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Men Are Men Because of Women

A good friend went through a harrowing experience on the streets of Bangalore recently where she received unsolicited attention from a biker who probably thought that a single woman romancing the rain was in need for support or attention. In her anguished post on a social platform, my friend stated the obvious and wondered whether it was too much to expect safety and security for women from the males of our species.

This got me thinking. What makes the males assume a privileged position in the world? Is it because they’re stronger physically? Which begs the question whether this was so even in the stone ages? Or how is it that only among homo sapiens this is so? We don’t see this difference in the animals, do we? A Lion and a Lioness are physically on par, which probably explains why the males in other mammals refrain for forcing their sexual attentions on the females of their species. They could get their balls bitten off, if they tried!

No, it is just not about strength alone, though the males often display it to have their way with the females. I think it is more about how the man is nurtured by the woman in childhood. The mother, especially in the Indian context, creates an inequal playing field at home where the boy is made to feel special. Soon enough he starts feeling privileged, because his own mother (a woman) makes him feel so. With this feeling when he goes out in the world, he believes that he just has to ask, and he’d get.

In my own home, I saw a different scene play out as a child. My dad worked with the government and so did my mother, who happened to be a post-graduate in Economics from the 1940s. So, she was as much the breadwinner of the family as dad, who wouldn’t think twice before cooking lunch in the morning for the three of us, even as my mom would hand me the mop to clean the house. She was the first to leave home at 7.30 AM followed by me at 8.30 AM and dad at 9.00 AM.

In the evenings, I would be the first one home. As a 10-year-old, I had the task of cleaning the house (second round), folding the washed clothes and even cutting veggies if there was a note to that effect on the fridge. My mom was home next and she’d go about making dinner and once dad was home it was family time. No television as there wasn’t anything to watch barring on Wednesdays (Chitrahaar) and Sundays (movie). Since my mom gave me this important lesson in life, I never ever came to feel any level of privilege over the opposite gender.

During my thirty years of marriage, I was as much the cook and maid as my wife was the bread-winner. Our roles changed based on ground zero circumstances and was never ever linked to our gender. And today, my two children have grown up with equal privileges where my son makes excellent pizzas and my daughter cooks when she feels like. There is nothing that they “have to do” because the gender relates to it. They do so as a responsiblity to the unit that is called family.

So, where do things go wrong? In my experiments with psychology and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), I have realised that the human species has both masculine and feminine traits in them. Somehow our society makes us believe that these qualities are gender-specific. So, a man cannot cry and a woman cannot scream! To bubble up one side of the behavior the other needs to be suppressed.

Nothing could be more specious than this argument.

Because, as humans we haveĀ  behaviour polarities. And, these need to be celebrated, not baulked at. Every feeling that arises within us is of immense value as it helps us go through various situations in life. By making a female believe that anger isn’t good, the parents could be indirectly responsible for her falling prey to sexual abuse.

The only way to make my friend’s dream come true is to catch ’em young. Explain the ways of nature and let them grow beyond the introjections from the family and society.

Give them a chance to individuate for that’s the only way a healthy society can be created.

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What’s my religion?

The thought behind this note came when one of my former colleagues and a good friend sent me placards that were on display during the anti-CAA protests going around the country – protests that appears to have once again divided the polity down the middle – that is if one can actually find the middle in the middle anymore!

Image Source: Comes from some news
website during the CAA agitation in Delhi

The image had an idealistic youth proudly sharing the fact that he was a Hindu but not a cunt (or fucker as Google defines a Chutiya). Of course, there are those who claim that the very word Chutiya suggests gender bias but that would be a topic of another rant at another time. This one is totally dedicated to my religion – whatever that may be.

Before delving into my religion, I began by asking myself what is religion? Is it faith? If so, is it my faith or something that I derived from my family or maybe from my ecosystem? Is it a belief? If so, is it my own or did I follow what was shown to me by my parents or others around me? Or is it really something that was handed down by God? If so, who or what is God? It he a man? Is she a woman? A combination of both? Neither? Or is God a creation of my own faith? Of my own belief? Or that of others that I am following without question? Whatever it be, it would be my reality, not a collective one, isn’t it?

Which brings me to the most important question – What stops me from questioning?

These are questions that haunted me from a very early age though each time I asked questions, the answers I received from my elders, teachers, friends and many others had an undertone of helplessness. The answers ranged from “You can’t question God,” to “You will go to hell”. My dad though gave me a small window of opportunity. He suggested that I go and figure it out myself. And whatever it was that I figured out, it was my way and would have no bearing on how others around me responded. Because, it’s my reality!

And that’s what I have come to believe about religion. It is extremely personal to me, as personal as my other personal preferences, right from what food I eat to what position I sleep in or the sexual position that gets me to an orgasm. Would it be fair to impose any of these on anyone in my close vicinity or even a wider one? NO! Because what works for the goose needn’t work for the gander.

And that’s my religion. It is very personal and not to be shared even with my closest confidant. It is not based on science, nor is it based on faith or belief. Whatever it is, it just happens to be my answer to my questions – my reality! And any religion that resists questions needs to be called a cult. And, I’d be damned if I ever become part of any cult!

Source: A dear friend shared this via her Instagram. Thank you @Carmusings

As a footnote, remember that the greatest of minds weren’t afraid of asking questions. Though their answers stumped people through the ages. To a point where they either ignored them or deified them so they didn’t have to follow that path. Instead could merely ask them for miracles, as a quid pro quo for their faith (or belief). They converted it into a collective reality founded on fear and funded by them.

The problem with this behaviour is that we seek miracles from a power that has already granted us many over a life time. Our human existence, the society, our family, friends, the flora and fauna… the list is endless. And yet, we pray for miracles! How ungrateful can we get? Maybe, that’s my religion!

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