The Shilpa Shetty incident highlighted by some Bollywood loving relations (of all of ours) who moved to the UK a couple of decades ago was supposed to highlight the seemingly second-class treatment that is meted out to brown-skinned people in the UK. Instead, it became a class-battle in India. Honestly, I don't have any sympathy for Shilpa Shetty (who, very honestly and I'm not being cynical, desperately needed a career lift - because I guess even she realised that being VJM's #2 squeeze isn't exactly the pinnacle of a career), who I would not call dumb. This woman has milked the situation very well, but really this is all about the upper-middle classes (or to be more blunt about it, the English-Classes) in India feeling slighted that an illiterate b**** had the gall to call one of them names. This is not about a newly aggressive post-colonial India.
Do we really make a huge hue and cry about Arab Sheikhs who work some our brethren (in the sense that we hold the same country's passports) to death building their massive towers and islands in the sea. No. You see, those guys are dark-skinned, mainly illiterate people from the villages - why should the city or even the media give a damn. Look at it, every second day, some guy (usually from a sub-continental country) falls off a parapet or a nurse/maid is raped. No, we don't give a flying f***. I will tell you why, and I know that some editorial writers have brought this up in the last couple of days, but I brought this up in November 2005 - read this post again. And I really don't think the situation has changed - anybody who went to the Herbie Hancock concert the other day will testify that the cops rolled over backwards if they saw a pink-skinned couple - even trailer trash.
Racism and regionalism are going to exist as long as the global gene pool doesn't merge into one, and I doubt that will happen for at least a millenia or two. My point here is with the other big news event - Sourav Ganguly (now, if I had to be really parochial - and I can be at times I would have spelt his name with a 'bh'). I have no clue why his Bengali-ness has to be brought out everytime. I like Ganguly as a player, I really do but I don't understand what 'Bengali-ness' has anything to do with it. Unfortunately, for Bengali's - the current symbol of Bengali-ness is to fake hunger-strikes. I mean, does Mamata Banerjee look like she went through a twenty-or-something day hunger-strike? Mamatadi, a small bit of advice, if you want to do a hunger strike, take some lessons from this one.
Anyway, I was genuinely surprised at ET on Saturday (even though the story was wasted on a Saturday) but a great story, the best of any paper about a relatively secretive and reticent organisation. The mess at Star India makes for a compelling story, expect a few more in the coming few days - and if Nair has gone off to join Karan Johar what does this mean for Koffee with Karan on Star World? And did anyone catch my school's most famous alum on KBC yesterday. I don't know, but SRK was good, but lacked that little something, maybe in the next couple of days he'll get into the groove.