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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

stone age revisited

It has been reported in the Press that Britney Spears created a sensation of sorts when she tried on a 'T' shirt in a Los Angeles store in full view of all people. Shoppers were treated to a fantastic view of one of her breasts popping out of her bra! Janet Jackson gave a nipplegate twist to her 'wardrobe malfunction' by blaming it all on poor Bush and saying that poor Bush wanted to divert attention from the Iraq war.

I presume that it all started with that famous query –‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?’ We have heard of the Elphinstone College and also of Sharon Stone, the actress. In our school days, we were taught that a rolling stone gathers no moss but, when we grew up, we came to realize that a pop group called ‘the Rolling Stones’ was a craze! Similarly, we were told to leave no stone unturned to reach your objective – whatever that may be – and that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones, for obvious reasons! We are acquainted with cinemas like Phool aur Pathar, Pathar kay sanam,. Geet gaya Pathro ney, Kala Pathar and so on pathar being the Hindi equivalent of stone. An entity called ‘the stone man’ created havoc in the night streets of Calcutta in the seventies by bashing up the heads of sleeping pavement dwellers with stones. And there is hardly anyone who has not come across one or the other type of stones like the kidney stone, the gall bladder stone and the precious stones. We also have the Flintstones on Star TV regaling us with their antics and realize that, even in the electronic age, we are obsessed with stones and are really and truly going back to the Stone Age.

In prehistoric days, might was right. The caveman, armed with a club, would protect his tribe and, when he wanted a woman, he would go out and find someone who looked o.k. and just lift her. In case of opposition, might would be the deciding factor and the stronger of the two would sling his catch on his shoulders and make a beeline for his cave.

Similar scenes are re-enacted regularly in Bollywood presentations.

The hero holds the heroine from the rear and both spread their arms as in the Titanic. Then they keep going round and round finally ending when the hero holds on to one leg of the heroine and lifts her off her feet, swings her around and ends by tilting her whole body as Big B did with his sweetheart in Hum. The only difference is that in Big B’s case, there was a genuine reason to tilt the heroine (to make her part with a coin she had deftly hidden in between her cleavage) whilst in other cases there does not seem to be any apparent justification except to show off the strength of the hero and the legs of the heroine! Added scenes of the heroine getting wet either in the rains or from the spray of the adjacent waterfall or being pushed in the swimming pool make for greater appeal which readily converts into the pleasant tinkling of the cash registers!

The final nail in the coffins of modernity is exhibitionism. Hem lines are on the way up and neck lines on the way down. The fairer sex has done away with practically all support systems that used to be related to decent dressing. Designers are now concentrating on identifying alternate dress material and, we may, in a few years time return to the fig leaf culture!


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