Archive for ‘Daily Musings & Ponderings’

June 13, 2014

Strange Fruit in Uttar Pradesh

Sexual assault against women in India, particularly Uttar Pradesh, seems to be taking turn for the worst as rapists become emboldened by the lack of police investigation and political sympathy in favour of the criminal.   In the last fortnight four women have been raped and hung from trees by their own dupatta (scarf) or sari.

These crimes are outrageous enough but even more so are the continuous foot-in-mouth statements from the chief minister of the state, his father and a growing chorus of male chief ministers from other states.   I watched a TV discussion on NDTV (channel 511 on Sky) where a representative of the UP government repeatedly stated ‘what about men who are wrongly accused?’

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June 12, 2014

MF Husain, A Great Master at The V & A

MF Husain ganesha

Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M.F. Husain (1915-2011), was one of India’s most eminent and prolific artists.  Often described as India’s Picasso, MF Husain is one of my favourite Indian artists.  He is one of a group of Indian artists known as the Great Masters and they are indeed great, possessing a quality and perspective yet unmatched by generations of painters since.

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June 12, 2014

Don’t Do It: Brown Lippie

brown lipstick 3

The case against brown lipstick: Exhibit 1 the ageing effect

I know the 90s are back and I’m a 90s kid but…yuck.  Brown lips are gross and add 15 years to a face.  I got my first Rimmel Heather Shimmer lippie free with more! magazine and dabbed it on whilst frowning over Position of the Fortnight.

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May 24, 2014

My New Seven Year Itch

delhi 025

Relationships…dontcha love ’em??  However, the relationship I’m about to ponder isn’t one with a guy…it’s with a country: India.  I first travelled to India at the end of 2006 and it’s been a rough and ready ride.  I travel there for my business and it just doesn’t seem to be getting easier or more pleasant even though I’ve had the most amazing time there.  How does that contradiction work? Well….

I’ve travelled and explored India and my interests have take me to wonderful cities and villages where I have met weavers and wonderful organisations helping creative artisans.  I base myself in Delhi and have an apartment there in  a lush, quiet, tropical paradise and have created a lovely bubble around myself and yet I am often incredibly lonely there while I get on with my incredibly stressful work.

I hate moaners and expats that arrive in Delhi wanting it to have the

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May 24, 2014

How to…Pack for Holiday?

packing for holiday

Bubbly you’ve GOT to help me!!! That was my sis as she thought of packing for her ten day holiday (3 days before the departure date… a little extra notice would help).  And another friend told me that she recently returned from a trip to Mexico exasperated as nothing she packed went together and she simply couldn’t create looks she was happy with while she was there.  There’s no doubt about it, holiday packing can be stressful.

My first advice to my sis was to make a grid with the number of days at the top and day and night to the left:

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May 18, 2014

Cracking Up: The Evolution of British Asian Humour

British Asian Comedians,Anil Gupta,Sathnam Sanghera, Shazia Mirza, Saurabh Kakkar

From L-R: Saurabh Kakkar, Shazia Mirza, Anil Gupta, Sathnam Sanghera at Asia House

It’s the second time British Asian humour has been the subject of debate and discussion as part of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival and this year’s event was wonderful.  Everyone in attendance was mostly in good spirits (some wine helped of course!), eager to hear and participate in the discussion. Despite the lightness of the topic, Bunty and I left feeling we had learnt new things and subjects to ponder. The evening event focused on British Asian humour, its development as mark of cultural identity and how it has evolved since Goodness Gracious Me.

Goodness-Gracious-Me

Asia House invited Anil Gupta, Saurabh Kakkar (both writers and producers) and Shazia Mirza the stand up comedian. Anil Gupta is well known for the revolutionary and groundbreaking series Goodness Gracious Me, The Office and The Kumars at No 42. The evening started with a few

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May 17, 2014

A New Saffron Dawn in Indian Politics

narendra-modi

‘The world’s largest democracy’ cast more than 500 million votes over five weeks to decide who would win and take India roaring into the future and Narendra Modi came out on top with a huge majority.  India has spoken. Decisively.

For the first time in 30 years Indian voters helped create a majority government blasting the incumbents to an insignificant minority.  Right wing and Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had long been tipped to win the election but most Delhiites I spoke to last month were sure that they wouldn’t have an outright majority and would inevitably have to form a coalition of sorts.  My goodness was everyone shocked, it was time for a new generation.  Even former MPs that had held on to their safe seats for 15 years or more were ousted for the first time. 

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May 14, 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun

half-of-a-yellow-sun-uesiqg

As I have yet to read Americanah, this is my favourite Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel and I was very excited to see the film. I was not disappointed. Ignore other reviewers who are moaning about this film as, apart from some dull gratuitous Newton nipple shots, the film is wonderful.
I was pleased to see that the film didn’t just concentrate on the despair and woe of the Biafran war but actually showed a raw human side, a middle-class educated side that is rarely seen in films about West Africa (or indeed any African nation).

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May 13, 2014

Polio Certificate to Leave Pakistan

WHO

From June 2014 if Pakistanis want to visit countries abroad they need a government authorised certificate that they have been vaccinated against polio after new advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).  Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have been singled out as the last threatening reserves of the disease.

Although adults can carry the disease it only affects children often leaving them disabled.  Polio workers in Pakistan have been consistently targeted

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April 2, 2014

Rapunzel

timoteismeagol

Sometimes after a gorgeous indulgent shower I look into a steamy mirror looking for the blond beauty in the old Timotei ads and instead I see Smeagol from Lord of the Rings. Thin stringy hair sticks to my scalp and I shudder.

Not any more! Enter L’Oréal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo, Conditioner and Serum. Now, L’Oréal is a little iffy on science

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March 28, 2014

Nick Clegg v Nigel Farage

clegg farage

Did you hear the Great Debate yesterday between the above? Probably not if you don’t live in England or have a job as it was aired during office hours.

Anyway, there is much commentary and analysis about it today in the papers and on Radio 4. Wide consensus is that Farage won.

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March 28, 2014

Shantanu & Nikhil: The Shadows Within

SN2

Shantanu & Nikhil WIFW AW 2014

Shantanu & Nikhil are incredibly talented designers with impeccable attention to detail.  Their latest collection was inspired by timeless vintage travel.  The powder, blush and antique rose and apricot hues reminisced British colonial times.  Lace was the dominant detail and it was especially striking on the fingerless gloves worn by all the models.

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March 26, 2014

You’re Telling Me To Put Bum Cream On My Face?

waitrose baby bottom butter

Errr yeah, I am telling you to put bum cream on yo’ face. Do it!

This is no secret, women have been buying Waitrose’s Baby Bottom Butter and applying it on their face for a couple of years now (at night only). And, it only costs a mere £2.89, god, I’m good to you.

Don’t mess with my recommendations ya know, I usually only rub Creme de la Mer on my face so when I first heard about the fact that mumsnet were going crazy over this product, the snob in me thought “yah, that’s what having babies does to you, you can only afford to put cheap crap on your face”.

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March 25, 2014

Do You Look Tired After 8 Hours Sleep?

perricone no concealer concealerThere is nothing you can do to dark circles under your eyes. Stop wasting money on products that pretend that you can erase them. Stop drinking water, it tastes rubbish. Dark circles are heredity (thanks mum, also thanks for the ghetto ass).

Enter Dr Perricone MD. Sound like some quack American doctor, right? Like the one off the Simpsons (hey, the 90s are in so we are allowed to reference the Simpson again). Well, anyway his No Concealer Concealer is awesome. It’s just under £40 so yah, a bit more pricey than your usual but if you are south Asian origin then you probably look like you need it.

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March 25, 2014

Ghazal & Sufi with Sheeba Khan

sheeba khan

On Sunday evening I had the pleasure of attending a light classical music concert of ghazals and Sufi music in Gurgaon (near Delhi).  The singer, Sheeba Khan is a classically trained disciple of Jawaad Ali Khan and Mazhar Ali Khan.

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March 23, 2014

Google Rage

google glass 1

When I signed up to Gmail, my sister went nuts at me!  Didn’t I know that they scan my emails for their product placements? That it was a creepy corporation and if it were doing that to sell advertising to me, then what would someone have to pay to get other intimate details about me?

This being those heady innocent pre-Snowdon, pre-Levenson, pre-watershed days, I poo-pah’d it and said nonsense! Google didn’t do anything that others didn’t do, hotmail tries to sell me trainers that I clicked on yesterday as well.

The backlash has started and is getting nasty. Some Google employee was testing Google Glass in a coffee shop in San Fran, California and was attacked by fellow coffee sippers. A man ripped the glasses off the Google-tester screaming “Fucking Google, you’re ruining this city”.

When you wear Google Glass you can take a photo of someone just by blinking and no-one else would know about it. Google argue that the glasses are visible and therefore if you see someone wearing them, then you know that a photo may be taken. Eh???
This is a true story: I was on a bus in Hampstead, London and was standing next to a young mum with her toddler.

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March 23, 2014

Sex Crimes

canadian police

It will come as no surprise to you to hear that “Sex Law & Crimes” was the most popular module during my law degree. I love studying the subject, the academic analysis and historical analysis of sex law in England.

There was a case heard this month by the Canadian Supreme Court that literally sent shivers down my body. It is so shocking that it deserves analysis, and for once, don’t panic reading ahead because the court made the right decision.

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March 18, 2014

Red Velvet At The Tricycle Theatre

red velvet the tricycle

Every now and then I come across a gem of a find and this time it is Red Velvet, a play by Lolita Chakrabarti and starring her handsome husband, Adrian Lester!

Lester plays Aldridge a mid-19th century black actor who played at Covent Garden. He is outstanding, in fact he is almost too outstanding as he overshadows his co-stars

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March 17, 2014

Colour Used As Punishment

widow plays holi

The Hindu festival of colour (Holi) was celebrated today and I was drawn to the story in the Indian Express of an NGO, Sulabh International,  that arranged for 1000 widows to celebrate Holi in the City of Widows, Vrindavan.  William Dalrymple dedicated a chapter in his book, The Age of Kali to this city and its unique population of cast out women.

In Hindu tradition, a woman is stripped of colour once she becomes a widow.  She can only wear white irrespective of whether

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March 17, 2014

Happy St Patrick’s Day…

guinness
… and Guinness we salute you!
Guinness has pulled its sponsorship of the New York City Parade (huge given the Irish population there) because gay and lesbian groups were banned.
A socialist at heart I am always cynical of every big corporate’s moves as being ultimately about marketing but I will give credit to Guinness here, well done for pulling out of an event that is supposed to celebrate

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March 16, 2014

Flying Fears

malaysian airlines

The continued anguish over the missing Malaysian flight is just awful. I flew to Delhi the day after the plane was first reported missing, who would have thought a week later that the search to locate it would still be on?

I never used to be nervous about flying but I increasingly find myself feeling anxious.  I know it is illogical and it makes no sense but the more I fly the more stressed out I become. 

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March 14, 2014

Letters From a Prince

Prince Charles

Earlier this week the Guardian newspaper won a nine year court battle with the UK government in order to see letters sent by Prince Charles to UK ministers under the Freedom of Information Act.

The letters apparently show evidence of the prince lobbying senior government ministers to change policies that he is unhappy with.

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February 14, 2014

Spread It Thick: Cheesy Love!

Arabic_Calligraphy_IV_by_zsulaiman

Well just like that it’s The Most Romantic Day of The Year again.   And of course, I’m here to the rescue for what to write in your message to your loved one(s ;-))

And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.
― Rumi

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January 29, 2014

#Notbuyingit: The App

Notbuyingit app

My sis sent me the link to a news story covering a free app whereby people can start mini campaigns or vent their anger at companies or products that promote or condone sexism and/or misogyny.

I downloaded the app this evening and I like it but I wish it had more functionality.  It is quite straightforward to use, users upload images of things they are annoyed with or campaignin against and others users can

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January 26, 2014

2014: Year of the Wooden Horse

2014-Year-of-horse-Chinese new year

It is Chinese New Year on 31 January 2014 and this year it is the year of the wood or green horse.  I have personal interest in this as I am a horse in the Chinese horoscope, much to the amusement of my sister who claims to be a much cooler dragon. I counteract her claim of superior coolness with the fact that dragons don’t exist and at least neither of us are rats!

Besides remembering to wish your friends

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November 29, 2013

It Happens All The Time in Heaven

hafiz garden

It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth –
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
Lovers,

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November 28, 2013

Gravity

gravity sandra bullock

Boy likes Sandra Bullock. I like action, if it happens in Space, even better.

Off we go to 3D cinema to see Gravity. It is excellent, believe the hype but not all of it. It is incredible. It is techy and whizzy and let’s face it, Sandra Bullock is divine, but I’m not sure

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November 24, 2013

All Creatures Great and Small

All creatures dogs 1

During my most recent trip to Delhi I had the pleasure of accompanying a friend, Anjali Gopalan, to her newly formed dog shelter which expanded to include other animals that she and her team ended up rescuing.  Anjali is looking for volunteers so please read and pass this blog post on to friends or family that might like to join the fun.

Tucked away in the ancient Aravali Hills, the farm and dog shelter was all peace and quiet…until the dogs spotted me on the roof to photograph them!

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October 31, 2013

Escape Plan

Escape Plan
One of my most glorious moments was when I beat the boy in Commando Challenge.
We are watching Commando, an Arnie classic circa 1980s. A challenge! “Let’s see who guesses most next lines”. Our eyes slit and we grit our teeth.
He, a lifelong Arnie worshipper, sneers at me. He knows he will win! He is a boy! And I am a girl!
I sneer back. I know I will win! Yes I am a girl! A girl from Scotland with shit cold summers, a fun  sister and Commando on vhs that we will watch 20 times. A week!!!

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October 31, 2013

No Woman, No Drive

no-woman-no-drive
You must have heard of this great twist on the Bob Marley classic released to take the piss out of the no driving rule for chicks in Saudi Arabia.
Sigh.
Let’s not talk about the driving ban, I’m likely to spontaneously combust, but how fab that finally SOME Saudi women seem to be waking up

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October 30, 2013

Ornamental Adornments

Pankaj Nidhi 2

WIFW Pankaj & Nidhi SS14

Intricate adornments from Pompeii all the way to Medieval church facades…Indian designer duo, Panjak & Nidhi seemed to thoroughly enjoy researching the inspiration behind their Spring/Summer 2014 collection.  Hand cut fabrics appliqued to give a 3D effect and transparency were key looks.

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October 21, 2013

Fasting: For Him Not Her

Kareena Kapoor karwa chauth

Kareena Kapoor made news in India today as she declared that she will not be starving herself tomorrow in order to prove her love to her husband, Saif Ali Khan.  What’s so special about tomorrow you ask? Well…tomorrow is Karwa Chauth – a one day festival whereby women fast from sunrise until sighting of the full moon (through a flour sieve…) of that same evening and it’s all to ensure the safety and long life of their husbands. Some women also include their sons in this ritual.

Religion is funny business if you ask me and every religion seems to have their few eccentric laws/traditions/customs that remind women they are worthless,

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October 18, 2013

Grayson Perry Delight

grayson perry
Have you ever heard the Reith Lectures? Presented by the BBC, it is series of annual lectures be leading thinkers of the day. They usually have me yawning and switching over. Good lord, I remember a mathematical physics science type talk once and I couldn’t even get through 5 mins of it because the speaker was duller than the dullest dull day in January.
Enter Grayson Perry! What a delight he is! His first of three lectures came on this Monday and he instantly grabbed my attention that I missed my gym class to hear the full thing.

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September 29, 2013

Haaaaaaaaaahahahaha Oof My Ovaries!!

october 26 women drivers in saudi arabia

A Saudi cleric has warned women who want to participate in a protest drive or are even thinking about driving that doing so without absolute necessity will damage their ovaries:

“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show

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September 28, 2013

The Sound of Cinema

StarWars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. the opening lines of one of my favourite movies of all time, Star Wars.  The majestic musical score written for the Star Wars movies has been voted the UK’s favourite soundtrack as voted for across all BBC Radio listeners.

Instantly recognisable from the first notes

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September 25, 2013

Go To Jail For Drug Mules

british women drugs charge

When I first heard the story of the two British women caught with 11kg of cocaine in their luggage in Peru I felt so sorry for them.  They had been forced to, innocent victims, could it happen to any of us? Then my cousin who is about their age walked in and was certain they did it.  She said girls get duped on holiday resorts as they think it’s glamorous and that they can get rich quick.

Michaella McCollum Connolly, who lives in Northern Ireland, and Melissa Reid, from Scotland  have made guilty pleas in order to

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September 24, 2013

Dream A Little Dream

dreams

On a good night we might get eight hours sleep a night.  Whatever your pattern, we spend an awful lot of time sleeping and dreaming, however, little undisputed knowledge exists about dreams.  Not all of us have regular dreams although I’d be willing to bet that none of us have escaped the dreaded pre-exam anxiety dream.

Do you dream? Do they convey messages? Do you take them seriously?  Some of my family seem to receive messages

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September 23, 2013

Crime and Punishment

crime and punishment

I have a beautiful hard back copy of the literary classic, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  Even my copy with its font size 7 type it is the size of a brick.  I have been looking at it for years thinking about reading, feeling guilty that I hadn’t, so a few days ago I finally picked it up and read the foreword.   The following day one of my best friends rang me to say she had two tickets to watch Crime and Punishment at the Citz in Glasgow and I jumped with glee to be given a sneak preview into the book later that evening.

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September 17, 2013

The New Beauty

ThandieKayAboutUs800PX1

Not just about makeup, British actor Thandie Newton and her friend Kay Montano, a makeup artist, have just launched a new website celebrating beauty in its diversity.  ThandieKay covers makeup tutorials and interviews with amazingly talented women in the same friendly, chatty tone.  Lilac eyes? Yes please!

It’s a timely launch of a beauty website that shows skin tones reflecting the diversity of society.  Recently supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman have been particularly vociferous in their objection to the increasing racism in the fashion industry.  The racism isn’t aggressive or obvious

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September 16, 2013

The Voice From Heaven

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Madonna, Kylie, Pink Floyd, New Kids, Daft Punk, Metallica, Asha Bhosle and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan  are all happily lying in my ipod’s music library albeit in different playlists!  Who is is this last chap, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan aka RFAK aka The Voice From Heaven?

Having recently performed to a capacity crowd of 12,000 at London’s O2 Centre, Ustad (Maestro) Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Sufi qawaali singer

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