After 12 years of somewhat confused matrimony, my husband and I are finally “friends” on Facebook. In a world where virtual life and existence matter more than the real, how did this anomaly of not being friends on Facebook come about, I can’t say. That married couples are more in the league of sworn enemies than friends in real life is beside the point. Appearances must be maintained so politically correct online relationships are a must. Since how long we have been estranged on Facebook, I have no idea. And since neither one of us is much prone to any public display of affection (or acrimony), we have refrained from wishing the other on Facebook while sitting next to each other in real life. No wonder this slight virtual lapse went unnoticed until now.
Imagine my surprise when on a rare occasion of wanting to tag him in a family picture, I failed to find him on my friends list. Now to set matters straight, we are pretty much married on Fb, albeit not to each other. So while my relationship status intriguingly reads “It’s complicated”, my hubby’s is a rather prosaic and to the point “married”. Period! Who or what it is that has complicated my life or that my husband is married to, is left to the reader’s imagination, of which there is no dearth in any case. I remember being asked so very often why my relationship was complicated, if it meant that there was “trouble” in the marriage. This is a question that never ceases to intrigue me. And my answer apparently does not please those asking the ludicrous question- “If there was any trouble, and I don’t confirm or deny the same, Fb is the last place and you the last person, I’d share it with”. Why would people be presumptuous enough to think that someone’s private life and its affairs would be the subject of status messages or relationship status on Fb is beyond me! But then why do people declare their undying love and affection on Fb rather than in person has been beyond me as well. If only we were as careful about privacy in its true sense than just the Fb and WhatsApp privacy settings!
Coming back to the original mystery of the missing friendship on Fb, well the mystery still remains unsolved. If my life was a Yash Chopra or Karan Johar movie, I’m sure I could say that there is more to it than meets the eye. But sadly, my life is as boring as it gets so no surprises lay in store. After an intriguing few hours, and a host of conspiracy theories involving aliens and AI, we went back to our staid existences. The photograph though still remains untagged. However we are friends on Facebook…till the status do us apart!
Today is my birthday….happy or not. Considering that , effectively, one is just inching closer to the inevitable end, whether one should celebrate one’s birthday or not, has been the subject of much intellectual debate. Many of these debates I too have been a part of. In fact, in the good old days of youth, some inexplicable existential angst used to grip me around my birthday. Those were the days when I was quite sure that I had life all figured out and had consequently come to the conclusion that the only logical thoughts on one’s birthday had to be an existential urgency. I remember scribbling one such thought from Bridget Jones on the title page of that very book on my 27th birthday – “Fear of dying alone and being found 3 weeks later , half eaten by an Alsatian”. That Bridget herself is by no means anywhere near sane should be enough of a comment on my mental state at 27.Now that I’m quite certain of just the opposite , that no matter what, life cannot be figured out, I have taken a bathetic plunge from morose contemplation to chaotic revelry.
So here I am, on my 42nd birthday, with my self bought gifts and cake and flowers , ready to celebrate , happily having bid adieu to the angst that plagued me in my 20s. Is life more sorted out now ? Am I no longer scared of being found half eaten by an Alsatian because I’m married ? Not quite. On the contrary life is as chaotic as it gets and if I’m not worried about not being half eaten by an Alsatian it’s simply because I’d trust my pet not to eat me up ! The fear on the contrary is of being left half buried by my better- bitter half 😉
On a more serious note if there is one thing that I’ve realised about life it’s simply that life is for the living. Pretty obvious one would think but very often such apparent truths are lost on us. Rather than moan on our birthdays about getting old, let us acknowledge that growing old is a privilege denied to many and be grateful for whatever time we have, especially with our health and other such things that we take for granted , intact. Moreover, why do we wait for others to celebrate our birthday or make special efforts for our special day? Buying gifts, flowers, cake for oneself is generally looked down upon, as signs of being so lonely and alone that no one will get you these. For a long time I have myself fallen prey to such self defeating thoughts, waiting for others to make my day special. And now I wonder why? I am blessed with lovely friends and family but if I don’t want to celebrate my life myself, why do I expect others to? My birthday for me is today nothing short of an exclusive national holiday that I celebrate fully. It’s a week, if not more, of fun and revelry in the most basic ways…shopping, cooking, movies…anything that I enjoy..with sonny dear and whoever, if anyone, is around at that point of time. But celebrate I must and celebrate I will.
I have often spoken of lack of self love that we, especially, women exhibit. Everything in life is overrated, except love of the self and an affirmation of life as we know it. Can there be a better day to celebrate one’s life than one’s birthday? So here’s to many more such days…such birthdays and a life of loving and living. Let’s not take life too seriously..no one gets out alive. Let’s rock it while we can…Happy Birthday to Me!!
Finally I saw the so very controversial Udta Punjab. First things first….I loved it. Why ? Probably for all the reasons that it became controversial much before it released . Drugs ? Well this was my first up and close brush with the menace as it is corroding the society. Or as up and close as it can get ,blessed as I am to have a life where I spend few hundred bucks to get a closer look at a problem that is ruining lives and generations. With my cosmopolitan sensibility and upbringing , drugs till now had merely meant rave parties and the sleazy under belly of the life of the rich and famous. That it is eating up our society from within at a very grass root level, this stark reality I faced for the first time. Or whatever sorry imitation of facing it was, sitting in an air conditioned hall, munching on popcorn and sipping cold coffee. We indeed are a spoilt, privileged lot and the sooner we realise it ,the better it is. Maybe that realisation can jolt us out of our happy lethargy and incessant complaining .
The central theme of drugs brings me to the super “A”(AAA ? An acceptable rendition of XXX ?) certification that our blessed Censor Board would have liked to give it and that too after the ridiculous 190 or so proposed cuts. I for one would definitely want my son to see it and much before he turns 18. I don’t think a menace like drugs will wait for the potential target to touch the legal adult age and then strike. Lest my son too thinks of drugs as the done thing limited to rave parties of Goa, I would want him to see it in all its naked ugliness. ..”see” as much as he can from his privileged station in life. However, I would want him to see the movie not just to see the murky side of life but also the indomitable spirit which in fact makes life worth living..the never say die spirit, beautifully captured by the nameless character played by Alia Bhat. Rising against all odds ,like the phoenix, hers is indeed the admirable spirit that we as human beings are blessed with and need to wake upto.
Coming to the other objectionable part of the movie that earned it the AAA certificate – the “crass, vulgar language” of the movie where there is barely a dialogue without a cuss word , much to the anguish of the Censor Board. Would I want my 11 year old to hear and to that extent learn this kind of language ? No. And that is the only reason why I would not want him to watch the movie right now…soon enough but not yet. The social setting of the movie probably warrants such liberal use of the choicest of expletives though I do believe that the sophistication, refinement we see around us is but a veneer. Scratch the surface and it reveals pretty much the same vulgarity underneath, albeit in a different form. The hypocrisy of the urban intelligentsia is such that it makes English swear words more than acceptable…cool , hep even. Their hindi renditions however are a different story. Pray what makes “I am so fucked up” more acceptable than “Chutiya kat raha hai”? When it suits us we will deride the use of English, holding high the banner of our national language and pride, happily forgetting that English is today a global language. But a cuss word in this colonial language is perfectly acceptable; In our mother tongue, however, not so much. I, for one, am not particularly impressed, repulsed or intrigued with the use of expletives by anyone in either of the 2 languages, in fact , in any language. To me, resorting to the use of these words indicates an alarming bankruptcy of ideas and inability to articulate a wide variety of emotions and thoughts we human beings are blessed with. In any case we are nation obsessed with banalities where it’s ok to murder in the name of religion but not ok to release a movie that raises uncomfortable issues in a language that is widespread ; where “fuck you” is the “takia kalaam” of the educated urban youth but “chutiyapa” is vulgar. My take on all this uncalled for hullabaloo and controversy ? I loved the movie and anyone who has a problem with it can take a flying fuck ; my life has plenty of chutiyapas of its own to bother with non issues !