Each year, our world becomes increasingly complex. Our desires, our needs, our relationships, our ambitions, and our understanding of each other becomes more complicated as we supposedly progress towards the future. At The NRI, we’ve made our best efforts to stay up to date and to reflect these complex issues, concerns and achievements within the vast and diverse South Asian community worldwide. We’ve covered topics across the board, with thought-provoking posts that say what we’re all feeling, but sometimes aren’t comfortable expressing.
So, as we compiled our most read posts of 2012, we came upon a fascinating discovery: the topics that were the best read, most commented upon, and triggered the most reactions, were in large part about sex, money, and societal rules.
While sex can be a popular topic in any conversation, the posts that got the most attention tackled various aspects of how South Asian cultures awkwardly deal with the issue, whether it’s sexual repression, harassment, fantasy or taboos. Money and societal hierarchy are ultimately also intertwined within this web. It’s a telling sign of how our culture is evolving and the issues that most of us want to address.
As we bring this incredible roller coaster of a year to a close, we present to you The NRI’s Top 10 most read posts of the year:
“If you are facing a problem of harassment, record the activity on your cellphone. Or you can even ask one of the hangers-on to stop being a mute spectator and film the proceedings instead.” Rickie Khosla’s satirical post on our society’s apathy towards dealing with female harassment hits all the right notes. It’s funny, provocative, but most of all, sadly very true.
For a film industry obsessed with numbers, the ‘100 Crore Club’ is an obsession that has gripped the Hindi film industry and is steadily having a negative effect on the diversity and quality of films that are being made. In this piece, I explored what makes the mega-blockbuster, and if it’s any more than just “the hyper-macho, superhuman images of the male stars.”
In a year saddled with voracious debates on female sexuality and the objectification of women, came a film like Jism 2. In Shivani Tripathi’s review, she notes that what could have been a film about “a powerful woman in charge of her destiny” sadly depicts “the woman in this lifeless film who is nothing more than a powerless pawn.”
Jayanth Tadinada aptly describes how to look upper middle class in a few easy steps. He sums up his difficult life: “I like to carry around my Kindle but it’s too big to fit in my jeans pocket. The Kindle is designed to fit perfectly in a coat pocket but we don’t wear coats in Bangalore… so I have to carry a backpack all the time just to hold a device that is the size of my palm and weighs 200 grams! Do you have any idea how inconvenient that is?”
London-based writer Feluda describes an intriguing trend of Indian women with White men, and tries to get to the bottom of it. Is there something wrong with Indian men? Is it a way to take control of their own choices? Why, he implores, have they “had enough of brown boys”?
“There is this rumor going around the world that Indian men are, well, not as endowed as other races in places that count.” Our writer Tysonice refuses to accept this, passionately defending “the long and short of being an Indian man.”
As a Californian living in Bangalore, Angela Carson digs into something that is rarely discussed in Indian society: The number of men that engage in extra-marital affairs. She explores whether “arranged marriages [are] to blame for the high percentage of men who look for sex outside their marriage.”
(3) White Lust
Tysonice responds to Angela’s post above with a plain declaration that many Indian men see white women as more sexually loose than their Indian counterparts. He even identifies the culprit: the western porn industry. It has made us, he claims, “sexual racists.”
Muscat-based writer Khadija Ejaz reflects on her time working at a major Indian news outlet in New Delhi, when she learned the hard way that “the opinion of the unattractive sweaty Indian is less important than that of his better looking, English speaking, compatriot.” She wonders if it really is all about appearances and ratings.
The most read post of 2012, unsurprisingly, stays very close to the overarching issue of sexuality and our society’s treatment of women. Writer Mallika Goel finds that if Fair & Lovely, and Nivea’s skin-lightening cream for underarms weren’t enough, “the media industry has concocted a brand new worry for us: the colour of our private parts.” Our obsession with fairness continues, but at what cost?
A Special Mention
We end off the year, unfortunately, with a tragic story that has gripped India these past two weeks. The gruesome rape of a 23-year-old Delhi woman and her resultant death after days of bravely fighting for survival. It is telling that the majority of the posts in the list above address, in some capacity, the many issues that women in our society face on a regular basis. There is a deeply ingrained hypocrisy in the way we treat women and the Delhi rape case and the consequent nationwide protests are clear evidence that this must change.
In his recent post (The Delhi Gang-Rape: Men Are Better Than This), Barnaby Haszard Morris highlights the need for a culture of respect where men treat women as equals in every respect. It obviously won’t happen overnight, as he states, but it is something we must all actively work towards in various capacities as we move forward.
With that, we make our wish for 2013: That we all work towards greater respect for women, an environment where there is equality and understanding.
Happy New Year!