Sexism Works in Mysterious Ways

Is the default setting of the world sexist, I wonder this ever so often. The Indian National Rounds of the ICC Moot Court Competition are being organised in our University and the entire Accommodation (Acco) team had gone out for a field trip to check out different hotels and the rooms they had to offer so that we could decide where to host our teams. It was the four of us, three girls and one, a little too sure of himself, guy. My sole aim for this ‘tour of shady hotels’, as one of my friends put it, to get the most reasonably priced hotel for our teams to stay, which can provide all the basic amenities including hot water and wifi.

Except for one of the hotels, all had men as managers and I wouldn’t have actually taken note of it but after a point, I started seeing a pattern, which really irked me. All the managers were talking to the ‘a little too sure of himself’ guy. They just kept ignoring the three women, one of them extremely tall. I would have let it slide too but then the guy was getting in the way of me securing at the number I wanted my rooms to cost me. He wasn’t letting me do my job. I had ruined my Saturday for this and he kept yapping on. When I had had enough, I had to interject and take matters in hand. It always took at least three exchanges for the managers to understand that it was the women who meant business. Arghhhhh.

The men just assume that the women don’t know how money works, I guess. It is just funny, really.

Raees v. Kaabil

The showdown happened this Republic Day. So while I had one eye on the parade, the other on my phone trying to book my tickets to Raees. After one failed attempt at the same, I reached the seventh heaven when I finally got them, I was watching an SRK movie in the theater after so long, I can’t even remember.

But it seems like the entire world was waiting for the showoff between Kaabil and Raees. Well, I was not. I mean an SRK movie is hitting the screens and why will I think about anything else, even if it the actor who is hyped as the Indian who could be Bond. I agree there is a clear bias when I write this post but I sat down to think about it,

Now, I agree there is a clear bias when I write this post but I sat down to think about it, was Kaabil really better than Raees as many touted it to be? Kaabil is a slow movie. It uses the entire first half for romance and oh god did it get boring, sorry for not being one for cheesy romantic. Even post interval when it was supposed to be a thriller, it was slow as death. Moreover, the whole thing about dubbing human voices, um, um. I like the fact that the voices still had a touch of Hrithik’s voice but still very implausible, actually the entire second half is. The flaw is not that fact that Hrithik is blind and thus could not have done what he did but the fact that for me the standards of a perfect crime is Drishyam. The way Hrithik committed the murders were not ‘the perfect time’ even by a close shave. In short, bahut bhaav khaya yaar.

There were a few similarities between the two movies, though.

  1. Both didn’t have the most amazing stories. Raees was a generic rags-to-riches story of a gangster who took up the next profession in the career graph i.e. that of a politician. Kaabil, I felt it was Badlapur part two. But the acting in the both the movies took the stories to a different level and this was true for very actor in the movies, sheer brilliance.
  2. The portrayal of women was a problem in both. Yami gives up her job and takes a life completely dependent on Hrithik and then kills herself because she was unhappy about the course their married life will take and the shame and trouble Hrithik will have to face in life. Then, of course, the fact that she was willing to go away from his life because she was ‘not the same’ for Hrithik. And why was Mahira even in Raees? She was the moll who was actually just needed for the two songs, which are really awesome by the way, and the last scene because the husband will have to come to save the wife.
  3. And this is a very funny observation but the guy who plays the police officer in Kaabil is also the guy who plays godfather to Raees, Musa.

 

Raees was better, period.

The Ban on Pakistani Actors: Does it Make Sense?

I love watching Fawad Khan , getting lost in his dreamy eyes and look at his smile. Songs churned out by Coke Studio Pakistan are as soulful as the ones by the Indian counterpart. But does it make sense to ban all Pakistani actors and other ancillary working professionals? Now we know that the Film Industry in Mumbai bowed to the pressure of the MNS, their hooliganism and their threats of shutting down and vandalizing movie halls that will showcase movies that have Pakistani actors in them. One also needs to note that in this post, I am in no way being a Pakistan apologetic but just trying to rationalize the ban.

The idea behind the ban being that it will act as an extra-political pressure on Pakistan and a punishment to the actors and others who did not condemn the attacks in Uri. In this post in the Indian express, the author highlights the cost of banning these actors will have on Bollywood and the loss of revenue because even Pakistan in retaliation has decided to ban Indian content from their TV and radio channels. But of course, when the pride of the nation hangs in balance, money and the livelihoods of people being affected by this act does not matter. The makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil have promised to feature an homage to the martyrs. While their contribution in any way cannot be negated and one’s heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones, but a tribute that is forced out of the makers so that they can ensure their movie is allowed to be released is nothing but an insult to the martyrs.

While the fight between the two nations was understood to be majorly political, but over the years we see that it had seeped into other areas like cricket and now the cinema. Now my knowledge of cricket is limited and frankly not very reliable but if I remember correctly, we have banned any cricket matched with Pakistan and the ban has been in force for many years now. But even now every time the countries have faced in the World Cups, it has been an affair to remember. My personal favorite was the 2007 T20 World Cup final (I am surprised that I remember this), it was nail biting.

I for some reason am not able to convince myself that the ban is correct. Can art be put in boundaries and divided by religion? Movies are the place where one goes to escape the vagaries of daily life and just enjoy. It doesn’t matter whether the hero on screen is from India or from Pakistan, as long as he can convey the emotion the way it should be. India and Pakistan share cultural bonds that go way back. And this in no way reflects that my respect for my nation has gone down in any way. We forget to separate the nation from the State. And the ban, I feel is an action of the State and should be definitely questioned.

Another problem with the whole debate that I have is the fact that what are the actors are being questioned on their silence on the Uri attacks. Now firstly, I want to understand that are they being asked to condemn only the Uri Attacks or under the veil of it, do they want the actors to condemn their own country. If it is the latter, then I don’t think you can really ask them to do that. If it is the former then, again can they be asked to make comments that are definitely going to have ramifications back home? At the end of the day, that is where they have to live. Their social media feeds clearly show that at least they do not support terrorism as they condemned attacks in Paris and others.

Another point, many writers are making is that such a ban makes sense if we are cutting off all ties with Pakistan else it is just a selective targeting of public figures. Again, does it make sense to cut off all ties with Pakistan? Cutting off all ties with Pakistan will never work and history has been a witness to it. We cannot possibly do that, Pakistan is our neighbor and a steady relationship between the two of these countries is very important to the peace of the region. Failure of SAARC as a regional body has been majorly attributed to the strained relationship between the countries. The recent cancellation of the SAARC meeting is just another example of it.

Lastly, and the biggest issue I have is something that I started off with, I love watching these actors and listening to their songs and MNS has held the entire Bollywood to ransom for its own political motives. This is a classic case of heckler’s veto.

In a country that believes in equality, for some reason the voice of certain political parties has counted more than citizens like me who want to watch and listen to content irrespective of its nationality.

THE EFFORT THEORY

It has been so long since I got back behind my laptop screen to write that was not to be submitted as a project or as a brief to the temporary boss in my internships that I guess the fun of writing what pleases you had gotten a little lost on me. This glorious Sunday afternoon, I had been itching to write but any content was elusive, as if, my brain was refusing to put in any effort, after all, it was a glorious Sunday afternoon.

I actually stooped to binge watch Game of Thrones. Yes, I am guilty of not liking the show. You can never get involved with the show because the minute you do, you start liking a character and once you do, be assured, they will kill him off in the next episode. And you need to remember a lot and be sure of the context to understand the story. I know I know, I live in Delhi and the North remembers, but still, it is just too much effort. Frankly, I am unable to not like the Dario Naharys or however his name is spelt and I don’t want him to die. I am at Season 6 Episode 5 and if they have already killed him, please just tell me already. Though I love the fact that until now two Bond villains have been made a part of the show. Ned Stark who played the villain in Goldeneye and the High Sparrow, who was one of my favourites as Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies, both against Pierce Brosnan <3.

Which brings me to what I started out with today, what I call the effort theory. Nothing great or fancy like rational choice theory (the only two words that I understood remember from a year long Economics classes) but it does give me a good enough reason to well skip certain things when I want to. It all started with the short journey from our hostel to our academic block, where we have our classes. It is really short, about a minute or two’s walk. But the Acad Block has both a staircase and a wheelchair ramp and I have always as a rule of thumb taken the ramp even though it causes me to stay in the sun for just about two seconds more and my friends say that those two seconds take more energy out of my body than taking the staircase, but I have vehemently denied the charges.

The simple logic is when my feet are moving in a certain way to walk, taking the staircase breaks that movement and whereas climbing the ramp is closer to the said movement, not forgetting the part about nor having to heave your leg up every time you take a step to raise yourself higher. I apply the same logic to sweets. I hate fruit and nut chocolates or dry fruits (except for maybe walnuts in cakes) especially when they are whole. My mouth has a smooth texture taste of the actual sweet when the almonds and cashews come in between. Though while I am writing the post, I am munching on almonds and cashews.

I even apply it when I take my friends shopping. So my darling non-Delhi or for that matter even Delhi friends and I go out to markets where I am a bystander called in only when the item intended to be purchased has passed all quality tests and has been given a go by the others, to bargain. My friends think that I am awesome at bargaining. I do agree that it does become better with practice, where you begin to understand that what is the lowest price a shopkeeper will be willing to go, but even then, I actually tried bargaining when I took my friends out for the first time to Lajpat Nagar. I simply quote my price and maybe a few more words here and there and that is it, if he agrees good enough, if he doesn’t, I try the classic move of pretending to leave the shop and that is it. Now if I would be buying stuff, if the shopkeeper won’t agree to my price, if my pretence fails to appeal to the shopkeeper, I will actually keep up the charade i.e. I will not purchase the item in question. But when it is about my friends, it gets difficult, I want them to get what they want at the price I want and so I put in a little more effort.

The best example can be the projects that we have to make for 25 marks in our college. I quiet literally weigh it against the kind of impression I have on the teacher, whether the can be easily befuddled, do they still give marks if they are confused about your project etc and then decide whether I have to copy it from the internet or actually think and make a project.

Some term it as plain laziness, I term it as effort-benefit analysis ( I do remember a few more things from the Eco class…huh). We have just one life and expending it on things that will not matter in the long run, will always take away a little from your peace of mind and soul. Yeah even overthinking things goes against the effort theory.

So put in your comments about the ‘Effort theory’. 🙂 Happy Sunday to everyone.

My New Coffee Maker!!!

I never knew when did I took to coffee. I started with Nescafe Classic. Though I am not one those who will not have tea because they drink coffee. And till date, caffeine has never really affected me somehow. I literally take a great big glass… yes glass because my college mess has glasses and not cups for coffee before I head off to class, and I can bet you that I am yawning 20 minutes into the first lecture. So I have come to the conclusion that either Nescafe has no caffeine or I have become immune to it. Or of course, my class is so indefinetly boring that even Nescafe can’t help it and I think that it is the reason.

I have come to collect so many coffee related things that I think my house has become this little museum of different coffee makers and coffee beans.I will tell about those later. But right now I want to tell you about this new coffee maker that my parents got me. I was so excited that when I came home yesterday, the first thing I did was open it and get it cleaned. I dried and then I ran a cycle of fresh water and put it to use. It is much better than I thought. Because when I saw the fresh water cycle run I saw that the water came out in like 3 seconds through the cofee, whereas before I had an electric coffee maker, in anything else, I have to wait at least four minutes before letting the coffee dgo. But I guess that is the purpose of the coffee maker, it does the job faster.

Coming to the coffee maker itself. It is Rusell Hobbs RCM 120. It makes 3 to 10 cups. Pretty amazing. I am just having a cup right now actually. It is kinda getting me into the habit of black coffee. I have been against it since I remember> I could never understand, why would you drink it. It doesn’t have milk or sugar for that matter! Eh! But yeah, it can taste wonderful. It is an auto-drip and as I read recently, is hated coffee snobs, but I find it perfect for myself. It is quick, easy to clean and will help me to finish my stock of coffee faster. Believe me, I have a lot of coffee backlog. I live in my University hostel and come home only when I have at least 2 days break, or else, it doesn’t make sense. Hence, the ground coffee at home has no takers for a long time sometimes 3 weeks at a stretch.

But my favourite has recently become the South Indian Coffee filter. I was making coffee in it using other coffee beans but when I went and bought coffee specific for filter coffee, I realised it tastes so much better. And it is perfect for me in college. Now I have almost everything to set up a kitchen in college, a kettle, a cup, maggi or pasta, spoons, forks and almost everything, except for a sieve. The coffee filter requires no sieve, hence no hassle. Though I am still trying to figure out the ratio. But I prefer to think that I am making it correctly, because I don’t have the time to breathe these days let alone figure out ratio for a filter. I tries googling it and that is how I am functioning.

The third is a stovetop expresso maker by cafe coffee day. The description says that you use ground coffee beans in it but believe me, it does not function like that. It makes okayish coffee, you can taste the steel a bit.

In any case, my life is amazing right now because I have a new coffee maker!!!