Matrimony.

Three years ago the LBC wrote on Marriage and my own post generated quite a bit of comments and responses.   That topic was suggested by Conrad The Old Fossil who is on a sabbatical from  the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently five of us write on the same topic every Friday. Today’s topic has been chosen by me. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

You may therefore wonder why I chose a topic that has already been written about earlier.  A few months ago when the LBC was compiling a list of topics to write on this year, three of my young friends were quite desperate to get married.  To use their own reasons for this desperation, one due to loneliness, having already tasted matrimony once and divorced, and the other two with no earlier experience of matrimony but with their hormones playing havoc with their being.  The matter was being discussed with me by all three of them with varying intensity, and up popped the topic for the LBC list.

Coincidentally enough, one of them annonced his  engagement just yesterday;   I attended the wedding reception of the other hormone case yesterday evening, and exchanged notes on types of love with the lonely individual. just the evening before last.  And here I am today, overcoming my writer’s block at the altar of the LBC to write about matrimony!

In India, the pressure to get married starts when one is quite young.  Apart from the hormone problem,  pressure comes from family, friends and even well meaning strangers that you will meet on trains and planes who will try to find your marital status so that they can suggest a match. The pressure takes these forms.

Why matrimony?

Matrimony, the process, for most urban Indians starts with a classified advertisement.

matrimonial ads

There are other avenues open to finding the better half of one’s life such as, family network, marriage brokers, now sophisticatedly called bureaus, and increasingly, social networking websites.

In India, there are three distinctly different types of marriages, the most common, even today being the arranged marriage using the first two as well as the classified advertising route; the so called love marriage where the boy and the girl meet somewhere and decide to get married; and the third the second being given the blessing of both sets of parents who allow a period of courtship before the formal marriage ceremony itself.

One now increasingly comes across live-in relationships as well which either end up in marriages or break up with the very rare long lived ones going on for decades.

Having got married one or more of the following things happen. That is the state of matrimony. 1. Joyful companionship for the rest of their lives; 2. Antagonist staying together, primarily for the sake of children and societal expectations; 3. You go your way, I will go mine but let us stay married – primarily when a lot of money is involved; 4. One spouse is unfaithful till found out; 5. One spouse gets tangled up in an abusive relationship; 6. Long distance relationship and so on till finally parting of ways takes place either a simple parting or a divorce.

Perhaps it is just that I am blind to happy married couple who do not have time for me, but I am increasingly coming across instances of all the situations bar the first one.

I think that this is because the value system that my generation grew up in is no longer the value system for young people.  There seems to be a remarkable resistance to adjust in relationships.  I am also informed by very observant young people that women no longer have to face stigma if they break up relationships.  This may well be true in urban areas and I suspect that in rural India options one and two would be in operation.

But for all that, the institution of matrimony still flourishes. And that surprises me. Does it you?

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Enlightened Master.

My self appointed acolyte Pravin sent me this mail to celebrate his engagement.  I have simply copy pasted the entire mail.  The cartoon at the bottom is my contribution.  I am suffering from a writer’s block, not a brain block.

“Master Master read this…

I am not going to ask you this question :D

But yes I would say though – “But you are a wise and enlightened man!

STUDENT: Master, what happens to us when we die?
MASTER: How should I know?
STUDENT: But you are a wise and enlightened man!
MASTER: Yes, but I am not a dead one. ”  

'It was nice of tou yo come all this way but most people just visit my website.'

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Philosophy, Relationships, Spiritualism, Writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Writer’s Block.

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

~ Vladimir Nabokov

No, I am not about to write the next Lolita.

The feeling of the words is there but they are not flowing out on to the screen.

I am taking a break from blogging till the flow starts again.

Ill be back

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Indifference.

shrugging-

“What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity.”
~ G K Chesterton.

In the early 90s of the last century, I was quite involved in the study and teaching of Systems Thinking and was quite impressed by Donella and Dennis Meadows with their Limits To Growth and the subsequent Beyond The Limits and also other works of the Club Of Rome.  This led me naturally to Peter Senge and his The Fifth Discipline and to The Learning Organisation.  To quite a significant extent I was able to put in practice some of the important lessons I had learnt from these sources and to still use them in my mentoring.

In the Fifth Discipline, there is a quote which I reproduce below which left a lasting impression on me for its sheer brilliance.  That it came from a remarkable man was just incidental to the truth contained in that statement.

“When we try to bring about change in our societies, we are treated first with indifference, then with ridicule, then with abuse and then with oppression. And finally, the greatest challenge is thrown at us: We are treated with respect. This is the most dangerous stage.”

~ A. T. Ariyaratne.

(A.T. Ariyaratne is one of the world’s most successful community organizers. His organization, the Sarvodaya Shramadana, has mobilized millions of people in Sri Lanka in successful grass roots initiatives, with lasting benefits for Sri Lanka’s economic and community development.

Ariyaratne reminds us that it is easier to begin initiatives than to bring enduring changes to fruition. At the early stages, excitement comes easily. Later, after you begin to make progress, opposition develops – which can actually mobilize your efforts. People see themselves fighting “a noble battle” against the entrenched forces preserving the status quo. A few small initial victories establish confidence that more progress is just around the corner. Eventually, the initiative is treated with respect: the “enemy outside” begins to espouse all the same goals, objectives, and ideals as those instigating the change. At this point, it is easy for people to think that the work is over. In fact, it may be just starting.———————————-Extracted from The Fifth Discipline by Peter Sange.)

I have personal experience of this phenomenon in organisations where I was an instrument of change and also in two mini and a midi societies.

In retrospect I believe that I should have walked out as a catalyst of the whole change process at the stage of indifference to have saved myself a lot of frustration and unhappiness.  That eventually I had to face the Success stage and handle the fallout thereof never really took away the feeling that I should have given up when from indifference the system went to ridicule when I had to face scepticism and snickers.  But being the cussed fellow that I was then, I persisted and had the satisfaction of earning respect and being left alone to handle the aftermath. In the process I had to trod on a number of toes and a few of them have become life long antagonists, much to my regret.

Moral of the story?  When you face indifference when you initiate change, quit.  Unless you want to sacrifice peace of mind. And that dear friends, brings to mind another impressive observation from an incisive mind.

“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.” ~ John Galsworthy.

I hope that you enjoyed my post for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic every Friday. Today’s topic was suggested by Maxi. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

Posted in Friendship, Management, Marketing, Philosophy, Sociology, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Courage And Conviction. A Book Review.

I have never reviewed a book in my blog but I suppose that there had to be a first at some point of time and what better book to review than this one.

Courage_and_Conviction.jpeg

A friend who is a retired Indian Air Force officer had reviewed this book for his select group of friends in his mailing list and I quote from that review. “……..the enigmatic smile, the charismatic face of VK, got to me again. I threw down xxxxxx and picked up VK. For two days I did not go to work and read the book in two straight sittings, till past midnight. After reading even the Index, till the back cover, I just put the book down. ‘Courage & Conviction’, is echoing in my mind, resonating between my ears. It is an ‘un-put-down-able’ book.”

This friend is a phlegmatic no nonsense kind of a practical businessman who is incapable of hyperbole. Coming from him this was like what is said in Tamil, வசிஷ்டர் வாயாலே ப்ரும்மரிஷி Vashishtar vaayaley Brihmarishi. Transliterated this means that it is like Sage Vashishta calling someone Brihmarishi. The background to that is that it was extremely difficult to get Vashishta to accept someone as Brihmarishi. Many tried but few succeeded. That little diversion is for another blog post in detail!

I was quite impressed by the review and rang up my friend and asked him whether the book will be as appealing to me, a civilian and his unequivocal response was that it would indeed be and he further added that every Indian must read it to understand what goes on behind the scenes in the Indian army.

I promptly bought the book and exactly as with my friend, I could not put the book down till I finished it.

It is an amazing story of a soldier starting from his childhood to becoming the Chief of the Army Staff and the trials and tribulations that he goes through in the process. There is every bit of human emotions that all of us go through playing throughout and added to that the shenanigans of interpersonal problems, bureaucratic apathy and/or skullduggery, politics, corruption etc, makes for a remarkable read.

Since he is much younger than I am, every incident that he writes about happened during my time, every problem India faced was made known to all of us, and the Indian army’s joys and sorrows were shared by all of us.  There are people who feature in the book that I have met and known and some of the things that the General writes about comes as a surprise, albeit pleasant.  I have been to almost all the places that he writes about except the border areas and the front lines.  I have known other services officers who have had similar problems with their families and particularly family accommodation and children’s education.  It was as though the General was articulating what many of my friends could not.

General V K Singh now retired, fought another battle a few months ago and got elected to the Indian parliament. He is currently the Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state (independent charge) for the North East Region. When that assignment was announced, I was quite puzzled as were all my friends but after reading the book, everything falls into place and the logic of that combination is impeccable.

The least I can do for such a book is to recommend it as being very readable. Kunal Verma’s presence is very palpable and the General readily acknowledges this.  I hope that all my Indian readers and those non Indians interested in reading about a soldiers’ soldier will read this book. I have no hesitation giving it a  rating.

Posted in Books / Reading, Friendship, History, India/Pakistan, Patriotism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do You Blog?

blog or not

My blogger friend Mitch has this question on his post on his blog.

We exchanged comment and response as follows. Please click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.16.14 AM

Naturally, I am interested now to find out why my readers with their own blogs blog!

Why do you blog?

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Joyful Marriage.

My friend Becky posted this on facebook and I was taken back in time to my own marriage ceremony.

Our marriage was an Arya Samaj ceremony with a proper havan presided over by a very dignified priest.

About half way through the ceremony when the couple are expected to repeat the mantras recited by the priest and offer ghee to the fire as part of the ceremony, I got distracted by the arrival of a pair of friends who had come from almost across the country to attend the ceremony. I was exchanging greetings with them and completely ignored the ritual and got a dig in my ribs from my intended’s elbow to remind me to get back to the ceremony. That dig sent the spoon which I was using to offer the oblation, flying into the fire and there was total chaos till it was recovered, washed and cooled before the ceremony could proceed. Unfortunately, no film exists of those few minutes but I can assure you that the laughter you see in this clip is nothing compared to the laughter that the episode generated among the couple and also the visitors to the ceremony.

It was one of the two serious points of remembrance every wedding anniversary thereafter! The other was a more hilarious episode about which I have written before here.

Posted in Humor, Nostalgia, Relationships | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

The Hundred Foot Journey.

The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-Movie

Unlike other films that I see after reading some review or the other, I decided to see this film primarily based on the following facts.

Produced by : Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake.
Intriguing cast led by Helen Mirren and Om Puri.
Music : A R Rahman.

I am told that the others involved are not light weights but these names in my book are heavy weights and I was intrigued enough that with this motley crew a film in English has been made. I decided to go and see it despite the funny timings on offer and when I just suggested that Manjiree and Ranjan join me, they too jumped at the invitation after their own research. So, off the three Rajgopauls went to the movies for a Sunday matinee show and none of them has any regret for having done so.

It is a very plausible story line with each character perfectly fitting into the plot and all the actors ably portraying each character to make it a very enjoyable experience. We were perhaps able to enjoy it more than a Western audience would because of,  some of the nuances that the use of the Hindi language brings in.  But that is a minor factor which should not deter my readers from seeing it as they are not too many.

My one disappointment with the film was that A R Rahman was not made better use of. Unlike other Indian films, there is hardly any music, and what there is is very subtle and in the background. This little disappointment is more than made up by the low decibel sound effects!

I have no hesitation whatsoever in giving this film a full house rating of 

PS.  We saw some trailers which has intrigued us as well and August promises to be filled with a few more outings for movies.

Posted in Movies, Music | 18 Comments

Two New Friends.

My readers know how much I enjoy being with young people and I am blessed to come across many interesting young people who challenge me and keep me on my toes. I am sure that it is this interaction with the young that has kept me from going bonkers. Here is another instance of two young people coming into my life thanks to a series of events which I prefer calling as synchronicity.

The producer and the Director of the film Ippadikku featured in my Post Jaganmohan Krishnamoorthy and Shiva Shankar Natarajan took great pains to locate me and after fixing up an appointment came over to meet me on Saturday evening.

Shiva:Jagan

That is Shiva on the left and Jagan on the right.
The following two photographs show me with Shiva and Jagan.
Shiva and self
Jagan and self

They spent about two hours with me and it was a very informative and interesting time spent getting to know each other and about film making. As usual, I was enthralled by their individual stories which have brought them together in Pune and the synchronicity that has brought the two into my life.

I look forward to being in touch with them and perhaps even participating in their future ventures in whatever way that they choose.

Posted in Blogging, Friendship, Gratitude, Movies, Relationships | Tagged , | 13 Comments

What A Day And What A Movie!

Today was a perfect day.

Before the perfect day started, the first perfect thing to happen was the telephone call from my sister Padmini to wish me for Raksha Bandan.

Then, I solved five tough crossword puzzles in record time.

That was followed by going out to lunch with Ranjan, Manjiree and Manjiree’s parents and sisters and our favourite grand niece Tanishka. The lunch was at a poolside restaurant called Firangi Tadka (Translated into English – Foreign Seasoning) and the food was excellent. That was followed by some amazing sweets at home brought for the occasion by the Patwardhans to celebrate two occasions, Ranjan’s and Manjiree’s first wedding anniversary and Raksha Bandan.

Later in the afternoon after a perfect siesta, a matinee show to see The Hundred Foot Journey with Manjiree and Ranjan. I shall write a review separately.

To cap it all, a family shopping spree at a super market store where some long overdue provisions were purchased to stock up the larder.

Posted in Family, Food, Movies | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments