Friday, September 30, 2011

Bridging the Age

So Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are heading towards splitsville, ready to wash dirty linen in an epic 290 million USD divorce battle. This is nothing unusual in case of Hollywood celebrities, you will argue. I agree. But my focus is not the post-mortem of Hollywood romance. It’s something which most often makes me think about and question my own choices.

First of all, I would salute both Demi and Ashton for sailing their love boat for almost a decade. Call her a cougar or him a toy-boy, but together they withstood the criticisms and doubts despite the 15 years of age difference (she is 48 and he is 33 now). I actually respected the couple for sustaining so long, although I always suspected they would ultimately fall prey to the usual Hollywood storyline of marriage or relationship (read Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman, Susan Sarandon-Tim Robbins). It has been reported that the Demi-Ashton story is ending due to his serial bout of cheating on her with younger women. So, are you surprised? I am not.

I feel the huge age difference finally took its toll. Demi must have been the anchor in this relationship owing to two facts - she is the woman and the older one. But the very ‘old age’ must have been the ship wrecker. Man anyways is notorious for having shorter attention span; his interest in his woman is always at the risk of diluting. So a much younger Ashton must have been easily succumbing to all the temptations, bored of an older wife. Of course, Demi will still give 20-somethings a run for their penny even at this age. But you will have to agree, she is way past her Ghost glory days. And Ashton is young and his career is definitely on the rise (the countless rom-coms and yes, replacing Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men). He has much more success stories in store. The age gap, hate it or not, seems to have a taken a toll on this relationship.

Such cases are not rare. Take the recent case of Playboy chief Hugh Hefner and his runaway bride, Crystal Harris. I was amused when I had read the news of the marriage of the 85 year old media mogul to his 25 year old Playboy bunny girlfriend. Come on, is getting hitched this easy?! I concluded she is just a gold-digger and such is the trend in the glamour world of the west. Then Harris called off the marriage. Thank god, finally good sense prevailed in the girl. Harris later stated, It was all just happening too fast for me. I just sat back and thought about it all. Is this what I wanted? And it wasn't."(Thank god, these girls are not that bimbo after all!)

We don’t have to probe further west as there are several home-grown ‘age-gap’ love stories as well. Remember the Saif Ali Khan-Amrita Singh marriage? Their story is our very own Demi-Ashton saga as Amrita was older than Saif. Now Saif is romancing a much younger Kareena Kapoor. The entire country is eagerly awaiting the end of the Saifeena love story – ‘marriage or break-up?’ is always the favourite topic of the gossip tabloids.

Then there is the love legend of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. The vetern couple has weathered so many years of togetherness despite the huge age difference of 22 years. But is everyone is as fortunate as them? What about us mere mortals?

A friend’s recent Facebook update read “Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs!” I believe in this. Moreover, I believe women mature much before men. Which means the thought-process of a girl and a boy of the same age or age group will be vastly different. She is usually the wiser one. That’s my perception and which is why I always fall for older guys! Give me George Clooney any day over Robert Pattinson.

I have always shown more affinity towards men older than me. In fact, many a times my friends tease me that I might get hitched to an old man eventually. But there are always a few apprehensions in the back of my mind regarding getting into a relationship with an older man. What if the guy is too old for me that he starts considering me a kid? What if the things we both want in our lives together would differ as our thinking ‘age zones’ are different? Wouldn’t he get insecure if I am friendly with men younger than him? Would he become too old eventually to enjoy things I want to enjoy in life? What if I get bored of his old ways or worst, him?

On the brighter side, an older man usually lets go of the mistakes committed by the younger partner (or so as explained to me by many elderly women).  The older man is usually financially stable and can pamper you. (But again, I know of several exceptional cases: some older guys end up being big-time losers and actually look forward to sustain on the woman’s earnings!)

To be honest I am confused. Most often I am in a dilemma. I can see several flip sides of a sizable age difference between couples. But then, I can’t help my feelings. I still look out for the older men. The age-difference in relationship is a debatable topic. It will always be a matter of concern for everyone involved – the couple and their respective families and friends. But somewhere, I feel, the onus lies on the younger partner to strengthen and sustain the relationship. The younger one has age on hand and choices galore. So she or he has to be sure about the decisions and the loyalty towards the older partner. If only Ashton Kutcher has resisted all the temptations, people could have still marveled at the awesome couple. But unfortunately, he strayed despite having a gorgeous woman at home (he cheated on her just before celebrating their sixth marriage anniversary!!!)

I will need your viewpoints on this. Till then, I will sigh over the cute romantic movies like Autumn in New York (what a poignant story of an older Richard Gere and a young girl Winona Ryder) and our own charming Lamhe!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Me… A Bad Girl!

So by now most of you must have watched ‘Mere Brother ki Dulhan’. If not, then most certainly all of you must be grooving to the enthralling song ‘Dhunki’ and going gaga over Katrina Kaif’s rockstar look. In the film, she is the fun-loving, carefree and sincere-hearted ‘Bad Girl’. So why am I highlighting the bad girl?

While watching the film, I saw a bit of myself in Dimple (Katrina’s character). She enjoys her young days. She views life through rose-tinted glares and chooses to ignore the darker aspects of life, although she is aware of their presence. Happy-go-lucky and bindass is the way of life for her. She doesn’t mince words, is a brat and enjoys ‘the bad things’ (read smoking, drinking and breaking the rules). She is a rebel. Thus, by society’s definition, she is a bad girl.

But she has a few limitations set for herself, by herself. She won’t break those barriers. Just because she flirts with guys, she won’t go onto sleep with each and every guy she flirts with. She is highly frustrated with the general attitude of men towards girls like her. She is tired of the double standard of Indian men who claim to enjoy the company of girls like her but are constantly on the look out of the first opportunity to bed her. And the biggest hypocritical stance of the men is really sickening – such ‘bad girls’ are fun companies but not marriage materials. You see, she is ‘easy’, and not ‘wifey’!

In the film, Katrina laments about this double face of Indian men to Imran Khan. He tries to reason with her that our society is not accustomed to free-spirited girls. The Indian society is still by bound by tradition.

Now my problem with the explanation given by Imran lies in the following fact –

“If our society is still bound by tradition, then why do the Indian men behave like they belong to an entirely alien culture? Does ‘being Indian’ apply only to girls?”

I am so tired of such chauvinistic outlook. Take for consideration the numerous deodorant advertisements playing non-stop on the idiot-box. The theme of all these ads are same – apply the deo and girls will jump on the guy like moths throng towards flame. I particularly hate one ad which shows the guy ordering two girls to reach his place in 5 minutes. What a way to demean women!

Come on, we girls are not that dumb. We would go out only with the guys whom we like from first impression. We would observe and study and make the move or let him make the move only if we like him and wish to give him a shot. Trust me, if we didn’t like you, you won’t even get the chance to talk to us. We might be the emotionally weaker sex, but we are very capable of taking hard and strong decisions.

We might not be the ‘perfect Indian girl’ as defined by society. We do like to have fun. Personally, I hate to be bound by rules. Yet I have always set my own rules. If I don’t want to do something, no one can force me to do so. I have my own strong opinions and I value the difference between right and wrong. Of course, there might and will be differences of opinion between your and my definitions of right and wrong. I will admit honestly, I have my flaws. However, I do possess a few ‘wifely’ attributes: I can cook well, I can set up a beautiful home and am very adept at handling problems associated with running a household. But this does not imply that I should not party with friends and guys. And just because I tread a bit on the wilder side, does not imply that I am a bad ‘bad girl’.

At least I can say that I don’t bear a hypocritical attitude towards men who enjoys the finer things in life. I don’t think men who break rules, drinks or smokes are ‘bad boys’. I also understand not every guy bears a chauvinistic attitude. In short, I don’t objectify men. And I understand the gravity of responsibilities that come with being a single working girl living an independent life, away from near and dear ones. I will have my share of fun while remaining sincere towards my own rules.

By the way, if you are trying to ape the open attitudes of the western society, then at least try to handle that attitude with maturity. One of my girlfriends recently travelled to Europe and she was recounting the experiences she had with the men there. She said that the guys there were such gentlemen that they never tried to grab a girl until and unless the girl had similar intention. Of course, there was flirting and the usual cheesy lines. (After all, men will be men!) But they won’t try to grope you and they won’t force themselves upon the unwilling girl. They knew how to make you feel like a lady.

I agree with her. I also met some really nice foreigners recently and experienced their perfectly gentlemen demeanor. They made me feel like Audrey Hepburn (I think I am obsessed with herJ).

Of course, I would neither claim that all Indian men are jerks nor that all foreigners are gentlemen. There are always exceptions and thank god for that! But my argument is simple, while trying to inculcate the alien culture, please try to borrow the similar maturity into your behaviour. Being carefree is not a problem. Being irresponsible is.

Keep rocking the party!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai? Or Soulmates?

After living amidst chaos and ‘too-busy-to-live’ crowd in Mumbai, an official trip to the beautiful campus of Indian School Business at Hyderabad turned into a welcome break for me. Although I was staying there for work, I fortunately had enough time to relax and soak in the beauty of the green and wonderfully designed campus. The serene silence created the perfect ambience for self-retrospection and looking at newer aspects of life.

The current favourite ad campaign of the season, Airtel’s ‘Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai’ had given me many points and stories to ponder over. I have been really lucky to have resided in different places, with different kinds of individuals and meeting a huge variety of characters that have become integral part of my life story. As I look back today, I can comprehend the significance of the Airtel ad. Moreover, since I was travelling with people from different nationalities, I was exposed to a whole new world.

So, is this true? Is each and every friend really important or necessary? There is a popular saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” All the sayings or idioms in this world (whatever the tongue or community is) have a wise reason behind them. And the base of the above mentioned idiom is very simple and valuable, “Loyalty matters”!

We all have heard of this particular species – ‘Frenemy’. I have encountered this dangerous kind at different stages. Although at that time I used to think that those were unfortunate events, now looking back I can say that it wasn’t that bad. After all, I learned a few important lessons.

But it is always painful to witness people getting backstabbed by such frenemies. You trust them but they won’t even spare a thought of consideration before hurting you if they are at the benefits end. It’s always agonizing to experience and watch others undergoing Ceaser’s ‘Et tu Brutus?’ syndrome.

Then there is the seasonal ‘friend’, who is very dangerous. Beware! A very vital word called ‘loyalty’ does not exist in the dictionary of this breed. Such persons are actually so self-engrossed that they themselves are not aware that what they claim to be their loyalty is nothing but a pretension. This is mostly because they are in love with own self, and they fail to see the larger picture. Oscar Wilde once said, “People who love only once in their lives are shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.” I agree.

And at the other end of the spectrum stands the eternal debate of the existence of soulmates. A close friend of mine once confided that he is tired of chasing skirts. But unfortunately he hasn’t met ‘the one’. “I am waiting for my soulmate”, he said. I just laughed and simply stated that souls are not specified into genders. So his soulmate could very well be a man! In fact, I have met my soul sisters in my best friends. My friend understood the point.

The foreigners with whom I was travelling tried to understand the concept of arranged marriage in India. They asked me how is it possible to get married to ‘the one’ if he or she is sourced by family! Well, that is the way the Indian society has survived centuries and our society is actually much older than theirs – I replied. We are from the land which gave birth to the concept of soulmates and Kamasutra. Since Indians have survived all odds with arranged marriage and still have not faced the real divorce crisis as in the west, at some point, we definitely stand correct than the firangs – I proudly explained.

Yet they were not convinced. Then when I asked one of the guys if he is thinking marriage with his girlfriend of 3 years, he was surprised and said it was too early for that. I laughed and told him in India, many plan marriage within 3 weeks of dating! And no sir, that’s not even an arranged union. Then I questioned myself – “Do we Indians get married just for the sake of getting married?”

Seriously, in a country where marriage is such a revered institution, we have turned it into a circus, the ‘great Indian joke’. But I will discuss this next. I would love to do autopsy of this amazing tradition, more so because I have been facing the tamasha since some time now.

(P.S. My friends, love you all. The Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai is dedicated to you. And I know I don’t even have to take your names.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Broken String

The rhapsody of silence

And the sonata of melodious breeze,

Are composing the couplet of life.

I am ruminating,

Trying to remember your song.

And I have realized,

You never sang.

I always orchestrated our symphonies,

And you were just a broken string.

A broken string with no hymn.

May you rest in peace

As I compose the requiem of your unmelodious life.