Day 106: It’s a popular symbol of feminism

I’ve been nose deep in literature to prepare for the upcoming end semester exam. I start off with the subject that brought out the true expertise of the teachers in the department – Sociological foundations of Education. After the high-charged discussions on social justice and socially relevant issues of education over the summer, at Bhor, I was excited when I found out that I had this subject this semester.

And boy! What a disappointment it has been!

A few things I remember being said in class, by the respected sharer of information.

  • I wouldn’t allow my son to find himself a girl friend. It’s against my culture and culture is our God.
  • All these live-in relationships and all must make your parents so sad and disappointed in you.
  • The sole aim or purpose of a family is to give birth to young children.
  • Social stratification is natural and it’s these strata that bring a sense of calm in the society. If we were all in one big societal class, we’d kill each other and die.
  • I don’t know why the syllabus has Economic studies as a part of Sociology. Let’s skip that part.
  • All women in certain families in North India have to wear a ghunghat. They are not allowed to enter the living spaces with men without wearing the ghunghat down to their chests. It’s a popular symbol of feminism.

And a bonus one.

  • Myanmar is the capital of Burma.

I feel cheated at the end of this semester. A Master’s program should not be spending 60 hrs dishing out definitions and meaning of ideas like culture, social classes and Inequality. These should be pre-reading for the students to come prepared to class with. And the discussion should be around matters of social relevance. Nobody will ask you for the definition of gender bias in real-life. It will stare you down your face when a father chooses to pick his teenage girl out of school. And you will be unprepared to handle that situation.

All this studying and you seem to be in pain. Do you need a hug?” Scotch 

Day 45: Growing up right

I have still not recovered from the drama yesterday. SrA walked into class expecting everything to be normal. Nope, it will never be. When I leave the class, she tells A that she sat till 8PM the previous day (the BIG day), and two of her friends from the B. Ed class did the screenshots for her. “DID” it for her. And that’s exactly what we didn’t do, remember? Because we only ‘told’ her how to do it. She was seen in GD’s cabin till very late last evening, crying her heart out. I can only imagine the flow of conversation there.

Apparently the reason she broke down was because I told her to press “fn + PrtSc” to print her screen, where as in her laptop, she just had to press “Print Screen”. Yes, I am supposed to know every model of laptops out there and their key pads. If she had spent 3 minutes of the time she spent bawling like an imbecile, she would have realized what the right method was. 1 minute to figure out Fn + PrtSc dint work, 1 minute to figure out Win + PrtSc dint work, and 1 more to just hit the Print Screen button. OR, 3 minutes to google how to take a print screen for her laptop. Nope, a more productive way to use every body’s time was to cry like a three year old that did not get candy at the fair.

I am reminded of my dad’s response to my crying when I was in my tens. I invariably burst into tears at the slightest rebuke. Discussion, argument, point of view, were all unknown to me back then. And the minute he saw those tears roll by, he’d say, “I don’t see a reason why you are crying right now. Maybe we should give you a valid reason to cry”. This was, invariably, followed by a quick, tight slap. And I stopped crying. Us girls have abused the tears for too many years to get our way around, and as a feminist, it worries me. I’ve seen a number of women at work tear up because their code did not execute, and have had a team-full of men sit with them through the night to fix their buggy, poorly written code. I’ve been in heated arguments with ex-boy friends that completely became one-sided (to my benefit, of course) when the tears rolled down. I was, in fact, asked to fake-cry recently, when my Uber had an accident with a speeding auto and other women in the auto were up to take all my money.

“I Love You” and “I am Sorry” are the most abused 3-words. I’ve added the “I am crying” to that list as of today.

“I am going to cry now if you don’t fill my dinner bowl already. What do you mean I already ate dinner 1 hour back? I’m still hungry, yo!” Scotch

My bowl is empty! Again!

Day 44: Religion’s Drama

Buoy, did the Tuesday end with the drama of the century!

We had a group presentation that the three of us split the work into, SrA, A and I, and we were due to submit it today. We reviewed all our work and started consolidating before the class, when we realized that SrA had done a lazy-ass Copy-Paste, and did not pull up screenshots that we really required. So, I explained the simplest Windows function, Print-Screen, to dearest SrA. 15 minutes, and no progress. A went a step ahead, walked up to the board to replicate the keyboard, and drew it out. Of course, SrA had shut down by then.

No amount of our telling anything to her on how to take a simple screenshot of the screen took us any closer to where we had to be. As GD, our teacher, walked in, SrA had gone into a trance, had completely tuned us out, and was staring at the same dot on the screen. GD checked on progress, we updated her about the only missing piece, a 15-minutes’ worth screen print, and how we’d finish it up in a bit. GD acquiesced, smiled, and noticed SrA’s trance. One small probing question, and SrA started the water works.

I haven’t such a dramatic wailing in years; assuming I did something like this when I was 5. For at least three long minutes, she was stuck to the door, crying like her life was at stake. When A brought her back, and GD started asking SrA to settle down, SrA went into this major ramble about not knowing SPSS, or anything technical, and us trying to help her extensively, but she not understanding technology at all, and having spent time till 2 AM the previous day, and not having slept at all for the last few weeks, and us being helpful and her not being able to reciprocate at all. Of course, GD was overflowing with concern for her mentee’s feelings, being a sister of the Christian congregation and all. The height of dramatics in the whole episode was unimaginable; hands flaying up in the air, falling body-front on to the desk, pulling GD towards herself and pushing her away; dramatic to the C.

The charade went on for 20 minutes, a class of 3 and of 45 minutes, completely disrupted by one person’s inability to learn how to take a screenshot on their laptop.

If I had any respect for the clergymen, and women, this drama squashed it entirely. I have seen a 45 year old mother of two come back to college to get their second Masters. I worked with a 65 year old gentleman pursuing his PhD at that post-retirement age. My mom, of 55, learns something new with her computer every day, and never says “I can’t do it!”. Aren’t they all working on the basic educational philosophy that we are all learners for life? Isn’t there a life philosophy that you’ve lost the minute you’ve given up trying?

When did it become OK for one to use their religion as a handicap badge to get a parking spot? Whatever might have been the reason that pushed SrA into entering the church, she chose it for life, spent 20-odd years preparing for her life in the seminary, and had to be vested in it entirely. Did that somehow give her a permission for preferential treatment? I understand she wakes at 4 AM, works towards the convent’s upkeep, attends college from 9 to 4, goes back to complete some more chores in the convent, finishes course work, and hits the bed by 10. I understand she squeezes in a number of rounds of prayer in the middle of all this, because it is after all the life she chose. Do you know how I know this level of detail about SrA’s day? She makes sure that she tells us about it at every possible opportunity.

Well, none of us non-clergical people (is that even a word? What’s the word for ‘us’? Normal people?), have an easy life now. We pay for our own education, we struggle with interviews and rejections, we see a life outside the four walls of religion, that may not be all that pretty as promised. We live with the harsh realities of life every single day. But do we wear it around our necks as a badge? Do we carry it around like the blind man’s stick, expecting the road to pave the way ahead for it?


It’s no wonder that I relate to atheists the most. Religion has invariably become a banner for you to hold aloft and claim reservation, preferential treatment, when there are others spending their energy going where they need to. It has become that fast pass that you’ve used one too many times and yet never get pulled up far. Religion? Rubbish!

“You humans are weird. Religion? What does that even mean? 

If it doesn’t help you with ‘eat, sleep, repeat’, then why even bother?  No?” Scotch