Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thank you Chetan Bhagat for saving and changing me

Dear Mr Bhagat,

I don't know you very well but I consider myself your victim, having read two of your books (Five Point Someone and Two States). I read the former because I bent down to peer pressure and read what everyone else was reading at the time much to my own disappointment and read the latter because a friend insisted that I was exactly like the female protagonist (side note: just because I am also an Iyer from South India does not mean I am anything like the horrendous female protagonist in the book!).

Anyway it is sufficient to say I am familiar with your (bad) prose and therefore as a rule I avoid your column in Times of India and refuse to venture anywhere near your blog for the sake of my own sanity. However unfortunately for me, your words always seem to seep into popular culture (i.e Facebook) and I find myself wondering why anyone would take you seriously. I have however for the most part kept my peace because frankly my dear I could not care any less. However I could not help myself, when I chanced upon your blog on women's day where you have given women advice on how to change themselves for the better. ( I wanted to respond to your highly scientific take on women. Bear with me for a few moments (the emotional fool that I am) and hear what I have to say here.

The first behaviour that needs to end is the constant desire to judge other women. Women are hard on themselves. 

Right at the beginning you have characterised all women as being catty and judgmental.  I am not going to sit here and say that I have never judged anyone in my entire life but rather want to point out that everyone judges and it is not an exclusive trait reserved only for women. According to (Everybody judges) statistics a "first impression is formed in the first 7 to 17 seconds itself. This first impression is based 55 percent on appearance, 7 percent on the words we use during course of our conversation and 38 percent on the tone of the voice" Scientifically it has been proved that everyone is judgmental.I am not hard on my own gender but rather on whole of humanity. So, next time you ask women to stop being such "gossip girls", you might want to take a good hard look at yourself and see how you have in the past judged women severely and frankly quite stupidly. (

The faking needs to end. A common female trait is the relatively quick adaptation to feed male egos.

Oh lord. Where do I begin? Feed male egos? Hardly Mr Bhagat. I suppose no man has ever pretended to have an interest in some random romantic comedy or tv show or a book in order to impress a woman. Men would NEVER stoop to such a level where they have to fake it to make it? I have to the best of my knowledge never pandered to a man just so he would like me but I see no problem in telling a white lie either in order to make someone feel better. Oh both my mother and my father have in occassion lied to one another in order to make the other feel better about a particular situation in life. It's not called pandering Mr Bhagat, it's called being a partner. It's called love. Like I said, I have never pandered to another man in my entire life but I look forward to the day, when I have to hold someone's hand and tell them everything is going to be all right even when I know it's not. Why? Because I want to know what it's like to be in love and really mean it. As long as I don't lose my identity, I should be fine. Thank you for your concern but you can keep it.

Too many Indian women are emotional fools 
Seriously dude,  I am trying to be polite here and you go and call me an emotional fool. I am not even going to justify that behaviour other than to merely point out that there is nothing wrong in at times being emotional or a fool or both. NOTHING.

Women need to become more ambitious and dream bigger.
What does this mean exactly? That even though I am a reporter in a reputed daily, armed with a  Masters degree from a reputed institute and happen to be as a good as anyone at my job, I somehow lack ambition? Please define ambition Mr Bhagat. Is it to get ahead at work? Is it to earn money? To be happy in life? To have a successful family? To be able to brag about having written Harry Potter fiction? Ambition and dreams are subjective and different for everyone. My dream may be to have my football team (Arsenal...Gunners forever!) win the league or to some day run an NGO all by myself. Who are you to judge what my scale for success is?

Don’t be too trapped in the drama of relationships
Oddly enough, this is what truly pissed me off in the article. You are telling me to be selfish here. What makes you think I am not already selfish? Why have you already pigeonholed me into Mother Teresa? Do you know women at all Mr Bhagat? I am confused, happy, angry, emotional, opinionated, passive, funny, redundant, competitive, selfish, self centered and even selfless. Sometimes, all at the same time.  But it's not because I am a's because I am me. An individual. Prone to my own flaws and addicted to my own mistakes. They make me who I am. By giving me attributes without having ever met me is an insult to me and women everywhere. So stop it. Stop telling men to "choose" working women because housewives are "phulkas". Stop telling women to "change" themselves. And please invest some time, energy and money in taking some creative writing courses. You don't have to be Shakespeare but at least you should be capable of stringing two sentences together without falling into cliched traps. Thanks.

Aishhwariya Subramanian