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Archive for November, 2006

Shivani nath, Ms, MFT, Eds, PhD(cand)Shivani Nath, MS, MFT, EdS, PhD (cand).
Marriage Counsellor

Shivani Nath is an expert in human relationships and specializes in Individual, Couple, and Family Therapy. Her areas of expertise are inclusive of sex therapy, anger management, and trauma/loss/grief/bereavement issues. She is a Professor of Psychology and Family Therapy at Kean University, New Jersey, and has private practices in New York and New Jersey. Shivani has been featured both in print and electronic media and has lectured nationally and internationally. Post your queries on matrimony here.

Accessories: Statement of Personality

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Hand BagMy bag can be termed as colossal. It represents a personal revolution in the sense of being made of leather - something I had avoided using completely for close to eight years. It is also embellished with many pockets and shiny buttons, the whole tough buffalo skin exterior giving off an air of hard working professionalism (even when I am napping in the afternoon!). Needless to say, it has drawn its fair share of comment and appreciation from people I have met.

An absolute sucker for bags, I have another gem made of silvery gilded leather with brass buckles and zips. This very noticeable designer accessory makes me feel all ‘dressed up’ for parties even when I am wearing quite ordinary clothes and make-up. Bags, shoes, jewellery and other accessories can be a great way to boosting one’s confidence in one’s appearance. In their own way, they are statements of one’s personal style, and must not be ignored when we are trying to enhance our effect on others.

My husband’s grandmother will always stay in my memory as a very dignified and stylish individual. She wore blouses with her sarees that had embroidered necks and sleeves, or a little crochet on the edges. Her pearls, or discreet necklaces of semi-precious stones, were beautifully co-ordinated with the colours of her clothes. With her silver hair, she presented a picture of not-quite-faded charm till very late in her life. If the power of accessories is to be understood, it is through such examples, a few of which will be present in nearly everyone’s life.

Britney and Life after Childbirth

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Britney SpearsEvents in Britney Spears’ life move at the speed of greased lightning. No sooner had her husband Kevin Federline revealed that she had regained her pre-pregnancy weight two weeks after the birth of their last son born in September, than she announced their divorce for ‘irreconcilable reasons’. It appears only yesterday (and in fact it was the day before) when Kevin complained about not being able to lose the ’sympathy weight’ he had put on during her pregnancy by eating extra junk food so she wouldn’t feel bad about bloating up by being pregnant.

Kevin’s intentions may have been noble, but this was obviously not enough to protect him from the iron-clad provisions of Britney’s pre-nuptial agreement, which protects her hard-earned money from his covetous gaze. Whatever Britney and Kevin’s story later turns out to be, a part of it is certainly about one of the most dangerous things we are acquiring in the fascination with Western role models in today’s globalized world. What Britney and Kevin are passing on with the open discussion of their respective weights before and after having children, is a negative self-image that rests solely on body shape, or a dangerous body-image if you so prefer.

Book review - Booker Winner’s Inheritance

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Booker Prize winnerNo other book has engaged me so deeply in recent times, or made so much of my own life clearer and sharper than Kiran Desai’s ‘The Inheritance of Loss’. This Booker Prize winning novel is not the young author’s first book, but in its depth and insight, it seems like the work of a much older, more experienced writer. Kiran Desai has fully explored the fragmented nature of her own childhood and upbringing and connected it with the observed state of the world in which we live. The result is a book that amuses and astonishes, saddens and illuminates and makes one richer for having read it.

At the height of the feminist movement in the 1960s and 70s, there was an important slogan that had gained currency - ‘The personal is political’. Women who had become tired about the main concerns of their lives being dismissed as ‘personal’ conflicts, were bringing these personal issues out into the open, questioning the power equations at home on a social scale. As one reads ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ one is reminded again of this slogan, but in a completely different way. Kiran Desai has used characters whose lives are illustrative of the class divide, the entrenched divisions of race, and rich and poor economies. All through the book, one is conscious of a world of aspirations struggling to be born in another world of cruel exploitation.

Creating a Scene: Men and Women

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Man and wife in a tiffNothing has reinforced the image of women being manipulative and scheming than the classic crying routine. In any literature, movie, or ordinary office conversation between colleagues, the subject of a man melting under the influence of a woman’s tears comes up quite frequently. It appears as if men would stand being tortured than seeing a woman cry. And this is sometimes exploited by women.

Whether it is a mother using the emotional blackmail to make her son give her more importance in the home than her daughter-in-law, or a wife who is getting her husband to take her out after a tiring day, or a girlfriend who is getting her boyfriend to apologize for getting drunk with his friends rather than going with her to the dentist, women usually have the upper hand when it comes to displays of emotion. Sometimes it can take on quite a frightening form. While all women may occasionally adopt the weaponry of tears, strong and sensitive women, who are secure in their own personalities will not often do so. It is the emotionally insecure women who secretly desire to dominate, who use tears and emotional blackmail as their most oft-used approach. The wise man will see through this and call a woman’s bluff. But if a man succumbs to this in the beginning of a marriage, it can sometimes set a pattern for what is afterwards referred to as a ‘hen-pecked’ husband.