Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Swayamvar, in ancient India was a practice in which the princesses were allowed to choose their husbands in a formal ceremony wherein the suitable candidates would contest against each other to win the lady's hand in marriage. The vying participants would be judged on various parameters like strength,bravery,wisdom,moral fibre..these parameters were mostly custom-made according to the whims and fancies of the princesses and their crowned fathers. The undisputed victor would then be said to have won his wife, as the princess would put a garland of flowers around his neck, after which they'd be wedded. This ritual was a prerogative of the royal blood only. Nobody remembers exactly when was it lost in the tattered pages of history. Or should I say mythology, because no offence but most of these tales in which Swayamvar appears sound apocryphal.

The latest buzz is that queen of controversies Rakhi Sawant is having her own Swayamvar (pardon me for copying the tabloid language,but I couldn't think of any better line).
I happened to watch the finishing segment of the first episode of Rakhi ka Swayamvar.
My mother puckered brow and voiced her displeasure every now and then. I, on the contrary was more amused than revolted,unlike her,unlike a majority of the viewers in India. I was amused at the unprecedented nature of life,the way it springs up surprises. Now look at this woman. She has been sensationalists' favorite child for reporting juicy hearsay. Everything about her has been in news, and having said that the politest way of elaborating it would be that she educated people about using any kind of publicity to their advantage. Which is why this recent news is flummoxing-at least for some people. It is hard for most people,especially women to digest the fact that she who is so presumptous,so uncouth,so loud, who dances half-naked in most of her videos, has admitted going under the knife for enhancing her features, is known more for the string of controversies that have been associated with her than the blink-and-miss roles that she has done, who is so unladylike-how come she's being seen as the Ne plus ultra of feminity,whom every man wants to woo! How come of all the womenfolk she gets as many as sixteen prospective grooms to swoon over her, sing romantic songs to her,write beautiful poetries for her,try to impress her in every possible way? How come she gets to live the dream of almost every woman who breathed on this planet? Because if loosely seen,this is pretty much what every woman desires.
"She's not even beautiful,let alone cultivated! And some these men are so good-looking,well-bred,educated and settled. Why do such men want to marry her?" said my mother with a sickened expression as a guy gave her a traditional one-knee proposal.
I tried my best to play the devil's advocate by saying- "She's really talented in her own field you know,and to top it she's very gutsy,speaks her mind even while on televi..." I broke off,as a reaction to her reproaching glare. Hehe..it's difficult to convince mothers,why do I even try! For she kept on chanting " Na roop aachhe,na gun aachhe" (Neither has she looks,nor values).

I really don't understand this. Nevermind the heavy voltage drama,the hurling of abuses,the pretense. Nevermind all of it. Call her a celebrity or a nonebrity,whatever pleases you but at the end of the day- she's also just a girl,standing in front of a boy,asking him to love her( Anyone who has watched Notting Hill would know where this dialouge came from!)
And come to think of it,we all choose. The process of selection and rejection keeps occuring at some sub-conscious level all the time. We look at everyone, screen the potential partners and filter out the others. Then we comapre,think,select,reject and finally come to a conclusion. This according to me is the process of attraction. The thing we call instinct is actually a very fast mental Swayamvar- maybe not in a literal sense,but definitely in a figurative sense. The parameters on which we judge one against the other may vary accrding to our spiritual configuration. So,all the lovely ladies out there don't be green-eyed at Rakhi Sawant. She's just doing it on camera,that's the only difference. Be it a formal ceremony or mental evaluation,I'm convinced that it's a Swayamvar alright!
May the best man win :)