Sunday, 28 April 2013

Wondering on a Sunday evening

It happens all of a sudden. I am listening to La Vie En Rose and my mind wanders off on a tangent of what ifs . . .

What if I wasn't born?
What if I didn't start a blog?
What if I didn't name my blog Meanderings and Reflections?
What if I never ever had anyone reading my blog?
What if one fine day I couldn't write?
What if I never heard Edith Piaf singing soulfully?
What if I was someone who didn't have an ear for music?
What if I had never seen Van Gogh’s The Starry Night?
What if I haven’t thought the things I tend to think of?
What if I was a blind practitioner of religion and rituals?
What if I wasn't born in October?
What if I hadn't known that computers existed?
What if I was deaf in spite of being able to hear?
What if I was named a different name than the one that I have now?
What if I had been born in another country?
What if I was green-eyed instead of black?

Would it have mattered, anyway? What are your "What ifs?"

Image 1: Internet

Friday, 19 April 2013

When the statistics speak . . . You ought to listen!

I like to check out the statistics of my blog. Well, who doesn't. I enjoy seeing the countries from where people read my blog and imagine how they would respond reading something that I had liked to write. Well, off late I have been observing at the posts that get the maximum hits overall and the top three posts were:

1. Forgiving and Forgetting . . . I could add a clause there

2. Working hard to reverse stereotypes

3. Good stereotypes and Bad stereotypes

Now, I assume that if people land on my blog searching the keywords forgive and forget, then that means there are many people who seek for forgiveness and try to search means and ways to overcome the feeling of hatred and anger in order to forgive and forget. I admit that forgiving and forgetting are two difficult aspects and they are better said than done. One can lecture to people on forgiving and forgetting but it is something that is quite hard to practice especially if we've been let down by people who are very close to us.

The second and third most popular posts are those on stereotypes - One just has to observe oneself and lo behold, we would find that there is at least one thing that we base on stereotypes be it the fair and lovely or the slim and beautiful or the dark and poor - Well, I'm just thinking aloud. Can we say that we are completely sanitised of stereotyping? I don't think so. I guess that out of sheer desperation and wanting to find some solace that one is not alone in these afore-mentioned traits, people seek out search engines and somehow land at my blog using these keywords. I just wonder what they think after they read the post.

Well, I have found many wonderful sites by typing some random keywords and till date some of those bloggers are my friends. There are many who land up but don't leave any comments. I don't think that many will but I'm sure that they left in peace or at least a with a chuckle.

What do your statistics convey? Care to share, dear readers?

Image 1: Internet
Images 2 & 3: VV Vinod Photography

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Power corrupts and even the love of God cannot save you

A ring is lost, (no no, Not the The Lord of the Rings). You are careless enough to misplace it and forget all about it until one fine morning you discover your rings to be lost.

Reaction: You panic and try searching every where. After all gold is a precious metal and you cannot afford losing it. You think of all the years that you had toiled or maybe your parents/husband has toiled to get that wee ornament. Sentiment and panic create havoc in your senses. What do you do?

Suspect: Almost always your very kind and compassionate self zones down on the domestic help. Why? Common sense - she is the only outsider to come into the house and so she is THE one who stole it. You don't have proof but you think you know and your gut feeling is never wrong.

Course of Action: Try to scare the poor domestic help and brand her a thief.

The day after

You rummage your bags and voila! there are the wee rings nestled safely in the folds of the ancient suitcase that was passed on to you by your great grandfather.

Reaction: I always knew that it would be somewhere at home.

What happened to your gut feeling that suspected the domestic? Well, who cares anyway, now that the rings are found!

The above mentioned incident could happen anywhere and at any given time but why do majority of the people suspect the domestic helps almost always? Power corrupts, they say and since one has the power over the help, they are always seen as a potential suspect. This behaviour is appalling and quite crass. Class always plays a role in this situation - the attribute of being poor and belonging to a lower strata always implies greed and thievery. Sad scenario. The faithful help who cleans your dirt and polishes your floors to give you some free time has to bear the brunt of your branding. Why? The virtue of being an outsider does not necessarily mean suspicion. Well, there are some who do steal, I don't contest that but stereotyping all helps as thieves means that there is something drastically wrong with your sense of ethics and general human understanding.

You might love god and feel compassionate towards beggars and lepers, you might be a hardcore feminist fighting for the rights of women, you might even run the women's welfare organisation but all that is a farce when one generalises that domestic helps are thieves.

This post might have the tone of an angry individual who is bashing out at every one. Well, I am angry and quite unhappy at those who are educated but not quite educated enough to not be biased and prejudiced about certain sections of the society.

What's your say?

Images: Karthik Pasupathy 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Do you remember your WORDS?

Burying myself in the watery landscape of Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide, I lift my head to wonder when Piya asks a question, "How words are lost?" The line, for a moment, tore me away from the tides and made me ask myself, "How do we remember words and how do they inhabit us?" The question has been rising up and down in the undulating terrains of my mindscape much like the tides in Gosh's novel. I wonder when the word, 'scintillating' find root in me or when did I caress the word, 'reverie?' Books? Perhaps. Teachers who sprinkled their lessons with lovely-sounding exotic words? Maybe. Newpapers, magazines, TV, blogs - Gosh, I wonder how each of this medium has made way for a new word to enter and dwell in my system.

Sometimes I wonder if I was cut into two, how many words would tumble out and wriggle free from the thoughts and memories. The idea thrills me. But the thrill soon disappears when I think of the million words that haven't met me. No matter how much I try, my vocabulary will still be wanting. I try hard to recollect the time when I liked to pronounce words which sounded lovely to hear - sen-su-ous, dil-ly-da-lly, bour-geois, . . . I can go on with words as these. I remember the times when writers always added an extra dash of beautiful words in their works of art. I had to curb myself from running to the dictionary to find the meaning of a word that was lost to me. I never did go to the dictionary. I tried to decipher the meaning by myself by reading and reading the lines. Most of the times, the meaning unfurled without any fuss but then how will I remember that beautiful word in the future. Will I be able to use the same when I write or talk? Then in a casual conversation, the word gingerly drops itself in an appropriate conversation. I am aware of what I has just uttered. I ask myself: "Really?" I smile at the knowledge that the word had somehow taken to me and has decided to grace my language with its presence. What more? The word makes its presence felt and in some cases, for the word to be used the situation is created. It's not long before the word has built a permanent residence in me. Then the romance fades. It becomes another word in my vocabulary.

Like the smell of blood alerts the senses of a Bengal tiger, a new word lurks somewhere there, waiting for me to attack and relish it. I read a blog - the blogger has used a fantastic word. Like the previous times, the word is new, fresh and sounds good to pronounce as well. I flirt, cajole, and before long the word is nestled in the safe havens of the mindscape.

But then, as Piya remarks, words can be lost as well. Some words don't get flushed off the system that easily and those are the ones that has appeared in various parts of the chronological self - memories, nostalgia, letters, conversations, speeches and lectures. But there are the other words - which just disappear. What is that word for that wee opening? Crevice? Oriface or Orifice? Strange how words are remembered and forgotten like incidents that are vague - ones whose smells are remembered but people forgotten.

Do words have an independent existence apart myself. Of course, not. Words cannot be on their own except for a receptacle like me or you or a book or a blog. Words are parasites that mingle freely with our existence. They are parasites in a nice way, maybe not always. There are times when we can wriggle ourselves free of those words by choosing silence, once in a while.

But they say, even silence is a language. Now, I don't remember when along with words, I also learnt to embrace silence. Perhaps another post maybe.

Do you remember how words came to inhabit you?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Water, Women and Mothers

On the day of Holi and the day after that, the taps in our house were dry. We didn't have any water stored as well. I hit the panic button when the routine gets disrupted and especially if the routine has to be carried on sans water, things get a bit out of hand. And to top it all, we had guests. At first I had assumed that the problem would be solved within  half a day or so but to my dismay, it hadn't. The first reaction to the crisis was that someone had left a tap half-closed. I love to blame anything and anyone you see. Then after a few hours I realised that my blame was uncalled for. I was left to nurse my broken perceptions. A lesson learnt.

The situation also brought forth several insights - It is only the women who panic and flutter when something as vital as water does not flow in the taps as usual. It's not that I haven't been exposed to this kind of a situation before but then I was in my mother's house and the crisis-averting duty was hers or so we thought then. I shuddered to think how callous I was and being a woman, I was a woe-man to think that it was my mother's job to take care of the no-water situation. She had to think, call people, make arrangements and supply water. On the day of Holi when there was no water, I thought of my mother. I became her. I thought like she would have thought. In my mind I had to think, decide and execute. How much women are connected to water. Almost all our chores center around water and somehow when there is no water, it is the women who panic most.

My husband was cool as a cucumber. I admire his ability to stay calm and poised in a crisis situation but those thoughts about his calm demeanour are thoughts in hindsight. At that particular time, the calm can be translated as callous - like how we behaved when our mother was making frantic calls to people to bring water home. Inspite of the frantic calls, my mother was calm. She calmed me when I called her and started a tirade of complaints. How did she do it? She called me every two hours to check the status of water. I learnt a few more lessons.

I sometimes think that I am too bookish to be able to handle real-life situations. My mom had an advantage - She didn't read, she learnt from experience. I wonder how much more lessons in life would make me calmer and be able to avert a crisis well. I hope . . . someday.

How did you learn life's lessons? Pray educate me.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet
Image 3: Internet


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