Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meaning of Good and Evil.

How does one define good? or for that matter evil? Many people have a shallow idea of good and evil. They are quick to jump to a conclusion. Quick to point accusatory fingers. They have no idea that good and evil are in fact relative. "one man's food is another man's poison", so the saying goes. Likewise, an evil for X may be good for Y. People expect good things to happen to them because they do good. That is they treat goodness as an investment, with a selfish motive deep at heart. Help should be anonymous. But today most people advertise their help or help with an eye on the camera. More concerned with the publicity they may receive than the gratitude they are sure to receive. They forget that doing good is right only if it is done for the right reasons. Helping a pretty girl because you think that she might fall in love is a disgusting thought. However, this is what is prevalent in today's world. One should, of course, help others. But it should be done for your satisfaction not for cheap publicity.

Supposing one day God announces that He will not reward those who help others but rather He will decide through a lottery one wonders how many people will continue their 'help'. Many say that they try to do their best. But do they know how what their limit is, their best is? They set a 'best' for themselves and they do not try to excel that, because that is their limit! They forget that the surest way to change the world is through one random act of kindness a day. You also need to know who to help. You are only so strong. During medieval times, doctors treating war wounded would first assess the injuries to see if the person could be helped. If not, they just opened an artery and moved on. No wasting precious resources and time. This is not hardheartedness. This is practicality. People do not understand this too. And just offer help to keep their conscience quiet. How else can one explain the tons of cash given to temples and churches?

Help. But because you want to. Not because have to.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

TV serials. I know, I know.. Don't throw up yet. Let me finish. I still am at pains to understand how they call it 'mega'? It means big, bigger than the usual. Not looooooonnngggg. And the serials seem to be intent on setting world records. An actress who was portraying the role of a pregnant lady, did so for two whole years. It is the elephant which has a pregnancy duration of over two years. Never thought a human would be able to replicate that feat. More than these ridiculous portrayals, its the depiction of women that is worrying. The women characters are either markedly saintly or markedly evil. Have the directors of the serials ever heard of reality? Why don't they take a leaf from the book of western soaps? Once a serials is aired, the response of the audience is gathered and if it is negative, it is immediately scrapped. Here they prolong our agony. Will somebody teach them the meaning of hara-kiri and so end our misery? We await a saviour.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dance or Dunce??

Where has quality gone? All art forms require dedication and practice. But most people do not realize this. Especially those who claim to "dance". The fact that dance and them are complete strangers would be discernible to even a person suffering from glaucoma. Yet they seem to take a perverse pleasure in torturing us with their "dance" and seek feedback (read appreciation). Sometimes a performance is so bad, you look up at the sky and say "why me?". Then you realize that the person is waiting for "feedback". You pity yourself and begin an elaborate lie about energy and expression hoping you are sounding coherent. You have to lie. If you speak the truth and criticize, you could be called discouraging. Dance requires a certain grace and something spiritual. Many of us lack that, yet we want to try our luck for an impromptu dance.

Added to the trouble is the fact that the judges usually lack knowledge about dance themselves. And when the blind lead the blind, they both will fall into a ditch. And splash ditchwater on us.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Winners Vs Losers

Winners or whiners? It is thus that the world categorizes us. Winners or Losers. We all love winners. Mostly it is thumbs down for the loser. Winners are treated as gods. Our world today is a winning crazed world. As the captain in The Caine Mutiny says, "In my ship, extraordinary performances are standard, standard performances are sub-standard and sub-standard performances will be punished." Why this crazed emphasis on winning? Most of us are good at one thing. Its acceptable to be not so good at other things. But while we cry for acceptance even when we fail, we are not so charitable when others fail. We even take a sadistic pleasure when others fumble and slip. We are reluctant to lend a helping hand, afraid that someone may call us weak. We are quick to criticize, pounce on their failure. Many young people are afraid to take a risk because they are so afraid of losing. They are so afraid of criticism. We are turning our society into a society of losers.

It is often said that sport is not about winning or losing, but taking part. But is it really that way? Our athletes take performance enhancing drugs, indulge in dirty tactics, everything to win. Magnanimous winners and gracious losers belong to the prehistoric age. It is with these thoughts that you sit to watch Little Miss Sunshine, a delightful movie about a delightful bunch of losers who strive hard to win. But it is with their loss they learn the important lessons of life. It is so with our lives. It is our losses that teach us more than our victories ever can. Stallone's Rocky is also significant in this regard. Rocky is the loser in the movie, but it is he who wins the audience's appreciation not Apollo, the winner. It is common knowledge that most of the high profile winners actually lose out on a lot of other things. How many young achievers end up committing suicide is any body's guess. The relentless pressure to perform and sustain that performance, to be consistent, takes a toll on their mental stamina and they feel trapped. They see no way out and end their lives in desperation.

I prefer to be a loser and stay happy and sane, than be a winner and end up in an asylum.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Problem with God

God exists. There is in circulation so much "proof" that God doesn't exist. I am not going to offer any proof. I just want to explain the importance of God in human life. However much science can explain the mysteries of the Universe with its equations, there still remains inexplicable gaps. But that's not what this blog is about. Man needs to work for a higher purpose to feel that satisfaction in his life. Can Science offer that satisfaction? It is a constantly evolving world as far as science is concerned. A scientist cannot stop to smell the roses. If he does so, he will find himself overtaken by any one of his contemporaries. He is forced to keep on working. What satisfaction does he get after a lifetime of work? A Nobel Prize at most. And to be frank, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics or Chemistry does not get the same attention that a Prize winner in the fields of Literature or Peace. How much ever science promotes logic, it is art that draws more crowds and response, leaving science to cry hoarse over the unfairness of it.

It is not the concept of God that is at fault, but the people who profess to follow it. "God" never ordered the mass killings that take place daily in His name. Most people do not realize that religion was made for Man and not Man for religion. Most people place religion above humanity and humanness. Humanity is the soul of religion. Without it religion is a corpse. Most people worship the corpse, not the soul. And thats the problem with God. The problem lies not with Him. But with us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

On the 123..

The Nuke deal is a small step toward energy security. As analysts have pointed out, India's energy security lies in eliminating transmission losses, increasing power generation capacity, and thrust in research and in our indigenous FBRs. At a time when the detractors of the deal (read the Left) are crying hoarse over the 'sellout' to the US, China has embarked on an ambitious project of establishing at least 39 reactors by 2050. And Pakistan is knocking at the doors of Capitol Hill demanding that it be given a deal on the same terms as India's 123. Surely Pakistan will not want a treaty that is bad?! Also, Pakistan and China are secretly trying to scuttle the deal. One wonders if the Left leaders have received instructions from Beijing. A B Bardhan has reportedly said that the US was trying to drive a wedge between India and China. Can someone please inform him that it is China which is illegally occupying about 120000 sqkms of Indian territory. Also, the two-facedness of the Left is clearly evident in Tamil Nadu.

When Minister of State for Railways, Mr. Velu, proposed to split the Palghat Division of the Southern Railways, tremendous opposition rose from the Leftist government in Thiruvananthapuram. No surprises there. But when all political parties in Tamil Nadu joined to protest, the Left was conspicuous by its absence. What is more, they even requested that there be no protests.

The nuke deal is a very sensitive one. As analysts have pointed out, it will accelerate India's nuclear programme. And the deal is a worked out compromise, not an outright compromise. Our negotiating team did a tremendous job. Kudos to them. Also this is not the last business we are going to have with the US. There are more deals in the offing. Let them not think that we are incapable of sinking our differences for a common good.

Of rice and pizzas..

Why do people pay more attention to newcomers in their life? Why do they ignore old contacts? Is it so that they are after greener pastures? In their favour, it must be said that newer contacts offer new opportunities. But should they forget old contacts and friends? A friend reports that her friend paid more attention to his crush than her, even though he did not receive more than a cursory glance from the concerned party. On questioning, he gave the following example of rice and pizzas. "Rice is our staple diet. We eat it daily. So when we see a new dish, say a pizza, we immediately taste it to see how it tastes like. But rice remains our main course." This argument obviously did not cut ice with the Rice. This argument smacks of opportunism. He is merely trying to pacify the rice. While I am not against friends tasting new pizzas, I would like them to give rice its due share of importance too. But many a time people lose so much in pursuit of elusive pizzas, that by the time they give up and return, they find that the rice has moved away. Is this worth the wild goose chase? This is one question that certainly merits a lot of thinking. Please excuse me, I have to talk to my rice...

The Self-publicity Bug

Self-publicity seems to be creeping into every part of the system today. Celebrities, especially, jaded ones, whose better times are behind them, seem to crave the limelight. Be it a wedding or a funeral, the couple's relatives or the bereaved family seem to think their love for the couple or the departed respectively, is not completed till they have defaced a few walls with posters eulogizing the couple or the departed soul. Why this mania for publicity? And new politicians and leaders of organizations that are going to vanish from the face of this earth the next day, ask their followers to spend all their energy erecting cutouts or pasting posters. Money that could be well spent on alleviating the distress of at least a few of the millions of poverty stricken Indians is poured down the drain of self-publicity. And the titles they give themselves are sickening. One leader of an organization has been called 'volcano'. Going by his girth, that looks like he is going to explode, one can say he has been aptly named or nicknamed.

We can at least accept these publicity seekers among politicians and wannabe politicians. But what about the antics of the common public bitten by the publicity bug. They invite big leaders for weddings and hold up the entire proceedings till the grate.. er.. sorry, great leader arrives. It is utter nonsense of course. A wedding demands the presence of the families of the couple, their friends, the registering authority or the religious leader . What is the need for these fools to create a ruckus about it. Likewise a funeral ceremony is going to end in a graveyard, why the need for posters and cutouts? Is the dead person going to wake up, look around and appreciate all the paraphernalia? The people who do this are not doing it out of love for the departed, but for self-glorification.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Greatest Mystery

Girls are the greatest mysteries on Earth. They outshine the Pyramid of Giza, the Inscriptions of the Indus Valley Civilization and other mindbogglers in existence, in confounding the masculine mind. No one can guess what a girl is feeling at a particular moment. I myself have undergone this predicament many a time. Often have I thought that the girl I was with was listening to my philosophical lecture, only to realize that they were wondering if they had worn their hair clip the right way. Also, when you extend a hand of friendship, they look at you with the utmost suspicion on their minds, convinced that you are about to outrage their modesty. On the other hand, they very happily go out with a good-looking serial rapist and land in boiling water.

They say they are open to criticism. But beware!! If you so much as say that their toe-nail is a little out of shape, you have made yourself an enemy. They will treat you like one. What should one do in such circumstances? Do not pamper their ego. They will try to conquer your masculine willpower through feminine water power. Yield not. If you yield an inch, you'll lose the entire war front. We are not Prithviraj Chauhans to forgive Muhammad Ghori (we all know what happened to P Chauhan). Do not let it happen to us. Do not brook nonsense. A girl only needs to know that you are looking at her, to put on airs. Do not let that contingency arise. Puncture her ego before it explodes yours.

The Parasite...!!

Taking credit for other's work seems to be a pastime with many. The answer to the question of why they do that is simple:they are losers. Talentless and in many cases lazy, they wish to cling onto any power they may have accrued. They are scared of adapting to new situations. Or they may not be able to adapt to new situations. What do they do? Instead of accepting their ineptitude gracefully, they inveigle talented youngsters, get the job done, congratulate them profusely and while the hapless youngsters are basking in the glory of a sunlamp, they take the work to their higher-up and claim it as their own and bask in the glory of the Sun. People like this are numerous. The parasites among us. They do not want to vacate their comfortable position, and they do not want to work for it either. They just want to carry on in relative comfort as long as they can con hapless youth. What happens when the youth figure out that they are being taken for a ride? The youth of course protest. And the parasite cries out that today's youth do not care for the age-old traditions and do not respect elders. And mostly the parasite wins this war of words because of his 'work record'. However, the parasite meets his downfall if he cannot find a suitable replacement for his 'ex-host'!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Life, from a biological point of view, is meaningless. We were born, we grow up, we reproduce, we die. Biologically thats the purpose of life. Where does 'meaning' come in? Philosophers through the ages have debated over the 'meaning' of life. An Indian swamiji said to a foreign tourist, "there are many meanings of life: a 50$ meaning, a 100$ meaning and one for $500". Meanings of life abound in all philosophies and religions. Ultimately they all seem to be rooting for a 'better' way of life. Who devised this 'better' way of life? Will this 'better' way make us happy?

Answers are few and far between. Individual analysis is missing. We all adopt one of the many existing meanings and move on with life. We believe in doing so we have served a 'higher purpose' than others who lead 'mere mortal existence'. What this 'higher purpose' is is any body's guess. I would like to commend the little boy who raised the query, "if we are here to help others, then what are they here for?" However, we need to gain acceptance among peers. and it means we accept a 'meaning' of life and join that club.

Every so called meaning of life has its lacunae. None can survive scrutiny. As such it falls on us to choose our way of action. Most adopt one or more of the 'meanings' blindly. Yet if we introspect, we will be able to find a meaning that fits our style of thinking. It'll become the meaning of our lives.

Best Friends make the best life partners

I believe that the phenomenon of romance and love is a big sham.. driven
by marketing honchos. For a longstanding and happy relationship it is essential that both husband and wife be friends first. Most people conveniently forget this or sweep this under the carpet of LOVE. A relationship is not only about chocolates and balloon shaped hearts. It is also about the couple's life together: how they are with each other, do they have a deep sense of respect hidden underneath all the teasing and fooling around? or is it just a desire of the flesh? are they themselves with their partner or putting on a gentlemanly / ladylike act?

With a friend you need not put on a act. He/she knows what you are, has been with you through fights, misunderstandings, ups and lows, knows more about you than yourself. What else do you want for a marriage to work?

A Thankless Life

Many of us have been at the receiving end of brickbats, when we were expecting bouquets. I too had a similar experience today. An ego bruising one too. How many of us have rushed in to help only to have the "helpees" jeer or abuse us once we have helped them? The count must surely run into millions if not billions. It is a thankless world. Selfish and self centered. So much so that nowadays you have to verify if the helpee is indeed genuine before proceeding to help. After many such incidents, I have decided to stop helping strangers and acquaintances. I will stick to helping friends. A known devil is better than an unknown fairy. What is that in human nature that forgets basic rules of social behavior and causes people to talk rude of others behind their backs? It's a mystery that only scientists and psychologists can resolve. Is it because they are angry that they are receiving help? Is another bruised ego the root cause of my bruised ego? No answers yet. Meanwhile my doors are shut for strangers.