Wednesday, 31 July 2013

killing her softly...






If you have seen the hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen film as General Shabazz Aladeen, leader of the fictional North African oil-producing Republic of Wadiya, you might remember the last scene where Aladeen and Zoey are seen on a morning talk show where they discuss a series of women's centers they're opening in Wadiya. Zoey then announces that she's pregnant and Aladeen asks her if she's having a boy or an abortion.

Though the movie is a gem, that underlying message of that particular scene is a point to be noted.

The choice for a son or nothing at all.




Homicide, suicide, genocide, infanticide even foeticide. Yup, grew up hearing these words from the good old 'telly and a few dailies here and there. These words in ending in cide,  all connote death, destruction, extermination and deliberate killing(s). In fact the –cide ending originates from the Latin word caedere meaning to kill.

Homicide             :        the act of killing a man, or any person

Suicide                  :       the action of ending one's life

Infanticide             :       the forceful death of an infant

Foeticide               :       the killing of a fetus, which is technically different from abortion

Genocide               :       Extermination of an entire racial, political, or cultural group

Gendercide            :      ? ? ?


One would think given that humans are considered to be the most intelligent creatures on Earth, we would have more sense than to not only devise ways and means of killing each other but also coming up with the proper associated noun of a verb. Tomecide or spermicide, any takers?? For all the years of evolution and the growth of culture and religions, we have yet to actually learn how to live with one another in peace.

It has taken us 2,300,000 years to evolve into modern day humans -used to the comfort of air conditioning and eating/drinking out of aluminum cans yet in this current age we are still behaving like some brainless idiots of the Dark Ages, the Middle Age of  Europe.
It was time when women in medieval Europe and beyond lived in fear, for it was far too easy to be ID, prosecuted, judged and sentence of being a witch. All it took was a person of ill intention holding a grudge or even a moron to simply whisper that you might be a witch. Next thing you know, your hands are tied behind and flames are burning all around you.
But how would a woman or in the rare case, a man, be on trial of practicing witchcraft? It would be in all be based on circumstantial evidences such as a mole in a certain place, having good health / wealth (ill gotten wealth...etc) or even just because you happened to be picking up a dandelion from the ground which will willfully be proclaimed as an ingredient in spells by someone who has the least freaking idea of the differences between a basil and rosemary, let alone spring onion and chives..






Perhaps the most damming fact that would be used against a woman accused of being a witch is the fact that she is the second sex~ a Female, an Eve who caused Adam to eat the apple and fall from Grace and therefore is a Witch. 




Imagine, the hundreds and thousands if not millions of women who were arrested, tortured & condemned to die by drowning or in a pyre over 300 years. It was time when women were predominately attacked and sentenced to death (even if it was just a sham of a trial) just for being a Female. God dammn it, i get so mad thinking of something that happened centuries ago yet Double God Damm it, in this 22nd Century where humans can video conference with someone else across the globe, we have yet to actually grow any wiser than in the 600 years ago.



After a long rambling detour, we finally get to the crux of this particular blog post.

Gendercide.

Ever heard of it?

Be honest.



before reading a fellow blogger's post participating in #Indichange #IdeaCaravan, i myself was never aware of the term. Feel free to either Google or Wiki it. "By analogy, gendercide would be the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender)" Mary Anne Warren.  it usually pertains to the deliberate killing of a female based on her gender for what so ever reasons...

(With a long suffering sigh) (Again) It is the female gender that seems to be affected. Wtf, why is the female gender so misunderstood and basically blamed for the ills of the world. We are not the weaker sex, in fact, in many ways the female form is the stronger gender but over time.. we have been duped into becoming the weaker sex by the ideology convictions of people, including by women ourselves. It seems being born as a female is curse for millions around the world, the three most dreaded world at the arrival of a new off spring are


 "It's a girl"...






India and China are two of the world's most culturally advanced and populated countries in the world. Just these two countries alone account for over 26% of the world population. Both on average have a male to female of  1.06:1 for China and 1.08:1 for India against a world average of 1.01. A naturally occurring phenomenon? No. It is because of the high preference for sons over daughters.

As seen in the picture below the countries in shades of red  have a general population ratio favoring men to women. Only 2 other counties have a higher male:female ratio but considering thatthe combined population of India & China account for over a quarter of the world population, the ramification are higher...



[If you are thinking there is one other country who's more red than India & China, that's Bahrain. The reason why there is a predominately higher ratio of men is due to inclusive of single male expats during census that roughly accounts for up to 20-25% of the population. The other is the Arctic circle- i hope i do not have explain why there are more males there.. o_O)]



The reason why sons always seems to be the preferred gender originated from the pages of history when men used to be the ones who went out hunting for food, handling matters outside the hearth and basically was the provider-protector. Yet even then, the female gender was much cherished for it was she that ensured that the house was more than just bricks and mortars but instead a Home. She had a place in the family structure.
 These days... in many places if the fetus are not carry the Y chromosome it's life is terminated even before coming out to the world.





Around the globes where selective abortions are legal or even otherwise many a parent have aborted the fetus not because of any complications of the pregnancy but instead simply because of it's gender. Not sure about you, but i have seen pictures of aborted female fetuses a few as late as 8 months old. It's heart gut wrenching, to say the least. Seeing the perfectly form female babies dead on the table. And disgusting to see the callousness and wickedness of the human mind. I am no anti-abortionist, instead very much Pro-Choice but the damnable depravity of humans to practice their right of choice based on misplaced ideology is bile inducing. Even though it is illegal to have sex determination tests in many countries, yet those with means will find a way to do and for the rest it's just a matter of time. In some places especially in India.. should the infant be born without a penis, her life is prematurely and savagely snuffed out... either with bare hands or a folded cloth it doesnt matter. . she is killed. Too weak to make much noise, they are killing her softly, muffling out her voice and our Future.






how do we respond?? 200 millions of women missing... more than combined lost lives of world world I, II or the combines death toll of all major genocide of the 20th Century? How do we imagine the present that we have lost because of parents who have stolen our rightful present and future. Before you jump to a conclusion of me gone mad kindly hear me out.

there are nooks and corners of India, where female infanticide and gendercide takes place routinely. For example Haryana, it is the 17th most populated state in Northern India, and for every 1000 males there are only 861 females as per the 2011 census (im sure it's much lower). Natural order of scheme?? Definitely NOT. Read this article here. But what could it mean, so what if there is more males than females??



Simple. It would be like letting loose several bulls in a China shop.

Raging Testosterone and rocketing pheromones. When a male is unable to find a female to settle down or even to mate, he will eventually start using brute force born out of bottled frustrations. Why are certain areas of India not safe for women? From Eve teasing to kidnapping, and it is no surprise that the rate of violence against women have increased. remember the Delhi rape case of 2012, wherein a student was brutally raped in a moving bus by 6 males, 1 a juvenile at the time of crime committed?  (read my previous post on this topic here)  Just as thousands of Delhites camped out in the blistering cold winter crying for justice, similar cases continued to be reported few days later and have continued to do so. Acid attacks as revenge by scorned men are nothing new. It's a case of "if i can't have you, no one else will have you".

I have not conducted years of research into this topic like Evan Grae Davis or other enlightened beings but i stand by what i write and i believe this is what is from my point of view. Just some of the few related crimes in summary connected to the skewed gender ratio are:

1.   Eve Teasing:
                       Lack of interaction with the opposite gender means that the average males do not know how to interact with females, and instead he starts behaving in a childish adolescence behaviors typically found in kindergarten playgrounds like name-calling, pulling hairs and basically just about finding an annoying way to get a girl's attention.
    
2.   Molestations and Rape
                   Whatever the reason maybe these men start to physically act out on their animistic impluses, but if there a female was respected at home i'm such instances wouldbe lesser, for they would have learn at home how to respect a woman.

3.   Crimes against women
                          Just as lack of interaction in schools with girls makes men socially inept in social role play, as husbands, they do not realize that women are not men. The female's thought process, reactions and behaviors are radically different from a male. Lack of education, poverty and misguided upbringing compounds that fact these men have been bought up with the belief that women are lesser, weaker and undeserving of any rights or respect and to be treated in a manner akin to animals using violence (through words or deeds). 


4.  Human Trafficking (forced into Marriage, Prostitution, Slavery)
                        But perhaps one of the direct result of the lack of women through gendercide is human trafficking. Girls and women have been duped and kidnapped and sold off as brides. In a country known for demanding dowry and dowry related crimes, it is ironical to note that families in India have instead started giving money to find a wife for the sons because there is simply a dire lack of suitable bride in the community, or even in the county. It's not uncommon to find a North Eastern or even a Southern bride for a North Western groom, yet the gendercide persist. 



The female Shakti is one half of humanity. A yin to the yang. 



Why are sons so preferred over daughters? I mean a child is like gift from god. It's a miracle, of life albeit one with a heavy burden of feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating and nurturing a human being for at least 2 decades if not more. But to actually killed your own blood whose heartbeat was beating along side yours for the past 9 months? Simply because she's a daughter? Why is a daughter made to feel any lesser than her brothers? Yes, she may not have the physical strength of male but a woman's capacity to care and to nurture, to forgive and to forget, to teach and be taught is surly much better than those of the opposite gender. In addition with advent of education, there are many a girl who are actually bringing in the dough, being the main breadwinner of the family. Even in the amidst of poverty and lack of education, it's is noticeable that given even a little leeway or dire straits a female is usually more enterprising and diligent. However it seems to me that in most asian countries that when daughters are born- from her first breath, her family is eager to marry her off. Perhaps give her a good decent education, deposit a nice little enormous sum of money for her wedding (the dowry) wedding expense but basically just marry her off. Such a notion one of the basic reasons for daughters are dreaded instead of being welcome into the family fold but i truly believe in this saying as "A son is son till he gets a wife. Then he becomes a husband. Whereas a daughter will always remain a daughter"




It is up to us to change this notion that girls do not matter. It may seems to be out of our hands to change an entire country's notion and ingrained thought process of a cultural preference for a son but if we leave it to the next person to handle it, it will never change. You may think, "How can we just mare mortals and individuals do something to change this?" But until and unless "we turn the mirror around" to look at our selves and "take a good hard look into our psyche and our moral conscience and we realize" that it is in our hands, nothing will change. It's is indeed up to us to do something about the problem, for we have a PROBLEM. For once, raise a voice when you see a boy given preferential treatment over girl because it starts young and from home.. it's not much, but it will be a starting point.






In the words of Leo Tolstory, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself". Watch the documentary "It's a girl" at home, in the company of all the family members or even with friends and discuss. Tell everyone about this. This topic is more than a girl issue, this is about Human Rights.


For with awareness, change will come.  

Slowly but surly.


Because just as we plan for our future and retirement with our PF, mutual funds, insurances and investments, all of us need to invest for tomorrow, our future of humanity by doing our bit to ensure gender equality and ending gendercide. Remember how prevalent the vile act of sati was back just decades ago yet today, it is almost non-existent.  Support the numerous human rights activists, people like Evan Grae Davis, Anuradha Koirala, fellow Indians  and be part of the change. When we join forces the collective power becomes stronger and louder... 



this post is part of the The Idea Caravan in conjunction with Indiblogger and Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.





you can join this cause, be connected through Facebook. Just dont read this post till here and forget about it. Do Something.











Tuesday, 30 July 2013

4 cooks


They say too many cooks doth spoil the broth but tonight the 4 ladies of A-206, did not contrary to popular belief burnt down the house.. instead we worked in coordinated teamwork and dine on a divine feast!! ^__^


tonight's dinner menu:

rice
yellow dal
amaranth sag
alu and soya nuggets
aloo tikki with peanuts
tomato pickle



recipe coming up soon in my other blog!!

till then bon appetit! 



Saturday, 27 July 2013

So...


I'm a smoker.


So what???


on beautiful Saturday morning, bouyed by previous night of dancing with the gals i came to office and inevitably logged on to fb after the morning tasks were done. Only to see yet another article cutting short on smokers. This time by the reputable New York Times. Honestly, WTF??


WE KNOW!!!


All freaking smokers are well aware of the health hazard that smoking magnifies. If it's not enough that we have not only been exposed and numbed in seeing pictures of charred lungs and cancerous cells on each packet of cigarette but also have been kicked out of restaurants, movie halls (that does not even allow us to carry our own freaking pack let alone light up aywhere @_@ ) and most public area. Smokers have been relegated to a small patch of area magnanimously called the smoking zone in far discreet corner or even in between parking lots and buildings with little or no coverage against the weather or even a spot to park our butts instead forced to lean against a wall and surreptitiously sneak in a quick puff or two, always on the look out that we might just be move along like some unwanted pest of society.




What  i want to know is, "Are Smokers the new Nigger??" (I must apologies for the racist term for African origin race, but it's just to highlight my point and mean no offense to those who might take offense.) My point being, WTF, Why are we (smokers) being judged and segregated and treated differently and basically discriminated against based on what is our choice of Lifestyle??

Are "Smoker" the new "Black"??



If that is not enough, the NY article actually has the audacity to point out that smokers (in general) has poor self-control.. This is the article, read here. An extract of the same..
"GIVEN how hazardous it is to their health, why do smokers continue to smoke? It’s not that they are all hopeless addicts. Many smokers are capable of quitting. It’s not that they are ignorant. Studies show that smokers are at least as informed as nonsmokers about the risks of smoking — and possibly more informed." and goes on to declare, "So what accounts for smokers’ risky-looking behaviour? Our contention is that smokers exhibit poor self-control in the face of immediate temptation

O__O

are you also fuming at this bias and degortary piece of crap of thing called research??






i get it. Smoking is bad for health. For the smoker, for his family, to his neighbors to even his or her company because apparently we take too much cigarette breaks and incur medical costs to the  company. In fact Smokers are not much welcome anywhere. But WHY??


So what if im a smoker.
it's not like a smoker really forcefully turns a non-smoker to a smoker.
we just tend to hang out with other smokers
Being a smoker is better than being alot of other things.
Like being an alcoholic or a hypocrite or a cheater.
And it's not a crime to smoke (yet)

So what gives??


"There's nothing wrong with making an argument that smoking is a filthy, costly, lethal habit that ought to be discouraged. There is everything wrong with saying that smoking cannot be tolerated in parks, on beaches and in other public places because science shows it is dangerous to others, if the available science does not convincingly show that. By hiding their motives for banning in public places behind statements like 'there is evidence', the anti-smoking crowd advances it's short-term goals at the cost of a loss in trust for other"Arthur Caplan.



Why are smokers so misunderstood and judged upon?




 non-smokers should stop being so uptight and relax too.

Don't get mad.




Light up and take a breath.




It helps.










and if you cant resist, who's got poor self control heh?






Who else has got the balls to post it?


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

In serch of serenity


There are times when one's life has too much upheavals,  we all search for that inner peace.. some find it music, other's dance yet more in the comfort of friends.. i tend to find it in traveling.. there is something illusive and alluring about packing your backpack with the bare essentials and going off with a map wearing your favorite pair of jeans and sunglasses.

 


Im no dumb blonde bimbo but like most females... i'm not very good with directions... #being honest here, i tend to remember places by their surrounding landmarks so when i informed Director that actually i was going to Mysore alone and not with the boyfriend as he assumed, he's reactions was

Are you Crazy!!??









ummm...





well. . .






Not Really!






 



No one knows what tomorrow might bring but just because there are dangers lurking around the corners should not stop us from doing stuffs that we want to do. After all there is nothing more life affirmative than a humble experience of traveling. Especially so when you are travelling alone; there is no one else to consult on where you are going, what to eat or even on the people who will chat up with. Some of the most interesting conversations i have participated/overheard involves total strangers! so one fine Saturday morning, off i went to the local train station with nothing more than a change of clothing and just about enough change for transport and room charges. With a ticket at just 55rs from Bangalore to Mysore , and appx 3hrs rumbling train ride i finally reached Mysore.


Mysore is just 150km fm Bangalore. It is erstwhile capital of Kingadom of Mysore, on the foothills of the charming Chamundi Hills with a semi arid climate. Mysore has traditionally been home to industries such as weaving, sandalwood carving, bronze work and the production of lime and salt.  it  is prominately famous for having one of the most visited monuments in India after the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Amba Vilas Palace aka the Jewel of Mysore aka the Mysore Palace.


    

Amba Vilas Palace was rebuilt after the original  palace was burnt down  in 1897 during the royal wedding of the then princess Jayalakshammanni, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wodeyar. The architectural style of of the palce is described as Indo-Saracenic or British Colonial style of architecture blending together Hindu, Muslim and Neo-classical Victorian styles. Because the previous palace was made primarily of wood, the new/current palace was designed by Henry Erwin to be as much fireproof as possible and as briefed by the Chamaraja Wodeyar, who was of course footing the entire bill.

Old Palace 1855
the old Mysore Palace 1855

As such the current palace has an extensive usage of fire resistant materials like granites, marbles, tiles, mosics and cement/plaster. In fact many of the pillars and arches are actually made of cement and painted over to replicate wood works. For example the pillars of the Marriage Pavillion are actually not made from wood even though up close you feel it might be actually wood! ~_~


It may sound morbid but i love wondering in old houses palaces soaking in the reminiscence of the past as i breath in the atmosphere. What might have the feeling of the royalty living in such a home, surrounded by riches of the ivory woodwork doorways to dancing under the dazzling crystals chandeliers in the Marriage Pavillion... strolling past the countless priceless paintings on the wall, as the sense of deva ju overides me.... Sighz...to live in a living museum!!! 

#maybe i was either a princess or a scullery maid in my past life!!

o_O

 

The desire to visit Mysore partly stemmed from a need to break from the mundane. But also to let go of the past. The last time i visited Mysore, i was not alone. It was the honeymoon phase of my then relationship..a time when even roses seemed to smell sweet and look lovely...




 However nothing ever remains the same forever. It was time for closure.


Which was why it was necessary for me to travel to the same place where i fell in love to the person with whom i thought i would be spending the rest of my life with... Alone. even though i had willing company and my friends thought ''oh boy, she's gone bonkers yet again"



Because time and situations changes, and so do people...




Lord, the number of times i have made that mistake...  




but we cannot change the mistakes that we made in life
just learn grow a 'lil wiser




Anyways.... as i sat down snuggled in between students going home for the weekend, a boisterous mother & daughter duo and a retired couple going home , i spend a few moments thinking back of the years gone by...

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the fun times we had

harsh words lashed out in anger

all the silt of frustrations that built up

in between ripples of love

 in the end..

the rivers of mistrust, miscommunication and disrespect that broke the banks


.
.
.
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Eventually it was time to alight and as i checked in alone, much to the wry amusement of the receptionist at Hotel Roopa. it's a decent hotel, rates starts from 1200rs on MAP plan so breakfast from 7am is included. Though it's mostly idlis & dosas.... >__<





Oh well a girl's gotta do what she came to do. And that means taking a  walk to the Mysore Palace some 1-2kms with her favorite sunglasses on, enjoying the warm sunshine.


On the way..


could not help myself, saw the roadside vendor with all the seasonal fruits, tanliszing my taste buds with the aromas of ripe fruits.





my lunch!!! Additonal bonus the price being so cheap at just Rs10!! In bangalore it would easily cost 25rs +



yup, just showing all my front teeths and a lopsided smile.., ~__~




after a good 2-3hrs walking through the Palace with an audio tape and just bloody staring at everything! #like some dumb village idiot! @_@ but if you are going to the Mysore Palace, be sure to make use of the audio tapes, it costs just 110rs (for indians - i lied, i said i was from N.E. >__< ).. it's a great deal! The audio tapes gives an opportunity to learn the in-depth history and a close connection with the Palace instead of just being awestruck by the beauty of the architecture and interiors.  The Royal family continues to live in a portion of the Palace. Not very sure which part but looking at the size of the place... there is sure as hell ample space.  



But my grumbling stomach tore me away and a quick refill of diet coke and kurkure gave me the strength to walk to Kenji Lake passing through the Dasara Grounds..  (pass no comment on my lack of sense of good nutrition ~____~ , it's all simple sugar = instant energy ) 


At the upper left on top of the hill lies the Chamundi Temple. The hills are are among eight most sacred hills south India with an average elevation of these hills of 1,000 meters. As per mythology, the demon Mahishasura, king of the area that is currently Mysore, was killed by the Goddess Chamundeswari (also Chamundi) after a fierce battle.  The argument being Mahishasura taking revenge of his father's death by terriosing the Heavens and ousting all the gods and goddess from Heaven. Since he was a great devotee of Shiva, he was granted a boon that no men would be able to defeat him. Chamundi in the form of Durga, went to battle upon her mount the majestic lion and slayed him on the tenth day of the battle, which is also how the festival of Dasara came about. (of course there are other conflicting stories as well). She managed to kill MAhishasura because Duh..she's a female.  Thus the hills are named after the Goddess, and a temple honors her at the peak. The temple has a beautiful idol of the goddess, not withstanding the drop dead gorgeous intricate cravings on the exteriors.

beautiful fair & lovely apsaras(??) guarding the entrance

and if you have not yet come inside to pay your respects... please do. There is a sense of serenity, right there inside along the dark winding lanes with centuries old oak/sandlewood/teak creaking beams and pillars toward the main deity. It's a sad fact of life that the temple has the unmistakeably stink of commercialization with normal/fast track ticketing counters and donation boxes all over... but do not let these transcendental feelings of human greed encroach upon your peace of mind... please buy the famous Chamundi parsadam, by the bags which btw is yums!! O__O




Chamundi's main hill features a long stone stairway leading to the top of the hill. There are 1,008 steps in all, with the first 600 steps being steeper than those higher up. If you feeling frisky and are a thrill seeker, it's possible to walk to the top and you might even encounter some wild cats.  En route to the top, the steps pass the large statue of Nandi the bull; the statue is about 16 feet high and 25 feet in length. Nandi is the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Shiva.
here's an old pic, beside Nandi

This year, as im in mourning, i was unable to go to Chamundi Hills.. still as i gazed at the hills and i sent a silent prayer of thanks and gratitude and for strength. After which off i went walking to Kenji Lake, paying an admission of 20rs and walked on the same path as before.. 

as i walked around the last bend in the aviary, the roosting peacock flies down and proceeds to show off his gorgeous tail all fanned out... 
such a show off...



a last walk by the shore...




a plate of steaming masala puri at tea time





at the end of day...

my shopping loot... not much just some simple souvenirs.. scented fan, brass bangle, few dried figs, mixed alloy ring plus a pretty mini pearl studs and ladoos for desserts along with a length of jasmine..






bored... and at the end of the day i decided to amuse myself 







How do i look???





the next day i returned  back to Bangalore after missing yet another train..




but not before going to the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery with the best art gallery in South India. Some of the most famous Raja Ravi Verma oil painting are housed here along with numerous pieces by Russia artist Nikolav Roerich and even a self poitrait by Rembrandt along with famous Lady with an oil lamp aka the 'Glow of Hope" by S.L Halandkar. Unfortunately the expertise of restoration is really low plus moisture and humidity has affected the painting. Do pay a visit to the museum while the paintings are still in a somewhat decent condition.. i feel the paintings have already started deteriorating and it's noticeble in the past few years..


 


On the ground floor near the entrance, there is a beautiful and exquiste grandfather's clock that plays the soldier's march pass at every hour. It's a must see. The entire show lasts maybe for max 3mins, and if happen to hear the first chime... RUN towards it!!! #serious @___@


 







so you know what. 








Though life is not so fun all alone, it does not mean that life stops. We will just have to go on living our lives. Even if it means carrying on... moving forward, alone.





but who the fuck knew, that i had more surprises in store for me?? 

here's the link to find out what the hell happened to me soon after, exactly 2 weeks later... sighz...








meanwhile here a picture of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment

no matter how beautiful other places are... yo maan ta nepali ho (my heart is still a Nepali). here's the link to the song. a must listen
Jaso gara, je bhana, jata sukai laijau malai
Yo maan ta mero nepali ho