Tuesday, 29 November 2011

In which I resolve to stop worrying and start living.....Hopefully!!!

Well dear reader, here I am after a prolonged absence. I think in some ways this long silence was good as it gave me time to think of all the things that are important in my life. To contemplate the future after the life that I've lead for the past year in England.

It really seems like a dream, yet time flies so quickly. It seems like only yesterday when a harassed girl got down at Heathrow to begin studying for an MA at University. Now, a year later there are so many things that I wish I had done. One of the major questions that I keep on asking myself is- Am I really all the things that the people in my life insist I am?

Do we all suffer from bouts of self doubts? I don't know about you dear reader; but in my case these episodes stretch for a long, long time. It's like living in a bubble.....scratch's like living in a glass case : this state of splendid isolation where one is surrounded by people yet completely cut off by a transparent barrier.

I kept on asking myself question about who I want to be , however at some stage I realised  that I sounded like a bad American teen flick full of rubbish. I think that all of us spend our lives searching for answers and forget to live and breathe and basically appreciate what we have.

So on that note I end this blog post with a new resolve- to make the best of what I already have and live, because isn't that what we are meant to do in the first place? I send this question out into the void hoping that some day I'll have an epiphany and resolve at least one issue....Hopefully!!!!

worry wort cartoons, worry wort cartoon, worry wort picture, worry wort pictures, worry wort image, worry wort images, worry wort illustration, worry wort illustrations
Could end up looking like this if I don't stop worrying!!! :D

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Weighty Issues

Dear reader, I begin this post by sending out this question - Why do we do some things and why is it that even if our conscience demands it we cannot bring ourselves to do other things?

This question has plagued me for a long time and I donot think that the answer is simple and uncomplicated. Well, I for one am the queen of avoiding all that I might find unnecessary. No.. Really! I can come up with a million reasons to not do a task that I find unpleasant or am just too lazy to do . I have to say that I seriously want to reconsider all the failures that I have had in my life and the main reason behind it: Yes that's right "LAZINESS"

An example of the above mentioned syndrome is the fact... or should I say , the major oath the I took in the beginning of May that I would loose at least 10 Kgs and be Size 0 or Minus or whatever A' La Runway Model. Bit by Bit I kept on with the workout regime and if I say so my self got impressive results. However, one trip to London with all the amazing eating options et al; poof! I bloat up like a baloon. So reader, I confess to being a "Glutton" Yes, your eyes donot decieve you , of all the seven deadly sins , it is gluttony not sloth that I am plagued by! Oh yes, the workout regime was resumed again as soon as I returned but Oh all that sweat and hardwork of the previous few months had gone to the dogs!!!! But hey! indulgence is the way of life and although complicated to digest , it isn't just something that us lesser mortals are prone to, even the gods give in once in a while.

My indulgences in rich comfort food have however landed me back to where I started although I suspect that I may now be a couple of Kgs heavier! But as I gorge on a yummy blueberry cheesecake, I cannot help but rememeber that old cliche "Live life to it's fullest". Hence I lay the issue of my expanding girth to rest...... For a while!!
My dream image...... Sigh!!!!
  Vs My worst nightmare......shudder!!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Queen of Fiascos!!

Yes, I admit there have been moments in my life when I have been at the summit of success and have felt infinitely important! However, more often than not , such events in my life seem to be followed by periods of complete and utter chaos.

Just when I prove it to myself and the world that I can do no wrong, EVERYTHING I do seems to be wrong!! All the plans and tasks get botched up or end up a disaster. It's true!!

Dear Reader, before you start taking this piece as a tale of woe, let me assure you that all the 'disasters' are my own doing! The result of  my overzealous efforts to top my previous deed. It is just this tendency to overdo a task  on my part that ruins what might have been at least a decent outcome.

I can imagine the puzzled expression on your face and just to make you understand my dire predicament, I give you - 'Tales from the kitchen'. Now just for your information I am a pretty decent cook and I do excel at some of the dishes that I have perfected after hours of 'slaving' over the stove. It's true, that the journey to perfecting such dishes was a hazardous one and involved one too many mishaps... but in the end I managed to perfect the art of preparing the said dishes.

However, my curse of enthusiasm rears it's ugly head and soon, I become engrossed  in 'improving' an already perfect dish. The results, as you may guess are disastrous and if anyone happens to bear witness , then it is at a greater magnitude !! And woe betide if  I emerge unscathed from the fiasco......NO! The tale of my failure has always been a favourite topic of the 'evening's entertainment', bandied about for months if not years as an anecdote that is sure to leave the company in splits. On the occasions when I have been present to hear my tales of woe being retold to a mirthful audience, I have secretly wished for a painful death for the narrator or a swift one for myself. However, as I am a survivor of many such incidents; I have come to believe in an advice that my sister once gave me.... I 'grin and bear it' , as I am sure to top the latest fiasco with a far greater one!!!   
So Dear reader, I leave you now to go to the kitchen as I have a sudden urge to try this new recipe that I discovered on the internet. I fancy that I can add some of my 'innovative methods'. Hopefully the end product will be like the the photo below, so wish me luck!
Onion, marjoram and crème frâiche tart yum!!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The unquenchable thirst for "MORE"


I was just thinking about a simple phrase "Freedom of Speech" ; perhaps the simplest of all concept yet so many revolutions and wars have been fought for this simple phrase.  However it is important to ask ourselves why it is so important?

As I sit in a room overlooking the sea listening to the breeze and the cuckoo outside the window I can't help but feel safe, even in a land foreign to my own. I can't imagine what it is like for a girl my age who I sitting in a room listening to the horrible noise of gunfire and air raids.

For twenty somethings like me war has always been a part and parcel of our existence. We are the children of the 80's one of the most volatile periods of history. Why? well we grew up in the decade when everything was changing. After the radical 70's the 80's was defined by the quest to earn money and the thirst for 'MORE'.
So for people like me it was one of the most confusing eras to be born in. We were born in conservative times when everything was self centric the world lived under a shadow of conflict. The USSR was dying and it's various satellite states were becoming quasi democratic states.

The advent of the 90's brought the first spate of wars. So children in the first decade of their lives saw their parents listening to the news regarding the first Gulf war and the Balkans. As we entered our teens we witnessed the 9/11 attacks and various other acts of terror. The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq gave a glimpse of that unquenchable thirst for 'MORE' that had gained prominence since the eighties.

The human cost of War

It will be exceedingly naive of one to believe that the greed for 'MORE' by which I mean the urge to gain:
Power, Money and everything else wasn't present before the 80's but at least then the world was preoccupied with the Cold War and wasn't really in the position to indulge in anything other tan spreading communism or controlling the spread of communism depending on which side one was on. However the fall of  the USSR left a void that was quickly fill by the leading countries now concentrating on meddling in the affairs of the countries that were of strategic importance to them. Thus came the advent of the era that I like to call "Senseless Wars" . 

In all this the one most important thing that has been overlooked is that simple phrase again; yes, that phrase that was used to justify the needless loss to humanity : "Freedom of Speech". In all these countless wars that were fought since the late 80's that is the one thing, perhaps the most important thing that has been overlooked. 

I can say this with the utmost confidence as I have been part of the generation that grew up with one conflict after the other. As 8 year olds we could see the flimsy reasons behind the conflicts in the Gulf and the Balkans and we still don't see the reasons behind the justifications given behind the myopic reasons behind the world meddling in the Middle East. So, in conclusion if the world now chooses to start another senseless war in Libya , at least the phrase ie, giving the Libyans the "Freedom of Speech" should not be used yet again to justify another wasteful war. 

NATO hit Tripoli

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Dear Reader, in my post I had enumerated on the fact that I had to learn to say a lot in a few words!!! Well let me tell you this, for a person like me it is really difficult..... It's true! I have never been frugal with words ever in my life; not while speaking and certainly not when I write.

However, I had this major epiphany whilst writing stories for my portfolio:
"A Journalist is a Word-smith"
As I wrote in my last blog post, I have increasingly realised that, I find it very difficult to convey a lot in few words. After all, breaking the habit of a lifetime is not easy. Another thing is getting people to communicate to you.

I find that getting people to talk to you is very easy but, getting them to communicate that is answer questions.....oooh boy!!!! a Nightmare!!! I tell you...A COMPLETE NIGHTMARE. I have always operated under the belief that people are generally nice if you are nice to them. It's actually true! If you ask for it, there is never a dearth of friendly advice. I think as individuals we are flattered when someone seeks help; it is in a way a boost to our self worth. However, if one begins to ask something which we consider unpleasant, we tend to shut up like a clam!!!!

In the course of this past month, I have come across some really frustrating instances of people either too  communicative or not at all. The fact that I tend to fall in the former group generally, has made me realise how frustrating I can be sometimes. However, this epiphany does not mean that I will now become the complete opposite and communicate in nods and grunts!!

I suppose dear reader, that the answer to this problem lies somewhere in the middle. I know that sometimes the meaning behind a sentence can be expressed in a single word . However, there are times when one has to be articulate. It is the balance between the two that in my opinion makes a good Journalist. whether one is the interviewer or the interviewee good communication between the two parties is highly desirable.

However I end this post by sending out this conundrum, the select few who possess good communication skills aren't exactly dime a dozen so, what does one do with the majority who either rant and meander or nod and grunt?

'Mrs Smith, get me a dictionary for my TV interview and have the words yes and no removed!' by Chaffer, Graham
Tricks employed by interviewees!!!
'We've worked out an answer...what was the question?' by Fran
Universal Problems faced by interviewers!!!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Dear Reader, these past couple of weeks have been a revelation for me....I realised one intriguing fact, that there is a writer in every one of us! It's true! Each one of us has an opinion about things that if I may say so, we are not afraid to voice! Imagine if we were to pen these thoughts on paper. Now, this is where it gets interesting, I think that it is the ability to express said opinions on paper that creates the divide between those who are good writers and those that are terrible at it.

A few days ago I read somewhere this very curiously apt phrase- "Journalism is Literature in a hurry". I must say that in the course of my education in the past few months, I have come to realise how very apt this phrase is and also how inadequate my talents are with respect to it.

You see, I belong to the type that rely on the use of heavy words and descriptive phrases when writing a piece. However, In the course of gathering stories for my portfolio, I have learnt a valuable lesson. One, that has helped me realise just how much hard work goes behind becoming a Journalist. The most important ability that a journalist should possess is the 'ability to convey a lot in a few words'.

A good piece of reporting doesn't necessarily involve the use long sentences or difficult words. Think  about it, would you want to read a news story that has you looking through a dictionary after every few words? Another thing that I have learnt in the past couple of weeks is that it is very difficult to research stories in the real world. I had this really good story about a local community fighting to save an Art Deco heritage building.
Let me tell you that researching and writing it was a struggle from the beginning to the end.

One of the most difficult n bits for me was reporting a coherent, to the point story without reverting into my old habit of grandiose writing. Oh dear reader it was excruciating....habits of a lifetime and all that....!!
Well, I end this post by observing the fact that I may have to curtail these tendencies for my portfolio yet, I can at least indulge in this habit when writing this blog !!

writer cartoons, writer cartoon, writer picture, writer pictures, writer image, writer images, writer illustration, writer illustrations

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Dear Reader, a month has passed since my last blog entry, and boy! what a time I've had!!! All in all, that past weeks have been a bit overwhelming as my spring term came to an end and now, I won't have classes any more.

So now, all I have to do is concentrate on writing my essays and portfolio. As for the former, I must say that I really enjoyed the spring term. My perceptions of queer studies especially in the context of popular culture are very different from what they were in January at the start of the spring term. As for my other subject, I have learnt a lot about Journalism in the context of globalization. Studying global journalism has give me an in-depth understanding into the way Journalism functions in different areas of the world.

In a way it has helped me understand more about the dynamics of journalism in my own country India (a developing economy). I really think that I have a long way to go before I totally understand Journalism and the significance of being a Journalist.

A few months ago, before I started my course my views were soo different. In my opinion Journalists were this amazing bunch of people who could write whatever they wanted, and could openly share their opinions freely. It was this glamorous mirage often described as "literature in a hurry", well I had it all wrong.

In the past couple of months I have learnt the one thing, perhaps the most important fact - Journalism is not fiction. It's the truth, and journalists have a duty to find out the truth and provide information to their audience and readers. To tell you the truth dear reader, the reality of journalism is really different from what I believed it to be. It is not easy being a journalist. There are forces that always work to hide the truth and deflect all inquiries.

Another thing that I have learnt is that it is very easy to perceive oneself as a writer but very difficult to actually become one. For instance I found it really difficult to properly write the two stories that I have already written for my portfolio.Although, when we were informed about the portfolio in class, I thought that it would be a cakewalk. Well, let me assure you that it isn't!

So I end this entry by dedicating it to the noble act of writing rubbish and learning from mistakes. Lets hope that in the coming months I become adept at recycling and using my resources to the most!

reporter cartoons, reporter cartoon, reporter picture, reporter pictures, reporter image, reporter images, reporter illustration, reporter illustrations

Monday, 21 February 2011

Dear Reader, as I sat comfortably on a couch eating a huge slice of chocolate cake watching the BBC news at ten, I caught myself cribbing about the amount of calories I was putting into my mouth!!! I had this sudden epiphany……we are soo selfish!!! I mean it; all of us in our own way are sooo selfish!

What I mean to say is that here I was wasting my time thinking about something that really didn’t make a difference to mankind (well except burden mother earth with a few extra kilos) whilst there, right in front of me some responsible journalist was talking about the revolution going on in North Africa!!!

This self centred attitude has to be one of those things that lead to soo much trouble. I know that as an insignificant student I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on the world in general but hey! all of us are entitled to our opinions.

Yesterday they were talking about how 84 have died in three days of protest in Libya. I can only say that I really admire the people in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya who are trying to break free from oppressive regimes. However, as a student of history I have observed that the path to liberty is not an easy one.

They aired an interview of Col. Gaddafi some days ago and as I watched him on TV I had this mental vision of the Roman emperor Caligula. I know it sounds weird but I can't help but compare them. In my opinion, Gaddafi is like a modern day Caligula. Just as wily,selfish and stubborn but at the same time insane and clueless.In fact, I would not be surprised if he meets his end at the hands of his own people, just like Caligula who was murdered by his personal guard. The fact that his selfish need to cling to power has led him to attack his own people says a lot. I mean, logically how can one be a ruler if there are no people to rule?

Well, we just have to wait and see in the coming months if the Revolution in Libya is as successful as the ones in Tunisia and Egypt.

Gaddafi: The modern day  'Caligula'
Caligula: The original poster boy for 'mad tyrants'  

Friday, 21 January 2011

Dear Reader...the submissions are over finally!!! phew!!! I am relieved and now can concentrate on the brand new spring term...yay!!! I cannot tell you how much I have been enjoying the new courses that I decided to take this term.

Both the new courses are actually very interesting. Queering popular culture is an fun topic and, the classes that I have attended so far have certainly been a revelation! I must say that I’ve started ‘thinking outside the box’ in a way that I have never done before. I really like the idea of studying the queer face of music, cinema, fashion, media etc. It is an innovative way of understanding the popular culture that we are very much a part of.
In a similar way Global journalism, the other course that I am taking this term, has an interesting way of looking at the effects that globalization has had on media and journalism. To be honest, I never really imagined the extent to which these two topics were connected and am looking forward to exploring the said links further.
reporters cartoons, reporters cartoon, reporters picture, reporters pictures, reporters image, reporters images, reporters illustration, reporters illustrations

However the best part of the spring term has been...hands down the training that I have been receiving at the Argus. I confess that I miss researching and writing news, but I have to say that the highlight of my week these days is going to the Argus house on Tuesdays and learning quark express (I know I sound completely mental and need to get a Life!!!).
It is amazing!! I never knew the amount of work that went behind the printing of a newspaper everyday!!! In fact subediting is actually some days, even more interesting than news writing! I think that the attention to the smallest detail and the meticulous way each and every column is planned is nothing short of miraculous (I know, I know...I really need to get out more!!). 
reporter cartoons, reporter cartoon, reporter picture, reporter pictures, reporter image, reporter images, reporter illustration, reporter illustrations

Seriously though, for a person like me who has zero decision making ability, being able to make decisions about the layout of my own tabloid page, with complete freedom to choose the stories and pictures is in a sense, liberating. It is like a child getting to behave like a grownup without the hassle of actually being one!!
So, I end this entry on a note of optimism. I am glad I came here and decided to explore the field of journalism. The overall nature of the course for me may be frustrating and difficult but, I still get to learn some really cool things that have made me grow as an individual. 

reporter cartoons, reporter cartoon, reporter picture, reporter pictures, reporter image, reporter images, reporter illustration, reporter illustrations
PS: Reader, I have included these funny caricatures from a really cool website for your amusement

Thursday, 6 January 2011

In which I struggle with a completely new essay writing style..........

Dear Reader, I begin my first post of the New Year by wishing you a happy new year! I hope that you aren’t suffering from the aftereffects of the event or, in my case, aftershocks from my sojourn in London. I have thoroughly wasted my holidays and after all the steely resolve to polish my writing skills, I have done nothing…..absolutely NOTHING!!!!

However, I did stick to my resolution to relax but unfortunately, I took it too far. I don’t mean to say that I didn’t study for my assignments at all. In all fairness, I did doggedly go through the reading material that I lugged all the way to London. However, I cannot honestly comment on the amount of information that my brain has retained!!!!

Now, in the first week of my return, I am in a state of panic. Why, oh, why do I do this always? I NEVER seem to finish my assignments comfortably without any drama. NO, I have to go and really botch my timetable by rushing things.....The result is that now all my notes are tangled up. They are in a royal mess and I can’t make the head from the tail!!

This may seem morbidly funny to you reader, but I am in near hysterics!!! Yes!! I admit it, ‘I am a scatterbrained loony’. I wish I wasn’t but I am!! I assure you that being me is certainly not a cakewalk. But, perhaps I have some sympathisers who are in the same boat as me.

To top it all, I have to write my assignments in a completely new style!!! Yes! Your eyes don’t deceive you I am in a way flying blind. The Indian method of writing essays is different from the method used in the UK. So, I am in a way a novice like those fresh faced first year BA students!!! On that note I am signing off as reality calls and I now have to wade through a pile of work and my own indecipherable notes. Certainly not for the fainthearted, so I leave with the last stanza from Robert Frost’s poem ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’.  
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.