Friday, May 31, 2013

To Bangalore and Chennai, and Back Again

Bangalore is one of my favorite cities, so when Women's Web asked me to do a workshop with them there, I jumped at the offer. And not only is Bangalore lovely, it's also India's startup hub, and Nilesh and I decided this was a good excuse to go there and meet a few entrepreneurs we wanted to talk to.

Chennai, too? Women's Web asked. I agreed, and only later realized that Chennai in May was probably a bad idea for a heat-averse person.

Anyway. Bangalore was just as lovely as I expected.  We stayed with a friend I hadn't seen for thirteen years, and her boyfriend and brother, and they graciously made room for us and cooked for us and included us in their days. They even cleaned after us -- and used as I am to us and all our friends having household help, this feels like a big deal. We felt so much at home I wasn't homesick (and I'm usually homesick the third day I'm away from home, and this was five days).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Racism in "Heart of Darkness" and Vacuity in the "Great Gatsby"

I read Heart of Darkness a long time ago. I'm not sure if I recognized the racism: I do remember being very bored. Eh, okay, white man angst, move on. Why is nothing happening? I remember feeling glad I wasn't studying English literature and didn't have to read this. (I'd borrowed it from a friend who did.)

@jayaprakash_s shared this essay by Chinua Achebe (whose novels I haven't read yet but plan to start soon) criticizing Heart of Darkness for its racism. Consider these paragraphs from the book:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mid-Week Read: Angelina Jolie's Masectomy

If you haven't read Angelina Jolie's op-ed in the New York Times, read it now. How can one woman be so beautiful, talented, strong, and all-around amazing?

Sorry for being almost absent from this blog lately: there's been a lot going on. We're off to Bangalore on Thursday (and then Chennai), but I'll be more regular once I'm back. Really.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Stop Picking on Childless Women

I loved this piece titled It's Very Condescending to Tell a Childless Woman She'd Be a Great Mom.
It's like telling a friend who you know has a paralyzing fear of wild animals that she would make a great game warden. Seriously, she should just shake off her deep-seated anxiety about being around rhinos and lions and just go out there and guide some poor innocent family on a safari. I'm sure you'll do fine!
Did you know Shakuntala Devi wrote a book advocating gay rights?

Why is the feminist movement in an identity crisis? Just look at the back of your jeans.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Bangalore and Chennai in May

Hello, there.

I'll be in Bangalore and Chennai later this month to conduct online marketing workshops for Women's Web. If any of you are in either city, I'd love to meet you.

I'm excited about these workshops for a number of reasons. For one, it will be great to meet some of the members of Women's Web's vibrant community.

Two, I've been planning a visit to Bangalore for a while, because the startup scene there is so active and we want to check it out.

Third, I've visited both cities several times before, and it will be wonderful to go back. I wish we weren't going in the peak of summer, and that my foot had healed enough to let me be more active, but that can't be helped.

And also, it's been a while since I went anywhere. There was Guwahati last May, and nothing after that. I usually hate long train or bus journeys, but it's been a couple of years since the last one, so I'm hoping the novelty will help. (Rather, trains hate me. The most punctual of trains will run late if I'm to travel in them.)

Anyway, if you're in Bangalore or Chennai and would like to meet up, send me an email at unmanaswords at gmail.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Love and Aging in Hollywood

I loved these two articles about leading men of Hollywood and their usually much younger leading women. I was surprised at some of these -- partly because I don't watch many movies -- but also, I realized my perceptions of many male stars' ages were off by a decade or so. I had thought that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were roughly the same age, for instance.

Anyway. Read:
While on Hollywood, do you have any fun movies to recommend? My movie-watching has gone down even further, just because I'm so sick of bad movies. I did watch Kahani finally and wished I had watched it in a theatre -- it was pretty damn good. What new movies should I go to the theatre for?

Also, did you hear of Hilary Clinton's speech about women's rights being a security issue?
Speaking of the young woman raped and disemboweled on a bus in New Delhi, Clinton said, "If her life embodied the aspirations of a rising nation, her death and her murder, pointed to the many challenges still holding it back. The culture of rape is tied up with a broader set of problems: official corruption, illiteracy, inadequate education, laws and traditions, customs, culture, that prevent women from being seen as equal human beings." Clinton continued, "India will rise or fall with its women. It's had a tradition of strong women leaders, but those women leaders like women leaders around the world like those who become presidents or prime ministers or foreign ministers or heads of corporations cannot be seen as tokens that give everyone else in society the chance to say we've taken care of our women."