This Article is From Jul 07, 2016

Karan Affairs: RIP, Conscience. Everybody's Cheating On Everyone.

I'm very confused these days.
I'm recently returned from the Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria and everything I thought I knew has been turned on its head. I went in with an internally scarred and bruised colon, a suffering intestine and an absurdly low haemoglobin count. They looked at me with sorrowful eyes and told me I'm lactose and fructose intolerant, that gluten is my enemy. All my life I was told the best way to lose weight was by sticking to our staples, roti and sabzi. Now no roti because I might be gluten intolerant. I'm told to have rice instead, but not brown rice because it's tough to digest and so we have to go back to good old white rice which we have been dissing all these years.  

All the exes are back in our lives, and all the 'new and improveds' which we were having mad food relationships with are the ones we need to look at suspiciously. I have hated and avoided potatoes all my life and now I'm supposed to befriend them! I no longer need to look at French fries as though they're dangling weapons about to attack my waistline. No drinking of cow's milk anymore because it might make me look like one (too little too late!). So I ask you, which philosophy do I follow? Who do I stick to? Do I, should I, stick to just one?

Temptation is everywhere. Quick fix solutions seduce me with their promises. I have already tried the Colour Diet, the Three-Day Diet, even the Get Into Your Tight Gown Diet, built for those bandage dresses Herve Leger makes. Yes, I've done that and I'm not even planning to get into a tight gown (yet).

So what am I left with: my cheat day. The one day of joy in the entire week. My therapist asks me if that's a euphemism. And I realize it could be. Maybe it should be.

I seem to be having the same relationship (and issues therein) with my diet that most people seem to be having with their sex lives!

Infidelity is becoming an accepted reality right now. Everyone knows, no one judges. I suppose few can since there is just so much of it. Everywhere.

We will be celebrating ten years of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna on the 11th of August, and I remember vividly the storm it created: there was a whole Pandora's box of how can we talk about/make a love story out of infidelity. And those same people are now writing to me saying they didn't get it then but they're getting it now. And I'm wondering are they getting it now because they're getting some now too? 

If there is no one philosophy on food any more, then there isn't on love either. The conscience police have been retired and rendered entirely unarmed. In the war between libido and conscience, there's a clear victor: RIP Conscience. And I'm not finding it to be a problem between people any more either. I've spoken to partners of both sexes, and everyone seems ok with it, and they're coming back to their relationships completely satisfied with all good in the hood (that's not a euphemism, btw). Sure, there are tears that are shed, there are meltdowns and breakdowns, but nothing that chocolate or, umm, a chocolate boy can't help with (sometimes both together?)

I feel like it's all become so ubiquitous, and that's new. Infidelity has always existed, but I feel like it was brushed under the carpet, behind the scenes. Now everyone is at it - and they've stopped pretending they're not. Industrialists go on 'work trips', actors go 'indoors' on their 'outdoors'. And all those stereotypes that girls are more faithful than the guys and sit quietly waiting for their husbands/partners to come home is no longer true at all. I've been at parties where everyone has a roving eye and a shaking thigh. It seems like the women are saying if they're getting some, why shouldn't I too? And that I applaud, more power to them. They have their cheat days same as anyone. Why stick to a la carte, when the buffet offers such range? 

And I am not referring to the film fraternity. Or not just. This feels like the reality everywhere. In fact, the movie industry might be the most sanctimonious because everyone is so worried about the paparazzi police that they behave much better than they would otherwise. It suits most to think of them as this philandering community; they're not, or no more than any other. And I know this for a fact. Friends from the past, friends in other cities...I walk through my office with all these young ADs (Assistant Directors) and I can sniff the pheromones in the air.

My driver gets more action than I do! The other day his wife called, complaining that he's visiting his girlfriend more than her! There is something very wrong with my life: he's rocking it up and there I am, one seat behind him, and all I'm missing is a nun's habit. 

I meet men, they talk about other women (or men). I meet the women, they talk about other men (sometimes other women). I feel sexuality and fidelity lines are blurring. And I can't decide if that's good or bad. I guess certain truths are universal: when you're on a diet, everything that's not allowed looks more delicious. So when you're on a relationship diet, does the same hold true? Is an infidelity binge followed by relationship detox? Should it be? 

My new eating plan suggests that what we thought were the right things are wrong, and the wrong things right. Is this the new 'lifestyle change'? Is it sustainable, or will those scales tip at some point? I have no clue but am intrigued to find out. What I do know is, call me cynical or call me pragmatic, but I've stopped giving those envelopes with money to people who are getting married because I refuse to contribute to their alimony! When the invite says RSVP Regrets Only, I've started to wonder if that's the line they mean the most. 

So am I endorsing infidelity? Of course not. How can I endorse something that's already sold out? And of course, now I know so much about this world, I'm questioning my own notions of love and romance. I feel at my age that I am just too late to the party. All this time I've been fantasizing about the perfect relationship, now I'm wondering if I should be fantasizing about cheating on the perfect relationship!

I think I will settle instead for snuggles with my puppy who will not cheat on me, who loves me unconditionally and is probably the best thing I've had in my bed for a while. 

And after all, if I can't go for the buffet (of either kind), if I do not want the bitter breakup, I will settle (per usual) for my portion of bitter chocolate. At least this way I'm the one doing the cheating, the only way I know how!

(Karan Johar is one of India's best known film and television personalities)

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