Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Femininity is wearing a dress? I don't think so!

I usually don't post responses to most of the blogs I read, but this one was so absurd, I simply had to. This guy is basically saying that it's great that men have now learned to cook and clean, but isn't too happy about how women can't take care of themselves anymore. But what pains him even more is the fact that women don't dress like "ladies" anymore. They're always in trousers, or in jeans, never in dresses.

Here's my response:

Honestly, I found this post extremely insensitive. Yes, the world has changed, and so have traditional gender roles. Men can now do domestic stuff and take care of themselves (more power to them!) and women are often hopeless around the house (I can't cook to save my life).

But to judge a person's femininity by the way she dresses is quite ridiculous. I don't wear skirts or dresses, because I don't find them comfortable. I prefer trousers and jeans any day. I'm Indian, so I do wear salwar kameezes very often, which is a "feminine" outfit, but again, more because they're comfortable. I usually don't enjoy wearing what considered in fashion either, because let's face it, they're not the most practical things.

Does that make me boring? Sure, a lot of my friends tell me so. Does it make me less of a woman or less "ladylike"? I refuse to believe so.

I've always believed people should dress for themselves, and what suits them. Not to cater to the whims of others, or what's "in", or what men like to ogle at.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wild Wild West

The current issue of Tehelka has an excellent point raised by a reader in the Bouquets and Brickbats section.

Daniela from Mumbai says:

YOU SQUEAL loud about the way ‘The West’ portrays India in Slumdog Millionaire. As a white woman, I feel embarrassed at how Bollywood and the Indian media portray the West. You may believe that India’s complexity surpasses the mental capabilities of westerners, while Bollywood has done an excellent job in portraying ‘The West’ to its own well-educated audience. Let’s see: white women enjoy wearing strips of red latex barely covering their pubic hair. White women want to be old Big B’s girlfriends and never wear more than underwear in his apartment. Most Australian women’s vocabulary does not extend beyond “Sorry?” but at least they wear hot pants to make up for their lack of intelligence. Also, in the West, male nurses are welcome to make advances to female patients in hospitals without ever earning a sexual harassment lawsuit. That is because the white woman really enjoys being fondled by Abhishek Bachchan, who — like most nurses — lives in a beach-front apartment. Drug dealers are Jamaican-hat-wearing white dimwits, and live close to brothels staffed with lusty white women, because each female tourist works the mattress for at least half of her Indian holiday. Perhaps this is why Indians ask me how much I charge for a pop, though I may be attired in full Indian dress, displaying my mangalsutra. Some of these Bollywood fantasies may exist in the West, but does that make them apt representations of an entire culture? And then again: does it matter? It reflects more on the Indian mind than the western, so why should people in the West bother? They don’t. Why do you? Your interest in the West barely outstretches white porn in Palika Bazaar and H1B Visas. I believe that Slumdog at least attempted to be somewhat interested in India, whereas Bollywood doesn’t go beyond Swiss Alps and the white woman because that is what audiences want. Danny Boyle has shown no malice toward India. I wonder sometimes whether the same can be said for Bollywood.

It's true, you know. I've always though Westerners are portrayed either as utter fools or ghastly villains in most Hindi movies, and I really don't see why.

I was watching Corporate last night (Why, I don't know; I have no particular high opinion of Madhur Bhandarkar's movies and why he gets so much hype is beyond me. Plus Corporate has got to be one of Kay Kay's worst performances) and there is this scene where the American investor is talking to the Finance Minister. Either the guy portraying that role was a really bad actor, or they just wanted him to sound like a blustering weirdo.

Look at Slumdog Millionaire, even. The scene in Agra where the American tourists express horror on seeing kids being beaten up, and are told, "This is the real India." To which the American dude responds, "I'll show what a real American is," and gives the kid a nice amount of cash. I mean, kya? What was that supposed to mean? What was the point of that utterly ridiculous dialogue?

Indians can be incredibly immature, especially in terms of what they find humorous. And since they do have this insatiable desire to get recognition for the rest of the world, they need to understand that all the great work they do, all the wonderful movies they make, are all likely to be of no use if we continue to portray Westerners in such poor light all the time.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A night of horror

I wrote this post three years ago when a friend's dog was seriously ill. I saw the last half hour of Marley and Me the other day, and well, I howled all through the last ten minutes. However, it also prompted me to come finish this post which I had started two years ago but never got round to finishing.


01 April 2007

One of my biggest failings has always been that I collapse under pressure. I simply go to pieces and start raving and ranting about what needs to be done, rather than actually doing it. Two nights ago, however, I discovered that if someone I truly care about is in need, I can stay calm and do what needs to be done. Yes, I do need to take three or four deep breaths first, and my fingers tremble constantly while dialing the phone, but I can manage.

Have you ever been utterly helpless? Ever watched someone you love dearly thrash about in agony, while all you can do is look on in horror? I have.

I have a golden retriever. In my very humble and completely objective opinion, she is one of the prettiest golden retrievers in the world.

My practical exams got over the other day, and around 8 in the evening, I had just gone up to my room in the evening to start studying for the theory papers. I entered my room and heard some commotion downstairs. I came out to the landing outside my room and I saw the parents and the brother crowding around the princess. She was having a seizure.

My father was busy trying to put something between her mouth so she wouldn't bite her tongue. My mother was going on repeating "she's having a seizure, she's having a seizure", and my brother was saying "I know" to my mother while helping my father. I ran down and started dialing the vet's number, who of course, didn't pick up the phone.

The seizure ended within a couple of minutes, but soon after she had another one. Since the vet still wasn't taking my call, Baba and my brother put her in the car and drove down to the vet's place. Mamma and I stayed home, still frantically trying to get in touch with the vet.

They got back home a couple of hours later. The vet had seen her, said this tends to happen with golden retrievers for no identifiable reason, that we should keep a watch over her through the night, and bring her back if it happened again. Within an hour or so of their return, Kyra had another seizure, this time biting her tongue in the process.

By this time, it was nearly midnight, so Baba decided he and my brother would spend the night in my brother's room and keep Kyra with them, in case it happened again. Turned out, it did. Kyra paced from one end of the room to the other all night, bumping into furniture in the process, since her vision seemed to be impaired for some reson too.

In the morning, they took her to the vet again, but they couldn't discover what had caused it.


Over a period of twelve hours, she had six seizures that night. It's been two years, and she's never had such an episode since, touch wood.

It's been two years, but it's amazing how the emotions and terror I feel when I think of that night haven't changed one bit.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Only The Heart

I was going through some old emails, and came across this gem of a poem I had read and fallen in love with eight years ago.

Note from the person who had sent me this poem: This poem is from Only The Heart by a writer called Brian Caswell. It is about Vietnamese refugees during that war and the troubles that they had and their search for freedom. This poem is in the Prologue and it was written by a poet called Thahn Tran.

Only the river knows
How it feels to flow
How it feels
To roll and boil and tumble over falls.
And go
Where no man tells you
Where to walk
Where to stand
How to feel.
Only the river knows these things...
And only the prisoner knows
The dream of freedom on his tongue.
Sweet foretaste of the summer wind
That blows
Across the waving green of the young rice,
Across the unchained current of the distant stream
Between the singing strands
Of taut stretched barrier-wire,
To speak the future freely
In guarded whispers.
Only the prisoner knows these things...
But only the heart knows
The song that has no words
To limit harmony.
The song that scorns despair, and blends for melodies.
The crash of rolling breakers dying,
And the silence of sap,
Rising in the trunks of ancient trees,
And the laughter of the children,
And the crying,
And the savour/fear of unexploded dreams.
Only the heart knows these things.
Only the heart sings...