Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

There is immense pressure on women both mentally and physically to avoid being raped. There are many useless things being said about avoiding rape, from carrying chili powder to not venturing outside the house after dark.

Here’s a list I came across on the Feminist Law Professors blog through an article in Guardian.

Anne Bartow’s Sexual Assault Prevention Tips

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behaviour.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

This came up in the guardian today. I had to put it up on my blog following the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last Sunday.

I am back

I am back from our trip to India. And surprisingly I am sulking. For someone who has boasted all her life that she likes her solitude, here I am craving for people, chaos  and mess. It wasn’t like this the last time. Tsk tsk.

As for our trip, things never go as planned. We had made grand plans – people to meet, places to visit, things to eat and do, in fact narrowed them down to weeks and days as we thought this was a short trip (yea we consider 4 weeks as short). I didn’t met half the people I wanted to, couldn’t even call some of them. Hubby was better off in that I suppose.

Kiddo thoroughly enjoyed Ganpati. He woke up early morning, had a bath and went with hubby and other relatives to bring home the idol. He was all excited to recite the aartis, perform puja (in his own way) and put flowers. He was also thrilled to see that Ganpati always had his one hand up to say “Hi!” He used to come rushing to me and say that Ganpati is saying Hi to him!

The other thing he enjoyed immensely was riding in cars and auto rikshaws. Every morning after he woke up, he would go to the balcony and look out whether our cars are still there in the parking lot. Going for a ride in Honda City was almost a daily event which was often followed by a ride in the auto.

And then there were the gifts he received!!

My brother gifted this jumbo ferrari car to kiddo. Their bond is surely getting stronger. Men and cars I tell you.

The food…!!!

My mum made these delicious modaks on the occasion of Ganpati. No wonder they vanished within minutes.
FIL got this jumbo Pomfret a day before we were leaving!! Yummy doesn’t suffice!
My sis-in-law made this scrumptious cake. From scratch. Yes. Even the flowers. How beautiful is that???

Back to reality

More rants from the NRI…

For more than a year now, we have been living in a city with no illness. Two days after coming to Mumbai, diarrhea struck kiddo. After living abroad it is now ingrained on my mind that kiddo needs to build his immunity and no medical attention is required for such infections. However, after a day of no relief, we finally took him to the doc. The anti-bacterial medicine didn’t help and we had to put him on antibiotics. This is the first time we gave him antibiotics. He has not completely recovered from dysentery but it is down to a couple of times a day.

While in Edinburgh, he never suffered from dysentery or diarrhoea. Ever. In the past one and a quarter year. We went out a lot on day trips and holidays, gave him outside food, juices and drinks but never once did it upset his stomach. Is it any wonder then, that I am bad mouthing Mumbai, its weather, pollution, water, milk, everything!

Kiddo has always been thin. Like me. He has never been the chubby cheeks baby. Neither was I. I had a secret hope that when I come back to Mumbai, he will get proper ghar ka khana from his grandmothers and that might help him put on some weight. Now I seriously doubt that. He will taste a variety of delicious food here but am not sure whether that will help him put on any more weight.

It is not even one week since I arrived in Mumbai and I am already eager to take him back to Scotland, feed him some brandy in the chilly winters when I reach there.

Sad Situation

I was roused from my afternoon slumber yesterday when hubby called to inform me that three blasts have taken place in Mumbai. Frantic calls to family and friends followed. We heaved a sigh of relief when everyone back home was safe and accounted for.

This is the second time in the last four years of my marriage that I am out of India and these terror attacks took place and on these both occasions we talked to family, they said, they were glad, happy in fact that we were out of Mumbai. Yesterday, my FIL told me to continue our stay here in Edinburgh for as long as possible. That was his conclusion. This is what it has come to. It’s better if you are an NRI.

Later last evening we took sonny out in the gardens for his play and to buy some groceries. He is reluctant to sit in the pram now and is quite happy to walk. We don’t have to grab him by the arm, or keep a watch on him from fear of someone kidnapping him or him getting lost in the crowd. Here he is free to walk, stroll, run as he pleases, in the garden and even on the footpath. Could this ever be possible in Mumbai now?

Later when I spoke with my dad, he said that this one is comparatively better than the train blasts which took more lives! At least the death toll is less. As if that makes this attack okay somehow. We have adjusted to such low standards of security. We have so less expectations.

Who is affected and who does really care? The families of the dead ones are so grieved with the deaths, they don’t have the strength to lash out and blame the government, the families of those who are injured are busy taking care of them and worried about their health. When my dad was injured in the 1993 blasts, we were more worried about his health than questioning the government. And then there are those who are well and come out unharmed from these attacks, like us. We are relieved that we are safe, our families and friends are safe. We watch the news, blog, comment, express anger and frustration – but in the end we are just bystanders, helplessly watching the dismal conditions around us. Next day, we get up, get ready, go to offices – of course we have to meet the project deadlines. We have to earn our bread and butter after all.

We are in a loop. Terror strikes, people respond in anger. Blame government, media, politicians, our hopeless situation. Few days pass, anger subsides, people get sucked back into their lives problems, attacks are pushed at the back of our minds, we continue with life until the next strike comes. There is no solution.

The common man’s life is of no importance in Mumbai and in India. You have no job security if you stay back home scared from these attacks. Here in Edinburgh, when it snowed last year for an entire week and the roads were covered in knee-deep hardened snow, people were advised not to leave their houses unless necessary and that didn’t include offices and work. Schools were closed, holidays declared and offices were shut down early in the coming days. That is the level of safety precautions that this government took due to a week of heavy snowfall. And we Mumbaikars are back in offices and kids in school on the very next day of such deadly attacks. Have terror strikes and blasts become a way of life in Mumbai?

It’s a very sad situation.

Book Review: The Space Between Us

Title: The Space Between Us
Author: Thrity Umrigar
ISBN: 978-0007212330
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Synopsis: Sera, a widow, is an upper middle class Parsi housewife living in Bombay. After her husband, Feroz’s death, she lives with her daughter Dinaz and her husband. Though she is presently happy with her daughter, her husband, Feroz’s and mother in law’s abuse still haunts her. Bhima is Sera’s housekeeper for years. When Bhima’s underage grand daughter, Maya becomes pregnant, Bhima is fearful for her future.

My Review:
This book was on my TBR list for a long time and I finally got a chance to read it. I was hooked on from the first page. This is a very well written book. Even though the content isn’t always pleasing, the people and the emotions are so very real. Of the two protagonists, Bhima’s character is of true integrity and strength. She changes and grows as the novel progresses. Despite the hardships she suffered in life and the challenges that she still faces, she is like a rock and has the will to endure more for her loved ones. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself even though she is angry. She feels lucky with her job at Sera’s family and that they treat her like a person.

Sera has had a financially secure life but all isn’t good as it appears on the surface. Her husband, Feroz, was physically and emotionally abusive and she has suffered a lot at the hands of both him and her mother-in-law. Even after Feroz’s death, the past abuse haunts her and she finds comfort in her daughter Dinaz and her husband. Bhima is the only person who is aware of Feroz’s abuse and thus these two share a secret. Although Sera treats Bhima with care and gives her special attention, she is not able to think of her as an equal.

The male characters though written beautifully, do not have any redeeming qualities. Having said this, the women are also imperfect in their decisions and choices yet portrayed authentically. Umrigar has not only explored class differences in this book but the balance of power among cultures and societies.  It is an incredible book with real characters and beautiful poignant writing. Highly recommended.

PS: Second book of my South Asian Challenge.

From tandoori chicken to size 8

And you thought I would put on weight with all that hogging. Sheesh! How can you think so? I guess it’s in the genes. No, it’s the jeans. Or maybe it’s the way I cook food. Confused yet?

Okay let me begin at the beginning. After another hogging weekend, what with the Chicken Tandoori and mutton and fish, we went out shopping for clothes last evening. I have never had to go on diet so far but just when I was panicking on which size jeans to try on, I was surprisingly delighted! For me it was always a dreadful thing to go on and buy jeans or trousers or whatever type of pants since a particular size never fits me and it’s always between two sizes that I have to choose, one that is a bit loose and other that’s too tight. So you can imagine my pleasure at finding the right jeans in the right colour in the right size and the right height. I was almost squealing in joy when this time the smaller size fit perfectly. 

Flare Jeans

Back to the tandoori chicken, let’s just say that it’s one of those dishes that I miss most so have been cooking it frequently recently and every time we find a wine that goes well with Indian and tandoori dishes. Here’s a pic:

That’s fresh from the grill

I have been having weird dreams lately – of meeting fellow bloggers and discussing with them their posts I like the most and conversing as if we have been old friends. Note that apart from commenting on their blogs and having them respond to my comments, there’s nothing I know of them personally but what makes you bond with them through their posts? Are we so open and forthright with people in our reals lives as we are on blogs?

I am also experiencing this bizarre thing – right before I fall asleep, I have some brilliant ideas about a blog post, or something really funny that I just have to share and then I fall asleep. I will myself to get up and write down that thought but then at that moment I fall asleep and have no recollection of it when I wake up. Have you been experiencing anything like this?

And a big hello to the lurkers! Please please introduce yourselves. I know you are here, some regular lurkers and some new ones. How are you doing this week?

I’m back! :)

So been a long time huh? Where have I been? What was I up to? I know you all are dying to know, the few handful of you who read me.

Well, this is the second Diwali I spent in another country. It’s been alternate years now since marriage that I am in different countries celebrating festivals. The biggest excitement this year though was that Shantanu was able to comprehend some part of it. He realised that something is different with all the lights and sweets. Sweets! my parents and in-laws sent in packages of sweets and Diwali mithai. It really brought out the festive mood in our home. With lights and diyas and firecrackers we had a fantastic Diwali.

I want to note here that this was the first time that Shantanu ate the Diwali sweets and enjoyed the lights so much so that he wanted to keep them turned on the entire day. We shot a lot of videos of Shantanu playing and laughing and talking and sent them back to my parents and in-laws.

The kiddo has come a long way now since my last post about him. He can now easily climb up the chairs and tables, can speak up a lot of words and keeps adding to the vocabulary every day. Touchy-feel books are his favourite and he can recognize a lot of objects in them. Pushing the TV buttons, eating and gnawing the remote controls, mobiles and books is another of his favourite activity. He is even strong enough now to pull and push the TV. He loves to pick up the letters that arrive by post and brings them to me. He leaves all that he is doing when the mailbox flap makes a big sound and runs to collect the letters. When they are quite a few and heavy ones, he ponders and brings the light ones first and keeps the heavy ones for his last trip. He helps me with the laundry by putting clothes into the washing machine.

During Diwali, when we dressed him up in new clothes, I realised that he was a little boy now and not a little baby anymore. Hmm, I miss those days when he was a baby with all that baby smell. Now I have a tot tumbling all around me.

The other woman

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time now and this Ganpati festival gives me the perfect opportunity. Yes dear readers, I am one of those who have to deal with the other woman in their lives. Now before you go berserk, let me tell you that by the other woman, I mean my mother-in-law (MIL). There comes a time when a wife realises that she’s not the only woman in her husband’s life, he also has a mother.

What makes me think of her, you ask. Well just about everything. To start with, hubby has been in love with her since he was born and she is the focal point around which our household revolves. So what’s new? Isn’t that the case with every other family? But she is different.

If you look at her, you might notice only a thin person with a frail body who is perhaps subjected to malnutrition and arduous work. That’s true but with a twist. Her physical persona might give you the impression that she is fragile and weak but on the inside she is just as strong. It amazes me to see the amount of work that she can put into a single day. Not only does she cook a variety of dishes a day (in the morning as well as evening) but she also cooks them to perfection. She is a perfectionist. I have developed a taste to many a dishes all due to her delicious cooking. She has told me many a times that she doesn’t like to cook but that doesn’t stop her from going to the kitchen every morning. I guess I mimic most of her cooking methods and processes.

Now before a certain lady in Mira Road starts raising her eyebrows, let me assure you that you are my hallmark for cooking and almost all other things but my MIL comes so close to it that I cannot help but appreciate. Observing the MIL’s cooking is like watching Sachin Tendulkar bat. It appears to be very easy but when you actually try it yourself, it’s very difficult specially the puranpolis and kanavale. You got to see it to believe it. I haven’t seen her complain about cooking, well maybe just this time. 🙂

She has been a stay at home mom, a home-maker from the time hubby was a small child but her problem solving skills are amazing. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is shrewd but wise. She has a solution to your every problem. She has a remarkably adroit memory and can so easily remember where things are kept around the house. She is quick as a wink, fast as a hurricane in the kitchen, serene and calm while performing her daily pooja. She may appear to be flustered and excitable when presented with a problem but underneath she is unperturbed. She believes in god with a passion but doesn’t compel others to follow suit. Her infectious laughter and approachable nature make her a very pleasing personality.

So why am I thinking so much about her today? It’s festive time in India and that too Ganpati. Here, so far away from the family I am missing the festive mood. The house looks like a bachelor’s pad – everything scattered. Back home, I know the house would be clean, the plants watered, the gods adorned with flowers and ornaments – all the MIL’s doing. Her idiosyncrasies about cleanliness and the poise that she exhibits during such times has a celestial charm to it.

That is what I am missing.

Book Review: 2 States

Author: Chetan Bhagat


Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya who are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a though battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but much harder to convince. Will they make it?

My review: 

I picked this up after hearing some rave reviews from my friends. It was not very gripping to me. I read it in parts and after a point, I wanted it to just get over. It was predictable after a point. Why was Krish’s father shown as such a villain? And what made him so? His character seemed totally out of depth with no explanation whatsoever to his psyche. Also, why was the Punjabi clan made out like a bunch of idiots except Krish? Were the two protagonists exception to the qualities demonstrated by their respective families?

It was entertaining in parts but at times too far-fetched, specially when Krish proposes the entire family with the four rings. It was genuinely funny at times but the characters sounded very dramatic and sometimes immature.

Maybe I was expecting a lot more from Chetan Bhagat.

My rating: 2.5/5