Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nayi zindagi, naye andaz

3-4 weeks ago I was finishing my days completely exhausted, whether or not I'd done the awful cross-Delhi commute. Impulsively (and it's slightly embarassing to admit to these impulses) I picked up a book called New Feminine Brain with a lot of hogwash about "gender brain" but a very useful detailing of mineral and herbal supplements whose addition to/absence in your diet affects you physically and emotionally.

Now for me supplements and multivitamins have been something my parents religiously pop into their mouths. I had also been warned by an aunt that if I take supplements "at this young age", I'd need that much more of them when I grow older.

I had been postponing visiting a doctor, trying to convince myself the fatigue was not serious enough, it would go away. Then I happened to discuss it with four vivacious women colleagues and, most marvellously, each of them was an expert - to some extent or the other - on nutritional supplements.

So I self-medicated. If you're reading this and plotting the next step, please do what I say, not what I do - go see a physician!

I'm right now on Chyavanprash, Vitamin B Complex, Calcium and Iron (whew!). I'm drinking milk and eating fruits regularly, and trying to overcome my habituated disaffection with exercise. And I'm feeling so much better. So much more able to do the day! Also - and I agree with Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz here - that matters on the "personal front" are pleasanter than they were then, during my days of severe back ache and limb-dragging exhaustion - is also gratifying.

Sadly, it looks like these supplements are with me for life. The toll urban living, unmindful living takes on you.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Labels matter

The 10th International Women and Health Meeting (IWHM) is going on in Delhi. On Thursday evening, I went for a stunning performance by a Malaysian troupe of transsexual persons called "Prima Donna". Several of my friends had seen them perform at the 2004 WSF at Mumbai and had come back raving, so I had to catch them this time.

I invited the friend I was supposed to have met that evening to come with me. She said she didn't want to see transvestites perform. I indignantly pointed out they were transsexuals, not transvestites, but it was all the same to her.

It is difficult to see the big deal about the varieties of social and biological genders if you don't have access to this information. Diane Wilson's site and explain the various terms quite nicely. In short, a transsexual "wants to change his or her physiological gender, and to live permanently in the new gender role", while transvestites are crossdressers.

As it turns out, the Prima Donna troupe included transsexuals as well as cross-dressers. And so awesome they were.