Tuesday, February 24

Victory of the slumdogs, what next?

"Slumdog Miilionaire" won 8 Oscars! The Indians around the globe are gushing with pride. This is a rags-to-riches fairy tale of a slum dweller and the miserable life he led in the shanties of Mumbai. He is not just a character in a film, we feel his pain. But most importantly,we are celebrating his pain through the awards. Doesn't that make us masochists in our own little worlds??

We enjoy showing off the world our miseries and all we ask in return is a damn good "Happy ending" no matter how unrealistic it is.And no doubt Hollywood takes the advantage of this fact. Poor India!Hungry India!Deprived and sad Indians! The world is our stage and we gain the sympathy votes. A nice market strategy. And I am sure Hollywood is hoping it can do the same trick what the cosmetic industry did with the Indian beauty pageant winners. 

I know what you are thinking. I am an ungrateful and unpatriotic Indian who should be summoned by the House of Un-Indian Activities. But here is a fact. I am an Indian who loves to see India as a super-power not as a developing Third World country. I do acknowledge the problems we face, but I hate to celebrate them. And I hate when they make films which looks like "an instant coffee illumination of a dark continent for the underexposed waspy American who is, of late, finding it kindda cool to engage with the rest of the world."

Headlines like"India's Jamals can't afford dal-roti daily" are flooding the national newspapers today. Looks like the whole country has awakened from a deep slumber to show their concern for the slum dwellers. Do you think we really care for the likes of Jamal, Latika and Salim? Hell no! We are bloody hypocrites. Noboby changes overnight over a British-American film about India with some Indian collaboration. No doubt the "slum story" can be a good topic to discuss over the brunch on a Sunday morning, but nothing beyond it. Till the new found hype and glamour of the slums is there,I say its Christmas for the people in the shanties- Health camps, donations etc. Maybe people on the better side cares or maybe they just want to earn some Good Karma in their free time. Either ways its short-lived.

But Mr. Boyle good job! And I agree small is beautiful. I am sure India will deliver you many such storylines. And why not? We love being SMALL. So what do you plan to tell the world next? Hmmm..how about the deprived SC/STs in India and how they require quotas in everything they do?? 'coz after all, Indians are the only people who take pride in being from backward society.

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Saturday, February 21


Today I would like to tell you about a woman named Jamini. She is neither a politician nor a page 3 socialite. Nor someone important who can make a difference in this world. She is my housekeeper cum sentry who looks after my brother and the house, when my parents are away. A complete nobody...then why should I talk about her? But this tall and lean boring character has a different story to tell.

I don't know how old Jamini is. The flecks of white hair and the pigmentation in her face tells me she must be something around 40. Her unique feature is her pockmarked face. It has no sign of life. I could never figure out whether she is happy or sad. Never heard her complain about the work or ask for leave. Whether its diwali celebration or a funeral, that blank slate always has a morbid expression. When I first read about the Death Kiss of Dementors and its aftermath, the face that first came to my mind was hers. Obviously thats impossible in the real world. Jamini's abnormality was not from birth.

Twenty something years ago Jamini was married in her village (a-name-I-never cared to remember!) She was continuously beaten up by her drunkard of a husband. The torture not just scarred her body but her mind also permanently. After the birth of her daughter, she was thrown out of her house. The husband remarried  and Jamini was never allowed to step in her house. The young mother lost her right to feed her own baby. And this deprivation eventually sucked out her last drop of happiness.

Now all she does is work. And the way she gets things done is that of a plain idiot. Recently she threw away my passport along with the trash. No doubt such antics earned her the name "Jomoni" meaning funny. There are times when my mother has urged her to go and meet her daughter. But she never seem interested and always says "Hobo diyok baideo, bapek aase nohoi saboloi". I guess this tortured soul now refuses to be happy. Last time when I was in town, I got her a pair of earrings. That was the only time I saw her smile but her eyes were listless.

A woman like Jamini has seen only pain and she suffers in silence. I am sure she must have cried all alone before turning into a stone. And there must millions of people out there who suffers like her in silence. Ironically, sharing that same space and time are also people like me, who cry out loud how unfair life is, at the slightest of trouble. And as I write this, I am filled with shame and remorse for being such a weak-hearted fool. But then again, tomorrow is a brand new day to learn and start afresh. :)

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Saturday, February 14

Its all in the head,Honey!

This post is dedicated to all the people in "loouvve", the hopeless romantics and those who believe that heart is where the love is. It may crash that beautiful fiction called love you hold so close to your heart. 

Recently I read this article where  researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine,New York said" The source of love is in the head, not the heart." Hah! I felt so. The red lumpy pumping machine can't make you fall in love. No doubt it sounds unpoetical and unromantic when you get to know that love mostly can be understood through brain images, hormones and genetics. Imagine the gross image of the folds in brain in your V-day card saying "Sweetheart, this got us together". Love will definitely look nauseous. Businesses will drop. Hypocrites are we, believing love is a miracle sent from Heaven, so lets give credits to the unseen cupids and the red heart.

But here is the truth.The brain has four tiny parts which form the love circuit.(cupids and  love charms are stupid!!) The hotspot is the teardrop shaped VTA. Apparently it "lights up" in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, whenever you see that special person. Thus a rush of of adrenaline-like chemicals-PEA takes place. And this speeds up the flow of information between nerve cells, dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine makes you happy and norepinephrine stimulates the production of adrenaline. Oh that heady feeling! with the heart beating faster. :P

Now this chemical reaction works in the brain like drug addiction. You feel light-headed, things start to look more colorful, the world seems to be a happy place and yada yada...the crap people say!So wake up dopeheads...This addiction is good as along as everything is well, but gets dangerous when things go down the drain. The brains of  recently heartbrokens create a craving very similar to that of cocaine craving. "People kill for love. Die for love". 
Addicted to love, after all ;)

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Wednesday, February 11

I am fat and ugly

Anyone who saw the Korean movie 200 Pounds Beauty know exactly what I will talk about today. But the solution is not always going under the knife or other quick-fix solutions

Many of my friends often complain about their weight problem. They crib and cry how unfair life is giving them the few extra pounds. But very often they fail to see that they are the "doers of the doing"(wow! that rhymes somewhere in my mind :P) . Only hogging and no playing makes Jill a fat cow. I have come across the following three types.

1. I don't care cow: Very dangerous type. Once upon a time they decided to do some dieting. When it didn't work but made them more hungry instead, they simply gave up. Now they just don't care 'coz they are overly depressed with their appearance. They hog double giving their depression as an excuse.  A serious case of overeating

2.Diet till I die cow: They are the hyper cousins of the above variety of cows. One morning they wake up to find out that they won't fit into their favorite pair of jeans. And then they stop eating completely, maybe just one meal a day. Often leads to serious eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa etc. This leads to very dangerous symptoms. Trying to quick-fix their problems, they slowly become the third type.

3.Pill popping cow:If the last ones were dangerous, this one is suicidal. There is no coming back because the market is filled with loads of Orlistats, Sibutramines, Symlins etc. and you have easy access to them. Also available are the cellulite treatments. A little bit of snooping in Allmart showed there are three types of weight loss creams being sold at present in the VIT campus. Next best sell to the fairness cream products. 

Now I may continue ranting about the pitfalls of dieting etc. But thats not the point. You may be on the heavier side but its not the end of the world. Instead of resorting to the short-cuts, do it the right way. Do exercise. A little bit of workout won't kill anyone(Unless  you are medically adviced not to.) So put on your running shoes and sweat your fats out. Its not just about looking beautiful, its about staying healthy.  And working out will not make you any less feminine. Do the cardios regularly and you may not even have to cut out your favorite chocolate!The path is difficult and the results are slow. Atleast it won't harm you.

Instant weight reducing regime does this. Blow the bubblegum and then burst it. Continue it for sometime and after the 5th-6th time, the gum becomes loose.Same thing happens to your body. It sags at unwanted places owing to the sudden weight loss, followed by ugly stretch marks. And the body takes a funnel-shape.Most importantly you lose the glow in your face.

Controlling the palate is again very difficult task. Cut down the fattening foods but do treat yourself once in a while. In the end, its a win-win situation. Drink lots and lots of water.If you are not into work outs, try yoga. But never starve yourself. Its a crime. Our body is the most amazing gift of nature. Love and respect it.

If nothing mentioned above works for you, try the Vatsyayana way of losing weight! ;)

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Friday, February 6

Random thoughts

Ever since the high court of Tamil Nadu passed the decision of closing of all the colleges in the region, students have been homebound in flocks. Its interesting to see their eagerness in “going home” for they tend to forget everything else. The world around them becomes blur coz then they just move towards one single goal. Home.  What a beauty!

Somehow I didn’t catch this home fever and stayed back. Not that I don’t have a home and don’t enjoy the company of the people I love. Its just that strangely, the eagerness wasn’t there. Or maybe I was plain lazy. My dear mother, God bless her soul, was worried about me staying in the almost empty campus. But how can I make her understand that I enjoy this emptiness. Many would say that I am under some kind of weird depression mumbo-jumbo. But the truth is I love the empty hallways, the almost empty campus and mostly the empty hostel corridors. Sounds ghastly to some, but its beautiful. Lesser the people, lesser is the effort required to connect with them. Humans have this strange behavior of finding connection with others. But I don’t see anything humane enough when a person has to forgo himself inorder to blend in.

Being a chronic loner, I like this sudden change in campus. Atleast I don’t have to pretend that I am having a great time in the crowd and connecting with people. Its not that I hate human contact, but after sometime its unbearable. They talk, shout, scream, laugh, cry a lot…making a lot of noise. Unfortunately you can’t “mute” them and so you adjust or simply blend in.

The advertisements scream offers like “Run away to the exotic Caribbean”   or “Enjoy quality family time in Europe” or “Find paradise in the Greek islands” or “Celebrate the silence of the Himalayas”. Unfortunately these promises are short lived and very commercial. These places are always way too crowded with tourists. You just can’t escape the noise. If I ever had a chance of such retreats, I believe I would find myself in some place surrounded by hills. Just standing on the edge of the cliff and facing the wide void ahead, the green valley below with the river flowing towards the rising sun, can be out of some artist’s canvas. Or maybe somewhere such a beauty do exists. I wonder how it would feel falling off that cliff with the air rushing past my face and engulfing me. Its not like dying but more of flying away over the valley seconds before hitting the ground…. 

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