A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

Of Menstruation and Menopause June 25, 2008

Filed under: life,Me,women — gurdas @ :
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For more than 6 years now, ‘G’ (my house help) and I have been together. I believe we enjoy the working relationship that exists. I have found her to be particular about cleanliness and she meets the tough standards I set. Hopefully, I in turn have been a kind and loving employer. She goes out of her way to keep my house clean and I go out of my way to stand by her in whatever manner I can.

Recently she has been complaining of abdominal and chest pain. Some tests later, I found out that the problem is presence of Uterine Fibroids (Myomas). The doctors have advised a Hysterectomy.

I try and accompany ‘G’ to the doctor as often as I can. The consultations have flooded my vocabulary with terms associated with the female species. From the familiar Uterus and Ovaries to the distant Fallopian tubes and the not fully understood Menstruation and Menopause. And I am talking only of knowing what these organs and their major functions are. I dare not delve into my ignorance of subtle functions, side-effects, and the first hand knowledge a woman would have or atleast what a married man would have.

What Hysterectomy will you do: total or supracervical?
Should we consider Laparoscopic technique (increased expenses)?
What about Myomectomy?
Isn’t the Uterus of life long importance (wikipedia says so)?
Should we remove it (this should have been my first question)?

and some another few dozen questions I would like answered in ordinary language.

Now, all of this has overwhelmed me and I am somewhat embarrassed by my inability to hold a fuller discussion with the doctor. ‘G’s shyness is not helping either. Though the fact that she has taken the courage to end phone conversations with a nice ‘bye’ is promising.

Whoever said Ignorance is Bliss must have overlooked the peculiar plight of a single man, more familair with machines than females, having to assimilate complex subjects like Menstruation and Menopause.


Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (Movie Review) October 14, 2007

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Flashback to 1981. Roll Smita Patil and Deepti Naval into one, throw in some ginger and marinate them to 21st century sensibilities. What you would get is Konkona Sen Sharma. What a performance Konkona throws in! Amazing body language and those eyes tell tales like none else.

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (LCMD) is a movie that is mostly old wine in new bottle. But the bottle is good and gives a fresh lease to the old wine. I would rate the movie at 3/5 and recommend you go see it. It is not great cinema, there are serious logic lapses but what lifts the movie is the performances from its lead characters. I’d rate Konkona as the show stealer, followed by Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee and Kunal Kapoor. Anupam Kher and Abhishek Bachchan are good but nothing to shout about.

LaagaChunari Mein Daag

What I liked about the movie is its contemporary no excuses approach to prostitution in sophisticated circles. The helpless female crying has been kept low key with more focus on the journey Rani makes from small town Benaras to big bad Mumbai. Her transition is convincing. One might argue that in this age, there are so many options that a desperate female need not take up the escort girl trade. I disagree because the statistics prove otherwise. And sometimes, you are so overwhelmed by odds that you do things out of ordinary. Which is what Rani does.

My grudge with the director (Pradeep Sarkar) is that he does a poor job of Rani’s life in Benaras. When you do not have money to pay your electricity bill, you do not dress the way Rani and Konkona do. A little more down to Earth wardrobe and settings and one would be convinced of Rani’s inability to get a job. She looks too glamorous to fit the helpless girl image. But set aside that one fact and the rest of its holds good.

The movie is worth watching for a single reason – Konkona Sen Sharma. She infuses amazing life into her character of younger sister who is carefree. Observe her eyes as they roll, glance, smile, frown, love and show guilt. She’s got a full theatre running below those eyebrows! Her sentences are sharp and she delivers them with perfect timing. The scene where she stops Rani from apologising mid-sentence and then herself apologises is a window to the acting powerhouse this lady is.

 The director does follow some formula scenes, like the wedding song and that made me cringe.  Abhishek though acting his part well, is lost in the shadows. He looked like Abhishek from any other movie and leaves little impression on your mind. Jaya is better but still not in the same league as Konkana. Her telephone scene where she is talking to Rani while collecting some coins (and her senses) is bang on. But other than that she is mostly in the tragic mother holding her head high types.

 I like movies with hope and courage in them. Laaga Chunari Mein Daag is one of that kind. All ends well and ends well convincingly. No over the top heroism. Not a single dishum-dishum, no prolonged emotional or heated exchanges. A little muted but well cooked. I would recommend the movie if you wish to enjoy fine acting and come out smiling and feeling hopeful.

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Desperate Housewives October 13, 2007

“54% women back wife-beating” screamed the headline in today’s Times of India.

I read it again to make sure I read it right. Women supporting wife-beating? 54% of them?

Some other findings from the survey conducted in 28 states in India during 2005-2006:

– 51% men say it is OK for husband to beat his wife

– Over 40% of married women experience abuse at home

– 35% women were OK with being brutally assaulted by their husbands if they neglected household chores or their children

– Only 2% of abused women have ever sought police help

– Buddhist women (41%) report highest level of violence, followed by Muslim and Hindu women. Jain women face least violence (13%).

The last finding was another stunner. Buddhist women getting a rough deal from their Buddhist husbands? Not what I expected. How do survey people ensure their respondents are telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Maybe Buddhist women are more honest and so more got revealed. But then that still is 41% of them getting abused.

Compare this with a survey some days back that said “Indians are amongst the most satisfied with their lives”. Yeah, with such low expectations we are no doubt easily satisfied. Yogis, all of us.