Saturday, August 15, 2009

India@62 - Delayed menopause....??

I am missing my father today. He was an old-fashioned patriot who used to urge me to make puran polis on the 15th of August, since he felt it was exceedingly important to celebrate 'Freedom'. Freedom, not just from foreign rule.... but as a basic human right . He also believed it was important for us as parents to convey to our children that this precious freedom was worth guarding with our own lives. His vivid description of what transpired at midnight on 14th-15th of August 1947, in the compound of the district court in Satara where he was the judge, still gives me goosebumps each time I recall his eloquent words.
Nope. There are no puran polis at home this year. It is yet another dull, uninspiring and listless day. I'm sure my father would have disapproved of this article which was carried in Asian Age\Deccan Chronicle today. I am glad he isn't alive to read it.... but I am equally glad I wrote it.
As always, I'm looking forward to your comments and reactions.
Vande Mataram !!
*************************************
Is India @62 ready to appear on ‘Sach Ka Saamna’?

First things first – at the risk of enraging feminists – India at 62 is like a woman dealing with delayed menopause, trying strenuously to come to terms with drastic and dramatic changes she is not yet ready for. Think about it – sudden hot flashes ( Pakistan, China, Baluchistan), cold sweats, migraines, mood swings ( flirt with America? Court Russia? Ignore France?), hysteria ( the contoversial 1-2-3 treaty ), panic attacks ( 26\11),tantrums and more. That’s the downside. But as we all know, menopause doesn’t last forever. It is but a phase… and when it’s over, it’s over. And more often than not, women at this stage of their lives come into their own like never before. So it will be with India. Forget those fuddy duddy doomsday prophets making dire predictions about India’s grim future, forget the worst case scenarios. Focus instead on what lies ahead… it isn’t just swine flu, drought, starvation, corruption and more corruption. With some luck, it could be a ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ ending to this potential blockbuster. And with those words, I’m putting an end to the mandatory ‘Independence Day’ lecturebaazi.
In fact, there should be a media law that bans those boring Special Issues nobody actually reads or remembers. Why has it become mandatory to indulge in this meaningless annual exercise? Report cards are for school children. India is a senior citizen. Let’s begin by showing a little respect. For me, that includes a ban on bumper editions carrying erudite, unreadable, analytical pieces on ‘Where India Has Gone Wrong’ written by pompous gas bags whose views are completely passé. If at all anybody wants to indulge in this foolish exercise, let us convert it into a time pass tv show that gives us vicarious cheap thrills. Hire a hottie as an anchor ( Rajeev Khandelwal has the looks and experience) and let the cameras roll. India getting candid will be so much more fun than all this intellectualized baloney from self-styled experts.
In any case, far too much is being made of the current tv series that invites middle class India to perform the full monty in public. ‘Sach ka Saamna’ is getting countless knickers in a knot because, I guess, this form of public catharsis is considered a bit too much for India to handle Hmmmm. But is it really too much? Going by the astonishingly high ratings, I’d say not! I believe all that moral outrage is just hot air. We love to mind other people’s business. We are known for our obnoxious inquisitiveness. Come on, it’s only in India that complete strangers seated next to you in a train can turn around and ask the most intrusive, the most intimate questions without blinking …. and actually expect a prompt response. Which person has not had to deal with , “ Are you married? No?? Why not? Family problem or what?” Which young couple has been spared the embarrassment of responding to an inquisition that goes, “ No children? Howcome? Medical problem? I know a very good doctor…” That’s us.Nosey and tactless at all times. Which is why, I’m a little surprised by the howls of protest that have greeted the latest reality show which quizzes tv actresses on their sexual fantasies and asks about teenage abortions and school expulsions without mincing words. This is baby stuff compared to what we deal with in real life.
Similarly, Rakhi Sawant’s Swayamwar eats into our own fears and foibles, as we watch the bold and brazen lead character reveal the nasty minutae of her miserable past , frequently bursting into a flood of tears before adjusting her cleavage and carrying on. If we are riveted by this spectacle, it only establishes our insatiable desire to play peek-a-boo – a perfectly understandable, acceptable emotion. Especially in a country where the notion of personal privacy and space remains very sketchy. We believe we have the absolute right to know every little dirty detail about our neighbour’s ‘lafdas’. We also believe we have the same right to offer instant advice. This is as ‘desi’ as pure ghee – and we can’t get enough of either. When the canny tv channel hosting the show persuades Rakhi Sawant’s estranged mother to come on the set and give her version of their crazy relationship, we are urged to take sides and offer unsolicited advice to both. We fall for it!! This stuff is irresistible. We can’t get enough. We want more and more and more. Call that creative manipulation, if you wish. But are we putting up any resistance? Naaah.
The Rakhi Sawant phenomenon ( I use the phrase with care and after deliberation) has to be seen in the context of a rapidly changing India. I have been an early champion of this spunky woman, and hang on to her every bon mot. Her quotes are priceless and original – that’s what makes her stand apart in an over crowded field of wannabes. When Rakhi declares earnestly ( tears threatening to run down those heavily painted cheeks and ruin her mascara) that she has done several things for money during her difficult teenage years, including dance at stag shows, but one thing she has NEVER done for cash is ‘that’, nobody needs to be briefed on what ‘that’ stands for. By making such a statement, Rakhi lets the cruel, mocking world know that even she - bad assed girl that she is - lives by her own moral code. Hurrah.Paisey ke liye kuch bhi karegi?? Na baba… aur sab, par ‘woh’ nahi… kabhi nahi.Rakhi has defined her limits. Can the rest of us define ours? Can India’s politicians make a similar claim in public and spell out where they’d draw the line? Now that would be a scorcher of a ‘samna’.
Rakhi had once famously boasted about her silicon implants declaring naughtily, “ Joh dikhta hai who bikta hai.” Perhaps, without realizing it herself, she had accurately placed her finger on the pulse of the nation and provided a catchy phrase for the prevailing philosophy dominating Jawan India’s dreams.Do those out- of- touch- with- mass- reality men and women prowling the corridors of power in Delhi really get the message?? They’d better. For if they don’t , all this big talk about harnessing the youth of the nation and pushing India forward will remain empty rhetoric. The surprising truth is that there are far more Rakhi Sawants in our midst than we’d like to acknowledge. She makes us uncomfortable. She makes us blush – hey bhagwan – such gaucherie.But she is here, and she isn’t going anywhere. If India has to face the truth about itself, why not start with Rakhi Sawant and her brand of bindaas, in your face, outrageous and outré conduct that shies away from nothing, reveals everything, but is still clever enough to figure out the inbuilt commercial value of saying ‘no’ to ‘that’!!

33 comments:

kala said...

Excellent. Enjoyed your writing immensely.

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

Is India @62 ready to appear on ‘Sach Ka Saamna’?
Confession for money ?
What a joke ?
Idea sells - They say.
Confession needs The person himself/herself Or, God Or with whom wrong is done. Not a platform to confess What Went Wrong while having money at the back of your mind.
Anyway, SRK was questioned at Airport - current news - but why he is answering media questions ? Celebrity marketing - He is aware or not or He is soooo innocent???
- another joke.
He has follow law of land - Story ends. Dont you think so.

pooja raathore said...

Dear SD,
Happy Independence Day!
About your article, sab kuch sach hai ( also well written ).

Anu...:) said...

Well written ma'am.
India is now breeding blind people-in the sense that other people don't see that the other person can see through the lies and fakes.
We think the politicians and etc think of the common people as fools and don't do anything about the miseries.The politicians think of the common people as fools because they think we believe in each and every word they say.
Would someone raise this curtain of pretension?(Theres a lot of thinking going on it seems!)

It doesn't apply only to the politicians..it also applies to higher-order celebs.They think we believe them,we think they are fools to think we believe them.
It goes on and on.
All India needs is a "sach ka saamna".

Happy Independence day! :)

rehaan said...

the situation that prevails in India after 65 years of independence was very well captured.
and using rakhi sawant as a metaphor it made it all the more better..
the political scenario is very dark as one can't see the limit..

happy independence day...!!!

Twisha Mukherjee said...

You have a gift. The metaphors you draw are refreshingly new. Be it that of India with a menopause, or politcians with celebrities. Oh, and by the way, thanks for appreciating Rakhi Sawant. I find very few people who have the capability of understanding the person Rakhi Sawant, beyond her nudity issues. She should be set as an example, her integrity should be envied.

cmpershad said...

Independence Day.....but no puran polis only metropolis with many more like rakhi - jo paise ke liye kuch bhi karega..woh bhi:)


I confess that I have not seen any episode but I am surprised that even you give bhaav to the likes of rakhi!!!!!

Nandini said...

Vande Mataram!

@ Shobhaa De

Everything you've mentioned is just a perfect.. bang-on.... illustration of what our country is at 62!

India at 62 is as pretentious as it was during the days of the freedom struggle,...200 years were spent in denial & compromise.

Not much has changed in these 60 years. We are supposedly free under a blanket of compromises.

So, when the likes of Rakhi Sawant & Urvashi Dholakia showcased Indian culture as an ever evolving whirpool of ruckus relationships, it was always going to be an alarm for our moral minders.

It is sad that they outline our society at 62.

Anyways, I can only salute our war heroes on a day like today.
I cannot think of anyone else worth mentioning.

JAI HIND.

Varsha Shrote said...

Hi SD,
I absolutely loved this post!
Indians are incorrigible----come what may! We'll never learn from our mistakes:(
Happy Independence day, anyway!

Rita Banerji said...

I am always glad to read your 'in your face' columns. You say it like it is. You are right about our inability to confront our own reality. On many levels actually. I address some of these issues in my book "Sex and Power: Defining History, Shaping Societies," which was published by Penguin in 2008. Here is are some of the reviews http://sex-and-power.blogspot.com/
If you would like a copy, I am sure Ravi Singh would be happy to send you one.

warmly
Rita Banerji

SHRIMI SINHA said...

Hi Shobha...

The article is an absolute piece of art.........enraged by Vir's comments on MJ , i switched to The Asian Age , delighted to read your article....words to my fragmented thoughts about the hypocrisy, my blood boiled hearing MPs protest during the session and talking about 'bhartiya sabhyata' almost pushed me to the brink of my tolerance..
Great job.

Dr. Mahesh Sinha said...

"We love to mind other people’s business. We are known for our obnoxious inquisitiveness."

a true representation of our not so true psyche

Shrinath Vashishtha said...

Here's wishing Shobha and all of Shobha's friends and fans a mighty HAPPY & REJUVENATING 62nd INDEPENDENCE DAY from ANDAMAN & NICOBAR THE HISTORIC INDIAN CORAL ISLANDS.

This is where the Indian Tricolor was hoisted for the very first time by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the Gymkhana ground, Port Blair on 30th December, 1943 (Yesss... Well before the 15th August, 1947)

And our ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS were the first Indian territory to be declared free from the shackles of the British imperialism by Netaji, the real Hero, heralding the complete Independence for the whole Indian nation.

As grateful citizens of Mother India, every Indian needs to be aware of this lesser-known historic fact of supreme importance.

Dr. Mahesh Sinha said...

shrinath you are welcome

Theyoginme said...

India is at 62, Shah Rukh is harassed at Newark Airport..What irony! Reality check...this is what most common indians still experience world wide...all mahanta aside!

Rotting Plastic said...

Hello!! Shobhaaji,
One Day Maar Dum!!
That should be the caption in today's times., U miss ur pop at the age of 61. Well!! As a daughter u must've had a bonding with him. Have u seen Narayama the Japanese movie?

Anyway, to talk of ur article, its not clear as to After the menopause how a woman feels? And do every woman has to feel the same way? Then we may discuss. As an honorable lady we need to be told that of instead of during It. Then....,

Kapil Kanungo said...

dear ma'am
its da frst tym i hav read ur blog nd as a mattr of fact, it has been a mesmerizing experience...aldou india@62 iz diffrent, ratder more complicated frm mah point of view, but da way ur article deals wid it iz commendable...but dere iz somthin dat makes it a lil awkward,

"Rakhi has defined her limits. Can the rest of us define ours? Can India’s politicians make a similar claim in public and spell out where they’d draw the line?"

rakhi has maade dis confession in frnt of cameras nd not polygraph. our politicians r ready to do it- ANYTIME

may god give u gud health, viva, peace.

kala said...

Who is this Khan making hell of a noise?
He thinks he is a global star just because the foolish NRIs flock to his movies?
And so he frets and fumes as he was checked by the security?
He did not say his religion is the cause when his waxwork alike was unveiled at the Tussauds?
He did not say that his religion is the cause for that silly doctorate given to him by that silly UK university?
He did not say his religion is the cause for that silly French honour?
Now he cries like Emraan Hashmi.
What is his contribution? He entertained mindless Indians with his 2 penny acting in his forgettable movies.
And Priyanka Chopra, KJO. Farah Khan and others are shedding copious tears because he had been treated as any normal US visitor.
India is still a feudal country with feudal values inspite of all its boastings otherwise? Who says India got freedom? We are still the worst slaves meting out unwarranted courtesies to worthless celebrities.
Ambika Soni did not issue any statement when a number of Indians were brutalised in Australia and French Airlines.
Shame on India and Indians who breed this VIP culture.

Subashkumar said...

Hey! at 62 or 100 we Indians will not switch to another realm of not being obnoxiously inquisitive. LOVE vip's (especially movie stars) that is us Indians. Very inherent to us. We all have it. Even Shobha, though latent. The article is brilliant in all aspects. Loved it. I loved reading Kala's comment about SRK also and stand by her in totality.

Prasun Kulshrestha said...

Shobhaji, a sweetpoem for your evening...

door khade tum itna..
kya gale lagana bhul gaye...
baitha hai aansu teri palak par..
kya usse bahana bhul gaye..

aaj mile hai itne saalo baad..
to kya haq jatana bhul gaye..

kal doori kitni jyada thi ; aaj do chaar kadam par thehre hai...
hoth hai chup ; saasein bhi chup ; bas dhadkan ko chup karana bhul gaye...

mein ro nahi rha bas khush hu tuje dekh kar..
aur issi khushi mein aansu chupana bhul gaye..

aa poch doo uss palak baithi boond ko...
jo teri nazaro ko sajana bhul gayi..
ab haq bhi nahi kya mera itna..ki ek nazar bhar kar dekh lun..
abhi hi to aaye the pal bhar pehle..aur aur der rukna bhul gaye..

ruk ja ; na jao ab ,bas muje satana na bhul gaye..
jo jaa rahe ho wapas ab tum..kya gale lagana bhul gaye..
kya gale lagana bhul gaye...

Gaurav said...

when Rakhi says she wont do 'that' for money, she is the biggest liar of all...has everyone forgotten the sting operation that Star news did about 8-9 years back where she was caught prostituting herself for money?

AaaDee said...

well..i agree when u said ur father wud never have liked to read such a article...

this article though is true but an embarrassment..specially when it comes as a reading on the Independence day..

NAT said...

Shobha,

I guess Kala said it all. Though Sharukh Khan is A STAR, he should abide by the rules of the land he is visiting, or forget leaving Indian shores. He should also give up all the credentials Kala's mentioned in comment, if he feels that he has been harrassed because of his Religion.
After 9/11 the American does not care who you are. They stick to their commitment; no more locals lives to be lost. Unlike India, where our Ministers/officials know we will produce another million in a few months.
I being a Christian was pulled up at the same Airport, as I had a tiny rare coin which was stuck in the corner of my pocket and the buzzer kept on and on, even though I thought that I had removed everything from my pocket. The guy kept asking me if I had anything, and I was happy that he was so capable (unlike in India, where the instruments never work even if you are carrying a knife)and was very cooperative, when he kept telling me that he would be putting the instrument closer to my private part. Then finally he said that he would have to take me to a room and that I would have to undress completly. I agreed, as I was not guilty of any misdeed. My papers likewise were in order. Then it struck me that I had a coin in my pocket, as it was not in the tray. I dug it out, and there was relief all around. The guy and gals wished me well and said to have a nice stay.
In Dubai the customs are animals and keep barking out orders in their language. In Australia many a time they have dogs to greet you. One has to put one's hand bags in the centre and the dog on a leash is taken to the bags and sniffs each and every bag. Each Country has it's own ways of tackling a situation. We should not go there if we feel offended.
Trust me I am not in awe of the Goras. In my field I give them good (pay them in their own coin)whenever the occassion arises. I feel safe while travelling when so much care is taken for my/our own good.
It is only in India where we stupids put all these rich folks and ministers on a pedestal, and that is why we still have terrorists taking our a..and we are still servants, instead of being served.
Take the Star Mall at Andheri (w)you see foreigners entering from the Exits and going directly to the Mall, while our security (there are police woman as well)personnel wave out to them, trying to greet them in English like long lost friends. (mudering the language). When I asked them how come these people are given such liberties. They replied that they come to the Mall every day. ????
We are so ignorant and dumb that we will never change, as can be seen by Ambika Soni's statement about giving them tit for tat, Priyanka (supposed to be educated)almost calling him (SRK) God. Guess she wants more movies with him in future.
We Indians should wake up to the world and not expect them to do as we are accustomed to.

Cheers.

Norman

Dr. Mahesh Sinha said...

Its not a question of being SRK . can ordinary americans ready to face such consequences in & out of their country .
Indians have been a tolerant a lot , how long do you want ? they talk of globalisation ? where it is . paupers still dictating rest of the world ?

Sidhusaaheb said...

Television shows like 'Sach Ka Saamna' work, I suppose, because these appeal to the baser instincts of human beings.

Just as some enjoyed watching gladiators fight each other to the death in ancient Rome, others enjoy watching the 'contestants' on the show put their personal/professional relationships at stake on account of greed (induced by the prize-money).

I agree that the concept of privacy and personal space is rather alien to India, but how many strangers or even acquaintances ask questions designed specifically to create fissures in personal/professional relationships?

For example:

- A man/woman is asked whether he/she would cheat on his/her spouse if the spouse was unlikely to find out.

- A member of 'The Band of Boys' is asked whether he believes that he is the most talented band-member i.e. more talented than all other band-members.

- Vinod Kambli is asked whether he believes that his childhood friend Sachin Tendulkar did not do enough to help him while Kambli faced tough times.

P said...

WOW! you linked up quite a few things in this one! I agree about the "inquisitive" facade of an Indian's personality! And having to improvise on that in order to fit in the US was much more difficult than I imagined! I prided myself of being discreet and private! But this civilization introduced me to a new concept of 'personal space'! Consequently I find this naked display of personal lives far too crass!

My grandmother too talks about pre independence era and I think only those who lived in those times can TRULY appreciate the gift of "independence"! I have seen something indescribable in her eyes that conveys more meaning than her words. Somehow she has more tolerance (perhaps her age helps) and expectations! :)
There is one glaring discrepancy in her thoughts and yours.. she says India is still a baby and only teething! All the other developed giants of today are far older than her and She is catching up fast!! I dont know if this is pride but I kinda like to believe her cause she is anything but ignorant! :)

*Aham* said...

De I believe We are voyeurs. Lets face it. The "other" gives us more pleasure than whats idhar . And Sach ka Saamna, we love it "tadka maarke" . We dont like plain truth. We might not be dhokebaaz, but definitely are dramebaaz .Yes Yes, Rakhi said it very candidly... though that was her love for silicon, it had such a deep meaning. We are embroiled in takaluff and sharam ... But She believes in Karam. She thought, Channels Bought, and here we have the bride of the nation, who is still a spinster. Why a spinster? because woh "WOH" nahi karegi. Rakhi is definitely a brand... and everyone else will be measured taking her as a yardstick.

And will "woh" be shown on TV or film. Oh! then the film "Pati Patni aur Woh" will turn too graphic na??

India is still in denial of the word SEX. I read in Mirror today that the maker of (Triangle.. no Quadrangle... no no... pentagonal... OKAY>..) polygonal love stories - Ekta Kapoor's choice of a film title for her new flick had to be changed as the censor bhau's had an issue with the word "Sex" inthe title... (yes yes Reshma Ki JAwaani was extremely decent)

Speaking of another reality show besides, the swayamvars and truths... is Janta Ki Adalat with Rajat Sharma, from the blessed channel - India Tv. U have really missed something if you havent seen the show where he puts our much loved "Baba Ramdevji" on the witness box... and sambhavna seth and kashmira shah on the other... Sambhavana Seth told baba, "Aap Mujhe Yoga Sikhao, Main Aapko Dance Sikhati Hu... Saari Taaliyaan Na bhajaa daali toh dekhlena. " It was damn hilarious. Poor baba, he cleanses with yoga the moral standards of "supposedly" charitraheen girls.. but he cant cure his winking eye. Hai Hai.. Baba... we love you. Get well soon.

What a wonderful read this one is De. Ekdam jhakaaz article...

Anil Kumar said...

@Aham,

Baba RamDev is not a typical baba who will do his yoga and go away. He is a class act. We do need people like him to beat the shit out of media and bollywood who are bent on bring down the morality to new lows in this country.


He is the first yog guru who has helped millions with yoga and breathing exercises and at the same time has the guts to call modern herioines as sluts. Be it Aishwarya Rai or Rakhi Sawant. Because that's the definition of SLUT.

By the way Aishwarya has chest infection and it's a news. If tomorrow she farts it will be a BREAKING news. And there is nothing wrong in it...kyun Shobhaji.

Anil Kumar said...

Shobha Ji,
I was amazed to see your post and the justification for programs like "sach ka saamana" and "Randi ka swayamwar".

You sounded like a cheap agent of these two programs.

I have a simple question to ask you. In one of the episode of "such ka Saamana" a women was asked if she would like to have an affair if her husband doesn't know about it and she said "NO". The anchor did the lie detector test and said to that lady that you are lying. In that program there was her 9 year old son also and her neighbours were probably watching this as well.

Could you please enlighten us as what would the friends of that 9 year old kids will think of her mother. Also the neighbours of that lady will look for an opportunity to have an affair with her because the anchor of "sach ka Saamana" has scientific evidence for it.

Before you take the side of a Raand like Rakhi Sawant or some "haraam ki Aullaad" who produced and copied this program and threw it to the immature Indian society and Napunsak system...spend some time to understand the real HARM and INJUSTICE being caused to some greedy and/or vulnerable people who fall victim to the corporate money and creating a society where there is not much of a difference between a human and animal.

Remember a bitch get fucked up on the streets with a pack of 7-8 dogs following her. The kind of irresponsible media you guys defend, without any guilt or shame will make human relationship in India similar to that bitch's.

krish said...

Hey ......

Excellent , Enjoyed reading it immensely. hum to aap ke dewane hai.........the more i read the more i luv you


muaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!

luv

Kris

maha said...

enjoying this blog yar.. thanks for the posting...

Work from home India

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