Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts

Sunday, July 21, 2013

[If] I Lead India

If you are a TV Advt junkie like I am, chances are you wouldn't have missed the Times Of India 'I Lead India' campaign. You can say that they spent a heck lot of money conceptualizing that ad.
What with all the furniture, the extras, the fire, the clearance for the stunt, the celebrity endorsements and the special effects. You could either be one of those who got the adrenaline rush for the 10 seconds you saw and sprung out of your couch to do the fist bump when the girl did 'the scream'. Which btw was frightening!
Or you could be one of those who watched the ad silently and thought 'What a sheer waste of money!'
Yet again, you could be one of us (like me) who watched the ad with contempt and the silent angst of how our media houses have trifled the struggle for real freedom.

Freedom is not about burning furniture, however symbolic it could be.


Downloading ringtones or the anthem is not going to do squat about anything.
Having a 'Roadies' style audition is so far from what we need, that the Lead India initiative is a mockery of how far our unemployed, educated youth will go for fame and 15 minutes of facebook/TV glory.

Public anger against corruption is not about lighting a massive heap of furniture on fire. This worked in the good ol' days of Gandhi, when lives were simpler and when every Indian was as oppressed as his/her neighbor. What happens to furniture that is not made of wood?

Today, we are not oppressed. We are comfortable. Our thoughts are not about freedom of speech and freedom to vote or some such ideals. We are preoccupied with our thoughts to buy that multi-million rupee apartment, being able to afford the EMI on that SUV and fuel, sending our children to that high-priced International/Christian school in India or abroad, going on that annual vacation to the US/Europe/Thailand, having split air conditioners / LED TVs / Side by Side refrigerators in our homes and to never age or die.
Copying and pasting solutions that worked then to our situations now can never work. We'd think the Anna debacle would have taught us this but looking at the way this and some other 'patriotic' ads have been playing on TV, I doubt if we'd ever learn.

But something good has come out of this ad. What would I do to change the way India is?
As a person who has lived more than half his life in a westernized society, I have a fairly clear idea of what might work and what wouldn't.

Let me begin by reiterating how unique India is.
Among other major countries, we have a lot of character and resilience.
But that's where the good parts end.

We lack self-respect and have a skewed perception of self worth. We are extremely judgmental and are easily enthralled by illusions of grandeur.
We don't practice nor possess dignity of labor. We are hypocritical and love looking down upon people who are not of the same socioeconomic status as we are.
We are brought up to believe that there are only a handful of professions you must grow up to be and God forbid if you are something else.
We tell our children not to cheat/break the law, yet we will jump that signal or ride without a helmet.
We preach tolerance towards women, yet we will (physically/mentally) abuse our wives, sisters and mothers.
We preach non-violence yet breed racism and intolerance towards those who fall out of grace in our sight.
We raise our children in black and white. There are no greys around. Nothing in between.
And if you have been unfortunate enough to have parents who placed a lot of importance on money, then you will grow up to be an average Indian that worships money.

While the list below is not conclusive, I do believe it is a good way to start.

  • Rewrite the constitution with the inputs from citizens.
  • Establish stronger, swifter courts.
  • Enforce existing laws.
  • Step up punishment. Punishment should be incremental, swift and profound.
  • Abolish paper money. Creates a money trail that can't be erased easily.
  • Enforce Accountability.
  • Establish minimum hourly wage. Removes prejudice and reinforces dignity of labor.
  • Increase fines by 10x. 
  • Enforce the RTI Act.
  • Increase internet connectivity.
  • Detach religion from public life.
  • Improve infrastructure. Which in itself will be a major impetus for growth.
  • Encourage public participation in all forms of governance.
  • Abolish multiple party system and adopt a bi-party system.
  • Abolish reservations and socioeconomic quotas.
  • Ban politicians (for life) who
    • have been convicted or are suspects in (criminal/civil) lawsuits.
    • have not passed a certain level of education.
    • do not have proven leadership skills.
    • have not been a part of local/national community service.
    • have been in power for more than 10 years in their active political life.
  • Revamp the educational sector.
  • Foster and reward corporate community service.
  • Reward agriculturalists who innovate.
  • Reward performance instead of tenure.
  • Reward and encourage mentoring.
  • Calibrate standards.
So there you go.. I have the good feeling that I've missed out on some here, but these are things that are not impossible to do. Many countries around the world have faced the same challenges that we are, yet when they adopted standards that suited them the best - excelled.

This could be the start! Do we really have it in ourselves to change?!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Nerves of steel [268/365]

Picture Courtesy: Pramerica
What is your fondest memories when you were in school?
Where you aware of you civic duty as a young child?
What were your childhood aspirations?

Yesterday, I read about a young girl who is the National Honoree of Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2012
Jyoti Yadav. A spunky youngster in the 8th grade at the Satya Bharti Government Upper Primary School, Dabadwas, Alwar, Rajasthan was just one of two national honorees for her Campaign addressing the issue of Respect for Widows in Society.

Her story inspired me. She is a first generation learner who was raised by a widowed mother from the age of 1. Seeing how her mother suffered at the hands of her relatives and fellow villagers, Jyoti saw the stigma that her mother faced. Determined to make a difference but unaware of how to go about tackling it, she spoke to her headmistress who educated her on the larger context of how a widow is treated in India. Jyoti alongwith the headmistress visited the village Sarpanch, also a lady, and requested them help in eliminating this evil from the village.

Convinced of their plea, the Sarpanch convened a panchayat meeting and discussed the issue at the Gram Sabha and urged the people to rid their village of this taboo.  Jyoti, now strengthened with the support of the village administration, also went door to door, meeting the elderly in the village and making them aware of the plight of widows in their village and requesting their support.   While she initially faced a lot of resentment and humiliation for daring to take up such a sensitive issue, her efforts finally paid off when she was able to gradually convert staunch conformists from their point of view and start mainstreaming such women into the normal village life. She even went a step further and convinced the local administration to give widows like her mother jobs in the village so that they could support their own families and not have to live off donations from others.

With the first to benefit being her mother, Jyoti’s mother, Kamlesh is now employed as the Main In-charge of the Anganwadis in her village. Other qualified widowed women are also now being given preference as teachers for schools in the surrounding areas by Smt. Bhagwati Devi under the Rashtriya Saksharta Mission, and another widowed lady was employed at the village Mela in October 2011.

Jyoti Yadav, the unlikely hero of our times. Bravo!

With extracts from Bharti Foundation: Young Achievers


Other Heroes I've chronicled here


Friday, April 20, 2012

Quirks of the day [110/365]

Headlining in the papers today;
And a day later, we are still basking under the glory of Agni 5. No shit.
South Korea tests missiles. In your face, Kim Jr
Mumbai gets its arteries back in action. (Interesting post!)
The Right to Education (RTE) becomes the best news that came out of India in a while.
Gansta chick Simran Sood (pictured) is convicted for her involvement in the murder of a upcoming Bollywood director. Atta girl.
The CBI continues it's raids on officials involved in the Tatra kickback. Sigh!
The cops have no clue who killed young Bangalorean, Monika Srivastava. Deja vu.
Datsun set to enter the Indian car market. Yay!
Across the Atlantic, the big O and Romney are set to give us a recap of 09.
Norwegian nutjob, Breivik testifies that he wanted to behead the exPM.
Chinese sportsmen/women stop eating meat, fearing they will accidentally ingest banned substances. Gee, that gives more meaning to the term 'Chinese food'.
IPL. 'nuff said.
The world prepares to race in restless Bahrain.  
Peace out!




Sunday, April 01, 2012

GuestSpeak: General V(rec)K Singh

The last couple of weeks must have been really exciting for the folks at the defense ministry; with all the action going on there they sure do not need to spend a penny on films anymore. The way our military establishment has managed to defame itself is so admirable. One day all was fine and in a span of a couple of months it’s just like any other government establishment all scam and no sense.

The drumroll started very slowly in 2011 when our beloved protagonist General Vijay Kumar Singh finally made up his mind to get his date of birth corrected. Nobody then had any idea that it was going to be so much messy then and so many people supported him. After all, all he was doing was what most people would do if there is any ambiguity about one’s date of birth and he did manage to give a rather convincing reason too. He said he had to do it because he was the leader of an army of 1 lakh men and as a leader he should have a clean and clear record and all the fallacies of it must be set straight, enviable right? But, no so now. Then there was the IMA, the courts and lot of buzz, I am pretty sure that not even the queen’s birthday celebrations got this much buzz in India. Thankfully the Supreme Court laid the matter to rest and judging by what happened afterwards Mr. Singh a bit spiteful.

But then there it did not stop, and then came the Bribe offer! Another seamless and beautiful drama unfolded in the capital with poor old A K Antony at the receiving end, a chap who has only one chink in his otherwise perfect armor. He was honest and for that he was kicked out of Kerala some years back.
He was rather emotional in his address to the house of parliament and he acknowledged the mention of such an incident. He added that the General refused to give a written complaint in that matter.
Why would he not do that? I have no idea. But this was not the end of it then came the letter, a really shocking letter from Mr. Singh to the Prime minister stating that Indian army was a very peaceful force that do not put bullets in their guns anymore, not because they don’t want to but because they don’t have any to put in the first place.

I was left wondering what kind of an army chief gives out the inadequacies of his own army. He was in the first place not supposed to send a letter directly to the Prime minister, which was a breach of protocol. But leaving all this it scares me that a person of such imbalance heads our army. Being the fourth largest army may be one thing but being led by a person such as Mr. Singh, I have my doubts. Mr. Singh is a great soldier and has proved his merit in many battles, but then a leader is not the person with the most number of medals is it?

The other great concern that this whole incident causes is the polarization of the Army and the bureaucracy. I should say I envy the creators of the constitution and the hierarchies and protocols that govern the working of the department. They and they insights have prevented what could possible develop into a military take over. The army, the air force and the navy are in the hands of three men and hence no single men has the command of the entire force at no time, neat and very wise. But I am not concerned about a mutiny in India, that’s a long shot simply because of the mindset of our society that is inherently peaceful.

It is unfortunate that this should happen and what should have been dealt in a rather mature matter is now in pieces. Only one thing is left to do clean the mess up and wrap it up. We cannot have a situation where the nation’s security lies in jeopardy. It would have been more civil had Mr. Singh retired himself just because it’s all a mess now and he is responsible for almost all of it. But he is not doing that, so we can certainly more action packed release from the entertainment house ‘The Ministry of Defense’ staring V K Singh and many more celebrities.

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Rupertt Wind.
Find more information about him at Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Blogger


Friday, March 30, 2012

By the side [89/365]

more Abled than most of us
I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be "happy." I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.
- Leo C. Rosten

I am not known to be charitable.
Correction: I fail to melt when I see a person begging, just by virtue of a handicap.
A common sight at an Indian traffic, you'd be surprised that many of them would have much more in the bank than you'd believe. Heck they are richer than most of us combined. But of course, I've told you all this before.

Today, commuting to work, I saw a person working away at a pedestrian footpath near a very busy intersection. No, he wasn't begging. He wasn't looking for compassion. He was earning his bread though.
Severely crippled, he was painting. I paused by the side, watched him. Curiously. And so did a lot of other people. Many was bewildered. Some thought he was just trying to seek attention. Surely he was. But he didn't want your money for free. Buy one of his sketches. And those sketches weren't childish amateurish scribbles and doodles, but colorful abstracts with powerful brush strokes. I was amazed and I am pretty sure a lot of passers by were too.
Some did buy his paintings. But I didn't. I procrastinated. I erred. I assumed that he is going to be there the next time I pass by and figured I could buy it then.

I did look for the 'anonymous painter' the next day, but he was gone. No sign of him. I saw him for exactly two days. I wondered what happened. I theorized that the merchants and the cops patrolling the busy CBD didn't like him. He was bad for their image. What will the phirens think? Nothing worse than seeing a crippled man trying to make an honest living. Forget the dilapidated roads, uneven footpaths, overflowing sewers and prostitutes plying their trade under the nose hairs of the cops in the CBD.
I asked one of the merchants and he confirmed my fears. The cops did come and haul him off. He probably has been shunted away from our sanitized eyes into poverty.
But this is not new.

A couple of years ago, there used to be a lady. She was truly homeless. She lived on a footpath about 3 km away from my home. As I came to see her everyday, I began to buy lunch for her. Everyday. She might have been at least 70. She definitely had better days in her past since she had a toe ring. Her worldly possessions were a battered and torn suitcase, some clothes, two mattresses, an umbrella and two stray dogs. I'd see her sitting at exactly the same spot through the day, and when the rains came, the three of them would get under the umbrella. She'd gradually recognize me and smile and fold her hands in thanks when I'd give her the packet of food. This arrangement went on for a few weeks. I remember praying for her and hoping that she sees better days ahead. I was helpless. I wanted to do something. I wanted to bring her home. But wasn't sure how I could take care of her. I was a struggling bachelor then.
Two days before Christmas, with a packet of food for her, I came to the spot where she was for the last 20 years. But she was gone. Her pets were there. They were 'searching' for her. I asked around. They told me that a group of cops hauled her off a few hours ago. I wondered where.
I hope it was to a cozy place, because her belongings were left behind. It was removed a day or two later. And the footpath sanitized.
I did ask the people around. Some long time residents told me that she used to be a wealthy lady who was thrown out of her house and her wealth by her ruthless son. With no where and no one to go to, she stayed on the footpath outside her former home.

Four years on, I still think of her every time I pass the spot.
I hope she is doing better wherever she is.

We err when we procrastinate. I wish I'd bought the painting of that crippled painter when I still had a chance. I wish I'd brought that lady home when I still could.


Friday, October 28, 2011

10% Extortion

How important is God to you?
Do you deem it important to honor Him with the first fruits of your increase/income? Or do you just think tithing is a one way to keep the church off your back?
Do you have a pastor who pesters you to part with more of your money so that the overheads of the church is met?

While Christianity in India has a long history of evangelism and has roots that can be traced back to the Apostles, the past decade or so have seen an explosion of missionaries visiting India to spread The Good News.

I know churches that works with the lowest of the low and strives to make a truly wonderful change amongst the community it works with. Thatched roofs Churches where the faithful gather to hear the Word of God and the pastor does not have a mic but the congregation still picks up every word he says. 

I recently met a pastor, an American, who has been nagging his church members to give 'generously'.
So what's wrong with the picture here?
Here's what-
- The pastor, sponsored by the mother church in the US, earns in a month, probably the equivalent of what a middle class family would earn in an year.
- He stays with his Wife plus 4 kids in a very expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood, besides all the other material trappings that a upper middle class family should possess.
- He insists that his church members pay for the electricity and other overheads of the church. Generously.
- While he quotes scriptures to prove his point and urge his church members to fork out the extra rupee, I remember the famously quoted line: 'Even the devil can quote scriptures'.
His ruse is that true Christians need to support the church financially so that the church can spread. Image that comes to my mind: Like the tentacles of an Octopus.
Now, I don't have anything against missionaries who have put their western way of life on hold for the Indian toilet, but I do find it a huge insult when we have missionaries who come, start churches in a air-conditioned hall of a building and expect us to meet their electricity and living expenses.
While none of the members have voiced out their concerns and their reservations, what I need to understand is why the dear pastor cannot forgo his so generous salary if is truly concerned about the rising overheads.
While much of the US has already been invaded by televangelists, the many wolves in sheep clothing have now turned their sights on India. An emerging market.

Do we really have the right attitude towards God?
When we insist church members to tithe generously, isn't it against the true spirit of giving out of free will?
Why do we let church leaders manipulate the scriptures for their own will?
Does giving money absolve you and complete your duties towards God?

A good family friend of mine, 'donates' a certain portion of their time every week towards bible study. Although they cannot afford to give 'generously', they consider this as their way of offering their talents to the Almighty.

After growing for nearly 2000 years, Christianity has now taken a beating in the past decade because of it's dubious practitioners.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learn, Earn, Stand tall


As part of the ThomsonReuters Community Service team, I have been fortunate to be a part of several projects.


The first project for this year that I'll be a part of is organized by an well-networked NGO called Unnati (An SGBS trust initiative).
First of it's kind that I'm being a part of, Unnati enables and empowers underprivileged students in a competitive world.


Meeting the director of the NGO was a wonderful experience. Unnati identifies between 100 and 200 students who are socially and economically underprivileged. Nearly all of the students that are selected to study here are from family below the poverty level. Apart from having no knowledge of English and very limited chances of a gainful employment in a fast paced job market, these students aren't much different from you and me. 
They are ambitious (one student graduating out of the seventy day course aspired to be a Managing Director of a Hotel one day), they have the same fear of the stage, and will face the same challenges that you and I will face. But just because they live in a shanty house or in a village or slum, we are biased against them. 


The eight year old not for profit NGO, depends on 90 other NGOs and many of it's alumni for its students - from 18 to 40 year olds. Costs are met by generous donors like Google et al.


Once at the Centre, they go through a thorough screening process that separates the truly deserving from the 'just lazy'. 
There after they go through a seventy day vocational training and personality development course that is structured and tutored by professionals who volunteer their time and effort. Students are taught vocational training (like guest care, tailoring, industrial painting, security, paramedics, and retail sales and marketing) in state of the art class rooms that are donated by companies like Philips, and the Infosys Foundation..
Of course like any other organisation, Unnati goes through the pangs of attrition too.
But what surprised me is how attrition tapered off after just 10 days of class. The students apparently are convinced about the effect that Unnati has on them in a week! 
At the seventieth day we see how such a structured environment, that places emphasis on underprivileged individuals getting the right kind of vocational training that  equips them for the modern workforce, achieves when nearly all the students graduate, with a job. Many of the students earn between Rs 3000 to Rs 9000 as their first salaries!


Today, sitting among the students at their valediction ceremony, I could feel the excitement, the enthusiasm and the confidence that all of these students possess. The students performed skits on money management, etiquette and life skills. 


It's hard to imagine how any organization can transform a person from being underprivileged to being part of a highly trained modern workforce. But watching the students graduate with pride and honor, I know Unnati has done the impossible. 
From a lump of clay to a beautiful piece of art.


Amidst all the anarchy and chaos in our society, Unnati comes out as a beacon of hope. The hope that not all is wrong in the world today.


Their motto: Learn, Earn and Stand tall, rings through all their students. 
Unnati: A wonderful example to emulate


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Bragging Rites

Don't you hate it when you hear your relatives/neighbors gloat and brag about things they have at home? Well, I do.

Absolutely hate it.

Hence I have a policy when it comes to socialising with the beggars of glory. My policy is 'Don't socialise'


And as if bragging to your neighbors were not enough, we now have jackasses doing it online too.
"Oh, I loooooooooooove my new bike". "Best thing I've ever done in my entire life".
Alright, we get it. 

We know that you've been wasting your two decades plus of wasteful living in doing things less than the 'best thing in your life'. But must we be the unfortunate recipients of all this BS?!
I mean, I don't have anything against social networking, but please do us all a favor and quit the self glorifying tirade.

Yes, we can choose to not read it. But having to read your hourly statuses of how wonderful those screws and nuts go together is not really my idea of a News Flash. No thank you.
I finally blocked a bunch of people and by the way things look, I might have to block a few more too.

So here goes...
My sincere apologies to all those who didn't make it on my wall.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Life without Laugh


We Christians are a joyless lot!

Preoccupied with maintaining our dignity in the eyes of people who we might never ever see again.
A very good friend of mine is so obsessed with complying with Christianity that he hates Social networking, Rock/Rap music and anything that he thinks is 'un'Christian.

There is a typical Indian superstition where you are supposed to believe that if we laugh excessively, then we will weep in agony very soon.
This is an odd attitude, because being joined to God, who gave us such wonderful emotions as Joy and laughter, we in some way imagine that by being joyful, we are being devious.

Outwardly a firm believer, many of us are hollow inside. Namesakes.
Its okay to have fun!

Every family, big and small. Every human, rich and poor. Every creature, young and old expresses joy and happiness in different ways.

But why do Christians always have a 'constipated look' on their faces when it comes to having fun?!
Laughter is a gift of God and His goodness that will carry us through the dark bylanes of life.

Part of the joy that comes to you when you are reborn in Christ is that you learn to rejoice in the Lord.
You learn to wake up with praise on your lips and smile in your eyes.

No matter how bad the past was, you can always be comforted that your future is in your hands. Do you want to be seen as a person who lives in past and waste all the wonderful joy that God wants you to enjoy!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

In a Jam, not yet a Pickle

I used to have this recurring nightmare of getting stuck in a traffic jam where I would be stuck for an entire day.
But when I got to read about the epic jam in the Beijing-Tibet expressway, it was a real feeling of dread and a bad premonition that I could be stuck in one in Bangalore very soon.
After all, our politicians have been trying to turn Bangalore into a Singapore. I don't know if they're still working on it. But I guess, their sights were more on making Bangalore into a Bangladesh.
Over-filling drains, power shortages, traffic snarls, we seem to have all of it here.

In a larger picture, India is an enigma!
How on earth did a nation in the hands of such scrupulous people at the top manage to survive and better still capture the hearts and attention of the modern traveler and businessman?
A country that is ravaged by nature and man has managed to keep itself alive despite all odds.

We have such brilliant examples of ingenuity and talent.
We have contributed such awe inspiring people and ideas to humanity.
Yet...

The 'epic jam' however lasted for more than a month.

The pickle that we as a nation are in have lasted for several decades now.

A will that has been weakened by centuries of political plundering, our society is slowly loosing its grip on the future. The politicians here hurry to amass obscene amounts of wealth so fast that it looks like greed is going out of style!

What surprises me is that there is a growing resentment among my peers, tax payers who are educated, independent and honest. While they acknowledge that the system needs to change, what exasperates them is the fact that not many people will walk the talk when it comes to the D Day. A packet of food, some cheap alcohol and few hundred rupees is all it takes to lure our rural folk en mass to the Polling booth.

Don't blame the rains (or the lack of it) because if Israel (a arid land) could make its soil lush, I am pretty sure, India can do better.

It is a vicious cycle, actually.
India has never been poor. Actually, measure by measure, pound by pound India has held more wealth and lured more people in history than all the other countries put together.

Farmers will milk politicians when elections approach.
Politicians will wash, lick and dry the unmentionables of their voters until they get elected.
Once in power, they will do all that they can to either stay in power or to make enough wealth and connections to last a few generations.
Did someone say farmer suicides? Well, what goes around comes around. Come elections, all will be forgotten and forgiven. Bed the enemy.

What we need is a new breed of statesman.

Someone who will learn from lessons past and not be complacent.
Someone who will understand how corruption breeds an society that is ill.
Someone who will have the gall to stamp out bureaucracy and bring in accountability.
Someone who will resist being a puppet in the hands of higher sinister powers.
A person who will not only be eloquent in speech but effective in action too.

In short, we need someone who will talk the talk and walk the walk.
We need help!
Lest we be known as a 'Epic Fail'

Nowadays, I have different nightmares.
No, its not about snakes and ghouls but the impending sense of doom that my kids will face in a Nation that refuses to grow up.
Its not a pretty picture and I hope we don't live long enough to face their wrath and answer their scathing questions.
Sorry kids, we screwed you.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking the journey..

Street smart salesman selling dreary government forms by selling dreams of social empowerment. A couple bidding adieu, trying to steal a quiet private moment in a crowded compartment with a dozen eyes staring them down while trying to judge their character and declaring them guilty of marrying.
Virile young men casting penetrating glances at ‘suitable game' which is nearly every women he surveys.
Leary middle aged men stealing glances at girls young enough to be their nieces.
Newly married young men, that hurry into the train, only to realize the trains are packed, have to stand. You can spot them by their complete disregard of the other PYT’s in the train and the tired yet happy glow in their faces and the fresh new gold ring in their finger.
And then there is the quintessential 'kappi' karan who breaks every passenger's reverie with the calls of his trade and the strong aroma that lingers like the sweet fragrance of the ‘dubai karan’.
The students who are catching up on last minute 'trainwork' but still wont miss the opportunity to check out all the senoritas in the compartment.
The middle aged guy at the wrong end of 40 munching on an undated vada that the vada/vazakyappam karan sold a few moments ago.
The clean shaven nerd who appears so engrossed in conversation with fellow nerd that it looks like he's discussing ways to solve international terrorism, but is instead trying to steal glances at the most beautiful girl.
And then there are the accompanying kids who are either busy annoying the crap out of their single traveling parents or are sleeping.
All this while traveling through the most pristine shades of green, brown and concrete. The gazillion coconut trees, the bazillion thatched houses, the hundred lakes and the millions backwaters. Passing through a hundred stations, all that look like its been built by the same architect, mason and brick. A hundred paddy fields with full grown paddy swaying in the breeze and sparkling with the morning dew and the rising sun.
And then all the activity is interrupted when the train starts slowing down a quarter of a kilometer away, when the men reluctantly tear their stares away from the objects of their desire, inch slowly towards the narrow exit. They stop by the exit and turn back just to check if their object would look back at them for just one last time. If she does, then he's back in the same train, same time come what may unless tomorrow is a holiday.
The brief 40 second stop ushers in new blood and thicker crowd of people. Passengers who think they deserve a seat and consider standing their punishment for being late. Workout? Never. How can standing ever be considered a workout? The very fact that many of them had to come out of their homes to earn a living is a punishment.
And then as the trains snakes and zips through towns and cities inching its way closer to the political capital of kerala, there is a distinct class of passengers who accumulate. They discuss how their leaders and non leaders are ruining their pristine economy. Most people in Kerala are acutely political and many are definitely communist in their ideology. Well, you didn't think God would actually shower all His blessings on a single State, did you? Maybe something good will come out of all this, but for now.. I am through with one of my favorite things to do while in Kerala; traveling through an intercity express.

Bon voyage..

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Religion of Hate

England recently banned radical Islamic preacher and founder of Peace TV, Dr Zakir Naik from entering their countries.
Couple of thoughts that sprang to my mind was, 'What took them so long?' and 'How hypocritical?'
I have a dear friend of mine who follows his speeches very carefully, and I am pretty sure the good Dr has a long list of followers.
So curious and having heard a lot about the charismatic doctor who gave up his practice to follow his calling, I decided to hear him on Peace TV.
First impressions, he definitely needs to fire his costume designer or whoever the heck it is who is in charge of his attire. He looks atrocious in the tuxedo.
And why are his trousers always 4 inches short??
However, once you struggle to move past this visual tragedy, he does come across as a fanatic who has amazing oratorical skills.
Most of the people in the audience looked disinterested and bored. Many of them kids with the Muslim skull cap.
His speeches are filled with logic that appears convulted and barbaric and suddenly I am able to understand why Islamic radicals have been able to run entire societies back to the middle ages in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As a rule, I believe religious leaders and preachers should not touch politics even with a barge pole, however this guy loves to dabble in pointing fingers. It escapes my understanding how blaming George bush for the 9/11 can help in religious harmony among the brotherhood religions of Christianity and Islam. He supports polygamy and stricter regulations for Islamic women.
However, as much as we like to hate people and ideologies that are opposite ours, the Countries that banned Zakir and the Preacher that got banned must understand that what goes around comes around.. To ban a person or an ideology is a knee jerk way of stepping around the real issue.
Most Western Countries would not dare ban Christian preachers who are radical and 'outspoken'. They would dare not ban artists and politicians that promote religious strife. A case in point is how the West treated the Danish Cartoonist with kid gloves instead of convicting him for causing communal discord. I personally cant imagine any artist going Scot free if he/she were to humiliate Jesus or even less, the Pope the same way.
Zakir Naik, in his true form, protested the British ban in a fit of moral outrage.
But he conveniently forgot how he would ban anti Islamic books, practices and people with a whiff of his fist. So, going by the same measure, he shouldn't complain when the British government is trying to banning him.
He is upset his freedom of expression is being stifled. He calls his television network 'Peace TV'. A complete misnomer, since it has nothing that promotes peace nor has anything that resembles harmony among humanity in any of its programs. Of course I can understand that Dr Naik needs to play to the galleries but how can a channel that is a platform to portray Islam as the most divine of religion promote peace. Of the half a dozen Christian channels that are broadcast, not one of them trashes other religions the way Peace TV does. This channel is nothing but a Muslim supremacist media. By questioning the legitimacy of other religions he is not doing Islam any favor.



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His views on freedom are outrageous and this would be an understatement. He is all for equal rights for Muslims in non Islamic countries but not the reverse. Why? Because Islam is the right religion. Or so, Dr Naik professes eloquently. And if you think otherwise, he would muffle your debate with Islamic rhetoric.
As an Indian, living in India, if not for all his education and the many many liberties that he enjoys and could be taking for granted, he forgot that there are many reasons why India has survived several centuries of oppression and occupation is because we as a Civilization believe that there are many paths and different ways to get to our common goal; Eternity.
In a planet that is armed to the teeth and baying for blood, we can do without preachers and politicians that are hypocritical and can steer clear of each others profession.
We've had far too many fundamentalist and great orators that have created enough divisions and strife in humanity and its not even a century since all this happened ! At the rate things are going, we are heading to a nuclear showdown. And none of the Islamic BS Dr Naik preaches is going to immunize all the Islamic brotherhood from the same destruction that humanity will face.

We must do away with preachers of hate rhetoric. Religious Tolerance and Unity. Is that too much to ask?
Religion was supposed to bring in Harmony and Peace. Where did we go so wrong?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Incredible India

I love traveling.

Well, most people do, and in a time when travel is a way of life, it is a fashionable thing to mention in resumes and 'About Me' sections online.
Tourism is a huge industry and unlike most other industries, tourism can propel an entire economy into the 'first world'.

India, unfortunately has a few black horses.
While states like Kerala and Goa have been the Toppers in the Class, the same cannot be said of the other states that pretend to be tourist friendly but instead cannibalize their travelers.

I am a fairly prolific traveler. However I am a careful and a very cautious traveler too. Am very skeptical about overly friendly co passengers, abhor passengers who put up and attitude and ignore those of them who show off their gadgets and supposed wealth.
I have a gift of being able to grasp the local language of the place I am visiting and that has saved me a lot of times.

Of all the places that I have traveled, my least favorite place is Hyderabad!
Sweltering heat and an almost unending need for water. If you are headed that way, be prepared to stay in an air conditioned room inside. The buses are archaic and public transportation is utter chaos. Not that it is different from the other parts of Incredible India, but what the heck!

Locals in places that I've visited often think that if you talk in English and look "forward", that they can relieve you of your wallet's content. Nevermind their smile and polite manners, they will unabashedly make sure you part with as much money as they can. All this unless you are cautious and prudent.

Sometimes, paranoia and lack of good sense can get the better of you.

You could miss out on the good stuff. India is not a Sweden or a Switzerland. And it can never be one either. However it is a land of extremes. You can travel to just across the border and a lot of curious anomalies and strange traditions. Bombay, one of my favorite places to travel to is fast paced and very practical. Kerala, one of my favorite holiday spots is exactly the opposite. The people there are neither fast paced nor practical. Keralites in Kerala are a sluggish lot. Most businessmen who start businesses are smart and intelligent, but some of them start a business for the wrong reasons. They simply hate to work under a boss. And whatever little zeal that they had quickly evaporates and fails to make up for the utter lack of business acumen.
They fail to capitalize on opportunities that knock and their ventures will die a natural demise.

India has its quirks too and while you can see towering examples of well thought out infrastructure, you will also see shoddy remains of poor civic work. Its like that oft quoted statement: "Examples of ancient culture coexisting with modern architecture..".

Its that rat race for more money, that has relegated us to the Third World/Developing Nation bin.

When per capita, our growth could have been as good as that of the US of A, we have corrupt leadership and politicians on the one hand an agrarian society that does not take care of its farmers.

But there's hope. Though not a revolution, I can sense a movement. A slow awakening of the youth to the real issues that plague this land. What we now need is a real Leader. A charismatic Leader of the Young.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"
This Speaker exhorted that we as humanity fight tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. This statement is as relevant as it was 30 years ago as it is now and unless we shed our colonial hangup, shake the dust of excuses and pull up our socks we will always be as defenseless as drunk man on an Indian road.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Give! Get Rich

A survey that studies trends of charity in India showed that the wealthier you got, the lesser you gave to charity.
The reason why the rich don't give to the poor is because of that section of the society that the poor depend on.
Its not always been this way though..

Charity in India has long been a milch cow.
Widespread corruption and the general unwillingness to punish the people who misappropriate charity has led to a general scepticism of Charity as a concept.

How can you blame the poor for remaining poor.

Every time we have a natural calamity, the Prime Minister's Fund open up and so does a dozen other 'Relief and Donation funds'. Good Samaritans donate out of the generosity of their hearts or because of the personal grief of the tragedy. However just a small fraction of all this will eventually reach the benefactors, if any. That all the money will end up lining the pockets of the 'Trustees' is India's shame.

'Let the left hand not know what the right hand gives' is a saying that transcends many religions.

However in a ritual that is repeated every at Mass every Sunday, I still see 'members' of wealthier churches flaunting their Gucci and Valentino purses when it is 'Offertory time', and when the Alter boys/volunteers start collecting the tiths, that's when the well heeled Ladies and Gentlemen dig deep into their bags and wallets for the smallest available denomination they can spare.
Some of them will even do a quick math to think if they need might need the money for parking on that day. Suddenly it becomes a battle of whether I 'pass' the bag or sacrifice the 'parking charge'.
And when the alter boy nudges the bag, you take a quick look with your peripheral vision to make sure you don't have any one staring down at your purse/wallet, you fish real quick pick the smallest coin dispensable and in a maneuver that will make a pick pocket blush dispose off the Rs 2 coin in the bag, while making sure that you put the hand deep inside the bag so as to give the illusion of pious offertory but actually to make sure no one sees your pittance.

Well, I've got news for all of you!
God does not need your Rs 2.
He created you. He created everything else. And 'He owns all the sheep in all the hills of the world'. Though this is just a metaphor, this is the Truth.

I find it absurd that we think we are paying/bribing Him (depending on what your need/reason is)
Doesn't He own the air we breathe. Not all the wealth in all the world can build another Earth, yet we try to save and hoard.

We hate the words 'Give' and 'Charity' in the same sentence.

'Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto you. For with the same measure that you give shall be measured to you again..'
Luke 6:38

When we have been promised abundance in return for generosity, why are we so reluctant? Is it because no matter how wealthy we get, our soul remains poor?
Lets learn to give out of our heart. True Charity begins in your heart. Lets get rich


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Human Sexes (Part One) - Different But Equal

This is the first of a series of documentaries by famous British zoologist and ethologist, also known as a surrealist  painter and popular author.

These documentaries contain certain scenes of nudity, hence viewer discretion is advised.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

When the beauty fades ...


Love fails and beauty fades...
This touched me because many times, when couples are dating themselves they fail to see the pitfalls and red flags.
You could be in love with a person who is an absolute pole apart from what you are, but all the pheromones in the planet cannot give you a happy marriage.
But what happens when a successful long distance relationship breaks up and you are left wounded?
Ordinarily, it shouldn't be as traumatic as a relationship between 2 people who lived in close quarters.
But I know a couple who was in a long distance relationship.
There was a lot of connection, love and no end to the promises to be with each other.
But there was the slip between the cup and the lip.
Promises were made to move heaven and earth and all else in between. But when the time to act came, all were conveniently brushed under the rug of societal obligations.
I respect the girl who chose to fulfill her parents' wishes over the guy she knew only for a year. If only we had more virtuous women, could we overcome the many evils of our society today.
What started as ordinary emails being exchanged blossomed into something incredible.
What was incredible ended with a lot of trauma. Both of them suffered. All the guy did was fall in love with a girl that he had never seen, but felt a million times through the many hours of phone calls they shared. But when she broke the news, all that he did was to stay silent though within him he was shattering into a million pieces. Not once, but a million times every minute of every day.

That guy was Me.

When I heard her tell me, I hung up and cried, until the pillow was soaked.
Then turned over the pillow and cried until my eyes ached, until my voice cracked and the pillow soaked.
That's when a dear friend of mine expressed his sympathy and encouraged me to grieve. "But in 3 days, you will get up. figure out what you want to do with your life and move ahead."
At the moment, I thought he was being too optimistic. 3 days?! No way. Though it was just a year of relationship, I knew things would never be the same again.
But in 3 days, after hundreds of sessions crying and many many hours of grieving, I woke up and realized that I didn't feel quite as bad as I felt on the first day. Little by little despite the agony of being dumped for the 2nd time, my emotional and spiritual condition improved significantly. I knew that I died to my old reality and was reborn to a new Me.

I guess it has to do with the Death, Burial and Resurrection.

I recently met a friend who stuck with me, through the toughest and most excruciating part of my breakup. She didn't take the moral high horse by blaming either of us, but allowed me to retrospect and heal.
The trauma of a bitter breakup still fresh in my heart, I decided to insulate myself from plunging into a rebound relationship.

Not very long ago, I heard the story of a couple who were getting married.
Very much in love, as all couples are, the love struck pair look at each other ready to orate their well written vows to each other.
The pastor stops them. He tells them to trash the pieces of paper and to look at each others hands and tell each other how much they mean to each other from one heart to another.


This is what ails our marriages. In a society that glamorizes sex and promiscuity, we plunge into a marriage with as much frivolity as a kid in a toy store, but fail to understand that what we do with our hands is what keeps a marriage moving and no amount of physical attraction or tall promises can salvage a marriage.
No big fat weddings for me, because I would rather prefer to marry a woman, who respects herself just as much as she would respect me.
A relationship that is build on mutual trust and inherent understanding, where we don't need to talk to be heard, when a mere nod, look and a touch would do.
A bond where we are not conceited but implicit and honest.
Every man sees his second mother in his lover and every woman gets her first child in her lover
    -William Shakespeare
Having been love-deprived all my adult life, I have craved to be with a lady who would be a mother, lover, confidante, closest friend and most passionate wife. I've seen you, I've loved you.

When the party is over... the crowd moves on... when your age catches up with you... when the body gives up and mind gets rusted.
Love, Trust and Communication is all that you'll need.

Saturday, March 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.


Thursday, March 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.

Wednesday, March 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.


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