Being a Libertarian in a Sanskari household

First things first.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Any use of this information is at your own risk…

Moving on,

Libertarian (not a sun sign… Or a moon sign for that matter… )

/ˌlɪbəˈtɛːrɪən/

noun

1.

an adherent of libertarianism.

“libertarian philosophy”

2.

a person who believes in free will.

Sanskari

/ˌsanskɑrɪ/

noun

1.

a conformist. an adherent of tradition.

 2.

a person who earns approving glances from the aunties in the neighbourhood.

Let’s take a moment to commemorate the newest entrant into the ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ category. And let’s hope that my fate is not the same as that of the film.

If you’ve read my introduction, fetchingly titled ‘Hey There!’ (highly questionable, I know. So, give it a quick scan now. And no, I’m not offended at all) you would have understood that much to my family’s chagrin I am shamefully liberal where I shouldn’t be and traditionally winsome when no one cares (By family, I mean my in-laws and husband. My mother stopped feeling chagrin or anything remotely resembling that, long ago).

How did I come to be part of this family, you ask? Let’s get started, shall we?

As a champion of free will and a strong believer in making one’s own life choices, I did what any good libertarian would do – I let my mother decide when and whom I should marry.

Truth be told, I pity the woman and don’t really blame her. After all, for a good part of my life (read 12-14 years), I was walking around the world spouting poetry about George Clooney and telling anyone who would listen that I was going to marry the man, no question. My mother’s apprehension about this one-sided romance wasn’t, I think, its magnificent improbability but the fact that the man was old enough to be my father (read Grandpa). Despite having raised a libertarian, she could see that I just wasn’t doing it right. So, she did what any broad-minded mother would do. She picked an age appropriate guy and said ‘Marry him. Now!’ (Just kidding about that last bit. The final choice was mine… I think.)

We met for the first time in a temple. My mother-in-law (poor soul) was very warm and pleasant to me. She spoke agreeably, sent treats over to me before the engagement ceremony and was altogether very sweet. I, on the other hand, did everything to scare her away. I am not traditional at all, I kept repeating in sepulchral whispers. ‘That’s fine’ she said gamely. However, she insisted that she did want a traditional wedding with all the pomp and circumstance. This was her only son she said and she wasn’t going to give up on the pomp. My dream wedding encompassed getting hitched in a registrar’s office and serving food at an Ashram with all the money we would normally spend on a wedding. She blanched at this notion, swallowed and stuck to her guns. ‘This was going to be the only aspect where tradition would be demanded of me’ said she. At this, my mother locked eyes with me and stared me down. For five long minutes the visual tussle between my mother and I went on, while my mom-in-law sat probably wondering at least a dozen times whether I was the right girl for her family.  But at the end of it all she appeared unfazed. I, on the other hand was broken and abjectly agreed.

My mother-in-law hastened to comfort me, before I lost all hope. I didn’t have to worry about anything beyond the wedding. I could get up when I wanted to, sleep when I wanted to and altogether be the poster child for the decadent youth of today and she wouldn’t say a word. I looked up in wordless gratitude. Like a drowning man, I grabbed onto the lifeline that was being offered and held on for dear life. Once I got through the traditional wedding I so dreaded, I would be home free, literally! Back then, I also believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and faithfully put out food for the fairies in my garden.

Note to SelfLanguage is incomplete and inherently ambiguous, in the sense that the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein has pointed out: It is possible to misunderstand everything if you just decide to do so. Everything that we say only describes what we experience about the world. This is often put into the phrase “is your red the same as my red?” – a question that is impossible to answer.

Something to chew onDoes color-blindness impact this decision?

I am a bit of a wild child, I’ll admit. I like to push the boundaries and like to live recklessly and dangerously. I even scare myself sometimes, the way I live. I reckon bungee jumping or skydiving should be the next logical step on my agenda. I’ll admit to feeling quite prepared after all the unconventional stuff I’ve been doing. Like for instance, I am utterly ignorant of the fascinating mysteries of the religious almanac, have never ever thought to consult it to see what it has in store for the day, whereas my in-laws study it religiously (pun intended). I don’t dress up in traditional outfits at any given time of any day and I pray only when I feel like it and without any regard to time, place and etiquette. I airily dismiss rituals with a fickle flick of my finger and on the days when I do make an appearance in the kitchen, I cook like an Italian Nonna with a bum hand, sparing neither onions nor garlic regardless of the religious ramifications. I adore vampires and garlic alike (The way I see it, if Edward could stand to be near Jacob for Bella, Robert Pattinson could certainly tolerate this for me… He doesn’t pick up my calls anymore). For all I know, ‘Log kya kahenge?’ is the name of the new Diwali release starring Katrina Kaif. I know what you are thinking, but Judgement Day is still a ways off and I’m counting on all that garlic to stave off all the monsters and ensure a smooth passage to heaven.

When you get married, you understand the true meaning of the term ‘relative’… Both adjective and noun.

For a social butterfly like my mother-in-law, this is a blessing. And for a budding sociopath like me, let’s just say they both have a debilitating effect on my psyche(let’s not get carried away. Sociopath and psychopath are different terms. Google it, or go watch Sherlock).

If you really knew me, you’d know I’d happily exchange the homo sapien society around me, for a canine one. But eventually you realize that not all people in the world are on the same page. Or even in the same book. Not your mother. Not your aunts. And especially not your in-laws. And when your husband tries to delicately walk the tightrope after your dreams have thus been summarily thwarted, what do you do but give him the cold-shoulder and spitefully jiggle the rope for good measure? (For those that disagree, I have just one thing to say… Don’t forget to come back after watching Hachiko)

In the first few days of married life, the differences in your background and upbringing and the consequent distress you cause your new family are enough to make Jesus (or should I say Krishna) cry. As the days go by, parroting on that you and your mom do things differently sounds lamer and lamer every day. For example, you would be surprised to find that donating a good chunk of your hard-earned money to poverty-stricken strangers somehow just isn’t met with the same level of approval and doesn’t quite pack the saintly sitar/mandolin background score, that say attending the wedding of a long-lost relative does, even if you did make a beeline for the food and then bowed yourself out. Despite my best efforts, somehow, with my priorities, I find more and more that under my stellar patronage, my mother is starting to come off as more Frieda Kahlo and less Florence Nightingale (On that note, MeSiri darling, remind me to get my mother some flowers tomorrow; Siri: Again? Should I make that a standing order?).

Online shopping- the horror, the shame: If you are an online shopping savant like me, there’s just no website that can be branded questionable in terms of being the only place where something beautiful you spotted is just $2. I have been burned more times than I can count on eBay, but I still have that beautiful flower of eternal optimism in my heart that just refuses to let me believe that people would actually defraud me over merchandise that’s under $6 at a time. When my husband coldly points out the obvious fallacy in my reasoning by holding out the flawed gem that I bought, I stoutly defend the seller proceed to give him a glowing recommendation his own mother wouldn’t. At the end of it all, the only one moved by that argument is me. So deeply moved in fact, that I waste no time in ordering the next $6 worth of items from the same seller.

Don’t even ask about my bouts of interior decoration/decluttering where you can find me indiscriminately and heartlessly getting rid of stuff that everyone has been hoarding for the past 20 years and spouting the principles of Feng Shui to anyone within hearing distance. You can imagine how this goes down in a house where even the waste paper basket is subjected to a thorough examination before making it out the door. After all the intensive cleaning, when my in-laws anxiously watch me tearing open yet another fake plant from Amazon, I can see them wondering if it’s finally time to enroll me for a crash course in saving. As for my husband, he drowns his sorrows by turning up the volume on yet another orchestral rendition of the Game of Thrones theme music (Frankly, I’m mildly concerned that if this goes on, he’ll be celebrating our next anniversary with Ramin Djawadi).

Most people have a gambling problem. I have a small problem with returning items I have shopped. Hold on. You don’t get it. It’s not that I don’t like returning them, but that I like doing that a little too much. Quite frankly, I return more items than I buy in the first place. At any given day, you can see me wandering the house trilling ‘Siri my love, how many returns for today?’. Most courier executives are on a first name basis with me because I’ve drummed up more business for them that any other individual within a 10-mile radius. Most days, after my husband has banged out of the room is exasperation, I’m left tearfully singing ‘Siri, do you love me…(SiriI think you mean Kiki…)’

But at the end of it all, they are your family, every single one of them… And you love them all the same. No matter what.

Finally,Mutual alliance investments are subject to marital risks. Please read between the lines carefully before investing 😉

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