The Ifs and Buts..

What is happening around here? I think I’ve pretty much lost most of my readers since my comments and hits are slowly but surely dwindling. Sigh. The woes of growing up and having too little time to surf the net I guess.

Anyhow, I have been reading this book titled, “Things I want my Daughters to Know” by Elizabeth Noble”. The story is basically about a lady who finds out she has terminal illness and the letters and preparations she makes that change her daughters’ lives forever. She leaves each of them a letter with all the things she wants them to know as well as all the advice she wouldn’t be around to provide them with. She had 4 daughters and she prepared everything such that when her youngest girl turned 21 the year after, her husband was there to pass her a gift she had chosen before she passed on. Its a pretty good book and honestly, its as usual put me into a pretty contemplative mood.

I always have been curious about death. No, not in that is there an after life or do we just get swallowed by the ground kinda curious but more of a what death means and what would be the best way of dying. I know it sounds pretty sick but trust me that’s so not what I’m pointing at. I wonder if it would be better if I died suddenly, so I never spent days in pain or days worrying about an impending death. I wonder if it would be easier if I died knowing it was going to happen, being able to tell all the people I love and loathe what exactly I want to. I wonder if I would be missed, if tears would be shed, if secretly someone had regrets; an untold romance, an apology or even a complaint.

My friends often chide me for thinking about all these things and tell me not to think about my death which I hope is very far away (hell I intend to get married, give birth and do loads of things before game over!) But I am not worrying about it, I just wonder.

I wonder what I would if I knew by some stroke of chance my deathday.

I think I would spend a little more time cherishing you. Not snapping at you so easily when you ask me unnecessary questions. I would appreciate all you went through to get me where I am. And I would hug you and kiss you, something we seem to have forgotten to do all these years that it feels awkward.

I would thank you for putting up with my unnecessary requests since the time I was 4. For the various hairstyles and makeovers. For the moments at the swing and for always demanding to know what was wrong. For never letting me mess it up. For the times you stood up for me. I would spend a little more time trying to understand who you have become and I would insist on a margarita or a martini with you again. I would hug you tightly and tell you that while I may not always know why you do what you do, I will always stand by your choices and be happy for you.

I would thank you for snooping all the time because I always knew I had to behave cos you were looking over my shoulder. I would tell you to stop fretting about being right all the time. I would tell you its okay to fail once in awhile. I’d tell you that that time when I was 14 and told you I wish I didn’t have you in my life, I was wrong and I am sorry because there has never been another day I regretted it. Okay, I lie, there are days I wish you weren’t so sneaky or so fierce but I love you for that and I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I would tell you that I am sorry for hurting you despite the many times we tried to make it work. I would tell you that I could never learn to love you the way you love me. I would tell you that I don’t understand what it is you saw in me to stay so smitten. I would tell you that every one of those times, I genuinely wanted to make it work. I would also tell you that I was often so afraid that one day you might wake up and realise I’m not worth it. I will tell you that honestly Valentines Day only got exciting the moment we tricked an entire restaurant. I never wanted you to become my fallback plan, the person I’d be with to just settle. I want a crazy love story.

I will tell you that it is you whom I loved from the moment I met. You had me getting butterflies the morning after wondering if once the intoxication fades you will remember me. You made me swoon and although I don’t swoon anymore as much, I know you were the one I loved in abundance. I would tell you I wish it didn’t have to end but that I understand why it did. I would tell you that every minute of it was magic yet a terrible nightmare. I would tell you that the times you were away, I cried a lot and sometimes I felt it will never get better.I would tell you that as much as I liked lilies, I lied when I said they were my favourite flowers. I didn’t have a favourite flower then, I said it to be smart. But now I do, and they are lilies. I would ask you if you still read my blog.

I would tell you that I wished we never stopped being friends. That you made me very happy and feel so girly. You got me excited and you got me to be positive. But I would also tell you that you have become so negative, if I dared sit through one of your emotional tantrums. I would tell you that there were many things I hid from you, but it was all because I wanted to protect you. I would tell you that you let far too many things have more impact on your life than yourself. I would tell you to fall in love, really.

I would tell you that I hate your guts. I hate the way you always turn out to be right. That if you’ve read thus far, you’d have spotted enough errors for me to want to kick your ass. I would hug you and tell you that you made the last two years so much easier. I would gain the courage to tell you that I wonder if we could have been anything more than what we are. That secretly, everytime we talked about what others say, I enacted the itty fantasy of us together in my head. I would also, if i dared, tell you that the fantasy seemed nice. I would tell you that you were perfect and that you always smell very nice. I would tell you that you’re the bestest buddy in the wholewide world.

I would learn how to cycle and swim. I would learn how to drive and hone my skills at Daytona. I would dare to wear that denim skirt that makes my butt look a tad too big.

I would dare to go out there and take those silly videos of me dancing and pretend I can make my own little Youtube performances for all the happening Tamil songs I adore.

I would admit that I do worry what people think of me though I pretend not to care. I would admit that I still have girly crushes despite how I try to evade all questions about them. I would then try not to care so much and blog everything that comes to my mind. Hmm maybe that would make for more exciting posts that you would actually feel like reading.

I would tell you two that you’re perfect for each other. In all the time I’ve known you both which hasn’t been very long, I’ve hardly seen a large display of affection but in your eyes I always see that concern. The way you stay close because you don’t want him to worry and the way he despite being the life of the party, often looks out to see if you’re doing okay .

I would tell your mother to let you live your life not based on any horoscope of yours. I would delete all your profiles on any matrimonial site and tell you to start treating yourself better so that someone could come treat you the same.

I would tell you to make up your mind. I would tell you that you’re free to cheat and lie but to pretend like you’re the good one after that just isn’t fair.

I would want you to know that I could never be like you. Be able to let everything else go for a dream which seems more like a fantasy to many. But I would also tell you that I wish I could do what you do. Give up everything and perhaps dance all my life? I wish I was like you but I know I am much too pragmatic to be able to do that.

I would tell you not to be so hard on yourself. But I would also tell you to quit brooding and acting like its all your fault.

I would tell you that I had the greatest fun lining up your presents. I enjoyed going through your 22 years of memories to pick the best and I can tell you from a completely neutral perspective that you’ve lived a fantastic 22 years. I would also tell you that your Dad is proud of you. And I would tell you to quit waiting it out and just get into a damn relationship with her.
I would tell you that as much as I always claim you two bully me, if I was lucky enough to have younger sisters, I would steal you both from your brother and make you all mine.

I would tell all of you thanks for giving me the chance but I am much too arrogant for my own good that I shut people off the minute they say or do something that irks me. I would tell you that on a normal day, you would have made me swoon, but I think no amount of charm can make me swoon anymore.

I would kick your ass at Air Hockey. Maybe if I’m lucky, Daytona too.

I would tell you that I don’t really like sushi very much, but subway I adore. I would tell you that though we joke about it all the time, the possibilities never left my mind. I would tell you that I do wonder what’s going on in your head when you seem so lighthearted about relationships and love. I would let you choose all the ice cream flavours and force them down my throat however badly they suck. I would tell you that I was flattered and am always flattered by your remarks and that you make me feel very pretty and talented.

I would perhaps not worry so much about whether the Honours is a good idea and follow myself. Join the police force? Join the prisons force? Do whatever it is I feel like doing, regardless of whether you think its a good idea.

I would dance a little more. I wouldn’t worry so much about stretching my legs a little further lest I fall when I bend. I would lose myself in the song just so that at least once my bhava is perfect. I would thank you for guiding me always and for all the side advice you’ve given me. I would tell you that you were the embodiment of love and that I yearn to have half of your zest for life.

I would visit my Primary School again not to see my teachers or reminisce, but just to drink that Chocolate milk and sit along the drain. I would not worry so much and carry you in my arms. I would daringly go for a facial. I would tell my hairdresser how incredibly hot I think he is.

I would dance in the rain once more. I would tell you that I don’t care if the words I love you are too serious and strong, I’m gonna say them anyway. I would tell you not to bother calling him if he doesn’t want to talk to you. I would tell you to walk away cos you deserve so much more.

I would want you to know that its fine to get hurt.

I would watch a lot more of Gossip Girl and Samantha Who? Maybe even pay to subscribe to Megavideo so they don’t cut my serials in between when I’ve watched too much!

I would tell you that I never liked you. I would tell you that I was envious of your ability to always be right, to always do the right things, to always be approved as the epitome of what a girl should be. I’ve tried doing that, and I never felt quite so comfortable being judged against a template of what I should be doing.

I would tell you that I do get jealous but I am just a much better actress than yourself.

I would tell you that I lie, that I have hurt, that I have done some things I have not been proud of. But that I would never regret them. Wait, I lie, I do regret them and I’ve spent hours wondering what it would be like if I hadn’t done them.

I would get that tattoo. That same one I’ve been pondering over and considering as an after arangetram thing.

I would tell all you girls how much I adore teaching you. How I see a small part of me and my friends in each and everyone of you.

There are days I feel like I say too much and there are days I feel like I hold back. Today I know I’ve said far too much but it still doesn’t feel like I’ve said enough. After all, if I were to base my entire life on this one entry, it just doesn’t say much about the life I’ve led.

To all those of you were mentioned here or not mentioned here, please do not come ask me if this was you or this wasn’t you. If the glove fits, wear it. (Is that even the right expression? Is it shoe? cap? Ah you get the point) I’m not about to name people one by one and in some instances one statement could have referred to more than one person. If I wanted you to know, I would have put your names there.

Oh and if you’re wondering why parts of the post keep changing and keep getting longer, its because I’ve decided that this post will keep changing. It will keep changing till the day I decide it will not change anymore or till the day I’m certain I live with no regrets.

What I hate about you…

(This post has been written in bits and pieces over the last 2 months so much of it is old news or a little scattered in terms of thoughts. Also, not all points provided below are directly from my personal experience and may just be things that I’ve heard others go through or came to mind at the point in writing)

As I’ve probably mentioned for the 1000th time in my blog, I have met some wonderful men before. Men who have made me understand myself better and helped me respect myself and not expect anything less from anyone. Likewise, I’ve met men, who have stepped on me, disrespected me and treated me like I didn’t matter. I’ve also met men whom I cannot help but mock because of their cheesy lines, greater than God delusions and nasty lies I can see through like clear glass. The worst is I’ve met men who have made me laugh, made me realise why I am glad to be a woman, how stupid their entire species can be and how much less evolved they really are (by this moment I am certain 200 men are waiting to poke forks through my eyes).

However, I hope that I could pay my dues to society by offering you men an insight of what we deem as inappropriate and what we would much rather you not do. The list is truly exhaustive and as most men would complain by the end of the list, we women are too fickle, too picky and have too many expectations. However, if men can write and lament about their perfect woman for hours and hours, I am sure we should be allowed to tell you what exactly we DON’T want in our partners – if you have an issue, please open a blog of your own and come up with lists of qualities you dislike in women. I’ve decided to pick the TEN most important things you should avoid doing – there are many many things actually but I guess we should take baby steps and start with 10.

I must say, I speak for myself and maybe a handful of women who agree with me.

#10: Do not try to dish out advice that we do not ask for.

Unless we ask you if our highlights are nice or if our dress looks slutty, I don’t think you need to be telling us. We fork out hundreds of dollars to ensure we look nice and presentable and it is not very nice to feel all your efforts go down the drain because you decide to open your mouth. We have enough girlfriends to whom we would turn to for advice and God also made some men gay to ensure we got the right perspectives on things. You wouldn’t appreciate us telling you how to parallel park or whether putting your money on Manchester United was a bad idea would you?

#9: Don’t undermine us.

If I had a penny for every guy who gave me this crap, half-past-six of an explanation, “You’re a girl” for anything that goes wrong, I’d be a millionaire by now. Our gender divides are minimal and most of them are socially constructed – biologically there isn’t even 10% of differences between a woman and a man. Don’t ever undermine a girl because she is just that. If a woman can bear a child for 9 months and have that child come out of her and watch the entire process, she’s definitely much stronger than you give her credit for. Ever wondered why God made the woman bear the child? Perhaps its because he deemed she was much stronger than the man? Just because you can do a few more pull-ups than her, you can run a little faster than her, does not mean your survival instincts are any stronger than hers. This is a world that’s slanted towards the male and yet women are thriving – would it be the same if the tables were turned? Respect her and admire her strength and help her reach what she strives to reach – don’t dampen her spirits before she has even started.

#8: Don’t lie to us to make yourself feel better

Remember Her World and Cleo and how they make it sound like men are the cool dudes who are completely secure with themselves whilst we women are the ones who are constantly putting people down so that we feel better about ourselves? They were so wrong. I’ve met men who lie to me about the way their family sees me so that I will work harder at impressing them, men who’ve lied about beautiful ex girlfriends so that I’d feel like I’m not worthy and men who’d tell me things they claim their friends say about me just so that I’d feel like I’m not good enough for this guy, yet he’d stay with me (awww such a sweet guy). If you need an ego boost, please date a pre-schooler so you can constantly feel better about yourself. Beating someone down to make yourself feel better, is stupid, caveman behaviour and just plain ineffective.

#7: Don’t check out our girlfriends

I understand that men are naturally swingers and get easily distracted by pretty little things that walk around. But please spare our girlfriends. A good girlfriend is hard to come by and its even harder when you’d choose to check out or try to flirt with our girlfriends. If you do think they’re hot, good for you – but please try to wipe that dribble of saliva before we actually catch you in action. There are a thousand and one pretty girls walking around, please don’t choose our close friends. It not only makes it incredibly difficult for us to feel good about ourselves, its also extremely awkward to be the girlfriend who gets checked out by her friend’s boyfriend.

#6: Don’t diss our girlfriends

If you thought #7 was important, #6 is three times as important. If you think our girlfriends are skanky whores, it wouldn’t take you long to think we are the same. If you feel that our friends are sluts, it wouldn’t take you long to think we are sluts too. Our girlfriends are the ones we confide in about you, about the immense times we get our hearts broken and the ones we consulted before dating you, even. As such, dissing our girlfriends is equivalent to dissing us. Just like how you do not like it when we diss your buddies or pass scathing remarks about them, we do not appreciate your insensitive remarks.

#5: Don’t get overly sensitive

Yes, I understand that its the age of the SNAG but am I the only one who gets a little put off by men who cry, men who pour out their feelings, men who get emotionally hurt? No, I don’t want a caveman or a chauvinist but I still believe that its a little unsettling to see a man burst into tears when he feels hurt. Likewise, I am also irked by women who get overly emotional in relationships so it isn’t really a gender thing. I think that there should always be a level of calm that is maintained and if you choose to wear your emotions on your sleeve, then you bear the consequences. Seeing an overly sensitive man always puts me off because as it is,a relationship can be rather tiring what more with someone who is completely emotionally insecure.

#4. Don’t spend more time than us in front of the mirror

Yes everyone likes a presentable and hygienic guy. But my advice would be that you could stop at deodorant and hair wax. We don’t really want to see you carrying M.A.C around or having to re-do your hair every few hours. Leave the preening to us. I know we are hypocritical since we can spend hours and hours apply and re-applying our makeup but it just irks us to see you doing the same. I’ve been out with guys who check their appearances on reflective surfaces more often than me and it just disturbs me. Our last obsessions with pretty boys ended when we were 5 and played with Barbie and Ken.

#3: Don’t try to replace our ex boyfriends or anyone from our past

If we wanted to date our ex boyfriends, we would still be with them. We do not expect you try to fill up the shoes of someone who has left our life, we are with you because of who you are. Don’t get frustrated with yourselves if you cannot be the person who once used to be where you were – we leave relationships because we learn what we do and do not need through them and as such we are not looking for carbon copies. Do not then take it out on us when you feel like you cannot match up (or down) to people who were previously in our lives. Why put unnecessary pressure on yourselves and later blame us for it?

 #2: Don’t spin stories about us

We understand that boys get hurt sometimes. We also understand that stereotypes from ages ago have reiterated that boys shouldn’t cry. That doesn’t mean you go spin stories and bitch about girls because they have advertently or inadvertently hurt you. If you decide to broadcast a fact that has been true, I guess you’re entitled to do so. But to make up lies, such as that a girl gave you a **** in a taxi or that a girl has 40 over boyfriends (both completely fictitious examples my dear readers), makes one sound like an immature asshole and isn’t going to gain you brownie points from any girls unless the ones you’re interested in are as shallow as Barbie dolls.  People who think girls are the bitchier sex obviously haven’t met enough of the wrong type of men. Some men have amazingly vicious tongues and go on and on. I hope at some point they reflect and realise they too have mothers,sisters and daughters. What would YOU do if the same things were spewed about your family members?

#1: Treat us with RESPECT

No one’s asking you to open doors or pull out chairs. I always scold girls who insist on complete chivalry from their men because I think that at this day and age, chivalry is just a convenient delusion for us. We keep assuming there’s this perfect man who’d do all these things to make us swoon and keep striving till we get to him. REALITY CHECK – there isn’t and if there is, he’s probably gay, dead, taken or just trying to impress you for a quick lay. All we need is some respect. Listen to her when she speaks, respect her opinions and share with her what you think. Don’t expect her to be just a fixture in your life. If you want her to treat you with respect, then you got to take a step by treating her with respect as well. Make her know what she means to you and don’t allow her to be mistreated. Constantly try to understand her perspective and where she’s coming from and you’d come to realise that she’d be a lot more forgiving too.

The Fem-Male Divide

I have personally always found Vasantham Central programmes a pain to watch. I do believe that there is a lot of talent and Indians have a great deal of potential. Yet, I have never understood the need for long dreary serials, talkshows that do not provide proper discourse or ideas, poorly structured shows and shallow and superficial programmes. I would much rather spend my time on an online portal watching my favorite seasons of Will and Grace or Army Wives rather than click “05”. This is not, my dear readers, because I dislike Tamil. I love my mother tongue and am incredibly proud of it.

 I also would love to support an Indian channel because if we don’t then who will? But its so terribly painful to sit through any of their programmes except maybe the variety shows which are packed with songs and dances which require little intellectual processing.

There is this one particular show that has gotten on my nerves more than anything else has in quite awhile. This show called, “Aanaa, Penaa?”. This literally translated means, “Male or Female?”.  The main idea of the show is to get 3 male celebrities and 3 female celebrities and put them through a round of challenges which some unifying theme each week. This could be to either figure out if women are better singers or if men lie more than women. This and a few jing jang songs and medley items and voila! A show!

Now why does this seemingly harmless show irritate me? Because my friends, I feel that at this day and at this age, the male and female divide is no longer as distinct as we once considered it to be. The show as my sister would say seems to be so regressive in nature. I once did a Gender Studies module and I felt many of the stereotypes and assumptions I have made about gender get thrown out of the window during the course of that module. Men and women are not as different as we make them out to be. In fact, although we can attribute some small differences such as upper body strength and genitals, most of these distinctions we have between men and women are largely SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS.

We are in fact a lot more alike than different. The categories of male and female are as arbitrary as organising us ourselves according to racial groups, hair colour, blood types, handedness and even heights. These categorisations are here to organise society, not for us to base our distinctions and differences and determine who is superior or inferior.

As such, I feel that the person/s behind this show are either very very unaware of the fact that men and women are essentially not very different or are just have a very flippant attitude towards what goes on our televisions. This is what irritates me the most. We, the audience are not stupid people. There are so many things to talk about, so many ways to structure programmes. Yet, time and time again our intelligence is undermined with shows that do nothing to enhance our way of thought or for that matter even to provide us with something bearable and at the very least humorous to watch.

Another thing that irks me about this show is the immense amount of stereotypes the celebrities featured, lean on to “support” their sex. Such as the age-old joke about the Indian girl who lies to her mum about group study and goes clubbing, who changes her clothes from a long sleeved shirt to a tube. OR the jokes about Indian men and their numerous girlfriends. And other rubbish like this. I am not saying that these things don’t happen in society, but they are just getting very very stale and incredibly tiring to watch. Enough of assumptions and stereotypes, they are so stupid and make you sound stupid and make us the audience stupid for tuning into your channel when we could have easily rented a DVD or something.

Dear Vasantham Central and Production companies,

If any one of you, just one of you ever does read this blog, please.. I beg of you. Do something about this atrocity and joke we call a channel. There are so many issues to talk about, so many programs to feature. There are many themes for variety shows yet you choose to base your shows on the dumbest of them all. Please do the rest of us, your audience a favour and either stop shooting and wasting your money on such rubbish and just import programs or start looking carefully at your society and mirror what they want to hear and see. Reflect us, the people you represent. The people who have stories to tell. Not stories like those that appear in your dramas such as abusive husbands and long lost siblings who fall in love with each other, but REAL stories of REAL Indians. I appreciate that you have a vast amount of production and media experience. I on the other hand am a humble blogger who knows zilch about producing a show. But there is so much to be said and so much to be heard. You have great actors and actresses. Your child stars never fail to amaze me with their prowess in acting. But why aren’t their potentials being unleashed? Why is it that the kind of straightforwardness and amazing conceptualisation we see at dramas put up by our own Indian groups hardly show in televisions?

Give us a reason to support you. Start hiring people who realise that society is not a given but in fact just a template for understanding the world. People who choose to investigate society and not take everything at surface level. People who produce and want to make a difference. People who aren’t afraid of controversy. People who actually represent us, your people.

The television is an incredibly powerful medium to connect with your people. If there is anyone at all who can change and reform this society, it is you. Please do something!

Aarthi.

 

Knowledge is Power

If you love your country and feel that it is your right to know what happens, you must watch this. If you always thought your country was free and there was nothing to worry about, you must watch this. If you think your country has no moles, no secret police, no tyrants, you must watch this.

Knowledge is power and the more we know, the more we are empowered to fight against this. This is not a fight against our country, its a fight FOR our country. This film was made for a private screening. Yet the film was seized by MDA.

The film is about MM Lee and how has subjugated institutions within our country, hampering any progress towards a “free” nation. Its 45 minutes long, but I suggest you watch it before its lost in its circulation online as well (don’t assume the Internet is a free community).

The film is titled One Nation under Lee and is produced by fellow Indian and social activist Seelan Palay and Martyn See, film-maker.  Go to www.sheepcitytv.com and click on the first thumbnail to your left. Here are some excerpts from news articles that have been written about this incident.

Undeterred, the organisers pressed on with the screening today. Just before it began at 2pm, officers from the Board of Film Censors showed up at the door to serve the reminder. Still, the 45 minute video was screened in its entirety, interrupted periodically by raised voices outside the hall. Apparently, plainclothes police officers were called in to seize the video as the organisers had refused to budge.

Just as the screening ended, BFC officers were ushered into the hall, given microphones and were told to explain to the audience, numbering about 80, about their intentions. They didn’t use the PA system, but were heard uttering something about wanting to seize the video, which were eventually given to them. Minutes later, another government officer came in, muttering about wanting to see the projector. After being repeatedly told that he could not, he left in a puff.

Extracted from www.singaporerebel.blogspot.com

“The film, produced by activist and artist Seelan Pillay, was a narrative of how Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew subjugated various institutions in Singapore, such as the press, under the government’s control during his time as Prime Minister. It also depicted how the social divide in Singapore is a result of the People’s Action Party’s policies. The film included interviews with former Solicitor General Francis Seow, political detainee Said Zahari, opposition politician JB Jeyaretnam and scenes of various public protests which had taken place in Singapore”

Extracted from www.theonlinecitizen.com

“If it is an offence to screen such a film, then everyone with a birthday or wedding video would be criminalised,” Mr See said, adding that artists and writers must not be afraid to document and write when they see and hear.

He said that the film would be a “fantastic learning tool” for students and anybody who is interested in learning about Singapore should watch it.

Mr Seelan added that as an artist, he cannot care so much about laws. “Otherwise, art cannot take place. I need to make films about what I see and sometimes laws don’t allow that.”

Extracted from www.yoursdp.org

 

Do watch the film and hit me back with what you thought about it!

Social Constructs

I love my religion and my race. Nothing on earth could possess me to want to change being an Indian or a Hindu. I feel blessed for the language I speak is so complex yet so beautiful, for my dark skin, for my beautiful temples and artforms.

But when someone tells me that rites are rites and they are meant to be followed because they have some symbolism, I get very irked. Not that I feel that rites are not meant to be followed, but the issue of contention here was one example of a rite that has outlived its true value in today’s society. I felt very disturbed as much as I love my rich heritage, humanity is of paramount concern to me and if you asked me to protect one of the two; its the rights of a human and the happiness of that person I would choose to protect. So let me put this to you my beloved readers to decide. Do you think that the following issue is one we as Indians and Hindus should continue to protect and allow to be part of our culture. Many of you might debate that this is no longer an issue because of the era we are in, firstly this is NOT about whether the issue is still relevant but more so about whether it should be allowed to happen. Secondly, I will beg to differ as I know of many women who have had to endure the pains mentioned below.

Vidva

Vidva refers to the phase in a woman’s life when she very unfortunately becomes a widow. Indeed, we have passed the times of Sati (which is the burning of a widow along with her husband to denote that her life ends when his does). But the rites are still as painful for a Hindu woman undergoing this ordeal. In my opinion, its bad enough having lost your significant other, but to have to be forcefully reminded of these things is simply inhumane.

What are these painful rites I am talking about? The widow is dressed in her bridal wear that she wore on the day of her wedding. Other women would then rub the red kungkumam powder off her forehead, break her bangles and remove the jasmine flowers off her hair. If I am not wrong, she is also made to remove her thaali and throw it into milk (really cannot remember if this is true because I learnt about it a very long time ago).

Indeed, these rites do have a much more humane aim; which is to remind a woman that she is now a widow and to allow her to face reality much faster. Unfortunately I don’t think I am being critical when I say that these rites fail terribly. If at all, the woman is traumatised by this entire ordeal and never manages to fully recover from this. People don’t come to terms with death just through a terribly graphic rite like this, it takes time and healing of wounds before they can embrace the past.

And on a sidenote, I cannot understand why anyone would insist for a widow to go through these rites. But here’s the deal. It is often the other WOMEN who insist a woman undergoes these rites. How sad is that since you would expect one woman to understand another woman the best but why would they insist she inflicts such pain upon herself?

Similarly a widow is no longer allowed to dress in colors or allowed to participate in auspicious events. This makes absolutely no sense to me because last I remembered, this was a matter of heart and if you truly wish well for the people involved in these functions; you could never be inauspicious. And when on earth was your happiness solely dependent on your marital status? If anyone was to be inauspicious at such events, it would be all those gossipy aunties who are there just to see how much gold you have on or whether its a shotgun wedding.

So tell me now people, why do we still have such undesirable aspects in our society. How fair is this to the women or in fact to any married woman? My friend told me that this is only unfair because there aren’t similar rites for men. I disagree because this isn’t a matter of equal rights – no, this is about humanity. I would have reacted the same way if there were such rites for men too but there aren’t. Lets not look at issues of conflict, patriarchy and inequality though we all know they are deeply embedded within such practices. For a start, lets just have a scratch off the surface – humanity and compassion for a person who just lost a loved one.God didn’t preach or demand such practices to be in existence. These are SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS – determined by society and people at the top to dominate people at the bottom.

And to end on a lighthearted note – here’s an ad that pokes fun of the entire thing.

Life on the Fast Forward

How often have you wished you would grow up faster or a moment would speed by you so that you didn’t need to experience it any longer? I know I am guilty of it and many of us probably are. This post has been very much inspired by me watching Click (yes I am a little late I know). Initially there I was, wishing I had a remote control to fast forward me through all my painful moments, bad memories and things I simply didn’t want to experience.

Then you realise that everything that happens, makes you who you are right now. Be it a bad breakup or an incredibly horrible downtime, it moulds you and shapes you and makes you that much stronger. I met a friend and a friend’s friend for dinner recently. My friend’s friend got dumped by his girlfriend of 9 years and he was ranting about how painful it was and how he wanted his wounds to heal faster so he could forget her. But, I had to remind him that every minute of the healing process makes you a tad more enlightened and brings you to realise what you had been missing out and what you need to learn.

Imagine if you woke up today and actually missed 5 years of your life. Might have been 5 years worth of pain, 5 years worth of financial losses, 5 years worth of friendships lost. But in those 5 years, you’d have learnt so many more lessons, made so many more special bonds and found so many other things to be grateful for.

Cos what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and in the end it isn’t the pain that you remember, it’s where you end up and what you’ve learnt that defines you.

Now that probably doesn’t make very much sense to most of you but it’s something I’ve been reflecting upon and I’ve told myself life is only worth it if you live every moment to the fullest be it a good one or a bad one.

Now on a completely different note, thank you all for making my birthday a beautiful one. It was really amazing the lengths some people went to make me feel so loved. I hope to post some pictures of my gifts and all the beautiful flowers I got on both days soon enough (my 2nd sister got me a digicam so I might actually get to posting them!).

I hope you guys had fun and for those of you who were wondering, I WAS SOBER!

Tired

As much as I am so excited about my impending birthday I am so dead tired I cannot help but wonder if this is going to be my worst birthday ever. I seriously have to learn to start saying NO to people when they ask me to dance/work/partake in any activities.

On my birthday itself, I would be dancing as a favour to a friend for some show. Yes, I know, how sad right? Then there’s Samarpanam next week where Bavani very kindly got all the Girls from N.V to dance for the opening act. Fully classical item. (that’s next Saturday and I have no dance). There’s normal Sangae Muzhangu practice(will talk about this in another post) and there’s tuition as well as my usual dance classes which I have returned to after a 2 year hiatus. If all that isn’t enough, I agreed to relief teach at Bowen till the 20th of this month. So imagine what my days are like, I have suddenly forgot the meaning of Ladies Night, partying, late dinners and even sleep.

I’m really on the verge of dropping dead and I’m praying I last the next 3 weeks at least cos the burden eases. Suddenly going onto 2nd year seems a lot more fun than the holidays. I want to pull my hair out.

Now that was to get it all out of my system and to apologise for the many outings and appointments I’m missing. The many abruptly ending phone calls, SMS replies that never see the light of anything but my drafts section in my handphone and the many moodswings(especially to those very close to me).

It’s either I’d be out of my mind by the end of this month or I’d drop dead. I don’t know which sounds more enticing right now. Bleah.

On a lighter note, this song suddenly makes a lot of sense.

“Everything You Want”
Vertical Horizon

Somewhere there’s speaking
It’s already coming in
Oh and it’s rising at the back of your mind
You never could get it
Unless you were fed it
Now you’re here and you don’t know why

But under skinned knees and the skid marks
Past the places where you used to learn
You howl and listen
Listen and wait for the
Echoes of angels who won’t return

Chorus
He’s everything you want
He’s everything you need
He’s everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don’t know why

You’re waiting for someone
To put you together
You’re waiting for someone to push you away
There’s always another wound to discover
There’s always something more you wish he’d say

Chorus

But you’ll just tight
And watch it unwind
It’s only what you’re asking for
And you’ll be just fine
With all of your time
It’s only what you’re waiting for

Out of the island
Into the highway
Past the places where you might have turned
You never did notice
But you still hide away
The anger of angels who won’t return

Chorus
I am everything you want
I am everything you need
I am everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
I say all the right things
At exactly the right time
But I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why
And I don’t know why
Why
I don’t know

 

No folks I am not going through any kind of withdrawals of any sort but I’ve met someone recently who seems to be everything a girl could possibly dream of having and he does mean a lot to me. But not as much as I would have expected him to mean. Is it him or is it me? I really don’t know. Maybe I don’t want the perfect guy. Maybe I want someone whose imperfections I can seek comfort in.

I’m definitely holding myself back from this person as much as I know how wonderful anything with this person would be. Not that I intend to skip right into one any time soon but even the thought of a relationship puts me off. I don’t know if it’s because of this one person or maybe I’ve become highly disillusioned that it doesn’t matter even if Cupid smacks me right across the eye.

It’s so scary when you have something so perfect, lacking all those annoying complexities and complications and all your eyes are set on is trouble,trouble and more trouble.

This is about the most confusing entry to make it to the new blog. Congratulations Aarthi.