Baby Talk

Hate is a strong word; that’s what my mother drilled into my head growing up. I wasn’t really allowed to use the word, dislike was a convenient replacement. That changed during college though. I contorted into somewhat of an extremist. There is love and there is hate; there is no middle ground, and the top of my hate list is reserved for Baby Talk.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the urge to mispronounce and mush words together when there’s a baby around. What I don’t get is the need for women to speak to their significant others in that particular manner. I was interning in New Delhi during my junior year of college and as fate would have it, my roommate was a Baby Talker. I never realized how much I could hate it until the summer was over.

Imagine this; you’re exhausted from a tough day of lugging mannequins around, you get home barely alive, and all you want is a hot meal, a thick blanket to cosy into, and most importantly, silence. Instead, you are subjected to the sound of a grown woman addressing a grown man in the most irksome toddler voice you could possibly imagine. If that wasn’t enough, you also get the divine opportunity to wake up to the same unpleasant noise. And you can tell said roommate to cut it out, but that won’t change a damn thing (mind the language). The shrill Bengali baby talk shall continue after a brief two-hour break.

I couldn’t help but think it was a bizarre daddy-daughter thing they had going on which only fuelled my hatred for the concept. The idea that a woman must seem child-like, helpless, and weak for a man to find her attractive really doesn’t appeal to my sensibilities. A damsel in distress is a common kind of woman men fall for, but actively dropping IQ points and making them feel needed all the time is taking it one too far. I could go on about the underlying significance of women who baby talk, but that’s not what I hate the most. It’s the sheer pitch and the shrill squeals that makes my blood boil with a burning passion.

There was also a gang of girls back in college; a gang I had aptly named Butterflies. They would put Elle from Legally Blonde to shame. Not only did they babble with their boyfriends in their tailored baby voice, they also took it upon themselves to talk to each other in the same way, day in and day out. Yes, day in and day out. I was in the same class, there was literally no escape. Needless to say, over the years my hatred for Baby Talk only intensified.

It’s the equivalent, no, it is worse than nails on a chalk board, a wet bathroom floor, yellow light, or slow internet; these all are a few of my least favourite things. One may not understand the hatred for all these, but nails on a blackboard is a universally hated sound. And I would take an hour of it, if I could avoid Baby Talk for the rest of my life. If anyone could get me a deal, I would take it, and be more than eternally grateful. So, anyone?




Break It Up

My anger with the institution of marriage increases as I see what it does to brilliant, beautiful females around the country. I’ve recently come to understand the concept of staying in a crappy marriage because it’s more convenient than to break it up. And no, it’s not because you can’t leave him. It’s not that you cannot do without him. It’s not that no matter how bad a guy he is, no matter how crappy a husband he is, you still love him. No. It’s the parents. Its’s the family that stops you from walking out. It’s knowing that you can walk out, but if you do, even your own parents won’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe, your reasons are justified.

Being the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect daughter-in law in this country basically means never raising your voice against anything. Your husband goes out drinking with his buddies every day, comes home and wants to fuck you, after which he conveniently snores off to lalaland. And you’re supposed to be okay with that. Your husband gives the hairy eyeball to every decent looking female he sets eyes on, but he’s a man. He isn’t built to be monogamous and he’s only checking out the menu, he isn’t actually eating anything, so why create a scene? But don’t you dare go ahead and so much as glance in anyone’s direction. You’ll be tagged as promiscuous and slutty for so much as raising an eyebrow.

He can wander off to any and all the corners of the Earth with his boy band. But you’re now married so friends shouldn’t be given the time of the day. They shouldn’t matter as much as they once did. You’re supposed to be reborn into his family and forget about the life you once lived. Your husband can scream at you and call you names not even your parents dare to call you but you so much as raise your voice by a single decibel and you turn into the “crazy, controlling wife.” If he slaps you, “It happened only once so you should forgive him.” And you slapping him is totally out of question because “pati toh parmeshwar hota hai”.

Needless to say, it disgusts me. No, you don’t. I understand your predicament. I know. Yes, I do. You may think of me as an idol spectator commenting on your life from afar but I’ll stop you for a second and ask you this. Is this the life you really wanted? Because you only get one. That’s right, one. And you can spend it how you want. Fighting a lost cause, or being yourself. Being single sucks sometimes. You don’t have someone cuddling with you, or someone to cry to, or someone who gives a major crap about you. You certainly don’t get the consistent bedroom action you want. But if you get it right, you’ll be blessed with a couple of friends who would give up anything for your happiness. You can cry to them and vent to them, they’ll be enough. Earning your own bread is tough too, but if you like what you do slightly, but it’s totally worth it.

Live this life the way you want to. Because giving in to him and changing yourself to an unrecognizable, quiet, perfect wife isn’t all that worth it. You’re worth a lot more than he gives you credit for. You’ve got a light in you that I’ve never seen inside anyone else. You’ve got a fire, a story, a whole world inside you waiting to be heard, seen and explored. And you certainly weren’t built to disappear and dissolve into someone else’s house and life. You were always built for greatness and no one but you can be the person you are meant to. And this isn’t that person. You know it isn’t.

For Women Who Are Difficult to Love

You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do, love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

– For women who are difficult to love, Warsan Shire

Vogue Empower My Choice: What the criticism actually did to feminism

I couldn’t have done a better job of it, even if I tried.

This Is My Truth

Update dt 5-Apr-2015: This blog has gone viral, reaching a total of 2.20 lac people through Facebook, over 70,000 page views and over 10,000 Shares. I’ve been blogging for 10 years, and this week all records broke when it received 32,541 page views on a single day. That’s 22 page views every minute. Thank you everybody who shared this post and made it a viral. Special mention of film maker Anurag Kashyap and actor Atul Kulkarni both shared the link on their Facebook pages.

The Vogue Empower video titled ‘My Choice’ featuring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women, from different walks of life, has already taken way too much space than it deserved. And yet, I feel the need to defend it. Allow me to explain why.

My first reaction:

The video was released on Saturday and when I first saw someone sharing it, I didn’t even bother to open, just…

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My Choice

Women have been objects for centuries, not people, objects. The past few days I’ve been trying to write about it, trying to understand why we cannot be who we are. Why we are defined by the clothes we wear, the sex we may or may not have, the men we choose to be with, the friends we have, the way we look or the manner we talk. I am so much more than all of these together. I am me. Just me.