Sunday, August 29, 2010

What constitutes 'Beauty'?

Pageants all over the world have different profiles and target different markets. Some pageants look for swimsuit models for magazines, some look for models for the fashion industry, some look for new faces into tinsel town. Some also claim to be engaged in identifying ambassadors for welfare activities and programmes.

 I saw some portions of the Miss Universe pageant 2010 that rocked Las Vegas. And as it has always been the rule, than the exception a damsel from Mexico (a third world- or may be developing country) was crowned .And Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta not only drew flak for her fancy dress kind costume and also she lost out.

Nevertheless Mexico a developing country won the title. And that would suffice and serve well the purpose behind this expensive well marketed joke of fancy dress competitions. The many multinational manufacturers of women’s beauty products, swim suits and costumes stand to gain, because a woman from the third world, a developing country is now their mascot, and ambassador. And their sales in the impoverished third world will get a flip. New markets and vistas will be opened up.

Ostensibly as it has always been claimed, the goal of these damsels is to eradicate poverty, bring forth child welfare, empower women, world peace etc. In 2002 (I wonder if I got the year correct) the beauty pageant did do something for peace in Nigeria. When ethnic and religious violence against such events went out of control. Wonder what an impoverished country like Nigeria could do for world peace by hosting such an event. The pageant organisers had to run lock stock and barrel.
I’m not ipso facto against such pageants like Miss World and Miss Universe. But my question is what have they achieved other than triple the sale of cosmetics and expensive women’s accessories. Big marketing syndicates have gained. And the damsels who have won tactfully enter the highly rewarding theatre of activity, films and advertising.
We have such a few cases here in India too. The The Aiswaryas, the Sushmitas,the Priyankas, the Lara Duttas,the Omana Kuttans  all have got the one way ticket to Bollywood and have made it big. In what way have their crowning, fame and name ameliorated the perils of women? In what way have these ladies contributed to women’s welfare and empowerment? I remember some of these ladies declare ostensibly at the pageant when asked about their ambition, and aim in life. “Poverty eradication, children’s welfare, women’s empowerment”! What laudable and magnanimous goals!
Mother Teresa was not a beauty queen by these yardsticks and bench marks.And was never turned to by these pageants .But yet she have done during her life time much for peace , for the dis-Publish Postempowered,the dispossessed and the meek than all the beauties  can ever dream of or claim .

And the bottom line is what constitutes ‘beauty’?

Reminiscence of College days 2


I mentioned in a previous post on memoirs of College about the tour to Bangalore. And how we broke the ranks and control of the Asst Professor and ventured out in the night.
I managed to retrieve after much search few photographs of some of us who made it to Bangalore in 1978.Appearances of some are funny, and some look pretty. Some look emaciated including me.Looking back, quite a contrast nature had decreed for every person! This is manifested when one look back at the photos during the farewell party twenty seven years ago and during the trip to Bangalore.
 On the sides of the reunion function and the luncheon some of us recalled the vapid fun some had and the little, subtle infatuations during the days in college. We however concluded that a smile, an incessant ageless smile should not be taken as the acceptance of amour, of intimacy. And we were also unanimous in the opinion that the realization was quite late in coming ha ha ha ha !!
All said and done the reunion was a master act, and I m certain that the kids who came along and the spouses too would never have thought of such grand and earnest response.It is fascinating to look at the faces and try to recollect what they looked twenty seven years ago, branded as a bunch of impertinent rascals.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Musings at noon

Early this week, on the 23 August I and C lived our twenty second anniversary of our wedding, and we were in Thiruvananthapuram with my mother. In fact, the melee that life is now, we nearly forgot about that day.
Twenty two and one half years ago I was given an assuring blow by Cupid. And some eight months down we got married .At home it was a very inconvenient and unconventional decision that all had to live with because I was marrying a Christian. To me, and fortunately for C the trappings of Hinduism and Catholicism were not even a remote matter of interest and concern. The 'isms' were trivial in the mundane affairs of live.

We were in touch throughout those five months before the wedding either by telephone or by letters through mail (post). There were moments when people glared at me irritated and furious as I occupied telephone booths at public outlets for minute’s together (wish there were mobile phones then and in those times).
We exchanged by post one hundred letters each, and hand written too. And they all are still kept safe .I have not read them since. Feel that it will be like revisiting a sort of infatuation of those days! 

I wonder if the new age of computer and email, of mobiles and text messages  would provide the personal touch, the passion of the heart  and the feelings in  each alphabet, word and sentence that we store in those two hundred letters that were exchanged. There was nothing in those two hundred odd letters that denoted or even distantly alluded to the whims and influences of Aphrodite or Eros. I guess they were somewhat refined and reasonably matured exchanges. Towards the wedding month, we mutually agreed not to be in any contact what so ever from the August 1, until the day of the wedding.So the letter writings and phone calls ceased from then.

Relationships are sadly and increasingly being frivolous in the age of sms and emails. And exchange of letters and text messages would sound and   feel like writing, sending, receiving and reading business correspondence. When one received a hand written letter, one could see in each letter and word the image of the person who wrote it. There was nothing impersonal and everything was vivid. Even the Post man who ventured with the much wanted and awaited mail was seen as the harbinger of good tidings and a welcome figure at the gate.

But as life moves on and we become antediluvian and anachronistic, may be one day we will  retract into our confines and read those letters from the times  Cupid  stalked us. Which I' m certain will not be damaged by spy ware, malware and viruses.And perhaps we may in those letters see our star struck and dumb founded faces again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reminiscence of College days1

I presume that twenty eight years down is a fair time to reminisce the teens and the early twenties of once age.
I was in a college which had liberal sprinkling of the fairer sex. The co-ed institution was one of the best in Thiruvanathapuram and quite capable of standing up to the Women's colleges of that city in the matter of pretty beautiful girls.
Our class acquired a rebellious nimbus, and in the words of our professor “infamous and impertinent bunch”. The description covered both the sex in the batch.
I would in fact hesitate to term us rebellious- well if it is purely for antagonising the professor for conducting in an unconventional way, quite different from his and some of the staff members views, well then the adjective is apposite. It has to be acknowledged that the staff members were headed by a very conservative professor who would in all probability have proscribed co-education, if he had his ways. And also some of the staff members were quite respectful of him and would not will to antagonise or do something contrary to his opinion.

It all began in the first year during the fun trip to Bangalore. Those days the KK Express (Kerala- Karnataka Express) got one to Bangalore from Thiruvanathapuram. Some ten of us boys and girls took off after dinner without the consent of the leader of the pack the Assistant professor. We took a couple of auto rickshaws, bunched ourselves in and reached Brigades road and got into the cinema to watch “Return of the Dragon”. It was very late after midnight that we came back to the Hotel .And was given a severe dressing down by the Asst professor. He also reported the matter back to the college.

During the recess between classes we used to engage in the game of Lexicon cards. It was a fascinating game of alphabets and words played with “Lexicon Cards”. One needs a fair percent of erudition and vocabulary to consider the game as his or her forte. And for an onlooker,at a glance, it would seemingly be like the game of Bridge. The Staff members thought so, and we were pulled up to the Principal. Outrageous, boys and girls, they even have the temerity to play cards in the class room. This was the accusation of the Professor. The matter was given a cold shoulder by the Principal when he found what we were engaged in, but the Professor was appalled that boys and girls conduct in such blatant activity inside the college.

Once, a prankster in our midst, (whose identity is still debated amongst us) sent by post to the professor a fascinating book of pictures, those that were explicit, and akin to the ones from Khujaraho. This infuriated the professor. And instead of ignoring the audacity of the fellow who ever he was, he brought the matter in public and the whole college was laughing at his predicament. Fancy stories went around.

We found yet another way to revel in past time. There is a very Keralite game which is played in the country side. I would say it is a Kerala version of base ball. The only difference was that the bat was a stick that was feet long and the ball was replaced by another stick of six inches. And we played that amongst us with a mix team of boys and girls. The court was down the department building and in full view of the professor and the staff members’ room. Notoriety and infamy that was redefined! The fascinating game of "kuttium kollum" was thereby decreed as frivolous and a  game of impertinent bunch of rascals .

                                            The class of 1980 farewell day
The end result was during the farewell party in the far end of the terminal year the Professor and the staff members chose the moment to vent their wrath on us. The farewell party was boycotted by all of them except one gentleman, our Economics tutor. The class photo gave a fascinating look .Just the Principal and the teacher stood along with us. A similar incident had never happened before or after.
The bottom line was the graduation result,and it  was a sweet retort of sorts. Two University rankers, the first and the second were from amongst us. And a record number of First class graduates. I was lucky one of them! 
But the Professor did not relent he refused to endorse our conduct certificates.


To close ones eyes and wish it is dark
To wish it is dark cos of the fright to face light.
Run away in fear from dedications ethical
cos love for self is the volition of  heart and soul.

To live in fear of  reality that stares
And close ones eyes to values that must be held dear.
Fear the present and bury the future
And endure in fear of the ghost of ones past.

Oh eternal misery are such lives unto the grave.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I had a dream

I had a dream, and I was on the precipice
The rocks were keen and steep, I clutched them with my life.
Looked below and dread the abyss deep.
The piece of bread seized 'tween my tattered fingers,
because I was 'fraid to let go the crump
Lest all go hungry and vain..

As I moved down edging,
Afraid of the slide and the fall any moment to come
The ground beneath my feet
ne'er reached me soon.

I had a dream, and I saw the dead
Rotten and dried cadaver of men and women
Hung on the string like meat put to dry
Mummies, beyond reckon, and couldn’t know who they where,
and why?

I had a dream, and I saw the deluge.
Of gushing water that took me down
I gasped in the swirl, knowing not what-
the whirl held for me, down under.

I had a dream, and I saw the dawn
raise me in her arms, coddle me long
I woke up in time,
and saw it was morn.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Words stay aloof
They stay aloof and away,
Afraid to descend;
Like I fear the day to come.

And moments move relentless
into the uncertain, that is the dawn of morrow.
And I ebb with its flow
Clutching at every twig gasping with hope and only hope.