Bachpan ki Memories, Now and Then!

Experience is like a comb life gives when you are bald. I have that comb now. Of course, metaphorically. I have grown up and have a little one of my own. I have thoroughly enjoyed my childhood and never even knew it. Ironically, that’s the beauty of childhood and innocence. We grew up playing, studying, and fighting with siblings. The kind of childhood today’s children have is entirely different from ours. But I don’t think anyone is to blame here. It’s just that the times have changed, the people have changed, the society has changed. And like it or not, we have to incorporate all of this change into our lives. Consequently, our children’s childhood experiences are a lot different from ours. But if I had to choose one thing that they don’t do like ours, hmmm…!!!! 🙂


When we were young, there were none of the fast food joints like McDonalds or Pizza Hut or Dominos. So the weekends did mean some kind of special food, but almost always it was home cooked. I remember we went out like once a month to eat restaurant food. And after having it, my mother would invariably always say, “I could have cooked it better at half the price”. And cook well she did. There was no dish that was available in the market and we hadn’t eaten a healthier version of it at home. We ate burgers with breads and aloo patty made at home. We ate yummy south Indian dosas, idlis, sambhar and chutney. We also had the Guajarati dhoklas made at home. All of these with none of the artificial ingredients or preservatives present in the restaurant food. And the sometimes we had to eat the boring khichdi due to someone’s tummy upset, mother made sure it was accompanied with some yummy dal papad and pickles, of course, made at home.

 

Source: Google

And I remember we had a great time helping our mother make these at home. We would be assigned the task of laying down the raw diced potatoes on the terrace and would take turns watching them dry in the sun and not let the birds or mosquitoes have a taste of them before we did. The pickles would be seasonal. In the summers, enough raw mangoes were pickled to last the year. In the winters, we had yummy carrot, and cauliflower pickles put in ginger juice.


With the fad of burgers, subs and pizzas coming in, the authentic Indian tastes have given way to global palettes. As much as the kids these days hate eating the same food over and over, we mothers are no match for the mothers we had. I don’t think anyone of us is marginally closer to the multitasker that our mothers are. My daughter is one and a half years now, and I try to give her home cooked food all the time. But I am sure it will change over time when she starts going to school and the fast food fad catches up with her. But I really really hope and wish I can make her childhood and growing up years as interesting and healthy with home cooked food as mine was.

This post is being written for the #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest.

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Fashionista High with Baggout !

My ever favorite, the eternal fashionista Sarrah Jessica Parker (SJP), more famously known as Carrie Bradshaw (of Sex and the City fame) arrives in India. She is someone who needs no mention. She is someone who throws out all the fashion books while dressing and creates her own style. And because this is a hypothetical situation, I am accompanying her on her Delhi tour 😉

SJP : You know, I really love the burst of colors on Indian roads. You guys have a range of fabrics, so many apparels and designs to choose from.

GS : Oh yes! You will find clothes ranging from an LBD, tunics, Kurtis to skirts, leggings and saris in an average Indian woman’s wardrobe.

SJP : And despite this horrible weather, I see all these young girls on the road sporting such fashionable clothes. And the shoes! Don’t even get me started. I love the jutis, the kolhapuris, the flats and the heels.

GS : Awww Sarah. We all know your love for shoes now, don’t we?

SJP : (Smiling) Yes! If only I could take all this back with me.

GS : But you can.

SJP : Thank you darling. But I am in no mood to go out shopping in the Delhi heat. Running from shop to shop in this weather is not really my idea of a vacation :-

GS : But SJP, you can buy all this sitting right here and you can also get some great deals and cash
backs.

SJP : Really? Can I? This sounds too good to be true.

GS : Just check out this website BaggOut. They have stuff from all the major brands. And they also offer coupons and cash back when you shop!

SJP : Wow, this looks awesome. I think I can find everything here. And how did you say, the cash back thing works?

GS : Here, this is how

SJP : OK. I think my itinerary for the day is set. I am going to explore this awesome website and gift myself some really cool stuff.

GS : And also some great deals! 😉

And so, while SJP is busy browsing the BaggOut website for filling up her Indian wardrobe, I wrote out this post for you, so you don’t miss out on some great deals and merchandise.

Edited to add: you can read my interview on BaggOut here

PS: This post has been selected as one of the top 5 Most Creative Entries in the contest. 🙂

 

Arranging your love – better than loving the arrangement ?

Marriage. They say it’s not a word, it’s a sentence. A sentence that means a million different things to a million people across the world. And yet, it is considered the most sacred of all institutions that exist in this world. Across generations, thought processes have changed, new cultures have emerged, humongous technological advancements have happened and yet, Marriage is a kind of mystery that is still incurable, still indecipherable.

The decision to get married brings with itself a host of responsibilities. And add to that, with a paradigm cultural shift, we have another very important question that has apparently gained more importance than the original “To marry or not to marry” confusion and that is, “Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage”. And this is one topic of debate that was prevalent even when I was in school and I think it’s going to be relevant even when my kids decide to get married. I only hope we (my kids and I) agree one of those !

Now, there are a lot of pros and cons associated with each kind of marriage, and in a nutshell if you ask me, I would just say, “To each his own”. But seriously, if I were to elaborate to sort out my own thoughts on the topic, I would address them as below.

1) Basics

Arranged Marriage (AM) is a pretty consistent procedure. You turn a marriage-able age. Your parents decide to find a suitable match for you. When they find it, you get married. Contrast this with a “Love marriage”. Random boy meets random girl. They hook up and start dating. And sometime later, they decide to get married. Do they end up getting married? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Random people, random answers. But what really bothers me is the characterization of this entire mess as “Love Marriage”. What I mean is that in this case, you will find stories, each one eligible enough to give our quintessential Bollywood romances a run for their money. And sometimes, heavily inspired from them – couples having a huge age difference between them, couples from contrasting financial backgrounds (one super rich , and one poor), from different castes, different religions and sometimes a mixture of more than one reason and you know you have a spicy Love Marriage chaat at hand compared to the boring and predictable Arranged Marriage samosa.

 

 

A contrast in the kind of freedom people feel in AM v/s LM !!

People say the divorce rates are way higher in Love Marriages. Aren’t they bound to be? I mean, if you look at the kind of risks involved in an unstable chemical equation that a Love Marriage (LM) is, what with age gaps, financial constraints, caste and religion differences, break down is a truth, rather than a possibility. Whereas in an AM, all the possible risks are covered up at the first step. But this does not mean that LMs are bad and AMs good or vice versa. And as far as risk proofing is concerned, AMs aren’t all that fool proof. What with the girls of our generation being financially independent and not taking crap from anyone, divorce rates are pretty steep in this section too.

2) Head v/s Heart

Indulging in extreme behaviors. AM – all thought, no heart. LM – all heart, no thought. Why? 

It’s not necessary that everyone will/shall fall in love. So, if you are looking for a soul mate, instead of just check marking the usual parameters like caste, religion , height, weight, salary, try to find out more about his/her personality. And here, I believe that if the parents allow kids to meet a prospective groom/bride of their choice, they should also provide the kids an ample amount of time to take their decision. At least in India, it doesn’t happen like that. Nobody can judge a character in a couple of dates. I think this is one area where LM score over AM – Understanding your partner. In LM, since the partners have known each other for quite some time, understanding comes a bit easier.

The kind of proposal you might get in an AM!! 😛
While in a LM, the couple is kind of cocooned in their world where they have eyes only for each other, oblivious of parents or relatives and they might be misled to believe that Love conquers all. Sadly not for everyone. But while you are being all rosy eyed and believing that this world is nothing but a lovers’ playground for you, it is important to understand the fact that once a relationship becomes formal, it comes under the scanner of society, parents, friends and two sets of relatives. And that is the time when the actual pareeksha begins. And so even though you may have fallen in love with all your heart and your best intentions, it is very important to give it a thought with your pretty head too. And kind of question yourself if you will be able to take a downfall in the relationship (which is inevitable) with different kinds of expectations. We live in a society and can’t really live exclusively. 

These Relationship Basics are good to know in both cases.

3) Just Married 

This is the most blissful phase in both types of marriages. Starting a new life with your partner, where only you two are the cynosure of all eyes, gifts, parties, romance and honeymoon make one dreamy eyed and push them far from reality. But once all the excitement dies down, it’s a reality show. Couples in AM have a lot of catching up to do in terms of knowing each other likes and dislikes apart from getting acquainted to the whole new world of being married and all. On the other hand, LM couples finally heave a sigh of relief at having successfully made to the altar, but kind of realize that marriage and courtship are not really the same things. And so, a couple of months after marriage, everyone goes through different kind of struggles. And I think here parents and society play a very crucial role. 

I have seen instances here where parents and society adopt a dual nature. If it was an AM, they would advise their son/daughter to talk it out and reach a compromise, and sometimes even intervene in a positive way to make things better. But God forbid if it was a LM, they start blaming the son/daughter and “they always knew this was going to happen because he/she didn’t know bad from good”. Do you think that serves any purpose apart from putting additional pressure on the couple? The point here is that any kind of marriage requires some time to settle down with a partner and people and parents should understand and respect that.

4) A couple of years later….

All people change for good and bad with time. Sometimes people and their love for each other outgrows. This can happen in both kinds of marriages. Although chances are high of it happening in a LM because AM somehow takes care of a lot of aspects of your future beforehand. And also because couples in a LM have very high expectations from each other and when they don’t get fulfilled, they begin to question the love. But that doesn’t mean failures don’t happen in AM. May be just a little less than LM. 

Of the above analysis, I understand that AM are (statistically) more secure than a LM. And yet, why do people marry the one they love? In spite of knowing all the difficulties they might have to face and having heard the above from friends and family umpteen number of times, why do they still go ahead with it? I think that madness is called Love. People who have never experienced that kind of madness might never want to believe it and even rubbish it away as a mere hormonal rush. But only the people who have been in love know how magical it is. Its maddening enough to make people forget who they are, change them in ways they would never have imagined, and do things they may have never thought themselves capable of. And it is for this magical madness that people are ready to risk it all. And after all, if it doesn’t work out, they still have the satisfaction of knowing that they are solely responsible for their actions. For nothing do they say, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”. And for what it’s worth, you can’t really blame your parents for a failed AM, because they had your best interests at heart! 

But the most important thing to remember is that any relationship (be it love or arranged) requires a lot of work for maintenance. Just in different ways. Love just doesn’t automatically stay in a LM nor is it automatically created in an AM. It has to be built, taken care of and nursed to enjoy its beauty always. And on a “bidding adieu” note, I would like to say again, “To each his own”. If you find true love, hold it tight. If you don’t, have faith. Your love story might just begin after you say “I do” 🙂
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Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage

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*All images courtesy Google