The second wave of covid in India is relentless. I will not go into the sordid details but suffice to say that there is anger and grief everywhere - and rightfully so.
This last week was not a time I could write about a general Womaning issue, pretending that our world was not going all up in flames around us.
So here is my copout for this week - an issue of the greatest hits of Womaning so far. Happy Reading to you in case you have missed any of these, or would like to just drown yourself in the nostalgia.
Remember the good old times when we were not in the middle of the damn apocalypse?
I am planning to rewatch some toxic 90s Bollywood as soon as I get a chance, so I am no one to judge.
It seems fitting for a 90s Bollywood fan to feature the Top 10 in the fashion of Doordarshan’s evergreen countdown show Superhit Muqabla whose theme song is stuck in our heads for life.
Gaana Number 10
The One Where I wrote about the fascinating way women get talked over, looked over, and summarily ignored in office meetings and personal life alike, making them use tactics like intentionally sounding dumb in order to just be heard.
I would wonder, "Am I talking rubbish? Do I need to think more before I speak? Did I offend the boss in some way? Did I accidentally kill his cat when I was backing up my car in the parking lot?"
Or am I just invisible?
Gaana Number 9
Since the lockdown and work from home have been so kind to us, here is the post that celebrated the special fun bonanza year that women have had - juggling home, and babies, and husbands-who-can-be-overgrown-babies, and bosses-who-are-no-better.
"There is a tap in my bathroom which has very low water pressure. So, a bucket placed under this tap takes a few minutes to fill up. Everyday, when I go for a bath, I have to wait a bit for the bucket to fill up - that is my me-time."
Gaana Number 8
Not that women who don’t have “day jobs” are having a gala time either. On No 8, we have the post that featured stories of the Fabulous Lives of Indian Housewives.
"These days, I wake up and immediately attend to the baby, then make breakfast, do the dishes, take the garbage out, put a load of laundry, back to baby care, cook lunch for all, do the dishes, baby care, cook dinner for all, more dishes, more baby care. Whenever I get a moment, I tidy up after everyone, while planning more tasks to be done."
Gaana Number 7
On the apparel choices that the world of baby clothing thinks our daughters deserve.
"I want to tell her that she can be anything she wants in life. She can be an astronaut, she can work with animals, she can drive cars, she can be a superhero - she can be anything! I want clothes for her that expose her to all these options, and more. If I bought only the clothes sold to us as 'girls' clothes', her dreams and aspirations would be to limited to becoming a princess or riding a unicorn."
Gaana Number 6
This one is all about women and why even the most educated among us run in the opposite direction when it comes to managing our own finances.
"I recently handled the technical budget of a project worth $3 million. And yet, I don't manage my own finances. I hate myself everyday for this."
Gaana Number 5
Undoubtedly the most difficult piece to write so far, where I talk about Obstetric Violence, and share the story of my own delivery as a case example.
“In the few hours of disturbed sleep I would get in the months after childbirth, I had nightmares of being back on that table, my guts and blood everywhere, a machine beeping stats of my impending death, and my Doctor shouting at me, threatening to separate me from my baby.”
Gaana Number 4
And why wouldn’t a woman’s body feature in our Top 5? It is, after all, our nation’s favourite timepass to helpfully point out flaws in the female form.
You will be hard-pressed to find any woman who has never been called too fat, too thin, too dark, too pale, too short, too tall, too heavy-breasted, too flat-chested, too pimply, too hairy, or a million other permutations and combinations of failures to meet some imaginary Holy Grail of beauty standards.
Gaana Number 3
If you find yourself rationalizing your way out of any compliment that comes your way, if you don’t think you truly deserve the success that comes your way, if you secretly think that everyone else is better than you, then you - like me - suffer from imposter syndrome. It affects women disproportionately more than men, and this post totally doesn’t think it deserves to be Number 3 on the chartbusters.
"I would be sitting in board meetings with senior people. There was a reason I was there, of course. But I used to continuously feel like I may say something and everyone would realize that this is a child who is only acting like she belongs among us."
Gaana Number 2
A tale of two coffees resonated exceptionally with married women and I was flooded with pictures of undrunk cups of chai and coffee lying around the house which women just forgot to finish because the to-do monster took over. A moment of silence for many more cups of chai-coffee that never got made.
Men. Psst. Can I tell you a secret? If you think that the romance in your life has dwindled after a few years of marriage, it might be because your wife is now basically a grocery-list trapped in the body of a woman. Try taking some of the mental load off her brain and behold as she begins to turn human again.
Gaana Number 1
Drumroll for our top post of all time (so far) - the royal saga of Raja Betas all over the country.
Sonal says that she has sometimes tried including her husband in the kitchen work but her efforts always get intercepted. "When I do this, my mother-in-law stops me and says, 'Oh, let him rest. He has had a long day.' What does she think I have had?”
The number of Raja Beta stories I got after publishing this post made me want to write a sequel. Someday, maybe I will. Until then, enjoy Womaning readers’ favourite GIF of all time (so far).
I have a feeling Durga Khote might have enjoyed the fandom this one has.
Donating some Coffee
I set up my ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ page just a few weeks back and I have already received quite a generous outpouring of love on it. So far, you wonderful souls have collectively bought me coffee worth $460. That is nearly Rs 35,000 in support and appreciation that you have sent my way, and it has been humbling to say the least.
Given the unprecedented crisis our country is fighting right now, I could think of no better way to honour your love than to spread it further.
I have donated all of my earnings from Womaning in India so far to various Covid relief fundraisers.
The systems have let us down but there are citizens and organizations out there on the field, risking their lives to save the lives of strangers. They need our support right now.
I am sharing some popular fundraiser links below for your reference:
This is a Google Doc which has been crowdsourced by voluteers and regularly updated with new fundraisers in urgent need of donations.
There are organizations like Hemkunt Foundation and Khalsa Aid which are doing exemplary work for much-needed oxygen supply to covid patients right now. The donation links are prominently placed on their websites.
Even if the above are not your favourite links, I urge you to please use your discretion to find any covid relief organization that you prefer and donate generously to them.
People literally cannot breathe right now. This is the least we can and must do.
Every rupee matters.
Take care of uncle-aunty at home,
Here is the button to go to my Buy Me A Coffee page. Click on “Membership” or “Support” to send me some caffeinated love here if you like the work I am doing. I make no promises to not go and donate all of it all over again.