Cringe.

At 10:35 , I couldn’t believe what Anupama Chopra asks Sunny Leone-

“So how do you then have a partner, how do you then…sort of…conduct a personal life?”

I mean- why should Sunny have to explain how she ‘manages’ to have a steady boyfriend despite working in the porn industry- I don’t see what business it is of Anupama’s! To her credit, Sunny answers the question without the faintest bit of offense. I however. cringed inside at such a intrusive, almost malicious question.

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The List

Here is IHM’s post on what prospective Indian brides consider ‘non negotiable’ while marrying.

Here is my reply.

I guess, as one commenter mentioned to me, I should have some in mind before officially meeting the BF’s parents – which is happening in 6 days.

First, I’d like to say that i’m still dazed at all this happening so fast. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my guy, but I’m not sure I want to get married so soon. On the other hand, I do have days when all I want is to be married to him ASAP.

I guess UK Immigration have done what my desi parents couldn’t- put a stop to all the ‘living in’ and ‘boyfriend’ business. The Border Agency’s agenda (that would gladden the heart of any aunty)  is THIS-get married beta, else we’ll make your life miserable!

Still, grow-up and grow some balls I must- so here goes-

THE LIST OF NON NEGOTIABLES PLUS STRATEGY IF NEGOTIATIONS FAIL

1. Staying in our own place (this is a given anyway, we both want it, him more than me)

2. Staying abroad- with the possibility of returning to India much much much later

3. Having kids-I promise to think about it, but honestly, I am around babies 80 hours a week and there’s been zero maternal twinges so far despite (or maybe because of ) this! There’s even an official term for wanting babies after working in my field- called “getting broody”- and it (hopefully) ain’t ever gonna happen to me.

4.Career- I love my career for the time being. I’ve been working for 10 months in the UK so nascent career is a better term. I can give it a break for a year or so if I had kids (WHEN I’m 32 plus, ahem) – but I would go crazy unless I combined having babies with another activity- research/another degree/something/anything! My idle mind is more than the devil’s workshop- try headquarters!

5.Said Future hypothetical kids learning Kannada, Bharathnatyam, Carnatic Music, Vedic Math, and at least one instrument from following list- veena,tabla,violin,flute, not to mention standing first in class every single time and generally being first class south indian kids to counter the effect of the dangerous North Indian genes that got in because mummy had a thing for  sexy men who talked dirty in Punjabi.Don’t know HOW that slipped in. But seriously, I would want future kids to have some amount of my heritage, instead of capitulating to the great all-round Punjabi-fication that looms up ahead.

Yeah so that’s my list. I’m not including mundane things like “changing my name” or “wearing/drinking/eating what I want to ” because they are in a realm beyond non-negotiable- they are my INDIVIDUAL choices , not choices I will make as one half of a COUPLE, so they are not up for discussion, with anyone, BF included.

The problem is, I don’t really want to bring all this up with the BF’s parents- surely all that matters is whether he knows all this shit,( he already does, and so far is in  100 % agreement) so do I set forth all these points, or not? (I’d rather just keep mum- it’s nobody’s business but ours, na?)

I can see all 4 parents fuming away if I were to declare that they may never have grandkids.

Yes, keep quiet, escape to phoren and live happily ever after. Sounds like a plan.

Yesterday.

Yesterday, in a very Juno-esque moment, a teen girl gave birth to a baby (the baby was my patient).While filling out some paperwork , I overheard some other staff ‘speculating’ about this girl’s life. While a teenage mum is always subjected to scrutiny, everywhere, I was taken aback by remarks that she ‘must surely smoke pot’ and ‘drink too’- especially since there was no mention anywhere that she did such things.

Have you ever heard people making assumptions about a man or boys’ drinking or smoking habits- BASED ONLY on his being sexually active? For, my part, I felt sorry for this girl- obviously the baby daddy was nowhere to be found- and in my opinion, nobody should be ‘written off’ at 17!

.

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Yesterday , I was flipping through a copy of UK Grazia, when I came across an article by a 30-ish woman claiming that though she was happy to be single, her family and friends felt pity for her and felt she was ‘abnormal’ not to be with someone by her age.

I checked the authors name , wondering if she was Indian- she wasn’t.

.

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Yesterday, I heard a male , caucasian colleague, tell his friend that he wanted to date someone who would ‘stay at home and take care of the kids’.When his friend pointed out that he was being a bit too rigid, and cross questioned him about whether HE would be willing to stay at home , his reply was that he had a medical degree -so that was out of the question, unless he married an heiress!

Sigh.

Reel Reflections -2

After the obvious Karan Johar streak in Reel Reflections-1, I thought it would make sense to group movies around a common theme- in this case- Movies With Irritating Parent Figures

1. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge

THEN- Ah! A European romance between two young souls, that starts with fiery conflict in the UK and blossoms into kutchie-kutchie koo by the time they reach Geneva. And then- the inevitable whisking off of Simran to Punjab to be forcibly married to XYZ by her meanie dad, culminating in a wonderful end where the’ villain ‘ sees the error of his ways, and hands Simran over to her Raj (?) and everyone lives happily ever after. As an aunt of mine once commented- See, they didn’t elope, they instead convinced their parents- that’s the way it should be done, kids. Sniff. Tissues all around.

NOW-Obedience to parents ceases to be a desirable trait if said parent is trying to emotional and physically force you to marry some guy from the Pind. Really. FYI, Simran-ji, the UK government now has a Forced Marriage Unit, and come 2013, Amrish Puri’s deeds will become a criminal offence. Moral of the story- dear desi UK girls, (including Katrina from Namastey London) NOTE!! trip to India= underhanded attempt to get you married, unless otherwise proved.

2.Hum Aapke Hai Kaun

THEN- A grandly staged movie which elevated the Great (North) Indian Wedding to the status of an epic musical, which, (given the scale of most weddings these days )was almost prescient of Sooraj Barjatya. Alluring belle/sister of the bride- check! Shy, demure bride plus free transformation into model bahu and family heir-bearer-check! Giggly random females-check! Manly older groom/brother of the hero-check! And lest we forget- THE dashing hero- check , and how! An all-you-can-eat buffet of Bollywood, ’twas filled with songs, ceremonies, subplots, Tuffy and something for everyone-HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THIS MOVIE?

NOW- Wtf were they thinking??!! Marry off poor Madhuri to brother-in-law widower so that a. His ‘needs’ are taken care of- a.k.a. coparenting-cum-cooking-cum-cleaning-cum-sexytime and b. the baby gets a ‘mother who would love it as much as it’s real mother’.I mean – WTFF! Can’t make my mind up as to who is creepier- the parents (all four of them) for dreaming up such an abhorrent solution or the bro-in-law who doesn’t say no to the prospect of the ‘saali’ becoming ‘gharwaali’!

3. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

THEN- Aishwarya was exquisite in this movie- to the point where a girl crush on my part may have even occurred. Added to that was the grace and grandeur of all of Gujarat just thrown in my face- and all I could do was blink in wonderment. The chemistry between Salman and the Bacchchan bahu was sensual. The love of Ajay was wistful. And the ending , unexpected, but oddly satisfying- for as we all know- LOVE COMES AFTER (arranged) MARRIAGE.

NOW- What’s-his-name was a mean mean father. Granted, he didn’t want his daughter to go gallivanting away to Italy, but why did he think marrying her off to another man was the solution? In that vast mansion- did he not find a single TV in all the years, which had a channel, which in turn played a movie with that oft repeated line- “Iss shaadi se teen teen zindagiyaan barbaad ho jaayegi?”

Anyway, Aishwarya and Salmando re-unite, but by that point she’s now in love with her husband.  So the gist of the movie seems to be this- You will fall for  the caste correct rich business man, yes the one you were forcibily married to, simply because he’s smitten with you ! Being on a pedestal and being worshipped always always trumps being someones flesh-and-blood-equal! Don’t bother with love-shove, that’s only for people who can’t find TRUE LOVE ,  arranged – marriage style!

Reel Reflections-1

(Apologies to any regular readers of this blog (I hope you exist! Not so sure at this point). Had a 12 day stretch at work that made blogging/blogsurfing virtually impossible!)

So, without further ado, I present REEL REFLECTIONS- my *new and improved* opinions of movies some of which were firm favourites during my growing up years. I will try to do this as a series- the theme for part 1 is- Hit Romances of late 1990’s/early 2000’s.

1. Raja Hindustani

THEN-(I was crazy about this movie- can’t think why, though I vividly remember marvelling at Karishma’s eyebrows) .A sweet love story of a rich girl and a poor boy who manage to make it to the finish line, despite the fact that he’s a taxi driver and she’s an heiress.

NOW- A silly love story between a rich girl and a poor boy who gets so insecure about her wealth that he gets smashed in front of her folks and treats her like shit for much of the second half, and then wonders why she’s not running back to him. Eventually sense prevails, but only after suitable sati-savitri-sari-bindi modifications. And yeah, he also has the gall to ‘scold’ her for wearing inappropriate clothes/attracting unwanted attention.

2. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

THEN- Aww Kajol and Shahrukh. Aww super-duper-hit-line that love IS friendship.Aww also , to the notion that if you love someone enough, someday , they will come to you. Aww little girl trying to set her dad up so that she can have mom number two. Aww cute little punjabi boy who sings and makes adorable remarks. Also, props for introducing (?) the ‘toot ta hua taara’ trope to Bollywood.

NOW-Generally WTF. So, tomboys do NOT get they guy- the feminine, shy girl does. ALSO, said tomboys chances would greatly increase if she CONVERTED into the afore-mentioned feminine shy model of girl. ( btw wouldn’t changing your entire wardrobe and personality make you think- DAMN THIS FEELS WEIRD.. aka kuch kuch hota hai?) Anyway y’all , bharatiya naari types are the only kinda girls worth loving marrying, and anybody with an ounce of spirit and rebellion clearly will not do.

3.Kal Ho Na Ho (yes, even KHNH)

THEN- A frothy, fun first half, followed by a painfully long second half, that was still worth repeat viewings because of all the extremely competent characters. A tale of un-requited love that somehow also managed to celebrate life and love and NYC and NRIs.

NOW- No major grumbles except for this one- it is EXTREMELY patronising to PASS ON the woman you love to another man (like a bag of chips ) all the while claiming that it’s for her own good. Not to mention conveniently pretending to be ‘married’, leading her to believe that you don’t love her. BE a man, and admit why you don’t want to be with her, then let her react any way she wants to! She MAY want to be there for you during your worst time you know.Just saying.

4. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

THEN- Crock of b******t. Also, does nobody in Mumbai know that Poo also means s**t? (Unless somebody amongst the script-writers was being literal about what they thought of Kareena dahling)

NOW-Crock of b******t. It’s really NOT all about loving your (manipulative, selfish, classist, entitled) parents.Now, more than ever.

5. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

THEN- Yawn.

NOW- Surprisingly progressive message from the purveyor of manufactured love and artificial emotions.Though it must be said, that ultimately, the ‘loser’ guy (‘loser’ in my terms, ‘hero’ in Karan’s) ends up with the less threatening woman precisely because he finds her less intimidating to his self-worth. I would gently like to point out that in real life, a crabby, grumpy, insecure man like that would find it very hard to find love once, let alone twice.

Why this blog is called Desi Daaru and Other Random Revelations.

The term’s been around forever I know. Still, when I was a college going dreamer, I thought it would be a cool name for an overseas bar that sold Indian brands of liquor . I’d forgotten about it till they went and made a song outta the phrase in the movie Cocktail.Now, it’s highly unlikely I will ever own a bar -so blog will have to do!

 Even though the title sounds positively alcoholic, I regret to inform you that my drinking habit is quite boringly conservative .Having said that,I love the flavour of Old Monk. I don’t actually drink it much but I like to add a teeny bit of it to a glass of Coke-it adds a yummy, intensely vanilla flavour. Also, I’m a fan of the bottle itself- the shape is kinda iconic (amongst kids too broke for posher drinks, but still, in a decade, it will be retro-cool , just like the Maruti 800. So I predict). Snigger if you will.

As for what I DO like to drink-I’m an all-out cocktail girl.I’ve spent good time trying to concoct combinations that have included amongst other things, tabasco and bournvita.(Fortunately not in the same drink. (FYI I love bournvita.Can drink it by the gallon))

Give me 2 drinks and I’m wittier,flirty,and no longer too shy to dance . (I know that’s sad, but I’m not exactly ms.extrovert and need liquid help to be socially functional around the ‘lets dance yaar!’ kinda crowd).I’m not one of those people who drink to unburden their soul and express their deep , dark thoughts.

That’s what this blog is for, innit.

It ain’t sex..erm..six months yet, baby.

I just read about a study that’s being widely reported in online media.

This study, titled “The Tempo of Sexual Activity and Later Relationship Quality” looked at 600 couples, and seemingly concluded that ‘Rapid sexual involvement may have adverse long-term implications for relationship quality’.

While I don’t have access to the text of the original article (I’m trying though!) , the media articles I’ve read state that, according to this study, relationship satisfaction was lower in women who engaged in sex within the first 6 months of the start of the relationship.

LOL.

While I’m not one to encourage people to jump into bed as soon as they meet, I do think that studies of this type are flawed by nature-

– They rely too much on self-reported data- ANYONE’s description of their own sexual frequency and practices need to be taken with a pinch of salt- people will lie,hide,exaggerate , down-play- to EVERYONE, especially researchers, so you can forget about any kind of research reliability.

-Even assuming that the data is entirely true and believable, could it not be possible that people with certain behaviours and traits- hesitant, non-confrontational or of a certain age- older, wiser- may both postepone sex in a relationship as well as be inherently better at handling relationships? These confounding factors may just as well explain why some couples are both satisfied with the relationship  as well more likely to delay sexual involvement. Correlation does not imply causation!

So all in all folks,it’s not exactly the most scientific of studies, and has a faint patriarchial whiff abit it if anything. There’s no need to lose sleep over the ‘adverse effects’ of sleeping with someone before the magic 6 months.

If you did in fact tumble into your relationship, bed hair and all, instead of gracefully waltzing into it- more power to you. As the Brits say,keep calm, and carry on!

Living In- Sin or Win?

I’m not in favour of live-in relationships.

If that’s come as a surprise, let me hasten to qualify my statement. I’m not in favour of openly lived live-in relationships, for Indian women, in India-right now.

Here are a few thoughts on this-

-A couple in a live-in relationship in India are looked down upon- more so the woman, than the man. If , by some unlucky turn of fate, the relationship ends, the woman will in India, find herself , on the lowest rung on the social ladder, while the man’s standing takes only the faintest of hits.The social disadvantage could translate into trouble finding a new place to live or trouble with parents – (which in theory can be offset by having a good friends circle , I suppose)

-A woman’s prospects of future suitors gets severely hampered as her character will be deemed to be flawed, where as the man’s ‘suitability’ for future relationships is much less affected.

– Getting unexpectedly pregnant is always a bigger headache for the woman than for the man, irrespective of the outcome- and I don’t have to elaborate on the why’s. Also, getting pregnant while unmarried is a big deal in India, with limited options for dealing with unwanted pregnancies.

I guess, then, I’m not in favour of live in relationships in INDIA. I would have no problem being in a live-in relationship in a country where I wouldn’t be socially punished for it, and where I would have easy access to support if I did become pregnant- irrespective of whether I would choose to be a single mom / terminate the pregnancy/give the baby up for adoption.

Also, I’m against the granting of rights to live-in couples- it turns the relationship into a grey, almost matrimonial area, that defeats the very purpose of a no-strings-attached relationship. I do feel matrimony is an all -or- none kind of relationship, and the introduction of various ‘legal’ stages of togetherness is silly- if people want to be bound up by law, can’t they just get married?

P.S I write this as a girl who’s been in a semi-live-in type of relationship; I had my own place but would frequently spend days at my BF’s place without setting foot in my room, while I do appreciate the advantages of such an arrangement,  a large part of why it did not disadvantage me was the fact that my parents were unaware of it.

However, it was not fun being the neighbourhood’s ‘loose’woman and I would probably not do it again in India, having now lived abroad.