Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh yeah!

Hello world! This is blogging direct from the dark dreary depths of the optics lab! Incidentally, winter has hit Canberra and how! Last night I truly understood what that woolly mammoth (was it?!) felt when it was snap frozen during the last Ice-Age. I feel like I should dress in my best clothes lest a future civilization finds me, snap frozen, in all my jeans and t-shirt glory.
Of other goings on, the apprehension regarding the long weekend in Sydney was unnecessary since things went off rather grandly. The itinerary included a visit to the dinosaur exhibit at the national museum and it was very good indeed. I was awestruck by the size of the full scale dinosaur skeleton right in the middle of the large room and it wasn't even one of the larger dinosaurs and, by the scheme of things, a fairly 'new' one!
Besides that we danced, sang, ate, drank and generally made merry in each other's company. I think it would suffice to say that a great time was had by all. That's the beauty of a trip with old friends - they just fit!
I should conclude this post before my thoughts race out of my head - they seem to be doing this at an alarming rate lately.
Adios amigos - till next time!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I absolutely, without a doubt, hate being like this and its getting to me. Rahukala, saDesathi, call it what you will - it is eating into my morale. This hit me hard a few moments ago when I said to a friend that I am 'scared' of looking forward to the long weekend (which I intend to spend in Sydney). I am actually afraid of being excited about it, afraid of looking forward to spending time with close friends doing things we do and reminiscing. I am afraid.
I don't want to be afraid but of late things have this annoying habit of going horribly, irreversibly wrong and hitting me full in the face and I'm left to pick up the pieces.
I want to be the (half!) positive person that I was becoming. I hate living in fear of what is next.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I am a woman - hear me roar!

I was contemplating starting off this blog entry with a disclaimer and then decided against it. What follows is OPINION. Something I am entitled to have and this is my blog. MM's post sparked this post and needless to say I will rant till I go hoarse on this topic!
What were you doing on New Years Eve 2007-08? It is not an unlikely scenario that you might have returned from overseas to India (your native land) to spend NY with friends and family and it is equally likely that you were out in Mumbai with friends/partners eating at a fine restaurant (after all you earn in dollars!) and decided to join in the India Gate festivities shortly after that. You are there with your partners, men, and therefore you are safe. This is a scenario that I might very well find myself facing. Heck, it is not too far from what my friends and I have done on NY's eve in NZ! Read this and the term 'safety in numbers' takes on a whole new and horrific meaning, so does the term 'mob mentality'.
I first read about this incident on Mad Momma's blog and didn't get around to finding out facts about it. This morning I have spent a half hour reading about the details of this morbid and downright disgusting display of 'machoism' by Indian men and it convinces me of one thing and one thing only - I'll just bite the bullet and say it - Indian men are b**tard coated b**tards with b**tard filling unless proven otherwise. I'm sure this 'recipe' is not far from the case for men of other nationalities too but since I can, I will comment on my 'country cousins'.
I felt sick to the stomach reading about what happened and sicker still from reading about men and other women who thought that they 'asked for it'. This whole 'asked for it' justificiation really grinds my gears HOWEVER as MM has said on her post there is a fine line between 'asking for it' and 'being stupid'. I have seen my Indian counterparts shed their clothes and inhibitions like snake skin upon migration and then they seem shocked that they get groped by and Indian guy. Desis will be desis will be desis. Would these same girls be comfortable showing this much skin in India? Hell no! But for some inexplicable reason the Indian man that moves overseas should become a decent individual and suddenly sprout a brain and a conscience that controls his urges - I think not!
Stupidity has its consequences. If you are stupid about your finances you will be broke, if you are a stupid driver you will crash and if you are stupid about what you wear you will be groped. This is not to say that these things don't happen to a vast majority of people even without being stupid about it. But you would not go to a war-zone unarmed would you?
I don't think it is right to lecture people on their attire. Wearing, or not wearing in some instances, clothes is a right and people are free to choose. However choices have consequences. Women today have the right to knowledge, education and information. Knowledge about the culture of another country you are visiting (how many of you know that when you visit the churches in the Vatican in Rome you must cover your arms and legs?!), information about the effects of alcohol on the female body, sex-education, self-defense. Read it, learn it and never forget it!
While authorities and civilians work towards educating the male species about consequences of their vile actions, I think women too need to take responsibility and get out of this overwhelming victim mindset. For Godsakes if a guy is inappropriate with you, have the guts to smack the living daylights out of him. I've done it, very recently, and a girl that saw me do it came up to me and said 'Wow man (!!) I wish I could do something like that!" - You can! You have arms and a brain and something that gets ticked off inside when a guy misbehaves.
One of the best things I learned while taking the Women's Self Defense class was to 'do something'. Anything. Yell, scream, shout, pull hair and gouge out eyes if you have to! It could save your dignity and your life. Don't stand there and take it if you can help it. That requires a certain amount of training and Self Defense programs are designed to help women overcome that initial shock and horror and get the brain to react.
This post might well sound like I support the 'asked for it' argument but read better and you will realise that I don't. I support intelligent behaviour. There is a difference between a one year old and a 25 year old and that difference is (in most cases) cerebral development. You have a brain -use it! No one ever asks for it - but we are still getting it, so what do we do?
My heart bleeds and I feel knots in my stomach and my brain fills with rage everytime I hear or read about molestation, sexual harassment and crimes against women. For no apparent reason at all apart from the fact that they are female! At the same time I am filled with a sense of pride and empowerment when I hear about women beating the heck out of a molester or assaulter.
No one asks for it! No one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

C'est la vie II

Thank you to everyone to expressed concern following my previous post. Things are (almost) back on track if not looking up. Yesterday was strange.
I woke up wanting to take the day off and said to myself that all I needed was a sign. Stopped off at the library on the way to work, checked out a dozen books and as carried them out and set them down I was suddenly aware of a throbbing pain in the little finger on my right hand. Further inspection showed that it had proceeded to turn blue and was slowly but steadily becoming numb. The university health centre was not far and I half-heartedly trudged along to it, fully expecting to be told (rudely!) that a doctor was not available, as usual. I marched up to reception and thrust my, now swollen beyond recognition, finger in the lady's face and she promptly took me in to see the nurse who, at first glance, asked if I had been stung by a bee. After I convinced her that it was no bee she had a Eureka moment and said 'I know what this is, you've ruptured a blood vessel!' (with a huge smile of her face!!). WTF!! ruptured a blood vessel?! I'm not even 25 yet!!
That did it, I wept like a baby - all the stress of the last month and a half pouring out of my eyes but I wasn't bawling, I was smiling - at the irony of it all.
Havent' we all heard people say to us 'Calm down you'll burst a blood vessel at this rate?'. Ok maybe we all don't grow up hearing that but growing up in my 'doctor type' household we heard it a lot and it was so damned ironic that it had actually happened.
So after the tears came the trepidation. The obvious question to me, and of course I asked the nurse this, 'So i'm bursting blood vessels now, what if it bursts in my head next?!'. She thought this was mighty funny and laughed and then realising that I was serious consoled me and said it was probably the weight of all the books and I had just hit my finger yada ya.
Anyhow, this was of course the sign I had been waiting for all morning and I headed off home in all my blue and black g(l)ory. A frantic phone call to my dad followed and a hurried checking of arms and legs to ensure that I wasn't going on a blood-vessel bursting spree! This was then followed by some wisdom from mom where she told me that if a brain aneurysm was to happen there was nothing anyone could do about it so live life king size - today! That's my mom, the eternal tough love optimist.
Back home, fed and content I fell into a deep, dreamy slumber till 5 pm! Ah! 'twas a good day!

Monday, April 07, 2008

C'est la vie

If you had asked me six months back where in life I was I would have sworn to all my Gods and all of yours that I had officially dismounted the roller-coaster. Turns out man proposes and fate disposes - I' am very much back on the roller coaster. So much so that events have taken a turn not just for the unexpected but for the downright bizarre and so much remains to be sorted out and taken care of that lately I've been feeling like an intruder in my own skin.
I'm craving time, perspective and introspection. I'm craving answers to all the whys and wherefores. And until then I am taking life one hassle at a time!
'Good luck' you might say. 'I need a miracle' - I might reply. And in my heart of hearts the miracle doesn't seem too far off.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A birthday wish!

My sister turned 21 today. Seems just like yesterday that I was taken to the hospital and told that the bawling, shriveled little mess in the crib was my baby sister. Needless to say I did not appreciate her much and really could not be convinced that having a sister was fun!
While my parents named her 'Nandini' to mean 'mother of the sun', I had other plans and christened her 'Gundali' to mean .. well nothing at all. Over the years this nickname has been used, misused and abridged to 'Gundu' so much so that very few people know her actual name.
Today she is at the 21 milestone and she sure as heck has a lot to show for it. A dancer trained in classical, Irish and contemporary dancing styles, I am a mere manager and spectator to her dancing prowess. She has even managed to make a name for herself in Canberra and in the process compelled me to attend numerous Indian functions, something I had avoided like the plague prior to her arrival.
I can wax eloquent about her dancing, singing, writing and academic talents but that will not do justice to the person that she is. A fiercely loyal friend and sister who is ready to take on the world for the people she cares about. She still believes in the inherent goodness of the world and of everyone in it. Always ready to lend a helping hand (provided it doesn't mean staying up past bed-time!) and willing to listen.
The last twenty one years have been a blessing and an adventure and I would just like to say that I'm lucky to have her.

Happy Birthday G!!