being brown


Ok! This has to be written about. I am fuming. My heart is racing. I feel like I am being choked and stifled. Why?

Because the Bangalore Municipal Coproration doesn’t allow me to do the one thing I want to do ( I need to do to retain my sanity) at any other time than 3.30 PM to 4.30 PM. Unfortunately, that’s when I have to be hard at work. But fortune has nothing to do with it.

One of the main reasons that my shift to Bangalore wasn’t bad was because the Bangalore Municipal Swimming Pool was but 10 minutes away from home. I went there on Saturday evening to find out the timinigs, now that the winter is well and truly on retreat. And I realized that the pool is open from 6.00 AM on wards. Also there was a 3.30 – 4.30 ladies special batch. The rest of it was general. I mentally noted the timings and resolved to come by on mornings before work.

I went there this morning, sharp at 6.00 AM. And I was told the ladies batch was at 3.30. I said I knew it was, but I wanted to go in the general batch. Errrr…the person at the counter looked taken aback and said, but that’s only for gents. A little more debate with him, I was proudly told that this has been the rule for the last 25 years. I asked then isn’t it time to change the rules considering lost of women work now. He asked me to come at 10 AM (another impossibility for working people) to speak to the officer in charge. (seriously, I have never hated anyone as much as I have hated him for no fault of his).

As I walked back, the tears welled up in my eyes. I have been turned away from places because of rules before. But this cut too close to the heart. Quite literally, me outside water is like fish outside water.

Heres what I think happened?

Theres the general timings for men, women and children. And theres the ladies special timing. Both rules made 25 years ago by men in the largess of their hearts. ( their generosity just bowls me over). Over the years ladies have been using that exclusive time slot not venturing to go another time. So it soon became the ladies slot and the gents slot. I am sure if we were to unearth the dusty rules, this is what we would find.

Apart from the obvious implications of this to women, women’s’ development, feminism and the general gender sensitivity of the government, what this also says is that women are not expected to take on exercise/entertainment that requires them to strip to the bare minimum.

Bangalore, grow up!

P.S. part of me wants to take this up with the authorities. But I am afraid I will end up slapping someone…or worse.


6 responses

  1. Arundhati

    WOMAN! First off, if you want impact, unfortunately, you have to double check these posts for grammar and spelling.
    Secondly, I completely get your indignation, but I get the feeling that all this anger is completely fogging your mind up so it isn’t able to do its usual super-logical thinking.

    What’s wrong with this system is very simple: Allocating unequal time to women and men is unconstitutional. Perhaps the sensible thing to do would be like what they had in IIT- two men’s slots, two women’s slots, and all other hours are for everybody.
    But if conservative Bangalore is incapable of even considering a General slot, it is their constitutional duty to guarantee as much swimming time to women as they do to men. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1980 or 2011, whether women work or they do not, or, even, the proportion of women who swim versus the same ratio for men. All of that is immaterial.
    A little less welling up of indignant tears and a little more of thinking from your swift political mind would have brought you to this conclusion a long time ago- in fact, several tears ago.
    Go do something about it.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm

  2. sumanyav

    woman! dont give me grief about this. I shot this one off as soon as i came back from my confrontation. Obviously, I know whats wrong with the system. duh!

    I think what you and Jayashree have to realize is that this is as much my experimentation with writing as it is a very public therapeutic journal. So yes, there are going to be mediocre pieces, as well as ungrammatical pieces.

    The impeccable pieces i will write will make occasional appearances here. And i will save some to be ‘actually’ published.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm

  3. Arundhati

    Ok, tough love now:
    I understand that this piece was written soon after the confrontation; I get it. It’s passionate and was therapeutic.
    But you should know that getting grammar right comes from practice and hard work and a sincere attention to detail. That is, it’s not a switch you turn on for some pieces and ignore for others. And you have to want to get it right.
    I get that you find me irritating- but maybe you could think about what I’ve said as something someone completely different has said- like a random person somewhere 😀
    Because I say it only because I care 😉

    (Plus, I really mean the whole do-something-about-it bit though.)

    March 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  4. Ishma Siddiqi

    Ah I Love your sis now… High 5 Ayun!! 😉

    March 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

  5. Arundhati

    Haha Ishma 😀 Hi 5!
    Though I’m amazed i haven’t wound up dead yet 😛

    March 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

  6. I was speaking to Jayashree about this, and it is a stupid rule, i do agree. If you have cooled down since this initial confrontation, maybe you could stop by on a weekend and speak with The Powers That Be? I’m sure you can start a petition and change this. And i’m positive there are other women in BLR who would love to take a dip in the common pool at any time, as opposed to the “female” time.
    Good luck.

    May 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

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