Friday, December 5, 2014

The Ungli moment

Have you watched that clip from Pyaar ka Panchnaama...

where the man claims that there are times, when he has a fight with his girl friend and he has all arguments in his favor. He is sure that this time he will have his point proven. But, during the fight, somehow he will raise a finger at her and suddenly the whole discussion would come down to 'how dare he raise his finger at her'. Everything else forgotten,flushed down the gutter, the whole discussion is about the raised finger.

I believe we have the same thing at our place, sadly with role reversal. I am dead angry and not in a mood to take any more non-sense. My dear husband knows the mood and he would press just enough buttons to push me over my patience limit. He knows exactly how to break me down and draw a reaction. And the angered, battered I am at that time, I give in. Give him enough to move the conversation there, how dare I say something so rude. Everything else forgotten, not to be discussed, the argument is about the raised finger... I am so damn pissed off!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Take your pick!!

If you are told that there are only three categories of women:

Slut : One who sleeps with others for the sake of personal gains: monetary or otherwise.
Bitch : One who back stabs and makes relations of convenience. In general rude and most certainly not to be trusted with.
Devi : The ideal one. One who makes sacrifices, is polite, gentle and in general liked and adored.

Which one would you be closest to? 
I believe, we would all rush towards the 'Devi', claiming that though not perfectly there, this is what we are closest to.

In corporate world, these categories exist, only the definitions are a bit different:

Slut : One who is friendly and easy to talk to. Even talks to men who seek help!!! Would not mind sharing jokes or a cup of coffee with male colleagues. Is equally comfortable talking to men and women. If someone tells that he wants to do 'friendship' or 'know more' than she is comfortable, she will politely refuse, not wanting to hurt the feelings, but wanting to make the point clear. 

Bitch: Absolute opposite of slut. Not easy to approach or talk to. Speaks her mind and keeps to herself. Would not go out of the way to accommodate others, would stick to strict rules and guidelines, not wanting to bend them for anyone. May give a cold, stern look if something inappropriate is said or done. Would rebuke if someone wants to cross the boundary she has laid.

Devi: The simple minded, docile one. Polite and gullible. Would not say no to doing others work. Would not be able to fight or resist others even at her own expense. Usually doesn't have high career ambitions, even if she has them, she doesn't know what happened to them down the line. Easy to bully and sweet talk. Loved (used) by all.

Which are you closest too? 
I believe I am usually closer to slut and am a bitch at times.
I believe I am not the Devi or at least I hope I never am. I hope that I always have the guts and intelligence to speak my mind. I hope I am never worried about what others opinion about me is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

To go or not to go

To go or not to go out of India... most if not all people working in IT Industry ask themselves at least once in their life. Many decide to leave India for work, planning to come back one day.  More than half of my friends are now settled or working outside India. 
Since, both Husband and I earn our bread from this industry, we have been disturbed by the question many a times. 

There are many good reasons to leave India for a while:
1. The money: There is a vast difference between the money you make and thereby save while working outside India than what you will make staying in India. Even if only one partner is working, you still end up saving more money compared to both working in India.
2. The work-life balance: Somehow, in IT Industry, in India, although you claim to be working only 5 days a work, you spend a lot of time working. We think staying back late to finish work or take calls is fine. Making a presentation or supporting clients over weekend is needed. I thought that as you get more experienced, you will stop doing that, but it only gets worse. There are client expectations to be met, calls to be made, budgets to be finalised or just reports to be made. People do not mind calling you after work as there is an important call next day. And we as Indians, do not say no to this. May be  its our insecurity, may be its our good nature.
3. The daily grind: Somehow this one pisses me off more than the above two. The chaos of every day life!! Things do not go as planned, nothing is predictable. What harm would happen if people acted as expected???  We(may be its just me) need so many people to run our daily life: Maids, Press-wala, doodh-waala, newspaper waala, sabzi waala, carpenter, plumber. And the more number of people we need, the more number of people who can set a day off, just by not behaving as expected. From the traffic to the time when you will be back from office, there ain't too many things you can predict. 
4. Quality of life: We live a scared life. We are scared of going out late at night. We are scared of cops as well as thieves. We are scared for the safety of our girls. We have accepted corruption as part of life. There is change undoubtedly, still... its a long way to go. Polluted air, contaminated food, pesticides, no exercise have become a part of our life. Life style diseases have become much more common than before.


There would be more reasons which point towards moving out for a while. Husband has been contemplating the option. But, I could reason out (or just put my foot down) blatantly.

The temptation to go for just a couple of years, earn well and come back is just that... a temptation. There is never just enough money. There is always, just a little more that you can make, extending the time you spend abroad. Coming back and settling down to the chaos and discomfort becomes that much more difficult. You become alien and unaccustomed to what was a part of your life for so long.

The only reason which keeps me here is the knowledge that I am close to both my and husband's folks. They can call us at any time. We can visit them as often as we want, even for a weekend and they can do the same. Its not an option that we avail too often. But, still it just keeps me at peace.

I don't know how long my adamant self would be able to stand against the 'logic' of leaving India just for a while... Hope its quite long. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Thousand Splendid Suns

There I was, sitting quite high in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, wondering what I am doing with my life, how everything is stagnant and dissatisfying.
And then I was shaken to reality by 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini. 

Here I am educated, having a loving family and wondering about the complexities of life. Being able to read, write, voice my opinions and decide for myself.
And there lies a world, not far from here where being a woman is a sin in itself. A quote from this book: 
There is only one, only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don’t teach it in school . . . Only one skill. And it’s this: tahamulEndure . . .

When a 60 year old man can proudly say and mock his 15 years old second wife, "What is it that is saving you now? Your wits or me" and quite rightly so. 
A world, where whatever a man does is acceptable and to be endured and respected. Where his words are the final and beyond question. Where you may not be allowed to show your face to the world, let alone voice your opinion.

I felt thankful, happy and sad at the same time for the two worlds that are there. There are loads of things that have fallen in just the right place for us, so that we can crib for the trivial things in life. 
This perspective may not last long, but, it will be good enough to keep me sane for sometime. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To hell with hypocrisy

I am bored of my job.... not that it is news anymore. 

I am bored to an extent that I dream of quitting the job and being a house wife.... and I won't be the nice, skilled housewife, who manages a clean, beautiful home and cooks yummy food. I will be the kind of housewife who sleeps till noon, wakes up, eats, reads, sleeps some more and nags her husband that he spends way too much time in the office.

And in that day dreaming of what I can do other than being a demanding housewife, I realized I can write...... For 'Mills and Boon'. I don't know if the company has changed their plots now, but, the ones that I have read have a certain defined pattern and I can do that!!! 

I can write cheezy ways of how the girl and the guy meet, how they were so attracted to each other and the usual M&B drama. And I will keep all my feminist ideas aside and the girl will invariably always be the damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued. Hero will save her from fire, wild animals, goons, aliens, vampires, any thing. I know I will be good... I have an alternate career option now... Yay!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What a man can do

There are men who ruin you for other men. 

Men who get inside your mind and tell you how mean and cruel men can be. How they can't be trusted. Men who show you the extent of their depravity. Men who rape and murder 'Nirbhaya's. Men who molest children, sometimes their own. Men who kill their loved ones in the name of honor. Men who make you hate men. 
If the world was made of only such men, all women would begin hating all men...

But, then come the second kind, those who ruin you differently.

Men who are heroes, sometimes fictional, like Atticus Finch from 'To kill a mocking bird' or Rhett Butler in 'Gone with the wind' or Hank Rearden from 'Atlas Shrugged'. 

Mostly they are all flesh and blood, men you love, respect, trust and adore. Men you would listen to, not because they order, but because they are right. Men existing as fathers, husbands, uncles and friends....

Men who set things straight, the righteous and courageous ones. Men who are not afraid of truth. Men who are gentle yet tough. Men who who give the word "Man" a character, only they can. Men who make you demand and expect so much more from yourself and other men. Men who tell you what a man can achieve. Men who can frustrate you when others don't meet the standards set by them.

They may not know or claim this, but, they are the reason human race is still not extinct.
I love these men!!! 

Then there is paranoia

I have been used to living alone, since quite young. "No horror movies or serials allowed", was one of the more significant rules that could not be broken in our childhood. This along with our parent's absolute indifference to our cries on being sent to a dark room, ensured we weren't scared of dark either. Till we were in their custody, we were brave kids. Few horror movies watched away from their eyes and few nights spent with the lights on. But, then a bad memory helped and peace was restored soon.
So, unlike a lot of my friends, I am not really afraid of ghosts.

But, then recently there has been another bigger kind of fear... fear of humans. A fear that was unheard of in my childhood. A fear exaggerated by news of rapes and murders of unsuspecting females, shows like 'Crime Patrol' and 'Savdhaan India'. Shows that are designed to beware you of what all is possible, how low we humans can fall and how you need to keep your eyes and ears open. Somehow, the way it affects me is quite negative, especially when I am alone:
A stranger comes over to deliver a courier and I don't like it. I am not courteous enough to ask for water to drink, even if the temperature is 50 degrees outside. If he demands himself, I wonder if he will get inside as soon as I turn my back. Does he have an accomplice too? I should have looked around...
My new maid takes longer than usual to make a cup of tea and I suspect she may add something lethal. I used to be fast asleep, while the maids worked, now I am wide awake.
A stranger soothes a crying child in a TV show or book, and I wonder if the child is going to get sodomized or raped or sold to traffickers.

I agree that we are living in quite bad times. Crime against women and children in India is at an alarmingly high rate and increasing. You need to protect yourself and be safe rather than sorry.

But, does that mean so much of distrust on each other. Does that need to take away your humanity. So, much so that you are afraid to help anyone. It may be a plot for you to get into. Isn't it turning us all into utterly selfish people. Are we not getting reduced to a society of cowards?

Monday, May 19, 2014

What's in a name...

Whats in a name... so said Shakespeare. Nothing... good for him and those who share his thoughts.
Surname.... Raises some different questions all together.

In India, a woman is expected to take her husband's surname after marriage by default. No questions, no assumptions, thats just how it is. 

Why? Because..... isn't that obvious?? Thats the way things have always been. Didn't your mother and grandmother take their respective husband's name? So say the 'Shastras'. Women changed their Gotras and hence the name change... Is there even a question??? Why do you think so much??? Just follow what has always been done. If you have to act so feminist, take dual surname, just append your husband's surname.

I somehow, have never been able to digest these views. For me, this is nothing but discrimination. And I can't help thinking on why should a girl change her surname. Why is a girl questioned if she doesn't change her surname. On the contrary, if a guy some day decides to adopt his wife's surname, that would raise all the eyebrows and start gossips. This question always manages to draw "nice" words from me, some times openly and usually just a smile in public.

But, what burns me completely is all the forms that we are supposed to fill. Driving licence, aadhar, ration card, everywhere.
Fathers/Mothers/Husband's name:

I scream everytime, WHY!!!!

Everybody is expected to write their father's name before marriage. You can write your mother's name if needed; an option that hasn't been there for long. However, men are supposed to continue this all their life. Women on the other hand are expected to write their husband's name after marriage. This is something that I find more intolerable. Why isn't their a spouse name option? Why is it only husband's name? Why are you interested to know if I am married or not and oblivious if my husband is married or not!!! 

I still continue to write my father's name in this section, despite being married for several years now. Yes, I am hypocrite in the sense that I don't write my mother's name, but I have been that way since long. My husband and I have argued several times on why do I act so stubborn. But, I just can't convince myself to bow down to this discrimination. Somehow, I fume with anger every single time I see this option. Every time I feel like questioning who designs these forms and the reason for this question. It will be a long time before I come to peace with this.

I am reminded of a line from "Animal Farm":
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I hope someday we truly are an equal society!!! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

In search of super hero...

A man raped a woman. When the man was out on jail, she called him for out of court settlement and then set her on fire.

Do I think the woman's action was illegal... Yes. 
Is it the right way to handle things... No
Do I like what she did. Am I slightly happy about it... Yes

Heard so many times how the woman was wrong, in getting raped. Its atleast better to get blamed for the right crime...

Unfortunately, crime against women are increasing. Probably, not enough has been done to curb it down. Probably, just law and its enforcement won't help. Probably the mentality and thought process needs to be changed. Probably we need a superhero, who may not be on the right side of law, but does get justice.

Image copied from