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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

My Mini Version and a Thoughtful Afternoon

May 26, 2020 0 Comments


Life is hard with a toddler, life is very hard with one toddler and one unofficial toddler (read: husband), and it is extremely difficult with both of them at home because of this lockdown. It’s almost like, if the lockdown goes on any longer, the mothers’ union will manage to create a vaccine to send their toddlers to school and office respectively.

My three-year-old daughter is a mini version of me. God! She is a smart baby; asking questions the entire time and challenging every single rule. All these questioning and challenging rules are fun when I am doing it, however, when three-year-old refuses to listen to you and argue, it just drives me crazy. And the mighty husband enjoys the show from the front seat.



While having a crazy quarantine, I was thinking about my pregnancy and what struck me most is that I wanted a boy child and I am not ashamed of it.

My whole life, I really considered myself a feminist, and most of my actions reflected that. One of the best compliments I ever received is from my MBA classmate who called me a true fearless feminist.

But when I became pregnant the first thing that came to my mind was that I wanted a boy. And that very thing felt so damn wrong. On one hand, I claimed to be a feminist, belief in equality, and on the other hand, I wished to have a boy. I should have been wishing for a healthy baby, irrespective of the sex of the baby.

That very thought haunted me for days. On Surface, It seems like I just want a boy child. But it was only when I dug deeper that I discovered the real reason why I wanted a boy child.

One thing is very clear in our society, not only in India but the whole world, it is primarily a male-dominated society whether we like it or not. Still, there are some people, called feminists (I swear to god, it sounds like an abuse word nowadays) who still dare to believe in equality, striving for a society, which is based on equal rights, equal choice, and equal opportunity. In most cases, the work of feminism was concentrated on independence of women, women empowerment, equal pay, equal job opportunity, equal opportunity for education, etc. And we have created a generation of ladies who are independent, smart, intelligent, and ready to take on any responsibility and do what is needed.

No matter what, one thing we all can agree, the two genders are an equal part of our society, and in order to achieve holistic growth we need to address both genders, only making our girls independent won’t solve the problem. However, men, in general, are not used to with such independent women. Someone once told me, you are too smart to be a woman. And he received a very polite reply from me, i.e. “you are too dumb to be a man”. Sadly, this answer does not even come close to generate a real change in our society.

What we mothers, parents' families really have to do is construct a generation of men who are ready for independent women, take them as their friends, wife, sister, mother, and not be afraid of their intelligence.

And that is the reason for me wanting a Boy Child. I wanted to raise a man who treats all humans equal, who is very good at household work, earn his own living, take care of a baby, in short, can do everything a woman can do.

All human beings are equal, but the challenge here is to raise men who are equal to women. 
My mini version of me sleeping beside me, while I am writing this, and I am proud of her for every smart little things she does, for every question she asks and challenges the societal gender norms in her own kiddy way, I still want to raise a boy to show the world that there is a man who can cook, clean, wash, babysit, work, earn, love and be a MAN. 




Tuesday, 5 May 2020

A Widower and a Sad Afternoon

May 05, 2020 1 Comments


It was just another Wednesday afternoon during the lockdown. I was about to finish cooking and start cleaning the house. I was sweaty, irritated, and hungry when my husband decided to call me at the top of his voice. I responded to him with the normal frustration and he told me Irfan Khan has passed away. I was not expecting this. My first reaction was that this must be fake news. But to my utter disappointment, it was not, and I felt so gloomy for the rest of the day. 


Later in the afternoon, I was watching one of his old interviews where someone asked him about his most difficult acting jobs and Irfan Khan mentioned two names: Life of Pi and In Treatment. I had never heard of “In Treatment” TV series and started watching it immediately (what better way to honor his memory other than watching what he considered one of his most difficult acting jobs). 

In Treatment is an American HBO drama which was produced and developed by Rodrigo Garcia. It is about a psychotherapist, 50-something Paul Weston, his weekly sessions with patients, as well as those with his own therapist at the end of the week. The series debuted in January 28, 2008. 



I have only watched the part in season 3 where Irfan khan played a 52-year-old widower Sunil,  who was transported to New York from Calcutta following the death of his wife. His new life entailed him living with his son, daughter-in-law and their two young children. 

Sunil is not only depressed by his wife’s death, but he is also deeply wounded by his son’s decision to marry an American woman and angry at what he sees as his daughter-in-law's insensitivity. He is extremely disappointed with his son’s American lifestyle and thought process where he chooses his personal happiness over family respect and pride by marrying an American woman. 

I cannot express how much I got affected by this. Saying 'brilliant' would be an understatement. 

Sunil’s (Irfan Khan) son Arun/Aaron and his wife guides him to see a psychologist since he is finding it difficult adjusting to his new life in America. Sunil refuses to take a bath or eat, and doesn’t maintain proper personal hygiene. Sunil also displayed deeply resentful behavior towards his daughter-in-law and probably has some unresolved sexual tension towards her. 

As the series progresses, we learn more about Sunil, his lost love, a tragic suicide, and an unborn child. The series is portrayed as a mystery drama, where you can say for sure something is hidden but can’t exactly figure out what it is. The ending of the series is unpredictable and leaves you with a heartache. 

Irfan Khan portrayed the character of Sunil with so much ease that it seems like the audience is witnessing a real counseling session. On the surface when the audiences see Irfan’s character, he comes across as depressed. However, as we get to know more about him, there is an undertone of anger (second stage of grief), sexual tension, and huge guilt building up over time. 

Sunil is an extremely complex character. He was probably brought up by narcissistic parents who hammered a false sense of family pride before anything. For him, putting his family's pride before his happiness is a sign of a disciplined life. As such he resents his son for marrying someone he loves instead of the girl Sunil and his wife choose for him. In reality, he resents himself for not fighting for his own love; he didn’t even think of fighting and accepted the fact that marrying someone from his caste is the best thing to do. As a result, he was responsible for a death. 

All these issues from his childhood and past combined with his recent loss of his wife and moving to America became an unbearable situation for him. 

What will he do to resolve this? The story offers an answer in the end.


While watching, I saw Sunil, (not Irfan Khan) a middle-aged Bengali, his struggle, hopes, dreams, and an endless quest for a disciplined life. And that is the brilliance of Irfan Khan’s acting. You don’t see him; you see the character he is playing. That is the true nature of an Actor.


I will miss him, as will the film industry and people all over the world. I want to finish this with a dialogue from his movie ‘Life of Pie’: 

"I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye".