The new order is already the old order a.k.a. we are incapable of conformity

You know, sometimes I see people and things and events around me, and I think that everyone and everything is ticking according to a certain set of guidelines and rules. Like we are all on a huge ‘One Size Fits All’ mission. Sometimes, I actually want to know what will happen if I deviated from the trodden path in some way. What are these rules I can’t seem to wrap my head around? So I thought of sharing it all here on the blog – Thoughts That Make Me Extraordinary (Abnormal):

1. I am on the fence with raising a hand on children: There, I said it. I know what this sounds like. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe, to some, it sounds only as bad as “I love using swear words”. Maybe, to others, it sounds as bad as “I hate human life”. The point is this: Sometimes I see a whack being delivered to a child, and I can totally see why they had it coming. That’s all. I don’t think everything warrants dialogue, because some actions are really beyond it – even from a 4 year old kid. One kid I had the misfortune of sitting next to on a long flight thought it was fun to pull at the hair of passengers sitting in the row in the front. Now, maybe, lots of people would reason that it was important to tell the child that it hurt and that it was not right. This is what the mom did, and decided to resume her shut-eye. I don’t blame her considering she had another infant who had been bawling till 5 minutes back, and had just slept off. I have read enough blogs to know that the woman must have needed her rest. However, the kid also resumed as soon as the sermon was over. I can’t tell you how much my hands ached to deliver one resounding slap, after I concluded that the repeated glaring by the unfortunate victims of hair-pulling, distracting him to engage with something less destructive, telling him to stop it, creating the fear of air hostesses – NOTHING WAS WORKING!

I know I know, we bring children into this world and the least we could do is protect them, and that we are adults, not them. But is hitting them under no circumstances = protecting them. There were so many times my mother hit us only to protect us. Some people are just not as good with words, as with the hand. 😀 My dad, however, was always too cool to hit us. Not in a dialogue sort of way. More in the “I’ll glare / frown and you’d probably faint” sort of way perhaps. Which brings me to this: I do not understand the logic of “my child will not fear anything or anyone” either. Maybe I really AM too dumb/ thick-skinned.

Anyway, I don’t think my parents – one hitter and one scarer – altered my / my brother’s life for the worse. Really, I don’t. I also feel that, maybe, insisting on being patient all the time is a little inconsiderate on the adult involved.

Whatever the case, I don’t judge parents hitting their children. As long as it’s not done for the sole purpose of getting them hurt or releasing your anger, I really think it’s not a hideous crime.

2. I do not think women and men are equal, and I do not think feminism (like it is defined today) is cool: Women are super multi-taskers and mentally stronger – specially in crisis situations. Men are more objective in their actions, and often, less insecure. Most little girls love their dolls and think up girly names for them. Most little boys love their battery-operated cars. Some girls love the cars, some boys love the dolls. Girls giggle. Boys fight. Girls gossip. Boys don’t cry. Gender roles are ok, because each gender has a role. The roles are not equal, but they are different identities – what is so unfair about it? Isn’t it pointless stuff? Gender roles are roles generally and traditionally played by genders. In that sense, they are like legend. You can interpret however you want, but they are nothing sacrosanct. They’re open to manipulation and they are even open to exceptions. See how they are refining themselves every five years – wearing sari to work is not the absolute thing for the women (how inconvenient), and not knowing how to change nappies gone for men.

Anyway, I feel very weird about being bunched up with the boys in the name of equality.

Now, the implications of these differences, in the sense of a relationship: Women often rue that they should have the freedom to work/play and do what they want. As soon as she is done with making this choice for herself, the “choice” is eliminated for the man married to her. If it was the man opting to work and doing what he wants, the choice is gone for the woman. So, it’s a complimentary relationship – the two parts of which are not equal. One NEEDS to get the short end of the stick. Isn’t the basic idea of a relationship to keep a mental and true log of how many times she/you got the short end, and to be careful that the other chips in, going forward, and ensuring nobody feels short-changed? Or did I miss a memo, and it is all about being selfish all the bloody time? Well then, what was stopping you from being single all your life?

Here’s what I think: Socially, the need for equality is nothing but mental makeup. I cannot teach you to want to be equal, and there’s no definition of equality that suits everyone. In fact, your radical definition of equality can, perhaps, unnecessarily wreck my personal life. My maid thought she was “more than equal/ modern” because in her WHOLE village, she was the only one girl allowed to study till 5th standard. One of my dear friends does not think she is “equal” to her husband, because he makes tea three days a week and she has to do it four days a week. Beat that. Now try and get these women to exchange notes on equality.

Which is why, for upholding a really skewed “common” definition of equality by those like us portraying women as either victims or 100% Durgas, and for the way feminism finds an outlet, I have to say this: Feminism is a little embarrassing in the modern-day context. Let me explain:

I come from an all-girls college, where bra-burning feminists came in hordes. Our college hockey team beat up three eve teasers once. Our dramatics team staged street plays on female infanticide and dowry all the time. Our department, Mathematics (far-removed from Sociology or Political Science or Psychology or Journalism), had interesting and heated debates about gender roles. And I loved all of it. Loved it! 6 years later, my college is still hosting the same plays. You’d argue that our “war” is being “waged” for 500 years now, so what’s 6 years? Hey!! My blog, my little time frame, my thoughts – bear with me here. Thank you. So yeah, are feminism and the medium we use to express it redundant – a self-fulfilling activity in only keeping more women worked up, than more men or women working for anything at all. In fact, let’s do a bit of targeting here – who are you fighting? Usually, you’re fighting an illiterate hooligan on a bus who believes in urinating in public and spitting out paan on the road, among other things like feeling up women in a crowded bus, and laughing loudly about it with his friends and discussing it in terms so lewd that you and I will be shocked, no matter how ready for hostile behaviour we think we are. Good luck with reforming this guy with your play! This is one of the reasons that despite our anger of 500 years or 6 years, in my case, all this doesn’t work.

To me, feminist clubs are old wives’ clubs wasting their compassion and intellect. They are almost gossip clubs – “you know what happened to her”. I can even see how some gross men must be getting off to the descriptions on the Blank Noise Project threads – yes, the ones with a thing like standing on a road with the sign ‘I never ask for it’. How the hell is making a spectacle of yourself going to get you anywhere? Apparently, saying “I never ask for it” is a slap in the face to those who say that women dress up to invite these actions. So ok, it is. But are you dealing with these stupid people claiming this crap or the miscreants who I doubt bother with your website or placards? And to think I actually signed up with them some years back. The things one does when they’re young! Don’t even get me started about the Pink Chaddi campaign – how are you going to be taken seriously with THAT? It’s so dumb I don’t want to share the same species with those people. Plus, as far as I can remember, it hugely backfired in some ways. What a way of spending time and money and buying more harassment with it!!

I reason with myself that maybe all these are ways to get the media and therefore, the common man to sit up and notice. But then, a story always comes with a shelf-life. So, you’ll get the Ram Sene news to make an appearance on Page 1 for three days with the campaign, and then what? What have you really achieved? How do you measure the success of ANY of these campaigns? Or are you least bothered about results, and you’re just releasing anger? Because that’s the only thing these campaigns help with.

Secondly, Gandhi was great but he had a trump card up his sleeve – he was working in times of greater conscience, in his people and in his enemy. Now, however, passive measures don’t work. Simple stuff, women: Raise a stink on the spot. Kick in the nuts (indebted to my college for this education). Buy pepper spray: imported quality. And just be shameless with in-laws, parents, siblings, spouse, neighbours, random relative giving you shit – what the hell, they do it to you all the time – don’t be shy. DOCILITY IS ANTI-FEMINISM, I say.

The natural response will be: not every woman is in the condition to do these. But you are. You – the woman who knows her mind, and reads and writes blogs. So, this is only for you. I think I said “those like us” somewhere above. By that I mean, those of us who are blogging their maid’s story. (Does she read your blog? Does her drunken husband read your blog?) Not the ones pitching in for some great NGOs or working with the government on help lines, quick resolution of such cases etc. who I think the rest of us owe a lot to. Instead, we take away credit from them by saying “because of the awareness we created, this happened”. So, do I mean no maid’s story needs to be blogged? Yes. Exactly what I mean. You should probably help her with money or legal advice or moving to another city or getting another job or counselling. Do not blog about her, and think you’ve done your bit.

3. I hate Abhishek Bachchan: A primary research involving countless women has me convinced on that I’m abnormal if I don’t like him. But I don’t. I can’t. Why do YOU like him? Why?

So, blogger, are you living by the book? Or, are you a little astray like me? Care to share?

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23 thoughts on “The new order is already the old order a.k.a. we are incapable of conformity

  1. I am super thrilled reading this post, and surprisingly I agree with you on all three points. I am strange too I guess. 😀 Kids should not be hit in general, but sometimes it is needed to make them stop doing something they otherwise will not….. and it is acceptable ONLY if that is the reason and NO OTHER. I completely believe men and women are different,m have realised it more strongly since the BB was born, seeing him and the girls his age, you cannot miss how different they are from birth!
    And I don’t like Abhishek either, infact post marriage he has started seeming irritating!!! 😛

  2. I agree with you on quite a few points. I like what you say about docility being anti-feminism. Wonderful way to put that!

    Let me get back to you about how I don’t fit in. It’ll probably be a long list 😀

    • I’m glad you liked that.. I often read and hear long stories of torture/ harassment always ending with “I couldn’t do much, because I kept shut for the sake of my husband/mother/father/khandaan/insert random noun.” So disappointing that we have to mask our inability to break out of our comfort zone (becoming discomfort zone slowly), with such claims of being docile/ considerate. Or even that we should genuinely put someone else’s needs before ours, and being unhappy with it (therefore, the long stories) which is actually being dishonest on both fronts. How bad is your need for equality, if you’re not even able to take the first step towards it? Not much, I think.

      I hope I made SOME sense there. Anyway, I want to read your list too.

  3. You know you have snatched the words outta my mouth whether its about disciplining your kids or anti-feminism.
    I got whacked quite a bit as a child and I turned out quite okay. If anything it told me shouting back at my mum wasnt an option.
    As for the whole pink chaddi thingy, it was going out looking for trouble for many of naive girls who contributed to it enthusiastically.There are so many ways of fighting against discrimation perceived or otherwise and somehow I do not agree that something like Pink Chaddi or Blank Noise will make any difference.
    But of course I think twice before voicing such an opinion loudly because am a conformist and a people pleaser.

    • WSW, we are all conformists. Who likes to court controversy anyway? Not me either. But then there are days when I just blog straight from the heart, and this was one of those. I’m so glad there are some of you who get what I’m saying.. I didn’t imagine there would be many 🙂

  4. a whack in time saves nine. i wasnt whacked as a kid and look at how i turned out :-/

    so i’ve decided to remedy that with a timely whack. and sometimes i also believe they need to obey me blindly. like when i scream nooooo when they’re going to plug their fingers into a plug point. i’ll explain the birds and the bees to them but sometimes blind obedience is the need of the hour.

    i can’t stand baby B. most of all because he has no chin. and no waist .and also because he started a trend that has roadside loafers with greasy hair wearing hairbands. ugh. and because he dumped whatsherface for plastic face.

    i’m not so much in agreement with you on the campaigns. i agree in essence, but i also believe that its a bit like wearing the red AIDS ribbon. sometimes even educated men who read our blogs will believe that you asked for it. i think its a constant struggle and needs to be carried out in every form. be it a daily kick in the nuts or a pink chaddi in the mail.

    • Oh come on, MM, I don’t like to comment on the not-whacked league. Specially when they have turned out as well as you or my good husband have. It just leaves me nothing to argue with, and that makes me jealous However, he also happens to be the anti-whacking bleeding heart who would hear nothing of it (don’t ask why we were having this conversation in the first place ). So I’ve taken to leaving myself little notes around the house reiterating why I ever married him. And blogging about things I cannot convince him about. I’m quite with you on the blind obedience thing though. I guess my mom did it for the same reason, being the czarina she is.

      On the campaigns, what bothers me most is that they lose sight of the end to which they began as the means. Take for example the Blank Noise Project – the threads are now (an excellent) way of sharing experiences about the ‘asking for it’ bit, and lending moral support but not anymore about taking the criminals to task. Shouldn’t that be the aim? For one, I refuse to acknowledge the ‘asking for it’ claim as anything more than a pathetic attempt to justify a crime and knowingly ignore the seriousness of an act – by men bloggers or by middle-age aunties stuck in the ‘unke zamaane mein ladkiyaan ghar se baahar nahi jaati thi’ rut. Two, when so many women are already members and these are people with access to web/ mobile/ social networks/ workplaces/ NGOs, the collective effort can be channelized to effect much more than hosting a website to share experiences. The Pink Chaddi one was, however, completely aimed at the Ram Sene employed street hooligans who don’t think twice about hitting a woman or breaking journos’ cameras for Rs. 100 a day. That kind of a guy will only be amused at best to find a pink chaddi in his mail, than be shame-stricken.

      Adding my two cents to your own hilarious description of Junior B, I think it’s about time he returned the serious brooding expression he seems to have canned for extreme reapplication, to daddy. And the next time they plan on unleashing a wifey-hubby Phir Mile Sur type act on hapless us, it needs to be preceded by a statutory warning.

      • i agree that sometimes campaigns lose sight. but i also believe that it takes different things to motivate people. to me – it helped channelise my rage. i sent one to them because it made me feel better and told them that i wasnt chastised/cowed down. i dont know if it helped more, but that is all i expected it to do

  5. Hi

    First time here. Nodding head vigorously while reading all three points. I think there are quite a few otherwise readable bloggers out there, taking feminism to shrilly nonsensical extremes, doing far more harm than good. Yes, men and women are not equal, and thank god for that!Spanking kids, well, one look from mom used to be enough for me, though the sibling has needed a few more thwacks on the butt to get there. Now that I have a kid, I am trying to be patient, but spanking is on the agenda as soon as he is old enough to understand and ignore cause and effect 😀
    And oh yes, abybaby…YUCK!dont think his father is all that great either.

    • Hey, Good to see you here.. have visited your blog earlier.

      And yes, men and women are not equal and yet the fad doing the rounds is dissing gender roles. Sure there are people who compartmentalize like “the daughter, being a girl, MUST learn to cook” and so on, but surely that sort of thing can’t be checked by propoganda relating to what toys boy / girl babies play with. That’s really just barking up the wrong tree no? Also, there are so many gender-neutral issues that, I think, get little airtime and are rather relevant to the lot of us blogging about.

      Sorry, sermon over. Over and out 🙂 Glad to see you.

  6. Spanking was a part of growing up, and it didn’t scar us either.. I don’t think its a bad thing at all..

    And I hate Abhishek too..

    Not so sure about the 2nd point though..

    Good read 🙂

  7. Hey, first time here, and loving it already!
    I totally agree with you on disciplining kids and Abhishek Bacchan… I hate hate hate him 😀

    Your point on feminism and equality of sexes – totally thought provoking. Very well expressed 🙂

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  8. Pingback: My Reactions « Snippets from a Dark Comedy called Life

  9. Woman you write what I think! Have exactly the same views on all 3 points.
    Kids do need a whack now and then but I have a weird theory here that single children need it even more, just so they know they are NOT what the world is revolving around. Kids who have siblings get mutually beaten in shape and realise early the virtues of sharing, unselfishness, healthy competition and to take things sportingly. This is not based on any sounds research, just a feeling I have on observing kids of relatives and of course my own childhood 😀
    My whole response to the feminism thing has always been “men and women are NOT equal, they are different” and its a comparison of apples and oranges so theres no uniform base. And its these differences which make life interesting! If in your heart you believe you can/want to do something, you should do it anyway and not make it a “feminist” issue. And totally loves your point on the audience you are addressing – educated modern women who read/write blogs…so many people forget that when they take up the feminist angle w.r.t the downtrodden villager in remote 😉 That girlis not interested in your blog and will never read it -you might feel good about ‘doing your bit’ but your blogpost matters a rats-ass in actually getting something done for that girl.
    And on AB – apart from his obvious lack of acting skills and looks i think what bugs me is also the fact that in spite his limited talents he gets by thanks to Big Daddy. Sort of like the quota system in colleges these days. Not cool!

    • Thankee Amrita! I love this: “And its these differences which make life interesting! If in your heart you believe you can/want to do something, you should do it anyway and not make it a “feminist” issue.” Can’t tell you how close this line is, to my actual thought.. damn, I wish I could have wrapped this longish post in that one line.

      And I’m smiling at your last line.. because I wrote on that too.. I’m against reservations, and proud of it. AND I don’t care to explain anymore.. if someone takes me to be a snobbish “creamy layer” idiot (whatever the hell that is), their problem! Here’s the link, if you’re interested: http://adarkcomedycalledlife.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/a-point-of-view/

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