Bits and Pieces

>> Friday, August 14, 2009

I remember being a pudgy little girl, short hair, dungarees, mostly covered in mud, chewing my Barbie doll and following the "big boys" (most of them around the venerable age of 9). I wanted to, inexplicably, do "boy things". What these boy things were, I never was very clear. But I had a pet theory that it involved climbing a lot. Hence, I would tumble along, being properly ignored by them, until, after seeing me trip on my own shoelaces for the eighteenth time, a rough, kindly "big boy" would take me back home. The message back then was very clear. "This is not for little girls."


I would spend the rest of the evening wailing to my mother about being a girl, and wished that girls my age would care less about their frilled frocks getting torn and more about climbing things.

You see, I am a climber. My motto has forever been "Show wall, will climb." I never enter through gates if I can successfully scale the walls. In fact, I have never really entered parks through gates. Scaling park fences gives me the sort of thrill I get when drinking well made coffee.

But you get older. You do not display ambitions of ever climbing the Everest. You do not expect a twenty one year old in distinctly feminine garb to climb muddy, moss covered walls. An ensemble of eyebrows rise and a twitter of tongues are tutted (Yes, I make up my own collective nouns. It amuses me.) This girl, it is universally announced, has not been brought up correctly. I, unmindful of mostly everything, jump, shake the dust off me and walk away, head held slightly higher.

The new college is built on a hill. The way from the rooms to the college building, hence, is a whirlwind of winding pathways, each leading to the same destination, but catering to different needs. There is the straight road for the females in extremely correct clothing. There is the one which requires a bit of jumping for the health conscious. There is one which has slightly slippery stones for the person who wishes to skate and there is the Magical Road of Obstructions. It involves a fair amount of scrabbling on mossy, moist walls, one after another. For the student who is in a hurry, it is the shortest route available. No self respecting woman ever chooses this route.

Then again, I stopped respecting myself many years back.

There was I, in what was for once, very correct, and incidentally, white, feminine garb, grumblingly going to an early morning class, cursing the sun, daylight and other people, when I saw a couple of "big boys" (These were big, they are doing their Ph.D.) taking the Magical Road of Obstructions. Heedless of correct grab, heedless of gender, heedless of the fact that I did not really know the route too well, I followed them. Climbed a wall. Jumped over a stile. Jumped over a pond. However, correct white garb, being of the very feminine kind, was proving to be restrictive. A kindly boy, after seeing me dither near yet another pond, advised me to take another road. This road, the wise boy said, is not for women.

There I was, against my own gender, fighting for my right to climb a wall, because I was a girl who had not worn her trackpants to college that day. I now had the option of womanfully fighting the inevitable tears and taking the female friendly route. But why? Women had achieved so much. Women...Women had babies. Women could do anything. I just had to jump over a smallish pond and climb more walls.

"Why not," I asked and jumped over the pond.

I did end up getting very mud strewn afterwards.

My six year old self, however, was very pleased.

10 scaly flippers:

What's In A Name ? 10:22 pm, August 14, 2009  

Bravo. encore.

Devdeep 11:33 pm, August 14, 2009  

A very beautiful post. And don't worry, "big boys" can't stop you from having fun your way.

Nirmalya 4:55 pm, August 15, 2009  

*standing ovation*

vanilla sky 7:56 pm, August 15, 2009  

I too have my share of 'Behave like a girl' stories.

Beautifully written :)

the girl with a zillion namesakes 8:30 pm, August 15, 2009  

Women have babies...excellent.

Metaphor??

Crepuscule Colour 4:22 pm, August 17, 2009  

You're brave.. some people just take the easy way out even when it's not what they want, just so that they don't have to explain themselves. But I guess that's not what the rule book says for six-year old.. "adults" :D

I plan to be one some day.

Abhishek 6:07 pm, August 18, 2009  

You should star in the next Charlie's Angels!

dreamy 11:36 am, August 21, 2009  

Besh Brave girl, you are!

Hatturi Hanzo 3:47 am, August 26, 2009  

you managed to make me smile. "big boys" couldn't :P

Mer-curial-maiden 8:43 pm, August 27, 2009  

Love this post.

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