6 things that I never stop thinking

A good long hike can be a time of much needed introspection it isn't too bad for your body either

There was a time when I just wanted to be 18. To get my license. To get out of school. To love. To ride a bike. To roam around. To just be free. As the time has gone by, now when I think back, did i really get what I wanted? I ‘ve been thinking of this for the past days, and tormenting myself a lot. Unlike my predominant theme of humour, which I like to blog about, I think this deviates a long way from that. This is harsh. Like they say, the truth always is bitter. Or bittersweet.

These are the things ,in no particular order, that have been giving me sleepless nights..

1. Career

I wanted to be rich , successful, famous, charitable, smart , a mover and shaker in this world. Have I really come to that? Well truth be told, I have chosen a different career path from what I was trained for. Or forced for. Am I happy? Yes . I am. Am I secure? No. I am not. I realise that those long away dreams of money, fame and what not, are not that easily attainable in today’s world. Unless you make a viral YouTube video, you possess a good pair of vocal cords, or you do something so absurd, that you propel yourself into the spotlights of this world, there is every chance that you are just going to live a very mediocre life. However I don’t possess nor have done anything in the said list. What I do have is ambition, and tons of creative thoughts swirling in the grey matter in my brain. I might have to channel them soon, for making at least a leeway into my dreams.

2. Marriage/ Love

I was a very passionate believer in the perfect love concept. I believed that if you love a person with all your heart that’s all that matters. But life proved me wrong. It showed me what matters in love is not the sincerity, but its your bank balance and car. I know this is going to sound clichéd but it’s unfortunately true to majority of relationships. I am not going to give a chance to anyone to call me a chauvinist or an anti feminist, because I am neither. I am a scarred person who has had his belief in love shattered to pieces. However, I am not going to go that far as to say, that its someone else’s fault and not mine at all. I am a human. I have erred. In my transformation, from a teenager to an adult (subject to contradiction my mom says), I have bumbled, said and done really stupid things, been a jerk, in general, been human. That’s the best way I can put it. Now I just hope one day, this wont just be a thought in my head anymore. It should just go away for good.

3. Friends

I’ve been blessed in my life, to have had amazing friends over the period of my life, till this moment. And I’ve seen them all. The  thinker, the doer, the freaky, the cheater, the backstabber, the  happy-go-lucky, the philosopher, the miser, the untrustworthy, the mad, the psycho, the drug addict, the alcoholic, the heart-broken, the back up, the honest, the frank, the studious and a hell lot more categories. All these people, have somehow or the other thought me the value of friendship. Though not all of them lessons are happy memories, I did learn over time, how to gauge friendships and evaluate people. But in the end, I am happy for all of them who came into my life, be it to stay, or to teach, or to cheat. I am what I am , because of them. No regrets. Maybe one or two.

4. Family

I have to say over the period of time, this has been a love hate relationship for me. When I was a child, I used to think that my parents are the worst people to have as parents. And my sister , the evil incarnate. ( Never my brother. Not yet.. ;)) I have slept crying and thinking why on earth did these people give birth to me. Particularly the school phase, when every thought of progress report and open house meeting was sheer terror for me. Maybe my dad was not the art of living type. Maybe he believed in pushing a bit now and then. When I went to college, it was a sigh of relief. But then the unthinkable happened. I started missing them. I missed the scoldings and the thrashing. I missed my mom’s food. I missed fighting with my sister. I yearned for times with them. Every time my parents called me on phone to hostel, I was tearing up, wanting to be with them. Over the time , I gradually learnt to not be emotional about it. And now back in Dubai, finally staying with them. I’m back to square one. I hate them!! 🙂

5. Meaning of Life

You wont believe how many sleepless nights I’ve had just thinking and speculating the meaning of my existence. It might sound all deep and shit, but trust me, I bet my life saying all of you reading this has thought of the same. And probably in the same place. Lying on your bed. Staring either to the ceiling, or into the darkness. I just have reached that point when I just don’t care anymore. I just want to live my life fully, share kindness, help people with whatever I can, be a good friend, a good brother, a good father, and most importantly a good son ( can’t really commit to that, dad, still I’m trying ok! ;)), go around the world, try my best not to hurt people. In short, Probably a worthy life where in the end, people are going to be genuinely sad when I’m no more but a name. That would be a good life.

6. Music

This is something that has been a constant lifeline for me since 11th standard. I still remember fondly the moment when I was introduced to the ‘Linkin Park’ , by god knows who, in my entrance coaching centre. I remember automatically, I started head banging to the beats. And then I still remember all the more my first band with my dear friends Hari, JK, Nikhil,Nipun and Vinu. We sang for the first time the song “Seasons in the sun” of ‘Westlife’, for our senior’s farewell party. I remember the moment in all its nostalgia and clarity even now. From then on , I’ve graduated to listening to songs in almost 7 languages, writing my own songs, and standing plans of forming a band with my best buddy Greg. I just wish to almighty , I always , have this one thing in my life, which is part of my character, my mould and my soul.

Having said this, I don’t mean to define myself to you neither to the world. I felt maybe there could be at least one of you who could relate to these thoughts of mine. Maybe comment about what could be done better. Maybe just an acknowledgement ,that things will turn out better, because they did for you. Or maybe it’s just to know that in the end, I did speak out things on my mind. And you all knew it.

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A comprehensive study in ‘The Big Fat Malayali Wedding’ !

Being one of the cousins, out of some 70 extended near and dear cousins and their cousins ,(thanks to my grandparents – naughty couples of ‘the’ india! :D), and having a global plethora of friends and their cousins, I’ve been witness to a diaspora of all types and varieties of Malayali weddings. Catholic, Syrian, Jacobite, Pentecostal, Hindu, Muslim, Inter caste, Arranged, Love and arranged, Love and runaway, Love and missing-in-action, you name it, I’ve seen it all. 😛 So in short this kind of makes me an unofficial authority in the art and science of ‘malayali weddings’ and the hoopla surrounding it. For your easy reading, I’m gonna break it down into sections depending on the craziness and activity surrounding each. Read on and buckle your straps 😉

1. Arranged weddings ( All castes Christian, Hindu , Muslim)

This is the most straight forward wedding (for sake of argument, its straight), you are gonna witness in terms of the couples compliance to elders wishes. Starting off, the ignition of the whole process is done by joining one of the many million malayali wedding sites now boasting membership numbers exceeding that of Facebook ! And believe me they cater to the many permutations and combinations that form the colourful fabric of the rich, boisterous and pompous malayali’s all over the globe. An IT grad in the family is tasked with the initial profile creation and then he is kicked out by the elders. Then they rub their hands with glee, sip a cup of kattan chaya ( black tea) and start groom/bride hunting. Priorities vary, but the common points where the ‘malayali factor’ comes in are here

Girls

  1. If the girl is less than fair, NO. ( “the baby will be dark and no amount of kumkuma poo (saffron) milk will help ! “)
  2. If she is too short, NO. ( “she needs not to be carried on his hips like his kid ! “)
  3. If she is seen in jeans or shorts or 3/4th’s, NO. ( ” who knows what kind of character she is, if she is wearing this exposing clothes ” ! )
  4. If she is highly educated, NO. ( ” there will be ego issues and she wont listen to him . Too independant” ! )
  5. If her hobbies and likes , list things like ” don’t mind smoking and drinking partners”, NO. ( ” Sheesh, she herself might be a huge chugger and puffer” ! )
  6. Anything else , PASSES.

Boys

  1. If he is listed as “social drinker and non smoking”, NO. ( ” Liar! Who drinks without a puff at least! ” )
  2. Minimum eligibility is engineer or doctor. Any other profession is entertained only on an inspection of the guy’s rubber estates. The more ‘rubber’ he has, the less difference he not being a doctor/engineer makes. 😛
  3. Age and baldness is NOT, I repeat, NOT a criteria if he is an NRI and earning in multiple zeroes after 3 zeroes. Period.
  4. Anything else , PASSES.

Now starts the talks between cherukante ammavan ( groom’s uncle) and penninte achan (bride’s father)Both start neutrally extolling their respective kids virtues and character so much , that it seems the site just found the new age Adam and Eve! And that too from numma (our own) kerala ! Now for those of you wondering , if the bride/ groom is asked anything regarding their wishes till now, the answer is NO. Because according to malayali logic, any hidden love affairs and crushes come out in the initial discussion period, before the oldies bring in the IT grad relative! 😛 So everything after that is a ball set in motion that culminates ‘successfully’ depending on various twists and turns. “Successfully” , providing the groom’s family clinches an attractive dowry deal, which can include anything ranging from latest bmw car, 916 jewellery to liquid cash and city properties. And the weirdest fact? The girl’s family is more than happy and exuberant to give the same. After the deal is clinched, then finally the guy and girl see each other’s faces properly and start talking, chatting and messaging. Doesn’t matter if it seems obvious that they vary in thoughts as in giraffe to ant, the deal is set. “Live with it” is the keyword here. 😛 Then the entire clan of both families descends, both dead and alive ,from around the world arrive 1 month before the wedding and start shopping . And when I say shopping, I mean the ‘baap’ of all shopping lists in the world! It’s at this time, that malayalis break all known records of jewellery purchasing making sure the girl is covered in enough gold, to the extent of making her stoop from its collective weight 😛

“Bulletproof vest you say ?? “

It’s also at this time they get to know how low in standards, allegedly, the other is. The gossip machines also start pumping around this time. But since the deal is set, Live with it!. Oh.. And the marriage dates are fixed based on the clans vacation dates, not on the groom’s leave availability!. FInally it all comes down to the wedding which is one huge carnival of betrothal, engagement, naadan kallu (toddy), foreign booze ( that the clans brought from duty paid shops in airport), mind blowing sizes and shapes of F&B, and pazhavum paaniyum (banana and sweet wine) . And therein ends the arranged marriage scene. BTW,  did I say naadan kallu? 😛

2. Love marriages (Intercaste, Love and arranged, Love and runaway, Love and missing-in-action)

This is even more funnier in execution.  For the sake of simplicity am going to take it from the guys point of view. The premise is simple. Guy loves a girl( be it same religion or different). Parents bring in the topic of marriage. ( Remember the discussion before they bring in the IT grad? 😉 ). Guy says no to marriage talks. Oldies start fidgeting. Investigation starts. Finally guy comes out with the truth. Cut to chase. Father talks about social status, mother talks about 9 months painfully carrying in stomach, cousins congratulate. From here there are 3 separate track lines

  • Intercaste, Love and arranged – Both clans talk grudgingly, either arriving at a false compromise or one party wholly taking charge. The marriage though happens like arranged itself, with both parties or the in charge clan, with or without a plastered smile on their faces. The grandiosity of the wedding is still maintained with all those stuffs that was mentioned earlier. Which also includes naadan kallu 😉
  • Love and runaway – This is where epic chase scenes and friends and cousins come into play. Both clans dint find a deal clincher ( probably because bride’s family wasn’t keen on giving dowry to a guy they dint choose , looking at his rubber estates ! ). Then cinematic plans and blue prints are drawn, guy and friends kidnap the girl willingly, both change dresses on the run, reach a register marriage office, ( which the cousins had blocked before) , sign and become man and wife. Then to try one last time for parents approval, followed by the friends and cousins entourage , they go to either homes. If in stereotypical scenario, the parents break down and agree on seeing their kids married and with spouse in tow, all is well again. If not , then defying society’s norms they start living alone, with support from the same friends and families. Worry not. Because this last’s only till the girl delivers a child , and then the now official grand parents come to see their grandchild. Happy ending. Oh sorry! Did i mention the flowing of naadan kallu the night after the couples succesful register marriage! 😛
  • Love and missing-in-action – This is again simple. Scared of parents even before the talks come up, guy and girl elopes and runaway. Usually noone has a clue of their whereabouts until some friend or cousin who knew the plan, talks. Then the parents go in survival mode. They get their kids back and enter a truce. An official marriage takes place with only near and dear invited to play witness. Naadan kallu flows . 😉

So you see, we malayalis have a knack of going about marriage in the most cinematic and perfect way. It’s as we say, a chagara (torrent) of emotions, deals and lots of agreeing to disagreeing. We dominate it entirely with episodes of over dosed melodrama, family sentiments, lovable cousins, kick ass friends, snoopy relatives, gossiping neighbours, NRI relatives and who not, to form THE BIG FAT MALAYALI WEDDING ! 😀

Did i say NAADAN KALLU ? 😛