This image I observed on Social Media is the reason for today’s post.The whole single – ready-to- mingle stuff. Why is there so much hype attached to it? If someone is single, people are always trying to set you up. People talk to you about :
-The security of a relationship
– Your biological clock
– having your ‘own’ family
– a home
– becoming responsible
And woe betide you if you are single and Indian and over 30! Book your package deal with a therapist because you are going to have serious confidence, self -esteem issues. Depression even. Apathy? That’s better than depression. Seriously.
But wait. Talk to people in a relationship (read marriage) be it arranged or self made – the list of complaints is not short either.
– I just don’t have the time for myself
– In laws, In laws, In laws
– What do you know about the pressures of raising kids today?
– I’ve been taken for granted.
– I don’t know who I am , really.
– My Hobbies? Interests? What? Are you joking? I have forgotten those long ago..
– Don’t tell my wife/ husband about my outing… Please!
– I have to buy a “responsible” family car not the snazzy one I’ve been saving up for
– Career of my choice? Can’t shift now. Too much depends on me.
– Aah.. those were the carefree days when I was single.
Sounds familiar? Well, I don’t understand. If you are single , you want to be in a relationship. If you are in a relationship you want to be single again. Or do you just want to be in that in-between- courting stage? What gives? Let me address each issue in the image above first.
1. I annoy people : Yes. I annoy people by being bold and standing up to them. I have thoughts. And opinions. Try to make me understand . I will respect you for that.
2. I am never anyone’s first choice : You might also not be mine. Wondering why Ms. PYTs Or Mr.Balloon bicep type seem to always find the right person, while you struggle? Funny, when you are strong…
3. I f*** shit up : So people avoid me, as they need someone to cover up for them, because THEY f*** shit up too.
4. I am just bad with relationships : People are used to others putting up with their idiosyncrasies, so when I tell it to them on their face, they feel they’ve received a slap. And I have received my share of slaps of this genre too. So, I am just as bad / or good at this as you are.
5. I am not liked : I have wallowed in this area for quite awhile. And I am not afraid to admit that. Everyone wants someone to love them and someone whom they can love, so where’s the question of like?- They wanna leapfrog that and go straight for the love part! And you are so brought up to be the person others like. Else you might be considered selfish. Well, I have just one bit of advice – Give as much as you TAKE!
6. I’m an ugly ass mother-f***er : Body stereotypes. The bane of our lives today. Who sets these standards? Blue eyes. Fair skin. Bronzed look. Long legs. Tiny waist. Short hair. Long hair. Curly hair. Curvy but not curvaceous. Swimsuit body. Be the natural you. Be physically and mentally strong. Respect the inborn strengths of your body. Ugly ass or not .. you will figure out.
7. I spend my whole life locked up in a dark room with food and a laptop : I think food and laptop are better companions than 90% of the people on the earth.
Not so much about the dark room.
And the rest?- books are a better choice! I wanted to use a lot of swear words here. Lalochezia and all that? Wondering what it is? Go read a book!
Coming back to the whole discussion about being single or otherwise. I have just one thought.
And then, for sure, it won’t be all paradise. Be prepared to work on it. Put effort. Shed some tears. Raise your voice. But if, at the end of the day – you feel safe in your head and thoughts and the opinions you want to voice. It is worth it.
Shri T.A.S. Chellayya (15th August 1927 – 23rd September 2009) – Shri. T.A.S Chellayya was born in Madras, the 7th child in a family of ten. As a student he was promoted twice to higher classes, so that he could study at the pace he was capable of. By the time he was 16, he was asked by his father who entrusted in his hands – the responsibility of the family business – to work in Calcutta. He was told in no uncertain terms to start from scratch, which he did.
Five to six years later, he was called back to consolidate the business in Tamil Nadu and by then the young 20 year old was proficient in about 5 extra languages as well as the tricks of the trade.
The regal and stylish man in the above photograph is my grandfather. Or rather, I , the author of this post, am the proud grand daughter of the person in the picture above – Shri T.A.S. Chellayya. Liberal in thought and protective in action, I had a wonderful childhood that was very positively influenced by my grandparents from both sides – and as an adult now, I have learned to realise the values of the gifts I have received from them. I share with you, lessons I have learned from my grandfather.
Think around the subject – Ever since I started speaking and was receiving accolades from guests for reciting rhymes perfectly, It was my grandfather who drew my attention to phonetics. He would stump me asking me to spell and pronounce similar words like “put” and “but” – and revel in my confusion as I fumbled for a convincing answer. He was the person who asked me ” why do birds fly in a V-formation, and not any other letter of the alphabet? ” Mind you, I was too young to even think otherwise, but it was my grandfather who triggered the process of “thinking and reasoning” in me. If the “why?” of a concept was important – the “why not” of a solution found equal importance in his thought process
Laugh aloud – My grandfather was one who believed in happiness. When the mind is happy, let it reflect on your face and actions. People who closed their mouth with their hands, or tried to suppress their laughter were met with a stern glance from Thatha (grandfather), who would come up to you and say ” Laugh aloud – what are you afraid of? ”
Confidence – My Thatha had a soft corner for confident people. Walk with your head held high. Look at the world. Meet people in the eye. A firm handshake. Speak loudly and clearly. Simple instructions but worthy ones.
Equality, Respect and security of women – This is my favorite trait in my grandfather. If you have come across chauvinistic or insecure men in the current generation- think of the situation 5 decades ago. Men were raised to feel they were superior and women were brought up to accept they could be treated like second fiddle.
My grandfather was intelligent enough to be a scientist, suave as a model, smart enough to control a business empire, and creative enough to come up with unbelievable solutions in stressful situations – yet, he involved my grandmother in most of his decision making processes. He would encourage her to argue, if she did not subscribe to his point of view and would listen earnestly to her thoughts if she had any on any subject she was convinced about. This is a rare occurrence in today’s world – and I am proud of the fact that my grandfather was ahead of his times 50 years back.
A woman’s respect at home and in public was of utmost importance to him and there was never a day when he has ever belittled anyone based on gender. He was our security shield when we went out, when we took decisions, and when we disagreed with anyone.
In the 1950s and 60s – he insisted on educating every girl in his family, and not rushing to get her married as soon as possible, and absolutely refusing to give dowry – which was the norm those days. He also believed in financial security for women / girls and always encouraged them not to be dependent on another emotionally or financially.
You’re the Inventor – You are as smart as Newton – if you came up with the theory of Gravity on your own! If you ever went to my grandfather for help with anything simple before your exams – woe betide you. Unmindful of the pressure on you for the next day, he would make sure you discover the whole theorem / rule / grammar syntax – all by yourself, never giving you extra information to make the process easier. Hundreds of examples, clues to take your thoughts in the right direction, and millions of contradictions later – you would leave tired by putting your brain to use (finally!), happy that you understood the topic, but still full of fear for the exam next day (for we have learned just one of the topics 😉
I wish I had another fifty years with him, especially now when I have learned to admire and am in awe of his qualities even more. People thought he was complicated, but his simplicity was what they thought was complex. Many thought he was ambitious, but his clarity in thought was what raised him above the rest. Strong till the end, I still believe he is somewhere nearby. Looking out for me…. Missing you Thatha.
The battle of genders has been around since our school days. Due to commonly accepted stereotypes there is a belief amongst the population that there are specific situations in which certain genders excel; gender roles.
And as time went by – there was the notion to market that the importance of one gender over the other. Thus was born the concept of feminism.
WHAT IS FEMINISM?
Wikipedia – Feminism is a collection of movements that are aimed at establishing equal,political,economic and social rights for a woman.
It seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.
What it actually means is that – Woman are to be considered as people.Unfortunately the average person associates a Feminist as someone who thinks – men are not people.
The crux of the problem is that most people don’t understand what feminism means. Here’s what it doesn’t mean:-
1. Expecting a seat to be given up for you on the bus/train, etc. If someone wants to give you their seat, it’s their choice – call it chivalry (for men) or kindness (in general). It isn’t feminism.
2. Staying out all night /swearing/dating 10 boys at a time, etc. just because it makes you feel powerful or liberated. What you’re actually feeling is free, rebellious and ‘cool’. None of these signal that you’re a feminist. All of these signal that you need to grow up.
3. Looking down at homemakers and women in more ‘traditionally female/nurturing’ roles and dismissing them as weak, old-fashioned and in need of emancipation. Alternatively, praising a house-husband who’s wife is the breadwinner and labeling him as a feminist. Women who’re stay-at-home mothers, primary school teachers, social workers are more emancipated than corporate divas if they’re extremely good at their job and equally passionate about it.
So how did this all begin? From the time of our ancestors – men were hunters, they would go with a plan in mind, coordinate and achieve their goal, kill their target and bring it home. Women on the other hand, were gatherers – they would go to each tree bearing fruits or vegetables, gather them leisurely and bring them home. The same instincts have been passed onto us today.
So the tendency to look at men as providers has been hardwired into us since centuries, when there were no software programmers and vice president roles available to anyone. But that decision was by mutual consent, and had more to do with division of labour. But what has happened with the onset of liberalization is that women have a whole new territory to explore and conquer – the male bastion of work. Whereas, what is means for the male is that his fiefdom is under threat and there is no bastion for him to counter-attack, because he cannot give birth to children. So mankind’s survival instincts dictate that the male species do anything and everything to preserve his area of control.
How does India figure in this list? India started out well in the case of feminism as with all other concepts.
Women of the Vedic period were prominent with their exemplary intellectuality and supreme spiritual attainment. You had higly revered goddesses, women were provided equal education. There were philosophers like Gargi and Maitreyi who could tackle any man intellectually.
When did we become a society that oppresses women, resorts to female infanticide, dowry cases, bride burning and the lot? As can be seen in several third world countries Men try to retain their so called kingdom by denying women their rights, their access to education etc: so that they automatically become unqualified for many of the roles performed by men.
The lack of education is the most important factor that has contributed to suppression of women. When a regime wishes to oppress or monopolize another regime, the first thing that is denied is – Education. Because with a lack of education comes a lack of thinking, opinions and convictions.
The second method how this can be achieved is what is happening today – where you impress upon an otherwise qualified and capable woman that she is just not upto a man, merely on account of her gender.The ‘liberated’, ’empowered’ woman has started to associate the activities of man with that of success, self-confidence, self-worth and recognition. So when we suddenly find ourselves given the freedom to do different things we work towards things that men do thereby giving them the right to set the rules. Giving them the freedom to be the yardstick. We want to do all that men do, and do it better.
It is this glass ceiling that needs to be broken and not just in terms of climbing the corporate ladder. The society as a whole needs to rise above the glass ceiling.Women need to understand that the highest form of freedom is freedom of thought and expression. Thoughts for which you define the parameters, not society.
So ladies, until the male half of the society sees us this way, we need to treat them as adversaries. And when we win a match, we don’t ask our opponent how well we played do we? – The fact that we won itself means we are better than them. So if at all you need feedback, take it from your teammates – other women, and stop expecting your adversaries to applaud your victory. Someone said, “Remember, you are unique – just like everyone else”. So use your unique PLUS points to shoot down the ARROWS being aimed at you!
For when you have the conviction and the ability to execute your thoughts – you will find that you have no necessity to prove yourself. You are comfortable just being YOU. Happy Women’s Day!
There was this movie in 2011 – called “Mayakam Enna” .
The story revolves around the hero, an aspiring photographer, an eccentric-genius, in a close-knit group of friends. The protagonist ends up with his best friend’s [rather agressive] girlfriend (do not ask me the how and why of it!), carries on with her on the sly, marries her (with the friend giving them his blessings – again, I do not know why and how). Well, the story does not end there. The aspiring photographer struggles to find his break, is demotivated by established photographers – goes into depression, booze, violence etc. The wife here (“a strong woman“) – threatens anyone who dares to talk against her husband with a case of sexual harassment, preaches on the “moral” standards of being a wife, and generally sulks, scolds other men, and gives her husband the silent treatment. And at the end of it all – the photographer gets his due [ the cliched scene – National Geographic publishes his picture], he comes out of depression, salutes his wife and all izz well!
Before you even consider it – I must say neither the movie nor the story appealed to me. In fact this movie was not even on my list-of-movies-to-see. The music did not appeal to me. And neither did the cast fail to raise my expectations. Then why did I endure this three hours of what was for me quite a stressful experience?
You see I am a teacher, and meet a lot of students in the age group of 19-21. This movie seemed to have struck a chord with them. Just not the usual craze of song, dance, heroism and routine stuff … but actually seemed to influence their emotions and create a kind of yearning in them. I was witness to many facebook messages (mainly boys! ) that hailed the director, the movie and most of all the heroine and her character.
I was intrigued. I so wanted to understand – what was it that reached out to them. Was it the fact that they could empathise with the hero, who wanted to follow his passion? I figured that maybe many of these students were trudging along paths chosen by their parents and so a story of following your heart caught their attention. That was not the case.
Then I figured that maybe they were driven by the hormone-induced craze of their age and just found the heroine a PYT to their taste. Forgive me for appearing to be so myopic- but then some things never change, and we might as well accept that. Again, I have to eat my words because that also was not the case.
Common Facebook wishes were about how most of them wanted such a girl in their life. Now you may understand why I was driven to watch this movie.
These were the same boys who guffawed, jeered and could not accept the fact that there exists a concept called “House-husbands” (where the woman takes on the role of the bread-winner, and the man does the “wifely” jobs at home). As the girls in their class laughed, the boys refused to even use the word “House-husband” and came up with terms like “house owner” , “ head of the family” , and “master of the house” . Just the word seemed to severely puncture their fragile ego. And many expressly stated that they were willing to accept their wives at equals but definitely not a role-reversal.
And these were the same boys who were awe-struck by an aggressive, scolding, girl – hardly demure by any standards, not the damsel-in-distress types, but someone who calls the shots. She hardly mollycoddles the man – in fact they seemed to spit abuses on each other from the beginning, hardly showed respect for each other and people around them, were brazenly physical and ended up getting married. Not the usual formula for romance, I would say. Well post marriage – the woman was the bread-winner and the master of the house, with the man just silent in depression and dependent on her.
So what is it that men these days want? A 20 year old today is the changing face of the generation – so is there a new trend here? Do men want to be relieved of their duties of “providing” and be “taken care of“? Are they willing to accept failure? Are they open to accepting their weaknesses? Are they willing to move out of their “macho man” image and just be “people“? Would they enjoy the company of an independent woman who is willing to make decisions for both of them? Or was this whole phase an exercise in Utopian fantasy,but just hypocrisy in reality? For I was brought up on the diet that men are rather intimidated and insecure around an intelligent woman who has opinions and ambitions. So are men changing their thought processes? Coming to terms with an equal societal status? Is it getting better? Or on the other hand – worse?
I really do not know the answers to most of these questions. But there is transition brewing. Of that we must be aware.