Thursday, August 29, 2019

LEARNING HISTORY IS RELEVANT!






"Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it." Edmund Burke

H is for History.

Some believe learning history in the fast-changing modern world is irrelevant. They opine that knowing the present itself is a challenge. It is fruitless to go back to the past. No, it is not so. In fact, past, present, and future are interlinked. There is no vacuum in the epochs of humanity’s progress and evolution. It is essential to be aware of history to understand the present.


The archives of world history enfold numerous eras representing their own specific cultures, beliefs, worldviews, and events. We find them chronicled in history books. In short, history is a saga of all that happened in the past. How families, communities, societies, and nations were formed. How people lived and carried on their daily activities. The knowledge of history is the foundation for further development of the human race.

History has recorded the holocausts, world wars and several harrowing tragedies, which added to the human misery to no end. How Hitler’s megalomania caused two World Wars and heaped untold sufferings on millions of people. These are painful blots on the face of humanity. They do make us pause and ponder.

However, for totalitarian political regimes, history is bunk, therefore it is distorted continuously. The word ‘history’ finds no mention in the public domain. The ruling oligarchy keeps an iron-like grip on people’s memories. By creating a chocking system, it keeps the citizenry on their tenterhooks 24x7. Hit by privations and state-organized hardships people have no time to go deep into finer aspects of human existence. The possibility of citizens creating turbulence in the seemingly stable functioning of the system is almost remote. There is ‘Thought Police’ to crush fatally any deviance. Here I feel like sharing a thought-provoking example.

‘NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR’(1984)  a novel by British author George Orwell published in 1949 warns against the insidious possibility of a world where history would be distorted to fit the controlling needs of the despotic system.


Courtesy Google.



Here I narrate an anecdote from the novel to make my point: News splashes on the TV screen. Weekly chocolate ration has been cut to half. By the evening, the news item not only disappears but also is washed clean. There is no proof that there was such an announcement because it is erased from all records. The people battered by shortages and rations hardly had the pluck to reason out such machinations. The move is meticulously planned and subtle.

Interestingly, after a few days, there is breaking news on state TV channels. The weekly chocolate ration has been increased followed by the canned enthusiastic uproar.  In reality, the increase is a pittance as compared to the original quantity. History is wiped out every day leaving the masses without any measure of comparison.


But history can be blatantly misused also. In modern times there is another danger looming large. Our likes, dislikes and other data are being codified to commodify   our very existence. Our online browsing history is tracked to influence our future decisions. The thinking process gets stunted. The originality of thought and choice loses its importance.

We should remember that history is a great teacher. By recounting our pitfalls and strengths over the ages, it warns us against the mistakes and blunders of the past. The knowledge should sensitize us against the devastating consequences of selfish and egotistic actions. Otherwise, our indifference to the significance of the past will give credence to the saying that, ‘history repeats itself.’ 


Leaders, administrators, politicians, and citizens: Be wise and be warned because we write our history every day!

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

‘GOOGLE’ THE MODERN DAY TECH GENIE!



Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
“Today I Googled God. How happy He must be that I am searching for Him.”
Kate McGahan



G is for Google.

Today ‘GOOGLE’ has invaded our mental space in ways hitherto unimaginable! Google has brought into the focus of each one of us the magnitude of the cosmos and its operations. It has empowered us in all possible ways. It has sharpened our intelligence, cognitive abilities and raised our capabilities manifold. Can't we say it is no less than a miracle? It has assumed the powers of the proverbial genie of ‘Aladdin’s Wonder Lamp’.

 From times unknown, humankind has reveled in listening to stories steeped in fantasy, adventure, fairy tales, miracles and all kinds of supernatural stuff. Gaping members of the audience with imagination soaring high on wings of wonder lapped it all. Now Google is the new teller of tales regarding all aspects of the universe in which we live.

The stories and fables told in hugely popular ‘Arabian Nights’ have remained all-time favorites in every generation. Astonishingly Google has become the repository of all this and much more. Google is ‘Alibaba’s Secret Cave’ and a modest click is the magical code ‘Open Sesame’. Yes, a simple click dazzles us with its colossus of knowledge and information with mind-blowing and mind-boggling rapidity. We’ve become so used to its wizardry that no more jaw drops happen. 

The information deluge, which Google’s search engines reveal can well be compared to an ocean whose belly, is suffused with infinite treasures and unthinkable entities beyond enumeration.

The sheer reach of Google’s search engines on the World Wide Web is beyond comprehension. Google is our authentic friend and care not for being humored!

Yet the company’s modest mission only says,

“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

However, the million-dollar question is how do they organize? One can only make conjectures about the mammoth operational structure. I would remark in a lighter vein that Google people must have laid their hands on ‘Aladdin’s Wonder Lamp’ and the genie is perennially at their disposal.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to ‘Google’ for enabling us to share our creative journeys, via- Google Blogger, Google Photos and YouTube, not to mention the host of other services!

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Friday, August 16, 2019

FIERY AURA AROUND THE RISING SUN!







"There's  never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same." Carlos Santana


F is for Fiery!




A few days back dared to shoot the rising sun with photochromatic glasses! The result was this unusual capture taken from our balcony!

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Friday, August 9, 2019

BE AT EASE









E is for Ease.


The other day I watched a video of a question-answer session in the ashram of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev based in Tamil Nadu a southern State of India. Sadhguru is a mystic and a spiritual guru who discourses on all aspects of life and its wellbeing. He is regularly invited by Educational institutions and Corporate houses worldwide to answer questions about life issues. In the ashram in India, interested people are trained in Isha Kriya, which is one of the ways of meditation and attaining overall wellness.


“Isha Foundation is a non-profit, spiritual organization founded in 1992 by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. It is based at the Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore, India. The foundation offers yoga programs under the name of Isha Yoga.”
Method: Yoga programs, meditation, tree plant...
Location: India; Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Wikipedia

In the video, an attendee asked him about the causes of modern-day life being so stressful and jumpy. His simple answer was that people have forgotten how to be at ease. Most of us are an amalgamation of past memories, ideas, emotions, impressions, experiences and all sorts of prejudices. They are limiting the innate human desire of boundless expansion.  They keep us knotted and deplete our energies. We lose the ease of living.

‘We should stop fixing the world,’ he says. The limitless potential of each human being goes waste in managing inanities. He says that we should try to obliterate the boundaries of individuality and open up to life. The lesson, in a nutshell, is to free oneself from the shackles of the past. He calls it ‘living with the dead.’

In a way, according to him, the identification with the burdens of the body and mind is limiting the growth of enormous power of each life. One should be conscious of life, of each breath and countless possibilities will open up every moment. To be at ease requires erasing of self-created bounds by our physical and psychological structure. The secret of a meaningful existence is distancing ourselves from these two.

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

IT IS TIME TO DATE EVERYDAY PLEASURES.





D is for date,delight.

Friends it is the time of my life when I need to learn to date simple delights of everyday life. However, the monkey mind being a restless entity keeps provoking me to be up and doing. It cautions me against embracing the comfort zone come what may. It is aware of my inclinations, my spirit of inquiry and curiosity. It is slowly resigning to the limitations of aging though.

Since outings are a less preferred choice these days, I’m evolving into a person who enjoys life in the boundaries of home life. My balcony (I spend summers amidst hills) figuratively has turned into a window for interaction with the natural world. It allows me to converse with it whenever. My balcony overlooks the narrow valley surrounded by hills covered with groves of refreshed pines and lush greenery. Regular spells of monsoon showers have brightened the ambience. 




My morning starts-if it is not raining- with a leisurely walk in my balcony. While sipping my first cup of tea of the day I watch lanky pines in their crowning glory. Either they are very still or I see their boughs laden with fresh needles swinging happily in the cool moist air. The rain-washed bushes, shrubs and random vegetation release placid smug vibes. Well soaked and saturated they look cheerful and secure under the protective canopy of pines. The visual intoxication fills me with positivity and I look forward to the unfolding of the day. The glowing morning messages me to make the most of the day.

There are a few other harmless but joyful activities I indulge in. My newfound liking for crocheting keeps me satisfyingly busy when I’ve nothing else to do. You Tube 
videos have helped me in learning the basics of crocheting.

I love reading books. Hubby uploads books on my Kindle, which I select from Amazon.com’s Book section.

 I'm a creative person by nature. I keep visiting some sites suggested by Pinterest for DIY projects. I may not do them but then the marvelous ideas are sometimes overwhelming.

There is so much to learn and do but the hitch is if your physicality enables you to carry on the struggle, which new ventures entail.

I‘m reminded of John Milton’s dilemma, which he versifies in his epic poem ‘The Paradise Lost’.

Milton lost his eyesight early in life and was unable to write. However, the thought that God will question him about his wasting the gift of writing gnawed him constantly.  In his poem, ‘On His Blindness’ he poses this question to himself. Then deep down his mind conveys the answer as well. Here is the poem.

                            On His Blindness

(1655)



WHEN I consider how my light is spent
  Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
  And that one Talent which is death to hide
  Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
  My true account, lest He returning chide,
  “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
  I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
  Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
  Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
  And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
  They also serve who only stand and wait.”





Friends draw your own conclusions about the theme of the poem!



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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

CARING IS ENNOBLING





Take care of all your memories. for you cannot relive them.                                                                                                                                    Bob Dylan


C is for 'Caring'

Note: Pl. scroll down for sky watch shots.

For this post, I’ve taken up a C-word, which subsumes under its sweet canopy one of the priceless emotions. The word is ‘Caring’. It is a seminal concept, encompasses our cardinal emotions, which make us human. Our life would be barren if nature has not endowed us with feelings of love, compassion, kindness, and concern. Someone who cares is the lucky bearer of all these qualities.

Caring conjures up in the mind many sweet sensations.  Nothing is comparable to the nurturing care our parents bestow on us. If I relive my purest memory, it is that of our beloved parents who used to take care of all our needs when we’ ere growing up. I still remember how my mom would indulge me with tea/lemon water/ milk or whatever I wished for while I sat at my study table for long hours during exams. At times when I’s unwell how she used to hover around me to comfort me and to ensure that I felt better. In some situations, I would be selfish and demanding but my parents never took notice of that. They cared. They loved unconditionally.

Caring for others does wonders for their growth, confidence and personality development. It is like anchoring somebody to reach his potential.

Caring also means never hurting others. Before passing nasty comments, keep in mind that we've no right to rob others of their peace of mind.

Giving a helping hand in discharging household duties is also a form of caring.

Caring for others is ennobling and divine. It is a selfless regard. It blesses the one who receives care and for the one who gives.

Family life would be much more stable and devoid of conflicts if every spouse tries to understand and care for the other while facing life’s countless challenges.

Everybody knows caring and loving our pets is so rewarding. They are not only our faithful friends but great stress busters as well.

I think life would be much more joyful if we consciously do our bit for people around us.
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 Some sky shots taken during the week for Sky watch Friday



 It is rainy season here and clouds are supreme for the most part of the day.

 Shot was taken from a friend's balcony while on a  visit.

 Mist rising from the hilltops.



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Thursday, July 18, 2019

MONSOON SKYLINE BECKONS...







B is for Beckon:

At the moment rainy season is at its peak in India. Monsoon clouds captivate nature lovers as well as camera aficionados. They exhibit mercurial tendencies, especially in hills. Cloud families act like gypsies as their designer formations keep changing constantly.  Unlike us they come and go at their own will.

There is the down side too.

In some states of India however, continuous rains have caused floods and lakh of people are affected.  They have been shifted to safer places. The Government agencies are on their toes to provide all assistance to the people who are rendered homeless as their makeshift dwellings units could not stand the raging fury of the floodwaters.

Ironically, many parts of India are rain deficit. In some states crops are rain-fed because of lack of irrigation facilities. Sufficient monsoon showers are a much needed boon for farmers and everybody else to prevent the further depletion of groundwater. Water scarcity is looming large not only in India but in many parts of the world. Global cooperation is needed to rectify the situation. 
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 Some images of rain clouds from here and there!














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