The World as I see it

My Life. My Views

How to behave with drunk people? — March 13, 2012

How to behave with drunk people?

At a party recently, a few girls got drunk… I would say they were high so much so that they were swearing at the top of their lungs, dancing like no ones watching (which is good) and then falling over innocent bystanders in the process (which is not)… and then there was puking… the bathroom was obviously a mess and so was the path to the bathroom.. This did make me a little uncomfortable, unlike a lot of others who were pretty ok… but then I do get very uncomfortable around drunk people.. and this is something I am still working on…

Thinking back, one part of me tells me I should not take these things seriously and should casually brush them aside… another part gets super annoyed at anyone who cant handle their drinks…

What do you guys think? What would you do if in such a situation? Curious to know 🙂

होली मुबारक!!! — March 8, 2012

होली मुबारक!!!

होली मुबा!!!

There is only one way that I can pay tribute to womankind on International Woman’s day today and celebrate my most favorite festival, Holi 🙂 Spending it in rememberance of the woman I find most inspirational, my nani.

I called up my Mami to wish her a happy holi… The mood was sombre in the house since everyone misses Nani a lot… specially during the festivals because she used to celebrate each and every festival with a lot of enthusiasm and spirit!! Mami choked up while talking about my Nani, who was her mother-in-law for 25 odd years. Seeing her talk about Nani with such love and care was heart-warming… A sentence she said specially stayed in my mind long after the call was over… She said “You know your Nani was a very strong woman with an innate sense of fairness. She would sometimes stand against her husband and her own son for me if she thought I was right. Most people these days are afraid of standing up for their own children some times for fear of retribution and she would do it for me… such was her love… unconditional and pure and yet unrelenting against injustice of any type”

Now if that doesnt talk about how selflessness then I dont know what does!

Hats off to my most favorite person in the world and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for always leading by example! Your body may not be amongst us anymore but your thoughts and ideals will live on forever!

On that note, I hope you had a great Holi and took time out for your loved ones 🙂 and go give a kiss to your favorite woman in the world… I just did 🙂

When women rally against their own kind — February 21, 2012

When women rally against their own kind

An issue as sensitive as rape had compelled many women in the past to take their own lives or bear the mental trauma for all their lives. Just thinking that women can turn an indifferent eye towards rape is a very disturbing thought! The sheer helplessness of a rape victim and the mental scar is something that even men can show empathy towards. In such circumstances when women turn a deaf ear to the cry of a rape victim, I feel nothing but immense rage towards my own kind!!

Recently, in one of the busiest streets of Kolkata, a woman was raped and dumped after brutally being beaten up. Not  just that, she was jeered at by police officers and not taken to the hospital as is required in such cases. To top it all, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee goes out to say “The incident is contrived and intended to malign my government. Truth will come out”.

To the woman who came as a ray of hope in the otherwise devastated State, Shame on you!!

Commercialization of love… — February 14, 2012

Commercialization of love…

[Source: http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/]

IMHO, celebrating Valentine’s Day is a good idea. In fact, I believe every important relationship in your life should have a day dedicated to it! Its like celebrating Raksha bandhan, you dont need a day to tell your brother/sister how much they mean to you but having a day dedicated to that relationship means you leave everything else aside and dedicate that particular day in the memory or if you are lucky, then actually being with that loved one. This is precisely the reason why I am not opposed to the idea of Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. It doesnt mean you dont love them or care for them the rest of the year. It just means that when life is rushing by and you are losing track of time, on a particular day you leave everything aside, take a step back and actually be with that special someone…

What I do NOT like about “days” is the commercialisation of love, the one emotion that makes everything else in your life worthwhile. Suddenly everyone from the flower guy to the chocolate owners to the greeting card gallery owners start charging from 100-200% markup on all their merchandise… and the sad part is that we fall prey to those things and burn our hard-earned money on chocolates/flowers/gifts! Many of us succumb to it due to peer pressure or the expectations set by the said loved one.. “Tum mere liye kuch nahi laaye? Tum mujhse pyar nahi karte!” Now thats the last thing you want to hear from that special someone on that day, right?

How about this? You celebrate love by thinking of each other, by spending it with each other… but instead of doling out inexplicable amount of money on flowers that will wither come tomorrow, or chocolates that will give you the extra calories you can do without, why not take a longgg walk and set aside some money to bring a smile to someone else’s life. Bring a smile on your loved one’s face by contributing your bit to someone else 🙂

On a fun note, as Sheldon Cooper once said, “Given that St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman Priest who was stoned and beheaded, wouldn’t a more appropriate celebration of the evening be taking one’s steady gal to witness a brutal murder?” 😀

Have a fun day, guys 🙂

Movie Review: Silsila and an Award — February 13, 2012

Movie Review: Silsila and an Award

I must be one of the few to have never seen the Yash Raj mega blockbuster Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri and Rekha starrer Silsila. I was always in love with the songs but never got around to watching the movie. I finally did and I have to say I am terribly disappointed. I had heard such good things about the movie and I enjoyed the first half so much, it probably upped my expectations a lot… so much so that I ended up intensely disliking Amitabh and Rekha’s character towards the end of the movie.

For the uninitiated, here is the story: This movie starts with 2 brothers: Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) and Shekhar Malhotra (Shashi Kapoor). Shekhar is engaged to be married to Jaya, but before they can marry, he dies. Amitabh, in the mean time, is madly in love with Rekha and wants to marry her. When Amitabh finds out that Jaya is pregnant with her brother’s baby, he decides to sacrifice his love to marry Jaya. In the meantime, Rekha gets married to a decent doctor (Sanjeev Kapoor). Amitabh and Jaya, both married to different people, run into each other and start an extra marital affair!

They always loved each other and were in love-less marriages, so it was hard to keep hands off each other. They start lying, cheating their spouses to meet up! They even leave their spouses to run away and live happily ever after. Thats when they realise how the society views them and go crying back to their respective spouses. Now, I have the following problems with the movie

  1. Amitabh Bachchan’s character is in love with Rekha. Funny then how he makes Jaya pregnant!!
  2. Funnier is how the only reason he goes back to his wife is because she is carrying his child!!!
  3. Funnier still how she smiles and hugs him saying, she knew he would come back :O

I have no issues with Amitabh realising that he never really loved the woman he married and that he always has loved Rekha. He doesnt want to think about the world and his wife and wants to think about his own happiness! I am ok with that too… but then I lost it completely when Jaya takes him back and how she pleads to him when he is leaving her “Ab mera dhyan kaun rakhega?” I would have been happier if this movie did not end in the typical Bollywood style… Pretty sensitive topic should have been dealt with more sensitivity than portrayed in the movie. One ends up feeling no sympathy whatsoever for any of the characters involved, which is pretty sad!

Now moving on to happier things: Thanks Deepika for the Liebster award! I am truly honored 🙂

Per the blog, to accept this award, the recipient will:

  1. Thank the fellow blogger who nominated you.
  2. Link back to the person who awarded you.
  3. List five blogs that have affected your writing in a positive manner.
  4. Leave comments on those blogs to let them know of the nominations.
  5. Post the award on your blog.

I have woken up from a longgggggggg hiatus from blogging, and so my award goes out to all those friends whose blogs I love and I wish they would write more often 🙂

Vasu: http://vasutalkies.wordpress.com/ Her blogs always emanate the same warmth as she does! Brilliant thinker and writer!

Avada Kedavara: http://evanescentthoughts.wordpress.com/ Recently engaged, I wish her all the happiness in life… Also, I wish she would write more often for her loyal readers 🙂

Serendipity: http://sweetserendipity.wordpress.com/ Cant believe it is almost 4 years since you last wrote! I hope alls well and you get back to blogging soon!

Nikhil: http://mirrorcracked.wordpress.com/ Its great to see you back in the blogging circle.. Keep writing!!

Prerna: http://pr3rna.wordpress.com/ I miss your regular updates on my google reader! Hope you are well and start blogging full throttle again 🙂

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua — February 7, 2012

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

When I ordered this book on flipkart, I knew nothing about it… Yes, I had come across the highly discussed article on WSJ – Why Chinese Mothers are Superior. The article was so explosive, it touched the raw nerve of every westerner I knew. Even then, I had no idea this book was related to that article. I ended up buying it because it was highly recommended by a friend, and I am glad I did… If the article was this explosive, imagine what the entire book would be like!!

Basically the book is a memoir of a first generation Chinese immigrant lady, who is highly accomplished (Harvard et al), married to an American, has 2 daughters and 2 dogs and some pretty strong opinions on Chinese style of parenting. In reference to the book, by Chinese parenting, she refers to parenting style of being extremely strict with children, training them with a hard stick, making sure they turn out successful. This kind of parenting style is mostly associated with Asian women, Chinese, Indian, Korean, etc…

You know you are dealing with a Chinese parent when you can NEVER

  • Attend a sleepover
  • Have a playdate
  • Be in a school play
  • Complain about not being in a school play
  • Watch TV or play computer games
  • Choose their own extracurricular activities
  • Get any grade less than an A
  • Not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • Play any instrument other than the piano or violin (Replace this with Classical music/Bharatnatyam in the case of Indian kids)
  • Not play the piano or violin.

Amy Chua starts the book by claiming that Chinese parenting style is a fool proof way of producing supremely intelligent and talented kids through sheer dilligence. Lack of talent is simply not an option. The approach to failure is very different. Here is an example from the book:

For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child. Other Western parents will sit their child down and express disapproval, but they will be careful not to make their child feel inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their child “stupid,” “worthless” or “a disgrace.” Privately, the Western parents may worry that their child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that there is something wrong with the curriculum and possibly the whole school. If the child’s grades do not improve, they may eventually schedule a meeting with the school principal to challenge the way the subject is being taught or to call into question the teacher’s credentials.

If a Chinese child gets a B—which would never happen—there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A.

There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids’ true interests. For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it’s a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that.

The book is a fun read because I could relate to some of the things being said and done in the book. As an Indian, growing up in a middle class family, my sister and I:

  • were not allowed to have sleepovers
  • had only 2 career options growing up: Engineering/Medicine
  • had to excel in exams (I once got less than 70% in Maths, my dad sat with me every day for the next 3 months till I topped the class)
  • had to take up a hobby (I took up Singing, my sister took up Bharatnatyam (We both loved it and were never forced but always encouraged to develop hobbies). Also, every extracurricular was ok, as long as the grades did not drop!)
  • were allowed a half an hour of television time daily, Sundays were special and we were allowed to watch 1 movie (this privilege was based on upcoming exams, summer vacation, etc)

Kids and their marks were a constant topic of discussion between all the neighbouring aunties. A child doing well ensured that his/her mom walked about with a proud smug look on her face. Parents would compare and the comparisons would never end.

This may seem like I had a deprived childhood. Au Contraire, I had a blast growing up! My parents were closely involved in every school activity/test/exam, which made even exams seem like fun. All the restrictions never seemed like one coz if we were not allowed to watch tv for more than a half an hour, it meant our parents did the same! You can not expect kids to study while parents watch tv, do you? In fact, I was encouraged and prodded all my life to work beyond my capability… I was pretty average growing up, but I would push the envelope and give everything more than my 100%, and then leave the rest to God. I owe this attitude completely to my parents! We were never allowed to give excuses for below-par performances – Bad teacher, tough syllabus, tough exam, nothing! If we dint do well, it was because we did not work hard enough!

I am not saying I am in favor of Chinese parenting (Amy Chua did go too far a couple of times), but I do not fully approve of Western Parenting as well (If you tell a 5-year old, you can do what you want… he would want to play only video games and waste time!). I guess the formula lies somewhere in the middle. Both styles of parenting are effective based on the personality of the child and the timing!

Overall, a fun read! I recommend this book to all the mothers 🙂

Happy Birthday to me :-) :-) :-) — February 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to me :-) :-) :-)

Not everyone handles birthdays very well specially when u r on the wrong side of 20s!!! 😛

I absolutely loveeeee this clip from FRIENDS when they all recall their 30th bday!!! Brought a hugeee smile on my face 🙂

I thought my enthusiasm would fade out but naaahhhh I still love birthdays :-))

I can say I am all ready to be pampered 😉

Have you seen the new ‘The Hindu’ ads? — January 30, 2012

Have you seen the new ‘The Hindu’ ads?

If you havent, the new Hindu ads are a must watch… Its hilarious… A satire on the state of Indian youth today!

Some of my favorite in the series:

Ques: Where is Tahrir Square? Ans: I think its like a geometrical shape, like circle, square! 😛

Ques: In Ramayan, who is Rama’s father? Ans: Pandavas maybe 😛

Ques: Who is author of the Harry Potter series? Ans: Julius Ceaser maybe, I dont know! 😛

Ques: Who will succeed Ratan Tata? Ans: His son, Mukesh Ambani! 😛

For more such funny ones, watch the videos below:

Oh and this post marks the 700th post on this blog! Yoohoooooo!! 😀

Hows the background? — January 27, 2012

Hows the background?

Dear Readers,

Ever so often, I toggle between ‘its great, lets keep it!’ to ‘Too loud, lets go for something cleaner’ thoughts about the background of my blog. It just occured to me that you guys are the best people to give me an honest feedback on this.

Should I keep the background as is? Or opt for something… ummm… less loud (for lack of better word)?

Let me know 🙂

Love

Amazon Kindle Fire vs Apple iPad? And the winner is… —

Amazon Kindle Fire vs Apple iPad? And the winner is…

 Ever since the super duper success of iPads, all the big names are coming up with their own version of tablet computers. One of the better ones in the market these days is Kindle Fire.

 You can find a more detailed analysis of different features below but first things first… As an end user on this side of the world, I look for VFM (Value For Money) in every product I buy. If 90% of the features can be found in a product which is 70% cheaper, I will take it! Thats how the Indian mindset works, we are a breed that is very price conscious.

Keeping that in mind, Kindle Fire is a no-brainer! Simply because it is not only half the price of an iPad, you can practically access amazon’s store from anywhere in the world, without having to pay for the internet. To add to the charm, Fire is so much smaller than the iPad, this making it convenient to carry when traveling. Did I mention Fire runs on Android? That kind of seals the deal, doesnt it? 🙂

  Amazon Kindle Fire Apple iPad 2
Price $199 $499-829
Content Source Amazon iTunes
App Store Amazon App Store & Android Apps iOS App Store
Apps Available 15,000+ 90,000+ for iPad
Screen Size (inches) 7 9.7
Screen Resolution 1,024×600 1,024×768
Screen Pixels Per Inch 169 132
Size (inches) 7.5 x 4.7 x .45 9.5 x 7.31 x .34
Weight 14.6 ounces 21.28 ounces
OS Custom Android iOS
Capacity 8GB 16-64GB
Expandable Storage No No
3G No Optional
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Processor Dual-core TI OMAP 4 Dual-core A5
Camera No Front and Rear
GPS No On 3G Models
Browser Amazon Silk Mobile Safari
Battery Life 8 hours 7.5 hours

We have a clear winner here: Amazon Kindle Fire

More reviews on Fire coming up as and when I get the hang of using it.

International Kolkata Book Fair 2012 — January 26, 2012

International Kolkata Book Fair 2012

Had the privilege of being in Kolkata during the Book Fair. My love for books was enough to make sure I keep a full day aside for the fair and it was so worth it…!!

There were halls full of stalls put up by various publishing houses and big book stores from all over the world. Apart from that, there were country specific set-ups! In the Italia setup, there were a few famous Italian authors floating by, seeing people’s responses to their books. It was all so informal and casual, no hangups, no starry tantrums… a few pictures and autographs here and there…

I have one regret though: I wish I was a little more prepared for the book show. For someone who doesnt know which type of books they want to browse, it can be pretty intimidating and there arent enough signs to guide you to your type of books. This type of fair was more for people who had come down to see all the stalls from A-Z. An undertaking of such a large scale should have better structure with maps handed out so people can find their way through the maze easily.

Another downside was that even though the book fair had inaugurated on 25th Jan, a lot of construction work was still going on, with many stalls not yet ready with books still stacked neatly in carton boxes. A lady at the food stall told us no electricity had been provided to her stall yet and so she could not serve any food.

All in all, I had a good time… Ended up buying something I had been wanting for a long time… My very own Tintin collection 🙂

As soon as I have had time to unpack, I will be putting up a picture of my collection 🙂

So, anyone else been to the Calcutta Book Fair?

Crying is my birth right and I shall have it!! — January 19, 2012

Crying is my birth right and I shall have it!!

Ok, I admit.

I am a cry baby! I cry at the drop of a hat over anything and everything… Sometimes I cry for the silliest of things (like when my plant died after it was ignored because Noobie and I were travelling)…

Any good movie, book, blog, song or tweet is enough to make my cry.

Sometimes I get annoyed at myself, coz here I am sitting in the office and I read a report on some hungry children in Kenya and there drops a tear!! Now, its awright when at home, but at work, being caught wiping tears with a tissue can get really embarrassing!

If I am not wrong, I must get teary-eyed at least once in 2-3 days! In fact my hubby makes a lot of fun… Sometimes when I cry for no reason at all, he makes his oh-god-what-now face and says ‘Bahut din ho gaye the rone ka weekly quota khatam kar rahi ho?’ (Many days have passed since you last cried. Are you making up for the week’s quota?)

So, you get the point. I basically love to cry…

But I sometimes wonder ‘Is it a bad thing to cry’?

I can almost imagine Amitabh Bachchan roaring on the top of his voice ‘Mard ko dard nahi hota’… Basically crying has always been associated with women. Another stereotype. Reason? Possibly because women arent afraid of being mocked for crying or for that matter afraid of openly expressing their emotions. Men, on the other hand, are! They like to keep everything bottled up. In my honest opinion, it is important to cry some times, to get all the negative energy out… I am sure all will agree that crying definitely makes the head and the heart lighter…

Crying is not a sign of vulnerability nor is it a sign of weakness. Keeping pain bottled up may make you look macho/strong temporarily but eventually the volcano will burst and the lava will come out stronger than never before…

So, my dear friends, cry away! 🙂

Help stop SOPA/PIPA —
Happy 150th Birthday!! — January 13, 2012
Salwar more provocative than a Saree? — January 6, 2012

Salwar more provocative than a Saree?

I enjoy reading award related posts. One of the prime reasons for that is you get a chance to learn about some very good blogs which you may have never come across. I came across one such blog through Smitha – Shail’s Nest, and through her blog I read this article which got me inspired enough to write about the topic that has always bothered me: “What goes on in the psyche of a man who wants to impose himself on a woman unwilling to comply?

I do not know the answer to this question. Who knows why some creeps do the unthinkable! But there is one thing I do know: If all the women in India were to start wearing Sarees instead of salwar (which is the most prominently worn outfit across India), it will definitely not aid in bringing the rapes down as suggested by Seetamma and V Dinesh Reddy (See excerpt below)

Seetamma, in an interview earlier this week, said women needed a dress code “for their own good”. The independence of women, she said, had nothing to do with wearing modern clothes. What, according to Seetamma, might keep women safe from rapists and sundry low-life? “Only a sari,” she declared, “with long-sleeved blouses invokes respect for women, nothing else.”

Seetamma’s remarks represent the nadir of modern Indian thought and are the latest in a series of offensive, unthinking and plain stupid comments by public officials, who in a right-thinking country should have been forced out of office. Instead, many Indians, especially men — probably the majority — likely agree with them.

The latest round of absurd comments began last week when a reporter in Hyderabad asked Andhra Pradesh director general of police V Dinesh Reddy why the police had failed to stem the rising graph of rape (more than three a day in 2011) and murder. This is what the learned Reddy had to say: “When you are taking (sic) food that gives good josh, (my best translation: playful energy), as time goes by you tend to be more naughty… rapes and all cannot be controlled by the police. Even the villagers from coastal Andhra Pradesh, where it used to be more traditional, are wearing salwar kameez. All these things provoke these types of things, which is (sic) not in control of the police. So, rapes per se, increase or decrease, you cannot attribute (this) to the police.”

Are you serious? Do these people really believe wearing a saree is going to command more ‘respect’ for women? On what basis? From a logical, rational standpoint, a saree always gets more attention because it shows a lot more skin than a Salwar, which is covered from top to bottom… I love and respect saree as an outfit but it is irrational to say that a salwar is more provocative than a saree… Despite all the pinnings and caution, all those who have worn sarees at any point of time will agree with me that a saree is essentially a large piece of cloth. The number of mishaps/oops moments possible when wearing a saree far outweigh those when wearing a salwar!

Let us now move out of the realm of which clothing attracts perverts. Because frankly, I whole-heartedly agree with the conclusion of the author in the article – atrocities against women have nothing to do with what she wears. A pervert’s gaze will remain pervert whether you cover her in a burqa or a bikini!

If we go back a little in history… In the land of Ram Rajya, or even in the Mesopotamian era, the description of women’s attires often includes a bikini-top along with an angavastram tied around the waist. And yet, such atrocities against women were unheard of in those times. The whole purdah system came into place when the Mughals invaded India (More on this later).

Alas! Our so-called-leaders fail to fathom this and instead of going to the root of the problem, are busy torturing the victims further! As I prepare to end this piece, the question continues to linger on in my mind…