Mundane musings

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Watch Gilmore Girls – A year In Life 

I joined the Gilmore Girls band wagon pretty late and when I did I made up for the delay by binge watching the whole 7 seasons in 2 months time. I loved the show, the quirky characters, the special bond between Lorelai and Rory and the smothering but adorable Emily and doting Richard and tons of more things…. I mean what’s not to love!!  

I felt the show was positive and progressive. Lorelai did make a mistake when she was 16 and got pregnant but she took it in her stride and raised her daughter without any help from her rich parents. In her own words “she stopped being a child when the strip turned pink”. She worked hard, starting off as a maid and working her way to the management of the inn. I appreciated her parenting style, she was fun and friendly and just the right amount of strict and probably that’s why she raised a strong willed, ambitious daughter who was a really good kid. She dated responsibly and had a great value system in place like the time when she was very unhappy with Rory sleeping with a married Dean. She’s kind and is genuinely nice with Kirk, Paris, Lane and Dean even after Rory’s break up with him.

Yes, her relationship with her parents is debatable but over the seasons you can see where she was coming from. She could have treated Luke better too but her  behavior is driven by her self-centered personality, she’s not really being mean or selfish.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 seasons and loved to watch both mother and daughter grow up. It was also endearing to see the way Lorelai’s relationship changed with her parents over the years. Season 7 ended on a happy positive note and I was left craving for more so I immediately indulged in Gilmore Girls – A Year In Life, and man I was disappointed!!

  1. Since the beginning of the show Rory is the super smart kid who’s really good and kind and ambitious. The sequel defies all of that. Not only does she seem to be wasting her life and fancy college education but also having an affair with a guy who’s engaged while having a boy friend who she keeps forgetting about. Her life in general is very unstable – no job, no permanent place of residence, no steady relationship. I expected more from her… much more.
  2. Richard Gilmore is sorely missed and Emily’s widowed version makes his absence even worse. She is so soft and mellow. No more cockiness, no more new maids. She is so lost and depressed that she’s almost unrecognizable for the most part. In season 7 she once had fired a maid because she saw the maid talk to Rory and in the sequel she doesn’t care who is coming in the house and even asking the maid to rest while she warms soup for her!! WAY too hard to digest !! 
  3. There is no real story. It feels they got all old characters together for giving a closure of sorts and then randomly created a story to fit all those characters in 4 episodes. For example, bringing Paris and all the drama around IVF was totally unnecessary. There also is very random referencing with past events trying to create a sort of connection between the original 7 seasons and the sequel but it falls flat because of the sequel’s many short comings. Lorelai saying “I smell snow” also sounds so fake this time around.
  4. Many of the cast members seem to have lost their spark, Lorelai included. Sookie was not there for most part, and even when she appears in the last episode she is so unlike her character that I wished she hadn’t appeared at all. Luke, Jess and Michel were the only ones that did justice to their characters, everyone else has paled since the glorious 7 seasons. 
  5. The sequel was made more eccentric and whimsical, there were more dramatic bits like the town musical and the whole dance and music thing with life and death brigade. Both are utter waste of time. The directors tried to give more glamor to the show through the life and death brigademusical but it didn’t work because we actually liked the charming homey vibe of the show that the sequel sorely lacked.
  6. I was rooting for Logan through season 6 and 7 and was looking forward for more of his amazing chemistry with Rory. However, he disappoints too. He had quit his father’s empire and taken up a job when season 7 ended, but now, not only is he back but he is also engaged to someone his family chose and is cheating on his fiancee with Rory. Also his older version is not half as charming as his younger self. 
  7. Stars Hollow looks as warm and cozy as it did earlier but Emily and Richard’s house looks almost lifeless. It feels like Richard not only filled the frame but also gave more life to the set.
  8. The shot with Mr. Kim was terrible. During whole 7 seasons there is no mention of Mr Kim anywhere, just bringing him up at the end seemed very casual and unnecessary. Same goes for Lorelai’s therapist turning up for the audition and acting crazy. 
  9. I didn’t like the way it ended. Rory gave Lorelai the news of her pregnancy and we didn’t even get to see Lorelai’s reaction!!! What was the point of it anyway? If the idea was to draw parallels between Lorelai and Rory‘s lives that now Rory will be raising a child by herself like her mother did 32 years ago, it sucks! First of all Lorelai was much more responsible adult than Rory has shown to be. Lorelai didn’t shirk away from working hard but Rory seems to have an arrogant, entitled air around her in the sequel. Lorelai got pregnant when she was almost a child herself but Rory has no excuse for being careless. 
  10. Last but not the least, I was put off by how old the whole cast looks. Yes, the show did progress by 10 years but since I binge watched all of the 7 seasons right before I watched the year in life I was so taken aback by the way everyone looks. Only Babette looks just like she did earlier, while time took a toll on each and everyone else. Forget Lorelai, even Rory shows wrinkles.

These are most of my opinions of the sequel. It totally spoiled the gooey happy place Gilmore Girls had created for me and I wish I could erase these 4 episodes from my memory. If you have watched Gilmore Girls or the sequel A Year In Life do leave a comment below and tell us how you feel about it.

-A

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DIY, Festivals

DIY No- sew Halloween Costume – Owelette Cape

Halloween excitement is running high in our house since the beginning of October. With new decorations appearing on a daily basis in the neighborhood even Baby Boy is noticing and saying “Mumma, I want Holloween”.

The kids are crazy for PJ Masks show these days and want to dress up as Owelette and Cat boy this year. I have been buying costumes for them so far but this year I couldn’t find a decent Owelette costume anywhere and Cat boy costume is mainly a jumpsuit which would have been a disaster for newly potty trained baby boy. So I just decided to get them capes and masks with red/blue clothes underneath. 

2 days ago my husband’s cousin shared pictures of her children in Halloween costumes. Her daughter is almost the same age as mine and she was wearing a fancy Owelette cape. I immediately texted her asking where she got it from and she told me she made it herself! My Sil is super good with crafts and the fact that she managed to make the cape with 3 kids in the house makes her even more awesome. When I told her I want to make one too she gave me detailed directions and shared helpful tips. So this blog post is dedicated to her. I am only the messenger 🙂

It looks elaborate but can be finished in less than 3 hours after you have arranged for the materials. I made it when my daughter was at school. She was thrilled to see her cape and couldn’t stop flaunting it! 

Things you will need:

  • 1/2 yard Red felt fabric (Available at all craft stores and even Walmart but Walmart may be out of stock and may not have magenta for the feathers)
  • 1/2 yard Magenta felt fabric
  • Red ribbon to make the tie
  • 2 hair ties or bangles for the arm bands
  • Red thread and needle
  • Fabric glue/ Hot glue gun
  • Measuring tape and pencil 

I wanted to use Flannel fabric but Felt gives the cape a little stiffness. Felt is also easier to work with and can be washed in delicate cycle with little detergent and cold water.

What you need to do:

  • Fold the red fabric in half so the wings are symmetrical when you cut them and the placement of Magenta feathers can be done symmetrically as well. 
  • Measure fingertip to fingertip length for your child and add a couple of inches to it for the wing span. I made 36 inches across and about 30 inches long for my 5.5 year old.
  • Refer to the picture below and roughly draw the cape outline with a pencil. For the measurements I used, each feather was about 7 inches at the widest spot. Draw a dip for the neck. Don’t cut anything yet. 
  • To make a more symmetrical wing pattern don’t cut the red base in the beginning. After you have drawn the outline on Red, fold the Magenta fabric once and draw petal like shapes for making feathers.
  • Draw the middle 3 feathers first and since the fabric is folded once, on cutting you’ll get 3 pairs of petals. Cut a thin uppermost feather and the middle bottom feather at the end. Fill the gaps by making smaller feathers.
  • Keep the pairs together and arrange them on the folded red wing, and when you are satisfied with the placement of Magenta feathers cut the red wing like this by keeping a margin of 0.5-1 cm. 
  • Now carefully spread open the red wing, try not to move the Magenta feathers. If you see carefully you’ll notice that I have kept the Magenta feathers in pairs on the red wing. This is so I don’t have to remember or number the pairs. 
  • Arrange the feathers on the full wing and stick them one by one. I used a hot glue gun because I’m obsessed with it 😀 but you can use a fabric glue as well. In fact if your daughter is helping you with the costume forget hot glue completely. 
  • Once all feathers are fixed, you’ll need to sew the hair ties on both ends. I didn’t have red hair ties so I used the next best thing I could find – Bangles. You can use elastic too. 
  • Finish off the cape by sewing on the ribbon on the neck, leaving enough on both ends to tie in a knot. If you don’t want to sew you can use the magic hot glue gun to stick it on. 

The cape may pull at the neck if only supported by the ribbon. To avoid this I am planning on fixing it on the shoulders with safety pins. 

My friend Garima has made a similar cape for her daughter and she plans to fix it with hooks. For this you will need 2 small sewing hooks and sew it on the cape where it’s supposed  to touch the shoulders. After checking the placement on the child’s shirt you then need to sew the eyes on. That way the cape hangs on the shirt rather than on the neck and is safer.

    Crafty baby, DIY

    Melting Crayon Art – Phases of Life

    After our first attempt (see here) at the crayon melting art, darling daughter and I were pretty excited about trying our next melting crayon project. My Sil’s 25th anniversary was approaching and we wanted to make a keepsake for her special occasion. We decided to make a set of 3 paintings showing 3 stages of her and her husband’s life – as newly-weds, raising 2 kids and life as empty-nesters. 


    What we needed:

    • 3 Canvas (we used 11 inches x 14 inches)
    • 6 packs of Crayola crayons (24 pieces)
    • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
    • Hot air gun
    • Printouts of shadow figures

    What we did:

    • First of all we segregated the crayons from all 6 boxes into 4 piles – colors we needed for each of the 3 paintings and colors we didn’t need at all. We had selected greens and blues for painting 1, pinks and purples for painting 2 and yellows and oranges for painting 3. 
    • We decided the order for the colors to give uniformity to the painting, and glued the crayons to the top of the canvas in the chosen order using hot glue gun. This was slightly time consuming and required quite a few glue sticks.
    • After sticking the crayons on the canvas, we made a sort of canopy with a masking tape above the place we wanted to place the shadow figure. The masking tape acts as an umbrella and doesn’t let color drip down, leaving clean white space to highlight the shadow figure. 
    • We placed the canvas vertically on the floor and spread old newspapers under it to catch any stray color from getting on the floor. Using a hot air gun we blew air on the crayons. Within moments the crayons started melting and colors started dripping on the canvas. Blow air depending on how long you would like the drops. We moved the hot air gun from one side of the canvas to the other until we were satisfied with the painting, and then we let it cool. 
    • We repeated the same process for the other 2 paintings.
    • For shadow figures we looked on google images and took printout of the ones we liked. Then we cut the silhouette and stuck them on the canvas using glue. 

    This is the final result of our hand work:


    We were so in love with our paintings that we made 4 more, one each for darling daughter’s older cousins, one for her class teacher’s birthday gift and one for my best friend’s baby girl. 


    These make great gifts and are easy to make. Do try them with your child or by yourself. They are a fun craft project for all ages.

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    DIY Diwali Toran

    Every year I make a Diwali Bandanvar or Toran. This time I have already made a wreath (see details here) and to compliment it I wanted to make something classy yet traditional, something not too flashy but yet rich looking.

    I have been making paper marigolds since last few days but hadn’t quite figured out where to use them until today morning. The paper marigolds are absolutely beautiful crafts and look almost like the real deal. Since finding marigolds in the US can be challenging I usually make these every year to use for Diwali decoration. Here I have only stuck 2 hemispherical flowers to make a flower ball and added petals for some green color. They look great and are easy to make.


    What you need:

    • Paper napkins in yellow and orange color (Available at Walmart in party section)
    • 1/2 inch wide ribbon in yellow or orange (I used the shimmery ones from Dollar store)
    • White Fabric petals (Available at Dollar Store) 
    • Acrylic green color for dyeing the petals
    • A strong glue/hot glue gun 
    • Stapler and pins

    What to do:

    • First of all you need to get your marigolds ready. They are easy but time consuming. To make a marigold take a paper napkin (with color on both sides) and fold it twice to get a small square. The napkins are already folded twice but you need to fold them 2 more times. 
    • Now secure the small square by putting 2 stapler pins in the centre making a + sign.
    • Cut the square from the sides into a circle, and make small cuts throughout the peripheri. 
    • Now pick up the top layer of paper and crinkle it in the centre. Do it for each layer until there are only 5-6 left. Follow the picture collage to give you a better idea. I usually leave the last few layers straight. It saves precious time and doesn’t compromise on the look of the flower.


    • Dye the white flower petals in green color. The fastest way of doing it is to add some color and water in a big bowl and dump the petals inside. The petals that you get at Dollar Store are of stiff synthetic material and don’t stick to each other or crumple. Mix the contents of the bowl so the color gets on all the petals. Then spread them out on a newspaper and let them air dry. They should start drying off in 5-10 minutes only. 
    • Take a marigold and put some glue at its back. Stick 3 green petals one by one, arranging them in a circle. Using more glue stick one end of the ribbon along with the petals and finish by sticking the back of another marigold of the same color to get a ball like the picture below. 
    • Repeat the above step and make these flower balls throughout the length of your toran maintaining a distance of about 12 inches between 2 balls. 
    • To highlight the ball that falls in the centre of the door, stick 2 marigolds flowers closely on both sides. You don’t need to use the flower balls for this. 
    • Fix the toran on your doorway using small nails and a strong double tape. I needed 3 nails – 1 on each side and one at the top center. 

    This is the final look:


    It does go well with the wreath, don’t you agree? We love it, hope you do too. 

    Happy Diwali 

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY

    Melting Crayon Art on Canvas 

    Darling daughter loves doing arts and crafts so I’m always on the lookout for fun projects that we can do together. Few months ago I saw a picture of melting crayon art and it looked very interesting. I did some research and found its easy to do, doesn’t require a whole paraphernalia of supplies and is something that looks more prettier than the effort it takes to make them! 

    I couldn’t wait to try my hands at it and got an opportunity in August when we were visiting my husband’s uncle. He loves photography and many times is seen capturing beautiful memories with his camera. Darling Daughter adores her Grandfather. She wanted to make a card but then I thought why not a crayon art instead. So this is what we made for him –


    The idea is to create art to show how he captures all colors of the light spectrum into his camera. 

    If  you would like to make this, you’ll need:

    • A canvas (we used size 8 x 10 inches)
    • Good quality crayon colors (Crayola works best)*
    • A hot air gun/a hair dryer
    • A paper/cardboard cut out**
    • Black color to paint the camera cutout 
    • A steel fork to hold the crayon while melting 

    What to do:

    • Spread old newspaper on the floor under the canvas to protect it from any stray crayon drops, and lay the canvas horizontally on it.
    • Choose the placement for the camera and stick it temporarily using a masking tape so there is no sticky spot after peeling it off.
    • Consider the color placement for all 7 crayons so the spectrum comes in the center of the canvas.
    • While holding the crayon with a fork blow hot air from the camera to the other side so the color flies out of the camera. 
    • Use hot air to evenly spread the melted Crayon by moving the hot air gun/hair dryer over it from the camera to the outer side. You may want to lift the canvas a little from the camera side so the color flows to the other side, away from the camera.
    • Repeat the melting process for the rest 6 colors. 
    • Blow some air on the right end to merge the colors. If you want a thin layer of lighter hues then use small pieces of crayons and use more hot air  to spread it out. 
    • Once the colors have cooled down, take out the masking tape from the camera cutout and paint it black. I also added some silver glitter to give it a metallic look. After drying stick it on the canvas using a strong glue or a hot glue gun.
    • Enjoy your lovely painting. 

    Notes:

    • * I used some old broken crayons without considering the quality. The good ones melt evenly and give a good even spread. The cheap ones melt in a thick paste that doesn’t spread or merge well and gives a patchy look like you can see in green, blue and red areas of our art.
    • ** I used the cardboard cut out for the camera to give a 3-D effect. You can use a normal paper cutout as well.

    This is a very interesting project and I am sure you will have great fun doing it. I have made a whole bunch of these in different themes that I will be sharing in another blog post very soon.

    Happy crafting!

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    DIY – Diwali Wreath Decoration

    Living in a foreign country comes with its own pros and cons. While I do enjoy the various perks , a part of me misses family and friends I left behind. Talking on phone or video calls is great but it doesn’t really cut it some times, especially during the festive season when nostalgia hits hard.

    While I can not recreate my childhood memories for my kids, I do want them to know about our major festivals and traditions. Diwali is the biggest and most special festival for us so I have started a tradition of making our own decorations. This way I can engage the kids in a constructive activity, prepare for the festival and teach them about India and our culture along the way. Darling daughter loves crafting and looks forward to Diwali all year. Now that she’s older (5.5 years) she and I scroll through Pinterest and pick what we want to make, then go shopping together and craft away! 

    In the past years we have made Kandil and Diwali Toran/Bandanvar. You can see detailed instructions on those here. We have also made beautiful paper marigolds here.

    This year I wanted to make something different. I noticed people decorating their houses with Fall wreaths and wanted to make one for Diwali. They look rich and elegant and can be as simple or as complex you want them to be. I gathered some supplies and this is what I came up with. 


    I have kept orange as the main color to celebrate fall and added traditional motif and decorations to give it an Indian look. This took me less than 30 minutes to finish.

    Things you will need:

    • 1 Styrofoam wreath (14 inches diameter)*
    • 1 roll of Orange Burlap ribbon (5.5 inches wide)*
    • Thin red ribbon (I used 1/4 inch wide)
    • Red fabric flowers and traditional decorations**
    • Big red stones/embellishments
    • Hot glue gun/transparent tape
    Processed with MOLDIV
    Processed with MOLDIV


    What to do:

    • Stick one end of the burlap ribbon to the wreath using hot glue gun/tape to hold it in place. Roll the ribbon tightly and cover the wreath. One roll of 15 ft was enough to cover a 14″ wreath. Secure the loose end of the ribbon discreetly using glue/tape.
    • Roll the thin red ribbon across the wreath, maintaining a gap of about 2 inches . 
    • Stick the decorations on the wreath in any pattern you like. If you are a beginner like me stick to symmetrical patterns.
    • At the end stick stones on both side of the fabric decorations.
    • Use a ribbon to hang the wreath on a the wall or door. 

    *  All decorations are easily available at Walmart or any craft store. There is a variety of wreaths and burlap available (different sizes and colors) so be mindful of the size you need before buying. and the color scheme you are going for.

    ** I used an elaborate Rakhi lumba as the traditional decoration. This may not be available at any American store. 

    Hope you love your finished wreath as much we do ours. 

    Wish you and your families a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali.

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    Make Your Own Rakhi – 2017

    If you have been following the blog for some time you would probably know that every year darling daughter and I make hand made Rakhis. The festival of Raksha bandhan holds a special significance in our close knit family and making our own Rakhis makes it sweeter for us. Staying outside India this is one more way of keeping my kids closer to our culture and traditions. 

    When VMJ was younger I would choose the kind of Rakhis we made and did majority of the work. Now that she’s a big girl of 5 she insists on choosing the design and shopping for supplies on her own. These days she is into reading and writing so alphabets were heavily on her mind while picking a rakhi pattern. She decided to make name bracelets for her brothers and picked up colorful letter beads from the craft store. Since heart is her favorite shape and she loves colors, she also picked up a box of colorful heart beads and string in bright colors. I would have preferred regular cord over the elastic one but the elastic one had more colors and glitter so was darling daughter’s obvious choice.


    The rest was easy. We threaded beads in the string – full names for the younger brothers and only initials for grown up brothers, added heart beads on both ends.


    VMJ’S eldest brother got married last winter so this year we were excited to make our first lumba rakhi for her new Bhabhi. In case you are not familiar – lumba is a special, more decorative rakhi for brother’s wife. Instead of the typical rakhi thread a lumba had a loop of string that is knotted around the bangle. For lumba we had bought special charms that dangle from the main loop. A smaller charm from the set was added to our rakhi to make it into a set for VMJ’s Bhaiya Bhabhi. This is how our rakhi and lumba set looks.

    The best part about these rakhis was that darling daughter was able to make them on her own, I did help with tying the knots and making the lumba but that was it. 

    I love how they have turned out, hope you like them as much as we do. 

    Hurry now! Get your supplies and make some pretty ones for your Bhaiyas and Bhabhis.

    Happy crafting!

    – A

      Kitchen and food, Recipes

      Super Soft Protein Packed Savory Pancakes (Cheela)

      Being a vegetarian I’m always struggling to manage my family’s protein intake. Some recipes are not tasty enough, some not easy enough and some are not nutritious enough…. It’s an everyday stress to decide on a dinner menu that meets all criteria.

      To include more proteins I replaced roti with besan cheela (chickpea flour savory pancakes) in my dinner. Sometimes the cheela would be too dry so I grated Zucchini and added finely chopped onions to the batter, but the results still varied. One day I had a eureka moment and added lots of crumpled tofu in the batter along with the veggies. The result was a soft, tasty and super healthy cheela. Even my fussy kids happily ate it and asked again the next day. 

      Recipe is pretty simple.

      You need:

      1 cup Besan* (Chickpea flour)

      1 cup grated Zucchini (or Bottle gourd/Lauki)

      2 tbsp finely chopped onions 

      1/2 cup crumpled Tofu

      1/4 tsp Ajwain (carrom seeds)

      1/4 tsp Amchoor (dry mango powder)

      Salt to taste

      What you need to to:

      • Mix all ingredients together and add water in small quantities to reach pouring consistency
      • Whisk well so there are no lumps
      • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes 
      • Heat an iron skillet (tawa). Once its hot, add a few drops of oil and spread with a brush. Be more generous with the oil for making the first cheela
      • Pour couple of spoonfuls of the batter on the hot skillet, spread evenly and cook well on both sides until done
      • Enjoy hot with green chutney

      *Notes:

      • Depending on my mood and availability I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of Jowar flour, Oats flour, Sooji or Ragi flour while keeping besan as the base. You can get as creative with the type and quantity of flour you are using.
      • You can add veggies like carrots, beans, cauliflower, spinach etc. in addition or in place of Zucchini and Onion. 
      • I don’t usually add chilies because my kids don’t eat very spicy foods but if you’d like you can add finely chopped green chilies. They lend a great flavor to the cheelas.
      • Don’t make the batter too watery, else the cheelas will take ages to cook. You can add more besan to thicken the batter.

       

      Happy cooking!

      -A

      Crafty baby, Disciplining your child, DIY, Parenting

      DIY Calming Bottle/Glitter Jar

      As darling daughter is getting older she’s growing more sensitive to the idea of time out. If I ask her to go in a corner she sulks and pouts and outrightly refuses to do that. But there are times when I do need her to calm down for both her and my sake. In order to make time out fun for her I considered making a calming bottle. Of course there was added advantage of doing a craft together which is darling daughter’s most favorite thing to do!

      Things we used :

      • Empty glass bottle (I used glass bottle that came with Starbucks frapuccino)
      • Glitter glue 
      • Extra glitter 
      • Confetti and assorted beads/tid bits
      • Hot glue gun (to seal the cap close)

      How we made it :

      • We squeezed out one part glitter glue in a bowl and added 2 parts hot water. 
      • Whisk it together until there are no glue lumps in the mixture. 
      • Pour it in the clean bottle and add confetti, beads and more glitter as per your liking. 
      • Let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, close the lid and seal it with hot glue gun. 

      Now give it a good shake and enjoy the glitter floating in the liquid. Your glitter jar is ready!


      Notes:

      • It would be advisable to use a plastic bottle when making it for young kids.
      • If the mixture is not completely cooled before you close the lid, the plastic bottle may shrivel and ruin your efforts when it does cool down. 
      • Adding too much glitter glue would make the mixture too thick and glitter won’t settle down.
      • Closing with hot glue gun is important so the child doesn’t spill the contents while playing. 
      • This glitter jar is not perfect because the glitter does take a little long to settle down. I’ll experiment with other mediums and keep sharing my experience. 

      Darling daughter enjoyed making the jar, she carefully chose stars and snowflakes from the confetti mix I got from Walmart. We used her favorite Frozen themed acolors and she was thrilled with the results. It’s another thing that we haven’t needed to give her a time out since we have made the calming bottle so I can’t really comment on its effectiveness… 😃

      Do try this fun and easy project with your little one and share your experience with us!

      Happy crafting!

      -A

      Parenting

      What Scares Me Most About Neha Rastogi’s Case

      I was forwarded a news article on Neha Rastogi’s story with the caption “why read fiction when real life is equally disturbing”. Neha Rastogi worked with Apple at a fairly good position, she was married for 10 years and was abused right from the beginning. She now has a 3.5 year old daughter who has witnessed the husband’s violent behavior and would possibly be affected by it. What I read rattled me and I couldn’t read until the end. Then I got to know there is a video that she had recorded and presented as evidence. Oh my! I heard it and can’t get over her helpless voice saying “please don’t hit me.”


      The first thing that comes to my mind is why would someone so successful and intelligent be willing to put herself through such torture on a daily basis? When someone with that kind of education, financial standing and social independence cannot break away from her abusive marriage, how do we expect any other woman to do the same? In the last few months I have come to know of 2 women who are in abusive marriages. One is staying because she just had a baby and fears the social stigma that will come with divorce. The other says with her average education she won’t be able to support her children’s current lavish lifestyle if she were to separate. I have tried to understand their reasons but they don’t seem convincing enough to me. Since I am not in their shoes I have tried rationalizing it in my head – maybe if they were more secure financially, maybe if they were stronger mentally, maybe….. What struck me most with this news is that when a person like Neha Rastogi took 10 years to finally take an action, how ordinary women would find the courage to raise their voice with their limited resources.

      The husband is a beast, a monster in the garb of a human, a disgusting loathsome creature. What makes him worse than all uneducated men hitting their wives is that he is a man who is expected to have some civic sense because he is well educated and worked with the top notch professionals in a progressive country. Education is not just about academics, it also exposes you to finer things in life, makes you aware of the nuances of society and basic etiquette, teaches you to respect fellow individuals and disagreeing with grace, makes you a gentleman from a mere human being. It’s unfortunate to see that education and exposure didn’t teach any of this to the despicable Abhishek Gattani.

      Education also teaches one to be strong and independent, to understand what is right and acceptable and what’s not, to learn when to bear and when to quit. Neha Rastogi failed many aspiring girls by not using her education for THE most important thing it was supposed to do – to empower her to be in control of her own life. I can’t help but ponder over the whys and whats. Why did she tolerate it for so long, why did she not separate, why did she bear the beatings helplessly, why did she not oppose and hit back, what was she thinking  by bringing a  child in the picture, what made her so docile, what was the reason for her weakness and submission to the violence…. The questions bothering me are too many.

      As I think about the possible reasons I wonder if maybe our culture is to be blamed for it. Are we teaching our daughters to be ‘just a little bit’ adjusting and submissive, and pumping egos of our sons ‘just a little bit’ just because they are born with a Y chromosome? Are we unconsciously giving them different toys to play with, enrolling them in different extra-curricular activities, expecting different behaviors from them and preparing them for different social roles? Is this what made Neha Rastogi suffer for so long before good sense prevailed?

      One may say things are changing and our culture is evolving, but is it really? Let me share a small seemingly-insignificant conversation I had with a college senior last week. So this person was my senior during MBA, is now connected through Facebook but we are not otherwise in touch, nor have I really known him as a person even during college. In relation to something on Facebook we struck an offline conversation. He asked me where I am working these days and I told him I am a full time mom. His response was “Thats cool! And must be the busiest job you’ve ever done.. Lol”. I gave him the benefit of doubt, ignored the “Lol” at the end and replied “Yes it is the busiest and craziest time of my life so far.” What he said next infuriated me. He wrote back “Yeah yeah… Lot of time to read and watch movies… Hectic indeed.” I have hardly had a personal relationship with this man, we went to college together which means we are (or were at that time) on the same intellectual spectrum, he knows nothing about my life yet had a negative opinion he wasn’t ashamed of sharing. Even as an outsider he felt he had the right to judge and comment on my decision with respect to my career and personal life. I felt sorry for his wife, thanked my lucky stars that I am not married to someone who identifies with such thought process and quietly unfriended him. It is not directly related to the case I was writing about but it is an example of the kind of misogyny women in India have to go through every day. Patriarchy still exists and somewhere, to a large or small extent we have succumbed to it.  It is the impassive acceptance of it that probably made Neha Rastogi suffer quietly and the deep internalization of patriarchal principles that made Abhishek Gattani assert his superiority over his wife and abuse her.

      As I agonize thinking about this incident I can’t help but worry about my daughter. I am raising her to be smart and independent, giving her the best education and exposure I can, but then Neha possibly received the same. How do I make sure my daughter doesn’t let what Neha let happen to herself? How do I make sure she’ll be strong and courageous enough when it’s most required? In this unfair world with its lopsided scales how do I let my daughter out of my sight?

      I always thought education is the answer to most social evils. I believed education will empower us and make us superior culturally and intellectually. I hoped education will bring awareness and equality. Today I am sad for Neha Rastogi but feel worse with the knowledge that education is not a cure for animals, that education cannot correct the deeply ingrained social behavior. It is something we need to do at a whole different level.  We have a huge responsibility, let’s take that seriously. Let’s raise our daughters and sons equally, and by equally I mean not accepting that girls are softer and more suitable for activities like dancing while boys are stronger and should pursue a sport, not buying dolls for girls and cars for boys because we feel they should play with such toys, not believing that boys are born rowdy so need not be disciplined when they play rough, that girls are not supposed to talk loudly and be the dainty little thing everyone adores. The change has to begin from us. Let’s not create more Neha Rastogis.

      -A

      If you haven’t read about the case yet read it here https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/flip.it%2F-g9Ogv-silicon-valley-ceo-pleads-no-contest-to/f-b296c17902%2Fthedailybeast.com