Saturday, June 26, 2010

Aar parcchi na. kaboom!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Love

He had made his life about her. The swish of her hair, her ability to make him do exactly what she wanted- that is what he lived for. He had dreams, dreams of his own. So had she. Her dreams were circumcised, she said. By virtue of being born a woman. His were stifled. Voluntarily so. Or so he liked to think. Until the stifling of dreams reached a point where he felt suffocated. Unloved. Uncared for. That is when he began to notice that his life had become about her. His life had become the life he had always scorned. Cliches began to float around in his mind- he was a puppet- a doll hung from a string. He told himself that he was not one of those men- he would not just blame a woman and be done with it.


 After all, hadn't his father done just that?  He hadn't just blamed his mother, but blamed the rest of her family. It was bad blood, he said. It was bad blood that caused this nonsense.  You're weak , he said to him, every night after dinner. You cry like a little girl. And then, almost on cue, he had wept. He wept every single time. Even his tears, like everything else in his life, followed a pattern- it would start with a lump in his throat, followed by constricted breathing and finally after much tussle with himself, the tears would run down his cheeks. His father's head  nodded disapprovingly, as if in rhythm to his tears.


Life went on, and one day he met her. They had all warned him about her. He had always been a recluse and his  trustworthy friends worried about him. She's a maneater, they would say to each other, knowing fully well that a statement such as that would not be tolerated in his presence. They knew she was whispering sweet nothings to her lover- someone she had always loved, while she used him as a front. For her, it was a relationship of convenience. To him, he had fallen in love.


He followed her around like a puppy follows its master. He clung on to her every word. Usually selfconscious, he made the most obnoxious declarations of love in public. Lying in bed afterwards and smoking his cigarettes made him quite embarrassed about what he had done. It was love, he told himself. Love makes you blind. Love makes the world go around. And then he lit another cigarette, continued to smoke, and thought of the girl of his dreams.


She was waiting for him near the bus-stand, her hair blowing in the wind.  Her short  yellow dress and kohl lined eyes were certainly attracting a lot of attention. She had deliberately dressed provocatively- probably to entice him. He could not help but notice the look on the bus conductor's face.


 She showed him her new camera and asked him to take pictures of her. The light had to be right. So did the angles. She secretly thought of showing those pictures to her lover.


Obediently, he clicked. He clicked all morning, all afternoon and when he grew tired and took out a cigarette from his pocket, she asked him if she could have it. She had to have everything. She needed to. It didn't matter that he always did exactly what she wanted, anyway.


She called him names. On more than one occasion, she called him an elitist. He secretly thought she was a social climber, using his connections to make a name for herself. But it didn't matter what he thought. Her voice was always going to be louder than his.


As he went to bed that night, he told himself that everything he did and didn't do-he did  for love.

**

This is a very raw version, like most pieces of writing on this blog. Hopefully, I'll work on it and turn it into an actual story.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Low Point.

What I have been doing for the past three weeks :

1. Regular dental appointments

The Dental appointments take up most  of my mornings-provided I do wake up in the morning.

2. A Ton of Paperwork

A Visa Application, enough said.

3. Library clearances.

4. Going to the Bank and making sure my checks go to the right places.

5. Editing a rather large report on Child Rights and The Mainstream print  Media- I didn't write it, only edited it.

I've also gotten completely blocked up and cannot write anything. What is worse is, I haven't even bothered to pitch/ submit any fiction or non-fiction. Ideally, I should be preparing for my course in Social Anthropology ( slated to begin in September) and before that, read up for my Creative Writing Course in August. This isn't supposed to be happening! I've turned into a lazy lump that swims around the bowl, eats and sleeps! :(

***
I've tried to analyse why I can't seem to be focusing now and it's probably because I'm worried about a ton of things- what will moving out feel like? Will I be able to achieve what I want to? Will I be able to do things on my own terms? The questions are neverending and the answers equally ambiguous. I suppose the best thing to do right now is to shut the head, stop overanalysing and go with the flow.

Interview with Gabriel Craig

Jeweller Gabriel Craig believes that the craft of jewellery needs to be celebrated through the concept of “egalitarian” jewellery- jewellery for the masses. The idea is to create jewellery and share it with other people and as Craig believes, sharing your own creation is like sharing a part of yourself with others. 

When did the idea for The Pro Bono Jeweler first come about ?

The seed for The Pro Bono Jeweler started was a series of performances that I did in the Fall of 2007 called The Collegiate Jeweler. I was in graduate school and the idea of making “art jewellery” for wealthy collectors seemed to clash with my ideas about the accessibility of art. I began to wonder how I could bring jewellery of artistic merit to a wider audience. The Collegiate Jeweler was my first attempt at a project that incorporated my goals of education, wider public engagement with jewellery making, and accessibility (this was done by giving the jewellery away for free).

Can you elaborate on the concept of the egalitarian jewellery?

I am not entirely sure that there is such a thing as egalitarian jewelry. When looking at the history of jewellery throughout history and across cultures, jewellery has always been a symbol of status, power, and identity. When I speak of egalitarian jewelry, I am usually referring to making handmade jewellery more accessible to the general public. While mass produced jewellery has been affordable to most in the middle class since the industrial revolution in the west (circa 1800), the cost of handmade jewellery –or jewellery of exceptional quality, design, and manufacture – is usually prohibitive for most. I think that any activity or object which seeks to bring handmade jewellery to a wider audience is egalitarian in my book. Better jewellery for more people. Two great examples of this are the Stimulus Project at Sienna Gallery in Lenox, Massachusettes, where the gallery had a show in which all pieces were less than $500.00 US, and the jewelry of Arthur Hash, who uses technology such as laser cutting and etching, and rapid-prototyping to aid him in the manufacture of his limited production designs thus lowering the cost per unit of his jewellery while maintaining high artistic standards.

Check out their websites:

What has the response been so far?

The response was mixed at first. How do you explain to someone you are a jeweller who is actually doing performance art? I think it took some time and some press and publicity before the project started to gain some attention and then eventually acceptance. Right now I have two major museum shows lined up for the Spring of 2010. One at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas as part of the exhibition Hand + Made Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, and another at the Miami University Art Museum in Miami Ohio as part of Adornment and Excess, curated by Lena Vigna. So it is only now that the project is gaining recognition in the art world. But the participants in the projects - the people on the street that is – they have always been engaged and excited. When they see jewellery being made in person it is really interesting because most people in the US are so removed from manual skills. They don’t know how things are made anymore. When I am out there I am showing them some kind of lost ancient in art and they eat it up because they find it so intriguing. 

What have you learnt from this, personally?

I have learnt many different lessons from this project. First, my thinking about jewellery as a medium for communication has changed. Instead of communicating a message through the jewellery itself, I have begun to realise that jewellery can act as a reminder of an experience. The jewellery that has been made as part of the performances is a container for the knowledge people have gained by participating. Jewellery is a better container than communicator. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I have learnt that all people with an open mind can become interested in the handmade. By offering someone a chance to be creative or by encouraging them to give a part of themselves that doesn’t often get the chance to make its way to the surface. Watching someone discover jewellery reminds me why I love jewellery.

 What are your upcoming projects?

I mentioned this above with the upcoming museum exhibitions that I will be in, but I am planning some new performances that are a little more playful, but continue to challenge people’s perception of jewellery and the handmade. A few month ago I did a performance I called The Gospel According to Craft, which I hope to post a video of soon. In the performance I played the part of a street preacher, asking people to accept craft into their lives as a form of salvation. This takes the form of people who preach religion on the street in America. Most of the time these people are thought of as pretty crazy, and a lot of the people who saw me on the street thought I was a religious zealot, but when they realized I was talking about the handmade it became quite hilarious. I acted very serious though. The whole thing was over the top. I am also planning a project where I offer to improve people’s jewellery for free on the street. I plan to take everyday mass produced jewelry and add an artistic touch. I imagine that some people will think I ruined their jewellery, but I hope that I am just grafting another layer of specialness to their already precious objects.

Interview with Alyssa Martino

I had the good fortune of interviewing the very talented Alyssa Martino. Check out her website here or follow her on twitter. Alyssa is a writer and public affairs professional who loves all things travel, is interested in multiculturalism and does her bit in trying to fight social injustice in the world.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alyssa : I'll soon be 23-years-old. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and have traveled quite a bit (though it's not nearly enough!). After attending college, I moved down to Washington, DC and spent the past eight months working in public affairs. I'm already making moves--my new job entails writing and editing for the publications department of a medical association. It wasn't something I foresaw doing, but I'm excited. One thing I've realized is that you can write one thing for your day job, come home happy, and then sit at your computer and think, "Okay. Now what do I really want to get out there?"
Where did you study?
Alyssa : I studied Peace and Conflict Studies and Creative Writing at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. I fell in love with the campus after just one visit. It was a beautiful place to spend that time, both through snow and sun.
Growing up, who were the people you thought of as your 'heroes'?
Alyssa : My mom was also a journalist for a while, and is generally an amazing wordsmith, so she really inspired me to write. She has also always been really engaged in our community, whether it be through the school system or a charity organized in my hometown after 9/11. My dad has the greatest sense of humor and always follows his passion (even if that passion is something strange, like building halloween decorations in our basement--and now you can see why he makes me laugh!). I'm an only child so I'm incredibly close with my family and friends. I have a couple friends I've had for over 15 years. To me, even 4 years is a lifetime in friendship. They've always been incredibly supportive of me.
In terms of academics, I had a couple teachers in high school who were just really passionate about  social change and justice. Specifically, my newspaper advisor was a huge motivation. He always seemed to be stirring up some sort of opposition to the administration, or organizing some  walk-out or protest. Our newsroom was never quiet.
What is something that is uniquely Alyssa and very few people know about?
I'm useless when it comes to decision-making! I'm indecisive and beat myself up about even insignificant choices. It's something I'm working on--the ability to understand that whatever I do, it will all be fine in the end.
What entices you to travel?

 I'm a very perceptive person when it comes to strangers, and I love storytelling both through words and pictures. I think that's something that makes travel a one-of-a-kind experience for me. Even something as simple as a visit to my Nana's nursing home can result in a moving narrative. To me, that *is* travel. Going somewhere, engaging with people or place on an intimate and perceptive level, and then churning it out into some sort of story with detail and meaning. The reporter's curiosity in me also loves meeting new people and hearing about how they live. When I was in Tunisia, I met a law student named Akram who took my friends and I out to a hookah bar one night. We talked for hours about politics and gender roles. It's something I'll always remember; I'll continue to tell his stories for years, carrying them across seas and giving them life. I travel to make these memories and I write to make them last.
Thanks Alyssa : It was great fun interviewing you :D
(All pictures courtesy of Alyssa Martino)
(Pic 1: Alyssa (far right) with her friends and Pic 2 is a picture of a sunset in St Petersburg)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interview with Marian Schembari

 About a month ago, I stumbled upon Marian's fabulous website and started following her on twitter. What fascinated me about Marian was her ability to leverage  social media in order to get a job. Marian bought a facebook ad and targeted publishing houses like Harpercollins, Random House and Penguin. The ad redirected to her website where she had uploaded her resume and work portfolio. After landing a job as a junior publicist in a book PR firm, Marian decided to strike it out on her own and describes herself as a social media "thug". I asked her a few questions about social media, the world of publishing and her latest project, The Pajama Job Hunt. Here goes...                                                
As a graduate fresh out of college, how did you negotiate the big bad world of publishing?
Well, both my parents were in the publishing world at some point, so I used their network to learn more about what was going on. I honestly knew nothing about the industry other than "I like books" - which isn't the most helpful way to go to a job interview ;-) That said, I did A LOT of research. I found out the most important industry publications, read Mediabistro daily, talked to everyone I could about publishing. I learned the best places to work, jobs I was qualified for, people I should know, etc etc. I also joined two networking groups for people in publishing. That way I could meet people who were employed in the industry. People I could learn from. The groups I joined were Women's National Book Association and NYC Women in Publishing. Meetup.com also has a few publishing groups and you can access it from anywhere in the world.
What are your personal interests and how has that contributed to your career decisions?
I have a lot of interests and like to consider myself "multi-passionate". I love cooking, especially baking and hope someday to attend culinary school. I have this dream to become a pastry chef and eventually open up my own bakery. I also love music, books, photograph, design, writing... Social media is also a big interest and that's where my career path lies at the moment.
Tell us a little bit about your own campaign and why you think it worked.
 In May 2009 I graduated from Davidson College, hoping to get a job in publishing. Regardless of the fact that the industry is kind of at a standstill and it doesn’t pay very much, I spent 3 months applying to every entry-level publishing job on the planet. Nothing happened. Problem is, I’m kind of an impatient person and like stuff to be happening RIGHTTHISSECOND so I decided to screw it and market myself instead of playing into the system. The first step was to take out an advertisement on Facebook, targeting anyone who worked at the major New York publishing houses. Not only did I get a job in 2 weeks, but it was publicized everywhere from Real Simple magazine to ABC News. It worked because it put me in touch with a lot of important people in the industry. The best and fastest way to get a job is through networking. Social media, including (but not limited to) Facebook advertisements, is a great way to network.
How did you train yourself to understand social media?
There is so much information out there, I just used Google! Of course searching how to start a blog and use Twitter led to sites like Mashable and various other social media instruction sites. Problem is, it was really time consuming and I had to look in a million different places. But it is possible to learn it on your own.
How can social media novices understand it better?
By watching other people! The best way to learn how to use social media is research how people like you are using it. What are they tweeting about? Who are they connected with on LinkedIn? What Facebook groups do they join? Are they posting on fan pages or just listening? Spend some time looking around and asking yourself these questions - it will help you hone your own Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/blog strategy so you don't waste time floundering.
 Tell us a little bit about your upcoming project, The Pajama Job Hunt.
 The Pajama Job Hunt is a program for anyone looking to get an edge over the hundreds of other applicants out there. PJH’s Twitter Series is a 3-part video course designed for recent grads, freelancers and anyone who’s sick and tired of the typical job hunting process. Here's a snippet from my sales page that explains it best:
In this video training you’ll learn:
  • Exactly how to publicize your job search and what wording to use. More importantly, what wording NOT to use.
  • 3 rarely used techniques to get OTHER people to help you land your dream job FAST.
  • How to quickly create a Twitter profile that makes you irresistible to employers and potential clients.
  • How to tweet like the pros by using Twitter lists, retweets, hashtags and Google.
  • How to find and connect with “Big Wigs” in your industry by using my sneaky search techniques.
    Want to know if this program is right for you?
  •   You’re a college grad just entering the job market with little-to-no network. You want a ridiculously awesome job but have already spent waaaaay too much time sending your resume into the abyss of internet job boards.
  • You’re a freelancer looking to expand your network and gain dozens of new clients.
  • You’ve been looking for the perfect job for months (if not years) with zero success. You’ve sent out resumes and perfectly crafted cover letters but are still hearing nothing but crickets. You’re bored with the typical job hunting process and want to try a more proactive tactic that will get you results FAST.
You’re shy! Job hunters and freelancers alike know networking is key to their next big job. But if you hate networking events, does that mean you’re screwed?! NO! The Pajama Job Hunt lets you sit at home in your pajamas and tweet all day while forging a path to fabulous career opportunities.
What are the other projects you are working on?
Along with Pajama Job Hunt I just started a series called Critique My Profile. It's a weekly "show" where I do exactly that - critique people's Twitter profiles. You can go here - http://marianlibrarian.com/2010/06/12/critique-my-profile-im-giving-away-free-advice/ - and submit your Twitter handle. One a week I pick an interested/relevant profile and do a 10 minute video critique of their bio, background, tweets, tactics, links, etc. I'm also starting a small coaching practice where I pair up with job seekers and help them land the work they want. This service is one-on-one and includes a lot of hand holding for people who don't want to spend the time learning on their own.Life after college doesn't need to be in someone's office. You don't need to do things because everyone else you graduated with does it that way. What I mean is: Dreading the working world? Do something else. Hate sending out resumes? Don't. Find the alternative route if your gut is telling you to do something else!

Marian specializes in social media for job hunters, sometimes gets paid to write and works with authors who want to build up their personal brand. She blogs over at http://www.marianlibrarian.com/ and usually features posts under the “uncategorized” tag but likes to pretend it revolves somewhat around Gen Y careers that don’t fit in a box. She is launching a virtual classroom teaching recent grads, job seekers and freelancers how to use social media as the ultimate career tool. Follow her on Twitter. Do it now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What's on my plate

Since I  possess a terrible ( bordering on nonexistent) sense of humour, I shall tell you what exactly *is* on my plate.

1 Chapati or rooti
2. I bowl of daal.

Metaphorically speaking, I need to finish 1. An NGO Report 2. An article 3. Another grant application and 4. A personal essay that I've been meaning to write for  a very long time. The essay requires some background research, so I've been putting it off for as long as possible.

For those of you who know me in meatspace and are wondering where I've disappeared, well I've been a bit unwell and have been going to the doctor almost twice a week. What has happened is not scary or life-threatening but requires immediate attention. I wish I could say I've been bumming around and having fun and I was until I fell supersick, but I think it's time I got some rest. I fall sick at the drop of a hat, so I've been relaxing at home, watching tv and reading. Talking of reading, do any of you have book recommendations? I'd love a list!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My thoughts on writing

My good friend, Alyssa Martino wanted to know about what got me started on writing for her Writers on Writing series. I thought the idea for the series is delightful because I'm always curious to know what other people are thinking when they write and why they write.  Here is an excerpt :

"I started writing when I was seven. I was reading “Anne Frank : The Diary of A Young Girl” at the time and I decided to write a journal like hers. I was always interested in biographical information and the fact that a girl only five years older than I was had died–and for no fault of hers–began to haunt me. My elder brother, who has always been interested in history and biographies, was the first person to tell me about the holocaust and its implications. I remember asking him why Jews were singled out and discriminated against (not the exact words of course, but using a seven year old’s vocabulary!) because it was unfathomable, even then, to realise why human beings would want to kill each other."


You can read the full interview here

Friday, June 11, 2010

Italy!

Italia! Italia!
The World Cup has begun and I'm supporting Italy. And you, who're you supporting?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Day's musings.

My parents are finally back from their trip to South Africa. Presents I've got:

1. A dreamcatcher ( from Ma)
2. A magnet from Baba which says : " I love mornings...I just wish they came later in the day ( how apt!)
3. A nice pair of earrings.
4. Another pair of earrings from my globe-trotting brother and sister-in-law.

 Ma has been jet lagged and is sleeping most of the day away. Baba, on the other hand, has been fiddling with the latest gadget he has acquired. When I teased him about his gadget obsession, he quipped, "The way to distinguish between men and boys are by the price of their toys" and subsequently squished my packet of very difficulty-procured-Tang. By the way, I love Tang. Those of you who love me should provide a month's supply of lemon Tang. 

I  bought churan ( ram laddoo) and ate copious quantities, but Baba beat me to it and polished most of it off. I also ate three kohitur mangoes, which in my opinion, are THE best mangoes on earth!

I was flipping the TV Channels today and one particular channel said, "Dracula dead and loving it". The   next thing that flashed in my mind was an incident that occurred a couple of days ago. I had fallen asleep near the computer ( hey! It was three a.m) and woke up to find Tipu, sitting upright, guarding a dead fruit-bat. The fruit bat's wings were torn and Tipu had bludgeoned it to death, but was still not satisfied. He kept pouncing on it time and again and when I scolded him for it, he snarled at me. The fruit bat has its backstory as well.

Earlier that day, Tipu had been chasing the bat and growling at it. My dog is very territorial and cannot stand other animals in his domain. To top it all, bats are not exactly his favourite mammals. He tried very hard to pounce on it, but the bat hung from the fan, very far from his reach. About thirteen hours later, Tipu had managed to kill it and was very happy with his bounty. This isn't the first time he's killed an animal- he's killed rats, squirrels and even bats before. I think my dog's a serial killer. *shudder*. 


In other news, I have gotten NO work done. I was meaning to pitch articles etcetera but I was too busy   reading " Adrian Mole- The prostrate years".  I've also realised that I have little or no knowledge when it comes to the kind of journalism I want to do. I've been very conflicted of late- Should I just go with the flow and not be too picky or should I have the knowhow before I plunge into something? I've come to the conclusion that I should try and strike a balance between the two.


Tomorrow onwards, I will also continue my one-on-one interviews with interesting people :)