Reservations

For years, I have been hearing about this divisive caste based politics. Schemes launched or some reservations in the name of bettering people’s lives by separating them from other communities. Making them fight internally to be part of that reservation to such an extent that one community conducted full-fledged violent protests to be lowered to Scheduled tribe from OBC.

I understand when reservations were started; the country’s situation was very bad in terms of the way lower caste peoples were treated. They were not allowed to do a lot of normal things that they should be free to do as part of their birth right in the free & independent India. But the upper castes maintained their upper hand and deep rooted cultural biases prevented these lower castes from voicing their opinion or rebelling against these norms. When in few cases someone tried to do so, they were ‘put in their right place’ (their words not mine) by the upper class community. Khap has been infamous in taking the law in their own hands to teach these people who try to behave as a free human being.

It is also evident that politicians want to keep it as it is as it benefits them. They don’t sell or want to sell their governance or plans to improve this country to people rather they pry on community sensibilities. Some favor hindus, some muslims, some minorities, some upper caste, some lower caste etc.

But the correct question here is if it’s required in today’s scenario? Or with time, India needs to change its strategy if it at all want to improve the living conditions of its people?

So it was a nice surprise when I heard a sane voice from one of the political neta’s. See below link.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Congress-leader-Janardan-Dwivedi-calls-for-end-to-caste-based-quota/articleshow/29874015.cms

This person said that its time we leave caste aside and look at economic conditions. I heartily agree. This is what I have been saying and arguing since my days at college. College was the first time I started seeing that people are biased based on their caste and almost everyone has their opinion on people from other castes or religion. Before that I lived in complete oblivion of these nasty issues. And maybe because of my background I don’t understand why one hates/dislikes the person from other caste or more rightly lower caste. How can a person be responsible which caste he is a part of? It was decided at birth, which I am sure everyone understands no person can decide.

But now congress president had snubbed this single positive voice saying that’s not gonna happen.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Caste-based-reservations-must-continue-Sonia-Gandhi-says/articleshow/29913248.cms

May I ask why? Just because parties would lose their vote banks? And this is not just about ruling party. Every political institution has been playing the same game since decades. So much so that in some states the quota is about 87% and in most it reaches 50 % easily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservation_in_India

Various groups and people have been asking for quota based on economic condition and I feel its high time our politicians start understanding that its not just necessary but absolutely mandatory to reduce the disparity within its own citizens.

A few of the reasons for agreeing with economic criteria are:

Wrong people claiming the benefits: in my experience I have seen well-off people from these communities taking advantage of these reservations and scholarships. Even when they splurge on other things they still do not let go of this claim (their right as they say) so that someone needier from their own community can benefit from it. If it was economic criteria, this would not happen.
Actual needs not being addressed: Very few needy people belonging to these communities actually benefit from these schemes. This might be because of ignorance, not having enough knowledge on how to claim, misinformation etc.
General caste woes: People from general caste or not belonging to this special group are not provided any benefit even when they deserve it more than the person from other caste. Why? Just because they are a part of upper caste? I have seen a few very good students from seemingly upper castes but from very poor background leaving the course in between as their parents could not afford to keep going after the first year. And here I am not even talking about people who could not even dream of joining these courses because of money issues.
Caste is rewarded not ability: Why should be caste criteria for anything in life? What about ability? To this question many people would argue that SC/ST/OBCs dint had as good education as the general caste thus can’t compete directly with them. To an extent it is true but only in remote areas. To avoid this, instead of providing reservation, government needs to build a strong schooling system. A system which is common and available to all student irrespective of caste, creed whatever. Our RTE act also says that everyone has a right to education but what’s the use of this right till there are not enough schools to exercise this right. And improving the quality of these schools is equally important. Most of middle class parents would never even dream of putting their kids into these government/municipal schools. Why is that? And here we are not even mentioning upper middle class or rich. Because the education quality is very bad and since education is the only thing that has helped the rise of this middle and upper middle class so they know their kids need the best to do better than what they have done. So they strive hard to afford the fees of a private school.

Why don’t we have something like US district schools? US also have a string of private schools but that’s small in number with a much smaller proportion of students than district schools. In fact, since past few years the admissions to private schools have been decreasing as people don’t see much benefit when compared to the fees they have to pay for that. People are switching to public schools. What can be better than this that private and public schools are at par!!

In my city, I have been seeing so many new private schools getting built every month but hardly any government schools in the new areas. Does the government think that all those people staying in these areas can very well afford private schools or that these parents are not at all interested in their kids getting any education!!

P.S. this was an emotional post written in a hurry so please try to ignore the incoherence!!

Feeling low!!

What to do when you are feeling low?

What to do when you want to talk about your feelings and there’s not a single person to talk to?

What to do when your close friends seem mentally too far to understand your thoughts?

What to do when you want to keep your thoughts away from your head so that you don’t over think?

In these times I usually talk to myself or just keep humming so that I hear my voice and not listen to my mind.

It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t but at least it keeps me sane.

At least for now!!

I don’t need “help” !!

I keep writing my problems. I have been thinking since long that maybe I should stop it and write the same issues from a third person perspective, but till now it’s been impossible. My emotions are so strong in these things that I can’t get myself out of the issues I write about.

So, following the same tradition, I am writing about an issue that I have been facing since my marriage and till now couldn’t solve it. It’s about husband’s so called “help” at home.

Now, if you have read my earlier blogs, then you know that I keep ranting about how things are not good and I feel uneasy in certain things where wives and bahus are expected to follow chore/tradition quietly.

My husband is a nice person and he cares a lot about me but then we do have our difference of opinions, which I must say is huge. He has been raised in a typical Indian family where his father was the sole earner and the mother a home maker. So the responsibilities were divided. Father never helped at home and mother similarly never helped in earning. It was not like she was against it but it was kind of not favored by other members. Anyways bottom line is he never saw his father in kitchen or anywhere else helping his mom.

Me, on the other hand, despite having the same setup i.e. homemaker mom, earning dad never saw this demarcation. Though my mother could never help my father in earning, but he never stayed away from kitchen. He used to cook a lot on weekends and on weekdays if he were home, he would usually stand with mom in kitchen at least, when he was not in mood of cooking. So I never saw that kitchen was entirely a women’s business. In fact my dad can do almost everything that my mom does. And since we were only two sisters and no brother, so I never saw the gender biases till I met husband and his family.

Now, post marriage, as was obviously expected, I had to learn all the magic of keeping home nice and tidy, managing everything and of course cooking (which I hate to my hearts core). There were a lot of hurdles and I think I did ok, but one thing that troubled me was my husband’s contribution.

He did do a few things here and there. And believe me, from his perspective he thought he helped out the best possible but that very word “help” would set me seething with anger. Why was it that he was helping me? Am I asking something that’s not in his area of responsibility when we are sharing the house? Wouldn’t that be a given that if you stay together, you have to share the chores as well?

I have been thinking about this since 4 years and still no answer. Now he helps me a little more than earlier but again that’s what it is to him, “help” not ownership or responsibility. Many times I am just so angry when he says that, that I just banish him from kitchen. I don’t need anyone’s’ help and if that’s what he is doing then I can do it all myself. But even that’s doesn’t help.

Many times when I am talking to my colleagues, they also say the same thing. Either they help their wives or not etc. etc. You can’t imagine how I feel in those moments for their poor wives. If the wife is a homemaker, at least there is a division of labor (not that I think it’s fair or believe its right) but for people like us, who wake up and start working in house , then office and then back to kitchen, what are they supposed to do?

How do I make him or any other person understand that we are not asking for your charity or pity that you give when you try to help us, all we need is that you understand your responsibility and understanding that you “own” that chore as much as your other half.

Karva Chauth!!

People have different reasons for following a tradition. Personally I don’t have anything against this particular festival but I don’t like it. In fact all my dislikes are now turning into hatred with passing years as I am forced into doing it every time and that too the way others want.

Reasons for not liking this festival are simple. It makes men gods and women who keep them being gods. Everything is done in order to please men in the family and men in turn don’t raise a finger and just enjoy the pampering. As if other days in the year were not enough!! There are so many issues in this particular tradition that need to be changed. For example:

  • Why it is that women are not asked if they would like to keep this fast before making them do it?
  • Why is it that men’s lives are more important than a women’s?
  • Why is that in spite of keeping the fast where women don’t have to drink a drop of water the whole day, its females only who have to cook dishes as per 100-year-old norms in the evening (which take at least 2 hours to prepare). Can’t men do it for at least one day when they have been eating drinking all day?
  • Why is it that DIL have to gift her MIL and other in-laws and DIL’s parents have to gift the whole clan but no one thinks about gifting a single thing to her or her parents? Are they not important? Not that DIL’s want anything but a gesture would be good after doing all this and gifting so much to everyone?
  • Why is it important to touch husbands’ feet on this day during pooja for breaking the fast? Is he bigger than the wife that he can bless her? And if blessing is so important then why not other way round too?
  • If the wife stays home on this day (rather than going to office) she has to cook all three meals and countless teas even when she is the one who should be hungry? Why won’t she prefer office that day? At least colleagues are more understanding in that. And even when they are not, at least you can decide not to work too much that day and take care of things later.  Why is that option not at home?
  • Why is that everything has to be carried out the same way that MIL did? We are sure that she was capable of doing all this effortlessly (maybe she wanted to do all that). But is it required to expect all that from DIL too?

These things might sound silly to a lot of people and they might think either why the writer is worrying about such trivial things or why do women tolerate these things and why not speak up. But the writer knows that it’s not easy to speak up always from her personal experience. Since it’s coming up soon and my in-laws are going to be here to make sure I follow everything that’s why all this is coming out. But seriously why is anyone forced to do anything for the other person?

This entry was posted on October 4, 2013. 2 Comments

Formula for relationships

As a kid, I loved mathematics, it was my favorite subject. It still is. There are a number of reasons for loving this exact science. I love that all equations have finite answers and that things are what they are. You have a big complicated issue at hand but there are ways to come to the right solution. You just need to find that particular formula that’s applicable to your question.

Why is life not like that? Why is there so such formula for relationships? Why are they so difficult to handle? If there was such a formula then I could put my life’s variables there and come to a conclusion on if staying is the right answer or leaving? I am aware of all the variables and constants just need that little precious piece to put this all together.

Seriously, when do we know that this is it!! That it can’t go beyond this point. People say trust your gut feeling, well I don’t have any, I mean, in this matter. After being so long here I don’t think my gut can tell me anything.

When I think calmly, I know that our issues are not that big and they can be resolved. But what I need to know is if the other party wants to resolve this or not. If this wish to resolve is not present then I am just wasting my time dreaming about our future that’s never gonna happen. 

Too Tired!!

I don’t know if these are really the worst days of my life but I certainly feel so.  I feel I married a person who never wanted me as a person. Rather he liked the idea of me being his wife but expected a behavior as his mom or sister would. He forgot to understand that I am a different person and with my own thoughts and beliefs and dreams.

This blog is not to blame my husband but to vent out certain thoughts which have been with me for a long time and somehow I can’t make anyone in my circle understand completely.

Tried talking to a few of my friends, and I know they try to understand as per their ability but most of the times they end up making me feel that I have to adjust as things are not going to change. There is no one in this world who can completely understand what I am going through.

I am an emotionally sensitive person and these small things matter much more than other big things in life. I know I am not making much sense here but all I want now is to get it out.

I never forced my husband to do anything my way as I always believed that he has a right to make his choice but I wanted the same from him.

Post marriage, if my husband is in the city, then I can’t go alone anywhere, I have to go to office with him, come back together (except when he is late and I can get an office bus), if it’s a little late then he has to come and pick me up, never went shopping alone or anywhere for god sake. I know, many people would consider this as love and caring gesture and I know he means it in the same way but I do want to be alone sometimes and I do want to be self-sufficient at least in basics such as commuting to office. I don’t him to baby-sit me or micromanage me.

And I want to be self-sufficient in other things too. I don’t like to be picked and dropped all the time, makes me feel that I am a kid or like his sister who he think he has to take care of coz that’s what his parents taught him.  That girls have to be taken care of all the time, initially by parents and brother and later by husband.

I am from a family where we were two sisters so naturally I have never seen this. And my father was not into this kind of thing. Sure he picked and dropped us but depending on the circumstance and requirement. He made me independent enough. I did my engineering and MBA out of my city, have lived in many hostels and other independent accommodations so I can manage myself pretty well. And he knows it as he was my classmate. So now, why he has to know everything all the time? It’s not possible for me to be anywhere for 10 mins without him finding out. Being married doesn’t mean that you have to be my shadow and even shadow leaves one alone in dark. It irks me so much that sometimes I just want to get lost in the crowd so that he can never find me.

He keeps making these gender related jokes which I have told him so clearly I hate. But he has to make those jokes just coz as per him it was a joke and if I try to stop him he says that he has been doing this since last 4 years so why don’t I understand that it’s just a joke. If that’s the case then why doesn’t he understand that I don’t like it as I have been saying the same thing every time? Why does he have to say something like “***** se bulaaoon kya karne ko” , when I have not done something . Which basically means should he call my parents to get that done? How in the world can someone be ok with this kind of statement? Just because his father says it and his mother don’t mind. I am sorry but I can’t. I replied sometimes with no let’s call his parents. And he obviously dint like it. But that didn’t stop him. And frankly I don’t like using these kinds of statements even for his parents who are not that bad people but I hate to the core just because my husband has done so much to make me feel that way. I had a big fight on this recently. I hope he doesn’t use at least this again.

When his parents are around then I have to dress traditionally. Not an issue with me  if I have to do it a month every year but they always had plans to stay with us. Thankfully that day has not arrived yet but I never wanted to give them a shock later. And four years are more than enough I guess to make them understand if you really wish to.

I have to be at his parents place for all major festivals which gives me so less time to be with my parents as if I take leaves 3 times to visit his parents what am I left with for mine? Almost nothing. And then there are certain times when we just want to have a vacation by ourselves. i think i have been at my parents place for less than 15 days in these 4 years. And he feels its ok If i don’t get to visit them. And this opinion when his sister is at least 180 days at her parents place in a year!! Total BS

I have been away from home for some time due to business reasons and now I am going back. And truly speaking I am dreading it. I am alone here with no one to talk to but at least I can be me. I know it’s like running away from situations but it feels better.

All his parents are concerned while i am away from home is regarding hubby’s not eating properly. Every Time i am asked when i am coming back as their son is not getting proper food. This is the only role they can see me playing in their son’s life  and maybe as an instrument to carry their grandchild legally. No one’s worried about how am i surviving outside india with no known person around, being alone all the time. but why should they?

All I want is a life partner, one who can see me as his equal, love me for what I am, believe in me and my abilities. I am a very responsible person and do more than my share most of the time. I definitely am not interested in being his sister (for showing care and behave as told) or mother (who is there for food, cleaning etc).

I have made up my mind to not take any shit from anyone this time, even his parents. I waited for 4 years for him to defend me when required not because I can’t do it myself but because I know he or his parents won’t like it. But since now no one is interested in me as a person so I have to do it myself. It’s been enough of crying. These years I have cried so much and so many times thought about killing myself or running away from everything. But enough is enough. I was avoiding all this just because I know my husband is a good person and means well most of the times, but now I want me to be me!! I can’t be their idea of a wife and DIL anymore. I don’t want to think any more about ways to kill myself.

It’s scary but I am at that turning point in my life where I have to make a choice. God please help me, I really need you this time.

What’s your Favourite food?

A very common question that people might ask you as part of casual conversation is “what’s your favorite food?”.  And usually everyone has some ready answer to this simple question. After 30 or whatever years of your life, you definitely know your favorite food. If you don’t by now, then you are hopeless. Like me 😉

It sounds so stupid but I have never been able to answer this question properly till date. Recently I met one of my very good friends after 5 years and the first time after our weddings. She asked me what would I like to eat and my answer as always was, whatever you guys want, I am perfectly ok with it. Then she asked what you really like and I said anything is fine. Further grilling led to something that I felt a little embarrassed to talk about: Rice and coriander chutney!!

Before any of you think anything about my present culinary skills and if I have this weird liking due to limited options or anything like that, let me tell you, I am a good cook. And I have even got compliments from my MIL and her MIL and mother. So you get the idea 🙂

But I am not very interested in food, for me it’s mostly routine, having designated meals on time. I hate cooking and had to do this chore only after marriage as maids were not allowed. I feel my taste buds help me a lot there. Initially I used to taste it so many times at every step to understand if the cooking is going on well. From there to this day, has been a not-so-long but boring journey. Some triumphs and not many disasters!!

I can cook a wide range of Indian dishes and a little Chinese and Italian too. But even after these 4 years of cooking still can’t decide on what I really like among these.

Strangely, I find it very easy to decide what to cook when other people are invited. Seems I can figure others out more easily than I can myself. OMG I really am strange!!

So I thought this can’t be possible and gave this question a little more thought.  And guess what, even after wasting a couple of hours my answer has not changed. Here I am, with my favorite food as Rice-Chutney and I am proud of it. It’s very basic and simple and that’s what I love about it. And yes most important, it has to be done on sil-batta (kind of flat mortar-pestle).

The taste and smell remind me of those sweet days when I was a kid, whenever mom made this chutney, I never touched daal or sabzi. Just the chutney. They tried their best to make me to eat those things but its only so much a parent can do and me being me that was not possible.

So there you go. Oh you want to know my favorite food?  its Rice-Chutney!! 🙂