Monday, April 23, 2007

Horn Not OK please

A hard-to-disagree-with article on helmets in Bangalore.

How true it is. There isn't a single day when I'm out of the house and I don't see these 'hand-helmetters' in Bangalore. It could be that they value the safety of their hands more than their heads. Well, one man's meat ... Yesterday I even saw a rider implement a particularly efficient system where his pillion slid the helmet onto his head as they approached the traffic policeman. And dutifully removed it as they drove well past him.

Other in-traffic irritants :

- 2 wheelers which are 2 seaters having 3 seated on them.. (or maybe even 4, and well, 5 isn't impossible.)
- People on 2 wheelers driving parallelly and having a merry conversation.
- People honking way more than is necessary. At every traffic signal in Bangalore you will see the following scene. 5 seconds before the signal turns green, there are these People in a Perpetual Hurry (lets call them PiPHs) who start honking as part of their duty to remind the front row junta to get going. Maybe they think the front-benchers can't see. If only someone told them they can. If only. Then there are the PiPHs who will keep honking for you to give way, only you're in a narrow lane and can't possibly budge enough to give them that coveted space of theirs with which they can overtake and move ahead. If only you could.

Any more on your list? I'd love to hear about more traffic irritants. Let us vent together. :)

Random Thought

In slimming centre advertisements, I think there should be a Before, After and then a Much After photograph. Not that they'll be honest true-to-date photographs, but atleast there's a point. Also there should be a law against ads stretching photographs of models in swimsuits horizontally to make a Before photograph.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Woman against Woman?

The India Today magazine dated 16 April 2007, has an article about the women of today. Smart, sassy, confident, ambitious, bold, what not. What interested me really was the section that asked the women the worst cliche they heard about being a woman. AIDS activist Anjali Gopalan says, she's heard "You're as good and strong as any man we've known" and "You're so powerful we forget you're a woman."


Men, seriously, what were you thinking! I know you have such a thinking set deep inside your minds. While I appreciate your honesty and frankness, it would help at the very least to be politically correct and not make such shocking statements.

Anyway, my point isn't about men and their stereotypes. I have a complaint. Its against my own fellow women. Many women, I believe still implicitly support these stereotypes. For example, I've been in a car when someone in a car ahead may have been driving rather foolishly. There is automatically an assumption throughout my car that the driver of the vehicle ahead is a woman. Fortunately or unfortunately, more often than not, the person turns out to be a man. Which pleases me no end. But thats just my weakness. Its happened so often, that I now automatically assume its a man. I'm now guilty of gender bias too, only I'm biased against men. I strive to get to the point where
i. I will drive flawlessly.
ii. There will be no bad driver ahead of me.
iii. If there is, I will not ascribe a gender to the person, and not picture a foolish person of that gender at the steering wheel of the vehicle ahead

Anyway, back to my point of women supporting stereotypes (I acknowledge another weakness here of digressing too often from my main point, but I hope that's pardonable if the other point is more interesting.) Second example, heard from many women: "He acts like such a woman." Utopian scenario, I'd like to assume you were complimenting him. But back here in the real world, I know you aren't. In fact, its an insult. Why? While on the one hand, you are all for women, why women are the better sex, on the other hand, a man being like a woman is a derogatory accusation.

Another way of looking at it: you actively defend yourself when men say women gossip a lot, but when a man gossips, you say he's acting like a woman. Double standards? Are we women just confused? Are we victims of the stereotypes passed down over the generations, just as the men are? Are we acknowledging then the truth that we are like that? [Why do I get the feeling that this last option will be a favourite of all men reading this post :)]

I'm not trying to make a point here about who is superior and who isn't, who is capable, who isn't. Because at the end of the day, I don't believe we are equal, we're all differently wired, although we each have our strengths and weaknesses, and we have different ways of manifesting our abilities. I only want the women to stand by themselves and get rid of their own prejudices first. Me included. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

What-should and What-not : Part 2

Had to share this. Advice from a colleague, from whom I expect a comment this time (Mr. Karthik Madathil, there's your cue!) A facet to the what-should and what-not dilemma.

"Life is a constant struggle between your higher (reasoning) self and your lower (emotional) self. Who wins depends on whom you keep more fit."

I'm still trying to determine why emotions are so underrated. Why emotions necessarily equate to lower. Read The Politics of Emotion to see what I mean. After all, emotions are what make us essentially human (also the opposable thumb, but well, that's another story!) They are what make us live the ups and downs of life. Of course, for the highly emotional human, the downs can get even lower, and the ups higher. It probably all boils down to which part of the spectrum you choose to be in. And I think I contradicted myself somewhere in the last few lines. Better said, than left unsaid.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

For one of the only two men of my life that I have known forever

Just like me, when you were 4 or 5, you wanted a little baby sister. Presumably because all your friends had baby sisters. Years later, when your baby sister outgrew your bullying, you wished you had a brother you could beat up (or atleast fight with). But you stopped giving her those trademark whacks of yours that would lead to hours of excruciating howls on her part. You put up with her when she knocked a little too often on the door that you closed when you were studying. Also when you were sleeping, pretending to be studying. You put up with her when she demanded to know why the door needed to be closed. You hit her on the head with your textbook when she sang (unsure of choice of word) outside your room window. Only to discover that the singing was more bearable when compared to the wailing it then gave way to.

The road-trips to Kannur where you fought over what music to play. You wanted English songs. And she Hindi. You let her sleep with her head on your lap during the journey. Those were the times when we both sat in the backseat of the car, and Mumma and Papa drove.

We grew up, a lot of things happened. You shifted to the front seat of the car, took charge of the steering wheel. You fell in love, and I met the person who is today your wife. You left home to work, I saw lesser of you, I missed you. You brought an energy into the house when you came home. We all giggled at your antics, laughed at your jokes. I marvelled at your knowledge. And intelligent remarks. We saw you through ups and downs.

Two years back, you got married. You brought home a wife, who became more of family than we ourselves ever could be. My bhabhi, my friend. Someone who matched your energy, or should I say far surpassed it.. :)

Amidst all that, you still remain that silent support. The person I can bank on, without having to give an explanation. You understand quietly without needing to hear anything. You couldn't bear to see me in pain when I was admitted to the hospital. You are the sweetest, kindest and most understanding brother that any sister could ever ask for.

Love you Etta.
Happy Birthday.