Ripples of my Reflections

I think, therefore I write

Category: I OPINE (page 2 of 13)

Love vs Ego

One particular episode of the debate show “Neeya Naana” in Star Vijay TV is the reason behind this post. The debate was between a section of parents and daughters who disagreed over love marriage. The reasons of the disagreement were many, but there were some shocking revelations to me.

There was one parent who was of the opinion that honor killing is the right punishment for those who marry into another caste. I never thought a parent can honestly believe that his/her daughter would be better dead than marry into another caste. There was another parent whose arguments were torn apart by her daughter, but still wouldn’t agree that marrying for love could be a right thing. The daughter asked her mom – “If I commit suicide because I couldn’t marry the guy I love, is that fine with you?” And her mom’s reply was – “I would rather have you dead or remain a spinster and stay with me, than accept someone you choose.” Much ego? Shocking!

The debate had all the usual arguments from both sides and it was pretty much predictable that the parents’ ego and how the society will treat them if they accept love marriages, especially cross-caste ones, was the main problem. But the most shocking revelation for me was from the daughters who were arguing for their right to love and marry the guy they loved. At the end of the show, Gopinath, the host, asked them this – “All this said, will your parents be able to change your mind to abandon the one you love and marry you off to someone they choose?”

I expected the girls to say a big NO. However, except one, everyone answered YES, albeit hesitantly. So that’s how strong you are in your belief of love and love marriages? I agree there is an emotional blackmail quotient, there is respect for your parents, you don’t want to hurt your family etc. But what about that decision you took to be with someone for the rest of your life? If your decision is this weak, there is no mistake on your parents’ part to suspect that this is a passing cloud and think that love doesn’t last. You have no right to blame your parents for not trusting you and your choice when you cannot defend your choice even for an hour.

To be clear, I am not asking anyone to elope. I am not asking anyone to resort to absurd decisions like suicide. Can’t we stand our ground and fight for something we believe is our life, soul and breath? I agree there are some cases where eloping is the only option or else you will get killed. I agree there are some situations when you are forced to move out and marry on your own. Exceptions are always there but giving up before even trying? That was something that disturbed me after watching that show.

Having known love and faced all the usual drama that comes with a love marriage, I tell this from my personal experience – There is no excuse for abandoning a true love just because you were too cowardly to defend it. Also, there is no excuse to abandon your parents when there exists even a remote chance that you can stand there and fight for your choice of life, that someday they might understand. Do not give up of either of them so easily. They both are priceless and precious. We might not know the value now, but when you look back at your life, you better have the right regrets than the wrong ones that make you feel like you cannot live with yourself.

And parents, caste? ego? Please, we have argued enough on this. Let’s rise above these petty things, that’s all I can request for. If there is a reason for you opposing your child’s choice of love and spouse, it better be something real to do with the welfare of your child.

Until later 🙂

Name it what you will

I started this blog quite a few years back and blogging back then was about writing what you feel. That’s it. There were no expectations of you-scratch-my-back-and-I-will-scratch-yours. There was reciprocity, of course. But it never got in the way of us writing realistic posts and reading other posts and responding honestly. This world has evolved so much with the years and I am all for a positive change. But the culture that I see in this space now doesn’t look like my cup of cold coffee. Yeah, maybe it is not just the world of blogging changed, maybe I changed too. Maybe my perceptions changed too.

However, what bothers me more is the very same people who wrote brilliant posts are churning out the commercial rubbish, campaigning for brands that they had to google out to find what they stood for. I confess that I tried a couple of such posts and that is the worst thing I have ever done with respect to writing and I will never do it again. Not for a million dollars. If I want to make money out of writing, I’d publish a book or open a fully dedicated and commercial blog. I wouldn’t do this laying in commercial posts amidst personal stuff, thereby luring in your trusting readers to read the campaigns. And the height of all this is we don’t see that this is all just marketing strategy and the typical greed of making that extra few bucks is working out very well for the brand companies.

Also, have you noticed the topics that they choose for you to write? It is all hot topics which would make people go gaga over them. Like feminism. How many unrelated brands have beaten this same snake to death and we keep biting the bait. Or maybe we don’t care about it as long as we get traffic to our blog. Also, there are people who keep writing about how happy they are with their life, home, marraige, kids etc. every single month. I mean, why would you need to give a status update about your life on the internet. And to my dismay I found out that they are doing this charade to get back at their “enemies” and show themselves up in front of everyone. Sharing something about yourself is okay, but this? Get a life, please. That is one of the reasons why I stopped following and participating in the Action Replay theme where you talk about how your month was.

Anyway, where am I going with all this? Due to many factors, including me changing, I don’t recognize the friendship that I once formed anymore. I am still game for reading blogs that are worth it. I may or may not read, I may or may not comment, but you wouldn’t bother about it if you are writing for the right reason. Words, when put right, never fade away.

I have thought a lot about this even before but never got around to doing it because of the love I have for writing. But now I realize, I have been doing a great injustice in chugging on just to fit in, just to keep going as I used to. So I took a break for a few months from blogging, cleared my head, drew inspiration from like-minded bloggers and took a snap decision. I unpublished my blog page of Facebook and disabled comments on the site. That way, the only thing that will motivate me to write here as and when I want to, is the urge to write about something.

Until later 🙂

P.S: Thanks to Adit for getting me back on my feet and my inspiration. I know I am not quite there yet, but I will get there eventually.

Buying a flat – Demystifying the experience

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Image Source:indianpropertylawyers.com

Who doesn’t have the desire to own a home? Everyone desires a place that they can call it their own, be it lavish or utilitarian, splashed with aesthetics or a low-key utilitarian. I am no different. I have always wanted a place of my own. I very well knew that I would end up taking a hefty loan and the place wouldn’t really be “mine” till I pay off the loan. But this is an illusional world we live in. We are provided with EMIs which make us indebted on the stake of money which we are yet to earn. Anyway, I digress. I followed the world and clinched my desire by booking a flat. I had very little prior experience with respect to all this real estate, flat construction but there has to be a first time for everything. I started my learning process with this positive thought.

As much as I love our new place, decorating it up, settling in, relishing that I have reached my dream, there are certain ugly truths that I need to face and that’s what nudged me to write this post. In this process of getting it constructed and moving in, we have shed tears, blood, sweat and what not. There are certain dirty clauses that lay hidden in that construction, sale agreements that you sign with nothing more than a skim-read. Behind all those flattering words and smiles, there are certain cunning layers to that marketing guy trying hard to make you book a flat with his firm. There is a certain table left to be turned once you cross that threshold from being a prospective buyer to a trapped customer.

Here are some samples for you to ponder on:

1. Ever wondered how the director of the constructions firm is coming down to meet you just because you wanted to clear some doubts before you hand over that cheque? You might have even wondered whether you commanded that kind of a respect. I request you to stop right there and throw away that narcisstic thought. It is the cheque you might hand over afterwards that commands the respect, not you. Never you. Yes, there’s only a 50% chance that you might book the flat even after you get your discussions done, but that 50% chance is one that’s worth taking for them. If you don’t believe me, wait till you pay up almost 80-90% of the cost as the building progress and see how they behave when you want the interiors finished soon for the rest 10% of the cost. You will see quite a personality change!

2. Possession in xx months – the xx will vary depending on what state of construction the building is in. The maximum quote for a normal apartment at the initial stages of construction would be 14 months + 3 months of grace period. When they say this, stop them right there and read the sale-construction agreement again. There will be a clause that will save their asses from fire when they go beyond the grace period. All possible reasons will be cited such as materials unavailability or labour unavailability. This clause will be used as an excuse again and again till your ears bleed.
If you are smart enough to get a rental penalty clause inserted,(Many builders safely do not insert this clause, assuming we are that dumb. Not to blame them, some of us are.) then miraculously all their labour and material problems will be solved in a minute and your flat will be hurriedly made into a ready condition – one that is just enought to move in, leaving you to wonder about the quality of the work when done in such a hurry. Needless to mention, there will be an aftermath of such hurry where you have to deal with new problem every day. A new day and a new problem, Yay!

3. Quality – Shortly said, when you book the flat, you will promised out of the world quality, but you will get quality which will really make you want to go out of this world. Only way to get this right is to follow up like an obsessed maniac and look at the materials used, read up on internet and so on. You will become a civil engineer short of the educational degree.

4. “We will be completing this task in another ten days” – The most infamous phrase used by the builders. Never trust this excuse. The ten days will span across weeks, months and even over an year. If I had given my rental notice to vacate on the date promised to me, I would have been living on the roads. Do your planning and keep a buffer of minimum 1-2 months.

5. Amenities – This is a huge looting booth for the constructors. The amenities promised and the ones delivered hardly match up. For example, you will be promised a world-class roof-top swimming pool and you will be provided with a bath tub sized one which is too small that it can’t even be called a baby pool. Also,the amenities will not be constructed in the promised time frame but will be in progress even a year after you move in, however, we will expected to cough up the cost of the flat, inclusive of amenities, the moment you move in.

The list goes on…They say that there are good constructors who don’t loot us. I am yet to come across one. I agree that I only talk of the experience of closely witnessing a couple of flats getting constructed in the family and then getting my flat constructed. But believe me when I say, getting one flat constructed will give you enough picture about this. So what should we do about this?

For one, don’t believe a word they tell you when you are a prospective customer. Do your research. In spite of your diligence, there will be mess-ups and that’s life. But the more you do your research, the less ignorant you will be of the scams pulled on you. Before you book a flat, make sure you have the time and energy to closely follow up with the project. Be prepared to make that project your life for that span of time. You will have to think about it literally every waking moment and sometimes in your dreams too. I had many a reminders about things to be done for my place in my dreams. I also spent many sleepless nights pondering over lists to go through, check boxes to be ticked, things to buy and so many other things.

In spite of all this, don’t get shooed away from the dream of owning a place, if that’s what you want. Don’t get pushed into it by the societal pressure that you must own a place once you are at a certain age or stage in your life. If you want to own a place, venture into it well-prepared, armed with some prior research, some know-hows and a lot of energy. You will have a life experience that will teach you many things that you wouldn’t have dreamed of.

Until later 🙂

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s calling

I have been holding off on this book since I couldn’t imagine Rowling’s style of writing in any other way than the Harry Potter series. Being a huge HP fan, I didn’t want to be in a prejudiced state of mind when I read this. However, curiosity got the better of me as I started reading more reviews about this book and most of them rated the book above 3.5. And they were right, I like The Cuckoo’s calling to bits.

When I started the book, I immediately felt comfortable with the author’s writing style and wondered if it was my prejudiced knowledge of the author. But, as I read page after page, I realized that it is not so. This book was in a different league from the fantasy fiction of Harry Potter, it had a unique writing style that made me fall in love with it. The descriptions of characters, situations, places – everything kept me hooked to the book and that’s exactly what any reader would look for in a crime fiction. Cormoran Strike, the protagonist takes the reader through the case with ease and keeps us guessing what’s next.

When the famous model Lula Landry falls to her death under suspicious circumstances, none except her brother thinks there’s something fishy about her death. Even the rigorous rounds of police investigation concludes that it was a suicide. But there is a witness who overheard an argument seconds before Lula Landry fell and there’s a CCTV footage of two men running away from the scene of crime with their faces covered. These evidences are proven to be false or insignificant to the case in the police investigation. However, John Bristow, Lula Landry’s brother is not satisfied. He brings in Cormoran Strike, a war veteran resigned to private detective after his leg injury, to investigate the case further and find justice for his dead sister.

Was it indeed a suicide? Was Lula capable of going from perfectly happy to suicidal in a span of few hours? Was there a motive for someone to murder her? All these questions are strewn across the plot as Lula’s complicated familial and upbringing situations are analysed. The book effortlessly navigates through a detective’s analysis and keeps us guessing about all possibilities. However, I was a little disappointed about who turned out to be the criminal since this had been done and dusted a little too many times. The story could have been twisted into using a different leg but that opportunity is what I felt is lost towards the climax of the book. Also, the title of the book is derived from a very insignificant plot or phase of the story. It could have been more relevant and provoking.

Otherwise, The Cuckoo’s calling is an unputdownable book that is immensely enjoyable. It cost me my weekend for the most part as I started it and I was compelled to sit and complete this, instead of doing the household chores. I am planning on buying the sequel The Silkworm soon as I cannot wait to read more of Cormoran Strike and his investigation tactics.

My rating: 4/5

Until later 🙂

Forlorn beauty

I had written a post earlier about how we tend to forget what a marriage is beyond that wedding day or maybe once the honeymoon period is over. What pushed me to write that post was the number of people I met, who were once love-struck and couldn’t stay away from each other even for a minute yet turned into zombies living the routine once the wedding was over.

When I was writing that post, my thoughts ran to the marriages that we see in the elder generation, maybe consider a couple of generations back – Your grandparents. What about them? They never had a choice, for the most part. Their parents decided the groom/bride, the date, the location of the wedding and then how to live after the wedding too. All they were told was to do their job – which was to show up as told and live as told. Once the marriage was over, the man was to take care of his wife, procreate and continue to provide for the wife and kids for the rest of his life. While on the other hand, the woman went about the house, turning it into a home, satisfying the needs of the husband, and then the kids as they came along. Such was their life.

On the outside, it does look like a programmed life without any bugs – Even if there was ever one, the bug was quickly pushed aside with such deftness that there was never a second thought about how to live life. However, when I look closer, I see a different version than the one that we imagine their lives to be. Somewhere in between getting acquainted with a stranger and settling down in life with him/her, there blooms a sweet romance. They wouldn’t call that romance and would rather call that understanding and fulfilling one’s duties. However, I would insist on calling that romance to do justice to what they manage to build in the span of their years together.

For the sake of painting a better picture, I am giving an example here – Adit’s maternal grandparents. They had a beautiful marriage of 60+ years (I am not sure of the exact number) until recently when grandpa passed away. I have witnessed their relationship up close, even if it was only for a few months. I still cannot comprehend the enormity of what they shared. In all those years of getting to know each other and forming a routine, they had added a little more care and respect all along the way. The understanding that comes with knowing how he likes the food and the respect that come with what she needs to run the household without being told explicitly. They followed an impeccable discipline which they passed onto their 4 kids. Towards the last few years of his life, Grandpa’s memory started failing him and he had turned into a child who would ask the same question over and over. And grandma would answer the question every single time, with the same smile on her face and in the same soft tone as she always does. When he forgot things like his food and medicine timings, she cared for him as she would for an infant. When he threw silly tantrums about the clock not working or the TV behaving weirdly, she patiently told him that she will get them repaired and she did. Every single time.

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When you see such people, it just reinstates the faith in marriage even for a person who doesn’t quite believe in the institution of marriage. They have been through it all, seen it all, and lived it all. Together. When a man is 60 years old and in a marriage, we do the Sashtiapthapoorthi*  to celebrate their time together. But would any amount of celebration do justice for a marriage that has lived for 60 years? I have often wondered why the celebration is centered around the man’s age rather than the age of the marriage he is in. Their marriage spoke volumes of trust and faith you could have in your spouse. The mutual respect shines through all those years, unblemished. Witnessing this kind of a relationship which shines with love that was never acknowledged by anyone left me in wonder. When they, who had no choice about their life partner, built such a beautiful marriage, why are we struggling to hold up a relationship, when we have all the choices in the world? Why is it that couples of this generation stand in line at family courts, when they were the ones who chose their spouses?

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Marriages live beyond the lives of the people involved and tell their tales. Even after grandpa passed away, grandma lives in that same house with his memory for company, refusing her children’s requests to come live with them. The forlorn beauty that meets me every time I visit grandma and see the garlanded picture of grandpa is something that inspired me to write this post. And the same melody I hear from their silent love is what inspires me to love more and live more.

*Sashtiapthapoorthi is a matrimonial celebration when the man reaches 60 years old. The base for this tradition is to revive the memories and taste of the good old days for the old couple when they started their marriage because with time, they get used to living for their kids than for themselves.

Until later 🙂

Image Credits: All the images used were picked up from Google search
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