Story of a lost journalist

December 27, 2008

No ‘you’ and ‘me’ please, just ‘us’

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 12:11
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There is this thing that bugs me. Its when people say to people “Hey its Christmas. You ‘Christians’ have got to treat us”. Or else they say “Hey its Ramzan you Muslims should fund the party” and Dasara time its got to be ‘the Hindus’ who take turns. It bugs me to the core whenever someone cracks things like that. And I hear it a lot.

“Hey I don’t know how its done for you Christians but we do it this way”. Blah, blah and blah! 

This kind of “you” and “us” attitude is awful. Ok so people may follow different religions – but that was no reason to come out with “you are different from us” attitude! If anyone wants to celebrate Christmas or Ramzan or Holi its got to be a we-will-do-it-together thing. It is so much more- lovely, so much more human… Cause dig this – the “yous” and the “wes” are all humans! 

Ok I am probably overreacting. But it was Christmas a couple of days ago and I knew people who would only wish “Happy New Year” cause they thought the “Merry Christmas” was not meant for everyone. And there are some who just joke about it but don’t really “mean” it. Still it bugs me that they take into consideration who were from what religion and then crack these “its only you who has to treat” jokes. Wonder when humans will get that gift – of being able to see humans as humans. 

I believe all celebrations have just one purpose – having fun together. And together was the keyword here.

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December 18, 2008

About divorces

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 09:53
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Hmm this should be hard. But I have wanted to write about it for sometime. To put it in one question – Is it a wrong act? 

A generation back, divorce must have been the last thing thought of when a marriage fails and unless dire scenarios came up, people chose to stick with the marriage. There might have been exceptions. But today, divorces are not that rare and doesn’t always tell the story of “another man or woman”, or a lunatic-spouse deal. A divorced couple may give the reason “cause we didn’t get along well” or “it just didn’t work out, there was no love” 

But was it as easy as that? No, no and no. Divorce is still heard of as a condemned word. “Divorce? Are you crazy? No way am I letting you. You are living with him/her no matter what” – the typical responses of a parent/a relative/friends. 

Agreed, marriage calls for a lot of adjustments and understanding – you cant expect two different individuals to agree upon every deal on earth. But that’s not what I am talking about. When a marriage goes to a level where you find yourself unhappy all day and night long, when you realize beyond doubt you can never work it out –what was the point in clinging on? Why was it so important that you had to stick with the person till end of life no matter what? Wasn’t marriage all about making your life happier by spending it with someone you love and care about? When that love and care is not there, why would you choose to ignore it and go on with your lives unhappily? 

Cause divorce was still “evil”, unheard of and a shame to kith and kin. People choose to make their own lives unhappy to have the world around them believe they are happy. An idea that always goes above my head. 

The argument against this was that young people didn’t really need a reason anymore to divorce, they separate for the silliest reasons heard of. Why I am against this argument was that – whatever silly reason called it for, would they have gone ahead with the separation if there was love in the marriage? Wouldn’t they be the ones who should hate the idea of a divorce more than anyone else if they still cared for each other? Why was this so hard to understand? It was not the silly fights or reasons that was important – it was their decision – they wouldn’t be able to take it if they didn’t really want it! And they wouldn’t be able to proceed if they didn’t want it! Divorce was not a momentary deal! It gives you months to rethink, to reconsider – if all those months didn’t make them want to come back together, it simply means one thing – there is no love! 

And then of course the most-fought-upon subject – what about kids? “Cant you live together for their sake?”

What do people think about kids who see their parents fight all day and night? Would kids be happy watching that or would they rather have their parents away and happy with each other? There need not be any pretense about this – kids who watch their parents fight each other shut themselves off in rooms and never find happiness at home. They seek comfort in friends and school and in worse cases, bad influences. 

I know a girl who saw a psychiatrist as part of her parents having problems – the first thing the doctor asked her was “do you have an affair?”. The stunned girl said no and wondered why he should ask her this when the problem was with the parents. The doctor explained “Usually kids who face such problems at home end up having boyfriends/girlfriends at a very young age”

I know, no business of his, but well it showed that doctors expect kids to go “in the wrong direction” (since he obviously considered an affair wrong for a 17 year old) when their parents were having trouble with each other. 

I strongly believe that kids would be much happier if parents who fought each other stayed away and still managed to spend enough time with them individually. 

Divorce is not really a hard deal to understand. Cause what reason prompted it was not all that important unless it’s a case of serious misunderstanding – even then if there is love in the marriage, things sort out. But if there is no love, please don’t live frustrated lives forever – you had a choice. If you wanted to avoid divorce, take a lot of care on whom you marry – that’s where your decision really matters. But then humans make mistakes and a mistake may be hard to avoid, but not so hard to correct.

November 20, 2008

Truth, an alternative to Lying

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 18:45
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I just read from a blog about the courage it takes to be honest. I have been having some thoughts about this. About how, a lot of people have taken to lying so much that it just doesn’t seem to make a moment’s difference.

It surprises me when I see how easy it comes to them, how they don’t have a moment’s hesitation or afterwards a moment’s guilt in lying with a straight face. One thing about being honest was that you didn’t need any doubts about your stand; you could be as loud and as firm as you liked. But that didn’t seem to verify your honesty anymore, considering the liars were just as good. Only place you can expect a difference is when liars forget the lies they once said and later contradict their own stand.

Day 1:

“I have always scored 90 for Math”

Day 29:

“I have always scored 100 for Math”

Day 49 – in a drunken moment

“I just want to pass Math for once in my life buddy sniff sniff sob”

The thing is all this lying is not because people are so bad. Its just that they have somehow gotten used to ejecting a series of small lies to get their way, it didn’t seem to matter anymore. So if you are not allowed at a place cause, say, you needed a condition ‘x’ to be eligible, they don’t see it as an obstacle on the way. To their clear single-direction mind, they wanted entry so they get it, it was not their fault ‘x’ was there in the first place so-

What makes me sad more than the lying itself is the ease with which people do it not feeling a tinge of doubt about its virtue, about their assumption that this was the way of life. For them the question of “Oh what do we do now cause we don’t have it” never arises. They look at others to whom it did, with incomprehensible eyes, eyes that said how can anyone be so slow. To them, it is only a solution everyone will have to arrive at sooner or later, and that for some weird reason, some people were taking time. Truth does not come any different to them, they don’t despise it. Its just that, they use it as an alternative to lying. When you can’t use the truth, you use lies – the logic was simple and its unlearning quite hard to force upon. Especially when the ways of truth promise no easy paths to a glorious life, the way they had it before.

But how did lying become so everybody-does-it? Was there not enough stress on how important it was to stick to the truth anymore? Did no one tell kids that telling the truth even when they did something wrong would actually make room for leniency? Why was it that lying, even if it was for a simple insignificant matter ignored and not corrected? Cause that means a lot. I can say because when I was a kid there were times my Mom told me “See how your brother admitted he did it even though he knew he’d be in trouble” and to me it seemed like something really respectable. Next time when I did something wrong, I’d run to my Mom and proudly announce I did it.

“I sat on that new expensive dining table, and broke it, all by myself” (mm yes, that happened. Hey I just wanted to test it, but err, it was glass).

It started as a funny way to speaking the truth, but once you understand the importance you don’t feel like swaying away – a simple lie could kill you with guilt for days ahead, you’d rather stick with the bitter truth. Cause its so much better to be punished for something you did than getting credit for something you didn’t.

November 11, 2008

An equalist, I am

Filed under: tag — Cris @ 23:59
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Since I have left blog barren for a few days I think I will finish my tag-tabs one by one. There is 2 pending, and in order, Seema’s feminism tag is the first. No rules to list, its just to write about my take on feminism. Now even before I start, I want to pass this tag to Amrutha. She has been talking about what is and what is not feminism in her blog in such well-written words that I keep commenting “exactly”.

Anyway what I have been saying ‘exactly’ to was that feminism is NOT a woman doing everything a man can – as seems to be the general impression among many. It is being able to do what one wants to. So cooking and cleaning is not demeaning work; doing it when a woman wants to do it is not being a victim of male chauvinism or male domination. Same way, if a woman wants to do bungee jumping or fly planes, she should be able to do that and not stopped because she was a woman. Wants to – are the keywords here.

Now I will tell how I, like the general mass had a misguided idea about feminism without even thinking that’s what it is. As a child when I saw only Mom or some other woman cooking in a house and the men gets to do nothing, when grown ups kept telling me I should start following that and learn to cook and clean I used to ask “Why is Dad not doing it” or “Why are you not telling this to bro?”. The answers came immediately “Cause he is a man and these are the works of women”. I hated it right away. Without meaning to, I found my wanting a sense of justice making me shrink away from the typical womanly qualities and duties. For years I was a tom boy, I tried to use and do everything my father and brother did – from handkerchiefs to kicking stones on my way to never using makeup and of course staying 10 miles away from kitchen. I never got to find out if I actually like to cook cause I strongly believed if I once set my foot in that arena, I should never be able to get out of the “woman tag” I have been so trying to run away from. And when Dad asked about this insensitivity to helping my Mom I used to get away with “I want to follow you and do what you do” or “If Nish learns, I will too”; and “I don’t like it” when I felt really rebelling.

I now know that was a completely wrong approach. I wasn’t trying to establish feminism, but I wanted to be treated like a human being and not as a woman who had to do things because she was a woman. Every small act of unjust treatment or lines from someone in that line, irks me to the core. It comes with any kind of unfair treatment; I mean its not just gender based; including ones that let me have a better place on some unfair ground.

I hate the dowry system and it always boils my blood when I hear of people (most of them women) talking about it like it’s a taken for granted arrangement, like it was part of marriage. I hate movies that come with the message- why should a girl have education or why she should be the first to sacrifice or why she neednt have a job. I hate it that when a marriage happens, it’s a taken for granted affair that women give up or transfer their jobs to be with husbands and it was not even a question with regards to the man. I am not saying men should always, I just don’t like it that its not even thought about or considered. A man or a woman gives up job to be with spouse is the kind of accepted rule I should like to see.

There is probably a lot more that I have a say on, as regards a woman’s place – that there is nothing like that. One thing I have learnt is trying to prove I can do something was not feminism. When you say prove, you are losing the entire essence. Not bothering to explain your actions and knowing exactly what and why you are doing is.
I have once debated with a friend who said reservations in a particular university for women had to be there, and I argued if a man and a woman with similar qualifications applied for the job, it was unfair that the woman was chosen solely because it was a woman. But his point was that qualification alone was not enough, you had to consider background as well – he said that given a man and a woman from India, chances are the man having studied all his way here was much easier done than a woman who probably had to go through a lot of turmoil being a woman. That could be true, exploitations on women in the past were not a new story. Finally I agreed he had a point and if background was pretty much the same as well, then there should be no preference (on the other hand same could go for man – if he had a difficult time coming there, then he should be given a chance.)

It all comes back to treating men and women as a single entity – humans. Where reservations were considered it had to be – where a human deserved it and not a man or a woman. Where jobs were concerned it must be as he/she wanted to. Where duties were considered, as humans could and should – and not a defined set, one each for men and women. Where behavior was concerned, it’s the character he or she grows up to, how can it in anyway depend on gender? Agreed there are certain qualities that can be concluded to attach with one gender at least as far as majority was concerned, but majority didn’t define all!

I guess what I am saying is, I am an equalist (not in dictionary, but I have been using it so much, its got to be there by now). Equal treatment to all humans and I am happy, no expectations cause it’s a he or a she or a lower caste or a different religion or a darker color or has a lower income, thank you very much (I shouldn’t have added that, that makes it dramatic, the thank you – oh what the heck!)

Tagging
1. Amrutha – I would perfectly understand if she doesn’t want to do this, she has already talked for eons about it.
2. Mathew – not tit for tat, but I wanted to hear what he has to say
3. KT – This is the second tag I am giving her, would like to hear hers as well
4. Nikhil – totally busy man, I hope he gets time to do this some time.
5. Nims – she should have a lot to say now!
6. Vids – I am not sure if she finally became a regular blogger, but would like to see what the new generation has to say about this. Eh Vids? 😉

November 4, 2008

Kapil went, Kumble goes, Dhoni will go

Filed under: Diary,My Musing Moments,People — Cris @ 13:18
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I am not a sports lover. I am not much of a cricket follower. A match on TV on a rare day is all I have to my credit of cricket know-how. So when I read Kumble was retiring, I thought “Guess its about time. Poor Nish wont be taking it good”. Poor Nish is my bro and he has a history of sitting sad over retirements, of people he says are absolutely talented. He did in 1994 when Paaji left the ground. Now is Kumble’s turn.

But when I read about it yesterday, I found myself a tad too sentimental. These lines from The Hindu especially had me slushy for a long while

“I know how hard I had to fight to get this cap and how hard it is to play at the international level. It’s a proud moment to represent a billion people whose expectations keep rising each time you go out there.”

Seems just days ago Kumble, Ganguly, Sachin, Dravid and Jadeja ran around the pitch in their twenties. These guys were around for such a long while I just identified Indian team with their names. And now one by one, they are all going. How I hate that new leaf-old leaf story! But yet these names were the new leaves of 90s, just like an Ishant or an Uthappa is today. There is just no changing that.

October 25, 2008

Problems are a new world, suicide not its exit

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 02:00
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When you are born you don’t have a reason to live – you don’t think if life is worth living. You don’t know anyone or anything and you go on to live. You learn to like the world, the people. When you go to school you are entering another new world – you don’t know what you will face there. And yet you go on to live. You go on to make friends, relationships.

Life would always put you in new worlds. Totally unfamiliar to you, totally new to you that it scares you to the core. Your problems are another such world. You are scared by it. Same way you were scared to enter the world (you might not have been, am not yet sure what babies have in mind when they are born – but all that crying cant definitely mean a happy thought), same way you were scared to go to school. Your problem is just another new world, a way out of which you may not be able to find immediately. But then why if you didn’t end your life, when you entered the world, when you entered your school, should you end it now? You should go on to live. That’s why you were born.

Explanation on why this entry: I just read Seema’s post on suicides and after commenting there, I wanted to write more. Not wanting to take up all of her comment-space I thought I will put it here.

October 12, 2008

Why dont girls do things alone?

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 19:47
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Another day planned for museum-book-reading and watching on-the-street-folk-songs, not quite successful. Museum turned out to be too hot and full of mosquitoes and folk song singers sang their last line for the day when I reached them. Hmph. Atleast I had my music player on and a long promising walk. During my walk I noticed something. Not many girls did stuff by themselves. What was it with girls and doing things alone? Alright you didn’t have to walk alone for miles, but be it anything – including taking a trip to see a colleague 2 cubicles away – they need company!

Movies, or restaurants or anywhere – girls didn’t want to go alone. Even shopping, that which they are reputed to be in love with – well there I might have to correct my words. Cause once left inside a shop, I don’t think many women actually bother not having a companion to turn to when clothes or cosmetics fell in numbers. No I am not generalizing here. I am one of these shopping women. But thing is, I don’t understand the whole in-group-we-do, alone-we-don’t pattern.

Lets keep the security factor aside. Lets consider a hypothetical world where it was safe for anyone to go out. Would then things change? Was it only the fear factor that made them look for company? I frankly don’t think so. Cause like I say, inside an office, inside buildings where you knew everyone and everything why would you need someone to cross a room or climb a staircase with? You cant say you will be too bored by yourself! Cause you weren’t there for a leisure trip! You were there for business!

And this pattern was more common among younger women. If you look at middle aged women, they didn’t mind going out to buy vegetables or whatever they wanted going out for, alone. Of course some venues are exceptions like Cinemas. Again I don’t think it’s only the safety concern that kept women from going alone. When I was in Infosys Mysore, the campus was without doubt the safest place to be in and girls and boys sat on pavements at 3 in the night, without fear. But if you looked at the canteens, the food courts like they are called, not 1 woman would be by herself. Even I, when I went to eat alone, found myself entirely conscious, checking if anyone should notice anything wrong. Why should anything be wrong just because I dined alone? Men, on the other hand sat by themselves in many tables, happily enjoying their food. I followed that from next time around.

I am thinking it’s the whole getting conscious-stuff. Women were for someone reason more conscious about how they carried themselves than men, including being by themselves. I am not sure if there is a psychological reason here but that is somehow the way it works. And if you ask me, I think it is sick! I really think its high time everyone was able to walk or go wherever they wanted to, as long as they felt it was safe – what I mean is other than the factors they didn’t have any control on (like safety) they should keep aside all silly mind prejudices and deal with things straight.

As a side story, on my way back today, a man who was driving a car slowed down and said “excuse me 1 minute?” I looked quizzically and he came out of the car, and asked pleasantly “We don’t know each other but do you mind if we get to know each other?”

I was taken aback but I managed to smile and say “Yes I do. Sorry” and turned to walk. He smiled apologetically, said “ok” and went to his car.

I considered the whole episode with nonchalance. So someone thought he wanted to talk to me and I was not in the habit of making acquaintances out of street strangers so gave it a pass. But when my I told my Mom about this, she was all upset. She thought it quite bad and dangerous. I am not sure if it was the way the two of us looked at things, or that like always she was right and I a dumb fool but I somehow still don’t get it. What was the harm in that as long as I knew what to do and what not to? And why should that man, just because he talked to me be cast off as a villain – I don’t put it off that he might not have had the best intentions, but how can we judge anyone so fast? I guess that’s cause of the numerous abuses on women happening in every nook and corner of Kerala – no one was to be trusted anymore. Hmm! And I keep saying, lets forget the safety factor temporarily – no that was not to be forgotten. Not now, not ever.

September 26, 2008

Urgent call to all! Help keep our cities clean!

Filed under: My Musing Moments,People — Cris @ 21:51
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I have found a brand new urge to spread the spirit of keeping our city clean. Enthusiasm comes from watching auto rickshaw drivers take a left and then a right – I don’t mean the road turns, I am talking about their habitual ugh spitting. I have tried a few times to tell them “Chetta (Brother) we shouldn’t do it, we should keep our city clean”, but thought better of it, reminding self of certain barking traits they have shown incredible talent of. Besides its not just the auto rickshaw drivers that are to be blamed. I have seen people who study with me or work with me, do the same. I thought it’d be right to start with them first. Their excuse mostly is: so what do I do when I suddenly need to spit?

Unfortunately there always may not be a bin around the corner to tell them, “go use the use-me”. So this is what you could do. Carry a tissue paper. Its not a bad thing at all. If you could do it when you are abroad you could do it here as well. Actually you should keep them in plenty, so you wont have any reason to use the whole public road as your little washbasin. Spit on it, and keep the tissue papers with you, in a bag or a cover or wherever you can find some space in your personal being, and drop it at the next bin you see. There’s nothing more easily possible. Give it a shot.

Another often-dropped object is a chewing gum. I use chewing gums and I use them mostly on my way to some place (for fresh breath). I always take an extra piece of paper with me first before taking a chewing gum. Once you are done refreshing your breath, get your gum on the paper and keep it with you; I normally keep in my bag. On seeing a trash can, dump it there.

If your, ahem, emissions can be solved this way, there is no question about other wasteful deposits. They could wait to see a bin, and if you are not yet aware, you get huge black colored packets that could hold a humungous amount of waste. Those are meant for us people. Its quite cheap actually, you get plenty of ‘em for a small amount of money. And use it to cover the inside of your waste baskets so when it’s full you can wrap it up, take it and drop it in your nearest bin – its easier than you think.

Ok those are the main areas. I cant think of more immediate problems. If you think there is any, let me know. Les try and solve them together and keep our city clean. Actually the message is to keep wherever we are, clean, your city or mine is not the question.

September 21, 2008

Vegetarianism and Non-vegetarianism, all about killing

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 14:56
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Another sensitive topic. But a long talk with a friend the other day got me penning this. He argued for a while about food chains and how humans were part of the chain, before he realized I was in fact a non-vegetarian.
The old 5th grade food chain, to refresh memory

food-chain

Now posting a disclaimer before any terian attack: this is not to prove either is wrong or to promote any isms. As far as I am concerned, that is a completely personal choice. You want to eat meat, you kill animals, you want to eat leaves, you kill plants. So I don’t have a problem unless a vegetarian starts calling me a cannibal. And living a non-veg life, you wont run short of people who call you merciless murderers or cold-hearted flesh-eaters.

I asked one of them one day “So you don’t mind killing plants?”
She smiled sheepishly and said “Nope, I don’t”
Cause you see, they didn’t have legs to run away, blood to ooze out or voice to eject yells of pain. But that doesn’t rule out one little fact people: they are living!

Now I am not saying this to justify my non-vegetarianism. Killing in any form of any living thing is killing. I’m a culprit as much as the plant-eaters are. And some people (Ros and VK, skip this part if you are reading) do not eat chicken, but eat their babies – the eggs. Again, I’m not pointing fingers at them, when I am guilty of eating the mother. But when one of them tells me its people like me who drive the world of animals into an endangered one, I have to show them a piece of my mind.

Another case of inhuman selfish killing happens for Onam athapoos (where we have floral arrangements on floors). Such a waste of lovely flowers! I remember in my first year in college, I stayed away from the part where petals were torn apart for the Athapoos. Of course, I couldn’t speak authoritatively cause I was responsible for a few chickens having their legs separated.

But when it comes to plants, it somehow becomes a petty laughable matter. What if you attached a human form to it and considered the petals human hands. Dead or not, how would it feel cutting limbs off a human body? Absolutely gruesome!
And yet, that’s what we do cause we have by some strange rules taught ourselves that those are simply pretty looking things meant to be cut to pretty little pieces and laid out on floors. Who cares if they had a life, just like we did?

So in my talk with my friend, I asked if there was any system by which man could live without killing another living being. I suggested milk but he pointed out that was again taking away what rightfully belonged to the baby calves. At least it was better than killing. I don’t know if there is any such system and I find it incredible when I hear stories of people surviving without food. My friend asked if I would subject myself to such a system in case one existed. I wondered aloud, would I? I hope I would.

August 25, 2008

The art of talking

Filed under: My Musing Moments,Theory — Cris @ 22:33
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Yesterday a chat friend (CF) I have chatted with for 2 or 3 years now made a call. This is how the conversation started:
CF: Hello
Silence.
CF: Hello
Silence
CF: Hello
Me: Gum – attempt at hello

So I am not a talks-person, I am more of a write-type person – grammatically horrendous statement. But years of saying “gum” to people had convinced me that it will do the world and me a lot of good if I just stuck to typing my hellos. Leave the talking to the rest of the world.

But interestingly and surprisingly, my critics had to wonder, if in the act of writing me off as far as the spoken language was concerned, they had been too rash. For speak I did. CF though had to employ his ears to the best of their purpose, soon found it hard to get a word out in between the outflow of words proceeding from Ms Gum-Greeter. Any audience, if present, would have suspected an impersonation taking effect.

After the call though, strong analysis of the matter revealed the following
1. Talking was an art no doubt, but it was not always an impossible feat. The people who said gum in place of hello and gulp in place of howdy did so only to people who brought with them an image of human biters. This is what led to the foundation of what is popularly known as a comfort zone. Some people fell into this zone with the grace of a, err, graceful faller. Point is it is easy to talk to some people even if it is for the first time. Whereas with certain others, no matter how much you talk, you still find the same burning desire to jump up and run for the nearest exit. Everybody has their comfort zones. For me, if Scooby Doo fell into the comfort zone, for Watson it was probably Holmes.

2. And the strain is off once you have exposed your innermost identity. In the words of Ms CC, “You know it’s a relief when a person completely knows what kind of an utter idiot you are and still like you. I mean you don’t have to worry about losing anything anymore”

So that’s that. Effective from yesterday I have resigned from the anti-verbalization club.

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