Radhika's Diaries

I see humor in the mundane.

Ask people what they think is the greatest invention of all times.

Most men would say its the wheel. Duh. They would. Men will be men!!

Most women would probably say it’s the dishwasher or the Blender or something equally unimaginative. No comments!!

Ask me and I’ll tell you – the most important invention in recent times has got to be the WhatsApp.  It is, for us Indians anyway!

Nothing else seems to have revolutionized the country and the way the average Indian eats, sleeps, thinks, feels, acts, prays and plays…… as this App.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but ever since I downloaded the little bugger, my  life has changed drastically and dramatically.

  • For starters – I don’t recall how my mornings were before WhatsApp (BW), but certainly after WhatsApp (AW), every single morning is turning out to be an awesome one thanks to the Good Morning wishes flooding my WA Feed. I am overwhelmed by the fact that so many people seem to want me to have a good morning and therefore flood my phone with GM images complete with flowers, butterflies, lisping babies and the works. The sun is not yet up when I  start to hear the pings of Good Morning, every single morning. Yaawn!!

Reliable sources report that Indians rank among the highest  “GM wishers” through WhatsApp!!! Proud to be an Indian!!! 😉

  • I am a much much better person AW – the 2 dozen and more motivational, inspirational, philosophical quotes and messages forwarded to me every day ensure that! I am calm, meditative, patient, relaxed, contented and at peace – for all of the 2 minutes it takes to read or listen to these messages before I revert to my usual nasty grouchy self.

I am sure I’ll get to that permanent elusive state of bliss and inner peace eventually – when I have time to look up from my messages that is!! :/

  • I am, and everybody else is too I imagine, slimmer, fitter and healthier with all the health tips and cautionary diet injunctions going around the WhatsApp world. And happily for us indolent folks, once a message is sent out, it then rotates around for eternity in the WA realm making periodic appearances in some group at some time  like the Comet – thus ensuring that I do not just read it, shut it and forget it!
  • I notice that I am more alert and aware than ever before; I have to be with the deluge of audios and videos warning me of this and that and the other. The days of ‘Ignorance is bliss’ are gone with the wind and now we all know that our tomato ketchup is made of pig blood, our rice is made of plastic and that juicy red watermelon is actually injected with red ink!! And that the Indian National Anthem has just been declared the best in the world by none other than the UN. Proud to be an Indian all over again!!! 😉
  • I am pleased to note that, although my brain has become numb and dumb due to non-usage, my fingers are nimble and agile with all the frantic commenting and forwarding and thumbs up-ing that I do!!! I have to be quick you see, if not, someone else will do it before me. And we can’t have that can we!!

And for those of you who’ve been trying hard to counter the downpour of fake news and hoaxes on WhatsApp, I have some Breaking News for you : The WA company is planning to come up with “educational videos in Hindi and English aimed at helping people identify the hoaxes”. 

They needn’t bother if you ask me. Nothing is going to stop us from hitting that ‘share and forward’ button. We Indians can do it with our eyes shut and hands tied behind!

So, one last time: Proud to be an Indian!! 

And while we’re about it, I’ll be even prouder if you Like, Share and/or Forward this! 😉

  

 

 

 

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On popular request (all of 2 actually, from both my sons!! 🙂 ) I’m posting my article which was published in The City Times, the Saturday Magazine section of The Khaleej Times, the National newspaper of The UAE.

The people over at Khaleej Times very kindly gave it a beautiful backdrop as you can see below. 🙂

 

You can read the article by clicking here.

🙂

 

I’m sick and tired of hearing our Indian Society being called a patriarchal one. And of hearing how our men dominate, suppress and oppress our women.

Google defines ‘Patriarchal society as one in which men call all the shots, so to say…” Come now! Our Society is nowhere close to this definition surely!

If you ask me it’s women all the way. In most homes in our villages, towns and cities it’s the women who crack the whip.

Skeptical? You think I’ve lost it? That I’m talking through my hat? Stay with me guys and if you’re not convinced after this then – I’ll eat that hat!! :/

All I ask you to do is to spare 1/2 an hour of your precious time and watch any of our so-popular serials running on Indian Television! If art imitates life then there you are! In almost every episode running at any given time it’s the women who rule – for that half hour at least! Well ok – 15 minutes to be precise. The sponsors rule for the other 15 minutes, but that’s neither here nor there!

It’s the woman – impeccably and elaborately dressed – who reigns supreme and in her presence the men stand no chance. They’re mere puppets dancing to the tune of the wives, aunts, mothers and mothers-in-law!

It’s kind of like a hierarchy in Indian television serials, get it? Let’s break it up for a clearer picture. Right at the bottom features our female protagonist – the youngest bahu or daughter-in-law – a pious do-gooder, a hot candidate for sainthood! Then come the other female members – in increasing order of all that’s evil and cunning – the other bahus! And there’s always a bua (the father’s elder sister) to add spice to the proceedings. Her presence in the house is something of an enigma actually – whether she’s a widow, unmarried, divorced, separated …… is a never-to-be-revealed mystery! She’s omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent though. Amen!

And sitting royally on top of the hierarchy is the reigning Queen – the Saas or the mother-in-law; who has her kingdom and the cowering subjects wrapped around her bejewelled fingers; and who (I strongly suspect) devours iron nails in her spare time!

The bindi or the red dot on the forehead marks out these Femmes Fatales. The bigger the bindi and the more elaborate the design – the higher the degree of evilness and cunningness. It makes it so much easier for the viewer – one look at the forehead and we know who’s who and what’s what!!

Now for that million dollar question – what about the men? Are there no men in the stories beamed into our living-room 24/5 (weekends are rest days, thank god) through the years, ad infinitum?

Oh, there are, undoubtedly, plenty of men – but what exactly is their role and position in the house, hierarchy or in the story,  is the trillion dollar question!!!

And here’s what I’ve gathered from random viewing of some of our soaps – men are merely part of the furniture – the To-Be-Seen-Not-Heard type. They’re all looks and no sound! One really can’t help feeling sorry for the poor chaps. The Indian man (TV would have us believe) cannot breathe, think, speak or even  ‘ahem‘ 😉 without the permission of The Woman of the house – the one on top of the hierarchy, remember??!! One look from her and he cowers behind his own shadow. And whenever a fiery domestic scene is about to unfold the guys are shown slinking furtively off to some vague ‘important meeting’; leaving behind much sound and fury and fireworks among the womenfolk!!

Sigh! Need I say more?

This then seems to be the pattern running through most of our serials and apparently the public loves it, if TRPs are anything to go by!

So – patriarchal? Or matriarchal?

You tell me! 🙂

 

 

My older sister and brother and I, we all 3 attended different schools – for reasons best known to the Pops! I’m not complaining though. It ensured that there were no hand-me-downs for any of us. Text books – yes but uniforms – no!

I attended an all-girls school, and in those days our uniform used to be a dull grey number in thickish material; with box pleats down the front and back. And boy! I could dedicate a whole post exclusively for those pleats, I assure you. They were a nightmare as I recall – for me at least, and for anyone (mostly my mom!!) attempting to give my uniform the hot iron treatment.

Looking back, I suspect those pleats must have haunted my mother’s every waking hour and made her Sunday evening a dreaded one – when my uniform would be laid out on the ironing board, pleats and all!!

For some of the girls in my class too – their whole life revolved around those pleats, believe me!! They were quite particular about their pleats! That’s too mild a word – they were paranoid about them and I do not exaggerate. Those pleats had to stand just the way the tailor made them – stiff, firm, crease-less and in place!

So everytime the girls stood up, the process of sitting back down would be an elaborate one. They would reach behind, smooth down the folds, adjust and arrange them and then holding them firmly down, the damsels would slowly and cautiously ease their bottoms on them so that the pleats stayed – just so! Until the next time they stood up that is!

And those sitting behind would watch this ritual indulgently. Girls will be girls, after all! 🙂

And then we had the neck-tie! Oh yes, which school-going child does not have one dangling down his throat, for close to 10 precious years of his life!! This upside down hangman’s noose happens to be an all-purpose invaluable accessory and I’m guessing things haven’t changed much since my school days all those years ago.

Whine all you want about the dratted school tie but in your heart of hearts you would no doubt acknowledge that it does come in handy, in several situations –
– to stem a runny nose.
– to clean a sweaty face after PE.
– to wipe off the extra ketchup around the mouth and on the desk after the snack break.
– to rub off unmentionable scribbles about the teacher, from the blackboard.
– to buy some precious minutes on a hectic school-day morning – with everyone rushing around looking for that elusive piece of cloth while the school van honked downstairs.

Yes. If there’s one thing I most remember from my school days it has to be the tie, definitely! 🙂

All these make for some exciting memories of one’s school days, for most people around the world surely.

But not, I think, for the children studying over at the Elementary School in the Ginza District of Tokyo. Apparently the school authorities roped in Armani to design the uniform for their tiny tots. Yep, you heard right. We’re referring here to the same Italian high end luxury brand Georgio Armani. Heigh ho!!

The parents protested, of course.

They wondered if things were’nt being taken a bit too far. And whether it was really necessary. They complained that the outfit priced at some $730/- was too expensive for children who would outgrow it faster than the time they would take to wear it. Not to mention the cost of dry-cleaning it!!

But apparently to no avail.

Last I heard, the school has appointed security guards to patrol the streets around the school – to protect the children after they were harassed over the expensive designer school kit.

The Armani uniform, FYI, includes a chic hat and a bag.

No mention has been made of either a tie or box pleats!

Disappointing!! 😦

 

Five minutes…..

When you’re bored 5 minutes can seem long, But when you’re having a good time those very 5 minutes can fleet by!!

I had my precious 5 minutes featured in Motivate  Me hosted by Shelley Wilson an author, Blogger and a Coach, in her 5 minutes series where she features interviews with other Bloggers – established ones and struggling ones (like me!! 🙂 )

You can check it out here 

Thank you Shelley!!

 

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