Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Friday, December 03, 2010
My elder daughter, hence forth referred to as Eldau, bought some lovely babyish kurtas, so cute that I would have gladly traded my hard earned silver on my head for the coal on any ones head and the mounds of gradually accumulated fat for a flat as a washing board tummy! She wore one of them with an old pair of tailor stitched pajamas and the ill fitting pajamas promptly made a churrr… sound and tore. It seemed as if the pajamas had decided to give me a hint of how the fitting ought to have been. It looked as if a triangular piece of cloth was missing!
A churidar pajama is a piece of art as well as science and if one saw the making of it one would marvel at the ingenuity of the person who first invented it. If I were a churidar wearing person, I would take off my hat, if I wore or owned one, and salute the guy or the gal who invented it. As it is, I do admire that person every time I see a churidar or think about it, which is about once in two years, but considering my age, it would make it about 27 times in my life, give or take 2 or 3, since I probably admired nothing but myself and my mom as a baby and young child.
A churidar is all about diagonals. Nowhere else would diagonals hold such pride of place other than in pipings (these are stuff found on the edges of necks in blouses and kurtas.) as they do in a churidar. A churidar pajama is an almost skin tight thing and it fits so beautifully only because of the elasticity accorded by the cloth cut and stitched diagonally. If the cloth had not been cut diagonally, no power on this earth could have succeeded in putting a pair of legs in the pajamas.
Well, when the pajamas gave way, Eldau handed them to me to mend. I am the mom of Eldau as you may have guessed and moms cannot be moms unless they do stuff for their kids even if the kids are post doctoral research scholars or themselves moms or even grandmoms. So, I promptly offered to not only mend the pajamas but also stitch another pair for her.
The cutting and stitching of a churidar is something that the best minds cannot remember without a draft. I am an old and forgetful person and without the required draft. All I remembered was the diagonals and the stitching of a bag. One has to make an envelope kind of thing and stitch a funny bag first so that the legs come all diagonally and hence elastic and there is no wastage of cloth. As I have already told you it’s an amazing art or science depending on which amazes you more. Or if voodoo amazes you better then it is a piece of superb voodoo.
When I decide to do something I always do it. That’s why I never decide to do anything worthwhile but only mundane stuff like pajamas. So here I was trying my hand at churidars on the sole basis of diagonals and no wastage formula. But the bag was an elusive thing so I decided to use my imagination and cut the pajamas thinking I was cutting them out of a bag and imagining where what would join. Believe me , I did not waste a cm of cloth! I imagined and cut and stitched and the pajamas are ready to be delivered. I am as proud of myself as a peahen. The only thing is that no peahen has ever had to possibly contend herself with fitting her Eldau into any pajamas, churidar or otherwise, in the long history of peahenhood.
I am all on tenterhooks till the Eldau says, ‘yeyyyyyyy,( or more likely, yubbyyyyyy…) they fitted.’ It would be extremely amazing if they fitted her and extremely amazingly hilarious if they did not! Anyway, I have mended her old pajamas and added the missing triangle piece of cloth that the tailor had forgotten. Now, that sure is some consolation. Wish me luck please. Tomorrow the Elsil( also known as elder son in law) comes and collects them for my Eldau.
Note: You could also wish Eldau luck, less for getting into the pajamas and more for managing to successfully get out of them. Don’t they say.’ the proof of pajamas is more in getting out of them than in getting into them?’ Or was it something about a pudding?
A guide to Hindi words:
Churidar= tight fitting pajamas worn in India and Pakistan
Kurta= shirt, here it refers to one worn with salwars and pajamas
Salwar= kind of trousers worn in India and Pakistan
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Recently we had attacks on pub going women. Not much action has been taken against the perpetrators of this act. Nor has the society made sufficient show of their anger at the wanton act. Now a group of young women have started a campaign on their blog to collect pink underwear and send them to the perpetrators of these mindless acts of trying to subjugate people to their way of thinking through acts of force.
The idea of the whole campaign, The Pink Chaddi campaign, http://thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com/ does not seem to go down well with people who don't understand the underlying purpose of it. The idea is to mock, to trivialize a section of society which wants to assume the role of guardians of society.
True, its also attention grabbing, but then the more people, specially the young, realise the dangers inherent in any sort of dicta being issued by any section of society, even when they are non violent,( in the case under discussion they were violent too! ) the better.
A number of articles have been written about the dangers of allowing other people to dictate our lives. I too wrote one, but did any of them serve the purpose? Absolutely not. So if this method serves the purpose, then what's wrong with it? It’s not hurting anyone. It’s just making people aware of the dangers of letting someone else takeover the reins of our lives.
Drinking or pubs might not be the ideal things in life. Any number of other activities might also injure us. Do we abdicate the responsibility of teaching what is right or wrong, moral or immoral to any self proclaimed guardians of our society and culture? Do we inculcate the sense of right and wrong in our own children when they are growing up and then not trust them when they are adults? Do we assume that our progeny would never become adults enough to make their own choices? The choice is our own and the time to make it is right now. Tomorrow will be too late. The whole world is reeling under these tendencies which manifest themselves very innocuously and by the time we will wake up it will be too late.
You can deal with a few alcoholics in society, you can deal with most other ills but once the right to choose has been frittered away, there is nothing more left to deal with except dealing with the business of survival itself. Cannot we see what is happening around in our neighbouring countries? When it starts it commences with simple values that many people in a society hold dear. So it is allowed to go on for a few years. By the time people realise that these are no longer their values that are being thrust upon them, the stranglehold of such groups is too strong to break free or to even protest.
If Indian culture or even the Indian way of life has survived so many invasions and centuries of foreign rule it is only because of the reason of our flexibility, adaptability and the non rigid nature of our religion and culture. Take that away and nothing worth cherishing will be left. Even a non believer was accepted in our fold. There are examples of debates being held on all kinds of issues including what was dharma, truth and the like. Most other societies had a holy book to tell them how to live. We believed in finding our own answers. If this special and distinct quality of the Indian way of life does not survive there is nothing left to distinguish Indian values from any other or one religion from the other. How can we, in the name of this culture or religion, do the very opposite of what we stand for?
Even if we go by our Constitution, which we should, I am sure the basic principle is of freedom without any discrimination. How and why are we discriminating or allowing anyone to discriminate between the sexes, age groups of adults? How can we assume to preach to adults? In case we do not consider young people to be adults even at the legal age of marriage or using their franchise then we ought to increase that age assuming Indian minds do not mature like the rest of the world's.
PS:I wrote this article during the height of the pink chaddi controversy.I did not post it on my blog at that time due to some vague reasons. I don't even remember them now. :) The reason why i am posting it now is because someone pointed out to me this article which mentions a few Hindi blogs including mine regarding this topic.
Friday, January 16, 2009
The trouble is that things that would not raise an eyebrow in case of men, tend to get everyone’s hackles up very often in case of women. (not that there could ever be a similar example of a man delivering a baby and joining work!) Sometimes, like in this case, one can’t even complain. What she has done, should justifiably be hers and her business alone. A lot of people could have been admiring her for her commitment to her work, her resilience, her will power. But here she appears to have generated a controversy. Women, specially the feminists, see this as an act of treason to their sex. They feel and rightly so, that her example could be used by employers to undermine the hard- fought and harder-won maternity rights.
A man could have a heart bypass, get a leg amputated, or donate a kidney and go to work any day he chose to and no one would bother to judge him. In Rachida’s case, the feminists would have been on her side had the traditionalists been sanctioning her for being a careless mother. But here are women, who want the right to choose more than anything else, denying Rachida the very same right! Does not seem right and yet, can they be blamed?
This act of the minister might not, though, lead to a law denying women the maternity leave; yet, it might change the expectations of the employers, especially in case of women occupying higher posts. They might expect another woman, high up on the corporate ladder to emulate her. But should that be her problem? Should that stop her from doing what she thinks is right? Or is it that she is doing this only out of a sense of insecurity? Is it that she feared that if she did not join office soon enough, she would lose her job? If a woman with her kind of powerful and prestigious job succumbs to such worries and pressures what would be the plight of her lesser sisters?
‘Sisters’ seems to be the keyword. It’s like preindependence India, when every Indian had to wear his/her nationalism in the form of khadi. The value of choice had to take a backseat when the more immediate one of independence was at stake. Perhaps what women expect from her is the same. Renounce the value of choice for the more immediate one of right to maternity benefits, the right to not to be penalized for being women and being mothers. Often women have to choose between motherhood and career.
Sisters, sisterhood… however sinister the implications of being put in a category, a class might be, yet women have to unite under a banner, which might as well be SISTERHOOD – a symbol of WOMEN OF THE WORLD.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Cheating the shareholders?
Open the company's balance sheet.
Ha ha ha !
PS: Inspired by the latest corporate fraud.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
We Indians are not new to terror attacks. It has become a part of our life. True, the terrorist has the choice of choosing its target. The police and the intelligence agencies have a tough job on their hands, especially when our own countrymen and women have joined forces with the foreign enemy. It could be understood if a few of the 16 bombs had gone undetected and the rest had been defused, but the fact that all of them went off killing and maiming members of our society, shows that our intelligence and police machinery is seriously in need of an overhaul. The fact that our Home Minister says that a plan is being worked out shows the dismal state of affairs. Now he is planning to make a plan! Tell that to the dead and the maimed and their relatives!
There is no use waiting for the government to wake up. Now we must wake up. We have to become proactive, alert and report any suspicious activity or person around us. We must report even if the suspicious person is our family member. We cannot be sitting ducks for the terrorists. We must co-operate with the skeletal police force that is at the disposal of the public.( with a large force deployed to safeguard our ministers and politicians, the vacancies not being filled and the police being paid peanuts to do one the most crucial and difficult tasks in our society.) The leaders of our society must talk to the police and inquire what help do they expect from the general public. Maybe, it is time we formed vigilance committees in each neighbourhood. But in that case we cannot afford to fall into the trap of taking law into our own hands. That is a trap which we can easily fall into and must guard against.
It is very easy to blame a particular group or community for all our troubles. There might be overwhelming evidence of the participation of a particular community in these terror attacks. Before doing that we must ask ourselves the all important question, ’what is the aim of these attacks? Is it to kill just a few hundred people here and there in our country? Can they destroy us in that manner? Can they really destroy our economy by damaging a few structures?’ The answer is a resounding no. The aim of these strikes is not just killing a few hundred people, the aim is to make us get angry and suspicious of a community and induce a backlash in the form of riots. That is the surest way of inducting new recruits to the terror organizations. The aim is to make us and the world lose faith in our booming economy. We must fight terrorism and must defeat the nefarious aim of the terrorists, the aim of dividing our people. Nothing must ever be allowed to divide our society and country.
Once we start dividing ourselves there is no end to divisions. We can go on dividing and subdividing ourselves, in terms of religion, sects, sub-sects, castes, sub-castes, class, language, state, district and so on. If we want to defeat terrorism, we cannot afford to serve their purpose and hand them over disgruntled members of our society on a platter. Yes, we must show the callous government that our life is not cheap by showing what we think of them at the time of casting our ballot. That is the only language the politicians understand. Let us never vote on the basis of caste and religion but only on the basis of performance.