Thursday, December 27, 2007 2 reflections

[POEM] - Unwanted

Surrounded by my own voice
I sit here
Separated from what others are going through
Of whether I can help.
Of whether they want me to.
Surrounded by silence
This life of mine exists
As I sit longingly
Looking out my window of despair
That someday someone will come by
My solitude has only grown
Like an infection full of life
Branched out into so many parts
Cutting the air
Completing me with its fullness
As I sit here again
Unsure. Unclear. Unwanted.

Monday, December 10, 2007 4 reflections

A Suitable Girl?

IT WASN’T LONG AGO THAT there was a Kannada movie called ‘Awale Nanna Hendati’ that had evoked a strong social response. It dealt with the demon that has haunted India time immemorial – the dowry system. Whenever I would, as a young boy in simpler times, watch the male protagonist of the feature dance around talking about the evils of this shameful ritual, a bizarre thought would cross my mind. All of twelve or thirteen years old and I would amuse myself with the amount I would ask my would-be bride’s family. One lakh? No no. That is too little. By the time I marry it would be at least 10 lakhs, I would convince myself with blissful ignorance. It seemed like a very cool thing to have such financial control over such important aspects of life.

That was then. As the years of arrogance turned into an era of further agony – also known as the 20s – a few things started to finally make sense. The 90s came and revolutionized the way India behaved. With an immediate effect of globalization and cross culture exchanges, it was becoming increasingly obvious that everything was bound to go through a dramatic change. Even the way marriages were conceived and executed. As I noticed many of my cousins, friends and relatives from afar get tied in holy matrimony, I continued looking for further ways to keep myself enlightened about this process. The word ‘NRI’ seemed to be the next big thing. The three magical letters seemed to open those wonderful golden doors behind which lived the most precious damsels holding pots of happiness which they later would use to flood their groom’s life with. Ah! I was immediately taken to the concept. The very fact that the prospective groom was ‘well settled abroad’ seemed reason enough for anxious parents of the girl to knock harder on the boy’s door. It seemed like the boys from the previous decades who had sat around doing nothing beyond get decent education and a straight forward job, now were taken over by the much adored NRI.

When I flew out of India for the first time almost a decade ago, I had stepped into the holy shrine of that elite class of Indians who were supposed to be some sort of ‘special’ breed. Or so I thought anyway. I was now part of that community that could have their parents grinning from cheek to cheek mouthing words like ‘Oh yes. He has been abroad for many years now. Yes, he is an NRI.’ I now knew that not only had I reserved a special place for myself in the hearts of the bride’s families but also had managed to become eligible for super special attention.


But again, that was then. Call it bad timing or great coincidence, I do not know. Post 2000 AD and things were again snowballing into something more bizarre. A few months ago I officially began the much adored ‘bride hunt’ having roped in my family into the mix. With so many years of enjoying that ‘special’ status behind me I could not wait to hear the many knocks I was convinced my door would get. It had almost made me grin in hidden pride.

But you know what they say. Change is the only constant thing in life. And the same happened with yet another misconception of mine about girls wanting NRIs.

News Flash – they don’t. Not anymore. With the way the working economy in India has taken such a roller coaster ride, the working girl today enjoys the best of the ‘F’ words – freedom, finance, friendship and family. Well, then why on Earth would she give up all this and take off on an unknown journey to some place she does not even care about? The allure and glamour that living abroad once had is now dying slowly. Initially I was rather surprised by this turn of events but with time and quite a few rejections, I have started to come to terms with the fact that the ‘NRI’ status isn’t as rosy as it was. It had to die one day for sure but the darned thing chose to do it when I was getting ready to step into the next major phase of my life.


But sometimes I wonder. How the girl can be rather happy getting up at 6AM in the morning, bundling up with her colleagues in the work-cab that is popular these days, head off to work by 9AM (yes, the traffic factor), work her head off till 6PM, enjoy a snack with friends till 7PM and then head back home by 9PM again. I do not know. Maybe my conception of a working girl’s life is way different than what I listed here, but either way there is so much one tends to miss when they get shelled up in cocoons like this. It becomes ironic that globalization gave them everything except the one important ‘F’ word – Flexibility. It now looks like I should be the one giving her a hefty dowry to get her approval. Seems the dowry system has now come a full circle after all doesn’t it?

Meanwhile I am yet to find a girl brave enough to make that move. When that happens, please be assured I shall let you know.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007 1 reflections


By ShaKri

THE REASON I WAS ITCHING to pen this is two fold. One, I wanted to get this rattling theory that has been bothering me the last few days out in the open, and two, I wanted some feedback from other people who might know more about the same.

Ever since I can remember, the one thing that seemed 'the most important' thing for a successful arranged marriage has been horoscope match. Let me confess, I know little about horoscope design and almost nothing about how they are matched. But apparently, from what I have seen all these years, this formula works. True there are always those exceptions – from what I hear increasing at an alarming rate now – where despite everything being A-OK things fall apart and pretty unfortunate events unfold. Again, the same is true with love marriages where horoscope match is never really the main area of attention yet stars fail to save the cupid-struck couple. But as far as arranged affairs are concerned, it is almost a given that an astro-match is the way to go.

Fine. I seriously have no qualms with this. In fact nothing pleases me more than someone else doing the hard work of finding me a suitable partner. Believe me. In a world where finding true love is as hard as finding an auto-rickshaw in Bangalore, this sort of an arrangement is an absolute delight.

But here is my theory though. For people like me, who are completely oblivious of the ways of the stars, a horoscope match inevitably means – we are going to be a good couple. In other words, we will be compatible in almost every important area. Something quite necessary in any kind of marriage. But I wonder if we in India are conditioned about horoscopes to such an extent, that once we are told 'they match', we do everything we can to make the relationship work? Is that really what it all bubbles down to? Come what may we subconsciously are always telling ourselves that the person we are spending our life with is definitely 'the one' since this has been confirmed by the horoscope! So does this not mean that whatever life throws our way we will compromise, plead, request, whine and prevail? Is that why arranged marriages are so break-proof? Due to this astro-astra shot at the couple?

I honestly do not know the answer. Makes me wonder though, that whatever kind of marriage one starts with, they all end up the same. A multi-colored rainbow of emotions and moments - good, bad and ugly. If that is the case then where does the horoscope match really come into play? How does a 'horoscope match'-enabled marriage seem better than one where it was never used?

Let me ponder on that while one more astro-astra heads my way.


Sunday, December 02, 2007 1 reflections

Milestone Matar Paneer

Dear reader,

If you have been a regular to this blog then you know I have never really mentioned my culinary skills. far there has never been anything worth mentioning. But today is a milestone day. Why? For the first time I prepared home made Matar Paneer thanks to a recipe on YouTube.

I had never imagined the dish would turn out this great. I have learnt cooking the hard way over the last 8 years, so needless to say my hopes were minimal. Nevertheless, I present my latest accomplishment - the milestone Matar Paneer.