Thoo vella

To those of you who doesn’t speak Malayalam, Thoo vella means pristine white.

When she was growing up, she was told by her mother that her life was like a thoo vella saree..any blemish on it will be easily seen by others, so she should lead a very pure life. In other words all her mother wanted her to do was to keep her virginity for her husband. Don’t experiment, don’t sleep around and don’t be a woman with needs.

The interesting part of the above story is that her mother was the daughter of a woman who worked as cleaner/cook in a very prominent family and her father was forced to marry the cleaner’s daughter when the said daughter got pregnant. (political interventions)

But in true typical Mallu system of governance where the parents can do any thanthonnitharam, but the kids are forbidden to do the same, the mother watched over her daughter like a hawk.

Then got her married to a guy whose lineage can be traced to St. Thomas’s crew (so they claim). There was only a small problem. He is gay.

Her parents didn’t want her to apply for a divorce. They didn’t want to deal with the potential rumors and stigmas associated with a divorce. They told her, sex isn’t everything. I never understood how any mother worth her salt would ask her daughter to continue live with a man who goes out at night to sleep with other men.(plural, cause he was using the services of male sex workers)

After 25 years, she finally managed to get a divorce. Her parents haven’t talked to her since then.

When  I was talking to her, I told her. “You are now single, time to start living your life, you haven’t had sex, it is time to enjoy it”

And that is the problem. She is stuck in this ideological hell, where she thinks sleeping with a guy is the worst thing she could do.. She believes in love, marriage and sex as the only possible combination. But that is bollocks.

If I could change one thing in the Indian way of thinking, it would be this notion about sex. Sex outside the realm of marriage  is wrong according to Indians, yet everyone is sleeping around, but only behind closed doors.

Sex isn’t wrong. It is just a biological function. If you want to live in a relationship without sex, that is your choice. But don’t think that it is crime to think about your own needs. Marriage is just a piece of paper given by the state or church that tells you that you can now legally sleep with your partner. But the truth is, you don’t need the church or state’s permission. It is your body, your life, your choice.




Piqued your curiosity?

I saw an article in the Malayala Manorma about the horrible misfortune that happened to an Indian woman who was racially profiled and was asked to strip in Frankfurt airport couple of days ago. This horrible crime was committed in front of her 4 year old daughter.

I am not interested in what, why or how it happened. What I was concerned about the event was bringing a four year old in to the picture to portray the horribleness of the situation.

Question that needs to be asked is, What will really happen if your child sees you nude? Do you really have something that is so shameful that your kids can’t see it? Or if they saw it, are they going to be scarred for the rest of their life?

If I was asked to strip because the security wasn’t convinced that I wasn’t a terrorist, I will. My world won’t end because someone saw me naked  My children would be least bit concerned that their mother was asked to strip. They might ask me, if I at least had some decent undies on. (Which I do. After working in Emergency dept, I am always careful to wear proper decent undies, because I have seen what people wear under their clothes and trust me, it is not a pretty sight) Btw, if you can strip in front of a doctor, or for that matter give birth in a labor room, I don’t understand why stripping at the airport or the gaol be any different.

I go to the beach with my children. I wear a bikini just like every friend I have here. Most of the women you find at the beach wear bikini. In fact you don’t even have to go to the beach to find a bikini clad woman, My local swimming pool is near a grocery shop and on hot summer days, you will find women wearing bikini walking to the shop to buy ice cream from the swimming pool.

At home, often my kids walk in and out of my room and sometimes this happen while I am changing my clothes. I don’t have anything special that I must hide from my kids. It doesn’t bother them and it doesn’t bother me.

Coping a feel, stealing a glance, peeping etc are the phenomenon I have often seen in India where the mentality that human body that too of a female must be covered at all times.. or the sky might fall prevails.

Perhaps, we should be a bit more relaxed.



My son does tutoring to earn extra cash. Often he stays back at school and teach. But sometimes his students come to my house.

This particular student joined us for lunch and while we were having every few minutes his phone pinged. Turns out that his mother was texting him. Did you have lunch? what are you having for lunch? when will you finish? etc etc. She then called him, just to make sure that everything is ok.

My son and I are on the same phone plan that gives us unlimited texts. From January to now, I have sent him 5 texts, all 5 were the same message. I texted him to let him know that I have arrived at his school to pick him up. I don’t pick him up from school often. These 5 occasions were because he was doing his experiment for Physics and could only do after hours due to OSH regulations and I agreed to pick him up.

I probably called Yaya less than 10 times since she left home last August. I know if she needs me, she would send a message on FB and ask me to call her back.

I felt a bit guilty that I don’t do things like other normal mothers do. When his friend left home I told my son

“I must be a very irresponsible mother for not checking up on you regularly”

He replied

“No mom, it is because you know I am a very responsible son and that you don’t have to check on me every single second”

It is actually true.

I know my son attended plenty of parties organized by his friends where there were plenty of alcohol and weed. He lets me know in advance that there will be weed and alcohol. It hasn’t bothered me and I haven’t stopped him from attending. My point is that I trust my kids. If they are going to get drunk or smoke weed, I would rather let them do it with me knowing about it than behind my back.

I was a terrible teenager and did a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have done. Because of that, I am an awesome mom. There is nothing my kids could do that I haven’t done or thought about doing. The thing is, I have never forgotten who I was when I was young. The problem only happens when you forget your own past and try to create an innocent version of you in your kids that never really existed.

I don’t have to check on my kids every second of their life because I know they are responsible. I raised them well.