So question it

An old friend and I were on watsapp this morning, chatting about what we’ve been up to this last week. I mentioned that the OA and I have been out till 3 am both weekend nights and that I’m pooped.

Back came the response – You bad momma.

A play on my blog name, and a joke no doubt. Not bad woman, not wicked girl, not party animal, not antsy bitch, not party junkie.. but a reminder that I am a mother above all.

Should the OA tell his friends that he’s been out all night, he’ll get cheered on.

We women on the other hand, will always be judged in the court of mamas.

——————–

Halloween seems to be the next big thing to take over the country. I grimaced four years ago when kids came trick or treating at our doorstep. I sighed over it three years ago. Last year I helped the kids plan what they’d wear and this year I’ve accepted it as part of our celebrations.

And for every person who whines that it isn’t our culture, don’t we have enough of our own festivals and so on, I have a few responses.

Neither is exchanging engagement rings, raising a toast to an occasion, singing Happy Birthday and cutting birthday, wedding cakes, wearing jeans and dresses, Valentine’s Day, celebrating 1st of Jan as New Years, tossing up pasta for school, noodles at a roadside cart, I could go on. If you do any of those, don’t grudge the kids a day of running around dressed up as ghouls. It’s no better or worse than pitru paksh, has no religious rituals involved, is gender neutral and harms no one – unless they have a weak heart!

But.. but do you know the origin of the festival? How does it matter? Neither do the millions who celebrate festivals in this country. From Holi to Karva Chauth. I’ve had a different story from every person I asked. So clearly a story or origins can change and people will still celebrate, making the origin irrelevant. At the end of the day it’s just another reason to celebrate and in the times we live in, I’m happy to have more fun than war.

It’s interesting how people who otherwise only speak English, read only in English, don’t celebrate their kids’ birthdays according to the Hindu calendar and so on, have decided that this is where they draw the line. In fact we all choose to draw a line where we want, but who died and appointed us King to draw the line for others, citing cultural appropriation, when we are steeped in a culture that cannot claim to be pure anything?

Reminds me of the Shiv Sena on Valentine’s Day. Through the rest of the year they think nothing of Western imports like TV and mobile phones and the railway network.

A friend posted a few nights ago that she was sick of having spent an entire month praying for the men in the family via Karwa Chauth and Bhai Dooj and really wanted to celebrate something that was gender neutral, did not involve praying and was all about having some fun, with no food restrictions, no timelines, no order of events and no dire consequences predicted if not followed. This came after a riotous debate on my FB timeline, over fasting during Karva Chauth. It was amusing to have bongs declare Karva Chauth misogynistic, while claiming that Jamai Shoshti is kosher. Yes, husbands are being raised up on a pedestal in both cases, but at least we don’t fast, was the argument. Being blind to the flaws within one’s own culture is so easy.

I’m also on a food group where someone asked the ridiculous question – when did Indians start eating beef? A more relevant question would be, when did Indians stop eating beef? A war broke out on the thread and the lady who definitely didn’t ask it with any noble intentions in mind, deleted the thread when it threatened to overwhelm her.

It seems we’re in the midst of a churn and we’re asking questions. We’re just not always honest about the answers.

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29 thoughts on “So question it

  1. I loved this post! I’ve been asking myself lots of questions lately, especially when it comes to the Hindu faith. I see mothers and mother in laws treat their daughters and daughter in laws badly but come diwali, pray to goddess laxmi (who is supposed to represent their daughters and dils) for prosperity. Or people who go to the temple for a gossip. Grrr…! And as for Karva Chauth and Teejri…apparently women do it so their husband live a longer life than them. Ironically, every woman I know who has really put their heart into doing it every year has outlived her husband :O

    • ROFL @ Your last line. No, I see why even a modern woman who loves her husband would want to fast. It reminds me of Winnie the Pooh – If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day. I don’t want to wake up to a morning without the OA. But I don’t know if I’d like to be part of an institutionalised set up where I pray for him to live longer. Doesn’t he feel the same way?

  2. I’m so over extremist opinions. mid-30 crisis maybe. you like something, good. you don’t, fine. If one does something which isn’t harming others, i don’t see any point in moralistic bashing. very meh.

    halloween – yes looks cute. i think adults look stupid, kids look super cute. but i wouldn’t bash up the adults who celebrate it, good for them. what goes of my father and all that.

  3. So much to say, but I’ll only share this link that was doing the rounds when some half-brained Goan minister declared that we must ban alcohol in the state because it goes against our culture.

    http://www.kractivist.org/bikini-remark-wendell-rodricks-slams-goa-minister-in-his-open-letter/

    Its very easy to conveniently draw the line where one chooses and tick things off as “cultured” and “non cultured” as per our whims and fancies. I see this happening all the time, and it manifests itself as a lot of hypocrisy and double-standards.

  4. This post covers ALL(almost) of my pet peeves…deleting a facebook thread when things are not going your way,included. 😊

  5. Partying till 3 am ! woot woot! That’s what you get in reward for having babies early on :)

    I’ve been watching the Halloween debate too. I honestly didn’t have too much of an opinion on whether India should join in on the celebration but when I saw how many millions of $ people in the US spent on chocolates during this time, I did say , I will give out apples as a treat. Sorry for being boring, but so much candy can in no way be good for the children right? I’m not one who thinks they should be deprived of fun treats 100% , but neither do I advocate such crazzy consumption. So yes, the dressing up part is fun for adults and children, but if only India adopted just that part.

    Have you heard of the show “This is Life” with Lisa King? A great show in my opinion. Anyways, in one of the episodes she covers Utah , which apparently has a lot of mormons who have very strong religious beliefs. This place apparently also has the maximum amount of drug-abuse and in the interviews , many victims/ addicts talk about how their religion is so pressurizing for them to be perfect and due to this fear, they start consuming drugs. Sad no? That’s what happens, when one uses a religion’s name and say don’t eat beef, don’t drink, don’t wear skirts etc…

    • Sugar is sugar. During our Indian festivals we go mad making laddoos and sweets and no one stops the kids from eating it. I think if we feed the kids healthy for the rest of the year, a few days of sugar isn’t going to count. I see a lot of parents who give into fussy eaters and let the kids eat rice and curd or just fruit, for days on end. But I’m damn strict and from the moment they began solids, my kids have eaten what we eat, be it parwal or tori or tinda.

  6. It is always Mommy’s judging other Mommy’s. That is like the norm. Finding one that does not is a rarity.

    As for celebrating Halloween in India, the children today are global citizens. A little additional celebration does not hurt anyone. Celebrate what you believe in and celebrate the way you want to. Celebrate however you want.

  7. I loved this post 🙂 I read the rant on celebrating halloween in India and thought there was something wrong about it, but could not place my finger on what. Your post details it so well. Thank you.

  8. At the end of the day it’s just another reason to celebrate and in the times we live in, I’m happy to have more fun than war.

    Well said MM. Couple of years back, someone who came to my house for the first time during Halloween said, “For a second I wondered, is this an Indian household? I mean, all this skeleton and ghost and all that…” and he shook his head in disapproval. I was stunned. I never knew there were people who disapproved of it until then. And then I found out quite a few did. Looked down upon people who put up Halloween decorations. My kids love Halloween and want to celebrate it as much as they want to celebrate Navratri. It is easy to just think of the way you have said it – I would rather have fun than war. If it brings people/kids together and spreads joy, why not.

  9. We are always mamas first right! Sigh! Sometimes I wish people see me as a 35 year old girl or a professor or just a person but the mama card comes first. I don’t mind most times but sometimes it is a lot of pressure!
    Did not know Halloween has come to India. When I first came to the US, I did not like it as I felt it was a waste of time. But now I get caught up in the frenzy with my child and it has become a beloved tradition – decorating the house, finding a costume, attending a zillion Halloween themed parties. The only downer is the immense amount of candy – I can limit my son’s intake but hate giving it out and encouraging other children. I handed out apples one year and the kids were not very pleased with me :(. So I have bitten the bullet and now hand out can dies in all glory!

  10. Diwali is not gender specific. My grouse would be when we are already aping the west so much in our choice of celebration why add one more to this growing list.

    • Who said Diwali was gender specific? And if that is the grouse, then why eat pasta and noodles when we have so many Indian foods to choose from? Why wear jeans when we have such a variety of Indian clothing? Why suddenly draw the line at this while celebrating birthdays according to the Western/Christian calendar? The list is endless.

      • Agree diwali is not gender specific. Thats exactly what I said in my message above :). This was in response to October having gender specific festivals such as karva chauth and bhai dooj! When we are already having so many festivals of our own to celebrate especially in October then why add one more to the list. Somehow aping concept of birthday celebrations feels more relevant and acceptable than HALLOWEEN!!!!!

        • Is that right? 🙂

          Well not to give offence, but your IP address says you’re in the US. That’s like saying there are more than enough states in India and jobs too – why did you move to the US?

          I think we as the next generation ( I assume you are!) need to ease up and ask ourselves if we have a valid reason to object to something. Is it racist? Is it hurtful? Is it sexist?
          No? Then let everyone play Holi and celebrate with colour. Let those who want to celebrate Diwali light diyas. Let those who want to run around masked as ghouls, do so.

  11. I agree with the global citizen comment. Here in the US, desis are celebrating Halloween and Americans love to learn about Diwali! And yes, the candy is collected more for the fun of it. No one eats it all and most parents bring it to work once the kids have forgotten all about it.
    Live and let live and partaking in any celebration with the right errr, “spirit” is not wrong, na? I am with you…

  12. love every festival there is in the world as long as there is no compulsion to celebrate it, does not denigrate anyone- animal, man, woman or child, does not involve use of ear splitting firecrackers, other noise pollution and littering public spaces. Mera bas hota tau main jahaan ke saare festivals celebrate karti. For a family of only three plus dog we celebrate too many as it is and yet I see V downcast when he doesn’t get to celebrate Hanukkah and keep Suvoth and Kwanzaa like his other classmates do:-) I love dressing up, sajaoing the home, calling people over, making good food, eating good food made by other people preferably:-) and savoring memories thereafter. So Halloween in India is a biggie is it? Bring it on I say:-)

  13. next thing you know the shiv Sean will declare that new year on jan 1st is a western invention and we should follow the indian calendar. Don’t give them ideas.

  14. Dear MM
    I also want to ask a question, albeit a very different one. I have a 6 year old and wanted to know what kind of books/authors should I expose her to. I am done with fairy tales, panchtantra and mythological variety. Something which is easy to read but is high on content value. I am sure you will be able to guide me. Thank you!

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