My father sneezes like a barely controlled demolition. My mother sneezes like a hard braking hatchback. In between these sneezes lies my world of uncertainty.
The patriarch sneezes unaware of the shockwaves rippling all around and my maternal aachoos are reined in even when let out in isolation.
Sooner or later I would have to choose a style of sneeze to pass on. Between careless explosions and the noose of propriety, i would fix the realm of wordly conduct for my offspring.
If I teach my daughter to sneeze ‘like a woman’ would I repress her? If I teach my son to sneeze like a hydrogen bomb, would it ignite gender divides?
What does feminism seek? To emasculate or to guide both sexes to masculine summits?
While people are increasingly questioning the gender Sorting Hat, the questions themselves are muddled more than ever.
How about neither of the sneezes? It is but obvious that even a call for gender-fluid nasal fluids would raise enough eyebrows in a world eager to get offended even by dried mushrooms. It is but callous to ‘let the child be what it wants to be’ because it just means that you passed the buck to a generation that is just as confused as you, if not more.
However, it seems to be the only way out. Unaware of what cutting edge Gender Studies research may throw up in the next decade, it is better we take things slow. The sheer volume of opinions on the roles of gender and the tweeting, posting, commenting cacophony that it has created is overwhelming. So when your child sneezes, shrug
If all of History, Mythology and other sources of heroism can be scanned we’d find that well-mannered, kind, generous heroes are scarce. If religions were based on the daily adventures of soft spoken imbiciles, we would have been a godless society. Had Narasimha met Hiranyakashipu by arranging an appointment through his secretary and defeated him though a long drawn legal battle for the custody of Prahlada we would have forgotten His Hairy Bum the very moment we heard the story. The truth is that we are all addicts of drama and our entertainment cannot be any different.
The gradual phasing out of cliché formulas and welcoming new filmmakers to the limelight has done Malayalam cinema a world of good in the past few years. Malayalam Movie goers ushered in a new era through backing offbeat scripts and fresh faces. It is true that this wave has revived an ill industry but don’t you feel that you miss some of which we chased away?
In hindsight, the exaggerated accounts of the ray ban-wearing loveable rascal lorry driver who would send police inspectors down a well but took care to wrap their heads in a dhoti to avoid concussion and other head injuries (such a sweetie!), were nothing but stories of the triumph of good over evil. These heroes broke away the chains of the plot and walked home with us to continue such inspirational antics. I am sure I am not the only one who has caught himself thinking #WhatWouldMangalasseryNeelakandanDo?
While not questioning the need for movies that tell relatable and down to earth stories, I’m sure it cannot be a crime to give the common man a club wielding hero to look up to. It’s no sin to give him a chance to be amazed. The real crime would be to cripple a filmmaker’s imagination and limit him to plots that boring mortals could relate to. I still remember when Ikka would downlink a can of whoopass through INSAT 2E and checkmate the bad guys. He would still find it necessary to visit the villain and introduce him to Knuckleberry Chin. I could not care less about whether a cyber café owner could hack into a satellite sitting at home or whether he could take on a man twice his size. All I saw was a man on a mission to do the right thing.
The Malayalam movie buff is not naïve. When watching Commisioner or The King, he knew that easily-provoked Civil Servants and Police Officers who gave their seniors and Ministers a piece of their mind would immediately be reassigned as Director of Cowdung Research Institute or Officer in Charge of Chappals outside Temples. But we cheered them on like we would a French Door-breaking Stallone. We were yet to develop a double standard for lapping up all that Hollywood threw at us and ridiculing anything out of the ordinary back home.
Let’s support efforts to bring back what Neelakandan, Joseph Alex, Bharth Chandran and Aadu Thoma had started. Let’s bring back some of our club-yielding macho men who would turn villains to pulp with bare hands (so why have clubs then? Hmm). Let’s have some more of those outrageous five minute outbursts that would give goosebumps to eels. Let’s get some old school.