29 October 2006
My cousin died yesterday night. She jumped in front of a rushing train. I heard of it today morning at 7.
She was 18. I first saw her when she was about a week old, very roly-poly healthy baby. I still remember how big a baby she was. She loved to eat fruits, raw vegetables, anything that came her way actually. And she slept very well.
Somehow, as I keep thinking of her now, it’s her baby face that comes to my mind, not her as a teenager. Particularly one day, when I was waiting for her to wake up so I could cuddle her. She took her time, and I almost forced her awake. She turned her little black eyes on me, and gave me the sweetest smile. I even remember the colour of the little T-shirt she wore: light chocolate.
One other image is her Madhuri Dixit smile. She was a charming teenager, shy, and quiet with strangers, bubbly and talkative with her friends and family. Sometimes, she would flash this dazzling smile, unconscious of how beautiful she looked.
She grew up in Shrsi, my hometown, and in Bhattaguttige, my mother’s village. She loved the outdoors, and could always be found perched on guava trees. She knew exactly which part of a hill had a particular wild berry.
It’s more than 12 hours now since I heard. There’s just one image in my eyes: that of a train rushing towards me in the dark. What would it take for me to stand there, rooted? What did it take for her?
She was cremated half an hour ago.
27 October 2006
....In 1982, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, Police: A Complaint of Rape, showed a rape complainant being interviewed by police. The police officers were shown bullying a woman into discontinuing her complaint against three men.
...Despite improvements, there remains a culture within the police that assumes that women who report rape are lying. One study found that a third of police assumed that at least a quarter of all reports were false. Research actually suggests, though, that numbers of false allegations of rape are no higher than for any other crime. Assumptions of false allegations are plainly dangerous. One case discontinued by police as a "false allegation" involved a man who turned out to be a serial sex attacker."
Guess which country's police system are we talkin about?
20 October 2006
Got this on the National Highway.
Discovered Durrel pretty late in life, but he's marked now. Here's one of my favourite passages from My family...
"… The wedding night – or rather day – of a tortoise is not exactly inspiring…
…The incredibly heavy-handed and inexpert way the male [tortoise] would attempt to hoist himself on to the female’s shell, slipping and slithering, clawing desperately for a foothold on the shiny shields, overbalancing and almost overturning, was extremely painful to watch; the urge to go and assist the poor creature was almost overwhelming, and I had the greatest difficulty in restraining myself from interference.
Once a male was infinitely more bungling than usual, and fell down three times during the mounting, and generally behaved in such an imbecile manner I was beginning to wonder if he were going to take all summer about it… At last, more by luck than skill, he hoisted himself up… when the female obviously bored by the male’s inadequacy, moved a few steps towards a dandelion leaf. Her husband clawed wildly at her moving shell, but could get no foothold; he slipped off, teetered for a minute, and then rolled ignominiously over on to his back. This final blow seemed to be too much for him, because, instead of trying to right himself, he simple folded up in his shell and lay there mournfully. The female, meanwhile, ate the dandelion leaf."