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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Regional Takes

Reel vs real women
Parminder Kaur, Hindustan Times
February 13, 2013
First Published: 09:06 IST(13/2/2013)
Last Updated: 09:08 IST(13/2/2013)

All along I have considered myself a fairly confident person. Being overly self-deprecating and indulging in self-pity for vested imperfections has never been my forte. For me, it has always been more significant to be as good a human being as possible, complete with all the incompleteness and imperfections that is 'me'. But lately some fissures have stealthily appeared on this poised perception of mine and startlingly it has got nothing to do with any real life incident but everything to do with the reel life. Yes, I am rationally destabilised and suffering from a bout of pseudo complexes thanks to the prodigious, implausibly perfect and obstinately idolized tele-serial daughters-in-law (DILs).


If you thought the small screen has outlived its days of soppy soap operas ruled by Adarshvadi Tulsis and Parvatis glorifying the stereotypical image of the Indian woman, you are sadly mistaken as these super women (DILs) are back in their revamped, utopian avatars. The renewed, farther from reality version of Akshara, Gopi, Simar, Anandi etc are the novel benchmark for an ideal daughter-in-law and have the entire nation revering them. No personal grudges against the actors, but it's the clichéd character portrayal that dismays me.

On reel, all these ethereal damsels are picture perfect literally, looking ravishing from dawn to dusk and thereafter too. They are all decked up, bejewelled from head to toe with iron-straightened silky tresses. In real life, we mere mortals have a perpetual bad hair, bad skin, bad weight, bad wardrobe and bad mood days. And that's how we are; we love dressing up but don't intend to compete with the showroom mannequins, ready to be showcased 24x7. After all, beauty is not only skin deep, it's much more than skin only.

The reel DIL is illusory, impeccable, unbelievably self-less, overly resilient and a know-all multidimensional avatar of a perfect wife, mother, sister-in-law and of course daughter-in-law. She is a one-stop solution to all family problems and you can blindly trust her to win hands down every challenge that you accept on her behalf during the my-DIL-is-better-than-yours tug of war never mind how silly it might be. For us, their real life counterparts, it's an everyday struggle, multitasking, trying to juggle our various roles and relations, both as a homemaker and a career woman. We put in our best, but it's not a win-win situation always. We struggle, we succeed, we falter and we try again. We are not selfish but we don't ignore 'self' also. We have forbearance but we are not meek. We foster family bonding but we seek personal space also. Family comes first but our aspirations do not lag behind.

Please stop this on-screen idolisation of women, epitomising a delusionary perception of a perfect wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Don't rev up the expectation quotient of an overly demanding society. Don't elevate us to the pedestal of a demi goddess, wary of a fall with every thrust of life. Just let us be. We are women, only human and not a synonym for perfection.


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