Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Come, get to know me better!

The last time I posted here, I put up a to-do list of posts. I'm checking it off one-by-one, but in no particular order. (Getting my dad to pose with the washing machine doing laundry is a job, so, yes, that will have to wait!)

I'll start with Narayani's task of making a list of 20 Random things about me and nominate three other blogs and hope that it carries forward. Judging by the recent spate of barely blogging, I wonder if it will get passed on, though.

If you've been reading this blog for long enough, you know everything there is to know, but I aim to please and potentially use this content as my "About Me" at some point in time! Let us begin, shall we? Actually, to give some context, I've done something like this before.

(1) Once upon a time, I dreamt of being on stage, spouting lines and delivering performances that would be compared to fine art. It's been eight years since I've been on stage. I miss it. I really, really miss it.

(2) I have an immense dislike for beauty pageants. And yet, in 2013, I found myself participating in one. I felt like I'd had a lobotomy. The whole process hurt my feet, my back, my ass, my bones, my self-proclaimed intelligence, and everything I hold dear. To top it off, I did it just to fuck with people. That being said, the entire process gave me a rare insight into the lives of pageant mothers and children. I can't say I respect their life choices, but, it's a hella difficult life, kudos (I think) for participating in such a shitpit.

(3) I have this weird habit of cleaning in the night. I don't know why. I would have done nothing the whole day, and come 11pm, my hands get itchy and I'm dumping clothes on the floor, re-folding everything, re-organising. Of course, since getting married, I haven't been able to carry on this amazing tradition, but when my husband is away, the madness resurfaces.

(4) I have no response to people who tell me that they immensely dislike animals of all kinds. Okay, I get that domestic animals are a bit of a warzone for you, but, what the heck has a Tiger ever done to you for you to dislike it?

(5) Cooking is a bit of an iffy subject for me. I mean, most of the things I put together are manageably edible and don't cause food poisoning, but, man, it's a fucking chore!

(6) I simply lack the patience to deal with sulky people. Despite being a master sulker myself, I lack the patience to deal with it. The consequences of this impatience are going to manifest when my child is born and grows into a sulky toddler. It's already giving me nightmares. *shudder*

(7) Writing is and always will be my release. It's the only way I know how to be brutally honest. IRL, I'm less confrontational. But give me a blank page and all this suppressed angst just unleashes itself.

(8) I was the fat, ugly kid that got made fun of for being fat, for having allergies and colds, for having short hair because other kids thought I looked like a boy but knew I was a girl so did that make me an "ali" (code for hijra), for being my mum's daughter, for having all these imaginary boyfriends (who were assigned to me by these kids), for so many things I've lost count. And I'm rather proudly not in touch with a single one of these assholes. Trust me, if you were ever a kid who got teased this mercilessly in school, you'd understand why these fuckers aren't on my friend list, Facebook connectivity notwithstanding.

(9) I dislike people who fat-shame. I fail to understand why someone else's size is so important to people. How does it matter? It's someone else's extra inches, someone else's arteries that are clogged up, someone else's struggle, none of the pain of being a certain size belongs to the person pointing it out, so why point it out? The response usually is "because health problems, I'm being a good friend by telling them to lose weight and get healthy". Seriously, fuck off.

(10) I hate, HATE people who use "friends" as free shrinks. Getting together, eating, drinking, making merry, talking about stupid shit, talking about meaningful things, being there for each other through every high and low is what it's all about. However, there are some people who leech on the goodwill and use you as a sounding board for their problems. They then proceed to disappear until the next problem arises. You fall for it, thinking that they're a friend, so why not? But it's rinse-repeat with them. I did this once. Called my friend, aired out my problems with her, and then promptly disappeared when things got better. She was going through a difficult time herself, and then added to that was my shitty behaviour. Things are back to normal-ish with her. I hate that I did something like that. I hate that I let myself down and that I couldn't live up to the standards that I'm usually such a stickler for. But there it is. Even the so-called mighty fall.

(11)  I have the most ridiculous skin. Those rolling their eyes please stop. The ones who know me keep telling me how clear my skin is, and so on. But my skin is super sensitive. Aloe Vera soap gives me a rash. Go figure! Nothing but brown pears soap works on my skin. There's a very specific list of products and make up that work and ensure I don't break out in ridiculous, angry red rashes all over. Did you know, that my clothes, if washed in strong detergent like Ariel, also give me rashes? Yeah. That. Try living in my skin for a day. If you don't run screaming for the hills after scratching yourself like a dog, change my name!

(12) There is a reason I am excessively private about certain things. Every single time I open up about something that's diffcult or that's good news, something goes very wrong. And I wonder if it was worth sharing at all. Right from sharing feelings about a boy I like, or sharing thoughts about some life event that's important to me. Every single time I've done it, it's ended badly. So, no, sometimes sharing is not caring.

(13) I have this perpetual thing going that everyone's talking about me and literally no one I know is being straight with me. That when I leave the room they're either at it about how strange I am, or that I'm a total misfit in the cool gang but they put up with me because they need entertainment. It's a rather weird headspace to be in. I don't know how I get through social interactions with this playing in my mind. I do have a feeling this thought process is what leads to me saying some thoroughly ridiculous nonsense that may or may not be entirely appropriate.

(14) I love shoes. ADORE THEM! But you know what's shitty? I have big feet. Size 41. In most stores that's the biggest size they stock. Which means that finding a cute pair takes an age and finding high heels (which I love even more than regular shoes) is the quest for the proverbial needle. The first time I found pretty shoes in my size that also had more than a 2-inch heel was in Singapore. IN SINGAPORE! Who would have thought that a country full of mostly-dainty-feet would stock high heels in big sizes?

(15) There's this funny thing that happens when I'm on time. Everything gets delayed. Example? My cousin-in-law's engagement. The family had to get ready and go halfway across Delhi for the event. I went to the parlour, got my hair done, got dressed and made up and so on and was ready to leave at the appointed hour of 4.30pm. Next thing I know, my husband was running late from work, the younger girls didn't like their hair and makeup and went back to get it redone. One of the vehicles broke down. We got stuck in possibly the most insane traffic jam known to man and ended up being 2.5hours late! Another time, my husband told me that there was to be an official lunch. I got ready. Army and all, so I was dressed to go. On time. My husband drops by 1.5hours later and tells me that the lunch was cancelled and they had a small sendoff for the concerned officer in office. I was waiting, in my sari, for 90 whole minutes! FML, I guess, huh?/

(16) The converse of the aforementioned weirdness is that when I am even a nanosecond late, I look like I got ready in a hurry and ran a cross country race! Not a good look. Trust me.

(17) Books are my life, my world, my source of inspiration, my joy, my sanity, my madness, my everything! I remember when I'd read Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, I couldn't pick up a single book for months. Forget reading anything else, I was so emotionally affected by it. I couldn't explain those feelings to you adequately enough.

(18) I love sunshine. Rains, the winter season, they're mightily depressing and mightily annoying too. I dislike wearing anything more  than a single layer of clothes. Coming as I do from a coastal, sunshine-y city, the concept of misty mornings, overcast days, chills-to-the-bone cold is something I don't have the physical or mental tolerance for. I hate it.

(19) I have a serious case of bitchy resting face. Other humans think I'm super arrogant and that I think I'm some important person who needs to be worshiped in order to descend from my high horse and interact with people. That's factually incorrect. I might look like I'm judging you, but I'm not. And calling me names when I'm not around just because I chose to sit quietly with aforementioned face rather than communicate with you says more about your ego than it does about my personality.

(20) I care more about the lyrics and the tune they're put to. Everything else is trivia for a music nut. I'm not a music nut. I am just affected by beautiful words and their depths of meaning than I am by the name of the composer. That being said, I do appreciate an individual's work in making music (Amit Trivedi, my man, I am looking at you!). For instance, these lines from "Manchala" a song in "Hasee toh Phasee" - meri hai ajeeb adatein/kuch khudgarz chahatein/ har jazbaat phir bhi masoom hai. I love all the songs from that movie's soundtrack, but these lines in particular spoke to me. There's lots of cases where these minor things affect me. In summary, music and lyrics are a big deal. And the music in Indian cinema provides me the perfect kind of succour on a good day, a bad day, a shitty day, a sad day, a generic day.

So, that's me folks.

I would like to pass this one to

Aditi over at Monologue, Janani over at Ramblings of a Pretty Woman and Niyo at moonshine borealis

Carry on then.

Goodnight.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A to-do list

First let me just give you an update, okay?

We'll begin with my eternal life crisis - my ENT system. It's constantly malfunctioning and I'm constantly calling it names. Pregnancy means I can't medicate, so, I literally have to live out each episode and sometimes it lingers for longer than two weeks. It makes me so angry. After recovering from that, I fell ill again. This time it's my old friend nausea. I'm not on pills for that. And back to my highly regimented diet. Again, angry/irritable me. Sigh.

It's at times like this that the whole excitement of being pregnant takes a backseat.

But I have a lot to do.

#1 - Write that post Aditi nominated me for

#2 - Write  that post Narayani nominated me for

#3 - Publish that outrage piece on a now-no-longer-trending topic

#4 - Magically finish my magnum opus tomorrow and land a mega publishing contract the  day after that and live happily ever after!

I hope to wrap up 1 & 2 asap. The rest can take its time!

Friday, March 13, 2015

What Will People Say

As a little girl, as a teenager, as a young woman, and well, even now, I've always run into a familiar conversational trope "what will people say". It was by far one of the most trying things, and also the most ridiculous. To me, it seemed like I was living under the scrutiny of these "people" and for some reason, their opinions mattered and, more importantly, governed my every day life.

I could never understand why "people" were more important. And after these conversations there was one thought I never articulated - WHO are these people? I mean, do I know them? Would I be able to spot them in a crowd? Do they have names? Why are we so afraid of, and so terribly bothered by, these people? Do we owe them money? Do they know some deep, dark, unmentionable secret about us that we have to live our lives in terrible fear of their knowledge?

I never really asked my family all this, and in the few choice instances that I did, I got the line about how we weren't living in isolation and we had to face "people" and it was important to be above reproach. Again, with the damn people!

I never got it. I don't get it. I don't think I ever will.

Clearly, these "people" aren't going away. They seem to be at the crux of every discussion we're having today. Take, for instance, that young girl who was brutally beaten on the streets by her police inspector father. His reasoning was that she was having an "affair" and had brought "shame" on the family and there was no way that she was going to get away with it. His solution was to force-marry her to some random they had picked out for her. Once again, the "people" won.

The worst outcome of "what will people say" is not the violence that girls and women experience in this country, it's the hypocrisy that's masked in the shroud of "IDGAS about what people say". Not only are the people who loudly proclaim this liars of the worst sort, they're also hiding their deference to convention in a statement that's more dangerous and detrimental than "what will people say".

The worst affected by the 'what will people say' adage are, of course, women. I know of many other affected parties, but I am not living their reality, so I will have to focus my angst on the territory that I am familiar with. I don't want to generalise on something unfamiliar to me and then get called out for being ignorant and so on.

Like I was saying, the worst affected are women. Why you ask? For one, people seem to care an insane amount about whether it's appropriate for a girl to wear jeans, carry a cell phone, be single, have male friends/acquaintances/colleagues, have an education, sanitation, etc. There's so much a woman can and cannot do, and practically all of it is countered with the "what will people say" tag.

Why does it matter so much? This social approval? Are these people around when you're in crisis? Do they celebrate your joys and mourn your sorrows with you? Are they the support you need to live life knowing that you're no alone in this world? I don't think so.Living in fear of judgement basically limits us from being happy. The constant worry of someone else's opinion on our life leaves no room for joy. And that's a sad way to live.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

All that Baby Talk, Pt4

You know, I really want to stop blogging about my pregnancy. But the craziness surrounding this most normal of womanly biology compels my rants.

[My dear fellow women for whom pregnancy hasn't been easy to come by, might never happen, isn't easy, please know that I empathise in full. I don't mean to beat you over the head with my drama.]

The bump watch. It's a tabloid favourite activity. Thankfully, I think the Indian media isn't as unhealthily obsessed thanks to the innumerable superstitions surrounding pregnancy and the fact that most pregnant women in our country aren't too show off-y with their bumps. Hiding the bump is as much a part of pregnancy as is announcing to the world a girl/woman's fertility (read manjal neerattu vizha, don't get me started on that, please!). So, the Indian tabloids have carried woefully little content about celebrity babies and Aishwarya Rai, mother of most famous celebrity baby in Indian tabloid history, chose to stay on the DL during her pregnancy, bless her!

But the average woman, aam aurat, sarasari manushi, doesn't have the pleasure of being the subject of zero prying eyes. No, this woman has to deal with her doctor, her spouse, her family, her friends, her own devious mind, and all the content online and offline regarding what her pregnant belly ought to look and feel like! It's a bit ridiculous this level of scrutiny. It always makes me wonder why we even announce our pregnancies to everyone around us. I get it, it's good news to those who believe pregnanices are good news, but there are some people who don't want to know about what goes on in our uterus and frankly who can blame them? Other than a mini human, the other things that a uterus expels can hardly be called pleasant. Maybe necessary, but by no means pleasant.

That's not the topic of conversation here. We're talking baby bumps.

You'll have to forgive me the usage of the colloquial term. Thanks to my first trimester, pretty much the only obvious indicator of my pregnancy has been my weight. And everyone kept commenting on how fat I've become and so on. It was tempting to tell them off, but I didn't feel like. Too much work for the opinions of people who IGAS about. The only people I do care about are friends and family, and thankfully, I've been lucky in tat they are more concerned about my well-being and less about how pregnant I look.

That being said, it's a bit sad that you go to the trouble of getting pregnant and then all you're told is "you don't look pregnant, just fat." Gee, thanks! I went through a miscarriage, and some serious time planning only to hear this from your smelly mouth. Please go sailing on the cooum and accidentally drown in cooum sludge, please? Thanks. I really appreciate how you've acceded to my wishes and whims! UGH!

Body-shaming and fat-shaming have become such an integral part of the process of one's pregnancy that you can't unhear it, or pretend it doesn't exist. The only thing you can do is rage at it and call people names. You literally leave us no choice. For the most part, pregnant women and their skewed centres of gravity don't lend themselves to grace in a fight.  And honestly, I prefer standing up straight to flailing about like an ungainly creature.

At this point, I've gone on selective deafness mode when it comes to bump talk. I mean, in my initial excitement, I wanted a bump and I wanted to look pregnant and wear maternity clothes and walk around the city gleefully rubbing my belly and looking pleased about life. But then I realised that this is probably better. A barely there belly that's finally beginning to show in my third trimester is better than walking around breathless and cursing your decision to get pregnant in the first place.

The main takeaway is of course the following:

- If you're a woman who has never been pregnant, shut up about my lack of a baby bump. Save your commentary for the time you do choose to gestate a mini human.
- If you've been pregnant before and you had the kind of belly that walked into a room hours before you did, that's your body being pregnant, not mine, so quit comparing!
- If you're a man, don't make me state the patently obvious. Just please SHUT UP!

Friday, February 27, 2015

All that Baby Talk, Pt3

Now that the emotions and sentiments of pregnancy is out of the way, I want to delve right into the territory I call fucking ridiculous.

It's a place where common sense has permanently abandoned any attempt at residing here and where the absurd and farcical come out to play. Every single second.

Owning to the fact that I don't drive, I don't go out much. I'm mostly homebound and until I'd finished 5 months, it was impossible for me to go anywhere because of the fatigue that would take over the second I exerted myself. My energy levels have finally been restored to some degree of normalcy and I feel like I can finally move around, only to be told that my final trimester is here and could I please shut up and sulk in a corner!

(1) In the early days of my pregnancy, my little viable fetus was referred to as a parasite. Yeah, parasite. If someone had said 'multicellular glob that's going to eventually turn into a 50% you and 50% husband baby' I'd have digested, but parasite? I mean, do you want me to get violent? Or are you being scientific? I don't get it. Call it a zygote, call it a fetus, call it the reason behind my ridiculous nausea, but a parasite? Ticks on my dogs eyelids are parasites, yo, not the multicellular organism I'm growing inside me! But yeah, I had to listen to the word parasite being bandied about and since I had zero energy to inflict serious bodily harm on the person talking, I had to listen.

(2) Coughing is not good. Please control the impulse to cough. I literally have no clue why this is sensible. Could it be because coughing is so high pressure that you'd end up delivering a baby? That's as ridiculous as the scene in What To Expect When You're Expecting, when this supermodel type chick sneezes and out pops a baby. Controlling a cough could exert that same pressure on your internal organs, and if everythign goes to shit when you chose suppressing instead of just bloody coughing, who are you going to blame? Yourself? Or me?

(3) Evil ghosts and goblins are out to possess your uterus! Okay, so going out and standing in the dark means all these evil night creatures will invade your uterus and possess your as yet unborn child with evil and you'll end up birthing the devil! Apparently this is why pregnant women aren't allowed to go out in the dark. I can't even. No, I won't.

(4) In-vitro is the best method of teaching your child calm and composure. Sure, I don't mind. But have you not met Biology? Like ever? There's also this thing called the universe which will remind you of your crimes and get you to pay every damn thing back in full. Children are the best way to accomplish this. And I'm sure everyone with a brain has figured this out. Our beleaguered parents are evidence of this payback phenomenon. And for those of us who have kids, or like me are waiting to be parents, can also safely vouch for this fact.

(5) Don't show anyone your stomach. Last I checked, I wasn't walking around with my shirt lifted up so everyone could see my bump. So what gives? Oh, not to wear fitting clothes? Dude, why the hell not? I know I'm pregnant, anyone who sees my waddle has figured out I'm pregnant, so why hide and pretend I'm not? Is this because of evil eye? If you ask me, if something bad has to happen, it will happen. Attributing it to evil eye or any other such thing is being stupid. Chill out. This is, however, a matter of personal choice. I'm not for bump-hiding. But for those who do, that's your bump to show off or hide.

So far, this is what I'm dealing with. There's more. I'll be adding to this story in increments. Soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On being confrontational

You know what? Anyone who has read this blog knows that I spend a lot of time here just writing angry things aimed at people who have in some way or the other pissed me off. And pissing me off is about as easy as eating a piece of cake.

Lately I've been on a pick-a-fight spree with everyone around me. From my husband, to people who responded to something I posted online. Some people have responded in kind and the war of words continues, some people didn't get the point. But I keep thinking if I should keep at the fighting or just let it go. My trouble is that I can't stop my immediate impulse to dash out a thought or 50,000. Should I think before I act in these instances? OR should I go ahead and keep at it? I'm not sure what I should do, but I do know that I'm far more settled when I share the feelings than when I don't. This explains the existence of the blog, as well as my Twitter account.

My constant ranting has been a source of great joy for people. It gives them one more thing about me to laugh at. I mean, I come across as nothing less than apeshit. That being said, do I care? I don't.

When it comes to politics and religion, I have a lot to say, but that's fine, everyone has an opinion on these things. We're all activists.

But what about when it comes to people talking about you behind your back to someone close to you? Do you confront the tale carrier, or do you shut up and watch as their so-called innocent conversation leads to a not-so-innocent confrontation between you and the receiver of the story? Or do you ignore the series of events because you're adopting this 'let it go' philosophy?

I prefer confrontation. Even if it means costing me a so-called friendship. I'd rather know exactly what was said and done rather than pretend pleasantries every time I meet this person. Does this make me hostile? Damn right it does. At least that's what people tell me. I get it. You don't want to deal with someone who is coming at you all guns blazing, but you're sure comfortable when it comes to talking about me and creating a ripple where none exists.

Innocent or not, sometimes some conversations have unintended consequences. And when those consequences directly affect you, it's imperative to take a stand instead of pretending that these consequences didn't happen. I don't expect apologies, I don't expect contrition, what I do expect is for people like this to stay the heck away from me.

Friday, February 20, 2015

All That Baby Talk, Pt2

24 Weeks.

I can't even begin to fathom that I've been gestating a mini human, or a mini as a friend refers to her newborn for this long. It's a bit, well, it's a bit of everything.

I miscarried back in 2013. I was 'surprised' when I found out I was expecting. Not that I'm good at admitting that to myself, let alone to the internet. I'm one of those people who makes no secret of her disdain for couples who are 'surprised' at their pregnancies. For some reason, I believe that two adults in a consensual, sexual relationship can't be surprised. I mean, there's a wealth of information out there, old wives tales included, and in this day and age, being surprised is a bit boring to be honest.

Anyway, my assholery aside, miscarrying was unexpected and a lot more emotional an experience than I'd bargained for. I was, at that time, newly married. My husband had precisely no clue about how to deal with this information. I mean, we'd talked about kids and we had planned that babies would happen after at least a year together, so this turn of events was territory we didn't think we'd have to chart as a couple so immediately into an arranged marriage.

I dealt with it particularly badly. Aside from the physical pain, there was also the fact that literally no one was thrilled with the news. My family gave me sage advice as always about how to take care of myself, but nothing indicated that they were excited about being grandparents. Not like they are now. They all asked me if I was sure. I didn't know myself. Most of what I went through was an intensely private ordeal. Even my doctor looked grim every time he looked at the ultrasound images on the screen. He kept saying, "it's not right. I think we may have to terminate."

An abortion, even a medically advised one, was not something my mum-in-law was willing to accept. But the doctor told her that my health mattered more and in the long run it was better to terminate than to hang on to a fetus that wasn't developing at all. Rather than let it begin to affect my physical well-being, the better idea was to let it go.

For the first time in a long time, I prayed before going for the final round of checkups prior to my D&C procedure. I just said, "if this is meant to be, I need a sign, some sign, any sign." That night, I began bleeding.

I'm the last person who resorts to prayer. For any reason. I'm the kind of person who'd be sitting in the corner of the room rolling her eyes and making fun of the rest of the room participating in a pooja that no one understood the purpose of (or so I thought). To have asked for divine intervention was a bit of a stretch even for me, but that's the place I was in mentally. I didn't know what else to do really. Also, Ganesha has always been a personal favourite and my all-time crush. I keep asking him for favours and bribing him with coconuts. It seems to work. I think.

After the doctor checked me up and gave me the all-clear, I went on the pill. Stayed on it till S and I decided to try for a baby.

Ever since recovering from HG and jaundice, I keep thinking back to the events of 2013 and I wonder if things have panned out the way they should have. My miscarriage happened on its own, so, was it a sign? I mean, if I asked for divine intervention then, should I now believe that there's a greater purpose being served here? Or am I putting too much weight on basic Biology? 

As 24 rolls into 25 and further, I can't help but think that my unborn child survived the onslaught of my borderline undernourished state in the first 12 weeks, and jaundice, and is now bouncing away quite happily post-10pm every night. Maybe there is a 'meant to be' angle in all this. Maybe.