By Kanika Parab
A desperate SOS from a tweeter with thousands of followers went out a few days ago. "Save Savita", it said. Soon, the news was all over the Indian national dailies, which sported dramatic headlines like "Don't Let Savita Die" and "Assassination of Savita", urging the public to file Right to Information Act pleas on Savita's behalf. And when a family member came forward to say that there was no hope, hundreds of R.I.P groups sprung up on online, mourning her death.
The woman in question is no martyr or public figure. She is India's first online comic porn star, banned by the Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of IT and Telecom, for promoting obscenity. Savita Bhabhi -- a curvaceous, sari-clad Indian woman with long, black tresses offset by a line of fiery red vermillion to mark her marriage --was a far cry from the typically prudish Indian housewife, and drew over 60 million users to her online abode every month.
Before getting banned, Savita lived in a humble Indian middle class home, prepared breakfast for her husband before he left for work every morning, and waited dutifully for him to return. She was addressed as 'bhabhi' the Indian shorthand for an elder sister-in-law.
But unlike conventional bhabhis, Savita used the time in-between to explore her sexuality. Distant cousins, bra salesmen, old flames, teenage neighbours -- her ravenous appetite spared few. And during the recession when she had to find work, she even had a menage a trios with her boss and a female co-worker!
Hidden in Savita's Sari
Once the media sniffed out this underground project -- it was only a matter of time, considering the site was growing with up to 2 lakh visitors a day and 30,000 email subscribers -- we found out more about the bawdy home-maker. In February this year, she came out of hiding to give an exclusive interview to a Mumbai tabloid. Referring to herself as a "slightly promiscuous bhabhi," she revealed, for the first time, a hint of what everyone was dying to know -- who was behind the desi seductress? "My creator is Deshmukh. It is true that he is located out of India, but I cannot share the exact location as he values his privacy," she'd said
But then, Puneet Agarwal, a 38 year-old second-gen Indian businessman from the UK, came out to claim the site after the Indian government banned it during the end of last month. He started the online Save Savita Project, but ended it within a few days citing "personal and family issues" as the reason. And just like that, Savita was gone.
The closing down of one of India's most popular websites has prompted eulogies from famous media commentators, feminists and sociologists. Pritish Nandy, writer and film producer wrote in a national daily that "Savita Bhabhi is a symbol of freedom, of empowerment, of the sexuality our women can wield if they are allowed to escape the sham world we Indian men trap them in because of our own fears of sexual inadequacy masquerading as machismo." Adman and TV commentator Suhel Seth, added that "the fact that she was called 'bhabhi' indicates a perverseness that always existed [in India] but we were in denial about." Others, millions of voyeuristic internet fans, are just plain sad that they aren't going to see the frisky homemaker in action.
Exiled, but Not Dead
Internet experts say that the developers can easily change the proxy of the website and make it accessible. In fact, some still claim sightings of Savita on certain sites. We like to believe that Bhabhi is not dead, just exiled, and will be back soon with a new episode that, perhaps, sees her seducing the government?