Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Thursday, December 27, 2012

 Be Smart, Suave, Shaved!

Over 200 women were presented with pictures of clean-shaven and bearded men making different types of faces (normal and angry). The results showed that women found the clean-shaven men significantly more attractive. (http://www.askmen.com/dating/news/2_women-prefer-clean-shaven-men.html#ixzz2GEmGZElO)

Photo courtesy google images

I present my take on what is a universal truth:
The scene opens in a bachelor’s pad. It is Rahul’s home, and he is talking with his brother-in-law, Vivek, who is sitting there with him, sipping coffee. Vivek is married to Rahul’s sister, Sonia. They are waiting for Sonia to arrive, after which they will leave together for a party. They are dressed and ready. Rahul looks good, but he has a stubble on his chin.  He thinks it adds to his looks, giving him a lovable, rustic air.
Vivek: All dressed and ready to go, Rahul?
Rahul: Yes.
Vivek: Good. Coffee’s good too. But I heard from Sonia that you have no girl to take to the party? What happened to Dimple?
Rahul (looking despondent): She left me , yaar.
Vivek: Why?
Rahul: Don’t know. This is the third girl in the last three months. I don’t seem to be able to keep a relationship going ever since I came to Delhi.
Vivek: Really? In Mumbai it was okay?
Rahul (looking despondent and sad now): Yes, in Mumbai I had a steady girl. But she got married to someone else.
Vivek: That’s sad. But there must be a reason why the Delhi girls are not interested in you. After all, you are smart and intelligent, with a steady job, and good looking in a geeky way…
Rahul (rubs the stubble on his chin): Thanks. Don’t know why they leave, really.
Vivek (noticing his hand movement): I think I’ve got it. It must be this growth on your cheeks and chin. Why don’t you shave? Women don’t like stubble. Ask me, I know. Your sister hates it.
Rahul (eyes widening):Sonia does? Oh, okay. I like my stubble. I think it makes me look macho. Less geeky. Have kept it since I came to Delhi.
Vivek: (putting his coffee mug on the table) There you have it. This must be why the Delhi girls leave you. They don’t like being scratched by hair on the face. You didn’t have this stubble in Mumbai, and had a steady girl. Q.E.D.
(High heels are heard on the stairs, coming up)
Vivek:  I think Sonia is here. Ask her yourself. With me she keeps saying, Vivek, shave…or crave. I don’t want to crave, so I shave. Simple, bro.
(Sonia walks in)
Sonia: Hi, people. Ready? Rahul, I have a friend, Kavita, with me. She will partner you tonight. Lucky you.
(Sonia looks closely at Rahul)
Sonia: Yikes, you haven’t shaved? Better do it now. Vivek, why haven’t you told him, we women like our men to be smooth- cheeked, clean- shaven. No moustache, no stubble, no beard, no sideburns. (She throws her hands in the air). If you don’t shave, you crave, Rahul.
Rahul: Okay, Sonia, got it. Give me 5 minutes.
(Rahul leaves the room. Sonia calls Kavita, informing her that they will be down to the car soon. )
Sonia (touching Vivek’s face): Mmmm, love this smoothness.
Vivek: Love you, babe.
(Rahul emerges from the bathroom, looking fresh and clean, the stubble gone from his face.)
Sonia: Now you rock, bro! Kavita will not be able to resist you. And watch how the girls watch you.
(They run down the stairs. Rahul is happy to see Kavita, well groomed and smart. She wears spectacles like he does and her eyes shine at him merrily through them.  He feels his cheek. It’s smooth, just like he hopes the evening will turn out to be.)
Kavita(smiling): Hi Rahul. Heard a lot about you from Sonia, but did not know you would be so…
Sonia: Yes, we know, smooth, suave and …
Vivek (grins): Shaved?
They burst out laughing as Rahul gets into the car, happy to have used his favourite razor and after-shave.

This post is a part of the 'Shave or Crave' movement in association with BlogAdda.com

Saturday, December 8, 2012


There are 3 very simple steps that you have to take (I say steps, pun intended, because you really have to walk for this)  to straighten your hair and keep it straightened for the rest of your life.

First is to take a walk at midnight.
Next is to walk into a crematorium
Third is to walk into a ghost

Your hair will stand straight on end with fright. The word here is straight. Got it?
To make sure that this happens, you must put your fingers into your mouth, open your eyes wide, and  scream so loud that your hair continues to stands straight on end with fright. Don’t worry, no one will hear you or blame you for waking them up. Except the ghost, but you won’t care about that by then.
Then you must turn and run for your life. What happens now is that the wind will go through your sweat-soaked hair (due to the running) and make it fall limp on your sides.

When you reach home, shut the door, smile (victoriously) and comb out your forever straightened hair.
It does not matter whether you are a girl or a boy, a woman or a man, whether you have very curly or just simply wavy hair. After this, your hair will be straight forever. If you are dis-satisfied (though I doubt it), you are welcome to repeat the experience once again.

Benefits: This is a natural process.
               It costs absolutely nothing.
              It requires no repeats (99.9% foolproof)

Spoiler alert: This is not for the faint-hearted. However, if you are a faint-hearted guy, you will never win that fair lady (translate to ‘hot babe’ in today’s language, dude). Whether your hair is straight or not then it does not matter. Give up already.

If you are a faint-hearted girl, you will be happy to have any kind of hair and hope for the best, you will not be adventurous, daring, or aiming to get those smooth locks at any cost. you are out of the reckoning already.

But if you are willing to go to any lengths (and I do mean lengths of hair here), to get that straight-as-silk hair with not a single curl in it, don’t get frazzled. Just curl your lip and go for that midnight walk, follow the process outlined, and see how your hair falls after that: straighter, longer, silkier. Sweet and Natural. No artificial sweeteners added.

People will crowd around you asking how you did it. Tell them it requires guts and that you have it. And rake in the glory.

Added benefits: Nothing can scare you now. You may also now carry a certain wide-eyed look which some people fall for immediately.

How do I know? Look at my hair and it is proof enough. Don’t believe me? I’ll walk with you at midnight. Promise. But don’t walk through me when you reach the crematorium, there are other ghosts.

This is posted for the SUNSILK Straight Hair Experiment  Competition at indiblogger .

Monday, October 15, 2012

Neelima Vinod interviews me for her blog and I get a new title, Flash Poet... do read!



I talk on poetry, film, flash, and opportunities for today's writers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mel U has been kind enough to post a link to one of my stories and also post one of my stories online on his blog, Rereading Lives.
His blog is really worth a visit because he writes about the works of several authors he has read, and is especially focused now on the writings of Asian writers, both established and emerging.

Here is the link to his page: http://rereadinglives.blogspot.in/2012/09/the-red-singlet-short-story-by-abha.html

Do visit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Shrayan by Abha Iyengar is a mesmerizing read that leaves you smitten by the poise, vulnerability and intensity of its deftly woven tale. I felt floating with the river of imagination and insights. Loved the imagery created by Abha. Wondering if there is any sequesl of Shrayan coming. Would love to read more."
~Rachana Kulshrestha, Jaipur, India, August 22, 2012.

Buy SHRAYAN here:


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FREE! FREE! Shrayan the novel for 27 and 28th June. Download now!

Shrayan up for grabs, for free as a promotional feature for today and tomorrow. Whoever picks up the book and writes the best review on Amazon in the next one week, (deadline July 7th) according to me, gets a personally signed copy of my book of poems 'Yearnings'.


Monday, May 21, 2012

My Adult Fantasy Novel SHRAYAN on Amazon as an e-book


Shrayan is an adult fantasy tale. 
It is a story is about an individual’s quest for acceptance in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world. Shrayan emerges from the underground, a fully formed creature, not quite human in appearance. In the dark forest where he finds himself, he is surrounded by snakes. Brought to the city and made to dance as an ajooba, he breaks free and learns dancing and martial arts. He falls in love to discover that beauty has its own price tag. The night he achieves stardom, he leaves his clamouring fans and takes to the streets, hoping to find his lost son.
In his quest for his self, Shrayan discovers aspects of his personality that he did not know existed, and also learns to come to terms with what he is and deal with the challenges that life throws up for him as he knows best. Love is difficult to find and hold, friendship has different meanings, and trying to fit into a world concept is neither possible not required, these are some of the things he learns.

My fantasy tale now available as a e book on Kindle. I am super happy! Please visit, like, purchase, download to your pc or mac or kindle ...

Friday, May 11, 2012


I am delighted to be hosting and editing #15 of the Language Place Blog Carnival on the theme of Encountering the Other.

Encountering the ‘OTHER’

What is the ‘Other’? In its simplest sense, anyone or anything that is not ‘you’ is the ‘other’.  So the alienation begins.  Since the other is alien, there is a separateness, and a rejection between the two. At the same time, the attempt is towards assimilation, you want to change the other to become more like you. You may do this by employing the processes of love and care, but also making clear that you are superior in your difference, the other must become more like you. If this does not happen through positive efforts, you  reject and try to remove the other, for as long as there is the other, you have to be assertive as the better one. The rejection also may be a rejection of your own self if you recognize much of this in the other.

There are therefore many forms of ‘other’. In language and place, everything about  the other attracts and repels, but its existence is evident, its pull even more so. That is why we travel, why we seek a certain novelty, why we embrace or get repelled by what we see, hear or fail to understand. We may often find ourselves more at home with the others. The concept of the other has entered the realms of philosophy, gender, race, fantasy and sci-fi, politics and power, among others.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Garcin, in the play Huis clos or No Exit, states that "Hell is other people."  But according to Lacan, “The I is always in the field of the Other.”

In these times of globalization, when everything can get quite up close and personal, 23 individuals share with us their idea of the ‘Other’. Welcome aboard, and take the trip!


Narayana Swamy from Detroit, USA,  travels across the land to discover ‘An Indian in the Hills’ and a surreal connection.
 He felt his hearing grow very keen, picking up subtle nuances in the guttural singing- peculiar vibratos and surreal harmonies. The song blended into the plume of sage smoke and began to encircle him. It all felt so natural and so familiar.
Read more here. 

This haunting tale of a young married couple dizzyingly in love portrays tradition and culture that value love, honour, duty. To these three qualities is added death. Leela Devi Paniker from Hong Kong has often travelled to Japan, and  now she makes another journey via a book, ‘Patriotism’ by Yukio Mishima, to get a deeper understanding of this ‘other’ culture where taking one’s life to maintain one’s personal or family honour is a long standing tradition. More here

The arrival a warm gush of heat, nothing in the head but new. Neelima Vinod writes from Bengaluru, India of meeting a part of yourself as you travel,  the seed of the many kinds of you in various continents. The you then is malleable and  unstructured, here. 

What strange and mysterious forces combine to call one to travel 6,000 miles in order to discover home? Rich Perrotti recalls the unusual ‘coincidences’ that sent him to Maui twelve years ago and once again invite him to return to his ‘other home’.
While sitting in this volcanic arena of beauty and wonder, I penned the words, ‘My heart lives here always.’

Seeing the beauty of Kudutai, I now understand what my own parents and elders still mourn. I also see that it is no unspoilt paradise.
Monideepa Sahu, city dweller forever, reflects from Bengaluru, India, on crumbling ancestral habitats. Read here. 


We found just a small blood clot that was pressing on the spinal cord and causing the paralysis. Dr. Vivek Banerjee from Saharanpur, India, shares his personal story, of what he felt when he found himself  on the other side of healing, as a patient instead of a doctor. Read it all here

Vaibhav Rathi from Jaipur, India,  posts a memory of his 3 day long stay in ‘Bujari’, a place lost among Arawali Hills in Southern Udaipur. Read the rest of his recollections here, spiced with his pithy musings, climbing up is pain in the ass for lungs, climbing down is pain in the ass for legs. 

Manjul Bajaj from New Delhi , in this astounding tale, shares, No longer is the fair land of Equus the same. A black horse roves at will in its midst, here.

The colors of the flame emanating from your pyre/would be the same as mine. Meenakshi M. Singh from New Delhi declares through her poem that there is no other-ness. Read it here.


Dorothee Lang  from Germany talks of duality of place, perspective, and being. ‘Walking back, I followed my own trails for a while, and couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been to grow up here, on this island, surrounded by water. She would have been another I, that much was sure.’ It’s here.

The grey sky, the cold wind, the stream of bad news on the radio. I scrutinised my difference, tried to isolate what it was that made me so. Nine writes from Kuala Lumpur on the confusion of being young and bi-sexual  in Ireland, here.

In her poem, Uma Gowrishankar from Chennai, attempt to use language to negotiate the border of sanity, where aphasia prevails. The word is stuck in his throat, thankful of its presence there. Read the poem here.

That was when we gave up trying to become one of them - any of them, that is. Zephyr from New Delhi, India, on Metro Returned Natives. To know more about what this means,  read her experience here.


The ‘other’ in place and language pre-supposes that place and language are located. To me they are not. Amandeep Sandhu from New Delhi  writes on why he does not know what his mother tongue is. He also cannot claim  that he belongs to a certain place. He writes about his struggle with language(s) and place(s), here.

For Shobha Nihalani, who writes from  Hong Kong, and for whom writing is a passionate process, poetry becomes the alien form she cannot bring to her mercy. She says: Alas, I cannot write the damned thing.  Does she find a way? More here

He stood over me, not quite ready to punch me, and I had no idea why. Gill Hoffs of Ayr, UK, struggles with language to understand its interpretation in different parts of a similar world. A beast is not a just an animal, she finds, here.

‘Achtung baby,’ you keep saying, like it means something. But you still haven’t learned my language. Michelle Elvy from Opua, New Zealand,  speaks of a love story of sorts, here. 

‘I won’t write this on my garage wall, Manohar.’ Mr. Abbas whined like a reluctant child being sent to school. ‘And I won’t go to the new house in London.’ Nabina Das, currently at Stirling, UK, writes a touching tale about a retired bureaucrat called Mr Abbas who learns a few home truths. Read the story here.


It seemed as if we had met and befriended another member of an alien order just arrived on Earth...Rosemary Lombard, from Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, explores the potential of turtle minds, as a wild painted turtle stays overnight to communicate with her in non verbal ways, here

Now I know why the steps are stone/they have to be there for ever. Sangeeta Khanna from New Delhi, says, ‘The stones is me and the river is seen as the other who just comes and stirs up the emotions for a short while.’
Read her poem here.  She also talks about the other world of dreams, here.

I don’t want to. It’s nice and peaceful, what do I have to live for on the other side? The protagonist in Ankit Govil’s flash piece wonders if he should return to the real world. Read it here.

Glimpse the shadow of a rain cloud when there is empty sky, shaped like a young girl in a pleated frock. Martin Porter from U.K. creates an elegiac poem here. He says,  ‘I am aware that our understanding of our place in the multiverse is constantly changing, almost as if I am a ghost inhabiting a world existing as one of many.’ 

I watch as you talk of Karma/ How we are reborn/ Time and again, connecting/ With those we leave. Abha Iyengar’s poems and thoughts on the Other, here.

I could not let the turtle go, however hard I tried. So here s/he is:

“...and dream the earth into a turtle.
She carries us slowly across the universe.”

~Ride the Turtle's Back by Beth Brant

The person behind the blog carnival  idea is Dorothee Lang, a writer, web freelancer and traveler, and the editor of BluePrintReview. She lives in Germany, and always was fascinated by languages, roads and the world, themes that reflect in her own work. 
Thank you, Dorothee, for making the merry-go-round  happen.
And all you lovely readers, thank you for visiting. If you are interested in contributing for the next edition, Edition #16 will be hosted by visual artist and Florida resident Steve Wing. His art seeks to reveal extraordinary qualities of everyday moment. The feature theme is 'Translation' (in all its possible forms). Contributions are invited from writers, photographers, poets, translators, and anyone with an interest in his topic. As always, we welcome a wide variety of poets. Guidelines here.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I am delighted to be hosting the LANGUAGE>PLACE>BLOG CARNIVAL # 15 , where the theme is Encountering the ‘OTHER’ in language/place. This is my contribution to the blog carnival’s theme.

 When contemplating this issue of the Other, so many thoughts surfaced, when I was suddenly drawn to this poem of mine.

Past Life

You talk of past life,
My Brahmin teacher.
With your broad forehead
Smeared with sandalwood.

I watch as you talk of Karma,
How we are reborn,
Time and again, connecting
With those we leave.

My bright eyes are lowered
Over the lessons to be learnt,
My pigtails tight on either side,
As tight as my upstart bosom.

Past life I was a courtesan who
Danced my way into your heart
Now I have only a chalk on the slate
To impress you with my thoughts.

I look up and see your exasperation
For my fingers are slow to write
Yet with my mind already
I have ensnared you in my life.

My past life I was a courtesan
You were my paramour in that world
This life I tug at your heart strings
You know the pull of my words.

Your eyes flicker just that instant
Enough for me to know
If there was a past life
I have surely held you before.

~Abha Iyengar

The idea of a past life or a previous life or a parallel life has always fascinated me. We in India talk of ‘sanskara’, something we are born with, our inherent nature, which no amount of nurturing can actually change. It is the curled tail of the dog that will never uncurl, the spots on the leopard that will never go. We are born to be who we are.

This life is just one version of the mutiple universes that we may belong to. There may be another Abha in another world, I do not know it but I can speculate about it.

In my poem, the young student has no doubt that in a past life, in another life, in the ‘other’ life, she has known her teacher. She is also sure of the nature of the relationship, where she was the courtesan who seduced him.

She feels the connect and knows that he too is trying to still the beatings of his suddenly awakened heart.

Who has not felt a connection with a stranger, even if it is just through a momentary meeting of the eyes: a link quite different from what we feel with the people we know, the people who belong with/to us. This connect with the ‘other’ part of one’s self, speak of a belonging whose origins may be of a past or ‘other’ life.

People come into our lives for various reasons. They may be quite different from us in so many ways, so ‘other’ that we cannot understand why they are there in the first place. They come and go but as a link to us, they stay forever and really never leave. There is a karmic reason for it which may or may not explain itself, which we may believe or not. It helps to realize that all that which seems strange, weird or ‘other’ does not need an explanation, only an understanding, an empathy of sorts.

All that is ‘other’ is just an extension of all that is the same within you and me. Another poem of mine now beckons to be heard:

The Dark of Another Land

Who says I cannot love him of another colour
All day I lie in the heat
of sun bronzed skin
His darkness holds the light of another land.

In this sand on my beach now I allow him,
The muscles rippling, telling of another time,
I trace them with a quivering hand.
While his is sure
With knowledge and insistence
That comes from the certainties
Of claiming what you want
from a childhood that failed to give long ago.

And I am led
Ablaze with passion
for another skin,
To another place with him,
So different from the given of a comfort world
The dead and dry I occupy.

Cracking like an eggshell
I let out all that I hold
Sticky and yellow the desire
for this man
Of another land, another skin,
Light of an unknown dark,
His sunlight on my bleached shore.

~Abha Iyengar

And another poem, this time I'm reading. :), "Side by Side, Not to Collide", on love and religion and the other.



Friday, March 16, 2012

FLASH BITES (my flash fiction) now on KINDLE

My e book is now easily downloadable on Kindle:


Welcome and enjoy,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Senses: Diverse Renderings

The following is posted as part of the Language/ Place Blog Carnival. Issue #14 is hosted by Stella Pierides and the theme is “Locating the Senses in Language/ Place”.

Putrid, festering, naked,
Your broken hand begs
I cannot drop round pennies.

A plump and orange offering
The petals of this flower
Street litter to step on.

Trees sway in shadows
Children huddle and stare
At ghosts within.


Wine spills, I watch
It spreads upon your heart
My signature of red.

Jasmine under my pillow
Dried and brown
Crushed memory smell.

Songs float outside
Scarves, strummed words
I wind around my neck.

In the village
Hot earthen ovens
Mother and bread.

In the city
Hot steel ovens
Factory filled sweat.

In the mind
Hot glass ovens
Smelting with dread.

© Abha Iyengar, 13th March 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CLASS ENCOUNTERS : Above the Roar of the Aeroplanes

So the final class with my IMC students and we are sitting in the ampitheatre in the sun. The aeroplanes continue their overhead noise, almost as if they are saying, “We will drown your voices, listen to us roar.”We listen, allow them to roar, and continue in the breaks in between. What we won’t do for SUN to infuse us with life on cold mornings. The first bit is a me-speak on what creatives need to be: they have to have an open, exploring mind, they need to be able to ideate using whatever information they have imbibed/collected, they need to pick and choose the best (and not get all over the place), and they need to believe in and push their choices. We then do a writing exercise: to end a story with a particular sentence, where “you feel a skeletal hand grasp your neck…” After that, only god and our respective imaginations know what will happen. The idea is to build up a story up to this point. So we have a sleepwalking girl in a college who enters a laboratory and puts her skeletal hand around the lab. attendant’s throat (she is anorexic too), a fellow traveller in the mountains who changes into a monster with a skeletal hand, a skeletal hand around the captain of Sindbad’s ship, a woman takes her child to a ‘safe’ town, but feels the skeletal hand around her neck… and many more. Imagination is running riot. The sun is getting hot but we prefer it to a cold class.
The next exercise is fun, developing a protagonist with an existing individual as a basis. One of the students becomes a symbolic basis of the main protagonist of a novel which the students are writing. And they have to begin with her at the centre of the page and draw out lines leading to topics such as her family, background, place of stay, career, ambitions, qualities, etc. and then bifurcate these headings further. They can use coloured pencils, different fonts, drawings etc. Again, the characters that emerge are diverse, from someone like a young MeeraBai to an unwed mother. One major things which came up is that almost everyone called the protagonist ’grounded’. I believe that stemmed from the original symbol (the girl who agreed to be the symbolic representation). So the take away from this is that what forms the basis of our meanderings affects the final picture, though the final picture will emerge as quite different. We had fun in the sun. Another set of students hopefully set on the path to becoming more observant, vocal , expressive and creative. And I am already looking forward to those who will follow. I watch the aeroplane soar in the sky and blow it a kiss.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saraswati Puja

Today is Basant Panchmi, or Saraswati Puja, or the day that heralds the coming of spring. It also pays homage to the Goddess of letters and knowledge, Saraswati, wife of Brahma The Creator. It is a special day for me, for it fills my mind with memories of a childhood spent in Kolkata, where this Goddess is truly revered on this day. I do not think if I had had my early education in Delhi, I would look upon this day as so meaningful, nor would nostalgia fill my being with happiness. I actually see the huge white marble statue of Saraswati, that adorned the entrance hall of my school in Kolkata, in front of my eyes, with all of us schoolgirls gathered there. We  joined in the puja or prayer, and sang Bengali songs in homage to her. I can never forget her, she is linked to my school and childhood in Kolkata.

We  wear something yellow on this day, it is the colour of Spring. My mother says that my grandmother would dye their hankies and ribbons yellow for that day and they would wear them to school. And she would make sweet saffron rice  (for the orange yellow colour in food) with cashew and raisins. My mother herself made pulao for us on that day , with the turmeric lending the yellow to the rice. Since it is Panchami, my Bengali maid tells me that they prepare five  (pancham means five) vegetables today, and also a sweet kheer.

I feel really happy that we have this festival honouring letters and learning, for to me, education is the most important weapon to fight darkness. And as the strong yellow sunlight bathes the world around me, and the mustard fields sway in the breeze somewhere in my land, I know that winter is disappearing. I feel the joy of Spring and song, both in my mind and in my step. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Assumptions of a Culture

The class had a brief. They had to prepare a story where a parent disapproves of his/her teenager’s  dress, but when s/he sees the brand, s/he suddenly changes his/her view in favour of the outfit. This brief was the way it was because this was no simple creative writing class. It was creative writing geared to students who belonged to the advertizing and marketing stream, and we had been talking of brand loyalty and brand obsessiveness etc.
The stories that emerged were of course, as usual, unusual and wonderful, some more so than others, but creative nonetheless. Reading out her response to the brief, one student talked of how Sita wondered what Ram would wear for the evening party he was to go to, and it was half-way through the rendition of the story that another student piped up, “Oh, Ram is Sita’s son?” and the incredulity was evident in her voice. “Yes,” shrugged the story maker and teller of this tale, and continued.  
And so we come to what struck me as the assumptions of a culture.  Since we are so steeped in or aware of the Ramayana, we automatically assume that to every Ram, every Sita can only be a wife. Of course, a modern Sita can name her son Ram, and maybe her husband is called Ravinder or Manoj or some other name. The point is that for a long while into the story, some of the students had to make a mind shift to think of Sita addressing her son  Ram, and scolding him for not dressing in appropriate clothes for a party, and later saying, “Oh, it’s a …….shirt, then wow! I adore this brand, why didn’t you tell me this was their latest…” etc. J
So changing what is ingrained in our minds takes time, even if it is a simple story that shows this. And of course, to a non-Indian, or one unfamiliar with the Ramayana, Sita and Ram as mother and son would not have a question attached to it. Or an incredulous response.