Monday, May 14, 2012

Conversations on the phone

The father and I just had a chat on the phone, while he was waiting to board a flight back from Bombay to come home, during which I tried to articulate a lot of what's been bothering me for a while now. We both rambled, and jumped from topic to topic, so I can't quite present the whole thing. Snippets that I can recall, in no very clear order are presented below. Oh and if you haven't seen Ishaqzaade but plan to and don't want spoilers, avoid the third snippet, which pretty much gives away the main "twist" of the movie.

Baba: What did you think of the Satyamev Jayate episode yesterday?
Me: Wasn't bad. I broke down while watching it, of course. Thrilled they're finally talking about CSA, and SO awed by how brave and incredible the survivors were to come and talk the way they did. But I wish Aamir Khan wouldn't lead the conversations so much. Let the people articulate things their own way na, instead of saying "so what you mean is this...?".
Baba: Hmmm. Some of the folks I met here saw the show. People don't seem to have liked the show much. 
Me: Yes well, from what I see on twitter these days, people like to be cynical because they seem think that's what's expected.
Baba: People seem to be worried "intelligent actors will now be determining government policy."
Me: But... he's not going into policy. He's stopping at spreading awareness. Which, yes, could be a complaint, but at least he's spreading awareness. Who said this?
Baba: Oh, the educated folks of Bombay. And fool editors who print such letters to the editor.
Me: Yes well, your reform is never going to come from the educated folks. They're too busy try to convince themselves and everyone else that everything happens in other homes and classes, not in their own.
Baba: Come on, that's not entirely true.
Me: Oh come on, not to take anything away from the tragedy, but one hit-and-run happened in Gurgaon, and people are organizing silent marches to protest because they knew the persons involved. How many such incidents happen with people the "educated people" don't know, and who organizes marches for them?
Baba: But then the question is, which one will hit? And make the point?

Baba: I hear all the "young MPs" were absent from the 60th anniversary celebrations in Parliament yesterday.
Me: I'm impressed the old folks showed up.
Baba: Who's being cynical now?
Me: But that's the thing no? Where do you see hope? Our politicians are useless, social reform is not happening, so what do you have that you shouldn't be cynical about? But I'd like to think my cynicism is not because I feel I need to be, but because I can't help it!

Baba: Mindsets need to change.
Me: But where do you start? We just came back from seeing Ishaqzaade, and yes, the crowd was horrible. You know what I hated the most? There's this scene where the lead pair has just slept together, and he's walking away from her after informing her that he only pretended to fall in love with her because he wanted "revenge" for the slap she gave him. There's a woman crying on the screen, Baba, and the men in the audience are hooting with glee. What do you do with such mentality? How do you begin to change that?
Baba: I think we should completely avoid the PVR in Sahara Mall. The price difference isn't worth it.
Me: Well, yes, but again, how does that change things?

Me: Did I tell you about the FirstPost article where the writer wondered why the women who'd been forced to have abortions continued to agree to have "conjugal relations" with their husbands?
Baba: Does this writer have any idea about what India's like?
Me: Uh huh. So there seems to have been such uproar that the editors took down the article and apologised, saying they are aware all women don't have that option.
Baba: Well, at least they have some sense.

Baba: Well, I have to switch off now. So you're going to Delhi in the evening? By metro?
Me: Yep.
Baba: *silence*
Me: Chill na, if I get late coming back, I'll take a cab.
Baba: Oh, okay.

There was more, a lot of which I can't put together coherently. Heck, I'm not sure this was coherent. I went to the mother to chat after I ended the call, and her first words, as happens rather frequently, were: You're worked up again. Now what?
I told her a bit about the conversation and she wanted to know if I was upset because there are problems, or because I don't know what to do about the problems. 
There's a good question to ask myself.

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