IN SEARCH OF SENSE & SENSIBILITY

 

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In a very traditional scenario, when a child is born into a Hindu family, she grows up with the fascinating mythological stories of numerous Hindu Gods and Goddesses. She is taught to idolize one or few of the Gods and believe in their supernatural mystical powers. One cannot simply decide to follow the faith of Hinduism. You are either born a Hindu or not. This impermeable wall is a matter of pride for the lot of this faith. Perhaps, it makes you feel like the chosen one. An exclusive club if you will.

Before I go any further, you should know that I’m not putting Hinduism on a pedestal of a different level. Being born a Hindu, I happen to know more about Hinduism as opposed to other religions. Hence, I take the liberty to find faults in it. Not Hinduism, but the idea and purpose of religion.

I am a Hindu. I don’t practice Hinduism but because I was born to two Hindu parents, I am a Hindu. Till the time my thoughts were thought out for me, you could say I did practice it. I knew chants better than my mother did. I’d sit by my grandmother annoying her to tell me stories from the Mahabharata. Sometimes when she’d make a slip in her stories, I’d stop her and correct her. I was an eager participant during pujas. I was obliging, abiding and unquestioning. I was God loving. I was God fearing. I was not thinking.

Then one day, maybe when I was  five or six years old when my mother let me decide what I would like to wear for somebody’s birthday or a wedding. I can’t remember too clearly. It was my mother’s way of making me think for myself. That day, I made my first decision of my life! A tiny inconsequential decision, but a decision nonetheless. It made me feel like a grown up and I clung on to the opportunity to decide. Today, I have pictures from that day to embarrass the living day lights out of me, but on that given day, I was convinced that it was a right decision. Why I share this irrelevant episode of my life with you is because more than often, we do not appreciate the liberty of decision making but it is one of the few things worth valuing in life. The only thing that makes you your own person, is your decisions. Good and bad, right and wrong, consequential and inconsequential.

As I learnt to think and decide for myself, I learnt to understand and analyze ideas, notions, philosophies, theories regarding the things around my world. I learnt to agree to disagree and not just obey.

My beliefs of Hinduism changed grossly because I was “permitted” to think for me. I learnt to adopt things that made sense to me and in due process, learnt to adapt to ideas that made no sense at all, because I loved my sanity too much to set out on a voyage to change the mindset of the world that didn’t sit well with me.

I am an only child with very few hobbies. Implying, I have a lot of time with my thoughts. Because it has been a while since I was a deranged teenager, my thoughts began to revolve around more grown up things unlike worrying about a paper or two that I might be failing in class or some boy or some friend who wasn’t talking to me at school or other things I consider today, to be frivolous. My lack of too many hobbies, and my time with my thoughts, changed my notion of a lot of things that I initially believed in just because they were introduced to me by people I loved and admired.

So how did this God loving, God fearing girl come to dramatically change her views on her faith that she held so close to her heart? Well, it was nothing theatrical. She was only fortunate enough to have parents who respected her opinions and her debates. Not necessarily agreeing to them all but nonetheless open to her thoughts.

Again, before I say anymore, you must know that I am not an atheist. I am indifferent. Big difference! I think it is foolish to believe in anything that might be omnipotent and omnipresent. It constricts you. It is not the philosophy of Hinduism or any other religion that I have issues with. As philosophies, they are all humane and beautiful. They are nothing but pleas to be a good human. However, religion in my opinion is only and only for the purpose of governance. If you can make the world believe that some being that you cannot see or touch or hear or smell has the power to reward or punish you, it is easier to have order and peace in the world we live in. If you aren’t reprimanded for your sins in your lifetime, worry not! That will be taken care of after your life is over. A round of applause for this brilliant concoction please! Only if we humans weren’t such strange beings and only if our actions didn’t carry shades of grey.

A good deed done out of fear, screams reluctance as does a bad deed done out of fear. A righteous person in action need not necessarily be a righteous person in thought. Everything we do or want to do, is situational and conditional. Nobody needs religion to do right or be right. Sure, the belief in something/someone omnipotent and omnipresent has the ability to keep us hopeful for a while longer when we sometimes find ourselves hit rock bottom for whatever reason. And hope gives our soul strength. That is the only positive I see. It is otherwise, just another reason to hate, to kill, to exploit and sadly to limit.

We are all fools and sinners in the name of religion. What is more powerful than any god, is the power we all possess to soothe and to love and to care for, and to help a stranger or an animal or even a plant for that matter. Nothing is as powerful as our ability to be human. Love. And then love some more.

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THE WEIGHT & CLOSING DEATH OF OUR VERNACULARS

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As I begin this piece of article, unlike every other time, I do sincerely hope and pray that not too many people are going to be in agreement with it. The more the people agree the sadder and graver this issue becomes.

Before addressing this elephant in the room, the existence of which I think most of us fail to acknowledge let me pick at some other, otherwise irrelevant stuff.

For no apparent rhyme or reason let’s reconstruct the story of the birth of our nation, except this time we do it without pointing fingers at who we think were the bad guys and over exaggerating about the might, and nobility of our heroes. Here is a recapitulation of the actual events:

A few pieces of land neighbouring each other blissfully living their innocent, ignorant lives with the occasional speed bumps, recovering from the effect of which sooner or later, going back to playing nice with neighbour, progressing; in their own might and pace until a fairer bunch came along and ruled these pieces of land, exploited them over a period of time and accidentally gave everyone from different regions, different casts, different religions, with different languages the same problem which eventually obviously resulted in a “Man with the Hoe” situation. As the English were finally leaving after having well overstayed their welcome, they probably pondered upon the incapacity of the lot of the Indian subcontinent in governing what they were leaving behind; a new diverse nation, India. We didn’t just get independence we also got a challenge, which was to survive with our diversity. But they fortuitously left us a gift too. Our lingua-franca! This golden gift till date connects us, each from a culturally and linguistically different place even more each day.

I owe a lot to the English language. Reading literature, English literature has given me insight into what means to be human, the art of the right usage of words in this language brings me amusement, this language has given me knowledge, perspective, curiosity and an appetite to learn more. Through English, I grew to love languages. I took to foreign authors and read their books in their English translations, fell in love with a few and wondered if reading a translated book can seem this brilliant, how must the actual work in the author’s words be? For a while, I wondered. Then one thing led to another and I found myself studying a foreign language which soon led to me travelling to the country of that language to live the language for a while. As I learnt the language, I also sometimes saw instances where I found how beautifully their culture and language collided and intertwined. It’s the same with all the languages except theirs’ was as evident as the bright lights of Vegas. It was strange yet fascinating to see how passionate they were about their language. What was even stranger to me was how content they were with the gen of their native language that being handicapped with English didn’t handicap them at all. No one said it out loud but it would seem they felt safe and secure in their language.

In class, we were a mixed bag of Chinese, Japanese, English, American and French students. And then there was me. Whenever during our lectures, we came across an unfamiliar word, we would pen down what it meant in a language of our comfort for future references. I noticed everyone’s language of comfort was their native language. Whereas, my worksheets had scribbles in English!

I am concerned and I question my discomfort of being in my own skin. I do believe English has unified these different pieces of land in their diversities and with all their individual quirks, given us reasons to appreciate and take pride in our differences for the love of being known as a colourful nation. Our vibrant cultures aren’t all that makes us a sundry nation. What makes us effervescent is also,our food, our landscape, our music, our myths and legends, our different aftermaths of a similar history, and our languages.

Do I speak my mother tongue? I’d like to believe I do so with ease. Is this the language I best express myself in? I say this while I do a little ostrich stunt of burying my head in the sand out of nothing but embarrassment, no. Can I write in my mother tongue? Very hesitantly. Do I read literature in my mother tongue? With discomfort and reluctance. It is not that I take fancy in learning foreign languages that brings me to shame but it is that I have neglected my own for so many years, that does.

More and more every day, I see instances when we scoff at people when they demonstrate the lack of the generally accepted flair in the English language because by now it most definitely should have crept deep into every one of us. But I never see the same happen for our colourful vernaculars. We are all okay to okay this growing detachment. I am mortified that I may find a lot of people in the same boat as me. The thought of me not being my most comfortable with my mother tongue and the thought of there being many more like me, suffocates me.

The languages of India are of five different families. The two biggest families are the Indo-European and Dravidian which make up for 69% and 26% of our population respectively. 10 million speakers belong to the Austro-Asiatic family and 6 million to the Tibeto-Burman family together being 5% of our population. The Ongan languages of the Great Andamanese family are now extinct with the exception of one endangered language. In stages, we will silently witness the death of one of the language families and we won’t even bat an eye lid.

“(When a language dies) what primarily is lost is the expression of a unique vision of what it means to be human.”  -David Crystal

HONEST SIGHT

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I say all of this with utmost affirmation, as I account for what a part of this transcending journey has been like, because such has been my experience, except, with no evidence to validate this with. Just stories that I will barely touch upon. That’s how it is as far as life experiences go.

You however, are welcome not to eat my words up. Perhaps, you could look at it like a guess.  My daring hypothesis.

The realization that you are caged, and have been from the start of your existence, is a liberating suffocation. You are told your name, taught about the family you come from and belong to, taught mannerisms, given a religion, a culture, etc. When you find none of these were your decisions, beginning with the decision to be born, you see your walls. Then you see the walls the other people around you cage themselves in. Willingly.  In absolute bliss. (Well, because “ignorance”…)

Something as basic as alteration in the thought process makes all of this visible. That happens from seeing everything, and everyone, with truth. Say hello to your “honest sight”.

Using ones honest sight and having the ban-wit to accept what you see are two different battles. What happens when you try to exercise your “honest sight” without the power of acceptance of the same? Ever been slapped by the truth? Well, that happens and more. It leaves you with an uneasy invisible, but a physical weight. Very similar to the sort of weight you feel when depression hits you. Except here, this is more of a block. A block with regards to, feeling hopeful, joyful, helpful, trusting, confident, concern, general will; to do anything thing really, sympathy, empathy, and more of such sort. You feel all of this when you are depressed too. The only difference here is that it comes from an entirely different place. Depression is felt in the gut. Sinking and hollow. Confusing. This, the difficulty in accepting the truth that sits in front of you,  comes from a place we call “uncertainly”. You are uncertain of your findings. You are uncertain how you should feel about your findings. Your father spends more than he makes officially. You’ve known this, but you have a tendency to justify. You best-friend picks up this habit of eve teasing, you find humour there. Your Hindu mother refuses to sit at the dining table when you bring your Muslim friend home for a meal, you’ll cover. Your brother beats his wife, you pretend that doesn’t happen. Your head might be tuned to okay acceptable flaws. When you view someone with glasses tinted rose, when a negative personality trait of a loved one crosses the acceptable limitations, acceptance can be hard. It’s not just with people though. Our concept of attachment and detachment is all over the place. We all live a life of misguided love and hate; Have I fallen in love with him or am I just pulled by the artist in him? Should I hate George R.R. Martin for killing off Oberyn Martell at the hands of the Mountain or  Martell’s arrogance and over confidence for thinking he could take on the Mountain? Should I be screaming “I hate Mondays”, or should I be screaming “I hate Capitalism”? Did that event really break my heart or was it my ego that was stabbed? Did Dadababu not take Ratan with him because he didn’t have an inkling of her emotions or was he embarrassed of her social stature? (I actually can’t be too sure of Dadababu’s trip. Ignore the man.)

We are quick to believe what is most convenient to digest. Why won’t the truth suffocate?

But I must tell you, the suffocation goes away.

Get infuriated with the masquerade around you. Waste some of your time and energy there and be done with it. Give way to indifference, and you’ll soon find amusement. When you learn to see things and people for what and who they are,  you understand the spaces you can and want to exist in.

Picture this:

You’ve just bought yourself these fancy pair of glasses that you shelled out 70,000 for. After having read your book to bed at night, you leave it on your teak bedside table, only to wake up and find it being chewed up by your puppy. You see, your not-so-well-potty-trained-puppy has the sense to see your expensive pair of glasses for what they really are; A PAIR OF GLASSES. This event can either outrage you, or you can let your perspective be put to place. Your call entirely. The suffocation dies with this shifts in perspective. When you accept your “honest sight”.

Know this, what you’ve known of you and the people that surround you, are lies. & of all the lies you tell yourself, or is told to you, everyday, you, more than anything else, are the biggest lie. They told you who you are and you believed them. You believed them?

You are your own riddle to solve.

When you begin to see the walls that confine you, it hits you with a jolt. The second blow. You find you’ve only looked at people and things attaching adjectives to them all, and you’ll find, you too are looked at as an adjective. You are a menstruating woman, or a well earning son, the homosexual brother,  the boy who pissed in the school pool in 3rd grade, or the teacher with a nasal voice, the black sheep of the family, or an unmarried woman without her hymen, a simpleton, a transgender man, that fat kid, the lisping dude, the virgin, the doer, the chiller, the stiff one, the stoner, the alcoholic, the materialist, the materialistic, the extrovert, the introvert, the geek, the jock, the under performer…These are the things you do, they aren’t you. What’s with our tendency with being absorbed in an adjective then?

You are beyond a couple of pseudo accurate adjective. As is everyone around you. You are complex, damaged and beautiful. Not one adjective will, or can do you justice. Good, bad, ugly; you’re all of it. You are not your words, neither are you your actions. You are the emotions you are left with after. And this you, who stands with a naked soul, is not visible by the scrutiny and dissection of an observant companion or devotion of a blind lover. Scrutiny and dissection is done to find flaws, and devotion sees none.

We are letting ourselves be governed by opinions and possessions. But the only true state of being is “free”. Free to talk. Free to do. Free to wander. Free to love. Free to question. Free to decide. Free to not care. Free to perfect a part of us. Free to be flawed. Free to be.

Walking the streets with this naive arrogance of having things under control, believing that no one else but you owns you, is a false imagery that we find hard letting go of. Know what and/or who owns you, then go claim yourself.

…because you have been chained sweetheart.  Chained by the people who profess to love you. Chained by values. Chained by borrowed moralities. Chained by half understood opinions. Chained by love. Chained by wealth. Chained by the fear of poverty. Chained by the idea of “it is supposed to be so”. Chained by comparisons. Chained by your parents wanting to live their underachieved dreams through you. You are chained to be made civil. You are chained. You are chained from being.

Why are you okay with it? How are you okay with this?

Oh the how truth can weigh you down! I know, I know. Don’t fret it though. It’ll weigh you down, and if you let it, in moments, it’ll lift you up…if you would just let go of your fondness of everything picturesque and perfect. All that is true waits for you.  It waits to be taken notice of.

See.

…so you can truly be.

 

WHY SAY NO TO KARVA CHAUTH?

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I read this article today somewhere on the internet by this Indian lady who has been married for some twenty odd years where she went on describing how she answered her doorbell to some of her colony ladies with a half eaten samosa in her hand. Make note of this half eaten samosa on the day of Karva Chauth. There is symbolism here.  She loves her husband; she knows it, he knows it = samosa party on Karva Chauth. Anyway, these ladies were all geared up to celebrate the day for longevity of the lives of their respective husbands. They in all probability started their morning with a fast, went about their day cleaning, packing tiffin for their kids and husbands, not eating, some more domestic chores, attending to their in-laws, not eating some more, preparing for the festivities in the evening, not eating some again. At some point during the day the hoard of these harmless inquisitive women came by to drop their noses at the samosa lady’s home. They knocked on her door to include her in the festivities and possibly gain another gossiping buddy. Clearly the half eaten samosa in her hand welcomed a “tauba-tauba” moment dropping jaws over noses. They were scandalized and they were hungry. Now, Karva Chauth or not I don’t answer my doorbell whilst chomping on some munchies – just unkempt, and bare feet, and usually in some dirty boxers or pyjamas. Perhaps next time I’ll be better clad and chomp on something as I answer my doorbell. (Can’t handle too much perfection) I don’t know. Still deciding… But ya, I can imagine how the half eaten samosa might have gotten to them. Basically, that’s what the samosa lady wrote about. I’m only re-telling a part of it my style.

No, no, nothing about that article was offensive neither did it have anything I disagreed with. Quite on point actually! Up until 2008 what I knew of Karva Chauth was courtesy Bollywood. All these many movies with north Indian families have made us of the Northeast India decently versed with certain festivals which we in all probability wouldn’t know, exactly how the rest of India isn’t well versed with many of our customs. (Never mind that for now. We’ll talk about it in a different post.)

I finished with school for good in 2008 and was hoping that was the end of my academic journey. Much to my displeasure, my parents sent me off to Delhi to be a student of Lady Shri Ram College. That did not go too well neither did it last too long. (Yes, it is not a medal of honour. Nevertheless, it remains my story.) My folks came along before I was to start my classes to settle me in, in this pink and purple PG popularly known as N225.  Life in my beloved Dirty-Delhi had begun. Suraj Bhaiya was our cook. What pohhas he made and what chuttny to go with that idli. May God bless that man and his desi culinary skill! With Suraj Bhaiya’s cooking, there was not a single girl who would refuse a meal. Except one day! There was not one but  several refusals. I couldn’t bring myself to understand that. Why? That man was still killing it in the kitchen. There was no reason not to eat Suraj Bhaiya’s food. I told some girls how on point the cholle was that day and asked why they wouldn’t grab a plate for themselves. They smiled at my very coyly, said nothing and buried themselves into their phones. I did not get it.

That was my first Karva Chauth encounter.

Here on after, this festival has been debated and trashed over and over again. If women must fast to delay the deaths of their respective husbands what do the husbands do for their wives? Why must only women fast? Like fasting will bring your husband close to immortality! Etc…Etc.  I’ve gotten into several of those discussions myself to throw my very own rotten tomatoes. For which I feel the need to apologize. Not to the Karva Chauth practitioners but to myself. So, here I go: “I’m sorry Urvashi. I am sorry that the researcher in me never so much considered doing any research on this subject matter before throwing all the choke slams, and attitude adjustments, and pedigrees, and people’s elbow, and tombstones at Karva Chauth.”

I’ve done my research now and the concept behind Karva Chauth doesn’t bother the feminist in me rather soothes it. Of course I still condemn how and why the colony women of my samosa lady celebrate it.  That is all kinds of wrong. But what this festival was originally designed to be makes perfect sense to me.

Child marriage is an ancient concept. Although still practiced it should have no place in the world today. At a time however, it was acceptable as well as the norm. Little girls would be married off usually to someone from a far off village. No phones, no internet! Heck, no literacy to even send letters. …A little girl married off to a stranger, having to live with a bunch of strangers in some distant place from her home. I don’t care much for children but what might the plight of that poor child be I shudder to picture!

Turns out they took care of that.  Just before the little girl married the designated stranger, she would befriend another little girl. They use the terms “kangan saheli” or “dharam behen”. The kangan saheli or dharam behen equals today’s BFF. Should she have issues with her husband or her in laws she could talk to her BFF about it to take some of the weight off her heart. This friendship would be sanctified through a small ceremony before the marriage.

“Karva”  means pot and Chauth means fourth. These kangan sahelies or BFFs on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of the month Kartik would make a trip to the market to buy earthen pots, bring them home, paint them all pretty and fill them up with laddus and mithaies and bangles and clothes, and vermilion, and gifts of such sorts in preparation of visiting their best friend and exchanging these karvas to celebrate their bond of friendship. This is more or less the ancient Hindu Friendship Day, except this one doesn’t happen on the first Sunday of August each year. It happens when the samosa lady’s colony women are starving themselves for a day.

I can dig this.

DO WE NEED NO EDUCATION?

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I constantly hear people (educated + uneducated) use the term “education” loosely. I’m guilty for being contextually incorrect too. Very not surprisingly, this word was born from the Latin word “educatus” meaning bringing up a child or to train. The concept of bringing up a child entails making your child morally sound to survive a society and capable of doing personal chore like brushing your own teeth, feeding yourself, cleaning your buttocks after potty, tying your shoe laces etc. The level of these chores got higher as the child aged and learnt more complex things like washing, cooking, fishing, farming etc. (Now, we go to schools) Idea was to make your child independent enough to manage his/her show after you are dead and gone. The morality taught and learnt varied, depending on the place, time period, life experiences, thought capacity and ones balance of ego, id and superego. Now it is an equivalent for academics in turn having the quality of education equated with the institution believed to be responsible for imparting knowledge.

A while ago, on the same grounds that you stand, man feared to walk for he didn’t trust the shape of the earth. Despite Pythagoras philosophising about the shapes of the sun and the moon and how they were both spheres, then found it only logical to conclude that the same was the case with earth! What-a-fool. Those whose curiosities were stronger than their fears explored and learnt and spread the information. The earth was round they said. In due course of time curiosity kept killing fear and now we have various disciplines of study. This is how it must have been: curiosity led to want of exploring a subject that might have been a feared object, exploration led to understanding of a feared object/ concept/ mystery and the understanding stabbed fear in its stupid eyes.

Birth of new subjects opened up new employment opportunities. From valuing physical labour the most, man learnt to value mental labour enlarging the scope to validate your existence in the form of social acceptance. The emphasis on academia began because some people began to discover where the absolute power laid. In knowledge!

Proficiency in one of these fields of study became paramount as WE gradually turned academics equivalent for education. It’s like being techno-savvy today. Some are really savvy, some are getting by and some at a complete loss. Tomorrow that will be paramount. Not because it makes life simpler and is the personification of progression but largely because we are teaching ourselves to confuse knowledge and information.

Education wasn’t born because of man’s curiosity towards things he didn’t understand. Man’s curiosity only changed some of the dynamics in the old concept of education. Or perhaps it is nothing but an illusion where the image of the true essence of education is hidden which in my blunt opinion has fathered the most dangerous type of corruption; intellectual corruption.

Today, we look to see reflections of our education in the cars we drive, the houses we live in, the emblem of our university on our jerseys and sweatshirts, our bank statements etc., etc. Isn’t that lovely? All things measurable!

It’s hard to pin point where exactly we began to stray, but somewhere along the line we began to believe that to survive you needed the capacity to provide for your needs. That is all that we needed. With personal growth came the change in eyesight. What once were luxuries turned to wants, and these acquired wants turned to needs. In our day, possessions have become the sole requisite for being labeled to desired type of social strata, which along with a few other factors decides your social relevance.

Suddenly, a Kansas city shuffle. Appears a magician who keeps talking about how education is a problem solver, a life saver/changer/ reformer with the allurement of a better life filled with crispy fried bacon leading us the believe that we are heading out towards the path of progression. The thing is, right at the beginning of the show he made you saw education in half minus any safety valve when teased your desires with whiffs of crispy fried bacon. We’ve put our faith in education to salvage what is left of our almost 69 years old nation. In all probability that is the way to go. But the truth is academics pay. Where you studied decides the zeros to the left or right on your salary cheque. Your annual package decides your social bracket, and unlike education, a degree is easy to acquire.

A nation full of graduates or doctorates isn’t the symbol for a reformed nation but most definitely turns it from a Ban-All-Things-Land into a land of Sherlock-s and Moriarty-s. Excellence in your discipline of study is a powerful thing. Knowledge is a powerful thing. What you do with your knowledge makes you either Sherlock, or Moriarty (…or Sheldon). Sherlock, who is as smart as a whip, has his superego stepping on his id making him a person who is wary of societal judgments and effected by them. Moriarty is governed by his id making him less wary about society or any kind of authoritative figure. Knowledge in the hands of such a man is a very deadly weapon.

Academics can possibly solve illiteracy and unemployment to some extent. But incidents of honor killing, female infanticide, caste system, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, discrimination basis sexual orientation, dowry, sati, domestic violence, to name a few, will still exist. How about this time before we begin to teach the nation, we educate our nation?

Yulin: DON’T LET YOUR DOGS OUT

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At least seventy percent of my Facebook feed is covered by posts from various dog pages that I’ve liked. Every time I open my Facebook my eyes run through posts about adoption, rescue, abuse, fostering, parenting, etc. I presume you can well imagine what my Facebook might have looked like some time before and during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Not very pretty!

I’ve watched Jon Snow die without flinching a muscle; more so because I know he’ll be back (Please! This wasn’t a spoiler. You believe the same deep down), but when I watched Ned Stark put a dagger through Lady my world shifted (even though she had the most acceptable death amongst all the other dire-wolves). My point being, I should really subscribe to some trivia.

The single thing I am violently protective about is my dog. If you understand this sentiment of mine then you understand my discomfort with the posts on animal violence and abuse where they usually pick a sob story of a dog. WHY DO THEY (ALMOST) ALWAYS PICK A DOG?? I despise reading those posts. I don’t like this confirmation of the existence of monsters in men. And then I think of my beautiful, affable puppy. I hate it. Still, the posts keep on showing up. (True, I do not deserve your sympathy/empathy)

Around the time of Yulin Dog Meat Festival, there was this petition floating around. The petition was addressed to the Governor of Yulin GuangXi province of China, Mr. Chen Wu, who happens to be the Chinese Minister of Agriculture and it went on to tell him how inhumane and heinous this festival is and prayed to put an end to this. Apart from this there were innumerable articles on the internet about the same. The numbers were disturbing. In a span of ten days it is estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed. Like the articles weren’t disturbing enough, they had photographs and videos to go along with them. I know, I know, I didn’t have to read them or watch any of those videos. But the deed is done. I should ideally slap myself but I’m just going to give me a last warning.

Anyway, post the reading and more reading and little bit of watching, I went ahead and signed the petition. God forbid my puppy were to be in that spot! There’s no chance of that happening. But God forbid…

Then I felt something run down my spine, a funny weight behind my neck. Her name was hypocrisy.

The Chinese believe that eating dog meat stimulates internal heat. Yet they have the Yulin Dog Meat Festival from the 21st of June to the 30th of June; The summer solicit days. Excruciating heat! This should stop making sense to you right about now, but I’ll find you a fix. It is a Chinese superstition that consumption of dog meat on the inaugural days of summer brings good luck and health. There! Now this should make perfect sense- Rise in dog consumption driven by superstition. If you argue about how superstitions smell of retarded ridiculousness with a superstitious person/ community guess who is the fool in this scenario?

I wouldn’t normally hesitate to sign a petition against animal violence and abuse but the Yulin dog meat festival, in its essence isn’t celebrating dog violence or abuse, is it? So I hesitated before I signed the petition that calls the participants of the festival inhuman for eating dog meat, while sitting with my bowl of rice smothered in pork with bamboo shoot.

I am a non- vegetarian. I like my meat. I don’t necessarily eat meat everyday but I do enjoy it. I’d greedily eat venison but not Bambi. Thank you Disney. The same chain of thought stops me from eating dog meat. I am sure I’ll see my puppy’s face before I can even think about taking a bite.

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival needs to go. It needs to go because so many others like me feel for dogs. But the fight is wrong. Probably many of you don’t think of this to be a hypocritical fight. And that’s okay too.

Where do I get this license from to direct anybody’s eating habits? It is one thing to fight for abuse and violence against animals but dictating what one should or should not eat is a very different battle. I wouldn’t welcome it if I were asked to stop eating chicken or lamb or pork etc. I wouldn’t pay any heed to that. And I can afford to do that; only because the meat I eat belong to the acceptable category of consumable meat. I say this with so much hesitation that I feel I don’t have a place to tell you to stop eating the of meat of an animal just because it has a cuter face and/or is more social with people as opposed to the animals I choose to eat. I doubt George Orwell’s notion of “ All animals are equal but some are more equal than is others” will ever cease to be true.

Ideally the fight should have been an honest one. I wish we had the moral strength to accept the existing discrimination in our minds towards animals. Who is to know how many senseless hours were spent working on the biased Yulin petition as the KFC bucket makeshift dustbins filled up with crumpled sheets of dissatisfied drafts!

Marriage & Its Ignored Sophistry

After you cross the age of twenty-something you’d have in all probability noticed that the people you knew in school or college are rapidly getting into wedlock, falling out of their singlehood like a deck of cards. I am twenty five and I’ve begun noticing this in the last two to three years. The people I grew up with in school,some with two or three years apart are now married, few of them with kids even or engaged or “preparing” for this ultimate transformation marital life is going to bring them (this prep is generally by the girls, I don’t know why).

For the longest time, after some one to be married would break the good news to me, where the appropriate response should be me screaming “CONGRATULATIONSSSS!” as if I can taste the joy in my tongue that travelled up from my toes, I’d inevitably ask, “Why would you do this to yourself?” More often than not I get this one answer that displeases me a tad more than all the other ones that exist. “My biological clock is ticking”. When I ask you “Why would you do this to yourself?” what I mean is have you weighed down and understood if and how your transformed life could limit you. It’s not me expressing my disregard for the institution of marriage. I believe in the institution of marriage, just not in the form of an obligation and in a lot of cases, as a solution.

I have had a numerous discussions about the institution of marriage and the success of it a numerous times with a numerous people.

Some of them are absolute believers and advocates of the Eagle’s “Love Will Keep Us Alive”. It’s been told to me that the reason behind so many divorces is because people have stopped marrying for love (barring the few exceptions that exist in all scenarios). Marry for love, nothing less, nothing else and you’ll never go wrong they’d say. The strongest love I have known in relationships I’ve had the fortune to pick is for my dog. Let’s not begin to compare that kind of love to the one you can have with another human. Not possible. Forget about it. Next.

Then there is this lot who tell me how stupid marriage is, how practical a live-in relationship is. When you want to call it off you are left with a bruised heart and not a bruised heart that has paper work to do. This reasoning behind a live-in fails me. Living-in is practical. Sure. It is also cowardice. I’m not sure I want to begin anything with you after you’ve imagined it end right at the start.

I was asked by a person not to be fearful of divorce. We are humans and we are complex. There are bound to be unsuccessful marriages. Not all flavours taste good together. True. Not all marriages can be a success but the problem arises when we look at divorce as that stamp seal of an unsuccessful marriage. I can hear the voice of my Chemistry teacher from school ring in my ears going, “All alkalines are basses but all basses are not alkalines”. Just like so, all divorces are because of unsuccessful marriages but all unsuccessful marriages may not lead to divorces. Catch my drift?

This one someone told me “Marriage is important because no one wants to die alone.” It is true. I would not like to die a menopausal cat lady sitting in my rocking chair placed in a sunny spot in my gloomy room flipping pages of the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe because I am no good at knitting. But, I have been lonely in company, which is why I can stomach enough courage to see the bold differences between being alone and being lonely.  So no, I don’t look at this institution as a rescue ranger in the rickety old days.

A friend married into an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Another friend married her high school sweetheart. This other person was restless and jittery to be married because it was time. Another friend married a stranger. This some one I know married the brother of her ex boyfriend. This guy married his girlfriend in college because she was pregnant. This girl married for money. This girl married this guy she had been seeing through 8th grade up until they both got jobs and moved to the States.

The abusive relationship strangely looks like a happy marriage now. My friend who married her boyfriend from school complains about his dirty socks and underwear lying around. This person who was restless to marry did get married and has her complete married life on display for the entertainment of her Facebook friends. The friend who married a stranger turned out to be a lucky dog. Her husband and her are ideologically very similar. That’s more than half the battle won I’d think. The girl who married her ex boyfriend’s brother has a son now. This guy who married his pregnant girlfriend became a father and a husband before he was ready. The girl who married for money is now travelling to exquisite places. The girl, who married this guy she dated for over 15 odd years, left him a month after moving to the States because he turned out to be a wife beater.

What excites you more; The grand crazy unforgettable wedding that you have been dreaming of or the idea of sharing most of the space in your life with another person without batting an eyelid knowing this sharing and caring business could also suffocate you? You can never be definite about your significant other or the success of the institution. You mustn’t. That can be dangerous. This one decision that we take, this one decision that alters our lives so significantly in so many way, should actually be just a leap of faith. Nothing more! You take a chance because you believe so strongly. More than wanting the person or loving the person you believe. You put your money on this person for whom you have created a selfless, honest space in your life. We take this decision basis situations, obligations, reasons, circumstances, disregard for our own selves, societal pressure, parental pressure, etc. when the only thing that should matter is intention. That can be the only determinant of the success of this institution.