Disgusting Hindi Serial!


Apna Television is New Zealand’s first 24/7 free-to-air Indian entertainment channel on digital free-view and is one of the limited options available for Hindi speaking community in that category. Even though I haven’t had a chance to watch enough serials on it, I’ve seen a couple of them that are shown at prime time. One of these serials is “Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo” which was initially telecasted on Zee TV few years back. I didn’t know about the serial then but I do now and boy, it couldn’t have been further away from its title. The serial starts with the protagonist who got married as a child (sold away for money and duped by parents) after which she enters a family as a mistress. The serial shows multiple societal sins which are shown to be acceptable. These sins include extra marital relationships with mistresses often to get a male-child, stealing of ornaments in your own home, marrying criminals for money, shooting and kidnapping your own relatives, need I say more? Almost everybody has either tried to kill or has been a victim of attempted murder. Am I the only one appalled by the lack of gravity with which killing has been showcased? I should also mention that the protagonist acts like a total miss-goody-two-shoes and hence faces multiple murder attempts and being treated like shit. Though, ultimately, she ends up becoming a sarpanch, but what is the serial trying to tell, that face whatever is being doled out to you and hope for your lover to come and protect and stand by you and the world will be a perfect place. By the way, if you both are in love and you know your family is stupid, why not go to a different part of the country and live happily ever after instead of facing multiple murder attempts? When I read about the serial on Wikipedia, the page mentioned that the serial is supposed to be based in Bihar. To be fair, knowing that state, activities shown in that serial are not that away from reality but all these activities happening in one family, not a chance.

All this while, when I talk about the plot of the serial, I’m particularly annoyed by the channels that broadcast such a serial, what thoughts did you go through while choosing a serial to broadcast, what message do you want to convey? What do you get by showing a rich, uneducated, uncultured, violent family that nobody can be inspired by. Do you know the difference between progressive and regressive? People like you are the reason why India is still considered as a backward society overall instead of a developing country who recently outpaced China in terms of growth.

Now that I have spoken about the serial, let’s look at value system of the Channel. I came across a page claiming to be “Apna Television Official” stating the kind of content which it aims to deliver. On further research, I came across this article which I assume its PR team dished out. The said article describes the channel’s mission is to deliver “vibrant, youthful and value-oriented television for the entire family, which is endearing, enriching and entertaining.” I would want to meet any pundit who can spin a story that vouches for this serial’s values of trying to kill people at every chance they get, treating women as an object to deliver babies (boys), buying and selling young girls, burning the house at multiple occasions, and I don’t even want to get into how respectful and loving and religious the family is.  As for “entire family” part, the serial is scheduled at prime time which says that the channel is pretty sure that the serial is apt to be viewed by entire family during their dinner time. I can not describe how contradicting it is to my judgement (which is, even if I try to be humble, is above average). Whom are they kidding when they say kids should watch such serials where everybody shouts at each other, eight year olds call names to their parents, everybody plots to hurt each other for their hidden agendas. The said article also says that the channel “…creates a unique blend of entertainment…”, which part of this serial is entertaining, throwing chilli powder in eyes, throwing nails hidden in flowers at a new-born child, or holding women captive like cattle?

Now addressing the channel directly,

You guys designed the above mentioned lines as your mission statements, when you don’t abide by them, it is futile to try to explain you the onus of media as an influencer of public opinion. Owning a television channel without considering consequences of showing what you are showing is an evidence of shortsightedness. It’s time to have a critical look at what you are showing to the next generation and what you are telling them as acceptable standard of violence, insult and culture in a family. I understand that you don’t create these serials but you choose the serials of which you buy the broadcasting rights. Go through Star Plus and other Hindi channels and the serials they show, choose some progressive/logical/at least remotely associated with reality sort of serials t show. You have the responsibility to show better serials, any random serial wouldn’t do just because it is Hindi. It’s time you decide to self-regulate the message you pass through the serials you choose and step up.

Single And Fabulous?


Biggest fear of a father isn’t that his daughter will run away but that she would refuse to marry. Nowadays, parents accept love/inter-caste marriage as long as there is a formal girl-boy marriage (God save LGBT). Educating your daughter and letting her choose to work is an acceptable practice these days in a certain section of society but a surprisingly high number of ladies in that exact same category choose to study further or go to a different city to work for the sole purpose of dodging the topic of marriage. Are we seeing a sudden upsurge of women not wanting to get married, or at least taking a long time to make-up their minds?

Now that these women are finally allowed to have freedom to choose their career and guys in their lives, they are unimpressed  with just that, they want more, much more. Independence is something you just can’t have enough of. Women now have their way while deciding field of study, jobs and ways to spend their hard-earned money. Their life, on paper, is perfect. They don’t see a reason to change it any sooner than it is required and that usually means unless there is too much pressure from friends and family members.

When these said family members try to lure you towards marriage, plus-point they show is stability. What does this stability really mean? For many women, stability is an important word when it comes to career, but not romantic life. We need a guarantee that it will be there tomorrow what we are doing, but not who we are doing. Sure, everyone needs a company but that is the thing about people these days, they are so darn replaceable. If you are a decent looking girl, guys will flirt with you, guys will ask you out and these guys are all so similar. Or are they just all  the same?

If you, as a girl, are not going to be strong-armed by society, you can date, you can get regular sex, you can live-in, you can have entire relationship without marriage ever factoring in. Only problem is, does it take a toll on you emotionally, do you have to keep a check on how much are you investing emotionally? I can’t help but wonder, is this the reason guys are the way they are in a relationship? Did guys learn this lesson before us? Are we finally learning this lesson? Most importantly, where does this leave our society?

P.S. Choice of language that imparts the idea that society allowed women this freedom is intentional.

Love So Pure


Good Lord, must it be difficult to be a father.  How much a father loves his beautiful and smart daughter has been shown in movies and books enough already but what about the fathers with not-so-perfect daughters? I am pretty sure that a father, unlike any other man, would adore her irrespective of her being aesthetically beautiful or not but what if the said flaws are not physical?

The most difficult task after the forgiving someone is to love them unconditionally post forgiving. Loving an asshole, making society question his parenting, getting married against his wishes, talking back, rash driving, tattoos, alcohol and what not, fathers have forgiven everything. How do fathers love us when we are flawed all the time? In today’s world, we have come to terms with forgiving lying, cheating, back-stabbing, two-timing and whatnot! Personally having forgiven enough of these vices but not never being able to love post the ordeal, I have started to wonder if their love is different than the one that we have come to learn of.

A father pays an obscene amount of money for his daughter’s education, compliments her cooking- experiments even if he is intolerant to those of his wife’s, suppresses his fears every time some guy is mentioned, melts when the daughter coaxes him into fulfilling her absurd shopping wish-list, patiently shows her how much love she deserves thereby establishing a precedent for another man who will love her, watches her turn from a baby into a woman and all this just to turn his back on her and give her away one day and then not to see her months at a stretch? When a man loves his wife, there is desire; with parents, there is a sense of duty; unlike a son, generally speaking, a daughter isn’t even a support for his old age; with daughters, it is pure affection.

Is key to this transcendental love the fact that they are too busy with their jobs or is it a conscious effort to ignore the mistakes of his teenage daughter. May be it is decades of knowing their daughters, especially in their formative years, or maybe it is some logic of same genes/blood that leads to unconditional love. I heard a story once that a father didn’t utter a single word when his daughter drew all over his passport after which he had to take pains of getting it re-issued*. What do we daughters do in return for all that love? Sure, you can’t compare love but I’m certain a daughter’s love isn’t as pure as her father’s. I can’t be the only one who has had multiple bouts of hatred (please tell me I’m not the only horrible daughter or else I’d have a huge pang of guilt on me for the rest of my life.)

Being a father is such a painful job but at the same time I can see that it is gratifying to have a daughter. Seeing his daughter all grown-up in a dress and heels has to be a proud feeling but it must also hurt to know that there is no little girl with pigtails anymore.  Marrying a daughter away has to be relief but it surely leaves a father bereft. Is there an underlying masochism of some sort?  Do guys today want to be a father anymore? Do they have it in them?

“A Daughter is a treasure and a cause for sleeplessness” Ben Sirach
“It kills you to see them grown up but I guess it will kill you faster if they didn’t” Barbara Kingsolver

P.S. Since a few of you asked, this is not a dedication to my father, he is not even in the same country right now.

*Thank you Apsara for sharing that anecdote.

Guys Vs Men (Manchala hai, Khubsurat hai Magar Ladka hai)


“Barkhudar, husn ka mazak na udana, kahin husn ke aage tera mazar na ban jaye.
Manchala hai, khubsurat hai magar ladka hai
Tujhe ladko aur mardo me fark kaun samjhaye”

These lines by Madhuri elicited a gab about difference between a boy and a man. I still remember Mrs Burke (in Grey’s Anatomy) telling George “staying in a marriage out of obligation? That’s no way to live. That’s no way to love. But I think you know that already.” and Derek “Do you know when to walk away? Do you know when not to take less than you deserve? If you do, then you’re an honorable man. Honorable men are all built the same.” What is this category of Honorable Men, now? Guys become men and sometimes these men become honorable men. Sometimes these honorable men also go back to being guys but that is another discussion altogether.

Remember when you were younger, you’d wear shorts and minis to look hotter than the next girl to get attention of your crush? Then you grew up, got busier with your life; you still wear shorts but the reasons are different, more reasonable now. You aren’t insecure sex-crazy teenager anymore who needs to keep increasing her score. You were a girl then, you are a woman now. Girls attract boys and women attract men. It’s easy to spot a hot chirpy girl and it is equally easy to spot a poised elegant woman. Guys look for former with their wild and exciting stories; men, on the other hand, love women and seek the experiences that molded them into the woman they are now. Men look for women with intelligence, wit, sense of humor,the way she talks and what she talks while guys are satisfied with the girls who’d pout and whine and drink and dance. Dating a boy has its advantages, a boy isn’t certain about who he is or what he wants so you can train him to be how you like, getting him is easy since he’s passive, he is exciting as he wants to show off to his friends and most importantly you don’t need to give him a lot of time or commitment as he any way wants to spend time with his buddies getting drunk.

A man knows the value of time and energy, he wouldn’t play around toys. He knows how difficult it is to find a great person, he knows one when he sees one and he wouldn’t let go off her. Every one is afraid of rejections but he will still put himself out there and make himself vulnerable, he is assertive in his approach. [As Nate (Gossip Girl) said “You know it’s love when you start talking like an assassin.”]. A guy needs validation so he acts strong and pursues only those with whom there’s no risk. With women these days being outspoken, a guy wants her to approach him. If a woman sees something in you, she will approach you but at the same time she will lose a little bit of respect for you thinking that you could not take an initiative. Talking about approaching, I absolutely loathe guys asking out on FB chats and whatsapp, it is like a shield so that you don’t need to face someone, it is like the power alcohol gives you. The more ways we have to communicate, the more I value the older ways. With advancements in technology and this habit of constantly staying in touch, flirting virtually is convenient but Flirting online and in-person are two entirely different things. During a conversation you think is life-altering, for all you know, the guy might be sitting at a strip club talking to you! A man has the courage to be honest and values you enough to flirt in-person, he respects you enough to give his entire attention to you and not make you one of the many girls he flirts with online – simultaneously! He wants to see you smiling with your eyes rather than a smiley emoticon!

A guy lets you decide where to go on a date, so does a man but he gives you option cos he has a clarity of purpose. A guy likes to hangout with a girl he likes, a man asks out the woman he likes. Guys are cool and indifferent, Men are hot and passionate. A guy experiences thrill of chase, a man is steady and shows perseverance. A guy knows there is always a prettier girl, a man believes if he won’t someone else will and it will be his huge loss. A guy tells you he’ll text you before leaving, a man will give you at least 12-hour notice before a date. A guy is testing what kind of girl can he land, a man decides what kind of woman he wants. A guy tells you “I told you so”, a man tells you “I wish I could have changed it”. A guy is proud after winning an argument, a man is emotional after an argument irrespective of who wins. A guy gets into a relationship cos he is old enough, a man because he is ready and met a great woman. A guy remembers the crazy sex he had with a stranger, a man remembers the conversation he had with that stranger.

A man is okay not looking hot as long as he is groomed. He is comfortable not having password on his phone as he has nothing to hide from friends or family. He wouldn’t go out with anyone who asks him out, he values himself enough for that. He is decisive in what he is looking for and so when meets one, he wears his heart on his sleeves. He’d rather be alone than with a wrong woman. He also knows when it is becoming counter-productive and he doesn’t hesitate from taking a tough decision and calling quits. He is honest and wouldn’t shy away from confrontation unlike a guy who’d be stuck in a wrong relationship to avoid the “talk” and ultimately cheat or become so boring that their girl has to break-up. At the same time a man also knows that mistakes happen and would give you a second chance. He knows that relationship is for companionship, for emotional growth and support. A gentleman would never take advantage of a lady who has had more than her share of the bottle. He knows that in any relationship, the woman sets the pace. He would never kiss and tell, playing mind games is waste of his time.

Unfortunately, I see only guys around and so do women around me and they end up settling for less than what they deserve with the hope that they can bring out the best in them. As for me, I haven’t dated enough to generalize my category but I relate to Christina (Grey’s Anatomy) when she says “Screw beautiful. I am Brilliant. If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.”

The Elite And The Masses


Uttrakhand disaster has been flooding my timeline for past few days. Preferential treatment given to the selected few to save their lives sparked a debate whether the privileged deserve this distinction ( for their extra contribution to the society) or not and this lead to me thinking about Elitist Vs Populist

In a democracy like India, functioning without a populist approach is impossible. However much one may hate the quota system, little solution exist to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Our Foreign policies can’t be based to favor bureaucrats, it has to favor NRIs and their families and similarly environmental policies can’t favor industrialists, it has to favor the population living in those areas. Populism is the reason why a Jayalalitha doesn’t allow a Sri Lankan player to play for IPL in her state. Catering to the needs of majority of the section of society is how a democratic government functions.

That being said, how do you get above par intellectual and professional performance? Would you want a sub-par doctor performing your surgery, don’t best students deserve extra attention to make them even better doctors (or scientist and engineers) which ultimately is an egalitarian goal and serves majority population? I can’t be the only one to want only the cream people in ISRO (Meritocracy)!

Populism is basically a belief of equality (egalitarian) which leads to doing what majority section wants whereas Elitism is a cerebral belief and leads to doing what one believes yo be right (or more important) and not bothering about what majority wants. Simply put, a TOI gives you everything you want (Populism) as compared to an Economist that gives you only the refined version of the news (Elitism). That explains the difference between the money that a documentary makes as compared to that of a Bollywood movie. How else can you explain the years that CID or a Star Plus serial ran?

Personally, I find Populism as Utopian ideal. For a Class-less governance, a class-less society needs to exists. In our society, elite pay more income-tax as a price for civilized society. Everybody is working hard, some are just smarter or even lucky but they have been paying their dues! Populism maintains the status-quo, it gives society what it wants. Elitism on the other hand improves society. If you believe a girl isn’t to be blamed for her rape (which majority in India still believes), how can you not support elitism? If you want society to value a Sam Pitroda more than KRK (Twitter followers: 85k+ & 128k+ resp.), how can you be a populist? In the end, what matters is, how you want your society; just like you are or better than you are?

P.S. 1) For the purpose of this blog, Populism also include pluralism, secernment etc and elitism refers to intellectually smart, hard-worker category of people and not inherent-rich category which is racist, sexist etc.

P.S. 2) For my research, I got a lot of help from articles of Christopher Edley, (Dean of the Law School at Berkeley) and a website: http://retnoespinoza.blogspot.in/2013/03/elitisme-elitism-is-belief-or-attitude.html

Raising Right


Kids being a disappointment for their parents is not anything unusual but what about parents being a disappointment for the entire world? At some level I might accept an alcoholic or an abusive or even ex-con as a parent (conditions apply) but what I don’t accept is parents raising their kids wrong.

In the two recent gang-rape cases (December: medical student gang-raped in a moving bus, April: minor girl raped by neighbor) one of the accused and the culprit (respectively) are minor. Surely both of them are responsible for what they did and they deserve punishment but I don’t think it ends there, what about parents? Aren’t parents supposed to talk Birds & Bees with their little ones (even if they don’t want to talk, they are at least supposed to make sure that they know everything about it) and make sure they are capable of know what is right and what isn’t? Honestly, I have no idea about parents of the implicated in these cases. They can be orphan for all I care but these aren’t isolated cases and I am sure not every parent in India is taking enough caution so as to make sure their teenagers don’t commit this crime. Are we going to let those folks off the hook? There is no punishment for them?

Sole responsibility of a parent isn’t just financially supporting their child, it is to make sure they are raising a good individual. I don’t recommend stay-at-home moms nor do I recommend excessive authority over youngsters. Figure out what works best for your situation but parents all over haven’t really proved themselves competent of figuring this out all on their own. Since I believe in adoption, I know that there are strict rules, background checks etc before allowing adoption. In a country where 40% people are poor and not all deliveries happen at hospitals, establishing a similar strict system before allowing someone to be a parent is an impossible task but there can be ways like, lets say, in cities maternity hospitals can insist on psychological analysis of parents. The solution can be found but for now there is lack of awareness about the existence of problem itself! May be parents aren’t completely responsible, may be our society is but to a good extent a parent should be capable of making sure that people surrounding their minors don’t lead them into doing crimes. If saving a kid from wrong people isn’t responsibility of a parent, whose responsibility is it? There is a reason parenting is probably the most difficult job ever. If you are not ready, steer clear!

P.S. For now I’m ignoring kids involved in other crimes like theft, murder etc.

Learn Your Lesson Eve-Teasers


INCIDENT 3:

I should have been wanting to write this post since past five days but winters are making me lazy. All I want to do is be in my bed, watch a movie and sip a coffee; more importantly I just want to sleep! Anyway, finally I am writing it.

Anyone who enjoys Uttrayan in Gujarat knows that he also has to go through electricity fluctuation or whatever is the technical term for it. Because of this Kite flying, power keeps coming and going off. Even though there isn’t a lot of traffic on the road (everyone is on their respective terrace), streetlights weren’t working in some areas especially High-tension road and Subhanpura etc.

Because of lack of light and since I was driving slow, so that I don’t miss a particular lane that I was looking for (I was going to a cousin’s place), I was able to notice two guys following me on a bike. Obviously I tried the usual methods of drive fast, drive slow, indicate the other side & turn the other side etc (basically, drive like an idiot) to figure out if they were actually behind me. What I realized was worst, they were seasoned stalkers; they would vanish and then appear from thin air. I tried the trick I have mentioned in the previous incident but it didn’t work. I clearly showed them the bottle but I guess they were too vernacular to know about it.

I had no option but to resort to this. Thankfully there is one more sub-area in that area which I am aware of and that particular area had enough opportunities to drive rash and confront them. So that is what I did: made them overtake me but didn’t allow to actually do it, drove parallel to them in the sense that my window side was to them, push them to the end of the road (which has to be the wrong side of the road), gave them a very narrow place to drive and sprayed with my heart’s content. The one who was driving was a little out of my reach but the one riding pillion ended up shrieking.

I can’t express in words how good I felt after doing this to those idiots. But it wasn’t easy. First of all, this is the first time I actually sprayed! So, all you girls who carry a Pepper Spray, please learn how to aim. Also, if you are really bold, try spraying on your hands. You will realize what agony you are going to put others to. Since this was my first time and since I had not practiced, my aim wasn’t that good plus I ended up spraying a little inside the car itself. Trust me it is bad! I had to stop, go out, cough & sneeze for at least two minutes. There was a weird itching on my hand for the rest of the night (it happened around 10 pm)

Another lesson is for me. I’m getting myself a hockey stick next. I think I wouldn’t have to go through all of this if I had a hockey stick & I’d have shown that instead of Pepper Spray! That is the standard of those guys. They would understand only when they see something they are aware of. Hockey Stick would clearly tell them that I am not going to let them have their way whatever their way be. Stalking me is not allowed, period!

P.S. It has been five days since the incident and they haven’t been anywhere around me so I’m guessing I’m safe, at least from those two!

 

INCIDENT 2:

I am happy while I write this post because by the end of it, eve-teasers actually ran away.😀

This incident happened few days back (and I have been meaning to write it since then but have been super lazy😛 ). So while driving, all of us have experienced a situation wherein some guys on bike are just showing off but this particular pair of guys were a gone case. They’d zoom on the road and speak rubbish to everyone including me. I understand that they were in party mood (It was evening of Jan 1st) but what they spoke infuriated me.

Since the Delhi gang rape incident, even the smallest of things provoke me and this was no small thing by any measure, I was furious and I was just giving them a death stare. They noticed and were continually looking back at me. That provoked me even more and I decided to shout at them or overtake them and stop in the middle of the road and teach them a lesson (Mind you, I was on Jail road, so with so many policemen, traffic and SSG hospital and Narmada Bhavan so close by, I think I was pretty safe.) But luckily, I didn’t have to do anything, they sensed my anger and stopped smirking but kept looking back. I just knew they were talking about me being angry.

I knew they were waiting for my reaction and I started struggling to find the best reaction to this. What I ended up doing was the best thing I ever did. I opened my purse (kept on my passenger seat, never keep it on the back seat) with one hand and found my bottle of pepper spray. (I am a huge fan of Pepper Spray. I have never used it but it gives me so much of confidence. Of course, you can rely on baton or stun gun or whatever). I opened the cap and held it in my right hand ( so that I can easily spray from the window) while I kept driving.

And you won’t believe what just happened next, they stopped very close to a policemen so as to tie a handkerchief on their nose. If the situation wasn’t that tragic, it would have been super funny (actually it still was, at least in retrospect😀 ). Naturally, I had stopped a little behind them to see what they were doing. I almost felt the rush that a guy would feel while chasing a girl. I had that “Today, I’m not leaving you. I’m gonna get you” feeling. Ultimately, I didn’t get them. I tried chasing them but they had sensed the trouble and were out of sight in no time.

I was still shaking with fury but I had achieved my purpose, I told them this attitude of theirs won’t be ignored and there will be an equal (probably more) and opposite reaction. Now, since I am not psychiatrist and can in no way claim to know what effect this will have on those guys, I am just hopeful that it won’t encourage them.

P.S. While I write this post, a radio station I’m listening to plays “naye zamane ke laila hun main teri pungi baje ke rahungi”😛

INCIDENT 1:

I had already written a blog post in context of Delhi-Gang-Rape case so I wasn’t going to write again but this happened with me today and I am still shivering (post an hour or so of the incident) and I didn’t know how to express my fury other than by writing this blog post!

Thanks to the ongoing India-Pakistan match, I had to do the job of getting curd from a nearby shop. I was passing by and a guy, talking to his friend sitting on a bike, looked at me and commented something which I will put under the definition of eve-teasing. Ideally, women like me are safe; we roam around in groups, carry pepper sprays, keep car windows up and usually we don’t talk to strangers. I feel pretty safe. What that guy said made no difference to me, I didn’t even listen to exact words he spoke but the words I heard were enough for me to assume the statement he would have made.

I almost walked past him but all the frustration from what we have been listening on TV was pent-up inside me and I realized I don’t want this guy to think that he can get away with speaking rubbish to someone. I just turn around, scolded him, slapped him and he reacted as well. Luckily, it was day time and there were a lot of people. That guy worked in a garage close to my place, the owner came and stopped the fight and scolded him. If I’d have walked out of the situation, nothing would have happened. But I didn’t and now I am hurt (Argg, his grip was strong and I hate the fact that he held my hand but then I slapped him, so yeah, fair enough)

I don’t know what I did was right or wrong. I am specially confused because that garage owner knows my Dad and if my Dad finds out about it, he is going to start worrying about me. I just didn’t want him to think that he can get away, I didn’t want him to think that a girl won’t reciprocate and I definitely didn’t want that guy to be lead on and harass other girls.