Saturday, August 23, 2008

Of Chutzpah and 10 Commandments!

Recently, I was browsing through a widely read Hindi family magazine meant principally for ladies. It had an impressive index page, with contents ranging from tips on beauty to recipes, child care, furniture, pets, financial investment, computers upto horoscopes, and much more. The recipes mostly were vegetarian with a list of the festivals they are generally prepared on. There were also features on health and fitness (both physical and mental). Over all, the magazine was quite a good read for its price. And that very day I also happened to see its English cousin, again a hot selling magazine for ladies. It was priced much more and the papers were quite glossy, with lots of pictures and cartoons of ‘modern’ girls. The topics there too, ranged from recipes, horoscopes, fashion to investment etc. But, what I feel worth mentioning is the huge difference in their core ideologies, suggestions, as well as the themes and ideas of the published stories.

Now, this modern and sophisticated counterpart had a different ideology altogether. Instead of complying with the Indian social norms, it urges readers to create their own, as and when they wish. So, it advises you to be independent, have a thinking of your own ignoring everyone, (literally!), who objects, your family members included and to stay with your loved one avoiding the hassles of living with your in-laws (except when you wish to save on the rent of a separate apartment and/or the expense of keeping a baby sitter); to be financially secretive and trust no one else but yourself; be bold enough to have an extra-marital relationship if you are feeling suffocated in your current marriage. It also tells you how to be fashionable, to buy high profile imported cosmetics and designer wear, even on credit, to impress your colleagues, how to give dating tips to your teenage daughter and of course how to cook unpronounceable western and oriental dishes. In a nutshell, how to be a ‘modern’ woman who has arrived in life and is a potential candidate for being the brand ambassador of India shining.

The ideology can be summed up in the form of these 10 commandments:
1. Thou shall not trust anyone; it’s a big bad world out there that is always conspiring to attack you (didn’t you know this before? take care of your GK!)
2. Thou shall only cook weird recipes with ingredients hard-to-find and difficult –to-pronounce names.
3. Thou shall keep an answer ready in case anyone dares to pass an honest comment ( or an advice or a remark : everyone is jealous of you)
4. Thou shall invest only upon yourself.
5. Thou shall believe upon yourself and only yourself.
6. Thou shall consider thy in-laws as guests.
7. Thou shall go for holiday only abroad, even if it means credit.
8. Thou shall wear the ‘in-thing’ even if werability is not a criteria
9. Thou shall become as modern as you can
10. Thou shall be proud of your chutzpah.

All this has set me wondering whether we are ready to subscribe to such views, given that even today we have our traditional Indian values and ethos seated somewhere deep inside our psyche which govern our basic thinking, because of which we maintain a unique ‘Indian-ness’ even in our most modern life style.
image source : Pocketsoap
& Greenportflowergarden

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