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Middle-aged, Middle class and Single!

The headline caught your attention didn’t it? Well, that is  why the male protagonist in a popular Indian TV soap was screaming these words at the top of his lungs at the female protagonist. I do follow TV soaps occasionally to keep myself abreast as they are great social conversation starters when I find myself out of words  in specific settings and I continue to be awed by how much they impact the way people think.
Disclaimers – if you have never watched an Indian Balaji telefilms soap or if you do not think that television soaps impact and reflect the social mindset, this may not be for you.
When Indian television launched daily soaps, Ekta Kapoor revolutionized it by giving us the typical Indian Bahu who wore the mangal sutra like a medallion around her neck and retired to bed every night in all her finery. An excessively regressive portrayal of an Indian household where under the garb of sanskaars – everyone was adulterous, jealous and immortal. Though some turned up their noses …
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Dilli ki Sardi...

“Who Stole Delhi’s Winter?” Saw this snippet in the newspaper this morning and couldn’t help smiling at it. Exactly what's been going on in my mind.  Winter is my favorite part of living in Delhi and the deprivation of some of the much awaited experiences is definitely being felt  .
So you are wondering what the big deal is. What do winters in Delhi mean?  To start with, it is our favorite fashion season. Big or small, dark or fair, tall or short, with the fancy jackets, turtlenecks, scarves, tweeds, the chillier it gets, the more we layer up in style. The only appreciative statement that I have heard from a Mumbaikar for Delhi is- “everyone in Delhi dresses up so well in winters.” While most people will relate to their mom’s staple question in this season – “beta sweater pehna hai ki nahin” it’s not just the ‘sweater’ - we have a full winter wardrobe. And if you have been to college in Delhi, you will surely have a knitted cap and pair of obnoxiously bright colored socks that you b…

Do the stars get it right?

“100% success – download kundali matching app now” says an sms that I received this morning. It’s the marriage season again and even though we are in the twenty first century, the kundali matching business continues to flourish in this season. It has definitely become more technical with computerized kundalis made in seconds and reports being available online. There are mobile apps for this as well. As per a UNICEF study 2 years back, 90% of marriages in India are arranged. Most of the hindu arranged marriages begin with the kundali matching as the first step as this system is considered the perfect way to predict a successful marriage. We can accordingly imagine the magnitude of the kundali matching industry. The kundali matching often leads to discovery a lot of doshas (ill effects of star placement) and pandits make a lot of money helping people going through ceremonies to get rid of these doshas.For the uninitiated, please refer to the description of gun milanhere to understand th…

And one for the Mrs...

The cleaning lady wanted me to fill some forms for her so that she could get an identity card for working in the apartment. She gave me her voter’s card and asked me to copy details from it. Slightly bewildered, I looked at the card twice. Her name on it said R….a Bewa. “Bewa” means widow in Urdu and I found it odd  for someone to have a family name like that. When I asked her she told me that her husband passed away a few years back and since then in all the official documents her surname is written as Bewa. When he was alive she used to write her name as R…a Bibi. I was stunned. It was a tragic reflection of marital status overshadowing a woman’s identity.
After the initial shock, I brushed it off as something that perhaps still resides in a certain economic strata. After all, the women around me have moved on from the evident stamps of wearing a chooda, sindoor and bichuwa to declare their marital status to the world. They don’t even change their surnames after marriage.
I would hav…

The Little Packages of Goodness

Last week I went to watch a movie with my mum and while coming out she needed some help to walk down the slope. A young man standing next to her noticed her extending her hand to seek support and kindly held her hand and helped her get down the slope amongst the jostling crowd.
A friend recently posted on FB that she was proud of her husband helping someone who had a heart attack in a restaurant where they were dining.
Few years back, we were in a multi - storey building when an earthquake struck and as we rushed down, we were surprised to be one of the only two families who had brought our pet dog down along with us. The rest had left their pets behind.
What’s so special about these incidents that make them worth mentioning?
These are simple acts of compassion that are waning away from our lives. Stand in front of the elevator of a mall on a busy weekend and you will see people pushing each other without even considering if there is an elderly person, a woman with a small child or someo…

The Inheritance of Fear

Yesterday, a friend’s facebook status talked about her turning into a paranoid parent who is afraid to trust anyone. This was a reaction to the news of a 4 year old being raped by her school bus conductor. I could not agree with her more. Every morning, the plethora of murders, rapes and robberies reported only adds to the fear.
There is a lot of discussion in the last month on why do people not stop on the road to help victims. Is it just because of the fear of going to the police? Or is it a much deeper rooted fear of our own safety when we see someone trying to stop the car on the road as a result of the repeated stories we have heard of people being stopped on the road on the pretext of an accident or a person in need of help and then being robbed or killed.
“Keep the car door locked, do not open the window even if someone knocks”, most of us would have received and given this advice to our near and dear ones. Around 3 years ago, while driving my cousin to her exam center, we notic…

Cinemagic!

Film buffs are ditching long queues at the cinema to watch movies online. This continues to be debated in India due to internet bandwidth issues and online piracy. But is it just that which still makes 28% of Indian adults go to the cinema halls*? Beyond the Dolby digital effects, there is more to the experience of going to watch movies in theatres.


“Which is the latest movie that you have seen?” From status updates on social networking sites to the opening  conversation when boy meets girl for the first time, movies continue to bridge the gap of lack of information to build a connection. Other than posting pictures of holidays, the next active thing that most dormant FB users do is post their views on the latest movies they have seen. And of course this comes with the assumption that they watched this movie in the theatre. Who cares about what people have been watching on Tata Sky showcase or have been downloading from the net?

Be it a date, catching up with friends or bonding with col…