We Indians are a nation of surprising paradoxes. The biggest such paradox being that we still are a one billion strong nation state and we continue to exist inspite of these.
We worship our goddesses and massacre our daughters.
We term children as gifts from God that cannot be stopped or terminated, yet, treat daughters as a curse or in the least offensive; a burden.
We educate our children in the best educational institutions our pocket will permit, sometimes even stretching this pocket to the hilt with loans and mortgages, all so that they turn into smart, independent and intelligent individuals capable of grabbing the best jobs there are, yet we don’t think them capable of taking a call when it comes to deciding their own life partner and God help them if they choose one from another caste, community or language. All of a sudden your brilliant, able and intelligent child is reduced to being a naïve, stubborn or selfish person or worse still an innocent who has simply been trapped/mesmerised by some pretty witch’s charms and must be treated immediately lest the two actually commit the dastardly crime of getting married.
We are a nation that actually tries and buys happiness for our daughters with huge amounts of bribery that we term ‘Dowry’ in turn expecting her in-laws to treat her like a loved daughter because their affection has obviously been paid for and has not come cheap (sometimes even burning deep, irreparable, lifelong holes in the parents’ pockets), yet when its our turn to reciprocate, no amount of dowry is enough and no d-i-l is good enough to gain a truly loved position in our hearts. We initially eagerly await and actually celebrate the good luck that our wealth goddess, our Lakshmi, will bring into our home and hearth with her lucky footsteps, and then barely a few months into the marriage we burn and crucify the ogre at the stake for having brought in bad luck for the household which otherwise put, would translate to lesser dowry than the other apparent bidders they would have sold their son to. We write separate rules for our daughters and daughters-in-law, even for our daughters and sons-in-law.
Daughters-in-law must learn to adjust and learn the ropes of the new household asap, but sons-in-law are to be treated like royalty even decades into their marriages, their every whim and fancy to be fulfilled with unflinching enthusiasm and devotion, they are to be fed like there’s no tomorrow and bathed in unending love and affection. The d-i-l on the other hand can slog it out in the kitchen while she too participates in the s-i-l pleasing as part of the family.
Lets get away from homes for a while shall we? Well, we Indians are no better in other fields as well.
We call ourselves a democracy but remain typecast under the shadows of political dynasties. We deify the Mahatma and preach the world the path of non-violence, yet at the slightest hint of provocation or even a deliberate desecration of his statue done purely with the intention of inciting passions, we flush his teachings down the proverbial drain and are up in arms apparently to teach a lesson to the enemies of the ‘Father of the Nation’ all apparently while upholding and in honour of his memory.
We crib about our ‘Common Man and His Real Issues’ but sympathise with campaigns and we vote based on our Caste, Sub-Caste and Religion.
We think we are tolerant and multi-cultural, yet we think twice before eating or drinking at someone else’s house, whom we think, does not match our religious beliefs. We call ourselves a plural society and then lay down norms based on caste, community and believe it or not, even food habits to permit a family to buy a house in our bldg. or society.
We love keeping our houses spotlessly clean and our roads horrifyingly filthy.
We are ideal citizens abroad and helpless citizens trapped in a winding bureaucracy when at home.
We believe in criticising our government and our bureaucrats yet never take the leap into those murky waters to help cleanse the system.
We are fed up with the corruption in the ‘system’ and yet do not think twice before offering a bribe to the cop around the corner who’s ‘challan’ing you for not observing traffic rules, which you were disobeying in the first place and which were meant to save our own lives.
We criticize the system without realising what an intrinsic part of that very system we are.
We pray to several goddesses and vow each year to protect our sisters yet we are mute spectators to a girl being assaulted, molested or even raped and murdered in public, lest we get involved in a police/court case or end up getting beaten/ murdered ourselves.
We care about the environment by being extra careful of our electricity consumption at home but couldn’t care less if the comp was left on all night at the office or your cabin lights weren’t turned off when you left. The environment matters only if we are paying money for it today, we couldn’t care less if our children have to pay for it with their lives tomorrow. We are extremely concerned with our car’s fuel efficiency and yet forget to get our PUC checks done on time or switch off the engine at long signals, turn off the AC when not required. The same applies to the taps running in our bathrooms but not public restrooms.
We assume the right to interfere in the lives of our siblings, children, relatives and even neighbours without them really needing our help but drive past on the highway inspite of an accident victim bleeding away to his death.
We celebrate weddings with displays of monetary vulgarity but look down upon women who actually show the courage to break away from abusive marriages and choose to be single parents.
We do not talk about sex; we do not care enough to educate about sex; we only go on to have loads of it, making us the second largest populous nation.
We deride public displays of affection when it comes to young adults, but think nothing of another individual’s private space and even gawk at, caress and cuddle strangers’ children.
We teach our boys to be manly, yet not chivalrous. We expect our daughters to go around with gentlemen yet never teach our sons how to talk to and be around women.
We expect our daughters be treated justly and equally at their in-laws’, but we seldom apply the same equality among our children of opposite sexes in their formative years.
We constantly make friends, aquaintances and even cement relationships with neighbours based on their caste, sub-caste, creed, eating habits, etc yet shout “racism” at the slightest provocation when we face the same abroad.
We constantly joke, ridicule and typecast based on characteristics of region, religions, communities and yet squirm at a foreigner’s generalisation that ‘India is a land of mystics, elephants and snake-charmers.’
And finally; we live every single day cussing the state our country finds itself in yet we wake up each day in hope of a better India reinventing herself each day at a time.