Friday, June 18, 2010

Bharta of the Brain

A Bharta is a dish of burnt brinjal. It is roasted over a slow flame until the skin is completely charred, and then cooked into a dish. In this scorching summer, I feel pretty much the same. And no, this is not *another* rant about the weather. It is a nice, quaint, petite collection of minuscule things that make me feel like, well...uhm....MAKING A BHARTA OF THIS WORLD.

The other day, I had the misfortune to fall ill and sleep on the couch and watch TV all weekend. Big Mistake. After watching a million reruns of Castle (I will hunt down Richard Castle and marry him someday, yessirree.) and 90210 (What? I was sick ok? I have the right to watch it.) and Scrubs and every other possible show on Star World, I finally found the remote and changed the channel to watch something in Hindi. I figured I would be able to improve my hindi in some way, and not scandalize my poor unsuspecting patients by asking them ridiculously worded questions.

So I put this channel. And this serial is coming. The woman is yelling at her daughter-in-law. After some 20 minutes of yelling, I realize that she's gotten her son married only so that she could find an object of torture on which she can displace her forty odd years of marital frustration. The poor girl gets yelled at for cooking well because this Hitler incarnate feels that this harmless person is trying to usurp her position in the family. By cooking theplas, apparently.

Before I have time to react, another serial begins. (Most hindi serials are 20 minutes of torture and 10 minutes of advertisements) In this one, two 15 year old children are married. *Married*. And the Mother casually asks her older (unmarried) daughter on the phone, 'Beta, we're getting the kids married..can you come early from college today?'

Remember when Baalika Vadhu came out and everyone hailed it as something that would break conventions, stereotypes and expose the rural India's fatalistic beliefs? Well, not exactly. Since the protagonist of that serial is now seen enjoying her 'marital' life by running around the house in pretty clothes, worrying about how much salt to add to the khaana and if her husband is well supplied with his daily dose of jalebis. So much for female empowerment.

Has the portrayal of a woman deteriorated so much in Hindi Serials? Show me one soap where the woman is hailed for being, well, just who she is - a normal person...and I'll show you failed TRPs. Almost everything that comes on TV domesticates the woman like a household cat, which just needs to preen and occasionally purr at people. If the woman is working, then she's either in love with the boss, or the colleague, or just random people. She's not just 'being herself' without the tag of wife/girlfriend/daughter etc.

Why must we be forced to watch pregnant women singing happily about their upcoming babies, married little girls cooking halwas and awkward young women standing in front of random strangers for being 'accepted' as a prospective daughters-in-law?

Feminism in the Hindi TV Serial world has regressed to the 1800s. And we're watching it like unblinking zombies. If the weather hasn't overcooked the grey cells already, then let's just say this has just about burnt it completely.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Weathering Heights!

If you are born a Bangalorean, you will be obsessed about three main things.

1) The Weather.
2) The Weather.
3) and The Weather.

There is a large balancing scale up there in the skies. When the weather gets too sunny, the clouds tip the balance and pour rain all over the city. When the rains get too overwhelming, the Sun tips the balance and pours sunshine instead. The scales stay at an equilibrium, thanks to this natural tipping technique. And we boast about it to the rest of the universe.

Sure, there are those things that irritate you about the weather. For example, I constantly worry about the clouds causing turbulence, which will effectively make me a nervous wreck during take off and landing. Also the fact that now, thanks to the Metro construction work, muddle puddles are no longer just 'Muddy'. They're filthy, and you really don't feel like jumping into one just to dirty your friend's shoes.

But the most irritating thing about Bangalore's weather? You can't enjoy it once you're out of the city. Chennai, you're home. I agree. You have the sea, the sea breeze, and evenings that resemble Bangalore. But you also have Humidity. Someone who blissfully ignores my city.

And Delhi? Oh well. Whatever. You're like Fried Ice Cream. Too hot, Too cold.

But Bangalore? You are a true blue sadist. Making me fall in love with you for over 20 years, and then depriving me of your warmth and coolness.

A place I can wear a sweater in June and not fuss about how everyone will laugh. A place which always has sparkling clean trees, because they've just been given a wash. A place where you can sip hot coffee, and eat ice cream on the same day. A place where you can just walk...with no destination, and no care in the world, because the weather is perfect, and that's all you need.

I miss you. :-(