What’s in a name

The husband was earnestly teaching gender and baby animals to the daughter.

“Appa dog is a dog, baby dog is a puppy, and amma dog is called a bitch”.

(You know where I’m going with this.)

Oops, wrong example?, he asks me. Too late, I tell him. The daughter goes on to prove it.

“So appa, you are a dog, I am a puppy, and amma is a bitch”.

“You’re a bitch, amma”.

I heard you the first time, kanna. Loud and clear.

On polyamory

In other words, open marriages. I used to think they were simply about having multiple partners, and mostly about sex (as opposed to committed relationships) but reading this article has made me change my mind a little- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/open-marriage-_n_4345000.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592. (Do watch the video too.)

Michael is married to Kamala*. Michael’s girlfriend Rachael lives with them, and helps raise Michael and Kamala’s son. Kamala and Rachael have other partners as well, both male and female. In my books, it’d be just that- a piece of fiction. Or a badly-conceived reality show. In actuality, it works well for some.

I just wonder how they deal with it on a daily basis. I’d imagine feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, anger and resentment to be getting the better of the people involved and their ‘pod’, but they appear to not mind it at all. They, in fact, thrive on the presence of the other partners.

Me? I believe in monogamy**. Even if there were problems in my marriage. Even if me or my husband were unhappy with each other. Polyamory is most definitely ‘not my bag’. So, positing this as a possible solution to counter high divorce rates seems naive and misplaced. Is polyamory something that one acquires when in relationship trouble? Wouldn’t it be a natural trait? My personal belief is that whether humans are naturally polyamorous or not, it is not widely practised in order to avoid the anarchy that would ensue. Although this report suggests anything but. There’s the seed for multiple research projects right there– the concept is certainly food for thought. I especially like the emphasis on honesty and communication. I guess that is something we could all surely have more of.

What about you, dear readers? Are you monogamous by choice or conditioning? When you think open marriage, do you see yourself having one?

* I kept wondering who Kamala reminded me of- anyone else think she resembles Padma Lakshmi?

** I’m weirdly amused that I’m ruminating on this topic on the very day of my tenth wedding anniversary!

Women’s organisations in Madras

Someone I know is going through a trying time and might possibly be headed towards a divorce. She needs professional help- would any of you happen to know of women’s organisations in Madras (Chennai) that deals with such issues? I’d greatly appreciate your input. Thank you.

On abortion

Do you read Matt Walsh’s blog? If you haven’t before, I urge you to read his latest article on abortion- http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/10/29/its-time-to-end-the-stigma-of-infanticide/.

It goes without saying that the comments are as important as the post itself. I’d write out my thoughts on pro-choice and call out the often political and religious remarks that run through several of the author’s and commenters’ arguments, but my thinking is severely clouded by outrage and shock, so writing is a no-go.

I’m curious about your views- are you pro-life or pro-choice, and why?

Thilakavathy, IPS

You have a new fan, ma’am.

I was watching her interview this morning and was so taken in by how articulately she tackled the (sometimes trashy) questions. In particular, I held my breath when she was asked, “Female molestation occurs across ages- babies and grandmothers get raped. Yet many people choose to blame the woman as the one who incites men by wearing immodest clothes. Do you think the way a woman dresses has any bearing on rape?”

[I held my breath because I half expected her to agree, and follow it up with a moral lecture on how women should learn to dress in accordance with their culture.] She said instead, “That is rubbish. This is a problem with social mentality. We’ve been told time and again that a woman is inferior to man and you see this happen all around even now. If clothes were the problem, why doesn’t a woman look at the komanam-clad farmers and tell herself that she’s going to have a go at them?”


Here was another gem. Many parents bring up their daughters as sons (payyan madiri valathirken), others bring them up as homely, ozhungana girls. What really is the right way to bring up a girl?

[Maybe she wasn’t nitpicking, but she might have wanted to tell the male anchor off for referring to homely girls as proper.]

Bring up a girl as a girl. When someone declares that they’ve brought up their daughter like a son, they think they’ve done a remarkable feat because they view the boy as superior. When you remark that a girl sings as well as MS, it means that MS was an expert singer and it’s meant to be a compliment because she’s training herself to reach MS’s stature. But why’s the boy held up as superior to the girl without even having to try? This is wrong and has to change.

Yes, thank you for thinking this way and saying it aloud. God knows how much you may have had to struggle and yet managed to keep your spirit intact.

Ramayan, take 4

The child loves Ramayan. She demands to hear it every night before going to bed. And she has very strict rules in place for the narrator- it has to be just so. Once I happened to mention vanvaas, and she was quick to correct that to ‘Ram, Sita, and Lakshman went to the forest’. Irritated that her mother was incapable of getting her facts straight, she turned to her dad to complain, ‘Amma keeps telling the Ramayan wrongly’. Great, I thought to myself. I can save some thondaithanni.

So yesterday father and daughter were acting out the Ramayan. Their own little skit complete with sound effects.

Scene A
Raavan (dad) has abducted Sita (child). He hoists her over his shoulder and with great fanfare pretends to fly across the room and lands in Lanka. He then tells Sita, ‘You have to stay with me, you can’t leave’.

To which a giggling Sita responds very enthusiastically, ‘OK, I’ll stay with you’. Raavan let Sita have a little too much fun. Who would’ve thought.

Scene B
Hanuman (dad again) visits Sita in Lanka. Very sweetly he tells Sita to go back with him to Ram. To which Sita says, ‘Yes I’ll come with you’, disregarding the fate of the rest of the story.

Her version is infinitely more entertaining. So we’re going to stage this regularly for different possible scenarios. It should be doubly giggle-worthy when the grandparents arrive. With the But whys and No this is how I’ll do it, we’re set!

What’s better than a quiet Tuesday at work? A slow day that ends with three pairs of shoes for well under $50, that’s what. Now that’s my kind of shopping.

Not that the sales personnel at the stores I visited would agree. A cheapo, who wants to try at least 3-4 different sizes, and will buy only the ones on sale, they might have been thinking. Which, I’ll counter with, Not here! Go say this on your blog.

I can’t be CEO

Someone I know called me a career-oriented woman. Phbt and all that. Holding a job does not make one career-oriented, no?

P.S: It was meant as a barb, as in, ‘You’re a mom, and you still choose to continue to work, and leave your child at daycare, rather than stay at home and care for her yourself.’

P.P.S: If only employers acknowledged working moms, and gave us 2-, or 3-day work weeks with the option of working from home. Oh wait, they did and found that it came back to bite their backsides? Then again, my job precludes the option of working from home.

(With due apologies to ‘marymary’ from Washington, DC, for appropriating her comment for the title of this post.)


Have you read the brilliant piece on how immersion blenders are dangerous kitchen weapons (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/dining/immersion-blenders-can-be-a-danger-in-disguise.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&)? Go read the comments. (You don’t really have to read through the article itself; although you should pontificate on ketchup’s right to masquerade as blood. When did balsamic vinegar or soy sauce become the new blood?!)


For having provided more than a few chuckles and many snorts, here’re some of my favourite comments-


Folks please, these things are dangerous!

I was giving myself a haircut with an immersion blender and lost over 70% of my left ear. And it’s not just me, my lawyer also says they are dangerous!

– BW

How about manufacturers put a simple deadman switch on it? Duh. Problem solved. 842 comments obviated. Foodie hipsters get to keep their fingers until the artisinal butchery class.
– Roy Zornow

What, no reports of severed tongue tips from licking the blades clean of cookie dough that doesn’t belong there anyway?!!!

– Kelly

I have to agree with everyone who loves immersion blenders and doesn’t stick their fingers in them. They’re great. Don’t stick your fingers in them.

Other places not to stick your fingers:
Food processors
Sink disposal units

– Joanna Rifkin

I’m confused why so many people are being injured by immersion blenders. I assume they are safe as long as you don’t stick your fingers anywhere near the blades (plugged in or not) and unplug before using anything else near the blades as well. This is safety common sense.

– MH

The President is set to announce a registry for immersion blender purchases.

– Bill H

And he’s ordered the NIH to conduct mental health checks on those who turned the immersion blender into a deadly weapon on themselves. .

– Eugene Gorrin


Thank you, you wonderfully snarky, sarcy, and plain confused commenters for generously dealing with my Monday morning.

Everyone’s dream

What’s every wannabe’s dream?

To appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

(But that’s so last millennium.)

To have a Wiki page dedicated to him/her.