Sunday, May 31, 2009

Traditional dress of Kerala women (or lack of it)

WARNING: The following content WILL not appease many or all women, especially malayalee pennungal (women). Some men also might not agree. Read & React at will.

The traditional costume of women from Kerala is 'Mundum and Neriyathum'.

The mundum neriyathum consists of two pieces of cloth, the mundu draped on the lower part of the body around the hips while the neriyathu the upper part worn over the left shoulder above the blouse. It generally comes in cream and white texture with a coloured border known as the kara. There are various versions of this age old costume. Kasavu saree, for instance has golden coloured border which is either pure golden layer or artificial. Set-mundu is yet another version that resembles the mundum neriaythu but is from a single piece of cloth. It is true that mundum-neriyathum is indeed the traditional clothing of women in Kerala.

STOP! Enough of educating the public. Prasangam niruthu, kaaryathilekku kadakku (Stop your speech and get to the point)

A new form of clothing has invaded the minds of women. I'm not really sure when this POWERFUL attire took control of our women. I say this because it is currently the most famous , the most seen, the most common, and all the other mosts.....dress worn by most women, at least in Kerala. Bhariamar (house wives) wear it, jolikari (home servants or home maids) wear it, ammummas (grandmoms) wear it, kandattile pannikari (women working in the rice fields, whatever is left in kerala :-() wear it, cooli pannikari (women construction workers), pavappattavaru (poor) wear it, pannakkaru (rich) wear it, so there isn't any group that's not bitten by this transformation bug.

I will no longer extend the suspense. It is known by many names. Here are a few I know of - Nightie, Nightshirt, Nightgown and the latest one just released Housecoat. These are the drendy (trendy) names. As the name, it also has drendy designs which could put Rohit Bal or Tarun Tahiliani to shame. I don't even want to go there to explain it. But I would like to take this opportunity to mention its newest avatar (form).

The avatar does not take time to switch from home wear to outdoor wear because all it takes is to grab a duppatta (long scarf) and wear it across both the shoulders or wear it like a cape and you are ready to leave. It does not matter if the duppatta matches with the housecoat. The more the contrast the more drendy. Faaashionable doalls they arrre........(fashionable dolls they are). Now isn't that a fast or what?? :-)

Next time you are in Kerala, look around you. You will know what I mean. This latest drend should be worn at bedtime as the name suggests and not as a clothing for all & every occasion.

P.B- The Housecoat is not the replacement but the most common attire found aplenty in Kerala and hence the traditional dress of Gods own country.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How "REAL" are reality shows?

Reality shows began as early as the 1940s-1950s in the western world. The Indian mass started to taste the reality genre in the late 1990s and by early 2000s it gained popularity. It was a most talked about subject and still is (I wonder) when people met each other, be it in the village or the town or the city. It became more of a fad among the crowd to talk about the shows. Gradually the shows crossed regional boundaries and every household in every state were witness to the most famous show on earth THE REALITY SHOW.

At present there are so many types of reality TV. Game shows, Cookery, Sports, Talk shows, Talent hunt, Treasure hunt and the list goes on. In India there is a home made version for almost every other reality TV shown in the west. Personally, to me the time is not far away where our privacy would be invaded and broadcasted world wide. It reminds me of the movie 'The Truman Show'. The point I'm trying to come at, is that we have a surplus of reality shows. There are so many of them that you switch channels, 9 out of 10 would be airing just the same type in a different language under a different name, the content would be no different.

There is no more reality spice left it these shows. Most of them are fabricated and scripted to suit the audiences solely with a profit motive. Their aim is to attract more viewership so as to sustain in the media industry and in order to achieve it, reality has to be TAILOR MADE. So isn't "reality" a misnomer???

I had watched a few of these shows and was religiously following them when it began a trend among the Indian market. But after a couple of months I lost interest and started to hate it. How many times would you be able to see the same material with only the faces changing? Anybody would get bored.

I was fortunate or should I say unfortunate (whaterver :-)) to witness a talent show elimination round where there were 3 contestants left and one of them had to go home. There's background music, camera focusing on the judges, the parents of the contestants, the praying friends and the comperes. This goes on for a few minutes and finally with great difficulty the judge is about to announce the name.
Cut!! commercial break.
The judge looks at the name and announces it. BANG!!!! the hapless artist breaks down on the stage, then drama follows.... the compere tries hard to console the artist, his friends cannot watch him. The judges have conflict of opinions and there is a long debate or should I say verbal rift among them.
Cut!! again commercial break.
Finally the verdict is out. The artist gets another chance to flirt his talent and nobody goes home. The contestants are hugging each other, the judges come over to the stage to show their affection. It is such a perfect world. Everyone is happy.

Now you judge for yourself "How real are the reality shows?"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Disturbing Truth

The inspiration to write this blog comes from the song 'Say' by John Mayer. I have heard it so many times and still haven’t got bored of it. Maybe its just me :-). The song tells about saying what you need to say with a smile even when you know you have only a few more days to live. This song is also featured as one of the soundtracks of the movie ‘The Bucket list’. The protagonists make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket.

A man is diagnosed with a terminal illness. He does not have many days to live. It is something none of us would like to be in. How would we cope with such a situation if the man was one of us? How would we feel? What would be our state of mind? I don’t have a definite answer
to these questions but I will take a cynical approach and try my best to give them.

There could be only two human emotions that could result from this uncertain news.

1. Depression
2 Complacency

Depression - 9 out of 10 people would fall in this category. This comes naturally to humans in the advent of such undesirable news. It is how our body and mind reacts to life’s uncertainty. The cause of depression could be numerous, primarily because of the fear of dying. The others could be the loss, his or her family would go through after he or she has gone away, the unpredictable future of his or her life and the sheer thought that his or her days are numbered literally does impact ones mind. The family bonds that a person cherishes, the many good friends that a person built through his or her life will have to be left behind and that is not easy to endure.

Complacency – It is hard to foresee the number of people that could fall in this category. There is a lot of dependency on other factors that could render a person complacent with the given situation. The primary factor could be ‘Age’. People above the age of 80 could be complacent than someone who is middle aged simply because the former has passed his or her prime time and the latter is just in the midst of one. Then again it is arguable because these are not carved in stone. There are different kinds of people with different attitudes or approach to life, come what may.

In time (whatever is left) complacency sets in because the person does not have a choice but to face the truth of his or her life. This once again is human tendency, the mind and body adapts to the present state. It could be a wonder how our mind reacts sometimes. If this wasn’t possible humans would have become insane.

There could be a totally different section of people who doesn't really care and take life one day at a time. They readily accept the truth and abide by the rules set forth to them. But at the same time they don't allow their mind to take over their body. They try to live as normally as they possibly can. Psychologically this sort of behaviour could only assist the body to become better if not the opposite. After all its the mind that rules the body.

We are mortals and each and everyone of us will have to succumb to it one day or the other. The ONLY choice we have forth is - How do we want to deal with the matter?

Note: The annotation given above is not based on any proof but purely my personal standpoint.