Excesses Of The Gastronomic Kind

The Indian obsession with food( especially the rich,sinful variety) is no secret. At times it appears to me we Indians live to eat rather than the other way round. Our entry into the world is celebrated with our parents feeding  all and sundry… For that matter every occasion revolves around gastronomic delights that are dished out to feed relatives ( who would crib about the food come what may !! )Celebrations and rich, sinfully oily food are almost synonymous. Planning for a wedding always starts with planning the menu first ..The bigger and more varied the fare the better it is . It doesn’t end at that… many men still choose a wife based on her culinary skills and her ability to churn out fancy meals to impress his peers and bosses  !! ( Thank god lesser mortals like me who can barely rustle up a meal  also manage to settle down mercifully :wink:)  The love affair with spices,curries and condiments doesn’t end here,stereotypical Indian mothers ( especially in the northern part of the country ) shower affection on their already well fed children by making them gorge on all kinds of  fancy fare..We show how hospitable or welcoming we are by force-feeding our guests. Among Punjabis it is customary for a host to stuff a visitor’s plate  even if he shakes his head vehemently and refuses to being served further 🙄 I am quite a foodie myself and have a sweet tooth which I have a hard time containing..but still the Indian love affair with never ceases to amuse me.. But I’ve come to realise that this preoccupation is quite an essential part of what defines being Indian 🙂

Drawing The Line

I have heard of  mothers-in-law being bossy and daughters-in-law toeing the line without as much as a whimper. But this one that I heard from  a friend who recently tied the knot sort of takes the cake in encroaching on someone’s privacy. The poor girl happens to be tall and lean , her mom-in-law if you please wanted to see all her lingerie to check whether the girl was wearing padded bras…And the Daughter in law was thereon instructed to wear padded bras to look well endowed.. I don’t quite understand this dichotomy on one hand the lady is fairly conservative and on the other she makes no bones about scanning through DIL’s lingerie and telling her what to wear to look voluptuous !! Gosh and the DIL who happens to be a qualified CA ( and yet is made to stay at home!!) went pink in the face as her MIL encroached on her private life..I wish she’d taken a stand for herself This really annoyed me.. we really need to tell people in a polite and subtle manner : this much and no further.. You can’t really pry into anybody’s private life to such an extent..it is important to draw the line somewhere..Isn’t it ??

Just wondering…..

Does being newly married mean people put you under a microscope and judge  the way you carry yourself and choose to dress?? Does it also give people the right to comment on your attire ? I guess it does this is what a colleague drove home when she commented ” You are too simple aren’t you ? Perhaps you don’t like dressing up.Newly married women must deck up at least for a few months.” Yeah right if her idea of dressing up is looking like a pancaked christmas tree then I don’t have much to say!! Can I help it, if the art of make-up doesn’t fascinate me or bling isn’t really my favourite attire ?? I almost had the girl who did my wedding make-up shouting and screeching at me since I was too fidgety and ended up spoiling her work.. I can be quite a brat otherwise but prefer not being too loud with my clothes especially at work…

This has nothing to do with how happy  I am about being married. It goes without saying I love every bit of it !! Being married teaches me something new every day about myself and about the man I fell for hook, line and sinker …But will my looking like a jazzed up doll convey my feelings of  excitement better ?? I think this is something  only my dear colleague can answer  for us 😉

Of Relative Matters

It’s a well-known fact, we can’t choose our relatives but we can certainly choose our friends.. But you can’t ignore your relatives if you’re a part of the great Indian family !! I might be biased but I feel friends are a lot more spontaneous and accepting compared to relatives who are constantly sizing you and judging you at every step. It’s quite a sight especially at weddings and family get togethers where I’ve seen people dissecting everything from the decor to the bride and groom’s attire and commenting upon how the arrangements could have been better !!  For the past few days I’ve worked from home..when I told an aunt of mine this, she retorted this was something only ayahs did in the past !! I was too dumbstruck to gather myself and comeback with a witty/ snappy enough response. With time I’ve learnt though we can’t choose our relatives, we can certainly choose how we respond to them.. Just ignore the ones who leave a sting and relate with the ones who are spontaneous and warm. A friend of mine told me how she had to grapple with ” When are you getting married,its high time !!” They almost stopped short of telling her she’s on the shelf.. Then there was another friend whose grandmother kept telling her she had to “improve her complexion ” to find a suitable match !!

 Such instances and more, make me feel that the perfect Indian family that stays together and stands by each other through thick and thin exists only in  Suraj Barjataya’s flicks !! (which has people who are unbelievably good and sacrificing ) Perhaps I’m being too harsh.. and jumping to too many conclusions.  You might think otherwise.. if yes do share your take on the dynamics of the grand Indian family !!

Us over Me

We are such a community oriented society that the poor individual gets lost somewhere !! If you ever dare to put ‘me ” over us people would in all probability label you selfish !! Isnt that strange !! An assertion of individuality in our society is akin to rebellion.. Most of our choices are determined by what will our relatives, kin and others think of it.. What makes us happy is secondary…what people think should make us happy takes precedence over that… We lead double lives…I’ve seen couples who have no love lost between them merely tolerate each other and stay through a facade of a marriage for the sake of children or from fear of social censure…They’d rather be miserable than take a stand which could ruffle a few feathers in their community… Why should our choices be driven by what people will think of them.. Why do we tread with such trepidation when it comes to asserting our individuality.. No wonder I see so many of us youngsters struggle with an innate anger since we aren’t allowed to bloom as individuals..rather we’re treated like cattle ( follow the herd mentality)There is no denying the fact that extended family and relatives can be a source of strength, bonding over festivals and special occasions can be a source of joy.. But their opinions shouldn’t govern the way we live.. a community ideally should help an individual flower and not stifle  or inhibit his growth by instilling in him the fear of what people will think… No wonder we put up our best social phase for people other than our immediate family for whom the only our devilish side is reserved.. If we were not to exert too much pressure on ourselves to meet people’s expectation and just be ourselves..if nothing else we’d end up lighter and happier souls 

Deaf Heaven

This is the title of Journalist Pinki Virani’s latest book.. Her erstwhile books Bitter Chocolate ( on Child Sexual Abuse in middle class and rich families) and Aruna’s Story ( the real life story of a nurse who vegetated in coma after being raped by a ward boy)  were hard-hitting works of non fiction. In this latest novel she makes a debut in fiction, she blends sociopolitical events in modern India with the story of six different women as seen through the eyes of Saraswati, the sutradhar of the story. The book is a comment on our times, how we Indians don the facade of modernity and still refuse to let go of caste, tradition and down right cruel practices like female foeticide. Kudos to the author was interweaving fiction with reality in a subtle yet effective manner. She’s managed to weave in a lot be it Shiv Sena’s hooliganism and atrocities in Mumbai, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Bollywood’s eccentricities and egos,bhopal gas tragedy… She succeeds in giving us an unbiased picture of the conflicts and contradictions that shape modern-day India and differentiate it from all that was “Bharat” . A rather interesting read for it combines the best of fiction and non fiction genre…

We are like this only!!

Surf any channel and you’re sure to land up on a reality show.. Though these shows are more mockery than a reality check and have by far nothing to do with anything real !! Colours the channel airing the third season of the infamous “Big Boss ” has run into trouble with an obscenity suite being slapped on them . Why as a nation are we so taken in with reality television ?? Well for one we’ve always been a rather voyeuristic and curious set of people. Reality television is an extension of these voyeuristic tendencies. We are always keen on poking our noses in other peoples’ lives.. No one in the world except us Indians can get away with asking intrusive questions like ” Why aren’t you married yet you’re touching twenty-five ? How much is your salary ? It is  high time you should think of having children, don’t you think so ?  The concept of an individual’s privacy which is so sacrosanct to the western world is completely non-existent in the Indian set up !! What privacy we are like this only and unabashedly so !!  No wonder when celebrities learn child rearing , look for a life partner and shed copious tears ( it has to be glycerine ;)) it catches our fancy and we lap it up since its and extension of our habit of poking our nose in other people’s business.

Yesterday i wrote of apathy and today about being voyeuristic and poking our nose into other people lives !! Am I contradicting myself … no think again…this is what being Indian is all about !! What’s your take on this ??