Jaya Bachchan and public memory had almost stopped agreeing with each other. The last time she tried stirring any emotion in us, it was as a sand statue. Tough job, given she was pitted against an Abhishek Bachchan swishing around in leather skirts and studded capes in a unintentional comedy called Drona.
And then with Baby Aradhya, her Red Bentley, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's pregnancy weight and Amitabh Bachchan's birthday gala, Jaya was relegated to being a morosely smiling figure swathed in sequinned tents - also known as salwar kameezes designed by Abu Jani and Sandip Khosla.
But it seems she has finally got her moment - a moment everyone from Arnab Goswami and his appetite-slaying rhetoric or Pooja Bedi with her perfect blow dry has been vying to seize. The race to slaughter and hang the Delhi rapists upside down - all with a sweep of a sentence, a hack of a word.
Outrage can be very infectious - and spark short-lived, at times, arm-chair verbal activism. Example: Facebook sloganeering, Twitter empathy and coffee break mourning. And it's the same virtual vents to outrage that probably dilutes the sense of immediacy in us, pushes the fear of helplessness back into the subconscious - a fear that could probably drive some real collective action if allowed to sink and bite in. A fear that Jaya Bachchan probably spoke about in her otherwise dramatic, cinematic Rajya Sabha address.
She said: “I’m ashamed. I personally feel very, very ashamed that I am sitting in this house and not being able to do anything."
In these relentless TV interviews, these hundreds of Twitter updates and Facebook statuses, we don't come across as scared - we are strong people with immense self-assurance and ideas to fight crime dime a dozen. However, the very next day, the co-passenger mumbles an insulting, insinuating slang into our ears before hurrying off the bus, we don't run after him and grab him by the collar. We choose to proceed to work instead. Harassers can wait, deadlines can't.
We don't think we can't do anything. Or to rephrase it, we don't live with the fear of failing ourselves at most times. We are all doers in our heads. And hence let ideas remain ideas.
If you listen to a Parliament speech, India doesn't even sound like the India you know. It's a rich-in-metaphors wondrous offspring of a stunning speech. And Jaya Bachchan probably managed to shatter it a bit by spelling out how doomed we actually are. If we can pardon the prolonged sniffling, it actually makes a lot of sense. Maybe a few more Rajya Sabha trophy MPs should take cue?
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