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Sandhya tagged me for unwomanly behavior.

Does gender define me?

Yes. Big time. Right from childhood if I think back. I am the only girl child born to parents who had clear expectations who married in to a family which had crystal clear expectations of me and my role. I must say that I haven’t done much to send shock waves through the family.

I have always been dolled up. My mother loves to choose clothes for me. Even yesterday, she picked out what I wore. Occasionally my MIL/SIL does it for me. I love to dress up. I loved the chutti, nathu, pullakku, false hair, flowers decoration, kasu malai, ottiyanam traditional ensemble  I was in for my wedding. I loved it so much that I felt bad that if I try doing that any time any where again it will be over the top. I jumped with joy that I could do a repeat of it for my seemandham, without making people roll their eyes and enjoyed every moment of it. I like beauty parlours and such. Not much the make up part, I just like the idea of being pampered. My favorite colors turquoise blue and baby pink, in that order, in the whole wide world.

The role of gender has always intrigued me and made me write this post three years back. I think that we are all ardhanaris basically, with varying degrees depending on nurture and exposure.

My actions, at this point in my life are divided in to

-comes naturally to me

-love to do, so I will put my life on hold to do it.

-hate it/tolerate it, but do it anyway because life has to go on.

-will NEVER do it, no matter what.

The best part is, R is the same way too. So there are no major combats at home.

I love to make things, be it crafting or building furniture or dishing out fancy stuff from my kitchen. All the furniture in my house are assembled by me. Of course they come with instructions, but when I open a box of furniture, things kind of click and snap in my mind. Once to calm down, I locked myself in the girls room and spent two hours assembling the two newly bought chest of drawers. When I came out of the room, I was Buddha(for five whole minutes adds R :) ).

I painted the inside of my house. This was three years back with a 1 year old and a 2.5 year old. Picked colors, spent couple of hours every night prepping the room, covering furniture, get up next day, cooked for the day, painted like there is no tomorrow and packed up by the end of the day. Four days like this. I partly cribbed but mostly loved what I did.

I made the inside of two of our bedroom closets. There was provision for just hanging clothes and I wanted some kind of system where I can get more storage within the limited space and a tight budget. So I bought 12 feet wire shelves, hack-sawed it in Home Depot parking lot, loaded it in to the car, drilled and  hammered till the shelves were done.

I get vague ideas for a display shelf or a picture frame. I take my sketch to Home Depot early the next day(6.30AM – 7.30AM on Sat mornings works best) and consult with the guys to implement my idea effectively. Not all the ideas were super hits, but I like the adrenaline rush involved in the whole process. I probably would be wearing pink shoes, pink sweats, waving my pink cellphone and sporting a pink hand bag during the entire process. But who cares?

Planned an almost around the world trip from US to Tanzania to India and back to the US. Realized first hand how painful it is to make cost effective safari and hiking arrangements in a distant continent. All along there was this uncertainty if the tour operator is legitimate. When we landed in Tanzania and my tour operator did show up, I hugged him and almost cried.

While in Tanzania, we roughed it out on the mountain for five days, without shower or a bathroom. Perfectly cool with pit stops. Without any hesitation, will drop everything including the kids to do the hike again.

I have a record of  fighting with my teachers. In school, I once told my PT teacher that she was wrong, I was right and asked her to apologize to me. This was in the assembly hall, in front of an audience. I did not get apology, but got pure hell over the next few months I was in that school. While in college, while in an association meeting, asked the professor in charge to put his cigarette down. Proceeded to tell him that he is killing himself. Four words, ‘Did not go well’. Two years back, I fought for my grades with my Childhood and Culture course professor. We had different opinions, she made me redo one midterm and two research papers and then while arguing about the final paper, she said, ‘Something something a B grade is not bad. Something something all Asians are very sensitive about their grade. Think about it.’ I said, that I do not want to think about B because, I am A material. Not because I am Asian, but because I work hard for it and I deserve it. Proceeded to give her a mini lecture. Yes, I did get an A in that course.

Except for people, I kill all living things under my care. None of the house plants have survived past a month. They sense my presence and commit slow painful suicide.

I am horrible taking care of sick people, even my own kids. I am okay the first two days, then I undergo sudden transformation from Florence Nightingale to grinding teeth.

I have high tolerance for physical pain.

I cannot sing, dance, handle a needle, do kolam, string flowers even to save my life. Absolutely don’t planning on doing any of the above. I am the spiritual one, but not always religious and regular about lighting lamps and saying my daily prayers. Of late I am developing a strong aversion to anything domestic – cooking, dish washing, cloth washing and the likes of it. May be it is a phase, may be it will pass, but I don’t know.

Meanwhile R is there watering my house plants, secretly suffering his long spells of cold, giving tylenol to kids in the middle of the night, toiling in the garden, taking care of the fish and whatever pet I drag home, washing dishes and cooking an occasional dinner while I am buried in my end of the term papers, dressing up the girls for social engagements in pattu pavdai+matching jewellery+color coordinated bindhis(the girls are very particular, so I know how tough it is) while I am busy attending my weekend language development workshops, supporting my friday fasts,  and picking up loose ends, if any. All this without making fuss about roles and with only the girls(three including me :) ) in mind.

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