Are you up for Pre-Marital Sex or against it?

The alarming rise of sexual crimes against women in our country have sparked constant debate and raised questions on many societal beliefs and traditions. In the light of the same, I wish to share my views on pre-marital sex.

I have been analyzing it from a long time. Long before I became a parent. I have a strong feeling that these thoughts started forming in my teen years, when one fine day while watching movie ‘Julie (1975)‘ my mom abruptly turned off the TV saying ‘it is a non-sense movie because it does no good but glamorize pre-marital sex’ among other remarks.

Needless to say, I was quite agitated by her opinion. Though, I did not dare voice my thoughts then, but I couldn’t help analyse it from a variety of perspectives over the years.

We are all aware how much Indian society looks down upon live-in relationships and pre-marital sex. The extent can be estimated with parents not hesitating in killing their daughters to save the ‘honour’ of their families or victimizing the rape victims. The most amazing aspect being the moral police believes all the responsibility of keeping the moral fiber of the society together is with the woman. Men aren’t responsible cause they have the clichéd benefit of being naughty (men will be men, remember?)

Before we plunge in the well of doom ~ pre-marital sex; let’s not forget to touch upon the glory of being a pure, chaste girl – a virgin. How virginity defines the character, life and also the success of girl’s married life is well-known to each one of us.

When virginity is SO valued in our society, how on earth can we even dare to imagine, that pre-marital sex can be accepted by our society. Right?

This is exactly where all problems have their roots.

Why should society have the freedom to decide or dictate a girl’s sexual behavior when it doesn’t bat an eye at what a boy or man does? Another point to consider is, why shouldn’t a girl have the freedom to decide what she does with her body and how? In today’s era where everywhere there is much talk on women empowerment and gender equality, don’t you think it should begin with gifting women the freedom to decide what they wish to do with their lives and body?

Wait a minute, it just now struck me, that when sex-education is a ‘hush-hush’ topic in our society how could one even dream of imagining a society that is open to pre-marital sex?

Quite true actually. The right stream of thoughts on pre-marital sex can begin when we lift the taboo on sex in every form. Talk freely, discuss openly, educate clearly about sex, STDs, AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and yes, most importantly about contraceptive choices. When we are armed with knowledge we can rest assure that a mature adult ( be a boy or a girl) will make an informed choice about what they are doing with their lives. They will be able to report any form of abuse to their parents without being afraid of being judged.

It is a known truth that the more we call sex ‘dirty’ the more curiosity it arouses. In the lack of proper knowledge the only route left for youth is experimenting, learning from peers or Internet and worst of all falling prey to the people who are ready to take advantage of clueless and confused youngsters.

For a second, if we imagine that pre-marital sex is accepted by Indian society what impact would it have on our lives?

When our society (still) practices child marriage in many parts of the country and is OK with minor girls becoming mothers, why do we scorn over adults making a choice on what they do with their bodies?

The day sex-education becomes a norm, girls are free to make choices about their bodies and their decisions begin to be respected by men, we will surely see a decline in many crimes against women.

When no one can blackmail you to ‘defame’ you for being a ‘bad girl’ cause of having a boyfriend or having had pre-marital sex, so many girls will no longer fear exploitation. Many more crimes against women getting reported.
No longer the rape victims or their families will be stigmatized and will report cases to have the criminals punished without worrying about their family’s honor.

Like the vicious circle of doom, hushing up about sex and saying NO to premarital-sex is the root of so many evils.

It’s time our society and law re-visited these Stone Age beliefs and formulated laws giving women freedom in real sense. In a sexually repressed society like ours, we all will gain with letting go of the hypocrisy and making room for more information, more openness and definitely by being supportive to our own children.

I believe, the moral police needs to sit & think that when a girl is dictated what she can do and what she can’t, why don’t same rules apply to the boys?

What’s your take on pre-marital sex?

Do you think sharing our views on pre-marital sex ( whether a YES or a NO) openly, is important?

The song on my mind: Dil kya kare jab kisi se ~ Julie

* Thank you Indiblogger for giving me this opportunity to share my views on Pre-Marital Sex.

Do check out: A Passionate Gospel of True Love: A Mystical True Love story.

Dancing with Demons

  • Title  – Dancing with Demons zBa-CIOo-1
  • Author – Nidhie Sharma
  • Publisher – Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Genre – Drama (Fiction)
  • Pages – 288
  • ISBN – 978-93-5106-493-0
  • Price – 299 INR

Blurb on the book – Karan Pratap Singh is on the brink of winning the Amateur Boxing Championship, when in a moment, he loses it all. His fall from glory seems fuelled by ruthless arrogance and an out-of-control anger management problem. That, however is just symptomatic of a deeper issue. Buried under layers of his fractured subconscious lies a childhood secret he cannot come to terms with.

Sonia Kapoor is a beautiful, volatile young woman with a secret that torments her at night but a secret that she feels no guilt for.
When fate throws Karan and Sonia together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir up trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. But, is redemption possible without forgiveness?

Dancing with Demons is a fast-paced action drama of love, loss and resurrection.

Review - The book has a nice cover wonderfully capturing the theme of the plot. I particularly loved the title that defines the gist of the book aptly. The badge on the front cover saying ‘soon to be made into a Bollywood movie’ pumps up the expectations from the book exponentially. The blurb is interesting and creates a very good first impression.

The book starts in a boxing ring introducing the protagonist (Karan Pratap Singh) a boxer playing an important match that could make or break his career. The direct start to the story was a welcome change, with no beans spilt with an introduction. The boxing combat comes alive in the author’s words and I could feel excitement pump in me as I read through.

The demons come alive right from the start, blending well, the past of the characters with their behavior today. I liked the gentle injection of details while maintaining an element of suspense. The fast pace set with the first chapter goes on to impress as the various characters in the book are introduced. The characters have been given enough room to grow, sharing an insight on their past and the demons they are fighting in their lives.

I liked the swift shift in scenes of the book while maintaining the flow with a lucid narration and rich vocabulary and picturesque description. However, in the middle third the book slowly loses steam as the author tries hard to hold on to the facts, to heighten the suspense. As a result, the final third part of the book is seen to bear an overdose of information which at times comes across as forced, hampering the smooth flow of the book.

I’d like to congratulate the author in delivering a very intriguing read that has a myriad hues of drama, thrill, suspense, action, wit and romance in right proportions. With no one villain in the book, the demons of every character (as the title rightly suggests) come alive from time to time. At some points the very short chapters come across as distractions in this nail biting read.

“Life is like a boxing match, millions might cheer from the outside but inside that ring you are all alone and you need to fight your own battles and deal with your own mess.”

The final third of the book failed to impress me even though I quite liked the climax and the way the story ends with hope. The book makes for a perfect script for a movie. Though there is romance in the story, however, for a Mills & Boon book, there is a sheer dearth of passionate love scenes, making the plot full of intense drama than anything else.

While Sonia’s life comes across as better sorted, I found Karan’s life and his demons being put to rest in a very hasty manner. It somehow stole the charm of this otherwise impeccable read.

The book makes for a sensational debut in the world of combat sports, with characters struggling between their passions that inspire them to march ahead and demons that hold them back.

I highly recommend this book as it exudes a wonderful message to be taken and practiced in life. We can’t move on in life without putting to rest the demons of our past. We all need a closure at some point, without which a happy life is not possible.

You’d enjoy this book if you like drama. The book will keep you on your tenterhooks to know what eventually happens with Karan and Sonia and how.

About the Author – Nidhie Sharma is a Writer-Director living in Mumbai, India. She has studied filmmaking and Screenwriting from New York University and has previously graduated with honors in English Literature.

Having directed documentaries and travelogues for the American and European markets, and worked on American indies in Los Angeles, Sharma is directing a mainstream Indian film soon.

Rating - 4/5

What can you buy in 750 rupees?

Let’s begin this post with a practical question.

If I handed you 750 rupees what all can you buy with it?

A pair of shoes?

Makeup?

Grocery for a week?

Movie Tickets?

Meal at a restaurant?

The list is endless. But to be honest, in today’s times 750 rupees can hardly buy much if at all anything noteworthy.

However, the same 750 rupees can change the future of a child, if donated wisely.

How?

Watch this:

I was amazed to learn, how the amount we so casually spend in an evening can actually turn around a young child’s life. Yes, a child can be fed mid-day meals in school for one whole year in this amount, encouraging him to continue his education.

What exactly is classroom hunger? 

Every day millions of children in our country are forced to choose between hunger and education. Without access to even one square meal a day they have to work to help support their family, at the cost of their future success. At this point an NGO, the Akshaya Patra comes into picture. This not-for-profit organisation strives to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the Government schools and Government aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight not only hunger but also to bring children to school.

It’s a small step to help the children, the future of our nation be educated. It is a humble effort to feed the children and fight child labor indirectly cause hunger forces these kids to take up meager jobs to earn their daily bread. The mid-day meals often lure the children and also their families to let them continue going to school cause they are fed there. These meals are feeding our nation’s future and by writing this blog-post I am donating a year of mid-day meals for a child as a part of the Blogadda ‘blog to feed a child’ initiative.

One good deed earned by the power of my words. My fight against hunger and support to feed-a-child doesn’t end with this blog post. While I have been contributing to the many initiatives to support NGO’s helping fight malnutrition & hunger as a freelancer, my child’s school too has been supporting this cause.

Every month, every child in Pari’s school is requested to donate a kilogram of food grains (pulses, rice, etc.) which are then collected and sent over to a not-for-profit organisation helping provide mid-day meals to schools. I believe, every tiny contribution matters and I feel immense joy to see how these small donations are keeping so many children happily fed and studying.

I feel privileged to have participated in this initiative where my words have the power to improve a child’s future.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

If you are a member of Blogadda, please do write blog post (s) to help feed needy children in schools.

 

Miscarriages are common

Family planning, pregnancy and babies, we hear, talk and read a lot about these. Especially when one steps in their twenties (that is the average marriageable age in India) these topics begin to catch our eye more often.

My case was no different. The euphoric, ecstatic feel of giving birth to an adorable human being sounds pretty exciting. Even when someone unrelated to us shares the ‘good news’ it evokes similar reaction.

However, I wish to share my experience on a topic that’s seldom talked about. Miscarriages.

Till the unfortunate moment, when I suffered a miscarriage, I had never in my wildest dreams imagined the possibility of it happening to me. It was not about living in denial but lack of awareness on the topic. I had never in over two decades of my life, heard anyone talk openly about this devastating, heart-breaking phenomenon. Hence, I had absolutely no clue how to react to it.

The emotional breakdown, sense of loss and hormones played a havoc on my mind.  Triggered by the storm of negative thoughts that cluttered my shattered mind. I couldn’t put a finger on what wrong had I done in my life to deserve this. Where had I been unforgivably negligent to lose my first unborn baby, long before the joy of motherhood could fill up my life. The worst bit was, though the body recovered from the loss in finite time, the psychological impact of the loss lingered long after.

Depressive thoughts like, nature didn’t think of me good enough to be a mother, streaked my thoughts on more than one occasion. It was then that during one of my regular follow ups with my (then) gynecologist I learnt something life-changing.

He said, miscarriages are pretty common all over the world, even though we don’t hear about them so often. They are particularly rampant around the start and end of the reproductive years, when the body itself chooses which fertilized egg would make for a healthy baby to go on and lead a healthy life. It is quite a process of natural selection (barring a few cases where an accident or an underlying medical condition is the cause) and feeling sad about the loss is equally natural. But, self-doubt or blaming oneself for the mishap is surely not the way to handle the situation.

I know, it comes across as regular professional advise, but at that hour of immense distress it had successfully erased the self-doubt and pain, my loss had left me with. The understanding of a miscarriage being something that happens to a large number of women, made me feel normal instantly. His words of wisdom, made the grieving woman in me, see a ray of hope that I too could be a mother someday. It changed my life in a positive way. Over the years after lot of talk, prodding and discussions, I was amazed to note that nearly 65% women in my own family had suffered a miscarriage at some point in their reproductive years. It was quite an eye-opener for me.

But why am I recounting these things today?

Lately, I have come across a number of blogs where I read about the miserable time women who had had a miscarriage had. I read about young women giving up coffee, their favorite foods, dancing, aerobics and more, simply cause they attributed these to the probable cause of the mishap. I have read women getting desperate about becoming a mother or their families blaming them for being the ‘evil one’ to have been fated with this tragedy.

In today’s times with advanced medical science and access to the treasure of knowledge on Internet, we are still stuck in such thoughts and beliefs because of less of awareness on miscarriages. While the cause of a miscarriage can be anything from an accident to natural selection to an underlying medical condition, its impact on the woman is always the same. Devastating.

I believe, just as sex-education doesn’t end at talking alone about the birds and bees, the need to talk openly about sex-lives, extends way beyond pregnancy & child-birth. It is important to talk, share and seek professional counselling (if necessary) to help the grieving woman come out of her pain.

If you or anyone you know blames herself for this unfortunate event of their life, please tell them what my gynecologist had once told me. Procreation is an important part of the lives of all living organisms, but we all must remember, it is still just a part and not life itself. We must muster strength to move on. Normally. And help others do so.

The song on my mind: Ye jeevan hai ~ Piya ka Ghar

 

School Diary – VI

I am aware that I am yet to update about Pari’s school life in the past 9 months. But there is something major happening right now, that’s why I am leaving the part V to be added later in the School Diary series.

It’s that time of the year when schools issue the admission forms and parents like me, who are planning on making the final shift from a play school to a formal school get on their toes. School admissions have always made me jittery. Firstly cause it’s about careful decision making for my child’s future. Secondly, cause it’s when I need to put my status of being divorcee on the table and wait with restlessly to see how the school management reacts to it.

But today, I am here to record my apprehensions, seeking your valuable opinion as I make the big move.

Pari is currently in a very good public school, but unfortunately, the school is only for junior classes so as she finishes her session in Nursery, it’s time to get her admitted in a new school. The limited choices given in a small town can sometimes make life easier. Hoever, people like yours truly, find reasons to worry about even in the most innocuous looking situations.

Out of the handful schools we had initially considered for seeking admission, I have finally shortlisted two. Both are public schools of good reputation with their scholars doing well in academics, sports and other fronts. After seeking opinions from a number of people we have arrived at a conclusion that school A is bit better than B.

Let’s focus on School A for today.

School A is a posh school with activities at par with the top schools in the country. I have visited the school personally, have taken a look around the school premises, spoken to the staff and management too. Like every parent I too wish to send Pari to the best school to ensure her all round development. Yes, I am one of those parents who hold academics at an important place in life, but for whom being active in sports and extra-curricular activities is equally important for the overall growth of the child.

School A offers everything, I, with my limited experience as a parent can imagine. From regular lessons in swimming, horse-riding, trekking, skating, dancing, music, art and more to centralized air conditioned school premises and school bus, meals and snacks being served in school.

The fees is a bomb, as expected, but one that can be shelled out, so this isn’t my point of worry (at this point). My worries started the minute when after a through look around the school, I was sitting in the waiting area for some formalities. I spotted a few kids (must be around standard 9 or 10) walk with iPads in their hands.

iPads in school is something, old fashioned me found a little too hard to swallow. While I have Pari’s best interest in my mind, I have serious concerns about her seeking admission in a school where kids would own fancy (read expensive) gadgets, toys, dresses and more right from kindergarten.

I might sound too old or old school, but having the most expensive dresses, stationery items and more don’t hold any place in my priority list (they never did even when I was a child). But, how would my child’s impressionable mind react to this situation? Even now, I often hear Pari asking me to get the fancy pencil box like her classmate’s father got for him from Dubai, party shoes to be worn daily to school (she doesn’t have a school uniform currently) and many similar requests.

Turning down all her requests doesn’t make any sense but giving in to her wishes under peer pressure would be a bigger failure. Though my parents strongly advocate her going to school A, I seem to have lost my mind worrying about the impact going to a posh school could have on my child.

We do have ACs in every room at home, but I cannot deny the fact that we do use them judiciously. If you are a regular reader of this blog, I am sure you are well aware of my & my family’s financial status. We aren’t financially unstable but there is definitely no money to splurge. Even in current times, I have no issues with preparing a fresh meal for Pari’s lunch-box every morning so a school that’s offering all meals and snacks is mere luxury to me.

I really don’t know if my babble thus far, made my point clear, but, I am worried as hell whether sending Pari to this school would be a wise move (at all). I wish to pass on the right messages to Pari from this age itself. I want her to understand our circumstances, financial status and that she will be denied things on many occasions (though with a open discussion about my decision) and that her mum will leave no stone un-turned to give her the best in life, but within practical limits.

People around me are of the opinion, being active in the extra-curricular activities that are a regular part of school A is the way of life in modern times. Getting good grades overlooking this important aspect of life isn’t my goal either, but I have my concerns.

School B is a public school that has a very good reputation for academics but they offer regular sports and limited extra-curricular activities just like most schools in the world do. Though I am yet to visit this school to offer a deep insight, but it is a standard school where students bring in their own food, the classrooms aren’t air-conditioned and usual strength of class is 40 as compared to 20 in school A. The fees is approximately half of what school A charges.

I’m looking for suggestions from the readers in making this decision wisely.

Do you think going to a posh school is the way of modern life?

What do you think I should primarily consider in making a choice of school for Pari?

Am I worrying uselessly or do you see some sense in all I have written?

What do you think?

The question hour of my life

I have missed recording Pari’s milestones for almost 15 months. But no more. I am going to pen down as much I can recall, while trying my best to make short notes/posts of our day to day life. I want to draw these precious moments in words on my blog like I had always intended to.

At three years and a handful months, Pari is in the phase when her curiosity has bonded with the desire to ask questions. I am the most frequent target of the the AK-57 of questions that she fires at me.

Given her age, these questions are pretty much general, based strictly on the events happening at the very moment. Like, “Mom where is the dog going?” “Why isn’t Doremon on air when I want to watch it?” “Why do I need to wear the same clothes to school daily?” you get the drift.

But the fun starts when she sticks to one question, asking repeatedly for longer than 15 minutes, expecting a new reply every single time. The most trying bit is her insistence to add to the information every single time I reply.

Imagine us driving back home from school,
Pari: “Mom where are we going?”
Me : “We are going back home”
Pari: “Mom where are we going?”
Me:”The school time is over dear, that’s why we are going back home”
Pari: “Mom where are you taking me?”
Me: No reply
Pari: “Mom tell me no, where are you taking me? Are we going for shopping”
Me: “No sweetie we aren’t going to the market”
Pari: “Then why are you not telling me where are we going?”
Me: “We are going home darling.”
Pari: “Are we going to the mall?”
Me: No Reply
Pari: “Mom why are you not replying to me? Are you angry with me?”
Me: “No dear”
Pari: “Then tell me no mummy, where are we going?”

This continues for the entire time till she steps inside home.

It is usually fun, cause she hasn’t yet started asking me the ‘difficult’ questions about our life. But still, even such naive questions can get difficult to answer when my mind is pre-occupied.

There are days when I am pressed for time, have work commitments, deadlines to meet, pile of chores waiting for me or simply the havoc my hormones are creating in my life. These are the times when I get bugged, though I try my best to control my urge to ask her to sit quietly or try my best to distract her to something more interesting, like a story book, play dough, color book or something similar.

While I might come across as a rude mother, I have to admit, my patience levels are finite and yes I am pretty bad at handling stress. I don’t like to upset my chirpy little darling, but being able to spare time to be with her all the time isn’t practically possible either. I think this is where the juggling of life to balance parenting with life in general steps in.

While Pari is learning about life and its ways by asking questions, I am learning by finding answers while looking at life from a fresh perspective. The realization of how, we live midst a million simple things that make up life rather than what we adults blame life to be has been quite a life changing awareness for me.

The reality is, by answering Pari’s innocent queries, I am learning about life from the scratch. This new view of life is fresh, clean, simple and full of hope that everything is possible. Just like magic.

My state when Pari fires questions at me non-stop :

Let’s Talk

My darling Pari,

I know its been forever since I wrote a letter to you, but between a mum and child it’s never too late to bond all over again over  a new medium. So here I am pouring my heart in words. Putting down another wish, I would love to see come true.

Talking, communicating, sharing, understanding each other’s point of view and the like, holds a very special place in my life. I like it most when someone decides to ‘talk to me’. Is ready to ‘hear me out,’ before we plunge to judging, letting assumptions grow over our mind.

We so often wish to realize our un-fulfilled dreams in our children. This perhaps is one of them in my case. I have always longed for my mother to sit and talk to me. Randomly, vaguely, generally, casually, making me feel so comfortable that I let loose the secrets I hold within. So that I never feel hesitant in sharing all the good, bad and sometimes pointless events of my life with her. Somehow, such a moment has never arrived in my life.

No, I won’t blame life or its fast pace for this. Because, deep down in my heart, I have full realization that this is more an issue of social conditioning and temperamental differences between mum (or say mum and dad both) and me. We don’t share the same view of life. My parents are of the opinion that kids are born to listen and parents were created to discipline them, keeping the reigns of life tight in their grip so that children are given no opportunity to go stray (in casual terms we may label this as being ‘control freaks’).

Anyway, let’s end the digression here and let’s talk about you and me. I want to gift you a comfort zone, where we exist as friends and cease to be a parent and a child.

I want to talk my heart to you. Talk about the big issues, small issues, my history, my dreams, our future together, your views, your opinions, your beliefs, your points of view and so much more on a daily basis. We might not have the luxury of free time, but I know, if we want to talk we can do it even while running the chores, working on the Internet, sorting out the laundry or anything for that matter.

Pari, I wish to connect with you, from the heart. Be a part of your life, the way you see it. Not in the capacity of a mother or a parent but as someone who loves you more than herself. I know, you’ll read this letter many years from today, but, I have already started working on this dream of mine from the day you were born.

Ever since, we’ve started talking about all in our hearts, I feel we have bonded at a whole new level. Our hearts feel united by the bond of understanding. The joy of having found a friend whom we know will hear us out even when we haven’t been at our best behavior.

I believe, if silence is golden, speech is platinum because it dispels the cobwebs of our hearts.

I promise to listen to all you have to say, whether I agree to it or disagree. I will always respect your right of being an independent individual even while you are a minor, because for me, you are my best friend.

With lots of love and blessings,

Mum

The song on my mind: Raat akeli hai bujh gaye diye ~ Jewel Thief