A recent article by David Brooks titled “There should be more rituals” in the New York Times, got me thinking.
Like many Indians, I am no stranger to rituals – from the lighting of lamps to touching the feet of grandparents, my parents demonstrated small actions each day which anchored my growing years. Every so often we had ceremonies – baby showers for women and sacred thread ceremonies to mark the coming of age for boys. And rarely, we had celebrations – weddings or the 60th or 80th birthday of elders. While each of these provided an opportunity to dress up and meet extended family and devour decadent feasts, rituals involving death provided a cause for meeting and introspection. Winning a prize at school, graduating from college, securing a job or a promotion, were considered small wins that went largely unnoticed.
Not every life event requires a party but getting together with larger family for milestone events, or going for a solitary walk to breathe and reflect, can turn into rituals for those significant moments that demand attention and acknowledgment. Such private and personal rituals help weave together the frayed fabric of our increasingly disparate lives.
What rituals do you follow?
The NYT Modern Love column published a lovely story about two book lovers who fall in love. The amazing thing is that the two individuals connect despite their very different tastes in books. It is almost as if the fact that both love books is sufficient!
It was not a competition, but there was a push. I felt him pushing me to be more of the person I used to be and more of who I wanted to be. Whenever he turned to discussing his current nonfiction book about the rise of Silicon Valley or environmental philosophers, I would tell him of fiction, of men who left their countries by hiding in boxes only to climb out and turn into birds. I would remind him that sometimes the only way to explain the world we live in is to make it all up.