Tag Archives: shopping

Bangalore Comic-Con

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comic con express

I wanted Comic-Con to have its own post.

Sowmini and I decided to go as soon as I saw that Bangalore was hosting a Comic-Con event. My room-mate Jadine initially wanted to come too, and as two avid Whovians (Doctor Who fans for those muggles who aren’t so excited by a certain blue box) we entertained the idea of going as different aliens.

Jadine couldn’t make it in the end though, and Sowmini and I were left to fend for ourselves. Then I had it! Why had I never thought of doing Lord of the Rings cosplay before – ever since the films came out (now so long ago) I’ve wanted to be Eowyn…ahem, I mean dress as Eowyn.

So we took a trip to the claustrophobic streets of Shivaji bazaar last weekend in search of fabric and haberdashery. Very pleased with our purchases, we took the stuff to every tailor near to the office in Lingarajapuram, only to be rejected again and again. Turns out most tailors only want to make salwar kameez.

We did manage to dig out a good one back in the depths of the market however, so all was not lost. Late on Friday night, after promises of delivery and wasted trips to pick up items when they weren’t ready, I finally got to view the finished outfits. They looked fantastic. He did such a good job with Eowyn’s dress, and it fit perfectly.

Me in my Thor costume

Our fellow volunteer, and Sowmini’s friend from college, Prarthanna decided to join us at the last minute, so the three of us spent Saturday morning getting ready at my place. We pinned Sowmini’s hair with some silver anklets, and voila – she was Arwen! I rooted out a blond wig from a shop near the apartment, and one more cosplayer – Eowyn-maybe-Heidi. Luckily I’d kept hold of my costume made for the marathon, so Prarthanna donned her papier mache helmet with polystyrene wings, her red curtain cloak, and chainmail top – one Thor!

Comic-Con itself passed in a blur. It was so crowded and hot inside the stadium, moving through the narrow channels was like being part of a shuffling human caterpillar that didn’t know which way to turn its head.

British-pistol-18th-Century

British Pistol, 18th. Century – Flintlocks | Collectors Heritage

There were stalls full of temptation on every side. I almost cried when the ATM refused my card, and I was forced to choose between House Lannister, House Targaryen, and House Stark in buying a sew-on patch. Obviously being Northern and proud I opted for the direwolf.

Then there was the Abigail-heaven-but-I’m-too-poor-stall selling steampunk pistols and replica lotr swords; a gandalf hat and even Sauron’s mailed hand with the One Ring! *fangasm* I couldn’t afford the 5000 rupee price tag though, so moved onto registering myself for the cosplayer competition and got some over-priced food.

Sowmini and Prarthanna had retreated to the stadium benches by that time. They were definitely not used to being constantly harassed and asked for photos. I think at least 20 people must have asked whether I was Daenerys Stormborn, simply because of the wig. I had a couple of “Are you Rapunzel?”s and even one “She’s Snow White!”. Yes, because they look exactly the same.

There was a girl there as the dragon-queen, with a home-made egg, but the guy who won our category was painted up as Darth Maul. A bit uninteresting in my opinion. Why be Darth Maul when you can be Hans Solo, or Jabba the Hut? He didn’t even have the correct colour light saber!

The guy who won overall had a fantastic getup though. He’d spent four months preparing his fully articulated Iron Man suit, and he’d even wired up bulbs in the palms to get the real light effect. Each piece moved individually. Everyone was yelling his name before they announced the winner, he really deserved to win.

Iron Man cosplayer who won the top prize

Finally, we headed home. The day had been awesome. That night I went to bed far too late with a browser full of steampunk ideas, just waiting to burst into creation. Might have to make a visit back to that tailor.

Art Galleries and Women’s Rights

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Art Galleries and Women’s Rights

Another exciting weekend as my third week in India draws to a close. Working days in the office so far this week have been fairly uneventful. I’ve been busy getting on with my assigned tasks, and though it’s very difficult working six days a week, sat in an office all day, I’m starting to get used to it.

Each morning I trawl the same six newspapers and select articles relating to human rights violations, or issues in general, and collect them to put into a quarterly report. This is my daily task for the year, and I’ll be doing four such reports, and hopefully the data will then contribute to a much larger annual report from SICHREM as a whole.

In addition to that, I’ve been working on a funding proposal for their Human Rights Helpline. My other longer-term task is to conduct a larger research project into the functioning of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission; interviewing Members and the Chairperson, as well as several civil society groups dealing with the Commission. I’ll hopefully finish my research and get the report written at least by May, which will then be published as part of SICHREM’s series of short reports they are bringing out. My own name in print!

VIGBYOR 2013

More excitingly though, Julika and I got called into Mr Mathews’ office on Friday. Thinking this could only be bad, I was totally surprised when he asked if we wanted to go to Kerala on SICHREM’s behalf, all expenses paid. “I’ll give you some days to think about it and give me your decision,” he says. Julika and I both instantly told him it was a definite yes. So as of this Thursday, we’ll be manning a stall at Thrissur’s own international film festival – VIBGYOR – raising money from the sale of SICHREM’s own branded mugs etc. Even better, we’re free to watch whatever films we like in between stall sessions, and attend talks and debates that are also happening alongside. I’ve already been poring over my Lonely Planet guide for things to do.

On Saturday I got the chance to accompany Chithra to a meeting with representatives from several other NGOs, where the discussion centred around an upcoming event they were planning. It was only when we arrived that I learnt we were at the offices of Vimochana – a charity I’d heard about in England, who work with gender issues and women’s rights – so I was in my element! The event being organised was to coincide with the global movement 1 Billion Rising. This movement is a protest by women the world over against the growing culture of violence in so many countries, and aims to use dance and movement as a means of resistance and hope.

 

So the event is going to focus on these two themes, using dance, music, poetry and spoken word, street plays, painting, rangolis on the street, and a candle-lit march at sundown. Amidst the continuous stream of argument and voices talking over one another, it emerged that they hoped to mobilise between 5000 and 10,000 people! I had no idea how big this way going to be. So many passionate individuals from youth theatre groups were there, and people were talking about flash mobs, and occupying the Police Commissioner’s office to get permission for the day. I can’t wait to be involved! I’m hoping I might be able to offer to document the day in some form with my camera, or blogging – who knows.

After the meeting, I went back to my original plan for the half-day, and continued onto a supposedly good area to shop called Kammanahalli, where I ended up buying material for four outfits (they’re just all so nice).

Sunday came and I left to meet a fellow volunteer from 2WayDevelopment called Emma, who was stationed with street children’s charity BOSCO. After Thalli, and exchanging stories of our respective placements, we spent the hot afternoon in CubbonPark. It was free – a nice surprise in a country where even looking is a commodity – and full of couples and children playing cricket. The place was stuffed with huge bamboo stalks and lots of massive, spreading trees that I wish I knew the name of. To tick some things off the tourist list, we headed over to the Government-run museum and art gallery within the park, which again was only 4 Rs, with no foreigner’s tax! Though the museum was full of poorly-labelled pottery fragments and weaponry (some shining examples were “brick”, “clay pieces”, and “swords”), the art gallery had plenty of interesting statues (read lots of very busty women in a state of undress) and some modern canvases upstairs.

We discovered a quiet spot next to a lily pond, and sat for a bit in the shade, before following the sound of loud drum beats and music to an event in a stadium nearby. It turns out this was an inspirational event being held to encourage young Bangaloreans to volunteer in their communities. We could glimpse some men dancing and playing drums, but felt a bit out of place with everyone else there wearing the event’s branded t-shirt.

Leaving for MG Road, the main shopping street, we stopped at India’s version of Starbucks – Café Coffee Day. Though ludicrously priced, the slice of chocolate cake I had, with melting sauce and toffee centre, was so delicious I didn’t really care. I’ve been craving cake since I got here! After a quick look at some books further up the road, the afternoon was getting late, so we parted ways and planned to meet up again. Hopefully at 1 Billion Rising!

ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.

ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY

ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION

On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.

What does ONE BILLION look like? On 14 February 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.

via One Billion Rising.