Wednesday, 2 December 2015

बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये


बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये,
किसका है मुखौटा और कौन सच्चा न हम जान पाये । 
जो न हो तेरा सहारा तो मेरी तो नैया ही डूब जाए,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये। 

सब है दिखावा, सब है ढकोसला,
सच्चा दोस्त खुद को बताके ही लोगों ने दिया धोखा । 
तेरे सिवा किसी पर भी विश्वास न कर पाये,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये। 

क्यों बोलते हैं झूठ बेमतलब हम  ,
क्यों दुखाते हैं दिलों को  बेझिजक हम?
क्या गलत और क्या सही नहीं समझ हम पाये,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये। 

कहीं जलाते हैं घर, तो कहीं लोग मारते हैं एक दूसरे को,
फिर  नाम पर तेरे थोप देते हैं हर गलती को। 
फिर भी तू क्यों उनपर कहर नहीं बरसाए,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये।  

मंदिरों मस्जिदों में मांगते हैं दुआएं हम तुझसे,
हर चाहत हो पूरी ऐसी ख्वाहिश करते  हैं दिल से। 
पर कभी तेरी याद हमारे मन में घर बना न पाये,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये।  

हम नासमझ, अनजान, अल्ल्हड़ और अनाड़ी,
अज्ञान के वश  में ही बह जाये हमारी यह जीवन सारी । 
क्या है सच और क्या झूठ यह न हम समझ पाये,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये।  

छल कपट को ही हम सच समझ बैठे,
गलतियों के दलदल में ही हम जाते हैं गढ़ते । 
झूठे दिखावे की चकाचौंध में हमने अपनी आँखें गवांये, 
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में मुझे कुछ समझ ना आये।  

तू ही मार्गदर्शक, तू ही है रक्षक,
बाकी तो सब लगे मतलबी भक्षक । 
तेरी छत्रछाया में सुरक्षित रहने हम आये ,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में अब मुझे कुछ समझ आये।
बड़े हैं खतरे, बड़े हैं खिलाडी,
सिर्फ तेरे दर पर समझ में आती है बात सारी । 
तेरा हाथ सिर पर न हो, तो आगे न हम बढ़ पाये, 
बापू तेरी यह दुनिया मुझे अब समझ में आये। 

 तूने ही संभाली है हमारे जीवन की डोरी ऐे  बापू,
तुझ बिन कौन इस जाहाँ में हमारा है बापू । 
तुझ से जीवन में सुख और शांति हैं आये,
बापू तेरी इस दुनिया में तेरे सहारे हम आये। 


हरी ओम । 
श्री राम । 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Where a Celebrity Lost His Mind aka AK

A couple of days back I wrote this post. When I read it now, I feel it was necessary, but I will not be taking it down, because I stand by what I said, and those are my views. That they did not need to be aired, or are barely relevant in my life, is a different point altogether. That day, I was angry, and upset, because there was an accusation against my country, and to me that I personal, because I love my India, and I am an Indian, I am not regional or communal, I love it, all of it. I said then, and I say now, India is not bereft of problems and issues, just like any other country in the world. What I write ahead, is not about India, because that is not my topic for this post. It is about the statements made by Aamir Khan, who will be referred to as AK, for the rest of the post and why it was simply pathetic. I can ignore the whole tamasha, and say who cares? I have done that in the past, on many an issue, but at some point I feel, I need to put my foot down, and because I also believe, putting my views out there, might give another person some food for thought at some point. So here goes.

AK is an actor, a really good one, from what I have seen of him on screen. His tactics to sell  or make his movies, propaganda etc, are of no consequence, because that is his livelihood and he does what he needs to, to earn his money. That he might have not a penny to offer to charity from the millions he rakes in, even those from being on a program like Satyamev Jayate, based on social issues faced by India, is his personal choice. But that does portray a certain aspect of his personality, which is very different from what he likes to portray on the screen. The point being, when he is not in an imaginary scenario, like in the movies, but in a program like Satyamev Jayate, the portrayal of himself as AK, and not any imaginary character, and his reality being very different from what he portrays, brings in, a sense of duality, a hypocrisy. Unfortunately people end up believing the onscreen persona more than that which is real.

Coming to the issue on hand however, the fact is, we are all normal human beings. We have thoughts that are wrong, ill or even sinful. The fact though is, most of us realise, that those thoughts are infact wrong, and keep them buried within or with ones closest to us, with a feeling of shame, only wanting lighten that burden. AK obviously has a different code, because he likes to think of himself as a thinking actor, and somehow has fallen into a category, where he believes, that all his, or his wife's thoughts(as is the case here) are worth loud mouthing. And that is where he was wrong. Why, they had these thoughts is not my concern, what is upsetting is, that they don't realise, that it is simply wrong. The biggest mistake ofcourse was to air it out in public. The backlash my dear AK, should have been well anticipated by you. These people are his fans, they follow every piece of news about him, and he enjoys the attention and adulation just as much. A simple example below, is from his Facebook page, where he talks about some injury.

Nobody would care if I fell down and broke my back for good, but that is not the case with a celebrity like him. The problem is, they want applause, not censure. Thankfully there are many Indians still, to whom the country is dearer than an actor, and that is why all hell has broken loose. That you and your wife discussed it, within the closed doors of your home, is upto you. But the mistake was, not realising what a horrible line of thought it is, and to have said it out aloud in public.

The very line of thought is ill, and even factually faulty. AK, is a Muslim, who has been married to two different Hindu women at various points in his life. He has the adulation of  millions of fans, many of whom are non-Muslims, and have never ever differentiated him, or his movies based on his religion. That, he has been witness to some of the worst terrorist attacks, and communal riots in the city of Mumbai in the past and has found India intolerant in the recent few months, is just baffling.  That is just falsehood, and deception. Bad thoughts, based on false facts, insulting the very people who are your fans, how did AK, ever expect anything but a huge backlash to that?  

This has been a bad bad choice of words and ideas from the word go. And for a man who has earned his millions and lives on the adulation of a million fans the very first thing that he needs to do, is apologise. For having such pathetic thoughts in the first place, and then to air them in public. But this is what he said, instead -

And then he says, people are proving his point? If you call a man walking about, minding his own business on the street a bloody murderer who scares you to live in your house, you have to expect that man to be nothing less than Gautam Buddha to not say even a word in retaliation. And even if one of them was indeed Buddha, you have spoken to a million here.

He is not a social activist, or a man who works for the well being of the country or its people in anyway at all, and thus, his thoughts are nothing but that of an idle man on an armchair, who has nothing constructive to offer, but criticisms galore. And that is a dangerous man, with idle thoughts, thoughts that are very negative and degrading to the very country to which he belongs. He is neither a social worker or a philosopher, whose ideas count on this matter. So he would have done a lot better to keep his mouth shut, unless he had something good to say. Its a publicity stunt gone really really wrong, or it was just a simple act of pure stupidity. Personally I am inclined to believe that it is a well planned move, maybe with the aim of joining politics in the near future(making India more tolerant might be the slogan!) and it has been a very very bad move.

Everyone has the right to express their opinions, we all do, but when it is done irresponsibly, when your words are hurtful to the sentiments of millions of people, many of whom are their fans, by a public figure, there will be consequences. And AK, would be wiser to apologise for his ill spoken words. But he has chosen a different path, one that is most likely going to be his downfall.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

"Boo Hoo" Cries the Boy in the Golden Castle

The recent comments by Mr. Aamir Khan, have left in me, not an iota of doubt, that he is indeed the BEST actor in India today, and  no one could come close to him in the department of acting. Shedding those amazing crocodile's tears on Satyamev Jayate for 3 crores (30 million) INR per episode, being the face of Incredible India, while obviously having a very different personal opinion about it. You are indeed the crown jewel of Bollywood in the matters of acting Mr. Khan!

Just to briefly recap the comments, dear Aamir says, his wife, Kiran Rao (not sure what the prefix is here, Miss, Mrs, Ms, or ....), is worried about her children's safety, and wishes to flee India and raise them elsewhere. The contradictory thing about this is, Aamir already a father of 2, quickly divorced his first wife, because he was so charmed by his muse, Madame Rao. So I can't help but wonder, what happened to this concerned father, who did not think about his kids, while cheating on their mother, and gladly abandoning her. There are many who live their entire lives in a love-less marriage, for the sake of their kids. Those my dear, are truly loving parents. Which is definitely not you. Rao, ofcourse, maintains her personal identity with her name, because knowing very well, what a ship-jumping rat Aamir is, she will not risk herself, getting into the position his first wife did. Smart girl! Somehow Aamir managed to marry Hindu girls both times, and I can't help but wonder if the very 'tolerant' Khan, made any of them convert to his  religion for that.

Honestly I care two hoots about how many women he sleeps with or how often he changes colours, the reason for me to write this, is because he has crossed a line, he should not have. I wonder how many millions a certain political party has paid him, to say aloud his very silly thoughts. He is ofcourse a 'paid' man. A man who earns millions, most likely skims on his IT returns, and pays not a penny for charity and lives a life of utter luxury and immorality, talks about intolerance. Really? You are what you are because of India, no one would have known, that you exist anywhere else Aamir dear. The fact the Bollywood has not taken kindly to his comments, makes me very happy. Loved everything that Raveena Tandon had to say, especially, asking the Satyamev Jayate man, what he has done for the country, besides making millions off of it, and not paying back a penny.

Now, that his darling wife, wants to move out of the country, I wonder which country, he is thinking about? A lot of enraged people are suggesting war torn, Muslim dominated nations. I would not. I say go to the US, or UK, where Muslims are berated, searched, arrested, deported regularly, based on racial profiling, and supposed national security issues. Please go, please please do, and enjoy the luxuries of these countries. Or pick a different destination, but whatever you do, you old fool, get out!! You and your wife, are but big fat idiots. Or maybe not.

Its a political agenda, isn't it? You are being paid to have a propaganda against Modi, who is actually doing something to make India better. Oops! Or did you think that this bunch of intolerant Indians are just too stupid to see that? Nope, you got that wrong, well actually you got everything wrong mind you....  but then you are a greedy opportunist pig, who just uses his great acting skills to make money. Or are you creating a controversy, as a publicity stunt before the release of your next movie? Whatever, it is a planned move, not innocent or real in the least.

No, I will never say India does not have any issues, there are not one, but a hundred, and it is our duty as its people to bring about a change. Of all its issues, intolerance, is not one. India is tolerant, not just to its citizens, but others as well. We did not bomb Pakistan after the attacks 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, but just look at what France is doing to Syria, or what the US did at Guantanamo. You are nothing but a traitor. A traitor to your motherland. Unfortunately this tolerant nation has beefed up your security instead of throwing you out, after you revealed your true self to the world, on national television. Big Mistake! What would you, and wifey no.2 do now? Sit in your million dollar home and discuss a strategy to make the best out of this?

I have Muslim friends, and I feel that they are no different from me, in their Indianism, but the likes of SRK and you are just pathetic. The intolerance lies in you, what we see in the world, is a reflection of our ownself. Good people see good, and the bad see bad. So what you see and speak about, is what you are. India is a great nation, many have tried to steal from it, malign it, but no one has ever succeeded. You are petty traitors, nothing more. give it your best, and get boxed in the face. As far as I am concerned, and I would definitely urge all my friends as well, no more movies or products that you endorse. You insult my motherland, I don't let you go so easy. Shame on you!

Mr. Traitor Khan

Sunday, 13 September 2015

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

 This is one of the most popular Shloka of the Bhagvad Gita, one that is oft repeated and spoken about. For the uninitiated, the Bhagvad Gita, is one of the main Holy books of Hinduism. One that was said to Arjuna by Lord Shree Krishna, in the battlefield of  Kurukshetra. This Grantha(holy book) lays down the basic guidlines for life, introducing to mankind, the concept of karma, the cycle of life and death, the eternal character of the soul and more. Every word in the Bhagwad Gita can inspire and motivate man to aim for beyond the material and apparent, and see beyond the obvious, to remove the veil of ignorance from his eyes.

Karmanyevadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachana|
Maa Karmaphalheturbhumo Te Sangostvakarmani||
Your right is to take action(do the work), never do you have the right to the results.
Do not take action with the aim of a result, but never be in a state of inaction either.

This shloka, always has, and still does speak to me. Maybe, I do not always adhere to it, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense, the more it seems to have to say, the more it clarifies itself in my mind. This post, is nothing but my personal understanding and comments on this shloka.

The simple message this conveys to me, is to keep my focus on my Karma(my actions), without contemplating on the results that action would bring forth. It is so simple in its essence. Indeed, if I just focus on honestly doing my duties, acting out my role, what better way than that, is there to live? It is the expectation of results, and fear of consequences, that make me dishonest in taking care of my duties. That expectations lead to disappointment is well known, but expectations, also often lead man to act dishonestly, to tweak his own actions in favour of reaching a desired conclusion.And this desire for results is what sways us from our path of honesty and devotion. This desire, pulls us away from God, and thrusts us into the arms of Maya. And that is where all our unhappiness and sadness originates, from Maya. Imagine for a moment, a day, where we act without desire, wants or fear. Our aim being to act honestly, do complete justice to our duties, and nothing more, nothing else. How easy would our life be, how very simple! All our misdeeds, all our mistakes, originate from our want, our desire for a result, a 'happy ending'. A student would cheat on an exam because he desires good scores, an athlete would use drugs to enhance performance, because he wants to win, or in more everyday life, a child would deny an act of misdemeanor to the parents to escape the consequences attached to it, and so it goes on. If our focus is on the act we are committing itself, rather than expectations of results to be gained from it, we would do complete justice to our duties, and carry out our acts with complete honesty.  A child would love and treat his parents with respect, without expecting appreciation and inheritances. A student would follow his teacher's instructions without hoping to gain something from it. And as we focus on our work, do it with complete dedication and honesty, how will God, not shower us with anything, but the very best of results. But a desire for getting things, is what makes us commit mistakes, sway away from the path of righteousness. And each time the chasm between the right and wrong increases.What starts as, just a small step out of line, builds with time to form a different path altogether, and its a bottomless pit we fall into, sucked by desire. As desire controls our every action, and work, we no longer care about righteousness, or honesty, and thus every act of ours becomes impure and dishonest, leading us to receive, all that is wrong and undesirable. But we are too blinded by our wants, to realise how far away we have come from our original course, and how deeply we have fallen into the pit of wants and desires.

Never act with an eye on the result, nor consider yourself to be the cause of a result. We should not build an ego, assuming that we have achieved results, nor should we perform our duties expecting a desired result. However we cannot use this as an excuse for inaction either. We can't develop a line of thought, where we think, we do not desire any result, and hence we need not perform any act either. What we need, is complete faith and devotion to God, know that He will give us the best, better than what we can imagine, why need we then worry for results, when He is there, taking care of me, providing me with the very best. And with that in mind, we can perform all our acts with true dedication and honesty, and find joy in doing our work, free our mind from the complications of expectations, and results, and just do our deeds with joy and happiness in our hearts and minds. It is like being a little child, who keeps repeating a newly learnt song or rhyme again and again, for the simple joy of it, not expecting any reward or appreciation. But the parents will always shower him with love and appreciation. And thus we should focus on our work, not find excuses to avoid our duties, nor work only for the expectation of results.

A simple philosophy, which can completely free us from the misery of expectations, demands, wants and justification. Find pleasure in what we do, and we will not remain wanting for anything at all.

Sadguru Shree Aniruddharpanamastu||




Monday, 17 August 2015

Two Years Old, and A Little Something New

 It seems, this blog was born a little over two years ago. Not a lot has been written on its pages, with a meager 30 something posts to show for it. But then, as the saying goes, something, is better than nothing. From being someone who had over 300 posts spread over two blogs in one year, to a mere 33 in two years, it is a big change. But a good one in itself. I wondered what I should write to celebrate two years of the existence of this obscure blog, and a hundred ideas rushed to my mind from how I spent the day, to how Indian communalism really bother me, to the love for eating some food, or my parenting ideas and more. And the one thing I decided, was not to write anything negative, for the sole reason, that pouring out words, will make no change, I either be the change, do something about things or keep quiet. 

It is easy for me to be a keyboard warrior(a term, a friend used once, that has really stayed with me), but much harder to work for a positive change, so like many posts that I have typed and let lie in the drafts section, because I was not sure if it was worth it to just air my views from behind a screen, I decided to not say anything negative at all. Instead I hope to be an example of what I would like the world around me to be like. Not easy, but I want to try my best, and with God on my side, nothing is impossible.

I attended a couple of creative workshops recently. Much fun I tell you! Its been a while since I indulged in that side of me, some for lack of time, others for not being sure of making a commitment to complete a project, laziness, having other priorities like my studies, so and so forth. And attending these workshops brought something alive in me. I want to sharpen my old skills and learn new ones. I have always loved fabrics, pretty much anything to do with them and needlework is cathartic for me, and so I have thrown my hat over the fence. A visit to Spotlight, nudged me to actually work on something after over 2 years now. And so I got my provisions for a project that cooked up in my mind while I was shopping in store, and I hope to start this week, pouring in every spare minute into it, and get it done before the end of the year. Lots of work, and detailed stuff at that, is the plan.My grandmother was an expert craftsman in the trade of needlework, sewing, knitting, crocheting, crafting and more. While I was unfortunate to have had very little time spent with her(she passed away when I was 10), doing these things invariably remind me of her, and makes me feel close to her in a very emotional way.I wish I had learnt, all these amazing things from her. Her repertoire was extensive, and anyone with an interest in these things would have been lucky to have learnt from her, and a lot of those skills are being lost with time, and I feel frustrated at times, that I could not learn these things first hand from her, like hand embossing card paper.

On a brighter note though, here is what I filled up my coffers with today. Colours just make me happy, and now I have plenty to play around with. I hope it turns out looking the way it is in my imagination. Yellow, green, maroon on an ivory base. I can't wait to get started, and I pray I can persevere to finish it, and not lose interest before I am done. That is always my biggest struggle with long projects which take time. 

I guess two years into one creative venture, it is time to dip my hand into another and give it a go. The process will be fun and enjoyable and fulfilling to me in more ways than one. Hope to see it all come together the way I am imagining it in my mind.Wish me luck!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Valves, That Make Me Smile.

Puzzling pic heh? Well, to me it spell happiness. My pressure cooker's valve broke a couple of months ago, and I have been missing my handy small cooker. Have been looking for a way to get a few spare valves from India one way or another. And last evening I found 3 of them in my kitchen drawer.(see the little red packets on the left side). My father had sent them, last December as part of a HUGE parcel. I had just put it away not bothering much. But here it was lying, and its just made my life so much easier. I got to cook in it after months!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Because Its Personal

I watched a video today, that brought forth a lot of emotional anguish that I personally carry with me, and it brought forth a need to say, what possibly 'political correctness', makes me hold back.  I will share here the video of Shashi Tharoor, talking about what the British 'rule' did to India, how much, it materialistically took away, and more. What he talks about are facts and numbers, which are overwhelming in themselves, but what I feel is pain and anger for all that my beloved India and Indians had to endure. 

I am not a racist, but I am not a fan of the British, to put it mildly, and yes, its personal. I am sharing this video, in the hope that people who watch it, will know the facts, facts that have never been shown to the world, the world which has been led to believe that India is a land of slum-dwelling, snake charmers. But managed to be the ones to send their Mission to Mars in their very first attempt! I am not attempting to say India is better or worse than any other nation on earth, but what I am saying is, it has been looted, and stripped to its very gut by the greedy British monarchy for over two hundred years. But what it has built up from, in less than 100 years is nothing but remarkable.

My family lost their home and every material possession when India was divided into 3 parts, as they walked across the border, uprooted in their own home and land, looking to survive. I feel extremely proud to say that my own grandmother was a part of the group of revolutionaries fighting off the British. She at the tender age of 13 was on the list of the 'people to look out for', for the Brits. The word British, somehow never brings in a single positive feeling in my heart or mind, and it never will. It is personal, it is not based on media outcry, or hype, but knowing my History, and knowing what we lost in order to be free of the shackles of greed.

The Great Bengal Famine, was created by these greedy colonialists, to feed their never ending greed, while millions died. No one ever talks about this genocide. I wonder why? It is personal to me, I am a Bengali, I have had ancestors face this trauma.  I am quoting directly from the article linked above, to give a picture of atrocious cruelty the British govt, was capable of.

Winston Churchill, the hallowed British War prime minister who saved Europe from a monster like Hitler was disturbingly callous about the roaring famine that was swallowing Bengal’s population. He casually diverted the supplies of medical aid and food that was being dispatched to the starving victims to the already well supplied soldiers of Europe. When entreated upon he said, “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” The Delhi Government sent a telegram painting to him a picture of the horrible devastation and the number of people who had died. His only response was, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”

Humanity at its worst?

India, known back then(before the entry of Brits), as the golden bird of the world, has had plunderers pour in to loot its wealth for generations, these were not the first ones, but they were the worst. The difference however was, that the British had a big plan, and greater power than, any before them, so they took and took and took, till they could no more, and then they cut the country into pieces and left.They were just looters, with more might, no different than any other, except that their capacity for cruelty to fuel their greed was unprecedented. Hindu and Muslim families that had lived side by side in peace for generations, were now warring against each other. The number of people who actually gave up their lives with a smile on their face, filled with patriotism, is unbelievable. The atrocities committed on them much much worse. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacare, a case where there was peaceful assembly of people in a park, with a single point of entry, is to be noted. There were women, children, old and young who sat there, listening to a speech. A certain General Dyer, came in with full ammunition and shot all those unarmed civilians dead. Women jumped into a well with their children to escape rape and torture.

It has been a long time, and the world has changed since, and we all need to forget the past. My question remains though, will you forget it, if your own home was burnt down to ashes? It is personal. I see the US apologise to Japan on every anniversary of the Hiroshima attack, though it happened in an act of war. Has the UK, ever had the decency to apologise for its unspeakable acts? No! And the fact that they think, and try to portray themselves as superior to India, is what shows what they truly stand for! As Shahi Tharoor beautifully says, what is needed, is first an acknowledgement of the wrong that has been done. An apology, if that may follow!

The fact is they are bullies, they try to oppress as long as they can, then when the whole nation rises up, they run away, and pretend they plundered a whole nation and killed its people for its own good. Grand lies and deception at its best. India, in close to 70 years of being free of the master manipulators, and having to start from scratch, has learned, and grown more than any other nation in the world. And that shows that no matter how long and how hard you beat someone up, they will stand up and rise up to their own potential. It has been a test for a country, the 200 years of being hurt and murdered, but as they say, even gold needs to go through fire to be purified. But never ever will it be hidden, what a greedy and cruel bunch the British monarchy and govt. are.

India is blessed, and will grow and prosper with each passing day, growing stronger and smarter, and showing that material wealth is but only a possession, what truly makes a person, or even a nation is what lies within its soul. Jai Hind!

Something to soothe the soul, and infuse us with patriotism, and pride for being the strong people, to the strong mother nation Indians are!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Along Came a Spider

The spiders I mentioned in the last post, for your viewing pleasure. It was after a bout of rains, hence the beautiful droplets on the webs!

These hang between trees, just above our main gate. 
 This is a special one. The web is right outside the boys' bedroom. And a viewing pleasure for The Smallie each morning. After the rain destroyed half its web, Mr. Spidey, called Neville, was busy rebuilding. If you look closely, you will see some of the strands are completely dry, because they were just newly created. It was fascinating seeing the patient painstaking process.

Look at the strands on the upper side of the picture.

Friday, 12 June 2015

My Parenting Tip

Every parent in the world has a distinct parenting style, even parents to the same child, are different in their approach. To say one way is the only way, is like saying red is the only colour worth looking at. When parenting styles are very different, when they oppose each other on the basic principles, its likely to bring up disapproval and criticism. All that said, we still do try our best, and each of us learn to be parents as time passes, its a learning for us, as much as it is for our dear little miracles, bundles of joy.

Pic Courtsey : LifeLoveETC

I want to share one of  my most important principles of parenting here. Not to preach, but to put it out there, for anyone who wants to use. It has served me well!

More than anything else, I want my children to be nice people, the kind who add joy and kindness to the world, the kind who make the world a better place to live in. For me, their success will be in the joy they bring to people around them. And the simplest way I have found to inculcate that, is to develop in them a sense of empathy. I see around me plenty of people (not talking about just kids), who are helpful, but that comes with a sense of being entitled, a feeling that they are better than those they help. I try to tell my children that each and everyone on this earth, feels, just like they do, no matter what the colour of their skin, or what language they speak, or what food they eat. And for now, at their age, the only thing I want them to learn is, to not hurt (emotionally) others or be mean to them in any way.

And I wish this was an easy thing. Once the children start socialising, going to school or pre-school, they will meet all kinds of other children, and then often it becomes a fine line between telling them to stand up for themselves and yet be kind to others.With The BB, I  can see that all the efforts for the past 8 years are starting to bear fruit, and that makes me feel elated.  My way is very simple, I don't just tell them to stop doing something that feels wrong. But I tell them why, and explain it to them from the other person's point of view. If they feel like hitting someone, I ask them, how would they feel if they were the other person. If its about snatching a toy from someone, that is what I ask them to think about again,"How would it feel to have a toy snatched from you?".

The BB, all of eight and half, now, not only, refrains from mean behaviour, but tells me why he does it as well. And I can see, how he has internalised it, and understands the effect of his behaviour on others. As an example, his lovely class teacher who usually dresses up in the most beautiful feminine and floral clothes, came dressed up in a plaid shirt and pair of jeans one day to school. The BB told me, "Everyone was laughing looking at her, but I did not, because Mrs.XYZ, would feel hurt." I hugged the boy so tight, I might have bruised a couple of his ribs.This is the same boy who refused to squirt other kids with a water gun, when the came to play Holi with us, because they were younger than him, and he did not think it was right to hurt them. The Smallie, all of three an half, hugs children who are crying in his swimming lessons or his kindy, is kind to them and tries to include them in his own play, and I can see the empathy budding in him. My children are not perfect, and nor am I a perfect parent. There are plenty of screaming situations, but this is one point in their development that is very close to my heart, and I am very happy to see my efforts and principles, along with huge blessings from God, bearing fruit. Did I mention the PM is not allowed to kill the big spiders inhabiting our garden?

It did not happen in a day, but has been based on rearing them on a principle of understanding that everyone has the same feelings as them. Hitting would hurt the body and meanness would crush the spirit of others, just as much as it would their own. Just a simple understanding of that, removes all likelihood of turning out to be a person with scant respect and care for others. I think charitable acts of love and kindness in our daily life, speaks volume more than official acts of donation and charity. Love comes from the heart, not from money. When the heart is in the right place, money is but a small object. If you want a child to grow up to be kind and loving, teach them, that their acts don't have consequences,not just for them, but for others as well, and to adopt the simple principle,
 Do unto others, when you want others to do to you.
Make your sunshine, shine as bright as the sun for the whole world, as well!

And if I can just add, if we as adults, could just look at the affect of our actions and words, from the other end as well, we would all be kinder nicer people, living in a world filled with love and empathy.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Love your child? Keep them safe!

My boys are the most beautiful, gorgeous, amazing and lovely people in the whole widee world. They are my life and soul. And they are practically absent on my social media profiles. If you are someone who knows me only virtually, you can well believe that I have nothing to say about my boys.

A lot of people stay away from social networking sites, believing it to be nothing more than a means to pry and spy into the lives of others. Indeed it is, but in ways much worse than we imagine. I have friends and family spread in different parts of the world, and social media is a lovely way, for me to stay connected to them, without having to find time especially for each one. Easy way to stay updated about their life events, big or small. I stay on, and don't regret it for one bit. But gone are my days of over enthusiastic naivete, when  recorded every big and small event of my life up there, esp those of the boys.

To be honest, I love watching pictures of my friends' kids. Its fun, them doing their sweet antics or sleeping, or achieving, getting awarded... its really nice to see that. But the question lurking behind it is, am I the only one watching them? Or are there people, the parents are unaware of, who watch those photos as well? People with not very good intentions, may I add. A person, who is truly intent, can not only see the photos uploaded on social media, irrespective of whether they are on the friend list or not, but can read the data embedded in those pictures, and use that to locate the school, home, activity locations and so on, of the child. Now just imagine this person to be a pedophile or a serial killer. That is not a risk I am willing to take, with regards to my children. No, it does not happen to everybody, but it does, and it could to anyone.

I love a certain moment of the day when my sons play together, or are doing something or achieve something, and I want to shout out to the world, "Just look, how awesome are my kids!". Aren't they the best, the cutest? I swell up with love and pride. Typical parent syndrome I know, but with effort, I have learnt to control it, and not post these moments which I capture onto the social media.

Now, think about status messages, not just photos, things that talk about your child's achievements, likes, dislikes and more. How much easier is it, for someone to lure away a child, who has authentic information to use, their real name , along with those of family members and more. No, no and a big NO, if you think that your privacy settings are keeping you safe from the unknown people. Its out there, once on the Internet, you just can't take it back.How many of the people on your friend list do you know well enough. Are you a 100% sure not even one of them is likely to take a pic, morph it and misuse it? Are you ready to compromise on that?

That is, just about the real scary bits. Now to try an experiment. Facial Recognition. Each time you uplad a photo of your child onto Facebook, and tag it, the website, starts compiling a database of the facial features. So upload 5 photos of your child and tag it. When you upload the 6th, there will be an auto prompt with the right name. So basically the face is now digitally recognisable FOR LIFE. Its basically robbing a child of their digital anonymity for life. And I think that is unfair. How often will the child grow up and approve of his life being recorded and freely distributed to the social circle of his/her parents? Moments that the child might have enjoyed in the safety and privacy of his home. No matter how young, don't post photos of your baby in the tub. Its not safe. There are minds, which are twisted beyond our imagination, and the last thing a parent wants to do, is put their own child up as fodder for such people.

I have stopped. There are no photos of the boys on social media any longer. I barely ever write anything about them, and overtime, the urge to do so has reduced as well. What I do, though, is share insane amount of news about them, and their photos , with my friends and family, through personalised channels like the e-mail. Yes, I need to, somewhere atleast, I am a mother as proud of my sons as any other. I would not give them up for anything. They are more amazing than I have words to describe, but that is for me to know, and share sensibly with people who truly love them.

If you are a regular sharer of photos and personal information about your children, I request you to go through this link, which gives you a few pointers to be safer. But nothing is better than them leading safe real lives, without any digital identity whatsoever, especially when they are too young to be on the Internet themselves.

Another article to explain the dangerous potential of photos on the Internet.

Love your child? Keep them safe!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

If They Answer Not To Your Call, Walk Alone

There is a famous Bengali Song, written and composed by none other, than the great Rabindranath Tagore, which goes like this,
Which basically means,
If they answer not to your call walk alone

Indeed, if we don't hear our own heart's calling, who will? How often do we give in, to bow to public expectations, social expectations? This song, comes from a time, when India was fighting hard to get rid of the cruel and immoral British colonists, the time to overthrow them was near, and the song encouraged people to follow their hearts, and join the fight, even if those around them did not. But to me, its message holds true in nearly every situation of life. I am sharing with you, here the English translation of this song,  by Tagore himself.

If they answer not to your call walk alone

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open your mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they shut doors and do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite your own heart,
and let it burn alone.

It is often in life, that friends, family or society will not join us when we call out to them, and then it is upto us to decide, if we wish to follow our heart, or simply fall back because, we have no one to join us. I hate to fall back, that is not to say, that I do not do it, but that, I don't like myself for being a coward at those times in my life. If a man does not have the courage of his own convictions, what does he have? There was a time when I would incite people into believing what I did, I would incessantly pursue them, but I have learnt better, as I have grown older, and hopefully wiser. I have greater courage now to follow my own heart, even if I stand alone, and I try my very best to not give in. And it gives me a satisfaction, like nothing else would. I try not to hurt my loved ones, in this pursuit, I try to explain my position to them, but no longer do I persuade them to join me.

The fact is, that nothing else is with me, as is God. No one is with me, as is He. And I can cheat everyone, even myself , but not Him. The best bit about remembering this at all times is, I am always inspired to do good, I am spurred to be better than what I am, everything that I am motivated to do will be positive and moral. What my heart tells me to do, approved by my own conscience, can never be wrong.

This does not apply, only to the big things in life, like a protest march, or standing up to a bully all alone, when everyone else backs off, and it usually means getting beaten up, but also the smaller things in life, like not picking up a drink or a cigarette, even when everyone around me is. Being an ex-pat in a country, whose culture is so very different from my roots, this song could pretty much be my life anthem. No, not because, I want to stand apart, because, I love Australia and want to be a part of it very much, but, because, I also want to hold on to things that are precious to me from my own roots, things that I believe are good and positive parts of what I have learnt in my life, growing up. And I believe in our lives, we have all experienced situations, where we either give in, or we follow our heart.  I have done both at different occasions, but now, I try to hold on and walk with pride on the path I have chosen for myself. It is not easy, but the thing to remember, is, that it is not a war. If I believe in it, I do it, but that does not in anyway mean, having animosity or malice towards those who wish not to join me. Just as I expect others to respect my choice, it is but, my duty, to first respect their's.

This beautiful saying from the Holy Bible, says, that once we are calm and still, we are indeed one with God. And this stillness can only be achieved in solitude. Isn't it simply wonderful to be with God, and follow the path with Him, rather than anyone else at all. It is in calmness, we can find our true course, our conscience. If we follow the others, we follow their path, not ours. Each of us is unique, and has a distinct path set for us, but it is often in our herd mentality, we ignore it, and blindly follow or join in. It is upto us indeed, to know ourselves and have faith to follow our own path, even if we do it alone. If we are fortunate, we will find support from friends and family, if not, we must stand up and do what we know from within is right!

Leaving you with this beautiful renedition of the song .

सद्गुरु  श्री अनिरुद्धार्पणमस्तु ॥

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Cone Of Me

Its a world filled with the 'self'. My wish, my wants, my choice, my desires, my freedom, words and phrases we are bombarded with constantly, everything with an I, me or my. Its almost like living in isolation in a crowd. For all the 'my's we have, as people we still seek the warmth of genuine human affection at all times. Some seek it from a close circle, some from more, but the simple fact is, we all need it. And the more We solidify the cone of isolation, the worse we get, and the more we seek love.

Everybody wants the freedom to be themselves, why then do they seek approval. The biggest angst people have is disapproval of 'others'. Others who are a very micro unit of the very society that these people think is orthodox/intolerant/unfair and more. It is because what we truly seek, not just a show of approval, but a genuine warmth from our fellow human beings. And its possibly the easiest thing to give and receive. But mind you, we must first give, in order to receive. We need to care, shed the I, and absorb the us, the them, the others. As a very simple example, I may wish to wear a certain outfit, its my wish, my want. But I also know that it is not what I am expected to wear at that place, or as per the culture. Now I can say 'My Body, my wish', wear it anyways, and then sit and grumble about people being judgmental, or I may simply choose to wear that outfit to a more suitable location later. This act, does not in any way make me weak, but rather shows my strength of character, in the fact, that I respect others, and care for them, their sensibilities, thus becoming a better person, and thus automatically attracting the same from others. But how often do we choose the latter. Its one of the rarest of our choices. What is worse is, it is often just an excuse to be selfish. Our fight against the world is often, nothing but our desire to do only what pleases us, not having to spend an iota of effort thinking about others, and then blaming them for not accepting us. While it may begin with the outer world, it soon seeps into our personal relationships and acts as poison. If we are all about 'me', and never about the 'other', how can any relationship survive.

Pseudo feminists are the worst of the lost. They irk me, more than I can ever express in words. Not only are they self-centred quacks, pretending to be fighting for a cause, what is worse is, they actually dilute the real issues facing women. There are women fighting against domestic violence, or female foeticide, while the pseudo feminist wonders, why she cannot wear next to nothing and walk completely drunk on the streets, in the middle of the night and feel safe. Its a simple thing, if you don't care about others, they don't care about you either.

This obsession with the 'I', spreading like a virus across the world, scares me. And I wonder how and why we are all so absorbed by it. No one talks about caring about the people, our society, the sensibilities of the world, the community. Social rules and sensibilities exist for a reason, the simple one being, that it helps maintain an equilibrium, often the fear of society prevents us from doing something wrong, unethical.Imagine a society without any moral or ethical code. That is what I think we are heading for, where everyone wants their own way, defending whatever it is they want to do, in the name of rights and individuality.

Is this the product of a world moving away from God.,the ultimate epitome of selflessness? The One who gives, protects and loves all and one. The One who through practice teaches us, to give, share and care. No matter in which form we call Him or believe in Him, He is the one who gives and cares without expecting anything other than love.Why then do we not learn that, why are we moving from being self-centred to self-obsessed? May we all learn to give and be more considerate. Love others, and adjust a tiny bit to accommodate some happiness for others. Let us share joy and happiness, not strife and anger. Give a little, Live a little I say!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Your Love

It is You, and You alone Who shines the light on my path,
When I wander off the course, ignorant in the darkness of my heart.
It is You, who guides me, protects me and loves me,
Like no one ever has, and no one ever can, I can see.

You pull me to Yourself, protect me, and keep me comfortable in the warmth of Your Love,
Your Love, that has no end and no beginning, What no obstacle can hold back, is Your Love.
I stray away, every now and then, sucked into the world that is glittery but has no gold,
But You, my Father, show me the truth and pull me back into Your Fold.

I have no strength of will nor do any good deeds,
Its on misery, pity , fear and anger that my heart feeds,
But you my Dearest Bapu, see in me, no ill,
You drench me in Your Love, till I have my fill.

Meek and devoid of any virtue at all am I,
No matter what, my wants are always impossible to satisfy,
I fall, in the desire of material and wealth, of appreciation and good health,
I have not a good word to say, nor a single deed I do to help.

But You my dearest Dad, do not care, Your Love flows unconditionally to me,
You don't expect from me any returns, but to let Your Love fill my heart and me.
And I know, that when I let it happen, all that is ill, in me,
Will be washed away by this Love that belongs to Thee.

You are nothing but Your Love, Love that is unconditional and pure.
And it is for every living being, that I am sure.
You stop for nothing and no one, and care not, for what I have done,
When I call out to You, my Loving Father, You rush to my aid, no matter what wrong I have done.

It is Your Love alone, which makes the world on its axis rotate,
And at times of anger, you make our hearts placate.
Its alone Your Love that makes the birds sing,
Without Your Love there would be no Winter, Summer, Autumn or Spring.

Like a Father, You protect me from my enemies and every trouble,
And yet, like a Mother you wrap me in your arms, when I am lonely and miserble,
My only hope, my only strength, inspite of all my fouls, my only save,
Is, Your Love, Your Love, Your Love.

Your Love is the armour which protects the meek and feeble,
It owns up all those who seek it, no matter how full of vices like me.
You drench wretched creatures like me in Your Love and affection,
Removing all the ills and giving us virtues in profusion. 

You take away from me all the misfortunes I deserve, for all my heinous deeds,
For the tiniest act of goodness, Your giving, even my imagination cannot supersede,
And if I ever think about why You do it all,
The answer is just, Your Love, Your Love and Your Love.

It is only Your Love, that gives the Universe its joy and happiness,
I can only marvel at how You love me in all my wretchedness.
I am forever grateful to belong to Your herd ,
For a lamb like myself, Your Love, is the only shepherd.

I love you my Dad.
I am Ambadnya forever.
Jai Jagdamb Jai Durge.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

And a Beautiful Soul He Is

.... The BB that is. I cannot express in words just how thankful I am to Bapu for giving me The BB as my son. I am beginning to understand him just about now. He is so different from me in every single way, as he is from most other children his age. It amazes me, that he has been able to maintain himself, the way he is, so far, never ever giving in to peer pressure. And that is not even a struggle for him, because he simply does not acknowledge peer pressure, he lives by his own rules. Honestly I have had my moments of struggle  with trying to get him to do more mainstream kids' things, which never seem to interest him. He is as happy by himself, as he is to play with his friends.

Yes, I do write it as a parent, and I know it is a strongly biased view, but it does mean a thing, when his teacher (who is obviously used to dealing with plenty of kid his age), tells me, "He does not have a mean bone in his body."  And its true believe you me. That boy cannot hurt an ant intentionally. Not because he is scared, but because he believes its wrong to do so. His heart always goes out to the smaller and weaker, and he would always befriend them over the bigger stronger kid his own age.

But the reason I am writing this post, is an incident that occurred recently. A friend came over with her two little girls recently, and since it was the day of Holi, we decided to indulge a bit in the play of colours and water with the kids. The BB was the oldest, and once he realised it involved spraying others with water, or bursting water balloons on them, he just refused and hid behind a wall. Initially I just felt he was not being sporting enough, and tried to drag him into it, but he refused blankly, and then told me, that he does not want to hurt anyone, and burst a couple of balloons on himself instead. It reminded me, of when we had gone for a Tae-kwon-do trial class and he disliked it because the idea of kicking and punching, just did not go down well with him. I remind you, this boy is just 8. I definitely did not have any principles of such kind when I was his age, and I really wonder how many other kids do.

I am truly Ambadnya to be the mother of such a boy. I just pray that he never loses the essence of his being, and is always cared for and protected by Bapu. May his soul, his thoughts remain as gentle and kind as they are today, always.

Happy Holi Peeps!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Because I can express romantic love too.

The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.
14 years ago, we made a commitment on this day, which has turned out to be the best and most wonderful decision of my life. We never knew that the journey would include kids, homes, finances, travels, shifting continents, creating homes of houses, sleepless nights, ER visits in the middle of the night, or any of the big battles that we have fought together, standing side by side. And I am happy we did not. Because young love needs to be naive and brash, believe in the impossible, and try its best to attain it. We have had that bashed and banged out of us along the way when we hit hard bumps, potholes, or even complete road blocks. But together we have always found a way, and we have carried on and gotten the better of it all. We have fought like cats and dogs, but we have been the greatest support to each other as well. I cannot think of anyone, who would complete me, as wholly as you do, dear hubby!

And so I dedicate a poem to you, that is one of my absolute favourites, and its all about love, but not 'lovely' at all. Just the way we like it. Fun, not mush. Here is to 14 more lifetimes with you.

To My Valentine
More than a catbird hates a cat, 
Or a criminal hates a clue, 
Or the Axis hates the United States, 
That's how much I love you.
I love you more than a duck can swim, 
And more than a grapefruit squirts, 
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore, 
And more than a toothache hurts.
As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea, 
Or a juggler hates a shove, 
As a hostess detests unexpected guests, 
That's how much you I love.
I love you more than a wasp can sting, 
And more than the subway jerks, 
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch, 
And more than a hangnail irks.
I swear to you by the stars above, 
And below, if such there be, 
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes, 
That's how you're loved by me. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Stop Violence Against Women - My Take

Domestic Violence is no joke, neither is rape. Its on the rise, and its unacceptable. No, I don't need to shout this out aloud, I don't need to tell this to anyone I think. But I am wrong, because if everyone knew and felt this way, such crimes would never occur. I want that to change, I want everyone to understand and realise that its not just wrong, its simply unacceptable. But how? Do I donate money, do I write, do I paint posters and hold them, or stand nude on the streets with a banner saying,'Still can't Rape Me'? I see many, much more moved and motivated about this cause than me, but has it made any change? How often would a a man who hits his partner, stop, because he saw a sign, or read an article. The chances are slim I feel.

First off, let me say this in loud and clear VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS WRONG, IN ANY FORM, SEXUAL OR OTHERWISE.

A top down approach to solving any problem hardly ever works, I think. We need to work bottom up, understand the causes, and try to prevent it, or rather in cases like this, reverse situations, and thinking. A man who hits or rapes a woman, is just showing power, because he can. It may seem like venting his anger, or satisfying his lust, but the fact remains, its a simple show of power. 'I am stronger than you, I will abuse you.' Its as simple as that. But then we all do feel angry, frustrated, upset from time to time, and I am sure we can all find beings weaker than us, to vent it out on, but we don't. We manage our emotions differently from these men. The key I think lies in understanding how that is.

A few years ago, I had an amazingly enriching, and eye opening opportunity to volunteer at WIRE. I underwent a training, to inform and sensitise me to the various issues faced by women. The statistics of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault were shocking. It was scary to put that information into my existing view of the society we live in. To realise that every third woman I saw, was a possible victim at one time or another in her life. I had to change the stereotype I had in my head of what kind of men do such things. WIRE training was also where I was reconnected to the real issues Feminists are fighting for. (Back story to this, which is an existing pet peeve of mine, are the pseudo feminists. I hate those designer wear donning, french manicured hands waving out and talking about feminism, while they brag about not knowing how to cook to save their lives. Talking loud about feminism, with expensive drinks in hand, partying in posh locales, with nannies and cooks and chauffeurs in tow all the time.) Equality, a feminist truly seeks, I think, is equal respect as another person, a fellow human being. Its not about sharing home chores, or equal pay for equal work, or not being violent, but simply respecting the female as you would any other person, the rest will automatically follow. And do we think respect can be brought in with a top down approach?

In India, the society is divided into many bits, and a top down approach is the last thing that will work in bringing about a change in this regard. Though not impossible, it is difficult to change a grown man, the change needs to occur from how they grow up, what they see, what they learn and most importantly, how they learn to think. And I think that holds true for anyone, anywhere. Seeing the widespread existence of  these issues, we have to realise, that locking up a few people somewhere,or punishing them will be of absolutely no use. Its suppressing the symptoms of the disease, and letting the virus thrive within. And that will just allow the virus to find other ways of attacking, and it will only get worse.

The question is, how do boys grow up, so highly desensitised to women, how do they lose the love and respect that every fellow human being deserves from us, how do their hands not stop and tremble before it lands a hard blow on the body of another human being, man or woman irrespective, unless it to defend themselves, or someone they love? We need to think hard about that. Its easy to pass the buck, saying oh well, I am not like that, my kids wold never be like that, but the fact remains that each and everyone of us are a part of this very society. If we want anything to change, it has to begin with us. Every good move, will inspire another. We need to respect other people, not just because we need to maintain a facade in society, but because we have the right values, and do the right thing. We are way past the stage, where we can let it go. We need to make a change, a true change now.

I see kids being physically aggressive, and parents watching it happen. You need to stop it then and there. No, this is not a parenting lesson, but a hope of changing our world for the better, one step at a time. Teach your child to respect people, sensitise them to the fact, that the pain they feel, is felt by others as well, what hurts them, hurts others as well. Create empathy, empathy that is so strong, that they will pass it on to everyone they come across in their lives. Parents, schools, teachers, they shape the world. We need our boys to grow up with respect for women and men, and our girls to grow up with strength and confidence, to know they have the right to be treated with respect and dignity at all times.There will always be a few odd ones. The girls who will think equality means, being free to drink till they are wasted and act crazy, or boys who will argue, equality means the women should be topless, if men are, but, then what is life without a few nuts sprinkled here and there?

But the important thing is we bring up mankind, humanity to be a respectful, empathic lot that we are meant to be. Teach our boys to be chivalrous and kind, teach them, that girls are to be loved and respected, they are different, but in no way any less than them. It is time we took up the cudgels to rear our boys right, to bring about a world, where there exists love and empathy, not fear and mistrust.  Here is to a change we all want, and let us begin with ourselves. Let us actually do what we can to bring about a change, instead of waiting for everyone else to do it. 'The government should pass stricter laws, the law enforcement agencies should be better', so on and so forth, are things said by the armchair activist. How about becoming a real activist, being the change you want to see? Each time you teach your child to be sensitive and respectful, remember you are creating a better world for all of mankind, especially the womankind.

Let me add,  everything good in life is a gift of God, and if we have faith, and seek His guidance, there is not one step we would take, where He would not guide us, protect us and bless us.The more we lose touch with God, the more evil creeps in, in and around us. I hope He blesses all of mankind with more love and respect for each other. I pray that we all learn to love, and stop the hate.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Stronger Together

I am not happy today. A bit tensed. I was hoping with the tropical cyclone Marcia coming up, today might be a day where the schools and offices are closed down. But that was not to be. The PM and The BB are at work and school respectively, and well, what would have been a normal day, has left me uneasy. And I realise now, why I wanted a rainy-day holiday today, is because I wanted the four of us to be together at home. It makes me feel safe and secure, to have the family together at times of trouble.

This feeling arises from a place of love, not just for me, but for most people. When there is a danger, we want loved ones close by, so we are assured of their safety. It is these family ties that gives us the strong foundation, from which we grow, with our feet firmly planted in the ground. Its my family which gives me my core strength. And it is love alone, which has the power to make us strong. I wish all Queenslanders safety and security with their loved ones, while we wait out this cyclone.


Monday, 16 February 2015

Just a Hello

A beautiful click by The PM about  5 years back at the Melbourne Zoo.
This photo is completely unmodified, presented, as it was clicked.

Monday, 9 February 2015

And Why Disney Does NOT Work For Me.

Rather it makes me think someone up there in the high echelons of the world of Disney, has got it all wrong. Disney is all about glamour princesses, and I wonder why? That is the association we have in our minds about Disney. Its princesses are invariably sexy, and out there to find their Prince Charming. More often, than not, there is nothing, that is truly fit for children in their movies, besides being animation. Let me explain my view, taking the movie 'Frozen', as an example. I saw it with my 7 year old, and none of us were impressed. A couple of months down the line, it was a rage, selling merchandise and what not. How does that happen I wonder? Marketing, pure marketing, but marketing of what?

Often it is about creating a hype, or, a trend  and riding on its wave. I wonder when this trend began. My very Indian mother, has no longing for anything princess like, she never did. My greatest feminine obsession was possibly for a Barbie, which I got, played with about twice and was done. I did knit a purse for it though. Coming back to the point, however, I wonder when did the princess obsession begin, and why? Most countries in the world today are no longer ruled by monarchy. And where the royal families do exist, I wonder what makes the hard working common man (or woman for that matter), idolise them, do they indeed idolise their rulers? These people, referred to as royals, are rich, not because they work hard, or make things, or do anything truly productive, but just because they belong to a certain blood line. The money and wealth they posess, is gained from centuries of exploiting the hard working people of the world, or taken by force, or in plain words, stolen. Often plagued by affairs, immoral behaviour, bad behaviour, lack of ethics, these people don't exactly feel like the best role model for a child. If one looks at one of the most famous monarchies of the world today, the British Royals, we will find examples of all kinds of things that are wrong. Adultery, debauchery, cruelty, immoraity, dishonesty and what not. What then is to idolise about them? No parent in the world would seek their child to tread on that path, I am sure. I could probably identify with a princess who is kind, loving ,charitable(if that is even possible), but what we have are sexy women, acting out their parts, as glamour dolls.

Disney makes a huge deal about this entire princess business,and sells it, to make huge profits. And it does not need to try too hard either, because it has built up an entire industry around this princess-obsession over the years .Taking Frozen for example,I wonder if I missed out a memo, that stated the rule, that every princess has to be skinny and blonde? Or is that their narrow view of a very racist kind? There have been many princesses in the history of the world, who have been brave, strong and kind, but were neither white, nor blonde. And can a Disney Princess never be without a well exposed cleavage? And then ofcourse the kissing, and hankering for a true romantic attachment. So that is what should be role of a princess according to Disney, and moreover, every child in the world should want the same? In the movie, an older sister, and a princess, who is happy to abandon all her duties and responsibilities to not just her kingdom, but also her little sister, to run away, Let It Go,  and enjoy a life filled with her own whims and fantasies, is teh lead character.She is breathtakingly beautiful (with pretty unreal body proportions), but does not care about anyone, but herself. This is what the movie portrays, the children lap it up, and want to be a princess/prince, dress up, buy their merchandise and watch the movie umpteen number of times. And we wonder why the new generation is so self involved. It is not just that such movies are made, it is that parents let their children watch such movies and then encourage their obsession with these ideologies. Wonder why kids these days have relationships, have sex, so early on in life? The innocence is lost, because we parents allow it to be so.

Worst of all, the sexualisation of every character. For a movie, that is touted to be for children, that is just simply wrong. Sexual love will be discovered by children as they grow up, big clevages, heaving at the sight of beefed up men, does not need to be thrust into their faces at a tender age. I don't like princesses, I don't like sexualisation of children, or their movies, I don't like, 'being sexy' being projected as an ideal to little girls. Its long past the time, when we as parents just accept everything as a trend. We need to think about our parenting, and make strong choices, put our foot down, and let out children just be children, sweet and innocent, not waiting to pull up their hemlines and push down their necklines, waiting for a prince charming and riches. The ideals they need are of working hard and earning an honest living. Loving their family and friends, being ready to sacrifice for love. And considering Disney's exact opposite ideals, its a BIG NO, for my family.