A muted protest. Subtle symbolism. To show you that it’s here. And it’s here to stay. No more shall the likes of Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde have to veil their realities. The new age has arrived. Or almost. 

I woke up a few mornings ago, and as my crappy habits go, reached out for the phone. But distinguished from other mornings, this one was pleasanter. 
Why you ask?
No, not because of the 1000+ odd messages from 20+ odd groups awaiting me. I have no patience to scroll up, join the dots and try to figure out some odd ‘unfunny’ story amongst unrelated chats and inconsequential chitchat on the groups. And no, no sweet messages awaited me either. It was just that someone had changed a group icon and installed a new emoticon instead.


I know it is no matter of vital importance but I am a sucker for emoticons. I still have a  soft corner for toys, bunnies, teddy bears, in short anything which reminds me of kidhood. I can still pass a day watching Cartoon Network or Pogo. Trust me, I can. But that wasn’t the #Fantastico part either. What made me rejoice and do a tango in my head was these –

Courtesy of my Whatsapp toolbox

Yes, these new batch of emoticons joining the WhatsApp bandwagon. Many months ago, I had found colored faces on WhatsApp looking at me. Faces, thumbs-up, fists and suchlike. From a dark-skinned thumb to a pale one, there were a couple of shades in between including a golden one. 

I totally loved it. No, it was not a fairness cream advert. Far from it. It was a choice. I so felt like raising a thumbs-up to those techies for doing this. 

Talk about inclusion. Talk about challenging stereotypes. Like Shrek did with the ugly ogre and fat princess. Perfect imperfections. Inculcating it right from the start. Princesses are not just fair. Like. Like. Superlike.  

And today I extend another kudos to them as I see newer emoticons – that of a girl-girl peck, a guy-guy kiss in addition to the regular guy-girl thingy. What’s more, there was a whole new family emoticon as well – a brood of two girls and their two kids, another of two guys and their little ones, all besides the regular guy and girl family.

Subtle. Sensitive. Powerful.
You see how intelligent this is? Symbolism is that powerful. Minimalism can be this effective. It takes just an idea, nothing more. Just an idea that can transform ideologies and make you think. Beautiful, isn’t it? Oscar Wilde would have been proud. #Fantastico, I say!

It has been 11 years since Brokeback Mountain created waves in Hollywood and won a string of Academy Awards. Since then, we have had our own adaptations and versions of gay rights. I Am, Aligarh, Angry Indian Goddesses, Margarita with a Straw etc. created a new strain of cinema at the box office. Among Bengali movies,  Rituparno Ghosh’s creations like Arekti Premer Golpo, Memories in March and Chitrangada brought about a revolution in cinema regarding sexual orientation. Then there was Naanu Avanalla…Avalu in Kannada that had the actor Sanchari Vijay winning the national award for playing a woman. In the Malayalam film Mumbai Police, Prithviraj is shown having a secret gay past. Shridhar Rangayan’s film Yours Emotionally has explored homosexuality in a different way, exploring the lives of older gay men.

Michael Kirby, a distinguished former Judge of the High Court of Australia and a former President of the International Commission of Jurists who delivered the 2013 Tagore Law Lectures, themed ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — a new province of law for India’ had publicly shared with the world that he was both homosexual and HIV positive. The effect he had was electric.

Soon enough, Section 377 was decriminalized. Although now we are at another point and many changes are wanting, there is no stopping the world of art from blaring out the truth. We have Shab and LOEV coming. Change is here. Slow perhaps, but sure. Queer is not queer anymore. It’s #Fantastico. The changing icons tell the story.

#Fantastico #Zica #Tata #Impact #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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