How an Indian man sees Priya Prakash Varrier's wink and Renuka Chowdhury's laughter
One got brickbats, the other a million Instagram followers.
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A woman being in the council of a king is a rarity. A woman, if present, laughing out loud when the king is delivering a speech, even if it's ridiculous by his own standards, would be a situation that may never arise.
But Narendra Modi is no king, Parliament is not his "sabha", and Renuka Chowdhury is a Congress Rajya Sabha MP who is not scared to call out the prime minister on his lies.
Narendra Modi, much like his followers from the RSS and the BJP, could not tolerate a woman who "dared" to laugh at a petty political statement on the ever-dangerous Aadhaar.
Chowdhury laughed like people of India did hearing that mediocre speech PM Modi was giving but Venkaiah Naidu, vice president of India, a former Union minister in the Modi Cabinet, and the Speaker of Rajya Sabha, was quick to reprimand Chowdhury saying, "What happened to you? If you have some problem, go to the doctor. This is not the way."
Naidu went on to refer to Renuka's laughter as "unruly behaviour".
PM Modi thought it was the best time to show off what he percieves as his witty, sarcastic side by making a rather tenth-rate comment on Chowdhury. Modi urged the Speaker not to act against the woman who apparently "insulted" him, and said, "After Ramayana serial, it's only today that we have had the privilege to listen to such laughter".
Such a distasteful comment was received with unrestrained laughter and bench thumping by BJP MPs. PM Modi's intent was clear - showing "the" woman her place, displaying his "benevolence" and the power he has in what he thinks is his "sabha". Modi, Naidu and all those who celebrated his "Ramayana serial" comment, proved they have no respect for women whatsoever.
Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu went on to refer to Renuka's laughter as 'unruly behaviour'. Photo: PTI
Modi tried to be the Lakshman to Chowdhury's Shurpnakha but forgot that Lakshman was nothing more than a ruthless patriarch.
The deep-rooted patriarchy in the minds of our people was clear on Twitter as well. Renuka Chowdhury's laughter was compared to that of "Shurpnakha" and "wicked witches". Union minister Kiren Rijiju joined the lot, too, posting a video clip of Shurpnakha's (Renuka Chowdhury played the part) laughter from the TV show Ramayana.
While Renuka Chowdhury's laughter in Rajya Sabha is still fresh in the minds of the people, thanks to pointless prime-time debates on the matter, there is another woman winning hearts on the internet for her smile and wink.
Priya Prakash Varrier, an 18-year-old student from Kerala's Thrissur, is now an online sensation. The model-turned-actress has become the postergirl for high-school romance ever since a short clip from the song "Manikya Malaraya Poovi", from an upcoming Malayalam movie, Oru Adaar Love, released on YouTube.
Looks like Priya's smile, her wink and her flirtatious interaction with her high-school crush, are in accordance with what men want, and can come to terms with. There is a man at the receiving end of her tease, and with the adorable smile and wink, the woman shows interest in the man, and of course, she is, if not by Bollywood standards, pretty, hep and just enough "wild".
Priya, whose Instagram account had some 1,500 to 2,000 followers on February 9, now has over two million followers and counting.
Renukha Chowdhury and Priya Varrier (who is now called the wink girl) seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. Or are they?