AM Reads: The Cost of Living

It should have come as no surprise to me that an essay by Arundhati Roy would be emotionally wrenching. Over the years, her prose has captivated me. Hands down, she is one of my favourite writers. Somehow though, I never got around to reading any of her essays. This past week I finally acquainted myself with  some of her non-fiction work vis à vis The Cost of Living and I was left even more enamored with this pen wielding warrior. The Cost of Living is a report on environmental justice in India. Specifically, the essay examines the  history of dams/dam building in India, casting light on the environmental and social costs of the aforementioned. Roy employs extensive research to show how severely the industry hurts both the ethnic communities who are disproportionately made to bear its burden and the environment ravaged in the name of progress. The book provokes questions around whether democracy serves the economically and socially disenfranchised in India (quite often members of darker skinned castes) or if it serves those who are already at an economic and social advantage. It also highlights how connected economics is to politics and furthermore, how institutions such as the World Bank operate in alliance with the financial, political and social elite in the so-called Third World. These are just a few of the topics that Roy’s essay addresses. I believe that what makes it a powerful book is the collision of fact and emotion. This balance  has the effect of illuminating the ugly reality that is dam building, making clear that the activity is a dangerously intrusive one instead of one that is innocuous or beneficial. Roy’s impassioned examination reminded me of how important it is to be socially informed and active both domestically and globally. 


Borrowed from Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was a protegé of Mahatma Gandhi and a leader in India's independence movement. The staunch nationalist then became India's first Prime Minister. As with any politician, one can argue for and against his policies and philosophies. Regardless, he will continue to be remembered as an architect of the Indian nation state and its breaking away from the yoke of British colonialism...And he may also be rembered for his crisp style. Pandit Nehru was sometimes seen in an achkan or sherwani, traditional Indian jackets that bore a stand~up (Mandarin) collar. Eventually, a similar jacket was designed and named after him. 

Some time ago, I became a convert of this look, chopping off my shirts' folded down collars to give them a more 'Eastern' effect. Not precisely in the Nehru mode but close enough. Buying them for a few dollars makes this hacking frequent. Here, one is belted and paired with baggy shorts. 

Earrings: Handmade by a jeweller in Atlanta


Fruity Friends: 10 reasons to eat Pawpaws & Cashews

As a child, I loved fruits, namely, tropical fruits. My parents didn't have to convince me to eat these yummy offerings of Nature. My cousins, friends and I were always climbing one fruit tree or another...invariably emptying buckets and bowls filled with mangoes, pomeracs, pommecytheres (not sure of the non Trini names for those) and other tropical fare. However pawpaws (papayas) and cashews didn't exactly elicit the same zeal from me. Sure I liked cashew nuts (the roasted inner part of the seeds) but the tawry fruit had too weird of a taste for me....actually, it didn't have enough of a taste, just a strange tongue tying effect. Pawpaw didn't vie much better in the taste department. Yes, there was sweetness but next to mangoes and soursops, known for their milky decadence, pawpaws seemed like they were half-a$$ing it. 
Now that I'm an adult though, I've learned to put aside my non-enthusiasm towards these old frienemies for the benefits they offer. Below, I've listed 10 reasons why they're worth a bite.

1)Helps to preserve cardiovascular  health.
2)Promotes colon health.
3)Conteracts inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. 
4)Aides digestive health.
5)Strengthens the immune system.

1)Source of good dietary fat, which reduces bad cholestorol.
2)Strengthens muscles, bones and teeth.
3)Low in sugar (uncommon for a tropical fruit).
4)Contains simply absorbed protein so good
for person recovering from surgery.
5)Promotes a strong immune system.

Village Dispatch: Trinidad & Tobago with Tanya


Wrap It Up

Many a bad hair day for a black woman has been averted thanks to head ties. I can certainly vouch for that. Whether it's because of an overdue wash day or my kinks rebelliously asserting their autonomy, pieces of fabric have invariably come to my rescue. Admittedly, cotton isn't the best option in terms of materials  that are gentle on my curls but I so like its proletarian simplicity. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy dressing things up a bit with my do-wraps. Granted, I may not get all regal with an elaborate gélé but it's fun to play around with more pretty ways to styling head-wraps even if that just means using some waxed fabric, an Ethiopian scarf, a Tanzanian  kanga or  a beloved batik. The textile options abound as greatly as the ways you tie them. 


Khaki Suit

These days I've been resorting to my idea of a uniform. That means plenty monochromatic outfits and sneakers or some other comfy shoes. Comfort is a primary objective. I will probably return to my beloved prints and maybe even wear some heels again soon. For right now though, I'm enjoying the pared down life.

Trench: Thrifted
Pants: Thrifted
Bag: Dooney & Burke, Thrifted
Jewelery: All over the place