The #PadmanChallenge

The first time I heard of Arunachalam, I was so inspired to do a blog post on his TED talk. And now, when a film has released based on his story, I am happy at how the Bollywood is changing and welcoming sduch issues into mainstream cinema. The #PadmanChallenge may evoke weird expressions from many of us, but that’s exactly is the issue we are facing. I hope soon that, condoms and sex education be the next taboo topic Bollywood would address through its films. Yes, we are in the 21st century, but the discrimination still remains in many parts of the country.

I remember growing up with such a huge hullaballoo on this topic. Much before sanitary pads were used, I was introduced to old clothes too. Sanitary pads were sneaked out secretly from the grocery bag. The periods and menstruation topics were discussed in code words and in hushed tones. We were not touched by others as were considered unpure those days. Only after taking head bath on specific days to purify ourselves were we allowed to touch others and wardrobes. Not entering temples on those days are an altogether different level of customs and rituals we were forced to. This is much prevalent custom, which I cannot comment on, as it borders around religion and temple culture. It was such a big thing to be on your period, that it gave me the impression that being born as woman was a sin. Continue reading →

90’s mania

These days I am addicted to this young love story of the 1990s on Sony TV. “Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai” is a Hindi tv show that attracted me because of the 90’s songs used as background songs for the scenes. I should also say that love stories, especially the falling in love part, really attracts me. Not that I lose interest in the challenging part of staying in love, but rarely do we see the portrayal of real difficulties on Indian TV shows.

So this story is set in 90s which reminds me of many things of my childhood, the crushes, the infatuations, the strained relationships of family, the gossip of women, the antenna and television, the music in cassettes and many other small nuances of old era…you get the drift? I am reminded of the times, I helped Appa in making the television signal clear, my yearning for a walkman, the wish to collect cassettes of my favourite music, the hesitant communication with parents about our deepest fears and feelings etc.

It also reminds me of the young crushes and innocent love we experience at that age. The mere touch of a boy giving goosebumps to hugging being equating to seeing dreams of marriage with that boy. It was so naive during those ages. Isn’t it? Where marriage dreams were on high gear even before we started dating. In fact, words like dating or divorce were considered influence from western countries for which we were looked down upon. Wearing of jeans or imitating western wear was a complete no-no.

I realize at this point, that studying in a girls only convent school, had painted a dramatic painting of relationships between man and woman in my eyes. The restrictions from the family, the loneliness from schools, the dreams inspired from movies, all misleads us enough to expect much more from relationships. Reading this post reminded me that I am not alone in forming fairy tale notions in my head around marriage and love. We start dreaming of “happily ever after” assuming there is not much issues at all after the initial integration phase. The high expectation levels clouds the view to notice the small happy moments happening and appreciate them. As much as I try to outgrow from the fairytale ending and look at life practically, I doubt whether I can ever break free completely from the smoke of judgement-mindset that is deep rooted in my minds.

Meanwhile, my current playlist is set to the popular songs of 90s in the voices of Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. Cherishing and reliving the nostalgic memories in this season of love. How about you? How is the valentine season treating you?

Being a couch potato

I do watch TV shows, either on the good old TV or viewing them online on hotstar, youtube and other apps. Is that so cringeworthy?

Recently, in a tweet chat by blogchatter about the 90s, I realised the first thing that many people remember are the TV shows like Chitrahaar, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Alif laila, Krishna by Ramanand Sagar, Byomkesh Bakshi, and many others that were popular few decades ago. Since there were not many channels, they had to include all categories into one channel. This meant that there were not much drama shows like today. In those days, it was okay to watch television as it was an entertainment medium. But now, when I say I watch Indian tv shows, people start mocking me, claiming that it’s useless to watch saas bahu serials all the time.

Everywhere I have seen people bashing homemakers or women at home, berating them of watching mindless stories and crying drama through television serials. How hypocritic it is to watch English films on Netflix or spending huge amount to watch films like Bahubali and other high budget films on theatres or watch 10-12 players running around a ball or tossing them out of stadium, when you look down at others who watch television. There are people who may cannot afford to go to theatres to watch these films or do not have the subscription of Netflix or access to movie websites, or neither have any interest in sports and news, and have to suffice with the entertainment provided by the television.

In my younger days, I too used to do the same, as there was very less outing as family or with friends to watch films in theatres. Our quota of movie came from the 4pm Sunday movies, or the film festival being aired on festivals, especially during Onam and Christmas. I remember watching Titanic Premiere during one of my Christmas holidays. I remember being called out to the kitchen exactly when the painting scene came too!!! Though, I realized it quite later why I was called away from the TV! Continue reading →

Hugs Forever

What is the thing you most regret not doing? Why? What is stopping you from doing it now?

This prompt on the The Writing Reader has made me think back many instances in the past, but few stand out.

So the thing I most regret not doing these days is, giving/receiving hugs. I feel human beings should make use of hugs to feel its magic. But having the conservative upbringing in the back of my mind, I stop myself from showing off the affection in form of hugs. The generation might have now outgrown these narrow minded notions but I rarely remember myself hugging my school friends or even my parents. And hugging among opposite genders was a total no-no as eyebrows would be raised or suppressed smiles would be passed around questioning the nature of the relationship.

Few days back, my maid told me that it pleased her to have me as her agony aunt. Yes all maids crib, but what if we look at it in a positive way? Talking to someone in between her chores relieved her stress. Not sure whether she was expecting any money or raise or gifts, but what I saw was, how she wanted to share how lonely she feels in her marriage and life. Its the same old story of how the husband has deserted the wife and kid and living elsewhere happily while they are suffering in poverty. Whether we help or not, the least we can offer them are hugs or a shoulder to lean on. Agreed that if the story is baseless, then we are facing a bigger risk of making fool of ourselves and sometimes losing money. But what if the story is true, and she was expressing her state of helplessness, her worries, her dreams of a happy family?

The reverse also holds true. There are many instances where I wished to hug the person in front of me, as he/she could connect with me instantly. The happiness when someone understands you and you want to share it. How do you express it? Along with a “thanks for understanding”, I so wish I could give him/her a bear hug too for just being there… Then the root cause of all problems, pops up in my head – what will they think?!.

If not the hugs, sometimes, I regret the silence. Small compliments to strangers that could make their day. Or the few words that made a connection making them feel good. The other day, while returning in cab, I decided that while getting out, I would compliment the driver for his nice collection of songs. But at the last moment, the ever questioning fat Aunty, appeared in my head, asking, “what’s the need to talk with strangers?”, “what if he says the songs are not his”? “what if he doesn’t know English?” “what if you create an awkward situation?” and I walked away silently.

Silence also plays a huge role in destroying relationships. I’ve so wanted to connect with some old friends/acquaintances but never couldn’t open up myself. If I were at a loss of words but had to express something, hugs would have conveyed the same, but nowadays, topics also dries up. Isn’t it too hard for us to accept the changes in us over the years, how are we then going to explain it to others?. Experiences can never be explained, and that’s all we earn over time. It could well be a lesson on patting down our ego while rekindling the flames again. We could atleast throw away the burnt wood making way for new fresh ones.

Have you ever felt such short instances where in you wanted to do something but not ended up doing it?