Saturday, July 16, 2005

Desperate – and not just housewives



“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in the 1800s. And as a stylish 21st century TV drama brings home the point– they still do.

Man or woman, rich or merely comfortably middle class, we’re all desperately seeking something more from our lives.

Desperate Housewives captures that feeling in telling the stories of four suburban American women – and their men – as they seek answers to the questions we were never supposed to ask. Not into our accept-you-can’t-have-everything 30s and 40s. A stage in life when it’s always safer (and wiser) to remember: things could have been a lot worse.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Aur bhi gham hain zamaane mein and all that jazz. The fact that you and me are ‘luckier than most’ is especially hard to ignore in a country where every citizen can’t take two square meals a day for granted. But even as we lucky ones move from roti, kapda aur makaan to salad, short kurtis and SUVs, there remains – often unfulfilled – another basic need.

The need for intimacy.

The need for a man or woman in our lives.

Not just any man or woman but one who understands, who accepts and yes loves us for who we are. The man or woman many of us thought we were getting married to who, somewhere along the way, retreated into a Harry Potter-like Invisibility Cloak. Or left the building altogether – if not in body, in spirit.

If you take a closer look at the problems of the women of Wisteria lane – they all stem from this very same source. The longing for love and companionship. Acknowledgement and appreciation. As the desperate housewife who blew out her brains in the first episode observes from her permanent philosophical perch: “Human beings are designed for many things. Loneliness isn't one of them”.

Take Lynette, the career woman who gave up her job to raise 4 kids. She’s exhausted and frazzled and of course wondering “did I really make the right decision”. But what’s really eating her is a husband who seems to have no idea what she is going through. How could he even suggest they “take a risk” and have sex without a condom, when there are four such risks already running around the house in muddy shoes?

Then there’s Bree, the everything-must-be-perfect homemaker whose husband wants a divorce because he’s tired of living in a ‘detergent commercial’. But would things really be any different if Bree didn’t subject her family to gourmet meals every night for dinner? Her friend Susan manages to burn even macaroni and cheese, which makes her ‘human’ and ‘real’ – just what Bree's husband says he wants her to be. But hello - Susan’s husband left her for his secretary.

For all its popularity, Desperate Housewives is being called an idiot box illusion - a fantasy which gives the impression of reflecting reality. “The main characters are 21st-century women, with 21st-century wardrobes and attitudes, but they’re dropped into 1950s suburbia,” says one op-ed writer. A suburbia of domestic claustrophobia that does not exist anymore - at least not in America.

According to the most recent U.S. census, 52% of American marriages will end in divorce, so if you’re trapped it’s really out of choice - not lack of it.

But that, I think, is the brilliance of the show. Yes, there is always the option of walking out but even in a society where it is commonplace, people choose to pretend things are working. Or live on hope.

As Mary Alice summarises it from Up Above: “Each new day in suburbia brings with it a new set of lies… We whisper them in the dark, telling ourselves we're happy, or that he's happy. That we can change, or that he will change his mind… Yes, each night before we fall asleep we lie to ourselves in a desperate, desperate hope that come morning - it will all be true.”

If anything, Desperate Housewives reflects more accurately the state of affairs in upper middle class India, than suburban America. A society where divorce rates could potentially be as high as 52% but aren’t because couples somehow ‘adjust’ and carry on.

I once asked a shrink who treats mainly south Bombay and yuppie types how many marriages, in his experience, would be classified as ‘happy’. He paused a moment and pronounced: “Three out of ten”. And then he added, “It's funny. That's worse than the cancer survival rate after 5 years!”

So why don’t 7 out of 10 marriages end in divorce in India? Simple. We learn to channelise the energy and passion that should have gone into the relationship elsewhere. Not just into extra-marital affairs – that, of course works for some. But most pour themselves into work, some into religion. For women, it's often their kids.

Marriage becomes a joint project: a lovely well run home in the right neighbourhood... Where the children attend the right schools, the men (hurts to say that, but it's usually the men) make enough money for annual foreign vacations and women quietly polish their life until it gleams with perfection. Except they're perhaps not as suicidal– thanks to domestic help.

And no, this is not the last word on the subject. The jury is still out on ‘kidnap aunty’...

14 comments:

  1. desperate housewives... sexy and single at 30...houseful of nut cases...there is a story everywhere in america, funny or sad, ......just waiting to be told...
    do we not have the stories in us.. why is our idiot box full of some inane shows all the time.... desperate tv audience is what we are...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting post Rashmi!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sure every housewife in suburban america looks like she just walked out of a cosmopolitan photo shoot and the police in every county are too busy chasing cats and dogs to worry about murders and crimes being committed right under their nose.
    I used to like the show in the beginning, but now its just turned into another harlequin romance novel with twists and turns no different from any other soap opera whose characters are 5 minutes from leaping onto each other in a sex scene like 14 year olds in high school.
    It reminded me a lot of that novel The Namesake from Jhumpa lahiri and that one is famous in every south asian home. Plus Mira Nair's directing it, i'm sure everyone's going to talk about how many barriers that film/novel broke without ever realizing the irony that its an insult to our ethnicity by a cheapening of our cultural differences by creating cross cultural stereotypes i.e. brown people in a white stereotype (desperate housewives but with indians etc.).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous12:20 PM

    I think most marriages in India don't end in divorce because its something society still frowns upon, yea people stay for the kids but its also because women would end up in a more adverse position if they filed for divorce. Enforcing alimony payments or actually getting the divorce through isnt possible for every women. Sometimes their own parents dont let them divorce. So, i am not so sure that we Indians have the key to happiness in marriages, i guess its the way our society is that divorce is not really an option.

    Jatin
    www.twentyonwards.blogs.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Tough to understand why you are so one-sided in your reviews of either 'desperate housewives' and 'salman khan'. Must be something to do with your journalism background (which I've heard doesn't exist). You might be an IIM A grad (though it is only said, there is no proof), but you still need to undertake a journalism course to learn the art of taking stands. Unlettered comments and illiterate stands do not make the reader an idiot. Please don't consider readers of these blogs as the same. Despite your writing style being good, I don't agree with the anti stand you've ended up taking. It's not right at all Rashmi. Think about it (if you can, even though I suspect you lack that power too)...

    ReplyDelete
  6. i think whoever posted that last anonymous comments lacks guts as well....
    i hope anonymous shows some spine by revealing himself/ herself and showing

    as for the quality of writing and standard of journalism are concerned i guess anonymous shd know that readers are the ones to judge....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ashleyjd7:25 PM

    Rashmi,
    housewives in bombay lack communication with their spouses one reason could be the time constraint.The fear of expressing or communicating leads them to frustration of their desires .Infact there are so many articles where women say that they always subject themselves to way pleasing to their husbands and thats where the mutual desires are not met and everything is one sided.
    Intimacy may not be fulfilled only by sex.A women needs emotional fulfillment and inorder to get that she may give herself to a man.The lack of emotional fulfillment also leads to chat rooms on the net.At the end of it I think communication between spouses can always put an end to the so called loneliness and desperation.Women in india are totally different from the U.S.A.One can go ahead and compare Bombay to the U.S as whole but not the rest of india because India when penetrated further brings out a lot of cultural and religious truths.The place where i come from that's Mangalore,Divorce is looked upon as a kalank whereas my same community in bombay have a different opinion.But at the end of it no woman/women should subject themselves to an abusive relationship.
    One of the great american evangelist and advisor to many U.S Presidents,Dr Billy Graham once said
    "The family is always the a key to the society " thats where the US fails miserably and India tends to stand strong.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shashank11:41 PM

    I remember you had posted some stuff about 'selfish ppl' who decide not to have a child. It made me wonder ... that makes USA, UK etc very very selfish countries indeed! And I wonder what you will say if your daughter decides the same some day too.

    On the same note, it's surprising you haven't called couples who decide to split "selfish".

    ReplyDelete
  9. Regarding theme of "Desperate Housewives" and Divorce, there is conflict. Desperate Housewives is a show which predoimananetly exhibits the living culture and societies of west and if we comparet the both then its likes we are comparing the exisitence of RAM in US in case they telecast it there both are different countires or rather say world altogether.

    However the aping is there in india for western clothes their culture and living styles. But that is only at macro level inside we are still very orthodox societies where divorce/sepration is not an easy task or just a pulse reaction.

    Even if girl belongs to mumbai or other metors though the society might deal softer but the question remains the same? Why did not she ignore him the way he is? What is the guarantee if she finds the next one same to her expectations.

    I truly agree that happy couples share a lot more than bed but in today's world when double salaries are dominant ppl prefer to watch cinemas on weekend rather sitting and home and have good chat.


    -Tripti

    ReplyDelete
  10. kidnap aunty rocks! you know its strange that i thought the exact same thing when i read the story for the first time. This harvard educated person who is the director of Bcg doesnt *really* know what his wife is doing?

    well india is sad. as a matter of fact the whole society is sad and hypocritical.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 减速机 齿轮减速机 SEW减速机 摆线针轮减速机 蜗轮蜗杆减速机 interlining
    明星代言 明星经纪公司
    制动单元 铝壳电阻
    modern abstract art sofa manufacturer
    净水器 开水器 净水机 净水 软水机 软水 直饮机 家用净水 家用净水器 家用净水机 中央净水 中央净水器 水家装 水家电 水卫士 混合机
    过滤机 DHL快递 俄罗斯签证 回转支承 Laser marking
    保险箱 法兰 法兰标准
    polycarbonate sheet 回流焊 波峰焊
    压球机 注册上海公司 儿童摄影
    牛皮癣 皮肤病 制氮机
    食堂售餐机 校园一卡通
    学校一卡通 ic卡售饭机
    食堂售饭机 深圳一卡通
    广东售饭机 机电设备安装
    北京发票 代开发票
    餐饮发票 住宿发票
    广告发票
    网络电话 免费网络电话
    假发 补发
    织发 植发
    压滤机 板框压滤机
    蒸馏水机 纯蒸气发生器
    上海搬家公司 上海搬场公司
    大众搬家 大众搬场
    张家界旅游 香港旅游
    深圳旅行社 打包机
    收缩机 对讲机 电源模块
    血管栓塞剂
    售饭机 水控机 水控器
    萎缩性胃炎 neoprene laptop bags
    SEO优化
    SEO优化 计量泵
    胃炎 胃病
    冷水机 冰水机
    工业冷水机
    北京特价机票 北京打折计票 北京国际机票
    北京机票预定 北京飞机票
    北京订机票 北京机票查询 饮料机械
    银杏 水培花卉 企业宣传片 空分设备
    化工泵 离心机
    电话交换机 程控交换机 集团电话 集装袋
    混合机 混合机
    混合机捏合机 捏合机
    捏合机导热油炉 导热油炉
    导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜
    反应釜 spherical roller bearing
    搬运车 搬运车 电动搬运车 油桶搬运车 堆高车 电动堆高车 半电动堆高车 堆垛车
    高空作业平台车 电动叉车 平衡重叉车 前移叉车 电瓶叉车
    韩国饰品批发 模块电源
    X架 超薄灯箱> 易拉宝 展柜制作
    代理服务器 游戏加速器 网络加速器
    网通加速器 电信加速器 电信网通转换器
    电信网通加速器 网通电信互转
    网通电信互通 网络游戏加速器
    美国VPN代理 美国独享VPN 美国独享IP
    pvc ceiling panel Spherical roller bearings
    SEO优化
    安全鞋 劳保鞋 防砸鞋 电绝缘鞋 上海安全鞋 上海劳保鞋 江苏劳保鞋
    服装软件 服装管理软件 进销存软件
    进销存管理软件 服装管理系统 服装进销存软件
    进销存系统 进销存管理系统 免费进销存软件
    吉林中医 东北特产
    打包机
    阳痿 阴茎短小 阴茎增大
    早泄 前列腺炎 阴茎增粗 阴茎延长
    国际机票 上海国际机票
    国际特价机票 国际打折机票
    砂磨机 砂磨机
    砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    卧式砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    三辊研磨机 三辊研磨机
    三辊研磨机 混合机 混合机
    混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机
    干粉砂浆设备 干粉砂浆设备
    干粉砂浆设备 捏合机 捏合机 捏合机 导热油炉 导热油炉 导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜 反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜
    乳化机 涂料设备 干混砂浆设备 无重力混合机 胶体磨 涂料成套设备 双螺旋混合机
    北京婚庆 北京婚庆公司
    400电话
    办证 呼吸机 制氧机
    亚都 亚都加湿器 亚都净化器
    亚都装修卫士
    饰品批发 小饰品批发 韩国饰品 韩国饰品批发 premature ejaculation penis enlargement
    安利产品 马来西亚留学
    网站优化 网站推广
    衬布
    代写论文
    代写论文
    论文代写 代写论文
    磁力泵
    离心泵
    化工泵
    隔膜泵
    螺杆泵
    潜水泵
    油泵
    耐腐蚀泵
    水泵
    拖链 防护罩 排屑机 塑料拖链 钢铝拖链
    化工离心泵
    计量加油泵
    自吸式离心泵
    管道油泵
    自吸式排污泵
    潜水排污泵
    自吸式磁力泵
    耐高温磁力泵
    不锈钢多级离心泵
    多级离心泵
    耐腐蚀自吸泵
    自吸化工泵
    玻璃钢液下泵
    液下式排污泵
    卧式离心清水泵
    氟塑料磁力泵
    磁力驱动循环泵
    耐腐蚀污水泵
    卧式化工离心泵
    玻璃钢耐酸泵
    防爆管道油泵
    不锈钢多级泵
    立式多级离心泵
    塑料磁力泵
    水泵厂
    手摇油泵
    上海水泵厂
    上海水泵
    离心泵厂家
    热水泵
    清水泵
    气动隔膜泵
    深圳装饰 深圳装饰公司 深圳装修公司
    特价机票 打折机票 国际机票
    机票
    新风换气机 换气机 立式新风换气机 风机箱 新风系统 能量回收机
    搅拌机 混合机 乳化机
    分散机
    毛刷 毛刷辊 工业毛刷 刷子 钢丝刷
    涂层测厚仪 硬度计
    兆欧表 激光测距仪
    测振仪 转速表
    温湿度计 风速仪
    超声波测厚仪
    粗糙度仪
    噪音计 红外测温仪
    万用表
    硬度计 万用表
    美容院 美容加盟
    澳洲留学 澳大利亚留学
    什么是法兰
    电烤箱
    酒店预定 北京酒店预定 北京酒店
    离心机
    nail equipment nail products nail product nail uv lamp nail uv lamp nail uv lamps uv nail lamp nail brush
    nail file nail tool nail tip nail gel curing uv lamps lights
    万用表 风速仪
    红外测温仪 噪音计
    苗木价格 苗木信息 标牌制作 深圳标牌 北京儿童摄影 防静电鞋 淘宝刷信誉
    威海凤凰湖 威海海景房 大庆密封件
    打标机 淘宝刷信誉 TESOL/TEFL国际英语教师证书 英语教师进修及培训 北京快递公司 北京国际快递

    ReplyDelete
  12. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

    徵信, 徵信社,徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

    徵信, 外遇, 離婚, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

    ReplyDelete
  13. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

    徵信, 徵信社,徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

    徵信, 外遇, 離婚, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

    ReplyDelete

Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth