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It was 8:00 pm. While the sun rose in India announcing the augmentation of our Republic Day, we the expats in the USA waited a few hours behind – but with no less sense of pride and anticipation. All the channels had been revoked to telecast the Republic Day Parade. I watched it while cooking, with a mixed reaction. In the past years, somehow the childlike pleasure we had while watching the parade had watered down. Our constant complains about the democratic nature of our country, the constant insults the women are subjugated to in India, all had taken away the simple pleasure we felt while watching this parade. Somehow, today I wanted to watch – along with my little ones.
After our Hon. President Pranab Mukherjee made his speech and our Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi along with the USA President, Barack Obama took their seat – I suddenly felt glued to the television. No, it had nothing to do with the eminent personalities who were being projected on the screen. It was the immense display of Women’s’ Power that held my attention. For some time all the rape victims, the dowry deaths and the disgusting behavior of men towards women in India took a back seat. For here lay my answer as to why it was happening. It was a tug of war. The rope being the power, the rising authority of women in India.
With every force, a woman was introduced. Army, Navy, Air Force, Cadets.. The whole parade glorified women power. I felt proud of each and every woman out there – they all represented us. I salute them.
But, as the show came to a stop with our National Anthem – the doubts resurfaced. Will it only be a show? Or will now women power be re-enforced in our daily life? I am not saying we need to pick our broomsticks and beat up the men – though if it comes to that, we don’t mind. :P But will men ever realize that there is nothing we cannot do that they can? So stop protecting us, stop demotivating us – now the time has come to walk together - for unless the men realize that- we will always bear the tag of 'developing nation'.
I could never understand the love my mom had for serials. Are they not supposed to be a waste of time? Should she not at go out of the house and meet people or start thinking of working. My mom would always give me a tolerant smile and tell me softly, “This is my survival pill, why do you want me to stop watching them? They are my window to other’s life, something I won’t dare to do in my own life.” I tched and would always make fun of the stupid serials where one day a man would be married to a woman – only to be divorced the next day.
Then I got married and lo behold my mother in law was in the same boat. Zealous. Passionate and if you dare to speak to her during the serial – her killer looks won’t spare you. She would be the angry doppleganger of her former self, vomiting venom on any poor unsuspecting soul daring to take her eyes off the idiot box.
I sweared I would never do that ever again in my life. At that point of time I was working in Aptech, in New Delhi. Newly married and hated my MIL with a zealous fantasy. The feeling was mutual. I remember the lunch hours I spent in the office regaling my colleagues on the antics of mother in law while watching the serials. Her angry face, her sad face, her fighting for the oppressed bahu face (that my dear, was the most funny one.)
Then my DH got a transfer to USA. I was so damn excited. Away from the MIL who didn't give me a moment of peace. She wanted to watch her stupid soaps and for that she made me do all the work. So here I was packing happily, while my MIL was shedding a few tears on the departure of the old Saas to her heavenly aboad.
USA was like a dream come true. Everything was larger than life. Newly married and now issues- was a honeymoon period. But like every fairy tale has a snag, so did mine. I couldn’t work in the USA on my dependent visa. Initially it was fun – doing nothing. Munching Haldiram the whole day, baking chicken nuggets and hogging them and the chocolate mouse ..yummm.. !
Then came the infilteration of silence. I never knew the silence that I had craved for so much could be so deafening. Every single sound from outside had risen in decibel. The honk of a car, the rain pelting on my pane and the crickets were unanimous in their own symphony. Till one day I couldn't take it more and picked up the remote.
Initially I stuck to a movie or two with a heavy dose of news channel. Who was murdered where, the gory rapes and the political idiosyncracies were more depressing then anything I have ever seen. Oh, I did try to see a few adult porn also and they made me puke. No that was not for me. So the next step was picking up the phone and calling up the Dish channel. Soon the idiot box had a company on the table and I was the proud owner of all the indian channel. I felt closer to home.
One serial caught my attention – the cute love story between Arnav and Khushi.I watched mesmerized as their love story unfolded from hate to love. The passion palpable. Then my DH dared to come and ask me for food while Arnav was about to declare his love. I was my MIL incarnated !