Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coquettish Angels

November. The leit motif of the month is children.

I must confess that I am somewhat envious of anyone who was born after 1984. By the time they had gathered themselves and by the time they could make sense of what was happening around them, the intellectual infrastructure was up and running.

The internet, which has revolutionized the way people LIVE today, had become popular – by the time these kids reached 15.
Google which has empowered one and all, indiscriminately, by providing access to a world of information at the click of a button and has made it so easy for people to get smart, was operational - by the time these kids reached 17.
Cable television. Cable TV had just been born when I was 13 or 14. Anu kapoor’s Anthakshari was gaining popularity. Reality shows were yet unheard of.
But in just a few years, there were multiple news channels, more sophisticated, smarter and sharper than ever before.
The talk shows, the debates like the Big Fight on NDTV, the Discovery and Nat geo were only few of the many stimulants packaged and available already to the 85 borns by the time they reached 16.

It does not matter anymore whether a child today is born with a silver spoon or not. The intellectual infrastructure is incomparable to any other blessing a child has received before.

But,……………But the child of today isn’t quite a child.

Even as I begin, I don’t know if this is pointless ranting, if this is the same old recurring, nagging complaint by the older generation about the ways of the new generation; but the fact remains that there is a huge gap, somewhat blatant, somewhat flagrant and it is but inevitable for the more observant of us to discuss this gap and make those unavoidable comparisons.

Children of today are tending to reach adulthood far earlier than they are meant to. Whether this is fortunate or otherwise, is debatable.

For one thing, they are way too smart and independent. They can operate with ease a number of gadgets like the remote control, the television, the computer, the music system…etc.
The pleasure of teaching the child, all those things it is curious to know, from the very beginning, is no longer savoured by the elder whose privilege it has been to condescend to guide a blinking innocent.

The pleasure of being that all-knowing-big-brother is taken away by a smart kid who already knows more than you.

That shy, apprehensive kid, afraid of unknown people and needing handholding is extinct today.
It renders you, the elder, somewhat useless or redundant.
In some cases, their boldness and confidence receive so much encouragement and praise from proud parents that they become somewhat impertinent. I find this rather irritating.

The very fact that they don’t need you anymore makes them less deserving of your sympathy if not less deserving of your love.
I personally preferred it when they needed me, when they evoked my concern, my protective instinct, when they asked too many questions and knew too little, when they needed to hold my finger firmly in their tiny fist to explore the wide wild world. The assurance, that whether or not somebody else in this world needs me, a child definitely needs me is now taken away from me.

I also observe, somewhat poignantly, that the child of today has lost a certain innocence. Parents are responsible to a large extent. Most of them do not see the fine line that separates smartness from impertinence, exposure from over exposure, ignorance from innocence and independence from detachment.

A colleague, a mother of a 7 year old who had left her kid behind in India as she traveled to the US and stayed there for a few months was telling us all with pride that the child did not miss her or wince about her absence even rarely, that he was taking care of himself very well, that he called her up only to remind her of all the fancy toys he wanted her to bring him and that he did not want her to return to India if she failed to bring him those toys!

Such detachment! I would have been deeply pained if I learnt that my child did not cry for me even once! And the mother found it very convenient as she was spared of a big headache and could move on with her career.

Have you been watching all the reality shows on television? I am talking about those in which children sing and dance.
I can’t stop shaking my head in utter disbelief at the endless pretences, shameless lies and rigged up, staged disputes that are made part of the shows just to help the program get better TRP ratings!
To hell with the director of the show, to hell with the judges and to greater hell with the celebrities whose livelihood solely depends on such lies and pretences and whose most important means of getting visibility is farce.
What about the children? Does anybody spare a thought for them? Lying, pretending,……Is this what we want to teach them? Is this the kind of exposure we want to give them during their formative years? Alright, they have talent and they deserve a platform to exhibit them. But why does nobody, not the government, not even the parents of the children protest against such loathsome practices as staged brawls? Why such effortless acceptance of hypocrisy and deception?

And the dance competitions. Ah! What a gory scene! Have you ever watched this show called Boogie Woogie? A machine of sorts that has an incredible capacity for making every participant – boy, girl, child, man, woman – don a whore like disposition.

I have had the good fortune of watching a few episodes where the competition was exclusively for children. All of them must have been below fourteen years of age. The girls were wearing plunging necklines (already!), performing gyrating hip movements (already), jiggling their breasts (even before they were fully developed!) and giving suggestive looks and winks to the judges even before understanding fully, the meaning of those looks (I hope so…the matter would be worse if they already understood the meaning of those gestures!) amidst cheers from the audience, judges AND parents!

Some of the children were just six years old. Cheeks sucked in, mouth protruding. Coquettish expressions on angelic faces! The younger the daughter, the prouder the parents! I haven’t seen anything as disgusting as this. How can any mother bear to see her daughter trying to look or behave like Bipasha Basu and Mallika Sherawat, leave alone feeling happy about it?

And when a fourteen year old girl consented to have sex with the son of a Goa chief minister, the parents kicked up a big fuss about the guy raping a minor and all that.
What the hell was the fourteen year old doing, consenting to have sex when she should be playing with Barbie dolls?
What kind of upbringing has the mother given her? And why is she accusing the boy instead of whip lashing her daughter for sleeping around?

As I said, the fine line is blurred… the fine line that separates smartness from impertinence, exposure from over exposure, ignorance from innocence and independence from detachment.

Let us keep them away from the race. Let them be innocent. Let them depend on us a little. Let them walk to adulthood at a leisurely pace. Let us not push them towards adulthood. They are not fancy show pieces at display for neighbours to admire. Let them be dumb. It’s alright. Let them know, when it is time for them to know.

Let them be the children of Tagore’s world…the children Tagore’s dreams were made of…

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
The children meet with shouts and dances.
They build their houses with sand
And they play with empty shells.
With withered leaves they weave their boats
And smilingly float them on the vast deep.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets.
Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships,
While children gather pebbles and scatter them again.
They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets…

The greatest gift you can give your child is childhood. A prolonged one.

When my friend Pramod, a creative man in the advertisement field, was asked by his friend to suggest a suitable name and tag line for a kindergarten he was opening, Pramod rightly said…

Because First Steps Last.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To the Dryad

The chirping of merry birds
the melancholy song of brook
the lovers half asleep in the bush
the sunlight giving their cheeks an auroral look

lying there on a soft-bedded grass
with their forms intertwined
isolated from the world
united in their souls and mind

then, there are men
as handsome as Adonis
soothed by Dryad’s lullaby, they
rest in the arms of Morpheus

And when the earth bathes in silvery luster
of the moon that lights the raven sky
with wind’s moan and cricket’s song,
whispers of Cupid and Psyche’s sigh

she hears all this while she wanders
companionless in the oak land
but as happiness blossoms in her heart
the buds bloom and dense greenery clothes the woodland

when hope dies, her leaves dry up
gradually, in the brook, they fall
until nothing remains except for the silence
the echoes of which tell her sad tale to all

Friday, June 27, 2008

Root Cause Analysis

It’s a story about those days, not so long ago, when reading was not a hobby but an activity that I would engage in only occasionally. Poetry, painting and drawing had become hobbies of the past. Come weekend and there was plenty of time but nothing to do.
I would pick up my mobile, scroll through the list of contacts and call up friends one after the other. Movie, lunch, dinner? Sometimes, a friend would agree and we would have fun. Other times, I would hear from all of them that they had already made other plans or that they wished to rest at home or that they were bankrupt or …..
So I would sit on my bed all day in a godforsaken PG (paying guest accommodation) and get bored.
One day, unable to stand this boredom any longer, I decided to go shopping all alone.

I went to Commercial street. I bought a white skirt with pink floral prints on it. I ate American corn from one of the makeshift shops. I entered “Westside” thinking I would only window shop. After three hours I came out of the shop with 4 Salwar Kameez suits and a stole in my shopping bag. I bought 3 pairs of earrings from a street hawker. Although I was not hungry, I entered Woody’s and had cauliflower fritters and some “Pesarattu”.

I bought a pair a beige coloured angle boots which would go well with a long skirt. It was 7 PM. I had spent a good 7 hours shopping. I decided to return. I came back to my PG (can’t say “I came home”) and flaunted my purchase to my roommates who exclaimed that the skirt and the suits were so beautiful. I looked forward to that day when I would try them all. I had spent 5000 rupees but what the heck, it was a great weekend.

This was the first of a succession of weekends that saw one after the other, the numerous malls of Bangalore, Brigade road, MG road, some more commercial street, more shopping, more eating and more spending.

It’s been a year now.
The white skirt with pink floral prints has not been tried once for there has been no occasion to wear it. The angle boots are still in the box for I haven’t found a skirt to go with it. I wore the stole only once and I don’t have a matching dress for the earrings that I bought. The cauliflower fritters and “Pesarattu” that I ate in Woody’s were soaked in fat and I really shouldn’t have had them.
In hindsight, the 5000 rupee worth pleasure that the weekend shopping had brought with it lasted only until the next weekend.

How mistaken I was in believing that shopping and spending would help me defeat the feeling of loneliness that engulfed me during those weekends!

Recently, as I watched a famous talk show, I learnt that people buy a lot of things out of compulsion without realising that they are doing it to beat the loneliness in their lives. It is their way of filling up the lacuna or vacuum in their monotonous, uneventful life. Spending time in malls and buying materials keeps them occupied, gives them pleasure (though temporary) and they deceive themselves into believing that their life is very “happening”. It’s a psychology “thing” that has actually been documented.

We forget that material possessions cannot satiate an individual beyond a certain limit. Shopping to kill loneliness is like drinking sea water to quench thirst.

My grandparents in Mysore lived in an antique mansion that sprawls over a piece of land that is 100 by 120 feet in area. She was blessed with 9 children. The other occupants of the house were a brother of my grand mom, 2 children of her sister, my oldest cousins who went to college there and my great-grandmothers.

During the earlier days, the members of the family had to run the household using traditional means and methods. But as days passed by, modern home appliances made their way into the house one by one. The kitchen became equipped with a mixer, a grinder, a heater, a gas stove and a refrigerator. A television set was installed in an empty corner of the hall. All members had agreed upon a list of common programmes and they would assemble in the hall before the TV to watch the same.

Although too many children lived in the house, not too many clothes needed to be bought. As the oldest outgrew his clothes he bequeathed them to a younger one; the younger one bequeathed his clothes to his younger one and so on until finally the youngest one inherited all the clothes in the family as he grew up. And when the youngest brother outgrew his clothes, he bequeathed them to the eldest brother’s son. :-)

One day, a two wheeler and a four wheeler were driven into the courtyard. The vehicles were used to escort the aged and middle aged men and women of the family to places and in case of emergencies.

25 years have passed.

The antique house stands where it stood. Some members continue to live there and some have moved out. There has been proliferation of people as well as property. I am not in close contact with all the descendants but only a few of them.

I will talk about four families who live close by. Two of them are brothers and two others first cousins of the brothers.
In the age of nuclear families, needless to say, they live in four separate mansions. Unlike olden days, even the women in these households go to work. There are just 2 children in each family. Some are recently employed and some go to college. As a reason, for most part of the day the houses remain empty.
But I am told that there are enough occupants even in the empty houses. Although they are small families, each member has a separate bedroom and there are guest rooms too. Each room has a television so that the members may feel free to watch any channel they please unlike those olden days when there used to be conflicting interests and a common list of programmes had to be prepared.
Although people these days have a poor appetite, there are two refrigerators. One for the kitchen and one in the hallway upstairs to store water, chocolates and aerated drinks so that the children don’t have to run down the stairs into the kitchen all the time.

There are two fancy cars and two bikes in each house. All are independent.

While it is good to see such proliferation of wealth and abundance of materials all around, it is saddening to see that in today’s world, the virtue of sharing seems lackluster before the artificial shimmer of “personal space”.

This concept of personal space was unknown to India. It has come from the west. I don’t have anything against it and I enjoy it myself for some part of the day, but as I see it tending towards extremity, I can’t help smiling sardonically at its implications.

People seem to be building walls around themselves. They have acquired layers of protection to shield themselves against their own fraternity. One has to exercise caution even while talking to friends for you may ask a question casually (or even out of concern) and the other person may narrow their eyes and ask “Why do you want to know?”
Husband and wife no longer proudly claim to know each and every thing about one another. There is space between the two of them also!!

The amassing of materials – be it a private two wheeler or a private wardrobe of clothes and accessories, a private car (one for every member of the family), a private room, a personal TV set – is a manifestation on the surface while the actual cause beneath is a mindless chase for privacy and the absence of willingness to share.

Supermarkets and shopping malls.

Cookies, sweet corn, handbags, soft toys, clothes, accessories, cosmetics, footwear, jewellery, furniture, electronics, entertainment, automobiles, real estate and lots of people.

A superfluity of materials. A feast to the eyes. It feels so good to just be in a mall.

But beware. Beware of the crafty salesman behind those counters … You are the guinea pig of his experiments. Even as you enter his shop just to do some window shopping, he is trying all the tactics, tricks and trade secrets he has gained from the newly acquired MBA.

He is out to trap an unsuspecting shopper.
He is constantly thinking about how to get a fat slice of a customer’s wallet.
He is scheming to entice a customer to spend his hard earned money to buy his product whether or not the customer needs it so that he may become richer.

He is a parasite.. feeding on your weaknesses. Feeding on your loneliness, on your aloofness.

If there is a lacuna in your life, he benefits because you will shop more to fill that lacuna.
The lesser you want to share, the more he benefits because that way, you end up buying more.

All of them in the malls thrive on your weakness, on your problems.

But it’s not the salesman’s prosperity I am jealous of, as I write this.
It’s not the “emptiness in peoples’ lives” alone that saddens me nor is it the “diminishing of the virtue of sharing”.

I write this article today, because we are faced with a cause that is above all other causes. A cause that I will call an emergency as it is screaming for attention.

It is the cause of environment. Even as we engage in rhetoric and shout slogans of “Save environment” and “Stop deforestation”, we fail to realise that it is we who are responsible for the state of our environment today, in more indirect ways, than direct.

Why did I talk about weekend shopping and why did I tell you about my grandmother’s family?

To prove a point that our innocent consumption of goods that is caused by factors rooted deep in aspects of psychology and sociology is having implications that actually affect our environment and we are not even aware of this possibility.

Let’s do some quick analysis.
1.All goods available in the market and shopping malls can be classified broadly as those made of either natural substances like wood, cotton, jute, fibre etc. or man made, synthesized substances (there are many).

2.For every natural product that is made, some amount of nature is being depleted. And for every synthesized product that is made, again, an amount of nature is being depleted because the raw material comes from nature, even though it may be as little as a mug of water.

3.The processing requires energy.

4.The processing results in solid, liquid or gaseous wastage to be released to the environment.

5.In the factories that perform the synthesis, man power is being harnessed resulting in an increase in human activity and thus, the environment is warming up .

That was the story of production. Now the story of consumption.

6.A mall has to be built where the goods will be showcased. This mall sprawls over an acre of land which was made level, either by closing a lake or by felling trees that occupied it before.

7.The entire mall is air-conditioned. Needless to say, this consumes copious amounts of energy and releases more chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere.

8.The consumer drives to this mall and more often than not, the vehicle is a large four wheeler. You already know it releases carbon monoxide. It also increases traffic, necessitating the widening of the road for which hundred year old trees lining the road will have to be cut down.

No matter what you consume, a cup of corn, an ice cream, a piece of garment, a handbag, fuel for a vehicle, soft toy, furniture, a home appliance, electricity… be mindful of the fact that it affects the environment one way or the other.

Even a large mansion that you own occupies a large piece of land and can be thought to have encroached into what ought to have been a rice field or a mango groove. Why desire several mansions then?

One may issue or follow a hundred specific rules to protect the environment. I will say just one thing that will summarise all of them. Cut down on consumerism. DO NOT BUY. (Unnecessarily).
It is the only holistic approach to save our environment.

But that sounds a little negative. Isn’t it? If you have read my previous posts (I am not against war, I am for peace) where I talk about the law of attraction, you will think I am contradicting myself here.

So rephrasing it to give it a positive tone, I would say, “Lead a life of simplicity”. Consume only as much as you need. Cultivate good hobbies to spend your time fruitfully, so there will be no room for lacunae in your lives.

Before signing off, I will leave you with these thoughts.

Two things are important in life.
How we live &
What we leave.

For future generations are not simply survivors but also inheritors.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

World Environment Day 2008

Today is World Environment Day (WED). The World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is

Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.

So here are a few ways you can immediately implement to go carbon-neutral -

  • REPLACE your light bulbs with CFLs
  • WASH CLOTHES at 30 degrees centigrade and no higher if your washing machine has a temperature setting.
  • WALK OR CYCLE. Use public transport or carpool.
  • SWITCH OFF electronic gadgets, don’t leave them on standby. So turn that computer off while retiring.

Here are a few implementable ways from the The 80 Ways To Celebrate WED 2008:

  1. Adopt a ‘green’ way of life
  2. Art made of recycled materials
  3. Bicycle parades/races
  4. Buy a fuel-efficient car
  5. Carpools
  6. Dedicate your blog to World Environment Day on 5 June (We are dedicating the whole month to it...so full points to the writers on Writers Blend!)
  7. Join an environmental group
  8. Keep your neighbourhood clean
  9. Kick the CO2 habit!
  10. Never litter
  11. Offset your emissions
  12. Organic farming/cooking
  13. Plant a tree
  14. Plastic bags: avoid them!
  15. Rainwater harvesting
  16. Reduce, re-use, recycle
  17. Rehabilitate natural habitats
  18. Replace your light-bulbs with energy saving ones
  19. Save paper
  20. Sort rubbish
  21. Switch off stand-by TV and computer
  22. Use sustainable modes of transportation (walking, jogging, cycling, skating, carpool)
  23. Vehicle emission monitoring
  24. Waste less!
  25. Xpect environmental responsibility

Do visit the World Environment Day 2008 Page to see how else you can contribute. The planet needs us. More than that, I am sure you will agree, we need this planet.

So save it!

Happy World Environment Day!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Long ago,
Before the first human was born,
Before the first tree began reaching for the sky,
Her life began.
She breathes.
And grows.
Her blood rushes through her veins.
She can speak her mind
And she can feel pain.
She can feed us when we're hungry.
She can heal us when we're sick.
She has the power to give us energy
And the power to make us smile.
She is not a thing.
She is the Earth.
And there is a reason we call her Mother.
Everyday 19 more of the earth's species disappear.
But there is hope.
With your help, whales have begun to return,
The bald eagle is off the edangered list
And one million acres of rainforest were protected forever.
We only have one planet.
We only get one chance.
Our Mother needs our help.
Do something.

If you thought the text was inspiring, watch the video. I guarantee you, you will be moved.

We only have one planet, we only get one chance. Spread the awareness.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Love The Ride!

Jacaranda trees in bloom, a shy lavender canopy…

Two children in slightly tattered clothes running by the side of the road, carefree and fearless- embodiment of a feeling of pure joy…

A broad stretch of tarmac upon which the wheels glide (Well, mostly) and a feeling of floating on…

A Wildcraft showroom with a multifarious window display and a reminder of my wild side, a passing flash of all my dreams for the road…

A view of the placid waters of a lake, ducks, geese and grebes swimming calmly oblivious to the rush on the busy road, a sudden sense of calm and a smile…

A Gulmohar tree in a boisterous orange bloom, unable to contain itself, pouring its joy out to a multitude that is too busy and too rushed to notice…a grin…how can it be so happy?!

Majestic Brahminy Kites decorating the skyline with their splendour, a graceful swoop and then a soar, a circle with wings outstretched, sheer beauty and another smile…

A peek at the many pots-and-plant sellers by the roadside, the soothing green…another glance at the gallimaufry of the earthen-ware seller up the road, the colours, the feeling of elation and wonder, of relaxation even amidst the rush…the irony…

A tree-lined road and the sunlight filtering through…the expanse of green and a mud path lit up by the warmly bright sun…a lone dog capering down that road…a wish to join it and caper along…

A milestone on the road…wait...its an idol…and the vehicles are carefully veering around it and continuing on their way…an unclaimed deity pitched on a busy road with no temple to shelter the protector; then again maybe not that uncared for, it has flowers at its feet…a strong urge to take its picture, the photographer in me disappointed by the hurry…and a thought – there are times when people avoid God too…

Songs in my ears…the beat and the melody…oblivion from all the honking and screeching around…my heart jiving along…all my favourite songs…a feeling of pure ecstasy!

With such sights and sounds, I could never hate going to work. The road that stays the same yet changes everyday like a movie that you’ve seen before but presents a different perspective the next time you see it…the music that fits every frame…even amidst all the pollution, noise and the sour faces that I have to drive through on my way to work everyday…I Love The Ride!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

One night @ an IT Company

''At the stroke of the midnight hour, when half of the world was in slumbers, i noticed a well lit bay with a few software engineers slogging it out to clear the release date well in time....“, these are but day to day occurances in an IT Services company in India. Its night 12.50 AM, and I am still staring dumbly at this dumb computer screen wondering when would the ordeal end and I would go home and hit the sack, to be back in the morning and burn another day....

Its the not the work thats killing me but the time it takes to put in the stuff I churned out into the testing machine, in essence its a two minute job but following the right processes its already 14 hours since I started working on this transition but have no idea when the Tech support people would do my work.

Of course being at the bottom of hierarchy means that my work no matter how important it is, is still down in priority...I wonder whats the purpose of my working so late, when the end consumer would never even know and neither would he bother as to who created all the tools he/she is using for her/his business...it seems so inconsequential. Its like being an unknown force working for those who would never know you....Thats life, and thats work for me, I do it everyday for a living....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Office

9:30 AM. A 'normal' day at work. In one corner of the office, it's Man vs. Machine.

Samir: Oh NO! Not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?!! I, I swear to God, one of these days, I, I, I just kick this piece of shit out of the window!!!

Michael looks up.

Michael: You and me both, man. The thing is lucky I'm not armed.

Samir grabs the paper out, tearing off the bottom part of it.

Samir: Damn! P-i-e-c-e of shit!!!

Nina, the local admin, saunters in carrying a stack of papers.

Nina: Sam...ire...Na...Na...Naga...

Samir gets it.

Nina: Uh-huh!

Samir: Please <gives a disgruntled look>

He sits in his and Michael's cubicle.

Nina: Michael.... - <Michael reaches for it> Bolton?

Michael: That's me.

Nina: WOW! Is that your real name?

Michael: Yeah.

Nina: So are you related to the singer guy?

Michael: No. No. it's just a coincidence.

Samir: How come no one in this country can pronounce my name right? It's Na-gee-een-ah-jah. Nagaenajar.

Michael: At least your name isn't Michael Bolton.

Samir: C'mon Michael, there's nothing wrong with that name.

Michael: There was nothing wrong with it! Until I was about nine years old and that no-talent assclown became famous and started winning Grammys.

Samir: Well, why don't just go by Mike, instead of Michael?

Michael: <'loud' whisper> WHY THE F*** SHOULD I CHANGE IT? HE'S THE ONE WHO SUCKS!!!

Peter comes up to their cubicle.

Peter: Hey Guys!

Michael: Yo! what's up man?

Peter: Let's get some coffee?

Samir: It's a little early...

Peter: I gotta get out of here. I think I'm gonna lose it.

Nina: Uh oh. <giggles> Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!

Peter: Boy. I tell ya, one of these days... One of these days it's gonna be like...

He mimics a machine gun. Brian, a colleague from the Testing Team, does it too. In Peter's face.

Brian: <walks by> Oh. Sounds like a case of the Mondays!

Peter: <glancing around> That knucklehead's gonna have me work on Saturday too. I, I can tell already. I'm doing it because, because, uh, I'm a big pussy. Which is why I work here to begin with <shakes his head in despair>

Michael: Uh, I work here and I don't consider myself a pussy, ok?

Samir: Yup, I concur. Me no pussy either.

Michael: I'm gonna find out the hard way that I'm not a pussy if they don't start treating us techies better.

Samir: That's right.

Michael: They don't understand! I could come up with a program that could rip this place off big time…BIG BIG time.

Peter: Yeah.

Tom, another employee, runs towards Samir, Peter and Michael.

Tom: Hey! Hey, guys! Samir!!

Samir: Is that Tom Smykowski?

Peter: What's he doing?

Michael: Oh, probably working on another heart attack!

Tom: Have you guys seen this?

He hands them a piece of paper.

Michael: What? It's the staff meeting. So what, dude?

Tom: We're all screwed, that's what! They're gonna downsize this company.

Samir: Oh, what are you talking about Tom? How do you know that?

Tom: They're bringing in a consultant - that's how I know. That's what this staff meeting is all about! That's what happened at the other company a few months back. You have an interview with a consultant and they bring in efficiency experts. You're interviewing for your own job, man!!!

Michael: Tom, every week you say you're losing your job and you're still here...

Tom: <dejected look> I'm going to be the first one they're gonna lay off. Just the thought of having to go to the State Unemployment Office and having to stand in line with those scumbags!!!

The group gathers in Michael and Samir's cubicle, after a while. They sit there, worrying.

Michael: Shit. Shit!

Tom: You know there are people in this world who don't have to put up with all this shit? Like that guy that invented the pet rock. You see, that's what you have to do. You have to use your mind and come up with some really great idea like that and you never have to work again!

MIchael: I don't think the pet rock was really such a good idea.

Tom: Dude, the guy made a million dollars! Y'know… I had an idea like that once.

Peter: Really? What was it, Tom?

Tom: Well, all right. It was a Jump-to-Conclusions-mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor and it would have different conclusions written on it that you could…jump to.

Michael: That is the worse idea I've ever heard in my life, Tom!

Samir: Yes, yes, it's horrible…this idea….

Tom: Ah, look. I, I gotta get outta here. I'll see you guys later, if I still have a job.

He goes to his cubicle.

Peter: I remember, our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what we would do if we had a million dollars and didn't have to work. And invariably, whatever we would say, that was supposed to be our careers. If you wanted to build cars, then you're supposed to be an auto mechanic.

Samir: So what did you say?

Peter: I didn't have an answer. I guess that's why I'm working here as a techie.

Michael: No, you're working here because that question is bullshit to begin with <the printer makes a whirring noise and stops working>. If that quiz worked, there would be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.

Samir: Well, I would invest half of it in...ummm ??? Mutual Funds. And donate the rest to some charity.

Michael: Samir, the point of the exercise is that you could figure out what you want to do. And then…<reads the printer's display> "PC load letter"?!! What the F*** does that mean?!!!

He knocks off the paper tray.

Peter: <addressing Michael> Chill dude, so what would you do if you had a million dollars?

Michael sits down.

Michael: I'll tell you what I'll do, man--Two chicks at the same time!

Peter & Samir snicker off.

Peter: That's it? If you had a million dollars, that's what you'd do...two chicks at the same time, huh?

Michael: Damn straight, man. I've always wanted to do that. I figure if I were a millionaire, I could hook that up. Chicks dig guys with money.

Samir: Well not all chicks...

Michael: Well, the type that double up on a guy like me do.

Peter: Good point!


Peter: Besides two chicks at the same time?

Michael: Oh yeah.

Peter: Nothing.

Michael: Nothing, huh?

Peter: I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day, I would do nothing.

Michael: You don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin. He's broke and he don't do shit.

Peter: Hmmm...<glances at his watch> Shucks! Its 11 already...damn! need to finish that last bit of coding and make those reports.

Samir: <staring at his flooded mail box> Phew whew!

Michael: Adios Amigo.

Peter: Aight guys...catch u at lunch...bye.

The printer starts working again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just Another Day

"Drrrriiinnnggg!!!" (Oooops sorry,its-) "Beep beep ! Beep beep ! Beep beee..!" Shut UP !!!-and you thunk the alarm to silence.Good Morning !
The morning light reminds you of the bright sun,dew laden leaves,chirping birds and finally the face that you will never forget your whole life-your BOSS !
You drag yourself to the edge of your bed with the blanket still clinging on to you.You then suddenly remember that you work in a office and they know your address!You throw the blanket and leave the only accessory de` luxury that you possess-your Kurl-On pillow. Your eyes fail you,so you rub the sleep off them so that you could find your way to the room where you could flush out the shit that somehow got into and around you the last day.You look into the mirror and a strange face gives you an even stranger looking frown.You ignore that stupid face and bend over the porcelain bowl to wash off the reminiscent of your dreams.After exercising your bowels and exorcising over your wicked thoughts that you have for your job you cover yourself with lather.Hands mechanically turn the shower,you shiver and hope that someday U.S. will develop a gadget that will purge you like a dish washer.
You then slide yourself into your "costumes" that would make you look more like a dignified slave.Nose lifts and lips twist into a scowl as you smell your hardwork fume from beneath your armpit like ether.Sweat.Solution-30 seconds deodorant bath.
Breakfast ! The word sounds so good.You dream of toast,omelet-sunny side up,juice,fruit salad and a glass of Bournvita ;-) while your fingers work their way through a packet of Parle G that you literally slurp down your throat after dipping it deep in a cuppa cutting chai from Babu bhai ki dukan.
You drag your feet to the bus stop and then hope that your feet drag you to your office at the right time.SCREEECH ! The monstrous steely cart on wheels stops and you read the bus number at least three times to make sure that it will wheel you to your place of slavery.The moment you step into the bus,you remember the hardships of your dhobi and feel pity-you find a dozen bodies rub against yours and you take the best of your measures to avoid unwanted contacts and intimacy with your anatomy(I can't go in detail,please).Somehow you manage to fit yourself in the crowded bus and your body acquires the state of perfect stability-you cannot move an inch.Then like a hapless onlooker you watch your silk shirt turn into a crumbled paper.All that deodorant you had sprayed just vanishes in thin air and the stink of sweat and belch fill your nose;you start guessing what the person standing to the right had in breakfast or was it the dinner?So much for the AXE effect !
The bus inches through the road which look like a large drainage with metallic debris floating through it.A lot of "Excuse me!" s are spit on your face (as people want you to move your body out of their way)at every stop and you patiently wait for your turn to spit the same on someone.The conductor pierces your ears with the "Tickisss!" cry and you hope if you could free at least one your hands stuck somewhere between the backpack of some uncleji and belly of some bhaiyya ji who in their ignorance keep crushing your hand between themselves.Somehow you manage to take your hand out of that seemingly unescapable trap and pay the conductor the change coins that you save everyday just for that.

Finally,your stop comes.But before you say "Excuse me !" the person standing in front you excuses himself off the bus.Then you get off the bus and rush to that person coz you have seen his tag/IDcard(it slowly takes the place of your a birthmark!)and it has your company's name on it.And when you finally face the person,the familiar face that shatters your early morning dreams gets reflected in your eyes.
"Arre Tapas !You too.My car broke down .Chal ! I have some work for you."
You curse your fate and mutter-"Yes Sir !"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Is Work Worshipped?

Work is ………worship???

Wife and Mother: I work in office, return home exhausted, cook food for everyone, serve with a smiling face, encourage and support my husband for his work, help my children with their homework, teach them good lessons of life and make their future bright in the best possible way I can, its worship to me when I get a few smiles in return, some words of appreciation encouragement and love.

Husband and Father: I work hard and long hours at office; I keep my wife and children happy, take them out even when I need rest, fulfill all their desires and wishes, its worship to me if they say appreciate me for working hard and respect me for what I give them instead of thinking what I can’t.

Children: To me work is studying too hard, helping mom in her daily chores and pressing my father’s head when he needs it, its worship to me when my parents don’t yell at me if I fail to be a topper, they don’t compare me with others, love me for what I am rather than what they want me to be.

Grandparents: We live alone and are old. Work to us is cooking food everyday together, helping each other with daily chores and looking after our grandchildren with dying energy but lively hearts, its worship to us when we hear a few words of love, we get the respect which we earned and unforced and true concern from our children.

God: My Beloved children, work won’t seem work but pure worship, if your heart is filled with love for each other.

Work is …….worship???

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

War & Peace - A Perspective

War against you, Peace for me!

We all agree that War is bullshit. It is something that can only cause more harm, more pain, and more destruction. We have spent aeons writing about peace. Yet, the world as it stands today is on the verge of many battles, many conflicts. The road to peace has been littered with the wastage of wars.
So, what can one do to put a final full stop to this phenomenon?
By writing such blogs and reading / appreciating poems of peace, are we even denting the prospects of another battle?
Is a Mother Teresa or Gandhi or Martin Luther an answer to all wars?
How many of those noble souls do we expect to walk by, to sacrifice all they’ve got to stop us from living the life of misery? After all, isn’t it my life, our life? Isn’t this too important to grant control to some ‘greater’ soul, however great he/she may be? What do I lack to become someone so noble, so peaceful?
Why can’t the world consist of more Gandhi’s than terrorists?
Do I write one more article here, vent out my frustration and thoughts on an electronic piece of paper, and then switch tabs to address the latest production issue? Is that all it consists of – this meek effort, this literal drop of an argument for peace in the ocean of tension and conflict all around us?
With such questions and many more lurking in the corner of my mind, I was reading a book. Buddha.
They say, when you have a query – open the page of a good book, any random page, and start reading. You shall find your answer there.
Maybe it’s the theory of being positive, the theory that what you are looking out for will be brought forth to you – if you strive with earnestness.
Chapter 19, the last chapter gave me a lot of answers. At least, openings to those answers, which I sought to decipher above.
The first and foremost – and probably the most powerful thought is – We all are ‘Buddha’. The Enlightened One.
But before I go there, let me elucidate why I think we need to believe in the above, and how ‘war’ and ‘Buddha’ are connected.
Consider this – Is War the only malady prevailing upon us? No – if one looks deeply, every war has a supposed ‘cause’. Someone stole my land – I shall wage a war over him. Someone insulted me – I shall wage a war over him. And so on and so forth. Anger results in war. And this anger is again an after-effect of something bigger.
Analyze any statement for which humans have waged a war – and one will find that something precious has been stolen from someone. The old saying cites wine, women and wealth symbolically. So, war is actually an after-effect. It is a symptom of a bigger disease, which in turn has a deep-rooted cause.
Buddha calls this disease ‘Suffering’, and he cites the root cause as ‘Attachment’.
Our ‘attachment’ to things/to people causes misery or dukka when that thing/person is no longer with us. However, if we analyze closely, and understand the roots of our philosophy – it clearly states that we are living in a state of illusion. Various cultures have given this illusion a different name, but probably the Hindu texts came the closest when they defined ‘Maya’.
Do we blindly believe in this philosophy? No! Test it out for yourself.
Ask questions. Seek answers.
Some really tough ones I’ve come across are – Are our parents not someone who we should be attached to? Do I not mourn the departure of a close friend? Shouldn’t one supposed to cry if he/she has lost his/her love?
The answer to all of the above – going by the philosophy of ‘Maya’ is No. The world is an illusion. All these supposed ‘attachments’ are the root cause of our misery. We lose one thing – and we grieve. So, the key is not to be attached to ‘anything’ – including ‘ourselves’. This includes our body, our materialistic identity. And one can do this, only if one starts identifying oneself apart from his/her ‘thoughts’. The mind, they say is a brilliant slave, but a cruel master. For a moment, your thoughts do not desert you. And this relationship is so close, that we become alter egos – we start identifying ourselves with our thoughts. And in the due course of time, we lose ourselves, and start believing our thoughts define us! I know this can be strange to read or comprehend at first, but a closer examination will reveal the purity of the argument.
So, in essence, to end all wars – the first step is to wage a war against your own thoughts – to question what you’ve been ‘taught’, to look beyond and find the truth; which in reality is just within you!
You are Buddha. The moment you shed your inhibitions, attain a clear vision – of peace, of joy; you shall be enlightened.
And a day shall dawn, when a thousand Buddha’s shall walk the face of earth, sowing the seeds of a spiritual revolution. That day, my friends – We shall write about peace, not war.


[Read Buddha (Deepak Chopra) and A New Earth (Eckhart Tolle) for deeper insights]

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Am Not Against War. I Am For......

“When you want something in life very genuinely, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
That was Paulo Coelho in Alchemist.

One of the modern theories gaining popularity of late is the law of attraction. (I do not know if it really is modern. For all you know, it could be one of those reinventions of the wheel.)

The following is the law of attraction in a nutshell.

Our thoughts decide what we are. We are today, whatever we are because of the thoughts we had yesterday. Our thoughts of today determine what we will be tomorrow.

Everyone in this universe can get what they want. All they have to do is want it earnestly. And it will eventually come to them.
That said, one should always think positive.
Think about what you want and be sure that you will get it. And it will come to you.
Think about the situation you want to be in; not as if it were future state but think about it as if it were happening at present. Close your eyes. Savour it. Do this exercise for a few minutes every few days and live all your dreams. They will eventually turn to reality.

If you want to become the CEO of a company, conduct yourself in all situations the way a CEO would conduct himself. If you want to go to Switzerland, put up pictures of Switzerland and the Alps on the walls of your room, look at them and imagine you are already there, enjoying the beauty of the place.

“So what’s the catch?” asked Nagaraj, one of my friends. “If it were as simple as that then everyone in this world should have what they want. Why are there so many unhappy, dissatisfied people in this world?”

There are several reasons. Most of the people do not know what they really want. Try asking 10 people (chosen randomly) what they want from life at that present and you will know.
They will either give you generic answers like “I want happiness, peace of mind” or complain about their problems and miseries. They will not be able to tell you what exactly they want because they don’t know what they want.

Most of them will actually tell you what they don’t want.

A few months ago during my stay in California, I was disturbed because of the cold, distant and political behaviour of some unsavoury characters that had come with me from India. A friend who noticed my unhappy state asked me, “Why are you unhappy? What do you want from this assignment and from your stay in the US in general?

I said, “I don’t want these people to behave the way they do”.
“I don’t want this roomie to bang the door each time she walks in and out of the house.”
“I don’t want these managers to do micromanagement and policing”
“I want these non vegetarians to stop being so insensitive about the sentiments of vegetarians”.

He said” These are things you DO NOT want. WHAT DO YOU WANT??”

After much contemplation I said,
”I want to acquire some domain knowledge from this project”
“I want to travel extensively”
“I want to make friends”

He said, “You will get it”.

That I believe is the key. The moment you know specifically what you want, you will get it (supposedly).

Another catch is this. Most of the people who know what they want are not happy when they get it. How many of us are grateful today for getting what we wanted from life yesterday? How many of us even remember what we wanted yesterday?

Today, I am a software professional. I have enough money. I have the best of food, clothes and accessories. I am independent. I have a mobile phone. I have a 30 GB iPod and a lovely collection of music among other things.
But how often do I think that these are the very stuff my dreams used to be made of once upon a time? How often do I jump in the air and shout “Yeah, my dreams have come true! My wishes have been granted!”? Not very often. Most of us take for granted what we have today.

To say more about the law, I am told it works. How? Vibrations attract like vibrations. Happiness attracts more happiness just as sorrow attracts more sorrow. If you are cheerful and believe that what you want is coming to you very soon, then it will come to you.

If you doubt, it will take a long time to come.
If you hope, then it will come to you, but slowly.
And if you know it will come, then, it will come in no time.

If you crib and complain all the time about your miseries, you will only bring more misery into your life.

While practicing this however, one must concentrate only on the final result, not on the strategy. Think about what you want, not about how it should materialize. The universe will take care of the how.

On our way home from office, my friend asked, “What do you want now?”
I said, “I want people to stop driving one man cars in Bangalore”.
“Why? What do you want to achieve by that?”
“Because of so many vehicles, roads and flyovers are being constructed. To make room for construction, more and more trees are being cut down. I don’t want trees to be cut down”
“So what you WANT is a GREEN BANGALORE!”
The point is, focus on the end result not on intermediate strategy.

And remember, two negatives don’t make a positive.
I stumbled upon this cartoon in which one guy says “I am anti-war, anti-drugs, anti-pollution, anti-commercialism, anti-deforestation”. The other guy says “Hmmm… Quite positive!”

When Mother Teresa was asked to join the anti war rally, she responded by saying “I will not join the anti war rally. But if there is a peace rally, I will surely join it”!

Don’t strive against what you don’t want.
Strive for what you want.
There is a difference. Your mind should not dwell even for a moment on the negative. It should be filled with positive thoughts only.

Whether or not you believe in the law of attraction, it acts upon you all the time. It is like gravity. Even if you don’t believe in gravity, it will still act upon you.

Skepticism raises it’s hood every now and then. But for now, I will try to believe in this law.
And then, all it takes to practice it is incorrigible optimism which is a good thing indeed!
By now you know what I want to say. Don’t you?
According to the law of attraction, we bring upon ourselves, all the thoughts that our minds dwell upon. By writing about war, thinking about war, talking about war and fighting against war we will only succeed in having more war; simply because, in all these actions it is war that we are preoccupied with and not peace.
That’s why, I am not against war. I am for peace.

And why do we always think about war between nations?
There is more war in the lives of us civilians than the soldiers across the borders. Everyday is a struggle. We fight our parents, fight with a manager and fight the busy traffic - mouthing profanities at careful and careless drivers alike.
Instead of trying to find peace in a solution, we become better fighters day by day. We devise newer strategies to defeat the purpose of a perceived enemy. Competition is the buzzword of today, not cooperation.

Anxiety, unrest, frustration, vehemence, intolerance are more venomous than explosives. They corrode an entire generation, rendering the minds infertile.

The struggle that you see outside is a struggle inside. The war that you see outside is a war within. Try not to see war, try to find peace.
Think about peace, live peacefully and be at peace with yourself.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Where does it hurt?

He : I have to go again.
She: You were away a whole year.
He : Will be gone for a year again.
She: You know I tried. You do, right?
He : Yes. If that makes you happy.
She: It doesn't.I may never forgive myself.
He : I would rather take a 100 bullets than hurt like this.
She: Don't ever say that again. I am not worth it!
He : Don't insult me by saying that.
She: I am sorry.
He : The Army's all I got. We are a selfless lot they say.Somethings not right
though.Maybe because I killed Fathers, sons, husbands, lovers.... We sin for our
fellowmen , hope they keep aside a part of their prayers for us.
He : hah...I hate it when I wallow in self pity.Just that I don't want to fool
myself anymore .Every time I convince myself that the war, the
army,my country all of it... its bigger than all of us.Now,I have 5 more days to
do that.What the heck...who wants to be convinced ...I will just go.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brothers In Arms

[Based on the recent controversial tiff between Harbhajan and Sreesanth, which, has been blown out of proportion. Few lines on it, enjoy:]

Sree got a smack
For his antics, from Harbhajan
Who likes inviting trouble , he is in the knack
But no sweat
Everything is sorted out
Brothers in arms
They hug and kiss in dressing room
On the field, venom is what they spout
They made the TRPs soar
Now everyone is gushing, wanting more
Cricket has drama & tears
Move over daily soaps
You now have something to fear
IPL is finally here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Bottom Line

It is universally known and accepted that you can't just kill a human. It is sin to.
But you can defend yourself. Self above other.
So we put ourselves in uniforms and simultaneously point guns at each other - self defense! Humans just love loopholes.

We claim to fight for justice and truth. But who are we kidding? My dears, in war, truth is the first casualty. There can be no winning a war.

Sure, anger and violence are inherent to human nature.
But what good is it to be human if you cannot even curb your impulses for the betterment of yourself and the world?

Nothing is impossible. Tendencies are malleable. War is evitable. It just takes a lot of love. Love is tolerance. And tolerance can replace war.

Fogive me if I sound too idealistic, but ultimately it is true:
All we need is love.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Let The War Begin

The war continues. And we are all fighting in it. But against whom are we fighting? We are fighting against Medusa. Her face changes every time. Hunger, poverty, corruption, debauched politics, casteism, misbelieves. She grows another head as soon as we curb one of her ugly heads. But she is not undefeatable! And its time for a change. We need to fight her together. Cause often we forget that united we stand divided we fall. So let’s not awaken patriotism within us on the national holiday. Lets be a patriot on each and every day. Cause we are the soldiers of our country. The fate of our country lies in our hands. Those millions of unsung heroes of this land. So, let’s make a difference. Let’s fight for a cause. Let's fight for India.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Sacrifice

The sky bore a purple haze.The dust forming a silt,a clot of blood and anonymity.The silence of the evening slowly descending with an apprehension ,it was not so silent that afternoon.
He looked at the sky,his back resting on the ground crawling with the dead and the half dead.
The evening sun gazed at the world beneath that looked even more red than its countenance,there was more fire on the battlefield than there was in its chest.
With shaking hands,he took the wallet out from his pocket;opened the flap.But closed his eyes;for the first time his unbroken courage surrendered .He couldn't look into those eyes that spoke to him every time he looked into them.

"God,I never wanted to, but you made me...I have no prayers.Give her the strength.She is all yours now..."

"Sorry for the promise,that I couldn't keep,
sorry for the nights,I know I won't let you sleep,
just don't look back,I will be there always,
but you will find some scars,biting my face,

I don't want to go,but He wants me to,
don't blame me dear,He has sinned too,
He tore the pages of my innocent prayers,
But don't you lose hope,He always cares,

This life was short and I lost it all,
I never gave up but it was the fate's call,
the truth has spoken,nothing there to confide,
but promise before I leave...we will meet on the other side."

A soldier never craves for sacrifice or a medal.We feel proud when we say that he sacrificed his life.But do we really know what really sacrificed?Is he the only one who sacrificed?Is he the only one?

Only A Soldier

He goes at the dawn
he comes back at the last hint of dusk
He fights to save you
he fights to save me
Brave at heart,raring to go

He is the son of motherland
Who puts his nation first
And himself second

He knows what is to be done
He thrives under dangers

He is the man of many hearts
Who faces his faith without a frown

At last
He didn't come in the dawn
he did not come at dusk
He fought , he fought
He fought for us
Made us winners
Lost his life
died with a smile
He was only a soldier

~This poem is dedicated to all the soldiers who lay their lives protecting us~

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Green, land
Buried, ridden
People, common people.
En masse
Fighting against Them
And They are colored, with Red
Guns, shells and cartridges.
Protests, false fragile forgotten protests
While we sleep with our
Window curtains raised

Crimson robes everywhere,
Bleeding in their color
Turning Red
The whole place
Roads blocked
Big achievements
And we still sleep with our
Window curtain raised.

History repeats itself,
They are colored!

The Last Battle

The grey sky wears a pallid haze
A faint eastern glow soaked in rain
I walk ahead, forlorn and so lost
A broken soul, an empty mind trenched in pain

'Twas the night, that hour of din
Blinded by hatred, fighting with blind compassion
Vanquishing my foes, spewing bullets in daze
I remember, those dying eyes and lolling heads so ashen

Death hangs in the air now, it moans and sings
Ravens and kites pecking at human entrails,
The echo of gunfires has subsided, the war's now won
Yet lost, a scared battlefield, as somewhere a mother wails

For the nation's glory, I butchered many a soul
Now, engulfed in ignominy, the soldier in me wanes
I mourn the death of a brother, I mourn the death of a son,
In the folds of silence, I now pray for peace, for love that remains.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Matter Of Heart.....

“A woman’s heart is full of secrets”, quips old Rose, in the movie Titanic. How I believe in this secret unfolded silently in the movie. Isn’t it true? Ask yourself women? I have always wondered how we all are capable of locking down our hearts with so many hidden feelings.

Our unsaid thoughts, our untouched cravings, and our undisclosed likings…….where do they lie? In our heart, the safest place in this world! Yes we have understanding and loving parents, yes we have darling and caring husband, yes we have lovely and innocent children, yes we have the sweetest grandchildren…..but yes we have desires untold too.

The secrets are too tiny and insignificant…but yes there are, and there are many. Some are everyday secrets, some rare once and some once in a lifetime kind of secrets! Only women will know what I am saying! These secrets are not harmful facts, selfish desires or scary temptations but they are sheer little sacrifices, strong wishes hidden because they maybe trifling for others or upsetting dissatisfaction.

A woman’s heart only cares for others, every single day that she barely lives for herself! Be it modern working careerist women or housewives…there is a same devoted heart deep down inside. So here is a greeting to the heart of a woman which is so vulnerable to others sadness and so strong to her own!

Beauty or Utility? Home or Office?

If I ask the question “What is more important in life? Beauty or Utility?”, 99 out of 100 will say Utility, without even thinking. This is almost as if beauty were a negative attribute.

After much thinking about a possible explanation, this is what I understand.

The adjective “beautiful” has been wrongly used to describe so many ugly creations of man, that the mention of “beauty” sometimes brings negative connotations to the mind.

Naked models dressed provocatively, walking a ramp, to offer cheap titillation to lecherous men (and women) for the sake of money, are often described as “beautiful”.

The fair complexion has been “beautified” by those who wish to sell fairness creams.
The cosmetic industry and beauty saloons are selling beauty.
Several “ugly examples of beautification for commercial purposes “can be given but the point I want to make is this.
The ulterior motive behind “beautifying” certain things is so well known to all of us that beauty is seen not as a virtue anymore but as something that is very shallow. The meaning of beauty has been reduced to something that merely pleases the senses and has no greater significance in the affairs of the world.

This can be clearly seen in certain anecdotes that you hear so often.
“Beauty is skin deep. Beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder.” That is what they have been telling us for ages. They sound so irrefutable!
In essence, the true meaning of beauty is forgotten or completely lost.

In the same way, utility or utilitarianism has been glorified and venerated; not by a particular individual or a category this time, but by people in general. The reason is, utilitarianism is caused and fuelled by greed and all of us are greedy. So the glorification was necessary if only to serve as a justification of our greed, if not anything else. In course of time, utility has been associated with necessity, with purpose, usefulness, fruitfulness, worth and with value. The result is that an entire generation is convinced that beauty is mere ornamentation and utility is purposefulness.

It took me a single reading of Tagore’s essays to realize that there has been so much misunderstanding!!! I realized that utility stands for fragmentariness and beauty stands for wholesomeness.

The open spaces, the rains, the trees, the mountains, the people stand for beauty. Harmony, goodwill, peace, cooperation and love are the traits of beauty.
On the other hand, the cluttered offices, the air conditioners, the lorries with their exhausts, the vendors with their goods, the plastic covers stand for utility. Competition, greed, shrewdness, diplomacy, hostility are the traits of utilitarianism.

All things that are wholesome, complete and one in nature are beautiful. It is needless to say therefore that all things that exist in their natural state are wholesome and therefore beautiful.
Utility happens when you break the whole into fragments.

The evergreen forests stand for beauty. The furniture and timbre made from trees cut down stand for utility.
The breeze from the open spaces stand for beauty. The artificial air conditioners stand for utility.
The waterfalls stand for beauty. The power station stands for utility.
Once again, utility happens when you break the whole into fragments.

One may ask the most expected question. Are the offices, the vendors and lorries not necessary for our survival?

Yes. As long as they are driven by need they may be inevitable.
But once they become driven by greed, they begin to destroy all beauty around them and create nothing but ugliness.

Think about this.
The trees in Bangalore are all being brought down because someone there believes that utility is more important than beauty. The lakes are being closed for gain of more lands for construction. Again because, someone thinks utility takes precedence over beauty.

In place of trees and lakes, offices are being built. More trees are cut to build apartments for the people who spend all their time in these offices. In order that the people working in these offices may spend their money to buy goods they really don’t need, some more trees are cut down to build shopping malls.

In summary, man’s preoccupation with utility has converted this entire world into a gigantic office to which the home has become a mere appendix.

What has all this to do with the subject of women?
The connection I am trying to establish is that...
Utility is a man’s preoccupation and beauty, a woman’s.

Nurturing a plant in the garden, cooking for a family, bringing up a baby, decorating a home are all a woman’s preoccupation….. in all of these one can see a woman’s unconscious preoccupation with beauty and wholesomeness.

The cars, the factories, the chimneys, the concrete jungles and their wooden furniture that stand for utility are the production of a man.
Whereas the home, the people in living in them, the love that’s binds them, the paintings decorating the walls, the flowers in the vases, the carefully tended gardens and their plants, the aroma in the kitchen that stand for beauty are the creation of a woman.

Having understood that the office represents fragmentariness and home represents wholesomeness, I am flattered to know, to realize that our society endowed women with the responsibility of home and men with the responsibility of office. The more important one entrusted in the custody of more able hands.

This is not to say that a woman’s place is at home although I am not very sure sometimes. But surely a woman’s priority should be the home over the office. Her job is more important, more difficult and she alone is capable of doing it. I am simply saying that the home is a woman’s prerogative.

In today’s world characterized by hostile competition, greed, consumption of materials, mistrustfulness and a struggle for survival, perhaps women’s participation in office is somewhat necessary if not indispensable. The above fact notwithstanding, women need to prioritize. They are often faced with the question Home or Office?

The torch bearers of feminism, the custodians of liberation, the advocators of equality, all short sighted, shallow thinking people, are sending out the wrong messages. If a man can do it, why not a woman?

It is very difficult to escape the influence of the rhetoric, but one must understand that men and women are inclined to different things by nature. There is inequality in nature which must be preserved.
If men and women were meant to equal one another and had a common purpose to fulfill, there would not have been two sexes in nature. Nature would have created just one sex and there would have been uniformity.

The very fact that the creator has created two different sexes should tell us that we have different reasons for coming into the world, that we have different interests to pursue and that we are unequal.

By aiming at equality, by attempting to do all those things that a man does, a woman only succeeds in relinquishing those special qualities and special rights that nature has bestowed upon her to create beauty and wholesomeness all around her. She is also shirking from the responsibilities that nature had endowed her with.

Every society, every home, every situation calls for some kind of sacrifice to be made for its sustenance, well being and progress.

To substantiate this, I will use Bangalore as an example. If the beauty of this city has to be restored, what should be done? People should stop driving one man cars and use public transport instead, thus preventing the necessity to construct more roads, thus preserving greenery.
People should walk as much as they can and not drive everywhere thus refraining from polluting the atmosphere. In other words, certain sacrifices will have to be made to sustain the environment of the city.
The conclusion is that, the virtue of sacrifice or abstinence preserves beauty and wholesomeness, whereas indulgence necessitates utilitarianism and results in fragments.

This was an example from the environment scene. But this holds true in every facet of life. Every home, every society asks for sacrifice (mostly in the form of abstinence from indulgence) for its well being, sustenance and progress.

From time immemorial women have found themselves expected to make this sacrifice while men indulge. (This too has evoked much rhetoric from our feminists). This may seem unfair at the first glance and but if you look carefully, you will understand it is a woman who has the more difficult task at hand of creating a home, of creating wholesomeness and it is a woman who has the self control to make the necessary sacrifices.

The biggest challenge that a woman is faced with today is not a man, not discrimination, not oppression.
The challenge is to understand that she has a greater purpose to fulfill in this world than a man and to discover her purpose.
It is to understand that the almighty meant the man and the woman to complement each other and not compete with each other.
It is to understand that her place in the family, in the society is that of someone who holds the reins to unbridled horses.
The challenge is to decide for herself who she is and what she wants even as the feminists try hard to tell her who she is and what she should want.

I would like to conclude by quoting George Bernard Shaw. “If women were as fastidious as men morally or physically, then, that would be the end of the human race”.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Feb 22, 2006

2 Women, 2 Conversation

Watching Music and Lyrics… & Pop, goes my heart………………

As I stand in the queue to get some popcorn for N in the interval, I see this girl... Standing right next to me in the cafĂ© queue…

Epic Proportions: I exclaim!


I mean, those proportions could start off an epic… I… I didn’t mean they are ‘epic’… As in, no… yes, they are huge… but, that’s not what I probably meant in the first place… or, meant… but…

All you guyz are the same…

Come on…

What? Aren’t you?

Yes, v r!

Earlier in the day, called up D…

D (Panting) (waise, I luv the word… wonder watz its origin?!) :)

‘Oops… Guess I’ll call up later…’

‘Shut up! Am in the gym’

Oh! … Yeah, thought so…

Of course! U did…

Wazzup with u?

I’ll like to stick to what the elders say… One round in the bed is equivalent to six in the park! Ha Ha Ha... No gym whim for me.

(Nah, if you are looking for a 'start' and a logical 'end' to this piece, not quite like it. It's like those intellectual Malayalam movies. As soon as you just start understanding what's going on, in all that darkness... The End symbol flashes. When deeply pondered though, these movies have a lot to say, and eventually go on to win a lot of awards... True masterpieces that they are! ;) :) )