BF or BFF

OK, blame it on that silly superhit movie Maine Pyaar Kiya. The one that had a million hearts beating, and included a really important lesson, which the nation took to heart:

Ek ladka ladki kabhi dost nahin hote

Translation: A guy and a girl can never be (just) friends.

I just read Mr. Chetan Bhagat’s comment on the same:

Why a guy and a gal can not be friends

“Why should any guy want to be only friends with a girl? It’s like agreeing to be near a chocolate cake and never eat it. It’s like sitting in a racing car but not driving it.” 

Yeah right. I’m sure they’ve all flunked their Chemistry 101. I think it’s pretty obvious that if you are not attracted to a member of the opposite sex, but have enough overlapping interests, you can still be a good friend without jumping into bed. I think it clearly speaks of the desperation and frustration of one of the genders that they look upon every member of the opposite sex as, well, chocolate cake. Such utter nonsense.

The damage that Indian movies (not just Bollywood) do to young minds and hearts is immeasurable. And now (ok, I’m probably a bit late, it’s not exactly Now, I guess) you have the imbecile “literati” spouting the same nonsense!

Hmmm, I wonder if Mr CB has any good lady friends? Or have they all zoomed off in their racing cars, far, far away from him?

But let’s look at the silver lining, shall we? At least he gives me something to blog about 😀

More. Or Less

The other day I went to McDonald’s and ordered takeaway.

I wanted just burgers and fries. I didn’t want any drinks. The cashier had this smile on her face when I placed the order.

Cashier: Ma’am, if you take the combo, it will be cheaper
Me: Yes, but the combo includes drinks, and I don’t want any.
Cashier: So your order is just burgers and fries?
Me: Yes
Cashier: But ma’am, the combo is cheaper.
Me: Yes, but the combo comes with drinks, right? I don’t want any drinks.
Cashier: Ma’am, take the combo. It will be much cheaper. Otherwise, it will be more costly.
Me: I know. But I don’t want the drinks
Cashier: But combo is cheaper, ma’am.
Me (giving up): OK, give me combos.
Cashier (with a satisfied smile): Your bill amount is X.
Me (to Lil D): Right now, I feel so much like a customer from Not Always Right!

🙂

The DRESS

I normally never get involved in the usual online debates that revolve around religion or politics. There are so many, more articulate people on women’s issues too that I seldom venture to air my opinions or debate around them.

However, recently, I did get incensed enough to post a couple of messages. This was related to ‘THE DRESS’ and ‘asking for it’ — the popular responses by a certain variety of men to rape/eve-teasing/sexual harassment. You must be all too familiar with this species by now. We were discussing the RoseChasm article which is doing the rounds on the internet these days.

These were my mails, and I was surprised by how riled I was, though I was as restrained as possible. Of course, it did little to change stubborn convictions. Well, one tries. That’s all one can do. But honestly, it’s like beating your head against a brick wall!

(Disclaimer: Most of the men I know are sensible and sensitive. Thank you!)

Post 1: (in response to a message that suggested women dress up only to attract men)

Sorry to burst the bubble, but a large number of women DO dress up because they enjoy it, they feel good about themselves, and not because their sole aim in life is to have hordes of men feeling them up! Just like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so are other things. The beholder is the one who is viewing things with a perverted filter, so that is where the responsibility squarely lies.

I read sometime back that in IXXX (country name), the moral police could throw a woman into jail for biting into an apple “seductively”. She deserves it right? How dare she? Even if she was fully clothed, not drunk, and not dancing shamelessly in a disco!

Oh and yes, ads ARE misleading, in case that wasn’t already known.

I seldom get into these kind of debates, but honestly, I am sick and tired of hearing this argument about women and their asking for it. Most of us are just trying to live our lives. Why so many imposed conditions on which our freedom to live as human beings hinges? And if this ‘dress’ argument is indeed true and valid, what about abuse of children, including boys? Surely they are not dressed provocatively, or drunk? When it comes to women, why does HER DRESS lead the list? We cannot think beyond that?

If we read the article, we see that the author has taken the so-called defensive actions:

“I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets. … I was prepared for my actions to be taken as sex signals; I was not prepared to understand that there were no sex signals, only women’s bodies to be taken, or hidden away.”

I’d like the Indian male to spend a day as a female. The amount of discrimination, rules, and sheer nonsense one has to put up with will come as a rude shock, and they too will experience first-hand “the rage that was coursing through my blood”.

Most of the men I know are sensitised nowadays and appreciate the rights of women, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of Indian males still view themselves as privileged and women as mere objects of possession. No amount of worshipping goddesses is going to change that. It is a damned shame and we need, as a first step, to acknowledge that without clauses attached. The growing intolerance is welcome — it was long overdue.

I said my piece and will stop. Not a peep from me any more, like a good Indian woman, who should neither be seen nor heard (nor read)! 🙂

Post 2: (in response to a different and more sensible person)

I am glad you agree with the notion that ‘Responsibility definitely lies in the perverted eyes.’

I do understand and appreciate the safety angle. In fact, I don’t think I would be wrong if I said a majority of women do understand that, and take suitable precautions. Just like the article writer understood and took suitable precautions as best as she could.

What we are screaming ourselves hoarse about is the fact that the minute an eve-teasing / rape / sexual harassment incident is brought to light, the spotlight zooms in and focuses on ‘THE DRESS’ and how we ask for it. In other crimes, the focus is on bringing the criminal to justice. In these crimes, the focus is almost invariably on the victim first and speculations on how she asked for it.

What we and all other women are saying, nay, shouting, appears to fall on deaf ears. We are saying very clearly that look, ‘dress’ has NOTHING to do with it. We are the living proof! We have dressed modestly (amongst the hundred other things we are ‘expected’ to conform to) and we know hundreds of other girls/women who have dressed modestly — and we have all got molested/been harassed.

I remember in my college days on a BTS bus: a maami in a traditional nine-yard sari got molested before our very eyes by a young professional looking man! We were so horrified, but being the good Indian girls we were, we played ‘safe’ and ignored it. It is so clear to us that it has absolutely nothing to do with our attire. Does our proof, our word mean nothing?

So what we do ask for is the basic decency and courtesy to refrain from perpetuating ‘THE DRESS’ myth, jumping to its conclusion every time, or mentioning it as if that would make the crime all right, and we ask this based on the self-evident Truth (self-evident at least to females) that dress is quite irrelevant in majority of these cases. I’m sure you will agree that this isn’t too much to ask for.

So, what do you think?

Censor Sensibility

I am honestly quite baffled by the ratings that our esteemed Censor Board awards to movies.

For example, Bajaatey Raho (we got complimentary tickets, and who says no to freebies? 🙂 ) has as much violence or sex as a KJo movie, which is to say, practically none. Most of the so-called “objectionable” stuff was mainly in the dialogues, which kids cannot follow much anyways, unlike the visuals and sound effects.

Yet, Bajaatey Raho and Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwaani were rated U/A, which means ‘Unrestricted public exhibition with parental guidance for children below age 12’. OK, that’s fair enough. After all, the former shows dubious means of getting even, and the latter shows a lot of alcohol being imbibed. So, I don’t really mind them being rated U/A.

However, take Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. It is rated U, which means ‘Unrestricted Public Exhibition throughout India, suitable for all age groups’. I was very happy to see that rating, and I was keen on taking Lil D to this ‘inspirational’ movie. However, she did not want to come even after a lot of persuasion. Finally, I decided to go and see the movie with my sister instead. And boy! Was I ever so glad!

BMB has such explicit violent scenes of the partition! You have a ten year old boy slipping in a pool of blood and landing on a heap of dead bodies, slithering desperately as he tries to get away from it all. You have a brutal beheading, and the camera lingers on till the neck is inches away from snapping completely. There is a fair share of nightmarish images of horsemen and hysterical horses.

The in-your-face scenes at the refugee camp are also rather unsettling, I would think, for a young child. A knife-toting young Milkha looks very real and disturbing. A rather suggestive scene later involving Milkha and his Aussie sweetheart is also filmed in a rather direct manner, which did make some parents uncomfortable. When I spoke to them later, they weren’t too keen on sending their kids for the movie either.

How did such a movie get a U rating? It was a fantastic movie no doubt, but it was not the kind of movie to which I would have taken Lil D, had I known. I know most of her friends too would have got rather disturbed by some of the scenes.

I don’t know — perhaps kids are now hardened or more immune to all this stuff — but if I were the Censor Board, I would certainly not think that this movie was suitable for all age groups. I would definitely think parental guidance was required, which means it would fall into the U/A rating.

I remember Band Baaja Baaraat, also rated U, where the sleeping together scene kind of took us all by surprise. I wondered at that time if I was some old-fashioned aunty. But now I’m quite sure it’s not just me.

The Censor Board’s ratings are not to be trusted, which is rather a pity. Reviews that specify whether a movie is safe for viewing with kids or not are non-existent in India. The only way to ensure you play it safe is to see the movie twice — one to judge for yourself, and once with the kids! Not worth the trouble, methinks!

No Country for Insufferable Snobs

I came upon this rather amusing piece on a TV show. Well, pretty late to the party, I guess.

While the views are rather opposed to my own, to say the least, I did learn one new thing: my country India, is in fact, not a place!

Things took a comedic turn when Hopkins declared she didn’t like “geographical names” such as Brooklyn or London, before Schofield pointed out that her own daughter’s name is India. “That’s not related to a place,” Hopkins said.

Oh bother, now we Indians have to start all over again!