Its been almost a year since I came here and today was the first time I traveled in an air conditioned bus. Excusing the agonizing time it takes to actually get to your destination, I quite enjoyed the ride (or is it drive?). Everyday life is also a reminder of the fact that though we may be a generation that head bangs to Iron Maiden, we are still so Indian at heart. I know the word “Indian” itself encompasses space, so I wont try and explain what I meant by that statement. However, consider this:
We were having dinner with some guys and the conversation went from alcohol consumption to dwindling capacity for alcohol consumption to abstinence from liquor and non vegetarian food on some days to my frequenting the Babulnath temple on Mondays. (Babulnath FYI: dedicated to Lord Shiv built by the great Raja Bhimdev. A shrine whose mystery and enigma make it look distinctly out of place in the bubbling cosmopolitan uber chic of South Mumbai).
I go there every Monday. One of the guys nonchalantly blessed me with a great husband since he thought that I am following the austere custom of fasting every Monday for 16 weeks in hopes of a Sapno Ka Rajkumar whose company I would be blessed to endure for the next Saat Janams.
Me: “Hello! What the hell made you think that!.”
I was irritated by the fact that something that I do so selflessly, so wholeheartedly, for my own peace should be attributed to yet another tangible want.
Me: “I don’t go there to ask for a unknown, unseen stranger to come into my life to finally make it meaningful and justify my existence on the planet, as according to you guys, MY life as it were has been bereft of the aforementioned phenomena”
A Boy: ‘So why do you go there?’
Me: Because…… I like Shiv Bhagwan. He is innocent to a fault, brave, powerful, kind, forgiving, generous, gregarious, virile, strong, tender, esoteric….. I like that place. I like…..it.
Another Boy: So you go there hoping and in anticipation that you would also find someone like him. Rite?
Me: Well semi right……Id love that my “utopian” guy be adorned with all these qualities but that’s not why I go there.
A boy: The why go to Babulnath Mandir. Why not any other temple?
Me: Oh for Chrissake. I like it there!. I don’t know as to why out of a three million Hindu Gods, I choose to go to a temple dedicated to one of them. It just makes me feel good. I like it there! (I have started getting rhetorical and they have started loosing interest. Fergie and her number “Shut up, Just Shut up Shut up” is now occupying their attention.
Another Boy: And why go there on a Monday? Why not any other day?
Me: Because a Monday is supposed to be Shivas day.
Another Boy: ‘Crap! Any day is Shivas day. You just go there because you feel that going there religiously every Monday, practicing abstinence, climbing those umpteen number of stairs is the right thing to do. A customary feel good “Prayashchit (Penance) that you do to assure yourself that you are still a good girl. (Why the reassurance?) Unaware but still rooted to image of the traditional Indian Girl who follows customs and rituals to the letter. The middle class, virtuous Indian girl whose mind since childhood has been fed with ideals like: “A pious life = Presence in Heaven. Good Deeds, service to the poor = Road to Nirvana, freedom from the cycle of birth and death. 16 Somvaars = Great Paati, Rich Pati, Great Shaadi, Khoob Saare Bache and Happily Ever After.
You want to be a Power Woman, the sole definition of a perfect woman. The woman who delivers Sales presentations by the day and the parties hard at night. The woman who jet sets from one client meet to another and yet manages to look fresh as a Daisy. The woman who has had twins but still had the bod of a Hoorie. The woman who seduces her guy clothed in satin and silk and the next morning takes his Mom out for shopping. The woman who argues for freedom of sexual expression by quoting examples from our scared texts. Don’t you ever get tired? So many roles, so many facades……
You are a hypocrite. You know why? On one hand you parade for sexual freedom and on the other are miffed when a guy does not find you “marriage material”. On one hand you dress to give every guy on the scene a hard on and on the other hand want respect and mutual liking to be the foundation for initiating any kind of relationship. Sipping a Dirty Martini, flicking ash from a Benson Lights, in clothes that leave little to the imagination you maintain that you don’t want to be judged. Why bother about being judged if you are as liberated and as independent from peoples opinions as you think yourself to be. You want a guy to get into your pants, seduction, enticement, manipulation, coerced attraction all play a part to get you what you want If a guy wants to get into your pants and God forbid you want to “hold hands only”, then He is labeled a Dickhead and You the injured party. Forget the fact that for majority of Indian males, “letters to the Penthouse” and “playboy” have been the major if not only outlets of suppressed sexuality.
Bull crap that you go to Babulnath because……. "You like it there!”
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get personal. I am four drinks down and am just bitching about the fairer sex in general and for the record, I like my women on top!’
Star Movies that was airing Psycho saved the remainder of dinner. He has however set me thinking.
In a perennial battle of values and ideals am I forgetting to be ME?
Torn between being a rebel and the perfect daughter do I even stop to think of what I really want?
Mouthing F*** You, MC, BC at the slightest pretext, would I get uncomfortable if I were judged as loose?
I do want Shiv as my Husband. By wishing that, do I stand downgraded to the status of a “confused, desperately wanting to fit in wanabe?”
My life is on the fast lane. But I don’t want to be judged.
Am I really free??