Archive for May 2010

The Road Not Taken

As a woman I am constantly aware of threats lurking around the corner. I was told by my mother not to venture unescorted in the dark, to always travel in groups, not to talk to strangers etc. I relived these fears, overtly, covertly, every time a strange man walked upto me. Nobody thought this self inflicted curtailing of personal freedom was strange. After all, the world was a bad place and you had to take precautions to protect yourself from danger.

Last night, I was chatting with my 12 year old niece. She's at the threshold of womanhood, discovering life and forming her opinions. She' was telling me how she spent her vacation time at home. Like any other 12 year old, she was sent on errands - to buy groceries and vegetables at the shop next door.

At some point, the conversation turned to how once, when she went to the supermarket, this boy approached her and asked which class she studied in. She ignored the guy since he was 'a stranger', and walked past. Then she went on to say that if she was walking alone on the road, and she spotted women my age or her mother's age, she tried to keep close to them. Finally, she narrated an incident that took place a few weeks ago. It was dark and she went to the supermarket. On the way back, at about 10 feet distance, was a drunk, who leered at her and said ' hey...you're all alone'. Frightened, she raced back home. She concluded the story with 'But it was my fault you know. I should not have gone out when it was dark'. My heart broke when I heard her blaming herself. Life seemed to have come full circle. And not in a nice way.

When I argue for women's rights, people say that things have progressed so much that we should now be fighting for 'men's rights'. The world has changed and women now rule the roost. They say women have become heads of state, they've traveled to Antartica and even flown into space. No doubt these are splendid achievements. But what about when a 12 year old learns - without anybody explicitly telling her and through her own experience and observations - that she needs to curtail her personal freedom to ensure her personal safety - as generations of women before her have done?

Between self and ambition lies a long road fraught with obstacles. Braving obstacles on life's journey is par for the course one may say. But women, it seems, are not even permitted to make that journey! After all, it maybe dark, deserted or full of strange men! If 'anything happens' you have only yourself to blame. The earlier you learn that, the better. Age 12 is a good time to start.

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Midnight Musings On Film and Television

Ok, so the title is cliched. In my defense, it is close to midnight and I am musing!

I learned from a show I was watching tonight that Shilpa Shetty is a 'trained Bharatnatyam dancer'. I remember reading somewhere that even Lara Dutta is a 'trained Bharatnatyam dancer'. Apparently the ice maiden Aishwarya also lays claims to the same distinction. Dance requires application, dedication and a whole lot of self discipline. So I wonder - can this really be true? Call me prejudiced, but I'm pretty sure the ladies are fibbing. Being known as a 'classical dancer' probably lends credibility to their otherwise bump and grind dancing style. I mean, I could also claim to be a 'trained Bharatnatyam dancer'. I took classes as a child. It is another story that everytime the master arrived, I locked myself into the bathroom and refused to come out till he left!

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NDTV good times airs a show called 'Cooking isn't rocket science'. The show is presented by 'one of Britain's most popular chefs Manju Malhi' - not my words, this is what the channel website claims. Now this so called popular chef is dreadfully annoying with an affected British accent that simply grates on my nerves. If you ask me, the show is really a cheap imitation of 'Kylie Kwong Cooking With Heart and Soul'. This Manju woman dresses like Kylie, wears similar spectacles and even has similar red highlights in her hair!!

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I saw this Telugu movie 'Ye Maya Chesavey' last night. It is the Telugu version of the Tamil film 'Vinnaithandi Varuvaya'. Made by Gautam Vasudev Menon, the Telugu version stars Nagachaitanya (son of actor Nagarjuna) and a new girl called Samantha. My feelings about this movie feature on my status message on facebook also. But it it bears repeating - what a drag! For starters, the lead pair cannot act. Second, the chemistry between them is conspicious by its absence. I suppose the music was ok. But I was so irritated by the movie that I didn't notice. So, without wasting more time and space on this washout of a movie, my verdict: Learn from my mistakes. Avoid!

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