My Son would Never Rape a Woman

Epiphany in the Cacophony

sad-alone-cute-girl-waiting-someone-window My son would never rape a woman. It is brutal, disgusting and immoral. He simply isn’t capable of such a thing. She has obviously enticed him. __________________________________________________________

She was at the club when it happened. Short black dress, tall black drink. She stood in the middle of the dance floor, moved her hips slowly. She made eye contact with him. She even smiled. He walked up to her and asked her to meet him at his car. When she declined, he grabbed her arm.
And what a scene she created! She fought, screamed and kicked. You want this, he told her as he pulled her out of the club. NO, she screamed, yelling as he dragged her to his car. You don’t know what you want, you’re drunk.

She sat alone in the parking lot a few hours later. Disgusting girl, she reeked of smoke and alcohol. What…

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Social Mobility and Inclusion – Can architectural and urban interventions help improve it?

I’ve recently started following this blog called {FAVEL issues}. They publish fascinating critical pieces about informality and informal lives. Here is new piece about architectural and urban interventions to address informality. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything this post says, I did find it interesting. Janice Perlman’s 25 minute lecture at the end is a must see for anyone interested in informality.

{FAVEL issues}

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Poverty and exclusion are two of the major issues that politicians – but more importantly in the context of this blog, architects, planners, and urban designers (or students of such professions) often refer to when they present projects of “improvement” or of spatial articulation between informal settlements and the formal city. Often, their final objective is to generate positive inclusion social mobility – that is, the movement of individuals or groups up (or down) from their current socio-economic level. And so, the question is: can architecture or design truly improve social mobility?

Janice Perlman, one of the few researchers that has continuously investigated life in favelas for more than forty years, published her latest book “Favela: Four decades of Living in the Edge in Rio de Janeiro” in 2010.[i] Last week, I had the opportunity to attend her presentation at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and…

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Inclusive Cities for Informal Workers

The post Inclusive Cities for Informal Workers challenges the inclusiveness of urban renewal schemes in the Global South as being exclusionary. I recently got hold of a new article by Ananya Roy called “Slum-free cities of the Asian century: Postcolonial government and the project of inclusive growth”.  Both that paper and this blog post, make a similar argument for the need to look at citymaking in the Asian Century as a “as a citationary structure which enables distinctive teleologies of development and projects of postcolonial power. More on this soon.
 

No Country for unmarried women?

There was an article today on the BBC website title “No country for single women“. In the article, the author reflects on conversations with four single women in India, who are successful but unmarried. So much of what these women said resonates with my experiences and the experiences of my “single” women friends in India. I’ve always felt that while women from middle-class families are encouraged to get educated and have a career, but that does not mean that the societal pressure to get married in your early 20’s goes away. It only means that now you have more things that you are expected to do, besides being someone’s wife, daughter-in-law, and mother. And if you choose to wait, or choose to not make getting married your goal in life, then of course there must be something wrong with you. Maybe you are not into men? or maybe you have a psychological disorder? or maybe you are hard to get along with? Because God forbid you not want to get married when its “time” to get married. How can any “normal” woman not want a husband and children? In the article, the author writes:
“There were cases where people told my parents that educating their daughter and letting her become an independent person had been a grave mistake. Now their daughter has high expectations and getting her married has become so difficult! I can’t thank my parents enough for shouldering that burden. They are a great support but I keep wondering what to do to make it easier for them. I am much less worried about myself. I know that being with the wrong man would be far worse than being by myself.”

Also, these are not conversations you have with just your parents. No! everyone and anyone will ask you why you are not married from the rickshawallas to the drivers to the aunty at the bus stop. This is one of the reasons why I moved to the US. Cities such as Bombay, might afford single women a certain independence and lifestyle that they couldn’t have before and can’t have in other cities, but there is no escaping the fact that you chose not to be “normal”. Because at the end of the day that’s what it is! By not getting married and making an informed choice not to be married, you have challenged the age-old understanding of Indian women as just daughters, mothers and sisters. While we as a society can feel great pride in the fact that Indian women are increasingly becoming part of the formal workforce, and that more women are going into higher education than ever before. That’s where it stops. But the thing is, I and my friends who are not married, didn’t choose not to get married at 26 or 27 or 28, not because we wanted to challenge social norms. We chose to not be married because we wanted more from our lives. This doesn’t mean that women who are married have lesser lives, their life paths are just different from ours. Does it mean we will never marry…..not really. We are not giving up the choice to marry, we are just choosing to define our own life paths.

An Open Letter To The Filmmaker : मैं जा चुकी हूँ

I recently saw “Highway” and have struggled to put into words why I found the movie so powerful. The author of this letter does a good job of expressing some of what I felt. While I have been lucky enough not to have the same traumas in my childhood, I have suffered abuse in other ways and it does something to you. It shuts you down in ways that are difficult to explain. Also, I think some of why I felt Veera’s pain so deeply was because I have only just begun to understand that the feeling of being trapped and suffocated that I have felt intermittently came from the struggle to be free- be free of social expectations, of inhibitions, of external definitions of self. Someone mentioned recently that they have struggled all their life to be seen as a human being, not as a woman but as a human being. That’s what we all are first. But somewhere you stop seeing yourself as that, and so does everyone else. You become your relationships. Which are important but not the only thing you are.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d recommend you see it…..with an open mind.

F.i.g.h.t C.l.u.b

Today morning, we were discussing reviews versus blogs. It started with a personal and candid post (Dad, We’re In Nebraska) by Rahul Desai. If you have seen Nebraska, do read it. It’s a strange feeling when you can identify your life with a film. And sometimes, it’s liberating in more ways than one. Today evening, we received another personal piece by @kuhukuro. This one is about Highway. An honest, brave, and candid open letter to the filmmaker whose film had an impact on her as it mirrors her life. Do read.

 Alia-Bhatt-and-Imtiaz-Ali-on-location-shooting-for-Highway-in-Punjab28.03.2013

Dear Imtiaz,

I am not a film critic, nor can I boast of being very cinema-savvy. But I have been insane enough to source my philosophies from cinematic moments. Films have been thriving territories for epiphanies. Highway comes at a point in my life when I am delving in the art of being ruthlessly…

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