Saturday, July 17, 2010

Family ties and what not

I get a lot of spam from these male activists who say they are fighting for the rights of men/fathers/brothers everywhere. It started out as vitriolic hate mail after a piece I wrote for HT a few months ago and then they just never stopped. Apparently, as a fellow journalist warned me after reading some of the online comments on the piece (too bad the website's dusted and cleaned every few weeks; they were priceless), I'm on "Le LIST" for all of eternity now.

Anyway, in the most recent mail one of them was, as usual, frothing at the mouth about yet another 'feminazi' (their word, not mine - though I must admit, sadly, to being familiar with the breed). After wondering why she has turned against her own by justifying high-end prostitution as a matter of 'democratic choice' (a claim that linked to a 2008 article, no longer available, and which I have no idea why I was being told about 2 years later), the author of the original mail went on to ask: "Would she say this, if her sister entered this trade at the high end?"

So here's my thing: Why must we always drag the family into it? Like a bunch of mafia bosses at a who-will-whack-whom-into-extinction-first gala. 

Sample these:
Observation: You're not supposed to use these water bowls for washing your hands, you know!
Burn!: Would you be saying this if my hands were your grandfather's dentures? Would you, freak?

O: You should stay away from his girl. There'll be nothing but trouble.
B: Would you rather I try with your wife instead? Huh? How would you feel then, loser?

O: Kids at the beach? No, I think we should use a picture of girls in bikinis for that resort promo.
B: You want a chick in a bikini, do you, you wanker? How about we just put your sister's picture there?

O: I think it might rain today...
B: Why, is your dad the fuckin' weatherman?

O: These apples don't look too crunchy. Are they old?
B: I picked them from your mom's backyard. Why don't you go ask her when they were born?

Oh, I could go on... Only to get back to that original question: why must we always bring the family into it?

I am so tired of driving past a gazillion traffic spats on Delhi's roads every single day. Somehow, above all that bumper-to-bumper indignation and honky-tonk, a few lines always manage to float in through my rolled-up window with a warm and fuzzy familiarity:


Tere baap ki sadak hai kya, saale? (Is it being your father's road or what, bro-in-law?)

Or, sometimes, it's that favoured cliché that has spawned a hundred spoofs, along with its own family-inspired repartee:

Q: Tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai? (Are you happening to be knowing who my father is?)
B: Kyon, tujhe nahin pata tera baap kaun hai? Ja apni maa se ja ke poochch! (Why, are you not happening to know your own patrilineal lineage? Why be not asking your own Mummy?)

There you have it. The Great Indian Family Drama.

What? Lazy post? Maybe. Mere baap ka blog hai; main jo bhi likhun! (Blog of my father, I'm doing what I'm please!)

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