Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chaddi: A Case Study

Sakshi Nanda of  Between Write and Wrong needs no introduction. Barely a year old in the world of blogging, she has already won many accolades and awards for her impressive body of work. But that's not why I love reading her so much. It's her raw honesty and chutzpah that's most endearing. When you read her work, you just cannot sit back passively. Her passion is infectious. Plus, no one writes reviews like she does.

If you are that rare species that's a stranger to her blog, I suggest you read this , and this

In this 'colourful' post Sakshi dares to go where no woman has gone before.....

I just remembered the ‘kaanta laga, haai laga’ girl, but I did not sing ‘aaja aaja’ after it. You see, when she pumped up many years back (c.f. Google for a screensaver), I found those eyes too grey for my liking and the blue tie slightly misplaced over the black shimmery top half-heartedly keeping her in. The other teeny blue piece of clothing around the waist I did not mind seeing though, my favourite thing in that whole video, with the pug-mark tattoo coming in a close second. Today, while I sat on a swing in the children’s park philosophizing about this and that, I saw a woman’s chaddi see-sawing gleefully. Female. Pastel pink with maroon band. Tiny flowers, I’m guessing all over but then my gaze was limited in scope. A little bow, but the beads seemed to have fallen. And so I remembered the ‘kaanta girl’ and thus this hosiery of thoughts…

Good or bad is for Ram Sene to decide, but a trend began with the price-tag-sized blue peeping in that peppy song. And it has spread just like fire in the mouth does after mixing coke with mirchi up there, a pleasant tingly fire. Chaddi showing is no longer just a conscious fashion decision but one which has come to occupy Freudian proportions of the subconscious. (Something like, biting nails when Sidhu used to come to bat. Or Kumble. Automatic!). If you don’t believe me, next time you step out and away from your own house and clothes-line, notice, no matter how sexy the sight or how silly. And even if you have to turn your head to see it, a whole 360 degrees!

On the road …

In case you, like me, drive a car which became extinct with the dinosaurs, you will most coincidentally find yourself trailing a slow-moving couple-y motorcycle, out on a ride enjoying the scorching heat on the flyover at 25 km/hour. No hurries. While the faces will be helmeted and covered like a daku in dupatta, what you will notice is a chaddi staring at you, as the pillion rider bends forward for signs and science of streamline motion. The chaddi will be waving ‘OK TATA Bye Bye’ to your modest 30 meters long salwar driving the car, reminding you of yours within which are not worth that much airing, not even on the clothes-line and certainly not by chance. Now, these chaddis may be showing accidentally but they are accident hazards too. As if by design (I saw one made of fishing net), they distract you out of your comfort zone, like the apple did Eve, and by God that nada around your belly will feel tighter you will feel ancient you will forget your gear or that the brake is the middle one and ... Swear!

Off to a safer locale …

You earn your money hardly and want to dine fine, so what if it is the same dal makhni your cook of 1200bucks/month can make. Shaan toh hai! So you wear your onion pearls coupled with a chiffon sari and tip-top into an unfit-tingly but aptly named Motee Mahal kitty where you will meet your favourite air-kissable cheeks. And, what do you see? Gosh, one husband of one woman has worn his worn out jeans with flip-flops and a Che tee to match his evening gown wife. (Compatibility dies, fashionably!) And if this wasn’t all, this black sheep’s black boxers refuse to rest in peace. Oh how they tempt-attempt to butt into everything. Is his shirt too short or pants too low? Haw, was that a belly button when he hi-fived like a college kid? Such presence the chaddi will have, his toddler will play guitar on the band and the waiter put down an extra plate for the chaddi to eat too. Such presence! And what show-offing. If only ‘Made in Thailand’ Kalvin Clein spelled right, or even Clean, perhaps the site-seeing would inspire you to drop your own onion pearls the next time, undo that sari, unhook the formals and come prepared in the next best thing to naked. Jeans and tee, I mean!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

An open letter to screw it.

It's tough not to fall in love with Anshul Thakur's work.  He doesn't write, he paints the most vivid emotions with deft masterstrokes. His work is deeply philosophical, abstract and leaves you with a lingering sweetness.

Click here  and here    

to get a taste of Aesthetic Blasphemy

It appears my Mills and Boon post did not go well with Anshul and he dons his funny hat to defend his right to keep a moustache.

Says who women don't crave men with bristling upper lip hair?
                                             To whosoever it may concern

Moustaches. Not all women like it. Most internet articles that I read report that they are not ‘turned on’ by it (as if they were some object or some switch), not to mention that majority of those articles are written by women. They give ultimatums to ‘shave or to crave’ and when men are at it, they put nifty codicils of doing the act in an effing running metro, adding to men’s WOES (Women Against Evening Stubble). Though a juxtaposition, women still seem to want macho men, which they often define as broad jawed men who exhibit prominent signs of growing a full and healthy beard but chose not to. But women! The above perception isn’t your fault except for the fault of ignorance that you all are just towing in line with the whims of a powerful dozen minds in the fashion industry. All I do is sigh saying “This too shall pass!”

Having spent the better half of my life’s first quarter in the obscurity of my moustaches and quite diligently so, I’ve earned a nick-name among my male compatriots, ‘Muchhi’, a benign spinoff from the grotesque sounding ‘Mucchad’. What people don’t know is that it was coined by a perceived (and hairless at the time, male) adversary as a tease. Since then, the moustache has kind of ‘grown on me’. So when Madame Purba offered me an opportunity of “defending men's right to keep a moustache”, my moustaches bristled up like a distressed porcupine and nose-picked me until I acquiesced and took up this herculean task of redeeming the staches.

But, if men have to look for reasons to keep a moustache, I’d rather have them shave it off. It doesn’t have to be about any other reason than that you feel good about it. I like my staches right now, so I keep ‘em, unencumbered by what goes on behind my back. Behind my back, because most people usually don’t dare confront the moustache openly, they are aware that usually, men, keep it. From being looked down as a ‘mark of revolutionary or an artist’ to being revered as being the the evolutionary next level to enlightenment (Oscar Wilde, allegedly), they’ve seen everything under the sun. Moustaches stand out as one of the expressions of living the life on own terms, a rebellion against the norms, the stereotype, the ordinary. Still, if you need more reasons for keeping one, I have a few ludicrous ones up my sleeve.

1. Natural Filter: In cities like Delhi where pollution is the rule, the day I trim down my moustaches barely from 4mm to 3, my nose is filled with black mucus by the end of the day. Other days, merely washing my face does the trick.

2. Lip Sweater: In places where I come from and in Delhi in the winters, the day of shave is the day my facial skin shudders out of cold. Other days, I can manage without a muffler.

3. Skin Tone Preserver: Admit it, your face will never be as fair as your scalp. This argument is not commutative. The scalp can be made less fair by exposure to the sun and heat.


Salvador Dali had a book dedicated to his moustaches, what is wrong with posting mustached selfies over flickr, fb and instagram? Moreover, most of the badasses in history, both in the good and the bad way have sported moustaches – Einstein, Hitler, Stalin, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Downey Jr., Tolstoy, Tagore, Affleck, Hulk Hogan, you name it. Even nerd geniuses like Steve Jobs have had moustaches in their primes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Please, don’t be nice, be yourself

I feel uncomfortable when someone calls me nice. It’s not as if I have something against being likeable. It’s just that the connotations associated with this tag have altered drastically over the last few years. This sobriquet is mostly reserved for someone who agrees with our perception we have of our own fabulousness. So, someone who rarely disagrees with us and has only good things to say is considered nice.

Truth be told, niceness these days has rarely anything to do with the individual and his/her character or the lack of it. It has more to do with how he/she makes us feel about ourselves.

The same holds true for us. In our desire to be liked, we often refrain from saying what we feel. So, when a friend shares her latest literary masterpiece that reads more like the scribbling of a six year old, or invites us to her brand new home that’s decorated like the house of horrors, we’d rather gush politely than blurt out that we’ve yet to see anything worse. Of course not. That’s harsh and we don’t want to come across as judgmental, do we?

I understand that the idea is to not hurt someone else's feelings even if we didn't agree with them. So we’ll continue praising Sneha Aunt’s snazzy new hairdo even if it makes her look like Paresh Rawal and insist that our tone-deaf cousin sings just like Lata Mangeshkar.

We want to be nice so that others are nice to us in return.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

When Dilli met Kejri and Bharat took revenge on her behalf.

Image Courtesy -

It was a Jab We Met, just like the movies. When Dilli, Bharti’s favourite sister, met Kejri. The courtship was long and tumulus. It was fiercely opposed by the elders. The more they tried to defame him, the more she fell in love with him and wanted to take it to the next level.

Dilli had been in an uneasy relationship with a Sarkar that treated its riches like Commonwealth. Her heart was feeling as empty as her bank account. How long could she continue paying Rs 200 for a kilo of peas for her muttar pulao! She was tired of drowning her sorrows in the nearest pothole and wanted a way out.

Kejri’s timing was perfect. What’s more, he promised to sweep away her sorrows with his jhadoo. In his topi and muffler, he was no knight in shining armour. Kejri was dark and not so handsome. But for Dilli it was love at first sight. And when he spoke, Dilli swayed mesmerised.

He looked AAM but made Dilli feel Khaas. She wanted change, he promised her a revolution.

He was what Dilli had waited for all her life. No wonder she fell for him hook line and sinker. But when it was time to say I do, he hmmed and hawed and kept her on tenterhooks.

Oh how she sighed in relief when he walked up to the altar after a referendum.

K was no typical partner. He would be out most nights partying. He was stubborn and said he wanted to change the world with dharnas. When Dilli expressed her doubts over his fidelity - he’d say, whatever I do, it’s for you, meri jaan. He was mercurial, made her feel queasy, uneasy. Sceptics with their I-told-you-so looks, didn’t make it any easy. Dilli prayed, even hung from the ghanti at the nearby mandir and screamed – Why me, Bhagwan!

He walked out. It wasn’t even her fault. Dilli wanted him for herself, he said, my ambitions are many, jaane do na yaar!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Where’s my Mills and Boon Hero?

Courtesy -

Mills and Boons made an appearance in my life around the same time my parents discovered their daughter’s rebellious streak. It started with saying no to pig-tails, frilly-frocks and the hair oil my Mom lovingly plastered my hair with and progressed to a war of egos. It was a phase of life that also came with the realisation that boys were not that disgusting and annoying and could make me blush with their strange glances. I was afflicted with an awareness that made me check myself in the mirror again and again, hoping that the gawky girl staring back at me would transform into a comely maiden capable of making men collapse with ecstasy with just a flick of her hair.

For me, it was a natural progression from Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie. Mills and Boons was the holy grail of romance that teleported me to the world of Virginia as she sat beside Damien Savage, his chiselled, tanned features expressionless, his deep-blue eyes hidden behind Versace sunglasses. Still shocked at the intensity of her physical reaction to him, Virginia longed to be undressed by him; to feel his skin against hers … As she moved her body closer, her leg brushing his muscular thigh, she felt his heat.

Many tiny explosions of pain later, where Virginia gets kissed, mauled and manages to see all the stars and constellations, Damien the brute, who treats her like his sex slave admits that he’d been in love with her from Page 5 but took 300 pages to confess so that the author could pay for her vacation in the Bahamas.

I was hopelessly lost in the world of the lean and hard muscled hero, who was tough, brooding, single and insanely wealthy. His bed would unvaryingly have black satin sheets, which the object of his lust would discover on page 65. But underneath that scowling, tough as a coconut shell demeanour lay a softie, tortured by a secret past, waiting to be reformed by the slavish love of a virginal damsel with long legs and cascading blond hair.

Didn’t we all wait breathlessly for the dashing Damien Savage with a taut torso and tanned arms to sweep us off our feet, wilfully ignoring the awkward advances of smelly Shomit and buck-teethed Manish! How could we, they were nowhere near the fantasy we’d fallen in love with! Instead we chose to have a boulder sized crush on the unattainable school hottie, who couldn’t be bothered by our presence. We loved wallowing in misery because that’s what Virginia would have done!