Saturday, November 14, 2009

Procrastinating...yet again!

Today is the big day I've been waiting for...somehow or the other, I will need to crank out 4,000 words for a term paper and then get down to editing it. Did I mention do you that I have exactly five 1,000 word bylined articles to write within this month? Add a termpaper, two big tests, essays that need to be revised, essays that need to be written and what kind of an image to you get in your head? Someone swamped with work and absolutely no time to breathe? Someone who is probably drinking gallons and gallons of coffee? Someone who is really moving their ass and actually getting down to it?

Now, I really, really admire people who actually do work when it's necessary, but here's what I did today. Woke up in the morning, lounged around, had a meaningful conversation with grandmother about cataract operations, had a whimsical conversation with father about cigars and Caipirinha, had a quiet conversation with dog, because well, the dog just couldn't be bothered to move out of my way. Then I lounged around for a bit longer and decided that it would be the moment- the defining moment when I'd just write. And that didn't happen. Ate an abnormally large breakfast and then read some blogs and began to follow some organisations I admire on twitter. I even struck up a conversation with one of them and hope to interview and take a look at the kind of work they do next month. Except, poor Wilkie Collins remained largely unignored.

Sheer Stupidity

How many of you do this? or am I the only one who is this daft?

Thought 1 in my head : Wilkie Collins is a capricorn. Loktar class acche.

Thought 2 in my head : Susan Sontag is a capricorn. Mohilar class acche.

Thought 3 in my head :What did T.S Eliot say about Wilkie Collins? That he was one of the first novelists who wrote about detective fiction. I thought that was tantamount to this incident :

Thought 3 leading to shady anecdote :

I was in a swanky bookstore and a friend of mine had wanted me to take a look at the amazingly nice covers of that particular publication. I was admiring the the design of the book, when I chanced upon a blurb which read " An amazingly good read - Famous author." And to think that people are actually paid to write blurbs.

Thought 4 : No icecream in the fridge. Broke till december 10 ( when I'll get paid and feel relatively rich for a couple of weeks.) Desperately look for money. Whine to boyfriend about having no icecream in the fridge.

Read more blogs. Read the wikipedia entry on The Moonstone. Actually finish reading half the book. Go to sleep. Chide myself for being loser and escapist. Go to sleep anyway.

Awoken by a loud sharp knock. The boyfriend has icecream :D Eat sloppily and sleepily. The boyfriend leaves. Thanks to meaningful discussion, I now have a thesis statement for my paper. Eureka!

Ma asks what I'd like for dinner. The mother and the father have a wedding invitation. I say, in my characteristically vague way, good food. I love pleasant surprises, this shouldn't be too hard.

Contented, I finally get down to work. Promise to myself that I will not check mail. Check mail anyway. Discover that there are twenty five mails that I need to respond to. They will all be tended to, but later. One mail says that my piece has been accepted for publication. Feel relieved. Remind myself of the things to do. Decide to read and end up reading Tinkle. And now I'm blogging.

What have you been doing?  Procrastinating, working, having fun or doing all three?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Don't Ask Women to Shut Up! Just Don't!

Reinstated by stereotypes of course, the "popular" notion of feminists equals manhaters.  Members of the Boys Club laugh at their sick in-jokes and that's fine, apparently and it really would be fine if everyone were joking about it and some people didn't actually believe it

Some members of the Freemasons Hall in Calcutta recently told me that they are a very inclusive club. I'm not exactly sure about where they learnt their English, but last time I checked inclusive meant including everything. Now I think, clubs by their very nature are elitist (DUH!), but the Freemasons Hall proudly struts their stuff and when asked to come up with a defence say, "but this is a tradition". WTF? Last Time I checked, burning women was also considered a tradition. Next time someone asks me to shut up because I'm too angry and I'm raving and ranting, I will say:

 1. Stop Stereotyping. NOW.  I'm sorry people I will say some really OBVIOUS things right now but I'm tired and irritated with all the lame comments that have been coming my way, so bear with me.

First, some people believe that they are feminists. Stop pandering to stereotypes and assigning characteristics to people randomly based on whether the person is a feminist or not a feminist. If you want to be respected, respect another person's opinion as well. Secondly, there are many women who don't consider themselves feminists and are fighting away for women's rights. If you're an ostrich and think that nothing's wrong, think again. I had written a post about women's bodies earlier this year and this guy who didn't have the guts to actually use his own name retorted by saying that I was trying to deny men the pleasure of fetishism by ranting about how women are objectified. Now I had said nothing of the sort, just stated that you cannot simply perceive a woman to be merely an object. I don't even know why I was wasting my time arguing with this guy, but turns out he was a complete jackass and I don't even feel angry. I just feel sorry about how ignorant he is.

2. Stop Stigmatising

Just Read this:


Here is an excerpt from the article above:

"Though the trial court had convicted the accused Munshi and another person for the rape of a 17-year old woman, the high court acquitted the accused persons on the ground that victim was promiscuous in her sexual behaviour and had already lost her virginity."

The Trial Court actually let those jerks go because the girl was not a virgin. How is that even relevant? Also, what's the big deal about the virginity anyway? This just disgusts me- somehow, if you're not a virgin, you're loose and you've lost your virginity anyway, so what do you care? Of course, it is of no consequence whatsoever that it is your body and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. Another brilliant myth is the "deflowering myth". As anyone who is informed enough knows, a girl doesn't necessarily bleed when she has sex for the first time. A domestic help I once interviewed told me that her husband left her for another woman because she didn't bleed on their first night. Now the hymen can be ruptured for many reasons :

 a. many women are born without the hymen
b. some tear it if they're heavily into sports
c. what the fuck does all of this matter anyway?

With reference to C, this is where I am wrong. Because you see, it matters. Recent studies have shown that women are opting for hymen restructuring or  inserting the blood of a goat's pouch just to evade the stigma. Simple solution? stop stigmatising.

3. Get your facts straight

Do some research and speak to reliable sources. Sometimes, the media can be horrifically misleading. Look up what women's organisations are saying and do some finding out for yourself. And next time you make a snap judgement, think twice.

As you may have already noticed, I have focussed on a bunch of negatives. But lots of people out there are really doing good work. I recently interviewed a woman who was working for rights for artisans. Google is your friend. Read about what people are doing and try and think about what you can do to help. And please don't ask women to shut up. Please.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Danger of a single story- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I've often been surrounded by people who launch into polemics at the drop of a hat. Not putting anyone else down, but I find that disturbing, not to mention downright irritating. The video I'm posting here, therefore, turned out to be quite refreshing. Adichie talks about how we are so quick to stereotype and make value judgements instead of trying to think of things in a balanced, rational fashion. Adichie calls herself a "happy feminist"  and celebrates women's achievements and pushes for women's rights the world over. I'm reading her brilliant novel Half of A Yellow Sun now. I'm adding her to my List of People I Admire The Most.

Watch the video here :
http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I love my new blog template. It's neat and uncluttered. In meatspace ( at least the speck that I inhabit), there is no physical space at all. my bed is strewn with all kinds of books, three brand new cds, a pendrive,two bottles of perfume that I got for bhai phonta- both very citrusy smells, I might add- I absolutely adore citrus smells, but that's not the point, here see, I'm rambling again- Rudyard Kipling's Kim, A book on Columbia's J-School, The Other Hand, a beautiful bag that ma got me from Cambodia, a notebook with a cat screaming its lungs out saying Anybody Home? Talking about cats, I've come to adore this tiny black and white kitten that I caught stealing milk from the kitchen. I had to shelter it from my over-boisterous dog who was intent on pouncing on it and scratching its eyes out :(

Out of pure sloth, I end this post abruptly :/

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who's read The Other Hand?

Has anyone read Chris Cleave's The Other Hand? Get in touch, I'm dying to discuss the book :D