Monday, 19 June 2017

LET THE WIND BLOW

Sudha Murthy’s story, ‘HOW THE SEASONS GOT THEIR SHARE’, has a share of depth of understanding for all her readers. In spite of being a story for children, it has in it material to set ticking the minds of adults too. The story in brief mentions about God having six sons namely, Day, Night, Summer, Rain, Winter and Wind. He instructs them to live together peacefully and divide themselves to share the world. So the boys get down to work immediately.

Day and Night being twins, decide to take turns of twenty-four hours each. So for the first twenty-four hours, Day begins to shine and the world remains sparkling with his bright light for all that time. The next twenty-four hours Day goes to rest and Night takes over his duty. Night’s darkness envelopes the earth and the people are left to rest and sleep under the black blanket of nature. The twins feel happy with their decision and believe their plan to be amazing. Then the other brothers, Summer, Rain and Winter decide to take a year each. However, all of them ignore their youngest brother Wind. They simply keep him out of the turns they take, and poor Wind keeps away silently without any demands. Their plan is to allow each brother to take one year completely in his charge; and so begin the seasons on the earth. The first year, Summer heats up the planet to the extent that everything almost gets burnt and dries up. The people of the earth long for some relief from his heat. After a burning hot year, Rain takes charge and pours down heavily to the respite of one and all. Initially, the people who have suffered immensely from the heat of his brother Sun, feel good; but when the downpour continues ceaselessly, they realise that it is not all that blissful. There are floods everywhere and everybody has to remain locked up in their homes without any food since all the crops have got destroyed due to water logging. So for another one year the scenario is painful. Then comes Winter’s turn. This cold brother comes with all his iciness and the people begin to shiver in spite of all the warm clothes they wear. The earth trembles and her denizen are terrified of what has been happening around and in a state of helplessness, they pray to God for a change.

 When the brothers see the unhappiness of the people, whom they were supposed to help as instructed by their father, they begin to worry. They wonder if they have made a mistake in their decisions and get together for a change of plan. After all, they had no plans to harm the earth people! Their new decision therefore is to divide the year in parts with their presence. So Summer being the eldest brother, takes charge for a few months and begins warming the earth. The earth soon begins to grow crops and everybody is happy, for food is being generated. Rain then takes over and drives away the thirst of all the people and helps the growth of crops with his showers. Soon Winter arrives and the crops begin to bear fruits for all and the world is now largely contented. Now when the twins see how their other brothers are sharing and caring, they too decide to share the day. So for twelve hours, Day shines bright and the next twelve hours Night showers his cool light on the earth.
However, a problem still continues to linger. The brothers have not yet teamed up with their youngest sibling. Wind continues to be left out. Because of their keeping him away, Summer’s heat continues to be unbearable without any breeze, with Rain the water continues to fall unevenly on the earth, whereby only some patches of ground get the water and the others stay dry and arid. Even during Winter’s turn, the earth faces a similar problem.
The brothers then realize that the youngest among them whom they had ignored thinking him to be of no use, can in fact be their saviour. They now become aware of his qualities which till now they have left unexplored. Soon they go up to him and repent and bring him into their plan of work. Wind too feels better and joins his brothers without hesitation. It is to be noted that Wind has no pride or strife.
He begins to blow and easily gives relief to the people on earth during the time when Summer lets the sun shine. Also when Rain begins pouring buckets full of water on earth, Wind helps to evenly direct him to different areas and there is equal amount of water on the planet. Winter’s arrival this time, gives joy to the people when Wind touches their nose and makes them feel pink.
The share of understanding I spoke about in the beginning is that, if only in our lives too, we would not ignore the breeze of kind and gentle words, which have the power of understanding to blow away strife of arguments in the summer of anger, we would have a beautiful life. Wind would then blow away the sweat of antagonism leaving us free from the hot sting of bitterness.
The breeze of quiet and kind lips would be a blessing during periods when our lives could be flooded with displeasure and hostility.
The biting cold of violence in moments of aggressive mood, could be lessened with the refreshing breeze of words of affection and love which would give warmth to cold hearts like the comfort given by woollen garments.
Isn’t it after all the winds of charity, sympathy, affection, trust and mercy which help us to approach one another to change painful circumstances everywhere? What a story indeed! Though written for children, we adults too could gain a lot from it.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

WHEN THE MIND WHISPERS TO THE BODY.

                         

(Thoughts inspired by Dr. Mickey Mehta – Global Leading Holistic Health Guru/ Corporate Life Coach.)
This is a featured article for all who aspire to join his wellness revolution for human evolution to get illuminized and Mickeymized!!!

Modern day living has become disjointed due to a new life-style where bodies appear to be moving without the joys of the mind and the spirit. Be it the corporate world, a world of educationists dealing with young lives or a world of the blossoming youth, stress has been blamed to be a terrorist on the prowl to victimise all; the ordinary and the extraordinary as well.
Everybody is today searching for cures, but healing seems to come not to many. This is because the remedy has been the cure of the mind or the soul or the body disjointedly. However, Dr. Mickey Mehta leads on gently to look at it as a whole.
Moments spent with this man of well-being are portions of learning about the unity of the mind, body and spirit trinity within each one of us. When this holistic guru speaks, all who listen to him learn. Moments shared with him become adventurous trips within oneself because Dr. Mickey Mehta believes in trekking within just as much as he enjoys trekking on the rough roads of adventure.
The path to fitness, according to this man of health is an engagement of a contemplative, spiritual and devotional nature which ultimately culminates into physical well-being.
Nature is vibrant and so must we be, as humans who are a part of the universe. This universal energy is waiting to explode in us if only we give it time and space.  Whoever gives time to listen to this wellness guru, cannot rest in ignorant slumber because it is his soul call to awaken dozing heads. This healer energizes every cell in the physical, mental and spiritual being to awaken and move towards its original holistic health.
Dr. Mickey Mehta believes that to exercise the mind is as important as to exercise the limbs. If a thirty minutes walk has the ability to calm down a troubled mind, thirty minutes of disturbance to a mind can in turn play havoc on the physical body. Today’s man is playing a lot on the see-saw of the psychosomatic and the somatopsychic illnesses. Dr. Mehta’s voice of balance then has been one that has knocked at many closed doors of modern minds opening them to a view of the grandeur and magnificence of health.
Complete body fitness takes more than a trip to the gym and that’s where this doctor of health walks in to help condition the body to deal with the rollercoaster rides of everyday living.
Our physical bodies are master pieces of creation invented till date. There is no more powerful and complex piece of equipment available on the planet. They are the temples that hold in them, our minds and souls and Dr. Mickey Mehta leads us in the course of association with him, to respect this supreme creation with total reverence.
Often, everyday levels of stress weigh down on our bodies causing our souls to experience a state of shock. This is a very common modern day experience for any man or woman and sadly today even children are not spared from this soul-shock of anxiety attacks. This sorry state of modern living, which has in the course of its rash success journey detached the link between the body, mind and the spirit, needs today a guiding soul to rejoin itself to its former state of overwhelmingly powerful and splendorous being.
Dr. Mickey Mehta is that modern binding agent who leads to the mastery of oneness. With his help, many have taken power over themselves to walk in the light of wisdom of getting into the best shape of living.

- Ruby Malshe


She is a lecturer in a South Mumbai College. She has written a book of devotional Earth Poems, a novel probing a spiritual search within-‘Jars Filled with Gold’ and a book of short stories-‘The Short Skirt From India’. She is also a guest writer for Proeves, an on-line magazine for young mothers and children and a motivational speaker who talks on different issues regarding women, life and children.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

WE CAN SAVE THE EARTH - (On a positive note)


The heroine of the Indian mythology Ramayana was a female deity of agricultural fertility. She was believed to have been discovered in a furrow when king Janaka had gone ploughing. Considered to be a child of Mother Earth, her birth was taken as a symbolism of union between the king and his land. Some in fact considered her to be a personification of fertility, abundance and well-being. In all likelihood it was possible that the wise ancient writer Valmiki was conveying a deeper message to all mortals for all times; a message of love and respect for the environment through his leading character of Sita.
However Sita’s journey was not one of exhilaration but one which had much anguish in it. In the present day too, her story is often repeated in accounts of abduction where she is often found dwelling as a shadow, afraid of coming out in the open to be spotted by evil Ravanas.

‘CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE’ has been chosen as this year’s World Environment Day theme.  However, the odour of violence today appears to be bordering extremes of aggression and the worst sufferers of all wars inflicted on man or nature are the women. In the past, humanity went to war unthinkingly. It was like a ‘Follow the Fool’ plague that struck every unthinking mind; but today the modern minds are blessed with the breeze of awareness. We are today aware that war only destroys and never leaves any winners to enjoy fruits of its destructive labour. Why would then any sensible species run into a game which has no scope or hope of a win? Every day, news channels splash blood in every home and all relatives of mankind are fed up of all kinds of destructive action. However, on the scale of justice, the side of awareness today seems to be getting heavier with the help of education. Everywhere, in spite of human generated damage, talks of peace can be heard. Enough generations have been taught the effects of war; now teaching effects of peace is in fashion. If continued, this definitely will bring about positive results. It will take time of course, for the old crop of vengeance to wither and die unattended and the new crop of love to blossom with focused attention. Our generation has understood that at times, in order to move ahead in the right direction we need to go back to the wise words of men like Martin Luther King who once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Celebrating the environment once again this year a large number of us will ritually gather with the knowledge which we normally refrain from using on other days. We will visit parks, plant trees, host pro-environment activities and events and then I hope that we will not go back in an inconsiderate slumber like the yesteryears but instead continue to connect to nature.  In the past we were very busy being ‘social-animals’; so engrossed in our social life were we that we missed the point and turned into animals; beasts who drank blood of the innocents. But today, a large number of us work hard to protect ourselves from the barbs of universal blame for the misbehaviour of some solely responsible for evil constructions. Many of us today have already begun to hold  tight to the knowledge that we are a superior race, too strongly armoured with compassion, love, care and concern to ever indulge in war with humankind or our environment.
Mother Earth will never be able to forgive us if we do not esteem the feelings and minds of others. The animal in us from the past has sorrowfully dug into her womb, making graves to bury all consideration and mutual respect for our fellow human beings and our surroundings. In fact every inch of the anatomy of the earth, is the knowledge that those of us destructively intelligent, left out from our laboratory of research.

However, today we are learning from the lessons of the past and submitting in love which grows only out of peace. All we need to do is pause and see the beauty of our environment; not just one day a year but every single morning we wake up to walk on the surface of the planet. Decades of stress to the ecosystems has caused us suffering, but today we have understood that we simply cannot displace and destroy in the name of God, who we believe commands us to fight a holy war. To our misery we have realized that when we plant a bomb to destroy our human enemies, we also damage our own compounds along with rival courtyards.

We will hopefully celebrate this World Environment Day with respect for our creation’s master maker with reverence, for we have understood that when our creator formed the earth, he put his love of abundance in her. “Creation made you and/ you created us. Where else could I see/ the creator, but in you! You are the clasping/ hands of the Lord./ You are the kissing / lips of His./ Where He not in you/ how could you have/ so much?” – from my poem, ‘Where Else Could I See?’

However, to achieve this stage, we will have to become irreligious and step out of an indistinct mindset into the luminosity of a belief where we will make use of science and technology to restore the earth we have battered and not fight and waste our time and energy battling over superiority of one faith over another. Then with the help of our newfound peaceful intelligence, we will be able to see the damage we have done to the earth; whether we will do something about it or not is the question awaiting an answer. Today we need to consciously strive for a continuous lifestyle for peace to celebrate our former monarchy. 

The earth, like a patient on a hospital bed is lying silent in excruciating pain; will we be able to hear her silence and work towards her healing is the question. “Your spiritual height/we do not understand./Since you prefer/to lie under us/we take you as an object./ Your silence reveals/ nothing to the deaf./ It would take/ears of understanding/to hear your message./ Oh Mother Earth!/ You speak the sacred voice,/if only all could hear it.” –from my poem, ‘Ears of Understanding’.


Monday, 8 May 2017

HEAVEN AT OUR DOORSTEP




Beautiful things and happenings are always at our doorstep or perhaps a little away. All we have to do is to see them with our eyes, chew on them with our minds and digest them with our spirit. To recover our ownership of this planet, we have no option but to go back to loving it.

Even a scientist like Albert Einstein understood the benefits of being in the lap of nature when he said, ‘Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.’
Nature is in fact the most invisible potent force of the almighty creator of all things. It is this strength in it, that lures us all to walk near shrubs, under the shade of trees, besides rives, at the shores and to climb mountains.

Once we have got hooked onto this infinite natural show, we will never be satisfied with sitting in closed boxes to view tales of human trifles.

In ‘The Chariot Pageant’- a very short story by Rabindranath Tagore, this great master of creativity shows us how indeed very short a journey it can be, to perceive what has always been in front of our eyes and yet not see it in the ignorance of long distance hopes of emotional prosperity. In all the simplicity of his writing, he brings an awe inspiring beauty of a world free of technology, a virgin world of beautiful natural designs where all space is lit up with the light of the stars. And all of this is brought to us through the character of a simple man whose job is to pick up loose broom straws off the palace grounds. When the whole kingdom, with all its high and mighty position holders, rushes to see the chariot parade, this simpleton feels too lowly to race alongside the influential and the strong. However, this set back approach of his is not due to any inferiority complex. It is his humbleness in all its innocence that points sharply to the neglected lifestyle of a modern man who is all the time seen rushing to parades in the world of mankind. But the uncomplicated self has no need to hasten to any parade at all because, ‘God comes to my doorstep in the very same chariots’. What an optimistic approach for humankind to take indeed! An approach that gives a surety of tasting the authority of the creator by simply respecting his creation.

But for the majority of doubting Thomas' of the world, if the chariot were to come at the doorstep, then it would have to leave its wheel marks for his eyes to see. For the unsophisticated however, the one free from earth desires, the invisible is not impossible; ‘His chariot has wings’.
The chariot then can be seen only by a few like the simpleton.
“The Minister asked, ‘And where is that chariot now?’ The wretch pointed – two newly bloomed sunflowers flanked either side of his doorway.”

Probably Tagore wanted to communicate some lofty truth to us, telling us not to run after the chariots or any kind of exhibitions of the world, but to look at nature which is the creation of God, and allow it to help us praise Him by  observing His powers all around; the power that has the strength to make a most delicate flower shoot up from a hard surface of a rock, the power of a stream to flow and make its way to the oceans, the power to help understand things unfathomable.


(Pic.courtesy: Google)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

GRAVES OF EXPECTATIONS



READING KABIR BEDI AND M.J.AKBAR TO UNDERSTAND THE MIND OF A DEPRESSED YOUTH.

As I go through ‘Ramblings on a Beach’, a memoir by Mr. Kabir Bedi, where he describes spending time at the shores where baby waves run to kiss the sand with fascination and the mother waves run after them to pull them back, I get transported to my past visits to a beach; and stand in my mind with my feet sinking into the sand and the waves kissing them gently. No doubts about how relaxing those times were! It doesn’t seem the same though for children who are taken to a beach today. The school children in the memoir, who had been brought there by their teachers were not allowed to simply loiter around and take in the beauty of the water dance but instead were made to race on the sand which would hold on to their footprints, however only till a wave would come rushing in to erase them. The writer then sees two girls run the race where one obviously wins and the other loses. What he goes on to describe further is worthy to be noted.
“I look at the girl who has lost. In her eyes, I see shame, I see fear, I see despair. Shame at not being able to win, fear of what others are thinking, despair at not knowing what to do next. I see the face of a child that has been hurt and humiliated. I see a soul that is slowly being bruised and brutalized by comparison: being forced to compete with the physically stronger on the beaches and playgrounds. In the classrooms, the same game will continue. She will be compared to the more intelligent, the ones with better memories and those who can write faster than her.”
One such depressing story happened recently when a twenty-three year old jumped off the 19th floor hotel window at the Taj Land’s End hotel in Mumbai, and shook the city of its complacency.
Who would have thought that such a young student from a reputed institute would have done this? Life suddenly appears to have become so cheap that at the slightest distaste and feeling of uselessness, it can be flung out of windows. What was more to come was that he didn’t murder himself in secrecy but went live on Face book video and tagged the hotel’s location; seeing which, his friends contacted the hotel staff, who then ran to save him but were just a few seconds late.
Such self murders today are indeed a loud and clear bell ringing for attention. Many a youth and the young at heart, in spite of all the joys and facilities of living at their feet, don’t seem to be close to happiness and joyful about the fact they are blessed with the miracle of life. In fact, they are grieved with several pressing forces which bleed their cheerfulness. They even face restrictions in matters of love. Our religions compartmentalize even this basic need of men and women. Often, we have heard of stories where a Dalit youth has had to face terror if he has erred to love a Brahmin girl. Even our education system fails them. In fact, it frustrates them to the extent of losing faith in life. The knowledge of equality remains enclosed in the pages of the text books and men and women continue to be ostracized. Mr. M.J. Akbar, a veteran journalist, calls such love, visions of a sleeping mind in his short story ‘An Indian Dream’; where he kills his hero in a posh hotel room. “Ashfaq’s suicide in a posh hotel room in the early hours of the morning on January 21 (as the newspapers said) did cause a few minor ripples.” An Urdu medium graduate, but heart-broken because of his poverty, falls in love with a rich girl and dreams of getting a job. “He would get a job, get a flat, get Ayesha and live happily ever after.” But dreams are not real and Ashfaq is not equipped to face reality. However, life moves on and Ashfaq is sadly forgotten. “After the funeral they talked the whole thing over. ‘What a goddam coward, what a weak person!’ .....In the course of fruitful time, Ayesha married a foreign-returned wealthy Muslim businessman who danced very well, spoke English with an excellent accent, and was after a fashion, intelligent too.”
My country India ranks 122 out of 155 countries on the World Happiness Report. It’s time to give deep thought regarding the reason for such placement. Ironically, foreign seekers of emotional fortunes come searching for it to India; leafing through her philosophies, her yoga, her temples, her family values, her traditions, her culture and her spirit filled ambiance with a lot of faith to return fulfilled. Little do they know that a majority of her citizens have only residual values for all these and are more focused and influenced by power, wealth and pleasures of the body and mind.
A country that should be overflowing in joys of body, mind and spirit and in fact, one which is successfully selling it to others, has its youth dying under pressures of material achievements and fears implanted right from the kid zone times. Mr. Bedi expresses his sorrow of the same when he talks to his daughter, “Now, at three and a half, you’re a little lady. You have your own friends, you own stubborn opinions. All this is super. But I’m sad because now you come and tell me about the Buddhi Mai coming to get you, and ghosts in the dark, and you’re afraid of the water because you’ll ‘doob’ in it and a hundred other fears.”
Giving undue attention to such demands of the world and fear implants, only ends up in the break-up of a peaceful soul. Frustrations, disappointments, anxiety and stress don’t hesitate to follow. “And I am sad because your mind will be wounded even more over the years. Your schools will use fear to make you behave: fear of punishment, fear of ridicule, fear of humiliation. They don’t want you to behave, baby, they just want you to conform. Bit by bit they will try to kill what makes you different from others, the differences that made you so distinct as a child. They’ll tell you......all good children go to heaven. And good children are children who think like other good children. The best children, of course, win races and come first in class. Try to be like them. If you question their stupidities, they’ll throw you out.” The free spirit of the children with time gets stiffened by their anxious family members, their ‘rule of conduct’ following teaches and a fearful world that often foolishly believes that holding on to fears in secret is the best. These are the people who in their timidity give up on life and instead hold on to their miseries in secret; and secrets often become heavy burdens weighing down on the person like a hangover. What we need now more than ever are good Samaritans who have listening ears, who can help by lifting the weight of such emotional baggage with their ears. Private Ponderings over disturbing issues rather than sharing them with family or friends has often proved crucial to the well-being of the secret holder. Unresolved issues have never solved matters but only made them worse. In fact the Confession Box at the Roman Catholic churches is a perfect cost free idea of making light, heartbroken individuals.
However, all may not be church goers and for them the confession box of nature can become an open air field of healing. Nature is a great stress buster. Therefore long walks under the shade of trees, or near rivers and ponds can get unimaginably helpful. Nature lifts up depression caused of secrecy. The stressful burden of secrets is blown off by the winds at the sea shore. The sea too holds back no secrets. You can throw anything into it and it throws it back cleansing itself to remain light from any burden of filth. At the end of the day, it is the letting go that matters.
It is very common to be unhappy; a large majority of the human tribe are trying to hide their unhappiness under their smiles, failing to accept that happiness is a ‘State of Mind’. This uncomplicated emotion is not dependent on the climate outside or the timely arrival of a flight or a reasonable availability of a holiday package.
It’s our ignorance that traps us in negativity. Instead of being conscious and aware of the beauty of our lives, we allow its charm to be destroyed by accepting the coloured glass vision of others. Instead of appreciating and enjoying the things we have to do, we endlessly and most of the time search for things which we will appreciate and enjoy......and the moments slip by.

“Children are Masters of Zen. Curious about everything. Adults are serious and boring. What happened?” The worst is that these solemn adults are digging graves for the youth with spades of great expectations.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

THEY SAY, FIGHTING LONELINESS GETS EASIER WITH THEM BY YOUR SIDE


The news flashed saying, ‘A stray dog that had been adopted by a woman repaid her kindness by laying down its life saving her from a knife-wielding attacker.’ Lucky was the name she had given to this stray who she had adopted and lucky indeed she was to be saved by him. Lucky came into her life when she was battling loneliness after her mother’s demise; and for someone who had lost somebody special in her life, Lucky was like a sudden profit after a colossal loss. I am told and do believe that dogs do fill up gaps in the lives of many.
My thoughts then jumped to a striking statement made some time back by a well-known actor’s wife, who was quoted to have said that she would never want to be a woman who spent her day at work all day long, only to come back home to her baby in the evenings as if it were a puppy. She successfully outraged several ladies who claimed that they stepped out of their homes not to enjoy kitty parties with friends or on shopping sprees, but to bring back home a good amount of expense contributions with self-respect. 
However, when one and all were so much focussed on the love for their children and the pains they took for their upbringing, I could hear a whisper murmuring to me some truth about the way a large number of people behave with animals. I wondered if the star lady’s statement had implied something more about humans who kept pets at their homes. Did they not care enough for their pups who they said they loved and cared for, did they simply had them home to feel better when they returned from work, or were they in any ways irresponsible shirkers who found that dogs would always in their barks and silence accept any injustice mankind did to them in all their ungrateful humanness?
Again, another supporting happening in my thought process was the movie ‘Boss Baby’, which got me thinking over the strange plot of a baby as a secret agent in a secret war between babies and puppies. The modern world being already overpopulated, perhaps some couples prefer to bring home puppies rather than those little demanding human creatures. The question then arises, does man bring home a pet to share his overflowing love or does he do so because he is grieving due to lack of  reciprocated love? Of course, everybody knows that a dog’s love is genuine? Or has man become so careless and irresponsible that he prefers to shirk the responsibility of a human child and instead brings in a fun and loyal companion? Or is it that man has heard enough stories of ingratitude of human children to bother about them; their expenses and the heartbreaks from such relationships and feels lighter with a speechless creature at home?
Whatever the reasons, it does not show man in bright light. Though I am not a passionate animal lover myself, I do respect the four-legged friends who have secured a mark of loyalty in all stories of the past and present. On the one side I feel it injustice towards these animals whose movement gets restricted in cluttered city apartments, for I believe that they need open space to roam around freely. But I am also aware of the research on benefits of pets, which have proved tremendous therapeutic health benefits to their owners. Dogs are believed to reduce loneliness and decrease stress. Dog owners get loads of health benefits when they take their pet out for a walk having an advantageous position of exercising themselves. Dogs are known to repay love tenfold. Their commitment is a life-time one. And all they want in return for all their love is to be loved; it’s that simple. In fact when I wanted a character to fill up a short story of mine, where a little girl needed help to overcome her stress levels, I put over there a dog as her helper. In ‘Reading to Tommy’, little Kishori got an intent listener in Tommy, who simply heard her read, without being judgmental. His silent presence had tremendous effect on her stuttering and she was able to read with a flow which was surprisingly joyful. It was the presence of this animal which helped her to scale new heights. The reading of the story to the animal, itself proved to be a moment of transformation.  “One day, as she was going home from school, she saw a hill-lock. Oh! She walked close to it and felt like climbing its small height. She knew that her mother would be upset with her as she would be wasting a lot of study time, but then she wanted to waste her time and so she began to climb. As she climbed the hill she saw beautiful, colourful flowers growing at her feet. They smiled at her as her toes touched their soft petals. She bent down to feel their smoothness and even plucked a few of them and put them in her hair. She climbed higher and higher till she reached the top.” – (‘The Short Skirt from India’ by Ruby Malshe)

In India, animal activists have a tough job trying to explain to people about difficulties that animals go through due to the negligence of mankind. Take for instance the festival of Diwali, where a number of animals are reported to getting scared and some even fatally burnt due to the careless use of crackers. A little information about Nepal’s Kukur Tihar Festival could help us become sensitive towards these furry and loyal creatures. This five-day autumnal festival has lamps lit everywhere since it is the festival of lights and celebrates the triumph of knowledge over ignorance when it understandingly values the role of dogs in the life of humans and extols them to a position of companions and friends. The festival does not simply waste itself in self pleasures of good food and clothes and entertaining gatherings of the kind, but acknowledges a deep connection between all living things.

At a recent function organised by the Bombay Veterinary College at Parel in Mumbai, a special program was organised to felicitate working dogs from the police, railways and bomb squads and a lifetime achievement award was given to a retired police dog who had been adopted after his retirement by an octogenarian lady, who in her speech made a very striking point that perhaps needs cogitation. She expressed her concern as to why people did not adopt retired or maimed service dogs? She believed that some facility for such animals would be a great service to those who had served us in all their unselfishness, safeguarding the public during their tenure. She expressed that it would be a great way of thanksgiving to these honest and loving creatures, if people who had farm houses could adopt at least one such retired dog. I had always believed that dogs needed space as big as farms but honestly I hadn't given ever mind to a thought as generous and altruistic as this.


Perhaps if her suggestion were to be taken into consideration, then many lonely and remotely placed hearts would get companionship and many more stories of loyalty could be given narration opportunity. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

LET THE GRASSHOPPERS SING


What if the Ant and the Grasshopper, the heroine and the villain of this one of the most read Aesop’s fable exchanged places? If we were to switch their roles, I’m sure they wouldn’t fit in easily. The delight of the Grasshopper to enjoy the beauties of the surroundings; to take in all of the environment as the base of inspiration to sing, rap, dance, write poems and stories wouldn’t be easy for the Ant. And of course the seriousness of the Ant, her laborious life, her hard work would be indigestible for the Grasshopper.

The philosophy of the Ant, the one which focuses on material goods and the philosophy of the Grasshopper, the one which delights in life and its beauties, are two sides of a coin which are essential for the piece of metal to be of any satisfactory use and bring happiness.

The Ant would normally feel that creativity takes no great talent; that it’s just a waste of valuable time where the whole of man is given away to the senses, where he lies drowsing away days, where the creative person is dangerously lazy and a lot of his time is wasted on vain and empty pleasures. Whereas the Grasshopper would express that hard work was not difficult at all; only drab and dull. That it only concentrated on profit in life, that comforts of industrial wealth was a prior in his life, that it always sought substantial protection, that it felt safe only when it saw a firm future, that it believed that joys and security had to be lasting, that it never went out of season to experience something different and that it always successfully passed avarice upon the world.

The moral taught to us in this story, was that hard work during summer prepared rest for us during winter; and that those who wasted their time singing away in summer, could be told mercilessly to dance away the winter. 

The story in a way promoted a strict code of behaviour of toil where misbehaviour of leisure was unpardonable.

Today however, the need of the hour urges us to be more forgiving and less harsh with those unfortunate ones who probably were not taught the difference between the right and the wrong of the puritanical code of accountability. Of course we need to take care of our necessities, but once they have been fulfilled we also need to take a look at the needs of our neighbours and give them what we may have in spare. Such encouragement of sharing would do common good to humanity at large. What we need to understand today in spite of wearing our crown of self righteousness, is that forgiveness need not have any feeling in its applicability but a decision to act in a particular way. Wouldn’t it be harsh on our part to focus on one man’s fault while ignoring the duty of another? Our conceited response, bereft of mercy to the wrong the other man did would only lead us to be inhumane. The Ant would have risen in her soul climb if she had relieved the Grasshopper in his distress, even when the troubles his way were the evidence of his actions.

And to look at this issue from yet another point of view, if all the Grasshoppers were left to shiver in the winter as a penalty for spending their summers singing and painting, there would be no art left in this world. It is after all the songs the Grasshoppers wrote that the Ants tapped their feet listening to, when they were labouring away in the heat of the sun.


Our society needs Grasshoppers to make the fabric of our community of workers more endurable. For what are the Ants of the world but little birds who make nests on branches that could break under their weight and yet ceaselessly go on working to establish a place for themselves, tweeting away a song they may have heard which reminds them about their wings which could help them fly in moments unendurable. 

So let us not stop the Grasshoppers from singing if we want to hear and sing charming tunes of encouragement during arduous moments in our life.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

INDIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF CELEBRATING WOMEN’S DAY


A few days ago, my daughter called and asked, “Mum, do you know what the problem is?” and without waiting for an answer continued, “The problem is that I am a woman. I can’t help that though.” This angst was regarding the disparity regarding her salary. The Monster Salary Index has researched and found that Indian women earn quite a bit less than the Indian men even though they may be placed in the same position and work the same number of hours.

Today we may not be having a blatant disregard for women like in the olden days, but women still continue to face prejudices; which to avoid inconvenience, many of them brush aside like dust particles under carpets and sofas in their living rooms.
Yes of course women did get, or rather fought for rights to vote or to get educated; or in Mr. Narendra Modi’s India, a toilet to pee in privacy; but there is always a horror story which women seem to be scared of at their homes or work or even in the streets.

In fact on the 16th December 2012, every woman and every man who loved a woman was shaken up by the horrific Delhi gang rape. Since then the fear psychosis continues everyday in all places; even in schools where bra straps get snapped in classrooms in the presence of male teachers who tell the girls to ignore the mischief.

It’s ironic that we study women at the university level in our country and yet are unable to brush off the dust of tradition. Personally I feel that India has no right to celebrate Women’s Day; in fact India should be ashamed to ceremonialize this day. Indian men urgently need to get rid of all their women deities from their temples; their Laxmis and Sarawatis, Durgas, Kalis and Mother Marys must be brought out from the temples and churches as due respect to them from the hypocrisies of duel standard worship. These men must relearn instead to shift their form of veneration; transforming it with reverence towards their daughters, sisters, mothers and wives and women friends.

India must understand that her women don’t hunger for awards during fake elaborate entertainments, where Women’s Day cards or bouquets of roses mean nothing but business for card manufactures and florists. This pink spirit for one day and for the rest of the days the gloom of blood is not digestible.  Women all over the world are in general a strong and smart species. Their courage, their resistance, their smartness, their emotional strength in their day to day life is itself a great occasion for an Every Day celebration without any sort of worldwide recognition.

So this year, sans all the frills of this international celebration, sans the hypocrisy of a good number of Indian men, I prefer to salute this creative force in the world by acknowledging her greatness in all her simplicity.

Happy Every Day to her, who has been serving at my place and making my life easy for more than two decades. Sometimes happy and sometimes grieved; of course she has her moods; which I have learnt to manage, for I know that back home she has to manage a lot more. Married in her teens, troubled by her alcoholic husband and with a toddler in hand she dared to step out with fear and courage to give her company on the rough path called life. In all her illiteracy she had learnt that education was a must for her daughter in order to save her from a life like hers; and now her daughter, an economics major, has bought a home for herself. Today, I salute this courage that overcame fear.

Happy Every Day to her, who fell in love. They grew up together and yes, even got married. Strangely he found someone else. It broke her heart. She asked, ‘How could it have been?’ because it was a long time relationship. A shirt of self-sympathy and an overcoat of sympathetic pats on her back would have been so much more comfortable to shield from the world’s breeze of mockery; but she chose to take a swim in the harsh waters of life. Stepping out of marriage she chose to live life with respect. Today, I salute this strength to overcome disrespect.

Happy Every Day to her, who was too young to understand the difference between a good touch and a bad one. In those days there was no awareness too. Yet, she knew that something was wrong. There was no comfort in his lap. She stopped going near him; hid when he arrived. Showcasing his nonexistent innocence, he kept inquiring why she had turned so shy of him. Now she was big and strong to face the hypocrite. One day she knocked at his door. His wife welcomed her home. It had been so many years ago. “What has brought you home?” she asked. “I wish to confess”, she answered. He was old and his hands shivered; the old man’s disease. She went and sat on his lap. He smiled surprised and said, “Young lady, you are too old to sit on my lap now.” “Oh yes, I know”, she replied. “I just wanted to know if you would have the guts to touch me wrong even now”. Today, I salute this confidence to recognize a wrong and make it right.

Happy Every Day to her, who in a world that rejoices the birth of little boys, was a proud mother of two. They took long to grow and she worked hard too. But one day, the usual bickering and irritable one; unlike the fairy tale ‘one fine day’, she shifted herself to an old-age home because she didn’t like being shifted every few months from one son to another. She had worked hard to make them stable in life and didn’t appreciate the instability they offered her. Today, I salute this power of vision which sought self-respect even when vision in her eyes had gone weak.  

Happy Every Day to her, who continued in her marriage for her children; whose strength lay in abandoning personal joys for the happiness of others. Today I salute this power of sacrifice that woke up every morning with a smile in spite of the tears of last night.

Happy Every Day to all the women who in spite of having a voice, had to go through remarkably quiet and difficult personal journeys to find their vocal cords.

Happy Every day to all those women who didn’t ask who would let them do it but instead asked who would stop them from doing it.


Happy Every Day to all those women who could have sat down and cried till they died; but who instead wiped their tears and chose to stand strong.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

LET’S COLOUR OUR WORLD AND PREVENT PIGMENT HATE


Recently when I had to purchase a gift for a friend from a foreign land, I was advised to be colour conscious. ‘The western world is paler’, I was reminded. As an Indian, it was difficult to digest a colourless world. Strangely, though our skin colours are limited to white, black or brown, our blood everywhere is hot and vibrant red.

Memory took me far back in time when an acquaintance once had stopped me to inquire, as to where in the pink sari that I was then wearing, was there any shade of green, that I had the courage to wear a green blouse. The sari that I was then wearing, had a medley of colours at its base and to my relief, I quickly searched it to locate a tiny bit of green at the bottom. I escaped the cold look of my acquaintance! What got me thinking though was the word she had used. She had been amazed at my ‘courage’ to wear colour. Till then I didn’t know that colours needed confidence. As an Indian, I had grown up being incautious when I draped colours on my body. In fact, colours gave me strength to be happy in the gloomiest of times. And today when I was told that the West largely shirked from colours, I was in a way glad that I had the ability to do that which the West was probably frightened of.
Last year a young and beautiful Mexican friend came to India and splurged with colours from the street shops. Surprisingly again, it was the green and the pink; and what a glow it gave to her complexion! When asked what she had liked most about India she had said, ‘colours’.
In between this West and the East, my mind feels drawn to the earth I live on. How many colours she carries on her body! The brown of the soil, the green of the grass and the visually attractive in between courageous peeks of the colourfully vibrant florets. The blue of the oceans and the white of the waves; the colours of nature can indeed stimulate the dullest mind into creativity. And what’s marvellous is that the earth so effortlessly mixes the hues in spite of being so serene. Probably the West would be ruffled at how easily our planet carries all shades on her skin in all calmness. Perhaps it’s the politics of fashion which play a jinx on us. It has taken on itself the responsibility to teach us to wear colours and we pay it with our freedom of choice. If we were to emulate nature, we would be able to comfortably wrap ourselves in different shades without any rivalry or embarrassment.
A whisper here speaks a bit more to me. The recent shock waves felt in India due to Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian engineer being shot dead in a suspected hate crime in Kansas, has certainly shaken many parents of this land whose children are living in the United States. The scene could become every migrant’s nightmare indeed; but for the Ian Grillots who seem to care for all shades; and who come running to help when impulses of race and nativity begin to hold guns.

Perhaps some parts of our world need art classes to get down to understanding the benefits of mixing and matching of colours in the tapestry of life. Then in the long run our earth could wear a beautifully woven colourful carpet and spare us pigment crimes. The world would then clad itself in different shades of humility and mercy, stripping itself of any thread of ego. Grace from the skies above would shower waters to assist it in self-effacement cleaning up the dirt of divisions. Then there would be no need for new walls to be built with bricks of fear, because finally someday love would overpower the unpleasant emotion of hate.

What an amazingly beautiful world we would have an opportunity to live in, where the winters would blow the breeze of compassion and the summers would give the warmth of blessings. Where every man and woman would belong to the race of humanity and rely on the strength of values, honesty and care irrespective of religion, caste or the colour of their skin. Where people would have the courage to allow colours in their lives and neighbourhoods.
As humans, we have the opportunity to create a masterpiece of our lives using our intelligence by walking purposefully, worthily and accurately on the green grass of love, but sadly some of us prefer to plod through the mucky slush of hate and anger as we let go of wisdom.

“SO BE CAREFUL HOW YOU ACT; THESE ARE DIFFICULT DAYS. DON’T BE FOOLS; BE WISE: MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE FOR DOING GOOD.” Ephesians 5:15,16

It would be injustice if I end without honouring the one who let go of thoughtless and foolish behaviour and chose not to be vague but grasped and understood the essence of life beyond boundaries. - Love.

(pic. courtesy: Google)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

THAT DESIRE TO LEARN........!


                       Underprivileged Indian children attend an outdoor school,     
                                          under a bridge in New Delhi.

With the exam season having begun once again, some of us have decidedly laboured day and night; and some instead, in fear of results, have recoiled in submission to failure even before the tests could commence. Some of us may be wondering if it is indeed too late to bring about a change. And some of us may be striving every minute for a transformation. Success though, is never waiting to be achieved in the form of a result. It’s already present in the decision making power and the will to succeed; and simply shows high denominations on the report card later. Surely nothing is impossible if we only decide to not give up! Did anybody ever misguide us, telling us that the goal was a plateau? Of course not! The goal is a Himalayan peak which requires skill, hard work and planning to scale. Every negative thought on this climb will be a land slide crashing us down; but every positive approach will accelerate the escalating journey.
I’m sure we began with a dream. That very inception of the dream in our minds had to create life in real. We must not though forget, that our dream needs the warmth and the security of the womb of faith; a belief that it will soon grow big and take birth; that it will be the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to us. However, if we give up due to the longevity of the growth period and get fed up of the troubles involved during those days, then we will abort it. Only our determination to hold on to our imagined dream in our hands will allow us to cradle it someday soon. The world itself is a reality of a dream, which rests on belief.
If we want therefore a masterpiece stroke on the design of our life, we will have to use the colour brushes of confidence, hard work and sincerity.
The canvas is always waiting to be painted. Either we create a riot of colours on it, or we let lethargy leave it blank. And of course, the choice is always ours.

(Pic. Courtesy google)

Monday, 13 February 2017

A DIFFERENT LOVE STORY



This season of love, I saw a film, a love story with a difference. ‘The Case Against 8’, an HBO American Documentary film, showcased the legal battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative, and a California State Constitutional amendment, passed in the November 2008 elections, which said that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California”. A question continues to be asked, ‘If marriage is a relationship between two people who love one another then why can homosexual couples not be given the stamp of law to live together respectably?’
The gay agenda has since long alleged and argued about homosexuality being natural; but they have often been questioned with the eternal query of their incapability of procreation. There is also the CDC (The Centre for Disease Control) which reveals to us several risk factors involved in same sex partners. To add to it, there is the lobby of the Psychiatric Association which believes in its research and says that the LGBT people are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and deliberate self-harm.
Those with a religious frame of mind also showcase the Biblical verses which speak against such a relationship. They believe that disobedience of age old wisdom will only bring about decay in the society.
Romans 1:27, “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” The next verse, Romans 1:28 goes on to tell us that when we fail to stay connected to our creator, we are likely to become slaves of the lusts of the world. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.”
Matthew Vines, an LGBT activist, well known for his You Tube video “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” and his book “God and the Gay Christian” however questions the contextual truth of the above verses. He points out that in the Biblical times same-sex behaviour was primarily seen happening between adult men and adolescent male servants. These adult men were married to women and yet lustfully went in search of young lad prostitutes. He points out that in such relationships, there was no mention of love, commitment or faithfulness and so it was obvious then that homosexuality was rebuked and viewed as sinful and lustful. To assert his need for a changed manner of thinking, Vines points out that Paul as he spoke to the Romans, also condemned women from speaking in the church; but today we do find women pastors everywhere.
Now to be the devil’s advocate, the questions one can put forward to the so called ‘straight’ people are, ‘Aren’t you scared of overpopulating the world and shouldn’t you thank the LGBT for the benefit of their inability to procreate?’ Also, aren’t there enough sexually transmitted diseases in the so called normal relationships and wouldn’t it be unfair to shift the blame on LGBT in totality? As concerning the area of depression, couldn’t it be that if the rate of suicide is large with the LGBT, it is because of the ‘repression’ and the ‘rejection’ of the ‘who they are’ and not because of the ‘what they naturally are’? That if they were not to face the embarrassment of not being straight, wouldn’t there definitely be a drop in their self-destructive tendencies?’
The truth of life is indeed difficult to arrive at! Arguments about the real and the unreal, the natural and the unnatural could go on endlessly but as men and women we have the power to choose. To exercise that power is again our choice. Life offers us many ways of living, and it is obvious that when we are unable to make right decisions for ourselves, we inevitably end up in complicated situations.
As humans, we surely have a right to live our life the way we feel best suites us; provided it does not hurt or cause inconvenience to others. This is exactly the reason why, from the beginning of civilization mankind has tried to make laws, which if everyone were to follow would lead to a problem free life. Take for example the law of wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler. A biker may feel more comfortable without a helmet and justify his not wearing one, saying that he feels lighter without it and that he is more relaxed in its absence. Need we say more after the number of accidents reported due to such disobedience of the law? If research shows us, that going away from the usual pattern of relationships causes a good amount of mental, emotional and physical damage, then shouldn’t we as intelligent human beings learn from the mistakes of the others or should we always insist on experiencing everything firsthand? Or should we further argue and point out the mental, emotional and physical damages which also occur in the usual relationships? Even if this is true, should we not desist from creating more such damage? In Jude 1:7 we read that, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”. The flames of fire may look attractive to a child who rushes to put his hands into it hoping that he will be able to catch its rising movement, but the mother who is aware of the natural law, is the one who holds him back from any inevitable harm. Could we say then, that to rush into love of another kind is foolish and that ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’? The man, who refuses to wear a helmet while riding a two-wheeler, when he meets with an accident, is not always the only one who gets hurt. A majority of times he causes hurt to innocent people around him and if the accident proves fatal for him, then he leaves behind a very pained family for no fault of theirs. Isn’t such behaviour a kind of intoxication, with defiance of laws? Shouldn’t we be worried then when we break a law such as the one mentioned in Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Probably it is here that Matthew Vines begins his contextual argument, in relation with the times of the Biblical writings; where he points out the sexual relationship of men with male child servants. But surely the writers of those times did not lack in vocabulary and could have certainly mentioned the word child to be most precise? The lust mentioned in Romans is not between men and male children. The words are crystal clear when they say in Romans 1:27 “......burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,.....”
On the other side of the world of the Biblical text, there are the Hindu Mythologies, which showcase a good amount of different sexual behaviour. The walls of the Hindu temples show erotic images which the modern laws of the world today deem unnatural.
All rules can be seen to be broken on those walls. Could we dismiss such images as perverted versions of the artist? Some puritanical thinkers believe that such perversions sculpted in stones were the works of degenerate minds at a particular time in the history of India and some believe that the images represented the crudeness in intimate relationships of the flesh which needed to be left out before entering the temples.
There are stories too in the epics that would be worth considering. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Hanuman is mentioned to having seen Rakshasa women kissing and embracing each other. These were the women who had been kissed and embraced by the demon king Ravana. Could we here conclude that the texts then were attempting to tell us that same-sex relationships were demon induced?
Srila Prabhupada of the Krishna Consciousness, believes that heterosexual desires can be accommodated with the grihastha-ashrama, but that there is no scope of accommodating homosexual desires. For men who express homosexual attraction to men, he recommends marriage to a woman. To cut it short, it is like saying that within the Vedic culture, marriage channelizes lust in an acceptable manner. In the Srimad Bhagavatam purport 3.20.26, Srila Prabhupada says, “The homosexual appetite of a man for another man is demoniac and is not for any sane man in the ordinary course of life.” Some followers in fact go to the extent of believing that even heterosexual desires are a perverted reflection of one’s original love for Krishna. However, they accept that homosexuality is not uncommon today but this is due to the influence of the Kali-yuga.
The story of the birth of mankind, Adam and Eve tells us that God wanted love between the two. This was the actual design the creator wanted for his creation which got perverted in numerous ways by the fallen man. When in the beginning of creation God made Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” Gen. 2:18, and so He proceeded to make a woman for the man. Mind well, He made Eve and not Steve for the man. The original plan as can be seen from what we read, was that this couple would work together to help flourish the Garden of Eden, but could it be that some Rakshasa wanted destruction of this plan and changed the equation of the sexes?
It is interesting to note that it is believed that the laws prohibiting ‘unnatural’ sex were imposed across the world through the imperial might. Some believe that such laws were the product of minds that were deeply influenced by the ‘sex is sin’ stance of the religious text of the Christians – the Bible. However, in Genesis 2:25 it says, “Now although the man and his wife were both naked, neither of them was embarrassed or ashamed.”  Where then is the concept of sin and shame?
As my mind goes wondering on the journey of the why and the how of such gay relationships, a whisper asks me, “In this world which appears to have taken an oath of self-destruction and goes warring with hate; a world where we repeatedly hear of stories of rape where heterosexuals reveal their basest selves to us, shouldn’t we allow people who wish to live in peace, live the way in which they feel best suited to?”
Life is surely a commitment between all people to live in peace and simplicity. The straight people are the ones who are undiluted in their honesty, and who aren’t evasive but upright, unbiased and without any malice in their thoughts.
As a community of human beings, shouldn’t we consider the crooked married men who visit prostitutes, in line of worrying worthy matter, rather than waste our precious time criticizing people who wish to stay in a relationship in all honesty? Shouldn’t we put our thoughts of violence and hate under scan and get them corrected before we deal with people who love differently?
If we then were to go through such self-analytical exercise, how many of us would be truly STRAIGHT? In our world, there is no dirt of unfaithfulness in many relationships, if then we have some people who desire to be committed and monogamous in their same sex relationships, wouldn’t we be the finger pointing hypocrites?
Heterosexual couples, who cheat on one another or who fail to hold hands even in their differences or who oppress one another in pride of their knowledge or sexual supremacy are in a sorry state of togetherness. In fact they could be called sinners because they choose to live in dead relationships as compared to those homosexual couples who live with commitment and cherish honesty and love in their relationships.

Ultimately, every soul is important and if we claim to be so great, then most certainly let us share our great knowledge with all, but let us not take away their decision making powers. Let not a brother, fight a brother because he believes himself to be better, let the work of judgement be left to the Father.
We definitely need not accept a thought if we do not agree with it; but let us be able to at least hear it out. As someone rightly said, “We are all sinners, judging sinners, for sinning differently.”
A transgender once asked me, why the so called normal and straight people, seem to be so very upset with the Pride Marches, when he very willingly goes for their Pride Marches- their weddings? How would it be if the LGBT began claiming that their kind of world and love was the correct kind, and that the others were perverts? He further added that when little boys began writing love poems to girls, he desired to write them to boys. He indeed felt that he was a woman caught in a man’s body. This wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before, and wondered if he had ever given a thought to a sub-conscious mind which had received some kind of different information in his childhood? Could there have been some incidents in his life as an infant, which had triggered the future happenings in spite of him being unaware of them? Well, haven’t we all heard of cases of infant molestation?
If marriage is a relationship between two people, then life is an art of relationship to exist peacefully between ideologies. Let us be more humble unlike the military authority who gave a medal for killing two and a discharge for loving one.
Probably, when there is too much evil all around, the only alternative left is to choose the lesser evil. But then Psalm 119:2 and 3 says that “Happy are all who search for God, and always do his will, rejecting compromise  with evil, and walking only in his paths.” It is difficult indeed to continue to walk in His plans when the world at large is walking the Pride Marches, one may also have to face rebuke from the world. Psalm 119:22 “Don’t let them scorn me for obeying you.”

Let us then not be holier than thou and say that the only thing we can do is to pray for all those who have strayed from the STRAIGHT path. Because, prayer is not an expression of being better than the other; it is a voice of love and friendship. Prayer is an expression of silence in which we do not force decisions on others but present them in submission on our knees.
 (Pics courtesy:Google)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

PATRIOTISM - A FEELING OF LOYALTY

Today, on the 69th Army Day -15 January 2017, my country salutes the comrades in arms who have always been ready to sacrifice their lives in the line of duty. To think of it, it must not be very easy to selflessly commit oneself for the safety of others; to relentlessly vigil the challenging frontiers across some of the most perilous terrain in the world or to come rushing to help during natural calamities. Besides great bravery, sacrifice and passion to lay down one’s life for a cause, it must be needing great love for the nation.

A whisper here reminds me of the story of Chittagong of the early twentieth century where a large number of teenage boys were led into a revolutionary movement by their school master Surya Sen, to revolt against the British. What a passion they had! Can those today, who are arguing whether to sit or stand during the national anthem understand such intense enthusiasm? On the one side, we have those who daringly commit themselves to achieve the highest level of security consciousness so that the people of our country can move about their daily life in peace, and on the other, we sadly have some who seem violently vexed about issues regarding the standing or the sitting when the national anthem is being played. Could somebody tell them that respect is inborn and cannot be forced? My country it appears is getting divided into hyper and lethargic nationalists. The Supreme Court order regarding the national anthem to be played in cinemas has been inviting two extremist opinions. What I feel is that though the court assumed that the anthem would instill greater pride in the nationals for their nation, it overlooked the fact that a majority of the nationals today have been born in a free land and therefore have no real idea of the pains of bondage.
Honestly, it isn’t surprising to see the political stuntmen then disguised in robes of love for the nation, fearlessly crossing limits of domination. They are the self-styled patriots who can unflinchingly attack the young, the careless, the unaware or the modernists who refuse to stand up for the anthem. Can you blame a child who swims in the ocean of corruption with political sharks all around him and only a few honest anchors of help of great leaders from his text books, to have respect for his nation? Couldn’t they for a moment give a thought for reasons of such behaviour? Couldn’t it be possible that these are the people who have not been brought up on stories of freedom fighters but feed on dramas of corrupt politicians? Couldn’t it be that they have no real time idea of what living in their own land but being ruled by another would be like? Couldn’t it just be as simple as someone who was on a wheelchair was standing up emotionally though his legs didn’t permit him to do so physically?

As instances of reckless students getting thrashed in Chennai, or a disabled man getting abused in Goa come to light, it is probable that the joy of going to cinema halls will soon get transformed into fear of the wrath of vigilantes. Then, instead of instilling love and pride for the nation, the playing of the anthem will be likely to promote riot like situations in the country where then, the police will have to be present to stop violence arising out of a strange couch potato kind of love for the country.

Bedabrata Pain’s film ‘Chittagong’ is a worth watch today. Though some would argue that the school master Surya Sen did wrong in making revolutionaries out of teenagers to raid an armory of the police and destroy the telegraph and railways in order to isolate Chittagong from the rest of the British India, wasn’t it better than today’s teenagers becoming rapists, molesters and rioters. The film is about the rise of passion for the nation in a thirteen year old Subodh Roy popularly known as Jhunku who passed away in the year 2006; but I wonder what his thoughts on the anthem controversy would have been if he were to be alive today. This is a tale that all those who are unable to decide whether to sit or stand during the playing of the national anthem, must watch.

If we believe that patriotism is a sentiment latently present in every true Indian’s heart, we would never have faced a question of arousing patriotic sentiments. Reality though, shows a different picture. A majority of cinema goers today are in a rush to leave the theatre if the anthem is shown after the film and if it is played before the screening, they probably prefer to buy popcorns. We have reached a stage where we as a country need advertising skills to draw the attention and respect of our common country men and women towards our national anthem. Don’t you remember the silent national anthem by the children of India and the one sung by transgenders?

What a pity!  A country which once upon a time had to fight for freedom from a foreign rule and later got partitioned in caste hatred is today after 69 years of independence, at the risk of forgetting the real joy of being independent and instead is wasting its time in thinking whether to stand or sit.

What a pity! The school teacher Surya Sen, who got captured by the British in 1933 had to suffer tortures where his teeth were broken using a hammer, his nails plucked out, his limbs broken and then was dragged unconscious to the rope; and all that for useless arguments of the correctness of standing or sitting for the anthem.

What a pity! We, who got freedom on a platter have willingly suspended the belief in the awesomeness of the sacrifices of our freedom angels and are shamelessly indecisive about something as simple as standing in respect to the national anthem in memory of those who cared enough to lay their lives for our independence.

What a pity! That our leaders have not been able to instill love for the nation in our youth and instead prefer force of discipline.

What a pity! How forgetful have we become of those glorious sacrifices of lives for our nation and instead are so immersed in the present dislike of corrupt politicians that we are missing out on the woods of overwhelming splendour because we are busy counting individual trees of inappropriate leadership.


What a pity! The extraordinary glory of the past which needs a standing ovation, has its ordinary citizens today sitting complacently unconcerned. 
(pics courtesy: Google)