Ripples of my Reflections

I think, therefore I write

Category: I OPINE (page 1 of 13)

That one line

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An advertisement for SBI life insurance greeted me through the pages of The Hindu on a sombre morning. I read through the poem and smiled at the brevity that gets through to the emotional side of readers. But there was one line that glowed red in spite of its inconspicuousness.

But you don’t give in, for your wife too, is part of the journey.

Although that was just one line in the poem, it reminded me of how often I see advertisements that show only male protagonists thinking about insurance for their family. It is as if they are obligated with the task of being the provider even after their unfortunate deaths or other mishaps.

It’s just plain unfair to men. Protecting and providing for a child is a parent’s responsibility, no matter their gender.  Protecting  and making sure your partner is fine when you are no longer around is an emotion anyone can express, no matter their gender. In today’s world, care giving is taken up equally by sons and daughters, wives and husbands. Yet that subconscious conditioning of a male provider and a female care-giver is far from being faded. Such subtle reminders exist everywhere, knowingly and unknowingly, reiterating something that is no longer meaningful. There are gender neutral words – spouse, partner to use but still this ad chose to be gender specific, even if only for a line.

This just shows how far we are to go if we need to break the shackles of conditioning and how much work we have to do if we want to be truly independent of biases. May we all step towards the light at the end of the very long tunnel.

Until later 🙂

Do you know what NO means?

2017 was a multifaceted year for me and throughout it was constructed with blocks of hardships and towards the end came the home stretch. We are still running the home stretch in several aspects. But the troubles are not what I want to write about. They come and go and I don’t know how I am going to fare through them yet. But I have learnt one solid lesson from all that I faced and all that I am facing – A lot of people, even those whom you trust to understand you, will sometimes won’t. One of the major issues I see is that not everyone knows what it means when you say NO to something. The rejection of their idea/suggestion/<whatever> is unacceptable to them. I was shell shocked to see that this caused a lot of friction in an otherwise normal situation. I always assumed that we have evolved into this century enough to know that every individual has a choice when it comes to things that involve them and the person who is involved has the final say. However, to get this done, to make the message reach, the struggle I had to go through was so tiring that I started wondering if people really know what it means when I say NO or when I say that I don’t want to do something they suggest.

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A case for Kindle

As much as I hate giving up buying hard bound or paperback books from the shop, getting lost in the new book smell and the pages of a whole new world, I recently realize Kindle has more perks to it than I care to admit. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want to be that person who only buys intangible ebooks and I will not be. Now and then, I buy paperbacks to indulge and also to rest the guilt in me for moving away from them, even for a tiny bit.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize Kindle has more perks than I care to admit:

  • I love book shopping in book stores but currently I am on bed rest for a medical condition and I cannot go book shopping even if I wanted to. And since I have more time on hand, I can read more books at a faster rate and I find myself restless to wait until Amazon/Flipkart delivers the books I order. But with Kindle, one click and voila, I have a book to read in a matter of minutes.
  • Again, for a reason, I can only read books that are light, books that don’t turn my imagination to gore and violence. I was reading ‘The song of Fire and Ice’ and I had to stop midway. So this cuts down the type of books that I can read. So I get more restless once I find a book that I can read. I need to have it immediately. Kindle to the rescue!
  • I can carry my entire collection in one notebook sized device. No need to worry that I left a book at my parent’s place but have a craving to read it again. Of course, I shouldn’t be as mindless as to leave my Kindle behind! 😀
  • The biggest perk of all – With Kindle, lending books gets complicated. I cannot lend one book and read another – a good reason to not lend books. I am not selfish, I am just possessive about my books and book borrowers have only proved me right. At least, those who borrowed from me. I have a borrower who borrowed a book an year ago and never returned it. I doubt if she even remembers she borrowed it from me or if she has the book safely now. I have another one who borrowed 4 volumes of a classic and returned only 3 to me. I had to do everything short of begging to get the 3 volumes back. And she keeps saying she returned all 4. Sigh! I hate incomplete book sets. The saddest part is she didn’t even read the books. The least she could have done is keep it safe and return it, if she is not able to read it. These book borrowers being close relatives doesn’t help matters because you can only ask so many times. And if they say I already returned it and you know they are lying, well, what can you do? Spoil the relationship by speaking out or be quiet and mourn the loss of yet another book.

This is one reason I have a closed bookshelf at my place. I go gaga over open, artistic bookshelves but I have seen people who don’t even turn a page on a regular day ask if they can borrow a book when they see such beautifully arranged books. Can’t blame them, it is the magic of books. But I never get the books back and that’s the part I hate. Even worse, I get the books back in a dilapidated state. It just breaks my heart. Anyway, I digress!

So with Kindle, my heart rejoices that I need not go through the pain of lending and waiting anxiously for the safe return of my book babies. And when I am off my bed rest, I will buy as many paperbacks as I want and keep them in my closed bookshelf 😀

Until later 🙂

P.S: Don’t take me to be heartless because of my rant against book borrowers. I know a good book borrower when I see one. One who loves books as much as I do and one who understands the magic of reading. Such people rarely borrow books. They only do so, with great hesitation, when they can’t help it, like they really cannot get the book they want or if they want to check out the book first.

Why I don’t need a women’s day

I am a feminist and intend to remain one as long as the need for feminism exists. My woman pride is pretty high and I wouldn’t let anyone dent it even a bit. But of late, one particular thought pattern bothers me. I am confused, to be honest. I am starting to feel that these extra celebrations and campaigns to establish what women do, what they sacrifice, what they go through etc is a bit over-hyped. I cannot say with certainty, that I feel the necessity for such recognition.  I think this is all becoming too much of just brand and marketing strategy for many different products and concepts and too less of what it actually stands for.

When I ask people – both men and women, what makes them celebrate a day for women, I get varied answers none of which answers my questions. These are some of the reasons:

  • To understand women
  • To thank women
  • To recognize the power of women
  • To increase awareness on gender equality
  • To eradicate crimes against women
  • To show how much women mean to the world

and the list goes on… What hits me with each of these answers is why do we need to single out one day to do this? The same goes for any similar case too. Like a mother’s day, a father’s day.. Why single out one day for understanding and thanking someone, anyone for that matter, for what they do? And why do we need a day to create awareness on gender equality? Why do we need a day to think about how to prevent crimes against women? Aren’t these normal human traits that must be present already? The fact that we need a single day to make it an agenda and then execute means there is something fundamentally wrong with how we are today.

To look at the other side, I riddled myself this – What’s wrong in celebrating a day dedicated to some cause? That’s how celebrating birthdays and other festivals came into existence, right? That’s when I realized that it is not the WHAT that bothers me but the HOW. Like the hype around some and the lack of it around others. I honestly didn’t know there is an international men’s day to honor men. I am sure many others don’t know of the same. So why is women’s day so popular and men’s day hiding in a corner? There lies the answer. It is the campaigning, the product brands using such concepts to further their causes, it is what prevails more than the others in the race. Just like everything else on this planet. Survival of the fittest. The women’s day cause is probably more championed by brands and enterprises to reach out to that emotional quotient we are all helplessly plugged with and fueled by the rage that we experience with the so many crimes against women. Again, there are crimes happening against men, albeit lesser in number, but you gotta agree that they are also less known of or even worse, less discussed about.

I agree that this argument can go on either side, it’s a cat on the wall. It all boils down to one factor – conditioning. How we are sub-consciously conditioned in our genes over centuries, how we are conditioned to blame everything to genes instead of taking up responsibility, how we are taught what is right and wrong based on skewed opinions that might no longer be applicable. Right and Wrong are very subjective and are always prone to change. But we ignore the change factor and feed what is our right and what is our wrong to the next generation and that, so easily, becomes their baseline to judge right vs. wrong.

We hardly stop and think why we do a certain thing? If someone honestly ask me why I celebrate women’s day, I cannot give an answer. Because I don’t know why? Because the whole world does? Because I want to fit in? I don’t know. And this same behavior translates to lot many things in life. Going with the flow and doing things just because that’s how things have been done. I never stop and ask if I don’t feel good doing this charade, then why should I do it?

So from now on, I am going to celebrate my causes rather than the world’s causes. If I feel like appreciating the women in my life, I am gonna walk up to them and tell them that they are brilliant. If I feel that I am a wonderful wife, I am gonna take pride in being one. If I feel like I am good at managing work and home together, I am going to do it as long as it pleases me, no matter what anyone thinks of it. If I feel like I am not appreciated for what I do, I am going to voice it out. If that does not work, then I am going to take my work where it is appreciated. Because THIS is what we should do, every single day. Man or Woman, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t want others championing my cause. Neither do I want to champion someone else’s cause without connecting to it. I am me and I fight my own causes.

Until later 🙂

Love vs Ego

One particular episode of the debate show “Neeya Naana” in Star Vijay TV is the reason behind this post. The debate was between a section of parents and daughters who disagreed over love marriage. The reasons of the disagreement were many, but there were some shocking revelations to me.

There was one parent who was of the opinion that honor killing is the right punishment for those who marry into another caste. I never thought a parent can honestly believe that his/her daughter would be better dead than marry into another caste. There was another parent whose arguments were torn apart by her daughter, but still wouldn’t agree that marrying for love could be a right thing. The daughter asked her mom – “If I commit suicide because I couldn’t marry the guy I love, is that fine with you?” And her mom’s reply was – “I would rather have you dead or remain a spinster and stay with me, than accept someone you choose.” Much ego? Shocking!

The debate had all the usual arguments from both sides and it was pretty much predictable that the parents’ ego and how the society will treat them if they accept love marriages, especially cross-caste ones, was the main problem. But the most shocking revelation for me was from the daughters who were arguing for their right to love and marry the guy they loved. At the end of the show, Gopinath, the host, asked them this – “All this said, will your parents be able to change your mind to abandon the one you love and marry you off to someone they choose?”

I expected the girls to say a big NO. However, except one, everyone answered YES, albeit hesitantly. So that’s how strong you are in your belief of love and love marriages? I agree there is an emotional blackmail quotient, there is respect for your parents, you don’t want to hurt your family etc. But what about that decision you took to be with someone for the rest of your life? If your decision is this weak, there is no mistake on your parents’ part to suspect that this is a passing cloud and think that love doesn’t last. You have no right to blame your parents for not trusting you and your choice when you cannot defend your choice even for an hour.

To be clear, I am not asking anyone to elope. I am not asking anyone to resort to absurd decisions like suicide. Can’t we stand our ground and fight for something we believe is our life, soul and breath? I agree there are some cases where eloping is the only option or else you will get killed. I agree there are some situations when you are forced to move out and marry on your own. Exceptions are always there but giving up before even trying? That was something that disturbed me after watching that show.

Having known love and faced all the usual drama that comes with a love marriage, I tell this from my personal experience – There is no excuse for abandoning a true love just because you were too cowardly to defend it. Also, there is no excuse to abandon your parents when there exists even a remote chance that you can stand there and fight for your choice of life, that someday they might understand. Do not give up of either of them so easily. They both are priceless and precious. We might not know the value now, but when you look back at your life, you better have the right regrets than the wrong ones that make you feel like you cannot live with yourself.

And parents, caste? ego? Please, we have argued enough on this. Let’s rise above these petty things, that’s all I can request for. If there is a reason for you opposing your child’s choice of love and spouse, it better be something real to do with the welfare of your child.

Until later 🙂

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