Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Variety - the spice of life

Check out this link - Parable of Polygons, before reading the blog post.
Try out their interactive screens, try various permutations and combinations, and you will realize the potent message that they are trying to send.
Brilliant stuff!

Demand diversity - do not give in to uniformity. Be around things that you do not know, people you do not understand, cultures that baffle you, food that intrigues you, customs that amuse you.
Let go of the comfort of your community and security of your language - try something new. Every single day.

Life does get boring being surrounded by familiar things and people, it is like settling into a coma and being quite ok with it. How can we give up trying to see as much of the world as we can, with limited number of years in our bag? How can we be surrounded by the same and similar and not be suffocated?
And in India we do not even have to travel far and wide to encounter different cultures -they all stay close by, a heady mix of different religions and communities, just make the effort and reach out.

I still get asked questions like - "You are from Aurnagabad - Brahmins are a minority there, right?"
And even after years of this, i still get pissed off. Brahmins maybe a minority, and there was no need to point that out to me, because genuinely i never noticed nor regretted it. In fact, i am quite thankful for it. Who wants to be the typical Brahmin girl, surrounded by Brahmin friends, follwing the same rituals and not being able to distinguish your home from your friends?
Thank heavens i grew up in Aurangabad - Diwali was celebrated at home, Eid with family friends gorging on Sheer Kurma and eating Naan Qalia and Lahori Kebabs, being able to savor Mushtaq's Biryani in Aurangabad, and helping a friend's mom decorate her Christmas tree and of course eating all the candies! Knowing that Pateti is not the new year, but celebrated on the eve, and wishing Happy Navroz is the custom! Tossing seeds into the fire with the Punjabi family down the lane for Lohri.

So yes, i do not want to live in a gated community of "Brahmins only", because who would we take home on Diwali, or Ganpati or Mahalaxmi if everyone had the same at their place? Where would the fun be in replicating the exact same thing across all households in the society, street and ward?
How would we make fun of kids who would mispronounce Marathi words, or how would my friends roll on the floor laughing listening to me trying to communicate in Hindi?
I know everything there is to know about Karva Chauth, or Teej thanks to my best friends!
I could attend Marwari or Punjabi weddings as a guest and stare in awe at the grand scale of it compared to a simple Brahmin wedding. But imagine having a backstage pass to these events - being involved in the planning, execution of these events - because it is after all your best friend's wedding and how can you not be involved? How can her mother not be dependent on you to coordinate things and ensure everything goes smoothly?

That is what makes my hometown so special to me - all the different people put together, living in this colorful, random, varied world, enriching each other's lives, teaching us values of tolerance and appreciation of variety, teaching us to always be on a lookout for new things and new people. And that is why, generally, people from Aurangabad do not have a problem with meeting new people or the concept of "getting bored" at any party, or "what do i talk about with a new person" syndrome. We thrive on it.
We can find good company even in the most eccentric of people, if they would only have something, or think something or know something that we do not know and would be willing to share.
Because our comfort zone moves with us, the only thing constant in our comfort zone is us and the fact that it has to keep changing.
Put us in a straight jacket - doing the same things, around similar people and you have as good as killed our will to live!

Stop being racist, casteist, or just people with a whole lot of biases. As the link shows, one small bias can translate into a huge societal bias. And the only way to rid the society of already existing biases is not to have no bias, but to actively be anti biased. To seek out the unfamiliar, the different, the unknown. Be an anti bias crusader!

Source of image: https://www.facebook.com/TheMindUnleashed

This post is dedicated to all my friends, family and relatives in Aurangabad who have made life there so interesting and colorful. I cannot imagine growing up anywhere else!

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