DESTINY-My tryst with temples, belief and the stars

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“Just when you think you have understood life, life changes”

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“The worst things and best things in your life- they are unfortunately interlinked”

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What  was the point of believing abstract things, I thought. People who got past me using dirty short cuts, people who used my favours, loud mouthed, gossiping double standard people around me did not believe things that I believed:

Karma, Fate,  “God is watching”,  Love happens,  Everything happens for a reason ,Domino effect ,Hurt nobody (unless they hurt you).

Why would I believe all these when those people got the better of  me?. Pointless, it seemed. The world seemed deaf to pain and frustration. To me and people like me.

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There are perks of having a horoscope chart of problems. You get to travel to enough and more temples and get intoxicated in the historic serene feel of lesser known and old temples.  So, however hot and tiring the drive on the highway roads down south would be, I was happy.

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After a year of visiting the various Navagraha temples (Dedicated to the 9 planets that influenced your chart and life) in 2013 touching up to the historic ancient port of Poompuhar,  I was at the foothills of Marudhamalai in the June of 2015 at a little residential area nearby, visiting a  famed astrologer Mom took me to.  The winds were roaring rummaging the windows of his newly and neatly built home. We waited  in his little but neat office as he finished lunch.

 

Seeming in his thirties he wore a rather wise look.  Trophies and certificates of his accomplishments in Master of Arts, Astrology, sat beside his little shelf full of pictures and little statuettes  of deities. He sat down at his computer that automatically generated a person’s horoscope (You needed to feed Date of Birth and time first).

He predicted what all went on in our lives rather accurately. I didn’t believe astrology back then but had no choice. I didn’t like much of what he said. He often scanned my face to check how I reacted. “Kalathra Dhosham”  he said. If it was Love marriage, it would end on the rocks. Marriage however must be completed within the end of “Guru palan” period.  I had eight months.  Mere Eight months  to countdown. He said “ Go to Paapanasam, I’d be there for a yagam, join me, early morning with family,  you can pay within a week.”

We left. He came dropped us till the gate for some reason (could be habitual), but it seemed rather “Serious” for me.

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Mom however decided we take a detour to Kooduthurai, Bhavani, near Erode. “Sangameshwarar Temple” and we would attend a pooja there. My prayers were of different intentions but I cooperated. The temple was painted and well maintained, and had a rather queer legend. It  had the usual serenity and a “you are being watched “ feeling of a Shiva Temple. People had lots of things to say about who Shiva was. I,  however felt he was more than what hymns , sculptures and paintings depict. He was more like the Lingam.

The “Shivalingam” something elusive and beyond human form, yet powerful, yet all knowing and all hearing.

Sangameshwarar temple was built on the banks where there was a “Sangamam” or mixing (confluence)  of three rivers, Kaveri ( I rather worshipped her because she was so much associated with the Chola land), Bhavani ( Coincidentally originating from Silent Valley National Park in Kerala a three hour drive from where I lived, Ooty) and the mystic Saraswati river. It was a scorching afternoon when we finished pooja for “Kalathra Dhosha Nivarthi” or “relief” and I changed into dry clothes after a holy dip in the banks of the “confluence of three rivers”. I often slipped on the algae laden stone stairs of the banks and wished so much they kept this place more neat. I watched water birds hunt the untouched banks of the temple. I was squeezing my head to analyze the reliefs to see if they were Chola built. They seemed so. They looked so 3D. Must be them I thought. Browsing didn’t help as there was no mention as to who built it. (Whatever looked grand and good, I assumed it was the Cholas). I prayed for people I cared about in the Vishnu sannidhi.

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I looked at  Lord Shiva, the lingam in the main praharam of the temple. I told him in all his glowing glory of oil lamps, I’d marry whomever he decides I must. Nothing else escaped my mind. For some reason, though I could have easily asked what I wanted. It didn’t seem like justice to just “want” things, without knowing the consequences it would have on people. Lord Shiva faced the river banks. Little did I know, there would be a CONNECTION between me and the temple, and me and Bhavani.  I thought it was a co-incidence, but doesn’t seem much like it. (ABOUT THIS I’D BLOG SOMEOTHER TIME).

 I tried offering a banana to the mid-sized elephant who was having his nails painted( varnish? I think). The mahout forbade me anyway. I glanced at the jumbo once again and left .

I looked tired but on the inside rather nostalgic. Escaping heat of the warm footstones made me feel at home, all temples did. I didn’t know if I was lucky or unlucky. I often thought about Raja Raja Chola. About what went on in his mind all his life. I admired him. Wished they had photographs back then. Wished he wrote a book or had a journal. Little is known about him as a person. We only know his Emperor side.

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http://aalayamkanden.blogspot.in/2011/08/sri-sangameshwarar-temple-erode.html

http://www.bhavanisangameswarartemple.tnhrce.in/

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Few months later, we hit the National Highway 67 again this time to Paapanasam, passing tollgates. I saw how the look changed from plain scenery to little green hillocks dotting the landscape like how Balakumaran describes the Pandya country in Udayaar. It got greener and greener when we hit Tirunelveli. It was a different kind of green when compared to the delta regions of Thanjavur. The look of the towns seemed a little forward and modern touched whilst I noticed Kumbakonam and inner Thanjavur had remnant buildings of the past. I crossed Einstein college of engineering without knowing I did and reached Thamirabharani lodge, a neat place with a small brook running around it (wonder why). The moon was up  while we arranged for my grandfather a room to stay on the ground floor. Mom and I picked a corner room on the upper floor. The lodge was filled with guests who would visit Paapanasam temple the next day.

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A mono colour painted Gopuram or temple tower, huge trees with protruding roots that often dropped fruit to the ground and shadowed the tower from far, chirping birds and monkeys,  vendors who waited to sell their merchandise from toys to hairpins to sacred thread , rushing of the Thamirabharani river water below, devotees from all walks of life, old and young, rich, poor and very poor, the temple had the aspect of “ancient oneness and all welcoming feel”.  Perfect place for a Shiva devotee.  Located close to the temple was the Agastiyar falls. We attended the morning Pooja for the Main deity. The temple had the “closed feeling” of the deeper mind associated in its architecture with low roof. Stone, of course.  The place smelt Vibhoothi and was getting more and more crowded.  They followed a unique Saivite ritual of blowing horns and drum when the pooja was conducted. You knew whose lair you were in. The sound of it would give you goose bumps and run a spine chilling feeling. I looked at the lingam again. He was clad in Vibhoothi. I said the same thing. I thought of my brother.

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The holy dip followed. Thamirabharani’s water was different. Thamiram meant “copper”. It was said the water had higher rates of copper.  Little and older, all kinds of people offered their hearty prayers and took dips. Mothers helped crying babies get a dip in the special river. I understood I was weak with flowing water. I had strange scenes come and go by my eyes as I took my breath -held dip. I thought of my brother again.  I looked at the Temple tower from below the stairs. Here I wished they kept the front of the temple cleaner. (They had neat paid changing rooms).  Here used and disposed clothes were neatly collected in a large metal holder/stand in one of the mandapams on the banks. It was green. Green everywhere. We finished pooja in a hall were they actually cooked food for the temple. I went a little dizzy (may be sleepy) as the mantras were chanted and prayers offered. We left the rice balls to be offered at the river by the priest. We had tea and Idlis in the eatery outside. Mom disagreed to my plan of visiting Nellaiyappar temple. We hit the NH road again back home satisfied, yet oblivious of the future.

What was I going to do? Bask in the glory of rebelliousness  or shun it for greater good?.  Passion or sacrifice?. A life I wanted but couldn’t get or acceptance of what cannot be changed?. I had to let go of my beliefs, desires, it was difficult. The only one to bear the heat anyway would be me. It was the best thing to be done. I had to get things straight. How, I did not know. Every home, however little, however poor was your empire. You are the Prince or Princess of your house . You needed to do justice to your role. These thoughts rooted themselves too strongly after my visit to these two amazing Shiva temples. All life is a dance. Humans were just a performance in the passage of time, sometimes lucky or clever enough to leave something behind. But what did the stars have up their sleeve for me. I was going to find out.

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——————————————————To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Inside of performance- Interviews’ season

Corporate university at Aramex

Now

This was and is a season of anticipation, sudden increase in competition manifold, the final year and penultimate semester of Bachelors in Engineering. The campus recruitment fever was all dressed up to set itself on the campus soon with some people already having faced and emerging successfully out of the rather unpredictable process- GETTING RECRUITED. 

To put it simply, it was a time where most things that seemed to be will not be. People on whom great expectations are placed may falter and rather those who seem to be the least of competition may prevail. Just accomplishments and reputation were not going to get anyone anywhere. This is exactly the time of the year that I discovered two things

1) The pattern of events that lead to one doing pretty well

2) The pattern of events that lead me to either “Good performance” or “Utter failure”

Both of what I discovered did not seem to be too well the news for me. I would have rather not noticed if it was not for the  296  page in-genius best-seller by Malcolm Gladwell- Blink.

 “Why is the why” and “Who’s the who of what”

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                                               The only one who is capable of stopping you is – YOU

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This year was a challenge to most of us for the simple reason that we did not have “Many options to choose from”.  You could hit bull’s eye on a target you didn’t want to call yours and you may stage a flop in a place where you badly wanted to do well. Expertise, experience and skills were one set of things. There were other factors that played important cards on your life’s course here-

1 Ability to make quick and right choices

2)Ability to juggle different work under pressure

3)Ability to keep eyes and ears open and pick the “RIGHT FIT” for you

4)Ability to perform well no matter what.

There was one person whom I knew , whom I’d  call “NK”, he seemed to me the only one doing all these things well. You ask him and he always shook his head saying  “I am not doing much”. He handles praise well. Ok. Humble. Ok. But what would account for a consistently high graph and a very social nature with a sense of humor that would not put him under the don’t- touch- me- I’m the serious guy– category?

One explanation is that he sets really high standards for his work. But that does not explain his very social nature and never quenching thirst for doing things without over doing them and without making it look like he was doing big. The thing that draws people to attention is this one and only attribute that I felt was praise-worthy– the ability TO NOT let HIS SURROUNDINGS AFFECT HIM-BADLY.

Peer Pressure, as author Malcolm Gladwell puts is a big factor when compared to hierarchical pressure.  All of us know what these are- time management, multi-tasking ability, art of saying no, balancing rest and work, aptitude to solve real world problems, negotiating, believing in self, making and keeping contacts.  We all know it is important to keep our cupboard organized and files in specific folders, we all know overloading our phones with data can prove disadvantageous at times of emergency . But how many of us can actually put doing the right things in real practice? How many of us can say “these individual unique practices are addends to my success?” . But these are the tiniest habits or bunches of them in which the successful person becomes a step ahead of the ordinary man.

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Every successful entrepreneur or techie or writer would have a habit they would follow/practice even if they were the only person on the face of the planet to do so. It’s  The ability to find out what works for you and stick with the habit despite pressure-be it peer or hierarchical. But how all can you be under peer pressure?

1) Pressure of being too scrutinized and observed-negative feedback

2) Pressure of being expected a lot from-positive feedback

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                                        Failure has not spoiled men as much as success has.

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What did I find wrong with me?

1) 2013, Training session, Seminar hall,  A company I’d call RP, Mock Group Discussion.

                                Trainer calls me to the stage with cushion chairs set in a semi-circle expecting I’d do well because she liked that I dressed modest and formal and was also listening to her raptly. A feel good signal goes across my head, the kind of high you get when someone trusts your ability and I know I normally gather verbal data and present forth without a problem. I walk forward and find a seat.  Topic- rather-very- simple- ‘Broiler chicken vs organic chicken’. She says “start” with the microphone in hand and steps back dramatically. I was supposed to start. The hall was not full. No scary people. Lots of friends there. Yet with a mild opening  and few lines -I faltered . I suddenly became cautious that many eyes were on me. My own voice echoes in drowned itself in the new lines I spoke. My perception of space increased- the hall looked bigger, heartbeat rose. I was listening to others raptly but I could not come up with words. I was rather taken by the shock that I could not think well. The trainer “Ms J” later said it was because most of our hands lacked “animosity” so we did not sync well with words and became nervous.

But I knew it was more than just that –it was a mix of factors that scared me. I did not know what. To somebody to face an interview soon that was not bad luck-it means Disaster.

 

2) 2015, Final year, Final installment, My classroom,  a company I’d dub “Favorite” ,Mock Group Discussion.

Trainer says “Now time for GD, bring  armed plastic chairs”. He says, “Volunteer and come forward, I’m not going to force you”. A few of us look at each other, signal “Let’s go” and walk forth. Everything seems fine. Mildly nervous.  All positioned. Everyone looks okay.Simplest of topics – “Effect of Cinema on today’s (Indian) youth”. Something chilly runs down my spine when I begin counting seconds to the start. Everyone scribbles down points. I’m not able to. Something tells me I can speak in the moment. Trainer says “Start” and moves away without scaring us. Somebody has to start. Seconds running by. I do. In the first few words that I speak, I discover to my shock that my voice is in the wrong pitch- the low tone that is not supposed to be. Same story in the past repeats.

I was told the reason was I was conscious of being watched. Yes. May be. I knew it was more than just that. This time losing all faith of figuring it out on time.

Did I ever do well?

Yes. I was not a veteran. But I had been on stage several times since childhood, made critical announcements, presented and left stage with people smiling at me.  This is the problem with success, it leaves no room for retrospection. You pride yourself, you say, you practiced well, you say you were lucky. The truth may be entirely different. Nothing can make you dumber than fail at the very things you once prided yourself at. But let’s not get emotional. Let’s get to the details. Like I said, it was “Blink” the book that opened my mind to rather less-noticed but powerful factors- the subconscious and unconscious.

When did I do well?-

When did the perception of space, the vulnerability of going blank not undermine the time I did well? -When I was subconsciously motivated by the following.

1) Thinking I was doing this for the first time and hence it is very important to me

2) Desire for expression- “They have to hear me out and I will make them”

3)No time to draw comparisons- “I don’t care who is better than me and who is not”

4) Not conscious of expectations- “I don’t remember what others think or say of me”

Trying to be over-good at the first start

.Expectation- an image- a reputation you already have can dangerously undermine you at the wrong time. Not just the expectation others have about you but the high expectations and dramatic performances YOU expect of yourself .It prevents you to see things differently and puts your mind into a rehearsed stereotyped mode. It fails to weigh the dangers and make you analyze the arena. It makes you think, “Its just one of the many things I know well, I can’t possibly go wrong”. When you go into field thinking you are first-timer, you inevitably bring all your resources to conscious focus. You become alert. Alert in making you analyze the subtle details that form the frame-work of your delivery. Again, ALERT-not nervous.

To naturally do well without much practice we must let the subconscious and conscious to be conditioned to “fit” in the role you are playing. There are two ways-an algorithm of do’s and don’ts– You must know why you are there instead of someone else, what you have to convey, whom you are conveying to, what would be the expectations of those hearing you out, how you can convince them that you are fairly right. You must be able to be present in the moment and be conscious of “what you are saying” rather than “who is watching what about me”.  This algorithm of “what to do” clearly was not present at those  moments that I failed. I had a biased clouded judgment that I would do well because I had, before.

The other way is the NK way and powerful it may seem, not everyone can put it into practice.- Focus on the bigger picture

Why do we place high expectations of the self?

We bite off more than we can chew because we think we must. This happens when there is sudden great prospect of success and lots to choose from, that we feel lost even one opportunity slips by. For instance say– I live rather unnoticed for a long time. I decide to do something fine and gather skill, opportunity comes, another opportunity comes, I suddenly involve myself in lots of projects and obviously expectations are placed on me.-in results . Hence I place even greater expectations on myself –in efforts so I can put up with the first set of expectations. I face peer influence because I am suddenly working with lots of people.- people whom I have to convince that I am good at things, people whom I have to convince that I can work well with. Hence now I have two sets of expectations and two sets of people to convince that my natural-but averagely good working mode is rather buried. That is the foundation of all my good work. Now how do I do “really good work” when  I have forgotten how to do “work”?.  Bigger prospects can rain success or spell disaster.

Why to play natural?

To play natural means to play by what methods that work well for you. Anything learnt new may or may not let you down. But what methods have already worked for you are already in your conscious, subconscious or even the unconscious aspects of your mind. They offer backup. When bigger opportunity comes a Tennis star can’t forget Tennis and completely immerse himself only in Product promotion. That is highly unlikely but forgetting your own roots, not admitting what you are bad at and becoming something you are not will not make you any better. It is like throwing away your degree(with all the good and bad) and starting up with something new all over again. Remember to love yourself with all the flaws and embarrassments you had. They are things only you can put to good use. I didn’t play natural there, I suddenly wanted to “Prove myself”- Did I?- Not at all.

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The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes

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What goes on with nervous people?

How did my friend NK perform in the similar GD situations? NK is motivated by the “Bigger Picture”. While I sit here reverse engineering the entire performance aspects,  he would rather see the Group Discussion as- A TICKET -“ I need to do this well, so I can get where I want”- SIMPLE. That reduces the anxiety of performing and puts it practical and straight- JUST GIVE YOUR BEST IN THE MOMENT. We, as kids would do things when motivated by incentives or “rewards”. He saw career as a REWARD for whatever he did now. He was not analyzing something too much that did not need analysis. So whether he did five things or ten things, all of them were tailored towards THE LARGER GOAL. The Bigger Picture. This would help you prioritize everything that you do. Once he hit a hot streak, he kept up with it. Nervous people(like me) would sit basking in the newfound light and miss consequent opportunity. If there were setbacks the NK kind  would change route but not the destination. They keep things simple.

The socializing and balance between rest and work?- Goes into WORK mode when WORKING, NORMAL mode when work is done. This is not too hard if you are not pushing yourself hard in every direction. He takes heuristic decisions and does not wait too long to make a quick jump where necessary. Why do we wait too long then?- Because we wait for the perfect  opportunity/ solution that never comes. We become a bit too scared of the consequences that we do not generate results at all. We are all too scared of the unknown. So we pick exactly what people around us pick. We are afraid of risks.  People like NK are afraid of the unknown too, but they plunge forward to face it. We try avoiding the unknown.

Peer pressure- the problem of generalization

Everyone in your life who give you pressure face peer pressure themselves. Even the grinning ,over-confident kind. The Pareto rule being 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the people in your life- we give too much importance on the remaining 80% insignificant people in our lives imagining and worrying about what goes on in their minds about us. There are people who just cross our day once and make a lasting bad impression. We get stuck with that. We forget the remaining 20% important people. We generalize that the world is a bad place. We drain our own energy. We imagine and hypothesize what we don’t know. We get trapped in their “opinions” which we imagined ourselves. We think people think too well of us-though we don’t know that and try fitting into the peer expectation than focusing on the job at hand.

All those times that I failed, I was living in the minds of everyone else except my own. I betrayed my own mind that needed attention so it could tell me what it knew- be it about Broiler chicken or the effect Cinema had on youth. When my mind finally took my focus back to itself, it took a few seconds to analyse the vast space and the seat I was in, the silence rushed in more adrenalin with heart rate up. Normal thinking – now scrambled. The 20% time of willful thinking that would affect 80% of my performance was then drowned in adrenalin rush. I knew I was done.

The same can be generalized for a good work- rest balance. 80% of the results come from 20% of your work. This helps greatly when studying. 80% of the answer is contained in 20% of the studying material given and if you master that pattern- you understand the lot. (This cannot be generalized to exams though).

It’s the few of our choices that lay foundation to bigger results of our lives. The challenge is usually to find which is the which and who’s the who, sometimes we need deeper analyses , when  the details given are lesser to us. And sometimes (As in Blink, Malcolm Gladwell) , when you have to process lots of information to make a decision, going through all of it and making an instinctive decision often works best. Sometimes we fail in picking out the 20% side of the Pareto rule by drowning in over expectation of the self, peer pressure and not being yourself like what I did. And I’d never want to do it again, ever.

How do you face your “Unfair Life”..? – 27 ways to it

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“Nobody ever became an inspiration playing it comfortable and safe”

God answers  all questions except :  “Why me?”. He will want you to figure it out by yourself. ________________________________________________________________________________

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference between the two” -The Serenity prayer ______________________________________________________________________________ tumblr_static_1   

1)You don’t get to decide this. “This is how I am ,this is how things should go in my life because people around me get all this”. You are not the one calling all the shots in the universe. You can change things. But you cannot expect things to change by themselves without  putting in work. Somebody out there is unluckier than you are. Do not always expect miracles. But save them for the best moments.

2)There is no point in saying “Happiness is for the bad guy, not for guys like me”. Well, how do you know he is truly happy?. May be he is just pretending to be. Is he the kind of person you should be jealous of? Why have you not changed till now knowing the other guy is happier?. You know the answer. You stay put with your deepest beliefs if you think they are worth it.

3)Do not expect results too fast: You want to lose weight,improve your networking skills, you want to be regular in your workout, you need to improve your wittiness to handle a bully at college or workplace, all this will not happen in a day. They may not happen in “days” at all.  The universe does not keep dates. It gives a damn about our calendar. There exist benchmark stages .All you can do is first put in hearty wholesome work. Later you measure them, not often but regularly. You congratulate yourself not for improvement but for getting so many things done. Your hot streak of improvement may come at anytime, like trying to get taller. Unless you have dumped loads and loads of hard work with an ample dose of rest and probably some working professional advice-  Do not expect LUCK and don’t depend on it.

4)Figure out your own rhythm of when you are at your best and when you are not- you may not be good at “to-do” lists, you may be really good when you do things at random. You may or may not be a multi-tasker. You may understand well when you read under candle light. You need not have the same power of concentration as your classmate or your colleague.The point is, you don’t waste time changing your basic abilities and inabilities but tune your efforts to suit your most efficient self. Your resume may not be as full as your friend’s but the point is that something there is good enough for being paid and genuine.

5)Talk to people who mean so much to you when misunderstood- you will perform poorly when you can’t fix personal issues- with a spouse or a best friend, a sibling or  most importantly- a parent. You don’t yell at them and expect them to understand all that went wrong but talk it – no matter how dramatic it gets. You love them, make them understand that. You don’t fix things by having a middleman. Keep an open line of communication, earn their trust, keep it.

6)Your life is bad? You  know that lots of lives out there  are.. May be not in the same tone of bad or the same situation of depression but bad is still bad. You can’t handle your life, well you cannot exchange it with another. Thing is your life isn’t bad. It’s averagely bad. If it were that bad, like homeless or hungry or lost a limb or a loved one – you would not be sitting here reading this. Highly unlikely.

7)Everyone has some fun so you must do something that you don’t heartily approve of”- you want to do something and feel bad about yourself or you would pick a nice pillow cry and feel better. You choose.Crying out is not weakness. No problem.

8)Do not blame your decisions or yourself for the  bad results too much When you decided over something like a college change or a relationship decision, you did it because you thought it would be okay or because some other factors pushed you. Its hardly unlikely that anything else would have happened given your personality or nature like you may be sensitive or get inclined to others’ opinions or you are a safe decision maker. See everybody makes ugly mistakes that mess their lives up. Some stories come out. Some don’t. Don’t get judgmental about others but don’t be so hard on yourself. Its ok… what next?

9)Do not live and relive traumatic experiences in your head .Talk to somebody who won’t pity you but would understand when you have had an experience you cannot easily talk about. Do not expect it to motivate you. For it is full of pain and bad memories.  No dose of self-pity is good. Take some time. It would have changed you. Don’t let it kill you. You are not the only one. Blame nobody. Do not harbor hatred. Jumping to revenge won’t help. You are okay and you will be. You are brave for you have survived.

10) Do not take advice that you don’t ask for When you don’t ask for advice and somebody gives a pretty offensive opinion, that just lives and dies as an opinion. Please don’t sulk about it for the whole day or years- go tell that jerk he is wrong and you don’t need his opinion.  If you really respect the person who said that, do tell them, but politely. End it there.

11)Do not be afraid of the things life will force you to do Most of the things a person does in life are those he is “okay” with doing. So do not dread your future. Most of the things you are afraid of won’t happen. May be bad things will surprise you but what is there in being afraid of things you can do nothing about, if something can be done- think if its ok, give it a try. Because you have no hope of victory- do you want to change? Decide.

12)Embarrassments happen -so what?? Celebrities live with huge embarrassments . They move on. All you have to do is become okay with some embarrassment in a small circle of people. Be mature. You are .But be mature again. Give yourself a reason to accept it. Answer questions. Show a happy face. Be happy with the people you feel warm about. There will be some random person you can share things to.

You won’t feel alone about it.

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13)Not lucky with love and marriage?  Understand what is stopping you. Have the guts to change it. The problem is you and me are afraid about every one of our human relationships. Any solution to a grown up that excludes suicide or drugs is right in front of your eyes. You are just too afraid to pick it up. Or you are afraid of the consequences. You play too much by the rules to be blamed some day else. If it will do good, why not try an alternative solution, a non-conventional one? Nobody is going to stand with you when you feel too bad. Because they won’t know it. You cannot go against the ones you love- very noble, but you CAN convince them. Nobody is “Impossible to convince” unless he’s a molester or a rapist or a serial killer( which is not easy to spot of course). Try. You love and care about them. You don’t want to be immoral. That’s the best thing about you. But be different. This problem needs you to solve it.tumblr_l4v9skbkee1qakn44

14)Somebody you love is going to get married to someone else? Don’t hate it. Have you told them? If you have, you have done your part.Did they love you back? Do not ask people questions that they don’t want to answer.  Big deal. You love them no matter what. There is always another life!. You can’t move on. Its okay, get married anyway. Be somebody’s happiness. You don’t want to sulk your whole life away. Give it a try. I can’t prove my statement. But you can’t prove I’m wrong either now, can you?

15)People are too sarcastic about your failures and shortcomings?– Confront them but not violently. Sarcasm and wit has never been a one man’s game.’ You have a mouth. Use it. Sarcasm is learn-able and fun.

16)Do not get scared about the way time flows. Time gives a damn about you. May be you should too sometimes. Nothing seems to be improving. You do not see light at the end of the tunnel?. Find a way to bring light. Because only you can. Ask for help.See we have no proof if the universe is a conscious agent trying to make you better and better with experiences. But neither do we have proof if it is NOT either. You believe something good. What is the harm?

17)Do not be afraid of disappointments. There are a million ways to get hurt. Disappointment is just one of them. Somebody does not act the way you expect them to be?. Well, give them the personal space to do the action and face its consequences. Why should you be bothered?. If they want to be with you, they will try, you should not act like you are their only “thing”. Don’t feel so great about yourself. Give people their space.

18)Do not rely on everything books say. There are always exceptions. Even in personality readings.  Self-help books are great. But when you do not find the philosophy fitting into your life, find your own or get a new book. But do not be lost with them. You can figure out your life better than any motivational speaker. You just need a push.

19)When people change- give them the space to do it. Something must have happened. The human psyche has evolved so much in the past many many years and the complex combination of any personality is not usually straight or simple. If people choose to be with you, fine. If they do not , not so fine. But okay. You can follow what you believe at your deepest. But it would sound a little narcisstic if you expect others to be. You will waste time worrying.

20)Whether with spouse or kids or mom or dad- you do not force feed your love or concern. If you do, it means you are expecting their attention. Something in return.You put up emotional dramas.  Something like business cannot be love. When somebody force feeds it on you, make them understand that it need not be done this way.

21)Make all the sorries told but do not expect forgiveness and do not trouble the person. Explain any stupid thing you may have done to them.

22) Do not get jealous often in love– when your partner tells you somebody looks or dresses better ,tell him or her about somebody who behaves better. It does not imply they plan on leaving you or are bad people.  Finish it there. Why carry inferior feelings around?. Even when somebody makes you feel bad- YOU GET UP, DRESS UP and SHOW UP.You don’t end relationships because you suspect. You end the when you “know”. You wait until then. Then move on.

23)You be the change you want the society to have Do not wail on the internet or merely sign internet petitions to get things done.  Do not be depressed because of that. You practice and talk to people in real life. When people see things in action, that is when they really think.  Take all the social action off the social media. It makes a better impact. Do not rely on just sharing your views. Put them to practice to see how it really works.

24)When you think you must give up and change- think for a moment if you will want to come back- think about why some people look up to you and want to be like you  You have come this far- stick on to your principles. Someday you will thank yourself for it . Now though it may seem thin and vague. What is the point in going back when you have come this far?- Is it worth?

25) You are never too young to make a mature decision nor too old to stand up for something or to be happy. There is the biological age and the mental age. Which all may be different from your actual age. If there is no other go but to believe there is a God in the happenings of your life. Believe him. No harm ever comes from believing a bigger force, if there is nothing left to be done

26) Your life is too bad? Think again. – I mean again. If it still looks bad. There has got to be lot of scope for improvement. Things don’t happen sometimes. You make them happen. You love your life for giving you the paint brush.

27) You do not become something because you have a degree or because its on your resume. You do not become a doctor and just sit there. You become a doctor everyday when you wake up. That is when you live as one.  When people will truly respect you for your profession ,then is when.

Consistency is the true measure of maturity. No amount of philosophy is.  Understand you were here to do big things. If you are ever reading this, you feel you might have had an unfair life. You have a great future. If you are a rebel for the right cause, you are making big changes already. Believe in the impossible. Because you were IMPOSSIBLE too before you were born- but here you are. Now deal with that unfair  life

Heart murmur and troubles

That muscular labyrinthine organ

That was named “the heart”

The books of science of today

Find that that muscular fist-size organ

Sends more signals to

The brain, than the brain to the heart

Don’t I , a poor human know that

Already for it has a magic bind, like a tracker

That wherever my brain may wander

The heart would bring it back

To the place of its own will

The master of the body

Is a question of debate inside me.

You can control the mind

But how will you shackle the noise maker?

Who like a truant school child

Keeps wanting and asking

For the things at THE VENDOR

That are already sold

I say you will not get them

Let us go home

But he maddens me by repeating

No it is mine and it will come

I say no child please let me do my chores

He keeps bringing me back to the things I will not get

AT the cost of my working hours

Sending me on voyages in a little raft

In the sea of imagination , wonder and sometimes peace.

How much more should I beg you?

You are so random dear Heart

You listen to no obvious reason

But you listen with rapt

Attention to the tiniest things around you

Generate in us what they call “Gut feeling”

That often contradicts any sense

Any logic, any reason that may come of help

In a rational world

Why make me look like a foolish lass

When everybody is speeding to win

But to where I still do not see

How you are so cautious and many times right

I cannot judge

I am trying to convert myself

Into the religion of Logic and Reason

But you seem to hold me ever more tighter

Since you knew I was changing

You do not let me sleep

Nor eat peacefully

I always eat and sleep peacefully

But what are you doing to me now Oh Lo!

No amount of browsing for proof against your claims

Seems to silence you

For your louder with every argument with me

When prose was my best bet

You make me write poetry

You are making me a happy child

When I am trying to grow up

You are showing me my own

Instances of childhood open

Inside I feel

Like something is opening

That causes me to breath well

I know its your work

And I am ever grateful to you for that

Oh Random Labyrinthine Castle

What is the secret you hold

When will you ever let me sleep

And be peaceful with myself

Why are you throwing connections afar

When my work and life is here?

Somehow even my brain feels

All is well that ends well

And this story, seems to end well

One way or the other

Please do not make me the jester

At my own court that is all I will plead you

Oh you muscular fist-large master

Of my mind…

Who has been working

Since even long before

My zero(th) birthday

Why did you take a space in my trunk in that hollow

When you are doing the work the one in the head should be doing.

I wonder why, He created the mind and heart apart

Like Yin and Yang

Neither seems complete without the other.

 

The SOUL MATE

Do not kill me, do not kill me

It screamed

What was the “it” will I now explain

Born for one, born for that one alone

Like a birthmark in my soul

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Birth tied me to the gravity

Of my other half (or so I think/ So I thought for eighteen years)

Somewhere where he or she would be born

Like the rippled waves on the surface

Of a lake rather serene

The lake of events

The lake of time

Events keep pushing me towards

Bring him here

A nucleus of events

Events that would justify why

Atoms decided to give life

To my body

And be the container

Of the soul

That is very real

For it records events

Even after the mortal body

Finds no warmth to spread

As living

Somewhere I know

Deep inside

Somebody born for me

Not because I am a woman

And I need a man

But because I am a being

And I need the other half

I do not know if

He exists

Or I imagine him to exist

And that imagination inspires my walk

So technically

He must exist

To cause and event to happen

The biggest event that happens

Is that tug of the cavity of my

Beating heart when I ponder

Somebody around for me

Years and years searching

Finally knowing

There was going to be no together

With Many claiming they were “him”

No

I’d know it… deep inside

Though my intuitions

Have rather backfired

I’d rather let him not come

Than let you wrong one

Near what I hold sacred

The bond of the soul.

Do not give me she pleaded

A state worse than separation or rather

Death

A state where I know he won’t come

But a state where I have to accept somebody else

The body mind and soul are connected

And if the soul rejects the other , like rejecting

The wrong graft of an organ , during a

“Transplant” what they do on Gaia

My soul will suffer

An immortal death

Like hell comes down to me

When nobody can notice I am dead

I am done screaming

I’d put up a last fight with all that I have

Its okay if I die

For its not suicide

But like a ritual that protects Chastity

Of the soul

You may find me special

But If I do not

Do not dare near me

For a hurt and wounded animal

Knows no mercy to spare

In the face of arrogance.

I envy and praise

Those who embraced

The warmth of the heart

That once wanted the other

Fortunate are those

Who held hands

Once and for all

With the One they love

What is life yet without acceptance of defeat

When I know I am done

I have to accept

And live for the womb

That gave me a body to contain my soul

And that protects a rebel

A prodigal daughter

Till date

You too

Are my other half..

Not because I love you dear mother

But because I am ever in debt.

But I sometimes think

Rather selfishly

“If the right to live denied is one”

“The right to DIE denied is another”

But I have to move about

Like I am alive

Not to pain anyone ever

Again.

Who hears the cries

Of the dumb?

Not many cry like me

So I’d rather look mad

Even if somebody does

Who can help?

I’d rather handle this

All by myself.

I curse myself

For not being able to think normal

All by myself

Rather All by myself

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The roots are brown ; wisdom knows no “early” nor “late”

She was in a year of limbo

Nothing, not much at all

Except musing and remusing

The failures of yesteryears

The wounds she could not forget

Somebody, somebody, everybody advices her

Do this, do that

The worst part was that

She was not listening to only one person’s advice: Hers

Then the year of the Sheep was born

Things began meandering and turning

For the dots that seemed like hurdles on the path last year

Began connecting, one by one

Backwards and sidewards

It surprised her

For doors opened , doors where she would

Do well like a trained sales-man(woman)

Too many people to thank

Like a swarm many new people to light

The dim dark way ahead

A little loser’s pride was born

Or a madness to live

A life lived like death

For nothing (that is what people say)

She pushed away poison mouths

In clever words she had never used before

She had become “Diplomatic”

She had become “hard to take for granted unlike before”

“Mastered weak emotions”( or so she thought)

She had become everything

That should have stopped the”walking over her”

Long before she knew she was going somewhere

Partially because of the insults of the past

“See I wasn’t that!!!!”, “See I am this”, she wanted to yell

First of all she wasn’t yelling at actually nice people

Vague efforts in vain

Not everything was bad though

It was harvest season

And everything was all smiles

She pulled all the baskets on to her head

Because she had carried none

In the past year or before that

Like a work-thirsty ant

Who wanted to lift and walk before death

Came as a sudden visitor

Or to rewrite the past that didn’t leave her head

Nor her sleep

For now she thinks back

“Okay, so what if I was a loser?’

“what if I was talkative?”

“What if I encouraged horrible people?”

“what if I had embarrassed myself a lot of times?”

“What if I was hurt and walked over?”

It only makes the come back

Better, a lot better

“Were they perfect people first?”

“To say anything at all about another?’

“I feel alive after a long time

But should not let the flood rush cover my eyes

To see the world the real way it is”

Probably the introverted  loser in the past

Had a better philosophy of life

The foliage comes latetumblr_lfhfj9KJrn1qaidj6

The roots come forth first

The roots are brown

To make the leaves green

The tree is not ashamed

Of that or the delay

After which the green comes

For you have nobody to prove

Except yourself

Nobody is a loser, unless he chooses to remain so.

But somebody was determined

To rewrite what was written

To end in mud and mud alone

To win fate with what they call “will”

What you call  “Compensation for wounds and pain”.

Yet you must win, without having to stop living

In the end is not how far you have run

Rather how well you have

She hoped that her wrecked mind

Would understand that

In showing the world

How well you can give light

Burn out your oil

Not all your wick

Let the world see what they choose to see

Inside you what do you see

If you see a heart that is unchanged by praise or insult

untarnished by doubt and fear

All this way and pain will make sense

Set the ground first mind oh dear

For all success and failure is an illusion

They will find fault in success

And praise of bravery in failure

There should be none but who knows

You better than you

Immature or the grandma kind

Anything they call

Let it not affect your heart

For it is important,

Do you know why?

It makes records in the soul

Failure has not spoiled people as much

As success has

Run with passion

Never with arrogance

Dear mind, I will not remind you again.. Go tell her

For too many good souls

Trust you………………………………

You would have run so well

Even if you hadn’t hurt yourself falling

So get back up and walk….

What needs to be proved has already been

Every girl is a princess

And no arrogant man needs to attest that

For arrogance is neither the sign of a proper MAN nor WOMAN

Even if it is you dear One….

The best of philosophy is churned out

When embracing darkness

It is no surprise that shards of experienced words

be planted in your path

however early

For death knows no “early-age” nor “late-age”

Neither should wisdom.

Pavi and Shru’s Day out- A journey in a loop

Deep in the soul when my day goes about the usual

Somewhere in the corner embedded was a feeling

A thought, a source where things

Unseen flashed before like they were or would

Happen now or soon or had happened

Only that I did not see them with the same eyes as I see them now”

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10367787_1552927028323428_1781395243747287051_n“Hey bibliophile!!”(My club head was referring to the second part of my email ID, I am not so much of a bibliophile but he found it amusing, we  all like his taste for fun anyway) “Are you coming for the field visit tomorrow or not??!” he asked, for I was unsure of my answer. I didn’t have cash to share-pay the cab fare, I didn’t want to miss the Aadhar card procedure either. Dilemma, double mindedness tearing my decisions apart, I decided to attend the College sports meet for Pavitra, whom most people would associate as  Shrutthi’s bestie. It was mostly an instinctive decision. .I told her I would come on one condition, that she explores Ketti with me. I won’t have much time in college. It is a pretty lonely road down Palada but it is extremely scenic behind Laidlaw Memorial School as much as Kotagiri and other parts of Ooty,  and a cab or bike journey cannot tell you how much scenic and soul cleansing these warmer , lower slopes of Nilgiris are. I didn’t want to lie at home but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity of exploration. Why should boys do all the exploration huh?. Forget that gender comment, I forget I am a girl when I get serious or travel-philic. I packed my back pack. My club head “Tin Tin” was going to kill me if he ever found I was roaming about the valley without attending the field trip.  I was supposed to be a responsible recruit.

Reaching college at nine I learnt that Pavitra had missed the bus. I caught the company of my class girls and quickly rang up Pavitra to tell her to  reach college. The girls and me hypothesized that if we ever got onto the ground for sports, there was going to be no getting out. Heavy security. We decided to stay off campus during the sports and join the girls who were on their way.  The security guard began whistling signaling us to get onto the ground. As everybody walked towards the ground, the six of us eluded the whistling and nervously went the other direction towards “EttaKada Bus stop” which is a little forbidden for girls unless you really need to catch a bus. We waited there until the other girls arrived, I kept scrolling down on my new found love, a popular Tamil novel that I recently took interest in, my phone indicated battery that would last half a day but I kept reading anyway. I proposed that the girls leave, for Pavi and I were to take another route  stretching upto Yellanalli. (That didn’t happen anyway).

The bus stop- Etta Kada
The bus stop- Etta Kada

I had to switch places in the bus stop and keep my face as rigid as possible without looking sinister for boys and staffs frequent the tea shop on the opposite. One of my professors called me enquiring where I was, I thought I was caught for being off-ground but it was to enquire if I was travelling with my club. I told him that I wasn’t with them.

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Pavi arrived half an hour later. I told her my plan, she said not to take her home soon. I agreed. We began walking, clearly her adventure mood had died down, she kept talking about everything that upsets her. She wanted to be back onto the ground to watch the march past. I convinced her and steered her away towards Palada. This was one place that was not frequented by any kind of congesting traffic. Its greenery yet an air of a dry paradise would keep you fresh and awake. Pine and Eucalyptus trees carpet the left side of the road down to the valley slopes. The only clearings you would find are those made by small agro-industries from whose gates you would find somebody staring at you.

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Once the relatively thicker canopy thins out a rather sparsely tree-dotted valley with winding roads adorning the slopes become visible

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. The place is not made rather ugly by concrete buildings and even if there are any it just adds up to its scenery quotient. What is a place if you do not explore it by foot?. We had walked a very short distance and Pavi suggested that we turn back. Now my adventure mood lulled down. I promised her we would turn back with Palada, I was completely unsure of the distance but knew the landmarks .19792_1552928904989907_6057058634974110605_n

She believed me anyway and so thanks to her for it. When you have only one travel buddy, all your transit decisions have to be mutual or it is not going to work at all and would get messier than travelling alone( Alone is fun). We crossed mushroom culture units covered in royal blue synthetic covers for roofing and walls. I felt a relatively higher warmth and expansion near my lungs. I suggested a picture in the woods of eucalyptus where here and there sunlight lights up the ground like in a theatrical play. But Pavi said two girls , all alone in the woods, no lets get out of here. Reluctantly but later being convinced we continued onto the sunlit road. Pavi said the place reminded her of our field work village. Hardly would  one see houses and one’s eyes would inevitably fall on the  cultivation slopes and giant vegetable washing apparatus which was busy with farmers most of the time. We saw a pretty church but it was latched and locked

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We reached Palada and found most of the shops shut close. One general store was open and I found cookies and a drink. We decided to turn  back around and crossed construction workmen who kept staring at us. Pavi asked me if it was Bob Marley’s picture in my phone and I explained that it was Che Guevara.  The journey back made the hills seem even more like heaven. Now we were looking at what actually made the place beautiful, the low lying yet twisted hills of Ketti valley, the world’s second largest valley (that is what the internet says so don’t question me).

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I had to cope with Pavi’s guilt trips and didn’t take much notice of the vegetation and other things that would help me document a rather small yet filling journey. Beyond all this I loved her for coming and I will always love her despite the jerk she becomes when pissed.

I found myself complaining about lots of girls. Cynicism leaves a bad taste in the brain.  We kept talking about everything that was and was to be.  We had neared college when we decided to take a few selfies. Some two guys on a bike joked about our selfie as they crossed us. I assumed he was pissed because he wasn’t in the picture. We reached college, I convinced Pavi to get onto the ground through a short cut. I decided to go home hoping nobody would question me. I walked upto the upper bus stop and waited wondering if my plans of today were actually ruined. I heard the distant engines and was just in time to catch the mini-bus to yellanalli. I decided to take my favorite walking route back home and quitted taking the mini-bus to Odhanatty.

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journey back home

The place is weird for I often had dreams resembling the landscape with closely knitted yet very organized houses of the two or three villages one had to cross. It is a neat landscape with houses away from the noise of the Ooty-Coonoor Highway.  It gave me a connected feeling with the mountains yonder that seemed to zoom into view with every step one took into the road down the valley. There was a temple and I cannot  yet describe the powered up feelings of even just looking at hill-side temples.  Yonder was Mynala and then Dodabetta though they are technically not visible to the traveller.

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The hills are special for the slopes are grassy and the tree line is not much thought of as you only see grass, shrubs and other outgrowths and hardly ever trees. I had a very remember worthy dream of the place recently but it was an evening in my dreams. I was travelling exactly at noon. But the landscape was highlighted at every nook due to the overhead sun. I crossed a residential area where I often looked at a 2 storied house which had Chinese bells hung in the corridor.

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the serenity of temples up-slope
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i will now always remember

They were different from the most that I had seen since childhood. The silence of the afternoon broke by the clanked ringing of the bells as though from a Buddhist temple. Mum called me and said she was in Karakorai and I was to join her. Suddenly I realized I didn’t know where Karakorai was, I could remember the name board but not the village or the specific bus-stop. I decided to walk on until I see the board. Just to be sure , I enquired two men where Karakorai was and they pointed in the direction that I was travelling.

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the shade of the passer-by

I kept clicking pictures, joined mum, dreamily stared at the giant tree by a temple, walked up the slope where she had parked the two-wheeler and got home. What did I learn from the journey?. When time comes, I’d understand. Like Steve Jobs said, “YOU CAN CONNECT THE DOTS ONLY BACKWARDS”.

 

THE INDIAN “RELATIVE PROBLEM”

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Folks , this does not happen everywhere , with everyone . Still, IT HAPPENS

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Linked by blood, connected by culture. Whether or not the YOU of the generation “Y”,  identify yourself with the  customs and traditions of your ethnic community  or how much ever you run far away, in the end you will end up in the same bowl( Like the salmon who find their way back to their birthplace ) or find yourself wishing you were in it( Yet there are exceptions). The simple reason, friendships, global culture , cosmopolitan thing is all very redeeming  yet not everlasting ( you at one point are dependent on your parents and parents in turn, on their family, relatives and extended families) .  Every  one of your decisions and  actions warrants passing through a scrutinizing filter called , “RELATIVES”.

Despite the shortcomings, just like the clichéd phrase “No man is an island”, you will somehow somewhere want to identify yourself with a group of people you can mentally connect with and be offered mentoring and moral support . To live entirely far away, you must sever ties like a sattvic and live a saint’s life (No harm, its is good too). But even there, you will need the acceptance of similar minded people, to improvise, learn and  to get guidance from.

SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT OUR FAMILIES?

We are a species who can make a person feel lonely regardless of the number of people he is surrounded by. We can corner somebody without actually cornering him. We can hurt people unexpectedly  whilst they are not on guard scarring them for a life time. But the funny part is, the people who can  do the demoralization are actually whom we call our own.- “OUR RELATIVES”. The thing about relatives and Indian family system is that, whether or not you truly indentify yourself with them, whether or not you truly like them, whether or not you and “them” wish only the best for another,  YOU ARE STUCK WITH THEM. Till death.  Actually even after that. Because DEATH and the customs associated with it are part of community culture.

Gossiping

It is ironic at the fact that we mock each other, pull each other’s legs, put him down, step on him, amplify his failures and shortcomings , talk about what has happened in his life, what has not happened in his life, what he was too fast at, what he was too slow at, what curses his family,  create an atmosphere of utmost suspicion and secret agent, spy maneuvers at weddings and community functions, gossip, find every rat-hole to find a way to make him kiss the ground, feel bad forever and ever.  We remember family feuds and enmity history for a life-time, we take it out on their children, somehow. We keep cold-wars. Ugly cold-wars .We do not let the little cousins mingle seamlessly for fear of controversy or letting out secrets.  We yardstick everybody not based on their education or achievements rather on money and power. And even more ironically (in Tamil) after all this we say “ Naalu per  venum,”( you need people). There is no other alternative now is there?, even if there is, are we prepared to pick it up?.

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“Psycho relatives are constant across cultures.”—-CHETAN BHAGAT, Two States (The book)

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TRACE THE STRING BACK TO WHERE?

So are we all like this? What is the root cause?. I’m of the opinion that the root cause is the “DEVIL’s WORKSHOP of a rather IDLE WOMAN’s MIND”, most custom and comparison problems arise from the  twisted thinking of the women of the “So- called” big family. (If your family is scattered across a geographical region, then gone it is, because then they  literally have nothing else to talk about, because curiosity builds around your life).  Now with the growth of technology, news about anybody gets to your door-step as fast as it happens. So, no escaping .

But this is just a shallow reason, the deeper reasons go way back into the past and are now critically influenced by the changing economy, culture,  career choices, work and living environments and even more, community politics. Long ago, atleast in the pre-independence era, we had clear definitions of communities, we even longer before had associated particular trades and livelihoods associated with a community, caste or whatever. We had clear boundaries drawn on the do’s and don’ts. People were far away but we bothered to keep in touch( not through speedy roads or mobile phones, sometimes through telegram). Kids spent time in faraway relatives homes, had collective fun and learning , were taught from a  younger age as to who we were, why you should not associate with another community and what is wrong with them. There was no room for lateral or sinister  thinking unless it had to do with money or property. There was no room for questioning either. Back then,  we never questioned or could question our customs (suppose you ever found something wrong that is).

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We had no clearly defined institutions of etiquette except our own elders. It was word of mouth that associated most of your habits with others around you, the usual and unusual do’s and don’ts.  Today, people got educated, found jobs, moved away from the mainstream, laws enforced, discrimination penalized, bad customs questioned, social organizations penetrate our every town. We interact quiete well with all walks of people, the possibilities of a bride or groom from a completely different community is large, if not huge.  The buying and earning power has exponentially grown along with the scope for spending ,(just to keep up the social  reputation atleast).   There is no room for love, understanding, compassion or real brotherhood  here. It is the “You do things right, I do the same” watchword.  It is as defined as an  Army Organization, no compromise, no shortcomings, you adhere, no matter what.

WHAT HAS CHANGED NOW?

Yet you cannot deny that the changes in the country amplified our individualism. For example , considering  my own family and ethnic circle (only after really growing up I began to feel the need to connect) , I could not have dreamt of an education and exposure to type down this blogpost  given the courage to find fault with culture  if it were a 50 or even 20 years ago.( I may be wrong at that for my parents broke the cultural barrier with a love marriage). Education and technology has changed us, (greatly but not enough),  it has given man an individual status, putting his personal wishes and interests as equally important as the commonly accepted way of life. We, after 66 years of independence are free (Or so we think). Our families have since grown nuclear and physically further, hence the need to hold him (a person) back to ground  has become a necessity and his need to remember his roots have grown pressurising. INDIA_CHANGE12A-01-2

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do we remember and honor the real purpose of weddings?

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I can recount experiences of a lot of kids from conservative families do things nobody would ever dream them doing  (NOT ANYTHING PROUD OK) , “This is the time you can be free and can have fun, why do you think so much, chill!” . Later when it comes to big decisions like career or marriage, they are completely okay with whatever is given to them, PACKED! PERFECT! SAFE! PRACTICAL! “ Mummy ka beta!”., and later I hear  their advice, “ Grow up , listen to your family, family is important”. I would think  “Oh realllllyyyy???” ________________________________________________________________________________  

There were times where I had to go too prepared to weddings and discuss with my dad and mom on what I should say and what I should not let lose, how should I smile, whom I should talk to, whom I should avoid. Anyways in the end it would get screwed up at least a little. It is like walking-in on an interview, either you nail it or come back beaten . On the journey back I would get feedback from my parents, “Not enough, not sharp enough, not thoughtful, not bold, not quick”.  Handling people- politics, double-entendres, inside-questions , diplomacy, fluent speaking (God I couldn’t handle my dialect fluently, in the end I’d sound artificial though I had been  complimented for the way I speak back at college and neighbourhood ).

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THE BASIC THOUGHT-PLANE

The Indian decisive-psyche is different from the Westerner school of thought. Mythological heroes and kings and the like were heroic because of their off-beat deeds and independent thinking ability. We rever them, make them cultural icons, stop there.  We get completely “PRACTICAL”, when it comes to “REPUTATION” . Here in India, be it business or personal choices, most do not have the ability to take decisions that are boldly different, nor stand by them. We are afraid of risks. We predict doom. The thought of failure and the embarrassment that follows eats us alive. We make sure that the fear eats up our children’s dreams, wishes and ultimately their only chances of ever winning independently. Honor killings, forced marriages, what not?.

A culture that boasts of its spiritual backbone and higher level human thought becomes downright fascist with our own relatives, why is that?. Because we suspect another, we suspect our own selves, we are hard to convince on personal terms but act like we are flexible. We find fault with others, play psychological games so that nothing turns against us. Once we decide to target somebody in a family function, we make sure we bury him. Its done. We find fault with aspect A, when aspect A is fixed, we find fault with aspect B. We do not give him a break!. We smile to the face, yet get sarcastic to the face, we victimize people after they eat on our tables, after we eat on theirs. We define customs and rituals to suit our own propaganda. We hunt down people for property, prestige, we act broad-minded but act barbaric in the face of risk (To our own, To our own!!) . We do everything that deserves cursing, later we moral police and curse another . When somebody who is not blood or ethnically related to us does something of the like, it  becomes easy to dismiss saying “Everybody of their religion, caste is like that” or you would rather take it to court. Whereas here you cannot say nor do, even if you say, you cannot escape.

SO WHAT ONLY DO WE DO?

Do we have to disintegrate our customs and completely boycott the culture because it consumes half our lives for nothing?, May be not. May be if you can get as poisonously mocking or become a good manager or develop a clever mouth, you can survive. Or better, get indifferent and  don’t mind, or get extremely rich or famous. People don’t question you then unless they see you fall off the top of the ladder. A simple and happy life wrecked by something worthless and imaginary, isn’t it? Something built on killing another’s happiness. Do not kill the culture (You have got the culture entirely wrong, you are playing games like kids, you ask but never GIVE!, that is not culture). You become a person, a personality by killing the human being inside. “Only a clever bride will survive here”,?  Well then , times have changed, do not give a bride to a place where only cleverness is going to help her survive in the sinister environment.  Sounds better does it not? .Do not encourage or give too much weightage to the poison roots.  Turn your attention and favors to those who mean no harm. Have the patience and the moral courage to explain your off-beat decisions, take wise ones. Keep individuality alive. family ________________________________________________________________________________

But now should I be glad or worried that my parents never taught me to be sinister and cunning?. Hmm well just like my bestie from Kerala  says, “Caste and Community will always exist Shru, whether you like it or not.”. Yes they will, but humanity must co-exist with them.  Have w not forgotten the very role of a community? .Like they say, communities are to bring people together( and offer moral support), not to drive them far apart. So then what can be done, until this is embedded back into our ethnic and family DNA?. ___________________________________________________________________________________

dialogue to the self and a monologue

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This is just  a piece of work using/ exploiting my internet space for some hearty indulgence. Open to suggestion. But I cannot improve this for this would be the last of its kind on the blog- roll. I am not much of an independent person or even a  person  yet.  I am just a dying- to -do things 21 year old. This is not targeted at any specific person. Any such similarities are purely coincidental and brush them aside from your mind. It is about me and I strongly suggest  that you DO NOT to read on.

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Do excuse me for using the blog space for my own personal interests. Just found no better way.

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One or more things about you that people mistake greatly.

1) That I talk a lot. No I type a lot. I converse fluently , that is all.

2) People assume am too nice when I crack jokes and that I’m too serious when I walk stone faced in a public place. It’s okay. It’s your mind and my mistake for not making myself clear. 🙂

Do you have a great passion to write and become a writer?

Nope. I just love expressing, blowing the vent out. Getting a message forth in noticeable sentences. I’d just want to be economically independent and socially outgoing and interact with lots of people throughout my life, teach what I have learnt and learn loads.

Any ability that you would buy for a big deal of money?

Good kung-fu, visual learning (I am an auditory learner). An ability to speak at the least 5 foreign languages fluently.

Where there is food there you are, why would that be?

1) I love sitting, eating and talking with light-hearted and like-minded people. 2) I am always hungry 3) I like the ambience of my college cafeteria.

Avid Novel reader?

Novel Reader. Not avid. I do not have a big collection. I take long to finish a novel because of having to juggle between works. I thank people for their novel lending, gifts and donations.

If you had the choice to completely write your future down how would that look like?

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I would travel far and independently (even if it is within my district),  meet new people, go to plenty of events (Not weddings and parties). Get a DSLR camera , take plenty of pictures with monochrome filters and click sunlit objects, go to two or three Shakespearean and contemporary theatre plays, probably take a fair good amount of selfies, learn to interpret maps well, write travel notes, buy lots of little souvenirs (particularly accessories) give attention and time to new people who need help, make friends, feel life. Come back home, publish things I’d like to say before I die. Become completely vegan and  green organic foodie , save some animals from being slaughtered. Research on opportunities probably establish a  sustainable business in a friendly ecosystem with a few good friends. Become a success story in a magazine. Have plenty of money to donate and spend on kids’ education. Live a life where I do not have to waste time hating and fearing people. If I can write a memoir, write it.  Campaign life long on the benefits of organic living and unconventional learning, visit schools, give guest lectures . Retire.

An ability of yours that you feel has deteriorated or vanished?

Capability to get things done at the neck of the moment. Being rigid on nutrition supplements.

People you cannot forgive?

Now should I really forgive them ?

Why and how do you think seriously  about college life?

( You should !!!). Just realized how much time has rolled by not doing pretty much anything and how little time I actually have left.

Popularity?

It will become downhill once it goes up the head. It makes sense as long as it does some good to you and people around you. And its purpose must die with tat. It must be fun and not invite trouble.

Any humour sense? 

I think you should talk to my friends. 🙂

Favourite reads?

Specific Biographies on Wikipedia, magazines and interviews.

Thoughts abut platonic relationships?

Necessary for a healthy out-going personality who does not have to compromise his or her morality nor miss a healthy interaction to learn things. Break away from old barriers without being called disgusting.

Food cravings?

Largely dependant on mood swings. There is a big list though I do try to stay on track.

Philosophy on life : Swim  against the current or go with the flow?

Go with the flow but always be conscious of what you would normally say “no” to. Know where to take a detour and where to stand hard like a rock.

Why do you have the reputation of writing and talking like an old person?

Old people are stereotyped with being philosophical. People with sensitive natures and turbulent childhoods , turbulent lives are normally philosophical. Next thing, my influence on thinking about life from a weird/ not usual angle unconsciously springs from a very brave woman’s presence, my mother and some besties who have always talked about life ever since school. They are still with me. By the way, what is the harm?, why should everybody do the same thing when we have everybody pushing our youth to “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX”? Huh?. “BUILD YOUR OWN UNIQUENESS”, perhaps this is all I am good at.

Are you an outright orthodox feminist?

I do not think so. Some of the most irritating people in my life are women and almost all of my mentors are men and am not too gender conscious about this or gender conscious throughout the day. But when I hear or read about abuses and gender issues, I get naturally angrily inclined. I don’t want the same thing happening to me or the women I know. It is always “She for She” and “He for She”. Women do not need saving.

Why do you think and act like a big woman who has done something big already (which you haven’t)?

1) I got tired of being a girl 2) I definitely want to be a woman who defines herself clearly in every big decision of her life and has it “HER” way.

Are you too harsh or orthodox or attention seeking?

People are orthodox about religion at the cost of friendships, relationships and lives of others no matter how well educated they get. A good friend suddenly sounds like a religious fanatic. Is being me orthodoxly such a huge crime?. I do not think I target people (mostly) I only point out the actions. Most often I do not say it at their face at all. I guess I should change that.

Attention seeking.. well… If I was.. I would do it  better with “me” centered in my  actions. I centre my beliefs  but yes I do enjoy healthy attention, I think most people do.

 BTW,Why this kind of a blog post?

1) I am too bored with doing anything the usual way when you can always see a good alternative. 2) I think everybody must ask themselves some common questions people ask them on account of their weirdness and explain with your head high even if it is not a lengthy Facebook post (suppose I do not have a tomorrow), everybody must think of themselves as a socially responsible celebrity and have a fun some healthy self-esteem when you have moral integrity (only when one has moral integrity).

What is missing in the country’s youth in your opinion?

(WOWWIEE QUESTION!! : I could be wrong)

1)The ability to distinguish between fantasized desires and real passionate ambitions ( I was a victim of this mindset).

2)Planning ahead .

3)Setting objectives and policies for life, lack of boldness in  explaining why you did something.

4)When things go wrong, most people start thinking like everybody else .Worse they start thinking yester-year and quit they lack the pride of being in the youth years, ending every energy burst with the usual stuff but yes you cannot expect everybody to be rebellious and fiery as some.

5)Lack of persistence , lack of “This is what I want”, lack of “I should not advice others too much” attitude and a hell a lot of herd mentality is prevalent. There are plenty of people who are amazing but it would be nicer if a lot more people  joined the “amazing” crowd.

Your definition of style when it comes to the wardrobe?

Having a lot of you in your makeover and wardrobe than just a lot inside the wardrobe. Never doing something because everybody says its cool or because everybody does it.

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Vintage or fusion. I feel  vintage styles had a sense of belongingness and authenticity .

A girl’s biggest gifts?

Knowing where to transit borders and be flexible being quick to learn and being persuasive. Being a little charming rather than attractive. Being clever, confident, loving and witty. Knowing to tell a boy from a man.

Cuteness and girlishness?

I’d save that reserve for one person, not everybody.

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Views on love?

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The Soul-mate thing. ( can’t pick people who only  think they fit me well). The “I can feel it” thing. The only thing I’d believe even if it is abstract and has no scientific base.

Astrology?

There is equal amount of reason to believe and not to believe. I would say., I really do not know.

Who are DIFFERENT people?

People who can’t change their good selves even if it is doing them no good. People who can be the same person in the face of praise and insult.

Hate people who?

Have contradictory personalities. Who think they know somebody better than the somebody.

Women you admire and look upto?

I admire MC Mary Kom’s life (It’s full of steely grit). Lots of NGO workers, amazing women around me,  J.K Rowling (mostly because of her persistence and resilience),  Parineeti Chopra, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Emma Watson , women who are comfortable in their own skin and bold without letting go of womanliness and self-esteem (and they are simple with a large fan following, producing great  work).

 Favorite  epic /historic woman characters of great personality and admiration?

Sita, Mandodari (ravana’s wife), Draupadi, Joan of Arc (God I love her), Shahrazad (spinner of the Arabian Nights stories). Anne Frank and lots more.

Men? 

Two of my professors who are also my mentors, Steve Paul Jobs, key political figures of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein.

Something that makes you read on the internet.

Psychology, cancer, movie reviews, management and commerce jargon, start-ups, success stories.

Movie genres?

Thriller, action ( Not the weapons kind something like premium rush), Science fiction that is not the usual, espionage and archaeological themes, biographies.

Television?

English crime series (always and everafter)  and some Hindhi campus-based series.

If anybody thought you are amazing?

If I felt the same about you, you better not be my friend or my brother 🙂 🙂 🙂

Otherwise you are absolutely wrong but thanks for the support.

If anybody thought you are good wife material?

Are you sure your family would feel the same way? huh? and Do I feel you are good husband material?

Finally : Why did I do this?

1) I haven’t blogged in a long time, I didn’t find a good category.

2) For the fun of an interview (God do I love those!)

(awaiting my favorite critics)

Against Sexual violence- Yelling, sympathy, tears and Swearing- that is it?

Iraqi Freedom

“Don’t hit her” simple, it is not “Don’t hit her because she is a woman”. Try hitting MC Mary Kom.      The hospital is that way, yes, yes they do plastic surgery.

“You got hit, that is a bad thing”. That is all. It is not “Oh shit! You got hit by a woman”. Whether you get hit by a car or by a bike, you are still in “THE-HIT-AND-RUN” case category.

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“Mera Bhai!!! who moral polices what young boys do in Browsing Centres?. Who moral polices bar –fights? Who shuts down their pig-like faces at the corner of the street when a lone woman passes by? why do you only target women who are not clad in dupatta?. Now are you going to arrest me for what I said? People will burn things on the street , you will have another line of something like KISS-OF-LOVE CAMPAIGNS…ready for that?”

“Teach her schools and colleges, to punch if necessarily fatally, give her right to have revenge if possible legalise revenge”.

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Rape is not a crime against a woman. It is a foolish crime that makes you think you are more dominant than another human victim in flesh and blood.

Disclaimer : The following article is not intended at promoting violence against rapists. If I had intended that I would have done better.

Protests , mass-protests, self-immolation have changed history. Yet we need to take a look at what has changed and how?

just this?
just this?

Presenting you with a hypothesis. Let us consider the Russian revolution(1917 ), the Indian Independence Movement( circa 1945), the Arab Spring (2010). All were against a visible, all powerful but tangible enemy. We do not exactly fight people in war or  in debates. We fight beliefs, we fight ideas, dogmas.  All these revolutionary mass up-risings (even instances of civil war) were against HIERARCHY, or against something that was wrong with a CENTRAL but VISIBLE dogma. Easily fought, both sides with visible retaliation measures, matters settled, usually the people’s side wins. They realize the power of the mass to overthrow anarchy or whatsoever that is unjust.

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But protests are a reaction to another malady, “social evil”. Rapes, infanticides, dowry deaths, prompted suicides, hate speeches,  etc , many incidents of which are either half or ill reported but we still take up the banner and placard, why? Something has scalded our blood and we feel a sudden urge to do something about it. Protest. Nothing inherently wrong. But do we care whether or not a day spent in the hot sun waving banners ever made a difference?. Hardly. Not just in our country, in many places across the globe , protests have become mere news events, just a vent of pent-up anger. Enough media coverage, enough banners, enough noise, enough people . Enough police watching over or resisting, arresting,  job done. Protest well done but where is the change?.

Everybody has to return back to their normal lives after a mass-protest. The perpetrators of crime or any “evil” reclaim their territory once the noise dies down. In the wake of Nirbhaya’s rape (it had been gruesome, gruesome to the core, but both the people and the government reacted partially because it was sensational news, sensitive) people, men and women alike took their anger to the streets, blamed the government. Yes the government is responsible for not checking violent PORNOGRAPHIC film trade and downloads. But it is mostly the shadow market, according to men it is just another step after a “drunken relaxedness”, the government is responsible for delayed justice. But is only the government responsible?. When a mass uprising of people against a single powerful yet visible enemy can overturn contemporary events and bring change , WHAT ARE WE, UNITS OF MASS UPRISINGS DOING TO PREVENT ALL THE VILENESS AND DARKNESS LURKING IN OUR MINDS, HOMES , SCHOOLS, COLLEGES and STREETS?.

Yes, that is the point I was getting at. Some social evils are not the responsibility of the government. We let them grow, we are letting them grow. The evil is in our proximity and we may very well stop pelting stones at the parliament and start gathering some for our “vulnerable” women and children. Statistics reveal that sexual or physical abuse and molestation to any number of the victims usually came from people “THEY ALREADY KNOW”. We already know them, but do not know if they are “the predator”.

The Westerners were pioneers in pornographic film production and trade. But we do not have such large reports of sexual violence as much as we hear about in India. This is a massive shame to a nation that boasts of revering women, oh where exactly was I revered ever since I was born?. Even women themselves do not revere women. Yes we know that, we know what evil mother-in-laws do . Lots of Indian soap operas show us that, don’t they?.

The problem of extreme of sexual violence springs from two things: 1)longstanding portrayal of women as WEAK or WHO NEED PROTECTION, that is not making them any protected, that is just making them more attractively vulnerable.

2) You are a girl. Behave that way. Which shame bearing mother teaches her son the true sign of a man?. Excuse me drugs, girls, alcohol?. Does any all girl party boast of drugs, boys and alcohol? If they do, they become targets of MORAL POLICING, “literally.” My country’s constitution is over shadowed repeatedly by non-democratic ideals. You only police women to safeguard “Culture”. Nobody moral polices men. Or hardly. why?

3) Yet again to say, books and authors have shown that linking sensational newspaper portrayals of suicides have had a direct but silent impact on suicide rates in areas where the news was read. Simply put, if a person who would normally not commit crime but is not morally inclined reads repeatedly or hears about rapes and violence , he sub-consciously becomes inclined to do the same thing

4) They don’t just victimize women. They portray women in paintings, articles as somebody who needs to be saved. I have a question to ask you, are you stupid?. When you know you can’t be around to protect them all the time, why do you  not ask them to PROTECT THEMSELVES?. Women are not made of flesh and bone (mostly bone is not considered by rapists) alone, they are not secret carriers of chastity alone. They are not wrapped up presents for quenching sexual thirsts. Women can kill, acid, shoot and burn just like you can.

Why do we keep portraying women in the WEAK LIGHT?. Forget that, we have Arab countries where women are asked to strictly follow rules and keep up dignity. There too she is the inhabitant of the kitchen and baby-sitter of her children, in developed Arab countries women come out and go with families. They too are painted in DEPENDANT or WEAK LIGHT but sexual violence cases?

Why?. The most shameless and brainless mistake we do in the wake of a rape incident is, we paint her the victim. We look at her pathetically. We blame her for walking alone. We blame her for uploading photos on the internet. WE blame her for responding to lewd and vulgar comments (Vulgar is funny or trendy for some bastards and I am not ashamed to say it). WE blame her for turning down a marriage proposal. We blame her her her her. Never Him why?????.

I write this as a pent up vent take for what is burning in me since late childhood. Every time when I hear another sister melted down in acid, burnt in flames, bloody and unclothed on the road –side, another moral policed. Parents, blame parents first. Fearing society you make her the victim of the same society. You cannot monitor men or boys who go out to the streets with enough money to get drunk and get phones and slick T-shirts. You don’t raise gentlemen. You don’t teach your men to be heroes in moment of need. You don’t teach your daughter how to protect herself. How to be deadly.

he -for-she has never been so much needed than now,
he -for-she has never been so much needed than now,

How many laws say? “Death for violent rape?”, “Acid for acid?”. Will nothing change until women get as bloody, brutal, vile and demonic against the sex wanting males (not men) roaming streets in coloured clothes looking for the perfect vulnerable victim?. Change humanity. Change. And who says India is poor? We are feeding fatted up criminals and to-be criminals. Our buying power is increasing. But surviving powers? Down Down like many other things. Which legion of angels is going to avenge them?. Hidden in each one of you who can shed a tear. The world will change. It will.