Tag Archives: Women

Open Up The Spaces.

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There I was, sitting on the topmost stair of the spectators’ gallery of a playground, writing, when a soccer ball landed with a thud right on my foot. I was taken by surprise and flooded with a flurry of apologies. I wasn’t hurt, no. But I roused concern among the boys. But why only the boys? Because there were no other girls around.

Why do men have a monopoly over open spaces? Why, if you look at the massive green stretches of open spaces in our cities and possibly even towns, do you find scores and scores of men playing all sorts of sports but no women? Why are we women still found standing by the entrance watching them play from afar, waiting for the men to return to us? Why can’t we swing the bat hard? Why can’t we kick a soccer ball away? Why can’t we dribble in sweat and exhilarate with ten others at a game played well? Why can’t we grab and hold in kabaddi? Why are we at the edges? Why are we scared of injuring ourselves?

Why do I see girls play badminton? Or cycle? Or skip? Or just choose to go for a walk? Why not put them together in teams too? Why not teach them to be a leader, a team player, bond with each other over match strategies and get that competitive spirit going? Why not teach our women to pull up other women and not push them down? Why not familiarize them with the touch of men so that they know the difference between the touch of love and lust? Why don’t our brothers teach us to toughen up? Why are our cuts and bruises scolded for and theirs disregarded? Well, that actually shows women are more careful about first aid, but you get the point, right?

What are we so scared of?

That our women will get hurt? Or they might disagree to sit inside homes any longer?

That our women will bring the team down? Or that they’ll become strong enough to form their own teams?

That they might overexert? Or that they will learn to embrace their bodies as they are?

What in the world are we afraid of?
Are we more fearful of our insecure men?
Or are we fearful of making our women secure?

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The author is well aware of the countless women who have made a superlative mark in the world of professional sports and is in no way trying to belittle the spectacular magnitude of their efforts. The author is well aware of women who are pushing all limits exceedingly well and breaking glass barriers every day. This post is not intended for those women. Instead, it is intended to bring out the other ladies, young and old, strong and weak, into the open so that they find out for themselves what wonders their graceful, lithe bodies can do, if only they allowed it to!

Graciously Yours!

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The Cycling Chronicles.

What do I have in common with Lance Armstrong? Greg LeMond? Peter Sagan? Nothing at all. Except that they are some of the best cyclists humankind has known and I might probably be one of the worst. Or let me just be modest and say, humankind might see me as a person who’s awkwardly seated, desperate to un-hunch her shoulders, clearly locking her elbows and panting on inclines but cycling nonetheless!

I have only known how to cycle for about a dozen months now. It’s a shocker to most people and yes, I am still trying to respond to “What were you really doing as a child then?!”.

Of recent, I have finally gathered the courage to cycle on the main roads, albeit at light traffic hours, but it should still count – considering I’m collecting enough anecdotes to write a post about!

  • My usual morning workout includes cycling a couple of kms before I hit the gym – the snag being that the road is almost at a 20-degree incline and it is ‘oh-so-not-easy’! The burn in my thighs and the shortness of breath kill, while I dissuade myself from staring back at passers-by who would have probably walked past faster, and also because India (we have people everywhere, all the time). One of those days when I was barely wheezing past the stretch of incline, my speed faltered, a couple of vehicles overtook, distracted me and bam! Turbulence hit, brakes were applied but I still went and rammed into a garbage truck picking up its trash. Wait. Don’t jump to dirty conclusions! The truck was okay. The cycle was okay. I was okay. And no garbage fell on anyone, anywhere. I swear. Otherwise, there would have been a selfie, for sure! One doesn’t experience a lot many selfie worthy embarrassing moments in life.

 

  • Guess what happened one of those days when I parked my cycle below the gym and was happily sweating it out upstairs? Someone ran off with one of the handle grips on my cycle. Or they might have sauntered off at a leisurely pace. I will never know. What I will remember are the scratches and cuts my right hand faced that morning while cycling back due to the absence of said pilfered item. How much could have a handle grip cost them? Or was that funny for them? Haha. Not funny.
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And just like that – vandalism enters my life.
  • My cycle seems to be a pet peeve for many around. The other day someone left an empty plastic water bottle in the basket. I ignored it thinking one of the building staff might have left it there by mistake. The next day a bouquet of dried out roses were stashed there. Of course, people have asked me if it was left there for me by a “secret admirer”. But what if they were left behind by the person who stole my handle grip and then he stole this bouquet from someone’s trash and thinks dried roses can be apologetic enough? The world works in mysterious ways.
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Roses and no note? I want my note! You can take the roses away.
  • We all strive to look cool once in a while. I thought my Bluetooth earphones might do the trick for me. I put them on one morning, but they didn’t last a minute in my ears. Thanks to the uneven and pothole-riddled roads of Bangalore, the earphones kept dropping out and became more of a distracting menace than a cool kids’ gizmo! So cool of you Bangalore city, so cool. Attention on the road is more important than looking cool. I get it! Thanks.

See you around. Cycling, hopefully.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: Also, thank you A, for literally running with me all those weeks, helping me get a hang of figure eights and u-turns and, simply, cycling.

Moo Points?

My week started on a bad note – regular household issues – oh yes, we bachelors have those too. No maid, cook screwed up the food quantities, delayed to work, no transport, traffic and oh, the heat! So coming up, are a lot of moo points. Take it or leave it, but do read it!

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As I strode purposefully towards the main road, following my Mom’s advice to calm down, cars and bikes zipping past me, a cab honking at me for taking up road space (well, the footpath could give me a sprain, they’re that bad), I saw a cow ambling at 10 am in the morning, barely moving enough to place one foot ahead of the other, ten seconds at a time.

Cars conveniently circled around her and went their way, not even bothering to honk. Why me then? Why was I expected to be on the footpath when this cow could do whatever she liked? Why did I have to chide myself for being late for office at 10 in the morning when this cow could just loiter around, literally doing nothing!

“Eat more meat.” “Focus on your calcium intake.” “What about carbs?” “And when will you take those multivitamins?” So much talk about food and food preparation. If she’s hungry, she doesn’t even have to go to the kitchen to whip up something or Swiggy food! She can just regurgitate food ingested earlier and chew it again! Not that I want my ingested food back in my mouth, urgh, but just sayin’!

She can be white. She can be black. She can be brown. Or even a mix of all three. And she’ll still be loved for who she is. Why? Why do I have to then worry about being tanned? Why can’t I just be I loved for who I am?

Oh and here in a country where Hinduism is largely significant, she even gets protection for just being who she is – a female. Talk about harming a cow and behold the furore that will persist. While we two-legged women carry around pepper sprays even in broad daylight – for the exact same reason – because we’re females.

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And that’s how I ended up with an existential crisis conferred upon me by a lone cow, walking at her own pace in the middle of a road, refusing to make way for the world rushing around.

The heat fried my brains, I guess.

Still,

Graciously Yours!

Constant Vigilance.

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Cobra. Bodyguard. Impower. Bullet. What are these, you wonder? Brand names of pepper spray. Why do I know, you ask? Because New Years’ Eve happened.

Unlike so many others in Bangalore, I wrapped up work at 5 PM on NYE to head home! Yes, I wanted to stay indoors while the rest of city revelled out in ten degrees of chill. If finding commute on regular days is a pain, that evening was exceptionally terrible. It took me ten minutes of futile attempts at booking an Uber and three refusals, before an auto driver agreed to drop me home, by the meter. Anyone who’s travelled in Bangalore knows ‘by the meter’ is a blessing. But was I to know what would follow? In the guise of a request for smaller notes to buy gasoline, he borrowed 2000 bucks from me, skipped the gas stations and took a wrong turn. On my insistence to return the money back, he stopped at the beginning of a flyover, turned around to scare me with stories of a fresh murder he’d committed and threatened to put a knife through me. I, obviously, didn’t want to see him brandish a knife, so a couple of futile attempts later I got off the auto, lest he drive away with me. Oh, he wasn’t crazy; he was crazy drunk. I saw him speed away with my money, but more importantly, my composure and the peace of my family and friends. At the end of three hours, I’d found my strength again, a helpful auto driver and with my friends in tow, filed a complaint with the police.

They say PTSD is diagnosed after a month of the symptoms, which generally show up around 3 months after the tragedy. But what is the diagnosis for the deviant thoughts that strike me every time I step into an auto now? What about the anxiety that rushes through me when the auto driver takes a shorter, new route? What about my friends now who keep asking me if I’ve reached home, while I am still stuck in Bangalore traffic? What would I have done if the man had taken out a knife? You’d say ‘don’t overthink’. I try not to. But when I look out of the auto to distract myself, I catch myself reading auto license plate numbers, searching for the one I’d unfortunately ridden in. When I look inside the auto, I furtively glance at the driver in the rear view mirror. When they argue about the fare now, I prefer to get down midway. When I give them a bigger note, I worry if they’ll return the change. This happened in broad daylight – would I have survived an attempt at night? I have seldom felt more vulnerable in Bangalore but that day in the usually crowded metropolis I found no person to walk up to. There were barely any cars on the roads, people were scattered around on a five-point crossing and there was no traffic police guard. Post my written complaint, I expected the police to immediately start a search to nab a drunk driver – after all, I did have his license plate details on camera. But I can’t tell them how to do their job, right? Would the driver have done this if a man sat in the back seat? Would a pepper spray have helped me? Could I have punched him in the face and gotten my money back? What if the driver hadn’t stopped the auto at my insistence? Should I have sat there and argued or cowered at his macho attempts to scare me?

I am not maligning all auto drivers. But nor do I plan to forgive and forget what happened. What I wonder is what had I done wrong? How do I ensure that I don’t get into another such situation? How do you ensure constant vigilance?

Oh, also. Happy New Year! ❤

Graciously Yours!

In the woods. (2)

Contd from.

I heard a rustle I hadn’t before. There was something alive around me. A second step and I realised there was something soft and squishy beneath me. A soft shriek emerged from my mouth. My hand flew to my face, covering my eyes and face. I took my phone out of my pocket to flash light the floor beneath. “It’s okay. All is well,” I murmured repeatedly. Turns out all wasn’t well. I’d stepped on to a pile of leaves soggy from the evening damp but the rustling I’d heard was the bats waking up. The house, or whatever it had once been, now had a bat infestation! Lightning struck again. I didn’t need the flashlight to see the bats this time. Thunder followed slower this time though. “All is well,” I repeated. I pulled the sleeve cuffs of my sweater up to my palms and covered my ears with them. It muffled the sound and the cold out. 

I squatted outside on the porch, back stuck to the brick wall. I tried recalling why exactly I’d stomped out of the room. It was my honeymoon. And I couldn’t get myself to even begin to adore him. We constantly fought. Our match was arranged by our parents. I’d known him for six months and been married eight days. We’d fought enough already that I was fed up of being in the same room as him. Just thinking about him stressed me out! My stress came rushing out in the form of tears. I bawled.

Once I’d cried enough to tire myself out, I checked my phone. It had network bars now but I no longer cared. The winds had calmed down and I’d made up my mind. Trees swayed lesser; I heard a car honk in the distance. Maybe I’d find a road that’d take me away from the resort. Vigor induced in me, I rushed up from the ground and flashlight on I walked towards the direction I thought I’d heard the honk from. Come jaguar or snake, I didn’t care now. I couldn’t fight them maybe but I needn’t sit crouched in fear either. I saw a road, a dust covered grey strip of tar, to be precise. It needed washing. I almost ran to it and found myself looking at what I was running away from. The resort loomed large and at the gates was my husband getting into an open Jeep, possibly to hunt me down. Again.

Gritting my teeth, I snorted and stepped back into the bushes, taking cover behind a tree. I wouldn’t let him see me. I couldn’t. 

Graciously Yours!

#NationWantsToKnow?

There are some days when life does not make sense.

Then there are more days when your manager does not make sense.

Then come a lot of days when the news does not make sense. Picking up a few of those gems!

What say you? Are you prepared to ruin your good day? Well, or maybe brighten up a bad day? 😛

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Despacito = slowly!

Like the article mentions “Despacito is a song in Spanish about slow love making.” Translated lyrics here. For so many of us Indians and also non Indians out there who think sex is and should remain a taboo, here goes. The song you so love to jive and hum, blabber words you don’t even know the meaning of and think that Spanish is only spoken in Spain, wake up! Life just dealt you a joker. Now what will you do with it?

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Mr. VP – I would wonder about the why rather than the what.

Okay, call me demeaning, if you want. But if this would have happened at a Railway Station washroom, I’d go all, ‘Maybe there have been worrisome incidents in there and there’s a context that isn’t being reported.” But if you tell me that a Church had to take such a step for women’s safety, then well, I’ll return in a while with my argument after laughing my guts out. The Church also needs to be worried about women’s safety in their premises now? Or is this an excuse for men to now make us more worried than we already are about our safety so that they can have a good, authorised peep show. Wonder if the CCTV footage reviewers also have to take the vow of celibacy.

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So I understand we’re going all digital and laptop usage is at an all time high. Yeah, well, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that bit out. But what I am left wondering is why is Cambridge scrapping exams due to bad handwriting? We could have done this with the thought of saving paper, contributing towards cutting lesser trees, maybe slow down global warming or at least be happy about having done something to slow it down, even though it seems inevitable now. But no, we’re scrapping it because the handwriting is illegible? How thick brained are we really?

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Yes, that is an iPhone screenshot. Not owned by Yours Truly. Duh.

Oh, yes! News of the week. The iPhone 8 got launched. The iPhone 8S too. And the iPhoneX too. Poor iPhone 8 and 8S. They became obsolete within two minutes of their launch! Need I say more?

Then this happened. Bewakoof.com which when translated in English means foolish, lived up to their name for the first time. They launched a tShirtX. You shouldn’t think so out of the box also. Too much of anything is bad!

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Living up to thy name!

And with that I’ll end my tirade and only ask one thing – does the nation really want to know these news? #NationWantsToKnow.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : What have you come across of recent that you want to rant against? Tell me. Maybe we think alike!

Diamonds.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” they said. I don’t know who the they here are. I don’t mean I don’t know, I just can’t seem to recall who exactly they are. I grew up listening to mothers say it, the advertisers claim it, movies celebrate it. I was brought up in an Indian middle class family. The view our flat had was of other flats, crammed up in a tower like reluctant matchboxes given a balancing act dare. I was told to dream, but within limits. I had wings which could only flap within the cages they had set up. Again, I don’t recall who the they were exactly. One midnight, that of my 23rd birthday, it was decided that I was of marriagable age. The stroke of the grandfather clock above the living room mantlepiece had magically reformed me from a girl who should keep out of talks of adults to a woman who now had to sit demurely among adults and know exactly what and how much to speak.

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Like the films had predicted, I found my knight in shining armour. He came riding a white horse, literally, on the day of our wedding. He looked wonderful. The night was even more wonderful. I was tired but he was magical in bed! Or at least, what he did seemed like magic to a virgin like me. And in the morning, he presented me with a diamond. My first, though not my last. The one I keep tucked away in my closet between the uncomfortable silk sarees I rarely wear. Now the view from my window has changed. I still overlook concrete towers but posh ones. The view came at a price, not the diamonds, no. The price was having to share my husband. That night, two years ago, he was magical in bed, indeed. The other woman claimed so too. Two years and he had never faltered. Until three days ago.

My husband is away for the week. He says he’ll end the relationship with the other woman. I may be young, but I am no fool. I may be good, but I also have my evil in place. I may think white, but I have my black too. I changed the locks of the house. I installed a hidden GPS tracker app on his phone. I hired a PI to track the woman. And I sold the diamonds. At least, half of them.

My hair tied in a side bun, earrings dangling by my round face, cheeks rosy as buns, the shimmering copper of my dress accentuating my wheatish complexion, I smiled at my reflection and thought, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, they said.’

The phone rang. The cab had arrived. This was the night I’d let my hair down.

Graciously Yours!

 

After All This While? Always.

“You don’t know anything about me,” he said.
“I know. But I am trying to. Doesn’t that count?”
They had started as lovers, failed and then tried becoming friends.

As she sat by him at his hospital bed tonight, she thought of this conversation. Ten years had passed since then. They were no longer lovers and barely friends. But when she came to know he was ill, she dropped everything to be by his side.

Sitting across from the bed was his wife. Her hair had greyed too early. She looked at her, sending the wife vibes of strength. They both knew of their role in his life. And his honesty would bring them together as friends for life.

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Graciously Yours!

 

Some Salsa Spice!

One of my fascinations has always been ballroom dancing! Though not strictly ballroom, salsa is what my feet dabble in these days.

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Salsa, believe me, teaches you life lessons! And so much about interpersonal relationships. No, no! Don’t laugh. I’m serious. Read on.

 1. Twirl the girl!

So salsa, like most other ballroom dances, requires the men to take lead. So, my dance partner, gets to take me forward, backward, left, right, all at his own will. Boot up, men! You get the girl and also get to make her dance and spin at your own will. Does your girlfriend or girl friend allow you that otherwise? 😉

Also, you find it’s not so easy taking command of the ship, don’t you? So value those who do. 🙂 Irrespective of their genes.

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2. Actions speak louder than words!

Now that you get to twirl and spin the girl at your own free will, how do you tell her what your will is? You can’t tell her, ‘shush, left now’, ‘no, no, anti-clockwise twirl’, ‘go, right, right, not left’ in the middle of the song. Who’ll count the beats, feel the tune and dance freely then?

So what do you do? You gently direct her, lead her with that hand of yours on her shoulder, and not say aloud! It requires practice, patience and response. Also gives you a life lesson!

3. You make mistakes and you accept them!

You will miss counts, step on your partner’s feet (sometimes on your own feet too!), become clumsy after doing very graceful turns – all of that’ll happen, whether you’re in the first beginner’s class or almost completing your advanced classes. But with the music still playing, what do you do after committing a mistake? Accept it, apologise and move on! Improvise.

4. Helps avoid the mirroring psychology.

Wikipedia says,  Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family.”

Note, mirroring happens subconsciously. You don’t realize when it’s taken over and you are slowly blending into the crowd and losing your uniqueness.

But when you’re dancing with your partner and you start mirroring them, i.e. you start looking too graceful as a man, or too macho as a woman, you consciously start tearing yourself from mirroring. You start holding out your own self, accepting yourself as you are and hopefully even loving it.

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5. Feminism, much?!

Yes, salsa requires the men to lead and women to follow. Isn’t that what the whole world is screaming about? Or at least half of it. But. Everything in life isn’t about feminism. Sometimes it’s okay to let the men lead not because they’re men, but because the dance requires it and women are inherently more graceful at spinning and twirling than men are. It’s okay to let go and trust your partner. And even if he does fail you, help him get up and succeed together!

Also, I am not a feminist. More, a humanist.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Keep dancing!

11 outta 10!

Scene 1.

A mother-daughter duo peacefully watching a Tom Cruise film. He’s just started to run.

Mother gets a call. Daughter gets to hear only one side of the conversation.

Mother : Hello ji. Salutations!

Mother : All well, yes!

Mother : Oh! No, not really.

Mother’s tone is now changing. On the screen, Tom Cruise is running faster!

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Mother : Of course!

Mother gives daughter a look. Daughter knows this look. A storm is approaching.

Mother : It’s not a problem at all!

Mother : See you! Buh-bye!

Tom Cruise is still running. The man needs to learn when to stop! Mother pauses his film. Cruise is cruising in the air.

Scene 2.

Half an hour has passed. Mother is in the kitchen. Daughter is cleaning up the place. Guests are coming over for lunch, having self-invited themselves! Time to refurbish the house!

Daughter looks around the hall. Pleased with herself at having cleaned up early.

Daughter : Mom, it’s done! I’ve cleaned up the place.

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Mother (peeks out of the kitchen) : What’s done? Fluff those cushions. Put your shoes back in the rack. I still see things on the dining table! Why is your mobile on charge? And will you shut off the music! It’s getting on my nerves!

Flabbergasted Daughter : Umm, Mom? I’ll go out in an hour, remember. Why put the shoes back then? And the things on the dining table? They’re called cutlery. In which you’ll serve them food. But if you want, I can get banana leaves! And my mobile is on charge because it is very normal to charge mobiles! Like we stay here, remember? And Kishore Kumar is getting on your nerves?

Mother (barely audible over a running grinder) : You’re not going anywhere. Not when  I have guests over! And do what I ask you to do!

Daughter (sighing in exasperation) : Of course, I am not going anywhere now. Time to shut you down today, Cruise. Mom’s not going to be watching you save the world today. She’s too busy going bonkers.

Mother : Will you get me the vegetables from the refrigerator?

Daughter (laptop, speakers, mobile, chargers all under her arms) : Well, if you’d asked me to, then I would. But you never did.

Mother : Keep these devices away. And get me the vegetables now!

Daughter : Yes, Madam!

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Mother : And hurry up!

Scene 3.

The guests have arrived. Lunch has been had. Now is the wait. The wait for them to leave.

Guest 1 : The food was so good! How did you manage to make it so soon?

Mother : Oh nothing of the sort. I was as it is planning on making something special for lunch today.

Daughter (thinking to herself) : If only they knew that the lunch special was two minutes of maggi!

Guest 2 : Then we should come over more often!

Mother and daughter look at each other and then smile at the guests.

Mother : Why not!

Daughter : Why? Umm, not.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how worked up is your mother when guests are to arrive? Mine is 11! 😉

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental. Any character and event depicted here is NOT fictitious. Similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental.