Category Archives: Development

Renee Zellweger? Is it possible?

Last night a star re-emerged. Renee  Zellweger. Looking a tad, alright, to be honest way different. “Is it possible?” a friend asked. Unfortunately, his timing was off.

Let’s recap. A few minutes prior to that a link appeared at the bottom of a news article I was reading online — “21 pictures of celebrities with cellulite that you would wish you hadn’t seen.”

Curious about what this horrid cellulite was I clicked on the link. You know what it is? Maybe not? Well, I have been informed. It is a disease. It is not just ‘A’ disease, it is the worst disease a person woman could ever have.

You see, while we were growing up there were a few make or break beauty factors. Fat or thin? Thin? You got that one right. Good skin, bad skin (with acne, possibly scars and some uneven skin colour). Good skin? Well done. And oh yes, good hair. The rest was moot.

But turns out you can never have enough wrong with the human female body. You can’t  be too short. Tall. That’s what you have to go for. But, hey, not too tall…you won’t find a guy who’d want to date you.

You have to be thin but again not too thin, you need curves see? But hey, hey, hey that thing in the middle? Your belly? That isn’t a curve, God damn it! That is fat. Get that flat. NOW. You hear me? And now you have done it! It is too flat, woman!! Now it looks ripped! Look, some of the muscles show. Make that feminine right this instant! Same goes for your back. we don’t want to see any of those soft layers of adipose tissues! Toned, get them toned! But no knotted muscles! Na ah…that’s not feminine.

And, oh, those bums. Nice melons, girl. Now let’s see if they are firm too! Which melons, you ask? Oh, both the top and bottom. *snigger* Uh huh. We like them perky and firm, not saggy and ummm wobbly(?) Gravity shouldn’t have any meaning for you. Physics? Don’t bother about that. You are God’s best creation. Beat physics already. Good girl.

Let’s move down, now shall we? Ah. Those legs. Now that you’re the right height (not too short not too tall, remember?) let’s get those lovely long (not too long) legs fixed, shall we? Those legs they are supposed to touch and not touch just at the right places. Let’s have a gap at the top of those delicious thighs, where the legs meet. Then let them fill out. Hey! Wait alright? Go easy on the pizza already! It is supposed to thin down again. and leave a gap just above the point where the knees meet and then below them too!

Calves…nice and firm. Not too tight like sportsmen…very good. And…further down…na ah! Those cankles just won’t do. (Cankles being the term where your ankles are simply not adequately and acceptably bony and thin.)

Feet pedicured. Nail paints freshly done today and those hands nicely manicured. Even coloured skin all over the body. Very good.

You think that’s the end? You forgot cellulite, didn’t you? Ah, now cellulite.  That is the mystery I stepped out to solve today. You see cellulite is apparently the little dimples you sometimes see in your skin. Look  at your thighs maybe? Can’t see them? Stand in front of the mirror, turn around, lift that skirt high over the now firm bums and look again at the back of your thighs? Still don’t see it? Adjust the light in your room (this is so exasperating. Sigh.). Ah…see that? Yup. That’s  the latest criminal in your body. Dimples for the cheeks, not your thighs or stomach. Yuck! That’s disgusting, really. Get that sorted, will you?

Now going back north. Clear skin, check. Even colour, check. But what about those cheek bones? Get them higher! Do it! You know you can. Those lips don’t pout enough. How on earth are you going to get your boyfriend to give you that diamond necklace you want? Pout, pout, pout. All  the time. Yes. Pout. That chin is too big, yours eyes too narrow…no no…for you…the other lady…yes, you in the black shirt… Your eyes are just way too droopy. Also, pull those eyebrows up. Make that nose smaller. Get that skin stretched. Lose that flesh. Where you ask? Everywhere! But no, no, no. Not in your lips! Pout, remember? Fill those cheekbones out. No, your cheeks are way too round, girl, lose some of that flesh. Also, look like you are constantly sucking a really really sour lemon. Or that you are so hungry you need to constantly bite the inner flesh of your bottom lip.

And what the hell are you…yes, you in the white top, doing here? You are over 30 and have at least 5 of these points unchecked…just in your face. GET OUT! No. You aren’t  allowed to age. Nope. Nope. You get to age, when I tell you you get to age. Capiche?

Change yourself, look different. Change till I can’t tell the difference between you and the person next to you. That’s when you would have achieved perfect beauty.

And, now I am slightly out of breath. Maybe we’ll continue this lesson another day.

But, for now, what do you think? Is it possible? Renee Zellweger?

PS: I was asked which criteria I have checked. Ummm…well, I kinda lost the battle at tall.

A lesser pain?

The horrific events of last week clearly point to one thing — our forefathers (yes the very same who defined the rights of people depending on which home they were born into) got it right — there seem to be some lesser people in this world.

On Monday, April 15, two separate incidents took place on two different continents. People died. Families were left in shock. Yet, only one got the kind of coverage that both deserved.

The incidents relate to bombing in Boston, US (Big Brother), and Iraq, a Muslim nation somewhere in the Middle East, important only because it holds oil reserves deemed crucial by the ‘developed’ world.

On that fateful Monday, a bombing at the Boston marathon took three innocent lives, injuring at least 180. The same day a series of bombings across Iraq killed at least 30 people (one report even said 55) and injured many more.

Within hours of the Boston attack comments started trickling in on social media — of how a certain religious group was the bane of earth, how they are killing people, how cruel they are. Not surprisingly, most of these came from citizens of a particular nation, who were either blissfully ignorant of what happened outside the borders of their own country or just didn’t care. The second possibility is painfully scary, the first gut-wrenchingly sad.

The news, too, I am afraid, was skewed in the coverage it gave these human tragedies. Or maybe I was just watching the wrong channels.

Even the events, during which these lives were lost, seem to be like the set-up of a macabre. While on the one hand Bostonians were assembled for a celebratory marathon run, Iraqis were looking ahead at the local polls. One can only imagine the importance of such an event for the people of a country that had been reeling under the effects of dictatorship for a good part of the last century.

Within all the venomous attacks following the Boston bombing that I saw on Facebook, one picture tore my heart — two burqa-clad women holding a handwritten poster saying “To Boston from Kabul, with love.” They sent sympathies for an agony they know only too well. I saw much less sympathy from the other educated, well-developed beings.

Indeed, it looks like there are some lesser people in this world.

(This blog first appeared on Business Line Blogs. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blogs/blog-aeshadatta/a-lesser-pain/article4636725.ece)

The day India Gate turned into a war zone

Women: Left behind

Women: Left behind

For the last two days Delhi, the Capital of the country, has looked like it is under siege. The Government has brought out its entire arsenal – in the form of police and paramilitary force.  In the heart of the city, one could see policemen, looking exceptionally menacing in full riot  gear – bullet-proof jackets, helmets, weapons et al – standing at the crossings, most of which were cordoned off.

Cars were not allowed, obviously. And even the people walking through the streets were treated like nothing less than criminals. Since today I could not get to office on the usual underground, I was forced to haggle with an auto to take me as far as he would and I got as far as I could to find a street blocked by the police.

The same gear, the same weapons, the same menacing looks. At least 20-25 personnel had blocked it. It looked like they expected someone to attack them. Central Delhi had turned into a fortress. Continue reading

A Rape I write

I write stories everyday. About exceptional women, and men. About success achieved in the face of trials and tribulations. Sometimes they are also about heroic failures. I write about mundane day-to-day activities in offices.

Some prefer to call them articles and reports. But I think the word story is more apt because I haven’t met ‘exceptional’ yet. They are stories — part fiction.

I have never asked a successful woman if she was molested before she earned the security of a chauffer-driven BMW. I never asked them if they have seen another woman get molested, if she tried to stop them.

I never asked a man if he ever visually stripped a woman around him, or maybe even groped her?

I’ve seen enough women in mini-skirts in the sanitized environments of five-star hotels’ pubs and bars. And did they look great! Most of them wore it because they could hop into a car and head home. I have never asked one of them if they had helped someone less privileged.

A story by Tehelka (http://www.tehelka.com/story_main52.asp?filename=Ne140412Coverstory.asp) on how policemen view rape, sexual assault victims and offenders gives us just a brief peek into the society’s insidious mindset. Why society? Trust me these men and women are not God’s gift to mankind. Their opinions, though especially disgusting because they are supposedly part of a “law enforcing body,” comes from and is part of the society.

I quote a police officer from the Tehelka article, “Go to a pub in Greater Kailash,South Delhi, where there’s free entry for girls. You’ll find those who want to do ‘it’ for a thousand rupees. They’ll drink and also have sex with you. But the day someone uses force, it’s rape.”

Yes, my friend, the day someone uses force IT IS rape.

There are reports after reports on how women call for it because of how they dress, how they talk, how they behave, how they don’t behave, how they talk to boyfriends (even if they are boy friends) etc etc etc.

In the same article, another officer said, “If a girl wears revealing clothes, it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. They wear short skirts, blouse, they don’t wear dupattas, they flaunt their bodies. The kid will naturally get attracted to her.”

Kid?? How easily the perpetrator is turned into an innocent victim.

And yet, I, like yourself, am complicit in this situation.

We are complicit because our rage remains individual, we don’t pick up the courage to make it a collective anger, while mobs grope and strip a 17-year-old on our streets and gang rapes continue.

Somehow our impotent rage is restricted to Facebook or blogs. When someone is harassed we don’t step up.

My self-righteous anger at the crimes I hear about on TV or read in papers does not encourage action. I sometimes keep quiet when someone teases me at a certain time of day or in certain places in the city. Every time I keep quiet I commit a crime.

I pick up a kurta instead of a spaghetti top just so often. Not because I like the kurta better, but because my freedom needs the sanction of a perverted patriarchy that is easily spooked.

It gets spooked when I talk, it gets spooked when I ask questions, it gets spooked when I even walk out of home.

It is that society which barely registers a creature with a penis holding a cigarette and another with a vagina gets lewdly stared at and commented upon. One where a group beating up, molesting or even raping another represents collective fury against a ‘depraved’ society, yet a woman out dancing ‘calls for it.’

One where a man putting his hand into a woman’s shirt is virile and ‘manly’ and a woman sporting a cleavage is a dirty whore.

It has nothing to do with who wears what and I am sure the women would agree. I know I have been harassed even on days I have worn a kurta.

It also does not have anything to do with who drinks what.

And if it does, if I am a dirty slut because I wear skirts and drink occasionally, then what about that 14-year-old girl that got raped today? And that 11-year-old pre-pubertal kid? And that year-old toddler?

Given the general consensus with respect to sexual offence, girls are born with an incurable, insatiable lust for violent sex, right?

I have read stories about people righteously defending victims of sexual violence. Only, after they have been violated. I have seen millions ‘like’ it on the great tool of modern movement — Facebook.

I have been one of them too.

And, thus, I continue to write stories — stupidly optimistic, glorifying stories and sometimes I think delusional too.

Mining happiness

Bindo, Pushto and Nando may well have become household names given the amount of airtime they have been receiving lately.
I believe we have been told that little Bindo’s happy cackle is a gift from Vedanta, which is now faking, sorry, “creating” happiness.
Looks like the company, which was blamed for uprooting villages, creating environment pollution and negligently leading to mining deaths — all misconstrued allegations, I’m sure — has turned over a new leaf.
About a year and half ago just about every newspaper, channel and drawing room was buzzing with the story of Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa where an indigenous, and not to forget protected, tribe — Dongra Kondh — stood up against the mining giant for violating human and environmental rights.
But now, we stand corrected — the multi-crore worth ads inform us that the company has in fact helped people in over 550 villages with better healthcare, education and several other amenities.
Looks like it is time for detractors of the mining giant, including some former investors, to hide in shame for Vedanta is “fully committed to pursuing its investments in a responsible manner, respecting the environment and human rights”.
It was only the audacious faceless masses who got in the way of development.
Reports of toxic wastes leaching from its plants into nearby water bodies and sources of drinking water notwithstanding, scrap dealer-turned-billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta continues to ‘support communities where they operate’.
Over-reaching displaced people, damage to sacred sites and endangered wildlife, and poisoned water can be seen as just ‘collateral damage’. As for the rest, Vedanta is “creating happiness”.