Full nonsense – Half Girlfriend

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“My school needing toilet as nobody able to toileting when toilet time coming”

If you thought this was one of the latest Santa-Banta jokes doing the rounds on watsapp, think again. This  instead is a line spoken by Madhav, the hero of Chetan Bhagat’s latest work “Half Girlfriend” as he tries to prepare a speech for, hold your breath, none other than Bill Gates. And this is the state of his spoken English after having graduated from, yes hold your breath again, St Stephen’s college.

For a long time I’ve wondered how Chetan Bhagat managed to become the bestselling author in India. Then recently somewhere I read about him wanting to “make India read” and it all made sense. His books, by his own admission, are not for the classes but for the masses. And in our country if you can produce something- a good, a service, a movie or a book – that caters to the masses, you’ve got a winner on your hands. Who can beat the collective power of the teeming millions? And a book that costs less than a pizza, is written in the manner of spoken English, complete with the Bihari/Bhojpuri touch to it, gives you a glimpse into the hallowed portals of St Stephen’s College (or as pointed in the book “English types call it- Steven’s”) and takes you through a hurried trip of Manhattan, it is bound to be a winner- at least sales number wise.

Before I attract the wrath of the all the torchbearers of “Hindi our mother tongue” bandwagon, let me clarify that I have nothing against Hindi. In fact, this whole mentality of equating English speaking with well educated and cultured as opposed to Hindi speaking with the lower class and uneducated reeks of a colonial mindset just like equating fair skinned with beautiful. Neither am I making a case for High art that caters to the elite as opposed to pop art for the commoner. In today’s world of fusion, this line stands blurred.

My problem with Half Girlfriend, quite to the contrary is that it does nothing to break these stereotypes. Instead, it reinforces them. The protagonist “Myself Madhav Jha”, despite his relentless pursuit of Riya, the rich English speaking Marwari babe fails to convince us of his “love” for her. All that one sees is a boy from the backwaters of Bihar besotted by a girl who seems straight out of a Bollywood movie. Despite Riya making it very clear that she is not interested in Madhav in “that way”, that a no means a no, just does not sink into him. In fact, that he cannot speak English has nothing at all to do with her refusal. She just does not feel that way for him and one can see Riya’s point of view. Instead of a rapid English speaking course that the book contains for free, what Mr Bhagat could have tried to teach the Madhav Jha’s of our country is to learn to accept a girl’s no as a no. Bursting into crass vulgar Hindi when an English-speaking girl refuses to go to bed with you isn’t exactly the best way to bridge the gap between the “English speaking monsters” and those who still introduce themselves as “Myself so and so”.

For all his championing of women’s causes and telling men to respect women, Chetan Bhagat’s protagonist fails to show the same respect towards the heroine. The book rambles on, with all the predictable twists and turns of a Bollywood movie to reach a Karan Johar type denouement in the bars of New York. Only if all “love stories” could start from Dumraon and end in Manhattan! And only if Chetan Bhagat could, for once, have broken the clichés instead of reinforcing them. That however is not to be. As for the whole “English bashing” in the book, all I can say is by way of a quote from the book itself – that English is a “global language” rather than a “foreign language”. It is all very well to be proud of and know your mother tongue. But to do so by belittling the English language or its speakers reeks more of a colonial mindset than learning the language that suits your needs and carrying on.

 

 

MABH Hair Growth Challenge- 1st month

Time is a curious thing. While it may seem to pass very slowly at any given moment, in retrospect it always seems to have passed in a flash. So before we know it, the 1st month of the MABH Hair Growth Challenge is over and here I am doing the 1st month post.

So what changes did I bring in my hair care routine during this first month of the challenge?

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First of all, regular oiling with MABH Fast Growth Hair Oil. If there is one thing that I swear by for hair care it has to regular oiling. Although I could not be as regular as I had hoped to be, what with all the festivals and my bad back, but still I’d give myself a 8 out of 10. I’m too lazy for DIY hair masks but oiling is something I swear by and highly recommend to anyone who wants healthy hair. Did I notice any difference in hair length after this one month? Not really. And honestly I didn’t even check. I’ll do that after 3months. But yes, as I mentioned in my first review of MABH Fast Growth Hair Oil, hair definitely is softer, healthier and shinier. However given the dry weather I like to apply a hair serum afterwards, my current favourite being Wella Oil Reflections.

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Secondly, I re started “Nutrilite Hair, Skin and Nails tablet” that I had taken some time back and found pretty good – for the hair; skin not so much. At Rs 610/- for 60 tablets it is expensive. Some online sites do have it cheaper (I got it at Rs 515/- from Snapdeal) but it’s really worth it.

SAMSUNG

Third, my lovely LUSH Henna. Some friends from UK were kind enough to carry 3blocks for me and I just love using it. I love the smell of it and how the hair comes out after it- lush, shining, healthy- better than any salon hair spa treatment. With winters approaching the frequency of application will go down especially in the months of December-January but whenever I can, I will apply it.

Finally, I cannot over emphasise the importance of a good protein rich diet. I have been following a dear Ayurvedic nutritionist friend of mine ( she hates the word dietician)  and lost an amazing 9 kgs in the past 3months and that too despite a bad back which often made any physical movement let alone workout impossible. However, all thanks to her meal plans not only have I come down to 57kgs from 66 kgs (yes I had gained quite a bit during my son’s illness) but have never felt healthier. I intend doing a detailed post on this later but suffice it to say that thanks to her protein rich, no fads diet, I’ve lost inches and kgs without any of the awful effects on hair or skin. Not only am I at my lightest ever since I can remember but my hair are grateful to her as well. So ladies, pay attention to what you eat.

DSC09140 So much for what I have done so far. As for the coming month, the plan is to continue with the above, with more regular oiling. Also I picked up some stuff during the Body Shop Diwali sales that I intend using – Rainforest Hair Butter and Banana Shampoo and Conditioner. I have used the latter twice and quite liked it but need to use it more before I can form an opinion about it. Another product that I picked up long back but somehow just can’t take to is Kama’s Herbal Hair Wash Powder Kesini. I picked it up after reading about the homemade shikakai powder that Lancy says she uses for washing her hair but think this is too natural for me! More on that later as well.

That’s about it for my 1st month post. Will be back soon with the 2nd month post for time will fly as always!