Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is beauty just for the rich?

Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably heard of the 'Chaiwala'. This really handsome man from Pakistan who has now landed a modelling contract. I get that he looks gorgeous, blue eyes, tall, neat looking. What's not to like, ammrite?

My facebook feed was just Chai wala, chai wala. No identity. No name. Nothing. The hook to every article wasn't a good looking man, but that a good looking man was a tea vendor. Each article could mean one of 2 things, either good looking people can't be poor or poor people can't be good looking. I'm guessing it was the latter. Why is someone's income a hook? Why is the world so surprised? Would it be so shocking if I told you Aishwarya Rai or Sonam Kapoor were beautiful? Apparently not.  It's almost expected of rich people to look good. I remember when Akash Ambani was spotted at one of the MI games, he was overweight and the internet wouldn't stop making fun of him. A few years later when he got fit, damn we wouldn't stop swooning. Seriously. It was like celebrating the fact that he 'finally looked the the part'. Remember how Aishwarya Rai was criticized post pregnancy for weight gain (yes. that happened).

Back to Arshad; I wasn't comfortable sharing any of the posts, I couldn't really put my finger on what about the posts made me so uncomfortable and bam! it hit me. I wasn't uncomfortable because it was people "objectifying" him. It wasn't even that I didn't find him good looking, just that most people thought he was "good looking for a chaiwala". Let's get one thing straight, beauty isn't a rich people thing. That being said the normal working women/men don't have the money to spend on looking good. People don't have the energy to look perfect all the time.

I would be okay if we looked at ordinary people and thought they look beautiful, because why not. But that's not what we do, we're surprised that a 'chaiwala' , a person who wasn't supposed to look good (based on stereotypes), looks like a model.  We're the same people who go around saying "she's dark, but beautiful" as if dark people aren't supposed to be beautiful. We don't think of people as beautiful. Nope. We think of people as stereotypes, she's fat but beautiful, she's thin but , same with Arshad.

To us (the internet) he'll always remain 'dreamy eye tea seller'. Pakistani tea seller, blue eyed tea seller. The hook will forever remain the oddness of his job.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Are you noticing enough?

Because I have nothing else to do on the bus and I travel close to 3 hours per day, I tend to watch people. I can't read (motion sickness). Can't listen to music (cuz earphones are annoying and they tickle my ear). This story is from a couple of days ago, something quite amazing happened while I was on the bus, two people boarded the bus and as usual people were buying tickets, looking at their phone, listening to music, hoping someone will just give up their seat for no real reason.

Okay, back to what happened, 2 people, visually impaired, got on the bus. Nobody noticed as nobody offered their seats. But soon I realised they knew where they wanted to sit. They made their way to the seats reserved for them with a little difficulty. The next few minutes were quite something,  everybody was trying to look at them, some sneaking glances, some others just blatantly staring. I make it a point to not stare because that's just rude so, I went back to looking at the road.

I am not saying you should find anyone inspiring or sympathize even. But looking at those 2 people, I could instantly tell the mood in the bus changed, people became *aware*. It brings me to my post, are we waiting on something or someone for us to start noticing life itself? and if so, What are we noticing? Are we noticing enough and more importantly what are we taking for granted? At some point, we are taking everything for granted, especially that which we've never taken the time to accomplish. Are we taking our friends for granted, our spouse, our parents? We'll these are tough to answer, nobody thinks they are, but fact is have you asked yourself the question?

Moving on to something more personal, are you taking your literacy for granted, your intellect, your dreams for granted. There is no tomorrow. There is an expiry date on everything, including your knowledge (you are at some point going to become irrelevant), are you taking your relevance for granted? I often think speaking in 4 languages is something you put on a resume and that's that, but have you thought of how happy you should be that you can speak, communicate and enjoy conversation with diverse sets of people just because your mind retains random combinations of words?

I am quite amazed at the sheer number things I am not thankful for, some of them I am. Some of them, I didn't realise I needed to be thankful for. The reason we aren't more involved with ourselves, is because we take ourselves for granted, everything we can do, we take for granted because it comes so easily to us. I look at people making fantastic art and all I can do is ogle. Why aren't we more amazed at the things we can do? Not in an arrogant way. But in a mindful, more observant way. Why can't we take 2 seconds of our time and be glad to exist and to exist in a way that's not completely horrible (unless you're a serial killer or thief or you know deserve to be in jail; then you're horrible). 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Do you eat meat? #Day6 #DailyChatter

Since I've started talking about TV and TV shows, I started think about the things I really watch. I wonder if Youtube food channels qualify as "TV". Not really, but for the purposes of this blog lets just say that they are. Anyway, I am a huge Nigella fan, and let's just admit it, you are too. I don't know what I love about that woman, is it the sweet British accent, the richness of a her food or the general simplicity of the food.

Nigella pushed me to write a research paper on her. I've watched most of the Nigella cooking episodes, either on TV or on Youtube and I've been in search of one more presenter who can weave the same magic as her. Nigellas tone is one of the many things that drew me to the show, plush her cutlery. I wanted Nigella's kitchen. Her menu is simple, she is warm and welcoming her food looks basic and you know it looks effortless but really isnt.

One of the things you do get to see when you watch Nigella is slabs of meat she so graceful slits, spices, marinates and cooks, fries or bakes. I am a vegetarian and I still can't pull my eyes away from seeing her cook Turkey and chicken and some other kinds of meat. It brings me to the question, are we watching TV to gain information or because of the story? Well in my case, its mostly because I love looking at food, the colour and the story. I love listening to Nigella about how she doesn't care about putting in time, but gets perfect results. For me it stops being about information when you can tell a story and a really good one at that.

Make me laugh, make me imagine the food, make me think about your show for hours afterwards. Good shows stay. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What would I do instead of write?

I am in one of those moods. I want to write but I am really not finding anything I want to write about, you know what would be perfect? My blanket and a TV show. My TV show obsession is a little new. Especially the constant drone of it in my life. People don't really understand why I would watch a show repeatedly or keep following up with shows, it has become a lifestyle. I wake up early in the morning if I have just so I can watch a show.

This is a heartfelt post on how TV shows have helped me. I don't want to talk about the same things that I have in the past few days, because I am spoilt for choices, I made a list of shows and all of them are special, I can't narrow it down to just a few. So I decided to change it up a bit. I'm going to talk about my favorite bits about sitcoms.

TV shows have really come a long way and brought me along, from watching FRIENDS to watching Modern Family and many other offbeat shows in between, I've realised, I don't care much about the plot as I do about the people. I want my characters to have a heart. I have really come to identify myself with so many characters and put an exact name to a dilemma thanks to these TV shows. They've been a constant in my life, over the last few years.

When you watch a show, do you want to be sad? scared? disturbed? angry or do you want to laugh? I am someone who has zero tolerance for Drama, so I will throw out any show that adds drama I don't need in life. I hate cliffhangers. I cannot stand shows that will disturb me, nope. No 5000 bees flying out of someone's mouth type imagery. I don't care for it. I don't want to be angry either, which is where my insistence on shows not being douchey with obnoxious characters. That's my friends is how I end up watching the shows I do. The new independent shows that actually care about narrative, shows whose episodes I can afford to miss. Shows about every day family life, because showing that and making me laugh, that's the task I assign to my free time entertainment.    

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Drop Dead Amazing. #DailyChatter #Day4

I know I know. I messed up. I haven't written yesterday, but that's because I was sick and slept before I realised the day was actually over. Anyway, moving on to today's post. I take recos for shows I must watch, so if you think there is an amazing show I must see, please tell me. I'll buy you a coffee if I love the show or even otherwise.

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The show I'm currently obsessed with is called 'Drop Dead Diva' a TV show about a model who dies in an accident and by some twist in fate ends up on earth in a lawyers body. Okay, I know what you're thinking, whats so great. There isn't. That's the beauty. If you're one of those people who love Legally Blonde, then you will like this show. Sorority girl meets law school.

Jane's law firm Harisson Parker is the hotbed for fun cases and yes, Jane wins some loses some, but they work out to her advantage. Here's what makes Drop Dead Diva different from legally blonde. Jane is a size 16 and for the model who is in her body, the whole experience is new and different. The only people who know Jane's secret are her best friend and a guardian angel.

I know I am one of those people who judges if I like a show based on female friendships. I love a show that shows women as a nice, non annoying bunch.  Jane's best friend is Stacy and Stacy adores Jane. She knows Jane's life and often offers insight in to the cases that Jane deals with. I am so happy that even though the show is otherwise regular the makes have spent some time researching and coming up with stories that are a little unconventional. The women in the show are shown as confident even when the world around them is obsessed with being thin. The secretary, the competition, the mom, the judge/friend are all recurring characters who offer a great amount of wit. I love how the show does not shy way from fun yet strong and powerful women, even women with a dark side. Because, you must admit, women commit crimes too.

I was introduced to this show by my best friend and I really have grown fond of it over the past few weeks. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#Day 2: When you need to see, not say. #DailyChatter #UBC

I am a fan of metaphors and subtlety. And recently, I watched a very nicely made movie, PINK. I know, Pink is sort of old news, but the film has stayed with me. REALLY STAYED with me. I keep going over the microscopic details of the film in my mind. Why am I writing about PINK? Well, I am taking up the Ultimate Blogging Challenge with Blogchatter and I have decided on writing about TV shows and Movies that I love (or hate) but mostly love. 
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PINK is a scary story, seriously, nothing about the film is remotely funny or humorous, even when the girls are laughing for a brief moment, you know there is no happiness in it. What I really liked about the film is the various subtle messages and nuanced acting by the 3 protagonists and Amitabh Bachchan. You know their names, or do you just remember Amitabh? But if AB overshadows the girls and why cast him and a million other questions are for another time. Simple answer :Star power sells, AB is a star. 

I'd like to revisit the 10's of beautiful things the films showed without saying. When Minal Arora and her friends are getting home, you see them sitting together, she yells at the driver for falling asleep and moves to the front of the car, on the other hand the boys are sitting there worrying about their issue at hand 'police case toh nahi hoga na', one of them says. You get a peek into Minal's mind, she does not think of herself in the wrong, she's powerful and exerts that power, the very next day she goes out running; another subtle way of showing her defiance. She will not stay cooped up in her flat.

Falak is the good girl who thinks they screwed up and she needs to fix it. The adult among the 3, often spotted staying late nights, cleaning up Minal, comforting Andrea, running from one cop to another, all this without much support.  Make no mistake, this film is dotted with beautiful instances of female friendships. From supportive bosses to friends and acquaintances but the friendship between the 3 is just easy and real.  

The whole film has a smoggy, dense cloudy feel. It'll make anyone claustrophobic, the pale yellow lights and the shadows that lurk in them add a hint of fear. Amitabh with his mask gives you the impression of a super hero is disguise, showing up, just when need be. 

One scene that stayed with me is the scene when Minal is arrested, that is just stuck in my mind. As she run out the door, she grabs her shirt. Man! She's just trying to cover herself up and in doing so also showcasing how much burden women carry when it comes to 'covering up'. 

The neighbours, the gaze and the general discomfort from being watched is portrayed with such depth. There is a certain perverse glance that you can just sense, through the film you know you are being watched and there is nothing you can do other than confront. 

Lastly, the most powerful scene with some great dialogue delivery by AB on consent, he finishes his speech by saying that there is nothing you can do when someone says no, including your wife. Leaving us to conclude that inspite loving his wife as much as he did,  he let her go. She said no more medicine and he obliged. What a scene.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

#Day1: I had no idea September had 30 days! #UltimateBloggingChallenge

I'm 27 going on 70. So I don't mean the title in a literal sense. I mean, when I woke up this morning I had zero realization that I needed to start writing for 31 days straight. Damn. Not going to be easy, not because of any particular reason, just generally.  Which brings me to my post.

I love plans and I love when plans don't involve people, I idea of a perfect day is my bed, some comfort food and a TV show or book. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy other things but I feel TV shows are the noise in your life you need to drone out the noise of the other stuff. Gives you something other than news. Of course, to each his own, my chosen TV show genre is comedy. Mindless sitcoms. Through this entire month, I'm going to be talking about various TV shows and movies that I've come to love, hate and may be even talk about what I love or hate so much about them.

Since this is an introductory post, I want to start with a show I'm currently watching, Young and hungry(Season 4 of 4). I started binge watching the show last year and I've grown quite fond of the show. One of my major resolution in terms of watching a show is about at least 1 thing that makes me happy, somewhere fits with my basic ideology. Young and Hungry is a fun show that follows the life of Gabi Diamond, the personal chef to a millionaire based out of San Francisco. It is funny, sad and over all has a cute vibe to it.

I wouldn't tell you to sign up for Netflix just for the show, but if you did. You wouldn't be bored. Gabi lives with her best friend who ends up signing up and in a lot of cases fixing Gabi's problems. One of the nicest moments of the show was where Gabi calls their friendship 'the best relationship she's ever had'. It's shows a shade of female friendship in a non group context (re: F.R.I.E.N.D.S OR HIMYM).

If you like good food and great fashion, sign up to watch this show. A silly sitcom also has a decent amount of representation, it's not an all white cast. Korean, African american, Indian, Chinese, so there is a lot of variety of humour as well. Goofy, slapstick, sarcastic and even  some hints of dark humour.

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I know this isn't exactly the kind of post one would expect, but given how TV and movies are helping shape opinions, it might be helpful to watch and learn. We are not giving enough importance to what one could actually end up learning, especially from a TV show and a non drama TV show at that. It doesn't all have to Breaking Bad or House of Cards for you to sit up and take notice. There is plenty and more to learn and enjoy.

Happy watching.