Thursday, December 29, 2016

It’s a man’s world, but I really don’t think I’d want to be a man

I’m pretty sure there’s this recurring thought that passes through every girl’s mind every now and then, even if not very seriously… life would be so much easier if I was a guy!

This could happen when you’re stuck in office late night, and are fretting over how you’ll make it home. Or when you think twice before getting onto a sparsely crowded bus with only men. It happens when you get left out of a dirty men’s joke in office, or when your parents refuse to give you permission to go clubbing in Delhi. It happens every time you hear about learning to make a round chapatti, and it definitely happens when you’re on a road trip with a painfully full bladder and no clean restroom in sight for miles.

But then, there are times that I imagine life as a guy in this world, and I feel so much insane pressure that I feel very happy to be exactly who I am.

All the way from when we were kids, I always felt that a guy could be the best in studies, or a talented singer, but the one thing on which he was judged by peers always somehow came down to how he was at cricket. Because that’s what all the boys in school did during all their breaks. Every boy wanted to bat, and the ones who weren’t athletic enough were banished to field endlessly. But not playing was not an option. It’s what boys do.

And this display of physical masculinity doesn’t change through life. Sure, you can move onto tennis or snooker or some sport that suits you more. But I don’t think it’s still very acceptable for a man to claim he doesn’t like to play any sport at all. He’s judged. Way more than I am judged when I make the same statement. Because it’s easy to assume that I’m a delicate girly girl who wouldn’t want to break a nail. (That isn’t the real reason, though. I actually just suck at anything that needs hand eye coordination. So I’d rather just spend my time reading… Why spend time being bad at something when I can spend that time enjoying something instead?). But if a guy my age makes the same statement, I’ve seen the judgemental looks he gets.

Looks that are almost as bad as the derogatory jokes about men who can’t grow beards (yeah, like that’s a bloody talent!), men who have some effeminate characteristics (“woh jo gay hai?!” Let’s not even get started with everything wrong with the words and tone of that sentence), the rare guy who chooses to stay at home and take care of the household and kids while the wife earns instead. Like what’s with the pressure of being the man of the house?! In today’s world, why must the guy earn more, and be the decision maker of the house? What if he doesn’t want to be? What does 'Be a man!' even mean?!

When I chose to move to Mumbai before my marriage, A took a transfer to join me. I thought it was super sweet of him to change for me. But I didn’t think it was out of the world to expect him to. But the world did. The concept of a guy moving for a girl instead of vice-versa was very amusing to a lot of people, who let their thoughts be known rather openly by their smirks and jokes. A took it rather well, I’d say, and for that I’ll always be thankful to him. But what a load of crap to have to deal with to begin with!

And then I think, the worst of the lot. Boys don’t cry. Like, why the hell not? Why are little boys told to not behave like a girl? One small sentence to insult both boys and girls in one go. Just as bad as it is to say that you have to be careful with what you say to women or they’ll start crying, it’s horrible to expect men to not cry. It’s a bloody natural reaction. Stop gender-ising it!

Wow this ended up a very long post.
But like I said, it pretty much sucks to be a guy in this world.
Not that being a girl is a hoot.
But about time people realized feminism isn’t just about women, no?
Like really, about time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Year That Was... Again!

It’s that time of the year again… time for the annual round up of all moments happy and crappy! And some bullet points, because if you know me even one tiny bit, you know I love bullet points!!
  • This year started full of promises (like every year now and then, smirking and deceiving)… with a major annual vacation on the cards, awesomeness at work with another promotion and a generally happy 2015. As it turns out, it had quite a few surprises in store for me.
  • My health took a massive toll, complete with chronic tiredness, a back spasm and imported chicken pox.
  • My sweet lil ‘cozy’ house decided to enter its teenage years, and became a rebellious brat. Over the year we’ve dealt with leaking roofs, fungus on every surface with a special repeated love for my clothes, remotes that creepily decided to malfunction together, the magical cupboard where watches slowed down by an hour, light switches that commited suicide, and a very moody tube light that decided to function when you least expected it to.
  • Work, well, I’ll continue to follow the policy of not talking about work here. Let’s just say that despite a great start, satisfaction levels were rather low, and plummeted quite a bit as the year wore on.
  • I feel like I spent half the year literally sitting in an Uber on my way to or from office. But let me just say, that’s better than driving, or standing squished in the train. I think.
  • The last two months have been spent crazily house hunting, trying to reduce my dedicated love affair with Uber… but at the moment there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for that one. Oh well.
  • On the bright side, I started my tete-a-tete with Europe finally this year, and spent a beautiful two weeks exploring the ruins of Italy, the beautiful coast, and DDLJ sceneries of Switzerland. Until I managed to catch chicken pox, but that’s another story.
  • I’ve changed jobs, and, well, that’s that.
  • I had my first article published on a site I’d been devouring for years, and if nothing else, it felt timely.
  • I’ve experienced more joy than ever before with fostering more and more kittens. There have been ups and downs, some helped much more, and some with pure bad luck which resulted in complete helplessness from our side. And more than enough days you come home after a tiring day and find stuff overturned and on the floor and feel irritated at how the house smells. But then the kitten looks up at you innocently, and cuddles onto your lap and goes to sleep. And at that moment, everything, the whole year, is completely worth it.

Overall, this year has been a mixed bag, where I found it easier to remember the crappy stuff than the nice ones. But as per my theory (yes, another one!!), I alternate in my awesome and bawl-some years, so 2017, you’re eagerly and positively awaited!

I mean, no pressure.

But just be awesome, ok?

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Cho-Cha Returns!

Sometimes, I truly believe that when I have kids, specially a daughter, I won’t bother reading fairy tales to them. Not that I have anything against the Grimm brothers. On the contrary, their non-edited gory versions of the stories aren’t that different from my own writing (glass shoe full of blood because toes were cut off to fit the foot in…man!). But I do believe a large part of the dream of Prince Charming and happily ever after starts off at a very young age thanks to books like these. Growing up, Rom-Coms don’t help, and Bella Swan swooning over vampires and werewolves definitely takes feminism back quite a few years.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against romantic stories or happy endings, I DID read the entire Twilight series rather eagerly after all. But I do believe a lot of important things in life should not revolve around finding your Prince Charming. I hope you find your love, if that’s what you want, and live happily ever after. But I also hope that your own happiness doesn’t only depend on the ever after.

Take my love for American Chopsuey, for example.

American Chopsuey (which is frankly more Indian by now than American or Chinese) is one of the least liked dishes on a Chinese menu in India. The biggest reason being the fact that it’s sweet, and that’s rarely liked by spicy Indians.

On the other hand, it’s one of my favourite dishes.

But the biggest issue with the dish is the size of the serving, which is almost always too massive for one measly human being to devour. And thanks to that, I was always on the look-out for someone to share the dish with. While at home, my sister and I became best friends at the time of this meal and happily shared what no one else really liked. But once out of Delhi, I suddenly found myself Chopsuey-less.

And so it came to be… the random crazy belief that the one way I’ll know that a guy really is perfect for me, is if he also likes American Chopsuey.

Ya, go figure.

Years and multiple relationships (both Chopsuey-full and Chopsuey-deprived) later, of course this sounds beyond stupid.

And yesterday, having heard my sister recite similar Chopsuey-longing troubles (sans the silly Perfect guy theory, duh) it suddenly hit me.

I didn’t need a guy’s true love to be able to hog on American Chopsuey.
I just needed my own.

Sure I might not be able to finish it, but that’s what doggy bags are meant for!
Sure I’m about to gain weight.
And maybe give my sweet tooth an ache.
But I think it’s time to bring the Chopsuey Challenge back, no?

So whether alone, or with A (who will definitely be ordering something else!), or maybe with you, I’m gonna hog on a whole lot of American Chopsuey!

Know a place in Mumbai worth trying? Let me know!!

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