Friday, February 25, 2011

Delhi - The male species ultimate stronghold?

Was browsing through TOI when I came across an article which left me pretty much aghast.

Parental intrusion ruining couples' marital life: Delhi high court

I know delhi is considered to be the land of hot blooded Panjus and the Jats from Haryana - I'm sorry if this sounds bigoted, but having been raised in Delhi, I think I can say this with fair amount of accuracy.. one keeps hearing of honour killings that emmanate from the North.. you see the practice of women's names being changed once they get married and enter their home and begin their new life - but all of these are events that are driven by individuals (hopefuly)and not by dictat of law...

So it came as a big shock to see the Delhi High Court judgement that blatantly overlooks the role a boy's family may play in a marriage being rocky and lays blame for all parental interference ta the girls' parents door! It would appear that any any interference from the girls' parents may rock the boat while clearly the esteemed Court feels that parental influence / interference from the boys' parents(which is way way more common)either does not exist or is benign! lol!

I know delhi is the ultimate male bastion but the High Courts too? And a High Court judge? Simply underlines the need for more women judges to man the bench..

Sure any parental interference can be detrimental to the stability of a marriage, but its rather harsh to expect the girl's parents to abandon her post marriage - this is carrying the new name , new life after marriage paradigm a tad too far! They are her family, her support system and is it wrong to expect her to fall back on them? Dure sometimes their interference may be unwarranted but I can take an educated guess that the in-laws interefernce in the girl's marital bliss is way more often and way more destructive in far more cases the her parents'..

So what is the high Court advocating? If you've had the luck to have a girl, forget that she existed the moment she's married. She is like a commodity, once sold, you have no claims or right on her?

"Parents should not become uninvited judges of problems of their daughter, become an obstacle in the daughter's married life, plant thoughts in her mind and gain control over her and promote disharmony in her family life, the judge said"

I completely empathise and agree with the first part of the judgement, my quarrel is that it should apply to parents from both sides.. and it needs to realise that sometimes, we can all do with a little bit of help....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For God's sake, get a perspective!

A few days ago, read a newspaper article where a PIL had been filed against a Hindi serial on Colors by a ‘Akhil Bhartiya Chitransh Mahasabha” for the use of the word “kayastha” in making fun of a community. Intrigued me enough to watch the episodes last week. The serial revolves around two families – Kayastha and Brahmin - their differences, pet peeves, community specific idiosyncrasies and prejudices.

After watching the serial, in the context of this PIL, more than ever now, I am convinced that as a society we've lost our sense of perspective.. what is being depicted is not untrue and neither is it restricted to a particular caste...

I think the Brahmins come off far worse than the kayasths and maybe the "'Akhil Bhartiya Chitransh Mahasabha'" needs to see the serial again to see who is being shown in a bad light and for any Brahmin who protests, well, in large parts especially in smaller towns it is unfortunately true, so let's not be sanctimonious...

It is so typical of our holier-than-thou and insular attitudes that we would much rather waste time, effort and energy in protesting and trying to ban something uncomplimentary being shown rather than spending that energy in changing those things.

Clearly members of the 'Akhil Bhartiya Chitransh Mahasabha' need to be gainfully occupied instead of wasting the Court's, the public's and their time. As they say, an empty mind is a devil's workshop!

And for the record, I am a Brahmin, fully cognizant of many social repressions perpetuated by the community, appreciative of its knowledge and contributions, and perfectly capable of enjoying the serial for a realistic portrayal of what happens in society, without bringing community centric indignation into it!

But why am I surprised? Our politicians too seem to spend a better part of their time chamioning narrow causes like the Marathi Manoos rather than looking at a larger ictue and actually addressing causes that need urgent attention! Opportuneness thy name is 'politician"!

Monday, November 16, 2009

8 simple rules for living in Mumbai!

I came across this while surfing the net and this was too hysterical not to post! I have not written this, but a big kudos to the guy who did! It was really funny, so I just had to post it! Especially since its even appropriate now than when it was posted last year!

8 simple rules for living in Mumbai
May 16, 2008 posted by indiatime |

Maharashtra’s regional political party is slowly sketching its vision for victory in future elections, and among its new targets are the people or businesses who still keep using Mumbai’s old name ‘Bombay’. Some secret regional pride strategies and some of the currently brewing plans were leaked to the press a few days ago and here is the list of things that will soon be the etiquettes you will have to learn if you live in Mumbai.

1. You have to change your name to a Maharashtrian name. For most Mumbaikars, this is a tough challenge, so the local leaders have allowed people to take a generic last name - ‘Mumbaikar’. e.g. Amitabh Mumbaikar, Shah Rukh Mumbaikar, Abu Mumbaikar, Murli Mumbaikar, Anil and Mukesh Mumbaikar, etc. There is a proposal to allow suburban names such as Abhishek Andehrikar, Hrithik Dadarkar, etc.

2. Every Mumbaikar will soon have to begin learning Marathi. Monthly assessments will begin soon, and anyone who fails to show reasonable progress will have to run around Shivaji park ten times.

3. Every Mumbaikar will soon have to watch at least one Marathi movie every month. Considering the possibility that this rule may border on torture, there is a proposal under consideration to allow watching Dada Kondke movies repeatedly.

4. Ritesh, the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s son, will now be the default male lead in all Bollywood movies. And Rakhi Sawant, the Maharashtrian neck throb will have to be the default female lead.

5. The monsoon season is around the corner, and Mumbai will soon start flooding at its seams. Anyone who allows the local waters of the Mithi river to enter into the Arabian ocean will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full. Mumbai needs water, and every Mumbaikar should do the needful to contain the water in the city.

6. Every foreign article or company name or brand name will have to change to a Maharashtrian name. No more McDonalds, Pizza huts, Subways. Brand names such as Mercedes, BMW, and lexus, the ones used by most of Mumbai’s bigshots, will soon get a Maharashtrian name.

7. Zunka Bhakar, the local Maharashtrian delicacy will have to be at the top of every restaurant’s menu, bar none.

8. Anyone who still keeps calling ‘Shivai Park’ will face severe penalties. It is ‘Shivaji Udyan’ or ‘Shivaji Baug’. Call it a ‘park’ and you will soon be parked out of Mumbai, the pride of Maharashtra’s prejudice.
Every time I go into Fort, I always look at the Flora Fountain with great regret. A beautiful structure, it has been allowed to fall to disrepair. Well, maybe that's overstating it! Ok, it is overstating it, but there is no denying that the structure could do with lots of cleaning and sprucing up..... it is so beautiful that I wish they would!

The East India Company, in 1668, "hired/ rented" the islands of Bombay from the Crown for a princely sum of 10 British pounds a year!!! Indicative of the value that Prince Charles II placed on his wedding gift received by him from the Portugese when he married Princess Catherine!

In 1858, after the famous Sepoy Mutiny (the first war of Indian Independence 1857), I guess the Crown finally figured they had allowed The Company to wreak enough havoc, and the islands reverted back to the Crown. More likely they discovered what cuckoos The Company had made of them! India was the proverbial land of gold!!

n 1862 Sir Baartle Frere was appointed Governor by the Crown, an office which he held until 1867, and, under his stewardship Mumbai saw a lot of construction, land reclamation etc. In his honour, it was decided to erect a fountain in Victoria Gardens (Horticultural society gardens) but for some reason the fountain was moved to the centre of the city!

And that is where it stands even till today, still as majestic as it was 145 years ago!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Umbrella please!

Unexpected rain and Mumbaikars gear up to handle it. While Typhon Phyan has been worrying Mumbai met department, the locals are battling with it in their own inimitable way!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bhaji gali

Living outside, especially in countries where domestic help is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive, you tend to get used to simple conveniences like pre-cut, neat and clean packaged vegetables. And in the last 5 years, Mumbai seems to have sprouted tons of supermarkets that do exactly that! Must admit, they were an absolute blessing when I first came back and was struggling with finding a domestic help.

While the convenience of pre-packaged vegetables can’t be overstressed, there is a different charm to braving the wet markets and buying fresh produce. Each suburb, sometimes even each locality will have its own little wet market with fresh greens being displayed in aged wicker baskets and the produce sprinkled with water to keep it fresh under the hot sun.

South Bombay has its own bhaji gali (vegetable street) just off Tardeo near the Grant Road station. A long lane extending at least half a km, or so it seems to me, fresh produce lines both sides of the street. Sounds of bhabhi (sis-in-law), madam ring out as the bhaji walas (vegetable sellers) call out for your attention hoping to flog their wares. Exotic vegetables like pak choy, broccoli and pimientos (not to so exotic anymore!), zucchini, lemon grass leaves, baby corn, avocados jostle with local stuff like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, suran, kathal etc.

For me one of the most charming sights is the Marathi aai (Marathi for mother) with her nauvari (9 yards saree that the Marathi women wear. The saree is worn with the hind pleats tucked into the waist at the center back), the nose ring and the myriad wrinkles on her leathered face that breaks into a smile when you call her aai!

There’s a charm in rummaging through piles of bottle gourds trying to find one which has no spots or bargaining for a bunch of spinach that you think is horrendously overpriced but can’t help eyeing because it looks SO fresh!

This was a new one for me.. they looked like water chestnuts, but since the blak cover semed like charcoal and kept rubbing off my hand I was a tad reluctant but it was juicy and quite nice!

It’s not as if bhaji gali is significantly cheaper than the packaged foods, in fact for some stuff, I suspect it’s more expensive, but the visit is worth the experience. Go on a weekday, the weekend is madness! Take the driver, parking is a nightmare! Wear comfortable shoes, and stock up for the week!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The BMC's Wall Project

I dunno how I missed this when it happened.. would have loved to be a part of it! On my way back from Phoenix Mills, the sidewalk just had me fascinated. Its incredible how different people's creativity has found expression on the wall!