I am a Woman

I grew up in a country where palm lined beaches and backwaters along with the beautiful misty hills earned it a title ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. A place with 100% literacy where my hair colour, choice of clothing and not having children after 4 years of marriage concerns the general public much more than my basic right as an individual, as a woman. Although Kerala is much more liberal compared to other parts of India, its still a patriarchal society where women and men have different set of rules.

I spent 2 weeks in Kerala last month and I came across different types of men who stood out to me during my trip.

1. A man who is terminal, who has fear in his eyes, who had made a lot of wrong choices in his days pushing people away yet the love he has, love he had, connects all those near and dear to him.
2. A man who has no fear in his eyes, who is making a lot of wrong choices by drinking and smoking everyday and withering away bit by bit.
3. A man who followed 3 girls (2 of which under aged) back from church, in the dark, and parked his fancy bike in a dark corner and started helping himself and said obscene things.
4. A 17 year old young man (who was meant to accompany the girls on the way back from church) who ended up blaming it on the way the girls looked and behaved upon hearing the incident involving the man from point 3.
5. A 33 year old professional man who married his college girlfriend and has a child with but somehow thought it was OK to behave inappropriately towards his 15 year old cousin-in-law after having couple of drinks

Some of these men I’m related to by blood, one is a stranger who decided that he had the right to be ‘himself’ when in the dark and thus violate the rights of others (of women!), latter is someone who is married to someone dear to me. All these men have something in common. Choice. They all have a choice or had a choice. A choice to be yourself, a choice that may or may not cause (or have caused) harm to yourself, your family members or strangers. A choice I or the majority of the women don’t have.

I am a woman. A woman with rights, with skills, with desires and ambitions. Being able to walk anywhere without fearing anyone or without a male family member accompanying and not getting harassed is not my pride, my ambition or my arrogance, it is my right. My basic human right. But I’m denied that right. And when I do voice my dissatisfaction with that, I’m ‘sushed’ from left and right by own kind, the females.

After effect? Immense amount of anger built up for the innate inability to not do anything to those who misused their choice. You get affected by the incidents; angry for not having a choice to react, for not having a voice. But then out of nowhere, it occurred to me, I’m demanding a choice and a voice from others, from strangers and not from myself. I may not have the innate inability to react to others misusing their choice and my right, but I do have the choice and right to react in a way that does not give them any more power. Mulling over what had happened and being affected by someone’s perversion is still giving power to the perpetrator. The days where the woman gets sexually abused in the Indian movies and her life is distraught till a good Samaritan guy decides to ‘give her a life’ is over. Its not needed any more. Reason? She is a woman.

I am too.
I am a woman who made the choice to spend time with the man who may not have a lot of time. The reason for my visit.
I am a woman who feels angry when a man turns to alcohol or other substances and do not tap into his inner emotional strength,
I am a woman who said ‘F you you a******, go F your Fing mother’ when I caught a stranger masturbating in the dark,
I am a woman who said ‘Blame it on the way a girl walks or dresses, not the way a man behaves inappropriately’ to the 17 year old who blamed her for ‘looking nice’,
I am a woman who used careful words to the 33 year old man to let him know that he is not invincible,
I am a woman who knows a man no 6, who lets the woman be a woman, a real man. I married him.

I am also a woman who chose to focus on the above points and nothing else or no one else. I have rights. I have choices. I do not give men any power or control. I fixate on my choice, not their wrong choices. I am a woman.

Woman

Amsterdam
An infamous city with an uncompromising beauty and characteristics.
Picturesque canals,
touching history
and mesmerising architecture.
Her extraordinary beauty and her seductive characteristics-
Resemblance of a quirky, confident yet humble woman uncanny.
Woman.
While entrapped in Amsterdam’s beauty,
the very same word kept circling my mind.
Woman.
A visit to Anne Frank’s secret annexe of 2 years
entrenched me with the feeling that
The most powerful weapon for a woman is her Voice
A walk down the lane where her body does all the talking
Made me think that her body perhaps is more acknowledged than her voice.
It may (or may not) be her Choice that led her go behind the glass doors
A choice that young Anne frank certainly did not have.
But as I walked and locked eyes with the young women behind the glass doors
sharing a half smile, longing for one in return
and mentally offering apologies for being on the other side,
watching them like animals behind cages,
I also wondered,
As a woman,
would it be my voice or my choice of selfie that would be more appealing to one’s eyes.

Fighting social injustice in my dream

I struggled a little bit to get out of bed this morning. Why you ask? Oh its just because I was up saving lives in my dreams last night.

Dreams are a funny lil thang. They offer you entertainment, moral lessons, creepy feelings and sometimes leave you with feeling rather bewildered. This certainly was the case for me this morning with my dream from last night.

So…….. Myself, my 2 sisters, and someone else (might have been my cousin) were at a family/family friends’ house party that was right beside our house. We were all high school children and had an exam the next day (😐). In the tiny room that we were hanging out there was another girl who was of a similar age to us. She dressed differently and looked different from us. She had a scarf over head with some jewellery covering her forehead. One of my crew members got talking to her and learnt that she was from some part of Africa. The girl was taken away from her home and was forced to become someones bride. Her ‘prospective groom’ was somewhere in the house, a face that she might have never seen before and a man probably born atleat 15 or 20 years before she did.

When I got up to leave the house party and go back to my house (to do the revision I am sure :/), one of my crew members asked me ‘why dont you take ‘her’ with you as well?’

Nothing was said. We thought of well devised plans to sneak her out of the house through the back way without any adults seeing us. And we did. With great difficulty ofcourse (mainly because of her anklets that were really noisy). We gave her a big tub of celebrations for the road (that definitely would be plenty to last till Africa!). This took all night apparently and we ended up getting back home at 8ish the next morning (missing the exam ofcourse!).

We look over to the house next to us where the party was held and see that the celebrations lid was lying on the ground. We go into the house, and see our father standing in the hall way. I say to him that the exam was hard and walk away. He suspects nothing. Next thing I know, my middle sister who is not as talented as i am in lying or being sneaky says to him that she heard his friends new child bride got away with a tub of celebrations last night! 😑. He looks bewildered.

We go to our room. And i say we need to come up with our responses to this and learn the same thing so we wont say anything different to the adults.

Fast forward to the climax (or slow forward); its the 16th century where me and my sisters were dressed in white and head all shaven traveling in a vehicle to the house where the party was held. We were being punished because we were women who did something horrible?! 😑

They open the door and let us in. We see the girl we tried to rescue standing there. She got caught half way. They lock the door behind us. She smiles at us. And l smile back thinking dyamnnn we gonna have a goòd time here!!!.

Conclusion:

1. Child marriage, exams, illtreatment towards women- Not acceptable to Archana Mathew.

2. Archana Mathew’s dreams should be made into movies and nominated for Oscar.

The End.

For real.

I had a dream

So I had a dream lastnight.

And unlike Martin Luther king, I dreamt about travelling to space along with my husband on a banana boat. 

Now, to get yourself going, you just have to get thrown up in the air (no trouble!). So the journey is long and tricky and it takes days to travel through the dark empty sky on a banana boat. But we presevere. And at one point, i look up and see trillions of stars up above. I look at my husband and say ‘Im so grateful that you are here’. And the next thing we know is that we are starting to float in the air. Gravitys lost (!). Loving every moment of it till the moment is finished and we are back on earth in a dark shady corner. 

A lady in white coat (insert wtf*) tells us my parents were in the space ahead of us and they will be around looking for us. We decide to get ourselves back up in the air on the banana boat lets not forget. Off we go again. Same journey. Same outcome.

After a few times, we end up indulging in a lot of rather unusual but apparently necessary rituals to get ourselves back up in the air. This involves a horse biting someones looong bundle of hair and then me taking the hair bundle off its mouth, circling it and throwing it up in the air(insert wtf* x 2).

‘Are you getting up?’ I hear the voice of my space voyage partner at 6am and my space journey comes to an end.

I will never know what happened after i threw the hair in the air but lets just hope that we ended up in space and reunited with my parents.

The end.

‘You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you will join us

And the world will be as one’

Much dreaded day of the year!

A much dreaded day is coming up for me. My birthday. A day that causes stress in me, my family and friends. This year though, instead of getting gifts, cards, messages and money, I decided to do something different. Below here are some of the causes that I believe in. It would mean the world to me, and make my day and my life so special if you can do any of these for me. Please do message me (privately) if you are able to do any of these, or your own thing if you’d like, and I will cherish that in my life forever.
Bring a box of chocolate to the local ambulance, fire station, A&E (or police station if you dare!)
Give motivational books, posters or materials to the local youth hostel near you. Alternatively, send me a donation for buying these things or send these things to me and I will personally deliver them to the local youth hostel that I work in.
Homeless people- 1, Give a fiver or tenner to a homeless person. 2, Create a care package with snacks, sandwiches, toiletries etc and give it to 5 homeless people. 3, Get to know a homeless person, get to know his/her circumstances and get him a sandwich of his choice for 4 weeks.
Donate money or clothes to your local Barnardos charity for children (or any children’s charity of your choice)
A donation for the older people’s cafe (LinkLiving)that I volunteer at (I will specify what the money will be used for later on).
Help elderly with their shopping.
Ask a shop assistant how his or her day has been.
If you have a grandparent who lives near you or with you, give him/her a hug and a kiss.
Leave a compliment under a young girls profile picture of herself.
Leave a note on your rubbish bin for the man/woman who collects your rubbish thanking them for their service.
Finally, if you are religious, say a little prayer for me to be always grateful for the life I have and blessings I have in life. And for my catholic friends and relatives, may be light a little candle or say a decade of rosary/divine mercy chaplet for me?
Thank you
I will be sure to have the best birthday this year!

Life Motto Revelations

It’s often difficult to take new steps in life. I’ve been dying to get myself back into dance this year. It was getting to the stage where it was shameful to think, never mind say to someone, that I once used to do some dancing. I lack confidence on the dance floor and find it easier to just say ‘I suck at dance’ and just do my usual chicken dancing. But today, I went for my first dance lesson. I was rather anxious to go there, dance, meet new people etc.  Life motto No 1: ‘If the thought of doing something makes you nervous, do exactly just that.’ I did just that and I’m glad I did.

Now the dancing lesson was intense and I somehow managed bits n bobs. It did not improve my dancing or confidence right away, and I don’t know if it ever will (although I’m hoping it will otherwise world will be a darker place with my chicken dance!). What it did do was make me reiterate my life motto no 2: ‘be what you want to be’ and implement it. I did just that and I’m glad I did.

Happy 21st Baby girl

 

When she was born, I don’t remember how she looked like
Nor do I remember the first time I saw her,
or the first time I held her in my arms.
I do however remember the first word (or one of the first words) she said,
And how chubby she looked.

Living miles apart from each other,
She was a holiday treat for us older sisters.
She walked funny and talked funny
But then again, what was I to know, I was only 5

Fast forward three years, she came to live with us.
A crying baby who missed the grandmother who looked after her all those years.
Since then, she became my possession, a personal project.
And my little person.

Ammachi carried her everywhere and fed her things
I didn’t mind at all.
After school, we rushed home to see her playing in the front garden.
It was an unusual but soon becoming a pleasing sight for us older sisters.

Soon enough, she started going to school.
To our school.
A tiny body in a tiny  cream blouse and a brown coloured frilled frock
With side parted hair and rather short fringe,
She was a fragile little thing lost in Carmel Academy’s school uniform.

Being always subjected to change, and having no one she can trust,
She cried.
Every time she felt scared.

It was 4 pm, and I wasn’t done with my exam
I went up to my teacher to ask her permission to go out for 5 minutes
Luckily, she allowed

I got out of the exam hall to find her
And I did.
Waiting under the big mango tree, weeping.
She looked so weak and fragile,
The 8 year old me felt crumbled
And the sight never faded in my mind till this day.

Birthdays, anniversaries and other  occassions, we celebrated them all.
Hide and seeks, House, and other myriad games, we played them all.
I grew up, Anji grew up, and she grew up with us.
Life kept on bringing us and her changes, a lot and lot of changes.

One of these changes left us in Belfast one fine morning.
She started going to the nearby primary school, St Josephs.
Mummy was so worried about  her that she went to the school at lunch time to check up on her.
She’d already made her first friend, and apparently shared her lunch with her new friend?

Fast forward few years, She joined us in our high school
Again, side parted hair, with no fringe this time, thank goodness
In a grey jumper, tie, blazer, skirt and tights,
A nerdy little first year Indian kid I saw

Being a green blazer myself, a so called ‘cool’ 6th year,
I avoided her every time she walked past me with her friends
and enthusiastically waved at me.

Then one day, I hear her speak at the school assembly
About how Christmas used to be in India

And saw her holding up an umbrella for a short guy,
from my health and social care class.

Again, time kept moving forward.
And it took me to  Scotland for Uni
And Anji to Liverpool
We came back home with plus ones.

Life hasn’t always been mild on her
It brought changes after changes into her life
But she didn’t crumble
In fact,
The fragile girl with the awful side fringe kept toughening up
Without anyone else beside her.

And today, she stands as a strong, independent woman,
With a mind that does not waver easily, annoying for some, especially me.
A family that is well proud of her
A best friend who dots her
Brother in-laws who fight for her attention and approval.

All these years, all these events and all these changes,
Left her to become an amazing young adult
However,
She is still  my possession and my personal project.

And forever my little person.

Happy 21st baby

My perfect veil

The wedding preparations are ongoing!

One day, I’m excited as hell about the wedding celebrations, the marriage life, the ‘always and always’s, the responsibilities etc.

Next day, I can’t be bothered with all the commotion and pain that comes with it. Too much hassle.

On the third day, I am scared as hell and unsure about spending THE REST OF MY LIFE with a man!!! I like my feministic approach to things. What if marrying a man kills my feministic spirits? Gee that’s a no no!

On the fourth day, I can’t believe I’m giving up ‘everything’ for marriage. Do I not want to travel? I definitely should’ve got a flat. Oh and that masters? Damn, I haven’t done everything I wanted to do before getting married. Because of course, it would be impossible to do all this once I’m married.

On the fifth day I like my ‘single’ stress free life and I like my mammy. I can never be the silly and immature daughter I’m just now. I can’t share dirty jokes with my sisters. Why? Because I’m going to be a..wait for it..WIFE!!

On the sixth day, is he the ‘right’ one? We seem to be fighting a lot. What if things are not going to be the same after we marry? Am I in a for a ‘trap’? Is he definitely my type? How can I test him to see that he will definitely stick around?

On the seventh day, God created woman, the most complex being on earth. Back to day one and the vicious cycle starts again.

I’m complex and a handful, I put my hand up. BUT, I am also someone who can appreciate things and not take things for granted. My veil made me realise that.

I ordered this veil online. It looked PERFECT on the website so it was perfect. The veil arrived and I opened it up with a lot of anticipation and excitement.

Oh!

Thought it was going to be like a feather!. Its…. Its stiff. It’s way too rough. And too long. No. I don’t like it. It’s not ‘me’.

Its not ‘perfect’!

Tried to look at it again the next day and the next day and the next day. Nothing changed. So I do what every other girl would do. Went and ordered a ‘soft’ veil.

The ‘soft’ veil arrives. Way too short. Devastated. Why can’t anything work out in my favour?!

My best friend trips to help me out. She says I can wear her beautiful Kim Kardashian veil. Say what??? “but remember, its heavy with all the work. You have to wear what feels right for you’

Devastated!

Two weeks later, I pick up the tab again to order another one. I took the first veil out to compare the length with the second one. I hung them up on my door. I fixate on the first veil. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. It’s kinda..perfect? Its long, like I always wanted it. It’s got simple but clean work on it, which is my type. And it is …me?.

Boom!

Text to sisters: ‘changed my mind, I’m wearing the first veil’

Text from sister: ‘mmm..i thought the first one wasn’t good?’

Text to sister: think it just occurred to me that its perfect. Might change my mind though. Lol

Text from sister: but it was like a stiff net tho right?

Text to sister: kinda is. Watch out for a new blog entry.

Moral of the story: No veils are perfect, no matter what. If you merely ‘look’ at the veil, you merely find faults with the veil. It might scare you that this veil is not good enough for the big day. BUT if you ‘see’ the veil, you will see what’s good with it and what’s bad with it. If the good things help you forget the bad things about it, that means that’s your veil. Your perfect veil.

Long story short, I found my perfect veil!

(Gooddd life without analogies would be hard!)

Boasty timee!

Bored out of my mind, I decided to scroll down through my previous posts. Some made me cringe, some made me laugh, some made me go ‘shit, that’s some pretty deep stuff there’. Not being boastful or anything, but I really should start listening to myself.
I picked out 2 of my favourites and I have have have to share this with someone. But I dont have anyone to share it with just now. So I is stating em here
1. “Smile it forward” (had to ask myself whether I really wrote that. Not being modest at all here, but that was some good suit man)
2. “I wish you were single dear”. Purely because reading it made me re-live that day. Major aww-ing!

That one little quaver!

quaverI was craving for a packet of quavers. Whatever you crave for, you get it! That’s the rule right? So I got a packet of ’em. They disappeared in less than 1 minute.  No idea where they went (!). Couldn’t resist the temptation again. Went for another one. Finished that packet as well. (yeah, I know!)
Just when I thought I was done with it all, I found a quaver on my bed. Happy was I who found the quaver. The ‘cheesy’ me tried to relate this to one’s life in 2 different ways. And here’s my attempt.

1. Just when you thought you were done with all the ‘quavers’ in your life, there appears another one that makes you go ‘why me?’
2. Just when you find that there are no more ‘quavers’ left in your life, there appears a random ‘quaver’ that will make you appreciate your life and the previous ‘quavers’ in life.
It all depends on how you look at the quaver 😉

“Even if you just scribble scrabble on the page you can turn it into wind or a tree if you look at it right” (Quote From H.O.N.Y)