Agony Aunt/Uncle columns in newspapers and magazines are hilariously deluded at most times, even when the aunt/uncle in question is professionally qualified to advise on the subject. But these columns can be downright pernicious when established for no better purpose than to cash in on the name of a celebrity who’s completely cut off from the real world. The Sunday HT’s magazine Brunch has an "Ask Raveena" column where for several weeks now actress Raveena Tandon has been giving vapid counsel to the lovelorn ("I always feel that communication is the most important thing in a relationship. So I’ll advise you to do that." And suchlike.)
Of course, examples like the above can do no real harm; they’re a waste of space at worst. But this week one of the questions was:
I am a 25-year-old Hindu boy in love with a Muslim girl. Her family is against it. What should I do?
"If you love each other truly and you both are adults, there’s really nothing to stop you…I find it silly that in this day and age people talk about caste and religious differences…There are so many instances of successful Muslim-Hindu marriages, look at Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri and countless others - they’re so happy together. Love is the most important thing in any relationship."
In the rose-and-reel-tinted world this columnist lives in, it’s probably futile to point out that if you’re gazing Shah Rukh-and-Gauri-wards you might also take the trouble to cast at least a brief glance at cases like this and this.
Now I’m not suggesting Raveena should have told this poor guy something like "Kill yourself now, before her brothers do it for you." Columnists must be kind. But surely a tiny dose of practicality might have been in order, instead of the outright "love will necessarily triumph" spiel, lifted straight from a Bollywood script.