Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caught in between...

I've wanted to write this for a very long time now.. but haven't cause i start feeling overwhelmed whenever i start on this issue and my fingers don't seem to move fast enough for me to write all i need to.

Hmmm. Where do i start.. i guess that i will start from something that happened on my trip to japan.. since i'm still very much in a state of hangover with japan..

Well, like all you people know, i stayed alone in japan and had to do quite a lot of cooking.. since vegetarian food is not very easily available there... Cooking and me.. well how i say this.. i can cook food that's good enough for me to eat.. since i rarely cook at home i don't really know how good or bad my cooking is. And truth to say, i can't say i'm much bothered about my cooking expertise (or lack thereof). I kind of see it as something that i need to know and don't necessarily need to be good at.. cos i'm a working woman.. See where i'm coming from now.. ;-) ??

Well in Japan, i was constantly expected to bring super lunches to office, just because i was a woman. I was supposed to drum up excellent sambhar and rasam, and a curry or a kootu each day.. ! And this when i was going home only by midnight or later each day (or should i say night) and had to come to work the next day at 9 30 AM!!! When is say, 'i was expected' i don't mean that my colleagues expected me to cook food for them and bring it.. (Sheesh, i'd have had quite a few things to say to them and none of them pretty, if they had!!!!) It's just that since i was a 'woman' they quite expected that i would be able to cook each day as well as work late nights at office.. !!! Now i don't know about you, but this constant living upto the superwoman image depresses me. Everytime i see some ad on a tv that shows this perfect woman who manages to have a brilliant career, look beautiful, have a perfect husband and two great kids, take care of her aging in-laws (forget the fact that her parents may be aged and even more in need of her), and run the best household to top it all... i can't help thinking.. is it only me who can't live up to be this paragon of perfection??? I just realized i can't remember exactly which ad shows this kind of an image but think back to all those wishes and cards we got on Women's day.. all those cards that say they salute a woman who plays so many roles, that of a mother, a wife, a dutiful daughter-in-law etc etc.. Do many women actually play all these roles with ease???

And yet it's these very same men who don't hold open a door for me or draw a chair for me.. or make any attempt to accompany me home when i have to go home really late at night. At all of those times, i'm the independant working woman, bold and confident to make my own way home and to do all my things on my own. Not a single finger is lifted on my behalf. And yet these same men treat other women (mostly, women from their own familes) in the best of ways possible. They treat their women like they were the most gentle and delicate souls on earth and meant to be protected and cared for at every step of their ways.

I don't know if the point i'm trying to make here is understandable. In fact, it's hardly a single point - it's too many. Am i wrong in expecting men to be chivalrous? Especially when i won't be the stereotype of my gender, what right do i have to expect men to be stereotypes of their gender?? Do i belong with the wives of the male colleauges i met in Japan - those who stayed at home contentedly and managed their households for their husbands? Do i belong to those brave women who burned bra's and took out rallies so women could vote, get an education, inherit wealth and in sum, be respected as human beings??? Do i belong to those career women who can leave a new born baby and go abroad cos that Onsite chance is never goin to come again??? Or am i supposed to manage all these roles and still do wonderfully well - jus because i'm a woman??????????

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Kite Runner

I didn't think i would post anything today. Today is the first day of my holiday week - a week i've taken off from work as compensatory leave... ;-) I had decided that i would not touch a computer for one whole week. But i just finished reading this amazing novel and i need to desperately tell somebody about it. So. Here i am.

I don't know how many of you have read this one 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini. It's a story set in Afghanistan and there may be many like it in the market today, I don't know. I guess Afghanistan has been a 'happening' place over the last 5 years. Many people write about it today. It is a fashionable setting for a story in these troubled times.

This book is a tale of guilt, a guilt that began with the author as a young boy and stays with him throughout his lifetime. It is beautifully written. I've never reviewed a work of fiction before but i felt a pressing need to write something about this book. The best part of the story is that at no point of time does it feel like a story. The characters come alive, the pages seem to turn on their own. There is no pretension by the author, he is not writing to impress anybody. He is writing because he has a story to tell.

I thought initially that i would write something about the story in this post. But i cannot. It would spoil the story for you. But don't miss this one.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

sakura photos...

take a look at the beautiful sakura.. if i'd stayed in japan for another week, would have been able to see them falling, falling, falling.. like i said in my last post.. the very beauty of these flowers is that their loveliness is so fleeting.. it makes you want to cry... i believe that the japanese have a word for this feeling.. they call it... ..
Mono no Aware
read that post of mari's to find out what this means..

p.s. i don't know who mari is.. but i'm addicted to her blog now.. ;-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

After Japan II

It's been so long since i posted anything. Almost 4 months.

I came back last week from Japan... So predictably this post is goin to be all about japan and my experiences there...

Japan's an awesome place and i just don't know where to begin. I've been there once before... in may of last year. But i didnt like it that much the last time. Guess all my focus was on something else. I spent 3 months there this time and just about fell in love with the whole place.

The language. It's so much fun to learn a new language. Our co-ordinator in Hitachi didn't know much English. And we needed to interact a lot with him.. So it was mostly gestures and the ever-present Atlas (a translation tool for Japanese to English and vice versa for those unfamiliar... ) but as time progressed i began to understand more and more of what he said. Of course given the high quality of our software, most of my vocabulary ended up revolving around bugs, defects, problems, quality, target, degrade, regression etc.. lol.. ;-) The language bug is still with me. I've joined the JLPT classes in office.. should be writing the exam in December. I'll let you know what happens then.. ;-))

The men!! I found so many japanese men attractive this time... Although i don't quite know what it was about them!! To name a few.. this guy on japanese tv who played a superhero.. he was awesome.. !! but then i guess super heroes are universally appealing ;-) Many of the guys working in Hitachi.. especially in the Server team.. ok let's not go into names here.. But there was this particular guy in the Server team who was hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.. sigh.. about the cutest guy i ever met! He was not much taller than me.. with dark eyes that seemed to have the slightest green to them.. He had a wonderful smile.. (we were always smiling at each other.. !! don't ask me why!!!!)

The service - Japanese service is an experience worth making a special trip to Japan for... Whether it's your local lawson shop attendant, whether it's a taxi driver or the yodobashi attendant.. they are supremely polite and just waiting to help you.. !! it doesnt matter if you dont know much japanese - the gadget friendly always have a translation tool in easy access. They flash it out and smile at you apologising all the while for their ignorance of english. Their apology makes things doubly embarassing - you're in their country and you don't know a word of their language.. !! When you come back to india and walk through Indian customs to meet the surly customs officer, you land back on earth with a bang.. !!!

And the sakura.. !! Now most people must have heard of this one - sakura is japanese cherry blossom. A beautiful delicate flower that blooms in spring and falls in just a few weeks reminding us that the most beautiful of things don't last long.... In fact their short lifespans make them all the more beautiful..

Hmm, i guess this post is getting too long.. Don't know how many of you people had the patience to get this far.. !! Comments, please.. !!