Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Right or Wrong...

Lately, I have been pre-occupied with matters of life and death. Not exactly mine, but of someone extremely close to me. If you have read my earlier post about ‘Being an Indian Girl…’, you would very well know what I’m talking about.

Ok, so there’s this case of a young couple who are in love and are facing some pretty bad opposition from their families in order to end it all. But thankfully, due to the prevailing of some better sense (and some serious efforts in persuasion from yours truly), they finally decided to marry.

So, just the other day, I suddenly got a call that all was decided and they would be marrying in the quick way which such couples usually have to resort to ultimately. As I was needed as a witness, I had to leave immediately for the destination.

Since all this was a hush-hush affair, there wasn’t anyone else who would be there to give some much needed confidence and support to the marrying couple. Not even our other friends. So, I decided to hook along one of our close friends who was visiting his family during the Puja holidays.

All I told him over the phone was that we were going to attend a wedding. Whose, I did not tell. I promised to let the secret out once we met at the bus station.

I found him inspecting the vacant seats of a bus when I reached there. As he caught sight of me, he gave me that look which said, “You have some explaining to do… and pretty fast”. I smiled and suggested that we find seats for ourselves first.

We had hardly been seated when he threw the flood of question at me. I had to break this slowly to him, for I knew about his history of being really bad at taking surprises. More so, this would be surely a shock rather than a surprise.

But experience isn’t everything. Because, hardly had I revealed the name of our mutual friend (who was getting married), his eyes bulged out of their sockets and he jumped almost bumping his head on the luggage rack above his seat. A classic example of watching someone jump even while he is seated…

After a few minutes, when things had probably started to sink in, and also the bus had started moving, did I see him coming back to life once again. The following is the conversation we had between us after that.


Me : So…. ??

Friend : This is not right !

Me : What is not right ?

Friend : They shouldn’t marry like this…

Me : But there’s no other option…

Friend : How will their parents feel…

Me : They’ll feel bad. Obviously.

Friend : They should think of their parents who’ve done so much for them all these years…

Me : Hmmm…


Friend : They should have thought about all the problems before starting their relationship…

Me : When love strikes, the brain is always in deep slumber. Love is not a decision. You cannot decide emotions.

I just remembered my earlier post ‘Decision or Emotion…’

Friend : How can they just forget about their parents… ??

Me : Who said they are forgetting their parents ? Or they would forget after marrying ? Why is it that everything that they’ve done for their parents is calculated on the basis of this one decision… ?? Would everything they’ve done for their parents get wiped off just by their decision to marry… ??

Friend : I mean why can’t they think of what their parents wish for them.

Me : Isn’t their wish in this matter unreasonable ?

Friend : Why ??

Me : What’s the shortcoming in the boy or the girl ? Just that they were born in different communities ?

Friend : Still. They are trying to make their lives at the expense of their parents.

Me : How do you mean ?

Friend : Their parents have to live in this society.

Me : Yes. So… ?

Friend : They have to be answerable to the society.

My hand twitched to hit something in a fit of irritation….

Friend : It will be a difficult life for their parents.

Me : Leaving this case aside, have you ever seen anyone from the caste/community come forward to help one of their own in times of any difficulty ? But yes, they’ll be right there to criticize once a person does something off track.

Friend : Still…

Me : Still what… ? Tell me. Is pleasing one’s own community more important than the happiness of one’s children ?? That community which gives a damn to everything once the wedding dinner gets over….


Friend : Have their parents done all that they have done to deserve this ?

Me : Deserve what ? If they both give the utmost care and respect to their own and each other’s parents after their marriage, is that a raw deal ?

Friend : And how long have they known each other ?

Me : A little over three months.

Friend : How can they expect to know each other so well in such a short time that they expect everything to go nicely ?

Me : Hadn’t A****** (another mutual friend of ours) met his wife just for an hour and decided to marry her. Is it valid just because theirs was an arranged meeting through their parents ? In most arranged marriages still, most couples meet each other for a few hours once or twice. How then, is that considered to be a good prognosis for a happy married life ?

Friend : Still how can they put their lives in each other’s hands… ? Parents know best as they are experienced.

I thought of reminding him that he hadn’t known the driver of our bus well enough too before putting his life in his hands. The way these drivers drive these days, it’s really like putting our lives in their hands. But I decided against telling him this.

Me : Usually parents look for a decent reputed family, financial stat…

He chipped in…

Friend : Yes. A reputed family background. That’s not a wrong criteria to look for.

Me : Agreed. But does a reputed family background guarantee a boy or a girl with a good moral character ?

And I named a few such examples from good families whom we had seen and experienced in college.

Friend : In an arranged marriage it is not just the couple but the bonding of two families…

Me : So, is that bonding between two families more important even if the couple are not a good match and are not happy being together... ?? And if the couple themselves cannot bond, how can you expect the families to bond... ??

Friend : Do you mean to say arranged marriages are wrong ?

Me : No. In fact they are the best possible option for certain people. I’ll tell you which people. They are the best for people who have never loved. Those who are happy to live with a person who has been searched according to the criteria they and their family have. Those who want a simple life with a partner who can manage the aspects of married life according to their own and their family’s needs in life.

Friend : So ?? Aren’t arranged marriages more successful ?

Me : If you consider success by two people living together just because they are wedlocked, then I don’t agree. There are so many examples where the couple can’t stand the sight of each other. But are still together. Either for the sake of family or for the sake of their children. You can call that a successful marriage. But I won’t. But then again, there are numerous examples of successful arranged marriages too. But it’s absolutely wrong to arrange a marriage elsewhere for someone who is already in love with another person.

Friend : They are resisting their family’s wish to get married elsewhere. I know its difficult. But after marriage, everything becomes fine. Everyone forgets and moves on in life.

Me : How do you know… ??

Friend : Why ?? Isn’t A*** (another mutual friend) happy ? He got married as per his parent’s wishes. He forgot his love.

Me : Hmmm… It may be possible for boys to forget and ‘move on’. But I guess it’s not so with girls. And I have ample proof to support my statement which unfortunately I cannot divulge. It’s easier for boys more so because they have the upper hand in a marriage.

Friend : Huh…

Me : And by any chance, a guy gets to know that his wife had an affair before marriage, which most often he does, then life’s nothing short of hell for that girl. Is it right to ruin the life of one’s own daughter just for some false honor… ??

Friend : Hmmm…


Friend : But if I were in a similar case, I wouldn’t have done this…

Me : That’s why you are not in a similar case…

Friend : I would never approve of my children marrying into another community…

Me : Well, I hope such a situation never arises. But I know you’ll love your children more than anything else.

Friend : You may say what you like. But caste/religion/community does matter.

I wished to ask him if he knew what caste or religion or community was the vendor in the bus from whom he had purchased the bottle of cold-drink earlier which he was busy sipping now.

Me : I know parents do all they can for the good of their children. And also that children do all they can for their parents. But they should be allowed to take this one decision of their life.

Me : They are making a difference. And I’m with them in this. That’s how some stupid mindsets would eventually be eradicated from our country.

Me : And you are with us too in this. Aren’t you ??

I smiled....

Friend : Hmmm… Yes. I am. Why do you think I’m accompanying you…

My smile broadening….

Friend : But…

Me : It’s not wrong… !

Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Awards...

Over the past few days, I received three awards from fellow bloggers. Considering that I’ve been into blogging for just about over three months, these awards have left me simply overjoyed.

Kaddu was the first to award me the ‘timeless friendship’ award. It was obvious that my very first award came from her as she was the one who motivated me to start blogging in the first place.

(Timeless Friendship Award from Kaddu)

Thanks a lot Kaddu…

I received the next two awards from Avada Kedavra who has been supporting my posts with really nice comments.

(Blog Buddy Award from Avada Kedavra)

It feels really nice to know that people actually like to read whatever my blog has to offer.

(I Love Your Blog Award from Avada Kedavra)

Thanks a million dear, for appreciating my blog.

These awards will surely inspire me to write more frequently about all the varied thoughts that fly around in my mind all the time. :D

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Architects of our future...

It is the 5th of September once again. The day, which is dedicated to teachers in India. In other words, the day when India celebrates ‘Teacher’s Day’.

I remember the enthusiasm for this day right since the time we were in school. It was a much anticipated occasion. We would have the classes being off for the day. The school hours on the day would be used up in decorations and wishing all our teachers a happy teacher’s day. And then we would have our school’s annual music & dance competition.

But the real relevance of the day, (which, I guess we didn’t use to realize back then) was to make the students remember about the respect they should have for their teachers. For us, (mostly) the event used to be just another school function.

One thing that makes me ponder is, does a teacher really need to teach a student in class to command his or her respect ? Or for that matter, do all teachers who teach us in class are entitled to respect by default ?

I remember that back in our school days, people were asked about the significance of ‘Teacher’s Day’ in India. Failing to reply to this question (in other words, not knowing much about Dr. S. Radhakrishnan) would result in a simple opinion that the person didn’t really respect his or her teachers.

But one thing that always irked me was how people would be so respectful to the teachers on one hand while calling them by their ‘pet names’ behind their backs. (and those ‘pet names’ are not always cute, obviously) After all these years, it actually amazes me how I never ever referred to any teacher (irrespective of my dislike for some) by their ‘pet name’. Maybe because I was myself from a family of teachers, including both my parents and my Grandfather (Mom’s Dad). I don’t really know. But it never would come to my mind while even talking to my closest of friends.

It is a fact that all teachers can never be the same. Not every teacher is ideal. Most of them impart academic knowledge to the students. Only a few really ‘teach’. Obviously, those few command special respect from their students. But the others deserve their share of respect too.

But as teachers are humans too, there is always the presence of favoritism. It is surely not something new. As very well exemplified in ‘The Mahabharata’, how Drona demanded for his ‘guru dakshina’ from Eklavya in the form of his thumb. Drona was afraid that Eklavya would become an even better archer than his favorite student Arjun, and thus demanded the sacrifice. Amazingly enough, Eklavya sacrificed his thumb happily even though he had never been taught by Drona in person. He had simply been practicing with Drona’s statue being a symbolic guru. He very happily paid for his guru’s demand. But, ‘guru dakshina’ or respect can never be demanded. It is always commanded.

I always hear that it is our country’s tradition to respect all our teachers. I agree to that completely. But would it be right to respect someone who doesn’t fit anywhere in the definition of being a teacher ? I’m forced to ask this question to myself as I remember a few examples of people being a blot on the name of teachers. (a certain male teacher in my school who was a total creep. >-( )

Shoving all such examples apart, teachers deserve our respect. But it shouldn’t be confined to just a single day of the year. Do we love our mothers just on ‘Mother’s Day’ ? Or our Dads just on ‘Father’s Day’ ? So, why do we remember, all of a sudden, on the fifth day of September, that we owe some respect to our teachers too ?

Though our country takes pride in the belief that we respect our teachers like Gods, the reality is far from it. Even in the India of 2009, there are ample examples of not just disrespect, but much more towards teachers. Every one of us who has attended some sort of an educational institution would agree with that.

Isn’t it outrageous that in our own ‘teacher-respecting’ country, rowdy hooligans who call themselves students, not only attack and brutalize a teacher in broad daylight, but end up murdering him in full public view. (Just for the reason that he wanted students to spend their time in studies rather than on the elections of the student’s union) And in the end of it all, they get acquitted by the court of law…. !!!

The world saw how those ABVP goons brutally murdered Professor H. S. Sabharwal in Ujjain’s Madhav College. The media even aired the video of the leader of that mob openly threatening the professor with his life. But three years on, and the court acquits all the accused as all the witnesses turned hostile. ‘There was no proof’, is what the court says. But a teacher was murdered in full public view. So, there must be someone responsible……. For God’s sake……. !!!

Does the court mean that no one was actually responsible for a man’s death who sustained 3 broken ribs and punctured lungs ??? If those criminals are actually not guilty, then there must be at least someone who was guilty. Shouldn’t the court order an enquiry to nab whoever was really guilty ?? But it doesn’t. And we can guess why.

And there is no shortage of people who go to the extent of defending those thugs on live television. Just watch what the dumb lady answers to a simple question by Arnab Goswami, that, “who killed Prof. Sabharwal”

We like to show off our traditions to the entire world. But in reality, we really don’t care if we ourselves tear our very own traditions apart every day.

If we cannot stand up for the very people who shape our futures, then I wonder whom can we stand up for. Or do we consider our debts paid just by remembering our teachers on the 5th of September every year ?

Friday, September 4, 2009


These days, I am enjoying the company of a new friend who visits as often as his busy schedule permits him to.

On one such visit, he wasn’t much in the mood of interacting with me that much, and hence, decided to utilize the valuable time in relaxing in a quiet corner of the house.

I couldn’t but help capture the moment of such carefree leisure and at once snapped it up on my mobile phone. Well, you know the sound these things make when you try taking a snap. It was loud enough for me to look for cover at the prospect of breaking the spell of slumber of the four-pawed pack of naughtiness. But, instead, he just lifted his head, turned it my direction to about 15 degrees, gave me a sort of look which probably said, “Ohhh. So it’s you again…”, and then went back to enjoying the late-afternoon nap.

There are countless things we can learn from animals. One of them being, to indulge in complete leisure once in a while, leaving the world’s tensions and complications out of our minds. Isn’t it so ?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obsessed with Success... (Contd.)

Before continuing with my previous post on success, I’d like to link Kaddu’s post about ‘Failure is Never Final...’ for all those who missed it.

Coming back to the topic, I agree to the fact that different people have different criteria for success. A big success for one may not be such a big deal for another. For example, the other day, I didn’t think much of watching a kid on the street trying desperately to pull down a kite he had discovered dangling on the branches of a tree. But it probably made his day, that after about half an hour he managed to get hold of it and ran triumphantly with the prized thing in his hand. It would have even made not only a day but maybe even a week for him.

As I said, the criteria may be different. It could be fame. It could be money. It could be the dream job. Or, for that matter, it could just be a kite. But such successes are just a part of a successful life.

It couldn’t have been anything but the feeling of success when Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy while in his bath tub. (No wonder he ran the streets shouting ‘Eureka’…’Eureka’… even forgetting to dress himself)

Success would have just been what Shah Jahan must have felt on seeing the completed Taj Mahal.

No different would have been the success of the Wright brothers after the first flight of their plane.

How would have Neil Armstrong felt after setting the first foot on the moon ? Or for that matter, Sir Edmund Hillary after conquering the Everest ?

So, success can be based on anything. As the above examples prove. In the first case, it was serendipity. The second was success in love. The third was the success of imagination. The fourth being the highest example of thrill and adventure.

Now I would like to state some other examples.

Would you consider the Indian Prime Minister to be successful ? Every morning he wakes up with nothing less than a trillion problems on his mind. Does he feel successful in what he intends to achieve ? Which is, the ultimate well-being of the nation.

Is Barack Obama successful ??

Are the Ambani brothers successful ? Obviously they are the richest Indians in the present times. No matter they are fighting bitterly between themselves. But they have in their accounts, the amount of money that many people can’t even think of.

Was Michael Jackson successful ?

I hope don’t you don’t laugh at my next example…. but…. is Sachin Tendulkar successful ? Yes, I know he holds more number of cricketing records than almost all the present cricketers combined. Ok, he may not give the Ambanis a run for their money, but he has ENOUGH for himself. And talking of fame, you cannot find a single Indian (ok, make that 10 Indians) who don’t know him.

But if you ask Sachin if he considers himself successful, I can bet he will answer in the negative.

Reason ? If you may have seen his interview a couple of days back on the television, he stated that he is not yet satisfied. And he has that never ending hunger to perform which goes on and on.

Which makes me think that for any person to feel successful in his or her own eyes, there is just one criterion. And that criterion is SATISFACTION.

Satisfaction in whatever you dream of achieving.

If one dreams of inventing the time machine, but ends up being the director of the best technological institute of the world, he will not feel successful. But he is a great success as others see him.

If one dreams of being a psychiatrist, but ends up becoming the best cardiac-surgeon, he will never feel successful. Obviously appearing to be highly successful for everyone around him.

The girl who died in Delhi, scored 93% in her boards. But failed to get into LSR. For everyone, she was not successful.

If one dreams of marrying his beloved (who gets married elsewhere) and ends up becoming the richest person I can only wonder how successful he’ll consider himself to be. But don’t we all consider the richest people to be the most successful ??

Which means that there is a difference between being successful and appearing to be successful. And that is probably what people today fail to understand. They would rather appear to be successful than feeling good about themselves.

Short term successes could be anything. It could be fame, career, position, love,…. even money. But the real success lies in the feeling of satisfaction. And that is something that no one else can judge but the person himself.

Most people these days are giving up on their dreams for the sake of money. They feel that big money can buy name, fame, and all the luxuries of life.

If only money could buy satisfaction…….

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obsessed with Success...

In my last post, I mentioned about the mindset of people regarding success. Different people may and do have different criteria for judging success. But, usually, in the end it comes down to how others judge people about their success and not people themselves.

As a nation, I guess, we are becoming ever so obsessed with success. Be it the results of our national cricket team or be it the results of an election, we just cannot take failure. But what exactly differentiates success from failure ?

Last night, while once again watching the news on the television, I came across an incident from Delhi where a girl had jumped to her death from the balcony of her house. Reason ? She had failed to get admission in a reputed college after missing out on the cut-off list while most of her friends made it in.

Ok. One can understand that she must have been highly disappointed at her ‘failure’. Even more so as her friends had succeeded in achieving the common goal. She didn’t do well enough in her boards. So, obviously it was a failure for her.

But the next revelation in the story made me almost cringe. She had scored no less than an aggregate of 93% in her board examinations… !!!

To be honest here, if I would have scored that many marks (in any examination whatsoever) I wouldn’t have stopped jumping for joy till someone would have brought me down to earth. Scoring 93% in any examination itself signifies that the person has performed much more than just average. Even most of the examining boards categorize anything over 90% as excellent.

For this girl, the same result was no less than a tremendous success at one level, but it was a big failure at another. Failure as in the eyes of others.

Shouldn’t she be happy at her success ? Hadn’t she performed excellently in her studies ? But the failure was big enough to overshadow what she had achieved. And the only option she could choose was death.

Why are we so obsessed with results ? And successful results at that ? We just don’t seem to have the ability to use failures as motivation for future success. In fact, we are absolutely intolerant to failure. Be that our own failures or those of others. We are never ready to put it behind and move forward. We are dead scared of failures… !!!

What if that girl could have got into a not-so-reputed college, studied hard enough to become something even better than her ‘competitors’ studying in the reputed colleges ? Wouldn’t that have been a sweet and satisfying success ?

But as I said, we want to be successful enough to stay level with others, but we cannot accept a failure which could be a stepping stone to move ahead of them.

*** To be continued... ***

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Decision or Emotion...

Recently, I saw the movie ‘Love Aaj Kal’. Though I’m not a big fan of any new Hindi movies, but since Kaddu had suggested me to give it a look, and also because it was one of those nights when sleep was nowhere in sight, I decided to… well… give it a look.

There are movies which entertain you right throughout. And then there are movies which portray reality. But then there are a few which, while portraying reality, also try to send across a message. Most often, it is a rather concealed message which only those with ample understanding capabilities can actually take out after watching that movie. This was one such movie.

I don’t intend this post to be a spoiler for all those who haven’t yet watched ‘Love Aaj Kal’. So, I’ll not go into the plot and surely not discuss the end. But I’ll just share what I felt after watching it.

The movie aptly depicts how the present generation of youngsters treats love. If you look around yourself, you will see people running helter-skelter in pursuit of their careers. Something, which is actually quite good both for an individual and for the society in which he or she lives. But it is when people complicate things by bringing love or relationships in between their career goals, that the problems start.

In fact, what I don’t understand is, whether people are in search of love or in search of a relationship in their lives. Personally, I’ve started to feel that there is a difference between the two.

A person always tries to achieve all the requirements of a successful life. It begins with acquiring the best of education, leading to a job which earns him a handful more than that’s required for a luxurious life. I guess that should be satisfying enough for anyone who intends to be successful. But somewhere I feel that in today’s times, people consider themselves to be successful by not what they have achieved, but by what others think that they have achieved.

I guess I’m drifting from the topic here. But coming back to it, a relationship is now just another necessity people tend to add to their achievements. Just like a car is a necessity for a working person in today’s times, so is a relationship. People, more than anything, need to be known to be going around with someone. But just as a person cannot take his car along with him or her if he shifts to another country, similarly does he act in case of relationships.

And that is what this movie, 'Love Aaj Kal' portrays very well, that for today’s youth, long-distance relationships don’t work. So, as a person is happy to sell off his old car before shifting to a new place for better work options, he is equally happy to break off his or her relationship too. Even to the extent of throwing a break-up party… !!!

I agree to the fact that people have their own career dreams. Some are nurtured right from childhood. But should the pursuit of a dream be such that it doesn’t even care about the most important people in one’s own life ?? In other words, can a dream career/fame/big pay-package take preference over love in one’s life ?

It can’t… ! And if it does, it is not love. It is just a relationship. Because love can never be a hindrance to any dream. In fact, it is a great motivating factor towards any achievement a person dreams of. One can break-up a relationship. But one can never break-up love.

People tend to show that they have different priorities. For them their career dreams are above anything else. Even love. But personally, I feel that such people have never loved. How can job/money/fame be more important than a soul mate ??

And that is probably what this movie portrays about love aaj-kal. The youngsters of today are confusing love with relationships. They consider a relationship to be an essential part of their success in life. And for that, they use their brains in the matters of the heart.

But what they don’t understand is, if it’s really love, there is no amount of thinking the brain can do to get matters straight. It is only the heart that can.

Sometime back I read a quotation somewhere which said, “Love is a decision, not an emotion.”

But personally, I always feel that...

‘Love is a wonderful emotion; it can never be a decision.’

Those of you who find it tough to manage their ‘relationship’ (long-distance or otherwise), along with working hard in pursuit of your career dreams should surely watch this movie.


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