The Sheep Or The Tiger

Yesterday was my birthday. A significant number of years spent on earth. A lot of memories, a lot of experiences.

If you know any of my relatives, they will tell you that at my age they had had all their children. They will also tell you that what I am doing with my life is wasting it away. Also, since I don’t seem fit into any box of theirs, I will be solely responsible for the end of the world as we know it.

It is true I don’t act my age. Around me, there are my friends and classmates who are far more ‘adult’ than I am. I have wondered if there is something wrong with me. Then, I realized it is only that my priorities haven’t changed much since when I was three years old or so. What I want from life, what I expect from people, my wants, and needs, my priorities, they are still the same.

I don’t mean to say they haven’t changed at all. Sure, I used to read children’s books, now my reading list is far more evolved. It is the same with everything. They are an evolved version of what I wanted when I was a child. And that is why I am who I am.

What did I want as a child? Food, Shelter, Books, etc. I also wanted love, like the unconditional love I had for those around me. I wanted to learn. I wanted people to be honest because that’s what they were telling me to be. These were some of the things that I wanted. These are still some of the things I still want. (A house, a car, IRAs, these are all material things, that I figure everyone plans for. Let’s not talk about that.) I want people who are honest, people who are not bigots, around me.This is why they think I don’t act my age.

Who actually decides that my requirements or choices in life are wrong? What is the standard of measure that they use? Or is that particular standard unfailingly accurate every time?

Society has a long checklist. It is the same for everyone. Every time a person is born, a new checklist is generated. Like a birth certificate, it is a template. As you grow older, you are going to have to check things off of the checklist.

Baby rolls over at certain age – ☑. Baby starts walking at this age – ☑. The child goes to school at this age – ☑. The child gets an ‘A’ in school – ☑. A child plays an instrument/sport – ☑. And on and on and on. Then comes college, post-graduation, employment, marriage, and the cycle repeats itself with the next generation.

I understand that this can be a good thing. Send your kids to school, and college; let them learn a new language; play a sport and develop a camaraderie; let them start living. But why do we put a standard on any of it? If you send your child to School A instead of School B, why is it looked down upon? If your child plays hockey instead of cricket, is it a bad thing?

None of this matters. We have become a society of people who have started to resemble sheep. One starts bleating and the others follow. We have stopped being individuals. All thanks to this checklist mentality.


Look around yourself. People all around us. We grow up consuming the Earth’s resources. Yet, do we give anything back? We are a result of the efforts that our parents and teachers put in. Do you still talk to your teachers? Do you give the same lessons about life to the kids around you?

Once a person decides to follow his or her own mind and start a small vegetable garden in their apartment, the neighbours complain – leaves are shedding, you are wasting space, time, and water. Yet those who complain don’t mind paying for those vegetables when they are conveniently packaged. But this person who has deviated will now be labelled for his life as a misfit. This misfit has taken time out of his day to tend to his garden, while the others can’t seem to find any spare time. The misfit will also be far less stressed and a lot happier.

I am a misfit. I had a vegetable garden, which thanks to the lack of water has now died. I teach kids, I enjoy it, and it provides pocket money. I study, though people mostly wonder why because you are supposed to stop once you earn a post-graduation. I work independently, because, one needs to have a source of income. I read because I learn new things. I write because I can.

All this and more makes me a misfit. This makes me very un-sheep-like. I think it is better to be a lone tigress with bold stripes than one of the herd.

If you want to do something, do it! (Just don’t cause harm to any other living thing.) No one is stopping you from being yourself. People can keep their checklists, while you can keep your happiness. Live your life like you want to.

If you have noticed while society has a checklist for this kind of thing, it never has a checklist for the important stuff. (Like, does a person treat his fellow humans with respect? Is a person considerate of his neighbours? Who checks when someone is rude to his fellow passengers?) Society’s checklist is rather flawed. And therefore, it doesn’t matter.

You have a choice – to be a sheep, part of the big herd Or to be a Tigress.

Be the Tigress/Tiger!

2 Changes

Changes are good. Some changes are great. I did say I would be writing more and I have. Six posts (including this one) already and there is still more of October left. I am happy with this progress. So, I went ahead and gave Frost At Midnite a makeover.

The background/ header image and the icon are photographs taken by me and the theme looks simple and clean. I am loving it! I have been making some tweaks here and there, and now I am happy with the way it looks.

The one thing I was sad about was removing the blogroll section.  I am following those blogs, and will probably put it up again when they start blogging again. (If you like the way it looks, or not, or if there is something I can do better, do let me know in comments.)

I also made a change in my real life. Something I did a week back that needs to be written about. A little background here – a few years ago my parents wanted me to get married. And they created a Kerala Matrimony profile for me. I was not interested in getting married at that point in time. But, I still was ok with them looking because if it’s meant to be, it’s will happen. And like Indian parents are bound to do, they brought forward proposals and I met some of them. I have written about some of those experiences earlier.

This past year the entire experience has been terribly awful. In this regard, I would say my parents are like wind wanes. They turn in the direction of the influencing wind. Which is mostly hot air originating from my relatives. Words were exchanged, tempers rose and things got sour.

Anyway, now all through this entire period of time, they had been paying money and renewing that profile. It was up for renewal  earlier in October. So, last Friday, I went and deleted that godforsaken profile of mine! Honestly, I thought there would be some noise from the parental unit and relatives, but there haven’t been any repercussions so far. Should I be worried? Perhaps. But I am now a less anxious because I don’t have to be worried about another proposal.

I am sure that these men I have met are all good people, but we would Never have gotten along(Please note the emphasis, that’s how strongly I felt about it). My relatives have told me that I am not right in this regard and that all of those proposals were excellent. But here’s the thing. Every time they bring forth a proposal, while my family goes to an astrologer to match horoscopes, I do a background check.

In this day and age, a background check is a relatively simple thing to do. And since I have worked for Google’s search and quality,  I know how to dig and where to look. So I get to know things and this helps me in making my decision. Like, there was a one person whose education can best be described as foggy. Now, if I were to present someone similar as a prospective groom to any of my relatives’ daughters, they would reject it. But if I do so, then I am called names. Well, that is the way of life, isn’t it? Opinions are conveniently subjective.

Now, I can’t wait to have my cousin sisters go through the same experience. Just so I can point fingers and call people hypocrites. Fun few years coming up and I really am looking forward to them.

Edit –

I know a few people who have had a similar experience through matrimonial websites. Some I already knew in life, some I got to know through these matrimonial websites. They would randomly send me a friend request on facebook and let me know that their parents have already sent a mail to my parents etc. Over the years, I have gotten to be friends with some of them. Some have found their life partners(not through these websites, though) and some haven’t.

To those who are presently going this process, or will be going through it, please remember, Patience is a virtue. Be brave and make your life choices wisely.

Thought – Taught.

The world recently celebrated International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. The ongoing struggle to make people across all countries aware of the issues faced by a person just because of her gender is real. You can get a lot of statistics from the internet.

The sad truth is even we face the same thing. When I say we, I refer to the urban woman who has had a good education, graduated from college, had/has a job etc.

Let me tell you about an incident that happened today. My neighbour is a doctor. His wife is an engineer by qualification. They have a son. This woman was married off just as soon as she graduated and I figure she is happily married. She now is looking forward to joining the workforce and I wish her all success.

As per usual, my mother and grandmother were discussing this and applauding her. (Also, my father, my sister, and I are in earshot.) The one thing that stood out the most for me in their conversation was how they said that the parents did the right thing in getting their daughter married as soon as she was out of college. They then went on to explain how if they had let the girl work or study further, she would have “raised her head” and become an independent being. (I am assuming this ‘independent being’ is one capable of forming her own opinions and making her own life choices.)

I read such inspiring accounts of how women from older generations are helping their daughters and granddaughters achieve their dreams. And yet today I heard the exact words that make me disrespect some people irrespective of who they are. It is like 2 steps forward, ten steps back.

I know that all this was perhaps meant to be subtle hints to me and my sister (both postgraduates and independent). Honestly, hearing a woman, who was married off at the age of 16 to a man who was 13 years her senior, say this was very disappointing.

My grandmother was born and brought up in Kerala, a place that’s famous for its matrilineal culture. The state has a whopping 1084 females to every 1000 males as per the last census! Her father was a freedom fighter, a very well known personality in society and an accomplished persona in literary circles. Yet, he married his daughter off at 16. She didn’t go to college, she didn’t even contemplate work. To this day my grandmother is dependent upon her children and grandchildren to get things done. She hasn’t even gone shopping! My uncles just buy her saris and give them to her.

Can you imagine living your life where all your clothes were not of your choice? Perhaps my mother and uncles are also guilty of abetting her lack of self-sufficiency. But that’s what they grew up seeing, didn’t they?

I am not someone who can live like that. And I cannot have any respect for a person who thinks this way. It is not feminism. I just want everyone to live their life happily. Irrespective of gender, race, religion, class, caste, sexual orientation, etc. Every single living being deserves a life that makes them happy.

And, I am so very disappointed in them. This incident has taught me to be more independent, just so I don’t ever think such thoughts.

Fine Blanked.

While I was writing the previous post, thinking of what to write about and all that, I thought I would write my recent shopping experience.

We bought a microwave to replace the old one. The old one, an LG 25ltr, was over a decade old and finally gave up its life. The new one we bought is an IFB 23ltr convection (23bc4). And how we regret the purchase!

Now, let’s talk a little about the brand. IFB (Indian Fine Blanks) has been in India for over 40 yrs, and its home appliances division has been around since the 90’s. They are (supposedly) one of the most trusted brands in the country.

Now our plight. This is the one that started our headaches.


It comes all nicely packaged and has such a good look to it, doesn’t it?

We bought it from Girias, Mahalingapuram, on Sunday 17th April. They were rather nice and helpful. We even asked if the company had good customer service and they said yes. At the end of the transaction, they informed us that the product would be delivered the next day and the technician would be around within 24 hrs to install and show a demo.

Like promised the product was delivered on Monday evening. And then the wait began. After 24 hours, we called up customer care (in case you didn’t know IFB Customer Care numbers are 1860 425 5678 or 1800 3000 5678). Then we called them afterwards twice a day every day. These people finally gave us numbers of some guy in Chennai who handles these things. I called him up and he said, it would be done today(which was Friday), then tomorrow before 12pm (Saturday). And on Saturday evening, this person didn’t even pick up the call.

Now, it’s Monday Evening and still no one has come by. The thing is, IFB sends you a ticket number first when you buy, which was our reference until today. When we called this morning, to our dismay we were told, that since there was no response on our end, the ticket was closed. How can you close an issue, if you have not resolved it? What sort of moronic response is this?  One gives a landline number, a cell number, and multiple times declared that there is someone always at home and this is the response that is given! After talking to them again today, there is now another ticket number we have for reference. The longevity of this is, again if the experience is to be repeated, questionable.

Normally, I don’t judge people for their language skills. Being multilingual, it is easier for me to talk to people in the language they are comfortable in rather than English if it is not their cup of tea. The IFB customer care fellows have, I can shamefully say, tried my patience on that issue as well.

If the purpose of calling a CC number is to gather information not available by other machine generated means, I want to talk to someone who has that info. These guys, on the other hand, have a standard response.These being –

  • Please note down our technician’s numbers
  • They will surely come Today(if you call in the morning)
  • They will surely come Tomorrow(if you call in the evening)

Now, that is information that can be relayed by a machine.

  • Press 1 if you are a customer ->
  • Press 1 if you want English ->
  • Press 1 if you want a Technician’s number
  • Press 2 if you want a standard response.

Honestly, at this rate, you can get things done faster with a Government office than with IFB.

How can a brand like IFB with the presence and customer base that it has been so callous when it comes to keeping these same customers happy? In our example, as first-time customers of the brand, we are very disappointed and will never again buy an IFB product again. And for sure we are not going to recommend IFB to anyone as well.

You know, perhaps they have named their company well, Indian Fine Blanks. Once you buy an IFB, you may as well have a blank expression.

Making Fine Blanks of Indians for Decades!

You can also refer their Twitter page @IFBAppliances or any other forum to look through many such issues. Some unresolved issues dating back months even.

UPDATE: Finally, they came on 25 April. Installed and Demo was done. FINALLY!!!!!