Day 111: He has 4 Masters degree and a law degree

Reconnecting with friends is always fun. And, PeePee has been a variant of all sorts amongst the friends circle. What started off as mutual likes on each other’s photo blogs, graduated to comments on the blog and moved on to email exchanges. I still remember the random, unexpected, first email that PeePee sent, full of techniques on shooting a closeup of the moon. I would generally have marked it as spam a d ignored the man on my photoblog. But, I followed it to the last T and this beauty happened. Since then, our mutual acquaintance would go through the phases of the moon; the full moon and its everyday conversations, on everything under the moon, that would wane to the no moon, with some serious virtual silence. He’s been one of those rare acquaintances that I felt at ease with almost immediately and we could talk after years and still catch up like nothing changed.

We reconnected today; I messaged him because I was captivated by his dp when reviewing contacts on the old phone. The new, self-grooming, was definitely spot on. And, we quickly caught up. A successful move to the US, a shack of his own decked up to his interests, new hobbies (wood work :)), and persistent old hobbies, family that lived a few miles away and parents that visited often, and he seems to be living the classic 30-year old’s dream life. And yet, the consistent underlying thread of regret was the mismatch between the familial expectations of marriage versus that of our generation.

He has been riding the same boat of evaluations for marriage as I have, mostly driven by parents. There are staunch restrictions for prospects; should be of the same caste, sub-caste even and all other factors, including matching interests, are trumped by superstitious beliefs. No amount of convincing, discussing have changed their mindset on that. ‘My father has four Master’s degrees, even a law degree, and my mother is equally qualified too. And yet…‘, his voice trails off.

Education vs. Family

A lot of their opinions, and life choices, seem to be affected more by their immediate society than the educational qualifications. Shouldn’t education automatically help you sift out the right from the wrong, the outdated from the relevant? I’ve had this similar query when having sociological discussions with ChemProf as well. Despite being one of the most educated in the larger family, he still has such obsolete, conventional, ideas about relationships, social statuses and gender equality. And I can emphasize with PeePee: the more I talk to ChemProf, the more I realize how futile the whole effort is, and how deep rooted some of these stereotypes really are.

Riding the wall

What also caught me in the whole conversation was the sincere pain I felt in PeePee for hurting his parents. Our generation has very strong principles and has the will to live by it; but it is also aware of the barrier that rests between our generation and the previous one; especially the big barrier about ideologies. The last time I said yes to getting married, it was not because I liked the gentleman; it was purely because I was tired of hurting my parents. And yet, my conviction to my own principles didn’t allow me to see it through.

We’ve become a generation that is strong about its own interests and needs, but is equally aware of the effect of these on the previous generation. We cannot hurt outright, and yet we cannot give in completely as well. We ride the middle line, a balanced act on the tight-rope, and only time will tell if we make it through or the rope tips over.

Talk about long distances, and you now know how we Yoga in KL. Well, mommy tries to do Yoga, but I usually beat her to the mat. And the dogasanas begin.” Goose

Advertisements

Day 64: Friends

Dia is H’s local sweetheart. The mother and H bonded over their pets, her pug and our Scotch, and Dia grew up around both these little animals. When I inherited H’s social circle, which basically included just Dia, her mum and her pug, they landed up being the only ones I socialized with in the apartment complex as well. I’ve told you already about how poor my socializing skills are.

These days, because of Dia, there are a few other 6 and 7 year olds that have joined my friends’ circle. They yell, squeak and scamper away every time I walk out with Scotch. They dare each other into petting Scotch when we sit in the park in the evenings. Not Dia of course, she needs no dare to touch her big beast.

I had a very interesting conversation with Dia, and her friends, lets call them Seetha and Geetha (because I don’t know or understand the overly complicated, mythological, and extremely cryptic name that their parents gave them after spending a few too many hours on ‘100 unique baby names’ websites).

As I pull into the apartment at the end of the day, the three girls leave their game of examining the dirt on the path to the parking lot, and move over to the side. They see my car and me behind the wheels and start waving frantically; I lower my window and the conversation begins.

Me: Hello, girls!

Dia, Seetha, Geetha: HIIIIII! Where’s the dog?

Me: I left her in college. She wanted to study something about eating children.

D, S & G: <Teeeheeeee> Did you get any friendship bands today? Look how many we got?

<And they go on to count the 5 on Dia’s wrist, the 4 on Seetha and Geetha’s>

Me: Very nice. I dint get any; looks like I don’t have any friends after all.

D, S & G: <Gigggle, giggle>

S: Look at the one that Dia gave me, and this one Geetha gave me, and this one is from my school friend Anivaary.

Me: WOW! Where is mine? You dint give me a friendship band.

S: Noooooo! Because you are not my friend, and nobody gave you friendship band anyway.

Me:

D: Here you go! You can have mine.

<And she handed me this bright pink, bedazzled friendship band that she was wearing in her hand>

Me: Awwwwh! Thank you, Dia. But you keep it. I don’t want one.

S: Arrey. Anyway that band wont fit her hand, na?

And with that tiny, baby-sized bruise to my ego, I drove away.

A few things moved me about the conversation. One, Dia and I have spent very little time together. There was that one time when she told me about her plan to put a ladder all the way up to the moon. We got stuck in the electric cables. But, beyond that, we haven’t spent as much time as she and H have in the past. And yet, she did not think for a second before sacrificing her own friendship band for me. Some kids have such an open definition of friendship. Or, maybe some kids attach very little value to that outwardly display of friendship through a band. I’m happy for this young girl no matter what.

Second, Seetha already has a sense of some very adolescent concepts like cliques, popularity and standard behaviors. Kids at this age already know what it means to be cool versus being a nerd. They already consider the number of friendship bands to automatically signify the number of friends; and more friends automatically makes you the popular catch of the class. It’s these expectations that will translate very soon into the number of friends on social media, real or not. This is definitely not a new trend, because I remember the craze for friendship bands even when I was in school. Even back then there was a craze to join the popular girls’ group, or look up to them for the latest fashion trends.

Of course, when I was in school, we dint have the dark monsters of the virtual world, watching and stalking us every step of the way. We had real monsters, but they somehow seemed more manageable.

“Wow! You are very morose, aren’t you? Such a sweet and innocent concept called friends, especially from 6 year olds, and here you are already connecting it to stalking, molestation and rape. Take a chill pill now and then, S.

What’s this here? Smells off.” Scotch