The Night Before the Wedding

The house is full this week. The photos are taken. Smiles are stretched. My face definitely hurts. Wedding songs flooded the rooms and conversations have overlapped. I have always loved a full house.

We have prepared for this wedding for almost a year and a half and through the whole process (writing your name on the invitation; not writing your name on the table card; realizing you won't be at my wedding either; accepting that any future kids will never get kisses from their Nana Ji), I thought of you. I wondered how you would have handled your eldest daughter's wedding. Would you have been excited? Would you have cried? I'm almost glad you never had to stress over food arrangements and countless clothing trials. You would have definitely hated that and refused to see another color combination.

But now that the wedding is tomorrow, the year and a half worth of feelings will condense into a single weekend. I will miss you holding our shaking hands (because they will shake). I will miss whatever words of wisdom you may bestow on Didi. I will miss whatever joke you may have cracked to ease the tension. I will miss hugging you in the early morning and breathing in your cologne and feeling safe. I will miss you reminding us to sleep early (I'm sorry that I'm still up). I will miss the silly pictures we would have taken in the photo booth. I will miss you driving us there.

We will miss the way you made everything feel complete. And though our home is full and we are all so happy and we will keep figuring the things out that life keeps chucking at us, we will feel your absence. Especially this weekend. Especially tomorrow.

I hope we do you proud, Papa. I really, really, really wish you were here.

Another wedding, five years ago. June 1, 2013, Canada

Another wedding, five years ago.
June 1, 2013, Canada

Sexism: Now Available at Your Nearest Drugstore!

A few months ago, a friend and I were wandering through a popular New York destination: Duane Reade. We stopped at the “feminine care” aisle. For those unaware, this aisle typically includes condoms, pregnancy tests, tampons, pads, diapers for when you laugh uncontrollably, etc.

As we debated over prices of these “feminine care” products, an employee walked towards us. The following is our conversation:

Employee: Do you guys need help with anything?
Us: No, thanks, we’re fine.
E: Are you sure? Because I have a lot of experience with this stuff.
Ranisha: [laughs awkwardly] Oh, I think we have plenty of experience.
E: Oh yeah? [A beat.] How many years of experience?
R: [stares] Seriously? [Continues to stare until E walks away.]

Pause. What just happened?

Marnie agrees. (Image capped from “Marnie the Dog– Duane Reade Adventure”)

Marnie agrees.
(Image capped from “Marnie the Dog– Duane Reade Adventure”)

This situation occurred months ago, and it continues to anger, frustrate, and confuse me. Is this now considered a normal way to talk to women, much less customers? Is this a form of sexual harassment? Is this a joke and do I just lack a sense of humor?

While a part of me wishes I caught the employee’s name, I know that it won’t help me understand this conversation. Since we were two women standing by ourselves, this man felt as if he could fulfill some invisible sense of entitlement that comes with carrying the Y-chromosome. Even though we were inside a presumably safe establishment, the microaggression followed us from the sidewalk and into Aisle Seven.

As I remain unaware about the significance of this event, it serves as a reminder of the reality most women face daily.  Of course, the conversation with the Duane Reade employee was not physically threatening,  but it left us angry and disgusted. I reacted with sass (naturally), but would I have done the same if I were alone and on the street? Would I have felt as confident if it were at night?

Sadly, I can’t answer these questions, though I have an inkling that I would be far more concerned about my safety and less worried about my sarcastic retort. I hope, however, that someone reading this can provide insight into what I now consider “The Weirdest Tampon Buying Experience Ever.” If this insight does not appear, I hope this allows you to think about the times you have witnessed/ignored/supported/fought microaggression and gender biases; I am sure that they happen far more often than inside Duane Reades in Manhattan.