Monday, September 9, 2013

Shuddh Desi Hypocrisy...

 Ganpati Bappa Morya....
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror...
                   Shuddh Desi Hypocrisy…
The movie’s title is sexy and provocative (“  Shuddh Desi Romance”). The teaser promos were promising, too. The print ads flashed all sorts of  authentic sounding statistics ( “73% Indian men believe that women who smoke are characterless…”). Now to watch the film and see how right/ wrong they’ve got it. Often, the premise is perfect,but the pulse isn’t. Phut! That’s the end of the story. I caught a couple of tv interviews with the young stars, and smiled indulgently at their enthusiastic , breathless responses to the standard dumb questions. “The romance in this film is totally real!” declared a newbie…. Right! Of course, it is honey. And I wondered what exactly she meant by  ‘real’? Romance in today’s zamaana …. and real? The film’s makers claimed to have arrived at these startling statistics after conducting surveys across 40 cities in India. Let’s take their word for it. Assuming they really did take the trouble to quiz thousands of youngsters ( no numbers mentioned), are we surprised by the findings? I certainly wasn’t. The concept of romance these days is a lot like contemporary politics – it’s all about numbers, equations, setting, jugaad, manipulation, popularity, approval ratings, “Likes” on FB, canvassing, switching camps, offering incentives, false promises, rivalry, back stabbing, name calling. There is nothing ‘shuddh’ about either – romance or politics. Sigh….
I conducted my own personal research, and the findings of my small survey echoed the sentiments of the movie’s promoters. Scary but true. Here’s another gem : “80% Indians feel couples who live together are ‘loose characters’.” Bang on. There was another one about Indian guy’s and their attitude to virginity ( they all want to marry one). Bang on, again ( pardon the lousy pun).This is of a piece. And in a way, all the rough stuff we are living through in our metros is directly linked to these findings. Our cultural conditioning is so strong,blinding and binding, we can see these ‘eternal truths’ in motion every single day and in every which way. I am an incorrigible eavesdropper. I love over hearing comments in public spaces like airports and stations, where clumps of  strangers kill time together,watch television in a desultory fashion and pass idle comments on whatever the channels are showing – be it mythologicals, news, soaps, reality shows, panel discussions. If I close my eyes and  just focus on these conversations, it could well be my grand mother or great uncle holding forth. Yup. The antiquated views expressed don’t seem to have moved an inch beyond the last century. Which is why despite all the posturing and condemnation, honour killings are accepted if not directly condoned by a vast majority of urban Indians. A ladki’s izzat and honour remain tied to how “shuddh” she is. Or how ‘shuddh’  society thinks she is ( like she is a tin of ghee). If she also projects ‘desi’ vibes, she is home and dry. Young men in our society do not have to conform to any such standards. Though being ‘Shuddh’ in terms of showing respect to elders, is considered a male virtue. Being desi for guys means wearing kurtas to family functions and dancing to Bollywood hits at a friend’s sangeet. For women, ‘shuddh’ also includes being a strict vegetarian, and not ‘taking’. As you must know, when an aunt looks suspiciously at you and demands, “Do you ‘take’?” she means just one thing : “are you a drunken slut who smokes, eats meat and sleeps around?” I love society’s code words! There are some things that are deemed so terrible, one cannot articulate the nature of the awful deed. A woman who smokes will be identified via mime….  someone will puff an imaginary ciggie and whisper, “woh peeti hai…”  Of course, such a woman can never become the bahu of a ‘decent’ khandaan.Well you can keep your decent khandaan. Some of us are unashamedly ‘indecent’. Hum log khaatey hain, peetey hain … we ‘take’. Kuch problem?
In an age of ‘halkat jawaani’, it’s time to abandon hypocrisy and embrace reality – shuddh, unshuddh, desi or not.


Abhirami Muthu said...

Game :) 10 Likes

rupam sarma said...

Ganpati Bappa Morya _()_

Venkat Chari said...

Very pitiable condition of our Indian Culture. People run for sheila ki jawani and halkat jawaani and that time do not think about ghar ki betiyan. They should at least have a little bit of feeling for them before thinking about such things. Excess of anything is not good. Everything should be in your control and there should be some discipline and moral responsibility.

Rohan Natawadkar said...

Just love the way you write !! :)

WMD said...

Well said.. A woman can conform to all these so-called standards and rules, while a guy does not. And yet this same conformist woman is the one rubbed up against in buses, eve-teased and these days, much worse.
That's our 'Indian culture'..

Aarati Marathe said...

I agree with you Shobha. But also showing a girl with smoking is not modern sign. There could have been different ways to show the fact the director would like to convey. The subject is perfect but the execution is bad.
You seriously tell me - other than metros where do you find live-in relationships? At the same time the girl from village might not be virgin. When we all start thinking on he terms which Indian culture offers and accept whatever we like and don't bother about society things might work

Satya said...

Ah! A very rathee strong point.. And I think in the same line... If a man can drink... and sleep with women his heart (and all that whatevers) call for... why cant a woman...

A man doesnt mind to have multiple girl friends and have pre-marital affairs... But his wife should be shuddh and desi...


I wonder when these scenes gonna change... And I dunno till how long the rebels have to endure the cheap suspicious looks...

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Vipin Khandelwal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
s said...

So true!!! And yes the equations have changed for romance these days i don know whether to call it romance wen a couple's pics together many likes and they flaunt their hangouts through social media and gets tones of comments .... is that a romance or wen i see my dad helping mom wen she z tired or even just making chai for her...though they mite have never said i love you so much and u mean to me a lot everyday de have stood by d vows .... and abt society, de want a good looking modern bahu who would earn equally as of their son but wont be drinking or smoking ! Crap!

s said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mana said...

" Indian guy’s " should be "Indian guys"

apoorva trivedi said...

Very true mam....people with such comments n conformations r jz inevitable

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