November 2, 2008

Intolerable Stupidity

Tolerating stupidity is an art that gets finer with each passing day. It's not an easy task to be ignorant and yet be attentive enough not to spurn an idiot off. This is something that we Indians need to become good at. I can successfully compare the impending greatness of this nation to the level of ignorance and intolerance towards stupidity. Call it co-existence of ideas or whatever you may, the fact remains that if you can adjust to stupidity there is no way in hell you can become great.

In India it's fashionable to react. By react I don't mean saying something to the effect like, "Uh..yeah OK I hear you....hmm fine.." No Sir. In India reaction ain't reaction till it becomes news. But we won't stop at that for why chose mere news over breaking news! If someone shows a character in a TV show who suggests condom for safer sex then people will gang up in front of the channels office and pelt stones. Now that's reaction. And the bigger the mob gets the better. In all fairness the founding fathers of this nation had no clue that simple things as freedom to speak one's mind would swing in such polar directions. Patience and intolerance died some time ago. Now days these are things lovingly and nostalgically used to describe Mahatma Gandhi's approach towards life.

Reactions are a good thing. They make others aware that you are indeed alive and kicking. But this new found intolerance in Indians is beyond simple comprehension. Simply put, people are no longer patient. I have no problem with that but one needs to figure out what's worthy of a reaction. Take this for instance. Stand up guy Russell Peters performs in India and says something that almost every NRI feels about Hindi cinema. He called them stupid and something where one succeeds primarily on the basis of looks. Well nothing wrong in that. He went on to add that Aishwarya Rai is the most beautiful one around but a non-actor. What the hell is so wrong with what he said? He might not have seen films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Taal wherein Ms. Rai Bachchan managed to perform. In any case what Peters offers is an opinion and no one should make too much of it. But no. trust Indians to react. The next day papers carried a story as to how this act of his had offended Ms. Rai Bachchan's friends and fans!!!!

I think more than anything people are bored and hence they want things to react at. What was the big deal about Adam Gilchrist talking non-sense about Sachin Tendulkar? What was the need for an entire nation to come to grinding halt and REACT? And people are so used to people reacting that some times people force people to react. Every time a politician is arrested or pulled up his supporters go in a frenzy. Of course the politicians call this an equal and opposite reaction!

Now consider this. Ketan Mehta's latest film Rang Rasiya is about Raja Ravi Verma's life. Now if it's about a painter there will be paintings and if the painter happens to be someone who has created magnificent portraits then there are bound to be scenes that recreate some masterpieces. Now if some actor portrays the artist then logically someone will portray the model. It so happens that in the film Nandana Sen is the lady who poses for Verma's Lakshmi. Taking artistic liberties the filmmaker has got reproductions where Ms. Sen's face is prominently featured as goddess Lakshmi. It's a simple thing in a 'smallish' film that might not be so noticeable but all leading dailies have been repeatedly running stories with crazy headlines such as "Nandana Sen's face superimposed on Goddess Lakshmi, is it a controversy in the making?" I have seen this article three times in different forms. Even if there were no danger these papers would create a scenario where things could get out of hand.


This really worked. Maybe Ketan Mehta's publicity team should be congratulated for it already got me to react!

We could all get together and no react to stupidity but…look at me and the way I realized and reacted. It was so much fun. Here I was getting all agitated at people's reaction to all things stupid. And I got carried away and now I can't come back!

Now I know why reaction is better. Much better than mere action!

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