a land of contradictions

It is a very fascinating country that I live in and everyday I am amazed to learn something new and gain a new perspective about the Indian society. It is a diverse and a complex social structure. we are so modern and progressive in so many ways and yet traditional and regressive at times.

It has already been expressed many times that it is country of contradictions. Indeed it is. Let alone the differences and diversity in  two different parts of the country, I believe each Indian, as an individual is also an example of how contradictions in oneself can create a unique person. Not that I am underestimating other countrymen to not be examples of contradictions, they too might be. It’s just that our belief system is so diverse that the blend of our conservative and  modern selves fascinates me. we believe in making a mark for our selves professionally but still believe that we are unable to make rational choices for ourselves personally. We dress conservatively, but our thoughts take us to a world which is more liberated that we have ever thought of.

I have met people residing in the most backward of places, with access to no modern amenities talking and practising “modern” beliefs. They talk and practice equality of ideas, equality of sexes and believe in protecting individual liberties. People who respect humankind. Then there are those who reside in the so-called metropolitan cities, have all the amenities of life and still believe that some men are born inferior us and deserve what they get because they are belong to that strata of the society.

For me freedom of thought, freedom to question our surroundings and the freedom to just be, is the ultimate type of freedom. It should not be limited just because I belong to a particular sex, a particular caste or a particular section of the society. This is the contradiction which is beyond my understanding. I know of the most regressive looking households and people who believe and practice such liberty and I also have seen and experienced very “posh” members of the society who believe that the freedom of others is a luxury that they afford them just because the other person is living in the same household such people firmly believe that the freedom given to the members belonging to the household should be controlled. I believe we can be traditional in our way of living but let us be modern enough to accept and appreciate new ideas.

Indian social structure, like many others is changing. We are trying to imbibe new things. I think we should also try to retain the liberty of thoughts that has been given to us as a gift since ancient times. That is what makes us different and unique.

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Then and now

When i was younger there were a lot of things to do and learn, even though there was no internet and smartphones. Those days you were really thought to be smart or cool if you knew facts and figures or if you could answer current affairs and general knowledge questions without batting an eyelid. Shows like Bournvita quiz contests were not only popular but for most of us it was an aspiration that we secretly had. It did not matter if you were wearing branded clothes or not. The good old days, where reading was considered to be a virtue.

When i think about it, i feel our kids would not be at all able to relate to a time when we had to scour the books for information, it wasn’t available to you readily just by “googling” it. Nowadays, you are considered a cool kid if you have an expensive smart phone and a tablet in your hand, some free cash to spend on your friends. You are considered a geek or a nerd if you talk about education, books, or in general, gaining knowledge. I have nothing against this generation, it’s just that, materialism has taken over these kids and they do not understand that human values are not dependant on your material possessions, but who you are when you are stripped of those possessions. True self of a person is reflected when it comes to the most basic of things. Character cannot be taught. it has to be inculcated.

Sometimes, i really want to go back in those days when life was simpler and uncomplicated. I did not have to worry about keeping my phone charged or updating every second of my life on twitter. Today life has taken a back seat and the procurement of things that should make life easy have become our priority. Just like William Wordsworth’s idyllic wanderings amongst the land of Daffodils and the true enjoyment of solitude.

(Note; I tried to search for Daffodils on google and Wordsworth’s poem did not feature as the first search result on the page. What an irony)

Perceptions

I love surprises. small ones, big ones. they just make my day.

When I was younger I used  create these surprises for myself. I would never ask my mother what she had packed for lunch in school. the moment when I opened my lunch box was my own, filled with anticipation and excitement. My own daily dosage of surprise. The sheer joy that such a small action could give is unparalleled to many big things in my life. Those were some pure unadulterated moments of being happy. I still do it…. I save the best for last and am feel happy to “open”or “reveal” my surprises at the end.

I have noticed as children we used to simplify things, if the opportunities were not there we would create them, not whine about them. if surprise were not possible everyday, make your own surprise. We were not dependent on anyone for our happiness…………. As we grow up we forget to create such opportunities of happiness for ourselves,we forget that it is better to simplify things and be happy about them rather than being in your own complex mind web and depending on others to remain happy.

We spend our whole life in the fear of perceptions. We are busy in trying to project ourselves as someone we think we are. Most of our life is spent proving the same to ourselves and others around us. Sometimes I feel that I am not the person I think I am or the people around me see as “me”. Now at this juncture, when I am not too old and not too young, not too naive and yet not too wise, I would first like to stop for a minute and try to figure out who really I am.  Is the person I think I am, only in my head? I guess, parts of me only exists in my head. And this is true for most of us.

Also, perception of an individual also varies from person to person. for some I may be a very sincere, honest and trustworthy person; and someone else may find me the biggest snob around them. It all really is in our head.

We have forgetten who we are and what we really want from our life.

This photo, “Perception” is by Felix and is made available under a Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 

If I were 22…………

It does no good to a woman to own up her age 🙂 but lets say i am not 22 and more than a decade has passed since i was….. then what have i learnt in these 10 years. What would i do right if i were 22 once again…

1. I would learn to not live in the past: Past is a mirage, the images and dreams associated with your past do you no good. Be nostalgic but don’t make nostalgia a habit. All of us would like to go back to high school… it was a time of hope and dreams… but high school has gone by, the shit happening to you today is life. Live it.

2.I would learn from my mistakes but will not keep on blaming myself for it: Everyone makes mistakes. they are the bedrock of our existence. A learning. Take them as learning and not as your failures. For every mistake you have made, make yourself a promise, never again…. but then, forgive yourself. It happens…. and it is called life

3. I will learn to love myself first: Its not selfish, it is the most basic survival technique. people will never be happy with you, you be happy with yourself and let others be damned!!! This learning has come at a great cost. If I berate myself, I give an opportunity to others to do the same to me…. So I learned to love myself, with all my shortcomings and my faults I think I am unique, and I rejoice in my uniqueness….

4. I will learn not to regret: Life is too short to keep on dreaming about “If” scenarios: Let’s admit it, we all keep on thinking, if i would have paid more attention to myself when I wouldn’t be like this today…. if so and so thing happened i would have all the happiness in world…. the “IF” didn’t happen. “THIS” is what you have. make the most of it… Life is unpredictable, the next moment might be our last…

5. Be consistent in your work commitments: I did not think before leaving perfectly good jobs for no reason, this pains me to no extent till date. It has led me to despair. Remain consistent with the first of your commitments and it generally pays off… It will never be easy as there are always adverse situations, bad boss, mad colleagues, shitty job profile, life is never perfect but you need to pull through the dirt to harvest good returns. The first job is generally the most difficult one…..Have patience and give it time, it will get better.

these are a few of my ideas, let me know what you think about it….

Continue reading If I were 22…………

Austen and me

I am a self proclaimed Jane Austen lover. I got hooked to the seemingly idealist romances written by Austen at a very young age, thanks to my mother, herself an avid reader. I would like to believe that I am an Austen purist. I have devoured hundreds of literature discussing the nuances of her writing. I have seen various movies adapted and inspired from her work and still my thirst for her stories remain unquenched. It always seems that she has so much more to say and we as audience so much more to listen or read through. Its never enough. She is the romance queen after all. I doubt there has been another writer who inspired so much of longingness for a Victorian era England and perfect romances, elsewhere.

The time period that she lived in was fraught with social issues. There were so many changes going on in the society and none of these were mirrored or expressed overtly in the novel of Jane Austen . The beauty of her novels, her writing was, I guess, the way she portrayed and understood basic human emotions. Emotions and needs like the need to be recognised, the need to be respected, the need to understand and be understood in return, and in addition to the all encompassing need to be loved. What Austen succeeded in doing was capturing human emotions that have remain unchanged in the ever changing social fabric. they remain unchanged through continents, generations, time and race. That is where people identify with her, they love her and they adore her. that is why she remains timeless.

Whether it is famous Mr. Darcy’s pride or Mr. Elton’s stupidity and vanity or for that matter Anne Elliott’s stoic acceptance of life as it passed her by, they all carry an easy familiarity, that we, as humans, generally relate to. We have all met people who have similar characteristics. She through her portrayal of such sentiments and her idealism gives hope that humanity still lives and will be there forever.

I salute you austen. You shall always be my ultimate heroine.

Writing again

 

Day after day, I sit infront of my computer, thinking of writing something. But what I worry about the most is, writing something sensible.

Well, I guess its safe to say, if you wait to say something sensible or wait to say anything at all, words will fail you. When writing or trying to express yourself, its bet to be guided by instinct, as I have been for most of my life. The moment I stopped being instinctive and intuitive, words stopped being my friend.

I am feeling free after a long time, I am able to write, to formulate ideas. It’s amazing to see what boycotting TV only for a couple of days can do to your intellect and imagination. I am swearing off the idiot box forever… or lets say I will try to swear off it forever ;).

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The freedom of expression has often been hailed as the cornerstone of civil liberties and to think that it is robbed by a mere television might be over thinking on my part.But that is not what I mean. Television, in itself is one of the most celebrated and greatest discoveries of our time. it has made the world seem smaller, it has made a lot of things within reach, it has facilitated dreams and it has allowed people to  see things that they never would have imagined to see. where I have a problem from this amazing thing is that it has also turned the major population into couch potatoes.We watch television not to entertain ourselves but to merely pass time. We watch it because we have nothing better to do.Some people may argue that this is a very old problem and the newer one plaguing our society at large is that television has now been replaced by smart phones. I agree. I think as our gadgets are becoming smarter our minds are becoming stupid. I remember those idyllic days when I could recall the numbers of all my friends and family without ever having to look at my phone. I could answer simplest of questions without ever having to google it. I miss those simple times. With so much of knowledge that has been made available to us we actually seem more reluctant to absorb it or understand it, let alone to avail the opportunity handed over to us on a platter.

 

I realised that I was losing my power to think, to formulate and most of all my power to express my thoughts, a quality for which I took pride in myself. I wanted to regain it. I also realised that most of my time was wasted in watching mindless television. something for which earlier I never had the time. now that the time was readily available I did not use it. and suddenly it dawned on me that I always wanted to do so many things with my life and I had never been able to make time for it. Now i did have the time but I wasted it staring at my stupid phone and television.

I am not saying we should not utilise the technology and watch those awesome shows, all i m saying is that we should not lose our creativity in the process

it may seem that i am rambling on and on bout nothing in general but that is what i have wanted to do for the longest time… ramble on. So here I am, ready to make a fool of myself and write what I please and how I please.