Friday, June 24, 2011

The meta of life

I’ve reaslied that this month has come and gone and I haven’t posted worth squat here. It’s bothering me that I’m suddenly bored with a lot of things. Blogging included. More than bothering, I think I’m just plain scared that I have lost that interest in writing. Unless, and the following might be the actual criminals responsible for my present state of being - I’m wasting my time texting waaayyy too many people, I’m too into my new BlackBerry and of course I’m doing too much statusing on Facebook. This idiot need to constantly type is affecting my blog’s survival.

I’m not going to take a resolution to post more regularly. The fact that this blog has been running for more than a year, in a more organized manner than my previous one is enough for me. For now. This isn’t a writer’s blog, or a blog about writing, so, in some sense a lull is justified. To me. I don’t know about how my “avid readers” will feel about this!

But this is not about what I make of blogging. I don’t think I’m up to writing about that just yet. Maybe after I have 5,000 followers! Maybe never!

Today, I would like to talk about institutions. I wish I was talking about tangible structures that people can point out to, but these are abstract spaces that we traverse on a regular basis and yet, we don’t realize it because we’re so busy being.

This post comes from a long, fun, much-needed lunch conversation with a very dear friend. She was telling me about someone she knows who “hates institutions”. Now, of course, that set me off. And I wanted to know precisely what this “I hate institutions” means. Most everything in the real world is an institution as far as I know.

Some people try to make some things abstract and talk about how the time-space continuum does not allow humans’ tiny brains to comprehend the scale of the epic-ness that is this intangibility. What I want to ask them is this – did you get educated at an educational institution? Anyone who has had a formal education that has been prescribed by society loses the right to talk about institutions, unless and until said person is doing something about breaking down the system of institutionalising itself.

Sitting in a coffee shop, talking to like-minded people about how education ruined you a la Rousseau, does not an institution-breaker make. I don’t know how some people get away with being so meta while operating out of a structure and defined space. There are some people I know who are in universities or are part of a collective and then go on about how institutions suck.

The word institution itself applies to one specific institution and that is what really gets me. The institution being, of course, marriage. The “I hate institutions” refrain so oft-repeated in this specific context that it has lost its original meta-ness and has whittled down into the “worst excuse ever” category. What “I don’t believe in institutions”? Why can’t you come right out and tell someone to their face that you don’t want to marry them.

Yes, the excuse is that you are profoundly in love with her or have this cosmic bond/connection or some twisted shit like that. The reality of it is simple – she wants to get married and have babies, you don’t believe in institutions. You are on opposite sides of the camp, why bother trying to meet halfway? Because you’re in love? Really. If you’re in love then why in the hell can’t you meet halfway about this? It’s a tough question I know. But knowing the direction of a relationship and wanting something out of a relationship is important. Altering it to suit the convenience and comfort of one person is just, well, wrong.
It’s called compromise for good reason and that needs to exist in just about every aspect of a relationship. The fact that someone selectively applies nonsense meta theories to simple situations that can be resolved with some degree of common sense is a little offensive. I mean, for everything else there has to be dialogue and communication and so on, but for something that you are not comfortable with, out comes the meta, the post-modern existentialism and so on and so forth.

When people use big words, you should be afraid. They are the ones that are sales pitching something that you don’t need in your life. Look at all the times you fell for the nonsense you saw on TV and ended up buying cereal that tastes like sawdust and deodorant that doesn’t exactly make you smell good all day. This selective sales pitching for selective situations is the reason why so many people have these epic mindfucks and then go and die!

You want to be selective, then please be selective in the way you choose partners. Find someone who, like you, is living in some weird planet where nothing is institutionalized. Apparently, family, friendships, corporate employment, formal education, etc, are just social necessities that will arm you with enough ammo to talk about how you hate institutions. Do the world a favour and stop being a social human being, because society is a fucking institution. Don’t vote, don’t comment on the government, cancel your passport, don’t have a bank account, don’t get a telephone connection, and don’t do anything, because you “hate institutions”.

Someone ought to have the balls to actually live that life and I would like to meet that person. I’m just pissed that some people assume the mantle of truth and honesty while lying to the world and to themselves about their “principles and value systems”. The worst? They get away with it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quotable from Nat Geo

National Geographicise - it's the adjective that I am using to describe the gora in the Incredible India ad. It's the adjective I have referred to many times on this blog while telling off namma tourists who come here with their white skin and wide-eyed wonder at all things poor and ratty and tatty and bothersome.

However, that doesn't mean that Nat Geo is a bad thing. It's epic in terms of giving people opportunity to showcase our world in the harsh glare of the reality spotlight. We need to deal with it. We need to see it. We need to understand it.

On that note, I'd like to direct you to an essay. And would like to quote some mild WTf-ery from the Nat Geo stable. The essay is, overall, brilliantly written (I learned a new word "moxie") but has its moments of white-superior gaze that bothers me a little.

Here are a couple of excerpts - "Her mother had moved to her husband's village, as rural married Indian women are expected to do..." & "The very idea that young women have a right to select their own partners—that choosing whom to marry and where to live ought to be personal decisions, based on love and individual will—is still regarded in some parts of the world as misguided foolishness. Throughout much of India, for example, a majority of marriages are still arranged by parents. Strong marriage is regarded as the union of two families, not two individuals. This calls for careful negotiation by multiple elders, it is believed, not by young people following transient impulses of the heart."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fathers and daughters

This, my 150th, won’t be worth salivating over. I need to get something out of my system and if I don’t articulate it, chances are some poor friend of mine who likes me will end up being the recipient of a complaint that has, in the last couple of years, become exceedingly repetitive.

Somewhere between the battle of the sleeveless kurta and the hunt for marital happiness on, is a silence in this house that gets me every single time. The chief proponent is my father. My mother comes a close second. And ironically, all of us claim to be a family that is honest with each other. That’s a lie. Yes, my mother knows that I go out for a movie with my friends from time to time. She also knows what “dinner” and 2am walk-ins mean. That doesn’t mean my father knows any of this. He’s a second-hand recipient of all this information and he takes it badly. He doesn’t understand why we go out for movies with friends. Why we sometimes want to get out to catch up for a cup of coffee. He thinks it’s strange. To me, his attitude has always meant huge fights at home about my need to be “independent” and “exploiting the freedom they gave me”.

Post my stint in Delhi and my MA, things were still the same. Simple things like chilling out always meant coming up with convoluted reasons for being out of the house. Apparently, they are only looking out for me so that people will not talk about me in a manner that is deprecatory and my reputation as a good girl from a good home will be intact. It’s that simple. And to me, that much more complicated. This good girl from a good family thing is a part of my self that I have been in constant conflict with. I don’t see why a good girl from a good family cannot also spend time with her friends after work and spend some money shopping. I mean good girls need to be clothed right? To be clothed, they need to dispense some cash, right? So why is shopping with girlfriends considered a very, well, meh? I don’t know.

Then there is the issue with the friendships you cultivate. Yes, people are important in your life. Sometimes we meet the wrong kind of people and sometimes we meet the best people. The fact that my parents had an opinion about who I should be friends with rankled on many, many levels for me. I couldn’t get past that level of intrusion and need for control with them. These days, it’s the same story. Only worse because they’re trying to find me a husband and the more often I walk in at 2am, the harder it is to read the day’s paper in the same room as my father. The stoic silences are no romantic representation of an old-school man, but of some kind of seething anger that stems from having disobedient children. This is, IMHO, exactly what my father thinks.

I cannot imagine him being quiet because he has nothing to say, he has plenty to say when the occasion least calls for it, so his silences are not simple. They run deeper and with those silences are disappointments which never fail to rear their heads every single time we sit down to eat, as a family. It’s ridiculous to me that some degree of honesty does not exist in this relationship. It bothers me. My father thinks I’m one of “those “ girls. You know the one who goes clubbing regularly, gets trashed regularly and sleeps around ALL the fucking time because she goes clubbing regularly and gets trashed regularly. To top this all off, I’m Fat (personally, I don't think so, but my father will tell you different) , so my wearing certain kinds of clothes is some kind of bad thing for my health, I mean you can see that I have a sizeable chest area and a big bum, that can’t be a good thing!

I’m not sure if I should be crying or just throwing up my hands in the air in utter exasperation. It’s a struggle being daughter to this dad, however, I do know for a fact that if I need it, he’ll drop everything just because I need him to be around for me. Making this issue even more contentious than necessary! I love my father, but he’s also all of this. What the fuck do you do?!