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ShortTake: Wedding craze
December 27, 2014
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Wedding craze

A few years back one of my eldest cousins got married, and I had the honour of attending the lavish 5-day long affair.

Being a typical Non-Indian-Resident (NRI) kid, I had never attended a wedding with the entire extended family present. So, my excitement and enthusiasm met no bounds.

The first day passed in a complete daze as I was just amazed by the people gathered for the events. The following day, I embarked on my quest to get to know all these strangers who might be part of my extended family.  You might ask how are they unknown if they are family.

Allow me to explain, my cousin was my aunt’s (mother’s eldest sister son), and his father i.e my uncle has quite a big family. As a result of living outside of India, I have not had much interaction with my uncle’s side of the family. In an effort to understand who were relatives or not, I began asking everyone I did not recognise one simple question.

I would walk up to them and with a smile, I’d ask with complete honest innocence, “Are you related to me?”

I got quite a few mixed responses to my random question. Some politely tried to answer my honest enquiry, while others gave me a weird stare. Soon, I became the girl from “Dubai” who asked quite a few questions, and enjoyed all the functions with outmost gusto.

Needless to say within the entire wedding craze, I had managed to unintentionally grab some of the spotlight!

Vismay Anand

Saying ‘no’

Once y boss raised his voice and I patiently told to him to listen my part. Though he refused and said a big “No,” there was no takeaway from such a quick response.

Saying “no” is so simple and becomes the immediate answer for many questions. For some, after saying “no,” they realise its consequences.

Yes, there is a way to say “no,” but it is more appropriate to ensure the understanding of the other party to know in what context the refusal or denial was made. This is important, especially for people who hold responsibilities.

Some colleagues never say “no” to their managers; as a result their tables are always piled up with documents and pending jobs. It is not just a practice, but largely reflects the character they associate with.

Whenever exams approach, my daughter struggles a lot to convince her parents that she practices well. She pretends to be enjoying well the learning, and any question raised comes with an answer – yes, I know it. She does not want to say “no” to her parents, but tries to please with her little knowledge and expertise.

For elders, saying “sorry” or “no” by their juniors is very much part of discipline, as they want the new generation to be polite.

Only when it comes to money, people are free to say “no,” because, the evidence needs to be clear enough and convincing.

Ramachandran Nair (Oman)

Silent treatment

A lot has been said about silence. A simple search on Google will put forth any number of quotes, memes and such on the matter.

So, what does this silence mean? Does it indicate muteness, a state of not speaking at all?

Indeed not. It took me a while to understand that silence in the philosophical sense means speaking softly, and only what and when is necessary. It is a state of tranquillity, a realm in which the mind remains calm and unperturbed and does not succumb to emotional impulses.

Probably I should have explained this concept in detail when I advised a colleague of mine to tackle her problems with silence.

This colleague was looking very despondent because she was expected to participate in some important family discussion that weekend. Her family had this way of distorting her views and comments, thus giving it an entirely different perspective and it worried her a lot. Did they do that on purpose in order to refute her or was it because she could not communicate her views with clarity that they misunderstood her?

As she had no way of avoiding the expected showdown by absenting herself, I told her to be silent all through the meeting. With such a guard over her tongue, she could escape criticism.

When we got back to work after the weekend, I noticed her eyes were heavily swollen, an indication that she must have spent the weekend drowned in tears.

So, what had gone wrong?

Apparently, when the family had got together, she had accosted them and announced that as she wanted to avoid condemnation she intended to keep her mouth shut and not contribute any opinion.

Obviously, the showdown had occurred even before the discussion got underway.

Vidya Shankar

Donkey tale

Years ago, I came across a tidbit in a magazine about a woman helping injured donkeys in Britain.

I wrote to the British embassy in India saying I would like to write a story about her. The response was prompt. I had Elizabeth Svendson’s address and details within a week. I wrote to her and her response was again swift.

She sent me her book titled “Down among the donkeys.”

Her arguments: The donkey is not a lazy beast of burden. It is a gentle, patient labourer, uncomplaining, working in slavish solitude and carries enormous loads from fields to his master’s house. “

Cruelty inflicted on these innocent animals is beyond description. In a Spanish village, a bizarre event used to be organised. The oldest donkey in the village of Villanueva de la Vers would be martyred cruelly. The fattest man in the village would be put on the donkey’s back. The animal would be dragged through cobbled streets by a rope attached to a heavy noose around the neck.

What struck Svendson during her trips abroad was that there were apparently few donkeys over the age of 11. In Ethiopia, she came across donkeys waiting to carry owners and goods back to villages as distant as 15km.

Since I read about her, I always admired Svendson for her contribution to these hardworking animals.

R. Ramesh

Best asset

I love to make new friends, not necessarily through social media. Whenever I come across a friendly person, I extend my hands of friendship.

I was travelling in India from Bengaluru to Trichy by train recently. I got acquainted with a businessman from Mysore. We exchanged our phone numbers. After a week, I forgot about the person. However, I was pleasantly surprised when he called me to wish in advance for the new year.

It is my experience that, mostly, train friends do not continue their friendship once they alight at their destination. This person proved different. Of all things in life, such friendship is the best asset.

K. Ragavan

Avoidable anger

The year that is passing by swiftly and silently has been one with mixed emotions and experiences. There were plus and minus aspects as always. Travelling around gave several opportunities for thoughts and photography opportunities, which led to many useful insights that I shared with interest through the Short Take column.

Last week, I was at the airport check-in. The line was long and the airline system was working slow due to some connection problem. A pregnant lady was at the counter handling the passengers. The delay made everyone restless. But, one passenger was more expressive. He reached the counter and as the process took extremely long, he started raising his voice and showering strong words at the girl. The lady was helpless and kept her silence and emotions well.

Standing behind him and watching all the actions, I asked him whether there was any need to raise his voice in such a tense situation unnecessarily as it raised emotions of others as well.

He said to me that it is his way of doing things and he felt comfortable by shouting at her. I smiled at him as well as the lady who was listening to the conversation, as she felt relieved to get some support.

We moved on to the security check point and a person ahead had some items inside his bag which was creating an alarm with the security system.

The screening process had to be repeated several times and it took time.

The man who created ruckus a few minutes before was behind and was standing without any option to show his emotions at the security staff.

We all who watched him shouting looked at him to see how he expressed his anger this time. He knew what we intended and gave us a helpless smile. It was sure he was sorry about what happened before.

A smile has several positive values at all situations. Let the year ahead be a positive one and let us all spread happiness and positive spirit with a sweet smile to those we meet.

Ramesh Menon

Eat to live or live to eat!

Food is a basic necessity. If we notice, the entire struggle is to earn and feed ourselves and our family.

No matter what our background or profession is, we all feel hungry, we all need to eat.

However, there are two kinds of people, one who eat to live, and those who live to eat.  The latter are those who are foodies in simple terms.

They enjoy eating and often do not keep a count of calories and fats.

I live to eat and am of the opinion that the best food one can savor is at parties and social gatherings.

But the presence of people around is something that discourages me from devouring. I would go home feeling sad at the missed opportunity.

Recently, I happened to meet someone who would not shy away from people when it came to food and ate his full regardless of the stares this would earn him. In a corporate setting, he would invite himself and join people in their meals without seeking their permission.

He would open up food parcels and peep into bags to see what lies inside the tightly closed containers and foil wraps.

He would eat until everybody else would feel embarrassed and disperse.

He insists he eats what is written in his fate and is meant to be on his plate.

He says sharing when you have less is the best feeling. But he misses a point here that one cannot reap benefits and eat for free without contributing.

Fatima Suhail

Parental role

Parents are the ones responsible for providing the needs of their children like love, attention, support, material things and, most of all, knowledge.

They are responsible for the overall development of their child. Their role starts from day one. They shape their child’s character as well as beliefs in life, especially when the adolescent period of the child begins. This is the best time for the parents to guide and help their children to build their character.

Several years ago, we were going through a very rough time. We moved to a new city where my father had a new job with less salary. We could hardly sustain when suddenly from nowhere my uncle came to visit us with his family.

They stayed with us almost for a week and my parents welcomed them with open arms. They gave them their room and every comfort they needed.

That week I learned from my parents that no matter what situation you are in your guests came first.

Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to have a very good relationship with my parents. They have supported me, given me necessary criticism and taught me a great deal about how to live my life.

 “No matter how far we reach, our parents are always in us.”

Zakir Jawed

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