Rigged and Rigmaroled

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Archive for the ‘Out of the Box’ Category

Portmanteau-ed, with love from God’s own country

Posted by Rani on December 15, 2010

We owe to Lewis (he Carols, during Christmas mostly but sometimes otherwise too :-D) the use of the word ‘portmanteau’ in its current meaning. And wiki (the pedic kind, not the leaky one; you do know they’re not related, right?) had it on that name-meshing of celebs was quite the porty-manteauy thing to do.

This brings me to the old joke of mal names, where the doting parents wanting to ensure the family names would pass into the annals of history, and devoid of better ideas would think long and hard and portmanteau a name the kid would hate forever.

You see, behind every seemingly haha name (I’m talkin’ ‘bout you, Biji) is an art at play. You think it’s just a matter of picking syllables off of each parent’s name, and joining ‘em together till death do them part. But, that’s exactly what a portmanteau does. And it’s important exactly which syllable gets chosen, and in what order. Ensuring gender equality, it was not always daddy’s sub-name that got precedence in Junior’s. And ensuring both partners in the marriage remained happy, the syllables would be swapped for the next kid (yeah Jibi, that’s how you got your name).

So the next time you brunch, watching Brangelina with their twins on TV, waiting for your FedEx-ed package, which you paid for using your Amex – think of it. We mals have pulled you in. We were just one generation ahead of the game. Oh man, how cool are WE?!?

(well, I suppose Lewis, when he wasn’t Caroling, was ahead of even us mals. I do wonder if the looking glass had told him anything…)

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The Conventionality of Unconventionalism

Posted by Rani on July 10, 2009

The “oh (s)he’s so unconventional” tag is broadly applied to people in one or more of the following categories:
a. those with multiple piercings, beyond the “conventional” ear lobes
b. those with tattoos
c. those in off-the-beaten-track careers, like a DJ or a wildlife conservationist (ahem)
d. those who listen to rock, particularly of the death metal kind
e. those who dress “different”, whatever that means

There is this tendency to label you, as it were, on primarily external and obvious “symptoms”. And the average unconventional, oxymoronic as that may be, also tends to feel the need to conform to the stereotypes of the Unconventional. But the very act of conforming makes you conventional, albeit with different standards.

I believe if you want to be unconventional, you can’t. Its not an aspirational goal. You either are or not. And a true unconventional cannot be defined, thereby defying categorization and labelling.

I find such people fascinating, you can never understand them or analyse. And its not because they try either, they simply are. Too often, its seen as a “bad thing” or “different” but the entire concept of the uniqueness of human nature stands violated if it were otherwise. The flower children were not unconventional, they were simply anti-establishment and different from the norm of the day, but within the circle of love, one was largely like the other, thereby contradicting the unconventional tag, and hence also contradicting the “too different is bad” line of thought.

As with many things, the (un)conventionality depends on which side of the fence you look from. Aah. Another variable in the complexity of human equations.

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The Ugly Duckling Revealed

Posted by Rani on June 26, 2009

Oh spare me the beauty-is-from-within lines. Face it, if you aren’t a pretty face, no one is really going to pay attention. Having said that, and as one who is not uhmm….(un)conventionally beautiful (damn), I have, over time, come to believe that beauty is as beauty feels (and does, definitely).

As Ms.Paltrow said, “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” — aye aye.

If you want to feel beautiful, you have got to pay some attention. No, the ill-fitting clothes and unkempt hair don’t not matter just because you’re loaded with attitude (the vice-versa converse also holds true). Ahh, so here’s a quickie self-help guide:

1. You can’t change some aspects in the way you look. Don’t even try. You can’t get shorter or taller, fairer, thinner (unless you put in some diligent effort and this is just a quickie guide). So, as any stylist will tell you for $50 an hour, highlight assets and camouflage the rest. But most of all, revel in who you are and how you’ve been created.

2. Dress well. Really. Spend some money already.

3. Love your hair. Again, don’t try to change it (too much). I have wild, unruly curls and I always say you gotta love your curls. Just take good care of your tresses, find a good stylist, and be happy. Your best investment really is a good hairdo and shampoo.

4. Feel good about yourself – others will notice. This includes the whole nine yards of self-development, relationship building blah blah. Yawn. Go read a management book on how.

5. And since beauty is also as beauty does, be good. Ask your mom how.

Yes, I walk into a room with too many models and I feel insignificant. The ugly duckling resurfaces. Then I remember I had a 4.2/5 GPA in B-school (gloat gloat, in your face, baby) and I feel good. Well, not really. These girls are bombs, and they make you feel blah though they probably haven’t even noticed you. Oh, that’s worse. So then I tell myself I’ve read Tolstoy and Kundera and Marquez. Well, something’s gotta work. And something usually does. These moments are rare (phew), I don’t think I’m a piece-of-art, but I do think I’m okay. More than.

 “I’ve developed into quite a swan. I’m one of those people that will probably look better and better as I get older – until I drop dead of beauty.” – Rufus Wainwright

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