Monday, February 11, 2008

He does not understand

He went inside a home in a locality looking like a slum, along with about ten of his friends. It was home of one of his friends. They occupied the chairs and sofa in the hall. After some introductory chat, his friend's mother went to the kitchen. When she came out, she and her daughter were carrying trays containing plates of sweets and glasses of juice, one each for all the people present. He was sitting at the end. When it came to him, there were more than four glasses and plates. His friend's mother asked him, "Is it ok for you to eat here among us?"
He picked a plate of sweets and a glass of juice. But he did not understand the question.

He was returning from the school along with one of his classmates. He was being teased by him right from their exit from the school. They were walking for about fifteen minutes. Being a shy boy, it was becoming difficult for him to bear the onslaught of teasing taunts which referred to a girl. Finally he screamed at his friend. His friend exclaimed, "No wonder you are a cry-baby. After all you are son of a Brahmin family".
He became more angry and spoke in a wild manner. But he had not understood the remark.

It was one of those chaotic recesses in his junior college. They all gathered together and opened their tiffins. Being a group, they used to eat their tiffins together. He opened his tiffin. It was one of his favorite dishes. Two plain Omelettes and bread. Looking at his tiffin, one of his friends blurted out, "Hey you eat eggs ! You are not a pure Brahmin. I do not eat any such stuff. I am a pure Brahmin, unlike you."
He was not a kid not to understand the remark. But he did not understand what was meant by purity in this case.

He was attending a social function. It was buffet time. There was a long queue. He got bored. The queue was looking like a never ending one as more and more people were accommodating themselves in the queue if they found someone they knew. Irritated, he remarked about it to the person standing in front of him. The ball of conversation started rolling about. It was turning out to be a pleasant exchange. The person asked him his name. He told his name. The person asked him his full name. He told his full name. The person remarked, "Oh, so you are one of us!"
He just waited for his turn for food.

He was meeting a senior from his undergrad college. Academically she was two years senior but agewise the distance was about three years . They were good friends. In the flow of conversation she happened to mention that her parents were looking out for a groom for her. He said it was a great news and it must be funny going through all that process. She said that wasn't funny in any sense as the groom was not only required to be Brahmin but also from belonging to different gotra than hers, not to mention her other demands. She explained that people from a specific gotra are said to be descendants of the same rishi and in that case they all would be siblings. Fully aware of the concept, he tried to argue that if there are only a handful of gotras and if both the parents did belong to different gotra in all the marriages, then all the people of their caste would be siblings of each other as a child would inherit genes of the father as well as the mother. She said the gotra of a child is inherited from his father. She also added that he did not understand the concept at all or else he would not speak of it in such a manner.
He felt her remarks were true. He had not understood the concept at all.


Take care,
Onkar

11 comments:

Suneel Madhekar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suneel Madhekar said...

Hmm... Why do we weave an imaginary web of constraints around ourselves? A web of blind-beliefs and irrational compulsions. And somehow, religion always seems to promote such irrationality. What good is a religion that does not accommodate new knowledge and gets stuck in age-old customs, however meaningless they are? In this age of rational thought, do we have the need for religion at all? I don't see absolutely any purpose for religion and caste.

Rohit Bhide said...

Have you ever thought why we do all this 'useless' stuff time and again. I think it provides a sense of security to an individual and provides a feeling of belongingness.
I think its time we shed our religion, caste, creed and start taking about more human causes. This has to be started by deleting these unnecessary adjectives from the birth certificate itself. Let me know if you have got better ideas to put a big fullstop to all this stuff.

Manasi said...

So true....
I mean u find it everywhere n don't know how to react to it.
Nice pick of the incidents which make u blank at that point of time and make u ponder later.
God knows when we would ever rise above it.

amol said...

bravo once again.......
the problem is more deeper..........its not for the person who doesnt understand!! it is actually the ppl who say they want to follow the religion fail to understand..........its not abt religion.....ppl fail to understand one simple fact.............in the end we r humans......made of same bones same blood.same tissues..... !!!
bring in religion nd u bring wid it customs rituals...most importantl..bondage!!!....anyways..thers one simple question.....whn one says im brahmin,im dis im tht...do they knw wht they actually mean?? or we have become so blind tht whtevr comes our way we accept it.......

heliophile said...

@ Rohit
I haven't given thought to what can be done to stem this issue. I guess it will take a lot of efforts from every layer of society.
Even if those people, who understand whats right or wrong, can propagate their thoughts in their families and environment, it will prove to be a lot of help. One of the most important things is that such people should not fail at the crunch moments.
If you can inspire even a single person to the right path, one can say that you have done your bit. And if everyone of us succeeds at this, this issue may be stemmed without any extreme or drastic measures.

heliophile said...

@ Amol
Indeed in this case people find it comfortable to accept whatever comes their way. Somehow our society, our governance system encourage that. Brahmins take pride in their castes, backward castes take pride in calling them backward. Brahmins reap the benefits of higher social status and many castes reap the benefits of the special privileges endowed on them by government. And most important, people like the idea of continuing these acts till the end of the world.
The natural fear of being in minority too prevents those handful of people, who can think a bit, to go against society.
Grouping is natural in human society. Unfortunately, despite of being intelligent species, human beings show utmost reluctance to throw away the illogical kind of grouping which has got generated through generations. And moreover, they justify it saying that there is a science behind it. It is a comfort zone they have created and they do not want to get out of it.

vindy said...

Very well thought of and equally well written...Such thoughts have crept in my mind more than often and every time I had to pull myself out of it lest I would blow my mind off...Well, it has all to do with your lifestyle actually...People belonging to so called different castes have different lifestyles and that is a fact we cannot deny...It would be quixotic to dream of a world where everyone lives in the same manner...Such varied lifestyles continue to exist and when somebody attributes a certain tag to you, they assume that you belong to that particular lifestyle..Brahmins and all are just those tags and nothing else, since as you pointed out, very few know what they actually mean...Then again, I don't think they make any difference amongst friends now-a-days and you can see all kinds of people mingling with each other quite easily...Such things surface only when the question of marriage rakes up or when the government talks about reservations...In case of marriages, whether it is justified or not is not a simple question to answer since now it is a matter of the two individuals sharing every moment of their life and not just an hour or so spent together as in case of friends and since now more than a single generation bears the effects...The real problem here is that people fail to understand that frictions in relationships do not understand such concepts...At the end of the day, I think, its all about adjusting and adapting to situations irrespective of who you are and where you belong to..

heliophile said...

@ Vindy
In my opinion, the crux problem lies in the lack of respect between these castes. Its this lack of respect from which issues like complications in marriages etc. arise. Had there been mutual respect then I think this problem may not have existed at all.

sushant said...

Once upon a time in norway, there was a man named Zep Quarthon who wrote a song about how Christainity came to Norway and wiped off every root of his ancestor's native culture... he died some years later, not before becoming father of the music genre Black Metal.
The reason I tell you this, the reason I scribe you something seemingly un-connected to your blog entry is because you show the same promise. The promise, that you will be one of the choicest few to face them back and tell them to Fuck Off. Its not by their comfort zones their fort's radius is defined, its how deep you can fire your cannon inside their heart...

Mansi said...

I must say, brilliant post! Something we all must think about..
and yeah, pleased to hear from you :)
You're at IISc , aren't you? I remember anu telling me when I was there in the summer...:)
PS : will update my blog soon!

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