Thursday, December 03, 2009


Third standard.
The class was under the dictatorship of Amreena. She was fair and pretty and always had a gang of girls walking behind her.

She decided what games to play during the lunch break.
If you were her friend, you were part of the "cool" crowd.
People would share their snacks with you if Amreena said they should.
When the teacher asked you to mind the class, you were not allowed to report Amreena or her friends. Common laws never applied to her.

If you did anything Amreena said you shouldn't, you were treated like an outcast and not allowed to play with the rest of the class.
It was a very bad idea to get on her bad side because Amreena was merciless. If she didn't like you, she wouldn't let you play with the rest of the class during lunch break.

I once called Amreena an Idiot.
I always sat alone during the lunch break.


The girls in my class were divided into two gangs when I was in the fourth standard. One was the gang of good looking girls and other was the gang of err... good girls.

The good looking girls never let me play with them because...err, I guess they never thought I was good looking enough? I don't really know. But they never let me play "Running Catching" with them.
I didn't greatly enjoy hanging out with the good girls because they were a little boring and spent a lot of time plotting against the good looking ones.

So I hung out with the boys after school because they didn't mind that I wanted to play with them. Not only did they not discriminate against me, they taught me a lot of "boy" games which I would have otherwise never learned. I was a pro at hand cricket, I knew all the characters in Dragon Ball Z and I was good at leg cricket.
I was taught how to make my tongue bleed.
I didn't have to slap a guy just because I was a girl; A good punch on the face was always appreciated.
Noone cared if I jumped over a fence.
I was never yelled at for fighting with a bunch of rowdy boys from another class because they stole all the chart paper from our class.
I was treated like an equal.
I miss that.


Fourth standard. Social Sciences class.
Elizabeth mam was my favourite teacher because she was pretty, she was nice, she was so smart and she always liked me.

We were discussing religion in class and how people discriminate against others on the basis of religion. I told her that I agreed with her. I told her about how two girls in my class said they didn't like me because I'm a Christian. Their argument was that the British were Christians and that all Christians in our country were, therefore, British supporters.
They told me that I should be ashamed of myself.
They said they didn't want to be friends with a traitor like me.

I got cornered by the two girls after class. They threatened to make sure I never had any friends left if I ever spoke up in class about such things again.
To make sure I got the point, they made my best friend stop talking to me.
My best friend was a christian.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Letter of No Consequence

Whoever reads this at Dow Chemicals


I am writing to you in the hope that my voice will make a difference. I am aware that I am a nameless, faceless entity to you and you don't really care about what I have to say. But I'll say it anyway because I care and I believe in the greater good.

I spent the last couple of days consumed in anger because of the events that unfolded on this very night, 25 years ago. I wanted to blame you and question you for the millions of lives which are affected today. I do not feel the same way anymore for I know that I would be unfair to you if I did.

Someone was careless, someone was negligent, someone was selfish and because of that innocent lives were lost and many more affected. Now I know that you are not that 'someone' and that this is not your battle to fight. But I also know that you will be able to make a difference if you looked past your own needs and comforts and cared about that little boy who eats bones and feces today because of a mental disability cause by the toxins.

You have probably mourned for the death of someone you loved/knew. I have and I know what sort of a feeling that leaves you with. It's not something I look forward to ever going through again. So it would be simpler for me to not care about the people who lost their lives, to be indifferent and take the easy way out. But I choose not to and I beg of you to do the same. This disaster could have happened anywhere, to anyone and that is precisely what scares me the most. If I don't care for the millions who are affected today, who will care for me tomorrow?

I write this letter to you with faith, hoping that you'll realise that it's never too late to do the right thing, to contribute in whatever little way you can, to help the faceless millions who suffer today because of what happened on this very night, 25 years ago.

I do not think you should be held responsible for what happened, but I do believe that you should take responsibility.