Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Just Let 'em be...

Being a man, I feel it is naturally hypocritical for me to write on a subject like sexual harassment. I have done my share of ogling at women, passing comments, etc. Although I would like to think I have not "offended" any woman, there is no way I can say whether it is true.

Amit Verma sums is it up quite well in his post here. Especially this part of his post makes a lot of sense to me:
"I suppose women are used to the male gaze, and I can't imagine how. But everytime a man talks disparagingly about letches, he's being hypocritical, to some extent or the other. After all, we all 'check out' women fairly often. If we're male, we have the gaze. Maybe we've just learnt to make it less obvious. One man's checking out is another man's letching. Where do you cross the line?"

I have discussed this with my female friends and it was quite a revelation for me when they told me that they face such things almost every time they go out, whether they are alone or in a group. I can't help squirming when I hear about the kind of things they go through almost on a daily basis. I know I can't truly relate to the sort of harassment they go through. I do not even know whether raising a voice in public will even change anything. I am slightly pessimistic about what raising one's voice in public will do. What if the girl actually does not want me to raise my voice and give undue importance to such an episode? As one of my friends put it quite succinctly, "just let women be". Wish men paid heed to these words.

Many of my male friends think that harassment has a lot to do with the dress that girls wear. They argue that "revealing" dresses naturally "provoke" guys more into passing lewd remarks, etc. I do not really agree with them. The kind of instances I have heard and seen about do not really indicate any such tendencies. Inspite of all the "modernization" in our culture, I still don't think all girls still have the freedom to wear anything they want to. Most of them are very conscious of what the society will say if they wear "bold" dresses. With people like the shiv sainiks and similar "ethnic" groups playing police and custodians of the "great indian tradition and culture", I don't know whether we will actually see a day when women are given complete freedom in our country.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Don't mingle with singles..

A day before the International Women's day, it is but natural that there are many articles on women and their status in the society is widely discussed. The sad truth is that even though there may be women who are able to make their own decisions and enjoy freedom, their number is still quite low when compared with the ones whose lives are controlled by either their families. How many girls in our country, whether in urban or rural areas, get the freedom to choose when to marry and with whom? Things may be a lot better than what they were 20 years ago, but a lot of change still needs to come into the mindset of the people.

I find it really disconcerting that we have women requesting men to put on their thinking caps when it comes to respecting and appreciating the new "empowered" woman in a newspaper like this. Isn't it a basic level of freedom which any man should automatically think about giving to any woman? Does it really require such articles to point out these things which seem fairly obvious?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Changing times...

I remember reading Ram Guha's article in the Hindu recently about him supporting any team but England in international cricket matches. Well, I share the same views. And this article sums up the mindset of the Englishmen, or atleast what it used to be. Things are not too different this time either, even though the "second-string" English team actually performed quite admirably in the first test (probably better than what their "main" team would do.)!

I am glad we are in an age where the pommies are not given undue importance by the rest of the cricketing world. Perhaps the one sore point nowadays is the sad decline of cricket in the West Indies. It is really sad to see them getting beaten by every other team nowadays. It is not so much the fact that they are losing, it has more to do with the manner in which they are doing so. And there doesn't really seem to be any solution in sight. Hopefully the world cup next year may bring about a change in fortunes. For the sake of cricket, I hope the revival of the Carribean kings happens sooner than later.

Love for the game!

There are some things in life which really move you.. This article shows the other side of cricket.. Away from all the glamour, media attention and adulation from the crowds, there are players who simply play because of the love for the game..

I admit that Narendra Hirwani is one of the players I have ridiculed in the past.. I still remember one of his fielding errors which made me laugh when I saw it live.. I felt very guilty as I read this article and realized that a lot of injustice was done to a player like him.. I somehow feel equally responsible for his not being selected in the team when he deserved it.. I wonder how we'd have looked at this man had he played for India in that crucial Kolkata test against Australia and won that match for us..

Somehow, all of us tend to get clouded by stardom and what the media chooses to inform us.. With all this talk of Saurav Ganguly and his exclusion from the team, I wonder how many of us even bothered to think why people like Hirwani, Kanwaljit Singh never really got their due. How many of us are even aware of such players? It just amazes and inspires me to read stories of such men who keep fighting on and on inspite of being ignored repeatedly and perhaps unjustifiably so. It makes me think that there is so much more to cricket than just winning a test match and being counted as one of the best in the world..
I think this piece sums it up really well
"Watching cricketers like Hirwani, who possess the ability to go on forever and a day, defying age, pushing themselves further and excelling against opponents a whole generation younger, provides a unique kind of thrill. Not all journeys need a final destination; often the joy of the ride is fulfilling in itself. "