Friday, July 28, 2006

d e l u r k

Those who read my blog and have never commented are requested to ahem!
Delurk. Comments are fun.

Today the staff at Landmark must have fainted. I ACTUALLY bought a book . Me who plonks for hours and hours ingnoring sarcastic questions about whether I plan to finish the book there.
Yeah so I bought a Murakami book..Sputnik sweetheart. And a pack of catridges

Then there is a huuuuuuuuuuge line so i wait to bill.

An Arab woman comes with a daughter and a basket of( I am not lying) handbags.
When my turn comes , she quickly stretches and puts her stuff for billing. I put on my sugar coated can't be rude voice and tell her I have only TWO things and that I was BEFORE her.( I didnt say that) she whispered something that sounded like ' yeah go ahead but shoved her things for billing.

Sometimes I can't be rude to people even if it means waiting another 10 minutes for her to bill her million handbags. Why why why?

At Forum they didn't let a bunch of visibly poor women in on the pretext that one of them wasn't wearing chappals.

It's so sad , they were so excited and eager to look around Forum.

I've joined a semiotics class which is really interesting. Opens your mind to so much.Should I switch back to my old template?
and BLOGDOG where are you?


L and I just about escaped being kidnapped in Dharamshala. Technically I should write about this here but that will only pay tribute to my pompous assumption that I am this big succumbing to wanderlust every second kinda person. Which I would be if I didn't need to satisfy an attendance requirement that would give me a hall ticket to write an exam , after a set of which I will get a paper with a stamp on it that will qualify me to further my passions in this world . Also maybe I should delete wanderlust and start another one called feminist angst to filter this one of it

Anyhow, so L and I go to Dharamshala. I am the bookish knowledge expert because usually when I have nothing better to do I read travel books and dream. I did not however with my knowledge of even the Tibetan doctor's residence know that there are people in unlikely places who we will have to learn to watch out for.

Kashmiri man will be called Faisal though now I think that was his brother's name.
He spotted L and me outside his shop and said come in.
F: Not for business purpose, come have a look, see what you like...

So in we go looking at a more embellished version of Kashmiri shops that are all over Com Street. Some one tells me how do they make money? I mean, except for the gullible foreigners who buy things from 'exotic ' India..?
I don't know HOW but it ended up in him offering us to take us to Kashmir and us, silly, excited, AGREEING.

He offered us a good price, a ridiculously cheap price and an overnight journey on a Sumo from Dharamshala to Srinagar and accommodation on a houseboat...

Now Y , cynical , untrusting bitch begins to suspect something wrong.
But of course she is still tooooooooooo eager to go to Kashmir. ( Two days after that major October earthquake).
Then we find ourselves in this dingy little room in a narrow lane looking at pictures of the Dal Lake . L goes on about how her aunt , a journalist has shown her all these pics before.
Faisal shows us pictures of himself at various locations with girlfriends from different countries.
'At that time she was my girlfriend'.
(Ten years ago he may have been hot)
By now the cynic explodes.

He tells L: You seem like a very trustable person. It’s your eyes.
This was in acknowledgement of Y's cold , indifferent , bordering on rude behaviour.

He launches a new strategy. A French woman , he said will be coming too. One that he knows well and is friendly.
A man in the meanwhile brings a tray with three tea glasses. True Hindi movie style , he takes the small one , and we are handed tall glasses. This , he explains is Kashmiri tea. Some yellow thing whose taste I can't remember for reasons that will be explained later.

I wanted to be out of this dingy little room soon and be in the all pervading sunlight
He said we could talk to the French woman
L is assigned the task. French woman speaks worse French than me. And sounds more Indian than me.
We left , L gave her number and we agreed to meet for dinner before pushing off at night to paradise on earth
a) Just had an earthquake
b) Was a 24/7 59 year war zone
( I just calculated 59 years don't call me unpatriotic)
The plan was to avoid him for the rest of the day but Dharamshala is a small town. By the end of one day we knew many many many people and they knew we were south Indian women from Bangalore blah blah.
But yeah before all that I started feeling incredibly dizzy. I knew that either
a) There was something in the tea
b) I was too influenced by Hindi movies
But since I survived I thought it'll probably be
c) By now my body is immune to intoxicants.

Yeah so later , that is for the rest of the week we SOMEHOW avoided the Kashmiri man who eventually got the point.
Yeah KLPD for you'll , we didn't end up in a harem in Saudi Arabia.

Anyhow that wasn't all. There was another guy from Arunachal Pradesh who was convinced we had run away from home and more stories later.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You have to listen to Susheela Raman . As J says , you can make love to her music.
And my college apparently is a soft target for terrorist attacks so yeah , may die.

On water , the freedom of expression and then what a brilliant movie it was


With blogspot urls being blocked in India, I've been off blogging and reading blogs for a bit. It just makes you realise that the internet isn't necessarily the free democratic belonging to all space that you conceive it to be.
Talking of freedom of speech makes me want to write about Water a film by Deepa Mehta who was forbidden to shoot it in 2000 in Varanasi when people burnt the sets and threatened to kill the Canada based Indian film maker.
The film is about the lives of a group of widows in the 1930's. Hindu widows had to renounce material comforts, shave their head and were even forbidden from eating sweets and fried food.
This was the period when the freedom movement was gaining momentum and Gandhi was just entering the political scene. The story is told from the perspective of Chuyiya a 7 year old girl. In the first scene we see her, young and innocent, a girl with long curly hair chomping on a piece of sugar cane as the bullock cart rattles its way along.
In the next scene, perhaps the most poignant in the movie, she is woken up by her father who asks her if she remembers having been ,married. She says she didn't. Her baba tells her that she is a widow now.
'Till when..?’, she asks, shrugging off sleep .


Chuiya is taken to an ashram for widows where widows renounce all worldly pleasures to live a life of austerity. The youngest girl in an ashram where very old women have been living since childhood, Chuiya is rebellious and child like. The realities sink in only later.
A child has not yet been conditioned to settle in the niche that a rigid society has reserved for her; she responds instinctively , intuitively to situations. For instance she asks the Hindu priests where male widows went and this is blasphemous to the women who have been conditioned from birth to LIVE for the male. They pray that such a fate never befalls their men and she is accused of uttering inauspicious words. Whether its revenge towards the bossy Madhumati or thoughtfulness for the very old widow whose only desire in life is to eat sweets that she has been denied from the time she was widowed as a child , Chuyiya's response is natural and spontaneous. The child's voice is the rational , unbiased voice.
When she first comes to the ashram , she harbours dreams of returning home but later she realises she can't. She befriends Kalyani (Lisa Ray) who is pimped by the leader of the ashram ,Madhumati (Manorama) and is the only one who is allowed long hair.

Narayan , an idealistic law student enters their lives and falls in love with Kalyani.

He is Gandhian and wants to work for the emancipation of widows. Talking of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and admitting to his conservative mother (played by Waheeda Rehman) that he wants to marry a , god forbid, Widow ....does he succeed?
His progressive father supports him but is he really that progressive?
Child abuse in the movie is portrayed realistically , without the drama. Chuiya enters the room saying ' I've come to play'. And it breaks your heart.

The situation of widows in India has improved in the last 70 years or so and a majority of widows don't have to live seperately in ashrams.
As Narayan reasons in the film , it was never about relegion , it was about money , about having one person less to feed in the household. Shakuntala(Seema Biswas) who has led the life of a ‘good widow’ wonders what to do if her faith clashes with her conscience. The characters are important in raising different questions. The rich bramhin male , the pious widow , the child , the educated idealist, the prostitute , the male priest.
He says that there is a new law that has been passed about widow remarriage. When Shakuntala asks him why she doesn't know about it he says that laws that aren't in tandem with religion are ignored.

I don't however think that the argument that portrayal of India as a backward, primitive culture to draw western audiences holds good as this person thinks so.

Please listen. If a widow remains a pure widow, she is respected. If she wants to lose the respect, she can remarry. Nobody goes and burns a widow if she remarries. But if she wants pleasure, naturally she will have to give up name and opt for pleasure.
Does an average Indian woman have an option?
Who prevents her? Tell me.’

Sure , there is technology ,IT , the booker prize , path breaking research in every fuckin field there is but isn't that a small part of the population?
Isn't there hypocrisy as well? The biotechnologist mother and the software engineer father still want to abort a female foetus. It is the same patriarchy that ostracized widows , that murders baby girls , that made a girl’s marriage more important and her Phd not at all.

Water has some brilliant performances. Sarala who plays Chuiya was amazing and surprisingly even John Abraham sheds his glamorous image to do a brilliant job. Lisa Ray is a tad too anglicized but she does a decent job but Nandita Das would have been better.Seema Biswas is good too.The cinematography is lovely with locales in Sri Lanka where Mehta has tried to recreate Varanasi.

You have to watch the movie..It stays with you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do you wear fur?

Even if you don't I beg you to watch the video on this site.
Rethink how you can in your day to day life reduce the suffering an animal feels.
I am not honest because I can't bear to watch the video anymore and am writing this instead. Who are we anyway?
Please don't buy fur. Then again what cruelty is more cruel? Killing a racoon dog for fur is worse than killing a goat for meat? Sure slaughter house methods are more humane thatn skinning alive but still.
How can you avoid hurting animals in EVERYWAY if at all you can?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Are you a girl with brains and do you burn bras??

R and I have this problem of reading gender issues into everything.
Ads, attitudes, conversations well...!!
I will try not to make this one big feminist rant but she says recreating space: I can't get over this. If i think a gunshot sounds fun i am boyish, if i think it sounds dangerous i am girlish.">here about the test I've posted below.

I did the test anyway because I am self obsessed and I love taking these tests even though I don't take them seriously.
In the cantonement station , I saw this ad for a newspaper where the woman is shown reading the supplement and the man reading the main paper. Why? Because she is the one who is suppossed to sit at home and is likely to be interested in curtain sales in west Bangalore.Whatever!
I remember when I went 'trekking' outside Hyderabad with a bunch of friends they all said I was as good as a boy. What is that suppossed to mean?
Besides why is it a compliment when a girl is like a boy ( that is , according to society resourceful,independent whatever) and not vice versa?
Infact vice versa would mean pansy, loser etc.

It being a compliment negates the very idea of feminism. That equality is about being man enough.
Man I know I am being very inarticulate and this is a subject that I will write a long well thought out angsty post on but for now you are spared!! Ya another thing that baffled me is this community on
for girls with brains
Huh? That's an exclusive minority group among females ??

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.

Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.

You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.

You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

Your Personality Is Like Acid

A bit wacky, you're very difficult to predict.
One moment you're in your own little happy universe...
And the next, you're on a bad trip to your own personal hell!

You Are 40% Obsessive

You tend to have a few obsessive thoughts, but you generally have them under control.

Sometimes your worries keep you up at night, though they usually don't interfere with your life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


V clicking into the mirror, Me and A. I like this snap.In a random store we walked in to rest and pretend to look at shoes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


tagged me so here goes.

I am thinking about...

How indifferent this
universe is to my need to sleep after lunch instead of having to listen to what post modernism is all about

I want to...
a) not grow up

I wish...
I could draw.
I hear ...
anything that is beautiful and NOT jarring and strange sounds at night that scare me.

I wonder...

to an unhealthy extent
About why this world is so unfair
About whether there is some sort of a pattern to all this , the traffic I navigate on my ride back home , the clouds, why I was so rude to that girl , if there’s an equation to it, like some sort of a choreographed dance of the universe where we are just puppets.
Are we puppets of some force in physics called b say and if some bastard will win the nobel prize for figuring it out and no one will remember that it was Y who thought of it first…Or is it too large for the human mind to comprehend.
I also wonder about whether I will scare you off if I continue and answer myself in the affirmative.

I am...

A neurotic frog

I dance...

to hip hop in Azerbaijani

I sing...
When I am feeling dreamy, on bus journeys and we also sometimes sing vulgar Tamil class at the back of class.
I cry...
for stupid things but when its something big and not comprehensible, I just look cold ,
quiet and feel like sitting at the edge of a river and throwing stones endlessly .

I write:

1) blog posts

2) Journal entries ( since the age of 7 )
3) bad poetry (" " " " " " " " ")

I confuse

ya..thats my second name. Just add ..ed

Bad grammar pisses me off .

I need:
My space
Deep conversations with my closest friends
And one tequila shot right now.

And I tag R. It's the only way to make the bitch blog. Posted by Picasa