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Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Cult of Snap, Bapu!

Human beings are exceptional people. As per my last guess, I would estimate at least 80% of our population to be either downright dumb or having below average intelligence.They would have to be, for the amount of gullibility they display.

Every third person you come across in this world (at least, in India, for sure) is a believer of some or the other self styled Godman. The problem is so entrenched in our society that people are willing to not only follow them, their ways and their teachings but also work proactively into getting others to follow them. It's as if by getting one more person to follow, they somehow, justify their own folly. What's worse is that they also work around getting their kids to blindly follow them. This unnecessary act of faith has severe repercussions as evidenced by the number of them being caught out for heinous crimes. 

I cannot fathom how people can follow Godmen/Babas/Cults/Gurus/Preachers etc etc whatever name you would care to give them. Almost all the time, they are proven to be frauds and tricksters. Unfortunately, almost always there is a sexual component involved in their outing. They always have a cult following with people willing to physically harm any doubters just to protect their so called sanctum and society. 

Also, is it just me or do they all look wicked and like creeps anyway? I can't imagine trusting them for a minute and I haven't even met any of them face to face. My mind would not let me believe someone who says he does things that are otherwise impossible to achieve. Mind games are big in their repertoire and that's how they gain followers which loops right back to the first paragraph of this write up.

For anyone who thinks and justifies these things by saying this was the last hope and everything else had failed, why would you think if everything that made sense failed, this thing that makes absolutely no sense will work!?! Is your brain and sense so fragile that you would knowingly go against what you know is right to try and get something done? You have these guys kissing, hugging, making out with women, raping them, sleeping with them, molesting boys all in the name of some godforsaken healing? Any you still believe in them?

I just don't get it. Perhaps, the only one of these that made sense was Osho. At least he was open (pun intended) about his intentions when he started his Ashram in Pune.

Just in case, you think I am going after easy targets, let me also put in here that although I do believe in a higher power and God etc I'm not convinced about any of his messengers on earth. I'm not about to name the messengers of God but you know who I'm talking about. Let's just say, there has always been an ulterior motive to get people to follow you and that's exactly what these new found miracle workers are working on. Be it money or sex, the 80% I was referring to are only too easily giving it up to them.

Educate your children and even if you are one of the believers, at least give the next generation a choice to be foolish on their own accord, instead of pushing them to believe something they might not and have them regret it later on.

I'm open for debate on this with anyone who wishes to challenge my views. The comment form is right below!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Have a holiday the right way

It's the holiday season and everyone is making plans on where to go and what to do. Some have already left, some will leave soon.

What is your ideal holiday like? What should it be like? Do you think you're doing it the right way?
This is a complete personal account on what I would like a holiday to be. Considering I have Toofan and Bijlee, my holiday wishlist is skewed towards holidaying with children.

The planning phase.

I completely love doing this. I can't seem to holiday without it. Also, I seem to plan way too early but it's therapeutic for me to have all the information I need before confirming anything.
I must know where to go, what is there to do, what I am going to do when I get there and what I am definitely going to avoid. I need to know the best options to get there and back. Admittedly, even after planning in advance, I rarely book at the cheapest price. This is probably because I take too long to finalise and am always hopeful for a better deal. I do get good deals most of the time though.

The build up phase.

I love getting the people who are due to travel with me involved in the travel plans. I will show them pics, discuss the good things that are there, play down expectations where required and basically force them into knowing what's in store. I get the kids excited about things they can do there, what they can experience and the buffet table which seems to have become an important part of their holiday breakfasts for some reason. If their friends are joining in, I talk to them about the games they can play, what they can carry to entertain themselves and how late they can sleep.

The packing phase.

This is completely left to the wife and I give her full credit for this. The only thing I do in this phase is make a list.

The day of travel.

Always chaos. Yelling. Get ready, eat breakfast, we'll miss the flight for sure! You can't wear this, it's green and your t-shirt is blue! Wash your face, you've got food all over your chin. Oh no, I've forgotten my glasses. Did you book a cab yet? Why isn't it here? 2 more minutes!!!

Once we've loaded the bags and are sitting in the car, however, everything changes. There is a sudden calm that overtakes us all. It's as if we've finally managed to escape a prison that was holding us against our will. Inadvertent smiles crop up. Goofiness takes over. Everyone is happy. We eat, drink and take trolley rides at the airport until it's time for the security check. The kids are most excited to be screened. They have now been given the responsibility to hold on to their own boarding passes and carry on bags with their art and games. Getting on the flight is great when there is an aerobridge, not so much when they have to take the bus.

On the flight, it's a fight for the window seat or a quarrel to sit with their friends. Out come the colouring books, the playing cards, the reading books and we are at peace till it is time to feed them. This is really messy on the flight and we need to come up with a way to feed kids without dropping things on their clothes.

We're there.

Land at the destination and this is where the fun is supposed to begin. I have a few issues at this stage. I hate my phone and would love for it to be switched off or unreachable. Not so much with other travellers. I don't get how you go for a holiday and then stay close to everything you are getting away from by being on the phone that links you right back. 

I love to get out and explore the place on my feet. I like walking about the local markets and getting a feel of the place. Kids sometimes make this difficult but encourage them from the start and perhaps they will develop the habit. I eat local. Sure, there might be a chance of an infection but that is part of the experience.

I don't believe in the dictum that you must do and see everything the place has to offer. It is a holiday remember. Just relax, take it slow, ease into it and do what you feel like doing. If you don't like sightseeing, forget about it. Take a good book and read. If not, spend a few hours in the pool. If that's not your thing, walk around and do some shopping. Don't break your day trying to reach 5 spots in 24 hours and then just see them for 10 minutes.

I like doing nothing on my holiday. I could sit on a lounge chair and stare into nothingness. I don't need music, I don't need entertainment for me to enjoy my time off because it is my time off. A place where I can do nothing! I can hibernate and am proud of it. A lot of people get upset with me for wanted to do nothing and not participate, but it's ok. I get it. Some people need to be busy to enjoy themselves.

What is your ideal way to holiday? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Protests aren't going to do it.

This post is not going to be well received at this point of time because emotions are at a high and we are thinking with our hearts and not completely rationally.

Almost everyone who reads even a little bit of news or listens to an odd story on the telly or radio knows about the recent events and protests organised as a consequence. There has been enough and more said about the rapes that I don't need to delve into those lines. 

Yes, they happened. Of course, it was wrong. Yes, we need to do something about it. Sure, we should show the ruling government that we care. Yes, we have to send a strong message to society. No, protesting is not the answer. It is a movement, but not the ultimate answer. What is, then? Read on.

The government and their uncles know what happened was wrong. They are well aware about it. They don't need you to come on the streets to make them realise this fact. They were smart enough to con people into voting for them so they're smart enough to know what is going on. They can understand that the general public is angry and they probably share your feelings (most of them anyway).

Think for a minute, though. What are we trying to achieve? Are you protesting and marching to make them change their ways or are you doing it to bring about a positive change in society so that the number of rapes and molestation come down? Are you trying to show support to the victim or to show that you are completely against the perpetrators?

Let's answer these one by one. These are my personal opinions and are subject to change with the situation. 

1) I think the only thing protesting achieves is a feeling of us doing something. It makes us feel like we have somehow made a difference and have not let a wrong go by.

2) It may at some minuscule level affect the government entities enough for them to do something but it definitely does not make them realise anything they don't already know. Does it make a positive change in society? Yes, but not in the way you are thinking about. It doesn't actually reach the aggressor at all. He is blissfully oblivious to everything we do on Marine Drive and Bandra. He couldn't care less. The only positive change for society is that we are still coming out in support of each other. We, as a society, are still bonding over issues that affect us indirectly and this is of extreme importance to democracy and our way of life. 

3) Are the number of reported incidents going to come down by this? No, not by this alone. We have a lot more to do than protest for this to happen. Yes, we can build awareness, but, are we bringing that awareness to the places where it is needed most. I seriously doubt it.

4) We show neither support to the victim nor do we prove anything to the perpetrators. We don't need to. The support is obvious. The rage against the criminal is natural. The protest doesn't do anything to increase or decrease this. Would you support the victim less if you were not at the March?

Let me come to the crux of the matter over the next few lines. I am not against protest marches. Yes, it is a show of solidarity. Numbers do make people take notice. Once people take notice, only then can change be set into motion. What I am against is this false belief that once you've marched, you've done your bit. Nonsense. This is not even the first step.

What we should be doing is talking to our kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure we all talk to our kids and teach them right and wrong and respect for women and gender equality and everything (if you aren't already doing this, I'm pretty sure you aren't on my mailing list). What I'm talking about is teaching them the most important thing in life. 

Teach them the values, yes, but more importantly, teach them to teach those values to others. Teach them to share their ideas with others, not only with their friends who they are comfortable with but with those they think might not have learnt it from people around them. Teach them to stop joking about things that are inappropriate and make sure they stop someone else if they hear something inappropriate as well. 

Tell them to have the guts to tell people off when they know what those people are saying is wrong. Make them confident enough that they can stop adults around them from passing crass and crude comments and jokes. Help them identify this as the root cause of the injustice in our system. If each of us start to do this today, perhaps, the effect will percolate from our big cities down to the smaller towns and villages where there is no one to teach them this first hand. The classic Trickle down effect!
Just for an example, our kids talk to other kids in their own environment, other kids talk to kids outside familiar environments, they talk to others in parks, they talk to staff, drivers, watchmen, washerwomen, dhobis, waiters etc. These in turn take what they are saying and pass it on to their families, back to their relatives in the towns down to their relatives in the villages. It sounds like a dream but it can happen.

Have them stand up for themselves, yes, but more importantly, teach them the courage to stand up for others who may not be able to stand for themselves. Teach them to fight against things that are wrong but more importantly, teach them to defend others when something wrong is being done to them and they can't fend for themselves.

If we can try marching, we can surely try this!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Happiness Is Simple!

We had a reunion this past weekend and almost half of our batch from Medical College attended. Some people travelled really far to get there, some not so much. Everyone made the effort and finally after years of trying, we managed to get together!

There was a positive feeling about it all. As soon as we saw our old mates, everyone was smiling from ear to ear. There was not one moment I remember where we were not genuinely happy to be there. Old memories came racing back, bonds were reformed and existing ones strengthened to last a lifetime. 

All through the weekend, I was happy. I saw people who were really happy. Most of us had not got our families but we were still happy being there. We found happiness in the success of others, we felt happiness with their children playing with us, we were happy babysitting others children and dancing with them, we were happy to just sit together and not have anything to talk, we were happy to remember those that couldn't make it.

Happiness is simple. It's a choice of how we decide to feel at any given point of time. We could focus on all the good things that happen or all the bad things that happen. More often that not, when we are alone with our thoughts, we think of the bad things because bad recall is easier than good recall. This has been scientifically proven. However, when we are with friends, family, people we like, we mostly focus on the good things.

Next time you want to feel happy, really happy, just take a moment, go to a secluded space and give yourself the biggest smile you can. Your brain will automatically dig out a really happy memory and you will feel true happiness. It's that simple.

Or else, have a reunion!!

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