Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The "Traditional" Shiv Ram Sena Theory

Imagine a group of people pushing you and thrashing you; it's the worst experience you can survive. The psychic trauma associated with you can last a very disturbingly long time. Some goons did just the thing. A bunch of around 40 self-styled stumblebums entered a pub and lounge bar named Amnesia (Read: not a temple) and thrashed the young crowd there. Mangalore and the rest of India got a shock on the eve of India's 60th Republic day and my friends in America "WTF'ed" when I told them about it. The supposedly founder of this dejected Bajarang Dal organization, the Ram Sena founder, P Muthalik very innocently remarked when questioned about this atrocity, "This incident is just a small thing, its not abnormal. Even if our sisters had done this, we would have acted like this only," The media channel somehow appeared before the goons landed up in the pub and very dedicatedly shot the whole episode without informing the police. I wonder if the cameraman would have done the same if his Sister was very roughly pushed around in front of him. I also wonder if the goons had called up home and checked if their Mothers and Sisters were home and not enjoying a quiet Saturday afternoon in the coolness of the pub with their friends, relatives or colleagues.

I dare these "Talibans," traditionalists, culture-protectors to go to Mumbai and take the ride to Kamathipura where under the pretense of friends, hotel room bookies, and gentlemen, expert navigators will guide you, around the clock to a world of flesh trade where many of their Sisters dreams have been shattered and kismet plays mayhem with many a females life everyday.

The Shiv Ram Sena claimed that these women were against tradition and that these were Hindu girls and that it was not right for them. Now what is right according to "our" tradition? What did they not like in the pub which was not traditional, their modern dresses? Or the lazy Saturday drink?

What does the "traditional" Ram Sena prefer, the traditional Sari, the single six yards piece of cloth, which trust me, most girls are wary of wearing the first time because it shows almost all parts of the upper body which they have never revealed? Or the Choli with a tightly fitted blouse that ends just below the bust which when first introduced was only a front covering with the back bare? Or the churidar which is tight fitting at the hips, thighs and ankles and needs no imagination of the torso or the Lehanga, the skirt tied around the waist and thus leaving the back and midriff bare with only a flimsy "dupatta" to cover the assets?

Are they not aware that custom of abstinence (from alcohol) is a relatively recent culture? The extensive diverse fermentation and distillation of alcoholic beverages produced from fruits, grains and flowers were from time memorial part and parcel of the Indian culture and were a routine in every house hold. Have they not read the lyrical descriptions of ritual fiesta drinking by both sexes in secular literature? Haven't they heard that the abkari (excise) policies of the British colonial government, barring manufacture of alcoholic beverages at homes and transferring authority to colonial licensed distilleries, led to the revolutionary replacement of traditional alcoholic drink in households by factory made beverages? Have they not heard that the nationalist movement against the British rule resulted into mass movements against alcohol toasting as a symbol of colonial oppression?

Shame on you! I label you a terrorist who I define as someone who does not want to live and let live. Shame on you!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Of Surnames, Cognomens and Monikers

I really don't want to be blogged down with the political ploy of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress in the-your-court-my-court-ball-throwing but would like to maintain that no "Gandhiji image" should be given to a twisted mind, a drug junkie and a criminal like Sanjay Dutt. He simply should not be "the one" to guide India in its democratic endeavors. Period!

I was busy all day "googling" up all the famous personalities and their surnames. Following is a small list:

Albert Koch (Einstein)
Isaac Ayscough (Newton)
Johann Sebastian Laemmerhirt (Bach)
William Arden (Shakespeare)
George Ball (Washington)
Thomas Randolph (Jefferson)
Johan Wolfgang Textor (Goethe)
Wolfgang Amadeus Pertl (Mozart)
Napoleon Ramolin (Bonaparte)
Ludwig Keverich (van Beethoven)
Abraham Hanks (Lincoln)
Charles Wedgwood (Darwin)
Charles Barrow (Dickens)
Karl Pressburg (Marx)
Sigmund Nathanson (Freud)
Charlie Hill (Chaplin)
Ernest Hall (Hemingway)

It's not a new information that in western society and in our part of the world the wife looses part of her personal identity (Feminists: Don't curse just read, part of her full name) through marriage as she takes on the family name of her husband. If she's famous before marriage, the family name of the husband usually gets (read: usually) gets ignored. So its only fair to all parties as dictated by reason and conscience to emphasize on the 50% of the polypeptide gene chain the mothers put in the mix to surname immortality. It's believed that the Chinese were the first to embrace surnames to honor their forebears, with the family name placed first, rather than last. Thus, the family or the surname name of Wei-Sheng Sun is Wei. When close knit communities comprised of just a few people, surnames weren't so important. They were simply known as for example, "Jesus of Nazareth". But as each small villages or communities started migrating and the village adopted more and more "Raj's," "Rahul's," "Geetha's" and "Sita's", the need was begged for a way to identify each from the other. In India according to the type of work they did, the Patel's, the Kumar's, the Gupta's, the Malhotra's etc came into being.

Now the names that identify the father are termed Patronymic surnames. Rarely, the name of the mother contributed the surname, which is referred to as Matronymic.

Here's something interesting which was followed until 1900

The first son was named for the father's father
The second son was named for the mother's father,
The third son was named after the father.
The fourth son was named after the father's eldest brother.
The first daughter was named after the mother's mother.
The second daughter was named after the father's mother
The third daughter was named after the mother.
The fourth daughter was named after the mother's eldest sister.

If a widowed mortal remarried (divorce was virtually unheard of) and had children with the new spouse, the first offspring of the same gender as the departed spouse was given the spouse's name. The same was in the case if a child in the family died, and then the next of that gender was given that name.

Isn't it romantic to be associated with your husband? Isn't it still the tradition of a girl joining up a "family" and be colligated with a name? I beg to be differed! What's happening with this world? Is marriage so casual an affair that women feel the urge not to change their names in the passport and other legal documents in the fear that after separation and divorce, it’s a mess changing it back?

Now a so called "traditional" Dilnawaz Shaikh, oops, Sara Khan, oops, Manyata (I simply don't have the right to sing, "alhar mast jawani…" in my mind and imagine the daring camera tracing human anatomies) added to the on going debate between-the-now-wannbe-politician, Sanjay Dutt and his Sister Namarata Dutt, when she told IANS: “If you can't accept your husband's name and family then why marry? And yet again, "Mrs. Indira Gandhi was married to Feroz Gandhi, someone not as famous as the Nehrus. But she didn't fight all those glorious battles as 'Indira Nehru'. And now Priyanka calls herself a Vadra after her husband (Robert Vadra), not a Gandhi.”

Sanjay Dutt said and I quote, “Women should not stick to their fathers' surname after marriage. It is disrespectful to their husbands. They must adopt their husbands' surname. I would have felt bad if Manyata had stuck to her father's surname," Poor Sanjay (The new MCP) had no idea that the Feminists (Sorry dear Mummy’s, Aunties and Sisters) are waiting to hear something like this utter out and that too in front of the media. A dog biting a man is no news however a man biting a dog is news!

Over reacting to Sanjay Dutt's remarks, our ever the more aspiring feminist (sorry again!) Minister Renuka Chowdhury (Women and Child Development) uttered out in sheer disgust, "Aspiring politicians like him should take some lessons on the constitutional rights of women before thinking of entering parliament." This is the same Renuka Aunty who one day on the national Television said speaking of the much one sided (sorry again!) Domestic Violence Act, “It is the men's turn to suffer" and yet again, "We will have cradles strategically placed all over the place so that people who don’t want their babies can leave them there"

Imagine that? You don't want a baby, just throw it away! In my judgment anything that will help palliate the foeticide curse is a good thing, but the quick mental imagery of "improvised garbage boxes" set up everywhere is kind of sickening. A child is a gift and not a dress you throw away if you don't want it. It’s a quiet hushed up truth that the SIFF (Save Indian Family Foundation) receives 200-350 calls from men per week for torture, forced to pay maintenance and for alleged dowry harassment. Of course, there are real cases but all the disgruntled women have to do is shed a few tears in the courtroom.

Women talk about rights, they talk about dignity and integrity and they talk about "being a Man, oops...being a Woman." They blame the Man if they become frustrated with life and the boredom in Marriage. They blame the Man when he comes dead tired from all the work in the office and too much time in the office and is not able to perform in bed. They blame the Man if he has a woman as friend and more the so if she's too friendly to call at home. They blame the Man if he's pathetic in the kitchen and cannot manage the Kids if she's not home. The list goes on... What they fail to understand is that HE is a Man and SHE's a Woman. Does that same Woman treat her kids, a boy and a girl the same? Is the boy in the kitchen, cutting vegetables while the Girl pulls up a jeans and wrestle with other boys? So let's have nature define roles in marriage. The man cannot nurse a child and provide milk but he can give a strong shoulder of support- Emotionally, Socially as a Father and a Man and finally financially, to the best of his ability.

Let not women grow out of the basic sense of ethics and tradition to enjoy the patronage and pamperment of radical women’s organizations, the helpless laws and the biased judiciary and the biased anti-men news seeking media who want to squeeze and rub out every possible drop of sensationalism from the fulcrum of the family. Let's all live together- caring, teasing and fighting, indulging and shouldering each other as we age and fall. God Bless!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Passing Time - The illusion

I wonder as I live my quiet and lazy life in the doldrums as preferred by me about why I don't want to be like others who simply don't know where they are going, or what they want actually in life, and still follow life's paths blindly, sometimes enjoying but mostly suffering so much in secret.

The lady in white was sweating profusely as she hung on to the grocery bag she was carrying. It was no doubt heavy as she kept heaving it from one hand to the other. I wondered about her age; eyeing the fine grey hair line drenched in sweat, she seemed in her fifties with sagging eyes covered crudely with over-sized black spectacles. She was no doubt going home from a long day at work and had been obviously walking to the bus stand after some quick grocery shopping. My eyes shifted to another lady standing beside her. She too was anxiously shifting her glance from one overly crowded bus to the other. Suddenly I found it amusing looking at all the people in the bus stand. They all suddenly looked as if in pain; pain from hardships; pain from carrying themselves in life; pain from life’s disdain and monotony. I thought about myself; I had woken up at 12:00 noon, read the newspaper and abruptly planned for a movie. At a slow pace, I had showered, fed my fishes, locked up my apartment, started my bike and had gone to my favorite eatery where I savored the fish fry with some rice. Stomach full, I had parked my bike near the bus stand and taken the bus to the theatre in Aluva. The film - Chandini Chowk to Chinatown was as stupid as I had suspected but with some slick comedy it didn't matter plus/and the near empty theatre meant that I could swing up my legs over the front row seat and enjoy the visuals added up to my Saturday afternoon time-pass. After the movie, I had slowly walked window shopping and enjoying a smoke to the bus-stand where I now stood looking at people with a far-away pain in their eyes

I guess people were not left with a choice. They just followed the path in front of them. They just did what was required of them to do. They went to school, they went to work, and they married, had children, supported and married them off and then quietly died remembering probably the few laughs they had.

But to me, none of it matters at all. I'm among the best theatrical actors in the world. I wear a smile on my face because I know quite well that no one is going to understand. I know that making others understand makes me feel vulnerable. I know that other people don't care for my petty problems. It of course makes me feel too unimportant for words or for action. It forever lingers in me, reminding me of all those times of emotional solitude. So I smile and joke, try to seek some attention with some sassy remarks, comment on the weather, the upcoming movie and probably of the latest techno-shit available in the market. This I call passing time. But the growing concern is if the feelings or the intensity of my love to certain passing-time lullabies will last for ever. As a small child, I was very often left alone in the house. My Dad and Mom were both working couples and I dived into a dreamy world I built around the books I read. I wasn't lonely. I infact loved the fact that my parents will leave me alone in my dream world and not trouble me with the are-you-studying-questions. But those Mandrake's, Superman's and those Phantom stories don't interest me anymore. Will my current craze for movies last for ever? Will I develop out a new indulgence as I age?

Sometimes when time doesn't pass on I feel the more self-indulgent knowing that in truth, there is always some one to talk to. I longingly look at the cell phone and agnize that I can press those magic dial pads to make a human voice speak into my ear, but I know that I need to get used to my life and the way it is supposed to go. I know that I just need to be that ugly teenager (never revealing my actual age) in out-of-date clothing that is much too silly, selfish and obsessive to care for anyone. But I realize that the current dream is short lived and the harsh daylight will seap in through those blinded curtains. I know that one day I’ll open up my eyes to see myself old and an empty house and world where I wouldn’t even have anyone to share my dream with. A strange pain will envelop me and I’ll try to close my eyes and dream again but I know it would be lost with the memories of time and with desperate eyes and a meek voice I’ll start talking to empty walls....

Monday, January 5, 2009

The New Year Dilemma

The New Year never has woken me up but I have always heralded and waited for it and this year was no exception. A small group of close friends gathered and banged our heads and glasses together and wished "ourselves" Happy New Year. Days after the "great event" which has transpired into a dream I wonder, what is this, "New Year" Celebration which has no purpose. Christmas signifies the birth of Jesus Christ. Diwali, one of the major festivals in India, celebrates the return of Hindu God, Rama, to his birthplace. Id - Ud – Fitr celebrates the end of Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting. Why New Year? Why is it that, only on the 1st of January people remember last year's failures and look forward to the horizon with the dreamy promise of a new year, of a new beginning? Is this celebration a result of more than an accident in the occurrence of calendar or do people just want to pacify themselves that the past has ended?

It is well known fact that the ancient Roman calendar which at that time had only ten months celebrated March 1st as the 1st day of the New Year. The calendar was made keeping the cycles of the moon, beginning in spring and ending with autumn cultivations. Soon the Romans divided the year into twelve lunar months by adding the months of January and February. The New Year was declared as January 1st by the Roman Empire but this wasn't accepted by the general people and they persisted in celebrating it in the month of March only. The Change in the celebrations happened over time when the Romans convinced the world that January 1st (8th day from birth) coincided with the circumcision of Jesus Christ who was born on the 25th December. At that time circumcision was common since all basic religions like Christianity, Islamism and other Paganist religions all originated from Judaism. Little did the world realize that Romans worshiped God Janus who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. January was named after this Roman God and it gave a thought to the Romans to establish January as a gate to the New Year. It also related to the earlier "new year"- March which was related to Mars the God of war. March was the original beginning of the year, and the time for the resumption of war- A beginning. Even in Astrology, Pisces, constellation between Aquarius and Aries represents two fishes swimming in opposite directions. FYI- Pisces the twelfth sign is death and eternity!

I'm always a supporter of a beginning and an end. There should always be an end to everything. We all need a change of view, a change of contemplated reason to thrive in this world; to be happy! But do we need to wait for a beginning to put up an end? Should we wait till January 1st to put an end to something and start something new? Across the world, the most "recited" resolutions are, 1: Losing weight by healthy eating, and 2: Be healthier by going to the gym and smoking less and drinking less. Everyone just wants to become better people and be "happy". People just want to enjoy that sense of intention, accomplishment and pleasure that one feels when achieving values and keep proving that they are not failures in life and there exists a "new year" when they can change themselves and "out-prove" themselves.

There exists an age old belief somehow drilled into our feeble minds that, "What one does on this day, one will do for the rest of the year." But what is the purpose of making such goals, declarations and resolutions? Why just bother? Constructing that New Year's resolutions (and even more doing so after failing last year's resolution vow) stresses that ordinary mortals like you and me just want to be happy. You are happy!! Think about it, you are; it is that you have moments and are afraid what the future will bring. What people fail to realize is that everyone of us is in control of ourselves, never are you a victim fated by your own God damned circumstance, never controlled by some stars and your bull shit astrologer, or for the matter owned by luck, but in actuality, you are a normal mortal who can make choices to change your life anytime and anywhere. You can learn and study whatever you want, ask for that bloody promotion and make money, fight off your shyness and propose to that pretty damsel or look up at the world. Your life is in your own hands.

So my dear's, wake up and look above these idiosyncrasies and enjoy life!

Happy New Year! Happy life! Welcome 2009…