Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Amor Vole Fe" — Love Needs Faith

What easy used to be
What love used to be
What drugs used to be
What TV used to be
What music used to be
What luck used to be
What art used to be
What you used to be.
Comma drama, come on drawl your skin your mile longer, love song, sure it tells the future, fingers crushed and run 'em under water, shark-infested sea of secrets, in the open fire beat it, broke it, don't believe it, just keep it in it's box.
What the city used to be
What fun used to be
What dreaming used to be
What fame used to be
What fast used to be
What low used to be
What New York used to be.
- The Kills, What New York used to be.

so this weekend i went to the metrop. musuem of art in the city. they are open till 9 pm on weekends. its just awesome, i dont know any mususem anywhere in the world which is open tilll late. new york is truly s a city that does not sleep =).
they had a special exhibition on art & love in renaissance italy. and thats the first wing i saw. i have to say i m not an art expert, but i do appreciate the energy, time and talent that it takes to make a painting. these are paintings which are 3 centuries or more old, so there is definetly an appreciation for people who tried to preserve some of their lives for posterity so beautifully.

and just like today, paintings are the luxury of the rich. and thats exactly what the paintings give insight into, basically the private life of the rich during the 14th and 15th century. there were paintings, jewelery, glassware, that depicted marriage, engagement, courtship, childbirth, parenthood and even adultery. and its pretty amazing that one can learn so much about another culture/period through their paintings.

what i never knew was that the whole practice of dowry is not an asian thing. and is actually borrowed from the europeans and it was existent in 14th century in italy. mumbai, itself, was part of a dowry from the portugese to the british. and i find it pretty weird that the whole system of dowry is traced all the way back to the entire city.

it got me thinking (yes i have way too much time on my hands (NOT)).what happens now exactly? who pays for what in the west? traditionally, the bride's family pays for most of the expenses. this is perhaps a watered down version of the archaic tradition of the dowry system in the early centuries. of course, its no typical dowry as the conventional desi sense. bungla, ghari, motor-wotor ecetra. no such thing. just wedding expenses. although lately a lot of people have moved away from tradition, rightfully so, and now the couple's family divides the expenses equally. and even better, is that some of my friends who got married split the costs between each other, without having their parents contribute at all.

so like the change that has occured in the west, im guessing another 100 years before dowry gets abolished from india. hopefully sooner. recently an article came out in times of india, about a village in kerala, that has pledged to be a dowry free village. that is change. but then you hear about some guy in lucknow shaving his wife's head because of insufficient dowry. and then you think change is so far off. some 6,000 women get killed every year due to dowry demands. it shocks me, its so wrong. so unbelievably wrong. i was recently watching kiran bedis new show on tv, aap ki kacheri, it gave me a splitting headache. the case was pretty simple, two women, sisters, and their fight with their mother in law. who apparently thinks, acha nahin lagta if they go out of the house. so the girls, cannot work and have imposed reclusion at home. and in betweeen their arguments, the mother in law tosses insults like kuch nahin leikar aye types. like its her god given gift. the husbands are even a bigger disgrace. even kiran bedi herself was pissed. she quite smartly was also able to pick out that one of the girls actually got married as a child. and so sonei peh suhaga child marriage too. ridiculous.
i know these are just thoughts and i know i dont have the capacity to change the world and most of the time these are fleeting thoughts. thoughts that make you feel you should do something, thoughts that make you feel guilty for not doing anything. but you forget coz you get involved in your life. but when you do remember you try - you try with small steps. you try to help people who you know and who you think you can help. people who are around you. you might not be able to help everybody. but you try with one person someone who may listen to you. little by little you change their thinking and hopefully others see that and will follow.


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