There is a reason why I believe the Indian sense of "morality" is pretty skewed. On one hand, it propagates an almost impossible-to-lead idealistic way of life -- gleaned predominantly from selective reading of our mythology. On the other hand, it has generated a section of "morally correct Indian men" who follow the strangest of traditions to land women.
Now this is a completely subjective observation and may hurt a good many but it concerns this guy I know. This acquaintance has around 450 mooh-boli behen, roughly translatable as honorary sisters, each one hotter than the other. Note that only hot girls make it to his "sister-roster". One time, an average-looking girl approached him and asked him if she could be his sister and he shot her down and walked away. That's weird isn't it? If I had the tongue of a Louis CK, I would have probably yelled, "Asshole now that was real sister-material you just let go!"
So this guy has a field day on Raksha Bandhan -- he walks the earth of Mumbai, getting rakhis tied on his slender wrist from his numerous, smouldering sisters.
"These self-appointed brothers and fathers often decide what their daughters or sisters should wear, how much mayonnaise they should spread on their sandwiches and who they should date."
He is the best man to his sisters on their weddings (that's right). You usually see him in pictures with his sisters in their wedding dresses, his head resting on their bosoms, with a cute little pink balloon somewhere in the background, and a bouquet clutched in his one hand, shaking somewhat. And I find all of this disturbing -- disturbing on a very Freudian level.
But he's good marketing material, right? Meaning, they could have a YouTube video featuring him, called "The Man Who Views Women The Way They Should Be." And the virtuous lot can hear him speak about how he grew up as a single child, prayed to God everyday for a sister, and voilà!
It is disturbing. I know men who are this way about "daughters" too. These self-appointed brothers and fathers often decide what their daughters or sisters should wear, how much mayonnaise they should spread on their sandwiches and who they should date. Yes, if there is anything such as a defining feature of these ascribed relationships, it is extreme physical possessiveness.
The entire routine calls to mind a scene from David Lynch's Blue Velvet, in which Isabella Rossellini's character who clearly shares a sadomasochistic relationship with Dennis Hopper's character, tries to kitten up to him with a "Hello Baby" and Hopper shuts her up. "It's Daddy, you shit-head!" he reminds her.
Interestingly, these men folk in question are also the ones who tend to be most active in campaigning against rape, even when their everyday actions veer on borderline molestation. I remember a girl -- she must have been 24 then -- once telling me how her "father" at the workplace used to massage her back every day post her first bout of osteoarthritis. "I cry real tears of love after every such massaging session. My actual father never did so much for me," she said.
"I remember a girl -- she must have been 24 then -- once telling me how her 'father' at the workplace used to massage her back every day post her first bout of osteoarthritis."
I am not saying the masseur-father in this case was consciously taking advantage of the girl. It is just that he has mislabelled and misrepresented his attraction for her. It's like calling yourself a teetotaller and then stoning on bottles of Benadryl every Friday night.
But why do these people annoy me so much?
Probably because I am the kind of guy whose only reaction to a good-looking woman entering my visual field, can be: God, she is gorgeous! I remember a rickshaw driver taking me through the Talao-Pali area in Thane having to stop his rickshaw and tell me,"Bhai zara aaram se dekh. Mujhe sharam aa raha hai (Brother, go easy on the staring. It's embarrassing me)."
However, I believe there's some virtue in being a man like that; some truthfulness -- we don't create convoluted strategies through which we can play out our fantasies. We are too much in touch with the vital juices of life to act oblique. While it is easy to classify us all as "lechers", the truth is that many of us are willing but not forward and a whole lot of us are just painfully shy. However, not one of us, I can assure you, would ever look at a beautiful girl and go," She is nice! Now let me adopt her as my sister." Instead, we play the dance.
Our kind chooses to call "dates" exactly that; not some "drinking session with sis" that ends in winks.
I really don't like most parts of the man that I am, but this openly-subverted part I think has a child-like honesty about him that I am okay with.
There is this story about the great French director Francois Truffaut who on the cusp of committing to a woman always used to wonder, "But if I have her, I can't have the others." And perhaps --perhaps is the key word when it comes to understanding women -there's something sensual and appealing about a man like that.
As I see it, the weaknesses of this kind of man -- one that wears his bronze heart on his sleeve -- are infinitely more poetic than the strengths of the other kind: The Universal Chick Brother.