Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An arranged marriage made to fail?

In India, the concept of "love" marriage is still quite a taboo. You might argue against it, but at the back of your mind, you know there is some truth to it. Castes are different, societies are different, there might be a language barrier. Arranged marriage is the way to go, to avoid setbacks, to avoid fights, to avoid all that Bollywood drama. After all, there can be no mistakes when kundalis are matched, can there? 

They both spoke the same language, their castes might have been different. But a mutual friend introduced the two families and it all clicked. There was an exchange of property so that it all stayed within the families. A joint merger of sorts. The wedding, a grand success. However, a certain part of the wedding party had confidence this would fail, they wanted it to fail. They weren't too happy about it.

Years later, the family, now with a child, continued to live. To survive. For differences about property crept up. Who used what, and to what extent was the problem. Not that they didn't want the other to prosper, but they wanted themselves to be ahead of them. Irony.

The child was successful. The parents however, no longer able to look at each other. Income distribution hadn't been fair, or so one of them claimed. Inheritance rights weren't implemented. One side remained forgotten. It got to a point where there was no looking back. Divorce was essential. Unfortunately, in all this battle for property, there was another battle. A custody battle of a daughter who could live independently, but neither parents wanted to give her up. Her fate, out of her hands, and in the hands of a judge.

A marriage destined to fail.

So long a United Andhra. So long.

To Hyderabad. Pachees saal se idhar hoon....aaj izzat mitti mein mila diye tumhari. But you will forever be our shaan. Once a Hyderabadi, always a Hyderabadi. From a United Andhra.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maitri 2012

Disclaimer: I am going to try to remember everyone that I need to acknowledge, I apologize in advance if I missed out on someone. It's completely unintentional. 

If you've known me since 2007, you are probably well aware of my affinity towards dance. Calling it an affinity might just be an understatement; an obsession might fit better. Last Sunday (April 15th), the Graduate Indian Student Organization felicitated me for having been involved with them for the last five years, and more so, for being the complete tyrant I become on the day of Maitri to make sure things run smoothly. From the bottom of my heart, "Thank You". I couldn't bring myself to say anything on stage that day, simply because I knew I would sob midway (I cry for little things, a big thing like this would have set the flow of water quite early). So to seem less ungrateful, I decided to write. 

People who know me have often questioned my dedication towards my Ph.D. in Economics. Some might even argue that it was in the background, while dance was in the foreground. I am going to say the very diplomatic thing - No Comments - and move on. While there is no harm in my dangling conviction, I'd like to boast a little bit by saying that I was able to handle both of them with quite a lot of help and self-motivation, although which held priority early on is a difficult thing to evaluate. I hope I can maintain this passion, simply because I've realized that I cannot live without dance, be it classical, hip hop, the thumkas, the lachaks, the machaks.

A little known fact is as to where this self-inflicted pain, I mean motivation to take part in Maitri came from. It was Vikram Shete's committee's Maitri in 2007 and they'd put up a great show. However, something in me kept saying, "I can do better than this". No offense to the dancers; it was just my judgemental self taking over. The year after when Srinath's committee started Maitri's organization, something brought out the inner love for dance in me, and I have never looked back one bit since then. That first year, the bond I made with Kranti and Karthik, I owe my future involvement with Maitri to them. The urge to betternthe previous Maitri kept growing and it became progressively harder to fulfill people's expectations. People just kept saying what are you going to do next. The last two years have been very challenging and I am going to blame it on Dance India Dance and students to showcase what they can do and what they wanted to do. But increasingly, GISO started seeing better, top-notch dancers enter the arena and it just got easier. I was sick of hearing, "Shreyasee, kuch faadu karte hai na is baar." Little did the know that their "faadu" wish brought me nightmares. Late night videos, editing songs, trying to not copy steps- its a challenge, but once you have a great team that can relate to your passion, its a cake walk.

Personally for me, Maitri has done exactly what it set out to do - facilitate making friends (and this is where chances of messing up are high). Darshan, Apeksha, Vignesh, Kiran B. Patil, Arun, Dandekar, Rohan, Sharat, Avinash, Katha, Vishnu, and the list goes on. In the process of all this, I've become "Mummy" to a lot of them and I secretly love being exactly that. Every year, people thought, "Okay, that's it. This has to be her last Maitri." Only to see me return the following year. I couldn't even let go of it this year, even when I had a day to rest before I defended my dissertation. But, I promise you I am not coming back next year. A little part of me is relieved that I don't have to come up with new steps. However, the majority of me hates it, that I will miss every moment of it, is a misrepresentation of what I have put up. Its all a farce. But one needs to move on, and that's what I am going to try to do.

Thank you very much for all the love and support 

Shreyasee (Mummy)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Benu Mama

"Titir, gujiya khaabi?"

....Amar Benu Mama amar kaache gujiya nei sheita dekhte padtona. Boro hoi ami jokhon mama ke bollam je amar gujiya aar pochondo noi, onar kharap to laglo kintu tateo shey shuntona...jaanten je ami kono akta shomai bolbo je "Benu mama, tumi amar jonye mishti niashlena...". Eita chilo amar highlight kolkata trip er shob shomoy. Mama amar jonye mishti niashbe. Jawar dine taaka deben. Raatre bala khawar pode - ice cream, nahole pepsi, nahole aarek round mishti. Aar shei bank theke notun note'er bundle. Ak dom kadak. Tarpor shei carrom er tournament Akrur Dutta lane e......ami Kolkata e jawa maane, Benu Mama khushi je bonji aashbe aar or jonye mishti, kochu, chingri niashahobe. Dokaane niye jawa toh kom chilo, kintu amar shate Benu mama'r khoob jomto. Class 10 e jokhon nombor kom pelaam, shobai dukho peyechilo kintu mama chilo ak jon je amake shahosh diyechilo. Ma golpo bolto je mama amake choto bala te ghum padanor jonye kole dolato aar golpo bolto.

Shei mama aajke chole gelo. Kauke kichu na bole, shobar bhalo kore, shey chole galo. Taar atta jaano shanti paye....

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Hoped End continued....

Disclaimer : I'd written this in 2007, and I hadn't expected myself to revisit it to continue the story. Until today, when something in me has triggered the breakdown of the writer's bloc. I'll try and continue this story regularly.

Not until recently did Kathy know what she wanted. It was time to move on. It had to be. That's how things play out in the larger scheme of life. This time she was sure. All those things in the past had held her back for too long. She'd missed out on her favorite plays, her favorite musicals, her friends, her family and most of all...no that was not an option anymore. All because she couldn't decide whether things were headed the right direction. Or for that matter, if they were in deed right for her. She knocked on her dad's door. Her father, a retired army man in his 60s, looked up from his book, smiled at her hoping, like everyday for the past year, that this would be the day his daughter would come out of that unwanted shell.

"I'm going to move out dad." Mr. McDowell was not expecting that. He'd hoped for her to get back to her normal self but this was drastic. He sat there awestruck. She couldn't look straight at him, she looked seemingly having said that. "I'm going to go to New York and stay with April for a while", she continued. "She's studying film at NYU and I want to do something like that I think. I can always find a job in New York and help out with the expenses and things like that." "What about your mom", Mr. McDowell didn't even realize that's what he'd said. "That...unfortunately will have to be your work. I don't think I'll have the heart to tell mom that I want to move out, especially after what she's done for me this past year. You are going to...". "But do you realize what this is going to do to her?" "have to handle her. She's not going to like it, but it is what it is right now". The two of them had always somehow managed to talk at the same time. The cuckoo's clock and Mrs. McDowell's gentle knock on the door, signaled it was time to lunch in this quite little house in suburban Ohio that had lost all its charm a year back. Father and daughter followed Mrs. McDowell. Kathy kept glancing at her dad with a look that oozed out "Handle it, please".

But there was something else that didn't seem in place at the table. Denise had started to eat. She'd forgotten to say grace. In all of her 25 years, Kathy had never seen her mom forget to say grace. There was something going on.......


Monday, April 11, 2011

Does cricket define India's patriotism?

I've loved cricket for ever. But of late, it has left a certain disgust in my mouth. Not because I hate the game, but because I hate the effect it has on the country. Every time there is a cricket match, the country comes to a stop. Stores are closed, people go back home early, housewives make sure they are done with their chores so that they are uninterrupted, and so on and so forth. During the World Cup, I seriously questioned whether my friends were working for Cricinfo through Facebook cause their updates sure alluded that way; every ball was on Facebook, every run, every dive, every move, every scream on the pitch. First we beat Australia, then we beat Pakistan which was nothing short of us declaring that we were the best anywhere and everywhere. And then came the epic win. Some places even declared a holiday the following Monday after our win. Indian patriotism was at an all time high

Along came Anna Hazare, a silent crusader against corruption in India, whose movement rose to national attention after he started a "fast unto death" to pressurize the Indian government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill; an anti-corruption law. When it first started, everyone was glad something was being done towards eradicating corruption. Updates about who Anna Hazare was, what he is trying to do, everyone was on the ball. And then...., it began to die out. The familiar "Arre, kuch toh hoga, kuch toh karenge, fir se wohi haalat pe utar aaenge", began. Now, no more updates. No more every second update on what the government is doing towards this Bill. No more snarky updates about what should happen. All that support......gone. Everyone was "attending" all these events; only to follow through. But Sachin videos can float around all the time. Of his 21 year journey. You know, its important. Its a great win

People asked if Chennai Super Kings won, not if the Prime Minister had yet set up a talk with Anna. IPL 4 is sure to take over talks now. Which brings me back to my question - is cricket the heart and soul of Indian patriotism? I have brought this up a lot of times with friends, only to see hatred towards me in their eyes, as to why I am questioning their "patriotism".

I will question it. And I will leave you to wonder if I have asked an invalid question....Have I ?