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Vasudeiva Kudumbakam – the World Is My Family

Watching a series of You Tube videos of dusky Hindu girls marrying white American boys. Chanced upon them accidentally. Since Google watches your every footstep, I guess these are recommended for me in You Tube just because I watched one mixed wedding video last week. Now I have a queue waiting !!!

Beautiful, is all I can say. No doubt the marriages will survive their lifetimes because, divorce normally never happens from the Hindu side. I have been told as such. I have seen Chinese girls marry duskiest Malaysian Indian men during our days in the south east Asian country. One chinese girl confided, marrying a Hindu Indian automatically begot you stability and security. They (the Indian men) are not bad. They are dependable and would not abandon families. In today’s times when rape incidents from India are making headlines in BBC, this is something I would like to remind myself always. Sometimes I think like fellow Indians, this is some agenda by the west. Tarnishing the image of the Hindu society systematically in the eyes of the world. Rape is a crime that happens around the world, not denying how heinous it is. Why focus and cover the rape crimes in India around the clock with such a precision?

Many Hindu men also marrying foreign girls. There are two mixed marriages in my extended family already. A distant boy cousin married a French girl. An other distant niece married a white American guy. Coming from a background where most of our marriages are arranged, I really have a tough time believing this… but it’s happening. Happening more and more … I saw the wedding video of my very conservative Hindu ex-male colleague’s son marrying a white American girl. The parents were crestfallen in India. Very orthodox vegetarian family. But still how they welcomed the bride into their bosom is awesome. Forgetting the differences for the only reason that the girl is their son’s love, the extremely religious parents of the boy changed their heart in a minute which I know could be impossible for most Hindus. Language/race/religious barriers all swamped in one go!

About the weddings being solemnized as per Hindu traditions, I bow my head in respects to these foreign families who may be having equal reservations about their boys/girls marrying Indians (especially those born and raised in India). The thousands of years old Hindu culture and civilization has its ups and pluses. I don’t think any American parent would similarly tolerate/celebrate, should his/her son/daughter be marrying a muslim bride/groom. The Hindu goodwill is something that cannot be damaged how much ever Pakistan and/or China and/or our own liberals/Congress party/media/BBC try!

I found that nobody stared at you if you walked in America with a kumkum dot in your forehead, in fact they said a ‘hi’ ! A Sari is an accepted costume. In these trouble times, I really feel this is some phenomenal achievement for us the followers of the Dharma. We never disturb others/anyone. Hopefully the message is reached.

In the wedding videos, the grooms donning the white dhoti and sporting the vermilion tilak in their foreheads, the brides wearing the saris, and their entire families dressed up in Indian costumes is amazing! I’ve imagined nothing like this in the past!

A friend’s daughter recently married a Chinese guy. Of course in Hindu ceremony. As more Indian men/women travel abroad, more mixed marriages are happening than ever before.

As a parent I do not know if I am for or against this trend hahaha ! Because we say in Tamil, ‘a marriage is a 1000 year crop (to be harvested over generations)’ … good or bad, marriage has to hold good for us Hindus. Divorces are happening now here and there, still extremely rare. Remarriages do not happen easily still even in these modern times. Hindu couples live like the albatrosses – together for life even in this 21st century. And more importantly, most of our boys not just girls remain chaste until their marriages !!! Which makes an eligible Hindu bachelor/girl very unique. Plus if they are well qualified academically and well settled, … I don’t have to say what a hot catch they must be. My only wish is that, whichever westerner marries a Hindu boy/girl keeps that in mind. They are not marrying an average man/woman of the world. They are not even marrying a muslim in whose society ‘talak’ (divorce) can happen at the drop of a hat and women marry many times if they are up to it. Hindu society is exclusive. Unless someone is prepared to make our kind of lifelong commitment, they should not play with Hindu sensitivity. Our culture is too different.

But kudos to those guys who are still marrying the Hindu girls in spite of our complexities! And the girls who are marrying the Hindu boys! Wish you couples blissful married life! What a respect they hold for Hindu beliefs and how respectful and loving their families are!

Most Hindus also believe, we beget the same spouses for seven janams (births). Every Hindu woman prays for such an after-life and rebirth even if she could be married to a wife beater. Wife fasting for husband’s ‘ayush’ (longevity) happens only in Hindustan.

In India we say, when a boy and a girl marry it is not the individuals who are marrying. It is families that marry each other. That is the kind of relationships we nurture. We are nosy. We gossip. We backbite. We are conservative. We follow a strange culture. But we are solid like bedrock, we are dependable and trustworthy. Boring may be, but non-aggressive and hardworking and intelligent and spiritual. Whoever is fine with that, welcome!

Beautiful Indian bride with the Sindhoor in her forehead, loaded with antique precious gold and diamond jewelry, draped in finest of silks, given away by her parents… what a dream wedding… Hindu parents performing the ‘Padha puja’ (rinsing the foot of the groom as he is marrying their girl)… in Tamil we say, ‘kankolla kaatchi’  – the sight that even our eyes cannot behold! Hindu weddings are fun and frolic! Bride and groom have games to play, Oonjal (to be sat in swing to swing as couple!) etc! Marriages are minimum 2 day affair! Big fat Hindu weddings can run up to 5 days !!!

Finally, its the conscious choice and will of two consenting adults. The rest of us have no say in the matter. But as someone who has lived in different parts of the world for a brief while, as someone who has traveled even if for a wee bit only, I guess I can air my opinion here on mixed marriages. Going by the look of love in the eyes of the marrying couples, there is no doubt these marriages are made in the heaven!

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Reverse the scene to India: Suppose a Hindu girl falls in love with an Indian Christian/Muslim boy. No marriage without the conversion of the Hindu girl to Christianity/Islam. Brainwashed thoroughly, the girl is one big loss to the family. On contrary, it is unbelievable watching the American/Australian/European groom marrying a Hindu girl in a wedding solemnized as per Hindu customs and traditions – on chanting of the Vedic Mantras, with the holy fire as the witness.

An Indian Christian/Muslim gets paid for marrying (or trapping) a Hindu girl – we are told. We call it ‘Love Jehad’ in India where Hindu girls are targeted by muslim youth, pursued and married after conversion. Pricey catches. Curtains down with the girls donning the burka. The bond with the Hindu girls’ parents/family is forever broken.

Hindu girls are shouldering the responsibility of carrying forward the 10,000 year old native culture that has no founder, no Bible, no Vatican, no Pope. So every time a Hindu girls marries outside the community, it is our concern as we are a dying race already.

Be One Person Less Harming Mother Nature

Its not the question of whether Hindus are victimized in India or not. Its not the question of Supreme court interfering in Hindu affairs, not a question of what is legal and what is illegal. Its not the question of whether this is Christian agenda or Islamic agenda. It is not the question of whether this is a political vendetta. It is just that I want to be one person less harming Mother Nature.

We have all grown up lighting fireworks for Diwali. It is not that I am totally unaware of the pollution caused by vehicular exhausts or air-conditioners or factory effluents. It is still this small bit I want to do for Mother Nature – by lighting less number of oil lamps, by staying away maximum from fire works, by forsaking chemical Holi colours, by refusing to bring home a Coloured Ganesha.

There are more ways I show my love and respect to Mother Nature, Mother India: by swearing to keep off Kumbh Mela, by swearing not to bathe in rivers. My reverence for nature has no bearing to Christian conversion spree in India or Islamic terrorism.

I believe I am no less Hindu, following what my heart tells me in the matter.

I don’t believe either I have to be defensive about my stand. In the name of Hindu God, i wouldn’t want to do more harm to Mother Nature than has already been done.

An occasional sparkler is fine. After all, from 500 walas to 5000 walas, i have not left anything undone in last 50 years’ Diwalis in my life. As I grow older, I want to show love more explicitly to Mother India, Mother Nature that has got nothing to do with Singapore or Malaysia or America or London or Middle East. I want to be that one person less harming Mother India – Mother Nature.

Why Late Reaction From 80s Teens?

India now has changed a lot, lot since the turn of the millennium. The working atmosphere for women has seen a drastic change. Of course, women who graduated in 2000s cannot be just as naive as we girls were, growing up as teens in the 80s. If a woman does not speak up in present age, there are grounds for her to be questioned on.

Not in our conservative times. Suppose in 1980s you tell your father that a boy is daily waiting outside your typewriting institute (roadside romeos in those days were a torture) or following you to school/college, the next minute your extra classes or even education could get terminated. Worse, you stood the risk of being married off the next day!

Now, parents need not have to get into picture at all. Today’s girls are bold enough to take on nuisance cases by themselves.

I can’t believe our fathers used to walk us to friends’ homes in those days ! I used to go for group studies with friends whose houses were only a few streets away. If it ever got late (late means after 6 pm dusk), friends’ father or brother would walk me home!

Strictly no staying out of home after 6 pm without adult company.  No sleep-overs. Absolutely no socializing with boys/men, strictly no male friendship. Not even boy’s shadow was allowed to fall on us!!! We lived in an entirely girls’ hemisphere where men existed only in Mills & Boon romances!

Once we girls came off age, even public appearance in relatives weddings and other celebrations used to be restricted !!! Not a century back. I am talking of the 80s.

When I joined work for the first time, my uncle came with me (we took a bus) to check out if my workplace was safe for me.

After I got married, my father-in-law brushed aside my protests and came with me to my office, up to my desk in fourth floor! My male colleagues went aghast that the old man actually was there to see if his new daughter-in-law was in safe and secure company!!!

This is how my generation of girls/women grew up. Over-protected. So is this male chauvinism. Certainly not. Only if you have grown up feeling safe and secure under the wings of your father or brother will you know the difference between chauvinism and protective affection.

Therefore talking out anything in public was difficult for us. Believe me or not, either we were ‘shy’ or we were ‘scared.’

I have remained for months without conversing with the men who worked with me. The reason was, I kept hearing them discussing women and labeling any woman who was chatty and jolly as ‘easy.’ I preferred to be called ‘the snob.’

A friend reminded me how in my all-girls school, teachers started ‘screening’ us girls for busty figure right from standard 7 (12 years). School teachers were like our own mothers – that is how we saw them. A few rounded girls in my class were singled out and asked to cover themselves up ‘proper’ ! Their parents were summoned to school! We actually lived through such a phase !

Today in the same city, same country, how are teenagers. When my son was in Chennai, his school/college girls used to come home in briefest shorts and shoulderless tank tops ! Driving cars or scooters in that condition ! Mostly the girls would drop him if I would ask him not to take out car in late night – because girls’ parents were more liberal than me !!! Most times in sofas they would lean against each other in front of us elders, slapping pinching touching each other … we parents tolerated ! Not a word of reprimand ! Of course my mother-in-law would mutter under her breath ‘pethavala seruppala adikkanum’ (meaning the girls’ mothers) ! But even she knew that times were changed.

Yet when I step out of my home in Chennai even today,, I have my mother-in-law asking me to cover up with dupatta if I ever don a kurta without a shawl. It angers me, but I obey because after her I know I won’t have anyone in my life to chastise me like this. Of course if she is not around, I dress as I please !

Even now it is good to have my imposing mother-in-law with me when my aircon is getting serviced. The way her eyes would never leave the servicemen would make them flinch ! I can’t believe my MIL rears up like a mother hen to protect me in this age! It only brings a smile to my face although sometimes it is irritating.

My temple gurukkal (priest) was home last time to give me ‘prasad.’ A bachelor in his early 30s, when he was chatting me up for a few minutes, my MIL who was not in the scene showed up without announcement. In fact I had left my front door ajar as the man was in. I was wondering how to ask him to leave soon. My MIL brusquely told the man, ‘you have given her what you came to give her, why linger???’ The embarrassed man made a hasty retreat and I am not sure whether I will see him again anywhere near my residence! This has also happened to my christian neighbour once that he started running the next moment whenever he saw me after ‘treatment from my MIL’ for daring to come up to my door to exchange a few words! Such a blunt and heads-on approach! However it has its counter effect, silencing women like me at the same time.

My generation therefore is the last one that still hesitates to speak up. We are caught in between two different ages. We think of the relationships, the family friendships that will get ruined if we expose some bad apples in our lives. We ponder over the ramifications and long term repercussions. We are concerned about family reputations and the offenders’ family’s as well. There is so much at stake. Just like that, it is impossible to point out fingers for us and take on someone.

Years back I guess I blogged about the shoe guy. I don’t want to go into it again.

Another glimpse into early 90s: I got used to working with men for months that when I married, I went and sat next to my father-in-law in the sofa at home quite comfortably! I am the fourth and last daughter-in-law in the family. Eyebrows raised, I belatedly understood that it was not expected of me to take the seat so close to my FIL who was bemused. He was a great man to whom I was like his own daughter. But others did not approve of it. Immediately I was tagged ‘bold’ by my family.

Since 2000s, we teenage girls of the 80s have sort of become old school. But our patience and tolerance have only stood us in good stead over time. I am kind of indecisive and vague about the ‘Me too’ India. In current times, you have to speak up or you have to let it pass for good, I guess. We did in our times, as we had reasons.

A couple of years back in Middle-east when I and my friend were shopping, the salesmen who were Sri Lankans were singing lewd Tamil songs at us and discussing us like mango/apple sizes. Penalties are heavy in this part of the world. The men risked their jobs and visas. But we kept quiet and did not report, as we thought of the boys’ families back home who were expecting their pay checks. Now again our generation maintains a stoic silence, because we are more mature than ever before and we look beyond at times and events unfolding long into future unlike these petty men can ever. Boys half your age. You don’t feel angry at them. All you have for them is pity.

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PS: ‘Me Too’ may be funny and trivial to some sarcastic insensitive men, especially (who knows) (b*******) suspected predators themselves.  As some say, it does bring a sense of closure to women who come out in the open breaking silence of years/decades at last. Baring their heart and mind of the junk may make a psychological, emotional difference. I started blogging for this reason chiefly. It’s a release that is all.

In the thick of women’s universe…

You have to be born in a female dominated household and grow up surrounded by sisters and aunts and nieces, to wholly understand women.

In my life mostly I have seen that those men who grow up in patriarchal families with male domination never understand women.

And it just does not end there. Having spinsters / widows or divorcees who have/have not remarried in our close friends/family circles may also go a long way when it comes to understanding the fairer sex. Only when we have these women who do not conform to normal ‘married sumangali’ status in our circles can we ever empathize with the oddities in the female world.

Since the ‘Me too’ started, i put my mind back by over two decades to revise the chain of events that unfolded in my own life (harmless physically).

One of the things I could bring out from the back burners was that, how when I joined work, there was a Debonair issue quietly slipped into the stack of magazines I was to take home for reading. I am speaking about the time before the computer era when reading habit was widely prevalent in our midst. We in our workplace contributed as minimal as 5 bucks per month each to buy and circulate both Tamil and English weeklies and monthlies among ourselves.

No sooner than I joined service, I also became a member of the circulation library. My male colleagues would give me 5 magazines to read every alternate day that I had to return before taking fresh ones. Within a month of my joining, flipping the magazines deposited in my desk for taking home, I found the Debonair tucked as the third one behind a Film Fare or something. Even retrieving and returning it to the in-charge was tough for me because the cover photo itself (that I can’t recall exactly now) was a semi-nude woman.

More than once it happened and every time, without a word I returned the mag without a second look to the table where it originated from.

Recalling years later, I wondered if this was some ‘test’ to gauge me out.

I would never know.

Whether it was done in innocence or with mischief, I would not know. If this is to happen today, my life experiences have given me maturity to look at it with open mind. I no more find nudity or Debonair the way I found then when I was in my twenties. Life changes, life perceptions change.

But knowing Indian men, I do always wonder whether any man would appreciate a similar treatment to his mother/sister/wife/daughter/niece/aunt. No. Which means, it couldn’t have been not an innocent act in the first place. So this is how I build my theories. By sheer reasoning.

So much water has flown under the bridge. I am not the type to claim ‘Me too’ …

Just remembering it now without emotion. No anger, no discomfort after all these years. All that vaporized with time. Time is the best healer. To heal, again, nothing was damaged in me. Acute discomfiture that’s all.

As for Sabarimala or other issues, I can say your opinion may depend on what kind of family is yours. Madurai or Chidambaram? Meenakshi or Natraj ??? My family was dominated by my mother hugely until she was around. She left a big void in her wake. My grandmother also was a great presence in my life. I was mostly raised by women – my grandma, my mother, my aunt… A few more influential aunties were there in the horizon plus neighbourhood aunties… Men were another planet to me altogether. My intuitive defence to men was then hostility. Skepticism. Deep mistrust. Not because I was a victim ever. Only because theirs’ was a strange new world to me.  I think I have blogged about it once.

Women from various walks of life have affected my way of thinking and psyche.

From my in-laws side, we have had a great grand ma, aunt to my mother-in-law who was married off by 10 and widowed by 12 even before she could bloom into a woman. She was never allowed to remarry. But as the family was progressive, she was taught at home and she lived to the ripe old age of 85.  I used to think of her long and vacuum years that rolled serving others … One last photo of her was taken in bridals before she was imposed with signs and symbols of widowhood for the rest of her life. The picture had her back to mirror, with her ‘jadai – kunjalam ‘ (golden braids) captured in reflection in the faded black and white photo which was her cherished possession always – along with a sepia tinted framed picture of her husband with whom she never shared the nuptial bed for a single day of her life. He was 16 or 17 when he passed away.

One of my aunt’s friends from Mylapore was a teacher by profession. Coming from an affluent family, she was married off only to be scorned by her newly wed husband on their first night when he spotted a miniscule patch of leukoderma in her abdomen. The poor lady returned home. Neither was she divorced as per Hindu customs of 1970s (unlike improved times of the present). Her husband went on to remarry and raise a family. The lady continued her teaching service and is now retired. Going by his name until now, having not lived a single day of life with him. The man is now a grandfather without a guilt. Sadly, the teacher never had the melanin deficient patch anywhere else in her body.

When you meet in your everyday life women like these, you can never make hard and fast rules about women. Modern times have seen the average Indian Nari emerge from shadows. When I was growing up in 80s in Mylapore, every household literally had at least a single ‘motta paatti’ – the head shaven widow in white/saffron robes banished from auspicious family occasions and celebrations.

I made it a point therefore to invite two widows (who did not remarry) (rare ones do even these days) to my Navratri thamboolam last year even if they were hesitant. Navratri is about inclusion. A woman could be single – spinster/widow/divorcee or married with/without children or even a bisexual or lesbian – she is still a Nari Shakthi as far as I am concerned. Navratri is celebration of womanhood thus in various forms.

My maid comes from rural background. She was working in their own family farm until she married by 18 years and moved to city. She was denied education and fed the worst food being born with 3 brothers. Besides agricultural work, she also had to lend a helping hand in the kitchen to her mother. The hardships she encountered since her third year were inhumanely and horrible. Coming from poorest family, neither did she have money to buy even a packet of sanitary napkins. She used cut pieces of worn clothes I believe that she washed diligently everyday by hand. Now she makes it a point to get her own school going daughter sanitary pads, and swears she would never allow her daughter to go through what she had to. She is determined to see her daughter through university and wants the girl to be economically independent before she marries.

Yet another of my mother’s friends also married around the same time she married. In mid 60s that is. She was also my mother’s school mate and neighbour and a teacher. The two grew up together and were even very remotely related. Her sad story I remember hearing from my granny and my mother herself. In late 1960s was this film ‘Paalum Pazhamum’ released in Tamil cinemas. Starring Shivaji Ganesan for hero. Also there was the super duper hit of the decade ‘Anbe Va’ with MGR as the lead (who later went on to become our state CM). My mother’s friend and her husband went to see the pictures. The husband was a smoking guy! Looks like after the couple returned from pictures, the man used to burn the wife in intimate parts with glowing cigarette butts asking her, ‘did you like MGR that much, did you like Shivaji that much that you were so engrossed in the film?’

A picture like that of K Balachander ‘Nappathezhu Naatkal’  (47 days) was released in 1970s i guess. It’s almost entirely this woman’s story, I garnered, of course with variations thrown in to good measure.

The woman finally left him, issueless. Not divorced. Her next door neighbour, a bachelor in the same 60s, fell in love with her and the two eloped to start a new life in another city. Of course with tacit blessings of the parents of the woman. The parents however could never face the society/community. They sold off the house and disappeared from scene. Years after my mother passed away, the friend returned to visit my granny hearing about my mother.

I still remember how my granny never had anything bad to say about my mother’s friend. After she left, my granny told me her story that I had heard many times before, with total compassion for the woman. Her own grief for her the death of her daughter, the first born, was momentarily forgotten.

I guess, this has a lot to do with the way our mind shapes up. My granny only had empathy for the lady and praise for her bold decision to take on life in her own terms. Not a single negative word or character assassination. Rather my granny told me, my mother’s friend was a brilliant lady, very smart but unfortunate, with fate having dealt her a cruel hand. For someone like my grandmother (in their generation) to talk about this friend of my mother in such a mature and compassionate way must have been a complete rarity in those days. Also, having lost her beloved eldest daughter, my granny must have been conditioned to accept ANY daughter, under any circumstance, by fate. Now she wanted a daughter, that’s all – it didn’t matter to her what her daughter was. I sometimes think, the quantum of loss my grandma suffered with my mother’s untimely demise, mellowed her in ways nothing else could have.

Abuse is abuse, no mistaking about it. Freedom is not wrong. I think my grandma was also able to make the difference because, she had had two daughters. Through them she also had had already three young grand daughters . Five women had entered the world through my grandmother. No wonder, she embraced her daughter’s friend that day with all understanding, fed her well and parted with her in tears.

My life is punctuated by stories like these. My paternal aunt herself was a life time virgin who was married off to a gay man (knowledge on these issues was poor in those days). Belatedly the family discovered, but it was too late to amend. Once married, you stay married to the same man life long as per Hindu customs (at least until recently). My aunt married at a very young age, not even 15, in 1950s, much before my father. Her whole life was one big tragedy and lie. She was an unpaid cook cum servant to her in-laws home even if she was married off with great pomp.

Women went through endless suffering in those days. All these women, I happened to meet in my life in very young years. What they went through left an indelible mark in my mind.

The progressive outlook of my granny also always overwhelms me. She was the ‘Hindu’ reading woman of the street! Very smart and intelligent. No schooling or may be 5th class maximum, that’s all. But she was a phenomenon. Very politically aware. A small bank ! A great cook ! Well read. She once told me about reading the Kennedy assassination book !!! A distant relative borrowed it from her and never returned !

Nobody was berated in my family – not even strangers. If something was wanting at home, my granny would say ‘rice is overflowing, wheat is overflowing, milk is overflowing’ – it meant rice was almost over, wheat was almost over, milk was finished and had to be supplemented. No negative word ever. Until this day the word ‘illai’ (not there or over or no) hardly makes it to my vocabulary.

Unlucky women won most sympathies from my family women. Gossips, for the first time I was exposed to only at my in-laws (!) place !

I had a mom who could never bear her school hostel girls not celebrating Diwali with their families. Hearing and speech impaired, until my mother was around, at least a half dozen of these girls were our house Diwali guests with the consent of the school administration. After my mother left, many of my Diwalis were dark and those lonely moments were what that threw me light on what kind of a woman my biological mother was. Basic compassion for fellow women: this is what my grandma, my mother and my aunt were full of.

Years later when I would bring the saas-bahu arguments to my Chithi (aunty), she would only counsel me to ‘be flexible, tolerate, hold patience.’ Absolutely no pampering. That ‘things would fall into place over time’. ‘Show love to those who cannot love, be generous with those who have not discovered the pleasure of giving.’

The kind of understanding we women have growing up in a predominantly female household, we cannot expect men who grow up in patriarchal families to nurture. How so easily they judge is shocking.

Lastly I want to close this post with the story of a very remarkable woman, my friend’s mother.

Mother of two daughters, this retired school teacher in her 70s now is still taking care of her younger Down’s syndrome daughter who is 40+ . Her elder daughter is happily married and the teacher also is proud of her two super intelligent grandsons. But most of the woman’s time is spent with her other daughter and the duo even make foreign trips together. They have become inseparable over years, with the daughter besotted with her ageing mother like a 3 year old. The mother has successfully taught the childlike stunted daughter how to take care of herself, how to take care of personal hygiene mercifully. The daughter still needs a helping hand, but she is manageable.

The life of the senior matron moves me, inspires me as to what life is all about. Her sacrifice is monumental. Her world is centered around her special daughter, coaxing the childish woman, coaching her, consoling her, encouraging her, chastising her as if she is a KG kid… The endless patience… with never a word begrudging destiny… Never asking ‘why me’ … What a selfless mother. Only a mother can be this to her daughter. Now the quintessential question surfaces: what after the mother’s time. Hopefully, my friend would slip into her mother’s shoes which however would be too huge for her to fill. Let’s see. Time for that.

My friend’s mother therefore oozes with compassion. You cannot hear her backbiting or gossiping or berating or abusing of judging other women. The years have done wonders to her persona. To her now, all women are daughters, with whatever the imperfections.

Every man in India must be blessed with daughters. Daughters who have to cycle to schools. Daughters taking overcrowded buses to university. Daughters working alongside men, on equal footing.  Daughters who drive, fly, lead from the forefront. That is enough to show these men what womanhood is all about.

Some of my friends’ fathers even used to buy them their sanitary napkins (as I recall from school days). They saw goddesses in their daughters. You only need a daughter in your life to forget a man’s ego and rush to the grocery to get her a sanitary pad. What a man would not do for his mother, for his wife, for his sister – he will definitely do for his daughter.

 

More Pressing Matters Over Me Too …!

Convenient distractions for Indian public are Sabarimala and presently the ‘Me too’ India!

That there is no outrage for rising fuel costs, falling Indian Rupee against US$, crashing stock markets seems to be both shocking and surprising. Closely on the heels of Sabarimala verdict by the Supreme court, Kerala High court also ruled that it is not a crime to support the ideology of the world’s most dreaded terror organization. No Kerala Hindu or even other Hindus from other parts of the country seem to have registered protests or raised slogans against the ruling.

‘Me too’ shaming is deemed more important. Conveniently forgotten is Chinmaye’s Suchitra video tapes. Overnight Chinamayi is the abused even if Vairamuthu seems to have graced her wedding reception with his sunny smile and presence.

I am neutral on Vairamuthu. Without being on the spot, one cannot take sides in the absence of concrete evidence. Allegations against him seem to be verbal and after a considerable lapse of time. In the context of the poet’s Andal episode, one cannot rule out vendetta politics to frame him.

However all national and security issues are now non issues to our media and to Indian public. ‘Me too’ is sensational and perhaps works like an anesthesia in helping maintain our selective amnesia. There sure is comfort in deliberate ignorance and negligence of priorities.

 

Me Too ???

Close on the heels of Sabarimala and Section 497 (or 597?) comes the ‘Me Too India.’

Hopefully Twitter will also see some actual ‘casting couch’ successfuls in ‘Me too’ campaign.

While genuine cases merit sympathy, the lapse of considerable time and lack of evidence may still make the stories sound incredible.

For one thing, I will never trust a word coming from Chinmaye (our Chennai bit).

Me too – every Indian girl/woman could have something to say on that. From school age till every single strand in her hair turns grey.

Sometimes, it could be casual flirting with our unspoken approval.

Sometimes, it could be going overboard with the men.

Sometimes, it could be psychological harassment. In India I guess, mostly we had this emotional torture. Before rape started scoring big time.

Every bus ride to school/college came with ‘brushes’ and ‘touches’ and ‘squeezes’ and ‘pinches.’ Women cannot travel in public transport in the country without this basic ‘Me too’ conditioning by our men. Then, road side romeos. Cycle chase to typing institutes. One even used to dash his cycle with mine in school days – accidentally of course! Friends’ fathers’ fatherly pats! Friends’ brothers love letters ! But every little Indian girl/teenager develops an intuition somehow to stay off predators. As a motherless girl, I have had this acute sense of intuition/instinct that was my best defence.

Then there are those that leave a mark in our memories that may be worth the #metoo …

My ‘Me too’ moments happened at work (serious stuff to me then, for record’s sake ). I was posted in an all-male department as a 22 year old. Surrounded by 31 men. Guys reading ‘Debonair’ in front of me with pages and central spreads (of nudes) wide open was the worst harassment I faced in younger age. Happened for more than an year, 2-3 years actually. I told my friends about it but not my family. Told my husband after marriage but he laughed it off saying ‘boys will be boys!!’ Never found that offensive! To my shock, whenever he would drop/pick me up in his bike, my male colleagues chatted him up!!! I did ask my husband whether he would dare reading ‘Debonair’ in front of women. He said ‘no’ thankfully! So I can’t figure out men!

Unforgettable one is, when I asked for ‘white fluid’ innocently – to correct my typo when in probation. Manual typewriter was still around in those days. Only in 1993 did i get an electronic one. The whole department burst out in guffaws. Cannot forget, will never forget in my life. Can’t believe I cried my heart out in private for that. If it happens now, i would tear the bastards to pieces. Adult jokes from 10-5 routine. Never reported to manager. Not out of fear but out of embarrassment. Without a doubt, i have felt extremely disturbed in those long months, years but at the same time, I also never felt unsafe or insecure among the same men.

Six bachelors to whom I never spoke a word before I got married, fearing the others teasing. Respect showed when every single one of them turned out for my wedding reception and stayed on for 3 hours almost. Some came for muhurat also.

Scene changed with my marriage. And of course motherhood. No more their adult jokes hurt me – I learned to ignore. They did not change. I changed my outlook.

Motherhood revealed to me the other side of men: frequent trips to restroom in pregnancy; soaking kurta and even dupatta when i joined work 4 months after delivery (until my son turned 1) … For the first time I found the same men looking away, averting their eyes from me.  Those were scooter days. I had starting issues sometimes. The same guys kick started my two-wheeler in evenings and parked it for me in the mornings. Now I was confused.

It is not a bad idea or sin to be a spinster. But Indian men atleast, learnt better about women through mothers i guess. They are not comfortable around unmarried girls. However, this is only my personal assumption and conclusion that can’t be generalized.

Despite the jokes and Debonair, i finally found that my department guys were pretty decent in real life, they had happy families, they respected women in their own way. Some of them had working women for wives. I also understood that I had disturbed the equilibrium of a department that had been all-male for 2-3 years.

Met them after years recently, they can’t believe I have a son in his twenties now! He was born when I worked with them! I am sure they remain(ed) blissfully unaware how much they used to distress me when I was single and amidst them .. i bet they have/had no clue! Male psychology? They move on, but things just bury themselves in women’s psyche and don’t simply budge.

May be that’s why ‘Me too’ India is seeing late-reportings a lot. The men may have long forgotten! Women won’t !. Without a doubt, the men wouldn’t have felt guilty then, would not admit offence if I am to confront them in the present.

Over 27 years later yeah if you ask me now, I am not sure whether it was harassment then I faced. Did I over-react? Time dulls things… I guess i may have faced harassment but the other face of the same men makes me think twice today when it comes to judging them. Corporate atmosphere in India has undergone a sea change ever since. As I left , my workplace got cent percent computerized even before 1997… things have never been the same again….

 

Kundalini Awakening On Sabarimala Verdict By Supreme Court

One line on present protests as a result of ‘indignity’ suffered by Hindus for the supreme court verdict on Sabarimala.

“Going to Sabarimala (or for that matter any Hindu temple) during menstruation is far healthier and safer for women than working for corporates/software industry 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, 30 days a month, 365 days an year – and India will have no more Autistic children or Divorces but healthy and happy INDIAN FAMILIES OF 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s once again. #Kundalini “

Lessons From Cricketing Style.

PAK GIVEN THOROUGH SERUPPADI BY INDIA

Ever wondered why India is so… pro-batting with a strong batting line up? Our bowling attack has never been par excellence (since perhaps Kapil Dev’s days). Focus is always to make ourselves stronger and formidable over demolishing the enemy with bowling.

I am married to university cricket player myself who loves fast bowlers that India cannot produce successfully. I tell him, to cover up our short comings, we focus on our strengths. My husband’s longing is that, India never produced a fast bowler of Imran Khan/Wasim Akram/Waqar Yunus caliber. Reason could be that, our pitches vary as does our geography. We have shorter winters and tropical climate in India that can produce more and better spinners than pacers. Pakistan with a slightly chillier climate is ideal for shaping seamers as we also see with the case of England for instance. If you attempt a run up like Imran Khan before bowling a ball, you will end up with high BP and heart attack in Chennai weather. The fact is, we never get as hot as Pakistan gets, we hardly cross 40C in summers but our humidity will get you over the heat and dust. So conserving energy is most important for Indian bowlers to last a full match.

Another factor is the diet of the players to which I shall come shortly.

Our enemy nation and the world’s No.1 terrorist country Pakistan is the opposite of India in most ways – including when it comes to the game of Cricket. To my memory, they have been acing bowling since the Imran Khan days (naturally). (Or may be from before, but my memory dates back to maximum 1979-80 only). No great batsmen since the Zaheer Abbas times. Demolishing the opponents rather than build themselves into a formidable and respectable team is their mission. I have always wondered why the case must be so.

Hindus by nature are passive. Do not disturb others and are never aggressive by gene. Our eating habits have a role to play in the sporting field. We are no beef eaters. So genetically we are blessed with poorest stamina. Our strength and power therefore lies in our mind. So we focus on a strong will. What we cannot achieve in the sports arena with brute physical strength, we try to master by sheer practice, training and mental strength and will power, combined with a plausible strategy.  It is not a coincidence that Vishwanathan Anand was crowned 4 times, the world Chess champion. In one of the interviews of Krish Shrikkanth from my school days, if I remember right, he said, before and after a cricket match he ate curd rice. Mahendra Singh Dhoni prided himself with his 12 liter milk consumption everyday that gave him the energy. No doubt this is the reason, the Indian batsmen are cool and are not overburdened and bloating with all the oozy fat from beef steaks. Despite our worst metabolism, Indians are still winning more medals in Olympics, Common Wealth, Asiad etc., in recent times. Intense training is the chief reason over diet. Diet may be supplemented these days by international coaches, still cannot match the meat component of the foreign athletes/sportsmen’s platter.

What is it about cricket about Pakistan can also be generalized for their entire nation. Pakistanis feed on terror and bleeding other nations, in bringing down India by proxy cross-border wars. This is why Pakistan today is almost a failed nation – now thrown a life line by China (which will one day become the noose to snuff out their life). The aggression and lies about Kargil not over 20 years ago was their last misadventure. India could have blown them up long time back, but as a mature democracy, India can exercise restraint and caution. India is hesitating because India is the land of the Hindus, who prize wisdom over brazen terrorism which is trademark of Pakistan.

Cricket is nothing more than a game and must not be seen as anything over that. But the degeneration of Pakistan side is shocking. Their captain Sarfaraz was not even able to mumble up coherent speech (i have immense respect for small town boys who grew up tough – our own ex cool captain Dhoni and those like Har Bhajan Singh and today’s Bumrah etc., are from small towns). Rameez Raja in this age with his transplanted dyed hair and tummy tuck (?) looked far better.

Ever since (the murder of?) Bob Woolmer in West Indies during a World cup series, I think they are downhill. Political correctness apart, this is what team captains like Inzamam Ul Haq can do to a playing side and also to a nation’s psyche. If what we Indians believe is true, Pakistan is beyond redemption. Will Imran Khan clarify on that. Pakistanis have convinced themselves that their hands are not bloodied, but the world knows and believes otherwise. This is the same with how terrorism is also treated by their population and media, especially the big and loud mouthed MEDIA !

India should not even be playing the Asia cup and this is not our best team either.

Yesterday’s match was one sided affair but I just wanted to see the boys batting. Many a time, India’s batting order too crumbles without a clue  but it is all in the game. It is just that, what are we consistently that matters. What are we generally. What are we to sum up.

I am glad India is considered a good batting side, not relying on demolishing the opponent for a win as is the case with Pakistanis. Fortifying oursleves must be our best bet and best foot forward. This is not just our strategy, this is our psychology. Constructive over destructive. Positive over negative. Derailing Pakistan or China is not our agenda. We are for building India and we attack only when provoked. But Pakistan, just as their bowlers, would rather down the adversary than make it good for themselves.

 

The Minority Rights.

India celebrated Her 72nd Independence day yesterday.

What does it feel like to have our National Anthem christianized with Christ called our ‘saviour god’. How will America and Europe feel about having their saviour god named from middle east (!)

India can do with blessings – both from Jesus and Allah.

But Hindu India has been around for over 10,000 years pre-dating both christianity and islam. You simply cannot oust our native culture just like that and try to superimpose the imported belief systems here.

Once again our secular media and pseudo secularists will turn blind eye to this blatant disrespect shown to our national anthem. I cannot imagine a worse blasphemy.

I thought we could get prosecuted for disrespecting our national flag, national anthem, national emblem etc. What will happen now.

In the democratic secular India today, minority rights matter more over the just majority.

The human rights of terrorists and terror supporters are deemed more important. Rights violation of terror suspects is an international criminal offence waiting to be blown out of proportions by none less than BBC. Indian media is owned by the church totally.

Blatant plagiarism from Hindu culture is fine. But if you resist the cultural theft and inappropriation and cultural terrorism, you will be labelled intolerant.

Umar Khaled has every right to thunder in public that he would like to break India to ‘tukda tukda’ – pieces. He may be a useless overaged African studies research student sucking up our tax money for years and living at our expense. But we have to tolerate him with a smile because, Umar is after all a minority and he has every right in the book to want to claim openly how he wants to break up the nation. His pro-terror chants are perfectly legal and his cause is championed again by our pseudo secular media. Our leftists are up in arms in his total support. One word against him, and you become a fanatical Hindu because you cannot bear thinking that a terror advocate can actually get away with this in front of your eyes. It tears you up in the insides, but this is the reality in India.

How these minorities can terrorize the passive Hindu majority is scary and it is unimaginable what will happen to us should we Hindus become minority in our own motherland.

The more disloyal to India you are, the more bent you are on uprooting India’s native culture, the more you want India to disintegrate, the more you put your hands together to clap for India’s worst enemies/adversaries, the more pro-terror you are, the more you endorse anti-nationalism and anti-socials, the more you tarnish India’s image in the world scene- then the more secular and democratic and LIBERAL you are, the role model citizen of India.  Most importantly you must be majority-Hindu bashing to prove your neutrality. Anyone otherwise like me, a simpleton Hindu is fundamentalist.  Right winger. Fascist. Nazi. Most dangerous to India and the world, whose voice must be ignored.

My prayer nowadays is, asking Hindu gods to save themselves first. It breaks my heart to blog this. Betrayals and back-stabbings galore. How much more can my beloved Mother India take.

The Childless

When talking to my friend (via Whatsapp chat) yesterday, I remarked that our ex CM Jayalalitha Jayaram JJ was devoid of emotions as she had not experienced motherhood. I normally never comment on such sensitive issues especially concerning women. Last few days have seen developments in my state Tamil Nadu and the capital Chennai. We have lost two successful chief ministers who were strong, vibrant and powerful and commanded the loyalty of the masses. JJ passed away in power less than 2 years ago while Karunanidhi KK, 94, passed away just last week, leaving behind a power vacuum in state administration. The duo, though political opponents, were stalwarts in their fields whether cinema or politics.

A huge fan of JJ, i have still been put off by her ruthlessness. Near my residence is this subway that was completed in KK period which was refused to be inaugurated by JJ – which could perhaps be the greatest curse of democracy. Vendetta politics victimize the average citizens. With seven primary/middle/high/higher secondary schools after the inter-crossing railway line, on the other side of the road, access to such an important stretch of the road was made possible only by encircling busiest part of the city in traffic hours, for thousands of kids enrolled in those institutions.  For 5 unnecessary long years thanks to JJ apart from the subway construction/closure time, the hardship continued. The government apathy was shocking. The public had to exercise their franchise in the next Assembly elections to elect a different government just so that the subway could be thrown open so the common man could breathe easy. Monsoons were horrible in the closed period.

My resentment for JJ grew because of this. I have a couple of friends who are childless. While i am sympathetic, i never cross my limits and am normally extraordinarily careful not to use a single wrong word even unwittingly when conversing with them. Unless they ask, I wouldn’t talk to them about parenthood, my son, school issues, college matters, etc., etc. More than anything, I never give unsolicited free counsel about IVF or IUI procedures. Many a time I have been tempted to but I have controlled myself with greatest efforts on these occasions unwilling to hurt them.

So I shouldn’t have commented on JJ as well – even if she was a third person, a stranger to me. Having been in public life throughout as a film star first and then as our chief minister, may be it is not out of context for anyone to pass judgement on JJ. Still, I did feel bad for a moment after calling JJ a childless woman yesterday that made her cold and remote. She is not around anymore, and even if she might be, I would be too lowly for the chief minister to concern herself with for my rude heartless comment. But it was cruel on my part yet to have commented on her childless status.

Who says there is no Mother Goddess.

This morning soon after my husband left for work, I switched on tv and was watching a Sasikumar picture ‘Bale Vellaitheva.’

The unassuming rural hero seems to be celebrating an elderly childless couple in the entire length of the film.

At one point he admonishes his friend who calls the old woman ‘maladi’ (infertile).

And then says, if a couple have to be childless, it means the family lineage’s Karma gets over for both of them with that generation. No more ancestral Karma to be carried forward through blood. Full stop. So childless couples are blessed souls by the divine.

Well, this is how Hindu dharma sees the childless. No deficiency. But God’s purpose of ending their entire clan Karma with them, liberating them from the cycle of rebirth.

What an eye opener.

In many of my previous blog posts, I have made mention of clues, signs left by god. My Ishta Deivam is Mother Goddess. My Kula Deivam is Mother Goddess. For every single question I have in my life, I get my answer directly or indirectly in this 21st century right away from my Mother Supreme who rules this universe.

What an awesome explanation!  I am still wonderstruck how within 24 hours my Mother corrected my mistake and rubbed the truth in me.

Nothing to be overtly proud of by becoming a mother or father. This is merely a biological phenomenon. We are only normal human beings procreating and reproducing. Leaving issues behind means we have unfinished business of Karma. We have generations to mend our flaws.

Blessed are those who are childless, Mother Goddess’s favourites, because She rules that their Karma is over with this birth of theirs. Not leaving behind successors to carry forward any residual Karma, their lineage comes to a total stop liberating their entire chain of ancestors from their previous Karma. Beautiful way to see things and nicest way to go.

Hindu Dharma is so noble. None can be wiser on these matters like our forefathers.