May 14, 2013

Book Review: The Song Seekers

A powerful and poignant exploration of the oppressive darkness that lurks beneath the veneer of ‘modern’ India, Saswati Sengupta’s debut novel, The Song Seekers, raises compelling questions that continue to haunt the reader for a long time. Set in the turbulent 1960s in Bengal, the novel revolves around the life of newly wed Uma, an […]

November 21, 2012

On Writing, Civil War, & Feminism: An Interview with Nayomi Munaweera

NAYOMI MUNAWEERA IS A Sri Lankan-American author and artist. Her first book, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was published in September 2012, and I interviewed her about her work–as a writer, a feminist, and a member of the South Asian diaspora.   DB: Hi Nayomi, welcome to Ultra Violet! Could you tell us about yourself […]

July 01, 2010

Alcohol And Amoxicillin

Alcohol And Amoxicillin, LIKE MANY WOMEN, my reaction -- or shall we say relationship. -- to Elizabeth Gilbert's juggernaut bestseller Eat Pray Love (first published and 2006 and by 2008 a global sensation) was complicated. On the one hand, the book is mildly embarrassing; Eat Pray Love falls squarely in the chick lit category, a schmaltzy fairytale-like admission to the feminine hankering for fairytale-like love (someone even recently quipped on Twitter that the first problem she had with it was how to hide the fact that she was reading it). On the other hand, however, it's a rather good read, a true story, a real woman's memoir of overcoming a comparatively small yet personally overwhelming struggle. In its own fairytale-like way, it is irresistible -- but this was also the source of its doom.

Now, for the few of you who may insist that you know nothing about Eat Pray Love, here it is in a nutshell: a financially successful but not particularly famous author finds herself getting divorced, going into depression, and then taking a year to travel in order to reinvigorate her life, Alcohol And Amoxicillin. In Italy, Alcohol And Amoxicillin uk, she indulges - eating her way through the first third of the year. In India, she joins an ashram (the book is extremely spiritual, and this section is so heartrendingly painful that you wonder why anyone would call this book fluffy... until you get to the next). And finally, in Indonesia, tying up the circle in perfectly fairytale style, she finds love. Alcohol And Amoxicillin, All of this is a true story, told in a fashion that is alternately charming, mildly annoying, and deeply honest.

So when the sequel came out, of course I had to read it. Snarkily, with some of usual disclaimers, but with some real excitement about its subject matter (which trumped any reservations brought on by my passive-aggressive crush on the earlier book), 50mg Alcohol And Amoxicillin. Committed: A Skeptic's View of Marriage picks up where Eat Pray Love left off - i.e. the author and her Brazilian-born, Bali-discovered lover float off into their happily ever after. Until the US government interfered, Alcohol And Amoxicillin.

As a foreigner whose trips into the country were not only frequent, but whose exits themselves were only border runs for visa renewals, Gilbert's partner Felipe finds himself in trouble with Immigration. Fortunately, they are given a choice: if they get married, they can continue their lifestyle (sans border running, too!). Desperately, they agree -- but both having survived divorce, Alcohol And Amoxicillin canada, the idea of remarriage is significantly terrifying. But the process is so complex that the couple essentially has to spend almost a year outside the country, waiting for the fiancee visa to come through, and Gilbert spends this time confronting her traumas and issues about the institution of marriage, its history in American society (paradigms which are increasingly emulated around the world), its relevance to contemporary life, and how it compares and has evolved (or not) based on cultural and religious circumstances -- ruminations and research that eventually became Committed.

Committed Alcohol And Amoxicillin, is a feminist memoir, make no mistake about it. It is an empowering, thought-provoking read that I would recommend to anyone who 1. wants to marry, 2. doesn't want to marry, 3. is concerned about civil rights and international affairs (in all senses of the term!), 40mg Alcohol And Amoxicillin. It's important that the events it describes happened prior to Eat Pray Love's insane success, Alcohol And Amoxicillin. Not unlike the happy coincidence of having met her new love at the end of her first book's journey, a happy coincidence which resulted in an almost too-perfect book, everything that happens therein was spontaneous. Gilbert leaves little doubt that nowhere during her ten months of bad traffic and matrimonial panic wandering around Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia could it have occurred to her that she might exploit this bout of hard luck. She went through the experience with no guarantee of a platform to discuss, let alone capitalise on, it. Because of this, it is all the more relevant. Alcohol And Amoxicillin, This isn't a celebrity memoir, but an ordinary couple's absolutely commonplace struggle in a world that loves and enforces its borders even as it claims to have none.

Now, this sort of gets back to the problem with Eat Pray Love. 500mg Alcohol And Amoxicillin, Which was not, strictly speaking, a real problem with Eat Pray Love itself, but with exactly how the memoir got co-opted into the chick-lit category. Not chick-lit as in light and fun, but chick-lit as in delusional-inducing, Prince-awaiting, hearts-a-breaking. And that problem was that many - many, many, many - of us are where Gilbert was at the start of that book. Lying on the bathroom floor bawling, Alcohol And Amoxicillin. And in the course of a few hundred pages, in about a year, she was both literally and figuratively somewhere else altogether, Alcohol And Amoxicillin mexico. And the book was so engaging that it made it look easy.

The problem, essentially, was the expectation created. I encountered this personally in my own life, and practically every woman friend who has read it has admitted to the same rues. Alcohol And Amoxicillin, Some of them had become especially resentful toward Gilbert. This was not a phenomenon restricted to my circles -- a real backlash against Eat Pray Love and its author occurred among its disenchanted readership. Its most common contentions, as discussed on comment forums all over the Internet, were that Gilbert was selfish, and as a white American with some wealth, she was operating from a place of privilege and entitlement. Alcohol And Amoxicillin australia, "Not all of us can give up our lives and jetset for a year" was a common refrain -- as though if only we could, we would also land ourselves true love and astronomical book sales (a phrase Gilbert's own sister, married with children and obligations of her own, sarcastically echoes in one email exchange in the book).

But here's the thing. I don't think - especially having noticed Committed's incredible redemptive powers - that Gilbert meant for her memoir to have anything to do with typically misguiding light literature aimed at women, Alcohol And Amoxicillin. How Eat Pray Love has been marketed - even by readers who recommend it - has not done it justice.

On its own steam, Committed is an important book, completely relevant to our world today and the choices we are faced with as thinking women who sometimes have no alternative but to acquiesce to a fundamentally patriarchal institution (even if we believe we want it, with eyes open or closed). But it's also a most marvellous redemption for Eat Pray Love's unintended consequences (and there were some). As she points out almost guilelessly in the introduction, prior to Eat Pray Love, Gilbert was mostly known for writing about men, 1000mg Alcohol And Amoxicillin. Her three prior books - Stern Men Alcohol And Amoxicillin, , Pilgrims and The Last American Man - were explorations of masculine life -- fiction and nonfiction about "supermacho characters: cowboys, lobster fishermen hunters, trucksters, Teamsters, woodmen". As a journalist, Gilbert had even gone as far as dressing in drag for a week, complete with a birdseed filled condom stuffed in her pants.

She doesn't mention this in this book, but it occurred to me that even before Eat Pray Love, it is ironic that the most lucrative of her projects was probably when a magazine article she wrote about her bartending experiences became the basis for the decidedly fluffy rom-com flick Coyote Ugly. Sadly, between that and Eat Pray Love, her broader scope of work was overshadowed. Call it Gilbert's chick-lit curse. And Committed, quite decisively, breaks it, Alcohol And Amoxicillin.

The truth is, I am still bawling on my floor. 20mg Alcohol And Amoxicillin, And I do wish I hadn't ever heard the word-of-mouth that hyped Eat Pray Love as some sort of semi-prophetic text, because it did result in a few regrettable actions for me at the time (oh hey, a few good anecdotes too). But Committed's redemptive powers are such that not only does it completely absolve Gilbert of any hand played in the prolonged miseries of some of her readers, but it also elevates her, in a way that Eat Pray Love couldn't possibly, to the role already assigned to her by the same masses of sad readers: that of the high priestess, the knowing one, a Solomon-like figure who could provide a solution.

Marriage, whether we like it or not, is a necessary decision for many of us. Alcohol And Amoxicillin, Whether the larger bodies we aim to please are governments, families, societies or own guilt-tripping demons, it can be an inevitability. Committed does two things, and does them beautifully -- it strips the institution of its veneer of romance, Alcohol And Amoxicillin coupon. And then it reinstates it, at a far more meaningful level.

Committed will probably help many more women's hearts and choices than Eat Pray Love did because there is absolutely nothing here but gritty realism -- the facts of the world and its requirements, and how a relationship must necessarily be an accord of solidarity in negotiating these facts and requirements. It will also, hopefully, further the cause of same-sex marriage. As Gilbert most unselfishly points out in the book, she and Felipe are fortunate to even have this choice, Alcohol And Amoxicillin. Across the world, most lovers of the same gender do not. And when it comes to the paperwork -- immigration, insurance, death and taxes - they suffer in ways that heterosexuals can take for granted that they won't have to.

And Eat Pray Love, that old bugaboo. Let's just say I am really looking forward to the film. Aren't you.

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May 23, 2008

Retin A Shine Control

WESTERN FEMINIST Retin A Shine Control, movements in the early 1970s confronted an uncomfortable truth: the notion that God was male dominated every aspect of religion. As feminist philosopher Mary Daly summed up, “If God is male, then the male is God.” The question of gender, 50mg Retin A Shine Control, religion and faith has been a very contentious one. Feminists have looked into histories of ancient civilizations and various religious traditions to understand different notions of power, 750mg Retin A Shine Control, and they have despaired that religion and tradition are so entangled with patriarchy that they can never be a source of liberation.

Faith and religion mediate many of the value systems and roles defined for women by various social institutions. Feminist critiques have often pointed out that religious texts, spaces and structures are largely male dominated and women’s lives within these spiritual spaces are shaped and controlled by male-centric processes within communities, Retin A Shine Control overseas. Spirituality, as we all know, is popularly explained as transcendence to a greater reality which is beyond daily, mundane realities, Retin A Shine Control. But whatever its transcendental nature, it is grounded in the social realities of the time in which it is practiced and taught. Retin A Shine Control paypal, Be it established religion or smaller sects, they have been shaped and propagated in a social and cultural context. They have a vested world view—one that includes images of women largely created by men.

And yet, Retin A Shine Control canada, on the other hand, some effort has gone into understanding the experiences and works of women who took the spiritual path. Retin A Shine Control, In a society where there is an overwhelming expectation for women to marry and procreate, women renouncers and spiritual leaders are not easily accepted and even called deviant. Retin A Shine Control usa, We have several examples throughout history like Akka Mahadevi, Meerabai and Lalladevi who were socially ostracized. These women subverted many popular notions of womanhood. It is valuable to understand how gender gets constructed and operated in such instances, Retin A Shine Control ebay. Nuns, Yoginis, Retin A Shine Control us, Saints and Singers: Women's Renunciation in South Asia edited by Meena Khandelwal, Sondra Hausner and Ann Grodzins Gold, and published by Zubaan, is a very interesting exploration of this, 100mg Retin A Shine Control.

The book chronicles the experiences of women renouncers from diverse traditions and faiths. Using their experiences as a basis, 30mg Retin A Shine Control, it talks about issues and questions around gender, faith and communities. The book is a moving and fascinating account of women in spirituality negotiating "the rocky terrains of desire, attachment, family, sexuality, ego and expectation.” It’s easy to call religion just another product of patriarchy and forget about it but harder—and more important—to engage with religion and keenly listen to women who are inside it…. Read the book.

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November 29, 2007

Flagyl 400

THERE IS A STORY Flagyl 400, about a Sufi saint who used to wander the city streets and people around him called him a madman. One day, he was wandering the streets near the palace on a donkey. He suddenly got off and walked up to a board in front of the palace, 500mg Flagyl 400. The board said: ‘This palace is built by the king’. The saint erased the word 'king' and replaced it with 'donkeys' so that it read ‘This palace was built by donkeys’. People were outraged and pounced on him but the saint was trying to make a simple point, Flagyl 400. Flagyl 400 ebay, The donkeys who had carried stones to build the palace had not been mentioned on the board.

This story has a special meaning to many of us because it resembles the history that we have read -- and continue to read -- in our classrooms. What would history look like from the donkeys’ point of view. My first encounter with women in history was in social studies class during early school days when I was introduced to the achievements of brave queens who fought ‘just like men’: Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai and Onake Obavva, 250mg Flagyl 400. Flagyl 400, These were accidental cases of women doing remarkable jobs. I soon discovered women either made special appearances in history books, or were not there at all. 750mg Flagyl 400, So I started wondering what happened to all the women who lived in those times. What happened to women who were not queens or did not go to the battlefields. What happened to all the women who worked their entire lives to keep empires going. Their absence implied that they had done nothing worth mentioning, Flagyl 400.

The fact is that women have also been actively involved in the making of history, Flagyl 400 canada. But their contributions, wisdom and knowledge are largely unwritten. 1000mg Flagyl 400, Women are never seen as active participants who influence -- and are influenced -- by the ethos of the times. Mainstream history has not only marginalised women’s lives, their interactions and contributions, but also mythologised them according to the agenda of the (usually male) historians, 10mg Flagyl 400. Flagyl 400, They are used to prop up a a male-centered view of women’s lives where women ‘contribute’ to the main agenda, which is defined by forces outside them.

There is a real need for women’s history, a history in their own voices and from their viewpoint. Flagyl 400 australia, Feminists have talked about the significance of rewriting history from the woman’s point of view. Recording oral history is one of the ways to do this. What would women want to say about their own lives. How different would it be from what we have read in history books, Flagyl 400. Besides providing a rich social document, 200mg Flagyl 400, this would also be a way of subverting the distorted images of women perpetrated by a biased, patriarchal culture and articulate what has been silenced and unspoken. Flagyl 400 japan, Susie Tharu and K Lalitha in their remarkable book Women Writing in India talk about Bangalore's Nagaratnamma who in 1910 reprinted Radhika Santwanam, a poetry collection of 18th century Telugu poet Muddupalani. The book was criticised by critics like Kandukuri Veeresalingam, who is known as the father of social reform in Andhra Pradesh. He felt that the book was distasteful as "it has crude description of sex". Flagyl 400, He also said "Muddupalani is an adulteress, she was born into a community of prostitutes."

Nagaratnamma retorted asking him how he could denounce a poet because she was a prostitute when several great men have written about sex more crudely and not been dismissed similarly. Then, the British were convinced that the book "would endanger the moral health of the society." All copies of the book were seized and cases booked against Nagaratnamma for printing obscene material.

We seldom know of women like Muddupalani and Nagaratnamma as they are comfortably excluded when history is being written. I wonder how many others like Nagratnamma we would find if we started looking for them in earnest....

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