Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A very personal kind of hell

If I remember correctly, there is a philosophical concept that exists which talks about heaven and hell as something that is highly individualised. I mean, a place that is known and understood only by the person concerned and therefore has value and depth of meaning to that individual.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I do remember it. As an example of this, I can only use the TV show Supernatural, which you should watch, it's hella fun! There is an episode in Season 7 when Sam is taken to a 'private' place to have a conversation with Castiel. Castiel is seen sitting in heaven, a beautiful place with a well-tended garden where a man is flying a kite. Castiel explains to Sam that for each person heaven has a different meaning and that they were talking in the heaven of an autistic man's favourite Tuesday. I found that concept interesting.

Let's go to hell for a short while shall we? For those of you who have read Dante's Inferno, you'll know that it is a place that was created in the imagination of the poet and hence has depth of meaning for him. In this post, I want to talk about my hell - allergies.

I have lived with allergies my whole life. What am I allergic to? It can only be best described as 'particulate matter' - that category of things in nature which fall under the following labels : dust, smoke, incense smoke, cigarette smoke, wood smoke, pollen, congress grass, perfume, petrol fumes, mosquito repellants like Good Knight, Mortein, Hit, etc, and others. I was picked on and made fun of, both by teachers and my classmates for having allergies. I have also laughed at my friend P for sneezing at least 25 times on the trot while our Math teacher was busy scribbling calculus on the blackboard. Mostly, though, I remember having runny green phlegm coming out of my nose and my mother buying handkerchiefs by the dozen just so I could carry a couple extra to school and blow my nose and come back home and soak them in dettol-mixed water.

I remember this teacher, Rani miss we called her, whose only job was to either point out that I was left-handed or tell me to get out of the class and blow my nose because my sniffling disturbed her teaching. I was in class 3.

I remember being called 'mookuchali' because it was a funny name for some people - no, boys. I remember a boy informing me that he described me to his mother as 'that girl with the runny nose' and his mother remembers me as such, even now. She has also never met me.

Right up to the time I was in class 12, when I had to start wearing glasses, this fucking mookuchali shit never left my cursed life.

I was surrounded by dust - a) I was in a school that used stupid, low-quality chalk. b) My school has this huge open ground which is filled with rather fine red sand that tends to fly around all the damn time. c) I grew up in Chennai.

My time as someone allergic to dust is divided into days of debilitating pain when my body aches because of the amount of times I sneeze, and my sinuses are clogged causing my head and neck to hurt, and getting out of bed is a chore because I'm doubled over sneezing, my eyes covered in this crusty layer because they're watery because of my allergies. The rest of the time, the pain and symptoms are not so bad. One that one rare, good day, I'm free.

This life of an allergic that I've lived until now is my version of hell, and you know what? It's a lifelong bloody thing.

To those of you who think that allergies are funny enough to crack a joke about, then please impale yourself with metal that's close to melting point. To those of you who think that allergies are excuses people make, then I would like you to please borrow my ENT system for a little while and live like me and then have a conversation. For those of you who understand, I have some really kickass chocolate chip ice cream with really big, chunky chocolate chips that's a dream to eat. Come home, I'll give you a HUGE helping.

On that note, goodnight and be well. You have no idea how lucky you are, you non-allergic.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mosquito bites give me rashes

They do. I spent all of last night slathered in coconut oil (because, you know, I'm Mallu and Mallus use coconut oil as a magical cure for everything. EVERYTHING!) and trying the damnedest not to itch the stupid rash that self-manifested on my arm after a mosquito bite. Annoying bastards! Also, Maharashtra mosquitoes are HUGE and it takes the electric mosquito bat around 15seconds longer to fry them. Finally, there are two.. TWO obese lizards living in my house behind the heater. I would like to kill them. I'm installing the lizard trapping box near the heater ASAP.

Now that the domestic updates are done. I want to talk about something I read recently.

The 'article' like most articles by young Indian women was about arranged marriage. And like most articles on the subject it talked about how un-modern it is. Here are its salient points:

1) Most Indian girls like the author are 'independent' and 'progressive', and these two qualities make online 'dating' and 'hooking up' yucky.

2) Most girls who are independent and progressive have educated parents who ought to know better but don't.

3) Somehow, magiically most 'independent' and 'progressive' girls find themselves on the listings of an online matrimonial / matchmaking service, and even more magically meet a non-moron and this is the best of all... proceed to 'like' him.

4) Every single one of these stories ends with "and that's how I met my husband".

First - the article at no point speaks of the writer's marital status. I found out via a friend who had originally posted the article on Facebook that the writer is married. And that piece of information basically ticked me off. The thing is those of us who bitched about having to meet the crazies before we found our men - either through our dads or ourselves - are in relationships that require a lot of effort. It's a lot of work this marriage shindig. Especially if the person you've married is, essentially, a stranger. To be adjusting, accommodating and also domestic all at the same time is hard work. I have three degrees. My father's investment in my education has basically culminated in my status updates about paneer butter masala. The truth of having left everything behind to 'enter into a new phase of life' is more uncomfortable than all the pretty quotes on the Internet about marriage. It is also more uncomfortable than all your supposedly happily married female friends going on and on about how awesome their husbands are and so on. If I had, at any point in time during my engagement, had a vision that I'd update my status and mention paneer butter masala in it I would have either killed myself or called the engagement off. However, I am married. It's work, but I like the fellow I'm hitched to.

Second - there is absolutely no core philosophy in the article. What's the point of it? Is she saying that arranged marriages are wrong? If yes, why? Where's her factual understanding of the 'traditional' method of husband-finding? If no, why? Where's her factual understanding of the 'non-traditional' method of husband-finding?

Third - what is progressive and independent? Conforming to social expectations? Succumbing to social pressure and pretending that a life choice made under the aegis of free will is progressive and independent? Seriously? What are we doing now? Supporting double standards as a way of life?

If the goal in life is to find an 'eligible bachelor' and make him yours by means of a government approved, legally binding piece of paper then what's the difference between you and that other so-called uncool girl who got married at 18 and had two kids by the time she was 21? Really, what's the difference? Your life goals are the same. You just chose to get an education and be single for longer because your parents let you. Ultimately, most of these 'urban' (I don't know what the hell it even means, really), 'independent', 'progressive' girls who rant and rant and rant (I've devoted an entire series of posts here to the topic of arranged marriages) all get married. They are all, for a short while or for the long-term, domestic and wifely. Most of them move on to become parents also.

I'm tired of this shitty rut of a topic of discussion because it's shitting out some shitty writing and shitty content that makes runny poop look like a garden of roses! And you know what's the worst part? People will lap this bullshit up and be all like 'oh my god, you're me. this is my life story.' and I will silently vomit into a bag of stale kurkure and come to my blog and bitch and bitch and bitch. I will also have, while bitching, contradicted myself about 5000000 times and then silently vomit into the uruli on my centre table.

I want the publishing industry to please issue a ban on this topic. (If I send you a manuscript, reject it, okay? I don't need to be encouraged!)

I keep thinking the women in our country will come up with awesome ways to prove how we're awesome. But no, we end up producing tripe like this and everyone in this universe will go on about how 'marriages are arranged in India, how curious', and other such assorted BS.

Really, is that what we're reducing our fight for rights to? The fact that we spent most of our adult lives rejecting the idea of having our 'life partner' chosen for us by family elders? Did no one tell the rest of the universe that we said yes because we liked the fellows and no one was holding a gun to our heads at the time? Like I said, more to worry about than Western culture overtaking our 'tightly packed Indian morals'.

I'm going to make ginger tea and clean up my silent vomit. Bye.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Support settings


My last post and the one previous clearly got a lot of vitriol. But it did get some support. Joe Pereira, this goes out to you and to S.

S, I got an email that your comment was published but I've been looking at the post and refreshing, and it's not showing up. Therefore, I am going to post your comment here.


To Ambarish Gopinath.

Thambi, unakku nallaa venum. Inimelaavadhu thevaiyillaadha vishayathula mooka nuzhaikka koodaathungaradha katthukka.

I know it sounds cruel, but the real world is very different from what it is indoctrinated to us. Everything is not black and white. And the first rule is to be open-minded. It is okay if you are judgmental, but you are not allowed to offend anyone with your judgments.

And no, you are again not allowed to be some sort of a champion of our culture "at the wrong platforms/spaces". You can be a champion - if I'm right, you already are - but this is not the place, neither is your target right.

As for morality, please understand that it is not a rigid thing. It is ever changing. Do not confuse something else with morality.


To Shruti.

I'm disgusted with you.

You repulse me.

Not because of your "loose morals" (I'd like to know what is a "loose moral", BTW, and if you have "loose morals", do others have "packed morals". Let me know when you find out what they are.)

No, I detest you because you eat chocolate cake alone, and without sharing.

Next time you are eating a chocolate cake, you should remember me :P"

S, I will tell you about loose morals. I have every intention of clarifying that to people. Also, there's always ice cream and cake for friends at home. Come over any time :)

Also, thanks for the support you and Joe. I'm glad there are people out there who get the point. As for the person who deleted the vitriol. I have that on record too. Just so you know.