Tag Archives: India

Condoms Vs Coy

25 Jun

Football world cup is affecting me, I am seeing everything as ‘X’ Vs ‘Y’.

So perhaps the title is misleading. What am I talking about? I am talking about the strange place called (Indian) politics. I am sure, you recognise the garden variety I am talking about – this parallel-universe populated entirely by people that have turned in their common sense and in some cases, the complete thinking apparatus called the brain when they joined this chest-beating, proselytising, moral-policing bandwagon called Politics.

The health minister of India made a statement to  ‘The New York Times’ about AIDS campaign in India. I quote him (from India Today)

“The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms. This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine,”

Btw, the Health Minister is a doctor and he, more or less, said AIDS can be stopped with moral values!

Look at that quote again “condoms encourages people to think that they can have illicit sex and get away with it”. Wait, what? what did he say? What is illicit sex – is it like illicit liquor? Makes you go blind? Is made up in equal parts of battery acid and condoms(in this case)? In a barrel? A business run by mafia-like cartels?

And more importantly, is he saying that “illicit” sex should be punished by deadly disease?!? Is he seriously implying that?

Has he seen the AIDS campaign Ads done by the National AIDS Control Org of India? I have and I can assure him that the message sent by those Ads do not “encourage illegal activities“- it does not encourage any activity except wanting to kill yourself for sitting through that.

These Ads talk about everything from dirty food to dirty water and also about how the child in the womb can decide the hospital where he/she wants to be born, except sexual intercourse! The baby was probably brought by the stork as a blessing from God.

You have to have seen the ads to believe what I am saying!

The Ad about how you should talk to your children does not tell you what the hell you should be talking to your children about – the Ad asks you “would you let your child eat this unhygienically prepared food? would you let them drink from a dirty pool” – so where is the connection to AIDS? I am no wiser after the Ad than I was before. I only know that I should talk to my children about hygiene. Or where they suggesting that intercourse is unhygienic? Hmm… did not think of that. Or that you could get AIDS by eating street-food (or chow-mein, which of course, causes rapes in India)

The other Ad is to encourage parents to get tested for AIDS so that their unborn children can get better care, if necessary, when they are born but the Ad is so long with such unnecessary details like how the mother decides what to buy at a grocery store based on the baby’s kicks, then she chooses which veggies to buy, which doctor to go to for delivery etc – yes, you guessed it, based on baby’s kicks. Both father and mother are then advised by the doctor to get tested for AIDS. This whole Ad gives you the feeling AIDS is some condition that might just happen during pregnancies, so you should get yourself tested, it is definitely not anything preventable.

I understand ‘better late than never’ and promoting testing for AIDS as doing the right thing by your unborn child but what about not even getting there and preventing the whole disease thing by using c-o-n-d-o-m-s?!?

I leave that to our health minister and his Ministry of Silly Values to clear up.

Don’t even think about saying ‘But…Kama Sutra..’ Oh, India, what a hypocrite you have become!

ps: About being not in touch with reality – all this, comes on the heels of a famous Hindi Actor modelling and endorsing Durex condoms.

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Mothra

9 Oct

Mothra

If you ever encounter Mothra, do not be afraid. She is mostly harmless and the size of a packet of tissue.

No her real name is not Mothra – I do not know the species’s name.

You are welcome to send me the name via the comment section! I found this at a buststop in Panjim, Goa, India.

Made in Heaven or alternately, in China

24 Sep

This was an advertisement I saw in Face Book today:

Mangalsutra – Buy 1 get 1 free!

What is the fuss?  What is a ‘Mangalsutra’?

It is the Indian equivalent of the wedding ring, but unlike the wedding rings, this chain-with-a-pendant(s) is worn solely by the wife. Every community in India (irrespective of religion) has its own version of this ornament that signifies that you carry your husband close to your heart. You can look it up on Wikipedia here.

In my family, making of a Mangalsutra is a ceremony by itself. After the wedding date has been set (with or without the agreement/acknowledgement of bride and groom), a ‘holy’ day is chosen to cast this all-important pendant that carries more weight than its mere weight in gold. Yes, it is cast out of 22 carat gold. This gold may partly be contributed by the groom’s ancestors or could be purchased completely new. It has to be the groom, though, that pays for it.

Of course, the melting and the final casting will be done by an artisan who has been doing this for at least 25 years, if not more – he has to be a master goldsmith. Because, the belief is, if not done with a pure heart and holy blessings and in the right manner, it could make or break a marriage.

And you thought making of the ‘One Ring’ was difficult! Move over, Sauron!

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Hit or Miss (America)

18 Sep

I know a lot has been written about the Miss America pageant already and I have probably missed the boat (sorry, I have been busy living my life) but better late than never, right?  So here goes – my rantings on this subject for your personal pleasure!

My question for all americans that made sarcastic tweets about immigrants – I paraphrase Chris Rock’s question from Lethal Weapon 4

“Your ancestors were native americans, were they?”

And now, for my most important question, to the Indians and Indian newspapers who oh-so with righteous wrath poured acid remarks on Americans:

“do you seriously believe that Ms. Davuluri would have won Miss India?!?”

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Ghosts of the past

4 Aug

When I was little my grandmother told me that there are no ghosts. I believed her. And then she would tell me stories with all sorts of spirits and demons in them and assure me that these are all stories made up for entertainment. I believed her. I grew up only slightly scared of the dark. The stories fascinated me though and I would read all kinds of trash with ghosts in them. I remember cheap Tamil paperbacks from the small library near my house that had cheesy titles like ‘Bloody Vampire’ or ‘Ghost villa’ and I would lap it all up. What made a lasting impression though were the ghost movies. That was mind-blowing entertainment.

As the popular maxim goes, there are only 8 kinds of plots in the world and Shakeaspeare covered them all. Indian movies belong to the same school of philosophy. They would have the ‘Hamlet’ type – revenge of the ghost, ‘The Tempest’ type – naughty spirits with nothing else to do or ‘Macbeth’ type where the ghost was all in the head more than reality, it could also be the reconciliatory type that comes in the end and blesses everyone’s unions. Being Indian, we also had the ‘reincarnation’ variation which Shakeaspeare had missed out. There would be combinations and permutations of these themes that would inevitably have haunting melodies, no pun intended.

But our ghosts are not to be confused with Hollywood ghosts with their satanical inclinations and special effects. Indian ghosts can be summed demographically thus : ‘young female, white-saree clad, long black hair, wears anklets and sings haunting melodies‘.

They are way too scarier than your special effects because just the tinkling of the anklets can send people screaming from the theatres. Alternately it could also be the overacting, but as a kid I could not tell the difference between fear and disgust.

The Indian storyline does have its problems though. You see, Hindus burn their dead, so it becomes impossible to come back as the walking dead with your head oozing, arm broken etc. So the plots have to have usually people of other religions as the ghost or it all becomes rather hazy and spiritual with the soul getting involved. To resolve this problem, sometimes the screenplay resorts to the time-tested method of the villains getting rid of the body in a haste and hence, not doing the job properly.

This also opens the story’s scope to bring back that character not as a ghost but as an actual un-dead, meaning they were actually alive but presumed dead but saved by some strange tribal elders or a handicapped couple or a woman of questionable nature and nurtured back to life. It all gets rather complicated after that, especially because the character continues to pretend to be a ghost to exact revenge.

In one of the more enjoyable Tamil ghost movies, a ghost goes hunting for a Drumstick-tree to ‘roost’ on… in Japan.

Ah, see if you can beat that Hollywood! We will see your special effect and raise it a thousand-fold!

Sweets Vs Wooden toy

1 Aug

[Order] [Order in the courtroom]

In the case of ‘Sweets Vs Wooden Toy’, I plead not guilty, your honour!

Let me present my case:

India is a complex nation. If you cross a state border in India, you will be in a different culture altogether- different language, cuisine, festivals and traditions. It should actually be called ‘Indian Federation’. We are a cauldron of flavours and texture like a stew rather than the uniform sliced bread.I get carried away by food, sometimes. Please bear with me.

I am a tamilian from South India and had had very little exposure to Hindi, which is a common language spoken in many parts of North India (north Indian languages have some common roots). Bollywood movies, for example, are in Hindi and for a South Indian, not always easy to follow, if the words are not something you hear everyday.

I learnt Hindi in school as my third language – after English and my mother tongue Tamil. My proficiencyin Hindi can be summed up thus: I can read nursery rhymes in Hindi but cannot understand poetry.

20 years later…..

I live in Goa now where the state language is Konkani but almost everyone speaks a smattering of Hindi. I can converse in Hindi and I was mighty impressed with myself as I could pick up the language after being away from the country for 13 years during which there was absolutely no chance to practise it at all. So I try and keep in touch via Hindi movies.

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Despair or empower?

19 Jul

I want to stop ranting. I want to stop getting frustruated by this country that I call ‘my country of origin’. I want to open the newspaper and not want to kill people. But I do. I really wanted to nice funny post on something, instead I am ranting about the death of 22 small children in a village in Bihar. 

I should only feel sadness for these lost lives but I am angry – not because they were taken at a young age but because even in such a tragedy, some extremely stupid monsters claim a conspiracy instead of investigating the case. Instead of saying sorry, this will not happen on my watch again, the politician has said that some one who is against the principal’s husband’s political party poisoned the children to cast these paragons of good virtue in a bad light!!!

Some one got greedy and fed those children sub-standard food, they took the money, lined their own pockets and gave those poor children food that was stored in fertilizer barrels. Some one was ignorant and some one was greedy, some one was responsible. But no, no that is not what happened. Some monster came out and poisoned the food of 22 innocents (all under 10) so that they could make a political party – a political party, for God’s sake- look bad!!! And my Bihari driver believes this crap and says, yes there are such people who would stoop to that kind of level because fertilizer is not being used right now in Bihar!!!! I wanted to kill my driver too – I do not know whether to cry about his ignorance or weep about it if he was right.

Is this country a place worth living in, if such monsters would live here, if such evil creatures abound here that would do such things because you can hate a party so much? If this was the only time, I would have just been angry for a while and then left it at that, but this is not an isolated case. There was another Bengali politician who claimed that opposition party finances criminals to rape women to cast their political party in a bad light! And this crap is believed by the ignorant crowd and instead of asking for a proper investigation to prevent further cases, instead of asking for law and order in their state, instead of asking for justice against corrupt officials, the mob turns against another political party! I was nauseated! I cannot change this forsaken land! I was ready to pack my bags and leave forever. 

Then my I see the children in my son’s school. I see their shiny faces and their enthusiasm. I see the parents and the teachers working so hard because they believe in something. The passion that they can change the world, the faith that things will work out, the ability to look beyond all this pessimism and see hope. I want to believe in them, I want the country to be al right for them. I do not want despair to drown the joy of these young ones.

 I have a request to anyone who has any influence with the media, educate these people. The Government is a lost cause but the media and the youth are our best chance, please empower the common man to break out of his ignorance, his arrogance and his stupid world-view and empower people to ask question and not just accept. If you are not going to have any values what good are traditions? Empower people to think for themselves and not align themselves based on partisan politics, caste and community.