Monday, October 24, 2016

The M Factor

Way too often, media (the kind that you and I consume mostly these days – whatsapp forwards, FB videos, Twitter links etc) overhypes the importance of creating memories over accumulating money, adding alongside a liberal dose of reminders about our mortality – about how when we are on our deathbed, we don’t worry about the money we made, but about the memories we didn’t !

Well, let me call the bluff – it is a big fat lie! It has been created to pander to the frail egos of middle aged men and women, who suddenly realise that maybe they have missed the bus as far as getting seriously rich goes, so might as well go create some memories…

‘Cos given the advances in science today, you and I are likely to either die a sudden and violent death – accident or murder, in which case the time left for retrospective regret is minimal, anyway; or die a slow, prolonged death – mostly due to old age, and lo and behold, associated memory loss ! So, if all those memories you created, those experiences you had, none of them, allow you to even remember where the bathroom in your house is, let alone bask in a warm fuzzy time journey – then I ask, what the F!@#$ are those memories worth? At least, if you are rich enough, you can afford to check yourselves into a 5 star care facility, while your faculties are still intact, and hope that when you have completely lost the idea of who you are, then the care giver treats you with dignity, for the simple reason that you are now the poster boy/gal for future customers – when they pay a visit. And, even then, it is just hope – and hope has never been a great strategy !  You would be surprised by the number of molestations that happen across old age homes in the country…

So, whether you want memories or money – it is your choice – there is no guarantee that one will serve you better than the other! And, despite whatever anyone else might say – creating memories is a costly affair these days – the best things in life are no longer free… Even the feel of a baby’s soft cheeks need money to be spent on baby lotions, baby food and warm clothes !

So, yes, go ahead and accumulate that retirement corpus, the vacation fund, whatever…Memories alone are not even a poor substitute.  

On a random side note I felt immensely comforted reading this:

Yea, I am teaching my heart to cry, but never to break...

Thursday, October 06, 2016

"Women are a Woman's Greatest Enemies"

I am sure you would have heard this statement at least once, if not more often in your life time. Often, you hear this if you are bitching about your boss or your in-laws or your siblings or your colleagues or even friends. Basically, the situation can be professional, personal or social…The only criteria is that both parties involved are women, and then the listener (gender agnostically) often responds with this statement.

My response to this factual rubbish varies depending on who says it, what the context is, what frame of mind I am in etc..

But, the focus on this post is on why this is factually wrong. First of all, I feel that the herd mentality ingrained in our psyches expect that birds of a feather flock together and by extension, all women should always stand together and support each other. However, the whole idea of feminism is to make people think beyond gender…So, women are not all birds of the same feather…Yes, biologically women are more similar to each other than to men, but that’s about it…You will find women in all colours – nice to horrible – just as you would find men.

Social conditioning, economic situations, level of education and so many other factors determine how I perceive, tackle and respond to any given situation. As a result, my (or any person’s) response may be more similar to others with same exposure to similar experiences…regardless of gender…I may tend to agree with/act like/think like a guy more than a lady in certain situations – but that does not mean I am a lady’s enemy. Again depends on which guy and which lady is in question. From my limited experience, I have not seen m-i-ls being more stuck up than f-i-ls..It is just that their areas of focus may be different. But both can be understanding or pig headed depending on what is being discussed and what the stakes are – again it is gender neutral. Same with bosses, siblings, friends, enemies and strangers.

Probably the only area where gender will have an influence is the physical capability requirements. Again, I have seen men who can’t carry a sick child or any other heavy load – we call them insensitive in the formal case and lovingly call them metrosexual in the latter case …but maybe they are just not trained. A rural woman is likely to be more physically strong than a pampered city male…again gender neutral ! Yes, by default, there are hormonal and biological differences, but circumstances and social conditioning also have a huge role.

So, the next time you feel like responding with a “Yea, after all women are a woman’s worst enemy”, please stop and think beyond.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Strange are the Ways of the World !

I wrote my previous post from a place of deep agony…But it did throw up some amazing insights into how humans behave…Yes, adversity is a great teacher after all ! Some of my loyal blog readers reached out to me – no surprises there.

But, the depth of understanding that each of them showed surprised me. It was not the usual (not usual by them, but in general how people react to someone’s sadness) combination of sadistic curiosity that often gets wrapped as concern. That pseudo concern gets manifested as a statement in the lines of “Don’t worry, what happened? oh it happens to everyone, we all take decisions we are not comfortable…please move on” or some combination of this…

But each of the people who reached out to me perfectly understood my pain, gave me space, reassured me, and held me in their arms (albeit remotely !).
Here is a heartfelt thank you to each of you …Your kindness in my moment of grief means a lot to me…

Sadly, despite having both sides of my family in the same city, not a single soul from the city stood by me in my moment of agony…Not just that, there are the usual demands on my time and energy – with scant regard of what I might be going through!  

As an adult, I believe in being responsible for my own decisions and hence I have kept the intense agony that this has caused me, deep inside my heart…I am carrying on my normal life in a desperate attempt to ‘fake it till you make it’ …But, I am also human…and there is only so much that a rubber band can stretch…

Sometimes, the sheer selfishness of people never cease to surprise me! And sometimes the sheer selflessness of people never cease to surprise me ! 

P.S While we are on the topic of how strange the world is, I must also mention how lousy I am feeling that I can't go to a temple...I am not extremely temple oriented, but this Navaratri my daughter is officially entering the world of knowledge...there is a Saraswati temple in my city that opens only 9 days a year...I wanted to go there with her...but deeply ingrained stupid norms prevent me from doing yet another thing that my heart deeply desires....I just sooo sooo hate this world !

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This is a very graphical rant, so stay away in case that’s not your style…

Sometimes, the sorrow is soo deep that its easy to fake happiness. You act as if everything is normal. You wake up, do your duties, go to work, laugh with colleagues, check whatsapp, type non sense in it and giggle for good measure…

And then you wonder what the hell were you doing with 36 years in this planet, if you are all alone at 3:00 in the morning feeling faint in a pool of blood in the bathroom while your hubby is happily snoring in the next room. How come there was not even a single human being to hold your hand then?

You ignore the physical pain that ravages your body and carry on the act of appearing normal…you even fight about the same silly things…knowing fully well none of it matters any more…but that’s the best you can do…’cos the only other alternative is to end up in the mental asylum. Any rational analysis will only take you there…

They say time heals…they forgot about the scars left behind..which permanently reduces the beauty of your soul…

You look at your hands and only see the Shakesperean heroine…

You hear a small voice asking “Amma, why didn’t you give me a chance?”

You feel the small finger then wipe away the tears that well up…

And you wish you did not snuff out that life… you wish you could have used the chance to share the same universe … You realise you have been a coward..and everything you stood up for…all your good karma…all of it was still not good enuf…

And you realize that you have been your own worst enemy…the cancer of your soul…

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Decluttering - Mind and Matter

When I moved to my current home back in 2013, I had dreams of keeping a beautiful house – replete with a vegetable garden, beautiful paintings and bed linen, reading nooks, an amazing wardrobe and drool worthy cutlery. 

Well, then life happened! Shuttling between multiple cities, a major illness, pregnancy and child rearing, back stabbing by colleagues and non-co-operation from one side of ‘family’,  saw all dreams – both professional and personal – crumble into dust. My house turned into a pig sty and I turned into a person I never wanted to be … I was overwhelmed by the lack of space – in my house and in my brain. I initially thought of moving into a bigger house, but realized that it would have to wait – at least another couple of years.

Last month, I celebrated my younger one’s second birthday and I realized that I no longer have excuses to postpone spring cleaning – within and without.

When I started taking stock, I realized that I had unconsciously already started the process of de-cluttering – I don’t enjoy shopping much anyway and being a highly sensitive introvert meant that it was easier to not stay in touch with people. Beginning this year, I had shunned all contact with people, except for professional reasons. Most weekends, my phone would be completely switched off. I weaned myself off social media and drastically reduced time spent on Whatsapp. I hadn’t purchased anything for myself or my kids either – except the mandatory back to school shopping! Hubby did gift me material stuff for birthdays and other special occasions.

I had already thrown out a lot of my clothes which I had put aside hoping to wear someday! But, now I know that going back to a 26 inch waist is not going to happen any time soon..

The other day I gave a lot of old stuff to my maid – beds, storage units and so on. I felt immensely happy that I have at least made a small start on de-cluttering my space. I still have miles to go, and I have promised myself that I will not buy anything till I throw away every useless thing in my house.

De-cluttering the brain is even tougher. But, last couple of weeks gave me time with two dear friends and cheered me up… There is still a long way to go before I reach the stage of crystal clear clarity on what I want out of life and razor sharp focus on achieving it. But, at least I have started taking baby steps. And just as a baby will fall several times before walking becomes second nature, I know it will take me quite a while to reach the zen stage I aspire for…The trick is to never lose hope…and curiosity…and persist in the search…

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The Magic of 7

Ever since I learned about the 7 Wonders of the World, I have been enamoured by the number. I always believed in the magic of that number, and by God, when I knew about your birthday (incidentally, much before I knew you) I was thrilled…That was 1996 – seems like a past lifetime now!

Much water has passed beneath the bridges, but there has never been a July 7th since, when my heart wasn’t filled with thoughts of you !  Now, that’s some magical charm you’ve woven in my heart. So, my dearest magician, here is a huge thank you for all the new experiences you have enriched my life with! 

In no particular order, here goes…

Thank you for introducing me to the pleasures of:

1.      English Music & Movies
2.      Parenting
3.      Travel & World Cuisine
4.      A Warm Hug
5.      Perfumes
6.      Water Skiing; and finally…
7.      The Magical Trips to the Moon !

         Wishing you health, happiness and all the amazingly enjoyable experiences you could ever wish for !

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Misogyny, Marriages and More...

My dear friend Anu, has been writing quite a bit about these topics and although I am usually lazy to link up, here is a link that I would recommend. Being a feminist is not an easy tag to wear and mostly it is used to denote (wrongly) a woman who does not believe in the traditional institutes of marriage, is too inflexible in her views and is someone who hates men. This is highly unfortunate...'cos feminism is just about doing the right thing. Yes, generations of doing the wrong thing means that sometimes you have to stand in the roof top and scream. Pulling out a weed is far easier than uprooting a giant tree with deep roots - obviously, it is a slow and ardous process. But it has to be done - for the human race to survive !  So, let me talk at some length on some common misconceptions about feminism.

Myth 1: Feminism and Marriage Can't Go Hand in Hand: Your views on how women should be treated (whether you are a man or a woman) is just one factor that determines the success of a marriage. People who say that women who are willing to bow and bend will ensure the success of a marriage, do not know what a successful marriage is. Two people staying under the same roof is not what constitues a successful marriage. A successful marriage is one where both partners are happy and play as a team. It is only common sense to realize that the true potential of a marriage can be achieved when both parties treat each other with respect and dignity, care and concern. A feminist may or may not have a happy marriage - but if both parties in the marriage are feminists then the chances of a successful marriage are far higher.

If you have been through a divorce, read this and watch the video. It shows you that there is life beyond. Beyond the anger, the hurt and the sorrow, you can and will survive !

Myth 2: Feminists are Rigid in Their Views: No, they are not. Most feminists I know stand up not just for themselves, but for their sisters whose voices maybe too feeble to be heard. Naturally, they have to put across their point of view repeatedly. They speak up, and that is essential for change - accepting status quo is not an option. While they speak up, they are also willing to engage in dialogue and hear, and analyse other points of view. But, they may not accept a chauvinstic point of view, no matter how loud or strong the view is...That's not 'cos of being rigid - its just that unless you convince me you are right, I will hold on to what I believe is right. That is true for any argument, right?

Often, it is said that you need to speak up for your daughters...for them to have their freedom, for them to be able to realise their dreams...Well, I have over the years, come to realise that when you speak about women and their rights, you are trying to make the world a better place - and the benefits will accrue to future generations - regardless of gender. So, every time I speak up or work towards changing attitudes and mindsets , I am doing it as much for my son as for my daugher. I want him to enjoy the laughter of the women around him ! 'Cos I want to free him from the burden of male superiority, I want him to feel the comfort that tears can offer him, I want him to smell a baby's poo and I want him to experience life in its fullest and not just through the narrow prism of male chauvinsm.

Myth 3: Feminists hate men: I can only laugh at people who think this way...Hate is too strong a word; and the opposition is to a misogynst point of view; and not to a gender.

These are just a sample. In every day life you come across several minor and major incidents where women are mistreated. I have had men ask me "If you believe in feminism, why do you want seats reserved in the bus for women?" Well, the answer is this: Feminism is about treating women with dignity. It is not about wiping away or ignoring the differences. Economic, social, geographic and other factors ensure that humanity is a diverse mix. Gender is just one variable. In an overcrowded bus, reserving a couple of seats for women ensures that atleast the ones with babies can travel safely and not worry about being thrown off guard when a sudden brake occurs. Till such time, we don't teach our children to stand up and offer the seat to a more needy person, we would have to continue reserving seats for women, old people and the physically challenged.

Ultimately, for those who say patriarchy has its benefits and that men and women can never be equal, for those men who believe that being macho is about suppressing fellow humans, for men and women world over who have the emotional, social, economic superiority over another human(s), all I have to say is this; "With great power, comes great responsibility. Act responsibly."

P.S. This is my blog and my writing, so naturally, all posts including this one is based on my world view !

P.P.S: There is far more to write on this topic, and I hope to write more follow up posts. Expect a post soon on "Women are a Woman's Greatest Enemy"