• Pages

  • How Early is Too Early?

    AT THE PRESCHOOL that I run (where I also teach), there’s a certain action song we sing that goes like this:

    Cook like mummy,

    Yum, yum, yum, (repeat thrice)

    Let’s have fun together!

    Drive like daddy,

    Knit like grandma,

    Cough like grandpa….

    …and by the time we come to “Be like teacher, Shh, shh, shh!” I’m ready to pop a vein. Continue reading

    Is it just me…

    OR ARE THERE other folks out there who don’t find this funny?


    No, I’m not wildly outraged. And neither am I a curmudgeon whose sense of humor is permanently trekking in the Himalayas. I’m well aware that sexist ‘jokes’ exist and we’re expected to ‘lighten up’ and not bristle in annoyance at the historically derogatory undertones. But pardon me if the giggles don’t naturally burst forth. Would you buy a garment that had that label on it? What would your reaction be? Also, I can’t help wondering if it was a woman who stitched that label and whether she gave it any attention at all.

    Thoughts, people?

    Girl Friday at the University

    Meena Kandasamy

    She wanders like a flimsy ghost
    in the two-hundred-year-old
    university where love thrives
    in large abandoned third-floor
    classrooms, monkeys shag on
    corridors, restless gossip piles up
    like dirty dishes in the canteen,
    and young women learn some
    tough lessons.
    Continue reading

    Gender Denied: India’s Transgender Community

    AS CHILDREN, we were scared of them. At traffic signals or on local trains, they would stroll up, their gait nonchalant, voices raised. Above all, different. (What is it about us that fears difference so much?) Last month, while on a project visit to slums in Chennai, I felt a twinge of discomfort when I stepped into Mallika’s house in Saidapet. It was not the old fear but something else. I was there to ask uncomfortable questions. I had nothing to give her in return. And I was burdened by the weight of belonging to societies that had rejected her. For Mallika is not quite accepted as a woman even though she considers herself one. In India, the gender gods can be very strict. Continue reading