Virtues like virginity

There are certain things that continue to perplex me- meat eating pet animal lovers, coexistence of religious donations in nation with rampant poverty and the sanctity of virginity. Especially the female virginity. For brevity sake, I’m gonna call it V. We Indian are the forefathers of the concept of foreplay-to-foreplay in movies. Though Hollywood has been filming nudity and intercourse with minimal fuss for decades, it barely has explored the sensuality of the female anatomy like our filmmakers have, with moral daggers hanging above their heads. Case in point, the countless dance numbers involving our actresses dressed in miserly two pieces, gyrating to lyrics that would put seasoned perverts to shame. Just look up “navel” on Youtube to come to terms with the extent of our hoi polloi’s carnal fascination. Our films depicting relationships will go up the entire nine yards-stalking, lengthy phone conversations, dancing, songs, almost-there-kisses in painful detail, to only leave the ‘thing’ to the audience’s imagination at the threshold of the ninth yard. The distance between the eight yard and ninth yard constitutes the average Indian’s erogenous zone; the inch beyond the ninth , his orgasm. So in a nation like ours that nurtures the male promiscuity through popular culture, it’s bewildering as to why V features, still in the moral code of women more than men, obviously in an unspoken capacity like most assumptions about one’s character in this part of the world.

I have a friend, who is about to get engaged. The other day we were talking about the awkward spot she found herself in, between her soon to be in-laws and parents after she unassumingly let out about being in a relationship a year before. What about this filled the hall with taciturn after that, we pondered together? Maybe, the thought of her flirting with another guy before their son. Barely, they were liberal enough to ‘let’ such interactions, their son went to a coed, after all.  Then could it be the thought of her straddling coffee-shops and malls with this guy. Could be, but still didn’t add up to the pale white, their faces turned into. Is it probably the thought of exchanges between them, a little beyond words and glances that stupefied the room. Most likely yes, since the other alternative to such collective response was that she didn’t have legs when they looked down, which likely wasn’t the case. So why this friction to a woman’s past, all the more with our great grandparents and grandparents being born into set ups with sibling count exceeding a test team. My great grand mom for instance, died in her sixteenth trip to the maternity ward. What my friend spoke next, caught me unaware. She told me about how despite being in a few physical relationships, she’s never done ‘it’. God, the same ninth yard syndrome, she had walked the entire distance to only stop at the door to save sacrilege. She was saving ‘it’ for after marriage, she naively went on. She was one of the most liberal souls in my life, at times a little more Bohemian than me, but here she was bending subconsciously at the feet of conservatism. This was the place from which she was surreptitiously seeking approval to her past life.

To try understanding this paradox, let’s go back in time to an age where men were neanderthals torn between increasing evolutionary insights and declining primal pangs. They had learnt to attend to hunger, passion and shelter diligently. Languages were spawned, body fur had vanished to make way for clothes as intelligence took over instinct, emotion took over expression.Man prostrated before every facet of nature that brought life to him- trees, rivers, animals, birds and women. Nature was mother to him, women that expanded his tribe; mother goddesses. It must have been a largely matriarchal set up. He humbly bent before nature and nature benevolently put a hand on his head, not knowing a day would come were the places would reverse.

Be wary of a worshipper, even more about his worship.With time he’ll draw a jurisdiction around you with his ideology, to protect you from your freedom.

As his life moved from the forests to the cities during the Neolithic era with nature turning collateral, he began to feel bigger than it. From this new found vantage he felt the need to protect his erstwhile protectors-nature & goddesses, the nucleus to his belief system from a life gone by. Things that held emotional value, turned into religious sentiments.As the vision was lost, with faiths turning blind. But nevertheless they were revered, but regulated to same extent.

With time matriarchal system caved into patriarchy. With it came chauvinism and double standards like ticks. The man could have as many wives. Each one had to be chaste.Male promiscuity was seen as virility. Women promiscuity; well spawned a new profession, prostitution. Women were plundered along with the wealth of a lost kingdom and taken in as war slaves.With time they were dichotomised  into wives and whores. Femininity became the virtue to yardstick a woman, with motherhood hyped to be her nirvana. Her ambition had to revolve around her man and the progeny he gave. If she dared to think beyond or much worse differently, she would be tamed as a shrew. Her gift of life creation was starting to be used as a noose to strangle her, by the very man she created. Her womb turned a holy grail. Her puberty was celebrated like a festival of harvest to notify eligible suitors to give her away in marriage; proudly with the designation of a ‘virgin’. She was a liability that had to be sold for a dowry to the highest bidder. Her life was to revolve around him and was to end along with him, sometimes forcefully like in the case of sati. Attempts at consummation outside this draconian system was frowned upon as being extramarital, premarital and illicit.Hundreds of years, colonization, few many reformers and contraceptive devices later, she is treated with dignity and respect that extends beyond her ability to give birth. Yet the patriarchal mind set continues to exist strongly in the heartlands of the country that continue to function with a value system from a bygone era. In the cities though it exists in its more palatable subversion of traditions and culture.

It’s about high time we started accepting an individual’s sexual curiosity, within or outside the precincts of a socially accepted institution. It needn’t be about making love or having a child, all it needs is an itch in a couple, heterogeneous or not. It needn’t be subjected to baptism by fire, morally.It can be an expression of desire, attraction, admiration, commodity, transaction or just a lonely night well spent. A woman should be embraced with her share of fantasies and promiscuity, just as her male counterpart would be as a player. Motherhood is her choice, lets not paste a hallow around her head. If she wants a relation that lasts till her orgasm ends, let’s not name call. She needn’t be a goddess. Nor does her sexuality need cordoning as a forbidden fruit. We need to respect her above the belt, just the way we would like ourselves to be.

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On virtues like virginity

There are certain things that continue to perplex me- meat eating pet animal lovers, coexistence of religious donations in nation with rampant poverty and the sanctity of virginity. Especially the female virginity. For brevity sake, I’m gonna call it V. We Indian are the forefathers of the concept of foreplay-to-foreplay in movies. Though Hollywood has been filming nudity and intercourse with minimal fuss for decades, it barely has explored the sensuality of the female anatomy like our filmmakers have, with moral daggers hanging above their heads. Case in point, the countless dance numbers involving our actresses dressed in miserly two pieces, gyrating to lyrics that would put seasoned perverts to shame. Just look up “navel” on Youtube to come to terms with the extent of our hoi polloi’s carnal fascination. Our films depicting relationships will go up the entire nine yards-stalking, lengthy phone conversations, dancing, songs, almost-there-kisses in painful detail, to only leave the ‘thing’ to the audience’s imagination at the threshold of the ninth yard. The distance between the eight yard and ninth yard constitutes the average Indian’s erogenous zone; the inch beyond the ninth , his orgasm. So in a nation like ours that nurtures the male promiscuity through popular culture, it’s bewildering as to why V features, still in the moral code of women more than men, obviously in an unspoken capacity like most assumptions about one’s character in this part of the world.

I have a friend, who is about to get engaged. The other day we were talking about the awkward spot she found herself in, between her soon to be in-laws and parents after she unassumingly let out about being in a relationship a year before. What about this filled the hall with taciturn after that, we pondered together? Maybe, the thought of her flirting with another guy before their son. Barely, they were liberal enough to ‘let’ such interactions, their son went to a coed, after all.  Then could it be the thought of her straddling coffee-shops and malls with this guy. Could be, but still didn’t add up to the pale white, their faces turned into. Is it probably the thought of exchanges between them, a little beyond words and glances that stupefied the room. Most likely yes, since the other alternative to such collective response was that she didn’t have legs when they looked down, which likely wasn’t the case. So why this friction to a woman’s past, all the more with our great grandparents and grandparents being born into set ups with sibling count exceeding a test team. My great grand mom for instance, died in her sixteenth trip to the maternity ward. What my friend spoke next, caught me unaware. She told me about how despite being in a few physical relationships, she’s never done ‘it’. God, the same ninth yard syndrome, she had walked the entire distance to only stop at the door to save sacrilege. She was saving ‘it’ for after marriage, she naively went on. She was one of the most liberal souls in my life, at times a little more Bohemian than me, but here she was bending subconsciously at the feet of conservatism. This was the place from which she was surreptitiously seeking approval to her past life.

To try understanding this paradox, let’s go back in time to an age where men were neanderthals torn between increasing evolutionary insights and declining primal pangs. They had learnt to attend to hunger, passion and shelter diligently. Languages were spawned, body fur had vanished to make way for clothes as intelligence took over instinct, emotion took over expression.Man prostrated before every facet of nature that brought life to him- trees, rivers, animals, birds and women. Nature was mother to him, women that expanded his tribe; mother goddesses. It must have been a largely matriarchal set up. He humbly bent before nature and nature benevolently put a hand on his head, not knowing a day would come were the places would reverse.

Be wary of a worshipper, even more about his worship.With time he’ll draw a jurisdiction around you with his ideology, to protect you from your freedom.

As his life moved from the forests to the cities during the Neolithic era with nature turning collateral, he began to feel bigger than it. From this new found vantage he felt the need to protect his erstwhile protectors-nature & goddesses, the nucleus to his belief system from a life gone by. Things that held emotional value, turned into religious sentiments.As the vision was lost, with faiths turning blind. But nevertheless they were revered, but regulated to same extent.

With time matriarchal system caved into patriarchy. With it came chauvinism and double standards like ticks. The man could have as many wives. Each one had to be chaste.Male promiscuity was seen as virility. Women promiscuity; well spawned a new profession, prostitution. Women were plundered along with the wealth of a lost kingdom and taken in as war slaves.With time they were dichotomised  into wives and whores. Femininity became the virtue to yardstick a woman, with motherhood hyped to be her nirvana. Her ambition had to revolve around her man and the progeny he gave. If she dared to think beyond or much worse differently, she would be tamed as a shrew. Her gift of life creation was starting to be used as a noose to strangle her, by the very man she created. Her womb turned a holy grail. Her puberty was celebrated like a festival of harvest to notify eligible suitors to give her away in marriage; proudly with the designation of a ‘virgin’. She was a liability that had to be sold for a dowry to the highest bidder. Her life was to revolve around him and was to end along with him, sometimes forcefully like in the case of sati. Attempts at consummation outside this draconian system was frowned upon as being extramarital, premarital and illicit.Hundreds of years, colonization, few many reformers and contraceptive devices later, she is treated with dignity and respect that extends beyond her ability to give birth. Yet the patriarchal mind set continues to exist strongly in the heartlands of the country that continue to function with a value system from a bygone era. In the cities though it exists in its more palatable subversion of traditions and culture.

It’s about high time we started accepting an individual’s sexual curiosity, within or outside the precincts of a socially accepted institution. It needn’t be about making love or having a child, all it needs is an itch in a couple, heterogeneous or not. It needn’t be subjected to baptism by fire, morally.It can be an expression of desire, attraction, admiration, commodity, transaction or just a lonely night well spent. A woman should be embraced with her share of fantasies and promiscuity, just as her male counterpart would be as a player. Motherhood is her choice, lets not paste a hallow around her head. If she wants a relation that lasts till her orgasm ends, let’s not name call. She needn’t be a goddess. Nor does her sexuality need cordoning as a forbidden fruit. We need to respect her above the belt, just the way we would like ourselves to be.

Hits, flops and movie parlance like that

How do I embrace a painting when in front of one- through the intrigue held in its strokes, the embedded undercurrent of symbolism or it’s auction price?  What if its price is the only yardstick  to draw parallel with the other paintings on display or the previous works of the same creator? If so, the skewed leftovers of this apples & oranges comparison would leave me with nothing but price tags and wealth trivia; hardly an inference one would say.
Talking of apples and oranges-one’s penetratingly saccharine and crunchy, while the other is citrus and sour  . Different textures, different patrons. Though fruits, they’re as dissimilar the night and dawn. And they aren’t the only fruits in the vast ecosystem of fruits, each one unique and fascinating from the other. Born out of different plants branched out of different seeds sown into different geographies under  different conditions. So, how rational would my appreciation be if it was out of stock taking of the fortunes made by the orchards or the turnover done by the exporters dealing in them.

If you asked my grandpa to pick a movie indelibly etched in his mind, he would probably reminisce about a movie starring either Dilip Kumar or Sivaji Ganesan. The pink in his face would give away his fond nostalgia, as he would ruminate about the story or hum a line or two of a close song. If you asked my mom about a film from her teenage, she would either talk about a Kamal Haaasan classic or an Amitabh Bachchan movie from his “pre-angry young man” days. She would talk fondly about the visionary Balachander was, for his deft handling of volatile subjects with grace and poignance or about movies that stayed afloat in public memory on the sheer strength of Ilaiyaraja‘s magic. Movies meant memories to them, bookmarks to the chapters in their lives.
If one were to ask the same to my college going cousin, a movie buff mind you, he would proudly talk about the opening weekend collections of his star’s film along with painful statistics of the movies it toppled along its ascent to the top and how close it got to the elusive hundred crore club. He would probably remember songs by their placement in the aircheck or the I-tunes chart, if not by his ringtone. Not surprising given the- “loudest the rightest, quantity is quality”,  maxim of his generation.

Niches have faded into seclusion before the cliche churning behemoths of mass approval. Works of art that dial up introspection and epiphanies have gotten relegated to Netflix, as movie halls fill in as dams holding footfalls from the avalanche of promotions. The most promoted movies end up being the most preferred ones over the fate fashioning first weekend, not so surprising given the amnesiac span of attention of the audience that can only hold up the last flamboyant splash.
You don’t see men debating about the good parts and the bad parts of a movie long after the lights have come on. They instead make small talk about whether it would break even or end up losing money, when all that is left of their stake in the movie is a torn ticket and popcorn calories. Somehow the average internet denizen seems to have been stung by the box-office bug. Agreed that the air of capitalism is inundating and the producer’s parlance percolates till the very roots.But it’s not like the stock exchange, where one frantically tracks the movement of his share price. Maybe it is to do with the rudimentary head rush that comes with pitting things against each other- as dissimilar as they’re -to see as to which one among them goes the farthest north.

Probably the ubiquitous availability of too much information from a zillion box office tracking sites and trade analysts piques this misplaced fiduciary interest. They’re like the class teachers who announce the ranks alone, without going into the nitty gritty of any of the subjects. Can I just watch a wonderful movie at home ensconced before the box and leave it just at that? Well, not entirely. By night, I’ll have the summary of the TRP wars and where my movie stood, like a diligent annual report of a company I had put my money into.I just can’t stop with the knowledge of how the movie was, but also have to be informed about how it batted for the channel playing it. So next time I watch a gem like Manorama Six Feet Under on TV, I’ll watch and recommend it to a friend with an air of charity; instead of respect subconsciously. This dirty dichotomy of movies into hit or flop, instead of good or bad has left with us with “mass” produced movies targeted at a wider audience. But where’s the charm in finding demand to a newly opened arrack shop, in an island full of drunkards.

We can’t afford to have Tarentinos, Guy ritchies,Myskins and  Dibakar Banerjees as their audacious works are frowned upon by the high priests of the industry, the producers, for their movies only generate negligible profits that the trade pegs as sleeper hits or break evens. As a bunch of outlaws perceived to masturbate their heads out of in the name of movie-making, they barely find takers even among their target audience-the supposed creme de la creme . Yet we’ll find the balls to nonchalantly rave about Annie Hall, Birdman, Perks of being a wallflower and the impotency of the film industry to churn such films. Not just that, we would make religious beelines to Bhai films to only bitch about the stinking records they go on to make, while patiently waiting for a good torrent of the home grown “offbeat” movies these guys make. After all, its only fair to observe anomalies in isolation, right!

Another conundrum I’m yet to wrap my head around is the fracas around the youtube hits a trailer of a movie gets. It’s like trying to gauge the looks of a person by the number of people who had seen his silhouette. Like this isn’t embarrassing enough, every million views clocked is commemorated with paid trends on social media. The euphoria around a movie is inch-taped with these metrics, like buying a ticket was same as watching a minute long video.

 Legend has it that Nayagan didn’t exactly get off to a flying start at the box office in the first few days of its release, before good press and word of mouth caught on like fire and rest as they say is history. But we don’t have the luxury of a gestation period these days for such organic turnarounds to happen . It has to spike up northwards in its first weekend and break even by Sunday night or the trade would pronounce it dead the following Monday. Then a week later, we’ll have eulogies like the ones we had for Anbe Sivam deconstructing it into minute details. The salt to the wound wouldn’t stop there. Years after they let it plummet; they’ll call it a classic, put it up on their all time favorites list and even make merchandise out of it. But the producer wouldn’t dare to tread that path  as gratuitous columns and awards didn’t pay his interests the last time. With him will go another person to the other side – greener and blockbuster – to place art in the altar of commerce.

School of thought

He was often perceived as the proverbial rotten apple among his friends since school days by the teaching faculty. Parents named him Vijay(victory), naively hoping the name would be a harbinger of conventional victory. So his red flag status at the school’s staff room wasn’t exactly the thing, the family elder who named him told would be the fond after effect of the proper noun.

One fine evening, their superstition around names died along with the sun light.

His intelligence was never under scrutiny. What was under the scanner was its application and the orderliness, the way he defied or toyed with it in the process. He would generate conversations with the kid next to him when three tables was taught in class much to the teacher’s dismay. But would exactly make ten columns of three kids out of his class of thirty odd pupils, to assist his class teacher during excursion nonchalantly.

Sometimes, he would question the relevance of history involving conquests and fallen emperors to his day to day life in the city and place the story of a regional movie from previous day’s 9.30 slot over Merchant of Venice the other times.

In short, he was the  ersatz labour pain to the teaching faculty, independent of their pregnancy.

Abishek was an antithesis to Vijay. Same school, same age, same height; yet so  diametrically different from him. Chalk & cheese kind of doppelgangers they were. Teachers appreciated his uncontested obedience to the school rules & syllabus, through good scores and cherry picked nepotism. He was a model student or the student modeled whimsically from the staff room to be a flagship face of the school.

This phase and the inferences attached got indelibly imprinted onto his conscience. Adherence to a rule, faithful acknowledgement of a functional system and the fruits that came along blurred the thin line between goodness and obedience, intelligence and knowledge.

School came to an end with the prodigall board exams. Vijay came out an educated mind; a wild horse unleashed into the woods with endless freedom. Abishek was an academic dart that seldom missed the bull’s eye of results & rewards; the extent of which confined his scope of ambition.

College days were an encore of School days; with both Vijay & Abishek continuing to be outstanding students. Just that in the former’s case alone it was literal.

*****************

Vijay couldn’t contract to the inflexible jurisdictions of his nine to five jobs; as rewarding as they came and kept jumping from organisation to another like a drunken monkey in pursuit of peanuts on a banana plantation. Frustration had the better of the monkey and it started looking for peanuts in another place. Writing challenged him, kept his spirit of adventure vigil and most importantly; made him feel alive.

Abishek was enamored by the nine to five cliche and the template fitted his aspirations to a T. He turned out to be a wonderful resource and why wouldn’t he. For he was still the popular school kid at heart; proficient with the art of subservience to flow of authority. His individuality was a flimsy excuse; that would  dissolve diligently at the warmth of his organisational needs. His ambitions were merrily dovetailed to that of his organisation; like the frog’s soul to its well.

Vijay fell in love with someone outside of him, a girl who turned out to be a soothing fuel to the fire within.  Abishek got committed to the idea of love and fitted his fiancee into this template. Vijay moved in with her and Abishek married her.

*******************

Vijay loved to write, she was an animal activist and together they inspired each other in their parallel pursuits. They were so dissimilar, yet so palpably compatible. For instance,she was a firm believer in the concept of God, he was a person who worshiped the bandwidth of goodness and narcissism around; declaring himself as an agnost proudly. But he would accompany her to religious places to only sarcastically point out the faux pas in everything animate or inanimate there; which she sportingly would whisk off. His sarcasm never meant malice and her belief system wasn’t a touch-me-not either.

Over the span of their relationship they fought a lot, loved a lot more till a point was reached. The point where he became increasingly becoming dependent on her at a cerebral and visceral level; much to his dismay. This relation was making him absolve the very nucleus of his being,self love. He dispassionately pulled the plug off it; deaf to her endless reasoning.

She was left broken heart; but little did she know that he had left his behind with her.

Abishek’s relationship err..marriage was everything commercials were made of; candle light dinners, treks to exotic locations, treasure hunts involving expensive jewelry, exclusive couple picnics etc. These were layers of deceit laid out systematically between them to compensate the vacuum in their compatibility. They were content binging on extramural  ways of constructing  togetherness; like family dinners and lousy trips with mutual friends whenever they felt restless all by themselves.

Often their arguments ended with assumptions, their fondness was a collage of conveniently overlooked differences and their mutual respect was formed out of overbearing fondness to the institution of matrimony; than personal virtues.

A couple of years into the wedding; they begot a love child; without being sure about their birthdays.

*****************

There are some places that bring the lurking beast out of even the most meditated of monks. One such place is the Anna Salai stretch in Chennai from 10-11 on a weekday’s morning, notorious for its frenzied traffic. The pandemonium just got better with the snail-paced metro project occupying half the width of this stretch; which already seemed like it was about to burst due to over capacity.

This is from where Abishek was honking incessantly from the cozy confines of his hatchback that was in the front of the group of vehicles counting down the last few seconds to green. He was visibly late to his workplace. Vijay was at the same signal; a little behind Abishek. He was late again to yet another book reading of his and the retaliation of the peeved publisher could be felt as vibrations ; courtesy his mobile phone.

A bike that couldn’t go past this signal from the diagonally opposite signal in the last few seconds had trickled down to the line of attack of incoming traffic from this end. This clumsy endeavor was manned by a fragile man in his late fifties. Being the first incoming vehicle towards the man, Abishek could’ve briefly halted for this man to tiptoe to the other end of the road and others behind would’ve waited; but bending a rule just was out of question.
He vroomed past him without an iota of guilt, inspiring the other commuters to follow suit.  Did I say guilt? In his head he was a model citizen who paid his taxes duly and obeyed every single rule laid out by the system. He didn’t owe any courtesy to a person who had failed a signal.

When Vijay came near this man, he had already lost his balance and was about to fall from his bike. Pink faced and limbs shivering ; he was a motley of shame, helplessness and intimidation. Vijay stopped his car, got down and signaled towards the approaching vehicles to go around them .The aggression in the approaching vehicles paved way for empathy, for they went around them.He helped the man with his bike and weaved a way for him to the other end. He was late to yet another place, but had gone out of his comfort zone another time to stand for something that he believed in.
Compassion is often a discounted virtue that doesn’t derive its luster from a charter, like a rule or a regulation does. He was a firm practitioner of the same and was construed to be a willful violator, more often than not.

Schools are the primary influencers of the human mind. But most of them seem content in slaying down a child’s individuality by attaching metrics and yardsticks to success and morals in order to make a functional, homogeneous resource who would effortlessly fit in as a well lubricated cog in the wheel of the society.
 If only they were pampered to be curious,taught virtues before grammar, morals before multiplication, discretion before laying out of prescriptions and the difference between obedience and goodness, Abishek would’ve probably stopped.
Evolution of one’s individuality is his path to self discovery; the course of which shouldn’t be altered inorganically in lieu of conventional acceptance .

Sorry Adorable- An unposted letter

Dear Adorable,

Your incessant barking ended a surreal sleep prematurely. Founded on a fling between my over efficient air conditioner and a romantic drizzle, this meditative-deep slumber had dawned upon me after months of deliberation. I had actually come to throw you out of the precincts of my flat because of Ginger, my pet cat. That moment you wriggled from under the car, I knew my heart, that had skipped a bit wouldn’t let me. It was divine when you squinted at me trustingly with a wet forehead. The naive assurance you were hoping of me with your twinkling-bed bug eyes oblivious to my agenda.That was the closest I had come to seeing God .

My flat is in a bustling main road.Bus route at that. I couldn’t let you practice road-crossing lessons on this stretch that has made carpets out of elderly mutts,my little monster. So, after our bond was forged in that cheesy manner, you became my responsibility and I had to find a better place for you.

One that would put a roof on top and protect you from getting mauled.

After bringing you home, I called up a few friends and acquaintances who I thought might be interested in taking you in. My mom made a few calls too. We promoted you to them on the basis of your undeniable good looks. Not to mention your athletic build. Trust me, we weren’t lying when we did. I can already see neighborhood female dogs circumventing around.

Sadly, whether reasonable or not, all of them had a reason instead of a home. Buddy, this is not a reflection on you. You’re one awesome guy. You must understand how our heads work to appreciate the idiosyncrasy involved in picking a pet.

Some of us have spaces to host a cricket match in our houses, but hearts the size of a mustard seed.Some large hearted souls, hearts with circumference mutliple times the size of our constraints. The last kind of us being the worst ones,with both-adequate resources and interest. but to whom pet adoption is a vanity affair. We would shelter a dog, but not a deserving one like you warring forces of nature to keep afloat. But a artificially bred one with a foreign ethnicity, designed to suffocate facebook with cutesy photos.Not your fault that your parents weren’t German sheperds, Labradors, Pugs or even Alsatians. Not your fault that we don’t patronize anything made in India; except rotis, idlis and Gods.

I would’ve loved to bring you up in the copious precincts of my flat under the alibi of a watch dog. But my archaic flat also houses close minded pricks well past their menopause with strict prohibition on raising dogs. They’ve already adopted two watchmen,dangerously fragile septuagenarians for pets. Another inundating constraint is the fact that Ginger is our child and isn’t a dog person exactly.

So I was left with no other better alternative, but enrolling you with Blue Cross.

I had to pull the plug off our bonhomie unceremoniously. I couldn’t complete our eye contacts after that. I was feeling a sore lump in my heart, while you were clinging on to my lap on our way to Blue Cross. I really did pray for a wonderful person to adopt you. I really did.

Your little heart was pounding on my palms when the ruckus of the other animals welcomed you.Sweetheart, I really wanted to console you then. But then, I wanted you to forget our brief rendezvous for good at the same time. I felt pathetic about enrolling you into an orphanage . But trust me, that was the best place to entrust you. Agreed, it is a little stuffy, unhygienic and all. But they foster your kind with genuine love and care. You’ll start agreeing with me when you warm up there. Trust me, being around your species with food and shelter, is way kinder than shuttling between tea shops and overflowing bins. Also, here you stand a bright chance to being adopted by some wonderful individuals. Given your charming ways and the frequency of adoptions there, that’s a virtual certainty.

I couldn’t say these things to you for obvious reasons in the morning. I’m sure you’ll grow up to be a magnificent creature with access to unlimited supply of food and love. Hope you understand me one day ; if you happen to remember me at all by then. Love you Adorable.

Your guilty wellwisher,

Me

The Indian Dog

The other night when I was driving back home, I went past an aberration by the platform on the road. Curiosity had the better of me and I pulled over to revisit the aberration, God not again, it was what I was hoping it wasn’t. A majestic mongrel, size of a nourished calf, pale white with black patches was lying dead in a fissure by the road. yet again to nobody’s botheration.

Yet another driver runs over yet another mongrel, unscathed for its corpse to mutilate to a carpet with eflux of time on the same road or to be gracefully cleared along with neighbourhood trash the next morning– pretty much remains the exit route of every second stray on road.

They eat from overflowing trashbins and tea kiosk spill overs on luckier days. While most fraternize with fellow strays, some enjoy the patronage of benevolent security guards. They sleep on roadsides as torrid as the climate maybe, with parked vehicle for roofs on kinder days. While these kind faced creatures are undeniably adorable,notwithstanding their pollution-hit withering fur, more often than not their litter go through the same cycle as them.

The irony involved is intriguing, given the fact that the self confessed “dog lovers” exist in the same ecosystem as these orphaned mongrels.

It’s just that the ark of their multi-ethnic “dog love” that encompasses several breeds from the popular pugs,German-Shepard,Labradors,rottweilers to the niche Huskeys seems to eternally be short of space  and resources for the indigenous breed of mongrels, thanks to the overbearing prejudice from western-european nepotism.


Let’s assume a hypothetical scenario,where Indian households adopt foreign origin children from breeding place that lets them choose from a multi-ethnic(Non-Indian) pool of babies born out of artificial insemination due to spiked up demand for white skin & blondes, courtesy  recently concluded IPL tournaments and hollywood blocknusters that have held the Indian imagination at sway. Meanwhile, there seems to be a northwards surge in the indigenous population of orphans & urchins with the number of orphanages remaining constant.

What would you call the above- altruism or ethnic husbandry?  It’s less of an act of benevolence and more of another new found hobby of the creme de la creme suffering from money.

I would date the founding stone of this misplaced virtue way back to the release of Marley & Me, for no pet movie had portrayed the concept in such an accessible way till then. It was not dramatic, with over-the-top emotional set pieces, but it showed how a family came of age along with the growth of their Labrador, Marley. The coolness quotient came from the fact that, Marley, was not a martyr or an attention seeking lackadaisical bag of fur, but an unruly beast which was as flawed as dogs get, yet so endearing.

Instead of taking the film figuratively, we took it quite literally. So instead of taking to the habit of loving dogs and having them for pets, we got enamored by the fantasy of  “cute” golden labradors tearing through our home appliances, while the mongrels continued to rot in platforms and pet cares with no takers right outside our homes.

Why is it that after Titanic alone, all of us as love-struck as we were, went for Indian women with ethnic names and not for Victorian blondes named after flowers? So we do know to board the Pan Indian cruise , when smitten by a western sensibility.

There is no denying the fact that there are some genuine pet lovers , who do their bit by taking a mongrel or a cat under their wings. There are these places like Blue Cross which take care of abandoned pets, but even they are populated to the hilt and can’t expand, not with their modestly filled coffers.

But these odd cases wouldn’t go on to make a collective conscience for the nation as a whole, which still shops for pets to embellish their manicured lawns. For we can’t be called “Clean” country on the basis of a Swach Bharat gig outside Salman Khan’s house on the eve of his birthday.

Thanks to the gargantuan wave of globalisation sweeping us of our feet,  we have Louie Vittons in places where Batas were and KFCs outnumbering Gangotrees. So, egalitarianism in a consumer goods industry seems like a misplaced ideal to have, as the preference seems to be on the basis of competence and ongoing trends, with less dynamic brands(indigenous or not) dying a natural death.

But the concept of adoption is a way more responsible process than just buying a satchel or a sofa to go along with the carpet’s texture. It involves the choice to make between allocation of resources to a every increasing population of mongrels, that are longing for love and attention as much as for food and shelter, over imported ones that are artificially bred to cater to the whims and fancies of a rather shallow population that’s yearning for a pug from a mobile commercial.