The new job

is turning out to be quite a job! Actually, it’s not even a proper job. And that kind of confusion seems to be pervading my life right now. Pray for me.

Just a quick word…

…before I take off again. I’ve been an amazingly bad blogger lately, thanks to problems I’ve been having with MTNL’s broadband connection. And now I’m off for a week to Bangalore, so Canace will be a bit quiet.

 In the meanwhile, today’s shocking advertisement of the day:

nomen.jpg

Then there’s the news that Renuka Choudhary wants a ‘pregnancy registry’ to ‘regulate’ abortions and prevent female foeticide. That’s a bit like saying register all births to prevent murder, isn’t it? And will be about as effective, I imagine.

And the story of the woman who pronounced triple talaq on her husband. As I remember the peering prof saying from the front of the classroom, that’s a valid divorce, though not a ‘good way’ of pronouncing divorce. And that’s because ideally, the three talaq pronouncements should be separate, allowing time for the pronouncer to think it over and make up their mind. But the Muslim Personal Law Board thinks otherwise; what do you expect?

And, if you can call it ‘news’, this. A hundred years of the bra is a hundred years of ‘sexy’?! Let alone the idea that the function of the bra is sex-appeal and not comfort, that sentence, the first one in that article, is so ugly. Actually, don’t let alone that idea – think about it – why the focus on the ‘sexiness’ of bras, and not their functionality?

On that note, I’m off – those of you still reading, I promise to be good once I get back!

Should we have a woman President?

It’s Friday, again, and a perfect chance to write about the campaing for “India’s first woman president”. 

My first reaction to Pratibha Patil’s nomination was, of course, “Oh, wow! A woman President, finally!” And over the past few weeks, I’ve read quite a bit about her in the papers: all her faux pas, all the reasons why she should not be our next President. There’s even a blog campaign demanding she provide some answers to all the allegations against her: it starts “Not for President!”, and says “India demands answers first.”

But I want to go back a bit further, to the initial announcement of her nomination. The Congress wanting to capitalise on her being a woman, accusing the NDA of being anti-woman because it didn’t support her, and liberal voices going “So what if she’s a woman? That shouldn’t be a consideration in choosing her for President!”

And so very few voices saying “But it should!”

First, because it takes strength and courage and hard work and sacrifice for a woman to make it in politics**, and the fact that she got this far is testimonial to all of that. As Vidya Subrahmaniam pointed out:

even the bare facts impress: a practising lawyer before she joined politics, five consecutive terms as MLA, a clutch of portfolios in the Maharashtra Government, member of the 10th Lok Sabha, deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, and Governor of Rajasthan. All this topped by untrumpeted, constructive social work: engineering college for rural students, hostel for working women, development fund and cooperative bank for economically depressed women, schools for the poor and the disabled, and so on

Second, because having a woman president sends a message. Not the message that every Indian ‘respects women’, as the Congress would like to claim, but that collectively, as India, we don’t judge people by their gender alone.

Sounds like I’m contradicting myself? That’s because male privilege is mostly invisible. We don’t see our biases till we look for them, and so, the default men-as-public-leaders doesn’t seem to reek of discrimination. If we stop to think, we’d realise it can’t be ‘natural’ to have so few women in public life. So the ‘default’ is because of discrimination, because we are taught to value people according to their gender. Having a woman in the highest public office is a statement that we refuse to accept this default. That we see the discrimination in our society, and we appreciate and reward those who fight it.

Third, because the fact that she covers her head doesn’t stop her from speaking out against purdah. The office of President is a largely ceremonial one, that of the Government’s conscience, one might say. And a conscience that understands the difference between wearing a veil and requiring someone to wear it seems like a good start.

Pratibha Patil’s gender is one very good reason why she should become President; it shouldn’t be the only reason she doesn’t.  

**Yes, a lot more than it takes a man, do you even doubt it?

I’m back!

The three of you who noticed I was gone, I love you!! For those who didn’t, well, lucky you!

Anyway, I’ve been gone for a while because I’ve been changing jobs, cities, houses, lifestyles, and all that leaves little time for blogging. But I do have tons to blog about – the new job (from ohwowwhatajob to whatamIdoingherehelp), the new city (verydifferentfromwhenIlastlivedhere), the new house (atlast!) and the new lifestyle (livingwithpeoplewilldrivemecrazy).

Apart from which, the Presidential polls are coming up, and we have a woman poised to become President. Any discussion of the Presidency takes me back to a classroom in which two white-haired profs almost came to blows over the Supreme Court in Bommai, refereed by a third prof who looked like a thug in a Tam movie, and watched by a classroom of students hoping the little one on the left would punch the taller, red-eyed one out. But I digress. So, Patil for President was another thing to blog about.

Then there was the demise of TomaytoTomahto. Tipsy’s fans (yeah, that’s optimistic, I know) can find her old posts on TomaytoTomahto at TipsyToes, but she might not actually blog any more. RIP, other blog.

I also wanted to blog about recalcitrant parents, travelling with recalcitrant parents, and living with recalcitrant parents. Also married friends, the abundance thereof, and the scarcity of the other kind. Oh, I had lots to blog about, I just didn’t manage to do it.

But now I’m back.