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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Good Indian Girl

My friend launches a new book called ‘The Bad Boy’s Guide to Good Indian Girl” and sends me the promo on U-tube.

While making this promo, she had asked me if I was a good Indian girl, but I couldn’t think of anything intelligent/dumb thing to say, in fact I was not even concentrating on the word ‘girl’. I was just thinking if I was a good Indian person. But this is a tricky question.

I do what I please; I had memorized 'Gita' page by page and have forgotten it too. I decided to my live according to the rules etched in my mind. Basic thing is to do what you think is right and not be influenced by other people’s opinions. If I were married, maybe (I repeat maybe) I would have looked after my lazy and pampered family too (their laziness would be the result of my pampering) because during my childhood I had seen my elders dote on their men and little boys in the family. By nature, I am calm, cheerful, although sometimes aggressive too, ( especially if the things don’t go to my liking) go on…judge me, Am I a good Indian girl? Who decides?

I have travelled around the world and met many girls from different walks of life.

Each individual’s personality is shaped with the respect to their environment that they have been raised into. Those from broken homes have different perspective to life. Many of them are abused in their childhood and they develop an aggressive behavior. The Indian girls who are raised in the foreign countries are more exposed to western culture. Although most of them belong to secured Indian family, many of them are confused lot. They cannot decide as to what are the right etiquettes that will be acceptable when they visit their family home in India. If wearing a saree and making a good cup of tea makes one a good Indian girl then they would be willing to learn that too. (In many Indian homes, it becomes mandatory to know the basics of cooking and outside food is strongly discouraged.)

Whenever NRI’s visit their cousins in India, they see the different culture. They discover that their cousins in India are more religious, (well, most of them) God fearing and do listen and respect their parents. They look after their grand-parents and maintain a special bond with their close relatives. They are caring and understanding and will happily nurse you if you are in distress. NRI cousins admire the Indian’s great tolerance and patience and their willingness to forgive easily

But does that mean that girls who are raised abroad are bad girls? Is having a mind of your own a bad option? What do the Indian girls think about their NRI cousins?

Indian cousins admire their NRI’s cousins and think them to be very fortunate. They accept their rudeness, their drinking and smoking habits, their late nights to the clubs, their freedom to talk to opposite sex without any inhibitions, their carefree attitudes. Although, one common question that every Indian girl will ask her NRI cousin is why do they need a tissue paper 24X7? Deep thought there! Personal care is the last option for every conservative girl. ‘Me first’ is a very selfish option.

While living in Spain I noticed that people are very friendly. There was no high or low caste/class. Every one greets other with equal jest and respect (unless they have personal issues).You can share stories/opinions with the taxi and bus drivers, with the electrician and carpenters, with store salesmen and their bosses. You could go alone to a coffee shop and start a conversation with a stranger.

Different people have different ideas and devise their own scale of judgment.

Most of us (in India) cannot or won’t express our feeling too openly, because we live in fear of being rejected, of being judged, of being branded as social outcast. We are kind and compassionate, even to those who hurt us, we pretend to forget and forgive, we keep a smile and move on, and we lead a double-faced life.

My friend posts a FB status that says “I'M A HANDFUL - unfortunately most women WON'T re-post this. I'm strong willed, independent, a bit outspoken, and I tell it like it is. I make mistakes, I am sometimes out of control and at times hard to handle but I love and give with all my heart. If you can't handle me at my worst then you sure don't deserve me at my best. If you are a HANDFUL, re-post! I dare you..I'll be looking for the ladies who re-post”

I asked her “Are you a good Indian girl?’ and she replies “not a chance..not even trying.” And I am set thinking if the above status makes you very un-Indian?

I am still searching the meaning of a ‘Good Indian Girl’. Maybe a good Indian boy could answer that…………..

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Birthday Party of One-year-old

 9th of August, I am invited for the children party at 5pm and I decide to go. And why not? The kid is my sister’s grandson, who is celebrating his first birthday.

I reach his house on the dot of 5pm (thinking that rightfully children's party should be betwen 5pm to 7pm) but the kid is still in his nappy’s. His birthday suit was brought the last minute and his pants were long, so his mom had gone back to the shore to do some alteration. He is dressed in his new shirt and a nappy. Cute!

“Happy Birthday dearest Hirankh” I say handing him his birthday gift. He slaps the gift few times and then throws it aside. (what does he care if I braved the heavy rains and spend thirty full minutes at a toy store searching an approriate gift which is educational and musical, quite suitable for his age- a musical tea-set which sings different rhymes every time you pour out the content from the kettle into the cups)

“Won’t you open the gift and see what I got you” I say, he looks at me and grins,takes another small plastic toy and stuffs it in his mouth. He just has two teeth up and two teeth down and he is always putting things in his mouth.(to stop the itching perhaps)

I start to sing a nursery rhyme, “twinkle, twinkle, little star…” he gets interested. I have been singing this same poem since last six months with actions and now he had learnt to recognize it and imitates my gestures for this poem.

I feel good that he is responding and want to sing more nursery rhymes, but the little master with short attention span, soon he is bored and shifts his attention to more plastic toys to stuff into his mouth.

His mom returns from the store and dresses him up and he is ready for his friends. He crawls to the hall which is decorated with lots of baloons and streamers.

His first guest, a 14-months-old, arrives at 6pm, one hour late. A loud music to full volume is played and both the kids shake heads and hands as they sit opposite each other.

Soon more friends arrive, all under five-years old. All shy at first, hiding behind their mom’s legs but with little nudging they start to smile and are attracted by the basket full of toys kept in the middle of the room.

Hirankh loves kids and he is gurgling and babbling, happy to be amongst so many kids around him. He rolls on the floor, tries to stand up, falls, stands up again, shakes his head and enjoys the music. They play with soft toys, kicking ball, squeezing the noisy toys and jumping on a bean bag. The care-takers stand at a small distance, alert, watching the kids while mothers discuss the likes and dislikes of their children.

Potato wafers and smiley-shaped snacks are served and all kids move to the centre table, nibbling the wafers and dropping some on the floor. Its 7pm and the party has just begun.

The party goes on till 8 pm when the birthday baby cuts the cake.

This was a fun party where I enjoyed one-year-olds interacting with each other…….

Thursday, 4 August 2011

“Dare to Dream” I am Kalam

Children are the best performers and there is no doubt about that. They have the sincerity and powerful expressions that bring life even to a dull story.

This week I received an invitation from Smile Foundation for the preview of the film “I am Kalam”

Smile Foundation is the NGO that believes that the desired changes in the lives of underprivileged children will come only when more and more privileged people start participating proactively in finding a solution. The Foundation also believes that the only way to ensure a better future for these children is by educating them.
Keeping that vision in mind, the central theme behind the film “I am Kalam” focuses on need for education to change the destiny for a better tomorrow with the powerful message of ‘Dare to dream’.

The film is set in the remote area of Bikaner, Rajasthan and shows the brighter side of India. For once there are no slums, helplessness and poverty or any other negative aspects of India. It was pleasant to watch the colorful and ethnic beauty of Rajasthan. The folk music added the glamour to the film. I loved the scene where different musicians from different culture strike a chord on different instruments and produce a striking harmony at the road-side dhabba

There was no moment of boredom as the story progressed, although its more of a fairy tale about the friendship between prince with a commoner, each one happy in the other’s company, learning and exchanging knowledge while the adults unaware about their friendship. The poor friend conveniently climbs up to tree and sneaks into the prince’s bedroom to play with his toys and Prince too, sneaks out on the streets and learns to climb trees and sit by the lake without the knowledge of his conservative family.

The scene that impressed me the most was when Chottu (Harsh Mayer) goes to the hotel delivering tea, seated on a camel and peeping through windows, asking “Want tea madam?” The part of the palace is converted into a heritage hotel, but has no in-house kitchen and has to depend on Dhabba for their daily meals and tea. (lucky Dhabba has no competition)

Nevertheless, it still amuses with its witty dialogues and sparkling cinematography which makes the film a visual treat.

'I am Kalam' celebrates the survival of a human spirit and has a ‘feel good’ factor, it's simple and yet quite moving.

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