Looking Back at the Industrial Revolution Through the Eyes of Mrs. Gaskell.

Germane to the study of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain is the story of the people who witnessed it and how they represented it through a variety of avenues. Whether through inventiveness and ingenuity in the form of new mills and machines, beehive coke ovens, crucible steel, or through art and literature, there is a story to be told of the people who lived, observed, and endured first-hand the Industrial Age. Through the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell – particularly through her celebrated work, Mary Barton, Mrs.Gaskell reflects both the good and bad that the Industrial Revolution produced.

Published anonymously in 1848, Gaskell’s novel, Mary Barton, was a sensational, damning indictment of industrialization in the British mill-towns of the north. “Gaskell used her fiction to draw attention to the plight of the factory workers in Manchester, and to argue for reconciliation between employers and workers”. Written during a time of Chartism, Mary Barton appealed to its middle-class readers for a compassionate response to “turbulent working-class feelings, even as it also represents the working classes as lacking control over their emotions”.While Gaskell was not the first woman to tackle industrial strife and expose the suffering of the workers in fiction,Mary Bartonpainted a grim picture of working life in which mill owners grew rich on the back of their long-suffering workers. The novel “turned a drama of conflict between classes into an examination of humanity’s essentially divided nature”.

In Mary Barton, Mrs. Gaskell writes about the Bartons, who struggle, and betimes fail, to maintain themselves physically, mentally and morally in an industrialized environment. Gaskell chose to write about their attempts to fight sickness, unsanitary living conditions, unemployment, starvation, attempts to take advantage of their poor condition, and even death. In writing this story, Gaskell was writing about something she had experienced during her charitable work among the poor of Manchester. She was full of concern for their lot and what she saw as misunderstanding and lack of sympathy between the poor and the masters, where “masters” does not only signify the actual employers of these workers, but the wealthier classes in general. This is indicated by John Barton’s attitude: he “never could abide the gentlefolk,” who go “to bed without having done a good turn to any one of God’s creatures save themselves”. This is only one example of the “vehemence” of Barton’s dislike for the masters which becomes increasingly manifest in the course of the novel, an attitude which Gaskell argues is a result of misunderstanding between masters and workers. For Gaskell it was this misunderstanding and misinformation which resulted in the lack of sympathy and even harsh feelings between these two classes. ‘Mary Barton’ thus is an attempt to reveal to its middle class readership the true lives of the poor in every aspect, their love, marriage, work, family, childbearing, and death. The novel also reveals other appalling “effects of industrial poverty, including prostitution, drug addiction, starvation, and murder”.

Among these effects is the poorer classes’ use of opium. In her portrayal of an opium- addicted character, John Barton, Gaskell challenges both the Romantic depiction of opium and the view which derides lower class usage as indicative of a predisposition toward filth and deviant behaviour. In challenging contemporary views, Gaskell also posits a different attitude toward lower class usage, insisting that we must recognize why they use opium, and arguing that these reasons would give rise to sympathy instead of blame. At the time when Gaskell wrote the novel, opium was “as readily available as aspirin today, and just as cheap. For one penny a man could purchase a pint of beer and, for the same sum, a quarter of an ounce of laudanum, containing about ten grains of opium” when the “medicinal dose of opium, for an adult, varied from half a grain to two grains”. In the 1830s and 40s the middle class began to be increasingly aware of working class use of the drug, as newspaper after newspaper recounted incidents of opium poisoning, accidental overdose, and suicide among the lower class.

Similarly, she takes up the issues of women labourers. Her social-problem novel not only criticizes unfettered industrial capitalism, but also criticizes the precarious position it caused for the working-class women. Gaskell, like her contemporaries, wrote mainly to her middle-class readers, however, she particularly chose to write about the vulnerable condition of the working class women. There were three main occupations for working class women in the Victorian Age; needlework, domestic service and factory work. She accurately presents these professions in Mary Barton. Through her fiction, Gaskell suggests that women, regardless of class, could find fulfilment through serving others, whether in the home or outside the home. While it is clear that Gaskell advocated “domestic” work as the natural work for women, her views on non-domestic labour and wage-earning labour vary. At times she depicts wage-earning work as positive and fulfilling, while at others, she portrays this type of work as physically and emotionally harmful for women. Gaskell’s work indicates that she viewed domesticity as the ideal and natural role for women, although she considered more domestic occupations (i.e. nursing, governess, and domestic servant) as adequate options.

Mary Barton was particularly shocking because it delved into questions of suffering and explored the proverbial fall from grace by challenging and blurring moral absolutes. It questioned the very nature of sin by asking whether it was sinful for a father to steal to feed his dying son, or for a mother to give opium to her starving children, or to turn to prostitution to buy medicine for her sick daughter. These paradoxes touched and shocked middle-class workers who were shown for the first time how the poor suffered not only in the mills or factories, but in their very own homes. Elizabeth Gaskell was, indeed, the ‘hitherto unseen phenomenon’, the woman novelist writing of the manufacturing poor to possess both “great powers of delineation” and “intimate and prolonged acquaintance with the working classes”.



Buildup To Results

After you’re done with the exams you finally start getting back to the normal HUMAN life. After a few weeks when you finally feel like you’re getting back to the usual humdrum – BOOM! the announcement of results are made. And you start to realise why did you even try getting back to the human life, cause in reality that’s NOT what the Uni expects you to do. Here are the 6 stages we go through before the D-day

1. You try to divert yourself but your friends have other plans for you. Throughout the year you get 2 calls, 3 texts and a handful WhatsApp messages, a week prior to results – 200 calls, 50 texts and 82327392972 WhatsApp messages. Friends are amazing, right? Right.


2. You try to keep negative thoughts away throughout the day but when it’s bedtime all hell breaks loose (I don’t need to explain what happens, you already know) and you end up looking like a zombie the next day.


3. You start counting the number of days left for survival. Yep, and try to follow the “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” quote. It is during these days you make all the never-to-be-executed plans of travelling the world.


4. You end up browsing online horoscopes thinking a bunch of online psychics might reveal your grades through prophecies or do some magic that might break into your university’s online system and make you the topper.


5. The D-day arrives and all of a sudden you become the most religious person the world has ever witnessed.


6. Minutes left for your results to flash on the screen and you keep refreshing the webpage. Fingers feel colder than Antarctica and finally the beautiful alphabets (A,B,C,D) flash on the screen, you stare at them as if God has himself appeared in front of you and then this happens…


*Results out. Passes. Cancels all travelling plans. Goes to watch netflix.*



gifs : tumblr

5 Bakeries I Swear By


Kolkata is a place scattered with bakeries, no wonder I’m so obsessed with soufflés since eternity. I love anything that has chocolate in it – pastries, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, just anything. So, here are 5 bakeries I’ve always loved. Some of them are heritages while some are new yet winning hearts like crazy.

1. Nahoum and Sons : Oh boy, it’s a pressure to start off with one of the oldest bakeries in the city *wipes sweat*. Although I have been well acquainted about this place since I was a kid, I didn’t quite get to explore the variety of bakes they offer, until lately. Established in 1902 (!!!) at the New Market area, this Jewish bakery takes us back to a vintage era of confectioners. I can’t list down all the items that I love, cause in reality I love everything they offer. But if I push myself a little, I’d say my favourite has to be the rum balls.

2. Mrs. Magpie : This bakery has 2 locations now, one at Southern Avenue and the other at the Chambers Mall, Kasba. I’ve been a frequent visitor of the Southern Avenue branch (which happens to be the original outlet), and have always felt like a princess in a fairytale. The decor is all pink with fairytale-like seating arrangements, there’s also a cute little bell that rings when you enter the shop. What impresses me the most about Mrs. Magpie is distinct designs of cupcakes. Yes, they are on the pricier side, but you’ll feel like staring at the mini cupcakes all day, THEY ARE SO PRETTY! They design their cakes according to various occasions, I personally loved the Halloween themed ones. Other than that, their marshmallows are worth a try.

3. Design My Cake : The picture I clicked for this post? Yes, those soufflés are from Design My Cake. A relatively new bakery in the Gariahat area, this place has some good things to offer. With the red and white theme, the decor very well expresses what it’s all about. Even though I’m a sucker for chocolate, I always end up picking their mango cheese cake, it is so delicious! The pricing is average, doesn’t pinch your pocket much. Also, as the name suggests you can customise your own cakes, which is an absolute Godsend.

4. Ovenfresh – Kenilworth Hotels : Located in the posh locality of Theatre road, Kenilworth is one of the most prestigious names in the city and they definitely deserve it. I have been at their dine (the ambiance was grand!), left with a pleasant memory, and then on to their bakery section. Ovenfresh has a wide variety of bakes to offer. Starting from their chocolate gateaux to the chocolate brownies, everything is amazing. I’m a huge fan of their red velvet cookies, something that other bakeries can’t compete with, in my opinion.

5. Cakewali : A small bakery situated in Ballygunge Circular road, has been bringing smiles since a few months now. It doesn’t have any seating arrangements, but the food it has to offer compensates for all. I love their blueberry cheesecakes and all the burritos! I never liked burritos until Cakewali happened. The prices are moderate, but the items are amazing. Even though it’s a small shoppe, I have often returned home empty handed as everything gets sold out by 6 P.M. Massive thumbs up for their service!

If you plan to visit Kolkata or are from Kolkata, do give these places a try, your sweet tooth will thank you (and me).


American Horror Story : A Confusion?


I was supposed to write this post right after the episode, but laziness took over me. LOL. Anyhow, after a long wait American Horror Story – Season 6 is back, but with no specific theme. The production released a couple of trailers claiming one of them to be real. In honour of Season 6, here are 6 confusions or questions that I had while watching the first episode, titled ‘chapter 1’.

1. Documentary? : My first question while watching the show was “is this going to be a documentary?”, cause that’s what it felt like. Different actors narrating the story, and different actors playing it, two different sets of actors seemed weird to me. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of documentaries, but AHS is trying to push it down my throat.

2. Credits & Music? : From the beginning to the end, we didn’t get to see the good old ‘American Horror Story’ even once! The only thing that flashed on the screen was ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’. Even the famous AHS music was gone. Where did they go?

3. Lady Gaga, where art thou? : Seriously, where was Lady Gaga? Or did I miss her out? I was definitely expecting to see her on the first episode, but she was nowhere. Gaga didn’t even have a cameo role in the premiere. So little has been revealed about the plot, it’s hard to say what role the previously Countess is going to play this season. I have my hopes high, though.

4. The missing case of Evan Peters : Evan Peters has been a consistent since season 1, what’s the cause of his disappearance this time? I have a feeling he is the head of the cult group or something. Probably has a major role to play, but I was really hoping to see the hottie in the first episode. You better be there in the next chapter, Peters!

5. Piggys? : First, a dead pig appears at Shelby and Matt’s doorstep which Matt buries to the ground, then some piggy sounds at night and finally the house video of a piggy with a human-like body (The video was definitely terrifying, btw). This kinda reminded me of the weird pig guy from season 1. What do pigs have to do this season?

6. Falling Teeth? : Okay, the very sight of falling teeth was gross. I mean…teeth rain?! Most people are confused where the teeth came from, but I’m confused…WHERE DID THEY DISAPPEAR TO? Hundreds and thousands of teeth must have fallen, where did they all go? Since it was only Shelby who witnessed it, was she hallucinating? Strange.

These were the main questions or confusions I had. Apart from these, I’m also confused as to how the Rednecks fit in the story and how all this is going to tie up with the Roanoke Disappearance. Hopefully, we’ll get to see glimpses of Lady Gaga and Evan Peters next episode. In the promo for chapter 2, viewers suggest that Lady Gaga can be spotted at a glance alongside Kathy Bates, but…I’m kinda not sure if it’s her. Let’s see.


4 TV series to watch


We all are guilty of binge watching TV series, and I’m no exception. It takes me just 3 or 4 days to finish 5 seasons of 21 episodes. Yes, I know you can relate, we are the same. I have watched quite a number of shows, but these are the 4 shows that have always kept me hooked and I consider the hiatuses to be nothing less than evil.

1. Sherlock BBC’s Sherlock is GOLD. Benedict Cumberbatch is phenomenal. ❤ This is perhaps that one show whose fanbase can beat any game of patience. Like, we literally wait for 2 years for a few episodes. Although, once in a while we get special episodes thrown at us for being such good kids. My favourite episode has to be The Scandal in Belgravia. (Irene Adler, bae.) Also, who doesn’t like childish quarrels between the Holmes siblings?

2. The Originals – Started way after The Vampire Diaries (Damon is my husband,fyi), this show has definitely shined. The theme is the same as TVD, vampires; wolves, etc., but the concept is very different. The story revolves around the Mikaelson family and how they deal with anyone who tries to harm them. It is so hard to choose to obsess over just one character, all of them are amazing! My favourites are obviously Klaus, Elijah and Kol (he freaking needs to be a regular character!). The season 3 finale was absolutely breathtaking. I was desperately waiting for the next season, but it ain’t returning before 2017, which breaks my heart into pieces. “Always and forever”

3. American Horror Story – I started watching this show last year, all because of Lady Gaga. I’m so glad I started watching it, cause it’s fab. It’s not the typical ‘horror’ genre, it’s more thrilling. I loved Lady Gaga as The Countess, Matt Bomer and Kathy Bates were splendid, but Evan Peters was the man of the show, for me. The next season starts this Wednesday (?) and all my fave actors are in it. CAN’T WAIT!

4. Dickensian – Another BBC series, with a huge budget. Somehow, this show didn’t make it to the top ratings, mostly because of the ever changing timings. Honestly, I loved this show to bits. Albeit it was confusing in the initial episodes, it did get interesting. The show is based on Charles Dickens’ iconic characters like The Havishams, Scrooge, Mr. Bumble, Fagin, Nancy and more. The timeline is set in the Victorian era and when all these characters come together, it forms something outstanding. I really wish this show got a renewal, but BBC axed it. This show had so much potential. </3

Most of the shows are returning together next year, which gets me really excited! But The Vampire Diaries is going to end soon. The last season begins this October, and I’m sure I’ll be in tears when the show ends. I’ll miss you Damon, I’ll so miss you. 😥


Image: picjumbo

5 goals for the rest of 2016


We are almost done with 2016. Some goals reached, some not. This year has been more or less of a roller coaster ride (technically every year is), so many ups and downs. I still can’t believe we have just few months left for 2017. It seems just yesterday I bought some super cool winter jackets! Where did time fly?

So, I thought it’s never too late to set some new goals, no matter what time of the year it is. Here are 5 goals I wish to reach by the fag end of this year :

1. Getting in shape – The one goal that has stayed in my list since years. No matter how much I try, I just can’t do it. Every time I start exercising and eat healthy, I maintain it for a month or so and boom! a brownie is shoved in my mouth. I am a huge procrastinator (I know, we all are, but I can beat you in this game), no matter how many inspiring articles I read or how horrible I feel about my weight, I still don’t focus on this matter. So, hopefully I’ll start eating healthier and exercise more often to lose at least a few stones. *fingers crossed*

2. Snapping more pictures – Everybody loves clicking pictures, so do I. But just to get that one perfect shot I don’t click enough pictures. We can’t always get the perfect image we have in our minds, but sometimes by clicking more pictures, you never know which shot seems appealing. My goal is to start clicking more random shots and fall in love with them. Also, to make my camera beg for some rest LOL.

3. Skin care – Alright, I have had terrible skin for 2 years now. I have used innumerable products and DIYs, but nothing seemed to work. My face is covered with acne almost all the time and now it has started to take a toll on my self-esteem. I have signed up for a treatment, it is going to take a long time to get rid of all the acnes, spots and scars. A lot of patience is required, and my goal is to be patient through the treatment and maintain my skincare regime, no matter how long it takes. Hopefully by Christmas I’m going to feel a lot better about my skin.

4. Blogging – I made a blog before this, got so engrossed with coding and stuff that I didn’t have energy to focus on the content. I decided to delete that and opened a new blog (tada! megvedere was born!). I went ahead with a simple theme and started writing whatever I felt like. It’s been a month (or more) since this blog is live and I’m loving it. I always had a thing for writing but I was too shy to write anywhere but this blog makes me feel good. There’s no one to judge here, everyone’s free to write whatever they want. I really hope I’ll be able to blog more in the coming months and by the end of this year feel proud of my decision.

5. Me time – Our generation is obsessed with social media, so am I, to a certain extent. My goal for the coming months is to spend more me time or better to say, some ‘offline time’. Life before smartphones and laptops were a lot simpler. Whenever I don’t have Wi-Fi around, I literally feel lost. I want to re-live the life before internet happened, though I cannot completely detach myself, I’ll try spending some time without gadgets. It’s nice to be a bit tech-unsavvy sometimes. 😉

These are my 5 goals for the rest of the year. I hope I’ll be able to fulfil them, if not, these are going to pass on to 2017. 😛


August Playlist | 2016


I’m a music lover. I don’t stick to a particular genre, anything that catches my attention makes into my playlist. But of course, there are some songs which I keep playing for months! It’s the beginning of September, the perfect time to let you know my August playlist. Not all songs in the list are latest, I listen to dated songs as well. Here we go…

1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Panic! At The Disco : This obviously made into my list after watching Suicide Squad. I am a huge fan of Queen’s version, but this song feels fresh. Pretty much listened to it the entire month. Also, every time I play the song, somehow I always visualise the movie’s trailer. 😛

2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – Adele : To be honest, when I first played this song I didn’t like it. I have always loved Adele, but somehow this song didn’t give me the vibes. It took me a few plays to start liking it and now this has made it into my favourites. I remember the same thing happening with Tove Lo’s Cool Girl. Send my love to your new luuhhhvaaah! LOL.

3. Ain’t Your Mama – Jennifer Lopez : A catchy, sassy, independent-women anthem. I’m in love with this track, as well as the music video. You just can’t go wrong with J.Lo. ❤

4. Hunger – Ross Copperman : I heard this song in one of the seasons of The Vampire Diaries, probably the last Elena-Damon scene ( </3 ). This song is ethereal. Soft, romantic, piano – a perfect combination.

5. Duele El Corazon – Enrique Iglesias ft. Tinashe, Javada : Even though this song is similar to Bailando, I still love it. A perfect song for summer. The beats are great and Enrique knows how to make you dance.

6. Cheap Thrills – Sia : I’m actually laughing while typing this, cause this song has been in my playlist since April :D. I play this song almost everyday and I’m still not bored. I have been admiring Sia since the Chandelier days, what a voice! ❤

Here are the links to the songs I mentioned :

Bohemian Rhapsody | Send My Love | Ain’t Your Mama | Hunger | Duele El Corazon | Cheap Thrills

That wraps up my August playlist. I’m really excited for September cause Lady Gaga’s first single since 2014, Perfect Illusion, is going to drop any day! The Queen is coming to SLAAAYYYY!


Image : picjumbo