Sunday, 1 February 2015

My Journey from OR to AND

My journey from OR to AND has been long, arduous & synonymous with my lifetime; that is, its as long a journey as I have lived.  Yet, its been deeply fulfilling - quite simply, it is the story of my life.  But for this journey, from OR to AND, i wouldn't have lived at all - I would have merely existed.

To begin with, I never ever accepted the "OR" pronouncement - as a girl child in what seemed an incurable patriarchy, I was born resolute & resilient. Thankfully blessed with parents to match.

So, here is my story and journey of how AND replaced the OR in my life:

Tomboy AND a Lady:

Society says a Tomboy cannot be Lady-like? Trash it. Empty Recycle bin. Look no further.  Here is proof: In me, you get an incurable tomboy, very fond of sports, sports tourism, bikes and gaming.  As an adolescent girl, I used to negotiate with every boy in my locality to trade my bike with them for a solo ride on their Hero Honda :) Well, pretty much everyone was willing, as long as I let them do the pillion [ah ah, its not as much me, its concern for their bike dearest].  But, still, that was my best negotiation ever in all my life - sticking to my stand that I ride their Hero Honda solo. 

AND, I grew up a passionate lady.  Loving the woman Nature endowed me with. Respecting my body.  Loving hues & colors.  Loving fabrics & textures.  Deeply loving & having an intimate lifelong relationship with gemstones & jewelry - designing, collecting, treasuring them.

Regular readers / followers would know well that both the aforesaid traits are so innate.  

So, I can wear delicate sheer fabrics & dainty jewelry, exhibit the choicest feminine traits Nature endows us with - emotional, sensitive, intuitive - AND also enjoy sports, bikes and gaming deeply - enjoying, articulating, contributing and debating.    

That's a Tomboy AND a Lady - in one me.  And, I have no plans to give up being one for the other.  By the way, what is OR? 

Highly Educated AND "Sanskaari" [Cultured]:

Every parent in this Country, at some point, gets told (trust me), "don't educate your daughter beyond limits; she'll go out of your hand". 

Highly educated girls & women, are considered tough to rein in (to social patriarchy standards).  These well educated ladies are supposed to (in popular cultural connotation) bypass cherished ethnic culture & traditions. So says society, you are either highly educated "or" sanskaari. 

I didn't care; thank God for my parents. 

I have four professional certifications in my chosen field, topped up by a qualification in Computers & Application Software.  I stopped only because there just wasn't anything else left to do in my field from a formal education perspective (though learning avenues are as wide as an ocean].

AND, I am as 'sanskaari' as you will get anywhere in the world - I am deeply spiritual, almost have an everyday conversation with 'Nature'; I understand my religion [born practicing Hindu] & revere it for its tolerance, its inclusiveness & am thankful to my parents for inculcating in me the ability to understand traditions enough that I respect them - I firmly believe many rituals & traditions had the best health & social benefits, often - just that, our ancestors probably weren't as adept at marketing & communication as us!  

Oh yes, some rituals & traditions have proved to be incompatible, with time & changing socio-environmental reasons - barring those, I derive much fulfillment from many of the customs and traditions.  One of my most healing habits include gathering fresh flowers from my Mom's garden, stringing them into fresh garlands for the temples in my city.  Lighting a lamp lights up my soul.  Going to a temple fills me with positive energy.  I do all of it for my own sake - at my own will.  Never miss an opportunity to conjure up a colorful Rangoli - be it Diwali or Pongal. You have to be Madras born to known the art of making 'kolams' :) I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.  I understand & can articulate eloquently on many of our scriptures & mythological masterpieces.  I rock a western outfit as attractively as I rock ethnic apparel - a jumpsuit to a sari.  Who says if I look great in western apparel, I can't pull it off in a sari or a salwar suit?  That's too much to give up on either side.  I have cultivated a feminine contour to revel in & celebrate both western & ethnic attire.   

That's highly educated AND "Sanskaari" - in one me.  And, I have no plans to give up being one for the other.  By the way, who needs OR? 

Single Woman AND "Solo Traveller":

Well, this is serious.  Crime against women has captured popular newsprint only in recent time.  Yet, even worldwide, single women travelling solo is & has always been frowned upon - from a physical safety perspective.

I have, thanks in plenty measure, to my fondness for sports & jewelry (as aforesaid), loved traveling the globe.  In pursuit of both.

I have traveled as a single woman to South Africa to watch the Cricket World Cup AND to collect African jewelry, be it an unique wood giraffe bracelet-bangle or a 9K African gold pendant with bushman art on it.

I have traveled as a single woman to the Melbourne Cricket Ground & the Adelaide Oval, to delight the cricket fan in me.  Oh wait, I also traveled so I can collect Australian Opals & natural colored diamonds from the famed Australian mine.

I have traveled as a single woman to Sri Lanka to watch a final match at the Premadasa stadium; AND bought the choicest of sapphires from Kandy :)

I have traveled as a single woman to Vancouver - as much as I rejoiced in a sail boat [ah, Vancouver's water life], I loved collecting British Columbian Jade!

That's a Single Woman AND a Solo Traveler - in one me.  Oh yes, I used 'Find & Replace' option in my life - to hunt out the OR & replace it with AND.

Regional AND National:

This, I owe to my parents.  Raised very pluraly, I have naturally grown to be an 'AND' citizen. 

I love my mother tongue Tamil & my birth city & hometown Chennai.  AND, I love so many Indian regions & languages as much - I speak fluent (AND classical) Hindi & Urdu, a splattering of Punjabi, Malayalam & can understand quite a few other Indian languages.  I can recite Sanskrit hymns & slogans effortlessly. 

On Hindi - Bollywood, please take note, I am a passionate 'Madrasi' AND I speak blemishless Hindi - someday, I hope to make an impression enough on Bollywood that caricature portrayals of 'Madrasis' speaking comical Hindi (with an unforgivable accent) stops.  For good.

I love Punjabi food, Bengali desserts & gold jewelry designs, Rajasthani blue pottery & gem stones, Rajasthani & Gujarati textiles & handicrafts.  I collect bamboo cookware from North-east India!

Chennai is where my soul resides but India is home.  Classical music deeply heals me.  Carnatic music is what I was born into, but I have a deep liking for Hindustani music as well as global genres ranging from R&B to Sufi. 

Global AND Rooted:

Thanks to my Dad, who bought as many as two to four newspapers in my little girl years [yeah, we didn't have the internet of things then & almost everyday, there used to be fracas for the morning newspaper in a small household], I grew up globally exposed.  And, I have truly belonged globally, that way.  I understand, have traveled to, vibe with, articulate about & contribute to multiple Countries, in my own little ways. 

I call myself a born German Football fan.  I long to (have) see(n) Ayrton Senna, on live TV, in his prime.  Where else do you get as humane & vulnerable a Champion in a high precision, high engineering sport? I drool over Pierce Brosnan [from Remington Steele to his 007 tryst].    

AND I am as fiercely rooted an individual as you can ever come across.  I have always worked with my hometown Chennai as the base [I could travel for as long as it takes, but I gotta be back here].  Chennai is where my karmic energy springs from.  But, I harness it from here, give back here & also globally, in my own little, humble ways.

Independent AND Dependent:

If you thought morons can be persons but oxymoron can't be a person, here we go:  you are reading about a self-confessed oxymoron.  I love Formula 1 (F1) racing yet am damn afraid of driving in my own city [its a jungle!].   
I am fiercely independent.

AND, deeply dependent.  Puzzling?

As a woman, I love having my profession, working hard & earning my bread (and all my indulgences).  No sugar daddies for me.  Yet, I long for & am dependent on a protective, loving household.  I would love for a companion to go through life together - to watch the sunrises & sunsets, to raise a child, to travel the world, to read the classics, to see the plays, to drown in the music, to critique the movies, to explore the night sky, to learn the skills, to play the sports et al. 

That's an independent AND dependent me - all rolled into one. 

This is my story of OR to AND.  How I chose to #UseYourAnd.  How I always made choices - not compromises. How do you #UseYourAnd?

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus. 

Cheers :) 

Since I am currently surviving through a nightmarish stalking experience, in the interest of personal safety, I am refraining from posting my photos & instead posting my avatars.

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