What Is Culture? I’m opening this blog
post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as
‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are. Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And
also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance,
theatre and cinema. It’s quite a
comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.
The Journey I was born in what is
commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of
my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live
here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still
evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But
in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads
about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long
after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things
to me like ‘in the …
I am originally from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We have a maritime climate, neither too hot nor too cold. Cool, wet winters and warm summers. We get the odd freak weather condition, like several feet of snow, once in a while to make life interesting. Pretty ideal really.
Now I reside in Lucknow in north India. In the Indo-Gangetic plain. Cold dry winters, roasting hot summers and a humid rainy season. It seems like it's always too hot or too cold. Or too humid. Humidity is something I dread. It brings itching, rashes and all of that. Okay, too hot will work for me. So will too cold (although I hate dry cold, that's energy-sapping). But humidity is .......not at all good. And that's a euphemism if ever there was one,.
I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved and erudite rakhi brother Rummuser, who suggested this topic.
And thanks to freedigitalphotos.net for the above illustration, 'Paper Weather Icon Illustration' by SweetCrisis.
Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.
We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…