If you thought a demure Ash was out of sight and (so) out of mind, not to mention out of the news, you’re wrong. Ash has been on my mind in a way no woman has ever been before. One question haunts me: is there a ‘Tulsi’ inside every Aishwarya Bachchan neé Rai? It would seem so. We fuss too much over the Bachchans. But to see the latest entry into the clan, one struggles to fathom the new-age sati-savitri routine. It’s downright odd to be overawed when taking up your husband’s name.
No longer is it news if a woman retains her father’s family name. Neither is it news if she chooses her husband’s. In fact, she is free to choose her mother’s name or even her mother-in-law’s maiden name if she so fancies. But who wants to make that strong a statement, apart from confusing the world and its aunts?
But Mrs Bachchan Jr is giving this nomenclature business a new twist — a very 21st century thing. It is somewhat trendy now — at least in these northern climes — to promote the Tulsi brand. Forget the lavish weddings; you got to go the whole hog in being demure. For generations who have grown up with firebrand Rajni, whose character had more of a Kali inside her, and Lalitaji of the Surf ads fame, Ash is a character beyond truth or fiction. Apart from her being the only Miss World ever to have married a tree, she has made it a point to murmur on about being ‘Mrs Bachchan’. Well, for what it’s worth, at least, now that there’s been a change of government in UP and all. But it troubles me, because she still has a fan following of millions and I dread the day when she emerges as a role model in one of those oh-so-savvy media surveys.
But then, maybe I fret needlessly. Remember, there was a Mother Teresa inside Sushmita Sen when she was crowned Miss Universe. Mercifully, she got rid of that halo around her head soon enough. As for Ash, maybe she’ll just do the family thing and stop acting... acting one way or the other, that is.