Sunday, May 11, 2014

an aftermath of 2 states

I admit it upfront, I like Chetan Bhagat, there is something simple about it that appeals, a common sense that is direct and lucid. 10 years ago it wasn't that common to leave the path of money and venture into being a writer. It takes guts to trod the untrod path, and belief.

Ok I saw 2 states today and was reminded of the time when I read the book and could picture the events in my mind. Walking out of the hall, someone said this is all the stuff of movies, not much of this happens in real life.

Of course it does. From the stereo types, to the loud music, the furniture less houses in one extreme part of South India to the stuffed paratha breakfasts of the north, there is a grain of truth to the cliched that get aired.

Growing up in Delhi, the land below the Deccan remained alien and unknown. South Indian food as far as I knew was vegetarian, consisted of Idli, Dosa and Vada and was best made by Sagar in Defence Colony. The days specials that were listed on the menu consisting of things like Neer Dosa, Bisse Belli Bhaat, or Puligogere were left unexplored. An assorted collection of namkeen that were sold outside the restaurant weren't bought as they just looked like coiled snakes in a bag. In short, my ignorance of the differences between each state, the food, and the intricate web of culture meeting life was zilch

Today, with seven years spent in Bangalore, there is a hidden Southie in me that has found roots. My taste buds and my mind have opened up to the world of Kerala Cusine. A coconut curry done just right, the stew with the appals, the stir fries of beef and fish, the vadas and the spice, the chats that combine the hot and the cold, the Mangaloreans buns, the Andhra chillis, the chutneys of combinations that I can't comprehend, the home made snacks that i secretly crave, tapioca chips and juice shops. A world of possibilities exists that I had not known

Watching the resilience of 2 states, my thoughts wandered back to my wedding, where 'food' the veg and the non-veg battle was a core issue. It was a marriage between 2 nations and not 2 states. A German man sought to win over a Jain family. A Jain girl, gulped as she was sausages floating in Dal.

Drinking to celebrate a wedding was a norm for the Germans
Serving drinks at a wedding taboo for the Jains
Calling less than 400 plus people was considered being miserly by the Jains
Calling more than 40 people was loud for the Germans
The total boys side fit into a mini bus, the total girls side needed more than 3 busses

In the end the wedding was a blast. The cultural issues didn't play a spoiler, and both sides played along.

Wish it was always that easy. As I type this, a dear friend is sitting going to spend over 12 hrs to drive home and meet a man she isn't interested in. Parents pressure. Parents who have spend the larger part of her 27+ years in raising her as an independent, strong willed, go getter person and are now trying hard to make the same person demure, soft and mouldable.

The pressure to make sure she is married is getting to them. If she refuses too many men, she is being choosy, if she asks too many questions she is being nosy. The arranged marriage as a system isn't flawed, its the pressure to make a choice that is.

Horoscopes, caste, clan, strange are the boundary conditions that decide who cuts it and who doesn't. Stranger still is how often somehow the pushing two people together and making them work it out seems to do the trick.

What remains unchanged in all of this - the absolute importance of being married. Its the one thing that is constant. Everyone must marry. Who, when, where, how is all secondary, marry you must.

A change is taking place though, slowly but surely. A right to say no. A right to wait for the right person. A choice is being exercised in letting go of that which does not work. The number of friends who are in their second marriages equals those who are happy in their first. Thats quite a statement

To a change, in small pockets, in small ways