Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bloody Shwetaketu!

So it was this bloody fellow Shwetaketu who set Indian women down this path of oppression. This is cited in the Mahabharatha and for once, I'm going to just believe it literally, so that I may use this guy's name for target practice. 

Shwetaketu, unnai yaaru paaaaaaa ketu?!!!!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Terrace Garden!

Positively Revolting

There are days in which I become a specialist in gloom and doom. On those days, I do not welcome rays of sunshine. I frown and glare at them. I cloak myself in dark clouds, think black thoughts and refuse to see the bright side. I know, know, that crap is crap. In its own way, its a deep place. So when someone comes along, bares a multitude of teeth in what I vaguely recognize as a grin and tells me to cheer up because all's right with the world, I want to send them to deeper places, like the bottom of a very, very deep well. I mean, what's with the delirious happiness? It's like this clip from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Had I been in Pheobe's shoes, ugly things would have happened.

With increased enlightenment, generally speaking, people are becoming quite 'positive'. We Indians thrive on drama, but it's becoming an endangered species. Can't even fight in peace anymore. I mean, why can't people just hold lifelong grudges and leave it at that? But nooooo! Everybody wants to work things out. Screw psychology, I say. Always advocating doing the right thing. It doesn't know the satisfaction that comes with being right and pointedly ignoring the wrong party. It can make you feel like a boss. Like a boss! You must admit the truth in that- aren't there a few people you're glad you don't have to speak to for the rest of your life? The kind who, if they were hanging off the edge of a cliff that you were walking past, you'd have to first win an internal debate with yourself before you reach out a helping hand? Make 'em sweat a bit. Heh, heh. (Please don't unfriend me at this point.)

This whole thing of looking at the bright side is difficult for someone who comes from a family majoring in morbid. My upbringing prepared me better for hell than heaven, with family members hiding in the shadows waiting to pounce on you if you did something wrong.

Unfortunately, my family has way too many unspoken right and wrong things. For some reason, sleeping during the day is just a step short of criminal. If caught, we weren't sleeping (indignant voice), we were simply 'resting our eyes'. Once my mom started snoring, that excuse couldn't fly, so she'd compensate by waking up and sneaking up on me wherever I am, standing right behind me and saying "What are you doing?", thereby making me jump out of my skin and skip several vital heartbeats. Turning around doesn't help at all, let me tell you. Seeing red-rimmed eyes in a puffy face surround by disheveled hair is hardly soothing- the heart still pumps too fast. When I'd still be tapping my chest and glaring at her, she'd say sorrowfully, "I fell asleep." Yeah, mom, I heard the chain-saw. Can you please go feel guilty elsewhere, preferably somewhere with a mirror and comb?

All in all, positivity was a luxury in our household until we grew up and turned things around a bit. My parents were suspicious of it at first, eyeing it as they would a new creature. They were always suspicious of books as the source of these newfangled ideas. "Did you read it in a book?" said with narrowed eyes was usually how arguments ended between us. But thankfully, time and maturity caught up with our family and we are now a more relaxed bunch. Still gloomy, but a more laidback gloomy.  Case in point: it is now time for my late morning nap. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Plop the Slop

I've decided to blog about food again. I don't know why, seeing that I'm on a diet. But that's apparently how it works! So, Plop the Slop. That's what I've renamed it from it's former demure avatar 'When Mia Cooks'. Mia was for Miakoda, my adopted name stemming from the love of ancient cultures -  American Indian, in this case. But Miakoda's grown up and whimsy has given way to sardonic humor. So as appetizing as it sounds, Plop the Slop is food home for now.

I think I'll open a restaurant with that name some day. Bet it'll be a hit!

Plop the Slop

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cheeky ;)

The human body is a baffling piece of machinery, at once frightening in its fragility and awesome in its audacious design. We have hard bones, the softest tissues. Lots of flowy stuff, gooey stuff and gummy stuff. Let's not forget all the chemicals. All of this packed within skin. Much like a sausage. And then we have brains, and we have bums. And though we all have brains, shocking variations in its usage leads me to this conclusion- only bums are universal. They are what I call 'the great equalizer'.

As a teenager, I read a great piece somewhere that goes like this- 'Don't be intimidated by anyone. Remember- everyone has a bum'. I took this great nugget of wisdom to heart. I wanted to make it my philosophy. I told myself that it didn't matter what a person is or has done-  if he's climbed Mount  Everest, been to the moon and back, or is the President of a country. He or she is just another sapien with a bum.

It's something I find it easy to apply in certain situations- in interviews for example. If there's a suited, bespectacled pompous know-it-all who's putting forth questions as if he has a direct line to Universal knowledge, and obviously trying to be intimidating, then in my mind, I wave a hand nonchalantly and think 'Pah! You have a bum.' And that's enough.

But it backfires in other instances when you don't want to be thinking of posteriors at all. Like when striking a conversation with an attractive guy. Then the bum is less an equalizer and more of a make-you-stutter-er.

The reason I'm going on and on about bums is because I believe that we are much too dignified as a species. After all, we have bums. So who are we kidding, really? Why do we sit in restaurants with our legs perfectly placed, hands stylishly holding forks and spoons, carefully dabbing our faces with napkins? Why do we walk with just the right amount of poise, arms swinging, but not too much, expressions neutral and controlled, our steps careful?

Now, I don't advocate stuffing our faces with food or whacking people as we walk past each other, but it bothers me that we are not energetically free. And I don't just mean physically. A book and a TV show that I experienced this week showed me how much we hold back emotionally in the name of dignity. I mean, the very first thing I work hard at when I like a guy, is to make sure that he doesn't know how much I like him. I'm 'dignified'. I'm also an idiot. And I know I'm not alone.

So what we should all contemplate more about is this- we all have bums. If we could just keep that fact in our awareness, we would be far less poised and far more animated. There'd be more honesty and less conflict. More love, less hate. More living, less existing. So that's basically the key to life, the great equalizer, the one guide to a better, less bummed out world- bums.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Scaling the wall.

Right now, if anyone asked me to define life, I'd say it is an internal struggle that seeks to right itself. I often wonder why I struggle at all. It is the opposite of acceptance. It arises from judgement. Back to square one then.

When a guy told me recently that picking a bride was 'a privilege he gave his parents', I struggled with that one for a long time. I applied all my high spiritual thoughts. This involves techniques such as putting yourself in the others shoes, looking at the world through their eyes, justifying another's perspective, or failing all that, blindly making peace with the sentiment. As is often the case, I failed miserably.

Every time I fail, I struggle all over again- how do I accept my non-acceptance? You see the vicious circle? Not only do I judge the other, I judge myself for doing so. On and on it goes. I read in my psychology textbook that high achievers/perfectionists are very prone to psychosomatic illnesses. That explains a lot. Bring on the strait jacket and point me to my padded cell.

In effect, I am already a prisoner of my thoughts. The knowledge is not comforting, to say the least. If I didn't have to listen to people say things like the privilege statement above, would I fare better? But that sounds fundamentally wrong to me. I feel we are here to learn from each other. But it isn't easy. Is this why serious forms of meditation call for isolation? So that you don't receive input from the outside world that you end up struggling with? Then that is what I need. A dear friend went through a Vipassana course recently, one that I've planned for a couple of months from now. I hope good things will come off it since it is 10 days of near absolute silence. Sounds like sheer bliss.... Unless I end up bawling my eyes out the whole time. Then it would be hell - more so for the other people in the course. They'll probably have to put me in a padded cell again.

Sometime I wish people would talk about this 'under the surface' stuff more, instead of about movies or family stuff or relationships. That's all very interesting, of course, and I love it, but I find myself dying to push through and ask things like, "How does that make you feel about yourself? How do you deal with it? How do you accept it? Why does it hurt? " I want to learn, dammit. I want to know. But the walls are always there. They have a big black and white label that says 'personal'. Or a fluorescent sign that says 'pride'. Sometime it's a sad little sign that reads 'afraid of being hurt'. I'm afraid too, of that wall inside people. When I touch it, people shy away, sometimes never to return. I wish we were all more vulnerable with each other. That we dared to be.

No, I don't like walls. Padded or otherwise.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

When I rap, I rap.

Dedicated to the long list of men folk my relatives have unearthed to date- a rap song in Tamil, English and an occasional Hindi word, for the sake of national integrity. ;)

Hey there, Mapillai,
What are you thinking, puriyavillai
ponnu paaka variya?
bajji thinna poriya?
no chance, machaan,
wheres the romance, bachaa?
what d'you think I am?
some bloody program?
waiting for your rating
a number 1 to 10
like a laboratory specimen
your amma in her seat
the same maternal bleat
nalla ponnu, nalla payyan
beedi no, dhammu no
suyya budhi, double no.
I.T. job, U.S slob,
pakka local makku blob,
then I hear, loud and clear
your appa on the side
with your cv bonafide
caste is his pride,
all he wants in a bride
whips out a white sheet,
says raagu's in retreat,
rasi, nakshatram,
why are people still so dumb?
your aunty and your uncle,
escaped from a jungle?
head to toe, stare at me
I should charge a bloody fee
listen baby, listen well,
I don't want to go to hell,
no more jokes
dump the folks
hit the street
thats where we'll meet
dig deep, find your feet
takes courage to be offbeat
you don't have to, not for me,
build your own philosophy,
take a risk, look inside,
let awareness guide your stride,
stop the crap, flee the trap
you don't need no friggin' map
Gotta go, gotta grow,
see ya buddy, say hello.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Question of Language

There are many contexts for the existential crises that plague me from time to time. One of them that had been on my mind of late is language. To be more specific, the question that arose was, "Am I a language snob?"

Some history is required to put this in context. I grew up in a foreign country. English was the language I predominantly used- the books, movies, TV shows, friendships I had - I learnt to think in English. On the other hand, I adore Tamil, my mother tongue. I taught myself to speak it, and even today continue to perfect my vocabulary and pronunciation. I learnt to read Tamil and developed an appreciation for its poetry. To sum up, any language, for me, is a beautiful act of expression and must be respected for what it is- the hundreds of years that it has lived and evolved, its fascinating etymology, the rules of grammar that have striven to make it uniform across people, its idiomatic usage, the dialects.... everything about language is amazing. When you consider that unless we all become telepathic or attain nirvana thereby making language redundant, it's pretty much all we have to make sure we get each other.

So why was I battling this question? I do not look down upon people who have not mastered any language. But I do find it amusing. I studied in a college where not one of the staff members could speak fluent English, Not that that was any cause for complaint. From the electronics professor who said, "The atmosphere will collapse if you do strike," to the physics sir who talked about "sofa-stication", the only thing that I found bearable in those four years was this ability to be entertained by the systematic murder of English. Does that sound stuck up?

After that, the whole dating/matrimonial scene opened up a can of English worms. The 'good boys' my parents wanted me to meet had never seen an episode of Friends or heard of Wodehouse. They said 'can able to' and spelled Hi as 'Hai'. It was inconceivable to even contemplate life with them. That's when the question arose- these fellows may be extremely intellectual, spiritually deep, humorous and kind chaps. Yet, to this day, I balk at considering them in a romantic light.

When I visited my uncle recently, some intuition prompted him to bring up this topic. He mentioned his niece whom he had convinced a few years ago to marry a man who spoke broken English with a pronounced, almost rural accent. She has two kids now and still grimaces when her husband says something in English, frequently calling him 'country brute!' I laughed out loud at that, but it brought back my own dilemma to me.

When I came back to India in the turn of the century, I met with a lot of language fanaticism. Tamil people were openly critical of me, in some cases, derisive. I would have been accepting of this if their ire had been directed at my faulty Tamil. But what baffled me was that they had a problem with my fluency in English. One of the derisive labels that was in vogue then and still hasn't died away is 'Peter'. I'm guessing it's a nod to the British influence on language in India. I hated that term. Even as a teenager, I sensed that deep down, these people were ashamed of their broken English, which is why they adopted fanaticism- as a defense.

Last month, I was visited by the man who installed the fibre sheets on our car shed. He wanted to learn English, was enthusiastic about it even. He talked about being able to speak fluently in meetings and conducting business deals with style. I administered an assessment to see where he needed help. His performance was worse than poor. A college graduate, he could not construct a full sentence. I looked at his mostly empty answer sheet without expression. But before I could say anything, he started off on an analogy of how car driving is similar to language; how he couldn't maneuver hair pin bends before but can now, how a gap of a few years can make one rusty... He finished by saying in a tone of derision that after all, Tamil was more important since we are Tamilians. That's when I knew how ashamed he was. He insisted on taking his answer sheet with him and he never turned up again. In all this, he didn't let me get a word in.

As a teacher, one of the most important qualities I value in the field is being non-judgmental. The job asks us to impart knowledge, not to make people feel bad about their lack of it. That is simply ridiculous. Yet people have their own deep rooted shame. I've come to understand that no one who can appreciate the beauty of their own language could ever look down upon another. It's their shame which makes them defensive and derisive. An added dimension to this in Indian culture is the hostility leftover from British colonial rule. It doesn't help at all that their language has become global and needs to be used if one must survive in so many economic areas locally.

Coming back to me, and where all this began, I realized that when we talk about language, we're talking about culture. And culture is not region specific or race specific, in these times. I am Tamil and I am English, in different ways. Like many people today, I am an amalgamation. It is not impossible to connect with someone who's had a totally different upbringing. I have wonderful friends who are culturally different. But when it comes to a partner, my personal priorities do not include the vast gaps between cultures- territories would have to be left untouched, territories that are important to me, that someone I live with must have embraced in their own lives to understand. So no, to my relief, I've come to understand that I am not a snob. I love languages irrespective of their origins, I respect people irrespective of their linguistic skills and I connect with people irrespective of their mother tongues. I won't apologize for my priorities- to want to sit across from someone over a breakfast table and debate with them about quantum physics and its implications on spirituality- something I cannot do in Tamil, is not wrong, it's just me.

So there you have it. Not a snob. Phew. On to the next question.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Leaping Frogs

In my favorite sitcom Frasier, there's a sketch where Frasier is inspired by the leap year to take 'leaps', by which he means doing something new, or those things that you've always held back from attempting. After all the people he encouraged to take leaps crashed and burned, he chickens out from his own leap- by deciding to sing a simple ditty instead of the complex aria he had originally planned on live TV. When confronted, he frantically spits out, "It's an unwise man who doesn't learn from his own mistakes but it is an absolute idiot who doesn't learn from other people's." It's a really funny bit, especially since he forgets the words to the ditty and bungles his way through it. (Do watch!)

One of the reasons why I so cherish this show is because of these little bits of wisdom that are so breezily inserted into the seemingly light-hearted script. This line, about learning from other people's experiences, for example, is gold.

There are times when we shamelessly exploit this. In school, especially. If a teacher had to be approached, how many of us haven't selected a sacrificial lamb from among our friends, led the poor creature to the door of the staff room, and shoved them in with, "You go first, go ask, go!"? If the specimen came out roasted alive, battered and bruised, then the entire group would scatter like ants. That's how we first learnt to learn from experience.

It also happens when you're in a queue, doesn't it? You're standing in line, looking ahead and you see how the people in front of you get treated by the teller. If it's a disgruntled government employee snapping at everyone like a pitbull on a diet, you know there's no point smiling at the person when it's your turn. You also find out that you'll get a dirty death glare if you don't tender the exact change. Many are the times I have been terrified into digging into my purse for coins long before I reached the spot.

In spite of all this experience, however, I recently decided to take a leap of my own. I joined Tinder.
For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a dating app that displays people who have signed up to it within a certain radius of your location. Swiping left rejects the profile, swiping right can lead to a match, and you start chatting.

Three days in, and I feel like one of Frasier's unfortunate friends. At first, I took one look at the dozens and dozens of men lined up to chat and seriously considered "It's Raining Men" for my ringtone. In fact, I felt a growing inferiority complex reading the descriptions. 'Entrepreneur', 'Adrenaline Junkie', 'Designer', 'Free Spirit', 'Nomad', 'Adventure freak'... sometimes all in one profile! It sounded like these hordes of men were all jumping off cliffs, flying through the air with makeshift wings, wading through rivers teeming with life, catching fish with their teeth and still making a few lakhs a month by selling their incredible designs. Reality is not just an eye-opener, it also spits in that open eye. For this, I blame evolution. Maturity should have had an organ all of its own. Then at least some people could get transplants. Now, there's no hope for them. None at all.

So now, it's not raining at all. Or rather, I curled my lip at the whole scenario and went indoors. Goodbye, Tinder! Leaping isn't for everyone. For frogs, yes. For all the Tarzans on Tinder, yes. My feet's on the ground for now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hear me Rant!

Ranting is very satisfying. Personally, I could rant for pages. Whenever I write, I stop myself when the piece takes a turn towards that area and track back. For as much as I would love to indulge, I know how difficult it is to read/listen to a rant. Sometimes, I log into Facebook and look longingly at the small rectangle that says, "What's on your mind?" Oh, if you only knew...

Ranting and righteousness go hand in hand. It's a symbiosis with the tag line "I'm SO right, the world MUST know!" It's a childlike instinct that is quite amusing. When Indians indulge, it's downright hilarious, but in an endearing way. With our emphatic head nods, exaggerated expressions, large sweeping hand gestures and faulty volume control, witnessing one of our own justifying their side of the story is nothing short of dramatic entertainment. I've often played the part of the sympathetic listener, so I know.

My mom is usually the person I rant to. But even she lets her eyes glaze over midway. It's a huge blow to the concept of unconditional love, I tell you.  As to what I rant about, aah, now we get to the meaty bit.

This is the part where, if you have any sense, you'll stop reading and make a run for it. But then, drama beats sense any day. I hope.

Of late, I've been meeting people who seem to have one goal- inducting me into their faith. Since I deal with these people officially, and because I like to think I'm a nice person, I don't tell them to shut the heck up, for the love of God! I don't understand faith that needs propagating. Seriously. To me, faith is the silent smile of a true saint, the steadiness of gravity beneath my feet, the strength that comes from help given and received, the perfect contentment of knowledge gained by experience. It is never heard, only felt. It cannot be spoken, only radiated. And please! Just because I don't speak about faith, doesn't mean I don't have one. Which brings me to my second rant.

When I ask many people their opinion about a topic, they seem to think I'm an ignoramus seeking enlightenment. It's SO infuriating to be lectured to like a child when I've been reading voraciously since the age of 4 and hello, living life since I was born! I think that's one of the reasons I really love talking to my brother. He's the only person I've ever met who always, ALWAYS, tells me what he thinks and then turns around to ask me what I think. What is intelligence without open-mindedness, confidence without humility? Infuriating. He taught me that.

And this is how a rant usually ends if you're lucky. You realize you have something or someone who lifts you out of it. My mom, who never insists I follow her religion, siblings who give my thoughts weight, friends who share without shame...

You know, sometimes, silver linings come in the form of golden people.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Question everything.

Me: I think I may have been deceived today...
Ego: I know! The outrage! It is unacceptable, humiliating, unbearable.
Me: It is?
Ego: Yes, it is. We feel bad.
Me: My chest feels tight. There's a sinking feeling in my stomach now. You're right, I feel bad.
Ego: See! See what they did to us? They made us feel bad! We must heap curses on them. We must make our outrage be known. Think about what they did!
Me: I am.
Ego: Replay it, over and over.
Me: That just makes me feel worse.
Ego: Further proof of how much they've hurt us!
Me: Their deception doesn't really harm me though, does it?
Ego: Yes it does! We feel bad! Bad!
Me: Um... I know there are people of questionable character out there. So why...?
Ego: So? It's US! They deceived US! We're humiliated.
Me: I'm not. You seem to be.
Ego: Us! US!
Me: No. You're making me feel bad. Not them.
Ego: It's them. All them! Humiliation. Bad. Feel shame. Us. They did.
Me: Stop ranting. Tell me this- what purpose does humiliation serve?
Ego: What?...
Me: In fact, what purpose do you serve? I feel my heart and it does not hurt. I touch my mind and it is at peace. You are making all the noise here. So tell me- what purpose do you serve?
Me: Silence suits you. Step back, and stay there.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. But then there comes a time when life demands that you arm yourself with knowledge. I never thought that cancer was a word that would become a part of my family's vocabulary, but it did. We armed ourselves, but we ran out of time. We lost.
In retrospect, I wish I'd had some basic knowledge so that that period of time hadn't caught me so unawares and afraid. But we Indians are a superstitious lot sometimes. We imagine not knowing means being safe :) I did emotico I did too. 
This is just a short write-up of what I found. Putting it out there just so its there, for someone.

Cancer is a mutation of normal tissue cells. It is not a virus that shuts one down. It's not a monster. That's the message that pharmas have propagated, just as they've suppressed knowledge of all the natural cures that are available. If ever the need arises, then these are the cures that one must research. Of these, the first has excellent reviews. The next three, I've heard of successful cases. The last three may help; I do not know much except what I read online.

1) Cannibas oil
2) Black strap molasses
3) Sodium Bicarbonate
4) Aloe vera, with honey and brandy.
5) Carrot juice
6) Shimoga ayurvedic cure
7) Soursop fruit

Preventive measures:

I was told that some of these cures can themselves be used for prevention, especially the natural ones like aloe vera or even the molasses. Of course, purity of diet is important. That's physical. At the emotional level, if that is part of your belief system, the best prevention for any dis-ease is healing internal hurt. If you would like more specific details of what causes what dis-ease in the body, you might be interested in this- Causes of Dis-ease: Alchemy of healing .For cancer, it arises from "Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatred."

Saturday, March 5, 2016


I've never read something so true for me coming from another person before, except that I am still entangled. Beautiful and simple words.

"If you are looking for justice, you will die of anger, believe me. There is no other way because there is no such thing in human societies, unless you believe what other people tell you. If you are able to see how people function, what they do within the family, in the social structure, in the nation, in the world, you will only die of anger. So, [as a youth] I was raging within myself. Fortunately, my involvement with finding expression limited itself to attending revolutionary meetings and sticking posters at the university. I did not go to the extent of picking up the gun. A few of my friends did and they went all the way, one of them became a prominent leader and was killed about two years ago. I was so angry with the way the world functions – how much deception, how much injustice, how many uncaring ways of functioning, how human beings treat each other, how human beings treat every other creature on this planet. All this made me suffocated and angry.
"If the coolness of enlightenment did not happen, I would have died of anger. There was so much rage in me. I did not display it in my daily life but I think my blood was not at normal temperature. Inside every vein in my body, every artery in my body was burning because I saw discrimination, injustice, deception, just in everything. It took a certain dimension of perception to look at the other aspect of life – not just of human beings – but of the creation and the source of creation. How beautiful it is, how compassionate it is, how absolutely incredible it is. If that dimension had not opened up for me, whatever expression my anger found, I can assure you one thing – I would have been efficient and that would not be good. That is why the spiritual process is so vital for our existence. Either you have to be insensitive or spiritual, otherwise you will only be angry.
"If you become sensitive, conscious and not enlightened, it is a horrible place to live. If you are absolutely ignorant, it is quite fine. If you are enlightened, it is fantastic. In between – I have been there – it is not a good place to be. So, what does it take? The spiritual process has always been associated with renunciation. Again, one badly misunderstood word. People think to renounce means, ‘I have to give up everything.’ No, it is like you renounced your mother’s womb to become an infant, you renounced your infancy to become a child, you renounced your childhood to become a youth, you renounced your youth to become middle-aged, you renounced your middle-age to become old age, you renounced old age to become the grave; unless you are already a very grave person. You will anyway do it. If you do it consciously, gracefully, then we say that is renunciation. Otherwise, we say it is entanglement. If you are constantly renouncing – that is, something smaller is falling away and something larger is becoming apparent to you – this is renunciation. Renunciation means you gave up petty things and moved on to bigger things and you continue to do it. This is renunciation; that you are not an entanglement."
- Sadhguru JV

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bull Fight

This is the way I see the jallikattu* issue.
You have a child that you rear with care. One day every year, it is the tradition of your ancestors to dress the child in rags and make her beg on the streets, whether she wants to or not. She might get hurt all alone on the streets- someone could slap her, or push her around. Suddenly, an organization appears opposing this practice. You are furious. How dare they! They're not doing this out of concern for the little girl, they hope to profit eventually by getting all these girls to contribute to the sex trade they're secretly building up. So they're wrong. They shouldn't stop your tradition.
All I have to ask is- what does the child want? What does she consent to? Does she enjoy this tradition that puts her in danger? Obviously not. So stop it. If the organization that is lobbying for it to stop has dark motives, then stopping them is step 2.
Of course, this analogy makes sense only for those to whom a bull and a girl child are equal souls. Otherwise, everything I said is crap. I think that's where the problem lies.
As to 'tradition', I cannot stop myself from making a rude noise. Sati was tradition. Child marriage was tradition. Polygamy was tradition.
If a man in India wants to display his courage, I suggest he file a corruption case against an official who asks him for a bribe. That would be so much more respectable.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

H and Me.

H: Hello
Me: Hey
H:  So...?
Me: I think I'll clear the air a bit. I'm agnostic.
H:  Straddling the fence eh?
Me: Yeah, well, I think it's wise.
H:  I think it's wimpy.
Me: Hey, you're not supposed to judge!
H:  Yeah, how come you're talking to me then?
Me: I think this is a conversation I'm having with myself.
H:  Aah, one of those. Go ahead then.
Me: I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but I think you're becoming more of a prude with every passing day.
H:  Really? How do you reckon?
Me: They've banned women from wearing leggings and jeans to temples.
H:  Ouch... really?
Me: Yeah.
H:  They do know I created y'all naked, right?
Me: I think that's a suppressed memory. Also, I'm wondering if you're to blame a bit.
H:  How's that now?
Me: Well, all the visions of you throughout history, in your many forms or one true form or whatever, depending on the religion- you're over-dressed in all of them. I'm talking layers and layers. It's like you're running a weaving unit up there.
H:  Hmm... I didn't realize...
Me: And what's with all the representatives anyway?
H:  Hey! That wasn't my idea!
Me: Really?
H:  No way. Why would I put some of you above others or set some of you apart? It's like that joke where the white guy tells the Chinese guy "I can't tell you guys apart!" You're all the same to me!
Me: Um, that joke is really racist.
H:  Oh...ok. But you know what I mean!
Me: So why not just smite the guys who step up and give themselves names?
H:  I don't smite!
Me:  You sure?
H:  Yes.
Me: What do you do then?
H:  Well, must have heard of creation?
Me: No offence, but that was like billions of years ago, and I heard it didn't take too long. Are you still on vacation or something?
H:  I'm not!
Me: Just lazy then?
H:  Oy! Listen. Those guys making rules about clothes and stuff- that's nothing compared to the crazy rules from your past. You ever heard about Lupercalia?
Me: No, but now I finally have a word to rhyme with Malaria and complete my poem.
H: What horror of a poem contains the word ‘Malaria’?
Me: Big talk from the guy who allowed mosquitoes to evolve. What’s Lupercalia anyway?
H: Ancient Roman festival. Picture this- Roman dudes running through the streets naked, with whips. Women thronging the streets, waiting to be whipped!
Me: Really?
H:  Uh-huh.
Me: So all this doesn't bother you then?
H:  Why would it bother me? I can wear jeans whenever I want.
Me: That's so unfair.
H:  Well, what can you do...
Me: What can I do? Seriously?! What can YOU do, is what I want to know.
H:  That's not how it works. I don't interfere.
Me: Convenient. Which multiverse are you vacationing in now?
H:  I'm not...alright. See, you guys all chose this. To be on this planet, in your shoes,
experiencing what you're going through now.
Me: And why did we choose this exactly?
H:  To put it simply- to become one with me.
Me: I see. I decline.
H:  You what?
Me: I don't want to become one with you.
H:  Yes, you do!
Me: No, I don't!
H:  Yes, you....I'm not doing this.
Me: That's what I'm saying.
H:  But you chose to.
Me: So how do I un-choose it?
H:  You can't!
Me: Again, convenient.
H:  You're very combative, you know.
Me: There you go judging me again.
H:  What's wrong?
Me:...It's been a tough stretch. Sometimes, I want to give up.
H:  You can't do that either. It isn't possible...because you cannot give up on something that
is true and eternal.
Me: Are you talking about yourself?
H:  I'm talking about you.
Me: Oh...I don't feel true and eternal. I feel like crap.
H:  Crap is true.
Me: Is that a joke?
H:  Um, yes.
Me: Please don't ever do stand-up.
H:  Moving on, I mean that you feel the way you are because you're struggling against the pain, fighting it.
Me: So what, embrace it?
H:  Even pain has its purpose.
Me: Easy to say for someone who is omnipotent.
H:  You're right.
Me: I am?
H:  Yes. You heard of Teddy Roosevelt?
Me: That U.S. President?...What is it with the U.S.A?! Everything happens there! Even aliens supposedly pick a spot to crash-land there every few years. And now you!
H:  Done?
Me: Yes. Wanted to get that off my chest. I suspect they won't give me a visa.
H:  Ok, so there was a time when Roosevelt gave a speech known as 'The Man in the Arena.' And he said this...“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” 
Me: Wow.
H:  That's they key.
Me: To be in the arena?              `
H:  Yes. To be in the arena, to be who you are or want to be, unashamed, defenseless. And also, If I could tweak the end a bit, I'd clarify that you cannot fail.
Me: No?
H:  No. You are not on a quest.
Me: That's actually a bit of a relief. I've always felt this great need to be 'better'.
H:  And what will being better do for you?
Me: Well, it'll make me feel better.
H:  Better or more special?
Me: Better...and special.
H:  And that's where all the conflict comes in. You ever heard of Moji?
Me: The guru? Yeah.
H:  He said something wise that I think you'll like.
Me: You know, for an all-knowing being, you sure do quote other people a lot.
H:  You can't blame me for that. I get misquoted so grossly, and so often, I've come to prefer pilfering.
Me: That's a bit sad.
H:  I know. So Mooji. He said, "Leave everything aside for a moment, this self-obsession with being someone special. Leave aside all these shallow concerns, projections, expectations that keep your mind floating like a bubble on the surface of the ocean of being.
Just try to be this formless presence in which this entire play is watched. Be neutral. Empty. Try to observe that which observes. Keep quiet. Your mind seems so afraid of this meeting which is with your true Beloved!Now is as good a time as any. Once your heart accepts this invitation the whole universe is with you."
Me: Wow. This stuff always sounds wow.
H: But...?
Me: But it’s for when  I’m sitting on a beach with the wind in my hair. The everyday grind. It gets to me.
H: Like?
Me: Like when someone I love dies. Like when someone I want to love leaves. Like when it seems I am not enough.
H: Isn’t it at these times when you are hurting, when the pain intrudes, that you must step away and observe?
Me: I can. I do it. I know when someone is emotionally distancing themselves. I know there are underlying fears that cause them to do so. I get it, I sympathize.
H: But this awareness, this knowledge does not help?
Me: No.
H: Then you must observe- what are you doing with the knowledge?
Me: What am I.... what do you mean?
H: When there is knowledge and there is also pain, then there must be a bridge between the two? What are you doing when you walk that bridge?
Me: I... protest. I know the whys, but... I do not accept. I-
H: Yes?
Me: I judge.
H: Have you ever known an instance when judgement does not bring pain?
Me: No, I guess not... Never.
H: When you judge, you put yourself in the equation. It becomes about you, and you take it personally, it reflects on you, it hurts. When you remove yourself from the equation, when you observe, it is completely about the other person. It allows you to understand their basic emotions without commenting upon their right to exist. Now apply this to some situation in your life that you have a problem with.
Me: Ok...
H: Does it still hurt?
Me: It wasn’t easy to remove myself from the situation. The part of me that wants to jump in and justify my hurt kept coming up. But yes, when I put myself aside, I feel nothing.
H: Good.
Me: But does that mean I stay and let myself get hurt? Just because I understand?
H: No, it doesn’t. It means you are able to step away in peace rather than step away in pain. When you truly get that it is not about you, then you don’t have to participate, either actively or passively.
Me: You know. I didn't expect to, but I feel better. Thank you.
H: you still don't think I should do stand up?
Me: No.
H:  That Chinese joke is quite good. I created all the races, you know.
Me: It's still racist.
H:  What about that nun one that you read online yesterday?
Me: I think that if you repeated it, it might cause mass conversions to atheism overnight.
H:  Oh.
Me: Stick to your strength, big guy.
H:  Voluminous clothing?
Me: Vacationing.
H:  Oh.
Me: Yeah. We'll tough it out, do what we can, find our way.
H:  I like the sound of that.
Me: One more thing. If you see my father, tell him...
H:  He knows.
Me: Right. Off you go then.
H:  You're dismissing ME?!
Me: Yup. Straddling that fence whilst talking to you goes against the laws of... um, the Heisenberg Principle.
H:  No, it doesn't! The principle merely states that-
Me: B'bye, big guy.
H:  See you...child.