Friday, January 25, 2008

Feminism----- A perspective on men

Feminism.............. Wohhhhhh this word ticks off "many" people and I assume that the majority of those "many" would be men. Yes, this is true, but surprisingly in recent times there are lesser younger women who associate themselves with this term.

I am writing this blog as an offshoot to a discussion in class. My professor made a comment that "my husband is a feminist, he will not do the car oil change for me, he does dishes, and he cooks too".

I understood what she meant, " breaking away from traditional gender roles" is as simple as she described her husband's trait.

To me then, feminism works wonder for both men and women.

Why is that the word feminist arouses strong emotions and reactions. And please to all those reading, dont start cursing under your breath. And some how I do realize why many dislike the word.
I know many people perceive feminism to be equivalent to men bashing.

As a lay person, Feminism to me means providing equal opportunities to men and women and treating men and women alike. But definitely the feminist movement has been associated with more radical approaches, aggressive strategies, and somehow portraying that women are better than men.

However the discussion in class made me realize what feminism means for men.

  1. It means that men should not be so pressured to have a high-paying career or for that matter to have a job.
  2. It means that men should be given space to express themselves emotionally. We don't have to expect them to be super cool, brave etc. etc all the time.
  3. They are not our provider.
  4. There are many more.....
I also learnt that stress among men takes its toll physically, and shorter life span is one of the many outcomes.

When I asked my husband if he believes in this principle of gender-equality, he said he does.

So I said " Can I assume that you are a feminist".

He said " No"

"Why I said, you believe in the principle and you practice it too"

He said " the word feminism has its roots in femininity, and it appears to favor females over men, so I will not accept that I am not a feminist. "

And he added, "if a neutral word is coined to espouse the principles discussed above, I will be a member of that club".

I reclined once I realized that the discussion would soon turn into argument.

However I think I get his point. Some terminologies get so value-laden, full of judgment and prejudice, that it is difficult to go back to its roots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pleasing men!!! Not as easy as it seems

Recently it was my husband's birthday. Birthdays are fun, but they bring along some anxiety with them.

The million dollar question- What present shall I get him?

I can brainstorm this issue and still never arrive at a satisfying conclusion.

So lets begin..

If your husband is finicky- you can not buy clothes, shoes etc etc (if he doesn't wear it, I will feel bad)

If he is tech savvy- then he knows what is the best thing to buy, read all the freaking reviews and even know a better place to get a decent deal.

If you had earlier asked him to prepare a wish list (I tried that too), then all the things were so expensive (I could not spend that much money).

If your husband prefers tangible things, then all other ideas such a surprise trip, and other fancy ideas can be thrown out as well. (Last time I bought him a package of guitar lessons, I am not sure if he thought it was the best present).

If you are too finicky then you dont want to be repetitive and give something similar to what you may have given earlier.

I think that gifts are over rated and exaggerated.

Whoever has a special day can have the privilege of buying themselves what they want.

I have finally realized that this is the best strategy.

But some how I wanted to put in some effort- so I got a nice cake... and I am working on making a scrapbook. Inexpensive presents can be very meaningful and reflective.

What I learned, is that somehow we are so caught up in constantly thinking about what the other person wants, rather than taking a moment to realize we want to give.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Siding with the underdogs- Manning keeps the hopes high

What is it with me being so unsportsmanlike...... Well sports isn't all about skill , or is it!!. Ever since Colts lost to Brady, I would side for any team playing against the Patriots. But Giants held a special place, after all they are somehow linked to Manning.

I am so thrilled to see Giants win the NFC championship. It was an extremely exciting game and I am openly wishing and secretly praying that Giants score a big upset and trample the Patriots. Well may be thats going a bit toooooooo far, but a wish is a wish.

Siding with the underdogs is a not so rare phenomenon. Like if Roger Federer had lost to Tipsarvic, it would have been exciting.

Education- its meaning for students

Ya thats my style

My brother's defense on beautiful Indian girls (His writing)

Let me tell you a story related to India. No it is not related to Information Technology nor a tale on the land of fakirs or Taj Mahal or Gandhi for that matter. It is about beautiful girls from India, and my attempt to convince my colleagues That they truly are Indian.

It started when I forwarded the email I received, carrying the Kingfisher calendar (featuring the beauties from India) to my friends. So my white friends reacted that "they look like any people in the world" “…Well I countered with “Why is so difficult to accept these girls as Indian.” It seemed as if my friend wanted to say that “no you guys cannot be that beautiful”.

It struck me that my friends had a narrow view about a billion people, and that I should help them better understand that these dames are truly and purely Indians, as I am or technology support girls working in the office are, likewise they are “Indian” models.

“Ah no” …well “mixed breed was what they were most ready to concede……My irritated state tried best to put down the mixed breed argument and stated that being an Indian I know these girls well (not really) and you can just simply agree to that since you don’t know much about the billion + population. And not the majority but there are beautiful (pure Indian) girls too so don’t be sure about your judgment.

One of them said Ohhhh common, We have so many Asian here who are Americans so they call themselves Asian Americans like wise they might be “middle eastern Indians or may be Oriental Indians even better Asian Indians” for that matter . I wasn’t so sure how to answer them as India is not a country of immigrants and we just have Indians and Anglo Indians and we can mostly make out who is what.

Another argument was just mind boggling. These girls are so beautiful that some white man may have slept with some one in their ancestry. And boy, don’t mind as India was under British occupation for a long long time and no one comes forward to tell the truth about these matters. It is common here too , if here somebody got pregnant but married other guy, then who would know about the fathers original father .

Tell me about it…you can only have all this drama between white skin people. But let the girl carry a baby of an African American boy and marry a white guy, I bet even a blind person would have an opinion about the father of the kid by just touching the hair. Quite similar logic applies to Indians too. I just thought my friends are truly American and they know least about any other place.

I did not realize how the conversation became an argument and took such a shape after all I just wanted my friends to see some beautiful Indian girls. I am not too sure but after the outsourcing, IT, economy etc, people don’t want to look at too many things that have “Made in India” tag.

None the less, Guys incase you know anything about the kingfisher models (Deepti Gujral, Sheetal Menon, Moni Kangna Dutta, Shruti Agrawal, Preeti Desai, Melissa Mehra and Tamara Moss) background/heritage/something..just share with me as it would make my friends really happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

2 days .........and no work

My husband left yesterday for out of station on an office visit. This meant that I was alone in my apartment for 2 days and 1 night.....

Well what does that leave me with.

Finally some alone time..... or back to bachelorhood days (as my husband teased me) or that I will be eagerly waiting for him to return, counting every hour?

Yes, counting every hour is precisely what I did. And as I am writing it, I am truly ashamed of it.

I suddenly had this feeling that just because one spends all their time with their partner or is habituated to living with someone, it is hard to go back to being one your own..

I told my husband that it is hard to imagine how people live alone. And then he said to me that living alone is not a problem, but once you get into the habit of living with a partner, then it is hard to go back to living one.

This reminded me of a lecture on social psychology in my undergrad that for people who have not been in love, Love is not a big deal. But for someone who has experienced love, love definitely has much more meaning or significance for them.

Bottom-line... I think habits a bad. Be it cigarettes, alcohol or a partner. Don't lose yourself to it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Colts-- hmmmmmm

I am in state of shock, well the shock is wearing off slowly but still, the COLTS loss to Chargers today was very disappointing...

Could we have played better, I think so. May be I am one of those fans who is only satisfied in a win (may be not a true fan then), but we failed to deliver as a team in the crunch time.

Sports psychology man, I think it really counts. Coming from the bottom, and then clinching a victory is not a very common trait to possess. " Confidence " .... may be Manning could work on.

When we lost, I was feeling like one should stay away from attachment. But no ya... life goes on.

Colts you rocked.. Hopefully better performance next time.

However it makes me realize how good TOM BRADY is. Like Shailesh says " with Patriots you have to play all 4 quaters".

However I am enjoying my interest in Football. A sport I could barely make sense of a year ago.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Hats off to Aamir Khan for directing this movie. He has made a splendid movie, right from the heart. It carries a beautiful message, and has brilliant performance.

Aamir comes at the interval and is present only in the second half. He is selfless in the sense that there is scope for every actor in his movie to have their space, ample screen time and deliver their best performance.

The little one in the movie Darsheel is brilliant. For all who dont mind crying while watching movie, there is ample scope for you.

Go watch everybody... you won't regret.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Caste system in India

I have just gotten off the phone with one of my friend. She had called me to discuss an email that had been circulating to my list serve in school. The email highlighted an incident in Chicago where a Hindu person is accused of burning alive his daughter and son-in-law because she married a person of lower caste. Such emails which highlight atrocities are common to our social work list serve, however the last sentence of the email read

" Hindus carry and live with their caste wherever they go".

I took great exception to this statement as it was clearly making a judgment on all Hindus and especially since it was coming from all another fellow Indian. I cannot speak for all but I know of many people who have come a long way in denouncing the caste system and working towards a India which does not practice discrimination.

Spread information as against propaganda....

Back to orkut

The word ORKUT is synonymous with many thoughts, some good and many bad. Well after a hiatus of I dont know how many months, I am back on orkut. I have mixed feelings.... 3 months back I had told my sister to delete her orkut account and concentrate on her board exams. I know what she will think when she gets to know of it. But anyways, since the usuage of phone to call not-so-near friends has gone down (at least by me) so much that I am sure I will make positive use of orkut. I am also glad at the many measures initiated by orkut to make it private..