Musings From The Empire

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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.

3. Shail discusses the polemics of languages and decisive lines between tongues and states in Language Wars.

Now the topic of ‘mother tongue’ is a touchy subject anywhere and everywhere. There are people out there who are ready to beat up and even go to the extreme of killing each other over it. They think their own mother tongue is the best and the rest are just dust.Excuse me, I beg to differ. In the event that I were to grow up without ever hearing a word of my mother tongue, I could still be expected to turn out into a pretty decent human being.

So, personally my opinion on mother tongues is on these lines: Everyone has a mother and mothers have tongues. So what is so special about any particular one?? This I know is blasphemy to the language chauvinists. But then, language chauvinism bores me to tears.

4. Indian Homemaker in a chilling post about how words of women who’ve attempted suicides by trying to immolate themselves aren’t taken seriously even by the law in Dying Statements Of Vengeful Women Settling Scores By Attempting Suicide.

When I discussed this, one of the commonest reactions was, Oh these women know very well rat poison/pouring kerosene on themselves is not going to kill them, they just want to threaten their in laws.” It wasn’t considered odd that any woman should feel (if they did) that the only way to ‘get back’ at their in-laws was by hurting themselves (and risking death).

On the other hand one does hear about self immolation and suicide as desperate forms of protest.

Women hurting themselves to ‘settle scores’ with their in laws were (are?) generally seen as unaccommodating, head strong and vengeful troublemakers. The court seemed to blame this burns victim too.


*Don’t take this too literally. Well not so much anyway.

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