Archive for July, 2010

Who Said It?

Posted on July 20, 2010. Filed under: Essay, Information, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Cut back to January 2010. A popular Indian super star made comments about India’s esteemed neighbors and their goodness and all hell broke loose. A right wing political party obviously took offense at the said superstar’s comments and as usual resorted to their half baked threats against the star and his upcoming movie. This episode had all the makings of a super duper hit – Bollywood, Cricket and Politics. At the end, the political party got face-time in all sorts of media outlets making their opinion heard. This political party has time and again lost crucial elections and their opinion basically amounts to nought, so this face-time was quite important to them, probably. The superstar got fokat ka (free) publicity for his movie (we all know how ‘good’ it was). And they lived happily ever after ..

Wait, still some players in the saga have to be discussed. The Indian media and Us . I am a part of the minority of Indians who watches English language news channels to get my daily dose of news. As this episode unfolded, I was flipping through channels. To me, all the channels seemed to converge into one. “Mumbai belongs to all of us“, who said it? Was it Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan? Or was it Pranoy or Rajdeep? Was it CNN-IBN or Times Now?

“Who said it? Was it Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan? Or was it Pranoy or Rajdeep? Was it CNN-IBN or Times Now?”

I could not distinguish Barkha from Sagarika from Arnab. Each and every channel was quoting oft repeated platitudes. The said political party was being made the punching bag, the star was being raised to pedestals. All the channels and their presenters professed the same opinion. Each of these channels featured an opinion poll on the lines of –“Do you support Sena’s bandh against the showing of My Name is Khan? SMS Yes or No“. Each of the channels were displaying the ‘Tweets ticker’ – displaying related tweets updated on the clock.  (Probably these channels do not know about Twitter Search, Trending Topics and hash tags). The same people appeared on every channel voicing their stale opinions. After all, there should be something to fill time when the channel’s claim is ‘News 24X7‘.

That leaves the fourth player – We the people. Or namely, Me (since the opinions in this blog are solely my own and not my employers’ or my relatives’). I am quite dense when it comes to really serious matters such as –

1. Whether the media is allowed to have an opinion? Whether the anchors should use their channels as platforms to foist their opinion on the public or whether they should portray truth in an unbiased way and let the public form an opinion of their own?

2. Whether it is okay to divulge information on national television that may threaten national or individual security because it sensationalizes news?

Nopes, these are weighty matters that better be left to those who are qualified to weigh upon them. But it never ceases to amaze me, how our news anchors, who are scholars from St. Stephens and Oxford, cannot see this glaring and blaring sameness in all the channels? The public is so immersed in ennui, that even blockbusters with Bollywood, Cricket and Politics do not excite us. I do understand that it is important to play to the galleries in this mad rush for ratings. However, I have to ask – Does boring to death sell so much? Well, yea, probably it does because we see Daya breaking the darwaza and Pradyuman twirling his finger every single day of our miserable lives.

Note from author: This is an entry for this BlogAdda Contest whose sponsors are Pringoo.

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My Sins against Gender Stereotypes

Posted on July 7, 2010. Filed under: Feminism, Politics |

I had vowed never to write politically charged  and controversial stuff in this space.  However, Nandini tagged me in one of her blog posts and I had to comply. Who is Nandini? She is a firebrand blogger/writer who writes unabashedly about feminism. She is also a mother of a delightful little baby and she is beautiful.  A feminist, a mom and beautiful? These words do not go hand in hand, but Nandini sorta makes them.  Also, Nandini is a famous blogger whom I have met in person! Yay for me.

Here goes the list of my wrong doings –

1. I did all my work myself in Engineering College and during MS. Somehow, I did/do not have the so called ‘feminine allure’ to get things done from boys.  I know a girl who cried (crocodile tears) during a viva to get a passing grade.

2. I detest Mini Coopers and other girly cars. If someone gave me enough money, I would buy myself a Mitsubishi Eclipse.

3. I do not believe in the patriarchal form of society observed in most parts of India. I live in the US, I get to visit India only once a year for 3 weeks. Now, since I am married, I am supposed to spend majority of that time with my in laws and not my own parents?

4. I do not wear mangalsutra. This is not to make a statement. I do not believe that wearing or not wearing a meaningless piece of gold can make any sort of a statement. It is because I hate wearing ornaments on a daily basis.  Once while jogging, the darn heavy pendant of the mangalsutra jumped and pricked my eye.  Other time, I was cooking, and this darn metallic thing became so darn hot that it scalded me. Since then, bye bye mangalsutra!

5. I kick butt in video games. Ok that is a lie! #win beats me in every one of those. But I love playing them all the same. #win was shocked to hear that I have played ‘violent’ games such as Doom and Wolf in my childhood.

6. I love ‘macho’ movies. Given the choice between The Dark Knight and 27 dresses, I would rather watch the first over and over again. I loved DDLJ and Love Actually, but I also loved Fight Club and Matrix. Animated movies bore me!

7.  I haul stuff. Recently, #win and I moved from one apartment to another. I did not shy away from picking a darned heavy chest of drawers, a ginormous mattress and a humongous dining table.  Women, you are so not the ‘weaker’ sex, and don’t you dare make excuses about your ‘weakness’.  Have any of you ever said, “Oh, I cannot do that, I have got period cramps.” That don’t fly with me sister. I will respect you much more if you say, “I am too lazy to do that now!”

8. I dress up for myself and for my girl friends. With my husband, I wear my most comfy pair of peejays. #win’s views about fashion are quite socialist-communist. He thinks that the entire world should wear the same attire – a silver  space suit with a green V in the front. According to #win, this solution will also eliminate the negative image women have about their bodies.

9. I drive. I know many girls who do. I also know many girls who do not. I do not mean to be judgemental, but I for one, do not like to be chauffeured around and do not like to be dependent on someone else for all my comings and goings.

10. I do not believe that marriage is the be all and end all in a girl’s life. I also know that loneliness is bitter and I hope that all of you, find the one to grow old with. I also believe that you need not go through a humiliating process to find a match for you. I know many girls who started going to the gym, because their alliances said that they are too fat.  I believe that you should work on your fitness for your own well – being and not for Mr. XYZ who may or may not be Mr. Right.

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