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Society still harbours discriminatory and sexist notions that can threaten the existence of those we hold near and dear to us. Is there a way out?
Manjari lit the oil lamp kept in front of Lord Krishna’s idol. She looked at it with reverence for a while, closed her eyes and offered her prayers for the day. Tucking the loose end of her saree around her slender waist she proceeded towards the kitchen section of her one-room apartment.
On the shelf,s tood her cherished asset, ‘Murphy’s Radio’, she turned it on. *‘Jago mohan pyare…’ She smiled, listening to it and made herself a cup of tea.The radio was her companion for life. Both her daughters were still asleep. She got down to her routine.
As a street food vendor she could hardly afford to rest. She placed a heap of potatoes into the cooker for boiling. Her customers loved her *vadas and onion fritters. Keeping an eye on the watch she began to prepare lunch for the day. She was kneading the dough when the radio played *‘dushman na kare……’.Without being aware, her mind started ruminating about the past.
After satisfying his carnal desires, Milind whispered into Manjari’s ears. “ This time I want a son.” She gave her husband a reluctant smile camouflaging her anxiety. Hearing the wail of her first-born Chavvi, five months pregnant Manjari got up to nurse her. In the darkness of the night she cried bitterly,as the baby suckled.
Milind was an indolent, drunkard and lecherous man who gave her only pain. But as an optimist, Manjari hoped bearing a son would change him for the better.
Hell broke loose on her when she returned delivering a second daughter. “Get out! You whore.” Milind howled and pushed her out of the hut along with the babies. Her sutures were fresh and body feeble, after childbirth. Somehow she gathered herself back. “ Where will I go with two daughters? I have no place to go!” she begged.
“To any brothel. And take this dowry back, your stupid radio.’’ He slammed the door on her face. The shanty town remained a mute spectator to her predicament. That night she trudged through an unknown path carrying her two babies and the radio.
“Ma!” Chavvi’s voice broke her reverie. Manjari’s eyes twinkled seeing her daughters. She served them milk and biscuits. She was proud of herself and her daughters. In those nine years, they had come a long way. Her daughters gave her company till their school gate. Later, Manjari pushed her cart towards the market all alone listening to songs. Her radio kept the customers entertained while she fried *vadas and onion fritters.
At the end of the day she packed a few leftovers for her kids.
She was taking her usual path back home,when a ravenous tramp acted as an impediment. One look and she knew who it was. His eyes pleaded for forgiveness and mercy. Manjari remained unmoved.
She loathed his presence and tried to ignore him but he kept following her. This time she gave him alms and strode ahead without looking back as the radio played *‘Zindagi ke safar mein ..…’ (in life’s journey).
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Finance professional,an avid blogger. I write to keep the child in me happy and contented. Contributing author of the poetry anthology Nyctophilia.Children's book Airavata and The Femme of Animal Kingdom. read more...
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).