Sunday, August 22, 2010

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN ………experience culture?

I love all civilizations. I would love to know about their culture. Let us take Egypt! I go visit the pyramids! Wooow! Masterpiece! Now I know everything about Egyptian culture! I love Indian culture too! So let us hit Rajasthan and catch up with their folk dance, and to know about south Indian culture, let us feast our ears and eyes to carnatic music and bharatnatyam! (:o)
So you think you understood their culture? NO! (wish you could hear me scream!)

It does not work in this manner friends! You might probably understand their ART but never their culture! ART and CULTURE… They are different but inter-related! ART is a part of CULTURE. ART is an outburst of creative thoughts and putting it to action while Culture is the way of life! If you really need to go in depth about one’s culture, then probably you need to become one among them! BE A ROMAN IN ROME is such an apt quote that sums up my message!

Not many days ago, while travelling in an AUTO in the unavoidable heavy traffic of MUMBAI, I spotted this tourist with a very peculiar vehicle! It was a cross between a cycle and a inclined cart carrying himself and his bags. The whole picture gave me such a thrill and crave to explore places his way! Now you understand what I am saying? Instead of renting a car or a tourist bus, see how well he got in touch with the place! We got to learn from what we see around! And that way we learn the most and the best!(:))

Art is definitely an important PART of understanding a culture but the various other folds are food, manners, festivals etc. But all these are not to be experienced individually!

Let us take DIWALI as an example of reflecting Indian culture. We get up 4 am, scrub and wash our hair with SHIKKAKAI (a herbal power used before the invention of shampoos), wear PATTU pudavai (silk sari), or pavada chattai (which are restricted to teenagers), and perform poojai to the GOD. Later we gobble a very heavy breakfast sitting on the floor, with huge BANANA leaves sprinkled with water for us to clean them before eating. The quantity of food is very less compared to the variety of the dishes. Yet it usually is very difficult for any of us to get up immediately after eating! Later we go out and burst the variety of crackers which ends in an electrifying night with vibrantly colored sparks decorating the dark sky!

The procedure may be really long, but the point is, you cannot just have the food, or just burst the crackers and boast of experiencing the culture! The experience happens only by following the procedure!(:))

So now you all know what to do to get in touch with one’s culture! By the way anyone interested in south Indian culture??? Please approach me wearing lungis (meant only for guys! :P)


  1. Lol!!...lungis ehh!!!...Akila mami cholli kuduppalaam...naanga kaatukanumaam!! :P...and loved the line...pavada chattai(which are restricted to teenagers).....hahahahah :'( lmao

  2. @subbu: dai its true da! cnt imagine aunties wearing them! the chattai would burst! :P

  3. I don't think that we need to follow specific procedures for experiencing culture but I do agree that to experience any culture, we should experience all of it or else our experience will be a biased one.

  4. Do you know, Akila, that this entire routine that you just described, is not THE south-Indian culture, but just one of them?So before we jump to Egypt, or Greece or wherever, we must first realise that we haven't even experience the whole of South India, let alone the rest of our great country and all of its varied cultures.
    The word culture comes from "colere" thats is to cultivate or grow. A culture is not about the rituals of washing hair, or wearing a certain dress. It is about a way of life stitched into the social fabric of a certain place, and you really cant come for a week, and experience that. You must be a thread in that cloth to experience it.

  5. You are very true Anaghaa. But how can you expect me to describe the whole of south indian culture? What I have tried to share is a morsel of our culture. i was only trying to clear the misunderstanding between culture and art. Have you never heard people say that they have experienced various culture by attending related events? And the procedure that we follow in DIWALI definitely speaks of our culture! DIWALI has a huge history behind it which again adds to the whole culture part!As you have typed, "culture is not about the rituals of washing hair...." should have been :culture is not ONLY about rituals of washing hair!" If you are still confused about what i am trying to convey, do spill it out! Your comment meant a lot to me :)

  6. Of course it did. It's me:D
    But seriously what I'm saying is that although we think that these little things are culture, its the aggregation of all of this PLUS just the WAY WE ARE, that is culture. More on this, in person:)

  7. @anaghaa: hahahah! Sure dude! Will definitely discuss about this ok? Maybe in person i would be more convincing! :)


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