Saturday, May 03, 2014

a reminder to every woman

Dear woman Here is a reminder. Before being a mother and wife and one of the many other relative to the many men ( and women) in your life, before even being a woman, you are a human being. And you are only answerable to the Creator. If you have a different opinion remember that it is because you have been conditioned to think and believe so by society over a very long period of time. A time as long as human existence. You ARE a free spirit. In your last hours, God is not going to ask you how you served others. He is going to ask you what did you do with your human life? You are a free spirit. Believe this. Understand this truth. And now know this that you can choose to act in any role and meet demands made by society... If you choose to. Not because you have to.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Right to be Wrong

It finally hit me why Mr. Modi is this intimidating... why his 'Gujarat Model' has a few chinks in it's armour. I watched a thought provoking TED talk. Jounranlist Kathryn Schulz spoke about why it is dangerous to continue to live in our " always right" bubble. she has written a book - being wrong. We see it in politics all the time. The refusal of politicians subscribing to various views to accept they could be wrong or that they may have made a mistake. For all his rhetoric abilities ( Adolf Hitler was a brilliant orator too wasn't he?)and his ability to move crowds in his sway, he hasn't found the strength to stand up and take the moral responsibility for the terrorising Gujarat riots. Whether he was directly involved or not is besides the question. As chief minister of a state he doesn't belong to a particular group. He is a leader and represenatative of the whole state irrespective of the caste or religion. But the ease of sweeping a historical event, one that should never have happened, under the carpet like it never took place, is frightening. And Mr. Modi is not the first either. Congress never accepted its part in the 1984 riots where innocent Sikhs were killed by rioting mobs instigated purportedly by Congress leaders. Again whether they actually did so is not the issue. Congress should have accepted its moral responsibility. Rahul Gandhi fell just short of accepting the responsibility in his now infamous interview with Arnaabh Goswami. This self righteousness also devastates relationships. The unwillingness to accept you are wrong. And watching the TED talk I understood why. And why it is so dangerous. An admission of being wrong somehow makes us feel like a loser. And it is believed that in politics, it is a death sentence. Is admission of guilt a sign of weakness? How refreshing it would be if a person in high places stood up before a mass of people and admitted to his mistakes? There are instances. Pramod Mahajan who was the election in charge for BJP with the the "India shining" campaign accepeted the responsibilty for his party's defeat but he didn't sound defeated. It was just an honest acceptance of a mistake and lessons learnt. But for his murder at the hands of his deranged brother, he would have made a swell prime minsterial candidate. And here's an account on Madhav Rao Scindia sourced from Wikipedia. "Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao made him (Madhav rao scindia) Minister for Civil Aviation. He faced a turbulent period of agitation by the staff of the domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, and as part of a strategy of disciplining the workforce he leased a number of aircraft from Russia. Early in 1992 one of these aircraft crashed, though without any loss of life, and Scindia promptly submitted his resignation. Although not known to be too finicky about such notions as ministerial accountability, the prime minister accepted his resignation." Another fantastic leader, irrespective of whether he sat in the opposition or the government. Media doesn't help. They blatantly provoke retaliatory remarks from political leaders. Its a question that each of us have to answer. Once we have subscribed to a particular ideology, why are we obliged to defend it till our grave? An open mind of enquiry which accepts opposing views cannot be such a wrong thing! Would you feel defeated too if your choice of political leader admits to guilt or misdeeds? I know I would have more respect for Mr. Modi if he accepted responsibility for the Gujarat Riots. Do watch this TED talk.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stop gifting Barbies

Perhaps you should first read this post which set rolling a series of pent up thoughts. So what this dad is saying is essentially how we can't even buy normal clothes for our daughters in a colour of our choice. They have to be in pastel shades or with flowers and glitters. It has happened on few occasions when I went to buy jeans for my daughter and couldn't find one without glitters. Hell.. jeans for women aren't spared too sometimes. But the rot is deeper. It goes beyond dresses. I go to a book shop and find them filled with story book for girls usually about princesses and fairies. Even activity books are colored pink. I have nothing against princesses and fairies but the sheer quantum of books on these subjects packaged in pink and branded with barbies can leave the best queasy. Let me ask you one thing? When you are hunting for birthday dresses for one year old girls, which color do you see most often? Yes. And we love it. No doubt its a pretty color for baby girls but have we seen any other option other than pink? or even if the darker colors make an appearance, they are usually ugly and wouldn't sell anyway.. so I realise with a sinking feeling that we have been deliberately conditioned over the years by stereotype marketing to lean towards pink for girls. And the girls grow up rooting for pink. No wonder the 'pink stinks' campaign surfaced. more here - So if you have been buying pink, it isn't your fault. But perhaps its time to start reconditioning your mind. And perhaps the maufacturers will get the message. Oh and lets stop buying Barbie for girls on their birthday! Again, a doll who has stylish dresses to change and removable shoes is essentially a fun thing for girls who of course have a natural maternal instinct but girls also read you know? and they are actually quite intelligent and can also play with puzzles, cars, science kits, mechanical toys, guns. Yes really. Don't deny them those. How many Barbies can you play with? How many Barbies do you need to keep you happy? Its just so easy to pop in to a shop and pick a Barbie as a gift for a girl. No brainer really. There they are .. displayed right in front so you couldn't escape them. In bright pink packaging too. Last time I visited a book shop, I was disgusted to see a score of Barbies displayed. In a book shop. I asked the attendant why they are selling barbies in a book shop? Next thing you know, the local vegetable vendor will be selling them too. Shop for birthday gifts not in the last moment. Instead, spend some time browsing through good books, activity kits, board games, cool stationary. So sorry if I sound preachy. Just a little too queasy today. Lets show the girls we know they are smarter than just changing barbies clothes and role play.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

To the best of your ability

There is a huge difference between doing a job well and doing a job to the best of your ability. While the former is most times a goal impossible to achieve, the latter is within everyone's grasp at all times. The former is a goal often set by others. They lay the parameters to judge your effort and mark you a success. Where as doing the job to the best of your ability means you succeed no matter what the results are and how others evaluate it. It empowers you. Just realizing this truth dissolved my stress!
I was getting bitter and angry at having to get so many things done. And then I realized that I cannot do everything well. I just have to do everything to the best of my ability.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Poetry for young people

Finally its poetry that brings me back to my once favorite haunt.
No I didn't forget you dear blog page... Just went away for a while on a journey of sorts.
Back in school when I started to write poems, I also voraciously collected poetry compilations. And occasionally read them whenever I had a piece of time all to myself.
I came across a wonderful poem by Robert Frost that left me mesmerized. It was called 'wild grapes'. I hunted for a Frost collection ever since but never found one. Recently we visited a book shop and I stumbled upon this!

Published by Sterling publishing, poetry for young people is a delightful series with beautiful printing and illustrations. 
A wonderful way to introduce your child to the joys of poetry.
The only disappointment I have is that they chose not to include the poem 'Wild grapes'.
So here is the poem for those who may have missed it.
What tree may not the fig be gathered from? The grape may not be gathered from the birch? It's all you know the grape, or know the birch. As a girl gathered from the birch myself Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn, I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of. I was born, I suppose, like anyone, And grew to be a little boyish girl My brother could not always leave at home. But that beginning was wiped out in fear The day I swung suspended with the grapes, And was come after like Eurydice And brought down safely from the upper regions; And the life I live now's an extra life I can waste as I please on whom I please. So if you see me celebrate two birthdays, And give myself out of two different ages, One of them five years younger than I look- One day my brother led me to a glade Where a white birch he knew of stood alone, Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves, And heavy on her heavy hair behind, Against her neck, an ornament of grapes. Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year. One bunch of them, and there began to be Bunches all round me growing in white birches, The way they grew round Leif the Lucky's German; Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though, As the moon used to seem when I was younger, And only freely to be had for climbing. My brother did the climbing; and at first Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack; Which gave him some time to himself to eat, But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed. So then, to make me wholly self-supporting, He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes. "Here, take a tree-top, I'll get down another. Hold on with all your might when I let go." I said I had the tree. It wasn't true. The opposite was true. The tree had me. The minute it was left with me alone It caught me up as if I were the fish And it the fishpole. So I was translated To loud cries from my brother of "Let go! Don't you know anything, you girl? Let go!" But I, with something of the baby grip Acquired ancestrally in just such trees When wilder mothers than our wildest now Hung babies out on branches by the hands To dry or wash or tan, I don't know which, (You'll have to ask an evolutionist)- I held on uncomplainingly for life. My brother tried to make me laugh to help me. "What are you doing up there in those grapes? Don't be afraid. A few of them won't hurt you. I mean, they won't pick you if you don't them." Much danger of my picking anything! By that time I was pretty well reduced To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang. "Now you know how it feels," my brother said, "To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them, That when it thinks it has escaped the fox By growing where it shouldn't-on a birch, Where a fox wouldn't think to look for it- And if he looked and found it, couldn't reach it- Just then come you and I to gather it. Only you have the advantage of the grapes In one way: you have one more stem to cling by, And promise more resistance to the picker." One by one I lost off my hat and shoes, And still I clung. I let my head fall back, And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears Against my brother's nonsense; "Drop," he said, "I'll catch you in my arms. It isn't far." (Stated in lengths of him it might not be.) "Drop or I'll shake the tree and shake you down." Grim silence on my part as I sank lower, My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings. "Why, if she isn't serious about it! Hold tight awhile till I think what to do. I'll bend the tree down and let you down by it." I don't know much about the letting down; But once I felt ground with my stocking feet And the world came revolving back to me, I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers, Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off. My brother said: "Don't you weigh anything? Try to weigh something next time, so you won't Be run off with by birch trees into space." It wasn't my not weighing anything So much as my not knowing anything- My brother had been nearer right before. I had not taken the first step in knowledge; I had not learned to let go with the hands, As still I have not learned to with the heart, And have no wish to with the heart-nor need, That I can see. The mind-is not the heart. I may yet live, as I know others live, To wish in vain to let go with the mind- Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me That I need learn to let go with the heart

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First steps

Yes isn't it wonderful!!
You took your first few stumbling steps
Before long your tiny feet will carry you far
You will not want to crawl anymore
With a slightly saddened heart
I am putting away your 'crawls' into the attic of my memory