Has the fear of incarceration put the kybosh on the Indian man’s libido?

Something’s very wrong.

And it all began a few weeks ago, when a hard blow struck the psyche of the Indian man, causing a drastic, dramatic change in his behaviour. All of a sudden, he stopped acting the way the Indian woman expected him to, and she in turn, almost overnight, lost her ability to read his body language.

Has his libido taken a sharp nosedive? Has he found some other outlet for his basic instincts? Whatever the case, things are going downhill.

It used to be that parties and pubs were the ideal places for the man-hunt.

Women all over India usually dressed up (or down) for such events, putting their best Choos forward, to land the right man for the evening, the night, or the rest of one’s life. Depending on the requirement.

But nothing’s the same. All the clues have vanished.

First it was the low, wolf whistle. The quick-and-dirty indicator of a woman’s hotness. It’s been silenced. Men are zipping up their lips for fear of reprisal.

The cleavage became the next casualty, ignored like two day-old chicken tikka. Men are averting their gazes, panic in their eyes, fearing for their jobs.

And then came the short skirt, that tried and tested testosterone magnet.

In the blink of an eye, it has lost its super powers. Men are running in the opposite direction of approaching thighs.

Why just yesterday, I stuck my hand out in the elevator, smiling in a friendly way at a handsome, tall, long-haired, greying, somewhat chunky CEO of a large company. I was going to measure his interest in me by how long he held on to my hand. But he folded his palms in a chaste ‘namaste’ and looked nervously around for cameras.

Have men become so focused on staying out of jail, that they’re going to take all the fun out of a woman’s evening? Has the Indian woman become untouchable?

But there is a bright side to all of this thankfully.

The Indian man, afraid to take the elevator alone with a woman, is taking the stairs instead. So once the hue and cry has died down, maybe the Indian woman can look forward to a trimmer, fitter Indian man.


November 24, 2013

Swati Daftuar, The Hindu, Chennai, Metro Plus

Radha Thomas. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Writer and musician Radha Thomas on authoring a trilogy, juggling different creative pursuits and being part of The Hindu Lit for Life

Radha Thomas seems to have done it all, or at least a lot. After writing a column on the sexes, putting together her jazz band, UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble and handling the post of executive vice-president at Explocity.com, Thomas is now authoring a trilogy on the “endless topic” of men. Men On My Mind, published by Rupa, is the first part of the trilogy. Excerpts from an interview:

It’s a varied career, yours, with the band, the column and your work in publishing, and now the trilogy. Tell us a little about the creative process behind these different pursuits?

Hmmm, let’s see. The music involves other people so the artistic process is collaborative, loud and interactive. That’s when you’re rehearsing. But when you’re on stage, it kind of all falls away, at least for me it does, and you’re alone with the microphone and the audience. It’s great fun. When you write it’s totally from within your head. A quiet space where you can call on your ghosts — real and imagined — to create a tale. But writing is also addictive. Once you’re in the zone, it’s hard to come out to face day-to-day.

Men On My Mind feels like a logical progression from the column you used to write forBangalore Monthly. Tell us a little bit about the conception of the book. And the reason for a trilogy.

The concept is a spin on the column Between the Sexes that I wrote for the Bangalore Monthly for sure, but it’s a completely different take. This is a story with a protagonist who wanders the world looking for happiness. It’s also not chick-lit by any means, even though it’s been slotted in that category for some reason, maybe the pink cover! It’s more ‘adult humour’, I’d say. This may sound trite, but Rupa asked for a trilogy and I simply said yes. I had no idea how I’d do it. But I like challenges, deadlines, structure and rules. So I just planned it out and it fell into place. Book Two will be out in April.

Juggling work, music and writing, is it easy?

I love it. I find the two disciplines complement each other quite seamlessly. So after the intensity of rehearsals and a live performance with its highs followed by the low when it’s all over, it’s nice to settle down to some dreamy sessions in my mind. I don’t know if I make sense here, but it feels right.

It’s probably an unfair question to ask, but if you had to, which would you say satisfies your creative urges best, music, or writing? Or is there an intersection, a sort of coming together?

If I were to be totally honest, I’ve been a singer much longer than I’ve been an author. I’m getting used to being an author. I’ve never been to a literary festival and wonder how I’m going to fit in with all the intellect that I’m going to encounter. I’m nervous about it. But fortunately, I’m also performing there with the band, so it should calm me down a bit. But I get nervous before a performance too. So all in all maybe I should carry some Valium. Kidding.

What takeaways are you hoping for, from The Hindu Lit for Life?

First of all I’m honoured to be associated with The Hindu. It’s always been a newspaper that doesn’t take things lightly. So more than a takeaway, I hope I can give something meaningful to the people who attend the Lit Fest.