Monday, April 30, 2007

Just Being A Father

I was just flipping through the latest Outlook.
There are some 3 pages dedicated to the Bachchan Wedding called “The Big Belittling”. I’ve read near everything that has been written about the wedding but this one holds the bakery to ransom. It’s the “intellectual’s perspective”, you see.

I had thought and decided that I would not write about this wedding and the carnival that accompanied it but, I have been known to lose balance on occasion.

I have heard over the years that one of my parents is a manglik. They fell in love at an age when Indian culture and society was being rocked by the rich poor divide more than the education vs ritual one. So manglik or no manglik, the resistance was huge as my dad came from a family which was barely making ends meet and, my mom was the daughter of the most affluent “doctor family” in the area. By the way, just to give u all a better perspective, the area that we are talking about is Bihar and both my parents studied medicine together…….Love triumphed and my nani finally gave way to my mom’s satyagraha and my dad’s bad boy appeal. And, then, an arya samaj ritual was performed to drive the manglik away. Post which, the wedding happened, or, so I’ve heard. It wasn’t very well chronicled as we were not the Bachchans and our ritualism could not qualify to be the topic of much public debate and, the flight to instant public recall.

Coming back to the Outlook article, 8 intellectuals of this country raise a very valid debate and do it in a manner that is subversive, dictatorial and complete bullshit. I am a firm believer in “there is no single stand to most issues that confront us” and therefore, “no single way that is right”. To give you fair warning, those who treat this perspective as a mere oscillation technique or a homegrown Libran trait, I suggest you quit reading.

Therefore, for me to be sticking my neck out and singling out one particular point of view as bullshit, is cause enough for concern.

How can the most intellectual bastion of this country conveniently forget the basic values of liberal thought and free action and pronounce judgment on a family which is doing what comes naturally to every other family – protecting its young ? Aren’t these people supposed to be our thought leaders? Are they not the ones who embrace the man for what he is, than for what they think he should be? Aren’t they the ones who bring us closer to the person we are, through empathy, art and intellect?

This family of superstars wants to marry off its son in the way it sees fit. To another superstar. The fact that they are superstars does not help a father’s plight or a mother’s insecurities. The stars are not rocking and the way out is through the conventional traditional route of rituals and mandir hopping. The family does that to ward off the evil “mangal”. When it is acceptable for me in my family, why does it become unacceptable when done by these superstars? Just because they choose to mingle with people we do not like makes the public react like well meaning moms of 12 yrs old kids who have just discovered “friends” : “friends” the moms do not feel are “right” for “their” kids. Stop the policing. It never works with ur own kids. It won’t work here. Amar Singh may be the most sleazy character you think you know, but most obviously, he is a critical part of “their” family. “Their” being the operative word.

I have never observed a single ritual in my personal space. But, I got married the traditional way. Not because it was desirable but because it was the done thing. I did not want to cause my parents and family the angst of rebelling just for the heck of it. If I had rebelled then and told my dad that u have taught me at the best places and, I am free thinker and, I want to do this my way which, will also save you pots of money, I daresay I would have had to face the tightest slap of my life. However, I would have lived in all the anecdotes of the latter generation and been revered like a heroine. But, I didn’t do it. It was just not worth causing my parents the angst. If that works for the daughter in me, why does it not work for the father in Bachchan or the daughter in law in Ash? They choose to be like this. And, that’s it.

How come I don’t see these intellectuals raising such a concerted demonstration of moral disbelief at institutions like marital rape? There is no ritual more pervasive and less explored than that one. No guts to raise that issue or no celebrity to piggy back on?

There is this one comment that I love because it got the adrenaline in me pumping so hard that I forgot that I had already taken my medicines for hypertension in the morning. Mr. Kiran Nagarkar, well known novelist and social commentator says “What do we make of his grand donations to temples? That he is covering his front and back, but God doesn’t give any insurances.” Kiran Nagarkar is one of the most interesting and reclusive intellectuals of modern India.
In the story titled “The Arsonist” in his complex book “God’s Little Soldiers”, he says “We must never stop questioning ourselves, holding our beliefs up to the light, Nothing can be more dangerous than to be too sure of yourself – to be too certain about the rightness of your own cause. That paves the way for intolerance towards others.” He also calls himself a confirmed atheist and believes Gods come and and go. There is only one God and that is life.

My belief matches yours Mr Nagarkar. I too believe the same. But I also believe that Mr. Bachchan may not adhere to my belief and is completely entitled to his own value tree. Whether this value tree impacts society in a positive manner is not his responsibility to ensure. To lead his life in the manner he chooses to see fit is.

I am tolerant of the fact that he is human, he can choose to act so, selfishly, erroneously, publicly.

But I guess I’m not an intellectual, right….I just see things for what they are…try to live the way I possibly would have….and understand, that even if I wouldn’t have, its still OK.


Smiling Dolphin said...

when you are a public figure, you have to accept that whatever you say and do will get into the public domain whether you wish to be private or not. the bachchans take all this in their stride and do what they want anyway, never fear.

Citizen Shaker said...

i almost had a similar feeling when the english vice-captain, flintoff, got drunk and capsized his boat on the sea. the victorian solution - he was sacked as the vice-captain, and suspended for a match.
my only issue is the bachchans bloody stopped the traffic in the already congested mumbai, all to have a traditionala long as ur tradition create no nuisance for me, its fine...

raja said...

have some probs with my comp settings (or i dont know what) which does not let me post comments on blogs. i went through your views on the "B"ig wedding ( as i call it) and could not agree with you more..just because "we" choose to make "them" Gods, does not mean that it is their responsibility to behave like Gods..expecting them to not go to temples to seek blessings (because it is for normal people to do)is akin to expecting them not to brush their teeth every morning (because that is so normal!!)...however, what i did get appalled by was the stretch to which the media took this whole saga to. my problem is not that they went to temples, but the fact that i was faced with their images of going to temples 24x7..i am getting totally disillusioned by the prostitution of indian media. however, i do have a small complaint against the "B" family - they had no business to block the roads in mumbai to suit their personal needs and inconvenience people... also they should not have manhandled the photographers because these are the same people "B"s used when things were good and even more when things were bad - it is a u-scratch-mine-and-i-scratch-urs relationship and that should have been kept in mind

by the way, saw spidey and i was pretty average - less spidey and more mary jane and mushy shit..i was like go-fight-man-leave-rest-for-hugh grant..saw last king of scotland last night - AMAZING STUFF !!!

Chintoo said...

Couldn't agree more on this. th angst was always there and wanted a channel to come out after I read that shit piece.
These so called "wise men" are doing nothing but trying to piggy back on a very successful man to make a name for themselves.

the mad momma said...

posted the exact opposite view on my blog.. and am glad i came across your passionate view. but will go with smiling dolphin's view, that when you are a public figure, you have to be ready to face the music.