Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last week, when asked who he would keep in the competion (if he had a choice) Javed Akhtar's wonderful rationale for wanting to "save" a talent-less, gimmicky performer was "Yeh ladki hai" and hence, represents those millions of oppressed-and-tortured-by-chauvinist-pigs girls who have lived a lifetime of tuneless singing and thumka maaro-ing - and presumably by having whips cracked at them to do so.

Not only was this declaration from a self-confessed "feminist" (he and his wife declared this emphatically on another televsion show some weeks before this one), he decided to go the extra mile and be absolutely horrid to an (talented) 18 year old kid about his career possibilities - but that's beside the point for this post.

The idea of feminisim here is to promote a talentless girl in a(n) uhhh talent show because she is a girl?! This is (unwanted) reservation all over again (and so thanks for taking us back a few thousand years, big guy!) How in your book does this differ from incompetent doctors and engineers and whatever-nots?

And if you must do this, can you please refrain from using the "emancipation of women" excuse? It is very embarassing for me to have to hear this in this context. Instead, you could try the simple you like her more than him (so TOUGH!) or that his lisp reminds you of some childhood memory you would rather not recall or that his hair is too curly...whatever.

Oh Puhleeze - part 1

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions du Jour - part 2

AND so…the big one is finally here – “how is married life?”

How is it indeed? For all those expecting to hear (read: read) either some drastic overhaul-of-one’s-existence discourse or a lengthier version of ummm-no-big-deal…it’s actually a little bit of both and also neither. So, without this getting into the philosophy of marriage and all that it entails – let’s just call this life-when-you-live-with-someone-other-than-your-parents

What I mean by this is that the changes that have come about are very to do with habits and activities and therefore, lifestyle planning…and then the nothing has to do with how I am or who I am and so on. I would call marriage a parallel genome project wherein, a lot of hitherto latent genes (and their manifestations in life) of self and spouse are kinda yanked from their well ensconced depths and held up in front of your face.

Ah yes, the big one is the discovery that I am my daddy – part 2!! I have SO discovered this compulsive-cleaning-up gene that was so bluddy latent over all these years – not to mention, that I would have fought off any remote manifestation in the name of well, rebelling (especially when it comes to my daddy) but then this is the astonishing stark, raving truth of the matter. My friends’ term for this gene is the scary-psychotic-loony-bin gene, I think – given the epithets upon witnessing and/or hearing about my cleaning up routines (yes, there is more than one on a per day basis)

In the beginning I looked at this as a natural extension of my acknowledged psycho gene – that of having baths - in any kind of weather and a minimum of two per day. And so it began with (as soon as we moved to a big enough place) separate bathrooms. Next, I moved all my clothes to the guest room (rationale: since my bathroom is here, so must my clothes and thereby I have a walk-in closet!) What this served to do was leave my husband with the freedom to use his bathroom any which way he liked (and really. Trust me. You don’t want me to go there. Come to think of it, you don’t want you to go there too.) Thus, began the manic (and inevitably futile) cleaning up of bathrooms, the bedrooms, the living room, the balconies…and so on.

Notice the absence of the kitchen in that list? Well that’s because this deserves a whole new/different gene mention. I love cooking! Beginning with the whole gathering of ingredients (and none of that bottled ginger garlic paste for me – I do it all on my own and from scratch) to the arranging the vessels in which I will concoct my lovely, to the serving it at just the right temperature and time….ah bliss. And the smells! Frying onions in garam masala, steamed rice, tomatoes and coconut milk, yogurt and kasuri methi….mmmm…The catch is the severely-non-vegetarian gene renders it virtually impossible that I add vegetables into these heady smells (and thereby spoil it all) – thus, mutton korma, chicken lababdar, prawn malabari and their various brethren take birth (and die) all in my kitchen. Psycho-part? It is mandatory that the kitchen looks just as it did when the cooking began after it’s all over as well – spotless and everything in its rightful place. The ultimate messing with me is rearranging my kitchen. Hoo! As it turns out, you don’t want to go here too…

By this time it is likely that you would have concluded how scary it is to be living with me. And that marriage is-equal-to domesticity cooking and cleaning!

So, lets move on to the less manic aspects now…

Firstly, my routine has changed into a far more active one – I mean I wake (and voluntarily for the more of it) at 6:45 am (you’d have to know how I practically defined/gave shape to the phrase “NOT a morning person”…and technically, I still am not but at least you can communicate with me on basics without fearing for your life) – getting all sorts of morning drinks ready (me: one big giant mug of coffee and one mug of complan; the hujband: lemon and honey; and the maid*: one mug of complan), putting the geyser on for my bath, giving directions to the maid, taking the bath and in all of this, furious mental calculation of time to juggle doing all this and getting out in time to get the office cab. Return in the evening and clean and cook…etcetera. All this has ensured a miracle cure for my hitherto chronic insomnia.

there. done with less manic. now, back to manic.

Manic activity number 1: List making – shopping lists, to-do lists, to-achieve lists, spending lists…this itself is an endless list! The me of yore was probably restricted to the odd to-do list at work, but the me of now swears by and lives and breathes lists for all purposes!

Manic activity number 2: Making calls to people such as your parents or other family and fiends is now a chore in a list! It is no longer a feel-like-it thing! I make time for it and plan for doing this! And corresponding to this is the fact that I prefer not having to talk for as long as I can possibly help it. I love not talking (can you – yes you – believe that?!). Before you started working out the odds on the survival of my marriage based on this disclosure, let me clarify that these phases do not include my hujband…well atleast most of the time!

Manic activity number 3: To be fair, this activity had its roots pre-marriage wonly, but now the manic-ness of it seems to be gaining pace – collecting DVDs of e-ve-ry possible type/genre/language of films and then watching them back to back to back whenever time allows. And btw, there is no accounting for taste or aesthetics during these times.

And finally, the big difference is money…the acknowledgement that it needs to be had and kept and (Okay! Okay!) saved too. All my earning life, I have never paid much attention to its existence until now - there is a stark awareness of its comings, goings, and usings. I feel like the neighbourhood Punjabi aunty who monitored her kids in this fashion (disclaimer: I do not have any filial feelings for money yet and I certainly hope never to!).

By GOLLY, the multiple responsibilities this whole marriage thing has brought about is slowly but surely killing me. I am paying for all those days that I just flung my things and lazed until it was time to sleep and woke up only to be fed….and fall asleep again!

But the sex is good.

* Lest you think I am a spoilt beast, the maid comes in once in the morning to sweep and mop and clean the dishes