Shantanu Das is one of our most successful photographers. This was an image he shot at a recent event. I rather like it! What about you????
Am planning to watch a dhoom dhadaka film today...The Expendables. Not my kind of film, at all. Par kya karey? Family ke vaastey karna padta hai... but at least I know the dinner to follow at my daughter's home will be amazing and fun. Last night's dinner at our favourite restaurant The Table, was outstanding as always... particularly the shrimp dumplings in a flavoursome broth. Even on a thursday night, the place was packed and buzzed. I sipped a Perrier after the longest time. I needed to cool off, after a pretty passionate debate on NDTV , dissecting the abrupt transfer of Mumbai's Police Commissioner, Arup Patnaik.
The weekend is looking good. I'll be booking my tickets for Shirin- Farhad. Can't wait to watch Farah Khan on the big screen. I am so sure she'll be brilliant. More roles for the talented Ms. Khan? " I don't want to play anybody's mother," she told me last week. Okayyyyy... I guess being a real life mom to triplets takes care of her maternal instincts all the way...
I wrote this for The Week....
What men want: White, tight and bright!
Remember how we all mocked the launch of Fairness Creams for women in India all those many moons ago? Outrageous! Feminists declared authoritatively. Nobody paid the slightest attention to our strident squawks of protest. The market for the offensive product grew and grew and grew. It was soon declared the fastest selling cream in India, and before any of us could huff and puff some more, it was joined by its twin – a fairness cream for men! Apparently, the clamour for that product can barely be met by manufacturers.Who can argue against market forces? Or the persuasive powers of the male model – King Khan, himself? Soon, all of us shut up and a myriad brands of Fairness Creams continued to outpace demand on crowded supermarket shelves. One supposes, countless young couples found their dream mates thanks to the miracle of the cream. They also found glory in their jobs. And great success in any other equally stupendous activity they subsequently undertook. After all, their skin was now ten shades lighter than the one God had given them.
Not satisfied with lightening facial complexions, manufacturers discovered a fresh , new area of female insecurity that needed not just whitening, but also tightening. Thus was launched a brand new cream that promised to lighten the delicate skin of a women’s vagina. While that was happening, the cream promised a tighter private part that would impress future husbands. How? Well, the idea was to replicate a virgin’s non-violated, untouched orifice as faithfully as possible. To get this revolutionary product off the ground, the manufacturers of 18Again roped in starlet Celina Jaitley ( mother of twins, and a self- declared Gay Rights’ spokesperson) to endorse the controversial cream . If that dismayed her constituency, it hardly mattered. The dodgy product was launched anyway, amidst great fanfare and media coverage… plus, get this - nobody blushed. If anything, there were animated debates about the efficacy of the cream. Women asked, “Does it really work?” Tough question. Who can certify that? Think about it - a women’s face turning twenty shades lighter is visible to the world. But….her… errr….never mind!
Then came another wonderful product… this promised to bleach a women’s underarms! The advertising campaign was inspired and inspiring. It encouraged women to wear sleeveless garments now that their underarms were suitably white and worthy of close scrutiny by hawk eyed mothers-in-law. The bottom line remained the same – a white and tight vagina, in addition to smooth, fair underarms were the best ways to bag a good husband. But what about the man’s underarms and privates? Why not launch a bunch of products to address these key aesthetic issues that – hello! – do bother women? A lot! Or is that of zero importance in the marriage mandi? Does anybody really believe a young bride is blind? That she does not observe her brand new husband’s body…. armpits and other vital organs included? Should she also not insist on a more pleasing appearance when the moment of truth finally arrives? In all ‘fairness’, what if she turns up her nose at assorted anatomical details of her bridegroom’s jism being less than snow white? Or droopy? How can a sweet, trusting bride tell on her wedding night that she’s the one – the only one – her husband has ever touched? She can’t – right? And she has to lump it – whatever the shade of his skin in whichever area of his less-than- Adonis-like body. What’s the bet, canny cream makers are hard at work addressing this problem? If Shah Rukh Khan and Shahid Kapur could endorse a fairness cream for men and nobody sniggered. If Katrina Kaif can display smooth , hairless legs ( hair removing cream, along with a Fairness one) and Anushka Sharma shows off whitened arm pits … let’s just say we should take Celina Jaitley’s word for it that the 18 Again cream works big time. But… but…. what if it doesn’t? Will crest fallen hubbies demand their money back and send the bride packing? Pay close attention, girls : the future is bright only if you are white and tight where it matters. Got it???