Search

Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen

Month

October 2015

Is freedom just an illusion?

From the time I entered my junior year of high school, or Year 11, I used to think that college will entail more freedom. I used to dream about all the things I might be able to do, not wear an uniform, get to go for classes of a more relaxed nature, so on and so forth.
However, I joined college in a place that I never dreamed of, and naturally found faults with everything. It is an all-girls college. There were a certain amount of rules, such as a fixed college timing and having to attend all classes. The inability to just leave whenever we felt like. And the rule about clothes: nothing shorter than ankle-length to be worn.

I felt that it was the end of the world and just couldn’t wait for the three years to end so that I could get away from that place to something better.
That was definitely not what I imagined college to be.

However, an issue which has cropped up recently in the city I live in, has got me thinking.
Students of a certain engineering college in Chennai have gone on a protest against the barbaric rules and regulations enforced by the management.

For those who do not know what I am talking about, check this and this out.

Some of those rules are absolute shockers, and will make people wonder, “Is it even a college? Even prison is way better!”

ToDoListCollege

Not only is that list of rules which went viral, extremely sexist, it defeats the entire purpose of college. A few friends in that college told me that not only were there such bizarre rules for girls, there were rules like that for boys as well. For instance, they are not allowed to wear anything other than formals all day, every day, but they are also not allowed to wear branded formals which has the logo displayed on it. Also, the colour black is prohibited on their campus on certain days, because it is a holy colour for them. There have been reports of girl students being verbally and sexually harassed by the so-called guardians of discipline.
Plus, it being an engineering college, with future techies studying there, the ban on all forms of technology seems ridiculous.
The funniest one I have heard till date, a student was fined for “touching the ducks in the pond”.

What is the point of studying in a co-education college if you are not allowed to interact with the opposite sex?

Colleges like these made me believe that my college is way, way better. However, it makes you doubt the entire system. It makes us doubt the point of it all.

Students are protesting, however, the trend will stop only if parents and students collectively shun such colleges. But, the sad fact is that many parents don’t mind sending their children to such colleges, because these colleges guarantee a well-paid job once you graduate. The makes us wonder, when did the rat race for a well-paid job end up in this?
My parents studied in the same country, around 20 to 25 years back. Then, it was different. The rules were not there. Campuses were more liberal and everyone was off exploring their freedom, the feelings of love and heartbreak.
Now, all of those are restricted in a lot of colleges. Students are being denied their basic rights and are treated as something worse than scum.
So, are we actually progressing as the years pass? I think not.
India is a secular, democratic nation, which guarantees respect, freedom and equality for all of its citizens regardless of gender, religion, caste and community.
So, aren’t these students also inclusive of that? Or is freedom just an illusion?

~SunSanStarsAndDreams

So, what do you all think about the issue? What other ridiculous restrictions have you come about in schools/colleges? Do let us know in the comments box below! 🙂

Advertisements

The romance with a disappearing woman.

So, late yesterday night, I was doing what I do best during exams (finals this time). Yes, that;s right, procrastinate. It was a sort of a bad day, I was kind of down. A lot of stuff happened. My best friend is probably falling into a major clinical depression and she has no one around there to talk to. It was a pretty crappy day as a whole.
So, to cheer myself up, I got into my guilty pleasure. Watching/reading light, fluffy and happy romantic comedies. Yes, I can’t believe I admitted that out loud. I put up a facade of reading only serious books, and being a feminist. Of course I am still a feminist, but that doesn’t stop me from being a hopeless romantic on the inside.

Midway through “You’ve got mail”, I wondered about this. Nearly every single watchable rom-coms are Hollywood movies. Why doesn’t India have proper rom-coms or even a good sappy romance which does not a. end tragically or b. have unnecessary drama?

As a matter of fact, I haven’t watched or even heard of one good Indian teen movie. No, I don’t mean those movies set in a college with a hero and unwanted masala scenes.
3 Idiots was as good a college story as was possible in India. And yes, there are others like that.
But, personally, I haven’t watched any movie set in a high school.
Where are the Mean Girls?

On talking about this with a friend, she told me that it might be because high school romances are frowned upon in India.
That made me wonder then, leave alone high school romances, we barely have proper romances in Indian films.
Oh, I don’t count those masala movies with unwanted drama and fight scenes as a happy romance.

Apart from those romances which might have actually progressed well, but ended tragically with either one/both of the protagonist’s death, we don’t have any in Indian cinema as far as I know.
And not those movies where the guy is a creepy stalker, who follows the girl around and irritates her in every possible manner, and magically, she falls in ‘love’ with him. If that isn’t Stockholm Syndrome, I don’t know what is. This is what is fed to us Indians as ‘entertainment’ and then we talk about women’s safety issues in the country.

What I would like to see is a romantic movie, maybe just one, where the lead couple shares a healthy relationship, which does not involve a creepy stalker-like romance or one where the heroine is nothing but eye-candy who changes her whole persona and gives up everything just because she likes the hero. I would like to see an Indian romantic movie that any self-respecting lady or girl can watch without being bogged down by the patriarchal approach.
Call the Tamil movie OK Kanmani cheesy, but it did have a strong woman protagonist. One who isn’t afraid to follow her dreams, or take her own decisions. That in itself is a quantum leap for Indian cinema, heroines who can think for themselves.
I remember reading about this thing called a Bechdel test for movies. That says that in a movie, there ought to be at least one scene where two female characters, preferably named, talk about something other than a man. The sad part was that a bare minimum of Indian movies actually pass this test.
Is that really something to be proud of? I think not.
~SunSandStarsAndDreams

P.S. I have written this post based on my knowledge about South Indian cinema. Honestly, I have no clue about Bengali or Marathi cinema, which are supposedly known for their stories.

What do you all think about this issue? Do we need good romances in Indian cinema? Do you think that this is a problem only in Indian movies or is it equally true in World Cinema as well?

Flaws make you beautiful.

Why is it that the one thing nearly every human being craves for, whether consciously or otherwise, is acceptance? Acceptance from peers, society, family, so on and so forth.
Why are we so afraid to stand apart, for fear of being criticised?
Why are we, other than a select few, afraid to stand up for what we believe is right, or for who we really are?
Maybe it is just the way we are conditioned. To be no more than a clueless individual ourselves, and yet make fun of those who have it figured out, although maybe not in the conventional way, and make them doubt themselves.

I remember being a person that I wasn’t, only so that I will be accepted by my classmates, my relatives. I did not recognise myself at all.
That’s when I thought, fuck it all. I don’t care what others think of me. This is how I am going to be.
After I did that, I managed to get a lot of friends, back in high school. I had a minimum of 100 good friends that I could count upon and at least 500 acquaintances.
However, after college began, I went back to being needy and desperate. I was the new, awkward foreign-kid. I turned into a stranger in a desperate effort to get accepted. I did selfish things, rude things. Yet, I still felt foreign. Honestly, I felt a lot worser. That was not me, the kind who teased the kid with the learning disability and made her feel bad about herself. I was too afraid to speak out against those who did that too, under the fear of being labeled weird and not being accepted as one of them.
In the same time, I started missing having friends from back home, as I started acting distant towards them when they called, the rude act adopted for being accepted still in place.
A semester passed and I was still miserable. I fit in with a random group of classmates, but like a square peg in a round hole.
That was when I decided to drop the act and be myself again.
I knew that I was not perfect, but I was good enough.
I knew that even if I tried to act too cool, I will always be judged for something. If not for the messy, frizzy and curly hair, then for being curvy or for being too lazy to cake my face with makeup.
I know that I am not flawless, but I accept myself for who I really am. I know that although I might not be conventionally pretty, I know that I am a good person, I try to be intellectual. I decided to stand up for what I believed to be right. One day, I finally snapped at those people who made fun of the kid with a learning disability. I started volunteering to teach English to underprivileged kids on the weekends.
I may not be the most popular kid in college. I may not be the first choice for anything in college, whether it is a play or a contest or anything. I may not have a lot of friends in college.

But I do have friends from school. They may be living kilometres away, but they are still there and we are still close.
But, what ever happens, I will not give up my identity. This is who I am, and this is whom I shall always be. Ordinary, perhaps. Pretty, no. But, a dreamer, thinker, ambitious, smart and compassionate, yes.
For those who don’t wish to accept me the way I am, I am sorry but I have nothing to say except that I don’t care.

Sometime last night, as I lay thinking, I came up to a conclusion. To have others accept you, you must accept yourself first. The flaws are what make you beautiful.

Stay magical. Stay happy.
~SunSandStarsAndDreams

Do you agree with my opinion or not? Do feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments box below.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑