The long weekend and a gender rant

Yesterday was Labour Day here Down Under and it was a long weekend. Now long weekends are a very rare occurance in this part of the world and so one duly warrants celebration. For me ‘celebration’ constituted doing nothing at all. Well not ‘nothing’ entirely or I would not be writing this post:

1. ‘A Wednesday’ was watched on Saturday. I was blown away by Naseerudin Shah’s acting, as was everyone else that watched the film. I was also blown away by the pace and the simplicity of it. By the wonderful predictability. By the fact that the ‘final speech’ made me think ‘Yes! That’s it exactly, you tell them!’ and finally I was blown away by the last line ‘log naam mein mazhab dhoondh lete hai’. So true, so very true. And in this day and age, so appropriate. We live in dangerous times, in times where our name could be held against us, let alone our religion and our beliefs.

2. There is a Harry Potter game out for Wii! Yippee! So it has been decided by mass consensus that the game shall be purchased, it is just a matter of speaking with the expert and sorting out the whens and hows.

3. I was stitching a pair of pants last night when a thought struck me (No I am not skilled enough to actually stitch myself a pair of pants, I bought pants that were a tad too long and so I was just hemming the bottom). I know people who do not know how to stitch a button onto a shirt. Boys and girls, men and women my age, who think that it is either below their dignity or a waste of time to learn how to stitch back a broken button. I am not sure if it is a ‘status’ thing with my generation. Just as cooking, cleaning, draping a saree or a dhoti or reciting a mantra/prayer is considered to reduce your ‘coolness’ factor. I disagree. Just as I disagree that only women should know how to sew, or knit or darn or cook.
My parents have not brought me up as a girl – or a boy for that matter. We were not thought to think like a person of a gender, we were just taught to think! Just as we were taught that if your shirt has lost a button, stitch another one on. If you are hungry, learn to cook a few basic things. If you buy a car, learn to fill fuel in it!
I cannot understand that modern mindset of girls and boys who choose to be girls and boys or men and women. Girls that take pride is being treated ‘like boys’ -what does this mean exactly? Maybe tasks like stitching or cooking or cleaning were considered to be for women when women did nothing else. Even today if I was married or lived at home and did nothing but sit home all day I would consider it but practical to cook, clean the house and do the chores. It saves time and makes sense. Just as my husband or father or brother would do if they were without a job and were at home. I do not consider it womanly or unmanly to stitch a button just as I don’t find it manly to climb onto a chair and cut the bushes on the porch fence! To me it is a matter of survival and practicality. I am proud that I can drape a saree albeit not very well, I am proud that I can mend my own clothes and that I can cook a decent meal. Just as I am proud that I can fix broken cupboards and cut down overgrown bushes.
I just hope that I someday I can pass on this upbringing to a fellow human being – the idea that we can all be just people, humans with genderless brains, genderless ideas and thoughts.


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