Woman.

As it happens so often in my life,  two different sources sent me two different links to two different you tube offerings but, on the same subject on the same day. The first one is about a mother and the second about a wife.

Both appealed to me and also affected me deeply and I want to share it with my readers. Though both are presented by Indians, their messages are universal and applicable to all mothers and wives. I hope that these two videos touch my readers as much as they touched me.

The first video is by Hari Sankar…a Grandmaster in Chess who has won a slew of awards…at one stage he was in the top 5 or 7 in the world..like Viswanathan Anand, it was his mother who was the motivating force to take up Chess. He is from Andhra Pradesh.  Despite trying to be funny, he manages to convey a profound statement about motherhood and women.

The next one is from an older man who while presenting the poem is quite affected.

Globalisation Versus Tribal Nationalism.


According to WHO, globalisation can be defined as “the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries. It is generally understood to include two inter-related elements: the opening of international borders to increasingly fast flows of goods, services, finance, people and ideas; and the changes in institutions and policies at national and international levels that facilitate or promote such flows.”

I am all for this provided, the spirit of the policy is implemented without any reservation but, in practise, that has not been the case as the next choice comes into play.


“Tribal nationalism more popularly called right-wing populism is a response to worries about immigration and national identity, coupled with genuine social injustices including economic hardship and unemployment.”

I live in India.  We have gone through a partition of the country that divided us into two and now that has become three with some elements of the division still troubling us.  Unlike the post world war II Europe, where full exchange of ethnic minorities took place, we did not due to what is now felt as stupidity of the then leadership of the country and we have an effective fifth column operating here.  We have a major problem of illegal migrants from our neighbouring countries encouraged by this fifth column and  some of our short term oriented politicians for vote bank politics.  There is also a sixth column which is the leftist  elite leftover from our experiments with socialism which, while on the retreat is also causing much damage to our youth.

Our Tribal Nationalism therefore is very appealing to people who are proud of our heritage and history who are unashamedly Indian and who are the cause for the despair of the English Speaking Left Intellectual Mafia as they are now called.  I have no hesitation whatsoever to confirm that I am a Tribal Nationalist who is willing to accept Globalisation which will treat us exactly as it would like us to treat it.  With respect.

I would therefore have preferred to call the title with an “And” instead of the “Versus” suggested by Shackman.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Confusion.

I have three ARs in my WhatsApp list. Arun, Arjun and Arvind. The last was my late younger brother whose name I have not had the heart to remove from the list. The first two  have Rajagopal as their second names, one with Rajagopal and the other with Rajagopalan.

Earlier this week, it was Arjun’s birthday and I sent him a birthday greetings in the morning but, till late in the afternoon I had not received any acknowledgement and so I rang up my friend and his father to enquire if all is well. My friend said that he will get the son to call me back and then I found that his birthday was later in the year and he claimed that he had not received any message from me. I then realised that I had sent the greetings to Arjun, but was following up with Arun’s father and Arun. I then realised that Arjun had also died some months ago and I had sent the message to a dead man’s WhatsApp number. My bad.

I have two other contacts, one a Koushik and the other Kaushal. I often type the first three letters wrongly to send emails or to send WhatsApp messages. I have not yet goofed up but, would not be surprised if I do soon enough.

Such confusion is normal for people of my age I am told. On the other hand, I have a young friend who is in a very comfortable position with a highly reputed organisation with a bright future. He has been offered a position in the Middle East where the emoluments will be higher and tax free for him and he can use a skill that he has acquired that he is unable to use in his present position. He sought my advice and I was at a loss to advise as the present situation in the Middle East is anything but rosy. I just discussed the pros and cons with him and after that both of us are as confused about the course of action to be taken by him as we were before the discussion.

Coming to another friend closer to my age, he is a widower living alone and wanting to pursue a spiritual life. For the past two years he has been in discussions with me and a few other friends about how to go about it and despite having explored a number of alternatives, has not been able to come to a final conclusion as he is totally confused. With the lockdown, things have become more difficult as his idle mind is a devil’s workshop and he keeps obsessing over not being able to be decisive.

These examples are micro level confusions but, today, the entire world is totally confused about the course of action to follow with the Covid situation with no answers coming from anywhere that guarantees success. In my fairly long life, I have never seen anything more confused than this pandemic with thousands of experts throwing up their hands but still offering opinions. We have governments in our states each following its own erratic ways and some claiming success one day and despairing the next. People too are totally confused with the number of advise givers growing day be day and diets and immunity boosting things changing from day to day.

Confusion has become chaos and quite when some semblance of normalcy will return is anybody’s guess.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Are People Intelligent Or Stupid In This Pandemic Situation?

I suspect that this topic has been inspired by this photo and the article about it.

My response is simple. Most are intelligent and will follow sane advice on preventing the infection while some will be stupid and trust either religious dictats or false propaganda.


Some will insist on being super stupid.

My response is using images during the current pandemic but, such behaviour is all but human and reflects mankind in general in all situations. How many smokers have kept on smoking saying that many non smokers get cancer of the lung and many smokers do not?

Finally, I leave it to my readers to come to some conclusion about the topic after reading this article.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Tragic Optimism.

“The man I am, greets mournfully, the man I might have been.”
~ Hebbel

I contacted a Senior Teacher of Vipassana in Pune yesterday, whom I have known since the last more than two decades. He was a highly successful Medical Practitioner as was his wife but, both have quit their practices to devote their full time and energies to Vipassana. I contacted him to find out how best I can attend a camp with my health issues. Being a doctor and a teacher of Vipassana, I thought that he would be the best guide to approach as I felt that I needed a concentrated meditation camp at this stage of my life. He guided me to my full satisfaction and also assured me that he will ensure that I will be well looked after in the local Meditation Center.

It was a nice long chat catching up with each other on many subjects and I intend keeping in regular touch with him henceforth.

After the talk was over, he sent me a photograph taken during the early days of a Vipassana Meditation Center at Markal near Pune with me and two students of meditation in it. The link will take you to show you how the place is now.

This was circa 2003 when it was still in its nascent stage and accommodation and meditation hall were still in early stages of being set up. I was approached by the same teacher to be a volunteer to serve the attendees as by then I was already a caregiver to my incapacitated late wife. In this particular case, they were a group of blind students who had to be looked after, and guided around the primitive undeveloped area so that they did not come to harm and the ten days that I did this changed me for ever.

Spending eleven nights and ten days with blind people and serving them will do that to any body. One is humbled by them with their good cheer and will to survive despite their handicap and their total trust and unconditional affection for me was a high impact emotional experience for me. My caregiving duties only increased and was even doubled after my then 91 year old father came to live with us.  That period till ten years later saw the most stressful times that I have ever experienced and thankfully I was able to withstand and survive those situations due, I have no doubt, to my regular meditation practice.

That experience with the blind students changed my attitude towards life and just about that time was when I first came across Viktor Frankl and his Tragic Optimism. His profound conclusion that I share with my readers below describes my current situation at the age of 77 with health issues.

“From this one may see that there is no reason to pity old people. Instead, young people should envy them. It is true that the old have no opportunities, no possibilities in the future. But they have more than that. Instead of possibilities in the future, they have realities in the past—the potentialities they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized—and nothing and nobody can ever remove these assets from the past.”

Xenophobia.

xenophobia
/zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə/
Learn to pronounce
noun
dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Recently after the news spread that the Corono Virus should be really called the Chinese virus, right or wrong, many Indians from the North Eastern states who have mongoloid features were subject to abuse in many states within India. When I read this news, I was ashamed of being an Indian but, on reflection felt sad about our education system that does not teach our people about the diversity of our population within the country.

For all practical purposes, India is like Europe rather than any country. It has many ethnic religious, linguistic and cultural groups and also running within each group sub groups, castes etc and unless one has been privileged to visit all the states and interacted with the local people, eaten their cuisine and enjoyed their differences, it is not surprising that such aberrations take place within our own country leave alone, xenophobia against people from other countries.

I can without hesitation say that I am xenophobic when it comes to Pakistanis and the worst experience that I have had while my travels overeseas was to be mistaken for one in the UK. Since both Pakistanis and Indians come essentially from the same genetic pool, they look the same and it is easy to be mistaken for either by ignorant foreigners. If I felt insulted at being mistaken for a Pakistani, I feel flattered that many Pakistanis, in the UK and other countries name their restaurants as Indian eating places to avoid being mistaken for Pakistani establishments! Although rather dated, this explains that phenomenon.

Very often, xenophobia is confused with or combined with racism and I suspect that this topic was suggested after the recent developments in the USA. Having expounded on xenophobia, let me now address the issue of racism. I have personal experience of racism during my travel and it is not something that one would like to experience ever. We in India too are racist in a way. Since our nation is a mosaic there is a definite preference for fairness and aversion for darkness. The following two ads say enough.

That preference and aversion of colour exists is best explained by the inimitable Mohamed Ali first in a video and then by Robert Mugabe in a statement.

 

“Racism will never end as long as white cars are still using black tyres.

Racism will never end if people still use black to symbolise bad luck and white for peace.

Racism will never end if people still wear white clothes to weddings and black clothes to funerals.

Racism will never end as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted not white listed.

Even when playing snooker, you haven’t won until you’ve sunk the black ball, and the white ball must remain on the table!

But I don’t care, as long as I’m still using white toilet paper to wipe my black ass, I’m happy.”

Here again a complete overhaul of our education system to treat White and Black as opposites and different rather than good and bad may perhaps change attitudes sometime in the future.

In the meanwhile, I have serious doubts that we can eliminate both, at least not in my life time.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.