Rahul da Cunha: International 'Something' Day
So, it's that month, when a soothsayer apparently warned Julius Caesar about the imminent ides of March. It's also that month, filled with numerous International Days. In our new consumerist world, every date is an International Uhm Uh Something Day, right? Like, yesterday was World Wolverine Day and tomorrow is Karan Johar vs Kangana Ranaut Day.
Last Wednesday, March 8, was the day of days. The much celebrated and significant International Women's Day. I asked some questions of several women — female colleagues, chaddi buddies, diehard feminists, benevolent activists, socialites, rakhi sisters, and my maid — did they appreciate a Women's Day? Did they feel it was necessary, did they feel more emancipated, more empowered with a day dedicated to them?
The balanced women in my life were balanced in their responses. Some said a frowning, "No". Some said a beaming "Yes!". My maid's answer was simple, could I give her an advance on her salary, since now her husband had given up all activity, including beating her?
The feminists thought it was a totally rubbish day, this gender specificity, they felt, almost insulting to women, the worst kind of tokenism. One female activist, in contrast went ballistic, demanding that every day should be declared Women's Day. I tried to reason that that would not be possible since, for example March 9 was already Dr Seuss Day, March 10 was Solidarity with Missing Staff Members Day and March 23 is Pie Day, Puppetry Day and Pakistan Day (Youm-e-Pakistan). But, she thought I was being facetious, "Not everything is a joke, Rahul. How dare you not take this beautiful, and special day seriously, typical male chauvinism." The female intellectuals gave me an earnest lecture as to the origins of Women's Day — that it emanated from slavery. I tried to counter that with the fact that slavery already had its own day on March 25.
My rakhi sibling insisted that every day should be 'World Sister's Day', cheques would be acceptable in the new remonetised economy. One socialite informed me, "I celebrate all these special days. Last week, a group of us ladies, enjoyed Pomeranian Day. My hubby, Guddu, and his gang always go to Bangkok for International Man's Day." I Wikipedia-ed to discover that November 19 is indeed dedicated to the male species.
And then I thought about this day, today actually, March 12 — was it a special day in the eyes of the world, as declared by the United Nations? Was it World Courier day or Selfie Day or Emoji Day? Amazingly, it wasn't. But, it was a day, Google reminded me, that had affected Mumbai deeply. Black Friday, when 24 years ago, 12 RDX bombs ripped through the city. From the BSE building to Sea Rock hotel, Mumbai lay shattered.
In my book, March 12, 1993, totally changed the face of Mumbai. Sure 26/11 was a massive shock, but 12/3 was a game changer. From today I'm christening March 12, International Bomb Blast Day or Innocent Victim Day.
Take your pick, dear reader.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org