Monthly Archives: September 2009

Being selfish can be a good thing


“So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health.”

This is a, indeed, a very powerful opinion. Especially because most women I know, my mother included, think they have to ‘dedicate’ their lives to their children, sometimes at the cost of what they want or like or even need.

I completely disagree. Mothers would be more valued in a family if they were happy doing what they were doing, rather than doing everything for the family, but resenting the family as a result.

I know keeping my mother calm and happy ensures we all remain talking and chilled at home. The day she is upset with anyone of us, the others suffer too.

And no, I do not think being a mother is necessary to know that being a mother should be one of roles and not the only role you play.

Trying to control my temper


Today morning, on my way to work, I saw a man venting his rage on a autorickshaw driver. The auto had perhaps scratched the car and he had stalled traffic to abandon his car and thrash the driver. As my auto crawled past his, I saw the car owner punching the auto driver. But the auto driver was repeatedly apologising, even had his hands joined together, as if saying sorry. But the man kept punching him.

I wondered at that point what does one do with rage when the person in front of you accepts his fault and apologises?

I have been on both sides of a similar situtation and in both times I didn’t feel any better. The first time, I was in my car, stationary, and waiting on the side of the road to park. As I turned into my parking slot, I felt a huge bang and didn’t know what happened. People came running and picked up a guy next to my car. I then realised a biker had hit me. He caused a huge dent in my then relatively new car and I was super angry. I got out to give a verbal lashing. I was righteous because I knew I was not wrong (that assumption in retrospect could have been wrong).

But as I got out, I saw his arm bleeding, his bike twisted and he saying ‘Sorry madam, mujhe maloom hai meri galti hain‘. I was stumped and didn’t know where to put all that anger inside me. I just stalked off.

The second time around it was me as the pedestrian. Walking, I have realised, is actually a life-threatening task in Mumbai because more than anything you will die just trying to outshout the horns. One particular bad evening, after having fought with bikers who were climbing onto pavements and then honking for pedestrians to get out of the way, and then fighting with traffic cops, I reached the shop I was heading towards.

Just as I got there, one biker was trying to make his way by honking relentlessly. As in, not-lifting-his-finger-off-the-horn-relentless. With my temper on a tether, I turned around and yelled, ‘Stop honking a$%^&*e‘. And just as my luck would have it, he stopped just in front of my nose and I stopped yelling. He, of course, got worked up and asked me what business did I have abusing random strangers. He immediately went on the offensive and despite my saying sorry, drove off mumbling ‘You frustrated c*^t’.

Then too, with mingled anger and frustration and even some degree of apathy, I stood there wondering what do I with them feelings now?

I felt bad for the rickshawdriver today, though knowing fully well that the chances of his being at fault were high. What is the point of attacking or shouting or giving any radical reaction, if the person apologises?

Surrogate mothers and popular media


A few weeks ago, a new serial started on one of the regional channels  (Zee Marathi) called Anubandh. The reason I know it is because it replaced another really popular serial and my parents had to watch to see if it could fit into the now-freed time slot.

This serial revolves around the subject of surrogacy. I was pleasantly surprised that at a prime time slot when the channel could have had another reality or show and vacuous loud saas bahu show, it chose a sensitive and a not-often discussed topic in serials.

Often in movies and serials, the moment the wife cannot have a baby, she grandly gives her husband prompt permission to go sleep with another woman, to make babies. Why they never give surrogacy a chance I used to wonder? But seeing all that hysteria, I thought, surrogacy would not lend itself to much drama.

Coming back to Anubandh, (the word my mother tells me means a bond but seeing the opening montage, I am guessing it means a strong, invisible or unbreakable bond, like perhaps between a baby and a mother) I was actually glad to watch this serial, thinking maybe change in content was slow but but surely there.

But it’s been a little under a month and the stereotypes are beginning to show:

  • A girl who drinks/smokes/goes dancing/wears ‘mod’ clothes is inherently termed bad. “She doesn’t have our values.” They say.
  • The famous ‘bad’ girl who wants to be the surrogate mother is asked by the doctor if her parents gave her permission (she is single). She  has chosen to not to seek permission from them (in keeping with her bad image). The doctor then asks her is her boyfriend ‘allowed’ her to have this baby then? What’s this obsession with permissions?
  • The woman who cannot have a baby does not look beyond that one baby, to validate her marriage and relationship. Everything else pales in comparison. Even her husband, for whom this is as much an ordeal, is not important. So much so that now  she needs mood-altering pills to keep calm, to interview surrogate mothers.

The one stereotype they have not yet emphasised on is a ‘single girl’ choosing to have a baby. But I have a feeling it will come up because the protagonist will have the baby and she is the complete anti-thesis of the girl mentioned in the earlier points. But, no that has not come as yet. Which was also a nice surprise.

I have hope that maybe they are building up stereotypes to bring them crashing down? Here is a movie that was reasonably well-made on the subject of surrogacy.