Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anything for some eyeballs!

Think of something that has the potential to get the world up in arms. Then just do it. If that does not get you more eyeballs then any good you have ever done, I'll be most surprised. In the world crowded with scams larger than ever, countries that are burning  and collapsing as we speak, and sports like cricket taking over the leftover space in the public eye, what do you do if you are a fading celebrity. Just do something outrageous. Like circulate stories of your break-up / link-up with another equally fading celeb. But that may be passe..... too many celebs breaking up or making up. So then you do something even more outrageous.. circulate a picture of you having your shoelaces tied by two young women fawning at your feet.


Bipasha Basu recently tweeted "I need to learn to tie shoe laces ASAP! Embarrassed that I can't! No patience.. grrrrr! Promise I am not spoilt! Will learn soon," and tagged it with the picture of two girls tying shoelaces.

You can then have the women's groups up in arms, the human rights people protesting against you and the general furore will just get you in the news. At least reminding people that you exist. What if you are not seen in any recent movie?

Selling yourself.. Keeping yourself in the public eye. When the world was a younger place and there was no blogging, certainly no micro blogging, we read something about the stars in some glitzy magazine on a train journey, we believed all that was written there.  We were completely hypnotised by their  scandalous yet swanky life styles, where morals seemed few and far from the real world. But whatever we thought about it, it certainly created a memory that was hard to erase. I for one, never realized, it was insidious  hard sell. The product being the person/ persona.


Today, everything is a product...... Bipasha Basu being the latest in a list of meaningless controversies. Whether it is a writer claiming he was not given due credit or an actor claiming dissatisfaction, anything for a sale, seems to be the rule.  Too bad that we all fall prey to these scandals and devote so much time, energy and space to them.

 Looks like Bipasha got what she wanted after all!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The difficulty in being good

Shahrukh Khan says it in his movie 'Om Shanti Om'. . "agar sab kuch theek nahin hai, toh picture abhi baki hai mere dost" meaning that if all is not well, it's not the end yet.

A lot  has been said to this effect  'alls well  that ends well',' good things come to good people' and so on. In fact, we bring up generations based on this premise that 'good begets good' and everything will end well... When good people suffer, from illness, death, loss of security,we console ourselves with the thought that it will end and after all some downs are a part of every one's life.

But here is my problem... Wonderful things happen to the undeserving. Who says they are 'undeseving'? After all, I am no one to judge. But Going by  the same general yardsticks that define and govern  'goodnes', there are some expectations of behaviour. Something like the ten commandments... love your family, love your neighbours, do not lie ..you know... and then these very same people go on to be have things their way.. I know.. it's petty to feel upset and upset is probably a strong word. What I feel is a niggle at the injustice of it all. Doesn't anyone else?

I have lived long enough to know that  it is not envy. I know of wonderful people who have not got their due, who have lived whole lives with pain wholly undeserved. Like this nice 47 year old who has now spent about half his life gradually losing his sight, knowing it and yet laughing and making others laugh. Recently, someone died at age forty after ten years of illness thru which she rarely complained.. A very good publication devoted to investigative journalism got shut down because of lack of funds while yellow tabloids seem to have endless resources..

Why do good people have to suffer and those who are not, rewarded? Getting away from reality, even TV serials have the righteous being tested by adversity at all times, while the wicked get away with murder...

In public life, we see politicians and corrupt businessmen get away with scams that could set up economies of entire countries. There are stories galore of hosety taking a beating at the hands of the corrupt. RTI activists who have been hurt and killed, while the Goondas getting away with murder. Remember Manjunath, who lost his life to the oil mafia? Where is a happy ending there?

Am I whining too much? Maybe because even if good things come to bad people, terrible things should not happen to the good! (and here I feel more than a niggle, i feel very upset) Yes, I do know that we have to do our bit and keep trying. Tell that to the mother of the collector of Malkangiri who has been kidnapped by the Maoists..

All this is enough to put you off being 'good'!  Which is probably why Arthur freed said, "Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough"..

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's day love/ hate

If there is love, can hate be far behind? After all they are the flip sides of the same coin. In keeping with that, nothing / no day can be more controversial than Valentines day.. in India at least. We are an emotional people and all our feelings come out in full  err..force!

Call it the ultimate Valentine's Gift .. giving up your life for love!!. After all isn't it what legends are made of?  Romeo  Juliet, Laila Majnu or our very own Heer Ranjha..What were their deaths about? Today they would be termed (dis) honour killings.One of the first stories I caught today ... A young girl in Agra gave up her life for loving someone her family did not approve of. Was it  fatherly love for her as her father brutally put an end to her life. What about legendary maternal  love, as  her mother watched life ebbing out her own flesh and blood. After all,  V day is not only about lovers and romantic love. Interestingly, the dishonour killings are solely reserved for loved ones, errant daughters, sisters, nieces nephews, etc. just for the love of false prestige, love of society.... It is all about love.

Then there are the stories that compete with each other for being , well, romance number one. Couples who have known each other for a few minutes  months or just a couple of years, plead undying love for their partners. Can the media please find someone who has been married for a few decades, raised children, gone through the ups and downs of life and stuck together despite all that? No, no, I have nothing against young love and am as much into "jab we met" as the next person, but since when did flying to London to be with me on graduation day qualify as the nicest thing someone has done. Hey, I am willing to fly to London for just about any one's graduation if all else is taken care of. And I do not even have to know the person. I even promise to clap and cheer the loudest.  Another besotted man claimed to have been floored by his fiance,  waiting up for him on his return from an overseas trip. Call me cynic, but sharing a night time vigil, for a cranky, sick child, night after night, tops that any day. When I was young, I pulled 'allnighters' for no real reason anyway. So waiting up for a fiancee would have been a walk in the park.

Can  Valentine day be complete without those who oppose it? Violently at that! The original Rama Sena.. the one that was lead by Lord Rama.. was it not for "love"? Rama was separated from his beloved Sita and despite being royalty who could have more than one wife (His own Father had three), He chose to take an army and win her back. A sene by the same name fight to tear lovers apart... (Shakespeare definitely knew his stuff when he said what's in a name)

I do not know what other love /hate stories will come up during the day, but as I understand it, Valentines day is not just about romantic love.. It is just about LOVE, plain and simple. This valentines day I hope to find in my heart, love for the less fortunate, animals (dogs, cats, birds etc and not the beasts who can kill and maim in the name of love) I hope everyone finds more love, compassion and understanding.

Happy Valentine's day!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to pay a compliment and other tips..

How do you respond to someone who, on meeting you after ten years, goes "aap toh buddhe ho gaye" meaning ' You have grown old' . After ten years I guess everyone is older ... So you try and brush it off with a smiling "Haan, mein ho gayi hoon buddhi" to be met with a violent protest of " nahin, nahin, itne chote bacche hain, tum toh itni acchcchi lagti thi"  meaning 'no, you have such young kids.. you used to look so good'. With the older one in college and the younger one at almost fourteen.. I guess I did look better ten years ago, but never a contender for a title..even a local one...

Here is the question ...Have I got a  backhandedcompliment or an insult?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smelling like a rose..

Remember the 'Mills and Boone' hero of yore? He was suave and yet he would be strong physically, able to rein in the wildest stallion, drive the toughest route, swim the strongest rapids.. you get the drift. He would be brawny and brainy and yet have a 'musky smell' after a hard day at the ranch. He was at home in the board room/ operation theatre and equally at ease on a rock face, scaling it with great ease 'the shirt stretched clinging to him , an elusive manly smell of sweat with the clean soap...' What I am trying to say here is the fact that we did not hear much about a deodorant..

Yesterday,I watched a buff John Abraham on TV, scaling a mountain of sorts, drawing attention to how his teammate was sweating, while claiming that 'damp patches had no chance' with him.  I dislike body odor as much as the next person, but I assume that sweat is a natural outcome of hard physical effort. Would you not sweat on while scaling a mountain?

Anorexia, Bulimia, are words that are very common these days. Girls and even boys drive themselves hard to get to that perfect concept on beauty that the media portrays. Perfect, but impossible to attain standards of beauty! With problems like this why am I worried about deodorants??? Because they are all connected... If you perpetuate the idea that hair should be in place even when cavorting on the beach, there should be blemish free skin at all times, there should be not a drop of sweat in sight no matter if you scale the tallest mountain... now if that is not unnatural, what is?

To the many youngsters who are hanging on to every word that leaves the lips o their celebrity idols, this can mean only some more unnatural aspirations and even unhealthy ones..  chemicals on the skin in the long run cannot be really good for anyone. Apart from the physical fall outs ( maybe we will discover that blocking pores with deos can lead to some deadly disease like cancer) there is the issue of low self esteem, which can cripple the entire young generation.

Mills and Boone books were absolute fantasy, yet even they seemed to have more normal people and that is saying something...Looking great and feeling good is all very well, but can we have more normal standards?
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