Here You Go, Another Post on ‘Nirbhaya’

In the wake of the most recent Delhi gang-rape case, a lot of brouhaha has ensued. Everyone’s moral compass has suddenly swung to ‘Protect the Indian Daughter’ mode. People are organizing mass rallies, posters with witty slogans are found on every paan-spit soaked wall and pillar and every other blogger is crying hoarse for justice, equality, security, yada, yada.

All the news channels are holding hour long debates where the same four – five stalwarts namely, Sheila Dikshit, Suhel Seth, Meenakshi Lekhi, Renuka Chowdhury and one or two extra fittings vehemently discuss how brutal the rape was, what the most tortuous punishment ought to be for the rapists, the hard-heartedness of the Delhiites who let ‘Nirbhaya’ lie sans help and the horrendous justice system with appropriately pained faces and a forced tear and anguished plea for sanity interjected once in a while when things get monotonous.

Basically, my head is spinning after watching, reading and endlessly discussing all this nonsense with every second person I meet. The basic problem is that all we are doing is just that. Discussing, probing, arguing. Conjecture is an art the idle Indian has perfected. We take an issue and dissect it limb-by-limb, criticizing everything and everyone associated with it, proclaiming ourselves to be judges of morality and civility while shaking our heads disapprovingly at others. But, do these so-called debates ever pan out to anything?

Take the case of Priyadarshini Mattoo. Or Ruchika Gehrotra. Or Aarushi Talwar. Or Soumya Vishwanathan. All these are high profile cases. All caused furore in the media and within the Indian community. There were rallies, heated debates and a lot of campaigning here and there (just as is going on with the ‘Nirbhaya’ case). But, a few months down the lane, all that remains is a hurried whisper and a stifled sigh. No new laws have been made, nothing has really changed, we’ve just moved onto a new story. Where is the action that follows a heartfelt discussion? Where is the law that follows a petition signed by a million odd Indians? Where is the court sentence that follows the endless chasing of the judicial system?

Who cares, right? Let us all just watch these debates, make some poignant comments here and there and then return to our old ways of turning the other cheek when we see someone teasing a young girl on her way home from college. Let us all ‘Like’ Facebook pages devoted to the ‘Nirbhaya’ case – albeit the only posts on them being photoshopped pictures of the nth India Gate candlelit-midnight peace walk or some passionate sloganeering-type quote that rouses the emotionally charged Indian to ‘Share’ the post on her/his feed, and feel good about herself/himself. ‘Cause like hell we’ll actually do something about it.

In reality, it is easier to make lofty speeches and discuss intelligently but, are we doing something constructive about the issue? It need not be a massive gesture or something groundbreaking – although those would be awesome – something thoughtful, I would imagine as being enough for beginners. Lighting a candle shows respect, I agree but, berating someone eve-teasing a young girl is what would actually make a difference. It is high time we stopped pretending to care and actually took action. After all, these are our lives, our people and our society we are talking about.

Five Insufferable Things To Be Passionate About

1. How You Look: You’re freshly tanned, very nice. You just got RiRi’s bleached blonde ‘do, very hip. Flashed everyone your perfect pearly white grin? Very cool. Just gave the plumber a booty tooch to show off your taut ass? Very in. Now stop it. You’re coming off as ridiculous, not to mention fake. FYI, nobody’s thinking about your ‘wonderful’ assets. They’re all thinking how humongous a loser you are.

Frankly, you’re not that great looking. You may be the beauty/hunk of your family and/or workplace and have these folk fawn over you (or be ‘jealous’ of your fantastical features) but, here’s the truth, honey; Though you may qualify for a second glance (based solely on your Kith and Kin’s evaluation), that’s pretty much where it ends, ‘kay?

2. How Others Look: Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and you my dear, have Madras Eye in that case. No one asked you if XYZ looks nice or not. Don’t dump your inaccurate and condescending beauty scale on anyone patient enough to listen to your cockamamie. Who’re you to decide if the ‘traditional’ looking girl you saw looks like a country ho? I doubt even Anna Wintour stands a chance against your caustic (and inaccurate) tongue.

Oh, and not to forget the ones who go to great lengths to stress how much they do to look better than you. Their weekly spa treatments are up on Twitter, they go on about their haircare routine like it’s a matter of international importance and their Facebook photo streams (in the ever popular ‘duckface’ pose) of their new YSL flapper dress never end. Ever. And, these factors apparently give them the upper hand in style, fashion and beauty. To you, only one thing needs to be said – quit judging people, you’re not so hot yourself.

3. Who You Pray To: Okay, so you believe in Jesus/Allah/Bhagwan Ram/Gautam Buddha. You pray diligently and observe your religious customs and rituals flawlessly. Commendable. But, why are you trying to shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat? There is no need to mock somebody’s God just because you think yours is better. Isn’t there just one God, many avatars? The main point of prayer and tradition is inculcating peace and discipline in one’s life, isn’t it? Frankly, no one’s religion is ‘the best’ simply because all religions are the same.

Islam = Hinduism = Christianity = Zoroastrianism = Buddhism = *Insert Religion Here* 

It’s high time you realized religion is a way of life, not a way of condemning others’ lives. Your faith and God are important to you, good. Just remember that the other person’s beliefs are just as dear the her/him. If you’re confused, go back to your Holy Text and refer to the part about respecting others. Yes, it doesn’t matter which Holy Text you revere, they all have the same teachings. It’s just the chronology that differs, hope that clears up the mist in your mind.

4. How You (In)Tolerate ‘Outsiders’: There’re all kinds of people in this world. They’re all the same; they’re all different. So, don’t annoy everyone by proclaiming your countrymen are superior. You’re as idiotic as the next immigrant. Don’t generalize Italians as womanizers. Don’t classify Pakistanis as terrorists. Don’t call Indians ‘job stealing gits’. Quit blaming ‘the west’ for ‘spreading homosexuality’. Quit harassing fee paying Indian students in Australia.There are a million contrary examples that pass you by but, your shitty tunnel vision catches only the flaws of said groups.

Also, a desi (Indian, for the uninitiated) take on this: Just because you’re from Assam doesn’t mean you’re hot stuff and if you’re from Gujarat don’t think you’re the next Ambani – it means you’re suffering from a ‘regional halo effect’ (coining my own term here). All you idiots in New Delhi calling every dusky girl a ‘Madrasan/Geek/Kolaveri Di’ and all you sycophants in Chennai advising anyone who mentions the humidity down South to leave the city, you guys are closet regionalists. All you great thinkers who riot around *Hint: RSS* throwing out the people who come from out-of-town to make a livelihood in Mumbai, go screw yourselves.

5. How You Are Better Than ABC: So, you think you’re all that, eh? You’ve got a minimum wage salary and are currently ‘living it up’ in a shared apartment with three Asian dudes and you think you’re better than Bob from across the street (because he’s just a struggling musician) and you miss no opportunity to highlight your assumption. Reality check: In five years’ time, Bob will own a duplex, a yacht and have a Swiss bank account whereas you’ll remain stuck in your $30,000 p.a. job.

Just because you’re bangin’ chicks left, right and center like Hugh Hefner (doesn’t mean you’re minting money like him), quit showing the sweet nerd down ‘cuz he’s on his way to a happy ending and you’re going to get AIDS. Just because someone is being kind enough to not point out what a massive asshole you are, don’t think you’re a rockstar. All you are is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Seriously, think about how insipid these issues are and how much time most people spend obsessing about them. Be passionate about stuff that matters, like the environment or politics. Get a life, do something meaningful.

Ladies V/S Ricky Bahl… er… Gents

Um, okay, I know the title is slightly gay (in a non-offensive way, FYI) but, as I am currently OD-ing on this song from Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, kindly excuse my New Delhi-ness. (In case you’re wondering what’s happened to my taste in music, I have only one explanation to give – I’ve been under house arrest for two months now, this much madness is acceptable.) Shush now! My main point for this blog-post is *Drumroll Please* Happy Women’s Day!

As we celebrate this wonderful day rejoicing the many, many accomplishments of our vaginal virginal beauties who’re busy donning smart Van Heusen pantsuits, beautifully tailored Balenciaga gowns, Ikkat petticoats and matching kolhapuris, let’s take a moment to see how we’re doing against the other half of the world, i.e., men (and everyone in between), a’rite?:-

a. More Qualifications, More Hours, Less Ka-Ching: Women have fought to get education in order to gain perspective and, well, plush jobs so that they can spend their hard earned money on MOAR SHOEZZ and charity and stuff. But, this funky graph shows that the more educated a woman is, she does not earn as much as her male counterpart. This doesn’t mean you get to dropout of High School sans negative ramifications, just learn to be a better negotiator, bonita. Also, women work longer to get raises, promotions and gain credibility at work. For instance, women often have to work three years longer in a teaching position to be promoted to the post of Principal than a male educator has to.

b. Women Earn Less than Men in 99% of All Occupations: Yep. Unless you’re a nanny, a teacher for the differently-abled, Beyonce, a nurse or a prostitute, a woman earns only 77.5¢  for each dollar a man earns.

c. If You Don’t Work in a Fortune 500 Company, Chances Are You’ve Got Yourself a Bosswoman: Women are good managers. Period. There are about 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., a number that comprises nearly 40% of all businesses. And, these women leaders employ 35% more people than ALL the Fortune 500 companies combined! Even so, it is sadly unsurprising to note that only 8% of the Fortune 500 ‘Mile High‘ Club is femme fatale.

d. Got Two ‘X’ Chromosomes? Here, Live Longer: In developed countries, the average life expectancy for women is 79 years and 72 years for men. Russian babes outlive Putin-type menfolk by a whopping thirteen years – tennis does keep one fit, eh?

e. Got Equal Parts ‘X’ and ‘Y’ Chromosomes? Here, Have a Larger Brain: The adult male brain is 10% larger than that of an adult woman’s. As they have more muscle mass *Cough**Penis**Cough*, guys’ brains require more neurons to control their bodies. On a completely unrelated note, brain size and intelligence are not relative to each other. *Flashes Evil Grin, Evilly*

f. You Jump, I Jump: Girls and boys, there’s one thing which is absolutely balanced between us! Heart attacks are the most common way for both genders to bite the big one *Crowd Goes Wild*! So, fancy dinner dates do pay off, huh? (See what I did there? I am like that only.)

Honestly, women have a lot more to do before they can call themselves empowered in the true sense of the word. However, the fairer sex has come a long way from airing rugs, doing the washing-up and learning how to crochet delightful patterns on pretty blue pinafores with no other option. It’s not nearly enough but, it does call for a toast! So, cheers to a Women’s Day that’ll open new doors for all the lovely ladies out there!

Holi – India’s Excuse for a Nationwide Rave

Imagine a large crowd at a fancy Hauz Khas ground in New Delhi’s posh South Delhi area busting out their choice Bollywood moves to DJ Crayzeee’s Dhol Mix of ‘Rand Barse‘, Bhang or, more likely Vodka-Sprite, in one hand and an acid green water-pistol filled with mellow-yellow colored water in the other. There are photogs, News reporters and the occasional Holi-bash crasher on the prowl as the chic Delhiite parties on with abandon.

Welcome to the new age Holi celebration. Gone are the days when Holi was a festival when family and friends greeted each other with flowers, gujias and organic Vermilion teekas. When one wore white and harmlessly pelted one another with flower-based colors and doused water on each other with simple pichkaaris after gathering around to pray to God to mark the triumph of good over evil.

For instance, in 2011, India‘s capital was host to ‘Holi Cow’ on Vasantotsav (Huh, what’s that?), a rock concert featuring artistes like Menwhopause, Mob Marley Inc., et al which commercializes the festival as well as ensures that teenagers and ‘hip’ Delhiites skip the customary family lunch for an orgy of dubstep, rap and what-not.

Holi is fast becoming a breeding ground for tomfoolery, debauchery and commercialization. There are umpteen cases where boys take advantage of girls, touch them inappropriately and harass them. Illicit liquor, Bhang and other recreational drugs are pedalled freely on this day as the pot-bellied Delhi Police turns a blind eye labeling these exchanges as ‘innocent merrymaking on Holi‘. Mithai shops crank up the prices of frilly ribboned and sequined pre-packaged sweet hampers which not only taste manufactured but, also take away the joy of feasting on fresh homemade sweets.

It seems the undertones of the ‘festival of Spring’ are quietly withering away and like everything else, this link to India’s rich culture and history is dissolving fast into oblivion, just like the shade of organic Holi red dissolves into nothingness when synthetic color is added to the same bucket of water.