A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)

Being Humane


This post has been picked by Blogadda  for its Spicy Saturday Picks! Thank you Blogadda!

Yet another March 8th, in a day’s time. 2012 this time. Time to start wishing women one knows “Happy” Women’s Day. Time to preen and pride oneself on being the fairer/weaker/stronger/gentler sex. One whole day, and few days leading up to it, and a few days after, one ponders, and I use that word with the full weight it comes with, on what women do/want/mean/emote and how they survive/ exist/live/manage, most of the time awing/ inspiring/ demeaning (here I mean others who look down upon her 😛 ) other womanly traits, other women, and , but of course, Men. Capital Letter “M”, for the “proper” persons they are. Hmmmphfrrrrr !

This year, I choose to simply admire and comment on what I know, not think. Of women, of men, of humanity. The usual yada yada on why is it only on this day you talk / write / speak/ express argument, notwithstanding (phew whatta word :P), I still choose to write.

I remember reading on Leenuka Reddy’s FB update a couple of months ago,

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
~Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx.

It struck me then, each time I had a “down” day, only I could choose to make it better. And it became a sort of mantra “I not Events” I’d chant to myself. So onward to what I meant to write about 🙂 (As usual, I’m digressing. Sigh. I can never be prosaic, that is for sure- giveme a Haiku to compose, and I’ll do it, but prose? Dear me!)

I know for a fact that this world has so many feminists, and I don’t mean women, who shriek violently piling curses on all men, because they are men. Nopes. I mean feminists who are women and men, for they are humane and sensitive, and open minded and culturally zombies, because they are so accepting of any and every human. For all the goodness they have within. For all the love shared, openly. For the respect given to each other, for who they are , not who they want others to be. For Acceptance. For Forbearance. For the Charity of their thoughts. And most of all for the Courage to show their true feelings, and wear their hearts on their sleeves. Practically all the women bloggers who come by here, I know for a fact are one 🙂 And as for the men, I must mention Hitchy, Tito, and from comments that have touched me deeply on others’ posts, Bikram, GeeVee, Kislay, and ever so many many more. A feminist is humane. Just that. And no, one cannot be defined as humane, if one wants to “control” “judge” and “restrict” a particular sex because of tradition and convention. Bad idea, old idea, not my idea of humane. And therefore, by association, not my idea of a feminist.

I recently attended a book release function, where a cousin, Krishnakumari, Senior Sub-editor, Deshabhimani, in Thrissur, was releasing her book, in Malayalam, “Samarapaathayile Pennperuma” published by a Collective for Gender Justice called SAMATHA, a group of 29 women. (The title refers to the wonderful women who have been involved in rising against authority and against injustice, in society, not just of the Leftist Movement, but in general) Two of the invitees were persons she had interviewed. The entire book contained bio sketches of women who had undertaken such rebellions, revolts, strikes and mutinies against social injustice, successfully or otherwise. The proceeds of the book were to go to helping one of the women written about, whose name is Ittyaannum, (In The Hindu, dated 7 March 2012, read about her!)an illiterate common labourer, now elderly, 80+, to help build her house. She shared her experiences of being brutalized by the police who were hell bent on suppressing the revolt of the Left/proletariat workers on the farms, and paddy fields in Kerala. A simple woman, with the deep sense of injustice happening, and how she took it up, with no help from her husband or male relatives. The other invitee was Devaki Nilayangode, a woman of “higher” caste who also stepped out of domesticity to participate in the movements for justice in History (His story… there was much discussion on the chauvinism in the subject nomenclature too 😀 ) The book is in Malayalam, and it will take me a long time to finish it, being a slow reader in that language; but read it I will, and hopefully complete it soon enough. A positive this year, for Women’s Day.

This year I also want to remember and acknowledge someone I see daily, who I look up to, endlessly, for the sheer strength of her resolve and her determination to see that life works out, especially for her children. I write of Chandrika, my help at home, and how she has surmounted odds, against fate, an unhelpful family and husband, and society, to walk on, proud of having got both her kids to college, with one of them about to graduate as a Medical Lab. Technician, and the younger one as a Commerce Grad. She continues to make me feel that nothing can ever but ever get you down. Nothing. There is always a way, and it is always UP. I’d shared a bit about her on our other group blog, “No Gender Inequality” which is on hold at this moment 🙂

I think too, of the everyday hassles women have to face, and how they cheerfully, and without rancour go about their daily work, be it as an SAHM, a sweeper on the street, an executive in a Corporate Sector, a college student, a school girl, a teacher, a woman. Just that. Women, unfortunately, have that inbuilt mechanism to take it all. Sigh. If only we did not have such a high threshold of tolerance I sometimes feel. My take, that is all. And while men too may have all these attributes, they face less than a fraction of a percentage of the trouble women go through. Undoubtedly so, in mainstream life, in India, anyways. So, a salute to the ordinary Indian woman, for being able to survive a single day, each day. And to all the men who do help out. Salutes to you all too. Among them my brothers and Dad as well. And my sons 🙂 🙂 And my two nephews 🙂 🙂 They know better than to be otherwise 🙂 🙂 Thanks to Mom and me 😛 😛 And my wonderful and lovely sisters in law 😀 !

The other day, we had this discussion, among some of our colleagues, on how girls these days are probably the ones who are making all the trouble! How they Dress! And how they talk and touch the boys! And someone said, you see it’s the clothes. Perfect opportunity for me to get on my soapbox 😀 I spoke. Or rather ranted. And I also said, the only reason why it is happening, the violence, is that women no longer keep quiet. That, I feel is the one main reason. If we kept quiet and “listened” perhaps there would be less trouble? Maybe. And then again, Maybe not. What we needed was to be more accepting. Let go the deadweight of things said to be/ thought of as “proper”/”not right” for girls. Why only girls? Sigh. And we teachers can make that difference. I tend to get on the soapbox in class, when I get a chance, because of some prompt in a lesson, and egg on a discussion :D!

And yes, I want to dwell too, on a prayer for all of us, The Serenity Prayer, which has helped me many a time, and I hope will help anyone who faces a paucity of courage, who needs wisdom, and has to make the choice of who to be, and what to do.

May God grant me the Serenity

To Accept the things I cannot change

The Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference!

I hope each day that dawns will bring home to each of us, the need to be more humane and accepting in our lives. Live, and let live 🙂 Break down in-built prejudices and open our hearts and minds 🙂 I hope women can walk in the land Tagore once beseeched the Lord to grant:

“Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into
The dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action
*In that Heaven of Freedom, …”

I hope we all can meet.

God Bless!

6 March, 2012

Edited to add:

Related post on a Feminism tag.

Also, the reference to Ittyennam… Ittennam… the 80+ lady whose biography has been included in the book I have spoken of up there, has been featured in The Hindu, Kochi edition. Unable to get a copy of the e-paper to share here, but will do so, once I get it!  

Got it! Sharing 🙂 Thank you Sneha 🙂

Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

33 thoughts on “Being Humane

  1. Every word here feels just right, just true…Touched a chord, in every possible way! Happy Women’s day to you, one of the women I admire and find inspiration from!! Love you very very much too!!! 🙂 Hugs. I feel choked, and I got no clue why (This ain’t that sentimental a write…but it has touched chords deep) 🙂


    • 🙂 Sashu, thank you so much. And my! That was quick 🙂 🙂 Happy W Day to you too, for all the reasons you are one of the warmest souls I know. Non judgmental and totally accepting 🙂 thank you for you 🙂
      Hugs! Love you too, sweetheart!


  2. Yup true that every word,a thought provoking article Usha 🙂
    the quote you mentioned has always been one of my favourite, and for every one who is looking for some inspiration may they find their quote that one nugget of wisdom that makes them move..
    for me it has been “you are not what you are called,but what you respond to”…. easier said than done but over the years have mastered in it.
    We have many many more Ittyaannum(remarkable woman) and Chandrika’s in this society, but most of them have either not opened their eyes and somehow living in the pit they are cos they are afraid to leave the comforting known discomfort( trust me people get used to it too)
    they need stories or ittayum,chandrika and they need some help from their fellow beings to get out and make something good of their life, they need to trust them selves and understand their potential…so much to say
    but you did sum it up beautifully in the last passage
    kudos for this excellent write up Usha 🙂


    • Thank you Soma 🙂 I know, the way they live their lives, the average Indian women is the fact that I am always inspired by 🙂 Have the faith, believe and go for it 🙂
      Hugs to you too 🙂


  3. feminists who are women and men, for they are humane and sensitive, and open minded and culturally zombies, because they are so accepting of any and every human. .

    Can’t put it better .. You said all here .. in this post ..
    Glad to be among such humans 😀
    Happy W day.. every day …


  4. Did you just label me a feminist ? :O (shaking head in disbelief)
    Its hard living up to these isms and ists. I am just me. Being me is tough enough. 😛


  5. Are you sure I’m a feminist and humane?
    Hugs, xx


  6. I would like to quote Titov, I share the same sentiments “Did you just label me a feminist ? :O (shaking head in disbelief) Its hard living up to these isms and ists. I am just me. Being me is tough enough”..

    Thank you for mentioning me and finding me as you say, I hope I can stay true to those words you have written..

    I do feel that we all need to love each other abnd be more humane, world will be a beautiful place to live in.. In all this man did this , woman do this etc etc. we forget that are we are not helping the solution at all, rather bringing the divide more .

    The days etc are these days in my eyes celbrated only by a few.. My nani who is living in a village does not even know what woman’s day is .. Neither does that woman who is a domestiv help working so hard to make ends meet.


    • Bikram 🙂 🙂 sorry for the late reply 🙂 Well, by the definition here, I’m sure you will agree, even though you might shake your head at that word, per se 😀
      Yes, these days are more in prominence these days, and due to commercialization as well. Still, it is good to spend sometime more time than usual thinking, writing, sharing views and somewhere down the line making a difference at least, to one’w own self, is the way I feel about it 🙂
      Thank you for sharing your views too!


  7. Yes, I hope women can walk in the land Tagore beseeched the Lord to grant… there are so many working towards that goal.
    I have read Devaki Nilayangode’s book and blogged about it too. Loved the bits from the 50% part of the History that our text books don’t think is important enough to be taught.


    • IHM, I hope too! You’ve read Devaki Nilayangode’s book? Wow. I still have to!
      And yes, that His Story part was spoken of again and again, by different speakers on that occasion!
      Thank you IHM, for your views and for being here!


  8. awesome write Usha mam:) u have touched the soul of a woman, who moves mountains to be one among the mankind which consider her lesser than them.


  9. A heartwarming post Usha. Loved it. thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂


  10. I am late to comment. A wonderful post Usha, this salute to the ordinary woman. Thanks for telling us about Ittyaannum and Devaki Nilayangode. Inspiring.
    “Into that Heaven of Freedom” Sigh, that’s where we all need to go.


  11. I love that Groucho Marx quotation, it sums up my philosophy and what I try to focus on in my blog. thank you for this positive, life affirming post. Came to you by the way from Somkritya.


  12. Usha, congrats on the blogadda pick. 🙂


  13. Inspiring, insightful and invigorating 🙂

    a li’l late in stopping by but am happy i did! – and Congratulations on the blogadda pick!

    May there never be a “down” time and if there’s potential, may you always find a way out of it!! Plus get on the soapbox every time you get a chance – it will make a difference!

    adding a salute to you and to the women described in your post and to every woman around 🙂


    • David, thank you thank you thank you 🙂
      And if it is any consolation, I’m later than you are, and later than is decent in responding to the wonderful comments here 🙂
      You wishes are wonderful too. Thank you!
      God Bless!


  14. “I hope each day that dawns will bring home to each of us, the need to be more humane and accepting in our lives. Live, and let live 🙂 Break down in-built prejudices and open our hearts and minds” Amen to that Ushus! Loved loved loved the post!

    And thank you for sharing with us the stories of immensely inspiring Ittyaannum and Devaki Nilayangode 🙂


  15. Pingback: A Woman … | A Quest on Overdrive … :)

  16. Ushamai… This is simply superb. Every word, every sentence is simply apt. Since I have started to write recently, I wish I could write half as good as this.
    As for the content, Thought provoking and relevant. Humane behavior is what we lack in our culture. We Indians are so proud of our culture, we detest western culture just because its not our way but doesnt our culture also teach us tolerance, non violence and of course RESPECT.
    All these are alien words for most of us.

    One more thing, Cant wait for more of such thought provoking literary master class.


    • Anish, I’m so glad you did stop and say all of those things. Most espcially about the RESPECT, which is sadly lacking. Still, onward we go, blundering ahead with hope that at least one more person, of the billion might learn of the respect he or she should have.
      Your mother is someone I look up to, and for knowing her who has accomplished so much by writing that book and being who she is, dauntless and almost fearless, I am indeed blessed.
      I’m not sure you’ll find thought provoking literary masterpieces, but I do know you’ll find crazy stuff here 🙂 Go on and browse 😀
      Finally, Thank you so very much 🙂 And, I do love the way you write. I’ve already said so, on the blog 🙂


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