Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Silvered Quarter


My birthday hits the silver jubilee this year. I’ve always associated silver jubilees with college buildings, aunty-uncle anniversaries, steel cupboards and vintage cars. I suddenly feel like these things are my contemporaries. 

But as they (they = clich├ęd facebook posts that I usually snort at) say: Growing old is inevitable, growing up is not. I'll continue the tradition of my eccentric birthday posts.

It's twenty five days for me to turn twenty five and here are the top twenty five things I simply *must* do in my twenty fifth year. 

25. Eat more custard apple. Did you know I tasted this marvellous fruit for the first time only a few months ago? Now that I've emerged from the blackhole of weirdness, it's time I ate it more often.

24. Outgrow my Cadbury's dairy milk wrapper collecting habit.

23. Feed a squirrel. I've always been squeamish about going near squirrels...a swish of their tails can make me scoot faster than you can say 'squirrel'. 

22. Figure out why and how people use mascara. And eyelash curling thingamajigs. 

21. Use my geometry box compass and poke the next biker who hits the side view mirror of my car in a traffic jam. 

20. Treat at least one Monday of each month as a Friday, and wake up with the same amount of joy. 

19. Stand in the balcony at midnight and look at the stars. Without imagining that Ali Baba and his coterie of thieves are looking at me from down below (What? It's possible. Very possible).

18. Walk upto a random uncle/aunty and go "Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai?"

17. Read a book from the beginning and control the urge to find out whodunnit before hitting page 50. 

16. Re-read Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, P.G.Wodehouse, Enid Blyton and R.K.Narayan to rediscover the magic of books from childhood. 

15. Go on a coastal train journey, with strangers for company and drink kullad chai from the platform of a desolate station. 

14. Go on a flight that's longer than 2 hours, and contain panic attacks to a minimum of 4 (the current number shall not be disclosed, but I think 4's a reasonable start, thanksverymuch). 

13. Get over the superstitious 13 quirk. 

12. Watch a movie in a theatre without shedding a single tear (as unlikely as it may seem). 

11. Learn enough Tamil to understand the lyrics of at least 2 A.R.Rahman songs, without singing them wrong and making a fool of myself (there's a song where I was convinced the singer wanted his ladylove to clone his heart and eat them both).

10. Dance in stilettos. 

9. Start treating babies as babies...and not uhm..child psychology practical subjects on whom neo-natal reflexes can be tested. 

8. Stay up an entire night and watch old sitcoms, with cheese maggi as my companion

7. Ride a bike. And a macho-type bike at that. 

6. Cook an edible meal that doesn't consist of bread-butter-jam or cheese maggi. Or last night's rasam rice. Or curd rice. Or just chips and pickle. 

5. Use my diary to write profound, worldly experiences...not stinky rants about people I'm irked with. 

4. Go for a long early morning dewdrop sprinkled walk at least twice a month, waking up before the sun and watching the city come alive. 

3. Stop seeing Facebook newsfeed every morning and panicking about how two more people have posted engagement pictures...and I'm headed for the Oh no, I'll turn 77 and live in Florence with all my cats life. 

2. Talk less, talk less and talk less. 

1. Treat turning twenty five as vibrant, not archaic. I'll be crossing a quarter of my life (here's where my overenthusiastic optimism chimes in and tells me I'll live to a ripe old age of 100, despite my potato-chip lifestyle)...and it's been a fabulous journey so far. 

A silver strand or two ain't so bad after all. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Shattering the passivity

I've always been a massive propagator of the ignoring atrocities movement. If someone were to call out "Hey baaayebee" at me, I ignore and walk. If a random man waves at me from a car, I look at him as if he were invisible and move on. My theory in life has been that these men are not worthy of my attention, effort, resources or cognitive reasoning and hence, I ignore. 

A small, but significant incident has shattered the passivity within me and proven if my society needs to change, I need to be the one to start doing it. 

My friend and I were followed by a man in his car today. The distance was barely a kilometer, the locality was one of the fanciest in the city and it was a scorching and crowded afternoon. hate the fact that I need to justify the wheres/whats/whys of the incident, because I know questions like Was it late in the evening? Were you out in a secluded area? Were you both girls? Was it a shady locality? crop up every time someone mentions a story like this (and I know, everyone has a story like this). 

We could have ignored it. We would have ignored it, had it not been for the fact that today, the country is finally waking up to fight against such antics. Keeping the arrogance of not wanting to deal with such men aside, we reported it. We got the man thrown out of the restaurant and ensured that his car details were submitted to the nearest police station. 

How is this helping change anything? We have lengthy discussions about changing 'mindsets' and teaching our children to respect women and inculcate equality in society. I'm sorry, but my children (and those of my generation) are not going to begin respecting women for at least another fifteen years. If we are going to start bringing about change in mindsets starting with our children, we are going to skip an entire generation. A generation of rapes, abuse, domestic violence and honour killings. All because we think we can only bring about the change in our own families....which haven't even come into existence yet. 

If I want a safer society, I need to build it myself. Today's eve-teaser is tomorrow's rapist. Stopping him by stepping up and taking action might prevent many other girls from being followed in the future. I used to think that acting against eve-teasing can get me into trouble, giving me sleepless nights. On the contrary, today I'll sleep peacefully, knowing that I've done my bit, albeit a small one, in trying to change my own society.