Volume: 1 Issue: 3 June 2013
Front Cover : Vivek Kapoor
EDITORS’ CHARPOY You plan.You use protection.Yet, sometimes, you are late. And that freaks the crap out of you. But you get past it. We’re late. We apologize. But a slow simmering pudding is better than a half baked pie. This month we decided to do something different. Instead of bringing in a wonderful author to judge the entries we have decided that,YOU are our celebrity judge! A while back, a reader sent in his contribution to us saying, “Here’s my first contribution for OUR magazine.” That moment, we felt happier than we did at the launch of our first issue. You said it, Swapnil Kawale! Of the people, for the people and by the people –isn’t so much the parliament. But that’s Tamarind Rice. So here’s another attempt to involve you guys more. This month, readers get to vote for their favourite articles. Contributors, yes, you may cheat. You can get anybody with an internet connection to vote for you. A few lucky voters get prizes too. Yes, we are awesome like that. Thank you. Happy reading, happy voting & a very happy monsoon month! Tastefully yours, Tamarind Rice Team.
Voting closes at 12am On 25th July.
AN APPLETINI A DAYâ€Ś. THE FIRST TIME It was my first day in pediatrics internship after a relaxing month at ENT. The day had gone by pretty smoothly till the emergency call came to the department around 1.30 pm in the afternoon. There had been a premature delivery in the obstetric theater and the resulting baby weighed a mere 900 grams; just a third of what an ideal baby should weigh at birth. The chances of the child surviving were meagre but we still knew that we had to do what we could. A tube was placed into the respiratory tract to assist her breathing and she was shifted to the ICU. Sadly, back then there were no ventilator facilities available which meant the baby's breaths were in our hands, literally. Being the junior most in the department as of that day, the task of manually ventilating the newborn under the supervision of a senior fell to me. Minutes turned to hours, afternoon to twilight as I continued ventilating the baby. Beyond the incubator where she lay, her chest would respond to my pressure on the bag, lifting gently up and down with my efforts. My hands cramped and cried with the effort and I remember switching hands to relieve the other every twenty minutes. I also remember watching the sun set that evening from the window as hours continued to pass by with no improvement in the child's vitals. Finally, my senior came by after his dinner to relieve me for mine, an offer I gratefully accepted. When I returned, he handed the bag back to me with words I still remember today 'I don't think there will be a replacement needed for you at 10pm." Checking the vitals, I knew he was right. The child had deteriorated even further. Half an hour later, in spite of all our best efforts, she passed away. While I was thoroughly demoralized, it was nothing compared to the wails of the baby's mother when we had to deliver the news to her. She had never even got to see her baby alive as he had been taken to the Neonatal ICU immediately after delivery. I remember marveling at the composure of my senior as he delivered the news, comforted the mother and then moments later, headed off for the next emergency which had come and handled it as if it were his first case of the day. It would be a few years before I would learn to develop that coat of mental strength that all doctors need to steel their hearts against the pain and suffering they see everyday. But more than that, it is always another humbling thought that haunts me when I think of that incident. Of the more than 11,000 evenings I have had the privilege to live in, I spent just a single evening with this baby. But this child spent every breath of his life with me. You always remember the first person who died in your hands. Perhaps that may seem more relevant to those not accustomed to the sight of death, but to us inside the hospital, the images may blur and memories fade but the scars of watching a life pass away always remain with us, whether we show it or not. Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan Share
Automated shivling waterfall. Feel the constant presence of Parabrhama at your residence and office place with this innovative sculpture to worship HIM without wasting milk or water. For further queries, contact: Pranav P. Gupta +91-9819861204 email@example.com
POETRY When Writing Heals
Photo Credits : Saurik Shah
About the lost smiles About the carefree quietness About those misplaced thoughts And that feeling of just being together I would write. For me, for this naive girl within I would write. For the unnecessary dejection I would sit down in solitude and write. For the falling of bricks And not being able to put them back, For all the sad things this world offers I would write. And head back to where I started. From where the picture looked pretty No lost smiles, no misplaced thoughts Pure love. Sweet love. About this, I would write. Because at the end When all the wrong is done, I shall come back to read How the things turned right.
Vinati Bhola Share:
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Seize the Limitation When youâ€™re wedged on a path Or stumbled on a block, Caged in a way, Cemented to a thought. Donâ€™t wince at your bruise, Or reflect pitiful eyes. Seize the limitation, bro Impel beyond the obvious, rise! Unshackle from the conventional, Challenge the norm. Break free of sceptics, Direct your own storm. Be bold, be courageous, be doughty Endeavouring to reframe. Bear in mind however, Carefree and careless are not the same. Discover a new perspective, Abandon the wraith. Shortcomings will evolve into opportunities, If only you have faith. Share
POETRY Photo Credits: Saurik Shah
Birds Afraid of wounds some donâ€™t even crawl, Before climbing they fear the fall. Some retreat from the failure small, But self they blame all. Stifled by the expectations great Some rely solely on fate. Knowing little themselves they deceive And not a step forward can they heave. Always for modesty do they care Punily always they await chances fair Timidly they consecrations they slay And in the whiny corners of heart so lay But to pretermit criticism some pledge; Intrepidly opportunities they fetch And soar high breaking the cage Because some birds simply have that courage Share:
Swapnil Kawale Share
POETRY Hope...And a little sugar
Photo Credits: Prithviraj George
She always stays by you No matter how many times you fail She's always humble and positive And is as holy as the grail She gives you a reason to live She makes you wanna give it a shot She always hovers around in the mind Whether you want her around or not She doesn't promise you anything But she sure makes you forget the pain If you decide to stand by her She wont let your efforts go in vain She has this strange funny way Of making you believe in her She makes you see things right When all you can see is a blur Together with her counterpart She lifts you and helps you to cope If he's called Faith Then she's called Hope
Autumn With blended flavors, Zephyr, clouds, showers and wet earth Fragranced fall is here. Gravels soaked in drops of palette Splash! “Oh dear, I’m drenched” Like music, it fills me. Smiles and says, “Hold its hand, hug it tight, Feel the ecstasy with gleaming eyes.” Vinati Bhola
She's like a hot summer In the middle of cold winter She's like the hard shelled coconut With a surprise soft centre She'll get you, what you want But she makes you put in a strife She's like a little sugar In the bitter sweet pudding called life Soumya Prasad Share: Photo Credits : Priyanka A
Photo Credits: Archit Sureka
She plopped down on the rock. “It’s pointless. What if there is no hidden treasure?” She said. He was dragging her again to the top of the hill to search for that elusive treasure he said he believed in.
They had been searching for it since they were 7. He would drag her here, everyday of their summer holidays and make her search for hours before they could finally go and have ice-cream. It was like a tradition. They had stopped one year when they weren’t talking to each other. He had scored the highest marks and she had almost failed that year. Her mother decided whose doing it was. She didn’t see him one whole summer. But after that year, he ensured she never did badly. He’d teach her. Everyday. He almost killed her once when she wouldn’t get why equations were important. But she survived. And so did their friendship. “There is, lazy butt! Move it. We can’t spend so much time getting up there. We have to search. I will seriously not get you along next time.” “Thank god for small mercies. Can I go back now?” She glared. “No. Think of this as payback for all the times I choose you for my football team so that you aren’t the only one left.” She got up, dusted her butt and walked on like a zombie. “You know it is point-less, right? It has been 6 years. We have never found anything. Who gave you all this bullshit about treasure, anyway?” “Shut up, will you? You are just lazy. Thank me I do this to you. Otherwise every summer you would have grown very very fat.”“Thank you.” She scowled and kicked him on the back of his knee. He fell and winced in pain. Oh god, she thought. When she gave him her hand, he pulled her down hard. They laughed. “My father told me there is something up there. That he went there every day and searched till he didn’t have summer holidays to do that anymore.” “Yes, so you should do it. Keep your family tradition of ‘being pointless’ up. I do not mind.” He punched her. “So there is no treasure then.” He sighed. “No, there isn’t. I am sure he is trying to tell you ‘Son, do not waste your life like I did.’” He punched her, again. Harder. And as they sat there beating each other up, he suddenly realized the treasure his father was talking about. Trupthi Shetty Share
FOOD Ingredients Carrots 3 Peanuts 2 Tsp Dry Coconut 2 Tsp Almond 3 Cashew 3 Corn flour 2 Tsp Honey 4 Tsp Roast the peanuts until aromatic, cool and grind to coarse powder. With the help of a mortar and pestel make a coarse powder of both cashews and almonds. Wash and peel the outer skin and grate the carrot. In a deep pan add the grated carrot and fry for 4-5 minutes. Now add honey and keep stirring, add corn flour, peanut powder, almond and cashew powder. Mix everything until the mixture thickens, transfer this to a plate, with the spatula or wet hands spread the mixture, form oval shapes and roll in dry coconut. Enjoy the Carrot Honey Rolls immediately or chill.
Forever Food Fantasy Share Photo Credits: http://aloveafare.com
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FOOD Ingredients For the panacotta: Cream - 1 ½ cups Sugar – ¼ cup Milk – 1 cup (divide 1/2&1/2) Gelatine – 2 tsp Honey – 2 tsp Vanilla essence- 1 tsp For the Mango Jelly Mango puree – 1 cup Cool water – 3 Tbsp Gelatine – 11/2 tsp Method To make the panacotta: Pour ½ cup milk and sprinkle gelatin on it. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, honey and sugar for 5-7 minutes till the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add in the mango puree and the gelatin mixture. Whisk well to ensure that there are no lumps of gelatin in the mixture and it is smooth. Pour the mixture in a serving dish or a wine glass. Keep the dish in the fridge to cool till you make the jelly. To make the jelly : Heat the mango puree and water until the sugar dissolves. Dissolve the gelatin in 3 tbsp hot water . Make sure the water is really hot to dissolve the gelatin completely. Mix the gelatin in the mango puree and stir thoroughly. Pour the mango gelee over the panacotta molds. Cover the dish with a plastic wrap and keep in the fridge to cool for 5-6 hours till set. Garnish with some fresh mangoes and a sprig of mint.
Mukta Varma Share
Mukta is a food blogger from Delhi and blogs at www.bakeamania.com.
FASHION Call it an effect of the shift in global consciousness or a gypsy revival, the fashion world is witnessing a Bohemian Bonanza this summer. Boho Chic has gained popularity over the years with glamorous renditions of it. What started out as a modern day interpretation of the 1960s flower child is now an independent look with its own personality and traits. The look is storming the ramps and the high street with fresh zeal and modern updates. Today's my Boho Chic Look is a pretty Yellow Pleated Long Maxi Skirt paired with a Coral Tank top with Crochet. I accessorised with lots of colourful 'Arm Candy' with coloured wooden bangles and bracelets. I wore long dangling multi coloured Earrings with a little ethnic feel and a Blue beaded Neckpiece. I also donned a Floral Neon Hat, wore a Neon Orange Clutch bag across my torso and Neon Orange Peep Toes. It is a very modern day Boho Chic look with a colour burst. It's June Bloom time and we shot amongst the beautiful surroundings of garden, trees and flowers. Boho is short for bohemian and by definition,unconventional. The reimagined trend has found elegance hence the term 'chic'. Boho is all about looking individual and natural. In essence it means putting together your outfits in such a way as to be uniquely stylish and unusually, unexpectedly elegant. The look is free-spirited. A woman who prefers this look is considered fun, ungoverned by mainstream fashion rules and independent. Some of its famous practitioners include Nicole Ritchie, Kate Hudson Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, the Olsen twins and Sienna Miller. Boho Chic Styling Tips 1. Clothing: Boho chic has moved from simply being an earthy flavour and loves tones such as greens, oranges, yellow and magenta. Look at the length of your skirts and dresses. They tend to be floor-sweeping, making it a critical part of this look.
FASHION The skirts are flowy, hair is loose and print from floral to animal is on. Look for tops with beading, embroidery, floral prints, crochet details. This summer, some of the dress trends are super long dresses, prints, floral patterns, and bright colours paired with earthy tones. 2. Accessories: This is probably the most important part of all. Boho chic is synonymous with "accessories galore". This means plenty of bracelets, ankle bracelets, mix-and-match necklaces, and dangling earrings.. Layers of bracelets make the phrase â€œarm candyâ€? very boho. Long, dangling earrings and wooden bangles are perfect and you can also wear a small purse across your torso. Your sandals can be in neutral tones, but pops of colour can be a fun way to make this trend your own. I accessorised my Look with some Coloured Wooden bangles and Bracelets, Blue Beaded Necklace, Multi coloured dangling earrings and a Neon Floral Hat.
HOOK MY LOOK ~ Coral Tank Top with Crochet Detailing CHARLOTTE RUSSE ~ Yellow Pleated Maxi Skirt - PULL & BEAR ~ Coloured Wooden Bangles & Bracelets Local Store ~ Blue Beaded Necklace - ALDO ~Neon Floral Hat - Bangkok ~ Multi Coloured Dangling Earrings FOREVER NEW
Stephanie Timmins Share
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SHORT STORY Fireflies is Prithviraj George’s humble attempt at a divisible short story. The preceding parts of this story can be viewed here & here.
Grace was 7 years younger to me. I still remember the day she was born. She was so pretty, just like my mother. I had never seen my father so happy when he held her. Growing up with her was quite an experience. She was a like a bag full of surprises. She used to paint beautifully. Like the brushes in her hand understood what she had in her mind. She had a soft and beautiful voice, but she never sang. She used to hum some tune while painting. Never loudly, though. Softly - only to herself. There were some wonderful moments in our life as kids. Growing up, things weren’t the same. We all went ahead with our lives. Married and settled, we believed we had found what we were looking for from life. Ironically, we settled for otherwise. I ended up with a bad marriage and she, who always wanted to live free and travel the world, ended up being a house wife. We used to meet up sometime even though her in-laws thought I was a bad influence, filling her mind against them. They didn’t know that we never talked about them. Or about anybody, for that matter. We used to meet up simply to relive our childhood. She used to stay till late on some days when she felt I was not myself, making sure I was fine. Life had given up on us and so did we. But then something did happen. She gave birth to a baby boy and then, somewhere, I felt she believed that she could start all over again.
saw you grow older and her younger. You were a sweet boy, indeed - who, like his mother, had a dream. She had made sure that you believe that life was a dream; a dream where anything could happen. You could fly if you wanted to, paint the air without colors and yet make a masterpiece. Anything was possible, if you only believed. And you did. You were everything she had imagined. I, who was totally immersed in my career as a teacher, had found a new interest - to listen to you. You would tell me lots of stories. Do you remember that? I did. I did vaguely remember spending time with Aunt Judith. The long walks in the park adjacent to the old house. She used to pick me up sometimes from school. She would tell me stories about various historic events. From the Indian struggle for freedom to how my grandparents met. She used to ask about my school and my friends and in return, I would get freshly baked biscuits from her. I continued to read.
Though your father’s family never approved of you spending time with me, Grace had made sure that you did. You would come by after school some times and tell me stories about what happened with you at school, some made up stories about how an eagle spoke to you during your games period. You said things with such sincerity that I would almost believe you at times. You were quite a story teller. I had a feeling that you would someday end Watching her as a mother was overwhelming. She had so up being a writer. Grace had asked you to write all these many things planned for both of you. Years went on - I stories down and read it to her at the end of the day Photo Credits: Saurik Shah
SHORT STORY before she put you to bed and you, then 7 years old, did write so many. She would bring those by to my place and we would have a fun time reading them. She always made it a point to correct your mistakes but never to curb your imagination. I had seen Grace perform many roles a daughter, a sister, a good friend. But the role of a mother, I still feel that nobody could do such a fine job. I saw a picture of me, Maa and Aunt Judith. A picture I hardly remember. I sat on the middle of the Polaroid with Maa and Aunt Judith on my side. Both of them looked so similar. And me, a chubby little boy wearing a white shirt and grey shorts. I couldn’t recollect much of what Aunt Judith had written. Sometimes me and Maa would go for a walk to her place. They both would sit and talk and I had no idea what about but usually a lot of laughs were to follow.
But things changed quite suddenly. She came over to my place one evening. She was crying. It seemed like she had a big fight with your father. Both of them had been fighting quite often. She said she Photo Credits: Saurik Shah doubted him of having an affair. He was being unusually late from work for the past few days and she once had overheard him talking to some lady. But none of these were taken seriously until she said she received a call from some man. He never said his name but had said that her husband was having an affair and her marriage was in danger. Following that phone call, when your father came home that night, she tried talking to him which ended up in a fight. She had no idea about the man who called her but over a period of time he would call her often, telling her about her husband and what he was doing. One day, she was told that it was a woman from his office. And when she tried to ask your father about it, he yelled at her and called her names. She still believed that they could work this out. But the more she tried to talk to him about this, the more fights it caused. The only person who believed in her was the guy who used to call her. Your father went ahead and accused her that it was she who was having an affair and was blaming him instead so that she could get away with it. Coming to think about it now, nobody would have ever imagined what she was going through. She told me this and when I asked her about the guy who called her so often, she would become defensive. She wouldn’t even tell me his name. She began yelling at me that even I, like her husband, didn’t believe her. I could recollect this, the fights. It had all started so suddenly. Dad had started working late nights. I was made to eat my dinner, while Maa used to wait for him. He used to come by the time I was put to bed. I could hear them argue till late at night. I could hear Maa crying towards the end of it. She had become very restless over a period of time. Her temper levels were rising each day. I remember she had once beaten me so black and blue for losing my new set of color pencils and later cried harder than me about it. Sometimes late at night, she would come into my room, hug me and cry. Sometimes she would just sleep holding me tight as if she was afraid that I would run away in the middle of the night. Now I know it was that cursed phone call that started it all. I wondered who was calling her. I wondered if Aunt Judith ever came to know about him. It is difficult to relive old memories. Many a times, unadvisable. But can you really move forward without knowing and understanding your past? The continuation to this story Share will follow in our July issue. To read on, subscribe here
OPINIONS & OUTBURTS This is not a movie review I am not passing a judgment on whether Raanjhanaa is good or bad, worth watching or not. I am writing on how I felt after I watched the pirated copy of the movie on my laptop, awkwardly propped up on my bed after an early off from work. I am writing down (I wish I could use the words “penning down” instead. But, darn! I blame technology and my unexplainable, near-pyscho reasons for not picking up pen and paper; of course, because blaming something else is so effortlessly easy) all the thoughts that crossed my mind while and after the movie got over. Women. Women cause wars. Women are the root of all evil. It’s not conclusive proof, the examples I am about to cite, but good enough proof for me. Manthara filled Kaikai’s ears, Kaikai blackmailed Dashratha. Ram was exiled for fourteen years. Sroopnakha flirted first with Ram, then with Lakshman, forced him to take her nose off to get rid of her. Sroopnakha went and told her brother Ravana about this very insult to her and Ravana decided to take revenge for her. He abducted Sita to teach Ram a lesson. It’s a different thing that he actually fell in love with Sita’s beauty, later on. And then, for Sita, sank all of Lanka. Helen of Troy. That’s a story of terribly destructive beauty. Men lose their minds. They don’t thinkstraight when they are around women. I remember reading “Stories from Greece” (which I think was the book’s title and was published by Macmillan) back in primary section. I wasn’t the prettiest girl in my class and thenceforth hated on Helen. I went so far as to console myself for being ugly by giving Helen’s example of why beauty is bad. Draupadi. She laughed at Duryodhan when he was tricked into a fall at her palace of illusions – the palace of mirrors. Duryodhan vowed to take revenge of that insult. That great palace was later burned down by Duryodhan. She insulted Karna by questioning his birth status when he stood up for her svayamvar. To her own husbands, her open hair after the vastraharan was a constant reminder of the impending revenge they ought to seek, until which, she wouldn’t comb her hair. It is important to note, here, that, these are all broken and incomplete (possibly misleading) versions of mythology. Half-truth is dangerous. So I strongly suggest that you read them for yourself before you make a judgment. Every person believes in a different version. With absolute guarantee, I can say, that no two people’s belief systems are the same. When mythological stories are handed down generations by re-telling or even by re-written transcripts, we all know, what already is hard to establish as fact becomes even more blurred. But, even if the story is the same, what one takes home from it is completely subjective. Personally, I believe Draupadi had no choice but to do what she did. She was assigned this role. Her destiny was written even before she was conceived; as is all of ours. Irrespective of this belief, I still maintain, that women are the root cause of all evil. Eve ate that apple. It’s not her fault. But she was the one who ate it.
OPINIONS & OUTBURTS I do not hate on women. Please understand. If I believe women cause wars, I also believe that ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman.’ I also know for a fact that a single day without the love that our mothers give us, we wouldn’t live to see the sun the next morning. Anyway, re-focusing on Raanjhanaa. We’re back, YET AGAIN, to “love at first sight”. My boyfriend, he didn’t fall for me at first sight. In fact, he did not think too highly of me when he first saw me. Does that mean he loves me lesser than he would’ve if he’d fallen for me at first sight? I think not. He loves me to the best of his ability and all of what love means to him and more. (This may just be my way of consoling myself, like that Helen thing in primary school.) Oops. Focus. Disclaimer: In case you have not seen the movie and do not wish to spoil it for yourself, I suggest you stop reading this NOW. Kundan fell in love with Zoya the instant he saw her. The milky-white, ramrod postured, petit and polite angel with shiny, straight hair, a symmetrical smile and the grace of a swan. Of course, she is also a trained classical dancer. Nobody elucidates clichés better than Bollywood does. So I nearly thank God when the story progresses and I realize that Zoya is a selfish, egoistic bitch who uses people for her benefit and their detriment, all the while playing the helpless victim. She has no beauty within her. But clichéd, blinded-by-love Kundan and Jasjit don’t see that. Kundan sees it for a bit, but it’s apparently too late to take his love back. When Jasjit dies, that’s an unexpected shocker. And it breaks my heart to see that Kundan is more broken about it than Zoya is. The actors have acted their parts very well. Despite her perfect visage, you want to hit Zoya with a sledgehammer and despite a forgettable face, Kundan stays with you long after the movie credits have rolled. Oh, and the music! A. R. Rahman knows beauty. I am playing the Raanjhanaa album on loop. That’s all. No matter what I say, I will always love Bollywood. Its happy endings give me hope. Even right now, actually, I am wearing a t-shirt which says, “I love Bollywood. It has its pros and Khans.” Share
OPINIONS & OUTBURTS Every time I look at matrimonial ads in the paper or online there is only one word that always stands out. FAIR. Trust me, this word is mentioned more number of times than the words bride and groom. ... Wanted Bride, Fair and beautiful. Age between 20-25, good looking and educated for Indian guy settled in Mumbai with family business. .... Looking for Sincere Independent Christian, God fearing, fair, honest, caring, affectionate, beautiful lady for a well settled Indian 44 yrs in Australia. The next one is the best. .... Hi mam, I am a Male, Indian Bengali living in Mumbai. I am 50+ looking young and VERY handsome, very Fair, 5'-7 tall, 67 kgs, smart, romantic, jovial, having own Industry, house cars etc, M.Com, MBA. I am also an Author, Writer & Journalist. I NEVER GOT LOVE IN MY LIFE FROM A FEMALE except from my mother and sister. I need a female life partner who is decent, fair, beautiful, caring and can give me lots of LOVE. Please write to me. Why oh why? Everyone needs a fair bride or a fair groom. Is one less beautiful or ill mannered just because his/her skin colour is not fair or very fair as they call it? I'm yet to come across a matrimonial ad which says wanted "dusky and beautiful bride" or "dusky and lovely girl" or "skin color no bar". Apparently, for many dusky doesn't sound good with beautiful and lovely. It just doesn't make any sense. No matter what century we live in, people are always going to be this shallow. And thing is one thing for which we can proudly say or rather sing, "It happens only in India".
India has never been â€œoneâ€?. People have always been categorised here. Northies for anyone who is not a South Indian. Madrasi for a South Indian. Why don't they call anyone eastie's or westie's? Even the very sound of it seems pathetic. Any East Indian here is a "Chinkie". Till today no one has dared enough to stop this trend. The recent law passed has been long forgotten or even buried I dare say. Today in almost any metropolitan city, on an average 10% of the population are East Indians. Agreed they look really great and classy, but they are more often than not looked upon as objects of sexual desire. Reason, they are so fair. They are genuinely nice people but people fail to look at anything else beyond their skin colour. When colour matters so much in our country itself, why make it a big deal when its happening elsewhere. Why do we have a fixation with fair skin? My mom's best friend once went on and on about the fact that her family is going through a lot of problems. Reason she says is that her 22 year old daughter is not getting married. Reason for that she claims is that her daughter is dark skinned. And she kept cursing herself that such a daughter has come out of her womb. Why such a prejudice for fair skin? Why do we have a bias against dark skin? Can such prejudices never be changed? Answer is no. I don't think people in our country are "open" enough to get this.
OPINIONS & OUTBURTS Why can’t anyone just accept their true color? Why is fairness considered the top most priority when it comes to looking good? Indians are not fair in the first place. They are born wheatish. The colour of the skin depends on a lot of factors. Its as simple as that. We Indians have a unique blended complexion that is really attractive. Still people feel inferior due to this. The soaring increase in the sales of the so called "Fairness Creams" can vouch for it. The ads for the fairness creams are so dumbfounding. Not in a good way. A girl is sad, has no career or boyfriend uses this cream and suddenly has all the joys of the world. Or a girl who is rejected in a singing show because she's not fair, uses a cream becomes fair overnight and goes on the win the show. Can you beat this? The most pathetic thing I saw was the sale of some fairness potion "XYZ" on national television. A well known actress was promoting it. I can bet my life that she wouldn't dare to use it even once. In this ad, a girl is shooed away from home by her parents because she is not fair. Yeah I couldn't believe it either. Then the girl somehow gets hold of this potion and becomes fair, comes back and is Photo Credits: Saurik Shah accepted wholeheartedly. Wonder who comes up with such concepts. These ads always emphasize upon the urgent need of getting fair and regaining our lost self-esteem. Really? Why are Indians so obsessed with the fair complexion? Why do people feel inferior if they are not fair. For people with not so fair complexion, this is almost like getting assaulted for what they are. On one hand, the parents, peers, family members keep reminding you of this so called ‘curse’ like my mom's friend and on the other hand these annoying TV ads try their best to subjugate one’s self-esteem! Maybe this entire thing started off with the "White Britishers" ruling the "Brown Indians". Maybe white skin was always considered as a sign of higher authority. I'm ashamed to say this, but some of my friends and relatives are among the ones who think so. I've had relatives telling me age old secrets to get fair. Nothing to do with my skin colour, today I'm a very successful and happily married woman and I have never lost out on anything just because I'm not fair. The most inhumane thing I've come across is this tag line of a fairness cream brand. Again, on one of those home shopping ads. "Fairness=Beauty=Success Dark skin=Ugliness=Failure" Whoever came up with this is surely a shallow person. When we thought that it couldn't get worse than this, came the fairness creams for men. With Shahrukh Khan, John Abraham and Arjun Rampal endorsing such them, we have a huge clan of the male species waiting to turn into the next supermodel just by using the magic potions. Aishwarya Rai turned down a huge offer when she was asked to endorse a fairness cream. This is called a woman of substance. Any girl or guy who is not fair skinned should just think this. "I'm not fair and that makes me all the more special". Soumya Prasad Share
BOOK REVIEWS The Village - Nikita Lalwani Share
Ray Bhullar, a British-Asian Woman, who works for BBC, lands up in a small village in India to shoot a documentary. Her colleagues, Serena and Nathan are accompanying her on this trip. As they settle down and get comfortable in the lifestyle of the village, they get a chance to know and learn more about their inhabitants more closely. What’s unique about this village, that prompted BBC to make the documentary in the first place, is the fact that this village is actually a prison. Yes, you heard me right. Every family in this village has a murderer, an offender who is allowed to live with their family. So far, there has been no ‘repeat performance’ and only one failed escape attempt. It’s a very different kind of community – as the readers and Ray and colleagues soon discover. The book has an awesome and unique premise. The summary of the book had me completely and I simply knew that I just had to read it. There are quite a few characters that play an important role in shaping up this novel. But I guess the protagonist, Ray, stands out on her own right. While she wants to make a documentary that her target audience would truly appreciate, circumstances lead her to take a closer look at herself before delving into the lives of these offenders. How far would she go to make her documentary? Would she stand by and watch others being manipulated for the sake of ‘good ol’ drama’. Or will she stop them? Or would she actually join in? Her colleagues each have their own background and the dynamics within the three is interesting to see. I have to admit though, I wish that the author would flesh out a few of the Villagers bit more definitively. The plot had held great promise - from taking a look at a new penal system to a way to the ethics of today’s media to human moral in questionable circumstances. I admit, the idea of the open prison really appealed to me at some levels. And, in the modern generation who isn’t questioning the media’s ethics and actions. So, in many ways this book actually raises the questions in our minds and I liked that. The author has also invested a lot of time in thoroughly describing the setting and the people in it. While her descriptions do paint a vivid picture, it does get repetitive after a point. Also, I wished that the pace would pick up a bit. But what will stay with me for quite some time is the feeling of loneliness that I felt through some of the characters. It was what touched my heart.
We have a book up for review !!! Seventeen & Done by Vibha Batra. Since we have only one copy, selection will be made after scrutiny of your reading habits and writing abilities. Once you receive the book you have 10 days to read and send us your crisp review so that we can publish you in our July issue!
BOOK REVIEWS Share
Inferno - Dan Brown
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge Dan Brown fan. I've read all his books, kicking off with, of course, The Da Vinci Code (although it was second in the series). I got hooked and managed to collect all the rest, reading them religiously. Keeping tabs on when his next book would come out, I waited patiently. Finally Dan Brown was set to release his latest novel 'Inferno' and the fourth installment in his Robert Langdon series. So without a second’s hesitation I ordered it. The morning of the 14th of May, I received a SMS alert from the online shopping company telling me my package was out for delivery and I would have it by 7 pm. Unfortunately, I was at work, so I wouldn't get it till I got back home. I was at the edge of my seat all day, waiting for the day to get done so I could head back home and open my package like an excited little child on Christmas morning. Staring at the time, I worked faster than I'd ever worked before, made a few muck ups which I had to bear the brunt of the next day. But it was worth it. I was nearly out of the gate with my motorcycle, when I had this strong feeling I was forgetting something. Damn it! My kid brother was interning with me, as part of his college summer work experience program and he was still in the office. I pulled out my phone, called him to come there immediately. Once he was there I rode like I’ve never rode before and made a usually 45 minute trip home in just under 30 minutes. I rushed inside and started searching for my package. I ripped it open and the first thing I did was take in that new book smell. I was ecstatic. And then, I started to lose myself in it. Well now, to the actual review. So the story follows Robert Langdon, a symbologist, known for his tweed jacket, Mickey Mouse watch and penchant for getting into international incidents, is back for a matter of life, death and Dante. Oh yes, the book, as the title would suggest, is inspired by Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. It throws Langdon into the fire of an Italian adventure, as Brown gives you a little art history lesson along the way. As a former student of art this is what I love about Brown’s Langdon series. It just makes you feel like you yourself are walking the streets of Florence. Inferno is probably the closest Brown will ever get to his version of The Hangover: Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital with a bad case of retrograde amnesia after a gunshot head wound and a strange object connected to Dante's Inferno. The cops, a private security firm and an assassin all are targeting him, so, with the help of a secretive female doctor, Langdon goes on the run to figure out the missing two days of his life. In terms of entertaining tension it comes quite close the mega-popular The Da Vinci Code and the heroics of Langdon is a step up than Brown's last novel, The Lost Symbol and there is much more at stake here. Brown has a knack for putting Langdon through his paces, but watching him go through hell and back is about as close as a book can come to a summertime blockbuster. Brown really creates one of those antagonists who you find yourself rooting for, at times, rather than the hero. He may seem like a lunatic at times but he will really make you wonder and think maybe he does indeed have a point. I must say I really enjoyed this book. Also I personally think it's a bit different than the previous three books, when it comes to the similarities in having a story plot that creates a really blurry line between history and fiction. But in this fourth book, the history is like the inspiration of the fiction story. And Brown gives Dante a pretty good treatment for the reader not familiar with the Devine Comedy. It inspired me to re-read Dante. Brown’s Inferno continues to follow his style of page-turning, very short chapters and I have to admit I got sucked in immediately.
Miles Davis Gonsalves
Photo Credits: Saurik Shah
Reflection That morning was nothing different. He left for work as usual, dragged himself onto the train, mumbling his prayers. Now this, I think, is interesting. He was not a theist; in fact he detested such questions which measured his faith in God or religion. But, inadvertently, whenever he was not busy talking to someone, he was busy with his prayers. Of course not the ones where he sought something from the Almighty - he was too poor to think that prayers could turn wishes into reality - but simply uttering names of all deities he knew of. Sometimes, humming and at other times, brazenly, trying to take as many names as possible, and as fast. Stations were milestones for this exercise. Crowds rushing in at the 100th, continuing till the air got stinky at 615th. He got down at the 1000th name. Clockwork precision. Now a sweeper’s job is not really exciting, and he knew it. Few sights in this world can be more appalling than an abused toilet, and that was his bread and butter. But unlike his other, more venerated, colleagues (read, the dramatis personae) from work, he did not complain, not about his job, at least. The theater was one of the most popular ones in the city. Somehow, he thought, the patrons were not. He used to stand at the door that led to the staging area, sneaking a peek into all performances. A few months into this job and he was already a popular figure among his “peers”. This began with his complaints about those “petty” actors, who were almost always “over the top” with their acting, and on to the writers, “consistently underperforming doing injustice to that stage”. Thanks to his toilet job, and his complaints, we know what was going to change his life. As he stepped into the theater, he overheard them talking. Greeted them with a smirk and the rest was business as usual. It was the first screening of that popular play in his city. While the troupe was amateur, it somehow managed to get in a big name as the lead actor. He caught a glimpse of the company rehearsing on the stage, paused for moment, rejected the idea and moved on.
FICTION If there is no woman in there, that is no play to me, no artistry to me, he thought. Later in the day, he was cleaning the toilet floor, when the writer and the actor barged in, the actor whistling and the writer explaining to him some scene, something about the idea of happiness. “You know, when I see those kids waving at the planes in the sky, what strikes me most is that despite knowing that they are probably never going to take that ride, and that no one on that plane would even be noticing them, forget about waving back, they can’t hold back their excitement. This to me is unbridled joy. In fact, I have been fortunate enough to have taken a flight, many of them, and still, when I hear the rumbling of an airplane, I look up to find where that thing is. I still rejoice when I see a smoke trail in the sky, knowing that something just cut the sky into two for me.” The actor continued whistling, and callously cut the writer short. “Give me something meaningful…these words of yours don’t carry enough weight for an actor like me.” Why is it that fuckwits still get the most of this world, he thought to himself. That phrase sounded beautiful to him, the way that writer expressed something so ordinary into something that was so “philosophical”. From trying to find his reflection on the floor, and miserably failing, he entered a different territory, finding things which were much more valuable to him than his outline on the broken tiles of that toilet. He started seeing a smiling wife when he leaves for work, the lit-up face of his daughters greeting him when he comes back and the eagerness with which they wait for Saturday evenings. He saw a plate of delectable sweets, a relaxed Sunday morning, the thousand bucks he received every month and his “glorious” past. Amidst all this, the small matter of a broken outline on the floor signaled the end of his chore. He could not help himself from smiling, and trying to find that smile in his reflection.
Vivek Sharma Share
We Sat Together We sat together And cried, One day one of us will realize One of us has died. We sat together, Never met each other, Just a song together, Just a song forever. We sat together In empty lanes, Where gutters sprawled Into fettered plains We sat together, Always each other, Drinking coke together, Breathing smoke forever. We sat together, Then walked together, Always each other, Sang and danced forever. We spat together On a bourgeois high When a roar of laughter Fell across the sky. We climbed mountains together, We saw fountains forever Up high on a cliff, Where she spoke of the ways She’d leave us forever. We sat together, We planned together, We'll walk together, we'll walk forever.
Ritwik Chaudhary Share
FICTION A late afternoon dream. I was in India. I felt foreign. I shouldn't because, in reality, I was more in touch with India than before. My only recollections of the dream are that, I am going with my mother to a friend’s wedding which is to be held in a small, old temple and wedding compound. I know that Meenakshi is also getting married sometime this month. The afternoon reminded me of the lazy ones of my childhood. It was not hot, there was breeze and the late afternoon sun was golden. The temple complex itself seemed wise and ‘seen-it-all’. We parked our car and walked towards the complex. I left most of my things in the car since I didn’t care much about lugging many lenses and other paraphernalia to a wedding that I was not particularly interested to shoot. It wasn’t because I wasn’t asked to. On many occasions, I shot as a wedding present or just to fine-tune my skills in capturing emotions without the pressure of a client and his money. I have frozen the most beautiful emotions in such circumstances. Armed with a telephoto lens, I might be prying on private moments. My intentions are far from that. I try to empathize. I relate to those emotions immediately and much later when I see those images in privacy on my computer. I was feeling a mixture of sadness, apathy and post-siesta lethargy. A sweet tea would have helped then. We arrived early because mother knew my friend’s family and they wanted her there to make sure everything went alright during the last moments. We walked thought the courtyard where there was a well and a few ancient trees that witnessed thousands of weddings; the beginnings and continuations of family sagas. These trees swept a haphazard pattern of shadows on the ground when the sun shone through their branches and the wind swayed them. The entrance and passage was narrow and rough and it was clear that this section was built as an expansion to the main structure since the passage was unpaved like the courtyard. People were milling about busily. Since smaller weddings are held here one tends to see only close family and friends of the families-to-be-wedded. And they were all busy making preparations. Unlike larger ones where there is a catering team and reception team which left one to attend to the guests and socialize, the family weddings are abuzz with activity and only enough time to stop for a short gossip or to comment about someone’s twice worn kancheepuram sari. As we walked through traffic that resembled a confusion of ants that just found a syrupy patch of spilt sweet tea, I caught sight of Meenakshi. It was an instant of joy and comfort. She wore a sequinned, pale pink sleeveless Punjabi suit. It was quite modern and not what one would expect her to wear. She looked much younger and her skin glowed from the pre-wedding preparations. Her sudden appearance caught me by surprise and I said, “Hey, Meena! Mother! Look who is here!” Mother turned and gave a polite-butwary smile. I told her I knew she was getting married but I didn’t know it was today and right here.
FICTION The bigger wedding was her's. We exchanged polite smiles under the curious glances that surrounded us and I walked further on towards one of the many smaller chambers, to the wedding we had come to attend. It was strange that I was already feeling the cloud of oppression in my chest when I saw her, before I stepped out of the car, as if I had already seen her there before I even got there. A strange deja vu of sorts. We sat down on the floor against the wall of the dimly lit room.
Photo Credits: Saurik Shah
There were other guests, most of whom I knew. I put my head on my mother’s lap and reclined. After a while, Meenakshi walked into the room to say a proper hello to us. She stood while she spoke. Mother suggested that I wear something more appropriate. I said I was okay with what I was wearing which, coincidentally was what Meenakshi gave me years ago, a cream light cotton tunic. She told my mother that if we liked, she had a couple of kurtas that I could try. I refused childishly repeating I was fine with what I was wearing. I felt the least I could do was wear the tunic she gifted, to her wedding. It is also cruel to bring back memories that way. But I wanted to bring back memories for myself. It was a little secret no one was privy to except us. I did not give it a second thought this morning while I wore it and yet thus making it evident that I still thought of her after all these years. So many years since we first met and it had never been a normal relationship – only ups and downs. There were so many phases as we grew older. We went apart and came together many times. We had our own lives and yet we had our life. Not together, but it was there. Today, her expression showed just that. She tried to be happy but her eyes were weary. She did not have the sleepless bags anymore. She looked fresh but the eyes spoke of a tumultuous past. A past that tired her only because she tried to salvage some remaining fragments to cling on to. Sometimes, I feel I’m to blame. Of the many times that we went apart, had I stayed away, it would have given her the time and space to get over ‘us’. But just when she is on her road to recovery, I reappear to reopen the wounds. The last time we went our own ways, I decided not to do that again. Today, I did just that. But at least she is getting married today and tried to look happy to everyone. Only I could see behind those eyes. I have been there. Mother suddenly suggested to her, “'You should gift him a kurta today to attend your wedding. It will make your pen richer.'” No one understood what she meant except me. And that understanding came like a flood in the fraction of a second. Mother knew about us all along. It’s the mothers' way. She was always wary of Meenakshi and was on her sarcastic toes on the few occasions that they had met in the past. Mother was on the same toes but there was very little bile today. It was a comment that was mischievous and understanding at the same time. She somehow knew that Meenakshi was a writer, a closet writer. She also knew that I wrote too.
Photo Credits: Saurik Shah
FICTION Her writer’s-nose told her. A nose that sometimes pokes itself into issues where it is not welcome. But she did because that is what a writer’s-nose is for. And that is what makes one a writer in the first place. And the mischievous side of her suggested that it is only fitting that Meenakshi makes sure that her ex-beau is well dressed for her own wedding – an excruciating exercise. At the same time, her sentimental side allowed one last gift to her son from someone who he so loved and cherished over the years. What mother also meant was that Meenakshi’s gift should be written about and cherished for our children to read.
The story thus penned will be rich. Besides his spiritual leanings, this is one other aspect of her son’s heart that she had no control over. After some inane talk Meenakshi left the room to get ready for the ceremony. I was lost deep in my thoughts for a while until I heard the sudden excitement of her groom's arrival. I jumped up and said I had to take some pictures of her. I pulled out my camera with my leave-on lens and hurried to the wedding hall. When I got there, I saw the groom with Meenakshi and she was smiling, although the eyes hadn't changed. She did not know I was watching her through my lens. When you watch someone through the lens, you cut everything else out and you are watching his/her thoughts and expressions. Sometime they don't match and you’re intrigued by the mis-registration. You wonder why is it that the face is smiling but the eyes aren’t. Sometimes you wonder what the person is up to when the face is serious but the eyes are mischievous. She was smiling and responding to the various approvals with appropriate words but she was far removed from them to a distant past and a far way land of could-have-beens. The lens was still too wide and I could not cut out the ‘visual noise’. I had to get my telephoto lens. As I rushed back into the small wedding room, I prayed that the lens was in my bag and not in the car. I ran into a solemn and serious room which was by now lit by the ceremonial fire blazing with the ghee that was being poured by the priest. I mumbled some apology and reached into my bag and felt the spiked barrel of the lens. I picked it up and ran back. It took some time for me to get back through the crowd, which I recognised as the dispersing crowd. As I got to the main hall, I realised that the crowd had dispersed because the wedding was over and the groom and bride had left. My chest felt heavy as people set about the clean-up tasks that lie ahead after the wedding. I stood there while people milled about talking about the wedding, the brides clothes, the boy’s wealth, his mother’s sari and the good food. I looked at the entrance to the hall for a long time into the darkness that had set in. The fluorescent lights of the old hall were switched on. I missed my shots. They are not in my camera but they are in my head. I walk back to another missed wedding.
Lasheen Yusuf Share
CELEBRITY JUDGE â€œYou should know though that I respond in two ways - the encouraging, affirming person who just wants to pull people up and as the pain-in-the-ass critic who will not mince words. Since you've asked for honest feedback, I'm going to go ahead and give you both, okay?
Regular Judy mode: First of all, congrats! This really is a great effort. I know what it takes to pull off an online magazine (tried it once with some really good blogger friends) and we lasted three months though we were neckdeep in ideas. So kudos on the effort, discipline, persistence, patience (hell, yes) and the whole gamut of qualities that it takes to make a magazine happen. And since you guys are so open to honest feedback, I can only see it getting better, so don't quit!
Now critic mode: There were some articles (The Wonder Years, The Secret, K's Secret) that had something - I can't quite put a finger on it. Maybe 'potential' is the word I'm looking for. I liked The Wonder Years because it read easy and was wellwritten. I felt Theatrics was too pretentious, too descriptive, but it could easily be just my personal bias. I absolutely have no patience for heavy description. But some people do like that kind of stuff. Then there was 'Read you like a book' - such a cute title, but I thought it kind of fell flat. I mean, it was a great idea, just hadn't been well-explored (happens). As for The Optimistic Fool, I am so tempted to hand him a copy of Sophie Says. He is the relationship junkie that Sophie tries so hard to rid the world of (haha, not a critical comment). What else? I thought it could have been more colourful - more pictures. Here's the thing - people seem to conclude that writing is about the words. It's about stringing sentences together and making it all look and sound pretty. This is why most articles that pass off as writing, sound hollow. I think what I'm trying to say is, the writing lacked honesty, purpose and depth. I read somewhere - I can't remember the exact quote or who said it - but it said something to the effect of - 'If you're writing honestly about yourself, it should sound like it's about me.' The actual words are very different, but you get it. That didn't happen in any of the articles. Maybe it did, a little, with The Wonder Years. All right. I'm done. I hope that wasn't too caustic. I meant it in the nicest way possible. I think writers (creative people, actually) are an insecure breed - but we need someone who will love us enough to give us honesty - for no reason but to make us better at what we do. So there. I want to hand the award to the Astro column. It's the only thing that made me laugh. But again, I think it could get repetitive if not handled differently each time. But yay! Congrats!â€?
So our winner for the month is Hardik Rajgor! (And for getting appreciated by the difficult-to-please-mode of our esteemed judge, we wish to give The Wonder Years (By Harshika Gupta) a prize too!) In case you guys were wondering, that is what Roopa Wilson, our winner for April got along with a Tamarind Rice Mug!!!
(21st Mar - 20th Apr)
(21st Apr - 21st May)
(22nd May - 21st Jun)
Will be a decent month for you. While reading a book, skip all the odd numbered pages for good luck. Use a scale to cut your nails. Always use a straw to drink water from a glass else it brings bad luck.
This is a great time to start an online relationship with a stranger on a social networking website. Go to a theatre, watch Man of Steel for the first half and switch over to Lootera for the second half. Avoid looking sparrows in the eye.
(22nd Jun - 23rd Jul)
(24th Jul - 23rd Aug)
(24th Aug - 23rd Sept)
Will be a great month financially: Invest in petrol, gold, onions, and Lays chips. Avoid clicking on any link that ends with. Org While speaking to your dad on Friday, do not use any four letter words. LIBRA (24th Sept - 23rd Oct) Great month ahead of you. Send Happy Birthday cards to some of your relatives when it’s not their birthday. Give yourself a Polish name this month for pleasant change. Play Gangnam style on the DVD player everytime your mom walks into the house.
Be careful, this could be a disastrous month for you. Randomly press the F11 key after 3 hours so it doesn’t feel left out . Walk up to a dog and lick his leg for 5 mins for a good day. Set the phone brightness to 69%. \
This will be an interesting month for you, you will get to pursue some new endeavors. Have bhajji with puri and pav with paani. Mail your best friend’s dad Doraemon toys and Mission Impossible posters.
24th Oct - 22nd Nov)
(23rd Nov - 21st Dec)
Time to relax, this month. Guys, get a tattoo of Ryan Gosling’s face on your face (girls: Megan Fox). Go to the gym in a swimming costume. After knocking on a door, crack a knock knock joke befor your enter or it brings bad luck.
A decent month for you. For good luck, buy condoms from Ebay. Hit random people on the railway station with water balloons every Tuesday. Do not update the Flash player this month.
(22nd Dec – 20th Jan)
(21st Jan – 19th Feb)
(2oth Feb – 20th Mar)
You will have a good time this month. Walk into the bank and start playing Kolaveri Di on full volume on your cellphone. Instead of giving money, give beggars McDonald’s coupons. Do not let your crush be the last one to reply on Whatsapp. k
Great time ahead for you. Write your credit card pin with a red marker on every mirror you come across. Have a Dairy Milk Silk with coconut water, for good health. Avoid using hashtags on Facebook.
A great month ahead to do social work of any kind. Change your PC wallpaper to a naked PETA supermodel. Go to Dominos dressed up as a Pizza Hut waiter on Friday, for good luck. Avoid watching any show that has Charlie Sheen in it.
Will be a good month for you, Visit the temple and ask your priest to replace the Prasad with chocolates. Fill your office suggestion box with recent editions of the Playboy magazine. Don’t play Temple Run if you’re an atheist.
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Back-Cover Credits : Saurik Shah