Monday, 8 February 2021

Feminism? No, thank you!

 Feminist, I was. Most of the days, there I was in college reading silently books and magazines that talked about the feminist movement and the oppressive state of women, irrespective of the society, western or eastern. It infuriated me to know the troubles my ancient sisters and mothers had to go through, all just because of the injustice caused by men. 

I was scared of men. The inappropriate touching by some older relatives or the groping incidents that happened even while walking with friends or family, made my disgust for men stronger, so quickly.

All that…till I grew up, till I started walking in the real world. The enemy is not always men. It is quite the contrary. 9 out of ten times it’s a woman-has been so for me. I was oblivious to the danger that was awaiting me. I was prepared to fight with men. Oh, I was so prepared. But, everywhere I worked it was women who started war. Always using their nasty weapons -their jealous soaked eyes and an ugly tongue- behind your back.

It is the obvious battle that I can win, at least has a chance to win. How do you fight some women –supposedly accomplished women: PHDs & with seniority and with tenure! How the hell does that go? It was all downhill for me, obviously.

I handled it as calm as I could. I was never disturbed-not visibly- by their imaginative, sad little rat poop brain that never stopped spreading rumors. They made me feel like a celebrity though. I thought it would fade away eventually but it never did. Still, I didn’t care. Never bothered to confront the ‘big ass’ culprit and the sleep deprived- deranged- clinically depressed-psycho. (It feels so nice to say their real names here J)

Well, my indifference fanned the fire. Since they could not move me to do anything bad or unprofessional, the beastly, psychopaths of women turned against the team leader, a man. 

He is an embodiment of goodness, innocence and spiritual strength. All useless qualities for a leader, esp. one who has to manage a bunch of women. It is so easy now to make a complaint against a guy, doesn’t matter if he is guilty or innocent. He is screwed, big time!

Now, one of the women becomes the team leader. They were so thrilled to fight me. First, they tear away my cabin, throwing all my stuff into boxes, without even telling me. One weekend I went back to work to see Nothing where I used to sit. I said Nothing.

The most painful thing for me to do was to step into her office- to show respect to her in any form or manner. I did not want to.

I quit, the job I was so proud of to have gotten. But, it was the Best day ever!

I could have been like the Underdogs there, licking at all asses to survive. They feed on the puss that ooze from the asses they lick.  Absolute Eww! (it is this kind that thrives there)

I could have fought back and let the world know of the truth. I tried though. Informed the higher officials about my plight. Sadly, they were men. What could they do, up against a bunch of rogue women?

At least they protected me by letting go of me as per my request. 

Men cause problems too, but not like these sneaky, conniving things, that plot, plan and spread their evilness in small, subtle yet destructive way. Destructive not just to their prey but I believe to their own overall wellbeing.

Bottom line: Women are may be weaker but definitely Scarier than Men.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

How not to deal with 'Death'

 I know it’s been long since I wrote anything. Definitely not writer’s block. The reason why I write here is just to put it out there and for some time I couldn’t, because I don’t handle pain well. Well, to explain better, when something painful happens I go numb. I don’t react or go through the due course of a normal healing process. I simply shut down the inside of me.

October 5th 2018 my mom passed away. She was just 65. I had recently got a job at a reputed college in the city, got admission for Ela in one of the best schools here and even had planned to moved into a new place closer to her school. On the night of 4th October my mom called as I was packing up stuff and instead of talking to her I asked Ela to do that, which she did.

 I called my mom the next morning as  I went to check out the new place. This time she didn’t answer and I thought may she was still asleep as it was just around 8 am.

 I found a small temple nearby. I am not a fan of temples in the city, unless it is on top of a hill. But that morning I stepped into the temple and just sat there for some time. Later, I went home and dozed off as I had taken the day off and as I was pretty tired from the packing. By noon my mom called and I disconnected the call.

She called again and again, By the third time I was a little mad and wanted to go back to sleep. She called again. I knew I couldn’t sleep anymore (little did I know for many years to come) I answered the call and was confused as I heard a man’s voice on the other end. It was my cousin’s friend. He says Hi it’s me, his name. I said okay, a lot confused. He says your mom had passed away. I thought I didn’t hear him well and asked what…what…over and over again. Then I heard him.

 I remember crying a little bit screaming “MOM, MOM” It was for a few seconds. I calmly packed a bag, booked a cab, went to pick up Ela from school. When I went to the school Ela was so happy to see me. I told her we were going to Madurai. I still remember her big smile hearing the news. That’s when I tell her Vijaya passed away. Her face was frozen. She cried all the way to home in the cab. Home, Madurai. I did not feel anything. I was lost somewhere. After four hours we reached home. Saw my sister crying her eyes out sitting next to my dead mother, who was kept in an ice box. I did not want to see my mom that way and I didn’t.

I learnt that she had died may be early in the morning that day, while I was checking out the new house and was spending quiet time at the temple. My cousin’s friend had seen her lying on the floor by sometime near noon from the road, through her bed room’s window. He was suspicious and had come into the house. She had gone long time back. That’s when he had called me.

A husband, 3 daughters and 3 grand kids, but died alone.

But then, the house was filled with people, crying and crying. I didn’t like it a bit. I kept myself busy by going to the coffee shop and getting snacks and tea for the guests, then breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever. I even spent a lot of time playing with the kids (of my many cousins) who had come down from different places. I was so okay. I couldn’t wait for the stupid rituals to be over.

I felt an unswallowable lump of a shit load of emotion when I saw my baby screaming my mom’s name with the never ending flow of tears from her eyes. I kept telling her that it was fine it was okay and that she was with us.

My mom was still kept in that fucking box. I think they were waiting for my other sister to come home. Don’t remember. It was night and I went to my mom’s room, slept in her bed. I was aware that she had just died there that day, by her bed on the floor. I felt nothing, just slept there peacefully.

The next day was the worst. ( I realise it, but honestly,the day after my mom’s death was the worst) The fucking horrible rituals! God I just wanted the whole thing to be over. The sad crowd in the house and the stupid strangers who were hired to do the rituals…the meaningless, bull shit rituals. My mom was carried out of the house, was kept on the road in front of it. With all the passers by on the road and the also sad, curious neighbors, the hired men giving instructions to us to carry a stupid pot with water, to go around my mom three times, to apply oil on her feet…it was all fucked up. Too many meaningless shit. All the daughters and the grand kids were even asked to walk to a nearby public pay toilet to take a bath (there were no bathrooms there!) Yes, that is what you should do. Your mom dies and you go to a fucking public toilet to take a bath.

May be ages ago it made sense to take a bath in the river after your loved one was carried away to be cremated. But to do that even now…idiots. I was an idiot too, to comply with that. I just wanted it to all be over.

So, after we took a nice, clean bath in the toilet, we had to walk all the way to home in wet clothes, with people on the road staring at us. There were all sad of course, to see an entire family wailing over their unspeakable loss.

I was very relieved. But still wanted all the relatives to leave. I wanted things to get back to normal again.

One of my sweetest aunts came to me and said so softly with lots of love and concern…Cry Skyla…let it out. I said I was fine with a smile on my face.

Ela and I came back home the next week. I went back to work, sent Ela to school. Everything seemed okay.

I started to feel something unpleasant. I couldn’t smile anymore, not at my colleagues whom I despised and not at my students whom I loved. I didn’t even feel like facing them. Anyway had to work, had to pay the damn bills. I remember once I even sent the entire class out to complete some group task, and I sat in the empty classroom thinking about running away. Didn’t know where though.

 It all went downhill from there. I lost interest in teaching, lost interest in going out or facing reality. But still didn’t feel anything and I couldn’t cry.

Weeks gone and months, I had to drink to cry and it felt great! It was very nice to cry thinking about her. A few tears but felt relieved a little.

I was (am)  so numb inside for long now. I did all my work though, did everything I needed to do everyday.

Last week, after two years, I consciously have stopped blocking thoughts about her. I still avoid seeing her picture.  Can’t do that. I know something’s wrong with me, but no idea what to do.

At least I could write about it now. May be there is hope for me.

I want to believe that. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

To Freedom!

The dumbest decision I ever made was to marry someone I knew for a short while, and the even dumber decision was sticking to that life for almost 7 years.
I tried it all to make it work. Talking doesn’t always help, neither does therapy or counseling. It was the greatest feeling when I left, when I walked out of my marriage. I had already found a humble house for rent. Took the day off from work, spent a few hours to box the necessary things (of mine) and by evening I had left the big, beautiful house where I had the ugliest memories of my adult life.
It was pure joy to live alone, to be in charge of everything,  most importantly to live where no one to strangulate me or punch me in my face.

The downside of it though, of living alone…A to Z of the household responsibilities need to be carried out by me. In a way it is fun, but sometimes it is such a pain in the ass. Going to work every day so that bills can be paid, paying the bills (itself is a task indeed ), making meals, getting things to make meals, but the most irritating task of all is to fix what is broken. And things always break – it’s either the fan or the blender or the door. There is always a new errand to run. You know how I see it? It is like God feels bad for all the regular problems I have and gives me a new problem once in a while to solve, to make life more interesting. 
It sucks, but I would never trade this life for what I had before.

Family : Now and Then.

I grew up in a family of eleven - my parents (both of them), my dad’s brother, his wife and their three children, and my two sisters, and our grandma! It was a complete madhouse most of the times. Everything was a battle, to get the remote, even to get a chair to sit in. Those days an average household had just 3 or 4 chairs.  You gotta be loud you gotta be fierce or you get lost in the crowd.
Family type started to change then, from a joint or extended family ( with dad’s sibling/s’ family, and with grand parents) to neutral family. Now, along with the type, the number too has changed so drastically low. Single parent with one child. My generation is witness to this huge transformation- Me from growing up in a family of 11 to possess a precious family of 2 including myself.
Sometimes it breaks my heart to see how our value system lost its luster. I don’t blame the increasing  divorce rate alone for this change. We are after money and we relocate without thinking about the family we leave behind for that. There’s also no point in reminiscing or blaming it on some reason.

Even if it is a big family, even if you live with your both the parents or grandparents…with the work set up we all leave in the morning and come back late in the evening. We spend just few hours with our loved ones. That is sad.
Solution: Quality time and variety of experiences!
My 12 year old daughter and I spend the morning hour to get ready to leave for school and work. It is the busiest time of the day for us, yelling and running are basically the routine. And in the evening we spend may be 3 or 4 hours before her bedtime. I compensate the lack of family members and the lack of our together time by spending quality time with her. Sitting on the balcony, looking at the stars while listening to our favorite songs with our choice of drinks in hand and candles all around us- a perfect example of a quality time with her! (of course we fight too over the songs ilayaraja vs something loud and dumb)

For no fault of hers she has no dad and I have to take the extra mile to fill the void. At least I have to try.
A few months back we took a long ride to Madurai from Coimbatore with her riding pillion. It was a strenuous 5 hour ride because of the snacks breaks and the pee breaks, but a new experience. That’s the ‘variety’ I meant earlier. 
With quality/variety we can compensate the missing hours, or even missing relationships.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Love is...

I remember admiring my akka’s feet when I was little, they were milk white and bright. Mine were dark and with even darker patches. Comparing my body to others did more harm than good to my self esteem in my teen – the middle child with a fairest older sister and an even fairer younger sister. I avoided looking at my feet as they did not give me any good feeling.

 I neglected them. This continued for years. 

After a pedicure from a professional they looked all healthy and shiny, but that lasts hardly for a week. Then back to the blackness. I couldn’t afford that personal service regularly and it seemed like too much work for me to do it myself at home. 

I did not want to let this bother me anymore. 

I started scrubbing my feet when I shower, with a natural loofah that costs less than fifty rupees... just for a few seconds, but everyday. After shower I sit on my bed with my foot above the knee of my other leg. With moisturized hands I massage my foot.  My slithery fingers gently rubbing my foot, one toe at a time. With both my  thumbs I firmly rub each toe from bottom to the nail end.

 I do this only for a minute,  but my entire body feels incredibly relaxed.

Someone said “Love” is “Paying attention” We pay attention if we truly love it. You have a plant, if there’s love then you will water it daily, check if it is getting enough sunlight,  clear out the dead leaves from the pot and so on. That is how you watch it grow, not by abandoning it. 

 Let's pay attention to the body part we have been ignoring for years and change its story.       
 No naughtiness intended ;)

The Bug!

A small mistake can bring about disastrous consequences.

I love Animals! I was ecstatic not when I had sex or when I gave birth to a baby girl (no offense Ela, maybe it was the heavy sedation that didn’t let me feel anything). I felt so alive and sensed the force go through my veins and all through my body, when I held a snake in my hands. It was non venomous, but a big one. When everyone was looking curiously at the snake but cautiously standing away, I pleaded the snake catcher to give the snake to me for a minute. The snake wrapped around my arm and it was so nice to feel that beautiful but very strange creature so close to me.

I always find it easier to be around animals. I don’t even kill geckos at home, as they feed on mosquitoes. 

Last month Ela and I started to get small rashes in our arms. It was very itchy and we scratched the hell out of our skin. After a couple of days we were fine again. Later, I found out that it was because of a tiny bug. So every time I saw that in the house I scooped it up and threw it out.

One day when I was already exhausted cleaning the house I noticed this bug under the sheets. It made me so angry that I just squished it with my fingers, and went with the cleaning work.

The next morning…



Thinking it would be fine soon I went to work. The swelling got only bigger and worse. People at work were grossed out as they thought I had conjunctivitis.


  The pain, the itching, the classic black eye look that i had adorned several times in my married life and having to deal with it alone,acting like everything was fine... It felt like I hit rock bottom.

After spending  a few hundred money and a few more days of hiding from the public eye, it got better.

A tiny damn bug…was not the problem actually. I will not blame the bug.

 I killed it with my fingers and didn’t wash my hands and that had brought all the trouble. Small mistake of mine that caused me great stress.

 Snakes I can handle, but some devious tiny “bug” I scream.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Me and Them.

                   Picking a side - how hard is it?! It is always  a struggle for me. At work, at home, you have to be with someone, be part of a group, stand with them so that they can stand with you too. I can’t and don’t want to be identified with others. I function better alone. And I hate that. This is not because I lack people’s skills, I think. I need my space, and my ways.  

                   Seeking good friendship was the biggest step I took recently.  Have you ever had the feeling, when you are with a group of people, of being not like them, and wondered what is wrong with you?  If the answer is yes then, Good, I am not alone. It can do a lot to you when you don’t feel ‘at home’ with anyone, be it friends or family. You feel special but at the same time, also like a weirdo.   

Yesterday when Ela was talking about her day (which we do every evening) she was telling me how her friend yelled at for a simple mistake. She had dropped her friend’s book and when she picked it up she touched the book and her chest only two times and not three.   

 (btw if you don’t know what I am   talking about….It is a thing we do in this country…when you drop something, especially a book, you need to feel sorry that you dropped it, you touch it and then touch your heart ideally 3 times and that's how you apologize to the book.)   
  This had upset her friend. She thought I would be on her side and be mad at her friend for her bossiness. Instead I was displeased with Ela, I said why did she even have to do something meaningless and silly like that, twice or thrice that didn’t matter. “If you drop something, all you need to do is pick it up,” I said to her. She looked at me for a few seconds and asked me,” Why do you have to be different? Everyone in school does it. Everyone in our family does it. Only you don’t!” She was not mad at her friend anymore. Her question left me frozen. I didn’t know what to tell her.
My dad told me once, when I was 14 or 15, that it is okay to want to be “different, to not to comply” but then everything that follows will also be different and you should be okay with that.  Now I know what he meant. 

Feminism? No, thank you!

  Feminist, I was. Most of the days, there I was in college reading silently books and magazines that talked about the feminist movement and...