Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Pomegranate Tree

Well my post was meant to be basically pictures. An exercise i do each day to get better in my photography skills. This morning as i walked into my garden i decided on my subject instantaneously because something just shone at me with all it's gloss and shine. Besides all that gloss and shine was bringing the pent up to the fore. Perhaps this time my exercise was making me think hard on the how's and why's of what was irking me even more because the subject of my exercise was taking me to the most traumatic experience in anybody's life...sexual assault...rape...

Thus the post title. But i can't hide the fact that a particular story was going on inside me. The title is actually a title of a sub story of that big story. My subject reverberates throughout that story by Khaled Hosseini. http://www.shmoop.com/kite-runner/pomegranate-tree-symbol.html

It could be because yesterday perchance i caught yet another episode of Saavdhan India which featured yet another case of sexual abuse of a small boy...a nine year old boy. This time the culprit being a WOMAN. And i kept thinking how was she deriving pleasure by assaulting a nine year old boy. How...how..how...
And more than that i was angry with his parents was not heeding at all his pleas of not going to ' Kaamna Aunty's ' while they were busy in their careers. Busy minting money. i was angry very very angry." **** Parents!!", i kept cursing...the entire evening and i slept through with it all in anger. Thought when i'd wake up next morn i would've got over with it but not so. True it is they say, one should never go off to sleep feeling angry. It carries forward the next day.

What do they say about the color red...color of passion...well it is also the color of danger...and  anger too. Just one letter...and yet we have two words.
i was angry when i walked into my garden and i had to do my exercise...which is precisely what i did because i did not not what more i could do.
Yeah and i can also blog about my feelings...who knows perhaps like a butterfly fluttering it's wings somewhere and creating an avalanche my feelings might create an avalanche of feelings too.
Feelings that perhaps has become dormant if not dead i hope.

The color of my exercise was is also red...of the Anaar or Bedana as they call Pomegranate in Hindi and normally i would've or rather should've dwelled/ drowned in the beauty of the flower that looked like a cute tissue paper lantern hung there and probably had i been in one of my happier moods i would've focused my lenses this way and that way in getting pictures of those blossoms in a variety of poses but alas..my mood was that other red today...of anger that brings in the helplessness and moistness which in a way makes all lenses hazy and blurred and through it all you don't see beauty. You only see pain of being alive in this bad bad world.
At this moment i was thinking of taking a loudspeaker and roaming the streets telling one all..'' APOCALYPSE NOW '' ...'' STOP MAKING BABIES''...
''When will YOU come ??? When? See now even the Women have started raping...kids...When will YOU COME ...O' LORD...'', Khachak !! ( no.1)
Ordinarily i would've loved to watch the tree and it's numerous blossoms, would've tried taking many pictures of those lovely blossoms. And the day was appropriate too. Tuesday...the color fit for Tuesday according to Hindu mythology but i was preoccupied in my burning anger.
Whatever i was seeing of the tree or of the blossom, even the remnants on the ground was taking me to Hassan and Amir.. The bromance..., which too looked fiery red to me...like burning charcoal...
Khachak (no.2)

Then Amir's guilt at his own cowardice, his jealousy...the parting...the injustice... rape...blood...pain...a happy childhood damaged...a boy limping..a beautiful friendship broken...
Khachak (no.3)

What if depraved had let Hassan be...they would've seen seasons together...matured together...perhaps like the twin fruits here that are going great guns...
Khachack (no.4)
Also my anger/ frustration was getting aggravated more with nine year old Rahul's anger, tears and his fears at the mere mention of Kaamna Aunty...a childhood lost forever. That Woman...Kaamna...ironical she was the childless neighbor who in the garb of babysitting was deriving sexual pleasure from this nine year old boy.
The mother happy in her career, promotion and travels was least bothered with those bruises that she saw in her own child's body...
C'mon even unsuspecting of sexual abuse what kind of a mother would tolerate someone from hitting her own child in such a manner...i am saying this because it is quite disbelieving almost like next to impossible that a WOMAN CAN ALSO SEXUALLY MOLEST.
More than Kaamna the sex starved woman i am angry with Rahul's mom.

...enough of Khachacks  and i could not do my exercise anymore...

What's wrong with our society. What's wrong with our women ? And yes i don't understand women emancipation if it means all this. Will someone make me understand why education means that even when life is comfortable women have to work leaving children behind at the mercy of someone? Education...economic independence...emancipation...freedom. Is this how it works then ?
Well if freedom from responsibilities is what is emancipation then are children actually needed then?
Crux of the matter is children till they can fend for themselves ARE responsibilities.
And it depends now...yeah sorry to say this today that once considered blessings from God it depends on how women today view children to be.
Blessings or responsibilities.
Ask a woman who can't bear a child and she might...but then Kaanma was one such.
Ask a career oriented woman and she will think twice before answering...and later when she answers she will fumble...diplomatically of course...

Today through my blog i have to say this to all the educated women who bring forth babies but have forgotten the very essence of motherhood. Be the goddamned President or CEO of whatever company you are working in but if you think you can't take care of your own child then for Heaven sake don't bring forth babies. Just to prove to your husband/ family and maybe to your own self that you are fertile don't have a baby and then decide to leave it at the mercy of an aayyah or babysitter or anyone for that matter.

i even detest the idea of Mother in law or Moms taking care of babies. Why should they i ask. Haven't they done enough?
As it is that senior citizens are denied the care that they deserve which is analogous to the care that we give to our babies.
To top it all it has become a trend that our smart ladies working or non working today prefer to deliver babies and then dump them on Moms or MIL's and themselves roam around with freedom shirking their prime responsibility. And for what? Status for many, freedom and fun for some at the cost of their parents and maybe sheer nonchalance for yet others. To them i say...decide first.
You can have all that you want without having the baby too.
Don't be a hypocrite double faced janus.

The disease that has inflicted the world i know is not one but  two...one is of getting more and more MONEY and the other is of TIME. There is no time for what matters the most. There is sufficient time for acquiring stuff but no time to take care. We accumulate money to buy CARE but the point is can Care really be bought.
The Office going ladies and the other ladies at home wake up!!!
You are going to office today or enjoying a particular lifestyle today because you had someone to take care of your own needs yesterday. Now it's your turn and i guess you are falling short in this responsibility of yours.
Fine if you can't then it's perfectly okay. Don't deliver more babies to dump them on someone. You better wake up to that.!!! Or else,
Take up jobs/ adopt a lifestyle that gives you a balanced family life. Some good time in which you don't have to thrust the responsibility of your own duties towards your own child on anyone.
i know grandparents don't mind helping out but is it fair on your part to do that ?  When it's their time after having gone through with their responsibilities all their life to be taken care of they are thrown with a new batch. Is it fair ?
i personally know many stories of parents being called to US and UK not to see the world but do just that. Of late even living in the same country parents are often called in to pitch in because the daughter is finding it quite difficult to manage her baby and other chores.
Pathetic it is to hear the tales of some parents when with moist eyes they relate their harrowing experiences. i have not heard a single one laced with fondness or love. Rather these tales have been of back breaking slogging that left the poor senior citizens gasping for a breath of fresh free air and longing for the bare comfort their own homes instead when the daughter and son in law were away at work and they had to manage everything, the baby and the rest of the housework in a foreign land sans domestic help.

It was shocking to hear it coming out from one none other than a top officer in the Railways...that too a General Manager. i still remember what he had said, " We were like unpaid servants there...now wifey is getting the jitters as her daughter is pregnant again. She is refusing to go to the US so we have excused ourselves on Skype citing wifey's backache to be a bad one..."
i do understand that many a time the woman has to work to supplement the family's income but this example i have cited was one such where income was not at all a major issue.

i am also talking of ladies who choose career over family. To them i say fine, it's your life and maybe you've worked hard to cut across so many boundaries and come so far to this position where you are and in your life all this recognition, achievement is no joke and you get to live it once. Do what gives you happiness. But choose one goal clearly. If you think you cannot take care of a child given the nature of your job then isn't it advisable not to have one. Or maybe have one when you can manage all that sufficient time to take care of both.
What's the use then bringing one and then having him/ her raped, abused, molested, assaulted and scarred for life.
As far as babysitters go...Kaamna story is one of the many happening daily besides newspapers are replete with other sad tales of what the so called aayaahs do to helpless babies while no one is there to watch. Please consider this as a request and wake up girls...before it is too late.

There is too much rage already and i shiver to think of all these babies growing up to become some another sore in the society. Bereft of the care, attention and time of their parents. Probably they can be like one of those money vending machines but without any values and virtues of their own. Because values and virtues are instilled at home. It comes from parents.
What would be the intensity of the rage that might be building up? Well it sure is making it's presence felt in all forms among our young ones today. The recent news of a premier institution child which went viral within minutes after it happened on the school playground had parents in shock in Delhi and rushing to the institution and blaming this and that for what had happened . When as a matter of fact half the time it is bad parenting or no parenting at all which is responsible.  i don't think any institution teaches abuse or molestation.
Dissatisfied, ignored, abused what kind of world citizens will our children grow up to be tomorrow i shudder to think.

i am not finished. i am angry with the whole scenario these days. Sometimes i think if education has corrupted us then we were not better off sans knowing how to read or write. Let me explain why i am saying this by narrating a true incident.
A few years back i was invited by a friend to Mumbai to be with her at her house for a couple of days because she had paid me a visit to Chennai when i was stationed there. i waited for my son's vacation and thus when the vacation started i did as she had wished. Moreover i was excited too because she was my best friend from school and after school our reunion had happened after a gap of ten years or so.
Childhood is pure. Best friendships at least as a concept originate then. That's what we feel then like Amir and Hassan.  But then we grow up and then the myth is busted. But even when the myth is busted about this concept called friendship one always wants to nurture the pure thought because there is happiness in that pure thought about a true friendship even though in real life it is quite rare.

Just like me she too had just one son who was a few years younger than my own son. Perhaps going to kindergarten. What i noticed in those two days was difficult for me to digest. Right from when the child would wake up in the morning till night when the he was put to bed that poor boy was at the mercy of a servant boy named Kailash. Now Kailash might be one of her trusted servants i wouldn't care less but it sure did trouble me to see no sign of any motherly instincts in my friend. The child was a bit older than a toddler but i did not see her behave like a mom. Rather she was more like a hostel warden giving instructions to Kailash and pushing off. What was strange to me was the fact that she was not a working woman either. The entire day she sat in the balcony of her Bandra house roving the net especially that page called Facebook and she called it ' Networking'. What was scaring me enough to make me feel very uncomfortable was that she seemed to be a strict disciplinarian.
Out of boredom because her child would not play outside my son asked me if he could watch Mega Cat City the cartoon on TV she intervened and suggested to my son, '' You should not watch TV, rather you should read story books..."
She never cooked either. Just sat there with her laptop open 24 hrs having umpteen cups of tea in between getting up for her lunch and dinner of course.
i had to witness other weird extremely hurtful aspects as well and as a result i scooted from there making false excuses much before my assigned time of departure vowing never to stay at a friend's place ever. Maybe one day i might muster the courage to narrate it all but at the moment i can only say maybe your friend may be weird /acidic or even strict disciplinarian and you might also discover that she might be suffering with some kind of OCD but might not try nasty things with you but you have no clue what the man she is staying with could be like. From all you know he could be the number one womanizer or a perv, a lech who thinks it's his birth right over every woman he comes across.
Seriously i suggest to all ladies to exercise caution before jumping feet first into any such invites. Especially if it is a friend's man and you have never met the man before and you are travelling alone without your husband/ protector.
i reached home intact unblemished and thanked my Guarding Angels from protecting me. Was feeling bad for my little one though who was hardly in his fourth grade. What if...
Those two days i noticed that for a small child that my friend's boy was he was quite subdued and timid and to me he seemed rather dull for his age. Meaning honestly he lacked the innocent joi de vivre that kids his age generally have and seemed different from other kids his age. Coming back home i could figure out the reasons why the chirpiness, ebullience, the free laughter of a child was lacking in him. He just kept sitting in his assigned place and didn't play around like other kids his age. He read as his mother said, sat with Kailash as his mother instructed. Everything was done as per his mother's instruction...the child's free will was not allowed in that house.
Apologies i digressed but this trend of women of letters staying away from kitchen, not caring for kids, getting someone, an outsider a paid one, to do it all...right from waking the child to washing to feeding...to taking him to school and then the same procedure after the child returns from school... this trend has become quite common these days. i wonder if that too has become a STATUS SYMBOL. And the reason they give is a joke. They say they are making the child ' INDEPENDENT'.
i saw no such independence in that particular child. To me he appeared just plain 'SAD'.

Especially among Indian educated women this trend has caught on. This joke about staying away from one's own responsibilities in the garb of making the child independent. What is prompting/ promoting all this...can't blame it on TV.
At the moment the only word that comes to my mind is that word 'SHIRK' .
Can't seem to figure out anything else.

Each one of us when we close our eyes or even with our eyes open, when we go down memory lane what do we see. We see a mother who washed, cleaned, cooked, kept the house proper and family together and when required woke up nights with us. Whether it was when we were sick or when we had our exams. All this despite her other duties to help us reach where we are today. Let us be very honest about that. Today when it's our turn why do we shirk from doing what we once received.
Since when did home and home related work become something for which we need to disturb our biological cycles to get one paid one to do all that. Yeah there are women from comfortable households working for Call Centers because they hate to stay at home and cook. i don't have any problems with keeping a help an assistant when you are around but leaving a helpless child on someone i definitely have a problem with that.

My friend...that friend is supposed to be a poet...a woman of letters. But trust me i have never met anyone in my life who fits the description of a ' Blue Jasmine' as she. Blue Jasmine is a term i have coined after that movie of the same name for friends who are phony, opportunists/ gold diggers and will look the other way in times of moral crisis because it is fine for them as they are okay with that situation because it suits them fine. i know one day she will be left out lonely and dejected, rejected also by that single child of hers but i am wondering how did she come to be that way because she had such a loving and caring mother and got the best of education. Today through common friends i have come to know that her lech of a man has left her for some other woman and now they are both separated although he has allowed the child to be with her and is paying her a good amount of alimony. Initially she tweeted nasty stuff for people calling them ' Holier than thou cows'. These were people who tried to drop in some sense into her when there was still time and i guess i was included in that Holier than thou crowd but i wouldn't care . Has she mended her ways is my only concern.
Because there is another word that is dropped like a bomb these days. People keep telling you...Don't be judgmental. i have known her since childhood. i tried in my own way to tell her about the joys of motherhood by narrating my happiness. About the simple pleasures of life but what did i get in return. She took me to a celebrity party and ridiculed my motherhood in front of strangers. i ran from there in tears. Not because i couldn't defend myself or anything but she used my little one's name...she mentioned my 'precious' and i couldn't bear that. As if by cooking for my child and taking care i was making him not fit for the society but she who spent the entire night there leaving her son with Kailash was doing a great job. She brought it all up just like that in a celebrity theme party God alone knows why.
This trend...this complex...this sickness how is this all happening. All that is good and glorious is being decried upon and all that is nonsense and quite dangerous is being taken up for grabs and specially among us educated learned Indian women. Why???
Why are we always eager for what is not right. Aping blindly without any sense of propriety what has already been falsified and proved wrong.
Which brings me back to my question...is education, emancipation, freedom... whatever, taking the womanhood...Indian Womanhood out of us???
i need answer friends and it would help to know your perspective.

The only words that gave me solace in my anger was this query from one Ms Anita who was asking Mr Sharath on Radio Fever that she is going to be a mother soon but she is also in a very good job. She is facing dilemma as to what she should do.
i was happy to hear what Mr Sharath had to say because in his words i was hearing echoes of mine. He said and i cannot quote but can provide a gist of what he said but in his classic style by narrating the story of a scenario of a classroom where kids were asked what their Moms were meaning if their mothers were oursuing careers the kids had to talk about that . All kids gave their answers quickly of their Moms jobs and then finally it was this shy cute little girl who said her mother was a cook, a driver, a teacher, a cleaner, a storyteller, a joker. a magician, a doctor, a plumber, a postman.... This girl's Mom was a home maker and yet the child a small child could sense her to be a supermom of some sort while others had just gone on to specify in a word or two that their mom was a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer.... That was the difference.
The teacher was very impressed and brought her forward and asked her how that could be possible and the little girl innocently explained everything her Mom did for her which encompassed the whole gamut of motherhood in the true sense of the term .
So after the story this is what Mr Sharath suggested to Anita, that if her life is comfortable enough she should take a break and give her baby her TIME and attention because that was the most important for any child. He narrated another story which explained why people work. People work to earn money so that they can give their kids the best. True. But the best gift any child can receive from parents is Time and attention he said. Thus another true story.
A upwardly mobile couple with a child had to attend a conference in a five star hotel. They went there along with their child  taking his babysitter too so that while they attended the conference the child could be looked after and would not be alone. Money was no issue so they paid and got one private suite room allotted for their child. The room was stacked well with all the best goodies the boy preferred . An assortment of chocolate, biscuits, cookies, cakes, shakes and not only that matching with these times, the best video games and cartoons. After settling the child there the parents left the child there with the babysitter to look after him. After his parents left the boy ate this and that, played with some stuff then became cranky. The babysitter tried all his tricks to shush him, pacify him but the child was relentless and after sometime started bowling over wildly for his mama. Finally mama had to be called for and just the mere sight of his mother he calmed down, dropped all his tantrums and stopped crying.  After a while in her arms he went off to sleep. Nothing, nothing in this world can compare to the presence of a mother. That is what every child needs. It's an old one and we all know it but i bring it here again, " God could not be everywhere, that's why He created Mothers." Mother also spells protection, security, comfort. Money can probably buy X Box and Play Stations and all the best brands of imported chocolates. It can't buy genuine love and time and time from their parents is what every child needs. Unfortunately nowadays right from the time they are toddlers they are left to be on their own and after some time they too start rejecting their parents. Then that blame game starts.

Coming back to Saavdhan India...nine year old Rahul Kapoor...why was it so difficult for his mother to understand...
How can one not understand the pleas of mercy of her own child?
Nowadays mothers don't have the time to listen...
i don't understand this trend...
Hassan in the Kite Runner was raped by his own kind because he was a poor boy and his friend was a coward. But Rahul was raped because of his parents nonchalance...especially his mother's. He made umpteen pleas to her but she just would not listen to her own child. She was just too self centered about her job, her promotion and her travels. i just can't imagine each day she would leave her child to be with a molestor and was not caring for the changes that she was seeing in that poor child. His sincere attempts to do all the housework to prove to his mother that he can take care of himself and does not need a babysitter. That Kaamna Aunty. i kept crying...and she was his mom...why couldn't she feel anything...

Yeah just one last one before i quit...

i need friends to talk to me...unfortunately none of my real friends are really interested. i can thus only ask you my blogdosts...


  1. Oh! This is such a heart-touching & candid post, in your inimitable & sincere style, Shivani.
    Words fail when we encounter terrible incidents - news & in personal lives.
    This is Kali Yuga & what else can we expect?
    I agree with your views.
    I can totally connect with every word you have written that proves your heart of gold.

    This has so many points & is so relevant.
    But, do today's parents have the time to think/contemplate?
    Earning money & joining the rat-race interests everyone.
    This is unfortunately at the cost of their elderly parents, in-laws & kids...

    You have shared real-life examples. This Post ought to be read by all.

    Even I agree- Why bring a child to the world, when we can't be responsible? Time is the greatest gift a parent can give her/his child. i had mentioned that in a previous post of mine that was about being 'Santa for My Child'...

    May we all have good sense soon.
    Waiting for the Redeemer just like you...
    Till then, keep writing & sharing your wise counsel through your posts.
    May Word-power conquer...

  2. Oh! This is such a heart-touching & candid post, in your inimitable & sincere style, Shivani.
    Words fail when we encounter terrible incidents - news & in personal lives.
    This is Kali Yuga & what else can we expect?
    I agree with your views.
    I can totally connect with every word you have written that proves your heart of gold.

    This has so many points & is so relevant.
    But, do today's parents have the time to think/contemplate?
    Earning money & joining the rat-race interests everyone.
    This is unfortunately at the cost of their elderly parents, in-laws & kids...

    You have shared real-life examples. This Post ought to be read by all.

    Even I agree- Why bring a child to the world, when we can't be responsible? Time is the greatest gift a parent can give her/his child. i had mentioned that in a previous post of mine that was about being 'Santa for My Child'...

    May we all have good sense soon.
    Waiting for the Redeemer just like you...
    Till then, keep writing & sharing your wise counsel through your posts.
    May Word-power conquer...

  3. wake up call.the literate mothers need to be educated.i believe in every word of yours.when the child is there one parent has to be home while the other goes to earn bread.

  4. your write up was so intense that i forgot to appreciate the pomegranate bells.they look polished.brillient photography

  5. every time you showcase some fresh beauties :)

  6. OMG! All I can say is when you bring a human being to this world, it's your responsibility. Sad to read this story.

    Beautiful pictures and you are getting better day by day. Btw, which camera you used for this post?

    1. Saru...my God appreciation feels so great. Thank you so much. NIKON 5100. lens 18-55...that's what came with it when i bought it...haven't bought anything else as yet that's why my bird pics are not that gud...i gues i need to buy one with a gud zoom. Well let's see...I NEED still to work with this i guess.