Saturday, January 28, 2012

Frodo and Gimli say hi!

There are these two adorable beings who often stare at me, as I surf the Internet or watch TV. I wonder what they think of me. I, who, often talk to them non-stop and the poor guys can only hear, gape, pretend to be interested in my rambling if I am bringing some food along, or just turn their back on me and hide somewhere. Rarely do they show any genuine interest in the "other beings" in the house, like they are doing right now - gawking at us as Vish reads the news and I blog about "us".

I think, if they could talk, they'd be shouting out a 'HI' this very moment. They look like they'll swim right through the glass. Want to meet them? Here they are...

This is Frodo:

And, this is Gimli:

And though they share their address with us, this is their exact abode:

Yes, Frodo and Gimli are our beloved fan tail gold fish. They are roughly 8 months and 4 months old, respectively, and have been our companions for a while now. A little like their one owner, they love to sleep well and, like both their owners, they love to binge on food :). A little shy, they do warm up after a while!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Born in a free world

They told me I was born in a free world.
I wrote a book; they found the imagery offensive.
Those who did not read it were more offended.
They burnt it and then banned it.

They told me I was born in a free world.
I painted a canvas; they were deeply hurt.
The vivid colors made them livid, and
They were forced to burn my effigies.

They told me I was born in a free world.
I doodled caricatures that some found funny;
My house was pelted with stones because,
They proclaimed it was 'in bad taste'.

They told me I was born in a free world.
I made a movie on a disturbing yet true subject.
The mirror with one's own image does disturb;
They staged violence and chaos on the streets.

They told me I was born in a free world.
I blogged about the injustices around me.
Proofs to substantiate claims were asked for;
They blocked my IP and shut the site down.

They told me I was born in a free world.
What they did not tell me was that my
Freedom is censored based on what
They deem right and what they deem wrong.

They told me I was born in a free world.
I asserted my freedom of expression.
They showed me their moolah and their muscle,
And asserted their right to dissent.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Dangerous Method

The movie, 'A Dangerous Method', though first released in Venice in September of 2011, has been in theaters in the US only since early December. 
Hardly advertised, I got to know of this movie from Vish who thought the subject would interest me - A Dangerous Method explores the tempestuous relationship between an emerging 'psyche-analyst', Carl Jung; his mentor and the founder of 'psychoanalysis', Sigmund Freud; and the patient who later goes on to become one of the first female psychoanalysts, Sabina Spielrein. 

The movie is fascinating and very interesting. The eve of World War I forms the backdrop of the evolving practices of psychiatry. While Freud is determined in his focus on repressed sexuality as a cause for psychological disorders, Jung wants to broaden those boundaries by bringing in mysticism and the heroism and superiority of the analyst. Sabina comes out of her insanity and brings together Freud's 'death drive' and Jung's 'transformation' in a new perspective influencing both men. The context of the impeding war, the religion and class conflicts (Freud and Sabina were Jews, Jung was married rich), the analysts' own incapability to deal with 'transference', and the vulnerability of one's own desires bring in a heady concoction - but for only those who are versed with the history if psychoanalysis.

Though the movie is quite well directed and does bring out the incompleteness of the entwined relationships -  coming together of the characters and their falling apart for ever, creating history every moment - it does not give sufficient time for the development of conflicts and tensions. Given that the rolling time is a little less 100 minutes, the story telling obviously cannot deep dive into details - thus leaving it to the viewers to understand the complications and the enormity of the problems between the characters.

The final verdict - Like I said, if you have read well enough on the subject, you will definitely appreciate the movie - one of the very few of its kind. And if you don't have a clue on Jung and Freud, I suggest you take the time out to read on them, and then go watch the movie. Their histories are very enthralling and enable you to chart the progression of varied theories of psychoanalysis that have affected and moulded the 'modern thought'.

[Image source: Google Images]

Monday, January 16, 2012

Versatile Blogger: Nomination and Tag

Nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by Aparna here. Thanks a lot! I wasn't sure the origins of it, so searched the Internet and found the Versatile Blogger Award site here. They have a blog roll of all the winners - which is periodically updated. Aparna, your nomination is well deserved and sound me out when you win it - All the best!

The nomination does not come easy. It has a set of rules and here I go...

1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
Here are the fellow bloggers I nominate... (excluding bloggers who have already been nominated, I got only 10)
2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
Consider this done - the minute I publish the post, will let the nominated bloggers know.

3. Add the Versatile Blogger award picture to your blog post. 
Here it is...

4. Share 7 random things about yourself.
Okay, let's see how random I can get...
  • Though I can't sing for nuts, for as long as I can remember I have fancied being a top-notch singer - I used to sing along with the tapes, with a magazine rolled up as a mike and pretend I was giving an Oscar-winning performance. I still do it when nobody is at home (and now with YouTube instead) :D.
  • My first career option ever as a kid was to join the army and fight at the borders. In the 80's, women were still not part of the Indian army; and when my parents told me that, I wanted to be an army doctor. (Until ofcourse I later realized I just don't have it in me to become any kind of a doc :()
  • The first job I ever "interviewed" for was for the position of a Management Trainee at the Taj Group of Hotels. This was when I was still in college.
  • I have carried dividers, compasses in my bags during the bus rides to and from college. I was in Delhi and it was almost a necessity to carry such equipment for self defense. I have used these and umbrellas, elbows, knees to hit so many men (ofcourse the guilty ones only), real bad, where it really hurts the most.
  • Till I was in my early 20s, the worst abuse I had ever used was "bitch". And if I called so it was someone that, it was understood that they really deserved it and infact much more! I couldn't bring myself to use to the more illustrious vocabulary that I seem to fluently mouth out these days! 
  • I have admired and been infatuated by various celebrities from different field over the years. However, I have always proudly proclaimed that I have never been so star-struck as to put up posters in my room EXCEPT for only once in all these years - I had Rahul Dravid's poster on my bedroom wall for exactly 10 days when I was in Grade 8.
  • Though not at all a sportsperson, I have tried my hand (literally only that much) at most sports - lawn tennis, badminton, javelin throw, short put, karate, long jump, golf, volley ball, basket ball, throw ball, even cricket, and what not - only to come to the conclusion that all these are too "rough" for my taste :P. The one sport I have "seriously" pursued, for say 2 years continuously in school, was Table Tennis :).

Wow! I actually enjoyed doing this post! Thanks Aparna, once again.

Over to you guys, now! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

And there is so much more of Murphy...

A long long time ago I did a post on how Murphy has a habit of ruining my life given the inherent perversity  of this seamless universe - you can read the post on my experiments with Murphy's laws here.
I would be surprised if the universal truths I had documented years ago were no longer good - but aren't there more shocks to life than surprises?

Here are a few more Murphy-isms I am being subjected to.
  • Just when the tea is about to boil over, will something more urgent distract my attention. It will be that very second I would have turned that there will be spilled tea all over the burner.
  • I will wait all week for the supposedly shipped Amazon order to arrive, but the USPS/Fedex guy will find precisely that moment when I am in the shower to knock at the door. I will then have to take his note to the leasing office and hopefully not the shipping center to pick up my package.
  • After a long hiatus, I'll somehow pull my lethargic self out to go the the gym and that very day the gym will be closed for maintenance activity.
  • The only day that I choose to go on a quick evening walk will Vish decide to come home early from work to give me a surprise, and end up being surprised at my absence.
  • I will wait all day for the maintenance guy from the leasing office to show up to fix the fused bulb and he will choose to arrive the only time in the whole month that I would have put a face pack. Out-of-season Halloween for the poor guy!
  • Right when it is the time to take out the dish from the oven, will my gloves mysteriously  go missing and completely out of sight - resulting in unnecessary chaos and distress.
  • After putting the clothes in the washer, I'll occupy myself with other chores in order to multitask only to forget till after a couple of hours that I haven't put them in the dryer yet.
  • And I think, this one's the worst - I'll rationalize with Vish how picking up a bar of Snickers at the checkout lane of Walmart/Target is not a bad idea - 140 calories for all the walking around seems reasonable. And lo, behold, the check out lane we chose does NOT have snickers on the panels. I mean, I seriously doubt, who controls our lives more God or Mr. Murphy?
How is your equation with Murphy?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Creating cultures free from violence...

...Is the motto of the Men Can Stop Rape organization. You can read about them at their website linked here: Established more than a decade ago, with the vision to "institutionalize primary prevention of men's violence against women through sustained initiatives that generate positive, measurable outcomes in populations throughout the world", the organization is primarily based in the US and has recently come into lime light with their very popular The Strength campaign, with the slogan, "My strength is not for hurting"...

I have always believed that to create a society that is "safe" for women, it is not sufficient to educate the women and make them aware of their rights, their strengths but also educate the men and sensitize them on issues that women face. 
Mothers need to cultivate in their sons respect for women, sisters need to talk to their brothers to help them understand how a girl feels, classmates and colleagues should open up communication channels so that a girl does not hesitate to ask for help. 
Women can't just do this on their own, not because we lack in courage but because we lack in numbers. 

A long time ago, I wrote an article for a university newspaper on eve teasing and women's harassment on Delhi University's campus with exactly the same argument - The editorial team came back to me saying how so many men appreciated the thought and how it had never struck them that they could help proactively rather than simply consider these as only "women's issues". 

Like other crimes that our society is ridden by - murders, thefts, corruption, harassment against women is also a social problem not just a "woman's problem". And like other issues are dealt with out in the open - the girl child education program, the polio campaign, the AIDS awareness program - we need a dedicated, well planned campaign for stopping sexual harassment of women in any form. 

I cannot stress enough the need of such a campaign like the "Men Can Stop Rape" in India. Let this be a subject in the school syllabus. Adult education centers and other literacy missions should imbibe this in their curriculum. 
We need to go to the grass root level - when kids are as young as two or three years old, they are told to hit someone is wrong; when they grow up a little more and learn the sense of ownership, they are told to steal is wrong; and when they reach adolescence, we are hesitant to even impart sex education to them (atleast in India) and we simply refuse to talk about all the headlines they read - women raped, harassed, burnt, killed - We tell our daughters to come before dusk and not to roam about alone, without actually talking to them about all the dangers that lurk and what they can do in self defense - And we don't find any need to tell our sons anything. Why? Why this hypocrisy in our own value system? 

Let's educate the women and the men. Awareness and mutual understanding is the key to a healthy social eco system where crimes can be thwarted and criminals justly punished.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A head start ;)

Talk about actually giving a head start to your new year resolutions on the first day of the year itself. Vish and I took the going healthy bit too seriously, and along with a friend were on our way to hiking the Camelback Mountain in Phoenix as early as 7 AM on the 1st of January!

Camelback is a popular hiking and rock climbing destination in the valley and has two trails. We picked up the Echo Canyon trail that was labeled 'moderate'. Not that we are great or regular hikers, but you know that super ego within, 'if they say it's moderate, it must be easy'. Haa! God had his first lesson of the new year planned for us already. Though a 1.2 mile hike one way - the climb and descent both were extremely arduous. I cannot explain enough the havoc caused by the sand, the dirt, the gravel, the rocks, the boulders. 

The climb starts with a few sandy steps giving way to a fairly steep rise that is made only a degree simpler with the rail and net provided. To say that I struggled, would be an understatement (I have learnt modesty :)). Mid-way I had lost all steam and was ready to give up - panting, out of breath, feeling nauseated and faintish, the peak seemed too far. Vish applied all tricks of the trade - enthusiastic cheering and then subtle manipulation - "aren't you from the hills - whatever happened to the great Chaube's", and that's it - I just couldn't call it quits. Not on the first day of the year. 

And then we went on to the most challenging part of the ascent - a steep almost-vertical climb on a completely rocky terrain. I slipped a couple of times, bruised my ankles, took a minute's rest every two minutes, but we finally did make it to the top. And yes, the views were worth the trouble getting all the way up...

The descent was riskier and even more challenging - I tried the strategy of holding the rocks on both the sides with my hands and then swinging down - the trick did me good (and completely destroyed my forearms in the process) - I was down in record time - never mind the 60-year old and 10-year old local pros who were running down the slope - comparison is never healthy :D. 
As we returned home after the hike, followed by a quick lunch at an Iranian place, we could already feel the soreness creep in. 

Like a battered and bruised soldier but from a victorious war, I am still reeling from all the aches and the stretched joints - walking is difficult, lifting objects is impossible, the neck is stiff and so are 99% of the muscles but the sense of achievement is at its peak :). I am just hoping that this is not the only exercise I get in the whole year - to keep it optimistic, well begun is half done, folks!

Wishing you all a very happy new year - may fulfilling joy be yours every single day!


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