Saturday 30 June 2012

Bookless in Chennai

It is a strange feeling to see that there are no books in your house (mother's house, to be precise) as all the books have been parceled off to my present house (the house I inhabit with my husband). I have a week here in Chennai and I'm left with no books to see, read, revel or smell. Just the presence of books in one's living space makes one feel as though a group of good friends are around. Sometimes even seeing them fills me with a sense of well-being but alas, now there are none.

The title of this post is inspired by a book by Shashi Tharoor, Bookless in Baghdad.Well, the title is quite a fascinating one, don't you think. I first assumed that the book is an account of a horrendous time in the author's life when he was struck in a place without books and I imagined all sorts of negative and sob stories where the author will talk about the loss of books. But instead the book is a collection of Tharoor's essays which was previously published. The book recounts the experience of Tharoor with an assortment of books, read and written by him. If one reads the book, one becomes quite familiar with Tharoor's opinion about books. He has also chosen to attack his reviewers in this book.

Well, let's leave charming Tharoor aside and talk of my plight -- being bookless in Chennai! Now, someone might wonder, Why doesn't she read something on the internet. Frankly, I'm getting a bit irritated with the internet. Reading books is something for me to do without much ado (Ado, here refers to switching the internet on, waiting for it to connect, clicking on various items, etc.) Well, my dose of literature is limited to reading the newspaper and its rich supplements for which I am thankful. I do listen to plenty of music in the computer, for which thankfully I don't need the internet!

I have always been surrounded by books and it does seem a tad vague without having to stare at books and involuntarily exclaim, "I should read these books sometime."

A sample of the music I am presently listening:
                                                 George Jones: You're Still on my Mind

Well, have you been bookless and distraught?

Image: Internet

Sunday 24 June 2012

Good stereotypes and bad stereotypes

We who think and act are aware that stereotypes exist in this world and that for almost everything there are stereotypes. But on further observation, I reckon that there are good and bad stereotypes. It is the so called 'bad' or 'negative' stereotypes that we should be wary of. Sometimes even the positive ones might land us into trouble.

Now what are the good or positive stereotypes? When we say that a people of certain community cook delicious food, we positively stereotype that community. We assume that every member of that community cook great food. But taking for granted that everyone in that community has to cook well is taking the assumption too far. You get what I mean? Sometimes it so happens that when we ask a member of that community to cook and that individual knows no cooking, then the stereotyping turns into shades of gray. In one film, I think, Freedom Writers, a teacher asks a young Afro-American girl to narrate her 'black experience.' But that girl hasn't experienced anything like that and is at a loss to explain what was asked. Here, the teacher takes it for granted that since the girl is coloured, she will be able to explain the 'black experience.' The girl is offended. Look what stereotypes could do! Now this is an example of a negative-positive stereotype.

Matters associated with beauty, art and specific techniques commonly classify under good stereotypes while certain peculiar habits, and their ilk are examples of bad stereotypes. What I understand is that stereotypes, either good or bad should be used in moderation. Sometimes even the good stereotyping can turn out to be premeditation of a particular person or community. Hence, I reckon that it is always best to restrain our preconceived notions about anything and anyone, otherwise we will lose the element of being surprised.

My dear readers, I know that you are wise enough not to stereotype, so please tell me what did you think about this post.

Image: Internet

Monday 11 June 2012

Women who seek and men who rationalise

During vacation when there is nothing constructive to do rather than changing channels, there is a heightened observation of mundane things. For example the channels devoted to religious activities. Why do I find that in every religious gathering, there are many women and less men? How can men tactfully avoid getting into the trap of prayers, god and gatherings while women throng by the dozens? Why do I only see tear-stricken faces of women in every devotional channel. It's not in religion alone, even in spiritual matters, woman take to the fore, be it yoga or meditation.

Perhaps I could relate this to the inherent desire of women to be in company. When communing with a large group and praying, the woman feels that she is not alone in her thoughts and deeds. The energy of a larger group is definitely contagious. The ability to talk to god gives the woman a feeling that someone is hearing her. Even in temples and churches, one observes many women. How long could a woman talk of her problems, desires and thoughts to her friend, husband or children. So, I guess, the woman transfers all her thoughts while talking and relating to the higher power.

Furthermore, men don't seems to need that kind of conversation to keep them going (My inference) and thus it is easier for them to negate anything to do with religion. It makes it easier for them to be rational than believers in something higher and outside them.

Inspite of having many women friends who are rationalists and men friends who pray, I find it intriguing to observe that the percentage of rational men and seeking women are higher.

This post was one born of observation and curiosity. I might be wrong or right but I would definitely like to hear your thoughts on this.

Image: Internet

P. S: Thanks for checking up on me and coercing me to write. When I write, I feel in the loop. Sometimes writing posts is also a spiritual task. Big hugs to all of you :)


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