Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Changing with the times

The last one and a half years have been of real importance for the Indian fashion overall. There has been an infusion of a new issue of dressing, greater acceptance of new ideas, greater degree of freedom in dressing and now experimentation. People are becoming more fashion conscious, more and more cities are organising fashion shows, new boutiques are opening and contests are frequently organised. All these new ideas have permeated through the satellite TV which has brought simultaneous diffusion of ideas and concepts.

Indians have always been responsive to changing fashion but this was confined to the higher echelons of society who had information of the new trends. In fact, there was no real means for the diffusion of fashion earlier. Diffusion largely depended on the effectiveness of the means of communication, means of transportation and the contact effect. It was only a handful of people who brought newer ideas of fashion from its centre of origin and subsequently passed it to others. The diffusion was largely hierarchical with the major metropolitan centre passing the trend to the next centre which subsequently passed it to the next centre and so on. Alternatively people came in contact with each other and by the contact effect transmitted fashion to each other. For both of these processes to operate it needed time and thus the operation was slow, so slow that by the time it reached masses, to the people in far off places it had already become outdated and out of fashion.

Bell bottoms are a case in point. Bell-bottoms had lived their age by 1977 and a jeans revolution was sweeping the entire world. But it was not before early 80’s that the people actually accepted it. By early 80’s pleated trousers had made their way but it was only by late 80’s that they were actually accepted. The scene has completely changed now. The TV revolution coupled with the satellite revolution has brought millions of viewers within the reach of new trend and new ideas simultaneously. Thus the same information which would have taken months to reach the people reaches within minutes of beaming the programme.

This had both likely and unlikely effects. Likely is that it infused a sense of fashion consciousness among the masses. People became aware about what to wear when to wear, how to wear. They understood the sense of aesthetism and its likely impacts. The group most affected by this type of effect was the younger people in the under 25 bracket in the urban area-girls in particular. The urban (metropolitan) woman of today has become an epitome of healthy existence-glowing skin, a figure to match, capped off by silky mane. All made possible by a routine that included healthy diet, aerobics and natural food. Perhaps this is why body hugging garments, earlier taboo, have become the rage. Women don’t mind capitalising on their sexuality and showing off their figures.

The unlikely effect has been in a relative sense. It was expected that a revolutionary change will be brought about and though many fashion shows have been held in different places they have not prompted people to change their way of clothing. A majority of the people are afraid of change. It is a known fact that the most Indian women want the salwar kameez over and over again albeit some major variations may be a kurta with a shorter length or a salwar with more pleats.

The average Indian figure is also such that salwar kameez conceals most parts of the body. The scope of innovation being limited the designers relapse into the groove of innovating upon western clothes. There are many reasons why the Indian women cannot identify with western attire. There are only few who can carry off western clothes well without giving a bawdy and cheap look and most important, the average built and figures of Indian women is not right for western clothes.

Western clothes look best on girls with a tall stature (5’9” or more), broad shoulder, trim waist and slender shapely thighs. The average Indian girl hardly reaches a height of 5’9” and the overall built is frail. The waist may be trim, but the overall shape is quite different and the thighs either have an excess of fat or paucity of it. In either case the aesthetic appeal of figure-revealing attire is diminished.

The greatest influence on Indians about how to dress comes from films. The role models for Indian are not models of the likes of Meher, Madhu but the film stars: Juhi, Madhuri, Sridevi, Raveena, Hema Malini. All of them have a typical Indian figure: fleshy and rounded.

Patna really presents a strange case. Patnaites have enormous purchasing power, the girls here are really smart particularly those who have just finished their schooling in one of the convents, but there is a great contradiction in what Patna can be and what it is at present. Patna should have been bubbling with daring damsels and pretty chics but this is not so. The same girls when they go to Delhi compete with the smartest girls there. The basic reason lies in the state of education in Bihar. Late academic session, pathetic state of teaching and lack of other educational facilities force Patnaites to move out of this city and their place is taken by girls from the rural areas who come to take advantage of the relatively better educational facilities. These quasi-urban girls want to imitate the smart ones but their mentality is firmly rooted in their background. The result is a strange mixture of costly garments and rustic dress sense-a BTM (or behanji turned mod). Unless this flight of elites and better students get reversed the fashion scene is not going to change fast. For fashion as a whole to pick up in India, the process of innovation must start early, there must be more experimentation from both designers (whose hands are tied) and from the people. The type of fitness wave that is sweeping the country must intensify. With good figures the Indian female and male both are likely to go in for a wide array of outfits. Those days, we hope, are not far off.

Monday, 11 July 2016


At age 5 his Father died.
At age 16 he quit school.
At age 17 he had already lost four jobs.
At age 18 he got married.
Between ages 18 and 22, he was a railroad conductor and failed.
He joined the army and washed out there.
He applied for law school he was rejected.
He became an insurance sales man and failed again.
At age 19 he became a father.
At age 20 his wife left him and took their baby daughter.
He became a cook and dishwasher in a small cafe.
He failed in an attempt to kidnap his own daughter, and eventually he convinced his wife to return home. At age 65 he retired.
On the 1st day of retirement he received a cheque from the Government for $105.
He felt that the Government was saying that he couldn’t provide for himself.
He decided to commit suicide, it wasn’t worth living anymore; he had failed so much.
He sat under a tree writing his will, but instead, he wrote what he would have accomplished with his life. He realised there was much more that he hadn’t done. There was one thing he could do better than anyone he knew. And that was how to cook.
So he borrowed $87 against his cheque and bought and fried up some chicken using his recipe, and went door to door to sell them to his neighbours in Kentucky.
Remember at age 65 he was ready to commit suicide.
But at age 88 Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Empire was a billionaire.
Moral of the story: Attitude. It's never too late to start all over.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

पुनर्योवन : नवजीवन

"बाज लगभग 70 वर्ष जीता है .... परन्तु अपने जीवन के 40वें वर्ष में आते-आते उसे एक महत्वपूर्ण निर्णय लेना पड़ता है ।
उस अवस्था में उसके शरीर के3 प्रमुख अंग निष्प्रभावी होने लगते हैं ..... पंजे लम्बे और लचीले हो जाते है, तथा शिकार पर पकड़ बनाने में अक्षम होने लगते हैं ।
चोंच आगे की ओर मुड़ जाती है,
और भोजन में व्यवधान उत्पन्न करने लगती है ।
पंख भारी हो जाते हैं, और सीने से चिपकने के कारण पूर्णरूप से खुल नहीं पाते हैं, उड़ान को सीमित कर देते हैं।
भोजन ढूँढ़ना, भोजन पकड़ना, और भोजन खाना .. तीनों प्रक्रियायें अपनी धार खोने लगती हैं ।
उसके पास तीन ही विकल्प बचते हैं....
1. देह त्याग दे,
2. अपनी प्रवृत्ति छोड़ गिद्ध की तरह त्यक्त भोजन पर निर्वाह करे !!
3. या फिर "स्वयं को पुनर्स्थापित करे" !!
आकाश के निर्द्वन्द एकाधिपति के रूप में.
जहाँ पहले दो विकल्प सरल और त्वरित हैं,
अंत में बचता है तीसरा लम्बा और अत्यन्त पीड़ादायी रास्ता ।
बाज चुनता है तीसरा रास्ता ..
और स्वयं को पुनर्स्थापित करता है ।
वह किसी ऊँचे पहाड़ पर जाता है, एकान्त में अपना घोंसला बनाता है ..
और तब स्वयं को पुनर्स्थापित करने की प्रक्रिया प्रारम्भ करता है !!
सबसे पहले वह अपनी चोंच चट्टान पर मार मार कर तोड़ देता है,
चोंच तोड़ने से अधिक पीड़ादायक कुछ भी नहीं है पक्षीराज के लिये !
और वह प्रतीक्षा करता है चोंच के पुनः उग आने का ।
उसके बाद वह अपने पंजे भी उसी प्रकार तोड़ देता है, और प्रतीक्षा करता है .. पंजों के पुनः उग आने का ।
नयी चोंच और पंजे आने के बाद वह अपने भारी पंखों को एक-एक कर नोंच कर निकालता है !
और प्रतीक्षा करता है ..
पंखों के पुनः उग आने का ।
150 दिन की पीड़ा और प्रतीक्षा के बाद ...
मिलती है वही भव्य और ऊँची उड़ान पहले जैसी....
इस पुनर्स्थापना के बाद
वह 30 साल और जीता है ....
ऊर्जा, सम्मान और गरिमा के साथ ।
इसी प्रकार इच्छा, सक्रियता और कल्पना, तीनों निर्बल पड़ने लगते हैं हम इंसानों में भी !
हमें भी भूतकाल में जकड़े
अस्तित्व के भारीपन को त्याग कर कल्पना की उन्मुक्त उड़ाने भरनी होंगी
150 दिन न सही.....
60 दिन ही बिताया जाये
स्वयं को पुनर्स्थापित करने में !
जो शरीर और मन से चिपका हुआ है, उसे तोड़ने और
नोंचने में पीड़ा तो होगी ही !!
और फिर जब बाज की तरह उड़ानें भरने को तैयार होंगे ..
इस बार उड़ानें और ऊँची होंगी,
अनुभवी होंगी, अनन्तगामी होंगी ।

Friday, 1 July 2016

Arctic Sea melting and its impact on geopolitics

An interesting mix n match analysis on one of the major development across the world
The melting of Arctic Ice has significant ecological and geopolitical implications for the world. In the Arctic, the sea ice has shrunk by about two-thirds over three decades.
Predictions by various models say the summertime Arctic sea ice could disappear completely by 2050. This will open new shipping rules are being, The ‘Polar Code’, as it is called is expected to boost traffic in the region, but will have stringent rules on pollution.

Why does this matter?
The Northern Sea Route along Russia’s edge, that is likely to be free of ice first, can reduce the sailing distance between Asian ports and northern Europe by 40 per cent. The other major Arctic shipping route is the Northwest Passage, which connects Europe and Asia.
It is nearly 5,000 nautical miles shorter than the 12,600 nautical mile distance between Europe and Asia through the Panama Canal. The Arctic is believed to hold about 13 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 per cent of its undiscovered natural gas, and 20 per cent of its undiscovered natural gas liquids.

The Current Situation
Right Now, there are no international conventions regulating Arctic shipping operations. Rules are coming into force in 2016.
As of 2010, most Arctic shipping routes were ice-free for only about 30 days. The commercial shipping route is currently open for only about four months a year.
The Concern
‘The Polar Code’ does not deal with the problem of ballast water discharge, which often introduces non-native species to a region, and continues to allow vessels to use heavy fuel oil, a potential pollutant.

Stance of Different Countries
Russia Submitted its initial claim to the North Pole, and 7,40,000 5q km of surrounding territory, to the UN in 2001.
In 2006 Norway became the second and only Arctic nation besides Russia to submit an extended continental shelf claim.

In 2013, end Canada said it would claim the North Pole, around 800 km north of Alert, Nunavut, the country’s – and the world’s – northermost settlement, provoking threats of military deployment by Moscow.
Geographically, Denmark is not within the Arctic region. However, because of its territory, Greenland, and its province, the Faroe Islands, its potential claims to the Arctic extend from Greenland up to the North Pole, via the potentially oil-rich Lomonosov Ridge.
Since International Law only allows countries to extend their territory 200 km offshore, the claims are based on some creative interpretations of where the landmasses end. All argue that mountain ranges that criss-cross the floor of the Arctic Ocean are extensions of their own continental shelves. It is up to the UN to adjudicate.

No country owns the geographic North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. However, the 5 countries located along the shore of the Arctic Ocean – Russia, the US, Denmark, Canada and Norway – have competing territorial claims.
While some maintain that like Antarctica, the Arctic should not be exploited for any activity save scientific expeditions, others contend that its resources belong to the entire world.