If only I had known

That day was the happiest of my life for years to come, but I didn’t realize that.  Had I known, I would have stayed in it a little longer, I would have written down every moment of it to cherish them again and again. Now, when I think of asking for once more, I become aware that I have lost it beyond recovery.  The minds involved and the situations would never be right for the infinite permutations and combinations that time is going to try.

 

PS: Random thoughts after reading ‘The museum of Innocence’.

Benevolence

The ‘konna’ trees bathed in its yellow flowers is a sight charming to the person weary of the summer heat. It’s nothing short of benevolence from nature towards humans. And a promise that earth can still recover from the damage done, if humans slow down a bit.

(These photos were clicked by me during my last visit to my hometown Haripad. Kerala is baking in summer heat with daytime temperatures touching 38°C already. People have started installing A/Cs in homes, which I think will put us in a vicious circle of greenhouse​ gas emission.)

Finding his way

It seemed like a dream to him. He is on the way to somewhere. There are demons all over his way, spewing noxious fumes. None of them attacked him, except the ones behind him, who are shrieking at him to get out of their way. They all seem to be in a hurry to reach somewhere, perhaps to their next kills. The path ahead is only sparingly visible as the smoke has begun to engulf everything. The harsh sun is not able to penetrate to the bottom, but it’s heat is. A hot wind is blowing, baking his skin. He wants to slip through the tiny gap that opened up, but his legs are heavy as if they are shackled. 

 Honking of the taxi driver behind woke Mr Walter Mitty from one of his daydreams. He’s on his way to his office. So much negativity to start the day with!

And that is all that love’s about

What choice does today’s youth have, than to love the one pointed to by the society, to lose their real love for the fear of the system?

In the ancient times, caste system made perfect sense. The society was divided based on profession. So a potter marries a potter, a merchant’s daughter marries another merchant, a prince marries a princess. And each caste had its role to play in the society for its success. 

Come to present. First of all, the fact that a section called ‘engineers’ exists does not make much sense to the society other than bringing in some foreign exchange to the country. I believe this income would have come all the same , had they followed their real interests. But something that assured success and approval in the community was what the society asked you to take.The other use is to become the subject of the relatives’ boast: “our kid is a successful engineer at a top MNC”. Even at the heights of success in others’ eyes, the only person searching for that needle if happiness in the mayhem of the world would be the aforementioned engineer.

At the brink of turning into a lunatic, to make life a bit bearable, the engineer tries to find a match of their choice. Engineer marries an engineer. With hands to wipe each other’s tears, the world would be left with two less unhappy people. See, the engineer is only heeding the ancestral rule of ‘marry from same profession’. But alas! anybody who is somebody is an engineer.

Does the matching algorithms of the engineer’s brains understand the boundary conditions imposed on it by the church, mosque or the temple? The poor thing finds a pick, solely based on the criterion of ensuring the continuity of their lineage. Lucky are those, whose lot fell on a person of the same religion, if not the same caste. For others, it’s end of the story.

Being a pessimist

They say it’s too late to be a pessimist. But sometimes I wanted to be a pessimist. I always felt that I am too pessimistic about things which I should be optimistic about and also the other way round. Especially being an electronics engineer myself, I need to believe that all the things that can go wrong will eventually go wrong. I need to suspect that every single bit that I flip, every single switch that I use, every trifle I touch can come back to me as the failure which I need to spend days to debug. But being an optimist is easy here. As soon as I see the word “PASS”at the end of the log file, I happily close the window and move on to the pleasing but guilt-ridden procrastination zone. Only when something real comes up, I go back and check what was it about that passing test, was it a false pass? Then panic stricken, I check and find out things. It’s similar to finishing a whole textbook in the night before the exam. 

But then, my optimism and easy going attitude must have helped me reach this far. I always get this feedback from my peers that I am ‘cool under pressure’. I am anything but that. My innards will be in a turmoil, but I keep telling myself that it is not my problem to fix. If at all it’s my duty to fix, I tell myself that I have some days to fix it, not hours like they say. Once you are back to normal, then it is much easier to solve problems. 

Dowry system in India: What I see

As a brother to two younger sisters, I was naturally against dowry system prevailing in Kerala. But one day it dawned upon me that if the practice had to be in place for so long time, there must be some logic behind it. And thinking from the boy’s perspective, I need to find some positive points 🙂

Definitely I am against bargaining for dowry- the groom’s party going to the prospective bride’s house, the elder’s talking and agreeing upon a sum, and leaving, extinguishing all happiness from the girl’s parents’mind.

To a certain extent, the dowry system fits in the current scenario. The central concept is that the girl is sent away from the home, having no more rights to the properties of her parents. Whatever share of the ancestral wealth she has right to, is paid off to her as dowry. The menfolk in the family will have the right to the family house and properties. Whatever the brother lost through spending for the marriage should come back to him as sole right to family wealth. When it’s his chance to marry a girl, he wouldn’t be left without a place to stay. Everyone is happy.

What I feel is that this system would have been fair, unless for one thing: greed. Men thinking of getting as much as possible during this once in a lifetime opportunity, mothers planning to boast about how much her son got as dowry, and fathers planning to make the wedding grand using the dowry money, ruined the system. The ‘pompous wedding earns more respect in society’ is ages behind thinking. The notion that marriage is the biggest business deal in a boy’s life, has to change. Be a gentleman, ask only for the girl. Things to satisfy one’s needs will follow, not necessarily as kind.

Karnan (Book Review)

Karna is the most misunderstood character in the epics and this book brings that into light. Just like how a single movie ‘Oru Vadakkan Veeragaadha’ changed the people’s outlook about ‘Chandu’, ‘Karnan’ is able to glorify Karna. Karna was one man against the world and he emerges victorious through his death.
Karna’s birth is something hard to believe. Saint Durvasavu advices ‘devahuthi mantra’ to Kunthi. She tests it by praying to Sun god, who instantly appears before her and gives her a son and soon disappears. What is the purpose of this mantra if its only result is that it creates such ‘bastards’, or else puts the mother into lifelong humiliation. How many women would have Durvasavu explained this mantra to? Nobody knows. As MT Vasudevan Nair thinks, in the age of mortals, this is just the act of having an illicit child, and getting rid of him in the river. But the story is not set in the 21st century, so we dont have to think so deep. Just believe that this can happen.
Though born as the eldest pandava, Karna is brought-up by a charioteer family. He suffers humiliation at every point from people for this. He also ends up in trouble for lying to saint Durvasavu about his caste. Karna’s real lineage is revealed in the extraordinary talents that he exhibits right from childhood. He trains hard to become an archer, after being rejected by Dronacharya on the grounds of his inferior caste.
Duryodhana becomes a good friend of Karna and gives him the kingdom of ‘Anga’. Though he wanted to use Karna to defeat the Pandavas, in many instances in the story, we feel his friendship to be selfless.
Arjuna is portrayed in many places as swaying from ethics, while Karna holds on to his values even in his dying moments. When Draupadi is stripped in the Hastinapur palace, Karna was the only one in Kaurava side to oppose it. Whereas Karna is steadfast to moral principles, be it when Indra comes in disguise to as his Armour as alms, or while letting go Bheema missing an opportunity to kill him to fulfil the promise he had given to Kunthi before the Kurukshethra war.
Pandavas may have suffered disgrace, but it is all their own making. It is Yudhishtira himself who pawned Draupadi in the game of gambling. They had to go for exile because they lost, its all part of the game. Atleast in this book, I feel pity for Pandavas for being the puppets at the hand of Draupadi, avenging the dishonour she went through because of their own deeds.
Arjuna, does he hesitate a second before beheading the sons of Karna, or before aiming at Karna who was unarmed and trying to get out his chariot stuck in clay.
Krishna plays a skilled diplomat when, before the war he tries to bring Karna to their side by letting him know of his original family. And finally he becomes an opportunist when he shirks his promise to not touch weapons in the war, but to just charioteer Arjuna. There are times when even gods commit deeds that are inferior to that of mere mortals.

There are lot of morals to take away from this story. The major one being that even the most just man can become opportunist, deal with them with caution. Letting go in this world for the glory of it- is it worth it? Is there a life after death where we get rewarded for all our deeds on earth? If you think so, you are chained by the belief.