Thursday, March 24, 2011

Feelings? You must be kidding

These Mars-Venus jokes are really getting to me, or perhaps I am getting old or undergoing a sex change, as my homeopath once insinuated (You have too much testosterone in you!). Okay coming to the point. After a semi-adventurous journey cross-country (actually north to south Bombay) last week, I found myself in a mid-week date with the husband at the Comedy Store. The beer was cold, the blokes were funny, it was 50% off for ladies that night, I could see the performers from where I sat (which is a big deal, especially if you are as small as I am), and for once, the husband didn’t get heckled. So far so good. 

Then the second stand-up comic went ahead and spoilt it all by saying something stupid like ‘Women always like to talk about their feelings’ and that ‘Men actually like it when they have to sleep in the other room’.  He said it like it was some huge gender revelation, and the blokes looked at each other like a big secret was out, and chuckled. 

At the risk of marital harmony, let me just say here that the said bloke is clearly living in another era. Or he is just dating his mommy. Of course we don’t need you to talk about our feelings.  What are our girlfriends for? The maximum we need from you are  ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. Let me give you an example.  Which of the following is a woman more likely to say to a man:
“Do you feel like going for stand-up comedy tonight”
“What do you feel like doing tonight?”

Go ahead girls, write down twenty others.

Asking a guy an open ended question is a death-trap, because it will just open the door for whining, or listing the nincompoops they have to deal with at work and how they are so dog tired by the end of the day that all they want is a beer and the remote control. How totally unpredictable! I would have never guessed that!And no woman ever asks a man what he thinks of her dress or her haircut or her haiku. Even if they do, dear blokes, it is only out of politeness. 

Coming to sleeping on the couch. Now who wouldn’t like an entire bed to themselves? Of course we are positively delighted that you are sleeping on the couch. We just want to know in advance.

I wish could rewrite the damn Mars-Venus books, because you know what?  It ain’t like that at all. Or maybe all the men have applied for citizenship to Venus.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Zoheb Hassan, where art thou?

I was struck by a bad bout of nostalgia yesterday. I went to this garage sale, where I spent an obscene amount of money on CDs, DVDs, books and some toys for the boy (yes, real toys, for the real boy).  One of the CDs was a Disco Deewane- Star combo. Does Biddu still ring a bell? 

The next few hours were thoroughly entertaining for the boy as his mother transformed into an 80s disco icon, bouncing around, crooning away till he buried his head in shame.
24 hours later, I am like a love-struck puppy, wondering what became of my adolescent crush, Zoheb Hassan, brother of the more famous Nazia Hassan of Aap jaisa koi and Disco Deewane fame, the boy who made me graduate to denim and checks, the boy who made curls look cool, the boy who looked cool grooving with his sister, the boy who knew exactly how to tuck his shirt in, yet make it look like an accident, the boy who should have never turned into a man.  Ideally speaking.

Nazia-Zoheb happened when my brother and I were on the verge of adolescence (at least I was). We were finally bonding, sharing our friends and had just got our first TV, a Keltron black and white.  Both of us, armed with badminton rackets (our pretend guitars), dressed in denims and checked shirts, our sleeves effortlessly rolled up, shirts tucked in or loosely knotted at the ends, would bellow Tere kadmon ko, choomoonga.. or Mujhe chahen na chahen, never realising that they were the most inappropriate lyrics a brother would ever sing to his sister.

Funnily, Nazia was who I wanted to be when I grew up (she made two plaits look cool, which made me feel better about mine) and Zoheb was who I wanted to marry. So what if he was her brother? I could still be her while having a crush on her brother, right? Wonder what Freud would have said to that?

Ironically, Nazia died of cancer around the same time that I was going through a tragedy queen phase of my life, confused about men, career and what to do with myself. It was a sign for me, no less, and I decided to pick myself up and get on with it, be grateful for what I had and find my new life. I was still too depressed to find out what happened to Zoheb, lest it was revealed that he was lolling about in Spain or some such with an exotic beauty, while I was still grappling with a bad-hair life. It was pre-internet times.

Yes, I know that today, the internet can vomit 20,000 or an equally monstrous number or pages on the said person, but I somehow don’t feel right to stalk someone I fancied in a non-internet time through the internet. It feels wrong. 

Do I sound suitably nuts? Well, it is one of my virtues. So I guess, I will keep wondering for a while and wish for my current phase to fade away and for my mind to get over-populated with other inanities that I don’t really care for.  Like Katrina Kaif’s wardrobe malfunction or why can’t the Kapoors get over their Nargis fixation or what happened   at the 19th fashion week of the year (yaaaaawwwn!) 

Because, to me, Zoheb Hassan, like most unadulterated crushes of adolescence is best left unvisited.

But as I was dancing in abandon for my son last night, I missed my brother, and our badminton racket-guitar phase, which continued right through most of Rishi Kapoor’s capers. So this summer, when he is down for his annual visit (the brother, not Rishi Kapoor) from sunny California, I am already plotting to re-enact our simulated guitar performance (perhaps with real guitars this time, not that I can play one, but I can definitely afford it). I am sure my boy will be delighted. Perhaps embarassed. But at least he will have a story to tell that can begin with, “A long, long time ago, when television was black and white....”