The Privileged Hamster
Privileged. That’s what you are. If you have someone cook for you, prep your clothes, do the laundry, arrange your house and clean it, you are privileged beyond a majority of the world.
But that’s not really my grouse.
Today I read a Stuart Hall article on Marxism. It was deep and required quite a bit of focus. I love reading. Always did – from childhood. But you know now, I hardly read. I have very little time for just reading and enjoying my brain getting the stimulation it deserves. Why? Because I am exhausted at the end of the day.
Exhausted with dealing with colleagues who can be prize idiots on a good day. Exhausted with constant planning, prepping and arranging things. Exhausted with the cost of everything which makes me ride a bicycle to work so that I save on that ridiculous amount I would, if not, have to spend – on taxis, tuk tuks. Buses in the morning are not an option and walking is not fun when you have to go into an AC office. So I ride. And I have to start off early to ride in time for work.
I ride and you drive. I still am waiting for my old three wheeler uncle to let me know when he has fuel so that I can take the odd ride without lugging groceries across the walking path. You have never stood in line for fuel – your driver, catcher, whoever, has.
So you can ask us to come into work at will – coz for you it’s a matter of just driving in. For me it’s an entire process of preparation.
You have all the time in the world to do what you want – be it attending community organisation meetings, gatherings, playing a sport, hitting the gym. Yes I do that too. But I need to find my way to these places in a country that has forgotten its majority. And I belong to that majority.
I am also a woman. I do not have the luxury of walking anywhere, of taking random bus rides in the night or three wheelers. Safety is a very real issue for me. And you don’t really give a fuck do you?
Coz as a privileged man, it’s quite alien to you. It’s alien to pack your bag the day before – someone does that for you. It’s alien to cook, arrange the house, have things ready for the day, week, month. It’s alien to care about “domesticity” coz your feudal family takes care of it.
But you earn for the family. You bring in the dough.
Well, so do I.
I the ‘independent woman’, I do all this plus come into work and use my brain as well or even better than you. And yet I am still seen in the light of someone not quite there. You know, I won’t be the CEO of the company purely coz I am a woman who likes to think. I would be on the board of directors if I did Finance or HR – if I am lucky that is.
But even that I don’t really care.
What irks me and gets to me is the absolute blasé attitude of men who sit on their throne of fucking privilege and have the audacity to look down on the likes of me for being intelligent, for being opinionated, for doing everything for myself (which quite a few of you couldn’t do even if you tried) and throwing pity in our faces, simply because your retarded little mind cannot comprehend how this is empowering.
For you, empowerment is a cook making food for you. The office peon peeing in his pants to please you. The office thug, waiting to do a dirty deed for you. The secretary waiting to say ‘Yes Sir’ to you. The wife calling to nag you. Your child doing what you do.
How the fuck is this empowerment?
What I envy the most is the time afforded to you – to read, to think and to engage in things that my brain supersedes in comprehension to yours. That luxury to think and just be – that is what true empowerment would mean to me.
And you don’t even know how the hell to use it. Coz you love being the quintessential hamster on the wheel and I love being the curious child who keeps poking a finger in the spoke.
What a time to be alive.
Time. Time is precious.
Yet you are on a highway to hell whereas I am fashioning my stairway to heaven.