rage against the machine

If I had to put my finger on the single most unproductive thing I do when I go to work, it has got to be sitting through mind-numbing meetings, frequently nodding (off) and pretending to care. Today was no different.

Until I heard Dudebro say: So, what do you guys think?

 

My mind went from “keep your head down” to “fuck this shit” so friggin fast.

So you don’t care what the women think?

I’m sorry, what?

I asked if you only wanted the opinions of the men in the room.

Of course not. I asked all of you guys.

Well, I’m not a guy. Neither are those two.

He looked mortified, and though I said I was only kidding, I really wasn’t and he knew it. Dudebro knows better. I have a reputation, and he’s fucking scared of me.

I was congratulated later by many people, for having “balls” and taking what is going to be “a giant leap for mankind”. These, btw, are the same people who go around rolling their eyes every time I speak up against their casual misogyny. Well, I understand. I’m that whiny “feminist” who just doesn’t have a sense of humor. I’m constantly complaining about how oppressed women are, when it’s just words.

But are they really just words?

It’s almost like if all this vocabulary just appears out of thin air; as though these things are said by unremarkable people, without any of these words having any meaning and place in any sort of systemic oppression.

But it does, doesn’t it?

Every time you address a mixed group as “guys” you’re erasing the women in it.

Every time you call someone “feminazi”, you’re equating women’s struggle for freedom from patriarchy with fascism.

Every time you jokingly call someone a “pussy”, you’re labeling women as the weaker sex.

You don’t need a degree in either linguistics or gender studies to know this, dudebro. Word have meanings. Use them carefully.

Honk if you agree.

Do you speak up against casual misogyny? Why do you think we treat men as the default human? What changes can we make to our vocabulary to make language less offensive to us “feminazis”?

 

 

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of walls

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way. Maybe he was just joking!”

“No, he wasn’t making a joke. I could tell. Besides, words have meanings. Words matter. He should’ve choosen them wisely”, I said, pausing for breath, and continued.

“I know you’re fond of him, but wanting to believe the best about people doesn’t make it true.” A grimace flashed across his face and gave away what he was thinking.Wanting to believe the worst doesn’t make that true either. But he didn’t say it.

This is who he is. He believes in people. He’s not hiply cynical; he’s not comfortable making snide remarks about others. He’d rather believe that people are innately good, and he’s ok being disappointed once in a while. It’s why I love him.

But for now, he needs to say something.

“Say something.”

Nothing.

“Say something, baba!” I’m pretty sure I sounded annoyed.

“You think I’m irritating, don’t you?”

“Yes, but that’s not the point. You’re too fucking trusting and people take advantage of who you are.”

“Okay, I won’t do it again!”

“We both know you will.”

“All the more reason this debate is pointless, right?

So we stopped there. I’ve used up all the time I had budgeted today for banging my head against a wall.

 

Anawnimiss is dead

I opened my neglected, timeworn blog half-expecting messages that go “where are you” and “hope you’re okay” and “I’m worried for you”. And when I found nothing, I didn’t really know what to do with the knowledge that nobody – not one person – cares if I’m suddenly gone.

It was hard to accept, but after a week of wallowing in self-pity I’ve realized what a jerk I have been all this while, disappearing again and again for months together without a word about where I’m going or why, or if and when I’ll be back.

Here’s the thing – I haven’t said anything because I didn’t know how to explain how I’ve been feeling lately. The illusion of the freedom my anonymity affords me has, over time, degenerated into a bitter, painful sense of isolation from the *real* world where other *real* people live.

Besides, would I choose anonymity if I were a man? I don’t think I would. Like Woolf said, through most of history, anonymous was a woman.

So I’m done with anonymity, and I’m done hiding.

Call me Priyanka, will you?

of baby talk

When I was young, I tutored a young girl three or four years my junior. Over time, we drifted apart, and she became nothing but a dim memory of somebody I had once found very amiable.

I ran into her at the mall recently. I saw her first – I could’ve ignored her if I wanted; I had all the time I needed to make a U-turn.

Instead, I waved like a maniac and invited her to coffee.

In 20 minutes, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the Café Coffee Day couch, trying very (very) hard to look interested in the one-way conversation about her daughter. It didn’t help that my drink was disturbingly depressing. Each sip tasted worse than the one before.

Wow! How old is she now?

Thirteen and a half.

Years? My eyebrows shrunk to half their size as I strained to do the math.

You’ll never stop joking, will you? She threw a cushion at me, smiling. Months, baba!

I rolled my eyes at her inwardly for the rest of the evening. How does the world keep spinning with a shockingly ridiculous person who can’t discount that one odd month (and fifteen days) off her child’s age? Is it so hard to say “a year”?

I pretended to count on my fingertips (yeah, I’m mean when I want to be) and said – oh, just over a year, then. Is she walking already?

Bad move.

She proceeded to take me through a list of ALL the milestones her baby had achieved, and then talked at length about how she thought her baby was going to be an underperformer because she had started to talk so late.

Then she started to show me 876,297,097 pictures of Little Miss G on the inflatable chair. Little Miss G on the couch. Little Miss G eating. Little Miss G smiling. Little Miss G frowning. You get my drift.

I ran out of there a fast as I possibly could. Just when I heaved the proverbial sigh of relief, my phone buzzed.

Friend request.

From Little Miss G.

Fuck my life.

Do you know any such child-obssessed parents or someone who has created an entire FB profile for their baby? What are the other annoying things that people from your past do now? How many photos of your baby do you have on your phone? 

of evasive pleasures

Bringing up a child when both parents are working is comparable to a café that operates 24 x 7, with precise time management and division of labour. In our case, since Mister specializes in sincere, single-minded pursuits (mostly of superbikes), I end up doing double shifts. Of course, the family set up is super-supportive with mom and our old domestic help pitching in to manage the little dumpling while I crusade on other fronts. However, days of pursuing my own simple pleasures still stand far out, just beyond the horizon of anything that I can actively plan right now.

So, I DEFINITELY have been craving a break to do some of those things. Fortune winked and Mister, Z, and I snuck out to the hills for a leisurely (as leisurely it can be with a 9 month old 10 kilo can of monster energy!) vacation.

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And on this vacation, it finally happened.

We were both pining for it and had clandestinely packed our stuff from the ever-curious eyes and pawing hands of little Z. After we reached the hotel, the realization of the possibility began to weigh palpably on our nerves. We could finally do it! All we needed was some privacy and some us time.

Over months of diligent persistence, I had mastered the art of putting Z to bed with a night feed and cozy cradling. At the hotel, after he was asleep, there would be no doorbell rings, no urgent office calls, and definitely no sudden barging into our room by our dog or maids. We had even asked room service to serve us a late dinner, just a couple of hours after the usual time our son dozes off to wonderland.

So, as I slowly crooned to Z and he reciprocated by gentle suckling on one breast and the not-so-gentle pinching on the other, my gaze perambulated between the clock and his slowly drooping eyelids.

Anytime now, he would fall asleep and the window of opportunity would open up for Mister and I. The realization of that approaching moment made my heart race. Mister kept passing me salacious glances as he very insidiously unpacked the stuff that we had so far managed to shield from the little ninja.

As Z dozed off, I winked to Mister and both of us tiptoed to the other end of the King-sized bed. We were both excited and terrified at the thought of indulging ourselves after such a long time. With a wicked smile, Mister slid his hands up the cover and opened it to reveal what lay inside, and as he did so, I felt giggly with that familiar musty smell that tantalized my senses. I had to bite hard on my lower lip to contain myself. Mister single-mindedly and masterfully made his way to the sweet spot. Both our pupils dilated as he found it and I gasped as he flipped open on target with a swish. We now found ourselves straining to remember where we had left off on the last encounter. As our senses assimilated the object of desire and we sighed the gentle wave of subtle but enduring pleasure, my trembling fingers found their way inside another world for a pleasure of a different kind.

As I found what I was looking for and brought it to my lips, the long forgotten world of simple indulgences radiated resplendently in phantasmagorical colours. And we both knew it the moment it happened without so much as a word or even a gesture. As Mister flipped the page and I bit into the next bite of chocolate, we both remembered how fond we were of reading a book together over little epicurean accompaniments. Yes, for a parent, the right book and some chocolate can mean paradise on earth, even if it’s just for a little while.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks months. Gosh, it’s been long, hasn’t it? How have you been? What’s new in your world?