Wheatish

You’ve heard of black,you’ve heard of white, you’ve probably heard of yellow skin too but ‘wheatish’, I bet that’s one you haven’t heard of .

I remember this term being used for me as a kid, specially as my sister  has light skin the comparison of ‘beauty’ was constant. From growing up as a person believing brown skin is not pretty with the constant feedback from most Indians, the first time  I began to  realise and appreciate my skin colour was when a stranger in Italy asked me where I got my tan. And although we didn’t speak the same language she did manage to convey the ‘colour’ was very nice. 

‘Wheatish’,I think back now , what a ridiculous term!

Indians unfortunately have a complex to anything white and will bend over backwards to oblige a white person. I have witnessed this in shops where all the salesmen suddenly wanted to sell to one white customer and the rest of us were left to fend for ourselves and ,in our school where we had a Dutch student for 1 year, she probably never had such a big fan following in her life before or after our school. This would never have happened to a dark skinned student even if she was a foreigner. 

I remember when one of my friends told me what a great guy my husband is and ‘so fair and good looking’ too. Cy and I still laugh about how an approval was based on his skin color.

We are a nation obsessed by fairness. In India fair=good looking. A car could’ve driven over you face and smashed in all your features but if you are fair, you will pass the test. The evidence of this is in the sale of fairness creams, the marriage ads in the matrimonial column, where a only a fair bride is invited to apply. A trend I have noticed over the last 40 years. 

When one of our’s is attacked racially in a foreign country we cry foul and yet with the recent attacks on the African students, in our own country some of our ministers have made  generalized statements as to the illegal activities undertaken by all the kids.(should’nt he have condemned the acts instead of generalizing ?) It’s so sad and shameful when I hear the foreign kids say they feel unsafe and are generally treated shabbily due to their race. Which many did on the news channels.

When in college I remember my own college mates passing degrading remarks when dark skinned students passed by, in Hindi no less,so they wouldn’t be clobbered by their bigger sized prey. I always thought this so pathetic ,to be mean to another just for their skin color. Once one tall,well built, student (who obviously knew some Hindi)turned around and asked ‘kya bola?, ‘ the bullies were hoping the ground would swallow them by the looks on their faces. That was one punch I would’ve been happy to see . He didn’t deliver, I’m sure because he is a guest in our country and decided against it.

We speak of being highly cultured but what happens to all that culture when we divide and further divide on class and race? Our culture teaches us ‘atithi devo bhava ‘ (guests are like god) and yet when they are black we don’t like them?! Hypocrisy to the hilt! 

As a kid my father always said to us ‘only if you accept your own mistake can you improve on it’. 

After hearing of the Tanzanian students attack and more so of the rickshaw driver spitting on one students face instead to returning his change, the fact that racism is deeply rooted in us is a fact we need to accept,IF ,we intend to change our attitude and tap into the humane side of our culture where we learn to accept all as our equal and respect everyone for their worth as a fellow human! 

  
It’s high time we peeled the fairness mask off our brown faces and made a few corrections in our mindsets. 

mama’s boy-cord extensions

so a few days ago our PM was teary eyed when he spoke fondly of his mother in a world famous interview. This natural emotion was spoken of by many media houses.

It’s so strange that when a person reaches a certain status in society,the fact that he is basically a human being is forgotten and that he too feels as much as every or anyone else.

and  yes, as he spoke of his mother who slaved it out for her young ones, he rightly mentioned so do so many mothers for all their children, why then do so many of these men in our society who hold their mothers in such high esteem not extend the same respect and love to their wives, or her parents, i wonder !?

Many men who proclaim the love for their mothers, completely fail to see their wives for the sacrifices she makes to change and adjust to her  new life with him. She changes the very name she was born with,leaves the security of her home and loved ones to build a new life with a man who may love her but revers only his mother. While the wife may try her best but the curry she prepares will never be the same as ‘mum’s’ and the house she runs is never run quite so perfectly as his mother can. At every step of the way she has to meet the imaginary bar set by the 2010_-_Mamas_Boy_b‘mama’s boy she married, while the mummy’s are happy enough to never cut the apron strings and have someone worship them (because their husbands don’t), the wives begin to pamper their little blue eyed boys. She knows her mother in law will never approve of the way she brings up the children, and that she has to find a fan in her son. This vicious cycle has been the bane of many a household over time. mamas-boy

I remember a friend whose main criteria when choosing a wife was that she would have to look after his mother. He blatantly said he would leave her if she didn’t get along with his mother. I felt like asking him to marry his mother instead, (as one can guess the mother wasn’t getting much attention from her own husband and 69044731306355ffd77922b98found solace in the son’s love, showering him with all her possessions, it worked out well for mother and son), needless to say his marriage eventually went south. I have known of men who choose to sleep at the foot of their mother’s bed until her dying day. Some ladies know all too well of their son’s promiscuous ways but when push comes to shove, blood is thicker than water and they support their sons. All situations are not so extreme and exist in varying degrees where wives and kids live a life of their own, supported by the father financially but living with the fact that granny is king.

Strangely enough, and it is rightly said that  “a woman is a woman’s enemy”, the

"Do I, mom?"
“Do I, mom?”

mother-and-wife-fight-over-husband

mother-in-law daughter-in-law battle will never see the end as up until mum’s can learn to let go of their grown up baby’s hands.

'My children always seem to move back - they like their home comforts.'
‘My children always seem to move back – they like their home comforts.’

Letting go of your child  can be a scary feeling, a feeling of vacuum, wherein the empty nester must now find something new to nurture.

In a land where women are accused of  provoking rape, daughters-in-law are burnt for dowry, where the birth of a baby girl is a reason of sadness, where bringing up a girl is considered a burden, a Mother is one who can turn this around.

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A mother who teaches her son to respect and love the woman he chooses to be with, who let’s go of the grown son’s hand, only to hold his whole family in her heart, is a mother who will be raising not just her family but an entire society!!

Tradition

A fiddler on the roof… Sounds crazy, no?

fiddler-on-a-roof-imageBut here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof. Trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word! tradition    Tradition!             Tradition             Tradition             Tradition             Tradition             Tradition             Tradition             Because of our traditions,             we’ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka,             we have traditions for everything.             How to sleep.             How to eat.             How to work.             How to wear clothes. traditon For instance,             we always keep our heads covered,             and always wear a little prayer shawl.             This shows our constant devotion to God.             You may ask,             how did this tradition get started?             I’ll tell you.             I don’t know. But it’s a tradition.

Traditions seem to be,  almost as old as man himself. It’s so interesting to learn about different cultures and different traditions. Usually followed to the T, lest no bad luck may fall upon one if not done right.The origins of traditions are generally skewed and finding one clear reason behind them is difficult. Yes application of common sense does give one a fair idea of how a tradition may have come about, but mostly superstition keeps them alive. I love the colours and the songs and the food that usually form a big part of it. Integration of cultures is the best part of diversity. Where one gets to enjoy the  best of all cultures. The month of march heralds the summer solstice on the 21st, where we experience the equinox,24 hours divided equally as day and night. This day is celebrated as Navroze or Nu’rooz (new day or beginning of a new year).This is an Iranian tradition celebrated in various parts of the world by cultures with farsi roots and as i recently learned in 23 countries around the world. Zoroashtrians and Ismaili Muslims follow these traditions. My husband being a zoroashtrian and me the latter, I have decided to embrace the celebration of novroze. ghosts Although I choose “tradition sans superstition”. i was told (once i start i can never stop the ‘sufra’). tradtion 003Celebrations entail, growing of wheat, painting of eggs, decorating the table with items named with the letter ‘s’. Wishing eachother ‘barakaat’ (abundance).All the foods denote ‘spring’ and the burst of life. Holi is celebrated by hindus by burning a pyre denoting end of the old and ringing in the new.It’s time for the new harvest and a new ‘beginning’. Easter is also a celebration of ‘new life’ in a manner of speaking.    And of course, dressing up, feasting and celebrations are all common and the most fun part of all traditions. Like Tevye, said in the fiddler on the roof, how did it  all get started? i dont knowI don’t know. But it’s tradition! tradtion 004 Happy Novroze to all , may you be blessed with plenty!!

you and i

Hi, it’s been 3 months since I ve been blogging, and receiving calls, and  e mails from you. I thought it was time now to indroduce you to the other members of my family and take our relationship to another level. relations 010 relations 009

This is Dennis. He has been my partner through some tough times and always stood by me. The kids despise him, because, while I am a gentle-mannered mother, Dennis is strict. He always kept the kids in line and threatened to tell on them if they hadn’t cleaned up their room or done their homework. There was a time when Rey (all of 6 years old), lost his temper at Dennis and attempted to tear him limb from limb.

angry boy
angry young man

Rey did not appreciate Dennis’ loyalty to me. Although the kids have grown up since and Dennis’ role in the family has been reduced to almost negligible, leading a retired life in a drawer, the mere sight of Dennis still stirs up initial feelings of anger, followed by a bout of hearty laughs.

relations 008
Donkey the nose digger is a new entrant and generally partakes in watching of football matches.

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Bob ‘The mali’ is our gardener and greets me with a big smile every morning, as I water my plants.


relations 001

Meet  Don Corleone. He has quite an attitude, and rakes up a ruckus in the tank. He diminished “Choos” the sucker fish (one fine day Choos was gone, no trace of him). Most recently he toppled the entire ship that sits on the bed of pebbles in his tank.

relations 004

I did try making him swim through a metal hoop, and am convinced he was getting the hang of it, but my family conceded I have too much time on my hands and threw away my metal ring. But Don and me continue to greet each other on a daily basis. After all we did build a rapport.

RELATIONSHIPS-  Everything and everyone we meet and interact with becomes a relation of sorts, even if it’s a feeling of hate, it’s a relation built on it, strange but true. Other than the obvious, Our relations with the vendors we meet daily, the same faces we may see walking at the promenade, even the stray dogs acknowledge our presence and we theirs. Heck even the “relationship” managers at the banks (although they change so fast that they should be called fling managers). So regardless of the fact that intensity and time spans vary, relationships are really what make this world go round, without which we’d be a dismembered mass of movements, much like robots.  Relationships are delicate and strong, and need to be nutured.

wedding garland

Speaking of which, Cy and I have completed 3 years into our marital relationship (based on our family genes we’re hoping to hit the golden jubilee mark). It’s been a good journey so far, with the occasional upsets. His ideological nature makes his perception of things as either  black or white, which makes me tear my hair out, and the fact that I can’t, is probably the reason his hair line has receded faster than the low tide on a full moon day. We’ve learned things about each other, the initial years of awkwardness combined with politeness of the honeymoon phase has slowly moved into a comfort zone. A ‘stand at ease’ so to speak, where I  feel free to compare the hair on my leg with his, or where once a fart was an  occasional out of control occurrence, is now a reason for a high five. We breathe easier now, as we’ve let go, the need to constantly suck in our paunches. The  time sharing of the tv remote control has been worked out and the laws of whether the toilet seat should be left up or down are now ingrained.  I believe we are now entering the 3 year itch phase (it’s no longer a 7 year itch). This is a time, it is said when the spark begins to diminish.

notes shaheenNote to self: “feed the flame”- Remember the 3 important-F’s

cy burger
food: the way to a man’s heart
family
family

and

spain cy and sh
FUN

As does everything, relationships too have a life span.

So whether it’s for a rEASON, sEASON or a lIFETIME, cHERISH each one!!

CHEERS to you and i !!Champagne

Peace Is All We Want

Foreword: MH370Declared and accident!an “Act of God or . . . . .??

I wrote the following poem in the aftermath of the accident (if you can call it that) of the MH17. We all expect to see our loved ones who travel due to work or otherwise to return home, but when a deliberate bolt out of the blue takes them down, souls weep for the sake of humanity!

pray_for_mh370_by_twineapples-d79mif2“Peace Is All We Want”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peJvuDL1sKQ&feature=youtu.beslide 1damaged flower editedcrushed rosesmh 17child in war zoneOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAflags at half mastgrave yardmaimed childUN_Members_Flags (1)unityweedsOld_Love_Wall_by_savorygerbilssoldier with kidhugging soldiersoldiers with children
children huggingpeople-in-the-seecoffinmother soldier n childTOPSHOTS-PHILIPPINES-HAITI-UN-ARMY-PEACEKEEPERSsoldiers funeralsoldier with black child   soldier peaceBelgien, Brügge, Entwaffnungunity world4117088642_0a95d07592peace is all we want 2peace is all we wantpeace is all we want

Home away from home. . .

happiness-300x274 It’s twilight, a time when I remember to say my prayers. As I watch the sun set over the horizon, it reminds me that another day in my life is coming to a close. I can hear the bells of a temple in the distance toiling away to rouse the Gods, while the sounds of the ‘azaan’ (call of prayer) ring through from a nearby mosque simultaneously. I watch people rush into church so they don’t miss the evening mass, I recall fondly as my dear friends’ mother would drag us all to the ‘gurudwara’ as kids to “matha teko”(bow down). Looking over at the neighbouring buildings; I see zoroashtrian neighbours light the ‘lobaan’  and smoke their houses; an act to drive away evil spirits and usher in the angels.   The taxi and rickshaw drivers stop their daily runs, to offer a small prayer, as do the retail shop owners and street vendors. They light an incense stick and pray to the miniature idols, for sustenance and safety, and bow down offering gratitude. It’s so interesting as it seems almost simultaneously everyone in the world is bowing their heads down together. The rituals followed by all seem to have a common thread running through. The burning of incense, the ringing of bells, the singing of hymns, water, chana, and sheera distributed as Prasad. The teachings of love, tolerance and brotherhood being the common essence. The eventual close of day reminds us all of our own mortality; the fact that we are here for a temporary time. We don’t own anything and nothing really belongs to us, not even our own bodies. Where do we come from and where do we go? Even relationships are believed to be an ‘earthly thing’. Recently, I had invited my friends for a get together for high tea, as day turned to dusk, all of us took a few moments for silent prayer, ushering in a sense of peace and quiet after the continuous chatter of the afternoon. As it happened, the discussion got philosophical. Each of us adding in bits and pieces of our understanding of our faiths, traditions and beliefs. Some cultures teach of an afterlife, some speak of rebirth; Evoking Questions like ; In either scenario do we end up with the same families, as part of the same culture we once were a part of. Could it be that our souls go through a shuffle and are sent back to earth in completely different roles from our previous lives?  If not, do our souls go on to an afterlife different from anything on earth. So,  is what faith our ancestors were or did in their lifetimes relevant to us today? Some of us who’ve had a brush with aura readers, have been told  of many past lives we’ve lived, in different times, different cultures, in different parts of the world. Some who’ve tried regression have experienced being maids, jailors, warriors, kings. I doubt we’ll ever really know the answers to any of these mysteries. Most beliefs say we are part of one soul, which we reunite with on attaining moksha, “our final resting home”. Practice, religion and faith, these are schools, they aim to teach us how we can attain moksha, the method of teaching being different, the curriculum much the same. The best teachers and guides reside in all of us and that is our conscience and common sense. They guide us clearly and directly. When we chant and meditate we feel the connection. This connection is our contact home. I recently attended a passing away ceremony, and it began with the hymn, ‘ I surrender’ and aptly ended at burial with ‘lord I’m coming home’. The final ‘ghar vapsi’. We carry within us our souls. We are where we should be, and will go where we’re meant to. But, “home is, where we will always be “. eternal peace

Behind Closed Doors

1280px-Rainbow_flag_breeze

“You are under arrest. Put your hands behind your back, anything you say or do can and will be held against you.” But, what is my crime, Sir?

“Your crime, is the fact that you are different from me!”

A criminal is ‘Someone who harms another, mentally or physically’,

Would it be safe to say that this is a layman’s definition of a criminal?

But how do we judge a person to be a criminal or otherwise if he is simply different from the herd.

Normal- WHAT is NORMAL ? Who decides what is normal or not ?

If one is different from the society he /she lives in, does that make them abnormal or a criminal ?

I cannot stomach spicy Indian food, or prefer to eat with cutlery rather than my hands. This I have found to be different from the society I grew up in. Many a times, when I have been invited out to dinner, people say  to me, feel at  home, use your hands, no need to use a fork. But for me, eating with a fork is “at home”. I have grown up with jibes like , “ the british left you behind”.

I am also ambidextrous, I write with my left hand. Each and everytime I write people ask me,” you’re a leftie?”. Growing up feeling very awkward about it, I have grown into actually loving this difference. I now reply, “oh no, I am a righty but am just using my left hand for fun”. I love the confused looks I get to that response.

But my point being here, is that I was different. I was the only lefty in my class

at school. So does that make me abnormal or a criminal?

Why is it so hard for people to understand, accept and embrace diversity?

I was saddened to know the LGBT community is considered criminal. Is it fair to call them criminals?

The law as I understand is in place to look after us humans, and protect us from harm. But does it have the right to criminalize on the basis of differences; some people are merely born with.

I believe that so long as 2 grown mature adults would prefer to be together WILLINGLY, who are we, or who is the law to label them as criminals?

Trying to “normalize’ them is ridiculous, as to them, we are not “normal”.

All of us look towards the law, the courts, the judges to give us justice and freedom, which is our right. Why then does the same law become the biggest hurdle in the life of a person who, chooses to live life on his terms.

It is hard enough for a person to accept his differences and feel comfortable within himself. Many families live with the knowledge of their own children being gay, but request the children to keep it hidden. Log kya bolenge? (societal pressures) Is the biggest fear. This hypocrisy is the cause of stress and unhappiness for many. A lot of marriages are farces to cover up the truth . Where both partners have an understanding and simply stay together to keep up appearances.

If only over zealous “moral Policing” would stop and rather target the genuinely harmful elements to society.

When we alienate people based merely on harmless differences beyond their control, we bring divide amongst ourselves and our societies. We help create a group of unhappy people, who begin to look at society as the enemy, and who rebel merely in form of self defense.

The truth is, we are the criminals, because it us who have eventually created something that will attack civil society.