Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Ever wondered what sperates us indians from the rest of the world. Well one of the most important factor i can think of is the sheer hetrogenity of the Indian Society. The number of races, castes, cultures, religions and cultures present in modern INDIA is probably more than the whole world combined. Whats more, every section of this humongous society will have their own rituals and traditions for every religious and social event.

Recently, I attended a wedding of 2 of my very close friends and colleagues. Now, ideally, this is would be the story of an ideal Indian wedding: Boy's family meets girl's family. Priests match horoscopes. Families congratulate themselves, invitations are send out before finally the boy and girl meet on the day of the wedding, all prepared to start a new life.

But the wedding I attended had quite a different story behind it. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy loves some other girl, so refuses to acknowledge the love of the girl. Gets kicked on his backside by the other girl. So comes back to the girl who loves him.

They decide to marry. Girl's mother agrees. Boy's family agrees. Girl's father cannot stand the sight of the boy. He refuses to the match. Boy and girl decide to get married anyway. Finally, after lot of pleading and persuasion, girl's father agrees and graces the wedding with his presence.

As if this wedding was not confusing enough, the whole ceremony that took place seemed like it was the boy who was being given away to the girl's family, quite the opposite to Indian traditions. So much so that it became a in house joke during the marriage. On top of that this happened to be the marriage of 2 people who belonged to 2 of the stingiest communities of India. Both buisness communities and both would think 10 times before spending a single rupee.

Hinduism and the religions springing out from it, are probably the only religions where marriage is seen as a religious duty. All others, like Christanity and Islam see marriage more as a social contract. And this was the state of the world and India till the foriegn invaders decided to settle down in India.

The orthodox and rigid Indian society began to mix with these forgeign cultures. And as time passed, Indian society adequately adopted western customs and traditions. Hence, even though Islam and Christanity did spread across the population, the touch of Hinduism remained a part of the Indians who were converted, voluntarily or forcibly. That is why in some Christian weddings, you see the bride wearing white saris while in few Muslim weddings, there are barats going for the wedding.

This palimpest like nature of Indian society makes us stand apart from rest of the world and in someways make them look at us with envy.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Fairer Sex

Sometimes life presents you with the most subtle of coincidences that you can’t help but marvel at the heavenly scriptwriter who pens down the movie that is our lives. One must understand what I am about to write is strictly my observation and opinion and I do not mean to shower flattery on anyone and is no way biased.

May 21 will mark the first death anniversary of my mother. She was, in more ways than one, a remarkable lady with amazing will power and stamina. But this is not about her. It is about these 3 ladies; 3 women; all sharing the same bloodline. I saw a similar energy in them that I had come to associate with my mommy dearest.

The first lady is well, I don’t know her name. Hence, I shall address her as nani-ji. She happens to be the maternal grandmother of the better half of the M & M Wedding. Now, from what I have heard, this 5 foot something lady was a dynamic freedom fighter over 60 years ago. She eloped and wed at a time when India was struggling to gain independence, let alone the women getting their rights. And now 60 years later, in the oven like town of Bilaspur, I saw this little dynamite enthusiastically attend the wedding of her granddaughter. And what’s more, over the period of one day, I used to see her climb the hotel stairs to get her work done, while the younger blokes likes us were quarrelling as to who would climb up the stairs and fetch the camera from the room.

The 2nd female in concern, is the mother of the bride. The power in this lady left me at awe. Not only during wedding day, but also during the weeks building up to the day, she had the most important role of all, to keep ‘Mallaya’ uncle under control. Now, with all due respect to him, we all know how difficult he could get. And even as he hugged his beloved daughter and cried during the vidayee , aunty held her own. And after 6 -7 hours of never ending rituals, she made sure she was up early in the morning to bid farewell to the relatives who were boarding the morning flight. And then quietly she made sure that her father, had his breakfast and then she went on to complete all the packing. I tell you, that woman has some amazing strength.

I guess you must have guessed by now, who the 3rd person is. Hence I will not be mentioning her name. Based on the above examples, one can see that her amazing will power quite literally runs in her veins. I have always known her as an independent, organized and caring woman. But during this wedding she has made some amazing sacrifices. A girl who hates decking up and being in the spotlight, she had to change saris 4 times a day, wear heavy jewellery and always be under make up with her head covered and sit in the middle of room as people keep showering her with blessings. And all this, to please the family of the love of her life.

I have never really warmed up to the patriarchal Indian society. Why is it always the girl who has to make the sacrifices and compromises, while the men just play the silent spectators to all of it? These 3 women are just small examples of the woman possess. Their incredible zest and will is quite enviable.

And the 581 words that I have written in the paragraphs before this just drives home the point I have been trying to make over the past 4 months. We need more girls in the Mam Team.