I think, therefore I write

Category: I OPINE (Page 5 of 14)

The journey from ‘or’ to ‘and’

Me (2)That’s me!
23530-the-problem-with-gender-is-that-it-prescribes-how-we-shouldImage source: inspirably.com

I was asked to choose either being a traditional, responsible girl or a modern, happy-go-lucky one.
I was asked to choose my parents or the love of my life.
I was asked to be a house-wife or a working wife.
I was asked to be a writer or an engineer.
I was asked to be artistic or analytical.
I was asked to be controlled or impulsive.
I was asked to choose a secure, planned life or “some” life with my loved one.

Every time these things happened the ‘Or’ in the statement irked me to no extent. The choice has to be from within. If I am choosing between two things, it should be my decision and my intention. Why am I being restricted to this or that by someone else? As the question burned on as a flame, I started asking questions. Then came the reply, “A girl shouldn’t ask such questions.”, “Why are you talking like a boy?”, “Be a girl and be obedient.”, “If you keep talking like this, no one would marry you.” That was the last straw for me. So for someone to marry me, I should lock away all my thoughts and choose between two fingers that the society extends in front of me? I put my foot down then and there. All of these when I was a kid, as early as when I was about 8 years old. My parents didn’t understand at first and thought I was rebelling by asking questions. I don’t blame them for they were also molded products of society. Instead, I decided to make them see. I decided to make them understand that a girl can #UseHerAnd and take a stand. I kept proving my point time and again and slowly people who loved me truly started understanding me. They saw enough sense in what I was telling, to stop and try to understand what I am fighting for. And that was enough to keep me going.

il_fullxfull.379350001_1x94Image source: coyotescorner.com

Why do phrases like “Don’t cry like a girl”, “Be brave like a boy” and the like even exist? Do you not know enough women in the world who were/are braver than all men on earth put together? Of course, you do. Then why do you set up a bad example for your son, by saying “Don’t cry like a girl”. There in, you are planting a conclusion that girls cry and boys don’t. Teach your kids to deal with problems instead of stereotypes. Crying is just a form of expression and has nothing to do with gender. I’d rather have a man who cries when he feels sad than some guy thinking not crying is macho. The next thing that every human should be taught is not to label women. I am not the feminist who bashes all men and call for women equality options. I don’t even ask for special preferences to women. I believe by giving special preferences, you acknowledge that women *need* those special preferences and that implies a labeling or being objective. I don’t need that, we don’t need that. We need the mindset where a woman and a man are two individuals functioning to their capacity. Is that too hard?

pinterestImage Source: livebyquotes.com

When a woman breaks boundaries and goes beyond what’s normally perceptible, why is there even a question of her morals, her character, her personality? She is another person who achieved something that none others did. Can’t we just appreciate her for that and let her be herself? I know a girl who was elder to me by a few years. She was like a sister figure to me when I grew up and she was a brilliant artist, academic and a doting daughter. Her parents were in the traditional brought-up system and married her off once she finished 12th grade against her protests. A lot of us, friends and family told her parents to encourage her academic and artistic skills instead of curbing her with societal systems. But they didn’t understand it then with their closed minds. What happened? The guy she married gave her a child in a year and feeling that he had duly fulfilled his duties as a husband, he didn’t want any further responsibilities. He got influenced into drinking and gambling and stopped going to work. Now what would the girl do with a little one to feed and a drunkard for a husband? Her parents supported her a while, all the while regretting their decision, silently cursing themselves for pushing their daughter into this hell. One day she got fed up and called off the marriage. The idiot of her husband didn’t even want custody or anything with his son, not that she would have given him custody. A lot of people raised hell over that asking uncomfortable questions for her. She told all of them to shut up and took a stand. She took up part time jobs and started preparing for the government exams. Today, she is deputy Tehsildar (revenue administrative officer) for our district and well on her way to become an IAS officer. This is not a story I read somewhere. I saw her go through everything that she did and saw where she is. The day she stopped accepting the ‘Or’ thrust on her and took her ‘And’ out, she was free. Her son adores her and her parents see her for what she is. They have proud tears in their eyes and support her wholeheartedly today. Had this been done a few years earlier, she would have been spared the pain! Well, better late than never is what she says. And I am proud of her.

So girls, there is nothing wrong in putting your foot down for something you believe in. There’s nothing wrong in asking questions. There’s nothing wrong in breaking records and flying higher. And I have one thing to say to the society too, “We know what we are doing! We are not here to fight or rebel, that would just waste our time and energy. We are here to prove. I don’t want your ‘OR’, so stop shoving it in my face. If you can, wait and see me #UseMyAnd and take a stand, you’ll understand then. If you can’t, well it’s not my loss.”

Until later 🙂

This post is a my second entry to #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

P.S: I didn’t include the pic of the woman I have written about (as per the activity guidelines) since it is her option to retain her privacy.

Why choose when you can do both?

Me (2)That’s me!

“You can be either a good wife OR a surgeon”

“Decide if you want to be a good daughter OR an actress”

“Choose between being a banker OR being in a band”

The above excerpt is from blogadda’s “Blog for #UseYourAnd and Take a Stand” activity. Sounds familiar? If you are a woman, you would have heard it somewhere. Even men are facing this thinly veiled ultimatum many a times these days. If you are lucky and have a wonderful family and friends, still you would have heard of someone who was made to face this choice. Or should we call it choice? The society cleverly layers the deadline it gives inside ‘OR’ and defines it as a choice. Well, I am not the one to be fooled but there are many innocent women who think there’s a choice in this hidden statement that corners a girl to choose either one. Well next time, stop and think “Why can’t I do both?”. You can always do both if you believe in yourself.

As I have iterated in many of my posts, I have a strong sense of identity. I never give up my identity without a valid reason. I have had to fight a lot with my loved ones to make them understand that retaining my identity is not rebellion. It was hard to make them understand at times and it still is. But I never take that as reason enough to give up who I am. If I want to do something and if that something is justified morally right, then nothing should stop me from being me. So often, even the strongest of us women face a dilemma when they hit the marriage phase. Isn’t it sacrifice enough that women are uprooting themselves and start adapting in another environment? Isn’t it proof that we can adapt? Why should our every single action/habit be monitored and changed according to the new environment? Change is good. But it should be two-way and not forced.

Is it not possible for a two people who have different beliefs to co-exist peacefully? It is possible and more. Why can’t some people understand that it is okay if their spouse or friend or any loved one for that matter can have an entirely contradicting belief? I strongly say that it’s as much my birthright as yours. You can challenge me intellectually with questions about my belief. We can both present our points and have a debate for the sake of better understanding. That’s how we evolve. But at the end of the discussion, it is still perfectly fine for both involved to leave the table without being convinced about the other’s belief. This is where the tampering of identity starts.

Next time when someone asks to be this or that, tell them proudly that you’ll be both. Even better, show them. Every woman and man have their own personality traits. Some come ingrained from before and some are developed as we live everyday. But each of the trait is something unique to the person. Why is there even a question of which of the two you can be? Why is there a need to label me with one definition when I can be a multitude of definitions and then some more too? I will never my freedom be curbed by anything other than my own decision. If I choose something, it would be because I want to choose it. If I change something in me, it would be because I want to change that part of me. None else can define me and none else should. Yes! It can sound strong and harsh but that’s how we have to be if we want to be heard.

This doesn’t mean you can label us feminists/chauvinist or one of the many labels floating around and that we won’t listen to reason. As I have already mentioned, you can challenge us intellectually, ask questions about why we believe in something, get to know what makes me do things that I do. And let us do the same to you. Let’s understand each other’s reason and then if I am wrong, the change will come automatically out of *my* realization. Because each person in this world can have their own identity and still exist in peace, if only you #UseYourAnd and take a stand.

Until later 🙂

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

I tag Soumya @ LOL to take this activity up as she clearly exemplifies in taking a stand 🙂

The Puppeteers of Palem – Book Review

puppeteers-of-palem-coverSource : sharathkomarraju.com

When I read Leo‘s take on ‘The Pupeteers of Palem‘ by Sharath Komarraju , I was excited and hesitant at the same time. I was excited because I wanted to read a book that Leo gave more than 4 on 5. I was hesitant because I don’t get along with spooky stories well. The only spooky tales I have read are that of Phatichar‘s on his blog and his book ‘Frankly Spooking’. Still I went ahead and decided to read it because the blurb on the back piqued my interest and luckily I won the giveaway of Leo’s post. So I started off the book with very high expectations and I must say it met everything and then did something more too. The book weaves a chilling tale around a lot of characters who come together in the end to form the plot.

1984: 5 kids grew up in the village of  Rudrakshapalem listening to Avadhani thatha‘s stories when one unfortunate day, he tells them the spooky story of Lachi. The one whom none in the village talks about. Their curiosity gets the better of them and the kids want to meet Lachi at the Shivalayam, which is her infamous haunt. Little do they know there is a bigger picture in the small snippet that Avadhani thatha told them.

 2001: The 5 friends who are now in various places and phases of life decide to come back to Palem. For what, they do not know. Something pulls them back to the place where they grew up in. As they take in the village that seems so familiar yet so strange, they are hunted down – one at a time. Why are they struck down? What part of their childhood connected them to the happenings that lead to their deaths now, after so many years? Through what means does their enemy strike?

In the first 70-80 pages of the book, I met a lot of characters who told me to read on but at the same time made me question why so many characters? But then, each one of them beautifully fits in the picture when the entire plot is painted. Except that, not one feature of the book ticked me off even temporarily. I read on seamlessly and my hunger grew. At times, I was genuinely scared to read on since I felt like I was a part of the story too. As the end drew, all the pieces of the plot came together and when I turned the last page of the book, I found the experience thoroughly eerie which is the best success for a book of this genre.

The Puppeteers of Palem has convinced me that I should read each and every one of Sharath’s books and I intend to do so. I thank Soumya so much for introducing me to this book and giving me a copy to read it too. You just gave me the cake and let me have it too.

My rating of The Puppeteers of Palem: 4.5/5

Until later 🙂

The art that is communication

Remember those days when communication between two persons in different places meant writing letters, waiting for the letters or maybe for the privilege of an occasional telephone call? Yeah, I know that I sound cliched. But today I want to talk about this exact cliche.

I have lived in times when there was no mobile, no phones that are smarter than humans, no internet. I have lived in times when mobiles, smart phones, internet, computers were not so easily available to the common man and I am glad that I was part of a common man’s family then. I have experienced the thrill of writing letters and waiting for a reply. I have had my first rush when I got the first phone call from a friend. It made me feel important in the family to be able to give our land line number to a friend and to have her call it. We didn’t have anything to talk though. But I can still remember how we both giggled into the receiver of having done something grown-up.

And writing letters, ah! The feeling is indescribable, especially if the letter is to a budding crush/romance/love. My hubby and me were childhood sweethearts and were best friends right from the KG classes. So in the early teens, we had a gang of our own and all the usual drama in the class. So we had a code for writing letters among the members of the gang. Though there were other members in our gang, we two really hit it off with the letter writing, sometimes in code and sometimes normally. Starting from the silly “Have you done your homework?” to the then important “How is our enemy gang planning to prepare for the test?”, we have seen it all. The funnier thing here is it was almost always the action of writing and exchanging the letters that piqued our interest than the content itself. After all, what could a couple of school kids write about? 😛

Example of handwriting with gold pen
Anyway, I still have that feeling in me when I sit down and write something. If not physically, the closest feeling is typing up my thoughts. I know such is the case for many bloggers around here. My point in writing about this today is how the ease of communication has actually removed/replaced several prized feelings that still send a thrill coursing through our entire body. Today, we can reach anyone, anywhere at any time. The prerequisites are a smart phone and internet. Maybe even just a mobile phone. While all this has certainly eased our pain points of reaching someone, I feel sad. I feel sad that I cannot show my kid how “that feeling” would be. How the feeling of exchanging letters with your crush would be, how the feeling of waiting beside the telephone for a call that a friend promised you would be, how it feels to exchange coded notes with co-conspiring friends right under the nose of those who are busy trying to figure out what you are talking about, especially when all you would have been talking about is that your mom has packed aloo subji for lunch and that you would be willing to trade some for the delicious omelet that your friend’s mom packed.

Keeping in touch has now become so easy that the pain of farewell is diminished. When it is good that we can keep in touch with our old school friends to this day, we are missing that high which comes when you stumble into an old friend at the supermarket whom you have tried to keep in touch so hard but over time, lost it. Can any of the WhatsApp kind messengers or Facebook kind social media beat that feeling? I don’t think so. Today, the internet has changed the world into one big open book where anyone can peek into my page and read my personal feelings with no consideration whatsoever. Social networking was supposed to re-create the long lost bonds between friends and make them connect. But it went a step ahead and told us stuff about each other that we actually wouldn’t want to know or shouldn’t be knowing anyway.

As all this is taking us ahead, all we can do and are doing is sit back and reminisce about the times when we had more prized possessions in the form of memories and how all those would not be passed on to our next generation. The precious feelings are cursed to stay frozen in time while the human race races faster than ever.

Until later 🙂

Woman of the house

*This post is inspired by my mom and this advertisement. A lot of people don’t give due credits for the woman of the house. I am not taking up the feminist card and talking here. In fact,I see a lot of women discarding the duties of a house saying that they have better things to do. A lot of people ask me when I can afford a maid, why won’t I hire one? My reply is that I don’t need one. This is in no way a feminist post. I am not going there now. I wrote this by observing my mom and extrapolating a few of my ideas. This one is for her, the woman of our house*

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I am a woman, a proud one at that. People judge me for various reasons, I don’t care. I have a family that loves me and I devote my life for them. Some of my friends don’t get me, why I should take up the typical household work instead of engaging a maid. I have my reasons. I have my situations. Moreover, what’s wrong in doing the chores when you can. I agree that I may not be that pretty woman with manicured nails and make-up intact. I am that woman who you never gave a second glance or maybe you did, only because she looked funny trying to balance her two-wheeler loaded with grocery shopping for the home she is making.

I am that woman who makes a house into a home. You can see me being tired but you can never see me sit down for that. My only thought throughout is I must take care of my health becaue only then I can take care of my husband and kids. My hands are rough and dry with all the work, sometimes they crack. But I have no time to pamper them, I let them be. They get used to it and rough hands speak of my life with pride. They speak of my love for the family. I understand independence and am protective about it but that doesn’t mean I can ignore the things I should be doing. It’s not something that I took up because the society says it’s a woman’s job but because only I can.

At work, there are a lot of men I compete with. They don’t get why I work so hard, but neither do they get that I have to work so hard to balance my work and personal life and still reach the heights I deserve. Society is biased a lot of times, but I don’t have time to crib when there are things to be done. I do my bit and keep trudging forward. There’s still a lot of gender bias in the society. But I know things don’t change by words and placards. They change by actions. I prove in action to the world that I am no less a person, the world would look back. I will make it so.

A lot of people who see me doing everything ask me mockingly, “So, you are the man of the house?”. I proudly reply, “No, I’m even better. I’m the woman of the house.”

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Until later 🙂

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