Tuesday, January 14, 2014

X-Men Womaniya (Guest Post)

I write this article after years of research, observation and data mining. And I literally mean years; approximately since I started watching Cartoon Network. My conclusions are based on solid comparisons, as you will see in a moment, and if I may say so myself, paradigm shifting. Was that enough? Need more build up? No? Okay, here goes: India women are X-Men; or X-Women. Whatever pleases your feminist sensibilities.

Let’s start with basic stuff that these Superheroes make a living out of (in Cartoons, Manga, Comics and generally disappointing movie adaptations) Ready? You sure? Hold on to your pants.

Indian Women Can Change Their Appearance (see: Mystique, X-Men)

Ever noticed how all women in our society have to be fair? And thin? And drop-dead gorgeously beautiful? Of course you have. Let me give you a gist of most television commercials- “A Woman should be beautiful, this I know for Fair & Lovely tells me so.”

Every successful woman CEO/model uses a fairness cream, every wife is more desirable to her husband after she loses weight. A pimple can make or break her career, man. You know how much body modification goes into putting up with all that? And they manage it. With panache. What does that tell you?

Indian Women Have to Put Up With a Stupid Society (see: Every X-Men character ever)

You’ve all seen these specimens of manliness, right? Middle of the night, fast cars - loud music, clothes that shimmer like a chandelier and enough booze to light up a Russian? Now put a bunch of women in that car. OHMYGOD! SLUTS!

Very rarely do you find an Indian guy not coming to grips with his surging sexuality (start from puberty, beyond menopause-ity). Put a woman in his place. OHMYGOD! SLUT!

There are really hardcore-level stupid societal biases women have to put up with here. But they do it, like the X-Men. What does that tell you?

Indian Women Have to Appease the Aforementioned Stupid Society (see: Again, All X-Men)

The thing that bothers me the most about X-Men movies is that the protagonists save homo-sapiens over and over despite the shit they have to put up with. It becomes worse when you realize women in India do the same thing EVERY DAY. They don’t even get fancy fighting suits! Or claws, or you know, cool sunglasses like that Cyclops guy!

Obedient daughter: check. Caring mother: check. Good career/Marry rich: check.

Anything that deviates from that standard societal norm: Not cool, bro. A woman in our country is supposed to smile through a Khap Panchayat. Have a paan around midnight at Ramu’s Panchayat?
OHMYGOD! SLUT! What does that tell you?

Indian Women Have an Accelerated Healing Ability (see: Wolverine)

Once you’re done fantasizing about Hugh Jackman, focus on what I’m saying here. Achha, I’ll wait.
Okay, so. Shoot him, scratch him, bite him (wouldn’t you like that!) you just can’t harm him for long. It just sews itself up, ready to go another round of bad-assery. Ditto for women, here.

Dowry claims, rape, marital abuse, infanticide, general sexual harassment, nothing seems to stop them! It’s so bad that sexist remarks are a fair formula for mainstream musical success (Looking at you, Honey Singh fans) but they just carry on. Never seen a woman who gave up on our society and said, “Enough, I’m outta here”. It’s been 66 years and they still don’t have equal rights, or anything remotely resembling a fair deal, and they’re still fighting. Like Hugh Jackman (slurp). What does that tell you?

I’m onto some other stuff too, but I think you get the general idea. Obviously, I’m not sure what this means for our country in general. Whether it means we are reaching a peak in human genetics, or we can’t let half our society live like equals in their own country. Women in our country have to be superhuman to be treated as a normal human. What does that tell you?

-Written by Pratyush Biswal (Super kickass guy and good friend. Also, in case you’re a girl who is really impressed with the piece, he’s single with good looks and a very sharp brain, too.)

Image Source: kevinwada.deviantart.com

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Beyoncé Won't Make a Punjabi Bahu

I’ve reached the age at which other than having the comfort of being way too young to tie the knot, I have a number of cousins who stand ahead of me in the queue to marriage-land. It’s comforting because family gatherings are not made awkward with statements like, “ab tere liye bhi ladki dhoond lein” thrown towards me. Instead, I am the one who’ll be made responsible to ensure that none of the ladki wale get their hands on the dulha’s shoes; not just once, but a couple of times over during the next few years.

As my parents are yet to harrow me into thinking about marriage the whole day, I can still dream of Hollywood actresses without feeling pathetic about not really ending up with any of them in real life. On the other hand, my very eligible brothers have finally, being unaware of their blinding over-confidence, accepted that no matter how much they try, a hot patota like Beyoncé Knowles would never be accepted as a bahu in their Punjabi households. And here I bring to you the top reasons why, even though you think your Punjabi genes have blessed you with better looks than Jay-Z, your dadi will not rest in peace in case you’re thinking of making Beyoncé’s kids her pota-poti.

Haaye Haaye, Koi Gori Chitti Labhni Si

If you had a good Punjabi upbringing, you’d know that the color black is accepted only in the kaali-dal and never when it comes to women. The Punjabi bebey can tolerate a gori-chitti-mem as her bahu if the latter, firstly, agrees to wear a Patiala salwar and look like an extra from the sets of a Karan Johar shaadi song set in New York; and secondly, says “paeri pauna, mummyji” in an American accent when the old lady sits in the sun with her senior citizen girlfriends, knitting sweaters and peeling oranges in the Delhi winters. But a dark skinned woman, no matter how pretty, can never become the bahu of your very sanskaari house because kaali-kalooti-baingan-looti and all that jazz. Your dadi will know that no matter how much doodh-malai-diyan-creamaan her kaali nuu puts on her face, she will never have the glow of a freshly churned dollop of white butter that she loves to put on her makki di roti. “Saron de saag de rang di kudi kinnu chaayedi hai? Dafaa kar ennu! Dhup ich ghumdi hogi din bhar, je inni kaali thi payi hai.

Koi Kapoorni Labhni Si, Ae Knowles Kitthe Da Naa Hai?

As a Punjabi, you must choose a Kapoor, Khanna, Malhotra or Bajaj di kudi as your life partner. You must also know that your bebey will be happier in case your lovely lady’s parents come from the same town in Pakistan from where your ancestors fled in the August of 1947. I’m sure you must be aware of the scrunching of a Punjabi nose and lines of worry that appear as soon as someone talks about a prospective alliance from the Baniya clan; so it’d be more than foolish to think of presenting a woman with the surname “Knowles”. I can guarantee some unforgivable and unabashed words being thrown at you, that’d sound like: Knowles te Punjabi ni honde; kaayast di kudi hai?

Dupatta Kadin Ni Kardi, Besharm Jayin

While you’re a huge fan of the leg piece, the dadi is pure vegetarian. So it’s understandable how the dancing legs that make you drool are just as exciting to your bebey as is a Nokia 1100 to Rajiv Makhni. The ideal Punjabi bahu is supposed to not just be sanskaari enough to touch her elders’ feet, but also wise enough to put her dupatta over her head when she does so. It doesn’t mean that your family won’t allow her to wear western outfits. Jeans or Capri pants aside, she will also raise absolutely no eyebrows if she bares her midriff in a lehnga-choli. I’m sure you can foretell that her idea of fashion will be flashing a golden-dori hanging from the bottom of her backless blouse into the camera right after she gets ready for a wedding function. Also, cutsleeve blouse paa ke sohni lagni, bebey di nuu. Ooooh, modern!

Aaloo Poori te Rajma Chawl te Banane Aune Chaayide

Being modern peeps of the 21st century, the Punjabi dadi’s don’t expect their potey di voti to sit at home like a housewife anymore. She’s expected to go and work at the place of her choice, to help the elderly boast about how the nuu goes to work at an MNC in Gurgaon. “Ajj kal saareyan de ghar maid haigi. Nuu-aan kolon vi tem ni haiga kitchen ich ghusan da”; but to be the perfect bahu, your wife must also know how to cook Aaloo-Poori for breakfast on a Sunday morning and Rajma-Chawl for lunch on the same day. Gol rotis go without saying, because we all know how much emphasis her mother lay on it during the two week kitchen training right before marriage.

You may call the bebey old fashioned and all, but her worry has roots in the words of the neighbor that says, “Ajj kal munde seedhe ne; kudiyan badi tez han.” She’s probably just looking for the best for her family ka chirag. It’s an arranged marriage, she’ll have her say. After all, the men of our city haven’t acted like gentlemen in a while, to really make women fall in love with them in the first place.