Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Uniforms and Gender Equality

A couple of weeks back, my son's school sent a notice that from this academic year onwards, girls would wear maroon t-shirts and maroon skirts on Wednesdays instead of maroon t-shirts and white skirts. It went on to clarify that the uniform of boys would remain unchanged - maroon t-shirts and white shorts. There was a round of cribbing by moms who had already purchased the uniforms for their kids about the economic loss.

I was surprised that no one seemed to be worried about what to me seems a clear step backwards - why is menstruation such a huge taboo? I was even more disturbed by the fact that educated people in my network told me that this change could have come about 'cos parents specifically asked for it !

As a parent of 2 kids - one boy and one girl, this is what my utopian view of a co-ed school is:

There needs to be enough awareness among both boys and girls on how menstruation is a natural process. Boys need to be taught that, yes, it may not be regular in the initial years and hence they may find a classmate bleeding into her uniform. They also need to know of the physical discomforts that accompany it. They need to be taught how to be of use in such situations and not giggle among themselves or turn their faces away in embarassment and confusion. They need to be made aware of where emergency pads can be obtained and how they can help their friend get access to a change of clothes. Girls need to be taught that there is nothing to be ashamed of about the whole process. If a girl falls down and bleeds, boys don't bat an eyelid before helping her. Why should menstrual stains be treated any differently? Why hide behind maroon skirts? If neatness is the concern, then the change has to be gender neutral - my son comes home with dirt caked on his white trousers every week !

Surprisingly, many moms I spoke to also said that while 9-10 may be an appropriate age to teach a girl about menstruation, it is too early to teach a boy about it. I find this ridiculous and intend to teach my son all about it over the next couple of years. In fact, he is already exposed to the fact that there are days when his mom is more tired than usual, has seen a menstrual pad and is in general more aware of the reproductive process than most kids his age.

I am ashamed of myself that I didn't have the guts to raise the issue up with the school management - 'cos my rational brain told me to choose my battles wisely... 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts - Some Random, Some Deliberate

The other day, couple of my male colleagues were discussing how important it was for them to reach home early when their spouses are ill. A strange wistfulness filled my heart and it took me a herculean effort to supress it from outpouring into my face ...that was a random unexpected thought.."I wish my hubby was like that". Given the nature of his profession, and his own nature (and mine too), he hardly comes home early "just 'cos you are not feeling well".

And then I deliberately thought about it some more and realised that it was just a case of grass being greener on the other side...My hubby is quite a hands on father and though he might not come home early when I am sick, he will make sure I am cured...

The last time I threw myself behind a truck, he didn't come rushing to me...but, he did say "If you bleed from your ears or nose, come to the hospital immediately...else just relax, put some ice on your bruises and take it cool !"

Practical and pragmatic advice...

Then, the other day I went for my routine blood test and asked hubby "Should I check my ESR levels?" They were haywire the last time I fell sick, and I thought checking it now made sense. However, he surprised me with his response, "I don't think you need to, you look perfectly healthy !" I mumbled to myself on why he was not concerned, but nevertheless chose to go by his professional gave my blood for the routine tests and went to work. He called back a few hours later and said, "Your ESR levels are normal. I got it checked ...I just didn't want you to worry about it. "

Sometimes, love manifests itself in such strange ways, doesn't it?

Friday, May 06, 2016

Desert Rose

Desert roses bloom ever so rare –

With rapturous beauty and fiery fragrance!

Paradise descends on a moonlit night;

Golden sands invite you home!

Oh, Knight of the Universe; Martyr of the Achilles’ Race;

Crusader on your journey - stop and stare!

For the desert rose blooms just for your eyes!

Fill me in your senses -

Neither prey nor predator be.

Talonous thorns amidst healing softness

Queen of Paradoxes – the desert rose!

Caress or Crush – it’s Your Choice!

Monday, May 02, 2016

S for Son

Yea, my son's name starts with an S too...This one is for him. 

My Dearest S,

The last time I wrote a letter to you on this blog was quite a while ago. You have evolved from then on and so have I. Needless to say, our relationship has evolved too...You have turned out to be a loving and caring guy. You are a charmer like your dad and can hold an audience with your limitless repertoire of stories - your dimpled cheeks help too!. You enjoy travelling, are a foodie and love the good life ! Unlike me, you are not very fond of animals. Though you resemble your dad in looks and external behavior, you are my carbon copy at heart - a sensitive soul. 

Now that I have done the mandatory parental gloating about 'how my son is the best on earth', here is a bunch of anecdotes around which I hope we can have a great laugh 20 yrs down the lane.

Context: Teaching about plants to my son
Mom: sunflower always bends towards sunlight.
Doubtful son: So, if I keep a sunflower plant in the dark and shine two torches from opposite sides , then which side will the plant bend to ?
Mom's mental note to self: I need to search for my 3rd std science teacher. 

Context: Mom screaming around like a banshee thanks to a severe migraine.
Mom: Hubby dear, I definitely want a maid on Sundays, I can't do all the work !
Son : (before hubby could respond): Ayyo amma, please don't have a maid on Sundays.
Mom's puzzled look gets the following answer:
"My chicken curry on Sundays will disappear if the maid comes. I love your chicken curry!"
Mom's migraine vanished immediately :)

Context: Mom and son watching Om Shanti Oshana with entire family. Son is glued inside the movie.
Mom's eyes well up at the anguish of the protagonsit Pooja when she is unable to get the love of her life, despite doing everything she can...
Son's sudden jolt to reality: "Amma, why are you crying? You got to marry achan and got two kids also. Achan will never do this to you!"
Mom's sheepish thought to self in the midst of loud guffaws from hubby and parents: Thank God, it is home and not the theatre !

Sonny, dear,

The last instance will always be a sweet memory in my heart. I never thought that in the middle of an interesting movie, you would even notice what I was upto - you not only did notice, but also comforted me in a way only you can ! As I have written earlier, a child's love for its parent is far superior than the parent's love for the is unblemished with prejudices !

smile emoticon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Diving for Pearls... far easier if you have supplemental oxygen. If you have to dive for them without oxygen, every time you don't reach the needed depth, you have to resurface for oxygen and all your efforts are in vain...Every dive tires you out and there is only a limited number that you can do in a day...However, its only with several failed experiences that you learn to hold your breath long enough to find that perfect pearl !

Still, the added oxygen would have been would have at least made the memories more pleasant !

P.S. It is said that the ugliest of oysters have the most beautiful pearls inside...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Of Stories Untold...

We all have them, don't we? I used to write stories as a child, when my imagination had wings - just like my dreams. I guess the biggest disappointment that experience brings is knowledge - knowledge that forces you to cut your dreams to size! Yea, that's ironic, I know.

Shouldn't experience actually give you the power to dream bigger and better? But, unfortunately that never happens ....Most people slowly turn their colourful dreams into monochromatic goals as time goes by...Add limited resources of money and time into the mix and you have a lousy cocktail - recipe for a hangover headache !

As a child, you are never worried about whether your dreams can turn into reality...You live in that heady cloud where dreams seamlessly blend into reality and vice versa..I vaguely remember reading in my Malayalam text book ages back about how Vivekananda used to fall asleep as a child - apparently, only enlightened souls such as him and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa fall asleep like that! It was news to me - till then I had never spared a thought on how sleep envelopes me...but after that, I have consciously tried to remember that tipping point when all consciousness is lost and sweet sleep washes over you.

I want to go back to writing stories - well, someday !

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Red Love

Loved you once and held you close,

Like a child enamoured by a fragrant rose !

As I bled from your thorns,

I vainly believed -

You are reflected in my soul !

Your cursed arrows no longer bruise -

They are droplets off my oiled fins;

As I dive off to the nadir of sorrow ,

From where the zenith of joy begins…