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Victory for women, defeat of decency

When it was decided that Parliament proceedings would be telecast live on TV, there was this fond hope that MPs would behave better — because if they didn’t, their bad behaviour would be out there for the whole nation to see, writes Poonam Saxena.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2010 00:48 IST
Poonam Saxena

The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha was full of unbelievable ‘this-can’t-be-happening’ moments. Chairman Hamid Ansari sat bravely amidst a hail of confetti, except that it wasn’t confetti at all. Some members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had torn copies of the Bill and were throwing the shreds at Ansari — all the while shouting and screaming as if they’d taken leave of their senses (which of course they had). If they hadn’t been restrained by the marshals, who knows what might have happened? Maybe they would have torn out all the mikes, broken all the furniture, attacked a few MPs, summoned their criminal pals from UP and Bihar — the possibilities are endless (and quite real).

When it was decided that Parliament proceedings would be telecast live on TV, there was this fond hope that MPs would behave better — because if they didn’t, their bad behaviour would be out there for the whole nation to see. But it doesn’t seem to have worked. These SP and RJD MPs (and others like them) appear incapable of feeling mundane emotions such as shame and embarrassment (I suppose it's a bit like expecting Mayawati to be soft-spoken and humble).

Rahul Dulhania Le Jayega (Imagine) ended with an episode that went on forever (final episodes of most reality shows, it seems, have to be close to at least four hours long, otherwise they don’t qualify as final episodes. Think about it: how can we have a sense of closure unless and until we are completely exhausted just watching television?)

In the most bizarre wedding ever, host Ram Kapoor called all the three finalists (each one dressed as a traditional bride) up on stage. Dimpy Ganguly from Kolkata, Nikunj from Faridabad and Harpreet from Delhi stood obediently in a row as Rahul moved forward with a garland in his hands. And the instant he put the garland around Dimpy — pouf! the other two girls just vanished into thin air. Only the puff of smoke was missing. We never saw them again — though their mothers appeared fleetingly at the end (“Anyway, Nikunj never wanted to marry him” / “Anyway Harpreet was too good for him!”) We did, however, see the two also-rans on news channels over the next couple of days, when they (the news channels) ‘covered’ Rahul and Dimpy’s wedding in great detail. The two girls looked none the worse for wear, no doubt more than satisfied with their more-than-15-minutes of fame. Now I’m bracing myself for the full coverage of Rahul and Dimpy’s honeymoon (I just hope we'll be spared some details). But Imagine has created ‘history’ (never mind what kind of 'history’, I mean, it’s not the Battle of Plassey) by hosting the first-ever televised wedding in India.

At the moment, however, I’m bracing myself for the IPL onslaught (this column is being filed before the opening ceremony and match). There’s already so much hype, I shudder to think what things will be like once the tournament is on in full swing. IPL matches, IPL music shows, IPL fashion shows, IPL parties, IPL news, IPL ads — maybe it should just be renamed Indian Pakao League.

And finally. Anandi has died in Balika Vadhu (Colors). The child wife saved her child husband by shielding him from a bullet, but in the process, got hit herself. She dies in a hospital, so it’s not going to be easy for the scriptwriters to resurrect her (that’s much easier if the character concerned has had a mysterious death in an accident). But for all those traumatized viewers who are weeping copiously and dying for Anandi to return — don’t lose heart. There’s always the possibility of a twin sister.