[caption id="attachment_115" align="alignleft" width="226" caption="Mother Pious Lady: Harper Collins India, 380 pages, Rs399"][/caption]

Mother Pious Lady

Making sense of Everyday India

by Santosh Desai
A new India is visibly emerging from within the folds of its many pasts. This new India needs to be seen with new eyes, free from the baggage of yesterdays characterizations. This is exactly what Santosh Desai, one of India's best-known social commentators, does in this warm, affectionate and deliciously witty look at the changing urban Indian middle class. Read More About the Book
"This is a rare and captivating book, wise and witty, on the inner lives of middle class Indians. Desai both enlightens and entertains."

Sudhir Kakar

  • Book Reviews

    Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid

    We are like this only Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, ANVAR ALIKHAN

    A collection of delightful essays on India, and Indian-ness.

    Mother Pious Lady, Santosh Desai, HarperCollins, p. 380, Rs. 399.

    What is it that defines our Indian-ness. What is it, exactly, that unites us — variously Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarati, Bengali or whatever — into a single nation-state, Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid.

    A difficult question. There have, of course, been many attempts to answer it, ranging from the erudite to the glib, but none of them has been particularly convincing. A quarter of the way into reading Mother Pious Lady, however, I found myself stopping and saying to myself: Aha, so this is what it's all about; this is what it means to be Indian, 30mg Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid. Santosh Desai and I may belong to different parts of the country, different mother tongues, cultural backgrounds, religions, ethnic strains, family backgrounds, even perhaps age-groups — all the things that might conceivably divide us — yet, reading this book was like reading my own story; it seemed to suddenly unite us, brothers under the same skin. Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, The book, and the typically Indian human insights it's filled with, make it the closest thing I've come across to a definitive statement of Indian-ness. This was obviously not Desai's intention when he sat down to write these delightful essays, but it's what he has, in effect, ended up doing.

    Mother Pious Lady is, on one level, a collection of short, hugely enjoyable essays about the quirks and foibles of Indian life. 1000mg Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, But on another, deeper, level, it's an encyclopaedia of typically Indian insights which make you say: Yes, I now understand why it is the way it is, for the very first time. And that's not surprising, because Desai is one of India's most respected marketing professionals and human insights are, therefore, not just things he collects and cherishes personally, but in fact his bread and butter. In recent years his keen eye for human behaviour and his professional experiences have inter-twined into a newspaper column, “City City Bang Bang”, where many of these essays originated and which has made him a social commentator with a fan following, Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid.

    Deconstructing the golguppa

    Desai examines everything from the ethos of the Hindi film hero to the place of the Bajaj scooter in our collective consciousness; from the deeper meaning of Western vs. Indian-style toilets to a deconstruction of the golguppa (or bhel-puri); from the semiotics of scratching ourselves in public to our deep-rooted dynastic urge, in everything from politics to cinema (Tusshar Kapoor ki jai!) And, refreshingly, when he writes about these things, he writes not as a scholar, or, heaven forbid, Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid canada, an MBA, but as a kind of poet of social anthropology. Thus he says of the humble, phut-phutting autorickshaw:

    The auto's appeal comes from its ability to provide a real luxury; it offers us the power of individualised motorised transport. When one hires an auto one is placing a value on one's own time. Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, Rather than wait for public transport, an auto is hailed and one's precise destination is reached. The autorickshaw's implicit deal with us is that while it gives us this wonderful luxury, in return it strips everything else in the experience that could remotely reek of luxury … It is both deeply comforting and dissatisfying. It captures the variable and uneven nature of life in India that is not too poor to have no choices, yet not so affluent that it can take life for granted … It reaffirms and gives substance to the Indian belief that life may be hard but there is always a way.

    Which is, of course, something we always knew, deep inside … except that it required a Santosh Desai to articulate it for us.

    Elsewhere, he observes the significance of the slap in Indian life: “In Hollywood angry men punch each other. In Bollywood angry people slap each other… What explains this deep-rooted fascination for the slap as the preferred mode of meting out physical punishment, Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid. What does the slap signify that allows it to hold such a prominent part in our everyday lives. The slap imprints humiliation on the face, 10mg Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, the part of the body where our identity resides. We hide our face in shame, worry about ‘With what face can I go back to the people I may have shamed?'… The slap is a corrective lesson in social hierarchy, and is aimed less at the body than at our sense of who we are…” (It's interesting to note here that Desai's advertising agency had made the Coca-Cola TV commercial which had Amir Khan threatening a dishonest cold-drinkwallah with the application of five fingerprints on his cheek in front of a gaggle of admiring bimbos — an example, perhaps, of Desai's professional life crossing over into his column, or versa.)

    Politics of the speedbreaker

    The highlight of the book, however, is probably Desai's brilliant essay on the speedbreaker, where he — obviously enjoying himself greatly — writes: “We may or may not build great roads, but we sure know how to build great speedbreakers … The speedbreaker exists to defeat the purpose of the road. Motorised traffic became possible because of the macadamisation of roads and the speedbreaker is tarmac's revenge on itself … But there is a larger need that drives us to put up so many of these speedbreakers. Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, At some level we are afraid of speed and the distance that gets created between those speeding and the rest of us. The speedbreaker is the political front, the battle line that marks the tussle between those with the means to speed and the others…” It's a piece of delicious, insightful prose that might even be compared with Pico Iyer's “In Praise of the Humble Comma”, the masterly essay which first heralded Iyer's arrival as a writer.

    Mother Pious Lady is a treasure-trove of insights on India, which coalesce at some higher level into a kind of over-arching definition of Indian-ness itself: if you read them and find yourself saying to yourself, Yes this is exactly the way it is, 200mg Can I Take Sudaphed With Synthroid, you're an Indian; if you don't, you're not. What Desai has produced is the ultimate statement of “We are like this only”.

    5th September 2010.

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    Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine

    Indefinable middle class Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine, Market researchers attempt to ‘crack’ this inscrutable constituency of an India whose consumption potential can redefine the economic world order

    By Rita Kothari

    Posted On Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 02:36:20 AM

    Those of us who have grown up in the India of the seventies and eighties would know what it is to suddenly find your metaphors fade and associations severed. Our children of the post-1990s liberalised India find us quaint and remind us how, as Santosh Desai remarks, “Yesterday’s modernity is today’s tradition.” Bewildered as we are by way more years dividing us from the ‘new’ India than arithmetic can enumerate, we grope for a common language and references.

    When I say ‘we’ I refer, as does Desai, to India’s middle class. Central to many books on India in recent times, the middle class remains vaguely familiar. 150mg Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine, Market researchers attempt to ‘crack’ this inscrutable constituency of an India whose consumption potential can redefine the economic world order. They are busy trying to figure out why this class took to noodles, but not cornflakes (the latter didn’t have the Maggi tastemaker, you see), accepts some forms of newness, but zealously guards its traditions in other respects, Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine. Sociologists engage in questions of whether this class can be said to have formed owing to the educational policies of the 19th century, or rise of the mercantile classes. Cultural ethnography concerns itself with the ritualistic moorings of this middle class, and whether they are being redefined through technology. Perhaps not. For instance, “a fair Brahmin girl” remains the most sought-after commodity in the matrimonial classifieds of a print newspaper or a matrimonial website. Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine, Rama Bijapurkar’s persuasive book We are Like That Only showed how value-conscious the middle class was, but formed as it were, by different layers that multinationals needed to acknowledge and work upon. Pavan Varma’s The Great Indian Middle Class assumed this class existed as a stable entity; it merely needed his judgement of the lack of moral and ethical discernment. Gurcharan Das sees it as a class unbound by the baggage of socialism and control, raring to break old definitions and set the stage for a global India, Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine usa.

    In the midst of this plenitude about India and India-flavoured books, it is difficult to know if a new book about India has anything new to say. Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India by Santosh Desai does. To start with, it does not have the arrogance of a single view, and to that extent, comes closest to the idea of India, Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine. Desai uses the lens of everydayness and looks at the India of small and mundane experiences. More importantly, he does so with the charm of Sai Paranjpe or Hrishikesh Mukherjee through the cinematic media, or RK Laxman through cartoons.

    He excavates images from our sepia past, and reminds me for instance, 1000mg Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine, of how my uncle, owner of a utensils store in Ajmer, would know from distance whether a customer would buy stainless steel or brass. The first was the sign of modernity, clean and solid; the second, tradition, now recuperated as an object of art in homes of the elite.

    He reminds us of the cracking new clothes we wore on festivals, never mind if they made all siblings look exactly alike, or how our mothers (or even us, come on) would squeeze the last ounce of dhania from a subziwallah to feel we have got our ‘money’s worth’, Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine mexico, or the annual holidays we took to visit cousins, and how we played games that didn’t cost an arm and a limb. “Holidays,” says Desai, “were not a break, but a joint.” Just how much we managed out of scarcity — a postcard, an unexpected song in Aapki Farmaish, an unannounced visitor, a window that allowed us to gaze outside and watch life go by before it was replaced by television sets and so on. 500mg Is Acomplia As Effective As Phentermine, Desai chronicles our lives, ones that are not chronologically ancient, but appear to have been consigned to another place, another time.

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    Bipolar And Prozac

    Bipolar And Prozac, Many days in the life of middle-class India


    Mother Pious Lady: making sense of everyday india Santosh Desai.

    Mother Pious Lady, Making Sense of Everyday India, provides a fantastic insight into the daily life of the middle-class Indian. ‘Where Do We Come From’, the first section, a collection of pieces on our ‘Indian’ roots, will have you nostalgic before you even finish the first page. The first piece talks of ‘Chitrahaar’, a name that an entire generation grew up with, among others. It talks of the way we travel, Bipolar And Prozac ebay, our anxieties, our pride in being economical and many other things. Some of these may be familiar, some not, Bipolar And Prozac.

    As someone who grew up in small town india, I identified with most of the pieces, however, someone who grew up in a metro like Mumbai may find the hilarity slightly forced and insubstantial. The pieces are however, thoughtfully written and cut to the very core of our existence as Indians. Articles such as ‘Mera Paas Ma Hai’ and ‘In Praise of the Unannounced Visit’, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an understanding of our society and the various roles played by the people that make it up. 750mg Bipolar And Prozac, Humorous and cynical, the articles force you to take a look at your childhood and growing years from a different view point, that of the ‘masses’. Bipolar And Prozac, ‘An Ode to the Scooter’ and ‘Stainless Steel Memories’ are great examples of the desire of the Indian Masses for upward ‘class mobility’ and eloquently describe this phenomenon. ‘Indian Traffic as Metaphor’ and ‘The Power of Street Food’ are pieces that attack the other end of the spectrum, with an analysis of what makes Indian traffic and Indian street food the ultimate symbols of ‘India’.

    ‘New Adventures in Modernity’, the second section, deals mainly with the changes being ushered into society, some easily, same facing great resistance from the middle-class.

    The first piece, ‘The Moral of Drinking’, Bipolar And Prozac craiglist, is the perfect illustration of this change, as it describes how we have gone from the wide-eyed horror of alcohol to asking guests if they would like a drink. A slightly more obscure example is well related in ‘The Disappearing Pigtail’. It is in stories like the disappearing pigtail that the author excels, as the pigtail (hair braided into a long tail) itself is hardly viewed as a symbol of repressed feminism elsewhere, Bipolar And Prozac. ‘The Western Toilet as Sign’ and Salman Khan and ‘The Rise of Male Cleavage’ are also bolder strokes on the canvas that beautifully describes change in a manner yet unexamined.

    ‘Dilemmas of Change’, the third section, is perhaps the hardest hitting of all. It deals with how the changes have affected not just the upwardly mobile urban Indian, but also a much larger section of the society, and not always in ways that are good. 20mg Bipolar And Prozac, ‘The Flyover as Metaphor’ and ‘The Power of Inflation’ are fantastic articles that describe this conflict clearly. Bipolar And Prozac, ‘The Vanishing Village’ is also particularly poignant in this regard and makes the reader wonder whether one has been blind in ignoring the obvious.

    All in all, Mother Pious Lady, is a brilliant collection that describes the turbulence Indian society has gone through over the last few decades. The articles are varied and talk about all the mainstays of Indian society, be it caste, religion, politics, cricket, Bollywood or music. The book brings out the changes in these arenas, in abbreviated form, Bipolar And Prozac mexico, and this is what hits the reader really hard, as contemplation of these changes are not something most of us do on a daily basis. Eloquently written, the humour is engaging and makes the book a must read for every Indian.

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    Cialis Vs Cialis Professional

    A cheat-sheet for dealing with Gen-X Indians (several variants of the truth exist) Cialis Vs Cialis Professional, , June 28, 2010

    By S.Yogendra

     This is an amusing yet thought-provoking, insightful yet confounding, and relentlessly introspective, with hints of self-flagellation, book. The title is a nod to the specialised language used in the very specialised Indian area of matrimonial ads that appear in the Sunday papers. Over the years, these ads have enabled millions of marriages. A typical ad encapsulates the marital ambition of an average Indian man seeking his own version of Miss World, under the watchful gaze of his mother, often described as a pious lady, who as Santosh Desai points out in the book is probably keener on burning incense than burning brides.

    Mr Desai, a man of brands and advertising, has much insight into his generation - my generation - of Indians, into what shaped us, how we are changing and the inevitable what-next. Accordingly, the book is organised in 3 major sections: Where Do We Come From?, New Adventures Into Modernity and Dilemmas Of Change, Cialis Vs Cialis Professional.

    Each section features individual chapters that contain several short essays on Indian behavioural quirks as a means to demonstrating what drives Indians. Where Do We Come From, 100mg Cialis Vs Cialis Professional. focuses on our need to get value for money ("the Dhania factor"), relationships without the overt need for an immediate gain ("in praise of the unannounced visit"), the need to save and let save face ("the meaning of the slap"), the Indian interpretation of time as a transience ("Indian traffic as metaphor") and ingenuity in problem-solving ("the power of the imperfect solution").

    It is worth a mention that as is true of much in India, every behavioural peculiarity can be read in more ways than one. Cialis Vs Cialis Professional, In his or her quotidian life, every Indian deals in multiplicities and contradictions, of meaning and reality, a theme not quite implicit in this book.

    The second section, New Adventures In Modernity, addresses a range of themes such as the Indian view of the family as a unit ("terms of endearment"), the redefining of masculinity ("Salman Khan and the rise of male cleavage"), the emergence of the new Indian woman ("in gentle praise of the saas-bahu sagas" and "the woman, exteriorized"), the phenomenon of celebrity ("of genuine fakes and fake genuines"), Cialis Vs Cialis Professional canada, the idea of Family as emotional headquarters ("the joint stock family"), continued hyper-competitiveness ("the paranoid parent") and the negotiation with the old ("retrieving space slyly").

    All along Mr Desai maintains a raconteur's tone, sometimes with hints of understated humour and sarcasm. The tone changes in the last section, titled Dreams Of Grandeur, where his frustration at the behavioural dissonances of his compatriots becomes evident. He touches upon sensitive themes such as the Indian tendency to claim people of Indian origin around the world, craving western approval but getting offended easily, the growing desire to protect the interests of the few. This section sadly for its promise feels rushed, Cialis Vs Cialis Professional. It could have been used to set an agenda or at least set forth a dialogue but perhaps that wasn't Mr Desai's intention.

    At 380 pages, it may be difficult to describe it as a breezy read but it really is, even despite its awkward organisation in themes, chapters and then short essays, Cialis Vs Cialis Professional japan. For my part, I found myself laughing throughout the book. I recognised some things, I cringed at others and yet other things I sneered at, thus confirming what my terribly English friends call my "bourgeoisie credentials". Cialis Vs Cialis Professional, To non-Indians, the liberal dose of Hinglish, Hindi and Indian in-jokes may become jarring after a while. As it happens, some of the in-jokes are already being lost as a new generation in their 20s grows up. In fact, my only peeve against this book is that it is aimed for no audience in particular. An irony considering Mr Desai's strong credentials as a marketing professional. Indians of my generation are reading it for amusement but we hardly are incapable, on reflection, of determining what shaped us through our childhood and teen and early adult years. Those, who are not Indian, may feel a bit alienated while reading the book as it sometimes reads like a swathe of in-jokes, Cialis Vs Cialis Professional. Cialis Vs Cialis Professional mexico, One can argue that amusement is as important a utilitarian function as any other. However I feel it is a missed opportunity to bring this book to wider audiences interested in India and Indians.

    Even so the book would be a great cheat-sheet for dealing with a sliver of educated, middle-class Indians of a particular generation - Generation X, if you will. India however is a country in the midst of change, occurring at a pace one can blink and miss. Cialis Vs Cialis Professional, In that respect this book is a balance sheet, not a P&L account. Perhaps a second edition, or an entirely new book, will be in order in a few years, when Generation X ceases to be the generation at the helm of India.

    Since no discussion on India and the Indians is complete without the obligatory mention of China and the Chinese, I have to say that a book like this is unlikely ever to emerge from China. For the simple reason that unlike the Indians, the Chinese do not explain themselves, 30mg Cialis Vs Cialis Professional, do not debate issues, and definitely do not introspect in public view. But it is, I believe, immensely better to go in with a range of truths than a single official version. Whether you are interested in India for pleasure or for business, reading the book may prepare you much better than you imagine.

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    Buy Cialis Online Now

    Buy Cialis Online Now, Beyond the Age of Paisa Vasool

    By Shiv Visvanathan

    Desai traces India’s move from asocialist republic of scarcity to astate of bounty

    The study of popular culture as a genre has produced some wonderfully creative writers. One thinks of Ashis Nandy, Patricia Uberoi and Vijay Pershad. Probably the most playful of them is Santosh Desai.

    His collection of essays is a wonderful word palette, each a fragment of memory, a collection of miniatures arranged together to create a picture of middleclass India in an everyday sense.

    Desai had a very middle- class childhood. What made the middle- class of the time different was the way it wove together scarcity, memory and boredom, Buy Cialis Online Now. The public sector socialism of the time with its ritual of ration cards created a world of limits. One did not starve but one subsisted on little. The one thing socialism created was the world of boredom as a commons. One shared each other’s boredom. Buy Cialis Online Now, The window became the opening through which each of us watched each other watching. Everything except mothers’ love had its limits. But scarcity was not a form of repression. It was challenge to improvisation. We improvised around everything — the family, relatives and games. Desai captures the magic of memory in little fragments, Buy Cialis Online Now.

    The power of the postcard lay in waiting for it; anticipating its every word and reciting it repetitively to everyone. Buy Cialis Online Now japan, One strip- mined just about everything for value. Paisa Vasool was the philosophy of that era. One extracted maximum advantage by recycling everything. Buy Cialis Online Now, Yet scarcity helped create a commons of sharing, of hospitality, where unexpected guests were the order of the day; the miracle of loaves and fish paled before the improvisation of our mothers. They made little stretch to infinity in a world where hospitality recognised no shortages, where little was converted into a lot.

    The culture of improvisation centered on food, community and family. It was a world where rickshaws were crammed, houses were crammed, beds were crammed but there was always space to ‘ adjust’ for one more. It was the happy world of improvisation where mothers were the greatest inventors.

    Scarcity, says Desai, created a style, a culture, a set of protocols which coped with shortages with grace, in a world where less was more, Buy Cialis Online Now. We even milked boredom to create enjoyment. Desai is at his best in this part of the book.

    The way the family coped with scarcity also created an urban style centering on the scooter and the autorickshaw.

    Even Bollywood constructed its heroes around the scarcity principle. Buy Cialis Online Now, The film hero was an icon of excess and exaggeration, a picture of histrionics confronting the everydayness of our restraint.

    Waste and boredom were the stuff from which we crafted both identity and memory. Desai suggests the pickle as a sign of equality and innovation. Food was the great leveller and the best of food was available on the street. Street food, Buy Cialis Online Now india, as Desai puts it, was popular culture being constantly updated.

    The latter part of the book catalogues the opening of that world, Buy Cialis Online Now. It is an opening of our senses, our future, our possibilities. A world where memory of scarcity lost out to new spaces.

    The new icons were a Dhoni or a Rakhi Sawant, creatures who carried no genes of the past, no layers of history in them. They were small- town kids who responded to the future, whose identity kits had no footnotes from the past. Buy Cialis Online Now, These people were confident of the future because they had no sense of the past.

    Small towns were bundles of amnesia ready for the future.

    It was a world where the old everydayness had changed and scarcity now yielded to mobility and possibility. Desai builds fragments on sociological fragments to capture this world. Yet while it is not judgmental, one senses a distance, a movement from a world Desai lived in to a world which Desai is watching. It is a movement from the subjectivity of autobiography to the keenness of ethnography, a transition from the willing culprit to interested spectator, Buy Cialis Online Now. 50mg Buy Cialis Online Now, It is playful but lacks the sense of innocence and fun, the Rabelisian accuracy he brings to aunts and stomachs, chronicling the way they behave with acoustic precision.

    One sees a transition from community to a sense of individualisation, from shared memories to the individualisation of success.

    For Desai, consumerism altered memory, changed the body and broke the old grammar of scarcity.

    What enabled this new world to go places was the media, especially television and advertisements that redefined excess. Buy Cialis Online Now, Now excess was identity. Excess liberated the senses creating a society asking for more, refusing to settle for more- or- less.

    The media becomes the Rorschach of this new world where intolerance substitutes for repression, where mobility is no longer rung by ladder rung, where a city as a semiotics of dreams is changing, where desire is re- writing itself on the body, on the city, where India as a 21- inch TV is creating a world that’s seceding from the rest. What makes Desai a powerful interpreter is the way he projects our new sense of want in fragments, Buy Cialis Online Now craiglist.

    The imagination is still constructed from scraps. Here, cricket is not a game but a Rorschach of our futures, Buy Cialis Online Now.

    The consumer overpowers the old languid spectator. The transition from spectatorship to consumerism is powerfully drawn.

    Desai outlines success with its new anxieties. It is a liberating world where the signs are different, where instead of deluging people with food in silence as a form of love, one actually begins to say, “ I love you”. Buy Cialis Online Now, The openness to the new becomes a form of excess. Desai’s style itself becomes symptomatic of the whole. In the earlier section the patches add up to a quilt.

    In later essays, the future is left open- ended. There’s almost a confession that the old forms of storytelling may not quite work.

    Desai is a brilliant commentator, Buy Cialis Online Now.

    But in the later sections it is the disquiet and silence between the lines that haunts the book.

    For all its laughter and its sense of detachment, it is a book that cares, that senses the liberating power of the media and consumerism may go awry, Buy Cialis Online Now mexico, but warns you not to pre- empt in terms of old categories.

    Just take one hint. For all his values, Desai insists that understanding people like Narendra Modi is critical. It is this that makes the book a minor classic and my vote for one of the outstanding books of the year. Like the old middle- class, one felt one had extracted every bit of fun and insight from the book. It was paisa vasool to the last.

    — Shiv Visvanathan is a social scientist and media commentator.

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    Diflucan Death

    A 30-year survey of the urban Indian charts our ‘progress’ from the days of Chitrahaar to the present

    Diflucan Death,  

    Articles strung together into a book are generally avoidable but Santosh Desai has put together his weekly ‘City City Bang Bang’ columns into a hilarious chronicle of urban India, and the way we Indians have changed over the last decades. Who exactly are ‘we’. Difficult question—Samuel Huntington wrote a monumental book with just that title, and Desai in his last chapters attempts to ask some grand philosophical questions about where India is headed. Apparently only ‘we’ know.

    It all began in the era of the scooter—before the Maruti came and created a real middle class. Families shared clothes, letting out trouser hems and letting them in again for their children, Diflucan Death. The great buy was stainless steel, looking out of the window was television, and entire families went to the hills for the summer, to send a telegram home to say ‘reached safely’. No one looked at nature but went to eat channa bhaturas, get photographed wearing silly hats and to reduce the hill station to everyday Indian chaos.

    A little prosperity came slowly. Families moved into quarters designated Type 2 A, 14B/43 of Phase 1, Diflucan Death overseas. Diflucan Death, All appliances—a radio, B&W TV, a stereo, refrigerator and mixie—were displayed in the drawing room and the whole neighbourhood dropped in to watch Chitrahaar. Then of course came the Maruti, but first, Hindi movies and serials came into the house through the television and changed everybody—except of course Ma, the ageless Indian mother.

    Desai studied matrimonial advertisements over 30 years and notes the shift from boasting about the family to a search for handsome mates, preferably fair. The older ads conveyed mysterious advantages like ‘mother pious lady’ or ‘brother settled in USA’, the alliance being one of families than of a couple. That has changed. The wedding now emphasises sex, sanctioned and fully prepared for, followed by the honeymoon, as decreed, when wooing commences, and husband and wife enact their real roles in private, getting away from ‘the exaggerated respect we accord to a new car, careful not to scratch....’

    If we go on as we are doing, when Belvedere and Regency are occupied, who will we be, Diflucan Death. Not very nice people, says Desai.

    Does Bollywood resemble India, or vice versa. Diflucan Death canada, The Indian male makes for a case study. The earlier heroes burst into tears, double chins quivering, if jilted. Diflucan Death, They begged with rich heroines not to go abroad, instead of chasing them. Rescues of heroines in distress were brief, implausible encounters, and after any trauma, they ran back to Ma. Such males would win in the end, for Ma (like the Force) was with them. Girls were brought up to fulfil the roles of caring sister, wife and mother. They sometimes went astray, the early hint coming when she cut off her long plait, converting it into licentious short hair, 100mg Diflucan Death. The modern hero is different, Diflucan Death. He has muscles, even cleavage with a shaven chest. But Ma still lurks in the background.

    That India of Malgudi and of the engaging, inoffensive Indian is gone. The gearless scooterette gives girls mobility. Diflucan Death, The TV tells you that without washboard abs, a fast motorbike, or a zippy car with holders for coolers and a coke, you haven’t arrived. The message comes through with plenty of humour, so Indians are still laughing at themselves, sending pink chaddis to Mangalore fundamentalists. If we go on as we are doing, when Ridgewood, Greenwood, Belvedere and Regency are all occupied, Diflucan Death ebay, who will we be. Not very nice people, seemingly, as the later part of the book implies. Idiots will drive past a waiting queue and block traffic going both ways, mostly when the police are diverted to close off roads for crummy politicians.

    Despair often seeps through Desai’s later chapters, Diflucan Death. The megalomania surrounding India’s imminent arrival on the world scene demands celebration, or you join foreigners pinning India to the yesterday of snake-charmers and slums.

    Desai is the nearest thing to a R.K. Laxman in prose—a chronicler of middle-class India. He answers no social science imponderables, but hundreds of little questions. Diflucan Death, This chronicle is a diary—of a people—and like a diary written over thirty years, grows into something it never started out to be. As the Economist once noted, ‘Why is the modern view of progress so impoverished’. Desai puts it differently, Diflucan Death us. Why have we ceased to despise vulgarity. At Rs 399, worth buying and laughing over.

    Outlook 3rd May 2010.

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