Episode 1: An old soul

‘If your husband or his family are pure vegetarians, will you give up non-veg for them?’, he asked.

We were walking on the ring road at night, just the four of us. Talking about anything and everything. Me, Panda, Doll and GG. (Yes these are real people and not figments of my imagination. I’m gonna call them by their nicknames.)

Now Panda is a foodie who loves Hulk and looks like Po from Kung fu Panda. (I know you’re reading this. You’re welcome) He also likes to profile people and read my blog posts and analyze my thought process. Doll is a fair girly girl who is passionate about food, music, puzzles, movies; basically everything. GG is a new addition to our group. He’s the funny guy, who can mimic people perfectly. Of course sometimes he can get really annoying. Like when he asked this question.

If GG had his way, the entire world would be vegetarian, or at least his friends. Unfortunately he has friends like me and Panda, who love chicken way too much. Anyways, GG asked me whether I would turn vegetarian if my husband or in-laws disapproved. He was met with an awkward silence, as I tried to find a way to explain my convictions to him.

But Doll did it for me. “She doesn’t wanna get married” she said abruptly. Maybe the silence had disturbed her.

“What?!” GG exclaimed. “Are you one of those lesbians?!” he whispered dramatically.

I looked away, resisting the urge to retort back. Panda smirked and Doll, who never holds back, burst into laughter.

“She doesn’t wanna get married.” Doll repeated. “She wants to be in a live-in relationship. And she wants to adopt.”

“Wow! Where do you get such amazing thoughts from?” GG asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“It’s alright, calm down” I said, patting his arm soothingly.

Panda changed the topic, and within a minute GG was back to his usual self; childish and hilarious.

As the others walked on ahead, amidst Doll’s peals of laughter, I couldn’t help being amused by GG’s reaction. He so perfectly represented the Indian crowd. So easily scandalized, wired against change, yet so innocent and forgetful. There was something childlike about him, a quality I had also seen in my parents; a strong conviction in themselves and their beliefs. And the ability to see the world in black and white. Something I don’t have.

I am, after all, an old soul.

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Everyone Needs to Stop Talking about Marriage

A few days ago, I was sitting at home doing nothing, when it hit me. I’m almost 20. Now this is not something unexpected or shocking. I just realized that I was old.

When I say old, I don’t mean it in a bad way. How time flies! Just a few years ago, I had stepped into the turbulence of adolescence. And here I was! An adult. Who will graduate in 2 years!

Anyways, I had to share shock this with someone. So I called out to my mom, who was in the kitchen. “Mom, I’m almost 20!” My eyes were wide with shock.

“Ooooh yes! So what’re you trying to say?! Should I start searching for a boy for you?”

I could almost feel the excitement oozing out of me; like an inflated balloon. “Eww”. I walked, nay, ran away.

And now I feel like I’m losing my mind.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO STOP TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE!

Hey I thought the agreeable age to get married was 25. That no one bothered even thinking about this until they were 22! Apparently, I was mistaken.

Not like someone’s pressuring me to get married right now! But you can almost feel the pressure around you.

I have a friend whose relatives try to set up her marriage every time she goes to their house for vacations; since she was 18!! I used to find it hilarious! I don’t anymore.

I have friends my age talking about marriage, and not in that fantastical, fairy-tale, wedding-planning way that makes you wanna punch people till their brain resets. No. But they talk in a matter-of-fact way; like it’s some sort of impending doom. A fate none can escape.

You might say I’m overreacting. I probably am. My mom keeps mentioning how she has all the gold jewelry ready for my marriage. I think she just likes watching me freak out. But it’s working!

And I’m not saying marriage, by itself is a bad thing. But hello! I just realized I’m an adult. I still haven’t figured out my life yet. I don’t even know what I want to major in, forget planning a career! And most important, I don’t even know who I am yet!

And why is it important to get married anyway?! My sister (who is married) has a good point when she says that people shouldn’t get married before 30. Because by then you’re fully aware of who you are, who you wanna be, and who do you want next to you.

This is just a rant by a person who’s freaking out. So it doesn’t really have a conclusion.

Everyone just needs to stop talking about marriage!

P.S. The next time someone tries to arrange your marriage Sam, it’ll still be funny.

History of Marriage in India

In India, or even elsewhere in the world for that matter, we talk about marriage as something very sacred and personal. A meeting of souls, we say. And cheating or divorce is disrespecting the sanctity of marriage.

But let’s pause and review what marriage is really about. (in India)

First humans lived in a community where everyone had the freedom to choose their sexual partners! Well, at least women did. Apparently, if a man refused the advances of a woman, he was labelled a eunuch! Hurrah for us!

The children were also raised by the entire community, kinda like a huge joint family without the complicated relations!

Then, one guy was scandalized to see his mum having sexual relations with another man right in front of his father! And he decided to bring in the concept of marriage, so that every child would know who his father was!

Basically they thought marriage would be feasible since they now had individual property which they wanted their progeny to inherit! But don’t be misleaded. This only meant that women could have only one husband. The men could still have multiple wives!

Now the Hindu religion demands that every man have at least one son. But just to be safe, because of high mortality rates, they would want to have many! And of course multiple wives were very helpful in fulfilling such whims.

But slowly the society settled on monogamy, and polygamy was left to the royals. But among the men were those who were asexual or impotent. Some died without fathering a son. And so came up the concept of niyoga. Niyoga allowed the wife to have sexual relations with another man (sometimes the husband’s brother) in order to give birth to a son! And yes, he would be considered the husband’s son.

For this practice, it was acceptable for a woman to be with four men in her lifetime, including her husband. If she was with four men she would be considered a whore. (Hence the whole drama with Draupadi in Mahabharata. The problem wasn’t that she would be with more than one man, the problem was that she would be with more then four!)

Slowly, that was stopped too, claiming that women are ravenous and sexually insatiable beasts who need to be controlled for their own good! (‘Cause men are so innocent) And there they were, trapped within the four walls of their house and being denied education; but let’s not delve into that!

You would say all that is in the past. Marriage today is a bond between equals, at least for the urban educated people. But here’s a secret. When the niyoga practice was abolished, they devised a method to keep the women faithful to their husband.

Have you ever wondered what the priests keep muttering and chanting during marriage?! Well in one of the ceremonies they marry you to three gods; Chandra (Moon), Brihaspati (Jupiter) and some other random god. The idea is that your husband then becomes the fourth man you have been with. If you are then with another guy in your life, you are technically, a whore!

So however modern you might be, or think that the present is very different from your past, it is all an illusion. Marriage was, is and will remain a social construct; and a billion dollar industry where you spend money trying to legitimize your relationship to the world.

And this folks, is the ugly truth.

If you have any comments, I would love to hear them!