Pakkaathathu Ponnu

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(literally, the girl next door, in Tamil typically spoken by Brahmins)

Let’s start off by saying I’ve lived a life of privilege: born into a middle class, Indian upper caste family, with parents who didn’t think twice about my education, or bemoan the fact that their second child, me, was also a girl, and gave me three massive boosts in life:

1    independence to go out on my own
2.   an overseas education at 17
3.   allowing me to marry someone I “found”

And this someone I married, right now, has never stopped me from doing anything I’ve wanted to. And gives no place for sexism in our house or our relationship. He’s been super supportive in my decision to quit my job to figure out what next.

For all intents and purposes, the most important stakeholders in my life have been extremely kind to me. And I recognize these are things I’ve taken for granted that unfortunately very few others can.

BUT – all the same, there are little pesky things that nibble at everyday peace, which purely have to do with my gender. These come from not just from family, but friends, colleagues, others who feel they have any kind of a say in my life. The expectation to cook, somewhere be ‘respectful’ to my husband, the idea that ‘it’s okay’ that I take a break from my job because I’m  a woman and can afford that luxury (again, keeping in mind the privileges I listed earlier).

I’ll be lying if I say I’m not co-opting into some of these privileges. Despite being a self-aware, independent feminist, I grant myself some privileges because of my gender.

This series is an attempt to write about some of these that cross my mind. I’m not giving a number to this series; just a few rules, to keep me going:
1.     Each post will be no longer than 500 words
2.     As long as I’m writing (and am voluntarily unemployed), I will have at least one post a week
3.     This is all based on true events, primarily things that have happened to me
4.     As far as possible, I’ll try to make it fun! While feminism is a very serious subject, and I FULLY endorse it, I want to make sure I also lead a sane life by giving myself a break, asking questions, making un-feminist decisions with as much cognizance of my basket of choices as possible. I want to raise questions fundamental to feminism, but not want to get into jargon.
5.     Oh, and this is intensely personal, so if you’re going to get squeamish reading certain things, you have the option to leave my page.
6.     Finally, family and husband, I love you very much, and what I write here does in no way express any doubts on the love you have for me.

Out of pure lack of confidence in my ability to follow such goals in recent times, I’m only going to start posting these when I’m done with at least three additional entries!

I hope you like it, if you’re still one of those who happens to check my blog, or are patient enough to click through a link on Facebook or Twitter and land here!