Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why the World Stood Still - I

I go to the website of a popular leading news daily and guess what the top headline is?

No Ramdev, Sorry. For the first time in 3 weeks, its not you. Well, don't look at me like that! Didn't you hear? Ash is pregnant!

Babaji, calm down. You might have fasted till all your ribs showed, clothed yourself in  designer salwar kameez to play hide and seek with the cops and even discovered a new drug for cancer, made from hibiscus seeds lubricated with neem oil. Yet, no matter what antics you try, you will not claim that space meant for the nation's most important event today . For the world's most beautiful lady just surpassed all your feats with one of her own - by getting pregnant! See what power a woman can yield..err, perhaps just a beautiful woman can yield.

I did spend some time though trying to analyze things ...some consolation to a guilt ridden heart accused forever of wasting time, you see.  What exactly is the news value in Ash getting pregnant that it commands a top headline slot? It definitely can't be pregnancy. Well, even goats get pregnant, you know. No big achievement in that! I mean, no offense to all the mothers out there... I do understand the joy and pride in welcoming your cute, cuddly, squishy, soft, plump toddler and all that but hey, you weren't featured in HelveticaNeue font 12 pt on the front page of a news site when you were expecting, were you?  

So why Ash? She is beautiful. No, far too abstract, unverifiable and hence inappropriate a proposition to make. She is 'claimed' to be beautiful could be a better one; in fact,  claimed to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

Interestingly, the term "most beautiful in the world" would probably be the biggest lunch-time  joke for the strict rationals. For one thing, there are no universally accepted parameters for beauty. Secondly, even if you did have them, you simply cannot sample all the billion women in the entire world and compare and decide the winner. What a joke.

Yet, even going by the less philosophic, more worldly facts, the whole hype around Ms Rai seems very intriguing. I mean, we have been having Miss India contests from as long ago as 1959. Ash is also not the first Indian woman to be crowned Ms.World on an international platform. Reita Faria, who represented India at the pageant was crowned Ms.World in 1966. Ever heard of her?  To make things more interesting, the same year, we had another charming enigmatic lady win a better ranked title  -  Sushmita Sen, who was crowned Miss Universe the same year Ash won the title.Yet, Sen does not wield the same right to the aristocratic aura that surrounds her counterpart. Why?

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