Thursday, March 29, 2007

Patience

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She was discouraged
She was losing hope
She is one who cannot wait long for anything in life

She felt tired of waiting
She felt languid
She felt that nothing is worser than waiting

Waiting for something that she deserved
For something important
For something life changing

The voice saw her struggle
The voice saw the journey
The voice is one who sees the end of the journey

The voice consoled
The voice tried to reason
The voice advised Patience

Patience to wait for something that is to be hers
For something irrefutable
For something life-impacting

She listens to that voice
She finds solace in the voice
She hasn't lost hope, not yet...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Truth???

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I was reading an article on India becoming a super power where lots of statistics were given as to how we can finally join the elusive club, right now the special pride of a few nations. I was so proud about the fact and went to the next article which was just the opposite – it denounced all the hype being given about India being a superpower and gave an equal number of statistics as to why we are going the opposite way actually. That set me thinking! Which is the truth?

On one side, we have the Ambanis and Tatas and Birlas doing large acquisitions all over the world (not to mention Indian-origin Mittals), Bollywood movies being released all over the world, all companies opening offices in India, India becoming a nuclear power, Indian authors and artists winning wide acclaim at foreign shores and much much more. Generally, the style of living of the medium class has gone up (atleast one person in a family has a cell phone, we can afford better clothes, more travel and better education and sanitation). However, on the other side, we have an alarming increase in the number of people dying due to poor sanitation and diseases like AIDS, decrease in the number of kids going to school, decrease in the number of jobs for ordinary people (due to various reasons like newer technology making the job obsolete, automation, people not developing the necessary skills and so on), lack of needed infrastructure, rampant corruption and a complacent attitude amongst people at various levels and lots more. Now, how can a country go to two extremes at the same time?

If India is really going on to become a super power( I’d be really happy if that was the case), then why do I see so much of poverty, hunger, death and so many other problems in providing people with basic amenities like food, clean water, air, shelter, clothing and education? But, if India is really sinking down, then how do I see so many companies setting up shop here drawn by our immense talent pool in all fields, so many people being able to afford better and costlier life styles compared to a decade ago, so many men and women becoming financially independent (can you imagine so many youngsters earning so much to support themselves and even their families just a score years???), so many new buildings and construction of facilities, so many different but sure signs of growth everywhere? Which is the truth?

I’m sure the answer must lie somewhere amongst this seemingly confusing jumble. Does it mean that while a certain section of India is becoming rich, another section is becoming poorer? And, does it become imperative which section we are in for our own lives to be a success or failure? If this is the case, then when will everyone in the country start having a decent living? Doesn’t the brand name “super power” take all this into account? Is it being awarded just on the numbers that are generated every year in the balance sheets? For me, a country in which all the people have good food, clean water, air, shelter, clothing and proper education is a better candidate for super powerdom than a country that has the longest road or biggest nuclear bomb or maximum percent of foreign investments (though these are good things to have). I see that this post(and the previous one :)) has lots of questions(though of different types). I see only questions, where are the answers? Now, that is another question!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Forever young - Possible???

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Can a person be “forever young”? I was coming in bus from office to home(for the lack of any other name for the place where I stay... It is more personal compared to a house and less so compared to an actual home.. so the name!) when I saw an advertisement board stating “Wild Jasmines, woman’s creations(whatever that means!!)”. And, then I saw the tagline “Forever young”. That statement intrigued me immediately. So, can a person be forever young? Won’t he/she be bored? First, what does the word young signify? Does it mean signs of vitality and vigor? Then, what do we say of old people who are still leading an active life? Are they young or old? Or somewhere in between? Is this called middle age, by any chance? Then, what can the middle-aged people be called? More interestingly, what can the young people who are leading a sedentary lifestyle with only their computers for their company and surviving on minimum motion be called? Are they old, then?

Or, does the word signify the number of years lived on earth? Then, how can a person be forever young? If that is the case, he/she would have to be born every minute in order to retain the title of the youngest person in the world. Since that is not possible and since we are talking of ‘forever young’ness, the first hypothesis of young denoting the number of years lived can be safely dropped out of discussion?

This leads me to another question. Is the word young used relatively? For example, I can described to be young compared to X while X can be described to be young compared to Y. Does that mean I am young compared to Y at all times? Taking age into consideration, this can be assumed to be true. But, since we already decided that young does not necessarily mean the number of years on earth, we should look into other possibilities. One of them could be looks. We often say, “she looks younger than the other lady”, “he looks younger than the other person”, etc. In such a scenario, the case I gave earlier need not be true at all times and circumstances. For example, though I may look younger than X and X may looker younger than Y, Y can also look younger than me... or may be not. It all depends on the viewer, his/her mindset, the situation, the dress and mindset of the person in question and a lot more. Why? It can even depend on the weather and other external factors out of our control.

Further, when we say a person is young, who is taken to be the comparison-point? Is it based on gender or does gender play no part in this comparison? Also, is the commenter's gender too important? For example, is the case of a lady telling another young different from a man telling a woman so? Against whom is the youth or oldness of a person decided? And, who takes the decision? Is it collective (as in a society) or depends on the viewer as such? Interestingly, nowadays, it is considered to be good or even fashionable to be called young. There is someone I know who smiles widely whenever she receives the compliment that she looks young. Though she knows that the truth is way off the mark, she is still willing to accept it. But, in olden days, it was more respectable and desired to be called old and wise. (How many times have we encountered “wise old men who knew everything that was to know on earth” in stories?) Who makes these decisions as to how a society should react to youth and old age? And, how do we find out when a society changes from one to another? Very interesting!!

Also, is young related to innocence? Then, can’t young people be wise? Or, is it the right of the old people only? And, are all old people wise all the time? What is wisdom and who gives a person the title? Who is authorized to do so? Who gave such an authorization? Anyways, let me not digress... Back to the question of youth and its meaning. When so much of ambiguity lies in the word young, then what can be said of ‘forever young’ness? Even if we were to quantize youth by some means(there is none as far I know), how much young is young enough? Or, is even this relative? Then, wouldn’t everyone want to be in a group of older people so that he/she is the youngest in the group? In such a case, can there be any such groups formed without anyone not being happy with the arrangement?

One last thought... won’t a person be bored of being “forever young”? I mean, only change takes life forward (for good or for worse, that is another question), keeps us from stagnating and makes life interesting enough to live through. Imagine if you had to live every day the same way without any change in routine? Won’t it be the worst thing on earth? Even death would be better than such drudgery. That is why a person’s imagination and creativity are most important qualities in any walk of life. Even if they are not enough for a person to compete with the Mozarts and Da Vincis of the world, atleast they can lift a person from drudgery and cast a rainbow in an otherwise grey life. What can a person do being “forever young”? Can he/she be happy when all the loved ones die some day or the other while he/she remains young forever? And, does being young mean being happy? Are they directly related? Who said that age and happiness are inversely proportional? Isn’t happiness more related to a person’s attitude? Are all youth happy and all others unhappy?

Guess this has been a post full of questions. But, when I see such sweeping statements like this(another example is “happily ever after”, the ubiquitous fairy tale ending – can a person live ‘happily ever after’ – won’t he/she get bored? Where would the spice be in life?), I immediately start arguing against it(like in this post). I think it is an affliction due to my sun sign( I’m a Libran, the scales, forever tipping this side and that, ever judging if everything is fair and wanting everything to be fair to one and all... I can never accept any statement unless it is the irrefutable truth like “the sun rises in the east”. But, come to think of it, one can argue even on that fact. Any takers?? :) ) What’s your opinion, folks???

Monday, March 05, 2007

Two different poems with the same message

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To have succeeded
To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one’s self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived....
This is to have succeeded.
-Ralph waldo Emerson


Varam kaettal
Kalaiyaatha kalviyum kuraiyaatha vayathum
Or kabadu vaaaraatha natpum,
Kanraantha valamaiyum kundraatha ilamaiyum
Kazhupini ilaatha udalum,
Saliyaatha manamum anbu agalaatha manaiviyum
Thavaraatha sandhaanamum
Thaalaatha keerthiyum maaraatha vaarthayum
Thadaigal vaaraatha kodaiyum
Tholaiyaatha nithiyamum konnaatha kollum
Oru thunbam illaatha vaazhvum
Thuyya nin paathathil anbum udhavi
Periya thondarodu kootukandaai
Alaiyaazhi arithuyilum Maayanathu thangaiyae
Aadhikadavurin vaazhvae
Amutheesar oru paagam aghalaatha sughapaani
Arulvaami Abhiraamiyae!
-Abhirami Pattar

Both the poems are about a successful life but the views are totally different. The influence of culture and practices on the respective authors is evident. And, these poems have the distinct flavor of their cultures and represent all that relates to the West and the East. They have the same underlying principle but have opposite ways of expressing it. Two people, in different countries, different cultures and different time periods have had the same thought process and have defined success in life in their own terms. And, we are lucky enough to enjoy both and wonder at such similarities and differences. Interesting, right?