I think that I get a lot of ideas to blog about when I am in India. It’s been frantic one week I have been here, now that I have internet connection I can get back to blogging. When I am in US, a lot of stuff that comes out of me is very personal which I usually journal. In India though it’s different. My mind is filled with ideas for blogging here. So, here is something I have come across recently.
Who ever said that “Knowledge is Power” wasn’t joking. It’s true and I think there is a flippant side to that quote too. In India, you will come across a lot of elder people who use their ‘Knowledge’ to yield ‘Power’. India is a smorgasbord of forgotten traditions and new consuming habits. In this variety of feelings – the person who ‘claims’ to know the answer is the king. You see, you don’t necessarily have to be right because you could use your ‘elderness’ to make it right.
Recently my sister had a baby. My nephew shares his birthday with me now. And I was excited to see him. But it was not going to be that easy. There was this Aunt. Let’s call her – Aunt Kia(Know It All). Aunt Kia used her knowledge and put forward a rule. She said, I can’t see my nephew without hearing him cry. And after I see him, I need to give him some money as a gift. So, when I entered my the room, I literally closed my eyes and they made the baby cry – which I think is CRAZY. Once I heard him cry, I saw him and gave him a gift of Rs.500.
Now, I don’t mind following this weird tradition because all the elders were happy I did that (they expected me not to respect any traditions after living in US and marrying a Hindu). But what boggles my mind is that there is no logical explanation to this. And ‘Aunt Kia’ wields her power only because she can blurt out these kinds of things in everything we do. I have seen her in action in the past too – she has a age old tradition for everything, from taking a shower to raising a baby. But, no one questions her. Because then it would be chaos as you would be pitting your heads against the tradition. In all this craziness, ‘Aunt Kia’ happily paddles her way by throwing around commands. I am pretty sure every Indian family has one such ‘Aunt Kia’.
I think this is one aspect of Indian family where this ‘hidden knowledge’ of tradition gives immense power to the elders. I am not sure when does tradition stops and manipulation starts. It’s kinda easy to trespass that line.
On the other hand, I see another kind of power being yielded by the young people. A lot of young people know a lot about technology in this country. SMS, Email etc are so easy for these young people, but very difficult to comprehend for the elders in the household. So, in this case the youth uses it’s knowledge to wield power. But, at least it’s not based on some superstitions.
The real clash of ages happen when the traditions’ superstitions clash with new ages’ arrogance. I am not sure who will win eventually but I do know that it’s going to be a long battle. In the mean time keep gathering that knowledge.