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from Hwrites

I think it's happening again Staring at the sky until my eyes sting Sitting on the terrace until I catch a cold.

Hair tangled all over my face I didn't mean for this to happen. But they keep pushing me here I do not want to be here The mountains blackened Clouds chasing each other Sun set so low I can't catch a peak

I should leave soon But there's blood everywhere Too scared and too mesmerised to leave I want to set my heart on fire. Let it unlearn all this hatred And build a new heart from the things I learnt from you Adorn it with Spanish Jasmine.

Call for my friend and hang the fairy lights around it, books stack up high with walls around us. Maybe a cup of tea, for me and coffee for you. We'll sit and discuss to include more decoratives We'll make it so pretty that it will look Like it never was once bruised and battered.

But I can't do that yet I need space This house, with a huge hall. I don't have space here Not to breathe Not to cry Not to be.

 
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from Kalpurush

There's a butterfly in my basement It grows every time I see it On each visit it spreads its wings And allows me to pet it

It's colours are one of a kind Hint of brown in a shade of green It flutters around in my absence It keeps my basement clean

The moss that accumulate every summer Are the same colour as it's wings The butterfly eats my moss covered floor And when it's done, the doorbell rings

I have a doorbell at the entrance of my basement door It's useful, at times like these This butterfly unlike any others in the wild Loves ringing it as a code for “Please”

“Please come in, give me a visit, Please come look how clean I've made your floor. Please comment on how much you like it, And when you leave, please don't close the door.”

The butterfly in my basement is hungry for colours It's seen glimpses of yellow and blue Red, and purple and violet and pink, It wants to visit my living room too

The butterfly in my basement now sits in my bedroom It lies by the window sill Calm and quite not bothering a soul It tends to my house when I fall ill

The butterfly in my basement is all colourful now Shades of rainbow paint it's wings The moss covered basement sits abandoned now The doorbell no longer rings

The butterfly in my basement grows and grows While I shrink just enough to give the space it needs After all the moss in the basement was not enough for it's nourishment Now my grey house is on what it feeds.

 
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from Hwrites

I keep dreaming of that house I lived in. It looked ugly on the outside, it being a company-provided house, a hideous shade of blue painted on it. There was a huge mango tree right by our front yard, giving us one of the sweetest mangoes I've ever tasted in my entire life. I still chase that taste whenever I try mangoes now. Everything was sweeter when I was eight and unaware.

I remember that one particular shelf in the house. Small spaces stacked upon each other. We used to dump all our clothes there. We didn't have much space to keep our clothes. Everything felt too small. Like we had too much baggage brought along with us when we moved. There were always a bunch of things scattered on our floor. At night, when we all huddled up in a room to sleep, there wasn't much space for six people. Our feet always grazed the wall across. Small windows, newspaper stuck all over it. The orange street light still managed to seep into our bedroom. I used to stare at it until I fell asleep, not being able to turn this or that side because my sisters would be sleeping right beside me.

Houses like that weren't made for six people to live in. But my happiest times were when I lived there. So beautiful that in my dreams, I yearn to go back to that house. Now in my early 20s, I dream of the house so often that it keeps attaching the people I know to it. I'd dream of them coming to the house, a home to be honest. And they'd all sit next to me and ask questions about the shelves that always looked like they were spilling out of clothes. I'd become 8 again, introducing them to my shelf in my dream because I loved that I had something of my own.

I'd wake up and feel horrible and heavy. I wouldn't want to move my limbs. The dreams linger in the back of my mind. I'd quietly wipe my tears away and I wouldn't even realize that I was crying. Mother would yell at me to get a move on and I'd stare at my red and puffy eyes while I brush my teeth and wish I could go back in time.

The thing is we've moved three houses. But A405 will always be a home. As I got older I realized that the bigger your house, the smaller you'll feel. The more rooms, the lonelier you feel.

 
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from Hwrites

I watched Moonlight Chicken, a Thai BL months ago and I've always wanted to write about the characters in the series but I guess I was too scared that I wouldn't be able to find the right and perfect words to describe so I never wrote. But here's a little attempt on finding them. These are mostly the little details i loved watching in the series.

When they're out and about at night without telling their parents & uncle. Li Ming teaches heart how to ride a motorcycle and he says I haven't felt like this in a long time. Heart and Li Ming are leaning on a rail. Li Ming comes closer. He smiles at Heart and they bump shoulders. Their legs brush.

They were lying on a bed before that and their legs brushed again. They're almost cuddling. But they're just friends.

Heart is mad that his parents aren't learning sign language for him even though it's been three years since he's gone deaf. He and his parents have a huge fight. He storms upstairs and Li Ming follows him. Heart is sobbing so badly that his entire face is wet. Li Ming hesitantly touches his knee. Heart leans his head on his shoulder, shuddering helplessly because I think he realizes for the first time how alone he's been in his life before Li Ming came into it. Li Ming says nothing. He hugs Heart. He just stays with him. Quietly. That's the intimacy I've always wanted in my life.

Later in episode 6, Li Ming brings Heart into his house. He takes it all in and looks at everything curiously as if to say “So this is his home”. He tries to talk for the first time when he sees their cat, Jimbo , I think. He says his name aloud and it comes out all scratchy. But Li Ming is beyond the moon. He stutters for a second and Heart watches amusingly. He's persuaded to talk again and he does again. Li Ming is giddy and hugs him and lifts him off the ground and Heart just keeps staring at him.

Li Ming includes Heart in most conversations by using sign language and talking simultaneously. He orders two Boba tea when he goes grocery shopping with his uncle and visits Heart. They both smile and drink tea while texting each other while sitting next to each other. Sometimes they do that even though they both know sign language.

On New Year’s, Li Ming does the countdown in sign language, screaming along with the numbers. They welcome the new year by holding hands and being each other's first kiss

 
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from ARTable

All thanks to publisher, mentor, chosen mother and friend, Wree for talking on this matter that made me delve deeper into this

In our ever-evolving world, progress in understanding gender and sexual orientation has brought to light the interconnectedness between queerphobia and misogyny. The belief that these prejudices are distinct fails to recognize the deep-seated roots they share.

Introduction: Unveiling the Connection Between Queerphobia and Misogyny

This topic is definitely a departure from the vibes of ARTable where we focus on the science behind many artforms. However, there has been a lot of activity in this sector of social science recently. I wanted to use my platform to talk about this because it is more than just a discussion for me; it's a narrative that resonates deeply within my own life. To those who have followed my journey through these digital pages, it's no secret—I am queer. Specifically, I identify as non-binary, a declaration that encompasses my belief that the confines of gender roles are restrictive and limiting. For me, it means that my capabilities, ambitions, and domestic skills aren't defined by any societal expectations; I can effortlessly juggle multiple jobs, manage my livelihood, spoil my loved ones, and cook and clean just as proficiently as anyone else, irrespective of gender.

My journey, however, has not been without its challenges. Having navigated the world for the initial nineteen years of my life presenting as a woman, I am no stranger to the nuances and struggles tied to misogyny. The experiences of being perceived, judged, and sometimes diminished solely based on societal expectations of femininity are deeply ingrained in my story.

Additionally, my time being out and proud within the vibrant online LGBTQIA+ community since 2016 has exposed me to the harsh realities of queerphobia. I've witnessed the prejudice, the discrimination, and tragically, the loss of individuals from my chosen family—losses that were initially attributed to queerphobia. However, as I delve deeper into these unfortunate occurrences, I've begun to unravel a stark truth: what I presumed to be solely queerphobia was often nothing but misogyny cloaked in different attire.

Every passing year brings the heartache of losing someone from my community, and with each loss, I've come to the realization that beneath the facade of queerphobia lies the stark reality of misogyny.

This profound understanding has fueled my exploration into the interconnectedness of these prejudices, urging me to unravel the layers that intertwine queerphobia and misogyny. It's a journey of introspection, education, and advocacy—an endeavor to shed light on this intrinsic connection and pave the way for a more inclusive, empathetic, and equitable society.

Join me on this exploration as we uncover the hidden threads binding queerphobia and misogyny, and embark together towards a world where every individual can embrace their identity without fear or discrimination.

The Intersection of Queerphobia and Misogyny

Queerphobia, the prejudice against individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+, often mirrors the discrimination experienced by women. At its core, it stems from rigid societal gender norms and stereotypes. Misogyny, the hatred or prejudice against women, is frequently intertwined with the discrimination faced by individuals who identify as queer.

Reinforcement of Gender Roles:

Both queerphobia and misogyny find their roots in a society that rigidly enforces traditional gender roles. Women are often expected to conform to predetermined societal standards of behavior, appearance, and roles, failing which they are subjected to various forms of discrimination. Similarly, individuals within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum often face similar expectations to fit within societal norms related to gender and sexuality.

For instance, gay men might face ridicule for not adhering to stereotypical masculine behaviors, while lesbians may encounter discrimination for deviating from the traditional roles assigned to women. Transgender individuals challenge these gender norms even more significantly, experiencing discrimination and violence for not conforming to the gender assigned to them at birth. This rigid enforcement of gender roles perpetuates the idea that deviating from these norms is somehow wrong or inferior, leading to both queerphobia and misogyny.

Power Dynamics and Control:

Misogyny and queerphobia share a common foundation in power dynamics. At the core of both prejudices lies a desire for dominance and control over marginalized groups. This control aims to maintain existing power structures, often established by cisgender heterosexual men. Individuals or groups that deviate from these norms are seen as a threat to this established hierarchy, resulting in discrimination, oppression, and violence.

In both contexts, the control mechanisms differ but originate from the same patriarchal system. Misogyny operates to maintain male dominance over women, while queerphobia seeks to maintain heteronormativity by marginalizing LGBTQIA+ individuals. The fear of losing control over societal norms and structures perpetuates these prejudices, leading to the systematic oppression of both women and queer individuals.

Understanding these intertwined mechanisms is crucial to dismantling these prejudices. By challenging societal expectations of gender and power dynamics, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable society—one that embraces diversity and rejects discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

Overlapping Prejudices

Challenging Gender Norms and Sexual Orientation:

The overlap between queerphobia and misogyny becomes starkly evident in the discrimination faced by lesbians. Their sexual orientation challenges the societal norms of heterosexual relationships, but it goes further. Lesbians, particularly feminine-presenting individuals, challenge traditional gender roles by engaging in same-sex relationships. As a result, they often experience compounded discrimination, facing backlash not just for their sexual orientation but also for defying conventional gender expectations.

Heightened Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals:

Transgender individuals encounter multifaceted discrimination due to their divergence from societal gender expectations. They challenge the very foundation of binary gender norms, and this challenge is met with substantial resistance. Transphobia, a form of queerphobia directed specifically at transgender individuals, often intersects with misogyny as these individuals might face discrimination and violence for not conforming to the gender assigned at birth.

These terms are crucial in understanding the nuances of discrimination faced by transgender individuals. Here's an explanation for each:

Transmisia:

Transmisia is a broad term used to describe the prejudice or discrimination against transgender individuals. It encompasses a range of negative attitudes, biases, and actions directed towards people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transmisia includes societal beliefs, stereotypes, and systemic barriers that contribute to the marginalization and oppression of transgender individuals.

Transmisogyny:

Transmisogyny specifically refers to the intersection of transphobia and misogyny, targeting transgender women or individuals assigned male at birth who identify as female or feminine. It highlights the unique discrimination and oppression faced by transgender women, often stemming from both transphobic attitudes against their gender identity and misogynistic attitudes against their femininity.

Transmisogyny encompasses the specific experiences of discrimination faced by transgender women, including societal marginalization, violence, exclusion, and the denial of basic rights, all rooted in a combination of transphobia and misogyny.

Transphobia:

Transphobia is a more general term describing the fear, hatred, or discrimination against transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals. It encompasses a wide range of negative attitudes, behaviors, and systemic prejudices directed towards people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transphobia can manifest in various forms, including verbal abuse, physical violence, denial of rights, and social exclusion.

Understanding these terms is crucial in recognizing the specific challenges and discrimination faced by transgender individuals, particularly transgender women who experience transmisogyny—prejudices compounded by both transphobia and misogyny. Addressing and challenging these prejudices is essential in creating a more inclusive and supportive society for all gender identities.

Impact on Mental Health:

The compounded effects of facing discrimination from both queerphobia and misogyny significantly impact the mental health of individuals within these marginalized groups. Research consistently shows higher rates of anxiety, depression, and trauma among LGBTQIA+ individuals, particularly those who identify as women or feminine-presenting.

The constant exposure to discrimination, societal rejection, and prejudice takes a toll on mental well-being. The fear of being ostracized or facing violence solely based on one's gender identity or sexual orientation leads to heightened stress levels and emotional distress. The lack of acceptance, understanding, and support exacerbates these mental health challenges, often leading to severe consequences, including higher rates of suicide and self-harm within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Addressing the mental health impact of intersecting queerphobia and misogyny necessitates creating safe spaces, providing adequate support systems, and fostering acceptance and inclusivity. Offering access to mental health resources specifically tailored to the unique challenges faced by individuals dealing with these intersecting prejudices is crucial in mitigating the adverse effects on their mental well-being.

Empathy, understanding, and dismantling societal prejudices are fundamental steps towards creating an environment where everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, feels valued, respected, and supported in their journey towards mental wellness.

Challenging and Unlearning Biases:

Education and Awareness:

One of the primary steps in dismantling prejudices like queerphobia and misogyny is education. Creating awareness about the interconnectedness of these biases, their impacts, and the lived experiences of marginalized communities is crucial. This involves educating ourselves and others about diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, challenging stereotypes, and promoting empathy and understanding. This has to be a personal undertaking at an individual level for everyone, especially allies. The LGBTQIA+ community is tired, overworked and needs other adults to introspect, realize and push for changing the societal structures that have created discrimination, divide and destruction of diversity.

Advocacy and Support:

Active advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginalized communities is essential. This involves supporting policies and initiatives that promote equality, diversity, and inclusivity. By amplifying the voices of LGBTQIA+ individuals and advocating for their rights, we contribute to creating a more just and accepting society.

Intersectional Approaches:

Recognizing and acknowledging intersectionality is key. Intersectionality highlights how various forms of oppression intersect and compound, affecting individuals differently based on their multiple identities. Understanding this intersectionality helps in developing more inclusive approaches that address the diverse needs and challenges faced by individuals experiencing multiple forms of discrimination.

Personal Reflection and Unlearning Biases:

Individually, it's essential to engage in introspection and challenge our own biases. This involves examining our beliefs, prejudices, and behaviors that may contribute to perpetuating queerphobia, misogyny, or any form of discrimination. Being open to unlearning societal norms and consciously avoiding language or actions that reinforce stereotypes is crucial in creating a more inclusive environment.

Creating Safe Spaces:

Establishing safe spaces—whether physical or digital—where individuals can express themselves freely without fear of discrimination is pivotal. These spaces foster a sense of belonging, support, and validation for individuals across diverse gender and sexual spectrums.

Empathy and Active Listening:

Practicing empathy and actively listening to the lived experiences of marginalized communities fosters understanding and compassion. It involves acknowledging the struggles faced by individuals due to societal prejudices and working towards creating a world where everyone feels accepted and valued.

By actively challenging and unlearning biases at both individual and societal levels, we contribute to the creation of a more equitable and inclusive society. It's a continuous journey of self-reflection, education, advocacy, and empathy—a journey that leads towards a world where everyone can live authentically and without fear of discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

In conclusion, the intertwining of queerphobia and misogyny reveals a complex web of discrimination deeply rooted in societal norms and power structures. Recognizing this connection is the first step towards fostering a society that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

As we navigate this journey, let's commit to challenging these prejudices, advocating for the rights of marginalized communities, and creating spaces where every individual—regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation—feels valued, respected, and safe. Together, let's strive for a world where authenticity is celebrated, where biases are unlearned, and where love and acceptance triumph over discrimination.

By dismantling queerphobia and misogyny, we pave the way for a future where everyone can live authentically, free from the constraints of societal expectations, and where differences are not just tolerated but embraced as essential threads in the rich fabric of humanity.

Let's continue to stand together, amplify marginalized voices, and work towards a more compassionate, understanding, and inclusive world for all.

 
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from ARTable

September 22, 2023, marked a pivotal moment in the Chandrayaan-3 mission. While hopes of reviving communication with the moon's slumbering lander and rover were lit and quickly put out within the week, it's not the end of the cosmic journey. Former ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar shared with The Economic Times the current state: the moon lander and rover remain in their celestial rest, yet to respond to our calls.

Despite this setback, let's take a moment to celebrate Chandrayaan-3's remarkable achievements. Picture this: a flawless lunar touchdown followed by the rover's tireless exploration, and a series of groundbreaking in-situ scientific experiments. The mission has been a testament to ISRO's expertise and dedication, even in its young age.

In a remarkably short lifespan since its establishment on August 15, 1969, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has emerged as a powerhouse in space exploration, overcoming economic hurdles within the country to achieve remarkable milestones.

Compared to NASA, founded on July 29, 1958, ISRO began its journey more than a decade later. Yet, in this comparatively brief period, ISRO has etched its name in the annals of space exploration, displaying astounding resilience and innovation.

India's economic challenges have been no secret, yet against this backdrop, ISRO has soared to unparalleled heights. From launching India's first satellite, Aryabhata, in 1975 to scripting history with the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) in 2013, ISRO has continuously pushed the boundaries of space technology on a shoestring budget.

Chandrayaan-3 came knocking with a budget of ₹600 crores. Sounds hefty, right? Well, brace yourself because here's the zinger – some of India's blockbuster movies, like the epic Adipurush, flexed budgets soaring over ₹500 crores!

Yep, you heard it right. A mission to explore the lunar surface nudged in just above what some big-ticket Bollywood movies splurged on their grandiose spectacle. Adipurush, shot in mind-boggling 3D (if you're curious about how that's done, give me a shout!), flaunted a brand-new technology in India. It's a cinematic marvel backed by some stellar artists, not just on-screen but behind the scenes too.

While we're zooming to the Moon on a lunar rover, it's worth considering how far we've come in the graphics game. Remember those 'Jaani Dushman' and 'Naagin' days? Take a nostalgic peek at Adipurush, not just for the storyline (although that's a bonus!), but to witness the stratospheric leap in graphics, taking us lightyears ahead in the movie-making cosmos.

While the cosmic hotline awaits a response, like a Nag waiting to grow into a human, and the rover takes an extended siesta, the knowledge gleaned from the rover's in-situ chemical analyses, provides a precious glimpse into lunar secrets. This journey signifies not just a story of communication challenges but a remarkable odyssey in unraveling the mysteries of our celestial neighbor.

So, as we look forward, let's hold on to the spirit of discovery that Chandrayaan-3 has ignited. Its achievements pave the way for future cosmic quests, reminding us that despite temporary setbacks, the pursuit of knowledge among the stars never truly ends.

 
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from Hwrites

June, 2022.

Dear L,

People remember when they meet other people that ignite them. I've read books and watched movies where they exactly know when and what happened where they meet the person that they know was going to change their life. And here I am. Not having any first clue as to when I met you the first time. But I do remember the times you ignited me. You absolutely lit me on fire that keeps burning even after months I've known you and it just won't let me sleep. You complimented me about my dress. You said I looked beautiful. Thrice. Three fucking times. Such words could bring anyone down on their knees. Who am I to rebuke those words when you said them with the brown in your eyes blinding my black ones. It started then. Hasn't stopped still. Sometimes it does go away but it always finds a way to come back. I wish I could bury it deep inside and never see your eyes when I close mine. But I can't because it has become that thing that holds me tight and keeps my feet on the ground strong. You've easily become one of my people who keep me sane. I don't allow a lot of people to do that to myself.

So my friend says i should make a move. And i know I'd be terrible at it. I just wanna say hey I'm gay for you. Are you gay for me? Maybe not those words because I don't want to startle you. I'd start by telling you who i am. I'd ask you who you are but I'm afraid we won't get to that because I just want all the words off my chest. I've held it for too long. I've been a coward for a longer time than I'd like me to be. So I'd tell you things i always wanted to. I'd tell you things that I think about while i take a walk in the moonlit street and I'd tell you it's you. I'd tell you the things that absolutely won't let me sleep at 2am and I'd tell you it's you. I'd tell you I'm reminded of you when I listen to all the songs nowadays instead of a faceless person and I'd tell you i remember you while listening to avalum nanum and I'd tell you it's you and me i think about everyday and I'd tell you about Elio and Oliver because they are us. We are them. I'd tell you how Elio wondered if it's better to speak or to die.

I'd tell you i spoke. But i wish to die.

Yearning for you H.

 
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from keithieboy

Why Social Media keeps being a haven for Hate Speech

In late-stage capitalism, every aspect of human life is monetized or is about to be monetized for maximum profit extraction for the benefit of the capitalist class. This stretches everywhere from the proliferation of the subscription model to pay in perpetuity, to the push for people adopting multiple modes of income to afford a liveable wage. It might seem that the social media we use are an exception, as all of them can be used without paying the company any money. (This ignores services like Twitter Blue and Youtube Premium. Although both Youtube and Twitter punishes the user for not buying a subscription by pushing ads; they can still be used and curated without Premiums.) In reality, the social media companies extract user data and try to maximize use time in order their profits from selling data and enticing advertisers.

Almost all social media algorithms emphasize use time/watch time for the growth of content creators on that platform. This is why Youtube and Instagram have adopted the Tiktok style of short-form content that adapt to the user's preferences and can be scrolled through endlessly. On top of that, a lot of social media companies have figured out that inflammatory or radical content helps in maximizing their retention rates. The push for more users and use time, in turn, for more profits; have made social media algorithms promote bigotry, disinformation, and hate.

Although there were (and still are) corners of the internet that house the downright genocidal and White/Hindu supremacists, the mainstream discussion of people being led further right by social media and Youtube started with the “alt-right pipeline” on Youtube circa 2016. Before that, Youtube saw a surge in anti-feminist content thanks to Gamergate, where a few women video game journalists faced intense vitriol for discussing the sexism and misogyny baked in the video game industry and community. This content primed a group of Youtube users, mostly men; to be receptive of racist and White supremacist lectures. It was shown that following the thread of Youtube's recommendations, one could go from a video bemoaning “the feminists ruining ghostbusters” to a video that calls for genocide of Black people and Muslims.

There have been detailed debates about whether the alt-right pipeline was a mere catalyst for people who already harboured bigoted ideals or a tool to radicalise the apolitical and the centrist towards the far right. But the far-reaching effects and the constant backlash made Youtube reconfigure their algorithm and ban prominent right-wing and neo-Nazi creators. But just because the creators and the major spaces were disrupted and destroyed, doesn't mean that the members of the community stopped being Nazis. They still spread their hatred on social media, often targeting different minority groups as they pleased. The concept of BJP's IT Cell, a group of BJP members/supporters who organise mass harassment campaigns online and hashtags to spread their fascist ideas is well-known by everyone who is somewhat online in India. These spaces of hate learned to better hide their tracks.

In 2021-2022, all major social media platforms including Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube shorts were being used by self-proclaimed alpha male Andrew Tate to spread his vitriolic misogyny and use that misogyny to recruit men and boys as downline for his pyramid scheme. The scheme involved mass reposting edits and snippets of his interviews across fan accounts made by his fans, and redirecting others to join the downline. This phenomenon, just like the earlier alt-right movement, led to a widespread uptick in men expressing their misogyny and this hate even reaching boys as young as 10. The success of Andrew Tate's violent misogyny model inspired multiple copycats, spreading and cementing his ideals further. Although most of Tate's social media accounts have been deleted for violating terms of services, he is still held in high regard by his fans, who now downplay or dismiss his history of human trafficking and sexual abuse of vulnerable women.

Around the same time, people started to notice that on Youtube shorts, Google's “competitor” of Tiktok, it was inevitable to land on right-wing content while scrolling through Shorts; even though the users have not engaged with any sort of right-wing content and have reported on seeing them. This observation, however, has only stayed on an anecdotal level.

Last year, Elon Musk promised free speech when he took over Twitter. As his pro-“free speech” promise he reinstated the accounts of Andrew Tate, Donald Trump, and others who had their accounts removed for egregious violations of Twitter ToS. This, along with Musk's own right-wing ideals that he expressed on his own account, made Twitter a viable space for the far right to congregate. These accounts could then push their tweets on top of others' tweets by subscribing to Twitter Blue. This blatant display of bigotry made a lot of Twitter users, who were mostly racial, religious, caste, and gender minorities, leave the app; while others had to curate their timelines to prevent platforming hate. Despite pushback and criticism from a huge fraction of the user base, Musk continues to change Twitter to fit his ideal of a right-wing social media utopia, with accounts whose usernames call for sexual assault of racial minorities being able to buy premium subscriptions and “documentaries” promoting transphobic ideals being shown as mandatory ads to all users.

In the new wave of uptick of bigotry, it's mostly Twitter and Youtube Shorts that draw the ire of people criticising them for platforming and pushing such content. But there is another major platform that is allowing hate to fester in its own way. Instagram reels, Facebook/Meta's Tiktok alternative, has been noted by some users to have a notoriously gross comments section under the videos. People throw the N word around with zero regard and as a silly joke, some even mashing them with other slurs to fit the person whose video they are commenting under. It's expected to see a “you okay lil-” under the comments of every child doing something “cool”. Minority creators almost always get comments that attack them or invalidate their experiences, be it trans people existing or non-White people showing their cultures to others. Sometimes sparse but persistent hate comments can snowball into hate campaigns. A few days ago, on November 21st, Pranshu, a queer 16-year-old took their own life after being subjected to homophobic bullying because they wore a saree.

I looked up Pranshu's news on Twitter to better write this article, and under a tweet declaring the news of their death, there were Twitter Blue users expressing thoughts ranging from “we do not care” to flagrant queerphobia. These comments shadowed comments from other users expressing grief and rage over the death of the queer teen. A similar fate befell to Brianna Ghey, a trans girl who was also 16, was murdered in a transphobic hate crime. Users mocked her name and deadnamed her, disrespecting her in death. Twitter is also now the epicenter of the Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian “Pallywood” conspiracy theory, which claims all the videos showing the plight of Palestinians are faked by a group of crisis actors. Supported by the Hindu Right in India, this conspiracy theory is also spread by Israel's Twitter account.

Is there a way out or a solution? Unfortunately, no. One can decide to stop using social media altogether, but unless a mess deletion campaign is agreed upon; the decision will just be a personal solution and not a systemic one. Social media like Twitter are still used to mobilise and spread news about activism and the world at large, and Palestinian reporters and civilians are using Twitter and Instagram to show their life under ethnic cleansing to the world. Perhaps the best “solution” is heavily curating one's social media experiences and hoping for systemic changes; for as long as the socmed companies prioritise profits over user experience and are run by billionaires with their own agenda, surges in hate speech will be a regular affair.

 
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from Alex Arson's Crock Pot

Moosur daal – a fusion of Bengal and Bihar

Disclaimer Welcome to intuitive cooking. These recipes are to unleash the chaos in you. No measurements, just vibes

I learnt to make daal at 24. I was instructed by a friend over a video call because I didn't want to Google it. They taught me how to make it in the style their mom made it – the Bihari style. Then my mother told me how we don't do all that in the Bengali style. So I learnt two very different processes of having daal. I'll list both down below.

What I find interesting is that both cultures developed side by side and yet we have so many differences. Industrialisation of the country has only made the gap bigger instead of bridging it. It saddens me so much. Especially when from all over the world we're getting reports of governments assassinating their own citizens, I think it's really important as a nation that we embrace the strength in our diversity. Our cultures, histories, languages, differences and similarities are what make us unique and interesting. This is why colonisers have chosen us over and over and over. Yet, Indians have always managed to assimilate our oppressors into our society, gently redirecting them from pillaging to seeing us as equal traders. We need to remember the sheer power Indians hold in the world. Our greatest exports – intellect, spices, rice, human labour – are what the world functions on. I truly believe the day we reconcile our inter-cultural differences, we will be unstoppable.

Anyway, getting back to daal. My go to is the Bengali version as you'll see it's easier and quicker. The Bihari version is for days when you need comfort in food but also therapy in the preparation. I'm usually lazy and believe in one pot fast cooks but some recipes are so close to my heart, I can't help but share. I know a lot of you also hate chopping and extra prep time but if you have the opportunity and energy, do try the Bihari version of the recipe. You won't regret putting the 15 mins of extra effort.

Ingredients – Bengali version

  • Paanch foron
  • Mustard oil
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Moosur daal
  • Water
  • Pressure cooker

Instructions

  • Wash the daal
  • In some heated oil in the pressure cooker, put the paanch foron in and let it sputter for a few seconds
  • Drop in the daal
  • Add salt and turmeric powder and let the water dry off. Stir occasionally
  • Add water, at least double the amount of daal (this one is a little more flowy. On setting aside for a while, the chonky parts of the daal settles at the bottom, creating my favourite warm drink in the world – daaler jol which literally translates to pulses' water)
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker
  • Wait for 3-4 whistles
  • Let the pressure release on its own
  • Serve over hot rice and with some onion, tomato, cucumber salad dressed with lemon juice and salt

Ingredients – Bihari version

  • Tej patta
  • Dried red chilli (my preference is Kashmiri, it adds a layer of smokiness to the daal that's just irreplaceable)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Green chilli
  • Mustard oil
  • Turmeric
  • Chilli powder
  • Salt
  • Moosur daal
  • Water
  • Coriander
  • Pressure cooker

Instructions

  • Wash the daal
  • Add salt and water to the daal and let it pressure cook
  • Wait for 2-3 whistles
  • Chop onions, garlic and green chilli
  • In a pan, heat mustard oil
  • Add tej patta and dried red chilli
  • When they start to sputter, add garlic
  • As the raw garlic smell disappears, add onions and a little more salt
  • When the onion turns translucent, add chillies and tomatoes
  • Cook till all the vegetables look wilted
  • Add turmeric powder, and red chilli powder
  • Fry till you can't smell the raw masala anymore
  • Open the lid to your pressure cooker once the pressure is released
  • Vigorously break down the daal pieces with a daal masher
  • Add the scorching, sputtering chokh/tadka/temper to the daal and stir it in
  • Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander
  • Serve over hot rice and with some rice+sabudana papad
 
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from Kalpurush

In every universe we don't see, Do you think we always end up away from each other?

Its hard not to write stolen lines when thinking about you. The me I could've been with you.

Departed lips still bound by vines so strong That they break the illusion of you within me. Vines so old, vines so few You're so old, I'm so new Forgetting you with all the courage I had in me Was the best I could do.

Leave me be, Anastasia Leave me be.....

Let me suffer in this downtrodden earth My sweet home where my dying bed lies solemnly Let me die here, let me perish here.

I don't want to taste your lips anymore No more in my dreams, no more.

 
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from The world is F*CKED

Fuck Palestine: seems to be the general Indian consensus. Well, okay fuck Palestine. But what about Bengal? What about Assam? What about Arunachal? What about Manipur? What about Nagaland? What about Telangana? What about Andaman? What about Kashmir? Kerala? Karnataka?

What about millions of our own country people? People whose lives look like ours? Children who take auto rickshaws to school? Adults who haggle over the price of tomatoes and curse their fate when they step in a pothole? What about those who share your name but will be forgotten because we care more about morals and justifications of genocide instead of people who save their last bite for their children??

Fuck Palestine? Fuck you.

 
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from Kalpurush

T4T representation, that's it

“oh...” She says, and pauses. He freezes up a little.

He knew this was coming, the realisation, and he's fully prepared for the rejection too.

“You're not a 'real' man then, are you?” She speaks in that deep voice of hers that makes something rumble deep in his core. Something raw and something carnal, something that makes her so much more desirable than other women.

“No...” He says simply, looking up and meeting her eyes as she returns the gaze. “I guess I'm not,” he adds as he continues to look into her eyes intently, accepting defeat, being the ultimate form of vulnerable that was left to be done in front of her.

A smile grows on her face, and she traces a finger along his jaw. It gives him shivers but he forces himself not to break eye contact. She shifts her eyes down to his lips and then back.

“Yes, you are, darling....” She finally says, voice deeper than usual. “Of course you're a Real man,” she puts stress on the word 'real' as she keeps gently caressing his jaw and then his neck, his collarbone and to the shoulder. She slides her fingers under his shirt and pushes off the fabric further to expose his full left shoulder. It's simple, it's subtle, but the act causes a fire to burn in the pit of his stomach.

“You're the Realest man I have ever met.....”

There's a pause. A breath. A sharp intake. And a smile, begrudgingly.

“So are you, by the way,” the man says after his long silence, still not having moved his eyes from her face while she painted him with hers. “The Realest woman I've ever met.”

She looks back up, and there's a glint in her eyes. They both know now, and they both care and don't care at the same time. She chuckles a little and that makes him smile probably the most genuine smile he smiled all evening, ignoring the countless times those present at the party a few hours ago extracted the faux gesture from him by force of habit. She prefers this one, she thinks. She lets him know. He is grateful, and he melts into her. She lets him and pulls him in as for the first time he experiences not being devoured.

She paints on him her long awaited masterpiece and he writes on her skin line after line of poetry he'd rather bottle up any other time.

For both of them, it's freeing. For both of them, it's divine.

 
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from Chaaru Bhattacharyya

অবশেষে।

অবশেষে, টুনি বাতি নিভে যায়, - মিসাইলের আঘাতে মৃতদেহ পড়ে থাকে নিস্পৃহ দেবতার পায়। মা হারা শিশু কাঁদে আকাশের পানে চেয়ে শত শত তারারা বোমা হয়ে পড়ে থাকে মায়াভরা গোছা গোছা গোলাপের পাশে। ম্লান হয়ে আসে গান যুদ্ধের দামামায়, শুধু একরোখা মহাকাশ চেয়ে থাকে; অনাহুত পরবাসী নিজেদের ঘরে। রক্তের উৎসব হানা দেয় মন্দিরে, দালানে। শত কোটি জোড়া চোখ চেয়ে চেয়ে মরে যায় স্বপ্নের আশায় এক গোছা ধ্বংসস্তূপের আড়ালে। মানুষের হাহাকার বারে বারে ফিরে আসে পাহাড়ের গায়ে প্রতিধ্বনিত হয়ে। দিন যায়, রাত যায়, রাজাদের টেবিলে প্রজাদের মেদ আসে সুস্বাদু রসে। যুদ্ধবিমান উপনিবেশ করে মেঘেদের সীমানায়। তবু পৃথিবী ঘুরতে থাকে, আর হিমবাহ বেয়ে চুয়ে পড়ে চোখের জল। মানুষের হাহাকার পৌঁছায়নি ব্রহ্মাণ্ডের গভীরে, শুধু একগোছা লাশ পড়ে থাকে সুদূর গ্রহের কোনায়। কে বা চেনে, যে বা জানে, কে বাঁচে, কে বা মরে, অবিচলিত এক আকাশের নিচে।

 
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from Kalpurush

Noise A constant How do measure time with it? Sound A calamity Beauty within the music of traffic Asphalt makes love with the grey fumes A product of insanity A product of humanity The street lights flicker Painting the roads white and dark White and dark Glaciers would tremble underneath their fluorescent wrath Bamboo structures paint the city Onset of the component of preparation Makes up the syllable of celebration Wonder is witnessed from stolen glances Unusual height amongst a moving traffic Curiosity from atop the lorry A product of insanity A product of humanity

 
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from Chaaru Bhattacharyya

Russian nesting dolls of pain

Mother, if you look in the mirror under the dim yellow lights at 2 am, Do you ever feel like you're a slightly distorted, less violent version of your own mother? That you're made of the same broken shards of her tears, only in a different light? Or that the blood you pump is tainted in that same weary fluid in her womb when you resided in her, in search of a home that she didn't have too? Your words, your gaze, your voice reverberates her angry stance, Polished and garnished into an ugly blade of decades of oppressed pain, Mother, your hands do not wash the blood she painted you with. Mother, my hands tremble for I see that blood trickling into my veins too, Slowly, and steadily, slithering like a python in its firm calm embrace. The pain shivers me head to toe, flowing like an eternal river since the beginning of time, From mother to daughter, from daughter to mother, In a gyrating loop of a repeated motiff, And we're both stuck here, mother. Mother, when I stand in front of the mirror, I see my reflection tainted in yours, Your reflections tainted in your mother, Outlined and filled in a repeated motiff of hurt and pain and regrets, And an unbridled rage lodged in a brittle shell of love. Mother, are we russian nesting dolls of pain, with our mothers inside our form? I crash on the floor and you come out of my broken shell only to open your dusty lid and show me your mother inside. Hey mother, did your mother's love burn you like stepping into lava too? For, I see you mouthing my words unconsciously, unknowingly, unintentionally, As I do yours, when you cry at night spilling out all the lost happiness you could've not lost if your mother knew better, That I could've not lost if my mother knew better than what she knew to be better. And I cry out asking why did you not know better but this hollow sky answers only with rain, Mother, how could you have known better?

Mother, I hold your hand and my body shrieks coldness and hotness simultaneously, My brain overwhelms itself in understanding the contrasting extremes, As I look at your fiery eyes and find a hurt child only. Mother, we compare lives as if we're commodities in competition in a market, When we're just like each other yet so different and far apart yet so close, My head spins to make sense. Mother, I was born before my birth, in your scars, the moment you did. Mother, I do not know what can satiate this pain, But mother, I need you to see me, see me, see me. For I cannot.

 
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from Kalpurush

TW: self-harm and suicidal ideation in the second last part

I cry in front of my child And they whisper that I'm not dead They whisper that it's okay They whisper all that I regret

A lonesome sandle lies in the middle of the road Abandoned Neglected The birds fly away in flocks high up in the sky Not witnessing it The cars drive by on both sides Sometimes over it The sandle remains

Sometimes it jumps Gets run over by a car or two But it never tears apart

Not like I do

I see crow's fighting over discarded egg shells Territorial they get They fight until one remains Until one of them wins

I cry on the rooftop My lover leaves me alone I'm alone again And my child downstairs begs for answers

I'm a wreckless, worthless being Searching for love in this wretched world I gave my soul away to existence When I myself never existed at all

Death calls to me I turn my head the other way. Red hot iron on my skin, beckons me I stretch my hands out towards it A pair of scissors, a blue pill Oceans and oceans of emotions drained out Relief Sink me under

My child cries in front of me I have nothing to give I turn my head the other way.

 
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