Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Seductive Cuba By Chen Lizra - A book and a Journey

One fine Sunday afternoon I was surfing through the Tedx Talk and chanced upon this talk from Chen Lizra. The title of the talk says, 'The power of Seduction in our everyday lives'. The title itself caught my imagination. Seduction that too in everyday life, was too attractive a prospect for an Indian male. We live in a country and grow up with our own set of prejudice for seduction and the kind of time we live in, with all kind of sexual violation incident happening around us, the whole prospect of the talk made more sense to me. I decided to play the talk. Here is the youtube link of  Tedx talk by Chen Lizra.
You play it on youtube and first thing you see a  hot and beautiful lady dancing seductively to attract a man. The whole beginning stuck me like a thud. It was unusual to see a Tedx talk begin like that. Then she went on explaining the concept of seduction as practiced by Cuban in everyday of their life. The significance of seduction as part of their day to day life. At the end of the talk I was intrigued and wanted to know more of what she was saying. I googled her and found more about her work and her book. I immediately ordered the e-book 'My Seductive Cuba'.

I had read very little of Cuba, it's communist regime, Fidel Castro and Che Guvera prior to buying Chen's book. Whatever little I had known of this country was fascinating but never earlier I got an opportunity to explore the culture of the country through any medium. This book by Chen was a great opportunity for me to delve into the life of Cubans. The book starts with a narration of story of the encounter of the author with her dance teacher. As she started learning and swiveling to the step of rumba in her class, her Cuban teacher started the seduction game. He was explicit in his compliment and his expression of admiration for her beauty. He was unapologetic in his quest to seduce his new dance student who has come all the way from Canada. This was shocking and surprising for Chen to say the least, she came from a world of upright professionalism where a relation between a teacher and student is always professional specially inside or during a class. But what she was experiencing, the seduction by her own teacher and it was direct not guile by any act of deceit rather an open admiration of a women and his desire to make love to the women who happened to be his student.
The author in later part of the book goes onto describe how Cuban practice an art of appreciation to bring up their children. This shows in the way every kids grow up as a proud individual in his own skin and his body. The author explain how a women in Cuba is not discriminated by their age. a women whether in her 20s or 60s is appreciated by men for their beauty. She sites examples of women in their 60s and still being Ballerina of her dance troops who can spell her magic to her audience of all ages. It is acceptable in Cuba to compliment a women on her beauty and she takes it as a compliment, feeling more sexier and appreciating the admiration in her admirer men. Cuban never shies away from a game of seduction and that has been the pillar on which the dance forms like Rumba and other Latin dance forms have evolved, as the author has explained in the book.

The author has also given an insight into the Cuban revolution lead by Fidel Castro, his younger brother, Raul and Che Guvera, the transition of Cuba into a communist regime and its impacts on the life of Cubans. The embargo that has been imposed by the U.S and its affect on Cuba's economy. But the author also argues that the free education, healthcare and lack of exposure to the new age consumerist explosion have shielded and shaped the Cuban way of life. She explains in the book how  lack of exposure to smart phones and social media has kept the people to people relation intact. In Cuban city news flows faster from word of mouth than the speed of internet, people know you by your name and face not by your facebook ids. The books explains the life of Cubans revolving around the rhythm of dance, music and loads of seduction. People admire each other and have no qualms in letting the other person know what they think of them. Book gives great insight into the evolving as well as traditional dance of Cuba, its music, thriving cafes and how sometimes cafe's waiters fake bills to make that small extra money for their family. The beauty of Cuba is also, enhanced by its majestic old american cars, which is a great tourist attraction. It takes you to the old world which is slow yet connected, no maddening rush to achieve that modernization yet happy. Reading through the book has been an experience to cherish for me. The country is also, great amalgamation of different tribes and faith. Some tradition practiced by the Cubans can also be shocking, which might seems bordering around voodooism for persons from a first world. But that is part of their ritual and they guard their tradition with utmost sincerity.  Once I finished the book the first thought was how early I could save some money to visit that world and experience the love of the place. May be some day very soon.

One of the greater thing that provoked a thought in me is how seduction can be positive and motivating for in a lifestyle. There are instances were parents always appreciate Cuban children of what they are, the act of expression from very young age and how this leads to a confident person when they grow up. They grow up in love with their body and who they are. This concept initially seems very alien to me, considering the social norms of our country. We are constantly telling ourselves how wrong things are with our body, skin color, height and size. Seduction is almost considered a sin and public admiration of ones body can easily be deemed as a crime. But this has not always been our tradition. Traditionally we have been the people who had taught the world the art of seduction, as Seema Anand explains history of seduction in our culture in her Tedx Talk. I hope we learn from our glorious liberal history and get rid of all our misconceived, distorted current form of social norm. It seems a distant dream but optimism is the way to look forward and I am a optimist. Amen :)

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