Now that I have the time and opportunity, let me thank Google for coming out with their search engine. The more I think , the more I feel grateful to Google. I am taken back to those days when searching for something was a misery and then out of nowhere came this super-fast engine that makes one want to learn new things because it provides a solution to the thing that annoys everyone the most - IMPATIENCE ! Coming back to the real topic - in today's world, information has become so very accessible. It's like you are literally connected to a huge library that can cater to almost any sort of information that is available around. So its no longer like old days when you either have to travel kms to find the right library with the right book or need to rely on a few arrogant intellectuals to get answers (which could be right/wrong). This has led to a huge social revolution, for the world can now be broadly divided into two categories - the one (mostly the older generation) who doesn't get to access the internet and the those who gets to do that.
Now , I don't want to make it sound like black and white. I don't intend to say that just because someone can access a search engine, he/she has suddenly become wiser and just because someone (of the older generation) missed the accessing the internet, they are less wiser.All I intend to say that the free flow of information and its accessibility has definitely made a huge impact. You might say I am prejudiced but I am sure all of us would have at some point of time heard this from an older relative/parent- "You haven't grown enough to teach me " or "I have eaten more Onams than you have (intending that I have lived life more than you have)" or "Who's the mother(or father) here ?" etc etc..I completely agree that every new experience makes one wiser but I don't agree that merely age/years make(s) anybody wiser and I have often found that certain people (though not all) carry around a false air of authority and arrogance in the pretext that they know it all because they have lived life for X number of years... and the social revolution I was talking about earlier helps break this air. It grounds all those souls who hold knowledge tight and creates an environment of opaqueness merely to feel a sense of importance.
Gone are those days when one had to completely rely on blind traditional practices propagated from one generation to another (mostly orally and via memory). Thanks for accessible information available around, we are in a position to learn and understand the implications associated with our actions. Having said that , I don't mean to say that the age old wisdom has no value..in fact I feel its invaluable but incorrectly used. The practitioners of traditional customs are mostly clueless of the context in which they should be practiced or the real intend associated with it. Every time I have raised a question on a specific practice , I have heard -"That's how it is supposed to be". If I follow it up with a second question like "Why? Why is it supposed to be so?", it generally sparks the ire of the speaker who replies with something like "Haven't your parents taught you how to be obedient ? "or "Do you always have to ask so many questions " . It is easy to guess that all those age old rishis and munnis would have spent years learning and experimenting before they arrived at those ancient practices .But every practice is associated with a context and a reasoning (scientific /social) and to blindly follow it as an instruction would be equivalent to living life with a body that's devoid of heart and soul. I fail to understand why people stopped asking questions to understand the reason associated with a practice and what led them to believe that it was okay to pressure the next generation with the same old instructions that they have been following, without even considering whether those practices hold any value in the current day.
As my husband and I wait for our first baby in a few weeks time, we have been under immense pressure to follow different traditional practices, the advocates of which seem to be clueless of why it is followed.All they respond with is - "You cannot be so modern ". Some of the more interesting ones have been listed below:
1. After delivery, if you don't tightly wrap your flabby tummy, your uterus would fall off
(fall off ??@$@$$$#)
2. Husband is not allowed to sleep with newborn baby or wife after delivery (Why?- Ans: That's how it is)
3. After delivery, you should avoid/restrict drinking water as much as possible . The more water you drink, the lesser the chances of your flab recovery(???)
4. Gynecologists are ignorant of age old customs .They will try and mislead you. So don't listen to them when they ask you to eat balanced food. Esp. after delivery eat lot of fat.
The list goes on and I can list hundred more..