Tradition in the 21st Century

Hello Reader!

This post is going to be a little personal (which one hasn’t been so?) and quite short (now that‘s a surprise!) and a little giggly to me (girly Priya? Weird!).

 

I’m going to talk about young people in current times and how we interpret the age-old traditions from South India.  More specifically, I’m going to talk about how we signify those practices with the matter of clothes.

 

Let me get straight to the point. Festivals, puja’s, and traditional celebrations including weddings and engagements are the events I’m talking about. Unlike the era of the 2000’s, young people now define these moments equivalent to getting out their silks and jewellery.

I remember when I was between the ages of ten and fifteen, I was in school, and my school discouraged leaves of absence. So, I participated only in those family events which occurred on school holidays. And my Daddy strongly encouraged me to wear comfortable clothes, “Just put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt!”, he would say. Those were hardly traditional. In fact, they are Western wear adapted into the Indian everyday clothing. And I could see all the Akka’s and Anna’s in the same kind of clothes : comfortable and a little newer than the rest of their wardrobe. But, what happened over the years?

One exemplary reason for the aforesaid change is the impact of social media. Another would be a comeback to antiquity in the fashion era. Still another would be an innate desire to bond with the roots that has arisen in the recent years. Maybe this shift is because youngsters in the previous decade had been exposed to ample traditions, in the form of their elders sticking to their old ways. But nowadays the people we call elders are themselves a little removed from the old ways, and we hardly get an example of the same, so we are trying to keep them alive in ourselves. Whatever be the root cause, the fashion industry has been bringing back silks depicting those silks which my Gammy wore when she was young. We also see a mad craze over antique jewellery. And an altogether different whim in ourselves to shop for sherwanis and anarkalis from the Mughal era.

I’d been struck with the same whim during the last two weeks. There was a beautiful Kerala festival of Onam, which was enthusiastically celebrated at my office with traditional wear, and a few days later my friend got married in a Tamil wedding ceremony, both of which gave me the silk-craze. That beautiful saree was what I’d worn to the wedding. And those two days got me thinking and here I am!

 

Share with me how you celebrate weddings and home festivals. Do you see the shift I described?

 

Love,

Priya.

 

PS : What do you want me to write about next?

PPS : I know it’s a lame move, but my imagination has become single-streamed since I started perfecting the first draft of my novel.

Heart-Shaped Confetti and Coconut Water

My apologies for the really, really, really long silence.

I’m sure you must be thinking, “Most of what this girl writes consists of apologies for her absence. What does she actually write? She must be insane!” I also have the tiny, selfish hope that you might be thinking, “She waits for so long between posts. There must be something worth reading in what she writes.” Right? Right?

Despite the really doubtful question tags at the end, I’ll take the latter thought much better than the former. Hey, everyone gets selfish, right? Even absentee bloggers!

Sorry again, Reader!

Despite the long wait, I have nothing in particular to write about now. Life has progressed too rapidly for me to have stopped and welcomed the flowers of the Spring as they’d arrived. Also, I have been pretty depressed about a couple of -, no, several things which had been laid out and examined for recovery a while ago.

So, since I’ve just about recovered enough to write this post, here I am!

After quite some thought, I present our topic of discussion : Love. I know. I know that this topic has been powdered to the finest granularity and turned over and around in every way possible by everything and everyone in this world. And I know that you have very mixed feelings about it and that, right now, you’re wishing your short-lived assumption that I’m crazy hadn’t been withdrawn so quickly from your mind. It’s okay. Just put it back in your mind. I don’t mind. In fact, as many of my closest friends know, my constant declaration, (as in, one that is mentioned at least a few times every week) is that, “When I call you crazy, that is the best compliment I can ever give you!”

Also, another justification I made to myself is that a writer always has his/her own unique perspective on every topic, even one with already thousands of interpretations such as Love, and it is his/her calling to have expressed this perspective thoroughly. To anyone and anything who might listen (or read). So, even if you’re a ‘bot, keep at the post and I’ll name you C3PO! (The only reference being that I loved C3PO in Episode VII; I have no idea of his significance in the Star Wars Universe. So, any gushing fans, please hold your horses!) But, I digress.

Sorry.

I have lately been exploring writing in the Romance genre. So far, I’ve realised that I’ve had these really strong convictions about how it should go about and I’ve never wondered how these convictions actually came into place.

Mind you, this is NOT going to be a rant-fest of anything from my life. Oh, and one more thing, I am NOT going to talk about the reasons behind Love. It is an absolute dead-end whenever I go down that road and I’m not trying another pointless stroll or a deliberate search down there now.

This is a quote from, well, me. I wrote this down so long ago that I forgot what it came from. But, I strongly suspect an overdose of the Twilight Saga behind it.

“Love is defined as unexplained, spontaneous, unchangeable, continuous trust and faith. It erupts when you do not know it and inspires you into Paradise. It’s unquestionable, even by its Bearer.”

It all boiled down to being able to trust another person with everything that you are and you have. And no, I do not mean physically trusting someone with yourself. It’s more like the belief that whatever you do, talk or experience with this other person is going to be spiritually, emotionally and happiness-inducing-ly good for you. You find everything gets better with them around.

This Love pulls you by your nose into this person’s life teasingly and temptingly. He/She being around you(on the phone glued to your ear or on the phone to whose screen your speed-texting fingers are nearly glued or in person at a coffee shop with a single tall glass of milkshake in front of you and the shop owner churning inside at the tens of potential customers leaving after finding no table vacant) causes you immense pleasure. In my defense, of the examples of togetherness cited above, the last one would be in a case of puppy, teenager Love only. And the exasperating part is that you don’t know why or how.

Oops! Dead end track!

You’d just feel like doing anything and everything with them, with no qualms whatsover.

Conclusion I : Love is the absolute trust you have that the other person is a perfect complement to you and your life.

 

There’s another level I know of Love. The wanting/needing kind. Sorry I have no statements or quotes to share here. But what I mean is that Love which makes you ache inside when you are not together(again, togetherness  in all possible scenarios).

The absence does not hurt any lesser than a giant stab to your heart(this maybe a Giant who is stabbing you or a really giant knife being used in the stabbing or in the worst possible case, both) to some people while others hurt with a multitude of repetitive, bleeding pinpricks to the heart. On either ways, let me tell you right away, it hurts. Like Hell.

You wish desperately for any kind of activity which you can do together. The emphasis being on the togetherness. Things feel settled with the other person around.

Conclusion II : Love is the desperate want of closeness and sharing of experiences you get because the other person makes you feel happy beyond measure.

 

The third kind comes right about here. Fair warning would be that I’m very much excited about this particular kind and that I dream fervently of being in it. So would you, if you know what I’m talking about.

It’s the kind which just exists all around you, in the air you breathe in, and the dust motes in it which make you sneeze; it’s in the back of your head, like a half-forgotten dream, like a persisting brain tumour; it keeps you going in your everyday work, and makes you feel warm and content inside.

This Love is your soul’s comfort and its confidant. It’s not so much as public displays of affection or long-written love letters; neither is it constant texting nor trying to catch each other’s eyes and seeing the smile hidden in there. It simply exists. It strengthens and nurtures you in all possible ways.

The quote I put forth here is a song from Taylor Swift’s 1989.

You can hear it in the Silence,

You can feel it on the way Home,

You can see it with the lights out,

You’re in Love.”

Conclusion III : Love is the invisible driver of the human self which overwhelms you into the richest billionaire and humbles you into the poorest critter on the streets. Every second of every day, you feel both surprised and not surprised by its existence, silence ruling over all these emotions. It feels almost too sacred to be spoken of.

There I have it. You can post the comments and enlighten me with your anecdotes about them. I would like to leave it at that hanging note.

PS : I think I added the ‘Coconut Water’  to the title because I started the draft of this post in the Summer days of April on my previous blog. Please forgive me for the stupidity, but it feels bad to have it removed, so its gonna stay there.

PPS : About that silly little depression phase, again, that was during April. So, forget it!

Love,

Priya ❤

Do you see the Wanderlust in her Eyes?

Hi Reader!

It’s back to the apologies in this blog. I’ve been lazy, and stupid, and unforgivably irritable the past couple of weeks. But, I’m on the recovery path now. So, I guess I will be forgiven. *puppy-eyes-of-innocence*

Okay, let me cut the nonsense short and get right into business. This is going to be a short piece. It’s about Wanderlust.

I have lived up until I was seventeen in my hometown Madurai. Me, and my parents, and my little brother who was born about five years after I was. In the typical Indian middle-class fashion, we traveled together throughout the years. Daddy believed that families bonded better that way, and I have heard him refuse trips planned by his school or college friends and his colleagues. I am excluding those trips made to Gammy’s place (Gammy is a recent nickname for my maternal grandmother, pronounced ‘g’ as in ‘game’, ‘am’ as in ‘ham’, ‘my’ as in ‘me’), trips to attend relatives’ weddings, funerals, godh barais, etc, and the rare pilgrimages.

Now, there was a perfect pattern to these other trips.

  • It has to be the summer or winter holidays.
  • Maa takes a weekend off work.
  • We plan the places to see in the two days, or rather Maa chooses the list.
  • We travel by train, it’s an unstated rule, only trains, no buses.
  • Day 1 and day 2 blend together in a blur of places and posing and photographs.
  • God forbid there be a relative’s place in the place we’re visiting, or we’d find ourselves obliged to visit it.
  • We rush through Monday morning, Maa making two meals for four people in a hurry and Daddy running to get milk packets before the stocks run out.

(By the way, Maa and Daddy, if you’re reading this, I do not mean to be regretful about the way you guys planned our trips, but you have to admit, the trips were more tiring than everyday work!)

I can’t help but admit they were kind of fun, though. The trip with three smaller kids (who could not handle much luggage) and eight pieces of luggage (who could not carry themselves) and an extremely sick me, did make such beautiful memories. The most beautiful trip to Estuary Island Resort at Poovar, Kerala, for Daddy’s conference, with the most elegant buffet service ever, was the laziest, most relaxing one of them all.

Holding my direct addresses to the parents, I now talk to you, my Reader. You might not think it, and you might not see it clearly, but I consider that Wanderlust possesses me as well. There are different kinds of wanderers. Some are free to explore the world at their will, maybe even have their main job involve traveling. Some are nomads at heart, who jump up and shove off to a destination of their choice because they are free from roots tying them down and actually like it that way. Some, like me, are fascinated by the thought of new experiences, but are also predominated by,

  1. the lack of free choice in the matter
  2. the nasty Laziness monster
  3. the inability to afford the said trip

and so on. If there are kinds of wanderers I’m skipping altogether here, please forgive my ignorance.

Anyway, my Wanderlust wanted to describe my perfect trip in this post. So, here he goes.

My perfect trip would last at least two weeks.

My perfect trip would be during the winter.

My perfect trip would include my most favourite people in the world.

My perfect trip would go through a place from its local history to its Independence Day Parade.

My perfect trip would get me acquainted to local people with whom I regularly correspond thereafter.

My perfect trip would have me attempt to do things I would never normally have done.

My perfect trip would take me down a heart-panging lane of nostalgia when I flip through the photo album.

My perfect trip would have me re-do it every few years just for the memory of it.

My perfect trip would produce a picture of me, appropriately captioned ‘Wanderlust in her Eyes.’

*sigh*

I hope to see the dream come true in a few years. I feel the teenagerish whining coming onto my lips and fingers, so I’ll stop on that mellow note.

Love,

PPD

Writing? Really?

Hi Reader!

This is going to be much, much sooner than my track record says. But, that’s a damn good thing! Sooooo… Hi again, Reader! How have you been the last few days? Me, I’ve been fantastic! 😀

Now to the topic of discussion.

  • Writing.
  • Writers.

And everything that stands in the way of the latter to the former.

Okay. Big questions.

Why do we write? Why does anyone write? Don’t they have something better to do?

I’m NOT going to yell profanities now. I’m still this deluded, believing-in-the-goodness-of-people girl who hopes to clear some of the air between the lunatics who ask these questions and the writers themselves. (That L-word will be the rudest thing I use henceforth, I swear!)

When I think back to the time I started writing, I don’t really remember the trigger which pushed me over to the dark side, so I’m just gonna make some stuff up here. The essence of it is the absolute truth though.

Writing is a platform for the inner soul of a Writer. It’s a form of communication which is as vital as a mother tongue is to people. Anything we write is something we wish to express to the world. You wouldn’t want to stop talking to people, would you? We write to talk. The difference being the scope of the talk, and the audience of the communication.

We write (talk) to the entire world, mainly because that’s just the way we let out anything on our minds! But also secretly because we want people to absorb the information we put out. It’s just a very small part though. The main thing is the letting out what’s on our mind.

That’s why people I know write! Nobody can ask us a why to this explanation. Oh and by the way, why do you people jabber like jackdaws about random nonsense? Care to answer that?

How do you find the time? Where do you find the time? In between coffee and sleepless nights?

Okay, there is this very common misconception that Writers are high on caffeine and do not sleep or shave (in the case of a male Writer, and some female ones) or do much else.

This is strictly an extreme case of Writing.

I have a full-time career, involving a day job and lots of staring into a computer screen. Plus, I’m actually interested in what I do, it’s not just a money-making procedure to me. And I am a person who maintains vehemently that caffeine is a drug. And I force myself to taking only one cup a day, only on a work day in which I actually work at the office, and I avoid other sources of caffeine, like soda, on those days. Not to forget is my ever-lasting love affair with sleep. I cannot function with less than seven hours of sleep. I walk around like a zombie when I try lesser hours.

This is just my case. I have Writer friends, who do not take coffee at all, sleep for nine hours every night, and are getting a college degree at the same time. See?

It’s all about the priorities.

You want to write? Make the time, give up some futile thing you do everyday. Like watching some old TV Series to kill the time.

Passions always require sacrifice. You keep that passion alive by coalescing all the time globules you get in a day to fester it. That’s how it works. It’s as simple as that.

Fine. We get it. Blah, b-blah, b-blah, what do you write about? It’s not like you guys walk around with writing prompts plastered into your minds!

One of the few, genuine questions. Instinct is the best driver of all the conversations we have. We stick to things that move us, things that trigger a long train of thought in our heads, and things that we think we know and like to do. These are the typical topics. But, there is this other, hugely magical thing.

It’s fiction. Making up scenarios, happy endings, different pathways, a whole new world, parallel universes, magic wands, and glass slippers. This action is most involuntary, contrary to popular belief. You get yourself a teeny bit of plot, and there you go! The characters grow and the story lines meet and before you know it, it’s a whole new book!

The sad shit is that people don’t get the fact that we are ruled by our book. For example, I’ve been held on the noose by my two protagonists for about six months because one of them just point-blank refused to ask the other one out. They kept on flirting, and giggling, and admiring, and he never popped the question! It was maddening! They were too caught up in the moment! And when I narrate this scene to people, it’s almost always like, “Make ’em do it!” And I sit there feeling like an idiot for ranting this to the most unsympathetic ear yet.

This is the main reason to disappointed Writers. Call it writer’s block or whatever. But, one day, one sweet day, I’ll wake up to a finished manuscript, and I’ll draft that first email to a publisher, it’ll be the best day of my life.

Any concluding thoughts?

People are judgemental and prejudiced and a little rude. But, that ain’t gonna stop me from doing what I wanna do. Because I love doing this. Granted there are days together when I do not even open the Google Doc I use to write my novel in, and there are weeks together when I forget the existence of my blog. But, I will not care for continuity when all I need is the passion.

The world is filled with writers who have unfinished stories. Be sympathetic and be nice, they’re not disturbing you. Then why annoy them with all the tacky questions?

If you want to go on doing the crap, keep at it, fine by me! You’ll end up being one of the antagonists who die a cruel death. And it’s not even going to be handled tastefully. It will be gruesome and painful.

PS : Strictly for educational purposes, to all those who are not acquainted with our lives.

PPS : I have only given the barest overview, there are heaps and heaps of information under the hood.

Beginnings/Starts/Any-Other-Word-Which-Means-The-Same

Hi Reader!

First things first (as always; I mean the always as known to the readers of my old, albeit, slightly dysfunctional blog here), I’m gonna apologize for the really late post. I’m gonna explain it with the following chain of events.

  1. I read my friends’ works on WordPress
  2. I keep reading all their posts over several months
  3. I stare left and right in awe
  4. I decide to start a WordPress myself
  5. I wait for months (still following my friends’ WordPress’es)
  6. I start one
  7. I wait for weeks (still following my friends)
  8. I put up an introductory piece
  9. I wait for days again
  10. I curse my lazy ass and land here to type

Yeah, that’s just how lame I was being. But, who knew that a lazing around weekend, a tub of really bad pasta, and a karaoke session would all pile up and bring me right here? But, they just DID!

So, here I am, starting my beautiful, and hopefully LONG conversation with you all!

Today is going to be about new beginnings. Because I am such a procrastinator, and a lazy ass to boot, I wanted to write myself and of course, you, an inspirational ‘Start-that-thing-you’ve-been-meaning-to-for-ages’ post.

Dreams Vs. Laziness

It’s instinctive for humans to dream. I don’t have much idea about the dream cycles of animals myself, but I can tell you for sure that we, as a race, are born dreamers. Everything remotely related to creativity stems from the capability to dream that humans have. And everyone has at least one creative spot imprinted on their soul.

We dream of eating that chocolate chip muffin we’d tasted at that quaint café that one time, we dream of besting our sibling at wheedling the best Christmas present out of Maa and Daddy, we dream of having that killer body two days into a regular gym routine, and so on, the list is pretty endless.

(Excluding those weird, alternate-dimensional dreams were you play Laser Tag with Pink Floyd, the rational, doable ones are the targets of this discussion. Maybe, the right term would be daydreams..? Oops, my bad! That’s okay though, you now know what I mean.)

Hence dreams, are one of the trigger hormones of the human psyche. Dreams are the way we envision a pretty, self-enviable future for ourselves. And they’re also the way we crush our own hearts when they don’t happen. They’re like a time-bomb of pink confetti, which, ironically, is triggered manually. They do not manifest by themselves and they have a hard time battling their monster, Laziness.

Laziness is this stupid, clingy boyfriend. He seems to the One for you. But really, he is the worst sort of cancer, which holds you out to roast slowly on the pit fire until death.

Everything that could go wrong with you executing your steps to achieving a dream of yours, but doesn’t, and everything that could hold you back from trying to execute those steps, but doesn’t, and everything that might stand in your way towards the dream, but really doesn’t, is roughly and forcefully translated into DOES in your head. All thanks to Laziness.

He keeps feeding in random why’s and why not’s and whatever’s, that all of your efforts seem moot. And your real, and solid reasons to wish for that dream, get cut up into ribbons and fade away in the murkiness.

Dream to have a perfect body? Laziness stops you from starting that diet chart.

Dream to score the best grades in sixth grade? Laziness stops you from starting that extra study hour in the morning.

Dream to own that shiny new convertible you liked to watch in the showroom catalogue? Laziness stops you from starting that savings fund and keeping the accounts.

Battling this monster-slash-boyfriend has been an endless internal war with most humans. But, forfeiting the war and nurturing your battered dreams is pretty awesome.

Cast away the weapons, they won’t help much. But you can mold your will power to cast a Shield Charm on the enemy! Just like the manner Laziness attacks the head, you could build up the will to hold him at bay, and the dreams will break out into the prettiest confetti ever.

Ideas Vs. Status Quo

I’m guessing this battle is a declaration of the Indian mindset (I’m not being racist, I swear, but I do not know other societies in which the villain Status Quo is more vile than in India). Let me start with Ideas.

Ideas are fascinating little thought-nuggets emerging from the what-if’s of the brain. They’re enchanting little buggers, and promise all sorts of magic shows.

  • What if I took the long route home, it seems like a beautiful drive up the hill than around it?
  • What if I bought the frozen peas instead of the regular ones, they save the shelling process?
  • What if I took a tap-dancing class, Fred Astaire seems to like it so much?

All of these idea-hormones buzz through your veins like electricity and you start taking the left turn up the hill, you start reaching out to the freezer handle in the store, and you thumb through the yellow pages for that tap dance class. Then, the whole world freezes. All of your life flashes in front of your eyes (just those parts which involve the idea in question, to be fair). Everything you’ve been thinking of till that moment gets translated.

  • What if I took the long route home, no one seems to be so stupid as to drive for hours to a place which could be reached in minutes?
  • What if I bought the frozen peas instead of the regular ones, no one would willingly waste a bunch of peas to the unpredictable electricity fluctuations and the fridge halting everyday?
  • What if I took a tap-dancing class, no one would appreciate a bumbling baboon like me tap-dancing?

Vile, old Status Quo.

“I’d like to try this, but I don’t know if people like me have tried it before.”

Mean, cruel Status Quo.

“I really like the sound of that, but would people appreciate the thought?”

Stabbing, rusty Status Quo.

“Oh, that sounds wonderful, but it’s really not my thing, you know?”

Honestly, this is the lamest excuse anyone can ever come up with to avoid starting something. At least with Laziness, it’s a little bit involuntary. This is the most self-destruction one can ever inflict.

And to all those who fall prey to it? Get off your high horse, dude! Nobody cares what you do! Nobody cares what you might look like! Nobody is least bothered to take notice and gape at your foolish idea!

Just try it, for crying out loud! It could be your thing! It could be the best thing you’ve ever experienced! It could be something you’d never want to stop doing for the rest of your life!

It could be your Calling.

Innovations Vs. Comfort Zones

Okay, I know this is cheating. Innovations are basically Ideas and Comfort Zones are basically the Status Quo’s you place yourselves in. But, let me explain what I mean differently here.

Innovations = Ideas that people have never had before.

Comfort Zones = Status Quo’s assigned by yourself, for yourself (Wow, that sounds like the definition for a democratic government).

Let me take up that weird cricket innovation narrated in Hasee Toh Phasee. I know it’s a really bad example, but whatever! (Classic exhibition of Laziness, the ‘whatever’)

The protagonist proposes a new set of rules, flying fielders, a rotating pitch and what-not in the most popular team game watched here in India. It ends up interesting to the much-awaited sponsor for the other protagonist’s business and he gets his biggest break. But nobody ended up actually implementing or trying it (the movie wasn’t about re-inventing cricket, and the business-guy was also nowhere close to cricket in the story line). But nobody would even try, that much I can recognize.

Why?

The Comfort Zone!

I’m fine this way, I like pizza, I enjoy my afternoon nap, I love ready-to-eat meals.

These would be the answers to,

Would you like to try a new kind of soap?

Would you care to try our new exotic chicken pasta dish?

Will you come to a basketball game with me this afternoon?

Shall we try to make Dal Makhni ourselves?

(I know I skipped out on the re-invented cricket. Sorry.)

I’m re-assuming Innovations to just plain Ideas, which originate elsewhere or which change your pattern of life.

Grave threats, I’m sure these are.

But, they are just changes which shake your patterns a little bit.

Ask yourself ‘what-could-happen’ questions the next time you squirm at that new way of things. Shake your fog-addled head and nod purposefully. Sure, you’d be a tad uncomfortable, so what? You’re not neurotic. You’re not Monica Geller.

Start the new genre of books. Start the cold-morning runs. Start those DIY tutorials to fix yourself lunch.

Break your own rules. Those are ones which, on breaking, give you the best high ever!

I’m not sure if I’ve covered them all, comments below if I’ve missed out on some!

PS : First post on WordPress, please be kind!

PPS : I LOVE post scripts too much! 😛