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The Years of Dal and Salt

You are getting married. You are tense. Various people are surrounding you and rattling instructions at you. There is an endless series of ceremonies. You zone out and just do things without absorbing what is being said. Being the Father of The Groom is also stressful. However, you have more context, having been married for a while and sitting on the sidelines and watching the fun.  One thing became clear to me, the Indian wedding ceremonies are definitely designed for brides and grooms in their early or mid-teens. Not people in their late twenties. Many of the activities which would have been fun when younger are embarrassing when you are older. For example telling your future father-in-law, "Bye, I am off for higher studies." The father-in-law stops you and tells you he is willing to offer you his daughter in marriage. At this point, they tell you. Jump for Joy. 😃. There is a lot of playacting. There is a lot of dialog. If this was done on stage with good actors it coul
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Weddings - Symbols and Messages

When I got married, I spent my wedding days in a daze. My parents, my in-laws, the officiating priest gave me instructions and I blindly followed them. This is normal . During an Indian wedding there are a huge variety of rituals to be carried out. They vary based on the region you come from, the sect you belong to, and traditions followed in your family. In my opinion, they all have one thing in common, the bride and groom are totally disconnected from the entire spectacle that is playing out around them. Now my son Prahalad is getting married to Sneha and I will watch them go through an identical experience. So I started wondering how I could help them make sense of the crazy few days they are going to experience. I have a wonderful idea Me, I am an engineer and so I had this wonderful idea. Compare the wedding ceremony to F=ma. That is Newton's Second Law of Motion. If you understand the symbols and what they stand for, then it is a very useful and powerful equation. If y

Poets are not Frogs

My friend Vijay Nambisan is no more. He was a poet. Words mattered to him. I was his classmate in IIT. We were part of the same "gang". We used to hang out together. One evening, a few of us there were sitting in his room and suddenly Vijay he picked up Maxim Gorky's 'The Mother' and started reciting reading a passage from it . That was typically Vijay. The room had swirled with exhausted smoke was filled with a haze of smoke and the biting scent smell of cheap rum rose from the carelessly scattered bottles everywhere . Suddenly, I exclaimed said , "Maxim Gorky was a pansy". "No way", was his furious reply. "Re-read that passage that you just read", I asked him. He read it all over again, slowly and precisely. "No man would use uses those words to describe another man". He looked at me for a long time and finally nodded his head. Two days later he rushed came up to me. He said excitedly, "Krishna, the translato

Would you steal if you wouldn't get caught?

Vandana reads all my posts. In my previous post Giving up Tennis , the last line went "Has Vandana stopped playing Tennis. I don't even think of it. If you start wondering and thinking about it, you have started playing Tennis again. I want to give up and that is what I am focusing on." She said it sounded holier than thou. So let me explain what I meant. I have a strange quirk. I don't like my socks washed in a washing machine, I like them washed by hand. When Vandana and I were playing Tennis, she told me that if I wanted them washed by hand I would have to wash them myself. I used to do that for a long time. My work involves long hours and travel and sometime I would end up not washing socks for a while. After we started playing the Madison instead of Tennis, Vandana saw me struggling and helped me wash the socks by hand. It took a load of my hands and I felt very happy and grateful for this help. Over time as I started playing the Madison instead of Tennis, Vand

Giving up Tennis

In my previous post I was discussed how most people treat their marriage as a Tennis game. In Relationship Tennis you are trying to dominate your spouse and get them to behave as per your concept of the perfect spouse. If you are uncomfortable or unhappy in your relationship with your spouse, the first and most important step is to stop playing Relationship Tennis. Not easy. This post is about how you can stop playing Relationship Tennis. As I discussed in depth in my post Accepting your Wife in Marriage I decided that I want to improve my relationship with Vandana. When I talked to her about it, she thought it was one more strategy I was using in my Relationship Tennis. When I asked her what would convince her that I was serious, she threw me a challenge. The challenge was very simple, she said, "You never make the bed, for the next one year make the bed everyday and I might be willing to believe you." So the first step on the journey was that for one year I made the

A Madison Marriage

There is this strange Olympic event called a Madison . It is a grueling cycling event of 200 laps (50 kms). The rules are complicated. It is a relay race with two people and either one of them has to be in the race at all times. They hand over to each other by touching or slingshotting the other person. You gain points by winning sprints that occur at various fixed laps in the race. Compare that to a tennis match. You are trying to put the ball back in your opponents court. For most couples, marriage is a tennis match. You try to dominate the other person and make them conform to your idea of the perfect spouse. I want my marriage to be a Madison Marriage where Vandana and I are helping each other reach our goals. When and where did I get this ambition? One day it struck me that I wanted to enjoy coming home, not come back to snide remarks and cutting silences, regardless of whose fault it was. Most of us take our work so seriously and spend a lot of time and energy at becomi

Memory is not a rewind button

In my previous post I talked about how we suffocate our spouses by making every request and rejection, an emotional moment. You give space with "Ask lightly, Answer lightly, Accept lightly." Let us understand this a little better. Unless you are extra-ordinary and have a photographic memory, you don't remember anything that happened more than 5 minutes back - perfectly. Your memory is not like a video tape that you rewind and replay. Kim's Game is a very simple game. Ask somebody to place twenty random objects on a tray and cover it with a cloth. Make them uncover the items in front of you for 15 seconds. See how many objects you can recollect. Few people are able to remember more than 5 or 6 items. So what exactly do we remember. Our brain tends to remember moments when we are feeling strong emotions. Moments when we were afraid, angry, guilty happy. (Our brain tends to remember "negative" emotions more easily). It remembers the emotions not what wa