Archive for March, 2016

COLOURFUL MEMORIES

Posted on March 22, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Holi was one of those days which meant a lot when I was young. It was really difficult to wait for a year to take part in the festival of colours. There were other festive occasions but Holi was the best. On Diwali the celebrations were and are restricted to the confines of the home but Holi was something to be enjoyed outside on the roads in the company of friends. That was the greatest thing about Holi. It was also made special since according to the Hindu calendar, my youngest brother was born the day before Holi, Dolo purnima.

My parents took the responsibility in deciding about the kind of colours that me and my siblings could get access to. We were forbidden from using or rather throwing balloons filled with coloured water on buildings as well as on other revellers. But there was no restriction on the variety of items-sweet and savouries that could be consumed at home. Some were bought and my mother had her specials to mark the occasion.

For a while, I was given the responsibility of captaining the team that included my two younger brothers on the day of Holi. A large group of friends would almost cover the entire town on foot at a time when the town was very small and a lot more friendly. It was past the afternoon that we would return home feeling the after effects of the walking, the hot sun and the hunger. But we had to wait till mother would apply oil-mostly coconut oil to remove the colours before giving us the bath. The wait for lunch was excruciating to say the least and it was difficult to consume the food with sleep affecting our reflexes.

There was the sight of a group of elders of the town moving around the town with coloured powder and sweets accompanied by traditional music. The group was led by a gentleman who was the chairperson of the municipality many times. The sight of pot bellies swaying to the music was a sight to behold.

Once me and my brothers got more friends, we went separate ways in celebrating Holi. There were certain people who did not play fair. My younger brother was on the way back alone and a bully smeared his face with black paint. My brother came running to the home and mother took over with her cleaning methods to remove the paint. My brother was warned not to go out for the day. But within a few minutes after the cleaning he went out and his face was painted black once again by the same person. Meanwhile, I returned home and my parents let loose their verbals volleys on me for being irresponsible. I found my brother sitting with a glum face with the black paint on his face. My youngest brother and sister were trying to console him. Upon enquiry, I discovered that mother was angry for my brother crossed the Lakshman rekha. To this day, we all have a hearty chuckle recounting this and many other episodes related to Holi. Sadly, there were no cameras or smartphones to capture selfies and photos in those days.

Holi was truly an occasion where we could celebrate without any care in the world and being young with no responsibility and chips on shoulders, it was one that has given memories for a lifetime. Of course, with age and the changed priorities of the society, Holi has become less colourful and less enjoyable. The passing away of my youngest brother has had its effect on the celebration of Holi.

But then in the recent years, my five year old son who pushes Dennis the Menace into a distant second place, Holi has become enjoyable once again although I dearly miss the past and the company of friends and siblings who made Holi special. No display technology can really supplant the colourful memories of Holi.

“I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed.”

The video offers a small insight into the joy that comes with Holi.No

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SHARE THE LOAD TO BE A MAN

Posted on March 11, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

We live in a society where people are judged on the basis of variables like caste, religion,family name and even gender and sadly not on the basis of qualification, ability etc. This what development economists call as one indicator of underdevelopment. Of course, when it comes to the opportunities for women, things are not pretty much different even in the most developed of the societies.

Women are stereotyped when it comes to their choice of occupation. They are considered unsuitable for certain occupations that are regarded as manly. Even when women decide to stay as housewives, things are not better. There are certain tasks which are supposed to be taken care by the mother or the wife. At the same time, women are not even taken into consideration when it comes to some important issues.

It is considered unmanly when some man decides to do something as trivial as making tea or coffee for himself. I often have come across friends and colleagues who boast about their lack of any talent in the above mentioned area. If someone opens up, he is laughed at and in the worst case, he is ridiculed. There are also instances where the wife does not allow her husband to stay in the kitchen for any length of time, for she does not want to break the tradition.

In this context, I recall my personal experience. My father from the southern part of India is an expert in the art of making filter coffee. He would start the process before going to bed for the filter to do the magic so that the morning would witness the strong aroma of coffee. My wife from a different part of the country only knew about one variety of coffee-the instant one. She was not happy with my father being the master coffee brewer of the family for that would bring shame to the daughter-n-law and she decided to set things right. But for a considerable length of time, my father would beat her to the first cup.

So think of one task that is the exclusive domain of the women-washing of clothes. Many of the menfolk boast loudly that their clothes are cleaned and also pressed by the ladies at home. Before marriage, the mother and post marriage, it the turn of the wife to wash the dirty linen, albeit, not in the glare of the public eye. For the poor, the women wash the clothes of their families at public taps.

My mother was a teacher in a high school who always had her hands full with the task of managing the house as well as her occupation. With four kids who often were like Dennis the Menace, things were difficult for us. Come Sunday she would spend a lot of time taking care of the dirty clothes, when washing machines were not accessible for ordinary folks like us.

As me and my siblings came across some friends who washed their clothes, a tiny bit of load was taken off the shoulder of my mother. Later, all the four of us spent varying amounts of time in hostels for our post graduation studies, washing of clothes became a necessity and to this day the trend continues, much to the chagrin of my wife. It is not that I am here to give any sermon to anyone, but I honestly believe in the sharing the load. I cannot take the load related to cooking and taking care of my son, and I can lend her a hand when it comes to the washing of clothes. I must confess that I only wash my clothes since my wife does not allow me to take care of her clothes as well as those of our son.

Just as charity should begin at home, so should the so-called empowerment of women. The sharing of the load as far as washing clothes is concerned, is just a small token of our gratitude to mothers and wives. It is manly to care and protect our women. This should not be very difficult in a society where even the top job could be handled by a woman. Of course, there is the most developed country in the world which is yet to witness a contest involving a woman for the top job.

With apologies to Bob Dylan, I am paraphrasing the lyrics of the great song “Blowin’ In The Wind”

“How many tons of clothes should a lady wash to be called a woman.The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind”.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation

There is the following video to help #ShareTheLoad

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