Of being offended…

These days, my blog is becoming a very rant-y place. If you’d like to read something more fun, I suggest going to the Wanderlust category instead).

Offended (adj): resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.

The feeling of being offended is a very interesting thing, in that different people get offended for different things.

Some people don’t like it if someone swears.

Others don’t like it if people pull their legs or make jokes about them.

Still others may get offended just because they don’t like the timing of what you said.

It’s easy to say that if everything could offend, you may as well not say anything, because that way you don’t offend. Except, that’s another form of offense, too.

Sounds confusing?

It is. It is, because, offense, like beauty lies in the eyes of beholder. And many times, you can offend not by what you say, but how you say it. That’s why it’s so important to think through what you say and when you say it. You may not think that what you said was offensive, and you may think a puff of smoke blew away all the anger in the room.

But that may just be in your head.

Because, like I said, offense lies with the beholder and not with you. And therefore, when the beholder tells you about it, try not to get mad at them the second time. This isn’t about you, really, it’s about other person and why they felt what they felt, however illogical it may seem to you.

Listen, apologise (preferably meaningfully, if you are a big enough person), and help make things better. Remember. It may be nothing to you, but a lot more to someone else. Especially if they are in a minority to start with.

Just. Be. Nice.

And for those who watch this stuff unfold, and say nothing – you are a perpetrator, too. You are silent, and complicit, and you let this happen because you didn’t have the courage to stand up for someone who needed it. So if you think you’re ok because you weren’t involved, think again, and think hard.

You’re as much to blame as the other person.

 

 

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Of metro rides and being independent

On Thursday, my personal space was invaded, and I was physically shoved.

My problem isn’t really with the fact that I was shoved. It’s also not with the fact that this happened at the metro turnstile, which meant that I wasn’t able to scan my card not once, but multiple times leading to a man (not the one who shoved me, or maybe he was?) yelling at me. Not once, but thrice in a row.

My problem also isn’t with the fact that I tried to call this entire experience to the attention of the metro staff and that they refused to try and isolate the perpetrator (I don’t know who shoved me, and whether their attempt was to shove me, or grope me). Forget the person who invaded the physical space, they didn’t even rebuke the guy who yelled at me for not moving fast enough for his liking.

My problem is with the fact that the female guard at the turnstile believed that if she apologized on behalf of the other passengers, I’d let things go. Even though she and her colleague let the men RUN scot free while I pointed and yelled that I wanted them stopped so I could change the person’s final destination from the railway station to the police station.

My problem is with the fact that the metro supervisor tried fobbing off the entire incident with varied excuses ranging from the fact that the lady officer empathizes with me “because a woman understands a woman problem”, to “excessive crowds to control”, to “we cannot do anything, Madam, passengers should behave like educated people”. The last was the point at which I stalked out of his office because I realized there really was nothing I could do.

My biggest problem, though, is that thanks to this entire incident, the next evening, I called V to come get me when I couldn’t find an Uber to get home at 8.30PM. I live 2 KM away from work, in Bangalore. I’ve lived for four years in Gurgaon, and I never once had to ask someone to bail me out of a situation.

I always prided myself on being independent, and I actually (kinda) like public transport. And yet, here I am, trying to decide what bothers me more – asking my husband to come pick me up, or driving myself to and fro the one location that’s best connected to my house by public transportation.

Bangalore Metro, you just made me lose a portion of my independence, and for that, I cannot forgive you.

Note: The best (and only) outcome of my kicking up a fuss was that the guards started yelling out a public service announcement at the turnstile – “Please move away and give the lady passengers some space.”

ET, when did you become a neighbourhood aunty?

Dear Economic Times,

Last I checked you were a business paper. That’s right, BUSINESS. I understand that conception and fertility are businesses now (and probably bigger than most other businesses), but that still doesn’t give you the right to judge those of us who are a “tad late” by your standards. Brilliant piece of reporting by the way, what with the use of that phrase, in addition to quoting “a research” that states whatever point you’re looking to make, with zero data or methodology or even a source. I’d love to know if this research was carried out by an intern in your office as a full-fledged summer project, or whether she came up with it over a tea break just in time for you to send the article to press.

I’m also curious by that photograph you used to illustrate your point – are the treatments and doctors you quote (good job with the subtle paid advertising gimmick Aveya Fertility and Cloud Nine group!), also guaranteed to give you the Caucasian skin the model in your stock photography sports? I’ve seen enough of these models in fertility clinic ads around town, so maybe the idea is to wait till one is a ‘tad late’, and then get a double whammy of fair skin AND a baby (or two, or maybe more because anyway one must be freezing ones geriatric eggs at 30)?

My favorite portion is your section on prenatal precautions, which tells me I HAVE to quit smoking, but I only need to ‘limit’ my drinking. Is this a concession for today’s generation? I mean, what is this limited drinking – how much do you think an average woman drinks, and therefore what’s the limit? I got my drinking chops in Gurgaon so I’m a “tad” worried that I may be over your limit. I’d also like to understand what are the so-call ‘acceptable levels’ for weight. Your esteemed professionals don’t really tell me this, just like they don’t tell me how I’m supposed to “keep my pre-existing conditions under check”. I assume they mean continue to take the relevant medication, but it sounds like you want me to will it away. I will try that and let you know what my medical practitioner thinks of my attempt.

Basically, you claim you’re telling me the pros and cons of my choices, but all you have are sweeping statements, generalizations, and enough quotes to convince me that the 3/4 of the page this article took up was paid for by these so-called concerned healthcare providers. By the way, did you consider the fact that the planet is already groaning under the weight of the people we have, and maybe, just maybe, not everyone needs to necessarily procreate?

ET, I think you should go back to what you’re supposed to do, and what you’re actually reasonably decent at, and report on business news. Dr. Shenoi and her ilk can work with other papers in your group, and maybe Aveya can be a part of the Ads for Equity program, given that they’re only a few months old.

After all, there are enough well meaning neighbourhood aunties as-is, without your having to take on the mantle of one.

Best,

Me

PS: For those concerned, this is the article in question. The top search result leads you right to…surprise surprise – the Cloud Nine website. I guess there really isn’t a doubt on who’s judging those of us who are “late”, and how much they benefit from fear mongering to aid their business?

Of Despair, and Hope…

It’s weird how you can see a weird karmic cycle in a single day.

You wake up in the morning, and find out that something ended before it ever began. And then minutes later, you see a smiling face that gives you hope.

You go through half the day in a daze and realize you were upset, but you didn’t even realize it. You start to go into a blue funk. And then minutes later, you watch hope try to crawl.

You spend the entire day texting, trying to help in your own way,  while wondering how you could make this better. And then minutes later, you see pictures of hope from exactly a year ago, before this ever happened.

I am holding onto these little bits of hope.

****

Dear A & N,

I can’t say anything to make this nightmare fade. I wish I could’ve made this right for you, the way you always did for me. I thought dancing was the hardest thing I’d ever do for you, but what a fool I was! I wish things were different, I wish you never had to go through anything like this ever, I wish, I wish, I wish…

I wish so many things, but mostly I wish you the strength you’ll need to get through this. Here’s sending you all the strength I’ve ever built up (I only ever learnt it from you, N), may it add to the immense strength you already have. 

Love always, me.

Dear You…

This one is to my person – I write best when I’m not at my happiest, & I just felt the need to write to you in this way…

Dear You,

We’ve ranted, we’ve judged, and we’ve just talked so damn much.

And yet, I feel like you still feel like all this is your fault, like you did something, or you wished something that should’ve been, away.

Dear You,

I know you may feel like I just say things because I’m your biggest cheerleader, but please know that I say them because I mean them, and I truly believe you’re awesomer than most.

Dear You,

I know everything and everybody around you, is dragging you down and making you feel like you did something wrong. You, most of all.

Dear You,

Believe me when I say, you are awesomer than most, in fact you are the awesomest I know, except one.

Dear You,

Things are hard now, but I believe they will be OK eventually. I believe in Karma, and that good things happen to good people, and you are one of them. And if Karma won’t comply, I will MAKE it comply.

Because, dear you,

You are MY person. And nobody messes with what’s mine. Not Karma, and not anyone else.

Dear You,

You’ll get what you want, even if you’re only 50% sure you’ll be good at it. It takes a village, they say, and we have that village (that “agraharam” like our ancestors said). It has B12, and FB friends, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know you wouldn’t either.

Dear You,

Continue to make fun of the trials. You’re at your best when you’re sarcastic, and some day we will add this to that little bit of awesomeness that is part-you.

I promise.

Dear You,

Just be the best you, that you are. That’s all you need to be.

<hugs>

Dear You,

We don’t say this much, but, hey, you’re my person, my village, my #1 on speed dial. You’re my village and I’m yours.

I ❤ you.

PS – Can we PUHLEASE work on that book already?

 

 

 

Hello, Mr. Pot

I’ve been known to do crazy things, thanks to my reading obsession. This ranges from reading in moving vehicles, to I know upside down in bed, to reading in dim lighting and even reading while walking. Reading while walking on the streets is not smart, and I only read while I’m waiting for the walk signal on a pavement. I do however cross with my book open (minimizing the time taken to re-open the book when needed), a fact that seems to really bother casual observers. 

This morning, I was waiting at a signal and reading* on the pavement as usual, when this guy decided to take it upon himself to give me some advice. “You know, it’s really not the best idea to be reading while you’re walking on the road”, he said. Now before I could say anything, the dude pulls out his phone and proceeds to walk away. He must have been in a tearing hurry – he jaywalked through TWO red signals on his way.

And he thinks my reading is dangerous. 

 

* for those interested, I’m currently reading JK Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’

Of Compromise…

A date shouldn’t matter. After all, it’s just a random number. It can be 1 out of 365 possibilities, and each one should be equal. And yet, somehow, it does matter. It matters because if it’s going to be one of those things that are commemorative, you want it to be special. Atleast, you want it to be special in your scheme of life. And it sucks when it isn’t, when it gets lumped together with something else and ruins both.

Just like dates, age shouldn’t matter either. After all, it is yet another random number, and just because people think there is a cut-off age for things doesn’t mean it’s true. And yet, it matters too. Even if it’s just by 1 day or 2 days, mentally, the difference between n-1, and n, as an age still seems like an entire year. A full, wasted year of possibilities.

I guess all of this is just mental. And you make your peace with it. Even if it means watching yourself make that compromise year after year after year.