Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Two Cents’ Worth on a Friday Night…

The long weekend has begun but at home everything still revolves around weekly visits to the hospital. We just can't catch a break. In moments of weakness I feel a bad curse is on us. But then maybe it's just one of those times. Mom is getting better but the stitches have yet to be removed.

It's like a lucky draw you know. Every time the anticipation is that it would be removed but the doctor announces regretfully that the draw wasn't in our favor. But it's alright. Patience is a virtue I've been told. How much of it I possess is a different question altogether.

This time around my sister has taken up the role of handling mom's care and medicines. My job is just to manage the kitchen at night and on holidays, the rest she takes care of. And she's so good at it. My small munchkin seems to have grown up. I guess that's what being a family is all about. One steps in for the other. Touch-wood!

But don't be upset. It's not a sad post.

You know in all this we haven't forgotten to smile. That's a good thing right? We do get frustrated. Humans after all. But then we get back to giggling and pulling each other's legs. So in trying to lighten up the mood at home we spent the last two evenings playing cards. It's fun seeing mom and dad engaged in it. I know they miss home and their friends. I understand. But things will be back to normal soon. It's only a matter of time and healing.

By the way did I tell you I'm mom's lucky charm during card games? She always wins when I sit next to her. Oh such fun to see the mischievous smile on her face then. I also plan to get carom-board at home so that we could all spend some more time playing. And laughing most importantly.

Moving on.

You know life is like this very strict teacher who always comes up with a new lesson even if you aren't ready for it. It's true. It is like this relentless trainer who doesn't believe in giving you breathers. And also especially concentrates on those students who are least interested in a lesson. There are times you wish to run away just so you could catch a break. But where could you hide for life not to be able to get to you? Nowhere right?

So today I’ve decided to share with you some advice. Or, observations at best. These are realizations that came to me at times when nothing seemed right. And if you have been reading me recently then you would know how fresh these derivations could be. So just for you these are my two cents’ worth on life as I understand it, at least at this juncture. I'm sure it'll change but then that's a discussion for some other time.

Here I go!

No matter how ridiculous it seems life never gives you more that what you can handle. Your tolerance threshold can be judged by the problems you are dealt with. It's true. Trust me!

Cherish every peaceful moment in life because you never know when the lull breaks giving way to an avalanche of difficulties. You have got to put this in every sticky note possible, even the mental ones. Don't let even a moment of life pass by without you savoring the good in it.

Take short breaks whenever possible. Don't put off holidays or the things you want to do for the future. You know it might just take a long time to actually show up at the door.

It's okay to be frustrated and angry. It's even alright to question your beliefs from time to time. What I want to say is it's okay to break down and let go. But don't forget to rise up again like a phoenix. Makes sense, doesn't it?

You can't take care of everyone and everything all at the same time. So if possible delegate your responsibilities or even share with your partners. Could be your siblings, spouse or friend even. But do it. Let go. Don't overburden yourself. It's okay to want to do everything for everyone  but it's not humanly possible all the time. Accept that!

So there.These were some of the things that I've realized in very recent times. These helped me make more sense of everything happening around me. So who knows maybe it could help you too at some point?

Tell me though what is your take on life? Your mantras of getting through life perhaps. In simple terms of-course! Go on, tell me. I can't wait to learn more.

And yes don't forget to have a great weekend!

Take care!

Write Tribe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Experiment with a Packet of Sanitary Pads

Today I want to tell you about a small experiment of mine. It was something that I had been wanting to do for a while. So just after lunch today I set out to tick this little test off my list. With a stomach full of scrumptious canteen food I walked into the small convenience store at my office campus brimming with employees. It was lunch time hence the rush. Some buying chocolates, few groceries while a few others cosmetics. But I was there to buy something else. Something that I needed for my experiment and for myself as well. I was there to buy sanitary pads. Yes, you read that right. Sanitary pads. Something worn by a woman during menstruation as defined in Wikipedia. Uncomfortable? You shouldn't be.

Moving on. While in the queue for billing I began to notice reactions. My experiment had already begun. It was time for me to start noting the results. My first subjects were the men in line behind me. They appeared embarrassed seeing this purple and green pack. But I, the one holding it, was not. Their eyes implored me to hide it. They felt awkward seeing a woman hold something that was essential for her health and hygiene. Why? Beats me. But I guess that’s how they were raised to feel. There’s sadly a taboo surrounding periods and sanitary pads in our society.

My next set of subjects had the same reaction as well. And these were women, thankfully only a small number out of the many in queue, but women nonetheless. So the same response from women, even though from only a few. Regrettable I know. And these men and women, mind you, were engineering graduates in the least. Educated? Nevertheless, I being me kept holding the packet just as I would hold any other packet at a store. Too bad if that made them uncomfortable.

A slight context on what happened next. In India whenever we buy sanitary napkins it is first wrapped in newspapers and then put in a polythene bag to be carried home hidden from the rest of the world. It is almost as if we are doing something wrong by buying or using it. So in this store too after I had paid the money, the woman at the counter picked up a newspaper to wrap the packet. But I stopped her. At that of-course she shot back a confused look at me. Note, just a confused look. But I think she understood, at some level perhaps, and gave me the packet without looking at me disparagingly.

Now the next part of my experiment was to begin. I had to walk from the store to my building, up to my cubicle through a floor full of employees. I wanted to see how these ‘educated’ people would react seeing me walk unapologetically with the sanitary pads pack in my hand. I didn't have very high hopes of course based on the opinions on various socio-cultural issues shared by this very ‘educated lot’ on e-bulletin board of the organization where I work. But then maybe this experiment would prove me wrong?

Remember there is no shame in buying or carrying a packet of sanitary pads.

As I walked, I saw two women walk by casting critical glances first at me and then at the packet I was holding. Maybe they wanted me to rush back to the store and get a bag to cover it? But I kept walking. Further along there stood three men, all in their late 40s I think, who stopped discussing whatever it was they were discussing for a second or so as I passed by. This because I didn't cover the packet which evidently they thought was meant to be concealed. Perhaps they felt uneasy. In this way a couple of more stunned glances later I entered the building I work from and got into the lift. There was just another woman in the lift with me and she seemed fine with me holding the pack of sanitary pads. I was so happy when she didn't look at me in a manner asking ‘What the hell are you doing?’

Now the last leg of my experiment was on as I began to walk through the floor up to my desk. And mind you I walked real slow here. Except for a man who kept looking at the packet without batting his eyelids nobody seemed to care what I was carrying and how I was carrying it. Perhaps he was trying to figure out the same thing as those before him. Why had I not concealed it?

I think my experiment was a success in many ways. I had not anticipated it to be so positive because contrary to what I had expected only a small fraction of people appeared troubled, agitated and awkward at seeing the packet. It was a pleasant surprise I must tell you. This because most of the times education fails to enlighten our minds. Maybe many had not noticed the packet itself. But if I know anything from experience I can say that out of all the people that noticed me carrying the sanitary pads packet only a small percentage reacted negatively. That in India is a good thing don’t you think?

You know I feel we as a society need to grow up. So women use pads? What’s dirty in that? What’s in it to be ashamed of? Why do we need to hide the pads when we purchase them from stores? Remember there is no shame in buying or carrying a packet of sanitary pads. It is essential to a woman’s health. Don’t you think so too?

Tell me what did you think about my experiment? What are your views on it? Would you cover the sanitary pads packet next time you buy it at a supermarket or your local drug store? Would you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Like being #LikeAGirl

Why is being like a girl always taken in the bad sense? Why is its connotation always negative? I’m a girl, a woman, and I don’t think there’s anything bad in that. Why then this sense of humiliation to say that you and I do something #LikeAGirl?

The ‘Like a girl’ campaign. Have you heard about it? Or, have you seen the video (below)? I think it would be good if you do. Perhaps that would help you see this post in the right perspective.

It was on Sanch’s blog that I first actually clicked play on this video. Though I had seen it shared across timelines I never really got to actually viewing the video. Until today of course. And if you have seen it now then you must also think, just like me, that this is a wonderful positive campaign?

I don’t know when #LikeAGirl became an insult. I really don’t. I don’t know why it became a phrase of ridicule. Do you?

Why should running like a girl be a bad thing? Or, why should driving like a girl be a bad thing? Or, why should crying like a girl be a bad thing? It takes a lot of guts to cry and show ones emotions you know. So why so many things associated with girls looked down upon?

I’m proud that I’m a girl, a woman. And I’m proud of everything I do as one.

Procter & Gamble’s Always Like a girl campaign is asking girls to list down the things they do #LikeAGirl. And all that with a sense of pride not shame. So just like Sanch to lend my voice to this awesome campaign - Like a girl, I’m going to list down the things I do like a girl. I’m going to list down things I’m proud of doing my way, a girl’s way!

"Like being #LikeAGirl I say!"

So now you tell me the things that you do #LikeAGirl and remember there’s nothing in it to be ashamed about. Go on tell me.

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