Posts Tagged ‘women’

A message for Women’s Day

March 10, 2020

If we must celebrate a day for women, let us celebrate freedom from stereotypes, from expectations, from idolisation, from sacrifice.

Stop congratulating women for being the secret behind a successful man. Start saluting them for being successful.
Stop saying the mother is sacred for all the sacrifices she makes. Try to reduce those sacrifices!

Stop telling women they are beautiful.Try telling them it’s not important to be beautiful!

Stop praising her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister. Celebrate her as an individual, a person, independent of relationships.

Stop justifying her necessity to multi task. Give her a chance not to!

Stop these constructs which are aimed at making her strive for an impossible balance. Let her be inadequate. And happy!

Stop making her look at herself through a conveniently male viewpoint. Let her be imperfect, whimsical, irresponsible, boorish, lazy, fierce, opinionated, loud, flabby, ungroomed, adventurous, unpredictable, unprepared, impractical.”

Happy Women’s Day!!

Women’s Day, 2020

March 8, 2020

To celebrate a woman’s day
One doesn’t need a breast.
Nor uterus nor ovaries/Or any of the rest.
What’s needed is a woman’s mind
Intelligence that’s calm
A woman’s heart, with empathy
And kindness gentle and warm.
The ability to hold a home
And family together.
Let’s raise a toast and celebrate
Women of a feather!

“Mami”…Mrs M V A Sastry, 031119

December 3, 2019

She passed away on 3rd Nov 2019.

mami031219

Photo from Prakash Sastry’s FB page

At first, when Usha called up to say that her mother was sinking, I felt very bad…I was leaving that evening for Madhya Pradesh, and was returning only after a week. Sure enough, when I returned from the forests, to a place where my mobile worked, I got the news that she had passed away.

I went down with viral fever, which recurred; this prevented me from attending the Vaikuntha Samaradhana, too. I felt really miserable. I wanted to hold my friends’ hands at this moment…to take comfort from them as much as to comfort them in their hour of loss.

But now…I feel better about it. I remember Mami, not in the sad state of her health…but as a very strong pillar of her family and circle of friends. Let me reminisce…

At the beginning, of course, Mami was, to me, only “Prakash’s mother” and “Usha’s mother”. It took me many years to realize what an excellent homemaker she was, and what a great “sahadharmini” for Mama. Their flat was always neat and spotless; there was always something that she would offer visitors She herself, was the same. A spick-and-span saree, hair tied neatly back in a plait, with perhaps a few flowers in her hair; face bright with sindhoor…and always, always, always, that welcoming smile on her face. Such unstinting affection. My heart overflows through my eyes, and I hear once again, her calm “Enna Deepa! Eppidi irukkai?”

What a great homemaker she was. She sent Usha for veena lessons, Prakash for violin; she watched with very quiet apride as they both became proficient. (In fact, I still feel that I rarely have heard the kind of “naadam” on the violin that I heard from Prakash.). She was patient and loving to Bhaskar, too, and his being “special”, though it must have been quite tough for her, never saw her complaining or wishing that things were otherwise.

She supported Mama through his career; they never changed their simple living and high thinking. At every gathering, you could see her, well-turned out….and that affectionate smile.

I never thought to ask her about her life before marriage, or how she managed, coming to a very strange city all those years ago. For me, she was like a mother or an aunt…a wise, mature person, who always managed.

When they moved to Bangalore, they had intense difficulty with the flat they had booked, and she silently supported Mama through the years of struggle before they could move into their own apartment. I have never heard her complain. “That’s the way it is!” would be her pragmatic comment.

She was an excellent cook. One of my great favourites was her “gasagasa” payasa…I used to joke about the ganja in it, and she would smile. She was never one to talk a lot, or laugh uproariously…but she always enjoyed the company of others. Did she sing herself? Did she learn any instrument in the time before she got married? Who were her parents? Oh…I never found out all this…I regret that now.

I got to know her more as a person (rather than “Usha-Prakash’s mother” after they moved to Malleswaram. Even then, when arthritis gave her a lot of knee/leg pain, she tried to bear it stoically. She took care of Prakash’s children while the parents went to work.

All through the time that Usha and Prasad went through severe health travails, she kept up her courage and hope. I remember telling Usha just before her major heart surgery at Vellore…”You will be out for the count, and fast asleep! I have come here more to be with your mother!” Which, of course, elicited another laugh from both of them. Usha’s daughters were a source of delight to her, too. She would smilingly share some small anecdote of their mischief.

Bhaskar’s passing away, and the manner of it, was the kind of tragedy that only she could have handled. What it must have cost her in terms of worry and emotional trauma..I can only guess. But she took that blow, too, that Fate dealt her. Dearest Mami, what a load you have carried in your heart…

When Mama died, something inside her seemed to crumble. That cheerful countenance was less so. But the affection never varied. I count myself so very lucky to have had that kind of unstinting affection and love, most of my life, from her.

Mami, I miss you more often than I would have thought possible. You taught me so many values in life, without a single sermon…you were the living example. Simplicity, competence, and wisdom…you were the epitome of these qualities.

So I am glad that I remember you as I last saw you…in full possession of your faculties, offering me some sweet which you had made.

I know that your suffering has ended, and that you are in a much better place now, looking down on us and blessing us. Why, then, are my eyes filling with tears?Why do I feel bereft?

Life has made me wary of rituals, so I am not unhappy that I could not attend the samaradhana or the homa that your children carried out in your memory. But your memory, and the memory of those happy, halcyon days in Calcutta…that is where you will live forever, smiling, your love reaching out to me, making me a carefree child once again.

Approaching adolescence

February 26, 2019

She lies on the bed, unaware of me,
Reading intently.
In the lines of her lengthening limbs
I see a young woman emerging
From the girl.
And yet, in the curve of the cheek
And the gentle dimples in her elbows,
I find childhood lingering
For a while longer.
Linger longer, O childhood!
For once you are gone
This little one will forever be
An adult, never to return
To this level of innocence again

Periods and pads…

February 12, 2018

There is much adulation of the movie,

click here to watch the trailer

“Padman”

which is based on the achievements of

Muruganatham

who has given a TED talk about what he did for his wife.

However, I also received, on my wellness egroup, the link to a blogpost with a different point of view, very interesting, read it

Ma href=”https://mythrispeaks.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/padman-the-real-story-of-how-he-shot-to-fame-by-sehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arunachalam_Murugananthamlling-shame/”> here

I am not for the fictionalization and/or glorification of anyone while that person is living. When some time has elapsed, one gets a better perspective about who the person was, and what that person achieved, or failed to. In this sense, I think making a commercial movie about something which has not yet been tried and tested enough was not a wise thing to do. However, this is only my opinion.

But I am not wriring about that topic; I just want to share my own experience with my periods.I hate to share this, but I think I should. (My way of dealing with it was to try and expunge it from my mind once I reached menopause…but as you can see, the memories have not left me).

I grew up (and “grew up” at the age of 12, in 1966) in a large city, but had to manage with cloth, and it was messy, smelly, uncomfotable-to-painful, and very embarassing. Sanitary napkins were available, but my mother, thinking they were not a good solution, did not buy them for me until a couple of years later. My cousins in Chennai, and in the smaller towns of Tamil Nadu, also managed with cloth; we had to use discarded cloth, too. The menstrual period was truly a curse, and yes, it was the lack of proper protection as much as cramps that made me detest going to school and then college on “those days”.Even sanitary napkins did not have plastic shields in those days, and were made of cotton which could lump together, especially in hot, humid weather.

Since we were “exiled” to the back of our (then) large houses and given food only after the rest of the household had eaten, and were not allowed to touch anyone or go out, I was told by my cousins in Chennai, Madurai and other towns, to use medications like Primolut-N. We were made to feel, and felt, unclean and impure. I have heard my uncles use the phrase “kasappu kadai” (butcher’s shop) to indicate that someone had her period. “Not at home” and “far away”, denoting the way we were made to stay at the back of the house or in villages, in the cowsheds outside the house, show the “reverence” that we got.

https://www.dokteronline.com/en/primolut-n

to delay the period for a few days. Every single cousin I knew who used this had her first pregnancy miscarry; I do not have enough data to know if this was just a coincidence. I cannot draw any inference from seven cases.

I attained menopause (with huge relief, and no other problems such as excessive bleeding or fibroids) at the age of 42, 21 years ago. (A fairly active lifestyle has, luckily, kept me in good health.)So I am not aware of what sanitary napkins are made of these days. When my grandchildren were born, we used cloth nappies as I was taking care of them 24/7; I didn’t like the idea of disposable nappies for many reasons, and I stitched pieces of soft, old dhotis for this purpose. We had to use the occasional disposable nappy, of course. But I was already reading about fires iin landfills in St.Louis, where my daughter lived (she used reusable pads) so we cut down on disposable nappies as much as we could.

The studies cited in the blogpost seem quite extensive and fact-based, but the point I am trying to make is, the use of cloth may not be related to health problems, but it is certainly related to a big factor of discomfort and embarassment…which, if the write-up is true, the “pad” does nothing to alleviate.

How comforable and secure is the cup? I have been doing a bit of reading about it, and I do feel there may be instances where it may not be suitable, or it may take a while to find the right one.

https://menstrualcupreviews.net/menstrual-cup-dangers/

I’m sorry, but I disagree with the writer’s statement about traditional women showing us “how mensturation should be revered , how the first period should be celebrated”. We were treated as outcastes during our periods, and given no consideration in the matter of food. Mensturation was not revered, it was a matter of shame and withdrawal. Most mothers would not tell their daughters about it in advance…my mother did not mention it, and at first, I thought that I was badly hurt. (I have no sisters, and no cousin talked to me about this, either).I still cringe when I think of the child I was, and my ignorance about my own body. Ignorance is not innocence.

I have hated every period that I had, the very painful (epidurals were not given those days) process of childbirth, the mood swings,the awful cramping, and the bloating. My reproductive system shutting down was , to me, one of the best things that happened, especially because it was rather early.

I am not taking any stances here, simply saying that menstruation is a very tough process that most women handle by themselves, or at least, used to before they could look for information on the net in the privacy of their homes or phones.

Sorry for the sombre post. But most of you on this egroup are young, and I just wanted to depict how things were, a few decades ago, in metropolitan cities and towns (not villages).

Banjaran, and name-bracelets, India Gate, Delhi, 260314

March 27, 2014

First my daughter had two Banjara girls, whom she asked to thread together various name beads for all of KTB’s friends at Urban Sprouts, the daycare back home:

DSC01091

The threads they used were so colourful:

DSC01093

As were the ornaments on the girls’ hands:

DSC01091

DSC01094

DSC01098

The beads cost Rs.2 each, and though the girls were illiterate, they asked for our help in stringing them together the right way:

DSC01097

DSC01087

DSC01100

You can see “ABIGAIL” being spelt out here:

DSC01100

DSC01088

While they did their work, corn-on-the-cob was shared:

DSC01090

DSC01085

Soon, word seemed to spread that here was a person who would pay well, and she seemed to be running an ethnic cottage industry on the lawns of India Gate!

DSC01096

My daughter finally had to walk away with others pestering her, but she was happy that she’d given them employment, at least for a while.

DSC01099

These Banjarans were so colourful…I wish their lives were as colourful, too!

Life in the balance. Galibore, 150214

February 19, 2014

DSC08981

She walks along the road
Calmly, with her headload
Balanced perfectly, her food
Carried in her hand.
Is her life as balanced?
What does she think, as she trudges along?
How far does she have to walk?
How often does she do this?
These questions occur to me..
I do not know what questions, what thoughts,
What issues dominate her life.
Life, it seems to me, is like this:
You pick up your load, and your sustenance,
And carry both along.
No idea what the next turn will bring.
The path winds forward, and you just keep walking…
Until the day you stagger, or drop.

Navaratri Golu Conversation

October 13, 2013

“Hi, A!”
“Oh…HI, B! Sorry, I just didn’t see you in the crowd. This is my fourth golu visit this evening, you know, things are so hectic…so how ARE you? My, you’re looking just gorgeous!”
“Oh, thank you! Is your saree a new one?”
“It’s just a simple one I picked up on my last visit to Sun-Dry Silks, they have such a unique collection!…Oh, hi, C! You haven’t aged a bit!”
“Hi, B..and A is here, too! Have you brought your adorable children? Oh yes, there they are…such beautiful princesses. How they’ve grown! It’s been a while since we’ve met.”
“I *know*! It’s just one mad whirl, you know? How are your daughters doing?”
“I have two sons, A. They are doing fine, thank you!”
“Oh, yes, I’d forgotten…one of them is doing medicine, isn’t he? Such intelligence, after all, they are your kids!”
“Oh, I don’t know….well, we MUST get together soon…muaaah! I’m in a rush, I have to pick up my younger son from practice, so bye…!”
“C always seems in a bit of a rush, doesn’t she? I don’t know how she juggles so many things, B..I’d never be able to do it, A, I’m sure!”
“Oh, you and I are just simple people, not career women…we take more pride in our homes and keep everything nice and organized. C doesn’t need to bother with all that.”
“I do agree. A..did you get the number of the Hispanic couple who come do the house cleaning?”
“I’ll get it for you the next time, I don’t seem to have it on my mobile. Oh, my, I just LOVE your jewellery…C wears more traditional designs, you know…”
“She’s not into jewellery at all. Some of us are just different…she’s quite casual about her cooking, too.”
“How I wish I could be like her! My husband and children want everything just so, and I really slave over the dishes…our children are at a growing age, they do need the best nutrition possible…”
“I did notice that C’s younger son is a little short…”
“Oh, well, nothing that can be done about it. Tell me, how do you manage to remain so slim?”
“Ha, ha, there’s really nothing to it…I asked C also if she’d like to join my gym, but she’s so busy that she doesn’t have the time for it.”
“Is that the new gym, Fat2Fit? I just LOVE the way they make the exercises fun. Next week will be my fourth day!”
“I also tried to suggest a good nutrition consultant to C.”
“Oh, just tell me the name and number, I would love to have some good advice for my hubby! I think it’s his metabolism, I just can’t get him to lose weight. He has no time, with his business taking up all his energy. Poor C, life must be tough for her….”
“I can imagine, and she must have been so disappointed when her younger son didn’t get into Wonderful Academy…they say it’s the best school in town.”
“I can vouch for that, the children are enjoying it so much! It’s nice when your children are gifted! My little one won third prize in the kindergarten art contest!”
“That’s incredible! Wow, I’m sure she gets her talent from you. C’s children are so natural…they don’t get all formal-mannered, it’s nice to see a change.”
“Oh yes, we can never hope to emulate her easy-going attitude to life! Even with a husband not doing too well, she never complains. Well, it’s been great running into you…we must meet up for a coffee or something one of these days.”
“Of course! Let me take down your mobile number. Ciao, catch up with you soon!”

Yes, I know, miaow, miaow, miaow…but I am attempting a reconstruction of an glowingly friendly conversation between A and B, when C was also present for part of the time. I was part of the furniture (I had not Been Introduced), so I sat and was very much entertained.

Poor C, I am sure she cannot understand, as she rushes off, why she’s bleeding from so many claw marks. Between running into each other and running down C, A and B seem to get enough exercise even without the gym.

To Women Too Busy to Know it’s Their Day! by Vasu Ramanujam

March 8, 2013

When a woman too busy to know
Working in a parched field
A wet construction site
Or a sweltering factory floor
Nurses a sick child

When a woman
Feeds a parent
Who has no more memory of her
Or prepares a meal
For her impatient family
Pausing in the midst of her grueling day
To wipe her face with the back of her hand
To draw her sari tighter around herself
And gets back, alas,
To her all too slowly changing lot

When a woman violated
By men who would harm her with impunity
Hides her hurt behind a screen of shame
And prevails with iron resolve
With neither law nor justice
On her side

Will she be even remotely aware
That some of us are watching her,
Full of admiration for her strength
And her steady if slow advance in stature
While entertaining fond hopes
For her rapid betterment
And future well-being
For aren’t those the anchors
To which the betterment
And future well-being
Of all of humanity tied to?

This whole morality thing…

December 14, 2011

I just saw something on Facebook (I suppose a friend sent the wrong link) which showed a photo of three girls smoking, and a series of comments about them being “bad girls”.

Why, in the twenty-first century, are we still such prudes and hypocrites? And why double standards? Well, at least one person said, ” Only if you don’t smoke and drink you can say ‘bad girls’…”.. but there were several other comments, which included the word “bitch”.

The questions I am asking are:

So…men can drink and smoke and be “good” people?

Does not smoking and not drinking automatically make a person “good”, the way drinking and smoking seem to automatically make a person “bad”? I don’t smoke or drink, and I know how bad I can be.

I simply cannot understand how a society that was so open, became such a society of prudery, and utter hypocrisy…being so judgemental about things that do not matter at all.

I am reminded of another FB update…a cleric has said that women should not handle cucumbers or bananas because they should “avoid sexual thoughts”. That cleric seems to be to be the most dirty-minded person! He is like the Roscharch-test patient who was shown a series of blots, and asked what they reminded him of. For every blot, his answer was, “Sex”. Finally, the psychiatrist told him, “You seem to be obsessed with sex.” “Me!” exclaimed the patient. “It’s you who’ve been showing me all the dirty pictures!”

Speaking of which, I saw the movie, “Dirty Picture”, and liked it very much. Excellent acting by Vidya Balan, and very well directed, too…and the photography is superb. It shows our double standards…and the way women are utterly exploited. They have to use their bodies as their strengths, and soon the strengths become their weaknesses….

Smoking is bad for the health, that’s been proven, but why attach a morally bad tag to it? And many cultures advocate moderate social drinking….