Friday, April 26, 2013

Saudi Deports Fashion Photographer as Being Too Handsome

Saudi Arabia recently deported a man, a fashion photographer, they thought as being "too handsome." Hehe. So what's too handsome? See it for yourself here. However, one thing Saudi men must remember is that the repression they afford to their women is to blame for the lack of faith. Wait a minute, hold on, we are just coming to the point.

Yeh, the guy is handsome, agreed. Lips like the young John Travolta's, eyebrows like Brooke Shields', eyes, like, well, Brad Pitts'. Women (and men, too) go by well-worn cliches when evaluating men. Ahem.

Our mind goes to the time we were working in Saudi. We had a young chap working as a labourer in our project (the lowest class of employee, if we may call it that), rather goodlooking by Indian standards. We were taken aback when we heard his story. He had worked as a driver of a prominent business family and went through a harrowing time, being used as a sex object by the women of the big-shot's harem (Yes, sexual exploitation happens both ways.). Eventually, when he couldn't take it anymore he ran away from there to work as a normal labourer in our project, on a pittance as salary.

So, of course, the Saudi men's concern is well founded. If you are too handsome don't travel to Saudi Arabia, or, do something to make yourself look ugly. Hehehe!

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Another Delhi Rape and It's Aftermath

Rape. It's a crude four-letter word. And it happened again, in the national capital rocked by a violent rape just a few months ago, in fact, four months ago. The inspiration for this blog has been the esteemed Nilanjana Roy's article in The Hindu which appears here.

Now, admit this: rape and brutalisation has been happening for a as long as India existed, or even before, according to our friend Henry. It's only coming out now because some people became angry and made a big issue of it. He said this to us yesterday when we were on our routine Sunday evening walk. And, the first sentence of this post was also said by him. He pointed to a few youths disporting before us and said, "after two pegs these people become like animals." He should  know, he likes his drink. The youth of India, corrupted from the mindless sexual incitement they see in films and the media, want a part of the action. "If Shahruk and Salman can, why can' we?" Really? We ask, a bit incredulously. Yes, Henry replies, they are so vulnerable to what they see on screen, it is easy to incite them to any kind of violence.

Now, we have a simple solution to the rape problem. Let women police all women related issues. Recruit enough women so that half the police force consists of women. We have seen with our own eyes how women can enforce the law, and, how impartial and incorruptible they can be. (Now don't give us that lame excuse about: women can't do night shifts [yes they can, call centre women do], women can't run after thieves etc. How many pot-bellied policemen have you seen running after thieves, eh?) Let them enforce the law on rapes, molestation  dowry deaths and the like. Let these cases be decided by women judges. See what difference it would make. Can't Sonia Gandhi and her cronies do this much for the women of India? After all, she is a woman, isn't she?

That may seem like a rhetorical question. But we need answers if India should not turn into the rape capital of the world.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Friday, April 19, 2013

On Finishing Chapter Seventeen!

Actually to let the world know, erm, that we are making slow and painful progress on the novel. Finished Chapter Seventeen at the Cafe Coffee Day's Cafe in Belapur, New Bombay last night. Only three more chapters to go. Yay! CCD's Cafes are a good place to be in, a bit tony, if you ask us. They take orders from the table and there's no number card to be carried back to the table. Hm. That's a good improvement from the ordinary CCD joint. 

But there were a few business types in ties [actually they were wimpy looking fat men with unshaven chins and fat midriffs] with business talk about "verticals" and "customer satisfaction." Come on, men, who are you kidding? In today's "sell at all costs" paradigm whoever thinks of "customer satisfaction." No customer is ever satisfied, you hear, loudmouth, fat ass. We must say the talk got on our nerves.

Let us explain painful. Yes, it's been a bit painful with the medical complaints we have. We have got some remission with the nature cure ashram we had in Kerala. But the adjunct is that we can have only non-vegetarian food, can't have rice, can't have fish, no, not even eggs. We love all these and eggs are one of our favourites. On the positive side, we must say we feel good about not taxing our body with a lot of animal fats and proteins and we feel light through the day. Additionally, we have to do one hour of yoga and one hour walking every morning. We learnt basic Yoga when we were at this ashram and we think it is a good way of keeping the body flexible. [We meant to write about the ashram experience in detail, but then decided the novel requires more concentration than that.] We have been sticking to this strict regimen and, therefore, writing becomes difficult. Hope that explains the "painful" part. Sorry, wrong word, I should change that to "satisfying."

Also, we think, we have nearly found a competent editor for our novel. It's important at this stage to get the novel professionally edited for minor errors and bloopers which might upset an editor at the agents' or publishers'. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Korean Star Psy's New Album "Gentleman." Gentleman as Tyke

So Psy's new album "Gentleman" has received 82 million views on youtube. But if you see his video you will retch. His antics are anything but gentlemanly. In one obnoxious scene he gathers his fart in one hand and applies it to a woman's face; in another he pulls the chair from under another woman. We won't detail all the ungentlemanly behaviour here, but, will vouch - God be my witness - he is no respectable gentry in our opinion. He is a downright tyke.

That brings us to the question "Who is a gentleman these days?" We used to open doors and hold it for women in our days, but we don't see this done anymore. We used to open doors of cars for women. Ah! We were a different generation. A woman appreciates these gestures but Psy makes a woman fall from a treadmill, punches the wrong buttons on a lift, and, in general, acts every bit of an exasperating freak, We have seen the most uncouth men being adored by women and have wondered if this world is still a good place to be in.

So who made him a superstar with such an international following? We think the world is a sick place if they see his video "Gentlemen," or, buy the album for that matter. Don't get us wrong. This album stinks to high heavens and should be avoided. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Vishu! Vishu Sadya at Kerala House

Today, the family went for the Vishu sadya at Kerala House in Vashi. The idea was to give the better half a break and to taste the variety of Kerala's cuisines. On turning up we find a milling crowd clad in their best Kerala "settu" sarees and bhasmam on their foreheads. We were number sixty-nine on the waiting list and the man in-charge warned me that it would take half-an-hour.

It turned out to be a long wait, one, no, two hours. We started wondering, among squealing of children, feeding of hand-held one-year-olds, noisy college youths, and fully-immersed-texting geeks with their fancy mobile devices if it was worth it. "Let's go somewhere else," wifey said getting restless. I said, "hold on," patience is a virtue of the brave, and, so on. Wifey agreed and I kept up a meaningless chatter to keep her interested about how Kerala House was the abode of the Malayali ministers and superstars alike. There was a large Vishu Keni at the entrance which I and all the assemblage photographed. There was a shop selling curios like huge brass lamps, Kathakali dancers sculpted in wood, brass in-laid furniture which I soon got tired of. Then there was this huge adornment of an elephant, displayed in the seating area, which also I photographed. 

Time wouldn't pass. Just as we were feeling  very hungry and looking mournfully at the satiated people exiting the restaurant our number - sixty-nine - was called. 

It was worth the wait. There were: Avial, kootan, inchi curry, sharkara puratti, sambhar, rasam, pappadam, rice (of course), mango pickle, lemon pickle, and couple of other dishes I couldn't identify. It was topped by, what else, aripayasam. Natch.

I felt a bit bloated by the entire repast and had to rest a while at the waiting area before we started back. People were still milling around looking jealously at us.

A good Vishu sadya was had by the family.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Do Women Make Better Writers, Editors, Publishers, and Readers of Novels?

Here's what Alexandra Pringle, chief editor, Bloomsbury has to say about fiction for women by women. Hell, she is right. Mostly novels are written, edited, published, and read by women. Come to think of it why didn't I notice it before, though I had a premonition about it. Most editors I know are women, and when I walk into a book store mostly it is women who crowd around the fiction shelves and men, if at all, the management and self-development books. (I used to think, misguidedly, that a man can change his life with a book, just as if Rome can be built in a day! Hehe!) And majority of the men in publishing are beat salesmen who go from store to store.

That opens a Pandora's box of doubts in this humble hack's mind. Are women more sensitive, concerned, emotionally intelligent, compassionate, or, what? Are they better at understanding the human condition than their better halves. A novel is after all an intelligent work and requires some empathy and maturity to understand it. Which a man lacks? Oh no! Might just be true. Ask your husband/boyfriend to name a novel he has read and ask him to name the protagonist. Just try this out. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013