Tis the season to be jolly…

It’s just another sleepy morning as I wait for the sleepy clouds to clear out and the bright sunny mood to come out. In fact, a colleague remarked that this is not the season to be snappy or even crabby, and as she said to those words, just to irritate her and myself, I started droning (in my besura voice) tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la…

In any case, the post is not about my mood swings, rather a collection of some thoughts that trapeze through me as I negotiate yet another day in this day and time.

Today, I managed to find the ‘right’ bus; an air-conditioned one, which plays FM radio and also provides nice view (the windows remind one of French windows). More about the bus in the next thought. So, as the bus negotiated a turn, where we (the metropolitan bus passengers) get a view of the moffusil buses, my eyes fell on a tall, dark, handsome guy. He had pierced his ears and had also grown his hair just a bit and perhaps was quite aware of the effect he had on women. One thing was writ large on his face though, and it was hope. I started wondering what that hope could be…and my mind whirled past to a rather disturbing article I had read in the Tehelka about many such beautiful young women who alight at this very bus stand with the same thing this young man had: hope! Read the article here to know what a terrible place this city could be for dreamers…

These AC buses are something of a novelty to the city. These buses charge 3 times the fare and have conductors and drivers in uniform! Imagine wearing a cap and all in this hot city! A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a bus conductor, who shared his story of how terrible their working conditions are. They no more enjoy any kind of job security, or at least the kind ‘government servants’ are supposed to enjoy! In making things ‘better’ for the IT crowd, these buses are quickly replacing the ordinary buses that working class people take to go to work. For example, a construction worker just stepped into this bus only to be shooed away by the uniformed conductor, who anyway has a broad grin for the IT crowd! His grin of course hides all the actual grief and insecurities he has…and, we the IT crowd smile back, hiding our insecurities spurred by recession! At such a state, I can’t even articulate my thoughts…

Then, I come to office and my mail box contains an invite (only for people with Christian names; well, didn’t someone know that first freedom one is denied in life is choosing one’s own name!!) for a Christmas dinner! Coz, it’s the season to be jolly…yea, to be jolly! Let’s all be jolly, decorate our plastic Christmas trees (even if buying them means contributing to globalization), make and distribute cakes (even if it means workers at McRennet and other cake shops must overwork and be underpaid), attend our morning services (even if it means being sleep-deprived for the sexton and his family), and order Biriyanis (even if it means an exponential amount of goat slaughter and extensive, back-breaking work for the children who work for a pittance in catering houses!). Yea, let’s all be jolly!

So much for my thoughts, people, this jolly season…


Deepan Kannan said…
Yes, not just the AC buses, every other development in the city is just for the IT people. Imagine, that new Rajiv Gandhi Salai with statues and fountains and those sophisticated bus stops. And who are those people using bus services in that road. How many buses ply in that road anyway! In guindy, which is an important terminus for Chennai, all the passengers wait for bus with no roof over their heads to protect them from pouring rain or hot bright sun. And even the non-ac buses, all fo them have been turned to deluxe and super deluxe buses with double the fare! Where are those white-board low-fare buses now in Chennai?
Jai said…
A little sermon ;)

Be jolly, as you may be sad, as they are the same thing. You grow while the other goes down today, and tomorrow it will happen to you, and it actually is the same thing. Do what you think is right, and rest in peace, and make not friends with sorrow and joy, because both cloud your judgement of what is right and true (which is relative, uncertain, undefined).

---Generally, broadly, imperfectly paraphrased from the Bhagvad Geeta.
Ta'fxkz said…
i am curious to know how what it is that you think is "terrible" when people willingly have sex for money and other perks.

Curious to know where you are coming from, that's all
Happy heart said…
Dear Ta'fxkz

Your question is not an isolated one; it's in fact a way of 'justifying' or even 'politicizing' sex work, and thereby calling for its legalizing. I don't have a straight answer here because firstly we do not understand the term choice, especially in a third world country like ours. One must really spend a lot of time in actually observing the lives of sex workers before calling it just another profession, where one just uses some parts of the body the way one would use your hands or mind! At the same time, it's important not to 'dismiss' sex work on 'moral' grounds; more so in a country where marital rape is rampant and is not even a cognizable offence. If you want my 'personal opinion' on it (though I dunno what end it will serve) I look at the existence of prostitution as highest and the most repugnant expression of patriarchy. However, the women who are forced into sex work do become financially independent (to a certain extent) and are also more free of the repugnant moral baggage that patriarchy imposes on the rest of the women. But, even their freedom is not real; they are exposed to all other kinds of brutalities, which any 'moral' woman might be spared from, at least in the open! Did I answer your question?
Deepan Kannan said…
"they are exposed to all other kinds of brutalities, which any 'moral' woman might be spared from, at least in the open! Did I answer your question?"

This is the prime reason for which I would say legalisation is important. Legalisation is important to protect their basic human rights. The brutalities sex workers face, like physical abuse and harassment from police definitely need to be raised as an issue. Many times they end up being cheated by the men in their 'dealings'. Do sex workers have the right to protect their own bodies? Do these women have the right to force the men to wear condoms? In our society, do we ever see the men who visit sex workers as culprits? It is the women who are being victimized more and more. So, it is very important that interests of women no matter who they are or what they are should be protected! And legalization is definitely a step that would help. But, it may result in negative impacts like it may increase the number of women being forced into it. The question for now may be, how are we going to frame this legalization that would not back fire!
Ta'fxkz said…
In a third world country like ours.

is choice any different?

You either choose to have sex or you dont choose to have sex- if it is your choice- to my knowledge, and in the context of the women in the article; nobody forced the women to come seeking a career in films and if they did choose the career they the right to not have any sex they do not want.

Why, if more quality actors took a stand, it would give the industry a chance to rethink the way it treats women. Also, if the film industry is so wicked, what do you say about the good people who fund the wickedness by buying the tickets? It is called vote by purchase.

Every industry has sexual favors - it is one of the oldest phenomenon in the human race. I have seen it in every company that i have worked for. I have even seen female bosses too who sleep with one guy in the team every quarter before firing him.

Decide if you are talking about sex work by choice or sex work by force? The are 2 different things. As Deepan said legalizing prostitution will actually help prostitues call for police help whne they are the butt of brutality.

I find it repugnant to tell anybody male or female they can fuck for love but not for money - then what about those who marry for money and how about those who can walk away from an abusive marriage but want to stay on and complain because they do not want go against the culture and be their own bread winners!?!

I like the fact that you are fighting - i sometimes wonder if you have thought through what you are fighting for, but i am happy you are fighting - bring on those patriarchial bastards we will show them how enlightened and liberated indeviduals can complain!
Anonymous said…
Woah! You are very jolly! :D
Everything one does today is tainted by consumerism. So what should one do? Stop consuming? Go easy on consuming? I am not sure.

Sanitising India - that's what the AC buses and other attempts of their ilk supposed to do.

I am yet to know of a city that is favourable for dreamers! :)


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