Of Cabbages and Kings

April 8, 2008

when IAS divorces IPS

For those who are unfamiliar with the Indian government’s executive arm – the IAS is possibly the most powerful civil service…it very literally runs the country. Every years, thousands (some idealistic, many power hungry) applicants, write the civil services exams. The really fortunate make it. The less fortunate settle for the other services, such as the Indian Police service (IPS), and the unfortunate don’t make anything.

Today I read two stories about IAS officers…’lady officers’ as the media insists on describing. Both had IPS husbands…husbands who by conventional Indian standards were not as successful as them, both for whom the marriage didn’t work. Hemlata Pant was divorced twenty four years ago and is now homeless and reduced to living on the pavement. Nidhi Pandey has, with some difficulty managed to file a harassment case against her husband – she was recently thrown down the courtroom stairs. News articles suggest that the little support that Nidhi is managing to garner is solely due to the “women IAS officers” who seem to be the only people taking the issue seriously.

There we have it. My beautiful country. Where the most powerful women in the country are certified insane since they could save their marriages and are beaten and harassed for dowry. Where it isn’t even all their colleagues that are seen to be backing them but only the small minority from their own gender. Where a woman gets thrown down the stairs in court and the word ‘allegedly’ is still used in the face of her bruises.

If the most powerful women are so vulnerable, imagine what could become of the little girl next door, or of the one selling flowers round the corner…


An ex-policeman has denounced the action taken in the Nidhi Pandey case. While I agree that it does not seem fair to suspend anybody without an enquiry, I am afraid that I fail to concur with his stand that the “higher -ups …not meddle into the private affairs of an officer whose professional honesty in the field of service was never in question [sic]“. Since the law makers (fortunately) consider domestic violence a crime rather than ‘private affairs’, physical torture by an officer would mean that we have a police officer breaking the law. I can’t imagine how and why that should be tolerated. There is much research to be done on this and I shall be back soon with the whys, hows and wheres of it.


April 6, 2008

Phenomenal Woman

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , — Chinmayi @ 6:06 am

They should make make little girls recite this every day. God knows that they need it when they grow up!

Hats off to you Maya Angelou…

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I’m not cute or built to suit a model’s fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I’m telling lies.
I say
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It’s the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say
It’s in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It’s in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman
That’s me.

Learning the ropes

Filed under: Personal — Chinmayi @ 5:52 am

Fling the laptop down, log into the office network, swivel round, rise and head for the coffee machine in one smooth motion. As the coffee fills into the cardboard cup, you dump half a spoon of sugar and find the tissues and plastic stirrers. A ninety second private ritual. Stir the coffee, inhale the life in its beautiful potent caffeine smell as you walk down the carpeted, empty-cubicle lined corridor every morning. You have already learned to come just a little early so that no goodmornings or conversation comes between you and your coffee. Your morning smile is for your coffee alone, the awakening blissful smile. Your morning ritual is to walk the straight line down the corridor, stirring and inhaling. Once you reach your place, you create a tissue throne for the coffee cup on your desk, settle into your chair and take the first sip.


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