Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life to be...

I remember starting this blog for stroking my vanity, but it turns out people have been reaching out to me to tell me that they read it too. Well, it is in the public domain so I can't blame them. I am surprised, shocked and even humbled that how life for most of the people who commented and talked back at me about the blog can be remarkably similar and different from mine at the same time. The social context changes but the plot remains the same. The hunt for stability, the hunt for the right person to spend our lives with, the hunt for security & finally the hunt for purpose. I contradict with myself in most of those hunts but sometimes I also rhyme with them.

I have been writing at the end of every year since the past two years, about what I did in the year that will end and what I plan to do in the year to come. This time I deliberately broke the spell. There have been some fundamental changes in the way I perceive my life now and most of the previous view points will need a few alterations.

2011, is a year of decisive change, just like 1985, when I was born. I got married in 2011, on the very first day, to a very sweet woman. Although what she means to me & what I feel about her strictly stays with me, locked in the secret chamber of my metaphorical heart. But all I can say is, she is awesome to be with.

The most common question I got asked was - "So, how does it feel after getting married?" - & I must say incidentally it always came from unmarried friends. I imagine that married friends don't wonder about it now :). The answers that raced through my mind were not exactly what I told them. I was thinking - wow, yippee, yeah, way to go - what I said was - it feels warm, it feels nice, it feels real now. Well all that and more, I finally got to ask myself. How does it really feel to be married? Is it any different from before when we used to spend enormous amounts of time speaking about anything with each other?

I think it is different, because now it has materialized. The day I so eagerly imagined & awaited just came and went but left with it a lot of incredibly beautiful memories. Now with things slowed down, I can finally reflect upon how the whole event was. Now its just me & her and our life together with our family. I can't imagine how big an adjustment it must be for her. She will be staying with us in our home and leaving her maternal home for good. The daily life, the daily chores, the daily noises around the house, the dog that used to occasionally wander into their compound, the garden in her backyard, will all be replaced with a different landscape. The landscape now would be our home, a new life and a whole lot of dreams to make real. For me, possibly the adjustment was easier than hers. She was there on the phone a few moments ago, & now she is here for good, a few moments later. Yes, the loud music, the action films, the inordinate amounts of time spent reading will all have to make its room around my new life now. But that is nothing as compared to what she has to go through.

Does it say that a relationship means sacrificing one's lifestyle for fitting into a new one? I don't know what others feel, but I believe it is more of an adaptation than a sacrifice. The semantic difference may not be much, but there is a big difference in its interpretation. We as humans, I believe, have evolved to face social changes. Changes which involve things to do with other people, and the situations surrounding people. We are incredibly adept at getting used to social scenarios and not so much to physical scenarios. Thats why emotionally we are more malleable. Whenever a physical change faces us, we change the environment or our physical appearance (wearing a sweater during cold & so on). But I am no expert on relationships, not even on my own relationship. But I can be sure of one thing that, it definitely feels awesome to have someone sneak into my life and change its perspective from within.

Another thing that surprised me the most was how an atheist like me, took part in a religious wedding ceremony. Well to be honest with myself, I couldn't resist seeing everybody enjoying the wedding. My whole family is religious (meaning, has faith in a higher authority). But I turned around from this faith a long time ago. But even with our differences we had lived & shared all moments of joy & sorrow. I think there is no logical barrier required to enjoy any celebration. The fun in such an event is the usual chaos & the precision of all events. The rituals & their significance was interesting to know, but it has honestly lost its relevance in the modern times. The duties of a married couple which are eventually explained through all these rituals, are socially bred into us right since our childhood. Possibly several thousand years ago, the wedding ceremony might have been the only place to impart such an education to the couple. Most people believe that the whole Indian wedding is sexist and biased towards treating woman with less importance. This I take objection to, because no where in the entire ritual it is mentioned that woman is secondary in marriage. In fact to be honest, there is no room for even the ritual to take place if there is no woman involved. A woman is an integral part of a family and thats what the ritual indicates. Despite having known the symbolism people still prefer to carry out their celebrations with rituals. This indeed is very surprising to me as a skeptic. 

Well I think I stumbled upon a reasonable explanation in E. O. Wilson's book, Consilience. He infers that, "Ceremonies stripped of sacred mystery lose their emotional force, because the celebrants need to defer to a higher power in order to consummate their instinct for tribal loyalty." This can be an empirical truth, since I have seen people bonding together very well during ritualistic celebrations. The organized preparations, the delegation of different work to everyone, the sheer excitement behind the ceremony is very obvious from the energy with which everybody prepares. After all, for me religion has always been close to emotion. In my case my emotion is derived from logic, but my family doesn't necessarily share that point of view. They still derive a lot of emotional pleasure from rituals, ceremonies & togetherness. Perhaps this is the tribal loyalty E. O. Wilson was talking about. I must agree, it was a whole lot of fun to enjoy this way with everyone, despite my lack of faith. Since, faith doesn't play much of a role here after a point, once the symbolism is understood.

This wedding has brought me closer to my family. I didn't know that I had drifted away so far with my thoughts. But now I have come to infer that differences of ideas, logic or opinion don't really matter when you still have the capacity to empathize, understand & love.

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