The Sad, Bad, Mad State of Affairs

(Something I wrote on FB a while back, almost two months ago…have been meaning to put it into the blog.)

I liked it better when the world wasn’t at my fingertips. When a certain amount of ignorance was bliss. When I didn’t know what was happening where and when to whom and how. Yes. I liked the ‘old days’ better.

Ostrich with head in sand syndrome did you say? Perhaps. But I don’t see how it’s better watching innocent children being blown to bits in the name of righting wrongs and self-preservation, and not doing anything about it. I don’t see how it’s enough to know, in gruesome detail, about the rapes of babies, toddlers and children at the hands of their care-givers, and just turn the page of the newspaper and carry on reading. I can’t fathom why certain people in society are put on pedestals, worshipped, followed and feted — for what?? Their fake, sculpted noses; their fake, rubber breasts; their fake, injected asses and the amount of clothes that spill out of their closets.

There are companies and associations and federations that spend obscene amounts of money on men to chase or hit different sized balls, while everyday children are dying of malnutrition, war wounds and lack of clean water. There are people who charge the earth to make movies, appear in ads, cut ribbons and dance at weddings and yet, the children of a lesser god struggle to just stay alive.

We publish, read and celebrate rubbish. We watch crass comedies and help cash registers ring. We, WE, allow mediocrity to win.

Power corrupts. Evil rules. And we all know this. And we carry on. We all just fucking carry on.

How have we not turned mad? How are all keeping calm and carrying on? Yes, we sign petitions, go on protest marches, indulge in drawing-room debates and write long, rambling status updates or blogposts. Like this one.
So is my conscience clear then?

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Another Role Model

Meet Phyllis Sues…yogini, dancer, writer, singer, musician AND trapeze artist.

Seriously. She’s also a TRAPEZE ARTIST!

That’s effin’ A!!

Oh. Did I mention that she’s 91 awesome years old?!?

Now you get it, right?

I got this picture and the following write-up from the “Growing Bolder” page on FB. What an inspiration. I really need to change my though process…

‘Phyllis Sues started her own own fashion label at 50, became a musician and learned Italian and French in her 70’s, took tango and trapeze at 80 and walked into her first yoga class at 85. At 91, she has a CD on iTunes, writes for the Huffington Post, dances and performs regularly and jumps rope and practices Yoga daily. “If you don’t train the body every day it withers. If you don’t train the mind everyday, you lose it. Yoga is a wakeup call to every cell in your body. I live to do yoga and I do it to live.” ‘

 

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Paddy and Nico

This will make an excellent bio-pic one day. These two might even inspire a novel or film. Because they’re amazing. She’s amazing.

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of sharing news, views and reviews that I found interesting, informative and/or was high on the feel-good factor. The story of Sarah Patricia Jones and Nicolas Espinosa, better known as Paddy and Nico, definitely scores top marks in the last category.

Dancer Paddy is an 80-year-old widow who took up salsa dancing after her husband died. They were living in Spain. She continued to stay on there even after his death. She found Nico’s dance academy and decided to pursue a dance form that she had never learnt. Soon they became a team and were performing the most amazing dance routines. In 2009, the entered and won the Spanish dance competition, ‘Tu Si Que Valse’. In 2014, they entered “Britain’s Got Talent” and won the hearts of the judges and audience alike. Judge Amanda Holden used her golden button to send the duo straight to the semi-finals.

While rehearsing for the semis, Paddy reported cracked a rib and informed the organisers that she would have to pull out. Luckily, she was given the all-clear and went on to not only compete in the semi-final round, but going through to the finals. They finished 9th overall.

Watching Paddy and Nico dance is a joyful experience. You can’t help but be amazed and awestruck and crazily happy at the same time. Paddy is an inspiration. Such a cliched term, but that’s what makes it oh-so-true.

I’ve put the links to the “Britain’s Got Talent” videos available on Youtube in this write-up so that whenever I feel like I can’t do anything and that I’m worthless and fat and over the hill…I can watch this wonder woman and say to myself, “If Paddy can, I can too!”

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The Book Tag

Considering that part of my blog name, here in WordPress, has something to do with books, I don’t really end up writing too much about books, do I? (Alright! Alright! I know! I know! I don’t end up writing much at all…period!)

Anyway, what better way to rectify this lapse than a book tag?!

There’s a tag that’s all the rage on FB right now where I’m supposed to list ten books that left an impression on me and then tag ten people in return.

My friends Monika Manchanda, Bali Sanghvi, Tripta Roy and Devdan Chaudhuri tagged me. Taking a cue from Monika, I have turned this into a blogpost 😄 What a clever idea, Monsie!

So, here goes, in random order:

1) The Harry Potter series: J.K. Rowling
2) The Mahabharata: Ved Vyas (various versions including ACK & Rajagopalachari)
3) The God of Small Things: Arundhati Roy
4) Those Days: Sunil Gangopadhyay (“Sei Shomoy”, translated by Aruna Chakraborty)
5) Chowringhee: Shankar (translated by Arunava Sinha)
6) Le Petit Prince: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
7) Chicken Soup for the Soul (specifically the first one I ever read)
8) A Streetcar Named Desire: Tennessee Williams
9) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: Edward Albee
10) poetry by Tagore, T. S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Sharanya Manivannan and Sumana Roy

I know I’ve got some plays and poets in the list, but then, this list wouldn’t be complete or true to the person I am, right? Some others that I was loathe to leave out:
*Pride and Prejudice
*To Kill a Mockingbird
*Acts of Faith
*The Kite Runner

I’ll do the tagging on FB, but those if you who stop by, do share some of your favourites with me 😃

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“All About Robin”

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT9Eeg6aeszx7wlhO0Zwr5RV2scUc4EfO7yw3BaV-XeAVv2AON1LA

That’s what the fucking show should have been called.

Or, “How I Met Your Mother Even Though I Was, Still-Am-But-In-Denial, And Forever-Shall-Be In Love With YOUR Aunt Robin.”

Yes. I am…errr, was, WAS, soooooo was, a die-hard “How I Met Your Mother” fan and I was waiting with bated breath, such bated breath that my lungs hurt, for last night’s finale. And my lungs are still hurting, because there is this giant-sized sense of betrayal and rage that is lodged in the middle of my chest.

How could you?

For nine years we have watched you, rooted for you, hurrahed you, waiting for this grand romance, this sense of magic that would sweep over our lives and make us believe in all things beautiful, and this is what you do? You kill the ‘Mother’ who we’ve all fallen in love with, and get him to chase after Robin again? Robin?

How could you?

You give us this warm, adorable woman who WE ALL fall in love with, including Ted’s gang of friends and you just kill her? And you actually thought that giving her a stupid photo montage was an appropriate way to say goodbye to her? For nine years you make us wait for her and then you just kick us in the teeth and claw our hearts out.

Truth be told, we’re not stupid. This obsession with Robin was in-your-face throughout the series. At first it was endearing, then it got irritating, then maddening and finally, when Ted decided to move to Chicago because he just couldn’t be near a married-Robin, it just got oh-come-on-for-fuck’s-sake-enough-already!

We’re not stupid. What with Season 9 starting with a lovelorn Ted looking at Robin all mooney-eyed whenever she’d enter the room, it struck us that this man had an obsessive thing about this woman. It struck us that throughout these past nine years, all Ted has basically done is talk non-stop about Robin. It struck us that isn’t that kind of ewwww for the kids? It struck us that even Ted’s ex-girlfriends were wary of this woman from Victoria to Stella to Blah-blah, or Carol apparently.

But then, you introduce us to this quirky, adorable, amazing woman who you know is sooooo right for Ted. She’s right for us. She belongs. She was worth the nine years. She was worth waiting for. She was The One.

Except, you obviously didn’t think so. It’s Robin’s been The One all along. And that hurts. That hurt’s REAL bad.

We’re not stupid. Especially those of us who live in India and who grew up to a movie called “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” where the hero marries his college sweetheart, who dies leaving behind letters to their daughter telling her to find father’s best friend, whose always been in love with him, and to hook them up. It may sound cheesy and schmaltzy but heck, I LOVE that movie! Yes, that’s ‘LOVE’ in capital letters.

You shouldn’t have done it. You shouldn’t have let us down so badly. People like me, who always vote for the nice one. You just proved, once again, it’s the gorgeous, stick-insects and not the sweet rays of sunshine who win. Ms. Spice over Ms. Sugar. The Hot Girl over the Girl Next Door.

Because you see, I am a Girl Next Door. You gave girls (errrm, yes, I know…poetic license to prove a point) like me, someone to root for. You made us fall in love with her. She was someone we could see ourselves being BFF’s with, giggling with, watching old musicals with, getting drunk on tequila shots with and going to book reading sessions with. Not Robin. Never Robin. We’re all Patrices to your Robin.

And so, to make The Mother so incidental, so insignificant in your grand scheme of things…yeah, it hurts achingly. Because, it’s not about The Mother. It never was. It was always about Robin.

We’re not stupid. We know that shit happens. And your series finale was shit.

But then again, despite knowing and feeling uncomfortable by the amount of coverage that Robin got on the series,  about the cringe-worthy scene on the beach where Ted lets her go and she flies away (WTF??) we still waited on the edge of our seats for that grand moment under the Yellow Umbrella at Farhampton station. And instead you bludgeon our emotional intelligence and deafen us with discordant notes from the Blue Horn.

Guess I’m stupid after all.

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April: CSAAM 2014

Dear Friends,

It is that time of the year again. To poke the dragon. That time of the year when we, a team of people, gear up and talk about that topic which is taboo but which should not be; that topic which is only whispered about, hastily, fearfully, but about which we should be making a loud, deafening din; that topic which many people believe to be an urban legend but is a frightening reality on a depressingly large scale . ‘That topic’ is Child Sexual Abuse.

April 2014 is around the corner, and we are ready to spread the word in our fourth year of CSAAM. Once again, just as we have been doing for the last three years, we talk across social media, via Facebook, twitter and blogs about the menace that is CSA . All through the month of April.

This menace must stop spreading. Children must be made to feel safe. Parents need to know how to talk to their children. Survivors must know that they are not alone. We cannot do all this alone and we count on your support and participation.

Partnering us in our efforts this year will be organisations working in this field like Arpan, Tulir, Human Rights Watch as well as online initiatives like Blogadda and Womens Web. You will see personal testimonials, expert advice, twitter chats, information sources, resources, workshops, an iPhone app and lots and lots of blog posts across the blogosphere.

We understand confronting this issue is quite uncomfortable. But we also know silence is not a solution. We need to talk our minds out. We need to act. We need to support.

If you would like to post on your blogs, do send us a tentative date, so that we can schedule your post. If you would like to participate in a twitterthon, do let us know. Even forwarding this email to anyone you think might be interested in participating and contributing would be very helpful.

If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that we welcome entries:

mailed to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com OR

posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page OR

posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR

posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR linked or posted on Twitter tagged twitter.com/CSAAwareness OR

linked or posted on Twitter tagged twitter.com/CSAAwareness OR

Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured.

You can also support us by simply adding our logo of the initiative to your blog’s sidebar. Grab the code below to do so http://csaawarenessmonth.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/batch-code-txt-2013.docx

Please remember to send a mail with all necessary links or just your input to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or missed out.

Some guidelines

Please precede the title of your post with CSAAM April 2014. Then add a hyphen and your title.

Please insert the badge html in your post. If you carry it on your sidebar for the entire month of April too part from just within your post, we would be honoured.

If you refer to sources for information kindly italicise that part of your post which is taken from the source and provide the link to the original source in a bracket.

And finally please avoid graphic descriptions of the abuse. Stay as factual as possible if you’re doing first person accounts.

We need all your help to make this month a success, and are counting on your support.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

CSAAM Team

http://csaawarenessmonth.com/

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Two Kinds of Film Awads

I love the Oscars. Always have. Always will.

Actually, I shouldn’t say always. I used to love the Miss Universe competitions when I was a little girl and the Miss India ones while a teenager. I mean come on, mine was the generation that saw Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai put India on the global beauty map.

Now of course I loathe those competitions. And it has nothing to do with sour grapes and everything to do with the feelings of inadequacy they breed.

Anyway, here and right now, I just love the Oscars. I always set an alarm to get up at the crack of dawn and watch, but last night I forgot, so by the time I started watching, I’d already missed about an hour-and-a-half or so.

And I have to say. I was disappointed. I kept waiting to fall off my seat laughing at witticisms, sarcasms, in house jokes and great scripting and Ellenesque delivery; I kept waiting to brush away tears at well-rehearsed-in-front-of-the-mirror-then-brilliantly-emoted-and-executed-on-stage acceptance speeches; I kept waiting to have my fist-pumping moments in the comfort pf my pj’s and the privacy of my living room. None of that really happened… I switched on the TV to see a very confused Ellen fumbling over pizzas. I’ll catch the repeat to see if I missed anything because from where I was sitting, I didn’t find it too funny. And the subsequent collection hat to pay for the pizza? Over-kill.

And then there was Whoopie! The lady’s still got it! And them red shoes too!

Did NOT enjoy PINK’s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ Don’t know why they didn’t just ask Liza Minelli to do it.

Loved the acceptance speech by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Had me going yeah, wow and awww all in good proportions.

What blew my socks off was the Swarovski crystal stage settings. Those crystal curtains, especially during Idina Menzel’s extremely lack-luster performance of ‘Let It Go’ were jaw-droppingly exquisite. Of course, I couldn’t help but think that it had some megalomaniac Delhi businessman thinking, “Ooh! Ooh! I want that for my daughter’s wedding!”

So, that was about it as far as the 2014 installment of the Oscars goes. What will people take back with them? I don’t know…pizza and crystals?

********************************

So. I’m back. After watching the whole thing.

So I’ve revised a few of my opinions, but not all.

PINK, still a ‘No’ in my books, despite the hullabaloo all over the Net. But I also understand why they probably didn’t ask Liza. She looked too Botoxed to be able to be able to hum a note out properly. Idina Menzel still disappointing after a second chance. Karen O’s ‘The Moon Song’ from ‘Her’ was beautiful and haunting. U2 was, well, U2, But the performance of the night was Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ from ‘Despicable Me:2’…it was joyous, brilliant and sooooo, sooooooooo bloody great!

Ellen’s opening speech was funny. Not uproariously so. Not laugh-until-you-cry so. Not even side-splittingly, pee-in-my-pants so. It was a bit haa-haa-hee-hee and here-a-chuckle-there-a-chuckle so. I think the awards-night-opening-act of the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler combo at the Golden Globes has really become a tough act to follow.

The Supporting Actor & Actress gave better speeches than the Best Actor & Actress, although Cate Blanchett’s was wonderfulish too, but the supporting guys, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o, yeah, they rocked. Yes, Leto had my eyes a-shimmering with tears unshed when he paid tribute to him mom and big bro. And yes, Leto is my new crush. Mmmhmmm…

A few gems:

Lupita Nyong’o: No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.

Cate Blanchett:  …(for) those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the centre are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money.

and my personal favourite, the one which will become a mantra:

Robert deNiro: The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing; isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.

Ba-dum-dum-tish!!

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It must be some kind of karmic prophesy that right after I finish watching the Oscars I get a message from a friend, Mithila Hegde, studying direction at the SRFTI. They just celebrated the National Students Film Awards. In fact, I went on Friday to see her short film in which I had a short role. Very, very well made. I was very proud of her, but horrified to see myself! God, I felt like adding a “Smoking Kills” type disclaimer on the screen, “Actress Not So Horrifically Hideous.”

The nice surprise was that I also got to see the short film my younger son acted in and I had tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face! Lovely story, lovely film! By a young man from Korea, Junghyun Kim.

So, back to karmic prophesysing and fortelling futures… Remember these two names, folks, because they are the stars of tomorrow. Milthila won an award for Best Documentary and Kim won for Best Short Fiction Film.

Who knows, a couple of years down the line, when I’m sitting in the privacy of my living room in the comfort of my pj’s, I’ll be fist-pumping and getting all dewey-eyed and sentimental when they announce a familiar name at the Oscars…

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