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Ghar ki murgi vs. bahar ka murga

September 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Contrast:
Palin Attacks Fed on Hong Kong Visit, Wants ‘Responsible China’

with

Ahmadinejad urges Obama to see Iran as friend

They couldn’t have said for the former: Palin urges ‘responsible China’, cites concerns about Fed direction. Like the German POWs who were given priority seating in concerts and musicals in New York over black Americans in the 1950’s (read here), the average American today shows more restraint and respect when talking about a demented male dictator from a country far away, a potential threat to the US – than a domestic female politician. Maybe a hundred years from now, we’ll see real change. Or maybe not.

Asked about the difficulties of balancing her political career with her home life, Palin said today: “I have a husband. I could have used a wife.”

Like my own grandmom told me when she visited my chaotic house as I’d started working – I need a housewife myself.

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Kambakkht @#!@$#@$#

July 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Mr. Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, Hon’ble Smt Pratibha Patil called. She wants the Padma Shri back.

Is Akshay Kumar gunning to be India’s Judd Apatow? In which case, why is India’s Angelina Jolie wannabe (*cough* Posh Spice wannabe *cough*) acting in his movies again?

And who’s going to break it to either of them – and to the rest of bollywood – that feminist != man hater and/or frigid? (Please, even Hollywood’s gone beyond. Not!)

Of course, they’d’ve happily gone onto feminist = ugly, hairy, old, etc…but arre, phir piktchar kaun dekhega yaar? Hence.

Yes, Kambakkht Ishq sounds like one sick, stupid, and (worse) utterly boring flick (No, I haven’t seen it. No, I don’t intend to. Yes, I review films I haven’t seen). The first weekend after a three month movie strike in Bollywood (except for New York, which was released a couple weeks ago) is probably the only time it would’ve got the opening it’s got. Also kudos to the people marketing the movie because they made what I thought was an utterly boring trailer, but one apparently not nearly as offensive as the actual movie (unlike some other trailers which picked the worst parts of the movie to showcase).

The saddest part? Apparently Kareena’s character goes from blaming her dad for her parents’ divorce to realizing that it’s all her mom’s fault. I just hope to the Good Lord that she doesn’t subject her own mother to this appalling movie and its sleazy sub-text.

UPDATE: Apparently great minds do think alike.

Google endorses sexism

July 7, 2009 1 comment

If you haven’t already read Dr Violet Socks’ amazing new post, go read here. It’s got 300+ comments last I checked, and seems to be an online clearing house for everyone, on the left or right, Dem or Republican, male or female, who’s disgusted by the stupidity of the reactions ‘provoked by’ Sarah Palin for some reason.

And then if your stomach can still take it, go here. What, you say – it’s a Google blog, for Chrissakes. The Official Google Blog. Pretty neutral, considering Google rules the Internet and, by extension, the world. What may that have to do with the topic on hand?

Well, to the right of the main post is a section of ‘what’s hot’ – not necessarily the most popular sites on the Intertubez, but the ‘kewlest‘ ones that Google recommends. At the moment, the third one there is this: Deadspin’s Diagramming Sarah Palin’s “Full-Court Press” Metaphor…with comments such as –

TimCouchFanatic Where exactly on that diagram does Eminem nail her?

Matt Sussman
2:15 PM Sarah passes the ball to Trig, open for three … YES! From Down’s town!

NordoftheBlings
2:16 PM Calipari coached Levi on how to use Dribble Drive Penetration to beat the Palin Press.

TTZop Shouldn’t Trig Palin be bigger since he has an extra…

Chuck Knoblockhead 2:35 PM I think we should be more concerned with diaphragming Bristol Palin.

Brando 3:57 PM Those thigh-high boots of hers are really going to scuff up the court.

What is it about the woman that encourages utterly demented behavior? Why do people think they can get away with incessantly insulting her, her sexuality, her very existence? What insecurities in these idiots compel them to forget humanity, forget civilization, forget brains – if they had any in the first place?

Either way, good to see that Google, that which Does No Evil, endorses violence against women, sexual harassment and violence against special needs’ children, not to mention endorses sheer stupidity.

Welcome to our new overlords.

The Best Picture Ever

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

*permitting myself to be totally frivolous for a while*

So you may have heard of the Great Speechifier President Obama. When he speaks, flowers bloom on desert lands all by themselves. When he speaks, people of all races start magically living in harmony, all wearing Abercrombie & Fitch (but of course). And he spreads iHopeTM and iChangeTM, all just by his awesome TelePrompter skillz (hey, the thing even has a blog of its own).

And if you do know of all this, you also must know of the President’s right hand man on all things Economic, LarryHe-Man-Who-Knows-Math-Better-Than-All-The-Wimminz-Of-The-World-Summers. Lawrence Summers is important to the President and to all of us around the world, because he and only he can rescue us from this economic crisis (since he helped create it, maybe?)

So today, when the great speechmaker was speechmaking, this happened:


and then this:


The best parts are this:

Mr. Summers “appeared to be nodding off near the beginning’’ of Mr. Obama’s remarks, the report said. It went on “And then he DID nod off, doing the head on the hand and then head falling off the hand thing.’’

and this [emphasis mine]:

All the other officials in the room, including Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner; senior adviser Valerie Jarrett; chief of staff Rahm Emanuel; Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Gene Sperling, counselor to Mr. Geithner, seemed to be fully awake.

(LOL. don’t you love how they need to specify that the others were actually awake during Obama’s speech?)

*end of permission*

And in other god-awesome news, via Shakesville: Mystery donor to woman-run colleges strikes again (here and here).

As the USAToday article says:

“Coincidence? Unlikely. With about 23% of U.S. college presidents women, the odds of a dozen randomly selected institutions all having female leaders are 1 in 50 million.”

Evolution of man

March 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Randall Munroe became a geek girl hero after this and this, and he was just 17 when he started xkcd. I’ve been a HUGE fan of his for a while, and these are a few of my favorite things.

But I’ve been very uncomfortable with some of his workand so have others. Once you look at who (Obama: I mean, seriously “[Clinton]’ll keep fighting for the status quo”?!!! W.T.F. – that statement warrants an xkcd comic all by itself!) and what (Self Made Man: Would’ve been a good book if she’d laid out the facts and not her inane analysis, because she blames women for modern men feeling lost, and it’s not the individual women’s fault but that of the patriarchy) has been influencing him, it’s no surprise.

Today, he’s officially grown (and not up) to become an American man. He can’t comprehend of a normal man who’d want to be committed and/or a normal woman who’d not.

Maybe he’s been watching too many “chick flicks”, too.

We’re just not that into you. Really.

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

So mental floss’s one of my fav blogs. But here, as elsewhere in geek world, I can find stupid, sexist and plain inaccurate statements. Just like, apparently, “dogs can find almost anything“:

Their noses contain far more olfactory receptors than humans’ sniffers do, and the receptors are situated perfectly along the main airstreams of the pups’ noses. Sure, you already knew that detection dogs were able to sniff out drugs, bombs, and corpses, but what else can a well-trained pooch find using only his nose?

Examples of casual, everyday misogyny – Ethan Trex, who’s posted this, is not yet Favreau-level, but he could get there:

There’s very little romance involved in commercial cattle breeding. For the most part, the cow is artificially inseminated, so the bull’s not even around to make awkward excuses about why it’s not going to call. Given this impersonal system, breeders need to know when the perfect time to inseminate the cow is, and dogs can help. Since a cow’s physical chemistry changes slightly when she’s in heat, a dog can sniff out the differences and alert a farmer ….

Poor Trex, it seems, spends all his time fighting off clingy women who can’t get enough of him. So much so, that ‘romance’ = ‘clingy women’. The first thing that pops into his head when he thinks of reproduction and/or sex is not romance, not fun, not even porn or other “deviant sexual behavior”: it is figuring out ways to avoid calling women.

Seems to me the only experience this lad’s speaking from, is Judd Apatow chick flicks.

Categories: Favreaus, stereotypes

More horrific violence against women in Bangalore: and time for action.

February 27, 2009 Leave a comment

And we will stand up for our rights:

Millionaire slumdogs and how things change – Saugata Chatterjee
Posted by Priyadarshini

The fantastic invisible sweep of time rushes and roars past us every dull and intense second that ticks relentlessly away every day, and all around us things constantly morph. Twin towers crumble, good people die, the good earth turns brown and bare, and old love fades.

And what precisely is your role in the incredible kaleidoscope of change?

A slack-jaw by-stander who barely registers the impact and implications? A commentator spectator who freely critiques but somehow rises above being affected by it all? A fatalist loser who bemoans everything and blames it all on circumstances and other people?

Look around you, you who reside in the so-called mind and knowledge capital of the shining new India. This is Bangalore.

Many of the quiet avenues that used to snake through the wooded shades and fragrant flower-scatters of a thousand gulmohars, flames of the forest, bougenvillias and silver oaks are now shorn of even a single blade of grass, their tar guts upturned by mammoth earth moving equipment, tortured sites full of grime, steel and concrete through which an endless procession of loud vehicles crawl back and forth, utterly indisciplined, frothing with impotent anger and frustration, from the early dusty dawns to the midnight hours, every single day.

We are the victims, you say? The civic governance of Bangalore is sub standard, you claim? Well, you may be right, but does that mean that even as an individual citizen whose real powers to influence matters is way less than what it theoretically should be, we have absolutely nothing to do?

I am re-thinking this premise, my friend. Unfortunately not a self realization case, but prompted by a black incident last Friday, 6th February, 2009. And this time it was not about aspects that affect your life and mine indirectly. It wasn’t the death of yet another 100+ year old tree. It wasn’t another instance of criminal neglect of any civic infrastructure. It wasn’t road rage. It was a kick in the groin. Literally. And it woke me up all right.

So, in brief, this is how the drama unfolded:

A few of my friends and I were just paying our bills and coming out of our regular Friday night watering hole and dinner place in Rest House Road, just off Brigade Road, and most of the women in the company were already standing outside. Some of us outside were smoking, people were happy, there was laughter and jokes, as there were many other people in the street, all coming out, satiated, in the closing hour of the various pubs and restaurants around.

Suddenly from up the street a massive SUV comes revving and speeding, hurtling down, and stops in a scream of brakes and swirling dust, millimeters away from this group of 4 women, barely missing one of their legs. A white Audi, imported, still under transfer, with the registration plate of KA-51 TR-2767. Some millionaire’s toy thing, that in the wrong hands can kill.

Naturally the women are in shock. And quickly following the shock comes indignation. These are self made women running their own businesses, managing state responsibilities for global NGO firms, successful doctors. They are not used to being bullied. So they turn around, instead of shrinking back in fear. They protest.

And as soon as they turn around in protest, the car doors are flung open, and a stream of 4-5 rabid men run out towards these women, screaming obscenities in Hindi and Kannada against women in general, fists flailing. Some of us who came in running at the sound of the screaming brakes now stand in the middle in defense of our women, and then blows start raining down. One of the goons make a couple of calls over the cellphone, and in seconds a stream of other equally rabid goondas land up. They gun straight for the women, and everyone – a few well-meaning bystanders, acquaintances who know us from the restaurant, basically everyone who tries to help the women – starts getting thoroughly beaten up.

Women are kicked in the groin, punched in the stomach, slapped across the face, grabbed everywhere, abused constantly. Men are smashed up professionally, blows aimed at livers, groins, kidneys and nose. A friend is hit repeatedly on the head by a stone until he passes out in a flood of blood.

A plain-clothes policeman (Vittal Kumar) who saunters in late stands by watching and urging people to stop, but doing absolutely nothing else. A ‘cheetah’ biker cop comes in, with our women pleading him to stop this madness, but he refuses action, saying a police van will come in soon and he cannot do anything. Everyone keeps getting hammered. Relentlessly.

The carnage continues for over 20 minutes.

Finally when the police van does come in it is this vandals who are raging and ranting, claiming to be true “sons of the Kannadiga soil”, and we are positioned to be the villainous outsiders, bleeding, outraged. How do the cops believe them, especially seeing the bloody faces of our men and the violated rage of our women, while they carry nary a scratch on their bodies? Don’t ask me! Yet, it is us who these goondas urge the newly arrived law-keepers to arrest, and the police promptly comply, and we are bundled into the van, some still being beaten as we are pushed in. Some blessed relief from pain inside the police van at least, even if we are inside and the real goons outside, driving alongside in their spanking white Audi. The guy who was hit by the stone is taken separately by the women to Mallya hospital.

Inside the police station at Cubbon Park it becomes clear that these goons and the police know each other by their first names. The policeman in charge (Thimmappa) initially refuses to even register any complaint from me, on the purported grounds that I am not fluent in Kannada and I have taken a few drinks (3 Kingfisher pints, to be precise) over the evening. No, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t have my car and was not driving, and no, it doesn’t mater that the complaint will be written in English. We watch them and the goons exchange smiles and nods with our our bloodied and swelling eyes and realize in our pain-clouded still-in-shock brains the extent of truth in the claim of one of the main goons when he claimed earlier in the evening in virulent aggression: we own this town, this car belongs to an MLA, we will see how you return to this street!!

This was the turning point of the saga, I guess. For we refused to lie down quietly and be victims.

One of our girls, a vintage and proud Bangalorean who is running one of the town’s most successful organic farming initiatives, took upon herself to write the complaint, when I was not allowed to write the same. Another Bangalore girl, a state director of a global NGO firm, wrote the other molestation complaint separately on behalf of all the girls. Some of us called our friends in the media and corporate world. Everyone stepped up. And even when the odds were down and we were out, we did not give up, and as a singular body of violated citizens we spoke in one voice of courage and indomitable spirit. That voice had no limitation of language, not Kannada, nor English, or Hindi. It was the voice of human spirit that cannot be broken.

And in the face of that spirit, for the first time, we saw the ugly visage of vandalism, hiding behind the thin and inadequate veil of political corrupt power, narrow-vision regionalism and self-serving morality, start to wilt.

We spent 6 hours next day in the police station. The sub-inspector of police who filed our FIR, Ajay R M, seemed a breath of fresh air inasmuch that he did not appear a-priori biased like others, even though the hand of corruption and politico-criminal power backing these goons was still manifest in many ways: a starched, white-linen power-broker walked in handing over his card to the sub-inspector in support of the goons; the goons got an audience with the Inspector because of this intervention, while we had to interact one level lower down in the hierarchy; the plains cloth policeman of last night, even though he had arrived far too late in the crime scene, gave a warped statement, passing it off as a “neutral” point of view, repeatedly stressing that we came out of a pub and hence were drinking, positioning this as a ‘drunken brawl’, while completely forgetting to mention the unprovoked attack against the women and the one-sided vandalism and violence that ensued. I guess one cannot blame the low ranked police officer – the criminal connections of these goons must be pervasive enough for him to be careful.

Thanks however to the impartial handling of the situation by Ajay, soon the goons were all identified. The lead actor was one Ravi Mallaya (38), a real estate honcho and owner of a small property off Brigade Road which he has converted into a “gaming” (you know what that means, don’t you?) adda. The others identified are Mohan Basava (22) of Chamarajapet 12th Cross, R. Vijay Kumar Ramalingaraju (25) and Shivu Rajashekar (20). All are residents of 12th & 13th Cross in Vyalikaval. Their bravado and machismo were by that time evaporated. It was good to see their faces then.

Of course nothing much happened to them, nor did we expect it. They were supposed to be in lock up for at least the weekend till they were produced in court, but we understand that they were quickly released on (anticipatory?) bail. The car, purportedly belonging to an MLA, also does not figure in the FIR, apparently for reasons of “irrelevance to the case”.The media also have given us fantastic coverage and support so far, strengthening the cause.

The goons meanwhile, as an after thought, also filed the customary reverse complaint on the morning after we filed our own complaint: the women have apparently scratched the car! (Why did they not file the complaint the same night, considering they came to the Police Station in the same car? Why was the car allowed to be taken off police custody? Why is the car still irrelevant to the case and not in the FIR? Questions.. questions..).

Is this the end of this saga? Probably not. Are these women, more precious to us as friends and wives than most things in our lives, safe to walk or drive down Brigade Road from now on or are the goonda elements, slighted by this arrest and disgrace, are lying in ambush, waiting, biding their time to cause some of us more grievous harm? We don’t know. Is there reason for us to remain apprehensive of future attacks and victimization? Perhaps.

But here is the point.

We stood up.

We believed in the power of individual citizens even in the face of hooliganism, intolerance, corruption and power mongering. Even though many of us have the option of leveraging political or government connections, we deliberately chose to fight this battle as individuals. Sure, these connections have been activated and they have been kept informed, should the worst case scenario unfold tomorrow. But we have chosen to not leverage them. And in every small win we register as a group of individual outraged citizens of Bangalore and India, however insignificant these milestones may be in the larger scheme of things, there is one small notch adding up in favor of what is right, one small notch against what is wrong. And we believe that every such small notch counts, each such mark is absolutely invaluable.

It is the people who make this city, this country, this world. It is you and I, as much as the terrorists inside and outside. And in our small insignificant little ways, it is my responsibility and yours to not shirk from investing effort – not just lip service or any token attempt, but real effort – in backing up what we ourselves believe in. It is so easy to logically argue that everything is corrupt, nothing is worth it, there are so many risks involved. We must not fall trap to this escapist trend. We must not fail to try.

Next time you feel outraged, violated, abused, don’t let it go by and add up to your list of litanies and complaints. Stand up and take it to the limit – at least your own limit. Not in the same way as they wrong you, but in the way that every citizen, at least in theory, is entitled to complain and protest. Do not let the hooligans power rant scare you or prompt you into submission. Do not allow the corrupt cop make you give up trying. Carry the flame forward. Try harder.

If are up to it, start right now.

Forward this note to everyone you want to be made aware of this. Post it in your own blogs. Talk about it amongst your circles. And if anyone of you should like to step forward with a word of empathy or advise, talk to me. Comment.

It is not Bangalore that is going to the dogs. It is us. We have far too long become accustomed to let everything go. And the more we let things go without any protest or fight, the dormant criminal and dark elements of the society get that much more encouraged. Every time we turn the other way, the hooligan next street gets incentivized to push the boundary a little further, provoke a little more, try something a little more atrocious. It is time for us to refuse to let this go on. We are responsible for making ourselves proud. Lets believe in ourselves. We can do this.

My name is Saugata Chatterjee. And I am standing up.I refuse to let Bangalore go to the hooligan slumdogs, even if some of them are pets of corrupt power millionaires.