Saturday, July 30, 2022

hands-not-free

i have this strange problem: i try to minimize the amount of distance i need to walk when i'm trying to get stuff done at home. whenever i'm passing through a room, i think of all the things i need to do, and pick up the involved items. 

sometimes i forget what i'm actually supposed to do though. a couple of days last week i spent 6 hours with dirty socks in my pocket: i was supposed to deposit them in the laundry basket, but i completely forgot - i passed the laundry basket twice, and only remembered when i was trying to get something else out of my pocket and grabbed my socks instead. it took me longer to recall what i was trying to do with those socks than it would have to walk to the laundry basket and drop them in!

other times, i end up with too many things in my hands, and as a result, i need to do everything slowly, sometimes even depositing things on the floor and moving them bit by bit as i pass each room where i need to put them away.

worst of all though is when i have so many things in my hands that i attempt to do the wrong thing with the wrong object. in fact that's what inspired this post: I was leaving office, trying to get my coffee mug to the sink (to wash and put away), water bottle to put away, access card (which had the keys to my locker), motorbike keys, banana and orange peels (which I had eaten at my desk), and phone (to check for traffic). end resut: i almost tossed my phone into the bin instead of the peels.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

the refugee crisis

i was in a small shelter. shelter was barely appropriate term to call it: it was more like the dilapidated, crumbling remains of a shelter. it measured barely 12 by 6 feet, and the roof, if one could call it that, was just haphazardly placed sheets of wood/plastic. light filtered in from a couple of openings - these seemed to be collapsed window frames which had been propped up with stones/rubble. i peered out of the nearest one: in contrast to the dim insides of this shelter the sun was blazing bright outside. however, this shelter was adjacent to another similarly dilapidated one, and both of these shared a wall with a taller building, in a similar state. the other side was barely a couple of feet away from another building in a similarly bad state. between the two shelters, there was rubble and scrap planks of wood.

the air outside was still and there was no sign of movement or other people.

i shifted my attention back to the shelter i was in, and looked past the collapsed timber beams to the other side. a woman sat there, her back to the wall, an infant in her lap. she was trying to rock the infant to sleep, humming what might have been a lullaby, and the infant didn't make a sound or move, so it might very well have been asleep. the woman was dressed in tatters, and didn't look like she had bathed in a while.

the air was still and i felt trapped, even claustrophpobic in this tiny space.

I then realized that there was, in fact, a dark passage leading into the building this shelter shared a wall with. i was barely able to see into it, but it was just a few feet long and ended with a door. I tried the door, and it opened into a bright room.

I was back in my parents' apartment!

I closed the door behind me, and thought about what was back there. in a moment, mom (she must have heard the door) walked into the room from the kitchen and asked me how I was.

I told her there was a lady and child in a small room behind that door.

she told me they're refugees.

that's when I woke up.

Monday, July 18, 2022

retribution or support?

I happened to comment on a post about "mansplaining", asking if there's anything a man could comment there without being dismissed as an instance of mansplaining.

The amount of negativity a man earns by just virtue of being a man is... overwhelming.

I wonder, would it be easier to make the world a better place for women if every conversation about issues that primarily affect women would not be so overwhelmingly targetted against men (as opposed to the problematic behaviour itself, even if that behaviour is exhibited by the majority of men)? In other words, if a man chooses to try to make a difference (which every man should!), would it be more productive to offer retribution for the rest of his ilk and his/their past behaviour, or support?

And if it's not clear if a man actually exhibits the behaviour being discussed, would it be more productive to give the man the benefit of the doubt before coming to that conclusion? Or does the generalization make things easier to discuss, and making a few men feel bad for no fault of their own acceptable collateral damage?

The responses to the comment led me to conclude a few things:

  • Mainsplaining is so common that many women do not feel the need to quallify their statement about men
  • Mansplaining is so common that some (many?) women do not even realize it - they simply assume men know more
  • Most men and women fundamentally disagree when it comes to "can we talk about a problem without trying to solve it?"
  • The women involved consider "shut up if it doesn't refer to yourself" as a valid approach to take. It appears the men involved (myself included) do not. Is that because we're muddying the waters? Is that because the majority of men who'd comment on such a post are the ones who are either not guilty or blind to their faults?
  • When men do the gender-neurtal equivalent of mansplaining to other men, they are simply branded condescending (or, as one man would say to another: a dick). And it happens a lot, and men either ignore it or call it out and move on.
  • I need to stop taking claims about "men" personally, as I would be as guilty of inflicting collateral damage on women who have been at the receiving end of this sort of behaviour far too often for far too long.
I have not concluded whether retribution or support is the most productive line to take though. It's unlikely I will be able to make that decision.

Friday, July 15, 2022

toilet humour

 dad loved toilet humour. and some of it barely even qualifies as humour 😁

i remembered one of his favourite "jokes" today (you can imagine the situation that reminded me of it - I won't say more):

father, father, i confess
i went to the toilet and made a mess
the paper was thin and my finger went in
father, father, is it a sin?

i have no idea where he got that from. it seemed even more contrived because we don't use toilet paper in India! as a kid, i just assumed he made it up (although I'm now quite sure he didn't).

anyway, to make the rhyme loosely resemble a joke, he tacked on:

and the priest said "no problem, use thicker paper next time" (which I'm quite sure he came up with)

another of his favourite ones was (you might have to say this out loud and quicvkly, possibly more than once, to get it)

"hoof hearted, ice melted"

yeah, frequently I think of that one when i encounter melting ice... or when someone asks the question 😁

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

don't sweat the small stuff

i've always endeavoured to be as "sustainable" with my lifestyles as I can be - I don't know how I ended up like this, but it's obvious why.

the last few years have seen me intensify my focus: not only have I tried to apply this to my own life, but also those around me, and use my social influence to widen my impact as well.

it seems though, that the biggest limiting factor at the moment is myself!

I've concluded that in my focus on trying to squeeze sustainability into every corner of my life, i might have overdone things, and it's limiting my ability to reach others.

a simple example: my insistence on minimizing heating use now has turned it into a bit of a domestic conflict. shruti now seems to view heating as a guilty pleasure instead of something that needs to be used responsibly and appropriately. this is not a productive state to be in.

also, focusing too much on myself and too little on others means I've limited my impact to one person!

it doesn't matter if I only use the car twise a month, when my neighbours use both their cars twice a day, for short journeys (which are the worst of all!)

it doesn't matter if i cycle everywhere, if everyone else thinks cycling is dangerous and i'm some sort of freak (because I probably seem quite a risk-taker to most people, with my motorcycling and all!)

I think a more productive use of my effort would be to talk about how people can make small changes that would make a big impact when many people follow them.

for example: reducing and reusing over recycling and disposing. I think everyone understands the benefits of recycling, but not many seem to realize that recycling is only slightly better than disposing stuff! reducing consumption of any item (whether it's packaging, or the product itself!) beats recycling by miles - as much as 100x depending on the product. it's more sustainable to responsibly drive a 15 year old well-maintained car than a swanky new electric "green" one! making two grocery trips a week on cycle is better than one a week in a fuel-burning vehicle.

but even in the above example, i need to make sure my message isn't an extreme one! consumption does not need to be guilty - it just needs to be as sustainable as it can be. with time, the needle will move, and we will find new ways to improve. there's no point going to extreme extents or trying to convince people to go to extremes, if they cannot sustain it.

anyway, feels like i'm going off on a rant - time to log off and think about how I can help everyone make small changes. good night!

hands-not-free

i have this strange problem: i try to minimize the amount of distance i need to walk when i'm trying to get stuff done at home. whenever...