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Showing posts from November, 2007

Book Review: An Autobiography Of A Sex Worker by Nalini Jameela

I am 51 years old. And I would like to continue to be a sex worker.” This is how the candid and defiant opening statement in Nalini Jameela’s autobiography in Malayalam, Oru Lymgika-thozhilaliyude Atmakadha, goes. It at once throws a challenge at society’s double standards — harsh on prostitutes and soft on the clients. Nalini Jameela, who is the coordinator of the Kerala Sex Workers’ Forum, reveals her sordid story with no trace of compunction.
Nalini was a 24-year-old widow when she entered the profession to feed her two children. At that time she did not think about the repercussions of her act. She writes, “I was earning Rs 4.50 at a tile factory near Trissur. My mother-in-law served me with an ultimatum to either give her five rupees a day to look after my children or leave the house. I recounted my woes to a friend, who introduced me to Rosechechi. Rosechechi promised me Rs 50 if I spent time with a man. The first thought that came to my mind was that my children would be looked…

Book Review: Unsung By Anita Pratap & Mahesh Bhat

Text by Anita Pratap & Photographs by Mahesh Bhat
Changla artificial glacier: The highest watershed project in the world. It feeds several villages down stream in Ladakh. (Photograph By Mahesh Bhat)
In the raucous market place (read the globalized world), glam exteriority has encroached upon our consciousness and conquered every available space- be it the media, our sartorial sense, our attitudes, purchasing habits, culture etc.. . As a consequence the traditional Gandhian values, which were not sexy enough in the first place, have slowly been obliterated from our perception of what holds good. Who frankly has the time for concepts like selfless giving shorn of fame and media attention? It is so passé. So the book “Unsung” by journalist Anita Pratap and photographer Mahesh Bhat comes as a big surprise. The duo has chosen to capture the lives not of famous actors or cricketers but of ordinary people from different parts of the country. These unknown, “unsung” people have selfl…

BooK Review: Diary Of A Bad Year By J.M.Coetzee

Book Review: Diary of a Bad Year by J. M. Coetzee
Knowing no other, one assumes it is in the natural order of things to read a book from the top of the page and then slowly scroll down to the bottom (it should be stressed here the language in reference is English). But given a chance it would be interesting to upturn that dull route and begin at the bottom or even bang in the middle of a page, read a paragraph then ascend to the top, read another para and then plunge to the bottom. And interestingly J.M.Coetzee’s new novel “Diary of a Bad Year” affords us that change – to take a detour from the only path we have perseveringly trodden since the advent of the novel or since the beginning of the written word. Each page is divided into three distinct sections in “Diary of a Bad Year”. The top portion occupies the opinions of a decrepit writer named JC, the ostensible purpose of the book. The protagonist JC is one among six writers from different countries commissioned by a publisher in Ge…

Walking Through Jew Town, Cochin

A perfect place to rummage and chaffer for fragments of history- truncated tales that one calls antiques, is the quaint old JewTown at Mattancherry. The overwhelming melancholy of a town abandoned by its own people-the Jews, makes a walk through it is as fascinating as discovering bits and pieces of history to pack and carry back home. The long warehouses abutting each other spill out into narrow alleys and on the other side the tranquil backwaters merge with the roar of the Arabian Sea.

No one knows the exact date when the Jews first came to Cranganore, Kerala but somewhere in the fourteenth century they began fleeing Cranganore and wandered into Cochin. And JewTown was built on the site granted to them by the Rajah of Cochin in 1567. After living in this town for almost four hundred years, trading prosperously and even waging wars with the Portuguese, in the 1950s the Jewry began to migrate to Israel and by the 1980s they were only a handful left in this town.
History's Junkyard

The Lost World

(Photograph By Rajeev Prasad)
Hey! Hey! What's happenin here? Can't a guy have a room with a view anymore?!!!