The North Indian Mard

The North-Indian man, in his various avtars, has intrigued, annoyed, exasperated, charmed, befriended me. I have also found enough of them attrative at various points in my life. The tall, broad, wiry, English-speaking ones. Sometimes, the lower-economic-rung, behnchod-spewing, paan-spitting, lassi-guzzling stalwarts of partiarchy. There is some common thread in the different brands of patriarchy that each kind represents. In some, it is subtle and charming- like insisting on ferrying you around in their long car, that I know not the brand of. Some in a goofy, self-effacing "I know it's wrong, but I can't help but presume a woman wants to sleep with me, when she calls me thrice a day" way. Some are quite innocent- "She is thirty! Why isn't she married?!" Some evil and vicious- " I have seen her in this pub, with a different guy everytime".

No, I don't mean the patriarchy charms me. But there's something about this accepted-patriarchal mind that has always intrigued me. If you hunt among these, you may find, in Shamilar Bagh or Jhhandewalan or Kirti Nagar, the odd painter, or Urdu shayar, or engineer-turned-development -acitivist, or Gandhian, or primary-school-teacher-rock-enthusiast. The elusive, versatile face of the North Indian Mard is seldom spoken about, never exalted. It's almost like the quirky Punjabi man needs to be hidden, to ensure the longstanding prosperity and longevity of the Satellite channel, or London-studio-that-mixes-Bhangra, or the K-serial, or the upcoming kabhie-kabhi-pyar-mohabbat movie.....

Like always, I say 'look for the subtext, and you may find a goldmine'....

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