Memo to the MPs

(This was a post I wrote on July 30, 2009 and for some reason forgot to publish)

Here’s a suggestion. Instead of training your guns and frothing at the mouth at Sach Ka Samna and how it is destroying the moral fibre of our society (whatever that might mean), why not look at regulating reality shows involving children? How about imposing a minimum age limit to participate in shows?

What a consenting adult wants to do is none of your business really. If a woman or a man comes onto the show and wants to reveal all about her or his intimate secrets, it’s none of your business. He or she knows what they’re getting into.

Do spare a thought for these tiny little children who’re pushed into these shows by their parents, doing these suggestive thrusts and raunchy moves, being ticked off by swollen headed judges as not being good enough, even being told that they’re not selected by the most sensible and sensitive of judges in front of a huge crowd, with their pushy parents looking on. There have been cases of children having a nervous breakdown on the sets.

I don’t think I’d have liked to be subject to this kind of a thing and never in a million years will I subject my child to anything of this sort. Why not do something about it. I know kids ought to be taught how to face disappointments and how to handle losing something. But this is simply not the way.

What adults subject themselves to is out of bounds for you, what they subject their poor children to is perhaps within. Why not sit up and take notice?

Updated on August 16, 2009

Not long after I wrote this, came along this piece of news of a new reality show, “Pati, Patni aur Voh” and it really left me gasping for air. I quote from this article:

The couples will spend an entire month in a closed environment, monitored by cameras 24X7 which will capture their journey as they embark on a new life of discovery as first time parents.

“Their journey will be divided into five stages, starting with pregnancy, when the women will be made to wear empathy bellies similar to that of a woman who is 8 months pregnant and will have to attend pre-natal classes.

Then, a newborn baby will be handed over to the couples and they will have to take care of its every need, including feeding, changing nappies and erratic sleep schedules. The toddlers come in next, with their own set of demands and tantrums. Then come the pre-teens and teenagers, in the rebellious years when parents need to learn how to discipline children, without alienating them. Life comes a full circle with the arrival of the elderly and the couples will need to show maturity and understanding in dealing with them.”

Now this means the realm of reality TV has now expanded to include infants, toddlers and really young children. What kind of vile parents are these?

“The children taking part in the show are infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers drawn from real life. Their parents will be behind the scenes 24×7, monitoring their child and the couple, through the cameras, in close proximity.”

They are not too much better than the parents who abandon their children in dust bins or outside churches or temples. Sick.

Bailouts

I’m not a big fan of these bailouts that are happening left right and centre across the world these days. This request from our very own King of Good Times takes it to the next level:

“Air India is government owned but it is the taxpayer’s money. In our case it is the shareholder’s money; the shareholders are citizens of our country. If Air India deserves help in opinion of the government, why not private airlines,” Mallya told CNN-IBN on Wednesday, the day his company announced its quarterly loss has increased and it may delay salaries.”

Some logic this is huh? First you start fare wars to capture market share and charge bizzarely low fares that are in no way sustainable, then you make losses and run to the government for a bailout. And you claim that shareholders are citizens of the country. I’m really impressed with your sense of humour Dr Mallya.

WTF Logic of the Day

Post has been edited, a link has been added for your viewing pleasure.

I was sick, had low BP, dizzy spells and the whole works enough to send the entire household into a tizzy and the end result was that I was grounded for three days, plied with good food and was asked to lay off the laptop. For some reason I couldnt read as well and so the only entertainment was the good old telly. So I was the proverbial couch potato, lay in front of the telly, with the over worked remote in my hand. One of the more interesting programmes on was MTV’s Roadies, the auditions actually.

Now this is not about the programme, but  what one contestant had to say. The girl was around 19 and a student of journalism.

A question that was put to her was what she thought of the recent Pride Parades that took place in Bombay and whether they were a sign of progress.

Her answer ” No way. Its insane. Gays are mentally retarded. Women mein koyi kami nahin” (Loosely translated women are equal to men)

In case you didnt understand the last line, what she meant was women are no less than men, so men need not turn to other men, women are good enough. Gayness is on account of the feeling that women are not good enough. Geddit? The moderators of the audition ripped her apart but they basically stuck to the have you not considered gayness is on account of genes line. I guess they were too shocked by her assertion that gay people are retarded to come up with what happens to lesbians. Do they think men are not good enough for them and so they turn to men?

I was always under the impression that the resentment towards gay folk was essentially a prejudice, something I cannot understand. But such crazy logic and misinformation from so called educated people is shocking to say the least.

Edited to update:

Alright I dug the link out, go watch Varisha. Please watch from around 3 min 50 secs onwards. Oh and don’t you dare judge me for watching the show. When I’m not killing myself over numbers on my laptop, I watch these shows. Psst in case you want to watch a couple of other loonies on the show, I will be glad to point you in their direction!

Vegetarian Nazis

I’m a vegetarian, have always been one and I don’t even like egg. In the sense that I am a vegetarian because we’re Brahmins and my parents raised me on a vegetarian diet and I just can’t bring myself to eating non vegetarian food now. As regards eggs I don’t eat them directly (boiled egg / omlettes and that kind), but am perfectly fine with eating them in baked foods or even putting it in my hair!

Now coming to the more sensitive parts, do I think non vegetarian food smells? Does it make me gag? Well I am extremely sensitive to smells, very strong smells like garlic, onions, some spices used in Indian cooking, deodrants, cleansers, indeed non vegetarian food affect me. I do eat out in hotels that serve both veg and non veg food and I find that in the finished form the food is fine, does not affect me except perhaps for certain ish based dishes. I’m not proud of this, but I can’t bear to even look at butcher shops on the road..hanging carcasses really repulse me. The smell of non veg food cooking also puts me off most of the time.

But the fact is that is my problem. Not the person cooking, eating or selling the food. Its food for the other person, the same way that I relish my potatoes and carrots. Why am I rambling about all of this? This post of Chandni’s and also a heated argument we had at my workplace.

People who have problems with living in Madras and some parts of Bombay find this to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks, finding a house to rent if their non Brahmins (read non vegetarians). I find it absolutely apalling. I mean its not like you as a landlord is sharing space with your tenant. It isnt as though the tenant is going to be rubbing chicken pieces on your wall or cleaning the floors with fish. What is your issue? Does a vegetarian’s presence make your house holy?

I really believed that such thoughts and beliefs were more in the minds of older generations and that the young people are more open minded. Turns out that I was wrong. My colleagues let’s call them G and S are both scouting for houses and happened to chance upon a property (a smallish unit with only 4 individual apartments) which was sounded good for both of them. They even went and took a look at it and they seemed fairly interested in the property. Then G came and suddenly announced that only one of them could buy the property. S is non vegetarian and G is this pure Brahmin who cannot breathe the air polluted by the smell of non vegetarian cooking. Well fine, go ahead and have such opinions, its really your problem, but in a public forum, your workplace at that, you really cannot afford to say things like “I cannot bear the bad smell”, ” Sunday afternoon vandha podum, veetliye iruka mudiyadu” (Sunday afternoons are the worst, I cannot stay at home). The decent thing to do would have been say this politely and back off, giving her the option to take the flat. But no, our man made a couple of noises about the dirty smells and proceeded to call up all his Brahmin friends to figure out whether they were interested in taking these flats. Now mild mannered S backed off, but this really got my goat and I tried arguing with him. I didnt have the support of even a single vegetarian in the group, I mean I was not even denying his right to feel that non veg cooking smells bad, but the least you can do it be a bit subtle about it and try not to hurt the sentiments of people who love to eat non veg food.

I basically gave him the example of agarbattis and me. I just detest the smell of agarbattis. The damn thing gives me a huge headache. But that is a nice smell, how can you not like it he said. Precisely my point dearie. Loads of people don’t think non veg food smells. But you do. Loads of people don’t think agarbatti smell is annoying. But I do. Now I can’t go around saying I won’t come to your house if you have agarbattis on can I? An wrinkle up my nose in disgust and say this is a nasty smell and that I’m repulsed by it? No sireee.

But he seemed rather unmoved and my guess is that not too many people who think that way are going to be moved either by what I have to say. And this will remain what it is, a rant. But the thing is that my guess is that these people don’t even realise that this is bad, uncivil behaviour..as bad as smoking in a crowded AC room, as bad as not offering a pregnant woman a seat in a bus.

Arrrgggghhhh

Why must I, a grown adult and my husband, another grown adult get his parents permission for us to go have lunch in my patti’s place on the day of my thatha’s devasam??

One more time the line “You are now married and must act in accordance with their customs” is thrown at me I am going to scream so loud. What’s worse it isnt even that KT’s parents expect this. But my over enthu folks insist.

When I can choose my own husband, contribute significantly to the family income, live alone, travel across the globe alone and be extremely independent and I know you are proud of all these attributes of mine, how am I expected to meekly surrender to the larger than life in laws and do as they say. As long as I can remember I have made my own decisions and have sought your guidance no doubt, but I have been solely responsible for my actions and for sure I did not “listen to you” at all in the way you mean it. Now after turning into a completely strong willed stubborn ass, I am supposed to say yes ma’am for everything?

I had no teenage angst, rebellion nothing. Late bloomer I am I think, these are my troubled twenties 😦

 Edited to add:

Ok I am issuing a clarification here..this is not a rant against my husband or my in laws. This is a rant against the “What will they think” syndrome that has aflicted my family. They keep imagining that my in laws would get bugged by certain things I do..stuff that I have done all my life which may be a little out of line as far as they are concerned. I don’t see any reason why I must change in those aspects. Now what if I had married a Muslim…would I be expected to give up going to a temple just because it is against the custom of the house I have married into? Now the customs between KT’s family and mine are largely the same…there are a few differences..for those on the know, he is Iyer and me Iyengar…yes teeny weeny differences. And these differences make no impact on my life or KT’s for that matter, except when these people choose to highlight them and make an issue. Like this devasam issue (or non issue)…KT has no trouble coming over to eat that lunch or receive the blessing on the occasion. But when my parents say that I need to get his parent’s permission to do this I get pissed. For me and KT this is as big a deal as going out for dinner…we don’t get permission, of course we let KT’s ma know in advance because its manners to do so..but we don’t seek permission obviously! And oh while I’m ranting…I hate it when KT’s ma says I am now an Iyer…I am not an Iyer, I am an Iyengar..(now repeat that after me). The sad thing is that I am not bothered about these things…I couldnt care less whether I’m a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or whatever…but the minute someone tells me things like this I get all militant and possessive about my identity…Grr at the human psychology 😦

Sick sick sick

This story really was way way too much for me to handle..but the only saving grace is that it ends well…sometimes one wonders whether we really live in the fricking 21st century.

Edited to update: 

 Wow and then this. Today seems to be the day of finding bizarre and shocking baby stories. 

Benazir Bhutto – RIP

benazir_bhutto_pak901.jpg

Came across this photograph minutes before reports came out that she had died. This caught my eye as it came across as a really powerful photograph…I don’t personally care for her policies or the things she did during the time she ruled. Nothing takes away that she was a brave woman..and she did not deserve to die the way she did. I dread to think of what will happen in Pakistan now, the riots, more turmoil. I am reminded of a chilling statement made by the LTTE after an assasination attempt on Chandrika Kumaratunga, “She needs to get lucky each time, we need to get lucky just once.”

I am shocked at the indifference we now exhibit to news like this, you shake your head a few times and then shrug it off and move on doing your own thing…We have become immune to the tragedies that strike the world. The alarming frequency with which they strike in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world is giving us a thicker skin…yet another death…the world becomes a worse place to live in day by day

Benazir Bhutto, you are in a better place now.

Edited to update: This picture has now been published in practically every newspaper..it really is something..she wears this really enigmatic look and its one of her best pictures indeed. What struck me was that as I was gazing at this picture Benazir was in hospital, fighting for her life..it is a thought that is very freaky..