Are we changing??

culture 2There seems to be a new trend in advertising. In the past few days, I saw a lot of advertisements which try to show a changed Indian social fabric.Things like celebrating the second marriage of a woman with a child, a dutiful wife who is also her husband’s boss and gives him overtime duty, a mother in law calling her daughter in law “hot!” when the husband is cringing at her choice of clothes and so on….

These sort of ads would not probably have seen the light of the day say, a few years ago. But, are they actually suggesting change and acceptability or are they just a part of the parallel realities that exist in India ?

I came upon this term in a lecture that I had heard a few days ago, which explained the concept. It seems that whenever we Indians learn of a new concept, a new change or there has been a debunking of some myth or superstition, Indians seem to be the first to actually read, see, hear or accept the fact. But on one condition– we feel that it is something that others have to follow and accept, and we can choose to ignore.

Not convinced? I can give you a few examples…

Lets start with something simple.

From the time Bollywood has come into existence, we have seen that the eternal concept of every film (“with a difference”) is boy meets girl, girl and boy fall in love, girl’s father almost always turns villian, then everything goes right and in the end,we have a big fat Indian wedding. We throng theaters to watch this fare every friday… kids, parents, grandparents, uncles , aunts, etc. etc… the name of family entertainment! Cut to real life, we have seen a horrific number of honor killings in the past few years for the same cause. Love marriages are still big time taboo subjects. Parents as well as the couple are embarrassed while accepting that theirs was a ‘love’ match (what we read in chicklit about marriages in metros being mostly based on love do not hold true in semi urban India).

The Saas bahu story. This probably works the other way round! Though we know and see around us that there are a lot many saas bahus living in harmony and peace, we still choose to propagate the idea that the two cannot gel at all. Probably Ekta Kapoor takes credit for feeding us the concept in the past decade. Every working woman probably knows the importance of having a supportive mother in law at home. Yes, there are a few hitches and small tiffs, but which close relationship would not have them??? Have we never had abominable fights with our parents, friends or spouses?? So what’s special about this relationship that it should make serial themes ???Why not “Kyunki papa bhi kabhi bete the”??.

The death of Narendra Dhabolkar. He  was a doctor, social worker and activist rooting for the enactment of anti superstition law. He was shot dead because the act that he was supporting  was apparently anti hindu– whatever that means! On the one hand, we are praising the fact that India is a scientific super power which can produce nuclear bombs, and on the other, shooting down people who are actually making the masses move towards that goal.

I have seen people who speak about gender equality making their daughters sit outside their houses during menstruation (this is a custom by the way.. where the girl is considered impure due to menstruation and hence cannot touch anyone, lest they turn impure.. Then suddenly on day three of menstruation, just by the act of taking bath they become pure again!!). Stupid, but true!

We talk about the great Indian hospitality. In reality, we assault foreign tourists, charge starving, stranded piligrims in Uttrarkashi Rs. 500 for a pack of parle G biscuits, and restrict the same hospitality when the guest turns out to be someone from a lower caste

The list goes on and on.

So, it would seem to me that we are people who see, and realize the mistakes we make, but choose to rationalize and live with the faults.Like the proverbial ostrich which buries its head in the sand. That makes me sad.

Can we ever change??? Or will the few who actually do,be termed “rebels”?? Well, good Indians do not rebel- they obey and suffer in silence! Another parallel reality!

Diversity tree hands pattern


well being…



Whenever I think well being, my mind flips through to the articles of glossies like Femina, Cosmo, or Filmfare(which I would like to pretend I do not read, but secretly love to!!), supplements of sunday newspapers or face book articles of extremely slim, highly attractive, non sweaty, clean scrubbed women wearing expensive sweat shirts talking about how early morning energizes them, the benefits of green tea, yoga, their conversations with God and a calm invigorating environment at home. In short, Zen!!

In comparison, my mornings begin with chaos, the day proceeds in chaos and I crash land on my bed at nights without realizing that I fell asleep in the middle of a bed time story telling session! The few days that I actually make up my mind to go for a walk ( after checking my weight for the umpteenth time to see whether climbing on the weighing scale constitutes exercise enough to lose flab), I do not remotely resemble the person whom I see in the magazines. I am half dead, wearing unmatched clothes(really, its too much trouble to look for color coordinated clothes when you are still half asleep), bleary eyed and waiting for an excuse to creep back into my warm inviting bed!!

And do I feel good after this early morning jaunt?? Most times, I have to go through multiple cups of coffee all day and controls yawns with great difficulty in front of my patients– when you do that, your eyes well up with tears– most of my patients probably think that my eyes welled in sympathy to their problems! And I come back home cross, waiting to sleep and almost bite anyone who tries to keep me up late!! You see, I have to exercise again, next morn!

I kept thinking that I was probably an anomaly of the species. How was it possible that so many people got it right, but I did not? But well, what the heck, even anomalies have a right to well being, don’t you think?. So I got round thinking up my own plans to ensure my well being, and found that the mantras were actually quite simple!

For a change, I realized that I was at a place in life where I could actually do what I wanted to do! No school time disciplines, no college exams, no deadlines to finish my thesis, no boyfriends(or newly married husband) that I had to take trouble to impress, no immediate financial worries….Already been there, done that!These were real blessings which had been forgotten. Just remembering them makes me feel good.

Indira Nooyi’s article on a working mother’s guilt struck a cord. Guilt was always my best chum. Unnecessary for most part, but ever present! Well, the fact that others who seem to have it all also suffer the same guilt, it sort of becomes a group thing. It is okay to live with it and crib. That makes me feel well.


The very thought that my daughter wants me back home at the end of the day, the tight warm hugs that my kids give me, the fun that we have have every night when we snuggle and read stories, the fun I have when my husband takes me out impromptu on a long drive, the pleasure on my son’s face when he asks for a second helping of something that I have cribbed and cooked for him.. these make me feel nice.

Weekends with a good read.. make me feel more energized.

Work well done, small victories against a patient’s illness, the feeling I get when one of my patients passes an important exam, lands up with a great job, comes with his bride…to thank my effort… these give me a warm sensation inside.

Finally the fact that I am living and kicking, my family safe and healthy– makes me extremely grateful.

Though there are many things going wrong in the world around us today, probably, these are the small things that keep us humans going, hoping and living. Hope all of us get to appreciate such small pleasures for what they give us.WELL BEING!(without the green tea and sweatshirts).