Shobhaa’s Take 14th Feb 2009 Column published in Asian Age\Deccan Chronicle
Will you be my Valentine, Pramod Muthalik??
Come on, Pramodji. Be a sport. I can’t think of a better candidate to send a Valentine to.I love you. So do all the women of India. Sach- much. We find you seriously cute. A real hottie. The thinking woman’s sex symbol.Aapke saamne Farhan Akhtar kuch nahi.You should be flattered. Are you going to arrest me for declaring my feelings in public?No problem. Pyar kiya to darna kya?You are cho chweet. So cute. Today being Valentine’s Day, and you being my Chosen One, I’m going to the nearest pub to drink a pint or two of beer in your honour. Theek hai?
I suspect Pramod Muthalik will drown in a pink panties deluge today, and his inbox will overflow with lovey dovey messages sent by the women from across the country. He may even receive pyaar ki jhappies if he ventures out, and who knows, if he runs into Renuka Choudhary somewhere, she may clasp him to her ample bosom and plant a kiss. Isko kehtey hain, Luck by Chance. Pramod, you are one sexy dude – single and ready to mingle.And whether you like it or not, women are going to chase you… invite you for a drink at the nearest pub, maybe get you to shake a leg. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Confess : when was the last time you went on a date? Held hands? Romanced a lady?? Never? Toba. You don’t know what you are missing. I think Nisha Susan is the right person to have as your special date on this very special day. Check out a few bars and pubs with her and see for yourself what exactly goes on there. It may surprise you.
‘ The Pink Chaddi’ Campaign kicked off by Susan has snow- balled into something major. It started as a personal protest, a strong reaction to the abominable conduct of Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sene activists. But it rapidly gained momentum as women across the board decided to display their utter contempt for these men by mocking them like never before. What better weapon than women’s underwear to register a lack of respect for men like Muthalik who are fixated on precisely that garment – even if they’ll never admit as much? These are the sickos of our society. Men arrogant enough to believe they are the guardians of our chastity. Go to hell, you guys. Handle your own hang ups, your frustrations, your insecurities and leave us alone to figure out what we want to do with our time and leisure. Those days are gone, when the Gehlots and Muthaliks of the world could dictate the agenda for women. Or issue diktats. Our enlightened Home Minister ( God Bless Chid’s kind heart), has stated in clear and precise language that he considers Muthalik’s SRS a ‘threat’ to the country. By articulating that the SRS has ‘crossed limits’,P. Chidambaram has earned an extra Valentine from me – and thousands like me – women who were waiting for ‘real men’ to put these borderline, iffy fellows into their rightful place – the nearest dustbin.
I am not a pub- goer, nor do I drink beer. That hardly matters. Whether or not I subscribe to the ‘pub culture’ is also irrelevant. Who the hell is Muthalik to sit in judgement over ladies who enjoy such activities? It is entirely their prerogative, their money, their desire, their decision. Mangalore is not Kabul. And unlike Afghanistan, women in India cannot be so easily browbeaten by such bully boys. If these men were sincere about ‘protecting’ women, they would be addressing far more serious issues, like domestic violence, rape, female foeticide. Why waste time harassing a miniscule number of urban women who form a .000-something of our population?Why accost carefree teenagers with bangles and sindhoor and force them to marry?Why not intervene and help underprivileged women in distress over dowry issues?What’s more important – bride- burning or hand- holding? What skewered priorities are these? Ever since ‘The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women,’ was formed a few days ago, the site caught fire , as men and women signed up to express their solidarity and cock a snook at the SRS. I responded instantly to the email and shared it with several girlfriends across the world. Now I can proudly declare myself a card-holding (or should that be ‘panties-holding’?) member of the association. The response has been overwhelming. It is like a cultural marathon being launched, with the best runners taking the lead against tyranny. Dr. V.S.Acharaya, the Home Minister of Karnataka,has also become the absolute darling of the pink panties donors – he’d better have an explanation ready for his family before the courier chap arrives bearing a bulky carton stuffed with frilly, lacey, risqué lingerie. This unique form of protest has found several takers for an obvious reason. It is a simple, inexpensive yet potent way of making a point. Some may dub it childish and attention-seeking. But in my view, it is the ultimate insult. Men who get their perverse kicks by humiliating women sexually, deserve nothing more ‘serious’ than this gift.Molestors are perverts who obviously do not possess a legitimate avenue to satisfy their sexual needs. The only way they can touch a female, get anywhere close to forbidden fruit, is by attacking her under the guise of guarding her morality. Ha!
The NCP in Maharashtra is taking a twisted lead by distributing Valentine’s Day cards in Thane, a Shiv Sena stronghold. Politicising this harmless day, reserved for Cupid and his arrow, is another way to attract youth votes. Since all is fair in love and war, no issues with the strategy. Perhaps Shiv Sainiks themselves have had a change of heart and won’t vandalize gift shops and restaurants celebrating Valentine’s Day. Bharatiya sanskriti faces zero danger from an exchange of dil-shaped greetings and other romantic expressions of love. Think of Krishna and his Gopis. How chilled out were they??Our Great Indian Culture is alive and well. No worries. The real threat to it does not come from mini- skirted women knocking back a couple of beers, nor from young lovers walking hand in hand through malls. It comes from goons who assault defenceless females, demand marriage certificates from amourous couples, and threaten to marry off those found ‘guilty’ of a crime called romance.What shall we call this? How about “Emoshanal Atyachar?”