Category Archives: Politics



This subject is a polarizing subject for me. I am beginning to have strong opinions (on it) and keep wanting to express them. Much like all subjects and all people today. I read this book over a year ago. I had jotted these points down. I want to put them out there.

I also realize that reading book that promotes my point of view is hardly broadening my knowledge. But I did read it. And I feel the need to reinforce, to myself, the reasons for such decisions.

Selfish, Shallow and Self Obsessed – sixteen writers on the decision not to have kids

Edited by Meghan Daum

  1. Babes in the Wood – Courtney Hodell

It’s always interesting to know how we think we should feel versus how actually feel. We also juxtapose these feelings against what others are or are not supposed to feel. This essay made me think about those brief moments when I did believe I wanted a baby. It passed.

  1. Maternal Instinct – Laura Kipnis

This essay made me think a lot about the “naturalness” of having children because we are women or because we have wombs. As an aside I feel like I show get to know this author better because her name is so close to Tipnis, a close family friend.

  1. A Thousand Other Things – Kate Christensen

This particular essay reinforced the societal conditioning that demands we must want children. Must love it. Expect it with excitement. The author spoke about missing her phantom children during a particularly dark period in her life. It’s not something I could relate to.

  1. The New Rhoda – Paul Lisicky

This essay was a very different POV. Not just because it was a male POV but because of the time it was set in. I had never encountered (in writings) the generation that was singed by the AIDS epidemic. I never thought about the impact it had on reproductive health of that particular generation.

  1. Be Here Now Means Be Gone Later – Lionel Shriver

It’s an interesting thought that once life and education improves, women will push out having children. There are statistics and other curves proving that very fact and yet society somehow pushes women in the other direction. It’s as though nature (and society) want to disprove reality? Maybe not reality but it helps everyone apparently except women for women to constantly be stuck in the cycle of bearing and rearing children.

  1. The Most Important Thing – Sigrid Nunez

This essay talks about how your own upbringing influences your decisions – something I can relate to very keenly as a large part of my reason in not having children is linked to my upbringing. I was not traumatized or deprived in any way. I am not trying to compare myself to what sounds like hell for a lot of these writers. But I relate to it being linked to our own upbringing.

She mentions a lot of Sylvia Plath.

  1. Mommy Fearest – Anna Holmes

What is perfect femininity? The crazy devotion that motherhood it seems to demand? And the glorification of it leads to the other extreme POV of women staying children. She, along with others, talk about the fear that having children leads to losing any opportunity to create any memorable position/ achievement.

(It lead me down the road of thinking about my achievements, whether they were of any value especially since I did decide to get married but not have children; choose to work but not really pursue a career – where do I lie? Where do I find my place? Is it linked to this gender and this role and parts that I play or will I be shaped by parts I choose to exclude?)

  1. Amateurs – Michelle Hunneven

This essay drove home the point that we interpret life’s nuances to mean things they might not.

  1. Save Yourself – Danielle Henderson

This story talks about abandonment and makes me wonder about the wisdom/ ease of procreation. How fair is it that women who can so easily endanger their kids should be allowed to have kids! Is this (my) judgement fair?

  1. The Trouble with Having It All – Pam Houston

The title of this essay is pretty self-explanatory. More importantly, here the author speaks to a young girl who, while is very patriotic, is also very clear that she does not want children. She declares her view at a table where women of different ages are discussing child-bearing plans. There is no ‘having it all’ for any or every side.

  1. Beyond Motherhood – Jeanne Safer

In this essay, the author, who is also a psychoanalyst, details her painful coming to terms with the fact that she does not want children. She, like others in this collection, want to want children. They even have physical reactions to the process.

“Asserting an Affirmative No”

  1. Over and Out – Geoff Dyer

I loved this author’s writing style. It’s very non-apologetic, non-defiant unlike some of the female voices in this collection. He touches on all main points – freedom, (dis)inclination, propagating the species, leaving the legacy. Two points stood out – Why does life have to have meaning? And we regret (he does he said) almost every decision, so why should this be any different. “When it comes to regret, everyone’s a winner!”

  1. You’d Be Such a Good Mother, If Only You Weren’t You – M G Lord

This essay also talks about a physical reaction to having/ attempting to have children. The writer feels like she doing something wrong when she expresses relief at no children. It feels very painful – as though it was painful for her to get there.

More than one essay share this theme. Where it almost feels like the author/ writer/ person had to go through physical wrangling just to get to the point of admitting that, no she doesn’t want children.

  1. The Hardest Art – Rosemary Mahoney

One of the few questions strangers everywhere are apparently permitted to ask is “ do you have any children?” This essay addresses the vulnerability of being a parent and having little emotional agency. She knows she will succumb and wants not to do that. “Parenting is an art and not everyone is capable.”

  1. Just an Aunt – Elliott Holt

This essay touches on not being able to take care of one self emotionally – (genetic lottery) and consequently making that decision. Depression and self harm are scary companions to introduce a baby into. That can be scary.

  1. The End of the Line – Tim Kreider

This was the third male POV in the collection. Yet again it’s a voice that’s very irreverent. Not having children is a decision much like other decisions in life that are not taken. High risk ones.

Some other observations.

#1 There are multiple common references that run through many of these essays. One such reference is about articles that appear in the press about being childless and “carefree”. The stories showing visual depictions of “freedom” without children.

#2 Judgement from fellow parents. (I have never encountered a parent saying they’ve had to deal with judgement from non-parents) Again mom vs non-mom yes but do men face this too?

# 3 Women writers in this collection are constantly critiquing their decision. The male writers don’t seem to face such internal dialogue.


Dispel the dichotomy


In these (politically and social-media driven or) charged times, I have begun to feel the need to confront the multiple dichotomies that exist within me. I feel it’s not enough to only mouth what you think you should feel. It’s also not important to only talk about what one feels. It’s necessary, for me, to bring those two planes on the same level.

It’s important to acknowledge all the areas in my life where I might not actually do as I say. I have never felt it more strongly. The more I look around, the more I see this everywhere, and in everyone. Where everyone, including me, reads one set of facts and reaches another conclusion,  that suit us individually perhaps. So what makes my right more right that of that person whose opinion I despise the most?

Some dichotomies that stand out more starkly that others I can’t spot yet:

  • For the feminist in me who is not able to stand up and honestly state her opinion in social situations
  • For the feminist in me who is not able to be charitable to women who have no patience for my way of thinking
  • For the modern person in me who constantly wonders about her worth because she does not draw a conventional salary
  • For the girl/woman in me who is able to help friends think about their bodies objectively (I think) but uses extremely hateful terms with herself (and has a continuous bad relationship with the mirror)
  • For the friend in me, who is not able to call out other friends for their obvious disconnect
  • For the writer in me, who is not able to shake off the feeling that I have been living on the surface
  • For the friend in me, who can’t believe the friends who stuck with me and wonders about those who I thought I would be stuck with

The next step perhaps is trying to reduce the distance between these two persons.


Opinion or truth?


Sometimes when I want less clamour, I come to my blog. Which is perhaps not how blogs are projected. But hey, it’s my space.

Recently Twitter and other offline forums have been talking about The Goa Think Fest by Tehelka. So it got me reading.

Here are some links that show you one side of what are presumably many sides.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

Link 5

Do remember that these are all opinions, not the entire truth. Remember that when it colours your opinion.

Just shapes. Not good or bad.


Everyone always tells you that the path to true happiness is self-love. On one hand, it sounds like something a guru would say and something you would hear and not really dwell on, and on the other hand, it is something very few truly manage. For it would mean never comparing yourself to anyone else – for the positive or the negative.  Whether it is job, money, men, friendships, and any other form of validation. This can apply to every aspect of your life but one area it hit home acutely recently is beauty.

We all think we know what beauty it is more so because beauty, as school aphorisms have made us mug up, lies in the eye of the beholder. But does beauty also mean that if the beholder thinks you could use some improvements, your beauty lies diminished?  All along people would say things like ..’but you are tall,’ or ‘your nose looks like HER nose’ or many other such lines and I would think, so what? I don’t like what I see in the mirror so these lines mean naught to me.  Just because you like some part of me better, does not change any thing for me.

In the last two odd years how I look at myself has changed. I do not know if it has changed in a good way or bad but my worth is not comparative anymore. I feel so much better now. And all I seem to want to do is want my other girl friends to understand why. In the process of trying to explain to them, I realised that it is perhaps a step they need to journey to on their own. I know I faced a lot of negativity when I changed the way I look. I changed it because I changed the way I thought. It affected people I did not expect because they perhaps weighed themselves against how they thought I was. That truly was my inkling. I have not changed, I would think, why have they?

Sometime ago I remember discussing with another writer how India needed its own Jezebel because there were bound to be women who had a mind of their own and weren’t afraid to own it. But Indian women are too far away from that. I am an urban, educated working woman and it is unbelievable how many conversations that I have been party to are about men, how to get them, what to do to get them, why we weren’t getting them, are we not attractive enough (therefore) and so on and so forth.  This post stood out like a beacon on my feed home page. Another post on why it is important to accept what you are without qualifications.

It does not matter whether you are a feminist or not, a house wife or not, a mother or not or trying to fulfill one of the many roles you are expected to or not, if you believe in your core, nobody can take that away. Otherwise you are constantly a shell, trying to fill it with substance you think others want to see there.

What do you know, truly?


There are some days when you avoid reading the paper thinking what is there to know? All is not well and that is enough for me to know.  Then some days, you pick up all the issues of Tehelka you have not read and decide it will give you some good fodder till you reach office in the 1.30 hours it takes you to commute.

That is when you realise. There is so much unknown. Are you better for knowing it or not? I still cannot decide. There was this story and then this story. Reading it made me want to weep. Crime, inequality and such blatant horrors that truly being an honest cop cannot be that important. One part of my head tells me, it’s UP it’s to be expected. But that is not true anymore. Mumbai cops are apparently just as cavalier. I know of an Air India pilot, beaten up in his uniform by sons of builders in Vile Parle east. He was not allowed to file an FIR till he brandished some ‘influence’ of his. This happened almost 2 years ago. Today the FIR is missing from the police station it was filed in. He is not following it up because he has old parents and of course, the policemen are encouraging him to drop the complain. This is Mumbai not UP. So truly nothing all that different.

Then you read this. Maybe these were a couple of bumper issues. Maybe this is normal in the course of things. I don’t know any more. Bureaucrats who siphon. Ministers who are corrupt. Private companies who bloat and become large Goliaths and swallow some much of public money that states need to start charging more taxes just to get the job done. You wonder about things like RTI and Lokpall bills, which are constantly trying to equal the unequal status of power and other busybodies who are forever trying to not let that happen. Diluted ambits, changed bills – all of which make a mockery of the attempt at transparency these moves are aiming to achieve.

It’s frustrating. It’s futile. It is not anymore about one bribe you give your traffic pandu for jumping  a light. It needs to be about a complete sea change in every aspect of functioning. Accountability in the system. The lack of ways to extricate yourself without any consequence. Even as I think this I read Vilasrao Deshmukh now heads MCA or Maharashtra Cricket Association and I think to myself, how much money is enough! Has he not bled other organisations dry? Why does he need more?

Then, on the next day, you come across another little piece titled ‘Bride and no prejudice‘ and you wonder if the pace of change will ever be enough for the rampant rape of India. Now wonder Ratan Tata called it a banana republic. He can’t have been that wrong!