29 March 2010

Female Serial Killers

I've been drifting in and out of work and life the past couple of weeks. Since I have not blogged, this may suggest that I've had no life. However, this would not be true. I've just not been online very much. I lie, I have. Just not blogging but reading. The topic of choice this time around was an exploratory look at serial killers. I'm not sure what turned the lights on this topic, it could be hidden angst on my end, or just this innate desire to understand enigmas.

Like a modern day mystery. These are my opinions, and I've tried to deal with the matter objectively, using only one source, Wikipedia and here are my findings on the topic. My advance apologies to those who may find the content offensive or the treatment of the topic insensitive. I'd like to also add, that I these are just my opinions, and are not backed by any scientific-psychology analyzing degrees.

Common Targets
  • Most of the women I read about, seemed to kill one of these following categories of people: children, husbands or the elderly.
Motives
  • A majority of the people killed were for monetary gain from insurance- though the modus operandi differed. For eg. early Victorian women ran schemes along the lines of the modern day adoption agencies, followed through with old folks homes schemes between 1890s- 1930s, peppered generously with stories of children & husbands dying across time.
  • Older female serial killers seemed to be those with power (either that or the others were not important to keep track of), who killed those with lesser power. Common themes were :
  • 1) Women of the nobility exerting themselves by murdering or torturing their slaves and serfs.
    2) Slave abuse by female slave owners, bordering on torture and the like
  • The trend seemed to shift slightly in the later part of the century, where there was a sudden instance of mothers smothering their own children. Most of these deaths were attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIFS) until, as in one case, the husband read the diary of this wife and turned her over to the police.
  • There were out of a list of 72, maybe about 4 cases of lust murderers, and sexual assaults. As advised, the largest was monetary.
  • And because this is about female serial killers, there has to be one case of 'shopping' being a motive to kill. Yes, you read right, there was actually a killer who killed, then lifted the credit cards of the victims and went shopping.
Backgrounds

  • No clear patterns on this one. It was noted that a lot of the women were products of broken marriages, single mothers: who also had a history of being abused either physically or sexually
  • Where they came from families: they were from an authoritarian family where one parent was dominant and strict, either because of religion or because they just were.
  • There were exceptions to this as well. The more violent crimes came from duos. That was where there was a pair up between a timid shy woman, and a dominant man. Who were in a relationship and that eventually led to a change in the woman, and a killing spree.

Facts

  • Strangely, most of the killers were women who had positioned themselves as 'carers' or 'parental'. Nurses featured prominently on the list.
  • Common methods of killing was the usage of poisons like arsenic, strychnine.
  • Disposal methods- were common funerals and burials. As most of the victims were known to the murderers and not picked at random.
  • Where it involved the murder of more than 40 or so individuals, the dead were normally thrown into water bodies or exonerated at a morgue. Once again, this pattern is presumably different to the methods of disposal employed by serial killers who are male.
Categories

Female serial killers are divided into nine categories:

  • Black widows (kill husbands)- Belle Gunness
  • Angels of Death (Nurses) - Genene Jones
  • Sexual Predators ( Rosemary West)
  • Revenge Killers (Aileen Wuornos)
  • Profit Killers (Mary Ann Cotton)
  • Team killers (Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood)
  • Killers whose sanity is in question (Myra Hindley)
  • Killers whose motives defy explanation (Martha Ann Johnson)
  • Unsolved crimes.

11 March 2010

Of Reservations & Functionalities

This article was inspired by a quote in the TOI: pg. 18, March 10th.

"If... [they] think that the women would vote independent.... then they are mistaken...If I asked Rabri Devi to vote a certain way, do you think she would do otherwise?"
- Rashtriya Janata Dal President
Lalu Prasad voicing his opposition to the women's reservation Bill.

As much as it hurts me to say this, I have to agree with Lalu. On paper, the 33% reservation for women is a great idea, a great thought, a big move towards the emancipation of women. But we are a country that looks great on paper, we have reservations for the backward and disadvantaged, we have a creamy layer of intelligentsia, a competitive market of entertainers, a buoyant economy, a literate society, an active electorate and to top it off, a world class cricket team.

We've got it going and it's going strong. But reading a day's worth of news, even a day later, saturates the truth about us. We can have rubbish bins at the corner of every street, but if no one has the civic sense to put the trash in the bin, they are useless. We can have the reservation of seats, no problemo, but if we don't have women who truly represent, in ideas, thoughts and actions their unique, independent scent, the scent of a woman, then their representation is meaningless.

All we will be left
with, will be a change in the gender of the names the papers write when they write bad news. When they write controversies, write of affairs, ill treatment of the ex chequer, siphoning of the tax payers money into family trips and temple undis.

It was said, sometime in the past that the Maharaja of Kohlapur had a dream. That he would introduce the reservation to bring forward the backward classes. That was in 1902. The aim was to provide education.

Today, we have those reservations in place, and we are educating the young, once again in paper. But we have this binary of children- those that attend school bare backed, bare stomached to find food versus children who go to school, bags and lunch boxes filled to the brim. When they graduate, one gets to be the owner of the house and the other gets to clean it. Where's the quality of life, that was promised to people of the past?

The frustration here, is the fact that we've got it wrong, we're doing it wrong, we know about it and yet we keep doing it. Once again, let's start another reservation, in the name of eliminating gender inequality, let's make the fairer sex more equal. Let's eliminate the caste system, by reminding everyone of the difference between one caste and another, every time they apply for a place in a school, a job in an institution, go to parliament etc.

And what, can I ask, does the common man/woman get out of all this at the end of the day? A sense of Independence, of being one with God, of being in the Movies, of pretending they like pasta more than thosa, of being anywhere but here, in India.

We are a deluded, ethereal, dreamy society. We need to start stating things the as they are. We need to start learning how to collect the rubbish, move it to a different place, get rid of it. And stop mulling over the rubbish we threw out.

We can keep introducing new laws, regulations, reservations etc. But we need to finish them as well. You say women will get more representation, but assign a deadline to it. Say it'll take twenty years. And after that, let's cut them back. Roll them back. Throw them out. Focus on newer things.

I'm sorry to say if the debate were over design versus functionality, we just seem to opt for the design ALL the time. We need to start asking, what good is a three legged chair, even if it looks damn good.

07 March 2010

L'Oreal Creme Gloss- Dark Chocolate (323)

I thought I'd try my hand at a product review & the product in question is the new shade 323 (Dark Chocolate) from L'Oreal.

How I
bought it: At Health & Glow

$$$:
Rs 425

Comments:
There were plenty of 'test for allergy' warnings all over the box. Was kind of hard to mis
s the warning, but I did not heed it as I had used the product (not the same shade) before. Application was easy, and the instructions are very simple and can be followed to the letter. The smell, the texture and all the tools provided were perfect, very honestly, I love using L'Oreal hair colour more because of the ease, as I can do it myself at home. After washing out the dye, the hair was also glossy and bouncy, which made me feel less guilty about colouring it.

What I was not ha
ppy with, was the end result: the colour. It was very close to the actual shade of my hair, which I'd always thought was black. The product seemed to make my hair blacker than before, as opposed to the chocolate brown that was promised. I left it on for the recommended 20 mins. I suppose it was the wrong shade for me to pick, but I was not in the mood to be too exploratory.

The good thing is the fact that I'm OK to go buy another box at Health & Glow, as the fella at the counter told me that if I were to bring the original box back (the paper box), undamaged, they could knock a Rs 100 off the next purchase.

This time though, I'm gonna go for a different colour- perhaps medium brown. Don't go for this shade if you have hair that's already black, though those who want black with rich chocolate shade reflecting, only when in the sun, can go ahead. Let me know how it turns out!

06 March 2010

Time Travel




This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 8; the eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.




I haven't got the memory of a vedic tantric. Neither do I ever claim to remember all. All I know is what I know, question my memory if you want to. I don't ask you to remember, I don't ask you to believe. In fact, I'm not asking you for anything at all. It is your choice to be here, to read this. So no, I don't owe you a favor.

I happened to chance upon a watch, on one of my travels. Turning the dials of such a watch, could transport you to the past, to the future, to any time. But time, my friend, is not how you think it is. It is not a straight line, and you cannot just by chance hop into the world of dinosaurs and wooden weapons.

It is a series of transparencies, like films of clean sheets of paper laid on top of each other. You look from above and you see layers, layers deep in emotions, experiences of this thing called life. Imagine now, an onion, and you peeling the layers. Forget the tears, just peel off the layers, and you will see the center. The core green, succulent and liquid.

So I turned the dial. We are a curious bunch, us humans. At first I didn't think it worked, I felt that I was where I was. Standing on the side of a road, but wait. Where is the road, the tar and the happy glint of silicon chips? All I saw was ground. And then I looked up, and saw a long vacant field. Acres and acres of land, and suddenly I was alone.

There was no one there, at least not as far as the eye could reach. I'd think, you imagine you see trees, but I didn't see any. I just saw ground. Expansive, like one would see the ocean, never ending. Was it dark? Was it night? Was the son still hot? No, it was none of those. It was a strange sight, it was the end of the world.

It was the day, breaking into dawn. It was the sun setting, with the rays landing on emptiness. It was all the natural beauty we are used to seeing, except, there was nothing to take in, no one to appreciate. We, in our totality, were gone.

Where did we go? Who knows. Where are the trees? And why did the sky break into a confusion of time? Why did it not know whether to set or to rise? I did not move. Was I standing? It is a strange feeling, to be the last of a kind. I lost will, I lost faith. More importantly, I lost the excitement of being alive.

I turned the dial back, I returned to now. I felt enlightened, I felt fear. The sun sank my eyes, my eye lids shut. I fell to the ground, this I know. I had a ring in my head, and my heart ran in it's cage excitedly.

No, this cannot be the world of tomorrow. Or was it the past, before us. Someone said, foot prints in the sand. We cannot be that. We cannot be the fossils we study.

I know it will be different, I know I can change this world. I know I can become the change. I know we will survive. I know we have to.



The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

01 March 2010

I...

I am with your heart, pregnant with love and care. I will save it and keep it close to me.
I am your daughter, I will marry a man to your expectation and live happy with the many kids I know you want for me.
I am your crush, I will ensure that I hold your gaze and never reject the looks.

I am your friend, I will be loyal, honest and always a source of support.
I am your employee, I will always work hard and strive to give you my full 100 percent.
I am your grand daughter, I will respect and honor our traditions and our elders.
I am your cousin, I will keep your secrets close to me, and watch your back.
I am your sister, I promise not to steal your charger, your phone and your computer. And your tv shows.
I am your care taker, I promise to give you your vaccinations and your baths on time.

I am your customer, I promise to pay the bills and not abuse your staff.


Yet I am my own woman, with my own desires & dreams.