— ism, nayyirah waheed (via nayyirahwaheed)
— ism, nayyirah waheed (via nayyirahwaheed)
I like it when I wake up well before he does and sit next to him curled up in deep slumber. My fingertips feel the softness of his (not so) baby face. I admire his long, thick lashes framing his closed eyes, my own breathing relaxing in sync with his slow breaths. I take his small hand in mine, a little shocked at how fast his fingers have grown. I feel his rough palm and feel guilty that I’m not doing enough for his eczema. I want to click a picture of his sleeping self because I want to remember this peace, at a time he turns the house upside down. I want to remember this moment when I’m feeling less grateful in life, for giving me this chance to have a trusting little human being lying next to me on the bed. I want to remember this moment of quiet when he drives me up the wall calling me “Mummy Mummy” at least a dozen times per second, when he wants to show me the new level he has ‘cracked’ on some iPad game. This sleeping innocent face also stabs my heart with the blunt knife of guilt as I recall the times I’ve been impatient and upset with him.
I know he’ll wake up any moment- going from zero to hundred in a matter of seconds- first asking what day of the week it is- so he can plan his schedule accordingly! I can’t help but smile as I type this. And then he’ll protest, “no bath” and then the day will tumble into endless disagreements, negotiations and arbitrations because that’s how a four year old is. Once baby boys grow into boisterous kids, they don’t stay still and they have their own ideas as to how everything in the world must be done. You cannot hold them in your arms for more than a few seconds. Life is exploration on the fast lane and there’s no time to give mummy a long hug - so all mummy can do is to put all her work aside, and enjoy these quiet minutes with her little boy while he dreams about monsters, Mia and mummy with wings.
This is easily the most precious part of my day.
Tata Motors in collaboration with Blogadda had this innovative initiative of giving this yet to be released in the market car to select bloggers to test drive it over 3 days and share our experiences. The vehicle is yet to be officially launched. Some of the stand out features that this comes with are:
Here’s what we found-
I’m talking about this utterly sensuous song from the movie Rocky - Kya Yahi Pyar Hai, sung by Kishore Kumar & Lata Mangeshkar.
First of all, it is filmed on Sanjay Dutt in his baby (baba) avatar who is paired with the uber-sexy Tina Munim. Why didn’t anyone tell the director that it’s like the Beauty and the Buffoon revisited?
There’s Sanjay Dutt trying out his smoldering sexy look at Tina (check opening of song) and all I can say is *CRINGE*!
Then, there’s Sanjay Dutt in dungarees. As though his face and his juvenile expressions weren’t enough to make it obvious that he’s an overgrown baby with arrested (mental) development.
Clearly, only Tina’s stylist was paid. It’s 1981 and her clothes are anything but the crazy ‘clowny’ stuff Bollywood actresses of those days wore. She’s looking drop dead gorgeous. I’m willing to pardon her non-sexy expressions. She was facing the buffoon after all.
And then the scene at 1:50 where Sanju Baba is behaving like a kid throwing a tantrum in a supermarket, just that this is worse, on the edge of the river / stream.
Oh and the stoned simian dance steps at 3:44, sorry to call them dance steps though, he gives serious competition to this one .
I’m sorry if you saw the video because of this post. I’m willing to gather some negative karma on that one, because seeing the video totally ruined it for me. Now I’m back to listening to it purely on audio.
I am 11 years old traveling by myself from Wadala to Matunga, barely a 15-minute bus ride in a BEST bus. My grandparents think I am independent and capable enough to undertake this short journey by myself, which I am. I get up from my seat and wait in the corner of the gangway of this double decker bus, a couple of stops in advance, so I don’t miss my stop. Just as my stop is about to come, I move towards the edge, and I get this intensely uncomfortable feeling that something is just not right. The bus conductor is holding me back while displaying mock good intentions of not allowing a ‘kid’ to alight from a running bus (which I wasn’t) and holding me back by squeezing my nearly non-existent breast from behind me. The grope lasted for all of a few seconds, but the effect of it has clearly not been forgotten even though nearly 25 years have passed by.
I remember getting down from the bus with my heart beating right outside my chest, feeling horribly disgusted, wishing I had stomped the conductor’s foot badly before getting down from the bus. I remember walking from the stop to my great-grandmom’s house with the quickest possible steps I could manage, staying along the extreme sidelines of the footpath. It took me a long while to gather courage to get out in a bus on my own.
At home, it was the unsaid rule (and sometimes said aloud) that girls had to dress extremely conservatively. I think I wore my first pair of pants, after childhood, straight in my early twenties. All through adolescence, it was only loose tent-like salwar kurtas, which could easily accommodate two of me, and a dupatta of course. This dress code was only slightly short of an abaaya. I do remember having some knee length skirts, which I wore once in a while. It would always confuse me why knee length skirts were okay while full-length jeans were not. I still don’t understand the rationale behind this.
Regarding dress code, this one incident sticks in my head more than any other. It was the class picnic from the class ten coaching classes, to a beach in the outskirts of Bombay, boys and girls combined. My group of girl friends had decided to wear denim. I meekly nodded my head, too embarrassed to admit that my family didn’t let me wear jeans so I didn’t have a pair. That one denim skirt I had, would be my saviour, I thought. The evening before the picnic, I wouldn’t let the non-availability of an agreed-upon dress code dampen my enthusiasm. I was ironing my denim skirt when my grandfather walked in on me and asked why I was ironing it. I told him it was for the picnic the following day. I was bluntly told that either I was wearing a salwar kurta or I wasn’t going to the picnic. Although I had my share of rebellious streaks, I was too afraid to ask him ‘Why?’ and lose out on the chance of enjoying the one day I had been looking forward to, since weeks. I was so angry with them then. Now, I realise they did what they thought was best. They wanted me to be safe. Just that they didn’t realise, whether I wore a mini skirt, or an all-covering salwar kurta, daughters will be groped, just for the simple reason that she is a girl. So I finally went to the beach picnic wearing a salwar kurta, and I remember having a lot of fun and also the heartbreak that my best friend spent more time with another girl than me.
I am 16 and in college. My best friend is my bus-friend. She lives close to my house and we study in the same class. We meet daily, midway to the bus-stop, walk to the stop together and get into the bus from the starting point and sit next to each other. This routine is sacred to me. It is a short ride, not more than 20 minutes followed a 15-minute walk to the college. But all it takes is a few seconds to be groped and be scarred for life.
I would dread the days when she was unwell or was taking the day off, which meant that there was a 50% chance that a guy would sit next to me in the bus and a 25% chance that he would try to keep pushing himself closer to me even if I squeezed myself into the window to keep maximum distance between us. But having a bus-buddy was not the entire solution, there was always the chance that if you sat on the aisle seat, some standing passenger will try and rest his ugly posterior on your shoulder and it will stick to you even after the entire bus gets empty and there are empty seats for the taking. This standing passenger could also be the conductor, who in his donkey’s years of traveling by the bus, standing, needs to take the support of a young girl’s shoulder to stand in a slow-moving bus.
Soon, I realised that public transport is something I cannot avoid in the city and I cannot live in this perpetual fear of being groped or pinched or nudged. I formulated the flowchart in my head.
a. Always try and take the ladies’ seat
b. Make sure a lady occupies the ladies’ seat next to me, because there are guys who would insist on sitting in the ladies’ seat and give you the excuse that there are women sitting on the general non-reserved seats.
c. If a guy sits next to me, I’d give him a stern look as soon as he took the seat, to give him the signal that he’s dealing with a no-nonsense person.
d. At the slightest indication of the guy trying to get close to me, I’d tell him in a stern yet polite voice to keep his distance from me.
e. If he was the more shameless types, I’d tell in a loud and clear voice “Theek se nahi baith sakte kya?” so fellow passengers can hear this. This last resort tactic made quite a few people get off the bus in embarrassment, especially if they were the suited-booted ‘executive’ type people to start with.
May be because it was Bombay, I’ve never had to do anything beyond this. Just voicing out my anger loudly was good enough to shake these cowards off my back.
The point I’m trying to make is that all this was in Bombay, good localities, broad daylight, fully covered me, non-crowded public transport. Not a shady lane with pubs post 10 pm or skimpily clad me. Because, no matter what you wear, how good the locality, how bright the morning is, there will be dirty minds waiting around any corner to pounce on you. The only reason being -you have two X chromosomes and the XY chromosome reads this as an open invitation to abuse.
Much later in Bombay in my late 20s, I used to be chauffeured around in a car thanks to a much caring and indulgent husband. When we used to drive past certain areas, I’d feel the piercing stares of the men right through the raised windows. They can be trusted to make you feel naked and insecure even in a locked car. And then I would watch the girls walking on that street, scuttling away as fast as they could, dupattas completely wrapped around them knowing fully well that the lecherous stares of the loafers in the street can pierce through many layers of clothing. I’d feel slightly better at having this protected life and sad for the girls who had no option but to walk down those streets everyday, to be molested by the bystanders with their eyes and words on a daily basis and something with their hands.
Today, I feel thankful I didn’t grow up in a family with a chauffer driven car, or even a car for that matter. It was always buses and trains and only in the most indulgent of times, cabs or autos. It exposed me to the big bad world. It taught me that I must shout out loud at the first possible doubt that something is not right. Now, I feel brave enough to take the public transport in any city. This exposure early on in life made me strong enough to protect my younger sister in a long-distance train, like a brother would. When walking / running on the street by myself, I plug in my noise-cancelling headphones with music on full volume so I don’t hear the blood-boiling remarks these guys sometimes mouth when they pass us by, for the sole reason that we are women walking on the street. I prefer to shut out these voices only to avoid myself from getting into street fights every time I walk alone on a street.
A few days ago, when I saw news pouring from all sides about the 17 year old girl molested in Guwahati, all the buried scars started to feel fresh and I wanted to write about them. There’s no comparison of course, hers is an awfully terrifying story. No, I didn’t see the video. I don’t have that kind of courage or crazy curiosity. You can shut down pubs entirely, prohibit liquor, block porn websites, make it compulsory for women to wear burkhas, but all it takes to be molested, raped, abused is to be a woman. No other conditions apply.
If you ask me, the one sensible move our government should make is make 2 years of self defense training compulsory for every girl when she turns 10. And girls should make sure they use these skills liberally on anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Because men should realise that they cannot just grope anyone they please.
Other related posts:
Wolf hall by @supriyan
On molestation and what you can do about it by @lavsmohan
Guwahati and beyond by @natashabadhwar
My two year old son, my driver and me form the three members of our little farewell group as we get into the crowded Secundrabad station this afternoon, helping my parents with their luggage. It is my first time at this station and I must say it is quite well organised and maintained. Atri is thrilled to see trains in various colours and he is screaming out one of his favourite rhymes - “Engine Engine Number Nine”. He cannot contain his excitement as to which view to take in and which to let go. The train to Bombay has arrived well ahead of time and we find the bogie without much of a walk. We clamour in, get their bags all settled, take some pictures inside the compartment, exchange goodbyes and leave for home. The walk from platform number five to the car park is just under five minutes but the heat is sweltering. In the half hour ride in the car back to our home, a lot of thoughts are swimming in my head. I had to write them down.
My parents just left for Bombay. They had come over to give me company and support me while the husband went to conquer the Atacama, over the last two weeks. I’ve been an independent girl for most of my life, never depending or demanding too much from parents or relatives even though we lived in the same city for a considerable length of time. I prefer it that way.
Even when I lived in Bombay, I was a good 25 kms away from them, and while I would go every other weekend to see them, they would rarely travel that traffic ridden distance and stay with me, unless there was a pressing need. But I do remember, whenever they did stay over for sometime, especially my mom, I’d always feel an emptiness when she left, even if she were just an hour’s drive away. Sometimes I would cry too. People who have read my previous post, might think I have this disorder that makes my lachrymal glands go into an overdrive at the drop of a hat. I promise you, it is not so. So when I do get into these emotionally overwhelming states, I want to analyse why this happens to me. The analysis does not always end with an answer, it makes an interesting introspective session.
My relationship with the parents, while it is caring and all that, we are not the lovey dovey sorts, hugging each other and calling each other by terms of endearment. It is the typical not-so-orthodox Tambram way of showing respect to them and not too expressive of our feelings towards them. While I tell my son “Mamma loves you” and I teach him to say “I love you” to me, my parents and me have never exchanged these words. You know what I mean? Not that I am complaining - we know the love and caring is there, but the bridge between their generation and ours was built that way. Also their way of doing things is almost radically different from ours. Right from meal timings to menu to daily routine is as different as it can get. When they are at my place, I adjust to their way of life, as it is easier for all of us that way.
My mom and me often have our squabbles regarding something or the other and I crib to my dad that he cant find things in the kitchen that are right in front of his eyes. Their waking up at an unearthly hour of 4.30 am instead of relaxing and enjoying their retired life, irks me. Also, watching Podhigai channel at 5 am, even if it is airing ‘How to solve class 10 papers’ from ten years ago ;) Certain things like old kutcheris and blade movies that are forever on the rerun on one or the other Tamil channel, grate on my nerves. The fact that they want to go walking to the temple in the blazing sun despite the car and driver waiting downstairs is another matter of irritation.
So we have our reasons to fight, crib and squabble. The good parts are, mom takes over the kitchen totally. Our kitchen here in Hyderabad for some reason is smaller than the bathrooms (which are HUGE) and more than one person working inside this kitchen is sure to create a mini war-like situation. Besides my mom likes to go about her cooking in her own fashion and I don’t think she appreciates my poking in the middle. Tea is ready when I wake up, courtesy dad. Atri’s (our two year old son) morning tantrums on waking up are soothed with kind words or suitable distractions. I don’t have to worry about what lunch to cook. Amma has already gotten started on that. Afternoon tea is again prepared before I can think ‘tea’ by Amma and served to me in my hand, while they manage Atri so I can relaxedly sip my favourite beverage, which is more than impossible with him around. When I am too tired of entertaining the son, they gang up and play silly games and make him laugh. Mealtimes especially run like clockwork, which is quite the opposite when I am by myself. Also, being cricket world cup season, my cricket mad parents and sister are the perfect company to watch a match, do ball by ball analysis and also play the blame game, other than giving choicest abuses to Ashish Nehra.
When Sumanth lost his credit cards en-route to the Atacama, I was a bundle of nerves not knowing what to do, how to send him the money, etc. Just having them around provided me with a sense of strength. While they might not understand what makes their son-in-law take up such an adventure, they were there to support me all along and to congratulate him on his achievements when he returned back victorious.
We get on each others’ nerves, we also care for each other. Some things about each other we find intolerable and yet when they pick up their bags and leave, they’ll miss me and I am reduced to tears. Tears of guilt for not being a better, more understanding daughter, tears of loneliness that I will face through the day once they are gone, until I get adjusted back into my old routine. The same little eccentricities that are peevish when they are around are the ones that remind me of them the most when they are gone. Their regimented and disciplined life that irks me when they are around makes me miss the little order that it brings to my life too, when they go back home.
As I type this, I have eaten the food prepared by my mum this morning, a simple meal of Poricha Kootu (which I can never make like her), Capsicum curry and rice and Amma, Appa and Nivedita must be eating the rotis I packed for them for a train mini-meal. A perfect way to exchange love.