In America, you can still be an African and an American, you can be a Mexican-American, and an Italian-American, a Chinese-American. In France, there are no hyphenates. You are either French, or you are not.

– Sandrine Arnaud, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Advertisements

I revel in routine. Not the boring kind (who revels in that), but the kind that helps me compartmentalize my life into neat little A-Z boxes. It helps me breathe better, function better, cope better with anything that is out of my routine. I simply need to know what I’m doing next, that’s all.

I revel in order as well. Clutter and things out of place make it really hard for me to think or make coherent sentences or even sleep for that matter. I swore I’d never get house help (because I don’t like dependence), but I caved a couple of months ago and let me tell you, it has changed my life. Clearly, I underestimated the power clutter had over me.

So.

At some point in the recent past, I set in motion the life I envisioned myself living. But somewhere along the way, I realized that this life that I think I want will encompass the OPPOSITE of order and routine. And as expected, I’ve been quietly panicking about it in the corner of my mind; it would have probably continued building until I freaked the living duck out of myself one day, ending in a completely preventable meltdown.

But I was sitting in an auto this morning and I suddenly realized (because epiphanies happen not just in the shower, guys), I have changed my life around in several ways over the last few years, in ways that I never imagined myself to be capable of. For example: For 25 years, I hated Mondays. Now, I don’t. I don’t have Monday blues, I don’t spend half of Sunday panicking about Monday, I don’t look at the planner and groan and wish for the next weekend to be there already. And guess what, nothing has really changed, except that my laundry is up-to-date and a leeetle bit of stuff is planned. I sometimes even look forward to Mondays and all it took was a change in perspective/ mindset. Who’da thunk it?

Similarly, I HATED exercise. Anything that made me sweat really. I detested it. But now, I can’t go a day without getting in some form of activity, I feel pretty shitty the days I skip my workout, honestly, and I NEVER thought I’d be one of those people. I taught myself to like exercise enough to make it a habit.

So if I’m capable of having habits opposite to those that made up who I thought I inherently was by simply teaching myself how to, I can also learn to live a life without as much routine or order, right? I can learn to do pretty much anything I really want to, right?

Annoying Board/Card Games

I do NOT like board/card games (Uno, chess, poker, 7 cards, donkey, Pictionary, Scrabble, younameit), with the exception of  Monopoly (which no one else seems to like), and I’d do ANYTHING to get out of playing them. But it is not easy when you have family and friends who turn to precisely these games to un-glue everyone from their phones when we get together (whatever happened to lazing around, munching on pottu kadalae, and gossiping). It becomes especially difficult when you have a sibling who loves playing the most complicated of these games; for him, the more rules and actions to perform, the better *smh*. I try telling them that I’ll keep the score or I’ll be the judge and nonsense excuses like that but of course, no one even listens to me and I’m given a set of cards or a marker and that is that. They all have fun and I’m just trying stay afloat, remember all the rules.

But guess what.

  1. My uncle got a quizzing app out (with like GK questions and timers and all) during our mini-vacation and started playing with us (me + partner + siblings + my mother), and that is the most fun hour I had in that entire trip.
  2. My bff’s colleagues had a sleepover at his place and we gatecrashed; one girl came up with this word game for all of us to play and, again, the most fun I’ve had in all my indoor game playing life.

Now, I’m all geared to make it my life’s mission to get everyone to play these two games.
My partner is teasing me about being a nerdy nerd but I’m not even sorry 😛

hipster20llama

 

Moutain-ing of the Mole Hill

I absolutely do not understand why there is SUCH a ruckus about an old person dying at a ripe old age completely of natural causes after a long, fulfilling career (he was elected into power five times, so I’m safe in assuming it was fulfilling to him) in politics.

He deserves a fitting send off, full state honors (considering the position he and his family have in state politics), and respect. Yes.

BUT.

People were either self-immolating or stampeding others to death. WHY? :O

SMHSMHSMH.

Hashtag Feminism

I’m not going to write about feminism because 1) there seems to be too much to defend in the movement’s current context and getting defensive automatically takes away credibility from anything, for me 2) I don’t have the chops to give you more than just my opinion and hence, this is not the well-rounded piece the topic deserves. I’m also not going to address WHY we need feminism (or any human rights movement, for that matter) because if you don’t see the need based on what you’ve witnessed in your life and via media, then I, a single voice screaming into what-may-be oblivion, no matter what truths I speak, cannot change your mind, so I’d rather invest my energies in more productive endeavors.

What I CAN do is to tell you how I go about teaching myself and understanding feminism, in an age where everyone (famous or not) seems to be saying something different every time they open their mouths, especially when these words do not match their actions.

***

In this last wave of feminism, the definition of the concept and its relevance to us on an individual and collective bases have splintered a million ways and this has only made it more difficult to weed out the nonsensical and the man hating, from actual necessities like strong rape laws (marital, otherwise), safe havens from abuse, access to education, and choices in child bearing.

EVERYone is either a feminist (because they woke af) or hating on feminists (because too many cry wolf), but there are very few focusing less on the theatrics and more on what needs to change. The needs are very different too: what applies in the West, may not apply in Asia, what is relevant in Asia, may not be relevant in the Middle East. But the conversations I’m hearing about are around how women should have the right to walk around topless on beaches just like men or how men should burn at the altar of fake sexual harassment/ dowry claims. To figure out how you fit in in this quagmire of information, I attach these screenshots of Monki-owner Maitreyi Bhatia’s Instagram stories; simpler and more incisive than I can ever hope to be.

***

At this point in my life, I’m going to go ahead and call myself a feminist, albeit a bad one probably, but thanks to Roxanne Gay, I’m okay with that as long as I’m learning. I have never dared call myself a feminist till now for fear that I would “get it wrong” and be a hypocrite. I did not want to say I am feminist because it is the cool thing to do *eye rolls* and flout the rules in my personal life (because this is mostly the brand of feminism I see around me IRL albeit exceptions). But my current definition involves a bit of ensuring gender blindness and a bit of not applying all the rules all the time to all people.

I was/am constantly questioning myself and my motives and my actions to understand if I am being true to my beliefs. I now realize that if one believes in something, but fails to throw their weight into the cause in whatever manner relevant, that is as good as being a bystander to an accident and not trying to help the injured. Please note that I’m not advocating going out on the streets and fostering bra-burning rage (bras are expensive AF :O) – but if it works, then that too – right now, I am only talking about ensuring there is a little less misogyny in this world today at the grassroot level, than there was yesterday.

Which brings me to my next point: if you’re a man who believes in equality but don’t want to call yourself a feminist because of what the popular definitions are, then you’re still causing harm. Because whether we want to admit it or not, a man throwing his weight behind this cause lends more credibility to it among peers of his gender. Men get men more than they get women, because these two genders are wired to think differently and approach things differently.

I choose not to see this logic as regressive because a woman would not rely on the male general population’s opinion while buying lingerie or birth control, she would rather hear about other women’s opinions, right? So men too might respond better to other male voices saying things in a way. And for me, getting through matters more than political correctness. Maybe this will change and I will be proven wrong about this logic not being toxic, maybe not; but what I want for now is for more men (like the ones I know), who are closet feminists but truly treat their women as equals in every way they know how, to stand up for me (I’m looking at you James, Harry, Nameet!) and validate me (as my friends, not because they are men), so that I know for sure I’m fighting for the right things.

Side notes:

Do NOT go about saying ‘oh men’s rights are important too’. Not only are you making it a foolish case of whataboutery that doesn’t address anything, you are only exhibiting substantial levels of douchebaggery. Let me give you an analogy that might explain why I say this: it is like complaining about not getting a 30% hike in your appraisal, when your dog died. No, the statements are not related. Exactly the point I am trying to make. Giving women equal rights does not mean that anyone is taking away men’s rights. I don’t understand why you don’t understand that fundamental rights are not like a quantifiable pie that one gender (or ANYone for that matter) gets to have more of. There is this spanking new concept called peaceful, empathetic coexistence. Try it, it could change your life.

Don’t be that person who says #notallgirls or “I’m not like them” or buy into the “I’m not a typical girl” pie, simply for male validation. You’re only selling yourself out to the toxic side of patriarchy, for no real gains. Also don’t be that person who judges other people for having children/ not having children/ quitting their job because the partner is earning enough/ NOT quitting the job to take care of children/ dating/ drinking/ not drinking/WHATever. Just don’t judge, because there is no way you know the full story. Period.

Radical ANYTHING turns toxic after a point. Radical ANYTHING does not effect actual, relevant change. Radical ANYTHING does not deserve any attention whatsoever.

Linking morality and personal choices to feminism is just like mixing orange juice with yogurt. They curdle and become diarrhea inducing. That’s the point. People can have sex (with consent), wear whatever they want, wear makeup, work, not cook, “live for their families”, sport short/long hair, get tattoos, not choose to have children, have seven children, have plastic surgery, approach people they find attractive…. do all things related to living basically, REGARDLESS OF GENDER. Bringing gender into these basic things simply does NOT make sense, no matter how blue in the face you go trying to establish relevance.

Lastly, I will repeat it for the three million and seventy fifth time, feminism is NOT man hating, and anyone who says otherwise is not a feminist. If a real feminist is mad at you, they are not hating on you because you are a man, but probably for being an asshole about something specific. And we all know that assholery has nothing to do with gender, right?

Fin.

P.S: I’m talking about cis, hetero men and women here. I’m not qualified to talk about other genders. 

Vanilla Ice Cream Haye Haye

I was talking to Sheeeesha about ice cream (among other things, not JUST ice cream. We are adults. No really, believe me), and telling her how chocolate should be the one true flavor to rule them all. I AM questioning our friendship since she sided with strawberry, but that is another story.

But what I really have a problem with is vanilla-flavored ice cream. It has no personality, no mind of its own, just fades away into oblivion when mixed with literally anything else, and does not even stand up for itself. What even? The worst is when you buy kutchi ice cream (popsicle? ice cream on a stick?) thinking it is chocolate (because it says chocolate on the box and it is covered in chocolate), and then you bite into it to find out that THERE IS NO CHOCOLATE, it was vanilla all along, snickering because it got you. It cheats and lies and deceives and doesn’t even make it worth your while.

Don’t get me wrong, I love vanilla-scented candles, fragrances, essence, cakes… even the pods themselves are absolutely lovely. But in ice cream, ABOMINATION.

Vanilla ice cream should be salted and burned*.

french-vanilla-ice-cream-recipe-fp

Look at it, just sitting there, pretending to be someone it is not.

P.S: I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, starting with traitors in my own family but I DON’T CARE, INDIA IS A FREE COUNTRY (or at least for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume it is) AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, I HATE VANILLA ICE CREAM.

P.P.S: Vanilla ice cream is my Toby.

P.P.S.S: July has truly been a test of my patience. Thank you for that. Welcome August. Are you going to be as assholey?

*too much Supernatural. On the bright side, I have an unbelievably intense crush on Dean.