Skip to main content

Celebrations, Pretensions and Disengagement in Relationships

Raksha Bandhan celebrations are over. But pretensions have not. Thankfully, not everyone pretends. But this isn't just about Raksha Bandhan at all - it's happening across all occasions and festivals.

The young domestic help who comes and cleans my home every morning had a bright smile today. She said, proudly, “My brother took me to a shop and asked me to choose three salwar suit materials. This happens only once a year. So, I bought three materials and each cost a thousand rupees. And he also bought me two sarees and gave me some money. This happens only once a year but I feel so happy.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a one-incident rant. I have spoken to several people before putting out this post. Everyone had a list of material gifts they mentioned with delight, nothing to say about sweet, childhood memories with their brother. I find that very odd.

I am not being judgmental about anyone. But increasingly, I get the feeling that we are becoming a ‘what-can-I-get-from-the-other-person-because-it-is-my-right’ community. That doesn’t feel right to me, especially not in family relationships.

That reminds me of a peculiar work place culture I was struggling to understand ten years ago. I am still struggling to understand it. The women – highly educated, financially independent and liberal in their outlook – constantly ‘negotiated’ what they wanted from their partner for their ‘date anniversary’ and ‘wedding anniversary’ and if it didn’t cost their partner at least 50K, that would be the end of the relationship or so the threats implied. When women put such numeric values on their sense of worth, I feel we, as women, demean ourselves, beyond words.

What appalls me now and then is that this yardstick is fast becoming the norm across all relationships. What you give or rather how much you can give becomes the barometer of a relationship’s progression thereon. 

I am all for celebrating beliefs, traditions and festive occasions that bring people closer and together. But I am definitely opposed to the increasing pretensions that are flooding our lives through mediums that include Facebook, WhatsApp and so on.

How do I know people are pretending? Lets put it this way – we define our relationships with people based on their actions and interactions with us.

Suppose my interactions with you are consistently nasty, mean, judgmental and sarcastic in real life but I send you the sweetest greetings on Facebook or WhatsApp, which one would appear more real to you? Which one do you choose to trust?

Whom would you trust - the ‘online’ me or the ‘offline’ me? What is the actual purpose of sending out such ‘social’ messages – a kind of social marketing of how good/expert one is? But the question is also this: for how long, does one person 'fool' the other on networks? 

Increasingly, I see people whom I know very well in real life pretend to be what they are not to those in their social networks. When pretense becomes a way of life, what follows is disengagement. This is because those who know each other in person would recognize what is happening. 

It’s not too different in family relationships, workplace relationships or in friendships between friends. Two people who live together or work with each other or are related to each don't even say 'Hello' or "How do you feel?" in real life but they send out the sweetest messages on Facebook, WhatsApp - what's the false exhibition for? I haven't been able to figure it out - why do people act like fakes?

But the fact remains that this bout of pretension is long-lasting and far more damaging than natural disasters like the tsunami. Sadly, it is spreading, fast.

All of this takes me back to a golden era when a ten rupee note or a handful of freshly minted coins from a grandparent was treasured like gold – not because of the number it stood for, but because of the sanctity of the relationship with the giver.

Where have those days gone? Wish I had the answers. Do you? 

Comments

Asha said…
Needless to say that you have echoed my thoughts dear Swapna. Even i find people very fake and pretentious on social media that includes blog world too.

Yes, even my servant said the same today, when i asked her did you tie rakhi? she said yes and my bro gave me money. True the world has become materialistic from minimalistic. Emotions are only through emoticons.

It is at these times, i find succour in nostalgia. thank you swapna, this post gives hope that there are still genuine people like you in this world
jk said…
NGDCs .. Maybe people having good enough strength as per Nigudha Samkhyam Astrology may benefit with the 3rd house of Fashion, Show - Offs, Pretensions, Masks etc etc .. Maybe the ones with weak 3rd house may not benefit from that much .. Even Generally with some trial and error mechanisms with different times also may show some benefitting from such aspects and some others may not .. maybe they are all aspects of Dialectical Dianetics with this world ..


jk

https://www.facebook.com/iMightLikeItDoNotMeanIagreeWithThat/photos/a.187995108000925.46348.187957254671377/211375952329507/?type=1


Ajith said…
There is nothing wrong in what your servant feel . I remember Vishu was my favourite festival as a child since i get money from elders.Also now also if some one gives you gift clothes for a festival u feeel happy rit.So its human nature. But i dont understand the idiots of the so call financially independent women who expect 50K gifts from their partners !!!.Sooner or later its bound to break
Dear Asha,

As always, we seem to be on the same wavelength on this topic too...every time I read your comment, I feel reassured too and nudged out of a growing sense of sadness 'Is it just me who feels this way?' - you get the drift...:)

@JK: It's one choice more than nature...
Hi Ajit, I understand what you are saying. Your feeling of joy relating to Vishu probably has more to do with how you felt as a child. It has a lot to do with memories, feelings than with the actual monetary value...ami wrong?

As adults, we tend to lose that child like, positive energy. We become 'smarter' in weighing and calculating the value of money more than the value of the gesture, the effort or even the sincerity underlying the gift.

Key point is: Relationships are nowadays more influenced by money than by feelings, memories or the beauty and sanctity of relationships.

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered that I would receive such online abuse for writing this or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience or a perspective, not to insult others.  My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to abuse me because our journeys are entirely different narratives. My life and yours are not the same at any given point of time.

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.A new book 'Ants among Elephants' written by Sujatha Gidla, who writes about herself as being born 'an untouchable in India' teaches you everything you probably want to know abo…

Lost someone you loved? Powerful lessons I learned in 2018

Winter mornings, go away! Cloud skies, I don't want to wake up to you. Sometimes I feel that waking up is becoming harder each day. The sun looks like a pale yolk and I feel so blue. These early winter mornings are tough, I tell you!
[Do Read: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]




Now I don't know how these last months have been for you. For me, October has been the toughest month so far. My family lost a very dear and much loved person. It was a huge personal loss for me and nothing less than devastating for my parents. But this loss also taught me lessons that I can never forget. 

Beautiful memories live forever
My mother tells me that when she got married and came to her new home, it is my aunts (father's sisters) who made her feel most loved, cared for and welcome. My aunt Manivalima, who passed away in October, was more like a best friend to my mother. Their love towards each other was such that whatever my aunt would cook for lunch, she would send to my mother and…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Charlie Malayalam Movie Review: Dulquer Salman brilliant as Charlie, sets the bar high for himself with this film

I watched Charlie, starring Dulquer Salman, Parvathy Menon, AparnaGopinathan, Nedumudi Venu, and directed by Martin Prakkat. Gopi Sundar has blended in some magical melodies that will tempt you to sit back and simply put everything else on hold while you listen to it. 
[BONUS Read: Anju Sundarikal,TheevramPremam, Bangalore Days]
Dulquer Salman is brilliant in this film, gets into the skin of the character and he has set the bar very high for his next batch of movies, with Charlie. The way he transforms himself into Charlie is impressive and almost effortless. The way Charlie bonds with every character in this movie is heart-touching, sheer magic. 

Tessa (starring: Parvathy) caught my interest from the first scene till the last. The way she talks, dresses, walks - everything has a spark. She goes in search of the distant and the forbidden. The only persons who understand her quirky spirit are her grandmother and a bestie who is a sensible journalist. 
The story begins when Tessa rents an…

Premam Malayalam Movie Review: A Superb Entertaining Love Story in which Nivin Pauly conquers hearts and Sai Pallavi is a delight to watch

Alphonse Puthren's Malayalam movie "Premam" starring Nivin Pauly has been a most talked about film as Malayalis across the world have shown great love for "Premam."  
"Premam" is a movie that will take you back to the bittersweet memories of your first love, second love and maybe, third and final love!
[Image credit: Google Images]
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love
I had a big smile on my face when I read the words "Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love" on the screen. This was shown just before the credits started to show.
It marks the perfect beginning to a "nutcase" love story! I was all set to enjoy this delicious tale of teenage crush, love & mature love - the phases that each of us have gone through in this journey of life at some time or the other.
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Story
Premam's story revolves around the butterfly-like, romantic journey of  George David (Nivin Pa…

Secrets & Lies - A Book Review

We all have secrets. Over years, they become memories, a little jaded, a little faded but definitely there.

Lots of memories that are stashed away come alive when you read Jaishree Misra's latest novel, Secrets & Lies, a book that grabs your attention from page one till the end. I

The novel revolves around the age of innocence and the growing up of a bunch of school girls who studied in St Judes', one of Delhi's most famous Convent schools with an Irish Principal, Miss Victoria Lamb whom the girls christen as Lamboo. The four girls in the novel are great friends but their dreams are shattered with the entry of a new girl called Lily. Later, they try to move on with their lives, hoping to forget Lily but haunted by her forever. 


There's Bubbles, who had been fat and bad at studies but hails from a wealthy business family. Her ambitious parents arrange her marriage to Binkie, who is the only son of a multimillionaire in London. What touches your heart is that Bubbles d…