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 Shouldn’t education automatically help you sift out the right from the wrong, the outdated from the relevant?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

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Day 57: Nice People

I’ve always been all ambient, an introverted extrovert. Left in a novel situation, I’d rather be by myself than take the first step and interact. But if I’ve been put out there, I do not hold back and I’m my ‘charming best’. A stranger surprised me today and made me wonder if I should work on changing my introverted ways.

A and I were breaking off exam prep monotony with a cup of tea, when this girl walked over, patted on my shoulders and asked if I was from the Student Council. I remembered her from the Open Forum I chaired recently. Thus far, any conversation that started with ‘Are you from the Council?” had gone on into a ramble about leaking toilets and overly priced sanitary pads. Don’t get me wrong; I strongly believe in the power of student voice and I’d like to help in getting that heard where possible. It’s just how tuned my brain was to what I expected the upcoming line of discussion to be, that I was caught completely off guard by what really happened.

In three quick sentences, she appreciated me for the way I conducted the open forum, congratulated my command over the language and said how impressed she was with the way I carried myself. She reiterated how very people are able to say a little yet mean a lot. And she left.

My mind was so unprepared for compliments, especially from a stranger, that I just stood there, frozen, nodding. I might have mumbled a Thank you back at her. I wondered what was that command she was appreciating me for when I was stunned by such an innocent exchange.

I admired the girl’s courage for walking up to me and speaking her mind. I’ve been in such a position, of awe and admiration towards another, in the past and I kept it to myself, smiled, enjoyed the feeling of contentment and walked away. I should probably do this more often; let people know that they are appreciated.

It might just make their day after all. This beautiful young girl sure made mine.

It’s always nice to let people know how awesome they are, S. Especially in this mean and cynical world. 

Let me say a quick Thank You to Elvis and James who are out here scratching me right now.” Scotch