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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Behenjis turning Modern

Or rather the other way round.
As Kiran blogged about it a few days ago

Many years ago it was a major insult if anyone used the word behenji types or dehati or likewise on me.
I come from a small town. And it would pinch badly if anyone called me that. As if I am not good enough. Or intelligent enough.
Ok to tell you the truth, living in a small town means your resources are limited, the styles are conservative, the opportunities are less and the show-sha is not at all there.

To cut a long story short, I moved on and out. Saw the world out of my town, lived in hostels, travelled abroad and now live in a metro in its own right and am maniacally hanging on to it. While I love small town life- the space, the clean air, the pace but not at gunpoint will I move back to a small town. No- not even Pondicherry (if you are reading this husband dear)
Because I don't want to become a small town behenji types whose only source of entertainment is television and who never goes to pubs and restaurants and discos (ah, I still don't but that is because the husband will never ever dance)

So that brings us to the point - am I a behenji or a behenji turned modern or what?
and coming to the root of the question- who is a behenji? Or in today's context who is a behneji?

Urban disctionery classifies Rani Mukherjee or Juhi Chawla as behenjis btw...

What I feel is I would rather be a healthy mix of both modern and behenji

So from a small town girl studying in a girls only convent school I became a hostel living- co-ed mein studying- alone travelling- wanting to do MBA-wanting to work rather than wanting to "get married after passing BA"- living alone in a city faaaaaaaaaaaaar South girl- Did it make me a non Behenji?

Ok so from trouser and skirt wearing I became a churidaar kurta girl (figure issues nonetheless) wanting very badly to wear a sari to work atleast monthly once and always wearing sari during functions- does that make me a behenji?

I believe in rustling up food at home for the 3 men in my life, there is a sudden urge to observe and create my own traditions in my own home- so while I still don't do a puja everyday but I insist that all festivals- North Indian & South Indian be observed in my home- from Kartik Deepam to Pongal to Diwali and even Christmas- does the first part make me a behenji or the last part (Christmas) make me non Behenji?

From being a strict mommy blogger only to facebooking now- does it make me a non behenji then?

I treat my husband as my friend- I am most comfortable that way because that is how we started- and not the pati parmeshvar but at the same time I believe in monogamy- not behenji or yes? (Disclaimer- doesn't write off harmless flirting !!)

I drive but will never drive to locations that are more than an hour away- behenji then?

I have become a compulsive shopper- this is a no brainer- this makes me what I am - a woman!!
But then I am buying stuff for my home and not just for me- Behenji or an arty-farty types or just a proud homemaker- which in a way translates to being behenji???

I am actually finding SAHM an attractive proposition while at the same time dreaming of becoming a hot shot top corporate types doing her own thing- behenji? or plain practical who wants to take a sabbatical and spend time with kids?

So am I getting behenji-ised or just becoming a woman of modern thinking and traditional values - who will shun regressiveness and at the same time keep traditions and customs alive
-who will be a superb homemaker and at the same time a professional when at work
-who will value quality time with family and at the same time will know how to do her own thing like blogmeets and girlie lunches and parties and society dos and the like
-who will at a drop of a hat do a large social get together at home churning up homemade food and at the same time do a stylish theme based birthday party full of fun
-who will be very very busy with work and home yet find time to connect
-who will splurge at the same time know how to save and invest
- who can equally enjoy a Rebecca & a Jeffery archer and a Women's Era or worse a Grihashobha?
-who will be houseproud but at the same time shake in her shoes at the mention of "housework"
-who will sing her kids to sleep but will sing- jhalak dikhlaja as a lori!
-who will mindlessly chatter with her friends and cousins of her age group but will be equally comfortable with the older age group
-who can get supremely attached to tele soaps and at the same time dance to music reality shows
-who supports and rejoices in consumerism but is a rabid control freak where environment is concerned
So what are you? Behenji or not?


Ramit Grover said...

I think you're just fine the way you are. On a lighter note, India has just one behenji, and that's Mayawati.

Everyone else is just human.
Smile girl, you've come a long way from being a small town girl. And you should be proud of you.

I know I am! :)

Monika said...

aaah brilliant post itchy... i was nodding away all thru... am i a behenji or not? i am proud to admit that after 30 yrs of existence i dont care anymore ;) i am happy with what i am

Anonymous said...

Just be who you are :) People can't be labelled into such generalised, snobbish categories...
We change and grow all the time anyway.

How do we know said...

i LOVED this post.. i m proudly a behnji bcs i dress very conservatively. Some friends insist i m not a behnji bcs under that salwar kameez veneer lies the most unabashed tongue in the world. so which is it?

and the qustion that begs an answer - who is a behnji anyway?

Andy said...

In my previous job a colleague at a conference mentioned while speaking to the salwar kameez wearing longer hair me and trouser wearing short hair "lady" colleague of mine who was in salwar that day..."arre aap salwar mein aayi ho? Andy to waise hi behenji jaisi hai". I chose to ignore the same. That evening during the dance and drink session I let down my hair, danced to my heart's content and won the most fun dancer award. The guy was shocked....he was speechless, his idea of behenji was cruelly crushed under my dancing shoes. Behenji or not I am having un with who I am .....I just dont care!!

Andy said...

thats fun, left out f in the word

Phoenixritu said...

I guess I am a bhenji then! A trash talking fiesty female who from a small townie became a Delhi-ite ... I guess I am and will remain a true blood punjaban at heart

Anonymous said...

The World is Flat - by Thomas L Friedman. We have levelled the distance between chennai to San Francisco and bangalore to london but we fail to accept that are boundaries are redrawn. It is the perception of the mind that a city is bigger place to live than a small-city(Pondicherry). In these rising times(economy) the best place to live are small town, it presents within itself an enormous potential to offer. These days the small town's are the best place to live.


This is one of the best 'Thinking aloud' posts i've read in recent times. Rollicking ! But, like the Bald Guy says, don't. ever... ever.. ever. think about being a 'behenji'. there is only one.. .Mayaaaaaaaaaaaaawati!!!!!
None of your questions qualify for behenji. If you answer the following with a check you are Behenji.
"Do you have a statue of your own self holding your handbag by its loop!?" CHECK - BEHENJI
Now that is fashion statement!

Sue said...


Be what you waaaaant to be, taking things the way they come... nothing is as something something as sipping on Bacaaaaardi rum.


Abhi badge chahiye toh bol. Limited edition only and MM and I get to vet all applications.

Gayatri said...

- Hey ur jus being 'me':)
- Neat blog
- Its jus totally what I did, am doing and want to do
- same pinch girlie :b
- behenji or not....who cares :D

Itchingtowrite said...

so behenji-ism rocks therefore!

Anonymous said...

Mentally I went "check", "check", "check"..I am so your "behenji":)


i am me, its me said...

Some twenty or more odd years back i had read in Graffiti something called "trendy traditional". I loved it so much that I identified myself with the expression instantly. I just simply love to call myself a "trendy traditinal".

"Behenji" or "non behenji" tags to others are used by people who arent particularly adept with the proper expressions, wider thought process and ways of life. Basically they lag behind, and have a beyond control urge to be at par with the so called "hips n hops" of the society. They are losers at all walks of life. Confidence is in built. Your confidence and deeds give you your position and status in the society.