Talent-Does it Really have a Gender

               Entire India rejoiced when Olympic medal was bought home by a gender they did not expect from. Shrieks of joy was heard from every corner of the medal drought nation. This feat would have inspired millions of young girls and their parents to achieve their sporting dreams. Lot of congratulatory messages were shared on all the social media platform. However, amongst the piles of forwards were some misplaced messages on feminism.

“Times are changing, Indian men wins beauty competitions and Indian women win sport medal”.

“A nation obsessed with boys, girls saved the pride of our motherland”

“Only women can love gold”

               Our boys were criticized for losing. Have we thought, does anyone go in the playground with the idea of losing? Girl or boy every sportsperson try to give their best. Our girls winning does not make our boys effort less. A medal won by a girl or boy is equally important for the nation.

               Similarly, downplaying the achievement of our “Mr World” is equally callous. Both have achieved success in their respective field. By making the above statements we are not supporting feminism. Our society has labelled the fields, sports -men domain, beauty-women domain. However, sports (physical strength attributed with male) garners more appreciation than beauty (attributed with women). A female flying high in the men domain is to be encouraged but not when men scale new heights in a female-dominated field. Is this not sexism? Comments like,” Women were not made to do everything that men can. They were made to do everything that men can’t” makes me ponder, who decides what a person can and cannot do?

             I applied a beautiful mehndi during one of the festivities and it was a guy who applied it. There were talks about how now boys will be doing girls work. Why are we gender grouping qualities? I am a girl, but extremely bad at any creative art work. I am not a great cook neither like cooking. All my packing is taken care by my husband. I do not have a great taste in clothes and accessories (my husband and sister are my fashion guides). Does that make me any less of woman and my husband less of a man??I don’t think so. We do what we like and not what we are supposed to or expected to like.

            A girl who is a tomboy (I was one) is accepted to a certain extent by the society. However, the society can’t digest the reverse. Can’t there be boys who do not like sports or gadgets? Can’t there be boys who are sensitive, creative? Can’t there be boys who like dolls rather than superheroes? Why can’t both men and women do what they have interest in rather than doing something they have no interest in.

           We have gender-divided qualities. Exhibiting male qualities is a sign of superiority and female qualities is a sign of weakness. “She is tough like a boy”, is said with pride.” Don’t cry like a girl”, is said with disgust. Worst is any male displaying a feminine streak is labelled as “Gay”. It is time we stop this practice. Any quality worth appreciating is worth appreciating whether imbibed by a girl or a boy. It makes no difference. Period. We are in midst of a revolutionary time. Our girls are groomed to break the glass ceiling. It is time we encourage our boys too to follow their dreams even if it is unconventional. We need to lay foundation of a world where everyone is free to choose based on their will and liking. Nothing is too girly or too boyish. A world where talent is rewarded and respected equally irrespective of the gender that exhibits it.

The post was first published here

Finding MR RIGHT

I am happily married (YES one can be happy and married, it can coexist) for 3 years. So, that implies I have found my “MR RIGHT” or have I?

Flashback:

From 2006-2010- I started my job, relocated cities, was staying away from home and my parents. I was discovering my likes, dislikes. I was experiencing crushes, friendship, feelings for the other sex like any normal 20+-year-old girl. I was building a checklist of the kind of guy I would end up with. Days passed and grew into years, so did my checklist. I never believed in true love or love is forever. I was quite practical and fiercely feminist. I divided the checklist into parts (Must have, Good-to-have)

So, my checklist

1)A guy who loves his bikes. (Must Have…effects of the late-night bike rides with my office group)

2)A guy who doesn’t smoke or do drugs. (Must have…I’m strictly against it)

3)A guy who doesn’t drink initially, then it changed to someone who drinks socially. (Good-to-Have).

4)Humor. (Must have…. Someone who could crack me up)

5)A guy who is not a software engineer. We both can’t be from the same fields. (Good-To-Have, I did not want to end up with someone who could give me advice on how to code, I wanted someone just to listen when I crib)

6)A guy with a creative bent (can play any musical instrument, can write poems) (Good-to-have, Words are the best way to impress me)

7)A guy who loves travelling, reading. (In between Must-have and good-to-have)

8)A guy who is well-updated with politics, sports, current affairs. (Must-have. To keep the conversation flowing always)

9)A guy who can handle my ambition. (Must have. If I think now more than ambition I wanted equality. I did not want to be the one who would compromise, sacrifice. I did not want to mold my dream, desires as per the society.)

Based on this checklist, I started knocking down advances from the opposite sex. I also knocked down my crushes and feelings from developing into liking. I was sure then (or so I thought) about my must-haves.

Finally, I ended up with my husband who can’t ride bikes, loves his drinks, no creative bent whatsoever (extremely bad with choice of words). He used to smoke and quit after we started dating. He is not an avid reader. He likes to travel but our ideas of what to do on a vacation is very different. Looks like I ended up with MR WRONG.As they say LOVE IS BLIND.

He is a mechanical engineer (Thank God for that and I think he does some very fancy things like designing a plant). He is interested in politics, sports, current affairs. He is a people person. He can crack me up (Though I still think my sense of humor is better than his). Most importantly, he is a feminist. I had a good idea that he is quite forward thinking guy, but his strong belief in equality is what I realized only after marriage. Wow, he looks like my MR RIGHT.

Honestly, I no longer care if he is MR RIGHT or MR WRONG. The only thing matters now is that we are happy together despite our flaws and differences.

This blogathon is supported by Woo, The most popular match making app in India with a base of over 3.5 million users.

 

Demonetization- How can we contribute?

 

Our honorable Prime Minister announced that 500 and 1000 notes are no longer legal. The step was taken to tackle terrorism, black money and fake currency. The move was applauded and criticized like a true democracy would. An effort is made by our government. How fruitful will it be, time would tell. But instead of being cynical, there is some way we can contribute to the future of India we all hope for.

First and foremost-

1)Keep calm and take a deep breath-

To all the honest tax-payers out there. Please do not panic. Any cash that you have in this denomination is not worthless. You will get the same worth of money. Yes, you would have to go to the bank and change it. Inconvenience for the already time-pressed People-Agreed. But the old idiom holds true,” No gain without pain”. Also, there is a 50-day time window. And after 30th December you can still exchange at selected RBI counters. So, chill and keep calm.

2)Go cashless-

I see so many people withdrawing money from ATM’s with multiple cards. If you have card, why do you need 8k a day??You can use card at multiple places. Use cash only for day to day activities like buying vegetable, milk or travel. Please use card wherever you can. This is the right to explore all the wallet companies. Open an account hassle free and live in peace. I found some rickshaws , kirana stores ,parlors accepting wallet payments. Cashless economy is the future, make yourself ready for it.

3)Help the needy-

Help your maids, drivers with cash. They need it more than you do. Use your card if you can buy something for them from the card. Give them advanced salary or loan if you can.

4)Educate people around you-

Help clear doubts of your maids,drivers,rickshaw taxi drivers about demonetization. Ask them to open bank accounts if they already don’t have. Introduce them to different ways of going cashless. I spoke to two taxi drivers, one kirana store about using wallets for accepting payments.

5)Don’t believe in rumors-

Gossip mongers have got a lot of food. Carefully review what you hear, read and forward. Do not believe in everything (including news).

Above steps would help in controlling panic and fear. Of course, the implementation and execution of demonetization has come with a set of challenges. Let’s contribute in overcoming these hurdles.

I hope this article knocked sense in some of you. For the rest, if you still queue up out of panic, at least help the elderly and the illiterate in filling up the forms. Remember, you can always be of help even in your worst form.

This post was published here

 

 

Period Stain-To Show or Not?

I came across a lot of posts and some photos, where girls were showing their period blood. Spots on bed sheets or pants. With Captions- “There is no shame, do not shy away”. With no offence to anyone, I don’t think showing blood stains on purpose is a great idea. I squirm when I see blood in the washroom or see a used pad thrown out in open. It is similar when I see stool leftover in the washroom or in open. To be fair, the sight is not pleasant and I have no qualms in accepting that. Why should it be beautiful??It is as natural as passing stool or urine and neither of them look or smell good. We are taught to keep washrooms clean. We potty train our kids and use diapers. We don’t display photos of our or our babies stool and urine (I hope not, I ‘ve seen so many weird updates on Facebook that I won’t be surprised if someone has actually done that).

I would not wear a white pant, if I know my flow is heavy and it can cause stain. To me it is as natural as the other two motions. The way I control my sensation so that it is not displayed for public, on the same lines is my period. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the advertisements idea (of wearing white pants, running) do not resonate with me.

Achievement would be, when we can discuss freely about periods with anyone under the sun. Neither me nor the person I am discussing it with feels uncomfortable about it. When all the myth surrounding the period is broken. When women can freely enter temple, period or no period. When women are not treated as untouchables. When women who suffer from period pain are shown empathy. When boys and girls are, both educated equally about periods.

When this is achieved, the girl won’t feel embarrassed if there is a stain unknowingly. She will simply go change and carry on without any prying or questioning eyes.

“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”

No shame I have Period Pain

My first tryst with my period was no fairy tale. It was painful with heavy flow.It would reoccur in 20 days and I bled for 8-9 days.The nightmare continued months after months. Till today,I fret when my period dates is near.

But there is a difference between my acceptance of my period pain today and when it started.The sanitary pad ads showed that you can do anything you want ( dance,jump,run) during your periods. This time of the month is like any other time. My naive mind believed what was portrayed. However my body was giving me different signs. It was asking me to relax,to take it easy,to find a comfortable position to sleep for the pain to subside. Growing up with two elder sisters who absolutely had no problems during their menses,made my determination to lead a normal life during my periods all the more strong.However my body was not with me. Forget running,I couldn’t even get up from bed at times. I was told that pain is normal,but i should not let it deter me. I sighed thinking my pain bearing capacity is less. It kind of isolated me. I found it hard to describe to others what I went through. I consulted doctors and they helped me in normalizing my period flow and pain.Yet,it was not completely painless. Yes I could carry on my with normal work ,it was not as bad but it was there. Over the years I think you learn to live with the pain.

        In early 2000, I discovered the magical world of Google and searched how many girls suffered like I did. To my surprise I realized many girls had exactly the same problems like I do. It occurred to me that our society is uncomfortable talking about periods. Many of us must be suffering from stomach ache due to periods but when asked what is the problem,we would say head ache,back ache. This is more soever true if the other party worrying about your health is from the opposite gender.It is like there is some shame in saying you are in pain due to periods.When we buy the sanitary pads,we don’t carry it openly.It is wrapped in newspaper.We even change our pads in office by secretly carrying it.It is like “Voldemort” from Harry Potter. Everyone knows it but address it as -”You know who”.The boys gang say,”It is that time of the month”,like if they say “Periods” it will engulf them and they would start to bleed.

      Probably growing up with a girl dominated family,we discussed it openly.My dad concerned about my health would keep track of my period date.He also has taken me to doctor and explained my condition.I have seen hesitation in both genders to talk about “Periods”.Girls giving subtle hints to other girls about having periods and guys plain ignorance on mistakenly overhearing the conversation.

I would like to say to all the girls ,”Having period pains and sometimes in extreme is not so uncommon.Do not go by the advertisement,they are fabricating lies.Why you suffer while others cakewalk through their time, is something no one can answer.It is like some have dust allergy and some dont. Do not shy away in communicating about it.It is one thing that is responsible for evolution of the world.So why the shame?Take pride in your contribution!!

“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”

Daughter’s Money-Who has the right to use it?

We are in the 21st century, where women have moved from managing kitchen chores to office chores. They are an integral earning member of the family now. However, these women are facing a dilemma today. The money they earn whom does it belong to? The car, house or any other valuables they must have bought before marriage with some or no help from their parents, whom does it belong to after marriage. What if they want to give a part of their salary to her parents even after marriage? Will it be OK with her new family? Will her parents accept it?

Many people have realized, that education provides the confidence and independence to a girl, needed if faced with dire consequences. So, thankfully many girls are being educated today. You can see the pride, if their daughters are scaling new heights in their career. However, many of them do not use their daughter’s money for their household expense. They either save it or invest it for their own daughter’s future. Some might use it for her own marriage, some might not even do that. Educating the daughter is their duty, but they do not believe they have a right on their daughter’s hard earned money. A message is silently passed on to their daughters, “You are only my duty but I have no right on you”.

However progressive we call ourselves, but we never get rid of the concept of girl being “Paraya Dhan”. The word “Kanyadaan” itself indicates giving away. As soon as girl is born, if a family is not dejected, deep in their heart they prepare themselves for the day when they will give away their beautiful daughter. Is not “Kanyadaan” objectifying women? Is she an object or a piece of land to be given away??Marriage is about two people spending their life together, why is it made to be a girl leaving her birth family!!!

There are many girls who financially support their family. However, once she is married, the right on her money is assumed to be transferred to her husband and his family. If the husband’s family is a good, they would say,” You know we allow her to help her family. After all they are her parents. We are not orthodox you know”. Who gave you the right to allow or not allow? It is her money, and she alone has the right to decide what to do with it!! The way, a girl’s parent has no right on your son’s income, similarly you don’t have any right on your daughter in laws income.If you have all rights on your sons money then why cant a girls parent have rights on her money.

There are so many women who help their parents secretly because their in-laws won’t like it or worse situation they might one day taunt her parents. Many parents seek help from their daughter secretly because they feel ashamed of letting the society know about it. It will hurt their so-called image in the society. Funnily, our society cribs if a son doesn’t take care of his parents but daughter has no such obligation. And if daughter takes care of their parents, they are labelled as – “Son”

By imparting education to our daughters, we have crossed one barrier. But true equality would be achieved when we treat our daughters with exactly same expectation as we treat our son. When we will truly believe that daughters too are an integral part of family irrespective of her marital status, the way our sons are.

This post is published here

Command, Not Demand Respect

Respect – I think is the most misunderstood word. The official meaning of respect is -a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. But we are always asked to respect someone irrespective of the fact that the said person may not have any single quality that can be respected. More so a girl is always advised to be more respectful (in other words subdued) in her behaviour. Is not respect commanded and not demanded??

  • Respect your elders -Just because they are born a generation before me. So? If they behave maturely, impart me good knowledge, have done some good work of course I would respect them. But if they behave rudely, throw their weight around I won’t respect them.
  • Respect your guests –I will entertain my guest, try being a perfect host. But if my guests are complaining for no reason (especially during any occasions), being difficult, then I will not respect them.
  • Respect your in-laws – This list is huge; anybody remote who will be your relative-in-law needs to be respected. And this becomes more important if you are a bride or from bride’s family. There are some disgusting customs, where the bride’s family is supposed to bend and show respect to the groom’s family (irrespective of the age of the bride and groom family member). How being the relative or parents of the groom gives any one extra brownie point? If you behave nicely with me, my family I’ll respect you. But if you on purpose try to taunt or disrespect my family for your own (being from the groom side) ego, I won’t respect you.
  • Respect your husband (Respect him as your GOD)- Yes of course, I will respect my husband and he needs to respect me. However, if he keeps treating me badly and insulting me, how can I respect him??No he is not my god and I won’t treat him like one.
  • Respect because he/she is at a very high post – You may be a CEO or the head of the police but if your behaviour or thinking stinks you won’t get any respect from me.

Then there are certain parameters to decide, how respectful one is. If you do not follow any one of these then you are an offender

1)Your attire- Yes, if you wear a saree and cover your head you are extremely respectful (You may be swearing them in your heart but that doesn’t count). They certainly don’t believe – “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I fail to understand how what I wear can be a sign of respect for anybody else.

2)The way you talk – If you voice your opinion and if it is against what the elders say, then you disrespect them. If they hurl insults or accuse you in the most awful manner, you are expected to keep quiet. This is your way of showing respect, but if you back answer you are a manner less, disobedient child.

3)The ornaments you wear after marriage (for girls)- I was told that I show no respect for my marriage since I don’t wear any of the ornaments which signify that I’m married. I simply looked at them and laughed and by doing so I definitely disrespected them.

I will respect you as long as you do the same. But if you are a stubborn arrogant rude person, I won’t respect you just because you are any of the above. If you cross your limit do not expect me to be a mute spectator. If my clothes, voice or the way I live my life offends you, I am definitely NOT SORRY.

This post was published first here