My Friend And Life Saver, Aqua Ptychotis

My parents are here and they’ve brought along my best friend with them – a bottle of Aqua Ptychotis…This friend is an elusive one and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen her…In fact, she’s so elusive that I couldn’t find even one picture of hers on the net…If you have no idea what I’m talking about, chances are you’re not a Bengali or from Kolkata…So, here’s the lowdown…

Aqua Ptychotis (Ajwain Arak) is an orange coloured stomach healer that all Bengalis swear by…It’s literally a life saver for us foodies (all Bengalis are foodies) and therefore, more valuable than gold…After a good meal, you are supposed to pour a teaspoon of this foul tasting stuff in a cup of water and gulp it down whilst holding your breath…Sounds like fun, right? Like a true Bengali, I swear by it and given a chance, I bet I could make you swear by it too…This stuff is so potent that if Bengal Chemicals, the makers of Aqua Ptychotis, had not been a Bengali company, we would have seen bottles of this digestive on grocery store shelves all over the world…It would have been India’s major dollar earner and we Bengalis would have been called ‘Aquas’ instead of ‘Bongs’…

So,here’s my advice for you if you like food…The next time you are in Kolkata, don’t forget to buy a bottle of Aqua Ptychotis…I’ll bet you a hundred dollars that you’ll become a believer after just one try…

P.S. Did I forget to mention that this herbal extract has a huge level of alcohol content in it?

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Somali Extremists Claim They Have A Right To Inspect Breasts Under Sharia

Reality has moved beyond satire…The truth these days is stranger than fiction…I just came across this bizarre article in the Daily Mail:

A hardline Islamist group in Somalia has begun publicly whipping women for wearing bras that they claim violate Islam as they are ‘deceptive’.

The insurgent group Al Shabaab has sent gunmen into the streets of Mogadishu to round up any women who appear to have a firm bust, residents claimed yesterday.

The women are then inspected to see if the firmness is natural, or if it is the result of wearing a bra.

If they are found wearing a bra, they are ordered to remove it and shake their breasts, residents said.

‘Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of full veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,’ a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped on Thursday.

‘They  are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.’

I’ll bet Al-Shabaab has a lot of pious young men with long flowing beards applying for these inspector jobs…

I haven’t read the Quran, but I’m quite sure there’s no verse in it that proclaims it is  forbidden for women to wear brassieres or pants or skirts since these items of clothing didn’t exist when the Prophet lived…It’s just amazing how some people use religion to justify their own depravity…Lord have mercy on the Somali people!

(the same story was reported by Reuters , so I guess there’s some truth to it)

Edited to Add:

More ridiculousness from Al Shabab…They also flog women for not wearing socks…Instead of coming up with such absurd excuses, won’t it be easier for them to say we’ll whip women whenever we like just because they are women?

Devil’s Advocate

This article in the Hindustan Times and another one I had read some time back got me thinking – if child pornography is such a big thing, do we need to acknowledge the existence of ‘good pedophiles’ (by ‘good pedophiles’ I mean men who haven’t acted on their urges)? Don’t get me wrong – I DO NOT support child molesters and think they are the worst scum of the earth – worse than murderers…I also think all of them should be physically castrated, but what about people who are burdened with a sexual interest in children but who possess the moral sense to resist acting on that interest? I mean, we all know that most people are racists and as long as they don’t harm anybody, we don’t give a damn about them, so should we give a damn about people who merely view child pornography?

I don’t think pedophiles can be converted to non-pedophiles, just as homosexuals cannot be converted to heterosexuals, but how can society help the ‘good pedophiles’ and thereby our children? I’m sure most of these people don’t get help from professional therapists because of the social stigma attached (I’m not sure if there are psycho therapies geared towards men who haven’t acted out) and manage to get through life by controlling their urges, but what happens if the percentage of people who can control themselves falls? Should there be government sponsored agencies who provide medication anonymously to reduce such people’s sex drive? Shouldn’t we think along these lines, meaning, shouldn’t we be thinking about nipping the problem in the bud?

Again, I’m just rambling here but do let me know your thoughts…

International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation

Since I had to be born a woman, I’m lucky it was in India (I never thought I would say this)…

February 6th. was the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation …According to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, an estimated 120 to 140 million women have been subjected this inhumane practice and 3 million girls continue to be at risk each year…The practice not only violates the basic human rights of women and girls, but it also compromises their health and leaves lasting physical and psychological scars…

Many believe female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is required by some religions…This is not true…It is more of a cultural practice than a religious one and is generally performed on girls between ages 4 and 12, although it is practiced in some cultures as early as a few days after birth or as late as just prior to marriage…

Prevalence of FGM/C Among Younger and Older Women

Source: Population Reference Bureau, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Data and Trends (2008).

FGM/C is practiced in 28 countries in Africa and a few in Asia and the Middle East…It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women…In cultures where it is practiced, it is considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity… FGM/C is believed to reduce a woman’s libido, and thereby is further believed to help her resist “illicit” sexual acts…Unfortunately, women themselves are sometimes unwilling to give up the practice, as they see it as a long-standing tradition passed on from generation to generation…The practitioners are often unaware of the real implications of FGM/C and the health risks that it poses…

Eradicating long-standing traditional practices is not easy and does not happen overnight…One way to begin is by information and advocacy that raises public awareness and changes the climate of public opinion…

Please get involved in a social issue of your choice because I believe each one of us, in our own way, wants to save lives…

Wife Beaters Say Ban Will Hurt Relationships

(I’ve started a new blog called ‘Daily News Update‘…It is supposed to be a news satire blog and is still a work in progress…Below is a post from there…Do let me know what you think of it…Thanks…)

NASHA MURD (Haryana): A group of alcoholic and wife beating husbands gheroed the panchayat members of this tiny village late last evening to protest against the demolition of the only alcohol shop in the area by the all woman panchayat.

The spokesman of the group, Brijesh Kumar, said, “Our relations with our wives are based solely on a cocktail of long term alcohol abuse and the threat of physical and mental violence. Alcohol gets us in the mood. Without it, we lose our edge, our masculinity. The demolition of the shop violates our God given right to be the ‘man of the house’.”

“He once broke my arm for failing to identify the brew he was drinking,” said Munni Devi, wife of a frequent domestic abuse perpetrator and a member of the group.

“If after 20 years of marriage, she can’t tell the difference between beer and rum, then she needs to be beaten. She’s stupid,” replied her visibly angry husband.

Kumar continued on to say that the continual on-edge feeling is at the heart of an exciting and dynamic marriage.

It’s not just the wife who benefits. Children, both in wedlock, out of wedlock, above wedlock and below wedlock, also do as they all get one-on-one daddy time when the father is drunk.

Kumar said if the ban on alcohol continues, the men would have no option but to leave their homes in search of greener pastures. “Who will take care of their beds during the day then when their wives and children go to work?”

Of Weight And Doctors

Rashi sat in her darkened room depressed…She had just been told by the director of the TV serial she was working on to lose weight or he would find a replacement…Acting had always been her dream, her passion and god knows, she had worked hard and dieted hard to get this role…She had tried everything – Aitkins, Longbeach, Southbeach, Anorexia, Bulimia – but size 2 was it…She couldn’t get any thinner no matter what she did…All she could do now was to see a doctor…

So, off she went the next morning…

Rashi: “Hi! I’m a size 2 and would like to be a size 0…Can you help me?”

Dr.: “Sure…There’s this new diet that you could go on…It’s called ‘Coffee & Cigarettes’…Would you like to try it? Oh, wait a minute, didn’t you say you were an actress? Then I guess, your teeth are important to you, so this diet is out…You said you’ve tried all other diets, right?”

Rashi: “Yes, doctor…I was thinking about something more surgical in nature…Do you know of a good procedure?”

Dr.: “Sure…There’s a new thing called ‘The Organ & Bone Reduction” procedure…It basically involves shaving off portions of the skeleton and organs to achieve the desired weight…I think it would work in your case…”

Rashi: “Cool…Do you know of anyone who does it?”

Dr.: “As a matter of fact, I do…I have recently trained in this procedure and could take care of your needs right here in my clinic…Would you like me to book a date for you? But, I must warn you – it is not cheap…”

Rashi: “Money is no object…Is tomorrow too early?”

Dr.: “Well, not if you can deposit Rs.3 lakhs by the end of the day today…”

Rashi: “Thank you doctor, you are a life saver…”

Dr. (smiling): “No worries…Frankly speaking, it’s people like you who made me get into medicine…”

(NB: Inspired by a couple of lines in an episode of ’30 Rock’)