Hindu or Muslim?

diwaliramzan

 

Yesterday I got back home a bit later than my usual time since I have been flooded with a lot of work at the office. Waiting for an autorikshaw in an empty street at about 9.30 pm can be a bit scary so when I saw a familiar autowallah, I immediately convinced him to drop me home even though where he was headed was on the exact opposite route.

All the while in the auto he kept peeking and stealing occasional glances at me on his rear view mirror. Instinctively I asked him what was wrong. He replied that in the last few months that he had been picking and dropping me back home, he had a nagging doubt, but never did dare to clear it out.

Now curious I asked what it was that he was thinking about. The first thing that he asked me was if I was a Muslim. I didn’t have any clue as to what he wanted to ask and honestly relieved listening to the question, I laughed out loud. He looked at me perplexed, I clarified that I wasn’t a Muslim.

The next doubt that followed was that why I never wore a bindi. As soon as I heard to that question, I was taken back to the various many times that I have been asked this question.

Since I was at school, I never had the habit of wearing a bindi and my parents never ever told me to. They always respected and maintained the fact that I should embrace only those things that I like. For that reason, it has been many years since I ever wore a ring, earring or a chain; all in all in 22 years, I must have worn them only for a handful couple of times.

The school that I studied at had the Hindu kids in a majority and all the other Hindu girls would wear bindis but not I. I still remember, close to almost every year I would have one teacher/sir who would definitely comment about it, asking if I was a Muslim. What I never understood and still don’t understand is that how can a little dot on your forehead discriminate you from other religions.

One day it crossed my threshold and I spoke about it to my mother. What followed next was that she came to school during the next PTA and held up the fist of the sir who passed that comment on me (in my defense, he had been doing it for a long time) and asked him to look at all the fingers on his hand, how they were different in sizes but would our hand ever be able to function in the same way if all the fingers were of the same size or if we had only one of them? That our unity was in the fact that we were diverse. That one comment from Ma made him shut up for the rest of the time that I was at school.

Similarly I was also called a Buddhist since I don’t wear any jewellery and look Chinese, thanks to my Grandma’s Burmese genes and my short hair.

All of it came rushing back to me with that one question and I wondered why do we have to keep proving our religion to everyone? Why do I need to wear a bindi to be a hindu or get dressed up in a hijab or a burqa to be a muslim?

From when did outer things like clothes and accessories define one’s religion instead of the thoughts in one’s hearts?

If my God says that to prove my love and devotion to him/her, I would have to dress in a certain way then I think I’m better off without such a God.

Love, heartbreak and other random side effects

This post is a part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness

                                                                                                                          Love

I myself write about the beauty of love and the joy of being in a relationship but like the saying goes, “A coin has two sides to it”, the same goes for love too.

I have seen extremely meticulous and organized people go haywire and mess up their schedule as soon as they get into a relationship. They make everything else a second priority to their relationships, friendship and work definitely take a back seat. It’s like you lose control and start looking at everything through the rose tinted glasses.

But what exactly happens when a relationship ends?

First things first you feel lost, and can’t concentrate. My friends, who are the studious kind, almost plead their partners to not break up right before exams since it does affect one’s concentration to a large extent.

And then the eternal drama that goes about, Incase you were dumped because you don’t look good enough; your self-confidence goes right out of the window. Incase you were cheated on, then your ability to trust goes down the drain (been there done that).

A relationship does bring about a lot of positives but then when it ends, it leaves you barren and devastated. With the extreme advancements in social networking, breaking up is also a lot of effort.

You start out with deleting their number from your phone, then the photos, then the whatsapp conversation and photos, next come the ‘n-number’ of chat applications that forced you to stay in touch with your lover, next would be the facebook posts/pictures/statuses and finally the announcement to everyone you know that you are no longer committed. And the worst part is the sympathy that you receive.

A break up apart from heartache also brings about your hidden stalking prowess and mind you, just not in women but men too. I know people who stalked their exes for years post the break up on whatsapp and check their status and stalk their current love interests too! Always comparing themselves to them or planning revenge strategies for events ten years down the line or still reminisce the old times and get all sobby.

A cousin of mine had got into one of the internet relationships via the many matrimonial websites and just days before the wedding could take place, the would-be groom developed cold feet and backed out. Now, suddenly betrayed by love, she decided to get married to the very next guy she met. The same goes for another cousin of mine who married a total stranger within a mere 5 months of the end of her previous relationship in a fit of rage just to show the guy that she could get married to anyone she wished. Both the above are now divorced and admit that the decisions taken in extreme haste lead to some not nice situations.

Anyways down the line even if you get married, love is bound to fly out some or the other day so is it worth all the pain? Especially in India, wherein love marriages are still looked down upon, where in you not only marry your partner but their entire family and their wishes/fancies. What is the point of going through all the emotional drama just for one person, who won’t remain their constant self throughout and if they turn into someone whom you don’t like as much a few years later, is it worth the risk?

marriage

No doubt about the good times but when you weigh the amount of pain and heartache that is bound to follow, all that I ask is, why fall in love in the first place? It is the perfect recipe for self-destruction; you lose your identity as an individual all for the approval of another. It’s like you mould yourself into a distinct person and have to go through the entire process with another person.

Relationships aren’t meant to be so brittle, what ever happened to the always together till eternity?

I’m secretly envious of the people who have never been in love ; there is still a chance that they will experience the magic of falling in love for the very first time, the butterflies and the tingling, the nervousness and excitement. Because once you have been in more than one relationship, things start looking mundane and you carry with you the emotional baggage of the previous relationships too.

I miss experiencing the old time ever lasting love, wherein the beauty of waiting and space would be tested unlike today’s word.waiting

All that I want to ask is, whether it is really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

love

Peace? Right? Wrong?

This post is a part of Linda’s Wordless Wednesdays

be select


In principle, these words sound ordinary but at times really helpful.

Ever thought about the fight that you picked up on the road for a silly reason or the rude toned back answer that you gave when your mood was bad? It ultimately didn’t result in anything apart from either making existing situations worse just because you had to let some steam off.

The same thing even goes during arguments with loved ones, for example – The occasional unnecessary debate that I have with my mother regarding trivial things, which doesn’t actually requires a debate or the squabbles that I have with ‘him’ on unimportant things leads to straining the relationship.

Afterall when you win an argument it does give you me an ego boost, but is it worth it? Is it worth the pain and drain of energy that you put into it? For it is true that you can’t win when you fight the people you love.

So the next time that you have an itch to back answer, step back for a moment and think whether it is worth it.

Because sometimes peace is better than being right.

Free hugs, anyone?

There are days that I miss hugging you and sundays have this effect on me since this used to be ‘our’ day.

I miss hugging you, nestling my head in the cozy warm corner of your neck, hiding, away from the entire world in our little bubble of happiness. I miss inhaling your scent, feeling it fill up my lungs, every pore and cell of my body and the attack of goosebumps that follow.

To feel your rough stubble on my cheek and brush my face against the nape releases a million butterflies in my stomach and makes my heart flutter. I miss feeling the grip of your palms on my arms and how you would envelope me in your arms and then rock me slowly.

I miss the last few days that I spent with you before you left, to sit on your lap for hours and hug you while simultaneously sobbing silently. The way you pacified me by tracing your hands on the length of my back, telling me stories and whispering me that you would always be with me, no matter what.

The number of hours we sat in silence wrapped in each others arms and at times putting in all our strength to squeeze our bodies together, just in the hope that they would magically merge and we didn’t have to stay away from each others.

I miss the welcome bear hugs that were a mandate whenever we met, the pause hugs that we took when a fight got out of hands, to fall onto each other for support, afterall you can’t win when you fight with the one you love the most.

I’m not a touchy person and don’t like physical contact but now that you aren’t here I could really use a few hugs. Sometimes when I pass by your house or think about how helpless I am that I can’t meet you when I wish to, my eyes immediately well up in tears and I can feel the stinging of tears, after all there is only so much that my tears can obey.

Maybe the next time you send me a letter you can send in a few hugs too, but until then, free hugs, anyone?

hug

 

Side by Side

This topic for this week’s Linda’s stream of consciousness is side

There are quite a few things that come to mind when I think of side.

Love : There is this advertisement in which the husband walks to wife’s side, so that she is safe, away from the oncoming traffic. This shows how little things matter, you needn’t always say ‘I love you’, its the little things that you do which counts. 🙂


 

pheras

Marriage : In Hindu weddings, the couple take seven rounds around the sacred fire. A rough interpretation of the Seven Vows are as follows: 

Groom:
You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children.
Bride:
I am responsible for the home and all household responsibilities.

Groom:
Together we will protect our house and children.
Bride:
I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely. 

Groom:
May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children. May our children live long.
Bride:
I will love you solely for the rest of my life, as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste. 

Groom:
You have brought sacredness into my life, and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children.
Bride:
I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can.

Groom: You are my best friend, and staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you.
Bride:
I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes.

Groom:
May you be filled with joy and peace.
Bride:
I will always be by your side.

Groom:
We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.
Bride:
As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever.

What I don’t understand is why is the woman required take the entire house hold responsibility? Isn’t it the husband’s family too? The wife promises to love only her husband for the rest of her life whereas the husband makes no such promise. The wife in turn too promises to please and fulfill all of her husband’s wishes, why isn’t the husband promising the same? Incase a relationship starts off with these promises making the wife almost a second rated citizen, how is it fair?

Infact even during the pheras (rounds taken around the fire) the husband walks ahead in the first four and the wife walks ahead of him in the last three, why isn’t that both of them walk side by side next to each other. This would signify that they are in this together and with each other, to face the problems and the enjoy life together too.

On the whole the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ is a well-orchestrated show of wealth and wastage of food. It is high time that we stopped treating weddings as a black hole of both, money and food.


 

Bike rides : Two incidents that I will never forget

Incident one – As a celebration of the arrival of her new bike, me and my friend left from office to one of the local bazaars to buy earrings. The bazaar was at quite a distance and all the time that we were on the bike a good’s carrier autorikshaw kept following us, at times cutting through our way and passing comments. In order to lose him, my friend slowed down but that did more harm than good, he kept pushing us to the side of the road divider and once followed us into a narrow lane and cornered our bike to the walls leading us to almost fall off.

Incident two – One day my friend offered to drop me home. I climbed onto the bike without realising what followed next. My friend was apparently very bad at picking out which side was right and which was left. At most times at the signals she would put the indicator to the right and turn left and vice-versa, which was obviously met with loud honking and sometimes a few abuses. At that instant we came to an agreement, where she would ask me to show right and I had to stick my hand out. Finally I had to teach her that right = the hand with which we eat and one that is left out is left! 😛