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Chetan Bhagat, You're Really Stressing Me Out!!

Chetan Bhagat, You're Really Stressing Me Out!!

August 03, 2011

An average Indian woman responds to Chetan Bhagat's 'open letter' advising Indian women on how to handle stress.

Every women’s forum in which I participate has been inundated with praise for this ‘open letter to Indian women’ by Chetan Bhagat.

Many women have been raving about Bhagat for ‘being a man, yet giving such exemplary advice to women’. They cannot stop admiring Bhagat, who rose to fame by writing mediocre quality books that based themselves on IIT / IIM life for mass-appeal.

So, what exactly is all the fuss about? Apparently, the latest study done by Nielsen reveals that Indian women are the most stressed in the world today. An overwhelming 87% of Indian women said they felt stressed most of the time, and 82% had no time to relax’.

Now that is not too difficult to understand, given that the average Indian woman (or man for that matter) is entrenched in the daily grind of work, office, home and family, needless to say EMIs and bills. Also, we Indians believe in a culture that puts work above all else, and that leaves little time for leisure activities, usually considered a waste of time - especially for an Indian woman.

While men are allowed (encouraged or sometimes even expected) to enjoy life by unwinding (playing sports, watching TV, etc), the average middle-class or poor-class Indian woman is not often seen chilling out, because she would rather finish her chores than read a book and sip a cup of coffee.

In his letter, Chetan Bhagat advises Indian women to not be so stressed, that they should give it back to that ‘mother in law’ or ‘that annoying boss’ and hold their head high. The email is addressed TO Indian women, asking them to change their mindset in order to feel less stressed. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

Now let us see how much sense it makes.

‘Even in workaholic America, only 53% women feel stressed.’

Well, in ‘workaholic America’, the culture is for men to share the burden of housework. Read this link to know more: ‘In the U.S. men's absolute and proportionate contributions to household tasks increased substantially over the past three decades, dramatically lessening the burden on women’.

Compare this with a typical middle-class Indian household, where the woman (not the man) is expected to wake up early, cook breakfast and lunch for the entire family, go to work, return tired, teach the children, cook dinner again, and amidst all this, tolerate nagging in-laws and an unsupportive husband.

In poorer families, the situation is even worse, with women being the sole breadwinner of the family, supporting a drunkard and abusive husband. Is it any wonder then, that ‘workaholic’ American women are less stressed?!

To quote Bhagat, ‘..Without women, ‘There would be body odour, socks on the floor and nothing in the fridge to eat..’

Now, I have a HUGE – huge - problem with this statement. To me, this is EXACTLY where the problem arises. Mr. Bhagat, can’t the average Indian man just pick up his own smelly socks? Or simply learn to cook a meal? Why do you relegate such ‘mentally stimulating’ work to women?

So the basic premise that we operate on is that Indian women should continue to perform their role of superwoman – household cleaner, cook, mother, wife, entertainer, chauffeur, teacher, assistant, and 24*7 maid, and YET, not be stressed out. If an educated man like Bhagat (IIT-IIM, mind it ;-) ) talks like this, then what can we expect out of the average Indian?

Now, let’s take a look at Bhagat’s ‘sensible’ advice:

1. ‘Give it back to that mother-in-law’.

Ever seen an Indian women returning home tired, and putting her feet up on the sofa, while the husband serves her tea in the presence of his mother? Even such a thought will result in a collective gasp from Indian society.

Open question to Mr. Bhagat: If your wife ‘gives it back to your mother’, will you clap and cheer her? Or will you immediately remove her (your wife I mean) from the scene and diffuse the situation? Let’s face it - Indian families idolise ‘boys’, and boy’s mothers are veritable Goddesses. A woman can ‘give it back’ ONLY if her husband is supportive and rational. Now until that miracle occurs in Indian society, such aberrations are absolutely taboo.

2. ‘Your boss doesn't value you - tell him that, or quit’.

Well, Mr.Bhagat, the average woman (and man, for that matter) has EMIs to pay, families to support, fees and bills to settle. We don’t live in a country where the government subsidises and provides outstanding education and healthcare. We have to support ourselves. We cannot just quit if our boss does not value us! Is that really so difficult to understand?

3. Do not ever feel stressed about having a dual responsibility of family and work.... The trick is not to expect an A+ in every aspect of your life.

Wow, we really did not know that the trick was THAT simple! Kudos to you, Mr.Bhagat for this revelation!!

Now, take it from me - a very average Indian woman – I DO NOT WANT an A+ in cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, pampering the frail ego of people around me, and also managing my career. The average woman – is happy just the way she is – imperfect and flawed. It is high time the men around her, along with his family, stop expecting her to excel in everything!

4. ‘It is okay if you don't make four dishes for lunch, one can fill their stomach with one’.

Oh, dear Mr Bhagat. I wish your advice would read: ‘Dear Indian male – don’t expect your tired wife to cook four dishes a day, instead help her out with doing just one dish, and don’t crib about it, and certainly don’t let your mother pass comments about it’.

This is the typical Indian mindset (that the woman is the cook of the house) that simply HAS to change. The moment men begin to pitch in and share responsibility, the average Indian woman’s stress levels will certainly drop a notch. Why don’t we all try this at home today?

5. Don't get competitive with other women.

Now, I cannot stop laughing at this one. By choosing the term ‘..Other women..’ you have clearly absolved men from the responsibility of causing stress. You make this seem like some Ekta Kapoor soap – an inane ‘woman vs woman quarrel’. You seek to conveniently ignore the bigger picture of ‘woman vs society’s expectations’. On another note, I wonder if there is ANYONE at all in the world who is NOT competitive! Are you not, Mr.Bhagat? Don’t you compete to be in the bestseller’s list? Doesn’t every single person compete for something or the other? It could be cooking a dish, it could be getting that coveted promotion, it could be buying the same or better car than your colleague or neighbour. Being competitive is inherent in EVERY human being. Don’t make this a ‘woman’-centric issue. ‘Your neighbour may make a six-dabba tiffin for her husband, you don't - big deal’. Again, please remind me - Why is this being addressed to women? The expectation is from men, from society - not from women themselves.

6. And if the above was not enough, the last sentence by Bhagat takes the cake. ‘Now smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you for wasting your time reading the newspaper’

Mr.Bhagat, with all due respect, I could never consider you a serious author. In fact the only thing I actually appreciated about your ‘open letter’ was where you advocate women to build a social network and become financially independent. That is by far, the ONLY sensible piece of advice in your letter. But this closing line from you – it makes your entire post seem frivolous! Smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you? What were you thinking?? Or is that another of your mediocre attempts at smug humour, so characteristic of your writing?

I find Bhagat’s letter has been written for mass appeal. It seemingly tries to embolden women, but in reality, does nothing to help. It has been written to fill a column. It has been written to elicit ‘oohs and aahs’ from the audience. Chetan Bhagat’s letter does not ever dare to touch the core issue – which is, the role of men and society in general, on the expectations out of the average Indian woman! Mr.Bhagat, if you truly want to make a difference, write this letter to the average Indian male! And if they actually implement any of your wonderful suggestions, Indian women will certainly not top the ‘stressed women’ rankings the next time around.

Photo credit: Britney Bush Bollay 

50 Comments

  • smita
    By
    smita
    31.03.14 11:30 AM
    Hi, but what mr.chetan bhagat wrote is absolutely true there are still some educated houses where this sentence is true"Now smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you for wasting your time reading the newspaper.".Still they expect that women should only do the household stuff though they are too tired.this speech of chetan bhagat at least makes them feel good that some one notices their stress.
    " ‘Give it back to that mother-in-law’." this line may wont help in real but it brings smile to us when we read it.
    Our husbands if they want to help but they cannot do household stuff in front of their moms it will be one more reason for fight.
    All we could do is just listen to them and ignore if possible..no one can change it/
  • Nisha
    By
    Nisha
    24.05.13 01:04 AM
    reading this article 2 years later, loving your response, Pallavi.
    after reading CB's write up i had started to feel he made so much sense - but your rebuttal is an eye-opener and is spot-on. i read another article few weeks back which was good to (http://goo.gl/gzf6c), a take on another one of CB's 'smart ass' phulka-making women write up.
  • Jatin Sharma
    By
    Jatin Sharma
    31.03.13 01:44 AM
    Is it ok if i like this article simply because i hate Chetan Bhagat.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    29.09.12 10:02 PM
    @ PALLAVI

    Now come on Pallavi, we don't want to undo all those years of hard traininig, do we. I have invested a lot of time training her. :) And I thought you were my friend. :)

    She only reads intresting articles on NRI and it's good that it's nothing much happening here or otherwise she would have hanged drawn and quartered me like William Wallace. :)
  • Writerzblock
    By
    Writerzblock
    28.09.12 09:45 PM
    @ Harry: Only you can say that and get away with it! Now run :-) and enjoy your weekend with hot rotis and words of praise! Tch.. tch.. can we have Mrs.Harry's email id ;-)
  • Deepa
    By
    Deepa
    28.09.12 08:26 PM
    If I didn't know you better HARRY (from your comments) I would have taken umbrage :) But I wouldn't put it past the others so yeah, you better run LOL :)
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    28.09.12 08:15 PM
    @ PALLAVI

    I din't wanted to comment first time because I knew I will be outnumered. I think you girls are hell bent on hating the man for no reason at all. Especially when he is dispensing the good advice on how to be a good housewife.

    I think DEEPA is asking too much, do you not agree? :)

    I don't know why you don't like him(CB), I think he's great guy. :) See he doesn't mind if his Mrs. doesn't make roti. Well I do, I like my roti hot and made by my Mrs and what's wrong with that. :) and to top it, she must have career as well. Otherwise how can you afford good thing in life. When she is cooking ( My Mrs.) feeding the kids after coming back from work I do praise her. What more does she want. I do lift my legs up when she is cleaning around sofas and thank her for all her hard work, see I am greatful for what she does. What more can a man do apart from to say that she is doing a great job. :)

    Guys, be nice to your wife and praise her and she will do everything for you including hot rotis as well. This is how you can have best of both world.

    I think I should start running now before lynch mob arrives. :)
  • Deepa Duraisamy
    By
    Deepa Duraisamy
    28.09.12 06:05 PM
    You know, I actually like his latest letter more than the old one. Written to the 'phulka' men in language they'll understand. One might protest saying you only talk about benefits to men, what about men helping women in their career, men helping them at home etc. But men who want phulka making wives are never going to understand or agree with extra work (helping the wife at home is considered extra work!). But show them the benefits instead w.r.t them, maybe they'll consider career wives. However, what he doesn't spell out and what is still irritating is - still do not expect them to help at home. Women can be career women and they would still manage their career, kids, kitchen and add to it holiday shopping, deals, mutual funds etc! Whatever happened to splitting responsibility. I don't know what to think anymore!
  • Deepa Duraisamy
    By
    Deepa Duraisamy
    28.09.12 05:58 PM
    I loved your article/letter so much I shared it on my FB page too! :) Here's a new one by CB - dedicated to phulkas! :) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151000410487647&set=p.10151000410487647&type=1&theater - would love to hear what you've got to say on this!
  • Rajrupa
    By
    Rajrupa
    22.09.12 10:46 AM
    Thanks Pallavi. For this one! Really!
  • Susan Deborah
    By
    Susan Deborah
    22.09.12 09:54 AM
    Pallavi, you have summed up neatly what the average Indian woman actually needs in terms of support, mentally and physically. Chetan Bhagat can write any nonsense and be passed for it as he is a brand name.
    I sincerely hope that he gets to read this bang-on reply to his rather distasteful 'letter.'

    Joy always,
    Susan
  • UmaS
    By
    UmaS
    21.09.12 09:56 PM
    Pallavi, that was a fantastic hit the nail on the head kind of post !!

    I've always hated Chetan's cheap way of writing for publicity and this letter is so badly written, without understanding how our Indian society functions or how the ordinary Indian Male functions in our society.

    Its them - the MEN, who need a kick and a change over - after all they dont leave the house and come and stay with the in-laws !!!

    Fantastic article :)
  • Subha Manoj
    By
    Subha Manoj
    21.09.12 01:56 PM
    Hi Pallavi,

    Chetan Bhagat is on a roll! And his wife really got to tell him to stop. The mirch-masala in his books has started pouring down into his articles too. I have felt from his articles that he is living in Utopia, and actually considers that all Indian women also do, and those who don't better change themselves from head to toe.

    Loved your article.
  • LG
    By
    LG
    14.09.12 02:15 PM
    I loved it! I believe CB should read this and then maybe he will realise that the woman he is talking about exists only in his mind and in the minds of chauvinistic men...not in real life. I hated his article about the SAH women and how they are inferior to working ones and I throughly hated the patronising tone of this one too. Its time someone told him to get off the high horse and stop churning out articles just to fill his pocket and columns in papers.
    Love your style of writing Pallavi...feels strange addressing you like that. :)
  • Shruti
    By
    Shruti
    18.08.12 04:51 PM
    Pallavi,
    I loved ur letter to Mr Bhagat. I always think, maybe the man's pay package is more, so that's why they have an attitude that says, 'I work hard at work, now you(woman) work at home to be my equal.' Do you have any statistics where women earn equivalent to their husbands and yet do all household chores? Even if women don't earn equal, they do the same 8-9 hours of work at office!
  • Vivek
    By
    Vivek
    08.01.12 06:51 PM
    Greatly written article Pallavi!

    I'm a guy. I don't demand too much food, in fact, very satisfied with one dish that lets me do 100% justice to it. I don't toss around my stinky socks. I keep the house clean. I like it that way. I give a hand in household chores. May not turn out perfect, but I do the best that I could.

    Wish Mr. Bhagat, with all due respect, could advice guys, given his huge fan following, saying how less cluttered they could live; easily. That would do a big favour to the human fraternity. Seriously. Being a uni student in India, a boy's hostel room, ubiquitous, is totally messed up and grossly stinky. Though helpless in a shared room, but at least at home, I'd never let this happen.

    Though I did appreciate Bhagats simple writing at the start, he recently IS a dud, and I think he does pokes his nose too much into things in the wrong way.
  • Writerzblock
    By
    Writerzblock
    25.08.11 03:27 AM
    @ Harini: Like you say, it is in 'small acts' that people can show their support. I think it is commendable that your husband has such confidence in you and leaves you this much space to handle issues with his parents yourself. I wish more men were like him! 'Pseudo-feminism' is quite apt for Bhagat's article! I too, do not think it was a post written consciously in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Too many contradictions for that. Thank you for sharing your feedback, Harini.


    @ Jyothi: Thank you so much. 'other imp stuff at home' - This is exactly where we need change in Indian mindset. The stuff at home is important, no doubts, but it has to be shared equally!
  • Writerzblock
    By
    Writerzblock
    25.08.11 03:23 AM
    @ Monita: Thank you, and I am equally happy to see a balanced discussion on this forum too!! You are right in a way, because many women I have come across actually loved his 'advice' which is why I panicked ;-) Women have to take a stand, I totally agree. And like you said, the 'equality' is not only about men and women, but among women themselves!! That, is going to take a long time, to happen!! Thank you for taking the time out to read, analyse and comment.


    @ LG: Can I simply second you :-)

    @ PPNYC: True, Indian women generally have a lot of support in the form of family and helpers. However, managing these 'helpers' is a huge stress in itself! I recently had a conversation with friends who live in India, and work out a support system with the help of servants, and the biggest concern, and constant stress is: Will the servant turn up today?!

    Also, I think the EXPECTATION from the Indian woman is far more than from a woman from the western world. A westerner is not usually expected to cook a 'proper breakfast' (cereals are usually discounted in traditional families), 3 course meal, teaching kids, looking after the in-laws, etc etc.
  • Jyothi
    By
    Jyothi
    20.08.11 10:56 PM
    He's an idiot! The article doesn't make any sense and the thing that upsets me the most is his @work advice. So should all promotions be men's thing? Why would women not compete for what they deserve and more? Coz they'd have to manage their time doing other imp stuff at home?

    I got a great supporting husband and I understand how much it helps me keep me focused on what I want to do not what's expected of me.

    Good post!
  • Harini
    By
    Harini
    20.08.11 02:27 AM
    At the start of our relationship, my then-boyfriend-now-husband asserted that he did not believe in feminism of the vociferous bra-burning variety, rather hoped to show his belief in gender equality by his actions. I can vouch for the fact that he has.

    At every step in our relationship, we have encouraged each other to think freely for ourselves without having to please the society. Not that we’ve done anything radical or shocking, but it is in small acts such as allowing me to establish my independent relationship with my in-laws where I have actually had written an upset email to them, resolved the issue and moved on (without his interference), to his taking on responsibilities of cooking dinner and sometimes cooking all day (we’ve agreed that I am obsessed with cleaning), encouraging me to travel without him and live separately as I chart my career path, to yelling at me when I try to play martyr, my husband has proven that he isn’t the archetypal Indian male I despise. I fall in love with him and respect him more everyday because of the respect he accords to me.

    At the same time I can equally respect my brother-in-law who can’t cook but then also eats ANYTHING my cousin puts together without a fuss. These men I know will get their own glass of water or coffee and keep it back in the sink, because their wives are as busy and tired as they are. Independent men AND independent women, I know we’re rare and Chetan Bhagat’s article only reaffirmed the sorry state of the affairs of Indian men (as you correctly stated).

    Very well said. Bravo to your piece of writing and for taking the efforts to issue a well-fitting and biting repartee to a nonsensical, ill-advised, myopic piece of pseudo-feminism. I do not buy the argument that he had written as a direct tongue-in-cheek quip about the survey - knowing his following and how people idolize him as a 'freethinker', he ought to have shown some responsibility and thoughtfulness before he let himself loose.
  • ppnyc
    By
    ppnyc
    18.08.11 08:00 PM
    Most working women (i know) here in india have a ton of help in the form of cooks, maids, laundry, mother in law, driver etc. I think it is mostly the western women who is more stressed out.
  • LG
    By
    LG
    18.08.11 02:37 PM
    Amen !
  • monita
    By
    monita
    08.08.11 07:58 AM
    Pallavi,
    I appreciate that you were not offended by the disagreeing comments of mine and other posters. I posted my comment to put forth the other side of the coin.

    The reason I think the letter is tongue in cheek is because it is so full of contradictions. It is clearly not a well researched article.

    I can also see why many women have loved his advice. Some ideas in the article does give a woman a sense of empowerment. I especially like the idea of giving back to the mother in law and when CB says it, I assume he would not have a problem when his wife does it. Also if our husbands have a problem, do we need to care about it? Do it a couple of times, they will learn to respect our boundaries. If we don't, we are sure going to fret and fume forever.

    Many people feel the cause of stress is mainly because of how society sees women and the role of women in the society. If you look at the TV shows, movies and ads. They always show women especially a daughter is law as a provider, an oppressed person who must be happy with her oppressed status. Who watches those shows? The women. I feel, women can and should play a role in making a change in the society. We have to take a collective stand for the equal status of women ( not only to men but also other women playing other role such as mother in law or sister in law) in the society. The rules and perception of right and wrong pertaining to women has to change. we as women have to be clear that we want to live our lives the way we want to and not worry about how other women live theirs or what others think of us.
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    08.08.11 01:25 AM
    @ A Singh:

    Definitely did not think you were trying to hijack the debate :-) Ofcourse not!!

    I just found your comment very interesting, therefore added my twopenny worth on to it.

    Thank you for sharing your comments and feedback... I think every comment expressed here has been an eye-opener, in some way or the other. So thank you for enriching the debate!!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    07.08.11 07:33 PM
    @ Pallavi - I made my comments reluctantly and in response to Monita. My aim was not to hijack the debate here as I am in general agreement with you and found Bhagat's piece patronising to women. And yes you are right, men may complain about female bosses.

    As a man I am always supporting greater rights for women in society. That said, it's very naive to believe that Monita's experience and that of women I know, are the exception to the rule. I have also been an employer and I cannot begin to tell you the issues I had to deal with when two women did not get on (not isolated issues I can assure you).

    Anyway, like I said I do not intend to take anything away from your appropriate response to CB's lecture to women.
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    07.08.11 07:06 PM
    @ A Singh:
    May I take the liberty to add to your comment... I have heard that saying earlier too. I guess it is a ilttle exaggerrated though, because I have myself had 3 women bosses till date, and they were all rational and sensible! The ones who comlpain vehemently about female bosses - they are most often male, aren't they?
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    07.08.11 07:02 PM
    @ Monita:

    I would have thought so too, had it not been for contradictions in his own letter. Take the case where he makes reference to women needing to build network - I found that to be extremely sensible advice - infact the only sensible advice in his letter - and I had made a mention of it. That did not quite seem tongue-in-cheek. So, yes, there are different ways of looking at it. Like 'A' said, if this were a tongue-in-cheek post, then I, for one, will be happy about it!

    My post stemmed from the fact that many many women actually loved his 'advice' and were lappiong it up, and were even talking of implementing it!!!!

    With reference to what you said about women being jealous of each other, I have to agree with you on that. I guess education (not literacy) will play a huge role in changing this sort of mindset.
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    07.08.11 06:50 PM
    @Irfan: Thank you so much for your feedback!


    @K: Thank you. Certainly, it would be a welcome change in society if we (men AND women) started respecting women and not just idolise men. And yes, though we claim to have a rich culture that worships women, I think we still have miles to go...
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    06.08.11 07:18 PM
    @vidhya: Thank you. His next book aka bestseller is due soon! I'm sure it will be lapped up like his other books!

    @shrinidhi: thank you. Following one's passion is the ideal state, somehow way too far for the common man or woman.
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    06.08.11 07:02 PM
    @bikram. : thank you! liked what you said about people making statements to stay in the news!

    @priya : totally agree with you. I wish such men like your supportive husband were more common than rare, we would certainly be less stressed!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    06.08.11 02:49 PM
    Monita, you make some interesting and brave points. They may deviate somewhat from the article - and I agree with most points made by author - but the notion of sisterhood is not as strong and prevalent as many people think. Many women have told me that their worst nightmare is a female boss at work. They say that a man would be a fairer manager - get that, men, the fairer sex:)

    You know there's an old joke that goes..."What do men and women have in common?"

    "They both hate women!"
  • monita
    By
    monita
    06.08.11 02:16 PM
    I agree with A. I think it is a tongue in cheek response to the survey. Why the letter is addressed to women and not men? because the survey indicates that Indian women are the most stressed not the men. I guess if the survey was about men, there would be letters to men as well from CB or from someone else.
    I am not a CB fan and I do not agree with all the points that he has made, but I somehow feel women are mostly responsible for causing themselves stress as well as causing stress for other women. We are forever competing with other women on our abilities etc. Yes, men too are competitive, but then again the survey is about women and their stress.
    I also have a wonderful husband who helps me with household work. Guess who has problem with that? It's my female friends. Whenever we have people over, my husband comes to kitchen to help me. The men never notice for they are too busy discussing sports, politics. The women would have one eye on the jewellery of other women and the other eye observing my husband helping me. All the compliments I get for good food come from the men, who don't care if it was me who cooked or my husband, while the women jeer, make fun of me saying I am not capable of handing things myself. I guess they are jealous and they hide their jealousy by showing what superwomen they are. They take a lot of pride in the fact that the husband just sits and enjoys watching sports on TV, while they do all the work. These women are also the ones who are forever complaining how stressed out they are. When I read CB's letter, I immediately thought of these superwomen. I guess CB also knows some women of this sort and his letter is addressed particularly to them.

    I could see some contradictions in the letter though. At one point he says-'give it back to your mother in law', at another he says,'smile when she shouts at you.' What does he think we are supposed to do?
  • K
    By
    K
    06.08.11 08:23 AM
    @Pallavi: Your article is very insightful... What I feel is that men need to start respecting women - working women as well home makers. And this needs to trickle down to the lower strata of our society as well.. CB's letter might ammuse a few but if we think about it, aren't most indian men just like him - arrogant, disrespecful, patronizing, unparticipative etc. etc.
    It's so easy to give advice, and even worse when someone (CB in this case) tries to sound intelligent and humorous, when it's actually utter crap..
  • irfan
    By
    irfan
    05.08.11 11:56 PM
    wonderful post...
    i had read his article in TOI, and had somewhat similar reaction as you have penned....and certainly my stress have been eased out after reading this fabulous write up...
    I just wish some how Mr Bhagat go through this post n realize his blunders....
  • Shrinidhi Hande
    By
    Shrinidhi Hande
    05.08.11 08:34 PM
    Good analysis... hope thy figure out ways to de-stress... doing what their passion says is one sure way
  • Vidhya
    By
    Vidhya
    05.08.11 08:17 PM
    "They cannot stop admiring Bhagat, who rose to fame by writing mediocre quality books that based themselves on IIT / IIM life for mass-appeal." Thank you! Finally ! I've never understood why his books are so popular, his plots and writing are both mediocre AT BEST.
  • Priya
    By
    Priya
    05.08.11 05:55 PM
    Awesome!! It's great that you took the time to write this one Pallavi. I am able to survive in the corporate world only because I have an extremely supportive spouse who does not think that all household chores is a woman's responsibility! Why does Chetan simple have to assume that all women have dual responsibility??
  • Bikram
    By
    Bikram
    05.08.11 04:07 PM
    Well All i will say is we have this human nature that when we become a celebrity or if one of the products we make is a hit and people start ot know us , People start to make statements and usually Idiotic statements just to stay in the limelight.

    I have hardly found a well known person talk sense they do for a while and then they have this thing in there mind that what they say is true, they have this idea that they get seeing the little world they live in.

    I would love to know the personal life of Mr. bhagat does he do what he is preaching. moreover there is another thing in our indian culture we have two faces one for own house and the other for the outside world..

    Boss doesnot like you so you quit, WOW that is a great piece of advice , unemployement is raising and he sugest to leave the job that you have wonderful idea...

    dont know what else to say .. I found this guy a bit silly when the whole episode with the movie happened I mean has he not made enough money already that he needs more.. Greed and the idea to stay in limelight makes people do such things ..

    Likes your crisp replies .. I hope Mr. bhagat actually i wud say Mr. Chetan reads this ..

  • pallavi
    By
    pallavi
    05.08.11 03:30 PM
    @ Arundhati,
    A friend of mine, Ramya, just said yesterday, that the 'three mistakes of her life' were reading the three CB novels :-) I totally agree. It is a shame that we allowed him to become a national bestseller when he writes trash!

    I guess, along with the mindset about roles of men and women, we also need to work on our mindset towards reading literature. I mean, real literature, and not the sort of chick-lit (no offence to the term) that CB dishes out.
  • Arundhati
    By
    Arundhati
    05.08.11 02:54 PM
    Nice piece! I haven't personally read Bhagat's letter, and I wouldn't anyway. His writing is so incredibly superficial, it shocks me that so many "educated" Indians buy into that crap. This is especially unfortunate when we have class authors who are winning awards left, right and centre, and are also internationally acclaimed. I cannot imagine for one second taking anything that Mr. Bhagat says seriously.
  • pallavi
    By
    pallavi
    05.08.11 02:35 PM
    @ Sowmya:
    Thank you! You're right - after reading his books, I should have known better, and toned down my expectations from his 'advice' to women!!
  • pallavi
    By
    pallavi
    05.08.11 02:32 PM
    @ Prashanth: Thank you so much!! CB has done one thing for Indian amateur writers though - encouraged a lot of people to write and publish!!!
  • pallavi
    By
    pallavi
    05.08.11 02:28 PM
    @ Josie: I echo your thoughts...it was very patronizing! You chose the right word!!


    @ A:

    I don't think this was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek article at all. I think Bhagat was trying to portray the image of a 'modern man' but sadly couldn't let go of his roots!!

    As regards competition, I have already said, WHO on earth is NOT competitive? Man or woman, competitiveness runs in our blood. My point is: Bhagat should not make this a woman-thing.

    Ever seen a man not envying his neighbour a brand new car or bike or technical gadget? It is universal! Not peculiar to women.

    Dear A, you asked me how much 'ideal scenario' I have brought about in my house. I can confidently tell you that I encourage and motivate my son to help with little household chores and also to learn to cook!

    Our previous generation would have a shock if they hear this, but I think you and me should be more proactive and practical about this division of household responsibilities and respect for the other sex!

    You're right in one thing - changing the mindset will not happen overnight. Very true!

    That does not mean we reduce our expectations, but only, that we try harder!!

    Thank you for sharing your viewpoint.
  • Prashanth Kishan
    By
    Prashanth Kishan
    05.08.11 02:20 PM
    Awesome! You've hit the nail on the head and shut the coffin...Bhagat's coffin.

    CB takes himself to be too much of a writer that he isn't!
  • pallavi
    By
    pallavi
    05.08.11 02:01 PM
    @ Rajuda: Thank u, I think we need to evolve much more, as a society.

    @ Susmita: Thank you for your comment.... you are right, IIT and IIM are our gateway to 'success', which is why people like Bhagat make it to the national best sellers list!! I am really curious now, to find out what sort of 'advice' he would have to share if he were to write a sensible letter to Indian males!!!
  • Sowmya
    By
    Sowmya
    05.08.11 01:20 PM
    Thankfully I have not read the letter because after reading his second have an aversion for this guy's writing. However your analysis brought aspects of the letter and coming from him not surprise with the frivolous way of writing.
    Liked your version of each of the topics.
  • Susmita Sen
    By
    Susmita Sen
    05.08.11 11:56 AM
    Pallavi,
    You are bang-on in your observation of Bhagat's rise to fame based on the best-seller status of his mediocre books. Then why are you surprised at his mediocre advice that he obviously has churned out for the masses?
    As for being educated, the masses in India are educated in the sense that he is educated; IIT & IIM degrees are tickets for the masses, the enlightened classes do not need them to prove a point. Bhagat is an example of the average Indian male, trying very hard to make it big by fair means or foul. So if he were to write the letter that you suggest, can we expect the integrity from him to be its first reader?
  • A
    By
    A
    05.08.11 11:41 AM
    I think you are taking this letter in a totally wrong way. It is more of a tongue-in-cheek article and does not mean Bhagat is out there to change the world. I totally disagree with you on the point 'Don’t get competitive with other women.' We all know we look at the woman standing next us and wonder how we fare against her. You would be lying if you deny that.

    After reading all this, I want to ask you: how much of this 'ideal equality' scenario have you brought in in your house?

    Changing the mindset of male community is not going to happen overnight. Until it does, we women need to lessen our expectations and see what we can do best with what we have got.
  • Josie
    By
    Josie
    05.08.11 10:00 AM
    Thank you for this. I found Chetan Bhagat's 'letter' to the Indian Women very patronizing and I really couldn't identify myself with the woman he was describing. I'm a working mother with a full-time job and chores at home.
  • rajuda
    By
    rajuda
    05.08.11 08:06 AM
    The solution is obvious - men need to grow up!

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