Sunday, January 15, 2017

An Open Letter from the Short Skirt to Upholders of Women’s Morality

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Of late you’ve accused me of so many sexual crimes I have yet to commit, I’m contemplating suicide so that I can be reborn as a petticoat. I get it, my lack of length makes you deranged and you end up doing bad bad things. But must you always transfer the blame for your misdeeds on me, you nincompoops?

There was a time I used to fancy myself as just a skirt, hanging in front of a girl, asking her to love me. Fall in love she did, hook, hemline and zipper. Our love was as perfect as described in Hallmark cards and as deep as a Bengali boudi’s neckline. I fancied myself as the wind beneath her legs, goading her to own her body and embrace her sexuality. She often whispered to me how liberated I made her feel. I hugged her tight, fluttered around her waist, as she set out to conquer the world, looking like a million bucks. It was a smooth ride for us till some dick-head with no control of his dick pounced on her and then conveniently claimed it was me that beckoned him. At first I dismissed as a joke. A single male of the species with limited intelligence refusing to take responsibility for his pawing ways. I was so wrong. Before I could say STFU, it became a chorus with repeat performances year after year. It cut across demographic barriers uniting men and men alike, hell bent on absolving the molestor, the rapist, the sexual aggressor who needed to resort to violence to feel like a man. I have borne the burden of their blame for so long, my shoulders are stooping lower than these men’s self-esteem. These days I feel like Ganga whose sole purpose in life is to wash off the sins of these paapis.

Hey Ram, beam me up, will ya?

After much introspection I have arrived at this conclusion; my biggest crime is being born a skirt. And I am never allowed to forget that. I was told that the only way I can hope to lead a long unfruitful life is by covering myself with layers of plastic and shutting myself in the cupboard and wait for death. In the meantime, I was free to do whatever others wanted me to do. The rules set for my impeccable conduct by upholders of my morality read longer than the terms and conditions that no one reads but clicks on ‘I agree’ anyway. Interestingly, the rules apply only to me and not the ones who set them. While my male ‘counterpant’ is encouraged to be whatever he wants to be – loose character or a tight assed aggressive prick who demands, raises his voice, pushes, shoves, to climb the ladder of success, dare I do the same, I am promptly labelled as a bitch.

Her colours are too loud, she shines too bright. Is she trying to be a slut? She argues too much, has opinions that clash with my ego – my god, she needs to get laid!

Alas, I am that black sheep skirt that refused to conform and reached for the knees and settled somewhere near the thighs. Since I’m obviously up to no good, I must be taught a lesson. And what better way to do than trample all over my dignity and soil me with the filth that resides in your head! Yet, you try to justify it by labelling me as the mini nymph that messed up your poor innocent head.

You have long convinced yourself that you’re the helpless victim of the girl in heels who flaunts her curves, sways her hips as she walks. She does it to catch your attention. So, if you pinch her butt, grope her breasts and tear her clothes off, she should collapse at your feet with gratitude.

I mean, isn’t this what every woman wants, despite men claiming they have no idea what she wants.

She simply wants his attention, dammit! Yes she does, you moron, but the one who is man enough to appreciate her sensuality. And definitely not the one that leers and jeers and treats her as a plaything who will entertain him.

What perplexes you is when she rejects your advances! You just cannot believe that the woman who looks sexy and beautiful just so that she can ensnare you has the audacity to kick you in your groin and push you away. You fume – the jalebi of your mother’s eyes, the prince whose wishes can never been denied. You are after all the realiser of your parent’s dream, their insurance for old age, who will be sold off to the highest bidder in the dowry market. In the meantime you decide to show these pesky women their real place.

How brave.

It unsettles you that she defies the many diktats you set for her good conduct. The more you threaten her with violence, the more determined she gets to fight you back. It scares you that it is your stiff resistance to let her surge that fuels her determination to succeed. The more you shame her for voicing her sentiments, the louder her voice becomes. Sometimes she becomes shrill, her ways militant. But after trying to silence her voice for centuries, can you blame her? She’s not asking you to pick up cudgels for her. Learn to listen, empathise and accept that there’s something deeply wrong the way women are treated instead of fighting her with whataboutery! Instead of telling her she needs to change to keep herself self safe, change that thinking of yours.

And you know what, I have made up my mind. I do not want to be pants, petticoat, salwar or whatever shit you want me to be. I am proud to be who I am.


Proud to be a short skirt.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why the Hell Can’t I Remember If I Locked My Door?

Every time a space mission is announced and I am invited to be part of it because I am so funny, I have to turn it down with a heavy heart. Knowing that I can never be part of a mission to Mars makes my heart sink faster than the Titanic. Just as our spacecraft has crossed the 10 millionth mile, I’ll be seized by a doubt so terrible that I’ll insist we turn back immediately. The niggling doubt would have crept in on day 50 of the galactic journey but I’ll try brushing it off as irrational. But doubts are like faithful stalkers and refuse to leave your side. In fact they become nastier and more persistent with time.

By day 150 I will be a nervous wreck with ‘Did I lock the main door when I left my house’ echoing in my head in full Dolby fidelity. Of course I did, is how I will try to console myself. I am after all a responsible woman. I will replay the scene just when I am about to leave the house. I will recall locking all the balcony doors, checking the gas-stove for the 25th time, running upstairs to see if I had really switched off the iron.

The iron bit is really important. On our last trip to Kazakhstan I was a total wreck because I just couldn’t remember switching it off after I had ironed my favourite shirt that I wanted to wear on the flight. I spent the next week imagining our house being burnt to cinders, my 200 pairs of lovingly collected shoes gone. My saris that I never wear burnt to ashes, my measly 499 grams of gold melted. My lovely pair of jeans that makes my butt look like a million bucks charred beyond recognition. Damn it, I should have carried it with me! Will I ever recover from the debilitating guilt of rendering my family homeless! What if I can never laugh again? As I sat on the hop on and hop off bus trying my best to soak in the sights, all I could do was wipe my tears imagining our homeless, penniless rest of our lives. The stupid guide mistook it for tears of happiness. Idiot!

When I suggested to the husband that we take an earlier flight back home because the weather wasn’t suiting me, he gave me that knowing look. What is it this time that you think you forgot to switch off, my darling? The darling bit was dripping with sarcasm. I think this sarcasm thing is contagious. When we got married he was perfectly normal.

I don’t blame him. Initially he did indulge me. Like the time when we were watching a play and I turned to him in panic and said, I think I left the gas on. He drove his bike so fast, by the time we reached home, our hair was looking like The Leaning Tower of Pisa. And the gas was turned off.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

How Demonetisation Gave Direction To My Life

Till a fortnight back my life was as directionless and meaningless as Rahul Gandhi’s speeches. I was appalled by the lack of purpose in my life and couldn’t stop berating myself for not doing enough to stop the Polar caps from melting, bombing ISIS camps and stopping Trump from getting elected. Not anymore. My life feels like a Jan Dhan account suddenly flush from someone else’s desperation. And I have Modi jee to thank for this sudden turn of events.

I am ashamed to admit, when he dropped the D-bomb on us, it took me an inordinately long time to acknowledge his genius in smoking out black-money. Alas, my heart was busy feeling wretched for the unfair treatment being meted out to black money that chose to stay in the country instead of flying off to Honduras, Cayman or Panama and become an NRBM (nor resident black money). I cried buckets when I read reports about wads of patriotic notes that had said no whitening being abandoned near dustbins and drowned in river. This is how we treat our girl child and not ghar ki Lakshmi, dammit!

With 500 and 1000 Re notes declared invalid, I was feeling like a penniless pauper for no fault of my own. With demonetisation, Modi Jee first rendered us cashless and then helpless with not enough new notes to replace the old lot. It felt like we were being dragged back to our bachhe dins when we had to last an entire month on a meagre sum because this was our parent’s fabulous idea of teaching us the value of money!

Just last week when I told the beggars at red-light ‘paise nahin hai, baba’, they nodded in sympathy. A few kind souls even offered to lend me a few notes from their booty!

I cried, yet again.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Forward This At Your Own Risk

Image courtesy - Google images

Dear kids (PS - anyone younger than me qualifies), did you know when we were growing up, the only forwards we got on Diwali were Milton jugs and casseroles? If we prayed hard enough, the set of 6 melamine cups in cream and pink that Mom had gifted Mrs Ahuja 4 years back would land at our doorstep, just like a long lost forward. But Mom far from weeping like Nirupa Roy while hugging the cups close to her chest would get an eye twitch like Lalita Pawar (if you are unfamiliar with these names, just ask Siri).

As a reciprocal gesture, Mrs Ahuja was gifted a box of kaju katli that was only a month old.

In case you did not know, casseroles, thermos, tea-sets of yesteryears were the Soan Papdi of gifting. Nobody wanted them yet everybody gifted them. But those were simpler times. We would start bursting crackers weeks before Diwali without feeling guilty for fouling up the air. If we were chased by a jhadoo wielding Pammi Aunty for disturbing her afternoon siesta, we extracted revenge by bursting our stash of bombs in front of her house till Christmas. Festivities were more about stuffing our faces with sweets more colourful than Govinda’s wardrobe, and less about ‘OMG, I have put on weight! Now I will punish myself and have only lauki soup for a month.’ Phones were actually used to make calls. And one had to visit friends and family to exchange festive greetings. On the eve of Diwali, I was religiously sent off to our neighbours with a thali full of mithais, covered with a cloth napkin. And the celebrations would conclude with coughing all night from all that smoke.

You kids are lucky. You’re growing up in an age where you get more forwards than gifts on Diwali, unless you’re the son of the baap who owns the road you drive on. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than a forwarded forward that goes round and round like unclaimed baggage on the luggage carousel. In the age of HBD and thnx, only a moron will bother typing festive wishes. Since the flavour of the season is animated gifs, by the end of Diwali week I had collected enough to fill the Milky Way with flickering Diyas and animated Lakshmi jees showering me with blessings and teen patti winnings.

And I don’t even play cards!

Monday, October 17, 2016

After Every Durga Pujo A new Child Prodigy is Born

Image courtesy - SantaBanta

It’s that time of the yaar again when sweaty Bengalis converge under makeshift tents and try to clog their arteries with cholesterol from Moglai porotas, kobirajis, cutlets and bhaja bhuji fried in oil as old as the dinosaurs. Since it’s strictly for religious purposes, they expect Maa Durga to vanquish acidity, loose motion and clogged arteries just like that dark-skinned Mahisashura. As you daintily nibble off the meat from the kosha mangsho, you can feast your eyes on sombre looking men sashaying in panjabis embellished with smiling owls and boudis in stunning dhakais and blouses as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Durga Pujo is a Bangali’s own Woodstock. It’s a non-stop 4 day binge-fest where you sleep little, eat lots and hop from one pandal to another like a Duracell charged bunny. While evenings are a happy mishmash of hogging, ogling, lovingly pushing each other to get a closer look of the protima, soaking in calchaar as you tap your feet to latest hits by Miss Jojo and doing adda till the wee hours, mornings are serious business when you actually offer prayers to the Goddess. Also, this is when you get to observe the Bangali Maa (BAM) unleash the Durga(the warrior goddess) in her as she puts the chomchom of her eyes on the stage, where he can stun his paraa(neighbourhood) with his many talents.

We Bangalis are not content with being good at just one thing and this is firmly ingrained in us right from the time we are born. As a toddler if you loved tearing pages of the books from the shelves, you were promptly declared a Tagore in the making. Your baby gibberish was unlike anything your parents had before – it had a haunting lyrical quality to it. Your Thamma had the gut feeling that you’ll be as graceful as Ananda Shankar as she bounced you on her tummy while chanting dhei dhei nachhe nachhe. By the time you picked up the pen on your annaprashan, it was a forgone conclusion that you’ll be a world renowned scholar. Then they name you ‘Hablee’ ‘Godon’ ‘Natoo’ ‘Goga’ and you have no choice but develop a sense of humour to survive this cruel world.

How long can you hold back this child prodigy who can paint like Jamini Roy and lisps the most profound observations about life! So, he takes his first baby steps dressed as a clock for the fancy dress competition on shoshtee during Pujo. His Mom who spent days foraging for cardboard and turning into a grandfather clock is an anxious wreck as she watches her Hablee recite tic toc, aami clock that she composed especially for him. She’s always known he’s the best. It’s time the world accepted it as well. Just like her own Mom had known. She spent her growing up years proving her right, bent pensively on stage as Chandalika, reciting Nazrool’s poetry in a quivering voice and won the first prize for it.

Now here lies the catch. All BAMs are convinced that the chomchom of their eyes deserves to win a prize if not the first. After all she has been preparing him for months! By the time Hablee finally learns chronicles of Hatimatimtim by heart, the whole house including Cecelia, their hired help from Jharkhand can recite it in her sleep. If you dare deny his Mom the coveted prize, you risk having her do a surgical strike, her eyes flaming with unbridled fury, her back glistening with sweat from the exertion of having to push so many women to grab the second prize at musical chairs. The last time Rana Chatterjee, cultural secretary of Pujo committee tried to reason with her, he saw her explode like Samsung Galaxy Note 7 right before his eyes. He could sleep normally only after several visits to his therapist.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bharat and Pak – It’s So Damn Complicated!

It’s complicated – the relationship between Bharat-Bhushan and Pak Begum. It’s been over 67 years since BaaP broke up, yet Begum Pee continues to behave like a jilted ex. Guess, Pee never forgave Bharat for getting custody of their beti, Kishmish even though it was she who chose to stay with Pitajee. You can call them the original Brangelina, all jaanu-shaanu when together and throwing bartans and belans at each after they went their separate ways.

Bharat’s ex has made it her life’s mission to raise his BP to Himalayan heights by engaging in a bitter custody battle over their love child Kishmish, each accusing the other of abuse and neglect. Interestingly when they meet they behave as if they’ll patch-up any minute, going mwah mwah, singing ‘aman ki aasha’ in dulcet tones. But the moment Bharat turns his back, Pee turns into a demented chudail, constantly orchestrating covert attacks and creating pressure in BB’s nose (naak mein dum). B Bhushan responds with lots of angry condemnations and running to Uncle Sam to complain. It’s the same story every time. Pee continues to attack Bharat and his brood grievously while he’s all kadhi ninda and no action. These days Begum has become even more daring with the backing of her new boyfriend, Mr Chin Chin. Even Kishmish has also been acting all angsty like a pimply teen and constantly throws tantrums because she wants azadi. Kids, I tell you!

Sadly for Pak, the same story decided enough is enough and refused to repeat itself. This unusual occurrence was triggered by yet another behind the back, sneaky assault that had Bharat’s brood led by Angry Goswami (his favourite son) and social media warriors baying for her blood. Fierce battles were fought on Twitter and Facebook. Cunning war strategies were formulated on Facebook walls, nuclear submarines were deployed and fighter aircrafts roared out of hangars on Twitter timelines and brutal jokes were made to shame Begum Pee once and for all.

Bharat Bhushan goaded by the bloodcurdling cries of netizens FINALLY decided to retaliate with a stinging counter-attack that’s so covert that even his bacchas are not aware of it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DJ wale Babu zara volume badhaa do!

We Indians love noise as much as we love our gais and demonstrate our dogged devotion to both by driving others mad. Why, we are even ready to kill if someone refuses to share our fervour for our object of affection with the same passion! Wasn’t it in Vasant Kunj where a gym owner killed his neighbour because he complained of the loud music playing at his gym?

One man’s headache maybe another man’s music but how dare he point that out and spoil the fun!

Well, I’ve often felt like killing myself at the gym instead of waiting for some irate Jaat to do the honours. Especially when I’ve heard ‘clap your hands now, you motherfucker’! at least 5 times during my workout interspersed with grunts from the hulk next to me trying to lift weights double his own. Thanks to this elevating experience, I’ve mastered my Nagin look, the same one that Sridevi gave Amrish Puri.
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But only after I’ve whined about the limited, unimaginative playlist to the management. They as usual have no clue as to what I’m talking about. I’m often brushed off as a pesky fly.

The scary bit is that the same playlist is shared by the world and its aunt. So, you get to hear Honey Singh woo his kudi namkeenaa, ambraan di queenaa, at the Pub, club, blaring from the water-park in the vicinity, neighbourhood shaadi sharing their joy via loudspeakers, and the party hosted by a dear friend. Sometimes I get so confused that I actually jiggle my hips in a drunken stupor at the gym and try to do push-ups at the hottest new brewery playing stale hits. By the end of the year, I’ve intimate knowledge of Mr Singh’s weird notion of romance that entails meeting kudi namkeena’s daddy so that his future son-in-law can tell him ‘Bas jitna aapki beti ek mahine mein udati hai, ek hafte me meri gaadi utna tel khaati hai!’ (keep your daughter away from me because I’m an asshole) Wow, how can any woman resist this charmer!

But isn’t that the beauty of music that catches the public’s fancy. It’s not a superhit till it drives you to the brink of lunacy. The first time you hear it, you nod your head with approval, much like a Kathakali dancer. The next few times you enjoy it and even try humming along with it. But when it starts stalking you wherever you go, whatever you do, you scream nahiiiin like a Bollywood Mom of yore who has lost her sons at a mela.
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