Friday, May 26, 2006

Arundhati Roy and Her India...!

Since I finished reading Arundhati Roy’s booker price winning novel “God of Small Things,” her image as a writer had been stuck in my mind for years now. I have not seen that novel as a traditional novel in the first place, it is more than that. In it, I believe she tried to send so many societal issues, for that, she simply used the characters there on to carry. Anyway, I can not deny that novel had left me with an inspiration up to the point of sharing with so many others.

The then I forgot about her almost for a couple years as to what was going on with her, except the awareness of her being an activist in India. Beside that one more way I used to keep track of her thought arena is by visiting, where she writes mostly about the international politics and the related issues.

The reason today I wanted to write about her in my page was, recently I happened to read her speech in New York on the occasion of one of her book reading functions.

There she went on proclaiming her concern over India like this, “ She said she was confused, as India was passing through a terrible time. Amidst frequent clapping, she blasted the Indian government and the Bush administration. There is no real democracy in India. Several states in India are on the verge of civil war.’’

There upon a good number of readers have also expressed their opinion of her, mostly, they said, for Arundhati Roy India is not democratic enough, so, we should send her away where democracy is thriving in countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc., Where she can express her views as freely as though she is doing it in India.

All said and heard from the both end. Now, I want to place what I think of her and how I felt as I was going through her current speech and the other issues that she is standing to defend.

As a disclaimer I do want to say one more thing here, just because I like her writing and concerns, it does not mean that I should necessarily buy into whatever she says. For instance, I blatantly disagree with her standing on the Kashmir and some other issues. So here I am on my own mind expressing my own view as to how I feel about her concerns.

First thing, why she bashes about Bush’s visit to India, she thinks, India is, without mind of its own just blindly following and taking the dictations of some money man’s opportunistic mentality . And in due course India is deliberately dragged into the world politics without its own knowledge. I think that is very true and a valid concern of a thinker.

Secondly, India is not democratic enough country so she says, I think why she should have placed such an anger evoking statement knowing that we are working hard to achieve it. We all know nothing is politically so correct ever, we do have a long way to go and achieve it. However, when she pointed out that, “Several states in India are on the verge of civil war,” that makes me to think perhaps she asks us to take a closer look at what is happening between Karnataka, Kerala versus Tamil Nadu with the water issue. What we have been witnessing there, the issue is taken at the individual level and handled even at the street side by fist fighting at times.

Let us assume in the worse case scenario, what happens if the neighboring state has empowered with money and the stuff, while the central government is powerless and no saying anything in whatever the state body’s decision? What happens if that state government with its own agenda, whatever it is, when it sees, it does not get to materialize and want to go separate as a nation by itself from India?

Well, at the individual level if we have that much hatred against its own people in sharing the natural resources, when the right time brew in, how sure are we that something like that would not happen?

On top of it, we everyday witnessing the occurrences of communal violence within its own population. Therefore, if the tension is boiling between states as if we are living in our own “separate state country” how a normal democracy machine can run smoothly with its partition mentality? What is wrong with pointing out those in a “positive antagonistic” way? So that, we all will have a chance to take a deep look at it.

In stead of looking at the bitter full truth that we face, we miss the point, yet, researching on to the source who pointed it out our own faults, and trying to exile the person from the country she loves. The same trend is common in America too, in the name of being patriotic. The unwritten policy is there, if you are patriotic enough, you are not supposed to find fault in your own country and say it out aloud. If that is the case here too, then we should really re-consider what kind of "collective opinion" we have on that notion of being patriotic and not finding faults.

I do not know how many of us read here the popular New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman’s latest book “The Flat World.” There he portrays the fabulous side of India, but leaving the other part by making in the process of capitalistic mammoth corporate world to get in there. Arundhati Roy and like minded people are lashing about his work too. For that, again she is branded with working against her own country.

Why is that always in the history when some one is siding with the impoverished people is branded with some undesirable names?

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Air Conditioning and Oxford Press in Chennai…!

I do not know, where should I place the following blog as to what I am going to say. I wish it should not be considered as whining of an America returned freak or indecently dressed up guy who tried to show up in front of a prestigious press in the world. In spite of that, I wish it could be seen under a new shade, why we behave the way we behave, and why we tend to ill treat our own population?

Let me go on explain now what had happened to me when I was in Chennai last May’05. I was there along with my parents and my fiancée for an enquiry which I intended to do for my parents with the American Consulate the one at Chennai by Gemini Circle. Having gotten an appointment with the officials, we had left with almost three hours to kill. Since, already we experienced with the Consulate that treated people like a bunch of herds chasing around with a stick by yelling “go there,” “do not stand here,” orders, I was in a kind of irritant mood already.

Anyway, having herded and cornered away under a tree where so many people were already sweating and panting, standing there. Tired of looking at that situation, I was just innocently looking around for a place to get in and do some browsing or sitting and having a cup of juice or something.

Eventually, the Oxford Press close by fell in my mind, in fact, I had been in there for a couple times before. Therefore, it is not like something that place was new to me. So, along with my parents we started walking toward it; just before we could approach the main door, the watch man stood in our way interrogating us why do we want to get in there.

I could not hold it anymore, and asked him straight, what is wrong in going inside a book store and why are you asking us that question etc., He looked obviously puzzled, confused and just started startling not knowing what to say next. However, he came up with an answer, yet, that was so shameful on us.

The answer was, he said, “mostly people who walk in here just wanting to be in the Air Conditioning not to buy books.” I could not go on, hold on to this nonsense anymore, again I asked him in what value you justify who is a potential shopper from who is not? How do you know that I am not going to buy any books?

So the conversation went on like that for about a few minutes, by the time, in spite of my parental request not to question the watchman anymore, my fiancée just walked in and joined us. Upon hearing that what was really going on simply she could not believe what she was hearing. She burst into rage doubly, since she grew up mostly in the Western hemisphere. She lamented over it by saying, just because of the Air Conditioning that they provide in the facility they are preventing people from get access to a book store. That is ridiculous and unbelievable. On top of it, she wanted to go in and see the book store’s manager and talk to her in person. However, the watchmen pleaded her not to do it. I wonder why.

Hence, here is a question for all of us. What is wrong with the picture? Where do we go wrong with how we treat our own population? I understand, the Air Conditioning is a rare commodity still in our country. However, I do not think that a book store should treat people just like the American Consulate treat the herds.

I believe any book store is like an open worship place, I mean, it is equal to a mosque, a church or a temple. If the book store does not need a reader why in the world we should have those many books or for that case the writer himself sits there spend all his time writing. If his thoughts and concerns are not crossing the border, why he should go through the pain of sharing?

I just amazed as to what happened to us that day, along with came a lot of questions too. When are we going to change our attitude about ourselves, treating us fairly believing in as Indians are also can be educated and decent, no matter how he/she looks? The another question impeccably sneaked in my mind was, obviously the watchman might not have stopped a white man if he intends to do exactly what the watch man earlier asking us if we were going there for the Air Conditioning, would he?

If that was case then somewhere along the line our thought processes are flawed, isn‘t it? How are we going to fix this? Obviously, I can not peel my skin off or pretend someone that I am not in order to spend my money. It is not only happening in that book store it is everywhere, at the bank, railway reservation booths, worshipping places, even in universities and colleges mistreating students and calling them names. Are we people or herds of animals? Where are we doing wrong?

I believe we can change the whole attitude of our approach with our own population by self-valuing ourselves, that we are worth living, and appreciating ourselves a bit. And behaving ourselves how we ought to behave. If we can not do that, does that mean, are we having a long way to go, to cultivate and to appreciate our own existence on this planet, us as Indians, then?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Existence of a Villager in You...!

Late last night through a telephonic conversation my external thought realm was disturbed. With which anyway I went onto bed; inculcating that sublime thought firmly embedding deep into my mind that I am not going to sleep good tonight. Expectedly past midnight I was still tossing around with stray thoughts darting in and out intending to haunt me. At last, I did not even realize when I fell asleep, but I woke up with a twittering of a bird song in the early morning out from the backyard.

The note of the bird song almost, at least, in my mind appeared like this - “OoooooRani, epdiii reeeeekku (that was close to asking how am I doing by calling on my blog name Orani).” That could be a sweet “morning greeting” from a bird one could have dreamt to receive from; the bird also might have just woken up like me, yet with a difference; he is out there in the backyard free with a focused single intention for that day, which is foraging and being safe. Unlike me who with so many sticky thoughts enmeshed with each other.

That early morning itself I was bombarded with incoming thoughts, old and new alike rushing in without even waiting for my approval; as if a switched on computer loading its software. Amidst those thoughts, I found a very interesting dialogue which my mind itself might have hooked it out, from the crowd for the later re-munching.

The prior night conversation was somewhat associated with a comparison of a villager and modern guy who lives in a metropolitan city. Thereupon, a point was made very clearly that "a being villager meant innocently go with the flow of life not knowing how to swim upstream and be competent." On the contrary, I was told that the opposite traits are true for the modern man.

The Villager and the Modern guy concept have soaked in me for a while and eventually I made an internal dialogue laying there still on my bed drifting back and forth. And the dialogue yet led me to another dimension and through which the following was my perceptual understanding about the differences between those two human states. And how they are differing from one another in their own mental plane; with a skill of their own, in terms of problem solving and their existentiality.

A thing to remember, we are not making any sweeping generalization here. In addition, the personalities could be found in alternative locations. Since the dealing itself is going to be drawn based on how they think and react to a situation. And from there we are going to draw who is in Villager’s or Metro guy’s state of mind.

I want us to be bit clear as to what I am exactly dealing about over here. The problem we are going to deal with is usually a bit of relationship and work ethics.

I consider the villager’s mind works something like this since he lives by his heart and more in contact with his inner ‘selves,’ rather than outwardly. Assuming that he thinks over things straight, since, he exposed to more less complex wordly issues. So he presents himself outwardly, more relaxed and look ever at peace, with less aggression and be more on focused state of his nature. In lesser term we can coin him as “layback” type; sit comfortably and watch the show type who thinks nothing to lose.

Conversely, the state of modern man’s mind lives mostly on his rational thinking, for external gratification. Assuming that his state of being is introduced into more broader wordly issues and things, to tackle about. Thereby, he is more aggressive and ever be on side of go getter attitude. In lesser term we can name the individuals as “restless and temperamental.”

Now, based on those backgrounds, just imagine how these two individuals are going to be in a day to day world reacting with whatever dealings come in contact. For instance, the villager when it comes to a relationship issue with others and cornered with a problem he tends to withdraw inwardly asking for a solution which is beneficial to all; thereby, producing less conflict down the road while secured peace for the future.

On the other hand, the modern individual floats on his external mind realm and get an instant solution for the issue, to thrive in that situation for that particular momentum. However not minding that the solution is going to turn out to be into the future, because, overall a less consideration is given for other people’s well being. Since, it is only a quick fix and self-centered; even so, the conflict in manifolds awaiting to haunt the individual down the road which in turn breeds a growing insecurity in ones own self.

To sum it up all, no matter how you are looked up or down just be who you are. By preserving peace with oneself, however you are less aggressive there, yet the productivity is unbound. Whereas, the restless being who havoc ones own life, at the same time whoever come in contact also tend to lose their energy around them, and in some extent taking other people down along with them also.

Therefore, the choice is ours. How we want to be coined and gained, to have what for the present.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Red Chair and English...?

Wow, I have not only expected this kind of article and the way of expression from someone who himself came from the same faculty of thinking but also placing these kind of questions. Simply wonderful! We are, indeed, progressing! Thank you Mr. Sam George alias Dharumi.

His writings can be found and to get enlightened please travel on this link . However, if someone is hesitant to travel on that; here are some of the hightlights from his own pad which I am placing here to get you motivated to go there...

...Hence there has to be a gap between learning in one's own mother tongue and in a foreign language. Especially this is very much so in lower classes, say, till the end of schooling. So a student can acquire more knowledge faster if he does his studies in his own mother tongue and his comprehension and mastery over the subject would be much better. What he has to do in addition is to learn one another language, English and he will have definitely enough energy to do well in one more language since his learning process of other subjects through his own mother tongue would be considerably and comparatively easier than being through English. Our schooling focuses on quantity and not on quality. Loads and loads of information are fed to the students not worrying how much is being grasped, absorbed and assimilated by the students. This leads to rote learning. The cognitive levels of understanding, comprehension,analysis and appreciation are left out from our schooling system...

Having read that I completely put myself in that frame as to what the professor is talking about. Since, I have been there and felt what he has seen the struggle in youths. So here I am sharing and confessing some of my view points on that crucial issue.

We as a nation with a strong lingual richness and background we should believe in autonomy. And encourage our children to pursue their learning skills in our own mother tongue as long as they wish; providing opportunities and necessary encouragement for the effort, as an incentive to that, offering jobs in all sectors.

Anyway, here it goes my feedback to Sam's musings...

Hi sam,

You maynot believe what I am going to say but it is a piece of truth. I have been thinking about all along since the day I switched my medium of learning from Tamil to English at my Higher Secondary level to College.

I felt that pinch in me. Why all at a sudden I should go through this nerve breaking hardship, switching to a language where I am less familiar with. In other case, my another brother happened to fail in a few classes. In spite, of his first rank at YMCA school (+2) and won a gold medal there, where he studied in Tamil medium.

When he joined for his higher studies with MCC, he was very much threatned and discouraged for not being able to grasp the essence of the very subject he very much loved to pursue. The consequence of it, he quit it in the mid-term. It was unfinished.

So I understand what do you exactly mean. In my case, I self-taught pretty much in every aspect of it. I am proud of myself where I am today with What I know of. Yet, still I am learning in a hard way.

That fake illusion should be unveiled from both the parent and kids alike, for that case even our very government and the society in whole. Thinking that if we do speak in english we are being treated like a king and get a special treatment etc.,

It is a sheer shame and ignorance in our side.

You see the Japanese and Chinese are very competent in terms of new invention and technology because they value their mother tongue and learn the fundamental principles of complex issue where they can shine with it later on in their future.

It is not the case with us. However, I see the hope at the end of the tunnel. When the mojarity of the population get more education and awareness of their own, they will be grounded and appreciate what for who they are.

And that is my hope. Right now what is going on is just a mere ignorance, mimicking with a copy-cat attitude.

I am going to publish this same feedback as a separate essay in my blog. With your article in the front line! I need it very much please understand me.

Good piece very much needed at this era, where we are today!

Another one of the good thoughts from your side ;-)

P.S: Perhaps if the teacher him/herself in the first place is taught and trained really good, they might resolve the problem too, I suppose. Since, they can find some other alternative and creative way to teach the fundamentals of a language to the kids. Govt. funded schools are the worst in that case!!


Friday, May 05, 2006

Acceptance Over Adjustment…!

Here is the another piece today to munch about. Whatever I place here is all about my own musing; which I have, one time or the other dwelt deep within myself to sort things out when I was cornered dealing with the duality of our nature. Thereupon, I brew an understanding based on the nature of issue at my hand then and how I perceive with it now. Basically, we all know the meaning of literary differences between “Acceptance” and “Adjustment.”

I have noticed one thing, we tend to use those words quiet often, when we talk of a relationship. Webster’s New Word Dictionary defines the meaning of 'Acceptance' as = receiving willingly; of 'Adjustment' as = altering something or someone to make it fit, or settling rightly. Whereas, in my mother tongue Tamil for the former we say “Aerdhup Po” and for the latter is as “Anusharichu Po.” There is a huge difference there in too! I believe we need to understand those two distinguishable words clearly as to run a smooth life within our family structure. We loosely use those words around even when it is coming to our personal relationship.

Let me explain how we can draw a line between those two enlightening words and see them respectively under a different shade. Firstly, let us take the '
adjustment state,' when some one asks to get along with our incompatible friend as we share with him/her a room, it sounds adequately appropriate suggestion to follow.

On the other hand, change the situation and a person there, suggesting you with the same 'adjustment state' of strategy with your spouse. Then the problem arise really within oneself, isn‘t? Why it should work there in one case not in the other? In the first case with our friend (!?), we know, at the end what happens in about so and so month or year, there we hope to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore, momentarily knowing the end result you can run your rest of the co-habitation term in peace with a pretension as if you are in complete harmony with him/her. Knowing that you need not to put up with the same situation once the term is over.

Conversely to that arrangement, if we follow the same
‘adjustment state’ with our loved ones, the relationship is not going to go anywhere but down the hill. Why, because we start faking ourselves having known that we fail to understand the other person’s expectation at its full length or we are presenting ourselves something that we are not truly who we are. So, we start living in duality. Thereby, losing to grasp all the essence whichever emanates out of that relationship; by living in, one in one polarity while the other at the opposite.

All along, the drift is also proportionately widening irrevocably as in the case of continental drift in the ocean. If you really cherish and truly care about the relationship to thrive it for the rest of your life, that state of mind itself would be absent in the first place. Even at the very beginning when it silently tries to sneak in, you will tend to nip it in the bud, wouldn’t you? When you fail it to do so, so with the drift. The ‘adjustment state’ itself does not require much understanding, but just a drop of duality nature of us would do; which causally kicks in when we least aware of our inner ‘self.’

To acquire the
“state of Acceptance” needs a lot of self-study and inner growth to assess ones potential and insatiable thirst after knowing the truth. Differences in any human being is indispensable. Basically, that is where we all have a chance to make mistakes and learn a lesson out of it and evolve in mental and spiritual plane. When we learn a lesson, that lesson itself should be taken to our heart level to see through things whichever went wrong, and embrace it as it is one to carry later on into the future. Not even denying a little bit of that essence when we express that part of ourselves, though, now the difference is here we have learnt something out of it and embracing it, as it was part of us once.

By accepting and embracing it, we are not denying our other part but we have integrated into something better with more insight into it. And that very insightful understanding itself goes to act as a basic building block in a relationship to build a more realistic healthy family down the road.

Here is a question to think, how far one can be pushed to accept and learn, based on someone’s unrealistic and ungrounded expectations?