Ask And Ye Shall Receive

I watched Queen over the weekend.

 

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Once upon a time I’d blogged/whined about the dearth of coming-of-age-films with female protagonists in the bromance genre.

From my blogpost circa 2012-

What gives Bollywood?

How long do I have to wait for THIS movie to be made- the *definitive* female-protagonist driven movie about friendship and coming of age?

You know, where you take three young girls and document their stories- the class bunking,the road-trips, the philosophic conversations in scenic settings , the drunken declarations, the ‘finding’ of themselves (or whatever self-actualisation stunt you want to pull). May be you will have to include the bits about their paths to love, but hopefully you can do that without making them ditch their friends enroute to the altar.

 

Queen (Kangna Ranaut, Lisa Haydon) is probably the closest thing to what I’d asked for. Reaffirms my belief that the Secret (aka Central Philosophy of Om Shaanti Om) kinda sorta does work 🙂

I loved it for the most part . It’s always nice to watch a film and find a character who sometimes thinks and reacts as you would do.*

 

What REALLY got my attention, though, was Rani’s fiance- Vijay, because once upon a time , I too dated a Vijay.

My Vijay was a real piece of work, who’d joined college after a lifetime of fancy boarding-schooling in the hills. Now I was a bindi wearing, salwar donning lass circa 2005. The bindi was by choice, an experiment of sorts; the salwar, the campus norm. I gave up the bindi after he made a huge fuss one day about how I looked ‘like a villager’. Also, he once tried to ‘forbid’ me from attending a party that he wasn’t invited to. (He succeeded.) He wasn’t all uniformly villain-ish levels of bad, though I wish i could say I’d dumped him first.

As it so happens, he broke up with me. I was terribly heartbroken, for about five minutes.

(Okay, five days, mummyji-daddyji ki kasam.)

And then he returned, wanting to make amends.

That last scene in the movie is a gem. It’s possible to feel sadness happiness affection pity indifference for one single person, in one single minute. And to hug them. Then walk away. Which is naturally what I did, without the kick-ass soundtrack in the background and the slo-mo effect. But still.

 

*I am totally the kind of girl who would make sure my cardigan was stowed away safely in my bag before getting smashed.

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A Series of Inconsequential Epiphanies While Sober

I kinda/sort of believe that there is a God/Higher Power/Something-out-there.

I cannot logically explain why I have this belief, I suspect that it may have something to do with the fact it’s the more comforting belief, as opposed to believing that there is no one/ nothing watching over you.

I’m not really a fan of religion though. I think religion evolved to try find the truth about whether or not there was/is a God, but got hijacked somewhere along the way, and not only insisted that there is most definitely a God, but also began to decide what God may look like,  what God’s likes and dislikes were, and how much and exactly how God needed to be worshipped.

Still, some cultural aspects of religion I truly enjoy. Festivals for one, and some types of devotional music.

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In your heart you know that happiness does not depend on where you live and what you do .
You pretend that there is a checklist to tick off in order to attain happiness.
That’s just to keep you striving for that *something*.
Because the day you realise you have don’t have to strive to be happy, that you can just *be* happy, is the day that life begins to become a little boring.
That happiness is a factor of contentment is unsettling, and frankly, unsexy.
Zen philosophy is spelt with many a Z.

The scarier the dream, the bigger the rush, the greater the self-love.  Whether you fall or fly.

And so it goes.

 

Wage Outrage

Italian campaigners  are calling for housewives to be paid a state salary.

The basis for asking for a salary from the state is the idea that the unpaid work at home benefits society in intangible ways, so deserves monetary compensation. I agree that there is a benefit to the society, but I disagree that it is economically intangible.

It is exerted through the working members of the family- in other words, a person doing unpaid work at home makes life better for their partner , who then potentially becomes a more productive employee/worker, earns higher wages, and pays higher taxes.

(I’m not sure if there are any studies supporting this theory, but I’m willing to assume that this does happen.)*

The benefits of a person’s unpaid work at home goes directly to their partner.

Any benefit to the larger society is thus indirect. It is a factor of the economic and social advantages that her partner gets.

This is why I disagree with taxing society- the ‘secondary’ beneficiary –  in order to pay this wage.

I however agree that a wage must be paid- and this must come from the primary beneficiary – the working partner.

I disagree on making this wage legally payable.

A family unit should  be left to negotiate this wage any which way they want- and governmental legislation of personal financial decision making doesn’t exactly make for good economic sense.

Instead, the government could create incentives (in the form of tax breaks?) for workers who share a part of their wages with family members who work solely at home. To claim it, the working partner would demonstrate that assets have been created for their unpaid partner.

 

* ETA- There is plenty of research work on this topic as it turns out. The theory is known as the Spousal Support Theory, and papers on it affect HR and alimony policy.

A meta- analysis which confirms the spousal support theory that I’ve referred to :Career choice in management and entrepreneurship: a research companion. Cheltenham, UK : Edward Elgar, 2007, pp. 101-126.

Full text available at at research website of the London School of Economics (http://eprints.lse.ac.uk)

Expectations while expecting

Pregnancy is a common enough state of being, but if you stop and think about it, it is a unique state of existence- whether on physiological, philosophical or legal level.

I have wanted to blog about pregnancy for a while now- on the rights and responsibilities of a pregnant woman-as a pediatrician, and as woman who is ‘pro choice’ in the American sense of the word.

On Abortion Rights:

I fully support the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy upto the period of viability. The age of viability is a medically determined goal-post that keeps shifting (it was 28 weeks a while ago, in certain countries it is 20, in some 22) and denotes the ability of the fetus to survive outside the uterus (with appropriate medical support).

I however do not agree with extending the right to terminate a pregnancy beyond the period of viability- even when the ‘rights’ of the potential human are non existent upto the actual birth. I cannot articulate why exactly I feel this way- morality perhaps?

It goes without saying that late terminations should be permitted when the life/health of the woman is at stake, or when the termination is sought for humane reasons- like birth defects which are fatal or incurable.

On harmful choices made before the baby is born

This includes smoking, drinking and substance abuse during pregnancy. All of these affect the fetus inside the woman, during its development inside the uterus and also its life once it is born. While I believe women should not be subjected to excessive ‘policing’ while pregnant, I have seen first hand the disadvantages some babies are born with, and this informs my views on this issue.

I think appropriate support should be extended towards women in order for them to make better choices and modify their harmful behaviour antenatally. Still, I  think children born with disabilities/disadvantages resulting from maternal alcohol/smoking/substance use should be able to sue their mothers in court.

A landmark claim in the UK is currently being filed to determine if compensation can be claimed from a woman (on behalf of her child) for drinking heavily during pregnancy, causing her child to be born with developmental problems.Obviously, fetuses do not (and should not) have rights, but children do, and all children were once fetuses, so it will be interesting to see if the law can ‘punish’ a woman for ‘poisoning’ her child when he was a fetus.

On choices made during labour:

I’m conflicted on this. Sure, it is the woman’s right to choose et al, but most obstetric decision making in labour is anyway centred first on the woman, and only switches to fetus-centered mode if there is no additional risk to her.

I’ve attended lots of deliveries as a pediatrician to resuscitate babies who were born in suboptimal condition BECAUSE the mother made an anti-cesarean choice in a desire to go ‘all natural’. In the quest for ‘autonomy’ over her method of delivery, I’ve seen a woman’s baby end up severely disabled for life- and it was heartbreaking and enraging, to me, as the baby’s doctor to know that the baby would have ended completely and totally FINE , if not for the C-section refusal.

Decision making goes hand in hand with taking responsibility for that decision, and while I’m sure there is a lot of guilt and horror on a woman’s part when avoidable damage is caused by her decision, the fact remains that it is primarily the child who has to live (or die) with the consequences of that decision.

I’m not sure how I feel about  seeing such children also empowered to take their mothers to court over cases where multiple healthcare professionals advise strongly against/for  an intervention and are over-ruled by the woman in question. I’m worried how punitive it can potentially become. I think holding the woman legally liable in unwarranted because the intent to harm is absent- that happens collaterally.

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I must clarify that these stances of mine are applicable only to normal pregnancies- and if there is any threat to the woman’s health from pregnancy or labour at any point, right up until the baby is physically outside her body, she (the woman) should come first, no matter what.

Shrinked!*

Remember Dr. Indira Sharma? The President of the Indian Psychiatric Society, who, in December 2013 said homosexuality was ‘unnatural’, on stepping down?

Well well well.

 

 

The World Psychiatric Association also has a new president.

And he’s not only gay, but also Indian 🙂

 

* Like ‘lawyered!’, but for shrinks.

And this is what he has to say-

“There are still countries where it’s seen as an illness. We need to make a stand.”