Thursday, February 19, 2009

This One too is for my Cab mate...

I Do sound as if I have ahuge fan following and I am some popular writer. But couldn't get a better title.
This Post is also for all those who are disgusted by the word "feminism".
This way I am also letting you deceide whether you want to read this or not...
This is a lilttle bit of information on about what feminism is not
1. Feminism to start with is not all/only about women out with lathis on the road, bashing up men at every opprtunity.
2. Feminism is also not exclusive of housewives and women who are introvert, non-modern rather traditional.
3. Feminism is also not only about women smoking and drinking.
4. Feminism is not just about "bra burning"
5. Feminism is not synonymous to not understanding things and making an issue out of it all the time.
6. Feminism is not inconsiderate.

and perhaps Feminism should not be a thing of the upper class/ caste women.

Feminism is a better way of living for women!

This and much much more human is feminism!

hope it helps all those who misunderstand it and me too.


Re: Can I use the banned word

I am re-posting this one, as I wanted one of my cab-mates to read this and didn't want him searching for the post.

Let me be all hush-hush while I use it. If someone hears me using it, who knows the next thing they do is hang me...
finally the much debated, hated, and contemplated a word appears in my blog...F E M I N I S M !
Watched Paromita Vohra's documentary "unlimited girls", good I would say for the issues that it raises. 
Is feminism an ideology for ugly women? 
Isn't being a woman reason enough to be a feminist?
Do we have to know the history and everything that went into getting FEMINISM the platform where it stands today?
Agreed one needs to know, but perhaps one cannot dismiss somebody just because s/he hasn't read the literature on feminism. 
It's surprising how somebody in her interview said that she is afraid to have freedom, cause at the end of the day it leaves her tired of the social structure. 
Is it enough for women like me and anybody reading this that Feminism today functions perfectly well just in our lives? 
Do not we need to push it further so that it reaches to lives of all women? Shall we happily wrap up our mouths and mumble things that only we can hear, and be happy and 'thankful' of the situation we are in today? Is it enough to say that it is necessary that women be emancipated and let others fight for the cause? And in the end of it all say something like
"these Feminists are here to create Chaos !"
Sigh! lastly do we accept any and everything in the name of a culture that teaches us to be filth and nothing more?
do we
do we
do we!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Excerpt From my MA Dissertation - Stereotyping Women In Lifestyle Magazines

When I was born, they looked at me and said: 'What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy!' And when you were born, they looked at you and said: 'What a sweet girl, what a beautiful girl, what a pretty girl!'" "What A Good Boy," The Barenaked Ladies. 

For several decades now, media critics and feminists alike have been examining the role of the media in creating and reinforcing stereotypical representations of women and femininity. But only recently have they expanded the research to consider how the media also constructs, informs and reinforces prevalent ideas about men and masculinity, which in the process also builds a stereotypical notion of femininity. Take for instance ‘Masculinity and Men’s Lifestyle Magazine’ a book by Beethan Benwell which deals in detail how stereotypes of masculinity are formed by the media or a book by Jonathan Bignell ‘Media Semiotics: An Introduction’ which talks about the semiotics of advertisements in both Men’s and Women’s magazines and how women are framed as sexual objects in this all male world of media.
. What remains my concern in this paper is to try to figure out the ways in which these magazines in the process of constructing a stereotypical masculine identity, continue to relegate women to the background and, in doing so, are examples of social backlash directed against specific gains made by women in the paid labor force, mass media industries and other professions. It is true that it is no coincidence that as women are achieving greater social, political and professional equality, these magazines symbolically relegate them to subordinate positions as sex objects and objects of recreation for men. And it is also true when we often complain that the pressure put on women through ads, television, film and new media to be sexually attractive—and sexually active—is profound, more perhaps today than during any other times. Is it then to say that women who have now begun realizing their potential, which for long had been suppressed, are threatening the long and well preserved superior subject positions occupied by men? This is however not to say that Men’s magazines deliberately and visibly try to undermine the gains made by women, yet to suggest that the way in which a woman appears in these magazines through there articles and their advertisements is such that the only aspect of her that can be highlighted is nothing but her body and her intelligence is often made fun of. There are recurrent articles in Man’s World about how 10 famous men in India rate such and such woman’s sex appeal, or who according to ten business tycoons are the five sexiest women India/world. These magazines also deride women by showing them in low light through cartoons, take for instance a cartoon where a woman come in with a packet of oil n complains to her husband saying the shopkeeper cheated her by not giving the 100% cholesterol free that is mentioned in the pack etc. and most importantly, how they handle women etc. What is interesting however in these magazines is that they take women to be this object available to be seduced by good looks and manners of men. The tone of the magazine especially in its ‘Dr. Know’ (a section that deals with the problems the readers ask) is such that it relegates women to this inferior objectified level. The tone in this section is always filled with sarcasm with this assumed cool attitude towards life, and a kind of rhetoric that is filled with wit and humour which never answers questions in a serious, responsible direct way.Whereas in a women’s magazine the problems whatever it may be is invariably dealt with more seriousness and concern even when the question is from a man. What can be the reason for such a wide difference in the treatment of almost the same issues? Here comes the question of stereotypes as in why do the men’s magazines mostly have this kind of a comic approach to questions relating to the private realm? Has it something to do with the fact of creating stereotypical identities of masculinity and feminity which exist in society – to say a silly, emotional, infantile female who needs to discuss such matter of fact things as against a more mature man who does not need such advices.

P.S - I am thinking on starting up again on my dissertation. May be I will begin with re-writing it and then take it further.

Ramblings. You don't really need to read this.

It is such a pain to discuss marriage, see people getting married, your mother wanting you to be married, your roomate moving out because she is getting married, and your about to be married friends trying to convince you to get married, and your sister telling you that you are already almost 27....and marriage, marriage, marriage....

I had been intending to make this post sometime last week or the beginning of this week. But due to a lot of work could not do so. And now, I am trying my best to recollect and write about the dislike I had developed in the last few days towards discussing anything to do with marriage. It is not that I have anything inherently againgst marriage of people getting married. It is different that off late, I fail to see the need for it immediately in my life. Also, the fact that due to some reasons, I can't get married in this year, leads me to not think about getting married in the near future :)

On top of all this, my best friend is getting married in May, so she constantly wants to discuss about dresses, and her fiance, and other marriage details. Then there is my roomate who is moving back to her hometown, as her marriage is fixed for June. Then there is other college friend who is getting married end of this month. Then there is my mother who wants to talk about it twice or thrice over the week. All this just burst my own tiny bubble for marriage I think. I do want to get married, but I think there is far too much talk which is just annoying me.

The other day, this couple friend who are getting married came to invite me for their wedding and asked me about my plans for the same and counselled me standing at my door, when I was extremely sleepy and ready to hit the bed, about how I should just go ahead and get married and not think a lot about it. God, in the depressing life that I have where I go to work, come back, cook, read a bit, and sleep...marriage has become another depressing things to talk about. 

I am bored, sleepy, tiered, and I think I do not want to work. Not that my work is boring or anything. But I just don't to come and see the stupid faces everyday. I am sick of seeing the same people everyday. I am sure they are sick of me too. I am undecided about what I want to do with my life ahead...and to add to all this, ruthlessly people want me to take a decision on marriage and more ruthless people want me to just get married. Sometimes, I wonder, what will they get out of the whole thing. Sometimes, I also think I do want to get married. 

I think I am thinking and all this, because I want to postpone this work I need to start on and knowing that I will be stuck in office till some 10 in the night...I don't feel like getting started. I am so sick of the whole routine that life has become that I don't know what to do about it. As I told Serendipiduous today over phone, when he called to say he has chicken pox, I am living my life from lunch breaks to lunch breaks and dinners to dinners. Though, by this I did not want to say that the only interest that is remaining in me is to eat a lot. Infact, I am bored of that too. But I said it anyways, because I was about to go for my lunch break. 

I read this collection of short stories 'Dancing Girls,' which if you notice in my previous posts, I read half in January. The stories are really wierd. They have no ending, and a trial of a beginning. Though, this does not make them bad stories at all. Some of them are really nice, like 'Under Glass,' 'Hair Jewellery,' 'Rape Fantasies,' and others which I can't remember. I am planning on starting Thousand Splendid Suns, I think before starting, I am going to ask Meister about how he liked it. The Meister read the book in his office, I think that could be one of the reasons why one of his boss hates him. 

I had left off at this point, when I had a team meeting where a guy presented about this movie Indian. Something about a bike, racing, and dreaming. This presentation thing is a dumb initiative my team (with me in it) has taken to improve on our presentation skills. As if any of these things help. Not to the un-initiated people like me.  While the meeting was on, the Meister read this and was angry about me spoiling his name/fame in the blogging world by associating him to (apparently) intellectual books. So, I withdraw my statement above about the Meister having read Thousand Splendid Suns. 

Everyone seems like bored or tiered of their present life. We all need change, but we are too scared to take a step towards it. Too lazy, I think. I sure am. 

I am hitting on the publish button after every few lines or so. So, if someone does take the effort to read this post. They might see half sentences as well. 

I am going to Puri in two more days. I so wish, I have a good time there. Sometimes, I feel like just taking a week off and staying at home. From puri, I plan a trip alone to Konark. Me and Serendipiduous  had a nice chat over this on how I will pretend to be a this trip of mine.

OK. I need to go sit with a colleague of mine and work on some stupid office stuff. I will continue rambling later when I feel like and have the time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Weekend Is Over :(

Sometimes, it is so sad to end a weekend full of activities shared with family and friends, that I almost feel like crying when it is sunday evening and everyone packs up to leave for their own destinations/homes. Today, while walking back home from KT's house, after seeing off my brother, his wife, my cute niece, and a friend in the auto, I felt an accute sense of I am not going to meet them for a long time to come. When the truth is I would be meeting them again in similar set ups in a week's time. But just the thought that now we would all get busy with work and our own fucked up lives, fills me with such sadness that I feel like living my life just the way the weekend had passed. 

I wonder, what is better - a weekend where I entertain myself alone in the comfort of my home, books and, homely chores or meeting these people I love and love to spend my time with? At the end of the latter, I almost have this fatal desire to quit my job and settle for a life which is less complicated, where I do not need to get up early in the morning to get ready for work, and don't need to think about the insane things that life is. 

I hate this habit in me where I become nostalgic almost immediately after something I enjoy has happened/passed. I have this rising empty feeling at the pit of my tummy which ends up with a choking of emotions in my throat. As of now, with the weekend as a wonderful thing of the past, I feel miserable and lonely. I wish the month was a string of weekends where I lived happily ever after with people I love :O

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tagged By The Meister :)

1. If your lover betrayed you, what would your reaction be?

Not really sure of the exact reaction...but later it would follow by trying to make a wonderful story about it. A small amount of harmless bitching and cribbing and then forgetting about it in way it affects my day to day activities.

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be?

I have written a beautiful book of the class of Marquez's or better :). Also, that I have a not so huge orphanage.

3.  Whose butt would you like to kick?

No one matters that much really that I invest so much anger on them. And those who do matter, never do anything to get a kick.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

With the present state of mind - buy loads of books, travel a hell lot, open an orphanage, try to avoid the cycle of Investment ensures savings and spend every single penny on me and others and once I have done that come back to being a pauper and wait for the billion dollars all over again

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?

I have already in not one but two occassions -Sameer and KT :). I think it is wonderful...though complicates things for a while.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?

I would say both. One teaches you to focus on yourself and the other being selfless...

7. How long would you wait for someone you loved?

The cliche - All my life/forever. Actually, it all depends on my mood and life.

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?

Whine and glorify my pain so much so that he helps me write about it :). Also, about the person, I let him/her be...have practised this art in the recent years.

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?

I think habitation for street kids and their education...not in the farce way things are happening right now in India. Also, for not taking advantage of farmers and giving them their due.

10. What takes you down the fastest?

Betrayals in any way, Pretensions. Also, people who look down on others.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

A better human is irrelevant to me and to all those who love me.

12. What’s your fear?

Becoming one of the urban phony crowd!!

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

hmm...extremely protective and with a lot of defenses. Someone whom I have come to adore as a very good friend and who is really angry about people wrongly using apostrophe's  ;)

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?

Anything....just want to have my friends and books in either of the case. 

15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

try to figure excuses how I could sleep for a little more longer and snooze my cell phone alarm :)

16. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?

If I could I would be with both.

17. Would you give all in a relationship?

I always do, just that people are very cynical these days struggling with their own insecurities that they fail to see my love.

18. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?

Sure...I hate the whole business which leads to forgiving and forgetting, anyways. 

19. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?

I enjoy both, while you are single you have all the time and space in the world to be have your own dreams to follow....when you are in a relationship you need to be more selfless...need to care not just about yourself but the person you love and chase both your dreams together 

I do not tag anyone if anyone wants to have a similar post please go is just too 'psycho' a questionaire as the meister calls it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Books I Read In January

One of my unsaid resolutions this year was to read more books and more authors. Recently, I decided that it would also be nice to do a monthly check of the books I read in a month. So, in January I read Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The Bad Girl by Maria Vargas Llosa, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, and half of Dancing Girls by Atwood again.

1. Lord Of The Rings - It is a great book by Tolkien for all those people who love Fantasy Fiction. It is built on a grand scale and makes up for a gripping read. I was so glued to the book that I read it in my cab, during breaks in my office, in the loo...I have to agree that I have not read Hobbits yet which is followed by The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Yet it does not make Lord of the Rings difficult to understand. The latter three books (Fellowship, Towers, & Return) come together to make the entire series of Lord of the Rings. It is an epic high fantasy novel written immaculately by Tolkien. They say, that Tolkien began LOR just as a sequel to his earlier novel The Hobbit, which reviews claim is a less complex children's fantasy novel.  It is a long book but I think it is an enriching experience to have read it. In the foreword to the second edition, Tolkien says, "It is a massive undertaking not just to the writer but for the reader as well." I think that in itself sums up how great a reading it makes for.

2. The Bad Girl - A tale of unrequitted love (most part of the book), eloquent and torturing romance, and a show of brilliant language use, is what Llosa has packaged for us in The Bad Girl. Just imagine yourself being under the spell of deceptive genius and craftiness and a larger than life presence with whom you fall in love. You will exactly then empathize with the Peruvian hero of Llosa's book. In the beginning, the story does take a little time to capture you, but once that just go from page to page. For me it was really engaging the way, Llosa has developed both the Peruvian boy and the Chilean girl (since I do not remember the names, i use the demographics to name the characters). Having read many of the other books by the same author, I feel that he masters the art of having multiple narratives (ref - Aunt Julia & The Scriptwriter) and also he has this great finesse in doing jerky shifts in narratives, without throwing off the readers. I would really suggest people to read atleast these two books I mentioned of Llosa's to have a great reading experience.

3. Surfacing - A book by Margaret Atwood. As the title suggests, its about coming to terms with the protagonist's identity. It is a very complex narrative with a lot of global issues like identity, feminism, distruction towards nature are dealt. In the book the protagonist is narrating the story, so all we come to know is either through her monologues or we experience events through the thoughts of her. Wierd thing is the protagonist has not bee named in the entire book. I think, Atwood has grappled with the complex notions of identity, be it then the national identity or the gender identity with as less complexity in her narrative as possible. Though the upper layer (for lack of better and more technical term) of the narrative forms the story of the girl coming to her hometown in Canada - Qubec, to look for her missing father. But the more important plot comes with her trying to come to terms with her own supressed past and the loss of her identity. Other themes which could perhaps be told is the idea of how nature is being lost and destroyed by the inflow of urban populace to the smaller towns, another would be perhaps madness and how the protagonist washes away the negative influence of her past to align herself to her present state(which is shown by her literally diving into the chilly river, throwing away her clothes, and limiting her to raw food. Basically, throwing herself in the lap of nature and fianlly rejoining her lover Joe). All in all, it makes for a very complex, yet great read. Though, I am still to come to terms or become comfortable with Atwood's style...will save my more detailed comments for later when I have a better grasp of her style.

4. The Dancing Girls - It is a collection of very abstract short stories by Atwood with underlying complex themes and issues. I still do not understand the few stories I have read in my own vague mind. Will hold on suggesting it personally to people till I finish all of the stories, rest choice is always very you can very well go to a bookstore and grab a copy.

Since, the tag season is on...let me use it by tagging the Meister, The Chronicles Of R, Myriad, alchera, and shyamalee. You will need to mention the top five books you read in January with a short review and if you think I should be reading them, then suggest so after the review of each book. May be if it helps we could all do it every month end of beginning of next month. This way we all can read a variety of books and discuss about them on our blogs. An added advantage, you could always use this post at times when you do not really have much to talk about in your blogs :)
You will need to mention the top five books you read in January with a short review and if you think I should be reading it then suggesting it so in your own post.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What Happened Day Before...

My mother called me just like any other day. We had our normal conversation about how she spoke to my nephew. How she would take him out everyday once she is was my life going?Teasing me with how my work was no work and inquiring on what I ate.

Just before hanging up she said she watched Slumdog. I was like, when? She said, "yesterday night show." I think I was very proud and elated to hear that at her age of 59 she still retains the youth in her to go catch a night show alone with her sister that too in a two wheeler. Post the movie, both my mother and my aunt went to this 'chai bandi' close to the theatre and sat there to drink tea. On their way back they even managed to go for a drive and also had a small accident, which to her was funny, so much so that, while telling me about it she couldn't stop laughing. In my family people just admire and are in awe of the Patnaik sisters...(my mother's maiden last name)They have always been the ones full of life and living it with everything they have.

Even me, have all my life beleived her to be an adventurous woman...who loves to live life to the fullest on her own accord. Just that off late perhaps I had overlooked this aspect of hers....but getting reminded of it was one of the sweetest surprises, I have had in some time. She is the most fierce, most adventurous, most strong, most loving, most caring, and most independent person I have known in my life. I only wish if me and my sister could get even an ounce of her personality in us...

Love You Ma!

Friday, February 06, 2009

25 random things about me :O

I have been tagged by UG...I had requested her to tag me ;). But now I find it difficiult to sit and jot down 25 things and on top random about me. So, here goes.

1. I can't speak over the phone for more than umm 10 mints (exaggerating) or I feel like shitting.
2. I hav a very bad virtual persona...or so I have been told cause I do not show any warthm while chatting.
3. I get way too excited in a library or a large room full of books. So, much so that everytime I enter one, the mission of going through books gets aborted shortly as I feel the need to shit.
4. I am painfully and brutally honest with people I love. 
5. I cannot shop for more than 30 minutes at a strech...get bored.
6. I have this nack of categorizing people by saying "s/he is a good person at heart, you can just see it in their eyes or feel it" as against "s/he is not a nice person."
7. I get along with guys better as I have grown up with my male cousins. Infact, I am scared of a bunch of girls together.  Awfully scared of their mood swings and emotions. As being a girl, I know I can be very moody. 
8. I respect and admire people who are themselves.
9. I am a disbeliever of allopathy and homeopathy. I think they just give us momentary relief but do not cure the root of the problem. 
10. I have a very high threshhold for pain and endurance.
11. I get very embarrased when after a fight or argument or a fall out people come and say sorry to me. I  just cannot handle the situation, as I feel very guilty to make people say sorry to me. I know it is wierd but my eyes well up :O
12. I have very ugly feet. I have this lonnnng toe next to my thumb which stands out like the Tall Man in a circus. Some of friends have suggested just chopping it off.
13. I am usually very brave, but I am shit scared of needles and all things that poke. This is one reason I am scared of donating blood (though I have done thrice) and tattoos(though I dislike it for other reasons more sane.)
14. I get sexually attracted to men (of other more serious things) who are tall, sensitive, who can cook, and who read. Though sometimes I just fall for men just opposite.
15. I cannot tolerate loud sound....whatever then it may be, it turns noise to my it then music, voices, pubs, and other stuff. This is one reason, I inevitably do not even try to get along with people who are loud(in every sense of the word.)
16. I love homemade food in contrary to eating out. Infact, I love everything that says 'home' to me than 'outside.' Be it then going out, thinking about other people, etc. I love being at home, thinking rather than questioning, talking and reasoning with myself....I know it is narcissistic and I love it.
17. My fav color is Yellow! 
18. I love getting attention and I am quite open about it in front of people I can demand attention as my right. Infact, most of my testimonials in Orkut talk about how "I love being loved and always end up being loved."
19. I would die without my family and especially without my brothers. Infact, they are the only support system I have. Anytime I feel dejected, just thinking about HOW MUCH they love me makes me smile. This is one of the ways, I deal with the way people relate to each other in urban spaces. (I know many of my friends hate it when I say Urban in this alienating manner)
20. Offlate, I have become kindda snobbish in ignoring people who 'do not fit the bill for me.' And I do not feel guilty or bad about it, as I rationalize it by saying I should spend time with people I want, rather otherwise. Also, I think this does not make me less tolerant.
21. I am pretty bad at remembering names. Also, I forget names at most crucial points, this one time in the middle of a Q & A I forgot the name of my co-presenter and she happens to be my dearest and most cherished friend in Hyd. But she was very nice to me and gave me her name with a straight face :)
22. I have this habit of re-creating my dreams once I remember one after waking up. I get so involved with it that I end up  coming up with many ways the dream could end and I get all confused. 
23. I have this habit of giving away anything that I think would not be used in the next 10-15 days. Atleast, this is how KT puts it.
24. I wish to write a book one day and it is going to all about Raigarh (my hometown and the haven for me) and all that I relate to the place.
25. As a test or sacrifice to my friendship and love, I ask people who love me to quit eating Kachori, cause I believe that it enduces headache :)
This is my first tag in the past four years or so that I have been blogging and I enjoyed the whole experience thanks to UG!

Yay! now I get to tag others what fun.  So, here people I tag thee- Meister, Myriadmind, Serendipiduous, UglyGirl(as you said I needed to tag the one who tagged me), TickTalks :) Have fun guys. I know most of you would just defame me by not bothering to do this.