Unnecessary activism and other half-formed thoughts

Every few months, I end up having conversations with people I know from before, people who knew me as someone else. They used to say I was an Unnecessary Activist, and marriage will change me too, like it should. So they waited and found out they were right, and they informed me of this as well. They are satisfied and they don’t hide this.

I quit my job, got married, moved to another country, I am not employed, I cook everyday. I am doing everything they thought I was against, I thought I was against.

(What happened to all your feminism?)

I want to say No, No, it’s not like what you think, hear me out, this is my choice, even if made in a situation that didn’t offer me too many choices. Wait a minute, I don’t work because of my visa. And I cook because I enjoy cooking, I used to cook when I lived alone too, really. Don’t you know, I feel more free than I have ever felt before, I am free to be who I want. Look at me, shedding personalities and habits, reimagining, rewriting my stories.

Believe me, so I can believe myself—but I don’t ask this of them.


I’m always a bit stumped when someone tells me they achieved everything they planned to—goals they repeated to themselves and wrote on their vision boards.

(But did you pause to consider all the things that had to go right for you, exactly when you wanted them to?)

I worry my smile of discomfort might give away too much. What if they ask me about my dreams?

I have none, except the ones that wake me up, leaving behind sweat under my arms and sensational storylines. I once thought I would be an archaeologist, and then a journalist, and then an environmentalist—I would make the world a better place, and not in the way app developers feel about their products. Now I segregate the garbage I generate and try not to waste water, almost convinced I’m doing my part if I simply don’t let the water run as I brush my teeth.

I certainly never thought I would one day be called a Writer, or worse, a Creative, and this word makes me awkward. I am still surprised that I persuaded enough number to people into believing this. I do not wish to lay claim to creativity, my con must not overreach.

There was a teacher I liked, she was one of two teachers who meant something to me in all my years of education, and she once said I wrote well. I did not know the value of what she said, I thought writing was something you did, like solving linear equations or remembering things you learnt about orbitals. I did not know that to write was to empty yourself, that you were inviting the voyeur as you revealed your vulnerabilities, your half-formed thoughts, your fixations.

I do not want to burden my hobby with notions of material success, I remain unclear about wanting to make a career out of one’s interests. I have been thinking about this frequently, probably due to living in a country where almost everyone insists they are working on something they are passionate about. I meet bartenders who tell me they love mixing new drinks and meeting new people—but why must it be so? Why can’t we simply tend bar for money?


It seems as though everyone with money and the right visas is busy talking about the fabulous trips they have been on: visiting exotic places and creating carefully staged images of their holidays.

(To travel is to live.)

When you tell me you love travelling, that you go on at least two vacations every year, maybe you are telling me you love the feeling of sophistication your travel leaves you with, the confirmation that you are realising your aspirations, that you are as adventurous as Anthony Bourdain, and certainly not as much of a douche.

I notice I harbour some scorn for these people, not too much though; I suspect I will be just like them, when my bank account becomes more than a proof of address.



12 thoughts on “Unnecessary activism and other half-formed thoughts

  1. 1) “What happened to all your feminism?” is next only to “I guess you are a feminist only where it is fashionable” in how annoying it is.

    2) “probably due to living in a country where almost everyone insists they are working on something they are passionate about”

    Ah, the holistic life… the gratefulness… the joy of being oneself… the ecstasy of living the moment… … … bah..

    3) Oh come on. Let people who travel have their show-off moments.

    4) “I do not want to burden my hobby with notions of material success”

    Don’t. Just pursue it more… um.. more.

    The thing is, most people can’t have a hobby beyond binge watching media even if they tried. Hobbies are like fairy-godmothers. They will swoop in when you are low and lift you high. They may not butter your bread. But the very thing about a hobby is that it doesn’t have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very, very honest write-up. Not that any of your articles are low on the authenticity factor at all but this was especially brutally honest! Honest in a way that made me smile. The detail about the narcissistic travelers was spot on. “Let’s take a selfie pulla” kaalam ma idhu 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it is just not about being feminists. All of us have prejudices/preformed notions and it just comes out when people don’t conform to it.

    Regarding hobbies, I am learning Bharathanatyam after almost 30 years. Had to drop out of classes when I was young when we shifted to a new city. Dancing came naturally to me and at one point even argued with my dad that I should make a career out of it. Obviously that never happened. But now in my late thirties, I know, I could never be at a professional dancer level no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I ask myself, why I did not pick up a hobby that didn’t involve the possibility of breaking my bones and something that I could continue to pursue as I age as well:)

    You write beautifully and whether or not you make a career out it, you should continue to do what comes naturally to you/love.

    P.S: If I might make a recommendation for your blog, it will be great if you add a search feature. I read “ The widows of the Malabar Hill” book recently. I couldn’t read through the book and I was fairly certain that I had seen a review of the book on your blog I came here to re-read the book review to check if I was such a Ghana Sooniyam to not get this book, but couldn’t find the review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ” I meet bartenders who tell me they love mixing new drinks and meeting new people—but why must it be so? Why can’t we simply tend bar for money? ”

    Haha. My sentiments exactly.

    From my experiences as a barfly; the rundown, divey, sticky floor, without tchotchkes establishment the barkeeper is content with serving suds all day without waxing eloquent missives.

    In the swanky, industrial looking w/ reclaimed wood furniture, choc-a-block with tchotchkes Factory/Lab the ‘mixoloigist’ serves potions along with a portion of ‘I want to change the world with my drinks.’ Yeah right.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Since it’s hard to change everything and everyone ‘coz we all have different perspectives, doing our part when it comes to our daily life (like not wasting water or using fewer to no plastic) is what matters. I’ve been struggling about my activist sensibilities too. Too much cognitive dissonance on my brain

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s