Stereotypes come in all shapes and sizes. The latest one to be put to use by the Indian Army — following the old nugget about how peaceniks don’t make good soldiers — is the one that men who like cooking don’t make the grade for the manly business of attacking and defending. One would have thought that anyone who has the stomach to pluck feathers off a chicken or actually revel in the display of the same creature undergoing decapitation would be especially prepared for the guns and butter stuff.
But if culinary skills are a sign that you’re not cut out for the uniform, then do note that the Services Selection Board will cross your name out if ‘some of your best friends’ happen to be ladies. That would automatically suggest either of the two things: that your mind is too much on the ladies for you to do the needful at the time of crisis; or, that women are a bit too comfortable around you, suggesting that a male dormitory may not be safe in your presence.
Screening for candidates, the selection board asked a candidate what his Sunday schedule was. The answer — sleeping till late and having a hearty breakfast of paranthas — saw the army gents furrow their brows and mutter, ‘softie.’ Archaic? Stupid? We think otherwise. Unless our youngsters are having fun by undergoing cold showers at dawn and sleeping on a bed of bricks, how will this nation ever stop being soft?