Monday, April 30, 2007

Just Being A Father

I was just flipping through the latest Outlook.
There are some 3 pages dedicated to the Bachchan Wedding called “The Big Belittling”. I’ve read near everything that has been written about the wedding but this one holds the bakery to ransom. It’s the “intellectual’s perspective”, you see.

I had thought and decided that I would not write about this wedding and the carnival that accompanied it but, I have been known to lose balance on occasion.

I have heard over the years that one of my parents is a manglik. They fell in love at an age when Indian culture and society was being rocked by the rich poor divide more than the education vs ritual one. So manglik or no manglik, the resistance was huge as my dad came from a family which was barely making ends meet and, my mom was the daughter of the most affluent “doctor family” in the area. By the way, just to give u all a better perspective, the area that we are talking about is Bihar and both my parents studied medicine together…….Love triumphed and my nani finally gave way to my mom’s satyagraha and my dad’s bad boy appeal. And, then, an arya samaj ritual was performed to drive the manglik away. Post which, the wedding happened, or, so I’ve heard. It wasn’t very well chronicled as we were not the Bachchans and our ritualism could not qualify to be the topic of much public debate and, the flight to instant public recall.

Coming back to the Outlook article, 8 intellectuals of this country raise a very valid debate and do it in a manner that is subversive, dictatorial and complete bullshit. I am a firm believer in “there is no single stand to most issues that confront us” and therefore, “no single way that is right”. To give you fair warning, those who treat this perspective as a mere oscillation technique or a homegrown Libran trait, I suggest you quit reading.

Therefore, for me to be sticking my neck out and singling out one particular point of view as bullshit, is cause enough for concern.

How can the most intellectual bastion of this country conveniently forget the basic values of liberal thought and free action and pronounce judgment on a family which is doing what comes naturally to every other family – protecting its young ? Aren’t these people supposed to be our thought leaders? Are they not the ones who embrace the man for what he is, than for what they think he should be? Aren’t they the ones who bring us closer to the person we are, through empathy, art and intellect?

This family of superstars wants to marry off its son in the way it sees fit. To another superstar. The fact that they are superstars does not help a father’s plight or a mother’s insecurities. The stars are not rocking and the way out is through the conventional traditional route of rituals and mandir hopping. The family does that to ward off the evil “mangal”. When it is acceptable for me in my family, why does it become unacceptable when done by these superstars? Just because they choose to mingle with people we do not like makes the public react like well meaning moms of 12 yrs old kids who have just discovered “friends” : “friends” the moms do not feel are “right” for “their” kids. Stop the policing. It never works with ur own kids. It won’t work here. Amar Singh may be the most sleazy character you think you know, but most obviously, he is a critical part of “their” family. “Their” being the operative word.

I have never observed a single ritual in my personal space. But, I got married the traditional way. Not because it was desirable but because it was the done thing. I did not want to cause my parents and family the angst of rebelling just for the heck of it. If I had rebelled then and told my dad that u have taught me at the best places and, I am free thinker and, I want to do this my way which, will also save you pots of money, I daresay I would have had to face the tightest slap of my life. However, I would have lived in all the anecdotes of the latter generation and been revered like a heroine. But, I didn’t do it. It was just not worth causing my parents the angst. If that works for the daughter in me, why does it not work for the father in Bachchan or the daughter in law in Ash? They choose to be like this. And, that’s it.

How come I don’t see these intellectuals raising such a concerted demonstration of moral disbelief at institutions like marital rape? There is no ritual more pervasive and less explored than that one. No guts to raise that issue or no celebrity to piggy back on?

There is this one comment that I love because it got the adrenaline in me pumping so hard that I forgot that I had already taken my medicines for hypertension in the morning. Mr. Kiran Nagarkar, well known novelist and social commentator says “What do we make of his grand donations to temples? That he is covering his front and back, but God doesn’t give any insurances.” Kiran Nagarkar is one of the most interesting and reclusive intellectuals of modern India.
In the story titled “The Arsonist” in his complex book “God’s Little Soldiers”, he says “We must never stop questioning ourselves, holding our beliefs up to the light, Nothing can be more dangerous than to be too sure of yourself – to be too certain about the rightness of your own cause. That paves the way for intolerance towards others.” He also calls himself a confirmed atheist and believes Gods come and and go. There is only one God and that is life.

My belief matches yours Mr Nagarkar. I too believe the same. But I also believe that Mr. Bachchan may not adhere to my belief and is completely entitled to his own value tree. Whether this value tree impacts society in a positive manner is not his responsibility to ensure. To lead his life in the manner he chooses to see fit is.

I am tolerant of the fact that he is human, he can choose to act so, selfishly, erroneously, publicly.

But I guess I’m not an intellectual, right….I just see things for what they are…try to live the way I possibly would have….and understand, that even if I wouldn’t have, its still OK.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Words That Work Magic

There are certain words that tingle ur fancy on certain days. Somebody behind me just screamed "submerge" and I love it already. "Submerge" has such a "today" ring to it.

Sort of washes over me and makes me want to say it over and over again.Crazy.

I have favourite words too and, they help me feel out my existence.

"Chutzpah",the yiddish term for gutsy audacity, surprising impertinence, brazen nerve (by the way all this is wikipedia). For me, Chutzpah is the smile behind the mischief, the flare of amused tolerance,the ritual of the known game and of course, the love of a defiant man..Its also the name of my first restaurant...

"Aqua", my soul word, my comfort zone, also part name of this blog. The word I come to in my angst, a place I thrash and then emerge out of, clean and so stoical...

"Jaan", urdu for beloved..only two people in my life have heard me saying this word..so much more romantic than dil or pyaar or...i love it because it sort of submerges (god that word again) the "self" and, when u say it and u mean it, its all but a lilt of the tongue..

There are so many more. Tomorrow (ah thats another favourite)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Un Credible Source

I had this most amazing conversation with my son last night.

Schools have become so entrepreneurial nowadays. Yesterday they were taught how to make nimbu-paani (lemonade, for the unintiated).

I have always harbored this wish – I will not do anything to achieve it because I have always been a firm believer of free will – but I have wished for my son to become a great chef, or a mystical painter, or a fulfilled star, and always that perfect musician.
You see we do not try to live our dreams through our kids just relive them.

It is in this context of free will that I had this brilliant conversation

I called up from work in the afternoon to figure out if the TV was on. Stupid, coz the TV is always on.
He may be drawing, eating, trying to read or just plain dozing off, but, the TV is always on.

I was informed in the sweetest voice I had heard since 7 in the morning – “Mom, I know how to make nimbu paani”

Me, in my proudest mommy voice – “woooow betu, u’re a genius” (I’m slightly prone to exaggerated demonstration where hes concerned)

Him – “so what are we doing in the evening?” (Kids have changed, haven’t they..)

Me – “I’ll come home baby and, we’ll have ur nimbu paani” (simple questions demand stupidly obvious answers)

Him – “koi aa nahi raha kya” (which is an incredulous “noones coming or what?” because we love having friends over every second day)

Me – “Don’t know baby,,,why?”

Him – “Arre kisi ko toh bula lo” (frustrated request - just call someone, ok)

Me (understanding my son oh so well) – “arre baby I’ll have ur nimbu paani”

Him – “But I want to know achcha hai ki nahi”

Me – “So I’ll tell you betu” (haha…I will make him a confident child through constant appreciation - I’m his mother and I will do it)

Him – “Mom, u will never ever tell me if its bad na…u’ll always say “betu kamaal hai”..u just love me and so u’ll lie”

Me (anxious, agitated, fighting for credibility…whatever…really want him to see me as a honest yardstick now – “nahin nahin ishu I’ll really tell u”

Him, hard hearted, cruel, dismissive – “no call someone na …I want to know really”

I still haven’t gotten over this conversation. It raises so many thoughts, and, challenges the way I think and act.

I have always believed that I do not have to be the bitter pill my friends and family need to swallow to be made aware of realities around them or about themselves.
Learning is entirely self motivated and time gratified.

Its not only my son who has questioned my unflinching devotion (haha, couldn’t think of another phrase for it) and declared it to be soppy love.

I remember when I was growing up I used to take my mom’s love for granted and dad used to be the person who’s approval mattered.
My mom used to love it that way too.
After I got married, I realized my mom’s values. Those values have held me strong and made me the person I am today.

I learnt from her that no love is ever enough and it is always enough to love…

And, I will stay with that…

By the way, the nimbu paani was tested and approved (both parties were immensely satisfied by the audit) by someone who has difficulty believing the feedback I give too.

Source Un credible, he says.

One day, Source Incredible is what it’ll become….

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Will Be Ready

2006 was a year of Revelations.
2007 seems to be a year of Reinvention.

As the months dragged by last year, each and every truth I had known as permanent changed. It was naive of me to assume that there is a single truth and it is permanent. As each blinker came off, I adjusted to the ensuing reality and accepted what had always been apparent.It was I, who had refused to accept it and therefore, it lay abandoned.

Today, I can proudly say that I have come out, Evolved.

Abandoning was never my style,and at this moment,I own with my being, all my decisions, every one of my mistakes and not a single of my fears.

The heart line on my palm has changed, and with it, has my life...and, I'm happy..

My son grows each day, in my consciousness, at a greater speed, than the teeth he keeps popping out..his receptive powers astound me...

I am finally on my way to beating the hell out of my worst enemy. Incidentally, my only enemy..my oldest enemy...

I trust each one of my friends with the innocence of a child (or so I have been told). Still. Haha..the blinkers coming off doesn't mean i don't get a new stock...

I discover new experiences at my work place at a pace which can only evoke awe (most of it to do with the passion of sport). The pace is directly proportional to the sportiness I exude...those who know me will know the worth of this statement, those who don't, ever heard of sarcasm?

I have friends who still love to play Bray and Ludo and whacky music games. Go to hell X Box...

And, I know with all my heart and belief that the wheels will turn...this is just the preparation...its just God's way of telling me "baby i'm giving u this year, prepare for war".

So long sweetheart, I will be ready....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I See Yellow

Its been quite some time since I wrote.
Have not really been busy. Just haven’t had anything to say I guess.
In the past, someone close once told me, that I write more when I’m angst ridden. Haha..Perhaps I should take this as a good sign then.
Or, on the contrary, angst is such a part of life that I’ve stopped noticing its presence. Haven’t we all?
I’m happy.
Maybe its because I’m wearing yellow today.
Yellow makes me a sunnier person. Always.
Or, maybe, its because I have finally started off on something that I should have ideally finished by now
Or better still, maybe, I made some time to look at myself in the mirror today
And, I saw Yellow…..