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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Of ‘Kashmir ki Kali’ and ‘Midnight in Paris’

Of the different degrees and shades of CSA that I faced, the part that has left the worst taste in the mouth is that fact that all three of the perpetrators were known to the family, known to me. And that is of course the most horrifying fact about CSA – that in 50% of the cases, the victim has been abused by a person that s/he knew and believed s/he could trust.

This was the case with me.

I wrote about the abuse I faced the very first year that CSAAM started. The problem that I have now, is living with some peripheral memories – how does one survive those? For example, the uncle who abused me was a great fan of Hindi film music of the 50’s and ‘60’s. At home, his radio would constantly be blaring out songs of Manna De, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsle and Mukesh. Songs from movies like ‘Kashmir ki Kali’, ‘Teesri Manzil’, ‘Shagird’ and ‘Mere Sanam’. He would talk constantly about the songs, the movies, the singers, music directors, actors and actresses.

My love for the songs of the Golden Age of Hindi film music comes from my abuser. And there is a part of me that hates me intensely for it.

How does one move past that?

I don’t know. I wish I did. That is my struggle now. Not the memories of abuse...they are my scars of horror. Not the forgiving of myself...because I KNOW it was NOT my fault. Not the forgiving of my abusers...because I won’t and I don’t think I am a bad person because of it.

My struggle is, how can I love some of the things in my life that are so intrinsically linked to my abuser?
I think this issue of mine can also be linked to the greater debate of, “Can One Segregate an Artist’s Crimes from his Art?” Can one look at a man’s art and regard it as an entity separate from its creator?  Is it possible to separate the artist from his art?

There are many men out there, well-known, brilliant men who have written brilliant books, made brilliant movies, created brilliant music, but who are monsters with unforgivable pasts. Lewis Carroll was rumoured to have a predilection for little girls; it is a well-documented fact that he liked photographing them, often in the nude. Many have suggested that his fondness for his muse for ‘Alice’ was far from was obsessive, perverted. Science-fiction author, Arthur C Clark was said to have sexually molested young boys in Sri Lanka. Then there’s Michael Jackson. Oscar winner Roman Polanski comes immediately to mind. In more recent times, another Oscar winner’s name crops up...Woody Allen.

Yes, I know some of the above mentioned cases haven’t been established. Some are just very, VERY strong rumours, with an air of “hush-hush but public knowledge” about them. But they all make you wonder. After all, can there be any smoke without fire?

Yes, I know some of the above mentioned cases haven’t been established. Some are just very, VERY strong rumours, with an air of “hush-hush but public knowledge” about them. But they all make you wonder. After all, can there be any smoke without fire?

And there are more names. Unfortunately.

But...and it’s a huge, BIG ‘BUT’, their work is lauded, celebrated...awarded. We all grew up dancing to ‘Thriller’ and ‘Beat It’. Many of us have cried while watching ‘The Pianist.’ Often, we find ourselves searching for rabbit holes to fall into, so that we can discover our own Wonderlands. I wanted to take the next plane to Barcelona after watching ‘Vicky, Christina and Barcelona.’ And ‘Midnight in Paris’ as well as ‘Blue Jasmine’ are on my Must-Watch list.

But after reading Dyaln Farrow’s letter...I don’t know. I just don’t know. Is Woody Allen guilty? Again, I don’t know. But the letter...the details...the abuse. Cringe-worthy! And so...I don’t know.

When a Michael Jackson number comes up on my iPod, do I change it? No, I don’t. The songs are uploaded by me, I haven’t even erased them. Just like I haven’t erased any old, Hindi film songs from my iPod either. In fact, I keep adding to them.

And I desperately want to see ‘Midnight in Paris’ and I just can’t stop hating myself a little for it.

That Time of the Year Again: April CSAAM

Dear Friends,
It is that time of the year again. To poke the dragon. That time of the year when we, a team of people, gear up and talk about that topic which is taboo but which should not be; that topic which is only whispered about, hastily, fearfully, but about which we should be making a loud, deafening din; that topic which many people believe to be an urban legend but is a frightening reality on a depressingly large scale . ‘That topic’ is Child Sexual Abuse.
April 2014 is around the corner, and we are ready to spread the word in our fourth year of CSAAM. Once again, just as we have been doing for the last three years, we talk across social media, via Facebook, twitter and blogs about the menace that is CSA . All through the month of April.
This menace must stop spreading. Children must be made to feel safe. Parents need to know how to talk to their children. Survivors must know that they are not alone. We cannot do all this alone and we count on your support and participation.
Partnering us in our efforts this year will be organisations working in this field like Arpan, Tulir, Human Rights Watch as well as online initiatives like Blogadda and Womens Web. You will see personal testimonials, expert advice, twitter chats, information sources, resources, workshops, an iPhone app and lots and lots of blog posts across the blogosphere.
We understand confronting this issue is quite uncomfortable. But we also know silence is not a solution. We need to talk our minds out. We need to act. We need to support.
If you would like to post on your blogs, do send us a tentative date, so that we can schedule your post. If you would like to participate in a twitterthon, do let us know. Even forwarding this email to anyone you think might be interested in participating and contributing would be very helpful.
If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that we welcome entries:
mailed to OR
posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page OR
posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR
posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR linked or posted on Twitter tagged OR
linked or posted on Twitter tagged OR
Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured.
You can also support us by simply adding our logo of the initiative to your blog’s sidebar. Grab the code below to do so
Please remember to send a mail with all necessary links or just your input to so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or missed out.
Some guidelines
Please precede the title of your post with CSAAM April 2014. Then add a hyphen and your title.
Please insert the badge html in your post. If you carry it on your sidebar for the entire month of April too part from just within your post, we would be honoured.
If you refer to sources for information kindly italicise that part of your post which is taken from the source and provide the link to the original source in a bracket.
And finally please avoid graphic descriptions of the abuse. Stay as factual as possible if you’re doing first person accounts.
We need all your help to make this month a success, and are counting on your support.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Warm regards,