Friday, February 27, 2009

Of Hair cuts and other observations

When the mite goes for a hair cut to the 'smiling auntie' of the Lovely Beauty Parlour near our house, the Brat Girl and I also end up having our hair trimmed. 'Smiling auntie' is used to see us troop in once a month. The mite makes an aweful fuss about cutting his hair. At first he would kick and scream through out the episode and both of us would be covered with hair and the smiling auntie's hair would be standing on end. Then started a slow process of befriending of the fiend. Smiling auntie (SA) would smile at the mite while he went to and from the corner store with me daily. We met the SA quite often as she went to her shop, or as she relaxed outside it. Now the mite has calmed down considerably. He lets the SA put a cover around him, so we don't come back completely coated with a thick layer of hair. But the mite refuses to get ogg my lap so some of the hair falls on me and I get hopelessly hairy! Then I say to the SA - since I am full of hair to why don't you trim my hair too, to which the Brat Girl says "mine too" and we all end up having our hair cut! This time ofcourse, the SA asked the Brat to get a trim which will help her hair grow thicker...The SA is quite reasonable too 25 Rs for the kids' cut and Rs 50 for me so for 100Rs all 3 of us have had our monthly trims! I went to the SA for her 'froot facial' too and she is good! I generally hate the idea of someone pawing my face and I absolutely detest holding my face in the steam. Had a facial done before my wedding and I had sworn never to have another one done. However, the SA gently cajoled me into having one done. It was refreshing and she has one of those blow on steamers that gently blow the steam on the face and you do not have to risk scalding your face!
It was at the SA's that I noticed how important the extended 'aaa' is in the local lingo. A girl came and said she wanted a blunt cut "blunt cut aaa?" asked the SA as if that 'aaa' adds new meaning to the blunt cut, yes says the girl. Another person wants waxing to be done " waxing aaa? " says SA and so it goes on "eyebrows aaa?" "facial aaa" . Then sitting there with multani mitti drying on my face I recall the numerous "right aaa?"s "left aaa?"s and "straight aaa?" s that I heard from the auto wallahs. In fact my mom insists on adding the 'aaa' when she gives directions to the auto driver and funnily then they do not ask that question again with an extended 'aaa'. Now I know the true significance of pronouncing the names of Rama, Laxmana, Ravana in this manner- clearly this practice originates in these parts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Silent, stealthy terror

In the past one week three women have been assaulted in the heart of Bangalore city. One lady was driving her car in the middle of the afternoon, others were walking on the road one in the morning and the other at night. They were manhandled because they were wearing 'western' outfits. Their clothes were pulled at, they were cursed and abused while by standers watched the fun. This is not a story from a horror film, this is the reality in Bangaluru- this city which is lauded for its cosmopolitanism and progressiveness. All it needed was to put a BJP govrnment in place and goons can dictate what women are going to wear. Women cannot hope to walk the streets alone due to the presence of these elements- will any arrests be made? No sir, one of the goons even offered his cell phone for the victim to call the police. What's up Mr CM the women in your state are unsafe- whether travelling by bus, or wlking in the streets and even while driving their car. This is what the Hindu right has made of this city. One year ago, I was glad that I got a chance to live in this beautiful city, now I am thinking twice...

Monday, February 23, 2009

4 Oscars For Indians, Hurrah!

The Mr celebrating the Oscar victories by dancing to Slumdog tunes while the kids are enjoying the show!
Personally I believe that India has loads of talent, more than anywhere else in the world and the acknowledgement of Hollywood cannot change that, but today's Oscar victories does tweak that thing called pride in me. I am very happy for Rahman but I still think that this is not the finest work he has produced. They have noticed it because the director is one of them, and a film is afterall the director's baby. I am proud of Resul Pookutty too as technicians rarely get their due. I liked the way Danny Boyle called all his caste and crew on stage when the best film award was being presented. They looked like a big family. The Mr loves the music of Slumdog Millionaire and is trying to convert me. Ah well, its not bad....but Roja, Dil Se, Bombay...they are still the best of Rahman.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook, Orkut, Hi5 and what have you...

My friend sent photos of her new baby and I could not see them unless I became a member of Facebook, so I took courage in both hands and enrolled for it. Actually I am very scared of social network sites because of its many misuses. But once at facebook I found that many friends and relatives are there and I came to see one baby's snaps but I also got to see snaps of many other babies of many other friends whom I had lost touch with. Then I moved on to Orkut as my cousin had said that she had some pics there, and sure enough I found others there too! Now I have profiles in every network worth its name. In fact I have got quite addicted to it! I am at it all the time to the alarm of the mite, who gets quite irritated to see me tapping away all the time! The mite and the Mr are down with cough and cold and therefore I just cannot do my thing in peace with them moping about the house all the time.
The problem with children who are ill is that they do not understand the meaning of rest. You have to make them sleep if you want them to just lie down. The mite is not ready to admit that there is a frog in his throat and continues to sing his songs and chatter continuously in his hoarse voice- if I tell him to keep quite and give his voice some rest, he takes offence! The Mr is going about with a sad face, I am feeling very sorry for them- get well soon Mr and mite!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Season to one and all

Clearly love is in the air.... from the first week of February there has been a wedding at the marriage hall in front of our house almost everyday! Even today the decorators have come in and they have made a beautiful facade with golden cloth lengths and ofcourse flowers- lots of flowers. After the wedding most of the flowers go to waste so my landlord's son has managed to arrange with the cleaners who keep some of the reusable flowers for him! And I have arranged with him to give some of it to us! So our houses are full of the marriage flowers after the show is over. Last time we got some beautiful orchids and lilies. Lets see what is in store for us from today's do!

On Valentine's day I went to Lal Bagh and got some flowering plants for my garden and a tulsi too let's see how long this one survives! In the evening we went on the round of the malls. I bought two cards for the Mr and gave him a bamboo shoot for his office table. He gave me a DVD of love songs from hindi films. The Sunday was a continuation of the laidbackness. We lolled all morning and at night we enjoyed the old Hindi songs. Life is good.

The Sene has made Valentine's day more special, I cannot remember what I did last Valentine's Day but this time I was determined to enjoy it! It has unleashed a healthy debate and it has been made clear to the self appointed guardians of our "culture" that this country values its freedom. That freedom includes the right to define what culture means and further develop it in the way that we feel is correct.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bye bye 'Rama' Sena!

It appears that the nature of the protests in Bangalore has lead to the suspension of all Sene anti-VDay activities in the city. However the chaps have threatened to carry on in the other parts of the state. Funnily, this chap Muthalik is issuing threat upon threat to women and endangering their lives and doing so quite openly, but as Usha says, he still remains free along with his goons who had only some days ago attacked women and meddled with their fundamental right of freedom. In the name of religion and culture these people are freely issuing threats to women- who has given them the right to meddle with women's personal lives? The truth is that we have not granted women her basic human rights yet she leads a live of constant supervision and scrutiny. That's why these people can get away with it, for the people think that what they are saying is not entirely wrong. To combat these men we have to effect a change in our social fabric where what the woman wants and what women think are taken into consideration- she must be allowed to decide for herself- not just about whom she is going to speak to, but about everything that may concern her life in any manner. This right has been usurped and unless she gets this right one half of the people of India will still be enslaved.
There is a need to diseminate pepper spray in the suburbs dears and the various anti sene organizations that have been formed listening?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hail the Youth of Bangalore!

While I was seething in my armchair, the youth of Bangalore have found various novel ways to counter the culture terrorists. The latest one takes the cake because it is not the protest march variety but is quite akin to Gandhigiri- instead of the flowers that were sent to Lucky Singh of Munna Bhai fame, this group is urging people to send pink panties to the Sene chief! It seems that they have already gathered good support! The leader of the group says that though they take the threat of these goons seriously, they nevertheless want to show how ridiculous their imposition was and for this they have thought of a gift that shows derision and ridicule. Well, I do hope the sene office is flooded with pink chaddis!
However today somebody has pointed out that women in India used to go topless some centuries ago in India, trying to show how free women were then as compared to now, which argument I cannot completely support. Toplessness does not automatically mean freedom, it would mean freedom when the woman goes topless by her own choice- as when Protima Bedi shed her clothing on Juhu beach sending all into a tizzy- she was truely a free spirit. Till the recent past lower caste women in some parts of South India were not allowed to cover their breasts before upper caste men-thus although they were topless, they signified subordination as the upper caste men had to be given free access to them! So the important thing is women's choice, a woman may choose to be covered from head to toe and still be free and equal because her dress is her own choice and no one is imposing it on her. The question here is of freedom.
There was another small column at the bottom of the page by a confused individual who says that while Hindu women are allowed to roam about with Muslim men, Muslim women are never allowed to 'go on car rides with Hindu men'! His character claims that the Hindu boys will not be allowed to live if they take Muslim women for rides in their cars! So it is a kind of fight between the Hindu and Muslim men with women as the commodity- if Hindu girls are talking to Muslim boys then their should be an equal number of Hindu boys twirling Muslim girls around! I would like to enlighten this confused person that in a free society associations do take place between two adult people and their religions do not matter. And yes I do know of a fewMuslim women who had a romance with and is now married happily to Hindu men. Let me remind this person that there are many more deaths reported of Hindu men and women who have dared to marry outside of their caste. So the villain of the piece are not Hindu men or Muslim men but the Hindu and Muslim brothers and fathers and cousins who seek to dictate whom their sisters/daughters should meet talk to and marry.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mr Dave Comes to Tea- and some pressing concerns

The Mr had been wanting to ask his 'foreign' friends/seniors at office to tea for a long time. Finally Mr Dave arrived on Thursday making all of us quite excited! The children stared at this congeneal Englishman in great wonder, this is the first time we have had a foreigner for tea. I had no idea what he might like to eat- so I made some biscuit sandwiches with cream crackers and cheese slices and bought a box of Pringles chips and took out my fish kabaab mixture which I had kept ready earlier. The awkwardness was on both sides and we started to chat over tea and continued till it was almost eight! Mr Dave is married to a Thai lady and they are building a house in Thailand. He has really seen the world, and he loves to tell the most wonderful stories of his experiences. The most intriguing thing I learnt was about the Thai language-this is the first time I have learnt about a tonal language. The same word said in a different tone means something entirely different! For example 'my' said five times in five different tones means 'the coal is too hot in the fireplace' or something to that effect! The word for banana if said in a different tone means penis! So Mr Dave says he will never learn Thai for he is not too musically inclined! These and other such hilarious stories kept us enthralled all through the evening. Mr Dave liked my tea best for he had two cups of it!

Meanwhile the situation has become quite grim in Mangalore with the MLA's daughter being dragged out of a bus and abducted. What is the country coming to? Women cannot travel in buses and talk to people! The girl and her aquaintance (a Muslim boy) was slapped, abused, dragged out of the bus and taken to the hideout of these criminals and the boy's mobile phone stolen. Needless to say the people in the bus were silent spectators! The girl showed exceptional guts by attending the exam which she was going to appear for in that bus! Women cannot go to bars women cannot talk to men of the different religion- how can we stand the violation of women's fundamental right of liberty and equality granted by the constitution? As a newspaper article points out today, it is not about culture or religion it is about controlling women and enshrining patriarchy. Not a single political party has put it that way for the fear of losing votes. The BJP has declared yesterday that if it comes to power law or no law a grand temple is going to be built on the disputed site. This temple is going to be guilt on the grave of our constitution. After all what is a temple- and a grand one at that, it is the re-establishment of religio-cultural control of the upper caste Hindu male- it means power to the this class that has blatently insulted and maligned the Constitution of independent India. I appeal to all sane Indians to vote and let these politician know whether we can defend the Constitution and the rights given to us by it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get Out the Pepper Sprays Women of Bangalore its Your Turn to Fight Terror!

I am thinking of selling pepper spray at Brigade road! Come on guys the papers are reporting that the Sene are planning V-Day attacks are going to be sitting ducks??? Girls who have learnt self defence skills this is the day to be on the prowl and test them. Be sure that Yeddy's police force will stand by watching you be slapped! Gear up dears this is your day show them what the women of Bangalore can do! Fight back and feel free to love and show love! I am going to buy a gift for the Mr for V-Day and for commenting for the first time on by blog. V-Day gives me another excuse to show my love. The Mr is quite a romantic fellow unlike any Bengali guy I know. He has given me a gift unfailingly on every Valentine's day since out marriage and on one V-Day just before it! I just love him for that. V-day provides us one more day when we can profess our love, otherwise we take it as said and get on with our daily routine. I will not let any Sene ( Ram, Shyam, Jadu or Madhu- this is the Bengali equivalent of Tom Dick and Harry) take it away from me. Bad luck Sene!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Protest the Misuse of the name of Rama!

As a Hindu I protest the misuse of Rama and his name and the twisted sensibilities of the people of different Senas and Dals and the rest who are using Rama to propogate something that Hinduism is not and what patriotism can never be! Instead of banning these institutions all sane Hindus must appeal for the ban of the use of this name and the use of the name of Indian Culture for what they think people should do. All the members of these organizations should be sent to the front to help the army or to areas where there are earthquakes floods and other disasters for relief work so that they can show how patriotic they really are!
I have seen in my neighbourhood small hole in the wall wine shops with people guzzling glasses of the stuff from early in the morning till late at night. I am sorry to say that this has amazed me for such a thing does not exist even in Delhi, in Delhi I have smelt the alcohol breath of travellers in buses, at all times of day, clearly they are also upto the same thing, but not blatantly in wine shops. In Bangalore these guys are in your face- I saw a man drink the contents of his glass at one go that too in the middle of the afternoon in full view from the footpath on the main road. In the evenings women sit in front of these shops providing these obnoxious men with fried stuff to go with the drinks. I am offended by this. I want to ask the CM is all this part of our Indian culture? Then why does the protecters of our culture not notice these offensive establishments! In our culture, young people generally do not drink and smoke in front of elders- even this rule has been relaxed in some families I know who enjoy a drink together in the evenings causing no offence to anyone and never getting drunk! The CM has asked girls to do their drinking at home- that would be true to Indian culture according to him. He has released the Rama Sene hooligans almost vindicating their stand and still claims that BJP will do well in the State in the general elections. The Sene goons will be used to stop valentines day celebrations- what is it other that terrorism- culture terrorism. We the people of India are free to adopt any celebration that encourages forces of peace and love and these terrorists cannot and will not stop us! These fools have the nerve of defining culture for us - we can adopt any practice and give it an Indian flavour, will that not be our culture. There has been an exchange of culture since the beginning of time, if there had not been then the west would not have learnt the Arabic numbers, Indians would have not become the masters of the English language and Buddhism would have died a quiet death in India, Hinduism itself is an amalgamation of Aryan and Dravidian ways, and is a result of the borrowings from various tribal and settled peoples' cultures. The goons have pitted their strength against basic human nature and the crux of human existence, where since our inception we have adopted from each other and grown into what we are today. The goons throw up their hands in wonder and say " we only slapped a few women once, we did not molest them" , what high characters you have Sirs, your conduct is exemplary! Rama would be very proud of you, as is our own CM, who is but Rama incarnate! These vile creatures get their strength from the political set up which wants to define our culture for us. I protest agaianst this and I appeal to the people not to vote for characters such as these. These politicians are forgetting that it is the people who put them in their position so they must address the peoples' problems which as always is 'roti, kapda, aur makaan' (food, clothing and shelter).
Meanwhile I have a job for the goons- compulsory social service- goons, instead of planning your vanlentine's day terror attack, please invest in the latest India Today magazine, turn to page 38, view with horror and shame, the pictures of 3 children (all girls) who died of malnutrition in the very country that you claim to be patriots of, and offer your services to carry food and help to the affected areas- I dare you to do this ......

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Judge For Yourselves

The beauty of the single stream at Gagan chukki and the grand Burra chukki

The polluter and some boys at the back of this picture--making a nuisance of themselves!