Archive for August 2009

our Universe

One day, during lunch, one of my lunch mate started ranting about how bad one of his project team mate was dressed in a party. He totally disliked his team mate wearing the over exposing top. I asked him “say if you were born and brought up in a place where people wearing such clothes was common, would you have felt the same?”. We had a small discussion and that made me write this. Let me narrate a few incidents..

  • The other day I was in the local bus, there was this elderly man shouting at young boys and girls. Reason was that the *boys* and *girls* were having a jolly chat. Probably, the first girl that man ever talked to might have been his bride. I have been witness to a few such incidents in buses.
  • My uncle once in his college days visited one of his friend along with other friends. Customarily, they were offered tea. My uncle who was visiting this friend for the first time was shocked to see his other friends go out and wash the tumbler they had used to drink tea. This looked strange to my uncle but he later learnt that in this friends home, a guest not belonging to their *group* was supposed to clean the utensils if they use it. My uncle never visited that friend again.
  • In the movie Gran Torino, that I watched today (I started this post last week), Waltz slightly brushes up a kids hair in his neighbouring Hmong home. People there take offence as they believe that one’s soul resides in the head and one should not touch other’s head. There’s this movie, the name of which I don’t remember( Google search says it’s Mars Attack), where the aliens attack humans mistaking the gesture of releasing the doves.
  • There was some ceremony at a neighbours home and they had invited me for lunch. People were all seated on the mat laid on ground. Food was served on plantain leaves. Just when I was almost finished with the food, I saw a boy carrying a bucket to everybody’s seat. They were washing their hands in the bucket, sitting right at the same place.  I was seeing it for the first time and I felt it was weird and ill mannered.  Well, I was clueless when I saw the finger bowl for the first time.
  • I also remember another incident where the man at a bakery refused to take money from me when I was holding the note between my index and middle fingers. He said it was ‘scissor’ symbol and was bad for the one receiving the money that way.
  • And then there is this rant of a north Indian visiting south India about the food available down here. They can’t stand coconut and rice. Well, some people here can’t think of a day without coconut and rice!

What is that I want to convey from these?
We live in our own universes. We have our own language, culture and all that. We travel to other universes, We meet people and come to know about their culture. We sometimes are shocked witnessing the alien cultures. We criticise and abhor them. Some of these cultures, we like and adopt. As we move between these universes easily and as bridges are built between them,  each universe evolves. One universe shuns one of its culture because there is another universe that finds it wrong(or maybe they realise that it is wrong). This has been happening for long time but it has gained momentum in last few centuries.

Just like water in an equilibrium tube, ideas and cultures will travel universes and one day, there will be balance, uniformity. What I see in future is one such common culture being followed by all these universes. That day (,which may never come), we will have one universe.

But what I am confused about is the process how this equilibrium of ideas and culture will be achieved.  I know this is abrupt but the post has been long by my standards, so I will probably reflect on it in another post.