AND THE SAGA CONTINUES………

Daily soaps consume a large part of the day hours and conversations of the Indian women irrespective of the fact that they are working or not. The ladies may not know how many times did Md. Ghori invade India but they know how many wives does the lead of their favourite show has. Faiths, religions and loyalties, drilled from the childhood are transcended when it comes to the daily soaps. Unlike English shows that sir for about a month every year, producers of the Indian shows need to have the determination and pockets deep enough to fuel the shows for about 3-4 years 5-6 times a week.

Those women who do not work have an excuse of  not having anything to do but the Indian TV industry has managed to capture the imagination of well educated professionals. They expectantly wait for the clock to strike so that they can watch their favorite shows. It escapes me as to what compels the women to watch these shows. The best explanation I came up with was that the women idolize the heroines of the shows and would want their lives to be like that of their favourite heroines. They would want their lives to be replete with all they see with the heroines. The most important not being acting but the clothes and jewelry.

I am usually chided for being too English in my choice on TV but I have simple explanation, whichever show it is the story line does NOT CHANGE. What you need is:

  • A hero and heroine that somewhat dislike each other in the beginning and then slowly fall in love.
  • A villain, usually the mother or the sister in law of the hero.
  • One of the leads will have a higher status in the society.
  • The family of the hero or the heroine will have someone who is deranged to provide an alternate route for the story to progress when the main story doesn’t have anything new.
  • Either protagonist will have a secret that they hide from the spouse, fearing that they would “break their heart”.
  • If the secret involves a person, he/she would come back to give the leads to give a hell ride.
  • Every episode uses at least 1 ltr of glycerin.
  • The hero has to marry minimum thrice.
  • Heroines are selfless and even if they discover a discrepancy, they won’t tell because they are good and wouldn’t shame the wrong doer.
  • The villain will have a strange background music played at each entrance.
  • And each times everything falls into place, a new problem raises its head.

 

But the determination and talent of the story  writers in commendable. They manage to round off even the most absurd twist in the story, at the edges and make it seem plausible and try to present something new to the audiences.

SULTANA

In the embellished line of the kings of the Mughal empire,

Came she, with the ferocity of fire,

Justifying her name, sun among women,

Bold, courageous and maverick yet feminine,

Women most endearing,

Princesses of the most noble bearing,

Couldn’t lay hands on the one man they all wanted,

Because she stood in their way, undaunted,

From behind her veil the played the empire’s game,

Emperor, just not only in name,

For she was Empress Nur Jahan, the Queen Begum,

Spreading light from her four walls of the harem.

Many queens have been known to fight endlessly to stop their sovereignty going into the hands of the colonial powers, but what do you do when the  enemies or rather enemies are very well inside the palace. One such Empress I read about recently Empress Nur Jahan, thee main queen during the reign of Emperor Jahangir. She was his twentieth wife but she wielded so much power over him that, after her he never married and considered rather did what she said in the imperial matters. Farmans (royal orders)  were signed and coins minted in her name, fulfilling two out of three conditions to be a sovereign. The third was that during prayers the rulers name was to be called out.

Many Englishmen who came to India  during the reign of Jahangir out-rightly point out that the king was a puppet in the hands of the queen because of which he was even ridiculed, but he did not mind it. Nur Jahan was even able to regulate the Jahangir’s intake of opium and wine which clearly pointed out her influence. She commanded lands that were most fertile or involved with in a heavy amount of trade and an amount of horses that was more than that of an army commander or even the princes.

She was born In Kandahar, practically in a tent without basic amenities. The family, fleeing from Persia, did not have enough money to feed themselves, were perplexed about how to feed the new member of the family and thus decided to leave her to fend for herself at birth. But, destiny had to have its way, she found her way back to them. She grew up in Agra into a striking beauty but ore admirable was her insatiable thirst for knowledge and she realised pretty soon that it was knowledge that  brought power. Empress at the time, Ruqayya Begum, wife of Jahangir’s father King Akbar employed her as a lady in waiting and she was her favourite. She showed her the ropes of the ways of the imperial harem which later proved to be very useful to vanquish her most prominent rival at the harem Jagat Gosini, Jahangir’s second wife and the mother of the next emperor Shah Jahan.

Nur Jahan started her journey as Mehrunnisa or Sun among Women, married first to Ali Quili, later titled as Sher Afghan as he saved Jahangir from a tiger attack, as Akbar wanted Ali Quilli to be a part of the imperial army imparting, this need to his intelligence at valour at the battlefield. After thirteen years of marriage, a girl was born to the oddly matched couple. Mehrunnisa named her Ladli or the Loved One. But soon after her birth Quili died but not before killing Mirza Aziz Koka, a brother like entity to Jahangir. After four years, Ruqayya Begum was instrumental in rekindling lost love between the King and her most beloved Begum.

Jahangir’s harem consisted of more than 300 hundred women but none came close to Nur Jahan, a title bestowed by the king himself at the wedding. She defeated powerful enemies like Mahabat Khan & Muhammad Sharif, childhood cohorts of the king and ofcourse, Jagat Gosini, the Empress before her with the patience and agility of a fox, she slowly spread her tentacles into everything that came under the purview of the Emperor. She even managed to play both the Portuguese and the English into providing security to her ships from each other. She signed and entered into treaties. Her seal couldn’t be revoked even by the king himself.

Probably the only failed was getting a suitable groom for her daughter. She wanted her to marry Prince Khurram later Shah Jahan, the next emperor. But, because he was so deeply in love with Arjumand Begum or Mumtaz Mahal, evident from the construction of the greatest monument on the face of the earth: The Taj Mahal and the fact that he did not marry after her death. But jahangir was a niche higher. he had handed over practically the entire empire in her hands albeit he did not construct a monument as grand as his son’s creation yet he and Mehrunnisa were considered one entity later on.

ROADSIDE RAJNIKANTH

I know I wasn’t here for pretty long but this hiatus gave me time to understand my topic fully : The Indian Roads.

First off, whose Rajnikanth, well he is a legendary South Indian actor whose invincibility is allegorical. He can dodge bullets,  knives and specifically in this case, cars. Why use him here?  The way Indian behaviour on roads is just like they all are Rajnikanth. Oprah Winfrey said that driving on Indian roads is like driving in a video game. Believe me I have had worse. Most of them still think that we are still in British India where they could have had the entire road to themselves driving in a swashbuckling manner, like right out of a Jason Bourne movie.

For those who know Hindi:

Yahan khuda hai, wahan khuda,

hai jahan nahi khuda wahan kal khudega.

(khuda has two meanings one god and the other is a ditch. So the couplet uses pun to say that ‘khuda’ is here and there and where it is not a ditch will be there tomorrow.)

Indian roads don’t have potholes, potholes have roads inside them! Just look for them.

According to what I have learnt, you let the traffic on your right go first when at crossroads. Once at a busy crossroad, where I was supposed to cross, a guy with Suv dashed past me and stopped at my side. When I gestured that he was nuts, he performed what cannot be qualified less  than a ceremonial dance.

What makes me all the more surprised is that people actually cross roads being oblivious to the fact that there cars as well on the road that can hit them and they could be crippled for life. No, they will go around like they are in a park taking their tommy out for a walk and if you press the horn, they will actually tell YOU to stop and let me tell you it is not the zebra crossing. Once at a National Highway which runs at a small distance from my home, two men with their arms around each other’s necks were crossing the road taking their own sweet time and I honked, they told me to stop with a definitive wave of their hands.

And please, will someone tell Indians that you can’t overtake FROM THE LEFT and if you move to your left when someone is overtaking they will blame you for it. Te funniest thing is that you will see cycles and cars on the same road and the cyclists take up more than half of the road and if it is a one way then god help you.

The blatant violation of traffic rules mortifies me. Indians really sometimes have problems applying their minds from the poorest of poor to the ones at the highest echelons of power. Due to corruption practically every Tom, Dick and Harry gets a driving licence without actually giving the test. The biggest reason of jams after the admirable condition of the road is people fighting it out on the road itself to decide whose mistake it is in the case of accidents.  If it is a one way people of one side will always try to take the major part of the road which blocks traffic.

Let us hope Indians will some day learn the art of driving.