Tag Archives: musings

Them.

While I sleep, the world around me is awake. Not today though. I am awake too. But only in the body, not in the mind. But then was I ever?

These people, the ones out here – they know something I don’t. They look at me and exchange glances. They stare me down. I look away. But for how long? And where? They are everywhere. They point towards me when I don’t look. I can feel it. Or is it my imagination? They pause while I walk by. I walk faster. Rushing along, not sure where I am headed. The road is straight, lined with concrete on both sides. Trees grow from within the concrete. The people – they’re all moving in the opposite direction. Only I walk towards the horizon, the horizon where the Sun didn’t rise from.

They don’t look at me. They stare through me and yet their gaze is piercing.  I look away too fast. I can’t read their eyes. Is it pity at my ignorance? Anger that I don’t bother? Or is it angst at how I am spending my life? Caution that I want to join their tribe? Or are they curious? Do they not see me as one of them?

I know I am different from them. My necessities are luxuries for them. They might have lesser than me but their smiles reach their eyes. They build a life while I simply redecorate. I have all that I want and more than I could ask for. What do I do with these though? Why are we really living? Or is it death that we await?

Graciously Yours!

Moo Points?

My week started on a bad note – regular household issues – oh yes, we bachelors have those too. No maid, cook screwed up the food quantities, delayed to work, no transport, traffic and oh, the heat! So coming up, are a lot of moo points. Take it or leave it, but do read it!

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As I strode purposefully towards the main road, following my Mom’s advice to calm down, cars and bikes zipping past me, a cab honking at me for taking up road space (well, the footpath could give me a sprain, they’re that bad), I saw a cow ambling at 10 am in the morning, barely moving enough to place one foot ahead of the other, ten seconds at a time.

Cars conveniently circled around her and went their way, not even bothering to honk. Why me then? Why was I expected to be on the footpath when this cow could do whatever she liked? Why did I have to chide myself for being late for office at 10 in the morning when this cow could just loiter around, literally doing nothing!

“Eat more meat.” “Focus on your calcium intake.” “What about carbs?” “And when will you take those multivitamins?” So much talk about food and food preparation. If she’s hungry, she doesn’t even have to go to the kitchen to whip up something or Swiggy food! She can just regurgitate food ingested earlier and chew it again! Not that I want my ingested food back in my mouth, urgh, but just sayin’!

She can be white. She can be black. She can be brown. Or even a mix of all three. And she’ll still be loved for who she is. Why? Why do I have to then worry about being tanned? Why can’t I just be I loved for who I am?

Oh and here in a country where Hinduism is largely significant, she even gets protection for just being who she is – a female. Talk about harming a cow and behold the furore that will persist. While we two-legged women carry around pepper sprays even in broad daylight – for the exact same reason – because we’re females.

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And that’s how I ended up with an existential crisis conferred upon me by a lone cow, walking at her own pace in the middle of a road, refusing to make way for the world rushing around.

The heat fried my brains, I guess.

Still,

Graciously Yours!

Boots.

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She trudged along the gravelled path,

Far from home, lost in the rush of the world,

Her boots worn, her back stooped,

The winds, cold and brazen, cut across,

The skin on her face drooped.

 

Her eyes stung with tears,

That refused to fall out,

She shut them close,

Wanting to push the world out.

 

Alone and desolate, she bawled,

Her cries ringing, echoing in her own ears,

Her thoughts drowning out what little sound was left,

Over clicking boots and howling winds,

She didn’t hear the answers to her calls of help!

Help may not always come in the shape you desired but it will be there, in the most unexpected circumstances, from the most unexpected people. Never cease to believe that you’re cared for, loved by and the pride of someone among the 7 billion of us and counting!

Let those boots take you to places but never forget what coming back home is like. Home, after all, is where the heart is. ❤

Graciously Yours!

 

 

Love is blind.

My eyes are paining from the long hours of research on the laptop. The pain in my back has aggravated. As I close my eyes and lull myself into sleep, I can feel your arm around me, snaking its way through the blanket onto my shoulders. I open my eyes but there’s no one beside me. I miss you. My heart does and today the mind does too, I guess. I check my phone again to see if I missed any of your calls. You are still at work or you’d have called. I hope you’ve eaten; I drop a text seeing no harm in reminding you once. I turn and shift to right side and close my eyes again, wishing sleep would come soon. I was tired but you must be more so. You’d been working long hours recently, barely managing to catch up on time to eat or even sleep properly.

My phone rings once. It’s you! Before I can take the call, you’ve disconnected and dropped a text. Maybe you thought I’d slept already. “On my way back. Will eat at home.” I sit up excitedly, forgetting about my back pain. I grimace in pain. As I stare at the wallpaper of my phone, of a holiday last year, both of us at the beach, I’m at ease. I walk out to the kitchen and put your food into glass bowls for reheating in the microwave. I sit by the sofa, lights flipped on, just in case the darkness makes me doze off. The clock ticks by and I wait for you to be back home. I think about the past when I’d snorted at the practice of a lot of Indian women eating only after their husbands had. I hadn’t realized that what might have started out as a traditional practice in reverence of their husbands, could also be a form for love for many. I silently laughed at being thick headed enough for having judged them.

The lock clicked as you slid the keys in them. I could see you, oh how tired you looked! But you hadn’t seen me yet. You took off your shoes, turned and laid eyes on me. You were surprised, all your tiredness washed away in that instance. That smile; the smile that lit up your face and crinkled your eyes! I would stay up all nights if I could be the reason behind that smile, I thought as I walked up to you. Is that why they say love is blind?

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Graciously Yours!

Marmee!

She’s flawed. Yet she’s perfect.

She’s elegant. She’s hardworking. She’s barely tired. She’s always concerned.

She taught me to accept nothing lesser than what I deserve. She made me bold. She proved women are at par with men.

She put me to sleep on long days. She stroked my hair telling me how proud I made her. She let me make up my mind about what is right and what wrong.

She taught me life. She learnt from me too. She shared her mistakes, overlooked mine. She broke rules. Yet she respected them.

She let me fly free. She brought me back to the earth when I lost my way. She cried at my success. She held me through my failures.

She fought for me. She let me hold her when she was weak. She showed me her weakness. She became my strength.

She’s my ‘Marmee’. And I couldn’t have asked for any better!

Some days, I miss you here. Other days, I write about you! 😉 Love you, Mom!

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Graciously Yours!

We, the Indians?

A New Zealander’s view on the reasons for corruption in India:

Indians are Hobbesian (a culture of self-interest).

Corruption in India is a cultural aspect. Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption. It is everywhere. 

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt.

But can a race be corrupted by its culture? 

To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices.

Firstly:
Religion is transactional in India.

Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.

Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving. 

In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is named a “bribe”. 

A wealthy Indian gives not just cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts cannot feed the poor. His pay-off is for God. He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India, they built schools. When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing. This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally. There is no real stigma. An utterly corrupt Jayalalitha can make a comeback, just unthinkable in the West.

Secondly:
Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history. Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent.

It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India, fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.

Little resistance was given by the Indians at the Battle of Plassey.

Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts. Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

Mughals vanquished the Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.

There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

The question is: Why do Indians have a transactional culture while other ‘civilized’ nations don’t?

Thirdly:
Indians do not believe in the theory that they can all rise if each of them behaves morally, because that is not the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them.

They don’t believe that all men are equal.

This resulted in their division and migration to other religions.

Many Hindus started their own faiths like Sikh, Jain, Buddha and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don’t trust one another.

There are no Indians in India, there are Hindus, Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture. The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society in India where everyone is against everyone else, except God ­and even he must be bribed.

Brian from Godzone

NEW ZEALAND

A friend sent this to me a month ago. And all I could say then was, “If I think he’s right, it makes me less Indian. If I think he’s wrong, it makes me untruthful to myself. Undoubtedly, his is a very Western point of view and I’m sure there are cases in non Indian countries where bribes have won them wars and treachery for money wasn’t unfamiliar. But I neither have the information right off the tip of my tongue nor do I intend to look up for it because that would just result in mud slinging and digressing from a thought process which deserves a second thought, at least.”

A month later, I think it’s time we gave it a second thought. What are we doing to ourselves? Are we so afraid of failure that we will keep kneeling before idols? Don’t we want the chance to retrace our steps to find out our mistakes? Or is the ultimate goal always money? Isn’t that what makes us corrupt? Isn’t that what has always led to wars, be it Indian or non-Indian? How does it matter what the other person’s religious beliefs are? How does it matter if they pray five times a day or once a week? How does it matter if I am an Indian or an Irish? After all, country borders are nothing but ‘shadow lines’.

Yes, Brian from Godzone is right in a lot of ways. He’s right when he talks about wealthy men giving more to Gods than to other poor men. He’s right that temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. He’s right that our caste system separates us.

But he’s wrong if he says all Indian men are self-centered! India is a large country. 1.25 billion people out of the Earth’s 7 billion live here. If we were all equally selfish and vain, the world would be far from over by now.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians played underhand in wars. “At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War.” (And it took me just 30 seconds to lay hands on this information.)

He’s wrong if he thinks it’s our Hindu religion which makes us worse as humans. No. We are the ones who choose to pay to the Gods. They didn’t ask us to. Let’s not sling mud on Them. I wouldn’t want to point out how many controversies the Churches are embroiled in.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians have divisions in their societies. At least we don’t pick people on their skin colour. Oh wait. We do. Fair and lovely. Fair and handsome.

This isn’t about WHO’S RIGHT and WHO’S WRONG. This is about WHAT’S RIGHT and WHAT’S WRONG.

And corruption is wrong. War is wrong. Dealing with religion in money is wrong.

But so is intolerance. And mud slinging. And generalizing!

Let’s just try and make the world a better place to live in. There can be nothing more right than this. Would you want to agree, Brian?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Friday post! Because Saturdays were becoming too predictable 😉

The Presence of The Past.

They say if you blink, you miss it. We waited impatiently, clicking pictures of others and selfies of ourselves, being photo bombed and photo bombing others, all the while creating memories which we probably wouldn’t refer back to again. Not because they wouldn’t be memorable. But because we create too many of them these days.

We were waiting for the lights at the famous Mysore Palace to go on. They say it looks enchanting. It is a work of technology which brings out the magnanimity of the work of art. It requires a single flick of a switch to light up thousands of little bulbs. 98,260 to be precise.

The Sun had set. Darkness had fallen. People were still clicking. Cameras were flashing. And just like that without any warning, without waiting for the clock to strike a particular hour,  the lights went on! And enchanting it was!

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Who would have thought a century ago that beauty could be kept locked up in pixels? Who would have predicted that you could hold the whole world worth of information just in your hands? How different our achievements are from those of our forefathers. They took pride in bigger and better; we in smaller and faster. They built with brick and mortar; we build with silicon and carbon. Their memories faded with time; ours with obsolescence. Their achievements were the heritage; ours is technology.

Graciously Yours!

 
Picture Courtesy : In collaboration with Ashwini Bhat.