Thursday, May 03, 2007

Work Talk

Came across this in one of the million books on sex-workers I am trying to digest. Seemed too powerful to be not included in my blog ....

One of the justifications for the abolitionist perspective and the inevitable framing of prostitutes as victims and slaves, is the belief that no one could really choose to participate in such as activity. Abolitionists insist that " No one wants to rent out her vagina as a garbage can for hordes of anonymous men's ejaculation." (Hoigard and Finstad, 1992)

Sex worker carol Queen defies such an attitude and calls this the "politics of ick":
"The assumption is that because I find something icky no one else could ever consent to doing it. The question I always ask is whether “oh ick” is really the basis for a politics. For a lot of years, heterosexual people said “oh, I could never have sex with people of the same sex, so therefore it must be sick, it must be immoral, it must be criminalized”. Well some of us really can do this. "

I've always struggled with this sticky area: "Can prostitution ever be choice?" and depending on how argumentative and moralistic I felt, I would debate on either side of the divide. This quote is the least contrived and most convincing claim from the other side.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The time machine people

Just finished watching and sniffling over Pursuit of Happyness. And the "I know It's a Time Machine" man in the movie inspired me to write this post. Somehow this crazy homeless man in the subway made me think of all the unimportant but unforgetable people I just happened to pass by in the past 28 (ahem) years of my life

1. The man on the street in Kerala who drew an amazing charcoal sketch of me on the pavement. He was unimportant, unfamous and I was six.

2. The old ragged woman at the Ranikhet club who desperately wanted my pretty golden-haired dolls (Julian and Joan!). I didn't give it to her but the boy doll disappeared and till date I think she was a witch with some powers who made Julian walk upto her at night.

3. The shephard near Chandratal lake who gave me a long philosophical lecture on the perils of city life and the evil nature of city dwellers versus the purity in being a shephard. Very alchemist style but so not-contrived.

4. The little man with his red cap, baggy pants, big glasses and dick in hand (yes you read that right) who chased me down the narrow deserted streets of Nainital. There is no dearth of such creeps in North India but the reason why I remember this one is that he seemed so wrong for that role - like he was some shy old man playing the role of a creep. In case you are interested in knowing how it ended, I kept running till I came upon this group of brick-laying women who all saw my distressed face, his creepy one and without saying much, picked up a brick each and started throwing it at him... Happy ending. In a way. Though none of the bricks hit him.

5. Babaji in the tea stall behind Hindu College, who gave us tea, snacks and lots more. He was our late night supplier of conversation (and other stuff) after our 1 am play rehearsals. He was one of the most philosophical yet fun man I had come across. He died a few years after we left college - murdered by one of his disgruntled customers.

6. Tingoo the resident uneployed at KMC. This short candy man with his baseball cap, and endless list of stories has been around since I was 7. I refuse to beleive he makes his living out of selling the handful of candy and cigarette to students. He has to have some story behind him I just don't know what. Tingoo says he has hobnobbed with Amitabh Bachchan. I think he is a givernnment spy or some such crazy cool thing!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


No I've not been tagged. This is just theraputic. Ten things that make me want to yell, slap, kick and pinch (I think not in any particular order)

1. Alarms that ring every 15 minutes till it makes sure you are awake: I swear I could KILL people who have those psycho contraptions around me. It's like torture in instalments.

2. Leftover hair on soap: It's as bad as nails scratching against the wall or chalk on blackboard. A sight of a long (or short) strand of hair stuck on the bar of soap I was planning to use can ruin my day.

3. Women who talk on cell phones in a screechy nasal and naika ("cutely" or nauseatingly flirtatious ) tone: the slow elongated "HAYYYYY!" and undergrads who suffer from verbal diarrhea and vocabulary retardation at the same time and have to keep saying "LIKE".

4. White boys with big bodies, baggy pants and baseball caps who almost always have a distinctively stupid way of talking.

5. People who YAWWWWN loudly in the library and make me want to yawwwn and fall asleep immediately.

6. Chewing gum on the side of the Peter Pan bus window

7. Sight of a gooey donut or a icy (diet) coke early in the morning

8. Desis who develop strange versions of Yankee accent and somehow forget Hindi/Bengali as soon as they step out of India. "Ayee tui kemon acchishhh reee. You look good..." BAH

9. Having to walk barefeet on a dirty floor.

10. Hearing "uhm huhhhm" as a response to my "thank you"

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