the ladder of prosperity with honesty at the job went to vain, he was the witness of a exponential growth in the fortune of the bosses who were better than him only in terms of manipulating the system so that their brazen act of stealing the public money were hidden with a thick veil. His life had been stagnant like this river with a dam downstream that forces it to stagnate against the law of nature. Every time he attempted to flow like a genuine river, like the ones between the mountains, some obstacle came like the dam and he was forced to watch others flowing fast to reach the ocean of prosperity leaving him far behind.

He stood up suddenly and threw a small stone to the river creating a ripple that travelled to all directions. Even though he escaped from his room in the morning to take refuge of this tranquil place, there was no escape from hunger and he was now pretty hungry. Now he would have to go back to room and feed himself as yet he was not as destitute as the family that lived at that riverside during his childhood. Only thing was that now he had to create some ripple in his real life that could form the beginning of a dynamic life that flowed like a untamed river.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Ruined family

Legacy of Smoke

“Jail or Rehab-home”, Jange thundered “That is where a person like me can live.” He was now virtually unable to control his rage as his hapless mother took further defensive posture at the corner of the room. It had been a straight third day through which he had not got even a puff of hash and he found himself pitiable with increasing sweating and anxiety. The culprit to blame in the whole affair was his mother who now dared telling him she had no more money and he could do anything, even kill her if he wanted. Everything was fine even up to last week when she gave him some amount whenever he asked though after some hesitation.

The other day she abruptly told that she didn’t have money even to pay for the college fees of his brother. Jange tried to become a gentleman, did not argue with mother and went to the source with some non-cash item. Though that item cost much more than the amount he normally paid, the supplier hesitated to give him the drug and gave him an odd glance before he left. From that Jange understood that the next time he may not get the ‘life-support’ with anything other than money. He was by then fairly aware of the temper of the supplier who himself was an addict and did the business only to feed himself. Sometimes when Jange could not manage to bring money, he would allow him few puffs of hashish and let go. But this time Jange was not in a position to take risk and thus needed the money desperately.

No longer had he begun to throw everything on the table to the floor, his mother took one more unexpected step. She took a rope and began tying her neck with it telling him that she was no longer able to withstand the torture and going to hang herself. This suddenly reminded Jange of one similar episode of remote past when she had threatened the same thing.


He was probably seven or eight by that time, and his brother about five years or so. They lived on a rented room in the city as they had left their home in the village long back after his mother had bitter conflict with the in-laws. Their father worked in some company but he forgot what kind of job that was though that gave the family a good deal of honor. The kids were enrolled on a local private school and they were visibly better-off than their neighbors who also stayed in the rented rooms.

One day the rumors poured suddenly that his father, a still-handsome man had eloped with a woman, that too with a tainted character. People further elaborated that they had the affair for quite long and this honorable man was only one among the victims of that obscenely beautiful woman. Whatever damage was possible was already done by now, as the gentleman didn’t turn up that day at home in the evening. The world of Rupa was thus devastated. She had come to the city severing her relation with the family in the village only trusting this single man. She had even ignored the early and mild rumors about the character of this man. But it was beyond even her wildest imaginations that he would have such a clandestine relation outside his family.

The family was never the same again. It became extremely difficult for Rupa to adapt in the changed circumstances where she had lost not only a husband but also the father of their children and the only source of any income for the family. Despite her sincere attempt she was unable to contain her grief inside her and the two boys eventually came to know what the family was now up to.

It was in this background that Jange had seen his mother attempting some dreadful act. That time she had done everything to mollify the two boys before he saw her doing the wrong thing. When he saw her from the corner of the curtained window, she was about to dash the chair on which she was standing after tying one end of the rope at the neck and the other to the ceiling. He suddenly cried so loudly that even Rupa shivered inside the closed room to discover that he was peering from the corner of the window. She was in the greatest dilemma of her life. She struggled to gather the thoughts as the knot of the rope was rubbing her neck: a gentle push to the chair and she would get rid of all the problems in her real life. Suddenly she thought about the fate of the boy, already fatherless and now witnessing the death of his mother: what would be his life like? Though she had thought a lot about the life of her kids before taking that decision, the shrill cry of the boy at the moment was impossible to ignore. She now decided not to push the chair and took the noose out of her neck. Soon the boys were crying on her lap and she cursed herself for resorting to such a foolish step. Jange obviously made her swear that she would never again attempt the same thing though his brother was little confused about the whole affair.


Suddenly Jange became sober, though he was still shivering and sweating. He found himself increasingly lethargic and sat on the floor as the memory of the past events made him increasingly stiff. He felt as if all the trauma that the family had sustained over the years was now about to take its toll. Though he had frequently failed to memorize the past events in proper order and had virtually no control over his own temper, the images of that particular day were still vivid in his mind. This was not what was supposed to occur.

For long after the first calamity of the family, he had frequently had dreams in which his mother had successfully hanged herself leaving the two children alone. He can’t express the relief that was felt once he awoke after such dreams to discover that his loving mom was there, alive and well. It was in those disturbed teen-days that he understood the importance of a good and functioning family. What came about his father in the aftermath of the disaster were only the rumors and he was never again seen on the city. What was more disturbing was the suffering his mother was going through as the thorns of innumerable social stigmata associated with single mother pricked her round the clock.

This was why Jange could never excel in studies. In fact, study was never his priority though he knew well that it was near-impossible to get a descent job without proper education. His brother adapted far better to the hostile world then Jange did and always did better than the average in all the classes. For long this fact gave Jange a kind of satisfaction but he never knew when that transformed into a kind of jealousy around his late teenage years. The other factor that played crucial role in ruining his conscience was his perception that his mother lacked the impartiality expected from a mother of two children.

Despite all this, he was an average young man until he was there in the school. He even didn’t know then that the life would be ruined like this in such a short span of time bringing another calamity to his family. It was at the college that he got re-birth as the contagiously ruined soul.


It was in the college that he met with the friends who had already ruined themselves and came to the college only to spread that contagious and dangerous virtue. First he was aghast at the extent they could go to serve their mean end like intimidating their own parents through friends to extort money for them. The toilets in the campus were the safe havens for the derelicts who were there free to smoke or even inject whatever they wanted and managed. First Jange was apprehensive of all that uniformly feared all the boys in that gang.

But there were some intermediary guys who were fit on both the worlds. They were among the most sociable guys in the class and didn’t take long to convince the new victims to first smoke the proper cigarettes. The second step came with the smoking of cigarettes concocted with hashish. The third step was whatever it could be. The group continuously needed the new or ‘virgin’ candidates because they formed the prime source of financing the drugs before going bankrupt first alone and occasionally along with the whole family.

It was in this vicious cycle that Jange eventually got trapped. First it was the ‘plain’ cigars that were taken as the indicator of ‘sociability’ among the college-goers. The frequency went only increasing and he eventually succumbed to the concocted cigars that were qualitatively different from the puffs of ‘socializing’ smoke. There was then imperceptible transition from the ‘inhalation’ to ingestion and ‘injection’.

Despite all this, peace and tranquility in life always remained a mirage for Jange. It was only disgusting to find that every bout of drug use, the sobriety was increasingly problematic. It was practically impossible to remain inebriated for ever and the problems of real life only multiplied as he attempted to achieve tranquility with increasing dose and frequency of the drug. Indeed he was further stigmatized in the society as everyone in the neighborhood eventually came to discover what he was really up to. People were simply scared of him and abstained from any meaningful conversation with him. He was thus effectively disconnected from the society increasing the perennial sense of alienation that he had felt ever since the tragic departure of his father and near-death of his mother.

All this made Jange a different man: a definitely different creature, a clear misfit in the society. And as a reaction, he came to hate everyone and everything around him and developed an extremely short temper. His impulsive behavior was, favorably for him, able to threaten sufficiently his mother so that she was forced to give him the required money at great cost to the family.


On the day of this second disaster in the family, Jange looked dreadful with filth all over the body and the unsightly curls in the hair compounded by reddened pimple-studded face. He had lost the routine of taking baths and even washing face as he was nearly crippled once the effect of the drug was over. His mother and brother were accustomed to his behavior and never even suggest a thing to do let alone compel him to do so.

By now he was sitting at the other corner of the room dipping his face in the palms that rested on the folded knees. For the first time in many years, the thought came to his mind: if it was possible to return back to the old world of three gloomy creatures without the menace of drug use. He then recalled how less sad and less miserable he was before he took that first puff of cigarette smoke. He then rearranged the pieces of memory to make the complete journey of him from that reckless puff of smoke and the imminent apocalypse that was eventually invited in the family epitomized by the second suicidal attempt by his mother. Again for the first time he was filled with sympathy towards his mother who had chosen the better life of her kids over the abrupt emancipation from the problems in her life; on that fateful day when he had incidentally peered through the corner of the window.

His mother was also crying now sitting at the other corner of the room, probably recollecting the same turn of the events that had snatched the thing called happiness from the family.

Jange then stood gently though still shivering and went to see himself in the mirror. He then had a bout of inconsolable cry, like that of a badly hurt child. He kept crying loudly and it seemed unstoppable at the moment as his mother was watching at this strange-looking face of her son which was now displaying some humane character after years.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chasing a Dream

It had been long since Lok had dreamt for the last time. Though the dreams were fairly common during his childhood, they had become increasingly elusive for the past few years. First they became less frequent; second, they occurred early in the night so that he could not remember them in the morning. Most important of all, he had no time in the morning to recollect what he had seen in the dreams. By the time he woke up, it was already late to go to the work and there were many other things about which he was forced to think.

This is how dreaming again had been the dream itself of Lok in his professional life and in the rare leisure time, he began to recollect the dreams that he saw in his childhood. Though occasionally scary and frightening, dreams often formed a reasonable source of contentment, though quite temporary. To name few, dreams in which he flew in the starkly blue sky often with instruments other than proper aero planes of real life, gave him the sense of inexplicable joy even though for a moment. The dreams he enjoyed the most were the ones in which he traveled past the flooded river or stream often by swimming. Even after the frightening dreams like ones in which he found himself standing in the islets at the centre of a huge river, the sense of relief was enormous and refreshing after he discovered the fact that the predicament was limited to the dream and immaterial to his real life.

This is how the dreams had been playing an important part of his life throughout his childhood. The trend had continued more or less in his student life. But all that ended once his professional life with overwork and monotony started.

To his surprise, he had a dream one day after an unusually hectic day of work. That was again in the early part of the night and he found it very difficult to reorganize the pieces of memory to make a continuous and meaningful dream in the morning. This much he was sure: the dream was pleasant, almost as pleasant as the most pleasant dream from his childhood. In that childhood dream, he was walking in a huge field with ripe paddy that had given the yellow hue to the whole environment. With the warm sun of winter in the southern-west part of the sky also instilling the yellowish rays on the earth, the scene was nothing short of the ideal place to live, often epitomized by the unclear concept of heaven by the people. Most important of all, he was holding the hand of the kindest person in the world, his mother, and they were effortlessly walking along a small trail traversing across the paddy field that seemed to stretch to the horizon.

One thing, having born in remote mountainous village, he had never seen a plain that big with that much of paddy. All the trails he walked along had ups and downs and it was difficult to imagine a long stretch of trail without them. Also in the real life, there was always pressure to walk; that they had to walk this much before they reach this destination in the evening so that they can reside in the night at some other village if not at home. Some load was bound to be there on the back of both the child and the mother during every journey in the real life and that was sure to cause some tiredness and exhaustion that prevented the pleasure of walking in the warm sun in the winter from being felt.

Even though he forgot most of his childhood dreams, Lok remembered this one as vividly now as the morning after the dream and this represented a utopia in pure sense. For no known reason, he felt that day that the dream he partially remembered now was something akin to that dream of ‘ideal walk’. The only difference was that he could remember much smaller part of the dream now and he was now struggling to arrange the pieces of reflection together to reconstruct the whole thing. First thing he did in the attempt was skipping the bathing part of the daily ritual while pondering over the dream squatting over the toilet pan because it was already late for the office. He was sure he won’t get any leisure time in the day to think about the issue that had no relevance to anyone other than himself. Indeed, his days now had been more about gratifying the others for a small return rather than doing some creative and refreshing thing for himself.

As his mind and body kept struggling in the office in their attempt to satisfy the omnipotent ‘higher’ with ritualistic works at the expense of his creative potential, the bizarre but fascinating scenes from the dream kept crossing his mind. He was there in a lush green pasture spreading to the horizons, waiting for someone. That had been a long wait and culmination of repeated failures. This time that person was sure to come, he was not sure if it was his mere intuition or otherwise, but he was quite optimistic. In contrast to his childhood dream, the weather was changing fast this time, faster than he could follow or comprehend. He was just waiting as the clouds suddenly gathered in the sky and he anticipated some bad thundering. Most significant and pleasant of all, he was decades younger in the dream, most likely unmarried.

That is when the trouble started: he could not memorize what followed then, effectively bringing the dream to the premature end. But he was sure he continued to have the dream for longer; again may be intuitively, though he was not sure. The basis for the assumption was that he had not woken immediately after the dream and some more scenes could be dimly recollected in the morning but had vanished after the morning dose of daily struggles. After each working bout, he tried to recollect the scenes and events but he became increasingly aware that the leftover memories were gradually receding from his mind.

This was when he was caught in the office by the boss who later made a lot of fuss about this 'day-dreaming' fellow with sub-normal dedication to job. He was found to have written this much in his notebook:

Writing after about a decade, i have a sense of terrible loss. When I was a child, I was a better human being free to choose what to do and what not to. May be for that reason, I had many good dreams then, but now, even the dreams have left me let alone any other creative work. Yesterday I had a nice dream and now I am chasing it. Hope I will discover it soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Perspectives: A Couple's Ordeal

The Sharp Wife

It was the straight third day through which we had not had a squabble and that was quite unusual. Till the previous day it had seemed to me as if even this kind of life-style was feasible for us though there was no doubt it was supposed to be that way with all the ordinary married couple. Ours was the extraordinary one, I need not be reminded of that. On that fateful day, I sensed increasing awkwardness between the two of us: something was now bound to happen.

Eventually I got furious that my beloved husband had once again come late from the office and his cell-phone was busy many times for no obvious explanation. I had reprimanded him many times in the past for such deeds and he had apologized whenever he could not explain those things properly. This time it was more than enough for me to tolerate. Was I not his faithful wife with whom he was bound to share all thoughts and experiences? Then why did he frequently hesitate describing me why the things were the way they were? I really hate the clumsiness with which this husband of mine explains the things for me.

That day, however, there was an obstacle for the event to proceed as usual. We had two guests in the home, an elderly relative of him from the village and his son. That could have formed the ground enough for me to avoid the squabble that day but I have no remorse that I began the event despite their presence. Predictably, he was far more restrained that day because of their presence though I was the only person able to compare his enthusiasm in the event in the past and on that particular day. "You the clumsy impotent" I shouted, "you still seek other girls to bluff when the child has begun to go school". "Just wait for one more day, then tell me anything you like" he said in firm but calculated voice so that the guests on the other room would not hear. His hypocrisy was more than bearable for me and I was incensed further: "Why didn't you wait for one more day to call those prostitutes, you lecher?” I gave this fitting reply when I had nearly screamed in my attempt to let the guests in the other room hear.

I could now spot the tiny beads of sweat in his forehead. I had given him no tea and snacks, so he must have been thoroughly exhausted, hungry and demoralized. He sat on the floor, stooped forward and just stopped speaking anything. Then he unfolded his legs and reclined with his head on the Sofa avoiding my gaze as if after witnessing a terrible disaster. I was still agitated but felt it prudent to close the event for the day with some meaningful closing remarks: "I was the burden to my parents, so I was sent away by getting married with the scum like you who can understand everything but the feelings of his wife. I have always remained the burden to you and you will never feel happy so long as I am alive." Then I left the room slamming the door shut.

The Intellectual Husband

Some days bring so much of trouble that it is difficult to forget those even after long. That day the fruits of my hard work of a whole year were stolen by one of my colleagues. His research proposal that was prepared in haste within weeks with little authenticity was awarded with the grant that was supposed to be given to a researcher who developed an entirely new approach in research studies. The new boss had been just transferred in our office and I was not aware of the unscrupulous activities he was involved in. The old boss of our office had appreciated my work and assured that I would be rewarded properly for my marathon effort with which I had conducted the research. Mr. Jagat, my colleague had begun his project after the rumor about the imminent transfer of the bosses had spread and presented an ambitious but barely practicable proposal. Many insiders doubted his research would ever complete but receiving the grant was another thing. His growing proximity with the new boss was, many said, bound to yield 'certain' outcomes.

That day only I knew the meaning of that 'certain outcome'. Probably that was the first time I had been so much upset in the office. I then called the old boss and talked for a long time in an unsuccessful attempt to bring peace to my mind. My exhaustion had crossed all the thresholds and I was feeling as if I were going to fall ill immediately. Then came the outburst of my beloved wife as soon as I entered the home. My mind was in no position to register every absurd word that she uttered but that had been part of my daily life and I was used to hearing anything from her. To add insult to injury, my uncle and one cousin brother were staying in our home for a few days then. I feared my legacy of a bright and successful man in my village would be smeared if they listened the verbal assault of my wife. So I requested her to postpone the duel for few days but that only provoked her to throw more verbal poison towards me even as the guests listened from the other room.

That day I felt myself the most unlucky husband in the world. Thanks god, I did not collapse given the weight of the insults I sustained that day. I now wonder how resilient I was to tolerate all that while steadily pursuing my different goal. May be all those events that seemed terrible helped me to make myself who I am. May be not, who knows?

The Knowledgeable Guest

Ever since my childhood, I have cursed my poor education for every suffering that the life has propelled towards me. I value educating my children very highly. Though they say now that what kind of subject in what kind of institution you study matters now more than anything. And a huge proportion of the educated now fares even worse than the uneducated lot of our time with so many perversions among the urban youth. Still in my five-decade long life, I had never imagined to witness a scene so bizarre and disgusting in which I saw the meaninglessness of educating the children.

I have always been against irrational empowerment of the women and education has got this loathsome adverse outcome. There are few things in this regard that I cannot really digest. One day I was there in the city and stayed for few days at the home of my neighbor's son. We saw the real face of what goes on indiscriminately in the name of empowering the feminine there. The woman was reasonably cordial in her dealings with us and I would never complain about her hospitality. But her behavior towards her over-burdened husband was cruel at best. May be she had brought a lot of dowry, may be the wife earned more than the husband, I have no idea about that. I also never know if she had grown up in absence of her parents or with equally badly cultured parents.

What I know is that the husband was tolerating the intolerable. It seemed he was unable to even postpone a petty quarrel for a few days and his efforts to keep the ugly interaction between the spouses a secret from us failed miserably. All I heard were the irritating words of that egregious woman in a shrill yet masculine tone. Apparently she could reach any point scolding her husband whose face was drained badly when he was there in our room to apologize for the inconvenience just after the episode.

"This is how the god punishes you non-believers" I said directly, "the norms were never made in a haste or without meaning. Your generation will keep suffering like this so long as you all keep ridiculing the millennia-old traditional norms including my naïve son." He did not attempt to argue with me, so smiled gently and left the room, may be he was preparing to face the other assault that was in store for him. May be he was thinking about reviewing his stereotyped concept about indiscriminate women empowerment; who knows?

The Feminist

If there is any example of intellectual dishonesty among the well-educated that I dislike the most, that is what I prefer to call 'missing jungle to trees'. Put it the other way, it is the generalization of a specific case so that skewed if not outright distorted picture of the reality is presented. In this particular case I discuss about the issue of gender-based discrimination as we see it in the practical life. We have got a male colleague in our office who is exceptionally dominated by his wife and is often unable to hide what he gets from his wife.

Most of my male colleagues present this issue as the product of 'mad rush' to empower the feminine not all of which is legitimately justified. But I view it the other way. To start with that poor woman has got nothing to gain by harassing her introvert husband. And that was never the product of empowering her. Instead she must have got some behavioral disorder or some problem in adjusting to the society she was thrust upon without learning how to deal with the people there. May be she lost her parents early and was never properly socialized. May be she was separated from her parents for long and was traumatized by the hostile 'teacher's who taught her everything except how to deal with the world in front of her.

It is too easy to draw some arbitrary conclusion in any issue. And many people cannot resist the temptation to make instant conclusions and they offer their comments before they look into the things properly. Many of them think that the opinions of the others in the issue are, for granted, inferior to their own and often unworthy of proper attention. That creates a scene that looks like a debate but which is, in reality, only a simultaneous outburst of the monologues of many people. And the most common issue to suffer from this fate is feminism.

Feminism has got nothing to do with the isolated cases of gender-based conflict in which the male is the sufferer. And in my opinion, such cases are negligible though definitely not nil. Most importantly, the feminists have nothing to gain from torturing few men. That contributes absolutely nothing in helping the other thousands of women who suffer at the hands of cruel men. That also leaves intact the giant socio-politico-economic machine that works uninterruptedly to maintain the status quo with dominance of the masculine.

All such isolated incidents/attitudes contribute is to provide the self-made debaters with a fascinating topic to indulge in. Going deeper than the 'Argue for Argument's Sake' needs only one and the most important thing: the events/attitudes have first to be placed on proper 'perspectives' before they are to be debated in order to draw some meaningful conclusion.

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