Shit happens
While at school, I wasn’t too good
with the experiments as I was with numbers, which prompted me to choose the
profession which I eventually did.
But that never stopped me from
always pondering over Newton’s three physical laws of motion, which my physics teacher
thrust upon my head, that they together laid the foundation for classical
mechanics.
I wasn’t really keen to decipher the
mechanics part, but what surely interested me was that it described the
relationship between a body and the forces acting upon it, and its motion in
response to those forces.
Candidly, I even didn’t apprehend
what he intended by “body” when my teacher professed having made me comprehend.
 My imagination surely ran wild though,
as I figured out that human anatomy was certainly not what he meant.
The mind is a wild horse which is
destined to run freely. It loves to run fast, wildly chasing first this
thought, then that sensation and then on to the next bit of stimulation and on
into the sunset it runs, I had learnt.
And I was no goliath to tame the
wild horse of my mind. I would allow it to buck around a lot, uncultivated and
feral.
Undomesticated it ran, and
discovered yet another law of motion that Sir Isaac wouldn’t have imagined; a fourth
law which was based on my imagination of the “body” and the “forces” acting
upon it.
Loose Motion
can never be done in Slow Motion
Though thrown out of the classroom
for audaciously and intrepidly announcing and proclaiming my discovery, I found
it my opportuneness to be “out” rather than “in” which facilitated me to “get in”
quick, whenever shit happened. And whenever it happened, it rarely gave me any chance
to recoup, retrieve or recover, which made my conviction even stronger that
loose motion can never happen in slow motion.
For me, hell breaks loose, when it
happens and it is not just any other increased frequency or decreased
consistency of my bowel movement. Simple medical terms in English as diarrhoea
or dysentery seem French to me, as I understand the language of only those
growls in my bowels.
For me, it is those piteous and
pathetic moments, when the inevitable happens without me being able to
circumvent or stop it.
For me, “shit happens” is a term of commiseration;
a feeling of pity or sympathy, in its true sense.
The religiously intolerant
fundamentalists can have an unparalleled debate on what “shit happens” would
mean to their beliefs. I have heard a few of them:
  
Hinduism:
This shit happened before
Catholicism:
Shit happens, I deserve it
Islam: If
shit happens, take hostages
Buddhism: If
shit happens, is it really shit?
Judaism: Why
does shit happen to me?
Protestantism:
Shit will happen if you pray hard for it.
When the fundamentalists cry hoarse,
even the liberals have a field day:
Atheism: Bullshit!
I have concluded that “Shit happens”
is just nature’s way of explaining to us by way of a simple existential
observation that life is full of unpredictable events.
I would just use it to express my acceptance
or resignation in the face of any difficult or unpleasant situation. C’est la
vie!
I have started believing in another
fourth law. It’s the Murphy’s fourth law of thermodynamics:
If anything
can go wrong, it will.
Asi es la vida! So-is-the-life!
That’s what life is like, or simply
put, that’s life.
I am not talking shit! It’s my shit,
talking.

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If Men had Periods

 

It is a truth of life that every day around 800 million women have their periods across the world. It is so much a natural process of life but still most of us consider it an awkward and disconcerting subject to talk about.

 Leave alone the embarrassment, I am surprised that some women even feel it humiliating and excruciating to use the word that they have coined euphemisms to circumvent the usage of the word in their conversation. It is all due the discerning attitude to the men towards this perhaps one of the most pure acts of nature.

 It is really unfortunate that that the extent of stigma surrounding periods has penetrated so deep into our culture and beliefs that women have been shunned and spurned during this occurrence. This is surely a disgrace and humiliation to Mother Nature and her most beautiful creation ever, the woman.

 I tried to imagine whether our attitudes would have been different if men had periods. I imagined a world we suddenly wake up to in the morning, and find that viola! Men can menstruate and Women can no longer.

 If men had periods, the first thing that would perhaps happen is that “having periods” would be declared a sign of virility and machismo. Menstruation would suddenly become such an enviable, commendable and masculine event that men would start comparing their chivalry and valour based on it.

 Bragging about periods about “how long” and “how much” on Facebook would suddenly become the in-thing and Hash tags like #IGotMyPeriods and #IAmOnMyPeriods would conceivably be trending on Twitter. Many more status updates would be seen on Facebook informing everyone that they are on periods and perhaps even invent and share “period emoticons” with friends.

 It would not just be limited to the social media that men would swagger about their periods. We would find men congratulating and patting each other on their backs for overcoming yet another month’s gruelling battle against nature. “First period stag parties” to celebrate the welcome into man-hood would become a norm in offices and clubs and boys would try to show off with their other in schools and colleges of their “coming on” for the first time.

 One thing I am absolutely sure about is that the world of sport would see a quantum change if men had periods. Statisticians would flaunt surveys to prove that men fared better in sports and won more medals during their periods. Sports range tampons and pads would be launched, cricketers would start endorsing different flavoured menstrual energy drinks “for that time of the month” and we would hear commentators discussing and arguing on how trainers and coaches should coordinate their players’ menstrual cycles to boost their performance. Perhaps, white sportswear would be banned and I can even imagine bookies factoring in a player’s menstrual cycle into their odds.

I have no doubt that even religion would not be spared. The God-men would declare that menopause be proclaimed as an important event in the life of a man, probably a symbol that men have amassed enough years of cyclical astuteness and intelligence that they need no more.

The religious fundamentalist would pounce upon “men-struation” as the ultimate “proof and evidence” that only men could serve God and be priests (citation: without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean) or perhaps even become God Himself (citation: He gave his blood for our sins) because women would be so ignorant of the symbolic death and resurrection every month.

The armed forces would be barred for women, they being declared incompetent enough to fight in combat (citation: You have to give blood to take blood) and the medical colleges may perhaps deny admission to the women (citation: They might faint at the sight of blood).

Boys and men alike would have a game, with young boys talking about periods as the envied beginning of manhood while grown up men would try to convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month”.

Oh, yeah! There would be those radical and liberal men too, who would continue to insist that women are equal, but unfortunately just a tad different. They would propagate with conviction that women could surely join the ranks of men if they are willing to recognise the dominance of the menstrual liberties or at least be prepared to self inflict a personal lesion every month (citation: You must give blood to join the revolution).

 It feels so depressing to see that practically every culture in the world has its own set of myths about periods, whether it is the belief that a touch from a menstruating woman will cause milk to curdle, plants to die and a mirror to lose its brightness way far in Nigeria to the belief that menstrual bleeding makes women “impure” and hence banned from entering even their own houses or  interacting with family members in India and other parts of Asia to even the stupid belief that swimming in the sea while on the periods will get a woman eaten by sharks in America.

 When we men cringe that women behave less rationally and more emotionally during their menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, what men don’t understand is the honest truth that in those few days of the month, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long.

I am not letting my imagination fly high, but the truth is that if men could menstruate, the justifications of their behaviour would go on and on.

 

Epilogue:

Sharing the links of three short films produced by WaterAid that envisage what a man’s world would look like “if men had periods”

 You can watch the films here:

If Men Had Periods…what would tampon adverts look like?

If Men Had Periods…what would a football match be like?

If Men had Periods…what would the office be like?

 

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I deleted the Chats with my girlfriends, I am going to jail
I wake up before my Mom does. Oh! You got
me wrong, it’s not because I help her out with her household chores. As an
afterthought, I do, by devouring up everything that she cooks. But being an early riser does not have
anything to do with that. It’s just that the ostentatious me has several other
chores to wind up before my Mom awakes.
I need to get up and chat with my
several girlfriends and crushes before my Mom would switch off the Wi-Fi. That’s
not all; I need to even delete all these chats before my chary Mom lays her
hand on my mobile phone.
It was a wonderful morning as ever
for the flamboyant me yesterday as it is every morning. I finished off my
morning routine with gusto and then picked up the morning newspaper, trying my
best to prove not to be the pretentious prodigal son that my Mom so falsely
believes I am.
Yeah! I am interested in news too,
but not the green and white ones. Everyone has a passion for different colours
and it’s no fault that I crave for yellow, be it journalism or otherwise.
Unfortunately having to skim through the first page before I attack the Page-3,
my eyes were stuck at the headlines for the day which read “Deleting WhatsApp,
FB, Viber chats could be made illegal”.

Flabbergasted I was, I had just
committed the horrendous crime a few minutes ago. How would I survive in this
nation, I asked myself and could not have any plausible reasoning.

I survive on these chats; rather I
survive on deleting them well in time before my Mom sees it. I am doomed. I
needed to read the news further because I was visualising my hangman’s noose in
it.
Oh! My personal chats on the social
media and the instant messengers would no longer remain private as I would like
them to be, if this Government notification gets its way. This is ridiculous, I
exclaimed and surely getting thoughts whether my wary mother had a sinister
role to play in this proposed legislation.
I had reasons to doubt her, because I
had always believed that all her thoughts have always been preposterous and ludicrous
for my tastes and this time I was pretty sure that her “Mann-Ki-Baat” is turning
out to be the gospel law. Her “Man-Ki-Baat” was soon going to be a “Monkey-Bath”
for me.
The dreaded print before my eyes looked
an imminent death knell for me as I was reading it further. I would need to
keep records of all my personal conversations made over the last 90 days and
furnish them as and when demanded by the law enforcement authorities.

My Mom woke up and as I realised she
was caressing my hair, she planted her kiss on my perspiring forehead and I
could hear her say, “Such a nice boy, good you are reading the newspaper rather
than wasting your time chatting on the social media”
I wish she knew that I was walking
the green mile.
My life is hanging..
By a fraying thread.
Which is straining with…
Life’s corruption.
And when it snaps….
I will be dead.
I thrive on thee…..
Anticipation!

Poem courtesy: Naomi Hartnell from
Half-Devoured Heart.

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