Reel far removed from real
Indian television hosts myriad shows with a gazillion female characters, their protagonists are women and so are the antagonist, the greyish...
Indian television hosts myriad shows with a gazillion female characters, their protagonists are women and so are the antagonist, the greyish characters that hang in between are women too; these shows offer livelihood to a major chunk of India’s female workforce – but do you know any of these women?
I mean the ones you see crying, scheming, allowing others to subjugate her or plotting incessantly wearing a riot of expressions on her face while mind talking to herself? Who are these women sporting caked-up faces and perfectly winged eyeliners even while asleep? Marrying at the threshold of youth into families with a legion members and instantly shouldering everyone’s problems, butting into other’s lives while having none for herself and if these were not too much of an indigestion, turning into house flies on account of a sage’s wrath?
To me, they are aliens, they do not resemble any women I know, these women sketches who sacrifice each aspiration, every dream, and live only to fulfil the needs of the extended family she is married into, do not represent me. Not only is the non-representation of the regular women a sore, the falsified expectations built and perpetuated by these regressive immortal soaps are a curse too.
As aunties circle up from 7 PM in the evening, in front of the television, imbibing the flawed notion exuded from these saas-bahu sagas, and in their drunken stupor complain how their daughters-in-law don’t massage their feet, get up before the break of the dawn, and extend a sumptuous serving of badam ka halwa for their families, I say - Nope!!! That ain’t happening anytime soon.
I, like a gazillion of women who have filled up the metros of India, am careerist. I revel in the grace of the 6 yards every once in a while, but I do not sport a saree 365 days a year –round the clock. My wardrobe affords me other choices. When at home, I like to laze around in a pair of shorts. I catch up with my equally busy girlfriends every so often – maybe in a club, and trade updates of life.
I love to share a tall glass of wine in the company of my husband, he smokes, I take a couple of counters at times. When I am too bored to cook, I log in to Swiggy. I get irritated also and then I shout or abandon my partner for a few days. I curse when pissed. To assure the comfort of my partner is not the sole aim of my being, I allow him to pamper me and enjoy it sinfully.
I have friends of the opposite gender also, whom I share a hearty laugh with at times. But that does translate to promiscuity – or does it? Unapologetically, I am not the virtuous goddess from the texts of mythology, nor am I the vile missy luring up some married man.
And I have yet to find my representation in the numerous “women-oriented” shows that pack up the itinerary of cable televisions. Why has no creative head found it in themselves to speak for the regular Indian woman and running after ideologues that hold no good outside the LED screen, is a question I struggle with.
Real women in India might not fit in their fancies, but they are real. If portray of reality makes anyone uncomfortable, good luck to them living an entire life in denial.
By: Avantika Debnath