Thursday, September 21, 2006

How Women can win Men and Men the respect of other Men

Advertisement in the Hindustan Times
Friday, April 28, 1944

“How Women can win Men and Men the respect of other Men”

“Until two pints of bile juice flow daily from your liver into your bowels, your food decays in your bowels. This poisons your whole body. You get yellow tongue, yellow skin, pimples, dull eyes, bad breath, bad taste, gas, dizziness, headache. You have become an ugly-looking, foul-smelling, sour-thinking person. Everybody wants to run from you.

Laxatives can’t help, for they only moveout (sic) the tail end of your bowels and that doesn’t take away the decayed poison.

Only a free flow of your bile juice will stop this decay poison in your bowels. The one mild vegetable medicine which starts off your bile juice is ‘Carter’s Little Liver- Pills’.

No calomel in Carter’s… Only fine, mild vegetable extracts. If you would bring back your personal charm, start taking ‘Carter’s Little Liver-Pills’ according to directions today.”

Expert advice, isn't it? Please do try and testify to its amazing powers!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blog Gag

So, a certain uncouth element has made Wolf and myself shake ourselves up from our warm summer slumber. In a startled, electrified, yawn-still-stuck-in-throat shake up, mind you. The moulting of his winter fur and my dead brain cells still incomplete. And that, we do not appreciate. Growl. The criminal shall pay.

The perpetrator? The Indian Government. Their wake-up call to us- an order given to Internet Service Providers to block, among other sites, Blogspot and Geocities- two of the world's premier blogging sites. Their logic- these websites are anti-India! Right. And those who use, visit, browse these technology-driven portals of freedom of expression, would, by their super-competent analogy, be anti-india. Terrorists, taking their line-of-reasoning to its natural conclusion.

The icing on the cake, a quote in today's Hindustan Times- the babus "defend their decision" by asking those who access these "radical sites" to come forward "and please explain to us what are they missing from their lives in the absence of these sites."

oooooooooh! The government daring us, the citizens of a democratic country, to answer to them on how a curtailing of one of our fundamental rights- the right to freedom of expression- would translate into a viable loss in 'real' life! This is audaciousness to say the least! Wolf and I are positively smoking from our erect ears now- rain and all. And we have also run out of suitably sarcastic words.

There is something we would like to say to you- No democratically-elected government holds the right to ask its citizens to explain itself to them, especially not for actions that fall within the book of personal freedom and constitutional rights. The explanation for this blatant disregard of democracy and individual liberty needs to come from your side. We hope that that, as too a repeal of your decision, comes soon.

Until then, Wolf and I stand with shackles raised, ready to defend our territory-both virtual and realworld- from threats to our civil rights and liberties.


P.S.-We have much more to say...keep looking for updates, and links to other blogger sites following this development. For now, we must to rush to college.

*Update 1:
Neha Vishwanathan tracks the issue with regular updates on Global Voices, Within/Without and DesiPundit.
Read posts by various bloggers protesting the censorship (yes! that's what this ban is!) at Bloggers Against Censorship Wiki.
Also check out the Blogger's Collective on Google Groups for active discussion threads on the issue.
Newspapers and news channels have begun running stories on the blog ban: Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, CNN-IBN, CNN-IBN again.

*Update 2: Keeping track of and giving updates on seemingly inexhaustible (and growing!) mounds of information is, I have realized, a slice of cake- of the Death-by-Chocolate kinds. Too much news, too many views, too much mud to plough through and disseminate on my currently shoestring schedule. So I most happily give you some more links (here, here and here) to bloggers/blogsites that are following the issue with noses tight to the ground, while I unclog my mind and prepare an RTI letter for submission to the Department of Telecommunications tomorrow.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

This book is my book, this book is your book...

.... no, wait! it's my book... no, wait- it's your book!
And all around me, a voice was calling,
this book is made for you and me...

According to this and this, men and women have surprisingly (!!!) opposite favourites as far as books are concerned. While women prefer books about passion and attachment, men prefer those that talk of - hold your breath- detachment and alienation.

Go on, go on, check out the links. Then, come back here and tell me your favourite books- fiction or non-fiction- those that moved you, spoke to you, saved you, meant the most to you. In short, books that changed your life.

And maybe, I shall compute the results of this survey and put them up on the blog later. At any rate, it would be interesting to know which literary productions move Indians.

My own 'watershed' list will be up in the next post.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Please don't take down the posters in my room

"No well-behaved woman has ever made history".

So, some DU academics think this, among other scribbles, is obscene and disparages women.

Of course it's obscene- the student who wrote it got the quote wrong! That aside, I thought that this highly-respected professor and Mormon feminist had something else in mind when she said such 'ganda' things. tch tch. Maybe I've got my feminism wrong.

Oh, and freedom of expression? Huh what?

* to open the first link, you'll have to register with the site...that should not take more than a couple of minutes. If you still have problems, look up the April 4 Hindustan Times, Delhi Edition, Page 5.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I'll get by with a little help from my friends

Girlfriends, they are the salt of the earth. Especially those who make you feel happy and good merely by being themselves. And who wake you out of your self-imposed slumber into a pepped-up-raring-to-go (-and-exercise) self.
Love you all- Aka, S, Parul, Dee...
And thank you especially, Aka, for the great lunch yesterday :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

All I need is just a little love

I've been tagged by the Walrus to list 8 things that I want in my mate. This would be easy, I had thought. It actually required 3 days, much thinking and loads of procrastination before I could come up with this list. Wish there were something like a computer-generated match!
That said, here are 8 things that I want in my mate:

1. Must have beautiful, artistic hands. Masculine, but beautiful.

2. Must respect women. Not because he has to or has been taught to, but because he feels it in his heart.

3. Must be spontaneous with plans, hugs and compliments. A spur of the moment trip to the ice-cream parlor is always more enjoyable than a planned-to-death one.

4. Should understand and respect my need for independence. Which includes endless days on which I keep to myself and long travels alone.

5. Must, must love animals and nature. Be willing to live on a farm.

6. Must not have any rigid centres of belief. Should be open to and accepting of various frames of reference.

7. Should have own set of hobbies and interests that I am not a part of. That said, must also share some of my hobbies and interests. Among them, adventure sports, travel and theatre.

8. Must have a witty sense of humour. Not self-derogatory, not sarcastic, just plain witty.

9. Must be an optimist.

10. And borrowing Walrus's own words, he must be magickal. With the k.

That's not 8 things, but it's the best I could do!

It's a 1000!!

Thankyou, thankyou, one and all. Hugs to you. Yes you ;).
Such bliss. Such joy.
A 1000 visits. O.n.e. t.h.o.u.s.a.n.d ! As in 'tum jiyo hazaaron saal'. And 'hazaaron khwahishein aisi'. Oh, and 'hazaar chaurasiya ki maa', not the last one :D

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No man is an island, entire of itself

for the Blank Noise blogathon against street harassment

The Blank Noise blogathon has generated a number of eloquent, stomach-churning accounts of street harassment in cities across India. Women and some men, too, have concretised their experiences and raised their voices against a crime which transcends geography, cultures and financial and religious backgrounds. There has been an outpouring of responses to these posts- expressing sympathy and solidarity by women, and shock and support by men.

However, and this is what my post is about, there have also been those (few) comments which have questioned the regularity and pervasiveness of street harassment. Which, though expressing shock at the incidents, have shrugged them as one-off. Responses that are quotidien from many other men as well, who refuse to believe in a truth staring a half of the population in the eye (and other areas too, if you excuse the pun).

My post is for such self-deluding men. It is also for the men who choose silence over action, who profess helplessness while watching a woman being molested, and who take voyeuristic pleasure in crimes enacted before their eyes. You may not yourselves have indulged in harassment- good for you- but uninvolvement does not equal remedy.

For, you see, you are undeniably and inextricably a part of both the problem as well as the solution.

By choosing not to identify it, you magnify the crisis and reduce the scope for its resolution that much more. By not acting or speaking out against it, you render futile the efforts of other men and women who do, and at the same time give a tacit nod of approval to molesters. You tell them, " I was too sissy to grab her ass, but you did great, brother. Way to go!"

There is a problem. Believe this. There is a slimy undercurrent in every public space of every city (and I'm not even entering the private sphere right now). You might not notice it because you lack the requisite optical capacities. Women develop a finely-tuned, state-of-the-art, all-pervasive sensory apparatus which gives them a view of the world much more different, much more dangerous than yours. It is a survival tactic required of every girl who wishes to reach womanhood safely.

I speak from over a decade of personal experience. I'm overqualified, in fact. I have stayed my whole life in a city that has a public transport service called The Blue Line, for crying out loud.

If you still don't believe it, picture this- that you are like the beings in the city outside of the Matrix; and we, the women who suffer from street harassment, its inhabitants - Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, the gang. We move through the self-same city as you do, but know that the vision of calm that it projects is but a false illusion. The only difference is, there isn't going to be any One who will save humanity.

There is a solution. One in which you may be able to have a larger impact than any of our efforts combined. Being a problem which highlights an acute polarization of genders, it seems valid for the solution, too, to be gendered- that men speak out against and punish offending men. Men condemn molestation in every degree and form, telling their fellow sex that their deeds and habits are inexcusable, atrocious, horrible, criminal. Men ostracize members of their clan, even those who wear the badge of 'friends'.

Molesters expect some retaliation from women. But instant and forceful condemnation by men might just act as the high voltage fence preventing them from ever trespassing again.

Which is why I commend the few male bloggers who have spoken out against the menace of street harassment. To all the rest of you, I say- Look around. Open your eyes. Accept the problem. Speak up. Hit out. Because for every woman who suffers this hell, a son/husband/brother experiences its invisible but certain corrosive ripple effects.

You are a part of a delicate societal matrix which, with each blow to its members, gets even more tattered, leaving them with only that much more space to cling safely to. Which is why, if not for anything but selfish reasons, you have the perfect excuse to take a stand now and speak out against sexual harassment.


No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

-John Donne (Meditation XVII of Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions)