June 16, 2014

Making merry

Filed under: education,personal,photography,travel — Twilight Fairy @ 12:13 am

Ever since I arrived in London on 2nd June, we got busy with the tour around various departments at Kingston university campus. But it wasn’t just all work and no play. In fact right on the day we reached, after freshening up, we went to see the Graduate fashion week at Central London. On this particular day, the show was put up by the students of the Fashion department at Kingston university.

We reached the venue in Central London and the place was swarming with fashionistas of all shapes, sizes and genders. For me the latest fashions were already there to observe in the crowd itself. Once inside, I requested the people in charge to let me stand in the media box meant for photographers and clicked a few shots from there. The designs were quite interesting and some were extremely innovative and actually wearable. The fashion show was so professional in every way possible that I thought I had landed in a clip from FTv.

It didn’t look like some graduate students were behind this. And going by the kind of front row audience, it clearly meant serious business. Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic etc attend GFW, and the KU fashion grads are considered pretty employable by them. In fact this time,  the GFW was featured in times the next day!

We really enjoyed it and headed back to our hotel. On the way we got a tiny glimpse of Central London as well – The London eye, The shard and The Gherkin. During the Kingston tour days we always had lunch & dinner with Indian faculty or Indian students or Indian alumni. It was interesting to see their insights into the process & it was good to see them doing well for themselves.

On the third day of our visit we were taken for a ride (no pun intended) on a ferry along Thames. We got in at the pier right outside Kingston University’s international office and went up till Hampton court palace & back. We were the only occupants of the ferry so it was more like a private tour! It was very scenic and peaceful. The houses along the banks looked extremely lovely in the glowing sun. The Hampton court palace glistened beautifully as well. It was a nice break in between academic discussions.

On all the nights, we ate out at various interesting places, including (but not limited to) Jamie Oliver’s Kingston’s branch.

Got a chance to visit THE Jamie oliver’s restaurant .. The food was great – the service left much to be desired! Sadly didn’t bump into Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson or Heston Blumenthal on the streets of London :).
The ultimate culinary treat was given to us by Kingston university on the last day of our visit. On this day, we were introduced to a proper English afternoon tea experience at the over-300-year-old Fortnum and Mason! After reading about tea and scones throughout my Enid blyton-ised childhood I finally had the experience  and at a very posh place at that!

We had finger sandwiches, lots of different kinds of cakes, scones (both sweet and savoury) with clotted cream, lemon curd and jam & of course tea. There was a plethora of variety in the tea and I chose a flavour called “the wedding celebration” , marking the wedding of prince William and Kate. After this we checked out some other variety of cake that was kept for patrons .. Even though we were all really full, we took a slice of exquisite looking cake topped with raspberries on the top and sponge fingers on the side. It looked like a piece of art! All this while there was a pianist playing some lovely music. I requested him to play “Skyfall” and he complied happily. It was transcendental.
The day ended on an exciting note, with us hopping onto a hop on-hop off bus and taking in the sights of the city. The weather was thankfully playing a good sport and it was lovely to be outside! Overall, the trip was a great combination of enriching academia & interesting outings. I am thankful to KU for providing me this opportunity.
Though the Harry Belafonte “Kingston town” song is about Jamaica, some of the words hold true even in this case. “But I’m sad to say,
I’m on my way, won’t be back for many a day” .. Hope to visit another day!

(this is the 3rd post in a 3 part series. Click here for the 1st part & here for the 2nd part)


June 11, 2014

Education expedition

Filed under: education,personal,photography,travel — Twilight Fairy @ 7:39 pm

I arrived in London on the 2nd June. We were quickly whisked away to Antoinette Hotel right next to Kingston University. Kingston is a quaint little place with cosy little houses. Lots of roses growing in everyone’s yard. The weather was perfect unlike the many predictions of rains. In fact it seems we got along a little sunshine here because it was after quite a gap that the rains had stopped. After freshening up, we went to see the Graduate fashion week at Central london. On this particular day, the show was put up by the students of the Fashion department at Kingston university. (More on that in the next post).

Nelson Mandela Said “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. How true are those words!

Right from day one, My colleague (a journalist) & I were taken to various departments at Kingston university, to get a taste of what all courses they have to offer. I must say that each and every department is highly specialised in its field with the latest machines, facilities & techniques to impart knowledge. We also saw the outcome of such knowledge at various places, especially the arts & design show put up by various sub departments of the art & design faculty. It was really interesting to say the least.

On day one, we met Fiona Curran, Senior Lecturer, School of Performance & Screen, to talk about the Performance, Screen & Film Making courses. Accompanying her were two Indian students as well. Both of them were quite confident about their prospects after the course completion. We were told  by them that making a movie without a sponsor is no mean feat, not to forget the difficulties faced as a female film maker, but they had ample help from the film making student community itself. It is a perfectly balanced ecosystem where everyone helps each other promptly knowing that one day they would be asking for help as well.

This was followed by a meeting with Shabana Ansari, an Indian student doing MA in creative writing. She told us that all courses are paired with another course which is more vocational in nature and can help students get a job till the time their primary occupation doesn’t get them started on a regular income. That is a very good strategy especially as far as the “subjective” skills like writing, film making, design etc go. Shabana has just come out with a book published by her as part of her curriculum and the pride was evident on her face.

After lunch, we went to a different campus of Kingston university (various departments are housed in the vicinity and some are a little distance away as well). This particular department was dedicated to Art & Design courses & facilities. We met Jake Abrams, Principal Lecturer in Illustration & Animation, who gave us a tour of the Art and Design studios and workshop facilities. The entire building was one large beehive of creativity. Various courses like Photography, Fashion, Architecture, Fine art, Graphic design, Illustration & Animation, Interior design, Product and furniture design, etc are offered here. Unlike the other campus, this whole department looked like one giant art installation. There was a show called the “moving image” going on, where all the departments had put up the creme de la creme works of each department. It was really amazing. It is not only interesting to see a new person’s perspective on something old, it is interesting to note the difference that new culture brings on Art. One example of an art installation is

It reminds me of childhood!

And a glimpse of the photography exhibition.

The next day, we met Professor Julius Weinberg, Vice Chancellor, Kingston University – who is ALSO doing an undergraduate course at Kingston university himself! Due to this fact, he knows the ins and outs of all situations faced by students. He told us quite a few interesting achievements of Students from KU. For eg. Kingston produces the most graduate startup companies in UK. Facebook – yes THE facebook invited product & furniture design students of KU to furnish their conference space with prototypes & they liked the pieces so much that they made them permanent. The illustration & animation students have received worldwide acclaim by being featured in the “creative review”. Photography grad student’s work was acquired by Tate gallery. There are so many accolades & achievements that they can’t be listed here. But one thing is apparent for sure. The students get a global platform to stand out on and they made full use of it.  He was also interviewed by my journalist colleague. The interview can be read here.

This was followed by a showcase of MBA, business courses and tour of Business School. Again this was a separate campus and a very green one at that. We met Kent Springdal – Senior Lecturer, Department of Strategy, Marketing & Innovation and more Indian students again. They were all very confident and had already started working on their startups. Most had prior work experience as well. Needless to say, this department seemed to provide them the perfect skills that all entrepreneurs need. They are all guided by dedicated mentors who are with them throughout the process. It’s a very good way of landing a job before the student visa expires!

We also met Dwain Reid – Entrepreneurship Project Officer whose main job is to assist budding entrepreneurs of KU. There are courses like the Enterprise programme that help students learn right from the basics of how to register as self employed to the toughies like Intellectual property protection, applying for funding, cashflow, PR, social media etc. The course can be attended by students of sister universities of KU as well. All in all it’s a very good bootcamp for all those who dream big.

On the final day we visited the Science, Engineering & Computing department & met Dr. Steve Barton who showed us around the campus. Needless to say, the faculty was very well equipped with all kinds of machines & devices – be it bio-medical or chemical. It was freaky seeing very large electromagnets and huge tanks full of liquid nitrogen for cryogenics etc! We also visited various labs & saw the students working on preciser than precise machinery to ascertain things that are eventually life altering. A very popular picture from the science department is this picture of lockers depicting the periodic table!

As part of the final touch, we did one of the most interesting things ever. We did a Tour of Forensics House including a crime scene! Well, the crime scene had been “fixed” for us, as is done for students of the forensics department. But it was really exciting as expected. Accompanying us was Tracy Davies, Senior Technician, Faculty of Science, Engineering & Computing. The forensics department at KU has a forensics house where they use animal entrails, real (animal) blood and a lot of other stuff to depict a crime scene. The students have to be “on job” complete in the required suits, collecting evidence etc. The crime scene set up for us wasn’t as gory thankfully. It had a toppled chair, a knife strewn about, strands of hair, half filled beer glasses and a tiny blood spatter to show trickle from weapon or trickle from finger. Here’s an example

 We guessed a couple of things based on the clues and felt really suave as if we were starring in CSI. However, those who do this in real life have a huge responsibility on their shoulders! Not to forget seeing so much graphic detail in the job, must be tough mentally as well. Sadly, We missed out on the lie detector test that had been planned for us earlier.

We also had interaction with the teams that prepare the students to get placements as well as the ones that help the students with their visa paper work right from pre-arrival days, till the final placement days. The work permit after graduation is THE number one issue all Non-EU students face. But the good news is that it’s not all that difficult if the job application process is done systematically in advance. Typically students have 3 months after graduation (down from 2 years limit earlier) but many land jobs before that.  Many students end up in unskilled jobs (eg. as waiters) just to support maintenance costs & the grad degree clearly doesn’t add anything in these cases. Understandably it can get difficult with a new culture, geography, environment etc as add on factors, but this sort of a thing is frowned upon and students are encouraged to plan their job applications in advance. All the student entrepreneurs, who don’t land jobs, also have an opportunity to get a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa given by KU to 15 deserving students each year. KU has the International student advisory centre set up specifically for helping out in these immigration and work permit issues.

Overall, the little slice of life that we saw at Kingston university was very enriching. I am sure the students here get world class education and seeing the track record of the univ, their students also get placed rather well. As someone said, Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Even for us, non-students, it was a very enlightening experience.

Up next – the fun stuff at KU!

(this is the 2nd post in a 3 part series. Click here for the first part)


June 2, 2014

London Thumakda

Filed under: holiday,personal,travel — Twilight Fairy @ 8:13 pm

A few months back I was contacted by Kingston university. They wanted to invite me to take a tour of their campus, check out the various courses offered and see what life is like out there. Now, I don’t have any direct connection to universities or the profession of teaching (except for being the daughter of one), but I have been contemplating since quite a few years about doing a course on photography (the art, not the technique) from London or Paris. That would give me a global perspective, get me exposure to many more luminaries in the field as well as allow me to globe-trot more often. On hearing the details of what all Kingston University has to offer to their students, I must say, it took me no time in saying yes to their generous offer!

As some of you on twitter might have guessed by my tweets, I have already reached London and Well, now is the time to strike off London from my bucket list! London and New york are two cities I have always been in love with, without having visiting them!

The plan at Kingston university is quite exciting. I’ll be interacting with faculty, students and departments indulging in Creative writing, Illustration & Animation, Art and Design, MBA, Strategy, Marketing & Innovation, Marketing Communications & Advertising etc. – basically quite a few areas of my interest. I’ll also be interacting with Faculty staff connected with India & some Kingston University Alums from India to hear about their experiences and see the kind of support they get in their respective endeavours. I am however, most excited about yet another interaction, which is a Tour of Forensics House on the campus, including a crime scene. Female Sherlock Holmes, anyone?

The KU interaction is not just all work and no play. There will be a boat ride on the river Thames as well as a fashion show put up by the graduate students.

The planned duration of the official trip is from 2nd June – 5th June. I am also planning to explore London on my own, in the patches of free time I get. I wish I was here longer, because knowing a city needs some living in it. I am also extending my trip beyond the touring of Kingston university and plan to visit places in/around London as well as Scotland, Ireland till 13th June. Those nearby, give a shoutout!

In the meanwhile, KU is planning some overseas interaction for the benefit of prospective students. The list of events in India is here.

The purpose of this post is (like previous similar activities) not just to talk about the university I am visiting, but also to present my perspective of a prospective student, hopeful of learning more about the Art scene in Europe. Needless to say there will be lots of intertwined bits to do with experiencing a new city, a new country, a new culture – one that I am particularly excited about because of our “common” heritage. The hashtag for the event is #KUexperience but I am NOT planning to use it for every single tweet I write while in London. For the record, this is NOT a contest or a paid event. Here’s hoping for clear skies, pristine locales & interesting experiences. I hope you would enjoy “virtual traveling” with me as much as I would on ground. And hopefully, this should get me back on the blogging track as well!


December 11, 2013

My brush with Turkey & why I want to make it real

Filed under: travel — Twilight Fairy @ 11:41 pm

My first brush with Turkey was as a child, when we had to learn the capitals of all the countries in the world. I must have been in the third or fourth grade I suppose. Now this was in the ’80’s and one had to buy special books that contained all this information. It wasn’t as easily accessible as it is today – like the tap of a finger . That was the first time I came to know that a country called ‘Turkey’ existed. I was still unaware about a bird existing with the same name though. I learnt that the capital was Ankara and the phrase “Turkey-Ankara” just rolled off my tongue and was one of the easier ones compared to let’s say “Iceland-Reykjavik”. I knew that it was at the cross section of two continents – Europe & Asia or Eurasia, where East met west, Religions intertwined, and important trade routes existed. That formed the foundation of an indelible curiosity, that still exists about this place that I want to visit.

Over the years, Turkey kept being mentioned as part of academia. I learnt about the prominent Turkish invasions like those by Mahamud ghaznavi and Mohammed ghori, which permanently changed India as we know it today. And then followed the pop culture references. I liked listening to world music – Greek, oriental, Turkish, Finnish and many others. As expected, Turkish music has a lot of influences from Europe, Asia, Africa. It all percolated down my senses into a tiny memory pocket somewhere.

Then followed the visual influences. Even though Istanbul was part of the locations of popular films like “From russia with love”, it was only when I watched the Bollywood film “Guru”, that I got mesmerised by the beauty of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul as well as the Nuruosmaniye mosque, Istanbul, where “Mayya Mayya” was shot. After that, visuals of Turkey always sprang out at me, whenever I would watch any films shot there. And I would have a sense of deja vu, without having visited the place, ever. The latest such instance was when I watched Skyfall – the most recent Bond film and saw Daniel craig, tearing down on a motorcycle through labyrinth corridors and grand bazaar rooftops. I wanted to jump behind him and chase him over the fascinating landscape. I know the labyrinth routine was a set but at least the bazaar setting was real :).

Being a photographer, I come across a lot of ethereal travel photography, some of which is from Turkey of course. All this exposure has intrigued me even more and I really want to visit the mosques, the spice market at Istanbul, see the nightlife at Antalya, travel back in time in the underground city of Derinkuyu, experience hot air ballooning at Cappadocia & catch a sunrise while flying over the fairy chimneys, take a dip in the hot springs at Pamukkale, visit Roman ruins at Izmir and much more! I would love to immerse myself in the cultural melting pot that is Turkey, experience the Byzantine & European drifts, be at the centre of Eurasia, capture some precious memories to narrate to others and seek out the familiar India within that land! If you vote for me, I could do all this for real! Pls vote here: http://turkeytourism.in/contest-entries.php?cid=2&ceid=71

This post is an entry in the “Million Stories” Contest sponsored by the Turkish Embassy, India.


April 25, 2013

A meet description in verse

Filed under: blogmeets — Twilight Fairy @ 10:44 pm

One sunny April afternoon,
I excitedly rushed to a blogger’s music meet,
and quickly reached the venue,
For I wanted the front seat!

 

The restaurant was quite full,
The chairs were few,
I saw some old faces,
A lot of them new.

 

Soon the program started,
And along came Prateek Shah,
Who had people introduce themselves uniquely
And the audience doing wah wah.

 

Fun was had, along with introductions,
Imagine a male couple ball dance,
The audience chose all the next participants,
and a lot of people got their 15 minute fame’s chance.

 

Soon a presentation by HP was shared,
and a music demo to everyone was given,
Some HP hi-def headphones were also awarded,
and the audience seemed driven.

 

This was followed by a much needed break,
Variety in beverages & a sumptuous snack,
Hotel Garden Inn’s high tea menu was so varied,
No one could refrain from a food attack!

 

The last part of the day,
Was what everyone was awaiting,
Our tweets with music titles had been filtered,
And people’s breaths were bating,

 

A lucky girl won an HP laptop
for tweeting Pink Floyd’s “Hey you”.
She was followed by a lucky guy,
who had managed to tweet a pre-chosen song too.

 

I immensely enjoyed the meet,
Thanks Indiblogger and Hp connected,
I didn’t win the bumper prize,
That has definitely been regretted!

 

So here’s hoping that,
this blogger meet description in verse,
will be liked by the organisers,
and a laptop I’ll manage to coerce!


June 10, 2011

Google guitar – Chura liya hai

Filed under: music,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 12:11 am

As you might be aware (unless you live under the rock that google dominates), today’s google logo was dedicated to Les Paul (you can quickly forget who this was). Not only is it in the shape of a guitar’s chords, it is also interactive. So you can hover your mouse over the chords and “pluck” & “strum” by just moving the mouse! Clicking the keyboard shaped thingy converts your keyboard into a mini casio with (barely) one octave. So all day today, several enthusiasts (read everyone who wandered to the google homepage) have been playing music on it and making very productive use of their time. This reminds me of the day the google logo had a Pacman game in it. It was so popular that google obviously kept it even later. I am hoping we would be able to strum the google guitar after today as well.

 

For some part of my day, I was intermittently going back to the google guitar and trying to figure out the tune of “Chura liya”. So here I present to all you enthu folks – the full song’s “codes” which can be played on the keyboard. Please note, since these are just letters and not sheet music, you would have to figure out the pauses & the speed of the music yourself. Hopefully you would be able to, since it’s a fairly common song. Also since the sharps & flats are not available in this mini keyboard, in some places, the tune would be just “coming close to” the actual tune and may not be “exactly same”. In case you are unable to access the guitar at google.com, try google.uk or google.us. Later the logo would be available at google.com/logos .

Initial strumming – dh ;kjhdh ;kjhfh ;kjhsj ;ljhgdgdgkjhjhjhjh

Lyrics – hhkjhhjhgs hhjkjhjhg hhkjhhjhgs hhkjhhjhg
lll;;lj lll;;lj lkjhkjhkjhkjhh
hjklll;l kjhjkkkk hjklll;l kjhjkjhh
lll;;lj lll;;lj lkjhkjhkjhkjhh hhkj

 

 

.. if we still have google’s guitar with us beyond tomorrow, I’ll try and record what I played & update this post. As Manmohan Singh would have put it, Enjaai. :)


June 28, 2010

Mad about “Castle”?

Filed under: media,twitter — Twilight Fairy @ 8:46 pm

I like watching “Castle” on Star World, a “Dramedy” (Drama + Comedy) based in a crime setting that is shown everyday from 10pm-11pm, Mon to Thurs in India. Of course the series is running behind in terms of what is shown in the US (where the 2nd season has finished already).

Only 2 episodes are left for 2nd season to finish in India, but fret not if you like this series, a 3rd season is in the offing. Not every episode of the series is path breaking and definitely could do better, however irrespective of that, I like culling out a lot from any stuff that I watch on TV. So I often watch it for the visuals, for what Richard Castle’s home decor is like, what fancy activities he indulges in, at home with Alexis, what photographs he puts on his walls, what fashion his mother and daughter follow, what meals they are eating or what accessories Kate Beckett wears when she does dress up for partying and hence I find the series overall engaging.

In the series, the characters regularly use twitter, especially Richard Castle. In one episode, they even show Richard Castle & Kate Beckett finding out their victim’s whereabouts by doing a twitter search! However this post isn’t really about the series and is instead more about the people in the cast. Since nowadays twitter is the rage and it seems anyone & everyone has some presence here, needless to say the Castle team also does. I did some research and this is what I could find about the twitter presence of the “Castle” cast.

Stana Katic as Kate Beckett  – @stana_katic

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle  – @nathanfillion

There’s also another (official) account for the character Richard Castle which tweets as an author of crime bestsellers only – @WriteRCastle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito– @Jon_Huertas

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish – @tamalajones

Molly C Quinn as Alexis Castle – couldn’t find her on twitter as the real her, but there’s an account @alexiscastle (seems to be offical as well) that tweets in character as Richard Castle’s daughter. This id interacts regularly with @WriteRCastle as her dad.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Cpt. Roy Montgomery – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers – couldn’t find her on twitter.

Seamus Dever as Kevin Ryan – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine in Season 2, episode 12, “A Rose for Everafter” – @Alyssa_Milano

There’s an account on twitter called @CastleTweets which seems to be an official twitter id for the team’s comments including the actors, producers etc.

Michael Trucco is Kate Beckett’s new love interest in “Castle” and it seems it is an experiment to see who suits the chemistry better. Needless to say Richard Castle wins hands down here for his boyish charm.

All “Castle” fans, till we get to “Castle” Season 3, you can survive on the information above :)

 


June 18, 2010

Evanescence – my fine art photography show

Filed under: delhi,gurgaon,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:14 am

After publicising my first solo fine art photography show, Evanescence [pronounciation], all over my online “properties”, I realised I hadn’t blogged about it at all! (Though I did microblog it on twitter if that counts). The main reason why I didn’t, was because I think no one reads my blog anyway :P since I am more active on twitter, so if you are reading this pliss let me know. Another reason was that I hadn’t officially blogged about the very important, life altering, transition from my IT industry job as a Project Manager to a totally new avatar – A photographer and a Social media consultant (More on that later).  This is also a feeble attempt to add ‘normal’ content to my blog and not just use it for digital activism.

So here goes! It gives me great pleasure to invite you to my first solo photography show!

About the exhibition

Evanescence - my fine art photography show

Evanescence denotes things which are transient. They could be events, people, objects, thoughts, feelings, glances or moments which are ephemeral in nature. But they certainly do exist and that presence has been captured by me in this series. Through “Evanescence”, I string together various slices of life with shots snatched from the streets, fleeting moments seized just before they disappeared or almost imperceptible moments of history grabbed from eras gone by.

Opening : 6pm till 9pm on May 28, 2010 (there were some rather exotic snacks and drinks)
Venue : Bagel’s Café, D-140, The Shopping Mall, Arjun Marg, DLF City I, Gurgaon
Exhibition Dates : May 28, 2010 till July 8, July 22, 2010 (Update: date extended by 2 weeks!)
Opening Times : Daily 8am to 10pm

The showcased photographs are available as Limited Edition prints.

The map of the location is here and a rather cool embedded thingy here.

View “Evanescence” at Bagel’s Cafe, Gurgaon in a larger map


RSVP – twilightfairy at gmail.com, # nine eight one one five one one seven one nine

It’s on for 1.5 months, so see you there!


February 9, 2010

It’s a Woe-man’s world

Filed under: creative writing,DesiPundit,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 3:45 pm

Recently Mail Today asked me to write an anecdotal article for them. It got published on 31st Jan’10 (best viewed in IE).  Here’s the unedited version of the article (which has one anecdote extra). Awaiting bouquets/brickbats in comments. :)

It’s a Woe-Man’s world

“Some husbands are living proof that a woman can take a joke”. How else does one explain the umpteen number of smart, intelligent, independent women getting married to chauvinists & changing their entire outlook for that mandatory milestone in life that we call “marriage”? They believe they need to either do that, or get slotted into the “failure” category. I see some of them living double lives – one when they are outside the home and one when they are under scrutiny of their in-laws.

Gone are the days when the typical matrimony setup had the boy’s family visiting the girl’s with the girl coyly handing out tea & demonstrating her obligatory culinary/sewing/singing/knitting (take your pick) skills. Cut to the present – now families meet in public places a.k.a. crowded cafes where the ‘boy’ & the ‘girl’ are given some time alone after both parties size each other in noisy environs & wonder who’ll foot the bill. Most such meetings end up poorly (literally) since there’s hardly any interaction before the two parties meet, no picture exchange, the only conversations on phone being limited to the “elders”. The entire premise is based on the concept of suitable “bio data” where almost everyone writes things like “hobbies – listening to music” and at most horoscope matching. The ‘boy’ & ‘girl’ in question usually squirm under the scrutiny of the opposite party, utter obligatory nonsense and return back with the real picture getting clearer much later with a phone call. One figures that the only “type” one would meet under these circumstances are “mama’s boys”.

A better method still, some “boys” & “girls” and sometimes even entire families, hang around on matrimonial websites a.k.a. glorified dating sites (& other unmentionable terms in a family newspaper). The goal for at least some of us, is to meet educated, employed, decent AND available men (the last being a very important attribute since most available men lack the first three qualities). But the assumption that one would meet such men beyond the realm of their mother’s pallus, shatters soon enough with the kind of experiences one faces on such sites.

Take for instance the typical “orkut fraandsheep request” type users who flock the site, spamming anyone with a profile, after all it takes only a click. Or the freeloaders with a daily income less than the cost of a peanut butter jar, who can’t write to save their life. I’ve been contacted by men between the ages of 21-62, with professions as varied as “Sweeper” to “Zamindar”, marital status ranging from divorcee-with-2-kids to got-married-a-month-back-now-separated. Some weirdos give reasons like “I’ve no problem with the age difference of just 6 months but my parents want an age difference of at least 3 years” as if its the parents who were going to wed me. Some (including the weirdo category) forget having been written off via a previous profile of theirs & reconnect anyway, when they create a new profile all over again. The online world does give freedom of expression but seemingly the parental pallu extends here too at times! Right from being called up early one morning by an NRI who was ensuring that I was female, thanks to a bad experience with a gay masquerading as a girl on a matrimonial site, to hearing about how one “profile user” stole another’s credit card when they met, to people plagiarizing someone elses pictures & passing them off as their own forgetting that SOME day they’ll meet people they contact, to the people one rejects stalking one on ones social networking profiles – I’ve seen it all!

But don’t take me to be “choosy” just yet. I went through the matrimonial process for many years, putting in my entire free time into the search & approached it very methodically. Taking a cue from another “organised user”, to make sense of the information overload, I maintained excel sheets for the various people I contacted & those who contacted me. The sheet got updated daily with the meticulousness & dedication I would assign only to my finances. Talking of finances, I might as well add, working in the IT industry for several years put me in a decent salary bracket & allowed me to possess my own car and house. With time, I moved out of my parents place and started living independently in the aforementioned house & swooshed around the city in the aforementioned car. Now that is considered a very bad move as far as the marriage market is concerned. I instantly got typecasted into the “fiercely independent” category and I could imagine the rejection thought process of the parents of prospective grooms – “live in boyfriends”, “can’t adjust into family”, you get the picture. Having a head between my shoulders, that actually does think & opine, does not help matters either. With time, taking cue from some online matrimonial profiles which stated clearly that they were looking for people earning as much or above their salary level, I added something to that effect in my profile as well. As expected I received mixed results. Some people could identify with it, whereas a lot of others contacted me on the sites only to harass me for the “attitude”. One guy wrote “You have such proud (sic), just coz u have lakshmi ki kripa.” That response was just begging for a reply & got it. I wrote “Yes, I am blessed with Lakshmi ki kripa, but you aren’t even blessed with Saraswati ki kripa — you can’t even write properly!”. Another user with misplaced patriotism contacted me just to tell me “You Pakis! Just go back to your country!” because my profile stated that my grandparents had migrated during partition from what is now Pakistan!

Even the traditional methods like matrimonial ads in newspapers or getting details of eligible matches through family friends & relatives yield similar results. In one particular instance the family seemed great, the “boy” seemed charming & possessed the four above mentioned attributes. Everything seemed just picture perfect. The family wanted to meet me & my parents at their place. Eventually we met & they instantly adopted me as their would-be daughter-in-law. The “boy’s” mom couldn’t stop fawning over me and kept gushing about something or the other. So much sudden love completely freaked me out. But it all fell into place when the hyperexcited mom of the boy in question took me aside & gave me a short lecture about how men are always careless, fickle minded, naughty and give in to temptations and how it was up to “us women”, the honourable creatures who could hold fort in such situations. Later the “boy” confessed to having been caught by his parents in a compromising position with a, well … friend. Ekta Kapoor’s serials had not started then, else the gushing mother in law, would have been quite the perfect caricature!

Even if one ignores the rotten apples, it’s a fact that most men in the marriage market have their expectations arising from the typical image of a wife who is “gharelu”, submissive, doesn’t talk back and “obeys”, perhaps created by the way we are brought up. Didn’t some elders say, TV is the root cause of all evil? It certainly rings true in this context.

Is it a crime if a woman is more successful or smarter than her better half? Well most men take that as a sign of their own failure. Some of my classmates from engineering, well educated people with good family backgrounds, actually wanted a wife who would NOT work after marriage! Strangely they never had a problem dating their own ambitious classmates from college but when it comes to the “wife search” it’s perhaps more about the apprehensions of these men than about the attributes of the women they look for! Surprisingly having a sister who also aspires to be independent doesn’t make any difference when the search for another female family member commences. The hypocrisy continues. I have observed that parents who believe in stereotypes mostly impose them on their progeny too. Someone who has the freedom to make his/her own choices is the kind of person who would also respect his better half’s choices & not get intimidated by them. The search for that kind of someone is still on, but till the time, the elusive groom who fits required attributes and does NOT get intimidated by me, comes, I go by what Carrie Bradshaw says “Why get married and make one man miserable when I can stay single and make thousands miserable?”


January 24, 2010

My Jodhpur travel-microlog

Filed under: DesiPundit,holiday,personal,travel,twitter — Twilight Fairy @ 10:32 pm

Recently I went on a trip to Jodhpur. During that time I was using twitter to update whatever came into my mind “on the spot” and also to document my trip for a later revisit. Many people asked me if there’s one place where all my updates, spread over a period of 6 days, can be seen together, so here it is!

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Jan 3rd

final packing happening for Jodhpur. train seems to be on time. # 6:37 PM Jan 3rd from Seesmic

Seated in the train. en route to jodhpur. my dad just dropped me, @mojosanjay n his wifey at sarai rohilla station. quaint place. # 10:09 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

And we’ve embarked on our journey on time! had forgotten Wat its like to peer out of the door of a moving train :p # 10:40 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

Seems i was right all along! the great indian tweetup shall happen on the train! @shivamvij is in same coach as us! # 12:06 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Looks like i just shocked @shivamvij outta his wits! by identifying him in the same coach n introducing myself :p # 12:25 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

The ppl in my timeline currently in a train- @mojosanjay @shivamvij @bdutt @s4sukhdeep n of course me # 12:31 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@shivamvij i was anyway gonna ask u, even if Twitter hadnt existed. btw guy under ur berth – his eyes almost popped out when u squealed :p # 12:35 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

settling down with @ashokbanker’s gods of war. # AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Jan 4th

Our train’s running at least 2hrs late :|. rajasthan is covered with fog # 10:36 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Forgot to carry extra AAA cells for my mp3 player else u all may have got live commentary on my music like in my bhopal trip :p # 11:39 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Omg! the train’s so late they’ve started taking orders for lunch! kab padharenge tumro desh? on a good note the sun popped out just now! # 11:55 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@mojosanjay sounds like brain biryani that u get in chandNi chowk. eww # 12:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Just told @mojosanjay n wifey abt how once @culdivsac almost missed getting onto a train in search of a cola bar. chain pulled.much drama. # 12:12 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

For year 2009: 5 most popular tweeple are @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh Check http://is.gd/5H7ze ^AK # 12:43 PM Jan 4th from web Retweeted by you and 4 others

Finally reached.quite sunny n warm here. quaint place devi bhavan. made of sandstone n lotsa bougainvillea. feel sleepy now # 1:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Liking sunny jodhpur. every city i goto i want to own real estate! # 3:07 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Sitting with owners of the place where we r staying who turn out to b family friends of @mojosanjay’s wife! # 4:01 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

They tell us they own the property where most of dor was shot with @gulpanag it was just before its renovation. will check it out # 4:03 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

@paavani there’s no such thing as free lunch or stay :p btw i uploaded a flickr pic before leaving @mojosanjay # 4:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

At nai sarak. not v different from the one in delhi. ear muffs seem to be the rage here! all hawkers wear them too # 5:53 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

And @mojosanjay just got pushed by a calf as he was standing in its way! survival of the fittest. or should i say the horniest :p # 5:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Having a camera is like a magnet for all street kids shouting hello n wanting their pic clicked. if u oblige they ask for money! # 6:18 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Beautiful twilight shots i got. saw some shops selling funny looking vaseline in green colour! most ppl r interested in getting clicked # 6:52 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

M in august company! thanks 2 all ye followers! RT @90di: 5 most poplr tweeple yr 2009: @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh # 7:01 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Now that @iamsrk is here, no chance for us mortals to make it to any popular top lists # :p 7:05 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Can anyone suggest a good restaurant in jodhpur pref rajasthani cuisine. nothing too fancy # 7:53 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Jan 5th

i always wonder about olden times Wen i see heritage. Planning to cover the mehrangarh fort tomorrow. # 12:32 AM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sky is an incredible azure blue in jodhpur. lovely. almost like ladakh # 3:40 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Spent the day at mehrangarh. now watching durrie making in progress. some local artisans singing their version of Nimbuda. # 3:52 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@madversity yes i know. @vijaybainsla err no never seen green vaseline ever @pritishnandy delhi in jeans n shirt? :) Wat were u thinking :p # 4:38 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Looks like ‘top 5 in 2009′ khitaab by @90di has got me many new followers. welcome ppl, hope to keep u interested n make it worth ur time # 4:42 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Out of the top 5 in 2009 by @90di – m following all & m also being followed by all except @shashitharoor. wonder when he wd if he does :p # 4:59 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

ravikapoor">.@ravikapoor one assumes that if @shashitharoor wd follow non-celebs like us it might make him more aware of wat WE want in our govt? # 5:49 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Caught some sunlight at the golden hour. saw the blue city from the fort. the sounds of the city travel far.almost a person it is like. # 5:54 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Unfortunate truth- every fort i’ve visited has ppl peeing on the parapets! confronting them makes them turn a deaf ear. disgusting behaviour # 6:00 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sun has set. azaan calling out. the whole city’s reverberating with that.twinkling lights r slowly coming on in the blue city of jodhpur # 6:02 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@flyyoufools wanted to shame them by clicking their pic. but realised its least of their concerns. nothing shames such freaks # 6:06 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

twilight time! took long exposure shots. used my purse as tripod. lovely shades in the sky # 6:33 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sandstone path. the swallows chirruping. the wind blowing. the maharanis would have passed all this before making sati marking on walls! # 6:44 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@ravikapoor m sure all celebs like @shashitharoor get bombarded with info, bt dunno how much of it is relevant.hence “normal” ppl suggestion # 10:49 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic in reply to RaviKapoor

almost every shop in Jodhpur writes “recommended by lonely planet” for itself! along with some french mag names too. smart at marketing # 11:01 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic

Jan 6th

Smelt lot of ittar today at the fort.one was opium. smelt like incense sticks. one was called monsoon. did smell a bit like the rain on mud! # 12:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off to ossiyan for the day. agenda is to see the temples, camel ride, check out fort used for shooting of dor # 10:39 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

to All followers esp new ones – m currently travelling n have limited connectivity via phone. frequent replies not possible.pliss to adjust # 11:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

@enbose thanks. did u mean don’t get fogged out? jodhpur is sunny n bright :) # 11:32 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Sitting in a vehicle without a seat belt on makes me really uncomfortable. sadly the ones in backseats of most cabs r mere showpieces # 11:34 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

What is it about the winters n the warm sun that makes one so sleepy! # 11:57 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

First stop! the haveli ummedgarh where @gulpanag’s dor was shot. girish karnad stayed here in the film. the place is full of pigeons # 12:09 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Tikam chand from the haveli says hi to @gulpanag :) # 12:10 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

A central courtyard around which the main house builds up. a tulsi plant in the designated corner.oh for the want of space in modern houses! # 12:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@aparnaandhare yeah i don’t have a courtyard :p one always wants more n more greenery :) # 1:04 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Out from the different world that was ummedgarh. the silence only broken by pigeons taking flight, sparrows, parrots n bulbuls tweeting. # 1:07 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just saw some windmills in jodhpur. the driver tells us that they belong to @juniorbachchan n ash! they get carbon credits for it # 1:23 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Saw very few solar panels in rajasthan considering the sun they get. on that note, reached sun temples now # 1:25 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just had bajra roti with ghee n gud/gul at a local dhaba. # 4:17 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Riding on camel back n tweeting :p the camel standing up was really rotfl thing # 4:46 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off the camel back now. plan to watch the sunset from the sand dunes. # 5:13 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Done with the sunset. n took some silhouette shots. the sun goes down really fast in the last leg # 6:01 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

One more camel ride done n we r on our way back to jodhpur.the camel owners held my hair in their hands to check if it was real! much fun # 6:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

one camels name was maanak. the other was paapu. 6 & 8 yr old respectively. shitting n pissing all the time. :p apart from giving bumpy ride # 6:40 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@om not really :) @madversity hardly straw like :p @pathfyynder was there today # 8:53 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Looks like bollywood was there in autoexpo today. much like they r now on Twitter. just saw @iamsrk on news thanking us Twitter ppl! # 10:35 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Jan 7th

Delhi u better get the fog outta the way by the time i get back from sunny jodhpur. almost got sunburnt yesterday # 9:22 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

Though i’ve driven in zero visibility fog many times n had lot of fun it can be done without. # 9:26 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

pigs n beautiful peacocks scavenging the same garbage dump together. yeh mera india. # 9:34 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

In jodhpur ppl seem to love driving on the wrong side. yes more than in delhi. auto drivers seem to be on a permanent opium diet. they sway. # 9:36 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

At bal samand lake palace. beautiful place. bt surprisingly not a single soul cd b spotted to direct us around.wandered around huge estate # 2:02 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Saw a colony of bats on a banyan tree. for the 1st time in my life i found them ‘cute’.they wrapped their huge wings like blankets arnd self # 2:06 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

seen mehrangarh,nai sarak,osian village,mandore garden,balsamand palace in jodhpur.Wat else is worth? ummed bhavan has 3500 cover charge # 4:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy quite nice weather here. no fog. comfy warm sun. nights r chilly. a nice azure blue sky to boot. # 5:31 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy @hiway i know ppl who r scared of anything that moves :) # 5:34 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

so we weren’t even allowed near ummed bhavan cos museum closes at 5.main hotel has cover charges of 3500 per person just to enter! no thanks # 5:39 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy it is quite nice indeed :) i like quiet places n the place where we r is one such place. balsamand lake palace is another # 5:49 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@austereseeker none at all. din let us get past the gate! not even to exterior. # 5:51 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@lakshmi_h was planning to add hashtag but it takes up precious real estate in tweets. m likely to put all related tweets manually in a post # 5:54 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Now sitting by the pool. the sun’s gone down. sounds of an egret like bird r filling the area. @ashokbanker’s gods of war for company # 6:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@anaggh my pic uploading is quite bad :|.. will try to make one album or a travelogue or something.. may write for a paper too # 6:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to anaggh

me there too RT @mojosanjay: sitting by the blue pool at the hotel, in lush green, here’s a pic of what i see http://tweetphoto.com/8198662 # 7:00 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic

@Twindhu no its the pool at devi bhawan, where we r staying @mojosanjay # 7:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to Twindhu

@pritishnandy “myinnisfree” is a place? or u have ur own place in every city? :) # 8:07 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to PritishNandy

Plan to goto bishnoi village tomorrow. hope to spot a blackbuck , a chinkara or two. will shoot but not like salman khan # 11:07 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Jan 8th

On our way to bishnoi village. in an open jeep! covered up in shawls. comfy. but can’t imagine a stunt like this in delhi at all # 8:37 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Salman blackbuck shooting seems to be the high point in the history of this village. all references start with that. sad in a way # 8:40 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Baba ramdev seems to be quite popular here in jodhpur. his face seems to have launched a million health centres. # 8:43 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw a potter at work. not the harry kinds. i tried my hand at the wheel too! got the cliched potter wheel shots too # 10:09 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker thank u sire. to Wat do i owe this pleasure? # 10:13 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw the opium making ‘ceremony’. tasted a few drops. extremely bitter. calm n serene mud houses. fat & unafraid sparrows pecking on millet. # 11:12 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@flyyoufools yeah? i said ‘fly you fools’ to those fat sparrows. they din even bother. kept munching the millet :p # 11:22 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

now at a weavers place. showing us how he weaves durries. m being the good samaritan by translating for some foreigners n the weaver :) # 11:30 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

The wildlife part of our trip was an anticlimax. got to see only deer n neelgai. no chinkara no blackbuck. the buck’s stopped here. # 12:28 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Done some shopping. enjoying the sun before dreaded dhundh in delhi. photography in old city now. have had my fill of kids asking for money # 4:37 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

The shopkeepers here r v smart. keeping in mind the clientele they put up toilet paper rolls at the entrance of shops.like the nimbu mirchi. # 6:06 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Our safar back to delhi has just started becoming suffer. seems train is 2hrs late from jodhpur.dunno how much it would be further # 8:14 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@zigzackly actually they see the camera n want their foto only, not mine. but its quite harassing – the zoo display animal feeling # 8:17 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker ah so its all good then :p. M back to city life by tomorrow # 8:21 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Thank u all for the follow fridays. finally i realise its a friday. regular programming to continue from next week # 10:02 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Sitting in the jhoola opposite the pond with the koi fish. at this time i should’ve been in my train instead. its so damn late. groan # 10:19 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Finally seated in the train. still a lot of time to departure. this trip would have been best as a road trip in a car # 12:35 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Goodbye blue skies of jodhpur. goodbye starry nights. hello white wall of fog aka delhi # 12:47 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The indian railway coach we r in, is one of the worst i’ve seen in a long time. filthy & modified in a way that the end seats r compromised # 1:04 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

All those asking, its AC2 not even 3rd AC. now requested TT & exchanged the berths with better ones # 1:49 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Jan 9th

areas near alwar seem sunny in parts. hope delhi is too. # 11:03 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The jodhpur travel microlog has come to an end. thanks to those who kept writing in betwn. removed the illusions of it being a monologue # 11:06 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

@nithinkd that’s good news. sara credit khud hee? :p i got the warm sunshine from jodhpur too :) # 11:08 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Khatara AC2 coach that we r in doesn’t even have plug points for charging! no blue night light either. total fail! # 11:18 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Reached ncr now. hope to reach our station soon. # 1:18 PM Jan 9th from mobile web

back to home sweet home after the jodhpur trip and finally online.. what did I miss in the past week ppl? # 7:32 PM Jan 9th from Seesmic