Monthly Archives: March 2017

Dangal

Dangal

Dangal

This is not about the movie friends! This is about the ‘Dangal’ which rages inside my head because of the comments, responses, posts on FB, ludicrous forwards on what’s app and opinions that come for everything and anything that happens or is likely to happen, globally. It makes me realise that we have a lot of free time. We are the ‘know it all’ omniscient lot who have a say in every affair pertaining to anyone other than our own self.

When the Presidential Elections were going on in America, every Indian became an American. People who may never step out of the comfort of their home in India were glued to the television sets watching the Presidential Elections and actively discussing the future of America. I could understand the excitement and furore when Narendra Modi got elected as Prime Minister. This was a natural keenness and well deserving too. He holds the reigns of our country and is at the helm of affairs, every decision he takes affects us, the residents of India.  But being equally or more concerned about American politics, spending the whole day debating their future; that triggers this ‘dangal’ inside me!

If it had been just about America and overly concerned with American politics, it may have been palatable. But, we seem to be putting our head into everything. More bizarre and inconsequential the incident, the more interested we are. We are passionate and fiercely vocal about everything which does not concern us even remotely. The more the remoteness the stronger is our connect and our awareness of that subject.  Saif ali Khan named his kid ‘Taimur’. That’s his personal choice but we have to voice our opinion. We simply cannot let it pass, it is an issue of such immense magnitude, Saif suddenly plays the biggest role in our lives. What he does, who he chooses to marry, divorce, re- marry, when, where and why, all of it very closely affects us, concerns us and we most definitely cannot allow any detail to slip through our fingers! We have to be aware and make India aware of Saif’s life and whereabouts! So, there we are, diligently putting posts, forwarding messages, writing lengthy articles and participating in never ending debates; a ‘dangal’ in the making…

 We are willing to forget Saif; Aamir Khan released his latest movie! So, all the focus now shifts to Aamir Khan.  We are not really concerned or interested in the movie per se. A good movie or bad movie; we all talk more about Aamir Khan and what he does and why he does and a long character assassination program ensues. We appreciate movies like ‘ae-dil hai mushkil’ and give rave reviews. (My honest review of ae-dil… is ‘a boring display of the promiscuous lives the bored elite live!’)  We make no bones and criticise a recreation of a true story! How ludicrous is that? Let’s criticise, that’s our birth right; to opine uninhibitedly.  But, do we stop with that, no! We yet again forward articles, put up posts and drain the storage space on phones! Dangal brews a bigger dangal, eh!

The overnight demonetization drama took our country by storm and brought to fore many mixed reactions. Half of India seemed to resonate with the sentiment of our dear Prime Minister, some were diffident and unsure as to how this would fructify, some others were strongly against this move and marked it a fiasco, a debacle which may well mark the end of the Prime Minister’s reign, even before it could take off properly. Living abroad, all this news was very interesting and refreshing too. Every Indian across the Globe seemed proactive, keen and expectant as to how things would finally turn out for their country. Did the largest Democracy of the world show true signs of progress, or was this really a sham, how would things pan out for our leader? These were the common questions we all were asking each other. This was all very justifiable and deserved pages after pages of information, blogs posts, nothing sufficed. The topic was such, and the person involved is a very integral part of every Indian household.  What perplexed me is that not a quarter of that drama happened when this very dear person acquiesced to a Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea!  

“The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in Mumbai in the Arabian Sea on Thursday. The rupees 400crore project will be built on a 16-hectare rock, identified at 1.5 km away from Raj Bhawan and 4km from Nariman Point”.

 Personally, I was devastated when I heard this news. We have a Buddha Statue in the middle of Hussainsagar lake, in Hyderabad. After an expenditure of US $ 3 million the statue stood at 58 feet (18 m) and weighed 350 tons, making it the world’s tallest monolithic statue of the Buddha A concrete platform measuring 15 feet (4.6 m), now referred to as the “Rock of Gibraltar” was constructed in the middle of Hussain Sagar to aid in erecting the statue. It has done usmore harm than good. The stench from the lake (till February 2016) is so over powering; I was forced to hold my breath through the whole stretch of Tank Bund road. That statue is beautiful but standing in the centre of the lake, most of the international, national boating races and other events are no longer a possibility. And with the stench and dirt, that whole place is a big breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is said that to clean the lake and the silt accumulated will take 4years!  So, this mammoth amount of money going in to build another breeding ground for things we are trying to get rid of; it deserved some dissenting voice. I kept praying, ‘someone please say something, ask some questions’. The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

The ministry of environment and forests has given clearance for the installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.

 

 Makes me wonder about us and what really matters to us. American politics, movies, the core issues of our country…  when do we reveal this fiery spirit of ours? What kind of issues pique our interest? For what are we willing to wage this ‘dangal’?

GEN- Y

GEN- Y

My dad’s ideology and what he envisaged of the future forced him to drive us all to become someone more than a ‘mere’ housewife.  Despite this futuristic, modern thinking, he remained doggedly traditional and orthodox in his value systems and his upbringing methodology. His standard ‘caution quote’ for us sisters was, “Always remember, whether the leaf falls on the needle, or the needle falls on the leaf, it is the leaf that gets hurt and torn apart.”  

Back then, I found my dad’s advice very contradictory, frustrating, and hypocritical. If we step out of the house, work, earn money, then invariably we encounter a mixed group. We cannot dictate to the group all the time nor can we live like an island and isolate ourselves from the group. We must keep up with the social demands. When the other girls wear modern clothes, it seemed ridiculous to always show up in traditional attire! Yet, my father’s rigid rules saw us always dressed traditionally! He never yielded, not once. He stoically emphasised that if one really wanted to outshine and get noticed, it better be because of something more permanent than clothes and appearances as fashions come and go.

Today, I am grateful for all those rigidities. They help me remain uncompromising when I set the ground rules for my children. I grew up rebellious, confused and floundered every step of the way! But what I grew up with and inculcated helped me make sense of it all when I stepped into my dad’s shoes. Most of my logic and reasoning stems from my dad’s one liners.  Without his rules I would still be floundering and setting a bad example for my children.

Another memory that has always stayed with me is what my uncle once said to me.  A few years ago, we sisters had a reunion. We were meeting after a decade maybe. Thus, we were meeting our extended circle also after ages and the first question all of them invariably asked was, ‘what do you do?’.  When my turn came, I answered, ‘Housewife, uncle.’

The way he looked at me and added, ‘Just a house wife is it’; drove a dagger deep inside and I felt insulted.  This happened almost a decade ago and is still fresh in my mind. So, imagine the impact this ‘JUST’ had on me then!

Call it fate or God’s own way of keeping me humble, I entered a family through marriage which gave precedence to being at home; raise the kids and work only if imperative. I did work (my streak of rebellion and financial independence agenda) but the situation was never conducive and I was back to home-management; grudgingly. I am reconciled and happy today. When I see today’s woman; their attitude, I am thankful I remained ‘just’ a housewife.

Recently, I saw an interview of Pepsi co CEO, Indra Nooyi.  She is amongst the most successful and accomplished woman of Gen –Y; hats off to her. Addressing a huge audience, she acknowledged that her life is ruled by her work commitments, top 3 priorities she listed were Pepsi co, Pepsi co and Pepsi co, then came her children, followed by parents, in-laws and then somewhere at the bottom of the list was her husband. All this was fine, her priorities, her call. Her husband made this observation that he was always last on the list; to which her laughing repartee was, ‘Be thankful your name is even there on the list!’ She said this in jest and very wittily, the audience laughed and the husband (seated in the front row) also gave a self-conscious smile. That statement, I felt, did not befit her, her stature. She sounded vain and belittling her husband’s  ungrudging contribution to the family. Once again, I was grateful that God did not allow me a career. I don’t know, with my strong-headed and independent streak, a similar statement or something worse was a guaranteed repartee of mine; and I would have felt small, after. 

Family life is all about adjustment, togetherness, compromise, modification, letting-go of the I-ness, focus in a very forced way at the ‘we’. Men have taken it for granted that the wife takes care of the house and family affairs. The women held it all together; played their role to the hilt; and then they decided to step out, and they have in a very big way. Because of this financial independence that woman of today hunger for, the feeling of ‘I-ness’ is more in family life. It is less of ‘we’ do ‘together’ and more of ‘I’ do what I want and you do what you want scenario. Funnily enough, men have adapted to the role of house-husband with less strife. They have kept their ego in their pockets much better than we have been able to keep our arrogance and new found financial independence in check. Financial independence has not only emboldened us, it has made us power crazy and brazen. We could not retain our modest demeanour and humility.  In all this dual working, money making spree, the progeny comes out as the worst loser. Their future and fate is getting nurtured and designed by hired care takers, crèches and gadgets, (add, giving permission to over-ride the partner’s rules, being unnecessarily lenient; over exposure to guilt-gifts from a very vulnerable, impressionable age). 

We women inherently knew how to serve without feeling servile. For Gen –Y, service also needs to be a profitable venture. We have either stepped out of the house and the house has a very desolate, guest-house look, and if we are at home we have converted the house to some business enterprise. Conclusively, today, I am not very pro-women’s liberation and equal rights for women. We have handled financial independence badly and caused more ruin than good. Lastly, I request women again, take a pause, think again, which way are we headed, why and at what cost? I am not saying we should stop, but I definitely feel , it is high time we took a pause, pondered …

“O Women! May you not be disturbed by the crooked and violent men, and ye men! May you not be disturbed by crooked and violent women. Never abandon one another, never cross the limits of respect never hurt the other. This is to be followed by both men and women. This sweet water, food and fruits are available for both of you who should remove the grief of one another.” (Rig Veda 1/183/4)

Chitter -Chatter

Chitter -Chatter

Chitter- Chatter

 

The constant chitter chatter of my brain

Like this ceaseless Dublin rain,

The monkey hopping from tree to tree

My brain flies too, forever breaking free.

Oh! this constant chitter chatter of my brain

Stop wandering, and get on board a single train

It never sleeps and hungers for all it sees

Its lured, knowing all is truly a mere tease.

Because of this constant chitter chatter of my brain

The Self has more to lose and nothing to gain

If only it stayed and focused, it would easily find

The treasure lies in the heart, not in the mind.

The constant chitter chatter of my brain

The hopping monkey I am unable to train…