Sunday, 5 November 2017

BASKETS OF INTELLIGENCE


A group of senior citizens I know, often gather together to enjoy a good breakfast in a garden. Under the shade of a tree, they sit on benches and call for a folding table to spread the menu their loving wives have prepared. It’s quite a bonding time where these old friends laugh out loud and do some breathing exercises before they put into their mouths, health sprinkled with spice of love and affection, all laid out before them.

Today when a basket was brought to be kept on a bench, I noticed it to be an old fashioned kind of a carrier. It was a lovely plastic container, designed aesthetically with big handles to carry all the food placed inside it with great love and care. What drew my attention was not the food therein, because that was all wrapped up and covered with a colourful napkin over it. It was the basket that caught my eye.

My memory, took me some more than forty years back on a balcony where there was a similar basket always kept in a corner with a rope tied to its handles. The little me then, I remembered, indulged in the comfort of shopping from the balcony everyday when the vegetable vendor used to come with a spread of nutritious colours laid neatly over a handcart. He had a typical call, on hearing which all those interested in purchasing food plants, came out on their balconies for a good shopping experience. Bhaji kaka (Vegetable uncle) is what we called him then. So many eyes would be looking down and making a mental pick of their day’s requirements and then shouting out their orders loud and clear for him to make note of. The funny part was that we all knew what would be cooking in the neighbourhood homes for the day. The baskets would be let down with the right amount neatly placed inside for the purchase, and the vegetables would be placed in exchange for the money and the strings would be pulled up gently. As a little girl it was all so much of unique fun for me.

As I grew up, the construction patterns in the city changed over time and the balconies disappeared and so did the baskets. Today I stand in long queues in malls pushing trolleys with the food purchased with every item stuck with its price on it. I still haven’t got myself ready for the latest convenience of ordering my culinary requirements online simply because I prefer to work on my tactile and visual senses before every purchase.

Suddenly the basket on the bench made me realise how the supermarkets had replaced Bhaji kaka and the trustworthy connection between the buyers and sellers. We almost had shared a relationship with him. He knew our tastes and often reminded us that he had brought what we liked. ‘The tomatoes today are real red and juicy. They will make a delicious soup’, he would call out to my granny standing three floors above on the balcony; straining her eyes to see well. The basket saved her the inconvenience of going down the stairs and climbing up again. The dropping down of the basket and pulling it up when pregnant with food was my delight. It was like a game for me, one which never bored me. Also, it was a skill to get it up steadily without it swinging with its overflowing colourful contents. When I had successfully pulled it up and granny had the handles in her grip I could see an understanding flow out of the senior eyes, both, the ones standing next to me on the balcony and the ones looking upwards from down below. As compared to such a dependent experience of those days, today’s shopping malls have given me comfort and better convenience, but Bhaji kaka’s love and blessings are missing, just like the missing basket.

Bhaki kaka’s communication skills were a delight to learn from by simply observing him and the way in which he coped with life, people and situations. He filled baskets with his goodwill. Over a period of time he had become our family’s balcony friend.

Today, as the friends settled down to unload the contents of the basket into their hungry plates, I couldn’t stop thinking about the unzipped possibilities open baskets could have. Fashion repeats itself and these baskets have come back in style. Imagine if we were to once again like the olden days, carry baskets filled with love, what infinite possibilities we could have, to create change in our lives! If we delved deeper into these baskets of love we could find therein trust and understanding along with simple sharing and caring; emotions largely lost to many today. We could put in agreements and remove any overloading and unhealthy grievances. We could call them baskets of intelligence which would allow time for open exploration of kindness and intimacy.

Metaphorically, we could use this basket as our life and put into it anything that we desire or even pull out what has been mistakenly put into it due to our negligence.

A basket with good food in it would be so very full of life in itself. To carry it along and walk towards a tree to sit underneath it, would be so much better than going to a restaurant and searching the menu card there.

We certainly need to have some open baskets to carry around on our journey; baskets to fill in love, baskets to drop in care, baskets to pack with understanding, baskets well arranged with sympathy, baskets overflowing with forgiveness, mercy, magic of wonderful memories, kindness, and baskets to gather in them promising great humans.


(Picture credits: Google)

Sunday, 29 October 2017

THE CHEESE OF HUMANITY


One learns more from suffering than one learns from happiness; and failures too are better teachers than success.

The recent warning from the North Korean foreign minister regarding the nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean is one more lesson of pain which perhaps the world is getting ready for.

Peace has begun to pray that the rising tensions between North Korea and the US may not ever see the most powerful detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

This potential happening brings to my mind a story which I had often heard as a child and which laboured to teach that fight only led to sad faces at the end of the day.
The story, ‘A clever monkey and two cats’, showed two greedy and angry felines fight over a flat round cheesy bread and then aptly jumped in a clever monkey to make peace between the two, offering to bite off the pieces of the flat bread and make even distribution. In his conniving attempt of fairness he kept biting into the bread filling up his ever hungry tummy and working to make the loaf into a visibly equal share for the foolish cats. Finally when just a little bit was left, the understanding of futility of warring dawned on the foolish cats who then thought it better to have a little of what was left rather than let it all go into the clever monkey’s stomach. The smart Simian then took away the last bite also, demanding it as his fees for his greedy labour.

It’s amazing that a world educated on the sorrows of the two horrendous world wars has no flinching before moving onto the third one. The lessons of history seem to have been lost to the pompous politicians and history is getting ready to repeat itself.
It’s a fearful moment with the potency of total annihilation that the world at large is ignoring and perhaps even blinded too.

At this moment I realize the depth of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ which ends with the words, “Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” These temptations are so varied! Those of ego and pride, those of earthly desires of temporary treasures which will in time erode away. All those ideologies leading to violence and those evil thoughts leading to deep darkness!

This super intelligent age in which man is making cosmic mats to attract aliens on this planet and make them feel at home is all set up with the nuclear arrows to destroy his human neighbour.

This super conscious world, with all its knowledge of food and nutrition has astonishingly forgotten all about the food that enriches one’s soul.

Humanity today is at stake and the voice of conscience keeps knocking at man’s door but he is engrossed in making choices of wine and pleasure at his neighbours. His ears strain to hear the call of the world and he turns deaf to the call of his Spirit which is in jeopardy of getting lost.

This man’s self-destructive capacity is certainly one of a kind. The evil sufferings of the two World Wars left him empty. To survive, he cleansed that emptiness with forgiveness, for there was no other alternative for moving on; but the vacuum remained. He should have filled that empty space with lessons of ‘never again’ but instead he filled the hollow with perishable joys.

“This evil nation is like a man possessed by a demon. For if the demon leaves, it goes into the deserts for a while, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the man I came from.’ So it returns and finds the man’s heart clean but empty. The demon finds seven other spirits more than itself, and all enter the man and live in him. And so he is worse off than before.” Matthew 12: 43, 44, 45.


A few hopeful questions which keep probing my mind are, ‘Will this humanity give up to the strength of the devil, or will it grab back the cheesy Bread and chew on it to survive?’ ‘Will it understand that in every war, the Devil takes away the cheese of humanity?’ Today the call for man is urgent. There is a pressing need for him to transform from being a human being to being human.
(pics. courtesy: Google)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

BEING COMPOSED IN PEACE


What can man do to accept change within himself and the society in which he lives? This question for me got answered as I watched an  Oscar- winning Iranian Movie, ‘The Salesman’ directed by Asghar Farhadi.
Unfolding the drama, ‘The Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller, within its story, the movie speaks about how an individual can be defined by a single event. The story of a young Iranian couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneth Alidoosti) who shift to a new home, is of order in life versus disorder that suddenly drops into the normalcy of living like a bomb. Rana is violently assaulted when she is in the bathroom because a stranger suddenly enters her privacy. It is a case of character drop due to temptation of the man and obvious repulsiveness on the part of the woman.
The details of the what and the how are not revealed to the viewers. Much is left to imagination when Rana is shown with wounds on her head on the hospital bed. Emad wants to lodge a police complaint but Rana refuses in obvious fear of reliving the incident to strange official men. Her expressions however show deep emotional wounds. Apparently, the apartment earlier belonged to a promiscuous lady and therefore the incident. It was a case of mistaken identity and momentous temptation.
Emad then moves on with his own amateur detective search and succeeds only to find a senior citizen as the culprit. The man when caught realises the denial and contradiction of his real self and his portrayed self to his family. He has an old wife and a daughter of marriageable age. An apology follows, but Emad wants revenge. ‘You have to admit what you did to my wife to your family’, is the demand, if an apology is to be granted. The old man gets sick and goes through trauma due to a faint heart. Rana then enters the scenario and tells Emad to let go of the old man. She wants no kind of revenge. In fact she strangely warns Emad that if he reveals the filth of the old man to his family, they will part ways.
On the peripheral level it all seems strange. An obvious question anybody would ask would be, ‘Why let the accused go?’
The Arthur Miller play running alongside shares a similar tale of a fifteen year old affair before the real time of the play. Miller too focuses on the aftermath of an affair. In the end his protagonist commits suicide being unable to deal with the change in himself; a different self from what he would want everybody else to believe. In the movie too the old man gets a stroke after Emad behind closed doors gifts him a tight slap for what he had done to Rana.
Rana’s letting go of the criminal is a letting go of revenge and pain that it would cause to his family women. It’s a humiliated woman after all, who understands what humiliation feels like and does not want two other innocent women to suffer like she has.

The last scene is where the artists, Emad and Rana are shown getting ready for another show of Miller’s play in which they play the dramatic characters of Willy the protagonists and his wife. The make-up artist is shown colouring their faces. Life has to move on, as one has to make up for the loss or the differences one goes through in the process of living. One has to make up in the end to replace the pains one has suffered in the past. The only constant in life being change; it becomes mandatory for man to accept it in peace. And composure of peace can only be achieved when brushes are dipped in colours of forgiveness; because the show must go on.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

THE TRUTH IS



Sometimes the most ordinary moments in life whisper to us a great truth and something very small indeed reveals the big picture.

It was a casual charging of a mobile that triggered the thought process. I was requested to plug the mobile for charging.

“Please would you plug the mobile for charging? It’s the second switch.”

 I did as I was told but the switch was wrong and so I changed the plug placement and kept it in another socket of the third switch. The charging began.

 “It’s not the second switch’, it’s actually the third one.”

“But it is the second switch” was the prompt reply.

“Oh you mean the second switch from the left; I thought that you meant the second switch from the right.”

The conclusion was that there were two truths in this case and both were right. To think of it though, how could there be two truths? Truth could only be one.

And here is when the voice whispered into my ear of understanding; "Some worship the Sun because for them it is the life giving source and some worship the Moon; but the truth is that they are both placed in the sky for the benefit of man by the One and only One Truth – The Creator."

In the case of the switches too, both the perspectives were correct. It was the second switch. One was second from the right and the other was second from the left but the current passed into them from one electric board.

Wisdom urges us therefore to recognise our ignorance and bow in all humbleness to the awareness of truth which is far superior to any information because information depends on dimensions of understandings but the truth always IS.

“He assigned the moon to mark the months, and the sun to mark the days.” Psalm 104:19


“O Lord, what a variety you have made! And in wisdom you have made them all! The earth is full of your riches.” Psalm 104:24

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

INDIA BLEEDS IN HER SCHOOLS


The institutes of learning where our children spend a large chunk of their day have sadly been stamping memories of fear, anger, disgust and sadness on young minds. A child dies by falling from a second floor corridor of a school, another is raped in the premise of learning, one more we learn has been periodically sexually assaulted by a bus cleaner in the schools toilet and yet another gets killed in a schools washroom.
Our schools are scrambling to match top-class world education systems but have forgotten the distinguishing feature of education namely; the well-being of the students.

Many of our so called good schools are shockingly, breeding grounds of sexual, physical and emotional abuse; these being the dangers that lurk in the seemingly safe environment of some schools. Surprisingly this evil is not limited to hinterlands where lawlessness is commonplace, but is routinely found today even in the metros.

Perhaps we have not got our priorities in the correct order. Parents wanting to give the best to their children look out for International Baccalaureate courses within premises which resemble five-star hotels than a school; which are in fact more of little corporate worlds rather than humble institutes of learning. A large number of private schools have mushroomed today in the name of autonomy, but do parents even feel curious enough to find out about the laying of the Corner Stone of such educational institutes where something has gone horribly wrong? It is obvious that a lot of dubiously accumulated wealth is invested for social respectability in many such schools whose primary motives are far from imparting knowledge. These are stone structures set up by unscrupulous individuals with individual motives of directing their coloured wealth to be hidden under uniforms of respectability.

Education today has become a business. Schools are advertised on hoardings and on buses. It’s all a world of show!  It’s all about a service industry serving the most important citizens of a country – its children; but serving them in a care a damn and a sub-standard manner.

There has to be something dreadfully incorrect with a society that puts the emotional and physical safety of its children the lowest in its priority list. Such behaviour is nothing less than criminal neglect.

The problem here is certainly not a superficial one; it has its roots deep in the principles of a nation as a whole; a nation which celebrates its teachers irrespective of their quality. How many teachers today care to know their students and are willing to give them a ear before they hurry to their tuition classes? In fact teachers who can be closest to the students are themselves many a times a major cause for their failures.

Sadly this profession of service has remained not truly a value based or a moral one for all. Many schools today are grounds where the caretakers and educators are often found responsible for leaving emotional scars on maturing minds.

The clarion call today needs to be for institutions which have a faculty ready with preparedness of voluminous scholarship and a bulk of care for the students. After all it’s the children who are the future of the world; they desire new learning and have hidden anguish for their surroundings. If allowed, they will change the world; however they need ground to work on. The future of our generations is then in our classrooms and the conversations we have therein. 

Image courtesy: Google 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

ABOVE THE APPEARANCES OF MEN AND WOMEN

What is it in a movie that makes it a masterpiece? Is it some deep inner longing which when seen on screen gets recognition and makes the film fantastic? Or is it something totally different?
In my opinion, a masterpiece of a movie is the one which breaks new grounds and makes us scratch our heads enough to make us rethink about relationships which are largely left undefined by the society. Another thread in the fabric of a great work is that it’s about life and life is not all about being moral and upright always, though that is what everybody must aspire for. So, if a masterpiece is to reflect life, it need not be all of a moral story. It could in fact be a morally dubious work of creation making the viewer critically observe nuances of reality.
‘Carol’ is in the above terms a Masterpiece indeed, because it urges the viewer to think about something larger than the story unfolding on the screen. It’s like a dive in the hearts of those who are different or who become different due to the influences of time. It’s a story about something remarkable and timeless about the human conditions of facing domination, neglect and loneliness amidst the crowds.
It’s definitely a good story; though many viewers in ways of rigid observation would consider it immoral. However, at the end of all said and done, ‘Carol’ succeeds in capturing the attention of the viewers. There are moments in the film which capture time and transform it into timeless memories which stick on and don’t seem to leave the heart and the mind of the viewer even much later.
‘Carol’ is a story that made me look above the appearances of men and women as different sexes and notice instead, just hearts in different bodies. Hearts which are made to love and desire love in return. We have then ‘Carol’, with love as its theme; a love which every woman is always in search for.
So ‘Carol’, a film set in the 1950’ has its protagonist Carol (Cate Blanchett) going through a separation from her husband who believes he loves her but is unable to understand her emotional needs. It’s a love story of a very strong woman who probably defines love as understanding, care and respect for individual thoughts of the other. It’s a story taking place far away from my country India, and yet not surprisingly I see similarities of what is currently happening around on the land where I stay. Ironically, a section of the women in my country are debating over the injustices of the Triple Talaq (where a Muslim man pronounces the word ‘divorce’ 3 times in a row and gets separation from his wife forever). I wouldn’t be surprised if after watching ‘Carol’, many of these women were to lose faith in their men and prefer to begin love affairs with other women who have suffered similar fates like them, simply because there would be at least an understanding and respect in such a relationship. Of course it would be considered immoral by large numbers, but when a society fails to guide its men on the journey of being human, could the women be considered immoral simply because they seek understanding in love?

In the course of the film, we are vaguely introduced to her friend Abby who is also her child’s Godmother; but in the process of the story we learn that Carol had a relationship with Abby when they were young. Perhaps Carol had seen not a very pleasant figure of a father and therefore had sought companionship with Abby, a friend who would be a more understanding person. But then, confirming to the “normal” ways of the world she did get married to Hugh and gave this man-woman relationship a try. However, not being able to get the much desired respect, understanding and friendship, which have to be components of a marriage, she felt attracted to Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), a young woman. Therese is the young lady who moves on with her boyfriend in spite of his loving control and dominating role of being in charge of the woman in his life, till she meets Carol. The two women, in spite of their age differences are able to connect in a deep understanding of their absolutely different personalities and bond enough to become lovers.

‘Carol’ is a story with complicated consequences; a love affair forbidden because it’s between a female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce. It’s a film which has made space for itself and for women wanting to get out of the clutches of a Patriarchal society.

Probably it’s when women are too burdened with the know-all men in society, that they driven to fill the role of men in their lives and replace them with understanding women who are not just lovers but loving friends too.

Since the film is not all about the regular and “correct” beliefs of the society, it could be a trouble watch. As we watch the two women protagonists struggling to free themselves from the clutches of male domination, we realise that relationships tend to become cold when partners are taken for granted.  However, when the woman seeks and finds love once again but from another woman, she gets labelled in the court as a ‘morality clause’ – Carol has a daughter whom she loves deeply and is fighting for her custody rights in the court.  

Memorable gestures, like a turn of the head, a well manicured hand holding a cigarette, and eyes that speak a complicated love-story between a married woman; a mother of a little girl; so small that she is simply unable to even understand why her parents can’t be together and Therese, a young............ – ‘like something flung out of space’ ....kind of lady, helps hold the film in the mind of the viewers even after they have left the theatre because every heart whether loved or unloved, somewhere deep down understands a longing of this emotion.

When Carol’s husband Hugh forces her to choose between Therese and their child, Carol can be seen shattered. She knows that if she continues with Therese, she will lose her child on morality grounds, but as time passes by, she understands that if she loses Therese and wins the custody of her child, she will probably not be happy enough to make her child feel happy always. Then, in a rare moment of even rarer courage, she decides to not fight a battle for the custody of the child but demands regular visits.

The authority, with which she lets go of her right as a mother, shows that only someone who loves deeply can let go the depth of attachment.


‘Carol’ is indeed a story that resonates within us well past those wonderful moments spent in air-conditioned theaters; because it touches our warm hearts.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

WHEN THE WORLD CELEBRATED WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY ...- REALLY?




Many a times answers to pertinent questionable happenings in our world, trouble an entire nation getting it caught up in books of law and order. It’s then the storytellers in all their simplicity and interest of simply engaging a reader into a thought process, who surprisingly step ahead and give us the much needed answers in the form of entertainment.

The recent protests and appeals of the Muslim women in the courts of law and order against Triple Talaq, where the practise of divorce becomes a mockery when a man by simply announcing the word ‘divorce’ vocally three times in a row is able to nullify his marriage to a woman, are objections much in need of consideration this ‘Women’s Equality Day’. This kind of a separation can definitely not be acceptable in a modern intellectual world where marriage is a commitment between two adults who come together with a mutual understanding of living together. When this coming together of the two needs an agreement from both, the parting naturally must also consider a mutual assent or at least a mutual reasoning.

When the Supreme Court a few days ago favoured gender justice striking down the controversial practice of talaq-e-bidat or instant talaq, where Muslim women in recent times had been divorced over messages, phone calls, e-mails and letters, it surely was a ‘feather in the cap’ kind of feeling for the women who had been protesting against the injustice towards them in the name of religion. Thanks to education that such a practice has today begun to be understood by law and many others as a socially unacceptable practice and the court and people of moral integrity jointly have gathered courage to stand up against it.

However, it is not admirable when certain men in our country still hold tight to the infallibility of their religious texts. The modern world needs to implore such minds which are stuck up rigidly in the past and get them to move and be flexible to allow humane changes to happen. We must also not overlook the fact that when such practices are allowed to continue they cause pain not only to the present generation but also to the ones in future. If man’s education fails to promote him towards positive change, respect for one another and equality, it is all nothing but a waste.

Rabindranath Tagore in his short story ‘ Minu’, throws light on such rigid religious thinkers . In the story, Minu sitting at the window sees a tree regularly not blossoming. Since she loves nature, she pleads to her maid to go and dig up the earth around that plant and water it so that it will flower. But the plant continues to not have a single bloom and the mystery finally detected is that a Brahmin priest every morning arrives with a basket and shakes the tree in a manner of a tax collector taking away all the fresh blossoms. When Minu sees this, she pleads with the Brahmin priest, ‘Oh Brahmin, for whom do you gather these flowers?’ The Brahmin answers saying it is for God that he collects the flowers daily. Minu then argues with him telling him that God himself has gifted the flowers and surely wouldn’t want them back as gifts. On hearing her, the Brahmin goes away frowning. The sad part of the story is that he is back at the tree the following morning ‘shaking it with all his might’.

Similarly, one of the leading Islamic organisations in India, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind struck a defiant note only a day after the Supreme Court set aside the practice of instant tirple talaq saying that the practice would not be stopped in the country, “If you want to punish the person for it, you can do so but the divorce will be recognised”.

What can we derive from such an approach, but that such an attitude is nothing but like the Brahmin in all his lack of understanding the one he worships, coming back to the tree and ‘shaking it with all his might.’


When religious people enter the house of worship which preserve authoritative and indisputable doctrines, do they also need to leave their brains behind as they leave their shoes at the doorstep?

Saturday, 29 July 2017

IS THE RAIN FALLING ON EMPTY STREETS?


Every rainy season, Mr. Azim Premji’s words, “Now the rains fall on empty streets”, come to my mind. A few years back I had been invited to judge an elocution competition at a SoBo school in Mumbai. One of the topics then was ‘A Rainy Day’ and to be honest not very much to my surprise, the kids spoke of umbrellas, raincoats, colds and coughs; and that was all. As I was listening to them, I kept hoping that at least one of them would say that she loved the rains and then as if an angel had overheard my wish, a sweet little girl said just that. It indeed brought a twinkle of joy in my eyes. “Wow”, said my mind thinking about two things simultaneously, “the rains are still loved and angels are around.  If this little girl enjoys the wet season, then surely there have to be many more who love to sing and dance in the rains.” But then my mind began to think that if it were so, why hadn’t the other children expressed a similar love enthusiasm?

When after the event I was given a few minutes to chat up with the kids, I asked them the question which was refusing to leave my mind. The obvious answers were, ‘If I catch a cold, I miss school’, ‘Mum is worried that I’ll get sick’, and the barrage of parental threats and worries is all that I got to hear.

Later when I had to round up my observations, I shared with them some of the moments I had enjoyed in the rains during my school days. Rains for me then meant no umbrellas or raincoats but cold showers of nature. Rains meant becoming a human boat and wading through floods. It used to be fun! Rains meant hot dudhi halwas, potato chips and onion bhajiyas. Rains meant making paper boats and letting them go free to search their destinations. Those were the moments when the heavens opened up the skies to pour out showers of blessings on a thirsty me. A rainy day morning had music in itself for my ears. Even today I love getting drenched in the rains; after all, there is certainly no specific age limit to get drenched in waters falling down from God’s abode and enjoy. A simple walk in the rains is like a dance with nature where ones partners are the branches of the trees moving to the rhythm of the universe. Even today, these are the moments which leave an imprint on my mind time and again.

Perhaps the rains which stress out the present parents with the fear of sickness and missing out on school did the same to my parents too. I’m sure that when I reached home bone wet, my mother making hot vegetable soup or ginger tea was a precautionary way of abetting the fear of the colds and the coughs. Whatever it was, the rains were the most joyful and exciting moments to be remembered. The sound of rain drops even today energizes me to go out for a walk without an umbrella; the thunder and lightning revitalize the gloom of the summer heat. But today as I look around and see empty streets where nobody comes out to dance in the rains, I feel that the environment is under a threat of insults. I hear the muffled whispers of children wishing that the chains of restrictions could be broken. I feel sorry that the present system of living has destroyed their peace and left the streets vacant.

We are today pumping ourselves with knowledge and neglecting the most basic need of connection with nature which adds to our lives cheerfulness, pleasure, gladness and indulgence in perfect proportions. In spite of all our knowing that we are a part of nature, we have cut ourselves from it and become alone in the company of humans.  Again, we all know that humans are in the clutches of aggression unlike nature which has a recipe of satisfaction, love and rest. If we were to pay attention to theoretical studies, we would quite clearly observe that modern health statistics show concern for depressive human beings whereas nature encourages man simply in the thrill of its company.

When the skies begin a communication, all life gets to hear healing. Probably, before science and technology imprisoned us in chains of gadgets, we enjoyed the rains at a completely different level. Even today when the showers from above fall on the earth, they fulfill an intimate connection between the physical and the spiritual. This season offers us year after year an opportunity to realize our connection with the elements of nature which are the building blocks of our physical body. If we were to move one step further from this physical manifestation of grace falling from the skies, without which life on earth would not be able to survive, we can at least attempt to understand the cosmic grace which continues to fall on us consistently and is not just seasonal. As the rains drench the earth transforming it with a new life energy, the cosmic grace too attempts to drench us with its power of transformation. But, are we hiding and sheltering ourselves under an imaginative precautionary shade and letting our fears hinder a change from happening? 

After I had finished sharing my experiences of this beautiful season with the children, the In-Charge of the institute gave a vote of thanks and at the end she did not fail to remind the children to not forget their umbrellas and raincoats to shelter themselves from the monsoon.


Pic. Courtesy : Google

Saturday, 22 July 2017

SURROUNDED BY THE HIMALAYAN KNOWLEDGE OF FORGIVENESS


The irony of war is that it destroys the meaning of life in site of victory, because in reality it gives only a fake layer of temporary delight. A beautiful creation called life gets lost in the wind of hatred; and strangely, people keep talking about the end which is 'so close' and instead of learning to live with love, they prepare themselves to learn to die.

Again, there are so many inner battles to fight which are far greater than those fought outside. Military achievements are superficial exultation celebrating the life of a few survivors damaged internally for eternity. Whereas the triumph of the soul with the weapons of forgiveness and compassion brings the prize of eternal peace and harmony.

There are life performances happening all around us which require us to dive deep in order to understand them. Making life or destroying life definitely points in opposite directions. As we see hatred running all around us at top speed, we are most likely to be puzzled as to why it fails to catch up with the speed of love.

This is the clutter of emotions I find myself submerged in today. Two recent happenings in India, got me focused enough to get into the range of my hearing, a thoughtful whisper.

A Pakistani couple bid a teary farewell to India after their four and a half month old son recovered from a complex heart surgery. Taking a flight back home to Lahore after a month long stay in India, the couple expressed their gratefulness to the country whose doctors had been instrumental in the recovery of their child. The child with a hole in his heart had a rare chance of survival because his heart was pumping blood without oxygen and his body was turning blue with continuous bouts of pneumonia. It was only after a five hour long surgery that the boy did fully recover.

These lucky parents got to travel to India in spite of the prevailing climate of hostility and returned with great spiritual strength of love, to the land they call home. However, at this same time nearly two hundred school children were evacuated to safety in bullet proof vehicles in Nowshera sector amid heavy shelling on three villages along the border by the Pakistan army.

With such diametrically opposite happenings of some worthy and unworthy acts of life, I couldn’t but help wonder as to how some men seem to ceaselessly pump the blood of hatred and revenge without oxygen of love and forgiveness. Don’t they know that they will never find rest until they learn to finally let go of hatred and hurt that has taken residence in their hearts? Unfortunately the answer is ‘no’; because these are the damaged people themselves, and it’s this damaged personality that causes them to move further into destruction. They live in zones of pain and therefore it’s very unlikely for them to even think of themselves as wrong. They therefore take no responsibility of their actions; neither do they have any understanding or concern for the damage they do. They are dwellers who live even today in structures of a painful past which has robbed them of all happiness and joy of the present and future.

Someone may ask, ‘Is India a fool to constantly help those who don’t care for her, and instead repeatedly come to cause her pain?’ Certainly not! India has grown on the soils of love surrounded by the Himalayan knowledge of the strength of forgiveness and the immense depth of the waters of peace and therefore she continues to heal holes in hearts.

Friday, 14 July 2017

THE FOX AND THE GRAPES - A TWIST IN THE TALE FOR A HAPPY WORLD


When one afternoon, a fox was walking through the forest, he spotted a bunch of grapes hanging from over a lofty branch. “Of course”, he thought, “this is exactly what my parents, my teachers and my friends would want me to reach up to.” So his endeavours to succeed in getting those grapes began. He jumped high, and then a little higher and then the highest he could, but he couldn’t reach the bunch of grapes. “Bother!” he exclaimed. “They’re probably sour anyway.” Moving on with his journey he continued to search for something else to eat.

When Aesop wrote this little fable, he probably had the youth of the future in mind. He had prophesied a great truth through the fable to which the new world gave a new moral. As this new world told its youth this beautiful story of the essentials of movement in life, it instead focused on stagnation. It claimed that it was always easy to despise what one could not have, and that failure at success often suffered this ‘sour grapes’ syndrome.

True that nothing comes easy in life, true that hard work is essential and true that one must aspire to gain success; but the question is, must one be unhappy if one’s attempts to succeed fail? Must one move with a long face and suffer for eternity for not having reached the goal? Must one get stigmatized for life and be ostracized from the world of successful people to the extent of falling into a deep well of depression?

Misinterpreting the Fox and the Grapes story has led our schools and homes to neglect emotional development. Today we are aware of depression and lay emphasis on it on the World Health Day, but in reality we focus on its suppression and not its expression. Depression today is considered globally one of the leading causes of morbidity amongst the youth. These are the unspoken emotional troubles that regretfully lead to self-abuse and suicide. Obviously then, this invisible disorder needs more attention.

The World Health Organisation estimates that today millions are affected by depression for life. Research states that globally 322 million have depression. This sadly makes up 4.4% of the world population and it is found more in women (5.1%) than in men (3.6%).

Several causes have today been recognized to cause depression. It could be due to an imbalance in brain chemistry which may be triggered suddenly or over time by genetics, it could be because of hormonal changes or chronic illnesses or stress of grief or an inability to face difficult circumstances.

Strangely those who get help in this disorder are only the tip of the iceberg. Today suicide is the leading cause of death among the young. Ironically, it’s an inexpensive and easy to treat illness which is taking lives. We have to work to remove the stigma attached to this illness which prevents people from seeking help and treatment.

A twist in the tale therefore is the need of the hour today. We need to retell the story of The Fox and the Grapes to our children.  This time though we could tell them that it was alright for the fox to be unable to jump high enough to reach the bunch of grapes. The society today needs to learn to accept the foxes who can’t reach the bunch of grapes. Our inability to face failures shows how unripe we are in our vision of success because though we have learnt that ‘Failure is a stepping stone to success’, we have failed to accept failure in a mature manner. 

Failure involves emotions of sadness, shame and regret which lead to exhaustion, fatigue and depletion. At a time like this, the one who has failed needs someone to share this sadness with, but the society has done just the opposite. It has encouraged concealment of emotions. The society pressurises its individuals to hide their emotions arising out of failure and such undercover behaviour in turn leads to aggressiveness; the worst towards oneself.


If we wish to create a happy world, we will have to change the understanding of our relationship with the material things we strive for. A question we need to ask ourselves then is, ‘Are the bunch of grapes an end in them self?’ If we can get an answer this, then we will have no need to sulk and grieve if we cannot jump high enough.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

HAVE YOU MET A JONATHAN KOSHY?


Jonathan's friends remember him as a man who has grown up on his own; ‘Life was his Parent and Pain his teacher’.
The initial chapters move slow, documenting Bandra in her good old days. She is painted in words all over the pages; her people, her roads, her churches with her Christmas and Easter celebrations, her community feelings, her gas and kerosene lit street lights and her film star bungalows, all step out of the book like a film.

Certainly a work of genius, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy digs deep down into the heart of a man; a man for whom all is fair in love and war; a man who has the capacity to transform a tragedy into a comedy, a man who can become a villain hero, and a man who is always a ‘youth on call’.

Shroff’s Jonathan is no ordinary character though. Throughout the story he comes out as someone who is a survivor in spite of oceanic waves all around him, rising tall enough to drown him. He has strange workings indeed. He can make a recovery gangster believe in karma by instilling ideas of professional change in his mind and help him find his ‘true calling’. He is a man of sure risks when he opens the gates of his friend Anwar’s house to the wildness of two hundred locals who have ‘blood in their eyes, fire in their hearts’. Only a Jonathan could think of a history lesson in the midst of a riot. He could touch the ‘right chords’ and convert ‘rioters into protectors and saviours’ and gangsters into helpers. Probably we all have sometime or the other seen a Jonathan in our life and loved him so much to wait for him to arrive again and again.

Jonathan is the neglected child of a world filled with demons. He is a young abandoned man who takes to the world with feelings of ownership ‘without responsibility, without fear’. In his lonely moments he goes to a whore and ends up celebrating her birthday.

In short, ‘Waiting for Jonathan Koshy’ is the story of a man with mixed longings, mixed appetites and mixed emotions and that’s exactly what makes him human. With a childhood that longed for parental care, he observes and appreciates the same in birds. ‘Crows make best parents, did you know? They build the strongest nests and tend to their young till such time as they can look after themselves’, obviously these were the overwhelming thoughts of an untreated and an unhealed wound.

Jonathan’s connections open up to the reader a hidden world of the not so lucky ones. A world where the poor and the helpless are left with no options; but, Jonathan cares for them. He takes Varun, the son of a prostitute, to be counselled by a non-profit organization, convincing him enough to step back from getting castrated and becoming a eunuch for the love of his mother and enter the flesh trade of a different kind. Its Jonathan always, who thrives on ‘doing good all the time’ pushing his readers to think about their own contribution to the world.

There are moments where the book works as an awakening guide for parents, throwing light on parental acts of betrayal which affect children; parental behaviour which lead to deep-seated anger, so deep that the victim feels no need ‘to shake’ it off with therapy.

In all seriousness, Shroff allows humour to sprinkle a shower of smiles on tensed reader brows, such as when people begin to worship Jonathan’s snake image planned to terrify them about Aids. They come with folded hands to worship the icon meant to create a totally different effect; a total boomerang of his plan. Puzzled at the behaviour of the religious minded, he compares his country with a woman and says, ‘I also figured out that India is a woman, a puzzling, enigmatic woman. Try as you might, you can never figure her out. You can love her, yes, or feel frustrated by her, but you can never fully understand her.’

Asking some of the most important questions about life, Jonathan turns philosophical. He claws at our hearts when he fathers to his own old man, who had abandoned his mother for a younger woman; the one who suddenly fell out of the boat of love and humiliated him as he continued to refuse in all his stubbornness to step out of his sinking love vessel.

The story envelopes along with the life of Jonathan, stories of all the women connected to him. Karuna Koshy, Jonathan’s mother, is a woman who returns to a man who in the first place drove her away with his love itch. Without any feelings of hatred or revenge, she returns to help, probably because she has understood that, ‘We are loaned to this world only so that we might repay our debts. This world is not ours, nor has it ever been.’ There are other women characters too who have suffered or have been the cause of suffering, being unable to do justice to their children; women whose breasts had burnt with burning tires which rolled during angry riots, women who were unable to keep promises to their children because the society had no respect for their commitments, women who couldn’t look into the eyes of their sons because of the jobs they did to bring them up, women who had seen their mothers suffer and continued to wage ‘war against all men and against all love’, women who had goodness in their hearts and charity in their hands to help the Jonathans of this world, women who unquestioningly rushed to help those who had destroyed them.


Shroff has ventured to teach us life through Jonathan’s story, which he has interestingly packed with sufferings, longings, doubts, darkness and yet allows moments of realization to pop up ‘when you least expected it’ because after all it has been a long journey for a Jonathan who cares; and it has been long since we have been ‘Waiting for Jonathan Koshy’.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

LEARNING TO BE A NOBODY


Have you ever wondered why our schools and centres of learning are ill-equipped to nurture creative skills in our children and instead keep them unengaged with life? Have you wondered why a sufficient number of graduates in India face unemployment?
It is because we have brought up a textbook culture in which we test our children not for their understanding, but their capacity to download textual matter into their heads and let it pour out verbatim onto the answer sheets. Connecting studies to reality today, appears far from reality. Mind well, it’s not that the matter cannot be connected, but the inclination to do so is absent. The education policy may want the students to get practical knowledge but a clear gap remains between the planning and the execution of intentions. The heads of our students are filled with factual information till they swell up with the pride of collection. Our children today are caught up in the arguments of problem solving and problem finding and in the process of frequent policy changes, they are often lost.

This brings to my mind a short and simple lyric by a nineteenth century poet, Emily Dickinson. Literature students often quote her with pride; but the irony is that the poetess herself preferred to live in obscurity. Our present system of education is like a leaking tub which collects knowledge in it and fails to notice how it all empties itself out after the exams are done; because the focus is only on the temporal market value of grades. These are the heady graduates who have no scope of employability. Their pride remains on paper as they shrink in reality.

Emily Dickinson, recognizing the futility of such headiness preferred to remain a nobody. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?/ Are you – Nobody – too?/ Then there’s a pair of us!/ Don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know!”
She hid from recognition which many longed for. In one of her most popular short lyrics, ‘I Am Nobody’, published in 1891, she elucidated the longing to become somebody, as ‘dreary’. She never wanted to croak like frogs that made sufficient noise in order to be recognized by the least progressed individuals.

Perhaps our education system would do good to take a lesson from this humble lady. We have tragically transformed our ancient system of learning into a corporate world of accomplishments. Our institutes have become brand labels; which students long to wear.

This system has made many of us into learned and domesticated beasts who like the unthinking bovine, have no sense of choosing their fodder but eat instead, whatever the world feeds them.

Today this system, has put before each one of us, a great challenge with every step we take on the rungs of the ladders of knowledge, in order to cross the bridge from one corner of ignorance to the other corner of wisdom. This challenge, in Nido Qubein’s words is, “The greatest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone wants you to be somebody else.”

This system treats only the best as individuals. The others fall out into the world with depressing lack of recognition. This, our present education system, a gift of the British to us Indians, was in fact a plan to destroy the desire to know, in order to learn. Education soon became a stepping stone for achievements of the body, where the soul of man was left totally ignored. With the shift in focus of purpose, the obvious follow up was pride.
Ever wondered why today we have learned criminals? This is obviously because the purpose of their education was only earthly success.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way preserves his soul. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16: 16-18

The tree of life has on it, many branches of love, care, concern, responsibility, compassion, empathy, mercy, pity, tender heartedness, kindness and deep awareness; and yet we have on it thousands of parrots achieving expertise in rote learning and screaming a chorus of arrogant satisfaction.

If only they were to humble themselves like Rahim, – (a great minister in King Akbar’s court!) who often went out donating to the poor, keeping his head and his eyes lowered to the ground. This queer behaviour of his, puzzled his friend enough to one fine day question him regarding this peculiar habit of his and Rahim’s answer, to date is quoted by many who understand their insignificance in the magnitude of the cosmos. “Denewala aur hai, beje woh din-rain. Log bharam hum par kare, neeche howat nain.” Which means, “I am not donating this wealth. The actual donor is the Supreme Lord Himself. But people falsely understand me to be the donor. So, in shame I bow down my eyes.”


All of us involved in the system of education today, whether as students, teachers, parents or ministers, need to ask ourselves a question. “Is our education helping us to grow tall like a tree, or is it helping us to sway in the breeze of success and yet stay firmly rooted in the ground like the grass?” Because, when a strong gale will blow, the humble grass will survive but the proud tree will fall down.

Monday, 19 June 2017

LET THE WIND BLOW

Sudha Murthy’s story, ‘HOW THE SEASONS GOT THEIR SHARE’, has a share of depth of understanding for all her readers. In spite of being a story for children, it has in it material to set ticking the minds of adults too. The story in brief mentions about God having six sons namely, Day, Night, Summer, Rain, Winter and Wind. He instructs them to live together peacefully and divide themselves to share the world. So the boys get down to work immediately.

Day and Night being twins, decide to take turns of twenty-four hours each. So for the first twenty-four hours, Day begins to shine and the world remains sparkling with his bright light for all that time. The next twenty-four hours Day goes to rest and Night takes over his duty. Night’s darkness envelopes the earth and the people are left to rest and sleep under the black blanket of nature. The twins feel happy with their decision and believe their plan to be amazing. Then the other brothers, Summer, Rain and Winter decide to take a year each. However, all of them ignore their youngest brother Wind. They simply keep him out of the turns they take, and poor Wind keeps away silently without any demands. Their plan is to allow each brother to take one year completely in his charge; and so begin the seasons on the earth. The first year, Summer heats up the planet to the extent that everything almost gets burnt and dries up. The people of the earth long for some relief from his heat. After a burning hot year, Rain takes charge and pours down heavily to the respite of one and all. Initially, the people who have suffered immensely from the heat of his brother Sun, feel good; but when the downpour continues ceaselessly, they realise that it is not all that blissful. There are floods everywhere and everybody has to remain locked up in their homes without any food since all the crops have got destroyed due to water logging. So for another one year the scenario is painful. Then comes Winter’s turn. This cold brother comes with all his iciness and the people begin to shiver in spite of all the warm clothes they wear. The earth trembles and her denizen are terrified of what has been happening around and in a state of helplessness, they pray to God for a change.

 When the brothers see the unhappiness of the people, whom they were supposed to help as instructed by their father, they begin to worry. They wonder if they have made a mistake in their decisions and get together for a change of plan. After all, they had no plans to harm the earth people! Their new decision therefore is to divide the year in parts with their presence. So Summer being the eldest brother, takes charge for a few months and begins warming the earth. The earth soon begins to grow crops and everybody is happy, for food is being generated. Rain then takes over and drives away the thirst of all the people and helps the growth of crops with his showers. Soon Winter arrives and the crops begin to bear fruits for all and the world is now largely contented. Now when the twins see how their other brothers are sharing and caring, they too decide to share the day. So for twelve hours, Day shines bright and the next twelve hours Night showers his cool light on the earth.
However, a problem still continues to linger. The brothers have not yet teamed up with their youngest sibling. Wind continues to be left out. Because of their keeping him away, Summer’s heat continues to be unbearable without any breeze, with Rain the water continues to fall unevenly on the earth, whereby only some patches of ground get the water and the others stay dry and arid. Even during Winter’s turn, the earth faces a similar problem.
The brothers then realize that the youngest among them whom they had ignored thinking him to be of no use, can in fact be their saviour. They now become aware of his qualities which till now they have left unexplored. Soon they go up to him and repent and bring him into their plan of work. Wind too feels better and joins his brothers without hesitation. It is to be noted that Wind has no pride or strife.
He begins to blow and easily gives relief to the people on earth during the time when Summer lets the sun shine. Also when Rain begins pouring buckets full of water on earth, Wind helps to evenly direct him to different areas and there is equal amount of water on the planet. Winter’s arrival this time, gives joy to the people when Wind touches their nose and makes them feel pink.
The share of understanding I spoke about in the beginning is that, if only in our lives too, we would not ignore the breeze of kind and gentle words, which have the power of understanding to blow away strife of arguments in the summer of anger, we would have a beautiful life. Wind would then blow away the sweat of antagonism leaving us free from the hot sting of bitterness.
The breeze of quiet and kind lips would be a blessing during periods when our lives could be flooded with displeasure and hostility.
The biting cold of violence in moments of aggressive mood, could be lessened with the refreshing breeze of words of affection and love which would give warmth to cold hearts like the comfort given by woollen garments.
Isn’t it after all the winds of charity, sympathy, affection, trust and mercy which help us to approach one another to change painful circumstances everywhere? What a story indeed! Though written for children, we adults too could gain a lot from it.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

WHEN THE MIND WHISPERS TO THE BODY.

                         

(Thoughts inspired by Dr. Mickey Mehta – Global Leading Holistic Health Guru/ Corporate Life Coach.)
This is a featured article for all who aspire to join his wellness revolution for human evolution to get illuminized and Mickeymized!!!

Modern day living has become disjointed due to a new life-style where bodies appear to be moving without the joys of the mind and the spirit. Be it the corporate world, a world of educationists dealing with young lives or a world of the blossoming youth, stress has been blamed to be a terrorist on the prowl to victimise all; the ordinary and the extraordinary as well.
Everybody is today searching for cures, but healing seems to come not to many. This is because the remedy has been the cure of the mind or the soul or the body disjointedly. However, Dr. Mickey Mehta leads on gently to look at it as a whole.
Moments spent with this man of well-being are portions of learning about the unity of the mind, body and spirit trinity within each one of us. When this holistic guru speaks, all who listen to him learn. Moments shared with him become adventurous trips within oneself because Dr. Mickey Mehta believes in trekking within just as much as he enjoys trekking on the rough roads of adventure.
The path to fitness, according to this man of health is an engagement of a contemplative, spiritual and devotional nature which ultimately culminates into physical well-being.
Nature is vibrant and so must we be, as humans who are a part of the universe. This universal energy is waiting to explode in us if only we give it time and space.  Whoever gives time to listen to this wellness guru, cannot rest in ignorant slumber because it is his soul call to awaken dozing heads. This healer energizes every cell in the physical, mental and spiritual being to awaken and move towards its original holistic health.
Dr. Mickey Mehta believes that to exercise the mind is as important as to exercise the limbs. If a thirty minutes walk has the ability to calm down a troubled mind, thirty minutes of disturbance to a mind can in turn play havoc on the physical body. Today’s man is playing a lot on the see-saw of the psychosomatic and the somatopsychic illnesses. Dr. Mehta’s voice of balance then has been one that has knocked at many closed doors of modern minds opening them to a view of the grandeur and magnificence of health.
Complete body fitness takes more than a trip to the gym and that’s where this doctor of health walks in to help condition the body to deal with the rollercoaster rides of everyday living.
Our physical bodies are master pieces of creation invented till date. There is no more powerful and complex piece of equipment available on the planet. They are the temples that hold in them, our minds and souls and Dr. Mickey Mehta leads us in the course of association with him, to respect this supreme creation with total reverence.
Often, everyday levels of stress weigh down on our bodies causing our souls to experience a state of shock. This is a very common modern day experience for any man or woman and sadly today even children are not spared from this soul-shock of anxiety attacks. This sorry state of modern living, which has in the course of its rash success journey detached the link between the body, mind and the spirit, needs today a guiding soul to rejoin itself to its former state of overwhelmingly powerful and splendorous being.
Dr. Mickey Mehta is that modern binding agent who leads to the mastery of oneness. With his help, many have taken power over themselves to walk in the light of wisdom of getting into the best shape of living.

- Ruby Malshe


She is a lecturer in a South Mumbai College. She has written a book of devotional Earth Poems, a novel probing a spiritual search within-‘Jars Filled with Gold’ and a book of short stories-‘The Short Skirt From India’. She is also a guest writer for Proeves, an on-line magazine for young mothers and children and a motivational speaker who talks on different issues regarding women, life and children.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

WE CAN SAVE THE EARTH - (On a positive note)


The heroine of the Indian mythology Ramayana was a female deity of agricultural fertility. She was believed to have been discovered in a furrow when king Janaka had gone ploughing. Considered to be a child of Mother Earth, her birth was taken as a symbolism of union between the king and his land. Some in fact considered her to be a personification of fertility, abundance and well-being. In all likelihood it was possible that the wise ancient writer Valmiki was conveying a deeper message to all mortals for all times; a message of love and respect for the environment through his leading character of Sita.
However Sita’s journey was not one of exhilaration but one which had much anguish in it. In the present day too, her story is often repeated in accounts of abduction where she is often found dwelling as a shadow, afraid of coming out in the open to be spotted by evil Ravanas.

‘CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE’ has been chosen as this year’s World Environment Day theme.  However, the odour of violence today appears to be bordering extremes of aggression and the worst sufferers of all wars inflicted on man or nature are the women. In the past, humanity went to war unthinkingly. It was like a ‘Follow the Fool’ plague that struck every unthinking mind; but today the modern minds are blessed with the breeze of awareness. We are today aware that war only destroys and never leaves any winners to enjoy fruits of its destructive labour. Why would then any sensible species run into a game which has no scope or hope of a win? Every day, news channels splash blood in every home and all relatives of mankind are fed up of all kinds of destructive action. However, on the scale of justice, the side of awareness today seems to be getting heavier with the help of education. Everywhere, in spite of human generated damage, talks of peace can be heard. Enough generations have been taught the effects of war; now teaching effects of peace is in fashion. If continued, this definitely will bring about positive results. It will take time of course, for the old crop of vengeance to wither and die unattended and the new crop of love to blossom with focused attention. Our generation has understood that at times, in order to move ahead in the right direction we need to go back to the wise words of men like Martin Luther King who once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Celebrating the environment once again this year a large number of us will ritually gather with the knowledge which we normally refrain from using on other days. We will visit parks, plant trees, host pro-environment activities and events and then I hope that we will not go back in an inconsiderate slumber like the yesteryears but instead continue to connect to nature.  In the past we were very busy being ‘social-animals’; so engrossed in our social life were we that we missed the point and turned into animals; beasts who drank blood of the innocents. But today, a large number of us work hard to protect ourselves from the barbs of universal blame for the misbehaviour of some solely responsible for evil constructions. Many of us today have already begun to hold  tight to the knowledge that we are a superior race, too strongly armoured with compassion, love, care and concern to ever indulge in war with humankind or our environment.
Mother Earth will never be able to forgive us if we do not esteem the feelings and minds of others. The animal in us from the past has sorrowfully dug into her womb, making graves to bury all consideration and mutual respect for our fellow human beings and our surroundings. In fact every inch of the anatomy of the earth, is the knowledge that those of us destructively intelligent, left out from our laboratory of research.

However, today we are learning from the lessons of the past and submitting in love which grows only out of peace. All we need to do is pause and see the beauty of our environment; not just one day a year but every single morning we wake up to walk on the surface of the planet. Decades of stress to the ecosystems has caused us suffering, but today we have understood that we simply cannot displace and destroy in the name of God, who we believe commands us to fight a holy war. To our misery we have realized that when we plant a bomb to destroy our human enemies, we also damage our own compounds along with rival courtyards.

We will hopefully celebrate this World Environment Day with respect for our creation’s master maker with reverence, for we have understood that when our creator formed the earth, he put his love of abundance in her. “Creation made you and/ you created us. Where else could I see/ the creator, but in you! You are the clasping/ hands of the Lord./ You are the kissing / lips of His./ Where He not in you/ how could you have/ so much?” – from my poem, ‘Where Else Could I See?’

However, to achieve this stage, we will have to become irreligious and step out of an indistinct mindset into the luminosity of a belief where we will make use of science and technology to restore the earth we have battered and not fight and waste our time and energy battling over superiority of one faith over another. Then with the help of our newfound peaceful intelligence, we will be able to see the damage we have done to the earth; whether we will do something about it or not is the question awaiting an answer. Today we need to consciously strive for a continuous lifestyle for peace to celebrate our former monarchy. 

The earth, like a patient on a hospital bed is lying silent in excruciating pain; will we be able to hear her silence and work towards her healing is the question. “Your spiritual height/we do not understand./Since you prefer/to lie under us/we take you as an object./ Your silence reveals/ nothing to the deaf./ It would take/ears of understanding/to hear your message./ Oh Mother Earth!/ You speak the sacred voice,/if only all could hear it.” –from my poem, ‘Ears of Understanding’.