A Beautiful Tradition

Heard about a beautiful tradition practiced by many tharavaads (traditional homes) in the Kerala of a bygone era. The elderly lady of the house would ensure after dinner each night, that one of the younger women go near the gate & look around for anybody who may be in need of a meal.

She would then loudly call out in Malayalam : “Athazha pattinikar indo?” (“Are there any hungry people out there?”)

She would say this once or twice & in case there was someone hungry, they would be given food.

The family which practiced this would be known in the area so there would also be the regulars waiting for a meal.

It was only after this, that the gates would be closed for the night.

What a lovely tradition.

It’s not over until I win

Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality! – words uttered to Les Brown by a teacher & these words changed his life.

A must watch video!

It is a reminder that greatness is often born on the bed of adversity, trials come in to sharpen us & make us stronger & winning is an attitude.

Let the naysayers keep at what they do best BUT don’t let that affect YOU!

Just go ahead & work on making your dreams come true!

Not another candle, please

I love gifts & I am grateful for all thoughtful friends & relatives who over the years have sent some wonderful stuff my way.

Including candles. In plentiful supply.

Having reviewed my current stock of candles I thought I must write a post on it.

To save more candles the excruciating journey of making it to me only to never see the light of day flame.

I have been gifted candles of every type & dimension, from different countries.

Aromatic, scented, exotic, beeswax & plain.

If I were to count all the candles I have been gifted thus far …well, I could write a book, with a chapter dedicated to each unique character candle. Or better still, start a store.

I alluded to this candle-gift syndrome in an earlier post Namaste India – please read for some enlightenment.

Until then, think twice before you gift someone a candle…unless of course you wish to help them start that store.

Candles

       Candles

Candles

 Candles

The lost art of handwriting

 

Growing up, I used to love writing letters  & sending greeting cards to family & friends.

What was even more thrilling was to receive cards, letters & replies by post.

It was a sheer delight to come home from school or college & see 1 or 2 letters or greeting cards waiting to be opened & read.

It was great.

We had a post-lady  – I would eagerly look out for her, to see if she had any letters for me in her bag. And then that down cast feeling when she would just smile & carry on. No letters that day.

There was such excitement to just receive a letter by post.

Today I stand guilty.

I have become terrible at writing. All the typing has got me so out of touch with handwriting.

In fact it requires some effort to get my writing to be fairly legible.

I am guilty of not writing letters anymore.

Other than the rare card that comes by once a year around Christmas, no letters come in either.

As with all of us hooked onto the trappings of the socially networked world, ‘updates’ are through short text messages via the mobile or Facebook status updates, replying to someone else’s  status message or an e-card in bulk using bcc.

What a radical shift from the doodle filled, detail  rich letters we used to send & receive. And postcards when someone went abroad.

Collecting stamps I’m sure will soon be so out-dated as to appear as the hobby of the ancients. 

Today we are digitally enabled but it’s about the spread of your contacts & the count not so much the depth. The ‘Hp all well, tk care.” msg while quicker & faster, lacks any emotional content whatsoever. And so it is.

Today you possibly need to see a Wikipedia page to understand this ancient pre-historic form of communication called letter writing using implements such as pen  or pencil & paper (wotdat?)

Ask a child to write you a letter when they go on vacation & pat comes the reply “I’ll send you an email”.

Talk to little children today about letter writing  & they will look at you aghast as if they just heard about a snake in the vicinity.

The Great Indian Wedding & the Bane of Interference

 

Greetings from the CouchCoach.

Having been a student of psychology, I have always been fascinated by the human mind – what makes people think the way they do & do the things they do. Me included.

Today I write about an angle of  the big fat Indian wedding famous the world over & the accompanying but less known ingredient called interference (for life) in many cases.

Yes, this accompaniment is a normal part of several marriages after the wedding ceremony &  festivities. 

Interference by in-laws in the lives of the newly wed.

The scope of in-laws include Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, Brother-in-law, Sister-in-law, Grandmother-in-law…okay I’ll stop with that, no virtual smelling salts to revive those who pass out reading the list.

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It is a common aspiration for Parents to see their children settle down.  And this aspiration is generally shared by well-meaning relatives & friends. It is extremely common in India for almost the whole community you associate with wanting to see you settled! Which is not a bad thing provided they don’t go overboard.

Settled to a large extent means – married & financially secure (for a daughter the recommended path is ideally Business Tycoon, Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer) , children (minimum 2) & happily ever after. I referred to this famous  settle down syndrome in one of my earlier posts, when I met Mrs. D.

I wish the noble intention ended there.

But, no.

After the marriage happens & all these well wishers  join in the celebration of  the couple’s new life one would imagine they would now give the newly weds the time & space to begin a new life together…along with the blessings they heaped up on the couple during the ceremonies.

Unfortunately it isn’t so in many cases.

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It is very common for families to want their beloved children to ‘settle down, settle down, settle down’ & then the very same parents / now in-laws ‘interfere, interfere, interfere’ in the couples life. Never been able to figure this one out!

This is more so in the case of the young married man who brings his wife into the threshold of his  home to begin a new life.

I love the Indian family & support system we have which beats out several others around the world. I am not talking about couples paying scant respect to family, tradition or to the wisdom of elders. I am talking about the need for letting go in those cases where in-laws suddenly feel they need to manage, monitor & control their newly wed child’s life…spouse, finance & personal choices included.

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You – as the Parents of the couple were longing for the day they would get married.

You dreamt of it. You planned. You waited. You sweated. You saved.

It finally happened.

Yes!

Now, can you please leave the young couple alone to discover their new life together on this journey called marriage?

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Most often the protagonist is the daughter-in-law who has to make the maximum adjustment as she moves in to her new home, be it living with her husband’s  family or setting up a new place in some cases.

You – as a Parent may have been down that road some decades & beyond. You may know exactly what ticks with your beloved son or unnerves your dearest daughter.  Please be aware that your relationship with your child is not being threatened.

Let’s take the more common case of the beloved son, who has now attained status of  Husband.

You – who were so longing to see your son settled, why are you now so insecure? Why does his new companion become a threat? Wasn’t it at your insistence that he gave in & got married to the woman you selected to be his companion for life in the first place? Didn’t you check her background thoroughly? Didn’t the horoscopes match? Weren’t you the one who was convinced it was a good alliance? Why do you now stand in the way of their conjugal bliss… if at all they even have a chance to attain it?

While the slant to my story may be the arranged marriage, the same is true in love marriages too.

The sheer unwillingness of some Parents to allow young couples to start life on their own is scary. Regardless of whether they stay with his Parents or stay separately &  get remote-controlled.

Parents please learn to let go! In so doing you will draw your children closer to yourself eventually.

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To the Parents (& siblings) of the new Husband

Please don’t interfere with your daughter-in-law  be it her choice of decor, style of dressing, faith, friends, cooking or career. She managed well all these years, thank you. Yes we all know she’s not & never will be your clone. If that’s what you’re looking for you better make it know upfront before getting your other kids married. Respect her individuality, encourage her independence.

Sisters-in-law – don’t be threatened about the new lady in your brother’s life. Be a positive support & you earn yourself two good friends for life!

To the Parents (& siblings)  of the new Wife

Please don’t be unduly critical of your son-in-law – be it his choice of friends, career (the famous “in comparison” to your own or other son’s or whoever else’s) or taking him to task for not indulging your daughter the way you did. He was & never will be your clone. Respect his position & give him the space to be himself.

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The Bible records in the Book of Genesis – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Chapter 2 : 24)

Such amazing wisdom from the ancient Scriptures.

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I speak from a purely India perspective. I don’t know how prevalent in-law domination & interference is in a young married couples life  in other parts of the world . In fact I’d love to hear back on the same for my own education.

Thank you for taking the time to read.