Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I cook with my hands- Sorry if that offends you

Last week I received a very unusual message on FB. I am deeply upset with myself for allowing myself to be upset by such incidents but it so happens that I am volatile ( even prior to my pregnancy). This message was from a so called distant relative of my dad residing in Italy. And it read 

Dear Teena,

Please take this message in the right sense, consider it like an advice from an elder brother ( building up tension). I saw some snaps on your food blog ( ok now he is getting to the point) and I see that you use bare hands to cook. This is unhygienic and will send wrong message to the world ( What the Fu###k ? ). I was supposed to show this link to some of my Italian friends and I was worried about what they would think? As it is they think we Indians are unhygienic ( I am bursting, seriously I am). So please use gloves henceforth.


Mr X

I was appalled at what I was reading, and I decided to share it with my hubby after all he is the calm one among us. He read it patiently and asked in quite unparliamentary words ( something I will translate parliamentarily here) Wasn't this guy born here and did his mom not cook using her hands? It's amazing he survived with all the unhygienic background.And then began my battle of mails with this fellow where I had to shatter his colonized mind off the burden to appease his colonizer friends. Well all I wrote was this

Dear Mr X.

I hope you realize India got freedom in 1947 and we ate with hands before 1947 and we still do. In fact eating with hands requires us to wash it before and after unlike man of you friends who might forget to do so because they don't eat with hands. And in fact I have been to Italy and have seen Italians eat Pizzas, Panini and many other stuff ( Like pop corn, MC Donald hamburger, french fries) using hands. In fact I spent an afternoon watching them toss pizza dough with bare beefy hands. And guess what in Venice, Milan, Florence and Perugia, they used hands to make pizza dough. Now I don't know about Rome and since you are there, you should tell me how to knead the pizza dough wearing gloves. Morevoer I am checking cookery videos and I see Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson using bare hands I am sure they are outcasts and disgrace to your Italian friends. 

And if your friends think we are unhygienic please tell them despite eating with dirty bare hands, and cooking with the same, we could not even kill 1/10th of our population, I wish we could that could be the best population control strategy.

Please find out if Sonia Gandhi uses here hands to eat, I am sure if she does that should upset Italy even more.



This mail was met with an absurd  reply which made me want to hire a contract killer to kill this guy..

Dear Teena,

You treat me like an enemy. Your dad and my dad were second cousins and you wrote to me with such arrogance ( oh god, why can't this guy stick to the point). I did not want my friends to misunderstand you. (to hell with your friends). I am ashamed at the way you argued ( yep, coz you seem to be the loser). I will never advice you hereafter ( good for you and I am blocking you dear brother).

Mr X

I finally blocked this guy off FB. I am surprised I get to meet such people and that they exist. Shallow people who wag their tails to appease the foreigners and who belittle their own culture and upbringing for this. Just because you stay a couple of years abroad does not mean you get to look down on your own people Mr Smarty pants and  you are free to wear gloves to eat your idlis and dosas ( after all they are coated with germs) . May you live ten years more than me and be a burden to mother earth. 

Seriously, why is it so cool when a foreigner eats with his fingers and why is it messy when we lick our hands dripping of curd rice. We use chopsticks, fork and knife and eat every cuisine they way it's meant to be so why is using hands a disgrace? And then you tell me crap like get close to nature?

I know this is an absurd fight but coming from an Indian born here and residing in Italy after the first half of his life I find this hypocritical. I am not ethnocentric but I will not allow myself to be judged and moulded for someone else that's just not me. ( After going through my blog all he had to say was wear gloves ??? )

This post is not meant to offend any other culture but I don't think imitating another culture, another accent, another way of life to be accepted by someone else is cool. It just shows how uncomfortable you are with yourself and how low your self esteem is.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Some pregnant thoughts

People, who tell you pregnancy is all about the glow on your face and excitement about that miraculous life growing within you, are definitely men or sadist women, who are lying or perhaps even a woman in denial or playing a joke at you. Despite years of debates and discussion with my spouse, surviving societal expectations and pressures, things definitely don't seem rosy and romantic to me, now that I am pregnant. There are times you feel lonely and then you realize there is someone within you (like that someone is right now kicking me from within). But then you wonder will this mere realization suffice? or am I subjecting myself to the romantic notions of pregnancy my subconscious has gathered from books, movies and wisdom of elders. I guess some of us fall in love with the notion of motherhood that we believe it's gonna be a romantic phase. When you visualize yourself in a pink checkered frilly frock (with those rose buds and bow ties) with a bowl of strawberry and a bulging tummy it appears cute in your  photo shopped mind. This post has been in the draft mode for 6 long months. I have never found it so hard to verbalize something before.

Frankly I wanted all that glow and when I looked devastating I was told it's a boy by many (these 'many' are like oracles in demeanor but as competitive as stock brokers when it comes to speculating the gender of the baby), as if it would pacify my aching heart. During our daily morning tea time conversation I asked my hubby my greatest fear- " Are we ready?" " Are we ready to accept we will never expect anything in return for all these aches and pain I go through?" "Will I be able to resist myself when a rebellious teenager asks me someday why I gave birth to him/her?" Long time ago a couple visiting us were shocked that we harbored such thoughts even before conceiving a baby and they told me that people don't think so much. That's exactly my problem, that we don't think at all and hence that teenager someday is right to ask why the hell he/she was made in the first place. I have asked my parents too, in my teenage rage, and so if what goes around come back like a boomerang, I am expecting the same.

I also get pissed off when people tell me 'enjoy!!! it's the best phase of life'. I don't understand what they mean. I don't think peeing 20 times a day or sneezing and finding yourself leaking is exciting. Neither do I think struggling with a numb hand (Carpal tunnel syndrome- and now it's infected both hands) or bee hive kind of rashes all over our body (please google - PUPPP) is  exciting. I cannot whip, or fold, type, or lift an object with my right hand (and now the left hand too) so imagine me typing this post :) I don't expect graces from heaven for going through this phase it so happened and I am learning to cope with it. So next time you see that stupid Johnson's ad and feel all teary remind yourself it's a hoax. Chances are that you will throw stuff at your hubby in pregnancy rage rather than sit and knit purple booties :) and that's normal. You won't say gaining weight brought happiness, you would sigh at the swollen feet that does not fit into your pumps (I don't have such issues but have friends who suffer from swollen feet). You are going to hate yourself on those sleepless nights trying to restrict yourself sleeping to the left while your partner tosses and turns and even  lies on his tummy.Bliss!!! Let me tell you it's not easy. You definitely need a lot of contemplation before you decide to get pregnant and family and societal pressures should be the least of your reasons to conceive. Because if you are unprepared two souls bear the brunt the most- the hubby and the baby and that's just unfair.

I don't mean I regret this. I just hate people telling me to enjoy this. Despite all odds I have been surviving this all alone, I did not employ a helper. I still manage everything home with the help of my supportive hubby, I am still editing my thesis. Pregnancy has made me love and respect my man even more. Unlike many lazy men I see around me, he wakes up early enough to help me with chores around. He is away mostly compared to others who get back home by 6 and relax, and yet he chooses to support me in everything I do at home from cleaning, massaging, washing to cooking.  He makes me realize we are in this together and had he the option he would share the numbness, the itching and the labour pain. And that's love.... and that's why I believe it's worth to bring this kid into a world where he/she can see mutual respect, love and care right from home. But that does not lessen the aches and pains and mood swings and nausea and weakness.... it does not mean we should glorify them and wear them as jewels. It need not be recounted 100 times in future to tame our kids- because we did choose this on our own for whatever reasons we have.

Each experience is unique so I am all ears to mothers who have pleasant stories to share but I just want to remind them, that its just not the same for all, we do experience joy with those occasional  kicks and flutters but we hardly have any control over our emotions ranging from anger to depression. I think comparing one's pregnancy to somebody else's is the biggest sin ever, trust me pregnancy can get competitive too, I see women compare baby weight, length, circumference and what not? Personally I would stay away from such competitions.

Something that has soothed me throughout is maintaining a baby journal where I record my thoughts, my daily mood fluctuations and ailments. It helps one bond with one's baby and would make the best personalized gift you can give your kid some day. Many friends who heard this laughed at me. They believe nothing beats money and investment. But I disagree. Despite the numbness, I never quit the journal, and I even jot down my inhibitions about being a parent. And frankly I love being cathartic that gives me sanity.

The biggest lesson I learned from all this is that there would be a load of useless people who would ask you why you don't have kids but you won't find a single soul when you are at it. I don't remember a single person from this clout calling me up and asking me about my health but they were the most determined of souls to convince me on the bliss of motherhood. So if you want to take this bridge it's a long solitary journey and it's not the last phase that hurts- the whole thing hurts in bits and pieces. So next time someone asks me when I am gonna have the second one- I am gonna shove some Mississippi pie down their @###