Friday, January 26, 2007

Round Indian chappathis

I just watched Bend it like Beckham. I found it in the video library at LIPA while browsing through the shelves, and decided to pick it up.

I realised something while watching it. As Indians, sometimes we feel ashamed of how backward we are in terms of social customs, traditions and attitudes like "there's nothing better than respecting your elders". Yes, the Indian family in Bend It Like Beckham was a stereotypical sikh NRI family, where marriage is of primary importance, marrying a white person is out of bounds, a black person - it's horrible, and marrying a muslim - well, that's unthinkable! Where a woman is defined by who she marries and how many children she bears her husband and how many cars he provides for her. Where a woman's life is restricted to making round indian chappathis and living her parent's dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer. Eventually of course, Jess in the film gets to do what she wants..and that's what makes the film stand out for me.

But as I was watching it, I caught myself thinking - What must the English people think of us Indians? But then I began thinking otherwise...A realisation hit me. We Indians make the mistake of thinking we are exclusively backward.

But then again, we came up with the kamasutra didn't we? Sexual teachings.
We also have the Khajuraho temples. Eroticism at it's best.
Our gods and goddesses wear nothing but jewellery to cover themselves up. Elegant nudity.
That's pretty forward, I'd say.

Another thought struck me...The west is equally backward about some things, if not more. I saw the way Juliet's suspected homosexuality completely freaked out her mother in the film, and how once it was established that Juliet was not a lesbian, her mother said "Oh, I have nothing against it, love!"
I thought about my Greek friend, who's father refuses to talk to her because she gave up her career as a lawyer to come here and study Dance.
I thought of my flatmate who keeps his sexuality a mystery to his parents, who's mother only suspects that he's gay, and who's father doesn't have a clue.

Maybe we aren't more backward than other countries. Maybe just as backward. And maybe we are forward in ways they are not, and backward in other ways. Vice-versa.
Maybe it all isn't just black and white. Or grey.
Perhaps it's all just a jumble of colours that just needs sorting out.

1 Comments:

Blogger vichchoobhai said...

Bend it like Beckham was about a stereotypical sardar family in UK steeped in their cuture (and cuisine) . Maybe a tam brahm family in UK also will behave likewise with a photograph of kanchi seer or sharadamba insted of wahe guru and sambhar and kootu instead of alugobi.

Things are changing not only among NRIs but locals too. IN Mumbai girls have started moving out from their parents home and living as paying guests or alone in apartments with never a thought about marriage. Live in arrangements are common. Family values are crumbling.

Of course ancient India was more advanced than ancient west. But the Renaissance took them forward by leaps and bounds while we stagnated or regressed from the time the depradations by invaders from Persia , Afghanistan and central Asia started; from the early second millennium till the British took over.

Parents are the same everywhere. Hardly supportive of their children's dreams. But then children no longer implicitly obey their parents. More than half the population inIndia is below age 25 and they will sweep away the cobwebs of the past taking forward only the shining values of our gloriouis civilisation. MERA BHARAT MAHAAN!!

Chapatis anyday are better than bread or buns.

January 27, 2007 at 5:11:00 PM GMT+5:30  

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