Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mother's Cooking

All those years ago, when I ate my mom's cooking everyday - at morning, afternoon and night - I never considered that there would come a day when I wouldn't be able to eat mom's food daily. Now, when I realize that those days may be gone forever, it is hard to accept. It is hard to accept that never again in my life will I have the days when every meal I eat will be cooked by my mom. It is something that's lost forever. I was not even aware, not even paying attention, when I was losing it!

When I was leaving home, I did realize that I would miss home food, but that was hardly the foremost thing in my mind. It was just a minor thought somewhere in the back of my mind. And I certainly did not think of it from the perspective that I would never be eating mom's food daily.

I know it is kind of selfish when the thing you miss most about your folks is the food they provided. But then, food was such a dependably constant thing in my life from the day I was born. Making me eat good food has been the most obvious, frequent and important way in which my mom (and other older folks at home) showed their love. Coming from a culture where hugs and kisses and obvious verbal expressions of love are not common, food took on much more of a significance. Sometimes, I have been so overwhelmed by attempts to stuff me with food, there have even been fights because of it. But in the long run, it's not the smothering and the fights I remember most. What I remember most is the total devotion and dependability that my mom put into the food she fed us.

When I was a kid, I was a really fussy eater. I had very specific preferences on what I would eat, what I would not eat, and on how it had to be prepared and cooked. I had very definite likes and dislikes. If anything was even slightly off, I would simply refuse to eat, causing a lot of grief to my mom. I never missed a chance to complain if I found an occasional piece of hair or small stone in the food. But all that changed when I got older, turned vegetarian, and most importantly, saw how it was in the homes of my friends. Then, I realized the value of the food I was provided at home, and I started to respect and relish it.

I noticed that in the homes of many friends, if their moms were not well or had something else to do, they simply let the kids fend for themselves with regards to food. I noticed that in many homes a fresh, hot breakfast was not really an everyday thing, not something to be taken for granted. People either had breakfast outside in hotels, or ate something like bread or something leftover from the previous night, or nothing at all.

In my house, it was totally different. My mother made sure that we never missed a meal. She literally felt hurt and sad if we missed a meal... or even if she merely felt that we did not eat enough for whatever reason. Regardless of her health or other circumstances, she made sure that our meals were taken care of. Even under the most trying circumstances, she tried to personally prepare our meals. Only if it was totally unavoidable did my mother let us eat outside or have somebody else (an aunt or a neighbor) provide food for us. No matter at what time I had to leave home in the morning, my mother would wake up earlier than me and make fresh, hot breakfast. She would either make me eat at home or pack the breakfast for me. I have seen this happen so consistently regardless of whether I had to leave home at 4 AM or 7 AM or 10 AM. If I was in a hurry and it looked like I might skip the breakfast, she would pick up the plate and walk behind me, literally feeding me while I got ready to go out! when I started working, and I had to leave home at around 7 AM, my mother not only prepared breakfast (and fed it to me on many a morning), she also packed my lunch. Imagine that! To woke up early in the morning and have both a hot breakfast and hot lunch ready by 7 AM!

Later on in life, when I thought about how my mother cooked everyday, cooking two or three times daily, the incredible amount of dedication and hardwork she must have put into it, I am simply overwhelmed. It is difficult to imagine myself (or anybody else) doing that day after day, for years and years. To be able to do that, and do that amidst all the fuss and complaints from an opinionated husband and three difficult kids, must have taken incredible love and devotion. I am sure that it's all that love and devotion which was mixed into the food my mom fed us, that has helped my family sustain through the ups and downs, which has turned us into relatively good human beings.

It's been almost four and half years since I left home and came to the US. I don't know when, if ever, I will get to eat my mother's food everyday. I don't know when I will even get to live under the same roof with my parents. I am sure that will happen someday. However, by then, it wouldn't be my mother's responsibility to cook everyday. I don't grudge her that. I think she has done more to us than many mothers do. However, I can't help thinking sometimes that it would be nice if I could just have another phase in my life when I would get to eat my mother's cooking daily. But, it still won't feel like the old days when I ate her food, totally secure about its continued availability, without a thought that one day I would miss that food!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Love's Parasite

Love is a strange word,she thinks.Does it even have anything to do with marrying and raising babies and paying loans?Was she better off without it?
- The Wait

Yes and no! Love, per se, has nothing to do with marrying, raising babies or paying loans. Those things are all features (trappings!) of a relationship.

It is quite common for most of us to confuse relationships and love. Many of us, especially the romantic ones like the erstwhile Libran Lover, would insist that a relationship and love are indeed one and the same. The truth is that they are not.

A relationship is a deal, a very specific agreement, a transaction. With commitments. With expectations. Limited in scope. Fragile. Binding.

Love is a poem of freedom. A wild naivete. A flight of the spirit. An ache in the heart, a flutter in the tummy, a warmth in the loins. It is infinite. Resilient. Unbound. Unpredictable.

Primal, wild love is the natural state of our souls and spirits. A restraining, civilized relationship is not. Yet, we voluntarily accept the bounds and limitations of a relationship, confining our spirits, taming our wild natures, accepting pain and putting up with disappointments. We do that in the hope that a relationship will assure us a predictable, constant supply of love... from a source which is outside ourselves.

The promise that a relationship will give us constant, consistent love forever is an impossible long-standing myth that humans have accepted. The lure of everlasting love is such that, we have voluntarily chosen to contain, restrain and tame the innocent wilderness in our hearts and loins. Yet, there is no constant supply source of love which is external to us.

The only constant source of love we can depend on is our own heart. Only our own heart can love us at all times, be with us through all the ups and downs of life. Only our loving heart has the power to bring beauty and love to us from the external universe. Nothing else can - not material success, nor external beauty, nor even a committed relationship.

In fact, over the years, the human concept of a relationship - full of impossible expectations and rules and restrictions and disappointments - has become a parasite of love. The very relationship which was supposed to provide an assured source of love, has become a parasite which sucks all the beauty, power and value from love.

And us humans, who are conditioned to nurture, protect and feed this parasite, are doomed!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


In a lover, I value two things the highest:
  1. Understanding.

  2. Acceptance.

Understanding: In the best of circumstances, communication is not easy. With differences in basic male-female personalities, distances, personal insecurities, outside influences and numerous other factors, communication is even more of a hit-or-miss thing. As such, a lover (or even a friend or colleague) who can just "get me" without needing too many explanations is invaluable and such a relief to deal with. With someone who doesn't understand us, so much time is taken up in explaining things, defining the norms and standards of the communication code and practices (I call this meta-conversation) that, we have less time for exchange of real information and messages, for sharing, for living, for loving. Meta-conversations are a waste of valuable time which could be better used in sharing and loving. I have been with people who just "get me" without the need for too many words, and I value them immensely.

Acceptance: While I am very reasonable and logical, I can also be a very tough person to deal with. I have my specific preferences, opinions, moods and stubborn quirks. The least productive thing for a lover (or anybody else for that matter), to do with me is to try to change me. Sorry, but won't happen. The harder they try, the more my in-built resistance kicks-in. One could try reasoning with me using logic (this is the best approach). If that does not work, I'd like it if they simply accepted me as I am and concentrated on working with what they got. The same thing applies to life also. Life can be extremely unpredictable, hard to tame and stubborn. I'd rather have a lover who is wise enough to accept things as they are and take a pragmatic approach, rather than get all emotional and unreasonable and mess up things even more than they actually are. Being unreasonable amidst difficulties in life results in the difficulties being multiplied several times. It is tragic to be an unreasonable lover because s/he usually indulge in such behavior to make things better, but things only get worse and s/he seems to be incapable of stopping the unreasonable actions. Women are more prone to such unreasonable behavior. A reasonable, accepting and pragmatic lover is worth her/his weight in gold. S/he has the power to make the difficult times appear less difficult and easier to deal with. Eventually, the difficulties just fade away.

Understanding and acceptance is what makes an empathetic friend or lover, a kindred spirit, a sahrdaya.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

To Stay or Not to Stay

Like many Indians who live and work in the US, I am often faced with circumstances and choices which make me wonder if I should continue staying in the US or if I should return back to India.

Following is an attempt to list my reasons to stay in the US and to not stay in the US. This list is not complete. I shall add more reasons as and when I think of them. If you think of some additional reasons, please add them in the comments.

Reasons to stay in the US:
  • Higher pay. Even in comparative standard-of-living terms (as opposed to absolute pay terms), Indian pay does not match.

  • Infrastructure & facilities in US vs in India. Higher comfort and ease for anything and everything material.

  • Travel opportunities in US and other places.

  • Polluted and dirty urban living and travel conditions in India.

  • The US's extremely low Extrinsic Obstacles Index (EOI) for education, career and fun, compared to India's extremely high EOI.

Reasons to NOT stay in the US:
  • Family & friends in India.

  • Food. Mother's Cooking.

  • Festivals in India.

  • Travel opportunities in India.

  • Cultural & social experiences of India.

  • Thrills of being in the one of the most "happening" countries of the world.

  • Experience of participating in the current phase of India's accelerated modernization.

  • Exponentially increased opportunities to network with others of my own kind (Indian, young, passionate, techie) due to the fast-growing Internet connectivity in India.

  • Missing the company of others of my own kind (Indian, young, passionate, techie). At this point (Mar 2006), I feel extremely lonely in the US. For some reason, I have just not been able to find very many people here in AZ, with whom I could enjoy great friendship and companionship.

More to be added whenever...

Not the babies!

I never watched the TV series The Sopranos on cable. In the past two or three months, I have been catching up on DVD, starting right from season 1. I am totally impressed by the series. It is incredible. This is one of the most entertaining TV series I have watched.

IMDB link: The Sopranos.

I am watching season 3 right now. Yesterday I saw the episode in which the young Meadow Soprano loses her virginity(?). It was kinda weird watching it. I mean, the Soprano kids were so young in the first episode, first season. Meadow was barely a teen, and now she is already losing her virgnity! I guess the fact that I saw the first episode, first season only a couple months ago has something to do with my weird feeling. In actuality, there must have been a gap of at least a couple of years from when Meadow first appeared on season 1 and lost her viriginity on season 3. But what is even more weird (for me) is that I am talking so seriously about characters in a mere television series!

Another kid who is growing up too fast in my world is my colleague's daughter. Two and half years ago, when I first met her, she was just 3. Now she is over 5. That's simple Math. But what is not so simple is that two years ago, she was just a baby of 3. Now she is a girl of 5. Two years ago, she still had baby fat on her face and arms, and she still preferred to be carried around as much as possible. Now carrying her would seem weird to her and to me. She still plays with me when we meet, but not as much or as closely as we used to.

In the coming years, the distance will only increase. Before I know it, she will be a teenager who will hardly have time to even talk to me. Even if she had time, we would not really have much of anything to talk about. Soon, she will be a young woman who thinks she is smarter, hipper and more "with it" than me. And then, we will be lost to each other forever. Although in measures of time, all this will happen in a matter of years, it will all seem too fast and fleeting. And then, I will look back and realize that I really had her in my life, in my arms as a baby, for just a fleeting moment... or two, which I will remember, but she won't.

As kids grow older, although the age difference between them and us remains constant in terms of the number of years, the distance between us only seems to get bigger. The generation difference only gets bigger. I don't mind growing old myself. But I wish the babies didn't!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rare Display

Today, I had a rare display of strong emotion at work. That is so unlike the cool, calm, unflappable me. I was so angry I kicked my desk drawers and dustbin several times. Nobody noticed. But one of my coworkers heard the commotion. I am feeling a little silly and immature about it now. But at that time, I was boiling and seething. If an enemy had shown up and irritated me at that moment, I would have picked him up and broken him in two.

What happened was that, a support guy came to my desk to help fix a minor issue with my laptop... more specifically, my Windows profile In the process, he did not fix the issue, but ended up deleting my Windows profile... essentially wiping out all the custom settings, bookmarks and shortcuts I had on my machine. Most importantly, he deleted a file which contained important information for my new home mortgage loan application process and appointment. After he was done deleting, I was left with nothing. Not even the phone number of the loan officer I was supposed to meet tomorrow. Fortunately, I was able to Google and then make 2-3 phone calls before I was transferred to the loan officer, who re-sent most of the information to me.

Right now, it looks like all that volcanic emotion was unnecessary. But at that time in the morning, I was feeling very edgy. Two reasons for that:
  1. Like most IT people who have great confidence in the simple steps of computer operation, the support guy at my desk did not take one or two simple precautions which could have saved my data. I am actually lucky that he did not end up deleting some really critical, unrecoverable data.

  2. At that point of time, I had lost important information about my mortgage loan appointment. I did not know how easy or quick it was going to be to get it again. It was the busy time of the day for me at work. I also wanted to call my real estate agent ASAP and share the information with him. And I knew that I'd feel like a fool to call the loan officer and ask her to repeat all the information she had given me less than one hour back (this is what I had to do finally).

  3. The more important reason for my anger is that what happened today is part of a bigger problem. My new employer's IS systems and processes have fumbled and botched at every step in converting me from a contractor to a full time employee. The bungling has been unbelievable and indicative of very immature processes. Things are not only botched, they are done at a really slow pace.

I was really tempted to shoot off an angry mail to the support guy's supervisor. I am glad that I didn't. I would have regretted that even more than I regret the kicking of my desk and dustbin. Yes, the guy made a silly error. But that's no big deal. He has already learnt his lesson. However, I definitely need to give feedback about the overall lack of process maturity. Meanwhile, I hope to god there are no more emotional outbursts at work!

Update on April 2nd, 2006: Last Monday, we had a staff meeting with the VP who asked us to send him an email about one major bottle-neck we have seen at the workplace. I emailed him about the issues with IS Support. Meanwhile, the deletion of my profile screwed up something which is preventing me from using some of my applications. I have reported it to IS Support. They are yet to fix it for me!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wild Libran Lover

A domesticated LL is not a happy LL. An unhappy LL cannot make anybody happy.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Assign, don't ask

Learnt a small lesson in management today: At times it may be better to just assign tasks to individuals and not ask them.

We have two main developers who have been working closely together on all of the programming for the project. We were reviewing the project implementation plan today with the objective of assigning specific tasks to specific individuals.

Everytime we came to a task that a developer needed to do, I'd ask who wants to do it and I got the answer, "Put both our names, one of us will do it." The developers were simply not able to decide who wants to do what. I wanted to put a specific name against each task so that there are no confusions during the implementation and no task is missed. It would also be good for later accountability if any questions or issues came up, to know exactly who did what.

Since I did not assign the tasks myself, at the end of the meeting, I found that most of the tasks for the developers ended up with both their names, leaving room for ambiguity as to who would do what.

Workplace Name Calling

In the old days (before I was born?) the respectful way to address superiors and co-workers was to use their last name. This started to change in the late 80s and 90s, especially in the technology industry, with everybody, at all levels in the organization addressing each other by first names. This change happened well before I started my career. So, I have always addressed coworkers and superiors by their first names.

Today I realized just how much this practice has become ingrained in us: I noticed an email I had sent yesterday to my boss's boss, which started by addressing him by his last name. I have spent all morning wondering if that mail sounds disrespectful and if I should send out a clarification.

I was surprised to discover what I had done and am still not able to understand how/why I did it. It was most probably because our email system displays people's last names first, and I had just entered his last name in the address field of the email. So, his last name was stuck on my mind when I began the body of the email.

I thought it was funny that today I am feeling awkward over something which would have been the norm only a couple of decades ago - to address a superior at the work place by his last name. I think I will just let this pass and won't send any clarifications.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

3 True + 1 False

We have an office picnic planned for next month, and we are playing a game called "False Facts" (is that an oxymoron?). The objective of the game is to find out how well we know our co-workers and to get to know even better at the end of the game.

Each of us sends three true facts and one false piece of information about ourselves to the organizer. The organizers compiles everybody's information, and creates a multiple choice questionnaire for the picnic. The objective is to identify the one lie about each person. The person who identifies the maximum number of lies about others is the winner.

Here's what I sent. Let's see if you can find the "false fact" in this list:
  1. I have won only one sports trophy in my entire life.

  2. I can type more than 80 words per minute with 98% accuracy.

  3. I have NEVER completely shaved off my moustache.

  4. Although I use credit cards for almost ALL purchases, I have NEVER paid interest on the card balance in my entire life.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Butterfly Effect

Warning: This blog contains spoilers for the movie The Butterfly Effect. If you have not seen the movie and don't want your enjoyment of the movie to be spoilt, you might not want to read further.

It has been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.
- Chaos Theory

I started watching the movie The Butterfly Effect last night and finished it today. It is Ashton Kutcher's serious movie. It is the story of a guy called Evan (Ashton's character). It is about his sad group of friends. It is about how certain key incidents in their shared lives, tragically determines the course of the rest of their lives. It is about how Evan discovers a method to go back into the past. Having discovered how to travel into the past, he travels back to each of the key incidents in his life. His intention is to slightly alter his own actions in those incidents and there by avoid the tragedy that follows.

The idea is good enough. Unfortunately for Evan, everytime he manages to avert one tragedy, something else happens that seems to be even worse. No matter what he does, he only seems to manage to harm his friends, family and himself.

Finally, towards the end of the movie... well, this is when the real spoiler comes. So, you still have time to stop reading further.

Still wanna read on? Alright. Towards the end of the movie, Evan finds out the only way to stop all the multiple tragedies he and his loves ones have experienced in the multiple versions of his life. He goes back to the very beginning, to the time before he was born, and kills himself in his mother's womb! The movie continues for a few more minutes to show how each of his friends and his family, manage to finally live a happy life instead of tragic ones.

Sad. To think that the existence of one person who really means well, who only wants to do good, screws up the lives of all the people he loves. And that his disappearance would make it all good for everyone.

Sad. But I understand how that can be. I have screwed up lives too, with what I thought were good intentions. I continue to screw up lives by my mere existence. By the very way in which I live. Almost every day, I do small things which metamorphose through the Butterfly Effect into big pain for others.

I wish I could go back to the very beginning too. And snuff it all out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Own Home in America!

Yesterday, I signed the contract to get myself a new home, my first own home in America! Wow! It is a 2133-square-foot model they are calling Hawaii, sitting on a 60 X 110 ft plot of land. My home elevation will look pretty much similar to the picture here, except that the garage will be on the right side.

It all happened so suddenly and unexpectedly. I knew this would happen at some time. But, I never thought this would happen so soon, although a couple of friends suggested months ago that I should consider buying a home instead of staying in rental apartments.

A close friend and colleague has been actively looking to buy a home, and I accompanied him on his house hunts this past Saturday, and the Sunday before that. I was merely with him to see how his search goes and how the market is out there. However, on Saturday, I really liked three of the houses that he was looking at. I called him and spoke to him about them, and he said I should go ahead if I am really interested.

So, on Sunday, I took a couple of good friends to take a more critical view of the houses. On second look, only one of those three houses seemed worth considering. And then, one of the friends who was with me, suggested that we look at some model homes in a community that Richmond American Homes was developing close by. We took a look and found that a plan we liked was available as a "spec home", with a pretty good discount.

A "spec home" is something which somebody else had planned on buying, but then decided not to. The house is usually at a certain stage in the construction process (my house is at the "frame" stage), and hence the builder wants to sell it away as soon as they can. So, they offer discounts and incentives on those. In my case, the discount was good enough that it did not take long for me to make a decision. One day later, on Monday, I signed the contract on my new house!

There was a little bit of apprehension and cold feet just before I signed the contract. The real estate prices in this area have started to come down recently, and people are expecting them to go down further in the coming months. So, there is a risk that something similar to my house would be available for lesser cost in the future. I considered the discount I was getting on my house, the general location of the community, and decided to take a calculated risk.

As if to vindicate my decision, after I had signed the contract, we found another brand-new barely lived-in house in the same community, the same Hawaii model as mine, which was already put up for sale by the new owner at a price which is about $50000 more than the cost of my house. That house backs up to a green-belt area and probably has some great upgraded features. Nevertheless, I am confident that my decision is not wrong.

Only thing weird about the situation is that I am doing all this alone. I mean, I have my friends here, and the real estate agent accompanied me when signing the contract. But I am buying a house, a home, without a partner or a family with me. Feels weird. Even more weird will be to actually stay alone in a 4-bedroom house! We'll wait and see.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Libran Lover's Blog Updates

Time for a few updates about my blog:

  1. Categories: If you notice the side-bar of this blog (you may have to scroll down a bit), you will notice a great new section called Categories! Lack of this feature has been a long time complaint of users. But now I am very happy to have this feature, courtesy of Amit Upadhyay who runs the third-party service That's right, this feature is not from! It is created and offered by Amit. This service is still in beta. So, if you see any glitches, please let us know about it by leaving a comment on my blog.

  2. My Buddy is published for your reading and dreaming pleasure. Back in late Oct 2005 (has it been so long already?), I described a futuristic all-purpose device called My Buddy in two posts. Soon after publishing My Buddy's description, I pulled off the two posts and kept them in draft status so that the whole world could not read them. At that time, I had some ideas of pursuing the creation of the My Buddy gadget, and may be becoming the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs rolled into one. After giving it much thought over the past few months, I have realized that I am not in a position right now to create such a grand, dream device and the technology that goes with it. Such a device is at least two generations away from what is technically feasible right now. When I wrote the original description of My Buddy, I was not dreaming of becoming the next Bill Gates / Steve Jobs, and not even of becoming rich from the idea. I was merely dreaming of being the user of such a fantastic device, and that continues to be my basic dream today as far as My Buddy goes. So, I am sharing the description of My Buddy once again with the world, hoping that someone or the other would make it a reality.

  3. Since the beginning of this year, I have been publishing only time sensitive posts on this blog. Meaning, posts which could not wait, which had to be published as soon as I could type them out. Meanwhile, I have a handful of other posts in draft status. These are posts which can wait. They shall be published towards the end of March. So, keep watching this space.

Those are the updates for now. Have a great time!

Update on June 23rd, 2007: Update no. 1 above has been obsolete ever since Blogger was upgraded to have its own great label system. I now use Blogger's label system, as you can see in the sidebar.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Root Cause of Eve Teasing in India

After writing this whole blog post, I realized that it is longer than I thought it would be, where as all that I want to say can be summed up in just one line. So, if you are in a hurry, here's a one line precis of the root cause for eve teasing. If you have time though, I recommend that you read what follows, in sequence from beginning to end.

Annie of the Known Turf blog has posted a stark and really moving account of eve teasing from a female victim's perspective: Streets, stories, strategies. A lot of things have been written about eve teasing, by both men and women. But this kind of intense, personal account has been absent for a long time in the mainstream media. I am not surprised that this has finally emerged in the blogosphere, rather than the mainstream media. See also: Blank Noise Project.

A very personal account is not the only thing which has been conspicuously missing from the mainstream debates and writings on eve-teasing. What is also missing is an honest, incisive look at the root cause. Most people simply take a superficial view: men are assholes; third-world men are uncouth pigs; it is simply their nature to do it; third-world cultures are backward and repressive and condone harassment of women.

When feminist types enter the debate, rather than helping, they distort the issue: It is all about power. Eve-teasing is yet another way for the chauvinistic males to exert their power over the women and suppress them. It might be about sex in a small way, but it is a distorted expression of the patriarichal society in a major way. See also: Eve Teasing, Rite of passage?

There may be some truth to the feminist view-point that eve-teasing is about a man showing-off his dominance over a woman. But that is only a partial truth. That is probably true of only a very tiny percentage of eve teasing incidents. As a guy who has participated in mild eve teasing (check my personal dirt), and who has witnessed his share of such incidents, I can tell you that 99% of eve teasing is not about power. Eve teasing is more a distorted and perverse sexual expression.

When a guy on the roadside whistles or passes a loud, lewd comment at a passing girl, he is not thinking of dominating over her or subduing her or feeling powerful. When a guy brushes by a girl or pokes an elbow into her when passing her on the pavement, or copes a feel on a crowded train/bus, he is not thinking of suppressing her or all of womanhood. The last thing the sneaky asshole is feeling is powerful! These guys are rather seizing the moment to have a fleeting sexual experience. And in a large number of cases, it is truly fleeting from the male perspective. The guy who whistled or passed a dirty comment most probably did not give the girl or his behavior much thought - neither before nor after the incident. There are very many times when I have seen guys stop whatever they were doing (bantering or playing a game) to tease a passing girl and then go right back to their original activity.

I am not trying to deny the seriousness of eve teasing by claiming that it is a fleeting thing from the male perspective. I can understand that for the girl, it is a deep and lingering hurt and humiliation. I know that eve teasing denies a full-fledged public life for most young women in India. So, I am making no excuses for the males. All I am saying is that most of the time, there is no complex psycho powerplay involved in these cases.

I feel that feminists get off on the power angle for three reasons:
  1. They have a tendency to look at everything through their feminist lens, and for them, the whole universe is about yang dominating and suppressing the yin, and taking away her rights.

  2. They feel that if we accept the sexual urges to be the motivation for eve teasing, then somehow the guy who did eve teasing escapes personal blame and responsibility. Since sexual urges are common for almost all of us, and it is an inherent part of our biology, the feminists think the teaser escapes being characterized as a demon. This is not acceptable to them. They would like the eve teasing and harassing males to be portrayed as abnormal, cruel, powerful demons.

  3. It is very hard for women to accept that the same sexual energy which motivates the passion of their tender lover, might also be at the core of an eve-teaser's or rapist's motivations. They want to believe that their lover's sexual motivation is clean and pure, and the eve-teaser's sexual motivation is dirty and obscene. They find it hard to logically separate the biological sexual motivation from the sexual action. If they had to accept that the motivation of the lover and the teaser are the same, then in their eyes, the actions would also be equally dirty and that would spoil their enjoyment of the lover's attentions.

I am not a woman, so I may very well be wrong here. But I have come to these conclusions after many debates with feminist-minded women.

I believe that giving too much importance to the power and patriarchy angle in eve teasing distorts us from having a clear view of the issue and its real root cause. This in turn, takes us farther away from any solution for the issue.

So, what might be the clearer view? I believe it is this: Most of the eve teasing incidents are distorted and deviant expressions / experiences of sexuality by men who cannot have a healthy sharing of sexuality with a particular girl or woman. In many cases, the man/men involved probably don't have a healthy sexual relationship with any woman at all. That is, they are mostly frustrated bachelors.

At this point, I have to make it clear that being "frustrated bachelors" does not in anyway condone the sexual crime, be it eve teasing or something more serious. Just because the motivation might be sexual, does not mean the guy(s) can escape blame or responsibility or punishment.

I also accept that there may be exceptional cases where the motivation is something more or other than the sexual urge. There are no doubt cases where the guys are sadists, cruel chauvinists, real demons. None of what I write above or below is about such guys.

Why is the bachelor frustrated?
Most Indians know the answer to this question. India is still a country where majority of the marriages are arranged, and most youngsters don't date. Individuals, especially women, do not choose their own mates - they merely say aye or nay to the person chosen by their families. A male-female pair who are not married or otherwise related, are frowned upon, disapproved, harassed (even by the police) if they are seen together in public. Romantic couples have always found ways around these restrictions, but the public disapproval is a very real fact even today. It is changing, especially in urban areas, but not fast enough. Compared to the total number of unmarried young people in India, the number of young people who are actually romantically involved with someone, is a very small minority. Romantic pairing among unmarried people is still uncommon and premarital sex is even rarer.

The result: supposing that a boy becomes sexually active at around 12-13 years of age and gets married after 25 years of age, over a dozen years of the height of his sexual life are spent in enforced singledom, without a romantic partner. In addition to this, bombard the guy with overt and covert sexuality in all kinds of media, and every guy out there is a walking bomb of repressed sexual energy. I am actually surprised that the situation is not much worse than it is now. If animals were repressed like that for years after reaching their age of sexual maturity - or for that matter if American youth were - they would have torn apart their societies, not merely indulged in eve teasing.

This is the root cause of eve-teasing. It is merely an urge to express and experience sexuality in a society which actively and passively suppresses it. This is almost never frankly expressed or talked about in most articles or debates on the issue, which are usually from the female perspective. This is the truth from the male perspective.

If you are not convinced, look at Western societies. There is hardly a concept of public eve teasing in countries like the United States (although there is definitely behind-closed-doors sexual harassment everywhere). The reason for this is not strict law enforcement, although that certainly is a deterrant. The real reason is one of the following:
  • Most young guys are too busy with their girlfriends to indulge in teasing or harassing strange women.

  • Most young guys are too busy wooing prospective girlfriends. They know that their chances of landing a girl are very bright if they exhibit good behavior. On the other hand, bad behavior, such as eve teasing, will reduce their chances to zero.

In India, most young guys don't have girlfriends. So, the first bullet above is not possible. As for the second bullet, because of the sexual and romantic repression among Indian youth and the conservative society, for most guys, the chances of landing a girlfriend is already close to zero even if they are well-behaved. So, there is no great reward for good behavior just as there is no great punishment for bad behavior. Meanwhile, their suppressed sexuality needs expression and experience... and it comes out as eve teasing.

If you still don't get it, let me put it more simply: If most young guys were sharing a healthy sexual relationship with their girlfriends, they wouldn't be teasing or feeling up strange women in public places. If there was a well-taught and well-understood code for pleasantly communicating their attraction and safely sharing their sexuality with uninhibited young women, guys wouldn't be indulging in unpleasant and unsafe expressions like eve teasing and harassment.

In Western countries like the US, if a guy feels attracted to a girl, there is a very definite social code and language he follows to express his intentions. Both the guy and the girl have the independence to safely share and experience their attraction, without any disapproval or danger. In India, such a social code and independence was missing in the past, and is just beginning to emerge now.

It is as simple as that!


PS: Incidentally, I arrived at my conclusions on this root cause of eve teasing in India, after I came to the US and compared the situation in the US with the situation in India. If I had not come out of India, I might not have had this insight. This is a classic example of the phenomenon I have mentioned in a previous post on NRI Nationalism: coming out of India gives us some better perspectives and insights into India's issues.

Personal Dirt: My Eve Teasing Experience
Yes, I have indulged in mild eve teasing during my college days. No, I am not proud of it. My past eve teasing acts consisted of a couple of occasions when I sat on the pavement on my college street with other friends and whistled or sang loudly at passing girls, who also studied in my college. Otherwise, most of my college days were spent in classes (I almost never missed classes) or being lost in my personal romantic story or watching the antics of my friends, which included eve teasing. And by the way, my friends' eve teasing also mostly consisted of whistling or passing comments. I have not seen them physically harass any girl. There, you have the dirt on me now!

Precis of the Root Cause for Eve Teasing
The root cause of eve teasing in India is that the sexually repressed young people don't have enough premarital romance in their lives.