Thursday, June 12, 2014
Friday, June 8, 2012
Friday, June 3, 2011
Monday, August 3, 2009
"Oh my, you've become a big girl now!"
"How old are you?"
"Oh, you're done with studies now, aren't you?"
"(to my mother) Have you started looking out?"
These, and a few variations thereof, usually make me want to run far, far away or scream out at the person who starts off with this.
Because these "conversation starters" only end up going in one direction... that it's about time I "settle down" and got married!
And every time, the conversation ends up being a variation of the same script. To illustrate...
I am not ready for marriage yet!
Well-meaning person (My mom / aunt / neighbour / relatives / family friend / family friend's friend/...):
Beta, now is the right time. You are at your prime (whatever that means!). You will get the best choice of prospective matches now... And if not now, then when? (Here, I choose to ignore their rhetoricism and answer the question anyway)
Well... maybe in another 5 years or so is fine by me!
ANOTHER 5 YEARS! That's too long! (Well, how do you know?) All the "good boys" will already be married by then! And you will have to choose from the "leftover" guys!
Look, I am sure I am not the only person who'll stay unmarried. There are so many people my age who are choosing to marry later, so I'm sure there will be a decent variety to choose from!
See, look at ABC's daughter, she got such a good groom! He's a manager at DEF firm, and he's settled in the US! She must be your age! And look at your friend S! She also got such a nice guy! Look beta, there is a "right time" for everything! And when you have to do it sooner or later, then why not at the right time? If you delay your marraige for really late, then you might end up like KIL, who's so qualified, but who's gotten such a jerk for a husband! Or look at PRT, you know her so well now, don't you? She's so intelligent, so smart, but now she's not getting a good guy! So...
But that doesn't mean the same will happen to me! For all you know, it might be just the opposite in my case! And I am really not ready right now.
You can atleast start "seeing" prospects right now, and you are under no pressure to say yes! (Yeah right!) If you find somebody, you never know!
Now, first things first. With all due respect... While I might be at the perfect age to marry, shouldn't I really get to decide when is the right time for me? Without worrying about anybody's disapproval. Without worrying about what "people will think". Or about what they will say. Why can't I be free to decide? Atleast about thing that might not even impact my entire neighbourhood! Isn't it so ridiculous?
And on a broader note, I know that being part of a society, there are some set ideas about what's acceptable and what's not. But shouldn't that be restricted to the public space? Why does it have to intrude into the private lives of its members, and dictate what's right and what's wrong?
Well, on a parting note. Marriage should be about choice, not a compulsion. And it should be about love, and nothing else.
What do you think?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I recently completed an India yatra, a 3 week long road trip through 6-7 states and back. This was primarily a temple tour with family, and the only thing I was kicked about was being on a long trip away from home!
We visited lots and lots of temples across the country. Temples with historical, divine or some other cultural significance. And some other temples that happened to come on the way , which by the way, was our tour manager's way of giving us a "bonus"! :-P Now, if there is one thing that I would expect from a trip like this is authenticity and peace within me and in the space around me. What I did experience, however, was anything but that.
I experienced chaos and urgency everytime we visited a holy place. Chaos, when there were too many people vying for the best spot in front of the deity, and urgency, when people, in their quest to not miss anything focussed more on getting the “best picture” to share with folks back home, before moving on to the next photo-op spot. So much for a journey of faith!
Talking about faith, everywhere I went, no matter which temple it was, I saw varied manifestations of the "faith" that people sometimes get so touchy about. Before I get into more details, I’d like to ask… can faith in the divine be measured? Well, if it were tangible, then maybe we could measure it by the number of shlokas one knew, or by a tika on one’s forehead, or even by the colour of your clothes and the accessories you adorn.
Well, coming back to the question, I believe that faith in the divine is a very private relationship you share with the power above. Just like any other close relationship, it could have symbolic external manifestations, but what happens in the relationship should be respected and kept private by the people involved.
Well, from the looks of it, not many people seem to subscribe to my view. Which is fine by me. However, from my experiences in this trip, I got a sense that the popular belief is that one’s faith in the divine is something to be exhibited and flaunted about. In a way, faith was used as a commodity to buy social reverence and respect! Sounds too far fetched? Well, I derived this view from the many recurring instances listed down below:
From people who started putting on their most pious behavior and displaying their knowledge of mantras and other "essentials" when they came within a radius of 2 km from the temple, and who seemed to give a damn about the intended message otherwise
From people who saw value in donating huge sums of money to temple trusts, but not having 1/10th of that amount to feed a hungry beggar on the road. While I am not advocating begging, I did find this very hypocritic!
From people who would unquestioningly support the effort to "cleanse" a place of a particular group of people, because a "priest" told them that those people had no right to the place! (I really have to resist the urge to write the name of the place here!)
From people who always wanted to get the "best deal" for themselves even when it came to religious rituals, so what if their fellow groupies got the shorter end of the stick! Like making a hefty donation to get into the “express worship” queue to skip the long line of devotees!
From people who would unflinchingly drink water from a holy river, even if it had visible algae and other "undrinkable" stuff floating on it... and even bottling up this "moksha" giving water to carry back home. And then refusing to share their drinking water with other fellow travellers!
And the same people, who wanted to "cleanse their sins and attain moksha" everytime they came to a holy river! (Almost like doubting the promise of the river to cleanse them in one go! Or wait, maybe they were ensuring an "advance cleansing" for the sins to follow! :-P
Well, this trip was an eye – opener in more ways than one. For starters, it really made me wonder about the purpose of this trip, and the penance in the form of long and difficult days of travelling across the country in the sweltering Indian summer, to visit some of the best temples of the country. Secondly, this new thing called temple tourism. I mean, it’s such a scam man! And lastly, faith should not be restricted to any particular place or situation. It’s like the Lycra ad, you either have it, or you don’t!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I have never really believed in the concept of living your life by a time-table. I have always felt that it makes your life really monotonous, and doesn't allow you to enjoy the spontaneity that comes with having an unplanned life. It binds you to a particular set goals for the day / month / year or whatever it is that you plan your life around, and doesn't really encourage you to think beyond those...
I was so wrong! I fact, I have now come to believe that having a time table actually creates a far more enriching life. When you have a set of "to do" things on a list, you are that much more likely to accomplish all of them. For instance, consider that you have to complete "x" number of things today. Now if you are somebody who doesn't like making lists / time tables, and believes in taking every moment as and when it comes, you may go about the day with your "to do" list in mind, but you could get caught unawares by something that you hadn't anticipated earlier. And since you don't have a plan to stick by, you would go all out to tackle that something at the cost of your "things to do" list. All those things could wait till tomorrow as well, right? :-)
However, for a person who has a time table, it is easy to make time out for unexpected things, after finishing all the things on his things to do list! And also, when you write a time-table, you become aware that you can really be in control of your life... in the sense, do all those things that you really wanted to, but never got around to doing... (for lack of time, money etc)
So go ahead folks, and make a time table for today... and live by it! Trust me, the effort will well be worth it! Imagine packing all you possibly can into a beautiful day. and actually striking off things that you've managed to complete at the end of the day! Doesn't it make you smile already? If it doesn't then think about this. You will see a whole new world of possibilities which you haven't given the remotest thought to. And life will just become a medium to make sure you can explore these possibilities to the fullest.
For starters, I'd like to share 2 things that I've got out of living by a time table (atleast making an effort to love by it!)
1) I have managed to take the first step towards a voice - based career!
2) I will also enrol for a music training course this year! :-) (I've been wanting to do this since over 10 years!)
These may be really small things, but I look at them as a first step towards fulfilling my latent dreams. Go on, you can try it too!