Monday, 23 March 2015

Should a woman change her maiden surname after marriage?

In 3 idiots movie, the heroine shows concern over adopting the surname of Ranchoddas Shamaldas "Chanchad" after marrying the hero. In the climax the name of hero turns out to be something else, Phunsukh Wangdu. This time as well the reaction of heroine was same.
Once I saw one of my didi who kept her last wedding card laminated, probably because that was the last formal document carrying her original name. It seems like a RIP given to your surname. :(

What is so special in the maiden surname and why a woman needs to leave it after marriage?

Most of the time, this issue never gets attention because it is rare (atleast in India) where our community is slightly conservative and the so-called obedient children married within the same community. Thus, no surname change. So children need to rarely bother, whose surname they carry.

But here we are going to discuss the case where a woman has to undergo a surname change, probably because it is the sign of possession by the man over woman. Sometimes this issue becomes serious enough to lead to divorce. If a woman wants to hold on to her name because that is her identity – and in a way it will always be, she is termed as a feminist. It crosses the light, when some people even try to change the first name of woman as well with the argument of  making the lady auspicious and lucky for the home.

This identity crisis may not bother everyone, but to whom it does it, might not always be justified by the ego of the lady. There are real problems faced by these women. Applying for a job, they need to produce their marriage certificate along with any ID proof, as if marriage certificate is her identity. She need to renew her passport. And obviously as expected the patriarchal society, a man has comfort in this domain. Any married couple with different surnames are seen as two people having affair without society's sanction.

This fact bothers me more when it is love marriage, where the boy was supposed to love the girl with her maiden name, yet has to change his preference after marriage. And a girl has to leave it up as a sign of love and devotion. As if being a human being doesn’t give her right to  keep her identity.

Some people give argument, that what is in the name? If that is the case, Can I call a day as night and a night as day? Obviously, no. The term is associated with the phenomena. So is the name of a girl. She is carrying this term from her childhood, retaining it on all of her documents, why should she leave it after an event, marriage? Won't it be a kind of plastic surgery given to her seizing her identity?

As the woman are becoming career oriented, they need to carry their identity along with. Suppose a girl A become girl B, first she needs to reformulate her documents carrying hassles of affidavits proving that her both names belongs to her. Second, her acquaintances cannot search her on records, facebook except seeing her in personal.

I have one question over the significance of surname. If the name signifies belongingness to one's family, does it mean the girl no longer belong to her original family? Most of the conservatives are going to justify it with the argument that, once a girl get married, she should never spend more than one night at her home. She should never return to her home, it’s better to die with her in-laws rather than to come back.

We just need to ponder over the question, if a woman takes her husband’s name in marriage, is it a sign of commitment or of inequality?
Recent controversy over "Thaali"- mangalsutra is another example of how the imposition of any identity which is limited to women only and sign of inequality. Karwa Chauth - why a women need to do it? Doesn’t the husband want her back? Though, there is a huge list, I will restrict myself here only.

Personally, I think it is a decision best left to the couple, it reflects the strength and trust in the relationship. It’s a human nature, if you impose something on them they are going to revolt, so leave them along and let them decide.

Thus we can conclude, changing maiden surname is one of the stereotype and expectations from a woman. A woman should have enough freedom to decide what she wants for herself. After all, marriage is about growing one's family not leaving them.

Indian culture and its custodians

    What is Indian culture?
    Few dictionaries and academic definitions-
    1. Culture is a way of life
    2. A human-made environment which includes all the material and non- material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to the next (NCERT)
    3. Root word "Kri"
    prakriti’ (basic matter or condition),
    ‘Sanskriti’ (refined matter or condition)
    ‘vikriti’ (modified or decayed matter or condition),
    ‘Cult or cultus’ meaning tilling or cultivating or refining and worship.(Hindi dictionary)

    With so many definitions in hand, it is obvious that it is something controversial and prone to myriad of interpretations. The most acceptable definition in our society is that it is the trends which we are following from one generation to another and which distincts us from animals.

    While living abroad, one can realize it in food, festivals, arts, music, religions, yoga etc. In short it is the way to celebrate the life.

    Is culture mutually exclusive thing?
    I don’t think so, amalgamation of culture is the trademark of globalization. And a person celebrating Diwali can celebrate Eid or valentine's day with equal fervor. Culture doesn’t create rigid boundaries. The most beautiful property of culture is that it is adaptable and varies spatial and temporally.
    Hard core conversions from one religion to religion, ghar vapasi, love jihad completely denies the essence of culture by restricting its arena. The people who create divisions in our society in the name of 'Indian Culture' are actually the one who lack the knowledge of what constitutes Indian identity. These are the people who taint the 'culture' by malicious thought. They are not the right receptacles of  culture. They are not the custodians of our past.

    What is moral policing?
    People who promote Moral Policing are such deemed to be custodians of our past while deciding what is good and bad for us in India. They decide if something is in our Indian ‘culture’ or not. Attacking on couples by Shiv Sena, killing a girl for eloping with his love by Khap Panchayats, practicing female feticide, endorsing women as second fiddle and keeping them restricted to four walls, are few of attempts to set the culture intact.

    Is this required?
    Obviously, declining moral values prompt us to do some kind of policing.
    Eve teasing, item songs, vulgar presentation and commodification of women, rape of humanity do require us to relook into our culture. The space of dissent should not be shrunk in the name of protecting culture as happened in documentary ban case, AIB, killing the voices of writers. The documentary ban reflected the culture of shame prevalent in India throughout the globe.

    What needs to be done?
    But we don’t need to protect our culture but prevent it to getting outdated and corrupted. Like Indian culture we have to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and interpretations. We need to bring some congruence between the legality and our acceptability. The law decides what is right or wrong. Indian culture has a foundation that is not so fragile to be shaken by us merely celebrating Valentine’s day or questioning some traditional facts. What threatens Indian culture is intolerance among people, eve teasing, the anti-cultural ‘masala’ in our films and the way our women and humanity are being treated. The Future of Indian culture relies on flourishing diversity while maintaining a thread of unity.

An unromantic man

कलाईयाँ, कलाईयाँ
तू लेया दे मैनू गोल्डन झुमके।
मैं कन्ना विच पावां चुम चुम के।
तू लेया दे मैनू गोल्डन झुमके।
मैं कन्ना विच पावां चुम चुम के।
तू लेया दे मैनू गोल्डन झुमके।
मैं कन्ना विच पावां चुम चुम के।
मन जा वे, मैनु शॉपिंग करा दे।
मन जा वे, रोमांटिक पिक्चर दिखा दे।

This song has portrayed a wishful lady asking for certain things(shopping, earrings, watching romantic movie) she enjoys.
Isn't this image associated with every girl with liability on a boy to fulfill them? Then only a man is deemed to be a dream boy.

The above image is a very familiar picture denying the reciprocating nature of human being (girl doesn't have anything to give in return :P).

Red roses, candle light dinners and lots of expensive gifts characterizes  love with a commercial form. I wonder why most of the times this is a one sided affair, a boy is expected to spend money on valentines' day, her birthday.

Lets talk about valentine's week. It is a western concept characterized by 7 day ritual where the schedule is running from rose, propose, chocolate, teddy, promise, and valentine's gift. The whole week creates a heady combination and environment to make someone fall in so called "love". Imagine the flagrance of roses, sweet chocolates with plenty of sugar making heart sweet as well, beautiful card, unrealistic praises and promises, dim light dinner. The influence of this cocktail beautified with bookish clichéd notions of romance can make any person fall in love with the other. And with all this glittery environment, even the most rational women among us cannot help getting hypnotized into starry-eyed expectations.

As valentine day approaches, the most common questions in a girl's mind are: will he or will he not take me out, propose me? What will he do to make me feel special? Will he buy me whatever I want? Will he narrate his love in a card, in a heart, in a surprise? And this fantasy goes on and on.. Moving from the  expectations part to real one.

What if he forgets "the day"? What if he is unable to figure out what makes you happy? What if he is not aware of all these rituals? Then what, he is a rude, unromantic man, doesn’t care about your happiness, doesn’t take you serious enough and so on.

But wait, before judging a simple questionarie for you.
Ask yourself, when you make a call at 4 am, because you are scared by a dream, and he actually sleeps only after comforting you.

Ask yourself, when you are tired and screaming due to pain, is he the one who give massage to your forehead.

Ask yourself, when you don’t take care of yourself, he get angry on you for doing so.

Ask yourself, has he seen your worst possible physical/mental state and still praising you and motivating you. Has he looked at you without affection?

Now in which version of romance would you like to spend your life?

The formula of "7 din ladki in" with intoxicated cocktail of all fantasies followed by breaking hearts or the "7 janam only for you besides you" one.

You may be willing to put him under spotlight on the day, and testing his skills at expressing his love. You may ask him what makes you happy(as the above song) or give him hints to do what everyone does(citing your friends' examples), he may even reluctantly do, just for you. But at heart if you know that he doesn’t really believe in any of these ‘conventional’ methods, then don’t force him to do so. He may not be able to verbally express himself, he may not afford the romantic items that the world has defined, but his actions in everyday life may the proof that you really need of his love.

Well, the day you think you should be treated as special, may be the perfect day to look back at all the remaining days of the year with your man. Why not look at every tiny thing that he has done for you that goes beyond materialistic things?

Come on girls, this is 21st century, if we claim to become self dependent earning on our own, then why to empty his pockets on your desires?
If you really want to have shopping, chocolates, why not buy some yourself? Why to be sad when he is unable to do what you never have done?

Don't we want to break conventions every now and then? Can't we break the convention of a man as a money printing machine as well?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Great Indian Chamcha

    Sycophant (chamchagiri) - A satire on how people suck up to their superiors or people in power in order to succeed or gain favors.

    In my school days, we use to call our class monitor as "sir ka chamcha" and he used to write our names on blackboard for revenge. Till then, I used to think that there must be very few people who are chamcha, because my definition of chamcha was restricted to the class monitors. But today I can see some kind of chamchagiri going on everywhere.

    Lets move back to colonial times. What our forefathers did for initial years of slavery was to lick the shoes of British rulers while they were looting our wealth and prestige. Why did they do that? Probably because they want to be safe and submissive which might had been beneficial for them in longer run. They told us to be obedient to our superiors and the running system. Fortunately we are following it in some or other way.
    Now lets move to the types of Chamchas we become in some of the stage in life.

    1. Chamcha for parents: Starting from childhood, we heard usual instructions like good boy don’t do this, good boy don’t scare from anyone, mera sher putar kisise ni darta, eat properly, behave properly. Some of us may call it mannerism, but it is the stage where our subconscious mind become ready to strive for the title of Chamcha (praise in any kind).  I won't argue over the above manners. But I would like to question over two things we usually do: choosing career as per parents wish no matter how much we hate it, and marrying with a person of parents' wish no matter you love someone else.

    1. Chamcha in school/college: This kind of chamchagiri was best exemplified by the character "Chatur" in film 3 Idiots. This is another place after your house where one come across a new set of acceptable protocols. Don’t question your teacher, he is always right. Grasp only permitted knowledge. Gather certificates to get highlighted in your teachers' eyes. Rote down notes made by your teachers (other sources not allowed). Be attentive in class in a serious mode (as if smiling face indicates your cunning nature)

    1. Chamcha in friend circle: You might be wondering this is nonsense. How one can be chamcha in his own friend circle. But again I would like to recall the character of "Circuit" in Munnabhai MBBS to strengthen my argument. This is the place where social acceptability becomes so important. What if you can't smoke, or can't drink(4 bottle vodka), obviously you are not cool enough (probably like YO YO HONEY SINGH). What if you don’t take revenge from 1st yearites during ragging, you haven't enjoyed your college life. What if your friends don’t want to take class and wanted to go for mass bunk, and you want to sit on first bench, you are "padaku" and a backstabber to those students.

    1. Chamcha for society: Babul ki duyein leti jaa, ja tujhko sukhi sansaar mile. Can we ever sing this song for a groom? No, because society says so.
            Mr. X & Ms. Y people marry, why they become only Mr & Mrs.         X? Society says so.
            Can you be happy Gay or lesbian couple owing to your sexual           orientation? Strictly no.
            Can marriage be a low budget affair? No, Who will feed society will lavish expenses. 

    1. Chamcha for life partner: Joru ka gulaam are ban ke rahunga
     or  "Jo tumko ho pasand vahi baat kahenge,
    Tum din ko agar raat kaho, raat kahenge"
    I must say a husband has tough choice here (chamcha of maa or chamcha of wife :P) 

    1. Corporate Chamchas or Chamchas for career: Most of the time this term has been kept reserved for women, but I have seen many Diwali gifts by the subordinates to their superiors even by men. You have to choose your career based on its earning potential or its acceptability in society not on the basis of your interest or inclination.

    1. Chamchas of celebrities: Now these are the biggest stupids I would like to tag. Ranbeer Kapoor's  beard fashion, Salman Khan's bracelets, long queues for taking autographs of Honey Singh, muaah my Shahrukh, muaah my salloo, Deepika's ghaghra style, first day first show, lets break the record of this movie by watching it 100 times, wallpapers of celebrities( as if they are increasing the performance of your CPU) are few of the examples of being these chamchas.

    1. Chamcha of english langauge: This is the new breed I came across often. Don’t you listen to english songs, are you kidding me? If you are weak in english, forget about any prestigious job no matter how much talented you are in other fronts.

    1. Chamcha of power: Howsoever we rebuke traffic police, once we are on their mercy, we instantly become an awesome Chamchas (cham+'Cha') who are willing to arrange 'Cha'-pani for the same policeman.

    Our chamchagiri sometimes take the shape of cowardliness (remember Nirbhaya rape case, there was no one to help her for 3 hours on road), sometimes acceptability in society, sometimes it become decisive in our life to the extent that we put our self respect, dreams, intuitions and conscience at the backseat and program our mind accordingly. I must say at some point of time, all of us has tried to get the tag of The Great Indian Chamcha.

(Don’t) Waste the Thunder, Recycle

6:30 PM, I pressed the doorbell of my flat. As I was waiting for my brother to open the door, my eyes fell on a dozen cold drink bottles ...