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Part-by-part and day-by-day our Zen is going away from us. Remember Maruti Zen, the oldest model? It's a 15-year-old car I got married to, after my husband bought it as a young adult with his father's hard-earned money. We know it's going away because every month it needs to be upped, with a part needing replacement or some other dying permanently. The engine is coughing with over-use, protesting at every ignition now. Mysterious groans of ageing are heard through every trip.
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The "big" aunty in tights, walking gaily down the chic mall or the neighbourhood market, and who still in a very evolved world generates snickers, may have run an obstacle course to get herself to buy her first pair, and climbed a mountain of belief to wear it! Against her family, her husband, her kids, her magazines, her friends' sense of aesthetics, and who knows what else to reach the finish line of confidence.
An older cousin was a window to our own futures, setting standards for a younger, aspirational demography of children in at least a couple of houses of the family. From getting princesses in Mario Brothers to real ones in school; from acting guides on how to pluck mangoes to being buffers against bullies in the lane, older cousins were relied on with wide eyes and mouths agape.
Recently, an author with a book fresh from the pre sent me review request. Came down straight to the point in a two-line mail - "Where should I send you a copy". No, he did not ask me what the proced...
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Exactly a day after the world witnessed the humongous response to #SelfieWithDaughter, seemingly to support daughters in particular and promote gender equality in general, I read a piece, "No Boring Babu", in <em>Outlook India</em>'s Deep Throat Column, by a female journalist on a woman IAS officer who was described as "eye candy" who "knows exactly what time the CM will arrive and leave the office".
Mid-handshake, some withdraw their hands as soon as they see it, whispering, <em>"What is that?"</em> as if they see an alien perched there. Some others, because they like to be right even if rude, pronounce a kind <em>"Ugh!"</em> before they ask me to <em>"just get the ugliness removed, will you?"</em> Very few have directly asked me (though everyone must have thought of this), with bated breath, <em>"Are they contagious?</em>"