I have been searching online for the English translation of "thithak" – "baulk" comes closest but it does not quite capture the mix of emotions – hesitation, surprise, confusion, discomfort – represented by the Hindi word "thithakna".
Thithakna is what happens to regulars at a roadside chai stall whenever I stop by for a cup of tea like the men do – alone, sipping slowly, looking at the passing traffic, street signs, posters pasted on walls.
I have a new graphic short story in this great new anthology of feminist speculative fiction Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean. It is targeted at young adults, but can be enjoyed by all. The reviews are great too!
What does it mean to "indulge" in a food culture that has made sugar and grease the norm?
Today, you can get a bar of cheap chocolate for ten rupees. You cannot buy any fruit (except bananas) for that price, nor a bajra roti, boiled peas, boiled potatos. Cookies, full of sugar, salt, fat, are available for less than that, as are deep-fried chips and colas, where the main ingredient is sugar. You can get salted butter cheaper than a litre of whole milk.
How has this happened to us, and what are we going to do about it?
Read on: http://www.dailyo.in/life/why-feasting-on-festival-sweets-is-no-longer-a-treat/story/1/1218.html
Compliments of the season. I don't usually write, but I've been a very good girl this year. Worked hard, met deadlines, paid taxes, filed returns. So I feel entitled to a few things. Besides, the Indian government seems to like you and Christmas a great deal. They're upping the celebration ante with this Good Governance Day thing, which is sort of providential. Good Governance is just the thing I wanted. So, please, get the Indian government to do the following:
Mr Mac And Me, set in 1914, neatly blends fiction with history as it tells the story of a young boy with a twisted foot and a talent for drawing, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish artist and architect who did actually live in a seaside village during World War I. In fact, he stayed and drank at the pub that later became a house where Freud lived. It was this small fact that got her interested in his story, she says. “Someone told me many years ago, did you know Mackintosh came to this village a hundred years ago, and people were suspicious and they thought maybe he was a German spy? And I thought, wow, amazing story! But it had nothing to do with me. But when I discovered that he had stayed in the house I lived in, then I thought, hmm, maybe there is something in it for me.”
Freud believes that most writers need an “in” into a story; for her, it is a personal connection with her material. “It doesn’t have to be autobiographical. But something that’s enough to make it feel like it’s my story. I didn’t feel like I could just go to Glasgow and start researching Mackintosh. I mean, why me? But when I think that the man who lived in my house designed the Glasgow School of Art, then I want to go and look at everything he did.” Eventually, she was so fascinated with the man and his work that she looked for a way to insert a mini biography of Mackintosh into the novel even though the story spans just about a year.
We can be buried on land or at sea, or burnt, or left to the vultures. We can turn into dust and manure, or we can line the digestive tracts of some other species. Finally, we will return back into the elements, just as we were created from the elements through a series of magical – if scientifically explicable – processes of nature. We accept this, and still, the question remains. The “me” that was neither skeleton nor synapse, where does that go? There was a time when I would have unequivocally said, “Nowhere!” The spirit is probably an electrical impulse. You may survive in the memory, or in the DNA, of the living. But no dead person has access to our living rooms, living habits, living bodies. If legs have decayed, on what does a spirit walk? If tongues and vocal chords have decayed, with what does the spirit speak? Dreams, failures, injustices, anger – all of it ceases. I was sure of this. Then, I was no longer so sure. This is part of an essay I wrote about certain strange/inexplicable/paranormal experiences here; originally published in 'What The Jaguar Knows We Don’t Know': The Kindle Biannual (2014).
"Gulab is restrained, ephemeral, delicate. Her characters leave much unsaid; there are telling silences and crucial pauses. Her prose is sparse and minimalist. All of which suits the subject matter - the mysteries of the paranormal - perfectly." - The Hindustan Times "The story unfolds like a Bollywood movie of suspense and thrill from the 70s, urging the reader to keep at it, even though the ending doesn’t do much to dissipate the anxiety. The plot, rife with unexpected twists, is fitting for stage production or even a Bollywood script, and in the form of a novella, it provides the reader a perfect adrenalin rush." - The Kathmandu Post "Annie Zaidi's Gulab is a near-perfect ghost story and one of the things it does so well is achieving this balance. It is perfectly paced and uses its ghost shrewdly and sparingly."
"Zaidi makes brilliant use of the sense of disorientation that comes from an unacknowledged sense of loss, coupled with an unfamiliar location, a strange language and self-assured strangers. Bit by bit, she tugs away at all that Nikunj knows—his memories of Saira, his belief that he’d gotten over her, his ideas of life, love, fidelity and death—till he stands naked, confronting only the reality of himself and his perceptions."
"There is a whirlwind of conversations, heated exchanges, physical fights and helpless sobs as the tempo builds and the mystery deepens. It’s nothing sort of a roller coaster ride, smooth one minute, scary the other and in between pregnant with foreboding."
"Gulab ends on a different note than its beginning. It begins with a darkly comic, almost absurd response to the idea of courting the supernatural with its everyman ordinary hero. And it ends with a chilling and seductive struggle as Nikunj is drawn to the magnetism of a dead woman’s charms."
"There’s more fun watching a ghost movie than reading a scary book. But Annie Zaidi’s novel, Gulab, ticks all the right boxes for an entertaining read. To start with, the book is all of 184 pages, it is a love story, it has a ghost, it has intrigue and a twist in the tale."
"From the very beginning we know what to expect from the story, yet the simplicity with which the author has woven monologues and dialogues, built up suspense and created situations keeps you hooked. What binds the narrative together is the 24-hour time-span within which the story takes many unexpected turns."
Seshadri, born to Tamil- and Kannada-speaking parents, did not study Indian literature or the epics, but as a teenager in the US, he did engage with mythology and some of the ancient scriptures, as he had opted for Religion as one of his classes in school. That was when he first, he recalls, read the story of Yudhisthir and his journey to heaven. “What reading Indian mythology gave me was a taste for the imaginative and the fantastic. Indian stories are so imaginative, so wild. Like the stories from the Bhagavata Purana. I’ve always had an attraction for the imaginative, even among writers.”
And what about his love for poetry, where did that come from? “There is no such thing as poetry out there,” he counters. “You fall in love with a poem. So I fell in love with certain poems. As the number of those poems kept growing, my interest in the art grew.”
In the early years, though, Seshadri thought he wanted to write fiction. He made an unsuccessful attempt at writing his first novel, and, he says, out of the failure of that came his early poetry. As his appreciation of poetry grew, he also found encouragement from his professors for his own poems. However, his vocation did lie in the realm of storytelling. There is a definite narrative running through each poem and much of it is, mercifully, quite accessible.
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before 'western' influences hit mainstream sartorial choices): Exhibit 1
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes, indulging in a traditional Indian indulgence (before 'western' influence on Indian culture): Exhibit 2
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before 'western' influences hit their sartorial choices): Exhibit 3
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before 'western' influence): Exhibit 4
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before 'western' influence): Exhibit 5
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (hard to say whether this is before, after or despite 'western' influence): Exhibit 6
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before/after/despite 'western' influence): Exhibit 7
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (most likely before any significant cultural influence barring her own tribe, given the confidence of her stance and lack of shame about her body): Exhibit 8
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before/after 'western' influence?): Exhibit 9
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (before/after 'western' influence?): Exhibit 10
Indian girl wearing traditional Indian clothes: Exhibit 11
Indian girl wearing traditional Indian clothes: Exhibit 12
Indian couple wearing traditional Indian clothes (probably only for a special festive occasion and not the clothes worn in their daily lives): Exhibit 13
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (almost certainly despite 'western' influence, given the source of the photograph): Exhibit 14
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes: Exhibit 15
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (obviously, donned for the stage): Exhibit 16
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes: Exhibit 17
Indian women wearing traditional/modern/contemporary Indian clothes (and their own comfortable, traditional method of draping): Exhibit 18
Indian women wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 19
Indian women wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 20
Indian woman wearing traditional Indian clothes (and traditional woman's hat): Exhibit 21
Indian women wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 22
Indian women wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 23
Indian women wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 24
Indian women wearing traditional Indian clothes (obviously, donned for a stage performance): Exhibit 25
Indian woman wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 26
Indian woman wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 27
Indian child wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 28
Indian women wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 29
Indian woman wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 30
Indian woman wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 31
Indian women wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 32
Indian women wearing traditional/modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 34
Indian women wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 35
Indian woman wearing modern Indian clothes: Exhibit 36
Indian woman's figure representing a 'yakshi' wearing what once must have been 'normal' clothes for a woman in some part of the Indian subcontinent: Exhibit 37
This is for all those who want to tell women what Indian culture is, or isn't, or what our great 'Indian' tradition and culture expects women to wear or not wear. Take a good hard look. We have worn all sorts of things depending on climate, comfort, and available technology. Also, depending on our desire. OUR NEEDS and DESIRE were reflected in OUR CULTURE. We exposed various parts of our bodies at all ages, at various times during our shared history and geography. And we will continue to do so. Learn to live with that.
Consider this a brief tutorial, those of you -- Yesudas, Madhu Kishwar, Mohan Bhagwat, Mamta Sharma, and politicians affiliated to a range of parties including the currently ruling BJP (Goa CM and Madhya Pradesh CM), TDP, NCP, TMC, CPM -- who have directly or indirectly suggested that 'western' influences on our clothing lead to assaults on our persons. You seek to confine us to Exhibit 24, 29 or 34 in the name of 'safety' and 'Indian' cultural values with no sense of the history or reality of Indian women's clothing. The truth is that none of these women were or are safe from sexual assault or harassment, with the possible exception of Exhibit 37. And that is because she is cast in metal and cannot experience an assault even if it is aimed at her body.
[Photos sourced from the internet. All sources linked to at the mention of the relevant exhibit]
It could be that I'm blinded and deafened by the deliberate sexiness of the new Bollywood. But I often feel like feminine desire as depicted in film songs these days has all the charm of the high headlights on a speeding truck. Which makes me wonder how far we come in our representation of women.
I keep watching old Hindi film songs and what I come away with is a gentler view of women's desire. Take the lovely innocence of 'mausam mausam, lovely mausam'. This song, perfect for rainy afternoons, stars a very young Padmini Kolhapure. The way the song has been directed and choreographed leaves me feeling content – as if this is how a
song of adolescent love ought to be. There is a sense of gentleness
and safety, an implicit trust. (It also strikes me that I cannot tell whether the director was a man or a woman, and this is a wonderful thing.)
Or, take a song like 'O phirki-wali'. It has royalty (he is dressed like a prince) chasing after a girl who sells phirkis. Obviously, the power balance is tilted
against the girl, and yet, in the video, it is the girl who has power. This
power does not come from physical strength, or class or caste. It is rooted in
her ability to say 'yes' or 'no', and more significantly, in the man's ability
to take 'no', or to negotiate towards a playful 'maybe'.
The man is pursuing the woman, but not stalking her. She
is fully aware of his presence. She is smiling. As a viewer, you get the
impression that if the on-screen woman expressed fear, the man would
leave. Even though he is a prince, he will not assume that she is flattered by
his attention. That is what makes him a 'hero'.
In these songs, the women's profession – an aspect of their lives which does not
involve a man – is in the forefront. That they work, and that work means stepping out into public spaces, partaking of
the social economy, engaging with strangers – all this was reinforced.
This applies to working class male protagonists too. The factory
worker, farmer, even the army jawaan are no longer at the heart of Hindi
cinema. Now we have the industrialist, the pilot, the gangster, the middle
class student, and sometimes the unemployed (or unemployable) youth. But for now, let us keep our sights trained on women and songs.
It is also true that more women professionals are part of Hindi film
stories now: wedding planners, scholars, academics, bank executives.
But in songs, they're usually depicted in a romantic or familial context. If film songs are intended as an
expression of the inner life of a character, then what does the new Bollywood song tell us?
the lyrics, we get the impression that characters are looking to be loved, or
are upset at not being loved. The video
often focuses on the woman's clothes, vibrant colours, interesting
the visual contours of love, or lust, are cautiously defined. The woman is often depicted running (in
front of the man or away from him), holding up substantial skirts. Or she
stands about, waiting coyly, while the man approaches and makes a romantic or sensual
overture. This is particularly true
of lip-synced songs.
Watching them, I realize what I miss most is the 'forward' woman, and
I am not alone. I went to a women's only college and I remember that the songs we girls enjoyed most were the ones where a female
protagonist is flirting, seducing, wooing, complaining.
They allow the character to be a person, and not just a pretty object of desire. And the male protagonists were also allowed to sulk, or have a coy personality that required women to woo them. Look at Tanuja
propositioning Dev Anand directly in 'Raat akeli hai'; or
trying to get closer to a somewhat scared, Jitendra.
The women have a greater degree of control in these songs, and the men seem to be decent human beings with minds of their own – they can be tempted, or not; they are sulky, upset,
nervous, laidback. They were not eternally lustful, nor scornful of women
who pursue them. The woman here is not a tease; she's doing the teasing.
In the 1990s, there were a few instances of videos where female protagonists expressed desire towards 'tough' guys who seemed not very interested: Mamta Kulkarni doing a fine matka-jhatka job of wooing Salman Khan in 'Ek munda meri umr da'; and Raveena Tandon, sinuous in yellow, seducing Akshay Kumar in the rain. In recent years, the only song that
struck me as allowing a full expression of female desire was 'DreamumWakeupum'; it is not only overtly sexy but the director also takes kitsch and the filmy-panaa of the fantasy to an extreme so that you see it for the fun it is. But since the 1990s, there were very few shy or bewildered 'heroes on screen.
Even when the song is romantic, my impression is that the women (or girls) appear more 'whole' in songs from the 1960s and 70s. There is something very significant about the choreography of
love songs. We draw our ideas about love scripts from what we watch, or read,
and we also feed our own ideas into the pool of popular art.The songs I like best show great 'engagement'
between lovers. They look at each other longer – Raj Kapoor and Nargis in'pyaar hua iqraar hua' is the first example that comes to mind. They hold out their arms, hold hands, hug as Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen in 'tum aa gaye
ho'. There is no doubt in the audience's mind that this is mutual desire. It is not one person
reaching out, and the other person being reluctant or indifferent.
This business of depicting a woman's reluctance or indifference
correctly is crucial, especially when we are struggling with a street
culture that romanticizes feminine reluctance and worships male aggression.
In this regard, older film songs are more balanced. There are songs where romance is in the air, but the woman is not yet responsive, like 'Maana janaab ne pukaara nahin', 'Bekaraar karke humein yoon na jaaiye', or even 'O phirki wali'. Note that in the videos, the
man follows the woman but his gestures never turn threatening. He does not touch the woman, until she does begin to respond. He might be playful but
he is not aggressive. And he does not 'gang up' on the woman, ever.
Since the 1980s, there have been more songs and more where the camera
follows the woman's body, focussing on curves and clothes, rather than
feelings. One of the most annoying and boring examples of this was a song I
stumbled upon. The director forces the poor actress into a white saree,
places her in water, making her touch herself for a very long five and a half
minutes. Yet, the director is not even brave enough to show her body through a wet white saree.
This poses an interesting contrast to Raj Kapoor, who found the
courage to film the wet saree-no blouse song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqVJJym959U) and
the white-saree-under-waterfall songs (here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvuFicZH3Jw ; and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3AtYcr_6Hw). That
the latter video has millions of views and that viewers have noticed nothing
but breasts is another matter. How people respond to a visual sequence cannot
be controlled by the filmmaker. But his view of society, and of women, is communicated
through the camera. I get the feeling that Raj Kapoor was not afraid of showing off his own liking of women's breasts.
I don't know how women in the 1970s and 80s responded to Raj
Kapoor's wet saree songs (I'd be interested to know) but I personally don't
mind them. Kapoor did not fail these characters by giving them nothing except
breasts. To his credit, he made stories about men's conflicted relationship
with women, and sexual desire, and society's exploitation of women's bodies. He
even included a brief nude scene as part of the schoolboy's fantasy in Mera
Naam Joker. In his time, he must have raised hackles but he have had the
courage to deal with how people received his work.
This is bad film direction. It suggests that
the filmmaker was not thinking of the female character as a person whose voice the audience would hear. She was a distraction, a beautiful object. Contrast the 'Abdullah' song with the sexiness of Zeenat Aman in this beautiful rain-dance number.
There is coyness and joyous sexiness, but there is also fun, and a definite engagement
between the protagonists.
Viewers who complain about 'vulgarity' in songs are
unable to articulate why they are uncomfortable with the imagery. Some of it may stem from a sexually conservative upbringing. But many of us are also complaining about 'objectification' and one of the things we instinctively sense is a lack of empathy.
The camera and the choreography tell us something that the video's creators will not – the song puts women at the centre of focus so they may
serve a certain kind of fantasy. In this fantasy, the woman (or multiple
women) have little agency, no special skills, no warmth, no hopes for
her own heart. She's there, at best, seeking to draw attention to her beauty, and, at worst, drawn by the scent of a man's money or power.
We usually tolerate the kind of fantasy described above. But when repeated too
often, it gets exhausting. And some days, when real world people talk or behave in ways that mirror that warped
fantasy world – when I remember that some men would rather kill a woman than
see her take charge of her life, her heart, her body – a film
song can infuriate me. And on those days, I turn to youtube and begin to google old Hindi film songs for comfort.
This is the latest graphic story I wrote for the Mint.
I have been thinking for a while now about the inadequacy of our secondary and senior secondary school syllabi. As far as I can see, the syllabus informs teenagers about fairly complex natural, physical and chemical phenomena, formulae for equations and trignometric calculations that most of them will never use in their daily lives. But it leaves them totally unprepared for life.
The average school student is illiterate when it comes to survival skills, especially in urban areas where they do not have any opportunity to learn through direct observation.
The choice of studying Science, Arts, or Commerce is a significant life decision if we assume that this choice is to have a real bearing on how we live our lives, or how we can make a living. I took up Science and later, in undergraduate college, 'Arts' (which is really the Humanities and Social Sciences). But the curriculum told me nothing about how to live. All I had was an assortment of facts and formulations, decrees and interpretations. If I had not been lucky enough to have the money for a specialized degree afterwards, I would have floundered. If my family did not support me further, I would have sunk into poverty. At fifteen, I was being prepared for what could eventually be a career in, say, medicine or astronomy or biochemical engineering. But I was totally unprepared for supporting myself in case I did not have the resources or temperament to study towards the aforementioned careers.
A formal school education tells us very little about how to make a living from the land or how to actually - practically - tap into nature's resources. We grow up knowing nothing about sustaining life (or love, which is incredibly sad and goes a long way towards dehumanizing and de-sensitizing the populace). Why is this so?
I am starting to believe that a highly stratified (in India, this means stratified along class and caste lines) society has something to do with it. We take human labour and basic survival skills for granted because we expect someone else to do it for the higher ups, i.e. people who access to formal schooling.
This someone else would be a low-paid mazdoor, some unfortunate born with limited access to white collar schooling. Even if this someone wrangles some schooling out of the system, a secondary school certificate is not likely to lead to a white collar job. The only other way out of poverty would be entrepreneurship, which would mean a small investment of money or material assets. The poorest in India have been rendered landless either by the caste system or modern institutional 'development' leading to displacement. Worse, they often work under conditions that lead to health breakdowns with no compensating insurance or benefits.
The pool of labour might have shrunk, but it exists. And so, the rest of us survive without having any real survival skills. Growing hundreds of food crops, harvesting, cooking, cleaning, growing cotton, rearing silkworms, beekeepers, weaving, sewing, shoe-making, assembling machines, cutting wood, building houses, mining sand and stone, cutting and shaping metal, identifying medicinal herbs. We cannot do any of this.
Skills that define human civilization, skills without which we would not last a day, are denied to us. And we allow it because we see so little value attached to these skills in the current economic system.
I often wonder, what would it be like if we actually began to attach value to our own survival? Would we not be a different sort of India?
The best thing about being able to look at
a banned book in hindsight is that it also offers a kind of foresight.
The short stories – and a one-act play –
that made up Angaaray are mundane stories in the literal sense. The book
focussed on the everyday brutality suffered by millions of Indian Muslims in
the early twentieth century. Economic despair, domestic enslavement, sexual
oppression, hypocrisy practised under the guise of religion, the physical
damage suffered by women who are not allowed to make childbirth choices – it is
at the intersection of these truths that the four Angaaray writers placed this
we have now is an English translation of the original Urdu manuscript that was
published in 1932. There are five stories by Sajjad Zaheer, two by Ahmed Ali, a
story and a play by Dr Rashid Jahan, and a story by Mahmud-uz-Zafar. The saddest thing about reading the book
today is that it remains relevant. Read the rest of this review in TimeOut
I stack books in double rows on each shelf so that an invisible row sits behind the visible row. Some shelves are three thick. I’ve also begun to stack books in horizontal piles on top of a row. Last year, I donated a boxful to a children’s library. But a donation cull is one thing; sentencing a book to death by drowning is another thing. To leave a book vulnerable is to say that the ideas it holds are insignificant. Which leads to a difficult question: what books are more significant than others?
There is no better time to evaluate a book than a physical crisis. A couple of years ago, the house was flooded again. As the water rose around my ankles, I decided to put on a pair of gum boots and get down to the dirty work of classifying books in descending order of ‘significance’. On the lowest shelf went the most ‘dispensable’ ones. I’m not naming names but...
Read the rest of the essay on trying to rescue books in a household flooding situation and thus assessing its importance, published in the new edition of Kindle mag.
I was invited to read and talk about love at the Godrej India Culture Lab book club event in February 2013.
I had upheld love as the only truly significant thing that happens in our lives, apart from the necessity of making money in order to stay alive. But for what should one stay alive if not to love, and enable love? I do believe that all human life and endeavour is about finding and keeping love. In most human societies, marriage is the cornerstone of our culture, but perhaps that is only so because we use marriage as a way of holding on to love, trying to prevent ourselves from frittering away our loves too easily.
You can listen to some extracts from in Love Stories # 1 to 14 in this video.
Peoples’ political and cultural choices are directly impacted by history, or whatever little scrap of history is allowed into our narratives about who we are, and it is a shame that most of us in India and Pakistan are either ignorant of the forces that led us to where we are, or have been actively misinformed. A God in Every Stone sets out to peel back some layers, revealing a part of our selves that lay buried under the dust of the 20th century. I reviewed Kamila Shamsie's new novel for Timeout recently. Read it here.
As citizens and voters, we are often stumped by the glaring lack of options. There doesn't seem to be anyone 'good' around. All candidates appear to be either directly corrupt - having been implicated in scams, or their family members named as beneficiaries of their time in office - or else, their politics is inherently corrupt. Their policies benefit a certain small group of people, heaping privilege upon privilege instead of levelling the playing field, and doing little to extend public infrastructure, that is truly public in the sense of being accessible to all.
Why do they do this? As always, the answer is - follow the money. Political campaigns are very big business, and therefore, likely to be pro-big business. The more expensive a campaign is, the more compromised the candidate is, no matter how good his/her intentions. India does not even have a precedent of candidates and political parties revealing the source of 'donors' to election funds. AAP has made a fresh start in this direction. I wish all parties would follow suit. Transparency must begin with political parties.
For voters, the mounting of a 'big' (expensive) campaign is especially problematic because it obscures the candidature of smaller parties or independent men and women. The Election Commission is supposed to monitor how much money is being spent, but there has to be a way for the media to play a more proactive role during elections. It is not enough to discuss the 'chances' of various high-profile candidates. That is not what the fourth pillar of democracy is expected to do. If the media is supposed to 'communicate' information to the voting public, is incumbent upon the media to discuss all candidates - their work, their track record, their manifestos, their background, their allegiances, their politico-cultural agenda - and give each one a fair chance.
I attempted to show why the few 'clean' candidates who want to serve as politicians are so invisible. We seem to only hear and see of people after they have spent a lot of money, and this is enabled largely through media. Click on the picture to see a larger image.
Further musings on toilets and our shared existence as citizens, families, lovers etc. I do firmly believe that the day we all start leaving a public toilet cleaner than we found it, we will have understood the true meaning of patriotism.
I'd also like to say that there is nothing so unromantic as an unclean toilet, and that a nice, airy, really sparkling clean bathroom-toilet is a strong incentive to commit to someone.