I’m tagged, I am

I’ve been tagged to write about all the things I do that go against my gender, by Dipali, Monika and Sandhya.

I’ve also been tagged by Chinkurli to make three resolutions on going green.

I’ll begin with the gender one. As Dipali mentions in her post, there are a lot of things that I did simply because they were natural to me. It is only over the years that I realised that they were considered manly.

1. I was quite a tomboy, climbing trees, cycling and playing with the boys. Now I can’t because of my bum knee, but at 14 I was wearing a saree and climbing trees.

2. I grew up in a town where girls listened to Richard Marx and boys listened to Metallica. No guesses what was on my playlist. I’d still not be caught with Enrique on my iPod.

3. I hate cooking. Most girls were taught to cook – I’d rather die of starvation than enter the kitchen. Unless it is to have a glass of milk, a sandwich or a bowl of instant noodles.

4. I have a strong sense of pride in my family and name. So while men tend to want to carry on the family name, I not only kept my own, but gave it to my kids as a hyphenated name. I also don’t believe in doing anything that the husband doesn’t equally do so we both only wear wedding bands. I am also very clear that in their old age, my parents will be taken care of by me, just as his will expect to be. In that sense, I take my duty towards my parents as seriously as any son traditionally might have.

5. I used to be rather wiry and strong and used to beat some boys and also a boyfriend at arm wrestling. I can still lift heavier weights than most women but avoid it for the pressure it puts on my knees. The OA says the boyfriend was too besotted (and busy staring at my face and holding my hand) to really put any effort in to winning. I think the OA is an ass. I can still push a car along if there is a flat and also change a tire. Atleast I could a while ago, now I need a refresher.

6. I am prickly about money. I must pay my share and I hate having anyone spend on a meal for me or buy me something unless its family. I have great trouble taking money from the OA Β – even now I only take for the essentials. Frills are my own.

7. I don’t know if this counts but inspite of being a teetotaller and a non-smoker I could pour a good drink and roll a neat joint. Something the boys swore was a very male trait – the ability to support while not partaking. There’s also the weird compliment I got from many men – that I sit pillion like a man. Which basically meant I got on to the bike without them having to take my weight, would sit a decent couple of inches away from them and no matter how hard they jammed brakes – never fly into them and hit them smack in the back with my boobs. Might have something to do with the fact that I even learnt to drive a bike but gave it up because it mussed up my hair. And err, stopped playing the guitar because it broke my nails and my fingertips were calloused.

8. Okay, damnit. I don’t seem to have too many gender sins. I’m actually a very girly girl. I like to wear sarees, wear my make up, do my nails, be driven to places, have doors opened for me and do up my house to look good. I don’t watch sports, I can’t whistle, I can embroider circles around you and I can shop for hours. I have always loved babies and I am thrilled and overwhelmed by motherhood. Hell – I AM the stereotypical woman.

There is however one trait that drags me out of the pink and I think that is my attitude. Even though my voice isn’t loud, I am very determined. Steel claws in velvet paws, my grandmother used to call it. Most people don’t give this much credit, but I am the tough nut in the family. The OA is firm on certain issues but mostly a gentle soul who is often mistaken for a pushover. I on the other hand, strike terror in the heart of all the odd job men, the landlord or anyone else who has to deal with us. If I had to think of a word, I’d say I’m fearless. If someone messes with me, I’ll find a way to do without them, but I’ll be damned if I put up with their nonsense. So the OA is left to do the wifely task of calming me down and soothing ruffled feathers. For some reason – most people forget all the rest once they see me in action and find it very masculine. Me, I simply get back to painting my nails and ignore them.

The going-green tag is easier. I am the original earth mother. Sometimes I border on cheap, maybe!

  • I ensure that taps are shut well, lights turned off if the room is empty, geysers switched off and ACs not put on uselessly.
  • I use the back of every sheet for the kids to scribble on, carry bottles of water when we’re out some place and carry cloth bags. We used to get Bisleri but I insisted on shifting to an RO machine so that spares us the expense.
  • I cloth diapered my kids, breast fed them and have never given them tinned food. Other than tissue when they were runny nosed I’ve never used any paper products on them, wet wipes etc were bought and kept for emergencies. I still have some bought when the Bean was a baby. I washed their bums with water, I potty trained early and used a rubber sheet.
  • All masalas and food are prepared Β fresh, no canned, frozen stuff unless its absolutely necessary. Saving on carbon footprint too, by not having tuna flown in from half way across the world.
  • Uneaten food at a restaurant is packed and taken home or fed to street dogs. We only serve what we will eat and take seconds if we must. Food is not reheated a million times. Its kept in a hotcase.
  • I recycle, recycle, recycle. Clothes that dont fit the brat go to the bean. Clothes she outgrows are given to other kids. Shabby sheets are used as dusters or to line drawers. Old bottles used as planters. Which is not to say I am a hoarder, but I am close.
  • I like what Chinkurli said about the problem simply being the way we think. We don’t mind wasting because hey, we paid for it. My landlord is down from the US and the landlady was cribbing about the lack of storage space there, saying that with the culture of things being disposable, there is no storage space. My new house however has two store rooms and a pantry and endless cupboards. I put aside utensils that are broken and get them repaired, stuff we buy but end up not using is dutifully carried to the orphanage and so on.
  • I walk. As much as I can. Partly driven by the fact that I don’t drive! But I enjoy it. Its my exercise as well as my way of reducing the carbon footprint. You know that short run that most people make to the market for groceries? I walk it.
  • I only use the washing machine if it is full and stuff that doesnt need a full wash just gets a bucket rinse.

There might be more but I am going to shift to the point of the tag which is to make resolutions.

1. I am going to remember to switch off the mains that remain on standby for the radio etc. Its something that slips my mind so I resolve to work harder at that.

2. I am going to stick to buying fresh veggies from the local mandi even after shifting to Gurgaon where you tend to shop at your local department store for veggies with stickers and in packets. Support your local vendors and local produce, people.

3. I am going to stick to these two resolutions. I’m probably having a bad day if I can’t even come up with enough points on a tag, but I must remind you guys of my New Years resolve Β – no wastage. Well, I’ve been faring pretty well. I haven’t dropped off the bandwagan and am currently struggling to finish a tube of shampoo, resisting the urge to just chuck the remainder in the wastebin and fall on that lovely bottle of Charles Worthington that a friend brought me.

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56 thoughts on “I’m tagged, I am

  1. Like your landlord pointed out, it’s harder not to waste out of India because of the throwaway culture doesn’t encourage repair-reuse. There used to be lots of little repair shops in Hong Kong but now most have disappeared. The cost of repairing something, especially electronics and even furniture, has become more than cost of buying a new one. Even then, I still insist on trying to repair first but the problem, if the cost of repair is high, is that you also risking paying that cost and the thing crashing becasue there are no guarantees with repair. I’ve ended up having to give up on the big ticket items like TV and couch. Another thing about India – there is always someone to give stuff to. Here, not so much. But with determination it can be done… only sometimes you end up having to spend (and not just a little) to give things away, like paying for transport to a shelter.

    • But we do that here too. Things are the same everywhere. My mixie was spoilt and outdated, I had to repair it before I gave it to my cook. The goods we send to the shelter have to be carried in our car or else a trolley. The iron got spoilt and it cost Rs 700 to repair and Rs 900 for a new one.

  2. hola! the gender tag is such a great hit, no? I like your list.

    I agree with the buying local veggies bit. If you’re near Gold souk there’s a daily haat in Kanhai Gaon and one near sec 56. Don’t know abt the rest of Gurgaon.
    And hey, did SMM talk to you about the get-together she was planning? I’d love to meet the kids…er..you πŸ˜›

  3. Wow…standing ovation on point 3 in the green tag…i lknow our mothers cloth diapered us but i really dont know ANYONE in our gen who doesn’t “non cloth diaper” their baby at some point of time..

    • πŸ™‚ they did wear diapers if we went to a party because i couldnt have them peeing on a host’s raw silk sofa. but at home, guests were warned that baby is in cloth diaper. a lot of friends thought we were being cheap, but i really didnt care

        • honestly that was driven by the fear of losing our last remaining friends. as it is we’d had our kids before anyone else. the friends who stayed on and tolerated me breastfeeding in public, changing susu nappies and slinging a kid on my back for picnics, deserved to have their raw silk sofas treated with respect.

  4. This sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory/old wives tale but most of these things are really not built to last or to be repaired for that matter. Its a legitimate corporate strategy for many companies…to generate quick turnaround/repeat demand by using inferior parts and resorting to shoddy assembly. I’ve given up on tons of electronics (alas! my old friend the iphone rests in peace), Ikea furniture etc that can’t be put back together once it falls apart. The cheap &@#$ from China that you get in HK doesn’t help matters either.

      • Nope, the darn thing is positively irreparable. Well played, Senor Jobs! The general rule with these closed shell phones/MP3s is once you open em up (for repairs) they are as good as dead.
        PS-closed shell is not a technical name, i just made that up, but you know what i mean…

    • True, that! My iPod was charging, but not playing…and the Apple store guy didn’t even check. He just told me I’d have to get rid of it. Evil people.

    • I agree completely. That is – and theoretically should be – the case with every perfectly competitive market. But labor is still very cheap in India so it’ll be a while (thankfully) before everything’s use-and-throw.
      For years I’ve resorted to saving things for “my next India trip” to get them repaired or altered by a tailor or whatever…..but don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it up. I’m just tired of saying – I’ll have it working when I’m back from my next India trip.
      I’ve also found that it isn’t that easy to give away used stuff in the US, esp clothes. Most places like Salvation Army will buy stuff from you (for pennies to the dollar) but then expect to sell it for a higher value in their stores. It’s not like those clothes go directly to the needy, because well the needy aren’t THAT needy. So none of my clothes are ever good enough for them, and I always have to bring a suitcase full of clothes to India for my parents to give them away. And now it’s not just clothes but pretty much EVERYTHING else…..just so much easier to find someone in India who’ll appreciate getting some use out of things rather than consider their resale value as a means of raising money.
      Sorry for that really long comment, MM!

    • thats where i read. to the rhythm of little fists beating a pattern on the door and chanting, Mama come out, hurry up, I want to go potty NOW. I’ve learned to block it out. Although now anywhere I sit on a pot, that tune plays at the back of my head.

  5. You inspire me with your go green stuff. I am going to start with the fresh masala and local produce and food wastage.

  6. nicely done MM! πŸ™‚

    and you know for longest time we tried local produce business in bangalore. the vendors have sooo much attitude. they wont sell you less that half a kg green chili and 1kg subzi! between 2people we never needed that much. so now we go and buy at supermarket which will sell me even if i want 75grams! majboori ka naam…

    rest of the stuff we try to follow as much as we can. though i could easily do with cutting down on our plastic consumption. working on it.

    cheers!

    • Your Whereabouts in B’lore ?? If you live around North or East B’lore try the Russell market..from bulk to 100 gm you get it all. In south check out 4th block Jayanagar, in and around chamarajapet.

  7. Thanks for doing the tag πŸ™‚ I like what you follow. And when the time comes, I hope too, to be able to use diapers on my kid only when absolutely necessary. And about people thinking you’re cheap – they’ll think that anyway. People think I’m a freak for carrying my own “uncool” huge bag, or old sturdy plastic bags to reuse while shopping. Pah.

  8. Great going, MM! “Me, I simply get back to painting my nails and ignore them.” LOL! And you climbed trees in a saree? At 14? *bows low*
    Loved the other tag too. I keep telling myself to switch off everything if not used, but this is one habit that I am yet to cultivate. Maybe I should make a resolution on it. And the number of books I buy? Don’t know if that is a good thing or bad thing.
    Thanks for doing the tag.

  9. Yeah…the gender stuff wasn’t too far out of the pink save the arm wrestling bit. That one makes me a little cautious πŸ™‚

    Loved your go green stuff though – I thought I was doing well, but you’ve given me a lot of food (local, too) for thought.

  10. after the switch taps off, comes use bucket. i read earlier that you do that…saves a ton of water that one. in our house my hubby is a stickler, and yes people give us the “how kanjoos” look, but he is a man on a mission. in fact guests are also requested to use the bucket, and we have had family think its weird! in the US, bathrooms come w/ showers. only taps are in the tubs/jacuzzis. imagine water wasted. i guess when one doesnt see what ‘want’ is one doesnt think of conserving as a necessity.
    the other day, we returned to the shop a huge corrugated cardboard box that a friends cake came in. it was as good as untouched and that was a lot of paper to trash!
    my recycle nazi, pulls dahi dabbas i sneak into trash to recycle. every tiny bottle/dabba/pc of paper is recycled (dunno what the recycle man err raddiwala does w/ it !).
    i so wish we cd get more people to think green, act green….

    • πŸ™‚ even abroad i have friends who fill a bucket with the shower. i am impressed with their willingness to make that extra effort. not all of us are that dedicated

      and you’re right. youve got to see the poor lining up outside a tube well to begin to think about it

  11. you green ideas are very good
    we do implement all these
    we buy veggies from local market, used cloth diapers for my kids. I always use my cloth bag. We don’t have a/c this inspite of living in hot chennai (we can buy a/c but we don’t want). We don’t have car (again we can buy car). We don’t have TV.I use bicycle for all my daily needs. I even use my cycle to pick up my son from school.Don’t use canned or frozen stuff.Water used for cleaning vegetables, rice, dal, fruits ect is saved and used in the garden.
    But you know all our relatives think that we are very cheap. But I don’t care and very happy that i am doing my best to save the mother earth

  12. Just one little thing to share on fresh buy from subzi wallah.

    In supermarts we could go through the entire shopping for hundreds of bucks without even a word being said,I love to chat with ppl..just like that πŸ™‚

    And once I was at the local didi’s shop picking out the tender bhindi when he said,’ sab log chote chote bacche le jayenge toh bada kaun lega’ (like all the tender young green ones..not the little older tough one):( I have not forgotten that, and now just put my hand in and get whatever comes up πŸ˜€ Can’t abandon the older kids !

  13. Hey! I love the sin list of yours πŸ™‚ Fun stuff.

    And which orphanage do you donate your unused stuff to? I have clothes, bedsheets, bed covers and plenty of other unused stuff that I would love to give away. Would be great if you could give me the details.

    And SMM said you guys are planning to meet next Sunday! *Sigh* I’ll be out of town. Will miss the chance to meet you, Meira and SMM together! 😦

  14. Cooking is same pinch,but still i do cook a lot.And you have not mentioned about your love towards baking,you will enter kitchen for baking right?
    Climbing trees,even i did,but not with a saree,i cant even walk properly when am in saree.

  15. One suggestion on going green..the water used for washing rice, daal veggies etc.., please don’t throw them away. Use it to water the plants. They grow well and occasionally you see a tomato plant on two in ur pots πŸ™‚

    Take care

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