Category Archives: RealLife

Man – the social animal

SocietyWith so many of gadgets and apps, the man has been socializing more or are they really socializing? Sometimes he has to be social forcefully though; anyways there is hardly any Jungle left.

I have always been in love with what we call small town life. I think in the end, people here are really who make society what it is, they just don’t live in the adjacent building they do socialize in real. But to what extent that surprised me when I see incidences taking place here.

One of my relative (my grandmother or my mother’s aunt to be precise) died in her 80s. She was severely ill for more than 5 months. Hence the family was investing whatever they had for her. After giving more than 4 warnings where every relative assumed that she would be dying, she left this world at the 5th warning just a fortnight back.

Even though every single relative was present there, I was not able to find her ‘Anmol Ratan’. At first, I thought he was busy preparing for the last rituals but then all the ritual preparations were done already. I was wondering how anyone could go missing when he has to fulfill his ultimate duty as a son.

When he finally arrived, I went near him but had no guts to ask him anything. I observed his face; it was bit tensed rather than being sad.

Someone finally came close to him and asked, “Did you get any caterer?”

He said, “I have asked a cook to come and prepare, he will do it well.”

The person again told him, “Everyone will call you stingy if anything goes wrong, just go and get a good caterer.”

He again went and came after half an hour.

After three days I went for a ritual. Just like the first day, there was a meal prepared for many people.

At lunch, many people from village arrived and to my surprise, there was a sweet as a part of the meal.

I asked about it when I came back home to my mother and she replied,“You have to prepare a sweet for these 12 days.”

My immediate question was, “But it wasn’t a celebration”

And to my surprise she already knew what m going to ask, she immediately replied, “but then it’s a social ritual that they can’t avoid”

Here’s another incident, a few months back one of my relatives got married. The uncle and aunty were known for their behavior in and outside our family, but somehow they were always deprived of the love or care that they deserved.

It was finally their son’s marriage and they thought finally they will have a happy family.
Even when they had seen so many wrong examples of lesser fortunate marriages in this so called society, they had decided they will give their best to their daughter-in-law.

I even got to know that after one of the small fight between the couple before marriage, they had said to their son, “Sorry but that girl is giving up on the family and everything that she has, so we will give her all the love, even the part which belongs to you.”

Finally, they had a perfect wedding, aunty used to treat the girl as if she is the daughter-in-law trying to do everything to please her. The girl also used to tell everyone that she doesn’t feel as if she is at her in-laws. But God had something else written for them. And the marriage suddenly took a U-turn and came under the testing radar.

The aunt and uncle couldn’t do anything but cry for three days. The uncle even skipped his service for few days and to give him competition aunty had skipped the meals. Both of them being physically weak already had only one support – that was of Zandu balm.

But even he was not ready to live with them and used to die twice a day. The drama was unfolding more than a sad Tamil movie.

And in one of incidence, I told the aunt,
“I am going to the district place, do you want me to take you to the doctors.”

She refused, “Can you bring one of the items that we had distributed as a return gift?”

I was shocked to listen to that and asked, “Why that thing now when everything is at such stage? You should take care of your health first”

Her reply was, “It’s a social ritual. Only one was short and hence I couldn’t give that to Reena, what will she think about me?”

These are such incidences when I wonder that is the kind of socializing our generation do is right or the way of such places where importance to society is given more than individual self is correct. All these incidences made me move on a bit more towards city life. Let’s see who I do love more finally – a city life or a village life?

Why branding matters

Brandingbranding godWhen I was in Indore,I visited Omkareshwar, on one of the weekends. Before visiting this place I had read about it and got to know that there are two temples of Lord Shiva which are considered important. So as we reached there I tried to locate those two. One was clearly evident from its structure I could see across the river and as per books the first one had to be on the same side of river that we were standing. So I tried to locate it but couldn’t really find second one. There was one temple on the hill top. We went there and it was indeed a Lord Shiva’s temple but from its condition that it was in, I didn’t think it was that important. The absence of even a priest was supporting this thought. That time I couldn’t find any other temple so when I returned I searched more about it and found that the temple which we saw in miserable condition was the important temple. But when 1000s of people were gathered in crowd to see Shiva on the other (main) temple, hardly anyone noticed this even though it fell first on their way to the other one. There were so many priests competing aggressively in the ‘Main’ temple but none thought of being in this temple.

I thought may be the condition it was in was the reason for this. But it was for the branding, I understood only after I came to B school.I happen visited Varanasi two days back.

In Varanasi, which is known for a number of temples, thousands of people come in this season but mostly with the purpose to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple (main temple). In the premise of the main temple, there are more than hundred statues of Lord Shiva. But there are three statues which are located in the center of three different temples which are especially made for them. These temples separated hardly by 15 meters. I visited the main temple and felt that the condition in which the Lord was, he was disrespected. It was very crowded too and hence everyone was aggressive to have his few seconds in front of the God. The queue to see the Lord was growing continuously. As I came out I saw another temple similar to the first one, I thought maybe it was of another god. We went inside to find out it too was of Shiva. The temple was in a proper condition and the priest even yelled at someone who tried to disturb “Shringar” of the Lord. Yet the crowd here was less.

Just outside this temple there was a third temple and this one was in much better condition and you would actually feel the calmness and peace which you tried to find when you pray to the god. But the crowd was null.

Being a believer in god and knowing few of the thought processes behind the statue that after a proper process of pooja god resides in a statue, I respected all those statues. I questioned myself; why there is a difference in the attention they were getting; may be the main temple had been successful in branding themselves. They got loyal devotees for them. They even associated complete Varanasi to it. For the temples who were having exactly same god and were created later, they were not able to give differentiating factor to the Devotees

The Angrej in us

(thanks BACHCHU for editing)

Finally, the summer that lasted 69 days was over and we were back in our campus in Lucknow. The first thing I wanted to do was to go out with my friends for dinner. To add to the happiness of meeting all the friends after a long time, I came to know that Nidhi had received PPO in her internship. We decided to go to one of the costliest restaurants in Lucknow as it was pending in our to-do list. Though our group comprised of foodies who loved checking out new restaurants, these were the prime chunk of Lucknow’s food joints that we couldn’t visit due to our helpless empty pockets.

We split into the groups of 4 and took cabs from our campus to a restaurant. Our cab was the first to reach the venue. Once we took our seats, we started going through the menu. As it turned out, it was a buffet, out of which we could order anything. I went through all the dishes offered and I found one fancy name among them. When everyone ordered a different soup for themselves, (I still don’t know why I ordered that particular one) I suddenly said, “Lemon Coriander!” Rest of the people joined us afterwards. They started asking about our order. Ankush told others that I had ordered Lemon Coriander, and everybody started laughing and joking about it. When someone joked, “Dewa will eat Lemon water with Coriander”, I realized the blunder I had made. All it took me to understand it was splitting those words apart. And that is precisely how terrible it was when I tasted it. But I had made a mistake, so to save my face I had to drink it. But it was so unpleasant that I couldn’t drink it after few sips. When everybody got busy in drinking their soup or chatting, I just slipped my soup towards the other side of the table without anyone noticing. Thinking about it, I looked around. I was embarrassed. But then I thought, “Was I only one who is so Angreja?”

The person sitting just in front of me has cheeks resembling that of the typical younger version of Hrithik Roshan in the movies – too chubby. That is why we sometimes call him ‘Chhota Krish.’ I had started mocking him about those since our college began and used to call him Golu. Though I was his first friend in the college, he got really irritated by this and almost stopped talking to me. Ironically, the same guy now feels elated when his girlfriend calls him Fatty.

Then I looked at the person sitting next to me. Just 8 days back, I had asked her opinion on which mobile I should buy. I had found a good Micromax mobile and asked her whether I should buy that. She was furious about it and asked me, “How can you buy such a locally made phone?” I knew how angry she gets sometimes and so instead of arguing over it, I asked her, “What shall I do now?” She told me that she will come up with some good options to buy from. What she came up with was a ‘One +’ and a ‘Redmi’. Though I agree they are making good phones these days too, but come on!! You are so sure about these Chinese brands but not Indian brands! When the same person accompanied me to buy clothes once, she didn’t like the apparel from Indian Terrain. Then she said she knows a good brand and she took me to Bossini.

Sitting on the head seat of the table was a person who is probably the second best master of finance in our group. Whenever we used to talk about jobs she used to term CRISIL, SBI and ICICI as ‘not-too-good’ companies. She wanted to work for Bank of America, Master Card, etc. I know these companies are different, I am not denying it. What I am saying is, she could never come up with any good reason to defend her strong perceptions, except that the latter were MNCs. It was just deep fitted in her psyche.

The next one in the line was a guy with whom I had partnered on a few projects. We had had a discussion on one of the projects just before coming to dinner about plumbing services and we were making some assumptions. During that discussion he repeatedly said, “The work won’t be inferior there; it’s not India.”

Lost in thought, I was not enjoying the moment. I made an effort not to think about all this and start enjoying. I started concentrating on food and chatting. The talk had gradually shifted to a different topic. The tallest girl in our group had suddenly said, “Wow! This is such a delicious food! I surely want a guy who would at least cook food for me.” Another girl from our group replied to her, “You surely need to go outside India. Choose an Indian if you want, but he must be living in US or Europe; they are very helpful to their wives in the house work. And most importantly, only there will you get a tall and handsome guy who will match your personality.”

I was surprised to see how all of us have that element of “Angrej” directly or indirectly. The irony was we were Indians and the proudest tag that we carried had also started from Indian (i.e. IIM) People tried very hard to attain this tag, sometimes preferring it over any international university. The fact is that our attire might have been changed but from within, we will remain Indian.

There are so many reasons that are given for such a behavior, for example. people want best for themselves and aspiration of the youth has been going up. Some say its era of globalization. For me, the best argument was that I had heard from someone in the past, that we were ruled by the British for long and they were considered supreme. Even when they left, they left the impression on the Indian hearts so deep that anything outside India is better. Instead of it getting out, it has probably found a permanent place in our psyche.