Bits and Pieces

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Although I have a good excuse, I apologize profusely for neglecting this blog. Thanks for being patient, guys.

That said, after a short and sweet work trip to Singapore, followed by a short (and very un-sweet) spell of dealing with the aftermath of a hairline fracture, I am gratified to say that I have returned to my healthy, non-jet lagged, highly respectable self and that I can finally finger-fight again. Come on, ye!

Before I move on with today’s lecture, a word about our sista from anotha motha, C Manjula. It’s old news by now, but just in case you’ve been hiding under a Giant Clam Shell on Kiwi shores while pondering the meaninglessness of existence, she’s the one who’s been handling the report on the Morning Mist Home Stay attacks, as they are being called in the media. How well did she do? Well, she handled it horrend– that is to say, in a manner befitting an Indian politician appointed on the basis of ass-kissing ability, as opposed to other, somewhat more socially useful kinds of ability. Not one to be deterred by such things as facts, relevance and logic, she promptly reported that the party was in fact a rave party, that the decent folks who assaulted the partygoers were in fact nobly protecting the women from being misled, that the men at the party were in fact involved in human trafficking.

I guess Manjula and her band of merry thugs don’t quite get it – you can beat up people in parties (apparently), but even in India, you can’t beat partying out of people. The ‘victims’ only want to go it harder, and I say, rock on, folks.

Now, to bigger news. It turns out that Big Sister dear (edit
: that is to say, the non-thuggish one from my own mother) has finally decided to get married! Who woulda thunk it?

Considering that her husband-to-be is *gasp* a non-Indian origin guy who currently works as a *gasp* teacher in the *choke gasp* UK, this has brought in all kinds of reactions, from shocked horror to cynical estimations of the life-span of the marriage, to some solidarity and support (okay that’s just me and may parents at this point, but we’re working on it (and yes, for once, I’m not on the cynical side (no, honestly, I’m not))).

Depending on your point of view, the whole situation is either kind of funny or sad in an ironic sort of way, because the shocked horror crowd has crowed about her ‘settling down’ for a while now. I guess they were talking about a different settlement, cause I swear to Bleedin’ Chris’ on teh Bloomin’ Cross, they ain’t be too happy with this Brit lad. It all reminds me of E. M Forster’s novel, Where the Angels Fear to Tread (if you haven’t read it, do so. It’s great).

Family, family. Such goes life.

Overall, I’m happy with my sister’s impending marriage, but I’m also a little apprehensive about its aftermath, because it means I’ll soon have a nice, round target painted on my back. Let the games begin.

Indian families tend to follow FIFO queuing (that’s First In First Out, for non techies). The first kid in the clan better be pushed out by way of marriage (or failing that, by disowning him/her) before the second one gets a chance. This often leads to weird situations. Just the other day, there was this gag show on the radio where a frustrated woman roped in the radio station to play a bit of a practical joke at the older sister’s expense, who had presumably refused to tie the knot (or be disowned) for quite a while.

The gag was honestly pretty funny but the situation wasn’t. It was sad.

Part of the reason for gender relations being so skewed in India is that their whole interaction runs within narrow and largely irrational rules like these.

There’s a chocolate ad on these days where a student is depicted presenting some chocolates to his teacher on Rakshabandhan. When the teacher points out that most of his companions are out tying bands of brotherly affection to their crushes, and asks him why he isn’t doing the same, he responds that it’s Rakshabandhan, not St. Valentine’s day. They exchange pleasantries, and then there’s a happy ending because it’s obvious that our hero’s Internal Assessment is pretty darn secure, whether the teacher wants to admit it or not.

So what does this ad show? Well, for one, we now know that people who buy chocolates made by this brand tend to be smartasses. Second, some teachers do like smartasses. Third, a lot of people in India use Rakshabandhan as a substitute for V-day. It’s kosher to go out with your girlfriend on Rakhi, but not on Valentine’s. Parents know this. Teachers know this. But you know what? They don’t give a shit!

Mandooka made a post about this little trend, but I’m just using it to make a point here.

Our hypocrisy knows no bounds. Whether it’s C Manjula, her goons, my family members or ‘society’, we follow and enforce the rules senselessly, mindlessly, rules that are themselves senseless and mindless.

One thing we don’t realize, perhaps, is that these rules screw lives.

Let’s embrace change and uncertainty. Let’s acknowledge that things won’t be the same forever. You can’t live under hundreds of rigid, static rules in the guise of culture. Life on the third rock is dynamic, everchanging and responses must be dynamic too.

Dynamism is the key.