June 22, 2015

What happened to the women who graduated from IITs in the 90s?

Sharing this amazingly researched article:

What happened to the women who graduated from IITs in the 90s?: link


I could so totally relate the findings from it with what Sheryl Sandberg had to say in Lean In - Women, Work and the Will to Leadlink (another recommended read) and also with what I have witnessed in life personally.


Sharing some excerpts from the article - I sincerely recommend reading it in entirety - link


// Yet, often after a few years on the job, they pulled back, completely changed their personal career paths, thereby stripping corporate India of a female presence. Again and again, women gave Quartz the same underlying reason: They were unable to scale the maternal wall. // - link

Because there is no support system to ensure that working women are not penalized for motherhood, either at work place or at home (because of the reinforcement of gender stereotypes):

// At Adobe India's office, she found the work environment way less flexible and accommodating of working mothers than it had been in the US. // - link

// "I think the major deviation in career trajectory comes after having kids... I could spend the day at work but not put in additional evenings and nights or weekend hours to continue a steep trajectory that some of the men who chose to could do" // - link

And why could these men always have the choice of affording to put in weekend hours and additional nights? The answer lies below - Quoting from the same article:

// Indian fathers still leave most of the childcare to their wives, these women also told Quartz. // - link

// There are three crossroads in a working woman's life: When she joins an organisation, when she has kids and when wants to transition to a senior leadership role, Singh told Quartz. Firms will continue to lose talented women, if they do not support, mentor and motivate them during these stages // - link

Also sharing some statistics and observations from a World Economic Forum report (link):

// India’s gender chore gap, the difference between the amount of housework done by women and men, is the largest of any country for which data is available, according to new figures compiled by the World Economic Forum. // - link

// Indian women end up doing very badly in paid work and one of the reasons for that is that they are spending so much time in unpaid work,” said Saadia Zahidi, head of the gender parity program at the WEF and one of the authors of the report. // - link

Recommended reads:

From News Laundry - An article by Madhu Trehan:

1. We Let This Gen Down - link

From Indian Home Maker's blog:

2. Why do men NOT have to choose between being a CEO and a father, but women have to make this choice - link

3. Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid. - link

4. How are mothers treated in Indian culture - link

5. Women you are not doing anybody a favour... - link

More from Quartz:

6. India's most famous stay-at-home dad still has to answer questions about his salary - link

June 11, 2015

Vogue Empower My Choice: What the criticism actually did to feminism - Sharing from Sanjukta's blog

Even though my posts have come late (linklink), I still have too much to say on the subject. I think this post from Sanjukta's blog (link) is worth sharing with excellent points so please do go through - Emphasis in red bold italics mine:


// The Vogue Empower video titled ‘My Choice’ featuring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women, from different walks of life, has already taken way too much space than it deserved. And yet, I feel the need to defend it. Allow me to explain why.

My first reaction:
The video was released on Saturday and when I first saw someone sharing it, I didn’t even bother to open, just like I don’t care to open so many other virals the public seem to love. But as more people started sharing it, particularly my feminist progressive friends, I thought ok let’s see what is it all about. So I saw and thought it was just about nice, makes a few bold statements which may be appreciated except that they didn’t really have a large size woman, even when the narrative went, “To be a size zero or a size 15, my choice.”
My second reaction:
Within 24 hours it went massively Viral and I immediately knew that the feminist would jump on it now. As expected respected fellow feminists had started rolling out extremely nuanced critique. “The video is superficial, it fails to represent all kinds of women and their choices, it is about rich high society women, sexuality is technically not a choice, sleeping outside marriage is cheating and that’s not cool” and so on.
This just kills me. They do it every fucking time there is someone popular making a point about feminism. Whether its a popular actor making a TV show or a telecom company creating a TV ad. These scholars expect an one minute video to address all nuances of feminism. They want an hour long episode to deliver the same level of knowledge that they gather over a life time of research and study. For life of me I don’t get this line of criticism.
My third reaction:
By now the video have gathered over 4.5 million views on YouTube and the negative criticism have also grown exponentially. Yesterday, #MyChoice was trending at No.1 on Twitter almost all day. Every online journal and media house have at least 2-3 articles on it and almost all of them are negative criticism.
This makes me sad. We are so fucked up in our heads that we forgot who our enemies areWe are rebels without a cause, soldiers fighting the wrong enemy. Our outrage is misplaced and prejudiced. I say ‘we’ because I don’t want to point fingers, but this ‘we’ includes women who couldn’t appreciate the effort even a little bit, rather felt the need to pull it down, dismantle it, tear it apart frame by frame and obsessively criticize it.

Defense no.1: The video is not inclusive, most women cannot relate to the choices stated as they have more pressing issues.

The video is just a collection of strong statements making a simple point, women have a right to chose. Any woman could make these choices depending upon their priorities. Sure it’s not inclusive, so? If I say Save Tigers should I also say Save Lions, and Whales, and Giraffe. Rich high society women are not allowed to make statements about their issues, their choices? What seems to be superficial and irrelevant to the majority of middle class women, may still be somebody’s choice, should we be dismissive about it just because we cannot relate to it? The sad reality is that there is no solidarity in the women’s movement, Everybody is busy pulling each other down claiming, ‘my feminism is better than your feminism. Look at me my problem is more important than yours. What do you know about struggle, you rich women.’ This attitude completely defeats the basic tenets of feminism which is about equal respect for all.

Defense no.2 Sexuality is not a choice so technically she cannot say it is ‘my choice’.

Agreed. But suppose it was a choice and she chose to be an LGBT or anything in between or around, would that change anything? Would she still not have the same right to chose as she has when it comes to the size of her body or the length of her hair? This over emphasis on the fact that sexuality is not a choice rather something natural and biological makes it sound like LGBT people have no pride in their sexuality. As if, if they had a choice they would all rather be heterosexual. I say, “Screw you biology, I would chose my sexuality. Bloody hell it’s my choice to be a lesbian. So what?”

Defense No.3 Sex outside marriage is adultery and that is not cool. 

Nobody said it is. A woman is simply saying “it is my choice to have sex outside marriage. Not saying it is the best choice. Not saying you have to live with it, walk out of this marriage by all means. But it still is my choice.” Un-surprisingly men had a field day when they saw so many women outraging over one woman wanting to be adulterous. Boy were they vindicated or what. They rallied with the morality flag, gender equality flag. Suddenly they remembered that adultery is not cool and women are equal.
Indian men outraging over a woman choosing to be adulterous. If hypocrisy could blow itself off, this one would be a nuclear bomb. No one knows it better, than a hot 30+ single woman, the alarming rate at and the comfort with which most patni-vrata husbands sleep outside their marriage. But that is their privilege right? Women are supposed to accept their husband’s adultery as ‘harmless fun’ all men like to have once in a while. They should just be content with the fact that once he will be bored of the girls outside, he will come home to his wife, because she is the mother of his children, honour of his house, caregiver of his parents. They should be proud of the fact that he may have many ‘girlfriends’ but there would always be only one legally wedded ‘wife’.
We enjoy films that make adultery a matter of light humour at the end of which the woman who happily forgives the man. But we outrage when a woman wants the same. Whose agenda are we serving?

Defense No.4 – What business does Vogue has talking about women’s empowerment when they thrive on selling unrealistic body image.

Socialist feminist have dismissed the video at the outset simply because it is by Vogue. Last I heard, this was called ‘prejudice’, a vice feminists are supposed to fight against. We should judge the video on its own merits and in the right context. Let’s understand the context. These PSAs are made by corporate brands as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives. Please note, CSR activity was made mandatory by the new Company Law in 2013. So companies are bound to do these initiatives, but they try to get maximum value out of it which is ‘branding’. So even when Vogue talks about feminism, they need to sell their brand. And it is in this context that we should judge them. If the same ad would have been made by the government we’d have perhaps questioned it more. But when a brand makes it, let’s give them a bit of latitude.

Conclusion: What the negative criticism actually did

To conclude, it is easy to outrage, very difficult to create. The first thing arm chair activists do is to write an opinion piece in some paper or magazine and feel extremely good about themselves. But does that really help the cause? Here’s what the criticism actually did – Young girls and boys, say the age group of 16 to 21 instantly liked the bold video and applauded it. Some got inspired too. But as the senior feminists poured in the nuanced criticism, they felt confused, even embarrassed. They were quiet downed. Then, the men joined the criticism. As a spoof of the video, they created their own version of My Choice, as if they didn’t already have enough choices. Cyber bullies started personal attack against Deepika Padukone questioning her credibility as a voice for feminism. Feminism was hijacked, everybody forgot who the real enemy was.
As researchers and activists we have to be more careful about how we react to this new branch of social activism or commentary by CSR trusts. Let’s encourage them, engage with them, enable them to make better products. But let’s not be aggressive and negative. 
Ps. Here is what I understand of adultery by women:
To sleep out side marriage. My Choice. Not saying its the best choice. Not saying you have to put up with it. It’s your choice to walk out too. But you know you could consider the fact that while I may have many boyfriends you’d always be my husband, my Pati no.1. I may be doing many handsome hunks outside when am traveling for work, but I’d always come back to you because after all you are the father of my child (or so we think) the honour of my family. I wish I could change but you know sometimes, women would be women. Thoda bahat chalta hai, just adjust and compromise. Or you could take a cue from Bollywood and try win me back. Try Biwi No.1 or No Entry or Masti. May be your dedicated patni-vrata sewa, tapasya & tyaag would make me realize that asli sukh ghar ki murge mein hi hai. //

Related posts:

1. So why is My Choice upsetting to so many 'intellectuals' - link
2. When a woman talks about her sex life as her choice, patriarchy's control over female sexuality is challenged - link

June 10, 2015

When a woman talks about her sex life as her choice, Patriarchy's control over female sexuality is challenged

The mere thought of a woman talking about (consensual) sex before and/or outside marriage as her personal choice (link) has left our country scandalized.

Because:
Sex is considered as a duty which women are bound to fulfil at the behest of Pati Parameshwar.

Whereas:
(Straight) Men are encouraged to view sex as a default right which women must provide them with to justify their existence to men.

And:
Sex is not seen as an act of mutual pleasure which one is supposed to 'earn' through one's (sexual) partner's(s') consent.

Therefore:
Indian political system decided that men should be continued to be allowed to legally rape their wives - link

Because:
The institution of marriage can only be protected by legally acknowledging that wives are sex slaves, and therefore wives should have no right to consent/dissent to sex with their respective partners.

And:
Social (link, link), administrative (linklink), legal (linklink) and political systems (link, link, link) 'understand' that men can 'lose control' and have the right to rape/assault their wives (link)/ girlfriends (link)/ daughters (link, link)/ strangers (link)/ children (link)/ infants (link) or punish women participating in perceived 'immortal activities' by raping/assaulting them (link).

Which is why:
This judge relaxed sentence to a criminal who sodomized a one year old infant (link).

Because:
Quoting Indian Home Maker: // In rape culture, we understand that if the rapist was living alone, away from his native place, he could lose control over himself. // - link 

And:
Staying 'alone and away from family' in this case implies that this man possibly did not have access to sexual partner, a circumstance which invoked the sympathies of the judge.

Because:
It is understood that the womankind is obligated to provide men with sex and if they fail to do so, some of its members will have to bear the brunt by being sexually assaulted and/or raped by those men who have no access to sexual partners.

Which is why:
Skewed gender ratios and legalizing prostitution are often cited when talking about solutions to rape, so that men have access to legitimate sexual partners (and not rape other men's wives/future wives), rather than ensuring that men (or people) who violate other people's rights are punished.

Because:
Rape of a woman is not seen as a crime against her as a person, even though rape is a serious violation of one's rights over one's own body.

Because:
Women are not seen as human beings with human rights. The notion that women are people is considered radical. (This notion is called feminism, and has derogatory perceptions associated with it).

Instead:
Rape of a woman is seen as a crime against:
1. Her family's honor and/or
2. Her future husband's right to her virginity and/or
3. Duties which she owes to her current husband

Because:
Women's family/husband/society are seen to have more rights over women's lives than women themselves.

And therefore:
Rape of sex workers is not taken seriously.

Because:
There is no 'honor' associated with women daring to have sex outside the framework defined earlier in this post, and rape is taken seriously only when social honor is offended (link).

And:
Several people in India also see (consensual) sex outside/before marriage as a synonym to rape, or 'as heinous as' rape.

Which is why:
Khaps suggested: "Girls should get married at the age of sixteen to prevent rapes." (link). To prevent men from being helplessly provoked into raping sixteen year old girls children.

Because:
Men are assumed to have no control accountability over their actions, and women are solely supposed to bear the responsibility of ensuring that others don't assault/violate them.

Actually:
This is what the Khaps are not saying: link

Because:
Quoting Indian Home Maker - // When there are not enough young women for men to marry, Patriarchal societies start making excuses to marry young and minor girls, so that more men can have wives. (Patriarchal societies believe all men are entitled to sex and wives.) // - link
(Note: Patriarchal societies also do not acknowledge the existence of homosexuality and trans-gendered people.)

Also:
For Patriarchy to sustain, controlling female sexuality has been very critical: Parents are assigned with the sole responsibility of protecting their daughters' virginity till marriage in order to ensure that their daughters remain 'good and pure' for their future husbands.

Because:
Getting Married and Staying Married (at times, die trying) is portrayed as the single most important purpose of a woman's life. This motto provides the key to make women go through and tolerate abuse and violence. ("By lodging a complaint the girl would get undue publicity and that would adversely affect her marriage prospect" - link).

And therefore:
Distorted perceptions of honour were attached with simple activities which should have otherwise never have been used to justify control and violence against women.(linklink, link).

And:
Women who are perceived to violate any of these (unspecified) rules are likely to face the risk of violence against them being justified.

Which is why:
A mob of men were confident that they could publicly assault a girl who came out of a pub in Guwahati - link.

Because:
They seemed confident of two things:
a) That people would blame and shame the victim since she has participated in the 'dishonorable' act of visiting a pub at late night. 
b) That videotaping the incident would silence the victim, as it is her honor which is at risk in the society if she raises her voice.

Also:
Many people seem to 'understand' if parents kill their daughter upon finding her in a 'compromising position', they have the right to kill her (link).

Because:
Family honor lies in ensuring that unmarried women's vaginas remain untouched till marriage, and 'honor' can take precedence over parenting responsibilities and/or human rights.

Which is why:
Indian men (and parents and elders) seem to have no idea that it is not their birthright to control the sex lives of their female relatives.

And hence:
Trigger alert - violence. This man decided to padlock his wife's genitals, citing that three of his sisters and six of his nieces eloped: link (Note: Discretionary caution advised before going through the link as the article is extremely disturbing.)

Also:
Women who question the system are blamed and shamed to ensure that nobody goes against the system.

Which is why:
A woman talking about her sex life as her choice has outraged so many people.

Because:
Women having control over who, how and when they should have (consensual) sex with would be a threat to patriarchy.

Because:
This would mean that the distorted perceptions around which activities are 'honorable' cannot be used to justify controlling women. 

Many of the people who thought My Choice was irresponsible for considering (consensual) sex outside marriage as a personal choice would agree with the below:

1. It would be 'honorable' for a rapist to offer his hand in marriage to his rape victim.
2. It would be 'honorable' for a rape victim to end her life to protect her family's 'honor'.
3. It would be 'honorable' for a woman to 'adjust' in an abusive marriage than walk out because protecting the 'institution of marriage' is assumed to be the sole responsibility of women.
4. Responsible talk would be teaching women to 'adjust' and tolerate abuse in marriages.
5. Responsible talk would be to warn women of 'consequences' for reaching home late than telling them that they deserve the freedom to be able to come home any time they want without running the risk of being assaulted.

Related posts:

1. So why is My Choice upsetting to so many 'intellectuals' - link

2. Do some of us believe that parents have the option of killing their child if they find her in a compromising position? - link

3. What happens when we allow legal sanctions to marital rape - link

4. It's 'rape culture' not 'tribal culture': On the West Bengal gang-rape - link

5. I'm a woman in Indian society and I am not yet free... - link

Recommended reads:

From Indian Home Maker's blog:

1. Immoral policing: A guest post by Carvaka - link

2. I'm now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality - link

3. The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal 'Consequences' for women - link

From Sanjukta's blog:

4. Vouge Empower My Choice: What the criticism actually did to feminism - link

June 07, 2015

Dil Dhadakne Do: Good sense meets fun

In an unusual departure to my usual method of selecting movies from new releases, I decided to watch Dil Dhadakne Do on the first day without waiting for the reviews to be out. I had faith in Zoya Akhtar's good taste and ability to deliver something which is better than the average Bollywood stuff in any case. The Akhtars usually never leave you wanting for sense and feel-good factor in their movies, two things which are pretty much all that I look forward to in movies :) Besides, to boost up the feel-good tone, the movie is set-up in a cool, urban backdrop that is typical of the Akhtar movies. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that I found the movie quite enjoyable: it was funny, entertaining and scores special points for (sensibly) touching on some of my close-to-heart subjects. As to the performances, Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra (special mention) were predictably good, but Ranveer Singh was the surprise package. Humor department was completely handled by Ranveer. He was the soul of the funniest moments in the film, and managed to make us laugh without even speaking a word. Kudos to Zoya for reviving subtle humor: I thought most movie makers have long forgotten the term!!

Spoiler alert - Brownie points to the movie for touching on the below subjects:

1. The hypocrisy of Bharatiya Sanskar and Indian parenting which put social acceptance above everything else, including their children's happiness.
2. How parents and society make it difficult for women (even women who are extremely successful and independent) to walk out of unhappy marriages, virtually making no support system available for women choosing to walk out.
3. How shattering it is for a girl child to be not treated as a part of her maternal home after her marriage, despite being as loving and responsible towards her family as male sibling(s).
4. Society's unwillingness to understand that an unhappy marriage doesn't involve an extra-marital affair or physical abuse, and that not indulging in these don't necessarily make a 'good husband'.
5. Also, society's unwillingness to respect a woman's decision to walk out of an unhappy marriage.
6. After marriage, having children sons is viewed as the single most important purpose in a woman's life, irrespective of what she may have achieved or is trying to achieve.
7. Physical abuse is not the only proof of abuse by an intimate partner. Abuse begins through subtler forms of control.
8. Special mention of one scene: Priyanka Chopra has done a superb job in depicting the pain, the excruciating pain of a woman who is told by her father that she will not be welcome in her maternal home and that she will receive no support of any kind from her family during one of the most difficult phases in her life: divorce.

Special points for setting this up in high society, to bust myths around correlation between gender equality and social status.

For all this and more, I can forgive the movie's shoddy ending which seemed patched-up with too many high-drama scenes, scaling many notches below the level of sensibility with which the rest of the movie was made. I wish Zoya Akhtar had not taken the easy route out, but I guess she had to please the audience by putting in some masala to create a 'perfectly happy ending'. I cannot believe I am complaining about that!! But somehow I felt that when movies like Queen and Aaksahvaani managed to do full justice to the topics they were dealing with and have happy endings, Zoya could've done better than what she had. I can overlook the ending though, like I said, for what is in the rest of the movie.

Spoiler alert again - Some questions worth reflecting on:

1. In the real world. everything does not come together perfectly at the end. Most Indian parents will not suddenly transform and become supportive of their daughter's divorce like Ayesha's. Ayesha even had a supportive brother and an ex boyfriend to count on. In a society which makes it difficult for women to have any support system outside their family circles, where women are not encouraged to socialize outside their own families or to get 'too involved' with their careers, how difficult must it be for a woman to have anyone to count on if she wants to walk out of an unhappy marriage? How many women are deterred from walking out of abusive and unhappy marriages because of lack of emotional support?

On a positive note, I do hope the 'perfectly happy ending' makes parents see that it is not only their responsibility, but it also feels like the most wonderful thing in the world to be supportive of daughters who choose to walk out of unhappy marriages.

2. If her parents didn't support her divorce, would Aisha still have gone ahead and divorced her husband? Or would she have remained unhappily married for the rest of her life to remain in the good books of her parents? Why do we have to make it such a difficult choice for women: Family Vs. Happiness? Is it fair to expect someone to choose between family and freedom?

3. Why do Indian parents take pride in 'happily married daughters'? If their daughter is unhappy in marriage, to what extent are they willing to sacrifice their daughter's happiness to please the society?

4. Ayesha's mother admits that she didn't leave her own husband because she had 'no where to go'. Even for someone as successful and financially independent as Ayesha (who also had an ex-BF with open arms to go back to and be happily married again), divorce was a very difficult choice. So her mother's choice is understandable even with all the alimony laws we have in place. At the same time, can you really blame her mother for not having planned for this, in a society which expects women to solely take care of their families and not prioritize financial independence? Shouldn't her contribution in supporting her husband's career and bringing up their children count for 'something'? Doesn't she deserve to have 'some place to go to' if she wants to walk out of an unhappy marriage?

While I deeply recognize the value of the contribution made by homemakers to our society, and I do understand the need for empowering them financially with the help of the legal system, it saddens me to say that most of their work goes unrecognized and unpaid for in our society. Even their own family members often take them for granted. This reminds me to strongly emphasize the need for young women, to those who still can, to build careers, pursue dreams beyond marriage ad children, socialize and create their own support systems, make dependable friends outside their families and most importantly, be financially independent.

Related posts:

1. Piku: Warm, lovable, funny and engaging - link

Recommended reads - From Indian Home Maker's blog:

1. Eleven questions the family elders ask women in unhappy marriages - link

2. Women and Friendship - Building a Support System - link

It's raining in Mumbai

Finally, summer is over!! Here's how the first monsoon looks like from my balcony:



June 04, 2015

Fifty five word fiction: What did the girl learn?

I read this short story long back and thought it's worth sharing. I tried a lot to trace the original link but remained unsuccessful, so I am sharing the version I reconstructed from memory:

// A twelve year old girl was standing near her house door. Some boys started ogling at her. Her father noticed the boys ogling at her. “Get in”, he told her. When she looked confused, he slapped her shouting “Get in”. That day, the girl learnt that when the boys ogled at her, it’s her fault. //

Appeal to the readers: If you happen to know or find the original source, please share it so that I can add credits and share the original content. I will be really grateful.

Related posts:

1. These are the fairy tales which we should tell our children!! - link

Piku: Warm, lovable, funny and engaging

Here's the thing: I love Amitabh Bachchan.

I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Sholay.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Anand.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Don.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Aankhein.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Black.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Viruddh.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan in Kaun Banega Crorepati.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man of the 70's.
I loved Amitabh Bachchan's baritone voice from the 90's.

I think the Senior Mr. Bachchan can be hotter than Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham put together. At the same time, I think Amitabh Bachchan can also be the most endearing grandfatherly character you can come across.

When Amitabh Bachchan says he will keep crossing many more milestones for the wannabe actors to emulate, I agree with him, even though I love Shah Rukh Khan (AB said that with reference to Don and KBC).

I love Amitabh Bachchan so much that I don't think a salutation/prefix is necessary to indicate respect. I think the reference Amitabh Bachchan commands respect on its own.

And when Amitabh Bachchan does a Bhaskor Banerjee in Piku (link), which is very unlike most of the other characters he has done in the recent past, he made me fall in love with him all over again. He tells us once again why he is Amitabh Bachchan. I strongly feel that Bhaskor Banerjee wouldn't have been even remotely lovable if any other actor would have played that role.

All that said, the movie is fantastic. Generally, any scene which indicates that the lead actress has an actual career/dream/goal other than/apart from meeting her 'true love' is a gold-standard bench-mark of whether I am going a particular movie or not. In this case, I haven't even seen the trailer before deciding to watch the movie, but the poster itself was convincing enough for me to have high expectations from the movie. My expectations were justified, given the lead actress is occupying considerable space on the primary poster, not in a romantic or erotic pose. I wasn't disappointed in the least, as it turned out to be a treat from start to end. I won't bore you all with a typical movie review here, by talking about performances (which were all good), screenplay and direction (reflect maturity which is rare in Indian cinema), dialogue (warm, funny and relatable) and the storyline itself (simple and straightforward, with no unnecessary baggage). All I can say is I am glad that I had chosen to engross myself in this two and a half hours of high quality entertainment. I really wouldn't mind watching it over and over again :)

On a different note, Bollywood has started giving me hopes to expect good movies, rare as they may come. I can recollect quite a few enjoyable movies in the recent past which didn't have misogynist undertones, so hope this becomes the norm. It seems that our audience is finally ready to accept stronger female characters other than the love interest or the ideal family woman.

Spoiler alert - High points:

- Piku dusts cobwebs and rushes everyday morning to find taxi, something which makes her relatable.

- Piku tells her maasi in a simple, matter-of-factly way that sex is a 'need' when she is asked if she is in touch with her (sexual) partners (implying yes).

- Piku understands the importance of marriage and finding the right life partner, but at the same time is in no desperation to get married.

Bhaskor Banerjee tells his daughter's potential dates that he expects Piku to have a partner who is supportive and is willing to share her responsibilities, and that he will not let Piku marry someone who is controlling and treats her like a servant. Besides, he is not worried that Piku may never be married as he doesn't see marriage as an essential event which completes a woman's life. I really believe that more Indian parents should take this stance and express it as strongly as they can.

- Piku loves her father, and so does he, and neither of them see each other as a burden.

- Piku makes it clear to her potential love interest that she will not give up on her father post marriage.

- The entire movie makes us see that it is okay awesome for daughters to love and take care of their parents without believing that they should give up on parents after marriage. And it is even more awesome for parents to expect this from their daughters, who are as much their children as sons.

Bhaskor Banerjee cycles around the streets of Kolkata and buys Jalebi. It is very heartening to see an old man having childish fun.

- The movie has several funny moments which stem out of Bhakor Banerjee's obstinacy and constipation (to Mr. Bachchan's credit).

Recommended reads (from IndianHomeMaker's blog):

1. Piku in patriarchy - link

2. Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing - link

3. If I made Baghban - link