Wednesday, March 24, 2010

‘Madam, February Is Longer Than March!’

The above sentence is a proof that how euphemistic we Indians are and how carefully we try to avoid a situation where a woman’s modesty could be outraged for no fault of her. I hope some of our friends might have come across this expression and I am obliged to explain to friends who haven’t. You are traveling in a bus or pushing the trolley in the corridors of a mall or stepping out of a crowded lift or just waiting for train at the station. Then you notice this woman who is so deeply absorbed in her thoughts or what she is doing that only a blast could bring her back to this world. Her inner-wear, a very small portion of her brassiere is showing. The very sight of it makes you nervous and you begin to worry that what would happen to her modesty. You are so anxious to tell her about this delicate situation which she is apparently unaware of. You badly want to tell her about that small piece of cloth protruding out but you are afraid that it would amount to outrage of her modesty which you are supposed to safeguard here. You are really at a loss for words. How I can tell her that a little portion of her inner-wear refused to be inner-wear?

From time immemorial or the time from which our eves started wearing these inner things, there were incidents of these things trying to show their whereabouts that too in the presence of gentlemen who would never tolerate the slightest dishonour to women. All those gentlemen went through this awkward predicament of ‘To say or not to say’.Finally at some point in the past century some gentleman at the very high of his linguistic knack found this expression and bailed out all men from the worst predicament. All men need to be grateful to this guy until there are woman and inner-wear on the planet. I believe this guy was an Indian because his fetish for feminine causes is unmatched to that of any man in this world even though the crime records speak otherwise (1 crime against women every 3 minutes,1 case of abuse by family every 9 minutes,1 dowry death every 77 minutes) and we need to overlook them. After all we have found euphemistic ways to help women in their time of great distresses like the one illustrated above.

Our upbringing in our unique cultural values has also taught us to how to buy or sell a sanitary napkin or a condom pack. Buyer: Approaches the shop located some 3 or 4 streets away from his/her own. Makes sure no one is around. Asks for a pack of condom in a husky voice with his face twitching in unease. Seller: His face reddens at once he hears the word ‘condom’. He reaches for a secret hiding in the cupboard and brings out the pack. Tears the outer cover with explicit erotic illustrations and throws it away. Puts the content in a plain cover as if it were a strip of Aspirins. Tenderly hands it over to the buyer.

 Bobbie Gentry said ‘Euphemism is a euphemism for lying’.  It’s time we stopped lying.

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