Sunday, January 27, 2008

Public Mis-awareness Campaign

A recent ad on TV, which claims to be a public awareness campaign, shows a self-important 10-year old telling his family about his scores in various subjects. The conversation goes on like this:

Family: "Maths?"
10 yr old with mock disappointment: "93"

Family: "Science?"
10 yr old with mock-er disappointment: "96"

Family: "And what about Rahul?"
10 yr old with a wide grin and thumbs-down: "0"

Family: "Why?"
10 yr old with absolute delight: "Chicken Pox. He didn't come to the school at all."

Family smiles nastily as if Rahul has acted foolish by contracting chicken pox.

And all this in the name of a "public awareness campaign" for a Chicken Pox vaccine. I would request the great people behind this ad to spare us their concern for our well-being. Some other child falling sick should raise nothing else but compassion in everyone. But these amazingly conceited people make completely innocent kids act mean and selfish and derive happiness out of others' sufferings on screen. This message is then telecast to millions of impressionable minds.

World is mean and materialistic enough. We definitely don't need such blatant pokes on our subconscious to make it worse. I wonder what kind of human beings wrote the script of this irresponsible ad and who approved it. People with such sadistic approach to life should not be on such important positions.

Thanks, but no thanks. We are better unaware than being aware like this. Less of us are likely to die of chicken pox than of meanness and unkindness in the next year.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sanyasini - My interpretation

Sanyasini

Here is a small sketch that I made some time back. To be frank, this sage was not intended to look like this. Atleast not her expressions. But it is her expressions that I find most enigmatic. The lady is clearly a sage, a glamorous one though, but her eyes don't suit her face. In fact, I was about to erase them and draw them again but then I guess the general aura that these eyes are giving this plain sketch made me change my mind.


To me the eyes don't seem like those of a sage (sanyasini or fakiran). They are seductive and convey a desire that a sage is not supposed to have. In fact would be considered sinful. She seems to be inviting or rather challenging onlookers to try to break the eye contact. She looks coy and carries the airs of Scarlett O' Hara in Margaret Mitchel's novel "Gone with the Wind". She looks like the one who by raising her little finger can make men fall all around her. But then this personality does not seem proper for a sage, does it?

But I guess this is a reality in itself. As a sage, she is unattainable and as a seductress, she is irresistable. Almost like the desires in our life that are unattainable but keep haunting us forever and dodging us when we try to reach out for them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In Search of my Purpose

For the past few months, I have been pondering upon the purpose of my existence on this earth. Everyone has a purpose or, as Po Bronson says in his book "What should I do with my life?", a calling. In fact, it is this book which has helped me to get motivated enough to attempt seeking my calling.




Anyways, Po Bronson's book talks about many who have faced the same dilemna that I am facing and have successfully found answers to this. One important step towards figuring your purpose out is to figure out what you really feel about. So as a first step I will try to figure out things that I care about.

Hmm, so here it is:
1) I definitely feel angry when I see any kind of a bias - Race, Gender, Caste, Color.
2) I feel angry when people litter or talk thanklessly about trees, rivers, animals, and nature in general
3) I feel angry when someone tries to impose their views on someone else through force and violence
4) I feel sad when I hear about people cheating others
5) I like studying about the weather
6) I like writing
7) I like sketching

Out of this list, I feel most passionately about Gender bias and destruction of nature.

The second step would be to figure out what I can do about these two passions and how I can make a difference to the society. Now this will require some research and therefore will be in another blog post.

Au Revoir for now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rose Bud

Morbid Warning: If you don't like to read about death, I would advise you not to proceed. The writing is, however, the least I could do for a cousin to whom justice was denied even after she died.

No one knows who killed her. The only thing that is known for certain is that she had last been seen with a school friend at the market. The school friend accepts that she was with her but did not know where she went after the market.

No one knows how she was killed. However, she was found with a wound on her head next to the railway tracks where the high speed Shatabdi Express runs. Some say that she was drawn in by a passing train. But her wounds were too few for this kind of a ghastly accident.

No one knows how she died. Whether it was because of excessive bleeding from the wound on her head or some internal injury invisble to the entire world? All that is known is that she died in the hospital with her hand on her wounded head so that her bandage as well as her right hand were colored blood red when the corpse was claimed by the family.

No one knows whether it was an acquaintance or some stranger who did this. However, there are some reports that the hapless family received threats that had something to do with their second daughter in case they let the corpse be postmortemed.

No one knows whether she could have been saved. However, people do claim that they had seen her lying wounded since the evening. She was apparently unconscious as no one heard her murmer for help.

No one knows how she died. And no one cares any more. The only thing known for a fact is that a hundred sighs of relief arose from the town as soon as her pyre caught fire.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happily Re-married

It is all too easy for us to suggest that someone remarry after losing their spouse. But once someone does this, we go ahead and make life hell for the couple. Hypocrisy is too much a part of our society.

Most of the times, after losing a spouse, the bereaved spouse does not consider a remarriage for emotional reasons or society. Well-meaning relatives keep on suggesting that they find someone suitable and marry again. This happens mostly if the bereaved is youngish, lets say less than 45.

But marrying again is not an easy decision to take. Will you be able to love the new spouse the same way you loved the first one? Will your new spouse be comfortable with you? If you have children, you are worried how they will react to your marriage. Or how your new spouse will react to your children from the previous marriage? If all of these things work out, you get trapped in that very Indian question, what will people say? Or if you are lucky and all of the above work out, you worry about how much time should you wait after your spouse's passing away so that it appears proper. Some people will also worry about whether they will be hurting their earlier spouse's souls by remarrying.

Ok, suppose you cross all of the above stages and do marry someone again, you have to be prepared that you may face society's scorn over this very personal decision of your life. Many times the same people who sympathetically suggested that you remarry will talk behind your backs or may even go to the extent of boycotting you.

But in my opinion, these are small prices to pay for having a companion in the old age. Society will not help you out when you need someone to talk to when your children are married, when you are retired, or when you are ill. May be you should live for yourself for once.

The incident that triggered the monologue above was ugly and beautiful at the same time. I was attending a glossy marriage some time back. Though it is hard to notice anything in so much glitter, an elderly sikh couple caught my eyes. They were having their dinner alone. There were 4 more chairs around the table that they were occupying but no one seemed inclined to take them. It was strange because there was hardly any space to set foot, but people preferred to keep standing instead of sitting on that table. All of the other tables were fully occupied. I did not see anyone greeting the old couple or even smiling at them. They were also looking only at each other or at the food in their plates.

I asked my mom-in-law why this kind of a treatment was being inflicted upon them. She answered in a matter-of-fact way "This old man remarried after all his children had been married. His wife had passed away long back." This did not seem to be a reason enough for this kind of a treatment but apparently that was whole of it. Why invite the couple if you don't want to acknowledge their presence? I wondered why the couple had chosen to come to a wedding where their presence was not only unnecessary, but even ridiculed. They obviously did not seem to need to be a part of the clan as they looked pretty happy and content with each other. This does not mean that they should live a secluded life, but I think they should only mingle with people who are open-minded enough to accept the fact that it was perfectly alright that the couple had chosen to go on with their lives after losing their spouses.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sunrise from my balcony

Date: 1/15/2008

7:06 AM
Sunrise

7:13 AM
Sunrise

7:17 AM
Sunrise

7:21 AM
Sunrise

7:23 AM
Sunrise

Colors of the sky reflected in the windows of the apartments across the road
Sunrise

Monday, January 14, 2008

Artist

Nature paints new pictures everyday. Each different, and each beautiful. I have the priviledge to be able to view sunrise from my balcony though the sunset is hidden behind high rise buildings. Each sunrise is unique and reminds you how lucky you are. The color of the sky changes as often as life changes its course. Yesterday, I saw flocks of small birds diving around in the sky, today it was eagles who were circling the orange sky.

When the sun appears above the horizon, its crimson sphere is reflected in the apartment windows across the road and at times you have to stop and wonder whether you are actually witnessing this haunting exchange or is it a dream. The fumes of a high flying jet approaching the sun are glowing red and discernible from a great distance. Slowly the last star is extinguished and the entire sky turns bluish White.

Half-an-hour after the sun rise, if you look at the sun, you will never be able to believe that this is the same forbidding monster that was so gentle to your eyes a few minutes back. The sky looks white and all the colors vanish only to return in the opposite direction in the evening.

People say that it is bad luck to look at the sun set. But I beg to differ. Only lucky people get to view a site so beautiful. As the sun goes for a dip beneath the horizon, the stars that had been extinguished by the morning light again and start sparkling.

The beautiful painting of yesterday is wiped clean only to make the canvas ready for the next day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

At the beginning

This is the title of one of my favorite songs sung by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis. The song also featured in the animated movie "Anastasia". The music and the tune is energetic and pleasant and makes you feel happy. For those who are interested, here is a link to the video:

Video - At the Beginning

Here are the lyrics for those who want to karaoke :-):

-----
We were strangers
Starting out on a journey
Never dreaming
What we'd have to go through
Now here we are
And I'm suddenly standing
At the beginning with you

No one told me
I was going to find you
Unexpected
What you did to my heart
When I lost hope
You were there to remind me
This is the start

Life is a road
And I want to keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road
Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there
When the world stops turning
I'll be there
When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you

We were strangers
On a crazy adventure
Never dreaming
How our dreams would come true
Now here we stand
Unafraid of the future
At the beginning with you

Life is a road
And I want to keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road
Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there
When the world stops turning
I'll be there
When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you

I knew there was somebody somewhere
Like me alone in the dark
Now I know my dream will live on
I've been waiting so long
Nothing's gonna tear us apart

Life is a road
And I want to keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road
Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there
When the world stops turning
I'll be there
When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you

Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep going on....
Starting out on a journey
Life is a road and I wanna going
Love is river I wanna keep flowing
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you.
----

Monday, January 7, 2008

Indians are not Racists - and lets prove it.

Well, I have never seen cricket as dirty as in the current India vs. Australia cricket series. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Wrong decisions, tiffs, arguments, and the worse of them all, a ban on Harbhajan Singh who has been accused of Racial abuse against Andrew Symonds.

News channels are going crazy about this and all over the net there are angry comments for and against both the teams. If Australian team is making the racial discrimination story up to wrongly implicate Harbhajan, it is a dirty trick to play. But at the same time, if Harbhajan (which I doubt) did hurl racial abuse at Symonds, that is wrong too.

To people who advocate racial behaviour against Symonds just because there is an attitude problem in the Australian team members, I would like to say that this is not acceptable. Any kind of a discrimination against anyone is not acceptable. Especially we, Indians, should not become a part of this dirty, regressive behaviour because we have long been on the receiving end of racism and know exactly how it feels.

I think Indians should fight and not bear any discrimination against them. They should definitely not keep quiet at this point, but at least fellow Indian bloggers should refrain from indulging in Racism on net because even when India is progressing well and will soon be leading the world, we don't want to become a recist developed nation who has arrogant citizens. Indians are kind-hearted and we should stay that way. We should show the world how a super-power should behave.

Taare Zameen Par

which means "Stars on the earth" is a movie about a 9 year old boy, Ishaan, who suffers from dyslexia, which his parents and teachers fail to understand. As a result he undergoes physical and verbal abuse when he fails to pass his exams or fails to interact well with the children of his age. His family removes him from his school and packs him off to a boarding school so that he can be disciplined and get rid of his "attitude problem".

Being separated from his family, breaks Ishaan's spirits and he stops painting, at which he is really good. A temporary arts teacher is pained by Ishan's silence and tries to find out the cause of his depression. He reads his notebooks and identifies Ishaan's condition as dyslexia which had also affected him in his childhood.

After this, he visits Ishaan's family and tries to make them understand that their child needs emotional support. At first the father is defensive but later realizes the truth. By this time, with the help of the arts teacher, Ishaan improves his reading and writing skills and also starts painting again. When Ishaan wins an art competition in the school, his brilliance and intelligence is finally revealed to the world.

The movie is beautiful and a must watch especially for parents and teachers. Even for the rest of us, such movies make us see the light. The subtle taunts on the parents of the dyslexic child who is always expected to follow the footsteps of his brilliant elder brother are successful in touching the audience. I guess atleast 25% of the people who were watching the movie, came out as better people.

A job well done Aamir Khan.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Men, when will you get used to women around you?

I was shocked by the horrifying molestation of two women by a mob on the New Year's Eve. But the report published in HT today about a survey they conducted in Metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kokatta, Bangalore and Chandigarh, is all the more shocking. Have a look at it and please tell me that you were not one of those 500 men they questioned:

Indian males rear their ugly heads

What will it take to make these men look at females without passing any judgements about their characters? If a girl is having fun in a bar, who are you to decide whether she is a one-night stand material or a woman you want to marry and keep hidden inside your homes. She has not asked you to judge her. Guys, please accept that it is her life and only she has the right to choose how she wants to lead it. Yes, females have lives of their own too.

To start from the basics, guys please bear in mind the following things:
1) Women are human beings.
2) They breathe, think, feel, and live like you do.
3) Not being "homely" is not necessarily bad for a woman.
4) Women cannot be customized according to your fantasies of a "homely" girl just like you cannot be customized to be smart and modern if you are not.
5) Women can do tasks beyond the house-hold chores
6) Women have a right to let their hair down and you are no one to decide how they should do it or how they shouldn't.
7) The least you can do is to maintain a distance from her if you respect the fact that she is enjoying her life just like you are.
8) If a woman talks to you in a bar, there are many chances that she too is looking only for a "one-night stand". The choice is not only yours, it may be hers too.
9) Modern women don't like men with double standards. They may choose to be home makers but that again is their choice. Just because they wish to stay at home and think that they can do a better job making it, don't carry a superiority complex around you about the fact that you are the bread winners and don't think that it is their "place". Respect them for the comfort they bring to your homes.
10) Grow up and get used to women.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Safety - A right denied to Women

Ok, alright, A Happy New Year to all. But I really hope that the New Year teaches a really good lesson to those hooligans who took upon themselves the task of ensuring that atleast two girls in Mumbai never feel secure again in their lives. On New Year's Eve, these 2 girls stepped out to celebrate the occassion but fell prey to a perverted mob of men who molested and humiliated them.

If you want to be shocked, click on the following link:
Mob molests 2 Women on New Year's Eve

These girls had as much right to be out on road on the New Years Eve as the monsters who molested them. Who gave these men the assurance that they could get away with such a lecherouos and criminal behavior? A little drink and holiday spirit brought out the demons inside these men and bared them for all to see. The girls were ultimately saved by the police but I am sure that nothing can heal the scars on their psyches.

The thought that these men will now go back to their offices amongst female colleagues, or back to their colleges with female classmates, or even back to their families with female members is scary. If these men can behave like this in public, I shudder to think what they can do behind closed doors. No one is safe in their presence.
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