Dear Intimacy…

Dear Intimacy,
I heard your name in casual conversation,
So I thought I’d take that step of initiation,
Cuz it’s been a while since we met.

In fact, if I may be honest,
I’ve forgotten what you look like.
Or is it what you feel like?

Do you remember me?
Can you tell me what the colour of my hair was?
Perhaps my favourite song?

I wonder how time shot past
Yet stood deadly still for so long!
I didn’t realise how the absence of you
Had filled up the emptiness,
With the guise of being independent & strong.

Catching your eye,
Holding onto your hand for a few seconds longer whilst being introduced.

A heavy smile laden with a million questions,
On a head that’s light as helium,
Forcing all logic to be irrelevant,
Unnecessary even to ones well being.

Defence mechanisms at an all time low
As oxytocin whips the pulse to race at a deadly pace.

We should meet again soon.
I’d like that very much.
Everything can be said and healed,
When comprehension rests on touch.

-Ramona Arena 2014.

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Love Letter

Write me a letter,
Or write me a song.
For I cannot stand to be,
Something that is long gone.

Emails are fine,
As are messages and Skype.
But instant communication,
Is less charm, more hype.

So write me a letter,
Filled to the brim.
Pour your soul into it,
So I can feel how you held the quill.

Communicate with romance,
Keep the spark alive,
Go to the post box with a nervous flutter,
As I will, when it arrives.

-Ramona Arena 2014.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…

Hello India,


I write and speak straight from my heart. I am no one, just an ordinary citizen writing to you… my fellow citizens – old, young, rich, poor, Hindu, Musilim, Jew, Brahmin, Dalit whatever… I hope I can touch you and make you believe in everything I feel and believe.


I write this from a purely human and emotional space after going through, seeing and hearing different stories from so many girlfriends of mine about abuse, threats, violence and teasing. It leaves me shocked, numb, upset, angry and in fear. Fear that it could just as easily have been me. So bear with me.


Yes, India has a corrupt government, the police, municipal corporations are understaffed, not motivated and justice – it may come but it’ll take at least a decade thanks to the backlog. So yes, India has problems. Big, major, serious problems. But then again, which country doesn’t? Who in the world doesn’t have problems?


I’m not justifying it or supporting it. Thing is, what are YOU – in your capacity – as a citizen of a country with so many problems doing about these problems? It’s easy to feel like your hands are tied. I’ve felt like that a million times. I often think of how tedious a process it will be to clean and fix things, for some sort of change and order to come about – and I confess I sometimes feel like saying forget it, let me just get the hell out of here so I don’t need to deal with this anymore. No one cares, if they want to rot, let them. That maybe its best I just keep living in my own little bubble to have some peace. But then again, I can’t. It is my country. If I want a change, I have to be the change. In my own way, in my own capacity. And it will take time.


If we look at the all the negatives and then also balance things out and look at the positives, we will find there are TONS! So many amazing selfless people, giving up their careers to help others, others volunteering and helping. I have been fortunate enough to meet just a handful. 


I recently met Sonal from Magic Bus India. What a lovely lady. Once heading Channel V, she’s now given up her career to help our children. Her argument is we have the infrastructure in our country, we have laws but no one bothers to know what they are, how we can improve things, what our basic rights are even! In this respect, she has opened my eyes for which I am truly grateful.


Magic Bus has been doing great work – read up on them. See how they are using sports to teach children who do not come from posh backgrounds about gender sensitivity, treating women as equals, manners, politeness, hygiene etc. Its amazing! Read about Mathew Spacie. A foreigner doing SO much wonderful work – again giving up his job for Indias’ children, Indias’ future, Indias’ development as a ‘whole society’. If you want to go play football or whatever with kids and brighten their day, see how they are taught about life through sports just go to any one of their 12 centres across India. (http://www.magicbus.org)


Apoorva from No Nasties is another amazing soul. The farmer suicides in Maharashtra bothered him so much, he quit his job and started an organization that makes Tshirts custom made that everyone – you, me, every company can customize prints for. I can personally vouch for the quality, color and feel of these Tshirts. If you can’t be activley involved , go buy a Tshirt from them. Sacrifice a coffee with your friends and just do it!! (www.nonasties.in)


There’s Muktangan who are trying to change the way children are educated in government schools. Amazing selfless people devoting their time and skills to help children and parents learn and grow. If you sing, play an instrument, paint or have a skill, just go to one of their schools and spend 2 hours there showing it off and inspiring their kids. (http://www.muktanganedu.org/www/)


There a million other stories, people and organisations that are doing a lot of good. But they need to be backed. They need our support.


The biggest problem in our country is education. The lack of it and the way in which it is given. Everyone knows the 2 biggest influences in our country are Bollywood and Cricket.


So when one is in a powerful position to influence others & can make a difference on a larger scale, one HAS to be nothing less than responsible. It is disappointing to see the kind of messages sent out – maybe not directly by them, but via them as at the end of the day, it is their names that are on the project. I’m referring to the outcry about RaginiMMS2 and its official FB page.


I reacted and was most upset when I first saw it too. But I’ve had time to think about it – I’m guessing being as busy as she is, Ms. Kapoor has a marketing team that has been hired to take care of the content. I’m sure Ms. Kapoor must not be aware of the things being written on the page by her marketing team, because as a woman, a citizen and a human, I refuse to believe that she could allow something like this to be written. Especially at a time where a verdict is the topic of discussion for a horrific sexual crime and the Mahalaxmi gang rape amongst others is still fresh in our minds. Besides, there’s no denying she is an intelligent, smart, educated and well brought up person from a good home.


The text, seems to be encouraging men to ‘tease her’ ‘being a little flirty won’t hurt’ and that ‘a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste. So, use it’. THAT is what is atrocious! The pictures are fine, lingerie is fine and being sexy, feeling sexy is all great. I have no issues with pornography even.


Theres another pic on www.facebook.com/RanginiMMS2Official that says ‘Fear is the new sexy’. 


NO!!!!!!! Nothing about fear is sexy! And yes its a horror film and a sexy film but you cannot combine the two to create tag lines like these!!! We know the demographic that is being targeted with these pictures & accompanying texts – they will think its fun and cool to instil fear in a woman – that women want it!! We do NOT! 


We do NOT want men to use their dirty minds – hasn’t every woman suffered enough for that? 


Is it not possible to have tag lines that are separate, instead of trying to use fear and sexy together? For example: ‘Sexy has a whole new meaning’ for one and ‘Get ready to scream’ for another etc. I’m not a copy person but you get the gist.


So please Ms. Kapoor, there are countless selfless souls who have given up careers, and lives to put in hours of hard work for education, awareness & gender sensitivity. Without keeping a check on what your team is doing, there is a very serious and horrid message reaching the lesser educated people, endangering the lives and safety of even more women. And with the reach and power of Bollywood, this message just erases all of the hard work and sacrifice these amazing souls have made and keep making.


Change starts with each one of us. You, me, mother, father, brother sister, aunt, uncle, friend, lover, child. Let us all be responsible, a little more alert, a little more attentive to the things we say or do. We live in a land where most people aren’t taught, they don’t know better and are easily influenced (Eg: Asaram). We can help and as educated citizens of this beautiful land, it is our responsibility to reach out & help each other in the smallest possible way. 


Let us all take baby steps… all of us together. For Indias’ sake, for our sake. Anything, in any capacity is a start. I have faith and I love my country.


Thank you for reading this, I know it was a loooong one.


R xoxo

12th September 2013, Mumbai.