Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Eclipse - effects and after-effects

It all started with Tanu blogging about an eclipse.

Or maybe it all started when I watched a complete eclipse, in all its gorgeous, stunning splendour and was asked to eat while watching it, just to counteract the belief that one should not eat during an eclipse. If others are asking me if there is anythign wrong with me after eating during an eclipse, I'd say, except for a stronger belief against the illogical superstitions during eclipse, I have had no side effects. My stomach, used to the hostel food and water, has not yet complained against me for feeding it when sunny-uncle was being overshadowed (literally) by the lunar disc.

Whatever it is, the comments at the blog do suggest that there are still people who live with their minds closed, and there are some people who desperately try to justify closed minds with heavy-duty information from the internet, without looking for the implications.

The underlying fight remains the same as it is for questioning any old tradition - constant vs change, assumptions vs evidence, belief vs sheer logic and finally: blind acceptance vs thoughtful conclusions.

It depends on which side anyone is - no, not in a mere eclipse arguement, but in any arguement which questions pre-conceived notions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Of Blanknoise project and two ads

'This women's day was special, because my friend told me about the blanknoise project.
Interestingly, within a few days, when those blogs were still fresh in my memory, I came across two ads on the TV, being played over and over as fillers during the India-England cricket matches. It could have been completely unrelated, if it were not for the fact that I was thinking about the (ambiguously named) eve-teasing issue, and had a lot of questions in my head.

The first ad was the quite obvious coca cola ad with Aishwarya Rai being whistled at. Personally I have never admired Aishwarya Rai, but the ad, well, at the risk of sounding stupid and being impressed by triviality, I must admit, I liked the ad. The ad goes somewhat like this:
Ash walks past, clad in a demure salwar-suit, with a group of other college girls, and one among the group of guys sitting at the corner whistles at her after commenting on her figure. She turns back, asks who it was, and the guy proudly proclaims that it was him (asli mard kabhi nahin darte yaaron). Instead of slapping the guy, she makes fun of him.
First, she says that the whistle was too bad, sounded like a tired pressure cooker cooking dal. Then, she gives them samples of other whistles:
a) 'Jab ladki se sunna ho karari si gali, toh aise siti bajate mawali ' - which means, you can whistle like this, but only if you are ready to be blasted verbally.
b) The second sample is to be used, if you would like to be slapped with sandals
c) The third one, if you don't want to be rude, is a very mild tune, almost like a flute with a coke bottle.
The endline sums it up, 'Ab faisla aapki kyunki aakhir hawa hain aapki' (Of course, if the breath is yours, you need to decide how to use it albeit for which type of whistling).
As she leaves, the guy who whistled is already red-faced.
Some say, the ad trivializes eve teasing, others say, she doesn't really do anything, thereby encouraging the eve-teasers.

To all groups, I say, it's a start. It is a soothing way to handle an irritating situation, and in the process, winning friends too....

Which brings me to the next ad, the Indica Ad.
It has a group of four supposedly hot girls in cute short things driving down to a beach, when they stop beside a guy in colourful cargos and ask him 'if he knows a hottie who can get naughty with them and help them rub sun tan oil on their bodies'. The guy, not taking the hint, tells them that they can try the beach cafe. The girls smirk and drive away, and the backgroud music says that the guy was dumb not to take up the offer.

Women empowerment?
Gender equality and sexual freedom?
Or just a blatant stereo-typing of the male psyche?

Imagine the scenario where roles are reversed:
There are four sexy men in the indica which pull up beside a cute girl in a swimsuit or even denims and the guys give her the same hints. The girl shrugs it off...will you call her dumb?
You would probably call her smart......intelligent.....playing safe....or even a woman with a mind of her own.

So, are men supposed to be this high-on-adrenaline animals who will grab (forgive the pun) any opportunity to paw girls? And if they don't, are they dumb? Aren't they suppsoed to have a choice where sex is concerned?

In all probabilities, this was intended to be a fun ad, and I am sure I am just giving it more importance than it deserves, but hey, I have a strong reason...I am bitten by that blanknoise project bug....and my millitant feminism is making a strong comeback to the forefront....only it is not really saying 'all men are animals and are to be kept away for a world full of happy women'....which is making me usual.