Thursday, March 25, 2010

Living in , Love & Arranged Marriage

The Supreme Court on 24TH March gave a historic verdict that live in relationship i.e. living with one another without marriage is not illegal and cannot be defined as "criminal offence". If two person, man and woman want to stay together, what is the offence they are committing here? The SC has also given example of Lord Krishna & Radha relationship to corroborate its judgment and said if they can live together why can't today's adults. The example of Lord Krishna is bound to raise a storm in certain quarters.

This can be a matter of debate as to which of these options is the best for an ever lasting happy married life. Those days of ‘Sati Savitri’ are gone where ‘Pati’ was ‘Parmeshwar’ and the life of a wife used to be full of sacrifices towards her husband, children and family. They looked perfect couple ‘Made for each other’, but not any more. The society is moving from ‘Pati, Patni aur Who’ situation to live in relationship now. Umpteen number of arguments can be put forth in defense of each of these options- Love marriage, arranged love marriage, Arranged marriage and live in relationship culminating in marriage but ultimately which one of these is foolproof?

Many arranged marriages are breaking up on account of complexes, difficulty in mutual adjustments, misunderstanding, dowry demands etc. Love marriages have broken because of couple not able to face the reality, fading away of love towards the other, infidelity and insecurities. In a recent case a celebrity’s engagement was terminated on the grounds of incompatibility even though they were childhood friends. Such was the understanding of love for so many years. Even those advocating live in relationship for better understanding have fallen apart. This despite the fact that present day parents’ mindsets have changed now and they freely allow the couples to meet, talk, explore and understand each other any number of times before marriage without any live in tag.

There is no time tested formulae for successful marriage. Horoscope or no horoscope, it is all ‘luck by chance’ situation. Perfect understanding, mutual trust, will to make minor adjustment in adversity, unconditional love, commitment, feeling of respect and responsibility towards each other as well as family can all go a long way to make the marriage work. Love marriage, arranged marriage or live in becomes secondary issue then.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life is to live

Open any newspaper and you would find at least one or two news item about a suicide taking place in the city. There is a long list of people from a newly wed bride to a student appearing in exam, farmer struggling to make both ends meet to a debt ridden carpenter, lovers separated by parents to an executive working for a BPO committing suicide on any given day. Bangalore has a distinct Suicidal Capital tag along with Garden city and IT/BT tag. Nearly 2000 suicides per 1 lac of population takes place every year in this city and this is increasing at an alarming rate of 8% every year. To top it all, this just an official figure where as several cases of suicide goes unreported to the police and the press due to social stigma attached with it and sometimes stature/ izzat  of family comes in the way.
Suicidal tendency or an attempt to commit suicide is a cry for help needing attention. For some it may be a gesture of aggressive intent but the fact is that it stems from hopelessness. The purpose of suicide attempt may not be intent to die but it’s a response to fear. Fear of shame, guilt, family and society at large. Studies have found that 90% suicides take place in lower and middle economic group in the age group of 15 to 45 years, men to women ratio being 1.4:1.
 The main cause of action can be a single or multiple –
-Failing/prolonged illness
-Family problem- dispute, break ups. Diminishing family support in Urban area due migration for living.
-Financial problem, loss, Poverty.
-Marriage discord, break up in relationship, dowry demands.
-Frustration, guilt, humiliation.
-Alcoholic/drug addict.
-Pressure, competition, over ambition, unrealistic goals in studies/ jobs.
Adolescents are at a particular vulnerable stage in their lives. They are hyper sensitive, feel insecure and having low esteem especially during the examination time. Stress and depression happen to everyone in some or the other way. Depression is a medical condition under which a person sometimes is not able to share his problems with those around him for fear of neglect or rejection. 5% of population suffers depression at a given point of time and 15% of persons under depression commit suicide.
Depressed mood, loss of interest, guilt feeling, loss of concentration in studies or at work place, disturbed sleep, negative feelings, Sense of hopelessness or not wanted by any one, loss of self esteem, and self harm in aggression are some of the main features pointing towards a person undergoing depression. Under such circumstances, people around such a person (family members or friend) should never be critical or judgmental towards them. At this juncture, active listening, empathy, understanding the emotional problem and exploring the alternatives and suggestions to over come the situation is of utmost importance. However in most cases, such a response from family/ friends does not come easily and the affected person goes in to deep depression. And here comes the role of a counselor and psychiatrist. Counseling requires tremendous effort and skill to be a non critical, non judgmental listener. The process involves helping a person to help himself. Through counseling, the affected person comes in touch with his underlying emotions and feelings. Over a period of time, the person moves from a position of hopelessness to HOPE, hope of living. However in extreme cases, medical intervention is needed through psychotherapy.
SAHAI (Phone No. 25497777) in Bangalore is one of the few dedicated ‘Suicide prevention  telephonic help lines’ in India and first in Karnataka to help those who are feeling low, depressed, unwanted and need some one to listen to and share their problems. Started in October 2002 with the joint initiative of Rotary Club Bangalore east, NIMHANS and Medical Pastoral Association (MPA) , this helpline has helped save the lives of scores of people under depression or having suicidal tendency by counseling them over telephone as well as face to face interaction. This helpline is manned by a team of dedicated volunteers from all walks of life who have been trained by experts from NIMHANS to handle the distress calls. The services are free and callers are assured of total confidentiality and anonymity. The helpline functions from 10 am to 8 pm (except Sunday) with the option of leaving message during off time. So here is a helpline just a call away. (Website:
Problems, stress and depression are all part of our life and let not them override your emotions. Manage your emotions in a positive manner because Life is to Live.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

“A” Certificate for Ashram

Once again a new age god man hailing from Tamil Nadu but based near Bangalore is in the news for all the right reasons. He has been caught on camera indulging in love making with all possible sexual gestures with lady attender and disciple lying on his cozy bed. In fact, one of the disciples shown on TV channels is reported to be a film star from south. There is very little doubt that they have been doctored. As of now, the god man is reported to have gone to attend ‘Kumbh Mela’ and possibly washing his sins in the light of this expose.

As far as my memory goes, such a kind of merry making was started 4 decades back in Bhagwan Rajaneesh ashram at Pune. Hundreds of westerners and elite people from our own Bollywood   used to throng Rajneesh ashram in search of inner peace. The disciple’s commune remained out of bound to outsiders and insiders were always tight lipped as to what happens inside. All that was reported in newspapers was nude dance inside the ashram in the presence of Rajneesh and traders in Charas, Ganja etc had thriving business outside the ashram. One of his books in Hindi sold like hot cakes those days was “Sambhog se Samadhi tak” (From ‘Sex to grave yard’ is a crude translation in English).

Many of such present day demi -gods live like a king in fort like surroundings, stay in all the comforts of wide spread ashrams and villas with  five star facilities giving occasional  ‘darshan’ to the public in a Hindi mythological filmy style  sitting on a huge ornamental chair studded with gold , silver and may be jewels.
From time to time some or the other god man, spiritual guru or tantric is getting involved in these kind of scandals. Few years back in Tamil Nadu, a self styled Sri Lankan set up an ashram in Trichy, managed to lure many girls including minors in to his ‘free consciousness’ style of thinking. After several girls leveling rape charges against him, he was convicted and now cooling his heals in jail serving a double life term. Another god man from Gujarat is facing charges of killing 2 young boys. A very famous and powerful tantric during the regime of than Prime Minister, had an easy access to the PMO’s office in Delhi. He was involved in hawala transaction as well as unauthorized arms deal. A holy man from a mutt in south is facing a charge of conspiracy to murder!  In the name curing or helping issueless women, many Sadhus and Tantriks have been caught in heinous sex crimes. The list of such unholy act by holy men is aplenty.
Thinking of all these,  I suggest to  the Government to categorize such ashrams and self styled god men as “A” on the lines of film censor board so that only adult devotees can join these ashrams voluntarily who are not ignorant of happenings inside so that again no more ashram rocks with  expose like this in future! Amen.