Friday, 3 February 2012

Madam Please Sorry Thanks Oh no!

Its simple, really. As lone adult in the household, I crave company. Thats why I have been here so often this week. Not that I have any dearth of things I want to say, generally. But I choose things like sleep or hanging with other adults over hanging out here in my little web-space. Not this week! Despite the very timely occurrence of Comedy Central channel on Indian TV (good for us in general, but too many fucking ads already. And much as I love Cyrus Broacha, and that shade of red, boring now).

So, usually, I am all about the gentle touch. Of course I am not the calm, collected, mommy person with an apron on or anything. But in my interactions and in situations of strife (as I am going to describe in just a second below), I tend to be a little quiet and use my key words a fair bit. As opposed to some others who come in all belligerent and demand their rights and damn you if you don't give it to them. I guess I used to be loud in my arguments, once upon a time. Especially about things related to my gender. I was super sensitive about that (still am. you would be too if you went to college at a place where you were called 'non-males' on a routine basis). I would fight tooth and nail many a time.

I really don't care so much any more. If you say something slightly disparaging, I might even *shockingly* not react. Just I G N O R E. Its like this. You have to be really stupid to think that men are superior to women. Even more so if you think that YOU (a male person) are superior to women (in general). What is the point arguing logically with stupid? I would much rather bang my head on the wall, thank you very much.

Chennai, people will tell you, is awful for women. You get no respect, they will say. They will not even consider your request unless accompanied by some man, they will say. And sure, I joke about that too. Like how I stood in line for about 100 days in a nasty passport office while a large man pushed me down and told the officer he was here to apply for a passport for his wife who was chilling at home because she is a woman. Or the time the guy on the phone asked me 'is no man there in the house?' when I asked him to help me figure out what the fuck was wrong with the gas cylinder he had supplied.

But, seriously, its not. I have had a large number of experiences here, and the sum total of them is quite pleasant. If you don't act like a floozy (I usually don't), they are all just fine. Like when I run anywhere I please wearing shorts (shorter and shorter ones as I age, I am afraid). In the initial days I am sure people hooted a bit. Or stared. Now, they pretty much ignore me. All the guys who deliver water or gas cylinders or repair inverters etc. - all of them are nice to me. As I am, to them. If they dawdle, delay, don't show up, etc. I am pretty sure its not because I am a woman. Thats what they do. They are unprofessional. Doesn't mean they are awful to women. They can be just irresponsible like that, thats all.

The day's story, finally. The child had its swimming class on Wednesday. If you were in my house at 8 am that day, you could be forgiven for assuming that we were about to launch a rocket. A number of bags were packed and lined from the main door all the way to the side-board in the dining room. The troops were gathered around filling water & juice bottles and snack-boxes and what not. The items were individually counted and checked and moved into the car. Which creaked under the collective weight. The astronauts (child, me), buckled in and 3-2-1 took off. School. Office. School Pick Up. Dress Change. Curd Rice. Re-pack Swim Bag. Collect Swim Food + Drink Bag. Get hold of Swim Board Paddle Pull Buoy (also known by the evocative name of Pool Boy, giving one visions of an oiled, muscular, dark-ish person in tiny red swimming trunks). Hold Child By Hand. Enter.

When we went to the pool, three guys were barring our entrance. Upon enquiry, it was revealed that we had to show our membership card. A simple enough thing, you say? Yes, if the rocket launchers had remembered to bring it. Or, going back further in time, some unspecified member of the family hadn't GASP lost it (I blame Potus. He must have thrown it out in one of his cleaning fits). No amount of reasoning was heard so we returned, all upset and stuff.

I searched high and low at home for the card, to no avail. So I called them yesterday. Some positive noises were emitted. So today, with similar launch detail, we went over again. I admitted to having lost the card. I mentioned the name of the person I spoke to on the phone, and about how positive noises were heard. I worked very hard and made several sentences in tamil, expressing my admiration for sticking to rules. I apologised for troubling them repeatedly. I commiserated with them for the problems they must be having dealing with all of us. And suddenly, I was allowed to search through the fat register for our names. I did a brute force search thanks to foggy memory.

Date of membership:: Between May and July
Was photo given:: Most likely
Amount paid: 10000 INR (I remembered this well because I made a draft).
Membership number:: 1075, 1057, 1750, 1705 or something like that.

So I flipped some 20-30 pages, and found us finally. To say we were jubilant is an understatement! The guys, thanks to all my gentle niceness, were also happy for us. They took the new photos I had brought along and let us into the hallowed portals finally!


dipali said...


Choxbox said...

Bravo girl! Yes no longer fight back. No point.

And all of this gets further complicated here because of multiple kids needing one to be present in multiple places at exactly the same time.
Birthday party and orchestra rehearsal. At opposite ends of town. (Husband absconding to teach a course in the aloo matar).

Which would you choose?

kbpm said...

chox - rehearsal for sure as birthday parties give me the willies! :-) jokes apart, I can't imagine!