Last week we, the mister and the missus, went mart hopping and landed in HyperCity. Being the foodie that he is and lover of exotica, the mister had his eyes of banana flowers. Though he had his doubts about – isn’t it too much work to cut these? I reminded him, we have a house help who does that for us 😀
So next day, it was the the house help’s (whom I call aunty) duty to slice the huge, red flower. It was the first time she was doing it and took a bit of tutoring. Finally it was done and I prepared it, trying to honour the Kerala cuisine. Aunty is at home during lunch and I make it a point to give her food before she leaves. So, I offered her rice and the banana flower dish.
She said, “Nahi…Nahi….“
I looked up surprised. Though she doesn’t eat much, she has never said no to having anything I have put on her plate. Today she made me take it off! She said, “Ye keley ka hai na, nahi kha sakti main ek saal tak ye. Voh mera marad mara tha na gaya saal, iss ke liye. Hum logo mey aisa hota hai.” (This is banana no? I cannot have it for a year as my husband died last year. It is a custom in our people.)
I was just gaping at her. I had many questions. But she won’t be able to answer them. Not that I am blaming her. She is an illiterate, old lady who comes to work despite her age and is trying to earn a honest living. But what will anyone get out of asking a lady to not eat something because her partner died? I am not advocating a society with no customs or rituals. I understand they are essential to upkeep the fabric of the society, to keep up the facade but there has to be a basic logic to an action. Right?
What will anyone gain out of depriving a fellow human of basic rights? The right to dress in colours they like, eat what they want, decorate themselves if they want… Why are basic human rights taken away from a human being because another person in her life lost his life. In this case a man who drank every day and physically abused her! Would the customs have wanted him to stay away from certain foods and not wear certain colours if she would have been the one who mounted the pyre first?
Yes, we are celebrating the sheroes of our times in urban India which is applaud worthy. But it is time we look inside, deep into our roots and pull out hypocrisy cloaked in customs and segregate on the basis of sheer logic and reasoning. Yes, we will loose the tag of the country with thousands of interesting rustic rituals but if that makes us a bit more humane and a little more equalist, I would say it is a good thing. A very good thing.
It is time our drawbacks stop drawing us back and only we can make a choice of what to choose and what to stop. Teach yourself to ask questions. Most importantly teach the next generation to question. Why is an important word. Don’t let it go out of use.
If a widow eats some banana chips or wears yellow, the skies will not spit fire. If there is anyone around who is asking another human to abandon their basic rights, ask why.
This post is part of A to Z Challenge I am doing on this blog for this month. The word for the next post is Eloquence. You can also join the fun and find some writing inspiration, if you are looking for some. 🙂 At the end of each blog post of this challenge, I will share the word for the next post. You are free to use the word and write a post on your blog. Drop the link. I would love to read it. If will also share it, if I love it.
You can read all the posts of the A to Z challenge HERE.