toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
 I think I feel guilty about writing Boromir as always-a-cis-woman, even though barely anyone will read the fic and even though she doesn't have a romantic story-line going, because when I came into fandom  the tendency of gender-bending in order to write your ship safely heterosexual was just coming under critical fire and I absorbed it like a sponge.
So I can say all I want that to explore the ways in which the narrative would change, or how people would react, and whether the Fellowship is different and how and why (not), and what it means to survive and to survive when you're a woman, and what it is to be a woman who cannot slide into the sweetness of marital domesticity, and how to deal with barrenness and grief and mourning family everyone else is glad to see the back of, and...
And I can say all of that, and a lot more, and mean every scrap of it, and I still feel like I'm doing this to write het. porn and letting the side down and I should be ashamed of myself. I am, ohboy, to the extent of trying to self-justify with "at least it's not a Mary Sue self-insert" when I don't really think that's something to be ashamed of, either.
I'm ashamed and it's irritating me no end.

toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
  • been on the train 26 hours
  • lived with a distant-ish friend and [personal profile] filia_noctis in a hotel room for three days
  • interviewed for a fellowship (didn't clear it)
  • lived with friends from undergrad and their husband. boyfriend, and cousin (all roommates) over the weekend
  • lived with a friend from masters and his parents for three days
  • wrote Aragorn/fem!Boromir rape-recovery porn
  • worked in an archive where the archivist was consistently too busy to pull the material I wanted to access
  • variously rode the metro and took flights and flights of stairs with a densely packed rucksack longer than my torso
  • attended and presented a paper at a two-day conference
  • played nice with utter strangers over the stretch of 60 hours or so
  • travelled for 25 hours in the company of an irritable infant.


Jun. 7th, 2015 06:17 am
toujours_nigel: blueboy (kanai)
I wrote about this a little on Facebook, but it's hard to get into it there for a variety of reasons. So anyway. What is it about rape that makes it worse than physical assault of comparable brutality?

Full disclosure. aaand here a cut for talk of sexual assault in various contexts, including slavery )

ETA: Using my 'kanai' icon because rewatching the B.R. Chopra Mahabharat drives in the fact that for a text extremely open about violence, and an ability to provide human-and-divine (so that the divine is mostly ignorable) motivation for most actions, it skirts like hell around the question of Draupadi being disrobed and/or assaulted even while talking a *lot* about family honour in exactly that context, and avoids it entirely through divine intervention with yards and yards of sari.
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
Well, I always knew it was rampant, but I've managed through a combination of thick skin and micro-groups to avoid stumbling across the worst of it (I do sometimes go looking/follow links but that's different). It makes one think one's immune, and then you happen across something like:
Well, you may be right, and perhaps I'm displaying West European prejudice, because I'd probably find this argument more convincing if it was India...

re: kidnapping and the dangers of following the kidnapper to a foreign country where one doesn't know the language and can't vote. The canonical country is Switzerland, where, as people have pointed out in-discussion, women didn't at the time have the vote, just to start with.

In India, women had the vote in 1947, which was when men got the vote.

I'm not saying the situation wasn't bad in India then, in fact it's rather awful now, but honestly, this sort of thing makes my skin crawl.

In other news, my sister had her surgery early today and is groggy and pissed off, but okay. Thanks for all the good wishes. ♥
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

Today one of my juniors messaged me on Facebook  “What are we going to do?” And that is how I found out that a female student in EFLU, while intoxicated—and therefore unable to meaningfully consent—had been allegedly molested by her male friends, who gave her weed prior to the attack. The molestation allegedly amounted to attempted rape; I add this because any number of sexual violations are trivialised in this country and on this campus.

Hearteningly, the administration appears to be taking all the correct steps. The student has lodged an F.I.R. and routing investigation is underway. Two students have been charged and two others interrogated in this connection. These are the facts as we have discovered them from local, regional-language news-media. The administration might have—and probably has—issued a statement to the media. The media reports—one cannot be sure of the absolute truth of this statement—that the police are emphasising the presence of intoxicants and narcotics; it is certainly true that a plainclothes raid was performed by the police on the boys’ hostel in search of narcotics. Given the usual she-was-asking-for-it trend regarding the sexual abuse of intoxicated women, this is slightly terrifying news, though to be fair nothing of the sort has been said yet.

It is important that this case be handled with immediacy and transparency, not only by the legal authorities but also by the university administration in the figure of a reconstituted GSCASH partially staffed by elected student members. It is equally important that it not be regarded as an isolated, unique event, the likes of which have never happened on this campus before, nor will happen since. EFLU is a good place, as far as gender equality goes: women smoke, booze, walk around campus late at night, have active sex-lives. It is also a place where sexual harassment is rife both within romantic relationships—yes, yes, that can happen, my children, and often does—and in encounters with strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Occasionally faculty members. Often seniors. Female students are subjected to moral-policing; their feminine performativity is strictly scrutinised; their dietary, smoking, and drinking habits are investigated and treated as symptomatic of their moral character; promiscuity is treated as license, of not to rape then to sexual harassment. Good girls are expected to toe ever-shrinking lines; bad girls—defined loosely as anyone who smokes, drinks, has sex, shouts, protests, has male friends—are construed as “asking for it”.

In the past—I can speak of the past four years and change—the university administration has dealt with cases of gendered violence—be it stone-pelting or catcalling—by advising female students to restrict their activities and movement. When students have been reluctant to do so, the administration has often taken the decision into their own hands and passed edicts making these restrictions obligatory. That it has not yet done so in this case is a good sign, though it is still early days.

Rules limiting female—and indeed male—students to increasingly restricted spaces and timings are not the answer. Barring entry into hostels, or closing the academic buildings after the end of class hours, are not measures that will decrease or end sexual and gendered violence—let us also remember that same-sex violence, not all of it sexual, also occurs and cannot be talked about in our hetero-patriarchal normativity. These measures will only restrict camaraderie between students and, by suspecting all cross-gender interactions to be sexual in nature, increase the possibility of gendered violence. Rather than enforcing rules that limit female students—and also male students, though rules limiting them are few and far-between in EFLU—to classrooms, hostels, and heavily-policed spaces, the administration should embark upon and encourage gender-sensitization campaigns across campus, among students of all genders as well as among teaching and non-teaching staff.

In India, we live by default in a rape-culture, where the rape-survivor is supposed to be a living corpse and is indeed often killed by her family if she survives the assault, where the verbal harassment of women in public is seen as normal behaviour and only to be expected if one ventures out-of-doors, where domestic violence is a domestic matter and incestuous assaults on children—as well as assaults by friends and strangers—are universally treated as the fault of the attacked individual. Girls, we are told, “must have done something” to have been raped, and boys “can’t control themselves”. We prize honour and honour-killings and corrective rape above love affairs that are inter-religious, inter-caste, inter-community, or intra-sexual. Promiscuous women, prostitutes and sex-workers of various stamps are held impossible to rape since they were asking for it by having a sex-life. Marital rape is impossible; non-consensual incest is invisible and indeed legal. Respect for women increasingly involves limiting their choices, restricting them—often by force—and victim-blaming if they are assaulted while trying to live full lives, professionally and personally: including but not limited to freedom of movement, the liberty to choose their professions, go on vacations alone, go to a pub or late-night show, take walks at four in the morning if they so choose. The students in EFLU come from, and continue to inhabit this society, this hetero-normative rape-culture. Outside, and even inside, the campus this is what the students experience and what female students—not exclusively, but in far greater numbers—are subjected to.

What happened on the 31st is not an isolated incident and should not be treated as such. Nor should the response be to create an environment where female students are scared to take long walks at night, or visit their male friends, or indeed are forbidden from doing so. Today a number of students—quite a few of them male—rallied in support of the harassed complainant, and asked for non-restrictive measures to be taken by the administration and the GSCASH (among them the reconstitution of the latter statutory body, which has been defunct in EFLU for several months). This is an excellent step—and as a cynical veteran of EFLU protests and on-campus attempts at gender-equality and gender-justice, extremely reassuring to witness—but we ought not, must not, stop here.


[reproduced from a note on Facebook.]

toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

Mudasir Kamran was taken to the police-station on Friday. He died on Saturday. There was a candle-light march on Sunday. Classes were stopped on Monday. On Tuesday. On Wednesday. On Thursday we had an open forum; in the evening the V.C finally deigned to speak to protesting students, and then ran away mid-negotiation left escorted by security through the back-door. On Friday she announced that there would be a null semester from Monday, should classes not begin. We have never heard of this option before, though classes have been suspended earlier for longer periods and for other reasons; but it does neatly make the issue academic. To disrupt classes has never been the goal of this protest, and prior to the V.C's Great Escape we had hoped to be in class ourselves from Friday; instead we find ourselves villainised.


On Monday we might have class. There will be police on campus. Some students have petitioned for class, so I hope they will be happy. We have been told that we are making it a Muslim issue, a Kashmiri issue. Mudasir was a Kashmiri Muslim, but apparently to bring out these things is an act of indiscipline and indecency. (We will not go into the homosexuality issue, and one hopes that the mental disorder issue does not need to be discussed.)


The member of faculty implicated in these things is to be investigated by a committee yet to be constituted; he has not been suspended, but since he is on leave our V.C opines that that need not happen. Proctorial duties have been (unofficially) handed on to another faculty member.


On Monday there will be class. Libraries will be open. The 'net lab. will be accessible. Everything will return to normal. Oh, and a boy is dead by his own hand, who the administration handed over to the police as their first reaction upon hearing that he was physically violent towards a friend, without investigating the matter, without reprimanding the student, or offering him counselling.


But on Monday there will be classes.

There's a fair bit of literature being produced about this by the protestors, but most of it is on FB. So, here's one that isn't:

just no

Dec. 7th, 2011 02:43 am
toujours_nigel: (omgewwww)
 I wish for once that authors would accommodate a large number and variety of awesome people in their novels, and nevermind whether or not they clash horribly or show up interesting contrasts. And, this above all, your high-feminist priestess/warrior-chick does not have to, and should not be forced to, in any way/shape/form negate your delicate, poised, lovely young princess. Hell, they can be the same person, what with that thing about being able to contain multitudes. But if they aren't--and yes, the same society can bloody well accommodate both/all sorts, bloodygods--then they can get along, or at least, you, the narrator/author needn't play such stark favourites, please please, prettyfuckingplease.

and no. Just, no. Down Guinevere, Up Morgana is not a fun game, no indeed it is not. Especially when, dear Marion Zimmer Bradley, especially when you make Guinevere a sweet, simpering, missish young girl, and seem to forget that female leisure is a relatively new creature and the bloody High Queen of Britain will, in fact, not get to sit around stitching Christian tapestries all the bloody time. Where are her godsfucking courtiers, I ask you? Where are her lands, her vassals, her maids-of-honour, her coterie. And not, not, not absofuckinglutely not just the high born women of her husband's clan/court, where are her women? and why is she behaving like someone out of a saas-bahu serial?


Bloody T.H. White (god rest his dead white male soul) at least made me cry with the people. It's the bloody Arthuriad, what's the point if they're not all great-hearted fools who break you to teeny tiny miniscule pieces? What is this Tristan and Isolde? 

toujours_nigel: Greek, red-figure Rhea (Rhea)
Last year, I took up a Human Rights course. I attended perhaps five classes, including tests. In one of those, the woman teaching us informed us that it's okay if a man hits his wife once. This led, inevitably, to outrage among those of us who were from English--and, no doubt, among the others, but it was a pass course, and I don't really know. She has subsequently commited suicide. I don't know whether any cause has been pinpointed, but a contributing factor was certainly her marriage dissolving--another was her job.

Was she standing in class, telling 19-21 year old boys and girls that some domestic violence is okay because she regretted leaving her husband--conjecture, entirely, but they were separated--or because her case had gone beyond some? Impossible to know, and it isn't that I want to, not that particular woman's life.

But. But I have spoken to a girl who said in light conversation that her mother had tried infanticide, I've been friends with a girl whose family treated her like so much trash and her male cousin like their saviour, nevermind that he didn't have their name and wasn't, technically, theirs. I know a woman whose mother-in-law tried starving her for some small error by the simple expedient of not having enough rice cooked--because, of course, she had to wait till everyone else was served. There are others, whose lives are circumscribed by the simple fact that they are women, and so their food, their clothes, their education, carreer, marriage, are all chosen by others, and they are so very many in number that I cannot remember them.

They are a fact not only of their lives, but of mine, and I am so used to it that I feel no trace of shame or sorrow or survivor's guilt, that I have the freedom of screaming at my father and choosing my own clothes, and reading what books I choose, and cropping my hair short, and taking a drink or having a joint, when so many others not only cannot, but cannot think of doing so. I think I should, sometimes, but what price a woman's sorrow? Cheapest commodity around, that.

Better to straighten your spine and lift your head and raise your voice and live. Besides, I don't deal well with responsibilities, they bore me.
toujours_nigel: Greek, red-figure Rhea (Rhea)
if I have mail I haven't answered or things I haven't done. I've been on campus ten hours today, and on my feet most of those. Yesterday I was on campus planning and preparing for today, and the day before I hung out with a friend.

The few hours I've been online I've spwnt chewing through the yuletide archive.

I'll catch up tomorrow, collapsing now.
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
to this post. Apparently (you might be able to read code, I can't) the gender specification-thing has been pushed back. So, a cautious yay.
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
So, now you can't be on lj if you don't identify as male or female. tata, gender ambiguity. And why? So they can litter your pages with better ads. Sheeesh.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have 'female' selected. Whatever. I identify as female. Doesn't make me better. Doesn't do a single damn thing, really, other than get me pelted with diet and dating advertisements. Four years ago, I'd have picked unspecified. Five, I'd prolly have picked male.

Ironically, I'm half-way through an essay/article/whatever about how cool it is that you can construct your own identity online. Way to fuck that up, lj.

Anyway, constructive things. Set your gender to unspecified, if you'd rather. Head on over here for more and better info. Send lj feedback.

I have one Dreamwidth invite left, so, if you want, drop me a line.
toujours_nigel: (omgewwww)
Keanu Reeves ) is not Ramachandra ).

Gary Oldman ) is not Ravana )



toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

In other news. Google wants to text me a verification code before letting me create an email account. And I got frustrated and closed the tab before I got texted. And so I went through the whole fucking thing again, and am waiting to be texted. So.
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
So, watching Maqbool might just be the nicest way to ease oneself into studying Macbeth at breakneck speed. Quite apart from all else, Pankaj Kapur is the kick-assest King Duncan EVAH. (now if only his son would display the genes he got from Daddy, okay, must not go off-topic)

ADG does in fact ramble a lot. I have the notes to prove it.

Why doesn't Lady Macbeth have a naaaame? I'm terribly miffed about this. I also am sad I didn't spot this earlier, because, good lord, what fun could have been had. Too late now.

Wikipedia tells me the wife of the historical Macbeth was called Gruoch ingen Boite.

[ profile] applegnat suggests Jane, which is not without merit. Mostly because it makes me think of Jane Fairfax, the good twin. (or Jane Murdstone, the eviller one. triplets?)

Does anyone think Jane Fairfax might have been related to Edward Fairfax? He of Rochester Manor?

Just think of good Aunt Jane paying a visit, ahahaha.

So clearly I am manic (not high, oh I wish I were high, *sigh*. yes, i rhymed very badly, shutup), and should be getting back to my notes.

on that note, i leave you with Lord and Lady Macbeth, Bollywood-ishtyle.

ETA: omg! a seeequellll

thank y'all

Nov. 8th, 2009 10:42 pm
toujours_nigel: (omgewwww)
So clearly you guys are awesome. [ profile] ithiliana just left me three separate rambly comments in response to this post, and [ profile] applegnat mailed me. And then there's my wife, who's clearly a different kind of crazy.


me: :(
[ profile] dearlyderanged : awww.
ki hoyechhe?
me: dunno.
speak with me?
[ profile] dearlyderanged : vokay.
you can has kitties?
me: kitties are good
[ profile] dearlyderanged : indeed they are.
write drabble.
on that
me: i sawww.
[ profile] dearlyderanged : yes.
think animal farm
me: i.
oh come on.
[ profile] dearlyderanged : no.
i dare you. you sez u has no lines.
me: ohgood god woman.
i said that was a BAD thing
[ profile] dearlyderanged : goat-fic.
i wants it.
hippie goat fic.
alternate world.
talking animals.
me: you're a strange sort of wife, my love
[ profile] dearlyderanged : or maybe just from the pov of someone who's high.
frat boy, why not?
me: i. was thinking that, actually
[ profile] dearlyderanged : now you're doomed.
me: i like the mind-meld, but why always on such strange topics?
[ profile] dearlyderanged : because such is the method of mind-meldery.
mind-melding on everyday stuff is boring.
and hardly justifiable as mind-meldery at all.
me: indeed.
for the record, baby girl, i'm doing this under protest.
[ profile] dearlyderanged : of course you are.


me: i hate you. )
toujours_nigel: (omgewwww)
Of course I'd find this today. This post was going to be a random and rambling discussion on The Charioteer and Maurice and how the 'ideal' lover in both rejects the idea of sex, and how odd it is to unironically call Renault comparitively explicit, but, as is, please go kill her? She thinks homosexuals didn't exist 100 years ago, *sigh*

Please? Thanks. She just ruined my entire fannishness about Alexander. My life is a lie. How will I surviiive?
toujours_nigel: Dali (procrastination)

Quite near a cafe my friends and I frequent is a guest-house called "The Human Element Guest-House". I kid you not, my face is somber. But why that name? None of us has ever approached the owner to ask him this. We shrug, point and laugh, at times take photographs of this, but it has not yet happened that we have asked him/her.

Of course, the story might be quite boring, real stories sometimes are, but it's likely to be convoluted. Ask someone on the street why they are named what they are, and you'll likely end with a long explanation you wish you'd not heard. Names are interesting things. Sadly, a lot of the interest they hold is that of those who choose it. Y'see (my Amreekan and/or Uropian frendz) we pick names because of their meaning and they often are attributes one wishes upon the child.

This can, and often does, have hilarious and/or ironic results. A kid called Padmalochan (Lotus-eyes), might develop a squint, or Sudarshan (Good-looking) might be, well, ugly. This, as one can see, is of some little concern; a woman I know refused to name her kid something she mightn't grow up to become. Henry VII's eldest, Arthur, died before he could become England's Once and Future King. I'm always horror-struck by women called any version of Draupadi and/or Sita's name.

But that's reality; fictional names are far more interesting. Take, for instance, Sirius Black, who becomes a black dog, or Remus Lupin, who's a werewolf. Or take, again, the name that first prompted me to write this. Hallam Tennyson, named after Arthur Hallam. Or, rather, Hallam/Tennyson. Why would you name your kid after your lover?

Or, to revert to Harry Potter, why the fuck would you name your daughter after your mother, and your sons after the two men in their lives? Reallly, why? (Unless you're supporting siblingcest, in which case, carry on, boss. In this vein I mention James/Sirius Potter.)

Why this blathering? Only because Charlie names his betting stand 'Mikhail & Co.' and, being sure that, boss, Mikhail died, one wonders how he might've explained that to the diamon-clad bimbette in the large hat, and is very amused, as mentioned, by the Hallam/Tennyson style of naming. Also, perhaps, because the grad-school application essay must be drafted and I am, as usual, procrastinating.

toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
I'm very very very happy. This is disclosed now because none of this will make much sense unless you know that. (One doubts how much sense it will make even when you do, but then I have an excuse for that, no?

Today I went to watch Kaminey with [ profile] fireshowers and [ profile] theotherrimi and, frankly, I do not ever recollect enjoying a film this much. The last two films I loved so much were Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, both of which came with their own baggage, and neither of which, frankly, was this enjoyable.

This film took every cliche available (twins with single difference, premarital sex, bromance, mafia, corrupt cops, childhood sad backstory) and played it to the full, rubbed your face into the cliche, and made you love it. To say it in Bengali, "dhore tthuke diyechhe, boss".

And, speaking of Bengali, I <3, so much, the Bengali characters in it, not least because one is a local actor and the other a stage/theatre actor I have a long-standing crush on (Chandan Roy Sanyal, who was also Lysander in Tim Supple's Midsummer Night's Dream, and as, though very differently delicious), but also because the very Bangali dialogues and galagal came through so well. (I'm sure those who know Marathi will say the same, and I'm sad I don't understand the language because I missed a lot of the innuendoes). Because, boss, innuendoes there were so many of.

And just the sheer, happy-evil energy of the film was fucking overwhelming, okay. Mikhail (Chandan's character) I loved madly, what with the menace and the exuberance and the unabashed maleness of him, and of one the Shahid Kapur/Kapoor characters, Charlie, his partner-in-crime, and, one supposes, many other things. And, oh, god, ohgodohgodohgod, this song, however it may sound out of context, in context it makes you fucking well dance, which, yes, is what [ profile] theotherrimi and I were actually doing in the hall. You can't help it, the boys are so fucking high on life and coke, and have, seriously, so little sense of personal space, and they're just so damn happy...

This is not to say that there's a happy ending or anything, it's all very real, down to the last snub at the turning-straight cliche (that is very equivocal and barbed, bosses). Nobody was OTT, nobody dressed and/or spoke in a way that was off, the dancing in the street was in-character, the baarat was fabulous (also, Priyanka Chopra is hot, I never realised this till now, but she's damn hot, and she's good, too, as an actress, not a combination always found.) The villains, the kamineys, as it were, were deliciously perfect, from Amol Gupte, (man, where were you hiding only?) to Rajatabho (guru, totally too cools) to the dude who played Tashi who I have googled and located as Tenzing Nima, but who had the lovely dialogue, 'why fight for no reason, am I America?'. The non-Charlie twin, Guddu, was also very much a kamina on a lower-key, and the Charlie version was fucking perfect. And Mikhail was totes <333.

Also, then we went and stuffed our faces and bitched, which also contributed to the happiness, but what.ever, dudes, that does not in any way detract from my sheer glee at this film, which I, swear to Krishna, am so going to own as soon as it comes out on VCD/DVD. Because, seriously, I wants my paws on it, yes, my preciousss, I doesss.

P.S.: Beloveds, this film, is the loveliest, most in-your-face thing I have ever seen. Also, Charlie/Mikhail are very very exuberantly and masculinely gay. (Mikhail, gun-toting, high-on-life, drunk, innuendo-spouting Mikhail, comes into a room full of gun-toting mafia who Charlie is trying to appease, and perches on a hammock, legs-crossed.) Also, I have never ever ever loved a girl in Bollywood cinema as much as I love Priyanka Chopra here as Sweetie, and I'm an inveterate lover of Kajol, who's always pretty in-your-face. But, she never shoots people in the face! And Sweetie does! And, ohmygod, Charlie names his betting stand 'Mikhail & Co.'! What a Hallam Tennyson (Hallam/Tennyson, hehe) move! eeee!

N.B: As I said to [ profile] theotherrimi, on the auto-ride home, in a sudden fit of inspiration, Mikhail is basically Adam Lambert (c.f. paranthesis in P.S.)


toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

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