Saturday, July 04, 2009

Taming The Shrew!

I have always been an obstinate child. This has been a cause of constant worry for my parents. They have had courses in good parenting for all these years and yet never managed to figure out the reason why two perfectly obedient adults produced one crazy rebellious fool. There have been annoyed aunts and grand aunts who have been unable to figure out the cause of my unhealthy disposition coupled by a healthy disregard for anything religious. The legend goes that I was a very ‘good boy’ till my last school year; it never can be confirmed. Reports keep varying. What changed though is a mystery even I do not remember, though I think the basic catalyst would be the song ‘Its my life’ by Jon Bon Jovi. It was a rage in our SSC days, and somehow it seeped into my unconscious.

After 6 years and multiple character diagnostics later, I have been labeled as the ‘psycho’ in the family. The long hair and unshaven beard doesn’t help my image either, but I like it. I am the guys my neighbourhood moms warn their kids about. I am actually the person who can say “I am not useless; I can be used as a bad example.” But all said and done, I have disappointed my parents hugely. Often I have felt sorry for that, have tried to apologise in my own way; but efforts have failed and disappointment doubled.

Being born in a Brahmin family has its advantages. I have been lucky enough to be able to see the culture and rituals and the customs of a very huge limb of the tree of Indian society. I cannot say much about the honest practices of the aforementioned things in the religious texts, for what I have seen has led me to the observation that we, Brahmins, generally are a very hypocritical and selfish lot. This, of course, is a personal opinion and you are right to throw stones at my house. But I say what I see. Hence, I retain my opinion of going against customs and not the religion itself. But that is a difficult choice to explain. So I never try to. This leads me to my second dilemma.

After years of deliberation and postponements, my parents have finally come to the decision that my thread ceremony shall be conducted. The arrival of a late monsoon that seems to be bent upon drenching the guests does not seem to deter them. Rain or flood, this will be done. The budget began as a modest middle class fare, but with the arrival of ‘unexpected guests’ has risen to astronomical heights. The explanation given is, as always, ‘I did not expect them to come’. This makes me wonder if people really give out invitations in order to invite or do they do it as a way of saying, “don’t bother”. The caterers, pundits and guests who visit do not hide their disgust at my lifestyle. Halls have been booked and itineraries prepared. My stuff has been shifted to my neighbour’s, who I suspect will not miss this opportunity to dig into my secrets. The atmosphere resembles a parliament with a score of voices screeching to have their opinion heard. I grin and bare it. The typo somehow fits, so I’ll leave it there.

As for me it remains to be seen if I shall outlast this assault upon my psyche. On the other hand, I never expected so many people to be so eager as to come watch me sit half naked and dripping wet in the chilling rain and recite mumbo jumbo that nobody understands. They expect me to now suddenly become a very obedient child, well versed in rituals and humble, honest and scrupulous in character. Bonne chance! I say.