Saturday, June 21, 2008


The preference for male children over female in India is no secret. In 1970, my mother shared the same maternity ward with another woman who had given birth to a daughter. The young woman was completely terrified about what her family and inlaws would think. My mother remembers that this woman's family and inlaws did not celebrate the birth. In fact, they were disappointed in the woman, and looking at their behaviour, you would've thought that there had been a death in the family. Of course, it is the woman that gets blamed for the sex of the child too.

This is utter rubbish and completely unacceptable for a culture that long worshipped the feminine as the ultimate manifestation of the sacred forces of the universe. Education, education, education is the answer to all problems. Reminds me of an instance when I was 17 in India on my summer hols. An aunt of mine was chatting with another lady about some poor woman who kept giving birth to daughters and was harassed by her inlaws because of it. I had studied the details of sex determination via genetics in 12th grade, and I could not help announcing 'but it's her husband that determines the sex of the babies!' I mean it's like blaming the oven for not turning out cookies after you yourself put in the ingredients for a cake. I got even more annoyed when my aunt and her friend, women well into their 40s and beyond, giggled and blushed at my unmentionable opinion.

These are things that must be addressed to all men and women, to all boys and girls. It's not a joke. Not any one gender is better than the other; they are meant to live in harmony, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I like both cookies and cakes quite fine. They've both got sugar, maybe not spice, but definitely everything nice.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gender (often ignored synonym for sex) and the Metropolis

I have a strange relationship with 'Sex and the City'. I don't want to watch it because I don't approve, but everytime I catch an episode, I totally relate to everything and have a great oestrogen experience. Is it a surprise that although I thought I would be pulling one over my morals by casually watched the new movie this week with a couple of girlfriends, I ended up enjoying the 2+ hour movie like only a girl could. Nothing deliciously naughty about it.

Cascading waterfalls

On my cheeks
My face
The deafening sound
Of quiet
The sound of none
The thump when you realise
That you're back to
Square One
Then the quiet
So you whimper
To hear any voice
When you hear none you wail
A little louder
Then your cry breaks free
And you wonder if the neighbours
Can hear you going mad
Will they help you run away
Find a place on the map
Where you have always belonged
Where you are free
To breathe
To plan your life in freedom
To do all the things
That normal people do
Be born, live, and die
Without documenting every move
Living by a trail of paperwork
You are what their database says
First name, last name, address
Social security number
Don't give that out
It's your primary key
In computer binary
Right-click, left-click
You are your bank account
Your HR file
Your credit report
Plusses and minusses
Push harder
Be better
Wipe those tears off your face
You look ridiculous
How are you going to hide
Those puffy eyes
In the morning

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bereavement Poem

I came across this poem online today, and I think I love it.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The memo you missed

This article about office-lingo has me completely mortified. Maybe I took college and graduate school too seriously but I came across these in textbooks and lectures so often that I thought they were actual phrases. Once I started working, I was hit by a cascading plethora of jargon that left me struggling trying to fit in. Well I guess going forward, I'm going to have to loop back and look under the bonnet with a holistic cradle-to-the-grave approach to tackling the challenge in this space. This is going to require some solid 360-degree thinking. I'd better not let the grass grow too long before getting all my ducks in a row. I'll touch base with everyone regarding this issue but I hope I can accomplish this huge task - I don't really have the bandwidth nowadays.

Your gut

No, the intangible one deep under the fat deposit under your belly button. Here's a great article from the Life School of Oprah. I believe in intuition. I believe that you must listen to your body and your feelings. I believe that if you ignore the signs your body gives you, it will begin to scream at you by making you feel all sorts of convoluted horrible, even tormenting you in your dreams and health screenings.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

SPFfing it up

Do you know what your SPF level is?

Dutch Painters

I watched 'Lust for Life', starring Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh, the other day. My heart broke for van Gogh's depression and loneliness in passion. It gave me new insight into his painting 'Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)' which he created in 1890, the same year he committed suicide. I had come across this painting last year while googling for information about depression. It resonated so terribly with me that I clung to it with relief. The painting resembled the ones I'd been intrinsically compelled to paint over the past few years so much, it both terrified me and made me feel less lonely all at the same time. Now I'm no major painter; I can hardly control a brush or the paint and I don't know anything about the different styles or masters of the art, but I think that it is the sign of a great artist when his/her work reaches into your soul at first sight and rips your heart out, maybe even giving you comfort that maybe you're not alone after all. So what if the only person who understands you shot himself in a yellow field in another continent 120 years ago.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A mockingbird no more

I left Oman for the US at 18 in 1999 and have been here since then. These years have been the most awkward and terrifying of my life; I've felt out of sync with everything nomatter how hard I tried to earnestly then soulessly mimic the new world around me. Everything's remained alien: the food, the clothes, the weather, the people, the TV shows, the music even. But thanks to YouTube I can connect to the sounds and images from my old happier days. I can escape to the most wonderful days of my life when I was just beginning to giddily feel the intense emotions that would become my only companion (or tormentor) for the next decade.

This song that I rediscovered today almost gutted me. It brought back the old feelings that I thought I'd never be able to feel again.