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…

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.

 

 

Sideffects of bad reviews…

Okay, finally, after all these years, I am ready to accept bad reviews as part of the deal for authors.

The first really bad, read harsh, review I got for my first ever attempt at writing and publishing (self) a novel – back in 2013 – was, wait a minute, maybe I didn’t get a bad review at all!

But when I decided the book was not good enough, I retired it and worked tirelessly revising over and over, till I could not do it anymore, sending it to three more copy editers , costing me (US$ 1,200). The first book had gone to four editors, one developmental editor, a line editor, a copy editor from India to recheck the facts were right and a proof reader, making me 3,000 US $ poorer. I am not even mentioning the formatting, cover and promotional expenses to spare any aspiring writer reading this a heartache. bleeding-heart-800x800

I was pretty sure I had it right this time. I had spent about six months revising and perfecting the book structurally, chopping off scenes that I thought bored the readers, basically gave it my best shot, and published it as a Kindle book, renamed it ‘Meantime Girl’ chose a more suitable cover to match the story, as a novella of 32,000 words approx (the original novel was 50,000 plus words!).

cover copy fullI sat back and hoped for some appreciation. I still didn’t think I would earn millions. But I knew I had made an honest effort to “unbore” my readers.

bad reviewsInstead, I got really merciless reviews,and mostly from readers who got free copies to read during promotional offers for which I had paid myself. (I did get some good reviews as well, one got removed by Amazon admin who suspected it was by one of my wellwisers!, my efforts to convence them failed :(, sadly).  In short I paid for those harsh reviews, again hundreds of dollars to get pelted with stones. I have been flogged in life, literally and metaphorically; but here I was doing more than what I was expected to do, and hence the hurt surpassed the bleed.

Initially, whenever I read a really bad review, it used to feel like a slit thorugh my heart. Now it is better, I mean easier to bear.

Maybe I am getting used to it; is it a good thing? Don’t know.

But each time a harsh review appears on my Amazon page or as an email, it hurts like hell and robs me a couple of weeks of productivity. I feel like a looser and am unable to write, read or live normally.

So dear readers, if you don’t like my book, please resist an urge to be mean or so harsh. Don’t ever read my books, tell all you friends what a lousy writer I am; but don’t, please don’t, put it where I can read.

Why am I writing this? Can’t waste any more time over bad reviews. Don’t know how much time is left for me on this earth, to live and write. I really want to leave behind a legacy my son can be proud of when I am gone.  No, I am not suffering from any known tricky heath condition. I just feel within this nagging urge and rush to write something brilliant. Hopefully…