observations

On the discovery of discipline

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After a long bunch of dreary posts, I thought I might share a little something cheerful.

I’ve started writing again. I mean writing for myself, rather than just for loaded clients and agencies that pay me to write junk for them. And what a number of self discoveries I’ve had since!

Not least important of them is willpower. I’ve never known myself to be a particularly disciplined man. I let myself be run by my distractions and tangents. And that’s not entirely a bad thing in itself. But to see myself willing to cut off from everything else in the world and just write. I’ve never known I had such a thing in me.

I’ve been working on my novel for a few weeks now, but the last couple of days have been such a ride. And that’s due mainly because I’ve decided to not let anything else take over. The desire to finish this one is bigger than anything else right now. And I’m secretly proud of it, too.

All I need now is luck from all the places it can come from. Wish it to me good folks, that I might finish this piece and soon get it published!

Peace.
Kabir.

Categories: books, observations, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Menstruate at your own risk. Period.

I try very hard not to pun when I’m writing. It’s just such an easy trap to fall into, most of us can barely avoid it. And for that reason, I’m sorry about the title of this post. And now, to the post.

I’ve been doing a little gender-related research lately, and so, stumbling across some of the most profoundly dumb (and insane) beliefs the modern Indian society seems to hold. Almost always against women. One such article that gave me pause was about an Indian actress Jayamala being booked for hurting religious sentiments. And she did this by entering a temple while on her periods.

I don’t believe I want to talk about a ton of politicians actually hurting religious sentiments. But a woman doing that by walking into a temple? How does one not talk about that? And how does one not feel an urgent sense to claw at faces?

And the more I research the subject, the stronger my urge to claw at faces. How is it that we boast a massive GDP every year (which we don’t really have) while not bothering about our own women? How is it that while on the one hand, we bow down and pray to goddesses with multiple hands, and on the other, beat them with our fists at home? How is it that we touch our mothers’ feet and rape other people’s daughters? What is this bigotry towards woman? And where does it come from?

And most importantly, how do we get rid of it?

Just last night, I was telling someone about a most stunning (and lesser known) John Lennon song called Woman is the nigger of the world. And it would appear that I’ve found just the right place to tell a lot more people about it.

Peace.
Kabir

P.S.: This is an article from nearly three years back. But that doesn’t say much about how far we’ve come since. Because we haven’t.

Categories: cops, India, observations, religion, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How phat are you?

This here article makes it pretty darned clear that Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch is a man obsessed with beauty. It’s a fairly lengthy piece of writing, so you can have yourselves a tiny little excerpt from it:

“His biggest obsession, though, is realizing his singular vision of idealized all-American youth. He wants desperately to look like his target customer (the casually flawless college kid), and in that pursuit he has aggressively transformed himself from a classically handsome man into a cartoonish physical specimen: dyed hair, perfectly white teeth, golden tan, bulging biceps, wrinkle-free face, and big, Angelina Jolie lips.”

Jeffries is also a man who grinds his axe repeatedly about this ‘need’ of beauty. He goes to great lengths talking about beautiful people and employing only painfully attractive people in his large headquarters. Some reports say he has a picture of a well-toned masculine abdomen framed above the fireplace in his house.

Some of us might find all of this a touch superficial. Some others might think of it as a brand-man-living-thebrand-life. But then again, a man has a right to his opinions (as does a woman, by the way.) The problems only start when one man’s opinions begin sermonising the rest of the world. His statements, for instance about fat people.

In his words, ““In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

I suspect the legal eagles got to work and asked him to issue a statement of apology (7 years after the original comment), and seeing his company’s dipping fortunes, Jeffries obliged. But this half baked apology only managed to bring in more hatred for the man and his brand. And it also dug up those old graves he thought he’d sealed up nice and straight.

People are now talking about the thongs for middle-school girls, which had “Eye Candy” and “Wink Wink” printed on their fronts. To which Jeffries simply reacts: “People said we were cynical, that we were sexualizing little girls. But you know what? I still think those are cute underwear for little girls. And I think anybody who gets on a bandwagon about thongs for little girls is crazy. Just crazy! There’s so much craziness about sex in this country. It’s nuts! I can see getting upset about letting your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs, but why would you let your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs?”

People are also talking abotu a t-shirt design that had heavy racial undertones. These people our friend simply calls ‘humorless Asians’.

And then there are people who are writing letters to Mike. These he doesn’t really respond to.

And finally, there’s this one person who seems to be taking his whole messaging through advertising thingamajig and giving it right back to him.

A note: I don’t very often put up so much information in a single blog post. It tends to erase my line of thought entirely. And I suspect that’s just the case here. So I’ll stop. But here’s a picture of the man who doesn’t like fat and ugly. Sorry for doing this to you.

Mike Jeffries

Peace.
Kabir

EDIT: I also found this piece that talks about how another brand H&M showcases their swimwear range using a ‘plus sized’ model. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I get a feeling this is another sort of patronizing attempt. In a good guy sort of way. When will women (and men, to be sure) learn to accept their bodies the way they are, instead of having brands and advertising dictate to them how they must feel?

Categories: observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Move. Play. Dance. In Bangalore!

So I read yesterday’s Hindu today (as is my wont) and saw this lovely little article in it. It was about a ‘dance company’ conducting a workshop based on the principles of Dance Movement Therapy. I found it rather a little interesting that people would be using dance as a means of therapy. So I logged on to the company’s website – www.threeleftfeet.in (what a sweet name for a dance company!) and tried to read up as much as I generally could about them. Got quite a sweet vibe. And I suppose for the first time in my life, I’m even considering going to a do that has something to do with dance. (Or maybe I’m going for some therapy after all.)

If any of you good people are in Bangalore, and would like to know more about the workshop, here are some details:

Facilitated by Natasha of Three Left Feet,
Wednesdays & Fridays: 5:30pm – 6:45pm
Saturdays: 10:30am – 11:45am
8 sessions, starting the week of November 19th 2012
Open to 14yr olds to 90yr youngs.
Maximum 15 participants per session.
The fees for this workshop is Rs. 2000.
Atta Galatta at 3018 1626 / 96325 10126 or Natasha at 97393 22203

I have a feeling I’m going to be considering this dance movement therapy thingamajig a bit seriously. Seems like quite a fun way to sort out life’s issues.

Say, what’s your favourite way of sorting out issues?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Can I have a cappuccino, with a dash of irony, please?

Hello, hello. I’ve noticed that the last few posts on my blog have been, let’s say, a bit sombre. So I thought I might share some irony with you today. And, as they’d say in Hollywood, this post is based on a real life story.

So, I was at a coffee shop last morning, waiting for a hot cuppa before I began reading something mildly interesting. And I happened to notice the wall next to me. And the first thing my eye fell upo was this little piece of engraved pomposity above. A coffee shop that prides itself in the conservation of wildlife and all things natural.

At first, I felt glad. Then, I felt a little sick in the stomach. I would have blamed it on the coffee, only it hadn’t arrived just yet. Then I realised that it was the wall. The whole thing was made of wood.

Now, I don’t quite follow how someone can say they’re proud of themselves for saving natural resources by putting up the message on stuff made by chopping trees.

And the thing is, when I don’t really follow something, I tend to get a little sick in the stomach. Mystery solved. Irony enjoyed.

P.S.: Since this is a public blog, I don’t suppose I should be telling you that the coffee shop was a Cafe Coffee Day in Bangalore. So I won’t tell you that.

Peace.
Kabir

 

Categories: books, general rambling, India, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge informs Army that they are an Army. Not a Khap Panchayat.

Indian Army Band

I read this most amusing piece of news today. The Indian Army wants to know just why one of their men wants to marry a woman from Sri Lanka. They want to know under what circumstances the two met. And why. They want to not relieve the man of his duties because they’re terribly understaffed.

And a High Court judge wants them to know that they’re just an army. Not a khap panchayat.

Most amusing, isn’t it?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Plane down. Plane up.

original image courtesy businesstoday.intoday.in

The image above is, in two words, the current situation of Kingfisher Airlines in India. They haven’t been able to do much about their down-going business. And they haven’t been able to pay their employees for the longest time. What does this mean to the frequent (or infrequent) flyer? Not much. Simply because they have a hoard of other options waiting to fly them in pressurised containers to their destinations. But what does it mean to the employees of Kingfisher Airlines? A hell of a lot.

People have had to shift their children to cheaper schools. People have had to vacate houses because of non-payment of rent. People have had to burn themselves down due to insolvency. People have had to go through hell. All because they thought this might be a good place to work. Because they thought they were going to get a slice of the good times. Little did they know what was coming.

And one can still understand this plight if it were solely professional. But what happens to these people when they see Vijay Mallya, the owner of the company flying high in his personal jet? What goes through their minds when they see that the man’s personal jet staff are paid (liberally) on time every month, month after month? What happens when they see the company’s heir apparent having a jolly good time shooting with bikini clad calendar girls on the warm, sandy beaches of England? It’s hard to tell, frankly.

But what’s easy to tell is that the Mallyas are not trying hard enough to give a horse’s soft green shit about their employees. One can  speculate the sale of a private jet to pay employees off. One can even consider cutting down on pleasure trips abroad to save money which can be paid to employee. And one can certainly think of sharing a few kind words with employees rather than tweeting about the fun volleyball game at the beach. One can certainly take some out of the millions one has instead of worrying about having lost the billionaire tag.

But, of course, that would be too much to ask. There’s a life to live, after all. There are good times to be had.

No?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Gone in 60 seconds. Or maybe a little more…

This may not be the best image for this post. But then again, we don’t always use images that go along with wat we’re writing, do we? To continue! Last night, a most disconcerting thing happened to me on Bangalore‘s Inner Ring Road. I was on my way back home from work in an auto – which, I recollect, did not display the auto driver’s card as the law requires. On this road comes a dark stretch devoid of street lamps or other buildings. And on days when there isn’t much traffic on the road, it gets lonelier still. Last night was one of those nights.

And as it would happen, the auto driver asked me if it was alright for him to relieve himself. Clearly, not being his master, I said he was free to. Only, it turned out it was me he wanted to relieve. Of my wallet, my watch and my laptop bag. Because in a matter of just 10 seconds or so, he was back with three other men – complete with knives and a short, thick wooden stick.

Truth be spoken, it was a bit scary to be shoved in the face with a knife. So I didn’t offer much of a fight and let one of them grab at my wristwatch. Then I was asked to hand over my wallet. Which also, I did, because there must have been all of 30 rupees in it at the time. That and an old debit card which is so bent out of shape that only I know how to use it.

Finally, they decided they wanted my bag as well. A little foolish something inside me told them that I’d given them enough and I wasn’t going to let them take my bag. The next instant, I saw the stick coming in the direction of my temple. I was able to block if off with my hand – which my sore elbow is still complaining about. Somehow, I managed to swing the bag at them and I believe the laptop inside got two of them on the head. I reckon they were a bit startled and backed off just a step. I found this moment just enough to kick one of them below the belt and make a run for it.

Fortunately, a passing car let me in and dropped me to another auto, the driver of which decided not to mug me.

The point I’m trying to make is, this is a part of the city – a major part of the city – that doesn’t have so much as five working street lamps on the way. And because there are no buildings of any sort around this road, it gets darker still at night. Plus, having patrol vans at only two ends of the road (not every night either) doesn’t exactly help matters.

This is a citizen’s request: Can we please have working street lamps throughout this stretch? And for heaven’s sake, can we have two or three police cars patrolling the empty stretch every night? Or do a thousand of us have to go hold a rally which no one will really care about?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: cops, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Two print ads against child sexual abuse

If you read my earlier post about child sexual abuse, you’d know that I’ve been working with an NGO for this cause – or against it, whichever way one looks at it. So yesterday, I was asked to try out a hard hitting print advertising campaign. Something that would drive home a message. I’ve worked something out. And I think I could do with words of advice from everybody.

Would you like to tell me how to better these ads?

Peace.
Kabir

P.S.: I can’t name the organisation now because of certain legalities. And for the same reason, I’d request you to not circulate these ads just yet. Many thanks.

 

 

Categories: observations, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Recipe for rape: Add chow mein to taste.

original image courtesy evanwarfel.blogspot.com

There is a man called Jitender Chatter in India. He is part of the Gram Panchayat (governing body) of about 25 villages in Haryana. He believes that one of the leading causes of rape in India is the consumption of chow mein – among other fast foods. He believes – and propagates – that because we consume such foods these days, our ‘sex hormones’ run wild. And believe you me, I’m nearly paraphrasing him. He has also suggests that the legal marriagable age of girls be brought down to 16. His reasoning is similar; similarly vague. To his credit, he makes one sane suggestion: about training rural Indian women in self defense. Though, he fails to flesh out the plan and offer any hard solutions about who is going to train them, etcetera.

But, of course, he’s not the only one providing logic for rape. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal, insists that cases of rape are on the rise because men and women interact too freely in an open society which is akin to an open market.  She also reckons that the media not ‘glorify’ rape by talking about it much. One imagines that her suggestion is to swipe this issue under the proverbial carpet. If the CM of a state can issue such statements ‘freely’, I don’t quite follow where my country is headed. Perhaps we should step back a hundred years when holding hands in public was considered obscene?

And then there are the regulars who insist that if only women would ‘know their limits’ and dress appropriately, they would not be raped. This coming from people who are probably not aware that rapes happen in ‘hip’ urban areas as much as in villages where women dress anything but conservatively.

We talk about laws. But what about their implementation? We talk about punishments. But what about the lives of the victims? We talk about freedom of speech. But what about the freedom to live?

Categories: observations, politics, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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