Oh, we are Better than others

We are a country that prides on our “traditions and customs”. How many times have our elders rubbished the developments of the west by saying “But we have the best culture and Sanskaars”. Never mind the rising rapes, never mind the bride burnings, never mind the dowry. NOPE. All that does not count when we talk of culture and sanskaars.

The best thing is, 9 times out of 10, these people would have never set a foot in other country! But still believe that they are somehow “Better”.

Better than people of other country, Better than people of other states, Better than people of other caste, Better than people of other sub-sub caste..in short just Better than everyone else.

And its real funny, how everyone thinks they are “Better” than all others.

What have we done to be better than all others?

Oh, NOTHING, just be born in a certain family!

You do not need to be honest, you don’t need to be trustworthy, heck, you don’t even¬†need to be good…as long as you have managed to be born in a “Higher Caste”, you are Better! ūüôā

 

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berni√®res: Book Review

Birds Without Wings (novel)

Book Cover Description:

Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia ‚Äď a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries.

When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Birds Without Wings is a novel about the personal and political costs of war, and about love: between men and women; between friends; between those who are driven to be enemies; and between Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd, who has courted her since infancy. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.

My Thoughts on the Book:

What motivated me to pick this book was the title, apart from a very tempting bargain price it was on. I was quite intrigued by it.Picked it up.

When I was done with the book, I must say I just sat with my mind still lost in contemplating the questions that the author asked in the book, quite subtly.

What exactly is religion? Is it really worth all the killings and the separations? Does religion really ask its followers to discriminate against those who follow other religion? Are the people who are of different faith, but have grown up together,¬†really “different” from each other?

All these questions are subtly weaved in the plot.

I finished this book quite a while back, but it was so good that I needed time for it t actually sink in and needed time to reflect on it before posting a review. That is what good books do to you.

The book has a different style, which took some time to get acclimatised to. It is divided into many chapters which vary from one paragraph to several pages long. Each chapter is in the words of different characters which helps us understand the inner workings of the minds of various people. Also it highlighted that though they believed that they are different as they are quite the same (If that makes any sense!)

The book starts with a description about Ibrahim, The Mad, as told by Iskander, The Potter, who claims he knows why Ibrahim became Mad. And thus starts the narration.

Based in a small fictional town in modern Turkey,¬†called Eskibah√ße, the start of the story starts with Iskander, the potter, missing his Christian neighbours. He remembered the good times they had shared before the Christians were forcefully evicted. He remarked that even though “their” Christians have been replaced by Muslims who were evicted from the other land, somehow do not feel as similar to them as the Christians had felt. These “New” muslims had different way of life.

The story then goes to the past, when the muslims and Christians were living happily. Even though the make¬†jest of each other, they are friends. The Muslims sometimes asks Christians to light a candle in church while Christians often take help of the local imam. Intercaste marriages are accepted, though it is understood that a woman may have to change her religion publicly, while she may continue practicing her own religion privately.¬† So open was the society at this time that all types of people and their personalities were accepted. People even welcomed “The Dog”, and other mad men to stay. But this changed with the war. Where once¬†intercaste marriages were welcomed, we now see a father forcing his younger son to kill his daughter for having relation with a man from other religion.

This is highlighted by the relation between Ibrahim and Philothei, who were bethrod since childhood. They are inseparable since they were children, but suddenly Ibrahim goes off to war, and they are forced to be separated. Then Philothei, as she is Christian, is given orders to deport.

Another romance that is woven in the story is that of the local town aga, Rustem Bey and his mistress Leyla Hamim, whom he buys from abroad, after his wife is unfaithful. Leyla pretends to be a Circassian Muslim, while actually she is a Greek Christian. Although she manages to keep this a secret, she is often seen lamenting the fact that Christians have forgotten Greek and are speaking Turkish. Even those who know a little Greek, can write it only in Turkish.

There are several major themes that affect the story line like religious tolerance, politics, nationalism etc. It is interesting to note how people’s opinions are changed by those in Power. As Iskander, the potter said:

 it was never explained to us why they had chosen to come and bring us hardship, starvation, bloodshed and lamentation, why they played with us and martyred our tranquility.

Iskander’s Son Abdul, more commonly known as Karatavuk is friends with a christian boy named Nicos, also known as Mehmet√ßik. Both are again inseparable. As war arrives both sign up to fight for their country. But, Nicos’ application is rejected as he is a Christian and this is a Holy war for Muslims. And suddenly in their separation they realise, they do not want to let go of their friendship for religion.

On this topic, Leonardes, a man who is a proud nationalist is told by his father:

‚ÄúI‚Äôll tell you something, my son. I‚Äôd have more respect for Alexander and you and your friends if you were bright enough to understand that it‚Äôs money and enterprise and brains that make the world turn around. All these military campaigns, and revolutions, and conspiracies, and talk about racial this and racial that‚ĶWhat do they bring? Bloodshed and disaster. If you want to be any use in the world, put money in your pocket.‚ÄĚ

This is not a “OMG,i-just-can-not-put-this-book-down, but a¬†book, that¬†moves at its own sweet pace and forces you to put it down once in a while and THINK. But definitely worth the time spent in reading it!

A beautiful, wonderful book!

Buy this book from:

Flipkart.com

Amazon.in

Amazon.com (for international readers)

 

Dear P

Hi!!

First of all thank you for constantly coming to my blog and taking pain to type the same comment in multiple ways under various unrelated posts!

And  apologise for not responding to each and every comment, you see unfortunately I do not have that much time, really sorry.

Also, I know as you clearly stated you did not want a response to your comment, but as you kept on repeating the same question again and again and yet again, I have a feeling you actually do want my answer? I am not sure. 

So, if you DID want an answer, read on, if not, please STOP right here and look up there would be red X on top of your page, and click it! 

First of all for my readers, the below comments from P was in relation to my comment on this blog: http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/is-it-possible-that-the-ones-whose-disapproval-is-dreaded-the-most-are-those-who-are-most-likely-to-express-disapproval-and-occasional-approval/., and he was kind enough to come all the way to my blog and keep on posting stuff here, instead of taking the easy way out and just replying to my comment on that blog itself! Such dedication to your cause is commendable!

And here is what I  had commented:

Dear LW, if at 25, if u are not able to stand up for yourself, your happiness and for what is right…I think u are too young to get married..either to your gf or to the other girl.

One needs to be mature, independent and able to stand up for themselves in order to enter into a committed relation with another human

I do not feel sorry for u, it is your decision to bow down to stupid blackmail.
I do not feel sorry for your gf, she deserves someone better who would stand by her through thick and thin if he says he loves her.
I feel sorry for the girl who agreed to marry u
.the poor girl will suffer for trusting in you and agreeing to marry u while u keep her in dark. Also if u bow down to blackmail now, u will force her to bow down to your mother’s blackmail too..maybe about her career, kids or clothes…I hope you at least do the right thing here and tell her the truth.

  

So let me reply to your each and every comment.

Here goes your first comment (My answers in bold):

You are so jealous of other sons’ mothers that you love spitting venom on to the forums because for you the love of the girlfriend is unparalleled and the girlfriend usually doesn’t emotionally blackmail a man.

Let us take first point first, about me being jealous of son’s mothers.¬†That is just hilarious! ūüôā ūüôā

You see, I have a younger brother too. Would that make me jealous of my own mother?

Or if tomorrow I have a son, would I be jealous of me?

But really, why do you think that a mother who has a Son has something that other women do not? Like what?

Secondly, with a heavy heart I regret to say I am just a human and not a basilisk, so spitting venom, even though it would be totally cool, is biologically not possible..sigh.

Thirdly, NO I do not think love for a girlfriend/ or a wife or a bf or a husband is unparalleled.

But I DO believe that love and respect are mutual and this love could be between any two people: Lovers, parent and child, grandparent and child, sibling etc. And whenever one party starts blackmailing other party to obey their wishes, that is NOT love, it is called ABUSE.

Thirdly, Yup, Girlfriends sometimes does blackmail her boyfriend, boyfriends sometimes blackmail girlfriends, but that would come under aforementioned abuse category and not love. 

What do you mean by ‚Äėstand by the girlfriend at all times‚Äô?

By this I mean if you say you love somebody, you should be prepared to stand up for them. It is horrible thing to lead others to trust in you and then bolt suddenly.

This one-dimensional definition of love which you advocate wherein guys are supposed to forget the eternal love they have for their parents and siblings post-dating/marriage is the most cruel of all.

Why does it have to be either or? Why cant one love their partners and parents as well?

Also, do you consider it a “Most cruel thing” when a girl leaves her parents post marriage? And is told by the society that she now “belongs” to the guy’s family?Or you think only a GUY has a right to love his parents and not be separated from them and love them for life?

If independence is what you advise, then why should men/boys even stand by the women/girls they get into a relationship with, let those girls be independent and take care of themselves rather than treating their boyfriends/husbands as slaves.

Yup, it is independence that I advise¬†and not just for girls, for guys as well. Why cannot independent people get married? What you are talking about is the traditional patriarchical¬†setting, where two strangers¬†are forced¬†into a marriage without knowing each other and then are expected¬†to churn out sons. Where a wife is there to cook, clean and take care of family and a guy is there to as you put it “Work like a slave” and fulfil the entire family’s needs and each are expected¬†to keep on compromising and sacrificing. That never benefits¬†ANYBODY. It just creates a whole lot of people DEPENDENT on each other for their needs.

I believe in marriage as an institution. wherein people come together because they WANT to, a marriage that has its foundation on mutual respect, love, trust and honesty. And that is possible only if both the parties involved marry by their own free will and are independent.

I hope, you get the difference.  

You feel sorry fora girl and that a guy, she recently met must stand by her but forget the beautiful love of years that he shares with his mother, father, brother/sister?

How very cruel & beastly is your thought?

Nope, as you can read in my comments I never said that. If you read again I said I DO NOT feel sorry for your girlfriend, she DESERVES BETTER.

Also, what is your definition of “beautiful love” one wherein one party forces the other party to do as she/he wishes, by threatening¬†them/ going on hunger strikes/ making life miserable for everybody around?

Because really, that, in my opinion is, I repeat ABUSE.

If it really was beautiful, than the mother and the brother would have sat down with the guy and DISCUSSED it out like mature adults. Where the guy would have been free to express why he loves that girl, and the parents would have met the girl and then have a discussion about WHY they did not like the girl. (AND NO, because she is from a different caste or what will people say are NOT reasons to say NO)

Also, even if they say they do not want the guy to marry his girlfriend, they have ABSOLUTELY no right to force him to marry other girl. Nobody deserves to get married and come to know that their partner married them only because they were forced to do so. Now THAT WOULD BE A CRUEL BEASTLY thing to do. 

If you still do not get it let me explain to you in a very easy way.

Imagine your parents arranged you to meet a girl, you liked her and agreed to marry her. All goes well and you both get married. And then you find out that the girl you married is in love with someone else and married you ONLY because her parents blackmailed her. What kind of marriage you will have after this? A happy one?  

If anything ever happens to the guy and his mother after your cruel advice which blindly attacks his family, then will you be ever forgive yourself?

I am not sure you understood my comment, all I advised the guy was to come clean to the other girl whom he was being forced¬†to get married to BEFORE he marries her. If after knowing all this, the girl still wants to marry him, more power to her! ūüôā But if she does not want to marry a guy who loves some other girl, she should have an option to say NO BEFORE getting married.

And if his mother is Ok to ruin the life of some girl just so that she ca get her way, then SHE herself is responsible for anything that happens to her. Nobody ASKED her to go on a hunger strike, it was HER decision so SHE would face the consequences. I mean seriously, even my 4 year old cousin knows that if he says he does not want to eat, then it is his fault if he gets hungry later when there is no food. Its just plain logic.

If she is so worried about her health, she should NOT starve herself, its that simple.

Maybe you would for you lack conscience, but the law of nature will certainly keep a note of it and come for you,

If by lack of conscience for asking a guy to tell truth to the girl he is about to marry before marriage, I welcome the “Law of nature” which by the way is called Karma.

As I guy, I feel that you spew poison in relationships and derive pleasure from them.

Again, not a Basilisk and I do not need to poison the kind of relation the guy has with his mother, his mother has successfully done the task herself when instead of acting like a mature adult and discussing things she decided to act like a spoilt child and resort to threats and blackmail.

It’s a shame and no, I am not interested in reading your sick response to my letter here or elsewhere but if you still want to, carry on.

I did not want to, but as you kept on messaging me again and again and again and again with the same question I had to.

Also, I hope this answers all your questions. I am not including your other comments as they had the same content.

But if you want me to answer those as well, feel free to let me know, I would give answers to them as well, but it might take a little time.

Also, dear P, I would appreciate if you have a problem with my comments on other people’s blog, please spare my time and yours and click on the reply button on the comment on that blog only.

Thanks! ūüôā

Anyone knows such jerks?

Le Jerk

Yesterday evening I received a call from an unknown number :08511878226(if anyone recognises this number, please do the world a favour and tell this jerk what a ****** he is). I picked up and there was a guy on the other side. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hello?

Him: hi!

Me: Who is this?

Him: I got a miscall from your number.

Me: Really? When? I do not think I called anybody recently

Him: I got a missed call from your number, now I want to talk to you.

Me: I DID NOT MISCALL AND EVEN IF I DID THAN IT MUST HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE *Cuts the call*

He immediately calls me back and DEMANDS that I talk to him as according to him I gave him a missed call.

So I just pick up the call and put it on loudspeaker and do not speak.

He keeps on calling continuously, keeps on ordering me to talk to him while I go on with my life occasionally having a laugh at his stupidity.

Finally after like 10 calls, I tell him: LISTEN, I DID NOT CALL YOU, ALL THESE CALLS THAT YOU HAVE  MADE HAVE BEEN RECORDED.ONE MORE CALL AND I AM GOING STRAIGHT TO POLICE STATION TO REPORT HARASSMENT.

him: But you gave me a missed call, now I want to talk

Me:I DID NOT CALL.END OF DISCUSSION. AND IF YOU LIKE TALKING SO MUCH,TALK IN JAIL.

And then I cut the phone.

What irritated me was that he felt like he had the right to demand me to talk.

He felt entitled to my time. WITHOUT even knowing me.

Jerks like these keep roaming everywhere who feel that they have a right to call any girl they like and that girl HAS to respond.

Seriously, what do they think will happen? They irritate a random girl and she will fall heads over heels in love?

Thank you Shahid kapoor, for one more song that these jerks took to heart. #khalipilliroknekanaisong.