the world may now be on
the sidelines, still trying to crawl out from under that mound of pink chaddis, but the Indian male, on boardwalk or in boardroom, still hasn’t got the point. Take the new ad for Gillette (the best a man can get, after all). Using the now de riguer DSLR tilt-shift mood shots, the shaving company extolls Indian men to ‘protect’ Indian women, ‘stand up’ for them and
so on. All a bit of foam, really, because the ad has already attracted a lot of negative feedback for its rather patronizing attitude. Or take this recent article by Aaakar Patel ‘The Woman Makes the Couple’. We won’t say any more – you can be the best judge of its value and relevance.
From tweets by twits about ‘sending women you don’t like to Delhi’, to mean chow being blamed for awakening baser instincts; from Presidential offspring running off at the mouth (‘dented and painted’, yeah right) to clerics issuing a fatwa on an all-girl rock band, this Valentine’s Day arrives with a lot of baggage. Venerated institutions even in the erstwhile Pub Capital impose college dress codes prohibiting jeans. Separate staircases for boys and girls are still in fashion. And packs of frustrated miscreants still hunt down couples having a ‘good time’, enforcing their twisted ideas of morality with clubs, fists and, most of all, ‘holy’ approval.
Clearly, extreme incidents of violence and injustice aren’t catalysing or bringing the change we want to see. The picket lines form up and candlelit vigils abound, there is much screaming and intellectual debate in cyberland, signatures are sought on petitions, bills are mooted and stalled and passed and forgotten.
Perhaps what we need are smaller things. Everyday things. Little acts of kindness or selflessness. Moments of reflection. Just a thought, in the right direction. Just a line, drawn in time. And just keeping all of
these in mind. Saving a bit of space for them, amid all the clutter, the detritus of 21st-cent madcap life.
Here’s remembering four years of One Small Love. And drawing a little line.