Friday, November 6, 2015

The futility of chivalry

On a Monday morning, early in the office premise, when I did not hold the swinging glass door of the building for the lady four steps behind me, she uttered without stopping or looking at me, "Where have all the men gone?”

I instantly regretted not having held the swinging door and give it a slip exactly when she entered.

I felt bad. I usually do hold the door for a lady. But it was a tense morning. I had many thoughts I was struggling to get rid of before I entered office. It just skipped me.

In retrospect, I could not help but wonder though. Did she deserve it? Can she demand this from me? Would she have held the door for me? But I am an able bodied man. She looked like an abled bodied woman too.

A reasonable counter argument obviously is that nobody can demand you to be ‘nice’. You just are.

A seemingly harmless matter, ‘popular chivalry’ is intrinsic and deep-rooted to the inequities in our society. I think I understand how the idea of men with the righteous aura and prim demeanor has been ingrained by the novelists and pseudo historians in the minds of women since generations. So I understand the skepticism completely.

The Argument (against popular chivalry)

It is sexist…and it’s not even subtle
It is medieval and wasn’t propagated as a means to give women a sense of equality.  The best pro-chivalry defense that can be offered by anyone is that it is to ‘take care of women’.  But why women need to be taken care of ... and especially any more than men do? The clever inception of this thought began with seductive words of poets and European royalty. Modern women are not as vulnerable as they were in those days. They kick our butts every day…in pretty much everything. Why then do we need a superficial mannerism to validate our need to be seen as a ‘gentlemen’?

Women don’t need it
We all like to be taken care of. There is absolutely nothing wrong in it. But do you really need men to hold doors, pulling out a chair, pay your dinners? You want to take charge? Marry a home maker husband, date a guy who earns lesser, hold the door for a man to pass by (and trust me you will get a very warm smile that’ll make your day). Gestures are beautiful and long as they are voluntary and genderless.


It is a benchmark superficial behavior

Need I explain it? A man must be really empathetic rather than follow a bunch of manners made up by European poets which have no real meaning or application in the real world.

Respect must be gender neutral

Respect humans. All these chivalrous gestures that you now extend to women…think as to why men deserve any lesser. Yes, many of us are crooks (I will even concede that it’s a larger percentage than women). But shouldn’t we extend basic human gestures to everybody, instead of just one gender. What about gays and lesbians and transgender, don’t they deserve chivalry? 

This relates only to ‘popular chivalry’ which means, here, manners and social gestures that men extend exclusively to women.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


कहना होता है काफी कुछ तुम्हे
इतना की हाँथ भी हिलाती हो और मुँह भी

खरीदती तो नहीं तुम बातें? के भाड़े पे लाती हो?

कभी औज़ार बना कर झगड़ती हो तो कभी इकरार ना करने के बहाने बनाती हो

जब न कहती हो तो आखें तक बोलती हैं तुम्हारी

जवाब खोजती हैं आखें

जवाब मांगती है कभी न पूछे सवालों का

छलकने का आलम हो जाता है कई दफ़ा

मिलाता हूँ आँखें तो झुक जाती हैं
मानो डरती हैं जवाब से

हाँथ फिर चलने लगते हैं, मुह भी
किराने से एक और थैली बातें खरीद लायी हो तुम 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


कश्ती कुछ इस कदर साहील को पोशीदा कर रही है,
ज़मीं से इश्क़ का हमे इल्म हो गया
जज़ीरे का कोई फ़रेब भी अब है मंज़ूर
कोशिश-ए-मंज़िल में डूबना भी मुनासिब हो गया

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why a jackfruit is funny

So my muscular neighbor begins his ascend of the jackfruit tree with the dexterity of a lama. He climbs, swings from one branch to another till he reaches that coveted jackfruit. The li’l kids below had been throwing stones at it since morning but had achieved nothing except making a few birds shriek. The boys were glad the messiah of the colony was at the job because frankly, nobody else could have dreamt of climbing up a tree that steep .......with just a towel on.

Yes you read it right...a towel.

Any Indian boy who has ever had to wear even a dhoti knows how wearing it while doing nothing at all can still qualify as multi-tasking. But there aren't many challenges beyond Mr.T's capabilities.

By this time, the colony had assembled near the tree to witness the impossible. In an Urban set up, it may be slightly odd to picture a man wearing a towel strolling the mohalla, but in an almost rural part of a small town, this didn’t raise many eyebrows.

The ladies of the colony always swooned at Mr. T’s effortless bravado. Right before bathing time, Mr. T would walk around his house with just his towel on....... leaving very little to imagination. There would be some sighs, some surrenders or at the least some tacit acknowledgements. 

Mr. T would always do things of heroic nature. We’d sometimes lose our cricket ball inside the compound of an aunt who had professed her profound hatred towards us in not so subtle ways. Mr. T would be our sneaky ball ninja who would jump in and out in a matter of seconds and get the proverbial balls-deprived-kids of the colony...u know...... their balls back.

Anyway, here was Mr T up in the highest branch of the tree, the prized jackfruit in his hand, while we stood down... helpless... watching half the colony see their savior in awe. Mr. T looked down at his subjects...and probably to set his own benchmark of heroism at an unattainble altitude, he thought of descending not branch by branch ...but by jumping off the highest freaking tree in all of DTown.

 And so he did. One step of Mr T, one giant leap towards social suicide.

 His towel had remained at the topmost branch of the jackfruit tree as an ‘I was here’ signature. A few feet below, stood Mr. T, stark naked, with a 3 KG jackfruit in his hands keeping the remainder of his tattered dignity intact (well not really). His house was almost 500 meters away posing a difficulty of logistical nature. He seemed to lack the time or the voice to plead anyone for shelter.

So, Mt T ran …for 500 Meters...holding a jackfruit.

The kids went to his house to retrieve the jackfruit but nobody opened the door.
 Have not heard from him since. Heard rumors that he has developed an acute aversion to jackfruit…and towels…and bathing. I exaggerate for effect.