A Peek into the “Normal” Life

I sit here in darkness, bundled up in a cozy bedspread, typing away furiously on my laptop. I’ve refrained from blogging for a while now primarily because I’m particularly confused. Confusion is the default state of my mind – rarely do I have absolute clarity about something I plan to do. I think this is a result of the conflict between my mildly conservative upbringing and more liberal ideas that I sport nowadays. Anyway, here I am, sitting at the middle of the night in my sister’s apartment, feeling a certain sense of peace that has eluded me for long.

There is this common perception that I have a ‘thing’ against marriage. It is true. Partially, that is. I have a problem with arranged marriage, to be precise. Maybe it is a byproduct of having been witness to 30-ish years of union between 2 amazing individuals who weren’t just meant to be. Maybe it’s because it toys with this ‘liberal’ outlook that I’ve come to adopt. Either ways, my scorn and disbelief in arranged marriage is rather deep-rooted. As is my belief in freedom and individuality. Which is why I played silent witness to my sister getting into an arranged marriage. That was her choice. Well, my parents’ choice that she approved off. Yes. That is precisely how I should put it, and not the other way around.

So it has been around 2.5 months since their marriage and they’ve settled down comfortably in the city. And I recently landed up here to see how they are faring. Well that and to gossip the ears off my sister. It is suffice to say that they seem to be doing pretty well. Then again, it has just been 2.5 months so its too early to say anything. There goes the cynic in me – can’t she ever shut up! I look at the life they’ve built for themselves, away from the prying eyes of families and the comfortable routines they’ve slipped into (quite willingly, might I add) and I can’t help but wonder – is this enough? Would this be enough for me, if not today, then someday?

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Register Marriage is “in”

Register marriage - that gawky, bespectacled girl back looking super hot (Image Courtesy - indianmarriages.com)

Register marriage – that gawky, bespectacled girl is back. And she looks super hot
(Image Courtesy – indianmarriages.com)

When Reema Kallingal and Aashique Abu decided to go out together, that itself was a chance for the Karan Johars and Simi Garewals of Kerala to wring their hands and buzz around in excited (and exaggerated) horror. When they decided to move in together, the Facebook/Twitter traffic from Kerala rose substantially. They were referred to as the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ of Malayalam cinema, the ‘Couple who decided to cut their own paths’ and were endowed with many other less than complementary titles. However, when they decided to get married on 1st November 2013, people where in for a shock – not because of the obviously-in-your-face-inter-religion thing, but because of their decision to skip the ‘Big, Fat Indian Wedding’ and opt for a simple register marriage. On his Facebook page, Mr.Aashique Abu issued a statement declaring that they’ll skip the imperative wedding extravaganza and the reception that follows every celebrity marriage and instead will donate the amount to Ernakulam Govt. Hospital’s cancer wing.

And that was the beginning of the rebirth of register marriages. In my childhood days, register marriage was a scandalous affair. It was synonymous to elopement, to scandals and what not. No ‘shareef ghar ki ladki/ladka’ would ever opt for this abominable practice. Even if one did resort to it, it was all hushed up before ‘people heard’. There where only two kind of people who let this happen – couples deeply in love (mostly of different caste/religion) whose family refuse to bless their union or communists. It is difficult to say which was frowned upon more by the society. And for a society that has been comfortably set in this rut dug by their forefathers, Reema and Aashique’s move was a jhatka indeed.

As for me, I was thrilled to the core. Now I’d be lying if I said this was something I wanted to do. Nope, I had never even thought about it. But I loved the idea of not spending lakhs of hard-earned money on a bunch of gold that you, in all probability, will wear just once in your life (more on that later). But deep inside me, I had this nagging thought that it was all cool because they were celebrities. I mean, would someone from a well-off family, sufficiently educated…would they think of chucking away a chance to show off their “stuff” and do the socially “OMG” thing? I didn’t think so.

But I was proved wrong (and gladly so) by a certain Najma and Jerry, people I don’t know at the slightest. Educated, smart and very much in love (personal inference, that one is :P). And, this I found very interesting, both Catholics. No inter-religion/caste here. 2 people who could’ve gotten married at any church they wanted but chose to get married the way they wanted. *Standing ovation*

And again, just today, my dad’s colleague called up to say that his son was getting married. But we aren’t invited, no sir. They are to register their marriage at Trivandrum and donate the amount set aside for it to a charity. Oh, did I mention that this colleague uncle is a conservative Brahmin?

Here’s to hoping that this trend will catch on like Sania Mirza’a nose-ring!

To Tejaswee Rao

Thank You Tejaswee Rao fr this gem. (Image Courtesy - Google)

Thank You Tejaswee Rao for this gem.
(Image Courtesy – http://www.quotehd.com)

It is 2.00 am and sleep eludes me. Well, there is nothing unusual in that. I’ve always been a late night drifter. Past midnight seems to be the only time when I can actually sit up and do some quality stuff. Especially writing. And today, I was particularly high, considering that I’d just started a new blog AND written the first post. It is almost like moving into a new place with all the personalization that needs to be done. Once I had dealt with that, I was at a loss for what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty to do work-wise, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. And so I geared up my laptop and set out in search of new blogs to follow.

Now let me explain the process that preludes my following a blog. There is only one reason I follow a blog – it should interest me. Like keep me hooked to it. I should want to want what the author wants. It is a beautiful feeling to be inspired by someone you have never met, have nothing in common with and (often) lives halfway across the continent.So here I was typing up random stuff like “Blogs on life” and such on Google. Now before you snort at my (supposed) idiocy, I’ll have you know that Google search is what introduced me to THE coolest blog I’ve ever come across named ‘SHE in China – Seen, Heard & Experienced in China’. Cool, huh? I stumbled on this piece of gem by mistake and it had been love at first sight. Joanna, the Swedish journalist who pens her thoughts at the aforementioned address, seemed like a long lost friend. I read one of her blog posts and immediately clicked on the first one she ever wrote.

See that’s something I’m kinda obsessed with. If I am to follow a blog, I need to get the whole story right from the beginning – complete with the sunrise and the roosters call. Which is quite a feat if the blog has been alive for 4-5 years. Not that it bothers me. Ever. I like that feeling of having been with the author throughout the journey and not like the aunt from U.K who loves you but don’t know you half as well as the nagging aunt that lives next door and you say you hate but can’t imagine being without. Anyway, I spent some wonderful evening sharing Joanna’s life experiences in China and also managed to learn quite a bit about the place. Minefields of knowledge travel blogs are, I tell you. It was a sad, sad day when I logged on to her site and realized that she had written her last post and wasn’t planning on continuing it. Since Joanna had set the standards rather high, I’m yet to be addicted or influenced by a blog as I have been with hers. Which was why I found it difficult to connect with the numerous blogs that I came across today and before.

It was during this search from site to site that I chanced upon the blog of the Indian Homemaker. Following the routine, the first thing I did was to skim through her latest post. It looked interesting enough for it to be subjected to the second step of scrutiny i.e. going through her ‘About Me’. It was here that I heard of her daughter for the first time. A click on the link took me to another blog – one that I’ve been to before. I had paused there once only to learn that the gorgeous, gorgeous 19-year-old author of the blog was no more. I vaguely remember myself feeling an inexplicable sense of distress for a girl I have never interacted with. It must have passed on pretty quickly, I guess. Today, when I peeked into her space once again, I took some time to read through her stuff. The letter to her future daughter – words fail when I try and describe it. I’m awed by her thoughts and how beautifully she has transferred it to paper. I’m also disturbed by how closely I can relate to what she has written. To adopt a baby girl, that is one thing I’ve wanted for myself since I was a kid too. How many teenage girls can vow to do something like this with so much conviction, I wonder? I’ve been going through her mothers’ blog and Facebook pages and such for the past 2-3 hours. The memorial video on Youtube, her countless photos – I feel as if I know her like my best friend. This sense of kinship, where does that come from? Is this what they call the magic of social media? I’m confused, disturbed. I catch myself wondering about my own mortality. Being someone who has never had to experience heart-wrenching grief in my life, I know not how I’ll be able to handle a similar situation.It’s simple. I don’t mind dying. But, being the selfish daughter I am, I can’t imagine putting my family though what that family is going through day in and day out.

To courage and love and making a difference. To Tejaswee Rao.

Standing out in the crowd

But if you don't, then you are truly one hell of a person.

But if you don’t, then you are truly one hell of a person. (Image courtesy – http://www.quotehd.com)

The other day, while mulling over a cuppa coffee with a couple of friends of mine, one of my friends mentioned that the one thing she wanted to do in life is to tread a path that hasn’t been cut out yet. This comment of hers had the entire group (including myself) nodding their heads in agreement. Obviously, that is one sentiment shared by countless souls around the world – to “do something different(ly)”. The magic of firsts. Or seconds or thirds, for that matter.

It was only later while walking home braving hordes of horn-blowing demons that it struck me how ridiculous the idea of originality is. I mean, yes it is pretty cool to be a Christopher Nolan in a field that thrill you to the core, but there is an equal amount of awesomeness to being a Marlyin Monroe. Yes, she is as cliched an actress that could be imagined with her chiseled features and come-hither charm. But the fact that she has carved a niche for herself among so many other actresses/wannabes who possess roughly identical skills as she does – that does sound impressive! Does that make sense to you?

What I’m thinking is this. Its perfectly easy to be appreciated for doing something that has never been done before. I mean, there is no yardstick to measure the brilliance of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That book (and movie) is so good, so brilliant that it needed a brand new scale made just to measure its awesomeness. That is beautiful. Unspeakably beautiful, I agree. But what I’m saying is there is a certain beauty to being the Sonakshi Sinha of Bollywood too.

If people recognize the artist in you even if the only thing you give them is running around trees in multicolour sarees and grandma jewellery (and still manage to make people drool) like a gazillion artists that have come before and after you, is that not a true achievement?