When love is truly blind
In American parlance, a car is equivalent to freedom. The likes of Durant, Ford and Chrysler made sure that the public transport in apparently the wealthiest nation in the world remains dismal for decades to come. As a consequence, owning a car became paramount to a decent, convenient living. Cars are aspirational and it shows in the data as well: China continues to have the most number of car buyers, followed by the USA (obviously). Japan is next in line despite boasting of a solid public transportation system in place—CEOs prefer taking a subway in Tokyo—and then we have India at #4 position. The roads are getting congested, as we speak, while the number of cars filling the traffic is only ticking. It’d be interesting to note how long can we keep up this fleeting feeling of being free.
I recently wrote (read: ranted) on the difficulty of driving when you are an anxious person by nature. My palms turn sticky on the steering wheel and my t-shirt is soaking by the time I step out of the car. Pupils dilate for a non-romantic cause. Yet, I like to believe that this is worth the ride. No fun intended. The more I get myself into the polite yet challenging signal-less traffic jams in Mangalore, the more I am convinced that these roads were built to create fab drivers. If you manoeuvre here, you are set for life. Declutch or no declutch. Besides, when you are out there in the sea of people, separated by a few inches of safety, you realize that life is all about compromises, anticipations and considerations. You slow down a bit so that others move on and make space for you; you honk a bit to let others know that you are in motion (not to harass a stagnant vehicle); and most importantly, you don’t touch each other at any point. On the other hand, you look out for each other and in the process, make sure everybody reaches home in the end.
As a boy, I once asked amma why women wear bangles and being mythologically tuned, she plucked a story that bangles are a celebration of womanhood and different colours indicate different occasions. My ajji elaborated that bangles are there to remind a woman of her responsibilities. I didn’t have the mental bandwidth back then to understand the deeply patriarchal canvas at work here. However, as I grew up, I created my own mythology—the best part of being culturally Hindu is you can always resort to your own inventions—to help me make sense of the practice in place. Here we go: women, especially married women, wear bangles because when the bangles clash against each other and create that clinky sound, Yama (the god of death) avoids visiting her husband. One sound-proof way of staying married. You are welcome.
Have you noticed that most literate—calling ourselves educated would be quite a stretch given how ignorant we sound when we speak—Indians use the word ‘rich’ to describe our culture. If you ask why, there are no concrete answers on the table. My understanding is, we call it ‘rich’ because we were taught so in school and we are parroting the same throughout adulthood too. It’s the same reason why we often say that India is a prime example of ‘unity in diversity’ when in essence, we have ‘diversity in unity’. Our ideas of India are starkly different depending on demographic ambitions. Now that I’ve sparked a topic, let me clarify why we have a rich culture. It’s because of a very simple reason: our culture is not rigid, it’s perennially fluid, adopting and adapting as per our needs and always changing shapes and shifting forms. That is perhaps the only way to survive for over five millennia despite the scratches.
Remember when General Soleimani was assassinated and we were expecting the third season of World War to drop? Well, that never happened. As of now, with tempers flaring between Russia and Ukraine, there are loud murmurs of WW3 picking up pace. Knowing Putin and his tactics during the Ossetia crisis, you can’t discount his missiles. But at the same time, we shouldn’t forget that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Old games, new rules. Our masks might have lowered but we aren’t out of danger zone yet. If Biden’s regime averts a full-on border confrontation, then we might have to wait a bit longer for WW3 (which is inevitable). If NATO fails to talk peace, then the Trump administration would look better in contributing more to world peace. As strange as that sounds.
When a son is born, a father finds a tiny mirror. He looks for himself in the little being and hopes to mould the boy such that he outdoes the old man eventually. Of course, he doesn’t express it explicitly but it’s well understood that the man is waiting for the boy to turn into a better man. All the decisions, good and bad, that the father took come handy in helping the boy do better. In desi context, the transfer of knowledge is subtle and seldom loud. This relationship of pining for a brighter future comes to a clash when the son tries to run away from the shadow of his father, and no matter how fast he runs, he is destined to end up under the same dark sky. History prefers to roam around in circles for a reason.
Do you come across couples who appear out of place? Well, lower your gaze. Staring is rude but you’ve got a point. Man’s world indeed. It’s ridiculously tragic how men seek women out of their leagues—and often succeed to the bystanders’ amazement—while women end up with men way below their league. Just an observation. I don’t have a theory here although I’d love to posit one at the earliest. Maybe the day this changes is the day we’d finally have some hope for constructing a woman’s world.
Most organizations build processes in place to smoothen things out. Queue in, work done, check out, repeat. But we often don’t realize that a process is in place to solve a problem for a temporary setup. If a process is stuck around for long, it means nobody is paying attention to the problems festering in the background. Yet, you’d notice that a lot of companies swear on the processes that they adhere to; there is literally zero introspection. In fact, those who question end up getting ostracised and chucked out eventually. It’s high time we remind ourselves that a process doesn't always lead to progress. More often than not, a process leads to stagnancy of ideas.
[at a local nursery]
“What kind of plants are you looking for?”
“Something that doesn’t require too much water, sunlight and care.”
To love and care is to nourish. When you don’t put in the effort into a relationship, the results are bound to disappoint. Goes without saying that there will be cases where you are the only one putting in all the work while your partner is slacking. Insofar, you must just leave the scene and not look back. Life is precious and time is limited. Don’t wear yourself out on such hollow bonds. Better buy a cacti instead.
People sing devotional songs with so much heart that you want to believe the lyrics. Take any language or region, you’d notice that devotional songs are pure in their intentions and soft in their impact. For instance, 9 out of 10 songs from Pakistan’s Coke Studio are devotional in nature. They are all invoking a monotheistic god in different scenarios. There is an ambiance of dialogue in such settings: the singer is merely reaching out to the abstract hoping to be heard and, if fortune smiles, score some divine engagement. It’s incredible. However, there is no desire to humanize the Almighty there. That aspect is pretty rooted in Indian folk songs though. Here, you’ll find devotional songs where the devotees are asking the lord to wake up because they are already waiting for Him to show up at his temple! Sweet innocent people and quite a sarkari god to deal with.
When you love someone, you love blindly. There is no other method to go about it. Even if it lasts for a few seasons, that attachment is outwordly and regardless of how it ends, you smile at yourself for having the luck to experience it. Besides, no amount of advice and training can teach you how to fall in love like that. Events of seismic proportions happen on their own. An accident, if you may. No plausible explanation to boot. Bas ho gaya types. Of course, conclusions and closures are part and parcel of the deal. Anyway, the very blessed ones not only fall in love blindly but they also walk blindly, with hands holding each other tightly. A beautiful sight. No pun intended.