OPINION

"Oh Boy!"

May 15, 2008
Seema Dhindaw

“Thank god, it’s a boy! How wonderful! Congratulations” I remember the desi uncles and aunties saying with abandon even as I stood right next to my parents. My memories of their uninhibited exclamations of “Badhaai ho, munda hua!” ring loud and clear even today. Being their first-born, a daughter, I couldn’t help being overcome with feelings of jealousy and apprehension. The realization that someone else was going to steal my parent’s attention was enough to get my 6-year old heart racing. My big brown eyes widened and filled with fear as I looked up at my parents and repeatedly asked  “Do you still love me?”

As my brother and I grew older, sadly my fears became reality. The favoritism had become strikingly apparent not just to me but others as well. My aunt and neighbors noticed and did what they could to make me feel special. My grandmother, on the other hand, visiting from India could not see past my brother.

I faded into the background and all my tiny accomplishments in kindergarten and elementary school went unnoticed. I began to realize just how important it was for my parents to have a son, particularly my mother. As teenage years approached, the treatment meted out by our parents was obviously differential. He got to stay out later than I did. His mistakes were more readily forgiven. His anger and outbursts excused with “Boys are like that, its ok.” He was bought an expensive car because “it would stay in the family.” His announcement of having a girlfriend was met with pride and encouragement while even a mention of my boyfriend would probably inspire histrionics. Over the years my hostility towards him manifested and our relationship floundered.

Many Indians including Punjabis tend to agree upon the value of the male child. In Indian households and particularly in North Indian families, the son is expected to live with his wife and children while caring for his aging parents in the same house. This can be quite a lot of pressure for any son. Financial responsibilities and the lack of privacy can make life pretty miserable for everyone.

What is bothersome is not that these biases exist but that many families strive relentlessly to preserve and propagate those here in America. My own family, I feel, has been guilty of this. Many a times my mother has made statements such as “He’s a boy, so it’s different. You should be more understanding”, ” We feel sad for so and so. They just have two daughters. Who will care for them when they’re old?!” A daughter can take as good if not better care of her parents than any son could. Why such a strong bias especially when you have a daughter who cares for you? A gift from me is “no big deal” but any small card or gesture from my brother is received with open arms and praise.

How does being female somehow make us inferior? The last time I checked we were in the year 2008, weren’t we? Not 1930. One would think these views about women would be the height of the matter but surprisingly they are not! It actually makes a difference if you are thin and fair. Even Bollywood has adopted the “gori chitti aur patli” (fair and skinny) paradigm. Recently, Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor has made headlines for becoming an unhealthy and perhaps anorexic size zero. “Zero” not only describes how good she looks but also her acting abilities.

Bollywood actresses like her wear drag-queen-style make-up to match the desired skin color to appear beautiful. Up until recently no significant effort was made towards making the nearing 40 year old balding male actors with receding hairlines and age inappropriate clothing, more appealing.

No doubt Bollywood is guilty of such nonsense but what does one say when the almost 300 lb aunties in sarees with bulging love handles, blouses that barely fit and extraordinarily huge hips casually comment on how so and so’s daughter should lose weight. “She would look so much prettier.” What about their own short chubby sons?  I'd like to ask. The standard response which I've heard so often is "Oh, but they are boys, so looks don’t matter as much. It is the girl that has to get married off.” Such a mentality is difficult to change.

Enforcing these beliefs in girls raised in the United States is ridiculous. It breeds low self-esteem within an environment that values confidence and grooming over skin color and weight. Tanning salons have opened up all over and constitutes a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet you still have Indians saying “Hai! Kitni gori hai, patli hai! Changa munda milega”.

As a woman born and raised in the US, I now find myself rolling my eyes at these comments but I have to admit, they affected my self-worth deeply as a teenager. Perhaps on a subconscious level they made me rebellious as well. Why do the women have to endure phone calls and comments centered around their weight and looks? How fair is it that no one seems to notice the nice developing potbelly on my brother or the man boobs that have appeared on Kunal? Women have to deal with comments such as "moti hogayi hai na?"

It doesn't matter that you might be a successful researcher or a prominent scientist or an engineer. Fat is of utmost importance. It is the men,the sons who are complimented on their careers. Even your female friends who happen to get in touch with you online after years have past don't care about your professional accomplishments. "You've become chubby" "Moti, fat jaadi....i".This obsession with weight among Indian women in particular is upsetting.Why aren't such comments directed towards men?

Hearing such female-degrading comments from families and friends at social gatherings has become commonplace for me. However, it was astonishing to face such comments in a professional setting. My very own Indian ex-PhD advisor wasn’t afraid to reveal and act on her biases. At a lab lunch celebrating my birthday, she in a very matter of fact manner said “Indian women need to be subdued, as Seema will learn.”

On other occasions, instead of providing advice regarding my project she would make comments about how I should “lose weight” so that I can “get a husband.” “ You should work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because you don’t have a husband or kids. Look at all the other people in lab,they aren’t single. They have families. Even XYZ has a girlfriend.” As I listened to these unprofessional comments, I couldn’t help thinking ”aren’t you a woman too? Don’t you have a daughter? “  At the time being her student, I was too scared to say anything for fear that she would jeopardize my future. As fate would have it, I didn’t have to say anything, I guess just being an overweight, single American woman of Indian descent was enough for her to screw me over on a whim.

It’s depressing that such strong biases exist in the US among Indians even today. It takes a toll on you when you hear the same comments so many times from the people who are supposed to be your strongest supporters. It is even more alarming that people with these views can abuse their power and get away it. Isn’t it about time that people do away with this mentality and accept each other with fairness and equality? Man, woman, short. Tall, fat, skinny—what does it matter? Aren’t we all human?

Seema Dhindaw is an American Born Smart Desi. She is a psychobiologist, a biomedical researcher and an instructor. She has experience in both writing and with tutoring children. She loves reading, watching movies and debates and discussions but detests prejudiced, judgemental crap and ad hominem.
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#1
Lexiss
May 15, 2008
07:08 AM

Seema,
I would say that Indians living in the west are more backward than Indians living in India. Somehow I feel that if some family migrated to the US in 1980, their clock gets stuck at 1980.

India might have moved to 2008 and society might have changed here, but they remain in the same time. I have seen so many instances of NRI's visiting India and being aghast at how much the society here has changed. They have no clue.

Am not saying that there is no discrimination in India, but its not that blatant. People are more covert now. They do celebrate the birth of a girl and throw a party etc. Even though they prefer a boy, at least now people try to make sure its not noticeable.

#2
Chandra
May 15, 2008
08:03 AM

Seema

My parents were similarly relieved when my younger sister was born. I know many families who look forward to having both, a daughter and son. In fact, i see a major problem with how daughters are treated in middle class families (since the 80s atleast). Without complaining, i can say with confidence that many girls get a better deal out of their dads than their brothers. And very unlike you i was born and lived in one of the poorest districts in Eastern India. My family barely qualified as middle class and later on my generation of women across the family went on acquire degrees and did well in their lives. There is no doubt that there would be many more cases that would be in line with your observation than mine but what your story misses out the gigantic shift in how society views the girl child. My own interpretation of census data shows a deepening crisis in some northern states (like Punjab). While this is being attriuted to abortion, no scientific research has been carried out to prove this hypothesis.



rgds

#3
Ruvy
May 15, 2008
09:16 AM

Seema,

Something for you to think about. Not all cultures look at children this way. My father badly wanted a son to carry on the family name, (I'm the only grandchild of his father who carries the family name) and I feel the same way and am grateful to have two of them.

But my mother wanted a daughter. According to her (and just about every other Jewish woman of her generation), the daughter would stay home and take care of the parents, and the mother would have a friend for a child, instead of a stranger.

Don't get me wrong. I would have been happy with a daughter, though I'd worry a great deal more than I do. And I wouldn't have put the girl's accomplishments to the side and only seen the boy's. And having two sons, I would have been happy if my wife could have carried another child, (she couldn't) and been overjoyed if she had been born healthy.

#4
Seema
May 15, 2008
10:08 AM

Lexiss:- I find your statement to be very true. I feel that my parents have created a small 1980 Punjab in my home. I am finding that things in India are getting better in the treatment of women but that wave still needs to catch up with Indians in the US.

Chandra-Thanks for your comments. The postive shift in mentality and the treatment of women that you are talking about is definitely more apparent, I feel, in India. It is bad enough that my own family(who is in the US for the past 35+ years) has such views. But I was stopped dead in my tracks when my own ex-phd advisor here in the US, who happens to be from South India, where from what I have read and heard about-- women are treated much better than in the north--used her biases and personal hatred to take it out on me-a sincere student.

Ruvy-Thanks for sharing. It is definitely a good think that not all cultures think about daughters this way. IF they did, the situating would be much more terrifying than it already is.

#5
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 15, 2008
12:14 PM

Seema, its about breaking away from others insecurities. Stepping back and not letting their neurosis become our own. Be a part of them and yet completely strong within our own selves. I hope you get what I mean;)

#6
Seema
May 15, 2008
12:41 PM

Deepti-Yup I know exactly what you mean. It's the only way to get through it because a change in mentality doesn't happen overnight and very rarely in a lifetime.

#7
Deepa Krishnan
URL
May 15, 2008
12:52 PM

Thank you for sharing some very personal aspects of your experiences.

We all have similar stories. Either we've seen it happen to friends, or we've experienced it first-hand.

For example, when my daughter was two, my husband's cousin asked me "So when is the second child happening?" I said "One is enough". And she said, very seriously, "What, you don't want a son?".

These are deep-rooted attitudes, backed by thousands of years of "culture". It will not change in 1-2 generations, but change it certainly will. Maybe in 10 generations, but it WILL change.

It is already changing! You and I are proof, Seema. Just think about it! You and I and so many others on desicritics - WE are the proof that it is changing! It is cause enough for celebration.

- Deepa

#8
Guido
May 15, 2008
01:39 PM

"On other occasions, instead of providing advice regarding my project she would make comments about how I should "lose weight" so that I can "get a husband.""

I don't know where you went to school, but a comment like that wouldn't be tolerated at any of the universities I attended. You should have asked her to repeat the statement loud enough for others to hear, and then walked out of the lab and strait to a trusted student faculty representative.

I know males are considered more valuable in some cultures; sometimes to the point of infacide, as in China. However, I wasn't aware it was a collective problem in the states; for any ethnic group.

There is a double-standard between men and women concerning appearance. Men are not held to the same criterion. And the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry perpetuates the stereotypes. But what fascinates me (I'll probably never understand) is why seemingly intelligent women buy into the size zero banality. I cringe every time I see my wife reaching for a fashion magazine. But I'll admit, the periodicals make good bathroom fodder.

Obviously the favoritism and bias affected you. Perhaps that explains your own intolerance for prejudice. I hope you've let go and moved past the anger.

Ciao, Guido

#9
Seema
May 15, 2008
02:41 PM

Hi Guido,

thanks for your comments. Although some time has passed, my experience in that lab as her student has affected me tremendously. I was left with no choice but to get credit for my work by taking a Masters degree. I am probably the only student to have passed my PhD candidacy exams and then had to take a Masters and leave. It truly has affected my morale and faith in the US higher education system. If there were rules about advisor student relationships and people in authority to enforce those rules then perhaps I wouldn't have had to take such a loss. All I got from the higher ups was the runaround. Sadly as I have found, such cases happen all too often in graduate school.

#10
Kamal
May 16, 2008
05:31 PM

[EDITED: Personal Information. If you would like to share your own experiences be a Desicritic]

#11
Sanju
May 16, 2008
07:25 PM

#10 Kamal while the article itself has used some very minor mentions from a daughter's perspective and her childhood memories, your comment against your sister sadly is just a rant that uses her personal information of a financial nature to get back at her on a public forum. well firstly, not very brotherly of you I must say. and secondly you have taken her personal narration way out of context. we are all grateful to our parents for the things they do to us. this does not mean any unfairness or favoritism on their part goes unnoticed especially not if it made a permanent impact on a person's self-esteem. that kind of bitterness only goes away if the behavior changes. the author's article does not reflect any bitterness. only an honest account of her own perception of the treatment she received as a child.

btw may I add a lot of us know how to read, write and count and yet have had mothers who work. we are proud of our mothers too you know. one does not have to stay at home to teach your kids those things.

#12
Kamal
May 16, 2008
09:46 PM

I suppose its very sisterly like and daughterly like to blaspheme her family on the internet like this? Granted its a minor point in the article, it still has profound impact on the rest of her family. It saddens me to say the least that given all the love my parents have shown her she has this to say.

#13
Kamal
May 16, 2008
10:02 PM

I never meant to say that working moms aren't important or special to their kids. Some moms actually make the choice not to.

My comment was in no way an attempt to get back at her. It was an attempt to defend my family from seeming like women bashers and careless towards their daughter. Although I used financial examples, I think it made a good point.

#14
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 17, 2008
12:28 AM

Kamal,we all have issues with our families but that does not mean we love them any less and they too love us. Differences can and do get worked out, life after all is very short.

I didn't get the chance to read your initial comment since its been edited but I don't see any blasphemy on this post. Its a hurt suffered and spoken about. Sometimes writing and talking about some personal hurts actually helps us move on, also Desicritics happens to be a online community which Seema is very much a part of and that sense of community actually made her share a bit of herself with us.



#15
Seema
May 17, 2008
03:02 AM

Deepti-Thank you for your comments. The problem with Kamal is that he needs to grow up and get his prerogatives right. While waiting for that to happen I will continue to write articles on Desicritics. Blasphemy is good, in some ways it actually questions, reveals and tests our sensitivities, tells us who we are. Galileo was accused of blasphemy when he said the Earth was round.

#16
Chandra
May 17, 2008
08:23 AM


I think we should get to see what Kamal has written, even if it is an edited version. Seema's story while true is only side of the story, we need to know the other side.

#17
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 17, 2008
10:29 AM

Nice try Chandra...I will not put up the comment however edited. It not only puts up untrue info about Seema's finances, it also portrays Kamal as somewhat of a reactionary whiner in my humble opinion and I don't wanna leave up on DC what some day he may come to regret. If its any consolation, no aspect of his comment surprisingly refuted or even addressed only the two issues Seema's narration includes: 1) her feeling neglected as neighbors, relatives etc openly expressed relief at the birth of a boy 2) differential treatment as teens. If this according to him is a harsh criticism of his parents which he needs to defend by divulging his sister's financial info on a public forum then I don't know what to say. :) Maybe Seema is right, growing up does do a whole lot for people's prerogatives.

#18
smallsquirrel
May 17, 2008
10:31 AM

kamal I think it is sad that you cannot read what your sister has written and understand that in some way she felt hurt by the bias she felt. you cannot deny that favoring boys is a very common thing in desi families and that it is hurtful for many young girls who do not feel valued. you are also falling victim to the very juvenile thought that one cannot criticize and love at the same time. lashing out at your sister is not very helpful.

#19
Chandra
May 17, 2008
11:15 AM

Aditi

What nice try? What are you talking about? If you donot want to put it, dont, but please be careful with your choice of words. You sound accusatory...

#20
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 17, 2008
11:24 AM

Chandra, I said nice try coz instead of just saying "I wanna see the deleted comment" you were all "Oh we need to see his side of the story" as if this were some jury or something and that it were pertinent we all saw the information. And this in spite of the edited comment clearly indicating that personal info had been divulged. If it had any information logically refuting Seema's article or placing a contradictory viewpoint I would not have edited it. I am not being accusatory. I am not sure what you think I am accusing of. Mostly I say what I mean.

#21
Kamal
May 17, 2008
12:12 PM

Look I get that in some places and countries girls are treated like crap. Based on the memories that I have of my family, my sister received fair and loving treatment.

In my edited comment, I showed that I was subjected to the same ground rules of being out late, having too many friends, and given equal financial consideration. My "pot-belly" as well as my physical appearance have never gone unnoticed.

Aditi, what was untrue about the financial comments I have made? They are valid points. Furthermore, I didnt give out specifics more or less general truths. Lets not also forget that offers of assistance have been made many times yet refused. I still think my point holds.


" My big brown eyes widened and filled with fear as I looked up at my parents and repeatedly asked "Do you still love me?""
I have heard my sister bring this up many times and also know that my parents would pick her up with TEARS in their eyes to reassure her whenever she approached them like this.

"I faded into the background and all my tiny accomplishments in kindergarten and elementary school went unnoticed." Right,my mom still has all of her certificates saved and my parents to this day brag about my sister and her accomplishments to all the aunties,uncles,and strangers in grocery stores out there. This is why my parents still sleep with this dream catcher gift she gave them in grade school under their bed. When my sister was published in graduate school and when seema was being recognized for her work I would not hear the end of it from parents who would proudly tell everyone they came across. Where is this profound neglect you speak of?

"He was bought an expensive car because "it would stay in the family." That is complete nonsense. First and foremost none of the cars belong to my sister or me so the cars really do stay in the family. I already explained in my edited comment that I didn't just get the car without good reason. Lets not ignore that my father has constantly expressed and manifested his desire to to support his daughter in a variety of different areas.

"His announcement of having a girlfriend was met with pride and encouragement while even a mention of my boyfriend would probably inspire histrionics." Lots of ground rules you don't know about. If I had mentioned a girl friend in high-school or in middle school it would not have been taken lightly. We have always been told, "there is a time a place for everything. your business now is to be good students and establish yourselves." Stop acting like I am getting everything handed to me on a silver platter.

Small squirrel, it is different when you have first hand experience with this family. So as I read this you can't blame me for being shocked at some of her realizations. In any case, she has nothing but complaints in BOTH her articles. I am not falling victim to anything Mr. squirrel. I know she loves her family despite her seemingly endless criticisms.


This is the view she has of two parents who will not celebrate anything unless BOTH my sister and I are there with them? My parents are reluctant to eat out if my sister is not with us. On the rare occasions they do, it is not without a phone call to me or my sister with a comment from my mother, "we were remembering you."

Relationships are two way streets. No family is perfect. I more or less agree that gender bias is the status quo both in India and in many parts of the world including the USA

There is a difference between resolving ordinary family disputes and harboring grudges.

#22
Kamal
May 17, 2008
12:13 PM

Look I get that in some places and countries girls are treated like crap. Based on the memories that I have of my family, my sister received fair and loving treatment.

In my edited comment, I showed that I was subjected to the same ground rules of being out late, having too many friends, and given equal financial consideration. My "pot-belly" as well as my physical appearance have never gone unnoticed.

Aditi, what was untrue about the financial comments I have made? They are valid points. Furthermore, I didnt give out specifics more or less general truths. Lets not also forget that offers of assistance have been made many times yet refused. I still think my point holds.


" My big brown eyes widened and filled with fear as I looked up at my parents and repeatedly asked "Do you still love me?""
I have heard my sister bring this up many times and also know that my parents would pick her up with TEARS in their eyes to reassure her whenever she approached them like this.

"I faded into the background and all my tiny accomplishments in kindergarten and elementary school went unnoticed." Right,my mom still has all of her certificates saved and my parents to this day brag about my sister and her accomplishments to all the aunties,uncles,and strangers in grocery stores out there. This is why my parents still sleep with this dream catcher gift she gave them in grade school under their bed. When my sister was published in graduate school and when seema was being recognized for her work I would not hear the end of it from parents who would proudly tell everyone they came across. Where is this profound neglect you speak of?

"He was bought an expensive car because "it would stay in the family." That is complete nonsense. First and foremost none of the cars belong to my sister or me so the cars really do stay in the family. I already explained in my edited comment that I didn't just get the car without good reason. Lets not ignore that my father has constantly expressed and manifested his desire to to support his daughter in a variety of different areas.

"His announcement of having a girlfriend was met with pride and encouragement while even a mention of my boyfriend would probably inspire histrionics." Lots of ground rules you don't know about. If I had mentioned a girl friend in high-school or in middle school it would not have been taken lightly. We have always been told, "there is a time a place for everything. your business now is to be good students and establish yourselves." Stop acting like I am getting everything handed to me on a silver platter.

Small squirrel, it is different when you have first hand experience with this family. So as I read this you can't blame me for being shocked at some of her realizations. In any case, she has nothing but complaints in BOTH her articles. I am not falling victim to anything Mr. squirrel. I know she loves her family despite her seemingly endless criticisms.


This is the view she has of two parents who will not celebrate anything unless BOTH my sister and I are there with them? My parents are reluctant to eat out if my sister is not with us. On the rare occasions they do, it is not without a phone call to me or my sister with a comment from my mother, "we were remembering you."

Relationships are two way streets. No family is perfect. I more or less agree that gender bias is the status quo both in India and in many parts of the world including the USA

There is a difference between resolving ordinary family disputes and harboring grudges.

#23
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 17, 2008
01:10 PM

Kamal, we all tend to have our perspectives which differ from our loved ones. I learned that the hard way- I used to be the black sheep of the family and felt lonely all my childhood but guess what after my dad's death I was told by my elder sister my dad identified with me the most, I was apparently his weakness. And here I'd felt I was the one who was loved the least amongst the sisters.

My feelings nor his or my mom's can be denied just as Seema's nor yours or your parents can be. Whats needed is to talk things through.

I am sure Seema wasn't out to hurt anyone. She just expressed how she felt and you at this point are expressing your own feelings.

Fair enough. But you guys need to talk to each other. Believe me there are bigger issues that can drive siblings apart forever. This is very much surmountable that is if you two are willing to talk it out between each other:)


#24
Chandra
May 17, 2008
02:43 PM

Aditi

I am quite disappointed by your response. Really sad.

Kamal

It is quite interesting to hear your side of the story. Why then do you think that your sister accuses your parents of being prejudiced against the daughter?

rgds

#25
Kamal
May 17, 2008
03:23 PM

Chandra,
[Person information] With things like the weight issue: as opposed to seeing it as the genuine concern of 2 loving parents, it becomes a grudge against them and a belief that she being the girl is being unfairly targeted.

I just wonder where she was when my parents would constantly worry about my own weight issues. Or whenI was compared to other Indian boys in the community.

[Personal attack and conjecture] Although, even I struggle with that, I have a very positive relationship with my parents and I feel I have been scolded and punished for a lot of the same issues.

My parents are indeed old fashioned in many regards but they have also adopted a lot of western values. No parent is an expert when they have children, it is a learning process. I am not denying that maybe my parents could have done things differently. Experience counts and the 6 year gap between my sister and I inevitably translates into a slightly different parenting style. However, I will not go as far as to say the treatment was preferential or biased to the extent Seema does in this article.

Deepti I agree with you. However, grudges have to be let go in order for healing to take place. When a daughter has this kind of attitude about her own family it is very difficult to make productive conversation let alone strengthen relationships.

To all of you: My intention in posting these comments is not to lash out at my sister. Although, her article is indeed frustrating. I feel that I should defend my family from such a negative portrayal.

#26
commonsense
May 17, 2008
03:55 PM

Seema and Kamal

I understand and share your pain about this difficult situation. Invariably, it is never a case of either/or, and when it comes to families, it gets way to complex due to so many conflicted emotions.

#27
smallsquirrel
May 17, 2008
08:06 PM

kamal... I am a ms and not a mr, but that is not important.

I do realize that there are 2 sides (or more) to every issue. I do not doubt that your parents are loving and care deeply for seema! very few parents set out to hurt their children's feelings. sometimes it is the most subtle of things that tend to cut us to the bone. you might not have seen them. they might not have been things that would have wounded you.. but for some reason they wounded your sister. do try to understand that by her writing this she is probably trying to heal, not malign your family. I understand that this is all very difficult, but try to some at it with love and understanding and I am sure you will get love and gratitude in return.

#28
Ruvy
May 17, 2008
08:28 PM

Kamal,

These are issues you should be discussing privately with your sister, not us. Sibling rivalry is funny when done as a comedy routine (i.e. the Smothers Brothers) - but it really looks bad when dragged into a the comment thread of an article.

The appropriate thing to do would have been to register as a Desicritic and write an article from your own perspective on this issue without letting all of us know that Seema is your sister. That way comments would have been kept at a general enough level so as not to include comments that either of you may regret in future years.

#29
Jay
May 18, 2008
01:11 AM

Kamal: do you know what has portrayed your family in a negative light? Definitely not the article, but YOUR comments especially #25. I'll tell you why.

I have an older sister and she has her own issues with my parents. She was in day-care until she was older and holds a grudge against my mom for the years she suffered abandonment. On the surface their relationship is great. My sister is married and has kids but she cannot let go of the bitter memories. If my mom and she fight, I stay out of it because I honestly don't know what my sister has gone through. One can never honestly gauge what another person's suffering is.

One day my sister wrote a blog about her experience in daycare and how it made her feel unwanted when she was a child. My mom was upset upon reading it...BUT not because my sister wrote about it online but just because she was feeling this way and holding it in. My mom wondered how to fix things, heal my sister. I asked her to talk it out with my sister BUT as a younger brother did I write on my sister's blog and criticize her on the online world telling about her flaws to strangers looking for a peek into people's personal lives? Hell no!! Absolutely not! That would add to her bitterness. You CANNOT tell people how to feel! That is just being stubborn. I love my sister and I would never do that to her especially NOT if I know she is hurting whatever may be her reasons. And you did all this just becoz YOU have a "positive" relationship with your parents? So, should the same apply to her? All people are different. She is a woman, you are guy. I don't know how old you are but most adults have that kind of understanding and consideration.

Mark my words, by doing what you have done with your comments especially in response to Chandra's question you have now irreparably damaged your family. You will find out why and regret it one day. Imagine an employer, a graduate school committee looking online for information about her and finding: "She has never been the type to take criticism well" by her own brother. In my opinion you have done her more damage than the PhD advisor she mentions towards the end of her article.

The points she raised in her article to me were generic. Stuff that we all experience (biases, favoritism etc) and use as matter for further discussion and analysis. But your comments are solely for personal vendetta. You cannot possibly "defend" your family by so cruelly letting one already hurting member down.



#30
Kamal
May 18, 2008
01:59 AM

There is no point in continuing this discussion. She can feel what she wants. I cant deny her feelings however I am entitled to believe they are surprising and upsetting. I provided evidence to defend my family. Any personal comments someone wishes to remove can remove it as it has already been done.How do you suppose its going to look if someone stumbles across this article on a google search and comes to think of my family as female opressors? Damage has been done by the article itself.

#31
Jay
May 18, 2008
02:35 AM

Kamal: Firstly, from the article it is clear that the family while not "oppressive" towards females did affect the author in some way which in turn reflected on her self-worth. She used this experience to discuss a pertinent issue. From reading the article I could only tell that she was hurting due to her experiences, definitely not that the family were female oppressors, thats a bizarre extrapolation and a lame excuse to criticize your sister elaborately.

From the article I can deduce that she is at least 6 or so years older than you. Its just sad what you did and she hasn't even responded angrily, giving it back or criticizing you like you have. To me that shows class and maturity.

Besides you keep saying "I defended my family". That clarifies two things which kind of support the author's perspective 1) you obviously have a better relationship with your parents which makes one wonder if it is a direct result and proof of your better treatment by them and 2) you apparently don't consider your sister "family" otherwise you would've considered writing her an email or making a phone call....not discuss her flaws with strangers so willingly. How did you defend "family" by doing that? I can totally see why she would feel abandoned, bitter and hurt.

Your refusal to express remorse for what you have done to your sister's image by dismissing this with a quick-fix: "Any personal comments someone wishes to remove can remove it..." demonstrates a shocking lack of your ability to accept responsibility for your words online by willing editors to just remove your irresponsible comments are further proof of a somewhat insensitive, "I give a damn" attitude.

Life is difficult as it is, and family is supposed to buffer us against those hardships. But when family makes it even harder (especially in this case when she has gone through an unfair treatment on a professional front), thats cruel.

#32
Kamal
May 18, 2008
03:16 AM

Dude you need to relax. I am not hiding my words from anyone. I accept full responsibility for them. If someone is offended by them they have every right to remove them, thats all I am saying. In my arguments, I tried to also establish the neutrality in the treatment we both received. I grew up and witnessed punishments and rewards inflicted on both of us. Read more carefully she makes direct reference to specific family members who have impacted her life. The very fact she had these experiences within her family automatically creates a negative image of this family to any reader.

I have made phone calls and I have written emails.
I am just as upset that she went public with this as you are with some of my comments. Its a very different perspective when you have a personal relationship with the author. I care about my sister and I care about my family you might disagree based on my comments but then again this is all you have to base your opinion. When you set the tone for a broader issue with a personal example, its not so much of a stretch for a reader to assume a lot of the broader issues took part in the author's experience regardless of whether or not the author intended for that to happen or not.

Furthermore, strangers like you that intend to nit-pick, over-analyze, and exacerbate my comments do not make the situation any better. I am done with this conversation.

#33
Jay
May 18, 2008
03:23 AM

Kamal:

"Dude you need to relax"

Huh! Did you try saying this to yourself before typing out personal details and a critique about your sister for Chandra to read and analyze?

:)

"Furthermore, strangers like you that intend to nit-pick, over-analyze, and exacerbate my comments do not make the situation any better"

...you have put it all out for strangers to pick at. The article itself is not critical of anybody. i didn't know who you were. You put up your identity here. Its a perspective she's described, an experience shared. You took it personally and took up the whole "family defender" role while conveniently alienating your sister in the process.

"I am done with this conversation"

...didn't think you'd have anything else to say. The conversation should've stopped after your comment was edited first.

#34
Chandra
May 19, 2008
12:07 AM

Kamal

I dont think you did anything wrong at all. Your sister felt aggrieved and she brought a private experience to a public forum and there is no reason why you should not dispute that. I dont think this discussion is any more outside the realm of pulic discourse because your sister had already chosen to bring this public. She made the choice and you only responded, that I think is fair and square. Having said that, what the other boarders say is absolutely right, may be Seema should have first tried resolving this at home instead of posting it in a public forum. Clearly it appears that members of your family were unwilling to listen to her, or dispute her version completely. Either way, posting in a public forum was not a nice thing in the first place. Wish both of you luck!!

#35
Seema Dhindaw
May 19, 2008
04:13 AM

Chandra: "...and there is no reason why you should not dispute that"

True, there isn't. But civility would demand that there be reason enough why one should probably not hold court in public and criticize one's sister falsifying details of her finances based on misinformation and providing personal details with specifics just to "make his point". My article was about a bigger issue which is prevalent in society, not just within my family.

"She made the choice and you only responded"

No, he didn't! I wish it would've stopped at "responding" to my article. Would've made it easier for everybody. He took a vindictive approach thinking "You defame my family, I'll defame you". Its sad coz this article was about how I felt. That simply cannot be changed by calling me names on a public forum.

I could've if I wanted pulled into question every one of Kamal's "responses" and provide factual details that would drown his rant against me, but I chose not to. I know the veracity of the things I included in my article. I don't need to demonstrate its authenticity at all. Because...

...my article was not about a "private" experience, Chandra. It was about a personal experience. There is a difference. One can relentlessly question the authenticity of what I narrated but nobody can deny the fact that the treatment I describe is existent even among educated families. I have no reason to make things up. Everybody wants the support and love of their family. All daughters crave their mother's camaraderie and warmth. Giving your daughter equal opportunities and education status or praising her career milestones alone does not qualify as equal treatment. People's interactions with their daughters need to change too. I still stand by every detail I put up in this article about my family and the treatment I received.

In fact I want to add, that sadly this comment thread is a reflection of how my life has been: strangers, friends and colleagues have been more supportive in my times of crisis than family will ever be.

Kamal's comments, if read carefully only prove what I said in my article. He has a much better relationship with my parents, especially my mother, and I don't and there is a very good reason why. This article is not about a mere fight or rivalry between siblings...it is about a much more important and relevant issue that is even now very common. Parents inadvertently treat their daughters differently and dismissing it as "cultural differences" or "generation gap" is very easy to do when it isn't you at the receiving end of the unfairness.

#36
Chandra
May 19, 2008
05:30 AM

Seema -35

Agree with you on providing false financial information.

Look, i am not questioning your statements. As I said in my previous post

" Clearly it appears that members of your family were unwilling to listen to her"

The facts are this - You cannot really undo your past. You will have to figure out a way to move on. ...I am sure you will........:-)

#37
smallsquirrel
May 19, 2008
08:25 AM

seema... (stands up and applauds)

good for you. I think you have every right to say what you want. I am sorry you were hurt in this way. sadly it's not very uncommon, but that won't help you heal your wounds. I think all you can do is realize that every parent has flaws, sometimes BIG ones, and eventually we have to forgive and move on or it only hinders us in the end. I am struggling with forgiving my own mum for some pretty awful things from childhood... things she swears up and down she did not do... yes all my childhood friends also remember them clearly. anyway, all I can do is make peace with it on my own because I am never going to get an apology and all it will do is continue to upset me.

do whatever you can to exercise the demons and move forward. it's not easy, but it is necessary.

#38
commonsense
May 19, 2008
08:44 AM

commonsense stands up and applauds smallsquirrel. moving on is not very easy, but once in a while that is the most appropriate thing to do. there is no end to raking up past demons that re-appear substantially revitalized. not unlike feeding cyber-trolls....

(ok, it's not all that simple, yet!)

#39
Ruvy
May 19, 2008
09:06 AM

Seema,

smallsquirrel writes:

I think all you can do is realize that every parent has flaws, sometimes BIG ones, and eventually we have to forgive and move on or it only hinders us in the end.

She is right on the money. Speaking from my own experience, the only thing that will heal YOU is forgiving your parents their flaws, as big and hurtful as they have been to you. This has been my own experience in life, and when I was down and out, it was one of the things that kept me going.

Your situation and mine differ - your mother is alive and yet able to hurt you, and your brother has already shown that he is willing to do so in public. My mother is twenty years gone and and my father is over thirty years gone.

Nevertheless, at some point, for your own mental health and happiness, you will have to recognize that as hurtful as your parents have been to you, it was largely because they could not rise above the culture they were raised in, and could not overcome the expectations that they themselves had ingrained into them at their parents' knees.

Not everyone is that big in their hearts, or that strong in their character. That's not a nice thing to say, but that's just the way it is. Most folks are sheeple, and apparently in this aspect of their lives, your parents have been sheeple.

Perhaps you can look at this article as a catharsis of sorts, and begin the process of healing now, bearing in mind that your parents will always be somewhat distant and dismissive of you until they die.

I will not comment about your brother. I've said what I had to say to him, and that should be sufficient.

Blessings from Samaria,
Ruvy

#40
commonsense
May 19, 2008
09:54 AM

commonsense stands up and applauds Ruvy too

#41
Kamal
May 19, 2008
11:30 AM

There is no changing he feelings. My comments even the financial ones were general enough, only one number was given even that a very crude estimate. Expenses for students are pretty common and to be embarrassed about the general category of expenses I find strange.

What I wrote I will maintain is not misinformation. My relationship with parents is good but I am not a bloody fool, I have watched the interaction between my parents and my sister. I hear about the sentiments of my parents about us as their kids almost daily. Based on all this, it is surprising that she feels the way she does. Maybe as a kid when I couldn't remember anything did it have an impact on my sister. However, if she only tried to hear my parents NOW I doubt she would have written this article. However, with an attitude about your own family that is so negative, it is difficult to listen to your parents without dismissing their sentiments. Troubling and unfortunate indeed.

Seema the examples in your article you used to illustrate the preferential treatment have been refuted with my examples. You used very mundane things to make your point: I got a fancy car ( there was good reason),it isn't all that fancy, peoples financial situations change with time, you have had your fair share of Goodies both in offers and actual deeds. I got to stay out late? Where the hell did you get that idea? Girlfriend issues?? come on Seema, it wasnt an easy to thing to tell them and even so it was not taken lightly despite your claims. My mistakes were more readily forgiven? I think I have had my fair share of spankings and loud reprimands.

However, it is as it is. You feel this way and you went public with it. So be it. My intentions are to defend my family, yes, but to also bring in my perspective. I didn't lie about the finances nor do I believe it is misinformation. I know what I know from my parents and what my sister has told me. All of you think I am some immature brother lashing out at my sister much like a child. You couldn't be more wrong whether you believe me or not. If many of you knew my sister like I do I think my comments would have been more accepted instead of being dismissed as immature ranting. I do not believe in sexism and I have not been favored to the extent my sister feels. There is a lot more I could say but I think its time to put this all to rest.

#42
Aaman
URL
May 19, 2008
12:12 PM

I can understand your feeling, and am sorry that your relationship is vitiated by misunderstanding, but in the best Indian traditions, you can work it out, or then again, move on, most families don't stick together beyond the second generation, which is pretty good for the human race, IMO

#43
smallsquirrel
May 19, 2008
02:58 PM

kamal... you don't believe in sexism?

do you mean you do not believe it exists or you do not believe that it should be implemented.

either way, I still think you're being immature and not terribly understanding or thoughtful. and it's funny that you are SOOOOO concerned for your family's reputation but continue to dog your sister in a public forum. which leads me to believe that you really care nothing for your family's reputation and this is all a silly knee-jerk reaction on your part, stemming from a complete lack of understanding of what your sister might have gone through. if you really cared about your sister you would have responded to her privately. but you continue to chastise her publically, which leads me to conclude that this is more about vanity on your part and less about a greater truth for you.

sad.

#44
commonsense
May 19, 2008
03:15 PM

Aman:

""most families don't stick together beyond the second generation, which is pretty good for the human race, IMO""

I stand up Aman an applaud him too! That's three applauses in a day for: SS, Ruvy and Aman. Credit, where credit is due, for injecting some commonsense here....

#45
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 19, 2008
03:32 PM

Kamal #41: You did lie about the finances. I know beyond doubt that it was false information and I rarely open my mouth unless I am very sure. This one I can bet my life on.

You said: "My relationship with parents is good but I am not a bloody fool, I have watched the interaction between my parents and my sister"

Most bloody fools don't know that they are one and won't admit it even if they do. But that aside, you were barely 6-7 yrs old when your sister was a teen. How could you even see and fathom every interaction b/w her and her mother? You were just a boy. You are not an observing psychologist who can understand and pin down every negative aspect of an interaction between two women. Interactions b/w a girl and her mother are extremely different from that between a son and his mother. Have you heard every phone call she receives from your parents and what they say to her? You haven't! So stop doggedly defending them and discrediting her pain. Just like they probably don't know that you call her names on a public forum and send her SMSes with cuss words in them (I hope!), you probably don't know what they say to her either. More importantly, WHAT reason does she have to write about your parents without just cause like this? Do you think you were just the good son and she the bad daughter?! Is that why you think you have a great relationship with them and she doesn't???? Is that what you think?!!!! What a dumb conclusion. Why would a person want to ruin relations with their own family?

Bloody fool would be an understatement at this point, really.

In my next comment I will put up a part of Kamal's edited comment so people can see the "good reason" for which he got a "fancy" car. I really want people to see it.

Thanks SS for comment #43. Family defender, my foot. All he ever wants is to have the last word.

#46
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 19, 2008
03:49 PM

Here is the edited comment where Kamal explains just what important turn of events forced his parents to buy him an expensive car. His comment is marked with asterix. The only reason I took out this part is because Seema being the person she is asked me to edit this as it makes her brother seem like a brat on an online forum:

**********************************************

"Hello All I am the brother with the pot belly. My expensive car was a used 2001 accord v6 coupe purchased in 2004 with 40 thousand miles. The total came out to be $21,000. I had to make a lot of fuss to get that car. The only reason my father purchased the more expensive car was for my security and my parents peace of mind. I commute 100 miles everyday too and from my university. I had just got my license when i began my study at the university. My parents wanted me to have a decent car so that I can make it too and from school safely. I am a car enthusiast and had to make a huge fuss in order to get that car, it was a difficult to get to say the least"


**********************************************

Hope you didn't sprain anything making all that fuss, Kamal. But I agree "fussing" and being a "car enthusiast" do count as "good reasons" to buy an expensive car...especially when the fussing is done well.

#47
Ruvy
May 19, 2008
04:55 PM

The only reason I took out this part is because Seema being the person she is asked me to edit this as it makes her brother seem like a brat on an online forum:

Aditi,

The brother decided to make this a contest of character - and he managed to show why he lost. He would be wise to ask his sister's forgiveness in public - the same way he has derided her in public - and to think long and hard about how he relates to her.

Kamal,

Jay called the situation in comment #29.

To wit: Mark my words, by doing what you have done with your comments especially in response to Chandra's question you have now irreparably damaged your family. You will find out why and regret it one day.

By criticizing your sister in public, you have demeaned yourself and your family. You do not see that now or today. But the chickens of your actions will come home to roost and when they do, you will indeed feel regret. Your only real hope is that your sister truly will forgive you in time. This is the internet, Kamal; and on the internet, there is no forgetting or forgiving. Your intemperate words will long outlive your feeling them genuine, and it is then that they will hurt you.

#48
temporal
URL
May 19, 2008
05:19 PM

digressions

this being not a direct comment on this opinion piece and yet in a way the digressions owe to it


at the bottom in the intro we read this: ...and has experience in both writing and with tutoring children.She loves debates and discussions but detests prejudiced, judgemental crap and ad hominem.

[am not sure how she would take this digression]

***

consider this:

* this piece appears on the web which is open and accessible

* under author's by-line

* she narrate her experience/s in the first person

***

if you or i were to write such a piece what would you or i expect from the readers?

***

if you or i were to write such a piece how would we write it differently?

* even though i write under a pseudonym, i would refrain from first person singular

* i would give out the 'case history' in the third person... and...from more one one basic source

* the direction and thrust would pretty much stay the same

* and then an ensuing discussion would not get embroiled in personal asides and refrains and would focus on the purported gender-discrimination within desis

#49
Chandra
May 19, 2008
05:29 PM


I think Kamal is being pillored for no fault of his.

SS

I dont think he is being immature at all. He questions his sister's use of facts and subsequent interpretations. What is wrong with that?

Aditi

So now you edit information like price of car? This is ridiculous. Your comments are prejudiced. You donot base your comments on facts, just the desire to take up some feminist cause.

Ruvy

You worry about your own chickens first....


This post is in the public domain and our friend Kamal has every write to respond to this.

#50
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 19, 2008
05:42 PM

temporal: Pardon my butting in here but with all due respect to your suggestions including personal experiences to aid the subject matter of an article as we are taught in non-fiction writing is always the best way to draw in the audience on the direct relevance of the article. Confessional and first-person narratives are very effective when it comes to addressing social issues.

Moreover, Seema's article does not criticize her parents by singling out their character or personality flaws. In fact she minimizes their culpability by expanding the topic into a general discussion. The anecdotes and examples listed are a generic narrative at best which leave open the possibility of "author's perception" and don't really demonize her family members in any way.

Kamal's specific and detailed critique on the other hand just plainly pull everything about Seema: her personality, her finances, her habits everything into question. And for no good reason. While her personal narrative only provides a brief window into how her own experiences gave her an insight into an existing social issue, his comments while never addressing the issues she raises is like SS said plainly a knee-jerk reaction.

I don't say this cause Seema is my friend but because I honestly upon reading this article would not have made any different extrapolations than I did when I read one of Dee's articles where she spoke of her mom's questions about weight or some of small squirrel's comments in which she speaks about her mother-in-law. They all have truth in them, a person's experiences. If we stop sharing them our writing will lose its poignancy.

I have to agree with Ruvy and many others on this one. If my sister ever did this to me I just would not be able to forgive her.

#51
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 19, 2008
05:48 PM

Chandra: That is only the first paragraph of a long comment in which Seema's finances were detailed. I do mention that only a part of the comment as been put up. There was an almost 300 word long comment.

But thanks for your accusation of prejudice...I am glad that I can stand up for a friend without letting public opinion of my editing capabilities affect me.

Kamal with his comments has allowed people like you to take sides and play devil's advocates at the expense of a family feud. I am just waiting for SanjayG to show up on this thread now.

I think its up to every individual to evaluate their own actions and culpability in any given situation and I'm sure "your friend Kamal" will find the good sense to do so.

#52
temporal
URL
May 19, 2008
06:09 PM

adi:

thanks

no offense meant or taken

:)

#53
Ruvy
May 19, 2008
06:17 PM

Of course Kamal has a right to post. That is not under question at all, Chandra. His judgment in doing so is. But I expressed my views on that, and he can respond as he desires.

#54
Kamal
May 19, 2008
06:30 PM

Aditi, her article puts into question my family judgement and character. I suppose its a fair trade. It's very easy to make other people look bad but no one else likes it when the tables are turned. And in my defense, my intentions were not to make anyone look bad. All I did was put a fair perspective regarding this issue. You can defend seema all you want but I am not attacking her. Its fair game to question other's beleifs and feelings.

#55
smallsquirrel
May 19, 2008
06:45 PM

no Kamal, it does not put the judgement and character of your entire family into question. you are now being ridiculous, and it is this kind of hyper-judgment that led you to attack your sister in the first place.

how can you say you are not attacking her? in response to criticism about your attacks on her you basically responded "let's see how she likes it."

the only thing is question here is your ability to be a sensitive and rational sibling. except for chandra, whom people tend not to agree with anyway cause he only likes to play devil's advocate, pretty much everyone here has told you that you've reacted badly by not considering her feelings. you apparently are unablet to be able to recognize how your action have hurt others. seems like maybe this is a perfect example of what seema might be up against with your parents too. looks like the apple did not fall far from the tree in your case, nah?

#56
commonsense
May 19, 2008
08:24 PM

quote, unquote:

Chandra:

""Ruvy

You worry about your own chickens first....""

#57
commonsense
May 19, 2008
08:28 PM

a tough issue here....private/public conundrum....it's tempting to take sides, but none of us has all the facts/nuances to do that....

#58
Kamal
May 19, 2008
09:36 PM

Squirrel, how can you say she hasnt passed negative judgement on her family? Her article clearly suggests her family has had preferential treatment towards males. She has suggested that her family consists of neglectful and gender biased individuals that have hurt her. She uses a personal example to highlight a GLOBAL ISSUE that none of us here condone. She basically said yes this gender bias is a problem it is prevelent here and there but additionaly i have been hurt by this problem at HOME and it has hurt me.

She has clearly referenced parents, siblings, grandma, family social interactions. How much more personal can it get? It is perfectly fine for her to say she has been hurt and put a bad image of our family on the internet for everyone to see? Most of my examples were intended to at least point out that her comments on favoritism are questionable to say the least.

She is allowed to feel neglected that is not in question. What is in question is her reason for putting all this out in a public place.

What i intended with all my comments is to counter her mundane examples of neglect with true experiences that suggest the contrary.


You are all taking it as attack on her. Feelings are allowed to be questioned. Especially when you all should consider that I have grown up with her and have seen both the positive and negative interactions between my own family.

She may have her reason for being hurt and that cannot and will not change no matter what I argue. However, her discretion to be so open about this is questionable to say the least. None of her articles suggest or even highlight the loving side of our family.

I would have respected this article more if at least she felt compelled to say something good about our family considering the fact that admist all this pain there has been a lot of love she cannot deny.

Seems like the only feelings any of you are questioning are mine. I am her brother for christs sakes. All of you are accusing me of the very thing my sister has done yet I am getting the heat for it.

#59
Seema Dhindaw
May 19, 2008
09:52 PM

There is a down side to calling a spade a spade Kamal. I spoke the truth. If it upsets you learn to accept it with some dignity. SS without knowing any of the details seems to have nailed your position in one comment.

SS: The apple hasn't fallen from the tree at all.

#60
Kamal
May 19, 2008
10:51 PM

And I spoke the truth too and its upsetting to you and your supporters as well

#61
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 19, 2008
11:42 PM

Kamal: for what its worth these people are not any body's supporters. They don't know Seema or you. They are random commentators who have read your comments, her article and spoken up based on their own perception of the matter.

#62
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 20, 2008
12:43 AM

Kamal, Seema and you are individuals with different thinking and different memories of the past. I understand your need to defend your family but believe me it isn't the world you need convincing - the world doesn't care, its Seema feeling alienated from a family that you are a part of who matters.

Have you thought about how you can bring her back into the fold? Reassure her that she is loved by you? Can you be the one to put your hand forward - be the bigger person despite the wrongs you think she has done you?

Being spiritually inclined maybe you should do some self reflection and see how you alone can try and put things right. Reach out to your sister, put your anger aside. See if she is willing to meet you half way. Talk to her directly with love. Go over give her a hug and say she is all that matters.

At least then you would have done your part. Believe me in the end you can be each others strengthens. Give it a try.

I know I did and I am a happier person.






#63
Chandra
May 20, 2008
01:43 AM

Aditi

Thanks for confirming that Seema is your friend.

Just because I support Kamal's right to respond to his sister's post does not make him my friend. Thank you.


rgds

#64
Chandra
May 20, 2008
01:53 AM

SS: except for chandra, whom people tend not to agree with anyway cause he only likes to play devil's advocate, pretty much everyone here has told you that you've reacted badly by not considering her feelings

SS: Hahaha...and you are what? God's advocate? Ma'am why dont you worry about how your feminist cabal operates on all the posts - Usually like a pack of wolves. The simplest thing to do is to run through all the posts here and invariably a group of 2-4 of you will always operate in tandem in the comments section. Anybody can go back and read the above comments and it is usually the same 3-4 who agree. Just because you 3-4 folks post more often than the others does not make it a majority. Lastly, I donot play the devil's advocate. Sorry. Earlier you accused me of being anti-semitic. So what am I now-

'an anti-semitic devil's advocate'?

hahaha....keep trying labels ma'm, something will surely stick........


#65
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 20, 2008
01:55 AM

Chandra: There is a note at the end of Seema's very first article on DC which should've cleared doubts if any about her being my friend a while ago. I assumed it was common knowledge on DC that we are friends. Wasn't like a big secret or anything.

Secondly you called Kamal your friend...I only reiterated.

Your words in #49 "This post is in the public domain and our friend Kamal has every write to respond to this"

#66
Kamal
May 20, 2008
02:05 AM

Deepti thank your for your kind words, I will definitely give it a go.

#67
Seema Dhindaw
May 20, 2008
02:13 AM

Chandra: "Ma'am why dont you worry about how your feminist cabal operates on all the posts - Usually like a pack of wolves"

Firstly what kind of language is this? You get to make personal attacks because a few women happen to agree on the same things? People with similar values and morals do agree on certain things you know. That doesn't make us a pack of wolves. It just makes us people who share similar ideas and defend the same kind of thinking. That has nothing to do with feminism or being a cabal. You sound shockingly like the SIFFERS who used to hound these forums! Secondly whats so wrong with feminism? Are you so intimidated by independent women who share similar views?

And just FYI "devil's advocate" is a phrase which describes people who take a position opposite to others just for the sake of argument and I think looking at this thread you do seem to have taken that stance. That term is not meant to be taken literally as in Devil versus God's advocate. How silly and petty.

#68
Ravi Kulkarni
May 20, 2008
02:45 AM

Dear Kamal and Seema,

There is no shame in what either of you did. I do not know the facts first hand and so I am only commenting on the fact that your family's secrets are out in the open. I am not even commenting on the individual merits of your posts. All families have dirty secrets and knowing that should ensure that we are all in the same boats.

Sibling rivalry is perhaps the toughest one to overcome. I have no siblings, but I have seen it in action in close relatives. To a large extent the blame lies with parents. Sibling rivalry is natural to kids, but parents should take care to balance their love and ensure that they never appear biased in favor of one or the other. I have two kids, a boy of 9 and a girl of 6. We have always tried to love them equally, never comparing them or with any other kids etc. Yet my little one occasionally feels the J factor, and perhaps it is an indication of what we do, perhaps not. But of one thing I am proud: they genuinely love each other. I am sure you can too, just give yourselves a chance. We are a product of our circumstances and while our parents may have made several mistakes, there is no need for us to carry them forward.

SS, Aditi and others who take one or the other side: you are not doing any favors to either of them. By granting them brownie points you are making it worse by reinforcing their own righteousness while doing the same for the other's bitterness. They are siblings for heaven's sake, if anything is needed, it is healing. Even worst enemies sometimes can forgive and reconcile. Everyone has a unique perspective on incidents and so things are never black and white.

I hope you two find some way to be good to each other again.

Regards,

Ravi

#69
Seema Dhindaw
May 20, 2008
03:19 AM

Ravi Kulkarni: Aditi is like a sister to me. She knows a lot more about the circumstances than other commentators and isn't doing this for any "brownie points" (I take offense to your saying that as she is standing up for me as any loyal friend would because she knows what I have been through), in fact I believe none of them are doing it for brownie points....what brownie points and for what purpose? These people don't know us and neither do you. You sound like a nice guy and thank you for sharing personal stuff about your kids (hope your daughter doesn't grow up and post nasty stuff about you in this comment thread cause you said she is a little jealous :)). But in all honesty this isn't about sibling rivalry at all. I am a 27 year old woman for god's sakes. I haven't lived w/ my parents in 6 years!

We may be siblings but the issue I present in this article is a lot more serious. I wish it wouldn't be trivialized by comparing it to sibling squabbles or rivalry.

#70
Chandra
May 20, 2008
04:05 AM

Seema

What is personal about this? It appears only you and your friends have special rights rights here. Linking me with siffers is very abusive, btw.

Let the readers go through all the comments and disagree with my accusation of operating as a cabal.

Good that we know that the 'editor' is your buddy. Conflict of interest positions must be clarified upfront.

Thank you for explaining what a DA is. Now tell me why iam a DA?

#71
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 20, 2008
06:12 AM

At this point I think its best to let the matter be and let them work it out.

Can we move on to some other topic?:)

#72
Chandra
May 20, 2008
07:08 AM

Deepti

I will take up your suggestion..

Have you heard about dark skinned cheer leaders not being allowed to enter the stadium?.....mera bharat mahan....

http://ibnlive.com/news/blacked-out-alls-not-fair-for-ipl-cheerleaders/65616-5.html

#73
smallsquirrel
May 20, 2008
08:20 AM

hey chandra... nice petty digs. I won't glorify them with a response except to once again tell you to grow up. if the best you can do is to call me a feminist, then... HA! And yes, read your rhetoric... it is beginning to sound oddly like SIFFer speak.

#74
Chandra
May 20, 2008
08:55 AM

SS

Nice try linking me with siffers. Let me tell you- You and Siffers are two sides of the same coin.

I would suggest that you read what you comment, not just on this post but all the others . Your comments, just like SIFFers is not based on facts. Either they are based on anecdotal information or some pre-conceived notion or some past baggage. Unlike you, I did not take a position for or against either of the siblings. You on the other hand, have been consistently and unfairly pillorying Kamal. Why? because he is a guy? Or because Seema is Aditi's friend? Why can't he challenge his sister?

here is a summary of some of your comments in this post

"you cannot deny that favoring boys is a very common thing in desi families "

Chandra: Common thing? If it had been so common, no women would have been born in the first place. If it had been common, nearly 35% of the IT workforce would not have been made up of women.


"you are also falling victim to the very juvenile thought that one cannot criticize and love at the same time"


Chandra: This is your first comment to kamal and you you suggest that he is being juvenile. Congratulations!!!


"either way, I still think you're being immature and not terribly understanding or thoughtful. and it's funny that you are SOOOOO concerned for your family's reputation but continue to dog your sister in a public forum"



Chandra: Sorry, who was the first person to post here? Ms. Seema if i recall. You are the one refuting a person's right to defend.....



"you are now being ridiculous, and it is this kind of hyper-judgment that led you to attack your sister in the first place"



Chandra: Ya, he is being ridiculous and hyper judgemental and all along you are being a Saint?






#75
Ravi Kulkarni
May 20, 2008
09:53 AM

Dear Seema,

Don't dismiss sibling rivalry a mere sparring of kids. People carry it all life long, the emotional scars of childhood are very powerful. I am not trivializing what happened to you. I have had my own childhood issues to deal with, and believe me, I am still dealing with them.

I sure hope my daughter won't have to go write a book or write a blog about all the injustices I have inflicted on her, but if it does happen, it is fine too. If she has suffered in her family she needs to heal, and group dynamics is certainly a very good way of doing it. More than 10 years ago, I went to a program called Landmark Forum. While the program itself is touted to make leaders of people attending it, I found it extremely helpful in dealing with my emotional issues and my relationships with others. An experience of standing in front of 300+ people and sharing your life is a unique one and it gives a new perspective that's simply can not be achieved by introspection or one-to-one counseling. Writing in these forums is a similar exercise and I hope it is helping you.

I take issue with Aditi and SS not because they take your side. They always argue in a hyper partisan way, and sometimes it is tinged with ideology without any regard to facts. I agree with Chandra (#74) in that respect. Making personal attacks on people is not conducive to a proper dialog, and this applies to both sides of the argument. I am naming Aditi and SS only because they are some of the most prolific writers on these blogs. Chandra and Commonsense tend to do it as well, though less often and usually couched in sarcasm. So when I mention brownie points, I am talking about them scoring brownie points at your cost.

Regards,

Ravi

#76
smallsquirrel
May 20, 2008
10:28 AM

chandra...

your argument is nothing more than
"I know you are but what am I?" tactics while twisting words and not sticking to facts.

once again, done. you bore me.

ravi... I do not "always" do anything. I think it is funny that you point me out while defending Chandra, who can only make an argument IF it is based on a personal attack. You accuse me of using ideology without any regard to fact. Can you back that up please? Otherwise it is a personal attack. Hmmm....

boring!

#77
Deepti Lamba
URL
May 20, 2008
12:07 PM

Chandra, we desis like gora babes only but scream racism if our own are called 'darkies' by the goras !! thankoo bherry much;)

#78
commonsense
May 20, 2008
12:17 PM

Ravi,

Your characterization of me, using sarcasm, is on the mark! It is usually not driven by a mean bone in my body, but more to the point, it's just a very strong impish streak. No offense meant, even though I do tend to be quite offensive....

This particular discussion if a mine-field, mired in biography, private/public dimensions. I really do feel for both Seema and Kamal. We will invariably have a partial view of what's going on, and for once, I cannot rush to judgement.

#79
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 20, 2008
01:53 PM

Chandra: I am not the only editor here. And two of them are married to each other. You have issue with that too? I have noticed that when you feel cornered in a debate you make all these "feminist cabal", "partial editors" "lying authors" accusations. Its really odd. Questioning people's ethics merely to get a reaction is like calling foul in a match when you realize you're losing. Its in bad taste.

Ravi: When people disagree with you it all seems hyper-partisan (?!) and personal attacks no? :)I haven't attacked anyone personally and you know it too. Sibling rivalry may be a national issue :), but theirs is NOT a case of sibling rivalry. Moreover as her friend I have better ways to gather brownie points when it comes to Seema that siding with her on a DC debate :D Here I only did it because she felt attacked. Any friend would do the same I think. She very politely clarified both these things.

However I agree w/ Dee and will let this matter rest.

#80
Ravi Kulkarni
May 20, 2008
04:22 PM

Dear Aditi,

We have had this discussion in the past. Calling people names is totally counter productive, if not a downright childish. You can attack one's ideas all you want, but publicly coming to conclusions about them is not a good idea. That's when it becomes hyper partisan, because then you arguing against personalities not ideas. Just one example your post:

"Seema: Indulging Sanjay G is detrimental to discussion. He has set ideas and will not change those no matter what facts indicate. I would urge you to ignore him. He is like a desi Ann Coulter."

This is from Seema's other post on ABCDs. I am sure others do it too on these forums, but as an editor you are expected to set higher standards.

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#81
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 20, 2008
05:04 PM

Ravi Kulkarni: Calling someone a desi Ann Coulter is hardly a personal attack. Its an observation not an attack. Do you know what a personal attack is? Its calling someone names. Thats not a name. Saying that Siffers are anti-feminists is an observation. Calling them cuss words is a personal attack. Saying that a person is conservative is an observation. Calling them a dick-head is an attack. I have never called anybody any names on this or any forum. Pls don't bring false accusations to the table. It is unlike you. Thus far despite disagreements I have had with you I have respected your views and wouldn't want your comments on this thread to discourage me from taking you seriously in the future.

I am a little sick of people ganging up on editors and authors after we have been the ones tolerating personal attacks from all and sundry and holding our own amidst constant and baseless accusations of unethical behavior. It is disturbing that people would constantly turn around and point fingers at the ones who strive to provide you with a fair, uncensored platform to express yourselves.

I have been the one deleting personal comments made against Chandra, you and even Sanjay G on several occasions and its just sad that you would throw this accusation in my face.

If you cannot logically refute my ideas thats one thing but don't stoop so low.

#82
Seema Dhindaw
May 20, 2008
05:18 PM

Ravi Kulkarni did you happen to see Sanjay G's comment before Aditi's one that you quoted? He speaks of me, of American Born Indians in generalized terms like we were lepers or a mutant species of some kind.

Here's what he says about us:

"Paradoxically, ABCDs never really become truly "American" even after years of this subtle brainwashing and later self-fulfilling, self-orientalization. They simply cannot - at the very edge, the "one-drop" rule applies. Even if a single drop of blood is found to be Indian, you cannot really be an authentic WASP. Using Naipaul's phrase, ABCDs can be said to be only 'half-made'; or to possess only a semblance of authenticity; the 'not yet' - forever in Chakrabarty's "the waiting room of history"

You managed to dig out one of Aditi's comment (which isn't even a personal attack!) so painstakingly. Did you read this generalized rant against me and an entire group?

#83
Ravi Kulkarni
May 20, 2008
05:18 PM

Dear Aditi,

I will let the matter rest here for now as it has gone on long enough. But I will bring up the issue of labeling people (ok, not calling names) has its pitfalls too, in some not too distant a future.

Regards,

Ravi

#84
smallsquirrel
May 20, 2008
05:21 PM

what ravi, no answer to my question?
thought not!

#85
smallsquirrel
May 20, 2008
05:27 PM

so I guess he will just hit and run with no explanation of his accusations against me or aditi. he rails against labeling people just after he has labeled us in a most unfounded manner.

no matter. his accusations were pretty baseless anyway.

(chuckles)

#86
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
May 20, 2008
05:35 PM

#83: "But I will bring up the issue of labeling people (ok, not calling names) has its pitfalls too, in some not too distant a future."

Same applies to you and some of the others as well.

#87
Ravi Kulkarni
May 20, 2008
05:42 PM

Dear Seema,

It is not that I have special regards for Sanjay G or his views. There are some bloggers on these forums that I pay zero attention to, because I know what to expect from them. Aditi is not one of them. She is an editor, and a thinker. That's the reason why I single out some of the people like her, SS, Commonsense. When we get down the street level in a hand to hand combat, we just lose the perspective of why we are here.

The ideology should not become the cornerstone of our thought processes. It is the search for truth as Gandhiji would say. Often people use public posturing to score brownie points against their opponents and I see it quite often here. In the end the casualty is the truth, if there is one. When we call someone leftie, rightie, siffer, hindutvavadi or commie we broad brushing people and not allowing them the dignity of having a nuanced world view. In the process we shut our ability to listen effectively.

I concede that Sanjay G and many others here attack incessantly. But that does not mean everyone should resort to the same tactics, even in response.

My apologies for highjacking your blog.

Regards,

Ravi

#88
smallsquirrel
May 20, 2008
05:46 PM

well that was better, I suppose.

let's all just sing kumbayah and go get a single malt. I'm tired.

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