Is it in?

Maverick: The Trend Settlers
by Farzana Versey
The Asian Age, Op-ed, Jan. 1, 2008

Her lashes fluttering like a fan, she asked, “Is it in?”

“You should know!” he said with the vehemence of one whose pride has been hurt even if only for a few brief seconds.

Having just read that silicone implants were on their way out, she persisted.

“The world is flat,” he stated flatly.

Trends may change but the idea of the fad will remain. It is not merely about couture. People, professions, issues, non-issues too become talking and mocking points.

Here are the two major trends and their offshoots that will not go away…

Who’s afraid of Islamophobia?

This fad of Islamophobia is so infectious that even when British society fights Harrods, Mohammed al Fayed screams out the word.

Islam has ceased to be a mere religion; it is a huge cinematic production for many. The box office registers don’t stop each time there is a new Islamic release. There are several reasons for it.

Jihad is the most rocking contribution of Muslims. They just have to bare their teeth, ball their fists, carry a rucksack and they are said to be on a jihad. Most people associated with it have no idea what they are fighting. At least, George Bush was aware that oil could be a weapon of mass destruction; Muslims don’t even notice the oil under their feet.

The fatwa is something that lays a price on the head of anyone who has a swollen head. Potential targets are writers and anti-Islamists. It helps the world understand the religion better when an exiled writer has a fatwa issued against him/her. This is also the Muslim way of doing zakat towards Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Islam has also changed the terror business. It is seen as a corporatised entity with one CEO who no one wants to find, for the moment he is found this whole industry will fall apart. If you don’t have Islamic terror then you cannot put your army to use and an unused army is not good for patriotism.

Which brings us to Osama, a fictional character created by the US establishment to whitewash its past and justify its present. Meant to be devious, we occasionally get to see him in comic-strip TV format wearing clothes that tell us he has found a laundry service and a beard that has been coloured, which means he has a future as brand ambassador of L’Oreal.

All the world’s a globalised stage

Even as individual nations become highly xenophobic, they continue to talk about how small the world is.

More and more people will leave the shores to become ambassadors of the country. Not all will refer to their wives as headless chickens, though. Due to outsourcing, fewer men are looking for ‘innocent divorcees’ these days, mainly because of hymenoplasty. Women with a history are also seen as valuable as antiques. These and not the mini-skirted, bustier-busting babes-in-the-hood are the new trophy partners.

Neo-politicians are no more fuddy-duddy daddies of boom and doom. They are snazzy and trim their ear and nose hair. Since everyone from fashion to film stars to industrialists is in politics, this was bound to happen.

Internationally, they will fight terror. They don’t have to do anything else after saying that. Oh, they might like to take their model/actress/singer girlfriend on cruise holidays or convert to some other religion.

The Leftists have made it possible for people to stop saying they are Leftists; these days you say you are left of centre, which means you like your martini shaken and your ideology stirred. They don’t believe anymore that Lenin is better than borrowin’, though they continue to leave their Marx and some stains.

The farm fatales are rich politicos who have made loads of money and now think the only way to prevent farmer suicides is to buy the farms. Like buying the bathwater to bathe the baby.

Women in politics will continue to be seen as a different species. While in the west they will be expected to dress sharply by their makeover and publicity agents, in our part of the world you need to show that you are a grassroots person, unless you are a Rajya Sabha member, in which case you must look like a dream girl whatever be your age.

Survivors will be those who manage to save a few big bucks at the stock market. Self-made people will be those who go through a sex-change surgery.

Advertising remains superficially progressive. Remember the ad that was considered offensive because it showed a woman experiencing what seemed like orgasmic pleasure washing a male undergarment? The objection was to the sleaze. No one bothered to point out why on earth she was washing his clothes. See?

But these guys will go to Cannes and get some award for their ads on how to save trees or the girl child. Both die sooner than they’d have walked the length of the beach.

Then you have the NRIs who make home-video type movies about eating two-minute noodles with your fingers. It is a profound metaphor for confusion and coping with disparate cultures. The two minutes represent the fast-paced world we live in.

Bollywood will attract youngsters who are not from film families. Some have been to college and only because they have succeeded at the box office they assume they would have been great architects, doctors, rocket scientists. They speak in measured tones, often with an accent. They say they are striking a balance between art and mainstream cinema. They talk about how comfortable they are with their bodies (If they won’t be, then who would?). You can hear them whisper, “I may be signing up for that crossover film, The Devil Wears Parandi.”

Most over-used quote that will live on: “I am controversy’s favourite child.”

Me too. Like this column? SMS 2008. Lemme know if im in b4 im out!

- - -

For some readers who may not know the background of certain expressions, here…

headless chickens – the term used by the cocky Indian ambassador to the US for our politicians who were nuking the nuclear deal with America

innocent divorcees – believe it or not but Indian matrimonial columns in mainstream newspapers did ask for such a creature

The Devil Wears Parandi – Parandi is the tasseled extension added to the braid of women, mainly in Punjab.

Like this column? SMS 2008 – This is a dig at The Times of India, India’s largest venerated newspaper. For a while now it runs this at the bottom of every column. I find it sick. Publications survive on ads, and the TOI had years ago decided that its Response Department would supersede its Editorial. I say, if you don’t have confidence in the abilities of your writers, then why have them?


  1. Wishing You & Your Family A Very Happy & Joyful New Year!!

    Take care, mam :o)

    Ravi (a reader of your blog)

  2. Brilliant... I was delighted to read this.

  3. FV:

    Bahut behtareen likha hai aapne...
    I like the way you have written it. Some skill this, Ma'am...
    Give yourself a couple of pats on the back, for the thought, content and style. In one word, Superb!
    But all said and done, why didn't you become a copywriter? many firms would have had to seek stronger copyrights with that kind of copywriting.

  4. "Which brings us to Osama, a fictional character created by the US establishment to whitewash its past and justify its present"

    U again missed ur daily dose of medicine,didn't you??

  5. FV
    May 2008 brings you happiness, peace, prosperity, spiritual and physical health and LOVE that would be pure and endless.

  6. [Which brings us to Osama, a fictional character created by the US establishment to whitewash its past and justify its present. Meant to be devious, we occasionally get to see him in comic-strip TV format wearing clothes that tell us he has found a laundry service and a beard that has been coloured, which means he has a future as brand ambassador of L’Oreal.]
    Very true!!!

  7. Ravi:

    Best wishes to you too...I do hope others are readers of this blog, too!




    Thank you. Why didn't I become a copywriter? Because I can only do one thing at a time - copy or write; from all evidence I do the latter. (Sorry about the pj!)


    Awww, stop being so worried...I shall get emosa-nul...


    Wish you lots of happiness and may your dreams come true and may you continue to dream...


    Araam se baithkar type kar rahe hai...and standing ovation:)


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