This appeared in The South Asian Times today.
My appetite for television has reduced substantially lately with only reality shows left in my kitty.
The latest one to haunt me is The Perfect Bride. It's a reality show on Star Plus where several street smart and candid beauties have bravely taken the plunge of very publicly finding a groom on television. Or perhaps finding a modeling assignment, a second lead in a telefilm or an anchor's role on a cooking channel but let's not go there. The title has really caught my attention. It totally catches the pulse of the nation. So apt. It's on every family's wish list and it's every man's secret desire. Regardless of their own standing, caliber, appearance or attitude, everyone's shopping for a perfect bride. The bachelor boys will reason that they deserve one and their mommies will nod in unison.
What rarified qualities define a perfect bride and why the emphasis on it? It appears that those who're extremely pleasing on the eyes, cool and confident, well educated with a high flying job, dress nicely, talk their minds, share great camaraderie with everyone in the house, sing & dance to peppy bollywood numbers, cook a storm, clean like it's going out of style and even make decorative garlands out of flowers meet the criteria, on the show at least. Is this true for real life? If one is lacking in one or more qualities mentioned here, does the radar not beep? Benign smirks from apparently unassuming dulhas, dramatically romantic moments and quick witted conversations between the girls tried to digress me from understanding the crux of the matter so far but I seem to have grasped it now. It's all about expecting the world from a 5'3" skinny girl with long shiny hair.
Why is Shahrukh’s wife Gauri Khan considered more of a perfect wife than Aamir’s wife Kiran Rao? Sure Kiran is an intelligent brain from JNU but can she pull off Dolce & Gabbana’s white strapless gown with sweetheart neckline from their spring 2010 collection and bronzer all over on the cover of Vogue India like Gauri? Probably not. Can Kiran be her husband’s shadow like the impeccable Tina (Akki’s wife)? Probably not. Can Kiran go gaga over husband and family during public speeches like Aish? Probably not. Are we trained to look for stereotypes? Most definitely.
I possibly am no different so just to practice what I preach, I’m going to look for new friends. And not those who’re like me or my other half. No more stereotypes, whatever they are. I’m going to look for incredibly brainy/slightly wonky/deeply sarcastic/phenomenally arty/completely unfortunate looking/anything but the kind of people I know to this date. I’m gonna find them, hang with them and make an earnest attempt to get to know them at a deeper level. And hopefully understand people on the other side of the river.
Someday, one day, I’ll be able to tell you what perfect is. Unless you’ve figured it out for yourself already.