Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Hindu Marriage

Recently I attended a marriage of one of the close friends of mine. Apart from enjoying the marriage like any others I have attended earlier, this was one of the learning experiences for me. So, I decided to share it. Among all the procedures, I am going to discuss only those, which I observed and was able to understand.

I will start from the setup called ‘mundop’. Just before entering the mundop the bridegroom was forced to take a bath in front of hundreds of people. That can be embarrassing for anyone, but he has no other choice. Possibly, it is necessary to purify the body, mind and soul before entering into a deal that is going to change his life completely. However, no one can guarantee the purification of mind and soul, the bath at least confirms that the body is neat. Soon he was at the hot seat, and at his side was obviously the bride.

No!! it was her father. Of course, a person must talk and deal with the father of a girl first if he wants to take her (exactly she has to be taken with, as if she cannot move along) with him. That is a matter of values. Whatever! These two businesspersons were accompanied by their personalized pundits (I found all this business, so the involved persons seem businesspersons to me). It was quite logical that when a deal of lifetime is going on, there must be a guru type person (who understands everything) present at the site with both the parties. Now soon they started chanting mantras (which I could hardly understand), that seem like the terms and conditions of the agreement that is going to happen between them. This went on until the bridegroom accepted all the conditions and signed in form of some ahutis in the holy fire. Without wasting much time, the girl was brought with all respect and was made to sit alongside the businessman no. 1 (bridegroom).

Now this was the preparation of one of the ugliest business that is done on this earth. It is called ‘kanyadan’. Or in formal definition, the handing over the charge of the girl to the bridegroom. (This ritual is not only followed by Hindus, but it is in Christianity also, a Christian having a daughter, living in ultramodern New York or London also performs the same; I don’t know about other religions but there must be some similar act). Whatsoever! The interesting thing in kanyadan was both bride and bridegroom were asked to place their hands on each other’s with a bowl containing grains. This bowl was connected through a thread to the plate kept at other end, where the second party (parents of the bride) was sitting. The parents then started watering that plate with another bowl full of water (accompanied by a currency bill of INR 100) in their hands (Possibly the provision of currency bill was amended later by the pundits currently in power as it always goes into the pocket of concerned pundit). As if, they were watering the new world of the couple. As if, they were assuring their well-being.

After the handing over of the commodity (harsh but true), the focus was on the couple. They were asked to revolve around the holy fire and pledge for each other. One of the pundit started reciting the statements that has to be followed by both of them. These pledges were also a little embarrassing for me, as they were not balanced. Again, they treated the bride as commodity (if not commodity they treated her at a lower place than the bridegroom for sure).

I found the culture/ritual/procedure of marriage beautiful and fascinating that almost everyone does. However, there were many things to understand.

Why it was imbalanced? Why there was ‘kanyadan’ not ‘vardan’?  that might prove good for the couple.

What is the need of these rituals at the first place? Especially when nobody understands that what is going and why. (Possibly not even the pundits know, if they know what, they must not know why).

If we try to go back to the days, when these procedures were being written by the then pundits. They designed the system so well that no one dare to suspect. And time to time amendments were done as per their requirements only (I can’t believe that everything was same at that time). They could have amended the procedure of kanyadan as ‘ladka=ladki’ today. But they were not concerned about this. Their concern has always been people’s ignorance, so that they can introduce as many currency bills as possible in the system. These procedures are long followed by people and are still following possibly with higher enthusiasm than ever.

I find nothing wrong in this system but the problem is people are following unknowingly and are following everything. Some of which are not updated by our pundits and are out of date.

I wanted to write more but due to lack of time, I cannot continue right now. I’ll be more than happy to discuss things over it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Life of a ‘Butterfly’

Butterfly is one of the beautiful creatures on this planet. Its presence never disturbs or challenges others’ existence as it feeds on leaves and flowers of huge (as compared to its own size) plants or trees. Rather, they are beautiful, helps pollination of plants they feed upon and sometimes end as the food of merciless predators. We have many things to know and learn from the small and attractive creature called ‘Butterfly’.

The life of a butterfly is divided into four stages, namely egg, larvae or caterpillar, pupa and adult butterfly. Throughout its life, it is only the adult stage when we come to notice its existence. However, it takes a long time for a butterfly to become an adult butterfly taking small and eye-catching flights from one flower to other.

Starting from the egg laid by its mother fly, which is well equipped with nutrition it requires to grow and enter the next stage of larvae, it silently grows and emerges as larvae. Once a larva is formed, it starts eating and eating lots of leaves to grow as what we call a caterpillar, without disturbing others. As soon as it is satisfied with the collection of food it has done during the stage it wanders for a peaceful place, hiding from its predators and starts resting. The larva weaves a dense net around itself, which appears like a nut called ‘cocoon’. It is the pupa stage of the life of butterfly, when it rests in love and peace and utilizes only its own store of food. During this stage, it segregates itself from rest of the world and rearranges the nutrition available with it to develop the most vital organs including the tiny wings. Although it now has all the components required to be a butterfly, everything is still covered into the small net of its own. Now, it has to overcome the walls that are created by it. Only after that, it will be ready to FLY.

I am thankful to GO D that it has so perfectly created the butterfly that a pupa never requires anything or anyone to motivate it to smash the walls and exit the self-created web to have a flight in the beautiful world and to add to its beauty.