Thursday, March 4, 2010

Culture and tradition

Oops, three months and it's like I've disappeared from the face of the earth. I guess I just had a ball all this time, what with my son visiting us for a whole 3 months, and business picking up, and so much other stuff happening at home....didn't think it mattered whether I blogged or not.

Our American associate is here, today, and as usual, we talk a lot about the cross-cultural differences between Indian and American cultures. Mmm, I'm travelling on work next week and I am quite excited that I'll be meeting a bunch of young people and interacting with them over three days....something I'm looking forward to.

Oh, I wonder what the significance of 'poonal' is in today's world? For those who don't know what it is, it's the equivalent of the Jewish bar mitzvah...a sort of 'coming of age' ceremony that all Hindu Brahmin boys go through. At the end of the rituals, he begins to wear a thread across his left shoulder and down to his right a sort of diagonal manner.

Well, coming back to the actual ceremonies, is it to show off their son or their or is it blind adherence to tradition? In olden days, it made sense to do all this for it had multiple objectives - it was done at a tender age of 7 or 8 when the young boy was deemed fit to begin his academics. So, he had to go and stay with his teacher for years before he graduated. The thread also was a constant reminder to the boy that he is now in the 'brahmachari' stage....a phase in life when hormones can rage and yet you remain sober and level headed. The thread also reminded him that all the women he met were his mothers. It kept his ego down coz he had to now beg everyday for his food - 'bhavathi bhikshaam dehi' - in Sanskrit, it means 'Mother, give me some bhiksha (food).' This is really poignant but in today's world, I just think it's hypocritical or just letting the world know that you are a (fake) traditionalist.

Anyways, the recent one in our family kinda gave me an opportunity to meet up with a lot of my clan and have some yummy traditional food.

Oh, the Nithyananda affair's sort of shaken me up quite a bit.....what on earth was he thinking when he behaved the way he did...I'm just appalled by it all and really dunno whom to trust - the media or the godman!!

Gotta go now...will hopefully blog more frequently going forward.

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