Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our marriage

Today morning I got engaged to Arthi. She works in a software company and is good looking. Like me, she comes from middle class background, hopefully our thinking will match. I had talked to her, once before, when we had visited their family first time. We had talked for around 30 minutes, on the terrace of their house. I am not sure how much we understood each other in that meeting; I felt she was good match to me and provided my acceptance to parents. Luckily she also accepted, and today, we are engaged. Marriage will be after 3 months and our parents have agreed for me and Arthi to meet sometimes.

“Hi Arthi”, I told when I saw her in Forum next week. She “Hi”ed me back. The conversation couldn’t continue as both were a bit uncomfortable. Taking the initiative, I told “let’s check out the movies playing, and then figure out what to do”. Tickets were available for “Gajini”, “Australia”, and “Outlander”. In the tea-time discussions some of my colleagues had told about “Outlander” being a good action movie. I thought she might not like an action movie and asked her, “Which one?”. She told, or probably asked me, “I like action movies, I have seen Gajini, how about Outlander?” I broke into a big smile, and agreed instantly. When we went to the ticket counter, ticket guy told me “Only front row tickets are available”. It didn’t matter for me, I told my OK to the guy, paid, and got the ticket. As we were walking to cafeteria, Arthi told, “Hey, it’s the first row, will it be uncomfortable? I sometimes get a head ache”. “Oops”, I told, “I have watched many times on front row, it doesn’t matter; anyways if you feel uncomfortable we will leave in the middle of the movie”. She gave me a big smile and said, “Thanks”.

We started to discuss about different movies we liked over next hour. We discussed about the different characters in the movie, how they were good and bad and all those things. The conversation was getting interesting as we entered the movie hall to watch the “Outlander”. The movie was good with mindless violence, whenever one of us got bored with the movie, we made fun of the characters and discussed in hushed tones. As we came out of the movie hall, we wanted to talk more about things. But as I realised, it was getting dark and she needs to go home, I felt sad. I guess, we both made up our mind with difficulty and left for our house. After dinner at home, I messaged her “I had great day today”. She responded by saying, “Same here, I had wonderful time with you, watch Notting Hill on HBO”. I switched channel and started watching the movie. Slowly the messages flowed between us, with laughs and discussion on the movie. It was great movie funny to start with, and a great romantic ending. I replied to her, “I never thought I will like romantic movies :-). I liked this very much, Thanks”. She replied back by saying the other great romantic movies to watch. I made a mental note to watch those, said good night and had a very good sleep that day.

Over next days, weeks, month, we constantly emailed, chatted, talked, messaged, and discussed every subject under the sun. We talked about the movies we saw, we talked about the office scenario, we talked about friends and all those small things which happen in life. It was an eye opener for me in lot of ways, getting a girls perspective on things. The way she thought regarding things like, movies, good, bad, sex, love, romance were an eye opener to me. I started discussing about my views on all these things and I could feel that we were getting closer to each other. I must say, it was surprising for me that, we rarely had arguments and even if we had disagreements we respected each others opinions. I was living a dream.


Last 2 months, after my engagement with Ravi, has been wonderful. Oh! I was so worried about marriage and husband; all my worries have been put to rest now. What a great guy Ravi is! I cannot stop conversing with him even at work. Luckily I do not have much work, Ravi, though is a little busy, always makes time to talk to me. This weekend we are going to meet my friends. Oh! An email from Ravi, it says, “Hey, sorry I can’t make it to meeting this weekend. My college buddies have planned a trip to Madikeri. Luckily most of them have agreed this time. Sorry, you had planned this before, can you help? Can we please meet with your friends another time? Pleaseeeeeeee……” I get angry with him and reply back, “Hey Ravi, marriage is just 3 weeks away and we will get busy with the preparations. It will be difficult to meet friends after that. I have already told all my friends, can you pleaseeeee go to trip another day. Please do not miss meeting with my friends :-(”. Don’t know why, I just stopped short of telling, “Missing the meeting doesn’t look good in front of my friends”.

Man, what a situation. Arthi is getting sad and all. Such a small thing, after marriage it becomes so difficult to freak out with friends. We can meet her friends any time. Who knows probably she will be ok for me to freak out with friends :-). Ok, let me cancel the trip. “Sorry guys, I can’t make it to the trip guys. Marriage is just 3 weeks away and my parents are not allowing me to go outside Bangalore. Sorry again guys, let us plan after marriage is over.” All my friends replied, regarding difficulty to plan an outing after marriage. But I didn’t try to convince them. And then the hard part, replying to Arthi, I thought for a while and replied without going into details “Hey, its fine. I will make it to the week end meeting with friends. I won’t go to Madikeri”. She replied with a “thanks” and a 24 fonter smiley. Don’t know why I was not comfortable at office that day, went home and slept early.

Meeting with my friends went well; my friends were impressed I think. Good. Ravi was little uncomfortable between my friends, he is shy sort of a guy. Nice. Marriage preparations are killing me.

At last, the meeting got over with Arthi’s friends. Man, it was a sort of torture. I was uncomfortable sitting with 4 girls and to top it, only thing running in my head was, “What will Arthi think if I say this or that? Will she feel bad?” More or less I kept to myself talking very formally without getting into controversy. She didn’t say anything about the meeting; I hope it is fine with her.

Just one month after the marriage, there is lot of difference we are finding in life. Perspectives change very much when we are in the same home, living together, and parents and relatives make it more complex. The day after the marriage, when I made a funny comment on Arthi’s aunt. She took it very personal, and got sad that I think in a certain way. It was just an off-the-cuff remark, and I didn’t mean anything really. I need to be careful next time when I make such a comment. Honey moon was another story of discovery; I just wanted to stay in one place and enjoy with her, whereas Arthi wanted to visit different places in Mauritius. It was very good at the end, we enjoyed the place just like our before marriage days, carefree and without thinking what other would think.


Last 2 years has been a mixture of lot of emotions. As any married couple we have had lot of fights over small things, big things, not so important things. But overall it has been good. I get up early at 6 now and prepare for the breakfast. I still like my early morning sleep, and try to enjoy that on weekends. Ravi also gets up at 6 and helps me prepare for breakfast. I have stopped going to dance classes, as Ravi’s parents are not comfortable with it. We typically go for a movie, meet friends or shopping over week ends. We do not laugh as much as we did before. No complaints, most of my friends envy me for my life and for my relationship with Ravi. They think I am leading a beautiful life, but I miss the excitement of our initial days. I walk out of the kitchen and ask Ravi,

“Ravi, we used to laugh a lot and enjoy life more during early days of our relationship. Probably for 6-8 months it was like that I think. Why do you think we are not having so much excitement now?”

"Hmmm, tough question. Not sure, probably we understand each other better now and thrill of knowing the other person is lost now."

"Is that so? Yeah, true I guess. Let’s have a kid; I think that will induce some energy to the relationship."

Ravi stutters a bit and answers "oops, but we discussed this last month right? We decided to wait for a year more, my trip to America is pending, it will be difficult to manage in America, right? Did you ask your manager regarding America? What is this sudden idea?"

"Hey, why are you getting so uncomfortable? It was just an idea and I am trying to get your views on that. I checked with my manager today, and he says it is very difficult to arrange for a project in America. He made it sound, not possible types. We had agreed that it’s not good for me to quit job, as it would not be safe for our future. Why don’t you plan for going to America alone and we will plan for kid, I can stay with my parents. What do you think?"

"What’s wrong with my parents? Hey, they will feel bad if you stay along with your parents. Too much complicated, they cannot answer questions from their friends and family. It was a big deal to them, for us to live separately in the first place. They felt so bad about it. According to norms you can stay with your parents for last 2 months.", says Ravi getting angry.

"Hey, it is not that I got you separated from your parents. It was a joint decision, we discussed and decided. Right? Even now when your mother comes visiting, don’t I put up with her without a complaint?"

Discussion continues with both in angry mood.

"Common! my mother is not that bad. It is just that she some times advices you as she is the elder and she thinks it is her responsibility. You just have to take her advice sometimes. Lets just forget this, we discussed this hundreds of times. (Taking a deep breath, talking in a normal tone) Arthi, you know how difficult it is to get an opportunity like going to America nowadays. I don’t want to miss this; It is going to do a lot to my career. It will help me get a promotion."

"All you are always interested in is you and your parents. You do not care for me at all. I do not want to stop you from going to America, you can go is what I am saying. Right? When I proposed to quit and come along, you were the person who told it is not good for family. Though I wanted to come along with you, quitting the job. I accepted your view. I also want to see America. But, when you know that I and your Mom don’t get along well, it is not good to force me to live with your parents."

Tears start trickling from Arthi's face as she says her last sentence.

"Hey, common, you can’t blame me like this. I used to meet my friends fortnightly and had some fun. Didn’t I stop it for you? My friends make fun of me for not meeting them often. They call me hen pecked, but still I do not want to break the ground rules set by us. Do you think I am doing all this for me? If this is a small thing, should I list all the things I left for us? What’s wrong with my mother? Can’t we at least try to make them happy a little?"

Arthi crying loudly says, "Hey Sorry, I didn’t mean that. But why are you forcing me now to stay with your parents? I also sacrificed a lot, right? I stopped going to dance classes which I liked; I stopped because of you and your parents. There is nothing wrong with them, but you know that I do not go along well with your mother. Why are you doing this to me?"

Ravi gets mild and says, "Why are you doing this to me, you do not cry like this. We normally discuss things, even if we fight, you do not cry. Please stop it. Let’s discuss this tomorrow or some other time, please give me some time to think. You also think about this."

Arthi walks into kitchen. Though she wants to stop crying, she can’t, she doesn’t know why she can’t stop, and continues crying. Ravi, gets irritated, walks into bed room and sleeps. Arthi slowly moves over to sofa and sleeps on the sofa in living room. Next day was a Saturday; Ravi gets up early because of daily habit, sees Arthi is not next to him, and rushes to living room. He gets relieved seeing Arthi, wakes her up and supports her in moving to bed room. Ravi goes into the kitchen to cook breakfast, slowly starts thinking of what happened yesterday.

When Arthi wakes up and comes into living room and sees the breakfast done. Ravi, slowly talks to her, “I think, I will cancel my America trip; it seems meaningless for me without you joining me. Can you try in your office more? or else we can take a holiday in America some other time. Let’s discuss about the kid some other time please.”

Arthi says, “Ok, it is not good that we fight over things. Let’s see what happens with the America thing and then decide. Not sure what happened to me yesterday, Sorry.”

Ravi says, “I am also very sorry”


4 years later Arthi and Ravi thinking at coffee table in their office:

"We have never fought with each other after that ugly day. In fact I make sure I suppress all the taboo subjects, not allowing it to affect our life. Our conversation has come down to very minimal, we only talk about our daughter and plans for her future. We talk rarely about ourselves, our interests, etc. Life is on auto-pilot with both of us cooking breakfast, work, playing with daughter, sleep. Fun is back in life with seeing our daughter play and learn to live life, but it is only with daughter. I guess we can never reach height of our relationship of first 6-10 months. Oops, stop thinking about this. Life is good..... Is it really? Stop thinking.... Do we really understand each other? Why did we fight if we understood? Why do we fear conflict? Why are we afraid of our views? What are we running from? Don't think.. Don't think.. Don't think.. Don't think.. Don't think.."

-- Madhukar Hebbar

The story is inspired by the Shetty's concept of "Old Secret for a new marriage". I suggest the reader to read the concept also.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My happy days of childhood

My happy days of childhood has come back again

Now I will see my kid playing all day long,
Be it sunny or rainy, just rejoicing singing a song

I love to see her flawless smile with no deception or lie
At that time, how much I wish that time does not fly by

When my daughter calls me "Appa", how much joy it will give to me
I will happily say to her, "All my soul and life belongs to thee"

playing games, going to school, learn to sing, learn to dance
Become world famous one day, of course there is every chance

My little daughter, I don't know where destiny will take you
But no matter what,your papa will always love you,

I pray to god that you have no sorrow or pain
May your each day be filled happiness my dame

My happy days of childhood has come back again

Monday, February 23, 2009

Old Secret for a New Marriage

There are three people involved in every marriage and for it to be successful all three need to be happy. The person who told me this is the last person I expected it from. Born in the slums of Cape Town and without much formal education Gerhard did tobacco, alcohol, religion, women, drugs and all in between. He was always playing pranks and laughed at life having seen most of the spectrum it had to offer.

Returning to the point on hand. There are three people involved in a marriage. They are:-
The Man
The Woman
The Couple
Homosexuals may use serial numbers or whatever else suits best. Prima facie there seems to be an overlap, however what’s key is to identify the demarcation. Each of the above is a separate entity with a unique identity and collectively they are mutually exclusive. The following piece attempts to clarify individual identities.

Let’s take the easy one first, The Man and The Woman. Obviously these are the two individual personalities that took the vow. Just because they are married their individual identities do not get dissolved into one. But what does happen is the creation of a new entity of Husband and Wife. The Man is still the son, the brother, the colleague, the friend and so on and likewise the woman is still the daughter, the sister, the boss etc. The new entity that is created is that of ‘The Couple’. It is this couple that receives the wedding invitations, decides schooling of children, go out for dinners, fight over breakfast, hide remote controls etc.

This is the story of
Mr. & Mrs Martin

Gerhard came from a settlement in impoverished Cape Town where there were more snakes than ladders. He dropped out of school to pursue his immediate issue – hunger. The day he joined Pick and Pay, it was love at first sight for him when he saw Suzzana at the billing counter. Suzzana’s father had convinced her to work elsewhere before joining the family business. Here was the problem, he was a drop out, she was to graduate; he was brown, she was black; he had friends, she had family; he was a porter, she was rich. As a result like all love stories, the opposites attracted and sparks started flying

The going was not easy for Gerhard, he was proud and inspired and wanted to prove his worth to Suzzana. He knew the techniques of pilferage and how goods could be stolen and where it could be sold. He used his trade with his employer and was soon transferred to security and then to IT and Accounting. When Gerhard and Suzzana got married (After 3 years of courtship) Gerhard was an IT programmer in small firm and Suzzana was still working in shifts at the billing counter. Suzzana never joined the family business, which was a few years later up for sale.

Suzzana loved to spend time with her sisters and mother. Simplicity pleased her. Her entertainment was baking cakes on Saturday afternoon and bragging about how hard Gerhard was working. When they got married, she moved to Gerhard’s place with the excitement of any newly weds. It was one thing to visit Gerhard and it was another to move into his tiny dwelling. Suzzana never complained.

Extrapolating further the couple proceeds to add another entity called The Family when they have children. This is its natural progression. Before we proceed lets be clear that the Man is different from The Woman and both are different from The Couple. Now the secret, All three need to be happy independent of each other. Here comes the question of Balance. For e.g. The Man likes playing golf, now this has no effect on The Woman but does effect The Couple. How? That’s because the wife is unhappy about the husband being out for most of the Saturday and the Husband cant help feeling guilty. Lets take another example. The Woman enjoys shopping. What she enjoys more is the process of buying and reviews from her companion The Man who lets assume hates shopping. There are at least two people not happy in this scenario The Man and The Couple.

Gerhard kept him self busy at work while Suzzana quit and draped the responsibilities of a house wife. Money kept flowing in but Gerhard was never at home. He had clung on to his ladder and knew if he let go it would be fatal for both. Neither did he stop Suzzana, who was free to visit her mother, go shopping etc. On the occasions when Gerhard took the weekend off, or when he reached home early they had great times. He knew Suzzana was nervous about extravagance hence they spent their evenings simply watching television or cooking. Very occasional weekends the Martins would escape into an unknown holiday resort and laze around. Within a year they were blessed with a baby girl.

Jesse’s entry in the world changed things. Suzzana was now very busy and the longing for Gerhard eased and he was still busy working or busy pampering Jesse. Suzzana’s sisters were seeing others and slowly the Saturday cake making disappeared into anonymity. Gradually the visits to the resorts decreased and so did the quality time of the Martins. While attending social functions they now proudly attended as the Martins Family. The increase in Gerhard’s travel did not help the situation. Suzzana knew there was something missing but could not place the pointer. They were no more living in poverty, she had a beautiful daughter, an adoring husband (whenever he is around), a secure future and all the comforts one could ask for. Still there was something missing.

How does The Couple keep itself happy? Here is where common interests and compatibility come into play. A few examples are going out for coffee, adventure, cooking, listening to music, receiving guests etc and most important following its natural progression i.e. to create the fourth entity called ‘The Family’. Its important to ensure that while The Man needs to be assertive over his own needs, he must be receptive over the needs of The Couple and be sensitive to the needs of The Woman. Also, when needed the others have to sacrifice for the sake of ‘The Family’. Hence the balance of ensuring that all four are happy within a family.

Jesse is now in her first grade, Gerhard is a project manager in an IT firm and Suzzana is pregnant again. Gerhard is always too busy working, or too busy playing golf, or too busy taking care of Jesse or too busy taking Suzzana for health checks. There are no more fights over the remote since they are seldom in the same room. Gerhard never played pranks no more. ‘Responsibility’ had taken its toll on his sense of humor. He had always been loyal to Suzzana, but somewhere deep inside knew he had cheated her of something. He realized, Mr. and Mrs. Martin are no more.

The immediate adverse effect of any one of the individuals not thriving in a marriage is the losing of identity. When The Couple is not happy, then its just The Man and The Woman living together like vegetables in a refrigerator. If The Woman is not happy, the Man and the Couple might carry on for some time, but its transitory. It would certainly affect The Couple in the long run. So the next time you married men want to go on a motorbike trail, do it and don’t let The Couple from stopping you. Also, do ensure that The Couple is not stopping The Woman from doing something that makes her happy. Similarly don’t let The Family ruin a romantic date of ‘The Couple’ and lastly don’t forget to keep The Family happy.

Happy Married Life

Keep Walking!

Prasad Shetty

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Auto drivers monologue

It was on a Monday morning. I woke-up fresh from the weekend rest, dressed up, had my breakfast and left for work. As I reached the main road from my house, there was an auto rickshaw, waiting for a customer. The driver was ok to come to Banashankari and I sat in the rear seat. He started the rickshaw, shifted gears and started moving towards the destination.

He started off. Saar, I had not come to Girinagar from last 8-9 years. So much has changed here, lot of shops have come all along the road. There was nothing alongside the road before. Only 2-3 shops were there, that too only near the bus stop. Now see sir, so many shops are there. I used to come here regularly during those days as my friend was staying here. Actually, I was not driving auto during those days. I was working in Mico factory, this friend was my colleague and I used to come here to meet him. I left Mico because there was too much politics there; the supervisor was creating lot of troubles for me. I bought an auto-rickshaw by taking a loan. I have still not repaid the loan, sir. There are too many auto-rickshaws on the road and we are not able to make much money nowadays. It was not like this before, sir. It is not that I am not making any money at all. I earn and look after my parents. I got my sister married by earning from auto, sir. Actually the loan of auto shifted to loan of sister’s marriage, which I am still re-paying. My sister was in hospital last week, she had a second kid and I had to be there to pay the bills of the Hospital. It was a girl child sir. My sister’s mother-in-law is a bitch sir, they want me to pay the hospital fees, that too after 4 years of marriage, sir. Why do they make a baby if they can’t pay the hospital bill?

Me: Do these kind of people still exist?

Driver: Sir, we are nice people sir, but we do not want our sister to suffer. For my mother-in-law, our money is not money and there money is only money, sir. My brother-in-law is a manager in the garment factory and he earns well. Actually, my aunt who is a big bitch, told he is the owner of Garment factory. That is why we got my sister married to him. We had given a dowry of Rs.50,000 and later we came to know, those bastards used the same money for the expenses of the marriage. We never complained about it sir, I am a respectable person, and I do not have any bad habits sir. I will never marry till I have cleared of all my loans sir. It is the responsibility of the husband to take care of the wife and kids.

Me: hmmm..

Driver (Continuing): I do not want to be like these bastards who come to me begging for money. Sir, do you know the funny thing? The sister of my brother-in-law is married to a rickshaw driver sir. He is full drunkard and all sir, he is a cranky guy sir, he takes money from these guys also, sir. I have seen it through my own eyes. He is perfect fit for this family of bastards. If they want to go somewhere in the city they give me a call. They do not pay any money to me, they take me for granted. I also do not ask money, not wanting to make a big fuss. But the son-in-law of the bitch always demands money; that is why they do not call him sir, it’s funny to watch the way he handles these bastards. I meet this son-in-law once in a while sir, full drunkard he is, he asked me to join him also to drink. But, I won’t drink sir, my parents have not bought me up like that. They have taught me all good habits. I will not take dowry sir, what is that sir, people taking dowry is like selling themselves sir. I am man, I am supposed to earn and take care of my wife and kid sir. That is what my parents have taught me. We are very respectable and cultured people sir.

Me: Hmmm...

Driver (continuing): What is there in money sir? We just have to work hard and we can earn it sir, have you seen those college kids earning money? They stand in the bus-stands, market areas and give posters to people walking around sir. We can earn money in Bangalore if we put effort. There is no problem, sir. Nowadays earning money from auto has become little difficult, sir. But I work from morning 8 till night 10, to make the money sir. There is no problem sir, there are other auto-drivers who are mother-fuckers sir, and they just sit in the corner of a street and do not go anywhere when customers come. They are the guys who bring bad name to all auto-drivers. Actually, those lazy bastards are the reason we are making money sir. I shouldn’t scold them, if they also start working my business will go down sir. Full corruption every where sir, in Bangalore alone we have 1 Lakh auto-rickshaws sir. Only about 50% will be on the road any time; god bless the lazy bastards, sir. I want to make money, clear loans, marry a beautiful girl and live happily sir. My mother’s cousins daughter is there sir. She is in a village, they wanted to give their daughter to me in marriage. But, I am only waiting to make money before marrying, sir. I don’t want to become like that bastard brother-in-law. You might think, why am I swearing at my brother-in-law so much, sir?

Me: umphh, nope.

Driver (continues without listening to me): What can I do sir? I would have finished my loans and be married by now if this fucking-bastard had taken care of his family properly. It hurts to see my sisters face sometimes sir. He is not very bad also, sir. He doesn’t beat my sister and all sir, thank god. I would have killed the mother-fucker if he had beaten my sister. It is not like that. My sister is very tough girl and might even hit them back if they try so. Husband doesn't give any money for her expenses. At the end of the month he gives all his salary to his mother, sir. She blasts these people off, when they ask her to ask money from me. Very bold and tough girl sir, she was telling me that she will go to work after her second child is 6 months old sir. She used to work before marriage in a garments factory sir, but after the marriage, her mother-in-law didn’t allow her to work, sir. Bloody bitch she is. Not all are like this sir, I have seen my cousins mother-in-law sir, such a nice person she is. She takes care of the kids and cooks for the family when her daughter-in-law goes to work. She doesn’t allow daughter-in-law to do much work also when she come back home. Nice person, sir. In Bangalore, both husband and wife has to work to make a good living sir. Forget poor people like us sir, all the rich people also, both husband and wife go to work sir. So many people I only drop them in my auto sir, I get them as permanent customers in the morning. Bangalore has grown sir, and you know…

Me: Hey, take a right here man.

Driver: ok sir, where should I stop in this road sir?

Me: Stop just after the circle.

Driver: ok sir, It’s a software company, no sir? Everybody has become rich after software companies came to Bangalore sir. When I go to Kormangala, MG Road, how beautiful it has become sir. Buildings are so beautiful and shiny sir. You should see the way girls drink nowadays sir. My brother-in-law is a non-drinker compared to them, sir. These girls are so bold sir? They are completely stoned and can't even stand when they are searching for auto at 11 PM sir. They do not have any fear at all. The way they are dressed makes me puke sir. We do not even dress 2 year old kids in that way, sir. Girls and boys are always falling over one another sir, no balance at all. Don’t know what their parents have taught them sir. Bangalore has changed sir.

Me: hey, stop here, stop here. Just in front of the shop.

Driver: Ok. Sir.

Me: It's 30, take this, thanks.

Driver: Thanks, sir.

-- Madhukar Hebbar

Friday, February 13, 2009


I woke up. I opened my eyes to see morning light through the window. It must be 7’o clock. It was Saturday, and my sub-conscious mind decided that the effort of waking up at 7 is not worth it. The chill winter wind was blowing from the open window. I rolled over to the other side, facing the wall and pulled the sheets on top of my head. Slowly the warmth of the sheet passed through the body, making me comfortably slip to another sleep.

Mom was cooking something in the kitchen; I could here the tinkling of the vessels and sizzling of the oil on pan. I could also hear father rattling about something not in its place. It must be around 8:30 now, breakfast is getting ready. Who cares, let me try to sleep again.

Mom is cleaning something in my room. I change sides again, pulling the sheets over my head. Mom asks me to wake up as the time is already 10:30. Wow! A cool three and half hours I could kill with the sleeping. I say ok, and try to sleep again. Mom is rattling about something she cooked and how my father didn’t like it. I try to sleep again, it’s getting from warm to hot in the sheet. I slowly roll over, get up and sit on the corner of the bed. I sat like that with no thoughts. I try to get up from the bed, but gravity doesn't allow me, I fall back on my ass. Getting up requires energy. Realisation of the day. Finally my mom shouts at me for being lazy, I take 3 deep breaths and get up on my legs. I slowly walk to bath room and the second question of the day arises in my head. Should I take a bath? Should I just brush, clean-up and have breakfast? Life is difficult and full of questions.

I sit down on the commode with the grave task of deciding to take a bath or not. I slowly start to think of the positives and negatives of the two options I have. Oops, I had dozed sitting on the commode. I clean up and decide to postpone the decision while brushing teeth. My grip on the tooth-brush loosens and I miss to hit the teeth and brush my cheeks. The foam on the brush falls on my body; I get irritated with my clumsiness. Suddenly, I start to feel un-clean and decide to take a bath. Wow! Second decision of the day automatically taken without much thought. PV Narasimha Rao was a genius who it seems told, “All decisions will be taken by time, no need to worry” or something like that. I appreciate the thought of our former prime minister.

News paper is full of crap, generally I read only the headlines and I couldn’t even move over to the fourth page of the newspaper. World is crap. I take Bangalore Times, and read all the cartoons. I skip over pages to see some Bollywood and Hollywood actresses skimpily dressed. This section of the newspaper is very entertaining. Some upcoming actress is quite philosophical about her not taking any movies, because of the low quality of movies. Its already afternoon and with great effort I move towards the couch and slowly roll over the couch.

TV, wonderful instrument for time-pass. I slowly switch channels to identify something worth watching. I stop at HBO, something looks interesting. A meteor has fallen down and some scientists are trying to do some research on it. Looks like a good movie. I skip channels, when Ads start on HBO, Nothing great anywhere and I jump back to HBO to see the movie. It is interesting actually, the meteor has some life forms and they are slowly starting to grow in the crater and some rookie scientist identifies that when he enters the crater. Ads, again. I move over to some channels and there is a good song on a Tamil channel, good song. AR Rehman, wonderful musician. Oh! “Friends” on star world; I get interested for a while seeing some acrobatics of the great friends. It is funny actually. I even watch the ads in between in fear of missing some humour. After Friends, I move back to HBO, the rookie scientist is actually a master brain, who is frustrated with the system and hence has moved to this obscure town as a chemistry teacher. In the meanwhile the organisms from the meteor are fast evolving at a threatening pace. All the government, military, research organisations get involved, but are not able to stop the growth of these organisms. America is in terror. One of the students of our rookie scientist has always failed chemistry, but he accidentally figures out that, toilet cleaning liquid can kill this organism. In the mean time, the Government, Military and top research Institutes have made a lot of blunders and the organism has become a monster as big as a mountain. Quiet scary actually. I felt sad for the state of affairs in America. Finally, the hero with his battalion of stupid students fills up a fire fighting tanker with toilet cleaning liquid and fire the liquid onto what looks like shit-hole of the terrifying monster. The monster huffs-puffs and then dies, and all Americans live happily ever after.

Quiet a fantastic movie actually. I was impressed with the creativity of the director and crew of the movie. It is 3 o’clock, and my mother shouts at me to have lunch. Ok, I have lunch and come back my couch. Slowly browse over different channels and doze of to my dream world. I wake up fresh at 6 PM, have my beautiful coffee and browse channels again. Some song and dance and I start seeing some 3 movies together. It’s actually fun and interesting when I do this. Switch channels and watch all movies together. Only parameter is all 3 movies have to be brainless and effect of watching the movies together is great entertainment. As I was watching these movies I moved from fresh to tired state of mind. It was around 9 PM and my mom asks me to have my dinner. Sometimes I think, only objective of mothers is to feed there children. Here I am, on the bed and couch, the whole day and my mother is asking me if I will have my dinner. Hmphh. I say a big no and return back to watching TV. She murmurs something to herself and walks off.

My friend calls up, with all energy asking me to come out and freak out with him. What the heck, here I am dozing away my day and this crazy guy is asking me freak out at 9 PM. I talk slowly, asking him, where to go, and should I really come? Should I really really come? Should I really really really come? He doesn’t get the clue at all. Some guys are so stupid. Nope, this guy gets the clue now, gets irritated with my laziness and cuts the call. Thank god.

I shut the TV down, slowly move over to bed and try to sleep for the day. It was a nice peaceful day.

My body, mind and soul feel rested.

-- Madhukar Hebbar

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An argument against sena outfits

What is our culture? This is the question which is ringing in all the news mediums last 3 weeks. Unfortunately, so-called custodians of Hindu culture, the different Sena outfits, have not come out with an answer for this question. Instead of answering the question the Sena outfits have made statements like “Drinking alcohol in pubs is not our culture”, “Women wearing skimpy cloths is not our culture”, “Celebrating Valentines day is not our culture”.

Though the statements clearly state the expected result from the culture, the reasoning of how and why these expectations became part of our culture is not clear. It would be better for the all the Sena outfits to come out with the definition of our culture and reasoning behind it. The reasoning when it depicts the benefits offered by following of the culture, will have more takers. Who knows? This might lead to a cultural revolution of the world leading to never ending joy of human beings.

Anyways, we do not have the definitions and there is no point of rattling on wondering what might happen. What we have today is the statements made by the Sena outfits, and it wouldn’t be justice to disregard the statements as insane without an argument against it. The article will not delve into the good or bad certain things will cause to the society. In absence of scientifically proven proofs regarding good/bad of an object, every individual has his right to make his decision regarding the object (off-course within the premise of law).

If we view some of these statements in the light of history of last 100-200 years of culture, then some statements sound true. But to really understand our culture we need to refer to texts of our civilisation (Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.) which provide us the perspective of way of life during those days. This will provide us a logical base and definition instead of generalising from examples which some individuals might have seen. Individuals might have seen 50-100 years of life, and am sure no one individual can see the various probabilities life has offered in such a short period of time.

In Vedas, there are instances of people drinking “Soma” for intoxication. Most commonly available knowledge of the historical way of life for everybody is Ramayana and Mahabharata. These poems/stories are worshipped as sacred text in Hindu way of life. There have been numerous examples of people drinking intoxicating drinks for entertainment in these texts. There also have been instances of mis-use and abuse of intoxicating drinks in the same texts. Drinking Baang (Processed marijuana mixed with milk) on Holi is still followed as a culture in lot of parts of North India. One common factor in all these texts, the taking of intoxicants has not been restricted to Men.

These are just examples to prove the use of intoxicants in our culture based on authentic material. It is also common knowledge that the people have been using the intoxicants in our culture in various forms. There is also a secondary argument to this by the Sena outfits that says, “Women in our culture did not drink”. This argument comes out of the near history (last 100-200 years), where our people have generally not seen women taking intoxicants. If this was really the case, then it is the decision made by the women of yester years not to take intoxicants. There is no restriction on women alone which can be found in history of our civilisation. General effects of intoxicants have been known and it is just that women tended to go by the decision of not drinking. But today, if some women tend to take intoxicants, there is nothing binding them culturally not to do it.

Indian civilisation has gone through drastic changes in the clothing aspects of the culture from its historic days. Going back to the vedic days (1000-2000 Century BC) till around 12th century AD, the clothing of the people within the Indian civilisation can be defined as “Skimpy” (In today’s terms). The proofs are available in the various “carvings” around the temples which can be seen even today. The carvings around the temples, consistent across different regions should be identified as an artist’s representation of the people of those days. After this period, Indian dressing habit was heavily influenced by Moghuls, and Europeans (mainly British) during the later period of time.

(I had read a research paper on the how the dressing habits of India have changed over a period of time. Unfortunately, I do not remember the source/name of this material. But I am sure research books/materials regarding history of India will throw light regarding this subject)

Sena outfits are seeing the general tradition and way of dressing over last 100-200 years to generalise our culture. Ideal representations would be the way the people dressed in various carvings in our temples, which was during the period of no external influence. Indian way of dressing was driven from the climatic conditions of the country rather than some godly thinking. Climatic conditions of our country have not changed and hence would be ideal to get back to our roots and culture instead of withering under external influence. Going by the rules of Sena outfits, which is bound by our culture, I guess Skimpy dressing by the people is after-all not a sin. In fact Sena outfits have to support the movement of going back to the dressing styles of earliest of our civilisations.

Valentines Day is not part of our civilisation (and hence culture probably?). It was part of western civilisation and Indians off-late are trying to adopt this as part of our culture. The basic premise of Valentines Day is expression of love by one individual to another. Expression and celebration of love have always been part of our culture right from the Vedic days again. The biggest example is the life of Krishna, his exploits of love have been part of out folklore from time immemorial. Krishna is worshipped today as God, with an appreciation of the fact that he showed and followed Love in his life. Life of Meera Bhai, who wrote poems and sung it in love of Krishna cannot be forgotten. She has been part of our culture and has been worshipped for her love towards Krishna.

If the argument against Valentines Day is regarding the physical show of Love in public, then one has to go back and check out the carvings on our various temples. That is a proof enough to show that, Physical love of 2 individuals was respected by our civilisation during the earlier days. One doesn’t have to visit Kajuraho for seeing this, visit any temple which was built before 12th – 13th century AD and there certainly will be carvings on the physical love of individuals. I think the respect of the civilisation for the physical art of love allowed them to carve them on the temples. This is enough proof that our culture holds love and celebration of love with respect, instead of rubbishing it as shameful affair.

This is probably the reason that younger generation of India is trying to adapt to Valentines Day very easily. This is the greatness of Hindu culture which doesn't restrict people from following something not their own.

Another perspective of people supporting the Sena outfits view of “Hindu Culture” which the article doesn’t delve into is, “Young Indian is blindly following the western tradition”. I do not know if this is really the case, as there is no effort put in to understand the minds of young generation. The argument is based on superficial understanding of what people have seen from outside. Neverthless, do these same people want the "Young Indian to follow the Hindu Culture blindly"? Following any culture/tradition blindly without understanding the consequences will lead to disaster. Think of any atrocity in any culture and root cause will lead to the blind following of the culture.

The article was intended to show the lack of depth in the understanding of our culture by the Sena outfits. I believe, Sena outfits and its followers need to put effort in understanding our culture and then educate the public with the reasoning to achieve there goals. The current process of making statements without depth of reasoning will reduce the value of our wonderful culture in the eyes of a non-believer.

-- Madhukar Hebbar

Friday, February 6, 2009


It was a Thursday evening, we [me and my wife] had worked very hard this week and the weekend seemed far away. Weekend for us starts at 8 pm on Saturday and is over by 6am on Monday. We were stressed and I was insisting on a break from this hectic schedule for a long time. She looked at me and told me lets pack our bags and leave.
We did not know where to go, she called a travel agent and he suggested to us that Pondicherry is a good getaway. He offered to arrange for the travel and stay. He told us to visit Mahabalipuram which is near Pondicherry. So Pondi it was.
After a small mishap and a delay we were in Pondi by Friday morning. Pondi is a small bay side town where everything is a stone’s throw away. It was previously a French colony but now it’s a union territory in India. We loafed around in Pondi, saw few places but it was as if something was missing. We had dinner at a sea side restaurant, not exactly a sea side restaurant but a restaurant overlooking the sea. My wife suggested we visit Mahabalipuram which was an hours drive from Pondi, I was not keen to see where the Pandavas had parked their chariots and a broken sun temple. I hinted to my wife that I was not keen but she was all excited about visiting Mahe [ Mahabalipuram].
Early in the morning we hired a Taxi to Mahabalipuram, after an hours drive we reached the place. There was nothing in Mahe but for this scorching heat and an half broken temple. I just wanted to sip a chilled beer and get back to the comfort of my Air conditioned room in Pondi. Meanwhile, as usual my love found out that the most happening place in Mahe was the beach side restaurant. Though I was reluctant, like a good husband I agreed. I asked the driver was there a remote possibility of an A/C eatout, he just smiled and dropped us at the beach. From a distance this restaurant called THE SAND did not look very appealing but we did not have much choice the others looked worse.
As we walked towards the Sands, the weather from a sultry dry afternoon changed to a pleasant tropical evening. I looked at my watch it was 12 noon, I looked towards the sky the sun was blazing down but could not touch us because of the tall palm trees. It was as if the trees were grown just for our comfort, there was a nice shade from the trees and a cool breeze as well. A young fellow, Ramkumar asked us whether he we would like to sit on the beach or inside the restaurant. As I had mentioned earlier the restaurant did not look tidy, we opted to sit on the beach in the shade.
Ram disappeared for a while and reappeared “ its ready saar” only to point us towards an umbrella. This was a dream come true, I had dreamt of this in my childhood that one day I would be lying on a recliner with my wife next to me, on a beach with a cool breeze around.
It was all there, a beach side restaurant, an umbrella, the recliners, cool breeze, a novel in my left hand and a beer in my right and to top it all, my wife next to me. I could not ask for more, every sip of beer tasted better, the air smelt as if somebody was blowing the best room freshner to make it a pleasant stay for us. With every wave hitting the shore it wiped out all the stress. If my beer got over I just had to turn around and Ram would come running with a chilled beer. I don’t know whether the food was good but the ambience really made that food taste good. I ventured into the water every now and then. After sometime I settled on my recliner, the waves would rise and hit the shore a couple of feet from where we were and die down to return to the sea. After a while all the stress was gone and sweet memories of my school and college days were the only things on my mind. I shared everything with my wife, I could recollect most of the things. I was living my dream and I would not wind it up, I turned around to see my driver walking towards us, he looked a bit upset. He looked straight into my eyes and then into his watch, he shattered my dream “ its 6.30 saar” and reminded us that we had a bus to catch from pondi at 9pm.
All good things have to come to an end, we had to get back to Pondi and then to Bangalore. I was rejuvenated. No I am still rejuvenated and I know where I have to visit if I am stressed out at work.