Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Electric chair

PHOTO PROMPT - © Dale Rogerson

“Grass”.

Willowy, flexible, Spineless.

I mumble,  “Woman”.

“huh?”,eyebrows rise.

Grass. Stands back after being stepped on. Grows strong when mowed down. Woman.

“Woman”, I say loudly, adjusting  hand-cuffs, getting comfortable.

Wife kills husband  for no apparent reason– Newspaper headlines peeks over Dr.Ozster’s notes.

“Woman? Why?”

Dr.Ozster’s supposedly a TED-talking psychology expert, on evil and insanity. I’m his conundrum.

—-

I wait until footsteps recede. We have always been discreet. Except one time…he’s dead though. Killed.

I gloat, ” …stumped Dr.Ozster today…”. I lean on her, sinking into her softness, my head soon touches the cold walls of the solitary confinement cell.

— End —-

This is an exactly  100 word  story. In “bold pink” because I’m proud of editing it down to a 100 from 180. Although it may not be apparent readily , due to the editing, that the Main character is asked to play a word association game by an expert to understand her psyche and discern the motive of her violent crime.

This story  is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Dale Rogerson.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

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I may not be a feminist after all….

My special friend sent me the below TED talk link and said, “Since you are a feminist and have a whole section on your blog you may want to see and share  this”.

It was such a timely message from her – because just earlier in the day I was called a sexist by couple of other ‘special friends’. It had me thinking and reflecting (and upset): Am I really a feminist ? Or Am I sexist?

I was forced to examine my beliefs and convictions, thoughts and ideas, and statements and feelings. I still believe that all human beings are equal and should not be discriminated against for gender, race , sexual orientation and economic status. So what made them call me a sexist?

My responses to their question , they said- and the vehemence in which I expressed my opinion, they said. Those  questions and the essence of my responses :

Would you vote for  Carly Fiorina or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (assuming ofcourse that they become their respective party candidates)?

I would not vote for Carly because her stance of abortion interferes with the fundamental freedom of a woman to decide on her healthcare choices with her doctor.

(Does this response make a feminist? Or a sexist? )

Do I support killing pain-capable foetus then?

My stance on abortion is this:

-If a foetus is capable of feeling pain then imagine how much more pain the born child would have to endure if it’s unwanted and ends up being uncared for. I would rather a foetus experience the one final pain rather than a lifetime of pains.

-Unless the society/government changes in such a way to ensure that every born child will have all their needs met , including love, 100% of the time , I believe society/government should not interfere in the choice of individuals.

-If a government believes in pro-life I expect the government never to go to war – to dismantle all nuclear weapons and Weapons of mass destruction . And to have  all guns in the country melted to make cradles.

(Does this response make a feminist? Or a sexist? Or socialist? )

Question: who would you vote for: Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton – both are pro-choice ?

All things being equal between the two candidates, I would vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman.

(Does this statement make me a sexist? It might seem so…but No….because…)

Why?

Because the United states of America – a developed “super-power”- has not had a woman president or even a woman vice president since its founding. The percentage of women in US Congress is low (just touched 20%, see source below). There were more systemic roadblocks in place that prevented women like Hillary Clinton (women from that era) from progressing than today – while the men enjoyed more privilege…..so all things being equal , in 2016, I would vote for a woman president because

  1. I want to give her the advantage that she has lacked 
  2. she had to work harder to be “equal” to a male who has had systemic advantage. Therefore she is a better candidate.

Am I still a sexist? Did I move towards the feminist midpoint? Do I care what my label is?

If the society changes to allow people of all genders (more than the binary version of genders) equal opportunity  and gender inequality exists only in a museum display as an ancient artefact – with all things being truly truly equal between candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and when  women represent around 50% of the senate and house, who would I choose? 

I would choose the one who looks good, as I had already written in an earlier post . Bernie Sanders , if you want my vote you better be a good looking dude 🙂 

I don’t know what this response makes me: sexist or feminist or shallow? Do I look like I care?

So who would you vote for between a male and female candidate?  Considering that the two candidates are equal in every respect ..who would you choose: a man or a woman?  And what does that choice make you? A feminist or a sexist?

————–

P.S – Thank you special friend!

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives

Number of Women in Congress by House

Number of women in the United States Congress (1917–2013):[2]

Congress Years in Congress % in House % in Senate %
65th 1917–1919 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0%
66th 1919–1921 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
67th 1921–1923 4 0.7% 3 0.7% 1 1%
68th 1923–1925 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0%
69th 1925–1927 3 0.6% 3 0.7% 0 0%
70th 1927–1929 5 0.9% 5 1.1% 0 0%
71st 1929–1931 9 1.7% 9 2.1% 0 0%
72nd 1931–1933 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
73rd 1933–1935 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
74th 1935–1937 8 1.5% 6 1.4% 2 2%
75th 1937–1939 9 1.7% 6 1.4% 3 3%
76th 1939–1941 9 1.7% 8 1.8% 1 1%
77th 1941–1943 10 1.9% 9 2.1% 1 1%
78th 1943–1945 9 1.7% 8 1.8% 1 1%
79th 1945–1947 11 2.1% 11 2.5% 0 0%
80th 1947–1949 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
81st 1949–1951 10 1.9% 9 2.1% 1 1%
82nd 1951–1953 11 2.1% 10 2.3% 1 1%
83rd 1953–1955 15 2.8% 12 2.8% 3 3%
84th 1955–1957 18 3.4% 17 3.9% 1 1%
85th 1957–1959 16 3.0% 15 3.4% 1 1%
86th 1959–1961 19 3.5% 17 3.9% 2 2%
87th 1961–1963 20 3.7% 18 4.1% 2 2%
88th 1963–1965 14 2.6% 12 2.8% 2 2%
89th 1965–1967 13 2.4% 11 2.5% 2 2%
90th 1967–1969 12 2.2% 11 2.5% 1 1%
91st 1969–1971 11 2.1% 10 2.3% 1 1%
92nd 1971–1973 15 2.8% 13 3.0% 2 2%
93rd 1973–1975 16 3.0% 16 3.7% 0 0%
94th 1975–1977 19 3.6% 19 4.4% 0 0%
95th 1977–1979 20 3.7% 18 4.1% 2 2%
96th 1979–1981 17 3.2% 16 3.7% 1 1%
97th 1981–1983 23 4.3% 21 4.8% 2 2%
98th 1983–1985 24 4.5% 22 5.0% 2 2%
99th 1985–1987 25 4.7% 23 5.3% 2 2%
100th 1987–1989 26 4.9% 24 5.5% 2 2%
101st 1989–1991 31 5.8% 29 6.7% 2 2%
102nd 1991–1993 33 6.2% 30 6.9% 3 3%
103rd 1993–1995 55 10.3% 48 11.0% 7 7%
104th 1995–1997 59 11.0% 50 11.5% 9 9%
105th 1997–1999 66 12.3% 57 13.1% 9 9%
106th 1999–2001 67 12.5% 58 13.3% 9 9%
107th 2001–2003 75 14.0% 62 14.3% 13 13%
108th 2003–2005 77 14.4% 63 14.5% 14 14%
109th 2005–2007 85 15.9% 71 16.3% 14 14%
110th 2007–2009 94 17.6% 78 17.9% 16 16%
111th 2009–2011 96 17.9% 79 18.2% 17 17%
112th 2011–2013 96 17.9% 79 18.2% 17 17%
113th 2013–2015 102 19.1% 82 18.9% 20 20%
114th 2015–2017 104 19.4% 84 19.3% 20 20%

The porcupine suit

copyright-Ron-Pruitt

“Pinafores have to be an inch above the knee” , Mrs. Victor says sternly. My uniform dangles below my knee.

Does she come to school in a flying saucer? Hasn’t she seen the public bus during rush hour? Doesn’t she know that errant males amidst the safety of a crowded bus put their hands up short pinafores? I knew better than to ‘talk back’ so I’m quiet.

“Any questions?”, she asks. I want to ask: what do these men gain in a few seconds of groping?  But this is something we don’t discuss with adults.

I walk away wishing that our school uniform was a porcupine suit.

—– end —-

I seriously dreamed of designing something like to this to wear to school:

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/toonzguru/suited/

Picture of a bus in Chennai, India during rush hour.

Image result for MTC bus chennai crowded

Photo credit: Indian express

Sexual harassment of women/girls, by strangers in broad daylight in front of adult men and women – who seldom called out on the perpetrator – was common place in the crowded buses of Chennai, India. The crowd offered these “asstards” the perfect excuse for unnecessary brushes and groping. Many times one can’t point out the exact perv amongst the crowd compounding the problem. There is more awareness now  and more women are coming forward to lodge complaints with the police ,yet , it’s an ongoing problem.

If you are an adult who sees such harassment in public buses, please speak up….usually people wait for a leader who can raise their voice and then join forces to support them…so you will never be alone.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/MTC-identifies-bus-routes-prone-to-sexual-harassment/articleshow/6904580.cms

————————

This about 100 word ” story” is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Ron Pruitt.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

A Culture of abuse

When my son was one year old, he decided he had enough with us shovelling food down his throat. He pried the spoon from me and insisted on using his motor skills. He picked up a bunch of noodles in his chubby little hands and watched in fascination as they wiggled like little worms and slid off his fingers. Then he must have decided to feed the carpet – that lovely beige thing that always fascinated him with its cornucopia of dust and hair – because that’s where the remaining noodles that he flung landed.

It’s a cute memory. We recite this story and laugh over it.

Let’s imagine him as a middle-aged man (with all mental faculties intact )doing the food flinging act ,food which … let’s say his wife prepared. The same act will no longer be called cute. It will be called domestic violence. It won’t be a memory that can be laughed over….ever.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) . Are you aware of what constitutes domestic violence?

Have you ever thrown objects on the floor in anger, in front of your spouse /or someone who were angry with? Remotes, cellphones, paper-weights, plates, cups……whatever you can get you hand on? It may not have landed on a person and “hurt” them- but did you know that it’s still called Domestic violence?  It’s called “destruction of property” and it’s a form of psychological abuse according to the  United states department justice: http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence.

 The website called Hotline (http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/) uses a diagram called the Power & Control Wheel to describe most accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship. The below text is from their website provided above:

Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner uses to keep you in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse.

Out of these 8 areas – how many areas have you actively dabbled in?  Whether you are a man or a woman, It’s important to look at these behaviours and see not only who has victimized you but to also see if you engage in any of these actions.

I’m guilty of one thing…. Please don’t start imagining me mounting my spouse on a crucifix …whipping him with a stick ……although I have done something close to that ,according to my in-laws , by asking their son to take out the garbage.

Many of us Indian women are already “victims” of  “male privilege” type domestic abuse  and this is not exactly a secret…it is one that we have experienced publicly, along with several of our fellow compatriots who are in the same proverbial boat. But here’s the issue – everyone including me , do not recognize that as an abuse. We  expect it , are prepared for it all our young lives and accept it because it’s our “culture” . A wife “Being treated like a servant”  would not raise any eyebrows in our Indian “culture”. Some people may even look down on him if he treats his wife nicely and as an equal and doesn’t exercise his male privilege. In some cases , they may be pressured- directly or indirectly –  to subordinate the wife and become the “master of the castle”, by their own parent(s).

It is difficult for this average (I say average because some Indian males have evolved and I commend them for that) Indian male to see himself painted as a domestic abuser because this is how he was raised to act. He is only following social conventions….Parental guidance….walking in the footsteps of his forefathers ,like sheep. No one has told him that this is wrong. Until now. If you have read this , you no longer have an excuse.  You have a choice: to change for the better.

It’s not an easy choice. For some it’s to choose between being a disobedient son and being a better human being. That’s major conflict, I tell you . Like how the legend goes that Parashurama had to choose between being an obedient son and  a murderer when his father asked him to behead his mother. (More on the legend: http://www.speakingtree.in/blog/why-did-parashuram-kill-his-mother )

But being aware of what is considered a negative behaviour is an important first step in changing negative patterns – in cleaning up our culture. As human beings we are endowed with a capacity to learn and evolve. Culture need not be static either – it can grow – it needs to evolve. So my question to you is : are you capable of evolution? If you are man, are you ready to forgo ‘male privilege” ? Are you willing to transcend the barriers of gender and look at everyone as human beings equal to you?

Note: I have only written on a mild form of abuse that a segment of the world’s population experiences.  I know that that there are much more harsher abuses that go on that impact both men and women and this post does not address that – simply because I don’t find myself qualified to talk about it . Another reason is that I believe the fundamental root cause of domestic violence (against women) is male privilege- that is sanctioned by “culture” and that if we change that mind-set we can curb domestic violence in its infancy.

Shadows

PHOTO PROMPT -© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I lit a fire in the hearth,

To replace your warmth.

I lit the world up with lamps,

To make up for your absence.

It works.

Most of the time.

But  neither lamps nor fire.

play with my shadows like you do, Sire.

——–  end ———-

Note:  “shadows” here represents the metaphysical one we are all supposed to carry according to Jungian psychology:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_%28psychology%29

—-  end note —

This 42 word ” story” is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Rochelle herself.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

1st or 9th ?

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “Now this is living the life of Riley.”

Content. Without a care in the world. With no worry about tomorrow. Pop some kittens when the urge hits and go on napping.

No need to run the kittens around to football for measly college scholarships. No need to stand on the sidelines  worrying about concussions  or ruptured spleens…like humans.  Why worry when you can drop another litter of 4 or 5 to replace that one lost?

No decision to mull around on whether to push kitty to do the ACT or the new SAT. No need to worry about college essays,  college admissions, grades, drugs, rape-culture.

Most importantly no need to keep with the achievements of the kitten’s next door. No pressure.

And if this life get screwed up ….there’s 8 more to go. Although this could be the 9th …. in that case there’s nothing to be done anyway …so why stress?

If you have a choice : Live like Riley

Note: Riley is the cat sleeping upside down contentedly.

——— end ——-

The about 150 word  story above was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/mondays-finish-the-story-oct-12th-2015/

For other interesting takes on the same prompt click the blue frog below:

Gurgle, Gurgle….

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

They said the view at the top was amazing. You could see Russia …. they said.

This “they”…you know who I’m talking about right ? …’they’ say so many things. But we need to listen to that inner voice… inside our own gut…granted the inner voice doesn’t speak sentences and fancy words like this ‘they’…it just gurgles sometimes…It’s a language of just one monosyllable -one sound – for all situations…..but it is never to be ignored.

“Come on , it’s just $5″….’they’ said. I ended up with $30 of dry-cleaning expenses because I ignored that ‘gurgle’.

——– end—————-

This 100 word story  is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Ted Strutz.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

The lone witness

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island.”,  the shrivelled old man continued, “and those few are dead now. Only I remain…the lone witness to the grandeur that once existed.

You will see snakes slithering all over now and will never once imagine that here once children ran around …the air filled with their laughter. Few knew about it …and those few are dead now. Only I remain…the lone witness to the laughter that once existed.

You will see that the weeds and creepers and never once imagine that here stood a beautiful garden with bountiful fruits and fragrant flowers. Few knew about it …and those few are dead now. Only I remain…the lone witness to that sweet fragrance….. ”

As the old man counted all the coins and notes ,deposited in his tattered-hat by wide-eyed tourists , he wondered why no one questioned how a seventy year old may have witnessed what happened 150 years ago.

—–

“Dad, why did you give him money..his story was soooo fake”

“He looked hungry son”

——– end ————

The about 150 word  story above was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/mondays-finish-the-story-october-5th-2015/

For other interesting takes on the same prompt click the blue frog below: