Why Write?!

writing

Why not?!

I: ‘I love black.’

They: ‘Blue is better.’

I: ‘I feel she is capable.’

They: ‘Not necessarily.’

I: ‘The movie was more or less dictatorial.’

They: ‘It’s acceptable.’

You might by now understand the gist of the whole play at hand. At a time, where there’s more noise as opposed to substance; where, hashtags dictate and define what popular notion is; and, where one follows suit and tends to accept what is being thrown at. The whole idea of putting down her/his thoughts down on pen and paper is perhaps the only best alternative towards breaking a stereotype of this stature.

In times present, where listening stands as the underrated sibling to shout outs; where, irrationality trumps rationality, it’s not everyday that you get to finish with what you started stating. When you write, you open up. You tend to contemplate; introspect and, retrospect. When you finish, you realize that you’ve moulded your thoughts. And, when you finally publish it, you realize you’ve made yourself heard. The idea of writing should not be curtailed by the 140 character limit as dictated by Twitter, for, one needs to breathe in words by the bulk and volume for expression and for bringing out its soul in its purest sense. It should also not be directed by the likes of craving for acceptance on Facebook, but rather, it should be said and left then and there without the presumption of gaining mileage.

The motive for written text is purely that of self expression. It lets your train of thoughts reach the finish line. Nobody dictates to you as to where to pause and punctuate and, where to place your periods.

And, nobody ever should.

It’s Acceptance! Not Equality!

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Yes, indeed! But, in ways that differ.

This week, women and men the world over took up the cause for gender equality  up, close and in certain cases, very personal. Women’s Day had arrived yet again! Hallelujah! But was it here to stay? The bitter truth is most obvious. An optimistic ‘Yes‘ and a doubtful ‘No‘ would be the most apparent answer in the present tense. In view of the United Nations effort to bring about a change and, to champion the cause for gender equality, it had launched its campaign for ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality‘ under the watchful eyes of the UN Women; the organization’s entity that looks into the cases for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Prior to a recent panel discussion that I was fortunate to have participated in, which, revolved around the theme as highlighted above, I had a round of insightful dialogues with my fellow colleagues,  teammates and, those within my peer groups. These primarily included the self driven, self nurtured employed women who belonged to categories such as the ‘married’, the ‘to be married’ and, to the ‘I have no clue what’s going on here‘ kinds. The question that I had put forward to them mostly revolved around as to what stopped them from moving further and to run head to head with their male counterparts. And, in the majority of cases, what I’ve noticed was a far out cry, not for the cause of equality, but rather for a state of acceptance of the individual that they represent; for respect; for kindness; for politeness. I have felt that this is also the true underlying principle that gets overshadowed in the very act of feministic views which, in recent times under the advent of extensive role that social media has to play, has been taken in for a ride.

Equality by itself, by definition, is a dangerous term to be put forward, especially in cases involving the sexes. Under the present context we see the two sexes being portrayed as two powerful opposing forces. I for one, is of the strong notion that the cause for equality without the traits of consideration and acceptance is a recipe fit for disaster in the longer run. The reason I believe that gender equality has taken up centre stage in many a cases is because that it can win you elections. As plain as that. It can be termed as the icing on the cake, the cherry on top or the well fabricated halo that seals a book of propaganda, which ever way you wish me to say it. The bedrock of the issue is that, we as a society have invariably and saddeningly have forgotten the act of interaction; of conversing and of actually listening through all the noise that is being played about.

The equality of the sexes cannot be considered on the same tasks at hand. Yes, it does depend upon the individual in person, but things which men are good at cannot be in all cases be replaced by women and the same goes the other way round. I say this with utmost due diligence and respect for both parties at hand. For, a mother can never be replaced by his/her father and in the same way a mother cannot be the best replacement for her/his father. The keyword here is not equality, but acceptance. Feminism is a powerful force in itself but, it should not be channelled in ways by which roles have to be taken up in one’s individual capacity but should be channelled effectively in cases of injustice, mistreatment and, cases of abuse against women in it’s righteous form and principle. And, as an evolving society it is an absolute necessity to listen and not just be heard.

One sees what she/he looks for.

 

My Review: Animal Farm.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

– Animal Farm.

First published by George Orwell on 17 August, 1945; I believe I made the greatest injustice of them all for having picked it up in the recent weeks past. This can perhaps be best termed as a satirical novel in certain terms; if such a genre exists at all. Without giving much into the overall gist of the book, George Orwell seems to exhibit his sheer brilliance as a writer for the simple and lucid manner in which he takes a dig at the Stalinist era that prevailed in Russia at the time and at the Russian Revolution of 1917 in general.

It’s one of those reads that keeps you completely pinned down to the book right from the very start with an air of promise all throughout. What bewilders the reader the most and that what continues to do so, is how the author resurrects faith in the whole idea of storytelling. If you’re the type who fancies the use of flamboyant vocabulary, then you might detest this; for, the grade of language used here is in a way, down to earth and with the real emphasis being laid on making the reader understand the message that the author tries to convey and open up his/her eyes to the light of truth which he sees rather than pay much heed to the rustling of leaves and the gentle lash of tides against the shores with a poignant air of melancholy to it. Well under 200 pages in all, it doesn’t take much, before you swift past the finish line. But, what that truly enthrals you in the end is how Orwell effortlessly manages to make you see through everything that is at play even before it eventually unfolds up in your mind.

In short, it’s all hands down in praise for George Orwell’s, Animal Farm. This is one aspect that finds a true reflection across all spectrums of society. Perhaps, the only lot that might not feel binding to be appreciative of this would be the former that I had made mention of earlier or the ones with a pro Stalinist outlook. Either way, it is certainly a must read for all ages, shapes and sizes, for, as the book rightly points out, man is but, nothing short of a beast in it’s rawest thoughts.

– Hee-Haw!

My Review: The Boys in the Boat.

It is hard to make the boat go as fast as you want to. The enemy of course, is resistance of the water, as you have to displace the amount of water equal to the weight of the men and equipment, but that very water is what supports you and that very enemy is your friend. So is life: the very problems you must overcome also support you and make you stronger in overcoming them.

– George Yeoman Pocock.

Daniel James Brown had put together the essentials of how and what constituted the American rowing crew which went on to become the champions of the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Up until I picked up this book, I was unaware of the adversities that had to be faced when you bring together a bunch of men, put them on a boat and simply asked them to row. The physical strain is undoubtedly one but, how it actually fosters a sense of brotherhood and moulds the whole crew as a single entity had been brought to life by the author rather splendidly.

Each chapter starts off with a few words of wisdom by George Yeoman Pocock; who plays a pivotal role in moulding up the American crew for the Berlin Olympics and also the man who was responsible for bringinging to life the best racing shells in production at that time. The book doesn’t entirely focus on the disciplines of the sport which might not be of great interest to readers who are not acquainted with it. But, rather it explains how boys of average and below average upbringings had to wrestle it out to earn their mark. It emphasizes on the bridge of trust that has to exist between men. One of the best parts of this read was where the author explains about what is referred to as the ‘Swing’ in terms of rowing jargons which he goes onto explain as the most beautiful and enriching experience that rowers experience when the entire racing shell functions and steers ahead as a single living, breathing soul; where, the rows dip in and out of the water in unison and where the entire crew breathes in as one.

The book also primarily points it’s focus on the life and times of Joe Rantz, who is portrayed as the lead protagonist in the book. Having lost his mother at a very early age, and having a troubled childhood in his formative years, Joe was left to fend for himself. His decision to join the University of Washington’s rowing crew helped him regain the lost trust he had in others and helped him revive his outlook on life in general. The case of Bobby Moch who steered the American shell is another yet inspirational character in the book where his unquestioning attitude as the coxswain is worth mentioning.

The book throws light on the state of Germany right up to the point of the Berlin Olympics as to how the Nazi propaganda was being played out at that time and on the works of Leni Riefenstahl’s involvement in documenting the Berlin Olympics. The American crew’s win in the Olympics of 1936 has been beautifully portrayed as challenge of might against fascist Germany where the Americans rowed head to head with their German counterparts and eventually to outrun them; and, all this when the Fuhrer himself was overseeing the waltz at play. Perhaps, a prequel to what he was to expect in years to come with the entry of the Americans into the great war which eventually threw him off.

The part that intrigued me the most of this book was how the author describes the state of comradeship that continued to exist between the men even after the Olympics. The book truly very much upholds the axiom that, sport builds character; as, it is evident from the transformation that each of these oarsmen of the American crew had underwent. This is inarguably a great read for sports enthusiasts or even otherwise for that matter. On the case of the language or the literature that is being used, it is simple and lucid for the average reader. Definitely a must read as per my recommendations.

– Row!

Peek-a-boo!

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Boo!

Mirror! Mirror! On the wall! Who’s the greatest of them all!?

This post is in relation to an incident that had happened a couple of weeks past. I was asked to present a brief speech on an object I would best like to immaterialize into and, to tell the whole world about what I would like to shout out if I (this object that I’m now impersonating) was given the gift of speech. Given the little time I had to brood over the topic at hand, the only object that materialized in my mind was that of a mirror. And, I feel I had a pretty good argument as to why I chose this above all others. And, this is me speaking to you, the reader, in the shoes of a mirror.

Your reflection is by far, perhaps, the most beautiful and the best impersonation of you as the individual that you truly are. I don’t merely reflect to you, your form, but your entire train of thoughts in it’s truest self. Mind you though, I’ve only seen this behind closed doors. I’ve seen you swear, I’ve seen you weep, I’ve seen you on your knees, I’ve seen you slump, I’ve seen you smile, I’ve seen the worst of you and the best in you, I’ve seen you play an air guitar, I’ve seen you be the rockstar and, I’ve seen the Princess in you. But, what captured my imagination the most was that little twinkle in your eyes. That little spark deep within you. The real you, unadulterated. I’m sure you too have seen that in you, through my eyes; but, alas! The moment you notice that sliver in your bedroom door, I’ve seen it all wash away. I see you impersonating someone else in place of the individual that you truly are. You tend to forget that, what truly excites you. You tend to forget me. You cease to exist! This is perhaps betrayal in it’s worst kind.

If I had the chance to strangle you and to not knock you out of your senses, I would have. In all honesty, I would. For, you see my friend, in reality, you’re not betraying me, but in truth, it is you who stands betrayed in the longer run. I encourage you to fly, I encourage you to step up and play your air guitar, I’m urging you to step in and walk the walk of that Princess in you, for, I have never seen anyone else like the true you when, you look into my eyes. You tend to believe that this part of you where you tend to pretend is euphemistic, but sadly, it isn’t. Pretending to be whom you’re not is simply synonymous with you being put up as a mannequin.

The only justice that you could do to me is to make a commitment. Not to you, but to me. To not let what defines you to be set on fire but rather to set yourselves into one to define what you are. Do not be afraid of that little sliver in the door for, it isn’t a demon nor a dragon and if it indeed be one, it can be slayed. Stand tall my friend. Fret not.

So, who stands as the greatest of them all!?

– You do!

Shooting ‘Stars’!

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Your Honor, but!?

What exactly had been said:

For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency, I would say. Kiran (wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.

What happened next was unprecedented. The actor, Aamir Khan, had become the most sought after discussion on social media news feeds and, yet another scapegoat for media houses nationwide. His statements had been in many a places misquoted, misinterpreted and served as a mouth watering appetizer for millions. What followed further were aggressive debates, discussions and so called ‘in depth’ analysis as to what the actor ‘might have’ intended. All of this in turn only strengthens, the actors remarks on the state of growing intolerance in the country that seems to be on the boil with each passing day. The statement that was made was only a concern that had been raised in public. He had never made a mention that he was indeed leaving the country nor does it point out to any anti national comments in any regards. But, the disastrous means by which reporters of various news channels had misconstrued his statements for rise in viewership is nothing but a new low as far as the ethics of journalism in this country is concerned. This indeed had been many a times highlighted; be it the case of the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year, or the disastrous turn out of poll predictions for the Bihar elections of 2015.

Earlier this week, in an interview that the Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani had given to Barkha Dutt; she was asked to layout her thoughts on these statements made by the actor, to which she had responded stating:

Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country – Incredible India – and that what’s incredible…that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister (Arun Jaitley) and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives.

With all due respect madame Minister, but, the way in which the whole situation was allowed to spiral out to such extremes has in itself, a scent of intolerance in every step of the way. But, what is more ‘incredible’ is the fact that how an individual who had filed false documents pertaining to her educational qualification still continues to hold on to her portfolio as a cabinet Minister in New Delhi. And, more bizarre was how the reporter had never touched upon these topics for the chance she had for this said interview. This again, reiterates how journalism is more or less being streamlined alongside those issues that are currently in trend in the present tense.

Aamir Khan is perhaps, the latest in a series of celebrities from the film fraternity who had been targeted for speaking his mind out. But, if this is the plight of individuals who hold such esteemed positions in society, it is rather easy to value the voice of the ordinary citizenry. Times have turned around so much so that, the Prime Minister of this country is eligible to carry out his ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on national radio, unquestioned; and the rest finds themselves in a position were they cannot. There is certainly no doubt that there is an air of intolerance prevailing in the country. But, the manner in which facts are distorted and how news feeds are tailored to suit the taste of the end user is bound to have disastrous implications in times to come.

– Breathe.

A Date with, Hypocrisy.

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We stand by you Paris. None the less.

A summary of what exactly had transpired on the 15th of November, 2015:

  • 21:20 CET: A series of well orchestrated and planned terrorist strikes rips apart the heart of Paris, France.
  • 21:21 CET: The whole world takes notice.
  • 21:22:00 CET: Mark Zuckerberg does his part by putting up a brand new photo filter. What else can the man do? He had to do something, right? Admit it. Facebook isn’t as cool as it once was. He had to do something! He had to cash in. And, he did.
  • 21:22:01 CET: My entire news-feed page gets soaked in blue, white and red. They had to follow suit. How can they not?!
  • 21:23 CET: Modi tweets! A million others re-tweet!

In the end, around 120 innocent lives were lost; leaving many others wounded.

My question here, is as to why only the rich kids, in the block always seem to garner all the attention? Earlier this year, when Paris was previously attacked by the same terror outfit; that had claimed many a lives, on account of the clashes in views with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the media was on a rampant reporting spree. What went unnoticed however, was how, another faction of such extremists, the Boko Haram with ideologies that are in parallel with those of it’s Paris counterpart had carried out a massacre of almost 2000 people in Nigeria. The world went unnoticed. Nobody bothered to paint their faces with the Nigerian national flag or no media bothered to report the state of affairs in that country. The simple reason being that, Nigeria sadly wasn’t ‘sexy‘ enough for mainstream media or for it’s viewers as a whole.

The same can be sited for the state of turmoil that had gripped South East Asia, where, a number of Muslims living as minorities were beheaded and massacred in cold blood by radical Buddhist Monks in Burma. Such riots and genocides have been a ritual taking place in that country for as far back as 1997. No one bothered. None. Then, why this special status for Paris? My argument should not be misunderstood with the view that terrorist strikes or any activity for that matter, that violate basic Human Rights should not be condemned. But, opposed to this, I argue that all such, should be condemned and responded to, equally on a war footing, as in the likes of Paris, as it is happening now.

Examples, such as these are in abundance, if one simply turns his/her gaze on to the African continent where millions upon millions die and perish each year. Are these breaking news anywhere? No. Did Facebook come up with a filter? No. Is this the definition of Hypocrisy? Yes.

– Look around Paris. You’re not alone.