What’s Happening to Us All?

I see all these women hurrying along footpaths, their pastel sarees bunched up just enough to expose their Paragon chappals and Metro sandals, one eye in front as they search their sensible sienna handbags to whip out their cell phones and call up someone or the other.

I look around and spot a sea of middle aged, salt-and-pepper haired men on the parallel road, primly dressed in collared, half-sleeved striped blue-and-white or just plain blue shirts ending at sensibly bargained Rs. 95 pleather belts holding up their charcoal grey trousers. They look left, then right and then left again… at least a few do, as they cross the road at different intervals dodging the odd autorickshaw threateningly honking and return the glares of rotund, curly-haired, mustachioed men on pistachio green Bajaj scooters.

I turn away and glance inside a share auto; two men – probably in their thirties, sit and make small talk on big issues. The one near the window has a leaky pen in his shirt pocket, the off-white cloth stains as he speaks, the royal blue ink seeps into the coarse cotton threads, deeply; three twenty-something college-going girls sit opposite them – wide-eyed, fresh-faced women, eagerly discussing something appropriately scandalous about a batch-mate – perhaps her boyfriend sexts her during class, perhaps she does. Their hurried whispers escape through their hand-cupped mouths as their guilty, sweeping glances search the auto for a knowing look or an admonishment. Hoping no one overhears or understands their wanton gossip, loaded acronyms are gleefully passed on among the trio; childish, mean giggles ensue.

The driver in front looks ahead, unimpressed by the snaking line of metal-on-rubber boxes of which he’s a fragment; he sighs as another long day comes to an end. He looks over at the sidewalk, smoothens his wiry hair, or what’s left of it and leches at buxom and lithe women alike as they pass by the share auto.

Barely halting to notice the Lord Hanuman sticker on it’s bumper, the ladies walk as they tuck their frazzled hair behind imitation jewel adorned ears as the loosely strung jasmine flowers twisted around their untwisting hairknots hang on limply, they do notice the mundu-clad, beady-eyed driver and the two thirty-something men who’re ogling at them with equally dispassionate boredom now that something more interesting than today’s share market small talk has caught their fancy. They look ahead, their nostrils slightly flared and, silently busy themselves in searching for something, anything in their sensible sienna handbags; they walk on.

The light turns green; we move on, too.

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Things Girls Need to Do Differently

Take More Risks – Girls are generally prone to play it safe when it comes to their own needs, perhaps because they have been taught to argue sparingly and maintain a comely attitude. In addition, since they’re conditioned to think with restrictions and indirectly made to feel inferior, self doubt lingers in most girls‘ minds.

Doubting and belittling your goals so that you don’t come across as demanding, aggressive or impulsive is idiotic. It is even more idiotic to think not taking a risk and being a good person are the same thing. It’s important to look at the Reward-to-Risk ratio when one is contemplating doing something but, not doing anything is just plain cowardly.

Stick to Your Guns: From the time they prancing around in their pretty pink pinafores picking pansies and periwinkles to braid into their pretty blonde braids, girls are chided for ‘unpleasant’ behavior like making noise or being unkempt. Once an adolescent, parents have earlier curfews for them and tend to keep a stricter eye on the teenage girl. In most cases, girls tend to stick to the rules and pride themselves on being prim and proper or ‘good girls’.

But, in the workplace or in major decisions in life, these very parent-controlled limits tend to puncture holes in girls’ confidence and their analytic ability thus, making it hard for them to persist once they’ve decided on something. Girls need to believe in themselves a little more and learn to care a little less about things that are minuscule in the larger picture. Today, it is stupid to expect a girl to be a doormat. Also, please don’t be afraid of being disliked if it’s in lieu of something you’re passionate about and which will bring obvious value to your life. Sometimes, you gotta hold on.

Avoid Being the Damsel in Distress: There’s no Prince Charming on a ‘Tide’ white steed coming to rescue you. There’s no need to behave like a delicate darling and run to someone when anything remotely challenging comes your way. It’s cheap, parasitic and irritating, to say the least. Get a hold of yourself, be your own damn savior.