In the demand for change

I do want change

Not just as a woman who was made to feel exploited, demeaned and unduly objectified, but as a human who believes to be possessing as much  power as any other

I do want change

But not just through justice and laws handed down vertically in this system of hierarchies,  but request for change horizontally

I do want change

But not as a result of a violent manifestation of my repressed anger and frustration, I want change as a way of thinking, a way of life

Yes, Yes, Yes I do want change

But not at the cost of or as a reaction to another fellow being’s sacrifice, I want change from within, from every human’s core

I want change

I want change, in the way mothers raise their sons and daughters, in the way fathers dominate, in the way husbands treat their wives, in the way women are taught to be meek in even the supposedly open-minded households

I want change in how my sex organs are called CHHi Chhi

I want change in how schools teach us to tie our hair in red ribbons and protect virginity

I want change in the depiction of an ideal child, I want change in interpretations of religious concepts revolving around the  ideal man and ideal (dormant?) woman (burdened with servitude?)

I want change in parents’ subdued reaction to boys drawing mustache on dolls’ face or bullying sisters in other forms

I want change in how the men are supposed to devour food before the womenfolk at family dinners

I want change in how sexual abuse is so prevalent that every grandmother must have heard stories from grandchildren only to never be retold and be hidden in oblivion

I want change in how at the age of twelve many of my gender are not to wear shorts anymore while going for a bicycle ride, while members from the other gender may continue to do so till the end of life, causing us to admire their beautiful hairy legs while hiding ours, despite our frequent visits to the saloon for a painful waxing session to fit into the concepts of beauty and aesthetics

I want change in how girls’ schools change uniforms once students reach puberty

I want change in how boys are never sensitized about menstrual cycle along with their fellow classmates.I want change in how sanitary napkins are sold in hideous black polythene bags and women are told by women to not visit Holy places in that time period

I want change in how chapters on reproduction are generally either removed or skewed in school education

I want change in how (on our way to school) we would giggle on glancing at the posters by sexologists who are to advertise stealthily or crassly

I want change in how the movie “Japaani prem katha” being screened in a blue movie hall next to my overly sanctified school, had posters that depicted only blue ink. I want change in how easily we accept this hypocrisy.I want change in how we make, look at and treat porn, I want change in how a woman suddenly is called a “bitch who asked for it” and men thought of “teaching her a lesson”?

I want change in how many mothers react the most to their daughter’s male friends and encourage their sons to flirt with girls (along with cheesy jokes and stupid giggles)

I want change in how fathers insult their teenage daughters when they FINALLY begin to explore sexuality

I want change in how family members tease young women on obesity and ask them to idolize plastic faces and anorexic figures causing deeply rooted hatred or dislike for their own bodies

I want change in how women mock at other women who might not dress, look or carry hairstyles  as their own

I want change in how women can sell anything from stinking deodorants to men’s shaving cream or well even Asia’s biggest real estate fair

I want change in how sex is either blatantly denied or mockingly despised in a state of pretense or (I guess) delirium until your honeymoon

I want change in how most women in India don’t know the optimum size of lingerie that would suit their body because neither  their mothers or teachers or friends did.I want change in how women suddenly purchase new lingerie before marriage as guided by yet again women who were guided by yet another set of women

I want change in how men don’t wash their undergarments themselves , well mostly

I want change in how women are to dress to die under the weight of their jewelry and 30 Kg dresses on the day of wedding

I want change in why models are unreal or surreal but not somehow real

I want change in people opting for female pets mostly if they want to earn money via breeding, I want a change in how they treat them as a machine

I want change in how parents call their daughter at least 50 times more than their sons to know if they are safe and not raped

I want change in how even the thought of making love to my man before marriage unconsciously scares me, reminds me of fake concepts of morality and esteem, societal pressures in the guise of self respect

I want change in how I have a different set of  extreme clothes for different places, (full sleeves, no neck) salwar kameez for field visits, deep necks for birthday

I want change in how men are given a much shorter paternal leave causing the woman to spend maximum time taking care of children

I want change in how when I am pinched, felt or looked at for some hyperactive sex freak’s masturbation in buses and trains, my dear ones would ask me to be quiet, to not raise an alarm, to not be vengeful, to suppress my anger, to look away, to feel as if I am not a human at all

I want change, in how families themselves react when daughters share their fears, problems or concerns, I want change in how society unnecessarily victimizes a person and her family for what she might have had to face, and we havn’t even started thinking for what must happen to men who go through sexual assault and abuse

I want change in how families conveniently forget their sons’ ill doings, I am not against a chance for betterment and repentance, but that is expecting utopia,  they generally unabashedly move on without having been told of or made to realize their mistake let alone punishment, without seeking the forgiveness they automatically received, without having really deserved the second life they organically achieved, with their inflated egos and convoluted minds they conveniently move on. Their mothers and sisters protect them in many cases

I want change in how harassment of men by women is hardly recognized. I want change in how many women interpret feminism as nitpicking, undue criticism and constant nagging

I want change in how I cannot share my sense of humiliation or express my anger on a daily basis because I carry on me the burden of loved ones’ image of self. I really pity on men for they are considered to be absolute jerks who would not know how to think, love, respect and care at all


A recent article on Creativity and Leadership



A nerd’s tryst with Design, Creativity and Leadership

While growing up, the most useful pages were those at the back of academic books.
Those would hold solutions to sums and problems, which I would check often. If they
would match with mine, I would get cheap thrills, almost like a chronic desire for ego
boost. A nerd’s favoured spectacle for the quantification of self worth, an image of
constant feedback that I had gotten it right; there was only one answer, and I had been
able to achieve the same. Life was already laid out, learning was a monologue; some
greater nerd out there had taken out the time to give all solutions already…

Life at school was hence black and white. Leaders were those who looked like the
stereotypical boy on the “Ideal Child” poster, with knee length socks, hair neatly
combed and crisp uniforms. One of our school counsellors, Sister Yvonne, once gave
me the photocopy of an essay on youth, which spoke of youthfulness as a state of
mind and the essence of great leaders. Their fearlessness, that ability to take risks,
the resilience to overcome hindrances, the strength to choose a different path and be
themselves were ingredients, which many of my age had lost already. I believe that was
one of the most important lessons in those fourteen years of schooling.

What intrigued me the most was how even art classes were homogenised. I used to
wonder if all children in all schools paint only that one scenery with conical mountains,
river and a house. Thankfully my father taught me how to draw a tortoise, snail and
wild flowers. I almost failed in art at school and got selected to a design school for
graduation. It changed my perspective forever.

I faced ambiguity for the first time, not an image, but a full-fledged draconian self.
At first I was overwhelmed, but slowly I learnt to embrace it and enjoy it. That was
it. The moment you start loving what you are doing, you would be ecstatic. I realized
there are no concrete preconceived solutions and one has to find those relative to each
context. It was a different world altogether, and I realized that I was not out of place.
Most importantly, there was no right or wrong, there were only greys, and greys are
beautiful indeed. They give you so much scope to innovate, to stretch the imagination
for concepts, to map the mind till the last bit can be oozed out and tried and tested. It
was different, flexible and much more real than the surreal certainty, discipline and
claustrophobic rigidity I had faced earlier.

Having spent some of my most important years in exploring Design, I had been
exposed to various streams and ways of thinking. This rekindled inquisitiveness as
well as the courage to meander. After cajoling in a creative environment, attempt at
understanding leadership was indeed an organic step, which came in a flow to expand
my thinking further, to unlearn and learn yet again. I applied for a fellowship in science
and liberal arts, aimed at inspiring leaders for tomorrow.

It would be a hyperbole to claim that I truly understand leadership now, or have
proved myself as a leader, nay. However, I have certainly felt that having come from

a stream that allowed the mind to open, have helped me grasp leadership to a humble
extent. I have come to realize that leaders do not come from another planet, they
cannot be created, they can definitely be encouraged and empowered, but basically
leaders are people who did not lose themselves in the crowd of reassurance and
reaffirmation along the way. They did not stop themselves from trying, and have
understood the importance of even failure.

In fact we must all sympathise with dear failure, which is not a monster, but just a
feedback that this step is not working, and leaders recognize it as that step perhaps. I
strongly feel that exposure to creativity certainly helps one in doing so. For the Design
Process or Creative Process as I have come to understand, involves lateral thinking,
coming up with different concepts to one problem, narrowing down, prioritizing,
testing, seeking feedback, re-working; it is a long process, a tedious, meticulous
process which requires patience and resilience, conviction and will power. If in the
process the feedback is negative, you find out why it doesn’t work, offer solution to
it than take it as a setback. It is not just about having the freedom to think, imagine
but also the strength to see it till the end, till its application. Furthermore, it is not just
about creation, but about being sensitive to the entire chain of consequences as well,
and hence taking informed and responsible decisions.

Poornima Sardana