Oh (Cat) Fish

Article 7
Oh (Cat)Fish!

So I’ve been hooked onto this American reality show called “Catfish” that deals with online relationships which more than often go kaput. (Don’t they all?). What intrigued me more, was the dilemma of who deserved sympathy? The fooler (let’s assume it’s a word) or the fool? One has low self esteem and the other, a low IQ level. It seems to me, that Indian men and women are more gullible than their international contemporaries. Hate me for saying that but it is the truth. And why is that? Is it because we are a nation that still considers sex a taboo subject? (No, Ranveer Singh endorsing a condom brand didn’t help. Sorry). Despite being a sex-starved nation, we still treat it like it’s some goddamn top-secret mission. Being open about it doesn’t seem to evolve into a bankable option any time soon, but being alert is. There are a few ways to prevent your heart from getting “Poked” or your intentions “Blocked” or your love “disconnected”. I could go on with the internet puns all day. (Stop, Akash. They’re bored already).
Evoking the Agony Aunt in me, here are some tricks:
1. Don’t get too attached to anybody you meet through the internet until you meet them in person.
2. Admit it. Everybody is going to lie a little. You just have to decide how much you’re ready to accept and whether the guy/girl on the other side of the screen is compensating.
For example, a guy says he has a Mercedes. Case one scenario, he has a Maruti. Acceptable? Quite. Case two scenario, he’s a homeless wreck. Acceptable? Oh you’ve already fled.
3. Never share any of your credit card details and passwords or lend money to any of these internet “sensations”. More often than not, they’re trolling you. You’re going to be left with a hole in your heart and a bigger one in your pocket.
4. Do not get carried away by sweet promises and sugary compliments and share any personal pictures. You’re jeopardising not only your life and respect, but also that of your family.
5. Always keep your parents in the loop. Going to meet Facebook Aashiq, don’t lie. Provide them with details. As redundant as that sounds, you’ll avoid complications by conveying information.

The internet is a maze you can get trapped in, if you aren’t careful and vigilant. I’m not meaning to say all online relationships end tragically, I personally know people who’ve had found soul mates through it. But that’s because they used it in the right way. Conversely, never lie on the internet. You have no right to blame “Omegle Troller” if you haven’t kept your word either. Social networking sites are a great way to build connections and shed off your inhibitions. Don’t malign the platform or misuse it. And if you have any additional tips, share it with me in a comment below!

Also, Go check this informative article out which lists some technical tools to prevent online tension: http://www.datingadviceguy.com/2009/10/16/tools-for-identifying-online-dating-scams-and-liars

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Sleazy Sterotypes

So I was watching this Indian movie called “Chennai Express” and I was guided to an epiphany. And it wasn’t because of Deepika Padukone. Okay, not only because of Deepika Padukone. I thought to myself, how long before we start making movies which actually make some sense?! I have to admit, there have been some intelligent movies that have been made in the past five years, but dismally, we’re still not there. That prompted me to do a list of some things I think Indian movies should stop showing . Like, banish them forever.
Here we go:
1. Save me the horror
Portrayal of Gay Stereotypes
Wow where do I begin. Not every gay man has a death-obsession with bright pink and talks with a slight bend of his hand. Snip it.

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2. Aiyyo
Racist jokes
Not all South Indians keep saying “Aiyyo” at the drop of a hat. Not every East Indian is a tea stall owner. Not every Gujarati thinks about garba every two and a half seconds. It’s disrespectful and regressive.

3. Diya Bujh Gaya
Vulnerable portrayal of women
For once, can’t the heroine be kicking butt and doing dhishum-dhishum to the bad guys while the hero lights a diya in the temple as strong breeze caresses his forehead?

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4. No G(r)and Masti
Tacky Adult comedies
Yes I know we owe this genre to our overrated Hollywood. (Sorry America, someone had to say it). But at least they know how to do it proper. For how long can we ogle at jiggling assets and laugh at double meaning slapstick jokes. (Fellow men, please think with your brains, nothing else).

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5. Baby doll Badnaam Hui
Item Songs
Even if I wasn’t against coordinated dance performances which come across fake and tedious, I’d still say item songs are a waste. If they take the story further, fine. But what if the movie doesn’t have a story in the first place? When they’re used as a medium to sell the movie to us masses, you have to stop and think. Majority of our population can operate a mobile or computer and can watch Katrina Kaif dance in bare minimums if they want to, at home.

Having said that, credit is due. Our movies have grown in a magnanimous manner and owe their success to virgin talent that is tapping into a spectrum of concepts, genres and screenplays. For an industry that is barely 100 years old, and was industrialised 16 years ago, we’ve done well. If we disregard our rivalry (or supposed rivalry) with Hollywood and aim at meaningful cinema, not only will we create a loyal fan base locally, but also a global connect.

Solace

While she sat at the safer edge of the window sill, all those suppressed memories came gushing back. The troubled childhood, where the only friends she had were characters from the books she read. Gradually, those characters seemed to reduce to mere caricatures.
The scars on her wrist were testimony to her bearings. She remembered the first time she’d hurt herself, she had worn full-sleeves for the whole week. Before she knew it, she’d stopped caring. Not just about opinions, but about herself too. Her swelling waistline had been the subject of many-a-joke in the school corridors. She’d deduced that her contemporaries were Satan’s kindred spirits. They had shaken her confidence, or whatever little that was left of it. She thrusted closer.
She felt she was surrounded by pretty girls who seemed to have walked out of a Vogue photo shoot. She had come to peace with the fact that she wasn’t going to look anything like that any time soon. Her bare feet were slapping the cold breeze now.
Her mind wandered off to the day she opened her Facebook to see a picture of herself. The kind of picture most girls wouldn’t want to see of themselves on half a dozen social networking sites. This called for a move closer. She was so panic-stricken that she ended up going to school in smeared eye makeup. “She could have at least worn Bobbi Brown” was what Bitchy Betty had to say.
A tear streamed down her chubby cheeks, carrying along with it some of her eyeliner. It still wasn’t Bobbi Brown. She didn’t care. Thighs moving closer to the edge. Now the dangerous end.
Her grades seemed to be moving in an inverse relationship to her waistline. #Throwback to the day she told her mother she wanted to visit a counsellor, that she was tired. She didn’t want to be consumed any more. The bullying had led her to the depths of despair and the inability to discern. “I’m not taking you anywhere, you’ll get over the fad sooner than later”. As curtly as those words were said, they confused her. Perturbed her. Disoriented her.

That final plunge simplified everything.

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Troublesome Testosterones

My favourite spot is my study chair (where I do anything but) while I play Pacman (Judgemental eyeroll duly noted). One such slouchy morning, I check my phone to see a “News Alert”. I downloaded the app to feel intellectual. Under normal circumstances I’d have ignored it, but this one managed to shock the living daylights out of me. “…40 year old pastor rapes 17 year old girl…”. Don’t even ask me to extrapolate on my reaction. Imagine being hit by a steel rod and simultaneously given a wedgie. Don’t imagine it. (Been there, done that, regretted it).
For a country with the most number of qualified women, we have a paltry rape justice rate of 24.21 percent. Not only is it dismal, but also regressive to us as a sensibility. What irks me further is the treatment dispatched towards these women after the crime. Rounds to the police, public statements, defamation by society, the scorn of employers affixed to the personal humiliation and dejection.

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How many of you girls can look me in the eye and tell me you’ve never been stared at, in all the wrong ways, from all the wrong facets, by all the wrong men? The government has banned police from interrogating the victims. These interrogations were borderline thoroughly embarrassing and were a means used by perverted officials to harass victims. Applicable from 1st March, only a statement to the magistrate is mandatory.
I blame the law though. Unless you create fear in the minds of law-breakers they aren’t going to stop doing it repeatedly. Take a cue from international governments and carry out judgement impromptu. Instead, our coveted rapists are fed Tandoori Chicken and Biryani every effin day. I wish some of the police’s clemency transferred to Mom. (What, I want a world where Biryani never ceases to end). I’ve jotted down a few things I think every Indian woman should keep in mind, while travelling alone. I’m not saying that women need to change. I strongly believe men are the cause and only men, but it isn’t in my capacity to educate them.

1. If you’re alone in a lift with an unknown man who tries making a pass at you, press all the buttons on the lift dashboard. This will cause the elevator to open frequently and he won’t dare to come near you.
2. While travelling by rickshaw, always take down the details and call someone you know (or even pretend to) and convey to them the information in a language the driver will understand. He will now consider it his duty to drop you off safely. The potential assailant becomes the protector.
3. Learn martial arts or any other form of self-defence. You could practise on your partners.
I’m kidding!
No seriously ladies, stop contemplating doing that.
4. Download the Siren app on your phones but don’t abuse it. Use it when required.

I’ve given up hop
e on my country’s law enforcement system. One has no choice when our ministers say horrendous things like “Women should not venture out with men who are not relatives”. Someone please tell Abu Azmi to shut up. We have to be the change we’ve been longing to see. Or atleast, try bringing about one. Relentlessly and unabatingly, keep at it.
The crime of defiling a woman is a harrowing, spine-chilling one and deserves no mercy. Not even a shred.

P.S.: Thank You for all the encouragement on the previous article, I’m grateful and overwhelmed. I’m not one to beg for shares and follows, but I feel this article needs that treatment. Please share it and spread the word. You’d be helping potential future victims.

Horn Ok Please

My heart racing. My eyeballs dilating. Drops of sweat trickling down my brows. Before you jump to conclusions, this hasn’t become a kinky diary or anything, and no, I ain’t getting me any action. I’m describing to you, the state I find myself in while travelling everyday in Mumbai. Let’s momentarily forget that my chauffeur’s driving skills are matchable to those of a blind cat, I’d still say commuting is a task. I thought we’d do a lil Rapid Fire, coz that’s the In thing. Grab a pen and paper or just open your Smartphone Memopad and have a cookie for every time you answer “No” to my questions.

1. Have you ever had a brawl with a  rickshaw driver on the road?
2. Have you ever honked like a man-off-meds because the car ahead of you is as fast as an asleep snail?
3. Have you ever broken a signal? Or reprimanded your chauffeur to do so?
4. Have you ever had to ask for directions owing to the to lack of appropriate ones (or any)?
5. Have you ever abused on the road? Mentally or in actuality?

I’m not cruel, you can cheat and have one cookie. Coz that’s the only one you’re getting all day. My point is, when was the last time you were enjoying local travel? It’s inconvenient,  stressful and oh-so-consuming. For my international readers (far and few they come), our rickshaw drivers are a combination of Gordon Ramsey, Simon Cowell and Joan Rivers. They seamlessly break signals, recklessly spit paan on the road and expressively slur. The person who issues them licenses is sure-as heaven not a God fearing man.
You ask me what we can do, I say, a lot. Don’t encourage them to drive rash, or speed up when you’re getting late. It’s your fault. Report them if they take you for a ride (pun intended) to raise the fare. A wise man once said, “Don’t succumb to wrong, as that puts you equally at fault”.