Saturday, 16 March 2013

My nation is my pride, my love and the source of my best inspiration. Some are inspired by what they read, some by what others write and many more by people they admire. For me it has always been this land on which  I was born. This sense of patriotism was instilled into me at a young age ... the flag on independence day, the songs which spoke of the culture, the forts and temples, the natural beauty, the many festivals, all added up to making this country my first and only love. A child absorbs what it sees around it , the thoughts or feelings of love or pride come much later.

We have achieved tremendously in the sixty odd years of our freedom, but we are still a young republic. The years journey has not been entirely smooth. Today the world looks at us , we are a vibrant economy but how do we see ourselves? The picture is neither too dark nor very pleasant. There are those that have benefited from the progress and others who have been left behind. It is these that I lament ... these who have been wronged in our steady process of growth because for some their own growth has been more important compared to and at the cost of those others. Progress is a double edged sword, it can make sweeping changes in one instance and leave sore wounds in another.

When I see the inequities around me my dissatisfaction comes to the fore. I may be content with my lot, but there is a deep feeling of discontent... with the hundreds of issues which plague this land. The struggle for living, the chasms that divide us ..... why I am where I am and why the other is not given even a small percent of that privilege.

There is a feeling of pride when I see people working selflessly toward betterment and for uplifting those, it is accompanied by a sense of sadness , a betrayal almost that I am unable to do anything ..... and it it not for the lack of wanting ... for this is is my most passionate desire.... to see a country where there is equal opportunity for all , where some do not struggle for a mere meal while others have it all.

The winds of change have started blowing .... may they gather intent but may they never reach the force of a storm. A steady breeze which will bring strong changes without any destruction in its wake.

I have pride in my country.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The new day will dawn in a few hours, it has officially started as we have just passed the midnight hour. Another day of reckoning, International Women's day...... I for one, have my reservations about the many "days " that we have added to our already full calendar, we need  "Mother's day " to show our love for our mother or a " Father's Day" to show him how much we care and so on and so forth. I would think that these are what most people would express automatically, why do we need special days our expression. I may seem not 'with it ' in others opinion and definitely conservative in my thinking but there it is .

Women's day !!! A celebration of women !!! We will celebrate her on a particular day and then from the very next go about our business as usual. It is laudable, however that such a day has been thought of on an international level, we all know that women have been considered from the very beginning, somewhat lesser than men. The fact that men are stronger physically is perhaps the foremost reason for this. Man as the hunter and woman as the one who stokes the fires and keeps the hearth warm....a scene from an ancient hieroglyphic, the man with a spear and a woman at the fire, there have been changes since then but have there really? Women, because of their make up are better at tending to needs and men, to bringing home the bacon. What seems to have happened as society progressed is that men took the position of command as initially there were battles for territory and men were always on the forefront. As society became more stable and settled the ones who led in the battlefield were those that made the laws, they were looked up to, the women who tended to their wound or their nurture were given a second position and in many cases no position at all, and while we see some women rulers, men outnumbered them.

Coming to the present era, the plight of the " weaker sex " is apparent, whether it is in the workplace or at home or with some of the horrifying atrocities committed against them in the name of tradition or culture or what have you.... We read of them in the newspapers and magazines, we see it happening all around us and it is not necessarily perpetrated by men, women are just as responsible, for if a woman is in collusion with anyone else, be it a man or a woman to continue practices which should have changed with time but are prevalent even today , she is just as equally to blame for that which makes her a victim
 Swami Vivekananda's words over century ago..." There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved" and then again  ........."It is very difficult to understand why in this country [India] so much difference is made between men and women, whereas the Vedanta declares that one and the same conscious Self is present in all beings. You always criticize the women, but say what have you done for their uplift? Writing down Smritis etc., and binding them by hard rules, the men have turned the women into manufacturing machines! If you do not raise the women, who are living embodiment of the Divine Mother, don’t think that you have any other way to rise."
He also says...."  The idea of perfect womanhood is perfect independence."...
We have only read them and nodded wisely but have failed bring about any real changes.

We may celebrate women today and again on this day next year and the next, we may make pledges light candles, the real change will start only when men and women are equal in every sphere of life and when women are not considered as the 'weaker sex' to be protected by their able bodied counterpart. True celebration will begin when the " abla nari " become a 'sabal nari '. We will not then need one day to celebrate womanhood, we will be celebrating a progressive inclusive mankind everyday and in every way.

Climbing up a rugged mountain has never been an easy task.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

I could never be a writer of stories. There is enormous love for hearing and reading them but to imagine a world or circumstances which have may stem from some reality is beyond me. I like to observe and see what goes on around me, why people are the way they are, how circumstances change, how history is made and think about what really makes us what we are or are not. Nothing earth shattering or nothing really to give in terms of great writing but just some thoughts which come to my mind which are put down occasionally. I have never had the will to succeed, therefore the occasional writing.

I see a world, and there is no new thought in this, which is changing at such a rapid pace that sometimes one is left wondering where we are heading. The progress in the last fifty years has been almost as like a whirlwind , we have been part of  this storm of ideas which have been generated and put into effect in our daily existence. The benefits are many, in every sphere living becomes easier, communication is just a fingertip away, knowledge is easier to access, everyday situations simplified by gadgets and machines to help us. Why then do I feel it happening too fast? Is it only I who thinks like this? There is too much happening too fast, and while we are living in the complacency of our present circumstances, are we forgetting the impact it is going to have on our future? My brother who is a scientist was here some time ago told me something which stopped me short in my tracks. What price are we paying for our own personal happiness and for how long will it last? Perhaps the latest mantra which tells us to live for the moment is just another way of refusing to see the larger picture. I too enjoy each day as it comes and forget about it once it is over, but the thought of where we are going is in my mind always. I worry for what will happen ... it may not become apparent while I am alive, but the future will be tough. I have hope, though, because human ingenuity can overcome the greatest of odds and for this this I fervently hope.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

It has been a while since I posted...... have been meaning to write more often but the sorry fact is that one's time gets taken up with living, or at least part of the daily grind which constitutes as living.

I was stuck in a terrible traffic jam today as happens in a busy city on most days. There was incessant honking all around and one could sense the impatience inside of the closed doors.When the traffic eased a little,everyone and his car next door made a mad rush to reach the next signal. It wasn't only a one off experience, I have noticed this phenomenon very often and of course I have always been in the driver's seat at those times. The most amusing thing is that after rushing and overtaking, breaking lanes one happens to see at the next signal, most of the same people who were there with you at the last one, so one assumes that all this terrific rush to get there before the next person is really unnecessary when ultimately one ends up together at the next traffic light.......but we never learn do we? We do not want to go at a steady pace, we want to make our impact here and now and in as little time as possible ...we are impatient to reach our destination and care not if we break rules or try to overtake whoever comes in our way. Do our driving skills reflect our personalities or the way we conduct our lives? Our goals are important to us and we try and achieve them at all costs. There are many and they may form a vast majority, who have no set goals, who live life as it comes , play along with each say as best they can and I am afraid but certainly not ashamed to say that I belong to that vast majority. We all have certain ambitions, mine first and foremost was to be an IAS officer, and needless to say that I tried and was not successful because I did not try hard enough. This lack in my person has prevented me from reaching the traffic signal later than the others ... it was pointed out to me about two decades ago and much earlier by my teachers...."she has such a good mind but if she only put in some effort" was a refrain I have heard almost all my life For me it is always matter over mind, the mind may be there but it really does not matter.

I digress as usual from the main point as is my wont. TRAFFIC ... yes that is what I started with... and no I am not going to write about traffic rules and how we break them with impunity or how we create a noise because we want to get ahead. We are well aware of rules and aware too of how so many of us do not follow them at all..... do not really care a fig for discipline, strangely all those who drive on the roads have had a disciplined upbringing, whether in school or at home, but the wild side takes over at the wheel of the car, possibly something to do with having a control over the machine or control over something.

That is not my point either, and if there are people reading the tripe I put down, they will know by now that it deals with life and living or some aspect of it. The thought which always comes to my mind when I see the hurtling traffic and the (almost) race to get ahead of he next car or bus or any other vehicle is that eventually as I said before.... almost all of them cluster at the next signal together, so whats the darn hurry? I find the two wheelers more adept at weaving in and out of traffic, they have the benefit of a more streamlined vehicle , that is for sure but it may just be a desire to be better than or faster than their more complacent counterpart with four wheels. So now lets get to the real issue , after this pop psychology session..... and the point of all this, ladies and gentlemen,is what IS the point? Why are we always in a rush to achieve, to reach there first and in all that we do since we are toddlers we are taught precisely that. Failure and success is like a weighing scale (the older version) where success is always rated higher and the alternate is never an option. I DO acknowledge the fact that failures are fatal for the development of personalities, if fatal is too strong a word, at least they cause a lot of damage to it. The systems which have evolved through time immemorial have all been towards progress and if any kind of progress has to happen it needs the successful completion of any idea or endeavor.The flip side of success is failure, so why do we not accept is just as we accept success with happiness... ah! Happiness!!!! Of late a lot of wise people have been saying, and there are more wise sayings about happiness being the goal  of life, but I digress again... because my thinking on that is different. So.. we see that we are happy, ecstatic, over the moon with what we achieve but when we do not, we feel let down and at best unhappy with ourselves. Our achievements make us what we are or so we are led to believe, for even at a very young age we are taught to compete whether it for a race or for that extra percentage point at an exam. We are told to have a goal and work towards it  and sometimes in the process we lose ourselves , we see the woods but stop not to look at the trees, a blade of grass becomes inconsequential when we see a beautiful garden, a bird's chirp is not heard in our world filled with noise, except for the crow who is as noisy as the rest of us.... and well, he doesn't chirp at all !!

I really don't know if what I write and think can be construed as coming from someone who never really achieved much in life ...... in today's terms .....a loser... because I am sure that people who have gained much in a much shorter time must think differently, and if this thought process comes only because I am where I am today but this I must say that I am satisfied with life,although many think that being satisfied is not good for anyone. I would rather think that satisfaction is the best place to be, complacence on the other hand is not .... the former leads to happiness at every small hurdle crossed, while the latter would make one rest at one's laurels.

Digressed again !! The traffic moves on ... as do our lives, sometimes forward, sometimes through ways unknown, always towards a destination, sometimes fast and smooth and at other times on uneven and slippery roads, there are times we have to turn back and take another path and there is always the time when someone overtakes us. Eventually we reach the signal where each of us have to stop, and whether we are overtaken or have been faster than the other we will have to stop there.... the traffic will continue to move ......