Sunday, January 21, 2007


As I write this post, a strange ‘drama’ is unfolding on TV screens around the UK and India. The actresses are, not necessarily in any order of preference;
Ms. Shilpa Shetty – a wannabee Ms. Aishwarya Rai, who will go any length to boost a sagging career. Known to wear clothing that makes me wonder – did the tailor take erroneous measurements or was the cloth insufficient? Mind you, she is pretty!
Ms. Jade Goody – a dental nurse. General knowledge isn’t her forte; she though Rio De Janeiro was a footballer!
Ms. Danielle Lloyd – dethroned Miss Great Britain. Supposed to have had an affair with the judge of the contest; hence dethroned – a case of undue influence.
Ms. Jo O’Meara – a former singer in a pop band SClub7. It is reported her solo career did not quite take off.
All of the above mentioned ladies are locked in a battle on a reality TV show called ‘Big Brother’. If I am to believe the tabloids, they are all being paid to appear on this show.
The show is simple – after watching their 'antics', viewers vote to have to have them exit the show. My surmise is that the one who remains, wins the show.
It would have been just another show – but for the bullying of Ms. Shetty by the other contestants; particularly Ms. Goody and to a certain extent Ms. Lloyd. Viewers complained – nearly 36,000 complaints were lodged against the bad treatment, with perceived racial over-tones, meted out to Ms. Shetty.
Breaking News, Flash News, Big Fights, Headline, Page 3, Editorials, Letters to Editors, emails, sms, blogs et al have been written and rewritten on the alleged ‘Racial Slur’ on this reality TV show, in the land of our ex-rulers. It has had every Indian worth his/her salt up in arms. Issueless politicians of both countries have pitched in their two paise worth. The matter has been discussed at breakfast, lunch and dinner; in houses, restaurants, trains, buses, planes, airports, cars and God knows where else. Indians in India & abroad, (including a dude in a ship anchored of the coast of Iceland) have felt insulted. In one voice they have bashed the obnoxious behaviour of Ms. Shetty’s mates on the show - Jade Goody & Danielle Lloyd.
Everybody, including the Brits, have had huge sympathy for Ms. Shetty. Ms. Shetty, meanwhile, has achieved stardom of a different kind, Danielle has lost lucarative modeling assignments, Carphone Warehouse – the main sponsor, has pulled out the sponsorship for the show & Channel 4 – the broadcaster, is left holding fort. Indian Tourism Department has placed an ‘Incredible India’ advertisement in a London Tabloid – in which Ms. Goody and her ilk are invited to explore our mysterious nation!
Latest news coming in say that Goody and Lloyd have made up to Shilpa – hugs and tears all around and all appears to be fine……
And finally today, Ms. Jane Goody has been voted out by the viewers.

I am amazed.

Aren’t we carrying this a bit too far? Ms. Shilpa Shetty is not representing India. She is in the show for money and fame – possibly an overseas acting assignment to follow.
People who have traveled abroad, and Great Britain, in particular will tell you that ‘Racism’ exists. There have been countless number of Indians who may have been the target of Racism – has a voice been raised? Forget the shores of a foreign land. What about India?
As a kid, I wished I was born with a fair complexion. My complexion was the butt of jokes for some absolutely, abjectly, miserable cretins; particularly in school. I had a master who once called me ‘kariya’, in Kannada, in class – that’s like calling someone ‘nigger’ in USA. I was helpless – 'red' with indignation; but I couldn’t do a farthing’s fart. In the initial years this was a nightmare – but as I grew up I felt okay. I could not change the colour of my skin. I guess this continues even today. People do not change. Mind you my tormentors were Indians, in India. Then what the hell are we crying hoarse about Racism in some other country?
Aren’t we a brood of Hypocrites? Have we not divided our country, firstly, into North and South? Up North don’t we deal rather contemptuously with people from South? Aren’t the people of South less friendly towards ‘Northies’? The people of the North East are still referred to as ‘chinese’! They haven’t been made to feel Indian. Down south we have our own share of queerness with ‘Mallu’, ‘Tams’, ‘Andis’ et all.
Get in too deep…… and we have Hindus pitted against Muslims. And don’t we have the famous Caste System – that some of us are proud of. Doesn’t the Government tacitly divide us into ‘Reserved’ and ‘General’? Don’t we discriminate the Girl Child? Women?

I am amazed!

And we have the audacity to slam the kinds of Goody and Lloyd!

Saint abroad, and a Devil at Home!


Lisel said...

Hey Lionel,

Great post! well written! and i can totally agree to what you re saying! Living here, racism although not out in the open, can be felt in subtle ways...... That s the way it is.... we discriminate too- although not openly! so i guess that s something we ve just gotta deal with. All this hue and cry over nothing!

shraddhanjali said...

Love the heading.... "Saint abroad and a devil at home"... aptly put... gets me to think that each one of us has shades... in our own appearance, beliefs and actions....... some call it grey areas ......Do we accept and live with it .... or ask ourselves for an explanation..... !!

rt said...

very true Sir..
cant agree more!!

Pratibha said...

One of your better blogs Lionel, you really did touch a spot.Look at an Indian matrimonal..everybody wants a fair bride or groom, I guess with the cost of electricity it is one way to light up a room!!! I don't think any country in the world has such a big market for fairness creams.All of the hindi songs are about how fair the leading lady is. We are all racists with a big facade. And on a side note...I do prefer men with darker skin!!

Pratibha said...

I haven't seen the show big brother, but read about it in the news.

Anonymous said...

Very well put Sir.


Seema said...

Have to completely agree with you Sir. This racism thing is just not going away.. i guess if we ignore it...and make no big deal of will!

Saraswathi said...

Completely echo your sentiments....a very thought provoking one...Guess we never accept the deficiencies in ourselves and are just out to prove to the world that we are the best....

Robin said...

Well written & Completely true.. The title was the killer.. Was enthralled to see a post by another blogger echoing the same sentiments as mine in
- Robin, Indore

Adharsh said...

Great way of putting..this controversy..

I wld go on to also say that Shilpa Shetty has marketed herself well and has created a brand for herself and I wont be surprised if she gets some offers to work in some ads or some movies in UK. But one thing is sure, She is a great actress and the whole world is amazed with her acting in the Big Brother.