Take for instance the wedding date for my darling younger brother.
It was fixed after considerable deliberation and consultation with the decision makers - the astrologers, someone my father trusts as a guru and also bearing in mind the examination dates for the two children who will be most involved in the wedding - mine!
My brother's prospective in-laws also came over to visit my parents in Kerala and the date February 8th, 2011 was fixed mutually.
Two days later, my father got a call from one of his concerned sisters who informed him that Feb 8th (which is Basant Panchami according to the Indian calendar) was an inauspicious day for the wedding as my paternal grandfather (who we affectionately called babaji) passed away apparently on the same day way back in 1993.
Same day - i.e. Basant Panchami day. Not same date. The date was 14th Feb in 1993.
Caught in a genuine quandary my father called his guru who rubbished the claims of my aunt. He gave the go-ahead for the day. My father who trusts this gentleman more than any other living person on this Earth has however not paid heed to his advise.
As everyone around him claimed (including the bride's parents who could not vociferously deny the claims of the aunt), "The seed of doubt about the auspiciousness of this date has been sown. You must look for another date" dad set forth to seek another date.
And a new date has finally been arrived upon. 28th January.
Ask my father, who has seen the worst business disruptions and personal tragedies any man could have borne, and he says "How does it matter, 28 Jan or 8 Feb? Let's keep everyone happy."
What he knows is that the seed for this intervention was sown in my aunt's mind by one of our so-called blood relatives; a fact he can't deny but in the face of this 'doubt' he chooses to ignore it.
While all family members including my mother and brother (the groom himself) seethe at this unnecessary intervention and change, we also wonder if my grandfather's soul will be unhappy if his grandson gets married on the day he passed on, or will he be happy that his grandson chose this day to make a new, positive beginning in his life?
Questions only babaji would have been able to answer. And yet, somehow in my gut, I know what his answer would be. (Hint: The latter, definitely!)
If only his own children could face up to it and stop hiding behind the garb of traditional/conservative beliefs/faiths to impose their moral/conventional values on others.