A Man Molested Me Last Night And The Cops Say It Was My Fault

Last night, I was molested by a man and later got moral policed by cops, because according to them, it was my fault.

Late last night, I left Benaulim Beach along with my sister and two other friends. We were drinking, laughing and enjoying ourselves. Like how anyone would do when in Goa. On our way back, I stopped at L’Amour Resort to make changes to the tentative booking I’d made earlier that evening. The restaurant attached to the resort was buzzing with people, who were enjoying the melodious singing performance. Behind this restaurant, away from all the public, the caretaker of the resort molested me while I was trying to tell him that I need a room from tomorrow onward. Outraged, I tried dragging him outside, near the main entrance, where I wouldn’t be alone with him. I ended up slapping him in sheer anger, after feeling severely violated. My sister and my friends came inside after I called them and they all tried dragging him outside. The restaurant owner came inside and tried contacting the owner of the resort. With no success, we went to Colva Police Station to meet Inspector Uttam Raut Desai.

The first thing he said to me was that girls from decent family don’t roam out late in the night drinking and partying with friends. I was shocked at his statement and for a moment, I couldn’t think of anything else except, “you cannot say something like this, how is it my fault?” He promptly asked his junior to get the accused to the station and told me that a case will be registered and he’ll personally see to it that the accused gets to court. I accompanied the officer back to the resort where I finally saw the owner standing there, talking to the watchman. The owner refused to believe that something like this can ever happen, since he’s never heard anyone else say the same / similar thing before. He insisted time and again that he’s never received any other complain from any woman before. The only thing I could understand from his statement was that my complaint isn’t valid since any other woman hasn’t validated it before.

While on our way back to the cops station, my friends decided that they do not wish to involve themselves in police and legal hassles. Since one of them is a local, and a business owner nearby, he would have been more involved once I would leave Goa. Since I had no support from friends and family, I decided to not register a complaint at Colva Police Station, which I promptly conveyed to Uttam Raut Desai as soon as we reached there. I was also given an option to video conference from Bangalore and that my local friend can go to the court. But that is something I cant impose on my friends without their wish or consent.

Uttam Raut Desai, Police Inspector, Colva Police Station, was sitting in his office, smoking a cigarette. Below are some of his statements he said last night. I’ve tried to quote him to the best of my ability and my memory of this very stressful incident which I endured.

“Why were you out till late, do you even know what all happens in the night?”

“I’m against restaurants and bars being open till 2-3 in the night. Life was peaceful when permission was only till 11 pm.”

“I’m seeing a lot of cases where unmentionable activities are happening on the beach. One girls with three four guys”

“This is not Muscat. This is India.”

“Nobody has right intentions when they want to drink till 4 in the morning.”

“I have two daughters and they wont do anything like this. This, roaming late in the night, drinking and partying.”

“If I would come to know that my daughter is doing things like these then I would leave for Bangalore straightaway, reach in the morning and do kantap ke neeche rakh ke doonga (would slap her hard twice)”

“I’m not here to do nautanki (theatrics) that any abhla-naari (helpless, but dramatic women) would come running in and then later say I don’t want to file a complaint. I decide what will happen here. I’m here to give justice (bangs the table thrice while emphasizing on ‘justice’)

“What will your father feel, what will he go through, when he’ll come to know that his daughters are involved in all such things?”

“Does your father even know that you’ll are here. Doing all this?”

“Do you want me to call him and tell him what has happened? Have you thought how he would feel?”

“Do you guys behave the same way when in Bombay? Being out of the house this late?”

“I’m a very tedha aadmi, mujhe panga leke tumne galti ki hai. Mein kuch bhi kar sakta hoon. (You shouldn’t have locked horns with me)”

“Atleast be thankful you were not raped”

Police Inspector Uttam Raut Desai finished three cigarettes in the station, in his cabin, while he was moral policing me in front of my sister, my two friends, the restaurant owner, the resort owner and another officer that he was bullying.

I was also told that since I have slapped the accused and hit him, thereby having ‘taken the law’ in my hands, there can be a ‘counter-case’ against me. I was asked if I’m prepared to face the consequences of that.

Later he made me write a statement that I have from my own consent, not registered a complaint, because he didn’t wanted a media hassle if tomorrow I change my mind and blame him for not filing a complaint. This was said in front of me, while addressing me in third person.

When another officer took me inside to get a statement written, which he proceeded to type out very slowly and very carefully, while asking me hundred and one questions like where do I work, where’s my office, what’s my roomie’s name, etc? When I started asking how these questions are relevant to any statement that I have to submit, Uttam Desai came inside the cabin and started shouting at me. He said, “So much you were blabbering away in English, you don’t know how to write or what? You can’t write your own statement?” I was forced to raise my voice to shut down his bullying by saying that “Ask your officer, I was never asked to write, he straightaway stated typing.”

After reading my statement, he pointed out a logical correction in one particular sentence, so as to ensure that the message is not misinterpreted. While I insisted that ‘Yes, I agree to what you’re saying about this line,” he kept belittling and bullying me by saying, “I don’t know this much English like you, I’m not an expert in English like you.”

Later, while we were leaving, he wanted to know my ‘frank opinion.’ I said, “Drinking and being out late is not a crime. Sexual harassment is.” Miffed, he inquired about my profession and upon hearing ‘ngo’ he says that then I should know how to deal with cops. I said that cops in other cities are ten times more helpful than what you’ve been today.

I’m deeply disappointed in our police system. I wonder how many more Uttam Raut Desais would make it difficult for another woman to register her complaint. My case was slightly different because I later decided to not lodge a complaint under the given circumstances. What about any other case where a woman would really want to pursue it further and still get blamed for it? Moral policed at the station and probably get further blamed at every step in the judiciary process?

Is this what my country is? Where a woman is neither respected on the streets, nor in the police station? Where she isn’t even respected for her decision to not register a complaint? Where she isn’t respected for her decision to be out late in the night and enjoy herself with friends and family?

If this is the state of our system then I shudder to think what treatment I would have received had I been in this situation alone with a male friend / boyfriend instead of my sister and two friends.

Uttam Raut Desai, you’re a bully. You’re a misogynistic egoistic person who should not be treating people like how you’ve treated me.

Just because you’re ‘Police’ doesn’t mean that whatever you do is right.

We Are Born In This World

We are born in this world. We live. We eat. We die

As we grow up we see many things around us,

Rapes. Corruption. Crimes against women. Murder,

Things so wrong, they’ll make you cry

What makes us indifferent to all this misery around us? That we don’t even stop to try?

From two tiny feet to five feet high, we live, we struggle and we fight

To live a life that we don’t decide, rules laid down for every wrong and every right

A for Apple and B for Ball, why do you need to know more,

That’s enough education for you, that’s all!

We see a beggar on the road and we train ourselves to look away,

The hunger in their cries, the desperation in their eyes,

That’s all a part of the evil nexus, we say,

Decency demands we ignore and look away.

After all, there’s someone else to take care of this, isn’t it always?

From admissions to securing a job, from marriage to buying a plot,

All papers and approvals are thanks to babus and their greased palms,

Decency demands we pay taxes on time, yet never question the inefficiency of our regime.

We steal. We bribe. We commit petty crimes,

We calm our guilt. That’s how the world is, we say,

If we have to survive in this world, decency demands we make the wrong into a right, every single time,

Because that’s how the world is after all, isn’t that right?

We love. We lie. We cheat. We cry.

We seek the love of others, but the love of our own self, we deny.

The things that we don’t need, we love them high,

The things that we want and need, we afraid to even try.

We calm our nerves. What will the neighbours say!

They have a stake in our lives after all, isn’t that right?

We work, we work and we keep working till we die.

A beautiful house, a pretty spouse, a fancy car and a little bit of metal which shines,

Isn’t this what everyone likes?

Decency demands we participate in the rat race. Live our life only to exist.

After all, there’s someone else to do all the social good and charity, isn’t it always?

Do you know how many children today have died?

Do you know how women have given up trying to survive?

Do you know in which direction is the next drone about to fly?

Our oceans are rising, every year a little high.

Yet, do you know our source of water is about to be dry?

Climate change is after all, a hippie stoners’ high, isn’t that right?

Decency demands we ignore all this,

Decency demands we accept the wrongs around us, never demand the right.

Society demands decency from us all and decency we give,

No questions asked, delivered by our ignorance, every single time.

Maybe we fail to realize,

Our ignorance is their power.

Maybe we fail to realize,

That we don’t even know, that we don’t know.

Decency demands we detest anarchy. Live our lives. Never demand the right.

Decency demands we live in a routine. Live our lives, simply to exist and die.

A circle of life that ends in the beginning. A circle of life that begins with an end.

After all, we are born in this world. We live. We eat. We die.

 

Rise like Lions after slumber: In unvanquishable number,

Shake your chains to earth like dew: Which in sleep had fallen on you:

Ye are many — they are few

-Mask of Anarchy, PB Shelley

10 Reasons Why We Should Be Talking About Irom Sharmila

1. Irom Sharmila has been on hunger strike since Nov 2000, surpassing Gandhi or Anna Hazare’s records. M.K. Gandhi undertook 17 fasts in his lifetime, longest one lasting for 21 days. Anna Hazare, who has taken more than 15 fasts, hold record for 12 days. Irom Sharmila has not eaten a morsel of food for the last 13 years.

2. Irom Sharmila is on hunger strike is to protest against and to repeal Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – AFSPA. This controversial Act, imposed in Manipur, J&K and few other North East States gives impunity (exemption from punishment) to the Armed Forces. Many fake killings, kidnappings, rapes & encounters have been reported (upto 1500 cases reported as per some figures) and not a single case has been lodged yet.

3. Irom Sharmila was arrested by the Govt of Manipur in 2000 and was charged with ‘attempting to commit suicide,’ a criminal offence under Indian Law. Labelling her peaceful protest as ‘suicide attempt’ is a serious attempt to move away attention from the core reason of her protest. Her only demand is to repeal a draconian and undemocratic law like AFSPA

4. India- world’s largest democracy has imposed AFSPA in Manipur since 1980. This Act came into existence during British rule, give an Armed Force a statutory right to kill on mere suspicion. Irom Sharmila began her fast shortly after some members of Assam Rifles shot dead 10 civilians waiting at a bus stop in Malom, Manipur. None of the officers were punished, nor would they ever be.

5. RTI filed by Save Sharmila Campaign revealed that National Human Rights Commission never paid any visit to Irom Sharmila or to the victims of AFSPA in the first 12 years of her fast. Their first visit was conducted in Oct 2013. A failed attempt to believe in ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’ concept, our Govt has shown the same insensitivity in dealing with Irom Sharmilas peaceful protest of 13 years as it has shown for AFSPA victims

6. Irom Sharmila is being detained in a security ward, JLN Hospital in Imphal, Manipur. There is no judicial mandate for enforced isolation, which India’s National Human Rights Commission has also acknowledged. Each day she spends in custody is a bleak reminder of the status of our country’s human rights records.

7. In Feb 2012, Supreme Court of India, in association with the Ram Lila Maidan case, observed that hunger strikes is ‘historically and legally accepted form of protest’. In a country which preaches values of non-voilence to the world, Irom Sharmila is being force-fed a diet of liquids through her nose.

8. Attempting to commit suicide is a bailable offence in India, with maximum punishment up to one year imprisonment. Irom Sharmila has religiously declined bail, as she believes she has done no offence to seek bail. Every year, after completing a year in judicial custody, she is released only to be re-arrested as she continues her fast.

9. Compared to the fasts conducted in our national capital, Irom Sharmila has been largely ignored by Indian media and Govt. She has however, received a lot of international attention, further distorting our nation’s crumbling image in human rights records. Manipuri Mothers and Shirin Ibadi (Nobel Peace Prize Winners) have also extended their support towards Irom Sharmila. No major political party has extended their support yet.

10. “I fast until the AFSPA goes. I have not wasted 12 years of my life to back off. Either my people live with respect or I don’t eat,” – Irom Sharmila, on completing 12 years of her fast.

Bonus reason;

If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

Sources;

http://www.countercurrents.org/nitesh051113.htm

http://www.kractivist.org/thousands-call-for-release-of-prisoner-of-conscience-irom-sharmila-afspa/

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-anna-a-man-of-stamina-his-longest-fast-lasted-12-days-1579090

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-24/india/43361737_1_nhrc-team-kshetrimayum-onil-sharmila

http://www.countercurrents.org/smar071113.htm

http://www.kractivist.org/irom-sharmila-on-hunger-strike-for-12-years-will-continue/

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The Best Time Is Now

I had a tiny voice inside my head, said something which I read long back

The best time to do something is now

So I ask me self, what is it that I want to do right now

Write, You Lazy Ass, said me voice

So here I am, staring at this blank white box

Wishing I could do something more than this vain attempt at poetry

While me voice scoffed, twinkle in her eye, You and poetry, me gonna sit down and watch you try

In defense I say, writing has come a long way, Poems are not just rhyming words these days

Mocks me voice, loud and clear, Yeah Yeah if you say

Fuming, I brush her aside, focus on the subject that got me started in the first place

If the best time to do something is right now, why is it that people shy?

Really, now! says me voice. You ask this, when on countless occasions YOU never took a step ahead in life?

Ok, I get this. I failed. Not once, but quite a number of times

Guess I’m too scared of what would happen next

Guess I’d feel guilty of changing course of this peaceful life, one act, one question at a time.

But then, what if things wouldn’t turn out to be bad, as you think it would, questioned me voice

And I say, Oh jeez, guess you’re right. They may not actually. Never thought like that. In case it does, then?

To that, me voice says, Well, then the best time to solve something gone wrong would be now too, wouldn’t it?

Hmmm, am impressed, I think aloud, happy that I found an answer to question that I wasn’t sure of

Pat comes the reply, Ofcourse you would be, cause am the voice you would never say

Dammit, me voice is more thoughtful than me….sigh!!

The End of Black Age. And The Start of White

Ok, I wouldn’t lie that I didn’t freak out when I saw the first wispy strand of white hair peeking out from my head. I did freak out. Quite a lot.

“Oh my god! Am growing old”
“Oh god! Am no longer beautiful!”
“Its been sitting right there on the top since God knows how many days, what if people in the office must have noticed..!!”
“What if Mr. Hilly Boy stops liking me because of this wretched piece of hair”
“What if I die alone…..????”

My friend standing next to me, as though he could hear every train of thought inside my head, simply told me, “You are fine, girl. Its just a single white hair. Now come on, we are getting late”
“Ofcourse, you think am worried? Silly, if I age, I may as well age gracefully. Am not afraid of white hairs.”
Both of us, thankfully, chose to close down the topic and continue with our lives, as though nothing had happened.

But something had happened! Am growing old. With my birthday coming up with a few weeks time, the frequency with which I have been questioning my self-worth has increased dramatically.

As I inch closer to 24, a no longer exciting number in life, I am constantly reminded of all the things I have managed to achieve in life till now, and all the things I have managed to fail in, miserably. Am reminded of a simple fact that I still am clueless on my individuality and my skill sets

My lazy, protected & highly comfortable life went for a complete toss when I took an emotionally charged decision to move away from Bombay. Not that I regret it. Just that I wasnt ready for it, back then. A year and a half later, I have made new amazing friends, lost quite a few awesome ones. That I have my own house (on rent) and am not dependent on my parents at all, is something that my egoistic soul relishes every single day.

Every passing day, I grow more and more comfortable with the silence around me. There’s something reassuring about this silence. There’s more room for your own thoughts. Something which the silence doesnt bother about. It lets you dwell on your inner thinking patterns and tendencies. It allows you to go back to people, places and memories which you know best should be forgotten. All the more, it doesnt stop you from dwelling into negativity. Silence doesnt even stop you from the occasional over-indulgence in alcohol, giving you imaginary powers of speech and courage, making you pick up your phone, call up ….well, lets leave the rest to imagination. Being still 23, I guess I am allowed an occasional outburst of heightened immaturity.

Silence has been such a convenient companion that over the time, I have gradually stopped returning calls of my dear and rare few friends, who still take the pain of being in touch. And thats pretty evil on my part. Well, we all have a bit of evilness in us. As with my standard dialogue, ‘No one is black or white, people are always shades of grey.’

Surprisingly, my office gang has got used to my long periods of silence and brooding. They best know now when not to disturb me. Their acceptance of my new found love of silence has gone to an extent that my regular behavior confuses them, prompting them to label me as ‘hyper’ on those chosen days!

My books have forgotten me, and I have forgotten when was the last time I peacefully sat down with some crunchies in hand to watch a movie on my laptop.

The rare few people with whom I (unfortunately for them) share my life in and out, have gone tired of my excessive rants, stopping just short enough to make it prominent. One threatened to throw me out of the window, and the other simply said, “Dude, why do you sound like you are going through a mid-life crisis when you are not in one?!!?”

“Girl, you are officially on the verge of being a LONER!!!”

So, as a birthday resolution, I have decided to start being more flexible in human relations, and less of a loner.
Step #1 – Call back all the old friends, slowly and gradually, without freaking them out of my sudden change in behavior
Step #2 – Make new Friends, without appearing too needy and clingy
Step #3 – Learn a new skill, something more social and less about office & work related knowledge
Step #4 – Move out of my ‘alone’ house space and start living with people
Step #5 – Take a trip, or a weekend getaway. SOON!!
Step #6 – Stop worrying about white hair

Yes, and wait for my 24th birthday. Maybe I should start publicizing that my birthday is just round the corner. For a change, I should behave my age and not like a 30 year old, as some people have been telling me since a long time!

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Sheet Music – How Music was viewed and consumed in the early 19th century

So, we go back in the first half of the 19th century, the times between 1900’s and 1950’s, where the concept of sheet music was common.

Sheet music, or music sheets, is a page where musicians and song writers used to write down the chords & musical notes along with the lyrics of the song. Music sheets are the one which we see the conductor of an orchestra band referring to while the band is in session.

Well, the interesting thing about this simple piece of paper is that it beholds a history of music, a way of life that has changed in the last century.  We are talking about the time in the 19th century, before the birth and rise of Rock and Roll culture, before the wake of Elvis, the song was more important than the performer. Confused?

See, the current times are very different from what music was 100 years back. To understand why it is said that in the early 19th century, the song was more important than the performer, lets view these examples;

Current Time:

Oh, Elvis sang this song! So cool right…!!!

So, Beatles came up with this song, that song’s pretty good I say.

Heard Bon Jovi’s latest song? Isn’t it wonderful..!!!

Oh my sweet God, Bryan Adams, his latest song just melts my heart..!!!

Nearly 100 years back:

This new song, ‘Under the Mistletoe,” is a fine song. I wonder how it would sound if Elvis sang this song.

Beatles may not be able to sing that song well.  Oh but Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams are perfect for that song.

Let’s play the song tonight!

Surprising, isn’t it? So back then, nearly every household in US had a piano, and two or three members of the family would know how to play the piano. In those days, most of the posh localities had a local store, known as ‘5 and a Dime’, that used to ‘sell’ sheet music. These stores would stock up hundreds of music sheets to be bought by urban audiences.

All one had to do was to walk down to the local 5 and a Dime store, browse through different songs, pick a few songs which may appeal to you, pay for its worth, and start playing those songs in your next social gathering

Considering the fact that a lot of people back then knew how to play the piano, it isn’t hard to judge the popularity of sheet music. Another reason why such was a trend in the market is also for a simple logic that one may know how to play the piano, but one may not necessarily come up with their own compositions!

One interesting piece of information about this era of ‘Sheet Music’  is that in high-end and posh localities, these 5 and a Dime stores would have an in-house piano, all set with a pianist, only so that one can hear the song before one purchases it!!

Compare this situation to the current times, where we have practically stopped buying music, and everything is now streamed online.

Incredible change in 100 years!

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When women ask for it: Veena Venugopal

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Guest post byVEENA VENUGOPAL

To me, the most memorable scene in Dev D is the one where Paro takes a mattress from home and ties it to her cycle. When she reaches the edge of the field, she abandons the cycle, lifts the mattress on her shoulder and marches to the clearing where she lays it down and waits for her lover. There are no words spoken and the camera holds her face close. Her expression is one of intense seriousness. You can see her desire is a field force of intensity that fuels every step. She is determined to see it through, to let that desire take over herself completely; not surrender to it but to let it explode out of her. You know that when she meets Dev, the sex would be passionate and powerful.  And yet, in the south Delhi multiplex where I was watching the…

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Fixing India’s electricity problem

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In a country of 1.2 billion people, where an estimate of 404 million have no access to electricity, and a major population sufferers chronic power cuts, how do we ensure access to uninterrupted and sustainable electricity? Adding to this situation, we have a shortage of coal, insufficient political will power to either utilize existing coal mines, or to increase the efficiency of aging thermal power plants. Financially crippled utilities have become a liability to our system, especially when in-house coal produced is never enough and India constantly depends on imported coal to increase capacity.

Generating enough power is not the only aspect to consider to solve our electricity crisis. We also have to look into how that electricity is delivered to the end-consumer. India has invested very little budget towards revamping its high-tension transmission cables. The result is a high percentage of loss during transmission and electricity thefts.

Sure, our Ministry of Power has a huge task on their plates. How do we ensure access to electricity for all? How do we bridge the gap between demand and supply? How do we fix India’s seemingly never ending electricity problem?

Our national capital, Delhi purchases 75% of its total power requirements from thermal power plants in neighbouring states. This summer, just like previous summers, Chief Minister Sheila Dixit promised uninterrupted power supply to the citizens. The year 2012 saw a massive blackout leaving a large portion of Northern India in pitch darkness for over two days.

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May 2013 witnessed extensive power cuts haunting Delhiites, yet again. Adding to this crisis was soaring temperatures and heat waves. Our energy system fails us on two major aspects. It does not provide enough power to everyone and the poor suffer the most. It’s dependence on coal provides no help to fight increasing carbon emissions. Lakhs of people are suffering right now, and our government should fix this. Right?

Wrong. Our energy distribution system is so complex and flawed right now, that ‘fixing’ an already damaged system is only a short term solution. Adding more coal or nuclear power plants or sanctioning new coal blocks will always remain a short term – ‘fix the gap’ solution. What India needs right now is a new approach to really ‘solve’ this crisis.

Step 1

Move away from traditional methods of generating electricity. Stop depending upon one single source of power like thermal power plants. Any state having excess power should share it with neighbouring states but Indian states needs to move away from this dependence as well. Purchasing power indirectly also leads to higher tariffs, which is ultimately passed on to the consumer.

Step 2

Make your own communities or colonies mini-power generating locations. The answer is right above our head, literally, on our roof. Let’s produce our own electricity on our own roof-tops through solar power!

But, who would bear the cost? Where can we buy solar panels? What if we have excess power? These questions should be ideally answered in the next step.

Step 3

Ask our government to provide us a user and investor friendly policy on Solar roof-top energy generation. With every other household generating its own electricity, the entire system automatically becomes more efficient and less corrupt.

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Many residential colonies in Delhi have roof spaces which are used partially or not used at all. Many corporates have stand-alone buildings with big wide roof spaces which can be a great location to harness sun’s heat to generate electricity. Through decentralized units of power generation like roof – top solar, our houses can fully or partially be powered by solar energy. They can still remain connected to the state grid, but in cases of power shortages or load-shedding, we can still be assured of power supply thanks to batteries which store the solar energy generated. People who have generated excess solar energy can sell those units back to the state grid, adding on to the capacity of that region!

How about the idea of DISCOMs lending our roof space to generate power locally? How about private players lending our roof space to generate electricity through solar? We can have budding entrepreneurs pooling in a capital to provide electricity to maybe just a few localities. There is enough scope for local employment through decentralizing energy generation, and for newer business models to emerge in our energy market. Higher the houses adopting solar rooftop, the lower our carbon emissions! Seems like a dream world, too good to be true. This can be true, only if we have our government’s support.

Delhi receives sunlight in abundance. The heat doesn’t always have to be something to worry about. We can always turn the tides or heat waves in this case to generate electricity to power our houses!

Greenpeace India has started a movement to demand a conducive policy from the Delhi government that helps power generation through solar power. Delhi can be a truly world-class sustainable city and pave way for this policy to be replicated in other cities too.

Delhi has the capacity to set an example, all that remains is political will power to harness a free source of power – Sun.

(Blog originally published on Greenpeace India website, dated June 4, 2013. Access original post here.)

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Doodle Time!!!

Doodle Time!!!

What can be more pleasing
Than some doodling in between
A long and stretchy meeting…!!

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