Versatile Blogger Award

March 24, 2012
My co-blogger ZRADAR had tagged me for this fantastically sounding "Versatile Blogger Award".  I am honoured and humbled that despite not writing for such a long time, my blog is not completely vanished out of the radar of my co bloggers (pun not intended).  Thanks a ton ZRADAR for tagging me. 

The rules for the Versatile Blog Awards are:
  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
  • Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
  • Share 7 random things about yourself.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Add the Versatile Blog Award picture on your blog post.
So, I have to nominate 15 fellow bloggers.... here goes the names of my favourite bloggers..

Prathama -She writes from her heart, so honest and so sensitive and covers a lots of topics, many of which are not even known to me.

Reema - She is so full of life despite being a busy professional and her spirit is visisble in her posts on movies, books, life etc.

Sharbouri - A wonderful person who has deep insights in the minds of people due to her profession as well, she writes as she thinks. She is away from blogging these days, hope this post brings her back.

Vaish - She is my blogging sister! Lovely and simple at heart.. she writes about various things which touch her life - books, travel, photography and photography! Love to read her!

Harish (Conscientous reflections) - A voracious reader who writes about book reviews and movies and life. There is not just a simple review, but a certain in depth analysis about the states of things. Its always enriching to read his blog.

Psych Babbler Whatever little i know about her is due to her posts,which are so straight out of her mind... and i feel i know her somehow.  She too has a great understanding of things and people and expresses them without mincing words. She is an amazing and versatile blogger.

Vee He had been there since i started my blogger pal... writes about things which affect his life..his work... his friends... his books and movies. He too is not blogging.. i hope to hear from him after i tag him!

Prateek  - A spunky young boy.. who makes his reading go ROFL and sometimes sit up and think... he is wonderful blogger pal.

Anshul - Is very very versatile and unpredictable.. as far as his posts are concerned! Has a great fan following too!

Uncle Jack 'Uncle' as all his readers address him affectionately, is a grand pa, but its really nice to see a person do blogging and write about his expereinces of life around him.  Many a teenagers visit his blog regularly for his pearls of wisdom. Regards... uncle.

Rocksea He is a professional in the field of science... an observer... his posts.. and photographs speak for themselves. He too can write about anything.. u can't guess it! 

Niket The ever cheerful young man Niket had been a blogger pal for a long time now. Reading his blog is life reading him...he too writes about things that affect him... which are so varied.

Pooja Desai Blogging sister....writes from her heart... and its always so soothing to read her blog.

Nikhil Garg A versatile blogger, a young guy who writes with so much joy and excitement.

Restless Souldier We share a common word in our profile name... that's how he reached my blog! He writes wonderfully.. and topics can be so different each time... travel... his mean machine...and yes he won a prize in a contest where he wrote about something like what is real beauty...he is amazing. Again away from blogging... hope this brings him back!

A special mention : I haven't tagged u BookWorm, but u r and remain the person who showed the way to blogging, and always wrote encouraging and honest comments on all my posts...even when i never gave feedback on urs.  You had been lending me ur books.. and i had been keeping them for long shamelessly! And now i am watching ur movie collection...thanks a ton for being such a huge support. Thanks :)

I will inform all of you, and hope that u pick up the tag, if u have not done it already.

Sharing 7 random things about me :

1. I am a "to do list" and "Reminder" person.  In fact, i keep reminders in my phone, write in my diary about things to do today, by the end of the week, or by next month.  I live maximum for next six months.

2. I can't remember numbers!  Although, I store all birthdays and anniversary dates in my mobile as I cannot remember dates.

3.I love mountains to much that I want to die in a small cottage in some hills.

4.I love nail paints and well groomed nails and hands! 

5. I consider myself as a very effective car driver ( take a lot of pride in this, as women are considered bad drivers)

6. I cannot tolerate very hot and very cold weather.  Both make me irritable.

7.  I love to (read have to!) moisturize my skin meticulously, as I have a very dry skin (but u can't tell that seeing it!)


PS: Made certain changes in the content later.

Gone With The Wind

I was fortunate yesterday to grab some time for myself, and managed to watch the movie "Gone With the Wind".

Gone With The Wind is an American historical epic movie based on a novel of Margaret Mitchell's novel of the same name.  The film received 10 Academy Awards.

The movie was long- 3 hrs 44 minutes.  If I knew it initially, i would have been a little discouraged to watch it seeing what little time we women have at home for ourselves.  But, it was good that I didn't know! So I had to see it till the end and I slept late watching it.

The movie was great, needless to say.  It also figures amongst the 50 best romantic movies of all times. I am glad, I watched it. 

There was one thing, which struck me by the end of the movie, which speaks a lot about how our minds work, how relationships work.

Briefly, there is a love triangle in the movie which lasts for a lifetime.  A guy(lets call him the hero) is awed by this vivacious and spirited girl.  He also knows and acknowledges that she is pretty selfish, shrewd, clever and a little money minded.  He likes the girl's never say die attitude.  He admits to the girl at one point that since he himself is so selfish and shrewd, may be that's the reason why he loves her.  But the girl doesn't pay much heed to him... as she is already in love with a guy. But somehow, our hero persuades the girl to marry him, although he is aware about her basic nature, her love for another guy and has a feeling that the girl only loves his money and not him.

The point which struck me is that often we hate a person for the things, or traits, or habits or behaviour for which we had loved them at some point.  The guy knew very well about her free spirit, her ambitiousness, her courage, her charm which she often used to her advantage, her uninhibited display of her attraction towards the other guy .  But he goes ahead to marry this enigma.... only to be hating her for what she was later in his life.  And finally, he abandons her.

Have you ever felt so? Ever experienced that in your relationships?  Have you ever disliked the same thing you liked sometime in your loved one?  Share that with me. Personally, I have experienced it a number of times, and had wondered why?  The depiction of the characters in the movie brought out the thought again.  From "What a woman!" to "I don't give a damn to how you live now on" is a painful journey, which unravels the complexity of human minds.

If this thought struck a chord somewhere in your mind... do write to me.


In The Name Of Honour

March 19, 2012
As I held this book "In The Name Of Honour" by Mukhtar Mai,  in my hand, standing in the library, I just knew I wanted to read it.  Although, generally I don't enjoy reading a biography, but i decided to pick this book up instinctively.  The cover page shows the side view of the face of Mukhtar Mai.  You can't miss the confidence and the strength on her face.  The language is simple.   The book gives a chronological account of the happenings without going into too much detail about the unfateful day, the trials and tribulations that this young woman faces to get justice for herself. 

The book very well brings out the social, cultural, religious and political state of the country.The existence of tribal law, religious law and the law of the land are different.  Women bear the brunt when revenge is to be sought, accounts have to be settled and punishment is to be awarded.  Prevalence of caste system is not unknown to India too.  In this case Mukhtar Mai belonged to Gujar caste and the higher caste who had the monopoly in the Meerpur area was Mastoi. 

As I began to read the first page of the book, I felt hot flushes flowing down my spine.  I was going to read the story of a woman who used her humiliation to empower herself... and to seek justice from the law of her land.  (Also, it struck me later while writing this post that the last book which I read and wrote about "The Palace of Illusions" also had a similar tone and story, Draupadi seeking revenge from Kauravas for her humiliation).  

I had read about this news, years back, and to be precise in June 2002.  A young woman is meted out a punishment by the local tribal court in Pakistan. Her fault was that her brother was found sitting with a girl of a higher caste in a wheat field.  The punishment was that she be gang raped by the men of that higher caste for the 'honour crime' her 13 yrs old brother has committed. 

The news had jolted me like many others and had created a uproar in the whole world.  The young woman's name became a synonym of women's right world wide.  She was a poor, illiterate young divorcee, daughter of a small peasant, she taught embroidery work to other young girls.  Simple at heart and religious.  

She and her family were fooled, as she was to ask for forgiveness for what her brother had done (her brother was sodomized and beaten brutally though).  As she thought, her words of apology would close a chapter of family feud, little did she know that she is going to be pushed inside a small stable and gang raped by four men, while the whole village will become a witness of her helplessness. Little did she know when she walked back to her home after that, carrying the weight of that body covered just by his father's shawl, bearing the pain of that body which has been violated so violently, that her pain, her anger, her anguish will pave the way for a women's movement in her country and in the whole world.

Revenge and justice are two different things.  When there is no faith left in justice, we seek revenge.  

Mukhtar Mai wanted justice and because of the  spread of the news at international level, and various NGOs closely watching, she does get justice finally after a lot of problems, due to which she realises that she was being fooled at every step as she was illiterate.  Therefore, the money she receives from various aides is used by her to run a school for girls as well as boys in her village.  She wants no other girl to put her thumb print on a paper on which the only words written are treachery and exploitation.

A story of sheer grit and  determination in face of acute poverty and fear for one's life.  An amazing read.


Being Draupadi - Thoughts On Women's Day

March 17, 2012
Was it a coincidence or was it destined that I would be finishing reading this book (yes, it takes me a around two months to finish a book) around International Women's Day? I don't know but  there is a rush of power flowing in my blood as i  flip cautiously through the crisp pages of the book "The Palace of Illusions" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.  If I put it simply for you, which i am tempted not to do, I would say that this book is an interpretation of Mahabharata through the eyes of "Draupadi".

We all have grown up on the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the countless repetitions, the convincing tones of our grand parents, the supplementary reading books in schools of these epics, and the live characters shown on TV serials made on these stories make us believe deeply that these were real. Were they?  After reading the book, i am getting convinced they were.

All this time I was waiting to finish the book, to be able to write about it. I was burning since the time Draupadi is  insulted and humiliated in Court of Hastinapur.  I was livid on her husbands' silence.  I too wanted an answer as to what kept everybody quiet? But I pulled along with the woman with five husbands, as she moves ahead in her life, but i burnt in anger, grinding my teeth as i read the name of  'Yudhisthir' again and again in the book. 

 But, i can't believe where my anger has dissolved suddenly, as i finish the book.  As i closed the hard bound cover, i also covered my eyes preventing them to lose the sight, the solace, the peace and the contentment I have got.... just as Draupadi might have felt before dying. As she lay bruised, hurt, frozen, numbed by cold of the snow on the way to Mahaprasthan, she has amongst all the questions this one question which haunted her all her life "Why did Bheeshma not stop Duryodhan from robing her modesty in full view of his royal court?" And Krishna, her friend for life, omnipresent, (he had already died by then, simply put) says :

 " Bheesma thought too deeply of the laws of the men.  It paralyzed him.  He wasn't sure whether you were already Durodhan's property - in which case he had no right to intervene.  But sometimes one has to drop logic and go with the instinct of the heart even if it contradicts law"

 A balm for my heart... and a resonance of my thoughts... made me relax.  Sometimes a mere understanding of your pain from your loved one is all you need.

As I try to make sense to you, dear reader, I realise that my thoughts on this book, my feeling for Draupadi and my intent to write something on the occasion of Women's Day, today as we live in a different Yuga altogether, are all mixed up,and all so connected,  roughly speaking.  It's almost like trying to pull out the loose end of a badly entangled woollen yarn.

This book is a powerful reading, seeing and feeling the world and life around Draupadi was indeed an eye opener, as the author takes you along the journey right from the Yagna fire from which she was born to the open sky where her soul wanders relaxed after she leaves her body.  It was mystical. 

I never knew that Draupadi loved Karna so intently and so passionately in the secrecy of her heart and nor did I know that amongst her five husbands, it was Bheema who actually loved her truly.  The book "The Palace of Illusions" puts forth the women of that era, puts their feelings and thoughts at the fore front.  And that really delights me, to be able to feel another woman's heart and soul.  

To sum up Draupadi's persona, I would not say that she was a great woman, as she had her flaws which caused the great war.  But, I would surely say that she lived her life as she wanted it, she followed her mind and was strong willed.  She respected herself even when her husbands faltered.  That is something amazing about her.  Although as a queen and as a wife of five men she outshone other women, but she simply ignored her five sons born out of the Pandavas.  She hardly contributed in their upbringing as she chose to remain with her husbands in exile.

Lastly, to sum up my thoughts over the book and the current situation of women in our country, I am left with one question: What would a common man choose today family honour or personal pride and ego or the well being, safety and security of a loved one?  The answer may vary from situation to situation, but think about it.

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