Archive for July, 2013

Excuse Us, We Are Indian!

Posted in Media on July 21, 2013 by swatiaiyer

Shashi Tharoor once tweeted:  “Arranged marriage is a funny concept:  All your life you are taught not to talk to strangers; Suddenly you are asked to sleep with one”. Why am I bringing this up today?  No, not because I want to discuss the advantages or disadvantages, pros or cons of arranged marriages or of other kinds of marriages.  In fact marriages of any kind are just not on my radar today.  I only brought it up because it came to mind when I was thinking of our Indian behaviour in general. Everyday there is a war when I watch Atelly.  The husband demands that the volume be turned down.  If I turn it down according to his wishes, I will have to crawl into the television to be able to listen to the dialogues.  But come commercial time, the volumes automatically go up by a few decibels.  It is really annoying having to turn the telly up and down all the time, especially given the frequency at which we have commercial breaks.  So I was pretty surprised today when I heard one ad where the volume was pretty low.  I looked up from my laptop (I was multitasking as usual) only to realize that it was an ad telling folks to go and get themselves tested for HIV if they have had unprotected sex in the recent past and informing them that it takes a while for the symptoms of AIDS to become evident. Now isn’t this something one would expect would need to be shouted out from the rooftops to educate people?  Why such coyness about HIV/AIDS when there is no embarassment about advertising sanitary napkins, condoms and other such stuff?  So why was this not at a higher volume? Why can’t we just be factual instead about being so hypocritical?  Don’t talk to young people of the opposite gender.  Wait for your elders to find you a partner.  When they do, just jump into the fray and get about business producing grand-kids to carry on our lineage and for the grandparents to play with.  We have the second highest population in the world, but we feel embarrassed to talk of topics like how to protect oneself from risks associated with sexual activity?  What is this if not hypocrisy?

Because Society Says So!

Posted in Culture, Social with tags on July 7, 2013 by swatiaiyer

“Oh, we don’t mind.  Really, but we have to do this because we have to live in this society”.  How many times have you heard this?

Your son/daughter does not want to get married.  But you are under”social pressure” to get them married, more so if it is a daughter.

Your son/daughter is in a live in relationship or worse still in a gay/lesbian relationship.  What will society say?

Your off-spring marries outside the caste, religion, nationality, takes up a course of study that is off the beaten track.  What will the all pervasive society say?

Yes, of course, you would not have said anything.  You would have let them have their way, had it not been for that society.

Your daughter-in-law does not wear all the symbols of marriage.  She does not perform poojas and rituals.  Your young widowed daughter/daughter-in-law/sister ….. is ‘seeing’/going out with someone or is planning to get married.  She goes to a social event all dressed up nicely – what will society say?

You lost your husband and are hesitating to attend a social function because you are afraid of “society”.  You are afraid of wearing bright coloured clothes.  You do not want to bless a newly married couple.  You are childless and are afraid to bless a new born baby.  Why?  The bogeyman society is watching you.

Ask anyone.  They do everything they do because society demands it.  They have to do so if they have to live in society.  Do they believe society is right?  May not necessarily be so.  “But we cannot change society” is the refrain. PRAY, WHO IS THAT SOCIETY?  Who cares today what you do or what you don’t?

You take up a line of study which that “society” expects you to take up.  Marry according to the diktats of “society”.  You are miserable tomorrow.  Where is that “society”?  Get onto the rooftop and holler for help?  You can be crying in the wilderness.  Is anyone bothered?  So who is going to live with the effects of their actions?  You or society?

Why do we choose to live with such a herd mentality like brainless, witless sheep and refuse to truly “LIVE LIFE” on our own terms and condition?  Food for thought isn’t it?

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