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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Bad Word of the Week



So dowry is the new bad word in India cos Aamir Khan says so.

Satya Mev Jayate (SMJ) truly is trailblazing by mirroring India’s problems back to us Indians so much so that my facebook friends who specialize in updates that have historically been socially inappropriate, are now using socially relevant words like abuse, dowry etc on their status updates… of course, every week, the social issue changes - but only as long as Aamir Khan approves. Sample this fb update from an fb friend : “full form of ‘DOWRY’ = Donkeys Of the first order Who can’t stand on their feet Rely on their wives’ riches Yet shameless.” :D (yes, the Department of Abbreviations resent this one!)

Well, me haven’t seen any of the Aamir Khan episodes yet and my attempt at catching the youtube version was aborted cos I found the flow to be pretty depressing and too serious for a Sunday morning. (Please don’t brand me a bad person becos of this – I still pay my taxes, I respect women and I often do offer my seat to elders in the bus. Yes I do ogle at the occasional PYT or curse and envy the idiot boyfriend she’s with; but don’t we all??? )

As an eligible bachelored Indian guy, I can tell you that the concept of dowry is pretty tempting – imagine getting a car/money/furniture for well,… just being a guy. Though my take to dowry is that if you ask for dowry, you lose respect - a marriage’s most important component - in both your wife/in laws’ eyes; hence me ain’t a big supporter of the ‘D’ word. But I am yet to make an opinion about people who do ask for it – I mean, I have both kind of friends who married with and without dowry – and they’re both equally miserable! J So I’m not sure if I particularly know of anyone that the papers or Aamir Khan has named as “victims of dowry” or of the “atrocities” dowry bring about to women across India – so I can’t argue with that and hence I won’t.

But my point is that dowry and other social ills existed even before SMJ and people need to understand that SMJ is just a well made show made for the sole purpose of entertainment. It successfully strikes an emotional connect with the viewer, and is ensuring better trps for the channel and more advertising moolah for the producer, which incidentally is the Khan. But what is the key motive of the show - highlighting social evils to us or making money? Or both? Or is there one? Or is it just general entertainment, which is what I think it is. And it looks like the start of whole new genre so don’t be surprised if more celebrities start similarly themed shows soon.

My personal take on abolishing dowry is to abolish the concept of arranged marriages – in the name of “tradition”, arranged marriages put a premium on one gender that require the other gender to compensate for it. But tradition overlooks the social fact that women today are no longer dependant on men and that women today are as capable, if not more, than men in almost every area. If people get married for love, marriages would be conducted in a more understanding and practical way and more often than not, people know what they’re getting into. Of course personally, I am a strong believer in the animal kingdom credo of ‘fight for the girl’ – you know, the “alpha male always gets the girl” rule – and arranged marriage stands grossly in the way of us Indian men getting any practice in the art of wooing and winning women – incidentally, we Indian men grossly suck at charm and seduction.

But since last year, I strongly opposed dowry and advocate that it should be seriously banned. And here’s why - In my earlier company, I remember this guy in my same team and both of us had the same boss and the same work profile. In fact, he was the lesser mortal between us both as I still had a bike that we used to pool together to office every day. Things were hunky dory with me having a slight upper edge(on account of my bike) till one fine day he got married. And then, everything bloody changed and how! And ever since, I’ve been vehemently against dowry and its ill effects to society. You see, this dude is from some remote village in the hinterland, and in his place, he’s like some feudal land lord or something and dowry is a huge thing there with people giving away whole villages and towns to the groom and this dude’s family owns like half of Andhra Pradesh or something. So the simple act of marriage made him richer by….. hold your breath….. 10 crores. Today, when I’m on my bike waiting at signals, I see him in his C Class. And I remember the days when I could have, would have and should have been kinder to him…. Alas…… Dowry should be banned I say!

Yes this post is too frivolous to address an issue like dowry but seriously, if dowry need to be abolished, it goes beyond sending one rupee sms to SMJ which they claim will be donated to charity (never mind that the number of smses is actually a metric to judge the success of any tv show J). It needs to start with changing our basic mindset. Lets understand that men and women are equally unequal and need each other to complete each other. And let’s not forget that a wedding is actually about two people and the society is only secondary. And lets advocate more love marriages. And lets understand that SMJ is just a good entertainment program and nothing more. And since we’re at it, let’s make this blogger popular by visiting his site more often here.

Cha ching!


62 comments:

  1. well, R-A-J. in my circle of friends, family and people i know, this concept doesn't exist anymore. personally, i think it doesn't make much sense and is irrelevant. two people should just get together and get married, and manage their finances as how they want it to be.
    but i'm pretty sure it still exists among some quarters here.

    marriages...yeah, people should find each other. may not always end up in a fairy tale but it's better that way because its their decision, unless, they really have given it up upon their parents to go through the sick albums to pick a man or a woman to live with for the rest of their lives.
    hahahah.

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    1. Hey Jaya, wish everyone were as sensible and mature as you r :)

      Me thinks marriages should exactly be the way u described .. finding someone.. thts so much more charming n fulfilling :)

      Hope u're feeling better now, Jaya?

      Thanks fr droppin by :)

      Delete
    2. Well, I'm getting married on September 21 and, to be honest, DOWRY could also stand for help!-I'm-running-out-of-money-already-so-I-wouldn't-hate-you-that-much-right-now. I know, it's a bit long, but so are my bills hahaha. But seriously, I think people who are old enough to get married are old enough to (1) choice the one they love and (2) pay for it, too!

      Delete
  2. I agree, and the little example of your friend - had me burst out laughing - pardon me - although it is not as funny as it sounds.
    Love marriages should bring down the problem perhaps.
    I would still advocate watching the serial because there are awareness education bits and pieces (like the child workshop on the day of child abuse episode) that lesser privileges and ignorant people in rural areas and perhaps in cities as well need to know.

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    1. Hi Punam, glad to see u again here.. nah, its alright, nothing beer can't cure :D

      Yup Punam, I agree with u that SMJ is pretty educative n helps in building awareness on these issues - I shud hopefully catch one of the shows soon - its just that I'm a lil against some ppl who tell me that its changing India n has the power to rid us of these evils.. methinks its a lil too far fetched, thats all :)

      Hope u see more of u here Punam.. great to hv u here :)

      Delete
    2. Hey Punam, just went to ur blogger profile n went to ur blog called "A platter of words" n commented on bout 5 different posts n then realized that its run by somebody named 'Mohan'.. :D

      r u aware of that?? :)

      Delete
    3. Yes... I am wondering which profile of mine led you to the blog titled A Platter of Words.. I was not aware of this, until Mohan commented on my blog today about the mishap..
      Here is what I believe happened:
      You were to click on "My Web Page" link on my blogger profile. Instead you clicked on the first blog that is listed under "Blogs I follow". :)

      And no worries.. I blog at the following address:
      http://punamjr.wordpress.com
      Would love to see you there..

      Delete
    4. Hahaha, I always been pathetic with technology.. life just seems to re-affirm it :D

      Delete
  3. I like to way you have weaved humour in such a serious issue. It makes the post more interesting :)

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    1. Hey nice to see u here Privy :) Glad u liked it :) Dod rop by more often, Privy ...:)

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  4. Such a serious post!!! :D and the last line is typically your style.. avideyum irikkatte oru marketing ;)

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    1. I know.. so serious na??? Nangal kudumbathode bayangare marketinga.. sooji kerendedathu.... :)

      Thanks fr droppin by Jane.. long is the time, eh?? :)

      Veendum veendum varika :)

      Delete
  5. Wow! A different angle to a serious issue and it was HILARIOUS! Okay.....I agree almost with everything like marraiges should be made an independent decision so that even if people goof up, they don't blame others. And it is exactly like that these days. Well, 80% is like that. What I don't agree with is your pick on SMJ. I agree that it is purely for entertainment but still, people were aware of these issues earlier but they never took a stand for it.
    Lets forget dowry but other issues like sexual abuse, we always thought that this happened mostly with girls but this show brought out the fact that men also face it!

    Let me make it clear that I am not promoting the show and I agree it is for entertainment. But what I mean is it surely is making people brave enough to speak about things that they were aware of but never bothered. They care now.

    Anyways, don't watch the show but the songs in the end are A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Give them a try, specially the song on dowry episode :)

    All in all a fun side to a serious issue :)

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    1. Hey, good to see u here CD!!! Hope all is well :)

      U know, I read an article last week where they finally passed a stuck parliamentary resolution on child abuse, entirely due to the Khan's show.. :)

      So I guess I may be having re-thoughts bout what I wrote here (yes, humble pie I the eat.. :D).. but somehow, there is still a part of me that tells me that Khan just got it right by smart topic selection n smarter presentation.. what if all this was just planned and the reactions, the bill passing etc r all just well, incidental but expected by Khan n maybe the novelty factor of such a program in India has all of us glued in to overlook these not too flattering observations by a blogger whose blogname is itself, well not too people friendly.. what if.. :)

      but then again, maybe I'm wrong - I usually always am :)

      Delete
  6. Dude, dude, dude. Superb post..:-)

    And join the league. I too am yet to watch an episode of SMJ. Should watch it sometime. I agree with your view that its for entertainment. But as long as something good happens through it, I'm very fine with it.

    And lets abolish Dowry. Atleast to stop the lesser mortals from riding a C-class...:P

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    1. Hey Kanthu, welcum back dude :)

      Totally bro, totally! To C classes being driven by us, more often :D

      thnx fr droppin by man :)

      Delete
  7. Well, I have read such messages on dowry in FB even before SMJ started. Ya may be intensity of such messages is more now after the show.

    We see so many updates in FB criticizing our government for what it is Raj and yes govt cud never ever even think of taking such an initiative.Now when someone has taken an initiative to put a light on such issues which can bring at least a bit of awareness then why not support it???:) I am not Amir Khan's Fan but do you really think this man needs any kinda publicity??? And about his earning from the show..He can do just few endorsements in an year and alone that can fetch him the amount equal to that of the entire SMJ.

    Can dowry be stopped by abolishing concept of arrange marriages? HAHAHA.. Then what should the people do who don't fall in love??? :-P

    S I agree the show is quite serious to start a Sunday Morning and your Andhra Pradesh friends story was totally hilarious..:)

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    1. Hey Sonia, thnx fr droppin by yaar n nice seein u here :)

      U know Sonia, I'm starting to see ur point - think I might consider an about turn to my views on SMJ n Aamir.. :D

      Well actually, its my pet theory that Indians should date more and should get better at the dating game, and it should start with abolishing arranged marriages - we should win our partners by fighting for it - like it is in the animal world - and that'll help us find truer love.. arranged marriages makes it too easy for us :)

      Thnx for droppin by Sonia.. do drop by more often :)

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    2. Hahaha.. I am just imagining, if arrange marriages are really abolished then whats gonna happen to those pot-bellied Engineers who has no time and also no charm to date someone..They would die single.*grin*

      Well, I had told you that you gonna win the Lakme Sun Expert Contest on Indiblogger and see you did.:) Lucky Kyra :-P So what kinda T-shirt did they send you??? Do post the pictures of yours wearing it :D

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    3. Hahaha.. u're right! I used to be one of 'em! Wait... damn! I think I still am! :D

      Thanks so much Sonia for ur wishes.. hope Kyra feels the same way :) Actually, I haven't got anything yet :) sure, I'll do that, Sonia.. wonder whn I'd get it though..thanks so much for ur kind, kind wishes dear :)

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  8. The girl's family giving dowry to the groom is pretty much like a man paying a prostitute- eventually, it's all about sex.:P

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    1. Alhumdullilah!! Enthokke undu, vision in white?? Long time yaar :)

      U know, Sigmund Freud said the same thing - everybody does everything for the same thing - either for greatness or to get more sex :D

      Come to think of it - you're right - it boils down to just sex :D

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  9. hmm I am not sure i am quiet with you on this one , I think SMJ is doing the right thing in bringing out the social evils, the problem with us indians is we dont accept there is a problem, there are still people out there who think that our culture is so near to god that we cant do anything wrong .. and whatever is happening is good ..

    Dowry is a evil and yes its been there for ages and I think time is now to change it , love marriage is not a solution as even in love marriages this is happening , when parents finally agree for the marriage.


    and that story I like that tooo he he he

    Bikram's

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    1. Hey Bikram, thnks fr ur thoughts man.. guees I've been a bit late wid my reply.. am sure SMJ has moved on frm dowry n think there's more topics bein discussed on nowadays :)

      Hows u been man? Long, long time, eh? :)

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  10. this is really interesting, Im Ghanaian, and in our culture the man pays the dowry.Parents dont really have much say in who one marries, and the dowry is more of a symbol than a requirement. its interesting to see how different cultures deal with the issue of dowry. i have a question though,(and forgive my ignorance), but is dowry an ABSOLUTE requirement for marriage, traditionally speaking? and if so, what happens if one cant afford it? no wedding?

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    1. Hey Rambling Loner, welcome to my blog :)

      Thats quite interesting to knw how it is in Ghana, RL.. well wrt ur question, methinks dowry started on the premise that a new couple wud need some sort of help to start a new life n conceptually, its a sound idea - I mean, for a bachelor guy to suddenly turn his home bride-friendly does require effort n energy, and dowry was given to make this transition as smooth - as possible but with time, this token has evolved to become a measure of social standing and well, now this has turned into a reason why many people consider marriages - so no, its not an absolute requirement but its prevalence is almost ubiquitous in arranged marriages than those made in love - n yup, in many arranged marriages, if there is no dowry, there is sadly no marriage.

      Glad to hear u here RL.. hope yto see u here more often.. do drop by, Rambling Loner :)

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  11. Hey good post dude!
    Socially relevant, opinionated and fighting for the maiden in distress! Interesting mix so I thought I'd put in my two cents.
    Haven't seen SMJ but I suppose it should be fun to watch as Aamir rarely disappoints.

    My take on Dowry is that it is for losers.

    That being said let me define what I mean when I say dowry.
    It is any money that is given to the groom from the bride's family at the time of the wedding. With one exception - that is what I would call an inheritance amount.
    To put it plainly, I believe in justice, so lets assume there is this guy who is getting married and he is an upstanding man and does not take dowry. When the time comes for his parents to prepare their will they give him an equal share of their wealth.
    So now lets look at this couple and I totally agree with Raj that in the end its just these two that matter. So lets say both of them are fulfilling their roles maybe he is working and she is a homemaker or he is a bum and she is making more money than him... its all good. Now he is getting some wealth from his parents and she has not so that is injustice and it needs a similar gesture from her parents. Notice I say similar not equal or even comparable.

    I feel that women should have an equal share in their parents property and just as he got his share she should get her share at a time that her parents are comfortable with.

    But lets not call that dowry because that word has got a connotation of oppression in the Indian mindset.

    So my message to all the women out there don't take a single penny as dowry when you get married. But make sure your parents give you an equal share of whatever they have, whenever they can.

    Another point you raised was to advocate love marriages for Indians.... Like one of your readers Sonia commented(albeit in jest)... what about those who don't fall in love :P
    That is throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Not everyone has the luxury of falling in love dude! That is another injustice right there!

    What I would like to see among my people are less mamas boys and better parenting. I'm gonna sound Freudian but I think Indians are they way they are because they are brought up with conflicting ideas.

    Incidentally Raj did ya see the latest cover of time magazine... "Are You Woman Enough?" (maybe you should blog about it ;))

    @Rambling Loner, traditionally speaking, giving or receiving dowry is not an absolute. Even if it was we Indians are all for symbolic gestures so that can easily be taken care of with a Cadbury's chocolate bar if need be. :)

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    1. Wow! Dude, thts some comment man :D

      Thnx fr bring tht up up man n for goin the whole way to touch upon another equally relevan topic, women's property rights.. I agree with u man, a very valid point u bring out here .. wow

      Aah love marriages - some find 'em, some them don't but shudnt they at least try?? :)

      Ya man, I heard bout the contro that came up due to the cover but yup, I get ur drift ...

      U know u shud consider guest posting fr me :)

      Thnx fr the comment n fr droppin by man.. really, really appreciato Sherry :)

      Delete
  12. I beg to differ a bit here, In India marriage is not just 2 people finding each other and getting together for life. It is a bond that 2 families form.Which is 'culturally' a very good gesture. So relating dowry with arrange marriage is not justified.
    As for Satyamev jayate, well yes it is entertainment served intelligently on the platter.


    sarah

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    1. Hey Sarah, thanks for ur thoughts yaar.. yup, I agree to you, wrt the cultural significance of two families coming together; though I'm a believer that marriages shud b foremost of the boy n gal n then the parents - but like u rightly pointed out, in India, its not exactly in this fashion .. I'm just sayin tht the misuse of dowry is more probable in arranged marriages cos in love, the couple already want to get married n dowry may just be another detail - in arranged marriages, dowry could just be the selection criteria :)

      Aah, so you too see thru the intelligent piece of marketing that is SMJ :)

      Lovely, lovely thoughts Sarah.. do drop by more often :)

      Delete
  13. RAJ..first of all putting the serious issue of Dowry aside, I love the wit and charm of the post. And the way, you have gone through by telling your points about this serious issue.

    How this thing called dowry came up and made its way up in all the sections of the society is something I do not know. Whether it had a purpose before is debatable, but in today's world, for sure, the concept of dowry is outdated and should be dealt with severely.

    The mentality of people will play a huge role in how we tackle this thing, but when you say that SMJ is just a show to entertain, I may be , half agree with you, but can't we be a little less cynical and accept that at least the show is reaching people and knocking on their hearts. It was also the show what made you write this post..isn't it? :-P

    Yes, the show can't change a society overnight. But then nothing can. Its a small step. And this step has started reaching out doors. We can at least acknowledge it and accept it that yes we have a problem which needs a remedy and we will change ourselves.. :-)

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    1. Hey Kunal, glad to see u here man.. long time, na??? :)

      Yap, I agree with you that SMJ is a great attempt in this direction; though my thought is that its just a general entertainment program.. and mind u, that's not really a bad thing at all - and yup, it is resulting in a lot of positive things - lets wait till bout a few months after the show is over and if there is an equally strong momentum in these raised issues, then yes, I think it'll then be a show that is dedicated to these causes as people keep telling me; if not, its just a show by a popular actor who intelligently made a significant presence on the small screen by creating positive awareness on these issues :)

      I agree with you that this show has the potential to change society, even though in a very small a way.

      Do drop by more often Kunal.. always happy to have ur thoughts :)

      Delete
  14. well the fault is not only on the grooms side but also on the brides family side. If they dont give, the groom cant do anything and hence even the girl would be free from abuse and torture and suicide in the name of dowry violence!
    Great post as always!!!

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    1. Red!Red!Red!Red!

      Long, log time yaar Red!! Glad to see u here.. hope all is well with u at home n at the gym :)

      I agree with u Red but considering that finding a partner is pretty hard with stupidity personified measures like matching horoscopes n crap like dat, not too sure if the bride has the power to do so..

      very valid point, Red

      glad to hv to back Red :)

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    2. :D. Lost 10 kgs...take me as an inspiration :D. No dieting :P

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  15. I am a girl and I wish that my in laws should give my parents lots of dowry! hee hee

    http://ektakhetan.blogspot.com

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    1. Hahaha, besides the gender, same here :D

      Welcum to ma blog, numerounity :)

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    2. See...I am a girl and I leave everything and go to guy's house...So what happens to my parent's ROI on my education n all? :)

      Guys shouldn't think it otherwise.

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    3. Wow, u must b an MBA!! :D

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  16. I haven't tried watching SMJ, but have heard quite a lot about it.
    Dowry is everywhere. Whether it is a poor family, or a rich one.. It's all in the minds of people. And I agree with Red Handed. It is the fault from both the sides. People get scared and thus they agree to give dowry. The girl should just walk out!
    God post :)

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    1. Hey PhilO, nice to see u here :)

      Yup, the concept is pretty much everywhere.. wonder of women can actually do that.. if women have that level of freedom in our country, wow, that wud be something! :)

      Thanks for droppin by, PhilO!! :)

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  17. awesomely written...well...i've put a similar(smaller) comment on FB and people simply plunged on me like a ware wolves...huh...i saw few scenes on youtube...i honestly didnt find any difference from a movie and this show...shedding of few tears and throwing some emotional dialogues and people becoming senti about this A-Khan...oh god!
    First thing, marriage is a personal matter...even if it goes upto divorce(for any reason)...it might sound deviating but why can't aamir khan invite his first wife to the show and ask her to talk about their breakup???? reason may not be dowry but something else that broke the trust between the couple, right???
    i was watching the 'emotional talk' by a lady in a violet dress(sorry dont remember her name)...everything is fine but what about the other side of the story? publicizing a problem related to personal relationship on TV shows??? imagine the agony of the other family while watching the show...and we dont know if all she was talking is true or not...might sound negative but after watching this show, i started doing some research and found that this dowry law is being misused badly in India...there was a petition filed in parliament by retired SC judge and very senior people for amendment of the law...such is the seriousness...and inspite of all this, if we consider these shows as 'social service' or 'enlightening' ,i think we are stupid and a-khan is doing his job-ACTING!

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    1. Hahaha, u did ur research well, man :)

      Yup, the dowry law is a very much abused piece of legislature n I'm not sure if that would be used in the show cos it may not generate as much tears n emotions as these topics do... me thinks SMJ just a good entertainment show packaged very intelligently to connect with the audience - n yes, its creating a lot of positive developments too - so goo fr the Khan :)

      So I'm not sure if claims that its changing India n things like that really apply.. a year later, think people wud hv forgotten much of it.. let's hoe I'm wrong on this :)

      Great to hav ur thoughts Hari.. do drop by more often man :)

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    2. exactly...this is jst like a KBC, or any other game show hosted by other actors...SMJ is for A-Khan...thts it...doesnt make any difference at all(except for the TV channel ofcourse:))
      take a look at this when u find some time-
      http://harivatsava.blogspot.in/2012/06/mothers-lap.html

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  18. btw...am putting this link as FB status...hope its ok for you...:)

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    1. I'm humbled, my friend.. pls do so :)

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  19. Good one Ra. very well written however the thing is these issues are only dealt within four walls in an air conditioned room but in real this problem still seems to be lurking around. These topics are good for discussion, discourse and dialogue. But, hey good one again :)

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    1. Hey Hari, thanks for ur thoughts man.. yup, u nailed it - they are being discussed in air conditioned rooms "for discussion, discourse and dialogue" (...nice :))..

      thanks so much for ur kind words Hari.. do drop by more often :)

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  20. Replies
    1. Hey PhilO, coming up soon.. :) .. I've joined this writing workshop and its pretty time consuming n well, its actually getting in the way of my writing :D

      Next post coming soon :)

      Thnx so much fr droppin by n inquiring, PhilO.. really kinda touched me :)

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  21. How are you doing, R-A-J? :))

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    1. Hey RCB, loooong time, eh?? Hows the marriage preps going?? Hope all is goin well on ur side :)

      Things here are fine, though a lil hectic.. work is mad as usual.. on my spare time, I joined a writing workship which incidentally, takes up all my time for writing.. :D

      thnx fr coming by RCB.. really nice of u hv dropped by :)

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  22. Very long time. The marriage preps are over and done with except for one minor detail: I still need to find the right shoes hahaha. That takes about 5 minutes, so I guess I'm just messing with my Bollywood Bride's head, going 'No, still no shoes, hon.'

    I'm sure you're doing a good job even if it takes up all of your time :)

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    1. Hahaha, u r a sadist RCB...:)

      I wish everyone I knew had the same level of confidence in me as u have, unfortunately they really know what I'm doing(or not doing) :)

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  23. long time dude...write another one...people are waiting... :)

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    1. Ur wish is my command Hari :)

      Thank u for bearing with me, man :)

      Delete
  24. Dude! Again. and again. U are Funny!
    :P
    And abt SMJ. I am a fan. No I dont think it can change anything. Actually, media cant change anything. It can only instigate. The figures and the no.s SM showed, we get to see in the papers every alternate day, but do we remember. I appreciate SMJ's efforts as first of its kind in commercial TV. And btw. The 1 rupee thing did work out.
    Please watch this!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wFAszOeQ8Q
    This was a noble attempt yaar. Profit is expected. But who says profit cant be for something good :)

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    1. Hey Shalini, thanks for dropping by dost :)

      Yup, I can see that u r a SMJ fan.. Someone once said that the evening news is when they start by saying 'Good evening' n proceed t tell u why it is not...I guess I'm too jaded with all the news coming from the tv set everyday that it takes a while to really appreciate a good thing when it does come my way :)

      Respect! \m/

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