Mar 27, 2010

Don't turn off the lights..


Reams of News rolls and megabytes of celebrity endorsements have managed to get our Mother One Hour.
Yes, It is finally that day of the year when we decide to turn off the lights and all things electrical.

Its Earth hour today and in India, its from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

What struck me as odd was one particular comment made by famous Bangalore choreographer, when he said ".. I plan to lock up my house and hang out with my friends at a pub."
So does he not already do that on Weekends?!

We take and we take, all that we are and we consume and aspire to consume come from our Earth. It is not like we are importing any of the raw materials from Mars or Jupiter. Much to the chagrin of most manufacturers, the Earth is not a bottomless pit of good stuff.
While we have the luxury of electricity for our smallest needs, there are scores and millions of villages in India, where its Earth Hour every hour of every day (Except during elections).
To our poorer village cousins, this eloquent exercise of turning off our dependence on electricity is a fancy way to show off. Pretty much like how we (most ordinary Indians) think when Millionaires and Hollywood A listers decide to donate $20,000 to charity. 'Argh, whats the use?'
Right from the moment we wake up, why even when we are asleep, we are an ungrateful lot of consumers. We pretend that climate change and consumerism is not linked and prefer to bludgeon the poorer in our nation suffer.

Amidst all this brouhaha of coercing people to turn off the lights for 1 hour, how much are we changing?
Its not like we are going to shut down the internet servers or the air conditioning or stop traveling on vehicles that guzzle fossil fuels or even stop our single minded determination to plunder Earth in as many ways.

Its just 1 hour. 60 minutes. That's how much we managed to negotiate. I've heard of 8 minute abs, but 60 minutes? Are you kidding me?

Lights off will not lead to less energy being pumped into the grid and experts question any savings that this worldwide effort will contribute. Infact, in an event that will probably see at least 50 million people participating, experts consider any savings or a dip in demand to be wiped off by the significant surge of energy required to fire up thermal and gas stations after the global initiative.


However, its the thought that counts. But poor levels of awareness and acute dependence on anything electrical fails the purpose.
An average American that I spoke to didn't know what the 'Earth Hour' was. She was aghast at the concept and wondered how the world'll communicate and thought that 1 hour was "excessive"

I've got nothing against campaigns that herald change, but a globe that is divided yet united by our dependence on fossil fuels, no campaign is strong enough as the changing the way we live, travel and work.
Many drops make an ocean, perhaps we need to understand that many rivers make a ocean.

We cannot let our ignorance absolve us of our civic duties.
I fail to understand how our media loves to pick and choose what they want us to know. Within moments of the death of Micheal Jackson, Millions around the world wept and grieved, but 3 years on, ordinary Americans are woefully unaware of the Earth Hour.
An entire month was dedicated to playing hits of Micheal Jackson, but our Mother gets just 1 hour.

We have only ourselves to blame for the way we live.We leave our computers switched on at the end of the day. Why can't we spare a few seconds to turn off the monitor.
We like to let that fan running, that air conditioner cooling, and that lights turned on even when we are not in the room for long. Sure we can afford to pay our utility bills, but do we ever realize that what we are wasting is something that we could have saved but will never come back? The light that I left on, all night, just deprived another family of its energy needs.

All is not lost though and like diamonds in the rough, we have rare examples of people who are getting increasingly eco conscious. Its a small movement but a momentous beginning. Patches of communities off Las Vegas and other parts of the world who live off the grid, generating their own power using solar and geothermal energy, growing their food and living a eco friendly life that can be sustained.

Doomsday predictions will come true, not because God wants us to suffer, but because we are living off a planet that ain't getting any richer or bigger. Unlike businesses that expand, our Earth is not going to magically merge with another planet.

Climate change has its proponents and opponents. Most in the developed world think the current climate change is part of an ongoing cycle of how the earth is. They quote ancient ice ages and warmer times as their defense, but conveniently forget that every major change in global climate wiped off almost all of its inhabitants. Probably, they haven't been to villages and towns in countries like South America, Africa and Asia. Climate change is a reality here. And we cannot wish it away.

Come to think of it, the Earth is pretty much like most Indian voters. Our elected leaders stoop to conquer and once they get the seat, they are pretty much on a rampage. We get plundered and they get rich. We are helpless until the next election.
We plunder and loot the earth we live in, and all is hunky dory until that drought or unexpected flooding hits us. We won't bother to check our abuse until we are hit with a natural disaster.
'Every dog has it's day'

But of course, most of us live in a cocooned life of existence that is on autopilot.
And as always, we believe bad things like this will happen only to other people.

If I could have a slogan, I would say:

STOP! Go Slow. Earth in desperate need of your corrective ACTion.

For now, Enrique could croon away ... "Don't turn off the lights...."

Mar 25, 2010

Living the Live-in


Woke up to a heated discussion on a popular News channel.
'Is Live-in a Sin?'
As predicted, 4 quasi experts plus the Anchor engaged in bitter battle for the sake of their nation.

The root of this heated debate is a recent Supreme Court judgment terming 'Live-in relationships and premarital sex legal'. The court contended that since Krishna and Radha of Mythology lived in, it is legal and hence Indian. Since when did the highest court of our Nation, start quoting Mythology.

Nonetheless, I bet all those teenagers and 20 somethings are celebrating with wild romps in their beds since.

Religion and Mythology are very often used as crutches when authorities lack the will to do the right thing at the right time.

But this decision shocked me.
Of all the major religions in the world, none of them advocate premarital sex.

Personally, I feel sex is more than the carnal and lust filled moments of passion. It is about 2 adults coming together to show their love for each other. It is about 'making love' work.

Modern media have sensationalized sex, to such a tantalizing point of no return that some of them are simply soft porn. Men and women are encouraged and tempted to experiment. Peer pressure does not make things easy. The Media glorifies Sex and Promiscuity. Hollywood rules the roost, Bollywood is catching up, TV channels use them to increase TRPs.

Though living in appears to be straddling the best of both worlds, I still believe in the sacrament of marriage. I wouldn't have it any other way.

While I still think it is possible for a man and a woman to live under a roof without any sexual relationship, are we so prudish to think that a live-in couple who profess their love for each to abstain from premarital sex? If the love was true, they would have rather married each other.

There could be many reasons why a couple in love decide to live in. Convenience and a fairly economical way of managing the household is a primary reason. But put sex outside of marriage and you have just opened a pandora's box of social ills.

Unintended pregnancies, abortions, sense of failure, intense feeling of vengeance and the vicious cycle just goes on.

I know a certain girl who lived in with her boyfriend who professed undying love for her that would last an eternity. She believed him. They took an apartment together. Had sex, got pregnant and his promise of eternity ran out. He dumped her, would not respond to her emails or calls. He changed his number. Bitter and disillusioned, she is juggling boyfriends just to overcome her growing sense of insecurity. She knows where she went wrong, but is too scared to admit it lest the world ridicule her.

Safe Sex is a myth. The psychological, physical and emotional scars that women, in particular go through take a lifetime to heal.

Live in, but do so only when circumstances disallow you to marry.

When a couple in love starts to live in, there is a lot of anticipation and optimism. Our body plots against us too. Endorphins block our ability to look beyond love.

The truth is love does wear out. We wake up to bad morning breath and body odor. We open our eyes to crusted lip corners and pillows with our drool.

But the fact is, that is when we need to make love work. More often than not, we believe that love is about talking sweet nothings for many hours, telling things that we know the other person loves to hear. But the real trouble begins when you start living in with a person only to realize that the person you loved is not the person he/she is.

Legalizing premarital sex is akin to allowing Men to exploit Women under the guise of love.

The women in the live-in relationship have a lot at stake; their chastity, their safety and well being. Most of the time, men who live-in see this as an opportunity for regular sex sans all the responsibility that a marriage would bring.

If only we removed that gene inside us that would stop us from cheating the person we profess to love abundantly and unconditionally...
If only we could respect our lover's body and soul just the way God does...
If only we saw making love as the physical act of a cognitive emotion and not just humping...

That would be the day that we can finally say, we are Humans. That is when we can truly understand why having sex is not the same as 'making love'. That is when we can truly understand how marrying can be many times more fulfilling than a many night stand.

Mar 23, 2010

Chopping Block


India, 'Mera Bharat Mahaan'
Incredible !ndia, sold off to unsuspecting tourists and the unnerving backpackers alike.
India, the birth place of one of the most charismatic and powerful non violent movements ever in human history.

India, Seventy Eight Women are raped every hour.
Gandhi must be rolling in his grave.

If this was not enough to shock you, get a load of this; Only 1 in 70 cases are ever reported.
This means, of all the bastards out there that will rape a lady, only 20% ever get to see the insides of a court. And only 3 in 1000 offenders are ever punished!

So that means there are 997 of the monsters walking free, trumping their noses at the long arm of the law. I wonder if we ever realise that by freeing the 997, we've just raped the lady with the scales.
Sure, we have a lot of rules and severe punishment for those who rape/molest a woman, but the gory statistics reveal the truth.


In a society that prefers to brush topics like sex under the rug and alternate lifestyles are taboo, what would you expect?
Its a Man's world unfortunately and the MCP's win the battle nearly all the time.

So whats really plaguing our society? Why has the land which gave birth to such concepts as Kamasutra and Non violence suddenly become the 'Rape Capital of the World'?
Why are we so lethargic about laws that concern the welfare of our Women?

Crucial Questions that need serious answers.
People who blame young women who dress or behave in a certain way for getting raped offend my sensibilities. It is akin to blaming a victim for being murdered.
Should we crucify the woman for being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Women are brought up to believe that male sexuality is an uncontrollable urge and unpredictable phenomena. They are taught by mothers that modesty and caution is your only defence against ending up a statistic.

To view all men as a rapist is a cruel punishment but we fail to punish the guilty when the act has been committed. Our society's patriarchal view of woman as pawns in our life, only distracts the real issue here.
Feminists rue about unequal career opportunities and representation. We celebrate if we get more quota reserved for women. We want our women to be modest but this is exactly what is plaguing our country. We need to sit up and stop ourselves from propagating a culture of tolerance towards crimes against women and being silent about them.

Its not like all our women are portrayed with modesty. We let our movie actresses titillate us with item numbers and clothes that show more than they conceal. Ludicrous stereotyping allow men to relegate women to the shelf, only to be taken for the sake of reproduction and housekeeping.

Sexual Assault is such a violently degrading crime that it repels me to think how the rapist could be aroused by the sight of a victim fearing for her life. It is more about the power trip and the sense of dominance that the act fulfills.

We let our rapists get away with a well greased system that protects and refuses to punish the guilty. Men know this, women use it to 'get back at' men.
Public ignominy for the victim, insensitive police and puzzling laws that allow the guilty get away free and refuses to stop future offenses are not helping our Women.

We need to have a revolutionary change in the way we think. We need to reform the system.
I cheered when I read a recent article citing a need to widen the scope of the law to include gender neutral sexual assault and molestation.
Statistics show that a large portion of the rapes happen at home. By people who the victim is familiar with. Then there are a portion of assaults that happen at dates.
And don't even get me started on marital rapes. I personally know a lady who was raped not only by her husband but by his brothers and cousins repeatedly for an entire year until she mustered enough courage to report this to her parents.

The fear of being ostracized by family and the society stops a lady from reporting the crime.
The braver ones face a lifetime of healing.

Laws that muzzle a woman's right to report crimes against her and the subsequent trauma and humiliation that she goes through while the law takes it's course deters future victims from reporting the crime.
Ironically, laws that are supposed to support and strengthen the poor and the weak who are victimized and exploited end up punishing them.

It's almost like the system is mocking at the victim who had the courage to report the crime, and laughing at the audacity to bring the guilty to book. How dare you?!
We need tougher laws that will warn future perpetrators and greater resolve to enforce our laws.

But as long as we have leaders that fear loss of control, we won't see changes.
As long as we have men who are paranoid about women who will control them, things won't change.
As long as we have gender insensitive laws that treat women as second rate citizens, our courts will be filled with rapists who (may) get tried and acquitted.
And in the time that it took me to write this post, 4 rapes were reported but given the statistics, none will get justice.
But if you ask me, then I would say, Castrate the Bastards.

Mar 20, 2010

*Creative Visualization

We all love those disclaimers, don't we? I sure do. 
Tucked away into the tiniest corner of that advt that promotes recklessness, ravishing beauty, flawlessly strong hair and healthy food, you will find the words *Creative Visualization.

I love advertisements!
They are entertaining. I am perhaps one of those few alive that love watching an TV advt with rapt attention. My acquaintances are amused to see me watch commercials with the attentiveness of a Market Analyst.

To all the rest, a commercial break is a time to take a leak, set the table, do your dishes, take out the trash and all those things you could finish in a couple of minutes. But to me, its more than just a 'comfort break'.
I love these commercials because they keep getting creative. To think of how creative some anonymous, hugely talented yet under-paid, over-worked artists worked to create a 10 second 'movie' that should salivate you so much that you make a mental note in your 'Things to Buy' list to buy their product/service.

There are the good ones and there are ones that I actually change channels or mute as soon as they start.
When did dusky/tanned skin go out of fashion? 
Living through a movie with the dozens of commercials that promise you to win your husbands back and banish blemishes and spots is the visual equivalent of  passing through a public urinal in India. You know its going to hit you no matter what. 
Our fetish with having a pale skin is so powerful that corporations and the Adman, abuse their creative licenses when it comes to commercials marketing Whitening products. 
Want to get fair, or "white in 7 days' or in time to win a movie award, well look no further, get that over priced, small sized pack.
Or is your husband or that random Security guy/Artist not paying you any attention, well, you must not have used that 'Whitening cream that gives you the glow in your face'. Ahh!! Now that feels good. I got my husband back, got that Security guy to notice me and that Artist drew the color of my skin right and a diamond ring. Nevermind if the Artist didn't get the color of my hair right, I'll just try that hair dye that "covers all my greys"

Which brings me to ask.. 

'Why is all the fuss with covering your greys?'
'Since when did greying become disgraceful?'
Ads that have Aishwarya Rai, one of the most over-paid, excessively hyped and sub par actresses on this planet, deserve a special mention. Did you ever catch Pink Panther 2? She is awful. I would be shell shocked if she ever got another meaty role in an Hollywood movie. 
Bollywood is the only film industry that can stand/sit a disaster like Aishwarya. The only ad that I've ever liked is the one where she pledged to donate her eyes. Hype or not. I liked the sincerity in the ad. But now-a-years, she is a mission to save the world from hair damage. Argh!! And to make matters worse, some of her ads have the worst synced voice-overs.

Now, if Aishwarya was not powerful enough to rid the world of its greying sisters, then we have that upset sister complaining to her 'didi', that 'Rohan' (who we can safely assume is her Boyfriend) is going to dump her. Concerned 'didi' gets her the 'answer' to all her problems. Not only did the flirtatious behan get Rohan back, she got an entire army of men to call her!! 
'Mental note to myself: Never date a girl who thinks with her hair'

Which reminds me of a lady who I worked with. She used to straighten her hair and splurge on the most expensive hair treatments. The result, she lost all her hair in under a decade. While most of the women might not be alive to face the ignominy of seeing their bald scalp, is it too much to expect common sense?
Maybe you are not smart and healthy (enough), but wonder no more. We have almost all known catagories of food products that promise you to keep you healthy enough to run down a thief,  a champion at school (it does not matter if you a college dropout though) and smart, witty and fit. There. All you need is a glass, a bowl or a bottle of our product.

And if you are already having all that, but your IQ matches the number of greys in your hair, then you must get that DTH service, for that is the missing link. 

Our Colonial Obsession is a universal secret. 
Why are we so uncomfortable being dusky or just good in academics or letting your greys stay grey?
I am no expert on any of these products and what they can do to us and our world in the long run, but where does all those empty bottles and packaging go? Its certainly not vanishing off into thin air. They end up in landfills that aren't growing any larger. And I'm pretty sure, those plastics will live longer than any one of us. 

Want skin so smooth that you will never be able to sit cross legged in a mini skirt? 
Get them that cream, Ladies. 
Want the babes?
Get that deo, dude. My fav series of deo ads is the popular brand that have men who have used the deo, netting not one, but tons of women (and men, in rare occasions) to drool over him. Lucky Bastard.

Why?! We even have commercials that want us to live longer. But have you ever noticed how all the old people in them have grey hair and are wrinkled? Interesting! 

We do get to see some true masterpieces, like the 'Jaago Re' campaign, the 'Save the Tiger' campaign, the particular campaign that showed in glaring reality how we discriminate when it comes to social status (I'm referring to the campaign where people respond to a lady who looks well to do when she falls down and how people turn a blind eye when an old man, obviously writhing in pain) and a few more. 

So we have commercials that sell everything that we would ever need in our every waking second. 
But how realistic are they? 
What are they doing to our society and more importantly to our psyche? Commercials that show that you need to live recklessly for that bottle of cola, that you will need to be fair and drop dead gorgeous with absolutely no wrinkle (that you might as well have an expressionless face), that you will need to be pale skinned to be able to win that promotion, that you will need to use that deo to melt the hot chick into your arms, that you will need to exact revenge for not allowing your spouse to watch that serial.. and the list can be endless. 
We, true to our culture love to espouse women centric values, but in 8 out of 10 ads, you see that women are portrayed to be objects that lesser to men. We see women being shown as a being who stays at home, cooks and is otherwise a sati savithri and the men doing things adventurous and living it up.

In 20 years from now, none of us will remember who endorsed what, but what kind of a legacy are we leaving our future generations?
On rare occasions when I watch a VCR Cassette (yeah, I still have a VCR!!) I get to see the ads that were created then. Boy! Were they amateurish? But they still had a lot of sincerity and were not outlandish and garishly stupid.
Over the years, poetic license has been reinvented much like some of the ads that we see.

In a society that promotes consumerism, if only we had a disclaimer that warned us: 'Do not try this at home'
You can catch TV grabs of my favorite (and most hated) commercials here.

Mar 18, 2010

Socializing the Net

Social media should improve your life, not become your life!
Patrick Driessen
Of all the different roles that the Internet played, Social Networking gripped popular imagination in a vice.
A term that has entered the lexicon of many boardroom debates and pantry gossips, social networking is an equalizer. It enabled people who were shy in real life, become virtual extroverts.
Tracing its evolution, the earliest entrant; Orkut used to be my kind of networking, because it was simple, no fuss and very uncluttered. Privacy and rampant misuse was a major concern, but it has cleaned itself up pretty nice.
Its much younger cousin Facebook, was in comparison much more cluttered and confusing. It took a very long time for me to get it round my head.

But I soon realized that like in any thing else, Facebook picked up from where Orkut left.
They had improved security, privacy levels that could be customized and the newer avatar of the site is a lot less cluttered than its predecessor. 
Orkut sparked the fire, but FB (as Facebook is popularly known) fanned it into a phenomena. 

Twitter, Linkedin, MySpace and the such have only cashed into a concept that makes you believe that social networking is as essential as the air you breathe.
I could testify on how profoundly Social Networking has changed my life, but what is more disconcerting is how people are spending more time socializing online than before.
Scrapping, twittering and tagging has become acceptable ways of showing recognition amongst the young and not so young. 
Why don't we just visit our friends or, take the moment to visit people who are less fortunate more often?
Social nuances and etiquette can never be substituted for that 'gift' you give online.

Fights go online too!
I've seen people change their relationship status from 'committed' to 'single' to prove a point and maybe wash the proverbial dirty laundry in full view of your 'buddies'.
Technology has certainly made a lot of lives easier and world is only a wall post, scrap or a tweet away, but where does that leave the good ol' days of letter writing.

Social Networking thrives on our collective love of watching other people live their lives. 
We love Voyeurism. We love to know what is happening, and unconsciously we are constantly vying for more attention. 
We want our 15 posts of fame and we are ready to do anything for it.
But is all this Networking really helping us?
Personally, I believe it does not foster ties with the same warmth and cordiality as when we meet a person face to face. I would prefer talking with a person sans the avatar.
Social Networking has its dark underbelly too, where employers are increasingly turning to popular sites likes Facebook while screening prospective employees. 
Insignificant requests and inundating news feeds end up eating up quality time that could have otherwise helped solidify personal contacts.

Unabated use of technology leads to it's misuse and unless we learn to restrain ourselves and understand that Social Networking is just an aid and not the purpose to live we will continue to see our friends addicted to farming melons, tweeting sweet nothings and scraping their love out.
When the Television was invented, it was said, it will kill the Radio star. I don't think it did. 
Over time, I think it just made the Radio more creative.


Sure, Social Networking has come a long way from the baby steps it took and does allow ties that are weak to strengthen over time besides enabling hitherto hidden opportunities to come our way, however unless we exercise discretion and practice common sense in using this wonderful tool of modern interaction, the day is not too far when we choose Social Networking instead of social living.

Mar 10, 2010

Blame Game

The Bible is treasure trove of stories, morals and good News. Of the thousands of stories in the Bible, my favorite story is that of Adam and Eve.
 
Genesis 3: 9-19 takes us to the critical moments before being thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
We see Adam and Eve hiding, out of fear and suddenly conscious that they are naked.
God, during one of His strolls in the Garden, call out for Adam, His favorite creation.
In the sequence of events, we witness God in a state of shock that His creation has disobeyed Him. God asks: "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" instead of accusing Adam, gives him a chance to explain himself and perhaps take responsibility for his actions.
Adam, blames his act on Eve, who in turn places the blame squarely on the serpent.
Inspite of being told by God not to eat out of the Tree, they did.
Instead of taking onus for their actions, they pass the blame along. 

Nice Try!

What God did afterward changed the course of history.
The man and the wife was banished from the Garden, which is a metaphor of all things good and virtuous.
The serpent gets to eat dust. Forever.

In the 21st Century, amidst tough times and rough living, if there is one thing we need to stop doing, it is stop the blame game. We need to resist the temptation to say "I just don't feel convicted about it" and "It is not really my gift"

With all the How to's and etiquette training that we have, it is surprising to see how people don't know how to take a blame and apologise graciously.
We find it easier to blurt out "It's not my fault" rather than give a sincere heart rendered apology.

We need to learn to accept criticism gracefully. Though, it is unreasonable to expect to be God-like, we know that we are His creations. A Creator who made His creations in His own image. He gave us the right to make decisions, even if they are completely against Him.
A God who gave us 'Free Will'.
And what do we do? We divide and rule. We split humans based on color, caste, creed, sex, wealth, and social status.
We must learn to stand up for our actions; good or bad.

When will we realise that we are all eligible to be His Family?
There was a sermon that I once heard.
Christians, are often told they are the Children of God. A statement of divine proportions. However, what we never realise is that, there is a disclaimer. We must earn the right to be called His Children.
As parents, would you call a random child on the street your child? Exactly.
You will need to do His Will. Obey Him, Love Him. Don't tempt sin.

God gave His creations Free Will for a reason.
So that we have enough time to stop whining, be responsible and do the right thing.

If this weren't so, nearly all of us would have been 'recalled' by The Manufacturer.

Mar 9, 2010

Now that's what I'm talking 'bout...

Virtuous Women maketh Progressive Societies

Its that time of the year when the newspapers are brimming with feminism.
March 8th : 'International Woman's day'
Woman in India can be anything but international or have a 'Day' to themselves.

It is said that a Society can be judged by the kind of headlines that come in their newspapers.

Today's paper was no different. Infact I loved the irony. We had 70% of the pages devoted to celebrating women and then a bunch of well heeled, designer wearing, globetrotting, Page-3 celebrities extolling values like Education, Career and Sex. Sex? True, the 5 women didn't mind women having premarital sex as long as you are discrete and safe!
Call me old fashioned, but I was sufficiently shocked to stop reading the article any further.
But Sex sells! And if 5 'celebrity socialites' recommend promiscuity, what can I say about that girl who walked out of her husband's house, lived with her boyfriend, got knocked up and dumped? You go Girl!

Buried amidst all the feminist clutter and the brouhaha of female power in today's India, a particular 7 inch article caught my eye. A scandal that involved a spiritual Guru and a leading regional movie actress. Ofcourse, the Guru has vehemently denied it and alleged that this is the attempt of commoners to tarnish him and his organization. But the actress, perhaps out of guilt or pure stupidity, tried to commit suicide. Does the suicide mean she is indeed guilty?


When the reporters move on and the Headlines fade away, the victim is still left bleeding, wounded by hungry reporters who like vampire bats, latched on till they got the complete dirt and when they were done, left a wound that is difficult to clot.
I am not a feminist in the conventional sense but as a commoner, and with the 3 decades of existence, can confidently say that Women in India are still a neglected yet exotic lot.

Western influences have allowed greater freedom of expression.
Advertisements that tell you that a fair skinned woman is smarter, sexier and luckier.
TV Soaps have stereotyped Indian women.

While premarital sex was frowned upon just a shade of a decade ago, now, we have quasi role models advocating (premarital) sex as a symbol of freedom.
Like most issues that are  forgotten, 'she' is an item that sells. 'She' is our object of lust. 'She' could have been empowered had we learned to take care of 'her needs' rather than 'our wants'.

I have always had that sniggering feeling inside me, we are desperately trying to ape the West. But like how we learn the slang in the new language before learning the good words, we are aping the weekend habits of the West, while forgetting to imitate the weekday ethics of the Developed world.
People in the West work upto 50 hours a week and produce results that matter.
The West respect their women by not only framing rules that are women friendly but by enforcing them too.
In more ways than one, we are a few generations behind the West. Promiscuity, Public Displays of affection and Media induced frenzy about Celebrations are not Indian. Not that I am against them, but all these celebrations are so commercialized? What do celebrations like these accomplish? Besides shopping discounts and eloquent articles advocating love, friendship and vanity, is there a meaningful change happening to the lady in the street?

Virtuous Wives, Blessed Mothers, Brave Women... that is what our societies need.

In 2 weeks, when all the hoopla dies down, women in India will wake up to the harsh reality that it is a Man's world in India.

Until then, our Women are busy shopping till they drop!

Mar 7, 2010

Delayed, not Denied

Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, I felt myself sinking.. fathomlessly.
"Thank you for the shovel"

How hard can you fall? How much does it take to break? How much trust can you break?
I practiced 'If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, they are yours. If not, they never were'. I truly believed that love should be unconditional.

When our relationship broke down, I tried as much as I could to salvage it.
My Mom, Pastor, friends and colleagues rallied around me, helping me to heal. I did the only thing I knew, I prayed constantly. I prayed that she is able and well and is happy. I also prayed (selfishly) that she comes back to me.
Back to the Drawing board. 
Healing begins within.

When hopes shatter, when emotions run dry, it helps to have an Anchor. An Anchor that will never let you be swept away by the torrents of despair.

I have been blessed with a lot of healing at the right times.
Just when I begin to feel that I am running dry on my hope, I get a complete recharge, filled to the brim, overflowing, pressed down and running over...

2 years ago,  the ground beneath my feet shifted. I held on. I confessed and repented and have reformed since. However, 24 hours ago, the ground beneath my feet crumbled, again.

Fast forward to now, I am relieved and eternally grateful that I survived. Praise be to the Lord. King of Kings. Lord of Lords.

The urge to retaliate is exceptionally strong. But one verse comes to my mind: 'Be Still, for I am your God'. Powerful and Comforting.

My existence here is but a wisp of air. 
All the trauma, the agony and the tribulations are but momentary.
Tribulation builds patience, and Patience builds character.

All Science mumbo jumbo apart, I believe we are all from one matter. From Our Father in Heaven. Unique. No one can forge or duplicate the perfect people that we are within.

He is looking down upon us. 
Just as we would look down upon a bug in the ground. But with all the tenderness towards a new born child. We are more than a bug to Him. We are His. When we hurt, He hurts. When we cry, He cries too. When we repent, He rejoices. What an amazing promise!

Looking down upon us, He waits for us to be still. He waits to give us all that we want. He does not want us to pay for anything He gifts us. All He ever wants from us, is our Love.

Are you ready to love the Giver more than the Gift?

It's not Plagiarism, its just 'Collective Research' !!

People who work with me and those who I communicate with frequently have lauded the way I write.

For a person who is aiming to be a bonafide writer worth his salt, I believe I have a long way to go. This belief keeps me grounded and very receptive to my critics.

Ofcourse, I have not always been as prolific or fluent as I am.
I have at one point of time, struggled with grammer. I would have been an Architect or a Scientist (following in the shoe prints of my Dad).

But for my 10th grade English Faculty, I would have languished in a lab.
I remember after a particularly tough session on 'Conjunctions', as I was hurrying towards the Physics laboratory, I bumped into the chubby frame of my English lecturer. 
Been a sufficiently chubby and suitably minute person that I was, I lost balance and bounced off the wall. 
As kids of my age, you can bully yourself through the term if you score well in your term papers.My average grades qualified me to growl at her.

Interestingly, I remember she apologised. I grinned at myself. I can get used to this, you see.
Our school tried hard to inculcate the reading habit into their wards; with moderate success.
Later that day, we had the same lecturer 'mind' us while the nerds among us buried ourselves into TinTin and Hardy Boys. I was engrossed in doing nothing. Libraries are for losers. Now I don't remember her name, but I remember what she told me at that moment. She walked over, and told me how gifted I am (Gee, I know that. Tell me something new) but knowledge should never have a saturation point. 

I don't know whether I really started reading then, but 18 years after that comment. I still recall that statement every time I hit a Writers Block.

I gravitated towards English and literature and found how much more amazing and fulfilling English is than any amount of dissection or chemical formulae.


'English is such a language which is so easy to speak incorrectly, but difficult to speak correctly'

I have been a poet, essayist and an editor since then. I have had spectacular faux paus and breath taking leaps.

If you are still wondering how the title applies. Yes, it does. 
Sometime ago, as we all do tend to forget lessons learnt. I became complacent and arrogant with my writing. 
Allow me to recollect one of my spectacular faux paus..

I happened to chance upon an advt in an extremely popular technology magazine calling for Content Writers. Needless to say, I applied. They required me to write a 1000 word article on a cell phone. Don't Copy Paste. Piece of cake, I thought.

Ofcourse, I had the article ready. Emailed it. Already confident that I would be selected, I counted my chickens before they hatched. In this case, even before the hen was born.

One week later, I get a mail from the Chief Content Editor.
A very scathing remark that read: 
'We thought when we said no copy/paste, that implied no cheating. Your article is a blatant attempt at plagiarism.'
They also sent me a copy of all the websites and the searches that I could have run to get the article. I was embarrassed beyond belief. More than that, I realised that I'd let myself down.

I have come a long way since then. Have worked for several Content Writers churning out 
articles that were uniquely researched and exquisitely written.

Yes, I do understand that this is no one's utopia, but atleast wake up and smell the BT Brinjals and the Sex Scandals, people.

Why do we forget the lessons of our past.
Why do we get so complacent?

We take pride in mediocrity. The result? We end up making a fool of ourselves in front of the world.
We take pride if we are able to cheat the system. We jump the traffic lights if we don't see a traffic cop standing round the corner. 
We cannot bear to wait for the lights to turn green, but we don't mind waiting for Sachin to hit that six or to wait in that line to catch that blockbuster.
We cannot tolerate to be treated with any less respect but dont mind making our servants - our bonded warehouse property.

We cannot tolerate Pakistan feeding terrorists, but don't mind 'poly-ticks-ians' sucking the sap out of our country.
We cannot stick to our Gandhian principals of living, because we need to give that 'bribe' to get that 'favor' done
We cannot tolerate going to war with the Pakis and the Chinese but don't mind the Shiv Senas (and like scum) dividing and ruling us.
We cannot bear to see Kashmir being invaded by the Pakis, but don't mind the Russians molesting our children in Goa.


"It's not Plagiarism, its just 'Collective Research' "
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