Is charity akin to favour?

How often have I seen people talk passionately about the charitable acts they perform. They will mention how they helped malnutritioned children get two square meals a day, put clothes on their back ,and when they see them now their chests swell with pride. How well fed and happy they look! Really!
So do you! But nobody seems to notice. If children are sleeping hungry, its not their fault. If you have helped feed them, keep quiet about it. Your good deed is done. Don’t gloat about it. Let the children go about their lives with dignity. They are as human as your children.
If tomorrow your child brings home an injured puppy ,tends to it and feeds it and decides to adopt it, he or she will grow to love it as family, not as a trophy. Philantrophy and charity should be something you do because you are a human being with feelings, and you cannot bear to see anyone in pain. Not because you are a feudal lord disburing largesse. The way corportae houses go about branding charity; or the way celebrities will have stories planted about how they have arranged to take care of the education of the only son a secretary or relative of theirs who died in an accident, deprives the beneficiary of every shred of dignity.
Let no one be so full of themselves that they don’t realise that behind somebody’s better circumstances always lie many other people’s misfortune. I am not saying that nobody should get ahead in life, but one should keep things in perspective. Nothing is more precious than the right of every living being to be able to live without pain and fear, and humanity is nothing but an endeavour in letting something like that prevail. There is no such thing as charity.

How quickly we age!

It was just yesterday that I was immortal. My life lay ahead of me and that was a very long time indeed. Most people who were older than me would learn the meaning of life from me, who was at the cusp of life. The ones who were younger would of course look up to me.
Today at 44 I suddenly realise there is very little life head of me. People my age have had heart attacks. My head is a quarter full of white hair, prematurely, I agree but can I deny that I am on the way out, metaphorically speaking, when kids who were lisping the other day are strapping 6 footers with a world view of their own. I hardly matter to them. Why they regard me with the same genial indifference with which I would regard my somewaht older cousins.
Sure I could pass off as a young man, sometimes. Actors my age are lording it over both Hollywood and Bollywood playing strapping youngsters. But how long will they go on? How long will I go on? In another 6 years I will br 50. 50 can you imagine? I will be 50 someday. Man that is a death sentence! I used to be reading superman comics just the other day.

My son in 8 years old; will be 9 in another 18 days. He is my shoulder height already. In his face, (still a baby’s face), I can see the outline of the strapping man he will be what in another 8 years? I should tell him to hold on to evey moment of his youth.

What lies ahead in life? Quite frankly, I don’t feel much different from what I used to feel in my twenties apart from an obvious but seemingly minor depletion in physical stamina. But the lessons that experience teaches you make you compenaste for it in other ways. But I don’t feel any slowdown of my mental faculties. I don’t feel that ten years from now my son will inform me that I am not smart as he used to think that I was. Is that possible? Will I eventually become a senile duffer nodding my way to oblivion? Won’t I kick the bucket gracefully and full in control of my faculties some day?

Will science come to my rescue? I have heard in a decade or so longivity shall extend to 150 yeras of age. If I got such a fresh lease of life, would I be happy again? A little perhaps, but will it be like the first flush of life? I don’t think so. I really should prepare to eventually set like the evening sun and hope that while I shone others benefitted to some extent.

Do we get paid in proportion to the work we do?

We all crib about how little we make. How the next person, who does not put in a fraction of the effort that we put in makes much more than we do. Underservingly so, we feel, and we are probably right. But what we completely overlook is the fact that the people who work the hardest, labourers who work on farms, the construction workers who lay bricks with their own hands make a pittance. Why is that? Is it because physical labour does not require hard work? Of course it does! Is it because what they do is not critical. Baloney! We all know that it is what we depend on to be able to live our lives.

Is it because the people who perform these tasks somehow inferior and therefore deserve to be paid less? Nonsense again. They are human beings too. It is just that they spent more time practising a certain set of skills, while a whole lot of us practised reading and writing a lot more. Mind you I am talking about the average white collared worker, not geniuses who think differently and for the benefit of the human race. Now those can surely be found among the labourers too. But will we look for them or listen to them? No sir.

Is it not time that we viewed things with more perspective and paid people in comparison to the difficulty of work and how much practice, they have had doing it. This would be a huge step in making our society genuinely civiised and above all just. We should end disparities created out of cleverness,mean spiritedness, legacy and an inabaility to think and act fairly.

One is all for free enterprise and allowing people to strive to outperform everyone else. But there has to be a code of conduct that is decent. Getting ahead should be by honest and fair means, not deceitful and mean tactics. Just like in a game, one is supposed to play hard, but fairly and the playing field is level with handicaps accounted for, so should it be in life. People need to be taught that getting ahead by any maens is cheating. The goal of life is getting ahead with your and eveybody else’s dignity intact.

Sea, mountains or the plains.

They say there are two kinds of people, sea people and mountain people. As I have not explored the sea-side much as compared to mountainous areas I am presumably a mountain person. Considering that I live in the plains, I should may be, be a plain person(unintended pun), but I have not come across the term, so I will stay with mounatin person.

When one thinks of areas close to seas one’s imagery is mostly gleaned from old classic tales of pirates, treasure hunters and explorers. One conjures up images of stormy seas, distant light-houses, rum drinking sailors, and distant ports with exotic names. Mountains on the other hand make one think of dark mists enveloping tall conifers, a lone cottage atop a hill reflecting a warm light, driving down a dark mountain road with the headlights of the car darting from trees to bushes to road, or a group of old friends reminising in front of a fire-place in an old colonial style cottage.

Plains might make you think of endless steppes of Central Asia, Mongol warlords of the medival era scurrying westwards to conquer Europe, or you might instead think of the bitter retreat in the same direction of Napolean’s armies from a cold Russia. Or you could imagine the various battles fought in the vast plains of Panipat in Northern India over the most coveted land in the world, India. Or from a more personal perspetive, the long, sapping summer of the Indo-Gangetic plains, followed by the liberating rains to be capped by a most balmy winter.

The goegraphy of a place to a large extent determines the nature of its inhabitants. The Goans for example are a fun loving people who have taken to the sun, the surf and the beaches in a way that makes them very happy and content. No wonder it is a land of music, feasting and carnivals. Mountanous people on the other hand are more cirumspect, insular and hardy as their lands are partly inaccessible and eking out a living has been tough historically. One will find that they make good soldiers and their music tends to be plaintive.

Plains are really the cruicibles of civilsation. All the great civilastions of the world have been in the plains beside might river systems. The Egyptians, the Indus valley civilsation, the Indo Gangetic plains and other major river systems have given the world the major religions, the finest art forms, cuisines, architecture and systems of education. Truly plans are where people have historically poured in from all the regions to trade, to study and to settle down and to contribute to the advancement of human civilisation.

City/Life?

City lights- car headlights, neon lights, traffic lights
Din, movement, locomotion, pollution, road-rage, fights
God exists, does not; there is chaos, there is direction
This my city, rather be elsewhere where the mind delights?

Darkness, many kilometres ahead, long way to rest
People hurt you, you hurt them back-always put to the test
Wither purpose, what to do, what is best?
Peace- can you find it, you are forever in debt

Life goes on, you live and earn and learn
See others live and live, earn and learn
Peaks and troughs, boom and recession
Periods of greatness, periods of being mean

Much discovered, then forgotten
Great philosophies expounded
Your lot sometimes good, other times rotten
No matter whether you are proud or grounded

You live and you live some more
You eat, sleep and snore
Thats all that we do
Everyones the same rich and poor

Are the media too big for their boots?

Well of course they are. Obvious to anyone. Expecially the TV channels, where pompous anchors, full of themselves, breathe fire and brimstone at seemingly hapless politicians. But would I want it otherwise?No sirrie! Cliched as it may sound, the fourth estate cannot and should not be denigrated.

Sure some media people think no end of themselves, think that the universe exists because of them, but they do far more good than harm. No longer can corrupt poiticians or officials sell you and I down the river, as they have been wont to do over the past so many decades, without looking over their shoulder. Their smallest gaffe if discovered is put up on display and magnified mani-fold for the world to see and jeer. Media, especially television media has certainly brought in healthy debate into Indian drawing rooms. This can only make the people more tolerant of other peoples’ views.

In India where there has been an unprecedented growth of the media industry, one witnesses a lack of maturity, gravity and most times even objectivity, in reporting and programming, but that is only to be expected in the initial stages of growth. With time there is bound to be a shake-out, and we will finally get to a stage, where media, especially news media will play the role of a sober watchdog, but at the same time not losing its sting as the keeper of a nation’s conscience.

So let us forgive our news anchors their banshee like harangues, their unbelievably conceited statements, and their know it all smirks, and look behind the smoke-screen. They have been doing a really fine job. Give me that any day over a sanitised Pravda press report. Disordered chaos over the gulaag any day.

Slurpy—–slurp.

Amongst the most annoying of habits which I have observed in most of my countrymen is their shocking table-manners. This is a habit, which cuts across communities. I have obeserved it in people f rom all the four corners of our great land. Ever since I have been little, I have been conscious of the fact that liquids should be imbibed without making a sound and food can be chewed silently. No one ever taught me this, it came naturally to me. But not to everyone else, including my own father.

Must we all make the most abominable noise when drinking liquids. Why do we slurp? Its not that we do it because the liquid in question is hot. We will slurrp even ice-cream! Is there some kind of beastial instinct at

Why do people indulge in office politics?

The reason is straightforward. Man is part of the animal kingdom, where survival, not morality, not ethics, nor any of the other values matter. And guiding man or any other animal is instinct. We often here the term animal instinct. Well that is the only one.Over the millienia man progressed and could spare some time to think about matters other than where my next meal is going to come from. Thus started the civilising process which is nothing but a veneer which prevents people from destroying each other. This became acceptable becuase it was no longer necessary to do so.The office is where man or woman earns his or her bread. This harks back to the days of the jungle when garnering as much of the available scarce resources as was possible, was the sole purpose of life, apart from reproducing. So it is in office where work occupies a distinct second priority. The top mosrt priority is baiting, entrapment, hunting and going for the kill. Of course the violence will rarely be physical,but it will be jequally devastating in its impact.This is highly irrational, because there is no need to do so. What you need to do is to perform your alloted functions efficently, and everything will fall into place. Where is the need to resort to subterfuge, when merely working hard at your job will do.But you see man or rather animal is not wired that way. It isstill either him or me. The animal kingdom has used subterfuge since the mists of antiquity. From chameleons changing colurs, to lions the colour of the grass they move around in; from crows dropping their eggsin the nests of other species of birds, to be looked after by unsuspecting foster mothers to dogs baring their teeth in show of aggression the animal kingdom is not a place of what you see is what you get.Man may have broken away from the pack and surged haed but he is still chained to his past by invisible hooks. Breaking these bonds will take sometime yet. So brace up for office politics and more for the next million years or so.

Transcience

Man comes into the world totally defenceless and at the mercy of others who would take care of him. His parents raise him, give him a ense of identity and self worth. Society and nation add to his sense of who he his. As he grows up and starts earning a living, his sense of who he is expands to include his colleagues and the people he interacts with. With time he marries and has children and passes on the sum of his experiences to his progeny, who in turn go through their life experiences.
In all of this man is never really alone with his own thoughts. What are his own thoughts? Are they really his own thoughts? Would a man shape up any difftrent if his circumstances were different? Is there any such thing as an innate sense of man? Who is a happy man? Is there such a thing as a happy man? Do all of us go through the motions of life without really knowing who we are?
Where does God figure in all of this? Is there a God? if there is hows can he tolerate so much cruelty in the world?Why does he allow so much cruelty? Is earth the only planet with life? Are there other worlds? Do people die in those worlds? Are they happy? Do we all feel the urge to ask these searing questions? Do we all feel this sense of empty dullness inside interspersed with moments of inspired happiness? Does anyone know complete happiness?