Category Archives: Fury

Ennui

Today is the day, I want to

  • Not feel hot and sweaty.
  • Not be responsible for other people’s nourishment. I ordered breakfast today, but I don’t want to be the one to order food.  And put the empty packets away. And plan the next meal.  And the one after.
  • Not feel guilty about the work backlog. I love my job, but even a much adored job needs a break lest it becomes a chore.
  • Not feel like a failed parent because I am not chauffeuring the kid to gazillion classes like other moms out there.  That she would be a failure because I am an irresponsible mother?
  • Not feel like a failed human being for not achieving anything.  Make that “for not feeling bad about not achieving anything”.  Should I be doing something else?  Changing the course of history perhaps?  Instead of blogging?
  • Not hear anyone talk. To anyone.  I don’t want music.  I don’t want birds chirping. I don’t want rustle of leaves.  I don’t want automobile honks.  I don’t want the whirr of the fan.  I want silence. Complete and total silence.
  • Not feel guilty about wanting to be alone.  I am constantly told that I am fortunate to have a charming family and that I am evil for wanting a break.  I love my family, but I want a break – even a day’s break would do – I don’t want to be surrounded by family – immediate, near, distant – for just one day.  If that makes me a lousy human being, so be it.
  • Not beat myself up about the messy kitchen. And the unfolded clothes.  And the toilet that needs cleaning.
  • Not feel responsible for old people and their real and imaginary grouses.
  • Not blame everything on hormones.  Today is not about hormones.  Today is about my human frustration.

Perhaps it is the relentless heat and humidity of my beach city. Perhaps it is the hot flashes that strike promptly every morning at 4 am, leaving me drenched and restless for an hour. Perhaps it is my stupid scruples of saving the world by not switching on the A/C.  Perhaps it is the chronic dull pain in my gym-trained body.  Perhaps it is my plants that won’t grow no matter how much I care for them. I woke up for the second time at 6 AM after a fitful post-hot-flash restless sleep, wanting to scream.

And this too shall pass.

 

Is it even worth

….talking about the orange man and the climate accord?  Is the blood pressure hike and stroke worth it?

….talking about the fact that we are raping the earth – all of us, irrespective of nationality an leadership?  My neighbours have the A/C on 24/7.  It burns me up.

I don’t know.  I alternate between impotent rage and abject hopelessness.

 

TGIS

S being Sunday.  I am so done with this weekend. Give me Monday.  And work.

I learn today that the uncle who shocked me by his untimely death on Friday, had committed suicide. I can’t wrap my head around this one bit.  This chap was a very successful doctor in a large town, had pots of money, a very smart wife…..no children, but I wonder if that would be disturbing enough for a 59 year old man to kill himself. I hear from the grapevine that he had been disturbed for a few months now due to setbacks at work, but seriously – why must someone’s work be connected to his survival instinct?  I don’t know if I should be angry or sad.

It really bothers me when I hear of people committing suicide.  When I was a teenager, two of my friends committed suicide for stupid reasons.  One was our maid’s daughter- my age, but who had married early (~16, yes illegal), who burned herself because she had a fight with her husband.  Another was not quite a friend, but a neighbour, whom I occasionally chatted with, but I didn’t quite get along with – she and her boyfriend drank pesticides and died because their families wouldn’t agree to their union.  Bollocks.

I live in a university township where there are college kids that periodically hang themselves from the ceiling fan because they didn’t get good grades, or failed, ,or were spurned by their crush or whatever stupid reason.  It burns me up.  I very uncharitably want to say “good riddance” to them.  A 16 year old who used to be my neighbour and who I have seen grow up, killed herself last month because she had a spat with her boyfriend.

I don’t get it.  I just don’t.

This uncle of mine who bit the dust was a doctor.  A brilliant doctor. I don’t get how and why he could not see the symptoms of depression in himself and seek help.  I will never know.

Judgement in Easter?

Obviously, my wp reader is full of Easter related posts.  I need to google to understand how the day of Resurrection got connected to rabbits and eggs.  But yeah, there are a few more philosophical posts as well.  Reading one such interesting post,  I hopped over to a link that talks about a group of people fighting for the release of Mary Magdalene from the shame of being cast a prostitute.

Perhaps Mary was a prostitute, perhaps she wasn’t.  My greater problem is this:  Why are prostitutes bad that Mary must be saved from the “shame” of being called one? Why is prostitution evil?  It is just a job, isn’t it?  Of course I am not opening up the can of worms where women are forced into the profession against their will – that is truly wrong, and the woman is a victim of a cruel crime.  But in cases where prostitution is a choice of living – why must it be shamed?  I am a writer by profession.  I peddle words that come from my head.  Why would my my offer of “intellectual services” for money be any  “morally” better than bodily services offered to people for money?

I think fighting for Mary’s “innocence” is just as demeaning as calling her a “prostitute”.  You can set right a historic mistake – nowhere in the Bible is Mary Magdalene described as a sex worker.  However, “Innocence” is NOT an antonym for prostitution.  Perhaps we should mind our tone and words (“slut shaming”) when we are setting right a mistake, lest we demean another group of women who are earning their livelihood by offering services that involve their bodies. Remember, they are earning their livelihood,  that is dignity in itself.

Feminist fatale

Am I getting hypersensitive these days for whatever reason  (adolescent daughther, perimenopausing body…we can always blame the woman, you see), about the rampant and abject misogyny in India, or has India indeed gone from bad to worse?

**

An ad on the radio (Bosche washing powder or machine or some such thing).

Man:  Darling, can you please hand wash my shirt?  It is new and delicate and  I don’t want it ruined in the washing machine.

Woman: But dear, I just got a manicure.

Man: Oh no.

Woman: But not to worry.  With Bosche (washing powder or machine, by now my BP is shooting and I don’t hear the rest of it too well), both your shirt and my hands will be saved.

What the frack, man.

***

Another FM ad:

An irritating female voice:  If you cook well, you not only please your husband but also your mother in law.

Seriously,  what the frack ?

***

See below, a WhatsApp conversation in the only group to which I belong(ed).  I am dead against groups for this very reason, that all kinds of idiots post all kinds of things without thinking.  The only reason I got into this group was that my very good friend (GN) begged me, because according to him, “it is hugely entertaining to see how our classmates have deteriorated over the years”.  I keep telling him that he would be the reason I would go postal.  See below, a recent conversation.   The players are SG, me (LG), AJ and of course GN, LG being the only vociferous woman in the group of 18 (9 men, 9 women), all post graduate degree holders.  Some Ph.Ds (e.g. SG), some in the national civil services (e.g. AJ) and others in various levels of career and domestic life, distributed across continents.

3/28, 7:18 AM] SG: .

🌳 *தினம் ஒரு கொன்றை வேந்தன்*🌳                                        .                                                              🌲 *ககர வருக்கம்*🌲    🌴 *கற்பு எனப்படுவது சொல் திறம்பாமை*
*கணவன் சொல்லுக்கு மாறாக நடவாதிருத்தலே கற்பு.* 🌴

[interjection:  This is an excerpt from a twelfth century Tamil work by a woman poet called “Avvayar”.  This poem says this:  “chastity for a woman lies in obeying her husband”]

[3/28, 7:22 AM] LG: Really ? In this time and age, SG? Hmmm.
[3/28, 9:53 AM] SG : That’s the way she has defined the non-physical aspect.  I have lot of respect for Avvaiyar. She has not probably experienced it. You (Married women) can differ because  you know what it is to live with non-ideal husband.  One more point, ஆண்களில் ராமன் கிடையாது.  உள்ளத்தால் உள்ளதும் தீதே பிறன் பொருளை கள்ளத்தால் கள்வேமெனல்.

[Interjection:  He says “There is no Rama among men”, meaning, no man is perfect..although I have no idea where that came from or why that is relevant to women needing to obey men]

[3/28, 10:08 AM] LG: “married women can differ”?? Where do I even start tearing that to shreds? So, men concur? Your daughter and mine are not married. Tell them this. See if they agree. There is no such thing as ideal human being, leave alone husband. Even if my husband WERE ideal, why would I want to “obey” him. Forget man and woman. Why must any human being “obey” another? Are we so arrogant to believe that one human being is better than the other to lord over?

Also, where does Rama come into this at all? But assuming it is true, and Rama is not a fictional character from an epic, and he is “perfect” (banishing wife on hearsay of a dhobi is perfect?), and that no man can be like him, what stops one from aspiring?

And if a person were indeed perfect as “rama” the wife should obey him?

But yeah…At the risk of instigating a war, the y chromosome is weird enough to justify an outdated, misogynistic opinion.

[3/28, 11:01 AM] SG: Rama figured in this just because he had supposedly not set his eyes on other women.  I am not saying that he was truly perfect….  There nothing wrong in obeying others (irrespective of their age, status, etc). If they are right in that particular issue.  …. Of course, we do aspire to be like Rama in as many aspects as possible

[3/28, 11:02 PM] AJ: Please don’t get  serious about it..not to hurt anyone SG and lg.

At this point, I gave up mainly because the veins in the head threaten to pop.  Don’t get serious about someone saying “a good wife should obey her husband”.  Besides, my friend, the idiot who made me join the group , writes to me privately :

[3/28, 11:02 AM] GN: Chill, LG. Take a break from WhatsApp today. I should have told you that before you responded.
[3/28, 11:02 AM] GN: It’s not worth it. Remember… They just forward without reading anything.

So, I gave that up.  This morning, SG sends this to the group.  From the very same sangam literature by Avvayar

[3/29, 8:02 AM]  SG:

*தினம் ஒரு கொன்றை வேந்தன்*🌳         🌲 *ககர வருக்கம் 🌲           🌴 *காவல்தானே பாவையர்க்கு அழகு*
\   *விளக்கம்*     *காவல் மற்றும் கட்டுப்பாட்டோடு இருத்தலே பெண்களுக்கு மிக அழகு.* 🌴

Being controlled is beautiful for women.

  1. I am out of the group.
  2. I used to think Avvayaar was a good poet.  Now I think she must be banned from being taught in schools.
  3. There is no hope for anything even remotely near gender respect in the foreseeable future in this country.

 

 

The devil and the deep blue sea

..is where we are caught now on the political front.  The political situation in my home state feels like a railway station toilet that has not been cleaned in a week.  I feel frustrated  because it seems that there is nothing I or any non-political civilian can do, not only because we don’t have the power, but because we don’t even know what to fight for anymore.  If I were the governor of my state or the president of this country, I’d suspend the government (not that it is functioning in the first place) and impose the president’s rule here, but that is at best, a short-term solution.  President rule cannot continue indefinitely, there must be local governance set up at some point, and there seem absolutely no party that is fit for governance anymore.  It is in times like these that I hate myself for not taking more responsibility towards my country.  I am a bloody coward.

A young (~21 years old) boy visited us yesterday after spending a couple of months in Shanghai, training in the new Chinese company he has been recruited into.  I overheard him say “the Chinese are so wonderful, they work for their country.  Indians have no pride in their country”.  I wanted to bunch up his collar and go “what stops YOU from working for your country, you hypocrite?”  – this is the chap who was trained by the Indian Government so that he can work for a Chinese company and deride his countrymen.  “China is so clean”, he adds.  This is probably the guy who would forward WhatsApp messages mocking our prime minister’s Swatch Bharat campaign.

I recently read a review of a novel wherein the reviewer says (and I summarise) of the heroine of the book “the heroine is fabricated, because a 35+ old woman who is savvy enough to drive car, smart enough to make intelligent jokes, interesting enough to groom herself (e.g., have a manicure, as is described in the novel) after (or despite, going by his tone) having a baby and intelligent enough to make quick decisions can only be a figment of your imagination”.  I thought I was going to die of stroke.

I need to up my meditation schedule, I can see.

Gender bending

I ain’t a bra burner by a long shot..I am not even borderline feminist.  I am even ok with gender roles in my life.  But where I bristle is when an apparently gender-equality-lauding-effort is patronising to the extreme.  Two cases come to mind:

  1. An article that announces a documentary about three women scientists who were in the Mars mission program of India talks about the number of children these scientists had – one of them had a daughter in the 12th when Mangalyaan was being planned, and another has a seven-year old.  Would these statistics be mentioned if these scientists had been men?   Also, “Minal Rohit calls Seetha Somasundaram a “very strict lady”, while discussing the nature of her work and how demanding a boss Seetha could be!”. Would this be said of a male boss ever?  Yes, I know it was said by another woman.  I don’t even know what to say.
  2. Dangal:  This is a movie that has recently been oohed-and-aahed about by my friends; it is apparently a true story of a guy from a backward state of the country, training his daughters to become boxers, something he couldn’t achieve in his life.  While people talk about the empowerment of girls in this movie, my first thought was this – were the girls given a choice?  Was the man realising dreams for himself through his daughters?  If so, what became of the daughters’ dreams?  Did they have any?

I can hear you say “women are getting raped, murdered, acid-attacked, harassed  in your country and you are nitpicking about trivialities like this?”.

I can’t even talk about the women getting raped, murdered, acid-attacked, and harassed in my country without my entire system shutting down in abject panic and humiliation. Trivialities, I can kick a fuss about – after all, being a word-warrier is so easy, isn’t it?