Thursday, October 27, 2005

Meera Jasmine's not-to-be-missed film

Audience: Malayalam and Tamil movie-goers, Indian movie-goers, Anyone who cares for and respects a girl/woman's life

I began writing about Meera Jasmine's debut movie in Tamil, "Run" a few posts ago when I posted an article on Sada. Unfortunately I was unable to watch the entire film.

But here's a Meera Jasmine film that must definitely go on your movie-list. On Sunday the 16'th of this month, "Paatam Onnu Oru Vilaapam" was aired on TV (I think it was on Surya TV). It was already telecast earlier on another Malayalam channel. The performance in this film fetched Meera this year's National award for best actress (her first) and I can clearly see why. This movie is a must see. It is about customs still prevalent in some Muslim societies in Kerala and how young girls become helpless victims of this system and pay a huge price, some with their lives too. Even abject poverty pales to other crimes that are perpetrated on young women and girls such as dowry, honor killing (not in this movie) and divorce. Divorce seems to be a convenience being exercised on frivolous grounds or for the personal comforts of the husband. Polygamy might have prevented or checked prostitution and rescued widowed women and women in dire straits in the past but does that mean a 50+ yr old man already married to 3 or 4 women, can still take home a teen bride.

In societies such as these it looks as though girls and women are used merely as objects of desire and pleasure and literally dumped after use. How sad and stupid that the men in these communities hardly realise the beauty and strength of a woman. Isn't the noble task of the creation of the entire human race in a woman's hands? Bearing a child is a sacrifice and not just an obligation. Man can always argue that he is also responsible for procreation. But although he can claim to be physically stronger he needs to constantly be reminded that it is the woman who goes through child birth. I am not denigrating or condemning all men but films as these do make you think in many different ways.

Meera moves us playing the character of the innocent, young and happy Muslim girl whose joy was in going to school, being with her friends and teachers and excelling in her studies. Her child like charm was a perfect fit for the role of the teen she portrayed. However her happy days are cut short when she is married to be a second wife of a man. Robbed of all of the joys of her young life the harsh reality sets in and her nightmares begin. From then on till the end it is a story and a performance to be watched; the life and agony of the young teen-wife poignantly performed by Meera.

The movie also touches on a topic that is very relevant to a society such as ours and yet hardly debated or depicted - marital rape. For these girls who have been victims of this crime, even the joy of the physical pleasures is lost and is replaced by constant fear, sleeplessness from nightmares and subsequently a total withdrawal from any kind of normal sexual activity. In countries such as the USA and Canada there is a lot of focus on a woman's psychological health. Unfortunately in these communities people are ignorant of it leave alone think about it. Women simply have to live with their psychological problems, fight them, find a way out for themselves or leave it to providence or nature to help them.

It's a pity that our secular government can do nothing about these crimes. Why are the lives of young girls and women being controlled by false believers of a religion and people who have no idea or concern about a woman's mental and physical well being.

Throughout the film our attention is drawn to an ostracized group of young muslim women. As someone put it, these girls are better off living alone with their fatherless children, shunned by their societies than to live with ignoramuses preaching and practising falsehood in the name of the Koran and Islam.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

IIPM exposed?

There are articles being posted on blogs by the Indian blogging community about an ex IIM(L) guy, Gaurav Sabnis, who was working with IBM and who had to put down his papers because of what he had written about IIPM on his blog. Actually another web site did the Expose on IIPM. Gaurav reported this matter on his blog after adding some of his own comments on the institute. This lead to a tumultuous turn of events that eventually culminated in his departure from IBM. Read all about it by following the links below.

http://www.zdnetindia.com/news/national/stories/129642.html for the report on his news (this page might not load properly on some computers),

http://gauravsabnis.blogspot.com/2005/10/update.html for the story in his own words, and

http://gauravsabnis.blogspot.com/2005/08/fraud-that-is-iipm.html for the post that started it all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A chain mail for some fun

We get them everyday, sometimes too many of them. The intent and the dissemination of the following e-mail is obvious. In fact I am sure many of you have read similar e-mails warning people of strangers in the night. However I am posting this one here for another reason. Read it and you'll understand why. Like a friend of mine commented, it's quite a masterpiece.

----- Original Message -----

From: XXXXXXX@xxxxx.com
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:06 PM
Subject: FW: [Fwd: Incident happened Yesterday Night....Please pass on Urgently to all IT Guys]


Hi

This is a story happened Yesterday in Hosur Road Madiwala. A guy named Vijayendra Kumar (Name Changed) an Embedded systems engineer working in one of the IT industry which is very near by St John's Hospital was walking late night may be 11pm to his room which is located near by to the office. Suddenly one of the girl who was looking like a family girl, she stopped Vijayendra and told that she is staying nearby JP Nagar and as she was looking nervous he asked any help is required ? She told I am very much feared of going in Auto at this time, Can you accompany me to my way home. I will pay you back while returning, This guy believed that and he thought
it may take few minutes to drop and return by auto from there and they started to find an auto. A auto which was standing quite far from some time suddenly driver came to him and asked "searching for an auto". She said yes and didn't asked where she wants to go and suddenly they started moving near JP nagar side.

After some time she started her story that she is from Pune and working in BPO and I am having my own vehicle Active Honda, while coming it got stopped and I had parked it on either side of the road where I met you. She was sitting very close to me and acting in different manners.

After traveling 2 kms, another guy near Bangerghatta road stopped the auto and whether he can accompany us, she told there is no problem and my side too. Suddenly the auto turned to some unknown area, where there were no houses or no one been seen. Suddenly the driver stopped the auto and showed the Knife which is very well known as "LONG" and they started to tie his mouth with some long cloth, Suddenly Vijayendra screamed to girl to run off, But one amazing thing happened that, She was one of the Gang member and observing that if anyone enters that road or not. She was just shouting Be fast Be fast................These two guys took 3000 Rs Cash, His Purse including all the Credit Cards and They tortured to tell the Pin numbers too.

They tied his Hands and Mouth from Some cloth and they warned him that, If you give complaint to the police.........You will be killed...............

All of sudden these three escaped with an auto, after some time he tried to remove cloth from my mouth and started walking towards main road and ................

As usual he gave complaint to the police and they are on their way to catch these Buggers.

" Guys, Don't ever drop any girls or Boys in the Late nights and You will Pay for that if you do so"

Just I request all the IT Guys, If you are leaving late night to your rooms or your residence. Please This is my Humble request that Never Drop any Unknown Guys and Don't mess with anyone During nights, as they will be fully drunked and they harm you for silly reason"

Please convey this to all of your IT friends......................................Its a matter of life

----- End of Message -----

Friday, October 21, 2005

Navarathna Oil.....A Pain in the Head

Audience: Indian TV viewers, Those of you wanting to try the product

How deceiving the Navarathna Oil ad on TV is. Amitabh using it at a time when he did "Deewar"? Chiranjeevi seeing himself though his entire movie career with this oil? Whom are these guys trying to fool? This thing didn't even exist until a couple of years ago. I wonder how Amitabh and Chiranjeevi signed up for the ad with such a script.

And as far as the product is concerned, don't waste a dime of your money on this crap. It's menthol disguised as some ayurvedic oil. Does cool your head but it also gives you a bad headache with its strong and repulsive eucalyptus oil like smell. Try a small bottle if you are really curious.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A lesson from my wife's Dentist?

Note: My longest post so far, so give it some of your time.

I will be taking my wife to her dentist soon for her monthly check-up and for the tightening of her braces. But the most intriguing and interesting part of visiting the dentist is this. It will be my third visit to the dentist and I actually don't know who she is. Confusing? Let me explain. After her initial examinations/x-rays/consultations/other treatments etc., with the senior dentist at the clinic my wife is checked regularly by this lady dentist who I guess is a consulting dentist at the clinic. I am allowed to be in the room while the dentist is at work. We speak and discuss with one another and all the while the dentist wears a mouth/nose mask and a white coat. All I can see while speaking to her is her eyes. I can deduce that she could be in her mid to late 20's or mayble in her early 30's too. Now suppose she were to run into me anywhere outside the clinic it would be impossible for me to recognize her unless she would tell me who she is. In fact it would also be difficult for me to identify her among the other dentists who work in the clinic as most of them are more or less of the same age group, size and stature, given I see them without their masks and coats on.

Drawing a parallel here to the usage of the "Burkha" worn by muslim women (in many cases whose eyes are also hidden behind a meshed cloth-screen), I think the biggest success story of the costume is in the fact that it prevents the creation of any sensuous feelings or thoughts in men. Besides that the "Burkha" also helps in protecting the identity of the wearer. My muslim friends tell me that the key feature of the costume is "modesty" because it hides the physical form of the wearer. So, "no flesh/curves/curvature-revealing, no turn-on's". However it is also understood that it is impractical to dress the women of the world this way. When Delhi was plagued by rapes a few months ago (even now they have a pretty bad rating) a surreptitious video made by the Police Commissioner on the skimpy dressing of girls and women, most of them shot in public places, was aired on one of the private TV channels. The video was so "wild" that even pious men would let go off their restraint. What to say of the others then? Here is where the "Burkha" triumphs.

And writing of the physical form, assuming Aiswarya Rai had the same face but an obese body would anyone call her beautiful? In that case aren't we also taking into consideration the rest of her body besides her face while making that judgement? Let's face it. When we call Aiswarya beautiful we ARE considering her entire physical form. Even if we were only looking at her face there are other elements of a face that constitute a woman's beauty besides her eyes. You just don't look at an only-eyes-revealing face and come to a conclusion. Do we?

Now this leads us to another question? Aren't we also enjoying Aiswarya's beauty when we call her beautiful? When do we find a song or a scenery beautiful? Only after we enjoy it, don't we? However unlike songs or sceneries is it ethical to enjoy another's beauty? Yet we do it all the time unconsciously. Why isn't that wrong or called sin? Or is it? At the same time it is also ridiculous to say to someone, "You look great today and I do enjoy that". Beauty is to be appreciated afterall but then are we all sinners when we do so?

I am not trying to say that you, I, and everyone drool at someone's physical form (although I am not denying that, THAT never happens either) but I personally feel that when you find someone beautiful in the physical sense the motive need not always be sensual. However I also find it difficult to not call that feeling completely "non-sensual" either. It is just that the level of sensousness varies from commentor to commentor, thinker to thinker and also depends on the object of appreciation. When I look at my sister or my pretty niece and tell them how beautiful they are I know I cannot be enjoying their beauty. Even if I were it would certainly not be sensually. It's my feeling again that the level of sensuality, the more stronger it is, the more we tend towards being and doing "WRONG" (can I use the world SIN here if not ADULTERY).

By now I can almost hear you screaming, How about inner beauty? Well that'll be another post...

Finally I am reminded of a lesser known episode in the Ramayana. Sita has just been abducted by Ravana, and Rama and Lakshmana are frantically searching for her. After some searching Rama finds Sita's jewels on the ground. Rama picks them and exclaims, "Look here Lakshmana, these are Sita's jewels. Aren't they?" To which the humble and benovelent Lakshmana replies "I know for sure that the anklets belong to Sita but I haven't got a clue about the necklace and the bangles." For Lakshmana even looking up towards any woman was a violation of his Brahmacharya. Hail Lakshmana! But did he have a message in that answer for all of us?

Friday, October 14, 2005

A "touching" article from another blog

I chanced upon this post and I decided to spread the news about the same. Beautifully written and touching indeed. Check it out at the following link.

http://nermeensaba.blogspot.com/2005/09/to-little-girl-i-met-on-train.html

Check out some of her other posts too. Worth spending your time.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Death the leveler?...250 girls crushed to death in a school in Pakistan

250 girls die, crushed to death in their school in Pakistan. What a terrible tragedy! What was going on in their minds in their final moments of excrutiating agony? What a waste of precious human resource.

What a play of Karma is this? How frivolous and small our earthly possessions feel in the face of this insurmountable loss. How fragile we are (like Sting sang it) and yet many of us live each day thinking we are going to live forever. But is that all to our lives, not knowing whether we'll last another day, another second? But isn't there something more grand to our lives than this feeling of nothingness and no-value to our lives. Definitely God isn't dumb.

So much of LOVE was also lost. There are instances of 50 and 100 or more guys trying to win the heart of just one girl; for many a mere glance from her is all that is needed to make their day and here 250 girls vanish off the face of the earth without giving their love or being loved.

Was Good Earth cruel or just or both? Don't these incidents add validity to the Hindu and Zen teaching of living each moment fully. After all it is the only moment that we have NOW, this very instant. Don't we?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Shady Hoardings in Chennai

Audience: Residents of Chennai

As we were driving around coastal Chennai and the city last Sunday we couldn't help reading the notorious hoardings erected for the Fitness One fitness centre at various vantage points along our route. I am sure there are many more of them all over the city. Let me reproduce some of the lines from these hoardings.

"All my senses want me to do it."

"I always enjoyed doing it, now he enjoys it as well."

"I used to do it once a week, now I do it everyday."

...and so on.

Here are some deductions:

1. The people behind this advertisement campaign fully understand what these lines can also refer to because if they didn't, why use them?
2. These guys also know the viewer-group they are targeting and that means they also know what those viewers will be thinking as they read these lines.
3. And for those who don't understand them, these statements obviously are referring to exercise. I don't think the ad-guys care a damn about them.
3. So the fun in the ad is when they are targeted for people described in statement number 2 because if it wasn't then these lines serve no purpose at all, right?
4. This also goes on to say that to make their idea really ring, the ad-makers would want more of these "double-meaning"-understanding-folks as their viewers. Probably they even want people to comment, the press to report or post a blog as this one.

Unfortunately the questions that they have obviously not considered while creating this ad-campaign are:

1. What will school children make out of these statements as they read them?
2. What will senior citizens (that includes their own parents, grand parents, uncles, aunts, teachers...) feel when they read them?

And some other obvious questions that come to mind are:

3. Was this advertisement designed by an all-male group or an all-female group and if they were a mixed group how exactly did the discussions, the planning and the execution go?
4. How are the models feeling about being cast in these ads?