Perception makes all the difference!

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Today morning as I went to prepare my bed tea there was no tea leaf in the the container meant for this purpose. As I went to wake up my wife to ask where the tea leaves were, I found her enjoying peaceful sleep. I could not dare disturb her sleep and came back to the kitchen. I switched off the gas stove, searched for the tea leaves packet and filled the container with the tea leaves. As the brew changed the colour, I went back thirty years, the initials years of our marriage!

Would I have entered the kitchen so early then? No way, the MCP that I was, I would have woken up my wife rudely! Even if, assumed, had I entered the kitchen, the empty container would have made me furious and I would not even have noticed that my wife was sleeping! I would have simply shouted : ” What the hell you keep doing all day? Cannot even remember to keep the container full of tea-leaves?” And even after her having prepared the tea, I would have sipped it sulkily, cursing her for her absentmindedness as, in my perception then, it was her duty to keep all things ready! It is another matter that it would have wasted my morning also but who would have cared?

But years of living together and her silent suffering have brought a see change in my perception about our ‘roles’ and ‘duties’. I am more or less convinced that no one owes anything to the other….It has to be a mutual enterprise and this has eased things for me at least! over Thank God for this change in my perception!

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Hidden Persuaders!?

Sometime back I read about the book “Hidden Persuaders” written by Vance Packard in 1956. It is interesting to note that the observations made almost a century ago seem more relevant today! At least in India….May be I am wrong Hidden persuaders are keeping their “iron grip” on the masses, almost everywhere like a curse! May be their ‘kind’ varies! Somewhere it is glamour, at others it is power, still others are followers of a religion…some others are simply salesmen!

The author of the book believes that the right of privacy of our minds and of our existence as dictated by our inner self is a basic and important human right. But the Persuaders have “invaded this privacy of our minds”. The author asserts that ‘it is this right to privacy of our minds – privacy to be rational or irrational – that I believe we must strive to protect”. Unfortunately, that striving is visible nowhere. We seem to be simply being led as the kids followed the mythical ‘pied-piper’.
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And unfortunately today, in the age of consumerism and electronic media, in the age of IT based instant communication, this right is being violated with impunity. Marketing is the new name for such hidden persuasion. Consumers and citizens all over the world have been reduced to hopeless and hapless victims of the alluring charm of the hidden persuader, who cheerfully lends his services to anyone, REPEAT, ANYONE, FOR A PRICE!
Film and sports celebrities are the worst culprits in this regard. They take upon themselves the responsibility of ‘persuading’ people from all walks of life, specially the youth and kids, to buy/use and project the items as crucial to one’s image/pride/beauty/macho-ism, including presenting oneself as progressive! So Amitabh Bachan sells himself to sell an oil of dubious credentials and Hema Malini swears by the purity of the water cleaned by the purifier of a particular brand! The list is long!
I  wonder as to why these charming persuaders sell their conscience to be-fool their unsuspecting fans? The fans because of whom they stand where they are? Only for a few ‘more’ bucks? Also, the moot question is – why are the people so gullible?
In the political arena, Hitler was one of the pioneer persuader who sold the idea of German superiority to the gullible (or too nationalistic) Germans. So much so that they were convinced that the Jews ought to be wiped out from this earth! Political leaders of South Asia, many African and other countries have sold the idea of their National superiority to be at war with the neighbours perpetually! India and Pakistan wre included in that list. So is USA under Trump! The danger to a religion is the most saleable argument to these persuaders.

It also defies logic as to Why intelligent people consider their pride and self image so fragile? Why do they get trapped by the sweet talk, knowing fully well that the celebrities are doing it only for money which is included in the pricing of the product? And politicians are doing for snatching power from their opponents?  People often ignore their own rationality for dubious claims of the charmers! But why?

 

Loneliness?

Loneliness!

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I wonder what does it mean?
Loneliness…that is!
Not that I am never alone
I am most of the time!
Even sitting on the dining table.
I feel alone many times!
Talking to friends and
Walking in the crowd…
Time and company immaterial
I can feel alone at any time !
But loneliness?…I always wonder
As to what is!

Mama’s boy

He was always a ‘mama’s’ boy. I hope you know what I mean. I believe in Indian situation, every boy is a mama’s boy. The degree may differ. But he was a mama’s boy by choice. Like most Indian mothers his mother had sacrificed her lot of comfort for his happiness. Seeing her slog (not in the usual sense of the term) he had decided early in life that he would never let her down, come what may. Probably he had written the script for his life quite early!happiness vs unhappiness

As usual, the situation had to change after his marriage. But, although he supported his wife duly, whenever there was a conflict between the two ladies, he stood by his mother, even inviting the wrath of his wife. He did realize that sometimes his wife was more correct than his mother but he stood by his resolution steadfastly. He always thought his mother would not be alive forever…so he could make amends after she departs for her heavenly abode.

Obviously, life and death are not a wishful thinking. As luck would have their youthful time passed more quickly than it should have! When the old lady said final goodbye, they were in their fifties. Was it too late? He made another resolution ….not to let down his wife any more. But the young lady (no more so young) viewed everything suspiciously. Sometimes shocked, at others simply surprised! He would stand by her when she faced the children (now quite grown up), her parents and siblings, even his own relatives! Gradually she understood and started enjoying the new relationship! Jointly they would rue for the lost youthful time but they decided not to waste the time on the past.

SOCIAL NORMS AND LEGAL PROVISIONS-AT CROSSROADS

Man is a social animal. Probably, the relations between the individual and the society are defined on the basis of this premise. But this assumption does not seem to have been put to test till date. However, frequently occurring cracks in the social relationships and intentional and sometimes seemingly willful violation of social norms tend to put a question mark on this basic premise of social existence. If man is indeed a social animal, why he has started enjoying breaking the social norms/relations? Why the society is persistently failing to keep the individual members committed to the social norms, laws and customs? Can it be explained away by dubbing it as ‘generation gap’ only? Is the individual for the society or vice versa? Is it justified to break the social norms just for individual gratification? Simple yes/ no answers may not satisfactorily answer these questions! Keeping in mind the ever-increasing demand for individual freedom, it has become imperative to evaluate and redefine some of these norms. But most stakeholders have opted to overlook the problem. Educated and so called enlightened people often turn to legal solutions for every problem. Of late, it has been felt that even the governments are keen to impose law only, overlooking the social aspects. But is it logical and justified? Mostly this approach has created additional problems

AFTER DEATH

What happens when a person dies?
The body remains and the soul flies.
Flies to where?
Nobody knows……
Guesses, surmises everyone throws!
Beliefs galore that it goes to God,
Where Almighty spares not the rod!
To hell he sends the corrupted ones
Heaven’s reserved for those chosen.
“Wicked” souls abound in hell
Scream, cry, in pain they yell.
Some are hung upside down
Roasted, till they turn brown.
Some are lynched with eyes blown
Others are boiled in oil cauldron!
Heaven bound souls enjoy the bounty
Liquor and fruits and milk plenty.
“Hoors”* shower with never ending love
Massage and bathe in perfumed tubs.

Scare of hell and hope for heaven
Provides the people with enough motivation.
To curb their selfish lustful desires
And be good Samaritans till they reach pyres.

Futile rituals with body remain
Out of which the souls nothing gain.
Elaborate procedures we have designed
Dead are buried or to flames consigned.
Some embalm the mortal remains
Others create a watery grave;
Oblivious to the truth that’s all in vain
Whatever we do the truth remains;
Dust we are and to dust return
Whether we burry or whether we burn.

*Hoors—beautiful girls.

Fascism Risk

Dictionary meaning of Fascism describes it as a political regime having totalitarian aspirations, ideologically based on a relationship between business and the centralized government; business and govt. control of the marketplace, repression of criticism and opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. It was originally only applied to Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

According to Wikipedia, Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader and Fascism rejects the assertion that violence is automatically negative in nature and in fact, views political violence, war and imperialism as means of national rejuvenation! Strangely enough, most fascists don’t like to be called as such because the term has gained notoriety historically…Particularly after Hitler’s genocide of Jews.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has written an essay in the Free Inquiry magazine, Spring 2003 issue listing and entitled “Fourteen characteristics of Fascism.” This he did after studying the regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and Pinochet (Chile). These regimes have been, almost unanimously, acknowledged as being fascist and have 14 elements in common. Fascist regimes tend to have:

i. Powerful and continuing nationalism.

ii. Disdain for the recognition of Human Rights

iii. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as unifying

iv. Supremacy of the military

v. Rampant Sexism

vi. Controlled mass media.

vii. Obsession with national security

viii. Religion and government are intertwined

ix. Corporate power is protected

x. Labor power is suppressed

xi. Disdain for the in intellectuals and arts

xii. Obsession with crime and punishment

xiii. Rampant cronyism and corruption

xiv. Fraudulent Elections

Unfortunately, most of the countries tend to come under this obnoxious tag…even the world’s most powerful and populous democracies. Masses are willing to be swayed by parochial nationalistic aspirations and space and willingness for dissent is shrinking by the day! Democratic values are at the risk of being abandoned for more populist appeals. The humanity today stands at the crossroads! God be with the liberals!