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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sock Up!

The tiffin boxes for son, spouse and self are ready and packed. The morning ablutions are done and a half hour Yoga session has happened. The kitchen has been marginally cleaned. I leave home on a relatively high note. Much much later, I note the white socks.

Considering that the outfit of choice today was a steel grey shirt, a black pant and brown (men’s) shoes, the white socks are an abomination; even I can’t ignore the flashes of white my feet provide as I half-run to catch the train.
That took me back by 15 years, to my last year in school in Gujarat, which, unfortunately, believed that skirts made for ideal uniforms for girls. Some of them, even then, looked pretty or charming or plain hot. Some, like me, looked like a scarecrow. The skirt, however, was the least of my worries. The socks were a different issue altogether.

My parents invested in quality socks – there was always a lot of importance attached to neatness at home. Shoes were polished almost every day, and the loose socks were immediately discarded. Despite that, we all liked to make statements with our socks:
Socks Types
Source: Google Images and musingsanddoodlings.blogspot.in
  • Prim and Proper: Ideally ironed, the socks were pulled to their maximum capacity to let no crease show.
  • Baggy and Sloppy: An attempt to appear cool and sloppy at the same time, the socks were purposefully made baggy by lowering the elastic band.
  • Rolled and Strong: This was usually ideal in making strong statements, especially during the Sports class.
  • Folded and Neat: I cringe when I realize that this was my favorite version, my dangly legs ending in this bow-like thing I created lovingly every morning.

So, I never knew what statement to make, and ended up making one every day (A Psychiatrist would have had a field day with me).
Now that I have grown wiser (Stranger things have happened), I realize that we need to don all the four roles at least once a day;
  • Prim and proper to run the family on clockwork,
  • Rolled and Strong to get through the daily challenges,
  • Folded and Neat to manage a schedule, and
  • Baggy and sloppy to remember to have fun while doing it all.
Of course, this does not add any value or provide consolation to the fact that I look like Michael Jackson with two left feet today.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Girlish Cars and Boyish Flowers

So, the 2.5 year old offspring of mine has been going to school diligently for about a month now. A lot of compromises and rearrangement of priorities later, things were finally falling into place.

That is, before I realised that pre-school was more for the parents’ benefit rather than the child’s. In Ahaan’s own words, he goes to school to play. For us however, the school has taught us time management, wardrobe management, lunchbox planning and alarm clock dependencies. It has been an interesting experience to say the least, and we were becoming experts in that… until the school decided to throw a curveball, in the form of a “Hawaiian day” (cue: Eye roll). Secretly, I was very excited about my first mommy-assignment, and started planning strategies and counter-strategies. 2-days before the D-day, we go shopping, just to find that there are no shirts with flowers (or leaves or trees) for boys. No as in NONE.

After almost 3 hours of running unsuccessfully from one shop to another, I called for reinforcements. My sister (while she was first in line when the lords were distributing imagination, innovation and creativity, I was in the ‘talking without thinking’ line) listened patiently before asking why I can’t make it myself. She gave a lot of ideas and sent me multiple photo-sets, and a bit of an effort later, the shirt was ready.

Tada! My version of the Hawaiian Shirt!

So, apart from being an egoistic post showing off my borrowed creativity, I was very upset about what we are doing to our children. To put it succinctly,



Black, Blue, Grey, Green, Red, White
Pink, Yellow, Orange, Red, White
Loose and Baggy
Tight fits with frills and fluffs
Vehicles (2-wheelers, 4 wheelers, trains, aeroplanes) , Fierce Animals, action figures
Dolls, pretty girls (& fairies), Domesticated animals, flowers, lot of lace and glitter
Macho and Muscular (I am strong!)
Cute and Feminine (Daddy’s little girl)
Vehicles, Animals, Mind Games, Action figures
Dolls (and lots of it), Doll houses (and other sets) and handicraft kits (jewellery, pots, sparkles etc)

We as a society either have a zero tolerance for uniqueness or don’t have the patience to nurture it.  To be fair, a change is tantalisingly around the corner. Men are wearing skirts now and two of the most admired characters on TV include Jassi (from Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi) and Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones).  The boy-who-wanted-to-be-Sheila was one of the best stories to come up in Bollywood (Bombay Talkies) in recent times (if ever). As parents, we can contribute to the change too, by remembering some basic points:

·         Blue does not make a boy, and pink does not define a girl.

·         A girl likes kitchen sets, but given a chance, she would also like a toy-truck.

·         A boy would love to cook, clean the house and say hello to plants.

·         When (and that’s a giant When) you catch yourself stereotyping people, give yourself one tight slap.

That ought to do.

Note: This is a hypocritical post, and I know I stereotype as well. But well, to modify the Stark motto: Change is coming.