The White Hindu has moved

The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clothes and Politics

It turns out, apparently women's clothes is symbolic and a topic for debate and difficulty. I was chatting with a guy recently who said that he noticed from my blog that I wear Indian clothes frequently and that he wasn't sure, as a feminist, how he felt about that.

I don't tend to think about the political implication of my clothes.

I wear clothes because they suit my mood, they make me feel a certain way (elegant or cute or graceful), they are pretty, they are comfortable.

But clothes have other meanings, particularly female's clothes. Clothes can be a sign of oppression, they can be forced on a woman (such as a burka, or Hindu daughters-in-law who can be required to wear sari).

When I get dressed, I never worry about those things. I'm not a very political person, I guess. I just do my thing and I don't always see the big implications of it.

I don't believe that salwar kameez are clothes of female oppression, what do you think?

To avoid forcing women to wear certain types of clothes, doesn't it make sense to allow us to wear what we like best? Are there reasons not to do this?

For me, the clothes of oppression are the ankle length skirts that I used to wear in SES. I still sometimes wear ankle-length skirts, but it's rare. I only own two now, when that used to be my entire wardrobe. I've never forgotten the humiliation of being sent back to my room to change when I wore a skirt I borrowed from my mother that was mid-calf length instead of all the way to my ankles.

I don't want it to sound like I'm upset by this, I just thought it was an interesting topic to talk about!

Edited to Add: Picture of me at work today, this kurta is from my trip to India and the biggest problem with it is that it makes me look fat!

Friday, June 3, 2011

More on Hindi

It is ridiculously frustrating that I've been studying a language for two years, and steadily studying it, and still can only say very basic things.

However, languages are not easy to learn, particularly for someone who has only one language.

I think perhaps I need to let go of the goal of speaking and focus on a goal of understanding. If I take the pressure off myself to produce something and just be happy with how much my ability to understand is improving, maybe someday, after a lot of listening, I'll begin to be able to speak.

I've wanted so badly to be bilingual, and I chose this language because it's one that would have practical purpose in my life!

I will attempt some more simple sentences at some point soon, but I'm going to try not to get angry with myself when they're wrong!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hindi Practice

My Hindi learning has slowed way down. It's hard to maintain enthusiasm across the long haul of getting fluent. I'm at a point where I can understand the gist of a lot that I hear, but that's about it and it's not good enough!

Sometime I would like to do is start writing a few posts or parts of posts in Hindi for practice. I tried doing this through lang-8, a website designed for you to write in your target language and get corrections, but I feel frustrated there that I can't explain myself in English. I don't trust the corrections I'm getting because there is no "why" included.

So I'm going to occasionally post little stories and things in Hindi and if you know the language, feel free to correct my usage in the comments, and it would be really helpful to say something like "the reason for this correction is that 'ki' is only used for..." etc. But I trust you guys to be making changes based on real need, rather than on cosmetics.

When I do Hindi posts, I'll plan to also do English posts with them.

So, here we go...

अब जो गर्मियों में यहाँ है, मैं बाहर व्यस्त हूँ. पिछले शनिवार मैं दोस्त के साथ चिड़ियाघर के पास गए. मैं धूप की कालिमा है.

कल रात मैं अच्छा आदमी के साथ रात का खाना खाया. मैं भी कल उसे देखती हूँ.