Once You See It

The internet is full of “trigger” memes that mock the progressing sensitisation of the masses as a fad for “overly touchy liberal hipsters”. The problem is, that it’s all fun and games until you stare into the abyss long enough for it to stare back at you. Then, there’s no going back. You end up choking a little when your friends are laughing at some offensive joke and you just can’t help feeling helpless.

So much of our daily interactions are a reflection of the popular culture we consume through the internet, TV and cinema. So much of this media is also responsible for the way we think, the way we live and the way we treat each other. Little do we acknowledge how the most minuscule choices that we make in our day to day lives are manufactured by the media. The internet has been one of the biggest drivers for movements like the feminist movement and the lGBTQ movement because of the ease with which voices could be collected over the internet. It helps reaching to out those seeking similar minded people all over the world, which not just encourages activism, but also provides a platform for these voices to be heard. However, it’s never as rosy a path as it seems. Once a movement catches on, the internet is filled up with multiple narratives and counter narratives, which is a great healthy way for discourse, but also for the asymmetry of information that creeps in. The consumer of information, be it a news reader with a particular political inclination or a “meninist” meme enthusiast, would mostly be exposed to media (News pieces from preferred online magazines or memes from liked facebook pages) that conform to his/her biases. So it restricts the discourse for the consumer where they only reflect upon half-baked and opinionated information that in turn leads him to form a biased opinion themself.

Those who firmly express their contempt for feminism often are confused or misinformed about the cause itself. It’s often hard to explain to such a person the vision of the movement because of the plethora of interpretations floating that often lead to dilution of concrete definitions. This discrepancy creates a vacuum which is filled in by mockery propagated through comfortably consumable media in form of jokes and memes. This leads individuals internalising this mockery to an extent that we almost end up ignoring them in real life. For example, we all condemn sexism and racism but do end up laughing at sexist/racist jokes ( guilty as charged). But what do you do when you start becoming actively aware of ways in which misogyny is perpetrated?

I just took one course of ‘Gender & Women In Bollywood Cinema’ this semester and it’s almost inevitable to ignore how the shackles of patriarchy still clutch on to us, including the most modern, liberal thinkers of our society (or so they say). How do you start asserting your cause onto those you consider the closest to you all of a sudden, just because you had a series of revelations? How do you make them understand that you standing up against their misogynist comments does not make you “a crazy bitch” who is “probably on her period”? It just makes you assertive. I’ve always been a submissive person who doesn’t really know how to assert herself. But I realize how I have a responsibility to stand up for my ideals and my identity because I’m a part of a bigger battle. I realize that it’s my responsibility to do so because I have the privilege and the agency unlike the millions of oppressed women of my country who aren’t even aware of their basic rights. I realize that I must do it for my sisters who can only wish for a better change and I must do it for my brothers who battle the gender norms that society imposes on them everyday. I must do it for all of us.

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To The Boy Who Once Made Me Happy

//It’s a little funny how I tried writing a piece titled “To The Boy Who Makes Me Happy” a few months back but never got past the title. I guess misery is a better catalyst to writing than contentment.//

To the boy who once made me happy,

I wish I was as good with words and wits as you are, so my tongue would serve me better in your presence than my fingers clacking against the keyboard alone in the dark. I wish I had a better memory so I could keep the time I spent with you in my pockets and find my escape in them when things got hard. I wish I could be that person you fell in love with a little longer than I did.

I know your love isn’t the same as mine but how would I even know what love is to me before experiencing it for myself? All I know is that I was so happy to be with you, to listen to you talk about twisted monk theories over glasses of rum on that rugged bed that detached and left that annoying space in between, that space that would persist to be there no matter how hard you tried to bring those two beds together, god dammit that space. I guess you can never force attachments onto somethings.

I don’t know why but I do wonder sometimes if things could be different in a universe where I were a little older, a little more experienced, a little more entitled, and a little more smarter. But I wasn’t, and I felt lonely and weak when things went bad. I wish you were there when they did. I wish you were there when my sister hit me so hard that I couldn’t open my mouth for days, I wish you were there when my mother told me I was a disappointment to my family, I wish you were there when I left all of that behind and came here. I wish you didn’t call me a bad person and I wish we never broke up and I wish you were joking about calling prostitutes at home and I wish you didn’t really bring other girls over either because it breaks my heart so much still, I can barely continue to type. I wish I was enough for you, you know. I wish I was more than enough. I wish you longed for me as much as I longed for you, and your voice, and your skin, and your bones, and your soul. But I never will be and I will learn to live with that.

Thank you for all the memories and all the love. I will always carry a piece of you in my heart.

Yours truly.