Saturday, May 26, 2007

Women

woman noun an adult female human being.

Is that it? Is that why I am wasting my time for, rather, living my life for -- for adult female human beings? Makes me feel like a caveman, rather a chimp, who can't distinguish one female chimp from the other.

If I could rewrite the dictionary, the entry under woman would read as: "Species that drive the world. The earth might be revolving around the sun, but they make the remaining inhabitants of earth revolve around them."

Men are destined to revolve. The chase for a woman might seem to be a linear path that terminates in a "and they lived happily ever after" scenario. But if you view the chase from a space station, it would consist of never-ending circular motions. The man who has a chatty woman will revolve around the silent one. The man who is blessed with a member of the species that measures 34-28-36 will salivate in circles for the one with 38-32-40. Most often, in this part of the planet, the middle figure is not so relevant. Men who are paired with 5'4" look up to 5'8". Men whose women write poetry run around women who wear mini-skirts and read Cosmoplitan; while men whose women read Cosmopolitan want their paths to collide with women who read poetry.

You know what I mean. No, I don't mean that grass is always greener on the other side, or that men always look for variety. (I don't mean any of them at least in this post). What I mean is that women are the nucleus of this planet: no matter who they are, they always have a bunch of men revolving around them. Even if it is a plain woman who, for the rest of the world, does nothing worthwhile other than cooking at home and fetching water from the village well. She too will have a handful of admirers -- they could range from the village dhobi to the son of the headman.

Everybody loves women. So do I. In fact, if you care to go through the archives of Ganga Mail, it would appear that I love them more than anyone else does. And that's because I say so. But that was not always the case with me. In school, I was known as a shy boy. I distinctly remember that trip: I was in class eleven and, having the cleared the written examination for the National Defence Academy, I was called for the interview and aptitude tests to Varanasi, where I met fellow candidates of various ages. The stay lasted for about five days, and during the evenings, we would go to the town to watch movies or stroll in the streets.

One day outisde the movie hall, some of the older candidates bought cigarettes. I was shocked that they smoked. A bunch of girls passed by. Everybody stared at them. Suddenly, the senior-most in the group, a boy from Assam, caught me looking too. He clapped and pointed at me: "Dekho, dekho, yeh bhi dekh rahaa hai (See, see, even he is looking)!" A dozen pair of eyes turned to me and they all burst out laughing. As if I was not supposed to look.

Actually I was not supposed to. I considered staring at girls the most undignified thing to do. When in class ten, going for tuitions on our bicycles would be the only outing we had, and most of my classmates feasted their eyes on every 13- to 15-year-old girl that was found on the streets. I remember telling them: "What pleasure do you get by staring?" Maybe I did not know then. Or maybe I knew better.

During school and college days, many classmates went to movies just to watch Sridevi and Jaya Prada. "Kya maal hai," they would say. But I would choose my movies depending on the hero. And come on, when you had Amitabh Bachchan in a movie, did it matter if Rekha, Hema Malini or Sridevi was the heroine? And there came a time when the entire nation had lost its heart to Madhuri Dixit. I didn't. I worshipped Jackie Shroff, and had watched many of his movies alone.

That is why, for a very long time, I would find myself trying hard to think of names when posed with the question: "And, who is your favourite actress?" You could have interchanged Hema Malini of Satte Pe Satta with Rekha of Suhaag and nothing would have changed in either of the movies. Zeenat Aman could have been in Amar Akbar Anthony while Parveen Babi could have sang Aap jaisa koi in Qurbaani. The films would have still been hits.

But today, if someone asks the question, I have a ready answer: Tabu. She may not be glamorous like Aishwarya Rai, but she is good-looking and intense (if I were to watch old movies, I would prefer Geeta Bali over Madhubala, even though it is impossible to escape the latter's spell. Geeta Bali, mildly plump and with a naughty expression, was the girl next-door). If I were to be marooned in an island with Aishwarya, I would wonder: "She is gorgeous and all that, but what do I do with her?" With Tabu, there would be no such doubts.

For some reason, I also like Sandhya Mridul. I have seen only one film of hers -- Honeymoon Travels -- and I think she is a thinking man's woman. So sad that her husband in the movie turns out to be a gay. Another woman I fell for was singer Antara Choudhury -- singer Salil Choudhury's daughter. I saw her at a concert in Chennai: she downplays her good looks with grace, and her only ornaments are humility and a smile. Wish God makes more women like her.

That makes me wonder: what's the kind of women I crave for, or revolve around? To be politically correct, considering my marital status, what's the kind of women I would crave for, or revolve around? Here's a short list:

1. Women who are not the obvious object of desire for men. The obvious ones are such a turn off because they know they are being eyed by all and are thus so consumed by vanity that they are good for nothing else -- other than looking at the mirror.

2. The ones who are zaraa hatke -- somewhat different. The ones who can wear Fab India and carry it off with an attitude as if they were wearing Ritu Kumar. But on evenings they really wear Ritu Kumar, they make even the regulars of designerwear look pale.

3. Dusky women. Not that I have anything against women who are fair: just that I don't consider fairness as a synonym for beauty. Dusky women are so appealing. You can call it a quirk.

4. Women who wear glasses. (And who remember who take the glasses off just in time).

5. Women who write well -- or at least take pains to articulate their thoughts in writing and not make excuses like: "Come on, am not a writer like you!" They must remember that in the olden days, handwritten letters, crafted with a lot of effort, were the sole expression of the soul.

6. Women who don't care about their looks. That's when you can get on with business.

21 comments:

Shek said...

noble thoughts...I had almost forgotten Sandhya Mridul. She is up there on my list. As far as looks go, I chose Preeti Zinta, Tara Sharma.

I like women that speak their mind, confident, independent and liberated.

The ones who can wear Fab India and carry it off with an attitude as if they were wearing Ritu Kumar. But on evenings they really wear Ritu Kumar, they make even the regulars of designerwear look pale.....i like this thought.

Jason said...

Well, i'm not a starer as well. I dont think i want to pick that knack of staring. Two reasons - One, i'm averse to being outgoing with people i do not connect with and two, it can make the atmosphere uncomfortable.

I agree on all the 6 points you have mentioned. I think you just have saved me from making a post :) I'd like to add that women who can keep up a conversation with small talk, peppered with bits of knowledge and humour rate highly on my list.

I like Sandhya Mridul too. There is something about her that gives the impression that she is intelligent and saucy. I have a thing for Nandita Das.

Paresh Palicha said...

You can add one more thing: Women who take effort to understand what have written & poses a question "Is this what you meant?". Not the ones who just escape by saying "I don't understand anything you write. Please don't force me to read, you just tell me what is in there."

Anonymous said...

:) ....you tried for NDA?? why were u rejected?


message for shankar: pls start writing that book soon. the sunday sty reminded me of one of guy de maupassants story.

Anonymous said...

Ooooohhh...nice to know that there are devoted Sandhya Mridul fans....

BG, good going ...simple & straightforward posts such as these are joyous

Anonymous said...

It feels like you want to travel the less chosen path.There is a kind of self-pride attached to it. What is the span of that craving that a guy will nurture and revolve around a Different woman? Checking out a zaraa hatke woman is equivalent to checking out Dhaba food once in a blue moon if you are too used to gourmet food and fine dining. There is nothing wrong in it though. Taste buds deserve to be treated with different culinary delights.

RGB.

janani said...

hi
I still cannot understand how you can adeptly weave around a topic that is so common.
You marvel me with your writing each time I read your blog.

Nepali Akash said...

Simply awesome.

And well, I guess we share the same thing for Tabbu.

Anonymous said...

I write this at the risk of sounding extremely cliched, but felt a strong urge to react to a comment that has been posted- the one by RGB. I am appalled by the taste with which he has drawn his comparisons between women and dhaba food. I always falsely hope that some men might be different than the rest but finally it all comes down to treating women as instruments of pleasure. May be i am reacting to much to popular jokes that go around in movies and TV, but people should not have the guts to make such statements and think they can get away with it.

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Dear Anon: RGB is not a man.

Anonymous said...

haha..i still dont go back on what i said..

Preeti said...

this is not really in response to your post.

somehow words on paper seem alive and ready to take a leap into your imagination. i dont experience the same with a computer screen

anyway, i reach out for your sunday column with unfailing regularity. you have a lovely style that weaves stories even into short newspaper columns.

your pieces are mellifluous (even if hard hitting)

and a refreshing change from abrupt, journalised, episodic writing which seems to be the order of the day! and of course from compulsive quoting to a point where the author has nothing of his own to say

keep up the good work

preeti

Amrita Sabat said...

beautifully written.
i cannot disagree less with this thot of urs, even though i myself am a woman-'Women who are not the obvious object of desire for men. The obvious ones are such a turn off because they know they are being eyed by all and are thus so consumed by vanity that they are good for nothing else -- other than looking at the mirror.'

so true.

d wrld is so full of plastic beauty. hw do men get attracted 2 every case of perfect hair, chikni faces and hands, too mch shaped eyebrows.....i mean in 2de's wrld dat's first things first for a woman. she's xpected 2 hav all dis plstic beauty in her & shed her natural look.

i'll kill my natural looks too b4 enterin d corporate wrld.

coz i dnt wanna b 'zaraa hatke' at d cost of 'bad' first impressions.........:)

who knows then i might look so attractive & then bcom vain..........lolz.......:P

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Magnificent Minds! said...

A Round applause !!
Your collection of women are very intense & lovely!
i have never been attached to any blogs for so long..but it looks like i've been hooked to it for the past three days..!

Lakshmi said...

i always thought men think the world ( not just women) revolved around them :) interestg to read abt yr wishlist in a woman..i do agree that dandies are a turn off, for women too

sonu said...

Good analysis, BiGs.
Now what a man wants is not alone the looks or the color but a good heart and a head screwed rightly.

Keep writing :)

Jil Jil Ramamani said...

For precisely the same reasons, I would probably choose Nandita Das or Konkana Sen. Nicely written.

Anonymous said...

And this was the second one on my mind. Again, NO clue why. Loved reading it. You have SUCH a way with words B!
The Tomato.

Anubhuti said...

:) :) :)

usha ramani said...

Views about women expressed point blank. Love the points 2, 3, 4 and 5! They give help me give a pictorial perception about the kind of women u like!