Wednesday, August 15, 2007

60 years couldn't rid my street of garbage on its eve

Onyx, Chennai's so-so on and off efficient garbage collector seemed to have gone on a strike yesterday cause there contract is drawing to a close and are soon to be replaced by another company. And so in keeping with our freedom fighting styles they didn't go around throwing back the garbage in everyones house. They upturned the bins especially ones that were overflowing with muck on to the road instead. On independence eve.

The street lamps not working could make another post. But yes, the street lamps don't work especially the ones by the Electricity Board's Chief Engineer's office. So as I came bumping down the road (the road's full of moon holes and tarring it over and over again makes all homes a bloody drain during the monsoon!) many flecks of white caught my eye with lights from oncoming vehicles. The flecks grew in number as I neared home. The plastic and paper had been unceremoniously scattered without a carnival preceding them.

Muttering curses at neighbours who refuse to throw garbage into the bin, I got off my bike to survey the dump gone awry. And then quickly I took all them curses back cos twas the bin's reluctance in offering itself up to them. Upturned, the muck stuck around forlornly like abandoned babies. I tell mum this and she says tis a strike indeed! I tell her I'll go turn it the right way up. She says mind your own business. My nose is my business. My street is my business. The view of my house is my business. I go nudge it to my mum's disgust. Steel bin proves heavy. No one else on road. Don't think any avid pisser-on-streets would lend a hand for a bin.

Onyx is a Malaysian company (?) Fine, they don't get the significance of independence and clean streets but they might as well do their work while they're getting paid. They do deserve to leave if they feel they can allow the city to stink up for one night!

What more proof does one need

to believe that women can drive and do a whole bunch of other things pretty darn well! What?!! I work for an NGO that provides mental health care to the marginalized and primarily for homeless women. This NGO is run by two very driven women and is immensely successful in the area it's been dedicated to. Here, any idea is viable as long as it's for the greater good. The regular notions of feasibility don't work here. Anything is possible and anything is possible with style! This place filled with women full of spunk, outnumber the male population in the organisation. We've got women drivers, social workers, accountants, etc. Yet, there's the sexist note underlining a few basic things like driving of all things. This, from co-workers who work for this NGO, who have seen the women in action, have seen how the women cared for have turned out to be so full of drive and guts, grow jittery by default because a woman says she wants to drive the car back to work cos the darn driver is missing!

All hell broke lose when I said I could drive back if a driver wasn't around to take us back to another centre of ours. A social worker, C, ran out and skidded on the slope just to stop me. What's worse, another colleague, R, a female btw shrieked NO! in spite of having been part of a previous episode when I took the car out and brought it back safe and sound. On pointing this out to her she goes "but still...". BUT STILL what?!!! We do have one or two drivers who are utterly rash when it comes to driving. The other day one hit a goat and nearly knocked off an old man on a cycle. She would or rather a whole lot would rather trust a man who drives like a maniac and promises some spine-breaking jolts rather than a woman who has been driving for 5 years and has already on a previous occasion shown she can drive safe. The only person who didn't bat an eyelid was V, a German. Maybe it's only Indian men who think women can't drive or shouldn't be allowed to.

If in spite of all the NGOs work and experience the sexist and chauvinistic notion hasn't been driven out by default, then it's a bloody dire situation indeed.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Butter Fingers

I'm incorrigible. Clawing at fast-escaping time I do. What I also tend to do is distort the moment I'm trying to stretch like gum with not-so-merry coincidences that prove advantageous just about then and no further, an unheeding tick in me, and complacency of tomorrow is after all tomorrow. The moment metamorphosed into stringy gum that refused to pop happy. Why won't I learn hogging sometimes ends in nasty results, that gripping time doesn't mean I get to determine a situation. That time is just a time-keeper and situations are just immensely fickle at the pace with which they move. Only tabs I get to keep and not the bloody script in hand waiting to be done! Time does not own a moment. Now, what else can I say about time and circumstance...Time's a pimp! Time's a ration kadai!

Apart from that, a nipping topic popped by again and sunk into my brain and ripped out a piece of my life-giving thump thump and nicked me nice and bloody. I am not domestic. I appear so cause it just so happens that I love cooking, it just so happens that I'm neat and tidy, it just so happens that I'm not ambitious in a regular way and am not a title-hog and it just so happens that I prioritize relationships and my growing library more. Means to an end. But I do insist on the means being something I thoroughly enjoy. Ideal some say. I've found it and disfigured it to an extent to keep off the evil eye.

I'm tired of lil unmentionables given in confidence slipping like loose change, of the necessity to have a peripheral vision of what others see, of my knack to seem aloof when I'm involved, of embarrassment and the possibility of doubt, of not keeping my word on adding no more to worries, of living in constant fear of losing the only few things that make life worth a lot which makes its presence felt like a cut out of sight but constantly searing. I'm terrified.

Ghastly luck and with no title as an heiress, judgment seems inescapable. That one break hasn't happened. It could have in the first week of my first job if chicken flu hadn't made its way into mucky lungs on the day of the shoot for an all-chicken restaurant outdoor campaign. Contentment is so near. Yet elusive in my greediness. Impatience rather. And all I'm looking is for some understanding to precede the peace, harmony and the prevailing of common sense.