Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen


March 2015

Validity of dreams.

On noticing a sudden flurry of articles about women in the newspapers and programs about them on TV, I wondered what the fuss was about. Then, I realised that today was Women’s Day.
On one hand, there is a lot of things about how women have progressed over the ages and how they reached positions of power.
Than again, there is the BBC documentary India’s Daughter, which infamously got banned in India. It had a man accused of rape and murder, in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case of December 2012, expressing his views about women and that Jyoti (the girl) shouldn’t have fought back and that they did it to teach her a lesson to not roam around with a boy at night, because ‘good’ girls don’t do that.
What was even more shocking was the views of the defense lawyers. They made extremely outrageous remarks as well.

The main problem with India is the mentality of the people. The idea that a girl should do this and shouldn’t do that. What gives an unknown man the right to ‘teach a lesson’ to a girl? Isn’t she human too? Doesn’t she have the right to express her views, dress how she wishes, do what she wishes to? Because, news flash! It is her life!
And no one has the authority to tell her how to live it.

When I read stories of powerful women, I am inspired by them. To break all the odds and emerge as the winner when no one expects you to.
That is what true courage is all about.
I respect female CEOs, heads of organisations, entrepreneurs, defence personnel, police and law enforcement officers, doctors, teachers and lawyers. But, not just them, even the female auto and taxi driver, the fruit seller, the ironing lady, the maid, the grocery shop owner, the construction worker, and every one of them.
Because it is not easy to be a woman. Women are put down in way too many things, from the board room to Bollywood. In fact, when few movies (Queen in Hindi, How Old Are You? in Malayalam, English Vinglish in Hindi/Tamil, for example) and a few directors (Gautham Menon in Tamil, for one) show women in a positive light, it is highlighted extremely, because of the state of the other movies.
She is not a diamond or a flower, she is a fellow human being. Every one of them deserves respect.

Not only today should be women’s day. Every day should be women’s day.
This is an ode to all the wonderful women in my life.

I am a seventeen year old Indian girl, and I’m a dreamer. I have big dreams for my future, like any other girl. I ought to have the right to be able to fulfil those dreams and not let rapists, acid attackers and various other monsters stop me from it.

I dream of the day when I can walk on the streets, without the fear of wondering whether I can reach home in one piece.
I dream of the day that I can travel to places all by myself, maybe even make a world tour.
I dream of the day when I am not judged by outer appearances or the society’s perception of beauty, but rather by who I am and what I can do.
I dream of a brighter future, of not having to give up my ambition and career when I get married.
I dream of wanting equal opportunities, in the house and in the office. And most of all, I hope to have those dreams become reality.

Who gets to decide the expiry date of a woman’s dream?
My answer is her. She herself.


Of Indian weddings and auto-drivers.

Yep. I did it again. Although I never intended to. I swear I wanted to write more at the start of the year. Then, barely a month later, life took its own course and I ended up with a writer’s block (sounds more fancier than saying that I was plain lazy!) and couldn’t write anything for a month.

The past month was pretty eventful and hectic too!
On the first weekend, I’d gone for the wedding of my childhood neighbour and arch-enemy. Although we did grow up to respect each other once we realised that we weren’t all that different, just the same know-it-all bookworms who grew up to be addicted to books and TV series like Sherlock. Although, I can’t believe that the very same person is getting married now. True that he’s almost 10 years older than me, but I kind of feel old.
This was the first ever big, fat Indian wedding I’d seen.
The function went on for the entire weekend, stretching from Friday through Sunday. In Kerala, of all places. That’s one place I like the least, due to a few reasons. And the last time I’d been there was almost two years back.

Then, the next weekend brought forth a MUN, which is a Model United Nations, where college students pretend to be delegates representing various countries in UN councils. It was pretty fun, although tiring.

Right after coming back home, I had the mid-terms and as luck could have it, I caught the seasonal flu too.

So, here I am, after a eventful February, back to blogging.
This was meant to be a post on my adventure in a particular auto rickshaw, but look where I rambled too.
Well, to the point. For the past week, my driver has been on AWOL and ’cause I still cannot drive a two-wheeler or a car, I was stuck with hailing an auto to college since I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of getting on and off two different public transport buses and walking about half a kilometre on either end, because there isn’t a direct bus route from my place to my college.
So, an auto is this tiny three-wheeled motor-fitted cart like thingy which is one of the main modes of public transportation in India. And auto drivers are known to be ill-tempered men who haggle a lot of the price and will never agree to come on the meter-fixed rate.

I even found a meme online about I’ll-tempered auto drivers!

Early today morning, I’d hurried through breakfast and making myself look presentable, all the while hoping and praying for my lazy driver to actually turn up today, at the least. But, that didn’t seem to happen, so, I had to hail an auto again, like I had for the past four days.
On Friday, I was late, late as in really, really late. My college began at 8, and I’d just stepped out of my house at 7:50 and it was a 15-minute drive, if the Gods of Traffic were so good so as to leave the roads free.
I waved quite a bit of autos down, yet, no one seemed to come for the price I said.
Finally, this random old man agreed to come by the meter-rate. And it was past 7:55 then. The Gods of Traffic deigned it to be a good day, so I reached college by 8:10.
I pulled out my purse to pay the auto-driver. That’s when disaster struck. I realised that my purse was empty. In my rush to get dressed and leave home, I hadn’t asked my mother for money and I’d bought something to eat yesterday evening. So, all I was left with was ₹50 and the auto ride cost ₹80.
I frantically prayed for some friend or senior or even a professor of mine to come by then, so that I could borrow money to pay for the auto.
Auto drivers are rumoured to start yelling and making a scene over something small too.
So, all desperate and subdued, I told the auto driver that I had only ₹50 and couldn’t pay. Strangely enough, the man said alright, it’s okay. Give whatever money you have.
I ended up giving him the ₹50 and another ₹5 that I found on digging into my bag and also a bar of Galaxy chocolate.
The nice guy that he was, he went away with that without making a scene. Bless his heart.
Then again, while coming back home, I got picked up by an auto guy, who was nice enough to take only ₹70, even though the meter showed ₹74, instead of the usual variety who takes ₹80 or ₹85, even if the meter shows ₹70.
So, for all those who categorise all auto drivers as wicked people, there are a few jewels of people too. Please don’t judge a book by its cover.


My lovely readers, have you had any experiences involving autos and auto-drivers? Please do share your stories in the comments box below. I would love to hear them!

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