Sunday, October 27, 2013

MY GAP

******1. I have sketching pencils which have the same skin making it cumbersome for me to check everytime the grade of the pencil before using it.

When one is sketching and espcially if one is doing a fast sketch there isn't time to check each pencil to land at the correct grade of pencil. Most pencils loose their grade markings as it is, hence there needs to be a system that helps me to intuitively recognize the grade of pencil I need from the lot. Also if the pencils are always placed at the same place in the pencil box it might help. 

Week 1

Q1.1
A Pilot V7 Hi-techpoint
I love this artifact because the pen is very smooth and precise, the ink glides like butter on paper. I enjoy drawing and for fast drawing or sketches this is an indispensable tool for not only is it smooth, but it can be used to add volume and thicker lines. A pen does not allow the use of an eraser hence one gets more confidence in sketching by gaining freedom.

Q1.2 
Ten Everyday Gaps or Problems
******1. I have sketching pencils which have the same skin making it cumbersome for me to check everytime the grade of the pencil before using it.
2. My desk is very badly organised. I bought a long desk (about 6 feet) in order to spread out my work, even as that was an intelligent decision the desk still looks unorganized
3. Filling water in bottles from the Filter is cumbersome hence a way to reduce the strain on a person. 
4 In order to increase privacy I want a simple bell or ring that warns me when someone is about a feet from my room door. 
5. The wires of my laptop, television, speakers and usb cords keep on entangling with each other. 
6. Pigeons sit on my window sills and are a big bother, they make nests etc
7.I am a student and hence keep limited amount of money with me, at times I end up spending all the money and don't have the small change required to travel, hence a system that allows me to keep a safety money in my bag at all times. 
8. My chair is very comfortable but it has arm rests which I don't require at all times, when i need more arm or  hand movement it acts as an obstacle. the arms should be adjustable and could fold outwords to increase sitting space (as in I could sit cross legged). 
9. I have clothes which cannot be washed with the rest of the clothes in the washing machine, at the same time I don't want to waste money on Dry cleaning, hence a system of tagging or storage that helps sort these things out. 
10. Indian pyjamas don't have pockets for some unfathomable reason, pockets are however essential even as they are mere comfort or night wear. Same pocketless concept applies to Salwar Suits wore by Indian Women, which don't have pockets.

Q1.3
Sketch of Chair

Q1.4 the gap I am addressing is of making it easier for the user to recognize the grade of shading pencils. The approach I have used here is to color code them. I am thinking of color coding them in the VIBGYOR order plus black and white. I have also thought of attaching small magnets to each pencil and storing them in a metallic box so that they retain their place. The visual sketches and a prototype are as follows 

PROTOTYPE





Kim - The Sun.

A very happy birthday to Kim, a little dedication to this beautiful soul

There is a bright shining light up in the sky
Guiding you, offering you comfort on this journey
It's beautiful, its omnipresent,
What can you give her?
Besides love, for she takes love with her arms open wide
She drinks your tears and compares them to the sweetness of honey
She is timeless, a cheerleader, in one of those costumes,
A grandmother, and a person your own age, whatever age you may be,
If words were diamonds and poems, necklaces, there aren't enough diamonds in this world to make this necklace
I can offer you a warm embrace, to make you feel my love Kimmy
that twinkle in your eye is priceless,
lots of love
Karan

Friday, July 26, 2013

Diadem





Diadem
There is this and there is that
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Artsi


Unaccustomed Serenity


Unaccustomed Serenity
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Artsi


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"?"



At the banks of insanity

To the insane, the sane are inane - me

Karan Leo Arts copyright


Friday, July 19, 2013

Dream

The imaginary world should be taken seriously, it tells you that which is hidden, lost or forgotten.I dreamed a dream last night which I happened to remember when I woke up, instinctively I recorded what I remembered in a voice memo. I found myself in a building which looked as ghastly in the inside as it was beautiful on the outside, fancy- ugly things in beautiful wrappings. I knew that I was at an event dedicated to celebrating super heroes, I knew this just as you know things in dreams. I saw people standing in clusters, in heated discussion albeit the topic of their discussion had nothing to do with super heroes. Someone from amongst these people pointed out to me a girl who used to be in my school but had left mid session. Again, I knew these people were once my school mates even as their faces were all blurry and hazy looking. Suddenly I felt a rage, an anger burning my very insides. I shrieked "You imbeciles, Stop!". All of these fellows were giving a test in order to give another test. These tests were strongly related to approval. After the shriek, I stormed out of the building only to notice two fat youngsters putting up batman and green lantern posters on this building. Moreover with every poster they put the surroundings seemed to change for the better. There was an innocence about these figures that was disarming and yet non-threatening.  


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Artsi
The Chelsea Shoes Vs Manchester United Shoes
Whose side are you on?

Chelsea Shoes


Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Artsi
The Chelsea Shoes are here ... I have a feeling they are here to stay 
Keep the blue flag flying high!



Even dogs love our shoes :D


THe Alpha Nerd Shoes

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Artsi
The Alpha Nerd Shoes for the Alcoholic Bibliophilic Nerd in you



The Bob Marley Shoes

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
The much awaited Bob Marley Shoes are here, I have a feeling that they are here to stay! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Manchester United Shoes

earable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
The Manchester United Shoes - Sir Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United manager at the end of the season in the 27th year of a tenure that made him the most successful in British football. Joining him in retirement are two more football greats - David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
This is an end of an era and surely a beginning of a new one in football.
The Manchester United Shoes take inspiration from the Football Club that has gotten up better and stronger from every fall and obstacle thrown it's way.
On the front is the famous Manchester United Crest. On one side is their famous slogan/song "Glory, Glory, Manchester United" flanked by two Red devils. On the other side is Rooney with his famous move, the overhead kick. On the heel is the number 20.
These shoes are now part of the collection of an ardent Manchester United fan whose passion surged when Sir Alex and Paul Scholes retired following another one of Manchester United's victory(English Premiere League).
 Enjoy



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Press Coverage in MANDATE magazine

Hey!
I am a little late in posting this but better late than never right?
I am really humbled to be covered by a magazine such as MANDATE. MANDATE needs no introduction and the best part is that it is circulate abroad as well, so readers in the US you can probably get  your copy too. This 2 page feature came iu the February issue Pg 110 and 111. Do comment, like, tweet or google+1.




Monday, May 13, 2013

William Shakespeare Shoes :)

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
Post your favorite line written by the bard in the comments below:)
"And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of."
These lines by the Bard are much loved by Rohan Chawla

Everyone who loves the Bard has some line written by him that they associate with or simply love for no apparent reason.


My favorite lines are "How like a winter hath my absence been through thee, for summer and his presence wait on thee, and thou away the very birds are mute".

Enjoy the William Shakespeare Shoes
 


Friday, May 10, 2013

Fair is fair?


On the 8th of May around 11am in the morning under the burning glare of the sun in a weather with a mere 9% humidity I decided to walk to a photocopy shop located at a distance of about 500m from my college. After waiting for about 20min at the shop I was all set to go home. The rickshaw-wallah’s however demanded no less than 30Rs for taking me to the metro station. The rate from my college to the metro station is 20Rs and paying 10Rs extra for a mere 500m seemed unfair. It didn’t pinch my pocket but math told me that he was quoting a price higher than what he deserved. I tried haggling with the first by telling him that I was a regular and he can’t cheat me – This didn’t go very well. So I approached the next one, on and on until one of them ventured to say that I won’t find anyone who’d take me to the station for a mere 20Rs. Imagine my surprise when after walking 5 steps he stops before me and asks me to sit. As I crossed the distance in my comfortable sawari the 500m somehow seemed more than just that. I started to think that even as I had successfully brought down the price, 20 did seem a little less. Conscience prevailed and I paid him 30Rs with a cheeky and dramatic dialogue to go with it “Next time, take a chance on a man burning under the blazing heat of the sun, and you might just be surprised”.

Was it fair, what I did? And if it was, who was it fair to?
It wasn’t fair to me for in the entire process of haggling I did end up walking 100m, a 100m that the first rickshaw wallah would have covered for me willingly had I accepted to pay him 30Rs. I did pay extra after all that haggling. I did myself a disservice in monetary terms by paying more than the deal (the haggling) had been finalized on. The principle of profit, loss and work invested holds true irrespective of how nominal the sum.

Was it fair to the rickshaw-wallah?
The rickshaw-wallah swallowed his pride, lost his confidence and betrayed his union by agreeing to take me for 10Rs less. His statement “No one will take you for 20Rs” fell flat on his face and in return he received a dialogue from the sahib – “Next time, take a chance on a man burning under the blazing heat of the sun, and you might just be surprised”. Pride, self-esteem, loyalty – lost as opposed to a monetary gain of 10Rs.

Other perspectives
1)     He wouldn’t have gotten any sawari in that time and the 30Rs might just help feed his little daughters – What if he is a drunkard and that money gets him all drunk, beat up his wife and scare the living lights out of children?
2)     Unfair to all of the other rickshaw wallahs who offered the same service – Well, they were rigid and so paid the price
3)     The sum is too meagre – Is it? Is it meagre when the Chief Minister says that 600Rs is enough to feed a family of 5 for a month. Let’s calculate 600/5=120, 120/30=4, 30Rs can hence feed one person for 7 days (4*7=28).

This experience has helped me come to a conclusion but I shall not write it down here. I’d like to know the opinions of those who read it, can you consider any one perspective as absolutely right or wrong? Do you see something else? What do you conclude. Hoping to hear from you J

Life has a penchant for dark humor


A couple of days ago a friend of mind posted a status on facebook: he wished that were there to be a time machine; he would go back and change his past.
How many of us think about important or at times not-so important decisions that we wished we could change? Almost everyone.

I pondered over this, I consciously thought of the things I would have done differently had I been in possession of a time machine. It dawned on me that doing one thing differently would in turn bring about a different set of problems, a new set of mistakes and henceforth a different set of reasons to be dissatisfied with life. No matter how many times we use this time machine, we would be tempted to go back to our past. Take for instance travelling. A wrong turn not only helps prevents us from repeating the same mistake but also helps us in finding an alternate way to reach our destination or better still find a way no one has yet discovered. Life teaches us things in queer ways. In all honesty I too get troubled by the dark humour that “Life” has a penchant for. At the end of the day though, there is no light without dark. The lessons that we learn are taught to us in outlandish ways, we are made to go round a circle only to realise that the first step was a mistake. Something similar happened to me today, something that triggered this post.

One of my speakers wasn’t working - not a big deal - but when the time came to watch the season finale of Glee, I had to do something about it. It just so happens that I have an NSX-0757 Aiwa music system, a powerful system about 15(or more) years old with 5 speakers(one central 8ohm, two surround sound 16ohm and two 6ohm rectangular speakers). This system has been out of use for the media it uses is obsolete (CD’s, Cassets and FM) the speakers however, give out awesome sound quality (made in Japan). I took out the wiring, scrapped the plastic to get rust free wires, tried them, tested the pins – the works. All the speakers worked perfectly when tested individually and I could replace the ruined speaker with any one of them, which I did – initially. 6 great sounding speakers however makes one greedy. I did everything in my power to work the Aiwa amplifier to take the input from my computer – to no avail. Finally when all was done, I literally sat down on the floor only to notice that the spoiled speaker had a simple break in its wiring. A 5 minute fix as opposed to an hours worth of tinkering with the Aiwa music system, googling impedence, connections, NSX systems etc.
Lesson learnt – First address the root of the problem rather than uprooting a beautiful tree, pruning it and trying to plant it in your backyard.
   

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Upcoming Bob Marley Shoes!

The wait for the Bob Marley shoes is testing the patience of Karan Leo Arts's followers, here's a depiction of what you've been thinking. 
Enjoy and be patient ;)


Monday, May 6, 2013

Graphic Art Exploration

Karan Leo Arts - copyright 
Graphic Art Exploration

I am experimenting a little with graphic art and I find myself looking for some feedback and suggestions here. The image posted below has these three women that I have created through a mix of digital and analog art. I know they are talking to each other but I can't find the real words :). Please suggest three dialogues, one for each woman in the comic below


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Creativity is the residue of time wasted

I have done a course on photoshop and know quite a lot about using it, I have done work with photoshop too. But, today, a day when I am supposed to do a mammoth amount of work, I decide to use it to create something from art, I picked up a doodle and this is what came out.
yay I am so happy :P

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

doodle-shoodle.tumblr.com


I started a tumblr a while back called www.doodle-shoodle.tumblr.com with the intention of putting everyday doodles that I make whenever my mind wanders off to a different world. It doesn't matter whether its a classroom, a metro/bus ride, what matters is how wild and wondrous these seemingly innocent doodles spring out from my imagination.
The doodle above is one of my favorites and happens to be not only the favicon for the tumblr but also my current profile picture on facebook. All copyrights belong to Karan Leo Arts

This is how Ms Mayalakshmi Rao, ace photographer and CTT head describes the doodle
.
"a Kali gone a little crazy, a Kali who is part male, a Shiv unleashing his locks and letting the Ganges go 

upwards, an acrobat, each of us in our daily balancing act - in balance, yet rising

ME having a good hair day "

Friday, April 26, 2013

Marilyn and Absolut Vodka: representatives of popular culture

Marilyn Monroe and Absolut Vodka, two of my recent creations are representative of popular culture. One of the issues with popular culture is that often the knowledge of the very tessellations that together form this tetrahedron of a pop culture is lesser known among the masses. I have learnt much about Marilyn from seeing movies about her and movies in which she acted. "The week with Marilyn" is one of the former while "Some like it hot" and "Gentlemen prefer blondes" of the latter. I urge you, dear followers to find out more about these very tessellations. :)

Absolut Vodka Shoes.

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
"From one drunk to another" - We bring you Absolut Vodka Shoes.
The Absolut Vodka bottle is legendary, its shape is lyrical and the bottle itself is symbolic of several things .




Thursday, April 18, 2013

Marilyn Monroe Shoes ( Colored )

On popular demand, here is the coloured version of the Marilyn Monroe Shoes :)
Enjoy


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The curious case of the elusive Mishti!

Mishti Doi/Dahi or Sweet Curd is a dessert quite common in the states of West Bengal and Orrisa.  It is prepared by boiling milk until it is slightly thickened, sweetening it with sugar, either guda/gura (brown sugar) or khajuri guda/gura (date molasses), and allowing the milk to ferment overnight. Earthenware is always used as the container for making mitha dahi because the gradual evaporation of water through its porous walls not only further thickens the yoghurt, but also produces the right temperature for the growth of the culture. Very often the yoghurt is delicately seasoned with a pinch of elaichi (cardamom) for fragrance. Baked yogurt is a similar preparation in the west.(source Wikipedia)

In October 2012, I went to the city of Joy(Kolkata) to meet a beloved friend of mine, Ms. Mayalakshmi Rao. In this very trip I had authentic mishti dahi from a local shop called Vien (not on of those big chains like haldirams and nathus) and I was in love. It's not like I had never had Mishti before this. In fact I had had full matkas of the curd that my dad got us whenever he went to Kolkata and besides the occasional kolkata mishti, Mother Dairy, which was 10 steps away offered the dessert. What made this particular Mishti special was that it was an artistic creation, it wasn't a desert that was made in bulk to be sold as an object. It had a certain sentimental value owing to the nature and reputation of the shop, a shop and not a big grand chain of shops. The consistency, flavor, lightness and little surprise chunks of ras gula in the dessert were the highs of the desert at Vien Shop. 

This particular dessert has been evading me ever since I came back. Delhi is considered the food capital by many and yet the doi has been escaping my tongue again and again, or at least the authentic doi is. I tried the Mother Dairy packed Mishti but once you have had the real thing you can't go back. It is sad that Bengali Sweets, a sweet house in Bengali Market doesn't even sell Mishti Dahi, can you beat that? Can you? Nathus, however did have a bad version of the doi. It was in a 'traditional' matka. If only the doi inside was as traditional as the matka. The next step was Delhi Haat, but no good news there either. The doi they sell there tastes exactly like Mother Dairy and costs 5 times as much. The last resort seems to be making it at home, but then I am not gonna go through that much trouble right now, unless there is no option. 

If you find a place where I can find authentic bengali mishti doi, do let me know in the comments below. We have reduced the distance between places, bridged the gaps between cultures and the increasing heterogeneity of population is helping this. Despite all of that, there are certain things that call out to you, certain sights, tastes and experiences that you can only get from the places where it all started. Chakratirtha Travels, a venture by Ms. Mayalakshmi Rao, Prof Kim Raikes and myself offers such experiences. It was CTT that made my trip to Kolkata memorable and introduced me to a dessert like Mishti whose taste lingers in my mouth even after months of having it.  
You can see the CTT blog here - http://chakratirthatravels.blogspot.in/
And the CTT facebook page here -  https://www.facebook.com/TravelChakra

Below is a picture of me enjoying mishti. Photo Credits - Ms. Mayalakshmi Rao 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting past all that noise

I perceive a saddening perception
it is? but it is!
To get past that noise to the sweet melody
 Melody however is forever present 
Eeesh! the noise is a leech
yet no salt will kill it 
 go back to my humble abode
thinking about thinking, no bounds no escape 
perception kills time
observation enthralls 
if only i could do something about it 
looking past  is just not enough

 I am an observer. I observe things, people, that leafless tree, that sad man and that gay puppy. It is not for the purpose of entertainment, not always, its just a part of me , I am an observer and that's that .

Are you afraid of the dark?


When I was a little child, I found it hard to sleep without at least one light on. My parents employed a baby-steps strategy. They increased the distance between me and the nearest source of light gradually. It so happened that as the external source of light moved away from me, the light inside of me started to shine brighter.  Today, and in several moments of several days I feel proud of this little thing, "look, Mummy I can sleep even in pitch black darkness". The fear of the proverbial darkness of the unknown, unsettles all of us from time to time. Knowledge that brings us shame or guilt is infact more frightening.

I have learnt a few things from my encounters with the dark.
It will come sweeping in, blow your mind and threaten to destroy you - only if you let it.
Like any battle, you would loose this one too if you don't show up at the battle field- Don't forfeit, you owe yourself more than that.
There will be times when you may feel lost, you may not know who to turn to, what to do, that is not to say however that this state  is permanent. Say it out loud- this too shall pass.
Understand the cause of this dominance of black on your canvas, it may wound you. But you see, wounds heal.
No one man can conquer darkness, just as there is no, one master of light . Therefore what I have said is incomplete for even my own battle with darkness is on.
I leave you, readers with some quotes from one of my favorite fictional characters- Albus Dumbledore.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”
 “After all to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”"
"It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Brief analysis of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles


Science without art
Great artists either depict their critique on present times or the future that they envision, in their works. They never dwell on the past. These are not only my views but also those of noted Russian artist Malveich. Bradbury, in his work predicts a bland, art-free, automatic, and unexotic way of futuristic life, implicitly criticising the present that would lead to such a future.

I would like to focus on the dominance of science over art and its severe effects, in my analysis. “They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle. They never let science crush the aesthetic and the beautiful.” says Spender about the Martian way of life. Spender describes the ideal sustainable relation between art and science. The absence of art in the equation causes imbalance. As seen in ‘The Off Season’, science in the form of atomic bombs leads to the destruction of Earth. The investigators of moral climate in 'Usher II' in their acts of conflagration and destruction are comparable to the Roman Catholic Church at the zenith of power in Renaissance time. The author  sympathizes with Stendahl which is clear from the way the story ends. We see how the Moral Climate committee is ignorant of the very works of Poe that they have burned, and this ignorance leads to their downfall. Moreover the committee is  comparable to ‘A scientist who can prove that color is only the way the cells are placed in a certain material to reflect light.”, I believe that such a scientist too would fall at the hands of the art that he condemns.
Hence Bradbury has given out a clear message that no amount of progress in the area of science can substitute the nutrition our soul requires. A balance is essential.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marilyn Monroe Shoes - Revisiting the Black and White :)


Wearable Art Project© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
Recently I made a rangoli with this gorgeous woman as my model, this very rangoli made me research more about this rule breaker, sex symbol of a woman. How could I not make her into a dynamic piece of art?
Presenting our very own rangoli model! Ms. Marilyn Monroe.
Do let us know if you'd like to see the coloured version ;)


Friday, March 22, 2013

African Pride Shoes

Our origins give us strength, they support us even when all is lost. A tree is not nearly dead untill it's roots give away all together.
Most scientists believe that all of mankind hails from what is now Africa.
I have in my own small way paid tribute to the African Pride with these shoes ( with the help of the ideas of my clients :) )
Enjoy them



Monday, March 18, 2013

Wave Shoes (side view)


Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
Water waves may make us feel the might of nature, but the waves that we mostly cannot see are sometime much more impact-full as such as sound waves and such







Waves Shoes


© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
There are highs and lows in all of our lives, waves, in their implicit nature are the best analogies for these ups and downs in life. :)




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marilyn Monroe Rangoli Press

Coverage in DNA After hours 10 march 2013 Page 3 :)

This image of American actress of yesteryear, Marilyn Monroe, has been executed as a rangoli by a young student and budding artist Karan Vohra from Delhi. Made for a college fest held onWomen’s Day, it measures 4 ft by 5 ft. According to the artist is depicts the image of an unfettered woman who, as we all know, lived her early life in foster homes but was later to become one of the most remembered faces of the 20th century.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Marilyn Monroe Rangoli


On International Women''s Day I won a rangoli competition at my college. 
I chose to represent Marlyn Monroe, not only to pay my respect to one of the greatest actresses of all time but also to Andy Warhol. Marlyn Monroe was a major sex symbol. She is an inspiration to a lot of women all over the world, especially considering her humble beginnings and great successes. This is a 4 by 5 feet rangoli art. It's not bounded for women are above boundaries, especially Monroe.to see more work click here




Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus by Mary Shelly is a commendable work of commentary on feminism and the power to create (life as well as technology). As in most books, one can draw parallels between the personal life of the author and the characters of the book. The writing style is exceptional, especially considering Shelly’s mere age of 19 yrs at which point she started working on this novel.

Even as the book was started in lieu of a ghost story contest, the author relates to us in subtle undertones, the social climate of the post industrialisation era, she was living in. Her views on feminism and science aren’t related in isolation from her personal life.

Mary’s mother died in child birth and her husband, the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelly left her to chase his romantic interests after she gave birth to a still born child. It is debatable as to whether there was a connection between the still birth and his infidelity. We see that Victor Frankenstein too leaves his 8ft tall baby, or as he calls it-  the monster. Frankenstein’s cousin, Elizabeth seems less human and more of an alter ego of Frankenstein to me; the last shred of his feminine self that struggles to survive in the masculine world.

We see how Shelly mocks the patriarch who abandons his own creation, much like God who condemns his children to mortality and pain. Even as patriarchy is mocked, matriarchy is absent and the presence of the ‘female’- inconsequential. It is ironic how Elizabeth, the only trace of the feminine is murdered by Frankenstein’s own masculine creation.   

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ze Rolling Stones !







Haven't we heard this verse before?
"I bet your mama was a tent show queen, and all her boy
Friends were sweet sixteen.
Im no schoolboy but I know what I like,
You should have heard me just around midnight."
It's written and sung by the modern poets of all time-The Rolling Stones! 
This is one is a classic case of Tongue 'not' in cheek ;)



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review of Dracula by Bram Stoker


‘Dracula’ is largely about sex, an unspeakable topic in Victorian times.
Stoker has repeatedly used blood as symbolic of semen as it appears to me.
In this book he discusses forbidden themes such as rape, sexually assertive women, homosexuality and so forth.

Dracula is empowered not only with the much desired gift of immortality but also with unchallenged control over women (and beasts).Despite Dracula’s notorious image, his virtues of patriarchy, hyper masculinity and chauvinism are in agreement with those of the Victorian society. Mina’s emotional portrayal of violation after being “penetrated” by the Count is very similar to those that would be reflected by a rape victim. Not only does the Count demonstrate physical dominance, but also intellectual superiority; he has the women of his castle ”trained” in such a manner that the narrator of the passage (Harker) compares it to the domestication of animals

Women are expected to be na├»ve, innocent and virtuous, sexual desire should be absent unless commanded by the husband for procreative sex. A woman who is sexually assertive is deemed as evil, beastly or under the control of Satan.For instance “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck, she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white, sharp, teeth” (Stoker 50) highlights this.

These opinions seem to mock the then order of things for even as Stoker uses stereotypes, the way they are used makes all the difference in the interpretation of the book.





Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book review of Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass


Dodgson has an image of a man of suspect sexuality. His relationship with children has always been a controversial subject and this controversy only strengthens the underlying queer tone of the book.
The term ‘Queer’ is attributed to the animals, situations and Alice herself in the two books. It adopted a homosexual connotation much after the first book was published and yet, its usage in these books seems to point at something more severe than 'eccentric' behaviour.
Alice is the perfect illustration of a ‘queer’ individual dropped in a ‘queer’ world surrounded by ‘queer’ characters. The problems faced by her are metaphorical of the ones faced by a person of alternate sexuality in the real world. She constantly struggles with what she has been conditioned to believe and what she encounters in this 'strange' land.
Alice finds herself trapped in a room, where the only escape to the garden of Eden is through a rat hole path guarded by a small locked door. As she struggles with her identity she finds it hard to come to terms with her sudden transformations, much like a queer individual coming out to oneself. In this struggle she begins to compare herself with Ada and realises that "She's she and I'm I". Note, the sexual ambiguity associated with "I'm I". The fear of loneliness engulfs Alice, making her choose the identity imposed on her by societal constructs, rather than the one she'd like to discover for herself. Just when all is lost, she finds herself in the company of queer characters.
Her repentance on not remembering the ways and lessons of the real world reduce as she discovers more about the world under. We see Alice becoming more and more comfortable with herself and the world she has been catapulted into.
In my opinion, Dodgson addressed his suppressed sexuality in a very artistic way in these books. 

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Brief Analysis of Household Tales by Grimm Brothers


These tales typify parental roles. There seem to be strong unchanging characteristics associated with fathers, step-mothers and biological mothers.
The father is shown in most stories as a powerless figure, unbothered by the plight of his biological children and gullible to the charms of his second wife. In ‘Aschenputtel’, Aschenputtel’s father never shows his disapproval on the way she is treated by her step-mother. One wonders whether he even disapproves in the first place.
In Hansel and Gretel, the father leaves his biological children in the forest to be starved to death. The repetitive misogynistic tone of the stories makes you believe that it was the step-mother who cajoled the father into performing this cruel act. Thus the presence of an evil, malicious and unreconstructed step-mother helps in exonerating the father of all his crimes. The father is insensitive irrespective of the absence of a step mother as seen in ‘King Thrushbeard’. Most of the tales conclude in delicious revenge or a ‘happily ever after’ consolation, while the father is part of neither.
The Grimm brothers lost their father at a young age and the absence of a father in their childhood is evident in the presence of an inconsequential father in the stories. We have low expectations from a widowed man playing the role of a single father even today. Are these stories partly responsible for that image in our mind?
There is no examination of the step-mother, she is the villain. Period. These stories have conditioned our mind to associate wickedness with step-mothers. The biological mother too is unexamined though she is portrayed as angelic. She is manifested in several forms, be it in the form of nature in the story of ‘Aschenputtel’ or in Hulda in ‘Mother Hulda’.
Hence, these structured tales with their recurrent plots and typified characters manage to set ingrained notions of rigid parental roles in society