a view into the sordid life i lead

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

fists of fury

every day in chennai i get into a fight or witness a fight. every auto trip is an argument. actually maybe not every trip, but most trips are. since autos in chennai do not go by the meter (the meter is broken, the meter does not work, the meter does not record correctly, the prices fluctuate too much, and so many more excuses) there's no easy way to determine exactly what it should cost to go to a certain place.
then there are the street fights. every day i witness at least one instance where people are close to coming to blows. the arguments are about silly things for the most part - there is virtually never an instance where a fight is warranted. i've found myself being dragged into fights virtually every day, even when i know that it's pointless. i fight because the testosterone in the air is too thick and i have to say my piece for fear of being downtrodden.
in every case the fights are between men. every street is choked to the hilt with men. the traffic is too much for a town this size, and the male-female ratio is unnatural.
there was a "this american life" episode a few years back about an afghani kid living in california who decided to go to afghanistan with his father when the karzai government took control. he said that every meeting he went to with his father was extremely aggressive and violent. until one day a woman walked into one of the meetings and everything calmed down.
i think it's the same situation here - there are too many men being aggressive. we need more women.
jonii said that when she went to thailand it felt amazingly pleasant and civil and people actually cared about the beauty around them. thailand has a much more balanced male-female ratio than india.
changing the status quo will require that women be held in a much higher regard than men for some time, in the same way that affirmative action was put into place. it's going to require that women be paid more than men for a period of time and given more latitude. perhaps that will never happen in a male-dominated society like india's.

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