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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Gods must be crazy ..

Yes, you guessed it right. I have received comments , brick-bats, accusations, suggestions, advice, direction etc based on my previous post trying to understand some fundamental stuff. And this piece is to answer those.

All have expressed anguish and sadness at the demise of the child. Predictably many have quoted from various scriptures and gurus on the probable answers and the direction that Sam needs to take. Some have advised delving deep into some sub-sect related scriptures while some have relied heavily on some famous gurus and their sayings. A couple of readers have accused me of blasphemy and sent comments that I was tending to be atheistic and that was not the right course.

But the questions raised last time were not relating to the existence of God. Whether one believes in His existence or not is left to one’s own analysis and decision.

Most of us have been so indoctrinated into some belief system quite early in life that questioning the fundamental beliefs is considered sacrilege. But, what at least needs to be done is to try and understand the purpose of the beliefs, validate the belief structure in relation to the present and adopt the results.

What I had tried to raise in the earlier post was that on the one hand God is known to us as all-encompassing, all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipotent, omniscient et al. That is the basic premise. Given that is the case, how does one answer such absurdities like a loving child being taken away in no time, for no fault of hers, that too with no notice ?

Why should we have differently enabled children ? Why should afflictions happen to children at very early ages and the child should continue to suffer over its lifetime ? Issues such as Dyslexia, several other deformities both internal and external and the different syndromes like Attention Deficit — what did the soul of the child ( in its previous birth, just in case that belief is true ) do to deserve these reduction of normal abilities ? Even if the ‘soul’ would have been a Hitler (so to say ), in its previous birth, what is the rationale behind punishing the child ? When even the Penal Code designed by mere humans prescribes punishment only after 18 years of age, how does the ‘code’ designed by the Universal Architect start punishing a child even during infancy ?

Now, I don’t mean to say that these questions have not been asked in the past. But the point is, I feel, the different spiritual explanations provided by the seers and gurus for these questions are characteristically similar irrespective of the religion or sect :

We do not know the ways of God. 
We are incapable of understanding the meaning of ‘karma’. 
Therefore subscribe to my school of thought and be at peace or at least pretend to be at peace. 
For the answers, do not look elsewhere, look into yourself and you will get the answer“.

‘Answers’ such as the above splashed with sanskrit / greek / tamil / hebrew words and verses are only being supplied. The ingredients of the ‘Answers’ vary only in proportion but the essence is the same –

 ” You don’t know. 
Only I know, hence go through these and be pacified. 
In case you are not pacified, then you have not believed in what I have told you. 
So better believe what I have told you and begin to think that you have got the ‘Answer'”.

Nothing else other than the above.

And Sam and people like him who want to know the ‘Answer’ but have not got that begin to pretend that they have got the ‘Answer’. They are forced to conform to standards. And the degree of conformity is the speed with which they return to the ” Spiritual Path ” of their guru / verse / text whatever.

And the Universal Architect continues in His characteristic ways with another Sam another day.

Sure, He must be crazy ( women’s libbers pardon me. He could be a She as well. I don’t know ).
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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in English Posts, Writers

 

Nimshi – the angel that flew away ..

This time again, it was another friend, Sam, who posted in FB
on his daughter, today.

Sam, the devout south Indian Christian who has suffered only
hardships in life. Lost his father at an early age, struggled financially to
complete his Rubber Technology degree, worked in Rubber Processing plants as
Engineer, ventured into ERP, burnt his entire wallet in learning SAP, struggled
to make ends meet without a job, joined IT as a trainee at an age when he
should have been a manager, coded along with freshers who were 10 years younger
to him, climbed an agony ridden path to financial stability and all along the way
continued to proclaim his contentment in Jesus and in life for having a wonderful
family of a caring wife, two cheerful children and an elderly mother.

So contented and family oriented was he that despite having
a H1-B visa, he chose not to travel to the US to work on long assignments – he
didn’t want his children’s education to suffer and leave behind his mother- mind it, he still had to pay debts due to the SAP course.

Sam was also gifted with a sense of humor that his self deprecating
wise-cracks were the talk of the town. Never one to grumble and never one to
begrudge, he took things in his stride with a smile always saying that he was
happy with what he had. Well, in common parlance, one could even call him an ‘asattu
ammanji
” – not being worldly wise and making some quick buck in the short
while. He lacked the capacity to do that.

One day, his 14 year old daughter Nimshi complained of
headache while he was working from home. She was so tired that he fed her a
soup. She vomited and complained of more headache. He comforted her with pain
balm and took her to a nearby hospital all the while messaging his boss for 1
day leave. The nearest hospital was not helpful and he went to the second best
in town to be informed that there was no hope. Five days of ventilator support
later, he oversaw his angel removed from ventilator support and prepare for the
heavenly abode. Thus ended the little angel’s brief time with him on earth.

Medical fraternity attributed
this to ‘Coloidal Cyst’.
Wikipedia said “A colloid cyst is a cyst containing gelatinous material in the brain. It is almost always found just posterior to theforamen of Monro in the anterior aspect of the third ventricle, originating from the roof of the ventricle. Because of its location, it can cause obstructive hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure. These cysts account for approximately 1% of all intracranial tumors. 
Symptoms can include headache, vertigo, memory deficits, diplopia, behavioral disturbances and in extreme cases, sudden death. The developmental origin is unclear, though they may be of endodermal origin, which would explain the mucin-producing, ciliated cell type” – whatever 

 True to self, Sam reported to
work soon, started taking assignments while still waiting for the 6 o’clock daily
call from his daughter only to be reminded of her non-presence by the absence
of her call.
Now-a-days, he doesn’t want to disturb his family and hence
stops his car beneath the fly over and cries out aloud regularly at the same time.
The school where Nimshi went to, though he wants to avoid on his way back from
work, reminds him of the absence of his angel. Hence cries again in front of the
school.

Now he has some questions :

  1. Why did the angel come into his life, splash his life with happiness for 14 years and just vanish in a matter of 3 hours ?
  2. He never asked for this beautiful angel in the first place. He didn’t even aspire for one. But she came , or shall we say, was sent by God ?
  3. Why did she bring such happiness to him and the family with such characteristics that any parent would want from their child ? Why was she the embodiment of such virtues and why did she vanish ?
  4. What wrong did Sam do to lose her that too so early ? More so, his wife and even more so, the little brother ? Sam was so polite that he dared not even ask for the refund for his SAP course once he didn’t get the job that they promised.
  5. If it is God’s design to ‘test’ Sam to see if he is truly devoted to HIM, is not He supposed to be merciful and benevolent?
  6. If it is not due to Sam, then is it due to Nimshi herself ? Is it due to her ‘sins’ in her previous birth, also called ‘Karma’ as per tradition ? If so, why should she face such a violent departure with no notice?
  7. Is she not still a child, not even knowing about herself ? If so, how could she be held responsible for anything related to a previous birth ( luckily Christianity doesn’t believe in previous birth stories ). Even then, how to explain this ?
  8. Why should the angel have been let into this world at all if she was needed so soon ?
  9.  What was accomplished in 14 years ? Three per million have this colloidal cyst , it seems. So, what is this point of answering this statistical question while the moral question to God is not answered ?
  10. Sam is a man committed to God who took HIS verses seriously. But he is still seeking answer to the fundamental question : Why my angel, so soon, so fast and so cruel ?
  11. One foundational question : What is this design all about ? What is logical in this case of the angel going back in 14 years when she didn’t even know what was happening to her.
  12. Why to Sam, the purist, the eternal common man who is contented with life and family and has placed himself in God ?

So was it colloidal cyst or a tyrannical twist or a tryst with destiny ?


Sam and I were trying to figure this out in a phone call
that lasted more than an hour. Not sure if we found that while Sam seeks solace from funding a church in the angel’s name. 
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in English Posts, Writers

 

Know your score, Mr.MP


Dear Member of Parliament ,


As an Indian citizen, I take this opportunity to talk to you and convey what I feel needs to be conveyed to you, especially after the recent wash out of the current Parliament session.


I write to you because I don’t see any other means of communicating with you. Not that this method is going to be effective and that you are going to mend your ways but because as an ordinary citizen, I bleed daily to eek out a living and you seek to drink my blood by way of wasting my tax-payer money in Parliament by not conducting any business that is even remotely associated with governance.


Mr.Member, the very fact that you are in Parliament repesents the trust that I, as a Citizen, have on you to ensure that my works are done. You were chosen based on trust based on what you and your political leaders told you would do once elected to Parliament. You and your leaders also swore on all the leaders of the past such as Gandhiji and others.So I trusted you. 


But, you broke my trust.


I want to remind you that you were elected to Parliament not to test your lung power that you often exhibt in shouting down anybody that dares to speak in the hallowed precints but to conduct the business of government that is to frame laws. But that is nowhere to be seen in the recent past.


I agree that it is my bounden duty to bear your expenses such as Telephone bills, Air Fare and your daily allowances. Now that I have paid your expenses and also your salary, what have you done to me, your employer ? Did you do anything that is remotely connected with governance in the parliament ? 


So the moot question is  : why should I continue to employ you ?


Would you employ your servant maid if she doesn’t do what you ask her to do ? So, why should I employ you now that you neither do yours nor allow others in the parliament do their duties towards me ? 


Basically, are you serving me as well as I am serving you ? Are you worthy of my trust anymore ?


While it would not be appropriate for me to expect to have known about leaders of the past, I would like to draw your attention to what JFK ( John.F.kennedy ) said in a historical speech dubbed as ‘City Upon A Hill ” speech. In this he speaks about 4 parameters on which one would be judged as a public servant. 


“For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:


“First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?


Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?


Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them—men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?


Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest”. 


Well Mr.Member of Parliament, it would be too much to expect you to follow what JFK has said. 


You could atleaset consider democracy  not as a blood sport where one side needs to lose and that the result of any democratic activity would need to be bloody with no clear victory to anybody. 


When you didn’t allow the parliament to function, not only did you destroy the sanctity of the structure called parliament but also the very spirit of democracy that is embodied in the structure.


So, as per JFK, when a future historian judges your behaviour, do you know what would your score be ? It would be zero out of four ( 0 / 4 ).


Would you want your children and grand children to read about your parliamentary performance scorecard with such a score ?


Regards
A worried Citizen
 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in English Posts, Writers

 

To Sirs and Madams with love ..

It all started with an FB post by Dhas, my friend of many years ( from my II std ), on the day being Teacher’s Day and several follow-up posts by different friends. Thus was unshackled the reservoir of emotions that I have been nurturing over the past many years on my teachers. Out came random thoughts out of nowhere, some in unlikely combinations yet others in sequence that probably resembled the ‘Timeline’ in FB.

Many a thought was steeped in melancholy that just re-winded the long lost time at school. Apart from the melancholy strain, many such thoughts brought back memories of the exemplary teachers that were virtues personified. No words could properly describe the emotions that welled up my chest. I wouldn’t attribute this to paucity of words in the English language but to my rather limited vocabulary of the fantastic language that is English.

Talking of the English language can never be complete without reverential references to the different colossus  that reigned my school in the English language department. A simple listing of the different teachers and their performances at school would be an understatement of their accomplishments as teachers. Let me list down some of them that I am able to recall  :

Mrs.Sridevi Padmanabhan ( Class VI and VII ) :

A motherly figure that inspired an undying love for the language. Her classes were poetry all the time as the eloquence with which she handled prose, poetry and composition seemed to be poetry to the ears. She inspired one to aspire to have a better handwriting. Never one to criticize, she always smiled at my mistakes and corrected me with such dedication that I felt as though I was her child. Still distinctly remember her handling of a lesson on Swami Vivekananda and his achievements in the US. She used to encourage students to deliver speeches in the assembly. A rare soul , once in a blue moon kind of person. Tried today to contact her over phone using an age old BSNL number only to be reminded that the number has not been in use.

Mr.G.Krishnamoorthy ( GK for us ):

The masculine version of Mrs.Sridevi. The dedication and passion that he exhibited while teaching poetry , I have never seen anywhere else excepting for Mrs.Ulagammal about whom we shall see soon. When GK taught Lucy Gray, we saw Lucy in his person. Wordsworth would have cried in joy seeing GK teach Lucy Gray. His handling of ‘The solitary reaper’ made me see the highland lass murmuring a melancholy strain near the Thiruvalluvar Statue. An episode that I can never forget is his handling of ‘The Castle’, a poem by Edwin Muir. The emphasis on ‘wizened warder’ , ‘wicked-wicket gate’ — these stand out still. I even now hear GK reading the verses to me when ever I think of his classes. And not the least, he had me in tears when he taught ‘To Sir with love’ by E.R.Braithwaite as well as ‘In celebration of being alive’ by Dr.Christian Bernard. The very fact that I am able to recall the authors and the topics and the choicest adjectives stand testimony to the impact that his words have had on me and continue to haunt me ( if I might say so ). My children also know GK though they have never seen him. I would have repeated these to them that many times. Many years later when I read the book ‘To Sir with love’ and saw the movie by the same name thenceforth, I felt GK standing beside me. Such was the influence that GK exuded by his very thought and action. That much dedication and passion has never been seen until now. Fortunate to have been his student for 2 years.

Mr.T.K.Ramanujam  ( TKR a.k.a. Bahu ) : (Class XI )

This colossus rode the English sphere like Alexander rode all over the earth. His words were measured but authoritative that the very delivery of them would instill a feeling that nothing else could be true but his words. A man of few words, he spoke and taught with compassion. His very short congratulatory speech lasting for 3 minutes on the Principal when the latter won the Best Principal Award was remembered for a very long time. A highly erudite human who put his beliefs into action, he amazed me many a time with his mastery of the language. The only time you could see him not reading a book was probably when he used to cycle to school. I cherish the moments spent with him in class and in the Corporation Library. I learnt that the librarian would lend the new arrivals to TKR even before cataloging them. Such was his appetite for books. Never seen such a voracious reader in life.

Mrs.Ulagammal : ( Class IX & X )

She was the Tamil language in human form. Never one to utter an English word, she used to turn into Mother Theresa whenever she taught the non-detailed section on the Saint of Calcutta. She became the character and was so involved in teaching that she seldom noticed some noise in class. On her class being disturbed once in a while due to our pranks, one could see the Goddess of Fury in her. Even then, not an English word to be uttered. Such a dedication has also not been seen so far.

Mr.K.Venkatesan ( Echo ) : ( Class VIII )

A very versatile and respected person known for his erudition. Handled the Social Sciences for us. He was forced to do that because the Principal had chosen to close down Economics from the curriculum. He handled many a question ranging from the mundane to the esoteric from an inquisitive as well as troublesome class with such ease that we used to be dazed at the brilliance exhibited. While explaining about extremism ( it used to be the sikh extremists then fighting for Khalistan when they had not evolved into terrorists ), the ease with which he elaborated on the Irish Republican Army to the likes of Fidel Castro and the Tamil fighters and drawing parallels as well as distinctions among these groups – the depth of knowledge has inspired me to dwell deep into these issues. Hats off to Echo Sir for the path he has shown that even today serves as a beacon light.

There are a whole lot of other teachers like Mr.Ramachandran ( Rambo ) who simply exuded sincerity in his words and deeds, the Sanskrit teacher Mr.Pattabhiraman who personified simplicity and adherence to tradition, Mrs.Jailani who made the Class X Social Sciences interesting and open to debates, Mrs. Kanchana who was a very decent teacher who was never harsh and a whole list of other luminaries that have inspired and awakened the spirit of inquiry even in the adverse conditions that they were forced to teach and tried to make learning as enjoyable for us as was humanly possible for them to do.

To all the Sir(s) and Madam(s), a very humble and respectful Pranaam. There is nothing I can do more than saluting your sacrifice ( under the then very tyrannical conditions ) and your selfless dedication to your profession, teaching.

And to those teachers who have since passed away ( Mrs.Booma, Mr.Aranganathan, Pulavar Natarajan and Mrs.Muthulakshmi Raman), a very respectful homage.

Dear Teachers, you do not know what you have done to me as a person. Only I know what I used to be and what I am now and it is because of you that I am what I am.

Thank You

A proud Jawahar Product.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in English Posts, Writers

 
 
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