Thursday, 13 December 2012

ravi shankar

As a classical Indian Kathak dancer, we would often be told by our guru (teacher) to listen to classical music like Ravi Shankar.

Ravi Shankar's talent in playing the sitar is magnificent and being that he passed away at the age of 92 he lived a good life, or so it seemed with his stage presence.

I am actually very excited because on January 25, 2013 is the day I will be holding a charity event for an organization called One! International. They teach literacy to children in the slums of Mumbai and one of the performances for the evening is a sitar piece by a man I've known for many years, Joshua Stanton.

Joshua has the same grace as Ravi Shankar had. I can't wait for all of you to see him perform. Have a wonderful weekend, great people.

 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

abuse.

For the last year I've been following the Maple Batalia case. Batalia was shot to death at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC in September of last year. The men alleged of murdering her was ex-boyfriend, Gurjinder (Gary) Dhaliwal and his friend Gursimar Bedi.

Batalia was only 19 when she passed away. She lost her life at such a young age and for what reason?

I was reading many of the comments on articles written about the case. Some defended Dhaliwal, saying he was a quiet and a shy guy and others would say he would yell at Batalia on the phone behind closed doors.

I don't know neither ones personality but I know from personal experience that when you're that young you have no idea that you're being abused; physically or emotionally unless you're out of that situation.

This is based on my personal experience. I was emotionally abused a couple of years ago and it wasn't that the person called me negative names but rather put me through an emotional roller coaster where I almost lost my family, friends and myself. I was focused on fixing things with that specific relationship that I never focused on myself, my education or being my best self. Of course, with every experience, you learn and become a stronger, better individual- or strive to be.

Unfortunatly, Batalia never had the opportunity many men and women should. I find abuse a complex term. When I used to think of abuse, I thought of physical violence and pain. But when I look back at my life and experiences I realize that abuse is more than just that. It's a constant battle of having to conform your morals and ideals to match the other person's. And for what? NOTHING. It's all for nothing because at the end of the day as human-nature is, you move on and so does your past.

That's why it's so important to surround yourself with people that help you to be grounded and to find your inner-self (as hard as that can be). I'm so fortunate to have people around me who deeply love me and I finally have the mind to appreciate it.

It wasn't easy posting this. It has to do with the fact I always used to say I would NEVER be one of those women who would be emotionally abused but I became that person for a bit. I thank everyone who helped me realize that and contined to fight for me to be a better me.

For anyone who knows someone who's being emotionally or physcially abused, don't ignore it. Whether it's someone yelling on the phone, embarassing someone on the street or cheating on someone. It's abuse.




Maple Batalia (1992-2012)



 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

religion and art save environments.

I read an interesting passage the other day on BBC. It was of men and women painting tree trunks in Bihar, India of Hindu gods and goddesses like Krishna, Radha, Saraswati and Durga. The artists hope the drawings would avert religious fearing Indians from cutting the trees.

The reason why this has been effective so far is most people in India, especially in villages are highly religious and they fear cutting down trees will give them bad luck.

My public relations knowledge came into effect when reading this article.

1. Know your audience
- Bihar, India, religious men and women aged 20-65.
- fear of bad karma

2. Communication/Action
- Message has been sent to various publics to NOT cut down trees in fear of bad luck. Beware or Hindu gods and goddesses will come after you.
- Save the environment. India is growing more and more every minute and second of the day. Let's maintain the living life we have and deter from destroying it.

3. Evaluation
- how effective was this strategy- very effective! When you place fear in people's minds, majority of them would not like to be near it. Example, don't touch a hot stove or don't kill the environment or you'll face bad luck. (dramatic, I know, but it's working)

Religion and Art can save the environment!


BBC News





 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

keepin' it real.

My mom and I recently watched a Bollywood film called "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (Until I live). It was your typical love story where a man and a woman fall in love, they can't be together due to circumstances and live without seeing each other for 10 years. I won't ruin the end for my audiences who may want to watch this film.

What I noticed was one of the lead actresses, Katrina Kaif who is stunningly beautiful looked a bit different in this film. Her face looked different, a lot different. She got botox and collagen on her lips.

Personally, it's really up to a person if they choose to do that to their face. I can understand that being in the public eye isn't easy and you have to meet people's out of the norm expectations but is it really necessary to make your face look expression-less when you're in a profession like acting?

Plus, why doesn't our culture embrace age and everything that comes with it? Wrinkles are beautiful and I have always thought they were. It shows a person's character and the life they have led. Especially when I watch films, I find that the beauty in such a career lies in the expression.

We live in such a unrealistic world. It's always about 'looking good', having a nice body both for men and women, making sure you are always 'groomed'. Sometimes I wonder why we have such ideals? Yes the media plays a huge role in it but when did we start defining what 'beautiful' was.

Why the long lashes and thicker drawn in eyebrows? Why the hairless body? Why the big boobs and big ass or small boobs and small ass when all of our bodies are made so differently? I can go on for hours.

Let's keep it real people because anyone who truly loves you, accepts you for you - even with the pouch on your stomach, or the hairy legs in the winter (ha) and of course the beautiful wrinkles.




 BEFORE                                                                                                     AFTER



TRAILER FOR JAB TAK HAI JAAN (the songs are great in it- my favorite is Heer)


 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

When I look back to my posts I often notice a pattern of similarities. Majority of the posts relate to backward-thinking fanatics who don't feel the need to progress with the changing times.

But, today I read an article on Jezebel that will change the dynamic of this particular post. An article was written on the first ever Asian-America woman elected in the Senate. I found this to be quite fascinating for two reasons: one, she is Asian-American and two, she will be the first ever Hindu to take an oath on the Bhagavad Gita. (scripture/holy book)

Both my parents have been brought up as Hindus but my mother in particular is the one that keeps Hinduism alive in our household. We celebrate all the festivals and I enjoy learning about the religion, culture and tradition. (more so the culture)

Every time my ma tells me a story from the Bhagavad Gita or Ramayan, it's as if she is telling me a bed time story from a make believe world. It fascinates me how bright her eyes get when she shares those stories. It could be because I have never had that sort of passion towards any religion.

So, back to the article I read today. It was interesting to see how our culture in North America is beginning to grow, but more so accept.

Acceptance seems to be one of the key messages gurus, priests, pundits, monks and mostly everyone tells. Accept people for who they are and what they believe in. It seems as if the teachings have always been with us but we often forget to accept not only what we believe in but in other beliefs too.

It's a battle of staying balanced in our views, thoughts, values, morals and traditions.


Tulsi Gabbard

Below is the link of the article.
http://jezebel.com/5958635/americas-first-ever-hindu-congresswoman-will-take-the-oath-of-office-over-the-bhagavad-gita


 

Monday, 5 November 2012

what if i told you... (follow up video)

Below is a follow up video of the parents who committed the crime and justifying their actions. The hardest part for me is watching the end where the little children are crying for their dad but fail to understand what he did.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20199989

Thursday, 1 November 2012

what if I told you....

What if I said to you that you're not allowed to watch a teacher, teach?
What if I said to you that you're not allowed to watch a chef, cook?
What if I said to you it was illegal to watch a person walk by?

What would you say to me?

I'm absurd and crazy, right?

Well, two parents in a small town in Pakistan would fail to disagree.

A father watched his 15-year-old daughter glance at two men riding on their motorcycle. A harmless act that ended up causing her life.

Why you may ask?

Well, this father thought to himself that by looking at other people, especially the opposite sex, should be punished. Or rather his younger daughter looking at other men is a sin.

What did he or rather they do to her?

Her mother and father took her to the side. The father beat her up and with the help of the mother poured acid on her.

They took her to the hospital the next day, but it was a day too late.

Sometimes I wonder if her life was better off not being in this world, where humans are no longer beings but rather monsters. Why would she want to live in hell? Maybe she is happier now. Free from disgust and hardship.

But then I wonder how can we change a father's mind from his thoughts that have been ingrained in him ever since he was born?

Yes, it can be through education, but there is more than that. I am still trying to figure it out and maybe if I was physically in Kotli, Pakistan, I could?

Or is it human nature to be drawn to information that support your own beliefs? I really believe it's the fact that people do not like being proven wrong. I think this little girl's father was trying to make a point that his beliefs were right and his daughter should follow or be punished.

This story is another incident of 'honour' killing. Where the reputation of a family is more important than the lives of the members in it.

I feel it's time these people cozy up to the idea that being wrong is not bad. It is rather the polar opposite. It's a learning experience and in the end you become a better person, rather than a murderer (in this case).

Rest in peace little girl.





Saira Liaqat had acid poured on her when she was nineteen-years- old. She is a survivor and continues to empower women.



Liaqat at the age of twenty-two. She's had 25 surgeries and is still smiling :)
 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

what do I really believe in?

Yesterday was Dussehra- a Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. It marks to end of Navratri- a festival dedicated to worshipping Durga- goddess of strength. It is also the beginning of autumn and considered an important time for climatic and solar junctions.

But for me it's a festival where I can't drink alcohol or eat meat for nine days. I never understood why, but made assumptions that it's a way to 'purify' the body and mind.

I've already seen a difference in my face where all the icky-ness that was in my body is now showing on my skin. I am pimple-fied. (Basically, my skin is breaking out). But that's the least of my worries.

What I do enjoy about this festival is the last day Dussehra. Not because I can continue enjoying my vino but rather that act of removing all evil around me.

The morning of, you write your name in Hindi on a new book (new beginnings), and take a leaf, put it behind your ear, go outside and  throw it on the outside ground.

The significance of the leaf and throwing it downwards on the ground signifies the killing of  Raaven "Satan,demon, evil".

I felt a sense of relief at that moment. It has to do with all the negativity that's been around me for some reason this past month. It seemed as if everything was spiralling downwards. However, having killed evil yesterday morning my mind seems more clear.

Now this could be because I'm allowing myself to clear my mind and body or maybe there is someone above me assisting me to think more positively and to remove all evil. (Self-reflection for a moment)

What are your thoughts on removing evil, is it all within and/or someone above helping to remove it?


burning of the Raaven - Demon (happens every year on Dussehra)
 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

the world before her.

This past weekend I was supposed to watch a documentary called "The World Before Her" by Nisha Pahuja. I was actually supposed to watch it with my ma, but because it was screened on a Sunday; the same day my ma chooses to cook food, clean and etc...we couldn't go.

I can tell she regrets it.

Anyways, it's a story of two very different worlds. One world is women fighting for beauty, glamour, fame and freedom from patriachal views.  The other world is young girls and women fighting for their country.

Once I watch it I will let you know what I think and if any of you have already seen it, please let me know what you think.

Loving the comments.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

for all the girls.

Today is officially the "International Day of the Girl". What is that you may ask? The day that will promote girls’ human rights, highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and address the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe. (UNGEI)

It's a great feeling to be alive for such a day. I feel it really has to do with the event I am putting on in January. It is for an organization called One! International and they teach literacy to children in the slums of Mumbai. This organization is really helping girls and boys live a life where they can succeed more than they ever dreamed of.

It is an organization that encourages girls and boys to focus solely on education. For girls the problems begin when they are sent off to be married at such a young age. It is said  worldwide, "two-thirds of the 130 million chidlren who are not in school are girls; more than 25,000 girls under the age of 18 are married everyday, and in the devloping world, one-third of girls are married before they turn 18"

My mother always says that education is a way for girls and women to escape a life they should not have to lead. My post is dedicated to a specific girl named Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai was born in 1998 and wrote to BBC speaking about her life northwest of Pakistan and the many struggles she faced because of the Tailban. She is known to be an activist for young girls.

She was shot in the head and neck when returning home from school on October 9, 2012.

I dedicate this post to her for being such a strong girl and fighting for her beliefs and rights when no one else could.

Being raised in Canada, I cannot even come close to understanding how this even happens. If an incident like this would happen in my country, many groups and people would fight for this precious little girl to one day get justice.

It's so unfortuante. I think it's time we educate the older generation along with the young. Hopefully one day we can rid some of the stubborn, inhumane mentalities out there and make them realize how much harm they are causing.

Our prayers are with you right now as you struggle for your life.
Photograph: The Huffington Post
 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

bua.

I remember walking off the plane, filled with red cloth chairs and stewards that kept giving my sister and I candy. I remember my ma gathering all of our stuff as we were too small to help her out. My next memory is a garage door opening with a smiling face of a small little woman waiting for us patiently, smiling.

That woman is my bua (aunt), Anita Seth.

She's my first memory when I first entered Canada. It's strange how all of my younger memories are of India. It was a pivotal period in my life that I will share in another post. This post is focusing on what led me to speak about my bua.

The annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure walk was this past weekend- Sunday September 30th. I remember being so happy last year because I was walking for a personal cause, my bua - who was in remission at the time!

Right after the walk, I immediately called her and started tearing. It was a moment that I won't forget. Not because she fought cancer but because it was my bua. The person who yells at me when I do something wrong, laughs at all my jokes and is a pure child at heart.

This year was a bit different- or rather alot different. This year I am not in the same position as I was. Bua's cancer has come back. We found out this past summer. I do not often show to others how much it has affected me,  but each and every day my heart aches. Aches for her to get better.

The day we all found out that it had come back, our entire family (consisting of my sister, ma, papa, both cousins, sister-in-law and uncle...and of course bua) spent the weekend with her. I could not sleep for weeks. It definitely has to do with the fact that I cannot imagine my life without her and never want to.

She is so dear to me.

I always think to myself how much I complain over the smallest things. I know it is human nature to do so- to feel that your life issues are far more important than anything else. But when you look at the 'big picture' its really not so bad.

I guess this post is to portray in words how proud I am of her. The reason being is how strong she really is. People often say, "that person is so strong" I never REALLY understood what that meant until now. She never complains and acts as if nothing happened to her. Though I know, well our while family knows that the fear of death is with her, but being around others is what keeps her smiling and encourages her to continue to be strong and fight her body off of this disease.

She will be a miracle. I know she will.... After all, she is my bua.


Left: Neera Bhabi (Sister-in-law),Pupaji (uncle), Bua, Rishi Bhaiya (cousin), Hershu Bhaiya (cousin)

Patrick(childhood friend)  and I at the walk.
the beautiful people supporting.
 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

embrace.

My cousin, Joey sent me an article today about a Sikh woman standing up for herself so humbly after being humiliated by someone else.

Please read it first before you continue to read my post:
http://jezebel.com/5946643/reddit-users-attempt-to-shame-sikh-woman-get-righteously-schooled

It is beautiful what Balpreet had to say and the fact that the person who wrote those comments about her ACTUALLY apologized.

Everyone makes mistakes in life and many people say things without realizing. I have done it so many times where I don't even think about what I say or how much it would affect others in my life. All I do know is the loving people in my life help me to be a better person and luckily I have learned at a very early age to surround myself with genuine people.

Life is about learning, so let's continue to learn, be less judgmental and embrace people from all walks of life.

PS: This was a nice story to read. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

growing.

A special person in my life brought up the Marc Lepine case. I actually never heard of this case until yesterday. Basically, he was a 25-year old man, born and raised in Montreal, Canada who murdered fourteen women who were engineering students. Why you may ask? Because he did not believe women should be engineering students, or anything of that matter but rather slaves to men.

After he killed the women, he ended up killing himself blaming feminists for his violence against the fourteen women. Might I add this was in 1989 when this took place. I was 2 years old, enjoying my life in India. (my only memories of my childhood were when I was that young, weird, hey?) Anyways, a lot has changed since that incident. More and more women are trying to break the glass ceiling and growing professionally alongside men.

The way men think is changing too, especially in my generation. I've spoken to so many men that love it when women are ambitious and educated and why wouldn't they be?
 
The reason why I brought this topic up is because so many women in my life, including me at times, have to hide who we really are. Now this doesn't even have to do with personality but hide what we do, so that others perceive us in a "perfect" light. By others I mean men. Many women change when they are around men. I see it everyday -- and now I question, why? Why do we put on a show of who we are not but with our girlfriends we are who we are?

Does it have to do with the psychology behind it? Men and women are different (obviously) and we have different connections but why do we slightly change when we initially meet the opposite sex. Eventually people get comfortable with one another but that initial meet and greet is so ... different. Noticing the difference in my own actions, I have made it a point to act the same both with men and women. Because honestly speaking, who the hell really cares? Plus age/experience DOES make you wiser- or at least I think it has.

So I leave this Thursday afternoon with a question/thought for you...Why is it so hard to be yourself when you find who you are? Or is the search continuous till the day you die?

My own opinion: the search is continuous till the day you leave this earth :)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

balance.

I created a collage that had an Indian background theme for my Image Editing and Web Design class. It was my first time using Photoshop to this extent but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hope all of you do too.


Priya Tandon 




Thursday, 6 September 2012

keep it simple.patient.kind

I do not want this post to come off personal but every post I write is so I don't think it matters anymore.
I know I am not the only one feeling that the last two weeks have been a mix of emotions, fumbled with trying to stay organized, happy both in school and my personal life.

I have realized a new attribute about myself since school has begun- I lack patience. I admired that about myself when I used to have it, but slowly it is deteriorating. I can honestly say I hate it, but I am not doing anything to change it. I guess it's another item on my list that I need to work on.

Enough of my negativity! I am very excited to show you some of the pictures I have taken thus far. I have been learning a lot from the photography class I am taking, with the help of a wonderful classmate of mine who is incredibly knowledgeable in the field.

I hope you enjoy it and my motto hopefully for the entire month/year is to keep it simple, be patient and very kind. 












Wednesday, 29 August 2012

again and again.

Remember my "Vagina" post? (skin lightening cream for women in their vagina area).

Well you won't believe this or maybe you will but one of my classmates sent me a link about "Indian Vaginal Tightening Gel". Yes, they have a new invention where a woman's vagina tightens making her feel like a virgin again!

I can't help but laugh in this matter. Maybe because I think it's so incredibly ludicrous that I take it as a joke or maybe the fact that there are companies out there that ARE stupid enough to make a product like this.

When I read that article, all I could think of was the fact that, the people who invented this product are most likely paedophiles themselves. Like, when they sat down and decided to do this, what did they think? "Oh, so women feel loose? So let's tighten them up"

Ultratech owned by Rishi Bhatia - the maker of tightening gel said "It's a unique and revolutionary product which also works towards building inner confidence in a woman and boosting her self esteem," says Mr Bhatia, adding that the goal of the product is to "empower women". (BBC News)

As a woman, I ask myself how will a vaginal tightening cream empower me? I can't seem to come up with any answers, can you?  Even if it is to empower women that have been sexually exploited ....how will it empower them? In my opinion, the only way they will feel empowered is if they feel good about themselves within. It is all in the mind-beauty is all mental not physical.

Furthermore, Bhatia adds that it makes a woman feel 18 again. Well, if he did his research, majority of women lose their virginity well before 18, so I don't know what audience he is speaking to and why he feels the need to bring a patriarchal view back to a culture that is trying to evolve from that?

It is very mind-boggling. Personally, I feel they should come out with more awareness campaigns accepting women for being who they are instead of shunning them for not being virgins.

Come on people it's the 21st century! Please expand your minds not close it.

Video of the "Indian Vaginal Tightening Gel"
http://jezebel.com/5934171/indian-vaginal-tightening-gel-will-make-you-feel-like-a-virgin

 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

reality.

I need to apologize again to you all for my absence this past month. It seems as if my personal life has taken over!

But I am back in business and wanting to discuss so much with you all. One of the hot topics this month is Aishwariya Rai and her weight gain. (It was one of the trending Facebook articles). Rai is a famous Bollywood actor who is 38 years old and just had a baby girl with Abhishek Bachchan (famous Bollywood actor). You can search more on her if you want on Google.

The point of this post is the superficial life most celebrities think they have to live by. This being the fact that when a female celebrity has a child, it seems that it is their 'duty' to make sure they look super skinny right after the baby is born.

I'm not a mother but I am certain that if/when I become one, my goal will not be to look super skinny but to be healthy and focus on my child and family. That is exactly what Rai did. The media has criticized her so much on her weight gain that it lost focus on what is REAL and what is not.

There is so much emphasis on maintaining your body, making sure you don't gain any weight, looking a perfect 10/10 (whatever that means) on a regular basis. It continues to marginalize women and focus on what we lack than what we don't. Hence, why I am so happy to see a woman of such power present herself in a REALISTIC way to others.

I am sure it has empowered many women out there to focus on themselves on the way they WANT to and not on the way other people want them too.

In addition, I am glad she continued to work after her child was born, to show women the reality that gaining weight after having a child is ACCEPTABLE!

Like come on! Is there an actual reason why we turn non-issues into issues? Is that all the media craves? Is that all people crave?



US WEEKLY - Rai looks beautiful. Get over it people. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

vagina.

Yes, I read another article- an article on whitening vagina's, or more so a critical view on a video posted by Fair and Lovely on whitening downtown.

Women in this world I feel the pain you have to go through because I have to watch bullshit videos like this. Like really, do we need to make women feel more marginalized and discriminated against? Like REALLY, really you HAD to take it to THAT level.

Fair and Lovely product should be called unfair and ugly. You know why? Because you are making women feel more self-conscious, more focused on things that are NOT even wrong with them but make them feel bad about it. It's an on-going cycle- so brown women (specifically in this post since you are the target audience) say no to this bullshit. That's the first and last word that comes to my mind. Bullshit.

I recommend you read the article Lindy West wrote, and watch the video. It should entertain you for a couple of minutes-  irritate you- and make you call it bullshit, like I did. Enjoy.

http://jezebel.com/5900928/your-vagina-isnt-just-too-big-too-floppy-and-too-hairyits-also-too-brown?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Oh let me correct one thing. It's for Clean and Dry in this case not Fair and Lovely- same thing in my eyes. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

be the change.

WARNING: This post babbles. But still read it :)

Firstly I have to mention I have such amazing friends. They are the ones that encourage me, teach me and help me to do better and work harder in life.

With that said one of my good friends sent me an article, posted on The Globe and Mail called "Remarkable school gives girls from the bottom of India's caste system new hope."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/breaking-caste/remarkable-school-gives-girls-from-the-bottom-of-indias-caste-system-new-hope/article2259020/

The entire article discusses the caste system in India and the need to change it, but also what can be done after it is changed.

Most of us feel the need to change a system that has existed for so long, but often we do not ask ourselves what will be done after the change has been implemented.

I've been to India plenty of times; walking out of the plane, you can feel the heat, smell the diesel, and if you are a claustrophobic person, the way to face your fear is to come to India. 

When I first went, seeing young children on the streets begging for food, with their faces sunk in, begging and begging, I could not handle it. At times I didn't even want to leave the house because I knew I had to 'deal' with such things. But like most things, you cannot avoid the truth and you have to go out and experience it.

Once I did, I got 'used' to it, like most people in India do. My cousins would tell me not to give too much money to the adults who were begging because it was all business dealings. They also said not to give it to children because the elders would snatch it from them. It was politics within begging. So I stopped. I stopped giving money to the kids, plus when I did, most would say "didi, aur do"- sister, give me more- my heart still aches.

Now back to the caste system. Dalits (untouchables) have been part of India's caste system for centuries. Though the system has been abolished under the constitution, it still exists. First, I do not understand how someone chooses a person to be considered a Dalit. It blows my mind, but then again look at our culture, we separate the poor, middle-class and rich. It's all based on social structure and I believe in my lifetime no one will ever be 'equal'.

However, I do feel humans be it anyone deserves a chance to be more then shit on a stick. To be frank, that is exactly what 'untouchables' are treated like. One of the most powerful lines in the article I read was this:

Sister Sudha's fundamental goal, to replace the sense of worthlessness inculcated in them since birth.“All that they have known and heard and seen is, ‘You are like dirt.' They have internalized this: ‘This is my lot,' they feel. ‘This is where I belong. I don't belong on the chair. I will sit on the floor, and then no one can tell me to go any lower than that.' 

If someone told me I can't be what I want or do what I want, I would tell them to f' off. But that's exactly what  these people have to deal with- they hold no power, are considered worthless- it's awful.

But again, you cannot hide from the truth. So, even if you aren't physcially, emotionally capable of wanting to change the social structure that has existed for centuries, at least do it in your life. Be the person you see yourself being.

I feel in my life I have settled for a lot. But it wasn't until recently I decided to make my own change and I have never looked back. That is what I truly hope for these children- move ahead and never look back and never be stuck-up. Being stuck-up towards others is the WORST quality to have!

Anyways, to end my babble, I will leave you with the famous quote Mahatma Gandhi Ji said "Be the change you want to see in the world."  



Monday, 9 April 2012

the power of guilt- Dionysus in Stony Mountain


I’ve been interested in the prison system for many years of my life. I feel it has to do with my job. I work at an adult learning center and I have met many people from many different walks of life. Personally, it amazes me when people, despite what they have been through in life, come back to do ‘better’ things. Thus, when I went to watch the play Dionysus in Stony Mountain at the Rachel Browne Theatre, I was in absolute awe.

I’m not a theatre person, nor have I been to enough plays to even comment on anything that has to do with theatre, but what a beautiful evening it was to watch a play filled with heartache, intellectual minds, guilt and the desire to do the ‘right’ thing.

Ross McMillan plays James Hiebert, an inmate who refuses to take his lithium pills. He’s accompanied by, Sarah Constible who plays Heidi Prober the strong yet confused psychiatrist, encouraging James to finish his pills before his parole hearing in two weeks. 

This play explores guilt and making sense of guilt. James tries to make sense of everything by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher who questions religion and the value of truth. Heidi is intrigued by what her patient has to say, yet confused since she is in a justice system that tells her to stay single-minded and concentrated on only one purpose; get inmates out of prison.

The second half is quite surprising since the roles are reversed. I was very shocked to find out that Ross McMillan plays the uncle role to Heidi in the second half. I said to my classmate beside me, “wait, is that the same guy from the first half?” And he is said yes, but I could not believe it. It was interesting to watch Heidi question everything she believed in.

I myself have gone through that stage and continue to. The battle of figuring out what the ‘right’ thing to do is like trying to figure out how to balance your life- it’s very challenging.

Overall, what would be considered sane, what the right thing to do is and the notion of being someone’s savior are encompassed in this play.

It’s deep stuff, I tell you. But you will not be disappointed.

Dionysus in Stony Mountain, by Steven Ratzlaff, directed by Bill Kerr is playing March 29-April 8 at the Rachel Browne Theatre. 

Photography: Leif Norman

Photography: Leif Norman

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

find her. (Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case)


I read the news on a daily basis, however I will admit before my program began I wasn’t such an avid reader. Now that I know what’s happening in the world, I feel more connected to other people’s stories.

With that said, during the second semester of school we were asked to read Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case. Mike McIntyre, the author of the book, wrote a beautiful piece on a young woman named Candace who was kidnapped and left to freeze to death in 1985. 26 years later they found her killer- Mark Edward Grant.

While reading the first half of the book, I grew emotionally attached to the Derksen family. I imagined that if my sister were ever taken, I would have searched every corner of every street to find her. That is exactly what the Derksen family did. I enjoyed how McIntyre grabbed the audience’s attention by telling what happened through the eyes of the parents. How it happened and the pain the family felt and how eventually the case was solved, which was a sign of relief.

It was interesting to read the second and third half of the book. Finally, after so many years, the Derksen family could put a face to Candace’s killer. Though it was an incredible discovery, I still remember Wilma Derksen’s words when she came to speak to our program Thursday March 15. She said the mystery of her daughter’s killer wasn’t even important. But after so many years finding out who it was, and trying to search for those answers yet again, it was as if all those emotions of losing Candace came back.

I’m not a mother, but I know a few of my classmates who are. I could not help but look at them. If I was already feeling heartache, they must have felt it even worse. The most beautiful thing about Wilma is how sincere, kind and loving she was towards our class. That’s where I believe that one of the most important lessons journalists can learn is despite what stories come our way, being sincere, kind and loving towards other people and the challenges they have faced is more powerful than any story that has no emotion to it.

This is exactly what was shown in the book; emotion, love, and heartache.  I’ve read plenty of McIntyre’s stories in the Winnipeg Free Press. It is nothing compared to his style of writing in this particular book. His stories in the newspaper lack emotion and are informational. Though many of my classmates may argue that towards the end of the book McIntyre discussed the psychiatric reports in plenty of ‘boring’ detail, but personally I felt it was needed to better understand the psychology of killers and to get closure on Candace’s story.

Overall, for journalists and non-journalists Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case was a good read despite all the spelling mistakes. I would recommend it to my family and friends- actually I already have.  

 Candace Derksen

Cliff and Wilma Derksen- parents of Candace


Mike McIntyre- Author of Journey for Justice: How "Project Angel" Cracked the Candace Derksen Case


Thursday, 22 March 2012

identity and integrity.

Last night I went to McNally to hear Irshad Manji speak. Let me tell you a bit about who she is through her own website (irshadmanji.com) before I start my discussion. Manji's mission is to "guide people about Muslim reform and moral courage". I have to admit when I heard her speak she sounded powerful. It seemed as if she knew her exact mission in life.

But having a Women and Gender Studies background, I have spoken to many women who are just like Manji  so I guess it wasn't too much of a surprise to hear someone who is so firm in what they believe in. It was refreshing to hear her speak and to meet her afterwards. She is a very friendly, caring towards others type of person.

"Irshad studies Islam in the belief that what she received at the madressa was not education but indoctrination. As Irshad explains, “education unleashes the permission to think; indoctrination quashes it.” Hence the passion that Irshad feels for renewing Islam’s own tradition of ijtihad, or creative thinking." -irshadmanji.com

Now this is where my discussion begins. Two of my good friends who are both practicing Islam joined me.  They are very open-minded, educated young women who feel that Islam is interpreted in a negative light.  They both feel people should have an open mind towards both sides of being an Islamic woman and practicing Islam.

Manji discussed a lot about identity and integrity. She mentioned that "When you allow women to go to the direction of integrity it is deepening their relationship with God." 

Personally, I have never been raised to oppress my thoughts and actions. My parents have always been open-minded, supportive in what I believe in and have encouraged me to go above and beyond my limits. That is why I find it so interesting when I meet women who do not have the same outlook on life as I have. I always want to find out more...

One thing  I found out from a good friend of mine was, Islam is a beautiful religion. If it brings out the best in you by being a better person, looking at life openly and respecting others then there shouldn't be so much criticism on the topic.

However, from my own experience with religion and studying Islam in university is; extremists ruin the meaning of religion, especially monotheistic ones.

Furthermore, people who interpret Islam in a way that degrades others is wrong.With that said I also have met people who practice Islam and use their religion to degrade, oppress women into not believing whatever they say and practice whatever they are practicing. Hence, I am not friends or DO NOT communicate with them anymore. But I will thank them, thank them for what I DO NOT WANT IN MY LIFE.

I am not religious but I do respect people who are. People who have such a strong belief for something is incredible. But as for me.. my religion is being as much of a good person as I can. My religion is the value and morals that are embedded in me. Respect yourself, respect others and love.

Discussing any monotheistic religion is and will continue to be heated. But all I can say is have an open-mind in life and educate yourself on everything and anything you can.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER PEOPLE! 

Listening...

Michelle, Jia, Irshad, Me


Friday, 16 March 2012

journey.

Since March 1st, I have been on my feet working, struggling and trying to contain myself all at the same time. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system. I would go paranoid if I didn't have them.

All of our teachers said this month will the busiest and though at times I feel like a failure, I am enjoying the ride. I feel once this term is done, I will be down because I won't have much to do. Being busy is better than being bored. (I do miss my naps though)

Well as they say life is journey and it's a struggle to find balance. So I end this short post with Journey- Don't Stop Believing!

SING THE LYRICS EVERYONE.... YOU KNOW YOU WANT TOO!!!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

if i should have a daughter.

I was sent a link by my friend to watch and listen to Sarah Kay - "If I should have a daughter" TED talk.

Sarah Kay is a poet. When she speaks, her words are beautifully heard. I got very emotional listening to her. Every word spoke out to me. Even her website speaks out to me. I do not have too much to say in this post but all I can say is when I listen to her speak about this topic - I think of my mother.


http://www.kaysarahsera.com

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

shisha.hookah

Last week I went to Edmonton to be with my best friend, Aasttha. It was so nice to get away and escape my life in Winnipeg.
One thing I have missed the most besides her, and now Pablo (her dog) is shisha or hookah. It's one of the most relaxing things one can do.
Hookah.Shisha
It's basically flavoured tobacco and you smoke it through a pipe. We had apple and watermelon.

We listened to Jack Johnson and one my favourites right now is "Indian Summer- Buddha Bar". Below I have posted the song for you all to listen to and enjoy.

So take the time to  have a glass of wine, light a candle, chill and listen to the music. And if you have shisha or hookah at home, give it a try! Ps. I think you can buy one from The Joint - Winnipeg, MB. But I am not certain. xo.



Thursday, 16 February 2012

release.

Today is the second last day before our reading week begins. I am looking forward to it. It's true when the educators in my program say this will be a tough term. I thought I was doing well, but i am POOPED out! Plus, since the new year has begun it hasn't been the greatest.

In the Indian culture what I find is no matter what family always comes first.  During this month I have realized that I can never escape my family. They will always be by my side through the good and bad, and though sometimes I want them to back off and let me make the choices I would like to make, I know they are always looking out for my best interest.
          
Another thing I have found so far this year is the struggle to find balance. Considering I work and I am in a program that requires so much of my creative mind, it's so hard to find time for family, friends and myself. Though I am thankful each and everyday for the life I have, it is nice to have time to re-fresh the mind and body.  

My small, simple escape will be making my way to Edmonton. I am looking forward to going there because I am meeting the organizers of One! International- a non-profit organization that teaches literacy to children in the slums of Mumbai. I am hoping to volunteer my time there during the summer. I encourage all of you to check out their website
 www.one-international.com 

But also I am looking forward to seeing my best friend. Whenever we get together, it's just us- full of laughs. She is one person where I laugh till our tummy hurts or till we start coughing and can't breathe. So it will be a nice escape. Plus I am bringing my dog, Chotu. Him and Pablo (best friends dog) can have a get together! Looking forward to it.

something simple and cute to look at- le love blog.



Friday, 3 February 2012

do not harm children.

INDIA

I recently read an article from BBC News online called
"Shocking story of a battered toddler". It's about a young child who was brutally beaten, with human bites all over her body, broken arms and a 'partially' smashed head. She was taken to a hospital in Delhi. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16828725



After reading this short, brutal article, I am questioning who is at fault? Who is to blame for this act? The person who did the act? (Of course the  person is to blame, because why in the hell would they even dare to touch a child who did no harm to them! ) I do not mean to sound as a person who is full of hate, but at this moment in time I cannot even fathom how there are people out there who even think it is okay to do such disgusting, hurtful acts.

The government of India? Why is it so common in India for acts to even exist and persist. It's not even shocking anymore to hear such issues. That's what's so wrong. It should not be common.

It is said that 11 children in India go missing every hour!  If that is the case why isn't the government of India doing anything more to stop it? India is a rich, vibrant, beautiful country. It has the resources to educate human-beings. But why is it so divided? Is the real issue that humans want to be able to differientiate with one another? To be divided into social classes and only help themselves and not a country as a whole?

CANADA

A day after reading the above article, I kept questioning what the government of India can do to change such acts from happening. Then, I was on my Twitter and a Canadian article came up and the headline wrote "Saskatchewan couple guilty of neglect after girl starved, kept in basement."
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/saskatchewan-judge-finds-couple-guilty-of-not-providing-basics-to-granddaughter-138647134.html?device=mobile

You can read the article for yourself. But it was interesting how coincidentally I happened to read both articles during the same time.

So my new questions and thoughts on this matter are, if acts such as these are happening mostly everywhere what can we do so stop it?
Canada does not lack anything. We are a VERY rich country full of opportunities and resources.  Education is right in front of us!  So what happened?  
I know that's a very broad question... But it's important to ask these questions and attempt to solve them. 

Pondering.....


Comments from the Winnipeg Free Press Article: 

jonsinvolved

10:52 AM on 2/3/2012
This is tragic to no end. One cannot but feel grief on behalf of the child who has received such despicable treatment. Yet, so many questions remain. What evidence did the Judge find extensive and compelling ? What will become of the child? Why do we still struggle with this type of behavior in our society? The question begs, What are we still doing wrong? Hopefully, this is another good day for our Justice system.


Blue Eyes

3:19 PM on 2/3/2012
Why did they ever fight for custody of her in the first place when they so clearly despised this little girl? She'd have been no worse off as a ward of CFS. What terrible, terrible people. That poor little girl will be scarred for life. I pray her next home is a loving one.




Thursday, 2 February 2012

happy veg!

I've been officially vegetarian for 33 days! I have 332 days left to go! I guess I should tell you why I became vegetarian. I felt I had to do 'my' part. It started off from watching documentaries.One being HOME (you can watch it on YouTube) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1
Conveniently new years was coming up and I decided YES I can finally make a resolution and ACTUALLY go through with it!

The observations I've made so far being veg is, I get intoxicated way FASTER. I have minimized how much I consume on the weekends (added health benefit). I eat way more vegetables than I would of when I used to eat meat. I am constantly eating, but in a healthier way. I can see better (ha just kidding,broccoli has YET to have that affect on me). But overall I feel better!

My protein is mainly from lentils and beans. I usually have 'daal' which is yellow lentils. Below is a recipe on how to make it. Overall, it has been a great 'life' decision and not a difficult transition at all! 


                                                          



Thursday, 26 January 2012

keepin' it light.

This past week has been quite a tough week for me. Personal problems that only seemed to get worse. Luckily in life everything falls into place like it should (with time that is). So today I am going to keep this blog post light. I thought I would post some funny videos. It originates from 'shit girls say' but this is the 'Indian version'. This is not to be racist in anyway or discriminate against anyone. It is purely for laughs. If you don't enjoy it, you can disregard this post.

 
 
 

 
Original Version
  

Thursday, 19 January 2012

marriage.

ATTENTION: THIS POST IS NOT MEANT TO PUT MARRIAGE DOWN. I BELIEVE IT IS BEAUTIFUL  BUT IT IS NOT MEANT FOR ME AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE.


I've hit that year, stage and point in life where many of my friends are engaged, planning there weddings or already married.
I can honestly say I am definitely not at that stage to be married. But then does one have to be at a certain stage to marry? Or does it happen naturally?
As for my personal choice, I would prefer to be married at a later age. An age where I am fully capable of taking care of myself and another individual.
 It all stems down to three main things:
1. Independence - most women love their independence, not saying when you’re married you don't have any. But most often things change. You rely more on your significant other than you would single or sometimes in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I guess it has to do with having more responsibilities. You are somewhat responsible for another person. Actually you are.
2. Money- you have more money to spend on yourself. I'm the type of person who likes spending on others, especially my companion but I'm sure when I'm married I will have to budget. So yes, budgeting is the key as to why I'm not married yet (ha).  Plus I want to live a comfortable life with my significant other. I don’t want to ‘struggle’.
3. Alone Time- I love my privacy. I like having time to myself to finish work or take a nap or just sit and read. I enjoy time with myself and I see no harm in it. I feel it is very important for married, non-married, basically everyone to have some alone time.  It keeps one sane.
Now, I want to make it clear that being married is a beautiful gift to have. Sharing your life with someone you love is simply incredible BUT personally I am not at that stage. Maybe one day I will but until then I choose not to be married... YET.


No marriage for me YET.


I'm also going to post an article from The Economist called "The Flight from Marriage: Asians are marrying later, and less, than in the past.This has profound implications for women, traditional family life and Asian politics."

Let me know what you guys think. I would love to hear your opinion on marriage.
Enjoy!



Sunday, 8 January 2012

condoms.

In PR class last week we were given a booklet to read called Program Planning. In it, was an article called "India Changes Attitudes on Condom Use," it was on a PR campaign encouraging men and women to not be ashamed of using or buying condoms.
It was a very successful campaign. (Below I have listed what they did to make it so successful)


Whenever I go to India I often find that talking about sex or even saying the word is still used very quietly. The ironic issue for me was that India has population of over 1 billion and you would think by now it would be an openly spoken topic. But no it isn't. It's slowly beginning to be and I am on a mini-quest as to why it wasn't examined earlier.
One of the reasons I found was, the topic of sex and condom use still has a social stigma attached to it. I also believe it to be because of our elder generations (Indian men and women) who were brought up thinking that sex should be very hush, hush.

Most women and men, especially in rural parts of India are just beginning to be educated about the topic. HIV levels are quite high in India and recently, people are acting on changing the 'hush,hush' mentality.

I can say from my own experience that protected sex was never spoken about. It is not common in the Indian culture to even talk about it. Some kids never discuss it with there parents and that has to do with there upbringings (what was spoken of and what was not).

Fortunately, television shows, friends and school taught me what 'safe sex' is, but I was much older when I took the time to learn it. I laugh to myself because I remember when I was 14 years old and I thought it took 9 months to get pregnant. That's how naive I was. Plus going to a catholic school for nine years of my life didn't really teach much on sex.
It was only when I went to a public school from grade 10-12, we learnt how to use a condom etc... (the old banana trick). It was all laughs and giggles at that age. But now looking back I am glad we were taught that.
I believe if young men and women were taught at an earlier age in India, then diseases would not be as prevalent. But yes, on a positive note it is changing for the better.


I am going to post a condom video ad. It is hilarious only because it reminds me of a 'condom' like characters who resemble care bears or Teletubbies but it does have some good stuff in it. Enjoy!


Oh and my quest still continues.





Program Planning (Condom Bindaas Bol! Campaign) 
They focused on three parts: 
1. Partnerships and Endorsements- "Famous television celebrities were recruited to record brief public service announcements to communicate the message."
2. Meetings with Editorial Boards of Major Publications- "Highlight the results of the research study about men's perceptions of condoms. Encouraging shopkeeper to increase sales by overcoming their embarrassment about selling the product to customers."
3. Use of New Media- (youtube)- "a video mailer was prepared that provided one scenario of how a shy customer is encouraged by a retailer to ask for a condom"


Condom Bindaas Bol! had a 22 percent increase in the condom market.