Friday, 21 April 2017

You Are Never Too Safe

Growing up as a girl in India you get used to a certain level of sexual harassment. The normal ogling, whistling, nasty remarks and inappropriate touching are passé - not that it has stopped but one simply learns to ignore. But today I got a glimpse of something different altogether - power of mob.

I was walking back home through a reputable residential area just few blocks away from my place (around 5 PM) when a gang of bikers (5-6 bikes) approached from the other side. And by bikers I mean low class thugs with disgusting smiles smeared their across the face. But since it was middle of the day and in a short distance there were two watchmen (albeit shady looking) I assumed there was nothing to fear. Next instant one of the bike stopped close to me and stopped, I continued to walk trying to follow our "ignore" policy and in background I heard them discussing whether to pursue me or not. One guy finally said let's go and the sound of engine went slower and slower.

All through my remaining walk I couldn't help but think about what had happened. It was all too quick for me to feel scared and luckily nothing did happen, but if they had indeed decided to pursue what could I have done?

You see even if we are not as strong as men physically somehow when there is just one, you fool yourself into thinking you can fight. But what are you to do if there are more than two? I mean even if one is trained in martial arts what is one to do against a group of people?

There is phrase "united we stand, divided we fall", which took a whole new meaning in this context. You see there is evil in each of us, of course some have more than others but my point is individually we fear society and its general norm. If that guy was going alone in the bike I am sure he wouldn't dare such a stunt in the middle of the day. But with his friends around who share similar mindset, this cheap (but otherwise harmless) guy gets encouraged to such obscene acts.

That's when you realize how powerful a mob can be and how dangerous it can get. A mob doesn't have a face. A mob can get away with anything and unfortunately they have managed to do it in multiple occassions. And it explains why there are so many cases of gang-rape in our country.

The worst thing about the whole incident is I can't find a single thing I could have changed or avoid as precaution. I mean I was walking in a safe, residential area in the daytime, wearing jeans and casual t-shirt. What else could I do as a woman to keep myself safe? And now knowing something like this can happen in future, how can I prepare myself to deal with a gang of men?

I don't feel scared. I feel helpless and hopeless by the entire episode. Physical wounds may heal, but the emotional scars which never heal and that's exactly what sexual abuse does to you. Even though superficially things look good, our foundation itself is faulty. I wonder how many generations it will before this mentality is wiped off from our minds.

Till then, girls, never let your guard down.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Why Gold Is Not Overrated ?

Photo: Quinn
I always had a slight repulsion towards gold. Mostly because growing up in India(especially Kerala), I saw gold as a synonym to dowry. So even though the gold in itself is beautiful, I could never see it without my tainted prejudiced eyes.

But yesterday I found out about the origin of this precious metal and for the first time I saw gold as something more than a commodity of marriage business. And I was so excited about this new found information that I decided to share it with you guys..

1. Gold comes from Outer Space!

Unlike other elements including carbon or iron, gold cannot be created within a star/planet but instead must be born from an event known a gamma-ray burst. Basically collision of two neutron stars - Supernova! And all the debris from explosion (including gold in the form of dust) was thrown flowing across the universe. Some of these particles helped in making our solar system. When the earth was molten, all the gold probably sank into its core and slowly after millions of years small part of gold reached earth crust due to asteroid collisions or volcanic moments.

Gold is literally stardust.

Photo: NASA

2. Used by Astronauts

Gold reflects infrared and harmful UV rays and that's why astronaut helmets come equipped with a visor coated with a thin layer of gold.

Photo: Mo Riza

3. Golden Cure

Some gold salts have anti-inflammatory properties and at present two are used as pharmaceuticals in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other similar condition. Apart from that research has been going on for it's use in cancer treatment. The radioactive gold isotope Au-198 can be injected directly into the site of a tumor, where its radiation can destroy tumor cells without much spillover to the rest of the body.

4. Gold is Rare

Gold is rarer than diamond. The world pours more steel in an hour than it has poured gold since time began. That said, since gold comes from space there is a huge possibility that it can be found on other planets like mars, venus etc

5. It was our First!

Gold was one of the first metals discovered by man, along with copper, around 5000 BC (7000 years ago).

Photo: Alexander

So even though I still hate the way gold is connected to Indian wedding scenario, I can't help but be awed by this star-studded (literally) metal. It has definitely got my attention and well deserved respect. I hope in future instead of just accumulating it for economic reason, people take a moment to admire gold for what it really is - a souvenir which defies time and space, which has travelled from across the universe and still shines as it did when born.