Monday, August 2, 2010

Politicising the proposed personal

Well, this day begun as all days have been beginning since the past few months that i started to prepare for civils(and NOT ignoring my M.A. classes)...but i guess the day defeats the purpose of exciting me to sail new heights... reasons, many. Organisation to write coherently, nill....probable explanation, panic mode and to top it all my "high" existential moments...

I firmly believed and literally STUCK to the idea that my parents are my best far so good, but i doubt the grounds now, if not my commitment towards them. They are still the first people to know what newness i explore each day, have given me the encouraging permissions to accomplish ALL 'adventures' i have wanted to undertake (some are highly censored to be mentioned on open forums) and continue to listen and understand me through and through...but well, the ground seems to have suddenly shifted.

There is something called a generation gap which i luxuriously ignored in my relations with them till now..I donot doubt their reciprocations with an iota of suspicion...but what i failed to acknowledge was that what is "cool" about them for me is so so taxing on their part to live up to. For every outburst of emotion and commitment to my fancies, they have had to fight out battles among "their" peers.

According to the unending mass of relatives which defines THE society for my parents, i have hit the "perfect" marriageable age in sync with the "only urgent and committed mission" of all relatives (especially females) to earmark and convincingly suggest to the respective parents of the subject (here me), prospects "suitable" for the "precious little doll" of the family. It really does not bother them that the "doll" in question has literally hated the sissy idea of feminine gudia - gudda, teddy bears, barbies and other such unproductive objects of supposed girlie goodies. They also seem to have just forgotten that this same "doll" had actually been reprimanded on public notice by one among the matronly host of relatives for 'operating' a newly bought (disgusting!) doll of her cousins to see how the intestines looked like. That such a "destructive, uncouth , barbaric" girl has a life of her own definitely not to deck up for some arbitrary "gudda" seems to just not register in their fierce quest for hosting yet another marriage. My question is "Why do you guys not get a life and NOT bring weird panic stricken ideas to my parents head?"

I just wish and fevorishly expect my host of aunties and other relatives to just get to read this blog by a flip of miracle and perhaps see for themselves what has actually happened to their "doll"..
First, my assertions which are crystal clear:

(1) I do not want a "cash vending machine" for a masi, just relax! transfer your area of interest somewhere else.

(2)If by default i happened to be fair, do not punish me with the uncalled for attention of your 'yogya' nephew, bua! I hate him and his liberal hovering eyes on every girl who happens to inhabit your locality, and on his "oh so important! contacts" on networking sites ....test his 'yogyata' not on his All India Rank but the actual content of his "upper compartment"

(3)And, last but not the least of all, mami, please stop sponsoring me as a branded commodity out of a "convent school"! There is much more in my life than accomplishing the mundane act of marriage(or should i say institutionalized prostitution in more than one cases...if not all....ha ha! such a sadist i am! I just love to strike them dumb with such jargon!!!!!!)

(4)As a parting assertion, Maa and Papa! Stop falling prey to these good for nothing relatives and see who is more important for you!

It feels good to vent out your anger! Aha! Now i can think and not randomly blabber.......

One of the really amusing part of "the" sociey which continues to interest me is the obscene amount of attention given to the idea of marriages in our country. Whether in a comparatively "less developed" state like Bihar, or the supposed "open" societies offered by metropolitan cities like Delhi, the amount of energy, resources and concern this business gets makes me wonder if our sole objective in life is to get "hitched'. Look at this, a simple love affair has to culminate in a "hapily ever after" marriage, a son or a daughter who has moved out of his or her home is expected to get back to his "roots", unchanged and unadulterated with new fangled ideas to obey his social mores and get tied to a match of his or her parents' choice. I do not deny that given the predominantly patriarchal set up as being the normative framework of life in this society and the matters of property rights and social stability, marriage is the expected and easy solution to living a smooth life.

I also do not deny that we have been so subtly and at times blatantly engineered to shape up ourselves within strict gender stereotypes that it is really difficult to move out and think of actually living a life beyond the scriptures of social programming.For instance, almost every girl in our society is trained from the nascent phase of childhood to becoming a flirt. If you have noticed carefully, the barbie doll culture, the idea of designer, strappy, short dresses in which girl kids are furnished today seems like a miniature teenage or adult lady being given the first lessons in looking pretty and sexy. Is it not the same version of how girls dress up for pubs and clubs? In the effort to deck up the "cute" little girl kids, what we end up doing is giving them a subtle lesson in "how to exploit your sexuality"? Similarly, the whole idea of introducing boys to "macho" hobbies like biking and car race and even a violent world of various video games is but to instill an idea of gendered consciousness of being heroic and manly in a pervert way. I remember being asked as a kid, being given one of my first lessons in feminine behaviour, to "talk soft" and not "shriek like a crow". I wonder had i really been an avid debator if my parents would have actually made me all sweet honey for a voice.

I have equal sympathy and empathy to all of us being victims to this gendered attitude on a pornographic scale. It is a guy who is supposed to woo his girl with diamonds, food bills, endless bouts of shopping spree and all of that. I wonder if this is actually (if reduced to dimunitive parallels) not prostitution of some order. In lieu of being "pampered", the girl is supposed to shower her non wavering, true love and appear all beautiful and pretty to her guy's social circles. Is is an idea on both the counts to "show off" the catches they have managed to get for themselves among peers and in the personal domain, prostitute their respective resources to the service of each other.

Needless to say, the ideas around and behind this gradual programming of the human self in strict gender terms is bolstered by the movies we watch(hollywood) included, the package of moral values we are fed on since our birth, the kind of education we receive and the kind of job profiles we "choose". Even after all the hyped up notion around being a feminist (that by and large invariably leads to male bashing in barring a few but almost all cases), why is it that the calls of militant feminism comes from the intellectual wing of women primarily and not the ones at the grassroots about whose lives these distant, observant, feminists comment upon? Is it not worth noticing that the housemaid in our homes are the ones who battle it out with "the" society and enter into challenging job profiles of say cooking for a group of bachelors in "the big bad world" of potential rapists at the cost of experiencing the wrath of their husbands of even boyfriends, each day? One the other hand are the sophisticated self- proclaimed feminists who prefer to settle with a "respectable" job profile in a "respectable" society that arranges their marriage or nods apprehensively to love matches. Where is the battle and who fights it out tough? Who exercises more agency? And is it substantial fighting it out?

The point that i tried to put forth is this. We really need to go beyond the prevalent discourses of freedom and choice and norms and expected modes of conduct to see for ourselves what we are ready to settle with. In the process of doing so, we also need to get prepared to slander ourselves for our own politics of ease and convenience in choosing one and not the other. We need to be ready to be able to say that "Yes! we are hypocrites by choice! may be because it makes things lot easier............."

That is all maa and pa and that is all i can at the maximum submit to....