Taste of one’s own medicine?
Just came across this question on Quora:
What is the single most unfair advantage a person can have?
There are many answers which include Nurturing parents, Not needing a lot of sleep, Energy, Health, Optimism, being born in a rich and wealthy family, being born in a developed country, being white and many others. Honestly, I couldn’t just pick one although I am biased towards the answer “Not needing a lot of sleep” . I have always believed that success is a result of many parameters and social capital has a huge role to play in it apart from the other obvious parameters like hard work, dedication, intelligence, consistency and tenacity. On the same page was posted this image which I had also seen before on my FB wall but hadn’t shared.
We all know this on some level but how often do we forget to be grateful for all the good things in our life. So many times we take everything for granted and all that we can think of is what do we lack in our life. It is so much easier to crib about what we don’t have than look at the bright side of the picture and be grateful for our gifts. Take a moment now to count the blessings and to feel happy and grateful for everything you have in your life.
On a related note, what do you think is the single most unfair advantage a person can have?
Outraged about the Delhi rape incident, are you? I am too but the reason I hadn’t written anything about this incident or the earlier Guwahati incident is because I know none of this is going to stop because I am writing about it or ranting and raving about it on FB. People will be outraged about it for a while till it is in the media and then go about their business as usual only to be awakened by another such brutal incident. In the meanwhile, the victims die or live in condition worse than death and the rapists roam go scot-free. What is required is a change in the mindset of the people in our country which is way far away from the required mindset right now. We cannot expect change till we believe women are a liability, till our movies stop showing girls going out late in the night and getting raped or in some fortunate cases helped by a hero who gives them a lesson of life by telling them to stay indoors after late henceforth, till we stop treating girls/women as property and the list can go on. This was aptly put in a FB status by Geetha Jacob. Geetha, if you are listening, Thanks for putting it this way and letting the outraged people know they rape indirectly too and a lot of times. And let me tell you this applies to most in our society and not just men but women too. There is no hope till we fix this.
The FB status said:
You stay silent when your mother is treated like shit by your father,
You stay silent when your friend takes dowry from his wife’s family,
You stay silent when your classmates sits at a nukkad whistling ‘maal’ at passing women saying it is innocent fun,
You stay silent when a million women every year in this nation are murdered before birth or their breath dunked in milk before god after it,
You don’t report the drunkard husband who beat up your maid servant because it is not your business,
You stayed silent when your boss hit upon a female colleague and you told her to grin and bear it because it happens everywhere,
You sing along with your favourite male stars as they call their ‘items’ chikni chameli and halkat jawani etc.,
You stay silent when our police and paramilitary gang rape tribal and lower caste women and shove stones inside their rectum saying that that’s an aberration of the system,
You did not protest the lower pay that your female colleagues got just because of their sex,
You helped your parents arrange a marriage for your sister against her wishes saying she doesn’t know her mind,
You stayed silent when in a family discussion a woman’s voice was silenced by the cacophony of male voices,
You force a woman to wear burqa in the pretext of sharia law or justify their domesticity because some asshole called Manu wrote some asinine laws hundreds of years back,
You think feminism is shit and feminist loud mouthed ‘bitches’ who have not better work to do than cry victim,
You applaud as Hindu right wing men barge into a hotel and slap ‘immoral’ women with the intention of ‘reforming’ their ‘maa’ ‘behen’
You stay silent when females in a party are sent away to discuss ‘childish’ things even as you discuss ‘important’ things like politics and all in their absence,
You stayed silent when your father directly and sarcastically showed your mother that she’s lower then men in intelligence time and again,
You objected loudly when your girlfriend, wife wanted to put her life and career ahead of yours saying yours was more important,
And now suddenly you have become a man because ONE woman was brutally beaten and raped while you conveniently forget the hundreds of women whose psyche you were responsible for brutally beating and raping directly, or indirectly through your inaction… and now you evoke the same ‘maa’ and ‘behen’ argument to protect them…
Thanks to the serpent of your awakened manhood, that woman in Delhi will perhaps get justice. But what about the millions of other women in the country of different religion, region and sect united by their shared injustice who will perhaps never get justice precisely for the same reason – your manhood?
This is a featured post at Write Over Weekend an initiative by Blogadda for Indian Bloggers.
Do you remember your college days? Who doesn’t? Those are the days of fun and frolic. The first time out of your house, all on your own, making new friends in college and hostel, the college canteen, the classes, the lectures, bunking classes. Hoping not to be ragged by your seniors in your first year, the vivas, the exams, the idle chatter and a lot more. Reminiscing for an entire day won’t be enough.
Apart from this, we had these annual events that everybody awaited, The rose day, The fresher’s day, the send-off party, the annual juke box event, the dandiya night, the saree day, the fun carnival games day, the fun week and so on. Fun for everybody right, the most awaited moments. Not for me.
The pic on the left is a scanned image of me taken in our hostel during my first year of college. It was the day we had send-off party for our super-seniors at our college. One of the fun days. But for me those fun days were more often than not anxiety days. If the preparation didn’t feel like anxiety, surely post-event I would have something to be not happy about. One of the reasons for that is
The pic on left is what I was. The pic on the right is what I thought I was.
If you think I was one of the girls whose self-worth was tied to a number on the scale, or the brands I wore or one who only cared how people looked. Wrong! Even before I entered college, I was one of those people who believed in “substance over form”. I thoroughly enjoyed studying computer science engineering. It was my dream come true. I was in one of the best colleges, I did well in my studies, made friends with some wonderful people and had hopes for my life. I was generally happy with what I was. But but… But somewhere deep down every time I had to get ready for a special occasion I would get reminded I am not going to fit in and get tensed. I wasn’t thin, the great-looking, the most fashionable, the most delicate, the grapevine specialist, the most vocal and by extension not the popular one or even the noticed one.
The mirror was my enemy. I hated shopping for clothes for the occasions. If by some chance on any occasion you thought it was ok then you had “friends” who told you “lose some weight”, “you are supposed to grow vertically not horizontally” or that I am Jayalalitha in line or that I need to improve my fashion sense. Goes without saying that I wasn’t one of the cool girls. It isn’t just about looks but also how you are expected to behave. If being cool is the desired state then everything else that isn’t cool is a nightmare for college days. You are supposed to take societal cues on how to be and confirm to those standards to be accepted. Not that I cared that much but it affects you all the same. These events always reminded me no matter what your talents, what you did, how you spoke or how well you dressed, in the end the show-stealers will be one of THOSE girls. The ones who fitted into the idea of what girls should be. It could never be me
I had fun but not without regrets. I always wished I could be more “Normal”, more accepted. There was so much external pressure to fit in, to be accepted. But a lot of what was expected wasn’t me. I did not concede to all those ideas but the thought always remained if I had conceded I would have that approval which I desired and then probably life would have been much easier if not better.
However, life moves on and not long after that I learnt to accept myself as I am. I look forward to the events for what they are, the fun I would have and the people I meet and not fret on how good (or hideous) would I look. I don’t look at myself in the mirror and get an anxiety attack. Realized my fashion sense is way better than those few girls who gave me fashion advice. Realized at least half the guys that I wished looked at me weren’t worth it and I was better off not getting any attention from them. I am health-conscious but I don’t keep counting the calories in every morsel of my food or that number on the scale doesn’t freak me out. I speak my mind and do what I wish regardless of whether it looks cool and am happy about it. And this pic is what I am and feel like now.
It is easier to say these now that I am out of college and much more mature. I only wish there was some way I could have known better then.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Sapna( that is me )
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – My neighbour
“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” - My Pet Dog
What!! you don’t believe me!!? Sh&% I should have made a picture of them and shared them on Facebook then you would have liked them and shared them and increased my popularity quotient. Sigh! My bad.
Facebook is wonderful platform for everybody to express themselves. But we all don’t necessarily have anything to say on all topics. What do we do then is share something nice, witty, supremely interesting stuff by someone else. How often do we check if it is true?
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” is commonly attributed to Einstein. But there is no evidence he said that.
“I believe that every human has a finite amount of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.” is attributed to Neil Armstrong but he denies having said this or if he may have said he may be quoting someone else or telling people it is wrong.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. I doubt it was him who said that.
“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” – Not Winston Churchill.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war” – Not Plato
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” – Not Martin Luther King Jr but the Protestant leader Martin Luther.
The advent of social media and blogging has changed the information landscape. Passive consumers have become active participants in the process. Consumers have also become the producers of knowledge based on their understanding. But how do you separate the good content from the bad content. This is not a new problem. People have always known to speak without adequate knowledge. Isn’t that how rumours spread?
People not checking out isn’t the issue here but the problem here the ease and the reach of the message being spread. With social media the new can spread so fast, that leaves you dazzled at times. And mind you these are not illiterate people staying away from civilizations who are guilty but includes crème de la crème of our society.
I remember the Singapore lokpal bill story went viral online during the Anna Hazare anti-corruption Movement. It said things like in Singapore people don’t pay taxes and it spread like wild-fire. And mind you people in my friends list are mostly high-thinking individuals studying in the best of the Universities and have a high level of IQ.
My point is we need to take all this common wisdom with a grain of salt. Einstein, Gandhi, Voltaire, Plato, Benjamin Franklin, Armstrong were all great personalities, no doubt about it. But they may not have necessarily said all that is good and sane in the world that is attributed to them on Facebook or any other social media for that matter. Unless of course, it cites the right sources. Plus it is logical fallacy: Just because Einstein said it doesn’t make it true. So beware when using these quotes to support your arguments.
“Trust not everything that is said on Facebook” – Me (seriously, that is exactly why I am saying it here on my blog )
A very Happy Diwali to one and all! Hope you are gorging on lots of sweets and snacks.
Let’s also make this Diwali cracker-free. Our family has done that for the past few years and our celebrations are just as good in fact better. Here are a few reasons why you should go cracker-free too
- Diwali is a festival of LIGHTS, not crackers!!!
- They are bloody expensive. Yeah I know you have loads of money but you can put it to better use. Trust me!
- The air pollution rates are the highest during Diwali. Crackers release a lot of toxic gases like Sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen dioxide which can lead to many health problems which I will not elaborate here.
- Not observing precautions may lead to burns and accidents.
- Most crackers are made using child-labour and workers working in dangerous and deplorable conditions. You are encouraging all of this by buying those crackers.
- Animals are more susceptible to noise than humans. Today we saw some cows running on the road as the kids near-by happily burst crackers. This incident actually prompted this post. This applies to your pet dogs as well.
- Spare some thought for the elderly and the sick. The loud noise from crackers may trigger heart attack in those who have angina (chest pain due to reduced blood supply in the coronary arteries). The sudden shock of a loud blast may shoot up the blood pressure of those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and this may even precipitate stroke. No I am not making this up. This comes from a reliable source.
- Even for the healthy ones, excess noise increases stress. I remember my Diwali in Mumbai when I had to work on an important project. I just couldn’t sleep during the nights coz people kept bursting crackers up to 2 am in the morning and started as early as 4 am. This in spite of the restrictions.
Have fun, food, wear new clothes, exchange gifts and shower love to near and dear ones and stay away from crackers.
If you still decide to not make it cracker free try to use sparklers and flower-pots which are better than noise producing crackers. And make sure you are aware of the safety precautions for a safe Diwali.
May the coming year bring loads of Happiness and Prosperity in your lives
“What’s in a name?”, you ask. Some would say everything. Ask a person who has changed his/her name based on numerology/astrology/some success formula or just for the heck of it. Well your name is important. It identifies who you are. Does it also define who you are? Umm may be. But my point is how much does it say about you? When you haven’t seen or spoken to a person but just hear the name, you conjure an image of that person based on the name. Talk of first impressions.
Most people have nicknames or real names given by their family or friends which at times doesn’t project a very good image of them or the right image of who he/she really is. It sticks with you throughout your lifetime no matter how much you try to get rid of it. I have a tough time imagining some guy with a funny name taken seriously in the corporate world. But people with such names do manage to be taken seriously. Do they need to put that extra effort for the desired result? Again may be.
Of course there’s no such thing as a funny name. Every name has its meaning(may be in a different culture that you aren’t aware of) and it should not be made fun of. Then again that would an ideal world not the one we inhabit in.
So many times the names are quite contrary to the individual’s personality. Imagine a cash-strapped aamir, a not-so-great-looking sundari, a Prakash/Jyothi/Deepak/Deep being the black sheep of the family, a Soumya who is extremely brash and the list can go on. I am quite sure you have met at least one such person
Years ago, I heard my aunt tell a bedtime story to her daughter which included a character called Pinky rakshas(rakshas – demon in Sanskrit/Kannada). I laughed my heart out on that one. I mean who would, in their right frame of mind, give a cute name like Pinky to a demon. But turns out she was just following a global convention a little ahead of its time. A naming convention of giving cute girl names to devastating cyclones. Katrina/Sandy/Athena/Rita/Nargis…. They are no where close to giving you the right image of what to expect. No match to the havoc they wreak or the planning and preparations these calamities warrant.
May be they just want people to sit up and take notice or at least hope the reporters will be able to report the events. Remember ‘Eyjafjallajökull’. Yes, I am talking about the Icelandic volcano. Reporters had a tough time getting that one right. Try pronouncing it. Considering that only 3,00,000 people speak Icelandic and that in spite of the same origins it isn’t very close to the other Scandinavian languages, I doubt if you will be able to get it right. If you are able to get it right the first time and without googling, you deserve a prize.
What image do you think your name gives to other people?
Anyway whatever may be your name, and whatever impression it gives the first time, it only matters for a while before people actually know who you are in terms of your words and deeds. As Shakespeare says, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.
P.S: Prayers for everyone affected by storm Sandy and more recently Athena.
It is anything but easy to talk about events from the past that you don’t look back fondly. Yet here are 3 women talking about rape and how they survived and also thrived after the incident.
I think it is incredibly brave of them to do so. Worldwide there are still people and whole societies believing that the onus is on a woman to be not raped. If unfortunately, it happens, then it is the victim who is to be blamed for letting it happen. Most victims go through life with a guilt they never are able to get rid of. Though most certainly NO ONE asks for it.
misslisted says “I am also moved to tell this story now because I am shocked and alarmed by the utter lack of clarity and insight on the part of some politicians recently on the subject of rape.“ This post, would hopefully, also serve as a response to our very own people who believe rapes are caused due to chow mein, short skirts, girls not being married as soon as they are born or girls staying out late or whatever other stupid excuse they come with up.
Rape is caused by one person choosing to violate the rights of another, an act of violence. Period. Anything said to justify the act is just a pathetic attempt to look away from reality.
When it comes to boasting about India, the first thing people invariably mention is ‘The Great Indian Culture’. Our great culture is supposed to value respect for elders and respect for women. Neither of which is seen in practice. We supposedly treat women as goddess and touch our elders feet as a mark of respect. While state of women is well-known, elderly abuse is an issue that isn’t talked about so much.
I thought let me confirm if my understanding of respect is correct before commenting on the gap between theory and practice. And here is what I got.
- Respect – To feel or show deferential regard for
- Deference – affected or ingratiating regard for another’s wishes
Ah! so my understanding is correct. That also confirms another person’s understanding – Upendra. He is a Kannada actor/writer/director who in one of his films says “India is great, Indians are not”.
Just finished watching today’s episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate‘ a couple of hours back and today’s subject was old age. In this episode, Aamir Khan highlighted the plight of the aged in our country in-spite of our respect for them. Journalist Pramila Krishnan talked about a practice called ‘thalaikoothal’ in some parts of Tamil Nadu where the family gets rid of the old people by killing them. He also showed the abandoned elderly in thousands.
While this might not be happening everywhere, some common courtesies like offering a seat for the senior citizens in the bus seem to be missing. In fact, I have had to ask people to give the seats reserved for senior citizens to them many a times and people do so only after giving you a stare and making faces.
The good thing about the show is that it just doesn’t highlight the issues but also tries to debate on how it can be solved and highlight a few who are already trying to address the issue. One solution for this as proposed by Himanshu Rath of Agewell foundation is economic independence and being vocal about the problems being faced. I couldn’t agree more. I feel the same applies to women’s emancipation as well ( hence I included this topic also here). I remember having a discussion with a friend once about the same, who opined that we need to build the right culture and women going out to earn is not a solution. True, but I believe till we build the culture( which is going to take a while), economic independence is a great enabler.
He also showed some more people who are old but their spirits are as young as ever and they continue to live a great life. We saw a 90 yr old mountain rappelling and applauded. That reminds me of one more such spirit: my granny( nani).
She seems tireless. Never once have I heard her say she is old. She is still the first to rise in the morning. Helps in household chores and looks after grand kids. She travels extensively. She is the most excited one whenever a family function is to be organised and makes sure she attends all of them no matter what time and place. She is aware of the latest fashion in sari and jewellery. She is even aware of the latest in the grapevine. This post is dedicated to her.
And at last, respect for the show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in the real sense.