Essay · life experience

The “how’s” and “why’s” of marriages around me . Part 1

Two people meet,they talk , they find each other interesting and keep seeing , talking and finally get married . If things go well , if they remain understanding , sincere and patient throughout the life the marriage goes on , Else they separate to find a better life for each . 

This might sound a normal scenario . But , that is not the case around me . Come let’s have a peep into some real time conversations happening . 

This happens in India – the land of diversity – diversity goes from languages to religions which further divides to castes , diversity in skin tones to hair textures , diversity in food we eat and festivals we celebrate . Its all diversity in a jar . Travel towards South India , you reach the very own “God’s Own Country” , Kerala . This is where I’m born and brought up . 

Come to a home where the son is of marriageable age ( Yes , we have such ages . If a man wants to get married when he is 21 or 22 it is considered too young by the society ) the most common conversations go as follows . 

Mother ( mostly the final decision maker ): “She should be fair , educated and at least at par with our financial standards” 

“Fair, tall, slim , educated, religious and should bring atleast $$$$ dowry . As gold , cash and car . After all my son is earning $$$ . So definitely he deserves these”

“ Fair , slim, educated- but we wont let her work and  from a well off family . No dowry demands from out side , let them give what they want”.

There will be fathers in these family – but mostly they dont have any much opinion at this stage except to nod at their wife . 

But sisters do have opinion , like “ she should be beautiful , she should be fair or slim .. “ 

Lets come to the Hero hero , the would be husband . What does he say ? 

Assuming he do not have any girl friends to be considered as life partners , the most cliche statement will be “ whoever my mother and sister likes !!” ( We can wonder why he even chose to get married , for the sake of mother?or sister ?”) 

A handful have a decision to say “ I’ll find the person , you dont have to worry about it .” 

Let us assume , the person was in a long term relationship with someone . He prefers to take this relationship to a marriage and live together ( living together before marriage is not yet accepted in the society ) . 

Mother : “ What ??You want to marry her ? She is not suitable for you . Her family doesnt match ours . Her fathers job is &&& only !! Her uncles dont have proper earning . Her auntys father in laws sisters daughter eloped with some one. Her maternal grandfathers brothers wife’s sister is mentally unstable” .  Do you find this hilarious or insane ? But it is a truth that if the family does not like a girl , they would come up with any sort of reasoning to stop it .Yes, our parents want us to be independent and yet dependent always and anytime . Major life decisions like what to study or whom to marry are almost always parental decisions . But a kid is given his independence in eating Lays or Prinkles , going for a movie or outing , are fine with most parents . 

Inspite of all this if the son goes ahead with his decision : 

Sobbing mother “ She would have done some black magic . Else my son would never do this”

Consoling aunt “ He would have got a much better , beautiful , rich girl . What did he find interesting in her ?”

Some Uncle /Aunt “The gold she wore was too less , and her family also do not look aristocratic .He shouldn’t have married her”.

Father “ Let him decide, that is his life . But he has brought a shame to all of us”.

And for some unfortunate reason , the marriage collapses. Now , 

Mother “I told you , she would never suit you” or “ we knew it from day one itself that this wont last” 

Some uncle /aunt / relative “ The girl and her family looked very substandard . So we knew this would ultimately happen “ 

Father “ Atleast from now on , listen to us”.

In case the marriage survives , both husband and wife would definitely be strong willed fighters who has decided to be together forever . They may have to fight for a week or few weeks or months or years even . 

This is just one side – the grooms side . The other side , the brides side in the next post . 

Note: This happens in most of the families around me irrspective of their socio economic status . Let them be educated or not , holding high official positions or not, most of these happen . 

To be continued …. 

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Daily post · Essay

School days 

Today’s prompt took me back to my school days . Recite/Recitation/poems are all the memories of school . I studied a syllabus where we learned two languages from class 1 and adding a third language from class 5. All these subjects had text books with chapters comprising poems , stories , essays etc . For me learning a subject was easy – science , maths were one of my easy subjects . Though history and geography were on a tougher side , but I still could move on with little effort . Coming back to languages – I started learning English and Malayalam( this is a regional language , language used in Kerala ) from class 1 . We had poems – a few to be memorised partly or wholly . I’m a disastrous failure in that . How much ever I try , either I forget the lines or some words/phrases or even lines come inside the original poem . From class 5 onwards , Hindi also joins the league of languages . Till class 10 , for every exam a few lines of poems had to memorised and written . I still wonder ,how many times I could do it without errors !! That was a real task for me – how to memorize and reproduce !! For exams if the question was to write 6 lines , I either ended up with more or less than 6 – hardly with 6 . My own lines find their place in between poets poem. 

Moving on to college , though there were no poems to memorize , we were supposed to memorize lengthy formulas – but I failed miserably there too . I can easily derive a formula , but if it is too lengthy its a hard task to memorise and recollect . 

Now looking back – I wonder why the syllabus was framed in such a way that we need to ‘memorise’ and ‘reproduce’ poems for exams ?? What was the use in doing so ? How were the students getting benefit ? How was it a measure to evaluate a student ?
Daily post prompt recite . Recite

Daily post · Essay

Tether 

A month or two back , we had gone to meet a friend who is staying few kms away . Once we reached there , we understood they haven’t yet reached home (they had told us about some shopping ) . We waited outside in our car and saw a buffalo tethered in the nearby grass land .


The above image shows how it was tethered, and my three year old was amazed and shocked to see it . Her question was ” oh , its such a poor animal . The rope is tied on its face!! Poor animal , it might be hurting him . Why are people doing like this ? ” Though I tried to convince her by saying – the buffalo might run and get into danger or it is a common practice , she was very upset . I realized how kind and compassionate the young humans are than us !!

In yet another incident, while we were traveling we could see many buffaloes packed tight in a truck . They are packed so tightly that anyone who see it get upset .


This is how it looks . Anyone who sees this feel sorry for the poor animals . My kid was upset for this too , poor little girl never knew humans forget compassion in the run for money . After all the world is thickening with thick skinned humans who hardly have any humanity left in them .

Dailypost promptTether

Daily post · Essay · life experience

The wheel of life 

As I grow each day , my materialistic attraction lessens and I’m more to knowing myself and others . I realize , we go through a wheel of changes bringing us back almost like a kid in the old age . I see the best example in my paternal grandmother who is almost 90. She lives with us since the death of my grand father (almost 20 years) and recently I see her deteriorate both physically and mentally.

 Off late, she makes demands like a kid and cry if her demands are not met in the way she wanted .One day  we see her crying so much , saying something in between. We ask our house help what was going on and she says my grandmother is crying saying she dont have a saree to wear , and this when around 20 sarees were kept near her . She didn’t like anything and she was asking something she wore sometime after her wedding !! This resembles so much the tantrums a toddler would make when they make unrealistic demands .

Another to say , grandmother comes up with stories of death of some healthy lively people . We wonder why she said so , but she adamantly sticks to it . She keeps saying her youngest daughter in law passed away inspite of seeing her alive . Her logic says that is some other lady dressed like daughter in law . It reminds of the make up stories of my three year old .

Untimely demands are another common factor for old and young kids . My grandmother demands something or other to be eaten at midnight once everyone are asleep. I’d been through this phase for my elder kid many times !!

All these makes me realise , either today or tomorrow we all pass through similar cycle of events. When we show tolerance to our kids and irritation to old people- how fair it is ?? The realisation that we might reach the same point sooner or later is the remedy to not being irritated and angry . A self reminder that these people gave their blood and soul to raise their kids would tackle much of the issues . But when we are tired of our work life and family life – these are not easy to follow steps . Again reminding ourselves, their days are much numbered and making them happy shouldn’t bother us too much 🙂 .
In response to daily post prompt wheel.

Wheel

Essay

The fear

On every day or every other day ,I read articles or watch videos of Syrian people rather Syrian refugees . Most of the international news agencies give reports on the atrocities on the innocent civilians in whatsoever name they call . Almost a year and a half  or two years back Aylan Kurdi ,a Syrian refugee toddler was drowned in the Pacific ocean and this news with the picture of this little boy lying on the shores took my peaceful sleep away for many days .Similarly a few days back ,there had been reports and video of disastrous chemical attack and a victim gasping for breath .Again there was a man who lost 22 family members including his twin babies of 9 month old .I often wonder how their day would be like or night would be like .Most of them might be expecting death or near death every now and then .Almost all of these incidents shook me to the core and this might be the experience of many .But even after being worried about this ,I didn’t comment or share something of this in my personal accounts .Why ? Plainly because of the fear of being judged . It is not just me , there are many like me who dont share or comment or visibly express any type of emotion  because of the same fear .

How many would have read or even heard about the predicament of Rohingya people? Or at least know they are persecuted?Do many of us even know they are denied many of the basic rights and they live as second class citizens? This is happening in my neighbouring country. This is not a news for the media -Either they live or die ,nobody cares . If Syria stands in limelight ,Rohingyas never come in front of the world . But again ,I read and swipe the screen .I dont share the news – Why ? Simply the fear of being judged .

Coming to my country -the worlds largest democracy ,where secularism is shouted ,where we pledge “every Indians are my brothers and sisters” , people are killed for bovine justice.Let me rephrase. Muslims are killed in the holy name of cow . From one fine day ,cow became holy and reasons were sought to link a human and animal which mostly resulted in an assault or killing of the human. Did we protest? Yes- here and there .Not much of a protest as compared to the activists mob who are on a high vigil to ensure the bovine law .Teenagers were killed and hanged , middle aged men were killed or beaten to almost death – and situation has risen in such a way that being a cattle trader means you could be killed or assaulted in any possible way by the self proclaimed activists with the fancy tag “Gau rakshaks” . If a man can be killed for being suspicious about eating “cow” and then the meat is taken for forensic study to verify if it is cow meat or not – What kind of world are we living in ? Many of us read this news , may be we discuss about this .But nothing further.The tyranny is never ending ,and the Government is masquerading the situation by bringing up some other issues. There is as an upheaval resulting in impatience,insecurity and violence . But we ,the citizens, a majority who condemn the act still keep quiet . Many don’t even dare to raise the voice even in social media .Why ? Plain simple- the fear of being judged . This fear has left us to be the most silent yet fearful spectators of all the incidents around us .

The world has become so compact and small that an incident occurring in one part sends waves to other parts in no time . The fear spreads. So does the hatred . People stopped caring for others and humanity has taken a back seat for long.Insecurity and violence are on a high. The eventual result of all this is nothing but a fearful and unrest society. This conundrum is rising and it is not going to any end soon . No religion teaches us to kill our fellow beings -Its only the misinterpretation and misinformation passed on by the false experts .Practice to read and think ,rather reading and believing. Lets pray for peace, Lets join hands for peace , Lets rise to our feet for peace,Lets learn to respond with maturity and calmness, Lets give a peaceful place for our children !!

Essay · life experience

The First,The Second . 

I was in no hurry . I was working till the last working day . I wanted a decent salwar kameez to wear . No, I did not travel too far or visited boutiques over boutiques to get one . Along with my bestie , we traveled to the nearest city and got one . It was not so grand not so exquisite , but still a not bad one . Walked to the nearest store to get a pair of matching sandals . I did not bother to do luxury facials or body polishing or any specific beautification . Just two days before , I did my routine stuffs from my regular beauty salon. Asked if any of the staff working there can drop in to my home two days later for a quick touch up .This was how I got ready to get married to my today’s husband almost five years back .

I was in a similar scenario some nine years back too . But , there were lots of planning and arrangements done by parents and relatives . Choosing the wedding attire ,food to be served for the guests, wedding hall ,invitation cards etc.,everything were planned and prepared in advance . Everyone around wanted everything to be perfect – no flaws to be seen,no flaws to be talked.All these done , we started living together to realize we are poles apart . Two people who could never strike the cord of harmony . Parting ways after a brief period of togetherness , it removed so much vagueness and gave me a better insight to my own life . Many who’s,whys and whats were answered to myself . Moreover this was a real life changing experience . The best lesson learned was to put the foot down firmly to say a “NO” if needed. Many in India, get married in an arranged way (Both families liking each other and bride meets groom  only couple of times .) . This is more of a family issue than about the couple . In this game , getting the right partner is more luck . Some have it ,some enact as if having it , some dont have it but cant walk out and some walk out .I walked out and decided to let go off all the negativity surrounding me – I had losses , my career, my 1.5 years, my time ,energy and lot more . But the gains definitely overpower all those .

Two years later ,when WE decided to start afresh new , I was not bothered about what to wear ,which salon to visit ,how much wedding shopping to be done or anything . Materials never occupied the mind , but it was more of knowing each other and talking about what we are and what we expect .We knew we could rely on each other and get a fresh life.We knew we could pull on together . We knew we could respect each other and move ahead .We knew we didn’t share similar political ideologies. We know we didn’t like same food ,in fact we liked the opposite of each other.We knew we had a roller coaster ride and we wanted to start afresh. There started days with something to look forward to.

I was comfortable in a simple salwar kameez ,a small necklace,a stud and bracelet . Yes ,that finished the wedding attire .I got questions -Why are you not wearing your jewelry ? You could have worn more jewels? You could have chosen a saree, you could have tried a better colour – Sorry people,I’m out of it -I dont bother all these comments . I have reached the stage of maturity wherein I do what makes me happy ,not what makes the spectators happy or contented , and mind you – you dont know what I faced or how I moved on from an abusive relationship . So your comments will fall on deaf ears .

These are the real tests .You come out more evolved and more of the real you .You know to ignore many things and choose peace.You know what you want in life .The most important thing – the self realization.You learn to talk for yourself ,act for yourself and moreover to fight for your inner happiness.

Its not about the numerical first or second ,but about finding a peace within .Its all about being yourself and being contented and happy at the same time.

Essay · life experience

The Dark Chocolate

“So, she might be Mr.A’s daughter?” Some lady in her forties (or may be fifties) asked to my aunt looking at me. She definitely didn’t look happy seeing me and her question was more of a pity than of a surprise.

“No,She is Mrs.X’ s daughter” my aunt replied to which this lady’s eyes almost popped out and without any hesitation she asked with an alarming tone “ Is it ?? Then why is she so black??”

Hardly eight or nine years, long long ago had I never known my skin tone was such an issue. Moreover this one incident has set its place deep down in my mind that I even started accumulating thoughts over this bland statement of some lady whom I don’t even know!!

Fast forward to many years ahead, I heard many direct and indirect statements from so many ‘well wishers’ whose sincere intentions was a good life for me (you may read married life or as they say “to get settled”), many bits and pieces of advices on how to improve the skin tone or how to look presentable in front of grooms family or how to take a photograph of mine!!! Never did I muster some strength and courage to snap them off.

People around me were racists, but I didn’t know this word then. I was a kid, an eight year old who loves to play. But sadly, I was growing up in a racist age and today I am living in an even more racist society. Growing up, being a professional and living around professionals also I’ve heard enough about improving my complexion. That gave the most important realization – this is not anything related to ones education or culture or socio economic conditions, its deep rooted in a vast majority of people which needs a real conscious pull off. We reach an age of maturity when we start realizing these are trivial issues, we learn the art of ignoring or snapping nasty comments, we become stronger and bolder and move ahead. But this doesn’t happen as such. Days or Weeks or Months pass by when we indulge in self guilt trying to comprehend over the situation and come out of it.

But how are we preparing this society for our kids? Are we still transferring these age old sickness to them? Are we making this earth a better place for them? I need to shout out a big “NO” as the answer. The majority are striving to be racists and claiming to be secular –the sad irony of our youth. So, what shall I do? My kid who is just three get to hear about this – so what do I do? I am her confidante ,I am her solace ,my words have high impact on her .So that’s my strength – I tell her people are in different colours so much like any other animals or birds or vehicles and everyone are beautiful . I repeat to her – She is intelligent strong and beautiful, I repeat it many times a day or night before we sleep and as soon as we get up. I try to make the feeling strong and concrete in her so that she gets the courage to respond to the racists comments anytime in her life. No one told me these anytime in my life – instead they gave me fair and lovely!!!