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Haircuts

9 Dec

Always a risky business. Step in to have an inch off and you’ll leave without six, as the jokes go.

I like to have fun with my hair. In the last three years I’ve worn my hair waist length, then chopped it off to a pixie, then grown it out into a bob, then shaved it all off and now I’m growing it out again. Growing out hair is a long process and the part that I’m beginning to dislike is the the once a year snipping process in order to bring some control to the follicular growth. Very few hairdressers are good with (women’s) short hair. I’ve been going to one person for ten years, and he started out by managing my hair quite well. This time though? He was a bit too trigger happy with the ‘thinning out’ scissors and I’ve come out looking like a boy. Sigh.

 

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Additional thoughts

23 Oct

*I feel I was a bit hasty in forming my opinion on #metoo. It seems to have provided an outlet that wasn’t seen to exist before. I withdraw my reservations about it.

*I am deeply fond of soft, creamy cheeses but they are hard to find in India. Brie and Camembert are still found in fancy shops, but what I really give my heart to is frishkaese, which was wonderfully cheap in Germany, especially if you bought an in-house brand. For around Rs.35 I’d have a 200gm tub of herbed frishkaese, which is a fraction of the price of Amul cheese.

The Germans also make a variety of soft cheeses that taste similar to Brie and Camembert, all for under Euros 2. I love Germany, have I mentioned? 😉

Cheese is not a viable thing to ingest in the hot climates of either Delhi or Calcutta, the two cities that are home to me. So most of the time the lack of availability or expensive imports don’t bother me. Besides, Philadelphia cream cheese isn’t, in my opinion, half as tasty as your average frishkaese.

Sometimes though, the craving hits, and in winters it is permissible to indulge. It was with great delight that I discovered this year that a home-made substitute exists that is very close to the taste I am seeking. And that is a hung-curd dip that my mother makes. When you hang curd long enough it assumes a texture and taste quite like frishkaese, and when you add in whatever additions appeal to you, like garlic, chopped coriander etc etc, it becomes suitably elevated to divine! A bonus: this is actually healthy and good for all weather consumption.

*Salt and vinegar chips are rather yummy. INOX makes a brand of kettle-cooked chips which delivers this flavour at Rs.40 for 50 gms. It’s quite good, though the chips aren’t as tongue-curlingly sour as I’d like. I am, however, not paying ridiculous prices to try the other brands that offer this in India. When I’m not PhDing, (which seems to be always these days!) I begin to fantasize about making these at home, without the maltodextrin.

*I discovered English Breakfast tea in December 2011, in the panic of MPhil coursework exams. I’ve loved it ever since, but haven’t ever had it with milk, because I prefer my tea without milk and sugar. Today I was craving a milky drink and found it tastes as good, maybe even better, with milk.

*The fridge went kaput yesterday and I will be fridgeless for a week until we buy a new one. I’ve never lived without a fridge, ever. I’m very dependent on it, a reflection of my extreme privilege ofcourse, given how monstrously expensive those things are!, and I’m driven to near panic at the thought of existing without one. (I’m almost as dependent on washing machines.) My neighbours are very, very nice and they will keep my cooked food for me whilst I woman up to the challenge of planning my meals without the cushion of storageability.

*This post is almost entirely about food.

My Opinion on Some Things

17 Oct
  • I read Shreya Sen-Handley’s Memoirs of My Body last night.

First thing that came to mind: very Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran a la How to be a Woman.

Second thing that came to mind: Read Rosalyn D’Mello’s A Handbook for my Lover instead.

(The two books don’t belong to the same genre, but as long as memoirisation of female bodies and sexualities go, D’Mello’s is better. Vertical hierarchization, so shoot me!)

Third thing that came to mind: it bugs me that she’s so terribly smug and superior about how she and her husband have child rearing nailed down. Her kids aren’t even adolescents yet; does she think they won’t be writing their memoirs and blogs when they realise the specific ways they feel their childhood messed them up?

I happily grant, however, that she seems to be doing a great job of I-will-not-fuck-up-my-kids-in-the-specific-manner-my-parents-fucked-me-up. There are, after all, lots of parents who do precisely that. Her personal journey seems to have been a remarkable testimony to her spirit. I wish she would have allowed her narrative to be more complex and nuanced.

  • Another book that caught my attention was Shreevatsa Nevatia’s soon to be released How to Travel Light: My Memoirs of Madness and Melancholia. The question is: kindle edition or paperback? It releases six days before:

 

  • Bruce Dickinson’s What Does This Button Do? An Auobiography.

I may no longer be an obsessive fan of Iron Maiden, but this man’s story? I will always want to read. And Iron Maiden still makes great music.

  • The #MeToo thing. I haven’t read the actual thread (there’s a thread or something, right?), just references to it on my facebook feed (I reactivate now and then, shhh!).

I could be wrong, but I get the sense, again, that the mainstream conversation on sexual harassment makes things very simple: women the victims and men the perpetrators.

There IS a huge problem where women are the victims who are assaulted in big and little ways with unwelcome sexual attention, advances, mind games, and physical aggression and violation by men. And there IS a huge problem of not knowing how to frame the experience in thoughts and words, and in being believed.

But it is not so neat as that, no? People placed at all points on the gender spectrum must have experienced the same no? Can you imagine what it must be like to process sexual harassment, assault, and even rape for a stereotypical man? I don’t think people believe it is possible for a man to feel violated sexually. And I wish people did not make those neat demarcations in their heads-woman/victim, man/perpetrator- when thinking about the matter of sexual assault.

  • And also, also: I have discovered and become a devoted fan of the Russian Army because, oh my! Have you heard the music they make? And it’s not just the Alexandrov Ensemble-formerly Red Army Choir-but several divisions of the army that makes gorgeous music. It also breaks my heart that over 60 members of the Ensemble died last December. Such music lost! 😦

Presently earwormed by:

Russian Army doing Gangnam Style to Bad Romance

Alexandrov Ensemble, 2017, including Cossack dance and viewer comment#1

Older Red Army Choir singing Battle Hymn of the Republic/ Glorie Aleluia

There is so much more, but let Youtube suggestions guide you if you’re searching.

4 Oct

It is a good question, that. ‘Choose something utterly repulsive to you’, and I find I don’t know the answer very quickly. What repulses me?

Something that is repulsive is not merely distasteful, nor is it something that angers one, or hurts, or makes one feel unloved. Repulsion has claws that dig deeper inside, and induces the stomach to churn. As far as I am concerned, anything else falls on the spectrum of dislike or detest.

The question comes from an online creative course that my friend is leading and I am participating in. I’m a little late, and today is my day one. Maybe thinking about this will keep me away from those seductive daytime naps.

 

Really, lady, I feel bad for asking, but please try to not bleed on my carpet

17 Jan

A girl of twelve

In

Piiiiig (pigggg) tails!

Bouncing up and down and

Flouuuuuncing!

Round and round

And round and round,

In a long white dress,

Blowing fat and thin and fat and thin,

On she goes;

So delight! So giggle!

Playing a game

With earth and sky,

(On #1 she stood, under #2 she moved)

In waking, in dreaming,

Playmates enough

Playmates unparalleled.

 

Wilst thou not watch with me from afar

Smile on lips, smiling heart,

As a bit of ourselves fly down to her?

 

I am a writer.

19 Dec

That is all.

I needed to recognise it. I’m a writer doing a PhD. Not an academic doing a PhD.

Time to see if I can write something.

The end is nigh

18 Dec

Watercolours have never been my thing; I’ve always been more attracted to bold oils. When I would occasionally dig out my drawing books (that’s what I’ve always called them) I’d scoff at the delicate, washed out look produced by poster paints and choose to dip my brush directly into the bottles of paint and put bold layers on to the page. And paint over and over like multiple coats of nailpolish.

Until now, that is. I feel more drawn to the delicacy and the subtle shades that spread over a page when you use ‘em like you’re meant to.

I’ve been too lazy to drag myself out to the nearest mall to find Christmas cards this year, and based on past experience, I know that there is no guarantee I’d have found ones I liked even if I had exerted myself. I think I’ll just sit down with some drawing sheets and make myself some santa-hatted flowers as season’s greetings to friends.

Edited to add: I did end up making an excursion outside the batcave the next day and found a happy alternative.