Monthly Archives: April 2013

How to: pick a mango

The mango trees are starting to get heavy with mangos!

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Mangos are my favourite thing in the world. They are wonderful by themselves, they are wonderful in cooking. And they are wonderful as pickle.

Problem is, they grow in tall trees. So they aren’t always easy to pluck.

Now there’s two ways to pick mangos: one is to climb the tree and pluck them. However heights and I don’t agree, so that’s not such a good option for me.

So instead, I used a stick to hit them and shake them loose.

RK showed me the technique: the trick is to hit the mango with the stick from behind, and to try to knock it down.

Now it seems quite easy in theory. But in practice it took a bit of work. We managed to hit down half a dozen green mangos before we bent the metal stick we were using. Game over.

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Fair & Lovely

I was shopping for some face cream the other day, and went to a small chemist to pick it up. I asked the man for some face cream, and he looked at me and then pulled out Fair&Lovely – a skin whitening cream. I laughed and told him I had no need for that, and he gave me a different one. A fairly innocuous event you would think, but after being amongst the advertising in this country for a few months, I don’t think so.

India has an obsession with fair skin, one that I struggle to understand. At home women spend lots of money on bronzing products, and one in three Australians develops skin cancer from being in the sun too much, trying to tan.

India is the opposite: Ads on TV are full of very fair skinned women selling products designed to lighten your skin. Fair & Lovely is only the tip of the iceberg. International brands have developed specific products for the Indian market: Garnier, Loreal, Clinique, Ponds and Revlon have multiple products designed to lighten complexion. From face creams to face washes, even lotions for baby’s skin. Recently there has been controversy surrounding the release of an intimate wash for women, promising to whiten ‘down there’ (read what Vice had to say about it).

India’s cosmetic industry is set to grow to 200 Billion Rupees ($3.6Bn) by 2014, so it seems to be worth the while of these companies to continue to develop such products, and to continue to convince Indians that fairer is lovelier. This ‘colourism‘, as Jyothi Gupta points out, is linked closely to the still-present caste bias in Indian society and exploited by advertising and pharmaceutical companies. Heres an interview she conducted with Dr Parameswaran, a Professor at Indiana University (transcript) on colourism:

I really like the point made towards the end of this interview: what is worrying about the focus on fairness in India is the lack of discourse surrounding it. In Australia the same amount of focus is placed on being skinny, and that image is propagated throughout the media. However, this is accompanied by alternate discourse about health and women’s bodies (whether its doing its job or not is another matter). In India there is no alternate discourse about the harm that this image could be doing to young girl’s self-esteem.

Discourse surrounds colourism amongst Latinos and African-Americans in the States, and studies have been conducted on the impact that skin tone has on salary and education of individuals in America. What is interesting about this particular article is that its published in the Indian paper The Hindu, but talks almost solely about colourism in relation to the States. However there doesn’t seem to be much discussion about it within the Indian context.

Here is another article by Nisha Susan from the Indian magazine Tehelka, if you’re interested. She looks at the idealised image of an Indian in the media and Bollywood.

Walking around the streets of Bangalore and Coimbatore makes me wonder where they even find these women on TV selling these products. Because no-one I see on the streets is as fair as these women – on the TV screen they seem to be even whiter than me!

I’m told that these women are found in the North, however I still think that like the promises and image they are selling, they are mythical beasts.

 

 

Here’s Obama’s two cents worth:

attysfcr

A story of a marriage

This is my Boss and his Wife.

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They have been married for just over a year now, and seem to be quite happy. The tale surrounding their marriage is quite an interesting one, so let me share it with you.

Two years ago, the future-Wife started working for the company, as a receptionist/personal assistant to the Boss. Apparently She was very quiet while working there, and did not talk much with the Boss.

One fateful day, She was out shopping for office pooja items with the Boss after work. After they finished their shopping, they walked back to the bus stand so that She could catch a bus home. However there was a busy road in between them and the bus stand, and she was nervous to cross the traffic. So the Boss offered to hold Her hand while they crossed the road, and then let go as soon as they had crossed. She hopped on a bus and went home.

Little did they know, that they had been spotted by her Aunt and Grandmother! These two women wasted no time in calling her mother to gossip and chastise her about the loose behaviour of her daughter.

By the time the innocent young girl reached home, her mother was convinced she was having an affair. They fought when she reached home and her mother forbade her to go to the office anymore, wanting to save her daughter’s reputation.

So She called the Boss and informed him that Dhe would not be coming to office anymore. She was upset and confused about what was happening.

A week passed.

The Boss arrived at her doorstep and proposed marriage. Apparently he had suddenly realised his feelings for her during her absence, and wanted to marry her.

They were married a week later, and lived happily ever after.

BUT THINGS ARE NOT AS THEY SEEM!!!

It seems as though there may have been some manoeuvring on her behalf, in order to orchestrate a situation where the Boss felt as though he had to step in to save her reputation.

The Boss seems to be quite an honourable man, and belongs to a reasonably wealthy, high caste family. A very desirable husband.

Apparently he was threatened by her cousins and uncles after they saw them together, and felt as though he needed to marry her in order to save her. And to save her reputation.

So who knows. Maybe they were seen together on purpose. Maybe she made it seem as though he had been acting with less honour and innocence than he had been. Maybe she had let her family believe that she was madly in love with him and he was playing with her.

I guess we will never know the truth of the situation.

But they are now married. Happily ever after.

Pumped up kicks

I bought some new shoes: my first ever pair of Cons.

They had a promotion on at the store where if you spent a certain amount then you could get a backpack for 200 rupees extra. Usually I hate when they try to tack on things at the end, but I needed a new bag and it was red. How could I say no?

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For the first handful of times I wore them I had ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ running through my head.