Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I want to watch a movie on a weekday at 10 pm and there are no tickets
I want to eat at some decent restuarant on a weekday at 9pm and there are no tables - "you have to call and book madam"
I want to go to Kerala any time of the year and there are no tickets - "weekends madam we cannot promise you anything"
I want to return home anytime of the day and no autos agree to come - "too much traffic we won't come"
I want to get out of house at 6.30 pm there are no autos available (well they would be available if they come in the first place to return)
I want to work from home and half the day there is no power - "no load shedding" the CM's been harping.
I want a taxi to pick me up from the airport in two hours time and there are no taxis - "all are busy madam" (this at midnight on a bloody working day)
I want to get a hair cut at some half decent place and there are no appointments during the week or the weekend - "summer is always like this sorry"
The well known brand of soaps or cream I picked up last month is not available anywhere -" short supply" is the cryptic answer I get.

What the bloody hell is happening? Where have I landed?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The tyrants and the victims

I am moving to Denmark.

Why you say? There are about 4500 Danish junta fighting against the "tyranny of early risers"
The number is of course small but here I am pretty much on my own (except may be K who will surely join in)
Read the details here and here.

I have never been a morning person and have always been admonished for it. I missed all my morning classes (god forsaken time of 7am and 8am) throught out my college life. Earliest I can get anywhere without wanting to murder the whole bloody world is may be 9 (in emergencies only) otherwise its got to be 11. I am nocturnal by nature meaning I cannot sleep before 1am unless I haven't slept for 3 days straight so jumping out of bed at 6am is out of question.
I've tried very very very hard to be an early riser but after months of practising I realised I am not half as productive when I wake up early.
But I am not to be sleeping in peace especially because I am a "woman." It used to be "how can a girl sleep so late? It is not lakshana what will you do when you go to your husband's house?" Well I went to my husband's house and slept late. So now I hear "how can a woman of the house sleep so late? It brings bad luck to the house." What about when men sleeping late? Well thats bad too but it doesn't bring bad luck or anything so its alright (I've actually heard this explanation)
And I find no incentive in waking up early other than may be watch sunrise and see some interesting birds. However since I live in Bangalore, picturesque sunrises and interesting birds are not part of the package. So I go on holidays to watch sunrises and bridwatching. Although I am very biased towards sunsets and moon rises.

I don't see a point to this getting up early thing especially after marriage cos all morning I end up in the kitchen making coffee (which I don't drink) and thinking up of and making breakfast while hubby dear checks his "office emails" reads newspaper back to back and suddenly takes off saying "damn its late I'll be stuck in the traffic jam...is there anything for breakfast?"
One of the articles also says that if you are the kind who cannot get up early then choose your professional carefully. Good for me that although late I did make a career change and atleast my boss doesn't call me to ask "why are you late"
I feel obligated to repeat some of the explanations people come up for my not getting up early
"Your husband comes back home late isn't it thats why you can't get up early" (giggle)
"You must be studying for some sorta exams thats why you sleep late and can't get up early"
"Yours is a love marriage so I guess it is ok to get up late" (isn't this priceless?)
"Oh you don't have kids thats why you do this" (!!!)
They don't seem to get the point that I simply don't want to get up early in the morning on most days!!!
Here are some of the motivational onliners people have tried on me
"you can finish off all the work and then go to sleep at around 11" (!!!)
"if you leave the milk outside so late it will get spoiled"
"your husband will feel un motivated to go through the day if he has a wife who sleeps late" (again priceless)
"It is not healthy to keep odd sleeping schedule" (only sensible one and I've not heard it too often)
"Hasn't being a journalist taught you nothing?" (Wha???)
The rest of them aren't funny or interesting so I'll spare you that.
I never grudge other people who get up early (unless they insist on my company) so why grudge me?
Unless people take a cue and let me be I might be moving to Denmark.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer Holidays

This is what I did to make it feel like it is summer holidays (in reality it was just Summer not exactly Holidays)

These are things I do pretty much every year!

1) Enquired about swimming classes. Of course as always I chickened out. This time my excuse was "last date is over" (about which I knew for a week)
2) Looked up at various new courses that I could join. (only this time I didn't pay for prospectus and admission forms)
3) Ate a lot of Mangoes
4) Thought about cutting my hair really short.
5) Going to "native place" (this is happening tomorrow and unlike school days it is just a 2 day trip)
6) Promise to help Amma with making Sambhar powder.
7) Do some art and craft kinda thing (Yes I know I am not in school anymore but I am incapable of kicking off this habit but the advantage of doing this when you are older is you (ok I) can actually finish what you started:-)

I have to my credit

a) a pair of earrings and chain with a pendant I made using Amma's old buttons

b) a kitchen window covered with hundreds of sequins strung together. The second one has been a long pending project of mine (15 months to be precise) and I duly record that I had help from Sav, Amma and Prajju (in descending order) in completing this.

This has been a better summer than most of my adulthood summers :-)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Darn the section of the media that always misquotes:-)

Who else but my beloved minister of labour Mr. Iqbal Ansari to talk about on a dull Monday morning.
After giving me and thousands of other women and some sane men sleepless nights for a whole week Ansari says he was misquoted by the section of media. He also says that women are more talented than men and hence ridiculous to think of banning them from night shift. Read the report here
I really like the honesty of this man. You don't see it? Well see he is accepting that it was a stupid thing to do in the first place albeit in a very round about manner. I am sure if he reads this he would scream hoarse that his statement is being misconstrued. No no thats not what he would say he would simply say "I've been misquoted"
Now that Mr. Ansari has eaten a humble pie for his glorious effort to preserve indian culture may be we don't have to worry about women getting thrown out of office after 8 (My condolences to all the women who are dissappointed at not going home at 8 because of this)
What and who is this section of the media that always misquotes the politicians? You think they are especially trained to do so? And how is it only a "section" of the media when every publication worth credibility is quoting your 'mis'quotes?
I am hoping this will be the last of posts on this whole act of insanity!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Night Shift ban

It has been a week since our beloved labour minister declared that women cannot work in night shifts. Till date there is no clarity on the issue. By Monday most people decided it is too ridiculous a measure to implement. But bang on Thursday the minister declares no it will be enforced and the governor has signed it
In the same newspaper the minister also announces the most cliched but most preferred and revered reason for all this "it is against the Indian culture to make women work at night"
But there is some hope still. The women's commission is refusing to back down. Vimochana one of the NGOs working with women is contemplating a PIL. And according to today's TOI report Ansari is pretty much on his own in this brilliant move to protect the women and the Indian culture. Neither the governor nor some of the other ministers in the cabinet are with him. And even better the Labour commissioner is trying to get permission women work in factories at night shift!
Do these guys even talk to each other? What was the minister thinking after all?
There has been some noise about this the blogworld too. Here are some:
It is crazy how most women are NOT indignant about this. Most of them sound like they would be rather glad to just stay at home and cook. They however want to wear what they want, drive around, hang out and have all the fun - basically enjoy the fruits of feminist movement but gladly jump sides when they need to so something to keep this going for the next generation of women. Talk about shortsightedness!
I was talking to the domestic help Satya at my place about this. She's not educated, works in half a dozen houses to feed her her drunkard brother and aging father and believes everything that happens in the serial are real. I had to warm her up to the subject.
Me: What do you think about women working?
Satya: As long as it is to make your family life better it is fine
Me: For what else would someone want to work?
Satya: There are some who just like to show off, prove a point I don't think that is right
Me: So should they be stopped from working?
Satya: No how can you stop someone from working? You have to change her attitude thats all.
Me: Do you know government is banning women from working at night shifts?
Satya: Ayyo then what will happen to eshwari akka? she goes to cook dinner in that house every evening. And why should government stop her? Do you have to work at night?
Me: sometimes. you think I shouldn't do it?
Satya: no how can I say that? it is either you or your husband who has to decide if you should work at night or work at all not the government.
Satya an illiterate girl who has little lokajnana is saying that this is an individual choice and the state has nothing to do with it.
Are you listening Mr. Ansari?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Where did you leave your brains sir?

The news has been around for the last 3 days. And I have not slept peacefully for as many nights. Sav has been suffering too. I am certain that so are thousands of other women who realise the enormity of the stupid decision that the state government has taken.
I have couple of things to tell and ask the Labour minister of Karnataka.
Dear Sir, (mom always told me to be polite even when I feel like ripping off the....)
You are so concerned about the safety of women that you decided to ensure women are off the office premises by 8 pm. A very original solution indeed. But if the women are facing problems before 8 pm how will they sort that out? Or are you saying that woman being harassed during the day is better off than at night?
Assuming that women do get out of the office by 8 pm. Have you thought about how to keep them safe on the streets and public transports? What about protecting them there? Oh how silly am I But that is outside the Labour department! This will probably come under police department eh? Then in that case please do suggest that they should also ban women from streets after 8 pm. Then whom will the men mug, rape and murder? You've indeed struck upon the magic solution to this probelm sir. Then it is just the men who have to fight it out among themselves as to who will mug and who will be mugged.
And women can go home at 8 cook, clean and relax by watching all the fantastic saas-bahu serials and increase Ekta Kapoor's revenue.
Quiet an ingenious plan sir quiet an ingenious plan!
Thank you very much for taking the entire woman kind about 50 years behind.
Yours truly.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The bronze moon

Have you ever seen a bronze moon? When there is a full moon it sometimes appears bronze colored. Today it was almost golden. The most gorgeous sight amidst high rises without trees. Even more gorgeous is the sight of full moon rising above the sea. That view is simply breathtaking! The silver reflecting off the dark waters - the beauty has to be experienced.
I always loved the moon. I have watched thousands of full moons, half moons and crescent moons rise over the coconut tree from my terrace in Bangalore. But it was in Chennai I first saw the most spectacular show on earth - the full moon rising out of the ocean and I was hooked.
I was lucky to have people around me who appreciated these matter of fact yet magical moments. And they have made these moments even more memorable.
There was this one time when in Chennai a few of us from the hostel decided to watch the moon rise. So we noted the time and decided to go to Marina beach for the show (!) But as usual we were up against deadlines and seemed almost impossible to get there in time. Somehow just five minutes before the given time we managed to get into an auto and get there just in time. Once we got there the five of us were like little girls shrieking away with joy. Fifteen minutes later we were heading back to college in an auto that was blasting the latest Tamil Hits.
Later the same year I went to Marina with another friend of mine. He had apparently never realised that moon could rise. "It is just there at night" is what he told me. (V also had similar thoughts!) So I made it a point to take this friend along. And we sat there quietly for almost an hour and watched the magic unravel with hundreds of shrieking children (they were not shrieking at the moon but at the waves hitting them.)
There was this other friend of mine who bonded with me over the full moon too. Infact we bonded over sunset, rain, hot & sour chicken soup and rajnikant too. We messaged each other everytime the other couldn't see the full moon describing it.
V of course has not got to see the moon rise yet...we never managed to be near the east coast at the right time. But once we stayed in Alleppey at a beach resort. I knew it was full moon that day and so kept alarm at 3 am and woke V up and dragged off a groggy chap to watch the full moon set into the Arabian sea (as good if not better than the rising) Usually nothing can shake off his sleep but that day he was all bright eyed.
Over the years many things have changed. I don't get to watch moon rise over a coconut tree (any tree for that matter) any more. Some of the friends with whom I enjoyed these moments with have either moved away or become strangers...but the moon is still as beautiful.

The Hindu today

There are two news items that bother me in today's Hindu.
The Minister was forced to quit from the post of Pakistan Muslim league's women wing's head. This was because she hugged her paragliding instructor in france after a jump. The cleric said she had committed a very "obscene" act by doing so and so the need for dismissal.
Second Headline "Ire over Ahmadinejad gesture" (sorry no link available but report can be found on page 14)
The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was criticised for hugging and kissing the hand of his teacher from primary school in public. The lady is 70 years old. The newspapers termed the incident contrary to islamic laws and called it an "indecent" act.
Closer home last week Richard Gere kissing Shipa Shetty was termed indecent and a case was filed against both of them.
Is all I can say.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

To borrow the cliche "what's in a name?"

Well apparently one's ability to be a mathematician or a scientist. To be more precise a girl with a girly (!!!) name will shy away from maths and science. No I haven't lost my marbles (not yet). I have scientific backing for this - The Gaurdian published a report recently about a research that concluded thus.

I am not sure if you will click on the link but I have to repeat this part of it

"Parents are being warned to think long and hard when choosing names for their babies as research has discovered that girls who are given very feminine names, such as Anna, Emma or Elizabeth, are less likely to study maths or physics after the age of 16, a remarkable study has found. Both subjects, which are traditionally seen as predominantly male, are far more popular among girls with names such as Abigail, Lauren and Ashley, which have been judged as less feminine in a linguistic test. "

After reading the report several questions have been kicked up by my feminist side but for now I will leave them aside. I am more interested to see how this finding will work in Indian context.

Indian names don't need a linguistic test to prove their gender do they? We have very few names that are transgender (am not sure if this is the right word to use here nevertheless) Like for example Kiran is a very common name in North India for a girls and boys but rarely the case in South India. Even if it is a common name for both men and women there's a difference as in Kamal is a boy and Kamala is a girl (reminds me of my first hindi lesson in class 3. Remember yeh ladki hai iska naam kamala hai?) Anyways so is Kamal a feminine name and hence he will not do better in science or mathematics? Then how do you explain hundreds of men with names like Kamal, Parijaat, Madhu or Mrinal entering IITs and IISc?
And what about names like Radhakrishna or Padmanabha? They will take up science but give it up in later life?
Coming to the more difficult part of applying this theory...in order to produce more women scientists and mathemeticians we will have to name our girls Sunil, Suresh or in keeping with more modern times name them Rudraksh and Govinda? (yes these names are modern since I am meeting a lot of young men round about the age of 5 with such names).
The research also says that people expect girls with feminine names to not do well in these subjects hence building a pressure on the girls to underperform! Now seriously is that a problem with the feminine name or the feminity itself?
Who funds these researchs and more importantly what is the point of such researchs?
PS: I have a name that is as feminine as possible in the Indian context and I did well in science and I have chosen to blame my name for my poor performance in maths.
Disclaimer: There is one! I will let you know of you have a problem with the post.