The Life and Times of a Stereotype

Apparently I am INTP personality type, as per Messrs Briggs and Myers.

To spare you the clicking and reading, here’s what it says:

INTPs are logical, individualistic, reserved, and very curious individuals. They focus on ideas, theories and the explanation of how things work. They are especially adept at discussions and debate. They have the ability to focus intently on a subject. They appreciate and respect intelligence in others.

On one hand, this is good news. Which is, that the results didn’t show DDFO: “Deranged, Demented – Fuck Off”. And that only 2.5% of the world is “us” – that’s hardly any to accomplish our ultimate goal i.e. destroy mankind of the other 15 personality types and rule the world. And that I have Meryl Streep (one of my favourite actresses) and Albert Einstein (the last refuge for all people dumb and ridiculed by the society is to compare themselves to him) for company. Also, others include Lincoln, Socrates and Blaise Pascal. I’m honoured. So are they, I’m guessing.

On the other hand, however, that makes me sound drab and 60 year old. Oh, well. Something to boast about when I’m drab and 60 year old. No, I’ll not be retaking this test then, thank you.

Somehow, such categorizations make me rebel. All the time. Like when I’m told I’m a typical Virgo, I tend to behave like I’m totally cool with that color-uncoordinated clothes cabinet, or those unlabelled kitchen thingies. I do my fake brush-off laugh, when my insides are all but itching to run to the nearest stationery shop, buy those labels and label those damn jars. Because, what I’m trying to say is, I AM a typical Virgo – the worst kind of Chinese torture you can inflict upon me is to leave me staring out of a glass wall into a room full of unlabelled jars and bottles that are (a) not arranged in several straight lines (b) as per their height/ color/ design/ brand/ zodiac sign and (c) not separated into groups as per their use and frequency of use and (d) horror of horrors, have mismatched lids and bottles. I’ll die a painful and slow death.

Which brings me to the point (there always IS one) – I’m everything and everyone I deny being.

I’m a typical Delhiite/ Punju. I do not like pao bhaaji or anything involving bhajjia (whatever that is!). I hate curd rice – #letsbeclear, that’s not even food! I need my rajma chawal. My affectionate terms include “oye” and “abe”. Half my family says “krect” when they want to say “correct”.  We serve all our food with oil on the side. We laugh raucously and often at stupid jokes. Many of us are not clear if Chennai and Tamil Nadu and Madras are all one place. And if they are, then where is Hyderabad? Ek jagah ke itne naam? We have, however, timed the distance between Bhatinda and Pathankot so precisely we can always tell how late we are going to be in milliseconds, depending on our speed of eating paranthas at the only one stopover. We have exactly ONE dance step, with our hands and heads raised high, and our feet doing their own thing, and our shoulders doing a mild shrug. We improvise on this dance step such that we can even dance to Ae Meri Zohra Zabeen in the same fashion.

I tend to be mean and acerbic, something people I’ve crossed paths with have told me time and again. I might not talk to my mom for days when she tells me “Uff, please do not subject anyone to your first reaction about anything. Only your second reactions are bearable.”, but I know she’s hit the bull’s eye with that. I came into this world with a broken filter of acceptable things to say and do, and that has not changed ever. To be more “affable”, I have learnt to hold back comments that I thought were “in good jest” till a few years back but when it comes to arguments and fights, I still hate losing and I still call a spade a spade. Of course, I deny all of this and go on about my life like the best diplomat you ever met, until an argument comes along.

Now I might deny being a girly girl, but I am. I hate the idea of feminism asking me to forego that. Why are only the undesirable aspects of being a girl, associated with being girly? Why are we feminists only when we talk about what we’d never do? Why not be the people we are, followed by being feminists? I like to shop till my arms can carry no more. I like to cook and ask everyone how it is, and God forbid, should they turn up their noses at my food, proceed to shove it all down their gullet. I like to bake, and currently I am in lust with chocolate ganache frosting that I’m dying to try. I hate to sew, but I know I just have to learn to knit sometime in the future. I love gossiping, and when it’s a girl gossip call/meet/chat, hours just fly by. I hate swabbing and sweeping and dusting, and though I cannot live without those, I will never do it myself. And I do love jewelry – tiny silver earrings, beads and even gold for some occasions. How is that bad? It can’t be right? It’s not. It’s normal. It is. Isn’t assuming that all smart/intelligent/educated girls hate jewelry one kind of stereotyping? I cannot believe that the Tanishq ad is getting so much flak, because

  1. It’ an ad. It works on association. The association here is – and do correct me – that a girl could love the idea of being dressed up as a bride such that it may thaw her into at least considering it, with a bit of humour thrown in. It targets some people, does not target some people. You are not impressed = you’re not their target audience OR you are the target audience, but you’d rather watch the same old mummy type woman handing over some family heirloom to the new bride.
  2. When it’s grown-up, pretty girls flaunting their wares every 10 seconds, and claiming some guys’ deodorant to be Very Very Sexy, or even selling broadband or some such totally absurd commodity with no need for a sexually loaded message, it’s somehow not offensive?!
  3. Also ads with some Raymond-wearing uncle handing over his grown-up daughter’s hand to a grinning groom , like she’s a little kid to be taken care of, are very touching and tastefully done. Ads that proclaim gori twatcha are also very liberating, what with claiming a makeup-man-daughter-to-best-actress transformation in 6 weeks. Santoor’s same old message of “Mummmmyyyyyyyy” followed by “Inki twacha se umr ka pata hi nahi chalta” is classic now, because of course, mothers are supposed to look a certain way, and that almost never includes beautiful skin. But this? This is jewelry! Strong, independent women loving jewelry .. NEVER HAPPENS!
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22 thoughts on “The Life and Times of a Stereotype

  1. I have to say.. I miss the Indian commercials so much, politically correct or not. I’m sick of looking at dancing cups of yoghurt that talk.

    And ah, I’m ENTP and they are dead right.

    Good post! Cheers to all the blogging you are doing nowadays.

      • Well, you know the INFP thing TOTALLY fits in.. they’re dreamers. And why is it way less cool.. you’ve got Tolkien, Shakespeare AND Audrey Hepburn for company. I rest my case.

        And dancing cups of yoghurt? They are DEFINITELY playing safe and not offending anybody’s sensibilities, I suppose. Under-estimating people’s sense of humour, maybe 😀 Come back to India then no? Lots of sexist ads are there, providing fodder for lame posts like these 🙂

  2. Strong!
    I love jewelery, and more importantly love flaunting about the fact that I love them!
    Just that a girl saying yes to marriage because of the jewelery she can wear seems to me a wrong idea. For instance, I would hate the idea of marriage just because of the quantum of sari and jewelery shopping involved!

    • Hey! You’re right but I think the whole point is that the jewelery is good enough to make a staunch disbeliever of marriage to visualize it and consider the idea. Not that it’s the only thing that’ll do the trick. And also, not that she should grab the next frog and kiss him. In that sense, it’s an out and out sales pitch yaar.. not much else!

      Also, want to say that I must be a total nutjob because I do think that marriages are awesome opportunities for guilt-free shopping sprees. Big factor it was for me 😀 I’m sure Chuck is getting depressed, if he’s reading this 😀

  3. Seriously! I don’t get what the fuss around the Tanishq ad is all about. Being a feminist does not have to automatically rule out being feminine.

    • Exactly! It’s the jewelery and marriage combo that’s making people cringe, I’m told. But, in my mind, there’s nothing as closely related to jewelery as marriage, in these days! Isn’t it?

    • And that’s the way it should be. It shouldn’t be one or the other is what I think. And oh, do see the ad sometime and let me know what you think. Let me see if I can find it on youtube and link it up.

  4. You did it again, the consultant in you refuses to let go. You can analyse any idea in the most logical manner 🙂
    Plus now we know that you are INTP!
    The Punju thing is totally cool..

    • Yeah, isn’t it ANY DAY more offensive? Apparently, that’s their “positioning”! My take is it’s ok to be tolerant all around, and say Axe is a stupid ad and live with it.. but then to ignore that, and pick on another much harmless act has got to have an explanation.

  5. i LOVE this post. Feminism does not mean not loving jewellery or not being feminine. To me feminism is about quiet strength, about respecting ourselves. And it’s really just an ad. A pretty well executed ad.

    • Exactly, it’s really just an ad.. there’s so much worse stuff on TV, but it’s called the idiot box for a reason right? So I strongly feel one should take what they want and leave what seems not-so-right. Also, this generalization about the women, marriage and jewelry combo being old-fashioned/blasphemous smacks of intolerance, somehow?

  6. Lady,

    Your blog is awesome.I love all sorts of ads.SI think Tanishq did a wonderful job of product placement and creating the buzz which is exactly the purpose of the ad..Im sure I will be coming back for more wonderful vishesh tipppanis:

    PS:-love the line about Hyderabad.Ek jagah ke itne naam

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