Saturday, May 30, 2009

Love, eventually

To me, one of the memorable scenes of "fiddler and the roof" is when Tevye asks Golde if she loved him. Golde is astonished by the question. She seems never to have considered it before. She thinks about everything that the two of them have gone through together- giving "washing your clothes" and "sharing your bed" amusingly equal weightage (would I wash your clothes if I did not love you ? would I sleep with you if I did not love you ?) and finally admits that yes, she must love him. It's a simple logical and comforting conclusion- not an emotionally wrought one that most media would have us believe. We see the couple, stripped of glamour, stripped of the hot bloodedness of youth, stripped of lusty desires, stripped of song, dance, violins and flowery fields and flirtation (oh all that happens with the younger couples in the movie and we are never told if they lived together forever and forever). We see old Tevye and Golde as sturdy and one with each other, complimenting each other so well, that neither had ever wondered if they loved each other:- so completely beside the point when they were focussing all their energies on something much more valuable- to keep the other happy to the best of his/her abilities. "Fiddler on the roof" apart from it's central focus on a changing world and Tevye's dignity in being able to stretch himself in order to accept much more than he'd like has many love stories- each with it's own distinct flavour and each rather endearing. The one that's dealt with the most subtly is the one between Tevye and Golde. And it is the one I aspire to the most.

I've often wondered what my grandparents would be like. I have two grandmothers but no grandfathers and while they say you cannot miss what you never knew, I think I miss them. My grandmoms are strong, independent women and they've each lived an epic lifetime, one that ended up ensuring that when I was born, I'd be able to take a certain constancy for granted. Yet I've wondered what they would be like if my grandads were alive. Of all the mushy love stories I've come across, the ones among old couples leave me with the warmest, the fuzziest the most "awww" feeling. So many of these are uncles and aunts of my parents and I've heard them comment on how much each of them has changed over half a decade of being together. It takes a lifetime to achieve that balanced symphony- to be able to match each other in beat, rhythm, tune and harmony and I am amazed at the patience it must have taken, at the willingness not just to forgive and forget but often to simply ignore and discard. And while it may be true that they had no choice in the matter ever, that perhaps every one of these couples is an example of stockholm syndrome, I'm too much of a romantic to entirely believe that they felt imprisoned forever. I'm too much of a romantic to chop it down into neat tiny factors and write away that warmth. Of course, I'd like flaring passion. Who wouldn't. But I'd also like lasting compassion.

I see a tender care when each of them, slowly reaching senility takes great pains to remember not just their medication but also the other's. It's nice to watch them walk in a park, with their canes, sometimes holding each other, ever so fraily, after all those little frissures of excitement have gone and what remains is good old solid support.

Autumn spring( a foreign language film) portrays a playful old man, fond of scheming all sorts of plots to make a lot of money only to see them all fail yet going to great pains to give away what little money he has generously; and his wife who is concerned only about saving enough money for their funerals which she feels certain is near. And in that old age, their differences mar and she cannot put up with him any longer and files for divorce only to realize that regardless of how exasperating he has made life for her, she cannot imagine a life without him and takes back the divorce application. The old man, never having questioned his own love for his wife, feels compelled to change into a new leaf and spends all day at home helping his wife save money. And again his wife is angry because now her husband is a boring man. Where is all the excitement, and the anger and the hormones. Eventually, after each trying to do exactly as the other pleases, they're finally able to come to a gradual compromise- with the lady allowing the man some of his grand schemes and the man allowing the women to keep some of her hard earned savings. And their funeral is not far, but by that time, they'd have lived a life together not just by being together but by also learning to be with each other and for each other.

I live during times where I have the freedom to find and nest with someone I choose (and by definition reciprocates) and yet I wonder all the time, blessed as I might be, will I also be lucky and brave enough to slowly, calmly, gracefully fall in love eventually and then simply fade into an eternal blissful sleep.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Post Bush Era

Rumour has it that there will be a time in the new feature when we will have to pay airlines to use their restroom up in the air. It is a pity that this is what our being a self-proclaimed-intelligent race has lead us to. Little did I know that I will start having fond memories of peeing in the bushes. Until now, I regarded it as a messy, prickly affair. Those who have experienced peeing in the wilderness will no doubt know the importance of choosing an area with no thorny outgrowth. Those that have experienced it will also remember the exasperation with which, as you sit in the moving bus, finding it increasingly harder to fight your natural instincts, have your entire family overlook spot after spot for seemingly insane reasons such as "oh that place is not shady", or "there's a house far away and there might be people in it with voyeuristic tendencies". Eventually of course, just the thought of peeing spreads around until there's a quorum of people who can no longer wait and the driver is ordered to stop at the next tree that is slightly more than a foot in girth. And then members will disembark the bus, boys to one side, girls to another side, goats, cows and other animals continue to have free terrain (we unreasonable reason that they're not mega interested in such activities anyway) and we answer "nature's call". It is with this in mind that parents will remind you a dozen times before you leave home to go to the bathroom. "We may not get a nice place to pee for a very long time", they'll tell you. But never have I been told that I will have to pee because it's free now but I'll have to pay for it later.
This turn of events is making me nostalgic about the days of peeing in the bushes and how truly liberating it felt. Again, those who've been there, done that, know what I'm talking about, even if it doesn't behoove you to publicly admit it.

It feels as if this, if anything, is an assault to my civil liberties. Whatever it is, the voiding of the urinary bladder is an essential bodily function and cannot be held to ransom. And I wonder if the ACLU, who is now so preoccupied with making sure Bush and colleagues are charged for their "enhanced interrogation techniques", will consider my plea of taking civilian aviation companies to task as well. First they subject us to an extremely agonizing procedure of screening us, making us reveal our smelly feet and socks to them, and making us remove those belts that so many of us need in order not to make a disgrace of ourselves. Interestingly, "enhanced interrogation techniques" is one way of making sure, that those responsible for enhanced security screening measures are brought to book, so that the rest of us can board flights in peace. But that is a matter of debate and I will blog about it later. (I don't wanna be pissing the ACLU off because I kinda need their support for matters just described). But to continue my tirade, I do feel assaulted when I go through security check, and when I find that I have to pay to check in baggages (if I didn't, I might have to walk around town either smelling with old clothes, or stark naked. - another of those protracted civil liberties issue). It deprives me of a right around my extra personal space- aka baggage. But depriving me of the right to pee is just one step short of "umm... you will now have to pay for oxygenating cabin air". What will they do next- have us put a quarter into a slot so that those yellow masks will fall out of their place during times of decreased cabin pressure. "And please make sure you put a quarter for yourself first before you insert quarters for those around you". And "only exact change accepted". I guess it's time for adult- diaper making companies to make a killing though.

Sometimes I see no point to us calling ourselves an intelligent race. No point at all. We seem to revel in finding new reasons to dig holes to fall into and new reasons to pay to dig holes to fall into them.