B.C. Sutta Na Mila

About a year or so ago, I heard this song at this new place I had joined as a Copywriter and could relate to it so much, that I laughed and cried and sang the song with all the others like me!

This song totally symbolizes the criticism that smokers are subjected to on all levels of society. And for what, I ask? I strongly believe that each and every one of us is free to make their own personal choices in life. I love smoking. It is something else – you have to do it to know it. Women are especially criticised for smoking – and all kinds of health reasons are cited for this. This is total hypocracy, and the world knows it. Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs, Tea, Coffee – what is the difference anyways, huh? All are addictive. So I want to know who decides what is legal and what is illegal – and on what basis really?

Here is the link to a band who has come up with a wonderful song dedicated to smokers all over the world – I have had this song for nearly a year now…Found their blog today. So here it is: http://zeest.wordpress.com. You can even download the song, freely, from the link on the blog. *Long Live the ‘Net*

Recently a song has come up with some gal who says “Don’t Smoke Sutta” – I don’t like it – The least the babe could do was come up with an original tune like this guy did…the utter audacity of this woman to copy the same tune and tell something like this – She should be sued!

Anyhows, Enjoy the song…Have a Smoke!

The Power to Choose

The most important power in the world is the power to choose. I have come to believe this after a long, hard journey of discovery.

An individual has enough motivation and logic for self preservation, from the moment he/she is born. That is why babies cry when they are hungry, thirsty or have wet themselves. They have learnt via observation, that when they cry, this wonderful and warm person rushes in to take care of him/her.

But then, as we grow up, there are rules to follow. Don’t go there. Don’t touch this. Don’t do that. Understandably, most of these rules are in place for a very good reason. Perhaps, that is why ‘Society’ as a macro concept, is still existing today.

When I was growing up, my father told me several times, that I had to listen to whatever he said. When I questioned him about the reason why, he told me that this was because I was living under his roof and eating the food he provided me and wearing the clothes he bought for me and so on. In short, I was dependant upon him financially, and had no choice but to listen to him.

It wasn’t his advice that bothered me. What he told me to do was not anything wrong. It was the way that he expected me to just listen, was what bothered me. It was conveyed to me, in no uncertain terms, that I had no choice.

That bothered me. Because it had begun to matter to me, that I could have the power to choose what I wanted to do. He never told me to lie, cheat or steal, but he told me to kill my inner self that wanted answers. And I couldn’t take that lying down.

It was not the fact that he said the right thing or the wrong thing, it was the fact that he left me with no choice but to listen to what he dictated. As an individual, I was never allowed to make any choice for myself. And that made me feel useless, and incapable. I knew that I was neither of these.

As is the case with hot bloodied teenagers like me, I rebelled. I chose the wrong things on purpose, just to get a rise out of my father. And of course, there were consequences of my actions. I faced those consequences without remorse.

However, I learnt the painful truth that such was the way of real life, and I took it as far as I could. But that person within me refuses to die, even today.

As I stepped out of the movie theater today, I encountered a group of people passing out pamphlets for an Art of Living seminar happening nearby. I had done the course a long time ago, around the year 2000, I think. I just wanted to get more information. I asked the lady for a pamphlet. She began persuading me to come. I said that I would have to check with my schedules, since they are quite erratic. Then she told me to get my friends as well. So I said that I would ask them, and try to get them to come.

“No, No,” she said, “You must get them along!”

“You must!”

I wanted to ask her then and there, why I must bring anyone along. Wasn’t it enough that I felt that I wanted to come?

Why does any religious/spiritual organization have to force anyone at all! People ought to be drawn to it, pulled to it, because it feels right. And then, all of a sudden I didn’t want to go. The same old rebellion stirred within me. I know the consequences of that kind of a rebellion. So I just took the pamphlet and walked off.

My mind raced back to the first time I had attended the seminar. I was doing night shifts, and the sessions used to be in the morning at 9. So, I used to come home from office by 7 am, and then leave within an hour to attend the seminar. I would come back home by 12 in the afternoon, and sleep. Wake up again at 6 pm and leave for office. This lasted the entire week, and was extremely exhausting for me.

I also recall that the trainer for that seminar did nothing to stir anything within me of the spiritual kind. All he spouted was a bunch of stuff that I had read in countless books. Which in turn had done nothing for me.

Aah! But the meditation process – now that was awesome! And it was absolutely worth all the effort and exhaustion. Even today, the only reason I wanted to go back was because I wanted to re-learn the meditation process. Sudarshan Kriya, it is called. A very interesting exercise of Pranayama – a total breath and breathing based meditation.

But a ‘must’ followed with the invite. Grrrrrr! I have chosen to come back to meditate. Not that I am someone special or great. So why should anything else be thrust upon me? Isn’t it enough that I have chosen? Why should I force someone else to choose what I have chosen?

Every individual chooses what he/she thinks is the best and right thing for him/her in any given situation. It is a very primal instinct called self-preservation. The distinctions between good and bad become blurred when this instinct is stirred. And each individual makes a choice that he has to live with for the rest of his/her life. The consequences fall upon him/her. So, it is up to that individual to choose wisely.

Given the circumstances where every individual will have such a freedom, rationality will rule. Am I hoping too much here? Perhaps I am too much of an Idealist. Perhaps not. I follow this principle in my life. It has not been an easy journey till here, and I know that it is not going to be easy in the future either. But then, idealists never do choose the easy path, do they?

I still haven’t decided whether I will go for the seminar or not. I will let my anger cool down, and make a rational choice. Huh!

The cat is outta da bag – finally!

Well, it finally happened! Just a few minutes ago, and I rushed upstairs to my room to do write this post! (Guess that makes me an authentic blogger now! Does it?)

Anyways, here is how it went: The landlady told me to quit smoking since it is bad for me and all that. It was done quite interestingly, and was mentioned in passing. So I told her, that I did what I did with my own money and no one had any rights to tell me anything, AND that I don’t even listen to my family about it…and so on. So she asked me, conversationally, you know, if they said that it was not allowed in this house. So I mentioned, conversationally, of course, that if that was the case, I would move out. She conceded that she did not have any rights to tell me anything after all.

Guess, thats not the end of the subject, by any counts. Older people rarely allow the youngsters to not listen to their ‘good’ advice. I am sure, that more will follow some day.

But, finally, it is out in the open. Its good for all concerned, I suppose.

Hey, and btw, there is another article of mine on Buzzle. Check it out here.

Check It Out!

Hey! My first article got published!

Here is my link for my author page on buzzle.com My Author Page at Buzzle.Com and here is the link for the first article I wrote and it got published: My First Article for Buzzle.Com – so check it out!

And when you do, please post your comments!

Can’t Help It – Gotta Tell The World about this!

Yours truly has been accepted by a leading website to write articles for it!

*Big Round of Applause, and many Pats on the Back*

I know this doesn’t sound much, but it’s a start, and as such, it is a Big Deal for me!

I still have to attend a training session and post the articles. So I will update the link when I do that!

Just couldn’t keep it to myself, you know! I had to tell the world about this!

Now, howzzat!

Secular Democracy – or Is It?

The constitution of India states that we are a secular, democratic republic. But every morning when I see the newspaper, I find that very hard to believe. “Why?” you would ask me: the whole world is raving on about India. But as an Indian, I am offended when I see the newspaper every morning.

There are nice things in there too, but they are few and far between.

India is a democracy and a secular country – but the truth is that all of this is just a concept that we are trying to attain. The reality is different. How can a country be democratic and secular if we ban movies and books and any kind of art which ‘offends’ a certain class of society?

For a real democracy to exist, and to truly prosper, the individuals living in that democracy must have the right to be exposed to all sides of the truth. No matter whose version of truth it might be. Individuals will decide what they want to see or read and what they don’t. If they like it, it will become popular, and if they won’t, then no one will read that book or see that movie.

Why should a section of society be ‘offended’ by it? And why should there be any sections in society at that? Respect for another person’s culture, tradition, religion and individuality comes from within. I believe that is called ‘humanity’. There should not be any distinction between individuals based on class, caste, creed, sex or religion. However, in modern day India, such is not the case. These distinctions exist.

They exist when I see violence break out because of the ‘reservation’ system existing in the country. Why should there be any reservation – for any particular caste or sex. Aren’t we all equals? If we are capable of obtaining a particular job or college seat, shouldn’t we get it?

It all begins from birth and ends with death, here in India. Each form that we fill out, since we are born till the day we die, has a column for stating your religion and your caste and your sex. Do away with such forms in the first place. When we are ‘secular’, if we are ‘secular’, why should we know of the other person’s religion / caste / sex anyway? Respect for another individual should come naturally.

They tried to ban ‘Da Vinci Code’ when it first hit the movie theatres. All the Christian kids I knew hadn’t even read the book, but they hated it with vehemence. I found it strange. I mean, to hate something, the least you could do is know what it is in the first place.

Christianity is supposed to be the most widespread religion on this planet. Why does it seem to be improbable, for instance, that Jesus Christ could have had a wife and a child. Is it because it is ingrained in us to think that religious prophets are not human at all? Or is it because it irks our sensitivities? One wonders how such ‘sensitivities’ originated in the land of the Kama Sutra.

This is something I find quite strange, since this religion is not indigenous to our country in the first place.

Funnily enough, not many protests occurred when this movie was released in any of the other countries. They had Christians too. I suppose they are more accepting compared to the Christians in India. The book / movie and the storyline of the book / movie did evoke a comment or two from the Christian community worldwide, but the book / movie didn’t get banned worldwide.

Parzania’ is now being banned in Gujrath because the story involves the Godhara riots. Strange. Why don’t we see a movie or a book for what it is – just a movie or a book? It is real – the riots in Godhara did take place. Banning a movie that shows them, is not going to make the past disappear. What will be achieved by banning a movie? The past cannot be changed, no matter how hard you try.

The riots will not be wiped out by not showing a movie that depicts them in the storyline. Aren’t we all avoiding facing the truth by banning such movies?

Black Friday’ went through the same fate for depicting a story that evolved around the Bombay Blasts – and it was steeped in legislation for so many years. Finally, it is going to be released on the 9th of February. I will see the movie and post my comments here.

Water’ was not even allowed to be filmed in India due to similar reasons. Does this mean that widows in ancient India did not suffer? The movie was subsequently filmed in Sri Lanka and is now nominated for an Oscar.

What do the politicians gain from banning movies that depict history? Are we truly democratic or are we emulating communist Russia from the Cold War days? Can entire periods of history be wiped out by banning books or movies that depict facts?

On one hand, Indians are being empowered by laws such as the ‘Right to Information’ Act, and on the other hand entry of any information in an individual’s life via a book or a movie is being controlled by the politicians.

India is truly a strange place. A heady mix of cultures, traditions, religions and sights, sounds and smells. Here, people hail from all walks of life, and living here is not easy as it sounds. But for someone who likes this life, nothing could be closer to heaven. It’s just the politics of this country that irks me the most. I don’t read anything much about it – it is a cultivated habit to ensure that I don’t get frustrated.

And now comes the difficult part. Blaming others is easy. Seeing the same shit in your self and admitting it is tough. I am going to do that here – for the world to see.

I am not someone who likes the violence and irreverent behaviour towards women that is prevalent in the Muslim society. Personally, I know quite a few Muslims, and they are wonderful individuals.

It’s just that most of the violence / terrorism prevalent in today’s world owes its origins to them. And this violence / terrorism are fanatic and religion-based.

The chief thing about them that I don’t like – as this violent behaviour is inculcated within them since childhood.

Another thing that I don’t like about what I have seen in Muslim society is the way that they treat women. It’s not even about the Burqua. If one goes back to the area of origin of a particular religion, one understands how certain customs of that religion originate. And I have tried to keep an open mind about every religion that I encounter.

And, given my country’s history, I never could develop a liking for them as a people.

Also, Hindus are known to be peace loving people, or so I used to think. We have never retaliated with violence. But today, when I saw ‘Parzania’ I was ashamed to call myself a Hindu. Not because of any religious / spiritual aspect, mind you. Simply because, I had never imagined how sickening, we as a people, had been in those riots in Godhara.

When I had read about it in the newspapers, I had felt quite good about the retaliation by the Hindus. Seeing the movie made me see how wrong I was.

Not that I am an advocate of non-violence or Gandhiism, but, there are times when I feel that Gandhi had some sense. This was one of those times.

How can one human being be so brutal with another? Just because he has a different path / thought / religion / caste / sex / belief system?

What has the world come to these days? I am ashamed! I truly am!

Our country is something that I have always been proud of being a part of – Unity in Diversity – we were taught in school. Is that just a phrase to be read in text books and never to be followed in real life? Or is this the real world – where we say one thing and mean another? Is this what maturity is all about? Or am I one of the foolish Idealists?

These are trying times, and I am trying to see the truth when I am surrounded by so much fog. I could have never imagined that a Hindu person could rape women and kill children, even if they were Muslim. It is so shameful. I am humiliated, and yes I do take this personally.

I had too many long-held beliefs, which for a long time, I felt were un-shakeable. I was a snob, and a caste / religion based discriminator. I have thought these shameful things in my life. But over the past couple of years, I have experienced the fruitlessness of such thoughts and ideas. I have changed. I know it. I feel it. And taking a page out of Gandhiji’s book, I am admitting it, for the whole world to see. I am ashamed of what I had once been.

How difficult is it to see that we are all one? Connected and interconnected, made out of the same matter – energy – we are all the same. Each and every religion will say this. No religion advocates violence. No religion tells you to lie and steal and kill. Each and every religion is just another way of life – another way of getting closer to a universal consciousness – another path towards obtaining oneness with the supreme. Each religion uses rites and rituals to bring discipline within its followers. Each religion uses parables and myths to convey basic truths that every individual can follow. Each religion is just another road towards the same goal, by whatever name it may be called.

Why must we feel that in order for a particular religion to exist, others should be wiped out? It is the shameful history of all mankind where this trend has existed.

Why must we first destroy, so that we can create? Why can’t all of us just co-exist peacefully?

Is this how Man is going to be wiped out from the face of the Earth – in the process of killing one another in the name of some entity that advocates peace and humanity in some form or the other?

Today, I am ashamed to call myself human.

Friendship – On My Terms!

Note: This post began as a draft on the 28th of November, 2006, and I have posted it completely, today. Hence the dates and the timelines may be a little askew, but forgive me my weaknesses!
I started this blog primarily to write about general stuff in general terms. But then there are things in my life which mean so much to me and I think that this blog is just the place to put it down.

I have a friend – correction – I used to have a friend. Lets call her D. Now she and I were friends for the past 10 years, which is no mean feat. And last friday, we fought. Not for the first time I assure you, but fought and broke up. Now things like these are somehow meant to be. We had come to this point before as well – about a year or so ago. However, at that point of time I was unable to accept the reason and the person who had become the cause of our seperation. This time too, the same was the case. What I felt was the most hurtful part was, that it was only I who was struggling to keep the relationship going and not her. Whoever or whatever was the reason for us to break apart from each other, I could not see her even trying
to keep the relationship going.

Several things were said, chief among which was one comment by her which hurt me the most. She said that I had been her friend, but on my terms only. That hurt. Because it wasn’t true.

I know D for a long time. I know she has a need to dominate her surroundings which include the people in the vicinity. So I let her be. Is that why she thought that I had no spine? I wonder. Being understanding of someone’s nature and letting her be
herself – how was it on my terms ever? Just becuase I was being understanding, doesnt mean that I dont have any personality of my own or my own voice. It just means that I am being understanding.

People have hurt her in her life and she keeps on forgiving them and accepting them back into her life. I was against this for a long time. But I let her be. I never stopped her – I just expressed my views. How does this go to show that our relationship was just on my terms?

Standing by someone, and letting them be are faults? Maybe they are – if D is your friend, I suppose. Friendship, Honor and all such words have just become obscure concepts in our day and age.

I have been hurt in my life, but never like this. And its a lesson for me. I will probably never allow anyone to get that close to me ever again. Not because of the hurt, but because D has shown me, effectively, that it serves no purpose whatsoever to do so.

I had put a lot of things in my life on hold, simply because I did not want to leave her behind. Now why would I do that, if I was being her friend on my terms?

I suppose, she will never understand that she probably lost the one true friend she ever had in her life. Her loss, not mine.

But then, on a very certain level, it had to happen. I just didn’t like the way it happened though. If only some maturity had prevailed, then we both would have seen this coming and moved on with our lives, still as friends. We had to be together for
only so long in our lives, because in a past life, we had not spent this time together with each other. Now that we had, it was time to move on. Circumstances occured just to make it possible. If there had been some evolvement on her part, she would have seen this too. But her reactions and her behaviour after that showed none of that understanding.

Now I don’t want to end up being complaining and bitchy on this blog, because this isn’t why I have this blog, but I can’t help but wonder what she gained from doing all this to me. And for whom? Is this person X going to be there for her as I have been? Past experience tells me that it won’t be so.

But then, I look at the experiences from the past as lessons and learn them and then move on so that I don’t repeat those mistakes. She forgives these persons and takes them back into her life and thus ends up rewarding their bad behaviour, encouraging them to repeat their mistakes again and again and again. When I tried to tell her that, she did not understand. Too bad for her. It’s her life. I can’t help but hurt.

I know this hurt will fade away with time. I can feel it moving out of my self even as I write this down. Letting go is easy if one wants to let go. Else, it just sticks on like glue and never goes away.

Probably that is the reason that she cannot just forgive and forget. She forgives and regrets.

I hope that someday she understands this. I don’t want her to come back to me and all of that. I have let go.

I hope that someday she learns to let go of things that hold her back in her life! And I hope that she ends up being happy wherever she goes in life. And of course, I wish this with all my heart, and of course, on my terms!