Sunday, November 23, 2008

Behind The Veil

Disclaimer: This post / picture is NOT IN ANY WAY meant as an insult to any religious / ethnic groups neither is it intended to instigate religious or anti-religious sentiments.

Pix: Surrounded yet Alone. Veiled woman wearing a burqa in the ever-busy area of Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria trying to catch a bus.

Hijab: See Wikipedia definition here

During my varsity days, there was once a highly-touted drama performance called “Behind The Veil”. I never went to see it but from what I gathered, the drama took a critical look at the lives of women compelled to put on a veil.

Whenever I see women like the one in the pix I am always curious to know what goes on in the minds of such women constrained to mask their physical features from the rest of the world. I am astounded by their stoicism as they wear their all-black attire even under the heat of the harshest sunlight. I also wonder what makes a woman agree to what looks to me like the highest form of submission.

It’s even more puzzling and pathetic when I see the ones who also have children whom they zip into their backs like a reversal of kangaroo parentage.

A lot of questions also come to mind: Are they really very beautiful women or very ugly or illiterate as some people claim? In what circumstances - if any - are they permitted to take off the veil? What is the permissible degree of interaction with society they are allowed? If one of them wanted to travel overseas or run a bank account, how would they take passports? How do they undergo an ultrasound scan and how do the nursing ones breastfeed? What happens in the case of an accident? Is one allowed to touch them? Do they really see out of those openings?

Every time I see a woman wearing such coverings (like one who once sold me a SIM pack who was enclosed from head to toenail except for one ungloved hand) I am always tempted to start off a conversation with them but the fear of misunderstanding and gender holds me back. I guess they might only relate better to their fellow women that with us.

Men, in my view, are such selfish creatures. We make the women veil themselves to hide their beauty (inner or outer, imaginary or real) from the world and yet we go ahead to eye other women in their miniskirts and figure-hugging jeans. I once saw a man drive his fully-veiled wife to a park so she could get a bus to Kaduna. As she stood out there in the heat, alone on one spot, distant, cut off from the rest of humanity, watching her husband as he walked around freely chatting with the drivers and (obviously) eyeing other females, I wondered what thoughts ran through her mind. Did she envy us? Or was she totally content in her submissiveness?

I also wonder what would have been her husband’s reaction if he was informed that the rules had somehow been changed and he, this time would be the one mandated to wear the hijab…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Monster of Indecision & A Question Of Time…

A large percentage of you bloggers out there who (out of curiosity or happenstance or maybe a lack of something better to do or whatever reasons) have mistakenly wandered to these pages of mine from time to time may have noticed that it seems to have taken me like forever to update.
This omission is highly regrettable yet intentional.

Over the past few months since I created the blog, a lot of questions have crawled, marched and leap-frogged through my mind. Just like I said in the first post:

"…I wonder: Have I just given birth to a good child? Or a monster?"

I’m still wondering…

The Phoneparazzi might just turn out to be a blessing. A gift I want to give - for the first time in my life - willingly to the whole world, unreserved, unconditionally.

Or it might also turn out to be a curse. For I am cursed with a lot of indecision on what my subject matters should be or how to present them. Some of these photos will just be outright nosy; some others are plain, unadulterated crap. But there are some that evoke a private emotion for me; an unguarded moment, a fleeting second captured in time, trapped in the ones and zeros of the digital memory of my phone and the thoughts they evoke. And I’m still so willing and grateful to share them.

After a lot of thinking, I’ve finally decided that instead of just snapping and uploading pictures from my phone straight to the blog just like any other photoblog, I might as well turn each picture into a social commentary of sorts complete with a discourse on what each picture portrays.

My biggest weakness is that I like writing too much. I just hope I don’t regret this…

It’s just a question of time before I find out.

Pixes: "Digital Convergence - Different Views of Life". Landscapes created using combination of camera phone, PC, graphics editing software and Windows XP wallpaper on a bright idle day.
Resulting pictures are a befitting fusion of all these elements, the idleness factor inclusive…