Friday, 14 May 2021

Funny Father

    

There was this family of seven

its condition deteriorating day by day 

head unable to feed, provide medicines to sick 

some neighbours started pitching in with help 

angering  the father a lot! 

 

Who are you to provide for my family? 

get lost, mind your own business! 

he was worried about damage to his image 

message would go that this guy

can't even plan, take care,  look after his own  family! 

  

 Funny father indeed- Would rather

his family starve to death

but preserve his image at any cost! 

what head would he be

if there is no more a family to head....? 

Friday, 7 May 2021

21st Century Critical Thought - Volume 3

 














I am delighted to be interviewed by the Grand sire of  Indian  Literature Dr Jernail Singh Anand for the insightful  publication "21st century critical thought". It has been included in volume 3 with the subtitle-  A dialogue with post modern voices.  

1 .JSA:  Poets have a long tradition of being rebels. Is it that governments and society look upon them, less as prophets and more as saboteurs? 

 RM: Well, not all poets can be held rebels nor can all governments be termed as opposed to hearing contrary voices. However, it is true that most poets echo the thoughts and feelings of the circumstances around them. To that extent, when times are peaceful and in a state of abundance, poems on romantic love, admiration, beauty of nature etc can be expected to bloom.

When there is unrest, disharmony or oppression in society, poems would reflect a desire for  just and harmonious ways of living. Of course, each poet has a natural inclination for writing what appeals to him or her.

As an example  of my take on the differences in the responses of Governments, I would like to draw attention to the fact that our first Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, when made fun of about his Government’s omissions and commissions  in the cartoons of  the Shankar’s weekly, used to appreciate the humour and congratulate the editor Mr Shankar.

2. JSA:  Why is the poet suspect in the eyes of the state?

RM:  I would like to reiterate what I said in answer to the first question- not all governments treat poets as suspects.

Yet, the fact that poets have a tendency to tell the truth as it is, can be uncomfortable to a dictatorial government. It fears that the poetic thoughts may be caught by many more people leading to increasing dissenting voices.

 
3 JSA:   Every state gives Awards to poets and litterateurs. Are these awards given to only those who do not wag their tongue?

RM: It is clear from this question that not all poets are rebels or prophets. In fact many with poetic abilities may like to use it to praise the government in power. Those who do this  and the ones who write on neutral subjects are likely to be preferred  by governments over dissenting voices when it comes to bestowing awards.

Yet, there will always be the courageous poets with spine who do not care for recognition or refuse to toe to the whim of those in power. Here, I am reminded of an instance involving the eighteenth century  Malayalam satirist poet,  Kunjan Nambiar.

The king invited poets, showed them a temple pole (Deepa Stampam) and asked them to write poetry on it. The best poems would win big cash prizes.  Translated in English, Nambiar wrote” Deepa stampam is a big wonder. I also should get my money.”


4. JSA:  Do you think poetry is inspired? Or is it sheer hard work and training?  

RM:  I would like to believe that poetry is inspired. If it is a just a lot of hard work, it is bound to show up as just that. Remove inspiration and what remains can be called anything but ‘poetry’. In fact all work done from a place of inspiration becomes poetry!


5. JSA:   I often see a hundred training shops for wrestlers, welders, turners, and stenos, and even to teach arts and painting, but not one for Poets and Poetry.  Why?

RM:   There has always been this desire of man to replicate success and science has been quite helpful in this regard. In respect of art also some knowledge can be helpful. Yet as we discussed earlier, art is all about inspiration. Too much focus on the ‘How’ of poetry tends to kill it. Perhaps this is the reason there are hardly any school to teach writing poetry.  


6. JSA:   Great scientists who made innovations and built up business empires were great dreamers. Why are poets dismissed as dreamers and good for nothing?

RM: Nobody is dismissed as “Good for nothing” if they are successful. For the successful scientists that we know, there may have been thousands who experimented and failed. To their friends, family and acquaintances, they may have been mere “dreamers”.

It is the same with poets. Successful poets like Wordsworth, Keats  or our own Kabir or Amrita Pritam  are revered and not held mere dreamers. The learning here is that it is great to ‘dream’. It is the first step to achieving great things, whether innovations or insights through poetry!

7. JSA:   Dreams are often found to be in conflict with reality. Don't you think dreams lend romance to a life which is dreary? And poetry is an embodiment of that romance?

RM:  Now that is a leading question.  But then, being a poet I cannot agree with you more! Ordinary folks have a life to live. They have responsibilities of feeding their families, to plan for future of their children. Why even the rich folks have to focus on building their businesses across states and countries. No wonder, they feel that there is no time to dream - “Let us focus on the essentials”.  

Yet as pointed out in your question, the routine, dreary, repetitive nature of day to day life is pepped up by the romance that poetry offers. Many are yet to notice it and if and when they do, I am sure they would happily embrace it- read poetry and enjoy what it has to offer, even if not writing it.

8. JSA:   Will you accept people (read poets) who appear similar in look, but aliens in outlook?

RM:  To my mind a ‘real’ poet would love to listen to different voices and viewpoints. When we get to know more about those whom we have never known, we realize that they are not “Alien” any more. 

Yes, I would love to know the culture, viewpoints, priorities and yearnings of various groups of people. I am blessed to be born in a country that has citizens with so many diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds.  With Zoom and poet groups on face book, we are now connecting and interacting with the thoughts of poets across the globe. 

9. JSA:  The workaday life of an ordinary person and dream a day life of a poet: which one you prefer?

RM:  By now it would be clear that it is the latter I would prefer. However, quite a bit of the material for poetry itself, is offered by day to day life. I do not see myself exclusively as a ‘dreamer’. I would like to connect the dream to day to day life as well. While I enjoy sailing along with wonderful enchanting dreams that some fellow poets are capable of  conjuring, my own writing is more about gaining insights about our daily life and how we can live it better. I am also drawn towards spiritual poetry and tend to dabble with it myself, now and then. 

10. JSA:  How you look upon this world? Poets' mainstay is love. But world believes in a thousand things other than love

RM:  People tend to think “Busy as we are, when we don’t have enough time to devote to/ for loving our immediate family, how can we pay attention to concepts such as “universal love”?

However, in the East, we have been told since ages that we are all connected. Poverty or distress in any corner of the world affects the well being of people anywhere else- that the world is a big universal family. The new age movement in the West is also in line with these thoughts.

While seemingly a lot of hate is being spread these days, more and more people all over the world are beginning to recognize the power of love. Therefore the role of poets, the bards of love is bound to increase in the coming years.

I cannot end this discussion without admiring your profound, probing and insightful questions Jernail Singh Anandji. Only an experienced, wise and noble soul such as you could have asked them!  It was a privilege and pleasure engaging in this conversation with you!  

Friday, 30 April 2021

Random Thoughts on Random Words - Day 26 Zen State of Mind



   

We have come to the last day of the Blogchatter Challenge and to the last alphabet Z. As I pondered over the subject to end this series of 'Random words',  images of the havoc caused by the Corona virus all over the world popped up in my mind.  The deadly virus has been with us now for more than a year. In our own  country,  in the initial stages we thought that showing  lights and making a lot of noise by beating vessels would scare Corona  and it would run away for good. we followed it up with a 21 day lock down thinking "Now, all would be well". Unfortunately, this has not happened. On the contrary, the virus has come back with a bang, so much stronger in the second wave.  

After the first wave, we were feeling very proud that while the so called first world countries were struggling with the pandemic, we were in a much better position. Did this lead us to become complacent?  Complacent to the extent that we did not plan and order for the number of vaccines that a huge country like ours would need? Complacent enough to run around without masks, participate in  religious festivals like the Kumbh mela in large numbers ? If all this wasn't enough, we decided to hold elections involving congregation of huge numbers in election rallies! This meant our leaders who should have been focusing on planning to fight the pandemic by organizing hospital beds, ensuring sufficient availability of oxygen cylinders and PPEs for our hospital staff were running around the length and breath of the country shouting and howling at each other. 

The impact of the total failure of all the arms of administration of the nation viz legislature, executive,  judiciary, the so called fourth estate (Press) and the election commission (elections having been declared)  has been devastating. The mockery of the situation can be understood from the fact that high courts have made scathing censures on the election commission, (long after the voting / completion of  election process) for "not doing enough to ensure that political parties were following appropriate Covid protocols amid the surging second wave." The observation was similar to the situation in our Indian films, where  the police men come only at the end, after the villain has been beaten up by the hero. 

This is a time when we are all physically, mentally and emotionally shaken with reports of the death of a dear one, or one in our  social/ literary circles. The situation is expected to worsen in the days to come. Even if most TV channels try to play it down or the authentic figures of death and the conditions in hospitals are not revealed/ shared by them, you get some idea of the horror from pictures of mass cremations of the dead on the internet. The hospitals struggling for want of oxygen cylinders are asking the relatives of the patient to get them, who in turn are queuing up before oxygen manufacturing companies begging them for a cylinder. 

Apart from the problems that we discussed above, most people are reeling from the economic blows handed down by the pandemic. When it looked like things were getting better, many states like in Karnataka where I live, another lock down has been declared as the number of cases are rapidly increasing. In such a situation, what we need is a calming of our nerves, a respite from the thoughts of anxiety, fear and uncertainty. what we need is to experience a "Zen state of mind", mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion. In the words of  D.T. Suzuki, scholar & Author " "being free from mind-attachment". 

According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary "Zen is a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort"- Like when you engage in the Zen of gardening, you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand. It is not being suggested here that we need to  essentially adhere to only the teaching and practices of Zen developed by the  the Chan school of Mahayana Buddhism ( influenced by Taoist philosophy).  We are simply  looking for a "Zen state of mind" by any means that works for us  be it various types of meditation, mindfulness, pranayama, sudarshana kriya or laughter yoga. The said state of mind may also be evoked by being  present while listening to instrumental or classical music.  

Habits of calmness will help us in this journey towards a "Zen state of mind". This includes having a calm morning ritual involving meditation/ mindfulness, observing your response to stressful situations to learn from it, being grateful for the many things you already have in your life, not taking things personally, focusing on one task at a time and reducing the 'noise' in your life literally and in the form of thoughts. Practicing mindfulness involves use of breathing methods, guided imagery and other practices to relax the body and mind, and reduce stress. 

Some of the things we can do as we journey towards a "Zen state of mind" are (1) removing the physical clutter- get rid of all the things at your desk/space that you don't need. This includes getting rid of tasks ( Scrolling on social media) that no longer have any meaning, unsubscribing from newsletters to reduce clutter in Email.  (2) removing the mental clutter- disassociating from those who deliberately put you down or engage in mindless gossip (3) Thinking before you act is an important Zen principle which advises you to slow down before reacting (acting in anger) to a situation making a well thought out response possible (4) Taking a 10 minute break from your desk/whatever you are doing for deep refreshing breaths /having a few moments to yourself/ being in the present.   It is important to hit "Pause" button as we go through our day when things seem to be going topsy turvy and we feel tense/ irritated/ overwhelmed. we can resume activity after having recharged ourselves.

The journey during the blogchatter challenge was a great experience requiring intensity, love, discipline and commitment.The dedicated team of blogchatter and their constant support  has made this possible for us! I enjoyed reading the posts of friends, some old, some new who wrote  in various interesting genres. In fact, it is the support and encouragement that members gave to each other that  made it possible for us to successfully complete this exciting challenge. 

As a parting line, I would urge readers to reach for and retain a "Zen state of mind" at all times . This  would serve us very well as we negotiate through the traffic of life. In the demanding times that we live in, we need a "Zen state of mind" now as never before!  

NB: This is powered by Blog Chatter's # A2Z Challenge   Blogchatter A2Z Challenge 2021       






Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Random Thoughts on Random Words - Day 25 "Yes to Life"









As we wade through our journey of  life on this earth,  most people believe that the "Grass is greener on the other side of the fence." We envy others thinking that they are having it easy, with a rich father or one with lot of political clout and connections. When we focus on and complain about the lack , we forget to say "Yes" to life. While we feel this way, a daily wage earner  may be thinking "These guys are having it so easy". The chain can be never ending. There is no one in this world who does not have his or her own problems. To think that we alone have problems and everyone else is having a gala time can be the most absurd thought. Yet people tend to have such thoughts all the time. A person with an overweight problem thinks all his life's problems can be traced to his obesity and that once it is addressed all problems will vanish! Does it mean that people with no weight issues have a  problem free life?

A major part of our life is lost forever, as we complain about the glass being  half empty and use it as an excuse, to  not say "Yes" to life. Excuses can be many-  "My parents did not give me a good education", "I grew up in a village", "I have a nagging spouse", "My father treated me badly in my childhood". The father would have long left for his heavenly abode,  yet, it is still given as the reason  for being mediocre in life.  When you say "Yes" to life, you acknowledge/accept the pluses and minuses of your life (everyone has them) and then move forward to do what needs to be done to be in the flow of life, and experience the spontaneous joy that we discussed in the last post on X Factor.  

Even as we wallow in self pity, we see people who have had lot more reasons to complain, refusing to allow adversities to come in the way of their life's passion/ mission. Ms Sudha Chandran, Bhartanatyam  dancer and TV personality, lost her leg in an accident at the age of 16 years. she learned to perform Bharatanatyam with her prosthetic leg and is today, one of the most acclaimed classical dancers in the country. In 2011,  Ms Arunima Sinha lost her leg when some robbers pushed her out of a moving train. This however, did not deter her from becoming the first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest. She went on to climb Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe and Kosciuszko in Australia.

Muniba Mazari of Baluch, Pakistan married at the age of 18, to fulfill the wishes of her father. At 21, her  life  changed drastically when she met with a car accident that left her paralyzed from hip down. She was in hospital for over two years.  Fighting excruciating physical pain and various types of fear, she triumphed to become an accomplished artist, mother of an adopted son, television anchor and motivational speaker. I am sharing this video that gives details of her journey and also covers quite a bit of what I wanted to convey in my post on saying "Yes" to life.   



 Saying "Yes" to life  would mean making the most of every situation and opportunity that comes one's way. There are people who refuse to move out of the city they have lived in since childhood even when big opportunities are offered elsewhere. It would also mean stretching one's comfort zone in terms of experiences and assignments, saying "Yes" to possibilities for new adventures & challenges, for learning something new about oneself and others, building friendships, connecting with strangers and so on. It also means saying "Yes" to all those things that give you joy- Finding time to go on a trek,  visiting your picturesque native place, listening to music, writing, singing , dancing, playing with your children.

In this connection, it is to be clarified that what we are discussing here is about saying "Yes" to life and not to the many requests that people make at a personal level. In an office, it is possible that a person who is unable to say "No" may end up being saddled with a lot of  ordinary routine work without any challenging element in it. Accommodating  requests from others should not be at the expense of meeting one's own  professional and personal goals.  Saying 'Yes' to life also means, you say 'Yes" to what you want and make sure that you do not say 'yes' to what you don't want (then resenting, grumbling about it) .

In her maiden book "Year of Yes" Shonda Rhimes, American TV serials writer ( Grey's anatomy, Scandal, How to get away with murder etc.)  shares her experience on deciding "to say 'yes'  to everything that scared me" and acting upon it for one whole year. A workaholic who worked 15 hour weekdays with no weekend breaks, she learned to loosen up and relax when she started saying "yes" to her children's request "Can we play mama?".  Other areas that the decision impacted were attending social functions which she used to avoid because she was shy, introverted and embarrassed about her excess weight. After one year, during which period she had broken through the comfort zone to socialize, not only did she have more friends, but also shed 110 pounds of weight (saying 'yes' to health).  "I said 'Yes' to less work and more play" she says  and it has made a big difference to the happiness, health and well being.    

I would like to conclude this post by reminding and summarizing for  readers, the pivot of our discussion: In order to  say "yes to life" you have to say "yes to those  life experiences" that ordinarily scare, intimidate or bore  you. Here, breaking out of the comfort zone is the key. Dear readers, so  say "Yes to life !"It unifies our desires and deepest intentions transforming our lives forever.   

NB: This is powered by Blog Chatter's # A2Z Challenge   Blogchatter A2Z Challenge 2021       

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Breaking Point










Denial, burying your head

deep inside the sand

shooting the messenger, will all do no good

how many messengers will you shoot? 


Having allies who will clap, sing for you

discourage, shout down others speaking against you

will do no good either... one by one

when it starts hitting them also where it hurts ...


when their own get affected 

on account of your incompetence

arrogance, apathy and misplaced priorities

they would desert you too... 


In the face of such gross incompetence

a company CEO would have lost his job long ago! 

Random Thoughts on Random Words - Day 24 X Factor












As we approach the end of the Blogchatter challenge, there is a feeling of excitement. At the same time, you wonder whether it is going to get tough towards the end as you are required to write posts  starting with "U" and "X" alphabets. I did manage "U" pretty well, with the word "Utopia" springing to mind just in time. Now, here is another tricky alphabet X on which today's post is to be written. . The first word that came to mind when thinking of the alphabet 'X' was Xmas. But, then, I thought that perhaps many writers would write on the subject. Moreover, the history of the birth of Christ and associated stories are quite familiar to most people. Of course, one could write on Xmas, but focus more on the idea of  "Christ consciousness" which goes beyond the incidents in the life of the prophet. I was pondering over this when suddenly a thought came to mind "Why not write about the X factor?" 

X Factor is a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome. As for example, let us look at these statements: (1) 'The votes of women' may turn out to be the X factor in this tough election - It draws attention to the most significant factor that would influence the outcome. (2) My father definitely has the X factor that most great mechanics have. (3) Google search algorithm system is the real X-Factor behind the success of Google. (4) John .F. Kennedy was a politician who had the X Factor. (5) This doctor performs accurate surgeries in the shortest possible time which is his X Factor.

Now the question arises as to "what is X factor in a person?". According to the Cambridge dictionary " X factor is a quality that you cannot describe, which makes someone very special." To put it in other words, X factor differentiates you from anyone else. It is a pointer to the unique way you approach your work. A person who has found his/her X factor has been described as "a work of art in motion", doing things that defy explanation and stunning people by their mastery.

It is to tap into this unique something that makes a person special that the X Factor television music competition program was conceived by British producer Simon Cowell . It originated in the United Kingdom, and has been adapted in various countries including US and India. Like most reality music TV shows, the contestants are selected through auditions conducted in various cities across the country followed by competition amongst the selected 12 finalists. The X Factor program has thrown up many talented stars like Melanie Amaro who secured opportunities to sing for Simon Cowell's company Syco Music. In the Indian version, X factor India, the winner was Geet Sagar from Gwalior who won 50 Lacs, a car and an opportunity to sing the song "Dramebaaz" for the Karan Johar movie "Nautanki Saala".

We have heard of similar competitions happening in other areas as well, such as the Master chef competitions. In India, the multinational company 3M organizes "Young innovators challenge award" in collaboration with CII and at the end of a grueling selection exercise, the persons with the X Factor for innovation are identified. It is important whether competitions are available or not , to identify that unique specialty / X factor that differentiates each person from others so as to leverage the same to its maximum potential. While the musical program looks out for the X Factor in the area of music, we need to search for it in whatever it is our forte- just as it is cricket for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, science for APJ.Abdul Kalam or medicine for Devi Shetty.

Although, I have taken well known names here, there are so many people with the X Factor who are contributing in their area of expertise and passion, be it as a teacher in a Government school, a SME entrepreneur or artist creating sculpted art forms. I would like to take readers back to the first post of this challenge wherein under "Ability" we discussed how we can arrive at our passion/ zero in on our X factor by paying attention to our areas of interest and what we are curious about. It is never too late to pursue what comes to us naturally, easily and effortlessly. Singer and music composer, Srinivas (Srinivasan Doraiswamy) had worked for 10 years as a chemical engineer and marketing professional. He gave it up when he realized that his X Factor and passion was in music.

So go for it dear readers, pursue that, in which you find your X factor! It is not about being rich and famous. It is about being happy and leading a fulfilling life.How does one know whether he/ she has found the X factor? You will notice it in the flow, experiencing effortless joy even as you engage in it.

NB: This is powered by Blog Chatter's # A2Z Challenge   Blogchatter A2Z Challenge 2021      

Monday, 26 April 2021

Random Thoughts on Random Words - Day 23 Wedding









wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. Wedding is a collective name used for all the ceremonies and rituals that take place to provide social acceptance to the relationship between two people, whereas marriage is the name for the life long institution, which begins soon after the weddingThe ceremonies may vary between religions and geographical areas but essentially a wedding has ceremonies associated with it. It could be exchange of wows as in a Christian wedding, transfer of 'mehr' an obligation imposed upon the husband as a mark of respect for the wife)  to the bride in a Muslim wedding or exchange of garlands, taking of  7 steps together as a couple in a Hindu wedding. 

The scale and number of days of celebration could vary depending on the local/diverse customs and financial strength of the parties concerned. While the marriage is held a contract in some faiths, it was held as a sacrament in a  Hindu marriage. According to sociologist R.N.Sharma Hindu marriage is " religious sacrament in which a man and a woman are bound in permanent relationship for the physical, social and spiritual purposes of dharma, procreation and sexual pleasure". However, with the codification of Hindu laws and provisions made for divorce, remarriage of widows etc, it can neither be called a contract nor a 'sacrament' but a combination of both. 

To bring home the point that wedding practices can vary considerably in a diverse country like that of ours, I would like to relate an experience. After passing out of the Madras School of Social Work with Personnel management specialization in the year 1980, I enrolled for the LLB course in Pondicherry. One day, I received  at our Law college hostel,  a redirected wedding card addressed to me . When I opened it, I was skeptical as to whether this was  genuine invitation since the text  in the card read as follows:  "Marriages are made in heaven. But we, Ramamurthy and I have decided to make it on earth. Do come to our wedding at 6 AM on 5th May 1980 at the  Venkateshwara hall, Pondicherry- Radha and Ramamurthy"  

I read and reread the card; the name of the  bride indicated in  the card, Radha (name changed) was our immediate senior in college. She was gregarious, tomboyish by nature and not at all like the typical girls of that time. Was she trying to play a prank on me? After all, the language in the card was unconventional.  Further, who would have the wedding Muhurtam so early in the morning at 6 AM? ( Here, I was making a  blind assumption based on  my knowledge of the typical Kerala Hindu weddings which  are held  between 11 AM and  1.30 PM. OK, may be some  at 9 or 9.30 AM but certainly not at  6 AM). 

 Although I was aware of north Indian weddings being held in the night, I did not know, in spite of spending  five years as a student in Tamilnadu that often muhurtams  are fixed early in the morning in the state. It was about a week later when I saw someone (with a gentleman) from afar, who looked like Radha that I realized that the wedding card  must  have been  genuine. I moved fast towards the couple to speak to them but they  got into a cycle rickshaw and departed. I kicked myself for missing out an opportunity to attend a wedding that would have been so easy for me since I was already in Pondicherry. 

A lot of things have changed over the years when it comes to weddings. These days they are organized in a much more grand manner. I remember in those days the wedding meal in Kerala called the "Sadya" was always vegetarian and the items of the meal served on plantain leaf was more or less the same. If a person wanted to show his financial clout, he could at the most increase the number of Payasam (Kheer) to three/ four instead of one which was the mandatory part of the 'sadya'.  Today, particularly in the urban weddings more items are finding a place. The rich, like the film stars are opting for international locations such as Italy for their wedding. 

The preference for arranged marriages have declined; in fact the youngsters in the urban areas are reluctant to get married. They would like to postpone the wedding to as later a date as possible since there is a feeling  that they would lose their freedom and space on getting married. The love, respect, care and sanctity originally associated with wedding/ marriage is slowly and steadily eroding. On the one hand, financially the couple are lot more comfortable today compared to earlier times;  on the other hand the spirit envisaged in the union of two souls is missing most of the time. I wrote a poem titled "Crumbling Institution"  describing this phenomenon. 

    https://rajeevianlinesandverses.blogspot.com/2015/03/crumbling-institution.html   

Weddings are a lot of fun; you get to meet many of your  relatives and friends at one time under the same roof. There is music and dance (north Indian weddings), fun and frolic in the air! The atmosphere of happiness and gaiety of Indian weddings have been captured in many feature films. Wedding is also  a very special occasion for the young couple. They are happy and excited; yet have their own private fears as to whether the big  decision, having long time implications is the right one - whether the journey forward would be smooth or would it be tumultuous?

 In such a scenario , one would think that everyone would want to make their big day hassle free and comfortable. Sadly, you see undesirable behaviour from even close relatives, adding to the woes of the young couple by exhibiting king sized egos . Often times, trivial matters pertaining to hospitality or protocol are blown out of proportion ( "I was not invited to eat in the first batch"  "We were promised that the bride would wear golden waste band . where is it?" "The accommodation provided to us was not up to the mark.")  and egos tend to get precedence  over the happiness and well being of the young couple. I discussed this matter in my poem " Wedding". You can read it at the link below:   

https://rajeevianlinesandverses.blogspot.com/2017/02/wedding.html 

A successful marriage is not about living together for years; it is really about  living  happily with each other. Priorities tend to change over the years, particularly with the arrival of children; yet what the partners look for in a marriage are a continuous connect, commitment, , respect, trust and intimacy. In Hyundai Motor India where I worked last before my retirement, the company organizes a program every  quarter for the newly married employees. They attend the gala event along with their spouses. It is a whole day program with elements of fun and frolic. However, in the morning soon after the customary greetings from the top management,  the couple listen to a talk by an eminent personality who gives them an idea as to what to expect  in the journey forward and shares some useful tips as well. 

During a program organized on 18th February 2010, noted speaker Sugi Sivam, based out of Chennai gave some solid guidelines to the newly married couples that included (1) not allowing a third person to enter your marital space be it a mother, friend or sibling (2)  not attempting to change the basic nature of your spouse - For example he/she is  religious (3) retaining in the long run, the chemistry of the initial days (4) toning down expectations (5) never comparing your spouse with anyone else (6) overlooking  faults and limitations of partner (7) giving undivided attention to spouse when in group with others and (8) avoiding "being self centered". When you look back at life it is only those "moments of love" that will ever matter, he concluded. It was a pleasure for me to note down all that he said to be able to share it with young people embarking on their journey together after the wedding. 

I would like to conclude this post on a lighter note drawing attention to an interesting aspect of Indian weddings. You travel long distances to be able to attend the wedding; manage to obtain front seats only to find that you are unable to watch the main wedding  ritual of "tying the thali/ knot". The only thing visible  are the posteriors of photographers who completely block the view of the 'mantapam'. If this  situation continues,  there is no point in going physically to the venue. One can save a lot of time and money by blessing the couple on Zoom, a platform, we are getting more and more used to courtesy, the Covid19 pandemic. Here is the link to my poem " Random thoughts on an Indian Wedding " which discusses this subject. 

As of now, in spite of changes, modifications, and threats from various quarters, the institution of marriage has survived and is still seen as "haven in a hapless world" Will it continue to be relevant in future, providing the love and security expected from the institution?  A lot will depend on the attitude of the spouses themselves- whether or not  they will perceive  it  as sufficiently worthwhile. If yes, it would be protected with spouses exhibiting flexibility, and an attitude of give and take/ accommodation. If not, well time alone can tell...  

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