We chose The Netherlands as our summer destination primarily to visit family. It had been a while since I saw my uncle, aunt and cousins who live there. Plus Rahul and the kids had never been to what Rahul teasingly refers to as uncle-land! As soon as we landed, we were enveloped in the warmth of family, but the highlight and the most amazing demonstration of family love was the way Udai’s tenth birthday was celebrated; in his own words, “the best birthday ever!” The large share of the credit, of course, goes to Liduine who the kids call Oma, Dutch for Grandma. But everyone chipped in. Follow the fantastic day in this photo essay of the “best birthday ever”!
So what’s the logical option for left of Center, liberal people like me in the current political situation in India? It’s a thought that’s plagued my generation no end. I distinctly remember drawing room discussions about electoral politics when I was growing up and this is pretty much the question that plagued my parents and their friends as well. Often times, they ended up voting Congress because all other political positions were simply too extreme. Today, when the Congress appears to be crumbling under the weight of its own pretensions, pseudo socialism and dynastic obsession, even that isn’t an option any more. So what do we do, when we no abstaining from political participation is not an option either. When we know we have to keep our voice, but there is no voice out there that seems to represent us!
I can’t help feeling that we do need a new perspective and a new voice in today’s post-liberalization scenario where everything’s changing rapidly and the existing political establishments are simply too jaded and narrow in their focus to appeal to a new generation of voters. The demographics have changed. We are a super young nation now and young blood wants to see positive changes fast. Rapid urbanization and much exposure via all forms of media means people have too much information, too fast, information that is often half-baked, half-processed and can fan flames of discontent and anger. There is entirely too little reflection on many issues covered in the media and its easy to believe what you already want to believe.
But is that new voice Arvind Kejriwal? No. An emphatic no. Each time I cringe at his methods, I find myself questioning my own reactions. Why am I uncomfortable about the IAC’s way of doing things? Well, I find them too flashy, media hungry and exhibitionist. And I wonder if there is a real plan behind all this drama that is apparently for political gain. So what happens if the IAC does prove some of their allegations? Do they really have a plan for taking on a leadership role at the national level?
But my problem is that the IAC’s gimmicks and world view seems far from the liberal, secular, tolerant establishment I dream of. It thrives on hatred. I cannot believe that anything built on hatred can foster a society of tolerance and compassion, which is certainly what India must aspire for.
Am I too idealistic? Should we give up the dream of living in a society that is diverse yet tolerant, multicultural, plural and also respectful of other cultures? How do we resolve all the various conflicts around us- urban-rural, modern-traditional, religious majority vs minorities, if we don’t even have a vision for inclusion and tolerance?
Forgive me my rant people, but if anyone has any non-negative thoughts on this, please enlighten me….
At the absolute end of a marathon day of cleaning, organising and finally experiencing a birthday party for a four year old and a thirty six year old, I can safely say that I am wiser, richer (and not monetarily) and completely bushed!
There are many arguments for and against hosting a party at home. On the down side, it’s stressful, physically exhausting, chaotic, and you do get the impression that you haven’t spent enough time with your friends. And the cleaning up after a daunting task. The picture at the bottom shows you how much trash came out of a party for over 70 adults and 25 kids. And this is when only a part of the serving was done in disposables.
All this said, its simply not the same hosting a party in a commercial location. It’s not a personal space, you don’t get the same feel of closeness and camaraderie. Kids are a lot more comfy in a home than in a club or restaurant or banquet facility. On the commercial side, hosting a party at home is a lot cheaper (we calculated it would have cost us ten times outside). The garbage generated is probably one tenth of the wastage a caterer would incur, behind the scenes of course!
All in all, even though I am totally exhausted, I feel loved, happy and satisfied. Those who can come home, handle the chaos and the noise (and some garbage lying around); those who can be guests and also help out with the serving and washing dishes; those who do not stand on formality and accept us for who we are- those are the friends, the family who truly matter! Thanks all! And promise to post pics later!