Just when the classic romantic hero was gasping for breath, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ infused a new life to the fast diminishing tribe of rugged, sadist and macho heroes. Even though the genre is called ‘mommy-porn’, ‘chick-lit’ enthusiasts are feasting on all the shades of arrogance, mystique and masochism.
A friend rightly pointed out, “What’s next after mommy-porn? Aunty erotica or Granny smut?”
In the book, when Mr. Money Bags, Christian Grey, whispers to Anastasia Steele, a college girl, “You. Are. Mine. Come to me baby,” the blindfolded girl melts like a Swiss chocolate in Delhi heat. Besides this Grey guy makes women wistful. Imagine a lover who will upgrade your plane tickets and buy the seat next to you as well so no one else sits there. Irresistible. Right? The debonair tomcat then alternates between showering the girl with flashy cars and whipping her to indulge in some riotous power play. Never mind the pedestrian prose, the purpose of EL James is served admirably.
Now don’t chew me to bits. I read one chapter on my Kindle and did not feel the urge to buy the book. Not yet. The intention is not to spoil your kinky party. Take that hot cuppa , revel in the pitter patter of the rain drops, indulge in some hedonism. A slow romantic number in the background will add to the experience. Good luck to those who feel that this novel is a celebration of women’s sexuality.
So what exactly is bothering me? Well, two things. First, the trend of urban women emerging as money grabbers and exhibiting appalling greediness.
Second, impressionable minds being swayed by romantic fantasies. So if you are a young girl just like the heroine of this bestseller – take a breath. Among all the irresistible shades of power and riches, the indispensable shades of humility, trust and respect form the back-bone of any long term relationship.
I felt the need to write this after a friend confided that her daughter had rejected two good marriage proposals simply because the prospective groom was ‘not exciting enough’. Not exciting enough? In real life there are no eligible bachelors with yachts, Mercs and wineries across the world. Even Sid Mallaya is broke!! Yes, Salman is there. I know he recently gifted an SUV to Katrina Kaif. But then Salman and Katrina have been friends for almost a decade and most importantly, Katrina is no ordinary college girl. She is in a position to throw some SUVs here and there herself.
Agreed, one should not take romantic fantasies too seriously. Hopefully young girls are conscious of the fact. But more often than not, books and movies blur the fuzzy line between reel and real. And by the time the vision clears, the scenery disappears.
As if on cue, I recently read about this new website called ‘Miss Travel’ which claims to help women fly around the world in style, all funded by stinking rich men who have everything in their lives except a committed relationship. The men pay for your business class airfare, stay and shower you with expensive gifts. All the women need to do is show up and look pretty. What happened to all the blah blah about equality? According to the website, it is a once in a life time opportunity to find the man of your dreams; a generous doctor, rich lawyer or a wealthy banker. Good. But what about the perils of traveling alone with someone you just met in cyberspace. And imagine the give and take involved? There are no free lunches.
For the growing tribe of Poonam Pandey-ish women, such opportunities are a blessing. Several British women, I am told are signing up for such websites to test the waters. For all the millions of hard working, self respecting women who are trying to make it in a man's world, some find the easy route via someone's wallet. Be it the heroine of Fifty Shades of Grey or the women who sign up for MissTravel.com, accepting expensive gifts in lieu of something else is an exhibition of greed.
Take Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries, it is assumed that women look forward to expensive gifts. And there is a sense of competitiveness too. The myth is purported by novels, movies and advertisers. Yet, if a paid holiday fascinates you, go ahead and book a ticket on http://www.misstravel.com/
Don’t forget to carry ‘Fifty shades of Grey’. The book will keep you in the mood, even if the billionaire is an arrogant masochist philanderer who wears dentures.