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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.

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.

Dear Congress Party


Dear Congress Party, I would love to vote for you because you have some of the most amazing people as a part of your party and because you are a left-wing party but there are some reasons which stop me. I am a simple girl from Gujarat and I would any day vote for BJP in Gujarat unless you consider these points.

  1. You are a left-wing part not by choice but by fate and only because there isn’t any other party who is more leftist than you are. Your actions don’t show traces of conservative politics and that is why you are left-wing, not because you are liberal or socialist. Please start making sure that actions speak louder than the words in your manifestos.
  2. Mrs Gandhi, Can you please clear the air regarding your education? The claims on Wikipedia regarding your honorary doctorate from Madras University etc aren’t really substantiated. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what your education is, but when INC talks about adult education, women education etc., people have smirk on their faces and that bothers me. Put all these issues to rest once and for all?
  3. Rahul Baba, prove your mettle already! Mr Pilot, Mr Scindia come from political families as well but they have proved their worth. You, coming from the most celebrated family in India, should have changed the scenario of politics in India or at least done something outstanding. Apart from average performance of Youth Congress, there is nothing to your credit. Take up some big ministry and let us all see your work?
  4. I understand that none of the major parties across India is perfect. All of them are selfish, venal etc. But you are the strongest party ever and you have had the maximum number of chances to come to the power and do something for people and in all those times you were nothing but average. When even the strongest party isn’t doing something outstanding, why wouldn’t I rather support a party who is doing superb at least in my state? That should explain you why Gujarat chooses BJP for outstanding development work, West Bengal chooses TMC for Singur & Nandigram movements. So is true for other regional parties like SP, JDU etc. Take a hint, India is democracy & majority voters are young. Keep these in mind and you should be able to sweet all the elections.
  5. Voters like to have power. When I am giving you my vote, I would like to keep you accountable for it. Show your support. You can’t hide in your bunglows all the time. Speak up, console people and take actions to make their lives better.

There are many more things that you need to work on. Just start with these and start NOW!