Thursday, April 09, 2009

Does it have to always be fair?

So, this is how a simple (relatively speaking, of course) shopping exercise can take frightfully frustrating turns to being insightful. It isn’t like I was oblivious to our sub continental obsession with “fairness”, but today’s incident made my heart ache.
Here I was at the mall, looking for some make-up products (read foundation, compact or mineral powder, ladies) to suit my complexion. With a great deal of pride, I will state that I am “wheatish”, “dark”, “dusky”, whatever you feel comfortable saying and stating. Fortunately, I am an individual who for long has known that brown is very beautiful but I can’t say the same about my countrymen. And women. Cutting back to the scene, I get assaulted at the counter by these saleswomen who dab spots of foundation on my arm, not one, not two, but three shades – all much lighter than the ones they should have tried. I gain control over the situation and draw my hand bag, all while vigorously shaking my head to register disapproval. “Madam, try this finish, it will look wonderful on you…splat!” “Isn’t this is a little light?” “Oh no, no, not light, it is bright.”
That’s right, the word's BRIGHT. I got around to biting my lip and explaining to the girls that the purpose of a foundation was NOT to make it look like you had any product on. *Blend, lovelies, blend like magic.* It was not an easy exercise and they did look at each other like I was a little batty but I came away with the product I wanted. *Aside, I love L’oreal’s True Match. Woohoo.*
Did I mention that these girls were as dusky as I am or perhaps a shade or two more? That’s the tragedy. All through their lives, they’ve been made to believe that being what they are is just not good enough. Stop buying fairness creams, stop bleaching your face, stop applying social pressure on your children or peers to look fairer. I beg of you.
Brown is bright. Brown is beautiful. Embrace it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sach is the game.

I was there. Right there, in flesh and blood to see my team chase down the fourth largest total for victory against a spirited English side.

The belief set in last evening, right after a session on Day 4 where inane messages on the big screen seemed a tad more interesting than watching England struggle to switch gears and set us a target. Little after tea, Chepauk, India, the world at large, was given a glimpse of the greatness that is Virender Sehwag. Several comparisons have been made between the man and other ‘slog hitters’ but with this innings and a few other notable ones, he has proven once again that in his league he remains the sole occupant. It really was not about keeping a tally of the number of times the ball was ‘against the fence’, quote unquote David Lloyd (Incidentally, I happen to think he’s amongst the funniest on air and I’m nursing a small crush on him.) It was about comprehending the simplicity of his approach, to set aside the ifs-buts-maybes and focus, quite simply, on just the positives. It’s something I have never managed to achieve so I continue to let my jaw hang in awe.

He did get out, but, not before setting India within sights of a famous, famous victory that would put to rest the ghosts of ’99.

Day 5 did dawn, bright and sunny (so much for the MET guys getting it right) and I being a loyal fan of Rahul Dravid, took heart from the fact that he looked less tentative the day before and fancied my chances of seeing my idol-ideal get back into form. That was not to be and I did nurse a broken heart and resorted to stuffing my face with more grease to rid myself of the depression. M, who’s my cricket buddy and it’s only fitting that he and I watched this game together, sat through moments of uncertainty as Gautam Gambhir frittered away a great opportunity, VVS Laxman flattered to deceive and Yuvraj Singh came to grips with the surface and the few demons it possessed. M insisted on calling him everything from Kanna, Raasa and Chellam in his effort to cajole him into playing sensible cricket while I frequently smacked him in annoyance. M, that is, not Yuvraj.

At the other end stood arguably the world’s best bastmen. A man who had a few ghosts to exorcise of his own. I was not there in person to witness his century against Pakistan and the subsequent 12-run loss, but, television repeats were quite enough so I can only imagine. It isn't the only record he has to set straight, says M, the absence of a match-winning fourth innings century amongst his numerous records has drawn much flak.
Much has also been written about how this game was one filled with emotion for both sides given the tragic occurences in Mumbai from less than a fortnight ago, more so for Sachin Tendulkar, the born and bred Mumbaikar. The emotion was felt all the way down in Chennai and as the numbers in the stadium grew, so did our confidence. It was a terrific feeling for each time your neck craned to a stand it seemed fuller than the last time. Test cricket is far from dead in my parts and I take such heart in saying that.

At tea, we had made it to 304 for the loss of 4 wickets. We’d take that, said M and I. We’d also consumed several bottles of water so our noise-making arsenal for the final session was in place. Did I mention that we took pictures of each session to capture our “mood” as such? Fun, fun times, these. As England took the new ball, Yuvraj stroked it with enough ease to assure his place in the side. Often, one forgets the supporting role. I hope that isn’t the case with today’s game as Yuvraj’s measured aggression and ability to rotate strike allowed Sachin to showcase his genius.

This was an innings unlike that of the other master blaster. Less about style and grace and all things Sachin, more about grit, composure and a control that was meant to take Indian cricket home. I, for one, have been a bigger fan of Dravid than Tendulkar, but, I cheered my loudest for every dot-ball that Yuvraj played, for if ever Sachin simply deserved a century for being Sachin, it was today. I missed the paddle-sweep and the cover drive that got him into the nineties but was back well ahead of the winning runs that also brought Sachin his 41st. Of course, even as the celebrations began, he stood to shake hands with the ground staff and the opposition before being smothered by his team's affections. You don't expect him to deny anybody their 'it' moment.

It isn’t like an account of today is unavailable elsewhere, but, this piece is for me to keep telling myself that I was there and this is how it happened.

Friday, December 05, 2008

When all else fails...

There's Shakin' Stevens! When you're jiving to 'You drive me crayayazy', you'll ALWAYS have a smile on your lips.

Heaven must have sent you down, down for you to give me a thrill. And we can all do with a thrill just now. :)

Monday, December 01, 2008

The same six honourable women. :(

How can I be a journalist by profession when at the worst of times, I fail to be articulate? Is it amongst my greatest failures (the others being math, statistics, so on and so forth) that I am unable to look past the tricks of my trade? Or atleast, find a way to be accepting of them?
Some of you might view this as OTT-dramatic but truth be told, I have been mulling a change for a while now. I started off being a journalist with the view that I was "good" at this sort of thing. That I was capable of telling a good story through my own words. Today, a "good" story isn't nearly good enough. It's about who told it first and who told it best, truth can very well be sacrificed. And with its newsanchor-eat-newsanchor style of operation, my fraternity has nearly lost all credibility.
Should I reconcile to the notion that I do not have it in me, I'm not "good" enough or do I persist with a thin line of defense? Murky, murky times ahead. Somebody show me a goddamn sign already.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It could have been any of us.

So, much has been said and written about the unfathomable terror unleashed upon unsuspecting individuals across the city of Mumbai by terrorists who are as old as I am, who are perhaps as educated as I am, who certainly knew enough to adhere to fashion trends. I have tried to reason with myself and those who are glued to their television sets around me, the rationale that these young boys possess but have come up with nothing comprehensible.

The armed forces and police personnel have performed their duties remarkably in the face of adversity with the limited resources available to them. When news broke that he took three wounds in the chest despite wearing a bullet-proof vest, I was not surprised given him flimsy jacket. While our countries politicians are ensured 'Z' category security, we DO NOT have the required resources to safeguard our forces. It's no surprise that there are fewer men and women wanting to join the forces that protect when there is such disrespect for who they are and what they do.

While they have been trained for combat of this nature, the staff at the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Trident-Oberoi weren't. Yet, they managed to outdo themselves and be hospitable in an hour when they could have just been human. I read in a first person account that they spent the hours between fearing for their lives making sandwiches, providing bottled water and warm blankets. That's not the sort of service one expects would stem from training, it comes from an ingrained need to remain true to the cause of humanity even when faced with people with an abject disregard for life.

It's been nearly two days and I hope the mayhem ends soon. The places that have been attacked have been changed, the sort of change that rebuilding and refurbishing will not reverse. A couple of months ago and I was right there, at Leopolods, Oberoi, walking aimless-taking in all that Colaba has to offer.

As my heart goes out to those who survived the ordeal and those who didn't, I'm left with the empty feeling that at another time, another place, it could be me. It could be you. And, that just isn't right.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Like old wine.

My body's creaking. From my knees to my ankles, every square inch is protesting the increase in physical acitivity over the last six months. :) Despite the slight pain and occasional fatigue, I've never felt as good about my physical form and that's the reason I'm choosing to make it the subject of a post after forever.

Also, the Americans aren't the only ones who gave in to change. I did too and I don't know what the future will hold. Will keep the enigma going for a while till I know what to say further. :)

p.s.: Sorry blog, I shall tend to you with more care.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Realigning the energy field.

I've let go, of all the negativity and started anew. For the second time in close to nine months. :)
At this point in time, I must say birthdays bring the much needed affirmation that all of us seek but few acknowledge. For three years now, my birthday has been spent with a mixture of old and 'new' friends, this year being no different. 'Cept for a change in attitudes, perhaps.
This year, I started to believe in my own ability to achieve and not compromise on my happiness. A big big change from the last.
This year, I got my dancing shoes on as a result of a New Year resolution. Little miss twinkle toes, I will never be, but I'm lovin' it and hope to keep at it till the lights shine on.
This year, I've paid more attention to the weighing scales and I cannot believe how good I feel about the numbers tipping, slowly but surely.
This year, I have learnt to trust my gut and say no. Little word, big implications.
So, here's the start of another tomorrow, one that is brighter, wiser, dancier and lighter! :)