Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Girlfriend and her sister - Buy one get one free

I personally think, or rather, used to think that Snapdeal was doing fairly okay until I saw their latest ad.

I'm unable to find the link, but the ad goes something like this.

A man is staring at his phone while going on about how his girlfriend's sister is so cute she comes along everywhere they go. And how it is so similar to Snapdeal's buy one get one free offer. Wonder if Snapdeal has started offering wives'/girlfriends'/partners' sisters along for 'use' by the consumer. Wonder if they have to really stoop down to such levels to sell their website. I used to buy from Snapdeal but now, I have lost all respect for the company.

Most readers will not even find the ad offensive. Some of you will flood my inbox saying, "Gee, be chill, this is just an ad, that's all..."

Just an ad categorizing women as products to be availed of when buy one get one free offer is available. Men are free too access their wives'/girlfriends'/partners' sisters under this offer. JUST AN AD.,

Yes, this is as chill as several years ago, purdah and not educating women were also quite acceptable. What's the whole fuss about? Gee, it's JUST SOME PRACTICES isn't it?

Dehumanizing women as products to be 'available for free' is NOT OKAY.

Those who find this ad 'just an ad' are either too conditioned to live with gender discrimination, sexism and gender stereotypes, or are the beneficiaries of such practices, such as the 'consumers' availing the 'buy one get one free girlfriend' offer.

The world has progressed steadily since the days of purdah and sati but sexism still prevails. Then, it was,

"Saali aadhi gharwaali" (Wife's sister is half wife)

Ironically, the husband's brother is supposed to be like the wife's son. Even in gender stereotyping, these sexists do not play fair.

This society is giving out a clear message to everyone, "Do what you want, we aren't going to stop treating women as substandard human beings or objects to be sold, bought and even gleefully obtained on an offer." Just like buying old clothes from a thrift store.

Yet another classic example of objectification of women getting away scott free. Only this time, people will be criticizing me and several other women for not being game and taking this as JUST AN AD.

Just an ad where they have sold my dignity as a woman to be a product instead - to be bought and sold on discount.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reveling in our unruliness

When I first heard about the Delhi Zoo incident, my first instinct was neither fear, nor pity, nor horror - it was curiosity. This could be because I am somewhat hardened by working with human viscera samples, witnessing autopsies and watching thriller movies so much.

When I finally saw the video, I started thinking if it was apathy - that unbreakable feeling which pervades through all of us. I can specifically talk about the apathy of Indians.

We see children begging on the streets and we know all possible explanations for this - organized crime, genuine poverty, abandonment. Some of us give out our spare change. Some of us walk away understanding that beggary must not be encouraged.

Not many of us care to spare a couple of minutes to rehabilitate the child. I don't. I know I cannot afford it.

Possibly this apathy is the reason we have a blatant disregard for anything designed to make human life civilized. From spitting paan on sidewalks to public urination, it's not that we don't know - we in our collective lack of sensitivity to civilized behavior choose to disregard education and simply stick to literacy - the stuff that will get us jobs and feed our families.

Maybe in this disregard for education in favor of the skeletal literacy, people chose to ignore the clear signs in zoos that say not to disturb animals nor jump enclosures.

Maybe this apathy and curiosity in place of genuine empathy and presence of mind, people pelted stones and provoked an otherwise calm white tiger into attacking the hapless man.

Maybe we were so uncaring and more interested in the hysteria than actually saving the man when the incident was calmly and clearly filmed - including the gory details.

As Rory Young, a wildlife expert who has spent a lot of time with big cats in Africa put it, the white tiger was calm for fifteen whole minutes. Were it attacking in defence, it would have done so right away.

Were it attacking out of its killer instinct, it would have done so after a minute or so after playing around with the poor man.

But as the video shows and as was reported, it attacked after the mob started pelting it with stones. People's unrelenting curiosity and apathy of the real situation prompted them to do so - costing a hapless man his life so dearly.

I so wish we were educated instead of being literate.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The truth about feminism

“Feminists are of two types: the loud, liberal, outspoken one who hates men, and the silent, rational, inexistent one who does not hate men.

Both do little good for the betterment of the society, the latter more so. Action speaks louder than words, but silence speaks loudest of all.”

To put it across clearly, as the anonymous person who made this statement in a public forum demanded, I identify myself as one of the ‘invisible’, ‘silent’ (not-very-well-versed-with-feminist-literature) feminists, who does not actually hate men.

To reiterate something that has been said a thousand times over, but actually listened to less often, feminism is a concept that aims to define, establish and defend women’s right to equality in political, social, economic and cultural aspects.

What do I feel about?

There are thousands of causes within the purview of feminism. For me, as a feminist and a victim (in lesser ways than many Indian women, though), the concept I resent is gender based discrimination against women, particularly in the largely patriarchal society of India.

India is one of the most sexist nations of the world, as shown by the latest gender inequality index. India ranks at 132/148, falling behind all Asian countries except Afghanistan. With this fact, I establish that some of the few liberated men and women in India, that you may or may not have come across, sadly, do not make up the majority.

Though there is nothing wrong with men being leaders, the problem is in assuming that men are leaders by default. The problem is when worthy, strong and intelligent women are denied the opportunity.

Has feminism eroded the family system?

I have found many people saying that feminism has eroded the family system.

But, what was the quintessential Indian family like before feminism made waves in India? Were people, particularly the women of the household, happy?

Was emotional/physical abuse absent?

Did wives dare walk out of troubled marriages?

Did men dare to own up their own abuse at the risk of being called “womanly”?

Did women not want to get educated, earn a living or want more financial/social independence?

Was it a healthy environment for the emotional, mental and physical growth of all members of the household, including the lowest in the family pecking order?

Did bride-burning, female infanticide, rape, sexual crime, dowry, purdah etc. not exist?

Cross your heart and say ‘yes’ to these if you are truly blind.

Does feminism uphold working women over homemakers?

Feminism is not a promotion propaganda for career women. It is meant to provide women the choice to work if they want to. It is meant to foster a culture that is supportive of both women and men in terms of removing gender stereotypes.

For instance, look at the corporate culture today. Largely male-driven, it fails to let employees strike a work-home balance, what with overtimes, working weekends, long hours etc. The prevailing patriarchal system does not actually expect men to make time for their families, which is sadly seen as a feminine preoccupation. Also, women in the households of these men typically take over the other side of life, therefore, providing a conducive backup for men to do pretty much whatever they please with their career and lives - be it transferable jobs, long working hours, field jobs, on-site, off-site etc. Men do not bear much social brunt for neglecting the household and familial aspect of their lives, although they do suffer emotionally.

Since the system does not recognize men’s needs to connect with their ‘softer’ sides, as in families and recreation etc., and because men are seen only as breadwinners in patriarchy, the workplace culture evolves in tandem with these ideals.

So, a woman who wants to work finds herself making the same compromises. But unlike men, the social stigma associated with a woman, who is making the same sacrifices on the family front as a man, is a gazillion times higher. A father who works weekends is hailed. A mother who works weekends is said to be a vamp who neglects the family.

Is this just the woman’s problem? Or is it something more significant and important to address for all of us -men and women?

Aren’t we depriving intelligent, aspiring, ambitious women of the opportunity to put their technical
skills to use for achieving parity with men who have similar skill and expertise level?

Have you ever tried staying at home while your heart ached to prove your skill to the world?

Let me tell you how they feel. People, not just women, forced to be a homemaker either by circumstance or by social expectations when they aspire for work that puts their technical skills to use, are pushed to insanity of the brain rot it gives them. These people don’t feel mentally motivated by household chores and family management alone.

For them, it’s a just a part of life, not the heart of it, just like a job alone isn’t the heart of one’s life. A retired parent of grandparent will usually tell you how much of a mental rut it is to stay home after a long and successful career life.

While people who have been in challenging jobs all their lives feel thus in old age, when one is supposed to be more sober, is it not unfair to expect ambitious women in the prime of their lives to be happy just being “provided for”? Please note I am only talking about women who make the conscious choice to work, and are denied the opportunity one way or the other.

Every woman, as a human being, is entitled to all worlds she may identify with and it is purely up to her whether or not she utilizes this entitlement.

On the other hand, being a homemaker isn’t free from discrimination.

How many homemakers are there who feel they could have some recognition or appreciation of their efforts from their families?

How many men actually appreciate the work of their wives?

In fact the very term ‘working women’ is a shame. Homemakers work equally hard.

Do you ‘antagonists of feminism’ ever appreciate the homemaker?

If you did, you would uphold her right to do what she wanted - including her RIGHT to have/not have a career. And, that, my folks, makes you a feminist.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shrikhand just tastes like shrikhand

Ever tasted words?

Found ‘pink’ tasting sweet like Digene tablets and ‘red’ like boiled chopped carrots?

‘Black’ like sputtered sesame seeds in gingelly oil?

‘Brown’ like crusty chocolaty Bournvita powder melting in the mouth?

‘Blue’ like sour sweet jelly and ‘green’ like fresh astringent Tulsi leaves

‘Yellow’ like rich boiled egg yolk with a smattering of kala namak

‘Orange’ like the rinds in marmalade left on the tongue after biting into a hot toast

‘Grey’, very much like ‘pray’ and ‘prey’, like the core of Gems after the sugarcoat dissolves

‘Maroon’ like Tomato ketchup and ‘mauve’ like a crumbly apple

‘Beige’ like chalk, ‘white’ like milk and ‘fuchsia’ like Roohafza in water

Somehow ‘mail’ tastes like fried salted Moong dal, but ‘dal’ tastes like salted lentil soup

‘Soup’ tastes like the extra liquid from Maggi noodles licked off an empty plate

But ‘noodles’ taste like ‘needles’

‘Needles’ are prickly to the tongue, but ‘tongue’ just resonates through your mouth

‘Mouth’ tastes like a kiss, but ‘kiss’ doesn't taste; it smells sandalwood powder
All this while butter tastes like freshly churned butter and cheese like the first smooth slice from a just-opened tin of cheddar

And shrikhand just tastes like shrikhand.

Friday, April 4, 2014

It is - If heard

Sweetest symphony on plain parchment scrawled
Is mere fly’s buzz before living piano chord
A quiet pin drop whilst a toddler prattles
A whimper inexistent on sea-sand battles

Prettiest portrait – though – just bright vivid vision
Is but linseed drop on a Van Gogh rendition
Pipe dream palettes don’t make Lisa smile
Nor fancied figures do Louvre walls style

What good – a melody – a poet’s stationed word
No flight, no wave – a silent songless bird
Brave voice – mere breath – not wielded as a sword
For great is, great does – it is, if heard

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Public interest message- Derogatory graffiti

Today I was returning home from office. Inside the first class compartment of the Chengalpattu fast local, in the ladies seats, a highly derogatory statement was scribbled in bold lettering just under the window:

"These six women (six seats in the ladies' section) will ****. They will **** a ************* for Rs. **** per night..."

Many ladies were already seated there, and so was I. Everyone was oblivious to that graffiti. But, our co-passengers in other seats were looking at it again and again.

I took pictures of it and lodged a complaint at the station with the station master. I urged him to have the graffiti erased. Of course, I noted down the coach and train number and retained my own ticket for the purpose of record.

I am posting it here because we as a nation have failed innumerable times to uphold the dignity of women. Misogyny and sexism are so prevalent that we have conditioned ourselves to accept them as a normal part of life.

I don't know how many people have complained about that graffiti before me, but I know one thing for sure- nothing has been done about it so far. I hope the authorities don't turn a blind eye to my written complaint.

Please spread this message to others and let public places be dignified enough for women.

Thousands of women sit in those six seats everyday. Any of those women can happen to be your friends, colleagues, mothers, sisters, daughters or wives.

It's a man's world!

It was just another of our usual long commute to office. We were in our car. The auxiliary cable of the player in the car was plugged into my husband’s mobile phone, playing out the songs from his collection. Much as his taste in music is a stark contrast to mine, I nevertheless decided to listen and open my mind up to a little more musical possibility.
Then came that song, “Senthamizh naatu thamizhachhiye, selai udtha thayangariye…”
(Oh Tamil lady of Tamil Nadu! You hesitate to wear a saree!) Pardon my miserable translation skills!
Now, it was the rush hour and I was already getting late for office (another usual). Being somewhat a champion of female rights (more out of self-interest than public), I was offended. I grudgingly wear salwar kameez to work because it is the least formal female attire permissible in my office. Given the chance, I would stick to jeans and tees all the time, much to the chagrin of my as-purely Tamil-as-pure-molten-gold Tamil family.
Call it guilt or rush hour irritation, I was quick to skip the song before it was heard audibly enough. The spouse wanted the song back on. And there it went…
The song mumbled something in Tamil (incomprehensible to me) before I caught on another line,
“…neechal udaiyil alaiyuriye..” (“You’re roaming in swimwear…” A not-so-subtle jest about her ‘exposing’ clothes)
“But why are YOU pissed? You don’t wear swimwear or short clothes anyway!” my husband pleaded.
He was right. There was nothing personally offensive about that song. I was just in one of my feminist moods. My mental argument said, “I don’t wear those clothes because I don’t have that figure, not because I SHOULDN’T! And, it isn’t as if you men embrace tradition by wearing dhoti all the time.”
I stormed out of the car near my office entrance and walked away fast without waving a bye to my poor guy.
My thoughts raced to all the other female-bashing songs.
“Inniku sirippa nalaiki moraippa innuvum irukudhada…” (She’ll smile today and she’ll frown tomorrow. There is more to it than just this.)
Why is it that there are just too many Tamil film songs poking fun of women, especially condemning them for ditching their boyfriends? I married my boyfriend.
“Kandhasamy, Kuppusamy, Karuppusamy, Madasamy kalyanam kattikitango
(something incomprehensible again) thappu nu othukitango…”
(Kandhasamy etc. are common Tamil male names. “They married and some time later admitted that they had made a mistake”)
What is it that the men are whining about then? They get to smoke, drink, go out with their friends, scream at their wives, complain about the food, keep their jobs, buy what they like, be pampered (read spoon-fed) by both their parents and wives, have kids when they please…heck, they don’t even menstruate, leave alone battle menopause when your spouse is sexually alive, about and kicking!
I knew of course, that men too would have an equally bitter story to tell, given the chance. After all, who got punished in school when the girls in the class chattered? Who didn’t make it to a prestigious institution because a girl got it through women’s quota? Who stands up for women in buses and trains, only to be looked at as a potential rapist? Who is the referee between endless saas-bahu (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) battles? Yes, I do know they have their own half to complete this miserable sphere of gender bias.
But, there was a male lyricist somewhere to unleash their frustration with all these female-bashing songs. How many Tamil film songs, or any song for that matter, do you see with a significant amount of realistic male-bashing? There is one too many a joke about a wife emptying her husband’s coffers with indiscriminate shopping (No, I am not a shopaholic. Besides, I mostly buy only from my own income.), but how many jokes are there about a husband forever cooped up in a bar or a pub or with his friends over a random cricket or football game instead of coming home early to his wife for once?
Why “Why this kolaveri da…” didn’t make it as the top chartbuster? Why the very few male-bashing songs there are are, too weak to offset the humorous, lyrical, and hit-the-nail quality of female-bashing songs? Aren’t there enough good female lyricists? Or do they simply have better things to pen than men (That rhymed, yes!)? Why can’t a good male lyricist put aside his veil of ego and gender bias aside for a while and compose songs that strike the chord with the ‘fair’ side of humanity? Why, oh why, oh, why???
That evening I climbed back into the car. My man and I had made peace and gotten over this pointless argument. We mutually agreed that I was irritated only because of my rush hour stress. Just as we smiled and turned the FM on,
“Indha ponnungale ippadidhan therinju pochu daa…”  (These girls are only like this…we know it now…)
Sound of laughter. Sound of forehead slapping.
I need not say who won that day!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mother's love rolls out 50 parathas!

I just came across a post on a popular website in a response to this question:

"What are some of the things peculiar to India?"

Amidst a truckload of India-bashing, this post was a simple one. It showed a picture of steaming hot parathas with the byline: Mother making 50 parathas for the entire family and still not complaining about the pain in her wrists.

I know, most of you, including I, would delve into a "I love you mom" saga, proclaiming how we miss "home-cooked" food. Yes, I do! I absolutely adore what my mom manages to whip up on the fire and I can match up to only 70% of that taste, doing myself some exaggerated justice with the percentage. No, people, that isn't the point at all. If you don't want to understand the real picture, please do us all a favor and read no further.

This picture of an "Indian mom", something we would all agree in unison with, is by no means comparable with the status of mothers/women all around the world or probably even in more liberated households in India. "Making 50 parathas without complaining" isn't an achievement. It is a shame! It is disgusting to note that while the woman slogged in the kitchen, the rest of the family was just doing whatever, and my bet is, it's nothing productive for the household. The complaint about the pain in her wrists is secondary! The feeling of working too hard without having any quality time for yourself, your health, your entertainment or anything remotely associated with yourself is a violation of basic human rights.

We have to remind ourselves that for every luxury we have availed in the comfort of our homes, our mom was sacrificing her basic rights as a human being. No, please don't shower "I respect mom" here. Instead promise yourself that you will never let this happen again to any woman you know, including yourself.

This picture of an "Indian mom" is mostly upheld not for making us understand her troubles, but so that we can show and persuade the present and future generations of women to live life the same pathetic way. The people who boast proudly about this "Indian mom" are the very people who down those 50 parathas with a loud burp and watch TV thereafter, while the poor woman cleans up all by herself and eats whatever is left.

This picture of an "Indian mom" is the restrictive sexist mentality we have fostered for eras together. This is the quintessential Indian woman. There is no other way for a respectable Indian woman to live. Oh sorry, it isn't the Indian woman alone, it is for any woman. Women from other countries are a curse upon this planet because they don't live this way. She may be the CEO of Microsoft or the founder of Biocon but unless she can make 50 parathas or more without a whimper of a complaint, she is no woman. Oh yes, those 50 parathas are a testimony to her character and her benchmark for respectability. Admiration? Maybe, but that's rare. Odds are, one of those 50 parathas got slightly singed-- there goes "admiration" down the drain.

This picture of an "Indian mom" shows our hypocrisy and self-assured ego for possessing the finest culture, family women in the world. An American mom can hardly match up, even if she singlehandedly cooks up 50-60 pancakes along with other dishes for her kid's birthday party, handles a 9-5 job, and is single. Maybe an Italian mother may bake 50 pizzas, run her bakery and still feed her children. This doesn't make the cut. It's because most of these "foreign" women usually give back the shit they take from others. The very lack of this quality is what makes Indian women special to many patriarchs today. The "Indian woman" submissively nods to everything she is told to.

This picture of an "Indian mom" explains why Indian women are the best in the universe. No other mom from any other country can actually match up to her. Apparently, foreign moms don't cook---like a man actually claimed beneath the post. I am surprised how dishes like Mousse au chocolat, Sandwiches, Pizzas, Pastas, Risotto, Sushi etc. came to exist if there was no Indian mom to cook them. Of course, foreign children and husbands survive on thin air, don't they? Much as we love our Indian cuisine, anything Indian is grossly overrated, including Indian moms.

Can't a woman love her family without cooking and cleaning for them? Can't she live a life that is more self-fulfilling than being the epitome of selfless sacrifice? Can't the average Indian woman's wrists ache due to endless typing, ploughing or doing whatever than rolling out 50 parathas? Can't we put aside our liberties for once and try to repaint this picture of the "Indian mom"? It really isn't asking for much. It is simply giving back to your mom what you took from her.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A letter for job rejection

I had attended an interview once, for a "Life Science Fresher" requirement. The agency putting up this notice was a recruitment agency which was trying to fill up vacancies for a famous hospital in Chennai. After going all the way to the agency, through an interview, acing the aptitude test and making innumerable phone calls to the agency, I ended up getting told that the hospital needed people with experience. Please note, this was a "Fresher" notice and those agency people had received my CV before they called me for an interview. Regardless, they still made me come all the way.

Naturally, I was fuming. Deciding not to be let down so unceremoniously, I decided to give it back to them. Here is a copy of my e-mail to the hospital head which was also cc'd to the agency heads and executives.

Dear sir,

I am a postgraduate in Forensic Science with a specialization in Toxicology and Chemistry. I had applied to your institution via XYZ agency, with regard to the advertisement they put up on SITE. I am posting the url here for your kind consideration and perusal.


I attended an interview for the same, wrote the aptitude test and was duly asked to submit my resume. Later, after two days I am told that the post requires an experience of at least 1-3 years. The advertisement above clearly states "LIFE SCIENCE FRESHER" 0-2 yrs. Unless there is a different definition of what a fresher is, I suppose it is someone who has just finished college and has NO EXPERIENCE. If putting up this advertisement was justified, the consultancy you hired for your purpose could have clarified the fine print of this respectable post when I called them, not once or twice but several times.

After attending this interview and while their staff maintained their amicable silence over the real state of affairs, I was told to e-mail my CV to ABC which I immediately did. I was told to call on a phone number immediately after that, which by the way, is forever not-reachable. I made the mistake of assuming that when one runs a company, one must make sure that their gadgets WORK.

When by hook or crook, I somehow was able to reach their highly respectable staff, I was told that I would be e-mailed my interview feedback. To date I have received no such e-mail. What more, an excuse of this highly tedious and life-threatening work was carried out via an SMS, telling me to call immediately at some given numbers. I am sure that nobody encourages their employees to keep scouring their personal phones for text messages from unknown numbers when there is plenty of work at hand.

When finally, I was able to reach them yesterday, I am told that this job requires 1-3 years of experience. I and several other young people like me would be immensely glad if the next time your respectable hospital put up any vacancies in a consultancy, they kindly indicate clearly whether they need FRESHERS or experienced personnel. With this precious "mistake" it has wasted my time, money and put my current employment in jeopardy. It is not much that I ask. It is one of the very basic humanitarian acts. There are others who sweat and toil in the sun and come all the way, only to be told after several grueling formalities later that they cannot have that job. They lead a tougher life. They may not be this persevering.

I understand that this mail is not of much consequence, considering the fact that I may never be able to get a position anywhere in any hospital, since it is demanded that we have years of relevant experience. I like many other youth of this country, have wasted my life trying to study hard and well, only never to get a job, because a job requires experience and to my ill-luck for experience I need a relevant job first.

Whether it was the same on the other end, I know not, but it was a pleasure e-mailing you, sir.

Yours sincerely and crushed,
Poorvisha Ravi

Needless to say I never got a reply ever.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why compulsively sad people get away with it?

The common theme among the brethren, when one walks into the completely contrasting scenarios of bar or a temple has to be one of these three- happiness; as in a celebration, or an affliction or sometimes trudging a grey line between these two-a moderation of both. Though everyone’s life necessarily has its own share of ups and downs, what everyone wishes for is to absolve one’s life of all “suffering” and bestow only happiness upon their existence.

However, erasing one’s life of all suffering is contradictory to what people have been emotionally and mentally investing in. Ask anyone, and more often than not, you will find people being only just mildly cheerful for whatever little happiness they have, but make their woes to appear far more phenomenal in their emotional and motivational weightage than their joys in life. Why is it that tragedies sell? Why is it that when you hear someone talk about how endowed they are, it sounds boastful but when one rambles about their grief, it elicits sympathy? You seldom find psychiatric disorders which concern concealment of happiness, but it’s rather the negative feelings that need sharing. Potentially, there are a couple of insights into why grief is so attractive.

1. The Anti-hero phenomenon: I suffered so I can do wrong!

The anti hero phenomenon explains why we simply cannot hate heroes with villainous traits to them or vice versa. The anti-hero is supposed to be a virtuoso, though he contradicts it all with his seemingly not-so-righteous deeds. This person is the good hearted gangster, the philanthropic drug lord or the corrupt entrepreneur who gives a means of life to millions of poor people. The mythological anti-hero, Karna from Mahabharata earns a celestial stool in heaven despite being hand in glove with the purportedly evil Kauravas, because as a person, he is philanthropic, generous and righteous. The tragedy of being abandoned by his own mother upon his birth and being disgraced because of his lowly upbringing by the good guys vis. The Pandavas, on a ground where only sportsmanship and prowess should have been regarded, form the core reason for his being on the wrong side. Karna’s apparent wrongdoing, therefore, is justified by his suffering at the hands of those who should have given him justice.

On a negative note, however, modern equivalents find excuses for their faults and follies in the suffering they’ve had in the past, which they mentally or even openly claim, influence their decision making. On an extreme level we may even automate sympathy towards a psychopathic serial killer with a snaking queue of deceased victims, only because he was sexually and physically abused as a child. This is the kind of power that the thought of suffering wields. They might have sinned, but because they were wretched victims of fate, they must originally have been righteous souls and hence, worthy of love. Going by movies like The Godfather, Deewar, Agneepath etc. it is a hopelessly attractive role to don in real life as well.

In day to day life these anti-heroes are often seen as lousy mouthed angry young people, the nicotine/weed/alcohol addicted teenager, the surly faced harsh tongued lady, or even your hot tempered boss. More often than not, their apparent “struggle” in life is made to compensate for their obvious faults. The rest of us are supposed to put up with them lest we not aggrieve these desolate souls further with our rightful rebellions against their inacceptable manner.

Category: Lovable Villains, Excuse Makers

2. The Deserving Phenomenon: I suffered for this and you didn’t, so I deserve it more!

In an era when competition is more cut-throat than dacoits, one’s hardships become the yardstick to determine whether they are likely to match upto any challenges imposed by the world in the future. The more their suffering, the more they have overcome and lived to tell the story, the more they deserve the happiness that has come along. People who were leading fulfilled lives before do not deserve to be happy anymore.

You will often find these people putting you down thus, “You got this just like a piece of cake. What do you know of its value and whether you deserve it or not? I do...I struggled against............”

The truth however is that, struggle is hardly a measure of whether one deserving of something or not. Some get a degree, qualify written exams and get into a job. Some start at the ground level, work like an ox and get the dream position. It is often wrongly assumed that the latter, due to hard work and dedication are the only ones deserving of this position. For their suffering deems it so. The educated idiot just fooled his way inside. So what if he taxed his brains to study for years. So what is he was born brainy in the first place, a privilege that ‘deserving’ masses were not bestowed with. He was brainy and could study because he is a rich twit who has seen no suffering. Talent somehow is always undermined in the face of ‘hard work’ and ‘toiling hard under the scorching sun’.

Ask any IIT student what it means to balance school and coaching classes in an age when most youngsters are enjoying themselves at the beach or going on a month long holiday with their friends. Oh yes, they didn’t push wheelbarrows full of wheat to make their living. But it wasn't required anyway. So just stop complaining.

Category: Fierce Competitors, Losers, Condescending People

3. The Showcase Phenomenon: I suffered, so please lavish your attention on me!

You have a good job, a happy family, nice kids and a decent amount of savings. Congratulations, you’re one of the several thousands of people in the world living the widely accepted idea of a happy life. You’re the picture of an average happy family shown in TV commercials. Read the word average...still happy?

People wishing to showcase their life need just a little more than being the average happy person. They have an inherent need for attention and fame. They are not Tom Cruise or Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking, but they need the fame that accompanies these people, at least in their own small world. What would you do? Read point number one and two to understand the inherent love for suffering in humans.

Showcasing suffering is the quickest way to earn sympathy.

“Yes I have happy everything, but within the microcosm of my life, a particular microscopic particle is missing and I suffer day and night because of it. I laugh my arse off at Jim Carrey movies just so that I can cover up my profound inexistent grief. Oh my spouse has no clue what I went through to get here (traces of Deserving phenomenon). All these years, I told no one but with you I felt I can finally let myself go (repeated to at least a hundred different people).”

This is what most old people who didn’t care to make themselves independent while they were still capable, do to gather the attention of other fellow members of their generation. This is usually accompanied with mutual sharing of arthritic or cardiac complaints. The showcase phenomenon is also thrust before unsuspecting grandchildren and attempts made to turn them away from their parents (Deserving phenomenon- because grandpa suffered more than dad did, he deserves more love and affection from me.) This is a useful tool employed by immature boys and girls to attract the attention of prospective dates. They simply put up facebook statuses proclaiming their ‘grief’, usually due to a broken relationship that was already half baked. Just see the likes and comments pouring in, without having to ever use a pick up line or bravely approach your crush.

Category: Attention Seekers

4. Stalling off envy: Oh you don’t want to live my life, I suffer so much.

I had a classmate who topped the class every single time. The rest of us mere mortals would finish our examination and step out of the hall only to find her deeply immersed in a book or a quiet conversation with her group. We would ask her with a cheerful intent,

“Hey, how did it go?”

“Oh don’t ask me... terrible...I doubt it if I will even pass...”

“It couldn’t have been that bad. I did fine, so you must have done better...”

“You have brains girl, you can pull it off. I didn’t even study for the examination.”

“Ah, nobody does that anyway. So what did you write in question number 8?”

“I wrote nothing. I wrote utter crap.”

“Well, it was fine for me. But I could manage just 500 words and that question was worth 10 marks. I doubt whether I would get 8.”

“Oh god, don’t even ask me, I wrote JUST 15 pages. It’s all crap. I am not even going to get a 1 or 2.”

We would walk away, only to see her score a 90 percent in that paper. People use grief similarly. Praise their new haircut, they complain about their hair loss. Tell someone how active they seem, they complain about their arthritis. Congratulate someone on their graduation, they tell you how worried they are they won’t get a job. They have to make sure you are always concerned for their well being and praying to god to alleviate their problems when they don’t even have any. Their theory- success attracts envy, failure attracts other losers to pray for you. These people despite their edges, do not get far in life, because one day, the losers always wake up to the fact that they’re been taken for a ride. These people are then looked down upon as fake and eventually abandoned.

Category: Concern Seekers, Wily, Cunning

5. The Shut-up Phenomenon: You think you know a lot... what do you know about grief? I do!

A random conversation steering towards an argument,

“Two plus two is four.”

“Of course not, it is five.”

“Think rationally, it is four, I can prove it to you.”

“I don’t need any proof. You doubt me? Don’t even dare you moron! It is five.”

“Okay let’s ask someone else. Hey what is two plus two?”

Someone says, “Four.”

“See! I told you. It is four. You are wrong.”

“I? I am wrong?” Bursts into tears. “You have any idea how hard I worked to find out that two plus two is five.”

“Hey...don’t cry...I didn’t mean to...”

“You know I spent my entire pocket money to buy you a gift. And you accuse me...”

“Hell no, I am not accusing you but...”

“What else can there be? You cannot agree with me for a simple thing such as two plus two. I have suffered so much. It was only your addition to my grief that was missing.”

“ is five.”

“No, I don’t want to force you...don’t worry about me, I have suffered like this all life...”

“No. It is okay. Two plus two is five. Period.”

This is a common method employed by many overbearing parents to convince their children to choose a career or a spouse of their choices. The shut-up phenomenon is best seen in emotional blackmail. To flash your apparent suffering and force the other person’s rational mind to morph into an emotional saga is the best weapon to employ when you have no logical argument to support your claims. Rationale doesn’t accept unreasonable demands. Emotion does. These people are necessarily stubborn people who always have to get what they want, even at the cost of others’ happiness.

Category: Stubborn, Demanding, Domineering, Illogical

Emotions are just our responses to phases of life, not meant to be used as tools for ulterior motives. The next time you flash your suffering or grief, think about why you’re doing it. If you feel it beyond your self control, cry your heart out. If you find yourself fitting into any of the above categories, go to a shrink right away. If you find someone else fitting into the above categories, send them to one or run away as fast as you can!