Rediscovering Life

Eureka! Found my childhood again!

Yes… incredibly enough a simple trip into the Harrow Town center turned into my best day in London. Shocking pinks, sunny yellows, and bright purples leaped int0 my senses as I first stepped into the Disney store in St Anns.

Children and their antics are dismissed as juvenile and silly. Best I enjoyed one hour of pure unadulterated silliness, and I can tell you it was way better than the anti depressants in the market!

These days we are so caught up in making a career, reaching unheard of zeniths and generally trying hard to race ahead. What we are forgetting to do is really enjoy the little things in life. That cup of coffee shared with a special someone, that weekend spent with grandparents, that little shopping trip buying Christmas gifts for the ones we really love…all these should not be a task. We should rediscover tthe joy of doing things just for doing them, not because it needs to be done.

Who better to teach us this than the tiny tots, completely self involved, and oblivious to social machinations. Here lies the truth of life. In their gurgling laughter I can find true happiness.

So the next time, you feel low and depressed, walk into a Disney store and pamper yourself silly. Its bound to be cheaper than two hours with the shrink!


La Di Da

On this day 40 years back, a revolutionary author and her book began their journey in influencing thousands of women the world over. Germaine Greer and The Female Eunuch, with their path breaking male bashing came at a time when bra-burning feminists were on a warpath against a male dominated society. For more information, click below:

The Female Eunuch 40 years on

Do I believe in feminism? No. I do believe in equality, but the campaign of feminism has been misread into a phenomenon of women becoming pseudo men. In our effort to prove our abilities to our male counterparts, have we sacrificed our quintessential feminity.

Fluttering eyelashes and subtle sensuality, two powerful tools in a woman’s arsenal are now scoffed at by the fanatical sexless practitioners of feminism. I ask you, what is wrong with using our feminine guiles to trap poor besotted men into helpless submission. After all men did not go around campiagning to be know as the macho, muscled adonis which seems to define male perfection especially among women. Do we scoff at them for going to the gym?

Our feminity and grace are our gifts. No man will ever be able to breast feed. Neither will they ever perfect the art of wearing mascara. They don’t seem to complain. So why is it so very important for us to lug a cartload of machines just to prove that we can do everything men can.

I am not suggesting that we exploit our sex to avoid doing the things that we can. But we should definitely not get carried away with our race to prove ourselves to men. Years after the feminist movement came into force, we are still trying so hard to earn the recognition of the world. Do you really think just because we do all the things that men do, we will be declared the stronger sex?

To all those women reading this,enjoy your feminine side. Never again should we compromise on our superior grace and sensibilities just to prove a point to our male counterparts. Knowing men, they probably don’t even notice it!


Age of Innocence??

Today outside, the Whitmore High School in London, I saw a couple of youngsters, probably in their early teens smoking away to glory behind the canopy of trees.

And then again at the Iceland in South Harrow, yet another bunch of clearly underage kids, harrassed the store manager for not giving in to their demands for alcohol. I was struck by the irony of life. As you get older, you work so hard at not ageing, and when you are a pre-teen or adolescent, you can’t wait to grow up and seize the world.

Isn’t it sad that children are shying away from their own childhood in a race to grow up?

” Children are becoming more and more disrespectful and brash to look more grown up. This could be because of the increasing number of broken families. And because of the fact that there aren’t as many ways to sheild them from the real world as before.”, says a counsellor at one of the schools in Preston Road.

Not only are their levels of respect a things of  concern, the things that they  are exposed to at a really young age is unimaginable and potentially scarring. Sex,  drugs, and booze at an age when they should still be guided and moulded.

With parents having busy schedules children are either left in the care of maids or worse still left alone. In Kuwait, where I spent  a good part of my childhood, there are so many cases of how leaving the child in a maids care has led to disastorous consequences. In one instance, a mother returned home early to find that the maid was making merry with a client in the master bedroom, with her five year old daughter looking on.

Can you imagine the impact that would have had on the young girls life?

Childhood and parenthood go hand in hand. If you do not have what it takes to hone your child, maybe parenthood is not an option for you. Unless people really evaluate whether they are ready to have children or not, innocence will probably become a 20th century myth.

Holding on…

A few weeks back, on a bright Friday morning, I saw a whole lot of Indians dressed in their bright festival gear, marching down the streets of Harrow in London revelling with dance and music, completely oblivious to hostile stares and pointing.

And then a few days back, I witnessed a large number of the Pakistani community at an event to raise money for the flood victims in Pakistan. And it really seemed wonderful that people are sttriving to hold on to their culture and roots in a land so vibrantly different from their own.

Is it true that being in a different country brings you closer to your own? Or do you tend to dismiss your own culture when exposed to a swankier, more colourful lifestyle?

Heena Kara a homemaker in London, who is of Gujarati origin, thinks that it is more to do with upbringing than any other factor.

“When your family is particular that you imbibe all the cultural aspects of your native country, you automatically try and maintain that. So it becomes natural for you to participate in such events.”

According to Khalid Mohammed from Kuwait who has been in London for the past ten years , it is about comfort zones.

“When you are new to country, it is automatic for you to become more friendly with people from your country, simply because there are more things in common and you feel more comfortable.”

While many agree that this is in fact very common, some people vehemently protest against this attitude. Raj Krishnan, an investment banker at JPMC in the USA, feels that it is better to try and get a more multi cultural experience while you are in a different place.

“If I wanted to make more Indian friends, I could have done that in India. I was sure that I did not want to be stuck with a bunch of Indian friends and be known as one of the Indians.”

But as appealing as a multicultural experience seems, isn’t it natural instinct to seek out people with similar interests. Or are efforts like these simply to stay connected to your roots, reminding you of who you really are? I for one think that it helps us fill that void creating that sense of true belonging,  holding on to the little things that made you who you are…

To the victor goes the spoils

When I saw an article on the Guardian about how Angelina Jolie wanted to launch her career as a director with a film about the Serbian Rape Camps, it got me thinking… and reading. The material I found was not in the least bit encouraging.What is more shocking than the fact that rape camps exists is the horrifying reality that they are home to what are now referred to as ‘war rapes’.

What is a war rape?

The term war rape refers to rape committed by soldiers or other combatants or civilians during armed conflict or war.

In a war, rape is apparently frequently used as means of psychological warfare to humiliate the enemy and undermine their morale. War rape is often systematic and thorough, and military leaders may actually encourage their soldiers to rape civilians.

As much as I wanted to deny that this is the attitude, I couldn’t help but remember the numerous times that rape and torture of civilians of war torn countries were reported and then eventually dismissed. Even recently, when evidence emerged suggesting that the Iraqi civilians might have been exposed to far greater levels of torture than previously known, there was a surprising apathy among a lot of people.

The historical evolution of the gruesome crime suggests that the attitude towards this particular violation of humanitarian law, suggests that perceptions are still medieval. The sexual attrocities during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 , the systematic and widespread gang rape, torture and sexual enslavement by the Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen, and members of paramilitary groups in Sarajevo in April , and the recent war crimes in Iraq. All of these stand testimony to the gross negligence of basic decency by official machinery.

Rape is a physical and psychological degradation of an individual. It is sad that despite the Geneva Convention, classifying rape as a war crime, the disregard to sexual violence in times of conflict continues to prevail. How developed a race can we claim ourselves to be, if we still treat fellow civilians as ‘spoils of war’?

, it was recognised that Muslim women in Foca (southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) were subjected to systematic and widespread gang rape, torture and sexual enslavement by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen, and members of paramilitary groups after the takeover of the city in April 1992

Welcome to the ProWAGs

Wayne Rooney’s Jennifer Thompson, David Beckham’s Irma Nici and the X-factor’s Chloe Mafia. Celebrity prostitutes! There was a time when one could not imagine prostitutes becoming celebrities, but that time seems to have come to an end. Now prostitution has become synonymous with celebrity!

Is there still a stigma attached to prostitution? It is becoming increasingly hard to decipher the status of the prostitute. In last weeks DAILY MAIL, there was a write-up about how Jennie Thompson, the £1200-a-night fling of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, was becoming fast friends with ‘other’ WAGs. Maybe its time to change the tag to ProWAG, (Prostitutes, Wifes And Girlfriends)!

What is most disturbing is how these young women have used the media to catapult themselves into super-celeb status. X Factor’s infamous prostitute partcipant, Chloe Victoria aka Chloe Mafia, used the reality show to hike up her rates! After her appearance on the show, her rates on online site, went up to £250 an hour and £1200 per night!

With the increasing amount of media coverage and attention that these people are getting, the moral delicacy of the world’s oldest profession seems to be tearing apart. There is something bordering on the glamorous in the media’s portrayal of these women.

And no longer are these women pawns of a cruel fate, succumbing to the pressures of life and resorting to prostitution. The DAILY MAIL carried an article about how prostitution has become a career choice for women. Irmi Nici, who accused David Beckham of sleeping with her, comes from a respectable upper middle class family.

Is the media resposnsible for this? Have we glamorised a seedy and gruesome life into a glittery dream? Have we become electonic pimps for these high flying prostitutes? Its something to ponder!


Rooney rues!

Now that one was a shocker! I had decided that celebrity gimmicks wouldn’t suprise me in the least. But my eyes literally popped out when I looked into the Guardian website this morning and found this:

“Friends again

Rooney doubles his money with new Man Utd deal”!

After a week of speculation and drama, at the end of which I had decided that Wayne Rooney would no longer be Sir Alex Ferguson’s golden boy, I was stumped! A mere two days after announcing his dissatisfaction with the club and demanding a release, Rooney dramatically turned tables and settled for, well, a lot of money! If I were to become the best paid player in the history of Manchester United, I’m guessing my ‘disappointment’ would be a thing of the past. And I am not sure I’m particularly pleased that Rooney’s sentiments seem to echo mine!

Although I’m not a great fan of Mancheter United or Wayne Rooney, I do sympathise with the millions of fans of the club and the player. Loyalists must have felt let down by the completely contradictory actions of Rooney in the past week. In a country where football is probably the closest thing to a religion, Rooney’s insensitive dilly-dallying must have created a deep resentment amongst fans.

Rooney will have to do some serious damage control before he has the fans cooing over him again. And it probably doesn’t help that he has been allegedly cheating on his wife!  Philandering with the club and the lady, boy, has he got his work cut out to get out of the mess!