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Rituparna Chatterjee
Thursday , December 19, 2013

Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan's separation: I knew it. Nothing good can come of a traffic light transaction

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The first car mobile charger I bought at a traffic signal in 2010 came apart in three days. I was quite appalled because it had 'Nokai' printed on it and all. That made me extremely wary about anything I buy at traffic intersections. But my faith in humanity outweighed my faith in cheap Chinese gadgets. And once again I invested in a battery operated helicopter. For a friend. The damned flying cockroach hit a child in the nose and crashed into a boggy peat. Ever since, I've stopped buying things at traffic lights. Let me go into the details of why I was once a huge fan of pedestrian romance that prompted me to do things at traffic signals. It was the winter of 2000 and I was in college. My class of science undergrads decided one day to check out this new film 'Kaho Naa Pyar Hai..'....

Friday , November 22, 2013

Workplace sex abuse: How to 'atone' for a 'lapse of judgement'

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When a media organisation that champions the cause of the underdog is caught in sexual assault allegations and its head tries to pass off what should have been reported as a crime as a 'lapse in judgement', it's time to introspect. Here's the truth about workplace harassment - it happens all the time, it's rarely taken seriously (especially if the victim is a man) and almost always the needle of suspicion points towards the woman as having 'invited' the aggression. In the Tehelka incident, the offence is diluted further through a letter that brushes off the allegation as a 'bad lapse of judgment' - Tarun Tejpal could almost have been discussing stocks and bonds. While he does not specifically address charges of sexual abuse in his letter, the allegation leveled by the female journalist is of sexual assault and harassment. Tejpal will get his day....

Tuesday , January 22, 2013

'Kuchh kam nahi ho sakta?' How to buy perfume in India

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If you look at it from a man's point of view, a tiny, 30 ml bottle of perfume costing anything between Rs 2500 to Rs 8000 is probably a crime against humanity - ranking just under serial killing. But there are stranger things on heaven and earth and thankfully men often have no control over them. How an Indian woman buys a bottle of perfume is testimony to her sly ingenuity. In India you get brilliant fakes of every foreign luxury brand available, which makes wearing a Gucci a bloody headache to parties. Your ill-informed friends are bound to embarrass you by asking 'Is that a real Gucci?' To which you would give a supercilious smile and say 'yes'. To which they'd respond - 'Kamlanagar se liya? (Got it from Kamlanagar?)' Long suffering franchisees have taken to drastic means to sell foreign perfume in India as....

Monday , November 26, 2012

Gangnam Style: Make it stop! Make it stop!

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Be careful what you wish for. I wished that Justin Bieber gets his comeuppance for his hugely popular and supremely annoying 'Baby...baby..ooh...baby...' Fate just bit me in the ass with 'Oppa...Gangnam Style!' If you have ever had four helpings of everything at a party only to come home and discover that your wife has lovingly cooked you a five course meal you cannot say no to for diplomatic reasons, you will know exactly how I feel at the moment about Gangnam Style. I cannot sit through another rendition by fat uncles at lavish weddings, celebrities at award functions, lame-ass wastrels at pubs, students at school corridors, mothers inside their kitchens and babies inside foetuses - and I WON'T CALM THE F*** DOWN. It wouldn't be half as painful if I still had control over what I wanted to watch - except that I don't.....

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Poverty and lack of privacy need not lead to rape

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Everyone has an opinion on rape - which isn't a bad thing unless the opinion is used to over-simplify a subject so contentious that it can prove counter-productive if not handled with sensitivity. I was mostly baffled when I read Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics Abhijit Banerjee's column on rape in the Hindustan Times on Wednesday, titled 'It's time to get real'. While Banerjee said he was not defending rape in his article, but the heinous act does form the basis of his argument that inequality of access to sex and privacy in urban India is a factor in sexual assaults. Read Banerjee's column here. While I agree with Banerjee on some specific points stated in his column (the right to privacy, for example), I strongly feel taking an apologist's stance will not help tackle the menace. I have the following counter-arguments. I....

Tuesday , October 30, 2012

Sukumar Ray's 125th birth anniversary: Cut some slack for Gangaram

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Growing up with Sukumar Ray meant I was threatened twice a day to be married off at the tender age of six to the staggeringly fearful, fictional figure of Gangaram if I didn't eat my cereals. I had the propensity to find trouble. Or as my grandfather believed, trouble found me. At the age of four, I would wade all afternoon through waist-high grass in the backyard garden that was home to a wide variety of snakes when the hustle bustle of the house died down to a muted buzz. Caught, as I would inevitably be and dragged back to bed for the insufferable afternoon snooze, I would hum myself to sleep, thinking of Gangaram from the kingdom of Posta, whose streets I imagined were lined with poppy plants yielding rich harvests of seeds that went to make one of my most favourite food in the whole world.....

Monday , October 15, 2012

Open letter to men: Let's talk about rape

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'Rape is mostly consensual' - Haryana Congress leader 'Rape is just another method of conception' - Congressman Paul Ryan 'Some girls, they rape so easy' - Wisconsin (US) lawmaker 'If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down' - US Republican Todd Akin 'I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur' - Haryana Khap Panchayat member Sube Singh I beg the pardon of the faceless men and women victims of sexual assault if I give the impression at any time that I have appointed myself their representative without having physically or mentally experienced even a fraction of their pain and trauma. I am not an authority on sexual abuse....

Friday , September 14, 2012

Barfi: Cloud-swept Darjeeling, Murphy Radio, Goodricke Tea and aching, bitter-sweet nostalgia

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The last time a film triggered this kind of aching, clawing nostalgia is Satyajit Ray's 1962 complex family drama 'Kanchenjunga' set amid the dew-soaked hill roads of Darjeeling. With economic dependence on exhaustive tourism, the hills have lost much their sheen, but Rituparno Ghosh's decade-old emotional saga 'Titli' revived some of the quaint charm of North Bengal's lush beauty. Ten years after 'Titli', talented cinematographer Ravi Varman has rekindled the lost romance of the hills using silhouettes of silence and shadows. Varman is known for his work with filmmakers S Shankar (Anniyan, dubbed into Hindi as Aparichit: The Stranger) and Gautham Menon (Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu). The misty mornings clothed in a heavy layer of fog, a stunning sunset, a bustling market right on the tracks of the grand Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the bone chilling cold descending on a night of twinkling lights on the slopes, the....

Monday , July 23, 2012

An open letter to Oprah Winfrey from an Indian who eats with her hand

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"I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?" - Oprah Winfrey Dear Oprah, Even as I try to wrap my head around your amazingly presumptuous statement, your host breaks into a huge grin and says "usually we use only one hand to eat." Good god. But there's laughter around the table. You will soon realize that food humour is the best kind of humour in India, next only to toilet humour. The upper-middleclass family you visit offers you a thali, an assortment of food that in India is considered a filling and balanced meal. The man of the house points to a green lump in the corner. "That's okra." "This? This is okra?" Only, in India we call it ladies finger. In fact, if vegetable vendors had their way bhindi would join bandobast in the English dictionary any day. I am mildly thankful to....

Sunday , June 17, 2012

Mamata Banerjee on Facebook: 'Like', 'share' or 'hide from Timeline'?

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The needle on my irony meter is quivering at 'maximum' as I write this post. A month ago Mamata Banerjee was upset about a cartoon that allegedly lampooned her, being shared profusely on Facebook. Her exact words were: "There is a political conspiracy through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. I am being shown in Facebook. Now, it is my turn. I will show you Facebook." The mercurial Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has made volte face an art form, joined the social networking site on June 16 to initiate a campaign for a second term for former President APJ Abdul Kalam. "Whatever I have to say, I will say on Facebook", she warned. In April her government arrested the professor behind the cartoon and wanted all "objectionable content", including her morphed pictures, removed from Facebook. While I completely understand the outrage, (I wouldn't want my face projected on....


More about Rituparna Chatterjee

In her 10 years in the media, Rituparna has worked both on the field as a reporter as well as off it, on the desk. Lover of cumin flavoured "authentic" Chinese food. God is watching but that's no compulsion to keep the desktop neat.