Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Caption Contest 8 ‘You think you are Funny?’

This is a caption contest ‘You think you are funny?’

Please write a caption for the picture below


All the Best.

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Rise and Fall

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of The Wordsworth Legions for the SUPER 4 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event of blog world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai







He knew the end was near as darkness closed in. He gasped for air but the rope was tight around his neck. The faces of his mother and father flashed across his mind.


Newspaper headlines on the Bed screamed out


‘Superstar Akhil Kumar caught naked with an 8 year old boy in a police raid’.


P.S: 55 Fiction is a form of microfiction that refers to the works of fiction limited to a maximum of fifty-five words.


To read posts by other members of the Wordsworth Legion in the Super 4 Round, see here: Shilpa,PujithaSmithaTavishKshitijParth and Hitesh.




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The Bleeding Heart





“My heart is thudding in my chest but  I know I should remain strong but  I am scared of dying.


My name is Nilufar Gholami, I am Karimi Gholami’s daughter and today is my last day on earth. I will be executed under Sharia law for committing adultery. All the people from my village in this great country ‘Iran’ with gather to see me die. I have committed no crime but yet I will be punished for it. The village council and Judge Rashidi have declared the sentence of ‘Death by Stoning’. My father wishes to save the family’s honor by sacrificing my life as he is ashamed of me.


I was kidnapped and raped by Saeed, my own brother-in-law as he was not happy with my sister . My father was angry with me, as I have tainted the family name, he beat me up and I begged him for forgiveness. I said I was sorry for what had happened and accepted my mistake. My father appealed to the village council to have me stoned to death for committing adultery. Saeed was awarded 200 lashes for his crime”.


As I listen to Nilufar’s story, I can feel my eyes moistening. My chador is wet with the tears that continue to fall unabated. Her story is heart wrenching and I have no power to change her fate and save her. Women in my country have no rights, they are worse off than animals. I have come to the village of ‘Shraza which is 200 kilometres from ‘Qom’ in Iran,  to meet  Nilufar, when I came to know of her. This small village with a population of just 150 people is getting ready for one of the biggest events they have seen in recent times. There is a kind of urgency and cruel passion which I can see in the eyes of men who have judged Nilufar’s fate.


Nilufars’s mother Farzana came in the room wiping her nose on her chador. She started combing Nilufar’s hair to tame the unruly mane, I could see that her eyes are red and her hands are shaking as she combs her daughter’s hair. She smiles and scolds her daughter as if they are bantering about normal everyday house work. 


I stepped out of the room to give mother and daughter some private moments before the unspeakable crime is to take place. In the courtyard, I see that women from the entire village have gathered to show their support and sympathy. They know that their own life is not theirs but is owned by their fathers,brothers, husbands, sons and other male members of their family. I see my aunt sitting with them, her eyes are closed and she seems to be praying.


I am bound to these women by culture and religion. My own upbringing has been liberal and I am married to a man who believes in Women's Rights as much as I do. I am an activist for women’s rights and we are fighting against religious fundamentalism in Iran. The struggle is an uphill battle against corrupt judiciary and the stern patriarchal society. 


The door opened and Farzana stepped out of the room covering her head with the chador. Nilufar is wearing a beautiful blue Shalwar Kameez with embroidered sleeves. Her face is radiant but her eyes are swollen because of crying.  She is holding her mother’s hand as she steps out of the house. The women follow them on the street like a sea of black chadors. I am walking with Farzana and Nilufar as they head towards the centre of the village. All along the road, men, young and old have lined up to celebrate the spectacle of death.
The crowd moves at a languorous pace through the lanes lined by stone houses on both sides and stops when we reach the village mosque. I see a few men standing on the steps of the mosque and I can hear a few stifled sobs behind me.


A man in a black suit with a beard speaks up, he says ‘Nilufar Gholami, we have received a complaint from your father Karimi Gholami that you have committed ‘Zina’ under ‘Hudud’ ordinance of  Sharia Law. We have four witnesses who have seen you commit this terrible act. The witnesses are your father, your brother, your uncle and your cousin. Hence, by the power vested in me as a judge of this village and the head of council, you are hereby sentenced to death by stoning. Do you have anything you wish to say?”


Nilufar stared at her father with anger and betrayal in her eyes, she kept quiet but held on to her mothers hand. I could hear the other women sobbing behind me and  I saw Farzana  hugging her daughter and I heard her say ‘Be strong my darling, Jannat awaits you’. My heart is galloping and I am choked up with unshed tears, words fail me and I just give Nilufar a tight hug. When death is imminent, would any words I say make a difference ?


Two men approach Nilufar and drag her away from her mother. They tie her hands behind her back and walk her to the village centre. Farzana looks pale and feverish and I am afraid that she will faint any moment. One of the women is holding her as they walk with the crowd. I can see that there is excitement in the air, it feels as if a carnival has come to the Village. The boys have never seen a stoning before and are excited, they do not understand the gravity of the situation.


We all come to a halt in front of a huge pile of stones.I know the law states that “size of stone should not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones". I see boys and men picking up stones in both hands and weighing them by bouncing them up and down. I can see that a small pit has been dug up, some meters away from the stone pile. All the while I feel I have been caught in a nightmare and all this will disappear once I open my eyes.



Nilufar  has a resigned look on her face. She cries out ‘I love you Mama’ before her voice is cut off. She is wrapped up tightly in a white sheet which covers her from head to her waist and is made to stand in the pit. We can now see her from chest up with a white cloth covering her face. The men fill up the pit and now Nilufar looks like a ghost stuck in the earth.


I am standing next to the wailing women.  There is chatter in the air and Judge Rashidi starts the proceeding by throwing the first stone. It bounces off harmlessly and does not reach Nilufar. I can see Karimi Gholami standing ramrod straight with a proud look on his face. A youngish chap hurls the next stone which hits  Nilufar and I can hear her muffled cry. Farzana faints and all of us rush to her side. I can now hear the persistent cries of Nilufar as the stones find their mark and draw blood from the fragile flesh. We carry Farzana to a nearby house to revive her, we pour water on her face and she opens her eyes.


I leave Farzana with the other women and rush back to the scene of the crime. The sight which meets my eyes is one which will remain imprinted on my brain for my entire life. I can see that the white sheet has turned completely red, there are stones coated with blood lying all around and the figure under the sheet is lifeless and quiet. The crowd has thinned and only the over zealous are still pelting stones at the lifeless figure. My stomach heaves and I vomit after I see this gruesome picture. I run back to Farzana with tears down my eyes and sobs pounding my throat, I seek out my aunt and cry in her arms. I cry till my tears run dry and there is nothing left in me. Another innocent is dead.


Once upon a time my country ‘Persia’, was the centre of culture and art , it was world famous for its language, it is one of the oldest continuous civilization. Now ‘Iran’, is famous for its religious fundamentalism and crime against women. The world looks on mute as more and more people die for committing minor offences in my country. the life of a woman is of no value.


My heart fills with rage and sorrow and only questions remain… When will this brutality end?  When will people realize that stoning anyone to death is a crime? When will they stop hiding behind religion to commit these heinous acts?


All I am left with is this quote :


“Don’t act like the hypocrite
Who thinks he can conceal his wiles
While loudly quoting the Koran.”
-Hafez, 14th Century Iranian Poet.



Authors Note:
This is a work of fiction. I have drawn from many resources while writing this story.


Zina  in Islam is extramarital sex and premarital sex. Islamic law prescribes punishments for Muslim men and women for the act of Zina.


In Islamic law or Sharia, hudud usually refers to the class of punishments that are fixed for certain crimes that are considered to be "claims of God." They include theft, fornication, consumption of alcohol, and apostasy.


A chādor or chādar is an outer garment or open cloak worn by many Iranian women in public spaces; it is one possible way in which a Muslim woman may follow the Islamic dress code known as ḥijāb. A chador is a full-length semicircle of fabric open down the front, which is thrown over the head and held closed in front. It has no hand openings or closures but is held shut by the hands or by wrapping the ends around the waist.


Stoning people to death is a crime against humanity. It  still happens in many Islamic countries all around the globe under the guise of religion. In most of these cases the victim is a woman whose human and civil rights are violated and she never receives a fair trial. India has a a different version of crime against women in the form of ‘Honor Killings’.
Amnesty International’ and ‘Stop Stoning’ are working since many years in raising awareness about Human rights violations and violence against women.



Sunday, 27 June 2010

Winner of Caption Contest 7

Thank you for your Captions. I loved them all...but could only chose a couple of them.
The winners for the 7th edition are:




1) Journomuse : Sarkozy to Obama: Well done, now you have learnt the Art of Peek-a-boo...bbbbb(oops no)bummmmm!!


2) Tavish : Sarkozy to himself: heeheehee looks like I influenced the world's most influential person.


Congratulations!!!


I am so pleased to give away this trophy to you.


Thank you all for participating and hope to see you this Wednesday for the next edition.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Men are from Mars and Women want to be on Mars

I am at such an age in life where the best pastime possible is to crib about your better half with your close girl-friends. It is a sort of camaraderie which binds most married girlfriends. We discuss ‘almost’ everything with each other (Sex and the city was right about that) right from ‘issues with the maid’, ‘rising cost of living’, ‘recipes’ and ‘movies’ but ‘Crib about Hubby’ still being the best seller. The topic of discussion keeps changing as we enter into every new phase of our life.


I grew up surrounded by girl friends who were not too keen on discussing boys, they were more interested in movies, books and just having a good time. Not that I did not have my mandatory crushes or was not observant about ‘good looking’ chaps in college. But I was not the stereotypical giggling girl who would nudge her girlfriend whenever the heart throb of college passed by.


Then came the newly married phase when love and passion is in the air and your other half is the centre of your life and you are his. This phase passes very smoothly, you rejoice and actually start believing that miracles do happen and you are married to one. As the years pass by, you do see minor cracks in the facade and then realization dawns on you, you married a human being and just like you he too has little dents and scratches in his armor. The things you thought as sweet and adorable don’t seem so sweet and adorable now. Practical life picks you up by the scruff of your neck and shakes you so hard that the rainbow tinted glasses slip from your eyes. You try to patch up the armor , remove the dents and all this ends up in a lot of Nagging.

At this stage girlfriends come to your rescue, some things you cannot communicate with your better half. She acts as a buffer and helps you vent out your feelings and in one way shields your better half from harsh words and temporary anger.


The other day when I was chatting with a girlfriend about housework, we both ended up coming to the same conclusion. Husbands never realize that wives keep doing so many odd chores around the house which they never realize are to be done in the first place.

housework1) Washing Machine, Refrigerator, Microwave need to be cleaned on a regular basis. They do not clean themselves automatically.


2)  Washed laundry needs to be folded and put away.


3) The soap dish needs regular cleaning else the leftover soap sticks to the soap dish with vengeance.


4) The drainer next to the sink also needs to be cleaned up or it gets slimy.
5) The shower head needs cleaning regularly.


6) The shower curtain needs to be washed often.


7) The bathroom mirrors need to be scrubbed, the medicine cabinet needs to be wiped down.


8) Endless surfaces in the house are magnets for dust and cobwebs.


9) Kitchen cabinet handles get sticky and need to be wiped clean.


10) Anything spilled does not evaporate but needs to be wiped down.


I hope you got the drift, as the list is endless.


Are men genetically programmed not to notice the dust on tabletops, the oily sheen on the wall over the stove and to leave their shoes at odd places all over the house?


I know that men too do many chores but they will never deviate from the designated chores. They will stick to the chores and will only do extra stuff when they are pushed into doing them.


This brought me to the following questions. Are women genetically programmed to burden themselves with housework? Do they get programmed since childhood into donning the apron just because they have seen their mothers do it?  Do women get pressurized and bow down to housework to please their in-laws and husbands?


I feel all women need to change their mindset and learn to stop taking guilt trips on account of housework. Men never seem to go on such trips, they are blissfully unawares and are at peace. It is time we learnt their secret.


If Men are from Mars it is time women immigrated to Mars as living on Venus is no longer good for their sanity.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Snooze Button

Every morning, most of us lift our head up from the pillow, wipe the drool from our cheek, sneak out a hand from under the covers to shut the insistent chirping of the infernal machine, the morning alarm. The extra 10 minutes after pressing the Snooze button is like manna, it is the best sleep we have ever had till the alarm rudely points out again that you need to get up.


If you are like my hubs, you will not hear the alarm even if the volume of the chirping has reached deafening proportions. I have to poke him in the ribs to make him stop the racket. He will give me a look as if I have lost it and slowly reach out to shut the alarm. After the noise has stopped, hubs will turn and curl himself up and fall in deep slumber. As for me, I am left trying to lure back the wonderful dream which was rudely disrupted.


song chart memes

I lie in bed, tossing and turning to find a comfortable position so that I could resume my dream. But now, sleep has evaporated and my bladder gives me a signal that it is at a bursting stage and something needs to be done fast or there could be an accident. I don’t scare easily and ignore the warnings, I close my eyes and pretend to sleep. My bladder is not giving up without a fight and the persistent spasms make it inevitable that I have to bow down and run to the loo. What is with women and bladders? It is as if the older we grow our bladders shrink in size.


After this tussle, it is pointless to reclaim the lost sleep and I trundle off to make coffee and remove the cobwebs from my brain. As I am making coffee, the snooze button on hubs phone chirps again, by now my patience has been stretched thin and I go and rouse hubs. After the alarm has been finally shut off, hubby will ask me to wake him after thirty minutes. I say yes but inside I am seething and I feel like pulling back the covers and screaming ‘I never wanted to get up early in the first place, you set the alarm and now you get to sleep while I am up’. Life is surely unfair….


While growing up, during exam time, my older sister and I would decide to get up early in the morning to study. I would be wide awake and would end up waking her after every few minutes and she would be requesting ‘Just ten minutes more and I promise I will get up’.
I feel like a human snooze button and every time without fail I do my duty of waking people up. I envy people who can fall back to sleep so easily and quickly even after their sleep has been disrupted. I cannot do it even if I try so hard. My mind is filled up with thoughts the moment my eyes open and I start planning the day ahead, I am charged up and then I cannot fall back to sleep.


I am sure one of these days I am going to throw Hubs mobile out of the window in a fit of anger.


How many of you use the snooze button on your Mobile phone or Alarm Clock each morning?


I bet, most of you would be grinning and nodding your head in agreement.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Caption Contest 7 ‘You think you are Funny?’

This is a caption contest ‘You think you are funny?’
Please write a caption for the picture below


obama-glance-butt

All the Best.


P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Many girls while growing up imitate their mothers. The girl will dress up in her mothers' clothes, use her makeup, wear her jewelry and of course try to walk in her shoes. My eldest sister did all these requisite things. We have black and white photos of her wearing 'Aai's' (Mother) Georgette saris complete with Bindi and the works. I was never fascinated about wearing a sari or Bindis. Even now, these things don't entice me.



I had thought, Whew! I narrowly escaped from 'Imitating Mommy' syndrome. But yesterday, as I was rinsing out the shampoo bottle to use the last dregs sticking at the bottom before I threw the bottle away, I experienced epiphany. Damn! Cut my head off and feed it to the vultures, I am my Mother.


I am doing the exact same thing my mother does. All my attempts at trying to be different from my mother have not worked. It is, as if after the age of 30, a dormant gene in my body has suddenly taken a life of its own and is commanding me to do the same things my mother does. And that too the same things I had scoffed at, some 15 years back.


Don't get me wrong, I love my mother and I respect her. She is a strong woman and a kind person. I would not want anyone else as my mother (this is for those people, who were ready to pounce on me with their harsh comments). My mom was raised in a lower middle class family and so was my father. They got married when there was extreme rationing because of war. They have always been thrifty throughout their lives. That is the way they were brought up and so that is  the way they are. All said and done, secretly all daughters want to be as different as possible from their mothers.


My mother reuses milk poly bags after she has thoroughly washed them. She uses the bags to pack assorted items while traveling or for packing my lunch. I used to feel ashamed to use the bags when I was younger. Now, I realize that it is so good for the planet, since she is reusing the bags several times. I have started reusing plastic boxes of ice cream or takeout food containers. I use them to store pasta, sugar and other such items.


I have started collecting rubber bands, pieces of satin ribbons and gift wrapping paper. If you peek under my mattress, you will find a layer of shiny, new plastic shopping bags from assorted stores. I have a whole collection of them from places I have shopped from, I fold them and lovingly tuck them under the mattress for later use.


As a teenager, I felt, it was so miserly to squeeze out every last molecule from a tube of toothpaste. Not so any more. If it would have been possible I would have torn apart the tube and licked off the toothpaste. I have not tried this yet, cause hubs will not take kindly to such behavior.


These days, I always try to find the cheapest place to buy groceries and vegetables, even if it means walking that extra mile. Gone are the days when I thought of convenience over cost.


I think it is a waste of electricity and money to keep  lights switched on in passageways. I get anxious quite fast and check all the windows to see if they are locked before I step out of the house or before I sleep. I also check the gas knobs to see that they are shut properly every night.


In recent years, I have become interested in cooking (I just bit my tongue), I cook various dishes, experiment and even enjoy it to some extent. Cooking was always my nemesis but these days I find it therapeutic and this is the scariest change I have ever seen in myself. It is actually bizarre for me to accept it ( I am sure, my sisters just fainted after reading this and so did Mom).


They say (Don't ask me who 'they' is, I have no clue) women start behaving like their mothers, the older they grow. I have seen these signs in my eldest sister since the past few years. My older sister, though not there yet is also showing some signs just like me. The day I start talking about random stuff and hopping from topic to topic at break neck speed, that will be the day I have completed the transformation.

'The apple does not fall far from the tree'

Do you feel that you have grown up to be like your Mother/Father?



P.S: Call me a cheapskate if you want…I am proud of it.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Winner of Caption Contest 6 ‘You think you are funny?

Thank you for your Captions. It was quite difficult to choose the winners :)


The winners for the 6th edition are:


1) Smitha : Just what we need on a hot afternoon, cool water lapping at our feet, and our favourite soap on tv!


2) The Holy Lama : Family wet together

Congratulations!!!

I am so pleased to give away this trophy to you.

 

Thank you all for participating and hope to see you this Wednesday for the next edition.

Friday, 18 June 2010

What’s in a name, you say?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."




These famous lines by Shakespeare have been repeated many times by many people when they screw up your name and then instead of saying ‘Sorry’, give you this statement very cheekily.

Now,It is time to come out of the closet…


Dang..you people have a one track mind…I meant come out and declare my name in public and not what you thought. 


All this while I have been writing under the name ‘Lazy Pineapple’ and will continue to do so…but many of you are curious to know my real name and some of you actually do know it. Then again, those who know my name manage to screw it up…And I mean royally. My parents will cringe when they come to know of this fallacy.


My real name is Vinita (which means Humble), V I N I T A and not Vineeta, Vinuta, Vineetha, Vinitha or Vineta. Most people end up up calling me Vineeta which again is not my name, even if it seems like my name. Its so easy to write my name..even westerners can pronounce this Sanskrit name with ease.


Ok, now I have managed to piss off most of you…let me talk about something else.

Most parents these days try to name their children with unique names which makes them stand out from the crowd. When my sister delivered twins, she decided to name her kids with names which cannot be twisted to sound like something perverse or something which rhymes with a a human body part. You see, she lives in USA and kids there are quite creative when it comes to bullying in school.


In a race to be as unique and as cuckoo as possible, Hollywood celebrities take the cake. They are trying to outdo each other when it comes naming their children with absolutely ludicrous names. Here are a few examples:


1) Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow named their daughter ‘Apple’-  what gives?? I thought of all the jokes about Apples and I feel so darn sorry for the Kid.


2) Sylvester Stallone’s daughter is called  ‘Sage Moon Blood’- I am speechless…sounds like a vampires name.


3) Another Celebrity, Frank Zappa, all his children have bizarre names-  Moon Unit, Dweezil, Diva Muffin, Ahmet Emuukkha Rodan – SOB!


Imagine having a name like Moon Unit or  Diva Muffin…my name sounds so ordinary :P in comparison..


4) Jaimie Oliver the celebrated British chef has named his daughters  Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela and Petal Blossom Rainbow- Argggggghhh!!!


5) Steven Spielberg has named is son ‘Destry’- seems like a cross between destiny and trying - What wonderful creativity…


6) If you are flat out of names, just name your child ‘Kyd’…and that is what David Duchovny (X files) and Tea Leoni did - How inspiring :)


Pilot Inspektor, Satchel, Moxie Crimefighter, Zolten, Seven Sirius, Puma, Mars, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches, Pixie and Bluebell Madonna. These are some more celebrity baby names.


I feel that the celebrities try to project all their quirkiness and personalities by naming their children with such bizarre names. With such names the kids are bound to need tonnes of therapy, after being bullied at school. Its a good thing that their parents earn money by the truckload.



P.S:Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet and fall in love in Shakespeare's lyrical tale of "star-crossed" lovers. They are doomed from the start as members of two warring families. Here Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called "Montague", not the Montague name and not the Montague family. Romeo, out of his passion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to "deny (his) father" and instead be "new baptized" as Juliet's lover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play.
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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Caption Contest 6 ‘You think you are funny?’


This is a caption contest ‘You think you are funny?’
Please write a caption for the picture below

funny-pictures 

All the Best.

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Stork – An English Inn

Today Hubs and I decided to eat out, no special day and nothing was planned, it was just a spur of the moment thing. Lancaster, where I live, is a quaint British town and has a limited choice of Restaurants. We have actually covered most places in the past three years. Today, we decided to travel on the road less travelled and drove into rural Lancashire for a bite to eat.


We ended up at ‘The Stork’ , an old charming English Inn in the village of Conder Green a few miles from Lancaster. The inn has been there for centuries, at least since 1660, when it had a thatched roof. The current name dates from the 19th Century, as storks appear on the family crest of the then-owners of the estate.
14062010(006)










The view is of countryside with grasslands as far as the eye can see, sprinkled liberally with farm animals like sheep and horses. It is peaceful and a  perfect setting for winding down after a work day.
We reached the pub when it was relatively quiet, soon the regulars to the pub could bee seen crowding near the Bar and sipping on cider and ales.
We ordered at the Bar and took a table opposite the Bar. The pub is typically English with lots of wooden beams and tables. It is dimly lit, but the summer light filtering through the windows was bright enough. We decided against sitting out as the air was a bit chilly and it is no fun eating your food while shivering.


With the World Cup in the air, the inn had south African cuisine which we decided to order. Hubs went for a dish called Sosaties and a diet coke. I went for a Lancashire Chicken and a glass of white wine, ‘Pinot Grigio’ (I love dry wines which are not too sweet).
The food arrived in a matter of minutes and it looked delicious.

Hubby’s dish reminded me of skewered kebabs with a side dish of potato and peas and rocket salad.14062010(003)
Feast Your eyes people.

My dish turned out to be a piece of Chicken breast wrapped in Bacon, drizzled with a creamy cheese sauce accompanied by new potatoes and spinach. Yummy.
14062010(002)



We had a lovely meal and thoroughly enjoyed the food. Though I am not a fan of British food, the food at 'The Stork' was one of the best I have ever had. The service was good and ambience was nice and quiet (I guess because we were there on a Monday evening).


P.S: I decided to click pictures after we had already started digging in, so you might see some portion of the food missing in the pictures :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Divine Prostitution

Anjamma looked at her daughter Kaveri with a mixture of pain and relief as she bathed her in the river water with the other women.  Kaveri is just 10 years old and is excited at the prospect of wearing new clothes and flowers in her hair.


‘Aai(Mother), when do I get to put flowers in my hair? will they be Jasmine? I love Jasmine flowers, they smell so sweet’.


‘Kaveri, hold still, let me scrub you properly, you should be pure during your marriage ceremony’.


Today, Kaveri is to be wedded to ‘Lord Khandoba’ and become a ‘Murali’, just like her mother. She is to be a servant of god and become a ‘Devadasi’. Anjamma’s family and other men and women in Jejuri have gathered for the marriage ceremony at the temple. Kaveri is dressed in ‘Parkar Polka’ (Skirt and bodice) of bright red with a zari border. There is milk, yoghurt, butter, coconuts, flowers and turmeric powder and as the priest chants mantras, Kaveri is made to stand next to the idol and people shower her with turmeric  and the marriage is solemnized.


After the marriage, life is back to routine, except when Kaveri rejoins her school, her friends tease her everyday, they call her a ‘Devadasi’ and laugh at her, but she does not understand any of it. As everyday, Kaveri came back to the hut that she calls home, with sadness and confusion. The wooden door is shut and she can see an umbrella resting near the door, she can hear noises from inside the hut and she knows that ‘Sunderappa’ has come to visit her mother. Sunderappa is the moneylender and he gives money to her mother for food and clothes and visits her few times a week. There are other men from the town and surrounding villages who visit their hut throughout the day and Kaveri has to sleep on a cot in the front of the hut if there is someone with her mother in the evening. The men give her curious looks and some even try to touch her face, she ignores them and runs away if someone tries to hold her.


One day, Kaveri asked her mother
‘Aai, who is my father?, everyone has a father, who is mine?’
‘Bala (Darling Daughter), your father is Khandoba, you are the daughter of God’. Her answer left Kaveri more confused. She wanted to have a father like other children, who would spoil her with sweets and toys. Whose name she could write in the school register.


Anjamma became a ‘Murali’ when her parents offered her to Khandoba when she was just three, to bless them with a boy. They were poor dalit farmers who were barely able to survive from their farm and needed a boy to take care of them in their old age. Added to it, the burden of raising a girl in rural Maharashtra was too much for her parents to bear. 
The years passed and the day Kaveri reached puberty, the wolves came knocking at the door. The baton of survival now passed on to Kaveri. Anjamma negotiated the rate of her deflowering with the men who wanted to sleep with her and sold it to the highest bidder.  The age old custom continued and Kaveri followed in her Mothers footsteps.

Kaveri is dressed up in finery and flowers provided by the patron who had made the highest bidding. He has paid a handsome amount of Rupees.1000 to complete her dedication ceremony as a Devadasi. Kaveri is terrified when the fat middle aged man entered the room, she screamed with fear but was quickly subdued by the man. Her entire world came crashing down, just yesterday she was happy running behind butterflies and stealing mangoes. Her innocence got wiped away in the single act of violence. She could not understand why her mother had allowed this to happen. Kaveri is forced to join the world’s oldest profession- prostitution. The divine dedication started at the temple and ended in rape.


For Kaveri, the years passed in a daze, she stopped going to school and was now living as a concubine. She went to the temple ceremonies and danced with her mother and other muralis. Her patron, Ramesh was already married but provided for her and she was happy being with him. The day he discovered she was pregnant, Ramesh left her and stopped providing for her.


Kaveri gave birth to a baby girl and named her Radha. Different men came in her life, some were kind and some not so. Her daughter was growing everyday and was the joy of her life. Kaveri loved Radha with all her heart. She was certain that if she lived in Jejuri, her daughter’s life will follow the same path as hers and her mothers. She refused to sacrifice her daughter’s life and decided to move to Pune and stop being a Devadasi.


Kaveri got in touch with a distant relative and moved with her daughter and mother to Pune. The big city provided her with the anonymity she needed to get rid of her previous identity. She started working as a maid at an apartment building. It was hard work but she was happy to live freely again, without the shackles of the society which made selling of women under the guise of religion acceptable. 


Kaveri finished her work and walked to the Anganwadi(School) where Radha was a student in kindergarten. Her eyes searched for her beautiful daughter amongst the other children. She found her daughter and Kaveri’s heart filled with pride when she heard the sweet sound of her daughters voice saying A for Apple, B for Bat.


Kaveri had broken the circle of evil, her courage and determination had stopped the Baton of survival. She had stopped the malignant cancer of Divine Prostitution from poisoning her daughters life.

Authors Note: Jejuri is a small town near Pune famous for the temple of Lord Khandoba.
Devadasi (देवदासी) originally described a Hindu religious practice in which girls were "married" and dedicated to a deity (deva or devi). In addition to taking care of the temple and performing rituals, they learned and practiced Bharatanatyam and other classical Indian arts traditions and enjoyed a high social status. In recent times they have been associated with Prostitution. The definition has gone over a transformation in the past few centuries with changes in social, economic and political ideologies. As they lost their patronage, these women had no means to support themselves and had to move towards prostitution for earning a living. Many states in India have made it illegal for women to be offered as servants of god but the customs still continue. It requires a concentrated effort on the part of the government to rehabilitate these women and put stringent efforts to curb from more lives being destroyed.


Image source: Wikepedia



Sunday, 13 June 2010

Winner of Caption Contest 5

Thank you for your Captions. All of them were hilarious.
funny-picture-9979524071 
The winners of the 5h Edition are :


Aparna: What does he hope to find? The diamonds are in the mines dammit.


Meira : LION: "Damn! She's looking away! I wonder what she thinks of me now.


Congratulations!!!


I am so pleased to give away this trophy to you Girls :)

 

Thank you all for participating and hope to see you this Wednesday for the next edition.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Caption Contest 5 ‘You think you are funny?’

Thank you for letting me know that you were unable to see the picture. I hope you are able to see it now.


This is a caption contest called 'You think you are funny?'


Please write a caption for the Picture below






Good Luck people.


P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here.

Monday, 7 June 2010

How to enjoy street food in India

My mouth was salivating as I opened the container sent by a friend and the tangy and pungent smell hit my nose. Ahh! the smell of the sweet and sour taste of the Paani ( Spiced Water for a street food in India called Paani- Poori) hit me with a force. It brought back sweet memories of stuffing my face with street food countless number of times, when I was in India.

Today, I ate ‘Paani poori’  after a gap of nearly 3 years and the whole experience was orgasmic and beyond description. I still have the lingering taste of the dish in my mouth.





Despite having innumerable restaurants and fast food joints, Indians love their street food. It is one of the best and cheapest way to enjoy the cuisine of a particular community and in turn the culture of that region. To enjoy street food in India, you have to let go of your inhibitions about hygiene and concentrate only on gratifying your taste buds. You have to be like a warrior who is ready to weather anything and march into the unknown.


How to enjoy street food in India ?


If you are meek hearted, this type of eating style is not for you…you need the heart of a lion and the stomach of a cow to digest all the delicious dirt dished out at these roadside eateries. 


1) Elbow Flicking: Maybe flicking is too mild a word, elbow jabbing would be better. Be prepared to poke sundry humans with your elbows to make way to the front of the line at the food stall . India is amass with humans and you need to learn this art pretty soon, standing politely in a line and waiting for your turn is just not done. Others will try the same with you, so be prepared to put some force into your jabs. We believe in standing up for our right to eat delicious food.


2) Angry Stare: Learn to perfect the art of giving a dirty stare in front of the mirror at home. You can add a growl to that angry stare for added effect. ‘You want yummy food and you want it now, no one on earth can take that right away from you’, this should be your motivation. Add this with the elbow jab and you are all prepared to jump into the crowds and are now ready for the battle.

3) Hygiene Stoicism: If you are the type who carries a hand sanitizer in your bag and believes in living on bottled water, then you are just not the right person to try street food in India. There will be a mishmash of smells emanating from near the eatery, there will be flies buzzing close by, you might even see an odd cow or  a stray dog nearby. The fun part is to turn a blind eye to all these useless things and dig in to the ‘Bhel-puri’, ‘Vada-Paav’, Samosa, chaat and Kulfi. Let your taste buds savor the burst of flavors on your tongue, let your soul be united with your stomach and your eyes with the the wonderful colors of food.


4) One track mind: Learn to be totally single minded about food. Why worry if the vendor has washed his hands? If his blackened nails are because of the spices or something else?  Ignore the rag (which is of indescribable color) with which he wipes down the plates and spoons. Ignore the fact that he has a cold and is wiping his nose with the back of his hand. Don’t observe that he is sweating and maybe you saw a drop or two falling down in the food. It all adds to the flavor of the dish.

5) Ambience: If you prefer air conditioning, nice seating arrangements and music in the background, better not venture near a street food vendor. The ambience you will have is cacophony of traffic, chattering of people, honking of horns, a bit of dust, heat and lots of pollution. There is a certain music to this too..but it is for the hardened street food junkie.


Across India you will find such street vendors selling food, juice, tea and desserts. Some of them have become so famous because of the unique taste that there are chains of such food vendors throughout the city. The food is cheap and can be eaten on the go.


To find the best street food, check around with the locals and they will surely guide you and will even boast about the taste as if they themselves have prepared it. The best part about street food is that you will never find such delicious food in any of the posh restaurants you go to in India.


So munch into a Samosa, taste the smooth creamy mango Kulfi or have that cool refreshing Sugarcane juice. Nowhere in the world you will find such an eclectic mix of street food that you will find in all corners of India.


P.S: To know more about the wide variety of street food in India go here.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Winner of Caption Contest ‘You think you are funny?’ 4.0

Thank you for your entries to the contest. All the entries were hilarious.




There are two winners for the fourth edition




Wannabauthor :Petrol-station attendant: Wow,this is weird.I thought I had seen it all in this job, but I guess not....(Donkey snorts)

Mr. Stupid: The Donkey 300. Comes with an Impressive Mileage and a good Top Speed. Though, it kicks on being upset!





Congratulations!!!


I am so pleased to give away this Trophy. Well done.





Thank you all for Participating and hope to see you again in the next round of caption Contest on Wednesday.



P.S: Winners please drop me a mail so that I can send you the trophy.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Are you a ‘rant-buddy’?

I know that there is no such word, I totally made it up.


After reading Psych Babblers post today..something prompted me to write this post. She has written about our intense desire to be people pleasers at a cost which sometimes harms our self esteem and how we cannot please all people.


We are social creatures and as such we need friends to be a part of this exciting journey we call life. When I was growing up, I had tons of friends, so many that my parents were alarmed at the number of people who turned up to celebrate my birthday. Slowly, as time passed some friends disappeared from my life and new ones came in.


Every woman needs girlfriends in her life, there are some things your better half will never be able to understand even if he is your soul mate. We can discuss almost everything under the sun with our girlfriends right from, why we get angry with our maids, guests who drop in unannounced and leave a mess in the house, the latest fashion trends and the rising cost of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Lately, I have observed that I have become a rant-buddy for most of my friends. They will call me just to rant about things which annoy them. I have no problems listening to their problems when someone is going through a difficult period in their life. Believe me, I have been in that position myself a few times so I do empathize. But the issue is when some friends who are doing well and still call up just to to barf out (every time, without fail) how miserable their life is , all you do is end up saying ‘Hmmm’, ‘Oh No’,’things will get better’ , ‘Yes,  I understand,’ in every conversation, it starts grating on your nerves. I tend to zone out and daydream of ‘ sarson ke khet with SRK and Kajol prancing around cows’. Frankly, I don’t want to do it but its is my body’s natural reaction to boring conversations.


For me a conversation has to be exchange of knowledge, ideas and information. There are so many things to talk about, you have music, books, movies and weather. I miss exciting conversations and the thrill of learning something new when I speak to someone. These days all the conversation are  peppered with ‘Aur Kya? (what else) a number of times because we are at a loss to talk about things.


Maybe it is in my nature to make everyone like me, hence I tolerate these stilted conversations. I can never cut off people or feign that I am busy. Even when I call to have a casual chat, some people have the knack to change the entire direction of the conversation to make it all about themselves and how miserable life is and how busy they are that they don’t have time even to breathe. Such conversations frustrate me and I end up feeling like a fool to have called up in the first place.


How about you? Do you ever feel like a rant-buddy? What do you do when you are a rant-buddy and you want things to change?


I would like some help from you people.


P.S: Ohh shucks!!....here I go and make a simple post into a rant post. Maybe I am learning the knack.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Unthinkable – A Movie Review

I recently saw the movie ‘Unthinkable’, a political thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie Ann Moss (Matrix), playing as black ops interrogator and FBI agent from counter terrorist unit respectively. I was quite intrigued by the story and in some places it even reminded me of  the TV series ‘24’ of which I am a huge fan.

Though it is not a typical ‘Hollywood’ film, it does leave you with a lot of questions in your mind. The main questions being ‘How far are you willing to go when its a question of saving thousands of lives?’, ‘Are you willing to allow ‘human rights violations’ when it comes to saving many lives?’. 

The film is gripping and all the lead actors have given superb performances with Samuel L. Jackson as the bad cop  ‘H’. He has played the role of a menacing and ruthless interrogator with aplomb. To counter balance him, Carrie Ann Moss plays the good cop as Agent Brody, a sensitive yet strong woman. ‘H’ is brought in when ‘Younger’ aka ‘Yusuf’, an American Citizen is nabbed by the authorities after he has threatened to blow up three American cities with nuclear bombs. The bombs are set to blow within 3 days. Younger willingly lets himself get arrested so as to face the enemy knowing fully well what he will have to endure.

Younger is systematically tortured so as to break him down into giving up the locations of the bombs. Agent Brody and many others in the team are shook up by the torture tactics used by ‘H’. They try to stop the entire process but in the end relent to it, to find the Bombs.

Though the story is good, the writer could have given us a glimpse into ‘Younger’s’ past, there was no background about his life to explains his actions. Also, he is willing to take thousands of lives but when it comes to his children’s lives, he caves in and reveals the locations. If he has made a plan to blow nuclear bombs, how could he have forgotten to safeguard his children and let the authorities use them as a leverage? This is where I felt the story was weak.

Many scenes in the movie can make you flinch and gasp due to the rawness and brutality of the torture scenes. Though it is nowhere close to gore movies like ‘Saw’ or ‘Hostel’, the scenes are not for the faint hearted.

The movie is fast paced and has excellent dialogues and twists, which keep you wondering, what next?  It makes you take a long hard look at our values and whether they will withstand, in times of intense pressure. How far are we willing to go under the guise of self preservation and are we ready to justify the torture of a fellow human being when the stakes are high?

The movie cannot be called enjoyable in the traditional sense but is definitely hard-hitting, memorable and impactful. 
Would give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Caption Contest 4 ‘You think you are Funny?’

This is a caption contest called 'You think you are funny?'




You think you are funny?  4.0
Please write a caption for the Picture below

 funny
Good Luck people.


P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here.