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We Indians – we are big on Tradition. We like to revere it, uphold it, force others to uphold it, kill them if they don’t – yes, we love Tradition. And we are so fond of it, we will uphold one tradition even when it conflicts with another. Our “adjustable” mindset allows us to do that. Sometimes, that’s a good thing – the world is not black and white, and it’s good to let it be when things clash with each other. But sometimes, peculiar things occur in the name of such tradition.
Here is one such story. I belong to the Tamilian Brahmin community, and I mention this only because that has some relevance to this story. Tamilian Brahmins (or TamBrams, as they are sometimes known) have certain well-laid out rules when it comes to the handling of food. These include the strict separation of vessels/implements used for cooking and eating, not eating or touching food on others’ plates, not letting certain foods mix with other foods and so on. My idea is not to diss these rules – some of these make sense from a hygiene/disease prevention point of view, and others such as not letting cold foods near hot ones would have made sense in a pre-refrigeration era.
Some of these rules are so ingrained in one from childhood that even today, while I can pick up a piece of dry roti from someone else’s plate, the idea of sharing something messy like rice revolts me instinctively.
Which is why, a few years ago, at a Tambram wedding, I was horrified when it emerged that one of the ‘traditions’ was for the bride to eat her first post-wedding meal from the same plantain leaf that her husband had used – after he had eaten. Disgusting to anyone (both the practice and the idea – to imply that the woman should be happy with what her man leaves her), but particularly surprising in the context of Tambram traditions that lay so much stress on ritual purity.
Of course, most people did not see the conflict. This was a tradition too, wasn’t it? And Tradition cannot be questioned. The unwilling bride was coaxed into following the tradition – and although it cannot have been a pleasant meal for her, the peace was kept. Ultimately, the tradition of keeping the woman in her place won the day.
Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
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Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 might have had a box office collection of 260 crores INR and entertained Indian audiences, but it's full of problematic stereotypes.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 starts with a scene in which the protagonist, Ruhaan (played by Kartik Aaryan) finds an abandoned pink suitcase in a moving cable car and thinks there was a bomb inside it.
Just then, he sees an unknown person (Kiara Advani) wave and gesture at him to convey that the suitcase was theirs. Ruhaan, with the widest possible smile, says, “Bomb mai bag nahi hai, bomb ka bag hai,” (There isn’t a bomb in the bag, the bag belongs to a bomb).
Who even writes such dialogues in 2022?
Anupama, an idealist at heart, believes that passing on the mic to amplify suppressed voices is the best way to show solidarity with the marginalised.
Anupama writes with a clear vision of what she wants to say, and makes sure she explores all possible facets of the topic, be it parenting or work or on books.
An intelligent, extroverted writer with a ton of empathy, she is also one who thinks aloud in her writing. Anupama says that she is largely a self driven person, and her passion to write keeps her motivated.
Among her many achievements Anupama is also a multiple award winning blogger, author, serial entrepreneur, a digital content creator, creative writing mentor, choreographer and mother to a rambunctious 7-year-old who is her life’s inspiration and keeps her on her toes.