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Power-babes’ booby trap, The Sexes
today has become an extortion racket!" These were the shocked
words of a young man whose best friend had just about managed
to extract himself from a messy divorce. His bride of two
months had walked out of the marriage, and walked straight
into a cop station. She had accused her newly-minted husband
of being a "known homosexual" who had tricked her into marriage.
She had also hurled other charges—dowry demands, physical
abuse and mental harassment. Canny lawyers hired by her had
given full assurance of winning the case and getting a fat
package by way of damages. The person talking to me said,
"This is the newest racket in certain circles. Pretty ambitious
girls from so-called good families conduct a detailed research
on rich bachelors in the marriage market. They then go about
attracting their attention by being at the same parties. Often,
hi-profile society ladies play a significant role in 'fixing
up' these dates (for a discreet gift or two). Once the bakra
is phasaao-ed, it is a cake walk. By then enough page 3 interest
has been generated and it becomes a prestige issue. Wedding
dates are announced in style, and all goes according to plan.
‘homosexual’ angle is slightly new. In the entertainment business,
there are quite a few gay millionaires who exert a lot of
clout. Since they refuse to come out of the closet and keep
up the pretence of being straight, at some stage in their
lives, it becomes important to acquire a wife—mainly to get
anxious parents off their backs. These predatory women are
only too happy to step in and oblige. All the while pretending
they don’t know the man’s preference (even if the entire world
marriage is conducted with all the traditional dhoom-dhamaka,
even as guests openly speculate and snigger about the groom’s
sexuality. The bride plays her role to perfection, behaving
like a coy, naive vestal virgin. Then comes the wedding night
drama. Nothing happens. The man feigns fatigue and begs off.
The girl picks up her cell phone and hits all the pre-planned
buttons. News of the no-can-do groom gets out before dawn.
He is humiliated and angry. His family goes into deep shock.
The girl threatens exposure via her pals in the media. It
is either that or a juicy settlement. The man promptly agrees
to pay up. As easy as pie!
dowry-angle is catching on even more rapidly. And it isn’t
uneducated, under-privileged women who are rushing to the
cops. The new dowry "victim" in urban India is a power-babe.
She wants it all—the house, car, jewels. And if the man resists
or refuses to play instant ball, off she goes to the nearest
police station, with a long list of complaints. If the husband
digs his heels in and decides to fight her in court, she pulls
out the 'morcha' card. She goes to any listed 'mahila' organisation
and insists on volunteers embarrassing the man at his work-place.
She starts an aggressive campaign against him on the Internet.
She sends details about their differences to all the people
in her address book. If that doesn’t get him to "cooperate",
she steps up her demand and her vilification propaganda. But
first she gets the cops to pick him up and call him for questioning.
If the cops are friendly and she has arranged for their 'chai-pani',
they take to calling the poor boy at odd time and demanding
his presence for "further questioning". They tell him all
that he is likely to lose if he goes to court. They ask him
to produce the items listed in the wife’s petition, most of
which doesn’t exist. If he fails to do so, they threaten him
by insinuating worse things to come. The word "lock up" is
mentioned just a few times to drive the point home. If the
man pales or looks visibly agitated, they know they have won
half the battle. The wife shows up with a lawyer and offers
to settle matters 'amicably', which means, she is prepared
to 'forego' some of her more absurd demands. The guy is finally
cornered. And ready to cut a deal. It is all over in under
two months, if the women plays her cards well. She walks away
with a large chunk of his assets. While he’s left cursing
his fate and far poorer.
there are a few men in Mumbai who have decided to reverse
the roles and play victims themselves. Men like Arun ‘Bandgala’
Nayyar. Believe it or not, Liz Hurley’s boy friend has accused
his Italian wife, Valentina, of mental cruelty and harassment,
in his divorce petition. May be he will get a new wardrobe
of bandgalas out of her, yet!! What fun.