Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Just another woman's take on 'Kiss of Love'...


So suddenly out of nowhere,  kissing in public makes you a rebel, an activist against moral policing. It makes you the flag bearer of justice and a soldier of free living. The youth of India want to kiss.

It all started when a clueless political party decided to vandalize an uptown café in Calicut, because a news report proclaimed that immoral activities in the form of kissing and hugging was happening inside.  Angered by the depravity that the political party was indulging in, a group of young bloods decided to launch a drive against such moral policing.  Thus, ‘KISS OF LOVE’ was born and now everyone wants to kiss their way to a massive social reform.

Now would I kiss in public? Ok, let me rephrase this. Would I as a woman, have the audacity to smooch the one I like, before the lovely audience that the citizens of my country make? Would I ???  NO, and it is not because I hate kissing (don’t be obtuse) or because I have truckloads of respect for our sanskaar and sabhyata. It is just that I don’t think that our country is mentally developed enough to accept public display of affection.

Let us for a minute imagine a scene. You and the one you currently love just got out after enjoying a lovely meal at the restaurant that you frequent. Everything has been perfect and the day is beautiful. The gentle whirling of the wind suddenly sounds like a John Mayer track and you two are having that moment which just has to be made better with a kiss. And Kiss you do. Kiss you do, a little afraid that your relatives might be around somewhere . Kiss you do, as aunties and uncles of your colony pass by. Kiss you do, as a lone auto driver stares on and kiss you do, as a biker records a video of you smooching, for his own private enjoyment later that night. Now, tell me, was the risk worth it?

I was not aware of the ‘Kiss of Love’ event until one of my colleagues told me about it. “Hey, guess what? People are going to gather at Marine drive on 2nd November and kiss. They are saying that it is some kind of a protest against moral policing” she said, showing me the Facebook page of the event, which had by then crossed 60000 likes, with around 7000 declaring that they will be a part of this drive. We laughed about it, imagining Emraan Hashmi style kissing happening outside the TV box, in our own Marine drive.  In a country that has redefined porn to include MMS of a woman sleeping in a public transport bus, unaware that her saree is innocently displaying her navel, much to the pleasure of the onlookers; we were planning a kiss protest, which can easily be mistaken for a Guinness book of world record attempt.

The problem does not lie in a few politicians who have taken up moral policing as their latest political propaganda. The problem lies in all of us. We perceive a kiss as the initiation of foreplay, a sexual stimulation and not as a way of displaying love or affection. A kiss according to us, has more to do with the fire in the loins than the spark in the heart. We are structured to think that way, thanks to the years of declaring everything including love, a taboo. We as a country, need to change.

They share images of the sculptures in Khajuraho, validating that India is the land of Kamasutra and that kiss is part of our sexy culture. They say that we live in a society where hatred in displayed publicly and crimes happen in broad daylight. They say that if hate is publicly allowed, why not love? They even seriously point out that kissing is their fundamental right, part of their liberty. It is all very true, but we should also remind ourselves that we have bigger problems to counter than the denial of street kissing.

The kiss of love drive that happened in a quaint little town in Kerala, has taken over the country by storm. Every college is suddenly flexing a muscle and hosting a kissing party. All in the name of social reform. But the true intention behind it is lost. Moral policing has taken a back seat. It has become more of a comical outburst than a fight. The ‘Kiss of Love’ event that happened in my city, saw only a handful of protesters, but a tsunami of men who had come to watch the live lip-lock ceremony.

So, do I want to kiss before an audience like that? I don’t. Do you?


P.S- Not every city in our country is metropolitan .Not everyone is modern.
P.P.S- Let me ask you something?Would the protest against moral policing have received such publicity, had it been a candle march  instead of a kiss drive?

Monday, 27 October 2014

KARUTTAPPA.....

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Rumour has it that his wife saw him applying soot on their baby’s beautiful white face.

Karuttappa did not believe his mother. His father would never do such an unimaginable thing. Why would a father colour his 1 year old baby girl’s face with dirt? No, it was certainly a lie formulated by his hallucinating mother. The rumour spread like wildfire across the village but Karuttappa never believed his mother. She never truly loved her husband.

Karuttappa was as dark as the moonless night in which he was born. By the time he could walk, he was obese and certified his legitimacy by looking exactly like his dark skinned father.  He was a good child, kind, intelligent and ever so humble, just like his father. His mother was everything he was not. Fair, arrogant and aware of the impact her beauty left on anyone who crossed her way. She kept telling him that he and his father had skin the colour of processed tea that was made in the factory which his family ran. Karuttappa knew that his father would have never got such a catch had it not been an alliance brought by his rich aunt. Money bought everything, even women, the kid learnt early in life.  He was eight when he was gifted a baby sister, as fair as his mother.  Exactly a year later, his father became the hot topic as the man who coloured his fair skinned daughter, black.

Karuttappa always craved to be his mother’s first preference, who cooed over his sister. He was his father’s pet but that was mostly because his father was too embarrassed to be seen in public with the newly born. He always wondered why but never enquired much due to the fear of losing importance even in his father’s eyes. He and his father were dark. His mother made sure they both knew about it.

By the time he was 27, Karuttappa hated his own skin. His mother found a clueless fair skinned village girl and they were married in a fortnight. No courtship and no stolen kisses, but he did not have time to brood, for he was happy that he had married a beautiful girl. He loved her and she loved him back with the same fervid conviction.  While his mother visited him every month with fresh contempt for his dark skin and her constant fear that his children would resemble him, his wife loved him and his colour. Among these conflicting views by the two most important women in his life, he chose the one that he was used to.

Two years down the marriage lane, his wife declared that she was pregnant. Karuttappa rejoiced and the entire family was quick to come down with gifts for his carrying wife. While his father hugged him with teary eyes, his mother filled his ears with ways to make his child enter this world as a fair skinned baby.  Make your wife drink Saffron milk every day, she said. He believed every word she uttered.

His disinterested wife obliged to his antics. She gulped down saffron milk twice a day, since her husband did not want to take a chance by limiting it to one. She sat through the poojas that he conducted in their house, tolerating the Brahmins who did not comprehend a single mantra that came out of their trained mouth. She loved her husband and cursed her mother-in-law for making a beautiful man hate himself. She also believed that their baby must have been too tired of being subjected to so many complicated rituals that she decided to enter the world a month before schedule. A premature yet healthy, fair skinned daughter was born. Karuttappa wept as he kissed his newly born baby girl. The Gods had listened to him. His progeny would be spared of the embarrassment that his colour has brought upon him. His wife kept silent, amused by the display of emotions by her handsome husband.

The news of Karuttappa fathering a fair little girl became a topic that garnered much interest among the villagers. While the prudent section believed that the baby might have acquired the colour of her mother, the rest vouched that Karuttappa’s wife must have shared her bed with another fair skinned man which resulted in the birth of this beautiful little girl. The possible debauchery of his wife became a subject of heated discussion even in the Toddy shops and one night when Karuttappa decided to grab a few drinks, the drunkards decided to debate about the legitimacy of his daughter right in front of him. A brawl followed but died when Karuttappa fell on the ground and wailed. They were quick to leave the weeping man alone.

The next day, a fresh topic of debate was delivered to the villagers.

Rumour has it that his wife saw him applying soot on their baby’s beautiful white face.



P.S- I am back to Kochi after a much needed Diwali break. Went home for a week after almost a year and boy do I feel happy. :) 
P.P.S- Please read before you comment. I would be glad.  


Friday, 10 October 2014

A MAN & HIS HAIRSTYLE.....


“The worse the haircut, the better the man. John Green
Men have been taking John Green quite seriously. At any given point of the day, if I look around, I can find men with hairstyles that can make a poet forget everything about poetry and force an atheist to pick up a cross. May be I know nothing about style.

Back when I was a child, I remember judging boys based on their hairstyles. Long hair meant drummer/guitarist/ kidnapper/ don’t take the Parle G biscuit he offered you/ Tamil movie villain’s side kick; while an Anil Kapoor style haircut meant decent/ God fearing/ accept the Parle G biscuit that is offered/ saint who will one day crack the IIT exams/hero who will save the girl from the Tamil movie villain’s long haired side kick. Life was simple back then. But as I grew up, barbers around the world began to commit serious scissor mistakes, paving way to some questionable styles. It was all approved in the name of Fashion. When Beckham got himself a Mohawk, the Indian male population went berserk and ran a trimmer on the sides of their heads leaving a row of hair on the middle which was then styled with some Parachute coconut oil.

But nothing hit the Indian hair scene as much as the word ‘Spikes’ did. Mani, our gardener from Trichy was the first one to get spikes. Actually no, I remember how back when I had a boy cut, every morning  meant staring at the hair strands standing up at odd places and putting them back in place with the help of tap water or my saliva, whichever was nearer. Spikes make my tongue sweat.

My brother recently got himself a ‘Honey Singh’ haircut, where the top portion is kept long and the sides barely there. To state the fact, my brother looks like an Indian version of Frankenstein. Since he is a teenager living in an age where the newspapers are filled with reports on children committing suicide over simple reasons like getting scolded, my parents have accepted his personal preference towards mad kick hairstyles.

I want to blame our cute oriental neighbours for this.  They look grand in everything they sport.  Straight hair, front bangs, messy hair-dos, random rainbow hair colour, spikes and punk influenced haircuts; it looks like they are custom made for every single thing. But that is not our case. No Sir, we certainly not that blessed. Sport a messy hairdo and they mistake you for a street urchin. Get an Emo haircut and your mother will check the yellow pages to contact the local Tantrik. Use excessive gel to style your hair and your grandmother would innocently ask if you were licked on the head by a cow. We my brown friend are definitely not that lucky.

My point is that I miss simple men. Men who are not obsessed with the shape of their eyebrows, the hairlessness of their chest or the smoothness of their jaw line. I want men who respect their two day stubble and indulge in mathematics that is not limited to counting the packs on their abs. I want men with hair styles that make them look terrestrial.

I also miss seeing my brother with a haircut that affirms that he indeed has a human skull underneath all that hair.


Somewhere, Anil Kapoor smiles. 



P.S-  RIP my favourite Mr.R.K.Narayan. Malgudi days will always be read, whatever stage of life I am in.

P.P.S- I wonder why I chose litigation. No time at all. I had to somehow update this blog. :( 

Friday, 19 September 2014

A BRANDED AFFAIR.....


It wasn't until college that I began to notice a man’s butt. Actually, it would be fair to say that I began noticing men, in whole and in parts, only after I embarked on the ‘self realization’ journey called college.  I was a convent school product, a girl who based her entire judgment on Men-kind, solely on the specimen that her dad was. My Dad is a banker, usually seen wearing a simple shirt and black trousers, both bought from a certain shop called ‘A to Z fashionzz’ at New Market, Bhopal. Malls did not exist and our family owed it to the pot bellied man at A to Z fashionzz (fashion made better with a double z) for filling up our wardrobes with clothes which he believed where ‘In the Season’. We never cared or knew much about the word called ‘BRANDED’. Except for the VIP and Groversons undergarment, our clothes were well, just clothes.

What do you do when you are this socially awkward person, one who has never stepped out of her home solo in the past 17 years of her life and is suddenly states away from her family, attending her first day of college? What you do is, you make friends and ignite the fire of friendship that would not stand the test of time. The first time I visited a coffee shop was in my 1st year of college, unless ‘Amer Bakery Hut’ and ‘Bajrang Sweets &Namkeen’ from Bhopal, qualify as one too. Me and my two newly made friends would sit at Barista, play truth and dare over shots of strong Espresso and just pretend to not look at the men passing by. It was in this very Barista that I found out about this brand called Levi Strauss. The leader of our group was this beautifully bold girl from Delhi, one who included a man in her ‘Cute hai’ list based on two points- a) Looks b) the red tag on the piece of jeans enveloping his right ass cheek, screaming Levi’s. She was the siren and I was the nerd, pretending to be a siren and badly losing the game. She was a simple girl, a goddess at heart but we were all just teenagers trying to fit in.

During the subsistence of this challenging friendship, I learnt a few things. An underwear with a waistband that screamed ‘Jockey’ was much more important that a man’s IQ, unless he is wearing a ‘Playboy’, in which case his IQ level does not even matter. I learnt the art of checking out a man’s butt before I notice his face. For someone who only used ‘Cuticura Deo’, I learnt about perfumes by Chanel, Nina Ricci, Dior, Davidoff and a certain celebrity called Christina Aquilera. Even though I never owned a Louis Vuitton bag, I corrected everyone who pronounced it the wrong way. I was trying to do college right.

It was in college that I found out about people who aren’t exactly swimming in the rich category,  but will go to any length just to portray that they are. The first man I dated had a second hand Mercedes, with doors that threatened to leave the car the moment the speedometer hit 60. This guy had no personality, no intelligence, nor a face to make up for all the deficiencies. What he did have was a Levi’s jeans, a Pepe tshirt, imported Puma shoes and a Hidesign wallet. Inside the wallet he had 70 rupees, enough to buy him a cup of Green tea from one of the posh coffee shops in Cochin, The Cocoa Tree. I drank sparkling water, which thankfully was free. Of course, I dumped him after 2 months over a phone call, while stuffing my mouth with French fries. I was 19.

From the scholarship money that the bank gave me at the end of 2nd year of college, I bought my first Levi’s jeans worth Rs 2,400/-. Slim fit and bold curve, with the red tag perfectly placed over my right ass cheek. I worked out at the gym so that it was possible for me to wear tops short enough to not cover up the red tag. I literally lived in that pair of jeans until my mother bought me a new pair from ‘A to Z Fashionzz’, belonging to a brand called ‘ZOLA’. This particular jeans was 600 Rupees and as much as I hate to admit, was a dream to get into. How could I portray my love for it in a world where brands dominated your status? I even thought of cutting out the tag from the Levi’s jeans and stitching it on the Zola one, but did not do so for the lack of needle skills. I decided to give up on brands.

A person is not the brand he wears. My father still shops at A to Z fashionzz and is the best person alive on this planet. The closest he has got to brands, is Peter England and Wills Lifestyle office wear. My brother hoards on everything branded, but secretly prefers to wear flip-flops bought from this Barkheda market at Bhopal for 150 rupees, over the Nike one that costed my father a whopping 1299. My mother happily owns an LV bag without knowing what LV stands for and carries her lunch box containing sambar rice in it to office. Her ignorance makes her adorable.

Coming to me, I have given up searching for that red tag on a man’s butt, except occasionally, because well……..some habits die hard.


P.S- I do prefer brands when it comes to cosmetics. Call me a hypocrite!
P.P.S- Don’t hate me for not replying to the comments on the previous post. I do not have an internet facility except at work. I blog when I find time. I cherish each and every comment. You know I do. J


Friday, 5 September 2014

The Essential Ingredients of a Fairness Advertisement....

I am shocked that no Indian author has written a book titled ‘Guide to Fairness Advertisements for Dummies’. In a country where beauty is skin fair and a whitening cream is a better invention than polio drops, there is a requirement for a precise guide to shooting a fairness advertisement. Since, I grew up in a household where my grandmother applied Vicco Turmeric cream while my beautifully dark grandfather swore by Fair & Lovely, I know a thing or two about fairness creams. Also, being a person who conscientiously took up the 7 day Emami fairness challenge, I have all the required qualifications to write this post. By this post, I mean ‘The Essential Ingredients of a Fairness Advertisement’.

So, the first essential ingredient of a fairness advertisement, besides the obvious Fairness Cream (which by the way should camouflage the names of harmful chemicals like Hydroquinone, Mercury, Clobetasol a.k.a steroids somewhere in between the long list of ingredients at the back of the tube) is an actor/actress. Depending on the budget, you may either choose a known but struggling one or a 100 crore club member. In fact, it doesn’t even matter as long as they pledge that your product which is yet to come in the market is the reason behind their success and popularity.  Don’t worry, people will buy it because ‘naïve’ is much more than just a word.


The second essential ingredient is believing in the philosophy called ‘FUCK SCIENCE’. You need to come up with an explanation as to why dark people are dark and white people are, well white. Make sure you mention the word ‘MELANIN’ and show a pictographic representation of the layers in the skin. Refer to this already existing fairness brand called ‘FAIR LOOK’ which gives a perfect justification for the darkness of African people and fairness of the white clan.  The actress Preeti Jhangiani, of the Mohabbatein fame (the first essential ingredient) says “Look at the Caucasians, they are fair because they live in cold regions where the sun shines less, making the melanin content low. Look at the Blacks, they are dark because they live in hot and humid regions where the sun shines more, making the melanin content high.”  


The third essential ingredient is a fake Sadhu, who also holds a doctorate degree in Ayurveda. Sadhu’s are important because well, you are in India and sadhus rule. Make sure the chosen one talks in crude Hindi making statements like ‘CHAALIS ANMOL JADIBOOTIYAAN KA EK ANMOL MISHRAN’. Pure Hindi apparently makes people believe in your credibility.

The fourth and the most essential ingredient is the existence of a ‘Before & After’ story. For your perusal, I am mentioning a few stories that other brands have included in their advertisements.

  
 This is the story of Ragini who was single at 28 because of her dark complexion. A magical whitening cream enters her life like a genie and grants her three wishes- White face, a groom who would divorce her the moment she gets tanned during their honeymoon at Pattaya and three, a totally different voice. Wonder how that happened....

The story of Priya who neither had the qualifications to be an air-hostess nor the required fairness. In came the whitening cream and now her face glows like a bulb's filament . She still does not have the qualifications to be an air-hostess, but atleast she is fair. 


The final ingredient is Photoshop because how else will you come up with a photo showing the shade wise transformation of your actress from suicidal & soot faced to a jovial & slim snow woman in just 7 days.



I think I have covered it all. If not, kindly let me know by commenting below because I have been seriously considering writing the book I mentioned in the very first line of this post. It would undoubtedly be a best seller. You bet?


P.S- No blogging or blog reading for the next 5 days. I am celebrating Onam. Burp!
P.P.S- This one was posted from Mobile. So kindly forgive me for format errors if any. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Curious Case of 'CAN DO BETTER'.....


I have always been a ‘Can do better’ person. It is a person who innocently and implicitly makes fruitful promises but delivers only 80% or severely less. Right from my inception, I was looked upon as a promising entity that would grow up only to bring laurels to the family and possibly find the cure for cancer.  I was the answer or so they thought. But as is universally applicable to all expectations, this too was only a premeditated resentment and I proved it so by scoring an 88.71% in my kindergarten. The reward was a report card that screamed ‘Very Good.Can do better.’ and that marked my tryst with this mighty phrase.

It is funny how parents vouch on the genius of the fruits of their loins. The belief that their child contains this distinct quality, this miraculous caliber that can surpass every hint of brilliance available till date. Maybe it is just infinite affection but the fact is, it irritates the hell out of me.

I was always an average student. More outside than inside the classroom, I never posed a threat to the crème de la crème of my class. I was the student who forged her father’s signature on her chemistry term paper because she scored a 9/20 and I was the one who faked a blackout because the maths pre-board exam was a little too out of syllabus for my interest. Basically, I was the kid who spent a night with Onions stuck under her armpits because some enlightened idiot told her that doing so would bring up a fever which would be the perfect escape from the physics viva scheduled to be held the next day. The fever never happened. The viva voce did.  But through all my misdemeanors, I was always believed in, both by my family and my teachers. They would shake their heads in disappointment, look straight into my eyes and say ‘You can do better’. Their comical beliefs amused me but all I did was nod in affirmation.

Then I cleared an all India exam and entered one of the National Law Schools. To be frank, I was shocked and I still believe that the electronic device that checked the OMR sheet was infected by a bug. May be I was just plain lucky. Either way, it gave a positive reaffirmation to my family. It made them believe that I actually could do better. I continued my stint as an average student, was the opposite of Gandhi while writing papers but still the professors persistently told me how I could do better. It got so bad that I once just asked my dad as to why he believed so much in me. His answer was ‘Lord Hanuman forgot about his divine abilities because of a curse and had to be reminded of it. Once he realised his true potential, there was no looking back.’ My dad has a terrible sense of humour. 

So I decided to actually do better. I joined a law firm and attempted to genuinely do the best I could. I tried hitting deadlines, drafted the sexiest writ petitions in the history of High Courts and researched on the most mundane subjects entrusted upon me. The highlight is the fact that I did do better. For the past one week I was neck deep in this case of a thermal power plant giant and drafted the finest petition that my dying grey cells could come up with and I was sure that there was no room for improvement. I was at my very best and this is exactly why I was confident that my boss would love my work. So as I sat before him carrying around myself an aura of expectation, he said “This is good. Very good. But, you can do better.” I felt like a punctured puffer fish.

It is then that I realized that ‘CAN DO BETTER’ is a phrase that is one step ahead of me. Pleasing someone with my infinite potential should never be my forte. I should be pleased with myself and right now, I am.

I wonder how Hanuman would have felt if after realizing his true potential, he went to Lanka, allowed the Asuras to light his tail and then burnt the entire empire with the fire on his back, only to come back to a Sri Ram who would mouth out the words ‘CAN DO BETTER’.

May be I should ask my dad. 


P.S- September is my birthday month. Just saying. :D

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

BECAUSE YOUR VIRGINITY BELONGS TO THE SOCIETY....


The western lifestyle is a bad influence on our Indian civilization which is a beautiful rose. A beautiful rose which is a combination of many petals, where each petal is designed to stand for our supreme Indian culture, unique belief, traditional values, societal norms and declared taboos. Our lifestyle deserves to be called sacrosanct and anyone who transgresses our settled path is an evil black cat. We have an invisible wall around our nation, higher than the Great Wall of China that expels every western influence that attempts to trespass our moral lines. In case they succeed in entering our domain and affect our children, we continue to hold our guards up and declare our children as unworthy of our love. We are the greatest society in the world.

Our daughters are our own and their virginity belongs to us. It is her body, but it should be touched under our approval. She does not have the right to violate her body and violation it is because we as a society forbid sexual liberty. We have our moral codes, that may be archaic with no strong basis, but they are still our rules. Rigid and dominant rules. 

So, she broke the rules by letting a man touch her and liking the fact that he did. Love which as hard it is to believe happens without giving any value to society, religion, status, money or such important factors. We abhor such depravity, such lewdness. Sex is sacrosanct, subject to a condition precedent known as the holy matrimony and any violation of this supreme law is blasphemy. Love is unnecessary. Marriage comes above sexual liberty and we do not believe in the freedom of a human body.

We do love our daughter’s, we really do.  But it all comes with an added responsibility of letting them know that they are not anything like the boys. That their actions can bring shame, condemnation and disgrace. That they are like a piece of paper while the boys are needles. The paper will be the one to be torn, forever. But what if she wanted the man to touch her, well, that is just unacceptable. Her body belongs to her family, the society, the religion she blindly follows because we say so and God who is omnipresent only so that he can judge her for her sexual activities.

It is funny how much guilt a woman feels when she thinks dirty. Forget thinking dirty, it is funnier when you realize that you feel guilty even when you hold hands with someone you like. Holding his hand while walking on an empty road and suddenly letting go on seeing as much as a random tea stall. That is how it is and that is what we are shaped into.

All I am saying is raise your daughters in a way that makes them love their own body. Teach them that they hold the leash of their own destiny and that their decisions should always be there own. Let them know that their virginity belongs to them and if they want to save it till after marriage, it should be their own little divine choice. Tell her that her sexuality doesn’t belong to the society and that her body is her own.

But do ask her to make sure that her choices never make her regret. Now that you have done so, leave her alone.

P.S- Judge yourself not me for the thoughts you had about me after reading this little piece. J