Monday, June 23, 2008

My Bollywood vlog experiment -- episode 1

Bollyficial Episode 1 from Bollyficial on Vimeo.

I've always wanted to be a VJ. As a child I used to stand in front of the mirror for hours, pretending I was on MTV. I don't know why I never followed it through. So, for what it's worth and to get some presenting experience, my brother and I put together a Bollywood show for the fun of it.

We shot it at home in my bedroom with a bedsheet for a green screen. My bro co-directed, produced, and edited the vlog. Hope to do some on a regular basis, will keep posting!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Love Mail

Since I've been blogging across a number of travel-blogs, I've often been victim of abundant love mail. Here are some of my favourite comments:

"Seriously can you have Abha write less articles that are about some messed up viewpoint and have him focus on travel related thing? I like reading about adventures and all things travel but he's not very good at this." (I'm often mistaken for a man)

" Wow, great - another useless column by Abha." (Yeah, it's really encouraging to write you know)

"This truly takes the cake for the most BS article ever. Abha really should stick to his/her other hobbies." (Why do you keep reading me!?)

"Yes! Another negative article from Abha. I leave for two weeks to Cambodia, and this is what I get? I'll be back in another two, maybe he/she will have been replaced." (Nope, SHE's not replaced yet)

Hmmm...actually, I thought I had way more stuff (I probably do but I need to hunt for them). I will make sure I save them in a separate folder now on so I can have a meatier such post in the future.

Thoughts on "The Love Guru"

I recently wrote a post on Gadling about Hollywood and its misinterpretations of foreign cultures, with the just released movie "The Love Guru" as the main subject. It's created a bit of a hoo-haa with strong arguments on both sides...check it out here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Being home: Clarity, bias, confusion... the subject of my latest post at Vagablogging.

Documenting the life of phone sex operators

“I’m 60 years old, have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and married for 25 years. I have a son in his last years of college who lives at home. He’s a 4.0 with a double major in English Literature and Religion. Men call me for an infinity of reasons. Of course, they call to masturbate. I call it “Executive Stress Relief.” It’s not sex; it’s a cocktail of testosterone, fueled by addiction to pornography, loneliness, and the need to hear a woman’s voice. I make twice the money I made in the corporate world. I work from home, the money transfers into my bank account daily. I’m Scheherezade: If I don’t tell stories that fascinate the Pasha, he will kill me in the morning.”
Photographer Phillip Toledano wanted to talk about something in society that is known and talked about, yet hidden; phone sex workers fit the bill perfectly. In his book, he has shot portraits of 30 such workers and given us an insight into their lives -- some of which you can see and read here. Reading their stories gave me goosebumps.
Like he says in his interview, what surprised me as well was how most of these people loved what they did (unlike in other forms of prostitution), as they truly felt like they were helping others discover a part of themselves, and in turn, even they would discover something about themselves.

"We all stumble. We all have setbacks...

"We all stumble. We all have setbacks. If things go wrong, you hit a dead end—as you will—it's just life's way of saying time to change course. So, ask every failure—this is what I do with every failure, every crisis, every difficult time—I say, what is this here to teach me? And as soon as you get the lesson, you get to move on. If you really get the lesson, you pass and you don't have to repeat the class. If you don't get the lesson, it shows up wearing another pair of pants—or skirt—to give you some remedial work."
- From Oprah's commencement address at Stanford

It's a good speech, but I expected more from it -- a lot of her lessons sounded like clichés to me. You can read the entire transcript here.

Nothing compared to Steve Jobs 2005 commencement address at Stanford. I must've read it a 100 times, and it's moved and inspired me every time (thanks Riff!). If you haven't read it READ.IT.NOW.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Twitter blocked in Dubai...

...can anyone explain to me why?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Do you care what your flight crew looks like?

The High Courts in India have ruled that if you are an air-hostess and your airline thinks you are too fat to fly, they have the right to keep you on the ground. This ruling comes after 5 Air India hostesses appealed to the courts when they were grounded for breaching the airline's weight limits. It's not clear if it's enough to dismiss a flight attendant, but being transfered to the ground for weight issues is humiliating enough.

Air India has a weight scale chart that specifies what weight their hostesses are expected to be. For instance, an 18-year old girl, with height of 152cm cannot weight more than 50 kilograms.

Now, being fat is one thing and being over the airlines specified weight limit is another. An 18-year old girl, with height of 152cm will look fine even if she weighs 52-55 kilograms; not being exactly 50 kilograms does not justify someone being grounded or fired. You would have thought their personal hygiene, working ability and way of dealing with customers took the upper hand.

Air India is known to not have particularly good-looking hostesses, with most of them being old and motherly more than anything else, but as long as they are good hosts and pleasant to deal with, I personally don't care how they look.

I just took a flight with KLM from Amsterdam to Dubai and one of the stewards was this older rolly-polly guy -- big belly and podgy arms -- but he was one of the most pleasant hosts I've encountered on a plane. Should he be grounded or fired just because of his huge belly? I think not.

I understand that Air India is facing tough competition from newer Indian airlines as well as international ones, both of whom generally hire young hotties, but being slightly overweight should not put your job at risk, and who chooses to fly an airline basis the way their crew looks anyway?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Considering how I felt yesterday, today I´m much better. I had a wonderful evening and a warm night´s sleep, and today I´m smiling and even slightly excited now!

Thank you to all who read and commented on my last pathetic post, you guys really gave me a boost. I guess I just needed to let things out before I leave.

I have a pretty full agenda in Dubai, lots to do, and I reckon I´ll be back in Madrid before I know it! I will be blogging, so stay tuned.

Besos and abrazos!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Emotional Fog

I'm going home tomorrow for 3-weeks after 18 months of living in Madrid. I should be on an emotional high but for the last 3-4 days, I've been an emotional wreck. I don't understand why and that's just adding to feeling low.

I've been crying over nothing. Snapping at people for no reason. Getting upset at people for no reason. I've been quiet and kept to myself. I've had a perpetual headache and no appetite.

I've always considered myself a strong person, but today I'm ashamed of feeling so weak and fragile without being able to think why. The feeling seems invalid because I can't find the root. I just want to crawl into a warm shell. I'm not okay. I feel this ridiculous need of wanting to be taken care of. But nothing has happened! My life is the same!

Perhaps all my trapped emotions over the last year are now flowing out at once. Perhaps I'm subconsciously stressed about going home, about talking about my life, about talking about my future, about confronting how I feel about Dubai when I get there, about confronting how I feel about Madrid from outside it. About all the uncertainties in my life, about all the instabilities in my life.

But how can a short trip home after a long period of time trigger such a strange and strong feeling of being overwhelmed? I really don't get it.

I hope to find that warm shell on my parent's couch.

Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening? Locations of visitors to this page