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Kalpana Manivannan believes that gender inequality is the main reason for misogyny. Her writing explores these facets as a parent, and as a woman in India.
Every month, we recognise 3 among 2500+ contributors, as featured Author of the Month – for their writing that keeps readers engrossed and makes us all think afresh. This month, Kalpana Manivannan is one of our 3 featured authors.
Most of Kalpana’s work comes with nuggets of wisdom for parents. From gender sensitization to how to encourage kids to open up to their parents, Kalpana is a champion for sensitive yet strong parenting. Her article on how children don’t owe us anything is a favourite among many and truly showcases how the relationship between children and parents is not a transaction but a process of mutual growth and learning.
You can view her writing on Women’s Web here.
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
Writing for me is a way of recording my thoughts on issues that affect me as a person, as a woman, as a mother. My writing sprouts from my personal experiences and day to day happenings. And while expressing my views on the subject, it somehow ends up being a self-exploratory exercise enriching me and aiding in my personal growth as well.
When I write from a place of vulnerability with raw emotions, I have always found that it resonates with so many others out there and suddenly writing becomes incredibly therapeutic.
Writing for me has been a never ending journey of self-discovery. During the course of writing I have found insightful answers to my own questions and have had realisations so profound that it radically changed and shaped my thought process. Writing has definitely made me understand the power of words and the impact it can have on the society at large.
What do you enjoy reading? Does any of it help your writing?
I have enjoyed reading almost all genres at various times; thrillers, classics, satire, romance and many more. But off-late I seem to enjoy reading memoirs, travelogues and diaries of personal journey.
Reading certainly helps my writing by providing the much needed inspiration at times and also immensely helps widen the horizons of my mind and see the world through another person’s point of view. You learn that there is so much more to things than just your perception alone.
Reading also introduces me to new writing styles and helps me appreciate the sheer magic of words.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
Oh, there are just endless issues I can quote here because honestly there are so many. In our country especially, I don’t know where to begin. But the issues pertaining to gender inequality is something I feel very strongly about.
I truly believe that this one issue if tackled the right way can help solve so many underlying issues like gender based violence and misogyny. It could help make the world a safer place for women if we could teach our sons and daughters to treat the opposite gender as equals and treat each other with respect.
Could you narrate an issue or incident in your life which you think was gender related, and you handled it in a way that has made you proud.
Honestly, in my experience I have witnessed that women are equally to be blamed for supporting patriarchy. I don’t think patriarchy has a chance in this world without the support of women folks. I think it’s high time all of us shun these age old redundant practices and start standing up for each other rather than pulling each other down.
I can’t think of anything radical or life-changing that I had done but whenever I come across any such instances which reeks of patriarchy, I try to question, debate and bring in my perspective on the matter. By doing so, I want my daughter, nieces, students and friends to see me stand up for issues I feel strongly about and get the idea that they don’t have to be mute spectators of such incidents and that they can question norms and there is absolutely no need to put up with something that doesn’t make sense to them.
I think by voicing my opinions I am trying to break a few taboos within my small circle of family and friends and hoping that if all of us in our own small ways make these small changes it would eventually go a long way in bringing about the change we all want to see in our society.
Name 3 other writers or bloggers on Women’s Web whose writing you enjoy reading.
It’s so difficult to just name 3 as there are so many wonderful writers whose work I love. It would not be fair and I wouldn’t be able to do justice. But to name a few, I love reading the works of Kasturi Patra, Paromita Bardoloi and Sharanya Misra among many others.
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If her MIL had accepted her with some affection, wouldn't they have built a mutually happier relationship by now?
The incident took place ten years ago.
Smita could visit her mother only in summers when her daughter had school holidays. Her daughter also enjoyed meeting her Nani, and both of them had done their reservations for a week. A month before their visit, her husband told her, “My mom is coming for 4-5 months!”
Smita shuddered. She knew the repercussions. She would have to hear sarcastic comments from her mother-in-law for visiting her mother. She may make these comments directly only a bit, but her servants would be flooded with the words, “How horrible she is! She leaves me and goes!”
Are we so swayed by star power and the 'entertainment' quotient of cinema that satisfies our carnal instincts that we choose to ignore our own subconscious mind which always knows what is right and what is wrong?
Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
Do you remember your first exposure to an extremely violent act or the aftermath of a violent act?
I am pretty sure for most of us it would be through cinema. But I remember very vividly my first exposure to aftermath of an unbelievably grotesque violent act in real life. It was as a student at a Dental College and Hospital.
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