Monday, October 28, 2013

Why this marriage-veri, society..??

Disclaimer: No offense meant to all those happily married folks. I'm extremely happy for you guys. :-)

Ok, lets talk about marriage. The one phenomenon and word that has the most varied variety of emotions attached to it. Second only to love I guess. Most people would say that they both are inter-related, on most occasions atleast. I'm not entirely sure though. See, we took one of the most intimate and personal of things and made it into this enormous societal phenomenon. And boy did it screw it up for most people or what.? Now instead of just bashing up this societal phenomenon(yes, it's a societal phenomenon. I will come to that point) with just emotions, lets look at it from a logical point of view and dissect it like the cockroach we cut open in our school days. And hey, just to clarify, I'm not against marriages. I'm all for it. Different sex, same sex, all of them(not child marriages though).

Now lets go back a little on our timeline(not the facebook one). You know, when it would have all started. Few thousands years ago. I would like to go on a little side track here. If you are one of those who believes in the story of Adam and Eve, that God created the world 6000yrs ago, you should stop reading this now. I highly doubt that someone who believes in the story that two people were put in a garden together, naked and were let to make babies and populate the entire earth with so many different races, could make any comprehension from this post. Also not to mention, whom did their children marry and make babies if Adam and Eve were the only people around. Won't that make them brothers and sisters.? It's a nice little story without the happily-ever-after theme, the only part I like about it. Lets just keep it as a good bed time story, for adults.

Ok coming back on the track. Where were we..?? Yes, few thousand years back. You know, when we were roaming around naked with only our bodily hairs to cover our privates, shouting ho-bo bo-bo jo-bo, dining out everytime, literally. I don't think marriage would have existed then. We would have just gone around humping around each other, fighting for our right to mate. Basically we were driven only by our instinct of survival. Everything we did, like hunting, gathering, fighting, humping, everything was driven by our desire to survive. It ensured 2 things, survival of self and survival of the species. If you believe in God, I think this is the original prime function He hard-coded into our brains. Everything else was added to support and abet it.

And when we started civilizing, like covering our bodies with leaves and animal skin, started farming, domesticated animals and settled down at one place, someone would have thought, "Hey wait, we are doing all these things so that our survival becomes easy and we still fight for having sex and making babies.? That's stupid". Bam. Here comes marriage. You know, an easy solution to make more babies, which means higher rate of survival of the species, with less fighting and more peace. Win-win for all. Yaay.!! But wait, why do you need marriage for that.??

Now lets say our ancestors had a very good knowledge about genetics. And they thought that if one strong guy went around humping all the females, the children that were born would then most probably be doing the 'thing' with their half brothers and sisters which will then lead to genetically and mentally problematic babies. *GoT reference start* Case in point, look at how Joffrey Baratheon turned out. A complete asshole. *GoT reference end* Highly unlikely ain't it.? Or lets just assume they finally figured it out that kissing your brother or sister or cousin is really gross and very uncool. So they made people live with each other and have sex with only them for their entire lives and produce children that were genetically ok to mate and produce more children that were genetically ok to mate. Win-win. Also they made sure that everyone in the community knew who was with whom so that they don't go secretly humping around others. More win-win. Lo and behold, thus was born the concept of marriage. The grand societal phenomenon. It also ensured another important aspect, the parental love and sibling love. Usually the males just fucked around and did nothing about protecting and bringing up the children. It was left to the mother. The less number of off-springs meant more care towards them to protect your genes. The ultimate nut-crack move.

I also assume that this is where the first discrimination came around. The guy who made these rules would in all probability be the leader of the group and also the strongest. He would have thought that if everyone had one partner and he too had only one, how would it make him the leader, the special one. So he made an exception. That he was above these rules. He can have as many partners as he wished. Why..?? Because he said so. Power rules, bitches. More partners means more babies, which means more copies of your genes. Which in turn meant better survival of the linage. Survival, baby.

See, how it all happened. It came around because it was a need. To survive better. Not because it was some fancy thing everyone wanted to have. As the society became more and more civilized(read crazy), we kept adding more stupid rules to this concept. And now it's all kind of fucked up shit. You are supposed to marry only certain people at a certain age in a certain way. They don't care if you love the person you are marrying. That's stupid. Love is for pets and smartphones. What they care about is whether the person you are going to marry belongs to the same religion, same caste, same sub-caste, particular gothra, belongs to the same or higher economic class than you, shits and washes the bum the same way you do. And yes, belongs to different sex. Same sex marriage..?? *Shudders* Shiva shiva. God is going to poke your eyes with his thrishul only.

Our society is a very paranoid one. We are like the Cold war era USA and USSR. Always afraid of what the other one is going to say or do. If only we could sit over a couple of drinks and have a good chat. Sigh. I mean, seriously. They are like, oh, he doesn't want to get married. I think there is some problem with his dong(not the Vietnamese currency), may be he cannot makes babies. Oh, she didn't get married? I know there is something wrong with her character. May be she has/had boyfriends, that's why no one else wants to get married to her. Oh, you are 25, haven't your parents started searching matches for you. I know of a person who is my cousin's father-in-law's sister's long lost son's neighbor's colleague's distant relative. About whom I have no idea of, but is very suitable for you. You should get married to him/her, soon. This is the right age. Your genitalia is perfectly ripe now, if you delay any further it will start to rot. And you will not be able to make babies. Your life will be meaningless then.

Come on, society. I know you are very much concerned about the survival of the species. You want me to get married to someone that you deem fit and worthy for me with your stupid concocted rules. That too as soon as possible. It might have made some sense eons ago. You know, when the life expectancy was around 30 or 40 and there were less number of humans around. But now.?? We are a strong 7.1 billion in number and steadily climbing. To put that into perspective, there are more number of humans alive today than the total number humans that ever lived on this planet. Ever. Yeah, we are the rodents the earth is infested with. We can do away with few people not reproducing. Also I'm very sure we are all going to kill each other anyway, in the not so distant future. Survival of our species is the least of our concerns. Sachin is going to retire, and cricket being the only sport that many Indians religiously follow and he being God, I do not know what we are going to do. Now, that is a problem.

To sum this up. Do we need to breathe? Yes. Do we need to be married? No. Not necessarily. Marriage is an over-rated phenomenon. Marriage is a very personal and intimate thing. And no one else has better idea about your marriage than yourself. If not, wait till you get a clear idea. So chuck all the norms that doesn't make sense. The way I see it, you can either try to make others happy by following the rules that were created by the people who were/are as stupid as we are. Or do what you like and make yourself happy. Because this society has a memory span the size of an ant's penis. They do not care about your marriage. At the most they might be concerned about your wedding. So that they could dress up and take pictures and post on their social networking profiles. Other than that, you are going to walk the path, better you choose it.

P.S: This is not a rant that is a result of some marriage proposal. Nope. And my parents are really cool about this topic, atleast until now. And I know this is a very long post. But I have much more to say. This is only one part. So this is not the end. It will be continued...

Sunday, October 13, 2013


When I was young there was a rule of 'no pocket money' at our home. If we needed things we asked for it and it was provided. The only money we got were during our birthdays. Usually a 100 rupees note from dad and a 50 rupees note from mom, which was diligently hidden in old textbooks. Other than that the only time we got money was when our grandparents visited us. They too refrain from giving us more than 100 or 200 for the fear of being glared at by my dad.

After few occasions of my brother finding out where I have hidden my money and how much I have accumulated, I changed the place where I hid my money to a huge pingani or porcelain jar which my mom never used. Also it was placed on a shelf which was difficult for my brother to access.

One day I opened the jar to drop some coins into it which I had collected. You know, the ones that had the impressions of leaders or those of some events. That kind of coins. To my astonishment a 50 rupees note was missing. I pulled all the notes out and checked them again. It wasn't there. I stormed out of the kitchen and started crying out my brother's name. He didn't respond. And after sometime he came jumping around cheerfully and asked me, "What.??"

"Did you take my money.??", I shouted.

"What money.??", he asked.

"Don't play with me. Did you take the money.? Give it back to me now". I shouted again.

"I don't know anything. I don't even know where you keep it".

And even before he finished his sentence I placed a slap on his cheek so hard that my hand hurt. He immediately fell down. He looked at me with shock holding his cheek while tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Give me my money back", I said tears welled up in my eyes and choking on my words.

And by this time our paternal grandmother came running.

"What's happening.? Why are you two fighting.?", she asked.

"He beat me", my brother told her while sobbing.

"He took my money. Tell him to give it back", I said while sobbing.

"I only took it. I needed some money so I asked thambi(younger brother) if he had any. He said he didn't have but knew where you had kept yours. Since you weren't there I asked him to bring it. And I thought I will later kept it back. Don't worry, when appa comes I will give it back to you.", she said.

"I don't want any other money. I want my money. That exact same 50 rupees note. It was the last money Jogulu thatha(grandfather) gave me.", I said and broke down.

Jogulu thatha was my maternal grandfather. That 50 rupees note was the last money I got from him when he visited us for the last time. After that he passed away.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know it. Or else I wouldn't have taken it.", she said in a very apologetic tone.

"It's ok. Tell me which shop or to whom you had given the money. I will go and get it back.", I said.

Yes, I knew the serial number of that note. :-)

"I put it with some other money I had and gave it to xyz uncle to be given as wedding gift for abc thatha's son's wedding. Xyz uncle has already left for Tamil Nadu.", she said.

I was inconsolable for the next one week.
I got my bicycle when I was in 8th standard. Before that whenever I asked for one, I was answered with a stern no. Always citing my height(I was around 5' 2'' then) and the lack of necessity for me to own a bicycle. And after lot of coaxing and some skipped meals, they bought me one at-last. A blue Hercules AXN. Then, it was the happiest day of my life. I wished the road from the showroom to our home never ended.

But it was bought only after we came to an agreement, me and my parents. That I was to take the bicycle out only when I went for the morning tuition. And if at all I wanted to take the bicycle out any place else I had to tell them where I was going and they would decide if it was safe to go to that place on a bicycle. And we agreed. Yeah I know my parents were a paranoid lot. And it wasn't till 10th standard I was allowed to take the bicycle to school.

After 10th the usage was fairly under my control, although I still had to take permission when I had to go to some place for which I had to cross a road that was more than 30ft wide. And once I got into 2nd PU it was a cycling heaven for me. I used go to a morning tuition which was 3kms away and an evening tuition which was 5kms away. I was riding 16kms per day. No wonder I was 63kgs at 5' 11" at the end of 2nd PU. :P My bicycle had become such an integral part of my life that I thought I can never survive without it. I used to clean it almost daily and wash it and grease it every month. It looked as new as it did when it was bought, even after 4yrs(Ok, this may be a little exaggerated). And then engineering happened. I came to Bangalore. I contemplated about bringing my bicycle here. But soon stopped thinking about it. First semester holidays were spent happily riding my old companion. Second semester went the same way. Third semester came and thus the first motorcycle. Still the bicycle wasn't ignored and the motorcycle was used only when the distance was longer. And then slowly the motorcycle was favored more than the bicycle. And by the end of the engineering, the bicycle was totally forgotten.

One day when I was in Delhi for training in my first company my parents asked me if they can sell the bicycle. That the kid in the opposite house wanted a bicycle and his parents asked my parents if they would sell it. I suddenly snapped.

"Why do you want to sell it. How much money are you going to get out of it. When I come back to Bangalore I will take it with me.", I told them clearly.

"It's not about the money. We thought at least someone could use it. It's lying in the store room getting rusted. Fine with us if you are going to use it.", they said.

The thought of selling the bicycle was so difficult to digest for me. It was like giving away a part of me to someone else to mess around with. There are so many memories that are connected to it. It was unfathomable for me to even think about giving it to someone else.

And last month when I went home I saw it in the store room. Put on its side stand, it stood there. Dust collected all over it. Even though my dad took it out and water washed it and put it back in the store room now and then. There is only so much that could be done. Bits and pieces of paint peeling off here and there, both the tires were flat, most parts have started to rust, the pedal was screeching when I tried to swing it. The chain won't even budge. And then my dad saw me looking at it.

"Still planning to take it with you.??", he asked.

"Sell it if someone asks for it.", I said.

"Are you sure.?", he said, questioningly.

"Yes", I replied.

"It may not fetch you much", he said.

"That's ok. Give it to someone who will love it.", I said.

You know, when I think about these two incidents I realise how much we suck for things. We try to hold on to things so badly that we are ready to hurt others for it. We want to keep them with us so badly that we will let it rust rather than let anyone else use it. I hit my brother for that 50 rupees note, made my grandmother feel guilty. But in the end what happened.? Nothing. How long would I have held on to it if I had not lost it.? I don't know. But did losing it change the way I feel about my grandfather.? Did it make me miss him less.? No. Every single memory of him still remained the same.

And so will all the memories of my bicycle. Holding on to it any longer would only give me memories of it being in a depleted state. Giving it away will not take away any of the memories associated with it. The scars on my knees are not going away and so are the beautiful memories. If anything at all, it may give more such beautiful memories to some other kid, who may take care of it better than I do now.

We are going to lose things, some might get stolen, some will just get rusted and reduce to nothing and some others may be ignored and forgotten with time. But memories, they are going to remain with us till our last breath, unless we get Alzheimer's when we get old and forget everything. That would suck. Yes, some things are special. They are associated with some specific memories, thereby amplifying them. They may not be replaceable. But in the end they are just things. Petty little things like everything else in the world. They can never replace the memories. And definitely not worth fighting for, which would result in bad memories. As we age, the only thing we all are sure to accumulate are memories. Let us make an effort to make them fond ones.

P.S: I do not know exactly what triggered me to write this. But when I read it after finishing writing, I was like, what the hell have I written. This is so emotional that it's so unlike me. Anyhow I'm publishing it as it took me 2hrs to write this. And it is not going to go waste. This is one of the longest posts I have written.

P.P.S: Also one other thing that I observed is the number of times I have used the word 'memories'. If you play a drinking game where you drink a round every time you read the word 'memories', I'm pretty sure you would be lying face down before you finish reading the post. :D