Monday, 25 April 2016

Bring Back Hats

Photo: Veronica

Hats are highly undervalued in current era and often misinterpreted to be used only by rich people for fancy occasions. Even worst, the only other place it has found an audience is in tourist place where you often laugh at people for being too "touristy". But let me tell you why hats are nothing but fabulous and common man should start wearing them -

Protection against Sun

This is the most sensible and practical way of protecting ourselves against direct sunlight. Especially a wide-brimmed hat covering the face, back of the neck, and sides of the neck, eyes and not to mention hair!

Photo: Jaguar

It's Cheap

You can get some really beautiful hats in less than 100 rupees! And they are long lasting and easily washable.

Safe and chemical-free

In present times even when our fruits and vegetables are filled with chemicals, one can only imagine what our cosmetics must have. But we are warned against walking out without sunscreen with words like "UV rays", "skin cancer" etc etc. Now, a hat may not be enough to protect against such rays and you may still need a sunscreen but it increases the protection factor by at least 10. Which is a very good number for something completely safe and no side effects.

Keeps your hands free while working

It's quite impossible to work in hot sun while holding an umbrella. Whether it is manual laborers or farmers or someone trying to do gardening! In fact most of the farmers and workers in south-east Asia use "conical hats" made from straw which not only gives them protection against sun but also rain.

Photo: source

They look good!

You can't deny that a good hat can completely transform your outfit. So, yeah, they can be a little "costume-y", but that's what makes them so awesome! Besides they are perfect solution to bad-hair days. In fact, you can buy a simple hat and prop it up as per your outfit with a simple ribbon!

Photo: Colin

So this summer, dare yourself to grab a hat and make your own style statement!






Thursday, 14 April 2016

Chutzpah Of Paanwalla

Photo: carola
Yesterday I had one of the most embarrassing moment of my life or at least the one in recent times. Today(Apr 14th) being Vishu - our new year (Kerala), I had gone to do some last moment shopping for "Vishu Kani". It's basically an assortment of auspicious things that is viewed when one opens one’s eyes on the day of Vishu festival. ‘Kani’ means ‘that which is seen first’ and this ritual is an indispensable part of the festival.

Everything went smoothly (maybe little sweaty) till the final item on the list had to be bought - betel leaves and betel nuts. I thought it should be a perfectly doable task, all I have to do is walk upto Paan stall and point at things I want (since I had no idea what is betel nuts called in Hindi!).

So I felt pretty confident walking up to the nearest Paan shop and asking, "Bhaiya, woh chaar pan ke patte, aur woh wali cheez dena" ( Could you give me four betel leaves and that thing over there?). The guy looked at me and asked what for? Now I was a little uneasy explaining our mallu rituals to this Bihari guy whilst all the other men (needless to say it was paan/cigarette shop) were staring at the girl who had come to a cigarette shop in a respectable residential area in the broad daylight!

Still, refusing to give up I tried explaining to him that it was for a "puja purpose". I mean that is valid explanation right? So I kept waiting for him to rush up and pack the damn thing. But the guy had the audacity to pretend as if he didn't hear me at all. By now I was loosing my cool, so asked him to hurry up and took out my purse because I couldn't wait to get rid of the place and be done with this whole awful business!

Finally guy turns to me and says, "No I can't sell it you. We don't sell it for such purposes". And in my mind I was like "????" preceded and succeeded by some decent amount of profanity! I mean just the shock of being refused to sell paan leaves by "paanwalla" made me melt faster than an ice cream on a stove!

Soon the shock subsided and now all I am filled with is embarrassment and often grumble about it. I have absolutely no clue what happened back there or why he refused to sell it to me. Unlike me, my husband thought it was pretty funny and although am little sour to laugh along with him right now, I hope in days to come I can.

After all, these awkward moments are what adds a slice of humor to our lives and sometimes all we can do is laugh at ourselves. Of course, that doesn't mean I have forgiven that madman! Will keep you guys posted if I get my revenge!









Monday, 4 April 2016

Eugenics

Photo: yumikrum

I am a bit of dogmatic in nature, that is I tend to be opinionated. In fact I have an opinion about everything! or at least I thought so till I stumbled upon few subjects which left me confused and unsure..to say the least. And that makes me uncomfortable. I hate not knowing how I feel.

All thanks to "Eugenics". Now before going forward I would like to forewarn that this is a very abstract concept which you would never affect your life or of little importance to any of our lives. So if you are looking for something light and cheery, you should just stop reading right now (no offense taken, I don't blame you)!

Eugenics is a philosophy which believes in improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits, or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits, or both. It's basically manipulating the gene pool by selective breeding for better evolution of humankind.

The term "eugenics" was developed by Francis Galton in 1883, who was heavily influenced by his half-cousin Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. What exactly eugenics includes has been often debatable but broadly speaking they can be classified into below categories

Negative Eugenics 

It involves discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits. Including reduction of unplanned pregnancies by sex education, promoting the use of contraceptives and encouraging abortion. But that's just the milder version, they have some harsh concepts like forced sterilization of "mentally retarded" or criminals.

Positive Eugenics 

It means encouraging reproduction by people with "desired" traits by giving financial incentives to have children, selective incentives for childbearing to immigration!

Now all this may sound insane and ridiculous theory but it was popular among lot of well known people including Winston Churchill, H.G Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, Hitler. Although some supporters of eugenics later reversed their positions on it. Because from the time it was conceived, it has remained controversial and for a good reason. To begin with, how do you determine "desirable" traits? It is often a cultural choice and highly subjective. And there is no surety over inheriting these qualities, a child could very well be different from parents. More importantly, it tainted the ethical nature of humankind.

So does that mean eugenics is dead in our modern times?

What does an average matrimony ad reads like? What do we look for while looking for a partner? No..eugenics is not dead. It has evolved into genetic engineering, egg donation, gene therapy, cloning and prenatal diagnosis of genetic disorders.

Some of these ideas of eugenics are so bold that they are outrageous and yet.. dangerously alluring in these testing times. It makes us question the very basis of life..is it inhuman to kill something before it's born ? and what if after coming to this world it only faces suffering and causes suffering to others? who is to decide? And aren't we already choosing in our own way "desired" qualities? Or is it our fate to alter the evolution to survive as a species?

I am glad that whatever be the case, the fate of mankind doesn't lie in my hands because it's a very preposterous predicament. But I really hope in future we evolve into better beings.. with or without eugenics.