Monday, May 29, 2006

The reservation issue - some links

The reservation issue is heating up...and though I consider myself an 'active' participant in this issue, I have not written a post of my I was busy assimilating what others have written on different forums, and added a few silly comments of my own there.

So, anyone who is looking to spew venom for or against reservation, do check out these links:

Anshuman's blog

Tanushree's blog

Parenthood...contd.- when do you say 'enough'?

"We are going to monitor you for 3 months - if till then, the medication works, it is fine, else we go in for laproscopy!!!"
She listened, slightly dazed, slightly indignant, a lot concerned and scared and hoping fervently that the medication that she could become pregnant....
As they walked out of the clinic with the prescribed 'medication' and the outlined dates for the scans (something which had already started to make her feel very humiliated and irritated), her husband started the car and commented, "Listen, I don't want a kid!"
"What? Why didn't you tell me earlier..."
"I never knew it was going to bring you so much trouble, pain...let's jsut forget it...we are happy as we are."
"Let's just see what happens...I am not willing to go for the operation we'll see these 3 months."
End of 1st month:
"Well, the progress is not very promising, so next month, we'll go for injected stimulants rather than the oral medication."
She glanced at her husband and found him giving an imperceptible shake of head. As they walked out, he said, taking care to look at the traffic around, "You still think this is necessary?"
"My friends are moms parents are after injection is all it is..."
"First it will be the injection....then the operation....I don't want to lose you...and I don't wnat a kid by hurting you so much."

It hurt....not his comments...but the sharp contrast of his comments with her mother's remarks about her being a cowardly, shaky, person who only cared about her well-being and she was sure, if she ever mentioned this dialogue what her husband said to her mom, the typical reply will be ,"Tell him not to comment on things that he does not understand...these things are necessary to get a are just a cry-baby..."

Beginning of second month
"Can we think of a shot on your 9th day? Let's check...if everything goes on as expected, then it is fine, else we can think of it..." The doctor was straightforward, compassionate, crisp and oozed confidence and understanding....she felt good talking to her...

On the 8th day night, she wished everythign was fine....9th day however did not being anything path breaking...
The doctor who scanned her, wrapped up in 5 min, as usual, and then they said she could go in for an HSG. As she held out her credit card to pay for the procedure, the doctor esplained that she would be given two injections, mainly campose and some other checmical, then a dye is to be injected into her cervix at high velocity which would open her tubes, the procedure will be 'slightly' painful and she will get pain killers later.
She was dazed, and her hands trembled as she held her medical file and the bill. As they walked to the lift for the 4th floor for the X-ray, she could see that he was agitated. "Do you need to do this? So now you are ready for the injection? Damn!!! This is too bad, I can't see this happening to you."
She tried to steady him. "This is just another diagnosis, not the actual injection which she talked about last month..."
"I think you should leave, aise bhi, they told me that I need to sleep for an hour or so so that the dosage of campose wears use you staying. I'll call you once I am awake and all....if you are free then, will you come to meet me?"
"Sure dear."
It was a painful 1.5 to 2 hours - the two injections and chemical inserted just set the stage for more, and when that came, nothing could hold her back from was so painful, especially to almsot dangle from the end of a table and the dye being pumped in and the shot of pain it filled her abdomen with....
"Oh me..."
"Are you feeling pain?"
"Lots pain...lots...can you support my foot....can't we stop this...I don't want a baby...just let me go"
She apologized to teh doctor later for screaming and she said it does not matter, she will be fine later...gave her some coffee.
As she left the clinic to meet her husband, she was relieved,at least that painful procedure was now out of the way...but what if the next one is more?

She remembered one of her newly-parent male-friend commenting, "You know having a child is such a joy, it makes everything worth it" (Does your wife think so too?)
She said, "well, is it worth hurting or damaging yourself - your self esteem and your body?"
He said, "You are trying to live in the future and forgetting the present"
"Really? I rather feel that I am thinking of the present - that is my hubby and I, my relationship and my health...and thinking if I can ignore the uncertain future - i.e. whether I can have a baby or not, and even if I do, how will he/she turn out?"
He was too high on his recently acquired parenthood to notice these remarks...and she inwardly thanked her stars that she married someone different and much better when it came to being a good husband.

How will she know whether she should stop here and let life take its course?
How much pain, trouble, medicines, injections, operations are enough?
How does one decide the trade-off - society vs personal choice?
How does one know one will not be held guilty for not trying 'enough'?
How much is 'enough'?
When will all these change and when will acceptance set in?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Idle musings on an idle sunday morning....

I never can understand how people can sleep on for hours on Sunday, that too, in summer, when, the moment it is past 6AM or max 7AM, the bed sheet turns hostile and unfriendly and almost scalding hot. Anyways, as I opened the Sunday paper, I understood that there are more things, which I can never understand like, this article in the TOI, Sunday Timeslife! : 'Girls just wanna have fun!'.
In a nutshell the article was about how girls nowadays are choosing to have sexual relationships, of a few days or months, without emotions and commitment, and how they want to have all the fun they can before they 'settle down' with a guy of their choice or their parent's choice. It saddened me, puzzled me but did not surprise me, because one of my friends had already filled me in about this new 'development' on the social front just a few days back. He was talking about girls who did not want commitment, did not want possessiveness from their boyfriends and were generally happy 'dating', which included sex, among other activities, and in many cases, these girls dated married men too, both sides getting what they want - some company for going out, dinners, coffee, and finally sex, with no strings attached.
When I said that I don't think too highly of such girls, he said, 'Isn't that the trend nowadays?' to which I replied, 'Does that make them more 'respectable'?' to which I would have got the obvious answer that I am a prude and also might have been told 'grapes are sour' if his chivalry had not reared its head at that precise moment.
Which made me realize that I should not comment on things that I don't know about.
Which also made me think why I cannot accept a seemingly 'harmless' pastime which has benefits like both sides becoming confident about themselves, lack of heartbreaks as both sides knew what they were getting into, balancing the power equation between both genders as it is no longer the prerogative of guys to get into a relationship just to be able to get the girl to bed (that did not speak well of the guys anyway), etc. etc. I started to feel that there is a real good reason why poeple don't get up before 9 on sundays, and the reason is that their brains don't start working before that time.
Then, I realized that I was not really a prude but a romantic fool....not sure if being one is better than being the other! What brought about this realization was nothing more important than a small ad on the TV - the ad for the cold drink 'Slice' where they show the guy and the girl growing up together, the guy always up to his pranks which are aimed solely to trouble the girl and finally the guy proposing to the girl by putting the ring into a bottle of Slice and getting being very apprehensive when she looks at him with a question on her face....the smile starts almost imperceptibly....
What's life without these special moments, which touch the heart?
What are a few doses of adrenaline compared to a few moments of warmth like these, which we would like to remember throughout our life and would want to guard as a precious gift?
Do people, girls and guys alike, who are having 'fun' all the while, have any such moments, which they want to remember? Maybe something someone spoke which made the rest of the day pass like a dream? Or some stolen moments while in a group in which you knew that the other person's smiles were solely reserved for you and the others present were no longer important? Or do they have only fun moments, like I do as in partying at a friend's place or an energetic weekend at some water park, which they would want to 'plan' out again?
Worse, is sex, bereft of emotion, really complete if it does not touch all your senses? And if it does touch all your senses, is the relationship still casual - doesn't it promt you to take it up further? Or do you simply refuse to acknowledge what your body tells you because you are in 'no mood to settle down so soon'? Aren't you losing out an opportunity to perhaps 'hold' on to someone just because you had 'decided' that you won't be 'held back'?
For some of course, there is the 'dare' factor, the flouting of social rules, the heady push by rebelling against set norms...I agree. Daring to do something against convention is always a turn-on. So, how about daring to be different from your group and really 'love' a person? How about daring to embark on a life's adventure by getting to know something as precious as a 'person' - what makes him smile, sad, angry and what makes you feel the way you do about him?
Wishful thinking? You bet! But then, if US teenagers can come full circle and start thinking about boring things like emotions, commitment, respect, etc. then Indian teenagers might just be going through what the US teens went through say 20-30 years in another 20-30 years we might see our teens coming full circle....because every race goes through a series of changes, so it should happen for India too, if we are not to become stagnant.
Should stop here, lest my comments become too one-sided....I personally believe opinions need to be given in a way so that they start 'open' discussions, not 'defensive' or 'offensive' ones...:)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Balance - a slightly crazy, utterly bad poem

Dab on the conditioner, just enough to smoothen the hair,
Measure out the mousse mix, perfect to form a layer
A coat of shoe polish, just enough for the shine,
A tinkle of laughter touching the wine,
Should not be too brash, or too shy,
It need not be the whole truth, but don't lie,
A touch of perfection, slightly careless
Nothing too much, and nothing too less....

Fingers clicking on the willing keyboard,
Time planned for the kitchen and the cutting board,
A few parties to attend, and some quiet time together,
Some gossip, some arguements, some talk about the weather.
Moments of affection, sweet and spicy,
Some warm acquaintances, some very icy....
Start the car, we are ready to go,
Not too fast, not too slow...

Neither too relaxed, as life might pass you by,
Nor too tensed, should have time to say 'hi',
Measured width of smile, or a misting of the eyes,
An equal helping of burger and french fries,
Lightly buttered toast with a low-fat fruit,
Smile for the manager, frown for the recruit,
Not too busy
Not too easy.

Hold on tight, life is changing lanes,
And yet again, there's got to be a balance.......

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Parenthood - the already parents

Reading the comments on my previous post gives me an impression that the readers think that I am against kids.
Well, to clarify, I am not against kids, parents of kids, people who choose to have kids, and any such person who are positive towards 'kidding'. My intention was to simply open up an area which people think as abnormal, that of childless but happy families. Of course, I assumed that the side effect will be to get people to think that kids are not the end of the world, or rather not having one or not choosing to have one, is not the end of the world.
Following which, this also implies, that I am not against kids at all, or spending time and money on them...hell, I would myself have done that if I had any myself (kids, that is), and I know that because I have played a not so small a hand in partly spoiling (as concluded by my mom) my otherwise excellent siblings. But then, I don't want to go down in dumps for not having kids to spoil or take care of.... hope the point is taken.
To continue on the same vein, I have found the reaction of already-parents pretty varied on the same topic.
There was this old friend's wife who asked my husband, just after a couple of hours of acquaintance, about 1 and half years back, 'Aren't you guys planning for kids?'.
My husband was totally confused. As such, he is not very eloquent by nature, and to be 'challenged' by a friend’s wife and that too on such a topic, left him speechless.
Her husband saved the situation by commenting, 'If you have not started planning, then please don' is enough headache already with ours, you can take ours if you want!!’
Needless to say, the wife was shocked by the irreverence in the tone.

Going by the general habit of Indians to butt in where they should not, I could have gladly generalized that all parents and especially new parents will always be asking questions like this, and try to propagate baby-making in a big way. I am happy that that's not the case.
Take my best friend for instance. I have not seen a better modern mom so far, but when I was discussing the choice of parenthood, her remarks can be summed up as: 'it is totally your call, and trust me, you should just take a decision and not regret later. And that decision should not affect anyone’s, or at least, not my opinion about what type of a person you are. True, I simply love my son and now I don't know what I would have done without him, but when he was not yet come into the world, naturally, you cannot expect me to yearn for him'
And as for her opinion about the situation of childless couples and her thoughts about adoption, etc. she said, 'When you don't have something, how will you know that you are missing it or not? How can you say that adopting a child is less fun that having one born from yourself?'

A refreshing change, given that, she is a full time mom and a good one at that, whose more than 3-year old son is so besotted with her, that he gifts her small flowers.

Wish I met more like her....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Parenthood - the choice

Force, fear, blackmail, caustic remarks, taunting hints - no, this is not a saas-bahu serial or a best-seller....these are just some of the many things a couple goes through when they decide to exercise their right to 'choose' thei own time for parenthood.
Indian society is a traditionally inclined society, in which people don't marry, they are married. And the reason or expectations from marriage is the same on both sides - a heir or an off-spring to carry the bloodline forward(as if it matters so much if bloodlines are carried forward or not and as if every family has a legacy to pass on) , or to look after the parents when they are old (as if so many kids do that nowadays), or to bridge the gap between the parents (let's face it - if there's a gap, it is likely to widen after a kid is born due to added stress and responsibilites) or....or...well, a hundred reasons to have a child and almsot none against it. Most of my colleagues at office get married to women who are still studying, so that as soon as they complete their studies, they can be mothers or evn before that, and within a year of marriage, they are parents. Spouses get time to know each other during the nine months of pregnancy and at the end of it, start to realize how good or bad a parent they can be. So, a wife knows a husband as a lover for the first one month, the would-be father for the next 9 months and a father afterwards, and maybe never know how they will react to each other when the husband's family and the children are not present.
If there's a difference in this routine, then start the questions, first the immediate family, i.e. the spouses' parents and siblings and then the relatives, friends, neighbours and any and everyone who have an unwritten stake in the affair -wait a minute, in what way do they have a stake? Don't ask me, that is one of life's mysteries I am yet to solve. but, to sum up, anyone or everyone who know the couple directly, or indirectly, have a lot of questions as to 'Why the couple is not starting a family.' Conclusions range from the wife being barren (something msut be wrong with her), the husband being impotent (kya mard hain, abhi tak ek aulad nahin payda kar saka - what a man, can't even make his wife pregnant), the couple being incompatible, the relationship being doomed or being under the evil eye to a current conclusion - that the girl msut be too ambitious about her career.
That brings me to another doubt - why do they 'starting a family' only when couples plan kids or are expecting a kid? Don't a couple constitute a family themselves? Are children absolutely necessary for a family to be called a family? So what happens to a couple who never have kids - are they never a 'family'? According to some that might be normal, according to me, it is gross injustice.
The choice of having kids should ideally depend on the parents, i.e. the spouses. However, in our country, everyone else has a say in the matter...sadly. No one seems to respect this bit of personal decision/choice between the husband and the wife. Everyone seems to want to know the reason behind choosing not to be a parent (no one is bothered to know why anyone chooses to be a parent). Even in a train journey or any moment of brief acquaintance, people will ask you if you have kids, if the answer is 'no', then the next question will be how many years have you been married, and if the period of marital bliss is longer than a year or maximum two years, some people give you strange looks or will then ask the next, and proabbly the rudest question of the three, 'then why no kids yet?' or worse, 'aren't you planning for kids then?' and if this answer is 'no', then the next question, 'why not? Don't you think you should have some?' This might sound far fetched, but it is true. I have heard it from my new neighbour, my maid, my co-passenger in train, my college friends with whom I am hardly in touch (surprisingly all male friends ask this questions, females don't) and my mom's colleagues back home, not to mention the usual relatives and of course, my own parents for the alst two questions.
In short, the choice of having or not having kids is not personal in India, it is a community choice. People are married expecting them to be parents within a year, using contraceptives, especially non-natural ones like condoms or pills are out of question, husbands are scared to be proved eunuchs if they can't impregnate their wives, wives are taught to be dutiful wives since childhood when they get their menstruation or even before and asked to be ready to be impregnated after marriage, and over all, everyone is told that parenthood or most importantly, motherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to a woman...correction, married woman...though they don't say so in the posters in a gynaecologists clinic.
The society then has two types of couples - couples who have kids and couples who choose not to have kids...or this might very well be the vision conjured by my troubled mind. In between there are also couples who can't have a child due to several medical reasons, but these couples should then either invite sympathy, so that the whole society feels for them or put up a brave face and be treated with contempt. Needless to say, sympathy is better than contempt, so though most couple can focus on the happy side of not having a child, they choose to tell people 'we are so sad...' In most cases,the only sadness might just be due to their contemporaries becoming parents and their own parents bugging them by giving these cases as examples. In most cases, it is more like a failure to achieve something than like 'an emptiness without a meaning in their existence', because frankly, children are not the only reason for existence of marriage.
Oops that sounds so cold-blooded, but I never said that these posts will be dripping with compassion. This is turning out to be a long post, so, got to end this here, so that I have more material left for the next few parts. Got to end with what my college junious said a few days back when we asked each other -thinking of kids? She said, 'well, right now, we two(husband and wife) are very happy with each other, and really don't want to become baby-producing machines yet', some statement, which, when conveyed to one of my bosom friends, got me the comment, 'well, I don't mind the mechanism of making babies, it is jsut that I am not ready to get the end-products yet'.
And perhaps she never would be - does that make her inhuman, unwomanly or selfish? If so, then the dictionaries need to be changed, seriously....

Parenthood - the series

The introduction - what makes me write on this topic:
To those who might read this blog, this has got nothing to do with tips on parenthood, or how to be an ideal parent, or my experiences as a parent, this is but somewhat the prelude to actual parenthood - what happens when anyone chooses to be a parent, whether we really have that choice, whether having or not having a choice matters to anyone or specifically to me and what anyone like me can be sure of facing when you are not a parent at the 'right' time...ironically there is nothing like 'before' time, at least not in India.
This is a topic which is slightly more personal to me than the others so far, but owing to my age, which has triggered off questions/expectations/misgivings about my parenthood (or lack of it), this is now something I feel strongly about....strongly enough to last two weeks of arguements, banter or in-depth discussions with my girlfriends. So, thought of starting a series of blogs on it, and now trying to group my thoughts within a few topics. I hope I manage to pack all I want to say within these topics, if not, there can always be 'miscellaneous' or 'others' or 'supplement'....
The posts might sound irritating, repetitive and long, but so have been the experiences, and in my defence I can only say that I am not alone in this situation. So, here's to glouting of rules and a cynical look at the 'preparation to parenthood'...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Something trivial...almost backdated

It's been a long time since I posted...what with the Ooty trip in between, when i was eagerly waiting for photos to be uploaded, so that I could write about it with photos and all that...however, the sync problem reared it's head, and so by the time the photos arrived, my writing urge and skills had left...waited to get them back, but it was a long wait.
It was then that, two days back, I noticed something on the road, something so trivial, that it feels I must be having a very good concentration on the road and very little around, to notice it.
We were in front of Ohri's, Banjara after a late dinner, and it was around midnight.
We were waiting for our car to be brought by the valet, when this Honda City stopped in front of us, and a guy, who must be in his 20s got down from the back seat. From the front passenger seat, a face showed up of a boy of about 12 or 13 and he put out a hand with a note on it, assumedly of 500 rs. and said, 'Ja, mutton biryani leke aa'.(Go, get some mutton biryani)
The guy turned back, took the money, and smiled, almsot asked a question, to which the teenager repeated, 'Bola na, mutton biryani leke aa'(Didn't I tell you to go get some mutton biryani? - slightly more aggressive this time).
It then struck me that the guy-of-back-seat must be a servant working in this guy-in-the-front-seat's place, which you would not have guessed by his dress.
What also struck me was how he was addressed by someone half his age - with no respect at all. What if the guy were this teenager's brother? Would he have dared to order him in such an offhand way? Is it too far-fetched to hope that the teenager will show at least a fraction of that respect to this guy, by virtue of his age?
Peeping a bit, I found that the driver was a lady, assumedly the teenager's mother, who was then talking into her cell phone. Well, a modern and independent mom, pretty affluent, but bringing up a son without one of the basic lessons of life - respect begets respect.
When we were a kid, and even now, I have found moms telling their kids to address the servant as mama, kaka(remember raamu kaka?), dada or bhaiyya i.e. like a family member. Whatever happened to those small old-fashioned gestures?

As I said, it was trivial, maybe not even worth blogging about. But it is certainly worth thinking about.....