Thursday, May 25, 2006

An intervention

This sunday, the 28th of May, at 5 pm, there will be an intervention by volunteers of the Blank Noise Project from Chennai at Besant Nagar Beach.

The idea is to silently confront eve teasers/harassers of any sort, even lecherous staring.


Here are excerpts from their home page:

Blank: no form, no meaning.
Noise: heightens, builds, breaks form.
Blank Noise put together are two words that contradict themselves.

We experience eve teasing daily. It is a sexual violation but we ignore it. At the same time, we structure our lives to avoid the occurrence of it - by 'dressing decently', 'coming back home on time', etc, thereby making unwanted rules for ourselves and not recognizing ourselves as citizens.

This daily silent experience of street sexual harassment is what comes closest to the term blank noise.

Blank Noise is interventionist, and critically reflective of the issue. It seeks to confront, and create communitoes through public art. Blank Noise works with people through performance, blogging, and street intereventions.

This is a public art project seeking to address eve teasing. There are several ways to address an issue and we choose the language of public and community art.

Is it all about the women?

It may be called 'eve' teasing and spoken of as if it happens only to women but we have found that men also experience street sexual harassment. They just have a different way of looking at their bodies and dealing with the issue. As women, we are taught to protect our bodies and we are layered with ideas of modesty and shame. Izzat. Lajja. Men are expected to be men – mard - and they are supposed to deny that they can be victims, too.

So a roughly typical reaction might be – yes, I got felt up but I pity the bugger because he's gay.

Eve teasing, therefore, despite its rather misleading nomenclature, is not an all-girl issue but a societal one. By being a mute witness, by teasing (sexually harassing) or by ignoring/ denying the issue, we are responsible for it.

All you need to do to join Blank Noise is get in touch with us. If you feel strongly enough about eve-teasing and are willing to do something about it, Blank Noise would be glad to have you on board. And we can use any skills you have from writing to artwork to design to being net-savvy or just being willing to give your time to spreading awareness.

Currently, Blank Noise participants include researchers, college students, journalists, technicians, activists, an architect, and young professionals. There are both men and women, and just happen to fall between the age groups of 17-30 years.


Calling everyone who wishes to change the way things are run. Do your part. Make a difference. It may be a trickle, so what?

Send an email to with your city name in the subject line to participate.

For more details:

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Chennai City Branding

  • Chennai

  • Something different I came across. Maybe it is being done on the same lines as 'I lov NY' or something like that...

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Eppadi iruntha naan...

    It has been a week since I had a bath. I'm now officially a stinker. No matter how much my mom tries to deny it, saying the medicinal wonders of neem will keep me from stinking, the neem has sometimes confused me. I don't know if that greenish thingie around my shin is a dried neem patch or some kinda fungal growth...gotta examine.

    My stench is so strong, that the only thing strong enough to penetrate this cloak of odour is the only thing i'm forbidden to touch - Masala.

    Masala. Of all days, now. Masala. My mother hasn't trained my taste buds to expect it in her cooking. Yet here I am, dreaming of Masala. The neighbour lady callously leaves her kitchen window open to fill my apartment with the sensuous aroma of the good masala that she prepares from scratch for her biriyani. Ah, biriyani. The last time I had it was one of our project lunches when dad bought it from the Hyd Biriyani shop on the other side of the main road. Those were the happy days. Me, Pri, Ravi, Collins treating ourselves to some tongue-tickling flavours (still vegetarian!) of the biriyanis, and the curries. The scent of the masala takes me to different worlds. It is no longer Priya next to me, it is a golden pot of Aloo Mutter . At a corner of the room Kimi calls out to me, fresh ground masala in his hand. 'I'm coming Kimi...I'm coming'!!! Lights flash, and I'm on stage with Jimmy Page. He is strumming Stairway to Heaven, but it is not a guitar. It is biriyani. 'Come my sweet, we shall make spicy music', he says. I surrender at his feet, and he gently raises my chin. I see him kneeling beside me, a platter of Panneer Tikka seasoned and marinated in his hand. 'Release me, I pray, release me from your fingers that have clutched me with this temptation'. 'Not even for me, my love?' An arm from behind spins me around. Hobbes! Damn, talk about ruining a fantasy with a stuffed tiger...

    All with one whiff of a neighbour's cooking! Hmmm... They say you don't know how precious something is until it is gone. So true. Thankfully this will be gone only for a few more weeks. It also got me to appreciate mom's cooking. After 3 days of nothing more than curd rice (minus the pickle, mind you) with raw onions (supposedly helps cool the body and clean out the blood, if only it can get past my tongue) I couldn't take it any more. God knows how I would survive in the US by myself. Then mom saw my suffering and made sambhar. She couldnt add even a pinch of spice. So she had to use a different pulse that would give its own taste to the sambhar, with tomatoes and salt alone, nothing else. Knowing how I craved for food, she even added slices of raddish - just the way I like them. And for three days now, I have been literally feasting on that sambhar, how much ever she makes, it will be emtpy that night. To alleviate it further, she even made boiled and salted carrots for side dish. I'm holding back a tear... On any other day, I would have said 'Yuck, gimme some real food!' But now, it is amirtham...

    Ah, enough about food. I'll be hungry soon again. There is good news though. Doc says the boils should dry up by sunday, so i guess the marks will also disappear in 2 more weeks. But the next few days are when the disease could spread the most, so I'm to restrict myself more to the walls of my room (which also haven't been swept or mopped in a week, so much for Amman's sanctum!) and avoid coming into contact with anyone, even parents, coz they could spread it to others. So that means more music, more blogging!


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