Sensationalism and emotions


Someone once said to me ‘There is a fine line between sensationalizing to draw attention, and sensationalizing it so much that the attractiveness of it numbs your mind’. This could not be any more true with the media crossing all lines to attract a bigger audience and make more money.

Having recently seen the last few episodes of Bigg Boss, the Indian counterpart of the ‘Big Brother’, quite a few things about the show have disturbed me greatly. The show lately introduced a new contestant in the house apparently realizing the ‘monotony’ and ‘calmness’ of the show. Any trivial arguments between the house mates would soon be sorted out by a peaceful discussion and all would be happy at the end of the day.

I wonder why the producers of the show were not happy with the show getting on as it was? Ever since the arrival of this new contestant, there has been complete mayhem in the house. Personal attacks, foul language, and conspiracies have reached an all-time high and the ‘peace’ in the house is now a story of the past. The most disturbing bit of the new entrée is that she is an ex-lover of another participant’s ex-husband (yes, mind boggling).  The play of emotions here is simply disgraceful.

The media seems to have forgotten about the thin line between senstitvity and sensationalism.  Mental and emotional torcher seems to have become the new funda for these entertainment channels.

Oh, this is not to say that the news channels haven’t caught up. Who can forget the immense, unadulterated coverage of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks? All that competition to be the first to cover the most of the events cost the victims of the terror attack, the NSG and the country as a whole. Hardly has the media learnt its lessons.

The coverage of the Commonwealth Games’ sites in Delhi vindicates my point.One dirty toilet and one betel-nut juice stain became the focus of an entire 30 minute news bulletin. The amount of exaggeration on the part of the media about the housing facilties, hygiene, security etc yet again has cost the country and the people in a big way. We are still dealing and will continue to deal with the repercussions of all the bad press and the losses the country incurred as a result of this bad press.

So, at this point all I can say is, ‘Thank you very much Mr. Reporter, Mr. Producer and all you jerks who have brought the Indian Entertainment industry to this trashy turn in the history of television . I am disgusted.’

Who’s the judge?



Sasha and me have suddenly stopped talking. I am not sure why. But I have a feeling that we might have reached a saturation point in our relationship. Yes, I will miss Sasha…I will miss all the hanging out, sharing books, talking for hours about nothing-in-particular and the occasional dramatic fake arguments we had. But I am not sad. Somewhere at the back of my mind I knew it would all come to an end someday. I am just curious.

Did we stop talking because we dont have anything to talk about anymore? Or is because perhaps Sasha is sick of me. Yes, it could be so. Sasha could be sick of my drama, my unusually excited character and sudden bouts of irritation. But I dont dislike Sasha for that, nor do I dislike myself. Do I wish Sasha had more patience with me? Yes, of course I do. But I know better than to expect that of anyone I know.

Yes, I will miss what we had, but if I hold on..I will miss myself. I will miss my craziness, my carefree nature, my ability to look at things the way I do now. I will miss  my pride. And so, I will just let go of Sasha, just as I have let go of  many other people in my life.

If they cannot love me and respect me for who I am, they are not obliged to do so either. Their friends are their choice and my friends are mine. Love me, or leave me is what I would like to believe in for as long as I can. If you cannot handle me, you are welcome to leave my side. But please, do not be fake with me. Do not pretend to be my greatest friend while you actually mock me behind my back. I am happy to let you go with all the respect and regard that you deserve, provided you do the same for me.

Yes, I will miss you, but that is not to say I cannot live without you. Sometime in my life I will think of you, but I will never regret letting you go, nor will I hate you.

Noone in this world deserves to be judged by another if one cannot understand their position. Every person is different, having faced different situations in life, having dealt with their lives in a different way. And everyone has a right to be different. The human nature is such. Not everything has to be correct or incorrect. What might be the right way for me, might not be right for you. But that’s okay, because I know we will both be fine in our own lives.

So, sometimes, it is best to let things be. And I will let it be.

Love me, or leave me, but please don’t judge me.

Colour-Phobia


I questioned the lack of courage when it comes to dressing up in my last post. This one will be more or less on the same lines.

One of the first things taught in our school lives is to draw, color and paint. We identify different colors, learn to use them and appreciate them for their uniqueness and beauty. Where does this appreciation go when we grow up?

We start to feel afraid of too many colours : in our clothes, in our books, in our personality, or even just life!

How many times have we heard someone say “bring colour to your life”?

This could have many meanings, but we forget about its literal meaning in trying to look for the other hidden connotations.

College wear has started becoming mono-chromatic. The constant need to stick to one or maximum one colour is suffocating, in my opinion. We are young people, don’t we deserve a little fun in our lives?

Same theory for the office going adults out there, why stick to the boring old navy/black/white suits? Yes, it has to be formal, but who said you couldn’t be creative? Who said kill your individuality just because you are all grown-up and working now?

Filling your world with color does not necessarily have to mean bursting a color balloon every time you dress, but I’m sure we are certainly allowed to jazz up our look a bit….aren’t we?

Wear a little green eyeliner with a purple dress….add a little yellow to that pretty LBD….  Celebrate the summer season with Orange and say hello to winter with red….

Think about it…a little change in your wardrobe could mean so much. A new you altogether!

And what are you afraid of? Getting shunned by the society for wearing a multicolored stole just because you like it? Worry not my friend, they will soon forget about it….

 

 

Why so afraid?


I was watching an episode of Ugly Betty last night. Every time i watch the show something strikes me and sort of disturbs me. I have always liked Betty, no, not because she is the stereotypical plain jane-but sweet and kind working woman on TV, but because I admire her sense of style. (yes, you heard me right). Betty is not afraid to show her style to the so-called fashionistas at her workplace. While for some, her style may be loud and crazy, but for me and Betty, it is just, well, another  style.

So why are we so afraid to show who we are? In one episode of Ugly Betty, Wilhemina says to Betty ‘Taste is having the courage of your own convictions.” But why, does she have to say this in Betty’s ear? Why does it have to be a secret? Why did Wilhemina never stand up for her colleague and say this aloud in her boardroom. Some will say an evil, career-oriented hag will never do such a favour for her employee….but that is another matter.

My point is, why are we so judgmental? what is right for one might not be right for someone else. What you consider beautiful may not be so to me and vice-versa.

I like Betty because I love color….also, sometimes I like to dress outrageous. It is fun when you think about it. And so, here i come to another question…why are we so afraid of  Colour?? but that will probably be discussed in another post…maybe the next one…..

till then…think about it.

The Great Culture Divide


A decent dress becomes a potential instrument of attracting boys in an overnight journey. This was explained to me as soon as I de-boarded the train at Varanasi, a little more than twelve hours away from home in New Delhi. Speeding into a new day of modern era, the train takes you to a space still heavily laden with the influence of a conservative past.

Benaras is the land of temples, The Ganges, and ever popular paan. But it also lies on the other side of the great dividing line called culture.

While one section of the country progresses on the path to modernity and liberalization as defined by our great grandfathers from the west, another section is labeled as regressive, undeveloped, backward and even static owing to the fact that it has failed to change its ways at exactly the same speed as the rest of the world. And so, Benaras is an eye-opener.

This is Delhi- India’s cultural hub where you find everything from chappals to stilettos, from chaat to sushi, from burkha-clad women to women in short skirts high enough to label them as barely there. And I am a proud Delhiite, having studied in an English medium school since the very beginning, connecting to my long distance friends through the internet and voicing my opinion over every issue I feel is not getting enough attention. There are no taboos, no restrictions, we do what we like and we love it. We are also proud of the fact that we are teenagers, and teenagers are born to rebel and scornful enough to break the law.

So what happens when a liberal, independent, proud Delhiite goes to the old city of Benaras..the sacred place for all of mankind? She gets a reality-check. Her rose tinted glasses are taken away and she realizes that all is not so rosy everywhere.

The moment I stepped out of the train my various aunts and uncles who still live together in the same house came to receive me at the railway station. Like every good family they welcomed me with tight hugs and cheesy smiles and then commented on how I had lost so much weight and promised me they must send me back ‘healthier’.

Next came the comments on my attire and my first shocker of the trip. As I straightened up after all the feet-touching and namastes a gust of tchs tchs filled my ears and followed by a series of comments on how ‘today’s kids don’t know how to dress up’ and ‘how they only wear short clothes to attract boys’. Sure, I was wearing a pair of Bermudas with a t-shirt I considered decent enough to carry off in a train compartment. But it never ever occurred to me that I was doing it to lure potential love mates in this simple natural instinctive act of dressing up.

But then I also knew how some people were orthodox, so I just smiled and brushed away my embarrassment and shock. Then came the second shock.

My language too was not acceptable. Having been teased my whole life at my complete inability to use even a single abusive word back home was a matter of pride for me till I came here and uttered a word we consider harmless and here considered a mortal sin! What’s more I was also secretly accused of making up a ‘firang accent’ and using ‘French words’ to impress the common people of the city. I was immediately labeled as the spoilt-snobbish girl from the city.

This did not bother me much because I knew that sooner or later my folks would realize how well-bred I am and using good English and wearing knee length clothes did not necessarily mean I was a pampered princess.

I did the dishes, made food almost as well as my ‘homely’ cousin sister and still had the decency to stand up to greet whenever an elder entered the room.

Nevertheless, the next few days too were filled with surprises.

I ate more ‘foreign food’ than ‘desi khaana’. I cooked Italian foods better than daal, roti, sabzi and that was a sin and it meant I was absolutely incapable of taking care of my future-husband and his family.

This appalling revelation was followed by hour-long lectures and discussions on what I should do when I get married which of course should be the ultimate aim of my life. I don’t think I would need to take a poll to see how many people’s future plans clash with our grandparents plans for our life when ‘we grow up’. We Delhi women happen to take pride in the fact that we are modern forward-looking ladies who have much more to their lives than have children.

Quite used to the Delhi Metro trains in Delhi and traffic signals in almost every corner of the city, I found it very difficult to walk on Benaras’ heavily crowded and congested roads. My constant complaining was obviously a chance for the neighborhood auntie to say ‘Aaj kal ke bacche, how indulgent. They only want luxury.’

I also discovered that the evils of child marriage still existed. Though the situation is not as bad as Rajasthan where little kids are married of to 25 year olds, young girls are still not allowed to reach the age of 18. They are not allowed to dream and pursue something else rather than produce 10 cute little children before their great- grandmother is no longer alive to see them. The boys are allowed though; they dream, they fly and they also most often than never return to Earth.

But in this entire hullabaloo somewhere I paused to think about how different my life was from theirs. Although I was happy to be different from them, I also realized that even though I scorned them for their conservative attitude, I knew that they are not entirely wrong. They are just sticking to what their tradition has taught them. And if tradition has taught them to worship a certain God/Goddess on a particular day of the week…it isn’t so bad is it? If tradition teaches you to be respectful towards your elders and husband, it might just save a rocky marital relationship from a complete fiasco in a couple of years after marriage.

Being conservative and traditional isn’t wrong, but only if it does not harm or restrict us in any way. If old tradition teaches us to be patient and fast it doesn’t exactly stop us from having a whole pizza the other day when the fast has culminated. Not treating a spouse like a God does not mean your significant other has no meaning in your life.

If old rituals do not stop us from looking ahead in life then it is good. In fact if they control us in our fast lives then it is like a boon. ‘Old is gold after all’. We just have be careful of  how fast we are going and where we are going. There is no need to scorn our old traditions. There is just a need to revamp them from time to time.

As a matter of fact we just need to be aware of the evils of our social system. We have to make sure those old rituals do not get the better of us. Child marriage and ill education (or no education) for girls is a demon we want to kill.

Wearing short clothes does not mean we are oblivious to the predators on the street. It just means  that we have a different sense of style. Of course we still love our kurtas! What better way than a pair of jeans and a kurta to show we are proud modern fashionable Indians!

A vanilla-sense of accomplishment


So, I have finally completed another long-due task in my list of to-dos and it feels good. Now, I too have joined the blogging-brigade and surprisingly I do not feel so bad. I was always apprehensive about putting up my thoughts so publicly over the internet and putting them to the scrutiny of millions of readers and thinkers. But as they say, things  happen, times change, and as a part of the society one needs to change too. Moreover, I realized that perhaps putting my words to the test might not be so bad after all. I have always stressed on the fact that I like to learn, and if there are people out there to tell me if I am wrong or right, it is actually great isnt it?

Thus, here I am. Just another small unit of the society looking for her place in the world. Perhaps, yet another person who wants to discover more of the world and herself. But what differentiates me from being ‘another person’ and being ‘a person’ is the way I look at things. This is perhaps reflected in the name I chose for my blog: vanillasense.

Vanilla, in my opinion is such a beautiful thing. It invokes a sense of calmness, invokes memories of childhood-the most beautiful period of life for most of us, and invokes a sense of breeziness in our busy lives. Vanilla also reminds me of who I am. It reminds me of my seemingly calm nature. I say seemingly because just like vanilla in excess overwhelms, I too, do get overwhelmed in certain situations…my friends can tell better. Vanilla reminds me of the blend of the maturity and childishness in me. And of course, laziness is a quality that connects vanilla and me  so closely.

But hopefully, I will not let laziness get the better of me. I will keep coming back to share a part of me and open my mind to the wonders of the world….till then, Dasvidaniya!