Saturday, October 11, 2008

Indian chivalry ?

This article appeared about 4 weeks ago in The Telegraph, Kolkata.
There’s a shortage of both loose change and good manners in the city. If your
taxi fare comes to Rs 57 and you give the cabbie Rs 60, nine out of 10 times,
you won’t get the balance back. In some stretches, it’s mandatory to declare
your “loose change status” before jumping into an autorickshaw.

Recently, when a Metro commuter realised she only had 100 rupee notes in her
wallet, she panicked. At the counter, she sheepishly fished out Rs 100. The
man raised his head, scowled and barked: “Ki, change nei?” (Don’t you have
any change?) She could only shake her head sadly. “Here, take your ticket and
change,” he said. As she was thankfully collecting the notes and coins, he
added: “Chhele holey ditam na!” (Had you been a man, I wouldn’t have given
you the change). Chivalry or gender discrimination?

I asked two women I know about their feelings. Quoting Nandini,
As for the article, it seems plain obvious to me that it was
charity/chivalry rather than discrimination. It indeed is ironic
that in a male dominated world such acts of kinds even take place, wherein
it is the males who are sort of being discriminated against. However, I
personally don't think that such acts of chivalry/charity will increase the
level of respect/alter the general male attitude towards women in general.
It's sadly only a temporary passing phase.
Quoting Bhavana,
I don't think an issue such as this should be viewed in the context of gender discrimination at all. It is just an amusing reflection of an Indian male's perception of chivalry and should be taken in a lighter vein.
I have to agree with both of them ... this is not gender discrimination at all. Rulebooks for men of our society have clear instructions for going out of the way for women and elderly. It is not always the same chivalrous attitude present in the European civilisations. Its some kind of a rule which is followed without understand. Hence, sometimes the male ego comes out in defiance and tries to prove the fact that he is smart enough to set his own preferences. “Chhele holey ditam na!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It Does Not Die / ন হন্যতে

I am reading this book right now. I am reading the English version, translated by the author herself. What I find fascinating is the way she is able to paint her thoughts with a pen and walk me through the same journey of life that she went through.

I came across the following letter halfway across the book. I do not intend to capture the essence of the book in this letter; so do not read between the lines.

This is a letter that the potential husband wrote to the author sometime before the actual marriage ceremony. Do note that the events are taking place in 1930s and she never met her husband before the wedding.
Understanding that you are going to choose a partner in life I beg to offer myself as a candidate for the vacancy. As regards my qualifications, I am neither married nor am I a widower; I am in fact the genuine article - a bachelor, being one of long standing. I should in fairness refer also to my disqualifications. I frankly confess that I am quite to the new job and I cannot boast of any previous experience in this line, never having had occasion before to enter into such partership with anyone. My want of experience is likely, I am afraid, to be regarded as a handicap and disqualification. May I point out however that though "want of experience" is a disqualification in other avenues of life, this particular line is the only one where it is desirable in every way. A more serious handicap is the fact that I am an old bachelor with confirmed bachelor habits. For further particulars I beg you to approach your mother who studied me the other day with an amount of curiousity and interest that would have done credit even to an egyptologist examining a rare mummy. In fine, permit to assure you that it will be my constant endeavour to give you every satisfaction. I have the honour to be, mademoiselle,
Your most obedient servant ...

There is nothing in the above that I can personally relate to, but its so downright witty and funny that I thought I have to share this with all of you.

অজ নিত্য শাশ্বতোয়ং পুরান ন হন্যতে হন্যমানে শরীরে