Acid Attack!

So, I’ve been reading Google News in office on a regular (read through the day) basis while thinking about work. The most entertaining of the lot is the CNN-IBN feed. The journalism is so outrageous that you forget to get emotional about the news…

There were two things in the news today that made me sit up. The first was this:
A man was sent to prison for life because he threw acid on the face of the woman who spurned his advances and in the process blinded her and reduced her to a mass of flesh and bones for life.

Sometimes, I wonder, do Bollywood movies encourage deranged men to actually go ahead and act deranged? After all, Bollywood does glorify the pursue-till-she-falls for you attitude… I have always wondered if they really think women are so stupid as to fall for a guy they find repulsive just because he persistantly keeps at it. But the movies say that it works and I am willing to bet that a lot of desperate men are willing to try anything.

Anyhow, this is the second bit of news…
“Smoking in public lands SRK in trouble”

“…Images of Shah Rukh Khan inhaling smoke were shown on Doordarshan during its telecast of the Twenty20 cricket match in Mumbai on October 20. The national television channel’s telecast of such outrageous images is another act worth condemnation,” NOTE general secretary Dr Shekhar Salkar said. …

True, he’s a much adored star and all that sort of thing. And I personally belive that smoking in public should be made a non-bailable offence. Found smoking in a public place? Put them in prison for a month or two. No questions, no defence, nothing.

But the bit that shocks me is the moral policing that they attach to this smoking business… outrageous images? That’s taking things a little far. I mean, we’ve come to a point where ad’s for deoderants feature hoards of frustrated, bikini clad, seemingly sex deprived women running towards the source of a supposedly “erotic” fragrance. I think smoking just pales in comparison.

So that’s my bit for the day. Nuclear deals, fires, war, mass murders and corrupt politicians slandering each other are all so passe. Things like that are too big to get outraged about. Bring on the local news, I say!

Remote Control

When God gave us one life to live, He also gave us the desire to live every other life but this one.

I see three reasons why we do.

The first one, is simple. You just think you cannot do what the other person is doing. This point being proved by the recently engaged cousin of mine who gushed, “I hope you do your MS. I might be getting married, but it would feel good to know that you’re achieving something!” Whoa! Reality check! Babe, Marriage is one of the biggest achievements in life.

What amazed me, though, was that this girl meant every word she said!

The second is the living for someone else because you know they’re wrong.

Think about the roads you drive on everyday. How many times have you cursed bad motorists? But in wanting every auto and indicab driver to drive the right way, you pretty much decide that you cannot survive in the framework created by them, so they need to change!

Think about the well meaning parent. The one who decides long after the “child” is an adult how much she should save, what she should buy, who she should hang out with, when she should get married, who she should marry, what toothpaste to use, when to sleep and so on. Well intentioned? No doubt. Well timed? Most likely not. Required, NO!! Not the kind of control most parents aim for, anyway.

No, the kid does not need to change. Not one bit. Either you survive in his world or quit. You might have the more sensible idea, but you should stick to living your own life.

The third reason is probably more common than we think it is. It’s I will live your life for you because I own it.

Again, the classic example being the obsessive parent. You are my kid and I will tell you what to do and you will do it. It’s not just parent. It could be partner, friend, boss, whoever. And most of the time, this kind of control is subtly veiled by emotional blackmail. “You’re big enough refuse your mother now, huh?” kind of blackmail.

It’s always simpler to live someone elses life. No matter which way you choose to do it. To start with, there’s lesser risk. There’s also the feeling of being “needed by” or being “happy for” someone else.

But at the end of it, it’s a sad, sad thing to do. Why live someone elses life when you can live your own?

The Stars

Many a worried parent has made a trip to the family astrologer (yes, there exists such a concept) carrying a horoscope on yellowing paper (25 years is a long time) and a heavy heart.

And the astrologer has, true to the last rudraksha on his body talked about the evils of shani, rahu and ketu and insisted that things will be better two years hence.

The parents return, and it is now the turn of the family priest to play the role of saviour. Milk, oil (if its shani we are talking about) all sorts of grain, lamps, black, white, red or whatever-the-colour-he-demands cloth and of course the usual flowers, camphor and incense are procured and offered to the offending celestial body.

Suddenly, the fates smile. The visa (if its a son the parents are worried about) and/or the bridegroom (in case it’s a daughter, plays same role as visa, though) appear and cause much celebration in the family. All is well and the holy men were right. We must do this the next time something goes wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for astrology. Anything that helps you make an honest living (or in the case of our family astrologer, who sits on the mountaintop dispensing advice for welfare of society, fruit) is fine by me.

But what bothers me is the hullabaloo they make over the poor planet with rings. Seven years of hardship, they say. Fine. But do you think you could have a brilliant life without hardship? Has it ever occurred to you morons that possibly, just possibly, it’s the so called hardship that brings out the best in you? Humans are a species who celebrate pleasure. I’m no masochist myself, but somewhere, I believe that it takes all kinds to make a good life. A dash of shani, a whiff of rahu, some trouble with mangal (and a tree for a husband “like” Aishwarya Rai) Guru smiling beatifically from above… Everything. I’m sure when the Gods gift us our destiny they make sure that you get everything you could ever possibly want, but none of it for free.

Why all this fuss over a few bad days or years? You’re alive, healthy and strong. That’s what really matters. Right?