Archive for January 2011

Travel Vignettes

I traveled this week to Bhubaneswar. At the end of a long day, I checked into this nice little hotel, looking forward to some quiet and rest. After filling out the register, I turn and accompanied the attendant who was carrying my luggage. As I neared the lift, another attendant, offered me a glass on a tray. I took it gratefully, eager to quench my thirst....and experienced an assault on my tongue! The clear liquid I had mistaken as water, was actually Sprite. The colleague who accompanied me burst out laughing and then explained that she had done the same thing a split second before me. By the time she turned to warn me, I had already drunk the liquid.

Well, next time, I will surely be more alert and careful about mistaking clear liquids to be water!!


Sometime back, I was on an Indigo flight to Kolkata. Usually I am engrossed in trying to deal with my fear of flying and do not pay much attention to those around me. But this flight was a smooth, turbulence free one. So I cast a look around and took in the co-passengers, the condition of the aircraft (pretty good. Good show Indigo!) and then finally rested on a pretty flight attendant. Short hair, framing her face in page boy haircut. Nice hair cut I thought. Won't suit everybody though. Then another flight attendant came upto this one and was talking to her. Then another walked by with the food cart.

That's when I realised with a start, that they all had the exact same hair style. Same short hair, page boy hair cut. And it looked terribly odd and artificial. Poor things, I thought. Forced to cut their hair for the job. Not fair.

Then I took a second look. The hair was not real. It was obviously a wig! Dreadful!

Thank god I wasn't in a profession that required me to cut my hair in a standard style and (worse), wear a wig!!

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Its We Who Build Community

Have you seen the commercial for 'Community Matrimony' dot com thats being aired across the channels these days? Have a look:

It is wrong on so many levels!

Daughter is going around with a guy that sports long hair. And automatically that's the bad guy? Candidates for marriage - girl or boy - should adhere to certain stereotypes in order to make "good marriages". What about those that do not fit stereotypes? Do they have no chance at marriage without conforming?

Then the whole approach to marriage. The family shown in the commercial seems to be educated and upper middle class. And yet they depend upon the 'community temple' and 'community astrologer' to find a groom for their daughter. Six decades of independence and a decade into the 21st century and we still use mumbo jumbo to find life partners.

Then the most objectionable part of this commercial is the over emphasis on 'community'. It is just a euphemism for 'caste', the deep rooted malady we are yet to shake off. For the most part, people still do not marry across caste lines in India. Note the honour killings taking place in North India when couples dare to exercise their choice.

What does one do when the all knowing 'market' decides to turn a social evil into a business opportunity? Is regulation the answer? How does one address the social attitudes that have allowed space for such unbridled opportunism? We need to take a stand as a society or risk reversing the tiny steps we have taken towards progressive and liberal thinking.

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