Checking in

It’s that time of the year when I get all pensive and serious about life. My birthday’s around the corner and every year I start thinking about all the new things I want to do in life and the number of things that are still pending in my to do list.

If there’s one thing that 2013 has taught me, it is that life is unpredictable. All it takes is one moment for your life to turn upside down. The price I’ve paid to learn that lesson has been very high. While it scares me to think about tomorrow, it’s given me the clarity to not shy away from challenges. Sometimes the biggest challenge I face in my life is just myself. I’ve opened this page to write something so many times. I write 5 sentences and exit without saving anything cos I’m convinced that a. It’s not worth going through with b. No one’s really going to read this c. It’s not as flowery, insightful, interesting or beautiful as xyz’s blog. I always ignore that tiny inner voice that says that unless I go through with it and work on it, I’ll never know.

I need to push myself to make that tiny inner be heard louder and learn to trust it. I’m beginning to see that being a parent is one of the hardest things anyone can ever do. I don’t know how the previous generations did it. My mom managed 2 kids and a job. My grandmother managed 4 of her own kids, about 10 of her nieces and nephews, a big joint family, a husband with a big ego and much more on limited resources. I have a maid, a cook and a doting husband. All I do is take care of my son and yet I’m exhausted on most days by 6. I realise that the exhaustion is more mental than physical. I know I’m never going to be as wonderful as my grandmother but I’m going to try. I’m going to stop being my own obstacle. One tiny step towards making myself happy. One tiny step towards being happy with myself.

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All things neon

For someone who doesn’t have a job and is covered in baby food most of the time, I follow way too many fashion blogs. There’s, of course, Pinterest. Neon seems to be the colour scheme of the season. I may not be able to pull off neon clothes but check out these accessories from my recent buys.

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In clockwise direction:

This yellow bag is lovely and compact for a night out. Fits basics like money, some makeup, keys & a phone. The next item is a key pouch. It can hold about 3-4 keys and is easy to carry around. The green watch is one of my favourites. I originally bought it in yellow almost a year and a half ago on the streets of colaba. More recently, I saw this in chennai as well. While this watch may not be functionally great, it does brighten up a dull day. The last one is my favourite. It’s a notepad with a Lego cover and lock. You can make any pattern you like on the cover or use it as an innovative lock. The best part is that the cover slides off. So, you don’t need to worry about having to throw it away when you run out of pages.

Do you have any interesting neon buys?

Back to wordpress

Someone remind me why exactly I shifted from wordpress to posterous cos I sure as hell can’t remember. I saw a lot of posts after posterous’ closing announcement that said they saw it coming after the twitter take over. They said it was even more certain when posterous stopped accepting sign ups. Really? Cos I sure as hell didn’t.

After being unceremoniously kicked out of posterous, I contemplated not having a blog at all. After all, I haven’t published even a single post (i say published and not written cos I did write many posts in my head. They may not have been coherent but they did get written, at least in the head) in months. But I liked the idea to having my blog around in case I felt like saying something. Exactly like keeping that dress that is old and super pretty but 2 sizes too small. But hey, what if I suddenly lose weight in spite of sitting around on my ass.

In the coming few days, I will be importing my posts from posterous as well. Who knows, wordpress might prove to be second time lucky for me.

Growing up in shining India

When I heard about the death of the Delhi rape victim, I felt lousier than I had in a long long time. Not only was I feeling helpless, I was appalled by the media calling her Nirbhaya, Braveheart etc when I reality she was an average Indian woman who was fighting the same fight that all Indian woman fight. Every single day. Calling her a martyr made her a one off and not someone who represented millions of women in this country.??How many of us remember Sarika Shah? She was another woman who died cos of what is still referred to as "eve teasing."

I find it ridiculous when people ask about the clothes rape or harassment victims were wearing or who they were with or what they were doing cos these are really moo points. Sometimes, you don't even need to be a developed "woman" to be a victim of sexual harassment. It starts from a very young age. The society teaches you that you're a woman who's a ticking bomb that set off sexual thoughts in a man's head and makes him do things that he otherwise wouldn't. It is always the woman's fault.??

I grew up in a very safe upper middle class neighbourhood in Madras. Our family has been living on that very street for years now. When we were kids, we used to play on the road all the time or ride on our cycles around the block. Our parents had nothing really to fear. One summer evening, my cousins and I went to a neighbourhood shop to buy something and were coming back home. The three of us, girls, were followed by a decent looking guy on a scooter. He stopped the scooter in front of us to block our path and said that he would like to show us something. Without a warning, he unzipped his pants and flashed us. He started waving his penis in front of us and asked us if we wanted to touch it. We were so shocked that it took us a minute to realise what was happening. And thankfully, we had the sense to run immediately. This pervert flashed us right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood barely 500m from where we lived. Also, did I mention that the three of us were 6, 8 and 11 years old? Do you still want us to ask us what we were wearing?

I went to supposedly one of the best schools in the Madras. It was a co-ed school but only for the sake of being co-ed. Upto class V, girls and boys sat in the same classroom. After that, we had separate classrooms for boys and girls. And wait for it, we had separate floors and even separate staircases. We were told that this minimised the "distractions" that teenage children faced. But all it did was to alienate our classmates we should've been friends. Our school uniform was salwar kameez and one day the management decided that our dupatta was too narrow and our breasts were still distracting the boys from a floor away. So we were asked to wear the dupatta so broad that I was impossible for anyone to see anything. After the morning assembly, the girls with "indecent" dupattas were pulled out and were asked to redo it in a "decent" manner. We also had to wear a bra that didn't look like a bra from outside lest the boys saw it and were distracted again. In spite of all these "decency" measures, we had men groping us on public buses. The most we could do was stamp his feet or prick him with a pin and pray to The Lord Almighty that he didn't get off at the same stop as we did.??

I moved to Hyderabad after college to work. Finding a house if you're single woman is a nightmare. The ones who're willing to let you see their house talk to you like you're scum. The first thing they tell you is that boys are not allowed cos the "families" living around will have a problem with it. With some difficulty we found a place. After about 3 months of living there, the association wanted us to leave cos our neighbours had an issue with single women living next door. They didn't want their 6 yr old daughter to grow up around wrong influences. Everyday when we left for work at 7.30, the 6 yr old's father would come out to pick up the milk packets, stark naked. I've spent many nights wondering about the plight of that little girl. What was the real reason behind not wanting anyone within earshot???

So, you don't need to be a 36C, cleavage showing, sexy woman, drunk and out with a man to be harassed. All you have to do is to be born a girl in this country. We all have many such stories. The Delhi rape issue has stirred something deep in all of us cos it is our story. It's what we grew up with and it's what we face everyday. We teach our girls to be ashamed of their bodies. We teach them that their unwanted hair needs to be plucked, sexy curves have to be hidden, any show of skin is slutty, talking to a man who's not their father or brother, immoral. We have to first believe that our daughters are not commodities. Handing them over to their husbands with their virginity intact isn't our only job. Teach them to be self reliant, let them travel the world, live by themselves, date, fall in love, make mistakes. Be there to lick their wounds without telling them its their fault.??

If you have a son, tell him how hard it is to be an independent woman in this country. Tell him being a good man who treats his women well does not make him a wuss. Be his example.??

Growing up in shining India

When I heard about the death of the Delhi rape victim, I felt lousier than I had in a long long time. Not only was I feeling helpless, I was appalled by the media calling her Nirbhaya, Braveheart etc when I reality she was an average Indian woman who was fighting the same fight that all Indian woman fight. Every single day. Calling her a martyr made her a one off and not someone who represented millions of women in this country. How many of us remember Sarika Shah? She was another woman who died cos of what is still referred to as “eve teasing.”

I find it ridiculous when people ask about the clothes rape or harassment victims were wearing or who they were with or what they were doing cos these are really moo points. Sometimes, you don’t even need to be a developed “woman” to be a victim of sexual harassment. It starts from a very young age. The society teaches you that you’re a woman who’s a ticking bomb that set off sexual thoughts in a man’s head and makes him do things that he otherwise wouldn’t. It is always the woman’s fault. 

I grew up in a very safe upper middle class neighbourhood in Madras. Our family has been living on that very street for years now. When we were kids, we used to play on the road all the time or ride on our cycles around the block. Our parents had nothing really to fear. One summer evening, my cousins and I went to a neighbourhood shop to buy something and were coming back home. The three of us, girls, were followed by a decent looking guy on a scooter. He stopped the scooter in front of us to block our path and said that he would like to show us something. Without a warning, he unzipped his pants and flashed us. He started waving his penis in front of us and asked us if we wanted to touch it. We were so shocked that it took us a minute to realise what was happening. And thankfully, we had the sense to run immediately. This pervert flashed us right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood barely 500m from where we lived. Also, did I mention that the three of us were 6, 8 and 11 years old? Do you still want us to ask us what we were wearing?

I went to supposedly one of the best schools in the Madras. It was a co-ed school but only for the sake of being co-ed. Upto class V, girls and boys sat in the same classroom. After that, we had separate classrooms for boys and girls. And wait for it, we had separate floors and even separate staircases. We were told that this minimised the “distractions” that teenage children faced. But all it did was to alienate our classmates we should’ve been friends. Our school uniform was salwar kameez and one day the management decided that our dupatta was too narrow and our breasts were still distracting the boys from a floor away. So we were asked to wear the dupatta so broad that I was impossible for anyone to see anything. After the morning assembly, the girls with “indecent” dupattas were pulled out and were asked to redo it in a “decent” manner. We also had to wear a bra that didn’t look like a bra from outside lest the boys saw it and were distracted again. In spite of all these “decency” measures, we had men groping us on public buses. The most we could do was stamp his feet or prick him with a pin and pray to The Lord Almighty that he didn’t get off at the same stop as we did. 

I moved to Hyderabad after college to work. Finding a house if you’re single woman is a nightmare. The ones who’re willing to let you see their house talk to you like you’re scum. The first thing they tell you is that boys are not allowed cos the “families” living around will have a problem with it. With some difficulty we found a place. After about 3 months of living there, the association wanted us to leave cos our neighbours had an issue with single women living next door. They didn’t want their 6 yr old daughter to grow up around wrong influences. Everyday when we left for work at 7.30, the 6 yr old’s father would come out to pick up the milk packets, stark naked. I’ve spent many nights wondering about the plight of that little girl. What was the real reason behind not wanting anyone within earshot? 

So, you don’t need to be a 36C, cleavage showing, sexy woman, drunk and out with a man to be harassed. All you have to do is to be born a girl in this country. We all have many such stories. The Delhi rape issue has stirred something deep in all of us cos it is our story. It’s what we grew up with and it’s what we face everyday. We teach our girls to be ashamed of their bodies. We teach them that their unwanted hair needs to be plucked, sexy curves have to be hidden, any show of skin is slutty, talking to a man who’s not their father or brother, immoral. We have to first believe that our daughters are not commodities. Handing them over to their husbands with their virginity intact isn’t our only job. Teach them to be self reliant, let them travel the world, live by themselves, date, fall in love, make mistakes. Be there to lick their wounds without telling them its their fault. 

If you have a son, tell him how hard it is to be an independent woman in this country. Tell him being a good man who treats his women well does not make him a wuss. Be his example.

Being mommy

I've been absconding from this space from quite a while now. My excuse is, if i can call it that, i was busy being pregnant. Baby S was born on the 1st of September. I was so busy trying to get through the pregnancy in one piece that i forgot to prep for the mommydom that followed. Though Im not sure what exactly i could've done to get used to feeling like a cow. Literally and otherwise. Today, we complete 50 days of being mommy & i can already sense what the coming years have in store for me.

I already seem to have run out of things to talk about. Every conversation somehow seems to find its way to sleepless nights, excessive kakkal & projectile shitting. My clothes have this constant baby smell that is mostly masked by the smell of baby S's no 1 & 2. The hair stays in a bun that gets messier by the day. I took a walk by myself two weeks ago only to receive an SOS call in 5 mins. I have been truly dragged over to the dark side.??

This is my way of warning you for some more #beingmommy posts that are coming up.??