There was a discussion on a recent social trend called "polyamour" on Radio canada.Apparently it refers to a group of individuals who live in a kind of open relationship. They claim that there are no issues of jealousy or possessiveness and they are able to live in perfect harmony. It seemed a little bizarre and somewhat civilisationally backward to me but another friend said he could perfectly understand the relationships as monogamy is not a natural tendency for humans.He went on further to say that it required very evolved minds to be in such relationships. I thought about it and understood his point of view but I am still not convinced that it could work all that well given the natural tendency of humans to be jealous - particularly when it is a person one is in love with.

I have always found it difficult to understand how women in olden times put up with bigamy when it was legal. It was usually done for reasons of procreation- if the first wife was not able to produce a child within 5 years of marriage or if there was no male child, the man married again. Both wives enjoyed equal status among the family and the children.Of course there were cases when one was preferred over the and there was plotting and scheming which would have made a great television serial. Financial constraints of being able to maintain two wives acted as a deterrent for many. But royalty had no such constraints and almost every king had many wives which was also a matter of strategy - the kingdom of the in-laws would naturally be allies to the king in case of war. In the Mahabharatha, Krishna sent Arjuna on this allies acquisition binge in anticipation of the war with the result arjuna maried a new princess almost every year.And many of the princesses saw their husband only for one year in their whole life - what a destiny for a princess! or did they mind at all? In a sense polyamour was perhaps invented in India - remember panchali marrying the 5 pandavas who each had other wives?

Perhaps women in those times accepted this as natural for a man for specific reasons as above and so trained themselves not to be possessive or jealous of the other women. Concepts such as fidelity were not made much of and that is precisely why Rama's loyalty to one wife in the Ramayana stands out as a major virtue. I guess if we were to ask women of today fidelity would probably rank as their top expectation from their spouse.

Then why polyamour? Perhaps this is happening in countries where marriage is not being viewed as the most ideal form of relationship between a man and a woman. They do not want to be bound by law or contract but by their emotions and understanding. I guess polyamour is just the next step in this ongoing tendency to break free from the conditions that a traditional married relationship imposes on the couple.

I still think all this will only complicate things. With two people, they say, there are three relationships psychologically. Imagine what would happen with so many people in relationship. But I know who would be happy. Film directors who specialise in love triangles - now they can experiment with other geometric shapes.
And imagine the number of songs possible in such a story- I think there may be a revival of the old musical format!
Ardra tagged me with a series of questions and here are my responses.

I’m thinking about:
What went through that little girl’s mind at St.Anne’s school when there was panic after a hoax call about a bomb in the school. The photo in the papers captures the terror the child is in the grip of. I am also thinking of what is the right punishment for the perverts who derive pleasure from such pranks.
Why it is so tough for us to just be and let be.
I am also thinking otherwise about why my rajma never tastes as good even when I strictly follow the recipe.

I want to:
be free to do everything that my heart tells me to do.
go to Rome, Paris and Egypt
spend a few months near the Himalayas.

I wish
my mother had lived a few more years
I was as clear in my thinking and knew myself as well when I was 20.
I could spend another day with our gang from school just like old times

I hear:
The waves between my ears every time there is absolute silence outside.

I wonder:
If there is a person in the world who is absolutely contented with their life.
What makes us opt for war and not peace.
for how long I will be missed when I am gone forever.

I regret:
not choosing to be a school teacher.
not having been a rebel in my youth.
not having pursued classical music studies.

I am:
a sentimental fool
incorrigible optimist
terrified of formal parties.

I dance:
to relax
when I am alone
to Govinda’s songs - I simply cannot resist the joy in his dancing

I sing:
When I drive
When I am happy
Mostly old tunes although the current one in my head is lukka chuppi

I cry:

Easily for others and less for myself.
And quite unexpectedly.
Particularly if I see children in trouble.

I’m not always
guided by my head.
easy to understand

I make with my hands:
Birthday cards
mostly a lot of mess

I write:
my blog to share and to get clarity on my thoughts and feelings.
mails to my friends to know they are safe and happy and to share the news in our lives.

I confuse:
people’s names and faces - especially film actors
Can never remember the gender of nouns.

I need
to love, to have friends,music, books and enough money for the last two.

And finally
This is a tough exercise if you want to be honest and precise.
I am not sure if anyone else is interested in these details about me but Ardra is, and so here they are.
Many of us spend the better part of our lives in an elusive search for something - someting which we believe will guarantee us satisfaction with ourselves. While on this pursuit, we even postpone enjoyment of everything else we have which in effect amounts to postponing "living". At the end of the search, perhaps some do find what they are looking for but most are left tired and with the realisation that what they have been looking for never existed in the first place. these are the members of the 99 club.
The 99 club?! yes, read on to see what it is:

"Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content.
One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy. The King asked the servant, "Why are you so happy?"
The man replied, "Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don't need too much - just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies."
The king was not satisfied with that reply. Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the King's woes and the servant's story, the advisor said, "Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club."
"The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?" the King inquired.
The advisor replied, "Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant's doorstep."
When the servant saw the bag, he took it into his house. When he opened the bag, he let out a great shout of joy... So many gold coins!
He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were 99 coins. He wondered, "What could've happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins! "
He looked everywhere he could, but that final coin was elusive. Finally, exhausted, he decided that he was going to have to work harder than ever to earn that gold coin and complete his collection.
From that day, the servant's life was changed. He was overworked, horribly grumpy, and castigated his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin. He stopped singing while he worked.
Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. When he sought his advisor's help, the advisor said, "Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club."
He continued, "The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never contented, because they're always yearning and striving for that extra 1 telling to themselves: Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life."
We can be happy, even with very little in our lives, but the minute we're given something bigger and better, we want even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, we hurt the people around us; all these as a price for our growing needs and desires. That's what joining The 99 Club is all about."
(Source of story:Unknown)

Henry David Thoreau said " The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." It is an irony that for many of us the cost of a huge part of our life is the "missing" one coin!
Was at a supermarket last week when the sales person at a cosmetic brand counter was demonstrating an anti ageing formula to me. She was trying to tell me how within 3 months of usage I could lose wrinkles and look visibly younger. I was amused and asked her how old she thought I was. "40s?" she hazarded so I told her that she was correct and why she thought I should look any different from a person in the 40s at such an exorbitant price.She was puzzled at my simple logic and I am sure she thought I was slightly crazy.

The reluctance among women to give in without a fight to the process of ageing took over the west a few decades ago and now it has spread to India too. At the minimum, almost every woman over 30 colours her hair to cover the grays at least in the cities. Cosmetic surgery is still popular only among the rich and famous and those in the beauty industry and actors. But most city women have been tempted by one or other of the anti wrinkle solutions or anti ageing creams available in the market. Botox treatments and liposuction are not totally unheard of.

Why are people willing to subject themselves to such processes in order to resist looking their age? I understand the need with people in entertainment industry as their appearance ensures longevity of their career.

But why are women in other professions obsessed with looking younger? I think ageing gracefully is more about keeping oneself fit and active as long as possible without feeling weak and dependent. It has less to do with looking like a 30 year old when you are actually 50. Acceptance is an integral part of turning 40 - one has to learn to accept that one no longer has the stamina that one used to have at 20 and 30 and that there is a limit to the kinds of indulgences one can permit oneself. One has to learn to accept a few wrinkles here and there and new gray strands every few months. There is a difference between taking up an arm chair giving up on life and acceptance which is a positive approach to the inevitable process of ageing. It is important to be physically active and self sufficient for as long as one can rather than retiring from ones life at 50. But most people seem to confuse being young at heart with looking young.

I think there is a beauty that shines through a person who ages gracefully accepting the natural changes in her body rather than the constantly surprised look of a person who has had a facelift. It is certainly not possible to reverse something as natural as ageing - the best way to handle it is to wear the wrinkles with dignity. Something which our earlier generations did without even trying.
I knew they'd find someway to shut me up - this was just too good to go on for 3 years. Unlimited liberty to say all that you want and be read and responded to. Well finally someone decided they had enough and now I cannot see my blog anymore!!And I cannot see anyone else's blog either - guess they didn't want me to start blathering in the comments on others' posts.
I am posting this to see if a new post might somehow bring my blogspot back alive. so here I go.If it doesn't goodbye, thank you and God bless!
Was in chennai for a niece's wedding. Itacted as an eye opener in many ways. The last wedding I attended was over 18 years ago. In the intervening years I had somehow imagined that people's attitude towards arranging marriages and celebrating weddings had changed a lot in keeping with the changing times. But I learnt a lot to the contrary in the 2 days.

Both the bride and the groom work in the U.S. and this was another reason I had assumed that the rituals would be restricted to the barest minimum. Actually, it turned out to be more elaborate than usual and included some of the events dispensed with in city weddings like the "vilayaadal"or "Nalangu"(which is mostly silly games and funny songs).I suppose staying so far away from Home makes people nostalgic for rituals and one is keener to preserve them than those who live with these on a daily basis. When I expressed this another cousin made a sharp observation that it is more for capturing it all for their video for their friends in the U.S rather than any deeper desire for preservation of anything. Well, whatever.People still do not mind having elaborate marriage ceremonies.

The expenses for the wedding are alarming and yet people want to do it no other way. A close relative gave me a figure of 10 lakhs as the minimum requirement for a "decent" wedding. And there is NO dowry involved - this is the expense for the wedding hall, food, the arrangements for the rituals, the dress and jewellery! When I asked why people did not prefer to have the wedding as a private affair in a temple and then have a reception which might bring down the expenses I was told "why must we do it hush hush when there is nothing to hide. The whole joy is to call everyone you know and have them come and wish the couple." That seems to be a million rupee decision. Still all the expenses are borne only by the bride's side!

Even though a lot of young boys and girls are working abroad, they seem to prefer to let the parents arrange the proposal. I do not know if they actually "prefer" it or it is the parents who want it this way. During the time I was at the wedding, I was approached by at least 3 mothers with girls in their early 20s who asked for my son's horoscope and some others asking me to suggest good girls for their sons. Apparently this is a normal activity at weddings - many alliances get initiated at weddings. They first ask you about yourself and then about your children and if they are impressed they broach the subject of horoscope exchange without wasting any time.

Girls are clear about what they want to do career wise ( engineering, then job at a particular company for 2 years and then M.B.A.) but they do not seem to mind marrying a guy that their parents find for them. There is still a strong preference for arranged marriages in spite of all that one hears on television and in films.

And the biggest revelation of it all was that the "girl seeing" ceremony - that is the visit by the boy and his parents to the girls house to meet the girl and her family once the horoscopes and photos have been matched - is still very much "on". The girl is no longer expected to fall at their feet and seek their blessings and she actually gets to talk alone with the boy for albeit a few minutes and the girl's opinion counts - these are the improvements from old times but still the practice is very much alive. Preethi has written a series of posts in her spot here on her personal experiences in this area. They are detailed and hilarious and when I see them from her prespective, the posts raise a lot of interesting points on how such methods still work in today's environment.

When I voiced my surprise at how nothing seems to have changed in the past 27 years since my own wedding I got the right answer from an aunt who said: "These have been preserved and handed down for the past thousands of years. And what makes you think they would have changed in 27 years?"
Headlines of newspapers scream day in and day out about the violence of people demanding their homeland or seeking a separate land for themselves. Suicide attacks, killing of innocent civilians, assassinations and verbal violence - wherever you turn the noise is deafening. Among all this bloodshed, there is a quite community of 6 million Tibetans who lost their homeland nearly 60 years ago to the aggression of their neighbour and have been forced to live in exile in other countries. They miss their land, their lifestyle and ther is alot of anger especially among the younger generations who have never seen their home. And yet all this youth energy and anger is controlled and they campaign to mobilise support for their cause. They do not even think of violence as an alternative. Their leader, winner of the Nobel peace prize, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, hopes to find a peaceful solution through negotiations.

A large number of Tibetans have been killed, their culture destroyed through demographic altreration by the settling of chinese in Tibet and reduction of Tibetan population caused by the exodus as well as genocide and sterilisations; their way of life has been destroyed through the destruction of monasteries and their environment denuded of its woods and minerals. A whole nation of people driven out of their homes, watching their home being looted and pulled down by the aggressor while being forced to live in foreign lands as guests.
They hope to go back to their home and to their own way of life some day - and yet they do not seek violence and armed struggle. They choose to fight peacefully.The Dalai Lama believes:
"In today's reality the only way of resolving differences is through dialogue and compromise, through human understanding and humility. We need to appreciate that genuine peace comes about through mutual understanding, respect and trust. Problems within human society should be solved in a humanitarian way, for which non-violence provides the proper approach."
To set an example to the rest of the world that peaceful means can still work and to probably change the language of violence all around the world, all peace loving people MUST raise their voice lending support to the Tibetan struggle for liberation.
A victory for Tibetans would be a victory for humanity, a victory for peace.

We talk about word power and thought power."Pen is mightier than the sword" and if we focus all our thought power, we could move even a stone without touching it. Let us try what we can with our word power. July 6th is "Bloggers for Tibet day" and it is also "World Tibet Day". Please blog for the cause of Tibetans, please blog for what is right, Please blog for peaceful means for solving problems. Please blog to help the Tibetans have their home back.