Secrets

Sometimes, I still wonder.

I did move on.

But I still want to know the secrets.

Why were they kept away from me?

Maybe I want to see repentance.

Maybe I want to close the loop.

Today, I am strong.

And balanced too.

I feel sad – that I can’t see anyone in trouble.

Foolish me, I keep dreaming of her – why?

Foolish me, I keep thinking he will apologise. Why?

Foolish me, I wonder what happened – why?

Foolish me, I feel sad about his depression – is it bipolar? is it schizophrenia?

I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t know. Maybe I should.

It’s gone. All gone. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Peace.

Turning back

She found his sister-in-law walking down the street opposite to her house. It had been 8 years since she had seen any of his family members. Debating whether to avoid or not, she found her approaching. In her heart, she missed the friendship she had shared with his sister. It was an easy-going friendship, one that was without judgement. She called her ‘didi’, and not ‘bhabhi’. She did not want to bring the ‘weight’ of a bhabhi-wala relation into the simple sisterly friendship.

As didi approached, she hugged her, reminiscing the days gone by. Didi took her to her house, where there were a lot of people buzzing around, maybe for a wedding that was planned in the house. She felt amiss. Didi took her to a room and asked her to wait. On the other side of the room, she felt a presence. Ma. She jumped in surprise, went ahead and hugged ma too. Touched feet. Ma was distanced and detached. She handed me a letter. A handwritten letter.

She just took and just gave it a listless glance. No expression. When she went to her room, she found him there. She had forgiven him and had no weight in her heart. So, she greeted him politely.  Apparently, they all wanted him and her to get back together. She thought in her heart, that it was a foolish wishful want. She debated whether to cut this conversation short or see what he had to say. Curiosity took over and she took a seat 5 feet away from him. They spoke about inconsequential things. Then his intention was to move on to personal chat, but she sensed it and cut him short. She wanted to leave, but he got angry. All she said was, “You are still the same. Lower your temper.”

And she went to her parents to tell them to go and ask that family to move on. What did she achieve from that conversation? Not sure, maybe she had the satisfaction of knowing that it was the right thing to do, to walk out. Rather, to accept that he walked out. That a piece of paper with two signatures mean nothing when someone does not want to nurture a relationship. And of course, vice versa.

She thought of the man she now had in her life. Dynamic, mature and extremely loving. She thanked her stars. A small smile escaped her lips.

Track 2:

In her words:

The wedding atmosphere suddenly turned into tension filled melee. She was puzzled. Then people came running and shouting that the groom has halted the wedding celebrations because he wanted 10 lakhs immediately. The bride’s parents tried to ask our parents to arrange for the money. And fools that they are, they way they chose that man for me, they scrambled around, arranging for it.

I asked them to stop the madness. Just. Stop. It.

How dare that girl not stop this by taking a stand?? This for God’s sake is the 21st century. Educated people do NOT blackmail the bride’s family for money on the altar of marriage. What stops her from walking out? Is it okay to see her parents begging others for money? Is it okay to see the elderly couple scrambling around, and losing their wits on something as inconsequential as “buying a groom for their daughter”????

Track 3:

She wakes up with a jolt, angry and upset. Why after so many years, did she see this dream? Perhaps somewhere in her psyche, she expected him to come and apologize to her. And perhaps, somewhere in her psyche, she wants all those girls to stand up for their parents, who feel they are a victim of the society’s demands for sending a daughter with loads of materialistic things, with or without demand.

Track 4:

She thought of her parents who had the strength that ONLY true love could give, to support and in fact, help her in the brave decision she took so many years ago. She smiled as she saw the way her father’s head held high, when she told him of the salary hike she recently got. He is one proud father – he has seen her move from being a meek domestic girl to a confident corporate lady.

She immediately picked up her phone, and dialled Papa.

Smiling Female Business Leader With Arms Crossed

In a moment of time

You meet a stranger,

He’s no more a stranger – in a moment of time

You form an impression,

Your past experience prompts that impression – in a moment of  time

You expect all to be good

That’s because you see all as you are – in a moment of time

Life is created with a union, in a moment of time.

Life ends – in a moment of time

Why then, can’t we forgive?

Why then, do we hold grudges for eternity?

 

Corporate Lies

Another one of my earlier posts. The update below it explains further how this happened and my current learning about this scenario:
***

I thought I was at a good place, an MNC that everyone envied. I had worked very hard. Gave my best. Great results came. I felt so proud of it. I was also given the highest rating there, perhaps for my hard work.

A new opportunity. A 60% hike. I wanted to grow. I resigned. They became vengeful. Yes. Stripped away my ratings. All because I was going. I was of no use to them anymore.

I knew it was my last day there.

I knew I would never return. Not now. Not later.

***

Update:

This happened to me about 6 years ago. Too emotionally connected with my job, I felt that world was “good” and “fair”. But as of today, I know and understand very well how Corporates work. I may be in the giving position today, and have made it a point not to do what was done to me, but this is definitely neither understood nor appreciated. In Rome, only Roman works. In Brazil, Portuguese. In the Corporate, only cut-throat works. Period.

End of the day, it’s your truth that you have to stand by.

Cults and Young Minds

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

depressed-woman

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Picture this:

A lone girl – Just divorced/Just broke up with her BF/staying alone in a big (or small) city

A middle-aged lady – son has left for US/ daughter just got married/ is in a middle age crisis/going through empty nest syndrome

A young man who has lost interest in life because he does not know how to earn million dollars.

A student who consistently fails in exams, but is promised miracles.

What do you think is common between all of them?

At first glance, perhaps nothing.

Think a bit more, and one word will resonate – VULNERABLE

EASY PREY

When you are low in life, apart from fighting your own demons, you also have to fight predators who are looking out for people like you. Cult members are everywhere around us. The reason why they are not apparent is because one of the requisites of their modus operandi is to remain inconspicuous to the general public, and very very ‘in-your-face’ conspicuous to those who are like the ones described above, vulnerable and easy prey.

In many cases, it starts with a trust building statement that goes like, “I know what you are going through. I have been there. I know how much it hurts. But I had ‘grace’ and was saved from this suffering’. And then begins the story. Then begins the seva. Then in the name of seva, they suck into your time, slowly and surely, through mental manipulation and guilt mechanisms; ensuring that everything you do, is connected to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘sin’ and then, you end up spending a large chunk of your life with the cult members, doing seva of various forms. And then the Guru talks random stuff like, “I know what you are going through. Let it go, set it free. You will feel better.” – as though he knows what IT is. No, he does not. He is counting on your blind faith in him, to “fit” your issues into his words and believe, “Wow! Guruji is really omnipresent, he is really antaryami! He knows what is in my heart and mind.” And thus goes the story.

Meditation is a good way of calming your mind. You do it yourself, with a guided meditation audio in your phone, and you will still feel relief. Hence this is a primary weapon that these cults use. Through meditation, one’s mind does respond, in a different way. However, cults take this as their success. It is so harmful to have your senses opened by cults and to be left all alone in the darkness of the other planes, that the trap keeps getting deeper and deeper. The fear keeps getting larger, and your dependence on the Guruji solidifies into a life long relationship that sounds like, “My life is nothing without Guruji. I will get destroyed if I do not share my problems with him.”

Mostly, the cults have a “living master”, or a “living God” or someone like that. They insist on 100% devotion to “The One”. They can not bear anyone talking ill about their Master and will ensure that the person knows he/she has committed a sin that they would pay for. These Masters travel first class, stay in the best of luxuries and visit foreign countries in name of getting followers. They go to extent of publishing wrong statistics about their sermons. You can not ask them questions. You have to “trust” them unconditionally, because The One trusted YOU unconditionally and CHOSE YOU to be the fortunate one. Being among the followers is being fortunate.

This Master is a good preacher. He knows the psyche of the human mind. He knows how to twist it. He uses positives and negatives and negatives as positives to mess up the followers’ minds. He ensures that he talks about sadness, sorrows, circle of life, importance of Guru, why even Arjun needed Krishna to guide him, importance of surrender etc. etc. so on and so forth. This is to seal dependence of followers into him. When such people play with psyche, they turn young fresh vibrant minds into machines, clueless about what and why they are doing as told.

Another significant characteristic of cults is that nothing comes free. In name of seva, they collect funds, which they claim to use for various charities. However, no one know or dares to ask about where the funds go. Many followers who have given up their karmic lives, to do seva are cited as examples and glorified, saying, become like them. They have given up their luxuries and donated their earnings into the cult. So, slowly, followers who came here for peace of mind and direction to be able to learn ways of life and earn the luxuries of life, slowly are made to give up even what they currently have.

If you are in a similar organization and are being asked to keep it a secret, please ensure that all your antennae are up. Many cults encourage secrecy. They arrange member meetings behind closed doors and preach and preach and preach them to get  more members “inside”. There is an “inside circle” that is not open even to members, esp new members and the new members are encouraged to complete courses to move ahead in their “spiritual path leading to the Master”. As the members start with courses, they become elevated as the next course is always an attraction – to reach the Master. Thus, leaving the cult becomes almost close to impossible, as one keeps moving further, and further.

This circle of exploitation is never-ending and I have not mentioned the “out of ordinary” stuff in this blog post at all – stuff that is tricks of hand, hypnotism, magic, etc. I am assuming that the victims are intelligent enough to understand that “Sweet” can not come out of “thin air” – something a Guruji once produced, and gave it as “prasad/offering” to a troubled lady who had trouble conceiving.

Very recently, and the reason why I was prompted to write this blog, was because I came across the following blog published by Art of Living survivors, one of them, in fact, was an exalted teacher in the group. Although I am not against or in favour of AoL, I think the way these authors have presented the choice of knowledge without thrashing out the cult case in point, is commendable.

They clearly demarcate between their own discoveries within the AoL as an organization, and offer blog readers the choice to explore further or the choice to move away, if they are ardent followers. As opposed to a normal cult behaviour, that emphasizes “conversion”, they offer the wisdom of experience and the freedom to choose.

Anyone interested should check out this: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-purpose-of-these-blogs/

Now, talking about the purpose of my blog, I was in a situation recently, where in I witnessed a young mind getting pulled into the trap of an organization deeper and deeper, and when I researched, I was shocked to see and read the truth. My own brush with another organization, and my “thank god for good sense” that I could recognize that things are not right and listening to my own intuition, walking out bravely, was something that served as a strong blast from the past. I did not want the same to happen to others, however, I have grown wiser and I do realize today, that each one has come into this world, to learn their own lessons and I can not influence anyone.

All I can plead is for God to give common sense to the vulnerable.

Unveiling the ‘dis-married’ on Women’s Day

** Alert: The story might disturb you. Apologies for the same. Please read the prologue to understand the background behind this story.

She looked at the clock in the kitchen.
If the food did not satisfy him today, it would be another night filled with punishment for her again.

This had been going on for quite some time. Seeya looked anything but a newly wed bride. The tradition dictated that she wear the red and white chudis for a year because they signify a newly wed bride. However, her face, her red eyes and her swollen cheeks narrated a different story.

Ram was chosen by her parents from 20 eligible marriage proposals. Her parents had looked at various criteria to choose someone “perfect” for her. They looked at wealth, social standing, the company he worked at, his parents, his family background, etc etc. I wouldn’t even go to the lengths of mentioning horoscopes. Of course, they were the first things to have been matched – they matched “perfectly”. The pandits claimed that the couple was made for each other. That they were “janam janam ke saathi”, couples since the last 3 births.

Seeya hadn’t had great dreams about her marriage. She was nonchalant about the whole affair, as she wanted to comply with her parents and do whatever would make them happy. So, she played along and got adjusted to the new home quite well.

A month into the wedding, all the guests had left by then, and Ram’s parents returned to their home. They were of modern ideology, believing in giving privacy to their children and in nuclear families. Ram had separated from them the day he got a new job. He needed to be “free”.

It was only after everyone left that she got to see the true face of Ram. One Ram was called the maryada purushottam, yet he abandoned his wife to make the society happy. What could be expected of this Ram? He was nothing short of a beast. Sadistic tendencies was an understatement. Unnatural sex. Pleasure by causing pain. Finding the smallest of small pretexts only to punish her – beat her, belt her, thrash her, have violent sex and unnatural gratification.

She was living a nightmare. Every night and every morning. It was rape. Downright rape.

Could she escape? Was there any way she could take him to task?
How could she explain her humiliation to the world? Who would listen to her?

Nobody spoke about rape in marriage.
They all would laugh and call her names, they would call her the worst names a lady could be called, and label her promiscuous.

That’s how it went.
That’s how it goes.

The bell rang.
It jolted her out of her reverie.

He stormed into the house with a red face. He was angry. Seeya’s heart sank.

“Get me some food! I am hungry.” He shouted.
She scurried inside to lay the table, and called him. He settled at the table and filled up his plate, downing the food like a man hungry since a week.

Second roti, and he looked at her.
“Why is this so hard??”

“I am sorry, Ram. It was soft when I took it out of the girdle. But it’s hardened while you have been eating. I will make another one. Just give me 2 minutes.”

“Shut up!! You lousy woman! Your mother never taught you how to cook. It doesn’t matter. Here, eat this yourself” and he hurled it in her face.

Seeya had had enough! She knew she had to put her foot down. She went into her bedroom, weeping uncontrollably, wondering how she was to get out of the mess. He came right in. “Is this all your parents taught you?? To cry for the smallest things? Don’t think those tears will make me feel sorry for you. Shut the f*** up and come here.”

She did not respond to him. This angered him so much that he held her by the shoulders and hurled her onto the bed. And another nightmare began…. Her “Nooo!! Leave me alone!” was muffled as he clamped her mouth.

PROLOGUE:

Even after the Nirbhaya incident in Delhi, marital rape still remains unrecognized in India.
Women, scores of women are going through hell inside the safety of their own homes.
There are single women, and there are married women.
However, there are the ‘dis-married’ women who have been wrongly married to the wrong men and are going through a daily ritual of sexual, emotional and physical abuse.
These women are not given any rights to talk against their husbands. Those who raise a voice are silenced by collective humiliation meted out by the society against them. Society, that judges these women and calls them promiscuous,just because they decided to talk about marital rape.
Society is the biggest failure in this case.
What are we, as a society doing to safeguard our women?
It’s women’s day on the 8th of March. We are miles and miles behind progressive thinking.
Our women are chained to their husbands because their identity is chained to their husbands post marriage. The biggest reason why women going through marital abuse do not speak out is because they fear society. They are let down by society. A woman can go to the police expecting help if she is being battered for dowry. But she can not go to the police for help if her husband is battering her in a way she can not SHOW to the cops. In a way she can NOT prove to the judges. In a way she can NOT prove the existence of hurt and scars.
These scars are inside her body – physically, and inside her mind – emotionally. Just talking about it is painful And then, convincing hundreds of people – from the cops at the CAW cell to the lawyers to the judges, to the doctors, to everyone – each time each iteration kills her from inside. And at every step, she faces eyes that are wary and that look at her in disbelief and mockery.

“Lady, Go keep your husband happy” says one cop.
“I can help you and get you justice. Will you sleep with me?” says an NGO owner.
“Every night is a colourful night. Isn’t it? Then why complain?” says another lady cop.

Seeya wants to give up.
She goes to her in-laws.
“Men are like that only, beta. All men are like that. Your first and foremost duty is to keep your husband happy and do as he says. Go go back ma.” Seeya’s mother in law writes her off.

Seeya goes to her parents.
How can she talk to them about what she went through???? How could she bear to look into their eyes?

She talks to her mother. Cries her heart out.Her mom hugs her and says just two words, firm and clear. “Leave him”.

*****************************

While hundreds of Seeya’s are crying in their bedrooms and wondering why they were even born as a woman, should we be celebrating Women’s Day?

If so, then what should be done to help women like Seeya?

Edited for #WomenInspire
Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Women Inspire Campaign

Every woman should be her own ‘Shero’. There is a hero inside every woman’s heart. It’s that brave voice inside her heart that says, “Don’t give up”. It’s that brave soul that eggs her to move forward even after having been broken so many times.

“I’m celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day by blogging for the #WomenInspire Campaign sponsored by USC’s masters degree in social work program. Join the blog carnival to honor a woman who has inspired you!”

Updated for Write Tribe – Festival of Words Day 7
I participated on Day 1 of Festival of Words on Write Tribe which fell on a weekend. The post was called ‘The Wall‘.

It’s weekend again. And I am back to blogging full steam.

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3

 

And it’s Day 7 of WT’s Festival of Words – for International Women’s Day. Submitting this post on Write Tribe for Day 7.

The Wall

As he inched towards her, he could see a shade of fear in her eyes.

The unbroken pieces

The unbroken pieces

His palms encircled her cheeks, to pull her closer to him, his lips locking with hers, uncertainly at first, though finishing the kiss with a soft “I love you”.
She let him kiss her, but he felt something amiss – she wasn’t responding to him.

And then he had flashes of her past – how she had been broken several times – this girl, who could be a blessing in anybody’s life, the way she carried herself now, with all her guards up, had shut down completely.

He wanted to show her that life is not as hard as she thought.
But how could he, someone had messed her mind up completely.

He couldn’t get past that wall, no matter how hard he tried.
She had built it around herself, brick by brick, strong and secure, as a defense mechanism, never to open it to anyone.

Today was a start, a small one, but a start nevertheless.

PS:
This piece of fiction has been written for Write Tribe’s Festival of Words 3 Entry 1: 9 Sentence Fiction

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3

PPS:
Photo credits: here