Saturday, March 01, 2008

Of our culture ...

Yours truly gave gyan to the land-lady the other day. I was telling her we wanted to move out and she asked if we would boil milk before leaving, just out of curiosity. Almost 80% of her tenancy is Indian so she knows, you see. I said no, you boil milk only when you enter the house and not when you leave it. And that you would do it only when you begin something new. She wanted to find out why we boil milk and was about to say something to the tune that she found it very silly when I told her that it wasn't about the milk. In older cultures and civilizations, when agriculture was the main profession, milk represented wealth. And boiling milk was symbolic to wishing that this wealth would overflow in your household. And then she didn't find it so silly anymore. She was also telling me how she had asked everyone else about it and they all just said they did it because their parents asked them to. And so she found it extremely funny that they should.

I find that this is a lot more prevalent problem than simple ignorance. We don't make an effort to understand why we do so many things that we do, but what is worse, making fun of it or sniggering at it is considered sensibility and one of the foremost qualifications of being modern. It is sad but true. If only we will take the time to understand them, a lot of the stuff we do makes total sense. But we don't take the time. Instead we jeer and boo and mock. And think we are being very wise.



Kishan said...

thank u. I really didn't know why we boil milk before entering a new house till now, until I read ur post.

I will ask abt this to my friends and see how many of them know why we do it.

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