The State Of This World

Disclaimer: This blog post is purely my opinion piece rather than any kind of an indictment on any individuals, societies, or beliefs of any kind. While it is backed by inputs I have come across over social media, it is not being cited as any kind of conclusive empirical data.

I usually refrain from writing opinion pieces about matters which polarize a community on the whole. It’s not merely a thought about any potential backlash but also because the numerous viewpoints floating about often muddy the waters more than show a clear path.

The Gauri Lankesh murder is one of those issues which stayed with me. Not merely because of the act by itself but also because of the tidal wave of opinions that have almost succeeded in drowning out the matter at hand- a journalist was killed.

Whether she poked the sleeping lion once too many times, whether she was too outspoken for her own good or whether it was one of those unfortunate drive-bys that we tend to witness more in other nations; the prevailing opinion seems to be that who she was, what she stood for is what most likely got her killed.

This is what I feel about death: I am pro-choice; which often results in the death of a fetus. I am pro-capital punishment which inevitably leads to a painful death. Whether it’s deserved or not; someone must have once cared for even the most hated rapist, pedophile or even sadistic murderer. And if that’s the case, surely the death of an erudite, opinionated, socially-conscious individual is likely to generate a stronger wave of impact on society overall? There must be a larger mass of people mourning her, her ideals?

A lot of her detractors have painted her as anti-establishment, anti-national, antis galore. But very few have backed up their responses with any kind of evidence to support their stance.

Twitter, the dumping ground of the masses, literatti and the cognoscenti overall, has a huge number of people lauding her death while an equally large number of people seem genuinely distressed that a voice has been silenced for good.

Some tweets (and retweets) of hers do have a rather juvenile (IMHO) facet of her showing up; with irrelevant and unwarranted potshots at the government at power and also groups associated with them.

Case in point: taking a picture of a latrine which has the word “Modi” on it and plastering it on a world-wide social media platform and captioning it as a pun on the Prime Minister’s name surely wasn’t in good taste? But if the rebuttal is “neither was Godhra and its subsequent fallout” then we’re par for course because the locking of horns will begin well and truly!

I am for Freedom of Speech and Expression but never was that freedom given to be absolute! Likening the head of state’s photo with a visiting dignitary as that resembling a “gay marriage” again didn’t seem dignified let alone respectful or even relevant in any way whatsoever! What was the provocation? And ultimately, what it did it prove?

Don’t we have enough valid instances to call out the PM on without resorting to commenting on his married state, his having served tea or having been in the ranks of a society which is a cult only if one chooses to look at it as such.

Is every one who pledges allegiance to the tenets of RSS a bigot? Waiting to put an end to all races to proclaim the glory of Hinduism? Do the members of the Sangh Parivar deserve to have their mothers dragged into a discussion on a public forum, along with the circumstances of their conception? What is the value add?

But I digress. Gauri Lankesh did not deserve to die this kind of a death. She ought to have stuck around, done her bit to shape the consciousness of those she came in contact with and spread knowledge in the most purest form; inflaming minds in the most effective and meaningful manner.

Her written word, her personality would have been a better legacy to leave behind than a cold corpse on the autopsy table.

Those who knew her or her work will probably say that her detractors won’t be able to diminish her aura or her worth. But I feel compelled to ask…wouldn’t it have been better if she had picked her battles more appropriately? Apart from not having to pay such a heavy price, she could have definitively contributed to the kind of society she sought out for herself and everyone in it.

Retroblog

7 years ago I published this bit of rant (scroll down) on Facebook notes. I was more than halfway into my first year as a mother and the mini muffin was an adorable individual who was just getting into his groove as a tiny human hurricane.

The text is all in caps to express my overwhelmed state of mind back in the day. Suffice to say writing etiquette was the furthest thing on my mind at that time!

AVE DIAPER! THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO PLUNGE HEADFIRST INTO DOODOO SALUTE YOU!
NOTE: THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO OR WOULD LIKE TO CONCEIVE/GIVE BIRTH KINDLY BEAR IN MIND PRODUCT COMES WITH A NO RETURN&NO EXCHANGE POLICY!!
1) YOUR CHILD HAS THAT ANGELIC-CHERUBIC FACE SO YOU DON’T SLAP THOSE CHEEKS INTO PERMANENT RUDDINESS.
2) YOUR CHILD WILL TIME THE EXPULSION OF FECES&URINE AT THE EXACT MOMENT WHEN YOU CANNOT GET THE DIAPER ON.
3) THE CRYING WILL BEGIN JUST WHEN YOUR BRAIN SIGNALS IT’S TIME TO REST.
4) WILL SPIT UP FOOD ON THE DAY YOU ARE FEELING MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT DINNERTIME BEING A NON-WWF MATCH.
5) YOUR CHILD WILL PRESENT THE AFOREMENTIONED ANGELIC SIDE TO OTHERS, LEAVING THEM TO THINK YOU’RE A LOON FOR CRIBBING ABOUT SUCH A CUTIE-WUTIE IZZUMS!
6) WILL MANAGE TO MAKE YOUR ANGER GO OUT IN A POOF! BY GOING TO SLEEP ON YOUR SHOULDER, MOUTH OPEN, TEETH SHOWING&CHUBBY HANDS HOLDING YOU TIGHTER THAN THEY’D HOLD ANYONE ELSE.
BOTTOM LINE: ADOPT A TEEN INSTEAD. THEY’RE LIKELY TO BE HOUSEBROKEN.
LIKELY.
ADIEU!

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Image courtesy- www.wannasmile.com

My life with MLM of late as been like this-

Me@6:15 am: Get up baby, it’s time for school. (Gives loads of kisses and tousles the porcupine hair, sticking up everywhere because of static)

MLM: answering by snores.

Me (shaking him gently): get up (followed up all sorts of oddly named endearments).

MLM: IdonwannaIissleepyIwant…..trailing off into soft snores.

Me (looking at clock): It’s 6:30 already!! GET UP!

MLM: Idontwantittobe6:30…..

Me (tickling him): Getupgetupgetup!

MLM: FINE!!! and droops over my lap/shoulder/ any place where he can drape his body comfortably.

Me: UP! RIGHT NOW!!

MLM:whyareyoumeantomeyou’renotagoodgirlIdon’twanttobeyourfriendanymoregoawayAyu!!

Me: FINE! Stay that way! (tacking on whatever threat is the most effective at the moment).

MLM: Drags himself out of bed a la The Walking Dead and goes and plops himself onto the couch.

Me: AREYOUKIDDINGME?!! GETUPNOW!!

Red: (stumbling out of bed and frowning) Why are you yelling? (directed at me). Go have your coffee and I’ll handle this.(prepares to be the good cop)

2 minutes later

Red (to me): Go and get him to drink his milk, he’s not listening (absent mindedly goes off to brush his teeth while scratching his left bum cheek. Always the left. Don’t ask me why.)

Me (fully caffeinated and back on the job): COMEON! LET’S GO! WE’RE LATE!

MLM: Idontwantogotoschool!! Iwanttocolor! Iwanttoreadmybook! Idontwanttobathe! BadgirlAyu! I’mnevergoingtobeyourfriend. NEVERNEVERNEVER!!

Ah the joys of parenting and predictability of a sleepy child’s behavior on a winter morning. AND…I get to do this all over again. Tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

Bliss.

2-0-1-7

The 3 of us (me, Red&MLM) rang in the new year inside a loud, creaky, semi-uncomfortable airport shuttle bus. But I got to wish my folks, my bestie and also make an  SOS call to good friends who came and picked us up from a drop-off point since Hyderabad cabbies decided to be sadistic on the last day of the year and go on a strike.

While I *am* known to bitch and gripe for fairly long periods of time when the fit is upon me, last night’s events seemed quite amusing. Here we were, fresh out of the First Class lounge followed by flying Business Class back home and we stepped out to get lumped in with the rest of the world when it came to getting back home. And lump it we did! And it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be at all.

There was a little boy incessantly asking his dad when the bus was going to move, there a conductor who was loudly asking about tickets and drop-off points and there were people who were (again loudly) discussing the taxi strike and those who were just so bleary-eyed that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything except their face hitting their pillow.

So why was I not grumpy and adding to the less than happy vibes floating around the bus?Well some of the credit for that goes to the champagne I had in the flight and the other was because I was going HOME!!

We aren’t the society creme de la creme by any means. But we’re comfortable. And we’d had a lovely fun and sun-filled week in Thailand. I had behaved like a glutton and was going to need most of 2017 and 18 to work off all that. But I’d really Zenned out while in Thailand and no bus, even one that needed a total overhaul and a muffler change STAT! was going to take that away from me. Add to that my child fell asleep quite quickly even before the bus started to move and it was an easy ride back home coloring mandalas (my latest thang) on my phone.

A lot of the experiences we have in life, the good and the bad are usually colored by the thoughts going on in our head at that time. I’d spent a good amount of time travelling back to India irritated with my child. He was being a brat and I still wanted my Zen bubble around me. But the husband, a great guy to travel with, had intervened throughout, suggested I have some champagne and most importantly had changed seats with me so I was able to get a little more head space away from the offspring and his monster persona.

2016 had been quite a dramatic year. Quite a few things took me by surprise. Shook me up. But most importantly, the shaking stopped. And now I have a whole year to stabilize and look forward to more; memories, laughter or even Zennishness.

So here’s raising the virtual toast to  2017. May you prove to be an outstanding successor to 2016. And may the adventures continue…even if in a bus.

Sláinte

Reblogged: The Hanging

Four years ago I had blogged about this on another blogging platform.

Facebook reminds me of many things, usually trivial and mainly goody-goody but this blog post reminded me of something that usually doesn’t go down well in my home- the concept of capital punishment.

My husband is pro-life to the core and I am pro-choice. The pro-life bit extends to his being implacable about capital punishment being heinous.

But while mulling on my state of mind the day I wrote out that bit and how it is today, I’d have to say that while I wish capital punishment wasn’t the way to go; the cruelty being meted out at the whims of people with guns, money and power and above all-hatred; the threat of retribution coming on the heels of cruelty does give people pause.

Because I do not buy into “an eye for an eye will make the world blind”. There are people out there who aim to blind enough people without just cause or provocation and they need to be stopped in their tracks. Punishing them may not be the answer to all the ills but it sure beats doing nothing and piously holding onto a threadbare cloak of humanity.

Here endeth the lesson.

A Little Latin Goes A Long Way

I came across this phrase today and it seemed to encapsulate how the world seems to me of late-HOMO SUM HUMANI A ME NIHIL ALIENUM PUTO. What it means is ” I am a human being, so nothing human is strange to me”. Over time it has come to be used as a motto advocating respect for people and cultures that appear different from your own. Quite the antithesis of the prevailing times, one might say.

Things have been shitty on a global scale for a long time. There are actually shitty things happening. They are in turn giving rise to fear of the said shitty things happening whether it’s a well-founded fear or pure paranoia. And in trying to take preventive action or being ready before the big one strikes, people are screwing up on a truly epic scale.

Call it intolerance. Call it a phobia. Call it ignorance. Call it what you will but labeling it something specific won’t make it any more real than how it already is.

Kindergartners gunned down. People of a particular sexual orientation. People of specific races, genders- everything and everyone is under fire. And while people speaking up against it may lead to a certain amount of ignorance getting dispelled, but for the most part, people stick to their beliefs come what may. And woe betide you if you try to shake it out of them.

So when tomorrow’s newspaper will inevitably bring news of something unjustifiable cruel, morally and ethically reprehensible; I will not gasp, cringe or shudder. Because I am a human being and nothing human is strange to me. Even inhumanity.

 

The Mine Field That Is My House

Many moons ago I had spewed a bit via this post but last night I realized that my modest home is quite fraught with stuff that’s likely to blow up (figuratively) or cause me to blow up (literally).

Case in point- My kid and his quest for building a dino army keeps showing up (read under) all foreseeable and some not so foreseeable places. Last night’s trip to the bedroom was an obstacle course par excellence!

This is how it went down- focus on the word down. Now the charming child I’ve brought into this world, had locked Red and I out of our bedroom? Did I mention we’ve been co-sleeping, exclusively? It’s not fun. But since his room and ours has a connecting window that opens up from his room, I thought I’d sorted things out quite alright. Erm…not quite.

So just on the other side of MLM’s window is a futon and ahead of the futon is a few open feet of room followed by the bed. I always keep a bit of a gap between the window and the futon for these reasons and also to make it easier to sweep and mop but that was to be my downfall in every sense of the word.

So the space behind the futon was littered with dinos. The pointy kinds. I think the beak of a Quetzalcoatlus (pronounced as  /ˌkwɛts(ə)lkəʊˈatləs/ for those who give a damn) or a Pteranodon (drop the P while saying it and you’re gravy) poked me in my foot leading me to leapfrog over the entire width of the futon and step on a Hotwheels car that effectively got me half airborne till I broke my fall on the futon. And being the superb athelete that I am, I was suprised that nothing was broken…bones and futon included.

So up I get, seething in anger and ready to grab the kid by the scruff of his neck and dump him in his room and his quite comfortable bed when I stepped on a marble and hopped on one foot to go and sit on the air conditioner’s remote which was parked right where I would normally sleep!

A lopsided, ballet through the air to land in a graceless manner in a bed where a rapidly growing child was sleeping diagonally across. Naturally.

Oh by the way, did I mention it was rather dark in the room just the LED glow from the AC spread a dim light over a negligible part of the room? Nevermind…that’s usually a given.