Principles of Convenience

“It’s not just the girls, even guys feel the need to use fairness creams now”, she said as a matter of fact. “Females need to stop acting like the victims here. Tell me, would you date a black guy!?”

This was a conversation between a friend and our professor, during a class.

“I have dated black guys” said my friend, visibly controlling her anger.

“Yeah sure, but would your mom ever accept one?” the teacher exclaimed, as if the answer was an obvious no.

We looked at each other in shock and uncertainty. Was this really happening? A teacher in one of the most reputed institutions in the country was freely being racist. How does someone even react to that?

We have all been in situations like these. Situations against racism, sexism and every other ‘ism’ there is. People like you and me do stand up against these comments and views, but somehow its only in a non threatening situation. We easily lash out on our friends for their inappropriate remarks of casual sexism, making our point with pride and vigor. But why is this limited to conversations in the canteen? Why don’t we stand up to people where it really matters?

It’s because our morals and principles of equality and justice are also principles of convenience. Like every principle, this too has a law. It’s called the Law of Power.

The Law of Power states that principles can be applied freely and effectively only if the power (between the two parties) resides with you, or is equal between the two parties. Between two friends, the status is that of equals, where none hold power over the other. Whereas, if the same conversation takes place between you and a person of higher authority, our morals turn into principles of convenience.

In the previous example of my friend and our professor, we should have probably called her out as a racist. Made our point about how she was living in the dark ages (no pun intended) and we even tried. But we gave up in a minute because she had power over us. Our grades, our research thesis, were all in her hands. Now who wants to screw something that important over a silly racist woman, right?

I’m not saying it isn’t important to do the same among a group of friends, because it is. But why are we so inconsistent and powerless in situations where some of higher authority is involved?

I still regret not telling that teacher where to shove it. But maybe I can say that now because she has already graded my research.

 

Have you ever handled such a situations differently?
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Garam Chai ki Pyaali

Everyone has their own poison.

Some prefer meditation, some are gym enthusiasts, some indulge in alcohol while others are addicted to harder substances. But most people have that one thing in their lives that they don’t really need, yet can’t do without.

For some, it’s a nice cup of strong hot tea. It’s the first sip of that bronze concoction with an aroma which is almost earthy, a flavor unique to itself which often comes with the warmth of ginger that pulls you in for a taste. Sure it might be so hot that you know it will scald your mouth, but that’s no reason to stop. You lean in, tasting the steam first, which is followed by a brief slurp. Your mind instantly screams “shit I burnt my tongue!” but then there is a moment of nirvana, when the warmth fills your chest. Ah.

It’s what some people describe their first smoke of the day as. The rush of that first sip, followed by stolen minutes during work when you go out for another cup.Β For some, it is so deeply integrated into their lives that the addiction is not even noticed. Not unless a secluded vegan resort forces a cup of herbal garb on you, compelling you to live without the real deal for the weekend. That is when you realize the worth of that inexpensive beverage, running to the closest chai wala as soon as you hit the city.

That is when you realize that though it’s not something you need, it’s something you really can’t do without.

 

 

What’s your poison?

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That Indian Girl

How are Indian girls perceived? I have always wondered.

As I ask myself this question, my brain goes into overdrive and spits a thousand stereotypes out. Housewives, repressed voiceless beings, rape victims, street performers, uneducated child bearers, people whose life’s aim is to get married… The average western citizen talks about Indian women with a voice that reeks of pity.

But I wonder what they think about us when they experience the Indian woman firsthand, when they visit my country and see the diversity. Sure those stereotypes have some truth to them and there are millions of women whose lives are far from ideal. But what about the independent educated girl they meet on the ferry to AlibaugΒ and what about the girl on the beach who’s on a vacation with her boyfriend? What do they think when they meet an unmarried mother of two and what comes to their mind when a young girl knows more about their country than themselves?

I know that the average Indian girl is underprivileged, and heaven knows how I wish it was otherwise. But does their perception change, even a bit, when they see the “privileged” ones?

I hope it does. Because then we can change their opinion, one girl at a time.

 

 

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