Friday, September 4, 2009
"Pink on the lips of your lover,
cause Pink is the love you discover
Pink as the bing on your cherry
Pink cause you are so very
Pink it's the color of passion
Cause today it just goes with the fashion
Pink it was love at first sight
yea Pink when I turn out the light
and Pink gets me high as a kite..."
Suddenly, every one's scared of pink.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and judging by the ready abundance of dyed rolls of cool cotton dress material, I never ran out of pink frocks as I was growing up.
Like eggs, my mother made an amazing cornucopia with various shades and textures of pink. Polka dotted, frilled, sleeved, a light pink setting off a darker rim, a dark body fading into lighter edges, shocking pink, icicle pink, the famous 80's ABBA pink...name it. I had it.
Like a martyr I learnt to only silently obey a higher call (that of my mother) and never questioned the wisdom of investing in candyfloss clothing.
Of course those days the whole gay, transsexual and lesbian movement was unheard of and pink was still the colour of cherubic innocence, unlinked to anything more controversial than a bubblegum.
Thus it unnerves me how all of a sudden the colour pink has started to invite sniggers and meaningful looks from people around. Don't believe me? Wear a pink shirt to work tomorrow and see for yourself.
I encountered this recently when I bought an iPod. Now here's a thing about me. I am severely challenged technologically. Meaning, I need a written manual to operate anything more complicated than an electric iron. So most of the times I choose my gadgets and gizmos based on their colour (what would match the colour of the walls and sheets).
So naturally, I wanted a purple iPod. I refuse to sour my temper debating about meaningless things such as memory, Gigabytes and such. Since the store just had the standard grey and shocking pink, after much self doubt I selected the pink one.
And ever since I'm putting up with well meaning jibes from friends about finally "coming out".
I mean, what's this sudden corruption of the colour of pink? Its the sky at 5 pm on a cloudy day, its candyfloss at zoo, cheeks of a Punjabi lass after a climb uphill.
My men friends have all stashed away their pink T-shirts and formal shirts leaving their mums bewildered. Its 2009 and yet straight men are phobic about anyone doubting their sexuality. Silly, I think.
Where have all the obedient mama's boys gone? The ones who used to wear neat pink and white striped formals and a dash of curd on their forehead before going to an interview.
I am ashamed to admit, I have no qualms when it comes to wearing/eating/smearing/dabbling/rolling in pink.
My sexuality has been questioned for so long that it has steeled against normal wear and tear.
So join me in testing Pink ka dumm.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
-- Martin Luther King
(Picture courtesy: Reuters)
I have been meaning to write on the decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Delhi high court but never got the time to collect my thoughts. Lets see if I have this time round.
I have always thought that I have lucked it out having born in India at the time I did. I missed the stifling restrictions of a Hindu household guarding its women during British colonialism.
At the same time I managed to capitalize on a Bengali society slowly adjusting to women in loose baggy jeans, 'jeebonmukhi gaan' and the Back Street Boys.
I have always felt that in a strange way, we are a nation of extremely tolerant people, quick to slights yet ready to forgive and forget.
Perhaps I'm not doing a good job explaining the people I have grown up with and known all my life. Let me try.
I always found it hard to fathom the many dos and don'ts that are so drilled into our collective psyche from a very young age. These self-imposed perceptions of rights and wrongs remain with us for the rest of our lives and while we sometime struggle to unbend confronted with a crisis in our own homes, we nevertheless try to pass it on to our next generation without giving them a chance to make their own mistakes.
Take the example of marrying outside community, caste or status. A Bengali lass marrying a Punjabi or Gujarati in the 70s was unacceptable if not impossible. A girl in a family I knew ran away with the driver of the auto rickshaw that ferried her to her college. It was the scandal of the year. The broken parents put up a fierce resistance, tried to bring her back and in the end disowned her. Yet when she became pregnant with her first child they brought her home, cared for her and treated her uneducated husband quite decently.
Nothing has changed in society. Religion is still the great divider. Hindus and Muslims still wage wars and a sharply divided society wait and fume and do their part in spreading communal disharmony. Yet when children from the two religions get into a scuffle over a game of marbles on the streets, I have seen their respective parents dismiss it with "they're just kids" and chuckle about the scrapes they themselves would get into at that age.
I don't know how the theory of tolerance and acceptance works. But to me glossing over issues that have no bearing on our immediate lives or are not disruptive of our individual choices - is tolerance. Or maturity as I see it.
So why is homosexuality suddenly an issue?
We have always known of women in 'ladies hostel' who do "unspeakable stuff" with each other or of the weird elderly Mr. Das living down the road who never married having lost his heart to a young Sepoy in the 50s (as rumour goes, and "you are NEVER EVER to visit his home alone or talk to him unaccompanied by an elder. Do I make myself clear?")
Yet when the aged, friendless man one day on his way back from the market suffered a mild cardiac arrest and collapsed on the road, local boys from the 'Evergreen Club' who did nothing but lech at girls all day, raised money for his treatment, admitted him to a hospital and visited him with tiffin carriers packed with bland home-cooked food as advised by the doctor. The gesture of an unknown, prejudiced, but kindly mother or aunt.
This is our people. Don't let them tell you any different.
If we are repulsed and embarrassed by hijras clapping their hands and harassing us for money at street lights, we also invite them over and seek their blessing when a son is born. In no other country in the world are transgenders revered such.
Is all this debate about gay sex really necessary? We are a country where newly married couples sneak out to rented hotel rooms to consummate their marriage, driven to frustration by their extended family spread over two rooms.
We might take a while to get adjusted to seeing doting same sex parents at their child's birthday parties or women dropping off their kid at the bus stand, but it will happen.
A time will come when same sex couples will easily discuss their inflated electricity bills or their partners' annoying sexual habits during evening group walks and we would not bat an eyelid.
After all everything is mundane after a while. And we are a nation of causal easy-going people, subconsciously tolerant without making much of it. Aren't we?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
2. I will go now. They are coming for me.
3. Why don't you come home sometime? My wife will love it. She gets lonely in her attic.
4. Mmmmm...zzzzz....what? hummmmm...zzzzzzz...yes, you were saying? This buzzing is really annoying.
5. What buzzing?
6. That's what I said. What zzzz....buzzing....zzzzz?
7. Tha' medicine was really GRRREAT. Except after the 8th spoon, really.
8. So you think you have cured me. I have cured you. I could cure you.
9. Really? I can go home now? Great! The zoo was getting a bit crowded really. I barely had tail space.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
You know, objectively speaking, I'm not sure whether these Ram Sena blokes do not actually have a valid point.
Valentine's Day and all the hoopla that goes with it is a tad tiring if I might say.
The Karnataka police of course have no sense of fun, throwing Muthalik behind bars on February 13, effectively ruining his V-Day celebrations.
But not a fat chance for the several odd couples who were literally given armed escorts to walk hand-in-hand into over priced cafes and pubs and blow their parents' hard earned cash on poofy schmoofies in dimly-lit rooms.
If you think about it, the ram sena came out the winner in this entire idiotic controversy. It was a wannabe hardline Hindu group struggling for recognition by slapping around the occasional couples on streets a few years back.And now it is a household name all over the country. For aspiring hardliners, and there are many, its leader is something of a hero.
His preventive custody on V-Day will be compared to "self sacrifice by a martyr in the face of torture (read being forced to wear great fluffy pink underwear in public)".We are a nation whose overworked security personnel shoot themselves on being denied leave. We are hard pressed for additional personnel strength. Yet we are forced to deploy them nationwide on Feb 14 so lovers can safely go on binges in pubs.
Why is there such an ambiguity on the intention of the Ram Sena? They are no moral vigilantes. They are just a bunch of molesters who try to hide their misdirected fanaticism under a self-righteous front of "upholding Indian's culture and safeguarding our women."So treat them like you would any molesters.
I find the anti-moral policing groups who have risen to the occasion marvelously in ferrying lovers to and fro from pubs, clubs and cafes and raising slogans at Jantar Mantar and patrolling the streets for would be trouble makers a tad amusing.
I have always found that the best way of squashing dissent is by ignoring those who are seeking attention by raising ruckus.
Quietly arrest them, charge them, deny them bail and move on as if nothing happened. Let your front page news still be recession and Indo-Pak talks and cricket. The ones on the road who hope to milk the issue to death will be warned.
But we, with our inherent love of the dramatic, reacted exactly the way they wanted us to.By sending pink underwear, raising it in the media, leading processions, commenting on social network sites and looking over the shoulders before depositing a quick defiant peck on the lips of our lovers.
So who's laughing now?
Getting back to the topic, if you leave out the ideological part of it, yes, V-Day is a pain in a place where the sun don't shine.
Is it just me or are today's giggling bunches of adolescents identical down to their noodle straps and low waist jeans and alien jargon of "ssup lova?" The hotels are packed with them and at every place it's the same question "Do you have reservation? Sorry we are booked today for Valentine's Day celebrations."
The traffic is a mean killer and I won't even go into the idiotic confetti that rains down on your nose every time you look up at lobbies.
I love capitalism, but even then I might add, in just few hours yesterday, crores of rupees better spent on development went into online bookings for flowers and gifts, dinners and drinks and car fuels.