Doom And Gloom.

Harold Camping had predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth on May 21, 2011, whereupon the righteous would fly up to heaven, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011, with the final destruction of the world. He had previously predicted that Judgment Day would occur on or about September 6, 1994.

Camping was reported to have retired from his position at Family Radio as of October 16, 2011, only days before his last predicted date for the end of the world. However, his daughter later clarified that he had not retired outright, but was maintaining a role at Family Radio while working from home. Camping admitted in a private interview that he no longer believed that anybody could know the time of the Rapture or the end of the world, in stark contrast to his previously staunch position on the subject. In March 2012, he stated that his attempt to predict a date was “sinful”, and that his critics had been right in pointing to the words of Matthew 24:36: “of that day and hour knoweth no man”. He added that he was now searching the Bible “even more fervently…not to find dates, but to be more faithful in [his] understanding.”

Source – Wikipedia.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmum. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

Something New To Be Paranoid About.

Sit down comfortably, switch off all distracting noises and read this article in the Atlantic.

I am particularly fascinated by this scenario – “…….but imagine the damage an attack targeting the CEOs of a number of Fortune 500 companies could do to the world economy.” My brain thinks that this may result in some very good things happening to the world! Collateral benefits?

Otherwise scary is it not?

Beauty Markets.

Some time ago, I had written in a lighter vein about my friend facing a problem with his size. Now, Nick has this post “Up For Grabs” up in his blog Nickhereandnow.
Intrigued after reading the post and all the comments there as well as the personal barbs I faced on return from my vacation with added and obvious pounds around my waist, I conducted some research and was stunned at what I found.

To start with, this article is mind blowing. Further research led me to some other graphs.

While I accept that the quest for beauty is universal, I wonder if human beings are not being brainwashed by various vested interests into torturing themselves to achieve what is considered to be perfection by the media and the beauty industry. Lest I be asked, let me clarify – I personally am not going in for any surgical intervention for my middle. Some dieting and resumption of my exercise routine should do the trick, but it would certainly appear that plastic surgery would be a great career option for any young medical student.

And many thanks to Conrad for this timely contribution to this post.

Gratitude And Happiness.

Last week, as part of the Thanksgiving messages going around the internet I got this on FaceBook:

I strongly believe that this is true and as my readers who have been with me for some time know, I am one thankful dude. (Tammy, how do you like the description?) I shared the image on my page on FB and my friend Nandu had this to say about it.

“Nice one and got me going again I am afraid! (Nandu is a gifted orator who can wax eloquent on any subject.)

Sadly there are so many people who have SO MUCH to be thankful for (applies to most of us if not all on FB at least) and yet are unhappy! I always advice the moaners around me ” Just visit a hospital – or a slum or deep rural areas – and walk around for 1/2 hour to realise how lucky you are – even marvel at the spirit and positive attitude of the seriously ( even terminally ) ill and maimed.” Some might object saying it smacks of “contentment with a mediocre/sub-optimal existence”, not happiness or those stuck in abject poverty. But that precisely is about people working hard to preserve their state of unhappiness and wallowing in misplaced self pity!

I sometimes marvel at the people of especially our country who are poor ( by any definition , except our Governments, and who do not have any “social security” net worth talking about) and yet smile & laugh & share, poor and yet DO NOT resort to crime (more than can be said of the rich and famous!) , poor and yet proud , poor and yet hope & dream , poor and yet have the courage (not ignorance ) to have children ( especially a girl child ) despite an uncertain future for them – many somehow educating them so that they do not inherit the same fetters of misfortune and go on to lead better lives in a cruel world !

They fully realise that only a pitiful few become “slumdog millionaires” or even come anywhere close to it or have Dame Luck smile upon them once in a while . Disparaging as some of us “better off intellectuals” are of Bollywood “formula” film genre , at least it transports these people into a dream world for a couple of hours for a few rupees – brief respite from a harsh inescapable existence!

In this scenario “charity” (in any form, even giving time) by the relatively well-off is hardly an optional or discretionary act of “do gooding ” – it is an obligation that transcends being Thankful (to God or Fate or whatever) and makes our short existence on the planet a bit more meaningful and just…we owe it!

Narsi Bhagat’s poem so loved by Mahatma Gandhi puts it beautifully.

Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye jay peerh paraaye janneyray;

He who understands the pain of others is one of God’s own.
Helping others in need, he or she does not gloat in pride.

This person respects all people in the world, and does not condemn or criticize anyone.
He or she is pure in speech, deed and thought. Mother of such person is blessed indeed!

He is equanimous and has given up all desires. To him, other women are [equivalent to] mothers.
He or she never speaks a lie, and does not covet others’ wealth.

Delusion and attachment do not affect him or her, with mind firm in detachment.
Such a person is ever engrossed in meditation of God, and embodies all places of pilgrimage.

Such a person has no greed or deceit, and has overcome lust and anger.
Narsi says: Such a person is worthy of worship, and alone elevates his entire race”

Another Achievement.

For the past many years, due to my replaced and revised hips, I have restricted my driving of cars to local runs and if I have to go into the city, I generally hire a driver on an hourly basis or take a taxi cab or an auto-rickshaw to avoid the hassles of parking and unruly traffic. For long distance drives, I have inevitably hired drivers as I just did not have the confidence of being able to drive long distances and manage break downs or flat tires on my own.

During my recent vacation in Delhi, my friend Anil drove me around despite his own physical problems and was very inspiring. I also have envied Grannymar who drives around all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all by herself. So, when I found an excuse to visit my cousin in Vashi, 140 Kms away from my home, I decided to emulate Grannymar and Anil and drive to Vashi and back.

To cut a long story short, I did so yesterday and returned this morning after having spent the night with my cousin at his home. I did have a small mechanical problem on the way up in the Expressway, which I was able to tackle with aplomb and reach Vashi in one piece. I got the small problem attended to at Vashi and had no problems at all on the return journey. And what is more, I thoroughly enjoyed the driving! It has been such a long time that I drove like that!

Grannymar and Anil, I thank both of you for the inspiration. I intend taking off on more such long drives in the future too.