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  • Writer's picturepratsboho

The Female Conundrum

Helloooo, my fellow lockdown buddies. I hope you're all hanging in there with me. All of us going through the experience of being safe, sad, bored, experimenting, discovering, and various other zones of the same boat. It's amazing how we're all in it together and yet not really!?

So anyway, I had to go pick some 'semi-essential, but important to long lockdown' stuff from my sister's home this morning that we couldn't pick up before the restrictions got a bit relaxed. I traveled alone in the car, wore a mask, sanitized, pressing buttons with my knuckles, and took precautions for me and others, etc..

The roads are being manned well and I saw that police were being alert, but not mean. And that's important, isn't it? In this situation. The important thing in the pandemic hasn't just been the virus: it's been humanity, values, wisdom, prioritizing... Anyway, I don't want to digress.

The drive and the pick up itself gave me quite a bit to think about :).

1) As a girl, I am the weaker sex. I need help.

!! Hear me out:

When it comes to lifting heavy bags, with a back weakened by two C-sections ( thanks, kids!) and a slight knee injury that flares up now and then, it gets a bit hard. So while the latter is agender the former happens to girls only. Hence: I need help.

So here I am, lugging a HUGE bag AND an oven, down the elevator and all the way to my car. ( My sis and BiL were still asleep. This was more of a 'me, the extra key and my sister's dog', kinda operation :D).

And of course like every apartment complex in India right now, there's always a couple of uncles and some 22 yr old lackeys hanging around downstairs.

Now, this bag was huge. It had all our remaining clothes, 10 pairs of heavy shoes, some miscellaneous items. And then there was the oven.

So I'm pulling, and dragging this monstrosity to my car.

I see these men sitting around with newspapers and lackey had an e-tablet.

No worries, I had no intention of asking for help up until that point.

A) I didn't want to have someone that close for covid-precautionary reasons.

B) I was able to manage. It was hard, not impossible.

Then I have to lift and push this thing into my car and much against my own inclinations, I turned and asked for help. Just for a hand to lift and shove the bag into the backseat.

Uncle muttered under his breath. I had no issues. I hadn't even looked at him when I made my request. I had asked lackey.

Lackey was shameless! He kept staring at me and didn't even bother to say no. That would've been easier to understand. He just stared.

By now I had decided it was all for good I didn't need to come into close contact and just bent my knees, put my back into it, and lifted. Like I said, extremely hard, not impossible.

Uncle in the meantime came and just managed to put his hand on the bag and give it the last namesake shove in before I shut the door.

Again, wasn't necessary by that point and he really didn't help, but I want to give him points for being decent about it. Unwilling, but decent.

Lackey is still staring, only now, with a bemused expression.

I had a mask on so I just looked back at him and nodded with a very sarcastic tsk tsk, if you know what I mean, and lackey mirrors it back to me!!

Anyway, Casper, nephew/doggo had put me in a good mood that wasn't going to be shattered by a random idiot, plus I was in a hurry to get to the supermarket and back home.

So I got out of there and then

2) I go to Ratnadeep Supermarket. They were following all the masks, social distancing rules, a limited number of people in the store, hand sanitizing... everything.

But also, they had erected a temporary awning ( shamiyana) for those queuing outside in the hot summer sun and also provided cartons of mini water bottles at the Queue and at the cash registers.

Once inside, I searched the shelves for some off-beat and gourmet ingredients for my husband to experiment with. We very recently, and much to our surprise, found that he cooks superbly. He's taken to it quite naturally and with flair.

And so with polite and hardworking staff to assist, I'm in and out with my shopping quite easily.

3) I'm driving back home now and it's a few kilometers away, so I get to enjoy cruising on fairly empty city streets and my thoughts turn to my kids and how much I miss them right now and all the stuff we normally do together.

What will the new normal be for our family? We already follow a very alternative timeline/study/geophysical living sort of lifestyle, so what does the next look like?

And then I started thinking about how I've started posting their videos online.

In fact, I've just started a new Instagram account with my settings on public access, because I needed to share my daughter's song cover and without tagging the organizers and without public access, she wouldn't be able to participate in open competition.

So I started an IGTV series for her song covers and for a place to post the original compositions that she's working on.

And then I started one for my son's guitar videos. He's also working on OCs and I'm hoping they both do really well.

All this brings me to the original problem: The Female Conundrum.

1) A. As a woman, I felt that it was better if I made the trip alone back and forth across the city because the chances of getting pulled over by the cops are lesser in the case of a woman.

So that's a cop-out (no pun intended) I was willing to take.

At the same time, I'm really NOT intimidated by the chance of getting pulled over. I really don't worry about it, and I can hold my own if I did have to talk to the cops.

So there's that mixed bag of intentions.

Brave woman vs Damsel driving alone.

1) B. I knew the bag was a monster going into this plan. And while I didn't need my husband's help to pick it up ( there's the ease of an elevator angle though), it irritated me that this young man just watched on without offering to help.

While thinking about it later, it did cross my mind that he could've had an injury or a reason for it, but I realized that he was not unable to help. His smirk says he didn't want to.

Maybe a feminist at heart ( insert sarcastic tsk tsk).

But if I were to think it further, that guy's problem wasn't with a woman.

And sad for his wife/sis/uncle/neighbour.

Because he was just a bad person that didn't help someone with a huge bag.

2) As a wife, I absolutely LOVE my husband cooking up treats and it's so fun to see the utter bewilderment on his face when he's cooked up a storm. He's always so shocked at his own yum food :D.

And he loves trying new things, now that he's enjoying this culinary journey.

And I'm enjoying hunting for ingredients he doesn't know where to find.

And I'm secretly jealous that he's probably a better cook than I am.

How do I understand this swirl of conflicting pride and envy?

3) As a mom, I want to give my kids the best opportunities and encouragement and a platform to make them shine.

I want them to surpass their dads in music.

I want them to be savvier than we were.

I want to get them noticed.

But I want to keep them safe.

So how do I get them out there and yet shield them?

We advocate cyber safety, but we have to use it as a tool too.

See the ironies?

They're at every turn.

And as many times as I vow to live transparently, I also have to steer the waters shrewdly.

As many times as I want to give myself the free rein to live care-free, I also have to live intentionally.

Life is making me think about balances.

About taking it as it comes and the planning that goes with that.

I made it home fine.

I'm independent that way.

I was proud of myself as I curled into my husband's arms and felt safe.

The female Conundrum.

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