Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sometimes, it is not a man's world!

I suppose, in more ways than one, my childhood experiences when growing in India would not have been that different from what kids might have experienced in other parts of the world.  I would think that kids are kids are kids.  It is the system and the adults who lay out the rules for us right from when we can begin to follow instructions.

Many of those instructions are absolutely needed.  If not for adults guiding kids, well, life will be a variation of an old joke that I have used so many times in classes:
Q: What's the difference between broccoli and booger?
A: Kids hate broccoli
There are plenty of evolutionary purposes served through that kind of guidance.  Hey, even the geese and the ducks train the young, even on crossing the road it seems!

But, through that same process, we also begin to brainwash kids with a whole lot of crap.  Some crap are worse than others.  When I was growing up, it was not unusual for boy kids to be told "don't cry like a girl!"  Or, for girls to be told "don't run around like a boy!"  The crap keeps on coming and it takes some conscious effort to get rid of a whole lot of baggage that quickly piles up.

There is a reason for such a preamble to what I want to get to in this post.

When in India, even the December days are hot anymore.  Bearable hot, as opposed to the unbearable heat of the long summer months there.  It is not without reason that the traditional gear there was nothing but a dhoti and a thundu for men.  But, I can't do that outfit--I would feel naked if I all I had was nothing but a thundu on top.  

So, one day I decided to pick up a couple of light linen shirts that are more suited to the hot and humid conditions.  The store nearby did have something along the lines of what I had in mind.  They had it in only two colors, and one of them was pink.


Throughout my childhood, and definitely into my adult years, the system had pummeled into my head that pink is for girls and women. And that if a man wore pink, well, he was gay.  I looked at the linen shirt. I thought about the heat and the humidity. The pink actually looked good.  I bought that.  And the other one too, which a lighter olive brown.

The funny thing; thanks to years of social conditioning, I couldn't bring myself to wear the pink.  The rest of my Indian vacation, that shirt stayed in my suitcase.

Here in Oregon, with the much milder temperatures for most of the year, that linen shirt remained in the closet.

It has begun warming up here in Oregon.  Some days are so hot that I have no option but to turn on the air conditioning unit. Yesterday was one of those days.  A bright and hot sunny day, with no trace of cloud up in the air. 

The pink linen shirt came out of the closet.

I wonder why we indoctrinate kids and adults with twisted ideas.  On various issues. From pink to race to caste to ... the list is endless, it seems.

Or, maybe I should simply stop thinking about these. 



Shachi said...

The whole gay thing, wearing pink, etc is much more exaggerated here than in India. In Ahmedabad, you can find lots of college going youth wearing pink. You can find groups of boys holding hands, hugging and hanging out.

Thanks to a male house helper in our neighbor's house, I knew first hand about gay behavior. If not for him, I would have had no idea. And I assume there are many still today who are naive about it.

In certain cases, I feel, the less you know, the better it is :).

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, everything in the US gets exaggerated and distorted, it seems like. Food size is exaggerated, and so is the exaggeration at the other end--a maniacal devotion to paleo-diets. Similarly, a twisted mindset on the color pink even as people wear all kids of bizarre things ... I suppose we are a crazy people like any other people in any other country ;)

India is crazy in its own way ...

Yeah, ignorance can be bliss, sometimes ... well, rarely ... ok, ok, never ;)

Ramesh said...

Well, wonders never cease

You turned on the air conditioner ??? Wait - you have an air conditioner ?? Now it is conclusively proven that global warming is a fact, if in the town of Eugene in Arctic land, you need an air conditioner. What next :):)

At the moment I am wearing a pink shirt. And I am not gay. Nobody bothers about pink or red or yellow or whatever , here. You weren't conditioned against pink in your childhood , surely.

And sir, do you really think the veshti and thundu makes you feel more naked than the kachcha & T shirt :):):)

Sriram Khé said...

Am so disappointed that nobody cared for my broccoli/booger joke :(
Oh well ... Shachi will soon get to correct her kids ;)

Yes, Ramesh, it gets hot here in the summer. Messes up my life. I can feel myself wilting away ;)
This week will be hot--high reaching 90. (32 in your metric!)
Weekend, the high will finally come down to 82 (28 C)
Stop rolling your eyes, mister!!!!

Yes, I should have clarified there that the pink/women/gay thing is more a brainwashing in the US than otherwise. I think because I was continuing on with the other examples right from the childhood, I slipped and didn't separate this out from the rest. India did load up my baggage on lots of other things; so, India is not off the hook either!

Yeah, nudity is in the eye of the beholder ... Now, I am so much used to what I wear, that if I had to wear a veshti and a thundu and walk the streets of TNagar, I will think I am an awfully ugly male version of Lady Godiva who was to watch out for peeping Rajalakshmis .... muahahaha ...

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