Monday 31 January 2011

Fascinated by Chronobiology

Picking up the latest issue of a weekly magazine, I found an article which gave insights into the natural rhythms of the body. I have read of the circadian rhythm before and was aware that our body followed a certain inbuilt pattern when it came to sleeping and waking.

Now the term 'Chronobiology' was quite interesting to me as 'time' is something that holds an eternal fascination for me. Myths on time always make interesting reading material. Now sleeping and waking processes may seem to be only a singular aspect of life but those patterns determine almost everything that happens to us.

Small changes in our sleeping time can cause havoc to almost every aspect of our life. Quite mind-boggling! Imagining myself to be quite productive and slogging away a few nights in the week can turn my body topsy-turvy. Well, what can a few nights of sleeplessness do to me, I can think but chronobiology proves otherwise. All of us have our own rhythms and patterns that are genetic and environment-based.

Artificial lights, watches, alarms and the like have tampered our natural body rhythms and in the process made us slaves to work and more work.

By reading about the rhythms of the body, I realise how often that I have not let my body be according to its own rhythm. I have forced, cajoled and bribed it to work mercilessly. Here, I find that I have to mention the tribals who don't have any clocks or alarms but still maintain time accurately. No matter how tired they are, they do not wake up late, says the article.

I would love to listen to my body. I do not know how easy this is going to be. Well, do you honour your body's rhythms? Do you slave or love it? Maybe you love it but still slave it. Well . . .

Image: Internet

Saturday 29 January 2011

Accidentally . . .

Yesterday, I was collecting words.

One was up there, sitting in the bo tree.
Another was in the banyan.
One was wandering in my street.
Another was lying in the earthern jar.
A green word lay in the fields.
A black one was eating flesh.
A blue word was flying
With a grain of the sun in its beak.
Every single thing in this world looks like a word to me.
The words of eyes.
The words of hands.
But I do not understand words I hear from a mouth.
I can only read words.
I can only read words.

~ Shiv Kumar Batalvi

After my evening walk, I straight walked into the Library where a book called out to me. The title: A little book on MEN by RaHuL RoY. Accidentally I flipped the pages and arrived at the very last but one page where the poem was waiting for me. I thought I would share it with you. So, what do you think.

Image: Internet

Thursday 27 January 2011

The concept of getting dirty

Observing myself, I find that though I like mud and don’t mind using it for some purposes, I am not quite comfortable with getting dirty. Though oft I speak of getting connected to the earth by doing some physical activity, the fact is that when I have had a bath and I come across some task wherein I have to get down into a muddy place which also has water, I try finding excuses to escape that particular situation. It is for this and many other reasons that I cannot become a tribal. Dealing with many facets of tribal literature and their way of living, I find that their world view and lifestyle seems to be closer to the earth. Their tasks which include fishing, hunting and other activities involve a lot with getting muddied. I feel that they share a very vibrant and passionate relationship with their environment.

How much ever the tribal way of life fascinates me, I am forced to come to terms with the fact that my lifestyle is completely removed from theirs. Maybe my sensibilities and sense of awareness on diverse cultures are perhaps a degree higher than an individual who has done, say, engineering or rocket science but I am no different than the average city dweller for whom getting dirty is not very pleasant.

Now coming back to the concept of getting dirty, there is no such concept for a tribal. There is no distinction of the dirty in their everyday life. They have a sense of order and harmony but dirt, I am not very sure. Being clean, I think is a very modern concept, which emerged after the onset of Industrial Revolution. With the increasing plethora of advertisements which force hygiene as a way of life, it is but natural that one repulses anything dirty or even something remotely brown or gray. The very idea of clean clothes, hands, feet and head has made our living highly conscious and wary of dirt.

The only willing parties to getting dirty and brown are children. They roll, play and sit on mud. Some kids even eat mud. As they grow older, they start adopting the ‘clean’ ideologies of the elders thus forsaking the concept of getting dirty. Another set of people who are willing parties to getting dirty are potters, painters and the like. But sometimes their profession is so that they belong to the realm of ‘artists’ and thus in a way privileged. But even the artists get ‘dirty’ only when at work. I might be wrong here, but still.

Sometimes when we internalize some aspects of what we read, we think that it is quite easy to ‘become’ something, little realizing that while some things are wonderful to be imagined, the reality is far removed.

What are your opinions on this? Do you like getting dirty or are you like me!?!?

Image: Internet

Friday 21 January 2011

"I think it would be fun to run a newspaper"

Finally. Yes, finally I did see the oft praised and quoted movie: CITIZEN KANE. After a long time, I allowed myself to be sucked by the willing suspension of disbelief. I found time to watch a movie, a good one that!

While the film has received rave reviews for many many aspects of film-making, I enjoyed traversing through the life of Charles Foster Kane and his projected self. Above all, I see the film as a wonderful tribute to the print medium: the Newspaper.

The newspaper determines Kane's life and vice-versa. While there were many businesses in which he could have made money, Kane chose the newspaper. While the ethics he followed were completely Kane-stamped, the popularity of the medium those days was well-exploited. Certain lines from the film hold true even in today's given world. Kane says, "The news goes on for 24 hours a day" in response to one of the editor's claim that they work for 12 hours only. In today's scenario, this cannot be truer where we have news channels which run 24/7.

In another situation, Kane remarks that if there is no news just make the headlines bigger and bolder. Well, we have seen instances of that as well. Kane chooses the business of running newspapers primarily because he could force people to think the way that he wanted them to. The media does exactly that! To imagine the power of media in those days (1941) is absolutely mind-boggling to the likes of someone like me.

Though Kane is depicted to be brutal, selfish, egoistic and cunning, I found that I started admiring his vulnerability. He was a child who loved playing with Rosebud and treated everything else as something which was just there and not relished by him. His line "I always gagged on that silver spoon" is example to that.

Finally, after seeing the film, I realise the the hype surrounding this film is indeed worth it. Making a film like that in 1941 truly deserves honour and glory. Orson Welles, I stand in awe of your prowess.

Have you seen this historical film? If yes, do share your experience with me and if no, please do see it.

Image: Internet

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Every authentic book has a page devoted to acknowledgements where the writer(s) thank everyone who were instrumental for the making of the book. Though it is quite common to see acknowledgements in books, it has become a bit sparse in real life. I don't find people making it a point to acknowledge other people for their achievements, however small.

I find this streak especially in people who have crossed the middle-age bracket. Sometimes when they get some vital ideas from junior colleagues, they present the ideas as if it is their own and revel in the applause and admiration. Well, a single line acknowledging the person behind the idea would have gained the individual more admiration. I cannot make this trait a sweeping generalisation but I have seen this happening more often.

While younger individuals are quick to acknowledge the effort of others, people who are older fail to do so. Probably as one advances in age, the factor that they should be all-knowing encompasses their thinking which makes them unable to acknowledge any other individual thus grabbing the credit for themselves.

In India, we have a different system from the Western one where one does not say 'Thank You' for everything. Culturally, we are not quite akin to thanking people. Perhaps that cultural feature continues to dwell in every aspect of our life as well. But public acknowledgement is not mandatory but atleast a pat on the back will sure make a difference.

As I progress with this post, the thoughts that were dominant in the beginning are gradually beginning to fade as I think of our culture and its implications. But what reigns supreme in my mind is that every person needs that bit of acknowledgement as it is an incentive for performing better.

What is your take on this? Are you quick to acknowledge the role of people in your endeavours or do you find yourself a bit stingy with compliments?

Sunday 16 January 2011

“Darn it, the whole time I thought I was an introvert, now to find out that I’m an extrovert"

Today when I opened my inbox, I had received an email forward from a good friend. The forward was about how the earth's wobble had caused a shift in the zodiac signs. The title to this post is an expression from one of the readers after reading the piece.

Many times I have imagined about this scenario: What if my zodiac changes somehow. Will I be happy about it? Will my stamped qualities undergo a shift? Well, I never gave much heed to those thoughts until I read the piece titled, "Sign of the times: Astrology Story soars like a comet". Reading the views of people on this bit of news, though a bit hilarious, shows how zodiac signs have become an important aspect of people's lives.

Some  people start their day by reading what the stars predict for them. Imagine reading the prediction for Libra all this while and suddenly finding out that you are no longer a Libra but a Scorpio!! Wooh. The libran would have mindlessly bragged about how a libran was gentle, charming and sweet in comparison to the scorpio who was mean, stinging and jealous! Problem area # 1.

Now for those who have tattoos of their sun sign. A shift in the position of the earth would leave them with an inaccurate sun sign. They have to bear the brunt of a wrong sign as well as the thought of many hundreds of rupees lost. Problem area # 2.

Some expressions after reading the piece (you can find them in the article link given above):

“My whole life, I thought I was a Capricorn,” the 25-year-old New York publicist said. “Now I’m a Sagittarius? I don’t feel like a Sagittarius!”

“I believe it’s a zodiac scam”

Sometimes instead of taking the different characteristics of the zodiac to assess our personality, we let the signs determine our personality. Finally we find ourselves moulding us according to the features described in the sun signs. 

Well, what if my sun sign changes, I am the same person albeit with a different sun sign.

So, tell me do you find this piece of information quirky, interesting or simply another "scam."

Image: Internet

Wednesday 12 January 2011

From periphery to the centre

For a long time now, this poem has been sitting in my blog's side-bar. I was amused by the poet's ability to present a serious topic in such a lighter vein. Read the poem and tell me what you think:



We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn't like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren't two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

~ Translated from the Polish by Stainslaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Image: Internet

Sunday 9 January 2011

Pondering and asking you to lend me your thoughts

Do you think that only fear of consequences (loss/punishment) keeps (wo)man good and pious?

Can ecological sensibilities be inherent and intrinsic?

Awaiting your responses.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

A strong woman, she is!

What makes an individual strong? Well, I'm not talking of physical strength but emotional and mental. I often wonder at the usage of the word 'strong.' Often checking on the background of the individual, I realise that one is strong if:

1. he/she has been through failed relationships
2. deaths in in the family
3. extreme financial loss and coping through it
4. unsound emotional health at home caused by either parents, siblings or extended family

If the above reasons have been part of an individual's life and he/she has managed to stay sane inspite of all that, then the person is labeled as 'strong.' Now if a person has not been through the conditions mentioned above, then is that person not strong enough. We love to admire people who are 'strong.' I don't know why but the word has been abused over time. The tag 'strong,' though is highly motivating and encouraging, it creates a certain standard by which one is pigeon-holed. Every bout of failing constantly echoes the line: 'You are a strong woman.' Sometimes this creates a feeling of fear of failing. Just because a person is labeled strong, it becomes imperative that the person keeps up to the standard of being 'strong' always.

But the label does wonders to the self-esteem as well. On many a days when the spirit is down, lines like, 'You are a strong woman/man' and 'I know that you are quite strong to handle that' is always uplifting. But an overdose of motivating words can sometimes work on a reverse gear.

Another meandering as I start on with another year. Do you also think this way, sometimes?

Image: Internet


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