On Hero Worship

blind faith

I am APOLITICAL.

I was born a Hindu. I love being one, not the “My Gods need me to protect them” kind. My religious outlook is pretty simple and straightforward, practical if you must: Respect life.

I am very much a Buddhist, the philosophical outlook that is. I love some aspects of Christianity and Islam. I have spent 10 of my childhood years in a missionary-run boarding school in India. No one tried to convert me.

I spent my last ten years in an Islamic nation, worked in an office surrounded by Arab colleagues. No one wanted to convert me.

I felt safe in both scenarios.

But not anymore. Back in India, reconnecting with old friends, I seriously feel insecure, unsafe, scared for my life, in my own country! So much hatred among communities, many think they are safeguarding a culture that is based on tolerance by being senselessly intolerant to anyone who doesn’t adore the politicians they worship! Hero worship has acquired a new meaning, and post-truth the new religion.

Increasingly, I realise our world is going downhill, culturally, spiritually and emotionally. Harmless conversations, even in  the social media and private groups , are impossible. This is no way to live.

One of my old classmates even told me today that half of my name is in Pakistan (Sindh-u). What was that? I asked him if he wanted me to send half of me across the border?

Seriously, is this a progressive nation?

And by the way, I WILL NOT HATE anyone, based on religion, politics, gender or whatever else fancies anyone. YOU SHALL NOT CORRUPT MY MIND. GET LOST, hate-mongers…

There’s a Cat in Our Class! by Jeanie Franz Ransom — Children’s Books Heal

There’s a Cat in Our Class!: A Tale About Getting Along Jeanie Franz Ransom, Author Bryan Langdo, Illustrator Magination Press, Fiction, Aug. 15, 2016 Suitable for Ages: 5-8 Themes: Animals, Dogs, Cats, Diversity, Embracing differences, Tolerance Opening: “There were eighteen students in Miss Biscuit’s class. Until…” Synopsis: Just before lunch, Miss Biscuit shared the exciting […]

via There’s a Cat in Our Class! by Jeanie Franz Ransom — Children’s Books Heal

How life ends a must matter of choice

Just finished reading Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Becomes AIR’, a well said story of making the right choice at the very end of life. Paul lived a meaningful life, and died in the best possible way he could. Salute his decision to die peacefully, in comfort, surrounded by his loved ones, choosing palliative care right to the very end.

A very emotional story, the life story of Dr. Kalanithi, who died fighting cancer at the age of 36, while on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, when he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. The journey then on narrated with brutal honesty and surgeon-like clarity and precision, this story gives readers an insider view of life and death, from a doctor’s point of view, a patient’s perspective and a philosopher’s sense of exactness.

A must read for anyone interested in life or death or the brief moment that connects and separates both, when breath becomes air, slowly, yet swiftly, with the haste of a breeze.

Do read.

Indeed, April is the cruelest month

Two years and tonnes of tears later, my eyes fill up with hot tears every time I remember my father’s last days. Around this time in 2015 my father was rolled into an intensive care unit and subjected to unpardonable torture they called medical treatment until his soul left his body. I still remember the shock on his face immediately after he passed away. Do everyone who dies have that ‘shocked’ face, or was it only people like him who find it impossible to believe people can be subjected to torture, crucified, inside a hospital by doctors who are supposed to provide pain relief.

miss youMy eyes refuse to stop tearing up this month, hope I will recover soon, by the end of April, if not by my father’s death anniversary, April 12.

All I want to say to whoever reads this is, when you know that your loved ones are dying, bring them home, hold hands, talk even when they appear not to hear you, wipe their face with soft wet cloth, hug them and repeatedly tell them how much you love them.

I wish I had done these. I was so stupid not to know whfather's daughterat to do when it mattered. It will remain the biggest regret of my life.

Dad, I love you and miss you so very much.

SORRY, a million times…

Want to die better?

Ever since I had the misfortune of watching helplessly my father being tortured to death in a hospital ICU in India, I have not had a single day of peace, for the past 22 months. I started feeling useful only after I got associated with Pallium India, a non profit organisation based in Kerala, which is making painstaking efforts to help patients with life limiting illnesses get basic pain relief. dying_flowers____by_ladybutterly83

A day spent with the medical staff and volunteers of Pallium in January was a beautiful experience, more so since we had the company of Dr. Rajagopal, the founder of Pallium and a couple of guests from the UK, among them senior journalist Jeremy Laurance, who was working on a feature story on palliative care in India.

The link here is the article Jeremy wrote, published on Mosaic, and republished by prominent publishers such as the Independent.

This article was first published by Wellcome on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/death-doulas-dying-palliative-care-hospice-kerala-india-a7597496.html

Why did it take me 30 years to appreciate Shakespeare’s Greatness!

It was 30 years ago that I read multiple works of Shakespeare as part of my university course, among them King Lear, which I thought was the most boring. I was only twenty years of age, but was it okay for a literature student to not appreciate a great work by one of the greatest literary figures ever!

And suddenly this morning it all clicked into place, the essence and truth of the theme of King Lear. IT IS AN AGELESS PLOT, but you can only comprehend it fully when you get to live it, in life!

This morning, at 4am,as I reread the scenes, I can’t stop my tears from streaming down , for in this now, the scenes unfold with such clarity and meaning it hurts me real painful.

The story briefly:

The story opens in ancient Britain, where the elderly King Lear decides to give up his power and divide his realm amongst his three daughters, Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril, intending to give the largest piece of his kingdom to the child who professes to love him the most, certain that his favorite daughter, Cordelia, will win the challenge. Goneril and Regan, corrupt and deceitful, lie to their father with sappy and excessive declarations of affection. Cordelia, however, refuses to engage in Lear’s game, and replies simply that she loves him as a daughter should.

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KING LEAR: Now, our joy,

Although the last, not least; to whose young love

The vines of France and milk of Burgundy

Strive to be interess’d; what can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA                Nothing, my lord.

KING LEAR               Nothing!

CORDELIA                Nothing.

KING LEAR               Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

CORDELIA                Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave

My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty

According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR               How, how, Cordelia! Mend your speech a little,

Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA                Good my lord,

You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I

Return those duties back as are right fit,

Obey you, love you, and most honour you.

 

KING LEAR               But goes thy heart with this?

CORDELIA                Ay, good my lord.

KING LEAR               So young, and so untender?

CORDELIA                So young, my lord, and true.

Her lackluster retort, despite its sincerity, enrages Lear, and he disowns Cordelia completely.
Meanwhile, the King of France, present at court and overwhelmed by Cordelia’s honesty, asks for her hand in marriage, despite her loss of a sizable dowry. Cordelia accepts the King of France’s proposal, and reluctantly leaves Lear with her two cunning sisters. Now that Lear has turned over all his wealth and land to Regan and Goneril, their true natures surface. Lear goes to live with Goneril, but she reveals that she plans to treat him like the old man he is while he is under her roof. So Lear decides to stay instead with his other daughter, but soon realizes that Regan is conspiring with her sister against him.

News arrives that Cordelia has raised an army of French troops that have landed.

Tired from his ordeal, Lear sleeps through the battle between Cordelia and her sisters. When Lear awakes he is told that Cordelia has been defeated. Lear takes the news well, thinking that he will be jailed with his beloved Cordelia – away from his evil offspring. However, the orders have come, not for Cordelia’s imprisonment, but for her death.

Despite their victory, the evil natures of Goneril and Regan soon destroy them. Both in love with Edmund (who gave the order for Cordelia to be executed), Goneril poisons Regan. But when Goneril discovers that Edmund has been fatally wounded,  Goneril kills herself as well.

As Edmund takes his last breath he repents and the order to execute Cordelia is reversed. But the reversal comes too late and Cordelia is hanged. Lear appears, carrying the body of Cordelia in his arms.

imagesKING LEAR: “Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:

Had I your tongues and eyes, I’ld use them so

That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone for ever!

Mad with grief, Lear bends over Cordelia’s body, looking for a sign of life. The strain overcomes Lear and he falls dead on top of his daughter.

 

Cop meant good; Chill people…

In a laid-back southern state of India, a senior IPS officer and Excise Commissioner of Kerala Rishi Raj Singh recently became the butt of many jokes when he asked a gathering of girl students, “Are you aware of the legal protection women have in our country. If a man stares at a woman uncomfortably (meaning indecently or say in sexually suggestive manner) even for 14 seconds, he could be sent to jail. (This is a rough translation of what he spoke in the native language Malayalam.) woman safety

Mr. Singh was addressing a crowd at a women’s college in a state where staring at women and even teasing comments were traditionally considered compliments. Being noticed by young and desirable men meant you were attractive, maybe irresistible. No, I do not subscribe to this notion, nor would young girls of this generation.

But our poor cop became a butt of many online jokes following the statement. While men complained, many mockingly, that women would misuse the law and land them in jail if they had some old score to settle. Women too complained, some saying 14 second was too long a time to allow some lecher to check them out, compelling Mr. Singh to respond with a hilarious, “It is not the period of staring but the manner and intention that mattered”.

A trail of mocking trolls later Mr Singh even gave a full comment to a national daily: “The stare need not really linger for a full 14 seconds to make it an offence. It is an offence if it makes a woman uncomfortable even for a few seconds. Womenfolk should come forward to register complaints against such offenders,’’ he told The Hindu.

It all started of well-meaningly with the cop trying to educate girls about the legal protection guaranteed in Section 354 A, B, C and D of Indian Penal Code in the face of eve teasing or molestation in public spaces. Perverts are aplenty in the state, as in many other states in India; the menace of flashers around women’s colleges and ladies’ hostels is no secret.

Mr Singh was only saying that though there was now a strong law to protect women against voyeurism and stalking, no case has so far been booked for such offences. The reason, he said, was women largely being unaware that staring at a woman becomes an offence under IPC Section 354 D when the stare has an obvious sexual implication.

But with everything else in life, this legal protection for women could drive some harmless admirers or absent-minded habitual ‘starers’, not oglers, into tight spots.

Men, moderate your appreciation; women, make sure you are not branding innocent men, sentencing them to lifetime disgrace.