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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hoo Haa Over Arundhati Again

Now that the whole nation as well as the world is divided into two sides, against or with Arundhati Roy, it was not much of a surprise that the topic would be the highest discussed in FaceBook as well.

I have never really liked her writing, but that does not mean that I don't have the right to agree with her opinion...I think having one's opinion is still allowed in this country..

So the moment one of my friend's status message read 'I hate Arundhati Roy' it was no surprise that all attention went directly to his profile...and what followed was some hot opinions and emotions running high....

My friend mentioned he hates Arundhati Roy and that she is the perfect example of how democracy and right to freedom of speech can be misused to gain personal fame. Responses started pouring in immediately, with people saying they agree with her, though they may not really like her writing.

Some people have jumped on to the conclusion that Arundhati means Kashmiris are not really a part of India and should be let go. Well, that may be what she implies, yes, but what is so wring with her statement? The tension and fear in Kashmir has been on since forever, as long as I have been born and can remember, Kashmir has always been a disputed land. There are many ways the Indian government could have 'really' done something for them. But a government that only has a big mouth and a hand that only works on corruption, such a government at best is only a crappy stinking shithole of a government, and has no right to promise our Kashmiri brethren that they will still be protected - when they don't even have access to basic human rights.

There was much the Indian government could have done - to begin with, they could have made the Kashmiris a part of mainstream India and provided them with jobs and the means to a better education and a safer and better life....clearly the government of India had no such plans.

Not to mention that the debate on FB attracted international journo as well, and there were many views expressed....But tell me something, if, even after decades of false promises, we cannot do anything for our Kashmiri friends but let them rot on their own, why cant we really set them free? Those who want to choose to be a part of India are welcome with open hearts, those who choose to be part of a separate identity should be given the right to do so.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Handing Out Your Child To Strangers

Was just going through today's newspaper a while back when came across this section that had a sketch of a woman on top of the column.

The heading below was even more dismal: "Baby snatcher"....

I read on to find out which was the latest case of baby-snatching if chain-snatching and bag-snatching was not enough, they had to do this too!!!

What emerged from the report was not so much a case of baby-snatching as a case of 'handing over my baby to you so that you can take it away'...literally!!

In the first instance, a mother was waiting at the CST railway station with a 06-days-old baby.A woman (the one in the sketch) befriended her and as the mother wanted to use the restroom, she handed her new-born to this stranger and left.When she returned, of course the lady had gone and so was her infant.

In the next instance, which is a step ahead of this, a lady was waiting at the V N Desai Hospital Santa Cruz with her two-year old grandchild. This woman (the one in the sketch again) befriended her and she handed her grandchild to her, going out to locate her daughter-in-law.When the two women returned, the burqa-clad lady as well as the baby had gone missing!

I am not going to call this a case of kidnapping...For how can this be so when the parent herself has been callous enough to hand their child to a stranger? I mean, what happened to all those instances of crimes we have read about in the papers? What about the basic rule that our mothers have always drilled into our heads - never talk to a stranger, never accept any gift from a stranger.... And here they are, handing away the most precious gift of their lives to a stranger!!!!

I felt really sorry for the little ones who have been taken away from their mothers forever for no fault of theirs.....another life added to the begging world, another face added to the million innocents outside our car windows.....

This is the sketch released by the police of the monster who stole the babies. And if ever she is caught...I hope she is skinned alive...May she die wherever she is..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Durga Pujo

It’s my most favourite time of the BESTEST pujo is here....Durga Pujo, the biggest event for any Bengali anywhere on the globe!!!!!

You will find us Bengalis spread across all parts of the globe, many times it is difficult to differentiate a 'probashi baangali' (a Bengali who lives outside Bengal) as they will be completely in sync with the place they live in. But come Durga Pujo and it is utterly impossible to let that Bengali spirit remain within, if you are a Bengali, your Bengali-ness will reflect in all its splendour for all the days of the Pujo.
Suddenly, everywhere you look around, you will notice to your surprise, that the place is teeming with Bengalis of all ages. The elder ones will be typically recognised by the 'shaakha-pola' on their hands (those red and white bangles that are a sign of matrimony in bengalis), the younger lot will suddenly be sporting a traditional look, the get-up complete with a saree, big bindi and traditional accessories and those lovely big kaajal-lined Bengali eyes that are so hard to miss. The young men will typically be dressed in lovely kurta pyjamas, especially the toshor ones on the day of Ashtami.

I remember, when we were young, Pujo for me and my brother would begin much before the real festivities started. The beginning of Durga Pujo would be announced by the mahaloya, for which my parents would wake us up in the wee hours of pre-dawn, sometime around four-thirty, five in the morning, and we would listen intently to the heavy baritone singing and chanting shlokas and hymns from the other side of the air waves, we would be sleepy-eyed, still in bed, covered in the sheets (for winter too would begin its arrival with the advent of the Pujo), and most years, we were already back asleep even before the mahaloya had finished.
Ma baba would wake us up earlier than other holidays, we would grumble, but would then remember it was Pujo day and would quickly be done with the bath, to change into new clothes. It was an event we looked forward each year, those were not the times when we did shopping through the year like its done now. Durga Pujo meant we would go shopping with ma baba and we would get our new set of clothes, we looked forward to this special shopping trip, curious to know what kind of dress we would be wearing in this year’s Pujo.
Durga Pujo meant freedom for ma from the kitchen, no cooking at home, baba would get breakfast from outside and after we had had our fill, we would all leave for the pandals. The smell of the dhuno the beats of the dhaak and the divine eyes of Durga would transform us all into a magic world, a world from where we had no intention of returning soon. Some time later the stalls would open up and we would hog on the mughlai paranthas and the egg rolls and the chops and the fish fry. The book stalls were always a big pull as we would eagerly wait the whole year for the Pujo edition of ‘Anandomela’ and ‘Shuktaara’.
The music stalls would play songs from the latest artists and Pujo specials.
We would go from one pandal to the other and after lunch at one of the pandals we would head back home for a short rest, before waking up in the evening and changing into a set of fresh clothes and head for another pandal. Various cultural events and entertainment is planned for the Pujo, hence we always had a great time watching live shows and performances by renowned artists. After that we would head for a snack or dinner, and then again more pandal hopping.
How I hated it when the day of Dashami arrived, the day Durga would go back to her husband’s home, the day she would be immersed.
We would all begin looking forward to next year’s pujo from right that moment on.

How I miss those days now. Grown-up and so unable to enjoy those special moments. Caught up in work and responsibilities. Wish I could go back in time for Durga Pujo at least.
So I am happy that my daughter too has started loving Durga Pujo. She loves the sound of the dhaak, loves the fish and the food associated with Bengal and Durga Pujo and loves to dress up and visit the deity. I look forward to re-live my childhood Durga Pujo memories with her now.

Wish you all a very happy Durga Pujo!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Un-'Natural' Look ;)

You know was recently in the presence of some wonderful beauty-magicians...those make-up people without whom so many 'dark' secrets (read dark circles) of the glamour world would have otherwise made us 'regular' folk look glamour-world acceptable too ;)

I have always been a fan of clear glowing skin and love to see fresh clean faces in the mags and screen, I feel less make-up always make your features stand out, unlike the notion that the more you highlight your features the more they will look better. Well, everyone to their own view.

Recently I was seeing the deft fingers of one of the ladies work magic on a 'star' face.....well, the lady in question obviously has amazing skin and lovely features. So it was decided that we would go along with her 'natural' look. I settled down comfortable on a chair and waited for the session to get over much time could it take to attain a 'natural' look after all?

Well, just lets say I am still quite naive....and if you are thinking on the same lines, welcome to the naive-souls club...

The first half hour was only to clean up the skin and to give it a smooth even do away with all patchy skin, any signs of pigmentation, any suggestion of uneven skin tone, the first half hour took care of all that...the next part of the hour was used up in defining the features, in giving the skin that glow that I thought came from good food and habits !!!!

Honestly, by the end of the whole episode, which was almost one and a half hours long, I was too bored to death to even appreciate the 'natural' look that was achieved.....

The same night I looked into the mirror and saw a face that had been around for quite some time now.....and somehow, even with all its imperfections and mismatched skin colour I have come to like it.....the little dark circles under the eyes reminded me of the nights I had cuddled my little one in my arms and sat awake till late in the night wile she slept peacefully in my lap...the small spots on the skin reminded me of those trips out in the sun when I have rushed out for a meeting, forgetting to apply that much-vouched-for thing called 'sunscreen.' The little laugh lines that are still too fine for the naked eye at the first instant, remind me of all those joys and happiness that have made me break out in laughter.

Really, I did see the 'natural' look in the morning, but I think I liked the 'natural' look reflected later in the mirror that night :))

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

That Music That Era

Ok well so I have a lot of work today and just needed a break as well.....u know been out of sleep, work crawling into my dreams as well.
so woke up to another lovely day, ready to take on all the roles that lay ahead...started by waking up my little one for school..tickled and cuddled and played itsy-bitsy spider on that small foot sticking out of the pink minnie mouse comforter....
running around, getting her ready, breakfast somehow made to finish, then off to school she was packed off..
next came all the assignments of the day that had to be taken care of started the day with a nice hot cup of ginger-tea...i have found it to be an instant boost and a great start to my days...n the next thing i did was to press the 'play' button on......
Its been so long I heard anything as awesome in western music as playlist includes a mix of beats like Dancing Queen by Abba, Rich Girl by Gwen Stefani, Im a Slave For you and Me Against the music featuring Britney and Madonna, Baby I love your way by Big Mountain, Cocoa Jumbo by Mr. President, white flag by dido, heal the world by MJ, frozen by madonna, simrik by tarkan, i love rock n roll by britney, that thing you do by the wonders, cecillia, honey sugar sugar by the archies, aqua, believe by cher.....all those tracks remember we used to listen to and sing along all the while moving our head and grooving to the rythm?
Cant say this anymore about the tracks these days...i think there are just so many many tracks coming out now that its really hard to keep a track of each and every one of them...maybe there are good ones too, of course there are bound to be...but what about this music that we all have heard sometime or the other and really loved and connected with? Some of us am sure will have special memories attached to many of these songs, I do...and i really miss listening to more music like this anymore..