Friday, October 23, 2009

The Great Indian Sacrifice

Elder brother, younger brother both fall in love with the same girl- but they both don’t know that about each other. Elder brother finds out that the love of his life is also the woman of his brother’s dreams. So what does the elder brother do? Step aside of course! Without telling anything to his younger brother. And pretending to the girl he loves, that he actually despises her. The girl then finds solace in the younger brother’s arms.

But hey, the story does not end there. The younger brother finds out about his elder brother’s feelings and the great sacrifice (usually through an overhead conversation between elder brother and mum/dad/best friend/sister). And what does younger brother do? Step aside of course!
And it need not be 2 brothers i.e. “Saajan”; it could be 2 best friends i.e. “Muqaddar ka Sikandar”, “Saagar”, “Naseeb” (the list can go on and on).

SERIOUSLY! Did anyone consider asking the girl who she wants to be with? May be it was neither of the 2 self-sacrificing dimwits!

What is with Indians and their penchant for sacrifice? Mothers are another guilty party. Forever sacrificing for their sons and daughters. And brothers for their sisters and vice-versa.

Sometimes I feel we are stuck in a 70s-80s social drama film wherein sacrifices reigned supreme. Remember the struggling Nirupa Roy of Deewar? The handsome and pained face of Vinod Khanna in Qurbani? (As he sings for “Hum tumhe chahatein hain aise” to Zeenat on the beach).

And the greatest sacrifice of all- Jai (Amitabh) giving up his life for his best buddy Veeru (Dharamendar) in Sholay. Sigh! And a lesser known one by Naseer in Karma. And Jackie in 1942- A love story. And the list is long...

Our female protagonists also are not left behind. Juhi Chawla in Aaina. A change of pattern here, with the younger sibling being the “sacrificing Sita”.

I believe this is because we all Indians suffer from a Ramayan and Mahabharat hangover. Brother’s sacrifice for bother- Bharat-Ram, Laxman-Ram in Ramayan; the Pandav brothers in various permutations and combinations in Mahabharat. Sita’s trial by fire coaxed by Ram and ignited by a dhobi (why a dhobi* I always wondered?). We are kinda ODed on mythology stories and almost every story has its roots seeped in sacrifice.

I think sacrifices are noble and some even pure (like the ones made by mothers). But I do think many times we give ourselves too much importance and the other person too little credit. May be they don’t need our sacrifices? May be they simply need a helping hand or a friendly chat? Or may be they don’t really need us at all?

Now that’s a thought! May be selflessness is just overrated? Who am I kidding?! I could not survive a day being selfish. The guilt would simply kill me. But I will aim for some emotional detachment and see where I net out. On that positive (ish) note, I sign off. Good Night!

* It is said that because of what the dhobi did to Sita, there is a curse on dhobis worldwide (OK, India-wide)- that as a community they will never really prosper and their strata in society will never rise. Probably true…have never really met an affluent dhobi. But may darzis (tailors) have transformed into fashion designers. Food for thought....

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