Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marriage, a catalyst of change

So, you want to change the world, eh? What bothers you my friends? Does the sight of poor, hungry people, dirty rags barely concealing their orifices, bite your conscience before you take a bite of your Chicken Lollypops? Or does the news of a policeman taking bribe boils your blood? Oho, you hate corruption and have been trying your best to wash it down the drain by lighting candles, the fiery words on your Tommy Hilfiger T shirts burning bright in the candlelight. Hunger strikes, blogs, speeches, tweets and genuine anger in some cases---all these require a certain fire in your belly, arising out of hunger for either food or fame, but nevertheless pressing enough to catapult one to an unbelievable degree of hyper activity as demonstrated by our countrymen over the last year or so.                

I am however lucky enough to be fattened by a reasonably paid job which takes care of my ever expanding girth. So however much I try, I cannot bring myself to realize the curse of hunger. And I am too lazy to roam around with candles in my hands, and burning ones at that. Moreover, an inborn cynical outlook, nurtured by an unusual interest in history, has rendered me incapable of hating either the government or the reformers. But insignificant though it may sound, I too have an idea, a dream.

Imagine an Indian society wherein matrimonial ads stop looking for brides/bridegrooms belonging only to the same religion/caste. For a change, let’s imagine that the Hindus don’t think twice before marrying a Muslim, the Muslims start tapping the Christian reserves, the Christians start dancing bhangra with their Sikh relatives and so on. Imagine a Brahmin not bothering to check the caste before solemnizing a marriage, a Gujarati not frothing in his mouth after hearing his son’s humble wish to marry a Tamil or a Tamil not using coconut cooking oil because his Bihari in laws are coming for dinner. Such cases do happen, but are exceptions rather than the norm. What if we Indians finally realize that marriage is between two individuals and everything else is a mere afterthought?

Now you may ask-What will be the great change if inter caste/religious marriage becomes as popular as Kolaveri Di? Can’t you see fellas, our prejudices will melt away between sweet nothings and tentative kisses on the first night itself. Will someone, however sinister he is, be able to incite hatred in a father’s mind against his children’s mother? When one’s grandson speaks for the first time, will the language matter? Will one be able to bash up North Indian cab drivers if his sister is happily married to a Bihari? Nah, I don’t think so.

This might seem like a weird idea, but it will close the gaps faster than reservations and laws, manifestos and TV debates. It will be much easier to unlock the doors we have created around each of us if we know where the lock is. There is no touch like the human touch.

Easier said than done—yes, agreed. But you asked me to dream and I have obliged. Now that the dream is over, the sweet taste of it lingers in my mouth and I want to taste it for real.

Our time starts now..

Friday, April 6, 2012

Time, an insomniac and his future wife

X is a funny guy. His favorite pastime is to dive into the molasses of his memory and analyze his decisions, to find fault in each of them and then to decide contentedly that he had been utterly wrong every time and would decide upon a completely different course of action if the situation presents itself again. Being a fickle minded chap and already in his mid thirties he has still got a lot of decisions to ponder upon. Till now, through undaunted concentration spreading over a number of sleepless nights, he has, to his utter delight, successfully leveled most of his past decisions stupid. Some were easy to dismiss, like visits to a certain ice cream parlor, not once, but innumerable times, when ice cream was the last thing on his mind, which led to twenty four hour phone calls, with occasional but inevitable breaks and finally tears and more solitude. X could easily look back and say that there was something wrong in that ice cream shop and it was a mistake to go there. Some decisions, however, couldn’t be dismissed so easily, there were inherent contradictions. Like becoming an atheist first and then turning into a believer some years later after realizing the fact that religious belief and identity in our society are like roads and potholes, you simply cannot separate one from the other.

No one knows why X is so fond of losing his sleep over such inconsequential whims. One would think that he is waiting for a time machine which will take him back and give him another go at everything, even condemning his fresh set of decisions with relish in the friendly silence of his rented apartment.

Now X has taken another decision, a momentous one at that. He is going to marry, not very shortly though. The world may end this year and he has a lot of thinking to do. If the world survives, then next year would be ideal, preferably a cold November day, with a little rain of course.

He doesn’t know it yet, but his life partner will be a charming lady Y. She is quite unlike X, sleeps like a cog every night, doesn’t think about the past, or for that matter the future. She doesn’t allow old memories to spread their web inside her head. She takes few decisions and sticks by them. One of these will be her ‘Yes’ to X. And no, the world won’t end this December. I can already feel the suspense in the air, will X regret this decision too after a few years? Or will X start sleeping again? Will Y start doubting her decisions for the first time after spending a few days with X? I know the answers of course, but won’t tell, no, not even a single word.

How do I know? Because I am the keeper of the ineluctable destinies of all of you, the connector of dreams and memories, hope and knowledge. I am time. Someone like X, who was tormented by his memories every now and then, wrote about me in despair-
Time marches, memory stays
Torturing silently the rest of our days..