Periods, squats, design and bread: THE MEANING BEHIND THE ACTION

Looking deeper

PC Pravin Shekar Bryant Park, NYC

This article has a bunch of episodes (four)and then the connection. Read on.


Retelling a story that I read quite some time ago, paraphrased.

Anna was a curious girl, always asking questions. Why is it like this? Why should it run that way? Observant and very curious.

One afternoon, Anna was sitting in the kitchen, watching her mom. Anna’s mom took a freshly baked bread loaf out of the oven and placed it on the table. After letting it cook a shill, her mom first cut off 3/4th of the loaf and then sliced it. She then took the remaining 1/4th and then sliced it.

Anna was intrigued.

“Mom, why did you cut the bread loaf into two unequal parts and then sliced it?”

Her mom thought a while and said, “I don’t know. My mom always did it like this. Let’s call her.”

So, the same question was put forth to Anna’s grand-mom, who had the same answer as her mom. “My mom always did it like this.”

So they called the great grand-mom. The great-grandma answered.

“Oh, in those days, we didn’t have much money or luxuries. We lived with what we had. My cutting board, the only one I had all through, was a small one. It was only 3/4th the size of a regular bread loaf. So, I cut it like that, so the table below doesn’t get cut up!”

For two generations, moms had learned to cook by observing, but not by questions the meaning behind the 3/4th, 1/4th cut.


I am now relating the following episodes to my observation of the culture I grew up in (India). Before you take your knives out, these are my observations and inferences. Mine alone.

Source: Google

One of the most popular gods across India is Lord Ganesh, the Elephant god. He is the first deity when you visit any temple. The first port of call. It is customary to do something called “thoppu karanam” in front of him. This is a movement where you cross your arms and hold your ears and then do squats. The recommended count is ten.

There is a lot of barefoot walking in almost all temples.

Isn’t this a way of warming up the body and prepare the mind then. It is supposed to improve blood circulation and tune the mind.

Squats as warm-up, to prepare for the long walk ahead.


Kolam by SM

When you walk down the streets of my city, early in the morning, you’ll find ladies and kids involved in the art of the Kolam. The entrance to the house is cleaned and washed. Then the lady of the house puts forth a design on the floor, using powdered rice.

It is more like zen meditation, just watching her put the dots and user her hands to create that art. Is it spiritual, an art form, or could there be a meaning behind it?

The rice powder in front of the house is for the ants and other smaller creatures.

To feed them, but also to keep them out of the house.

Seems incredulous today, go figure! With modernization, the activity continues, but the purpose or meaning is lost, almost.


When I was young, when the women had their periods in my household, they had to take mandatory rest. There were many nonsense activities around this time that I disagree with and will not mention.

I am taking the meaning from that, at the core of it, the culture had planned for a complete rest for the ladies during their time of pain. The men and others in the household took charge of all duties to let the lady rest.

Again, the purpose behind must have been to ensure peace, calm and rest for the lady of the house.


I am an observer, and at times, dot connector.


Keep the core purpose of the activity in central focus.

Case in point: The activities in social media under the guise of marketing: What’s the purpose? What’s the purpose of the purpose?

It is always the ROI (without vanity coming in the way).

When you receive a suggestion to do something, ask for the meaning behind the action.

Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.

mic @ .

Pravin is the author of seven books: Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell & a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!

#Marketing #Entrepreneur #Awareness #Strategy #Outlier #Outliermarketing #micromarketer #idea #tribe #Books #krux108 #PravinShekar #OutlierPravin #motivation



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store