Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Compassion means to me #1000speak

Firstly, I want to thank all the good folks like Roshni Aamom @ 1000 Voices for compassion  for their excellent initiative and for allowing me to give my two cents.

Compassion to me means different things, but primarily as author Karen Joy Fowler puts it, in the word human being, it's the 'being' which is more important 'human.'

Simple, isn't it.

The most and best part of a human being is being human. It is letting the other person be themselves, irrespective of their gender, colour, religion, nationality, physical limits, age limits. Just accepting them for both - by being something they have no control over(like race, sexual orientation etc) and being something that they can control (like religion, etc). Understanding and making peace with the fact that they made those choices even though we wouldn't make the same ones.

We all want to think of ourselves as good people. That's what gets us disconnected when it comes to compassion. We fail to disassociate ourselves from the compassion that everyone around us deserve. Empathy is missing. We do not always put ourselves in their shoes, when asked to help, we just do what comes easily to us - sympathizing or demonizing. First step to get rid of this is becoming acutely aware of our thoughts and impressions towards others. Once we can control the thought process, we can see how illogical we are and maybe work on that. We may not readily fall in love with them, but maybe be a bit more understanding of his/her situation.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 - the year that was!

I very well remember the way this year started. On such a good note. Dancing with the people I like, swapping stories you'd normally don't, getting pampered in a good way, and finally going to office brightly. Then, I went on a trek to one of the most fascinating places, excelled at rappelling, roamed around an entire day with torn pants, got natural fish pedicure, slept under the stars having one of the goofiest conversations about stars, chances, galaxies and Finacle. I got a tearful farewell from Hyderabad while I moved to Pune (temporarily). Pune was an eye-opener to me in many ways, I learnt a lot of things, saw a lot of beautiful places, met a lot of wonderful people, even had a family trip.

My life suddenly had so many changes, it was so overwhelming that sometimes I would just cry. Most times, I would put on a bravado, keep calm and carry on like I always did get bad ratings, I always fail the people I love, most importantly, people who I thought were friends, always turn around and become complete strangers. But, in that calm I understood what has been happening, all memories sort of fell in place and suddenly made sense. I saw people for what they really are, so clearly that I almost believed I could become a psychoanalyst! Really...testing was never my true calling!

I always wondered why all my single friends are perenially pining for a bf/love/spouse whatever. Now I know. Because once I became single, that's exactly what I started doing - trying to find love. Maybe it's the loneliness. Maybe it's the innate need to find someone that you can call your other self. But more realistically, it's basically just because you've been stuck up with someone for so long, you don't know a world outside of it.

But I decided I won't do something I found basically-pathetic*, only a while ago. I will embrace my new found freedom of being single and revel in it. I will not cool my heels waiting for Prince Charming, I'll wear my fucking high-heels and be a Queen. I will not seek love. Let love find me. Until it does, I will cherish the person that I am and enjoy the life and people around to me.  I will not pine for it, no. Not even while watching movies and reading books. Or listening to songs. They say being in love destroys songs, movies, places, sounds, smells in the most beautiful way. For those bittersweet moments, I thank myself for growing a heart cold enough to bear anything. I am already running towards Masters in the art of disassociation. I am getting so good at it, that very soon the Ministry of Fascinating Singles is going to ask me to come give Ted lectures. I might take them up on it. This gospel definitely needs a wider audience ;-)

This year, I also had a fab birthday, had a great Christmas and I'll probably have a wonderful time on New Year's eve too. If this year taught me anything, it is focus. Focus on the now, focus on the important, focus on the good. I'm 28, and I still have a lot of time to have crushes that might crash and burn or rise and shine, I still have a lot of things to learn to climb up the career ladder, I still have a lot of things and people to be thankful for, I still have a lot of places to see, I still have lot of things to write. I'm single and I feel wonderful!

To a better year and happier times, cheers! :)

* no offense to any fabulous single, I just failed to see why we run behind love, blame it on my ignorance. We are basically loners looking to socialize, I guess!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog to feed a child

According to International standards of poverty line, an income of  less than $1.25 per head per family, is supposed to be below poverty, as Wiki quotes. Not unsurprisingly, 32.7% of Indian population is below poverty line. This is only the people who are on the census, we should also remember the people who don't account into the census for whatever reasons. 32.7 % percentage of people not making enough to make ends meet, is really a sad, gut-wrenching thing to think of. This makes me guilty of eating stomach-full everyday, when millions are going hungry. The little help that I do, does reach some kids, but it is still a daunting prospect to think of starkly different living conditions we are in. We should not accept that this is how the world is and become apathetic, we should try and see if we can tweak that world a little bit.

Sure we are paying taxes and it's the government's job to help, as some argue, but sometimes we should float ourselves above our myopic views and look at the big picture and how we, as blessed people who can even buy snacks at our whim, can help fund people who are struggling for one square meal a day. Instead of giving money at temples and churches, we can direct those funds to these needy people and see the smile on their faces do the paisawasool. Because God knows how to take of himself, you don't need to dress Him/Her in silks and gold. But if you want to involve Him, organize a fund-raiser at your church with your fellow worshipers and give the proceedings to needy people. Or help fund those free meals schemes in your temple.

Think about this, the circles we move in, the new moms and parents alike, are talking about their pediatricians, toddlers and kids and nutrition. Children depend on their families for everything from basic needs of food, shelter to things like education. When a family doesn't make enough to provide for food, the other factors are a distant dream, and eventually the would-have-been doctors and could-have-been-engineers, who don't have regular meals at an early age don't develop the motor skills to make them think better, behave better. They can't attend school, and are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and become hazardous to societies in general. 

Next time, you see a ragpicker on road, buy them a sandwich or an icecream, whichever puts a smile on their face. Recognize the warmth it fills, the next time they recognize you. There are very few wonderful feelings in this world, which can beat that.

This is in association with BlogAdda who brought out this wonderful initiative of Bloggers Social Responsibility and are showcasing AkshayaPatra, an NGO. With this #BlogToFeedAChild post, BlogAdda will sponsor one year of free meals to a child through Akshaya Patra 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

God is a gamer - review

As is my custom, I won't give away the plot of the book. 

The book revolves around a gaming company that is struggling to find its bearings, several high-profile murders and of course tenacious bankers, whose presence is felt throughout the book.

I have to confess first, that I have never been a fan of Ravi's writing. Nevertheless, Bitcoins concept seemed like it would have gob-smacking premise of leading me into an unknown territory, making me feel a little knowledgeable, throw in some Gaming and murky politics, it becomes a racy book, but the feeling you crave from such high-profile political whodunits that have all the political and business bigwigs involved or killed?

Not quite there.

As you travel between Mumbai, Washington, Goa and Brazil, and try to catch up on the proceedings, the characters are but fleeting presences in the whole scheme of the book. They are here now, gone again. You don't really get the depth of characters, because it doesn't exist. Ravi knows how to plot a story in a Thou-shall-not-be-bored way, but the characters are utterly forgettable and you don't empathize with the good guys or the bad guys. Everyone can go to hell, for all you care. There's just too many of them, their personal motives, inner struggles aren't clear but just the sheer volume of it all is very over-whelming. 

There're some characters' deaths which will not factor into the plot in any way, except to make it well, a murder mystery. They could well have been alive and kicking, and the book would still remain a murder mystery. But, the author wanted so many twists in the tale that they ended up dead. To top it all off there’s absolutely no humour. None. And there was so much scope for it, with all the stuff that happens

And the conversations...they seem so contrived, so forced, with absolutely zero power, emotional or otherwise. FBI agents sound like clowns, and do such seemingly juvenile things, you feel bad for the space they get. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I watched too much of Criminal Minds and Homeland to actually absorb myself into any of what's happening in this book.

The only redeeming quality of the book is its fast pace. You know who the killers are, and who the victims will be. Nothing is super intriguing, but the tale is gripping enough to make you turn pages. The plot is quite racy and leaves you a tad bit confused to see it from afar, with all the characters doing what they are doing.

One good thing is you can finish this in one day flat, or two days if you discount the regular working hours - and none of the lines stay long after reading.

It's a one-time read if you are one of those financial-afficianados and a Ravi Subramanian fan.

My rating is 2.5

This review is a part of Blog Adda's book review program. Thanks a ton Blogadda for giving me this opportunity. I liked the personal touch of an author-signed copy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear Someone I don’t talk to as much as I'd like to

I am participating in the 30 Days Letter Challenge where you write one letter each day. The 21st in the list is a letter to ‘Someone you wish you could meet'

Dear Mahe,

There are many friends in my life, but I don't feel close to many as much as I do to you. We connect on an entirely different tangent altogether and I'm so lucky to have you for that. Who else can I talk to about all the guilty-pleasure reads, that I dare not confide to anyone. Sure we have long bouts of no-talking. But when I rear my head from the hibernation, it's like I never left. I love it how we can pick up where we left off, even if the leaving part happened months ago. I miss being understood so well, down to the bits and pieces of me. I miss the warmth and joy I feel at our every small reunion. The terrific sense of heightened freedom I experience when we do all the random stuff we do when we meet. Rifle-shooting, literary festivals, midnight movies, late night walks, never-ending talks, sharing clothes.

I miss you more than ever, now that I don't have the assurance of being able to visit you whenever I can.

Wish we could talk more often.

Much love,