Saturday, February 27, 2010
Festivals have this strange power in creating an emotional riot.It could leave you exited,sad,nostalgic,restless and even lost.So this sums up my feelings as yet another Holi arrives bringing with itself so much more.
But keeping all the other feelings sidelined i would like to proclaim that nowhere can holi be as intense and as elaborate as in my Bihar.i fail to recall the exact time but remember this that the season itself called Falgun would start with playing holi not on a paricular day but each day as and when the time permitted.This region called Bhagalpur where i hail from, nobody would take the risk of wearing new or expensive clothes and instead will try to wear only those which one was eager to discard.
All the joking relationships like Devar and Bhabhi,Jeeja and Sali,Nanad and Bhabhi,between both the Samadhi reached it's pinnacle during Holi.
In our system we have what is called the joking relationships where healthy but harmless flirtations are allowed.These flirtations could range from simple teasing to being risque.But it was legit and it would be holi when you would get to witness these in full splendour.So none would be spared and if one got annoyed it would be dismissed casually by saying-"Bura na mano holi hai"(Don't feel bad it's just holi fun). Everything would be forgiven and forgotten later.Only when you get to stay in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh can you get the true feel of these relationships where :
1. Devar=Husband's younger brother and
Bhabhi=wife of elder brother are allowed to tease and flirt
2. Jeeja=Elder sister's husband and
Sali=wife's younger sister mostly unmarried are allowed the same priviledge
3. Nanad=husband's sister
Bhabhi=wife and both belonging to the same sex can indulge in fanciful and lewd teasing
4. Samadhi=both sides parents refer to each other as Samadi so the lady mom of the girl's side called Samadhin could tease the father called samadhi of the boys side and vice versa.
As kids we would clap and jump in joy and cheer the winning side even though much that passed between the two opposing sides we couldn't understand.But being in the hot seat much later i too had my share and so did my husband when he gleefully had fun during holi with my younger sis and i had with his younger twin bros and our parents amongst themselves.i am now lost because none of my friends who hail from the South can exactly share my joy and revelry about this.The senior ladies here can never guess why i preferred calling them Akka (elder sister in Tamil) instead of anything else, when and if they accepted me in their coterie.
Thinking about the holi specials no matter how hard i try i don't know why my malpuas (deep fried eggless pancakes made simply or richer with it being soaked in sugar syrup) don't taste as good as when i had it back home.And i silently curse myself for being so detached about cooking then to learn the spicy and yummy mutton to go with the dry puas (the faintly sweet but salty Malpuas) or never bothered to learn the aaloo ka achaar (boiled potato pickle spicy and tangy with the distinct flavour of mustard ) to go with it.i have honed my skills in preparing Dahi wadas (lentil dumplings dipped in yoghurt and served topped with sweet and sour tamarind paste called imli ki chutney) but i still don't know how to prepare the other dumplings which used to be in a sweet and sour watery solution.These used to be ligher on the palate and very 'finger licking good'. So my family gets to have somehow managed holi specials of Chole (spicy chickpeas) which replaces aloo ka achaar,Malpuas,Dahi badas,and mutton which lacks that unique taste.
Maybe someday soon i will convince myself to make my journey back home in that village which resounded with the songs of Fag (Folk songs sung during entire Falgun season)with the start of the season.If not for anything but for Holi specials.Jogira Sara Rara rings in my ears to the beat of Dhol (a kind of drum) and cymbals as i get this strong calling which kindles a sad longing.Sad because with so many rituals going extinct and the villages losing their originality i wonder if i can witness the same.
i wonder if holi goes on for days as it used to, culminating with the last couple of days of rapture and joy called Dhurandi,Holika Dahan,Choti Holi and finally Holi.
Will i get to hear the folk song in local Angika(regional dialect) which told the story that though Holika was offered a boon for performing austerities she was burnt alive because her heart was not pious and and she lacked the inner purity whereas Prahlad was saved because of his piety and his faith in God?
To my friends who respond with thank you calls and compliments i always end up repeating "was my pleasure but you didn't get to taste the original".i often get restless then before cooking if everything will turn out the way i would want it to and knowing the answer very well will still go ahead and take the plunge.Is it the spirit of holi that gets me going then?
What is this about holi that gets you excited i could never explain.Is it the colours?Is it the fun?Is it the food? Maybe it is these and a lot more.That nature is at it's best with all colours blossoming signalling to celebrate this oneness.It definitely is a spirit in us that banishes all discriminations.A spirit that combines joy, naughtiness, passion and enthusiasm.Also like all our festivals it tells us that "truth is universal" and also reminds us in this age of strife that "Goodness triumphs over evil". No one can deny that the essence of Holy is Harmony.So let this Holi be that one in which we change "not only the colour of faces but also the colour of our hearts"."Let the colour that truly penetrate our beings, be the colour of God".
And just to get that feel... however this may not actually be the Fag i talked about,here is a bhojpuri song of that teasing between Devar and Bhabhi where the Devar teases her for sleeping carelessly while the dog ate the holi special pua and the left over milk was drunk by the cat.As a result now there's nothing to eat.
Well this also brings me to another very close incident which happened a few years later and once again in the train when i was going to Patna for a short holiday.This person from Delhi not realising maybe that i was a Bihari was reprimanding his friend in his local lingo, who was messing up the area with peanut shells "kyun Bihariyon ki terah seat ki raid peet raha hai"(why are you littering /messing up the seat like a Bihari).Once again i was unable to utter-"What is so Bihari about your own individual choice in being uncivilised ?"
Many such incidents later and now in a mature position to talk about embarrassments and failings freely, i feel it grossly unfair to stereotype any region and make unjust declarations.Each region has it's own hue,it's own feel.Each region resonates with the sounds and smells typical of that region and each has it's fair share of good and bad.We all encounter rough behaviour oft an on and it can also happen in the most sophisticated places but it is not only uncouth to give it a regional name but also very separatist.
We often delight in making fun of the food,language,clothing of any region and it is as common as crow to talk about accents and mocking anyone who sounds the slightest bit different.If the party ridiculing us is at fault then i think it's shameful and cowardly to let it pass.No i don't mean to be aggressive or pick up a fight but to feel delighted about your own roots and proclaim who you are instead of running for cover.
Today when i recall that first train incident i have got my answer.It was nothing but my own low self esteem which had kept me tongue tied instead of asking-"What exactly do you mean with that maam?" or perhaps "what is so Chennaite in all those simpletons who came to see you off and have begged the TT to get you this lower berth and have bid you farewell humbly taking care that you are well provided for so far as food and drinks is concerned?"
i fail to see that the reason to have separate state for oneself is purely economical or purely political.Somewhere down the road each one of us is responsible.Considering our own to be best and looking down upon the rest, we sow the seeds of separatism within us and nurture this instead of weeding it out.Falling prey to manipulative leaders follows much later.Sometimes we flourish so much away from our homes and instead of feeling grateful we go on a rampage booing even that which deserves credit.It is sad to see the kind of North Indians Vs South Indians going on.And i often wonder have we been educated well enough or are we just glorified literares?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Quite recently an unusual sort of calm has settled inside me.Is it a sign of mellowing down with age or is it my attempt to be genuinely in tune with Atithi Devobhava (guests are like Gods) i know not but definitely one thing is clear that now i am with my dad in his angst on lodging at relatives and have no second opinions about what hospitality actually means.Since this one says it brilliantly i can comfortably use it now.
"Hospitality,n-The virtue which includes us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging" (Ambrose Bierce,The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
That devil in me stops me from being a medium whereby my hosts gather brownie points in their good Karma.Can't help it competition man! and can good deeds be far behind.
Holi is round the corner and i sit in this Brahm Vela ( that time in the wee hours between 4-6 a.m suitable for spiritual awakening),taking stock of irritants and how to deal with it without causing pain to myself or any body.Holi mentioned here has a purpose, a reminder that this morning when i serve tea to my soundly sleeping guests who are here sine die there is definitely going to be a warm and brilliant smile on my face, the kind which should proclaim Nirvana (enlightenment)and it will get clearer in my writing why festivals and visitors have a chattis ka aankda (serious conflict) so far as i am concerned.i simply smile the laughter at my friends friends version too when she said-"You know Shivani during Christmas i invite all my family members to Chennai and by evening i want to kill them all".So i chant a silent mantra and start.In random order:
a) that they will be cooped up in their respective rooms showing their faces only when the food served announcements are made- i will count my blessings that unlike my dad house which swarmed with guests my kid is not having to share his room and i will not feel exploited or used.
b) Some will inform me when the food is served that they don't eat Bhindi/Baingan/eggs... giving me the look as if they have done me great service-i will not panic and conjure up something in a jiffy.
c) My loo's will definitely look like a devil's workshop- i will muster the inner stength to be Mr Muscle Man sans grumbling and cribbing.
d) They might ask me to do their laundry like this childhood friend of mine from Copenhagen,whom i had invited and we were meeting after say 20-25 years and the first thing he did was to open his luggage and dump the laundry for his 12-15 shirts and also the same number of inner wears.EEEKS! Washing was easy because of Whirlpool! Whirlpool! but it was the ironing which made me feel like wringing his neck while he happily showered humming some stupid old number.That i couldn't say no was understandable but taking it out on my husband-unforgiving.So this time i will offer the Whirlpool! Whirlpool! politely instead of doing it and then feeling awful later.Also if they need to be taught then shall oblige without having any profanity in my thoughts.Not to forget that now i give that friend of mine the benefit of doubt and forgive him.
e) And when these prove to be the kind very particular about Ghar Ka Khana (home cooked food) sightseeing/shopping shall be a pleasure as i shall grab this opportunity to eat out which shall save me that grudge filled cooking later when i return and i shall convince them that when i treat them to Madras meals they can choose that thali (full meal with accompaniments) which serves Dal (lentils) instead of Sambhar(spicy, sour lentils cooked along with vegetables)and that food at Sarvana Bhawan is world renowned as not only are the preparations tasty to the palate but very agreeable to the stomach.Also that it will be my honest attempt to show them the culinary side of South India and prove to them that that South Indian food apart from Masala Dosa( a kind of roll made with rice and lentil batter and stuffed with spicy potato filling and served with spicy pastes of all kinds called Chutney ) need not be condemned without even tasting and knowing their variety and uniqueness.i shall not make desperate attempts to dispel their myths about tamarind and it's use in sambhar,instead.It's of no avail convincing people who can't differentiate myths from reality and who think tamarind makes you impotent.
f) Holi will see me extra busy with more specials than i would have normally prepared to save them of nostalgia and feeling sorry that they couldn't be back home with their family and friends and that they are in this alien land jahaan kuch pata hi nahin chalta hai ki holi hai(where holi as a festival has no signs of merriment). i will take it sportingly if my guests show detachment and are stingy with their compliments.My husband's will suffice and i shall acknowledge lovingly when he says-malpua bahut accha bana hai... (deep fried pancakes minus eggs cooked as a festival special in Bihar)
e) Last but not the least this time my husband will be spared of my wrath and i shall not doubt my husband when he echoes Khalil Gibran in saying-"If it were not for guests all houses would be graves".Maybe i'll use the same later when guests from my side arrive and he is proving to be an ass...oops! sorry! hey it's after six and i must get going now as the guests which are 2 in number for the time being leave at 7 for their training at TCS (Tata Consultancy Services).Starting with a wake up call, followed by tea, packing of the tiffin box... lots to do including grocery shopping for holi to be done without my guests actually having to witness that. Some sort of host ettiquete i guess. So maybe i'll have to call it the quits for the time being.
The dawn of a new morn when i hear the sounds and see the serenity that hints of hectic activity to be followed later, i will be truly dishonest if i don't spell out my real feelings."Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once in a year"(Victor Borge)and to this i shall add just for one day.
Monday, February 22, 2010
So suddenly amoth was something which couldn't be traded with Cadburys and it was always us meeting our friends in the common lawn or gardens as we were embarrassed to call them home.Of course these friends also celebrated something called BIRTHDAY when a cake lit up with candles was cut after the ritual singing and blowing off of candles.We had to take gifts for such friends which would mostly be some biscuit packet initially given unwrapped. Oh!NO! we were at such a loss.Now our home was Shekh Chillee Niwas indeed.Profanity ceased to be sounds to be laughed at uproarously but something shameful and horrifying and imagine the horror writ on our parent's faces when in the midst of a sibling rivalry we would utter some like Khacchar Kahin Ka (aren't you an ass)...and the worst.
Now definitely it takes much more than these to have a distaste or rather a kind of guest phobia.No matter how much our parents were liberal and generous with the cook and the domestic helps nobody remained stationed at Sheikh Chillee Niwas.Only the duration of stay differed when they could last.However it was not so much for their loyalty towards us but for their desire to extract a sarkari naukari(Government job) from my bureaucratic dad.So the longest these lasted was for about 2-3 yrs depending on when they got the kagaz(appointment letter) which announced their sarkari naukri as a peon.My dad was a principled man and if he promised anyone he kept his promise.While the cooks left euphoric with their fortune and good riddance ,that particular day Sheikh Chillee Niwas bore the look of doom.As if someone very important or very strong pillar of the family on whom everything rested had attained the lotus feet of the lord and now the future looks bleak for the poor family.The jovial guests became quieter and suddenly had important assignments back home which required immediate attention and happily left in the early hours of the morn after filling their stomachs nonetneless with Dahi Chura (beaten rice soaked in water and eaten with yoghurt with either jaggery, sugar or salt) for a change.Those ailing and wanting medical treatment were fit enough to travel and those having litigation would come again as matters were now at a standstill.In any case those who had come to gather some adipose onto their skinny self were the first ones to scoot citing wierd and incredible reasons for their departure.So it goes without saying that it was then that adorance gave way to abhorance.Along with all this the immense realisation of the discomforts caused to the hosts.Some of the discomforts manageable and some painful.So i think when Benjamin Franklin made this landmark sentence-"Fish and visitors smell in three days" he said it all so succinctly.
Yes we did get plenty of exposure to other more important aspects as well.The masaledar rustic snacks like Bhoonja which can be called a distant cousin of Jhalmuri and just like jhalmuri offered plenty of opportunities for innovation and this could be made in a jiffy with any roasted or some unroasted grains available unlike jhalmuri which requires puffed rice.Then there was this drink made from Sattu (roasted gram flour)supposed to be a RAM BAN elaz (sureshot cure)for any kind of constipation and this drink too offered varieties as it could be made as a shake with milk and sugar or as a chilling slightly spicy drink with water, lime juice and sugar or salt as one preferred it.
But for these people we would have never known the names of greens other than spinach/palak. So there was this Khesari ka sag, Bathua ka sag, Soya which was added to potatoes to give it a unique flavour, Chana ka sag which had to cook on slow fire for a long time and mixed with other spices like chillies and garlic and fresh mustard oil was a delight with hot rice,Sarson ka sag, methi which was also added to potatoes and other veggies to give it a lovely flavour ,and something called nonia which either could be cooked on it's own or added to others.i know now that soya is dill,sarson is mustard,methi is fenugreek,and the tiny leaves of green gram plant is chana ka sag but still don't know what khesari and bathua are called in English.But i do know that a dash of it in sarson ka sag makes it doubly yummy and being seasonal and regional is never found in Chennai. Also that Khesari is a banned item now, i wonder if it had raised the same hulla bulloo as Bt Brinjal when it was discovered to have induced paralysis in cattle. Now though as kids we had an aversion to one and all because all we adored in vegetables was the crisply fried potatoes called bhujiya.All of us definitely loved the pickles of all kinds including those made with greens and also the all time favourite with anything was gudamma the sweet and sour mango pickle made with jaggery.And not to miss amoth or aampapad commonly known in Hindi, a kind of dry chewable and suckable sweet and sour candy made with the pulp of ripe and sweet mangoes. However we enjoyed the camaraderie which the green spreads caused among the males and the females present and how once at least it presented the picture of harmony.The ladies of the house would be seen preparing with utmost devotion to please the male gentry who in turn would be giving appreciative and affectionate nods at the thought of the variety and the nutrition the greens and the labour of the ladies offered for the day.
But the most endearing of all these was our exposure to the different dialects of Bihar.Unlike my other friends in school who are familiar only with one of their own and some none at all, we were the blessed ones to know all the four major regional dialects called Magahi and Angika ,the very popular Bhojpuri,and the oh so sweet Mythili the singsong sound of which is similar to Bengali and even when the arguement is rough still sounds polite . i am still smiling the toothless ,happy giggles of joy at the various sounds of these as each sounded unique some what funny but original and pure.While our guests delighted us with theirs we made them swell with pride when they asked us to translate something of theirs in English as they were in awe of the fact that we were going to a Christan(christian) school and were in no way less than the ENGLANDIANS(English/British to be more precise).So we basked in all that glory enjoying every bit the cocked up ears so eager to hear us speak in English and all the facial expressions which conveyed that we were simply the very best.So this was when we were Godlike and it was the age of innocence...when profanity had no cheap meanings and it was just a sound of annoyance or resentment,happiness or sadness,meeting or parting,appreciation or dislike and if not anything just plain affection.i say this because if someone said- "dekhain cho ki nain chaunri kehno badjat chai"(can't you see how naughty the girl is)i would have smiled at the affectionate reprimand and would have never gone to think even once that Badjat literally means something awful.But this was way back when every thing was just one unique sound the stress of which only made us burst into peals of laughter.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Well as it turned out i am in the hot heat now and it's history repeats itself.i have found it extermely difficult to lodge at a friend's or a relative's but if and when i have gone against my own self i have been hurt by subtle hints given by the hosts and thus that aversion to lodging at anyone's has grown stronger and call it one of my own idiosyncrasy but i am like that.
What triggers peculiarities of our own has got a lot to do with the past and some of it is also inherited.Of course all experiences has it's pros and cons and with each we grow but it is also responsible in making us what we are.
My home in Bihar was nicknamed as Sheikh Chillee Niwas by sceptics and Bihar Bhawan by admirers.Some ridiculed and had fun but there were others who spoke volumes in favour of my parents bon homie. Nevertheless it was one unique home always alive and kicking with guests sine die. There were some who would be there with their spouses and kids and others on their own. Chachas, mamas ,buas, dad's collegues from outstation, friends from college and oh yes not to miss if not them then their relatives.Some had agendas which ranged from a holiday in the capital town and a dig into city life, medical treatment,admissions to colleges and also schools,litigation and something which can be beautifully summed up in this apt urdu word called Pairvee. Now it's beyond my comprehension to explain this in a single word because a mere reccomendation as a word will not suffice because pairvee encompassed all-begging,bribing,sychophancy and also exploiting and scheming to get the work done.i must also remember to stress that many simpletons from the villages arrived only to have bread butter jam and all the food items they couldn't afford to have and as they said "deh thik ho jata hai yahan... maans machli poora khane ko milta hai" (our body gets healthy here as we get good amount of mutton and fish to eat).We would as kids land up being confused because in school we learned that it was the other way around as it was in the village were everything was fresh/pure and the environment was non-polluted.Wasn't it that all essays and hindi texts said Gaon ka vatavaran sehat ke liye labhdayee hota hai (The village environment is beneficial for good health) So coming to what i had been narrating before, these guests would be scattered all over the house.And we kids would be propped up with all sorts of people as we had no rooms left to call our own.Even the porch would have idlers sitting and animated conversations ranging from politics to family fueds were the familiar sounds mixed with the calling out of names.Someone or the other was always calling out for some one.We were not spared too as we also had to run errands along with all the other domestic helps.Spread out everywhere and scattered around these guests presented the scene very akin to pre wedding ceremony.i can't forget how these guests would be lurking in the kitchen too trying to humour and befriend the cook to look after their interests well.It was much later that we realised why some of these cooks went that extra mile to grind Bhaang or to prepare special strong tobacco laced pan or to starch the dhotis with the rice kanji...They were bribed both ways.Mostly the stuff was shared amongst both parties and some times money lessened their tiredness and fatigue.Our first encounter with corruption actually started at home......
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Like i said before each day has some story to tell, some message to convey, only if we stop and listen. The problem is that there are too many things and how much to listen. We are bombarded on all sides and the frivolous mind gets too easily swayed, too easily distracted to have absorbed anything other than sheer pleasures. So yet another day goes down the drain and we have not listened to anything at all.
Not for me yesterday...it was a day when glued to my seat i actually listened so much so that the chords are etched deep inside as i remember and reflect.
This is what i heard and understood:
We are all heroes till faced with the ultimate challenge...the moment it stares us in the face just like Arjuna we drop our Gandiv and are too stupified to act...there seems to be a freeze of all the earstwhile heroism. This happens due to many reasons of which the most important and the very crippling one is our EMOTION. All this while i thought Fear was what prevented us; fear of the results led to bolting and baulking but emotions ruining our chances was new to me. i thought emotions actually helped us in many ways but it paralyizing us, as was evident in the case of Arjuna, i could never get the full meaning of. Little did i know that soon enough i will be a witness of such a situation which will enlighten me completely. Surely there must be many such events happening in real life though i got my lesson full and clear from this movie that i saw. And though the movie was focussing on something else there was a small and not very prominent part which best fits the category of emerging victorious . The kind that the scholar had explained earlier.
Well the movie is replete with challenges as it revolves around this central character who is autistic and is afflicted with a rare kind of autism called the Asperger's Syndrome. How he faces difficulties and finds way inspite his handicap is the main story. But there is part in the movie where an ordinary mother reports her only son to the police for having witheld information as a key witness to a heinous crime. The son being just 13-14 year old and still a child. Being a mother myself i could well imagine the enormity of such a challenge and i wondered if i had the courage to do something similar. Precisely this was the challenge that Arjuna faced in the battlefield when he saw that he has to fight his own kith and kin. And look at the challenges that we get bogged down with- Exams... job interviews... presentations...postings...promotions...
Movie is over and i go about my daily affairs but i cannot help but think about that mother who was actually connected to the self. That spirit inside us which we never acknowledge. i can only salute a thousand times that courageous and righteous woman , the mother. My head bows down in worhip to that divine light which illuminated her path and also gave her strength over weakness, the power, the determination to choose right from wrong and thus take action. She saw, faced and conquered. i too saw but can i conquer that is the question. Not to worry i have heard, i have seen and have understood that once you become selfless you become powerful and fearless. At least i know now what ABHAYAM ie fearlessness means and i eagerly look forward to listen , understand and reflect more. It definitely should be one step at a time...to be contd.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
har shaiy jahan haseen thi
hum tum the ajnabi... Meanwhile i have my fill for the day as Ahista Ahista plays in the background because i have enjoyed all the fuss and pampering for the day as it was Sunday and to top it all a very happy Valentine's Day.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
There's a lot around to give pleasure to the senses if we just stop to soak it in. i just wish i have the right words to explain how this particular explosion of green delights me every time now. And though this delight fills me up and i feel refreshed yet there is a strong urge to freeze it. Maybe it it similar to the urge that one has of owning the thing that one finds beautiful. That feeling to have it forever but then can anything last forever? And then i understood what ''bliss of solitude "means. Only thing that with our gadgets in hand we can in some ways make things last forever. But however moments can be frozen we will always miss out the other part...that live part. i sure did feel the same emotion on seeing the new shining foliage and it gave me the same amount of joy as it would have given William Wordsworth ,when he saw a burst of golden yellow and so beautifully penned down "...beside the lake beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze...". Only thing is i am incapable of composing one to explain the joy of this lovely spectacle. At the moment i can only feel thankful to nature for giving me this joyous moment and i know that it will last forever in my mind's eye...everything...the glistening green and the gentle breeze. i am also thankful that i have the leisure to enjoy every bit of it. i was able to see the tree shed it's leaves and marvelled at the beautiful silhouette of the bare tree after dusk and how striking the parrots looked when they sat on the bare branches calling out to each other and i shall soon see the green lost in the immense burst of faintly sweet- smelling , yellow blossoms. i feel glad that i can refer to this wonderful tree by name and i know that it is called Copper Pod or Haldi Gulmohar and not unless i befriend a real lover of nature garderner will i know the Tamil name for this , till then manjal poo maram will suffice.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
They say life is full of surprises but for me it has it has been a case of history repeats itself. i have not been much different from the yesteryears happenings in most respects except that i have a few technological devices and that i can speak and understand English thanks to my convent education. But apart from that not much has changed and soon i'll be the one feeling the angst of what is called the generation gap. So i am in a way brainwashing myself to take it easy and not to become an old hag who points at the Gen X with much disgust and cribs about the good old days when things were so recognizable and uncomplicated. What made me know myself better is when i look at myself now in comparison to when i was a kid and this usually happens now because i am already missing the non-tech days when food was so much tastier with the freshly ground spices on the sil batta as compared to the almost ready to eat stuff that i seem to be endorsing these days.Not to miss the ramblings about the village women being fit in their physical self because they accomplished most chores manually. Funny it is that i almost cheated my family by making so many shortcuts to the so many dishes which require meticulous measurements, medium flame cooking and appropriate timings. Who has the patience now to make the Daal Makhani the traditional way when it was allowed to cook on slow flame for long hours? Besides, so much fuel will be wasted and there are so many more exotic dishes to try. So basically, inside i am the same who believes that a way to the man's heart is through the stomach but have very cunnigly made adjustments to that. At least all this while, till i have started having these cravings. Cravings for the same aromas that drifted across the rooms, longing for the same sounds of frenetic activity in the kitchen which heralded the delights of the day, and i yearn for the same excitement which got us ready to plop comfortably onto our dining chairs.
Strange but true i also seem to be endorsing the concept of men doing their own thing and women doing their own. And that, gather as many skills as you can, prepare yourself for tomorrow but women should stop wanting to be like man. This can never happen because not only are we different physically but also miles apart mentally. This sense of doing things together is getting on my nerves. Because a) men will be men and don't usually go into the nitty gritty of things and b) it saves a lot of fruitless confrontations. How can you get a man to agree what is good for you? If it is plants you want to settle down with, they will suggest something like online trading to make it your hobby. If it is a particular movie you want to watch, it will definitely be something you can never dig into. When you want to eat Chinese they will always want a simple Dal , Chawal and Sabji of which one should be dry and one in the form of curry and definitely greens are a must. And getting provisions for the month only spells disaster if it is done together. So i actually want to revert to old times when women managed the home and the hearth and men were left to see to it that this function of the woman went perfect without much interference. Going down memory lane i remember this that as kids we were most intrigued why Ma and Papa had separate pooja rooms. And when i had questioned Ma about this she had as a matter of factly answered that Papa created a lot of mess in his pooja procedures and on a daily basis she was finding it difficult to cope with, so finding a convenient niche she had placed her Gods there and was happy with her little corner. Yes she did mention that she does not want in any way to show disrespect to Papa so she preferred it this way.There was no confrontation and when Papa was way good in his finances, he constructed a separate pooja room for her where she would have her daily communion with God the way she liked...followed rules and precedures in her true Sumangali attire. My mother and father were like two extremes. Papa ,very modern and a liberal whereas Ma was very traditional and too particular about religion in an orthodox way. And now, other than the pooja room , i also long for a separate room for myself where i can read for wee hours in the morning with full lights on or listen to my favourite music or even to go on endlessly watching movies. So not much has changed except that i have become more confrontational than being adjusting. Plus my sense of discipline has gone to the dogs.
i don't know how true it is but i have seen in clippings and heard people talk about this balance which Japanese women maintain in their lives. i may be prejudiced at this as i am an ardent admirer of the Orient and their culture. Maybe i don't know much but i do adore their femininity.Their humility and soft-spokenness , that adherence to their rituals and culture and also the fact that no matter how far she may have gone so far as career is concerned, she gives it all up once she is married. Not for any other reason but the fact that family comes first.Everything has it's arguements but i know now that i have come to appreciate qualities like femininity and what an Indian woman was an embodiment of -humility, endurance, sacrifice,....purity. i see myself wanting to go back in time and make a few changes in myself. It is never too late they say but what about the damages done?
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Just when you think you can sit back and relax with all the complacency you have got, you start once again with this virus called doubt. Doubts which are always lurking and come to the fore with the slightest of provocation. i was beginning to feel disciplined in following my routine where finally i had managed a place for religion/faith. Making promises to myself that i shall proceed from one holy book to the other i was quite satisfied with some promises fulfilled and some still beckoning. When lo! and behold! as if like a curse i am stricken with the plague of doubt. Am i religious or faking it? Am i following something or just repeating what has been handed down to me by birth? Do i think of God as an omniscent, omnipotent, omnipresent or is it my fear that makes me even think of Him/Her? Fear of the unknown , fear for the loved ones ... cowered with my own insecurities is it that what turns me to the Holy One ? After all, in all my prayers am i not asking for results? Results which are truly in my favour? So is this what we call faith or is it fear? i suppose faith was something like " i believe in sun even when it isn't shining .....". Of late i'm showing a penchant for Karma - what goes around comes around theory and that has in a way added fuel to this fire already there. Finding it convenient ,this Karma theory because i get my answers fast maybe it is a shortcut but that's the way it is. Maybe , it's that child in me denying the existence of that Big Brother who is watching you and waiting to set you right the moment you default or go against the rules? Maybe doubt will itself provide the answers when i'm able to understand fully the meaning of faith. i shall carry on with this questioning as to what it is that binds me to religion. i do have faith in this though that of all the wonderful things that has happened to mankind , it has started with a question be it how , what or when and the best of them all why. life has given me some answers and i still seek some and maybe as a seeker i might stike gold...Tathastu!!