Last month I went to visit a dear friend whose daughter was married off around two months ago to a decent earning handsome businessman. It was a beautiful, traditional and a tasteful marriage. Like any other marriage there was much happiness, good clothes, jewellery, rituals and customs with splendid display of food and liquor. I had witnessed this lavish affair, myself all dolled up too. It was like a fashionable drama where everyone was overdone with the latest from head to toe. My friend had looked resplendent befitting the bride’s older sister. It was everything we usually talk about at an elaborate North Indian marriage. A total gala festive celebration.
Sounds cliché. Indeed, it does. That’s how most of the Indian marriages are. Today, I am not here to describe the already much talked about the splendour of the marriages. As you read down I am sure it will make you contemplate on it. If you are one of those like my friend, then you know what you have to do.
Now burry your heads down to follow what repelled me.
We had a long gossip session binging on tea and freshly prepared tasty and aromatic snacks by her maid, the perfect hostess that she is, with her detailing me about the grand affair, what went behind the preparations, the groom’s family, the gifts given and received. As she continued her tone soured lamenting inappropriate gifts received from few of her relatives and friends whom she had obliged many times. She fiercely thought it was their turn to return the favours and literally gave a long dissertation on how she and her family had been generous in gifting these very people at their every significant event and now, when it was their turn they got away with petty sum stuffed in the large fancy envelopes feigning it as an enormous amount while others extended only a small piece of jewellery enclosed in boxes that looked massive enough to hold a necklace and earrings. I was aghast. As she spoke perhaps all memories of her expectations surfaced. She looked crestfallen. And then the most unexpected happened. I saw her tears flowing down the cheeks. Honestly, there was a colossal challenge to my acquired calm. However, I collected my shocked but sane bearings, carefully communicating the unnecessary grief she was harbouring, did not even exist. In fact, it is a reason to rejoice that the guests enjoyed uncomplainingly still talking of the glorious occasion. More importantly, the newly wedded are on cloud nine.
I could see my words were no tranquilisers. But I managed saying gently to her, “stop being a victim of your own expectations. You have so much to be happy about. In fact, many would like to swap places with you.” A well-educated and an articulate woman that she is, she briskly switched the topic to my relief.
Many of us and, unfortunately, the educated lot, unnecessarily harp on unsolicited reasons when in reality we should be rejoicing. Expecting a gift of choice or a particular favour in return is like building a castle on marshland. Greedy expectations are unfair pressure on oneself. If not fulfilled it only hurts oneself creating a mental chaos humiliating God’s abundance bestowed upon. Is it even worth it? We are modernised in many ways for good but strangely even the proliferation of amenities does not calm us, leave alone the beautiful perfect body that is unarguably the most expensive possession.. It certainly is a sign to to sit down and reflect on our own attitude. Time and again it has proved that even hoards cannot give happiness. Perhaps the word gratitude looks good only in the books or more aptly as a moral science topic for the children.
When will we rejoice and live a calm lifestyle? Twirling around meaningless issues only demean our self-esteem. We cannot seek happiness outside, it is within because it is own and within reach.
People react and respond differently at different situations. Does our satisfaction or happiness lie in these outwardly glories? Human being is a ball of contradictions. We earn for necessity, then for luxury, then to compete with others and then as a habit. Yet, we are far from the goal of being content and happy. Our soul is restless for our heart and mind are in tiny fragments disoriented struggling to integrate.
It is joy which is permanent and it is joy that can delight the soul.
Before it is time to leave the planet, get set to reach your soul and delight it with your purity.