Monday, 27 August 2012

Sunny Leone- Indian Porn Star

Sunny has recently been making promotional
visits to India for her Bollywood movie
'Jism 2'
Sunny Leone
A recent tweet from Indian porn star Sunny Leone exhibited her sheer delight when she was asked by a very excited mother in India to pose with a picture with her child, whilst she was doing promotional duties for her first Bollywood movie. Quite a shocking act from a mother to let her child near a person who has dedicated their career to porn, let alone a mother from such a conservative country as India. Many questions have been asked about Leone's career and there is a certain sense of fascination as to how she pursued a career in porn with such nonchalant confidence. She is asked almost constantly about how her parents felt about her career decision to which she has always replied, that like any other parents whose child wants to enter the porn industry, they were not happy- But welcoming Sunny into the world in Canada and later living in California, they acquired a Westernised sense of thinking and eventually supported her.

Sherlyn Chopra with Hugh Hefner at the
Playboy mansion
In delicate pursuit of Sunny, Indian movie star Sherlyn Chopra has also been given the lucrative offer of being the first Indian woman to appear on the cover of US based 'Playboy'. Unlike Sunny she will not be engaging in any pornographic work, but will obviously appear nude on the famous magazine. Creating history, she has talked about the freedom of walking around nude in the Playboy mansion. Other than the usual 'slut' and 'whore' comments, I have been pleasantly surprised by the overall positive attitude from the South Asian community. 21 year old Indian model Poonam Pandey is also hot on their heels with a few raised eyebrows about her provocative image, but in return has gained a legion of fans. Shazia Sahari's name has also been thrown around in the porn industry, due to the curiosity surrounding her religious Pakistani/Saudi heritage.

Poonam Pandey causing a stir!
What I admire the most about these ladies is how unfazed they seem by the negativity that I think will never fully change in the South Asian community. The South Asian community prides itself on old customs and traditions so much so, that to say one day those conservative views will be demolished on the whole is unrealistic.  However as Sunny tweeted, there does seem to be a refreshed sense of thinking in terms of the art of freedom that we should all be entitled to no matter what race or religion you are. As a fellow South Asian woman myself, I support these women 100%


Sunday, 19 August 2012

British Ghost Stories

Whilst some of us love the thrill of listening to a good ol' ghost story, others squeam at the thought. Anyone who knows me knows that it's these little horrors that fascinate me! I was having a bit of an enlightening 'paranormal' moment and spent some time reading about British ghosts. Here are some cases that I found fascinating- and trust me there's plenty more out there!

The infamous chained tree
Many of us have enjoyed a day out in Alton Towers, but not many are aware of the 'Alton Towers Curse'. There is an actual existing 'Alton Tower' which is riddled in haunted folklore. Back in 1821, the building which was then named as 'Alton Lodge' was home to Charles the Earl of Shrewsbury and his family. The story was that on one winters night, Charles was returning home when he ran into a homeless woman. When Charles rejected her request for some money, the old woman cursed him. She told him that for every branch that fell of the oak tree on his property, one member of his family would die. Ignoring her curse, he went home. However, that night there was a violent storm and a branch of the oak tree fell. A member of his family fell ill mysteriously and ended up dying later that night. Becoming scared of future possible fatalities, Charles ordered his servants to chain up the tree to prevent any more branches falling. If you go and visit the property today, you will still see the tree chained up to this very day.

The legend of Dick Turpin lives to
this very day
Surprisingly Heathrow International Airport has also been riddled with some interesting ghost stories. The most famous ghost being that of highwayman- Dick Turpin. It's not a surprise that his presence is still felt in the airport, as when he was alive he was well known for robbing wealthy families and murdering innocent people, before eventually being hung in 1793. Employees and flight crew have reportedly felt his presence in the main terminal. Stories have included seeing him wearing a hat. Many have heard barking behind them, only to come face to face with nothing when they turn around. Maybe the barking is linked with the livestock Dick also stole when he was alive?

The 'Creaky Cauldron' lives up to its name
Aptly named, 'Creaky Cauldron' on 21 Henley Street in Stratford Upon Avon, is reported to have 40 different ghosts present. It is part of the famous 'White Lion Inn' (formally known as the largest coaching inn in Europe). It is also widely known as one of the most terrifying locations in the UK. Its dark history includes brutal attacks on prostitutes on the upper floor in the 1700s. Parliamentary soldiers who arrived there during the English Civil War have also been known to be roaming around. Extensive paranormal activity has been reported, with people seen running out of the property and vowing never to return. Guests on 'paranormal tours' of the place have been known to not complete the tour after being overcome with a feeling of 'dread' (commonly associated with a paranormal presence)

The events have now been documented
in a book
The last British ghost story that will be featured on my blog is the recent 2005 'South Shields Poltergeist'. It was reported that a young couple Marc and Marianne and their 3 year old son moved into a new house, which presented bizarre and frightening activity over the following months. Apparently, one night when they retired to their bed it became unusually cold. All of a sudden there was a barrage of toys being aimed at them with great force. They didn't see where the toys were coming from and only caught sight of them mid-motion. Soon after that, an invisible hand grabbed the end of their duvet and soon they were involved in a tug of war with the unknown presence.  This event was soon worsened when Marc began screaming in pain over what felt like a heavy claw scratching him on the back. In a split second, 13 large scratches where etched across his back. The next day the scratches had disappeared. The couple have not been formally identified for fears of ridicule in the press.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

My Disgust at the Shafilea Ahmed Honour Killing

 After 9 years, the parents of Shafilea Ahmed were finally sentenced to 25 years behind bars for her murder. Being led to his cell, Mr.Ahmed yelled 'fuck you' to the authorities. The once supposedly grieving man who along with his wife, played the role of a mourning couple after their daughter's dissapearance in 2003, let out his fiery side when slapped with his sentence. A twisted series of lies, deceit, culture and family drama unravelled in this case, which brought to light the turmoil many South Asian children face growing up in the West. Here's the story of a couple who raised their children as if they were still living in rural Pakistan. Without a doubt Britain is a far cry from Pakistan, where religion is the main belonging. Britain is a country where people come from all over the world to seek freedom and independence. It's obvious that any teenager growing up here would feel the desire to engage in the casual forms of socialising, dating and ambition that's been valued in the West.

Whilst I understand the need for parents to make sure that their children's roots are firmly instilled within them, having so much hatred for the lifestyle which they chose for their children to grow up in is outrageous. It's also a blow when Mr.Ahmed drips in hypocrisy after rebelling from his family and marrying his first wife- A Danish woman. Still married, he later left her to go to Pakistan to marry Mrs.Ahmed. To snatch away the same sense of freedom from his innocent daughter, who so obviously enjoyed being 'British' (by engaging in activities that were hardly out of the norm or frowned upon by any means in our Westernised society), is a compelling realization of societal differences that are still firmly in place today.

It was explained in court how Mr and Mrs. Ahmed went on to suffocate Shafilea with a plastic bag after a heated row and disposed of her body. Shafilea's siblings witnessed the whole event and were threatened to not say a word, and that's what they did for years....Until 2010, when Shafilea's sister Alesha told the horrifying truth after calling truce for her part in an organised robbery. This lingering case opened a horrifying door into the world of 'honour killings', 'respect' and 'reputation'.

What do I think of the 25 year sentence handed over to the Ahmeds by Mr. Justice Roderick Evans? It's justice, but is it justice enough? No. I hate that culture and religion does demonic things to people. To place your reputation in the Muslim community higher than the love for your own daughter, is invalid in a religion where peace is supposedly the defying message up in lights. It also hit a nerve when Mr and Mrs. Ahmed failed to place an importance on Shafilea's health when she drank bleach after her parents attempted her arranged marriage in Pakistan, because she was apparently 'causing a scene'. I have to admit though, as horrifying as this sounds, it isn't surprising. It's hard to balance two cultures that are uneven in which one is something you would love to immerse yourself in and the other one hovering over as a stark reminder of something your 'supposed' to be. It's really hit home for me.

I've experienced taunts about my 'heavier' weight from family relatives and friends from an early age, which inevitably means I'm not as attractive as the other Muslim girls in my community. This equated to 'reputation' problems for my family. Maybe, that's why I've been plagued with extreme body image issues my whole life, which I don't see eradicating any time soon. From those same people, I've also been given dissaproving looks over my refusal to pursue medicine/dentistry/law as a career path. Me? I'd rather be poorly paid and feed my creative flair than pretend to be interested in algebra. I tried that shit in school, it didn't get me very far. Parents evenings were dubbed 'doomsday'. I also had my first marriage proposal when I was 13 years old. Thankfully my parents shielded me from all that early marriage bullshit, rightly claiming I was way too young. Thankgod. But I wasn't allowed to my friends for sleepovers, wasn't allowed to talk to boys unless it was mandatory and an emphasis was placed on clothes that covered me completely (No boobage or tight jeans to accentuate my large derrière). By 19, the pressure to marry someone who was good for me had officially begun. Many suitors that I barely even know, I have turned down. The pressure is ongoing and bright as ever.

However, I came into my own when I went away to university. I understand my strict upbringing and what my parents thought they needed to do to raise me in a way they deemed right. Personally I'm ambivalent to religious norms dictating my life. I don't care for it. Now, I have way more of a say of what I want from my life as a recognised adult. But I know, that I will still be expected to buckle down soon. Where does that leave me and my weird ways? I don't know, but I'll cross that bridge when I reach it- And I wish Shafilea was given that option.
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