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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

REFLECTIONS ON A HOT SUMMER'S DAY

My best friend in the park
Facing the searing heat of May with no respite predicted in the days to come is not an enviable position.  We keep looking up hungrily for the elusive sign of some cottony clouds but not lucky as yet. It is the prerogative only of north  India to be in the vise like grip of the scorching malady.

The golden sunlight which we prize in the winters is scalding the earth and its entire species. Hot winds are debilitating the mind as well as the body. The bright dazzling light pierces the eyes and burns the skin. You smell heat, feel heat and see heat in the milieu around.The drooping withered vegetation recounts a sad tale.
Thank God there are no power cuts so far, though the tacit warning is lurking in everybody’s mind that as soon as the farmers start paddy plantation, extra power would be diverted for tubewell operations resulting in scheduled power cuts. Better not to think of it till it actually happens. Like it is said, cross the bridge when you’ve to. At the moment it feels like tearing one’s sweaty clothes when the stickiness of the perspiration pricks you. The thoughtful ones wear threadbare and worn out dresses(at home of course) kept especially for this weather. The whirling fans circulate the same hot air. If there is some respite it is the air conditioner’s cool air. The power charges are skyrocketing in Punjab and while you enjoy the cool comfort, you guiltily think of the inflated bills in the coming months.

In spite of the oppressive heat, we successfully manage year after year to withstand summer onslaught with cool fruity drinks like that of watermelon, juicy musk melons, variety of shakes, nimbu pani and delicious sherbets to refresh and restore the depleted energy.

Strange enough even this hullabaloo about the soaring mercury doesn’t dampen the human spirit. We are spiritually programmed to stay upbeat. Human courage is endowed with ‘never say die’ attitude. It is uniquely adjustable. It can stand the intense heat of the plains and sandy deserts. It can endure the most difficult terrains. It can survive the coldest climes. It overcomes the devastating tsunamis. It sails in the vast seas to explore and discover the newest lands. It has set foot on the moon and is planning to send humans onto the Mars. Already the adventurous and the bold have booked their seats in the first flight to the Mars. Human spirit is unbeatable specially in its capacity to bounce back. Its resilience amazes.

In spite of the sizzling summer life moves on. There is no stopping the vibrant flow of life. People may whine and complain but carry on nevertheless. My dear friend the cuckoo keeps on regaling the initiated with its sonorous notes. The impish squirrel capers around me during my early morning walk. Its exuberance is infectious. Sweet little thing tries to humor me. We’ve a bond beyond words. So many other birds carry on conversations amongst themselves while hopping around. This is the beauty of life .
Just see, we’re already taking comfort in the anticipated showers of monsoon. And while braving the stifling humidity of August and September will start waiting for the invigorating mild warmth of November and so on and so forth. God is great and so kind to gift us such magnificent cyclic clock of nature.
“Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another”. - Juvenal

Image courtesy: The internet
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

YOUTH POWER GOING WASTE!


Scenario around the country is alarming indeed. Everyday there are news of protests, demonstrations, agitations, sit in strikes on rail tracks and many more on one issue or the other. Surely the reason real or perceived is some sort of injustice meted out to the public by the law makers or institutions which are supposed to work for public good  but which have abdicated their duties and adopted a blinkered approach. Public anger mounts up, simmers and bursts out like a volcano if gagged without any outlet. So far okay. The method of peaceful protest is the legitimate right of the aggrieved.

It has been observed that most of such protests have been spearheaded by the youth of the country. Our young generation is aware and intelligent enough to understand the mess around them. They are a dissatisfied lot and expect the authorities to redress their grievances. They desperately hunt for jobs and want innovation and improvements in our age old system of education, demanding more emphasis on vocational training for preparing them to take up jobs or be entrepreneurs in their own right. Unfortunately this has not happened. They have waited long enough and want change to happen quickly. However, the pace of reforms in our country has been tardy because of inefficiency, lack of will, rampant corruption and zero accountability at all levels. Apart from this, political compulsions throw the priorities haywire.

Ironically our young friends overdo and upset the wave of support which they’ve garnered. They turn violent too easily. A couple of months back in Chandigarh, a few students living in a rented accommodation killed a resident when he objected to their parking the car in front of his gate. Road rage has claimed many lives. What has gone wrong with the younger lot? They are turning into brats, showing utter disrespect even to the elderly.

In their enthusiasm, they overreact by adopting a violent approach to attract the attention of the authorities. They resort to arson and destruction of public and private property. If we put our country first in our endeavors then this type of behavior is utterly misplaced because the frenzied burning of buses and breaking barricades harm their own interests. Taking the law in their hands is no sagacity. The authorities’ lose no time in branding such protests as illegal. The funds allocated to repair such damages are scooped out of taxpayers’ remittances. It is public money which is spent. It results in more taxes. Govt. revenue comes from our pockets and we end up becoming our own enemies. Repairing the willful damages is unproductive expenditure and overall economy suffers. It certainly is not acceptable.

Recently in Punjab, one of the educational institutes of repute was in the news for wrong reasons. The students there went berserk and vandalized the property of their own institution. Whatever the provocation, how on earth could they even imagine destroying their own college? Not an iota of loyalty for the seat of learning which was training them! What did they achieve?

Something which has a fuelling effect in such situations is the interference by vested interests. Tragic death of a student in Kolkata during a protest is a grim reminder of dangerous portents. I strongly feel that students have no business to be associated actively with politics. How come they allow themselves to become pawns in the hands of self serving political forces? Why on earth the do they let their discerning power to get derailed. What about their goals? The precious time and energies should be expended in achieving excellence in their chosen field of study and for equipping themselves for future challenges. Universities are temples of learning and research. Those who indulge in destroying the sacredness of academia deserve no sympathy. Have they forgotten their duties to themselves, their families, community and their nation? Undoubtedly lackadaisical bureaucracy and hopeless political canvas are like unredeemable festering wounds. But what about our pride in our vatan? It is there for all of us.
Parents have a great role to play in nurturing right values and should keep a vigilant eye in the growing up years of their progeny. The youth need to be guided diligently since they are susceptible and fall easy prey to wrong influences. Parents can’t absolve themselves of the blame when the children go astray.
The latest example of two misguided barbaric monsters dismembering an innocent off duty soldier in Woolwich (UK) has sent shock waves through out the world. There are no words to describe the extent of the insanity of the cold blooded murderers. What were their mothers doing all these years when their sons' minds were being poisoned by religious fanatics? To see one of the brutes with bloodied hands and carrying a meat cleaver chanting something fiendishly was too gruesome a scene ever to be forgotten.
TV news channels showing the footage of this gory incident repeatedly were doing a great disservice by giving undue recognition to the organizations hell bent on destroying the civilized world community. Moreover watching such sights regularly, rob the young and impressionable of the sensitivity and sense of outrageousness which such situations should evoke. The electronic media is a double edged sword needing permanent tightrope walk training. Its influence is far reaching and its self regulatory mechanism should always be sifting the content.
It is one thing to be trendy and another to splurge on maintaining a lavish lifestyle to show off and impress the girls. It is very much to be seen in metros and big cities and small town youth try to copy the fashion which is out of their reach and resort to robberies, abduction for ransom and burglaries to meet their inflated cravings. Ultimately are caught and ruin their lives.

Alcoholism and drug use is rampant among the youth. In fact it is becoming fashionable to conform to a fake bonhomie.

The evil trends are  the warning signs of the erosion of ethics and morality from our midst. Albert Camus says that our every act should be weighed in relation to its larger impact on society.

The seriousness of the situation calls for an avant-garde approach from the likes of intellectuals and administrators from the corridors of power. Nothing short of it'll work!

Your comments are awaited.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

THE EVERYDAYNESS OF LIFE


 (A few thoughts to rattle the brain)

We slog about matters which are peripheral to the immediacy of our everydayness, while remaining indifferent to the aspects of existence which are closest to us. Unfortunately the never ending race of life, clouds our priorities and shackles us to the mundane of average everydayness.

German philosopher Martin Heidegger opines that off and on the realization of boredom and anxiety of our regimented life, challenges our attitudes of insularity and alienation and directs us back to the reality of being-with-others as authentic beings. This is how we wake up to life and recognize the significance of our praxis in the context of larger interests of society.

To be really alive means to pause and listen to the call of conscience. Besides knowledge and understanding of the small world of our affinities, we require wisdom to plan and act collectively for its good. It does not imply mindless conformity but astute march towards the birth of new ideas and their execution. However we’ve to be wary as our preference or inclinations in the micro world will converge with the macro world at some point.

With this premise, it’s not gainsaying to assert that the criminality sprouting in our midst has its seeds in the callousness and gross irresponsibility proliferating at the micro world of the family. In the everydayness of life what type of nurturing created these inhuman monsters?

In the small community where I reside, a gentleman was robbed of his valuables, a woman’s chain snatched and houses burgled and no headway in the investigations. Unpunished, the antisocial elements get emboldened and graduate to heinous crimes over a period of time. The inept and corrupt policing with little sense of duty and members of civil society snoozing in their comfort zones, disinclined to do their bit to help the police( for whatever reason) is the abject reality of our daily existence. The plight of the law abiding citizens can well be imagined? This is the scene which stares us in the face everyday.
Another menace which affects every one of us is the unchecked population of stray dogs. They move about defiantly in groups scaring the passersby. Killing and mauling of children is a grim reminder of the gravity of the situation. The problem has been highlighted in every possible way but the authorities have readymade answers to pass the buck. If a citizen out of desperation tries to adopt a practical method, I’m sure he’d be behind bars in no time. Such are our laws!

Waiting for the dawn when our administrative machinery overcomes the decision/action paralysis and comes out with concrete proposals to end the absymal malaise.

Most of us take refuge in the narrow confines of our backyards, forgetting our professional as well as social duties. Like frogs in the well. Our deadpan graceless living is comparable to that of a stone which can neither think nor act on its own.

These are the questions worth mulling over, though never taken up seriously.

According to great thinkers, to rise above the average -ness of our lives entail circumspection and reflection. There has to be spells of stimulus and creativity to balance the drudgery of the temporality of our being. Hence the quest for finding some meaning must go on for the sake of our sanity. Though, the struggle is individual specific but essential to keep our spirits braced and brain healthily stressed.

For French writer Albert Camus, ‘It’s life that matters, the pure ability to be part of the universe.’ His philosophical creation “The Myth of Sisyphus” brings out the dichotomy between the absurdity of our lives and the tragic reality of our helplessness to do anything about it. In fact every thinking being has to wage an inner battle constantly to transcend the irrationality of our existence to carry on the given journey which per se is as good as a farce.

Philosophers maintain that the certainty of death is a great awakening for the observant, steering him towards generous and genuine living. Though nobody desires to die yet the consciousness of the inevitability of death liberates us from the bondage to the material part of life. It alerts us about the value of the short time at our disposal and goads us to pursue good ‘Karma.’

Religious practices are the most potent stress busters which man has invented for his mental and physical wellness. Everywhere in the world people seek peace of mind and solace in the protective folds of their faith. The feeling that there is some universal power looking after us empowers us to face the frustrations, disappointments and miseries of our day to day life boldly. Religion no doubt is a great force, an equalizer and a stabilizing factor for the overworked nerves.
Above all, to make the odyssey of life palatable, the importance of good health can’t be over emphasized. For this a regular exercise regimen must be incorporated in our daily schedule. For, exercise is a great medicine!

Images: courtesy Internet   Pl. leave a comment.