Monday, September 15, 2014

#Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

Women, from times unknown, have been under constant scrutiny. Are her clothes fashionable enough, are her eyebrows the right shape, is her nail paint chipped, is her hair a bit too frizzy, is she a shade too dark? Oh yes, the #fairness obsession. Among all these benchmarks, fairness is a gift envied and lauded. Thus the million-and-a-half #beauty products to make the darkest of skins turn light, irrespective of how unnatural or harmful it may be. The #matrimonial ads are always looking for a fair, slim and educated girl. The #advertisements slyly tell dusky women it’s a crime to remain dark when fairness can be achieved. Our Bollywood blockbusters and magazines photoshop or cake dusky beauties with makeup, transforming them into fair maidens. If you are not dusky and happen to be tanned, your elders will also complain of how unbecoming it is. In this sun-filled country a fair complexion is more important than some Vitamin D. Don't get tanned even if it means getting a shot at the doc's.

The #Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf proposed our society has been conspiring against women by means of vanity. Most women would agree the burden of looking good is phenomenal and never-ending. Add to that #bulimia, #anorexia and #plastic surgery.  It’s frankly, tiring. And we know this. But this requirement is very deeply, universally ingrained in women today. So we struggle every morning, to look better than God made us. To look prettier than the next girl. We mentally reprimand ourselves for being not so perfect. We waste our time in front of the mirror. Trying this and that. And by the time we get out of the door, we have drained out half our brains and energy on the dressing floor. Also, if you observe carefully, our massive advertising industry instigates not only perfect beauty but an eternal rivalry among women. A two-pronged strategy to weaken the fairer sex I would say. #Feminism is nothing but a by-product of this sly suppression. In the last century women burnt their #bras. If another tide of feminism hits the world, I hope to see fairness creams going up in smoke.

I must lightly touch upon the alleged suppression of the male species. I’ve been carefully observing along with many indignant men, the unfair sexual harassment cases and false dowry cases being filed by some unscrupulous women. I wonder how the women convicted and burnt at stake during the witch hunt felt. Injustice perhaps? I’m not condoning these acts of immorality and vengeance. But I see women becoming primary breadwinners and men becoming house husbands. I see women holding positions of power in companies. All this is great I thought. And then I saw the likes of #King Khan and Johnny boy endorsing fairness creams. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Could it be? Is the beauty myth backfiring?

PS: To all the women I know and don’t know. You are #beautiful, for you are #God’s creation. Do not doubt his work of art. You have the divine power to create life. You can create and be anything you want. Just don’t stand in front of the mirror for too long.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

“If there is #paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here.”

These famous words are engraved on the pages of history. But the fate of the beautiful valley has been anything but heavenly since the last few decades. #Terrorism rises and ebbs away, rearing its ugly head sporadically, leaving the populace in constant state of uncertainty. #Kashmir is now in the clutches of nature’s wrath. The worst #floods in 60 years have terrorised the residents yet again.

More than 200 people are reported to have died. With the phone towers down, panic has struck hard as those who are stranded and those unable to locate their loved ones desperately seek information. Efforts are being made to bring the telecommunication back online. Apps have been being created to help locate people. Air force choppers and transport aircrafts are working around the clock carrying men, boats and medicines. The army boats are rescuing people from the inundated regions. Naval commandos have been mobilised for the first time ever. Medical camps have been set up to treat the injured. About 68 Relief camps are operative in #Jammu. A control room has been set up to monitor flood relief operations. Goonj and many other NGOs are collecting relief material to be provided to the victims. Around 47,000 people have been rescued till now. The brave teams of the army, the air force,  the #NDRF and the navy have the blessings of thousands of survivors.

The water is slowly receding. The situation is stabilising. But some will never see another day. Some will thank their stars for surviving. And some will bear the scars of this flood on their souls forever. It is ironic and sad that this paradise and its residents have truly seen hell on Earth. Again and again.