Friday, March 27, 2009

The eyes of the beholder!

In high school we had a classmate with a mousy looking face, dark complexion and she wore glasses too. Definitely not a girl anyone looked at twice. Her younger sister on the other hand was quite good looking. So it was with shock I heard that guys found her hot! Another classmate confirmed that even her brothers friends found this gal quite a catch. That one incident taught me a valuable lesson. That what we girls thought was beauty was not necessarily endorsed by guys. Though stars like an Aishwarya is acknowledged to be a beauty by both guys and girls, rarely do guys and gals agree on the looks of another girl. I have found absolutely horrible looking girls looked upon as good looking by guys. Though me and my friends still agree on the look or lack of it on other girls, we have always acknowledged that what we find plain or ugly is our viewpoint only. Guys have a different rule book for judging looks. The revelation was humbling. It dispelled some lofty and snooty notions we had as school girls and bought us down to earth with a thud.

Weddings were another revelation. We found really good looking guys choosing jaw droppingly ugly girls as wives. Many of the brides were plump!! It is a common sight to see female heads shake in bewilderment at wedding receptions :) Another humbling moment as we realized that the status quo amongst us girls was a no go amongst guys! If we had any sense we had better get plump or look like the girls on the podium if we were to be acknowledged as attractive by guys. :p That would never happen of course. But then we have become less condescending of girls who look plain in our eyes. We know that our view is not universally acknowledged.

I don’t know if this happens with guys too. I wonder if they find guys that we gals find cute or smart as horrible looking or unmanly...hmmm

Having acknowledged to what I have in this post I have to admit that this revelation still doesn’t prevent us girls from looking at each other in absolute shock when we are introduced to a smart/good looking guy’s wife, girlfriend or fiancĂ© for the first time! :))

Music - Mercy

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Prime Family Time!

Last weekend I was in Kochi for a function. Normally we do not have functions during Lent, but this was an exception…a house blessing of a couple leaving for the US for their daughter’s confinement. In the evening we dropped into a family friend’s house at their insistence for dinner. What followed was a display of a new social system practiced in urban Kerala, one that I was not aware of. We reached their house around 7 p.m. We were to leave by that evening’s flight but postponed the same for the next day so that we could drop into these people’s home.

After the initial pleasantries and small talk, the family switched on the television. After that the whole family were engrossed in the TV programmes without a thought to the guests they had called home for dinner. The dinner invite was a reciprocation of the numerous times they have dropped in home when in Bangalore and even though we don’t believe in the formality of people having to invite us for return dinners, we accepted as we had never been to their house for a meal. We did not want them to feel like we did not want to eat at their house.

After the Television was switched on, the family ignored us till 10:30 p.m. So engrossed were they in the programmes. The whole family consisting of a Dad, Mom, Son and Daughter in law, Daughter and Son in Law and kids just sat glued to the T.V oblivious of their guests. It was downright demeaning. I held my cool because my Dad thought we might as well get over the obligation of having dinner in their place to avoid a repeat invitation. The thought of coming here again made me hold my fire or I would have walked out long time ago. I specially do not like anyone insulting my folks. And I am quite capable of walking out with pointed polite jibes as my tolerance level for such behavior is very very low no matter who the person is.

So we watched a collage of tears, avarice, sorrow, anger, pride, ill treatment and lust that make up a Malayalam serial till 10:30 p.m. Around 10:30 p.m the family gets up, switches off the television and the ladies lay the table. I was waiting for the chance. I bolted my food and told my Dad to do the same. The poor man who is just the opposite of his daughter agreed reluctantly because he knows that if he does not listen, the daughter would definitely haul him from the table into the car. I served myself seven and half grains of rice and a little more than that onto my Dad’s plate and got up. The family was aghast that we barely touched the food. I was hoping that it would be a hint. I saw the ladies exchanging glances. I wondered what they thinking! (a) What a horrible people, wasting food that we made with a lot of effort or (b) What horrible people, no manners or (c) What a horrible people- so rude. If they can invite people for dinner and ignore them for the rest of the evening then I can safely say that the answer to the above questions would be (d) All of the above.

And if you think this is an exception then think again. I have heard from so many people visiting relations in Kerala that people in Kerala do not like guests dropping in during Television Prime Time! Believe it or not!!! And many people I know visit relations after looking at the T.V guide. Like an Aunt innocently exclaimed to my mom the other day – Aiiyyo Leelamme, I went to Aliyamma's house at 7 p.m because she told me she doesn’t watch Sthree Janmam. But apparently she has started watching it recently! How embarrassing! tch tch!

Visiting Kerala? Dont forget the Malayala Manorama T.V Guide. It is Televisions Own Country now, down under!

Music - Remember 'The Rigga Ding Dong Song'?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The great Indian culture!

The events that unfolded in Mangalore last month was a plug coming off a pus filled wound festering in our society. A wound filled with the pus of resentment, anger and injured macho pride at women’s liberation and emancipation. Soon after the Mangalore incident there were many incidents of girls being beaten up in Bangalore. The perpetrators were people who were looking for an outlet to let off steam at the alarming trend of Indian women abandoning their traditional role as chattels and second class citizens! Alarm over female liberation has been simmering below the surface of our society for some time now. Mangalore merely bought the simmering discontent to fore.

For far too long the Indian man was the sacred cow of the family, worshipped and revered as a superior being. In the olden days he was the only bread winner. Women prayed for his well being and a long life. A widow’s plight was desperate indeed and only a presence of man in her life gave an Indian woman a social standing and security. This elevated the status of men to dizzying heights and it continued for some time and still continues in some parts of the country and individual homes. Later as the women too started working, his position as lord and master remained unchallenged. Whether the women worked in brick kilns, construction sites or offices, they kept the status quo in the home intact.

As time went by and women began taking on more challenging roles at the work place, the ladies found it difficult to cope with the demands of the workplace and the home and hearth. When there was no respite the women began questioning their traditional role as home makers and started resenting the additional work they had to put in at home while the men continued to enjoy their role as demi gods. This lead to the smartening up of women and they ensured that their daughters were bought up without the cultural baggage they were bought up with. Fathers too realized that it was better to educate the girl child as the security that marriages provided in the olden days could not be taken for granted anymore.

A new breed of gals are being produced today by the great Indian middle class. A breed that is told that they should be financially independent so that they are not left for the wolves at the whims and fancies of their men. And it is this group of girls that The Mad Man from Mangalore is fighting against. This is his definition of ‘against our culture.” It is sheer male chauvinism disguised as concern for the Indian culture.

However it is too late to turn the clock back. Indian women have come into their own and they have their parent’s blessings to go with it. It is a question of survival and no parent wants his/her daughter in a vulnerable position at any time of her life. And the scores of parents, grand parents and elderly couples on the roads of Bangalore on Valentines Day was an indicator of the same.

While The Madman of Mangalore may raise his head again, he is fighting a losing battle. The instinct to survive is very strong in every individual. And it is this instinct that will decide what the term “Indian culture” means for all of us in the future!

Today is the third anniversary of this blog. Thank you Mathew for reminding me of the same! :) And thanks to each and everyone of you who wandered in here and read my ramblings!