Whenever we, as Indians, mourn the lack of good films, we are told that we have great expectations. That we should just appreciate the handful of Indian films that stay true to the art form and shut up about the rest. It is however difficult to forgive the industry for using copyright violations, crass sentiments and a bipolar stance on sexuality to bring Indian cinema to its knees.
And the producers for towering over its sullen figure, with their front-zippers down, sporting a dirty smile and holding a sign that says – No biting please. Sure, entertainment is subjective and what is good for the goose can taste like gunpowder to the gander.
Unfortunately though, Indian filmmakers can follow certain commandments to achieve moderate levels of success. Here are 10 of them.
You are in an empty parking lot after attending a friend’s funeral. You are holding a water bottle in one hand and twiddling with your smartphone in the other. “We are all dying” anyway. Unbeknownst to you, an elderly and distraught aunt of the departed approaches. She taps you on the shoulder to ask you for some water.
Ping. Someone just re-tweeted your quotation about death. She seems painfully dehydrated but you remain oblivious to her presence. She asks again. Ting. Your colleague thinks the eulogy you wrote on Facebook was heartfelt.
As a writer, you are probably more self-absorbed than the average person. You find it cumbersome to socialize. You hate confrontations when it is your turn to listen. I am not saying you can be moody too. Just that there are motherless honey badgers in the Kalahari dessert with shorter fuses. Only in language have you found the comfort you need, without feeling inadequate about expressing your emotions. For you, writing is more than a celebration of the art form. It is your bomb shelter. Your refugee camp. You take it way more seriously than you should.
It is perhaps why you egg, at times, those you interact with to physically harm you or give up their respective belief systems to consider placing a voodoo curse on you. So here are five things – as a writer – you (we) can do to avoid getting punched in your (our) faces.
I believe that it is imperious to tell people how to live. You can tell a friend that it might be a terrible idea to share his bank account details with a Nigerian Prince over email. But you can’t just go around, saying things like “you won’t know who you are until you travel” or “quit your job and paint the sky”. While these sound like great ideas, they may not be universally-applicable. People might end up even more clueless about themselves and more xenophobic about the world. Or exposed to toxic paint fumes.
Similarly, some people need a fully-loaded corporate environment to live as functional citizens. Without politicking over promotions, their lives just would not be complete. Without scheduled bathroom breaks, they might end up with bloated livers. If they didn’t exert superficial dominance over those they consider to be lower on some imaginary totem pole, they might do weird things to blind kittens in the privacy of their basements.
Having said that, here are 8 reasons why some people should quit their jobs and unlearn voodoo.
A Tom Hanks is someone who is a flat-out good person. A pillar of strength, loyalty and benevolence. The booming echo of reason in a cacophony of indecisive voices. A person who will step up and take charge when everyone else is covering their own posteriors. Just one problem though. Such a person can be annoying to deal with on a daily basis.
Turning into a Tom Hanks is a bankable strategy to drive people away. It can be unbearable if one behaves like a reasonable person all the time. It seems strange enough to warrant suspicion even. Do they look back on their lives like they flip through pages in a Mark Twain story? Has the world been so kind to them that they need to help others think of the world as a gentle and giving space? Or have they been wronged so much by the world that the only way they can connect to people is by correcting the wrongs in theirs?
It is my opinion that most Indians are racists. I am no exception despite being a very dark-complexioned person in a country seemingly obsessed with fair skin. I might be ticked off that discrimination is prevalent in modern society. But I am also a racist. I think that makes me a hypocrite.
You can’t call me that though. Especially if you are lighter-skinned than me. That might make you a racist. Or something just as confusing and stupid. So here are 5 obvious reasons why India, despite the paths it has paved for medical tourism, is also destination racism.
Black is just the colour of our hair
Indians consider fair skin complexion to be an added advantage. In bartering one’s daughter to the most affluent bidder. Finding a job. Feeling self-confident. Skin tone is a decision maker in India. A deal-breaker too.