Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Much ado about six inches stick of muscle!

So why are we as a nation, so hung on a six inches stick of muscle?

When Reena Mehra, fresh out of college picked up a black stone polished symbolic icon called a lingum sitting on what she imagined to be a shallow tub with a drain out built in it and began to use it as an ash tray, her aunt in Delhi was horrified.  She shrieked,

“Reena! What are you doing girl? This is the holiest symbol in our lives – the Shiva Lingum!

Now, how can you blame Reena for her lack of knowledge? And how can you blame her aunt for her blind faith in anything that resembles a phallus?

Brought up on a diet of worshipping the shiva lingum, it was is not only a symbol of the “highest knowledge” which means salvation from the cycle of birth and death, it was a symbol of the union of purusha and prakrati, the feminine and the masculine energies, one an active force, the other a passive yet creative force. It is symbolic of the union of man and woman, for without this union, the world would cease to exist. It was her God. Such blasphemous acts as reported earlier on, of using a God as an ash tray, were unthinkable for her.

But Reena, poor soul, brought up in quite a different manner, could hardly feel with her aunt. She was a fruit basket she thought. Imagine using a stone for a God! In any case, what was God anyway?

The recent furor in Delhi, India,over the rape of a young girl by six men in a public bus, has caused as usual uproar of voices from different quarters. Politicians are using the incident to play up on the public mind, media is filling up its space with minute by minute report of the girl’s health and the Delhi Police chase to capture the culprits, etc etc. It is perhaps the worst time for the Delhi Police for the winter has now sat over the Delhi sky too, and while they would have had their time out with the “bottle” after collecting the “hapta”(bribe) for every other petty crime, they now have to chase the culprits, and in this they will not be paid, their hapta, or so we hope.

In all this you don’t hear a single loud resounding voice speaking on patriarchy, which is so deeply rooted in our society and cunningly woven into the fabric of our religion. The smart strategy was so well conceived that we cannot rise and rebel in the full, because we are preconditioned in one way or the other to let it pass; albeit after some hue and cry from all quarters. Up until today, India has not hung a single rapist, despite the fact, that where rapes happen almost every day, or week, and are reported, is the capital of the country.

Whether you think of Manu’s laws, or the state of Draupadi in the Mahabharata, one seems to wonder at how deep the roots of patriarchy must go, that text could be written to say that Draupadi, the wife of all the five pandava brothers, could be sold for the price of winning a game of chess by her own husband! It goes to show, that even if the Mahabharata was created by many authors over many years and lifetimes maybe, nobody seemed to object to women being always looked upon as commodities. If for five thousand years a text is read, re-read and read again, and the role of the pandavas are not questioned, if life after life, one reads about the unspeakable audacity of Rama demanding that his wife Sita, who was stolen by Ravana, prove her “purity”, which in other words means that she had not slept with him, and generation after generation is made to read such text and imbibe them at early childhood, what can you expect out of a nation full of phallic worshipers?

There is a serious problem here, in the way, we are handling our women and unless that undergoes change and is uprooted from its roots, we as women in India can never be free of abuse.

But then, who is going to bell the cat? Won’t our worship of a six inches stick of muscle come in the way?

Think while you enjoy: One Billion Rising Sri Lanka | Campaign Song (Tamil) | Rise Women, Rise Up!

Read more:

Nilanjana Ray like Justice Balakrishnan can’t see sense in hanging the culprits. They say it would not solve the bigger problem that rapes happen in India every day:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How much cleavage must one show?

Hard bargaining is a way of life in India. If the cost of a product is X, then, in the buying process, the customer might start bargaining from exactly 50% of the price of the product, scaling up to 60 – 70% of the price and finally strike the final blow, by threatening to leave without buying the product if it can’t be delivered at that price. The salesman at this point agrees to the customer. He too, has marked up the price by 25% knowing that he will face a hard bargain come hell come high water.

This entire process has seen the customer and the salesman engaged with each other for a good 15 minutes, which can be said to be a waste of time.

Traditionally, the salesman arrived with his goods to the Indian home, threw it open to everyone in the family to choose from, then, it finally came to the head of the family to make the purchase. The process may have had the salesman, strike a large deal albeit having spent an enormous amount of time with the family, sometimes even sharing a meal with the purchaser. It was time invested in the family, knowing that there would be repeat sales here, over time.

In the present day scenario, when the purchaser must go to the sales outlet, it is upto the salesman to decide how much of cleavage he must show, to make the sales happen in minutes or let it pass.

The difference is between crass and class. In the case of the former, one might start on a high price and end up pulling it down sizably, thereby, showing a lot more than what was asked for. But, in the latter, one would put a price and not move from it, not allowing bargain at all. So the pricing becomes suggestive of a certain class which says politely this much and no more.

If a magazine whose only income comes from the advertisements it receives, says no to ads which are more than five in the magazine, it shows it belongs to a certain class. Readers will have more reading material than have to sieve through page upon page of advertisements, they did not pay for. This is classy. The advertiser may pay a higher price for the ad in such a magazine, but is going to be noticed and perhaps read and acted upon, than a magazine full of so many ads, that the reader thrashes all the ads, including most of the magazine.

This is the point of smart selling - less always mean more, while more is an often an underachiever in the long run.

Coming back to our point, how much cleavage must one show? Would you prefer to reveal just enough to keep the desire going, or would you reveal it all, and end the desire for more in a one-time sales, or repeat low-priced sales, is the question every salesman must ask? What is preferred - Class or crass? Can we afford to sell apples at the price of bananas?

Think while you watch:

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Fuzz, fizz n finizz!


Only very recently I put down a book I read with great interest called The Wave Rider, by Ajit Balakrishnan, who in the late 90s started when India had not really woken up to the idea of Internet. Ajit Balakrishnan drew a lot of examples from the US and Europe to show how the Age of the Information dawned riding past many others starting Iron Age, age of industrialization etc. The book did not however cover one of the fallouts of the Age of Internet.

Dear reader, a story I came across is presented here.

: What’s the good word in 140 characters?

“He’s coming! He’s not coming! He’s coming! He’s not coming!”
“What are you picking all those flower petals one by one for, as if you were Ophelia in Shakespear’s Hamlet?” Bharat asked.

“He’s coming! He’s not coming! He’s coming! He’s not coming!” Lakshmi continued

“Oh c’mon, who is coming?”

The dew fresh relationship between Bharat and Lakshmi had only just begun, after both found each other on Facebook. They had been on Orkut too.

Lakshmi worked at an Agency that provided content for Company websites and spent a sizable amount of time on Facebook and Twitter. After all, 140 characters did not need too much creativity to write. Or maybe it really did! But, it was easier to keep the engagement on, with a line, all the time. It bugged Bharat a lot. He had to know everything that was going on in Lakshmi’s life.

“Is he your boyfriend from Orkut?”Bharat asked rather irritated, to which she gave him a chilling cold look.

Two people who have recently fallen in love having Orkuted and Facebooked for a long time and were meeting for the first time, by a lake, would have been differently engaged with each other five years ago, but today, both met physically but continued their engagement with each other on FB. SmartPhones in hand, they stood next to each other at the lake occasionally looking up to meet each other’s eyes.

The virtual world had changed everything! People preferred to communicate via Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and other Social Networks, more than they liked to meet in person and socialize. In fact, both Bharat and Lakshmi had planned this meeting over days, trying to make it possible to meet in person, instead of virtually.

“But we are always talking to each other, on phone or on FB”, Bharat objected, but Lakshmi was keen to meet him personally. Who knows, maybe there was no Bharat at all? Maybe the virtual picture on his FB profile was not what he really looked like! There were so many questions on her mind.

But now that they met, the excitement lasted only a few moments, because, after the initial meeting, both went back to their SmartPhones and continued with their conversation by posting on their FB and Twitter accounts!

It was like the fizz in a Coke bottle. Bubbling over and fizzling out all at the same time.

“He’s coming! He’s not coming! He’s coming! He’s not coming!” Lakshmi doled out in a deadpan voice, her eyes glued to her SmartPhone.

“Ah now I know! You are talking about Salman Rushdie!”

“Nah! I don’t read at all, except messages. Do you?”

“I read some lines from his book on FB – hang on I will Share it with you by tagging you – here it is!”

Lakshmi read the first few lines and lost interest.

“It’s too long,” She whined. “140 characters are all I can read, like in Twitter.”

“Then I will write our love story on Twitter in 140 characters!”
“LoL” Lakshmi re-tweeted

“Lakshmi met Bharat @ Sujan Lake and Tweeted and FB each other. It was awesome - all Fuzz, Fizz and Finizz - Muuaah”. Bharat tweeted

A host of retweets began: From Dipti, Dilip, Sandhya, Sonu, Bunny and hoards of others, spiraling away, all over the net, when suddenly Lakshmi received a retweet from one Ms Sexy Samantha which read like this: Lakshmi met Bharat @ Sujan Lake? I will show you nicely Bharat when you come home tonight – your wife!”

Quickly Lakshmi retweeted by tagging Bharat and adding: @bharat She’s coming! She’s coming! Your wife is coming to get you!

“@lakshmi nonsense!” Tweeted Bharat, “I am single, ready to mingle! Me Samson, you Delilah”

“@bharat Awesome Dude!” Lakshmi tweeted back, “Look behind you, before you leap forward LOL”.

But, by then all hell had broken loose. Bharat turned sharply to the left as a burly woman in her mid-twenties came charging towards him, a Police baton in her hand.

“Amma!” Bharat wailed, but it was too late. In quick succession, Lakshmi lost no time to take to her heels as her mobile clicked several picture of a Bharat’s wife roughing him up. She uploaded the picture on her FB account and made a public posting with a catch line: Man gets beaten by wife who catches him on Tweeter, tweeting sweet nothings to his FB beloved.

Needless to say, that picture with message spiraled and was Shared 356 times! Aaaaw! And Oh man! ROLF, LOLzzzz, filled posts after posts on FB, the message, went viral over and over again!

It ended the virtual love between Lakshmi and Bharat, only till they made new profiles on FB, Twitter and Orkut, calling themselves, Neversaydie and Loveis4ever.

Shortly they received a Friend’s request from Kababmeinhaddi.

There are absolutely no prizes for guessing who Kabab-mein-haddi is!

The end

There you go, dear reader, sons and daughters of the Information Age, I believe the Internet Age may just go out like a bubble as easily as it came, in a fuzz, fizz n finizz, unless Ajit Balakrishnan has something else to say. Or like the lovebirds, the AoI evolves into another. If @ajitbalakrish is right, it will never say die!


: Today happens to be Ada Lovelace's 197th birthday Picture taken from Google doodles the evolution of computers