In the yagna of modernity

Update- 6/6/14: Have included my interaction with Devdutt Pattnaik-popular mythologist and author - on the movie below. 

When I was seven years old, I was initiated into Brahminhood through the sacred upanayanam ceremony. The word sacred, I admit, finds its place here after a long, circuitous journey of introspection which taught me the true meaning of profundity through unconditional embrace of profanity. Back in those days, I was taught to respect what's  profound only by abhorring what's profaneI remember doing my sandyavandanam rituals religiously, until my hormones began to treat callously the traditions and values I bequeathed from my parents. Like many others in their teens, I began to question the traditions, especially the way it was presented to me, in its ossified form, enforced through parental authoritarianism. As I followed my way through the questions, I could only find reasons which appealed to my intellect. Along the way, I also witnessed the hypocrisy in which traditions, despite their high handedness, were appropriated as means to the entitlements defining the modern life - money, good job and a well settled life. 

I couldn't find an iota of visceral meaning in my tradition which rooted these rituals to my life. It felt pointless to perform them without any moorings in the ocean of my inner self. I simply couldn't pull myself to do it. Even if its sole purpose was to appease my parents' misplaced sense of fear that I might desert the tradition and sever the atavistic roots of my upbringing.  

I began to ponder over my relationship with tradition, I must admit, after being deeply moved by Svahaa ,a short movie I found in the Web, directed by Pratibha Nandakumar. Based on a short story by Mahabala Seethalabavi, this movie, a beautiful elegy to the eternal Brahmin traditions, asks a deeply unsettling question: What do we to have to offer in this yagna of modernity? The narrative frames this question in a manner resembling the paradox confronting the ship of Theseus:
Buffeted by the winds of modernity, the planks of the ship of tradition were replaced part by part, upto a point where not a single part from the original ship, remained in it anymore. Is it, then, still the same ship? 
The movie explores these questions in context with the ancient Hindu funeral rites. If the economic conditions forces the next generation of Hindu priests to take up different professions, How will the dead receive salvation?  Given how "development" destroys storytelling, how will after-death rites (done in an electric crematorium) acquire any meaning? To state that tradition will be inevitably swept off by the unstoppable forces of modernity is rather naive and simplistic. Calling this movie an exercise in nostalgia would be a huge injustice. It deeply examines the way in which we are reinventing some of these traditions to suit our modern economic predicament. How do we recreate these old traditions without diluting its essence to suit the vicissitudes of the times we live in? I strongly recommend this movie if anyone is interested in exploring these questions.