brahmin festival

Avani Avittam

Avani avittam is an annual brahmin festival that involves changing of the ‘sacred’ threads we wear. I dont know the significance of the event, but I imagine it to be the time I seek pardon for all the misdeeds in the past year and promise not to do any. Every year all the folks in our building gather in the terrace to change threads under the guidance of a sasthrigal. The one thing I dread about this is the prospect of walking in public with nothing but my dhoti, my head gets filled with these visions of the dhoti slipping away or being blown away and leaving me almost naked. Somehow I have managed to prevent it from happening so far and hope that it never happens, for the embarassment involved is directly proportional to age(it would be less embarassing had it happened when i was 13 than when i am 30).

I also have a reason to like this ceremony, it is the one occasion where I am the slimmest guy in a gathering, watching the other elder folks around with saggier man breasts and bigger beer bellies gives me a sense of happiness that I am at least not so much bad in shape.(pathetic:( ) However, the difference between them and me seems to be decreasing with each passing year, which is rather unsettling. (damn, i should start working out).

We usually have an old sasthrigal along with his apprentice who supervises the proceedings. Age seems to have finally caught up with him, and this year sadly he has decided to retire from this service. This has opened up the door for the young padawan learner (ok, not so young, he is 40) to lead events. While the old guy knew all the incantations by heart, the apprentice needed to refer to his notes every couple of minutes. He also seemed to lack the charisma, the authority and command that accompanied his teacher. What the heck, in today’s world nobody is bothered with these things(neither am I, it was just an observation), people want to get things done fast and easy.
Anyway, only one half of the procedure is complete, I still have to go through the remaining tomorrow, which involves reciting a mantra 1008 times. I have never managed to complete the 1008, the closest i think i ever came must be around 900. This time I hope I can surpass my personal best.

Conjoined twins

Siamese Twins

I suppose you have heard about conjoined twins, if not here is a wikipedia article(written by a stranger with no credibility) describing it. I also suppose that you would agree that it is one of the most terrible abnormalities that one could possibly have and that you are lucky you aren’t one such(again assuming that you are not one). From what I know, remedy for the condition is available through a very complex surgery which involves considerable risk. Also, the complexity of such a surgery supposedly increases with age.

I happen to know one such Siamese twins, for quite some time now, although not too personally. And I think you would be knowing about them too, unless you have been living in a spider hole for a very long time. The couple I know of were born before I was and there is an interesting tale surrounding their birth. If you love solving puzzles, chances that you have come across the one involving triplets born on different dates are high. I could never understand the solution to that one, but was convinced that there is a perfectly logical explanation to it. Well, their tale doesnt explain it, but it sure shows that such a scenario is perfectly possible. Yes, the twins that I am referring to are actually part of triplets, all born on different dates. Wait, there is more, all were conjoined, until surgery(a quite bloody one I am told) separated one from the remaining two.

Let’s talk about the ones that continue to be joined. Despite their situation, the pair I speak of have actually developed their own identities, for which I am happy, but at some point(probably from the beginning itself) their thinking, their ideology and their perspective on what is good and otherwise and life in general hadn’t sync-ed as much as their bodies(after all no two people are the same, conjoined or not). Their already worse life was made further miserable by constant bickering and petty arguments(usually followed by long silence, which is unimaginable given their state), even frivolous squabbles over who was the rightful owner of the organs they shared. They have even claimed at times that they don’t need the other for survival. Do you think that it is entirely possible for them to be so? Do you think that they can go about their business as normal people do? Do you really think that they can be INDEPENDENT as they stand and claim and are probably celebrating this very moment?

P.S: Its OK if you dont feel like answering my questions, I shouldnt have asked them at all, there is never a good time to ask them, especially on their birthdays.