Feminism and the Princess culture – My Take

Sometimes when I make a point, it’s very hard to put it across without being labeled. Especially when the point is on the ever sensitive topic of women, because when it comes to that apparently there are only two kinds – the bra burning feminists or the meek who subscribes to princess culture and wait to be rescued. The problem with this is that this is no black and white zone, heck it’s not even grey.  Its very very colourful and comes in various flavours.  The chance of being labeled shouldn’t deter me from putting my points across, I however hate being labeled.

In my opinion Mayim Bialik of TBBT puts it across in a very neat way as to why there is no black and white here.

Like Mayim I have never been a princess obsessed. The only princess I liked was Merida from Brave. That being said, I have never been a tomboy either. My hair is not short, I don’t wear leather or ride motorcycles. I don’t play football and I like to dance ( however horrible my dance may be). I find it hard to define myself in any category. I had only one Barbie doll growing up and I liked her soft silky smooth blonde hair. I  liked it because it was soft and shiny and not because it was blonde. I dressed up as miss world for a fancy dress competition and proclaimed with conviction that I’d change the world ( This was before it became a norm for beauty pageant winners to automatically be absorbed into the glam world of Bollywood. I have never looked like people around me. I am unusually fair with a natural light brown hair which in the sun photographs as blonde. I don’t consider myself extra special because I have brown/blonde hair or that I am shades lighter than the next person, in fact I have received a lot of flak for it. As a child I would be denied participation in group dances and programs because I would be the odd child out. My teachers did not understand me and repeatedly punished me for not having oiled my hair because, for them that made my hair light. I was called redhead and not in a good way. Growing up I learned to be proud of who I am, my looks included.  Now, I get compliments for what was once my bane. I accept it but never take it in my head. I like to cook but also like to wrestle with my brother.

I especially hate the idea of Bangalore buses having women’s reserved seat, to me it gives the meaning that women are weak! No what I’d like to be there is a reserved seat for Elderly, Sick/injured, Differently abled, Children and Pregnant Women because I am strong enough to stand during a bus ride if need be even if my destination is 2 hrs away.

I love driving and I drive well, yet when I happen to make even a tiny mistake on the road – I get looks that say ” Woman Driver” which used to annoy me but now I just give them a fiercer look which makes them back down. I like to play pool and wear dresses and also hang around my house wearing shorts and tank tops.

I love reading good books and designing things, painting my heart out and also playing GTA.

So while the world out there figures out which category I might belong to and rips their head off while doing so, I will be enjoying my life doing what I love!

 

 

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Harry Potter – The unanswered! part 2

I’m back with more questions that I am gonna answer as per my knowledge of the Harry Potter and what I have read from Rowling’s sources itself.

We see Lily ‘flying’ as a young girl. Did she teach Snape how to do so later on, and did Snape in turn teach Voldemort?

No Lily isn’t flying as a young girl, she merely jumps off the swing from a height and falls gracefully to the ground instead of falling abruptly. That is all, Voldemort taught Snape how to fly.

Why did Voldemort not choose to take over the Ministry during the First War?

From the time he heard the prophecy, his first aim was to kill Harry who was his obstacle  , but lily’s sacrifice made him a mere piece of soul with no body and he went into hiding. If he had killed Harry then maybe he would have.

Did Tom and Minerva know each other while at Hogwarts, since she would have been just one year older?

No, Minerva was in Gryffindor and Tom was in Slytherin. He hardly hung around with anyone other than Slytherins who later became his death eaters. He may have heard of her since she was the school head girl in her final year.

Why specifically did Tom not want to keep wearing the Peverell ring after he turned it into a Horcrux?

The whole point of a horcrux is to save a piece of your soul in it and put it in some place safe. Voldemort may as well have kept that part of his soul with himself if he intended to just wear the ring around. Also Voldemort made them into Horcruxes when he was younger and poorer. Those were heirlooms and if someone saw them they would have known he killed Hepzibah.

You’ve refused to say the incantation involved in creating a Horcrux, but can you at least describe the actual process? Is it at all related to Tom’s hitherto elsewhere-unseen ability to take full possession of people in that it perhaps requires possession of the victim before death (a sort of ritualistic suicide) in the victim’s body, effectively splitting the caster’s soul? Relatedly, since the Horcrux incantation is separate from the Killing Curse, can you explain exactly how a Horcrux would be created by accident if Voldemort attempted to kill Harry using the Killing Curse?

I believe that when one commits murder of someone who has not harmed you in anyway your soul splits for a brief time from committing evil and the process may have an incantation to encase that portion into some object. When Voldemort wanted to kill Harry, He was intending to make his death into a horcrux and he might have said the incantation before realising that the curse rebound.

Was Barty Crouch, Jr. working as a double agent of sorts for Voldemort in light of his father’s position in the Ministry during the First War, and did Bellatrix and Rodolphus (and perhaps Lucius?) use the threat of revealing this information to ‘talk their way out’ of Azkaban at first with Barty Crouch?

Barty Crouch S was a strict ministry official and ruthless and he may not have revealed to his son, the secrets of ministry ( He did not hesitate to throw him in prison so he obviously did not trust him), he knew his son wanted to be a death eater. BC jr was involved with Bellatrix and Rodolphus while torturing Neville’s parents. He then smuggled him out from azkaban as his wife’s dying wish.  BC Sr had done everything in his power to subdue him, Bellatrix etc did not know that he had survived and since he was under Imperius by his father, he couldn’t contact any other death eaters.

Are the Malfoys new money?

No, Malfoy’s Ancestor Armand Malfoy was in the employ of King William I. The Malfoys despite of their espousal of pureblood theory,  didn’t mind using muggles for their own gain. The Malfoys distinguished between poor and high born rich muggles and were quite social with the rich ones. They fervently opposed Statute of Secrecy to enjoy their social life and gain from muggles. Lucius Malfoy I is said to have proposed to Queen Elizabeth I and jinxed her when she thwarted him. Hence it is very clear that Malfoys come from old money.

Was Voldemort truly not aware of Harry’s feelings for/relationship with Ginny or Ginny’s involvement with the diary revenant, and if he was, why did he not make use of this knowledge over the course of DH?

Voldemort does not understand Love. To him feelings and love etc are very inconsequential. If he had been capable of understanding love and feelings, Snape wouldn’t have been able to play double agent after expressing to spare Lily. He imitated sirius in order of phoenix not because he understood the bond between Harry and Sirius but because Kreacher told Bella and Narcissa and they told Voldemort that he would come.

Was there perhaps a secret Taboo put on Voldemort’s name during the First War, which, combined with some of his more public activity as a terrorist leader, originally made people superstitiously fearful of the name even without knowing (as they apparently did in the second war) why?

There probably was a taboo on his name and hence they became fearful. the 16 year old Voldemort from the diary told that he wanted to become the greatest sorcerer in the world that people even dreaded to speak his name.

Since Andromeda and Ted were tortured by Death Eaters early on in DH, did Bellatrix have the opportunity to kill them then without doing so, or was she not involved then before having the opportunity to kill Ted later? Did she only ever want Ted dead, not her sister?

I doubt she was involved. She saw Andromeda as blood traitor and hence wouldn’t have thought twice to kill Andromeda since she didn’t think twice before killing Tonks.

Did Voldemort plan to release the diary into Hogwarts during Year 5 before discovering that Lucius had already released it on his own in Riddle’s absence? And when exactly did he discover this?

Voldemort did have plans to release the diary at some point of time and it is unknown exactly when. He discovered about the diary’ release only after order of phoenix

What are the rules for vampires in the Potterverse? And if they live forever and wizards could be turned, did the possibility of vampirism ever occur to Tom Riddle?

Vampires sparkling and living forever and marrying humans is all Twilight Crap ( Yea I do think Twilight is crap). It may be possible that Vampires cannot perform magic else they would be studying in Hogwarts too! Hence Tom wouldn’t have become a vampire because he would never give up the magic in him

Part 3 to follow

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Harry Potter – The unanswered!

I am a big Harry Potter fan, it formed a chunk of my childhood and as I grew, the series grew with me. Now that I’ve read all the books, watched all the movies, played games, got sorted myself ( Ravenclaw!) I explored the many questions that HP and JKR did not address in the books specifically and here are my own possible answers to it. The set of questions here are from the blog Toujours Pur

This is for Harry Potter fans only, I revere the books, the movies are blah really coz if you haven’t read the books and claim to be a potterfan just by watching movies, the whole potterverse does not consider you a fan.

This post is long and hence may be spilt..

So here goes.

  1. What was Tom’s ultimate goal after achieving immortality and killing Harry Potter?

Tom wanted to be all powerful and eternal and rule the wizard world forever. HP was the one block to his goal.

2. Does Voldemort believe any of the pure blood talk he proclaims, or is it just a way to manipulate the decadent and rich to fight for him as pawns in his bid for immortality? And, for that matter, are the other wizards around him equally afraid of dying, and similarly concerned with gaining immortality?  What is the reasoning behind the name ‘Death Eaters’?

Voldemort does believe in blood purity. But we have to understand that he does not consider himself a half blood. He is the direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin and once he killed his muggle side of the family, he believed that he purged himself of his muggle roots, he fashioned his new name. Other wizards around him are simply the rich craving shared power or the weak wanting Voldy’s protection. They are afraid of death but that is not as great a fear to them as it is to Voldy. The death eaters were originally named  Knights of Walpurgis and then called death eaters because voldemort wants to defeat death and they are the ones that help him.

3. Why would Bellatrix believe the Longbottoms knew Voldemort’s whereabouts?

Bellatrix was in love with Voldemort and was furious about him having been made to disappear by what she considers as Order of Phoenix’s original members. ( Longbottoms and Potters were). Also Neville was the other child that propechy held true to as well. Hence maybe these combined, made her think they knew Voldemort’s whereabouts.

4. Why did Voldemort use Narcissa to verify Harry’s death?

This is not very clear but I believe she may have been standing closest to the Harry. Voldemort was afraid and disgusted with death and he considered himself too important to check and verify himself when he had servants around.

5. How did Peter’s double agency come about, as well as the exact moment of his betrayal? Was he there at Godric’s Hollow that night (if not, who else was?) and did he immediately retrieve Voldemort’s wand after the explosion (if not, how did he get it  before the graveyard scene in GoF)?

Peter was a coward, he believed that Voldemort would be all powerful and saw to save his own life than be with the order. Once Sirius suggested the potters make him the secret keeper, he realised that he could be in Voldy’s good books by offering them to him. He was not there at Godric’s Hollow, Voldemort went alone. Once Voldemort became a shadow of his self, in book 4  he made peter return by transforming to a rat and get him his wand.

7. What exactly did Voldemort do in 1970, the year that has been calculated to have been the point when his ‘reign of terror’ officially began and people became too terrified to even say his name?

This is not clearly explained but Voldemort and his death eaters would cast the dark mark and kill people regularly, They would also use crucio to torture and imperius to control people

8.What did Voldemort assume happened to Regulus, and what did he tell the Death Eaters?

Voldemort assumed regulus failed to get his locket and was killed by inferi. He did not realise that Regulus took Kreacher with him and he underestimated the power of kreacher and his boat was enchanted to hold one human.. and nothing about elves so Kreacher actually brought back the locket whereas Voldy didn’t realise it.

9. Did Voldemort and Bellatrix have any kind of sexual/consummated relationship, or was it always just her lusting after him? What was her relationship with Rodolphus like?

No Voldemort was incapable of any kind of love and he only lusted for power. Bellatrix loved Voldemort but Voldemort never lover her back and her devotion to him was just one sided so they did not have any sexual relationship. Bellatrix married Rodolphus because he was a pure blood and that was what was expected of her. But they did not have a functional relationship as a couple.

10.How exactly did Bellatrix join the Death Eaters, and how did Voldemort personally teach her the Dark Arts?

When Voldemort was rising to power, he was using the pureblood mantra that Salazar Slytherin used even though he was himself a halfblood, he wanted muggleborns to be purged. The blacks supported this because they also believed in the philosophy. It might be then that Bellatrix was enchanted towards voldemort and joined him. She began to love and worship him and Voldemort took this devotion for servitude and taught her dark arts.

11. What did Voldemort look like throughout the First War, and immediately before his fall? Wouldn’t he have looked essentially as he did when he requested the DADA post from Albus (i.e. with hair and a nose) since by that point he had already created all Horcruxes up until Harry? And if so, why did Fudge and the rest of the wizarding world immediately recognize him and never comment on his new appearance?

Before he attacked Harry as a baby, Voldemort looked somewhere in between what he looked when he requested DADA and what he looked when he came out of the graveyard. This is because Voldemort’s features continuously changed when he was actively practicing dark arts. The only time he did not have an appearance was from the time he attacked Harry and after the triwizard tournament.  The only difference after he renewed his body was his eyes were completely slit like and his nose was gone otherwise he could be recognized.

12. Did Bellatrix and Lucius (or any other Pureblood Death Eaters) realize Voldemort’s half-blood status? If so, at what point and how did they feel about it?

I doubt they did, when he rallied against muggleborns and for pureblood, he was pretty influential and powerful. They may have assumed him to be one and dared not ask him his blood status.

13. What did Bellatrix, Lucius, and Snape each know or suspect about the Dark Lord’s Horcruxes/quest for immortality? (“I, who have gone farther than anybody down the path to immortality”…How did they take this?)

I doubt all of them did know the horcruxes. Regulus actually was the only one who figured it out else Lucius wouldn’t have passed the diary to Ginny just to discredit her dad and dumbledore knowing it was a piece of voldemort’s soul. Snape may have known because his true loyalty was not with Voldemort but with Dumbledore who may have told him when his hand was cursed.

14. As the series is arguably about choices, did Tom Riddle ever have a ‘choice’ to not be evil, or was he essentially—as is implied—a psychopath from birth?

He was not a psychopath from birth. Tom Riddle was a wizard and he never cried as a baby which maybe unusual among muggle babies but common among wizard babies. But growing up in a muggle orphanage he had never known love and as he grew older and discovered that he had some powers that no other children around him had, he started using them to manipulate others. He consciously may not have had a choice because the lack of love combined with magic abilities made him a psychopath

15.What exactly happened to Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop in the cave?

We can make a guess that Tom used his magic to manipulate and control some animal. He may have spoken in parseltongue to a snake in front of them and made it do things and told them that he could set it on them if he wished. We can only guess.

Part 2 to follow

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Indescribable

This morning I woke up to the news informing me that Amanat/ Nirbhaya, the girl who was gang-raped on a Delhi bus had died. It has been in the news for a quite a while now and every time I hear about it, a chill runs down my spine. I myself haven’t till now said a word about it apart from supporting a few who did because am not sure how to describe what I feel, It is a feeling that is a mix of various emotions that range from outrage, anger and hatred to fear and utter grief.  Much has been written about  this already that India isn’t safe for women,how women are judged based every aspect from clothing to their behavior, objectified, treated as property etc.. All of which is true. So I wonder what is it that I can say that hasn’t been said already? What is it that I feel, that hasn’t been felt already by countless other women? I really am out of words, not because I have nothing to say, but because I know that mere words will never suffice, that I on my part must take action, but what action is this that any of us are taking? Writing on social media websites to highlight the cause is a good thing but it’s not the best we can do. Expressing outrage isn’t enough unless it translates into actions and this is exactly why I haven’t been able to write what I feel, because if what I write today doesn’t transform into action, if I cannot be a better person, if I cannot treat people around me with more compassion then I am one big hypocrite and I’ve let myself down. So anyone might tell me, why don’t you do something about it? And this brings me to the point where I will admit that I feel utterly incapable of doing anything. Don’t go protest, someone might hurt you, don’t pick a fight because you may be assaulted. Don’t  out in the dark because you will be in danger are some things every woman hears and so have I. These are the reasons I feel crippled. I feel helpless and frustrated that despite wanting to do something I cannot because I have to look after myself for if I step out of the line then someone will teach me a bad lesson. Evolution taught us to protect ourselves, its instinctive but giving, supporting and serving are things we have to learn and when taught improperly or not taught at all, these things can majorly screw up someone. While what I do may not be much, I still cannot sit here and do nothing. So I will do this instead.

I will make a promise to be proud of who I am, a girl, a sister and a daughter.

I will be more conscious of the words I use and try and remove any filthy language that has come out of a force of habit into my vocabulary

I will be kind to people around me, kinder to people I know for many times I have seen that we express sympathy for complete strangers and yet don’t stop to care about the people actually in our lives.

I will try and learn to empathize more.

I will learn to defend myself if need be and will not regret it.

I will begin with a personal change, I will be happier from within.

because what I feel right now is utter despair and I cannot continue to feel this way. And while many people have been wishing Amanat to Rest in Peace, I wish her no such thing for instead I wish her soul to imbibe into ours and may we never rest until we bring about change ourselves and finally bring peace.

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A Sunday’s Lesson

The lessons some days can teach you are simple yet invaluable. Yesterday I went on a drive to a slightly remote village just about a 100 kms from my big bang metro City. The drive was pleasant and the day was sunny, I’ve realised I like winter sunny days the best. They are warm yet not so hot that they suck the very life out of you. The best part was that I loved driving to and fro and apart from my butt protesting about being in the same position for 2 hrs each way, it was one smooth trip. We passed by several villages in between and also a village market where my parents in their excited frenzy loaded up the car with fresh greens, carrots, radishes and many other vegetables. Turned out to be a good thing since I made a big bowl of salad once I got back and munched away to glory. What stuck me along the trip was village urchins trying to sell us fruits, veggies and tiny little things we really didn’t need but bought only because these kids were out in the sun trying to make a living. I enjoyed that they could read! I had a conversation with some very shy, giggling girls who said I drive a Brio and asked me how it was to drive. I told them it was awesome and that they should study really hard so that they can have a car and drive around like I do when they grow up. Their eyes shone as they realised that them being gals did not mean that one day they couldn’t own cars. Ah! The joy of inspiring someone is almost as good as an inspiration that hits you!

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Design Journey : going better than I expected!

Soooo, Its been quite a while, almost two months since I last blogged about design or anything else. I have quite a bit to share. First off, That HCI course gets tougher as days come by and I had to drop it, mainly because of my new job and work I do apart from the new job. However, that in no way means I have dropped my design journey. Just a part of it, the course repeats itself in a bit and I will take it up again the next time it comes by. I have been reading and working on UI development quite a bit. I am currently in a project where I have been doing research, working on features and surfing loads of cool websites to draw inspiration from and also been sketching. Another thing that’s gotten my attention is my old hobby of lettering which I intend to continue and work on a couple posters that I may auction for charity. I have been going through typography books and history and am understanding the nuances of it.

typography-alphabet-letters-98-497x385

Image from neamgraffiti.com

The one thing it teaches you is attention to detail. I personally have not been someone who pays a lot of attention to detail when it comes to typography, never before cared that a comma was missed or that two words have double spaces between them or even spelling discrepancies. I however am quite obsessed with attention to detail on the content, I personally hate it when someone uses information for examples that is not specifically correct and something they just found on the internet, without verifying it. I also hate plagiarism with a passion. Drawing inspiration from someone’s content is absolutely fine, copying them is also okay if you want to experiment with your style, but passing on the copied material as your own – a Big NO NO in my dictionary.

 

bart-simpson-plagiarize

Image from Florida Tech Blog

To me, its an insult to one’s own intelligence if they were to copy someone else’s work and pass it on without giving due credit ( Notice, I have given credit to the images used, come on people! its not that hard!). I have seen this happen a lot, especially with Indian authors and writers ( mind you, I am not excusing the rest of the world or singling out Indians, I am merely stating that I have come across more Indian authors doing it because majority of my life revolves around them and I interact with and read a lot of Indian material) so as I design things  I am careful to observe a lot of different artists and UX designers so that I don’t get inspired only by one style and start copying unintentionally. Designing is fun, but I also realised that once I did design, I loved to see it come to life so I have been practicing my coding skills as well so that I can contribute more in the project. I have a ton of material to read and learn and understand from and I am absolutely loving it.

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The Design Journey Beigns

Okay, I have mulled (and by mulled, I mean ranted) enough about myself, and about how I finally figured out what I want to do. Now I have picked up something and I start my design journey thus.

The thing I’ve picked up is a Human Computer Interaction course by Stanford University. I just finished my first assignment and I realised how much I enjoyed doing it. It seemed like something I did with ease, something that came naturally to me. Now I see how doing something related to study can be so enjoyable.

The assignment comprised of me having to interview 3 people and gather their needs and based on these needs, identify a set of tasks or goals to be accomplished to complete a design brief. Also was needed a set of inspirations I found. This part is something I can go on and on about, but before we get to that, It was absolute fun to have 4 people volunteer for me.

Thank you Sai, Varooon, Sadique and Rangu, for being patient with me. Specially Varooon who I almost bullied, Sadique who stepped in to pose for Varoon’s brief! and Mr Sai for giving a beautifully detailed list of what all he wants me to design!

After collecting, brainstorming and pondering over it for a while, I have finally identified the design needs and ideas I need to inculcate in this awesome dashboard I’m about to design over the next few weeks.

Now coming to Inspiration. I find inspiration in almost everything, from reading about cranky obnoxious perfectionist Mr Steve Jobs to the batman painting on my desk. From a range of colorful stickies on my wall to apps that work and a million different websites I surf to check for DIY stuff. Awesome inspirational quotes found on the internet are like a caffeine shot to me, random songs that say chak lein de inspire me. There is so much inspiration to be derived from every tiny thing around us. So there is no lack of inspiration, it took me all of 2 minutes to come up with 7 inspirations for my design elements ( fast eh?)

Now I need to wait for my new computer and peer evaluation to be done but since we can start work on the next assignment I am already onto it.

Until Later,

The Pondering Monkey

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