If My V Could Talk

Inspired by the Vagina Monologues
Art works displayed in New Delhi, in 2008.

We at a 100 pieces of me love the Vagina Monologues. The above artworks, were inspired by Eve Ensler’s, famous book and displayed in New Delhi, In 2008. In 2022, if my V wanted to say something though, this is what it would say!

If My ‘V’ Could Talk. Plate 1 (2022)
If My ‘V’ Could Talk. Plate 2 (2022)
If My ‘V’ Could Talk. Plate 3 (2022)
If my ‘V’ Could Talk. Plate 4 (2022)
If My ‘V’ Could Talk. Plate 5 (2022)
If My V Could Talk. Plate 6 (2022)

P.S-Don’t shed a tear, it might bounce back into action with a vengeance. Ya, ya I know this why society at large loves me…it so gets my humour. Lol.

Morality

Covid may have put a damper on socialising but its been my much needed break from society, at large. Am I ready to be integrated? Hell no! Hm, one was always on the fringes, in any case. Unfortunately, the mind may be stabilising ( I think) but the body is erratic. Diastolic levels have been up for almost a month now, so they suggest I should go about relaxing and meeting people, of course sleeping and loosing weight as well but let’s just put that on the back burner, for now.

Spent yesterday, gallivanting through the different sectors of Gurugram, catching up with the people I hardly get to meet. I don’t know how relaxing human interactions are for me though they’re entertaining, once is a while. Especially when one is looking for an answer.

For the past two years, as I’ve taken a fine tooth comb and ran it through my existence, many a buried feelings have resurfaced and they make it difficult for me to sometimes even breathe. In one moment flashes of burnt clothes, then a heartbreak here and there, occasionally love… death constantly looms in the background and suddenly appears like a flash card, moving at the speed of light. Highly dramatic, I must say…interesting to experience this level of a loss of control, where the hands quiver and you’re anxious to the point of uselessness. Interesting as long as it doesn’t become the death of me. Heart attack ain’t the way I intend leaving…sinking or swimming? I have no clue, this is a different roller coaster ride.

Anyhow, to keep one relatively sane, when one gets overwhelmed with all of the intrinsic unravelling, then there are extrinsic questions that one looks up, to distract oneself with. For example, why are women so terrible to each other? The psychological view turns out to be much more interesting than the sociological one. Which is- men and women both are equally aggressive. We are by no means more peaceful. Men as we all know are physically more aggressive, which makes it far more obvious. The experts say, that all this gossiping , backbiting , gathering of support and what do they call it, damaging of reputations is actually our genders way of expressing that aggression towards one another. So it truly ain’t no different than two men brawling in the street, this is just much more tactful. Makes sense. Now, one knows why one appears overly confrontational to most people, especially women because we’ve been taught to tango around issues, not catch them by the horns and ask what the fuck? Oh, plus, good girls don’t say fuck off, they make calls, to people to plead their case. So, claims JP but apparently Jp and I can sometimes seem a bit misogynistic.

The other view, which is from a sociology 101, textbook is worth a read, as well. The understanding of why women, agree with the patriarchal values that run through their ecosystems. I kept wondering why literally every woman I know, was so against the stand that I took, which was, ‘ No I will not give up my right over my mum’s share because she did not want that and you can’t force me because I don’t have a penis!’ Some day, when I’ll be a kick ass woman, it may sound like a good story but it was hell to go through! For this reason, till date I have to listen to, ‘ she is eloping…she’s sold of her mum’s jewellery and given it to some man ( try taking something from me, then you’ll figure out, just how easy that is) ..she’s doing this that and the other…her father is starving’ lah, lah and blah, blah, blah. Trust me, many a times, I have looked at the roof and gone, ‘ oh! God please save me from these women!’ to which the reply has been, ‘suck it up, that’s what you pay for your privileges!’

But the 11th standard textbook has a better answer. The experts say, this is the only option that seems available to most because women are afraid of exactly this, that one was put through- Breaking of societal/ familial ties, seeming overly aggressive, being accused of being greedy and even loosing face infront of their husbands and in laws ( thankfully, one didn’t have to worry about that). So, apparently all women harbour resentment against being treated unfairly or unequally, yet they feel as if the only way to maintain kinship, is by agreeing and perpetuating the system that fails them. Thank the Lord, youngsters are being exposed to texts like this.

The other thing that’s being gnawing at me, is this middle class morality! The answer to which has been perfectly laid out to me by my male friends. At almost forty three now, one’s love life has always been under the microscope, since it’s more eventful than society permits women to have. But in my head, I could always do whatever I wanted and one came from a household where everyone was very open. So, sex seemed just what it is- a biological need. No fuss, no fancying it up and making it sacred. Henceforth, one is always bewildered by women’s curiosity about who is entering and what is coming out of another woman’s body. Men seem to be so much clearer about this. Love is- what you feel for someone. Sex is a biological need and marriage is a social contract. They don’t seem to intertwine all of it unnecessarily. I know people who love someone, so much that they can’t get their minds off those people yet they don’t marry them or meddle or mess with the other person’s life. I know men who have sex outside marriage and there is absolutely zilch love involved in that process and I know many a men and women who have sacrificed love for societal acceptance-marriage to a spouse who will be accepted by the family.

I know one thinks like a man and definitely acts like one but one always wonders how did a gender, that can bear children and period cramps, that is glorious, beautiful, destructive and vindictive beyond measure, how does society still manage to retain ownership of its mind, its vagina and its freedom? Sorry, mine ain’t up for grabs!

Women’s Day 2022

Women more than men can strip war of its glamour and its out-of-date heroisms and patriotisms, and see it as a demon of destruction and hideous wrong.’-Lillian Wald

Women are the victims of of war…as widows they’ve faced the trauma of being single parents and livelihoods of families are affected. A lot of gender- related problems come up in terms of health, education, domestic violence etc.’ -Kumari Jayawardena

We at a 100 pieces of me, are praying for the Ukrainian women, who are fleeing their homes due to this senseless war. Special dedication to our friend Anastasiia Pashniak, who shared this on Fb, a few days ago.

War…Day 9. Sometimes I feel like it’s a catastrophic movie. But the special effects are way to good. We and millions of people had to leave their houses skipping the sirens and sounds of bombs…My friends ask me if we are safe-No! No one in Ukraine is safe now.’- Anastasiia Pashniak

The Riderni- Preetpal

Moderator of the Riderni, Delhi Chapter
Preetpal is the mother of two fur babies.
She rides a Royal Enfield Desert Storm.
Preetpal, learnt how to ride from her partner, who is in the merchant navy around three years, ago.
A mental health professional, she counsels and enables young adults to solve their teenage issues.

Women’s Day Ride Organised By LetsRyde

If you think, ‘ women can’t ride bikes and they are each other’s worst enemies!’, think again. These women will shatter that belief. Not only do they ride like the wind, they cheer each other on. This year, one wasn’t in the mood to celebrate womankind. Someday, the past year, will become what artists do with their feelings, turn it into a body of work. But somehow, one bumped into this incredible bunch of women, thanks to Amit Saini from Lets Ryde Academy.

One attended the motor cycle riding workshop, which entailed learning how to pick up the bike if it fell and learning how to walk with it. That of course did not qualify me, for the ride to Leopard’s Trail, which was organised, yesterday. This was done in honour of women and was called The Women’s Day Ride.

‘Let’s break the stereotype’, is Amit’s favourite line, that he repeats, constantly. It seems to work because women from all walks of life, attend these classes. Abha, who led the ride, is a doctor and the owner of a BMW bike. Someone, with an infectious laugh and camaraderie that trickles down to each member. She held court, effortlessly and made everyone comfortable.

Tarana, a 34 year old, Muslim woman, will shatter your belief that the women of her community are suppressed. She works, rides and does as she pleases, while keeping her head covered, laying to rest, the idea, that women’s strength and independence can be gauged by the size of their clothing. Anita, who was just about to graduate from the academy, is all excited about riding to Ladakh, bro! From air hostesses to directors, to advocates to wives who bought Royal Enfield’s on a whim because, ‘they loved how it looked’ are all learning at this academy in Gurugram, that has been running for the past few years. So, if you feel the need to break the shackles, do check out their classes.

Tribe

Ever since mum has gone, life’s become more difficult, much more than usual. So every fallacy, I had growing up, about things getting better eventually, have thankfully been shattered, leaving one with three options- Giving up in totality, disappearing or locking horns. Though, the first two are hugely enticing but something about the enormity of the pressure ( financially, mentally and emotionally), the difficulty and hopelessness of the situation, one finds oneself in and my mother’s life, stop me from gravitating towards what one is naturally inclined towards.

The life, that seems all hunky dory on the onset of course is filled with tremendous instability and chaos. The apparent perpetrator of that long gone, the actual one, still to be unravelled. So, one moves at a pace these days, that has concerned friends worried. ‘ Don’t you think you need to stop and process your grief? Be gentle with your self!’ asked me a friend, recently. That would be the sensible thing to do. But my maturity levels are definitely, not something to write home about! So, one moves from one thing to other, no longer in the quest for love or to find something to hold on to but to remain out of the house, just for the sake of remaining in movement. So that my basic masochistic nature, doesn’t over power better sense and the voice in my head, doesn’t render me useless.

I’m glad it does, though. One’s met some very interesting individuals in the past year. Fascinating to say the least and just when I almost gave up on my gender, I recently bumped into some women who with came their own fight, with their own struggles, their own battling of stereotypes. I never knew they could be spotted so easily. Women who walk as if they are reclaiming their spot on this earth, who sit with their legs wide apart, stating they’re the alpha, with just their posture. Who are as quick to light a cigarette as they are to help their own. Who abuse so easily and frequently they would put a sailor to shame but who cheer each other on, selflessly. Someone, once said, ‘if you feel out of place, you haven’t found your tribe!’ I don’t think I ever will, some of us are meant to wander by ourselves but I love the display of sisterhood.

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Women’s Day 2021

Last year, I said that I would talk about the terrible, what I thought were atrocities (in hindsight the most valuable lessons) I went through, on women’s day. But one having been cynical one’s entire life, has become more so, in the past year. Jo beet gaya, usse bhulane walloh mein se to nahi he hum, lekin khudd khuredna apne zakhmo ko, uss mein bhi koi samajhdari nahi he!

Let’s just put it like this-If I was to celebrate, womenkind this year, just because I am one or because I do this ever year, there wouldn’t be a bigger hypocrite than me. One’s a terribly flawed woman but a little straightforward. So, I ain’t going put up an act to seem evolved and forgiving. When I do forgive and evolve that too shall be recorded. In a world full of people pretending to be perfect, emanating Godliness and yet not having a single good word to say about another person, at least a few of us, can be damaged, vindictive and honest in our Devilishness.

This year, I’m pissed off with my kind, in a way that can be understood only by a woman who has a mother in law, who encourages her son to ill treat the wife. By all those women who get surpassed for jobs that they deserve because the female boss doesn’t want the competition. By women who have their conversations recorded by other women, edited in a way, to prove their point about how terrible she is. By someone who has a sister in law who keeps tabs on her through the drivers and the help, through a woman who has friends who tarnish her reputation because they can’t bear that her husband is good to her. By a woman who turns down a man’s proposal and is ridiculed by him in front of her own female friends who repeatedly encourage the behaviour. By a girl who is molested or raped but is shamed, rather than supported. By someone who is sexually frustrated but is asked to deal with the husband’s coldness because well, he is a man. By someone whose mother convinces her to bear with the infidelity of the husband because he’s wealthy.

By a girl who is told to drop her ambitions by her female relatives. By all the little girls who come from low income households, who are made to give up their education, so that their male siblings can be taught. By all those rebellious women who make up their own rules as they go along, rather than follow in the footsteps of the one’s who have gone. By all those ladies, who have been made to sign away their legal rights over paternal properties by their own mothers, just so that the sons can be pleased. By a lady who is mocked by her female relatives for being divorced, childless or unmarried. By all those women who are told by ‘society’ they can’t reach for the stars, just because they have vaginas. By all those girls, who are shamed by the colony aunties, for their short skirts and by each and every female fetus that is killed by her mother, for being the same gender as herself. I’m mad at my kind this year, so I shall refrain from saying anything, at all!!

P.S- I know you’re going to argue that these are the byproducts of patriarchy. But better sense should have prevailed by 2021.

Women’s Day 2020

This year, an ode to the rebels and the broken hearted. To the one’s who have a loud mouth, a sharp tongue and vagina made of steel. To the one’s who weep, to the one’s who have lost and to the one’s who will rise, yet again! We women were born to go down in ashes and rise, again and again.

Shehla Rashid Shora

Jnu Student, Shehla Rashid at the launch of her political career in Srinagar. From being at the forefront of the student agitation calling for the release of Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar, to taking a stand about the human rights violations in Kashmir, Shora was well known for her activism before joining the Jammu and Kashmir’s People’s Movement.

 

Women’s day 2019

A lot has happened over the past month. On the 14th of February 2019, as we are all aware, a convoy carrying CRPF personnel was attacked by a Fidayen. This resulted in the death of more than forty men of the Central Reserve Police Force. The attack was condemned by Indians, the International media and the Kashmiris. The Pulwama attack, led to the Balakot attack in Pakistan. The series of events which took place after that, had all of us glued to our television sets for hours, waiting for Abhinanadan to cross the Wagah Border.

All this while on this blog one posted nothing. ‘Zip it if you have to come here and cover anything’, I was told. Unfortunately, after the series of events, one has not been able to drive to Srinagar by one’s self. This year on women’s day, we dedicate the entire month to the Kashmiri women and to the women who ask for peace.

At the Aath March Saath March, today, a reporter said to Memuna from AIDWA, ‘don’t tell me about war tell me about women’s issues!’. To which she retorted, ‘Do you think war is not a woman’s issue?’. I stood there nodding my head thinking about the widows of the jawans, their mothers and their daughters. I also stood there thinking about the Kashmiri mother’s whose children have been attacked, thrown out of their paying guest accommodations in the middle of the night and had to return to the Valley, not knowing what the future holds for them.

Appeasement is what most would term my attitude towards Kashmiris. I would like to think of it as empathy. One’s never agreed with many things that the Kashmiri state but one’s also vehemently opposed the atrocities that are carried on in Kashmir. To not see those and stand against those, would make me inhuman. To not be moved by the plight of a mother or a sister, whose son or brother has been missing for decades, detained without any charges for years, blinded and worse tortured and killed, isn’t possible for me. If that makes anyone assume is because of a Kashmiri man, so be it! If that makes me anti national, so be it!

Before we go ahead and isolate every single Kashmiri, leaving them with no choices, let’s give compassion a chance. Before we accuse them of everything, let’s not forget for a minute that Kashmir is not just a state, the conflict makes it one of the most profitable businesses in the world and everybody other than mother who produces the child who looses his life, fighting from this side or that, has something to gain!


Single Women in India

What do you do when you are sleepless, yet too exhausted to work or read? Not what you’re thinking! The rabbit has been put to rest since the beginning of the year. One is channelling all the pent up energy and of course the enormous ego into work. A month from now, the rabbit will come out of the hole and Gadhadhari Bheem ( a nickname I was given during a shoot) shall become shaant.

Back to the point…checking out random posts on Fb. Chanced upon the post my chic Bengali friend had shared- a debate on NDTV: No country for single women? Apparently, there has been a 39% increase in the number of single women in India since 2001 and at this moment, there are 12% single women in India. There are a number of women I know, who have never been married for various reasons, one of the most important being unable to find a mate who is as well educated or well settled, as they are.

Why am I single? Well, one is such a pleasing concoction of being commitment phobic, more than a little nuts and when in love, oh so clingy- like a guy. Uff and so in love with the chase. I don’t particularly care who plays cat and who plays mouse, as long as the game is interesting. Also, dude when I hear married women speak about their lives, I find myself thanking the boy for his ambiguous ways. Blessing in disguise! I literally know only a handful of married women who look happy to me and no, none of them are married to rich men!

The debate on NDTV, with a panel comprising – Sreemoye Piu Kundu-author Status Single, Deepa Narayan, the author of Chupp, Sanjay Rajoura stand up comedian, Shikha Makhan film maker, Kanika Tekkrikal, Geet Oberoi- founder/ president of Orkid and a couple of other people, is worth a watch. For all of us, single women it is just reaffirming our realities. We are all used to terms like ‘ slut’, ‘ lesbian’, ‘selfish’ and ‘arrogant’. Arrogant we are, for knowing we can live our lives according to our own rules!

Everyday Women Plate 8

Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him -or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.’ Dorothy L. Sayers

Everyday Women Plate 5

Kashmiri Women

‘A strong woman knows she has enough strength for her journey, but a praying woman knows it’s in her journey where she’ll gain her strength.’

Everyday Women Plate 4

Hola Mohalla 2017

‘No one knows what you have been through or your pretty little eyes have seen, but I reassure you-whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind.’-Nikki Rowe.

EverydayWomen Plate 2

“Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.”-Ellen DeGeneres

EverydayWomen Plate 1

This year for Women’s day, at a 100 pieces of me we celeberate the everyday women. Women I’ve encountered during my travels, in harsh terrains, in male dominated industries, just going on with their daily lives with all the strength they can muster. As captions are quotes about womanhood by famous women.

”Motherhood has a very humanising effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials”-Meryl Streep

WHY IS WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATED?

In 1975, The United Nations declared the 8th of March as ‘International Women’s Day’. This day is celebrated in over a hundred countries each year. Women’s groups, Governments, Non Profit Organisations as well as Corporates show solidarity with the women’s movement and celebrate their achievements.   In certain countries like Madagascar, China and Nepal women are given the day off. In Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Russia and twenty four others it’s been designated as an official holiday.

This is a compilation of interesting articles-

In the Indian Scenario. – 

An Article that appeared on Live Chennai, ‘Salute to Indian Women’ States-

“Only in India Woman is worshipped as Sakthi [Strength], Saraswathy [Knowledge] and Lakshmi [Prosperity]. No other country or religion in the world worships women hood in the way India does. In Hindu Mythology women is said to have been given absolutely 50% of Mental, Spiritual and physical space in the life of a man, when Shiva is illustrated to have done this in Arthnareeswarar form.

India is fortunate to have had many great women – Auvaiyar, Annie Besent , First women president of Indian national Congress, Nevedita, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, First Indian Woman President of UN General Assembly, Mother Teresa, Sarojini Naidu to Indira Gandhi only the second woman Prime Minster in the world, to Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi to Pratibha Patil first women President of India and many more in the Indian Corporate sector who have proved to be more than a match.”

The Telegraph has carried a piece on  how and why it started?

https://in.news.yahoo.com/international-womens-day-2017-did-164046144.html

https://in.news.yahoo.com/international-womens-day-2017-bold-145107190.html

Well, International Women’s Day REALLY kicks off at the witching hour, when by the light of the full moon, all the women of the world gather in threes, whisper the man-banishing spell, and clench in unison, expelling foul spirits from their bodies and inviting good luck in the new year…But don’t tell anyone about that.” Tom Phillips on Buzz Feed.

#StandUpForTheSisterhood-Rosy Singh

Have you faced any gender bias at home or in the work place?

Have been very lucky and blessed to be born in my family. Being just two daughters, we never ever knew there existed gender discrimination or a biased attitude. At work too, as it is a 50/50 partnership between my husband and me, there is no question.

Is there anything that you think you can’t speak off openly, just because you’re a woman?

Thanks to a loving childhood I have not even thought of this.

What is the one thing you think a woman can do but a man shouldn’t? If there was a her for him campaign would you stand up for men’s rights and support parity?

I truly believe we need to respect humans first. The day we rise above castes, religions and colour, we will start respecting men, women and transgenders alike. I would definitely want to stand up for men’s, women’s and transgender’s rights. 

 

Rosy Singh is a partner at Twilite Products (India). She lives in Nasik and is the mother of two.