Monday, November 7, 2016

No means NO

When I found my Facebook page awash in Pink and found that there was this entire movie made only to teach that 'No' means 'NO', I was aghast. Whatever are teachers doing in Kindergarten, these days? Teaching emojis?

Then, I realized it was more of a translation movie - the Martian-Venusian kind. THAT sort of put it in perspective. When two species speak the same language but the words mean different things, you need all the help you can get to make them understand each other.

When words fail, you naturally start believing in sign language. Not that it gets any easier with it, especially in the absence of any commonality in the signs. In my youth, sign language was, apparently, the ONLY way in which girls communicated their 'romantic' interest in boys and, thus, like it or lump it you had to interpret the signs. Unfortunately, there was no convenient dictionary to look it up in. The subjects at school strove to teach you all about reproduction but were remarkably silent on the necessary communication that could lead to it.

AND, so, you learned all about it from your peers. AND, as when the blind attempt to lead the blind, the gems of wisdom you gleaned were like, "If she turns back and looks, then she is interested in you." So, a girl, who turned back to check if that moron was still following her, was automatically assumed to have fallen for his charms. Never mind that his friends had spent more than a decade  in vain searching for that elusive quality in him - charm, that is. They would all be convinced that the GIRL had located it in him at first glance. After all, girls being the mysterious creatures they are would have mysterious powers of observation too.

There was this other one about,"If she licks her lips when looking at you, it indicates sexual interest." THAT, probably, was why no girl could lick the ice-cream off her lips when exiting the parlor. If she was looking at a boy, by happenstance, she was dreaming of a night out with him. If, to avoid such a mistaken impression, she closed her eyes while doing it, she was actually transported into an ecstatic dream about it. The only option was to do the licking in the ladies bathroom or avoid ice-cream altogether.

AND then there was this thing about 'fast' girls. I mean, with boys it was all easy to tell. You always knew the guys who were 'fast'. Those were the ones who would drool at the sight of a sari on a washing line. The quasi-romantic ones were as easily identifiable. When a chap, whose only interest in the English class is to shoot paper-planes at the teacher, suddenly develops a serious attraction for the dictionary, you know that some girl is about to be the recipient of bad poetry written in incomprehensible words. But...with girls...

AND so..."If she laughs when she is talking with boys, she is fast."; "If she wears the skirt one inch higher than the knee, she is fast" and all those gems of wisdom floated around. The reason why I never could be bold enough to act on it was that I had a stupid brain. I mean, the dratted thing would kick in with "What if she only found that joke very funny?", "What if she has only grown taller after the skirt was stitched?' and all such nonsense. Of course, I believed still that IF she chose a short skirt THEN she was fast BUT did she choose? After all, everyone of my peers said so and no adult said anything different.

AND, yes, there was that thing, too. "When a girl says 'No', it does not always mean 'No'". Essentially, the idea was that girls WOULD say, 'No' - maybe to play hard-to-get or maybe because of the mysterious thing called 'Naanam' in Tamil or 'Haya' in Hindi (meaning modesty) - and it was up to you to bring out the 'Yes' that, presumably, was in their hearts and took its own sweet time to work its way to the tongue with some assistance from you. AND the assistance that you lent to the process, supposedly, was to stalk the girl - with soulful looks or teasing comments, as per choice and disposition; with flowers and bad poetry; and, if you go by the movies, massively orchestrated eve-teasing song-and-dance. Now, how helpful all this is I do not know but ALL the movies say it works, so, well...

Ah! You ask me why that 'always' in that sentence - A 'No' does not always mean 'No' - does not convey the fact that sometimes a 'No' CAN be 'No'? Those are pesky little words that only confuse. I mean if I COULD interpret which 'No' is a 'No', which 'No' is a 'Maybe' and which 'No' is 'Yes', would I be trying to learn it all from the movies? So, like every human being faced with an issue that he cannot understand, I conveniently ignore that 'always'. So much easier to act upon 'A 'No' does not mean 'No'" without mucking around with that 'always'.

But that was all then. NOW I thought that it was not all sign language by the girls, either. The issue, probably, is that the guys to whom no girl in her right mind would say 'Yes' prefer to believe that the 'No' is not really 'NO'. Of course, it may equally as well apply to those who are convinced that no girl in her right mind could ever say 'No' to them. AND, considering that boys always seem to learn about girls from the movies, it is probably appropriate that a movie needed to be made to teach them the new lingo of today.

Me - I was always convinced that 'No' meant 'NO', possibly helped by that strongly disbelieving and horrified look that invariably preceded it. What I want to know about the lingo of today is 'What does 'Yes' mean?'

24 comments:

  1. That last line...ufff... so quintessential Sureshji.

    A lot of 'Nos' and 'Yes's are churning inside my head now. Yes means yes. No means no. Yes means yes. That kind.


    Loooved this one for a morning read. You should take up writing for columns and bring back smiles that have seem to have gotten lost somewhere from the faces.

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  2. Now does thanks mean No or Yes or thanks means just thanks?

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    1. Thanks can also mean "Thanks but no, thanks" :)

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  3. Well, we Indians were the ones who introduced may be even while nodding Yes and No!

    Movies have in a way spoiled the younger generation's way of thinking. Wooing a girl and making her fall in love--the way it is portrayed has instilled in the youth of today the thought that the girl has to be stalked, ragged, perhaps even manhandled before she agrees. I am not all that certain if the girls too have not come to believe that this is actual wooing?! The old man in Pink must have done this style of wooing a lot many times when he was the angry young man. Our movies have to change, the way wooing is done in them has to change--no one can for certain if eve teasing, groping and even rapes will drastically come down with this change but I am sure it will have an effect.

    The last line of the post takes the cake--'What does Yes mean?' Thanks Suresh, a really meaningful post!

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  4. Our movies first come and ruin the society by showing bad things and then make a movie like Pink and claim to reform the same society.

    Bollywood is a goldmine of topics for you. You can keep going at it.

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  5. Great one as usual. The comments are also equally interesting 'the old man in pink in younger days ..' .

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    1. THAT's a big part of the joy of a blog - the comments :)

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  6. To do or not to do? All this while they taught you how to train your dragon....err...girl and now they tell you, 'No mean No, just drop it!' Very confusing indeed!

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    1. Totally :) Since I was dropping..err..getting dropped anyway, it went easier for me :)

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  7. You and so many other people have got it bang right. But then we are not trying to decipher sane people, are we? If that were the case, which guy in his right mind would think that catcalling, lewd comments or molestation would be welcome by any woman. Yet, they do it and it hasn't improved. I think the movie made an important point because almost all Bollywood show that No by the girl is trivial. I have never seen in real life but only in movies that harassment by a hero or stalking melts a girl's heart. And movies being a potent medium to influence mindsets, I think movies like PINK that make an effort to emphatically spread this message are a welcome change. By the way, sometimes a yes can turn into a No and even then the No must be respected.

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    1. The problem IS only that for most movies seem to be the only way to learn how to behave with the opposite sex. THAT they are very unreliable teachers :)

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  8. Loved reading this about the past and present.

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    1. Thanks! A part of the problem these days is that quite a few are still living in the past. As in, maybe the villages/small towns are till 25 years behind in attitudes and people coming from there to the cities come with the baggage of the past. Don't really know, but outlining possibilities :)

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  9. Spending so much money to create a movie for teaching that No means No ! i am sure you could have done it with a post :D

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    1. Hahaha :) Was that a vote of confidence or ribbing? :)

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  10. "the guys to whom no girl in her right mind would say 'Yes' prefer to believe that the 'No' is not really 'NO'."
    This is the line i like best of all.It is such morones who go out and commit rapes.

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