Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maid of ( dis) Honour...

This appeared in The Week on sunday.... okay. okay. Guilty as charged! Have been playing truant for 3 days. Ridiculously busy sorting out complex travel issues. Here's the good\bad news. I'm off tomorrow night for a well -earned vacation. I'll get back on 2nd July. It's going to be a short goodbye. But it already seems like forever. My systems are shutting down. When I do get to Rome, I'll be in La Dolce Vita mode for sure. Just to get me further into the mood, I'll be watching a Monica Bellucci film tonight. Don't ask about the pagalpan ahead - I shall be hooking up with various children at assorted destinations - starting with Arundhati in Paris, and Aditya in Barcelona. Two more, Avantikka and Anandita will be travelling with me. This is what makes travel so exciting - you rediscover those closest to you when you meet in another setting. I hope to leave the 'harridan mom' at home and 'make nice' with the kids. Am on my best behaviour from now. The children are confused - they can't recognise the 'new', 'improved' mom. Feeling like a sachet of Surf already!

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Shiney Ahuja is coming out of my ears. But seriously.... howcome his family forgot to get him a fresh change of clothes? Food?? Even a toothbrush?? It's been over four days, you guys. The poor fellow is still wearing the same underwear! The missus has been in overdrive giving interviews to any and every hack in town. I guess Anupam (her!) is way too busy defending Shiney on prime time to remember minor stuff like roti and kapda. Maybe her proclamations of 'standing by her man' don't extend beyond press quotes ....and her declared adoration of her husband does not include getting the poor guy some decent ghar ka khana. Too much drama, if you ask me. I'm going to miss this daily natak baazi . But what the hell - how boring can Portofino be, right?? Ha ha. Just showing off... and trying not to give away my excitement. Ciao Ciao. Arrivederci . Phir milengey..

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Knowing Anita

Boooof! It hit me in the gut minutes into our virgin conversation. Anita Jain, the author of ‘Marrying Anita’ is like a nuclear warhead – lethal! I met the delicious former journo at the first ‘India Se Writers’ Festival’ in Singapore last week. It is one thing ‘Knowing Anita’. But ‘Marrying Anita’??? You need guts!!How many men in our hypocritical society have them? I completely and totally adored the latest enfant terrible on the rapidly growing literary circuit in India.Quite simply, Anita Jain, is a character. Not quite Kamala Das, not Erica Jong… and certainly not Brigit Jones. She is Anita – her own person. And she has written a spunky book that could also have been titled ‘Being Anita’, and it would still read the same. But ‘Marrying Anita’ is a more commercial title, as I am sure Bloomsbury, her American publishers realized when they decided to publish her memoir in 2008. Well, the book has not sent cash registers ringing in the U.S. but in India, Anita has been noticed and is being courted by desi publishers, impressed by local sales. Carelessly tagged ‘ Sex and the City, Delhi-style,’ the book is much more than just a raunchy account of the 36-year-old’s sexual romps in her motherland. Her ‘Quest for love in New India’ is more hilarious than erotic and begins on a rather comical note . The narrative is a loosely linked catalogue of her sexapades – near-misses and a couple of booze\drug induced ‘dates’ ( notably with an Amritdhari Sikh virgin whom she initiates into kissing by caressing his turban). But behind the very American upfrontness and ‘let it all hang out’ tone of the prose, I sensed enormous pathos. And after meeting Anita over two days and three sessions, I could understand her rather unique dilemma.
Anita has shifted to Mumbai so she can hack it in Bollywood. Why Bollywood? Well… virtually every talented individual I have met over the past ten years wants a piece of Bollywood. To achieve her objective, Anita is sharing a rented hole in the wall with an American guy ( not a boyfriend, she hastily clarifies), and doing the rounds of studios and ‘contacts’ in production houses. Has she given up her search operation for a Suitable Boy? I don’t think so – she didn’t say. But I could sense her ambivalence…. and loneliness. Anita , a Harvard graduate, business journalist and most recently, an author of a successful title, is caught in a cultural vortex – she thinks American but wants to live Indian ( well, to the extent possible). Mumbai is just the city for Anita. But even Mumbai can be cold sometimes . And Anita is too hot to handle. By any city’s standards. This is what is so terrific about her. She says what is uppermost in her mind without thinking twice or caring a jot about consequences. Unwary strangers respond to her like they’ ve been electrocuted , unable to handle her eloquence, overt sexiness, volatility or brilliance.Men recoil at her candour and women rush in the opposite direction looking for cover. Extreme reactions are expected in conservative societies such as ours, and I am wondering whether Anita was aware of the storm her book would create in India – particularly at book readings during which she reads out chapters dealing with graphic details of her trysts ( notably one in a motel, when she was menstruating and left a bloodied bedsheet behind before fleeing the premises!) with relish. And yet, there is nothing sleazy about in any of this. I found her ‘confessions’ exceedingly heart- breaking, naïve and innocent. In America, these sort of books are a dime a dozen and their content is often far racier. The difference here is contextual– this is not fiction. It is Anita’s own story ( much like Kamala Das’s ‘My Story’ which was far more coy). We are still not comfortable dealing with women’s sexuality , particularly if the writer remains unapologetic and unashamed.Anita has several choices ahead of her – I’ ve suggested one - a sequel : ‘Surviving Anita…’ She should go for it!

40 comments:

Roshni said...

thnks for the info on this upcoming literary PYT .....Hope to have more of these kind of fearless and spontaneous women in our society. best wishes for your journey with your loved ones!

ivy_^^ said...

@the shiney ahuja case... its disgusting. the whole incident makes me sick...
@knowing anita..i read her previous book n really liked it.
about her unapologetic potrayal of a womans sexuality....i think this is exactly wht our society needs....more females like her...who dare to speak their minds !
fun. fearless. female...remember? :P
hv a fun trip:)

Sidhusaaheb said...

My prediction is that Ms. Anita is likely to be treated as a good 'one night stand' proposition by most men and that the prospects of her ever getting married are likely to remain rather dim, as you've written, at least in India.

As for her 'talents', she seems to be a literary version of a Pamela Anderson or Paris Hilton (they sell video-tapes and she sells a book, the USP of which is constituted by personal 'sexcapades') and she probably is just as 'naïve and innocent' as either of those women.

Happy holidays!

:)

The Panorama said...

You had me laughing again writing the stuff about Shiney Ahuja...was waiting to read what you write about him but this was funny...have a good trip!!

Riaz-NJ said...

Gotcha!!!... Shiney's underwear is a real worry now... (what makes to think that he is wearing one?)..

Good Luck Anita, you got talent (I dont think that helps in Bollywood)!!!

Enjoy your trip!!!

P said...

i have always only stuck to fiction when it comes to reading and ofcourse not to mention my enormous curriculum books that would make a good murder weapon!
Have been trying to broaden my reading interests... and looks like the anita-series would make an interesting read! will give it a try! thanks!

Vee said...

Typical of you. Saw that coming. Favored him to the hilt and then dumped him like a 'typical' celeb. So proud of you. You are with the tradition.

Btw, Another typical. I or many like me have encountered gazillion Anitas in our lives. Trust you to be...aah, forget it. U know, A firang friend of mine, well known in his country for his acerbic columns did read ur blog after an argument and all he had to say was "So behind times" .. .Whoooo, that hurt!!!

Gajendra said...

enjoy the sojourn

introspection said...

Such a hotch potch of your take on Shiney. Digressing the subject does not amount to accepting things. Damn Shiney And Damn Anupam. We have enough of their types around, and frankly it's all too boring.
Anita sounds interesting but her search for suitable boy in India seems very out of image. Why does she want to settle here, when all she has to offer is 'self porn'? Indian men get a lot more from their wives than just sex, right? so what are her other assets ?
Anita will be a misfit here for sure.

Have a great vacation and hope Venice and Florence are a definite part of your itin.
How about some pictures to go with the pst when you are back ?
Enjoy.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Have a great family trip. Those are the best kind.

I am toddling off to my local library tomorrow and getting my sweaty hands on Anita Jain's book. Will read it and reflect, then doodh will be doodh and perrier will be just another "agua con gaz". I will be sure to write my review with a sidehelping of my usual timepass and benign social commentary about contextual placement of themes and other such fluff that I can safely bandy about at cocktail parties.

Oh and I am reading a book by you for the very first time. Bollywood nights... total deliciousness. I am having the time of my life reflecting and placing the various incidents woven into the storyline, as they happened in lives of the movie stars I grew up watching. The attitudes that move the storyline forward are so reflective of a time in my youth when Bollywood had just begun to blossom into the hugely influential engine that drives modern day Indian culture.


I wonder how similar or different this book would have been if it was written perhaps this year or last. How much has changed and how much has remained the same, or has the contextual background simply just changed?


I think your theme should be rewritten every few years. "Bollywood nights redux" and "redux ka redux again" and so forth. Since so much of modern day Indian culture is vested in and dependent on mainstream cinema, it would be interesting to see where we have all been, every few years. All vicariously seen through the prism of mis/adventures in Bollywood. Kaafi entertaining bhi hoga. And todays Aasha Ranis with thier melon or lemon size buttocks will thank you!

anamika said...

Today more then your blog the comments given by the readers were more interesting.....

Have a fun filed holidays ahead.:)

cmpershad said...

"I guess Anupam (her!) is way too busy defending Shiney on prime time to remember minor stuff like roti and kapda"
Ahuja is now a sarkari mehmaan... so why bother about his roti, kapada as he has presently shifted his makaan.

krish said...

hy thr

Finally u got bk....but with a dhuki news........hmmm but thn a holiday with kids is always welcome......enjoy rome.....good luck stay healthy and safe......

Your take on Ms Anita.......intresting.....dont know wht she wud do in bollywood ....the current lot of scripts still want the girls to b virgins.....(irrespective of wht thr wear.......)

Luv

Kris

honestinjun said...

The Shiney case is quite curious. Obviously there is more to it than meets the eye. So much speculation! Wonder why he did it to the maid when I am sure he could have a pick of women he wanted. Smells of blackmail...Anyway, this like the Aarushi case is getting to be another trial by media. Let us stop speculating and wait for the truth to come out. If Shiney is indeed innocent, I wish him all the best.

Hemish said...

Have a fun trip :)

Mystique said...

now why are u so worried about shiney's underwear.. who cares if he changes it or not..
oh ya and have fun on your trip

Zeba Talkhani said...

Will read Anita's books. No comments about the Ahuja case.

She Talks said...

I suspect Shiney Ahujas wife is doing it for the benefit of their child. So when she grows up, she knows that there was a version to the story where her father was innocent.
Whats nags me is the 'Sex by mutual consent' angle. A maid and an emploers relationship is not one of equals, who what qualifies as a maid's consent? My 2 paisa on the topic is here.http://shetalkslikejune.com/?p=1809

The abstract scientist said...

Hello mam,

How are you? I hope you have a nice holiday. Keep reading my blog. Your children have nice names.

Kaddi patha in chai tastes cool. try it.

Ida said...

Heh!heh! What Shiney Ahuja REALLY needed was a wife like Anita...that would have been fun...:)
Have a lovely trip!In a Shiney-Anupam free part of the world!

Prayukth said...

heheh..dont get ne wrong but most guys here would love to have a wife like anupam...:))

omsherryom said...

the break u took from blogging was most essential....afterall see the passe at which your literary taste has come to be! u are thinking and thinking about shiney dirty clothes and chaddis, being a wmen u are trivilising the matter. Does any family will tell u or the media what they have given to their jailed relative...
njoy the break...

Meghna said...

I've been reading your column for sometime now and I'm a huge fan.I would request you to write something on Social Networking, since a lottt of us are completely addicted to it, esp the applications available on phone.
Since I've been using one such application called RockeTalk ( www.rocketalk.com) and would like to know your view point on that. Looking fwd to read something from you on this subject as well.

Meghna :)

Gajendra said...

missing your posts shobhaa

Samindra Das said...

Which Monica Belluchi Film? May we have the name ..please...

Sanket Korgaonkar said...

This is too long without a new post. Waaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :( :( :(

Riaz-NJ said...

Last time, at least there was a poem to discuss ... hmmmmmmm... did they perform Shiney's DNA test?

Mona said...

:) I have often wondered how you took care of them children, with so much that you do ( which is,normally, superhuman).

Now I know...

I still have to read your speedpost, which you wrote for the children...

numerounity said...

Why is media so unnecessarily elaborative, still so ambiguous?

Last heard that Shiney Ahuja is getting a 5 star treatment in jail..and you saying he is stinking 4 days?!!??

Reg Ms Ahuja's "Press-maniac", you are so correct...one can see so much of her uchal uchal ke campaigning on media that one wonders- Is she for real or hogging some reel time, unnecessarily?

Hmmm...waiting for the verdict soon :)

numerounity said...

PS: need to check Anita's book...sounds interesting...Hope it wont be sleazy and all that...


Have fun!!!

http://ektakhetan.blogspot.com

blunt edges said...

virtually every talented individual I have met over the past ten years wants a piece of Bollywood
well i'm talented n i dont need a piece of bollywood...so now u hv an exception shobaa...but its a completely diff story dat we hvnt met ;)

Rajeev R said...

....Hey, have been a regular follower of ur blog, ur articles in HT newspaper and magazine....love the way you write.


Well...the other day..someone remarked about names, and the fact that now u can't guess the gender listening to name. Shiney seems to be female, Anupam..the male. The way u mentioned (her) in bracket...hahaha!!


Raj

http://bharatmelange.blogspot.com

sHiNiNg sUrYa said...

it's really shocking to hear about shiney case. has he confessed?
don't understand why he did that.

anyways thanks for such a nice article.

krish said...

hi thr........

waiting to hear frm you..............missng my dost..... (enjoy in sonia land)

Luv kris

Riaz-NJ said...

Shiney's DNA matched !!!

You must consider TWITTERing (www.twitter.com) atleast we'll get some small updates ...

Gajendra said...

just wanted to share with you,
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/10463/myriad-identities.html

please read

Gajendra said...

the above link is with reference to the query I had put forth to you some time back regarding identities....

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Recently I read an article written by you about bollywood in The Times of India.
I say :
Pen is mightier - sometimes yes, sometimes not.

Maddy said...

??? Long Silence!!

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