– a rant pure and simple, be warned.
Earlier I used to attribute the fact to my diminutive size. After all at an under-sized five feet nothing and weighing less than a feather figuratively speaking and a soft voice, one is easily missed in the blink of an eye so to speak. And when you have a frightened fawn ready for flight at the slightest sign of adversity look perpetually stamped on your face, which look was partly genetic and partly acquired by the overzealous and helpful comments of being a nincompoop, it is no wonder that I could very well remain unobtrusive even without the help of Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak.
Whenever I tried to have a say, condescending looks that conveyed something like what do you know you pipsqueak who cannot even see the world from the great heights that we see it from was what I got. Don’t get me wrong though. That did not mean there weren’t occasions when I went ahead and had my say or that I did not give back as good as I got if not always at least on some occasions. Rats I am told on excellent authority, though since I myself keep a respectable distance from them and if at all meet one unexpectedly at close quarters, shriek a good deal and run in the opposite direction, am unable to verify its veracity, fight when cornered. Taking an excellent cue from the rodents, for one must learn one’s lessons from the lowliest if there be a lesson to learn, I fought too when cornered.
After a bit of this fighting when cornered, I felt it was just too tedious. It was actually too much work, this reasoning, putting across your point, debating, trying to make the other person understand what you are trying to say… especially to those that wear blinkers and are the followers of the Herd Mentality and to top it all, will never stick to the point that is being discussed, but instead go off track, take hold of some silly little deviations from the matter at hand and poke fun at you and specially so when they are unwilling to admit you have got the better of them in the discussion and they don’t have a suitable response. Yessir. That is exactly the time when you have thrown at you sentences like,
“You don’t WANT to be convinced!”
Oh really?? I bet you feel I don’t want to be convinced every time I come up with something you don’t have an answer to. One would think simple phrases like
“I don’t really know!” or “I am not sure” or “let’s look for the facts and come to a conclusion” or even a simple “I disagree” have never been heard by them.
How tiresome it all is, was how my thought went. Why bother replying to unreasonable people?? One could utilize the time so saved for excellent activities like listening to music, reading a good book, cooking, playing sudoku or…. simply doing nothing. Oh yeah, Doing Nothing (read what Deependra says about doing nothing in a different context) seemed infinitely more attractive to me as time went by. Watch and listen, note and analyze, segregate neatly and file away for future reference, learn and adapt became watchwords. It has its benefits. Unaware to others you are learning, expanding your horizons.
Along came a day when though still stuck at that same old five-feet nothing, I had grown not only in inches (added horizontally) and pounds visible to any naked eye but also grown in experience and knowledge but which matter like the pearl was hidden and not visibly obvious to the naked eye. But anyways, it is tough convincing your near and dear ones, old and young, especially those that have seen the bawling you who hated going to school, that you do have more than half a brain now and know how to use it. To them you are still the brainless half-wit they saw in pig-tails some of them even having had a go at pulling the pig tail and making you cry. They talk down never to you. It is not just family though. Even some of your so-called friends and acquaintances (read men) end up treating you like a half-wit, though you aren’t one, and speak to you from lofty heights, figuratively and literally.
Of course in all cases whether family or friends, it’s your gender that is playing a major role, no prizes for guessing that. As a woman you are expected to talk of the pots and the pans and not know anything much about other things. Even if you do, you obviously know less than them. Anything you say, yessir, even in these enlightened times, is looked at with skepticism and a half amused smile sometimes open at other times half-hidden. What does the ‘little woman’ know about it, suggests the smiles, she who cannot even lay claims to being a ‘working’ woman, she of the homemaker fame??!! Naturally so they cannot ‘see’ anything other than the tips of their respective noses down which they are peering at the little woman.
Now that I have grown in weight and girth and also in years, I have reconsidered my old policy of ‘doing nothing’ and once in a while come out and have my say, in my blog space of course and also otherwise. But some things never change. Some people (read men and also read NOT ALL) still get back to me with condescending comments and messages that reflect the ‘what does the little woman know’ mentality. Most of them still cannot talk one to one to you or stick to the topic. They have to put you down with unnecessary remarks which they wouldn’t bother to say if they were talking to a fellow male. A simple discussion elicits remarks like ‘Chill lady’ when there is no heat being generated.
Can you imagine once a ‘friend’ stopped speaking to me just because in my eagerness to counter what the ‘friend’ said in a discussion we were having, I sent in replies typing faster than he could reply to me?? The ‘friend’ was ashamed that he could not express himself as easily as I was doing due to lack of proficiency in the English language. Wouldn’t a simple ‘Hey you! Slow down! Let me catch up’ thrown at me have worked?? If you are a woman and quick and intelligent (no I am not blowing my own trumpet, just stating a fact about what most intelligent women face) it is such an occupational hazard. Sometimes you have to pretend to be a little slow or dumb to ‘keep’ your friends and extended family. But guess what?? I am not ready to do that.
I demand to be accepted as I am, with or without brains, spoken to civilly and with respect, irrespective of what my gender is, just as I do you. Or else it’s plain and simple, don’t stop to speak to me, keep moving.