This weekend I had the weird pleasure of meeting someone who could be my polar opposite and a real sense of why they say opposites attract. Maybe "attract" isn't the right word in this case. Intrigue, maybe. Throughout the conversation, I felt like I wore a giant 'question mark' on my face and/or was having my mind blown by the sharp contrast in thinking.
Granted — calling them my polar opposite is bit of a stretch. It would be unfair to assume things from a single conversation that didn't even last an hour.
But we're judgemental beings, aren't we? Is there a point in shying away from the very defects that make us human?
Everything happens for a reason. That reason is "the universe is a chaotic mistake"...but still.
There's a degree of intrigue when you meet someone radically different from your own being. There were far too many questions and there wasn't enough time. They had my attention.
I've always believed children of immigrants from India in the US (and other countries) tend to be more "Indian" than people born and residing in India. Second and following generation kids have an innate curiosity about their origin story (I don't think I've bothered to ask my parents what kind of lives my great great grandparents lived). It's like their parents took a database snapshot with them and their spawn were raised with the religious and cultural idea of India that exists in the snapshot. If you think characters in Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham did not exist abroad, then you need to be more open-minded about Bollywood's skills in portraying real-life characters. Not suggesting K3G was a biopic, mind you.
So...Sanskar then. It's perplexing how culture continues to thrive and evolve in the modern world while still being challenged throughout history. But there is some evidence to support that culture thrives in ghettos — in fact, it's more vibrant than it is elsewhere. So when cultural or ethnic organizations are formed abroad, people sign up and feel a sense of belonging. Their practices are still strikingly different from those in the motherland. If you were to put them under a microscope and pit them against scripture, you'll likely observe they've branched off into their own micro-culture.
So, to meet a student of science, living abroad, practicing religion, travelling solo across India every year or so, and actively involved in social work in India is...well, immensely intriguing. Particularly since I — not yet a vampire — don't step out into the sun.
I'm also curious to learn how their life-choices worked out for them — for their sense of well-being. Are they "zen" yet? :P
In my past experience around seemingly happy people associated with what could be categorized by some people as cults, people often exhibit a sense of calm. What I would call "lunatic calm"...on a case by case basis of course. They appear grounded and at the same time seem like...when they eventually explode, you wouldn't want to be anywhere near them. There's a sense of righteousness they live their lives with, knowing without any doubt that their life-choices are 100% correct because it is based on teachings published in ancient scripture. That sense of certainty, or shall we say, arrogance is unnerving. The idea that there's a golden path which when followed leads you to "ultimate zen" or "level 3", while the rest of us beautifully flawed heathens who don't care about the secret sauce are left in a rat race with unfulfilling lives...and delicious steak.