Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The XX-XY Games ....

There is this really innovative tag doing the rounds.

IHM started it. Then I find that Starry has tagged me.

It's about listing at least "ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.".....

Thinking about this has been a revelation of sorts. My parents never, ever, stopped me from attempting anything because I was a girl. So a lot of things that are considered traditionally attemptable predominantly by boys , were done by me as a matter of fact, and sometimes even encouraged by my folks. And so I have to search and search in my mental archives way back into the 1950's, and onwards till now.

1. I have often played the driver's role, fairly well, during family crisis situations; almost always when I was unmarried and often after marriage. Driving folks to and fro from hospitals (patients and visitors), reaching folks on trains (jumping in to catch places for them) etc etc. Although certain folks being typical gender stereotypes may disagree snidely, folks will tell you that I have perfected the art of driving in Pune (including the older parts), Mumbai (including crowded traditional south Mumbai places), and at one time , California.

Both are diametrically opposite modes of driving. Abroad it's a science , here it's an art. And here, I do all the stuff like glaring at taxi drivers, gesticulating saying "Kya kar rahe ho/Kya hai ! (=what do you think you are doing?)", "Oye !"... etc...

2. I have lived in the college hostel in my undergraduate years, and no, I was not given a set of do's and dont's by overly concerned types. I discovered them myself.

3. I excel at pushing cars which are stuck in the wet mud and even otherwise. Particularly Fiats, and specifically in torrential rains. I also know how to deactivate a stuck Bendix wheel.

4. Regularly washed my parents' old Ambassador car, because I enjoyed doing so. I have done this while staying in a hi-fi locality , when of a marriageable age, and desperate well meaning ladies had called my mother advising her not to have me doing such things :-) (She told them I was doing it of my own accord. My daughter has "inherited" this DNA)..:-)

5. I have tasted all kinds of alcohol out of sheer curiosity , and formed my own opinion which I follow. While wine sometimes tastes like chilled Drakshaasav, and is okay , the rest of the stuff, beer, hard liqueurs and stuff, tastes like medicine (without the benefits) and is to be avoided like H1N1. The family spent a year in Germany in the early 90's with me only imbibing fruit juices and soft drinks - in a land where I wouldn't be surprised if they bathed in beer....

6. I am amazed at and enjoy my own abilities to cook certain things, and the motivation for the same. The expertise was never a given.

7. As young teenagers, my brother and I were encouraged to learn to change punctured car wheels, and my favourite position was lying under the car, looking for a place to fix the jack.

8. I have climbed on to the back of a truck, and supervised the loading of my parents stuff, when my father retired and they shifted to a new town (given that the loaders were paying scant attention to light and heavy stuff and glass stuff. We didn't have professional packers and loaders back then. (There was me :-)....)

9.If you give me a thousand rupees and a choice between clothes and books, the latter win hands down, everytime.. ...

10. And since we are talking about gender stereotypes, I was honored to be my parents sole caretaker in their old age and last days. They probably knew that, and prepared me for it....

I would like to tag, Kavi, G, Nu, Sucharita, Vivek, Manju, Harish, Neha, and Hiphop GrandMom......

You must write about ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.".....and then, in turn, tag some more folks....

Let the XX-XY Games begin......


  1. Suranga, I always felt that you were different... meaning not typical stereotyped woman and I'm right!
    Loved reading this facet of yours :). And yay to parents who dont enforce stereotypes and conditioning based on gender!

  2. Great !! Impressive !!! Changing tyres...WOW, pushing cars which are stuck in the wet mud and knew how to deactivate a stuck Bendix wheel...WOW again...what all is hiding behind our XX chromosomes !!!!

    Even I've done the packing, loading and driving with the truck, in front seat to our new home - never used packers then !!!

    Just loved what all you did - esp where u tasted all those alcohols and formed ur own opinion !!! :)

  3. What a wonderful list. Discovered your blog through Starry's and have been following you since. I love the fact that a lady older than my father has done these things! Wow! You must be some grandmother to your grand-kids.

  4. Softypinkngloriousred Thank you, and Yay to parents for sure !

    UmaS Thank you. And no I didnt drive the truck. But a lot of the aforementioned hi-fi ladies called my mother about this hanging out (sometimes literally holding a chain at the back of the truck) with the loaders, and directing them. ...

    Sandhya I think we are going a bit too fast...:-) My children are both of marriageable age, and grandchildren are not yet on the horizon as such....but I might say my children had an amazing grandmother....who also didnt stick to certain stereotypes...

  5. :D :D Wonderful reading this, seems like my father came from the same school of thinkers your parents came from

  6. That is wonderful list.. I think you should be resource person for Gender Sensitization Trainings that different NGOs regularly conduct. :)

  7. That's an amazing list Suranga!!! And you have pushed cars too. I remember reading about you driving to and from hospitals in an earlier post :)

    Climbing on back of a truck to supervise the loading - shows how much simpler life becomes if our parents don't get too concerned with what is permitted to XY and what is prohibited to XX.

  8. Looks like I have put my foot in my mouth. Sorry about that. I went by your 'gappa' about being a senior citizen in the 7th decade of life. Uguich Kahitari lihile ahe, naahi? :)

  9. Ritu Thank you, that makes us virtually classmates ...

    Aativas Wait till I practice some running. I can see the some folks running after me with sticks...:-)

    IHM Something interesting. I have a friend who often says that XX is the "complete" variety. The Y is XY, is the langda (lame because of the single leg in the Y) member, makes XY the "incomplete" entity... Thats how you remember XX and XY and who is represented thereby....

  10. sandhya Asu de ga ! True, folks my age do have grandchildren. We're just running a bit late ....:-)) Ugichach !

  11. Dear Ugich Konitari,

    You have tagged me! And writing this is going to be fun!!

    I enjoyed reading your post.

    Will I be able to think of ten things? Let me see. It seems difficult. What if I discover that I have done more than ten? ;)

    Thanks for bringing some more fun,


  12. wow, wonderful I have to think of fresh things and 2-3 things I have done too that you have mentioned like hospitalization work, hostel and brain is working pretty fast now..will take up this tag as soon as I finish my Delhi Series posts :)

    Loved the tag :)))

  13. Go to the top of the class in gender stereotype sins, Suranga!!!! LOLing at the desperate well-meaning ladies!!! I would also always choose books, they're my life support system!

    It's fun to imagine you glaring and signing at the characters on Indian's a pre-requisite to skilled driving in India!! I love doing it myself...unless it's autodrivers or two-wheeler riders who are prone to getting off their vehicles and into road rage, GAH!

  14. I had this impression of you and my have you lived upto it :)

    Us women half your age can't do half these things :(

    Tyres, trucks... you are an inspiration !

  15. I am the repair 'man' at home. Always climbing on the ladder, shifting luggage, furniture. I hate to cook... regular day to day food.. that's about it. You are a wonder!

  16. WoW! Really enjoy reading ur posts and have been following u for quite sometime now...ur list is awsum

  17. Enjoyable post! Great list!

  18. This is the fourth or the fifth tag of the sterotype I am reading. I am tagged but I have been so busy reading and agreeing with some, I just haven't got down to writing...
    Good list.Loved the last...the best

    And since we are talking about gender stereotypes, I was honored to be my parents sole caretaker in their old age and last days. They probably knew that, and prepared me for it

  19. Meira has tagged me with the same. Will definitely take up this tag ASAP. But on the past recall mode, because of current stagnant razzled-mom condition. If you can manhandle a car, you earn my undying admiration!

  20. I can so visualize those ladies tsk tsks ... These ladies, goodness, I don't know what to say to them, they always seem to miss the point :P

    And thank u for the badges :)

  21. Well said maushi.

    When I read your posts I am reminded of how wonderful and fulfilling life is, and I am filled with a new hope for mankind.

    We should meet the next time I am in Mumbai :-) (of course only if you want to)

  22. Vivek Look forward to reading your post on this tag....

    neha Thank you. And reading your tag brought back lots of old memories :-)

    Starry Yes Ma'am . This tag is fun, isnt it !

    Arundhati Someone needs to do a Ph.D in building personas through blogs and comparing with real life .... should be interesting !

    Radha When you get to be my age, shifting luggage gets a bit dicey. I did a lot of that when I was younger . But welcome !

    Pushpee Thank you

    Manju Thank you

    sindhu Thank you

    Sucharita When folks accuse you of creating a dent on the car by leaning on it,:-) , then womanhandling a car becomes easier....

    PNA Thank you, and glad you liked the badges ...

    shilpadesh Certainly, I would love to meet up when you are next in Mumbai ! Keep in touch. We are having a blogmeet soon, and we can have one when you are here too !

  23. Wow as always you never cease to impress me. Hi5 at pushing cars. People used to have their eye balls dangling seeing the thin stick figure me pushing our car out of mud all the time.

    love your list

  24. Changing tyres - wow!

  25. crackedchronicles Times have changed ! we got a new car a few months ago, which actually pushes us, instead of the other way around...and it is certainly a pleasure not traipsing through the monsoon slush at an angle og 60" to the road behind the car ...:-)

    Bones I hear its easier on the new cars. Lets see...:-)