Poems and Creative writing

Joys of the Earthquake – from India…

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A short post after the huge event of the day. The huge earthquake at Aceh, Indonesia – made its presence felt all over the world. While the press and media will have some fodder to feed upon for the next week – I shudder to think of the physical, mental and emotional trauma that the affected people are going through at this time. My prayers and genuine thoughts for people whose lives have turned upside down in an instant. May their lives and mental strength bounce back to normal soon.

That being said – the choice of my title might be rather surprising for many, or even cynical. I am neither advocating it to be a welcome change of scenario from our otherwise monotonous existence nor  feigning superficial courage over an event that some term as ‘exciting’, unmindful of the actual destruction caused.

The tremors were felt in Madras at 2.14 pm. What the earthquake warning taught me were some lessons. As I heard many people with their versions of the experience it was quite obvious that the earthquake set things in perspective for many people. When the tremors were first felt – most people encountered :

Self -doubt – They thought they felt giddy, some thought their blood pressure had dropped, some attributed it to low blood sugar levels, some thought their lunch had gone bad, some spoke about bad eyesight as their computer monitors were going crazy, and some thought that another person was pushing them around.

Priority check – Despite everyone running after money, fame, work, politics, gossip – when faced with an event that nature throws at you a.k.a Earthquake / Tsunami, one aspect took precedence over all others – LIFE! People were frantic to save their own lives and check on the status of their loved ones too (which was a little difficult – thanks to congestion and mobile connectivity issues.) People wanted to flee to get to the safety of their families – Work, office, career all took a backseat as each person wanted to safeguard their children, parents, grandparents, pets. The usually uncrowded streets ( between 4-6 pm) , were choked with bumper to bumper traffic with each person trying to outdo the other in their efforts to reach home.

People over materials – Another refreshing point that the tremors uncovered was the lack of importance one gave for their expensive material possessions when actually confronted with a serious issue. When asked to evacuate immediately – most people ran to get out first, leaving behind wallets, expensive cell phones, and other valuable items. Money and material possessions – were actually forgotten for awhile. An instant bond was created as strangers were willing to share phones – so that one may cross check on the safety of family and friends, with others volunteering to post messages on Facebook / Twitter, and some willing to lend some emergency funds to get to a child’s school and pick them up.

These were the joys that the earthquake brought to me. That there is still hope. That there still is a friendly neighbour or colleague. That there is someone who would lend us a helping hand. How good it is to trust. To feel one with the society. And not having to play the self-defense game forever.It is heartening to note that some small joys are still not forgotten and that people still have not yet fully been sucked into the vortex of greed and apathy. I only wish it did not have to be an event of such magnitude to force us face our choices. Here’s to a new life and new thoughts…

To the joys of simplicity and new hopes...
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Death of a good Friendship

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I consciously am avoiding the word relationship in this post. I use friendship here as a blanket term for any good relationship – parents and children, colleagues at work, siblings, cousins, neighbours, granparents and grandchildren, pets and people.

Broken Friendships

Over a period of time, I have watched and observed a lot of such friendships wither away. Parents and children have nothing to say to each other, friends from school do not feel comfortable with each other, cousins and siblings have grown apart, and grandparents face a generation gap. But the base line is – everyone reminisces about those past times, when things were good, and your heart did not feel so heavy with uncomfortable baggage. So what happened in between?

Growing apart

1. Growing apart – The most common excuse a person will give is – “we have grown apart”. Life is just too busy and with the family and the job – there is just no time to keep in touch. This might be true in many cases (I agree) with people you categorize as acquaintances, colleagues, or those who did not really strike that vibe with you. But it cannot happen, to people you have considered friends, spent time listening to their feelings (happy or sad) and maybe sharing some of yours. Keeping in touch? That’s the next point we will be talking about.

Keep in touch!

2. Keeping in touch – Well, the truth is ‘keeping in touch’ has become simpler than ever before. With Facebook, Skype, the infinite messenger apps that are compatible on both your laptop and phone, Whatsapp, e-mail, and e-mail alerts on the go – are you kidding me? How can keeping in touch be a problem? You do not have to write letters that showcase your bad handwriting, and reflect your crooked trails of thought – or wait at the mercy of the postal department to bring you some of that human touch?

Ever observed that of your 1097 listed under friends on Facebook – you actually communicate with about 12? Or with the 780 contacts on your mobile memory – you send about 200 messages to about 3 people in a week and about the same number being distributed among the other contacts in a year (at least birthday wishes to some). Well, that’s because that is what they have become – contacts. So when did they shift from being ‘Friends’ to becoming a ‘contact’ – people you rely on for help, to call in a favour?

Well – for a friend to become ‘just a contact’ something has to have happened. Why do we stop becoming comfortable with our own children, cousins? People who shared important phases of our lives. Why do we sub-consciously shut them out?

Because we have silently over looked the fact that something has happened. Did you support your wife over your father on an issue? Did your cousin make a dig at your parenting skills through your daughter? Do you feel your best friend is subtly trying to oust you at whatever you do? Did your son tell you to mind your own business? ‘Small things ‘ like the above, that puncture your ego are the trigger points that change the equation.

The Ego is hurt, and shields the Self from bouncing back to normal. Next time you see your cousin – you do not communicate half as well as you used to – thanks to the dig she made at you last time. Sensing your change, your cousin also builds up her wall of defense taking you to point 1 (Growing apart) and subsequently to point 2 (Not keeping in touch). And the vicious circle continues…

Fear.These petty incidents stem from fear and tend to snowball into friendship-threatening scenarios, which can be avoided with a bit of detachment. Do not take anything or anyone to heart. You are your own best friend – do not give others the power to affect you emotionally. Instead reach out to them. Snide remark from a gal pal, ignore the comment, give it some space and go for a neutral outing. Nagging but adorable grandmother? Repel the aspect in her behaviour that irritates you and change the topic to a neutral zone. It helps to safeguard such friendships, that are actually useful, secure zones. They are  wonderful if they do last, rather than give in to a momentary impulse of insanity and rue about it later.

Think about it – it would be good to have a big brother who temporarily could make you feel like a kid sister and protect you. It would be great to lean on your grandmother for some home-remedies for acne scars. And wouldn’t it  be great to have a colleague to whom you could actually share your thoughts about your boss’ lack of finesse in handling a problem? Or your friend who steps in to take care of your kid so that you could have some space for yourself? These friendships have to be nurtured.

Nurse your friendship back to health, Death is too strong a penalty to pay. Push aside your fragile ego, put on a smile and reach out a bit.  If the other person does not want to take it – then its just too bad. You may have to watch yourselves grow apart – hopefully with less regrets though.

P.S. The above post was meant for friendships that wither away due to petty reasons. Serious cases like infidelity, betrayal, and serious insecurity issues obviously have to be dealt with in a whole other fashion!

Una vida sin hombres!

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Hombres, porque?

Una vida sin hombres
Debe tener un fresco nombre
Una vida sin restricciones
Solas las celebraciones
Con Libertad
Y tantas differentes actividades

Una vida sin hermano
Pienso que sera una vida más humano
Libre como un pájaro
Mi niñez el mismo habría sido más claro

La vida sin amante
Será una idea briliante
No más disputes militants
Con esta persona dominante

Un vida sin marido
Después la ceremonia ¿ es él un conocido?
No más barreras
Podemos seguir libremente nuestras carreras

Pero stop! Yo me digo
¿Una vida sin hombres?
!Es sin un entero pronombre!

¿Una vida sin padre?
¿Una vida sin compadre?

¿Una vida sin hermano?
! Y mi niñez habría sido un poco secano!

¿Una vida sin amigo?
! No puede decir “ me importe un higo” !

¿Una vida sin amante?
! Será verdaderamente agonizante!

¿Una vida sin esposo?
!Es nada de estar orgulloso!

¿Qué pienso yo?
¿ Es possible tal vida?
¿Vivir como una huida?

Debemos aprender a coexistir
! O felizidad nos irá eludir!

P.s Perdóneme por errores gramaticales !

Men vs. Women – A Woman’s day Special

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The battle of genders has been around since our school days. Due to commonly accepted stereotypes there is a belief amongst the population that there are specific situations in which certain genders excel; gender roles.

And as time went by – there was the notion to market that the importance of one gender over the other. Thus was born the concept of feminism.

WHAT IS FEMINISM?
Wikipedia – Feminism is a collection of movements that are aimed at establishing equal,political,economic and social rights for a woman.
It seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

What it actually means is that – Woman are to be considered as people.Unfortunately the average person associates a Feminist as someone who thinks – men are not people.

The crux of the problem is that most people don’t understand what feminism means. Here’s what it doesn’t mean:-

1. Expecting a seat to be given up for you on the bus/train, etc. If someone wants to give you their seat, it’s their choice – call it chivalry (for men) or kindness (in general). It isn’t feminism.

2. Staying out all night /swearing/dating 10 boys at a time, etc. just because it makes you feel powerful or liberated. What you’re actually feeling is free, rebellious and ‘cool’. None of these signal that you’re a feminist. All of these signal that you need to grow up.

3. Looking down at homemakers and women in more ‘traditionally female/nurturing’ roles and dismissing them as weak, old-fashioned and in need of emancipation. Alternatively, praising a house-husband who’s wife is the breadwinner and labeling him as a feminist. Women who’re stay-at-home mothers, primary school teachers, social workers are more emancipated than corporate divas if they’re extremely good at their job and equally passionate about it.

So how did this all begin? From the time of our ancestors – men were hunters, they would go with a plan in mind, coordinate and achieve their goal, kill their target and bring it home. Women on the other hand, were gatherers – they would go to each tree bearing fruits or vegetables, gather them leisurely and bring them home. The same instincts have been passed onto us today.

So the tendency to look at men as providers has been hardwired into us since centuries, when there were no software programmers and vice president roles available to anyone. But that decision was by mutual consent, and had more to do with division of labour. But what has happened with the onset of liberalization is that women have a whole new territory to explore and conquer – the male bastion of work. Whereas, what is means for the male is that his fiefdom is under threat and there is no bastion for him to counter-attack, because he cannot give birth to children. So mankind’s survival instincts dictate that the male species do anything and everything to preserve his area of control.

How does India figure in this list? India started out well in the case of feminism as with all other concepts.

Women of the Vedic period were prominent with their exemplary intellectuality and supreme spiritual attainment. You had higly revered goddesses, women were provided equal education. There were philosophers like Gargi and Maitreyi who could tackle any man intellectually.

When did we become a society that oppresses women, resorts to female infanticide, dowry cases, bride burning and the lot? As can be seen in several third world countries Men try to retain their so called kingdom by denying women their rights, their access to education etc: so that they automatically become unqualified for many of the roles performed by men.

The lack of education is the most important factor that has contributed to suppression of women. When a regime wishes to oppress or monopolize another regime, the first thing that is denied is – Education. Because with a lack of education comes a lack of thinking, opinions and convictions.

The second method how this can be achieved is what is happening today – where you impress upon an otherwise qualified and capable woman that she is just not upto a man, merely on account of her gender.The ‘liberated’, ’empowered’ woman has started to associate the activities of man with that of success, self-confidence, self-worth and recognition. So when we suddenly find ourselves given the freedom to do different things we work towards things that men do thereby giving them the right to set the rules. Giving them the freedom to be the yardstick. We want to do all that men do, and do it better.

Yes, Arnold can lift a 100 kg barbell
Do I have to do the same?
Stereotype -corporate man
Stereotype - Corporate woman.

It is this glass ceiling that needs to be broken and not just in terms of climbing the corporate ladder. The society as a whole needs to rise above the glass ceiling.Women need to understand that the highest form of freedom is freedom of thought and expression. Thoughts for which you define the parameters, not society.

So ladies, until the male half of the society sees us this way, we need to treat them as adversaries. And when we win a match, we don’t ask our opponent how well we played do we? – The fact that we won itself means we are better than them. So if at all you need feedback, take it from your teammates – other women, and stop expecting your adversaries to applaud your victory. Someone said, “Remember, you are unique – just like everyone else”. So use your unique PLUS points to shoot down the ARROWS being aimed at you!

Use the +ves and shoot down those arrows!

For when you have the conviction and the ability to execute your thoughts – you will find that you have no necessity to prove yourself. You are comfortable just being YOU. Happy Women’s Day!

Dear Facebook…

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Dear Facebook,

Image

I really do not understand, how did you get to be so popular? Why do people want to be connected with you all the time? Why do they have to keep checking for updates on both mobile phones and on their laptops? You were interesting .. I agree. But now?

I find your games boring. The fortune cookies and their predictions -rather vague. And I do not even want to talk about your Farmville, Fishville and whatchamacallits. It bugs me to see pictures of 11th Honeymoon pictures of my acquaintances at places I cannot afford. Or candid pictures of hungover people. And those monotonous comments – “Awwwww”, the little heart symbols,  ” S/he is a princess or prince” The many ” made for each other “couples, who actually look nothing of the part. The people with 1000 friends who immediately get 47 likes in 15 seconds of them posting an update. Why don’t you do anything about it? I really do not understand… Please do get back to me on this.

Regards,

Mathangi.

P.S. I think I might ‘unfriend’ you this time !

Dear Mathangi,

Good to hear from you. I know what you are talking about. Sometimes I find myself boring. I do not want to have ‘walls’, much less have people ‘post’ their graffiti on them. Earlier people used to treat me as a friend and put up only special stuff and I wanted to give them fun stuff too. I rather liked sending people pokes and hugs and birthday cakes. And it seemed to me a good platform for making friends with some privacy. But as I have become older, I have become wiser and maybe even found out what makes me popular.  As you are a good friend , and a curious one – I shall share it with you. I function on two basic principles : –

1. Need to be appreciated – Well don’t you remember how good it feels to be appreciated? I’m sure you do look forward to feedback for your blogs too. It always is nice to be recognized. And that is one of my biggest advantages. There will be someone among your friends who will “like” whatever it is you say. If two of your closest friends do not agree to what you say – post it on Facebook and you will find 20 who do! So, I do feel proud sometimes that I make people happy.

But I agree with you  – I have seen weird posts get their share of  ” likes” too. For e.g. someone informed the rest of the world that about the demise of their friend, and it got 147 likes! Like you, I did not understand – was the person so unpopular, that everyone was waiting for his death??? Then I slowly realized that his friends did miss him, and wanted to show their grief by “liking” the fact that he was dead. Well, maybe the cynic in you blames Me, but the rationalist in Me blames you (The users).

2. Support in Misery :– The next best thing to appreciation, is support when you feel down. Try posting a message that says ‘ I’m bored’ or ‘I’m depressed’ and see the number of people (friends or acquaintances) who immediately spring to your rescue with their ‘concerned’ comments or efforts to cheer you up. Both are basic needs of people across the world. The need to feel wanted and liked, and the need to feel part of a group. I do agree that it may not be the best thing to broadcast around the world, but hey if it works in today’s scenario, why not? And people do tell me about Facebook bullies, and cutting out people or blocking people out – even though it hurts there is nothing I can do about it. The youngsters have become smarter and faster and I have become older and slower.

I try to survive with my basic two strengths which I have told you about. You may complain about the different groups, self-promotion pages, or lack of privacy. But dear Friend, I think your problem is that you may have outgrown me .

But nevertheless, I’m sending you a friend request with the message ” Being Facebook is getting too complicated. Time to become a unicorn”. POOF!!!

Vegan is good…

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Today I just have to find out - what is it that the bisons eat? Just vegan stuff? i do not believe it, I shall spy on their eating habits today to find out...
Shhhh...Enter the Bison
That's it??? He just starts grazing... and grass? Is that all there is to his well-defined muscles?
There, my distant cousin has sent her impish brat to spy on his eating habits too... Scat you imp!
And he drinks just water! Where does he get all those muscles?
I think he is just showing off all those muscles...
He definitely is showing off... Did he spot me?

Bison 1 : Do not look now, but those two monkeys have been staring at your uncle from the morning.

Bison 2 : What do they want?

Bison 1 : They still keep trying to spot if we consume health supplements, like their ‘evolved’ cousins.They cannot believe ‘Vegan is good’.

Bison 2 : Is it really?

Bison 1 : Well, look at his muscles and yours!

Bison 2 : Sigh! Well… I guess

AND AT THE MONKEY HOME…

Dad  : What do they eat? Tell me… What did you see?

Son : I swear Dad, they eat just grass and leaves, and drink just water. Please let go of my          neck, you’re hurting me!

Mom : Your son is as bad as you. Just comes back with useless stuff doesn’t he? Sigh…

The M-word

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I am a mere observer
Others lives I record and see
What this  one-word institution
“Marriage” is meant to be

Some marry in a hurry
Like there will be – no other chance
Soon, neither gives the other
As much as a second glance

Some marry for money
It seems to be a practical choice
But then, its not all honey
Often, their thoughts have no voice

Many marry under pressure
With people dictating- what they SHOULD do
And when the big day is over
On their own, the partners
hardly have a clue

Some marry their friends
And discover a new avatar
Men – scream, Women – cold war
Well,That’s how this relation ends

Some marry for security
And standing in the “society”
Unless blessed with serious conviction
Their life fades into obscurity

Some try their luck at ” _____ . com ”
Firmly believing in technology
While chatting, fiance(e)s are in full form
And later a mismatch in psychology

Some marry for fame
And try desperately to fit in
Very few survive
The others, just can’t seem to win

Some just feel alone
They need to get themselves a spouse
The difference is similar to –
Creating a home
And just buying a house

Yet, there are those who strive
Unassuming, sometimes unglamorous to the eye
This small fraction
shares their strategy, which is
No Expectation.

To keep it going, they say
there are a few many things
you have to do,
If not –
Kiss peace of mind – Adieu!!!