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    TMYS Review June 2020 : Crimes Against Women

    GENDER IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL REALITIES : ESSAYS AND STORIES ON INDIAN WOMEN

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    Subcategory III :

    CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN 

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    Title : A Mistake

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Paulami Sarkar

    Author intro : Paulami is a class 11 commerce student at Holy Child School, Jalpaiguri (Bengal). Her family includes her mother, father and sister. She enjoys photography and loves capturing unique moments in her surroundings. In fact, she was awarded third position in an inter-school photography competition, followed by a felicitation in a competition held by Jalpaiguri Association.

    Excerpt : 

    This was a few years back. I was no more than thirteen. The new computer, sorry – laptop, was my birthday gift. The internet connection had opened the world in my fist. 'Google ' seemed  magical as it had an answer to all my questions. It was summertime; the sky had turned dark. The curtains in my room went flying with the breeze from the Teesta river. I sat holding my laptop when a friend-request popped up in one of the social media sites. I was curious.

    "I have been watching you for over a year as you go to your school. Indeed, you have such beautiful hair and big eyes." He said as we began chatting.

    I blushed. No one had ever spoken to me like this before.

    "May I know who you are?" I asked.

    "I am Rakesh Sharma," he said, "a teacher at a missionary school. I have just completed my studies and joined here to teach classes VII to IX. I know you are much younger to me but still, I don't know why I just can't stop myself from watching you and thinking of you all the time."

    Now, this was much more than what I expected. My heart was beating faster, cheeks were burning and out of excitement, I  don't even remember what I typed next. In a few days, I started staying awake till late hours in the night, chatting.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : Photocopy

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Aparna Mondal               

    Author Intro : Aparna was born and brought up in Kolkata. Presently, she lives in Mumbai with her family. She hasalways loved nature and that has prompted her to study Biological sciences. She loves to paint landscape captures and  nature; she  is extremely passionate about painting and devotes most of her time to it. Her other hobbies include reading, photography, travelling, making costume jewellery, acting, swimming and listening to music. She has recently developed a special interest in putting her thoughts into writing. Thus, she is now happily occupied with painting, writing and other hobbies. 

    Excerpt :

    Life is a great teacher - sometimes out of desperation we end up doing things that teach us lessons for life.

    This was around nineteen - twenty years back. We were living in Pune as my husband was posted there. My daughter was studying in high school and my son was about to start in another one. We were called for his interview and admission test. The night before the interview, my husband told me that the school wanted two copies of the original birth certificate instead of one.

    After we registered him with the city corporation, we paid some extra money to get three copies of the certificates, which was then a novel facility. We did not have a scanner at home, so I went to a nearby shop to get another photocopy. A portion of a stationery shop was sublet to a person who ran a roadside 'Xerox' service. When I arrived, the shop keeper of the stationery shop informed me that the photocopy service was closed at 8 'o'clock and he would not be able to help. The shop would not reopen till the next morning.

    It was 8:30 at night and I was wondering what to do next. I enquired about other shops in the neighbourhood but to my disappointment, I was told that my only option was the Pune station, which was quite a few kilometres away. The interview was scheduled for the very next day at 9:30 am.  I did not want to take any chances. I knew my husband was busy working to meet a deadline and it would be difficult for him to go out. I thought I would return home, inform him about the situation and then find an auto-rickshaw for Pune station.

    A narrow lane from the shop led to our housing society. As I turned to go home, I heard a voice come from behind. "Ma'am, I understand that you need to get a copy of the certificates urgently. I can get it done for you." I realized he was the same young man who was there at the shop when I was engaged  with the shopkeeper. He probably realized my desperation from the expression on my face and that's why was offering a helping hand. I, however, refused; telling him that my husband would get it done, to which he replied, "Ma'am, you can trust me. I am on a bike, so I will get it done faster than you." He added that the shops at Pune station would shut around 9 pm.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : Girls in Command

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Hanadi Falki

    Author Intro : Hanadi is an Indian storyteller, with four published books including her debut novel, ‘The Price of Our Silence’, and a collection of short stories, ‘Women Around Us’. She has also contributed a short story in India's first Urban Horror Anthology, 'City of Screams', which is a certified Amazon Bestseller. Hanadi is a gold medallist in English Literature and has a Master's degree in Creative Writing from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Along with her career in the field of writing as a Content Developer, Editor, Digital Content Specialist and then a Communications Director, she has worked with various organizations trying to combat extreme poverty and polio, raise awareness on various social issues and bridge the gap between people of different faiths and income groups.

    Excerpt :

    I'd like to believe that we all have a krantikari in us, that undying spirit of rebellion against all forms of injustice, that zeal to bring forth a revolution if the need arises. I wasn't always a vocal person, but I did have a 'revolutionary' moment when I led all my female co-workers in a 'Quit Company' movement at a post-production house in Delhi, back in 2012.

    It was a small company, a start-up in extension to their more profitable core business, and the creative department consisted of around 7-8 stereo-compositors and an Operational Manager (OM), a middle-aged man with a sweet little family- judging by the picture he had at his work-desk. My job was to convert 2D clips into 3D. The women outnumbered the men in our team, and we had a good time coming up with different ideas and experimenting together.

    One day, I called in my ex-colleague for an interview because she needed a job in Delhi. I knew she wasn't suitable for the role, but I called her nevertheless, relying on my OM to reject her after the interview. But to my surprise, she got selected right away. She was made to sit near the OM so that he could guide her, and within a few days, I noticed that she was uncomfortable in the office. I chalked it up as a newcomer adjusting to the workplace and continued with my work. The OM spent quite a lot of time at her desk, guiding her in everything.

    A week later, I was surprised when I heard that she was quitting. After probing for a while, she opened up. I was shocked to learn that our OM, the sweet family guy, was harassing her. It began casually, with his hand over her shoulder while he leaned closer to check out the monitor and guide her in the task. Sometimes he kept his hand over hers on the mouse pretending to show her something. When the casual physical contact wasn't enough for him, he began calling her up at odd hours saying that he was concerned about her safety in Delhi as she lived alone. His conversations had double meanings and had made her very uncomfortable.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : Odds Faced in a Patriarchy and Corresponding Responses of Women - Anger, Indignity and Fear

    Category : Essay

    Author : Boijayanto Mukherjee

    Author intro : Boijayanto Mukherjee is a final semester student of Durgapur Government College, Durgapur. An avid reader and prolific writer, he has presented academic papers at national conferences on Shakespeare, Feminism and Indian Writing in English. Different languages intrigue him. He has a unique flair for fine arts and painting as well, which has brought him recognition.

    Abstract : India is inching towards a glorious 74th in 2020. The question which all of us need to ask here is that are all men and women in this country really safe? What exactly has changed in the Post-Independence Era, especially since the arrival of Globalization and The Internet? Three different lives find themselves sharing a single common thread. Taking up the burning issue of harassment is no easy job; however, silence is a sin too. A lesson to one is a lesson for all, they say. Drawing themes from contemporary film/book depictions,and analysing three contemporary voices – Girls in Command by Hanadi Falki, Photocopy by Aparna Mondal and A Mistake by Paulami Sarkar – this essay will let the stories speak for themselves.

    Excerpt :

    The stories, A Mistake, Girls in Command and Photocopy, contain a common thread within them; that the protagonist is a victim, sometimes an active one like in the stories A Mistake and Photocopy; while in Girls in Command, she is a passive one. What marks the most significant aspect of the stories is that all of them are tales from our mundane and daily lives. There is no fantastical shim-sham, no romantic exuberance nor any kind of detachment from this world. In each of the story, the protagonist is a female but with varied temperaments and maturity levels, and in all the three stories she is presented as a vulnerable object deeply threatened by the notion of patriarchy; they are either emotionally assaulted or psychologically traumatized or both.

    In A Mistake, the victim is one adolescent girl, whose eyes are filled with the honey of romantic aspirations, hopes for a dramatic arrival of a Prince Charming and is naively protective of her little secret. The way events unfold and progress, we cannot help but feel a sense of dread, tension, excitement and anxiety over this mysterious Rakesh Sharma. The internet is a world of wonders and evil alike; a small misstep can ruin entire lives. Tales of online predators and cyber bullying are like modern bedtime stories that have replaced Grimm brothers’ tales since the advent of Technological Era. The way our young protagonist here carefully plans her escapades and outings with this admirer, etches out effective ways of hiding her online lover tells us a lot about her psyche. Somewhere deep inside her conscious, she is perfectly able to tell what is wrong and what is not. However, it is her wilful misdirection of herself that brings about her doom The narrative is of no surprise to any of us reading the story because we can predict the plot from a mile away. Yet, we  sympathize with this girl, so much so that we pity her. This particular reaction is the outcome of nothing but the sheer realization that it could have been, or it was us when we were younger. The character of Anupama Ma’am enters the story like deus ex machina, which prevents some greater doom. It is she who helps our protagonist here to forgive herself and look beyond her mistake. Riyan, although a very supportive and highly mature character, is often left untapped as friend. As far as Sharma is concerned, this predator is seen using tactics that are extremely clichéd and thus work just fine on an unsuspecting little girl. The teacher acts as a confidante and enables the young girl to overcome her guilt and emotional turmoil. She helps her to break the silence around her trauma and come to terms with her suffering. Compassion and understanding are best ways to deal with emotional crisis rather than confrontation and repudiation of the victim which often result in adverse effect ontheir ,ind. It is due to the support and help of her teacher that she musters the courage to face her situation and get on in her life. 

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    You can also read the above stories here :https://www.amazon.in/Women-Their-Stories-Tell-Story-ebook/dp/B085GKM43S/

    Go back to TMYS review : https://www.tellmeyourstory.biz/tmys-review

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