Sunday, March 29, 2015


The poem Chull, penned in the early years of the twenty-first century, is a descriptive commentary on the social injustice faced by women in the India of the post modern era. The poet, Fazilpuria, places himself in the shoes of the haves, the have-nots, the observers and the culprit, and brings forth the varied perspectives that are prevalent in such a patriarchal society. The title aptly describes the feeling of uneasiness felt by the poet and remains the central theme of the poem.

Yeah! Yeah!
Re Fazilpuria in the house.
Arey ladki beautiful kar gayi chull.
Arey ladki beautiful kar gayi chull.

The poem begins with words of affirmation without stating the matter or substance for which such approval is granted, thus laying the foundation of the social background in which the poem is set. It signifies a social construct where collective approval of the society is given precedence over any individualistic or logical thought and reasoning. The point is further reiterated when the poet refers to himself with the pseudonym “Fazilpuria” that shows his desperate attempt to be identified as a resident of Fazilpur and have no individual identity of his own. He finds comfort in being just another face in the crowd as standing out from the mob could bring him dire consequences. The third and fourth lines of the poem are repetitions, which again, stand evidence to the interpretation stated above.

Dekh tera rang saanwla, hua baawla.
Ladki nahi hai, tu hai garam maamla.
Bolti bandh meri, kahoon kya bhala,
Kuchh bhi kaha nahi jaaye.

In these lines, the poet addresses a girl by telling her about how the society is “mad” at her for her dusky skin color. She is told that she is not a girl, but a topic for a heated discussion. These lines shed light on the society’s disapproval for both the girl and a dark complexion. Thus, the poet states that a dusky girl is synonymous with a matter that gives rise to heated emotions. He, therefore, states that it is better to stay mute about such an issue because there is nothing that can be said on the matter, which would result in a positive outcome.

Re re re re, kanya kunwari, adbhut naari,
Badshah ki matt tune maari.
Chadh ke tere pe karun ghud sawari
Chance jo ek mil jaaye.

Here, the poet comments on the “king” or the presiding government of the country, which seems to lose its mind over any opportunity to take advantage of a situation of women oppression. The poet states that regardless of the oppressed being a young girl who has the potential to grow into an extraordinary woman some day, the government is only concerned about how it could use the situation to establish a vote bank in a democracy. The fact of the king’s loss of sense and wisdom at each such opportunity is substantiated by incidents from the India of the early twenty-first century, when the ruling Parliamentarians would make sexist comments on one hand and announce promises of women emancipation on the other. The metaphor of the king’s horse-riding of every oppressed lady is a mark of brilliance in brevity on part of the poet.

Meri jaan naache tu Dilli, hile hai London,
Matak-matak jaise Raveena Tandon,
Aag lagaane aayi hai ban-than,
Goli chal gayi dhaayein.

In these lines, the poet very subtly comments on a specific episode from the social media uproar of that time. He reminds us of the time when the law makers of the Indian sub-continent were dancing over a landmark event of crime against women in the capital, and then hypocritically expressed their dismay when a media channel based out of London decided to broadcast the matter globally. This stanza tries to bring the reader’s attention to the irony that the residents of Fazilpur enjoy objectifying women at one moment, salivating at the seductive movements of a lady, and then go forth to killing them in the name of vulgarity at another. The onomatopoeia at the end of the stanza signifies the noise that the issue makes in the society, bereft of all action.

Teri akhri jawaani,
Karti hai manmaani,
Teri daaton mein ungli,
Mere munh mein hai paani,
Mere samajh ishaare.
Tu lagti siyaani, baby!

The poet now puts himself in the shoes of the culprit, whose excuses for his crimes are on the lines of blaming the victim, by stating that it was her will and desire (manmaani) that the culprit put her through physical abuse. He explains that the victim had put her finger between her teeth, which was a non-verbal sign, inviting him to molest her. The last line of the stanza shows how the culprit does not even care for the age of the girl and many a times makes a baby his victim.

Arey daayein, baayein,
Kaise kamar tu jhulaaye?
Physics samajh nahi aaye!
Arey ladki beautiful kar gayi chull.

Arey jaaye jaaye,
Dekh raha nahi jaaye.
Saanp sa jaise dass jaaye,
Arey ladki beautiful kar gayi chull.

Koi bacha lo, mujhe sambhalo,
Arey ise utha lo,
Arey ladki beautiful.
Koi to roko, Chhori nu toko.
Arey ladki beautiful kar gayi chull.

Here, the poem continues to depict the mentality of the culprit, who finds illogical and unreasonable excuses for inappropriately touching the victim by stating that he did so because he wanted to understand movements in the human body. His ignorance is displayed by the poet through an intentionally incorrect reference to biology with the word “physics”. The succeeding lines also state that the most common excuse reckoned by society is that the criminal cannot contain his emotions on exposure to such venomous actions on part of the girl, who is equated with a serpent that bit the culprit; the latter having acted only in a manner of self-defense.  The matter ends with the culprit trying to present himself as the victim and demanding the society to stop women from engaging in such adulterous and indecent activities, for which they should be killed.

To sum, the poem is a true reflection of an uncivilized and grossly uneducated society, which is capable of spelling the word “beautiful”, but not educated enough to understand its true meaning.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Struggles of Using an Indian Toilet

My house does not have an Indian style potty. I don’t know how, but sometime over the past decade of the realtors’ party, everyone who built a house chose to leave out the ceramic trench in the ground on which one could squat and poop away to glory. It could be an inconspicuous conspiracy of the West to make us forget the important life skills that come with squatting over bhinbhinaati makkhi’s, but as long as those little jets of stainless steel poke through triangular wings of a Mach 5 aircraft behind our toilet seats, we must try to not give in to such westernization completely.

I don’t wish to sound like a whine. I mean, yes, it scares me to use toilet seats at public places, where I hope there’s enough toilet paper for me to line the rim with before I gently lay my posterior on the wet throne. However, the sight of an Indian toilet with a semi-viscous pyramid lying bang in the centre sends more than a frigid chill down my spine. I wish that weren’t the case.

On my recent trip to Vaishno Devi when I had absolutely no option but to hold my shit together (literally), I kept hoping to do away with pooping for the day and a half that I was to climb uphill and then retreat. But there’s only so much that your delicate gut can hold when your diet on the tour is Rajma Chawal or Aaloo Poori. Being completely inept at squatting over a pit to poopify, here’s what ran through my mind when nature called.

“Damn! Not potty again! I mean, ek ghanta jab hotel mein pot pe baithe raho, tab toh kuchh hota nahi hai. And just when you’re like, two kilometres away, it comes running like an ex.”

“God, where am I going to poop now?! Must distract my mind from thinking about it.”

*after five seconds*

“It’s frikkin’ unbearable. My izzat is in bhagwaan ke haath today. Jai Mata Di. Jai Mata Di.

“Shoot! Must not put so much zor! Calm down, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale… Haha, this sounds like I’m pregnant and in labor… WTF, don’t push! No, no!”

*spots a toilet and runs funny towards it, holding both butt-cheeks tightly together, hoping nothing falls through*

“Damn! The Indian Toilet! How in frig am I going to do this! Aaj toh bas aar ya paar.”

Now, the Indigenous Indian Potty Mechanism (IIPM) appears to work in a simple way. You squat over a trench and poop. How hard could it be, no? Haha. Easy peasy! Except, that’s what it wants you to think till you actually begin to use it. *shiver and tremor*

You could be lucky enough to find a working latch on the door and no pile of poop chilling on the white ceramic like, “Hey bro, what’s up!” You must know that the Toilet Dev has been very generous to you. Jai ho! But, it’s just about time when you would hope that your Gayatri Mantra had a few words to the effect of “do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from evil”, because shit is about to get real!

The Western Toilet makes it convenient for you to pull down your pants and sit over it, comfortably swiping over your phone. But you mustn’t forget that the IIPM comes from the land of yoga. Among the paraphernalia, there is nothing in the name of a hook. So, your first challenge is to take off your shoes and then your pants and put them at a dry spot on the floor so that you can squat with no hindrance to your butt-hole. Except, the IIPM is built in an area where if every organ of your body is not slim enough to have six pack abs, sorry, you cannot fit inside the cubicle. Consequently, there isn’t any space to put your pants and whatever of the floor is left is completely wet. So, what do you do? You keep your shoes on, pull down your pants to your calves and sit like a frog having no idea about how you are going to save your pants from the trajectory of the bodily fluid that is going to accompany the poopsauce. (Guys would understand; girls would not).

The second struggle comes in balancing yourself with feet over the slabs on either side. You need to open your legs wide enough so as to not fall inside the trench, and hope that you’re not wearing jeans so tight that they tie your legs together at the shins. It’s like playing sack race where if you fall, you’re going down in shit. Fear Factor India, bitches!

Also, if that wasn’t enough, there’s a little catch. You can’t really squat with your soles touching the ground completely. You’re supposed to be on your toes so that your centre of gravity doesn’t shift beyond your rectum and result in you falling with your butt first into the pot right on top of the warm, creamy you-know-what.

Moving on, if you’ve been successful in the first level, having applied enough pressure that your face went red sandwiched between your two pyramidal knees, but not so much that you, god forbid, fall into the IIPM, it’s time for level two: the washing time.

The inventory available with you during this process is a tap which runs perpetually no matter how much you twist and turn its top. Thus, explaining the wet floor. And, either no mug to collect the water in or a whole bucket that frikkin’ overflows with twenty litres of H2O. Muhuhahaha much?

If there’s no mug to collect the water, you can only imagine what you’re going to do. And if there’s a huge bucket full of water that you are unable to move in the squatty position because of one, its weight and two, because its rim is jammed under the tap which has been fixed on the wall too low; I’m sorry, but you cannot even begin to imagine what you’re going to do.

For the braveheart who fights through all of the obstacles and emerges a winner, I don’t think the absence of a bar of soap would be much botheration.

Let’s just say that I’m glad I don’t have an IIPM installed at my place. Among other things, I would hate to have Hussain Kuwajerwala barge into my house on a Sunday morning with a stupid Harpic cap, dying to run his fingers over my Indian toilet to see if it squeaks.

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