colonialism

arvan's picture

Fault Lines - Outsourced: Clinical trials overseas

US Pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas over the course of the past decade. Instead of testing trial medicines on Americans, more and more of these tests are being carried out on poor people in faraway places. Russia, China, Brazil, Poland, Uganda, and Romania are all hot spots for what is called clinical research or clinical trials. Now employing CROs—or Clinical Research Organizations—the industry is big business, worth as much as $30 billion US dollars today.

One country has experienced a boom like no other in this industry--India. Spoken English, an established medical infrastructure, welcome attitudes toward foreign industry and most importantly legions of poor, illiterate test subjects that are willing to try out new drugs have transformed the Indian landscape into a massive testing ground for pharmaceuticals. Fault Lines' Zeina Awad travels to India to see what the clinical research practices look like on the ground. What role are the US regulatory bodies playing in overseeing the trials? Are participants aware that they are taking part in a clinical trial? Is the testing being held up against international ethical standards?

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/faultlines/

Renee In Mich's picture

Here There Be Dragons

There was a big kerfuffle last week - perhaps you heard - where a prominent online feminist, perturbed over a call out about what her blog does and doesn’t cover, suggested it was responsibility of

Jaded's picture

Speech Through Silences

I got an invite from the Embassy Library this week, inviting me to a dinner they’re holding to celebrate Virginia Woolf’s birthday, the invite carries the stamp of the Bloomsbury Press that the Woolf’s used and there is a quote, “Arrange whatever comes your way”. Had I received this invite two years ago, I’d be squealing with enthusiasm because of the impressive logo, happy that I am a member of a library that holds such dinners — completely unaware of my privilege – I would probably even participate in the auction for the first edition pocketbooks. After all, Woolf was one of my first literary loves, I read every book she wrote in a period of six months at 18; I even presented an extremely gushy paper on her ‘stream of consciousness’ method of writing and how ‘revolutionary’ it was, considering it came from a lady, in a time ladies weren’t attributed to having many ideas or thoughts, how she situated politics of power in the Body amid other fangirly ideas. Today, I want to half-occupy that naïve girl’s space, be that ecstatic and genuinely in awe with Woolf, to not have this pesky voice in my head saying, “You know, if Woolf saw you at this dinner, she’d probably ask you to be removed out of the hall”¹; I want to unknow — in parts anyway — how her narratives construct me, always on the fringe, refusing me entry to her world. Today, were I to even forcibly re-inject ‘me’ or what ‘my body’ represents  in any of Woolf’s narratives, it would be a complete waste as her construction of ‘me’ is a void, leaving gaps for Liberal Humanism to come ‘save me’. And to think a woman and a figure that set out Othering people who didn’t match her skin tone is a cult literary feminist icon drives the idea of constructing the DeTongued Third World Woman home; this Third World Woman represents a frame: one without a body or a voice.

If I were to ‘map’ this dis-voiced body, it appears everywhere from well-loved colonial texts to western feminist scholarship. If I got a paisa for the number of times any White feminist text or study references ‘the Indian dowry system’, ‘the Indonesian women working in sweat shops’ and ‘the eternally toiling Chinese farmer, who also takes the beatings of her husband with equal silence’ then I’d probably be out of ditches to feed and clothe. Most of these texts talk about oppression and inequality in predominantly First World terminology and insert the Third World woman between parentheses, marking the ‘difference’ between both in invisible neon ink; this Western Feminist theorist constructs herself as the ‘Local’ and ‘us’ as the Exotic-Global-Marginal-Animal that is brought out to make the statement stretch beyond America or Europe’s borders, theoretically speaking only, of course². Some take it a step further and go to great lengths to discuss the Devdasi traditions, bonded labour or caste-based prostitution with the feminist-as-tourist-in-an-exotic-land where the theorist exclaims, “I can’t possibly describe to you dear reader, how sad these women’s lives are! My heart gushes for them! I lived with them for about two weeks and now will go on to theorise their life though I probably took out my own interpretations, but these women won’t ever know, because people in ditches don’t read” in perhaps more culturally-appropriative language. It serves to keep the hued woman (or feminine-identifying body) under a cage of ‘difference’, this way the theorist can engage in healthy povertyporn as well as give in to their ivory-tower complex by playing the Theorist With Divine Knowledge Of Feminism That Will Save The Dusty Bodies without acknowledging the privilege it takes for anyone to see people from this anthropological distance  – say, like the one I’m doing now! Privilege bites all our bums, dusty and otherwise — or to offer solutions that are theory and pitch perfect but go hollow the moment any subjectivity weighs in. Quite similar to the Dance Bar Ban of 2005 in Mumbai, in theory this ban aims to ‘liberate women’ but ends up putting sex-work, Dalit sexuality — as a big portion of bar dancers are from the Dalit community – behind stigmatised lines;  making it ‘forbidden’ and impossibly ‘deviant’ in one swift blow, ignoring just how much harm it is doing to the very women it aims to ‘liberate’³. In spaces like these, the Silences of the DeTongued minority speak further and faster than any literary or theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

Jaded's picture

Re-Righting Nether Roots

Breathing as the Dusty Third Worldling on a regularly alarming basis, is a difficult space to occupy, surely; even more so if you identify as feminine, which by this time almost always needs a special mention, like a parentheses of obligation. Given the Empire’s dedication to mapping and charting such invisible spaces, boundaries and borders often make me anxious and claustrophobic. Growing up with the ‘Kargil War’ being a part of the bigger, back-ground, constant state of war with chalk lines between two supposedly different countries of the Subcontinent, hearing rumours in the school playground that America was going to invade us — soon after 9/11 — that Pakistan is going to launch an attack, that people from Over There may come in any time and take us over like they did in ‘those’ countries like Iraq and Iran, that it was indeed true when we’d hear someone’s aunt’s sister’s cousin’s maid’s mistress’s sister had fled Over There because these days patriotic-and-patriarchally-inclined people decided it’s quite okay to invade borders and bodies personally because they belong to the ‘opposing country, that ‘those’ horrid buggers — any nation we’re displeased at the moment comes in this category — are going to be the End Of Us, destroy the sanctity of a country as diverse, at parts even ‘broken’ like ours and then you’d hear sighs when people said, Leave It All To God. I’d think of all this when I’d pore over maps and atlases with my sister, tracing ‘borders’ with our fingers, see if we can stretch edges and make it a Nation Of The World, like our geography books said with, what seemed to me, utmost confidence. At the end, I’d read a paragraph that countries like India and ‘Others’ of the Subcontinent, continents like Africa are a part of the Third World or the Nether World — as my Childcraft books called it — and that such countries haven’t joined the First World, but if they ‘work harder’ and ‘do more’, one day we’d join the league of ‘developed nations’ too.

So, being a Lady born out of such Nether Roots, when I sit to write in my NotMotherTongue, I break and close while trying to form words and shapes of sounds; especially when I use this ‘harsh’ tongue English sometimes becomes to me to talk about ‘my’ roots or my experience that sees the world through dark-tinted glasses with splotches where ‘religion’, ‘culture’, ‘regional tongues’ intertwine to make what I can half-claim as ‘my world’. I was going over my earliest short stories this week and (quite predictably), they smacked of something Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie would write, with characters that had names I’d only see in such books, always in search of the ‘perfect Indian sun’. It’s only in the last six years or so that I found the knotted and restrained writing of most Dusty Ladies, echoing the truth I was feeling but could somehow never word out. A few months ago, a relative asked to read my ‘writing’ or the short stories I was working on, and when I showed it to her, as much as she wanted to support and encourage me, she said that, “Are you sure this is our reality?”, words I can’t seem to forget now; for in less than ten seconds, she’d outlined the biggest problem I face when writing out ‘my’ world: The Cultural Polemic that somehow speaks in a collective echo instead of ‘one voice’. Even while growing-up, seeing the occasional Indian contestant in whatever American game-show or later, ‘reality-show’ meant knowing ‘their’ victory was somehow compulsively caught with ours, and that any flaws that person would show on TV would be marked somewhere on our skin too. One writing advice I’ve got repeatedly — advice I specifically didn’t ask for — is that, “Forget everyone else, just write your own story” as if this ‘personal’ and the ‘public’ were indeed two neatly ordained narratives, and as if I could easily slip ‘in’ and ‘out’ of each at will, as it were. Relegating the ‘personal’ to the ‘political’ or trying the inverse isn’t an option, for Dusty Ladies — supposedly — Never Air Dirty Laundry, be it in private or public, because as it seems we don’t have any ‘dirt’ to show anyone anyway. Maybe this is connected to the idea when ladies write ‘angry’ writing, it comes from a deep and a dark space — maybe even the uterus? — and that this ‘anger’ that women have is just for attention or to join the race to become the country’s Next Best Prostitute¹. But I digress.

Jaded's picture

Dusty Women And Our Spaces

 

Yesterday I was cleaning my grandmum’s cupboard as I do every winter on her death anniversary. We’ve given most of her things away, all that is left of this amazing woman are a few clothes, a few letters and many photographs for which I cannot be thankful enough. Every year I see these frayed pictures, and she’s always standing in the kitchen, or the veranda. Some pictures show her in room where the temple is. And a few are with me, standing beside me in the balcony, pointing at something far off in the distance. I’ve seen these pictures many times, today I couldn’t help noticing how in all of her pictures she is in one corner or a room. There are just two pictures of her outside the home space, those are when she went to her native place with my grandfather. This isn’t to say she didn’t ever travel out of the house or that she was kept confined. In fact, my grandmum has visited most of India and a few countries of the Subcontinent as well. But if you just see these photographs, you’ll see a woman always in a room, in a corridor or in the veranda; never is she idly sitting either. She’s either cooking, praying or showing something to her grand-daughters. If I were to construct her life on the basis of these photographs alone, you’d see a Lady who never set foot outside the house, was preoccupied with many household chores as one would expect from any Lady of her generation — or this one too — a life that revolves around others while she is lost in one of the other corners of the house. The truth is, there are many women who didn’t enjoy the class and social privilege my grandmum had, who spent and continue to spend decades in their homes. I don’t mean to intone that this is in any way a negative thing or just blame The Evil Patriarchy for it — how I wish it were that easy! — but rather point out how some spaces are so heavily hued with this blemish called ‘gender; till even their representative counterparts share the same inscription.

These gendered spaces aren’t unique creations of this country or any specific community, rather it is a universal disease. White Women’s writing and even movement has been heavily censored and controlled by their spouses or other male-relatives — from Christina Rossetti to Sylvia Plath — isn’t exactly a secret or a revelation. However, if these women had been Dusty, this LadyBrain thinks their disembodiment would have been much more severe — here we can place responsibility on the Empire all we want! Squee! — as the idea of a Dusty Lady being anything other than an object to be gawked at is a threat to Whiteness. Earlier this year a movie called Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts came out and I can safely say I’ve never seen so much loosely packaged neo-colonisation since AVATAR came out. Spaces, people, cities, people all open to lead the Whitewashed tone of the film into giving us a ‘well-rounded’ spiritual journey of a woman who wants to ‘discover’ herself, predictably in adequately exotic countries. For the most part, indigenous people exist in the movie to lend insights to the Poor White Woman who is simply lost, who has lost her appetite for life and simply mustappropriate other cultures ceaselessly to feel better about herself. At one point, the protagonist comes to India in search of ‘the spiritual’ — because White people come to Dusty Land for mainly two reasons leaving aside their fascination with Dusty Poor People: Either to feel closer to God in a language they don’t understand or to learnKamasutra — and quite predictably, we see the protagonist provided with a Dusty Lady (Tulsi) who makes her realise how lucky she is, to not have parents who will marry her off like cattle. Liz enjoys the kind of mobility and agency only White people can in movies and spaces like these, where she says “Perhaps you and your husband will be happy after all” in her parting scene with Tulsi. Another similar example that comes to mind is Elizabeth Russell from Lagaan — yes Dusty films can perpetuate Whiteness too. Insert appropriate gasps here — who is allowed physical as well as social mobility because of her pearly exterior, whereas Gauri is laughed at when she talks about the power Elizabeth yields. In addition, Gauri has to contend being the Third World Earth Goddess, one who soothes the male protagonist’s wounded ego, Elizabeth can openly defy her brother’s imperial policies and is rewarded in the course of the narrative. Even in many books, Dusty or otherwise, the same claustrophobic policing of gendered spaces is upheld when it comes to further erasure of hued women. As readers we’re encouraged by the narrative to sympathise with Jane Eyre while Bertha burns in the attic, to not question when Tagore’s Dusty women remain within the home sphere while his Memsahib’s coo exotically over the ‘enchanting landscape’. Even in Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines, women who identify as Western (though they may never be able to scrub off their hued epidermis) or who are Western are the one’s with any real complexity or nuances. Many Dusty Ladies are simply a litany of names, or are present in the scene just to make their lighter counterparts seem more ‘liberal’ or ‘emancipated’.

Jaded's picture

On Treasuring Difference

 

This weekend I went away to another city to see an old friend and to mainly get away from a busy routine. As always, it seemed I didn’t feel like I left Mumbai back at all, it seemed everywhere I went, a tiny part of the city followed me around with the same malls, coffee houses and other signs that point out Capitalisation is here to stay. I can’t say I was too surprised when I heard the discussions on Difference out here too, after all they are quite commonplace in Mumbai, where being cosmopolitan is more important than being political, where we cherish Difference with a fetish. It’s funny — where funny is the new painful — how strong the rhetoric of “let’s celebrate our differences” can be heard from so many corners of our country, especially in the light of the ‘Kashmir Issue’ India is trying so hard to placate. I remember my geography texts having at least once chapter on ‘Unity In Diversity’ in any given year, where we’d learn that though we come from so many languages, born into a myriad of dialects and religions, we ultimately have to live with each other in peace and solidarity. On a Glocal platform, as Dusty People of one of the “biggest democracies in the world”, Difference is a buzzword to use for us — and in our place if you don’t remember a politically convenient correct term — where Difference becomes A Good Thing, within parentheses of course. Lately even in feminist discussions the idea of a ‘politics of Love’ is a recurring one, and I can say it does sound appealing at first, to love through discrepancies and asimilarity. But when we probe a little further into this uber vague concept of ‘Difference’, big gaping cracks show up that cannot be ignored.

A few weeks ago my friend got teased for ‘not knowing her own mother tongue’ by people in her art class, easily glossing over the fact that she spent most of her childhood in a pro-BJP State and any language except Hindi was somehow detongued from her colloquial dictionary. “We pride in the fact that as a nation, we have such a vibrant tradition of languages and dialects” is one of the most repeated sentences in public and private conversations, nationalist debates and any other type of discourse that wants to reduce reality to the most simple and ‘rational’ factors. While we repeat these hollow phrases, the MNS makes yet another discriminatory policy based on Difference in language. Difference is a word I’ve always hated, even as a child I couldn’t understand why this Difference wouldn’t let me play with dudes my age, why I had to take care of the way I walked and not place blame on some dudes who looked at me in a ‘weird’ manner or why I couldn’t share my Childcraft books with my cook’s daughter, though we both took equal delight in reading. Today Difference is the reason I get invited to conferences that want to perpetuate ‘diversity’ by giving voices which are from multilingual Hindu backgrounds, as this time around Difference isn’t too noticeable or too marked as being born with LadyBits is. Now, if I were from the lower shelf of Difference, at a disadvantage because of caste and gender, then these words wouldn’t have the luxury of being so flippant about these boundaries. While you can rightly argue that this Difference isn’t the one theorists like Gayatri Spivak and Chandra Talapade Mohanty urge us to celebrate; in fact these walls cage us further in like laboratory animals, each of us bearing sophisticated labels of ‘Hindu’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Scheduled Caste/Tribe’ to the extent that these few words decide our levels of access in society, I can’t ignore how difficult cherishing plurality can be.

Jaded's picture

Caught Between Colonised Consonants

These last few weeks have been rather stressful for me, so by the time I get home, I’m more than exhausted, crash on my sofa and let the TeeVee numb my LadyLobes into oblivion for a while. This is around the time my grandmother’s favourite soaps are aired and we’ve developed a routine between the two of us. I help her to get dinner going (in my limited capacities as a non-cook) and she fills me in to whatever I missed in the first 10 minutes of the show. Over these weeks, I have now become familiar with the plotlines of more than seven shows, each predictably depicting middle to upper middle class Hindu households, where the protagonist, generally a virtuous woman battling a myriad of obstacles  from abusive husbands to nose-parker neighbours, this Indian Daughter In Law suffers and endures rather vapidly, always quoting from some scripture or following orders to a T. This is TeeVee land after all, where women go to bed in saris and with their full make-up on, where the idea of a ‘diverse’ family is a multilingual Hindu family — what? have a non-sterotypical Muslim or a Christian character? Never! The TeeVee roars back — and where always, good triumphs over evil, after about every 200 episodes. Of course, when I’m watching these soaps with my grandma these quips are contained in my LadyBrain as she genuinely enjoys these shows. Plus if you saw her blushing the way she does when a Dude and a Lady on the screen brush hands, you’ll get it too.

Yesterday I noticed something interesting in one of these shows; it reminded me of my other grandmum that I lost a few years ago. One of the senior actors on the show had the exact expression as my grandmum would get when I’d start rambling too quickly in English; like many MudSquatters she too could read and write English quite well. Though she was the one who introduced me to Austen and the Brontës; when it came to sounding the syllables she fell short. The actor on-screen was making an exaggerated effort to understand her grandson as the child blathered on in the Coloniser’s tongue – with the American accent no less!—when this grandma of mine looks at me and teases me, “Isn’t this like us? You and your English books, always ranting in that language! Going so fast that no one can even understand! God knows what you must be saying in that language about us!”. While my parents and I converse in English relatively easily, for my grandma this language remains an unexplained pun, as she correctly guesses our tones but the words and their exact meaning escape her. For her not learning English remains her way to defy the Empire, while today I believe in smashing the Empire from within, using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house and caught in the middle are people from my mum’s generation who learnt English to get jobs and status. My parents have a more intimate relationship with our Mother Tongue than I do, for English remains a means to an end for them, as for me English is one of my primary expressions; it’s alienating, frustrating and yet the only tongue I can dream in. The debate of ‘Whose English Is It Really?’ can continue forever. What interests me today how this language is used to cut, to prod, to break into and make room for new dichotomies to absorb. I’ve noticed how my tone changes when I’m speaking to my friends or students, while at home even my English shifts its tenor, it slows down. Here, my a few words from my Mother Tongue blend in, the way I leave questions open is again extremely specific for my community, the language flows more smoothly till the transition to speaking entirely in my Mother Tongue has been made. Sometimes when my Mum and I don’t want to let the maid know we’re talking about something that concerns her, we shift unanimously and almost subconsciously to English and then step right out again in a similar manner. Here, English is used to show and maintain class and to an extent caste supremacy whether we’re aware of it or not.

Jaded's picture

Musings From The Empire

Busy week as usual, I’m still coping with the post-Diwali hangover, meeting gazillion family members and of course, asking them for blessings and taking money for it*. Meanwhile, the Indian Blogosphere — regular as a clock! — reminds me just why I have such a long way to go before growing up. Because sticking to deadlines isn’t something I have down yet. Ahem. Apologies for being a week late, on with the LinkFest now!

—-

1. Sue from Sunny Days talks about contraception rather pragmatically and sensitively in Let’s Talk About Contraception.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Two very close friends of mine have had to choose to terminate pregnancies because they were unplanned. Both were already mothers, and money, family concerns, health and other obligations helped them make this impossible choice. They know they did what they needed to, but one mourns a lost child… it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether you lose your baby by miscarriage or an MTP, the pain of losing a baby is something you seem to carry for ever.

A third dearly loved friend has just made the decision and there’s nothing I can bring myself to say except to wish her the strength and courage she needs. I know a woman who has kept the ultrasound scans of the baby she had to abort because those are the only ‘pictures’ she’ll ever have of this child of hers that she wanted so badly. I know a woman who closes her eyes and sees the daughter she never gave birth to, growing older in her head.

2. Dalit poet Meena Kandasamy’s poem Mohandas Karamchand takes a critical look at Gandhi

“Generations to come will scarcely

believe that such a one as this walked

the earth in flesh and blood.”

—Albert Einstein

Who? Who? Who?

Mahatma. Sorry no.

Truth. Non-violence.

Stop it. Enough taboo.

That trash is long overdue.

You need a thorough review.

Your tax-free salt stimulated our wounds

We gonna sue you, the Congress shoe.

Jaded's picture

The Disease Of Being Universal

This week, as India deals with the after-effects of Obama’s visit,  where we dissect every word he said, try to re-read into the words he didn’t say, search for any snippets of news that would piece the puzzle to just what did the President really want to convey, we somehow conspicuously forget to think about the organised deaths in the Kashmir Valley. This is an old strategy employed by Indian politicians and policy-makers, to completely dodge the issue and hope the problem — this can mean anything: the poor, the huge population, silly Ladies asking for rights, take your pick according to your mood! — will just dissolve away as we busy ourselves with four more years of systematic oligarchy. Every single newspaper since the past three weeks have been talking about the President’s impending visit to India, covered every second of his visit and now are doing soul-deep articles on the clothes the First Couple wore and other extremely relevant topics while the account of four Dalit women who were raped yesterday just outside of Mumbai for pressing charges against army officials for previous episodes of unwarranted assault and violence are somehow unwritten about.

This morning as I seethed in fury at the sheer injustice of it all, another post about the Obama visit shines at me from its spot on the newspaper. I can re-hear the words, “I am so happy, that India has now left behind the rank of being a Third World Country” that had almost become the national rhetoric last week; only this time the question “At whose cost?” is glowing just beneath it and refuses to go away unanswered. Many history lessons from my school days come to mind where I’d read India’s name in the list of ‘backward’ nations and shuffle around it, swirling the words in my mouth, imagining what ‘forward’ must look like then. And today, it seems that ‘forward’ is here; I’d always thought this day would somehow magically manifest itself over the calendar, be celebrated and leave a mark. Little did I know, this very mark will never come off of my skin, no matter how hard I try to scrape it off. I can’t seem to understand our dedication to the words “global village” or “solidarity” especially since they’ve started to look more dangerous than ever to me, considering our fetish with borders and chalk lines; between nations and states, added to our affinity with using the many perks of ‘democracy’ — military authoritarianism of course! — or any other ‘freedoms’ can afford us. In some part of my LadyBrain I can for a few moments understand why would being ‘Universal’ appeal to us, for who wouldn’t want to UnWrite the narrative of the Empire, People Of The Olde Interwebes? I won’t lie, being the Inscriber has held its charm for me; I have dreamt many times how would possessing and prodding spaces feel like, instead of just ‘occupying them’. But when reality sinks in, too many discrepancies between the dream and the lived reality become painfully visible.

Jaded's picture

ReDrawing Borders

Earlier this week, I got to hear President Obama during his stay in Mumbai as a part of the student’s interactive session where we were supposed to ask questions as he wanted to ‘know’ and ‘connect’ with the youth of India. Of course this demographic was rounded off from the most affluent and well known colleges of the city and if I’m not mistaken, clear caste selections were visible too; where under the excuse of having all the ‘brightest’ and the ‘most’ creative group of students, quite predictably students from lower castes were excluded because apparently ‘those’ students weren’t good enough to be even passed on as tokens! Can you imagine how deviant and depraved they must be, that institutions had to collectively silence them? But I digress. In other inconsistencies, the city is spruced up, the roads where he would pass by are redone, beggars are displaced, stray dogs are removed their place and other forms of erasure I probably can’t even gauge have gone on. But none of this is surprising, this is the routine whenever Anyone Of The Important Variety visits the city, from the Prime Minister to Ambassadors of other nations. For a couple of days, my city changes its face, we stretch out corners to make them seem like crossroads and the day the President leaves, everything is back in its place, except perhaps the beggars and the dogs. But who cares about them anyway? They probably will vandalise this newly done street with their stench and bodies, so they’re better off in some obscure little ditch, the Empire muses to itself. It’s particularly ironic that though President Obama came with hopes of expanding job opportunities, of creating ‘openings’; so much closure and hazing was inspired by his very motive to ‘open’, almost as if the blurry lines between ‘open’ and ‘fixed’ have been mutated to fit the version a few ImperiallyInclined people saw fit.

The talk turns to borders and boundaries one minute and becoming a ‘global village’ the next. What struck me most in this lop-sided conversation is how perfectly parallel it is to our reality; where we staunchly oppose spaces between people but will not hesitate to create a gulf between states or communities — that’s the only way a ‘democracy’ works it seems, People Of The Olde Interwebes! — that we let our Collectively Colonised Persona to slip under yet another Empire, that of emptied meanings. Generally speaking, spaces between bodies, virtually and otherwise is frowned upon. My immediate family members never seem to understand why I don’t have a Facebook account — what part of encouraging people I don’t even like have access to most of the important details of my life sounds ‘fun’, explain to me once again — or the fact that I don’t like to be hugged is a big shock to people. They always want to know why is it so that I need this ‘space’, that I like to keep a few things out of public access. It takes a MudSquatter to fully comprehend just what I mean by ‘keeping boundaries’ and just how incredulous it is to most people I associate with. “No Facebook account! How are we supposed to know what goes on in your life then?” are the most common complaints followed by Super Shocked Gasps when they realise there is a reason why I don’t want them to know ‘what goes on in my life’.

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