August 21, 2013

Ashamed!



I am ashamed after reading this. But if not for an incident last year, I would have thought isn't all this a bit exaggerated?
Like any other woman, I lose my wits reading about the rapes and atrocities happening to women in my country. But then those feelings are short lived and I move on as if it’s something happening in some corner of the world which wouldn’t affect me. I sometimes wonder how the so called society be so wrong.  It’s not only about India, but we find rapes and kidnapping of women happening all around the world. I confine my sympathies and those few minutes of agony to myself. I was selfish thinking I am safe and this will not happen to me.
But one day changed it all. Last year on my trip to India, I decided to head to Bangalore in an overnight bus. I have been travelling alone since I was 18. I have lived in three different countries and mostly did all the travel myself. So a 10 hour Bangalore trip was not a big deal. To my surprise I saw the bus was empty. Besides me there were just 4 men and 2 bus staff. I thought more people might board in the next major stops. I was a bit taken back when the bus cleaner announced to everyone that there is only one lady travelling in the bus. My heart started racing and started taking the occasional pushing from the ‘Uncle’ sitting behind me. Since I am a bit over imaginative, I told myself not to freak out and just concentrate on what I was reading. Then came the real freaky part. Whenever there was a romantic scene in the movie which was playing in the bus, I could feel more intense pushes on my seat. Then later I could actually feel some slimy thing on my back, I jolted and tried running my fingers in the seat to check what it was. It was not a cockroach or a rat, it was a human feet. I just couldn't believe it. I looked at that uncle in shock and words were not coming out. I thought he might just withdraw his legs or apologize. But nothing. He was staring at the TV. I wanted to yell at him. Wanted to shout at him! Twist his bloody head! But I just couldn't utter a word. I was a helpless girl there. I had to take a moment and think if such a yelling might put me in more danger. I even started imaging the other people in the bus might be even more evil than this man.
Till that day I believed, I was a smart and bold lady who could react to such situations. My mouth was dry, all I could do was change my seat to the next one and keep all the bags I had behind me so as to shield any such flesh hitting or poking me. My next fear was about the other 4 men in the bus. Will they do something to me in the bus? I checked my phone, it didn’t have range either. All I could do was not wait and keep praying! I realized how crippled I was in a situation like this. If I had stood up and complained to the driver, what is the guarantee he is a nice person?

I did not sleep at all. I got outside the bus and wanted to talk to this monster. Before I could give a piece of my mind, he just vanished in thin air.  I was happy to see my cousin at the station. I didn’t know what to tell them. I could still feel those nasty fingers on my back. I still remember that man’s face. He would have been my father’s age. I wonder if he had a daughter my age. Will he let her go through such a situation? How would he have reacted? Is he a loving dad at home? What will his daughter feel if she ever comes to know about this? I keep thinking. I know most of us who live/ lived in India have much horrible stories to share. I don’t think I will have the guts to take an overnight bus in India again. 

March 27, 2013

Letter to My Amma

Note : This is a very personal note of mine. I contemplated whether it would be right on my part to publish this in an open space like this. But I thought maybe for those people out there who take their parents for granted should stop their busy independent lives for a moment and appreciate what they have with them. I was one of those unfortunate ones who never got a chance to appreciate the worth of my dear Mother. But I  hope you are not one like me. I always thought the hugs and sweet words was not a necessity and they are just phony ways. But today I realise maybe I was wrong.


Dear Amma
I know I cannot begin this letter with those clich├ęd questions asking how you are doing and hoping you are doing good out there. I sincerely don’t know why I decided to write this letter to you, but suddenly yesterday night I wanted myself to know how much change 7 years has brought in me.
Everyone tells me that you are watching me every day and you still take care of me like you used to. If it’s true, then you must be happy to see me married to someone who you would love more than me , which would have made me so jealous and kept me complaining that you are partial to him. Balu is like those students of yours who you always talked about at home, hardworking, research oriented and at the same time very much a family guy. He is so like you in many ways and I find it hard to keep up with his optimism and finding happiness in small things which is what you tried to instill in me. I should admit that I was attracted to him for the qualities you liked in a person much more than I liked.
I am embarrassed to admit that I still call him ‘Amma’ when I wake up in the morning because even after 7 years I still feel that you are the one sharing my bed. I still sleep talk, cry and kick in my sleep and Balu is also finding it difficult like you used to.
You should be happy to know that I have gained around 6 kgs since you last saw me. Unlike past, I eat better quantities and you should be proud to hear that I eat almost everything I hated then; especially the vegetables. Today I realize  how wrong I was wasting all the food you used to make for me and fighting with you almost every day for wasting all the homemade food. After you left, I craved for your cooking and started appreciating all food. Ever since I started cooking, I realized how hurt you must have felt seeing me waste the precious food you used to make after your tiring day at work. I am really sorry for giving you a hard time at home.
I still remember the days when I hated attending Guitar classes and you used to drive me saying I would appreciate learning an instrument someday later. I really regret not having taken your words seriously and today I realize what a loss of opportunity it was. Even after being a single parent you gave me lot of opportunities to learn and advance and I think I did not appreciate it then. But now I realize how hard it must have been for you raising me and working full time. Though I must have ignored your advices then, I try to instill me in those things you wanted to see in me. Better late than never.
As promised to you, I have never colored my hair. I can think of only very few promises you wanted from me and I am really proud that even after seeing this generation kids, you gave me all the freedom, facilities and opportunities which I am really proud of. I am really happy that you celebrated my 19 birthdays and never ever deprived me of a birthday fun. I still am lazy to wake up early in the morning and I remember those incentive plan you made if I get up early and study.
Balu’s mother (I call her Amma) is like you in many ways. She also talks a lot and has so many friends like you. I am sure you must have been good friends. I did go to the church in Kollam where we used to throw coins when we go in train. It was really nice to go around the places where you spent your childhood. I used to make fun of you when you used to talk nonstop about Kollam. But today I do the same about Calicut.
I should admit that I realized your values much late in my life and I never appreciated even once or cared to give you a hug and say how much I love you. Almost every day you are in my dream and I dreamed a zillion times that you came back to my life. I hope I find a good career soon and make you proud of the education you gave me.
Sometimes I wish you are just a call away and you hear all my complaints I have to tell you. I really miss gossiping with you and watching all those Hindi serials together. I am only happy for one thing. I didn't have to leave you behind alone after I got married. But as days passes, I realize how nice it would have been to have you in my life once again and share those beautiful moments together. I know how much you wanted to be a mother to my husband and a grandmother to my kids. I shall miss you in every walk of my Life. I am really grateful to the new people I have in my life and also the ones who we had in our life for trying hard to keep me always happy like you wanted to see me. I miss you Amma!!

February 22, 2013

What you can DO on a H-4.

The word H-4 might be a dream and at the same time a nightmare for many. For those who is not aware of the term H-4, this is the visa category  for all those dependents who come on H1-B ( Work visa in US). There is another work visa called L1 and L2 ( Spouse). But there is something really special about H-4.Unlike L-2, you are going to be crippled and be forced to stay at home for an infinite period till your better half gets his Green card approved, which would take an average of 4 years.
Many of us leave a promising career and pack our bag to US with our spouses thinking the journey will be exciting in the land of opportunities. Little do we know we are going to be in a very tricky situation in future.
I have heard many assuring their wives about finding better jobs in US forcing them to resign their jobs. But here are some facts you should keep in your mind before making such important decisions
  1. You CANNOT work on your H-4 Visa. Can start working only after you find a company who can sponsor a H1-B visa for you.
  2. It is really difficult to find a job that will be ready to sponsor you. For eg : Assuming you find a job in Jan-2013, You will have to wait till April to file your visa and you can start working only in Oct-13.
  3. You can enroll for a masters degree. But if already have a masters or a PhD, then going back to school might be a difficult option.
  4. You cannot take up any kind of job which would earn you a salary. You cannot even do an Internship.
  5. You can DO Volunteering. But you can do only in a Non Profit Organization and also those kind of volunteering that the institution would normally hire a full time or part-time employee.Which literally means we do not have many options even for a volunteer work.
  6. You can apply for a Driving License. This is the only attractive thing I could put here apart from the option to study.
  7. If you are in IT field, there are many agencies willing to employ you illegally and later give u a H-1. ( Which is a very dangerous thing to do ).
  8. Attend social clubs, learn dance music or any kind of art.
So now you must be frowning thinking what do all those people do there on a H-4? Well, the majority enroll in a university for higher education and change their visa status so that they find a job after their graduation. For those like me who already has a masters and is not mentally ready to do a PhD this is what I do which I hate to admit :(
  • Keep applying for jobs like a wild goose chase
  • Watch TV, Read books
  • Cook, Cook and make your husband happy
  • Crib, cry and complain about not having a job and make your husband sad.
  • Volunteer in those agencies which is ready to accept you with your visa status
  • Look outside to see the piling snow and realise you cant even go out for a walk.
  • Write blogs and help others make a wise decision before they pack their bags. ( I am not asking anyone not to accompany your husbands. But if you are coming here for a short assignment,Please do not resign your job).
  • Enhance all your hobbies and do everything you wanted to do when you wished you had some spare time.
  • Learn new languages.
My intention was not to demotivate anyone to come here, But to give a heads up on your life here. Having said that many have been successful in a finding a good career, exploring their hidden skills. I myself have seen many come up with innovative blogs on cooking, art and many more. Good Luck to all those on a H-4 here. Hope we break our handcuffs soon.


February 14, 2013

Back!!

Hey I am back after a long break. I realized I write decent when I am depressed and I fail to deliver when I am normal ;).
I just wanted an ice breaker. So here goes one .Excuse my terrible writing, I am having the worst word block ever!!!!

Facebook has become a part of out life. Mostly I even get to hear flash news through FB posts. I am connected to 1023 people everyday, I am following their personal and professional life closely. But when I realized the same 1023 people are following me, It was a bit scary. I do wish a privacy, so I try not to use 'Check ins' , frequent status updates and even bring a control on who can view the pictures I post.
When u buy a product,when you eat out, when you stay somewhere all that I say these days are 'Please like us on Facebook'. Again if I do that the 1023 so called friends are intruding into my privacy. I am not a celebrity whose day to day activities would be any interest to anyone, But still when I see the FEED with people liking stuff I know this is how I people judge me!

Unlike past today I know where my friends are,who are doing what, even when I moved a new place all that  I did was search for friends nearby in Facebook.Yes I am definitely on advantage when it comes to networking because of social medias. But I should admit that I have been agitated on various occasions reading posts about religious beliefs, post supporting their religion, post preaching their religion and then a bunch of atheists mocking at all this (My husband is one among them who is a very enthusiastic atheist who always reads and posts about atheism ).But when u are ready to accept friends from other religion and having brought up in a secular country I dont understand why would anyone use this 'Social' media to discuss our beliefs. I understand that FB is reaching out more people than Television, but do we actually need to promote religious beliefs or your personal religious practices when there are many around who believes in something else. I believe if they do why not just make it visible to your personal group. to an extend its not the friendship which is celebrated here. Its is a kind of competition. In my personal opinion if you call yourself someone who tolerates all the beliefs, then please avoid such postings and discussions.
 
I hope to get over my writing block soon :) and oh yeah Happy 'Love' day people!!