Friday, September 14, 2007

Who is wearing the pants and why..

Before I start writing this post, and before you start reading it, I should warn everyone that I am not judgmental. Neither am I opinionated. But yes, I do have strong, tangently-inclined opinions, which have their own value systems. I do realize that the few of you who read this blog know me personally and know the people I talk about, and I will talk about personally too. I beg you to not form your opinions based on what I write here, and don't hold me to them too. I notice things, I feel something about it, hence I write. I might notice something else later and my feelings or opinions might change. Which is a natural human process.

Those of you (if there are any) who don't know me personally, and yet read my blog, I have only one word for you - Welcome!! (Not that the others are not welcome!! :) )


When I shifted into my new apartment, I had a clean, white, untouched wall and a lot of frames to be hung. I wasn't sure if I could pierce holes in the walls here so I asked my uncle (Masa) about it. Masa told me that all I needed was a few pins and a hammer and I was set. I try to cover all grounds, so I asked my seniors about whether I am allowed to do such things, and they said sure, just when you are vacating the apartment, se sure to stuff the holes with Colgate. Fair enough.

Problem two: Where do I get nails and a hammer from?
Masa's advice: Oh, Just meet Rahul (Some undergrad ABCD here, who he knows well) and say, "Raaa-hul.. How do I make holes in my walls for frames...(Accompanied with batting eyelashes and a few helpless giggles)"

Needless to say, I refused and my wall remains untouched and the frames unhung. But I am fine with it. This sounds like a better option.

I was planning a trip to Chicago, which is a three hour drive away. Room-mate (RM for all practical purposes from now on) tells me, "Why don't you call V? He will definitely take you there.." I cancelled my roadtrip. Better option.

RM was scared about a security issue concerning the internet we have been using. I told her that if someone comes asking, say that you don't use the internet, your room-mate does and leave the rest upto me. I have no idea how I will tackle the situation, if it arises. But I do know that she doesn't want to handle the issue, and I feel like the man here, asking her to drop it all on me.

RM's laptop arrived today ( Congrats for the same!!), but she missed the delivery. The FedEx guys think that the best time to deliver anything is when you are at class. Go figure. Anyway, this has happened with both of us before, at different times. First she, and then I tracked out way down to the otherside of this otherwise small town (Far, Far, Faaar away), to get out parcel, and back, in the bus. This time, she called up a friend, who lives far, far, faaar away too, got him to pick her up, take her to FedEx, and drop her back home.

When she asked me to accompany her, I refused. She asked me why, and I told her the truth.

I am not comfortable asking someone to pick me up from my house, take me somewhere and drop me back, and then go back on that self-same road to where he actually came from in the first place. It's awkward.

I live in a town where traveling by the bus is pretty convenient. And, traveling by car is convenient too. The bus system here is pretty good, plus it helps that I can look up online when the next bus will reach exactly outside my home and which bus will take me where from wherever I want to go. You get the picture.

But, on the other hand, its not that difficult to buy a car in this country after a few years, as a result of which a lot of seniors and friends I know, have cars. And since they are all nice people they are always ready to help/comply.

While I know that this is what friends are for, I also know that I am not comfortable taking obligations from people when I can use my own self or my resources to get the same thing done. I hate being typified as a typical girl, because I believe I don't fit into that segment. I also understand that most people don't like being "Typified".

Maybe I am being sexist when I say that I expect girls to behave this way. Maybe I am being practical when I say, don't take anyone or anything for granted. Maybe I am being too stubborn when I refuse to take help from people bowing under stereotypes.

Am I the only one who can see these stereotypes? Or am I the only one who can feel their pressure and be uncomfortable with the comfort offered by the stereotypes. I know that is a paradox, but it makes a lot of sense. I am uncomfortable with it just because staying within the boundaries of these stereotypes will make my life easier, and more comfortable.

It's not about the male or female stereotype here, its about fitting into the mould of damsel in distress and waiting for a prince to lift you out of it. Why can't these damsels stop sounding so dainty and pretty just by their names and start fighting back their own distresses, at least till you can. Till you have the resources too.

I am not saying that you should deny help when you seriously need it. Going back late in the night, and said friend offering to drop you back, is understood. Need to go somewhere immediately where no bus goes, really far, and said friend takes you there- understood. But more than that, and it brings an image of a female sitting on a pretty couch, twiddling her thumbs waiting for the man to come and roll out the carpet so that she can step up and go about.

It's really not about who is wearing the pants, its about who is making whom wear it.


TaG HeueR said...

TaG says...Typical prangnish...behavior..lolz...main sab karungi..kisiki help nai chahie..well..its good to have such an attitude...but somtimes..u need help..and i guess..asking someone for a help does not make u step a level below..ofcourse..the "help" should be an "obligation".

Shayon™ said...

talking about stereotypes, reminds me of the perennial of debate of whether the guy should be paying on a date or should they so dutch. anyways, i won't say you are wrong and neither are the so called stereotypes. it's just a matter of personal opinion, sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Just call the gals to help yu out... it won't be 'sexism' anymore, just friendship :)

Anonymous said...

ahem. what kind of dumbass needs to ask how to nail pins in a wall?? sexism or ineptitude? storm in a teacup for you, miss?

Pragni~The Dream Catcher~ said...

Tag- I am not denying that sometmies over here.. this is about everytime..

Shayon- Agreed. Howcome you always raise issues which demand a hugee reply. or a post. Will do one, sometime. (am glad you do, its food for thought!)

Anonymous1- erm.. the gals have been called to "help" too, apparently, they realized that they were being used, and had nothing to gain in turn, so stopped "helping"..

Anonymous2- Try living in a country where they make you sign something just because there are marks in the wall, or where they sue you because there is a hole in the wall. Try living in a country where "walls" are made of plywood and they shudder if you just slap a hand on it. Then pass judgments...

'nonnymus said...

She didnt ask 'how' to nail pins in a wall, she asked if it was alrigh. Read whats been written carefully and then talk about ineptitude.

its only women like you who have the right to scream about wome's equal rights. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Being an Indian female graduate student in a similar situation I agree completely :)
I've found out that with a little investigation its possible to do most things on your own and you won't end up canceling trips etc so often.

Pragni~The Dream Catcher~ said...

'nonnymous sir- i dont believe in fighting for "woman's rights".. i dont believe in the dividing bar of woman's rights and men's rights.. but I do detest stereotypes, and people who take advantage of them..

anonymous3- kindred soul!!

Anonymous said...

Being an Indian female grad student who readily helps other people (girls and guys) when they ask, I take offence to your answer. I do see your point about learning to be independent and doing your own thing. I am independent enough to take care of my needs and help others with theirs. But I also believe friends make life easier. You don't lose anything by taking their help or offering it to them.

Pragni~The Dream Catcher~ said...

Anonymous1- I appreciate your kind.. I seriously do.. There is one female here, who helps us out with everything and anything we ask for. And she has been really really nice, but the point which bothers me is bothering her for little things even though it can be managed without her.. And I agree, especially after coming here, friends do make life easier. These people I am talking about have become my surrogate family already. Which is why I hate bothering them if I dont need to... Din't mean to offend you!!

Also, I am not running anyone down here. RM is a really nice person. It's just that living in such close quarters I am bound to dislike a thing or two, and she is bound to dislike more than that about me. If I dont rant it out here, then where!!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out the fact that by putting females into the 'dependent-on-others thumb twiddlers' bracket, you enhance an existing stereotype which like all stereotypes is an over-generalization. And women have got the short end of that stick for way too long now.
After all, married men, esp. Indians, don't lift a finger at home but noone refered/refers to them as dependent morons. Of course, they would cook and clean if it was the only way out, but the wife's around, so I'll just let her do it. The woman is expected to be completely independent and balance work and home expertly. A small weakness/dependence/expectation of any kind is immediately used to fortify the 'weaker sex' image. But the guy can be completely one-dimensional and have his wife do his chores for him (as well as herself) and still proudly wear the bloody pants.
I'd rather just wear my sarees and cook and earn for myself, thank you!
Sorry for being all preachy and taking off at a tangent. "If I don't rant out here, then where?" ;)
-Anon1 again
P.S.: I really like your blog.

Pragni~The Dream Catcher~ said...

anon1-thanks!! and I really appreciate your comments..

Anonymous said...

I'm back again. Here's the kind of middle ground between written up pretty well - Gender specific chivalry bad, general helping ok - I agree! I think you will agree and if you haven't already read her blog, like it too.

Ashwin said...

Oh my God - CATFIGHT!

Pragni~The Dream Catcher~ said...

Anon1- I am really getting to like you having around!! and yea I read tamilpunkster.. I think she writes really.. really... really well!!

Ashwin- NO it is NOT a catfight. Like I have been saying all along, I do think RM is a nice person. Really. Honestly.