Monday, 27 January 2014

Our tryst with technology

It was the seventies. I could hear the sound of the transistor playing Hindi songs and my mother grinding dosa batter on the grinding stone. The radio was our window to the outside world right from man's landing on the moon to the bournvita quizes. Our tryst with technology was our humble transistor and a proud looking tape recorder which our kith and kin from Dubai had presented  to us. Televisions and refrigerators were still not very common in all middle class homes. It was a great treat for us children to watch the Saturday night movie and the "Charlie chaplain" and "Here is Lucy show" on Tv at a neighbours place. Telephones were also rare and one had to  receive calls discreetly at a neighbor's place.

I think we live in a wonderful world now with grinder's refrigerators and high tech tv's and iPod's. The telephone has reached even the slum dweller through the cell phone. Computer's  has made  the world a smaller place through social networking and e-mail's. The wonderful journey science has taken us through and transformed our lives is really incredible!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Changing Times.

My mother sang Allaipaiuday kanna with her eyes downcast when my father came to seek her hand in marriage fifty years back. It was only on the day of the marriage that she shyly glanced at him. She was barely eighteen then. Parents chose the groom for their daughters. Parents knew best. Love marriages and specially inter caste marriages were shunned  Traditional five day marriages were common.

We are a more liberated society now and globalization has changed the trend of the day. Marriages have become more secular too. A gujju marrying a SouthIndian, a Malalayee marrying a Bengali, Christians marrying Hindus have become very common.  Marriages in India have finally become the union of two hearts. Many young women retain their maiden surnames after tying the knot. Not too long ago in India even maiden names were changed by the boys family to suit their taste. Fairytale weddings are taking place. Sangeet, Mehendi and bollywood dances are also seen in traditional southIndian weddings. In wedding receptions the bride dresses  in filmy gaghras and the blouses worn leave little to the imagination. The whole idea is to look chic. Jewellery and silk saris which were so much a part of southIndian weddings suddenly seem to have lost their charm. The metti, thali have no significance for the generation X.

So much so how we have changed in the last fifty years. But our wedding ceremonies still seem to be gala affairs where we spend ample money on the wedding halls food and expensive gifts. I remember my friend telling me that she got seven to eight clocks gifted on her sons marriage. Bridal registries are a good idea. But in this land where so many people still die of starvation,  a man still spends half of  his life's savings on his daughter's wedding. Weddings are  great affairs for socialising and rejoicing but keep it simple. With inflation at its peak we should limit weddings to one brief ceremony. Maybe pack tradition fun and frolic all in the same ceremony. Instead of spending so much on the wedding,  gift the couple a handsome cheque to give them a headstart in life.