Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Be a Leader Yourself!

Does being a leader really need confidence, charisma and the whole parcel self-help books say? Not always. Suppose you feel passionately about something and are ready to take the trouble to force things to change then won't you too become a leader in your own way? Some people become leaders as there's no one else ready or willing to stand up and thus, they take it upon themselves to hold on to their cause.
We can't have someone standing up for us always. Won't it be good if we could become those beacons of light?

Actually, it's easier  merely to await the winds of change heralded by another than to get busy yourself.

The funny thing about people is the moment you ask them to stand up and submit something in writing about a matter they were so blandly deeming an injustice; you will find they back away as fast as if the paper is live fire.

Self dependence is an enviable trait indeed. Thus, why wait for a leader?  

There's More Than Merit Behind Those Grades... Sad But True

Unfortunate as it may be, we do not live in Utopia. All of ours our human, even our educators, thus, they too can be as corrupt or petty as politicians. Once the rose tinted glasses are off you see that our educational system is no less corrupt than most government offices are let out to be. 

Recently a friend told me how she was marked unfairly. This wasn't an occasion of a student who was trying to pin the blame of low marks to a professor. Genuine pain shone in her eyes. It angered me greatly cause I could empathise. Note 'empathise' not 'sympathise'.

I wouldn't say all my examiners have been unjust. Some of them I respect very greatly for their fairness for I haven't bothered to attend their classes and yet find no gall in their checking. These are my true ideals.

I too have corrected papers and have been paid for it at college level. I don't remember lingering on names but many a time I find that it is a trend. Let the examiner be not liberal but just and equal. That's all students really ask.

But we don't live in Utopia do we? Only those to who it matters will suffer till then.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Meditations in the Kitchen

We are all justifiably busy. Thus, though relaxation exercises and meditation may seem so inviting we somehow our unable to enjoy their benefits. If suppose one is unable to take time out specially to do something than why not modify that thing in such a way that it can seamlessly merge into our daily schedule? In a sentence; baking one's pie and eating it too.

I find cooking rather therapeutic. If you can innovate or you can stick to the same old thing. Either way, the work at hand makes you forget all things. You enter a reality where the present moment is important. Being a foodie I also can't help appreciating the fragrances and myriad of tastes.  

If you ever want to play God or creator this is a good place for it's eventually, upto you how the apple pie will turn out, Just following the ingredients won't do as I learnt sometime ago!

What the Maggot in the Vegetable Had to Teach

Maggots to me are just ewww! No wonder I desire to be burnt rather than buried. The very thought of serving as repast to a bunch of white worms isn't exactly the way I would like to depart. I came face to face with one recently. My father normally obliges me by getting rid of them. This time however, my mom thought it was too much of a scene.

"Why don't you simply toss it out of the window yourself?"

Immediately an image of a person getting whacked by a pea-pod adorned with a maggot hit me. Throwing it out of the window was no option. That caused me to wonder about the maggot's life. All it seemed to do was eat and eat. There was no before or after. Are we much different from it? And what do we human's look like to a maggot? Are we as repulsive? If not physically then what about mentally?

The maggot probably had some purpose in the design of nature. We on the other hand have a choice to be as lazy as we please. If we truly are as oblivious of life as the maggot seemed at that moment, aren't we much much lower than it is? 

Maintaining a Balance - Learning Politics in the Classroom

Balance is much sought after by the spiritually enlightened. Skulduggery and political balancing is not new withing our education system. If it manages to prevail everywhere then why would it evade the temple of learning? 

Flattery does get you far if you use it at the right places or on the right people. Don't look surprised. It's a widely accepted fact. However, let's take heart as not everyone can be pleased so. It is terrible when this happens though. There are so many students out there who may be only average but work hard and not to be able to reap the fruits of their labours is painful to say the least.

Favouritism exists and is an evil but how do you nab it? There's really nothing one can do indeed which leaves those who aren't politically inclined to be left out in the cold. 

It is a pity for such weighing on scales here actually decides the merit of the students. How does one know whether the examiner has merely skimmed through the paper or is feeling frustrated or bored and venting it out through the marks? It's like a game of dice. It's not what you write that counts to some extent your luck does too.

If the gods cruelly play the game of dice with us, many students will testify how they too have met the same fate albeit through mortals.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

So What If I'm Studying Arts? - To Each His Own

It is aggravating. if I've ever contemplated murder this would be the closest I could get.

"But why have you opted for arts? You got good percentage in 12th..."

If I were a dog this would be the time to raise my hackles.

(With a much perplexed shake of head) "There is not much scope. You won't earn much."

Mind your own business I feel like yelling.

"You want to be a writer! They are normally very poor."

Correction, who said contemplate murder? Someone pass me a knife...

I can never stomach these conversations. Intolerable just doesn't sum it up. I shall never really fathom why this bias exists. The world can't be populated with people just from commerce and science. Nor can only arts rule it. Everyone brings something to the table eventually. We need our farmers and cowherds and gardeners just as much as we need our politicians. 

BUT... It doesn't make the least sense to be so stereotypical to one stream of thought. Don't worry I shall not launch into defense of the arts campaign. I'm more interested in a platform where I can rant my rage at those fools (Ah! for once I agree with Pamuk's Hoja!) for repeating the same things again.

To each his own. Can't see why everyone should follow the bandwagon after all.


Modern Vampires - Let's Not Be TOO Sun Shy Ladies!
It's not only vampires who are shy of the sun. Come summer and you'll find our ladies here to be as sun shy (though considerably less than the ones in sunscreen ads) as the undead.

Out come the duppattas, elbow gloves and cotton jackets. Sun shades are also now in vogue. The sun which we never really mind in childhood is now transformed into a mortal terror. Premature ageing, skin cancer, dark spots and all the jargon of the sunscreen ads dot the lips hidden under layers of lip balm with SPF 15 sunscreen.

Had we been as lucky as the Cullens and had that diamond glow (or whatever it is supposed to be) I'm sure that the cosmetic companies would face a depression.

A little sun is surely good for everyone as let's remember we are mortals and not vampires. Unlike the dew fairy we needn't worry of evaporating in the sun.

The Funny Side of a Catastrophe

I felt as if I'd received a high voltage shock. I blinked and gasped in horror as I looked at my marks. Impossible was the word that kept running across my eyes. How could I have scored so low? If I'd expected this it wouldn't have been so bad but not to have expected such a thing was - horrible! Where was ESP or Macbeth's witches? Why hadn't there been hail and thunder all night? How could the morning be so bright and promising?

I won't get into all the tears and drama that followed. That wouldn't be remotely amusing. Unless of course I wanted to play the tragic heroine. Yes, then indeed there is great scope for I'm rather good at crying! But the funny side is what I rather dwell on. As Eliot said, true writing only begins when the grief is put aside - though I'm not sure he'd wholly approve of my style.

Thus, I put on a brave face hiding my great woe. Sniff, sniff... I hope you can empathise on that front with me. Actually I'm happy that happened. I've never had such a jolt in the past twenty years of my life so this was a new experience. Though not pleasant. 

It's fascinating how tiny things can move us so much if we give them such a lot of importance. That made me re-consider certain things. Many times in life we feel that people or the situation we are in is stifling or hurting us. Is it really true or are we the ones who are granting it that power? 

Indulging in the grief of the moment is fine I guess but I think I'll go along with Donne's 'Valediction Forbidding Moaning'. I hereby affirm that I will mourn no longer on the pyre of my futile marks on that paper. Or else I'll content myself with heroically bearing the grief of the moment!    

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Let's Have Some Peace!
Peace is considered to be highly elusive. Probably akin too the elusive butterfly of happiness. We even have books on the topic providing a blow by blow account on the steps one must take to arrive at the doorstep of peace. What truly is peace? it can't merely be silence nor can it just be peace of mind. Can it be something we carry with us throughout our day?

It clearly is subjective for peace can be attained from the pursuit of a goal, achievements or even something as simple as eating a bar of chocolate  Perhaps there are varieties in the peace to be had. The common sort of peace, the spiritual peace, the enlightened peace, the I've-finally-got-what-I-want-now-I-can-take a break kind of peace. 

What really counts is no matter which type we are seeking we should be able to hold on it enough to be content for a few moments in life before launching into the chaos of living again.

Who Said Women are BAD Drivers?
When there is an accident on the street and the passers by see that a woman was the cause you might have heard the refrain "Oh, no wonder there was an accident!"

When I watch my friend Sheeja driving I do feel there might be some truth in that. In her case at least. According to her, turning or driving on a busy road is mortal peril equivalent to battling with a dragon. Sheeja on a scooty pep is a stiff mannequin of her normal self.

But that doesn't mean that mars isn't a bit funny behind the wheel. I've seen guys who are so busy looking at themselves in the rear view mirror that they invariably find pride goes to a fall or rather skid.

It's too stereotypical to label women as bad drivers always. Unless of course it is a ploy used by male drivers to increase their self esteem or confidence.    

Life Beyond Books
Being a bit of a book worm myself let me warn you that this article does not absolve our species from the act of reading.

However, realistically speaking, books aren't everything. Now that I've said it, I'll quietly await the time Hermoine Granger will take to put a hex on me for saying that.

True knowledge (without meaning to preach) cannot merely reside within the pages of a book. Since, we are living in this world it is important that we know about life around us. It just won't do to imagine all the wisdom of the world contained in a tome for there cannot be theory enough to describe all our manifold experiences.

In a way, living life outside books will give us a chance to ponder on the lessons we have learnt within their lines. Thus, we can glean more wisdom from practical experience and also by falling back on theoretical knowledge.

Most writers would agree with the point of view that in order to capture the essence of life one must live it first. 

Little things in Life

Stuart Little would endorse this. In life with all our chasing after BIG dreams, goals, ambitions, promotions, marks, salary packages...whew!... we need to step out a moment and look at the little things. Things as simple and wonderfully free as the fresh cool winter air, the roadside flowers, a goat standing atop a car to nibble at the leaves of a tree overhead...

 Don't we normally miss the glory of the mornings? The subtle way the sun rises and the sky changes its colours... the birds chirping and the tang of ginger tea (adrak chai)... Or even the morning greetings to our loved ones and the early morning hurry of each day.

Aren't these tiny moments ones that take us to our safe places when we our under stress? Aditi Mam did say once that no matter how old you are you do feel the jitters before giving a presentation. That was depressing as I was hoping through the passing of age to lose some of my too nervy nerves before a speech.

When I had to give one last time no confident boosters or meditation helped ease my worry. Instead I savoured the fragrance of dal and saw myself standing in the kitchen with my prince charming (I wouldn't call him that without sarcasm) who was busily cutting vegetables. That was my comfort zone and a memory that seemed more cherishable than a dozen awards.

I think we would all be much happier if we could remember this more often.

Why Talk About Sin? - No Paster Manders, no more talk of sin

Religion in most cases would be truly poetical if the judge's hammer didn't fall on every second step. Sin seems to be the main concern of most devoted people (I mean the "'thou shall not sin' but I can" ones).

Sinning has become a rather loose term if you'd excuse the unintentional pun. Eating chocolate too has now entered the ranks of a sin, what next?
Is it so necessary for adults to have a boogey man to scare them away from doing wrong? 

The worst of this scenario is when some folks insist on taking each sin at its literal value.

Even worse than this is when individuals go to the opposite end. Why must one consider this life a vale of tears? Ibsen in his play 'Ghosts' has brought this point out rather finely.

It would be indeed terrible to think of the sins of parents being passed on to their children. Isn't that condemning innocents to suffer? To compel a person to bear an unfair cross while one merely watches content in the peace of one's life is a farce.

It is easy to say that another should do this or that but when the burden falls on oneself then we bend the rules.

Paster Manders willingly placed the cross on Helen's shoulders for aferall, it is easier to see another suffer than suffer yourself.

When the Truth Goes Unheard
To believe that the truth always triumphs is like believing in Utopia. Not wanting to throw cold water on our fond hopes let us not jump to the conclusion on the other extreme, that truth may never out.

It would be fatal to think that truth can always win as thinking back to our own personal experiences, has it always been the case?

I remember vividly how I was once accused of stealing a pencil case in the 6th grade. It was a terrible moment for try as I might the teacher refused to believe me. It is a pity indeed that in most cases we find people are more easily lead on by lies than the plain truth.  

Imagine if your friend were to say as she displayed her newly brought dress and asked "Don't I look slimmer in this?" and you truthfully (much to her mortification) replied, "No, I think it's much the opposite..."

Perhaps white lies aren't so bad after all. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Love Triangle Diversified

The Love Triangle is much feared (by those entrapped in it) and causes much amusement to the observers. However, it would be an over generalisation to believe it to only confine lovers. Why can't one's parents too become one angle while the other is caught by Mr or Ms Right? This is more common a theme to our Indian love sagas. Me, my boy/girlfriend and my parents.

Either way it is funny when you think about it. Who do you favour and how do you remain balanced? This is something most ladies will be more familiar with. At times even the smallest of actions can raise a debate just because one party feels neglected. Rather childish perhaps, but aren't we all children at heart?

For example on the other evening I heard a young girl say to her boyfriend in a shoe shop, "What! You are buying such expensive shoes for your mother and on Diwali you bought me much cheaper ones! That means you don't love me...." etc etc.

There can be far more tricky situations as when your parents say one thing and your other half suggests another. So, who's point would you go along with? if by chance you agree with either one then ten to one, the other party will feel snubbed. 

The best comedies are indeed family dramas.

What the Humble Lizard Taught Me

I could never understand Gerald Durrell's fixation for creepy crawlies. I've always had an innate run-away reflex as far as the are concerned. However, I to this day maintain that no Zen master could have taught me about fear so well, as did the humble lizard which resides rent free in my garden.

It began with quite a bang or a semi heart attack for me. I shifted a pot as I was tidying and lo and behold! Out of nowhere a lizard appears and dashes straight towards me. It felt as bad as being attacked by a bull.

Before I could react the lizard had scampered over my foot and run off behind another pot. I realised I could breathe again. It then hit me that though in a way I had been attacked the lizard hadn't stuck to my leg like most of us suppose. It had seemed more interested in scampering off than sticking to my clothes or parts of my anatomy.

That was an eye opener. The second revelation was that it hadn't really been an unpleasant experience. I felt no revulsion for it as it hadn't been even faintly as gross as I thought it's skin would be.

Furthermore, it was obviously more scared or equally as scared as I was of it. 

It was at that point of time when I lost all fear for it and could even think kindly of a lizard. Here, I was getting worried about a lizard that was harmless and more intimidated with me. How many times in life do we fear some object or person to only later realise how very contrary our beliefs have been to reality!       

Woman Empowerment - Mere Varnish for Rape on the Rise

Empowerment of woman. An instance of how two faced things can get. On one hand we boast about the increasing power women weld. And on the other? We sigh as we see the rape statistics rise.

It is not because of the way they dress. Or because they are out late. Or even because men feel threatened by their sudden assertiveness. these too share a part but it cannot be the sole cause.

If a human being were to respect another this wouldn't be the case. How is it that in the land where women are the goddesses that we find the greatest acquittals for such an offence?

Why is it that our women our groped in public streets or that men leer at them at bus stands? Why must the lady be so conscious of her body even when as a young child?

We have shied over the sexual topic. The education we so smugly believe school imparts is all biology. If some parents do talk they get over with it after skating through the biology.

What about love? What about respect? We being humans do not indulge in such passions merely for procreation. Thus, where do the emotions go? Aren't we debasing this act? It is no surprise these men handle lust like animals.

Who will cultivate the sense in them that a woman's body is merely crafted for desire? The media isn't the only culprit. What's lacking is our own common sense.  

The Raven Song

Pride of one's roots in nature or heritage is something that is on the decline. Most Native Canadian writers have brought this out beautifully. One almost envies the beauty of the ties they share. True closeness with nature - a feeling of Nature as a truly living being is a rarity.

It makes one feel so isolated in a way to lack the sense of family or sharing life. Makes one life so 'I centric' and truly, how many of us take time to make things easier for someone else.

Nature to us is trees and mountains or Wordsworth's poetry. Ever imagine saying to a ginger root as you cut it ' I'm sorry I'm hurting you but I thank you for the nourishment you give?" It suddenly ones a whole new avenue to life. It would be lovely if we too could believe in the fact that each individual was unique and had his/her own contributions.

With globalisation we will all incorporate newer cultures. Instead of falsely holding on to roots we no longer understand would it not be better if we fertilised them with traditions from other lands? What matters is that in the end of the day we have something to fall back on. Something that stops us from losing our minds in a world that shall forever hold chaos and tranquility.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Multitasking Computer - that's what they expect from women

A woman should be beautiful. She should have admirers. Though she may have a list of men after her she must only succumb to Mr Right (That's a tough one). She should be dainty and also refined. Yet, she should be able to do all the chores. Even if she's a professional she should be an ace cook. A woman who can't cook is an abomination. 

Whew! That's just a few things on that list. There's unfortunately too much more to go. 

After ladling out all these duties how can anyone expect a woman to be weak I wonder? Even physically. Washing dishes and clothes, cooking and cleaning, mothering, a job... all these things need discipline, strength and endurance.  

"You can't please them all' too is much relevant in her life. She struggles to manage all the varied people and cater to their wants but yet; somehow she always seems to be falling short. Why else would they rather drown their infant daughter in milk?

Why IDEA is a Bad IDEA : Jaago Grahak Jaago

It is a terrible feeling to be cheated. Especially when it seems there is no remedy.

A minute before my internet balance said 250 MBs and now after I barely loaded my gmail page it became nil.

Horrification settled over me as I fanatically tried connecting the system again. In frustration I rang up the call centre. With dogged determination I spoke to the representatives for a solid two hours. when was the common man or woman made feel more helpless or at loss? Their systems showed I had exhausted my balance. What my eyes said was easily dismissed. It was infuriating. 

I didn't need an ocean before me to feel my insignificance in the world population or the fact that Idea had millions of customers. If they cheated one so well, what about the rest?

It had happened again. The first time they had extracted 397 MBs and now this! When I went to the Idea Care outlet all I got was a good view of how little they care. The manager there personally erased all the data from my device without telling me. 

How do they calculate? How do we know what's going on that side? 

In that two hour marathon call I was as stubborn as any Taurean. I wanted the truth. I wasn't taking this without giving them hell. The supervisors there; unable to solve my query unceremoniously cut the call and even added my number to their reject list.

What one can't fathom is why they must steal from the customer when they are being paid for the service? is it because no one has given them a hard time?

Uninor had done the same to me. They cut 32 rupees from my balance over some caller tune I hadn't activated. It happens to everyone now-a-days. However, when I complained they returned the money. 

Isn't it time we all wake up from the stupor we seem to be in and demand some honesty?

Let's learn from Idea's tag line: AN IDEA CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE... for better or for worse?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Wedding Resume

The world revolves around resumes. A successful resume ensures not only a good job but also a spouse! How true Jane Austen was when she commented through the character of Mr Bingley in Pride and Prejudice; how every young lady is described as accomplished.

Recently I received a fresh intelligence from a friend on this topic. It seems that now not only cooking and education are skills looked for in the prospective bride. We have modernised and thus, computer efficiency too is required. I haven't received specifications on this front too nor has dictation or sorting out e mails reached this list. Otherwise we'd have the additional burden of seeing the prospective bride an accomplished secretary as well.

Therefore, what scientist have debated about and pondered over is coming true. Gadgets are taking over our life! How much simpler life was for Austen's heroines while our modern lasses are compelled to learn a dozen of new skills while they still, retain the traditional ones! 

Worm Eaten - A Sadly Common Story

In Psychology there is a technique of introspection of the subject. An object is given and the subject must write a story on it. The lady concerned here wrote on an apple. As she wrote the story of the imaginary apple she was not on a complete flight of fancy. She without knowing it, wrote a story about her life. The life that had lead her to her madness. A life which wasn't as cruel as the lives of many other women before and after her. Yet this was enough to unhinge her for it too was beyond bearable.

One line hurt me the most though she was but a stranger to me. "I have been slowly eaten by a worm", she wrote, " it gradually ate away my whole physical being till all that was left was nothingness..."

It doesn't matter what the sex of the individual who is voicing this cry is. What matters is the terrible plea from the soul which is sexless. What right do we have to torture anyone so?

I cannot merely leave it at a generalisation that it is merely a woman's lot to feel so. But one mustn't ignore the fact that we find more women than men succumbing to mental illness. Not because of weakness. Nay, if half of them had been weak then the world would be populated with lunatics. 

How much can a human soul endure. And dear reader, how much more can a human soul inflict on another in pain and suffering?

A Stone for Luck

Sticks and stones may break no bones but the humble stones may provide luck! Move over Harry Potter's Felix luck potion and move in a score of rings laden with different coloured stones.

While one may be for luck, another may be to sooth that molten temper while yet another could cause the wearer to feel relaxed!

I'm sure they do have some effect otherwise people won't bother to carry that weight on their fingers. However, it does get a tad out of control. You may have seen people with every finger decked with the appropriate ring. Now that seems going further than too far.   

How can anyone accuse the human race of lacking the faculty of fate or belief in these modern times when this craze is still around. More than some religious emblem you'd fine people sporting these rings.

The charmed sellers of these charmed wares have thoughtfully set shop right outside my university. Thus, in case you feel under prepared for an exam all you have to do is procure the right ring!

The True Kerala

Kerala tourism. God's own country. Blah Blah.

It was ironical.

Ironical because the real Kerala which never featured in these advertisements or social studies textbooks is no heaven. Nor is the literacy rate students are compelled to memorise in school as the highest in the country really reflecting the prevalent ignorance. 

What good is education if what you are left it is rampant discrimination? It is true that the female population here is educated but look beyond the statistics! Passing twelfth grade is no longer called 'an education'. And for all the prevalent English discourse; why are the people there so alarmingly backward?

I mean to offend no one by this view. I rather merely request that we try to do something to stop this chaos in our country. Is this the place we want to bring tourists too? Perhaps to confirm their notion of savages in the greenery though that is taking the point too far. 

A friend of mine who's maternal home is there quite aptly summed it by saying to me with a shake of her head, that what Kerala was full of was politics. Yes, there was greenery and beauty but then there was the power cut. Everyday people sleep at around 7 or 8 pm and the disappearing act of the electricity is the norm.

Girls are supposed to cover themselves top to toe. Cover your bosom with a duppatta safely safety pinned in three different places. Clothes should be loose fitting and hair combed back in plaits and steeped in oil. Even after you do this you are not safe from the dogs of the road. Or rather the men and boys who oogle at you as if you were out especially in order that you hear that pointless remarks. And on no occasion will the lady be tolerated to step out after 7pm. That is the curfew time for the fair sex.

Besides all this, all that thick shrubbery does aid the common thief. The darkness which the electricity board's laxness causes adds to the charm of an early evening robbery. Afterall, most people there are fast asleep by 8pm.

If this is God's heaven then I'm not too sure that hell is repulsive.  

I Thank the Baroda Police for Arresting a Man Who Stole 10 Rs Desi Daaaru(Alcohol)

Gujarat is a dry state. Translation: you may get alcohol under the counter if not over. More elaborate translation; you needn't worry about the police. They make enough money from the alcohol sellers and thus, they may even fine you in case you are caught to make a little extra money.

I won't take names but the man I'm talking about was dragged off rather regularly for being drugged. It so happened that yesterday the police beat him up as the alcohol seller and his wife complained he had stolen Rs 10/- worth desi daaru from them. The police beat him up infront of passers by. We don't need sports like Gladiators in India. We have enough of such antics in open public display.

The alcohol seller too began venting out his anger. Our Indian women are rather submissive and know their place. Thus, his wife too launched on a slapping match as she slapped the poor culprit with the gusto of a professional.

Then he was locked up and fined.

End of story.

The wind may be dry here in the summer but - well, the rest is for you to decide. It must be a dry state... this must be a stray act right? How naive can one be?    

All This Debate On Weight

Global warming, terrorism, corruption and the like; do not hold our attention as much as one topic does. How to stay slim or how to lose weight etc etc, is what has caused the world to be populated with more books and CD's and even yahoo answers. 

I have a friend who makes a point of always asking me with increasing alarm : Do you think I've become a bit thinner?

I'm happy I don't own a weighing machine or I too might have kept jumping on it oft and on after a binge.

It just won't help if we try to turn back time and ponder where this obsession  unhealthy as it is for some; actually started. Most of the models we see of the goddess Venus are quite the opposite to size zero.

Just recently a classmate of mine quite seriously declared that she would walk briskly to the hostel in a miraculous attempt to lose a kilo. Quite inaccurate or too rose tinted an image. But, looking at the bright side one must commend the aspirating spirit beneath.

It won't do to say a healthy weight is enough if that healthy weight leaves a few bulges. Let's face it, no one is going to change their view or secret worry. Nor am I. 

Beauty is Only Skin Deep? - Who are we kidding?

Aesop in his fable said 'Beauty  is skin deep' and we like the hypocrites we are go around commending this while actually in our heart of hearts we know how true it really is. Eyes demand beauty for whether or not we be artist or aestheticians, we all crave for some eye candy. It is a great first impression maker.

But why then in the end of the day should we stick to this proverb? Is it for consolation to ourselves or others? Yes, I'm not as pretty as I should be and all those cosmetics aren't helping so since beauty isn't skin deep who cares? If we are so impressed with beauty why should we hide it?

Beauty parents still abound, though they look more like catering to the list of life like Barbie dolls than real beauty. That leads us to another concept: just what is beautiful? How do you measure it? What is the criteria? 

One does pity the leopard though. It's beautiful spots put it at risk as people do covet its fur. Considering that, yes beauty is literally skin deep but it doesn't apply to our mental make-up.  

Monday, 14 November 2011

Who Do We Blame?

It is a typical situation that has probably been repeated all over the world sometime or the other. The teacher or professor hands you your dreaded answer sheet after a shower of red ink has been liberally used to decorate it and you see that you have done worse than your wildest nightmare.
If we are all puppets in the hands of the gods then by now they certainly should have got tired of this scene. It seems they haven't and to the grief of the general population of students this unfortunate transaction is repeated too often for comfort.

It is surprising how many different things are at fault for such results. Either the teacher was bad, the syllabus too lengthy, the questions out of context or too tricky; and a host of other reasons or rather excuses.

If you score badly the first person to get a bad look is the subject teacher. Astonishingly if one does score well it's usually due to one's hard work and not because the techer teaches well or the paper was easy!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Has Mankind Evolved?

Yes, we have, haven't we? From made simple inventions like the wheel we have made tremendous progress. Have we altered however, mentally? Just like those savages we were of bygone days who were ready to kill as they was no law against murder- we still do, though there is such a law. It is our reasons that have change. A  rather prominent trend is killing in the name of religion. The real cause is however, more akin to intolerance.

Can we call ourselves civilised when during riots many plunder shops or add to the chaos? Are we civilised when we resolve a traffic accident with fist fights and swearing? Can we really call a civilised man a person who wouldn't mind pocketing money that isn't his and does so with a certain pride?

Darwin was right about how well we adapt. We all have adapted so well to this sorry scheme of things that we hardly realise that the world we live in is more in danger of being killed by our inhumane actions than by our enviornmental ones.

A Leaf Out of Wuthering Heights

When judging people we always keep coming across this grey area. They can't be confined to black or white. To say Heathcliff was all bad would be childish. It doesn't do to raise ourselves morally by adding to his heap of sins. Why shouldn't Hindley too take the blame or Catherine as well? It seems so easy to accuse someone of turning out bad or not conforming to our notion of the world. But, must the world be always populated with saints?

   Have we till now found that region within our hearts where no evil flits? There must be a bit in everyone just as darkness is inseparable from the light. This isn't an argument to excuse such conduct. It is eventually our characters that lead to the formation of our personalities. Thus, on one end we have a weak Linton taking care of his daughter after his wife's demise. On the other we have a strong Hindley neglecting his son.

Perhaps this is what constitutes the eternal charm of great literature. The characters were as true to the times they were crafted in as the depictions of their personality and motives are now in the present.  

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Religious Farce

It was yet another procession. The police men who followed the followers energetically flourished their batons diverting traffic trying unsuccessfully to restore order amongst the chaos. Not that it made any difference as the people in the procession started raining flowers on the enormous 10 foot idol being wheeled along in a truck. The road lay littered with flowers and paper trodden underfoot adding to the mess.

People ran and lay money at the feet of the idol as the music of popular songs from movies played. Was this worship? All this pointless display and waste of money while the idol serenely looked on.

Do we think the gods we worship to be as petty as we ourselves are that they would be pleased with all this drama? In a starving country like India where recently infants have died of hunger won't it be better to give food to the poor that spend it so carelessly? Isn't that what religion preaches? That one should help others... from when has extravagance become its new tenet.   

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dog Eat Dog

We may not achieve success in many of our endeavours. Nor can we stand watching the success of others. In the book 'The Inscrutable Americans we have a rather interesting point put across when the writer comments on how most people do their utmost to downgrade those who they feel are superior to them on any front. Praise or genuine wishes of success are a rarity as most people are so fixated on their own personal gains that being generous to others seems going a stretch too far.

We tend to rather wish ill luck than good luck to those we view to be our competitors safe in the knowledge that they probably wish us the same.

What matters eventually is that we don't metamorphorise into mean hearted beings by the time we finally reach the top rung of the ladder of our ambitions. If we do, it's no one's loss but ours.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Saas-Bahu Serials? - How to craft a never ending story with the same plot line

They say that plot lines should be different only then will views be entertained. Our Saas-Bahu show producers however, know that the more melodramatic and highly improbable the plot the better the TRP. The more the heroine is decked with jewellry, the more tears she sheds, the more plots of the vamps... the more interested viewers get. 

If the women who view this are the educators or rather teachers of values in a family; God help their children!

The portrayal is stereotypical to the extreme and yet it wins audiences. How? That is a question only the viewers can answer. I cringe at the thought of what international audiences would think of such telly portrayal. What kind of idea would they get of Indian culture and tastes? The names of these serials are irritating enough. In English they are even worse:

Story of every house (
Kahani ghar ghar ki)

Because a mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law (
Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi)

To name the most famous of the lot.


Look Who's Talking - The Art of Hypocrisy

"You shouldn't do this..." "You shouldn't do that..."

Very common expressions indeed. Mostly heard from the mouths of our much beloved religious leaders. Aren't they caught to be Satan incarnates behind the scenes?

Most of the Baba's that we tend to moon about later are found to be more on the pinnacles of wrong than on the mountain of truth as we so fervently believe.

They indeed turn out to be better than most crooks at hoodwinking our trusting population. It does make us look as dumb sheep when we later find out all the tricks they have been up to and all the money they have made out of fooling their followers.

This keeps occurring time and again while we continue to get carried away by the next two-faced candidate.

Some believe even the most far fetched of their claims from resurrection, reincarnation and god-knows-what-else. It seems remarkable that more than two times bitten we still remain in no way shy.

Myself So-and-So

After all those articles we've read ridiculing our Indian brand of English it would be good to say something in its favour.

Recently, I heard of a new constellation. The 'Great Beer' i.e. 'Bear'. Now there's no harm done in naming it otherwise though it is confusing. But, can't you see the opportunity of mirth that it presents? Free laughs for all.

There's no need to be 'soory' or rather 'sorry about it. We have made a new form of English quite different from that which we have been force fed. This shows our originality. Be proud of all our linguistic variations.

As for this intolerable fixation with the word 'dear'. From letter writing it moves on to usage everywhere even in chat rooms.

Example: What are you doing dear? Dear are you online? Dear please bear with me... etc etc etc.

Oh, dear me there's another worse one than that. People in heat of irritation have often even said "How dear you" instead of "How dare you".

But all in all we have been successful of propagating this new variety in the English language. You'll find it spicing all corners of the country. Long may it live to spread smiles around. Right dear?   

Who Said Marks Weren't Important?

Marks are important. If you've heard otherwise it is a lie. It is one of those things which are sadly true. Even I wish it was otherwise but that would be mere rose tintedism. We are unconsciously programmed into being impressed by high grades. Isn't that the reason exam stress is more in the aftermath when results are approaching?

One wonders whether it is only the psychological need of achievement that makes us so. Or is it the direct result of social conditioning? Students have killed themselves literally over low grades. We all say that yes, they shouldn't have. Academic performance isn't the only measure of potential in life. At the same time we ourselves view others in this light.

Typical neighbour example:

Neighbour 1: Mrs Gupta have you heard the H.S.C results are out! My daughter has got 87.01% !!!!!!!!!

Neighbour 2: (wearily) Oh, yes I heard. Congratulations. Now if you'll excuse me...

Neighbour 1: How much did your daughter score? Even when i was checking Priyanka's report card online I was praying that Sacchi would atleast pass.

Neighbour 2: (embarrassed but resigned) She has managed to score 65%

Neighbour 1: Oh, well it is tolerable. She has passed and done better than I thought she could... Though yes, it is very low....

With such a state of affairs what more it there to say?    

Do We Need a Shepherd?

Religion to the masses has become a crutch. Something that guides them and makes making tough decisions easier. A conformist's life is a lot less complicated than a rebels. The problem comes in when people cease to think and the dictates of religion become even more holier than the law.

The worst is that we tend to be very stringent regarding the gloomier aspects of religion than its universal love philosophy.

This was seen in India in the case of Sati which is still prevalent at times. Then also, there is the view that a person of another religion is unclean because he may consume the flesh of a forbidden animal.

In a way it is very much like spoon feeding. If we believe ourselves to be mature and independent human beings are we justified in being blind conformers to some tradition or rite and ritual passed down through the centuries of which we now do not even understand the true purpose.

Religion must too evolve as mankind does for to remain stagnant is to propagate decay.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Neither Black Nor White

This fascination with Africa is surprising. Actually, the way it is portrayed in most works borders on more of a fascination from the grotesqueness than from the richness of its civilisations and culture. For centuries we have been trying to understand why this mere different in pigmentation of the skin has caused all this demarcation, hate and contempt.

It is good to be colour blind sometimes. The amount of times people have been reminded that colour doesn't matter must exceed the amount of humans on this planet. Yet, it is a lesson most forget. 

In India where most of us have brown skin we still are obsessed with the shades of it. Especially in women. Fair is fair literally speaking and thus, the tone of one's skin which is more a matter of heredity than choice is something that has given the skin lightening market such a steady amount of patrons.

When it isn't our skin then why should we bother of what colour another's skin is like save for maybe a painter painting or for physical description?

This in 2011 is still as much as an enigma as it was when in the eighteenth century efforts were made to erase all trace of the Nubian pharaohs.

Some say even Cleopatra was black. What difference does it make?