Gender Roles and Men…for Akshay

I speak too often on this topic for me to want to speak anymore on it. But because it’s one of the prompts, I’ll add my own twist to it.

Toxic masculinity, and conforming to concepts of accepted manliness isn’t an abstract concept. It is a lived reality of our lives. Our lives. You too, boys.


You know what made me curious about Fan? Yes, the SRK movie with him in a double role? The fact that at least one version of SRK cries. And it’s not random shedding-a-tear-at-your-daughter’s-wedding-crying, it’s the proper crying session with snot coming out his nose and whimpering kinds.

It’s the girl kind of crying.


One of my closest friends had his first sip of alcohol after his first break up, in high school. Because that’s how “guys drown their sorrows”. The next day we had a bitching-about-the-ex-over-icecream session. And that’s something we do to this day with every new break up. 


Alok Nath is my favourite kind of Bollywood father. He’s not as traditional as Amrish Puri, but he’s not as modern as Anupam Kher. He’s the father who offers to educate his daughters against popular wishes. He also makes sure his daughters-in-law are treated like family. Unfortunately, he’s also the one who puts maryaada before any thought of self preservation. It’s expected of him to sacrifice for the daughters till the time he lives. And boy, he never disappoints! 


Last year, I met a 10-year-old boy. A son of a friend’s. He wanted to be a chef, but his mother said no one gives brides to baawarchis.*


In a class of 100 odd students, there were 5 boys in my college. These were boys who chose “arts”, or as we would say today, the liberal arts. The common assumption made about them? The dating pool was very large and accessible for them. After all, arts wasn’t a career choice.


I didn’t recognise myself as a feminist for a very long time. I thought the movement, the term were all very dated. I thought the movement needed to rebrand itself from men bashing to something more positive. I am also sitting on the upper echelons of the privilege pyramid. I didn’t think I was ever forced onto any gender norms. So it was never relevant to me either.

Till one day, it all was.

You may think the call for gender equality and dismantling patriarchy isn’t your business. But it’ll fall into place one day. One day, when your life’s choices being dictated by your genitals will be problematic to you too.

*A cook at home.



I take a holiday often, aka the reason people envy me. 

I have an excel sheet that has plans for all my vacations. So I basically research the life out of every place I go to. And places I want to go to. And places I may someday go to.

Which is why, it’s totally out of character for me to do something I didn’t plan and think about in advance. Also, take opinions on. 

This morning, I saw an interesting post where a friend asked for topics to write on, and for the first time, I decided to blog as I thought. Yes, it’s unbelievable that I put in any thought into my posts. But I do. So I put a similar post of mine. 

So here’s a day of random posts about nothing and everything. 
PS. I think this is a major excuse for people to pull my leg and suggest outlandish stuff. Thankfully, they’re not. 

The Appropriation of Bihar

Heartranjan's Blog

The recently concluded Bihar elections was the most interest in Bihar I have ever seen.

Till a few weeks back, Bihar was the joker in the pack. The easiest to ridicule, get laughs out of. When someone says they’re from Bihar, a silence follows, since nobody wants to say anything.

Behind their backs, jokes about rickshawalas, uneducated paan-chewing brutes are cracked, and consumed. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the bloody Prime Minister of the country, was ridiculed for being, afterall, a ‘Bihari’.

But he’s Vajpayee, and he’s a poet and stuff, so you can’t fuck with him. He quickly replied that he is ‘Bihari’, yes. But he is also ‘Atal’ (firm).

The point is, till last week, Bihar didn’t figure in the serious landscape of the regular Scroll-consuming Facebooker.

Now suddenly, everybody wants to talk about Bihar.

People who haven’t been to the state even once, have no idea…

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“So what’s been up?”

“Well, for four months now I’ve been working everyday. Loving it mostly, but it’s tiring.”

“Oh, so you’re still teaching?”

*cringe* “Yes, why?”

“You are so intelligent, why waste time teaching? I could make a few calls if you’re looking for a job…”

“Ah… See I’m teaching because I want to. I quite like it. It’s not an accident. Me teaching, you know?”

“Obviously, obviously. Quite a noble profession at that. So, how’s your health.”

“It’s much better, thank you.”

“Do you get time to rest with the teaching hours and prep?”

“Not really. But it’s okay, I don’t think I’d have rested even if I were unemployed.”

“Hmm… That’s the problem. Take care, Masterni!”


“Hey! Heard you’re a teacher now!”

“Yes. Though not full time, I don’t have the experience. Still learning how to teach effectively and get them to be interested”

“Oh! So abhi Diwali vacation?”

“No. At the institute I teach, we have two long breaks at the end of semesters and two short ones in the middle.”

“Oh! So… what’s the point of being a teacher? Vacations are your benefits no?”

*cringe* “Mmm.. Not really.”


“Hey! Mummy said you’re teaching!”

“Yes aunty. It’s been a very short while actually.”

“That’s good that’s good. Teachers make good housewives. Plus you already have experience of dealing with children!”

*Cringe* “……..”


“Ma’am, why did you start teaching?”

“I always wanted to. Thought I’d be a journalist first and then look for teaching in that field, but then, this isn’t consolation prize really.”

“But you’re still young. Are you sure you want to do this all your life?”

“For now, yes. I enjoy it.”

“Why? Teachers always say how we’re not a nice batch but they love teaching anyway.”

“You send WhatsApp forwards on silly stuff you don’t mean all the time, correct? When we’re really exasperated, we say stuff to discipline you.”

“I guess what I mean is, you know so much… You’ll leave teaching if you get something better?”

“I’m sure I’ll leave it only if I can’t teach and do what I like together. Otherwise I’ll be here I think.”


“Why did you decide to teach?”

“I’ve been fond of lecturing people for a while now. I think if I can get paid for it, why not.”

“Mmm.. You’ve no experience. You’ll think of it differently soon. I’ve been teaching for long enough to know that.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Do you mind me teaching? I’ve no experience.”

“You like it, right? So why not. You’re young, the students will connect better with you.”

“I hope they see me as a teacher. Any advice?”

“Naah. You’ll figure it out.”


“Sooooo… It’s been a while. I hear your students hate English!”

“Oh well, not a core subject. I think literature would’ve been preferable to grammar. The gender kids kinda seem happy to listen to me.”

“Oh, it was your calling always.”

“I’m glad you think that way, ma’am.”

“Yes. Just don’t make it your only source of living. You can’t be poor all your life.”



Disclaimer: I don't teach Hindi!

An English teacher’s ode to Bollywood

…….and I rest my case.


I am just back from a class excursion with 50 adolescents. We went rappelling, rock-climbing, jungle cooking, bird watching, star-gazing, zip lining, trust-walking, obstacle clearing, bonfire singing and dancing, tree-climbing and strawberry picking, among other things. It was my first excursion as a teacher. The kids’ hormones were on overdrive, their responses to everything was hugely exaggerated and their ability to talk endlessly often tired me out. But what was interesting is despite our age gap, we had plenty of common ground.

On the onward bus journey which lasted five hours, there were the usually medley of jokes, knock- knocks and smart one liners doing the rounds. I watched, curious, not knowing how entertainment in today’s generation would unfold. Eventually they began singing, and in a few minutes, the verdict was clear. Bollywood won. They were singing my songs, although they were singing the remix versions. I was warned about…

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Nicely sums up the Great Indian Facebook Debate on Diwali! 🙂

Heartranjan's Blog

Riding a bike on Diwali night is like being in a video game. You’re riding on your bike on dark roads. There are psychedelic sounds and lights around you, changing with every turn on the road.

There are assholic children flinging crackers and you have to evade them. You have one life and limited health (with or without insurance).

Come Diwali, a certain type of moralistic messages creep up on your wall. Don’t pollute nature, think of the environment, etc etc. But what most people don’t realise is that it is really kids who do it. After a certain age, you outgrow it. You sit back and notice people, and write blogs about it.

I think it is a little hypocritical that after celebrating Diwali in the way we did, we suddenly turn all Baba Jogeshwar on kids and ask them to save the environment. I mean, how often have you…

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The Sandwich Chronicles

What am I upto these days when I’m not blogging? This. This right here. Going mad.


This is an extract of a conversation that took place last night at out Bookhad chatroom. There is Utkarsha, Sameen, Asim, Aroop and myself. The ladies weren’t very interested in The Sandwich Chronicles for some weird reason while the guys were very intent. Aroop couldn’t run the course; Asim gave up and I couldn’t manage a one sided conversation.

It began with an expletive aimed at a former employer of mine and it went on to… other stuff.

Siddiqui Fayesal: I feel sorry for your friend. I’ve worked in a thankless environment for bloody years. Bawa will be hated for ever.

Sameen Borker: Okay aroop

Siddiqui Fayesal: Shit. Long speech wasted! Oh. ok, It wasn’t long.

Sameen Borker: I’ll go cool off

Siddiqui Fayesal: Don’t cool off!

Sameen Borker: I could slap someone right now.

Siddiqui Fayesal: Write an effing hate poem! It comes out best at these…

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