Archive for May, 2007|Monthly archive page

Marriage and its Audience!

One of my acquaintances recently commented ‘When people are happy in life, they have a tendency to ruin it. They do things like getting married.’ I have nothing against marriage though (I am still waiting for a man married for a long time to comment thus :)). It is a wonderful institution of two people promising themselves to live to-gether and blah and blah. Anyways, I do not have a problem with people getting married as long as people don’t expect me to show up with precious gifts and lots of blessings. Blessings, I guess I can, but gifts….hmmm!! During my time in Mumbai, I had friends inviting me for weddings – the wedding card explicitly mentioned ‘Gifts are not entertained. The only gift you give in my marriage is your blessing’. We all know what that means (For the uninitiated, the guards at the Security gate would ensure that you would not enter the marriage hall unless you have a gift in your hand).

That is only the first step. The second is the most dangerous one – Relatives!! Again, these are not close relative, they are far-off relatives and their probing questions. At one point of time, I was made to meet my grandfather’s brother’s second cousin’s son..whoaa!! More so, they interview me as if I am there not to attend a marriage but an UPS interview. I positively think that the latter interview is much more easier to clear than the former. Why, What, When, How of everything and anything. An example conversation I had with one of my far-off relatives at a marriage a year ago –

R – So, what do you do?
Me – I work in the **** **** in Mumbai
R – what is your educational qualification?
Me – I quote mine.
R – For that, you work at **** ****. My son with similar qualifications is working for Deloitte Consulting.
R – Anyways, how much do you earn (the dreaded question?)
Me – I avert the question – ‘Quality of work is more important than how much you earn’ and other management gyaan..people typically quote when they are earning below poverty line salaries.
R – (By now, she has decided that I was good for nothing) So, any girlfriends? I am sure you have one. When you are in a place like Mumbai, you are bound to have one. That is the reason, my son works only in Hyderabad.
Me – Whoaaa!!! I have many aunty. The list would take ages to complete (all this, with a clear wink of course). Anyways, I admire your son working in Hyderabad just not to have girlfriends.
R – (feeling proud) Yes, yes. Do you drink and smoke, I am sure you do…but then, don’t overdo it, ok na?
Me – Aunty, you forgot drugs…and I walk away because I heard a faint call from another far-off relative sitting a mile away.

Another snippet – this time on my dress. I didn’t even know who this far-off relative/friend’s mother was, I met her for the first time in my life.

R – Hey, what is this you are wearing – a black t-shirt and a blue jeans. Black should not be worn during marriages. Go, change and come.
Me – But…this is fine with me, I am really comfortable.
R – No, I am not. Go, go change and come.
Me – My house is quite far from this marriage hall.
R – The marriage is not going to stop if you are not here. Go, go change and come. I will wait for you. We’ll have lunch to-gether.
Me – Whooaaa..aunty, one request.
R – What?
Me – I will change and come. But you continue with your lunch. I have some friends (imaginary!) waiting for me.
R – Ok. Change and come, I want to see the dress you come up with.
Me – Uh!!

Then, you have friends. Long lost friends, friend’s friends turning up, giving a hi-fi for no reason, laughing for the most nonsensical jokes and all of a sudden, there is silence. An uncomfortable silence – at which point you do not know whether to continue with the hi-fis and laughing like you just had puffs of Nitrous oxide up your lungs.

Anyways, lets come to the main event. Food…aah..the wedding, we’ll come to it later. Food, I guess is the most important for most of the guests who have arrived at the wedding. I for one, first look at the menu and the caterers and then come into the hall for the wedding. Lest the bride and bridegroom think otherwise, I ensure that I have breakfast, lunch and dinner during the day of the marriage. I am lucky in the sense that I have a set of friends from diverse backgrounds – Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannadigas etc. I get to have a wide variety of food – from alu and paneer mutter to idli-sambar. The success of marriage is decided on food – if food is great, then it was a perfect match. Else, aahh…the couple are good-looking, BUT the food was not that tasty…see what I mean when I say the main event of any marriage is food. No wonder there is so much focus on food.

The actual wedding – more of garnishes and decorations. Bride and bridegroom – I guess the only members in the entire event thinking about the main ceremony. Others are generally busy with showing off jewellery, sarees, sons who returned from US recently, daughters who recently cleared CAT. If not for the above, they can generally be found in the dining hall.

I cannot come to a conclusion about this marriage and its audience topic nor can I stop writing about this. All I can say (a.ka. Bush) is that Marriage is a wonderful institution where two people promise themselves to live to-gether and…………………..and the audience come in to bless the couple profusely in their own inimitable way!!!!

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Living in the Present!!

The title is something I think of almost all the time. A serious problem I grapple with day in day out. Most of the time, I tend to either live in the past or in the future. As and when I drift away in my thoughts, this question strikes me time and again. Why am I not able to live in the present, live in the moment and enjoy every moment to the ‘T’?

One of my favorite teachers quoted – Past is past, forget the past. Future is uncertain, why worry about it. Live in the present, ‘that’ is happiness. The profundity of the statement never hit me, till couple of years back.

The reason might be this – Probably I never realised that I either lived in the past or in the future. I thought I was living in the present, but on further evaluation never was. Slowly but surely, the depth of the statement dawned on me. I try desperately to remain in the present at various instances – and I enjoy it. It is such an elevating feeling living in the present, yet I fall back in my normal mode – either live in the past or the future.

Consider this. Right now, as I am writing the blog, I am thinking of what to do next weekend. I am also thinking of what would I do once I go back to India on a short trip. I would also want to buy a house within the next six months – how much would the EMI be? Will my savings be enough? What are my future career prospects? Will some course help me move on the corporate ladder faster? How will my life-partner be? Is there any way of getting an oppurtunity to appear on KBC (or even flashier – how about Koffee with Karan?? :))? Should I buy the ticket for watching India vs England which would take place some time in July?

The other side – Ah! Childhood was great, we were so carefree, we did everything. Till school life was excellent. Engineering was mind-blowing, what with four years of enjoyment interspersed with a few exams. MBA, maaannnn..was that fun? Absolute, Non-stop fun. Quizzing sessions – lovely thursday and friday evenings. Or, had I prepared harder for CAT/GMAT/IIT etc etc, I would have been in a different league now. Did I take the right decision in academics/career/love/job/friends? We used to have so much fun back then, in the canteen, IEEE bus, events in college etc etc.

Think about your own life. How many times/instances in a particular day have you actually lived in the present? I bet, you can count on your fingers. And how many times/instances have you lived in the past/future on any given day – Infinite. While we all know that living in the present is so blissful, yet we let our mind wander. We are always thinking ahead of time or behind time, never on time. This facet probably cuts across all cultures and countries.

Each one has his own way out of this quagmire. I have mine – I try to remind myself at very frequent intervals to live in the present, to enjoy the moment; that way atleast I am out of the loop of past&future for a few moments. Each one to his own, but never forget to live in the present. Live it once and you will know.

P.S –

1) So what do we do? Past is ok, but should I not think of the future? Of course you should. But not all the time. How about sitting for a few moments to think only about the future and nothing else? Isn’t that equivalent to living in the present?

2) I also hate people justifying their past – especially, when things have gone wrong. ‘You know, it had to happen that way, because I had to be here’ ; ‘Good that I left him/her, otherwise, god knows what would have happened’ ; To me, it indicates only one thing – unfulfilled commitments/effort at that particular moment in their past and justification as a means to trudge along with their lives. We may take comfort by justifying the past so ridiculously, may look/sound good to others – but to yourself, you are the only judge. Accept it and move on, you would be fine. You have lived your past, thinking about the future. Don’t commit the same mistake again. Because as I said earlier, the present is too precious to let go.

3) This blog was long overdue, the idea dated by now. However, yesterday when we were driving at 100 mph on an express way with the drizzle, beautiful greenery on either side and soulful music on the stereo, I let my mind wander. 1 hour drive and the time I lived in the present – probably around 10 minutes. That is, 50 minutes of pure happiness lost. That is when, this post came high on the radar of my thoughts :).

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