Love Marriage v/s Arranged marriage: A Heavenly Affair


( This post is my entry for Indiblogger and Sony Entertainment Television's contest 'Love Marriage v/s Arranged Marriage'. )

Something was wrong up on cloud number nine. All the gods and all the angels were assembled in the judgement area. Varuna, the god of law sat on a throne the head, facing all the others, holding a thick wad of notes and a winged hammer. 'Friends, gods and heaven-men, we are gathered here today to discuss and revise the procedure of matrimony on earth. For as far back as we remember, our matrimonial department has been deciding who marries whom and arranging the necessary circumstances to make it happen. However, in the past hundred years or so, human beings have started to question our role and stopped leaving marriages to chance. Man meets woman, believes himself to be in love and decides to get married. Or family meets family, decides to mingle and the next available bachelors of their lots get hooked. In other words, humans are taking the matter in their hands and failing miserably. We have to get back in control and our matrimonial department needs to speed things up. Every day we sanction millions of marriage, based on our observation. But the question is, in which direction do we wave our wands? Love marriage or Arranged marriage. The house is now open to debate.'

(Hindu God Varuna)

(Hindu God Kamadeva)

First rose Kamadeva, the God of Love.

'Love is the foundation of any relationship. Love makes the world go round. You cannot expect a co-dependent relationship Not based on love to prosper. In marriage, there are countless trials and tribulations. If the participants do not share a special piece of each other's hearts, how will they strive to work together and achieve happiness? We have made the humans so complex, their dreams so vast, their intellect so involving, it would only be just if we allowed them to explore and adjust before making a commitment. '

'Oh you praise humans unjustly! I have found them to be ridiculously ignorant and stupid. The youth, especially. Day-to-day decisions petrify them. How can we expect them to decide on a matter of life partners at such an age? They change theirs minds in a heartbeat! Did you hear about that popstar in Las Vegas? She was married for 55 hours!', Shiva, the Destroyer, fumed.

'You cannot generalize the fate of the whole human population based on the errors in judgement of a few, Shiva! I am appealing to your logic and reason here, my friends. Marriage begets children. Children need love and protection. Two clumsy strangers, struggling to understand each other- what are the chances of consensual decisions? I believe every human we've sent down to mortal earth, has some unique quality. One deserves a chance to let that quality surface and find the other person his song resonates with. We've seen Man choose his friends so carefully. We've seen him split his hair over matters of Science and Commerce. Then why shouldn't He be given choice in this matter? After all, we have made animals too, with a capacity to love and choose who to love. Surely, Man is more accomplished?', Kamadeva retorted.

'Idealism. Empty idealism. You are good with words, Kamadeva. Better use them in books. I have heard humans love them so much..', started Shiva, but was stopped by Varuna.

'Now, now, Shiva, Kamadeva! We must realize this is not a matter of who's thoughts and observations are more profound. I do agree both of you have your reasons and examples, duly noted. I suppose we should take inputs from the audience of ghosts among us. Who better to guide us than the people who've been there. Any volunteers?'

A man got up.

He looked around at the crowd of people assembled there, gulped and started. 'I did not know how to talk to girls. I spent years practising- in front of the mirror, role-playing with my friends- but gained nothing. I even tried alcohol - you know, like Raj in TBBT, but, no. Every time I tried to make contact with a girl, my tongue would get stuck on the roof my mouth. Oh, I was quite the laughing stock! Main bahut pareshaan rehta tha ( I was in utter despair).

But ever since I got married, my life changed! I thank my parents for finding me a match. In less than a year, I became the most dashing husband with the hottest wife. Mere friends mujhe hero bulaane lage (my friends called me a hero),' he ended, chest puffed.

'Wives! Believe me they are a tricky lot! I, too, being an obedient son to my parents, agreed to marry the docile, homely girl-next-door. I still remember how she looked on the day of our wedding. Innocent like a young kitten. Little did I know that soon I would be the circus animal and she the ring master! I like heaven, I am safe here', a middle-aged man finished.

'Hear hear! I too had a similar story. Only difference being, I dug my own grave. I fell for a girl so bad, I lost the power to think. I got married in haste, only to spend a life in regret. She was a gold-digger', a bespectacled man wearing Armani stated.

'Marriage for money? Isn't that like prostitution?', a woman cried.

'Do you expect to feed stomachs with love?', another retorted.

A tirade of comments followed. Varuna made his winged hammer zoom across the room to quiet the commotion.

'Arranged marriages are the worst. I died of an arranged marriage. They demanded a dowry of twenty lakhs. We only had fifteen. They burned me.', narrated a young girl. A shocked silence followed.

'No evil deed goes unpunished, my dear girl. Hell has the worst in store for those who did this to you', stated Varuna solemnly.

'Break Time!', exclaimed a divine voice. A group of Apsaras emerged out of thin air and took to dancing on the stage. Whistles, cat-calls and applause...

'I asked daddy to find me a rich boy! I was tired struggling for grades and jobs and promotions. I wanted a smooth, luxurious life where I wouldn't have to move a toe. It worked well,' a lady remarked, filing her finger-nails.

'It is not easy to marry your love in today's scenario. I spent years dreaming of marrying my high school sweetheart , until her parents sent me an ultimatum- get a job, get a wife. Here I was in California, working on my thesis and there she was tying the knot with a software engineer fresh out of the factory', recalled a man.

'It is not easy to marry your love, indeed. I met the perfect a man a few years before my demise. He was handsome, intelligent and funny...', a man started. Several heads turned in his direction. Some smirked. 'Yes, I am gay. Oh come on, don't look at me like that!', he grew embarrassed.

'Now, folks!Don't ridicule the guy!He has every right to fall in love and marry whoever he pleases!', Kamadeva rose in defense of the man.

More commotion followed.

'All I want to say is that, with gay marriages being legalized and everything, a decision in the favour of arranged marriage from your side would make matters bad for my kind', he quickly blurted and sat down.

'You know, there's always live-in', a punk said.

There was a collective gasp among the crowd.

'That is enough! You see now, Varuna, how their minds run! The human race is headed to doom! I shall go down and finish the business with my dance of destruction!', Shiva grabbed his trident and jumped up.

Parvati ran to calm him.

'A German philosopher once said- A good friendship is the basis for a good marriage. Friendship, we know, is easier and more accepting than love. But then, every form of companionship requires us to cross the friendship hurdle. Varuna, let us concentrate on letting the mortals create grounds for building a solid friendship. Everything else should fall in place', concluded Parvati, in her steady flowing voice.

Shiva stood dumbstruck, taking in the wisdom of his wife.

A warm fuzzy glow, which may be red, spread over the clouds.

Somewhere on earth, a couple smiled at each other and shook hands.

The end.

# Are you mortal?

# Do you have similar doubts?



Today is meaningless. Today does not exist. Today I'm anchorless. Guided by instinct. I have no plans. I have no ideas. I have no will to act on my duties. Today I want to waste. Today I want to sit by the window and smell the air. Today I want to immerse myself in words and queer thoughts. I want to feel my brain drown and swirl down in the waters of feeling, poetry and emotion. Today I don't want to be rigid. Today is the day strange things happen. Today is when I stop thinking. I see the brown curtains and the yellow painted walls. I see the colours merge as the wind blows over the curtains. I see myself sitting with a cushion. I see myself separated. My hands move on their own. My eyes dart about. My feet are still and grounded. My mind wanders and directs me words and I write them. Today mind and body are not one. Today I could not wake up on time, the alarm did not ring. It was strange. Then I had a call from a friend I had not spoken with since a long time. It was stranger. At breakfast, I realised- today was not to be. Today is abstract- it has no form. Today just happened- it has no design. Today happened because the universe plays dice. My self is negligible to the universe- it did not care that I can not be like a human today. So, today happened. But it's meaningless to me.


'Stronger than you think' is a lie, a fallacy. You cannot be stronger than what you know yourself to be. You can only try to look strong, pretend. But pretension won't protect you when the blows strike. So, why pretend?

May be it's because of the pressure the world puts on you- to be strong, to be a hero. Right from the start, it's always 'be successful', 'be smart', 'be cool', 'be better', be the best. There is no tolerance for weakness. We won't admit to weakness in ourselves either, no matter how load the screams of our conscience are. There are no takers for weakness. Nobody tolerates, lest appreciates your flaw.

What is light? What is the theoretical, scientific definition of light? Absence of darkness, some would say. Going by a parallel logic, I may as well state that strength is nothing but the absence of weakness. You cannot determine what makes you strong or how strong you could be until you know about your weakness. But how will you know about them if you don't accept the fact that they exist?

I guess what I'm trying to say is- it's okay. It's okay to be weak. It's okay to make a few mistakes. It's okay to cry once in a while. It's okay to feel blue. Everybody has shades of grey. It's okay to have those emotional wounds. It's okay to be a little damaged. It's okay to have a little murkiness in your past. It's okay to sometimes poke at them and immerse yourself in the bittersweet pain. Because no matter how much you ignore them, they are a part of you, begging recognition.

They don't heal. You never know when was it or what was it that scarred you so, or maybe you do but don't wish to accept it. You're not as strong as you give yourself credit to be. You put too much pressure on yourself to stay strong. But it takes only a trigger and the things you never knew you were holding inside come pouring out. Just a twitch.

We have both light and dark inside of us. Then why are we always aiming for the bright side and ignoring the dark? Ignorance won't make it go away. Granted, nobody wants to see the dark. But neglecting it won't help either.

What to do, then? Talk about it. May be you could tell people who care about it. Okay, that might take a lot of searching to do but may be you would be able to find someone who'd understand. Then, you'd get advised. How to heal, how to mend etc. You'll get helped.
But what about the stuff that can't be repaired? Permanent Damage? Learn to live with it, that's my call.
Protection from stimuli can keep you safe for only just as long. What's broken cannot be unbroken. Coming undone is a pigment of your imagination.

Driven by Beauty

A seagull flies across the faded blue of the sky. It's bright white wings contrasting sharply with the colour of the sky. I watch it flap it's way against the wind current. Faltering, yet strong. Somewhere in the distance, a peahen makes it's call. Another returns it from the other side. The Sun announces it's exit. The Moon hides behind the clouds but betrays it's presence with a glimmer of silver.

No matter how stressed or restless I am, I find it exceedingly difficult to be angry with the world when I'm here. Gazing into the green fields or the multi-hued evening sky. Listening to the world wrap up and prepare for the night. The birds with their fomartions of V flying into the horizon, calling it a day. The bats coming out to claim the night. The sky changing it's nature and the stars peeping out. The stars are the best companions. Always there, never changing more than their position. Then there is Carey, always urging me on with a game of football or fetch. Another wonder of nature.

This is my ritual. Spending time on the terrace every time I'm home. Nobody understands the peace it gives me. No, I do not come here to ponder on deep spiritual or philosophical questions. Those, in my opinion, our best left to the shower. I only come here to observe the world around me. Take in it's beauty and feel one with it. I come here to write, sometimes, when I'm really restless. I come here to play and run with my dog. To get wet in the Monsoon showers. To take pictures of the evening sky. To sunbathe in the Winter.

I come here because it's just so beautiful.

Ghosts of the Graveyard

The cemetery lay adjacent to the Sport's field. As kids, we were always afraid to run too close to that corner. Tales of it being haunted by evil spirits were enough to keep most of us yards away from any building in that area. Those who were brave enough to venture there would return with the most terrific stories and be greeted like heroines.

A lot had changed since then, though.

Now, ten years later, we found ourselves drawn to the cemetery more than ever. Maybe it was the stillness and quiet. Maybe it was the look of beckoning on the face of the white statue that stood outside the gates of the graveyard. 
Maybe it was time for us to start looking for answers.

Jina laid the piece of paper on the floor. I handed her a pen.
'We're crazy to be doing this', the thought echoed through each of our minds.

'Oh come on! This is a futile exercise', remarked Ash. She was a non-believer.
Nevertheless, Jina grabbed the pen and started writing the alphabet.

It was late in the morning, the Autumn Sun was high in the sky and the others would be missing us in the class room. There was no one around. My eyes scanned the field. Then the cemetery with it's white-marble graves. Then the two empty ones, dug out in anticipation.
Then, I looked at my friends. Excitement and fear.
I took out a coin and handed it to Jina. The time had come.

Chitti was the first one to place her finger on the coin, surprising us with her calm and enthusiasm.
With one finger each on the coin, we closed our eyes and held hands.

'Any holy spirit passing by, please come to us', we chanted in unison.

'Any holy spirit passing by, please come to us'.

'Any holy spirit passing by, please come to us'.

'Are you there?', Chitti ventured to ask.

Just then, we heard a noise!
It was coming from behind us. None of us dared to turn.

'Are you there?', Jina asked, voice trembling.

There was a loud sound of crumbling leaves and the cemetery gate creaked.
We let out a collective gasp.

'Don't remove your finger from the coin! The spirit might enter our bodies', I whispered.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an old lady. Withered would be a better word. She was walking towards us. I could here leaves crumble under her feet.

'ITS THE CLEANING LADY FOR GOD'S SAKE!', Ash shouted, getting up.

The three of us just stared at each other, dumbfounded.

How stupid could one be!

The rest of the fine morning was spent in mimicking the expression of horror on each other's faces and laughing our guts out.

Why my playlist is so 'outdated'

A recent study stated that all pop music was the same. The verdict was based on analysis of patterns in tunes, symphonies and lyrics. They pointed out that current music is just getting louder and louder without any attention to detail. It's becoming a war of who makes the most noise, much like the emerging social trend of who drives the flashiest cars. I could not agree more. I feel like I don't belong to this generation, based on music ideologies. Music is an amalgamation of thought, words, vocals, rythmn and beats. Today, I feel, the stress is more on creating beats fit for a dance floor and a catchy tune. Fifteen writers sit to write a song that, not judging the lyrical quality, does not even make sense. How am I supposed to understand to tolerate that when I have the works of a Lennon or a Waters at my disposal?

Add to that the manipulation provided by the electronics revolution. The so-called techno-music. I'm not against it but there has got to be a justified usage. Mostly, technology is being used to lift riffs and sequences from old music, modifying it and pasting it in a new product. Remixes and shameless Pritam-istic copying being referred to here.
The biggest regret I have is that I'm not able to find a contemporary band I can relate to and follow. To me music is more about feeding the soul than just feeding your brain cells. I am a person who cries unabashed listening to Clapton's 'Tears in Heaven' and feels the angst of unrequited love in Pearl Jam's 'Black'. Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' sends me to a state of bliss, where I can imagine myself surrounded by the wonders of Nature. The examples are countless. I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. With the city's radio channels playing classic music most of the day, I can guess that I'm not the only one missing music as it used to be. Those music sessions are like a journey, one that involves both body and mind. While today, the only thing I can compare the music with is fast food. Providing instant gratification without adding any value to your life. Just something you pop in when feeling the need to be entertained. Even Rock is not the same anymore.
The music of a generation speaks volumes about it's ideologies and lifestyles. The adulation of violence, the bling and glitz, the bizarre dresses and the need for attention I'm seeing around today makes me wonder what mess we're heading into. I fear for the coming generation. Hope they get to know what it's like to lose yourself in one of Gilmour's solos.


I finished watching FRIENDS, sequentially and in correct order for the first time last month. Yeah, I know what you must be thinking. How it's a crime to have watched that show in a haphazard irresponsible manner. In my defence, all I can say is that I was too young to understand it when it was first aired and then multiple TV channels started broadcasting different seasons at the same time and I was just too greedy. Blasphemy, I know.
So here I am a month later, feeling nostalgic about the show and remembering all the wonderful episodes, Chandler's crackers and Phoebe's songs. I hunt for some behind the scenes, bloopers, interviews, basically any new material related to the show. I came across a lot of stuff that showed me how the show became one of the longest running sitcoms of all times. I laughed so hard watching the bloopers, I had to watch a few episodes to top it off. So, I decided to begin from the beginning and went to my FRIENDS folder. And lo! surprise surprise! I did not have the pilot episode! I had watched the whole series but missed the pilot! Ha ha!

Anyway, this post is not about establishing myself as an ignorant idiot (that matter is already settled), but to share what I think contributes to the making of a great show.

Could it be any funnier?

The FRIENDS ensemble has tickled our funny-bones right from the word go with Chandler's witty punches obviously taking the cake. But the rest of them are not far behind, whether it be Joey's dimness, Phoebe's bizarre take on things, Monica's freakishness, Rachel's crazy antics and Ross' well, Ross in general.They really are like pieces of a puzzle falling together, complementing each other. But there are a lot of comedy sitcoms doing the rounds all the time, why FRIENDS?What made this show achieve this kind of popularity and fan following? I think it's the fact that all the actors are somehow inseparable and indistinguishable from their characters on the show. They have, each of them, brought so much credibility to their on-screen persona that it's difficult to imagine them otherwise. A huge amount of credit goes to the show's producers and writers here. A team of twelve people was hired to write down the scripts for each episode. It's not that the work was so demanding, it's just that, logic says, you cannot expect one person to be at his/her funniest best throughout the day. So, they had this whole group sitting at the writing desk, writing down dialogues, deciding if they were funny enough or not and perennially reworking to enhance the comic and sense quotient. Not only that, even the actors were given full freedom to discuss their dialogues with the writers if they had a problem. Now, with this kind of creative independence and value for perfection, what is the scope for failure? They shot their episodes in front of live audiences, continuously asking them for reviews and making last-second amends to the script as suggested. The actors clicked together, becoming best friends off-screen too, adding to the magic on-screen. Just one look at the image of the cast together takes me back to my happy place (with Phoebe's 'lalalalala' in the background :P).

Every season, with every new episode, they delivered us the best. They made us laugh, they made us cry, they made us draw parallels with our lives. I cannot truly understand what it is about this show that makes it so addictive. Maybe it's because it truly connects with the audience, especially the youth. You can see yourself in Joey's struggles to earn himself a name, never backing down, you can find hope in Chandler and Monica's relationship as best-friends-turned-lovers, derive courage from Rachel's journey from a runaway bride to a working mother, learn to appreciate the little things in life from Phoebe and that even geeks like Ross could eventually wind up with the woman of their dreams. But the most heartwarming message I go from this show was that no matter who you are and what you want to do with your life, if you've found those special people that have always got your back, the world will be a happy, sunny place for you.

Oh, the cow in the meadow goes moo,
Oh, the cow in the meadow goes moo.
Then the farmer hits him on the head and grinds him up,
And that's how we get hamburgers.