• Holes In The O Zone Layer
    Dec 08, 2003

    Your special issue, She 2004, was quite interesting (Nov 24, 2003). However, I strongly believe all this buoyancy is just a facade. ‘She’ sure is more aware of her desires, her aspirations, her sexuality. To practically implement it, however, is a different story. She is still extremely wary of "what the family and society would think". Being financially independent, of course, makes a difference in how emotionally free you are. It’s the only way to hold your own forte in this very male-dominated society.
    Rinkoo Lohia, Ranchi

    What exactly are SEC A1 and A2 households? How’s one to understand this cryptic description in your poll? Then, amazingly, all the ‘48 attitudinal statements’ are not carried. Instead, I’m redirected to the Outlook website. I know of magazines that post a sample of their surveys on the web and ask interested readers to buy the mag for ‘full disclosure’. As a subscriber, I find this incomplete list a serious lapse on your part. I feel cheated. Why should you assume all your readers have Net access? And, why are almost all the women interviewed from the upper middle class? Are you a closet Leninist, believing his theory of the vanguard leading the revolution?
    Vrijendra, Mumbai

    Who on earth are you kidding? The study sample was limited to women from SEC A1 and A2, those who read English dailies and, like you, call cities like Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow ‘small towns’. Give us the real picture, folks, not a distorted, titillating view of the ‘salacious sorority’ (your own words). She isn’t the Indian woman by any stretch of the imagination, she’s just a P3 footnote.
    Kunal Sinha, Mumbai

    The women’s special was a huge disappointment. Female orgasms might certainly be the concern of our ‘privileged’ women inhabiting the rarefied spheres of our metros but they’re of no consequence to the toiling masses of (female) humanity in this country. Nor are your readers interested in what freedom means to the glam set. It’s women like Rajesh Kumari (Power Ballerina) who’re actually calibrating the silent revolution slowly touching millions of lives. If only your cover wasn’t so enticing.
    Rina Mukherji, On e-mail

    It’s good to see devoted workers like Rajesh Kumari. The average cop you see on the roads being what he is, people like her come as a breath of fresh air.
    Milind Kher, Mumbai

    Apropos Beyond the Bed, which purports to give voice to the "oppressed women whose desires have been unnoticed by the selfish Indian male". In essence, it reads like cheap sex fantasies, better served on some adult website. Rather than bringing people closer to reality, the story will only fuel the imagination of the lecherous further.
    Ratnakar, Bangalore

    It looks like the writer was taking notes in some sleazy pub while like-minded ‘sisters’ at the next table were pouring out their heart.
    Prasad, Bangalore

    The Stree of today is going to live life her own way, and be comfortable with her own self. All those who think otherwise can get their brain fluid refilled.
    Megha Bhagat, Mohali

    As if Indian women have never ‘cheated’ till now. It’s only that the media just discovered they are in vibrator mode. The holier-than-thou attitude of our Sati Savitris is despicable. Let’s shed such hypocrisy, go forth and...
    R. Sajan, Kochi

    Some liberation this. Beyond the... has an unnamed home-maker who, undeterred by her belief that "most of our men are lousy lovers", goes on to claim a "mind-blowing physical fling" in addition to two "serious" ones (discounting the one she has with her vibrator). Gosh, I can’t imagine what she’d do if Indian men were good lovers! I’d love to ask her out, though. Trust me, I’m no lech; just that I’m open about my sexuality and I kinda like the "womancipation" you’re dishing out. Elsewhere, wives demand that hubbies satisfy their "sexual fantasies". Hello! Did you really mean "fantasies"? And not, perhaps, "desires"? What if a fantasy happens to be a menage a trois? Just thinking. The only real woman was Suchitra Ganguli, who gives out the reason for having better sex as "not because I’m having more sex now, but because I am having less. I hated not being able to say no to my husband." Now that is liberation, when the woman can tell her partner where to get off when she isn’t in the mood! Let Indian women get there first; threesomes can come later. Finally, this quote is a keeper: Anjana Gupta avers: "Now it feels like I am having sex on my own terms. That’s like a lubricant!" Thank you Outlook, for the cheap thrills. I’m cancelling my Debonair subscription.
    Pradyumna, Bangalore

    Was it the Bengali writer Shasti Brata who said that what India needs most is a moral revolution and once that happens, a sexual revolution would naturally follow. But despite all liberalisation, a moral revolution looks nowhere in sight. The sisters in high society may be talking and writing about sexual freedom but their countless counterparts in our remote villages have no idea of sexual or any other revolution. Blind conservatism and ultra orthodoxy still hold sway here.
    T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore

    Sex fulfilment can and will only happen if both parthers have similar (if not matching) needs—the odds of that are very slim. The ‘liberated’ woman seems to confuse debauchery with sexual freedom. The West has already gone down this path, only to see family and marriage unravel, leaving the woman irreparably damaged. Women’s empowerment means full legal, economic and social rights; nothing less.
    Alpana, Agra

    Ruchir Joshi never disappoints. More power to him!
    Reshma T., Boston, US

    A woman who says most Indian men are lousy lovers hasn’t been asked how good she herself is? Take my word, Indian women are a major disappointment. It is perhaps easier to get a pillow to respond. And the Delhi socialites I have met—few skills, less passion and zero intimacy responses.
    Raktim Saikia, Gurgaon, Haryana

    The happy image of career mothers (Supermoms) is quite misleading. The issue here isn’t emancipation but something that borders on slave labour as women straddle two roles—the traditional one of nurturer and the modern one of breadwinner. How many men take breaks, go slow with their careers or take on flexi-timings because they have had kids?
    Moushumi Mohanty, on e-mail

    The urban woman having an affair with her sexuality in her own bed, with her own husband. Isn’t it possible?
    Colonel R.D. Singh, DAmbala Cantt

  • No Straight Tail
    Dec 08, 2003

    Anita Pratap’s column Bad Faith, Bad Taste (Nov 17) only spelt out what the majority in India think about Pakistan: viz, the latter eats Kashmir, thinks Kashmir, even sleeps with Kashmir. It’s like a 50-year-old neighbourhood obsession, which should have been put straight back in the ’60s itself. Instead, ‘Azad’ Kashmir is lost and we are negotiating to keep what’s left of her. In these trying conditions, more talks seem a waste of time.
    Krishna Karthik, On e-mail

  • Equal, Unequal
    Dec 08, 2003

    As P.S. Jha implies, Jayalalitha is more equal than the state itself in Tamil Nadu (The More Equal State, Nov 24). Speaker Kalimuthu is merely a cog in this political wheel gathering more and more muck as it lumbers along. A pliant police ever ready to do her bidding hasn’t helped too. It’s like she hasn’t realised the days of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency style of management—which Jayalalitha seems to be imitating, consciously or unconsciously—are over. We need a different set of leaders who can manage ‘consensus issues’ successfully like Vajpayee.
    Kangayam R. Rangaswamy, Madison, US

  • The Mush Cut-out
    Dec 08, 2003

    Discontent brewing in the Pakistan army (Rooks in Revolt, Nov 17) only spells more trouble for India, especially as it is the Islamist faction which is now gaining ground. Musharraf is facing the consequences of his own past actions, opportunism getting its just rewards. The issue now is: with no reliable democratic substitute to replace him, India can’t afford to weaken the general’s hand. I hope it doesn’t come to pass that we’ll have to finally prop him up. Now, that would be supreme irony.
    K. Girishankar, Marlton, US

  • Guilt at the Top
    Dec 08, 2003

    The Telgi fake paper scam (Post Box No. 420, Nov 17) is yet another classic example of a police-and-politician nexus, And to think that people of such senior rank as the Mumbai commissioner and others are implicated! No wonder then that the state governmnets of Karnataka and Maharashtra are unwilling to get the cbi involved in the matter.
    K.R. Sudhir, On e-mail

  • The Ram Balance
    Dec 08, 2003

    Apropos Mushirul Hasan’s review History in the Breaking (Nov 17), on the empirical underpinnings in the political abuse of the Ayodhya issue. The analysis charts out only one side of the abuse. For a fair perspective, it would be good to review a book like Ayodhya—The Finale by Koenraad Elst to get a take on the secularist and media abuse of Ayodhya.
    Ashish Ghosh, New Delhi

  • Pressed Against the Wall
    Dec 08, 2003

    I share Outlook’s sentiments on the freedom of the press (Editing News, Nov 24) and agree with your story that it’ll take years before the privilege code issue is settled. But the press also has to look within. One hand clapping makes no noise. Nobody denies the importance of a free press. However, even fourth estate vanguards agree that it’s no longer a holy cow and not all reporters are virtuous. At times, people are as scared of the press as the police. So, who’ll check the press? It is the people. And the people are represented by the legislature. The issue needs to be debated further. PS: It’s heartening to see the fraternity uniting on the issue against Jayalalitha. But I wonder what happened to all this unity when Tehelka was attacked and mauled.
    Madhu Singh, Ambala Cantt

  • Cast Away
    Dec 08, 2003

    Manohar Shyam Joshi’s Islamabad Diary (Nov 24) pithily shows that the so-called people-to-people contact is actually just another of those page 3 circuit parties. How is it that these people never seem to meet the real Pakistanis, that they only schmooze with representatives of the 10 per cent who hold 90 per cent of the country’s wealth. If Pakistan appears more orderly, it’s probably because the poor there have no right to be seen or heard. I can’t see a Laloo Yadav or a Mayawati becoming a leader there. And Mr Joshi, don’t sneer at India’s cities. It’s just that it’s not as easy to sweep the poor out of sight in our country.
    Anjali Sreekumar, Thiruvananthapuram

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