Why are Indian parents afraid of self-love?

Parents (especially Indian parents) are afraid of their children discovering self-love. Teaching your children self-love is in a way giving up your power and authority. If they don’t love themselves then they will forever try to please others. This desire to please can be used for manipulation (which is quite rampant in Indian culture). If children start loving themselves then they will start saying “no” and it is a sin to say “no” to your parents. If children start loving themselves, then they will start questioning traditions. They might start creating art without worrying about the imperfections. They might start saying no to abuse which is quite common in Indian culture. For many Indian parents, parenting is about power, not love.

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Interesting patterns in the top grossing movies of Bollywood/Hollywood

 
1. The protagonist is a little different from everybody around him/her or he/she does something that is unusual/out of the ordinary. But But But…he/she cannot be TOO different. If you make the audiences TOO uncomfortable then it’s parallel cinema. For example: Harry Potter or Bajrangi are different from the rest of the crowd but they are limits to how much risk you can take in mainstream cinema. So Bajrangi is not an atheist, he is a Hanuman bhakt. Harry Potter is a misfit but he can do cool stuff like magic. Kanji Lal Ji is an atheist and is different from everybody else but at the end of the movie, he starts believing in God.
2. Odds are stacked against him/her. He/She finally overcomes these odds at the end of the movie/series. The ending has to be happy.
3. Most of the top-grossing movies contain ideas that were introduced by alternative cinema, long ago.The ones who respect new ideas are the ones who succeed in the long run. For example, Yash Raj Films quickly changed its gears and started backing off-beat content like ‘Mahi Way’ or ‘Powder’.
But a lot of alternative filmmakers made content-driven cinema much before YRF.
P.S. This is not to say that mainstream cinema is ‘shitty’. Both mainstream and alternative cinema are important in a society.
P.P.S. To those who mock alternative cinema for lack of popularity: Watch out! Today’s alternative can be tomorrow’s mainstream!

Vicious cycle of shame

Shame traps us in a dangerous vicious circle. Because of shame, we desperately try to please others to prove to ourselves that we are worthy. But shame is smart. It makes us feel ashamed of seeking validation from others. So, we desperately seek validation because of shame and then feel ashamed for seeking validation!

We cannot outsmart life!

Perhaps, the wisest among us are the ones who accept that we cannot hoodwink life. We can prepare for the worst but ultimately, no amount of preparation is enough. Unfortunately, our culture is full of messages that teach the opposite. We are taught that a mature adult is the one who doesn’t feel vulnerable (It is interesting to note that this message is similar to patriarchy’s message of “Don’t be a pussy”). So, when we grow up, we numb ourselves, devise strategies to outsmart life and death. Since spirituality is male-dominated, we have many teachers who talk about “permanent bliss”. But life is smarter than us.

The problem with passion

The problem with passion is that most people don’t have one. Very few people know what they want to do with their life and very few actually  do it.  What about those who haven’t found their calling? Is it necessary to dedicate yourself to a singular passion? Is it the only way? Like many people, I had these questions. Even though I chose a profession that I love, it’s not the only thing I love. I have multiple interests which are not exactly related to my profession. If you are like me, you would have criticized yourself for not devoting yourself to a singular passion. But what if there is another alternative?

Elizabeth Gilbert has a solution to our woes: She says that those who have not found one “calling” can instead choose to follow something more gentler and accessible: Curiosity. She says that passion is all-consuming, head-shaving-going-to-Nepal-to-start-an-orphanage kind of drama. Curiosity on the other hand is about the small things, those little clues that we find everyday. Those who religiously follow this curiosity live rich lives. If you have found your passion, then congratulations! But if you haven’t found one, then you can build an interesting life too. Watch this Super-Soul session with Elizabeth Gilbert  (click) to know more.

Language

Telugu-speaking people often use the words ‘Amma’ (which means Mother) and ‘Nanna’ (which means father) in daily conversations, even when parents are not involved (Like you may say to your friend, “What happened to you, amma?”).  In Hindi, we often use the word ‘yaar’ in daily conversations. I’m wondering if the way we use these words describe the kind of culture we live in.

Parents are considered ‘Gods’ in our country and questioning them is almost a sin. The use of ‘amma’ and ‘nanna’ could be a result of a culture which is dominated by the older generation. The use of the word ‘yaar’ could be a result of a culture that is slowly seeing rebellion/a culture that changes with time. Parents are people whom we don’t get to choose. Friends are people we choose. Am I reading too much into this?
If you look at the mainstream Telugu films, they are still pretty conventional. The Hindi film industry, on the other hand, is offering different kind of mainstream content (there is still a place for conventional content, though). In the last few years, the Hindi film industry has offered mainstream content that deals with issues like mental health, homosexuality, dysfunctional families and live-in relationships. I’m not sure if Telugu films have done the same (Dear Telugu friends, do correct me if I’m wrong).

Vulnerability

We are taught so many things at school but I wish we are taught the ways to handle vulnerability. Human beings, especially men, don’t want to be vulnerable because

 a. It is seen as weakness 

 b. We are not equipped with skills to handle vulnerable situations.

 So what happens when a Guru you revere turns out to be a rapist? Your entire world falls apart. Since you are not encouraged to cry, you resort to violence. There is also a blow to your ego: Since you followed someone who is actually a rapist, your choice is all wrong! This injury of ego and soul makes you extremely vulnerable

Can love really conquer everything?

I was and probably still am an idealist. I believe in the power of love and have witnessed it, first-hand. But can love really conquer everything? Maybe the answer is both yes and no. If you think love as something magical which can change something/someone overnight then you might be disappointed. But if you look at love as something that you do, even when you don’t get any results for the longest time (even if you don’t get the results in this lifetime), then maybe, just maybe, the answer is yes. You cannot get your friend out of depression with (just) love. But what you can do is not judge him/her when he/she relapses. Your love is not a substitute for medication or therapy but it matters. You may not change the world with your love for a social cause but your love is a seed which will become a tree someday. It may not happen in this lifetime but sowing these seeds matter.

#Sarahah App

#Sarahah app reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s four question Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s four question test (click) to decide whether or not you should trust someone. She says that a person who is unable to put forward criticism compassionately doesn’t deserve to be there is your life (and he/she shouldn’t judge your work as well). So if this is the criteria then Sarahah app is not a good idea. If you cannot disagree with/criticize your friend in a compassionate way then what is the point of your friendship? And if you can criticize your friend compassionately then why do you need the app? If you need to be anonymous to say something negative then you are probably saying something really nasty (or you are not a good friend). It’s tempting to read the “brutal truth” about us. In a culture which is designed to make us hate ourselves, this app can work against self-love.