18-Dec-2007

Jim Corbett National Park

The train was reaching Haldwani junction half an hour late. There was a steady drizzle outside. It was slightly disconcerting sitting in a train berth, cocooned in warm blankets and having access to a proper toilet. After having spent the previous 9 days trekking in Garhwal, I was used to waking up in a tent, hauling my backpack and digging into a packed lunch with dirty nails. Life in Chennai, with an air-conditioned office, dainty spoons and clean clothes were all but forgotten. Now I was back in civilization, chugging in an air-conditioned coach. The lady opposite me woke up too, smiled beatifically and in the unabashed manner of most North Indians plunged into getting background details of my life. I chatted, waiting for the train to pull in.

P and I were headed to the Jim Corbett National Park to spot tigers. After having read Man eaters of Kumaon as a kid, even the thought of coming to the reserve was exciting. One normally gets off at the Bollywood sounding Ramnagar station for Jim Corbett. That of course works only if you have taken the conventional tourist route of coming from Delhi. The non-conventional route of boarding the train at Dehradun involves doing a three-hour stopover in the graveyard hour at Moradabad, deep in UP heartland, as there are no direct trains to Ramnagar. An option that is highly avoidable unless you are looking to meet your maker quickly or otherwise ready to suffer a trauma. The safest option seemed to be Haldwani, a fairly popular train junction, about 50 kms away. We were staying at the Tiger Camp (recommended by the Lonely Planet Guide and endorsed by me) and the hotel had sent across a driver to pick us up.

Guddu greeted us with a shy smile, oily hair and a suitably deferential manner. P and I rolled our eyes at his name, hair and manner and rolled our eyes some more when he switched on the music and vague numbers from the 90s began to play. After a long time, I was listening to a tape which ended with the typical 90s ad for another movie – a slice of melodrama, bits of songs, some bish bam and a promise to be an all round family entertainer.

Tiger camp seemed like a top contender for the world’s best hotels. It had something to do with the fact that the bathroom was spacious, the pot was clean and there was hot water. This was a huge change from brushing teeth with a rationed mug of ash strewn warm water and making do with a rudimentary toilet tent placed on a hole in the ground. P and I wallowed in the luxury of it all and then smelling of roses, decided to figure out details of the jungle trek.

The Corbett reserve has several areas within its vast 1300 sq kms. There is a protected area, which is not open to tourists. The other areas can be accessed through different gates. The gates closest to Ramnagar are Birjani and Dhikala. Birjani is located in the periphery and one can drive down to it from any resort in Ramnagar. Dhikala is located inside the reserve near the Ramnagar River and requires an overnight stay at the rudimentary forest guesthouse there, which can be booked in advance (and usually are booked well in advance). The reserve is open only during certain parts of the year. The most popular tourist season is winter, when the weather is quite cool. Our trip was timed during the exact fifteen days before the monsoon was scheduled to break out. This had some attendant problems – Dhikala would accept only current booking as the reserve would be closed in case it was rained out, tiger spotting would be tougher as tigers would migrate to waterholes deep into the forest and even the day trip reserve area could be closed if it poured.

The travel desk manager excitedly told us that the Birjani gate was open that afternoon and we had to immediately join the line at the entry ticket counter, as tickets were limited. After filling out the ticket forms, we waited to be called. A large Tam Brahm family was also in the crowd. The lady-in-charge was filling out the forms with an academic intensity only Tam Brahms can manage. Submitting them she announced in a high pitched, heavily accented Hindi ‘Hum tiger dekhenge na? Hum south Indians hai na’ (we will see the tigers, right? We are south Indians). It sounded like south Indians had superman type X Ray vision that would enable them to spot tigers through the thick jungle. Her anxiety was understandable though. U.P. is a pretty long and costly trip to make and for everyone who comes, a tiger spotted justifies the entire effort. Infact people made trips into the forest every morning and evening during their stay till the elusive tiger was spotted. Only P and I were relaxed, having decided long ago that neither of us could handle more than one trip into the forest and we shall just wait for divine intervention to give us a tiger darshan.

Sure enough, when we got into our Maruti Gypsy (the only vehicle narrow and hardy enough to travel in that terrain), it did not look like we were going to see any tigers. It was quite thrilling driving through the rough roads with creeks freely crisscrossing them. We were also spotting all kinds of unknown birds. The first lapwing we saw had us excited and clicking away. After an hour, we had seen almost 400 lapwings and I was beginning to wonder how lapwings would taste as dinner. We had also seen a beautiful male peacock, its plumage in full display and several deers. There were plenty of deers – Spotted, Sambar and Bark deers. Our guide and driver got excited when they spotted a Marten, an endangered rodent like thing, sleeping on a tree, an excitement I could not share since I had not known about the animal’s existence till then.

Two hours later, things finally began to happen when we found out that a herd of elephants had been spotted. Rushing to the spot, we quietly watched the herd move deeper into the reserve, complete with a 15-day-old baby elephant in tow. The baby could barely walk and along with its mother, was lagging behind. In a bid to protect the duo, some of the older elephants began to move towards us threateningly. We backed up as quietly as we had come and left the place marveling at the family love and protection in animal land too.

Happy that we had seen atleast something worthwhile, we began to wind our way back to the Birjani gate. Just as we were nearing the gate, the guide told the driver to back up the jeep a bit. Deers and monkeys nearby were apparently giving their warning cries. The guide stood up on his seat and gently motioned us to do the same. Right in the middle of a huge pool of brown water, sat our tiger majestically. All around the huge cat, the jungle was alive with the frantic cries of its prey. The tiger however sat nonchalantly, pouring a bit of water on itself. In a few seconds, it began to sense our presence and with a slightly bored look began to walk away, into the jungle behind it. We watched it merge into the brown grass and trees till only a tiny tail could be made out. We had seen a tiger!

Other jeeps driving up after us waited for a while but could not see the tiger. Of the 30 odd jeeps that had gone in that day, only 2 had seen the tiger and one of them was ours. We became celebrities at our resort and immediately were pressed into service as agony aunts cum specialist advisors. Guests who had not yet seen a tiger required our consoling and wanted tips on how to spot a tiger. Both of us were at a loss for words. I was tempted to give evangelistic dialogues like ‘Seek and you shall receive’. Instead I just dug into the excellent spread that Tiger camp specialized in. Tiger spotting, yummy chicken and great desert – a perfect combination.

I went to sleep dreaming of tigers and food.

The next morning was as lazy as lazy could be. Especially since we had to check out at noon and decided that not reading in bed would be a waste of good money. After lunch, fully fresh and having tucked in another sumptuous meal, we set out to explore the area. Another Gypsy had been pressed into service for us. P and the driver sat up front whereas I perched at the back. Given the clement weather, the roof was down and we could feel the strong breeze. For some strange reason the whole picture reminded me of Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Tuffy the dog driving in an open Gypsy in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Quietly chuckling and humming ‘yeah mausam ka jaadu hai mitwa’ to myself, we reached point A – waterfalls. Like every respectable waterfall, this one was also filled with pot-bellied men in their underwear crowded under the never-adequate water, looking disgustingly obscene. Obviously there were no women getting wet and violating the strong Indian moral code.

A tourist snap later, we were off to Point B – The Jim Corbett Museum housed in Jim Corbett’s erstwhile house. The photos, keepsakes and furniture were kept neatly in a perfectly random order. There was no classification, chronological or otherwise. There were four copies of a picture of Jim Corbett posing with a large fish, kept in different rooms. The house itself was well kept though and had a beautiful garden, filled for some reason with quotes of Mahatma Gandhi.

With the only possible tourist locations done, we headed into Ramnagar to check out traditional Kumaoni jewellery. Our driver dropped us off on the main street and promised to be back in an hour. We realised every single person on the crowded street was furiously wondering who the two dark skinned women in jeans and T Shirts were. When we walked up to the shops though all of them went back to being busy. After checking out almost all the jewellery shops, we realised there was not a single one that sold the stuff we wanted. Hungry and tired, we headed into a ‘café’ nearby.

To its credit, the café had lovely large pictures of pastries and deserts stuck on the walls. It also had a promising menu that served everything from south Indian dosas to Nepali momos. Ignoring the huge range, we apologetically mentioned that tea would do. The owner was watching an old Dharmendra movie on TV and we joined him. The movie had been titled ‘Maa’, shamelessly milking the mother sentiment of the 70s. Which meant, Nirupa Roy, as the loving, abused mother kept dashing in and out of every other scene. Dharmendra seemed to be some sort of a playboy/guesthouse caretaker. His wooing style primarily involved letting ladylove Hema Malini be chased by animals and rescuing her. An entire song went by like this, complete with animal cries of the would-be aggressor animal, and sequences of Dharmendra flying midair in a Tarzanesque manner. We watched mesmerized. At the end of the song, a tiger made its appearance and Dharmendra began to wrestle it on cue. In the next scene, Dharmendra was lying all bandaged, with Nirupa Roy by his side. P and I groaned audibly. We could not hear the dialogues in the sequence as the TV volume was a little low, but I would presumed it went something like this

Maa: Oh apple of my eye, how did you get attacked by a tiger??

D: Maa.. Waaaa… Remember the hot chick I was eyeing?

Maa: Yes pride of the Punjabis

D: Well I decided that I must show her how brave I am. So I came up with the idea of taking her to the forest, dumping her in the middle of it, mimicking elephant calls, then pretending to fight wild animals and rescuing her.

Maa: Yes light of my life, though you surely realise we are a flight journey away from the nearest forest and it would have been easier to do some city-based thing. Not to mention tiger bites require more TT shots than dog bites.

She presumably clipped him one in the ear too. We did not notice that because we were busy watching the café’s cook who was returning with a packet of milk. For a café with an elaborate menu, they sure seemed to short on provisions. P and I were glad we had not ordered any pastries, though the sugary, milky tea could have easily morphed into pudding.

With renewed vigour, we decided to inquire at the only jewellery shop that was left to inquire at. It turned out to be the right shop. We picked up light Kumaoni jewellery from the wonderful collection of heavy, antique pieces and headed back to Tiger Camp.

The train to Delhi was at night and we were finally in the last leg of the long vacation. Neither of us said much to each other. Two weeks of hanging out together meant even silence was wonderfully companionable. The conductor who checked our tickets interrupted the silence. Then he beamed and told ‘very good’ when he saw that I had safely preserved my identity card in a plastic pouch. We beamed back like little school children.

Happy the holiday had gone off well, and sad that it was ending, we went back to reading our respective books.

16-Dec-2007

Movie Review - Evano Oruvan,Khoya Khoya Chand

Two movies that I thought I would really enjoy. Both disappointing me, most likely from my own high expectations.

Evano Oruvan’s opening sequence of normal household noises – an alarm clock ringing, buckets being filled and the local train cutting through the wind – had me worried for a moment. Please god, don’t make this a pretentious art movie. Luckily, after the title credits, we are introduced to an honest, middle-middle class Sridhar Vasudevan (Madhavan), his nagging wife Vatsala (Sangeetha) and their two kids. Vasu is every bit the dignified, honest and respectable white-collar employee, on a tight salary, a home loan and a life bordering on comfortable. However, he does not sport the normal middle class tendency to adjust and compromise and bribe a bit. After one too many disappointments of living with an ‘upright’ husband, a frustrated Vatsala tells him to stop whining and fight the system if he hates it so much, little imagining that Vasu will actually do so. Vasu breaks down and during the course of the next two days, goes about beating up every lawbreaker he comes across.

Assigned to his case, is a police officer Vetrimaran (Seeman) who correctly points out that a white-collar employee taking up arms is an indication of a system breaking down. No middle class man would ever fight unless he is pushed to the brink.

Vasu finally jerks out of this mode when an old middle class Tam Bram woman for whose rights he is fighting, refuses to accept the help of a violent man like him. Vasu and Vetrimaran come to their final encounter.

All principal characters are well etched. Vetrimaran’s role manages to straddle a police officer who can sympathise with Vasu but is unlikely to give up his life, career, and comforts in a quest to save Vasu. Vasu’s rampage does not resemble quintessentially Kollywood reformers like Anniyan or Indian. There are no cold calculated moves, just blind rage stemming from a frustration at the corruption in daily life. Even tiny parts like that of the corrupt water lorry assistant who shamelessly letches at a teenage girl are shown realistically.

However it is the larger picture that gets confusing. Does Vasu go on his rampage because he is unhappy with his own life or corruption in general? Why do the senior police officers want Vasu dead especially in a day and age where media would make a martyr out of Vasu? The movie loses focus, steam and logic at these junctures.

Overall, I would have expected better but is still worthwhile to watch on dvd someday.

Khoya Khoya Chand was worse. The settings and the mood were brilliant. The clothes, the hairstyles, the songs, the music composing sessions so different from today’s technologically superior studios, the same casting couch problems, the Bengali director high on artistic integrity and liquor, the Punjabi producer shamelessly spouting commercialism and neither character coming across as stereotypes. Alas, the principal character is the victim of this attention to detail on everything else. Nikhat (Soha Ali Khan) is supposed to be an actress who is exploited by everyone, manages to make it a success in Bollywood and then takes up drinking as her career and personal life nosedive. Sadly it is a rare moment when you can understand or empathise with Nikhat. She looks the same whether it is confessing her first casting couch experience at 14, or discovering that her memories of a loving father are not true or buying liquor surreptitiously from a bootlegger. In a scale of ‘how much I empathized with the character’, if Mr Bean scored a 3, Nikhat would score 1. Especially considering that I was pre disposed to weep for her as she is supposed to be based on real life heroines like Waheeda Rehman who did suffer a lot of trauma.

Rajat Kapoor as the aging hero, Premkumar, has a great role and does it well. Shiney Ahuja as the self-involved writer Zafar again vacillates from realistic to uni-dimensional. Peripheral support characters like Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Sonya Jehan shine.

The movie reminded me of some of the dinners I have been to. The table is set right, complete with excellent chinaware and filled with well-garnished, delectable looking items, but the actual food usually tastes average. Looks great for a photo shoot but you can never forget yourself in it.

11-Dec-2007

Movie Review - Victor/Victoria

Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) is an out-of-work Soprano in 1930s Paris . Toddy (Robert Preston) is an aging, poor, homosexual entertainer who has been sacked from his job. The two form an alliance of sympathy one fine night of trying to cheat a restaurant into feeding them for free. In high spirits Toddy comes up with the idea of dressing up Victoria as a gay member of the Polish royalty, Count Victor Grazinski. Count Grazinki’s unique talent will be an ability to sing like a woman and play the lead female in the famous Paris musicals. Count Grazinki turns into a wild success and Victoria is all set for a career as a woman pretending to be a man impersonating a woman. However, matters get complicated when Chicago club owner King Marchand (James Garner) falls in love with Victoria . Victoria loves him too but asks him to accept her complete with her public face as a man. Marchand is forced to pretend he is gay. Marchand’s bodyguard, Bernstein (Alex Karras), delighted by this revelation, comes out of the closet himself.

However, not all is well. The Mob which backs Marchand’s club wants him to sell out cheap since they don’t want ‘faggots’ running the club. Victoria realizes that the world thinking she is a man is complicating her relationship with Marchand. How do they resolve it?

The movie keeps the tone lighthearted with a corny storyline, Wodehousian style crowd fights, some sparkling wit and fabulous dance numbers. This is probably just the right tone to gently touch upon the aspects of being a woman and being gay. In a seeming casual manner it states some obvious truths. Victoria does not give up on the rest of her life (a la Bollywood heroines) the minute she falls in love with Marchand. She frankly admits that she likes him but in the same breath says her career is as important. This does put Marchand in the bizarre position of having to pretend he is gay. However, it highlights nicely the point that women are entitled to their own identify.

Marchand after one evening of dancing check to cheek with Victor amidst other cooing male couples is quite upset. He stops at a third rate pub, gets into a fight with the ruffians there and spends a happy evening affirming his masculinity by swigging beers with all his black eyed opponents. When Bernstein confesses to being gay, Marchand is shocked that someone so ‘All American’ can be gay.

Originally adapted from a German movie, the English version won various prizes for its cast and crew. However, having no access to cable, I don’t know if it is one of those movies that has made it to the list of reruns. It certainly should.

02-Dec-2007

Working woman

I have always been strongly suspicious of initiatives to bring a more balanced representation of women to any work force. This is not to say I don’t support any moves for a women’s reservation bill in politics. I still believe that ours is a very patriarchicial society and if we waited for the society to evolve to a state where it would be natural for as many women to be governing as men, we could wait till the cows came home, or till homo plasmians (or whatever name you would give the next evolutionary beings after homo sapiens) came home. Besides, if women have been artificially dumbed down to their homes, no harm in artificially boosting them up. I am quite confident they would display the same level of competence or incompetence as men when it comes to leadership and governance. All they lack is experience, and this can be easily fast tracked through a reservation bill. But wait, I am getting completely sidetracked.

Ah yes, Diversity initiatives. It has now become highly fashionable for organizations to talk about the number of women in their ranks and how x % of senior executives are women, x defined as something that is respectably double digit without making it seem like the Board is a happy kitty party in progress.

B School had 17% women. From being in all-girls schools and colleges, I was suddenly in an environment, where there was less than one in a five chance of seeing women at any given point. Worse still, a large part of the male community had been in all boys schools or all boys colleges (most engineering colleges would count as one given the number of women in them) and some genuinely believed that men are superior to women. This meant that you had to fight your way to be heard (not too loudly though lest you be mistaken for a harridan.). Not having really interacted with too many men before, I was shaken. Were men actually more intelligent than women? After all how come there are so many of them in B School as opposed to a handful of women? It took me time to realise that confidence and attitude should not be mistaken for intelligence. Most men in my batch were only as clever or as smart as more women. True, the toppers in my batch were all men. Not so in my junior batch though. Besides, given how our society has evolved, the probability of a bright woman being brought up in a conducive environment that allows her to be ambitious and stride into traditional male bastions like higher education in B-Schools is low.

Move to first job. The place was full of women. It was not uncommon to be in a lift with 5 women and 1 guy. And we were not in a school or other such traditional areas where women are plentiful. It was perfectly ok for a boss to be late for a Saturday morning meeting because she had to go for her child’s parent-teacher meeting. As long as you delivered your results like everyone else, you went home happy.

Moving into my second job, I realised not all places are as conducive for women to be themselves. A lot of the corporate world expects that you act like a guy. So saying that you had to take your child to the doc makes it seem like the organization wasted good money on employing you, a woman, who spends valuable office hours mothering. Never mind that the father of the child could not be bothered doing it and the human race would come to an eventual halt if women also refused to do this job. Never mind that three other male colleagues were late on the same day because one had to pay his insurance premium, one had to test drive the new car which he is getting on his promotion and the third had to pick up his mother from the airport. The first two jobs are seen as important things to be done for normal life to proceed. The third is seen as a Raymond’s man who has a sensitive, caring side to him.

Sure there are women who always have a ready excuse about how their child is falling sick, how their mother in law is in town and how they have to get the house ready for Avani Avitam and hence they can’t make it to office on time. But aren’t there as many men who come into work and spend two hours by the coffee machine, another couple of hours talking to various colleagues in person and over phone? Everyone, who intends to shrug work, will do so, irrespective of his or her gender. However be a woman and give ‘female’ excuses to not do work and hear another nail being driven into the equality coffin.

The other thing I can’t get is obscenity. Men swear. And swear a lot. I cannot hear a day pass by without someone yelling ‘Tell that fucking bastard to release the deal or expect him to get a kick in his balls’. They will yell all this in a voice loud enough for their mothers back home to hear them. But in a closed room conversation where there are women, they will mention fuck, redden, and then apologize and substitute it with a chaste word. What is the deal with that? I remember a colleague in FMCG who mentioned that her male boss said having women around cramps their style. They cannot be their true selves and swear all they want. Implied in the sentence are (1) my natural style is to swear and (2) I am comfortable swearing in front of a guy so let us hire a male even if he is slightly inferior to the woman. As for the first argument, your natural style could also be to rave and rant about that unreasonable boss of yours. But do you do it? How come you can resist the temptation to do that yet find it impossible to go light on the swearing. The second argument begs the question how exactly will it help an organization achieve its strategic objectives.

Actually go ahead and use the swear words. I am not personally too fond of them but I can live with them. What I can’t live with are the subtly sexist jokes. I don’t mean the really gross ones where you can hear the slap of a sexual harassment case. I mean the snide ones that you can’t really protest against without looking like a prude but which clearly objectify women. Men being men immediately laugh at it lest they be seen as a pansy.
Sample this

Male Boss on conference call (presenting a slide to show there are 27% women in our office thus showing we are keeping in mind the Diversity and Inclusion objective of the bank) – These are the number of women in the regional office

Unknown male voice across the conf call – Lucky guy. Send some here

Unknown male voices – ha ha ha

The casual use of below-average sexist humour as a bonding tool is almost a given in the corporate world. It no longer is considered offensive. Seriously. Stop. And if you are going to crack a joke about gender, race, religious or other stereotypes, atleast take the effort to make them funny! I will be happy to laugh.

I appreciate the Diversity and Inclusion initiative in most places. Most cultures have a philosophy that speaks of the Yin Yang balance. Organisations these days are beginning to recognize that achieving this balance means being able to connect with your environment better, having a balanced set of skills and viewpoints leading to optimal conflict levels and better results. The pressure is on to increase representation across gender, communities, abilities, races etc. How it can be translated into a crude joke at a personal level is however appalling. I was introduced in a meeting as ‘a representative of the diversity and inclusion initiative’. Which was demeaning to say the least because I was certainly not hired because I was a woman. I did not get into B-School and be in the top quartile because I was a woman. I don’t remember being given any out-of-turn promotions or pay hikes because I am a woman. Why exactly would someone suggest that I am where I am because my organization is sympathetic to the female sex at the moment!

Especially given that all my life, I have hated even the hint of a suggestion that I gain some benefit for being a woman. I have never been happy with women being given ‘the best woman entrepreneur’ award or ‘the best woman employee’ award. It makes my achievement seen very cheap when the only person I am going to be benchmarked against are other women. Someone senior I know (a very balanced gentleman) did make a very important point. The award is as much about recognizing the achievement of a woman in a male dominated society as it is about providing encouragement to millions of women across the country and the world who are still trapped in lives where they sincerely believe women are inferior to men and who need to be told that women are capable of achieving something.

This is not to say that I do not believe that there is no hope. On the contrary, these are times of change. The one main reason for this is as more women come into the corporate world, it gives men a chance to build a better understanding on how to behave in a workplace with women around. My first organization was an excellent example of that. Men did not find it odd going out for dinner with a bunch of female colleagues (and they could handle snide remarks about being in a Krishna leela). Men did not crib how the female boss took time off to do female stuff. They were trained into seeing the final results and appreciating all of us had to necessarily do gender based roles in a society. The level of vulgar jokes were far and few in between (and this substantially raised the overall humour and creativity levels of the team). Sure they sent each other pics of naked women. But as long as they don’t crib about how hiring a woman means one less person to send nakes pics to, I am fine. The surprise news is that this organization is not going down the drain on account of the high proportion of females in the workforce. To all men (especially some B-School batchmates of mine), this might come as a shock. But what do you know!

So men are slowly no longer treating workplaces like an old boys club. Yet we are far from achieving true equity. And in some sense, I would think equity is not just about equal representation of women. It is about women being women and not having to completely change themselves to fit into a professional life. It is about not having to pretend that you were ok with that client’s offsite in Thailand involving massage parlours lest you be seen as a ‘non-team player’. Which is where a lot of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives lack. They focus on the number but very few places focus on the culture shift that is required. Of course, numbers themselves would enable a lot of the cultural shift as I have experienced.

There are some initiatives that do help cultural shifts. Firstly consciously hiring more women in the male bastions. For instance, in banks treasury jobs are seen more often than not as traditionally male roles and at some level it is assumed very few women can do the job. Perpetuating the culture that it is ok to act like teenager with a raging hormone in a dealing room. Breaking male bastions would go a longer way than hiring more women in your back office processing.

Secondly, give women more leadership roles. No, I am not saying hire a woman CEO. All things being equal, employees who have had more leadership roles usually have a career path right up to the senior management. Most male bosses bring the typical society attitude to jobs – whether it be of ‘protecting’ women from taking tougher roles or simply assuming that a guy can do certain jobs better. Sadly it is these roles that ensure one has got the ability to finally get to the top. If I had a chance to grab even the smallest of these roles, I would go all out and do it.

Thirdly, encourage your men to be more actively involved in their personal lives. The corporate world can’t single-handedly change society’s attitude to child rearing and the like. But providing day care and encouraging even the men to use it actively, making it easy for men to move cities because their wives got a transfer, giving paternity leave will certainly help.

Finally, senior management consciously taking the effort to get the sexist attitudes out. Right from assuming your female employee will not be interested in an overseas internship to cracking those terrible jokes. No culture forms because the guy who does the photocopying thinks like a mcp. It is bosses who set the standards on what is acceptable speech or thinking aloud. Louder raps on the knuckle need to be given to them for even a hint of inappropriate behaviour.

Perhaps someday women can actually cry in front of a male boss when they get an unfair performance review. Oh relax; I am not suggesting the water pots burst. Everyone knows, when upset, men get angry and women cry. So can women be themselves?
Update: This post got featured in the 49th carnival of feminists. The carnival had some fabulous posts well worth reading