Monday, July 27, 2009

My Narcissistic Universe Decoded/Busted

This article shared by a friend on Facebook rang an instant bell-

I quote the bit that I find particularly interesting-

"Girls are more compliant and eager to please – that is how they have always been socialised – but now the dominant social expectations of them are deeply destructive of their happiness. Breast augmentation quintupled in 2006 in the US, Twenge points out. The expectations of girls and women have multiplied and intensified – on every front, from passing exams to looking good and having more friends and better photos on Facebook. Technology proliferates the places in which one is required to self-promote.
One possibility is that women's identity has always been framed around relationships – as mothers, daughters, wives, friends and sisters. "Relationality" is still central to how women see their lives, and yet it is entirely at odds with an individualistic, intensely competitive, narcissistic culture. Women, brought up to seek social approval, battle between competing frames of reference, and many end up feeling failure and inadequacy on multiple fronts.

I would hate to say that much of this is sad, but true.Since I don't want to generate a protest polka,I humbly submit the following-

  • I feel perfectly good about myself, despite the fast approaching danger-mark of obesity, et all but only till the man in question mirrors it. Any hint of being ignored (translation- not thought of as being superb or simply 'out of this world') triggers days, and weeks of oft irreconciliable self doubt and a dip in an otherwise over-fed quotient of self esteem. So, this is my law of relativity- 'I like myself only if you like me more than I do'.
  • There is something inexplicably warm and fuzzy about being complimented on the food I put on the table. I recognize how this is politically blasphemous, as for years, I have protested and resented the fact that no matter how successful a woman is professionally or socially, 'those who really matter to her in her life' will usually judge her by the health and hygiene of her house and the quality of food churned out either by her or her hired and carefully supervised help. No one ever expects the same of a man- we find ways to glorify, even 'cute-fy'their domestic ineptitude provided they bring in the moolah and/ or qualify as arm candy, but we are rather harsh when it comes to extending the same lenience to women. Having argued both sides of the case, I still have to admit that something about the way in which I was socialised makes me crave far greater appreciation for my domestic prowess than in all the other spheres that I might succeed in.
  • A lot has been said women 'dumbing themselves down' in order to be more compatible with the men that they choose to be with- I have a slight variant to offer to this phenomenon. I think some smart women opt for this as a kind of counter balance to their brilliance in order to 'take it a bit easy'- a less evolved man means less work for the woman in question to be thought of as fabulous!!!

I can't think of a way of ending this post as there is much to be said on this- so I will just sign off for now and resume some other day

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One more crib

This just isn't fair!
For the last 10 days, an endless stream of posts come out of my every pore as if someone who had sworn me to secrecy passed away leaving me a note that said- 'go on girl, blog'!! and then it all quietened down leaving whaat seems like ceaseless silence- seems like I have nothing to write now or anymore.
Im writing this hoping that the blogosphere somehow miraculously would get me out of this predicament.

Friday, July 17, 2009

On life and love

Hate does not destroy love
Love does
love of different things at the same time
love for oneself more than love for the other
love of thoughts that take us to the end of our tether
and love not expressed for each other

Come hither, once more, my love,
let us go back to the days of sweet yearnings
the days of joy in ice creams and holding quivering hands
the days of simpler desires
such as a stolen hour spent on the phone
or a good bargain at the end of a frugal month
or days that made life worth celebratng..simply becaue life was there
Mostly, the days when the only tears that arose were on account of too much laughter!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rakhi ka Swayamvar..jisme hain Shri Ram bhi aur Luv bhi

What a coincidence- the other day I wrote about Bachelorette and was soon surprised by our own Indian version of the show- 'Rakhi ka Swayamvar'

Obviously, if I were asked to imagine a celebrity that could pull it off and get the maximum number of eyeballs in the process- I hate to admit I would have said Rakhi Sawant coz this is a woman who has made her living out of slapping her boyfriend on TV, breaking up with him on TV, admittng to a boob job on TV,protesting against being kissed by Mika on TV which offended her 'Bharatiya Naari' sensibilities, and to top it all ,lived her life on TV during the BIG BOSS (Indian version of Big Brother and I would say a lot more entertaining) Season 1. Rahul Roy might have survived till the end and got some moolah (which I bet he needed badly), but the winner of that show was unarguably Rakhi Sawant.

'Rakhi ka Swayamvar' has all the usual 'masala ' of a potboiler- there is Rakhi as the shy bride, hoping to fall in love with one in a bunch of really insipid men (yes, we do see an element of India vs Bharat, the resurgence of 'small town India ' here, given the profile of these gentlemen), there is Ram (Ram Kapoor who would have to be the best fed version of the Lord Shri Ram ever to have graced the small screen), Ravi Kisan (the ever entertaining- superb branding exercise there, Ravi ji, as the straight forward , traditional, Hindi speaking man from small town India who has had a meteoric rise in the Bhojpuri film industry and secretly dreams of foot massages by beautiful English speaking nymphets from Mumbai such as a Ms....) , and a bunch of other small screen stars playing Bhabhi, behen, Ba and chchoti behen. I don't quite have a name for Gautami's Gadgil/ Kapoor's character but she could be the modern friend from a different milieu,who has an insight into the changing expectations of the new-Indian woman, that is played by Rakhi...
Oh, and in a masterstroke this Ramayan inspired epic drama gives you Ram and Luv (as in Luv Kush)together- Ram is the presenter and Luv is a promising contender.
Anyway, I do not want this post to be a sociological analysis of the show or the swayamvar. I write this for one reason alone and that is the fact that at a certain level, I find this show deeply disturbing.
Let me say to begin with that I like Rakhi Sawant- I admire her guts and gumption for being a self made woman in an industry where people mostly make a living out of inheriting genes of famous people who bred them, I like it that she has astutely constructed a clever on and off -screen persona of the 'woman victimised by society who's not going to take it lying down anymore'and will play the game by her own rules. A refreshing , endearing change for someone to speak Hindi and broken English ,given that most of our leading men and women are always adding a Latin, Spanish or 'I dont know what exactly' twang to their half baked English and limited expressions in their quest to be hip.
When I saw or heard of Rakhi Sawant before, I thought of her as a loud mouthed brazen woman, with a difficult past and a bitter family history of being duped for money by those closest to her,who spoke her mind perhaps a little too much too often and annoyingly always on camera, maybe suffered verbal diaorrhea, but as a woman who would take no shit.
I was even kind of thrilled that the format of the show gave a woman the right to choose her life partner and not the other way round.
Here's the disappointng shocker though- this Rakhi is not THE Rakhi Swaant that we know, in order to find a husband (even when that seems likea line up for 'Biggest loser jeetega'), she has had to transform herself into the shy, demure, sari clad, non cleavage baring(her trademark before this) Bharatiya naari who looks at her feet when the suitors court her, who mouths dialogues like 'mujhe party nahi, pati chahiye', and repeats 'Main ek Bharatiya naari hoon', mujhe apni maryada maloom hai' half a dozen times in very episode. (and for the record, I would love someone to decode that expression for me)
As if we din't have enough unrealistic role models to live up to as women, as wives, as mothers(sorry, supermoms) and as those who dare to be both those things and still want to work, now we have a celebrity of sorts posing (even if it is only for a show) that she would be happy to give it all up to lead a ghoonghat clad life with some stranger she hardly knows, along the banks of the river Ganga. Sigh!!
On a more optmistic note, this is probably the best performance of her career till date- I hope she gets lots of movies after this one- I suspect the Bhatts and Indra Kumars of the world may already be working at it. Let any leading actress of the day beat Rakhi's stupendous performance as the coy, Indian bride in waiting, blushing when the men compliment her using badly scripted lines(you are like a flower, aapne banaaya hai to chai meethi hi hogi), batting her eyelids coquettishly like a love sick teenager.
Oh, and this show has some pretty good set design, costumes and to use that favourite word in Bollywood(guess, guess)- a 'mindblowing' make up artist for Rakhi Sawant.
Im putting my money on Manas and his 'achche dil waala Dilli ka ladka mannerisms'..and Im sure to follow this up with another post if I lose that bet.

For the uninitiated, here's a little snippet from a recent episode-

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Inspired Post

Ever since I read a similar post by someone else (sorry, can't locate the link now), I have been wondering about the responses to the same in my head. Im finally ready with all of them today and want to share it wih you.

I am : a wanderer, wonderer, drifter, reader
I think : therefore I am
That I should feel more, think less
I know: that there is no such thing as the ‘absolute truth’
I want : pleasures to be pure, thoughts to be free
I have: had myriad experiences that make me who I am, let my guard down too often , a closet full of bags and earrings
I wish : there were no man made boundaries in the world
I hate : when people have two faces and I can see only one
I hear: music even when nothing is playing
I smell: happiness in coffee
I crave: coffee shops in unknown places
I search: for magic to happen in my relationships
I wonder : if some things will ever change, if its ok to have more than 6 cups of coffee everyday
If men will ever respect women for who they are
I regret : letting reason get the better of emotions sometimes and the other way round at the wrong times, taking poeple and things at face value all the time
I love: that I can be me , more often than not, a good Sunday lunch
I ache: to cuddle on rainy afternoons
I care: for those who care for me, for abandoned poor kids on the roads ,the freedom of women
I am not :a Believer
I Believe: in the good in people
That women should rule the world
I Dance: like no one is looking, to jazz and Amore
I sing: when I am alone, when I cant cry
I cry: always at the movies, and often in real life but would love to cry out laughing!
I don’t always: behave well , behave like an adult
I fight: when I feel ignored, and about what to watch on the telly
I write:(now) this blog, comments to other blogs, status messages on FB and gtalk..
I win: all the arguments in my head
I lose: all the arguments with THE HUSBAND
I never: say NEVER, not judge people (???)
I always: like to chat, with friends and strangers, remember phone numbers of those I call regularly
I confuse: roads, directions, non- Indian names
I listen: to the music in my head, and the voice in my heart (well, mostly)
I can usually be found :on Facebook, in the nearest coffee shop or bookstore, or any shop with pretty looking stuff
I am scared of : losing the ability to fly the wild flag
I need: love, coffee, music and in that order
I am happy about: being here, being hopeful - A Little Bit More: Exchange Favors - A Little Bit More: Exchange Favors

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Zoo-phobe in animal kingdom

Oh my God!!!

Im reluctant to say this- much easier to talk about PMSing, joblessness, hormones, what have yous ,but this. Is PETA going to pass an injunction against me or my blog for saying this which would ruin my one shot at cyber fame?

Anyway, this is on top of my mind today, so have to pour it out.

I'm zoo phobic- was born like that. There, now, judge me and psychoanalyse me.Dogs, cats, cows, buffaloes, monkeys, animals in the zoo, and embarrassingly enough- even birds. I'm scared of them all . I palpitate, break out into a panic attack, get sweaty and unreasonable, grope strangers in the lift if a dog happens to get in, suspend all manners and politeness and climb the couch in strangers' houses- you get the picture!
It wasn't much of a problem till I was in India, though there are stray dogs everywhere, but one could always find a good Samaritan in the crowd who would say ''kuchch nahi karega behenji, aap ghabraiye mat"!!(don't worry sister, he will not do anything) and you could actually walk past, or in my case, rush out of the poor animal's way, believing in this gospel truth.
Things are different here, in Vancouver.
My bad karma is all over the place in the form of dogs- my first month was spent at Fairmont, that has 2 dogs to welcome guests at the Concierge's desk. Needless to say,I became quite independent, got fliers and information brochures from all corners of the city, and prided myself on never having accosted the concierge despite being new and clueless about the place.
The joke became totally unfunny as I moved to the 28th floor of an apartment block. The listing on craiglist said- 'No Pets' which I took at face value, only to discover later that this consideration extended only up to the boundaries of our condo. The building was allowed to be infested with dogs of various shapes and sizes. Nowadays, the elevator is like my land mine- I whisper a 'please God, let there no dogs in this elevator ride' prayer every time I enter it , followed by holding my breath at each stop it makes on the way down.
Quite a few times , when the animal and I have co- habited the lift, I'm sure the occupants wanted to ask the building manager to have me expelled. Many a dog owner has taken my inadvertent reaction personally and assured me that 'he/she is very well behaved, and probably more scared of me than I could be of them'. This , sometimes is code for- 'have you seen your size, lady? My poor pet is at grave danger of passing out were you to land on it- talk about YOU being scared...
My first phone conversations with strangers who invite me /agree to meet me at home goes like this..
Me: Hi, how are you?so when would you like me to come over
Stranger: lets hope thats ok with you.. look forward to meeting you
Me: (I play it by the ear and work on very clever variables to make this palatable to the listener)
By the way, do you have any pets at home? sorry, just asking...
Scenario 1-
Stranger: yes..I have a beautiful ..year old dog/pup/ cat
Me: sorry, Im actually.. ah..allergic.. I get sick.. I get fever.. something about the fur doesnt quite agree with my system..hmmm. so sorry...
Scenario 2-

Stranger:No, I love pets but don't have one at home

Me: Thats great, actually sorry to say that Im a zoophobic- Im going to try and get help to resolve this family members are vvverry fond of pets though.
(See, what a clever variation)

However, here's the thing. This phobia makes my life rather limited- it robs me of the opportunity of a carefree walk in the park without looking over my shoulder for canines and four legged creatures(its so bad that Ive often stopped in my tracks as I hallucinated a dog in the bush, a bag, a puddle of water. So, the joke, more often than not, is really on me.
As a paradox of sorts , Im pasting these two lovely pictures of my close encounters with wild life for readers' whose sensibilities I might have offended with this post.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Big and Small

The big ones go first
the presents become smaller or maybe much bigger
dates that meant something become figures on the calendar
the air is loaded with the absence of carefree laughter
conversations cease to be more than chatter
Then the smaller ones follow
reluctant touches, pregnant pauses
silences heavier than words
coz once the unspoken is spoken
there isnt much else to speak about
All the 'Im sorry's' and 'I din't mean its'
Do not mend a broken heart

Go somewhere else please...'Away we Go' takes you nowhere

I hate to admit that this time THE HUSBAND was right!!! This is a bad, ok correction 'not- so- good' movie and I say this only because I really like Sam Mendes. I like it that hes married to Kate Winslet, I like it that he made American Beauty and floored the Academy and audiences alike with it (not the usual thing to happen!!!), I like it that he made 'Revolutionary Road' before this , which despite being totally disturbing, dark and poignant is a great movie. I identify completely with this oft self defeating quest for a life less ordinary and hence I loved the 'Revolutionary Road' though I secretly dread meeting with an end like the protagonist in it. Now that I have meandered enough to want to reconsider my Blog's title to be 'Cribs and Ramblings', back to 'Away we Go'.
The reviews said everythinggood and in retrospect, most of the things about the reviews were wrong.
"John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph..amazing screen chemistry... most believable couple etc". Sorry, this is a couple whose romance and chemistry lies only in the Director's head coz it certainly doesn't touch the viewer's heart (din't touch mine)
Burt and Verona are a 30 -something couple expecting a child, from Connecticut, trying to decide where they would like to raise their child, and to answer that , take a road trip to different cities like Phoenix, Montreal,Miami, meeting freinds, family, acquaintances, who are all predictably weird. They are looking for a role model - the ideal place, the ideal family and the film does well to end on the note that there is really no such ideal paradigm- we all have to find what works for us, but the fun lies in the journey, not the destination.
This search for perfect place finally takes them back to Verona's family home, a place that houses her treasured memories but a place that she has found hard to revisit ever since her Father passed away in that house.
There is something inherently endearing about the protagonists in the sense that they might have been contented to be drifters in their twenties but are forced to revisit their world view when the stork comes visiting. Our socialization gives us very few options in terms of what the 'right' things to do at various stages in our life are- approaching 30means must have Baby, must settle down. Don't believe me? Ask any married woman whos thirty, married and has not procreated.
Nothing wrong with the premise- seems like a perfectly plausible quest, but here's the thing- the film tries too hard to appeal to the Bohemian sensibility , as if just being someone acceptive of the alternate (whatever that means) should make you laugh and cry with the clearly not so moving saga unfolding on screen.
Moments that work-
When Verona tells Burt that they might be 'fuck -ups' coz they are in their thirties, with no stable place to live in and have a cardboard window...a very real admission indeed and one beautifully portrays how even the uber cool have doubts about their unconventional lifestyle.
Maggie Gyllenhal - this is more than a moment. I would strongly recommend that you watch this movie for her and her alone. Maggie (loved her in Monalisa Smile, Dark Knight) is very much like our own Divya Dutta(Dilli 6, Veer Zaar, Welcome to Sajjanpur)- seldom given a whole movie, but her presence overshadows many a lead actress as she lights up the screen whenever she appears. She is the sole redeeming feature of 'Away we Go', delightfully cast as a post- modern Feminist , known to lesser mortals on campus as the 'Mom without the stroller' and as her character enlightens you , the main problem with America is that 'we are pushing our babies away from us' aka strolling them . Thats a gem. Her house is a 'yoga meets zen meets expensive vintage' with no pieces of furniture that has legs on is indeed a 'continuum space' we are told. There is a hilarious piece with interesting trivia about the sea horse being a progressive liberated mammal because the male of the species actually carries the eggs and gives birth- the female deposits the eggs in the male receptacle. She tops this with her convincing portrayal of a privileged intellectual snob who s actually terrible condesceding towards the margnalised (the remarks about 'Verona's black oral traditions' and the concept of inequity explained by saying 'what do they , meaning Africans know? what do they have'? are absolute masterpieces). I have had the opportunity to have a good laugh at some similar so- called progressive, erudite snobs in India esp. in a certain industry!!!
There is a very touching moment in a pub with a golden couple that Burt and Verona meet in Montreal during their multi- city sojourn. It is the archetype 'golden couple'- in love, with a big family of loving adopted children from various origins with everything going for them , till the garb slips and Melanie Lynskey , who plays the cool woman doing a sexy pole dance thing while covering up her personal tragedy of five miscarriages asks Verona if shes had any trouble so far in her pregnancy . Verona says no and Munch (the character) turns away looking part disappointed and part upset with herself. This is what I like about Mendes- a very deft insight into how misery makes even the good ones among us jealous!!
Finally, though, I would have to admit that the movie disappoints on many counts.
The first and perhaps, the least of its flaws is that it doesnt do much for the road trip genre- the places they visit do not become characters, all the characters including the protagonists remain rather uni- dimensional till the end , and though everyone is grey, there's no harm in painting people in colours apart from black, white or grey, is there, Mr. Mendes?
I hate to say, its not only Verona's 'uterus that is tilted'- the whole vision of this movie is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kuchch khatti, kuchch meethi

I was going to be blog about something completely different, like what a surreal day it has been. Connecting at a new level with an old friend that resonated with a sense of 'me too', connecting for the first time with an acquaintance from college (had we been from the opposite sexes, our phone marathon today would constitute a very 'hot' first phone date!!!), and a chance encounter with a couple who I wanted to connect to because they were Indians settled in Vancouver and they actually turned out to be very non- Indian but had their origins in the same sweet, quaint city , that is my hometown, Jamshedpur!!!
Whoa- all good food for thought and reason to count one's blessings at a rather lonely time, but what captured my imagination instead is this-
Jillian, THE bachelorette on the show by the same name, is connecting with 3 bachelors(the last men standing on the show that started with 30 contenders) in a way that is typical of how reality TV makes scripted love seem real!!!
So, one is intellectually stimulating but 'might have a wall around him and might end up breaking her heart' (thats got to be the male equivalent of the female stereotype- she's a smart woman , but is she feminine enough?) SIGH!!!
and here comes the masterpiece- the other guy, Ed is sexy , and she can totally imagine sitting around and playing cards with his affable Mom , takes a leap of faith , asking him to spend the night with her (right, it has nothing to do with the TRP potential of showing a hot babe in a night shirt with her evenly tanned legs all wrapped around this hunky guy), but ends up all heartbroken...
GUY- I had a chance of a lifetime, but I failed to show her how much I love her. Now I don't know whats going to happen... (code for- I couldn't get it up!!!)
JILLIAN- We have a real connection, but I don't know if I can put this disaster aside and take this gamble (code for - He's good but I don't want to end up with someone who might be impotent)
And just when you thought reality TV was getting too real to be comfortable, the channel makes this seem like a love dilemma, you know, soft music in the background, girl in tears, guy looking down in despair (or maybe at his...)
So now, not just Jillian but the rest of us (most bachelorette videos on youtube have more than 6000+ views) are all hoping that Ed can get it up the next time!!!
Now who needs fiction when you can have such entertaining reality?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rambling on a Sunday afternoon

Of late (as late as say,yesterday?), I think that I have started thinking of everything that happens in my 'not- so-remarkable' life in terms of posts.
  • Ate something delicious? How do I make the post delectable?
  • Saw a spectacular sight? Hell, no, THE HUSBAND forgot the lovely DSLR at home- so nothing in terms of visual treat for the blog- no, no, why did we even see this lovely thing today?
  • An interesting anecdote? Must note down the entire chronology of events that made it interesting- hm mm, now that I have dissected it completely, it doesn't seem so interesting after all!
  • What good is a film if it can't be reviewed well on the blog?

My friend, in her blog uncovering mysteries of her own convoluted mind and nothing else (Am I right, sweetie?), wrote a rather delightful post on this.

Here's to mirroring your thoughts( and with this , I replace all cruel notions of plagiarism- there will be one sweet word from now on- 'mirroring')

'' I think a lot,

I think I'll blog,

in the car, on the skytrain,

when it shines, or (like in Vancouver, usually)it rains,

by the time I get to it,

I don't feel as 'writing- fit'

So I think more

Feel the memory grow faint and then sore (by now the memory is angry that it did not get blogged about)

I tell myself aloud

Someday , when I don't think, maybe I will blog?''

(images courtesy Stockxpert)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First post- partum thoughts

Ive barely started blogging and already my dashboard is full of posts that need to be completed/ edited. It might be a good idea to post the link here to give a context to this pattern and plead 'not guilty'!!!

I have been thinking of blogging for quite some time, but having finally taken the plunge (like the hundreds who do so everyday now), I want to acknowledge the people who inspired me.

First and foremost , you who will always be my Blog queen coz you initiated me to the blogosphere and ever since I have followed and enjoyed your 'inner and outer life'(my take on your title) through your blog. It has made many of my drab days delightful. Thank you.

Second, KG, my sweet friend and fellow companion on a certain 'boat' that we are both sailing in (and I will write at length about very soon) , who finally got me to 'stop brooding and get on with it' and was kind enough to comment on my first post ever. Yippee!!! that sure felt good- almost better than a shot of Columbian Roast, and I do like 'em Columbian.

And then there are two others, one of whom I shall keep anonymous.

She told me that her blog was not public coz it was too personal -way to go girl, that took away many of my self inflicted barriers, such as 'who want to read ubiquitous pieces of ordinary life journey on the world wide web'?

The most touching encouragement came from my friend in Pune, whose blog you must check out for her fantastic innovative illustrations and really sublime original verses. She said that I wrote much better movie reviews than the critics she was forced to read every week in the papers, and that is good enough reason to blog. Thank you dear, and I hope I don't let you down.

Oh, something struck me as I finished writing this post- these are all women and Im so glad they are fun and fabulous in a way that only women can be. Thats reason enough to celebrate on a Saturday spent taking a 'couchation'!

Thought for the Day

The good ones screw you , and the bad ones screw you, and most of them don't know how to screw you!!!

Kudos to anyone who can think of any other things that fit the bill...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Little Hate..not much

I said I hate you

I said it LOUD

I think you heard me

coz you retorted giving me a broken heart and a withered spirit

Of course I dint mean it like that

A common mistake then (usual for me) to have said it like that

but you see, I was trapped inside glass windows

Raindrops frosted the glass and tear drops frosted mine

Ironic , things that are supposed to open remain closed here.

Like windows in my condo, and employer's minds

Looking out at Georgia (St), I saw crowds expanding and contracting

in sync with sun rays in my room

I hated it that they seemed to have a purpose while I was still struggling to find mine

I strutted my stuff for a while, feeling feisty, feeling touristy

Then came the buying spree...

Furnishing of an apartment occupied by an empty heart

I gathered- something had to be filled!!!

So now that the kitchen , the living room, the paintings and statuettes are all done,

and everyday a little bit of my grit gets undone,

The bed has been bedded, the mattress contours try to keep pace with my ever bulging curves

I watch re- runs on TV and run through cyberspace randomly

I dare to tell myself (a little) everyday

You are Vancouver and I hope to love you some day.