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A new phase begins.

 

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You know how, when you are about to set off on a journey, or embark upon a  new venture, you experience those butterflies in your stomach? Well, that’s just how I feel as I type my first post on my new blog!

As I sit here, trying to work out my thoughts, align them in an order and pour them out on the screen, I think of the time I began four years ago as a techno-challenged newbie blogger, writing whatever came to my mind. Back then, I was oblivious to the myriad possibilities that lay in store for a blogger.  But, over the years, having met some fine bloggers, and the varied projects they are associated with, the seed of an idea was sowed in my mind.

To implement that idea, I had to move to a custom domain and then begin something different that would (hopefully) take me to newer avenues. Being  techno-challenged, I really wasn’t sure how I would do it, but, being  pig-headed, I wanted to do it all by myself. Thankfully, hubby’s colleague was there to help me make the big move to WordPress from Blogger and get a custom domain. And, from there on, I was on my own; she being a busy professional, and I being in a hurry!

It did worry me, initially. Working on Blogger for all these years, handling the complicated scenario on WordPress was anything but simple.  I did get all jittery when I saw I just could not cope up with the complex structure of this place. But, you know that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”? Well, that helped me in driving home the point that setting up the blog was really not rocket science. My blogger friend, Ankita Bhoye who had done the entire “job” herself, inspired me to give it my all.

It was really simple. All I had to do, was look up on the Net and follow the instructions on the videos on YouTube.  And, that’s all I did. Ha ha. Who am I kidding? Frankly, it was really not as simple as that.  There were  moments when I would pull my hair in frustration, shed copious tears at having failed to follow the technical jargon and spoiled things, and being such an utter failure!  But, luckily for me, some things fell into place by fluke, and slowly but steadily I began finding my way through the complex maze and reaching my goal.

And, finally, after all these days of sitting cooped up at home, bent on the keyboard, working feverishly on achieving the desired target, here I am. My old blog, ‘Feelings’ changed over to,’Metanoia’, with a new look. There are a few changes here, as in I have shifted all of my fiction posts to a new fiction blog I created some time ago. I have also included my art work in here and given it the platform it deserved. Erm, do I sound a tad boastful? Forgive me if I do, but reaching the place I have from where I began, I myself hadn’t expected this much of me, and thus the tinge of pride in my words.

Metanoia is an ancient Greek word that means a journey of change in one’s heart, mind and way of life. It is the precise word I was looking for. As human beings, we are constantly evolving; changing with times, and our various experiences; changing towards being a better version of ourselves, and that’s what I want to achieve. That’s what I hope to achieve through my work on my blog and in my life.

Inspiring myself to make changes in me is the reason behind this big leap. I keep my fingers crossed and intend to give it my all. I don’t know what the future will bring with it. All I intend to do is do my best, enjoy the journey and grow as a human being. So, help me God!

I would love to get your feedback and suggestions, considering I am still not very adept at handling the intricacies of the technology needed for this kind of work. It will be of a  great help to me.

Thank you all!

Love,

SHILPA..

Let there be change.

Let there be change.

          Every morning, when I skim through the newspaper, my eyes  search for a particular piece of news, which I actually dread reading: a sexual assault here, a gruesome rape there, the lenient laws of our country which fail to offer hope to the victims, and the accusations that fly thick and fast, landing blows on the victims in the worst periods of their life.  Careless statements like, “it surely must be the woman’s fault”, or, “she must have been dressed inappropriately”, or even, “she behaved in such a way, she asked for it”, get thrown around so casually by the heartless public, it embarrasses me no end.  Seriously, do we ask for it?!
As much as I remember, I did NOT ask for it when I was just 14 years old, decently dressed in a salwar kameez, holding my mother’s hand, trying  to enter a crowded ladies compartment of a train, when a male hand, with long, sharp fingernails  groped me, pinched me and disappeared into the crowd, leaving me badly hurt and shaken. I also  did NOT ask for it, when I got spanked  in a crowded street  by a  boy, who was out to have fun with his rowdy friends, leaving me thunderstruck.  And, I certainly did NOT ask for it, when, as an 8 year old, I was violated by my tutor –  the teenaged son of our family friends, whom I looked up to  like an elder brother.
Each and every ‘incident’ (and some more)  happened  years ago, but I remember it so vividly, as if it were  yesterday! The disgust, the shame and the guilt attached to it came without an expiry date. Even now, it leaves me feeling nauseated. So, when I think about those unfortunate souls, who have been harassed and tortured in worse ways, I shudder to think, how long, before they breathe freely, sleep peacefully?
Such incidents rarely, if ever, get erased from our memory. The fear, the trauma that stays behind, breeds a  wariness of people, that refuses to die with time.  Each time I hear about little girls being tutored by   a male teacher, I pray the teacher doesn’t have a devil hidden somewhere within him. Every time I see young girls, lost in thoughts, or listening music on  their iPods while walking through a busy street, I pray for their safety. Not all are capable of fighting back. I wasn’t. I was too young and terrified when it happened.
I know, after reading about my experiences, people might wonder why I speak about such embarrassing incidents. There will also be others, who might say,”Such things keep happening. Why didn’t she slap the guy?”  Well, first of all, it wasn’t I, who  committed the sin. Therefore, I don’t feel ashamed speaking about it. In fact, I think we must voice our experiences, so that we know we aren’t alone. And, secondly, does ‘such things being quite common’  give permission to men to behave lecherously, and treat women as  objects meant to be pawed at?
However, the worst part of it is, when the victims get blamed for such crimes. I agree, that not every place is a safe haven for women to roam freely, dressed as per their likes. But, not every sexual assault takes place in a dark and dingy lane, where women are found loitering around in the skimpiest of outfits! These crimes take place in broad daylight, in the busiest of places, among known people, and with women covered from head to toe in traditional  outfits. Correct me if I am wrong.
It’s  time we pointed fingers at the culprit, instead of  finding faults in the victims of sexual harassment.  Let’s not forget there are daughters in every home.  Heaven forbid, if someday, some of those little girls fall prey to  such evil, won’t you hunt down those beasts for their blood?  Or, will you ask your girls, why they weren’t dressed appropriately, or reproach them for having asked for it? Or, ask them why they simply stood there, instead of retaliating?
Victims of sexual harassment deserve a sympathetic understanding of their ordeals, and not those  accusing fingers pointing at their ‘flawed characters’.  Just peep into those hearts, which thudded with horror, when their bodies were being attacked in such brutal ways; just feel those  wounds, which were inflicted on those innocent souls, and which are still raw and hurting. You will feel the pain they experience when inundated by scornful statements, which get sprinkled liberally at the first instance of an attack on their modesty.
Today, we strive to make our society a safer place for women. But, will we really be able to achieve it unless we  punish – and banish – the devil that resides in every mind? Shouldn’t we be making the laws stricter for the perpetrators, than ordering a decent dress code? Shouldn’t we be shaming the culprits, and bringing them out in the open, to be skinned alive in order to teach the rest of them a lesson?
A little change in our attitude, a lot of change in our laws, will definitely work towards ensuring  a safer world for every human being. Is that a lot to ask?