From Mary Kaun to Mary Kom

After convincing my friend Sneha for almost a week, we finally saw the Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom. To be fair to Priyanka Chopra, she gave her 100%. Her efforts were visible in the movie. But Mary Kom is more than what was shown in the movie.

For starters, Mary Kom is a woman (women are supposed to be in kitchen, not play ladkon wala games).
She is a boxer. No, not a cricketer, tennis player or even a badminton player… she is ‘just’ a boxer.
Brace yourself for more. She is from Manipur – a super neglected Indian state and she is a poor farmer’s daughter (so no Abhinav Bindra type posh training).

Yet despite all these challenges, magnificent Mary managed to win not one but five world cup championship titles and a bronze medal in 2012 Olympics. A two hour movie cannot do justice to this living legend. While, the director did not put an item song or ‘steamy’ scenes that are ‘vital to the script’ in between the scenes; he had to bow down to commercialization and advertise brands like iodex, tata salt and sugar free.

Moreover, Mary’s struggle was not adequately highlighted in the movie. The second half showed her rigorous practice sessions after giving birth to the twins, but it did not show her struggle after International Boxing Association (AIBA) scrapped the 46 Kg and 48 Kg categories in which she was a champion. It did not show how despite all odds, she participated in the 51 Kg category (the new lowest category) and won the bronze medal in 2012 Olympics. It is definitely not easy to shift to a new category after you’ve gained expertise in a particular one.

However, despite all these flaws, the cast and crew of this biopic should be appreciated, because finally after watching this movie, people will stop asking Mary kaun? They will probably know her as magnificent Mary Kom who made the country proud through her sheer hard work and passion.

P.S: Special kudos to Mary Kom’s husband! Not every man is as mature and understanding as Mary Kom’s husband. Like the old adage goes ‘behind every successful man there is woman’, in this case, Mary Kom’s husband is the man who contributed to her success after she became a mother. So super respect to Onler Kom!

A common trend in Indian names

 Disclaimer: This post does not intend spreading communal disharmony. This is just a fun post and should be taken in the right spirit. Any offence to any community is NOT regretted.

Two days back, my Facebook status spoke about how the older generation south Indian community was obsessed with the name Lakshmi. Only the prefix was different, otherwise every second lady was a Lakshmi.

And it is not just the south indian community. Every Indian community had a peculiar way of naming the kids. I would not say that everybody followed this trend. But majority people did follow this trend.

The current generation does an extensive research to give an exotic name to their kid (devoid of any peculiar nomenclature trend),  but my generation and the previous generations were a victim of this trend. 

Just for fun, here's a guide on how you can recognize the community of the person through their name / surname.

You know you are speaking to a South Indian when...

There is an unnecessary 'h' after 't' in the name. So, I am gayatHri not gayatri. Similarly, one of my friend's name is pritHi not priti. So if you see someone writing their name as Amith, Sunitha, Shruthi and so on, you know to which community they belong.

Note: Don't just go and flaunt your tamil in front of them, they could also be Kannada, Telugu, or Malayalam.

You know you are speaking to a Gujarati when...

 The girl's name ends with the sound 'al'. So the next time you come across names such as Jinal, Minal, Sonal, Hetal, Dimple, you know who they are. Similarly, if you come across names like Chetan, Ketan, Jinesh and Jignesh, you can safely consider them to be a Gujarati.Also the suffix bhai and ben is an indicator, best examples are: Dhirubhai, Kokilaben.

Hint: If you are able to find a gujarati using this tip, and if the person becomes friendly with you, dont forget to call me when they bring aamras puri for you.

You know the opposite person is a Sikh when...

The name ends with a Kaur / Singh. Punjabi sikh names are unisex in nature. So both a man or a woman can be Gurpreet, Manpreet and so on. Now if you come face to face with them, you don't have to put much efforts in knowing if the person is a man or a woman. But if you are sending an e-mail to the person and if you are wondering how to address them, all you need to do is check if the name ends with a Kaur or Singh. So if the e-mail id says Manpreetkaur, it's a woman and if it is Manpreet Singh, it's a man.

Note: I love parathas too... so you know what to do if this tip works for you!

You know you are speaking to a Maharashtrian when...

Ok Maharashtrians don't have a peculiar trend in naming the kids. But often their surname is an indicator. Usually maharashtrian surnames end with 'kar'. So if you come across as a Mageshkar, Patkar, Tendulkar, Parmekar, Toraskar, you know you are speaking to a Maharashtrian.

Note: Karmarkar, I am told is Bengali surname and not a Maharashtrian surname. So yeah this is not a fool-proof method. In case, if they do turn out to be a Maharashtrian, don't forget to ask for puran poli. 

There are many more, but my blog would run out of space. So I will end here.

A myth-buster: Don't assume that a surname, which ends with 'ani' is Sindhi. They can be a Kutchi or a Gujarati.

Don’t rape the Rape issue!

The recent delhi gang rape incident has enraged the entire nation.

But despite this fury, women are still being assaulted.

As if to add salt to the injury, politicians including women made some insensitive remarks on this entire issue.

For some reason all this seems staged to me, else no politician and I mean NO politician would make such illogical statements at a time when the entire nation is in fury.

All this I suspect is done to grab media’s attention. So that people will forget about amending the laws and will instead spend time outraging over the politician’s statement.

But I hope that their plan fails big time...

Just check some of the most stupid comments made by them:

“Ek hi shabd hai – Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega.” – Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya 

 “Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted” President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee.

And if you thought only men make such statements, you are wrong.

Here’s what a lady belonging to TMC had to say about the Park street gang rape case:

“If you ask me about the Park Street case, I have to tell you that it was not rape. It was a deal, which turned into a misunderstanding between the clients and the lady” - Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.

I am a born cynic, so I had lost all hopes about amendments in the laws.

After all, when your own representatives blame women for ‘provoking’ the men to rape them, what more can we expect?

They are encouraging the men indirectly to do what they want to the ladies... it’s perfectly ok because it’s the woman who crossed the lakshman rekha. 

I am also equally disgusted with Shashi Taroor’s suggestion to name the law after the girl’s name. Sir, first let the law be amended. Then we can discuss about the nomenclature. 

As it is women are not really treated well in our nation. There are very few female leaders in the Corporate sector and other fields.

And now with such people around us, I am not sure what would be the repercussions.

A report in Firstpost says that many women have already quit or reduced their working hours after the incident.

While the long term solution is to amend the laws, sensitize the police and change the mindset of the society, I don’t see it happening for another decade.

So till that is done, all that we women can do is learn to protect ourselves.

Carry a pepper spray with you, learn some self defence techniques and most importantly help others when they are in trouble. The girl’s life would have been saved, had people helped her on time.

Let the society tell anything, you wear what is comfortable to you, you meet whichever friend you want, but yes do ensure that you abide with the timings set by your parents or spouse for returning home. Because back there at home, people will be worried about you. So better not to give them unnecessary tension.

Ok, I am done with the ranting. As I said, looking at how lightly our politicians are taking this issue, I am not really expecting any changes in the existing law. At least not for now.

Just hope that all these rapists, not just in this case but all other cases are subjected to harsh punishment without any further delay. Unfortunately politicians, media and people are focusing on this case only. Punish everybody pls.

At least itna toh karo yaar!

P.S: Beside the current political drama, there is one more thing that is worrying me. Who do I vote in 2014 elections? The Congress who does nonsensical things or the BJP who talks nonsensical things or the opportunist 3rd front? It is like choosing between the devil and the deep sea. Though I respect Narendra Modi, I can’t see him as the PM of my country. His 50 crore girlfriend remark and girls dont want to put on weight hence they don't drink milk statement was enough to overshadow all the developments he has done to the wonderful Gujarat. If a potential PM can’t respect women, what do we expect from the commoners?

Why I will continue shopping in Kiranas?

FDI in retail it seems!

Good to hear about this new development.

Shamefully, I am not very well verse with the pros and cons of this new development (though I assume it’s a good decision).

But the one major point that caught my attention was about the probability of small time traders and kiranas losing their business.

This topic is of special interest to me because my day to day grocery purchases depend upon them.

As a middle class person, I understand the importance of the local kirana shops.

The local grocery shops are more flexible w.r.t delivery, pricing and even payment.

I will discuss all this point by point and compare each of them with the retail outlets like food bazaar and More that have increasingly become popular now.

  • Location:

This is one of the major reasons why I prefer kiranas more than the huge retail outlets. Outlets such as Aditya Birla’s More and Future Group’s big bazaar are almost there in every location. But nothing can beat the accessibility of local kirana shops. I will give you an example. Hypercity and Spencers are the closest retail outlets near my place. But it takes almost 15 minutes for me to go there and I am not even including the travel time and traffic here. Now if I need something urgent like say a guest has come and I want to buy soft drinks for them, can’t go to the retail outlet to purchase it. I just need to go down and buy the soft drinks or best call them up and ask them to deliver it at home.
Now imagine how the situation will be without any local kirana shop. It is almost unimaginable. I cannot tell my guest to sit for 45 minutes, while I go, buy, stand in the queue to pay the bill and come back, right? That’s why I like my local kirana shop. They give me everything within few minutes.

  • Home Delivery:

For people who own a car or stay nearby, it is easier to buy grocery and carry it themselves. But for people like me who neither own a vehicle nor stays nearby, retail outlets can be a huge hassle because most of these outlets do not have a home delivery option. And if they have, you need to buy in bulk. This problem is well taken care of by local shops. Even if you stay in the same building or have ordered just 100 Rs of grocery, the kiranawala will send his delivery boy to your home. You need not have to huff and puff with hundreds of packets in your hand.

  • Fixed Rate:

In India, the first lesson that every mother teaches her kid who goes shopping for the first time is bargaining.
 I remember my mom telling me to ask for 6 bananas for 10 Rs when I first went alone a shop.
Yes you can bargain with your local shop vendor, but not in these outlets. In fact, don’t even try bargaining there because you will be given strange looksJ.
Everything in the outlets has a fixed price. Yes, some things are priced less than the MRP but for products like dal and fruits, you should always buy from the grocery because even though there is a fixed price, they adjust it somehow to make it a round figure. One more major thing, the fruits and vegetables in these markets are not as fresh as those available in the market. They look very shrivelled. Best to buy perishable things like vegetables, fruits, milk etc from the local market than in these outlets. Even packed snacks like haldiram bhujia are not as crunchy as they should be.
From round figure, I remember one important point. In local shops you can bindaas tell the shopkeeper to adjust and make a round figure bill. For example, if you have purchased things worth Rs 173, you can tell the shopkeeper to give at Rs 170. They will do some jhol jaal and do it for you. In retail outlets, you can’t do that. They will make a round figure, but that will be at the higher side.

  • Difference between Credit card and credit system:

This point was raised by my professor some 6 years ago and I think it is quite valid.
My professor one day asked us, there are so many food retail outlets coming up in India, do you think it will be as popular as your kirana dukaan.
We all unanimously said yes. He said ‘NO’.  In his view, no matter how popular these outlets become, kirana dukaans will always exist.
The simple reason being that we can buy things on credit...
And this I believe is quite valid.
 It happens to me a lot of time...
I go to buy something, find zero money in my wallet, tell the shopkeeper to write it down and then pay it after a month when my salary is credited. Now credit cards are accepted in malls but then there is nothing like having an account with your grocery shop. Also, you cannot buy a 10 Rs item on credit from retail outlets, can you?

  • Buy as much as you want and not as much as they want:

Want only 10 gms of elaichi, 50 gms of cashew nuts, Rs 5 of coriander leaves or just 200 gms of tuvar dal?
Go to the local kirana shop because they will give you the quantity you desire.
If you go to the retail outlets, chances are that you won’t get the desired quantity. Mostly you will have to buy in bulk. You will compulsorily have to purchase 50 gms of elaichi even if you need just 10 gms because they are already packed. In kiranas they are sold loose so you can buy as much as you want.
I will give you an example. We are rice eaters. We eat rotis only at night. So ideally we don’t require more than 1 kg of atta for a month. If we go to buy in malls, we mostly don’t get the 1 kilo atta. We normally get the 5 kilo atta packet. Not that kirana shops have 1 kilo atta ready but if you tell them, they will get it for you in a week somehow.
But the main reason why I prefer local kirana shops is because they give you personalized treatment. Something that you cannot expect in malls.
Your local shopkeeper will know what you like, what you dislike, what are your preferences etc. He will inform you every time there is something new in the market. For example, my kirana wala uncle informs my mom about the new biscuits that have come in the market almost every week, just because we are biscuit loversJ.
Knowingly or unknowingly they become your extended family.
Of course I love shopping in these large retail outlets. You have the freedom to browse through the multiple brands on the rack, study them, compare them and purchase them. But when it comes to personalized treatment no one can beat the warmth of the local kirana shops. They simply look after you. And what more do we Indian who has an emotional connect with everybody need?
Though I think FDI in retail is a good decision, considering that it will be more organized and create more job opportunities for youth, I sincerely hope that the kiranas coexist in the society.
I cannot imagine a day without purchasing anything from Devshri Ratilal shop or the new chayya shop near my placeJ.
Hope kirana shops don’t become extinct.