Of Cabbages and Kings

June 27, 2007

Caeser salad thievery and sandwich chain clones

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 5:42 pm

Intellectual property rights just received another interesting twist – chefs apparently guard their secret recipies jealously, and make their staff sign non-disclosure agreements and suchlike. Some even go so far as to guard their ambience jealously and to sue in case of replication. See… 

The retelling of the fairytale retold

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 5:33 pm

One of the most powerful names in the media circuit – Tina Brown – just wrote a book on ex-princess Diana. Here’s the sarcastic digested read. It’s good fun.

PS-the ‘Tina Brown’ link leads to an interesting article as well

June 24, 2007

Alice Walker and The Color Purple

Filed under: books — Chinmayi @ 11:29 am

I’m linking to this only because The Color Purple is one of my favourite books – I am convinced that Alice Walker must be a magnificent person if she managed to write that book (although I did not enjoy Temple of My Familiar as much).  Found an article about her – an article that does not quite capture any kind of person but does provide glimpses of her.

One grandfather, Henry Clay Walker, she once said, chased her grandmother through the fields “shooting at her; missing only because he was drunk”. Like many, she has slave-owner ancestry as well as African, and is connected, she says, to generals on opposite sides in the civil war. “This behaviour – this slave-owning mentality, came down into the family, because their sons and grandsons looked to their behaviour as the behaviour of men.” [an excerpt]

June 23, 2007

The Family – An Introduction (contd.)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chinmayi @ 6:16 pm

The Younger Uncle is a rebel. He married a woman who was much older than him and who was considered unsuitable in many other ways as well. She is also probably the only suitable woman in the world for him in many other ways but like all families, the Family felt the need to tag her and instead of tagging her divine singer or super-homemaker, it has tagged her Unsuitable. They have a daughter who was adopted three years ago – a beautiful hyperactive intelligent and extremely spoilt toddler who suffers from practically no defects whatsoever apart from excessive pampering (being a much-wanted baby and the only person under twenty in the Family) which isn’t the poor kid’s fault. To illustrate, the Baby is the sort of child who will pour tonic into the scrambled eggs and want to kiss the fragile baby bird nestling in our flower bed – well meaning but eager to experiment and a stranger to the word ‘no’.

And finally, there’s my mother – a tiny grey haired women who likes to create sensation now and then and her two kids – the very fashionable and spoilt Brother (who is also the only boy in the family) and the very lazy and confused Me.

June 13, 2007

The Family – an introduction

Filed under: Personal, Random musing, Uncategorized — Chinmayi @ 5:22 pm

My grandfather turns eighty this weekend. Being the best quiet, blunt rock-reliable darling that ever got up at 4 a.m. everyday and made divine filter coffee for the whole, he deserves a real celebration. And as part of this real celebration, the Family is doing something it hasn’t done for over two decades – that is since the brothers and the sister were no longer under any compulsion to stay in the same house – it is congregating (in full strength) in the same city for the same for days and ‘spending time’ ( as opposed to dashing off for fictional meetings, forced shopping trips and fictitious emergencies).

Given that my family consists of people who would dearly love to be Naxalites and think it fashionable to live in one-room dumps which have a surplus of cockroaches and a scarcity of water,  and whose siblings consider it almost unhygenic to wear watches that weren’t manufactured by Cartier and travel it in cars that aren’t BMWs, a reunion is sort of like a ballet mingling with a travelling circus. Very dangerous and very entertaining.

So introducing the cast – we have one NRI (non-resident Indian) Corporate Uncle. He’s the one who owns the BMW and the Rolex. He is married to the Pure Blood Aunt – theirs is the only marriage in the family within the caste and community*. They have two beautiful thin successful eligible daughters, the older of whom is the Oldest Cousin. She looks like Madonna, sings like a Nightingale, is married to the Perfect Man and gets paid a whole lot to work for the London branch of one of the largest companies in the world. The Younger Sister is even more beautiful – she’s going to study at an Ivy League, she writes very well and lots of people want to marry her.

June 7, 2007

The stuff that horror stories are made of

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 3:45 pm

In certain regions of India, they have this tradition of killing female babies. This tends be paired (oddly) with this other practice of paying a king’s ransom to men who marry the daughter that one begot through misfortune or bad taste (since all daughters should rightfully be murdered at birth) or both.  I always wondered what happen once the Herod style baby extermination worked and there were no more women to marry and to get dowry from.

If there was a scarcity of women, I reasoned, demand would rise and  they’d suddenly be worth a lot more. Perhaps dowry would turn into bride-price and people would covet daughters some sort of balance was achieved. Wrong. So wrong.

Here’s what actually happens: Having successfully ensured that there is no such thing as a woman from their community, traditional men scour other poorer villages (with no fancy abortion technology)  for women. They buy the women like cattle or slaves and work them like cattle or slaves. If a family can afford just one women, then she gets to do all the chores and all the men. [Read Mrinal Pande’s article about it]

Funny…that in a country where morality means women should dress ‘decently’ and morality means that women should not be out late without a male escort or even work night-shifts, morality does not mean that the state will protect women from being sold and used as slaves.

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