Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Woman Outdoors

It's hard being a woman. Especially when you have to be a woman in public.

We can't EVER walk in a crowd without fearing getting felt up, brushed against or rubbed against by a member of the male species. So, if we've decided to walk in a crowd, we've pretty much given up any dignity we possessed till that moment. So when you feel that strange guy pressing his entire body against you and you're literally crushed from all sides, you have to quell the indignation rising within you and just sigh, awaiting your final destination. And you get to make jokes about it, which helps too.

We can't give lifts to strangers. I don't like taking my gigantic car around if I'm travelling alone in the city, but I don't have much of a choice since, well, I'm alone again. Several times, I see people requesting a lift - always men, of course. I feel bad for these people. Here I am, driving by in a diesel guzzling wagon that can hold upwards of seven people and I can't even give them a lift because they might rape / kill / rob me. They brought it on themselves, really, the men did. I do however cheerfully give lifts to schoolchildren whenever I can and it's always fun to hear what they think of the tiny woman driving the big car with dents and scratches all over it. Really.

We can't walk around without covering ourselves up to our necks unless we want to feel like our breasts are now on display for public viewing. Even a teensy hint of cleavage can send men into a sick frenzy where they stare down every opportunity they get (which in a bus is the whole trip) in the hopes of god knows what. Are you waiting for the top to disintegrate with the force of your stare? Perhaps the heat of your lust will burn it off? Do you really get off with seeing the divide between two breasts? Then why don't your cousin brother's moobs get you off as well?

Yet, we are quite happy to force our way through crowds and gawking teens and strangers who try to paw us. What choice do we have, really?




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Okay

The Fault in our Stars is one of those movies that likes to keep you crying. I mean, of course there's a perfect love story - but it's between a teenager with half a leg and a body full of cancer and another teenager whose cancer won't let her breathe without the help of an oxygen machine she has to lug about everywhere she goes. Is it overkill? Just thrusting these emotions and facts in our faces till we feel so bad to be healthy and yet incapable of such enduring love; or is it that we need to learn how to make the best of the hand you've been dealt even if that hand is choking your internal organs and threatening to take you away from your family at any time?

Definitely not a movie to watch when you're depressed, in any case.

Dear reader

To anyone reading this blog: This blog isn't about you. It's about me. And my life and my travails that I choose not to keep a secret. It's irreverent because I'm irreverent. It's offensive because I'm offensive. And it's about me because it's never been about you.

Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Predators

Slowly, insidiously, making his way through.
Yes, that predator, he's coming for you.

He's spotted the weak one, away from the flock
He's planning his move with every tick of the clock.

There's the sad story, now the plea for help
Here's the commiseration, the offer of self.

Beady little eyes looking you right through
You're just a lump of meat; he'll soon be done with you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Random Reasons Why Mangalore is More Than Just Its Rocky Beaches Where People Are More Likely to Drown Instead of Swim

There've been a lot of love my city type blog posts doing the rounds but I wasn't sufficiently inspired to write one until today. I thought about it a lot for I've lived in far too many cities in my life to call any one of them my 'home' city. There was Bahrain where I was mostly a misfit, Mangalore where my parents were born and which became my most looked forward to destination on every visit back to India, Chennai where I really 'grew up' and found myself and finally Bangalore - well, the less said about Bangalore the better. So, I guess my tribute will be to Mangalore - not Chennai this time, sorry. But some other people have said some wonderful things about Chennai (13 Reasons Why Madras Wasn't Just About the Filter Coffee and 8 More Reasons Why Madras Wasn't Just About the Filter Coffee)

Here's to Mangalore then; my ultimate muse:
  • Mangalore is the wet monsoon season that caresses your soul, makes love to your senses as you wait impatiently for the rain to stop so that you can get to your destination. The rain playfully stops just long enough for you to step over the puddles and hop into your bus before it comes down even heavier than before. Mangalore is clear puddles forming rivulets in the streets leading to home while you itch to build a paper boat. Mangalore is bad tea and hot fresh food that can be devoured with it to give the rain some company.
  • Mangalore is trees bursting with mangoes in May. Running out of things to put mangoes in, you'll relish them in curries, milk shakes, juices and just suck it off the seed and use nonsensical jokes to prank your cousins with the remnants. Mangalore is knowing you won't ever have someone running to fetch you a mango-something-or-the-other every other half hour now that your aunt has passed away.
  • Mangalore is snakes and mongooses and other strange creatures living in your garden, making it their home as well, and you protecting them from being murdered by crazed relatives and clicking their pictures instead.

  • Mangalore is aching teeth after the harvest festival. Going reluctantly for a Mass celebration, gleefully receiving your free sugarcane stick, enjoying the festive meal and then in the evening sitting with the family with buckets in front of you ready to receive the sugarcane bits and gearing up for a chew fest. Mangalore is enjoying all this only when there are no property disputes looming their ugly head in the minds of sinister parents.
  • Mangalore is feeling diabetic during Christmas season. The kuswar piling up in boxes by the stove as you assist in the rolling and the frying and the powdering, ready to be distributed among family and friends, having it with tea for the next four months and serving it to everyone who comes over on Christmas day along with some vague syrupy drink no one is quite sure of the origins of. Mangalore is having to buy it from bakeries in the future because no one knows the recipe anymore.
  • Mangalore is always feeling green. Slipping on mossy patches during the rains and falling down and attracting hysterical laughs from cousins who will not help you up because they're too busy wiping their eyes. Mangalore is battling weeds with heart shaped leaves and pink centres that grow all over the 'nice' garden plants, Mangalore is plants slipping out of every red bricked surface. Mangalore is knowing that all this is not yours because you weren't born with a penis.

  • Mangalore is not sitting on the street facing seats of any pub if you're a woman or with a woman because you're likely to get beaten up for going against culture. Mangalore is strange sizzlers that feel like they're a cardboard imitation of real sizzlers. Mangalore is being able to smoke only inside a dark pub because smoking in the street will get the news back to your house because everyone knows someone everywhere. 
  • Mangalore is the joy of the marnami vesha. Not understanding why those drums make you quiver in excitement, why you feel like jumping and rolling with painted up tiger men, why you feel like a true daughter of the soil as you clap them on and regret never learning Tulu.


Mangalore is sweet happy memories that get tainted over time as the elders impose their will on the clan and drown out the happy moments with their poison. Mangalore is then just a place in your heart that you'll visit when you get homesick in those rare moments of the night.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Better hide those boobs, Deepika

So there's a cold hot war going on at the moment between Times of India (=sleaziest English daily in the country) and Deepika Padukone (Bollywood actress who has done some okay roles so I don't despise her).

It all began when this wonderful paper as part of its usual 'spicy' entertainment segment decided to point to people to take a peak at Deepika's cleavage, as she wore what even in Gulf countries would pass for decent wear because of the covered sleeves, etc. Now if Rihanna had been a part of our film industry, I don't think ToI would know which part of her body to talk about first. The writers would probably drool and blubber all over themselves and drown in their own saliva.

Then when Deepika reacted angrily to the 'cleavage show' title, telling them that yes, she did indeed have boobs and a cleavage and so what, the idiot in charge of ToI's Twitter handle decided to tweet back about how she should take all the slut shaming as a compliment. What wonderful balls you have. Let me click a secret picture of them as you bend over with your half lungi and then tell the world how hairy they are. Thank me later!

Then, as if all this embarrassment was not enough - when prominent industry celebrities were coming out in Deepika's support and questioning ToI's ethics since it's part of the same network that hosts Arnab So-Barmy's show where he shouts at everyone and makes them feel like shit for breathing the same air as him, they decide to react in true ToI style with more slut shaming. I don't even want to link to the article; they're not getting clickthroughs from here.

So, I don't want to defend Deepika's boobs or anything, nor do I ever want to make an excuse for the shittiest paper in India, which is not even fit to use to wipe your ass because it disintegrates in water in under two minutes (if it's raining out, you can enjoy pictures of boobs in a pool by your feet). I'd just like for the whole 'yeah so what she's showing her boobs let her cover up then if she doesn't want people to see' argument to stop.

It's just boobs, boys. Go watch some Sunny Leone porn and get used to them, so you can stop salivating every time the neighbour's dupatta slips down. Okay?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Perfect Guy Wishlist

I don't ask for much; at least I don't think so. All I want my Mr. Right to be like is all of the following:
  1. Not a psycho 
  2. Can converse about current affairs 
  3. Socially aware if not necessarily active - from a social work standpoint
  4. Understand the finer points of ethics and morality - that it's not 'unnatural' for two men to want to have sex with each other or for a woman to want to speak her mind
  5. Is an adult - there are plenty of grown babies passing off as men these days
  6. Has at least a vague game plan for his life
Is that really so hard to find?!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Guide to Online Dating in India

Given my recent experience with online dating via a series of mobile apps I've summarily tried out and rejected, I've decided to write an article just for the genuine loveseekers out there who are contemplating this new and scary path. Let me give you more reasons to fear them.

  1. Get used to the really inadequate filtering options. Some apps allow you to look for people based on specific preferences, while others 'match' people for you based on mutual preferences. The best part is some apps don't allow for an 'About Me' section where you can at least judge if the person can frame a sentence. Instead, you have to choose your potential lifemate from overwhelmingly diverse options like 'veg', 'non veg', 'eggetarian'; 'likes Yo Yo Honey Singh'; 'earns more than 50 lakhs a year'. Hey, if dating someone for either their food preferences or their money is your cup of tea, go right ahead.
  2. Be prepared to meet weirdoes. A lot of these apps claim to have these 'awesome' filtering mechanisms in place, like checking out a person's Facebook profile, LinkedIn  profile, one app even reviews a person's government ID card. But at the end of the day, weirdoes have managed to infiltrate into every possible realm. So, while they may be a 'real' person, they can still be a drunkard, psycho or shallow person, just like everyone else you meet in real life. Get ready for the totally inappropriate 'Hi gorgeous' or 'Hi. I love to chat. Here's my GTalk ID' when you have your first chat with your match made in cyberspace.
  3. Keep it in the app. Some guys (girls too, I guess? I haven't tried going bi online yet) think they're very clever when they suggest that you take the conversation to a more chat friendly application like Whatsapp or BBM. Resist your people pleasing urges and ask them to continue within the app until you know them better. You do not want to give a total stranger your number or BBM pin, just like mommy never warned you.
  4. There is no one app fits all solution. There are a lot of people out there. And just to keep all their bases covered, they've probably signed up for every single dating app that exists on their play store. Feel free to experiment with different apps till you finally find the one that you feel reduces your chances of meeting a psycho to close to under 20%. 
  5. Don't kill yourself. After being rejected by people, or meeting total nutjobs, your first instinct will be to throw your phone out of the window. Your second instinct will be to whimper to yourself that you're going to die alone and wonder if you should kill yourself. Don't. Keep putting yourself out there, in the real world as well as the virtual. Don't let the crazies get to you.
And after all, if everything else fails, just call your neighbour aunty to find you a nice dulha in exchange for a zari sari. It's those matches that they say are truly made in heaven, no?