Monday, 28 May 2012

The Weight Gain Tamasha

We have often been told motherhood is the best phases of life for a woman. The arrival of a new born baby is a proud moment of joy for any married couple. Similarly, one of the most powerful couples from Hindi cinema Aishwarya Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan are no different. So, when Aishwarya made an appearance at the recent Cannes Film Festival, viewers and the media were simply appalled to notice that she had not lost her post-pregnancy weight.  

To begin with, she does not have any film at hand which would demand that she lose her weight immediately. The choice whether or not she wishes to continue in films or wait for Aaradhya to grow up is entirely her decision. Why does the media need to make Aishwarya's weight gain as important as a national issue? How does it make a difference and affect us in the long run? Do we really need to discuss about her weight gain? It's her body, her life and I am sure she does not owe the nation an explanation on why she did not lose her weight post pregnancy. Let us respect the fact that it is her life and she would be the best person to take a decision on whether she wishes to return to movies or stay as a hands-on mother and rightly so. Much as we would like to believe we are not voyeurs, our claims fall flat on our face when we discuss issues such as her weight in the same breath as important national issues. Our newspapers and TV channels along with the fashion police will form a coalition and criticize her for her shabby fashion sense, her weight etc. Some of our TV channels would go to an extent such as even constructing a 30 minute bulletin around her and her weight. A Google search on Aishwarya's weight gain throws up some 450,000 results and there are videos floating around her weight gain on Youtube. 

She visits Cannes as a proud representative of Hindi cinema and why should the constant media scrutiny on her ever since she gave birth to Aaradhya six months ago be allowed to dampen her experience at the film festival? Whether she wishes to lose weight or not, is entirely left to her. The media surely has no right to dictate terms and teach her what to do. As a new hands-on mother, she wishes to savour the priceless moments of seeing her baby growing up and devoting time to the baby instead of hitting the gym. 

Gyms have become an integral part of our fitness regimens. I have always believed that our fitness regimens go for a toss in the artificial atmosphere created inside a gym. Today, we are in such times when a simple weight gain leads to an earthquake like situation where people fear that the body cycles might go for a toss and we tend to be judged through our weight. The struggle to attain nearly perfect figures lead us to aim for bikini fit bodies. How many of us have read about the strict regimens that one needs to follow to get to that level? A friend of mine had interviewed a model who appeared on a calendar wearing a bikini. For that one photo shoot, the model admitted that she struggled for nearly six months living off just protein shakes. 

The mob's unrealistic and unacceptable expectations from celebrities are evident through their viewing Aishwarya's maternity through the prism of weight gain. However, it is heartening to note that she has not given two hoots about whatever the people or media are saying against her. She is proud and brave enough to flaunt her post-natal physique. Clearly, she does not owe an explanation to anyone. More power to her and may her tribe increase! 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Three Years with 3D

The UPA Government recently completed three years in office and the common people received a cruel shock of petrol prices being hiked by Rs. 7.50 with this being dubbed as the sharpest. There is absolutely no doubt that we are an intersection of churn and dramatic change as political alignments could change with the Presidential Elections which would dictate our road ahead to 2014. Where we go from here depends whether or not the government shows some spine and the ability for mature political initiative. There has been a consistent lack of leadership in entirety to demonstrate any such imagination.

Leadership can wait but it seems the UPA has abandoned its instinct for even basic political survival. True, I do understand that miscalculations do happen in a field like politics but this isn't the case--it was simply a severe lack of political understanding which is also laced with arrogance. The UPA has completely misread the public sentiment on national issues like corruption, black money etc. By hiking fuel prices 15 times in a short span of two years, the government seems to alienate the middle-class. The vast support that the Anna--Baba circus gathered last year is an indication against the inaccessible, emotionally detached and a seemingly arrogant political leadership. 

With the present petrol price hike, hasn't the Congress completely alienated one section of this country's citizenry--the middle class? The truth is that India's political establishment has happily socialized with the rich and electorally courted the rural poor. The middle-class has always been treated with contempt and neglect. E-mails, text messages which went viral last year had the money been in India represent the nation's daily frustrations, unfulfilled aspirations, stalled reforms and shoddy governance. They represent all the things that exhaust those of who--the power elite and the emotionally aloof Congress ministers--cannot jump lines or buy our way out of: inflation, woeful public transport, education and basic health facilities. They represent all that India desperately needs and now. 

From the beginning, the government has alternated between aggression and submission, thereby eroding its sense of authority and legitimacy further and further. What should have called for common sense has become  a classic case of political mismanagement. The UPA's wounds are entirely self-inflicted and the failure of politics created this impasse. Instead of feeling proud about being a force to reckon with, India appears to be more of a blunder land. 

The government can still review its decision considering we still have two years to go for 2014. Though it would set a wrong precedent but having come so far, there are unfortunately not many choices. It's the time the Congress introspects and reaches out for genuine talents and connects with the masses who have an attitude beyond the coterie of sycophants.