Khasi men must rise to the challenge

By Gary Marbaniang

 

I was traveling alone to Guwahati airport today when I somehow managed to strike a conversation with a Khasi woman who is about my age and sometimes such conversations do bring forth interesting revelations! 

When I boarded the taxi, the woman was already seated in the front seat, and I had no idea about her race until she started making those phone calls in Khasi. And as she started talking I realized that this lady is a well travelled woman and I started connecting all the dots to determine her profession. When she mentioned all the mega cities of the world like Manchester, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv in her phone conversation, I fit the pieces of the puzzle together and came to the conclusion that her profession might be in the aviation industry. Finally when we reached the airport and alighted from the taxi, her face looked somewhat familiar, at which point I realized that we studied together in the same school!

 

So that’s how our conversation started and we ended up having small talk about the weather and stuff and it did turn out that she is working as an air hostess with a reputed international airline. Before she boarded her flight, talks about marriage unexpectedly crept into the conversation and it turn out that she is a single independent Khasi woman who didn’t seem too keen on the idea of marriage. So when I cheekily suggested to her to find a suitable white man, she simply laughed off my suggestion though it did seems to me that my suggestion was out of the box and something which is beyond the realm of possibility. To many Khasi women today especially the urban educated ones, the idea of marrying someone from outside your community seems a little far- fetched and a little out of place.

 

The sad part about Khasi society today, on the other hand, is that Khasi women are doing much better than Khasi men in all spheres of life. The pertinent question that arises is whether all Khasi women are “wonder women” with far greater capabilities than men or whether they are far more ambitious and hard working. The first part about Khasi women being wonder women seems highly improbable but the second part about them being more hard working and ambitious is without shadow of a doubt the main reason why they are doing far better than men in education and even in terms of employment. The Khasi lady I was talking about earlier has been working in the international aviation industry since she completed her 12th standard. That seems to suggest that she already got her life sorted out even before she entered the stage of womanhood!

 

To set the record straight, Khasi society is one of the most equitable society in India when it comes to raising our children! The idea of bringing in a law to bring in equity in the distribution of wealth seems ludicrous. It still fascinates me today when I remember my father telling me about the time when his great paternal grandmother passed away. His paternal grandfather was the youngest of seven siblings, all boys, and when their mother died it was mutually decided by all of them that as part of paying homage to their departed mother, they would give up a portion of their hard earned wealth by throwing a feast for the entire village for months on end. My great grandfather and his siblings worked their socks off in the oranges plantation for more than nine months and they would had the opportunity to stay in their own village for only three months but they didn’t have any qualms when it comes to parting away with their hard earned wealth since they valued their cherished tradition.

 

Likewise my grandfather was a self made businessman who started his life from scratch and who at one point of time became extremely wealthy. He on the other hand was a philanthropist who never refused to lend when people asked for financial help. He would give all his money away and he managed to leave very little even for my only aunt (my father’s younger sister).That’s how the cycle of life works. When it comes to wealth, uncertainty is the name of the game!

 

When it comes to equitable distribution of wealth, the question that arises in the first place is what percentage of Khasi families today have wealth in the family to distribute it equally among their children! The world today is made up of families who are either poor or middle class and the idea of distributing wealth is out of the question since in the first place most families today don’t have enough wealth to distribute. And for anybody to make a hue and cry about anyone not getting a fair share of ancestral property in our society is something which needs further research and examination to reveal the plausibility of such a suggestion. If the government was to implement a law that will make equitable distribution of income binding on all Khasi families, then all hell will break loose and our under-staffed judicial system will simply collapse. Lawsuits galore will be the order of the day in Khasi society and love which is supposed to be the bedrock of all family ties will be thrown out of the window. 

I can say with utmost surety that most boys in Khasi society are treated with love and affection. I am the youngest of six children and know fully well the extent and meaning of pampered love. When I was born, my father was about to enter the dreaded phase in life which in a married person’s terminology is simply known as mid life crisis. So I guess that the moment my mother gave birth to me it might have erased all the crazy thought of experiencing a mid life crisis that might have crept into my father’s mind. So I was given the extra love from my parents especially my father and my siblings showered me with the same kind of love. Growing up I would always get the best of everything and my siblings don’t seem to mind at all. If a law on equitable distribution of wealth was to be implemented, jealousy and bad blood will reign supreme in the family. Rather than distributing wealth equally we must give all our children the same opportunity at finding their own feet in life! That’s how love works and that’s how Khasi society has been functioning for a long time now. The idea of feeding our kids with a silver spoon is something which should be outrightly discouraged. 

All I want to say is that the world and ladies in particular look up to a self- made caring responsible man! Calling on all Khasi men to get their act together and take upon themselves the onus of making something of themselves. I think all Khasi men and women alike would agree that when the likes of Eugeneson Lyngdoh shines on the national arena, all our hearts are filled with utmost joy and pride at the success of a fellow Khasi!

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