Monday, May 19, 2008

You Know You Are Back Home When...

* You come back to India and see magazines with a nation wide reach continuing to have Amitabh Bachchan on its cover as STAR of stars. 'Oh No', goes the mind, but then within the covers, one discovers a treasure trove of truly excellent articles such as Mukul Kesavan's take on why Dharmendra (an all-time favorite!) never got the true recognition he deserved, or any award. Paromita Vohra's comments on Bollywood stardom : 'a genetically modified, steroid-sculpted giant tomato'. Even Bhaichand Patel's indignant reaction on having his dreams shattered by discovering that the feet and knees he had fantasized over, as Meena Kumari 'bathed' in Footpath, belonged to someone else.

* You come to know (many days after the event) that bomb blasts have occurred in yet another city - this time Jaipur, creating a trail of media indignance nationally. But nary a ripple internationally in a terror-weary world.

* In the coalition politics of the home - between bai (the maid), Bharati (the cook), mali (the gardener), and Ganesh, the general handyman, the homefront has borne the brunt of its stresses and strains... a microcosm of the nation :-)

* When the headline that greets you as you deplane - is of a nose-dived fellow Air India aeroplane.

* When everyone you recount an incident to - of a question asked to me at the conference I am back from - Can you in India hold focus groups with a few 'untouchables' in it - is morally indignant at the West's tunnel vision.

* And then, the next day's lead story on the front pages is of celebrating a brother-sister 'other backward caste' duo who have broken through the glass ceiling of the uber-elitist IAS.

My next step:

To locate Mukul Kesavan's book 'The Ugliness of the Indian Male, and Other Propositions'. Sounds very interesting indeed....

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