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11 January 2008

Pappu Pichkari

One of the interesting trends I am observing in the reactions - that range from banal to bizzare - to the Mumbai molestation incidents has been to 'mock' the traditional Indian tradition and culture.

A wide-ranging word but largely taken to include the religious texts, epics, specifically limited to stories of Sita's sorrow and Draupadi's vastraharan, No one seems to have touched upon Manu so far- actually who is credited with many 'women unfriendly' statements- the fair sex shall always be accompanied by the unfair one and such-But, I digress.

Since not many of us have any control or way to cross check and confirm what happened many eons ago (and "proof' will also be required. 'My grandma said this, who heard it from her grandma' will not suffice) it is simpler to merely take a look at contemporary culture. Culture as some students of the topic will know has less to do with ancient history and is a word that denotes many things such as artefacts, mores, people, behaviour, food, language etc.

Normally I enjoy an occasional raunchy song or inane dialogue of a hindi movie as much as the next movie-goer. You know, the 'Tu meri maina, Main tera kabutar' is a song about ornithology and, 'Beedi jalaile' is surrogate advertising for the tobacco industry. 'Teri ankhon ke maikhane se main pi lu' is classic, Drink to me with thine eyes. Sheer poetry. Hence, feminists and all other ists- no need to hyperventilate. Chalta hain, jaane do, take a chill pill, vagera vagaira. Not viagra silly, vagaira. It means etc. etc.

It is quid pro quo when the gals sing, 'Kya karu hai, budda mil gaya', or about 'zulmi' jiske sang aaankh ladi' and 'bedardi baalama'. We enjoy our nok-jhoks. No need to make an issue of our movies ok. After God, Mother, and country, we worship cricket and cinema in India. It is highly unikely that a hollywood actor would agree to lyrics that call him budda.

So you have it give it to our men. They can take what they dish out too, at least in the hindi movies ( & hence, popular culture)- a thapad, a chappal, gaalis and more. (English movies & TV serials may be dubbed in Hindi but do they fall in the genre of popular culture? That will be a debate that will be taken up when the next round of molestations happen.)

So when I see 'Play the Pappu Pichkari game' colourful banner next to a headline on a very prominent newspaper site that says, "Women should raise their voice" - I know it is time to post this to my blog. In a tribute to 'Indian' art (the co-joined twin of 'culture') , Pappu Pichkari has graphic representation of a very teeny weeny (is there any other type?) bikini zoom to a very curvy partially naked bottom of a gosh... "woman".

Some of its tagline reads: aiming is fair game, and, squirt to flirt .

Pammi bikini pahenti hain?- how cool. I thought she'd be in a 'behenji type' salwar kameez that I would not be seen dead in, especially when I go shopping for sexy lingerie. What is the connection? Well don't be silly, What I wear on the outside should loudly and clearly shout what I am wearing on the inside. Remember Salaam namaste & Saif- genuine Jockey or was it Calvin Klein? But again, I digress. Focus. The fact the the elastic on the chaddi's declare how progressive one is, has been permanently established by now. The word for underwear is now accepted in Queens English, but I apologise if use of the term offends any reader.

(Never mind the fact that my 86 year grandmother is more liberal than my 26 year old co-worker when it comes to women's issues. Aaji does not blog you see.)

So, maybe Pappu is playing with Pamela and not Pammi? Pammi jo ghar pe hain, beach pe nahin. Ghungat ke aad me singing the dilbar song. And is it likely that the beach is Miami and not Juhu.

I observe with great disappointment (the modern cool gal me) and great pleasure (the, ladkiya aise nahin karte- 'tradional' part of me), that there is only game for Pappu- not Pammi? Tsk. Tsk. Woh kya hain na, the smart, hip, educated, software grads who work in hip hap happenning IT companies who design these banners and games do not know - that the goose aur gander are not Bharatiya birds. That culture is what they say and do on a daily basis. Seen any game advertisement that has a theme- sock the groper and aim for left jaw - that gets you a high score?

Pappu Pichkari is just an online game, a mole- hill. So why does the real event not qualify as one?

Who designs, who hosts, and who plays to enjoy the Pappu Pichkari game? Insiders and outsiders? Migrants and domiciles? Men & women? Conservatives & Liberals? Contemporary & traditonals? Bandra and Bhayander residents? The culture czars and culture critics?

But I am running scared. Of posting anything, a post or comment. Who knows what I may be accused of next. Regressive fundamentalist. Moral Policing. Rigging the US elections. Closet designer of the Nano car hence environment enemy? Something or the other.

Aaja Pappu, pichkari khelte hain. Life eej hard.

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