Friday, April 27, 2007

Hullabaloo in the ‘Land of Kamasutra’

I am chagrined at the insolent and gauche attitude of few Indians towards this whole Shilpa Shetty- Richard Gere incident – they have turned it into opprobrium. Okay, this will not be like dulcet to the ears, so before I spurt out the fiery fury that has been building up over the last few days, let me just say one thing - I am very proud of where I come from and am besotted with India's accomplishments. I adore our numerous traditions and appreciate our heritage and culture BUT I loathe the hypocrisy associated with the same.

I tend to digress, so I will try to keep this post focused on the latest scandal - Shilpa Shetty & Richard Gere. I am a little addled with the so-called controversy. Most actors in Bollywood bare their skin at the bat of an eyelid and most Hindi movies these days qualify in the ‘R’ category. Seriously, so what is all the brouhaha about Shetty and Gere? Was it really a faux pas? It is not as if Gere assaulted Shetty neither was she like a deer caught in the headlights. If Shetty did not feel violated then why are these sanctimonious politicians exhibiting such barbaric emotions? Have they completely sworn off savoir-fare?

'Kamasutra' was India’s gift to the world! In addition, don’t we have the highest number of AIDS victims? So, where do these imbeciles get off preaching others? C'mon, a court in Jaipur has threatened to put Gere behind bars for three months because he inaptly indulged in 'the deed'. Do these people ever hear themselves speak? These two-faced perverts stand in pugnacious lines to purchase movie tickets for revolting films with despicable scenes and ribald language. Now they have the audacity to create ruckus over a ‘peck on the cheek’.

Is the Indian audience upset because a foreigner instead of an Indian man conducted ‘the act’? If that is the truth, do I sense a hint of racism?

Any thoughts?

Copyright © 04.27.2007

“The great law of culture is: let each become all that he was created capable of being.” - Thomas Carlyle

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cul-de-sac - homemakers vs. working women

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember sensing this 'hiss-line' between the following two groups: homemakers and working class women. The former flaunting their fake, blithesome, and sanctimonious attitude - for nourishing the family with their presence, while the latter, seeking global blarney for juggling a tumultuous life. Both homemakers and women with jobs or careers find their adversaries (in this case, women who do not belong to their belief system) blasphemous and feel impelled to blacklist them. Given the apposite opportunity, I can visualize them bivouacking outside their antagonist and denouncing them until they convert. Okay, maybe that was pure exaggeration, but you get the essence.

My friend's sister, who is a doctor by profession, decided to get back to work even before her three-month maternity leave got over. Oh boy, the 'public anguish' she faced was loathsome – like she was a boorish mother with no care for her children. Pfft! At the same time, I know a few stay-at-home moms whose kids are like couch potatoes on a baneful diet.

Few of my cliques are stay-at- home moms BUT their brains are lot more agile than few dim-witted, strident working- women I know. Despite having successful careers, the minute these ludicrous women open their mouth, you wish tsetse flies would bite them so that they would halt choking on their own achievements. The homemakers I am referring to are avant - garde, avid readers, and more adept than most working- women are. You can engage in an intellectual conversation with them without either parties feeling threatened about their choice of lifestyle – like an ethereal world.

What I am trying to sum up is, to each is his own. Having a job or career does not make anyone ingenious; neither does baking chocolate chip cookies and Lysol -scrubbing make you a more devout wife or mom. These self-indulgent, territorial women do not see that no one benefits from their squabble; with their imbecilic attitude, they make mockery of themselves. I say, make a choice, adhere to it, and let it be or as the French say - laissez-faire.

Copyright © 04.26.2007

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." – Oscar Wilde

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yo Shakespeare, what up dawg?

Before you cogitate that I have gone crazy and denounce me as a literature-hater and deranged person, let me elucidate the title for this post. Few nights ago, we watched a play – "The Complete Works of W.M. Shakespeare (Abridged)", with some of our friends. The play was stupendous with an eminent cast who ensured 90-minutes of contemporary incessant fun, cachinnation, and satire. The audience in the theatre was literally falling off their seats – thanks to the rib-tickling humor. It was an alluring way in which the cast had enacted all of Shakespeare’s works in just 90 minutes. For example, to narrate Othello, they did a rap number where as Macbeth involved the cast dressed as Scottish men.

Can you imagine if Shakespeare used the above-mentioned title as opposed to ‘where art thou,’ in his works? Maybe, the literary circle will construe this as insolent behavior, but our young masses might actually be able to empathize with the great playwright’s writings. How many people (I am referring to the hoi polloi, and not gurus who have studied Shakespeare or theatre in college and can soak up the arcane writings) managed to comprehend Shakespeare’s literary contributions, when they were in high school? I remember being in a comatose stage once while watching the bard’s works in London at the Globe, and this, is when I am an ardent admirer of Shakespeare’s work.

All of his plays, ranging from “Julius Caesar” to “Romeo & Juliet”, though eloquent, are arduous to assimilate for that particular age group. To the younger generation, the greatest writer of the English language and his contribution seem archaic. My friends and I feel that we fully understood Shakespeare’s work eons after graduating high school. Renouncing Shakespeare’s work is not what I am suggesting; improvising them with humor, is what I am - adding a contemporary feel to his works, so that they become congruous with the changing times.

I do not want Shakespeare to turn in his grave, but I think he would appreciate it if the readership of his books aggrandized. Can you conjure up a world where teenagers, out of choice, immersed themselves in Shakespeare’s work? Well, to me, it seems attainable!

Copyright © 04.19.2007

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" - Shakespeare

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Decimation – Will it ever stop without stricter gun control laws?

The carnage of 32 innocent victims, on Virginia Tech campus, on Monday, April 16, has left people feeling distraught and vulnerable. Everyone has disparate ideas, conjecture, and interpretations of the deplorable act. Teenagers and parents are skeptical whether the campus is an inviolable sanctuary anymore. Can you blame them?

Most people I spoke with seemed to be astounded with the ethnicity of the killer. “I didn’t think an Asian kid would ever do this. It’s not in their culture”. Another went on to say, “I heard the ratio of Japanese young adults committing suicide, is very high. Maybe it’s that factor.” Newsflash: The killer was of South Korean descent, and not Japanese. Let us not dwell on stereotypes and racism when the issue is more deep-rooted than that.

This might sound like harangue, but here is what I surmise: The root of the problem is ‘lack of stricter gun regulations’ in America. A teenager or someone in his or her early twenties does not have the maturity to channelize acrimony or disgruntlement. At that tender age, you are inept at differentiating between right or wrong. When you snap, you get consumed in the moment, and that is when calamity strikes – Cho Seung-Hui’s are born.

Has the government not learnt anything from the Columbine annihilation in Colorado? It always boils down to the dispute between gun control vs. gun rights. Will the death rates go down if we had stricter regulations? Well, here is food for your thought: Amongst all industrialized nations, United States has the highest number of gun-related deaths. Being a world leader in this category is appalling and disconcerting!

I am attaching a link to an article in The Economist.

Copyright © 04.18.2007

“The Americans are certainly great hero-worshipers, and always take their heroes from the criminal classes” - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bowling – does it bring out the ape inside you?

Okay, so last night we feted a friend’s birthday at a bowling alley! I am sure you are wondering ‘gee, it’s not like you went to the moon’. Hold your satire, sire because I had the first-hand opportunity of seeing humans dilapidate – man to ape. Showing mental acquisitiveness to learn about your ancestors is astute; however, exhibiting the same rawness in your comportment that marked the ice age, is benightedness. Here is what I saw: people devoured onto buffalo wings and chicken tenders, then semi-wiped their hands on their derriere, and nonchalantly stood up to bowl. Oh, the humanity!

The next few lines might sound like vicious rambling, but I have to blurt it out or else I will choke. Here goes: God, I hate bowling alleys! What is the big deal about wearing someone's feculent shoes and bedaubing food on huge multi-colored begrimed bowling balls? I am not trying to be a snob, but I think bowling is an unsanitary sport. It brings out the barbaric side in all of us – back to crude basics.

Well, I survived the evening with 'I am having a great time' smile on my face right so that no one could suspect the emotional turmoil I was going through. Honestly, even a hot shower on reaching home could not take-away the dirty feeling – like someone had desecrated the shrine.

Copyright © 04.14.2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is contestant #6 on American idol worthy of page #3?

The muse for this post is a very dear friend of mine. Neither she nor I are American Idol fans, but the publicity that Sanjaya Malarkar, the American idol contestant has generated, has astounded both of us. There is dissidence between the audiences: there are Sanjaya-lovers and Sanjaya-haters. Depending on the side you are on, he comes across either resplendent or appalling. Moreover, American Idol Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe has turned the name of the singer into an aberrant verb – “Sanjayaed”. What does this abysmal addition to the English language mean?

Well, gramercy to my compeer and the mammoth of brouhaha generated by the media, I decided to check out this polemical artist’s performance. I was not audacious enough to watch the show, but I did take a sneak peak at few of his YouTube clips. Hmmmm. What can I say? The one thing Sanjaya is good at, is taking all the insults like a brave heart. He definitely has a sweet smile and congenial personality but when it comes to singing, he is inept - as if the doors of hell unleashed their fury. I heard him sing one of my favorite songs – ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ and boy, did he ruin it! I am unsure what he is still doing on the show. Another thing, someone needs to tell him that the 80’s are gone – hair morphing is outdated and will not take-away the attention from his odious performance.

Okay, on the serious side, here is what is happening: American Idol contestants are on the verge of a revolt, American Idol judge Simon Cowell has threatened to quit the Idol should Sanjaya win, and Sirius satellite radio jock Howard Stern said he hopes to turn American Idol into a farce and eventually destroy its popularity by supporting Sanjaya Malakar.

Is Sanjaya a mere pawn in the hands of Howard Stern and Simon Cowell? Is it a power struggle between the two men? Do people, who want to vote him off, make the invidious remarks as a sign of racism? Has Sanjaya won not only teenage votes but also mommy-votes?

I am perplexed! Any thoughts? Check out these YouTube clips to help you make your decision…

Copyright © 04.12.2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

Arguments – Exchange of words or heated exchange

I have been inculpated of being politically correct. Let me elaborate and foray into this accusation. Few of my friends feel that when a heated debate is going on, or as I like to call it - a shouting-match in which the loudest prevails, I do not embroil. I am tempted to quote Oscar Wilde “I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar and often convincing,” but that is not entirely true in my case - the convincing bit in the quote. If you cogitate, with a cool head, you’ll realize that verbal arguments among people consistently devolve into vitriol. Plus, is it fair to altercate for the sake of it? I haven’t relinquished arguing but I’d rather indulge in it when it’s not a quest between people to prove the other party wrong. Call it my recrimination, but I am yet to see humans spar without malice in their attitude and use of condescending tone. Maybe I do not partake in arguing because I do not see the point of hurting people, even if unconsciously, or stifling them with my opinions. I’d like to think of it as a sign of prudence, and not weakness.

Any thoughts?

Copyright © 04.09.2007

“Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.” - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Chubby Tubby - Cute or an epidemic?

This article in today’s New York Times discusses the epidemic of corpulence and the plans of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to spend more than $500 million over the next five years to reverse the increase in childhood obesity.

This article got me thinking if we adults are the biggest contributors to childhood obesity. People have busy lifestyles so a quick fix of junk food has heinously replaced freshly cooked meals, in innumerable homes. You are what you eat! To exacerbate circumstances, ever since the advent of television and videogames, there has been a remarkable alleviation in the physical activity children partake. Forget calisthenics; what happened to the good old days of movement and motion when kids around the block would just play together? Be it unsafe neighborhoods or lack of time, for few parents, letting the kids watch TV or a videogame is an easy way out. While watching TV, very often, kids devour food high in sugar, trans fat, sodium, and other deleterious additives. Lack of activity, imprudent habit of appeasing palates with self-indulgent fatty foods, minimal interaction with other kids and voila, what do we have - a portly, introvert, angry kid looking at few hours of therapy by the time she/he is in college.

I know there has been clamor over how companies (like McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell etc.) should not be directing their ads towards children and people accuse the idiot box for this soaring epidemic. Maybe I sound harsh but I think it is time we took onus upon ourselves. These are marketers and this is what they do. Parents need to get over their guilt of not spending enough time with children and stop fulfilling every desire, however asinine. If you abstain from junk food & eat healthy, your children will eat healthy. They would not know otherwise.

Indulging in sinful fare occasionally is a fine treat, BUT eating healthy every once in a while means you are adding to the growing epidemic of portliness. To annihilate this issue, parents need to take matters in their own hands. I’ll leave you on this note - according to Census Bureau data and a 2006 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 25 million children 17 and under are obese or overweight, nearly a third of the 74 million in that age group.

Copyright © 04.04.2007

"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." - Oscar Wilde