Friday, October 14, 2022
I already come from a place that’s always been divided on the basis of religion. So much so that my family had to leave and settle elsewhere because of the communal unrest. The place considered to be heaven on earth is bullet and blast ridden for three decades now. There is a strong disconnect and discontent amongst people. Even though there is a strong cultural connect, mutual love for the land but somehow the hate is so strong, it negates everything else.
I have recently moved to a different country and imagine my surprise when after spending just 1 month here, I was rudely acquainted with the very disheartening news of communal tension. In a different country. Amidst people of different nationalities and ethnicities. With all the challenges that come with living in a different country as immigrants. The Hindu and Muslims, the Indians and Pakistanis had somehow managed to retrigger the inbuilt hatred and gone supremely public with it. I just couldn’t believe it that all these bullshits literally followed with across seas and oceans. One would imagine that being in a neutral country away from the communal tension, people would realize that behind the different religion and outlooks we are all just humans. People from different religion do not have horns on their heads. They look just like us. In fact, once you talk to them and get to know them better you realize they are not that different from us. Their culture, food, habits, day to day activities, nuances, family troubles are all the same as us.
As educated, sensible, open-minded, responsible adults I well it is our duty to broaden our mindset. Try and think beyond a cocoon that we have been fed and taught in. Respect each other for respective beliefs and at the same time be open to un-learn some of the toxic though process. Not get riled up by the political narratives. Think and think hard before joining a so-called protest in a temple or a mosque. And please do not be hesitant to be friends or at least civil with the people you think (or have been taught) to think as enemies.
Like I said before I have recently moved to a different country and met a lot of new people. People from different countries including people from across the border. In fact, I have now come to be very close friends with this one girl from a country that was born out of India. No, not the one you are thinking, the other one. And beyond our very apparent differences of religion, country and other stuff – I have come to realize that she, just like me is a girl underneath all that. A girl who loves to talk about silly things, shop, spend money on unnecessary things, eat out a lot, visit pretty cafes and just being an amazing independent smart girl. I have come to really admire her. Not that I was not prejudiced or did not have different biases in my head. But given a chance, I chose to unlearn and move forward (in every sense of the word).
In a world full of hatred, choose peace. For your own good more than anything else.
Make love not war (cliché, I know).
Stay happy people.
Monday, January 24, 2022
Once a friend of mine from Mumbai was talking about how she is going to visit her mother's house after a really long time. I told her that she would be getting a tight hug from her mother today. She looked at me like I had lost my marbles. We spent the next 15 minutes discussing about the standard code of greetings at everyone's respective homes. We also pulled in a friend from Kerala. Both Mumbai and Kerala friends were non hug-ers and scrunched up their noses at this too-close-for-my-comfort kind of greeting. I kept my kashmiri mouth shut but my mind wandered to this scene where my nani engulfed me in tight hugs multiple times a day, whenever I came out of my room. Moist kisses on hands and forehead as a bonus!
As a kashmiri, hugging is a standard code of conduct. No questions asked. No eyebrows raised. You meet an aunty/uncle for a first time? You hug them, if they are feeling generous - they will plant a kiss on your forehead, a myouth. You go visit someone - you hug them all, while coming and going. Or else they will feel you are aloof and non-loving. You are getting married? Well, best of luck. Sitting on the stage, you will be smothered in hugs and kisses while you sit pretty and pose. Now all was well with our kashmiri hugs or naalmout as we call it, but then covid happened.
In a world where we shrink away from a handshake, good old naalmout is totally out of questions. But years of programing cannot be erased completely now is it? So some of the meetings post corona have been awkward for us kashmiri's, comical even. You meet, approach and take the embrace stance but then realization strikes and now you are in a weird pose of a bird about to take flight. This is now proceeded by uncomfortable tap tap on the shoulder or an even awkward single arm side hug. And then we take seat, all the time contemplating whether you were rude not to hug or inconsiderate to go so near and touch someone in the pandemic times. My naani however is not bothered, when I refuse to present my forehead she takes my hands instead and plants her bountiful kisses on them.
Apart from this being funny another reason for me to write about this was the fact that deep deep deep down - I do love this whole naalmout deal. A tight hug is sometimes all we need to express how happy we are to meet each other. Longer the squeeze happier the heart. With so many of our rituals and practices slowly going extinct, I guess we should tightly hold onto whatever we can manage to and pass it on to the next generation. It is after-all all these nuances that keep the kashmiri in us irrespective of where we are.
Talking about myself - I love hugs. Period. Though never been a fan of the forced kisses but kinda missing those wet myouth's on the forehead. Here's to Covid free and full of hugs 2022. Please be kind (and mild!).
Lots of Love:
Friday, December 31, 2021
Monday, November 22, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021
The Future? Our family and children?
Anxiety? A disturbed mind?