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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Friday, July 12, 2019

TIME'S RUTHLESS SICKLE...



ABC Wednesday's 25th round is special and offers a new challenge for our creative juices to flow ragingly!

 A
AGING UNLAYERED!!!
  A is for Aging



Time’s ruthless sickle is unsparing.
 
Its onslaught never misses its mark.

Slowly ambushes man's dynamism,


And grins at his feeble labors.


Its roguish persona is a sly robber,

Of the vitality of the sinews.

Disables their power of renewal,

And dries up the linkages of the limbs.



It mocks man’s morbidity,

Being immune to age’s frailties.

Carries on aiming its callous arrows,

At man’s vulnerabilities.



How funny to say, age is only a number!

Why fool with rosy euphemisms.

Do they disarm the attack of disintegration?

Can they stop the furrows of time’s plough?



Can any potion bring back the swagger in the gait?

Or carefree run on the stairs of life;

Or falsify verities of fears, insecurities, and dwindling life force;

Or prevent dipping assurances and lurking letdowns.


Time wields its power in equal measure,

Over mighty kings, rulers or humankind.

All surrender to its karmic symbolism,

‘It is our destiny’ they echo.

………………………..


An epilogue for the aging:

Be engaged, be good and be wise!
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An old post shared again as it corresponds somewhat to my state of mind these days!



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Friday, July 5, 2019

ZITS: ADOLESCENTS NIGHTMARE!






Zits cartoon strip. Courtesy Internet.

Z for Zits

I happen to read the comic strip ’Zits’ in a Newspaper our son subscribed for when I’s visiting the US many years back. I enjoyed the well-timed humor of the main character Jeremy Duncan. I didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘Zits’ at that time and looked it up in the dictionary. It surprised me to know that it meant pimples, which most adolescents experience in their teens.

However, I failed to notice any correlation between the word 'Zits' and the theme of the strip. There was seemingly no character having zits on his/her face. After that though, I forgot all about it as no publication known to me carried the specific comic strip in India.
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Since I’s to write something on the prompt word ‘Z’, I suddenly remembered the comic strip named ‘Zits’ as a possible starting point. The significance of the title ‘Zits’ occurred to me there and then like an act of serendipity.

For most of the adolescents, teen years constitute a phase of confusion turmoil and tribulations of mental and physical nature. One of the miserable circumstances of the phase is the appearance of unexplained zits on their young healthy faces. The untold misery this condition causes in young minds can be described as depression, isolation and being extremely conscious.

Similarly, the hero of ‘Zits’ Jeremy Duncan a tall somewhat clumsy but intelligent 16-year high school sophomore who aspired to become a rock musician faced extreme harassments and miseries in his growing up years. Hence the title 'Zits' of this comic strip seems to be symbolic, subtle and  imaginative one.

So much for the comic strip!

I recall somewhat vividly the horrifying scenario when I’s in my late teens and enjoying summer vacations. I started noticing the slow arrival of small eruptions on my face. Within a few days, the whole face was dotted and looked ugly. I felt devastated. I remained closeted in my room for days. I covered the offending things with Band-Aids. The mirror became the most hateful object. Fortunately, for me, the pimples cleared away soon enough. The vacation period was a Godsend.

I think only a few teens escape this disfiguring episode in the most impressionable period in their lives. Both my kids had more than their fair share of this scourge too.

I do not care what the dermatologists say about the causes of this upsetting condition (hormonal changes, clogging of pores, etc.) generally; blemishes fade away on their own or with some acne medication in due course of time.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SET YOUR OWN YARDSTICKS.




"Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent effort."  John Ruskin




We’re on this planet on a short journey. Therefore, we’ve to make the most of what we have. Possibilities for personal development are endless if we are aware of who we are. Being conscious is vital to evolve and to cross the limits of mundane routine life. Furthermore, we should be careful about expending our energies on superficialities, which might consume all our energies leaving no time to involve in life to the fullest.

It is not easy to overcome chronic doubts, hurts, hatreds and perceived inadequacies. For this to happen we have to set our own standards and constantly try to transcend them for the better. We’ve to bid adieu to the egocentric cliché –‘I’m like this’, as an excuse for not coming up to expectations. This is a restrictive statement. Life progresses in expansion, being able to respond to the infinity of experiences. A conscious life is always evolving. A static life is like stagnant water, which gives stench after some time. A vibrant pulsating existence means observing life anew every day.

Setting your yardsticks also means not to lose sight of the core values- the voice of conscience in the course of facing life’s challenges.  This voice has to be ever ready to notice and embrace the joyful and the elevating.

In this context, traveling is like a handy learning app. It is a prolific book on understanding the diversity of humanity. It makes you humble and receptive.

The ideals on which we decide to live life by, stand for engaging in a battle with ourselves on a daily basis. It keeps us on our toes. Yet it is worth having.


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Friday, June 21, 2019

THE LETTER 'X' IS A PHENOMENON.



X is not simply another letter!



Though X is the 24th letter of the English alphabet and the least used yet it is formidable in its persona. It is powerful, it is mysterious, and it is iconic and somewhat vain. Its symbolism has multiple profound references in history.

Here is a short sampling of X in some of its numerous avatars:

X growls its way in words with dominance. It makes its presence felt come what may.

X words enjoy the literary onomatopoetic effect. EXaggerated (hyperbolic) and eXcruciating are good examples of words where the jarring sound nearly hints at the meaning. Phonetically these demand tough articulation in tune with their semantics.

You can’t ignore the word ‘eXtraordinay’ for example. It is special, awesome much more than the ordinary.

Some X words possess slightly negative connotations. ‘Extreme’, ‘Excess’-something not desirable,  ‘Xenophobia’-fear of foreigners- something frowned upon. In clothing, line XL- extra-large and XS extra small signify the choice of the few.

X’s presence in some words invariably characterizes them with elements of mischief, intrigue, chauvinism or an authority or novelty e.g. Axe, tax, sex, maximum, Xerox, axis, nexus, Xanax (name of medicine).

Then there are original expressions having alluring properties, which make you sit up and think. You are enticed to explore their origins, meanings, and contexts. A few of them are:

Xmas- Its spiritual association with Christianity. X is an abbreviation of Christ, which has been accepted for centuries.

X rated- drawn towards sex or pornography.

Generation X- those born between 1969-1979 in America.

Malcolm X – a Muslim revolutionary.

X rays – A diagnostic tool.

X sports- short for extreme sports with the risky and daredevil component.

Swastika X or cross- signifies evil, used by Hitler in Nazi Germany.

X files- documents containing mysterious and secret information about state matters.

X a sign of multiplication in Mathematics and in Algebra signifying a variable.

X stands for the Roman numeral 10.

X has many more diverse, historical and exciting associations waiting to be explored.
 ...

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Friday, June 14, 2019

ONLY THE WEARER KNOWS WHERE THE SHOE PINCHES.


 

"It is the one who lives in the house who knows where the roof leaks."
African Proverb
                                                                                                               
Courtesy Google

W for wearer


Of course, who else does?

'ONLY THE WEARER KNOWS WHERE THE SHOE PINCHES' is an old saying that is the distillation of ancient wisdom. Its implications are relatable to the whole humankind and always teach us a lesson or two as social beings.

Our life is an amalgamation of binary oppositions. In fact, this dual nature of life imparts meaning to it. Otherwise, our life would not have been worth living. If there is, happiness there is suffering too. Most of the time nature maintains equilibrium between these two states. However, sometimes it is not so.

We can fairly make a guess about the episodes of joy in other people‘s lives. They are similar for everyone though the scale may be different. However, can we make the right guess about the miseries and agonized events in other people’s lives? No. Such incidents are painfully deep and personal. It is impossible to decipher the lurking doubts and embedded traumas, which others pass through.

There is a need to sensitize ourselves when we approach such individuals for sharing their grief. Mere preaching and thoughtless comments sans figuring out the extent of pain and suffering instead of soothing taut nerves will rather prick more. What is needed is your solid backing and reassurance in measured words.

The pain of desertion, divorce, recurring disputes in family matters, chronic disease, and death of a loved one, loss in business, filial ingratitude and scores of other tragic moments are too deep for words. One who experiences these suffers the scars inside; others can only offer lip service.

Since It is hard to interpret others’ sufferings one should be extra conscious not to hurt their sensibilities by casual remarks.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

VERBOSITY IRRITATES.



“Some people talk too much without saying a lot.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana



V for verbosity:



Dictionary says verbosity is the use of unnecessary words in conversation, speech, debates, etc. Another word ‘tautology’ is a literary device with the same meaning. Verbosity is also called clutter, which in any form is hardly appreciated.

On a lighter note, I can say verbosity is an art that specializes in confounding what really matters. Interestingly some individuals are adept at taking recourse to superficial long-winded interventions to scuttle the real issues being discussed and confuse the listeners.

Luckily the discerning listeners gauge just at the beginning the frivolousness of the arguments and refuse to suffer the blah blah. They lock up their cognition and go to sleep with open eyes signifying a subtle way of showing their disapproval of mere rhetoric. Who likes the ones who exhibit their grandiloquence in everyday situations?

In a small group sometimes, a particular person compulsively indulges in a type of wordy monologue to the discomfiture of all. He goes on babbling in so many words the same thing. He loves his own voice so much that nobody else gets a chance to participate in the discussion. Others try to ignore in the first instance. However, if the speaker doesn’t take a hint, they start looking at their watches, fiddle with their smartphones, or simply yawn. Even then, the garrulous fails to end his dull ramblings.

I think each one of us sometimes or the other by mistake or willingly must have watched political debates on TV channels. Such channels are a little too many in my country. Dear hubby calls them ‘unwholesome nonvegetarian stuff.’ Spokespersons of various political parties throw verbal venom at each other so much so that the viewer senses unhealthy vibes polluting the atmosphere around. In fact, their verbiage makes hardly any sense as it diverges from the specified topic and takes recourse to disgusting wordplay to score points.

For me, such shows are a BIG NO.

In fictional writings, some novelists give so much space to descriptive passages that the reader who is always curious to know ‘what happened next’ often skips those lengthy pages. The repetitive style truly bores.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet one of the characters Polonius remarks,

“Brevity is the soul of wit,
And tedious the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief…..” endorses the logic of preferring conciseness to pompous style.

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