Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The marriage conundrum

Marriages are made in heaven and with the advent of the marriage season in Delhi, the city is snowballed with traffic jams, loud music, blocked roads and processions made up of heavily dressed people. Not criticising the wedding ceremony per se, all weddings are crazy, its a licence for people to showoff as much as they can, from dresses and food to the loudest music and fattest aunty.
Somehow the traditions involved in a typical Hindu wedding are what irk me the most (I don't know about other weddings so pardon me, but I am pretty sure that almost all types of weddings come with their own package of ancient redundant activities garbed in veil of 'tradition'). Coming back to a Hindu wedding, the "wedding" starts when a local priest is called on to determine the best possible moment and day to get married, so instead of choosing a day that will be convenient to everyone and the bride and groom (say a weekend or some holiday maybe?), an outlandish day right smack in the middle of the most important season of exams or audits or some tournament is chosen. Then with a flourish the priest will decide that at exactly 4: 47 in the morning the wedding ceremony should commence, the pheras in the case of most Hindus. So the swollen eyed people, crappy children and pitiful bride groom gather around a pyre while the priest recites mantras and gives his stamp of approval. Well, it makes perfect sense, why should the bride and the groom have a say in their wedding? The priest is the most important entity apparently and he will decide. Maybe he should decide the timing of the bowel movements as well, makes for better digestion that just going and shitting at any random moment. Doesn't it?
Then there is the roka or the engagement ceremony. Its a party with the exchange of rings and its fine. No nonsense (usually), the couple exchanges rings and you are done. Go dance, have a ball, be happy, you are getting married!
One thing that stabs a knife right into my feminist heart is the tradition (for a lack of a better word) where after the wedding ceremony, the poor girl has to leave her parent's house and go to the groom's house. Ermmm Shouldn't the couple go to their own house? Why should the poor girl be treated like an object that should be exchanged while the smug groom looks on? Why cant this be a marriage between two people rather than a complicated handing over ceremony of the daughter? This beats me.
And the various other things that keep happening, from summoning distant relatives who feel obliged to give some sort of token for their presence, it doesn't matter that the couple hasn't really heard of this aunty who is the maasi of the bride's father's sister husband, they have to come and perform some elaborate act in front of the pyre for the mere fact that they are related.
Why cant a wedding ceremony be without all this fuss? It is a beautiful day to be celebrated by the couple and their family, leave it at that. Get married at a convenient time, do away with the things that waste time. Sign a contract and be legally married and party for two days or seven, its your wish.
Two people are getting married. Get over it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim) 1962

Director: Francois Truffaut
Jules et Jim is considered one of the best works of the French New Wave cinema. Giving a great importance to cinematography, the importance of the camera in films is highlighted. Due to monetary and ideological reasons, the departure from elaborate sets and costumes is very much evident as in every other new wave film; real locations and outdoors are of great importance.
Jules et Jim employs many innovative techniques in the film which still now inspire and affect many filmmakers and their styles. With the use of jump cuts, panning shots and dolly Truffaut makes the narration fast paced and exhilarating as the story speeds along 25 years of the friendship. He employs the use of freeze frames which are almost indecipherable and any cinephile would notice this influence in a Scorsese or a Tarantino film.
Another interesting aspect is the use of archival footage and snapshots that deliberately move the art of filmmaking away from the classical Hollywood technique of classified shots and direction. Camera movement in the film is also very obvious in many scenes where the viewer can actually make out the camera moving as the frame changes on screen.
As the story is set in the time from the beginning of World War 1 to the rise of Hitler, feminism is a strong motif in the film throughout, with the character of Catherine defying all traditional “values” of being a woman with her free spirit and her beliefs. There is a scene in the film where Jules talks about how a woman is always second to a man and is always a ‘slut’ and Catherine retaliates by jumping into the river before asking Jim to protest against Jules’ views.
Hers is the most interesting character and the catalyst of all events. She knows she can control men around her and does that to her enjoyment. Sometimes she is emotionally drawn to someone while other times declares herself ‘heartless’. Had she existed today, she would challenged every woman around her, a dynamic and excitable woman, Catherine with her shades of grey and a flawed moral judgement still doesn’t let the audience hate her.
Jules on the other hand is the image of an ideal lover, ever faithful, as a friend and as a husband, he understand the needs of his wife and his best friend and even the people around him that he is ready to sacrifice his happiness for them. An adjusting character that finds happiness in every situation and doesn’t really question much around him.
Jim is a stronger version of Jules who values his friendship with Jules a lot. He shares his interests with Jules and together they are formidable partnership which cannot be destroyed by anything or anyone. They share their thoughts, secrets and lives. Jim is one person who develops the most in the film, challenging what everyone does and his role in things, finally changing himself.
The real World and the film:
As the world around them changes, Europe is declining into a state of war with World War 1 and the rise of Hitler, the film looks at it from the point of view of the three characters and their relationship which stands the test of the Great War despite them being from enemy countries.
The lives around them change, people mature, the way of living is changing following this, their dynamics also change as their personality adapts to everything around them.

A scene in the film has them discuss how women are now wearing shorter skirts and cut their hair short much to the disdain of married soldiers and how French wine is better than German beer. Theirs is a strong influence of French culture and a foreigner’s view is also employed with Jules being an Austrian in the film. France is looked upon as an open society with a great stress upon leisure and how the war and circumstances change that for people who start looking upon the life seriously and as the rise of Hitler is a tragic turn for the world, the film also takes a tragic turn in the end.

Friday, June 7, 2013

MBA entrances: Do they actually test you or your rote learning skills?

A year and a half ago I tried preparing for an MBA entrance exam mostly because I was bored and was looking for avenues other than engineering and partially because I found the tests intriguing, the test of your English ability, the analytical and logical ones and all. So I joined an institute with some of my classmates and soon enough I was completely disillusioned and left it after a month.

I have always had a romantic view of examinations. They test you on what you know, what you have learnt and liked. I never liked rote learning and the obtuse importance placed on them by every institution of learning. I have always read my books with great joy and loved learning from them, from genetics and particle physics in school to reading Shakespeare and renaissance history, maybe because I had such teachers who placed more importance on what I have learnt and grasped rather than what I could vomit, it had always been a pleasurable experience.

So when I sat for my first MBA coaching class, the teacher gave us an English ability test, asking us to fill in the blanks and choose synonyms for certain words. Good enough and a very good test at that. The test will check how much you have learnt in all your years of education, if you are a good reader, do you read good publications and do you use those words in your daily vocabulary. A very good test of your abilities and if you lack in something, you will go and read some more or engage in debates and conversations that improve your vocabulary. I was one of the top scorers of the class and was very happy; I knew I was on the right track being a book-whore (for a want of a better word). Then the teacher started discussing the answers and techniques and it didn’t really sound all that right, he wanted us to start mugging up words? What happened to learning words the good old way? What happened to using them in your day to day life? And why were obscure difficult sounding words a part of the book? And if that wasn’t strange enough, a week later all the vomiting types started scoring really well. They had to. They had the stuff they could vomit out; learn the words and their meaning forget about usage or anything else. That is not important, right? And so this person who couldn’t even pronounce “comb” and “Las Vegas” and whose grammar was something right out of class 5 was getting really good marks. I am not against her knowing the answers but she should have known them the right way and not by rote learning. The whole process of learning just gets lost in it.

Take a math or logical reasoning class. Ideally such questions test your ability to “logically reason”. The word is simple enough but here we were given set formulae and patterns. If this kind of question comes, do this or if this comes apply this formula. What happened to us actually thinking? Why were we made to think in a robotic fashion?

I am pretty sure when the MBA entrance tests were conceived this wasn’t on their minds, they actually
wanted to test a student for what he is. Is he really a manager material? You can get parrots anywhere but a manager is someone who has this quality in built or a talent enough to build it in himself and stand out. I know a person who is amazing in all of these. She has what it takes, an ideal MBA candidate if there ever were. She has a great abundance of knowledge and a sharp brain to learn. Wouldn’t you want someone like that for your company?

I decided to go for a GRE exam and in the language skills section I found my peace. They actually tested my usage and not my mugging up abilities. I loved it. I screamed out for joy and it was bliss. THAT is an exam. And then I found my calling in mass communication. Heaven.

As the MBA entrance results came out, I was less than surprised that many rote learners got great scores but happy for some of my friends who cracked those exams because I know they deserved it, they are made for the program and maybe in an ideal world, a world where your actual knowledge is tested and not your mugging up skills, they would be in better IIMs but wherever they are, they should know that they deserve it hundred percent if not more.

Oh and the ones who rote-learned their way to B schools, All the best. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I LOVE this song!!!!

Because I absolutely LOVE this song and have been playing it on a loop and I just HAD to post it!!! <3 nbsp="">

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Consumerism: How suddenly we need a lot of things to survive

John Berger, in his documentary, “Ways of seeing” talks about the publicity image. How an advertisement and the items and models depicted in it create a sense of envy in us that tugs at us and makes us feel incomplete without that particular item. How owning that one piece of item will make life so much better and every problem will be solved.

I am a victim of this.

As I sit around making a shopping list for myself, I suddenly realised how many unnecessary items I have on the list and how each one has its own reason for being that one infallible object that I absolutely NEED to buy. I am plagued by a need that all of us can identify with; I want to buy that perfect shade of gloss and get a facial done because I feel that is the only think to looking absolutely gorgeous. A new season means I want to buy new shoes and clothes because they will make me happy and feel better. If I don’t feel like going to work or to exercise, buy new accessories and you are good to go. For me, new things and items and shopping in general is associated with a whole change in life. I feel new, I might look the same to the other person yet I love it. I am motivated to work more and somehow, these materialistic things make much more sense than anything else.

I don’t know if this is right or wrong. Am I complete victim of a consumer society or the things that I buy are actually what I need. I try to think of the million beauty products that are marketed every day and then of the home remedies that my mother lists for me. In an ideal environment home remedies would work wonders, but now we live in a world where you have an uncontrolled amount of pollution, you are stressed, hardly have time for anything and hardly anything is pure and unpolluted. You can try using a neem leaf to clear your skin but as I have been hopping from one city to another in India, you won’t really find neem leaves in abundance and even if you do, they are so badly damaged with pesticides and pollution that their natural essence has already been ruined. Imagine rubbing neem leaf on your skin and suffering from a bad rash. Been there, done that. As with Aloe Vera, a plant every herbal skin expert swears by and yet when I applied it to my skin, I was itchy all over. And natural haldi and natural sandal paste, tried all and been hurt very badly. BB cream and bit of highlighter and bronzer and I have the perfect skin to go.

I am not propagating the use of chemicals on the face but on a personal level and with really horrible experiences somehow, I feel that with the damage that has been done to the environment and as work increases and one person is forced to do the work of ten, we are suddenly in need of many things that in the past would have been a luxury or a sheer stupidity.
There are many people who say that a phone is just to make calls and yet imagine yourself without your smart phones; they are your own personal computers within your reach. I have access to the internet all the time, I can troubleshoot work problems or a make changes on my project, indulge my hobby of photography, read a book, stay in touch with my overseas friends, check and reply to email, make a shopping list shop online, be within deadlines and in general be a lot more useful to everyone around me. So, yes, I feel they are pretty useful, we travel a lot and there are times when we have an emergency to attend to or a sudden submission has to be made and to be honest these emergencies and sudden submissions happen a lot with everyone, we are after all juggling work which was done by ten people in the past.

I am not passing a judgment on consumerism. There are many items which I feel are not really useful, packaged fruit juices for instance or fried chips. But then again, these are all our personal choices and here a conundrum lies, where exactly do our personal choices come in? Are we capable enough of thinking for ourselves or do we have our peer group, our parents and now advertisements telling us what to buy? This is an aspect of consumerism which I detest. If a person makes an informed decision to buy something on their own, there is no harm to it, he might actually be in need of the thing but with the world being as manipulative as it is, we hardly have anyone thinking for himself. Music is sold because the popular person in the college likes it and I need to buy it to seem cool enough, that dress looked good on her and it will on me too, I absolutely NEED to have that GUCCI bag, well because it is GUCCI and so on and so forth.

We are in this constant battle between our actual mind and the thoughts that are put in us. We might not even know it and we are controlled. Consumerism on its own is not dangerous but consumerism of our thoughts is. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My parent's love story: Celebrating 25 years

He was 21 when he joined the Indian Army. After four years slogging in an engineering college, he was now an officer of the Indian Army. Young, enthusiastic and free from all academic pressure. The army training at Dehradun was intense, from learning modern warfare to fitness, learning how to be an officer, surviving and keeping the morale high, he did it all.
It was after two years of serving in the army when his friend, a fellow officer was to get married and the two best friends came to Ghaziabad, a small town near Delhi for the celebrations.
It was here that he first saw her, she was the bride's best friend, standing next to her at the engagement ceremony. At that time his parents were already looking for a match for him, he was now 23, a Captain in the Indian Army, tall, rugged and strangely handsome.
She was 21, a lecturer in a university, from an academic background. Fair with thick wavy hair and large almond eyes, she caught and managed to keep his attention throughout the wedding ceremony and a day later he tentatively approached his best friend's wife. Those were the times when asking a girl out would have raised many eyebrows and he didn't want to lose this one girl.
The new bride caught hold of her friend and told her of this young officer's interest in her, she was shell shocked. Her father was the terror of the locality and she kept rethinking scenarios in her head and replaying the whole wedding thinking she had not made and gesture to catch his attention, she was scared that her father would bury her alive. She told her friend the same thing and asked her to tell the young man to not try to contact her again.
A week went by with no contact and she was relieved. They were hosting a dinner for the newly weds and here, the bride told her parents about this young man. He didn't want to approach her in any way that would seem indecent and she gave them his home address and number. Soon, her father went to meet the officer's parents and was back within a day. He was enamoured. They were a large family of 7 kids with him being the second youngest. He was impressed by the young man's way of approaching his daughter and decided to   talk to them about marriage.
The young man was pretty smart, hitting right at the elders. He just had to impress the girl.
The first day he went for evening tea to her house, this was the first time he was to meet her. Her two younger sister's were eagerly waiting at the gates when this tall and thin man zoomed in on his motorcycle. They were mildly impressed but they wanted to see him. She was more scared than impressed and when he sat down on the sofa and she came out to talk , she was surprised to see just how thin he actually was. Coming from a Punjabi family she had never seen any man who wasn't fair and fairly heavy with a pot belly and here was this officer who had turned dark from training outdoor and well, he was very thin and tall with a very bad dressing sense. But she decided to give him a try. He was very intelligent, the way he spoke about things, his knowledge on everything and his ideas, they were so ahead of their time that she could not just ignore him and now even her parents were on his side, sly.
They decided to go out on dates and he would come to pick her up on his bike and her two younger sister's would sit behind him, leaving her alone and go for rides. He was forming a bind with her family and was catching her attention. On their first date she realised how little he actually ate, the whole morning they travelled around Delhi, watching movies and driving when during late afternoon he finally asked her if she wanted to eat something, finally! she thought. At the restaurant, suddenly it occurred to her that he was an army officer and well, they are supposed to be highly mannered and smart and she could not embarrass him while eating so she thought hard about what to order for lunch and then finally decided to go for cutlets, the only food she was sure she could eat with a fork and knife.He never really ate much and she could not ask him for more food and when she returned home by late evening, she had strong hunger pangs and was cursing him.
The next few dates were a climb uphill and as much as she liked him, it seemed that her sister's and parents liked him even more. That was until she met his mother, an old Punjabi mother ship who rejected her saying her eyes were too big and it looked like she had a squint.
Furious, she stormed out when she heard of it and refused to contact him ever again. She had never encountered any person like his mother and his over bearing sisters and it was a first for her. Once again he tried to contact her and found a connection.. His senior in the army was her cousin brother and he asked him to intervene. Seeing how strong family ties were here, he was being pretty smart here. They decided to meet at her cousin's house and he called his mother too. This was day her older cousin told her that he was very serious about her if he was trying to break his mother from the typical Punjabi mother in law mode and trying to get them to talk again. Soon enough, all was well and their wedding was on.
Their courtship lasted 2 years while he was posted in the treacherous north easter region of the country, an occasional latter every week from him and a number of rejected suitors from her side, they went on strong and finally were married a day after Valentine's day in 1989.
I guess, this would seem way more interesting to me as I know all the characters and as a kid I was fascinated by various tales my parents told me, their own version and then my grandparents would tell me their own version.
The stories of "after-marriage" are even more fascinating as is the fact that at my age, my mother was about to get married. And as they complete 25 years in February, I wish for many more and hilarious tales from both sides.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Being Mother

Imagine you are a happy 22 year old, your exams are over, your parents are going out of town and now you can lavishly enjoy your life, watch as much TV as you want, go anywhere you want, cook anything and sleep as much as you want and then suddenly the next day you are a mom, to two teenagers and one 6 year old.

Horror of horrors!

Your parents are out, you are the king of the house and you have these kids. If it is not crazy enough, picture the 6 year old yelling for maggie everytime the topic of food comes up. he rejects any other food, wants to constantly play on your laptop and mobile and chatters non stop about everything even when you ask him to stop. You make healthy food and he only wants chips a d chocolates and take outs and then wastes it after taking one bite, fights with his elder sister and creates a raucous in the house.

The 13 year old is even scarier. An adolescent with all the whims and fancies of a teenager and crazy mood swings, you are forced to bite your tongue at every instance she lashes out, your fist telling you to punch her and your brain forcing you to stay still calmly telling you that she WILL be like this, its adolescence!!! So you have her criticise your cooking, your clothes, pass rude comments about you, the heat in your house, the AC, the fact that your food is different from what she is used to and the fact that you are not entertaining her every single second. Then there is this issue of boredom, if every single second is not filled with the activity of  her choice, she will get bored and  start criticising every single thing, its like you have a constant mother in law in the house.

The saving grace is the 18 year old who finally understand the dilemma you are in and chips in to help you with the dog, the house and shopping.

And after all this you realise how much your mother did for you despite a constant urge to lock you in the room ( I am guessing that's what it is like). You have been a cranky teenager yourself, fought with her at every instance, sulked and cribbed at everything and been a mean person and yet your mother didn't really push you from the balcony. You only get to appreciate parents and everything they have done.

From shopping for groceries and daily items, to walking the dog, cleaning the house, utensils, clothes, managing the maids, cooking food, making sure the house is not destroyed by running kids and a dog, watering the plants and having no time for anything that you want to do.

You only appreciate how hard motherhood is and even though they are my younger cousins, all resentment washes away when at night the little one will come and hug you and your sisters worry about you and help you even a little bit.

Well, you cant really push them off the balcony after that, can you?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Recipe of a delusional romantic

I was all of thirteen when the first time I fell in love, he was tall, brooding, handsome and amazingly fun to talk to. Of course he was older than me and I loved that it made me feel so mature discussing my studies and books with him. When I finished reading the first four Harry Potters, he was the first person I ran to to discuss with. This was until one Friday in the school bus when he patted my head and told me that he was trying to set me up with a younger friend of his. That did not really shatter my dream world, and he lasted (or still lasts) as my long enduring first crush.
From the many Mills and Boons and Sweet Valley books that I read, I replaced the hero with him. I would imagine him as the swash buckling millionaire from Italy or a brooding writer from Paris, he existed in all my childish romantic dreams. Every guy that I met would be compared to him and even after losing touch with him after class 7, he kept growing in my dreams and evolved into a perfect custom made man for me. The romantic in me would never give up.
I would watch movies and cook up scenarios for "us" and as school proceeded, I somehow lost touch with any other guy because "he" was so amazingly perfect and no one could replace him. After a hasty and nervous phone call to him one day, I gushed for months at end. He must have forgotten about me by now and I am pretty sure I don't even know what kind of a person he really is but to me, he was my dream man.
Now that I watch my thirteen year old cousin gush over actors in movies and TV serials, show disdain for guys her age, I think of the delusional romantic in me.
Soon I fell in love with Ranveer, a character from my favourite show in class 9 and I would dream of a simple man who had come for vengeance, his style of talking , his intense eyes and his shirts, my perfect man was him and I was madly in love. I would watch him on TV for hours and my heart would skip a beat and in my many dreams he would come for me, dance with me and be mine. Of course the guys around me would lack in comparison.
I would never get over Ranveer and 'him' and my perfect man looked like a handsome mix of them, I would read many love stories and concoct scenarios in my head when a real life guy made these stories from my books come to life.
Suddenly I forgot all about my perfect guy, how he should talk, what he should talk about, what he should wear and how he should look. Suddenly this stumbling fumbling funny guy became my perfect guy. Strangely the delusional romantic in me was laid to rest, I stopped cooking stories in my head, I stopped dreaming up scenarios because the reality seemed all to surreal to me. And so "he" was just another person who I dont really know, Ranveer is that cute/hot guy I loved, xyz is just in a book, abc is from a movie and my perfect man is imperfectly with me and in my delusional romantic mind he makes me smile, laugh, cry and be myself with.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The girl with the Dragon tattoo and how it disturbed me

Last night, I sat up late after working on my college project and started watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.The movie is based on a novel by Steig Larson titled "Men who hate Women" in Swedish. As the events in the film unfold we see the female protagonist sexually abused and then raped, later we are told the story of some murdered women who have been raped and brutalised and then the story of a runaway girl who was first raped by her father and then her brother.
Apparently Steig Larson was inspired to write such a horrific book after witnessing a gang rape by three men of a women he once knew.When he went to apologise to her later on for not helping her, she did not accept it and never forgave him.(Source: Wikipedia)

This movie came days after I had seen the trailer for the film 3096 days which is based on a real life kidnapping of a young girl for 3096 days.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natascha_Kampusch)
And few days before Amanda Berry escaped her abductors who had locked her up and raped her for years.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/10/ariel-castro-amanda-berry-daughter)
This reminds me of the scary Fitzl incident of Austria in which a father has locked his daughter in the basement for years and repeatedly raped her, fathering seven children with her.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritzl_case)

These things disturbed me so much and have disgusted me. Not to mention the many cases of rape and abduction that we keep hearing of all the time. I am forced to ask myself again and again, why am I a woman? Why am I subjected to all this? Why is it that suddenly I have been thrown of the whole system of balance and made a weaker being who is meant to be mistreated?

A father raping his own daughter? What happened to the days when a father would come home with gifts and hug his little daughter? Why did she turn into a sexual object, even for him?

A brother raping his sister? Wasn't he suppose to protect her?

Then again, why I, as a woman even need protection? Why cant I live freely? Why do I keep asking these questions again and again? When will I stop asking them? When will I stop looking behind my back?

There are days like these when films and books like above disturb me so much. I was looking at the protagonist, Lisbeth and thinking that she is such a brave brave girl to survive. She attacked her rapist few days later and tattoos "Rapist" on his body. She tried to kill her father who attempted to rape her. And then sometimes I think, is it better to just die? When you are not treated as a human being, maybe in some years things will change or maybe in some years women might not just exist.

I don't know. All I know is that despite everything, women are not meant to safe. They are mere objects who are thrown from one person to the other. Maybe, they really should stop existing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Decolonizing the Language

I write this post in English because it is the best language I know how to write with. I am an Indian with Punjabi roots and yet I cannot read or write properly in Hindi and I cannot even speak Punjabi. I am colonised still, even after 66 years of Independence.
But I am not alone.
 Almost everyone I know is like me. They are proud of the fact that they can converse fluently in English, write better English than many Englishmen and know little or no Hindi.
And we have people commenting on someone’s lack of English speaking skills, categorising them as “gavar” or judging someone just because he cannot string two words of English together and then going on to enunciate complex sentences in an attempt to appear all high and mighty.
This westernisation of our culture has seeped in so deep that now it is difficult to actually p0oint out where it all started and what exactly is wrong. Our politicians in the parliament( if you have been unfortunate enough to watch the Lok Sabha channel) argue in “English”, our cases in the court are argued in “English”, “English” news channels are the ones most watched( maybe not statistically but no one will say they like watching a Hindi news channel), the subscription of Hindi newspapers and periodicals is at an all time low and despite the fact that Hindi is our mother tongue, we are increasingly more adept at English than Hindi.
In countries where English is not their native language, it actually IS their second language and that does not deter them from achieving anything in the world. Italians are proud of their language and you can hear so many different dialects of it, Spanish speaking nations uphold their language in the highest terms as do the French and the Germans and the Bulgarians and the Arabians. They don’t care whether you understand them or not, get a translator if you can’t or learn their language. In UN meetings they speak in their own language while we, as a Hindi speaking nation speak in English.
We are so proud of the fact that we have one of the largest English speaking populations of the world but what about Hindi? We know all the letters of the English alphabets; they are on our tips but what about Hindi Akshar? We can easily count in English but do we know the whole Hindi Ginti?
We are divided into states based on their language yet we expect a Tamilian or a Gujarati to know Hindi because it is the official language. What about their native language? Why not encourage that? There is a human development index which ranks countries on the number of ethnic groups they have and India comes a close second yet we are not proud of it. We expect our population to be a linear one where everything we do is westernised. What about our own culture? Why do we frown upon a girl wearing Salwar kameez and appreciate the one in Palazzo Pants?

We talk of western ideas of feminism and an open culture but have we ever bothered to even scrape the surface of our own culture to know that these ideas have always been engraved in us? Did you know that until the Muslim invasion started in India, the women wore no dupatta, not even to cover their heads? Just one example of the kind of society we had.
I think I reached rock bottom when the other day I saw a Hindi book in my friend’s house and it was upright and I couldn’t read the title without tilting my head.
And that’s why I write this post in English. Not very proud of it.