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"

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

10 Yrs

...of being married ! My rational brain is quite surprised that I managed to survive this long in a relationship :) My emotional brain of course fiercely counters - "I am still madly in love with him !".
However, if there is one thing I have realized over the past 10 years, it is this - the success of a marriage has no correlation whatsoever to the amount of love you have for each other ! Better predictors include the nature of your profession, the relationship you share with your in-laws, and your ability to tolerate nonsense of various kinds. 

 We did celebrate this achievement by sneaking away for a weekend to Maldives - surprisingly, hubby missed the kids far more than I did ! It was a lovely resort and a much needed break.

We've had our ups and downs and it's been a roller coaster ride...the memories and experiences though have been priceless !


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 wisdom..so 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 child....it is unblemished with prejudices !

smile emoticon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Diving for Pearls...

...is 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 welcome...it 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...