In a perfect world, everybody would realise that a woman is "feminine" no matter what she does, simply because she is female. Since it’s not a perfect world, only a select few (like yours truly and other such intelligent women) recognise the fact. But the lovely Banno has challenged me to confess my crimes against my gender, so I must show some! How do I find out what constitutes a crime against my gender? I must admit that my only yardstick for this comes from old Bollywood films. So let’s see what they say a woman should be like, and what crimes I’ve committed against Bhartiya naari-hood.
- Be ever loving : Of course, being loving and affectionate comes naturally to me. It would never occur to me to indulge in umm... physical combat, not when I can spread love and sweetness around me! And here is Nutan (in a clip from film Seema), exhibiting these very admirable traits - a womanly ability to love spontaneously and selflessly. (Please pay close attention around 1:12 min.)
- Be ever sacrificing : I am the soul of self-sacrifice and would happily give my last penny to a friend in need. Isn’t it fortunate that sacrifice does not require me to spend my first, second, third and so on... pennies? That is the only thing that stands between me and international-fakir-dom.
- Always uphold tradition : It would never occur to me to break with tradition. It’s terrible how youngsters in today’s world have no feeling for tradition. My family has a long tradition of breaking with tradition, and it would NEVER occur to me go against my family traditions! I strongly disapprove of youngsters like these who are inciting everybody to “forget everything about yesterday” and write a “new story in the new age”. The very idea!
- Never stint on the pooja : I’ve always believed that one must start the day with a good bhajan. So I wake up early every morning (if you think 9:00am is late, you are not an aadarsh bhartiya naari) and devote the first hour of the day to some great bhajans. Here are some of my favourite ones:
- Always wear Indian clothes : Interesting dresses are for misguided Western women who will be reformed by Mr. Bharat. (Note to those heathen who do not wish to be converted: A salwar-kameez/saree a day keeps Mr. Bharat away!) Like Neetu Singh here, I prefer to don my favourite Indian garb, all the time. What?! You don’t think that’s an Indian dress? Look closely. The pant? It’s a tight salwar. The top? It’s a shortened kameez!
- Be devoted to your menfolk : I believe in unconditional devotion to my menfolk. One’s men must always be obeyed, idolised and above all, ministered to, humbly and devotedly. Only these women in Chak De! India come anywhere close to matching my slavish devotion to mankind.
- Do not touch intoxicating substances : Only men (and loose women) touch intoxicating substances. I would die rather than let a drop of alcohol contaminate my wine. This would never be me, never in a thousand years! I’m very careful with my Gin-n-tonic – not even the cleverest villain can spike it. I swear!
- Cultivate long flowing tresses to enhance your beauty : I’ve spent years growing and nurturing my nagin jaisi zulfen (snake-like tresses) and it would never occur to me to chop a single lock of my hair. Only Tabu’s hair in the following song come close to approximating my lovely long hair.
- Bring other women to the path of ideal naari-hood : Meena Kumari has always been my role-model in this endeavour. Just see how well she instructs the sisterhood. Can you find a better guide to womanly behaviour than Yeh mard bade dil-dard bade bedard na dhokha khaana, meethi meethi batiyon mein bhool ke na aana (men are heartless and uncaring, never fall for their sweet talk)?
- Be faithful to your man, even if he's dead : I truly believe that there is only one man for each woman, and she must always be faithful to him, no matter what - just like Rekha here. There was only one man for her (Vinod Mehra) till she met Rajendra Kumar, and now he is the only man for her. Such constancy is rare in modern times, but I am the old-fashioned type. Nothing will shake my belief in complete and utter faithfulness.
So you see, I am the stuff of ideal Bhartiya naari-hood, and am ripe for canonisation as a saint of the order of Indian femininity. Sorry Banno, I tried… but you can see that I am an ideal woman and really have no crimes-against-gender to confess to.