Weekends are the best times to be single. Yeah. You have the freedom to do crazy, normal, boring, silly things- no consensus, no guilt pangs. Join a paintball fight, visit an artist’s village, go trekking with a random group or catch up on sleep. Sounds like heaven? Sounds like hell. Ask a single man or woman. The pressures of a perfectly balanced world. Couple dates on weekends. Yash Raj crooning on microphones. Cosy couples on bandstand. Friend with super hot girl friend. Friend with hot dude. Envy. Heart burns. Wallowing in self pity. The entire world conspires against single people. Especially single women. Ever wonder where all the female versions of marriage jokes. There aren’t many. As females, marriage and families have been grilled into our psyches. A hyper macho society makes it worse. What! No man with you? You can’t rent a house. Your neighbours look at you with suspicion. You are endlessly questioned in family functions. Your much married friends give you sorry looks or worse still go on a zealous match making drive. Not accepting that staying single may be a perfectly happy, sensible choice for some. Because it has taken us 5000 years to not realize that getting hitched is not a function of time. It is a function of finding the right person. That it is not a compulsion. But a choice. You do not hit the panic buttons at 25 that you have not settled down yet. The alarm bells should start ringing if you settled for the wrong guy. Because in a country where marriage traditionally take a lot of toll on women, a bad marriage, a less than right marriage can turn the screws on you. The other day, I was reading an article on Chinese women and marriage- there the average age of marriage among educated women has crossed 30. Women in Asia are postponing marriage or choosing to remain single rather than trade freedom, happening lives and bright careers for marriage. Yes the right guys with whom you can have all these and a fantastic marriage are a less available breed in the chauvinistic, masculine culture around us. And unless they come along it makes sense to not mingle. Being single in the city could be fun. Don’t let anyone, including the nosy neighbours and the super concerned friends, tell you otherwise.
I tread over shards of broken souls
As I set sail for distant lands
The wind came on. wiping with scorn
My footprints on my sands
Time crawled across the timeless waters
The shore was not mine
I looked at the strange unforgiving sky
The stars had the strangers’ shine
Not a hand was raised for me
In the maze of faces and hands
I walked a lone, solitary walk
Among their footprints on thei sands
I survived the sins of my dark bronzed skin
To earn my worth in gold
The uncrowned prince of the markets was I
Where dreams were bought and sold
Yet as I looked over my empire
Counting my 1000 grands
I saw how lonely were still
My footprints on their sands
Thirst gnawed.And I set sail again
For the rain soaked soil of mine
I looked at the familiar, comforting sky
The stars found their familiar shine
And let the fragrance take me to
Where my old frail mother stands
Where she has guarded against the unforgiving wind
My footprints on her sand
I had a hilarious time reading the American outrage at Nina Davuluri becoming Miss America. This started me thinking. What if this gets bigger, will the barbs get sharper. For example whatif we had a brown superman. Would his life be messier? And heres this super list(created by a brown girl) on why a brown supermans life will be really complicated
- Have you faced security checks at USA? When they have so much problem with you flying in a plane, imagine the scare a brown man flying on his own can cause?
- So you thought the Arab barbs hurt. That would be nothing as compared with the ‘barbs’ this guy would face
- His red cape would be mistaken for a fancy red sari and security protocols in Amreeka dictate everyone in a sari, including ambassadors and supermen must be thoroughly searched.
- He couldn’t have an American girl friend- Americans would think this a ploy to get a green card and the Indians would think that’s a ploy to trap their good, desi boy
- A good Indian wife would never tolerate a husband flying in and out of windows
- A good Indian mom would feed him ghee ki puris and besan ke laddoo everytime he flies in. Unless he would be in no shape to fly out
- The whole underwear over pants thing would get really messy in tropical weather
- Everyone from Shahrukh Khan to Virat Kohli would come and given him complex about his brown skin unless he secretively went to buy a Fair and handsome tube
- If the fairness ads are to be believed, he would not have the girls drooling over him. Whats Superman without the super girls?
- His wings would be clipped. Imagine in a country that clips RTI, what ruckus a flying surveillance man would cause. They would amend the constitution to ban flying men.
- In Bengal, there would be an all party bandh- Superman causing inefficient havildar to lose jobs
- The left would protest the FDI in aviation – Foreign Direct idea
- The right would worry at small us annoying big US
- Finally the only one left supporting Superman is Arnab Goswami. Or Ram jethmalani
- After being grilled for an hour on India wants to know how you fly – Superman would give up and become a godman
- His dad would rather him have a flying career than a flying son
- His would be in law would ask him- Woh sab toh thik hai but kamate kitne ho?
- In a country where the .9 billion don’t know anything about flying, people would protest his special status
- A panchayat would probe and probe his caste. Are XYX caste allowed to fly?
- He would be hired to fly politicians during election times
- And if he still had time left he would be asked to give the ministers babies and babas joyrides- man! Some bribe toh banta hai for letting you fly
I ask no questions, I seek no answers
You asked me to straddle the narrow pathI do
My diversions are but proverbial.
You asked me to play safe Why, I do
I never ask questions, I never seek answers
Over the years I have perfected
The art of inane exclamations
Every time you push macabrity under my door
Only to return nonplussed
To the cocoon of my safe world
Where I berate in numb, frozen corridors
You, your ideals, the hopelessly honest Manjunath
All shadows on the fringes of my sound proof world
Do not get me wrong-I am not dishonest either
Only I ask no questions, I seek no answers
I looked at him across the vast emptiness
Faces dissolved and disintegrated as he
Days of silence had built up a wall
Stained with soot from snuffed out candles
Shielded, his face was hazy almost nebulous
Suffocated, I flailed my arms, hysteric and obsessed
The emptiness took on shapes as the glass
fell protesting to the floor
I panicked as I lost him in the crowd
Slowly realizing, my vision of him had always been filtered
Through layers of glass that changed colour
as I traversed the spectrum with him
Now, shorn of adjectives he was ordinary to
the point of mortality
I laughed after a long time
Where was the demi god of my dreams-he was
only a man
Suffocated by the oases’s calm I walked
Into the nomad’s mutiny
Life beckoned but I yielded
To the quirks of destiny
Abandoning the certainty of the day
I became the night’s wanton queen
And Lived a 1000 years of bliss
In those fleeting moments of sin
Cocooned by still air I yearned
For the restless storms to brew
I scorched my hand yet reached out again
For the phantom called you..
The air hangs heavy on a Sunday morning
Nauseating oil and ghee and the sauted spices
The wives in kichen fry puris. The men on the verandah debate
Matters of national and international interest
Restless kitchen. The new bride – her voice, her opinions
The wrinkled, firm hand restrains her. Tell us. We will hear
The ordeals of the kitchen.The shames of the bedroom.
Let the men deal with the world.
The debates sink in the oil. The smoke is heavy
Close the door- snarls the man. The smell is nauseating
The women do as told. They are safer within closed doors.
With the nauseating ghee. And the sauted spices.
An Indian American was crowned Miss America and unfortunately there was a tirade of racial outbursts in America. http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-lot-of-people-are-very-upset-that-an-indian-american-woman Sadder still, we aren’t kind to brown skin ourselves either.
Normally a humorist piece of writing( as the one I had written on bong girls) is to be taken just as it is written with a dash of humour. However in a country where the happiness quotient hovers below border line, you cannot expect smileys and backslapping and winks as reaction. But the intensity of the reaction which went starkly to the other end shocked me. Especially one long tirade which turned against tattoos which had found mention in my post. And said how they reject such upstart girls who endorse such deviation from accepted norms. I took the attack personally because I sport tattoos. As an expression of my fascination with symbology. Without being what the critic referred to as upstart. Or available. Or vacuous. But in our country people have been quick to compartmentalize women. The good, docile ones who toe the lines. The upstart, character less ones who make their own choices. Especially ones pertaining to their own body. Because still in several parts of the world, the woman’s body is an object owned by the superior males. That have to be covered, exposed, mutilated or adorned as they ordain. So little girls are still mutilated in Africa. A police officer in developed North America warns women against behaving like sluts. Women are publicly lashed if a n inch of their skin distracts the male gaze. A Kuwaiti student I met in London justified beating up his wife saying a woman is stupid and the beating is for her own good. A lawyer says he would burn his daughter alive if she had pre-marital sex. In a men’s world, women are ordained to toe the line. A tattoo or a piercing in such a world is an extreme expression of liberty. And that deserves such harsh criticism to preserve the collective sanity and order of the society. I have never looked at my tattoos as signs of rebellion- but maybe now I would. As the silent symbols of our liberty to express. without earning labels from a claustrophobic society.