Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not a 'fair' deal

In the light of the recent racist attacks on Indians in various parts of the world, I thought we should probably take a look at the ‘racist’ issues we are faced with closer home. I am definitely condemning the people behind these attacks, but don’t you think we, ourselves are racists, not the kind that physically attack, but the kind that go about it in a filthier angle.

Let me give the best example, something which we come across everyday- the fairness cream ads on TV. I get extremely annoyed every time I watch them, because most of them are pathetic and carry a totally anti-social message. In some ads, they portray it as though fair women make better lawyers, singers and even sports persons. How incredibly lame is that? The so called dark girl fails to do her job well and impress people, but once she uses these fairness creams and becomes ‘fair’ ( which I’m sure never happens), she is a star all of a sudden!

We don’t see racist issues surfacing in India on an everyday basis, but there surely is a racist element in people’s attitude. In the matrimonial sites, you see grooms asking for well educated, tall and FAIR brides. All I have to say to such people is-Get a life! Aestheticity isn’t everything and I frankly don’t believe being fair skinned means being beautiful.

It is a social stigma that is meaningless yet well prevalent. I’ve seen it being openly brought out in serials and movies, where the parents are worried about finding an alliance for their ‘dark’ girl or where the fair kid drawing more attention gives an inferiority complex to the darker sibling. This kind of stuff does happen in real life.

I think this is the most childish and senseless thing that we as a society need to out-grow and as the King of pop, Michael Jackson puts it-

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me
You can never kill me
Jew me, sue me
Everybody do me
Kick me, kike me
Don't you black or white me

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Box of chocolates!

Picture this-you have a whole box of chocolates in front of you, but you are allowed to take just one, mind you, just one. Once you start thinking, there is always the nagging fear that the one you choose may not be as good as the one next to it! But, as I said, all you have is one go, so whatever you choose, you will have to live with it.

With counseling (for admission in graduation colleges) either in progress or fast approaching, this is exactly the situation in which me and most of my friends are in right now ( I know, some of you might find that comparison very lame). Well, at least some of my lucky friends already know where they would be joining, but whether they are happy or not with it is only secondary, cause in today’s scenario of cut throat competition you don’t have much choice, unless you are good (here that would mean either fricking intelligent or hardworking enough to put SRK to shame!!!).

Everywhere I see parents who are worried sick about where their darling child is finally going to end up. I believe, this year with web counseling, there will be all the more dilemma and tension to add to their worries. Anyway, let’s just wish we all are given what we truly deserve!

"Culture" shock

How do you define the word ‘culture’? I’m sure most of us can’t find the right words to define it. That is because culture is something that is constantly evolving, changing and always trying to fit in. In today’s world of globalization, no country can survive independently, India is no exception, all nations are interdependent. So, in this scenario, wouldn’t being flexible in matters of culture and traditions be the wise thing to do?

The impact of western culture on the Indian society is both a boon and a bane. I would definitely say its more of a boon, because we as a nation are becoming more developed, futuristic and intune with what’s going on outside the borders. Moreover, no culture wishes to be frozen in time, the very essence of civilization is blending our culture with that of others while maintaining the core values and traditions of our ancestors.

Are we so narrow minded as to refuse to accept anything other than our conventional methods of going about anything- education, marriage, celebration and life as a whole? I’m not saying that we go about doing anything and everything just because it’s a part of their ‘culture’ elsewhere in the world and is not considered taboo there. Of course, it is essential to realize where to draw the line, the traditional values and ethics prescribed by our holy scripts and epics must never be left behind. Having said that, I would like to add that, at the same time, its also important to discard senseless rituals like Sati and child marriage, which, though a part of our ancient traditions have been abandoned for good!

I think its also high time that these so called moral police and other such lame organizations be shown there rightful place. They can’t go around beating up girls, forcing dating couples to get married and protesting against homosexuals, all in the name of ‘preserving our culture’. What I really wonder is what sort of a culture professes physical abuse of women and denial of the basic rights of the people which make us the democracy that we are today??? We just need to broaden our perspective and look at such issues from a whole new angle.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wake up people!!!

Though i wrote this last year, sometime around the Women's Day, even today, i feel the sentiments expressed in this article quite as strongly if not with greater intensity. I hope it acts as an eye-opener!

A few weeks back, on the, “Women’s day”,I found many articles in the newspaper about Women’s day celebrations and women empowerment schemes by the Government and also by some NGOs. As I continued flipping through the pages I found two other articles which immediately caught my attention. One was about a woman who had committed suicide after giving birth to her fifth daughter since she was so depressed at not being able to conceive a boy, the other was about how 9 male teachers of a teacher training college for women assaulted their students.

Here we are on one hand ‘celebrating’ women and everything wonderful about them while on the other hand we turn a blind eye to such reports of exploitation, which appear almost everyday. I found the contrast both pathetic and horrifying. Why did a mother (who obviously was a woman herself) think of her own daughters as curses and crave for a boy? Why do people indulge in female infanticide and feticide? Why should the parents of the bride pay dowry to the groom? Such questions and many more often leave me baffled.

Today, India boasts of a female President, a female speaker, a woman of our motherland made it to the space and we also have many eminent sportswomen. When women have achieved so much and have been proving their mettle over and over again, why are they still not treated on par with men? Is it because of our society’s baseless yet rooted prejudice against women or is it because we simply refuse to change our mindsets?
In cities, we find girls pursuing higher education, taking up jobs and holding esteemed positions, they also manage their household and kids. We have working mothers, wives or daughters, so, we may feel that ‘women being ill-treated’, is too cliché and irrelevant in today’s modern world. But we need a magnifying glass to get the clearer picture.

The number of high school dropouts amongst girls is not showing a declining trend. Many people from the Below Poverty Line families either want their girls to work as maids or they want to get them married off early while they may consider educating the boys.
Its high time we all woke up to this and realized just how inhumane this is.

Veggie or Non-veggie???

Before you make any pre-conceived notions having read that title...let me make myself clear..I'm not a vegetarian (let alone a vegan) and im not publicising vegetarianism here, im just giving a two sided view.

How many of us cannot tolerate to see a puppy being pelted by stones or animals being ill-treated at the circus or wild animals being killed for fun , but at the same time cannot do without our weekly dose of chicken/fish?
How do we justify this?

Is making a meal out of a creature an offense? Some may say that meat is what the early man lived on and most living beings on our planet earth are meat-eaters, so non-vegetarianism is in no way a sin. Yet others have something different to say, when we can very well survive on fruits and vegetables and obtain all required nutrients from them, where does the need to eat fellow living beings arise? They may call it barbaric, brutal and even nothing short of cannibalism.

As it is human tendency to support our argument no matter how weak it is, People who swear by their love for non-veg say eating meat helps maintain ecological balance in the nature and also controls the number of herbivorous animals thereby saving greenery (I know its kinda lame reason), On the other hand many people are turning veggies because it is being considered healthy and also something ‘cool’ and ‘in’.

Some are realizing that many diseases and pathogens could get transmitted to us from these creatures and result in bio-amplification and they are distancing themselves from non-vegetarian food. Like an alcohol or drug addict, they are struggling to stop themselves from eating non-veg! Certain religions like Jainism, Buddhism and some sects of Hinduism consider non-vegetarianism as something uncivilized and against the Almighty, these people help spread vegetarianism and lately it has been gaining popularity. Actually speaking, I get to see two-way conversions taking place, some of my friends, born in staunch vegetarian families enjoy gorging on chicken while many others who were born non-vegetarians, for myriad reasons have turned vegetarians and even vegans! Well, the grass is definitely greener on the other side for these people.

But there is no denying the fact that eggs and meat are an essential part of a balanced and complete diet, especially for children. To many, non-vegetarianism is a part and parcel of their lives, it is just a normal activity, something that is just to be enjoyed without much thought. To sum it all up, it would be wise to say that its all in individual perception and how we take it.
As they say-‘Each one to his own!’

Post my entrance exams

Hey guys, i wrote this sometime back , the duration between the completion of the exams and before the results came out, here it is-

(The day after my last entrance exam)
This is it, the day I have slogged my a** off for the last two years is finally over and how do I feel? Free, ecstatic??? Not even close!!! cause I feel numb, almost sensation-less. That is probably cause it hasn’t sunk in yet but I think it was the fact that I wasn’t very happy with the way most of my entrances went might be a better reason.

But that was only for a few days, after which I started realizing that the hardest time of my student life is over (atleast, that’s what I hoped). I comforted myself saying “Now it’s well out of my hands, I did the best I could and I am ready to accept whatever may come out of it.”

Merely taking IIT entrance exam made me realize some important stuff, though it was just a blind attempt and I never had any formal coaching (as I was from an AIEEE batch), I got to see first hand just how large scale this whole entrance exam business is. Till then, I was like a frog in the well, being in the set batch, which is supposedly better than 9 other sections made me think I was good but then I realised that I’m wasn't quite good enough. I’ve finally opened myself to the world, I realized that there are so many super-intelligent people out there, who are just dying to prove themselves and grab the best seat available! At first, I felt insecure but then I felt that now I at least had a clear picture of what I was up against.

And then there was the VIT result, that left me devastated. I knew very well that I was never going join that college even if I did crack the entrance and It didn’t matter in the least to my mom and dad, But I just couldn’t sit quiet and digest that rank. Eventually, I realized it toughened me up, now I was ready for the worst!
This was all before EAMCET and BITS so then I learnt both, to not count myself as one among the brightest and to expect the worst.

On the other hand, there was something entirely different that was playing on my mind, both before and after my entrance exams. I was actually feeling quite stupid and wasted. I mean, I’ve known all along that I was never meant to get involved with the sciences. I’ve always had a flair for writing, for languages and for being creative. So what am I doing here??? I used to get goose bumps imagining myself as some routine cranky engineer (no offense meant to half my family, which consists of only engineers!) In AP, it has to be either engineering or medicine, otherwise you are termed worthless, kaam chor etc. It always annoyed me. We have these bloody social or whatever obligations to the society, it just kills your dreams and pushes you into the rat race.

Its not like I had no choice, obviously my parents would never force me into anything i don't like but I somehow did end up here. As a child I would tell anyone willing to lend an ear that I would do something ‘cool’ (for that you need to understand my definition of the word cool). I would proudly say “I’m going to take up to history or archaeology or journalism”, then I would screw my face in concentration and add, “or probably graduate in English or French”. Ah! How my heart aches to think of my childish aspirations.
In X std, I did change my mind, partly because I discovered the magic that math was and also because I thought maybe I should do what everyone else is doing, because they are doing it for a reason,then after I have a professional degree in hand I can go about pursuing my interests and do what I ‘want’ to do and am not merely ‘expected’ to do.

Now, with a shudder I ask myself if I’ve gone too deep into a path not meant for me. Will I ever be able to find my way back? And what if I kind of begin to like myself as an engineer, what if I find a pretty lucrative job? It repels me, but its a possibility . All I can do now pray for God to let me find contentment in whatever I ‘choose’ to do. Maybe as mom says I can be a bit of both ( you know, my creative and brainy sides!!)

My first blog!

Well, im a newbie when it comes to blogging but i've been writing articles for as long as i can remeber. For my first blog im posting my only article to ever be published ( Reader's write column, Times of India, 17th april, 2008). Yeah, that was ages ago, but here it is-


Ask any kid around you what his or her favorite past time is and pat comes the reply- Watching TV, surfing the net or playing video games. In today’s world of gadgets and gaming stations, the good old habit of reading books is fast fading. I can elucidate an incident to support my statement. Once my friend came over to my place along with her little brother. As my friend and I were busily chatting away, I gave the little boy ‘Alice in the wonderland’ to keep him engaged, but to my astonishment he just made a face at me and sat in the living room happily zapping cartoon channels. It is a pity that children today prefer the idiot box to books and would rather copy matter from the net for their projects or assignments than read a few good books and compile the best content along with some genuine ideas of their own.

It is a generally accepted truth that books are meant for people belonging to all ages and coming from all walks of life. Everyone can find a genre that they enjoy-fiction, mystery, comedy, romance, horror, you name it! But, unfortunately people would rather buy expensive clothes or accessories than spend a few bucks on a good book and on the other hand those few people who are passionate about reading don’t find affordable book shops or libraries. Most libraries stock old books and the variety of books found is also poor, not to mention the dingy rooms and rickety chairs.
Some settle in for e-books and I think that is acceptable, after all something is better than nothing. But it still remains a fact that the majority of people seem to think books are a sheer waste of time, but they fail to realize that books are not only a wonderful way of spending time but also a very useful one at that. They are huge store houses of knowledge, they help us improve our language, vocabulary and teach us a lot about life

While reading a book if we can really associate ourselves with every character, feel what they feel and read between the lines, that makes the book all the more enjoyable and worthwhile. And who says books are only for assimilating knowledge, learning et al. You can read them just for fun, savoring each page like you savor your favorite chocolate.

I strongly feel that a person who has never bothered to read a single good book in his/her whole life has missed out on a wonderful experience. Thanks to J.K.Rowling, many kids have enjoyed not one but seven truly awesome books, but now that all the seven parts are out, I just hope these kids would start reading other books than drop the habit of reading altogether.

Self-help books are very useful, books like ‘Chicken soup for the soul’ series and ‘Who moved my cheese’ can work magic on us when we are in despair, they help us perceive ourselves and the people around us better. And we can also derive inspiration from the biographies of great people like Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and many more great personalities. The biography of Helen Keller truly inspired me. I always wonder that when she could face such life threatening disabilities and fight against all odds to succeed in life, what stops me from facing my relatively petty problems and proving my mettle?

I do agree that teenagers like me, today, are burdened with exhaustive school/college work and studies and they find it extremely difficult to find time for any other books. However, as the eternal saying goes- “Where there is a will, there is a way”, nothing can stop an aspirant reader from allocating some time for reading. My day never ends without reading at least a few pages of a book even during the hectic schedule of my ‘Intermediate’ life. I think it is very important that school children be encouraged to read good books by their teachers and parents.

A child's mind must be tuned to consider a book as a gift that he can open again and again. As for me, I am very thankful to my mother for sowing in me the seed of love for books at a very young age!