You know, I was dying to do some armchair activism today. I was looking forward to write a post titled – Dear India, what the fuck? – and scream my lungs out about the way our priorities are royally misplaced. How we don’t care about rapes and farmer suicides and discuss AIB as if it is the latest discovered deadly virus. How we don’t bother about the bovine Sakshi Maharaj distributing his pearls of unbelievable wisdom but are ok with attack on an activist’s car because she circulated pictures of rapists. But then I thought, what is the point? We should all acknowledge the fact that we have been self-centred chu***as since hundreds of years and move on to other important topics.

Like the art of picking your woman in your arms.

Bollywood has always been an inspiration to the society. You can actually trace back all the crimes to Bollywood. If you go to a jail and do a heart-to-heart with all the inmates, 99% chances are that 99% of them will cry over how they saw a Bollywood movie and lost control of their senses. So, it is only understandable that we can find the roots of how we romance in Bollywood because that too is a crime in this country.

I was exposed to Bollywood as a kid. I think it was accidental that the first scene I saw of a movie was a man strangulating a woman with a wire. I could not sleep the whole night. The second scene that I accidentally saw was of robbers looting a village. It took mom a while to pacify me. For the longest of times, I imagined Bollywood movies to be a dreadful and nasty planet where people hurt each other for fun. Much like Earth.

How wrong I was.

Because then I discovered its romantic side – couples smiling at each other and singing songs while heavens play the orchestra, couples changing their clothes five times in a song as if they had a whole day dedicated to this activity of changing and singing, couples kissing behind gigantic flowers and making the flowers shudder. It was a new world. Blissful and sensuous. But then something was always disturbing me, slowly pushing me into the depths of anxiety. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to put a finger on it.

It was the ease with which heroes picked up the heroines in their arms. Even as a child, I knew that was something superhuman. When Shammi Kapoor lifter Sharmila like a dry twig in An evening in Paris, I gasped. Was it that easy? The question nagged me for years. The first thing I would notice in a song is the picking business and then wonder about it for hours. Of course, there was a category of actresses whoΒ were never lifted (like Meena Kumari) because lets face it, our heroes were not trying to be in the Olympics.

shashisharmila

image from here

And then SRK happened in the 90s. I think he set some sort of a world record by picking each and every woman who crossed his way. It drove me crazy. It was as if he was not able to control himself. Whenever he saw a woman in his movie, he had to open his arms, tilt a bit, give her a dimple. And then while she was swooning at the gestures, he would pounce at her and pick her up.

Of course, I never tried it at home at that point of time. With woman that is. I tried with buckets. And boy, were they heavy! When I got married, I told my wife (very early in our relationship), that I was going to pick her up and walk across the room in a slow gait singing a song, just like Veer picked up the heavy Zaara as if she was tied to strings from the ceiling. My wife was game.

veer zaara

Image from here

I remember, the first thing that appeared in front of my eyes after I picked up my wife were stars. Not the romantic, twinkling variety but those that appear with shooting pain. But then I remembered to my horror that I was supposed to walk across the room and my wife was looking expectantly at me, as she gripped my neck in what I think was a deadly Taekwondo lock. There wasn’t much time and I was not supposed to drop her on the floor. It was an arranged marriage.

I galloped across the room cursing all the Bollywood actors. I even forgot to sing the song. We never tried it again.

Now that I look back, I don’t blame the heroes. They must have been on drugs. You really don’t know what you are doing when you are under their spell. It must have been tough for them. SRK had a back problem years ago.

It was a childhood fantasy for me. But I did what I always wanted to do. At least I tried. My wife was euphoric later although I could see beads of perspiration on her forehead when I was sprinting across the room with her in my arms. Isn’t that is what is important in life? Trying.

Valentine’s day is upon us. So I thought I would share the story of what I thought at that point of time to be one of the most intimate and romantic gestures I had shown to my lady. Of course, now I think it was anti-feminist. And no, it isn’t a case of sour grapes. How can you even think like that? Look at the way our society treats women. It is all because of these Bollywood heroes picking actresses in their arms and showing them as weak. Why would anyone pick a woman in his arms? She can’t walk? Did you take her permission? I think we should carry out a campaign, burn effigies and beat our chests if a hero tries to do that again. We should debate this on news channels. How dare they show women in poor light?

The armchair activist inside me is waking up again. Maybe I should write the “Dear India, what the fuck?” post. It is amazing how my perspective changed over the years. It took only a handful of stars.