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An innocent remark

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The Thackeray vs. Bachchans saga is back to bite us again. Just when Raj Thackeray was barred from making any public speeches and just when peace was prevailing, Mrs. Jaya Bachchan had to go out and put her foot in the mouth.

For those of you who don’t know (and that is possible only if you have not switched on the television even for a minute in the last few days. Every channel is doing a special on this and you couldn’t have missed it otherwise), Jaya Madam was on stage for the music release of her son’s movie ‘Drona’ and she went ahead and said ‘Hum UP ke log hain, hum Hindi mein baat karenge. Maharashtra ke log hume maaf karde‘ (We will talk in Hindi because we are from UP. Maharashtrians, please excuse us). Raj Thackeray promptly took offence and demanded an apology. Madamji did give an apology saying ‘it was an innocent remark’. Any fool worth a 2-cents brain can make out that her statement was anything but innocent. Her remark was intentional and was uncalled for. All she had to do was say a few good things about her son and his movie and go back home in peace. But no, she had to take a dig at Mr.Thackeray.

While these big stalwarts taunt one another and nurse their egos, they forget a very important thing – that they are in the public eye and anything they do affects the common man. Jaya can get away with this statement. She can be safe in the comfort of her house with police protection. What about those pani-puri thelewalas and taxi drivers and paanwalas? Those non-Maharashtrians have to bear the brunt of Jaya’s ‘innocent remark’.

No, I don’t support what Thackeray is doing. What happened to the common people on the streets of Maharashtra was definitely wrong. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and you can’t expect only ‘Marathi’ speaking people to stay here. Asking for boards to be put up in Marathi or to make teaching Marathi compuslory in schools – all that is fine. But beating up paanwaalas is not the solution.

That being said I don’t think Bachchans are any better. The Bachchan family has made Mumbai their home for decades now. They earn their name, fame and money in this city. Still, UP is so close to their heart, Big B goes and does an ad for his beloved friend Amar Singh saying ‘UP mein dum hai kyun ki jurm yahan kam hai’. If you can have such undying love for your state, why do you object to Thackeray’s views? And after you saw the massacre that took place just a few days ago, you had to make that statement?

I don’t know who will have the last laugh in this war. But those who are crying are the movie producers and distributors. And the common man. So, Jayaji, next time you make ‘an innocent statement’, think about those innocent people on street who have to suffer because of you.


Written by Anaamica

September 10, 2008 at 6:16 am

Posted in Events, Opinion

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Freedom and Independence?

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My decision to quit work after having a baby has got mixed responses. Most of the older generation women are extremely supportive and are beaming with pride that their daughter or grand daughter has taken this bold decision. Few of the girls of my age (cousins, friends) are happy too. They say they wish they could likewise. Some of them are paying heavy EMIs against their home loans and can no way afford to quit. There is this other group which is totally against my decision. On interrogation they come up with comments like ‘Baby is not the only thing in your life. Why are you ending your personal life for the baby?’ and ‘You will lose your independence and freedom’ and ‘You will not have any personal life. You will be a mom slave’. I don’t have an answer for them, and I don’t really have to convince them, so I just smile at the comments and change the topic.

I have never had a dilemma. Even before I got married and started thinking about a kid, I always knew I want to stay at home with my baby. Luckily, I found an agreeing partner in my husband. He was totally happy with my opinion but left the final decision to me. He never pressurized me or influenced me. Since there was no doubt in my mind, I resigned even before I reached the third trimester. Till date, I haven’t regretted the decision. Things might change once the baby is here, but let’s cross the bridge when we come to it.

I recently visited my Uncle’s house in a tiny town called Koppa. I was born and brought up in a village and hence like the country side a lot. I instantly took to the place and it brought back my childhood memories. My Uncle works as a Manager in a relatively new sugar factory. When my Uncle joined this factory, the factory quarters was literally like a forest. Trees and dried grass everywhere and lots of snakes. Nobody took the initiative to make the place a bit more habitable. All the women continued with their rant, but did nothing. Until the Chief Officer (something like CEO) came along. CO’s wife (as she is addressed by everyone) was the one who transformed the place. Every single day, she would gather a bunch of workers and get the place cleaned. The trees and grass were cut, the ground was cleaned. She built fences around and planted banana, chiku, jackfruit and coconut trees. Not only did the snakes intrusion dwindle, the whole quarters was enjoying ‘home grown’ banana, coconut and jackfruit. Why am I mentioning this? Is there a connection between this lady and my decision? There is one.

The CO’s wife was married off very young. She had kids even before she could appreciate motherhood. She was only 32 when her first daughter was married off. She now has many kids, grand kids and great grand kids. She recently stayed in the US for a few months to assist in her grand daughter’s delivery. I don’t know if she is literate, but I doubt it. For any city-bred, educated, working woman, this lady’s life is a sad story. She doesn’t have any freedom. Really? Is that how it is? The lady is strong minded, thinks and acts independendtly. She didn’t follow the other ladies footsteps and continue to rant. Instead, she chose to act. She didn’t need her husband’s guidance or other women’s support. She did all this single handedly. If this is not freedom, what is? She has her own personal life in which she does what she likes. Does she have a paying job? No. On the other hand, I know many working women who can’t even buy vegetables on their own. They have to depend on their spouses to fill their kitchen with vegetables and grocery. Is she independent? No. Is she working? Yes.

I am not justifying my decision, but I am pointing at the wrong assumption we all have. Freedom does not come from being in a paying job. One may achieve finanicial independence if the husband doesn’t snatch the wife’s salary away. But, is finanical independence enough? It’s time we identify the difference. Freedom is a state of mind. If you ‘feel’ free, you are. Having one’s own personal life is a side effect of that. If you start thinking independently, keeping yourself apart from the family, you will have your own personal life.

Look at your mother. I am sure atleast half of us think that our mothers are more independent than we are. I surely do.

Written by Anaamica

August 21, 2008 at 6:26 am

Posted in Life, Opinion

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Mehta case

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I have been following Mehta’s case on news lately. For those who don’t know, Niketa Mehta is pregnant and the foetus is found to have a congenital heart defect. The Mehtas do not want the baby and want to get it aborted. India’s abortion law does not allow this because Niketa is beyond the permissible 20-week in her pregnancy. Mehtas are challenging this law and want to be considered as an exception and let the foetus be aborted.

The high court dismissed their plea. It says aborting this foetus amounts to mercy killing. If the child was born and then found to have this heart defect, one wouldn’t kill it, right? How is it any different if the child is in the womb? I completely agree with the case ruling but what bothers me is the abortion law itself.

The abortion law says a mother can abort her foetus if she is under 20-week in her pregnancy. If she is beyond that, then she is allowed to abort only if pregnancy poses a threat to her life. What doesn’t make sense to me is this 20-week line. Who decided this and on what basis? As far as my little medical knowledge goes, the foetus’s heart starts beating in the 8th week of pregnancy (Correct me if I am wrong) itself, if not earlier. From then on, the foetus is alive – with a heart beating fast and furious. So, whether you abort the baby in your 15th week of pregnancy or 22nd week of pregnancy, it still amounts to mercy killing.

Secondly, doctors recommend an anomaly scan in the 22nd week of pregnancy. This is where the Niketa’s baby’s heart defect must have surfaced. If our law wants to give the freedom of abortion to parents, then either extend the 20-week border to 24 weeks so that parents can get the anomaly scan done within that time or doctors should recommend the anomaly scan before 20 weeks.

J J hospital gave the first report stating that the chances of baby being handicapped are high and then later denied it by saying it was a typo! Who on earth believes this? Even if this was a typo, the Mehtas would have discussed the situation with their doctor before filing a case, right? You just don’t read the report and decide on the spur of the moment that you want to fight the law? The story of Mehta’s case is becoming messier by the day.

I really wonder how this lady decided on the abortion. Didn’t she question her own decision whenever she felt the baby’s kick in her womb? Didn’t she clutch her tummy and cry and ask herself how she can kill her own baby? Did she sleep with a clear conscience the day she decided to get the abortion done? Is she sad that they cannot abort the foetus? Or is she happy that her baby’s chances of having a normal life are more?

Written by Anaamica

August 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Events, Life, Opinion

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