Friday, July 31, 2009

Names Changed...

Here's something that I have been pondering over since some time.

You must be aware that newspapers should withhold the name (and any other information that can reveal the identity) of molest or rape victims. In one particular instance, I felt sad that the same standards were not applied even when the story seemed as scandalous, or at least with similar possible outcomes — something that would bring shame to the victim and the family. Why? Because the concerned person was a man...

A senior citizen was operated upon after he shoved a glass tea cup up his ass. The news was published with the name and photo of the withered old man with salt-pepper beard on the hospital bed, visibly in pain. Even if we say the act was pervert, the act of publishing the news with such relish (and visual aids) also perhaps bordered on pervert lines. In my view, his name also should have been concealed because the publicity was sure to bring him and his family the same kind of scandal that a rape / molest victim needs to be sheltered from. Also, the old man was a victim himself, his act had caused no one but him a lot of pain and shame.

Besides, what was achieved by publishing the name? Is information for the sake of it justified? What was achieved by publishing his photo? All his shrivelled face must have served for would be as an excuse to crack lewd jokes.

Now, consider the issue with a hypothetical twist. Imagine a 60-plus woman had shoved a glass up her ass. I am sure, some hypocritical sense of dignity would have prevented her name from being revealed. I use the word hypocritical because the same standards were not applied to the old man, just because he was a man. An interesting instance of gender bias, isn't it? Who knows, if the incident was published even minus the woman's name, moral purists may have lambasted the newspaper with expressions like Scandalous, Against Indian Culture, Against Indian pride and all such crap, refusing to believe that Indian women could ever indulge in bizzare acts of sexual gratification...

This incident, which happened quite some time ago, came back to my mind after another news came up recently. A middle-aged married man, with two kids, was tonsured and his face smeared with vehicle oil for reportedly harassing a married woman with obscene calls and messages over the past three months. And yes, his name was not changed in the report. Anyone who has faced such calls, or been molested on crowded buses may have vehemently wished for such, or worse public humiliation for the accused. But, actually seeing the photograph on page — a scared, shamed man, his face turned grey with humiliation — didn't exactly elicit a reaction of feminist jubilation.

While we safeguard the honour and dignity of women who have been wronged, perhaps we can be a little more sensitive to those whom we think have wronged. At least in the first case. In the second case, I am not really sure. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gayatri Devi passes away

A little over a month after Congress issued a circular asking its cadres to shed off their royal hangover — to be more precise, to stop using titles like Maharaja, Maharani, Yuvaraj and so on, a Maharani who stood up against the same party, and won with a landslide margin (recorded in the Guiness Book!) whose elegance and charm got her a place in Vogue's list of one of the most beautiful people in the world, is no more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A thoughtful post

I found an interesting piece on religious conversion written by Manju Joglekar on her blog. Please share your views / comments on her space.

Read article here

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Learning Peyote, Brick and Ladder Stitch

One big accomplishment over the past month is that I have learnt three basic bead-weaving stitches. This is something that I have wanted to learn since a long long time, but could not find anyone to teach me. Then, I chanced over a jewellery-design book and things changed. :)

I have made the large earrings using ladder and brick stitch based on the instructions on this site

I have made an even-count peyote stitch bracelet with small earrings to go with it. These are made from a very basic ladder-brick stitch combination, also used in the large earrings.

The bookmark is made from three small peyote stitch segments woven together, the instructions for which are in the book Jewelry and Beading Designs for Dummies by Heather H Dismore and Tammy Powley that I got from the British Council.

Jewelry and Beading Designs for Dummies by Heather H Dismore and Tammy Powley

I found a lot more books on jewellery making in the library, but this book was the only one in which the three stitches (peyote, ladder and brick) were mentioned with instructions. However, after I spent quite some hopeless hours trying to make a simple even-count peyote with instructions from the book, the internet came to the rescue. These are the sites that I have referred to for brick stitch and peyote stitch

Here are the things you need to start any jewellery project:

Seen here is a reel of nylon thread (called Nymo in all western jewellery-making sites), a long-nose plier, earring hoops, hooks, a very fine needle, Fevibond to secure the knots and assorted beads. All sites mentioned them as Delica beads, but in Indian stores, no one recognized either the name Nymo or Delica. In gujarati, we call these as 'kidia' moti. The best quality that I have come across yet is in a shop called Bhavsar in old Ahmedabad. All other packets I got have a somewhat irregular size, and so, the slightly small beads tend to get stuck in the needle and you have to rework. You can find most of these materials at a shop that sells embroidery materials.

Bead-weaving in particular and jewellery-making in general needs a lot of concentration. Way too often my mind wanders and I make mistakes, have to start all over again. However, it's fun, how one small project involves you, and how making a small earring becomes your mission for a day. You sit occupied with colours and patterns, and once a design is done, the joy of creation leaves you with a silly smug.

Related post: Some necklaces that I made

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hooch killed him eventually

I remember the tired man
with a cycle cart.
He took us four-year-olds
On a joyride round and round
on days when he was sobre.
On days he was high on hooch*
He used to swear and make a scene
And snatch her home at odd times.
As hundreds die in my city
I remember him, long dead now;
He didn't die in a mass tragedy, no
But hooch killed him eventually.

*Hooch: Country-made liquor / spurious liquor.

Ahmedabad death toll crosses 100: Read article

Friday, July 03, 2009

Being comfortable in your skin and Michael Jackson

I never saw MJ moonwalk till news channels filled the piece on TV after his death. Never is an exaggeration. May be a glimpse of the amazing feat once or twice, but that's all. I always used to get saddened every time his face flicked on TV, was splashed in the newspapers...

'What has he done to himself??? Why is he like he is?' I remember wondering with a disapproving shrug. Yes, I had read about the many surgeries, but I still couldn't fathom why someone, especially someone as high as him, on such a pedestal of fame, was plagued with a dissatisfaction of the superficial kind, being obsessed with 'how i look' instead of may be 'how / what / why i am'...

Pouring over the photos, the only time he looks alive and kicking to me is as a kid, a part of Jackson 5, then may be till the 70s. That's when his skin looks fed with real blood, real emotions, love or hate. Proceed to the era of white face with red lips — the star value is there, the life force is missing.

How plastic surgery changed his face

I read this article that state's what a mess MJ had become when he died and it sent a whole lot of gloom down me. One little lesson I learn from the moonwalking giant's life and death is to be comfortable in your skin. Otherwise, no matter what giant you become, you may end up pained and plastic.

Looking good is important. But feeling good is much more crucial. And feeling good should not lean too much on one's looks...