Sunday, May 31, 2009

On a Pedestal

I stand here, in the sun and the rain
In a pose, still forever
Not of my making
Oh my, I feel cramped
Confined and contained
In the midst of the vast expanse.

If I ever knew
That this will be me
After my passing over
I would definitely have made
A dying wish
To forget me forever.

How I wish I could move
Stretch my hands and feet
Walk a little, take a stroll
Fly away, far away
But destined I am
Eternal confinement is mine.

Come sun, come rain
Stuck to this pedestal
No umbrella to cover my bald head
Alteration of heat and cold
Mixed with the dust of the road
Heavy head, insults galore.

I who washed myself
Every morning and evening
Stand here day after day
Bird shit on my head, mixed with the slime
Dripping down my nose
O'er my mouth through my soul.

Oh, I don't abhor the birds
For ignorant are they
Only happy that they have found a perch
To take a break from their flight
And rest their weary wings
For the journey ahead.

Sometimes out of this tedium
Comes a change
When people start looking up at me
Suddenly on a blue moon day
They wash me, polish me
And make me shine till it bothers.

The next day come hoards of people
Dressed in shimmering white
Gold adorning their necks
Besides the stones on their fingers
They bring roses, smelling divine
And garland me over and over.

I know this day from past experience
This euphoria, this love
This show, this pageantry
The sudden swing of mood
The passion of the crowd
Is ephemeral, only for a day.

I hope that through their euphoria
They will see this soul
Contained and confined
Wanting to fly
Away from their show and pageantry
Lies and lies.

The next day dawns as any other
The flowers start to wither
And the scent fades away
So, does my spirit
For I know what's in store
Till another day
This eternal confinement, bird shit and slime.

(Thoughts when I see a freedom fighters statue washed and garlanded by people who profess to love, admire and follow them)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

To do or not to do

The past three weeks has seen nearly 10-15 bees visiting my room everyday. I have followed the policy of loving them. My strong belief is that when you love animals they don't harm you. And upto date, they have never stung me except when I tried to save a bee drowning in the bucket of water with my hand. No, it was no fault of the bee. I have to blame my own stupidity for that.

Today morning I woke up with an insect biting my eyes. I couldn't see what the insect was, but it was painful, and definitely not an ant. Half an hour later, I had hundreds of bees visiting my room. I had to abandon my policy and run, for I can't love hundreds of them the same way at the same time, and jealousy is dangerous. :) An hour later, I helped those still buzzing on my table, bed and floor out of the window.

Went around the building to find a beehive right below my window. Then came the need to make a decision. What should I do ? I can't risk having hundreds of them sting me. But that decision would entail removing their home. Though small, these hardworking insects build amazing homes.

To do or not to do!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cooked up - II

Continuing with my learning.........

7. Bullying takes two forms - soft and hard. The harder form is easier to identify than the softer one. Understand, the softer form, though subtle is more dangerous. Whatever the form, the only answer is a firm fist.

8. When someone tries to put you down, either by word or action, turn deaf.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Paris and Restaurants

Reading a blog on a restaurant in Paris, I am reminded of our experience when we visited Paris in December, 2007. One morning we were starved. We woke up late and were hoping of finding some breakfast. Our knowledge of French is zero, despite my having learnt a bit of French when I was 17. Anyways, we walked into a restaurant and found a table overlooking the road so that we could watch life when having breakfast. Having settled down, we waited for the menu card hoping to have something hot and tasty. The waiter came over, placed a menu card and wanted to know what we'd like to have. We asked if we could have bread and omlette. He told us that they were starting lunch. Going through the menu card, we found most dishes were non-vegetarian. I do have chicken and fish, but my husband is a vegetarian (yes, he does have eggs). We asked him if they had a vegetarian dish. The waiter showed us a salad and said that it was the only vegetarian dish and walked off muttering something in French. We were wondering what that was about. But as you know, things such as love, anger, .... get conveyed easily. It requires no language. We were stupified that a waiter had the audacity to do that. Feeling that it was below our dignity to continue at the restaurant, we walked off hungry, and me thankful that I didn't remember my French. For if I had, and been able to understand what the waiter said, and it was nasty, I would have given back, in the harshest of terms. As they say, sometimes, ignorance is bliss.....

That experience as well as a similar one in a Chinese restaurant in Paris, left a bad taste. Also, we realized vegetarian food is hard to come by in Paris, except for the greens. So, we happily stuck to our Italian menu of pizzas and pastas for the rest of the stay. Our interest to taste Parisian food died with that experience. Maybe some other day, some other time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Playing hide and seek

We see, yet we do not see
We hear, yet we do not hear
We know, still we do not know
We understand, yet we do not understand
We whisper, but we do not talk
That's how we fail.......You.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The smell
How do I explain it
The smell of life
Of thirst quenched
Of warmth
Of happiness to come
Of life to be born
Of abundance.

The smell of first rain
After a long dry hot spell
When the earth quenches her thirst

Monday, May 18, 2009

Humility in Victory and Dignity in Defeat

The Sri Lankan conflict and the Indian elections reminded me so much about the Mahabharatha, the epic story of the conflict between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

Rules were broken in the great war by both parties, which people across sides condemned. A few of them:

1. Abhimanyu, only 16, broke into the Chakravyuha. Totally disarmed he was killed. Rule of war: one cannot fight an unarmed person.

2. Bheeshma killed by Arjuna using Shikandi as a shield. Bheeshma had vowed to fight only against a man.

3. Karna was killed when he was unarmed. Rule of the war was that one could not fight an unarmed person.

4. Duryodhan was killed by Bheema when by using his weapon below the former's hips. You cannot attack a person below the hips.

5. Not to fight an army that has accepted defeat.

6. Not to belittle one's foes after the battle.

7. Valiant defeat is equal to victory in itself. The kauravas though were wrong, fought till the end knowing that they were loosing the battle with dignity. They perished but the point was that they fought valiantly.

8. Disrobing of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. Respect a woman.

9. The Pandavas, though they won the battle, found that victory was not sweet. They bore the pain of having killed Bhishma, their beloved uncle, their teachers, Dronacharya and Kripacharya, their brothers, Karna and the Kauravas, and lost their own children as well as people whom they loved and revered in the battlefield.

What was taught through the Mahabharatha is relevant to mankind across time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Choosing one over the other

The morning newspaper had this news. It is disturbing in many ways. One, over life lost, the fish's. Over livelihood lost, the fishermens. More so over the choice, government deciding who is more important.

Dead fish floating in the tank in Atmakur mandal in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh.

With water becoming a scarcity, the prediction that in the future, major wars would be fought over resources may come true. That is what reading this news revealed this morning.

With summer peaking in the country, many parts are facing acute water shortage. The farmers drew all the water in the tank to save the paddy crop to save their livelihood. In the process, lakhs of fish died killing the livelihood of 200 fishermen families who depended on it. The fingerlings worth Rs.1.5 lakh, jointly run by 200 fishermen under the District Fishermen Cooperative Society, is the only source of income for the fishermen.

Knowing Andhra Pradesh, the farmers enjoy a lot of political support based on social(caste) and economic factors(owners of land). And it being election time, no party would want to antagonize them in fear of loss of votes.

So, the question is: who decides over water and its usage, based on what?. Who decides on the life and livelihood of one over the other. Who decides and on what basis that someone was more important than the other.

Democracy we say. People elected by the people for the people. I can't believe it. Something is missing, I think ? Something important ? The very essence.

Bhutan - In Pursuit of Happiness

Bhutan is a country I have always wanted to visit. Somehow, it has been a dream, actually, more than a dream. I am not sure how to explain it. Every time I think of which country I would like to visit most, the answer has always been Bhutan. The first time I read about the King of Bhutan was when I was in school. It's been on my mind ever since. For me, it is the magical land. A country mostly unknown, but happy and content. That's the picture I've always had. What got me all the more interested about Bhutan was GNH. And how it was conceptualized by the king. How he interpreted life and happiness for his people and for himself.

Gross National Happiness, GNH, is a term expressed by the former King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s to measure development of his country in terms of people's happiness. It is based on the Buddhist thought that the ultimate purpose of life is inner happiness.

In contrast to Gross National Product, GNP, the pursuit is not just for development but for development to achieve happiness. Evaluation is based not on economic benefits but on the happiness they produce for the people.

So, how do they measure happiness? The Bhutanese produced a model consisting of four pillars, nine domains and 72 indicators of happiness. The four pillars involve the economy, culture, environment and good governance. It breakes the pillars into nine domains: psychological well-being, health, education, culture, living standards, time use, community vitality and good governance. Each of the domains have weighted and unweighted GNH index.

Think about it. Development measured in terms of people's happiness. That is what a government should be doing. Looking at every decision taken in terms of whether it will bring more happiness to its people.

I think most of the world's problems will be solved if we follow the model. Unhappiness takes many forms. And the most cruel of them is poverty. An empty stomach drives man, basically an animal, to most forms of crime. Have you compared your state of mind when you've had a good meal and when you're starved ? I for one am impossible to approach when I am hungry. If we could provide the means for each human being to earn his meal for a day, and not worry about where the next day's would come from, most people would be content.

I admire the king. He was a very popular and much loved king, and is still uptodate, though not a king. He resigned and paved way for the country's first democratic election last year. A king stepping away from power - after Ashoka, he maybe the one. He changed the role of the monarchy as one having constitutional power not executive power. He gave the throne to his son. He lives as an example for his people. Respect and admire him for that. A true king. Who or which country wouldn't want to be ruled by such a king? Especially in the age of the politicians as we have today. Forget democracy and communism.

Today, when recession rules, Bhutan stands as a guiding light. It is for other countries to open their eyes and see that guiding light. To follow the path she has taken. Of course, they have not perfected it. But atleast, they are on the right track.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cooked up

Some of the things I've been cooking. Thought I might need an opinion.

1. Don't start anything with "Think I can manage it". Means you can't. Start with "I can do it" and manage if there is a need to.

2. Yes, you've been told: "Be patient. Give people another chance". No one said it has to be the same person all the time.

3. Always have a count: for the number of chances you give someone who is not nice to you. Else, it will become a habit.

4. If you find yourself telling "I am bored" too many times, it means you are not trying hard enough - to do something different.

5. If you feel down, try looking at things you did not care to see everyday. Forget the people and the familiar. A smile will return.

6. Never use the word 'never'. You never know.