You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.
– Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
I do agree tremendously 😀 I’m what I read and what I think of what I read. Well, what I do want to say is that nothing I say in the post below is my own brainchild. It’s my answer to someone’s brainchild – a reaction to another article/blog I read. I hereby do warn of a bit of angst and of serious disconnect between topics, but do read on:
Summarizing from an Oscar Wilde play, Shreya says “…basically it says that while men love women with all their flaws and sometimes, because of the flaws, women love men because of the good in them. In fact, most of us play up the men in our lives to be better than they actually are, putting them on a pedestal so to speak and then obviously, nobody is that perfect. Hence, women are more liable to feel hurt, when their dream-world comes crashing down. I do agree. I feel we women don’t have too strong a grip on reality. We are floating somewhere in between our fantasy worlds (comprising and because of, all the movies we watch, stories we hear, books we read) and ground zero. Every young girl has a version of her Mr. Right and some fortunately grow up and realize that he does not exist before there is any lasting damage, some don’t. In that way, women seem to be more impressionable than men. Men to me, seem to be ambling through life, letting all its barbs and stabs slide over their rough hide, simplistic and naive whereas women are constantly hyperventilating all those barbs into a conspiracy by the Universe.”
I thought a lot about this, thought about if it’s true for me because that’s how we all think. We like to try the idea on, and see how it looks on us. I almost completely agree with what Shreya said, and this is why I think so: As women, we’re attuned to expect more out of life. Most women I’ve met in my life are people who want more out of every ticking second, every hard-earned penny and every recyclable knick-knack. It’s most natural then that they also expect the most bang for their buck when it comes to relationships. On any given day, something or the other disappoints her. Not just men. Daughter-mother friction, DIL-MIL awkwardness, BFF cold wars – they all come from a place where women get “wronged”. Before I sound like I’m stereotyping women, I want to clarify that this is an unfounded speculation – I’m just taking the liberty to replace the word “me” by “women”. Feel free to ignore. Men, in my opinion, are only different in the sense that they’re not used to one-upping the order of life, and often beating it. Most of them are here-and-now-ers, accepting it with lesser resistance. So whatever happens is most likely to meet a row-with-the-current attitude than a fight-with-all-my-might one from women. Women then proceed to take a far larger share of the blame – the “guilt” – than men ever do, making them hurt while men simply shrug and carry on.
One of the other things I chanced upon was a tag – a list of ten things Holly and Sally each dislike. I agreed with most of their pet peeves, and was tempted to make my own list. However, at the moment, I can come up with two:
- The “I-hate-the-IIT-IIM-types”. (Yeah yeah, I know I’ve said it before!) IIT-IIM types are not put up in display windows for you to like them either. They’re people who are all different, and you club them under one label and generalize – which, by all means, you claim you never do. Stereotyping. They’re similar because they’re in similar kind of jobs. Why is it that the expectation of being different falls on MBAs, and not on say, dentists or journalists? About the “arrogance” and “uninteresting life”, I have met plenty snooty people and ridiculously boring ones who’re not from these institutes too, so what’s your point? If you mean EVERYONE from these institutes is so, I’ll have to go all Maths-y on you, and ask how many such students/ alumni have you met? What makes you so sure?
- Baby-talking, when done by adult women. Really, how is it cute to reduce everyone’s name to a nickname by adding an “ooo” or “uuu” or “iiii” to it. Baby-talking is fun to watch when done with a baby, people. The next time someone decides to call me “Nehoooooo….”, do know that I’m all strung up and ready to snap.
Then there was Chetan Bhagat’s article claiming that we all suffer from a case of Ash-envy.
I quote, “Why? Why do we, deep down, harbour resentment of our most successful people? Why do we want them to fail? It’s that ugly word: envy. We know it is rampant in our society. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan isn’t alone. Shashi Tharoor is another example. A fast-rising, first-generation politician, Tharoor was subjected to far greater scrutiny than entrenched politicos, and ultimately made to suffer for it. And, of course, there are several less well-known rising stars pulled down in organizations every day.”
Is it true? Do we “harbor resentment” for successful people? Or is it that Ash/ Abhishek almost take their stardom for granted, and it actually hurt to see Raavan fail on audience’s like-o-meters on *only* that pretext? For one, what does a commoner get from resenting a star? And it would be really imaginative to assume this “envy” being strong enough to cause bonding among a billion or so Indians and get them to hate a movie so much? A simpler alternative to believe in would be that the film really was that bad. And since he mentions Shashi Tharoor, I’d like to say that Tharoor did get more leeway than scrutiny, because he was a writer, a first-generation politician. There were as many criticizing him as trooped after him. The “made to suffer” phase was of his own making – something he could have entirely avoided. So let me say this: I actually tend to believe exactly the opposite. We have a way of taking our stars too seriously and making Gods out of them, such that everything they do becomes a trend. When it comes to stars, our tolerance is unlimited, our memories shorter and our love blinding. Nothing else explains the success of movies like ‘Wanted’. When a Raavan is criticized, it means looking beyond personal stardom. I think of it as a coming of age of sorts for Indian audiences. Something to be welcomed and not rued.
And next I’m just going to jump on the bandwagon and comment on Joel Stein’s article in the Time about Indian immigrants. For all those not wishing to go through the link-and-read ritual, here’s a summary: Joel wonders about how bright Indians – the worshippers of an elephant-nosed God – can be. He challenges the very premise of Gujaratis immigrating to his hometown Edison for the sake of good schools because “In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with”. He abhors the curries we eat, the colognes we wear and the names we have. Said in good humour, apparently. Sadly for him, a large part of his reader base did not find it funny – maybe twisted humour does not work with dot heads, after all. Which part of it is supposed to be funny? Time editors not filtering out something that reads racist from the word go? The very anti-Asian sentiment that the article reeks of? The basic intolerance of a minority for no good reason? If none of these were funny enough, Joel shows up with an apology that reads like this: “I truly feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people. I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we’d be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue.” For someone setting out on a lofty mission like enabling a debate the other side of the immigration issue, the first thing he should have checked for is traces of cockiness and downright ignorance, don’t you think? Do read this and this for more reactions on this article. Oh yea, I do believe that every bit of negative publicity this gets is well-deserved – taking crap in our stride isn’t tolerance or coolness, it’s certainly doormat-ish.
The last thing. There’s a tag doing the rounds about gender stereotyping and how men/women have managed to go beyond typical traits associated with their gender. I think I’ve seen the list of various gender stereotypes broken, and how, on many many blogs this last week. I’ve also been tagged. However, I’ve decided to skip it. For one, I believe in stereotypes – the ones that are harmless (see my response to Shreya’s article above). For example, cooking. It’s good-to-know for both genders. So no matter who says they can’t cook at all, I feel a little sad for them. To me, cooking, swimming, financial planning – these are life skills. Next is the fact that in our bid to check off which “stereotypes” we break, we’re bound to reinforce some. As in, I didn’t even know that monopoly over the remote control was a male trait, so to speak, till I read the tag rules. I know that people fight over the remote, but is it really a male trait to insist on having it all the time? In some way, I feel that knowledge was better not had. Thirdly, some stereotypes that are not stereotypes anymore get a new lease with this list. For example: Accounting or math. With over 60% students in Delhi university opting for Maths and Statistics courses at the grad and post-grad levels being girls, are we really going to hold this as a stereotype? It’s not. So, to mention it as one is not taking fresh information into account. This is just a personal opinion and well, I do love reading these lists, so bring them on. I hope I didn’t offend anyone here and I do think I’m being more than a little nitpicky. My apologies if I did offend anyone.