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

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

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…

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…

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 …

How to travel with family and create the coziest memories ever!

I know I haven't been blogging as often as I wanted to at the start of this year but so many things are happening in my life, like travel. For a working mom like me, the last time I traveled with my family.....is like ages ago. I do travel but mostly on my own and given the kind of school and work schedules that we have to balance out, it usually doesn't happen that we take a break for summer holidays as a family. Let me confess that it's pretty rare, which is why 2018 has been amazing for me. I got to travel with my family....yay!
Okay, so back to earth with a big bang, shall we?  
First, we headed to Gangtok, in Sikkim, via Siliguri in West Bengal. We had a fabulous time. My love for travel got a real boost, just as it used to in my childhood days, when my parents used to take us to different places during our summer vacations.
For me, the joys of travel have nothing to do with seeing new places, as it does with the fun-filled conversations we have with ourselves and the pe…

Book Review: Nan Umrigar's Sounds of Silence, A Bridge Across Two Worlds

The year 1978 was a glorious one for Karl Umrigar – a young man who won many prestigious horse races, including the Indian 2000 Guineas and the Indian Oakes. Finally, Karl Umrigar fulfilled his dream – every jockey’s dream– to win the Indian Derby. His name remains in the Indian Derby scroll of honour. 
But just at exactly the moment Karl won, he fell from the horse.  A fall that finally saw the country mourn for him when the headlines of the Indian Express read, “The King is Dead.” Karl Umrigar, the young champion and loved by many, was laid to rest on May 3, 1979.
Karl Umrigar’s Death: Bridge between Two Worlds You can imagine what Karl’s death did to his family, particularly his mother – Nan Umrigar. She says, “Nothing could have prepared us for the darkness that descended upon us – nothing!
While her family tried to pull on with daily routine, Nan Umrigar found herself in such a state of agony and trauma that she couldn’t resume a normal life. She couldn’t let go of her son.
She heard…

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…

Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?

Many people ask me this question, ''Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?''. Mantras always work but the problem is that we are often not open to believing this.  The query about whether the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra works comes in different forms, sometimes by email, in the comments section or in person. Most people are curious, some are interested but few are committed to sincerely want the answer.



I am just an ordinary seeker on the spiritual path but my experiences have taught me valuable lessons and I am sharing this with you so that it helps your spiritual progress.
From what I have learned from my grandmother, who was a devout Shiva Bhakt throughout her life, the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is a powerful mantra that has ancient sounds which provides an aura of protection to those who chant it with faith regularly and it triggers powerful energies to remove sufferings and diseases. This is why Hindus believe that the one who chants the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra will be blesse…

Jodhpur travel: Ring in the New Year with Flying Fox adventure, Polo Grounds, a room without a roof & more

A part of me has always been a dreamer, a seeker, and a wanderer.Perhaps the way I grew up has something to do with this. Bright, blue sky, skin colored sand that you could melt into and blue waters that sparkled when you splashed it on your skin....ah, the magic of growing up in a place like Blantyre! It felt joyful when we chose to welcome the New Year by traveling to a new place together for the first time! I can't describe the delicious feeling of excitement that I felt when we reached Jodhpur. I love not to plan and travel to places just like that - it has its dangers but still......!



The real fun began when we went sightseeing! The spicy food (not to my son's liking - he doesn't like to eat anything with onions - which puts us in quite a difficult situation with most Indian dishes), the warmth and hospitality, the grand palaces, forts and there is so much I want to share with you about the moments I enjoyed, the people I made friends with and the experiences I had. 

Mo…