Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Indian women and the art of homemaking

Image Source : btvision.bt.com

To be a homemaker or not to be a homemaker that is the question. Well, personally I don't mind much being one, but there is this popular thought, rather an ignoble notion, going on in our market about this ancient profession being a member of that mephitic group of vocations which are known to project you in a sort of clich├ęd way. Don't take my word, just open your eyes and you will see homemakers presented in India as the over-dependent always-working-in-the-kitchen bunch, seldom having any life outside her culinary nook. These days women like us-- and by 'us' I mean girls having strong feministic views who find it difficult to interact with the fragments of the moribund society forever yearning to project woman in the subservient light-- are trying our best to make this job of homemaking look nitid and delectable. One can never learn to manage one's life unless one knows how to manage, or make, the home. The question that now arises is how do we change the notion of a whole country and make them see that women are much more than innate homemakers, and if given proper resources much fertile mentally than the male part of the population? I guess such a drastic change in popular opinion is due in the next century since a good chunk of India is still hidebound. Tradition teaches us to take our mothers as caring forces, and our male guardian figures as self-taught autocrats ruling the household with actual, meaty authority. And even though a large part of New-India vests equal rights to both men and women and condemns gender discrimination, as you step outside this ephemeral shadow of urbanization, you will catch the underbelly of the country as dark and fetid as it used to be a century ago. With the sudden (un) healthy growth of honor killings and sexual harassment of women in work places, it is more than clear that when female voice is concerned, India likes to see them spoken from the incarcerations of home. Shout as you may and repudiate this argument with well chosen words and expression, you, yourself, can hardly deny the fact that the whole country needs some brain washing machine to get it in their heads that women are the threads of the society that begot them, and in all cases deserve equal opportunity and respect. And homemaking is not the profession of the unintelligent.

When speaking about equal portrayal of women, a word or two need to be said about the ever growing movie industry. While Bollywood is showing much potential in developing somewhat strong female leads, the sas-bahu sloshes ruling the sitcom industry continually show women in the home, cooking and contemplating homely arguments. Unless the film and television industry of the country manage to emanate a good deal of patriarchal authority in the female thespians by presenting them in an equal footing with the male counterparts and giving them outside-home roles, merely calling actresses 'female actors' doesn't help.

Our aged relatives have undoubtedly drilled into our heads the idea that women are better off at home, and in the Mesozoic Era they might have been, but today they are not. Women need to reinvent themselves, and the roles traditionally entrusted on them need to be scrutinized. Nonconformism can never create positive results, it will fill us will gall, but tactfully living the problem can, ultimately, beget good results. Instead of avoiding over-pressuring girls to marry in the same caste why not give them the independence to start making their own decisions early in their lives using their own merit; a good level of independence will allow the growth of better judgmental powers in their cranium, thus when choosing life partners they will seldom make mistakes. The eye of authority needs to slacken now, and as India is getting ready to embrace the global Twitter generation, rural and urban India has got to make a treaty. I know teaching the second highest populous of the world the idea of something as paltry as female independence when then country is wrought by so many misgivings is not possible, but change, like charity, always begins at home. Remember home and homemaking is more important today than they were in the yesteryears. It is a challenging job as tricky and demanding as any other work-hard-get-paid-well jobs in the market. As women it behooves us to create better self-images of ourselves-- take on jobs you never thought women could take; get educated, it is never late to start anew; read books and articles and get into political discussions with the male members of your family; teach your kids to regard both their parents as equal parts of the home and always take pride in what you are doing. Such small changes will cumulatively add to the image of women, and may be someday we will see the real New-India where women, the spokesmen of country, are far more important than eighteenth century corny homemakers.

Article is copyrighted. Copyright  Barnali Saha. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Low Fat Vegetarian Hamburgers

Serves 2


Fat Free Refried beans -- 1 can

Mixed Beans: 1 can

Seasoned Bread Crumbs: 1/4 th cup

Egg-- 1 (can be substituted with 1tbsp of corn flour)

Worcestershire Sauce-- 2 tsp

 Garlic-- 1 clove

Finely Chopped Red Onions: 3 tbsp

Low Fat Hamburger Buns: 2

Cheese: 1 slice for each burger.

Salt and Pepper: As per taste

Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Frying


In a bowl mix refried beans and mixed beans and mash them. Three tbsp of beans from each can should make 2 burgers. You can use more if you want. Mix chopped onions, finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper and mash again. Add egg (if you are using corn flour you should omit this step). Add breadcrumbs, and using your hands sculpt two burger patties. Dust with corn flour. Heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the burger patties in medium heat for five to six minutes each side. Allow them to cook thoroughly. Turn them every five minutes, add oil if needed. After the patties have browned considerably allover, carefully take them out and place them on a bun with lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stop "Refudiating!"

Children of the Bard beware! Do whatever you want but never "refudiate!" Those of you who get the thrill of the situation are sure to understand what on earth I am talking about, and those who don’t, I suggest they head on to the Breaking News section and illuminate their minds. The talk of the town is "refudiate," and in case you wonder who had the guts to use this word, close your eyes and think for a second. Yes, you are absolutely correct!! Sarah Palin. Who else can it be? It is strange how she wakes up from her hibernating phase once or twice every three months or so to create a complete balatron of herself! Last time she was on, she was seen palm reading. And this time she broke all her previous records with her crazy attempt to polish our vocab and gift us with this new God-knows-what-it-means word -- refudiate! Even Microsoft Word wouldn’t take it; it beats me how she could type the word without being automatically corrected.

Her abaxial attempt has been linked with malapropism, but “Lead theway and we'll precede” is certainly not the case with Mrs. Palin as she  insisted the word is correct. In her Twitter post she actively defended her solecism. The English language is malleable, but does that mean that words like "refudiate, which is very close to two actually present words refute and repudiate, could be allowed to exist? Palin used the word not once, but twice. Once she asked Michelle Obama to "refudiate" the claim that the 'Tea Party Movement' is racist, the second time in a Twitter post asking us to "refudiate" the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. I would certainly "refudiate" provided she clarified what she meant by "refudiating."

When Palin first used the word on July 14th on the Fox News Show, people thought she had gotten mixed up in the heat of the moment and ended up coining the word. What stress! How difficult the life of an ex-governor must be that she is set to revolt not only against the world but also the lingo the world solemnly uses. Neologism? Yes, yes, that is good for the growth of a language, but neologism to this extent? Come on! The Bard would have flown away to heaven if he heard this.

Mrs. Palin has impressed us all right with her fulgent logodaedaly, now it's time for her to acknowledge the fact that the word is erroneous. Sometime one has to acknowledge her mistakes, you know, that is what makes one a good human being. We can repudiate our peccadilloes, but killing a language is something we never appreciate. So, Mrs. Palin, if you are listening, please use the free online dictionaries and save the world.

Inception: A Brilliantly Executed Movie

Movie Review: Inception

It all begins with an idea; an eagre of emotions, a sudden jolt, and a bold new inception that gives a whole new meaning to the word "you." In Inception, Christopher Nolan has created a masterpiece, an audacious and invigorating saga that links the conscious and subconscious, the real and the dream in such a fascinating way that at the end of the movie you wonder if what we see around us are real or just a "shade," a passing fancy. Inception hits the movie scale somewhere between the greatness of Ben-Hur and the incredibleness of Gladiator. Ultimately, Nolan has successfully created a movie, and in the process has totally surpassed himself. Inception sets a right pitch with his previous monumental creations, like Memento and The Dark Knight, and shows the audience, once again, the master strokes of Nolan's brilliant auteurism.

Inception, which is part action thriller part science fiction, and part psychological drama, deals with the nebulous world of human brain. A forever mystical organ the brain has been, and Nolan has successfully hacked into this mythical organ and done the impossible. This nail biting motion picture is definitely worth a ride for all those who are fascinated by dreams.

The movie, which boasts of the complicated plot of the century, comes in a handle-with-care package. It is highly intricate in details, and details are what matters most to the plot. As for the story, it almost doesn’t have one, and even if it has it, it is too complicated to explain. In a nutshell it deals with the life of Dom Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio), a master thief with a vague past, who is absolutely unparalleled in the field of extracting secret information from the subconscious levels of the mind. He is an international fugitive, a leader in corporate espionage.  Dom meets a mysterious business tycoon, Saito (Ken Watanabe), who gives him a task of the Titans. He is entrusted with one last act, which will give him his long awaited redemption, and unite him with his family, provided he succeeded. But it is a mission impossible, an unreliably tricky job that not only requires skill, a great amount of careful planning and expertise as well. Cobb unleashes a group of highly skilled personages to unravel the puzzle, but no planning is enough when one is fighting with his mightiest adversary -- his own self.

Although the movie might seem pretty straightforward in approach, it deliberately obfuscates the incidents, and ends up confusing the audience. In the series of incidents it portrays, starting from the stages of the dream-invading to the coming to life and waking up, it often contradicts itself. Nolan transmogrifies contemporary dream theories, and creates a new world of imagination where the possibilities of tomorrow are a staple of today. The indefatigable story takes you to the deepest depths of the subconscious; the unknown world of mingled memories, unreal projections together with conscious reality create a brilliant screenplay. However, one has to follow, that is, if one wishes to continue with it at all, the minuscule details, the meaningless bits and pieces here and there, and start creating her own solution in her mind as she watches the movie unravel. The movie has a fascinating ending that re-mystifies the final thoughts you get and leaves you with a deep after feeling of satisfaction. After an epic two and half hours of cinematic experience, the watcher wins a Pyrrhic victory by somewhat getting the plot and leaving the theater with an I-knew-it-would-brilliant-all-the-while smile.

From the very beginning, an ardent moviegoer knows Inception to be another classic Nolan creation. All the characteristic Nolan stuff is here: the darkness, the creepy and intense plot, the apparently impossible problem that ultimately finds a solution and Michael Caine. The majuscule drama adumbrates great refreshment for bogged down 3D-tired moviegoers looking for a real deal.

As far as depth and acting goes, Inception fails at certain levels. The plot is skinny-deep, and fails to show the profundity of human emotion; it just awes at it, but doesn’t dare define it.  It is more of a step-by-step mathematical problem than a real-life dramatic execution of a crisis situation. I felt that the character of Dicaprio has been well expressed. He seems repressed and schizophrenic, but that is what Nolan intended for him. As for the others, they all look like they are stuck in Leo's dream, and come as mere shadows with exceptional ability, yet carefully restrained performances. Ellen page delivers a good performance as a bright architect; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur and Marion Cotillard as Mal are brilliant, too.

Overall, Inception is a fabulously executed, artistically seamless, and creatively exceptional movie. It is breathtaking, exhilarating and mind-boggling; a definite no-no for chick-flick enthusiasts, flibbertigibbets and pococurante movie-hoppers, however.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup Final Watch Party

"A Heart for Soccer -- Nashville Says 'YES' to the World's Most Popular Sport" -- my CNN iReport: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-471214