The Amartya Sen debate-Why am I enraged as a woman?

I have been watching the election circus which will soon be telecast live in our drawing rooms, with as much interest as any other ordinary Indian of my age. To put the record straight, I have a habit of reading up stuff. I read up the newspapers and I am in the loop. But I am simply disinterested! Why? because it is all the same. The mumbo jumbo that goes on every 5 years. Every time there is this towering figure who is the centre of attraction. Our politicians prefer talking about the person more rather than concentrating on issues. Issue based politics and policy decisions are not part of our Parliamentary system and it is high time we accept that.

A few years back the entire Indian polity was utterly confused about what to do with Sonia Gandhi and her origins. The ‘bahu’ brigade justified her lineage with our age old ‘culture’ and what not and the people who proclaim themselves to be the true upholders of ancient Indian culture detested her. This time it is none other than the charismatic Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi who is in the limelight. I have heard from my peers that Mr. Modi is an excellent administrator and after hearing a few speeches on youtube about his vision of Bharat and her development, I am a tad convinced. May be because it will be  a decision between who is the lesser evil(?)- the kid who refuses to grow up, who does not show up to take any responsibility anywhere, anytime, whose party has been responsible for some of the biggest scams in the recent times and someone whose credibility for some (high funda?) inclusive growth is under scanner, always.

Yes, we all like development. Economic ones per se. I come from a state which is a living example of how economic decay has led to the complete destruction of the moral fibre of the society. I am from West Bengal, I am from Calcutta and I proudly say so. But the incidents and the facts and figures that I encounter everyday makes it a very difficult decision for me to stay back in the city I love. I had given up a well cushioned job in another city to be here. I took a pay cut. But I was happy. Not that everyone will be. I am talking about the very little opportunities that the place offers nowadays. It’s a hard truth that I have no option other than accepting.

But this post is not about that. I see a point in Modinomics because my state is an example about how your basics in economic growth needs to be in place for you to survive. A world renowned Economist, a Nobel Laureate does not agree with me. Fair enough, Amartya Babu, you are entitled to have your opinion. And so are you Chandan Babu. Everyone can have their opinion. The fundamentals of our Constitutional practice, which is so eloquently depicted in one of the brilliantly written documents of recent history, records and recognises that. A little knowledge of our ancient Indian culture and scriptures will reveal that it has always been that way. ‘Sahanshilata’ is a part of our Indian way of life.

But what enrages me and engulfs with utter disgust is the way how the debate about whether Mr. Modi is an ideal Prime Ministerial Candidate or not is progressing. I for one will choose him over the ‘other’. But the campaign on various social networking sites which personally attacks Mr. Sen by circulating morphed pictures of her daughter, actor Nandana DevSen, is malicious, hurtful and tragic to say the least. The pictures question the right of Mr. Sen about expressing his opinion on the grounds that he failed to impart moral lessons to her daughter.

My question is even if Nandana DevSen participated in those nude photoshoots, how is that even related to the debate? She is an actor. I do not find her to be a good one, but it is her chosen profession. Ms. DevSen is a well read lady and she is capable of making her decisions on her own. It is her right over her own body and how she prefers to use it (photographed or not!) is completely her domain of choice. Her father has no business being ashamed of it. The point about imparting moral lessons to the daughter about how she can pose and act in such films or for such photographs is a disgracefully patriarchal one. And that makes me even more concerned when we are going through the times when women in our country are raped over their choice of clothes, not on the heinous mental indifference of the man. This very attack again brings to fore that even after those promises of changing mentality, nothing actually has changed.

And I am surprised that nobody is questioning that. Reminds of Charles Dickens all over again 🙂

P.S. I am equally enraged about 65 elected representatives seeking a third party referral from a foreign government about grant of visa to one man. Obsession has new limits.

Advertisements

Shanghai- It really makes you think!

The joys of weekend is back in my life since I decided to take another plunge back to corporate life and it has been a nice experience so far. I will not deny that the amount of money, not obscene but the decent amount in Calcutta, that they are paying me has been a deciding factor. I am still not sure about how can I keep my promise to myself about taking up writing seriously going (and my blog bears testimony for it), but will probably never stop loving it enough.
So, enough of chit chat over, let’s come to what is more relevant. And that is Shanghai! what a movie! probably the best after Kahaani this year. In fact, we should feel lucky to be part of a year which gave you gems like Kahaani and Shanghai, albeit with Bong boys and their sentiments written all over them.

Shanghai is special, Shanghai is close t my heart because it touched a chord. Back in college I had this favourite Professor of mine called Prof. Amita Dhanda. I remember doing a jurisprudence project on “Dev D”  for her. Wish I could do the same theroisation for Shanghai for her class. I so miss NALSAR and the wonderful course readings we had. Nietzsche, Nussbaum and Tagore in a melting pot. Ah! life.

And before I am overtaken by nostalgia, I just want to let everyone know that go and watch Shanghai- a must watch for the very underrated and subtle performances. For Abhay Deol who never fails to surprise us. A Jat speaking in that immaculate south indiaised hindi accent. And he is a dream of an IAS officer as Krishnan. For Emraan Hashmi because this is undoubtedly his career best performance till date. As a local ruffian he never fails to surprise you. You can never relate to his serial kisser image. For Kalki Koechlin, and thank you anurag Kashyap for discovering her( and making her an integral part of your life). Kalki’s enraged performance engulfs you. However, her roles are now becoming a tad bit repetitive. For the supporting cast who makes Bharatnagar special. And for the none other than Prosenjit Chatterjee’s Dr. Ahmedi. The very dapper Dr. Ahemdi is something you will cherish through out the movie even though his screen time is limited.

And thank you Farooq Sheikh. I seriously miss you on screen. That we had something going on since the day I saw Chashme Buddoor on television or heard a portion of the recital of ‘Tumhari Amrita’, is a different story altogether. Something that Deep will be utterly jealous of maybe 😉

Shanghai shakes you up. It stays all over your mind long after you have left the theatre. May be because it stands for a cause I find my self deeply attached to- “Kiski desh? Kiski pragati?” A question which gets lost in all the rat race that we are in today and in between all the probabilities of a better lifestyle. Probably the water that costs you Rs.35 per glass 🙂 Shanghai is based on a Greek novel, but Dibabkar Banerjee makes it relatable…and in every aspect.The irony is I watched Shanghai seated in a plush multiplex where the irony gets lost in the overpriced coke glass that you buy for yourself during the movie. But I sincerely hope the portrayal and the idea behind Shanghai doesn’t remain solely limited within the arty farty multiplex classes. Because its something which we need to answer now…soon! An answer which we face every day…my state faced it a few years back. And it has been a constant struggle since then. What is development? what actually? Can that plush house in the neatest corner of the city compensate for real smiles? Or do smiles generate otherwise. Think! because we nowadays rarely do so. Shanghai is disturbing that ways. It makes you think.

“Bharat mata ki jai”

All’s well that ends well.

So it’s here. well, almost! I have waited for this day to come during many forlorn afternoons when I hated doing my project work, or during those bouts of loneliness which every one of us has gone through here-the utmost pining to go back home, or may be during those stressful days before recruitment when you never actually knew what are the interviewers going to actually ask you, or plain and simple exam time and more importantly results when you almost always never knew what went wrong with your answers. That and this.

And now when it’s here, almost, I feel sad. The bouts of nostalgia springs up now and then..and the fact that I probably attended the last class of my student life, at least for the near future on 21st is yet to sink in…..I am yet to reconcile with the fact that 1.5 months from now I am not going to return back here and do all that that we have been doing as a batch for the past nine semesters. The tenth one is the final one. wake up kid! No am not a kid anymore you see. No more college student tag. No more notes photocopying tension. No more NALSAR. 
No more Carpe Diem practices, no more blue skies, no more evening chai, no more intense hours of leg pulling sessions with Shreya and Paridhi, no more long extended gossip sessions, no more random cooking sessions with Papa, runjhun and all, no more long discussions about Dil, Dosti etc. with Runjhun, shreya, Paridhi, Richa, Tavishi, Joyee, Pami, no more trip taking on ‘why you are looking hot’, no more world cup cheers in the common room with deeps, raadhika, swetali, samiksha, atrey, sadhika. No more intellectualized gossip with Runjhun and dhruv. No more dancing our hearts out on DJ night. No more random link ups with Satshya, Amrita and even more random Happy Birthdays in the mess and the class. No more classes. No more catching up on left over sleep (:P) No more sprinting against the sprinklers on lane while going to the mess. No more Tresspassing on the lawn while saying it aloud to the guard “Bhaiya, 5th year mein hain hum”. No more “mim mim” and pandey jokes. No more Sunday breakfasts, Tuesday vadas and sambhar or Wednesday Appam. No more Tuesday dinner noodles. No more 12’o clock birthdays in the hostel. No more series of Happy Birthday songs after the cake cutting. No more 9’o clock TV watching and discussing why we don’t meet guys like Madhavan in real life. No more socialising in the library . No more fretting over deadlines. The actual ones beckon now. No more NALSAR.
It’s the time to write about memories of these five years for the college brochure. It’s the time to say good bye. The series of farewell parties which saw the ladies swinging from the traditional saris to beautiful dresses in a span of one day-The Faculty lunch, The Vice Chancellor’s dinner, the lunch for the non teaching staff, the juniors, the hostel party, the official college (SBC) farewell and the party thrown next day by juniors at Spoil- all of them are over now. The guys dressed up for a change and we had so many pictures clicked with all…old rivalries, cold wars, bitching forgotten. We will treasure all these memories….and the batch t-shirt….the controversy around it was not required, but now I have something to remind me (not that I need to be reminded) that the batch of 2006-2011 lived! and how 🙂
Good bye NALSAR! You gave me probably the best five years of my life. From the days of a carefree little girl to a twenty three year old girl who thinks (and only she thinks) that she knows the way of the world….you opened up horizons and opportunities for me which I would have probably never got if I didn’t decide to leave the comforts of home at seventeen. Thank you is too small a word I suppose 🙂

Lush blue and ecstatic green.

Does the title sound a bit odd? Well! it is meant to be 🙂 Or to put it this way- These are the predominant colours of my life right now. Blue, as you must have guessed, is the bleeding obsession of the nation as we gear up for another cricket World Cup final tomorrow. And needless to say, the common room atmosphere is electrifying…so is the ambiance near the giant screen while the India matches are on!

And green we are…definitely…not with envy…but ecstatically proud of the vibrant batch…the best of the placements and LLM application acceptances (Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, NYU- you name it- we have it :P)- the batch of 2006-2011 is all fireworks!! “Amra nobin/ Amra Chonchol” and if I may add “Amra sobuj” 😛 😀
And that green thing is kind of infectious since we won Carpe Diem 2011 (our very own Intra college fest) with whopping margin of 2200 points. Agreed final years are vella and stuff…but this victory was extra sweet with those numerous ‘batch’ moments emerging in the dance rehearsals, movie spoof planning and the finale night- glimpses of which have been captured to be part of our facebook albums and in our minds…forever….a deleted photo tag can’t undo the emotions of hysterical laughing and trip taking right?
That reminds me…this journey is almost over..or rather the phase of life that we emphatically remember as ‘student life’ is coming to an end and though I cribbed and jostled through these five years to get over, am really feeling sad after these days…I am going to miss the randomness. The part of being the batch of 2011 (that I always will be). The feeling of random “le lena” sessions that could commence anytime….To think of it the giant cauldron called NALSAR did something good for all of us….all of us from varied backgrounds and different parts of the country..some form way beyond…a few whom I might never meet after these days get over as they will move back to their own countries :))
The batch photoshoot was as enlightening as these five years have been and thanks to Swetali we have candid shots through the ‘other’ camera (the official one being the one used for the university publication stuff). Lot sof newly discovered link ups, happy birthday (you have to be from NALSAR to know the enigma of a happy birthday) and sheer joy of being a batch. From the cold wars to back biting, bitching, friendships, moments and pride- we have seen it all….but when we go out, we go out as a happy batch. 
So, am happy wappy and waiting for my batch t shirt to arrive- with the motif of the legendary neem tree on it. NALSARite forever :))
Nostalgia reigns supreme for me nowadays :))
P.S.- Have been away from my blog for  long..was pretty caught up with Carpe Diem planning and practice, submissions, house hunting and a few more interesting stuff you see :))

Surprise!

My birthday coincides with the holiday season every year. In school I was upset sometimes that I never get to distribute chocolates like other kids on their birthday. Thankfully, everyone remains happy or pretends to be so during my birthday. What more can you expect it comes one removed from the Christmas day and four more before you enter new year. I never quite celebrated my birthday in NALSAR too. But my friends this year gave me a complete surprise by organising a surprise bash for me. My NALSAR wala birthday with all the spice and twang in it! Come on! my friends sang six happy birthdays for me (the recorded highest till now- generally it’s maximum two for any one, with the exception of Richa maybe) that night. Can’t help it. My friends’ are as vella as me and they also needed to take revenge for all those ‘happy birthdays’ I have sung for them in class :D. 
In case you don’t understand this ‘happy birthday’, ‘revenge’ thing, it’s a a very very NALSAR thing. And so many together is my batch’s speciality. These are a few pics from the after party. The food was awesome and we danced our way to glory. Thank you Runjhun, Paridhi, Richa and Shreya for making it memorable. Love you guys! Final year now. I am going to miss this place.


Movie Marathon and an itch.

So that’s how fifth year treats you. Yes! I mean this utter joblessness and boredom. Thank god the local file sharing network on campus was in place. Never did I understand the utility of DC more than  this weekend (the long and short of it) when I had practically nothing to do. Apart from reading “Moner moto meye” by Buddhadeb Basu, lazing around and enjoying the beautiful rain drenched Hyderabad, rustling up quite a storm and off course watching movies.
I have seen three movies in the past two days and god knows how many episodes of freshly baked Big Bang theory and HIMYM episodes. And before I move on to the fourth one in the series, I thought of putting up this post. No it’s not any kind of a review or sort. I mean I hate them personally. But it’s like I was lucky to download three of the most out of the box movies I have seen in a long long time. At least two of them was, if we abide by the cinematic sense of the term. Call it a coincidence of sorts, two of them starred Meryl Streep. She is officially my favourite actor (yes, gender M,F and E included) now. Whoever is reading this might just consider this post as a guide to a wonderful lazy movie marathon-in-mind weekend.
The first one was the 2009 Meryl Streep-Steve Martin starrer romantic comedy ‘It’s Complicated’. Yes! it resonates the facebook relationship status and the millions of complexity worthy relationships in today’s world. Only that it was about a divorced couple with three grown up children rediscovering love (lust?!) on their son’s graduation ceremony. While they have an affair to remember, the husband cheats on his much younger wife, the same woman he leaves the mother of his children for. Did that sound weird? Yes! because Meryl Streep’s character soon realises that she is the proverbial ‘other woman’ in the relationship now. All this while the nice guy makes an entry, and it is back to the love triangle mode for these people, way past their prime. Watch it for Meryl Streep, if not for anybody else.
The second one on the loop was the 2008 release “Julie and Julia”, a movie I have been recommended for long. This Amy Adams-Meryl Streep starrer is nothing less an inspiration for people learning to cook and slowly finding a passion for it. Trust me, it’s one of the yummiest movies I have seen. The narrative is nothing new, with the lives of two ladies from different generation juxtaposed by their love for cooking. But more than that, it’s the therapeutic effect that the movie brings in you. It’s one of those kinds which inspire you to take up a challenge, not in the Hindi movie style with it’s buckets of glycerine content. But in a very normal, run of the mill way. Cooking or not, it will definitely give all those stressed out behind their desks a reason to search for their passion…in may be…..taking other’s trip!
I have been waiting to watch the third one for the longest period of time after all those good reviews and stuff. Planned to catch it in Calcutta this time, but alas! couldn’t. “The Japanese Wife” was good but not extraordinary. I mean given the storyline and the craftsmen involved, I expected more. May be because I have seen the better of Aparna Sen in Paroma or Paromitar Ekdin. Overall liked it more than her last venture-15, Park Avenue, but that’s about it. It leaves you with a hope, even when one of the main protagonists die. The hope that is called love. But Ms. Sen should have seriously considered casting someone like Parambrata or Tota Roy Chowdhury for the character of Snehamoy. Agreed, Rahul Bose is a fantastic actor, one of my favourites. But his urbane suave sophistication plays hide and seek with Snehamoy on screen. Pronunciation and dialect- Bose goes off in both these directions. It’s Moushumi Chatterjee- the balika badhu ala bollywood glamour girl and Writuporno’s best gift to Bengali screen since Unishey April (excuse Dosar, Utshob and Sob choritro Kalponik), Raima Sen who acts well and good. In fact, Chatterjee quite steals the show. Also, wish to see more of Raima on screen. The lady playing the Japanese woman in the film acts neat for her part, but could have done with some more expressions. Overall, decent watch but not any way near Sen’s best.

And before I move on to the fourth, the Sanjeev Kumar-Deven Bhojani- Moushumi Chatterjee (she is my day’s favourite)starrer evergreen Gulzar classic ‘Angoor’ after I finish my ho(stel)mespun aloo ki sabzi and chapathi dinner (Yes! I cooked the sabzi and it’s quite delicious too) I must mention an itch that bothered me throughout the day. Kalyan Sangha, my para, had it’s annual pujo meeting today. Baba was telling me on phone about the decisions regarding dhunuchi naach competition to be held, the budget, how much advertisement money he can pull in. I somehow felt like crying- will it or will it be not another one I miss? only time will tell. Right now chances look bleak since my end semester exams are about to begin around that time only. Let’s see. Hope I make it this time around.

Chrome.

Our two and a half year long project on Nanotechnology and the Law is finally gearing towards its last leg. And it was indeed a learning experience. Learning, in many a ways. Learning because I could buy that coveted and pricey dress for my sister which my internship or creative writing contest win remuneration could not provide for. Learning also because I learnt to tackle the harder ways of life and how not to take your CGPA for a ride while you don’t see eye to eye with the authorities. Well! thank you life for that may be.
But back to where I began. We had been busy through the semester planning out and detailing out every nitty gritty of organising a seminar for this project whereby the report we have prepared and the drafted bill stands the final scrutiny before it gets submitted. And I loved doing every bit of it. Chalking out and sharing work, drafting letters, inviting people, calling up much Senior Advocates and sharing a joke with them while you haven’t even seen them ever and being comfortable with it, calling up your own alumni for more contacts, inquiring about the food, dealing with over enthusiastic juniors asking you random doubts, conducting sessions and scanning papers- sending them for final approval (that was for the in house conclave) – Boy! the only thing that came to my mind after all this was “Aami ebar ekta meyer biye ditey pari” (I can actually make the arrangements for a girl’s marriage) considering the fact that it is supposed to be the most difficult thing to organise on earth. I was quite nervous when we began. Probably because till today all the seminar/ conferences that I have participated in/ volunteered for on campus or outside where organised by somebody and my duty was to only read my paper enjoy the food and have a good holiday (Taj! Lucknow, ah!) or I was assigned work by some senior which I did diligently. But this time we as a team were jointly responsible for everything. And that included assigning work for our juniors too. They had similar expressions on their faces, similar rapporteur-ing queries that we had sometime back. And suddenly I could see the baton pass on.   And we might just disagree on the amount we are going to miss NALSAR after a year but we all know its only a matter of time before we leave. May be 3 years from now I would also turn up for such a seminar and express glee on seeing that classmate I might be meeting for the first time after convocation.
The scheduled seminar finally happened today on campus. And fireworks it was.  My god! I had heard that the academia, the industry and the policy makers do not see eye to eye. I saw that in front of my eyes today. People doing Ph.Ds and  other assorted stuff, hats off to you (that too in Science.though for a moment I loved physics today because of that wonderful professor)….How much do you study and reason. It’s a completely different question though that the brilliant lawyers cut across through all your points with SOME reasoning. :P. No offence meant whatsoever.
It was also kind of great to know that a few of the advocates/legal experts were looking for me (since I was the one contacting them while others handled the work regarding contacting the nano experts’ part), appreciated our work and indulged us to join in when a poor participant’s trip was being taken badly. It was like dawning on us that the dreams of meeting such luminaries while being that gawky eyed teenager were finally turning into a dream. It will get only bigger from here. I await that moment.