The past 20 days have been hell for me and my mom. I lost my dad. While it was comforting to have so many well wishers around, who made sure that we were not alone in our time of need, it was also testing times in terms of what to do with the future, what happens to the unfinished business, coming to terms with the loss etc. I am just about managing to stay composed and move on with life, like I used to earlier.

This post is not about what happened. This is about the insensitivity of the community to which I belong. A tag which I want to get rid of, if I can, but am tied down to, by relatives and elders. A tag which has been put on any person who is apparently a descendant of some saints like Bharadwaja, Angirasa etc. A tag which has been put on a set of people as a result of the class system which has been prevalent in this part of the world for centuries. A class system which divides people on the basis of birth and tags them superior/inferior.

That tag is that of a Brahmin. The most insensitive and what I would call, one of the forces behind this class system being prevalent even to this day.

First and foremost, they are sadists. If that is not the case, why is the belief that the soul needs to be pushed out of the house by serving it with tasteless food? Or why do they have rituals on the 10th day to reopen the wounds which were healing and get them infected again? Why is it that only the person who is doing the rituals(in this case yours truly) has to stay away from onions? What use is a custom where the widow has to sacrifice her wedding chain and a few other things which she might wish to abstain from for the rest of her life? If these are not about cutting the wounds wide open and putting a few worms on top of it, nothing is.

I talked about how this community promotes class based divide. Here’s how. I was to stay away from not just onions, but also from restaurant food. I was supposed to consume only a particular type of rice, which is machine polished and untouched by other human beings. This was apparently to stay pure from the touches of other classes who may have come in contact with the food. I have got only one question. Aren’t you depending on them to cultivate these crops?

Brahminism promotes beggary. Every ritual in this community involves donating a few things to a poorer member of the community. Some people have adopted this as their profession. The only thing they do is to go to the place where the ritual is taking place and collect the donations, which usually consist of rice, a few clothes, money etc. I would like to call them economically forward beggars. I would be glad if the government was serious about eradicating this form of beggary as well!

Back in those days, people followed these rituals religiously. They had the facilities to do so. Today, every thing is just an assumption. I was made to roll away a coconut assuming that it’s a calf! It balances on the edge of ridiculousness. The edge of ridiculousness which it shares with the absurd.

Deep inside, they are nature worshippers. I understood that from the Sanskrit words in the chants that are part of the languages I know. And they call nature worshippers as lesser beings. The brutal irony!

I don’t care if I outraged the true believers in the community. If you are pissed with what I wrote, a middle finger salute to you!


About V
A software developer by profession, Milcom is a football lover and considers music as his religion. While he is not working, he likes reading blogs, listening to music, reading novels or simply sitting idle, in which he is a world champion.

5 Responses to Karma

  1. AB says:

    Though it is unjust to generalize, I feel so, but traditions and conventions have their own place and an individual’s own mindset at another. To force someone who has lost a part of their life to do things just for the sake of the tradition is not called for at all. Brahmins excel making issues out of non-issues. I am a brahmin myself and seen ‘those’ rituals from close enough but I am not outraging but totally understand your point.

    Take care.

    • milcom says:

      I agree with you that I shouldn’t have generalized, but being on the receiving end with not a, single person agreeing with my point of view, I was bound to make that mistake.

      Empathy was not a part of any of the ritual that happened. I had to go through the motions just because a few elders thought that I had to do those and I wasn’t in a position to alienate them. I did express my lack of comfort at playing my part in the ‘drama’, but no one cared.

      And this wasn’t something that has happened with me alone. I have seen this happen a few other times in my family. Just that it hit the hardest when it happened with me.

  2. Rajesh says:

    Excellent write up !

    Though the anger and the disappointment expressed here doesn’t justify the trauma you went through, I hope all this drama has brought a change and the awareness that needs to be emphasized to put an end to this bullshit. Lets make sure we do not repeat this and our future generations are treated in a bit more humane manner.

  3. shrecks says:

    i m with u here…most traditions just dont make any kind of sense..

  4. Priya says:

    Whoa! Hope you’re doing ok.

    Shrecks is right, the old age traditions and rituals are not relevant in today’s times at all. It’s sad that one has to be succumbed into them just to please society.

    Take care.

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