Monday, December 1, 2014

The Rose-Tinted Glasses

"When I was growing up in a village, during weddings, the family would not have to buy much. Coconuts would come from whoever had a coconut grove, someone else would bring fruits, somebody would contribute with labour for cutting vegetables, etc." an octogenarian told me in some context.

I was editing a book on Rajasthani rituals, where it was mentioned that along with the invitation for the wedding, a request for the brethern to help in the preparation would also be sent.

In modern times, contractors and money play a big role. Even if friends have loads of turmeric and betel nut sachets going waste, we still go to the market to buy fresh stock. Forget about contributing materials, even the packing of the return gift, where younger cousins would sit together as they readied the bags, is being outsourced. Many close relatives visit like guests and probably are among the first to leave, yours truly included. Children don't know how they are related to the rest of the family, even the first cousins, sometimes.

When I bring up the image of the relaxed chatting and laughter of the men and women working together and children running around to  bring a wedding to fruition, I feel we are missing something crucial in our lives. We go on holidays, but even there, we are "intent on having fun" rather than spontaneously enjoying simple joys. We have money, but we are poor in love and compassion. We have friends, but we rarely let our hair down.

We cannot turn the clock back. We cannot leave the rut we have fallen into. But at least on special occasions, we should drop everything else to be with people with the single goal of enjoying simple tasks that is made interesting because of warm company.
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