Not many of us would admit it, but the truth is that we are ridiculously obsessed with celebs. Everybody will blame the news outlets for making headlines out of stories featuring fabulous and famous folks especially since news is not really news until Twinkle Khanna has written about it. Hence we are pelted with pellets of piddling information, pertaining to pricey movie stars, cricketers, star sons and daughters, overhyped reality show participants and social media phenoms who rose to fame by making sex tapes.
Consequently there is no way of not knowing that Kareena Kapoor is working out for 10 straight hours because the twitterati denounced her chunky legs and Sonam Kapoor has squeezed her painstakingly dieted, sculpted and massaged bod into yet another haute couture outfit. In other enriching news that we simply cannot live without, Jhanvi Kapoor may just make her debut after she has been lovingly groomed by Karan Johar opposite Shah Rukh Khan’s son or Shahid Kapoor’s brother.
And of course everybody knows the story of the century - Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut are slugging it out in court to decide whether an illicit relationship, harassment and stalking actually happened. Given the morbid fascination with the twists and turns of this case, interest in which refuses to die despite doleful reports of death and destruction wreaking havoc in the real world, one would be forgiven for thinking that the very fate of humanity depends on how this almighty kerfuffle is resolved. Never mind that gender equality will remain a distant dream, unfortunate folks who live below the poverty line will continue to starve, struggle and defecate in the open, those who embrace an alternate sexual identity will do so in the closet, anybody who dares to speak against oppression or injustice will be slapped with an expensive lawsuit if not killed outright and India will remain India while the World continues to go to hell, irrespective of the shenanigans of the glitterati.
Blaming the media is silly. We are served up the only kind of news we care about and want to read these days. A closer introspection would indicate that a part of this fascination for stars of the non -astronomical persuasion is that we see in their overexposed aura what we aspire to be as well as the things we loathe about ourselves. Hence it is fun to place them on pedestals or spew hatred and tear them down. Be that as it may, it is high time we acknowledged that by allowing ourselves to become obsessed with celebs or obsessed with becoming one, we are frittering away valuable creative energy, on things that cannot be construed as constructive.
Famous people are just regular people who look nicer and always get tables at fancy restaurants. Besides they are as miserable as the rest of us though they are admittedly able to be lame in five star comfort. How do I know? Because Deepika Padukone admitted as much! So let us get real, and resolve to do something useful with the little time given to each of us to make a difference personally, socially, or culturally. Or anything at all that doesn’t involve star gazing.
An edited version appeared in The New Indian Express