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.

The first 10 people who comment are tagged!

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‘State’ of ‘No-bhook Hartal’

Posted on December 12, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Funny, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

My friend Mythili (name changed for safeguarding Sonali’s identity) has been married for about 5 years now with Rajesh (name unchanged, but you don’t know who he is anyways). As all other couples, many ups and downs (more downs than ups) do happen during the course of their marriage.  And whenever Myth is stuck in the downs, she calls one of her friends, relates to them the woes of marital life and thus heals herself. Don’t know what Rajesh does for his healing process. Personally, I think Rajesh is more in need of the heal, because he often gets the heel from Myth (figuratively, don’t think that she is a husband beater now). Myth can be quite a ‘formidable’ opponent.

So today it was my turn to play agony aunt to Myth.

Myth: I am sick of marriage, da!

Me: <uncomfortable yet knowing fake laugh> Hehe .. What happened now?

Myth: This Rajesh, da! He is bugging the heck outta me.

Me: What did he do now?

Myth: See no, he is demanding a state now.

Me:  <slightly confused> State?

Myth: Yea man, S-T-A-T-E.

Me: S-T-A-T-E???

Myth: Aeiyyoo … like New Jersey, California .. like that, ma!

Me: What do you mean, demanding a state? How can you demand a state?

Myth: See, no .. that’s what I told him. What he thinks of himself making such demands?

Me: Huh??

Myth: Arre, since yesterday he has started ‘No-bhook hartal’, unless I recognize the living room as his state.

Me: <Totally confused now> Mujhe samjha nahin … what is it you are talking about? Why is Rajesh doing hartal dude?

Myth: Aeiyyo .. don’t ask ma! It’s a long story ..

Me: <Another one of those long stories> Sigh!

Myth: Arre last month we had gone to India no, I had a fight with Rajesh’s mom. <Starts relating conversation with her MIL>

MIL: What ma, how come Rajesh has got beer belly? Do you both go to what they call pubs? See what you were doing before marriage, is not my business. We are not what you call ‘forward’ a! All this you should not do after marriage and all.  You should behave in a way befitting a daughter in law of this family. We are not as liberated as your parents ..hmmph.

Myth: <Indignant> Amma, we have to drink sometime no with our colleagues and all. But Rajesh hasn’t got his gut because of that. It’s because he is a lazy bum and does not take an effort to be fit.

MIL: What are you saying ma? He used to daily go and play badminton with his friends. In fact, I was always telling him to gain weight. You should not put like that oil in your food, ma. Your parents place also too much oily food. That’s why he has put on so much. In fact, you can also start losing weight…

Myth: <The rest of the conversation was lost on Myth, as her MIL had heaped on her the ultimate insult. Myth follows all latest diets to remain fit ..>

Me: Then?

Myth: Then what, I put Rajesh on strict diet. I make him eat only oats, cereals, raw vegetables, spinach juice <rattles off list of healthy sounding foods> … in fact, Milk also we buy Silk now. Silk is soy milk ma. I stopped allowing him to eat curd rice and ghee also. White starch and saturated fats. Yuck!

Me: Well, it’s a bit much, to be frank. But what is this state business about?

Myth; He is accusing me of discriminating against him because of his gut. He is also accusing me of denying him the right to watch his favorite TV show.

Me:  Why dude?

Myth: Arre, that day na, Project Runway finale was there. Rajesh wanted to watch that dumb disgusting comedy about the dancing piece of shit, that South Park. So I forcibly sent Rajesh out for a jog. Rajesh was following his fitness regime properly until then. But a jog in -5 deg C was the last straw for him and when he came back and saw me watching Lifetime, something snapped inside him.

Me: <you go Rajesh!>

Myth: He told me that, the living room is his state and I cannot enter it unless he lets me <starts relating the fight>.

Myth: Get lost man, this is my house. I will do as I please.

Rajesh: OK FINE! If you don’t listen to me no, then …

Myth: What will you do? Give me a shove with that gut of yours?

Rajesh: No, I will go on “NO-BHOOK HARTAL

Myth: Whatever are you saying?

Rajesh: It means, 24 * 7, I am going to eat until you say yes to my demands. Everything bad and dangerous and gross. I don’t want anything that even contains 1% percent fiber. I want only 100% sat fats  and trans fats, based on a 20000 calorie daily diet. Now you just see …

Me: Oh gosh!

Myth: It is the 2nd day of his hartal, and he hasn’t stopped eating.

Me: How is it possible? Technically, kitchen is not in his state no?

Myth: Yes, ma. But he is ordering pizza and soda from living room. He ate all the veggie pizzas that Pizza Hut had. He has given me ultimatum now. If in 1 hour I do not agree, then he is going to order non veg beef pizza and eat that <breaks into uncontrollable sobs> … What am I to do? He will soon die of type 2 diabetes, maa <sobbing again..>

Me: Well, your diet and exercise regime was an exaggeration, Myth. He is not competing in ‘The Biggest Loser’. You are denying him several rights such as the right to a decent meal and right to enjoy TV after a hard day’s work…

Myth: <sniffing, pondering the weight of my words..>

Me: And you know what, it is his mom’s fault. She is so possessive about Rajesh that  she couldn’t see him enjoying his married life. A bit of a gut, never did any one harm. In fact, it is the sign of marital bliss.

Myth: <Indignant and elated that her mom in law is at fault> Yes, ma! You are abzolutely right.

Me: Don’t let your MIL destroy your marriage, ma. Go take care of your husband and concede to his demands. Let him have that occasional dessert and that occasional Family Guy viewing. What’s in it for you?

Myth: Yes, dear. You are right. I will go and talk to Rajesh ma. Thanks a lot dear.

Well, that was that! Myth and Rajesh are back on their up, having tided over another one of their downs. Rajesh has given up his demand to create another state. Moral of the story, It is better to blame it on external forces, rather than fight internally.

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