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Columns 'Mal'function
Anjuly Mathai
Anjuly Mathai works as a journalist with national news magazine The Week
Just be yourself  Story Dated : Mon,April,07 2014 00:03 hrs IST Recently, I watched an advertisement for a beauty product. A woman is asked by her parents to marry an eligible boy. She is conflicted. What about her dreams and her aspirations? Then she uses the beauty product, turns beautiful overnight, and with...
What women want  Story Dated : Sun,March,09 2014 15:30 hrs IST Yesterday was International Women’s Day and here’s my wish list for women all over the worldLove us enough to let go - Give us wings so we can soar. Allow us to dream for they are what insure us against whatever cards life might deal us, help us...
Hair today, gone tomorrow  Story Dated : Fri,January,10 2014 22:26 hrs IST Ever heard of someone called Lino Carbosiero? He is British Prime Minister David Cameron’s personal hairstylist. This year, he was named in the British New Year’s Honours list. It underscores an important point of difference between Western culture...
Selfies: fad or faux pas?  Story Dated : Wed,November,27 2013 18:46 hrs IST Nature keeps reversing itself, as though it can’t make up its mind. So there was my mother’s generation when the single lens reflex cameras using 35mm film had just begun to dominate the market. There are spiral-bound albums saturated with pictures...
Is love necessary?  Story Dated : Mon,October,21 2013 10:44 hrs IST There are those who get the surprising epiphany that they are in love. It happens at the most inopportune moment –- when you get an email notification that your library membership has just expired and you didn’t know that you had a library...
How to sign off an email  Story Dated : Thu,October,03 2013 15:50 hrs IST I have an annoying habit of analyzing the way in which people end their emails. I wonder what they’re trying to say. If they end with ‘Best, so-and-so’, are they wishing me the best? In which case, the best what? The best in every endeavour of my...
Weight and watch  Story Dated : Wed,September,04 2013 18:47 hrs IST I checked my weight today. I’ve put on one kilo taking my weight to the grand total of 54.1 kilos. Of course, I shouldn’t be telling you this. Your weight, along with your age, your salary and your waist size form the holy quadrilateral of stuff you...
Pause for thought  Story Dated : Sun,August,18 2013 19:11 hrs IST When I was young, I used to stay in Calicut with my brother and my cousin.Every day, after my grandfather came back from work, he would make us sit in a sanyasi pose on the mat in the living room. He would sit on a nearby chair and splay open an...
I have an accent and I’m proud of it  Story Dated : Sat,July,20 2013 09:32 hrs IST The first time I realized I had a Malayalam accent when I spoke English was in high school. I was the narrator in a play and I overheard a teacher wondering whether I should be replaced due to my heavy Malayalam accent. Naturally, I was gutted....
Should today's Superman be more morally fallible?  Story Dated : Wed,July,03 2013 15:36 hrs IST I’ve always felt that a superhero’s appeal is measured by his humanity and not his powers. His superhuman abilities might be the basis of his invincibility and yet, paradoxically, they are also the cornerstone of his fallibility, the possibility...
Love as loss of self sufficiency  Story Dated : Wed,June,19 2013 12:02 hrs IST A hostel is a place where they make chappatis that can be lobbed at the Taliban to turn their brains into chenna masala. It is where you learn to still your bladder movements until you get a booking for the bathroom. It is the place that conditions...
On Beauty, why Dove has a point  Story Dated : Sun,May,19 2013 16:52 hrs IST If you haven’t watched the latest Dove ad, it features women who are told to describe themselves. And then a stranger is asked to describe them. A forensic expert draws both descriptions and shows the vast difference in women’s perceptions of...
Back to the future  Story Dated : Sat,April,20 2013 14:04 hrs IST When I was very young, my mother used to pick out what I was to wear each day and lay it on the bed. I hated it. One of my earliest memories is praying to God that he’d make me an adult fast so I could choose what to wear. When I rifle through old...
Can feminists wear short skirts?  Story Dated : Tue,March,05 2013 14:15 hrs IST People think being a woman means having no choices in life. Your life is charted out at birth. Perhaps two generations ago, this was true. Women embraced marriage and motherhood at a very young age. Today, women in urban India are educated and...
Love in the time of Google  Story Dated : Wed,February,06 2013 15:53 hrs IST Picture this: A scruffy lad in yellow bellbottoms leans by his bike. He taps a smouldering cigarette twice, sending ash petals flitting to the ground. He has a rushed, fidgety manner. A group of girls emerge from a dusty corridor. They see him. He...
What goes into making a ruler? Story Dated : Fri,December,28 2012 15:12 hrs IST The Guardian’s collected some pithy sayings of 2012 by interesting personalities. One of them, by Mitt Romney, is this: ‘We have a president, who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.’ Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the...
Are we educating our children properly?  Story Dated : Sat,November,10 2012 21:25 hrs IST Recently, I went to a party and saw something. A mother was engrossed in a conversation with a group of people. Her son kept pulling at her shirt, asking her something. The mother would keep brushing him off, too caught up in the conversation....
Ad-dicted  Story Dated : Fri,September,28 2012 13:56 hrs IST I remember a Craze biscuit ad from my childhood. It featured a group of children dancing to a peppy background score while munching on Craze biscuits. I used to love that ad. All the children looked so self-assured and grown-up. I was sure their...
Snapshots of Life  Story Dated : Sat,August,18 2012 10:23 hrs IST I remember my encounter with Prabuddha Dasgupta. It was nearly three years ago when I was just starting out in entertainment journalism. I had begun to emulate a reassurance which I didn’t always feel while meeting big names in the fashion and...
It's Raining Men...Where Exactly?  Story Dated : Wed,July,25 2012 13:43 hrs IST There are two types of men in the world: First, the kind that’s firmly enmeshed in your life and for that reason deserves no further mention (for fear of one of them actually reading this post). Second, the more exotic strain that hovers somewhere...
A Note from the Kerala Tourism Board Story Dated : Tue,June,05 2012 15:54 hrs IST Welcome, friends, to God’s Own Country. Here, you can sip coconut (plucked by our wiry-legged, bronze-chested Kuttappans and Kochu Thommas) juice or dig into a plate of karimeen pollichathu on the wind-swept deck of a houseboat in Kumarakom. Or you...
An Assault On The Senses  Story Dated : Mon,April,23 2012 11:33 hrs IST The shop is anonymous and instead of a name, it has a Coca Cola banner with the words ‘Bottle Kholo, London Bholo,’ splashed across the front. It reminds one of the small tea stalls in Malayalam movies, inevitably the site for a crucial plot...
Rite of Passage  Story Dated : Mon,March,19 2012 13:51 hrs IST It’s known as the ‘Paradise of the South’. Did I find it so? Yes, but not for the reasons that most people did. For someone who belongs to that no-man’s land that’s neither a tourist, a foreigner, a hippie nor a local, Kovalam faces the risk of not...
The Land of ‘Likes’  Story Dated : Fri,February,17 2012 15:11 hrs IST Facebook users will know what I’m talking about. ‘Liking’ a friend’s status update or photographs is, after all, merely a click away. With the website’s privacy issues and the government demanding that it remove objectionable content relating to...
The Hug-Kiss Dilemma  Story Dated : Fri,January,13 2012 18:23 hrs IST How to greet people. It’s a dilemma that has plagued me for long. Recently, my brother’s wedding got over and I got to meet hordes of people.  While meeting each cousin, uncle or aunt, I wondered how to greet them. What is the proper code...
The Lame Name Game  Story Dated : Fri,December,02 2011 15:13 hrs IST My cousin just got pregnant and my first question was ‘Have you thought of names for the baby?’Nomenclature of any sort is a tricky business. In the seventh season of the medical drama House M.D, one of the doctors is about to become a father. He...
Bunny Memory  Story Dated : Fri,November,18 2011 17:33 hrs IST A Chemistry lab assistant who, with a bit of smooth talking, would barter the name of the chemical we were supposed to be identifying. A marble hall called The Parlour where we would sprawl around to watch the latest episode of Mowgli on the...
The road  Story Dated : Fri,March,28 2014 23:20 hrs IST To learn how to see, really see, the sunrise nestling in the crook of a valley from the vantage point of a train in southern Spain. To stand at the edge of an ocean and know you’re hundreds and thousands of miles away from the place you call home....
The currency of loss  Story Dated : Wed,February,12 2014 17:37 hrs IST Once, my cousin and his classmate were pulled up in class because their answers for an examination were exactly the same. To find out who had copied they were made to answer a question on a blank sheet of paper. “I didn’t copy,” wrote the classmate....
I, me and myself  Story Dated : Thu,January,02 2014 20:08 hrs IST Every New Year, I set goals for the future. Invariably, I fall back to my nefarious ways in no time. I keep wondering whether it is possible to change human nature. Perhaps this is the only way I can be and making resolutions to form new habits and...
Five things you didn’t know about journalists  Story Dated : Sat,November,16 2013 21:09 hrs IST 1) We hate suits – Anything that is not as creased as an old woman’s wrinkled skin does not belong in a journalist’s wardrobe. Suits? Most of us have never seen one except on stuffy men whose skin is as unblemished as a baby (what talcum powder do...
My summer sojourn  Story Dated : Fri,October,11 2013 23:27 hrs IST It was the summer of 2010. I had been in the UK for six months or so and the novelty of it had not yet worn off. I was 23 and brash, the future just coming undone like the seams of an old sweater. I stayed in a town called Leamington Spa. If you...
An unlikely love affair  Story Dated : Fri,September,20 2013 22:11 hrs IST Youth- so many crumpled memories with smudged details. I remember lying in a bed that creaked when I moved. Sometime in the night, the warden would switch off the lights. The dormitory would be swamped in darkness except for the triangles of light...
Independence is a privilege  Story Dated : Fri,August,23 2013 23:04 hrs IST There is something about childhood friends that is lacking in the friendships you make later in life. Perhaps it is the fact that you have marched into adulthood together. Perhaps because they’ve seen you at your worst - your personality and your...
To find yourself, you’ve to first lose yourself  Story Dated : Mon,July,29 2013 17:37 hrs IST Dear Prince George,I don’t know you. My acquaintance with you is tenuous and trickles down to a few articles I read about your birth and a hazy picture of you I saw in the newspaper. Yet, I believe that there is a universality to human emotions,...
Confessions of a technophobe  Story Dated : Sat,July,13 2013 15:24 hrs IST My Gmail has just decided to revamp itself. So now it’s organised my mail into Primary, Social and Promotions. There was a mail that tried to help me navigate my new inbox. Those wily buggers at Google tried to make it sound so easy. “Select the...
Reminiscences of an old timer  Story Dated : Fri,June,28 2013 19:08 hrs IST Ok, so I may not be as modern as I’d like to be. I have no clue how Instagram works and I seem to have been born without the brain cells that enable Homo sapiens to reverse cars. I fail to see the point in see-through clothing. You might as well not...
I used to be a sceptic  Story Dated : Wed,May,29 2013 16:50 hrs IST I’ve always been a critic of self-help books. I used to smirk inwardly when my mother cut out the bottom section of the editorial page of Times of India or stocked up on her annual dose of Robin Sharma. My reasoning was that, I thought I already...
Why blame Beyonce?  Story Dated : Wed,May,15 2013 15:25 hrs IST If you are Internet savvy, you’ve probably come across this open letter to Michelle Obama by Rakhi Kumar. It is written in the wake of Michelle saying Beyonce is a great role model to her two daughters.“When you endorse a recording artist like...
'A la mode'st Story Dated : Thu,April,18 2013 16:43 hrs IST The Oscar season is just over and I can’t help feeling that red carpet fashion has become so boring.  It consists of a bunch of women wearing clothes designed with the sole purpose of playing the ‘who’s thinner than whom’ game. So a plume here or a...
How ok is it to copy?  Story Dated : Mon,February,18 2013 20:47 hrs IST Once upon a time a man stepped out of a bath tub and realized that the water level rose. He suddenly understood the solution to a problem I’m not sure he knew was a problem before. The crazy old bugger cried Eureka, leapt out of the bath tub and ran...
Age and its many paradoxes… Story Dated : Wed,January,09 2013 10:59 hrs IST China has passed a new law which makes it mandatory for youngsters to visit the elderly. Should we follow suit? Luckily, it would be easy for me since my paternal grandparents live with me. My grandfather is 91 and maintains the sunniest of...
We Need To Put The Magic Back Into Christmas... Story Dated : Thu,December,06 2012 16:09 hrs IST I’m thankful to Enid Blyton for letting me imagine into existence a world of pixies and enchanted forests, of scones slathered with butter and tall glasses of pink lemonade, of dolls that come alive at night and little girls who brush their golden...
Six annoying things  Story Dated : Thu,October,11 2012 16:02 hrs IST 1) Zebra Crossings – Do they serve a purpose really? I will believe it if you tell me you find Barkha Dutt sexy (each to his own, I guess). I can just about believe that Padma Laxmi slept with Salman Rushdie willingly. (Stranger things have...
Call Waiting  Story Dated : Fri,September,07 2012 17:03 hrs IST Finding that wretched love letter you wrote a crush in sixth grade Valentine’s Day is awkward. Watching a sex scene on television with your parents is awkward. Seeing an old photograph of yourself when you thought you looked ravishing and now, with...
Mind Your Language  Story Dated : Fri,August,03 2012 12:26 hrs IST One of the earliest lessons I learned is that a ‘Please’ tails a ‘Yes’ and ‘Thank you’ always follows a ‘No.’ If you want to go to the toilet, raise your hand and say ‘Excuse Me.’ The English are nothing if not polite. Even their swear words have a...
On the Road Story Dated : Wed,June,27 2012 17:48 hrs IST I started driving recently. Initially, I was gobsmacked by the system of anarchy that seemed to prevail on Indian roads. How does it not lead to an endless series of collisions and Big Bang part 2? I wondered. After almost a month of driving in a...
Hair Scare  Story Dated : Wed,May,23 2012 14:09 hrs IST I recently saw a Sunsilk advertisement where a girl with perfectly lovely hair complains to a Sunsilk hair expert about hair fall and dry hair. He casts a discerning eye over her hair and proceeds to offer suggestions while viewers with proper hair...
How to train the hubby  Story Dated : Wed,April,04 2012 09:14 hrs IST It’s a truth universally acknowledged that every husband needs varying amounts of training. The necessity of this was brought home to me by a New York Times columnist called Amy Sutherland who delineates her training techniques in her article called...
It's All About the Wait  Story Dated : Sat,March,03 2012 16:08 hrs IST Yesterday was my first day at a new job. If you haven't experienced it yourself, I can tell you this: it's all about the wait and the forms. First, you're directed to a worn leather chair in the lobby. After you've finished learning by rote the fine...
Confessions of a Social Phobic  Story Dated : Fri,January,27 2012 15:43 hrs IST I recently happened to visit an online forum for people with social anxiety. The topics under discussion ranged from what job is best suited to one with this disability to insulting celebrity lookalike comments. The writer complained of being...
God's own foodie  Story Dated : Mon,January,02 2012 20:02 hrs IST Scratch a Malayali and you’ll get a foodie. It’s said that Malayalis are a peaceful lot. I say take a Malayali away from his puttu and egg curry and you’ll see his true colours. I’m no exception to this rule. I use food to mark milestones in my life...
Not a Sisterhood Anymore  Story Dated : Thu,November,24 2011 18:42 hrs IST Yes, I do know what colour dress Meg Ryan wore in the final scene of You’ve Got Mail. And yes, I wept buckets when Hugh Grant bared his soul at that iconic press conference in Nottinghill.  Do I think of that scene when I attend a press conference...
Lungi: the beginning of the end?  Story Dated : Fri,November,11 2011 14:15 hrs IST Recently, I was sent the link to a YouTube video called ‘Land of Lungi’ lightly spoofing Keralan culture. I watched it three times before realising a sad fact: the lungi, despite featuring in the title of the song, might be an endangered item in...
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