Posted in Opinion

Happy Women’s Day?

The past week, marketers have left no stone unturned in reminding me about my gender. Happy Women’s Day, the SMS says, Celebrate womanhood with a 10% discount (Eh, what?) . On a normal day, I have to obsessively remind my telecaller that I am a woman, in the midst of a continuous string of references to me as ‘sir’. Observe a car salesman demonstrating a car to a female customer. Chances are, it will sound like he is describing Cinderella’s pumpkin chariot.

I fail to fathom why I should be given respect and importance for being a sister, mother, wife, girlfriend etc any more than being a human ? We have collectively goofed up the gender ratio – thanks to picky gender choices, associated rituals and customs. That is what we have to blame for all the crime against women. But the idea of gender-based discrimination, is typical of minority problems. In the end, it boils down to ‘you have to be more than the majority to make your presence felt’

As a female, I strongly compete with lab specimen in terms of being observed closely and continuously on a daily basis. Nothing is spared … the walk, the talk, the wear… And finally, I am judged more on an ability to appeal to emotion.

Why is it so easy to assume I cannot understand ‘technical jargon’ or ‘numbers’? Ican be that pretty model, posing as a pillion-rider of a motorcycle, but I cannot be the motorcyclist. Which man would want to buy a Girlie motorcycle!? Or for that matter, how many women play the protagonist in money-related ads?

Forget the discounts, and the fleeting moments of glorification. Do us a favour. Please stop making references like ‘Even a girl can do this’ or ‘Don’t Cry like a girl’.

Wait, I am not a feminist. That would mean, I am a boring, pink-colour-hating, unromantic hag you need to run away from. Chivalry sure has its place. We are more than happy when you swipe your credit cards and carry our shopping bags for us. But, dear men, do change your baby’s diapers too! And make some art! And don’t discourage your daughter if she wants to be a scientist!

Femininity at its best, stands for the creativity and art it brings to the world. And art in itself, is liberating. Let us not forget, the greatest of revolutions began with art.

It is time we start thinking about Egalitarian Day over Women’s Day. We need to celebrate humanity and love and the uniqueness we all bring with us.

While you think about this, I shall go back to hunting freebies online … the ‘small price’ I pay for being a woman.

Posted in Humor, Opinion

Cell Mate

I love circles. In addition to a gentle reminder of thy physical shape, they also fill one with hope and color and patterns and the possibility of a smiling person’s face on them. My fascination and appreciation for this shape only seems to grow with time. Mangoes, ice cream scoops, rasgullas, jamuns , rain drops, parathas … they all have a circular inclination. Compare this to bricks, cardboard cartons, circuit boards … I am not intolerant , don’t get me wrong. But the harrowing memories of straight lines , crossing each other like a Lungi on a computer screen, are not one you want to create and live with every day.

If you really want to understand what I am going through, you need to work with Excel or any spreadsheet application.Of everything I do at work, dealing with these is one Herculean task which makes me question my existence in a cubicle.

I fail to fathom how tiny ridiculous quadrilaterals can gain such increasing importance in one’s professional life. In addition to being full of numbers, they also have a mind of their own.You never know when they stand in unison and when they display their uniqueness. Like that day when all of them took up an uncharacteristic yellow colour as I tried to highlight how significant one of them is. Any attempt at partiality was promptly thwarted in unison. Try sizing these unruly squares in one go, and they balk and spit fire at you.

Ever purchased a silk saree in Chennai ? The manner in which some experts carelessly flip through filters and worksheets, as they explain the plethora of numbers and coloured columns, reminds me of a storekeeper displaying an unwieldy 6-yards of fabric.

Initially, I was thrilled.  The idea that dragging a tiny ‘+’ symbol can fill an entire series was truly fascinating. And then the Sum function caught my fancy. So I became obsessed with the idea of totaling anything and everything in order to make use of it. But beyond that, I really don’t appreciate all the intelligence that it flaunts. I mean, who will ever imagine that a misplaced 0 can bring down the house. And the timing for embarrassment is just brilliant. It chooses to (mis)behave when everyone is alert in a full house in the wee hours of the morning. So while you are hoping nobody demands an explanation about cell B3, you forget that 10 pairs of eyes have their own idea of what is abnormal , and would like to know why N34 is negative C59 is more negative than J59. Nobody was willing to take ‘Emotionally charged up cells’ as an answer

I have not yet broached the topic of macros and recordings. I still remember the day an excel aficionado had those sparkling eyes and  fire in his voice , as he explained how a macro should be recorded. But eyes being round, were more fascinating than those moving rectangles in front of me. It was a Wodehouse style love triangle of sorts. Me and those sparkling eyes, sparkling eyes lit up by obscure squares and squares trying to seek my attention.

Did I tell you about VLookUp? It looks down upon me. And the random number generator ? I think I use plenty of that one without my knowledge. So when someone asks me to run a pivot, I would rather not hear beyond run.

So those demi-gods who got this nightmare figured out, I hail you.  And I thank you for doling out that summary sheet , which can so deftly be copied into a power point and decorated with coloured texts and call outs.







Posted in Humor, Opinion

Dear ToI Online

These days Arnab Goswami is busy screaming from the right bottom of my browser window. I derive immense satisfaction in hitting the pause button and closing that tiny window. The effort people take in making sure nobody hears how much they can blabber is mind boggling. He seems to have found a commendable spot to vent his frustration. May be that is where I drew my inspiration to revive this blog.

But before going into more details,  I should thank the many advertisers who paid to take up space in the landing page of ToI’s online edition. This, by far, is the most ingenious and utilitarian ad placement I have known. In a more rational world, the readers should be paying you. We were one click away from being spotted watching adult entertainment, before you came in as the ‘night in shining armor’ and saved our face. The fact that a lot of people are found giving a pensive look to the wallpaper when caught off guard by an onlooker is a different tale altogether.

While I ponder about the difference between Top News Stories and Latest News, there are some very informative, strategically placed videos to consume my bandwidth . The baits include finding out why Salman Khan woke up late today, Mysterious paper boat found floating in rainwater, Minister dancing in wedding …

Thank you for your wooing lessons. Your slideshows are impressively educative. I get to know the top 10 reasons why I should be cooking with olive oil today and why I should stop using olive oil for 10 reasons the next day. By stringently viewing your 10-day-flat abs news piece, I can recall the routine in reverse order now. Wake me up in the middle of the night, and I can tell you who ran away with somebody else’s wife.

The law of diminishing returns is fully operational on scrolling down the home page. Sunny Leone and Poonam Pandey refuse to budge and make way for new entrants. If your readership is dwindling, hope you are reading this ? 😉

The news that matters and the news with matter are clearly different things, I suppose.

Posted in Humor, Opinion

Pigeons and the messenger birds

Living in Hyderabad, I end up sharing a good amount of my balcony with pigeons. They are very good for my ego, with their feathers getting ruffled the very instant I open the door, so much so that they take flight and flee. But seeing them jobless instigated the manager in me. How can somebody sleep all day and then occupy my balcony for free? Whoever allowed these traditional messengers to retire at birth?

Continuing along this obviously unnecessary line of thought, have you ever considered the ridiculousness of using Whatsapp? (Whatsup, wassup to the esoteric).

A: Are you on Whatsapp?

B: Of course I am . Add me.

And lo, look how close we are. Let us do everything that is becoming of a Whatsapp  relationship -Mutually add one another to random groups, recursively circulate bits of medical information that tell you why you should be dead by now, receive 400 good mornings and respond to the 400th with a Good night, mysteriously smile at the off-colour joke that just landed, wait till your eyes bleed to download the video of a cat chasing a dog, and few days later, furiously change privacy settings to make sure you are not caught online by your Whatsapp society. (Joining a group is the equivalent of Hotel California -You can never leave, unless you want to risk being called socially inept)

To make sure I am doing justice, there are professional users too. Nice, unknown messiahs who add you to a Whatsapp marketing group and tirelessly send you photos and offers of things you don’t need.

In order to maintain healthy Whatsapp relationships, one needs to periodically update the ‘DP; (ewww, what a term) with photographs of their ‘selfie-propelled new hair style’ , their dog, their cat or their child. That saves time for circulating more forwards on world history and jokes that are longer than the latest Archer bestseller.

And that, my dear, explains why it is easy to pass off looking like a clown today, than it was 10 years ago. Nobody is looking at you anyway !

How I wish to experience the romantic era of a message on a pigeon’s claws, a messenger on a horse, pen friends and mail vans. Guess our generation needs to be happy with a courier from the eKart delivery guy 😉

Posted in Humor, Opinion

There she goes …

“Women drivers are like stars in the sky. You can see them but they can’t see you.  “

Well …  That does tickle the funny bone, doesn’t it ?  But there is no denying a lot of other things… like…

We are a compassionate lot… we feel sorry for a bump on our enemy’s car

We don’t drive the stone-deaf mini-trucks / relic water lorries / screeching share- autos

At any point in time, the number of sober ‘us’ is more than the number of sober ‘you’

We don’t manhandle the rear view mirror of others’ cars so our bikes can pass through

Gravity defying stuff with a motorbike  (for you know what) is not our style

We were not responsible for recycling footpaths into motorbike tracks.

We don’t bully poor drivers by honking when the signal is Red

All we ask is for a ‘little more space’ to move about the road , and an equal opportunity to get confused between right and left 😉

Posted in Opinion

Why no moral science graduates?

Two years ago, a good number of people were out protesting on the roads and in social media – supporting the cause of ‘Nirbhaya’.

One year ago, the TOI came up with statistics : One rape every 30 minutes in India

Post this statistics, Uber cool incidents have taken place.

But what have we done as citizens? Sadly, majority have hopped on to a different topic ‘trending on twitter’.

Somewhere, we forget the need for an ultimate objective when we start any movement for change.

And it fizzles down to a series of Facebook posts and Like buttons, making Mark Zuckerberg a rich man.

The magnitude of the issue is far greater if we consider what goes on in rural India.

Is the dwindling gender ratio being addressed?  It is a known fact that ‘Lower the gender ratio, greater will be the crime rate’.

We need innovative campaigns that nail the issue. For example, there was an interesting anti-smoking initiative by a radio station a few years ago. People found smoking in public were embarrassed with a garland of cigarettes and drums beating around them.

How many of us silently live through harassment in public transport? Has anyone ever dared to stop a bus because a fellow passenger has misbehaved? Not many, isn’t it?. True to the misrepresented and misunderstood ‘spirit of being an Indian woman’, we endure anything and everything.

And then, a good number of us wallow in self-pity. Even worse, when a child is not comfortable having a particular uncle or aunty around, we go back and educate the child on good manners. The fact that someone known to us could be abusing our child has 0 probability in our thoughts. To go one step further, as a culture, we hesitate to call the cops or the ambulance as readily as they do in the western world.

How many schools give due importance to moral living ?

A kid should not score anything less than 90% in Physics and Maths but it is more than sufficient to scrape through Moral Sciences and Home Sciences.

Education alone will not help. Neither will capital punishment – Esp in a country where getting convicted portends a bright political career .

Posted in Humor, Opinion

Wardrobe Malfunction

Another burst of creativity , or may be I am more bored. You see, that is where the confusion begins. I am perennially confused. Those fleeting moments when my confusion leaves me, I am depressed. Confusion saves me from the many troubles of exploring uncharted terrains and reaching glorious heights. Who said the view at the top is worth it? I think a Sony Bravia does a better job.

And so the rant continues, albeit 2 years later.

Clothes maketh the man, I heard. The day I saw a Dhinchak Dhoti worn with black boots, Clothes shaketh my faith. After that, my sartorial experience has been quite downhill. Wasn’t Rajnikanth’s shoe-sense in Muthu supposed to be the worst thing that could happen? How can a living mortal surpass that one?

It shouldn’t take more than a pea-sized brain to put some basic colours together. Mr. Moron dressed to the T in Brown and Blue, designer sun glasses at 7 in the evening, you don’t save much by buying a small shirt that bursts at the seams. Your fat cells must be laughing at your idea of hiding that pot belly in those sutures.

Amidst the ubiquitous jeans, ill-fitting Tees and ample plastic jewelry, comes the diva sashaying in an Anarkali suit for every occasion. If all that is left after the suit is a wee bit of your toe peeping out, then maybe this suit is for someone else? Although the Sanjay Leela Bhansali look makes one feel royal on the first try,  it presents a duck -like demeanor to the onlooker quite often. And no, a stole is no replacement for a Dupatta (and please, Dupatta is not a shawl).

And so I look up, in awe, at the many women and men who have cracked the code of fine dressing. Elegance, refinement, subtlety wrapped in one. But it is not before long that I find myself saying,” What an icky snob! ”

I suppose it takes all kinds. And it is fun to slide between the extremes. 😉