Impulsive and Compulsive!

Meaning of Impulsive is done without forethought and Compulsive means resulting from an irresistible urge. My friend Jayprakash and I were discussing the anatomy of my blog writing. He asked me a question what percentage of my blogs are written impulsively? On thinking, I felt that about 30% of my blogs are impulsive and others are compulsive. After writing 400 plus blogs, I think I always have an urge to write something. On average, each blog has about 1200 words. It means that I have managed to write 480 thousand words which have got converted into blogs. To write something readable, it takes a lot of efforts and research. Thanks to the internet it is quite easy to research, Jai Google baba!

When you finally read my blogs, hopefully, the blogs seem to be smooth reading material; I can rightly express the meaning that I want to say. Actual writing can take between 1 ½ to three hours. Exact time from start to finish generally varies, depending on other things that I do at home and work. Stuff I do includes watching cricket matches, chatting with friends, doing professional work.  Walks and the gym are also part of the schedule! Sometimes I get writer’s block, and some blogs remain incomplete for months and others for a week or so. A couple of days is the norm. But when I write the blogs impulsively, those are finished in an hour and a half flat.

When I get an impulse, the beginning, the middle and the end are right in front of my eyes. The classic case of impulsive writing is my blog, Brave Art! https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/brave-art/

The blog is about a young girl Manasi from Nashik, who decided to do nude paintings. It was a brave move for a young girl from a family like yours and mine. I had read her articles, about the tough path she has chosen, in a Marathi newspaper. I was trying to know about her through Sudhakar, my friend. He sent me a WA message giving details about her with her photograph; at that same moment, I was reading a beautiful poem where the poet was describing the lovely transition in a woman’s body as she was getting drenched in the rain. My blog was ready in an hour flat.

Let us look at one more blog. This blog to me is also impulsive.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/sorrrrry-but-what-about-my-ego/

It is an old blog written three years back. The incident I have shared was very awkward even to watch. The gentleman, who was my age, behaved very irrationally, and the young lady was grace personified. I was very much agitated after the incident. It is a smallish blog, and I finished it in half an hour! I had full clarity in my mind the moment I started writing.

One thing that hits all of us hard in the guts is the death of young people. Such deaths keep on haunting you all the time. For the families, these deaths lurk in the background all the time.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/coping-with-death/

I wrote this blog when I came to know about the death of young niece of a dear friend. She had no known health issues. A couple of weeks before, another friend lost his forty-year-old son. That the son had a heart condition does not give us any solace. While speaking with my friend about the niece’s death, he told me how the whole family was devastated. Even while writing these sentences, I feel emotionally drained. I cannot imagine how the families have handled the deaths. What I have written is not a blog; it is an outpouring from a distressed heart!

My blog written a few days ago is a classic case of compulsive writing. I have been thinking about the subject for some time. The theme is Adhyatma.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/adhyatma-why-it-is-beyond-me/

Usually, when I complete a blog, my mind is clear, and I get the satisfaction about writing on the chosen topic in the best possible manner within my limitations. But not this blog; even after completing this blog I am not too sure what I wanted to say. I am still not sure what is Adhyatma. I somehow get a feeling that Adhyatma is Mount Everest of the intellectual process. A friend Prakash was surprised that I ended up with a firm No, No! We had some exchange of notes on WhatsApp. When he suggested that I have also done reasonably well in life, I am still not convinced. What is the meaning of doing well? I am not talking about financial aspects.

The word transcendental is used in the discussions about Adhyatma. The Cambridge dictionary meaning of the word is: A transcendent experience, event, object, or idea is extremely special and unusual and cannot be understood in ordinary ways. Probably this is what I am trying to write and explain. How many people reach the pinnacle of what they are doing? How many of us reach a peak in life and continue doing it? I had given examples of Tendulkar, Ambani, Rahman and Bachchan. A sport’s person needs to retire due to physical limitations. But for others, I feel that there is no limit of age and they can pursue what they are doing till they are physically able to do it. Why should they give up on material things in life? What happens if they occasionally indulge with the money they have made?

Another friend Kishor suggested that I need to read Bhagwad Gita to understand the meaning of Adhaytma. I have read a couple of chapters but have not done a serious reading of Gita. I came to know that people learn Bhagwad Gita by heart. People are encouraged to do so. I met someone who took that path; I asked her what did she achieve? She was honest and said, “Nothing”!  To me, she had climbed a hillock when there was a tall mountain in front of her.

Adhyatma1

The saying depicted above is the most crucial part of Gita. It is implied that we get Adhikar to live in this world due to past karma from our previous lives. We start our life with a debt of our parents; every stage we go into, more debts of the other people and the society around us gets accumulated. As per the saying above we should keep on working without expecting any returns. You should earn your pay “package” on this earth to repay the debt. Repayment of debt is where I am still confused. Which debt should we repay? Societal obligation or family debt? The Adhikar or entitlement is given to us by HIM. Then we should repay His debt too! What is the meaning of repaying the debt? How do we repay His debt? How do we know that we have repaid it? Is this the meaning of renunciation?

At what stage do we start renunciation? At what stage should we go away from material stuff? Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to follow his dharma of a warrior and not bother about who his enemy is. Arjuna sees his family standing opposite him to fight a war. If fighting a battle with the family is correct dharma or walking away from such a situation the right dharma?

Prakash and Kishor, I have already mentioned that I am too ordinary a person to understand these lofty things. I tried to discuss things above my intellectual level and got more confused. At what stage do we want to start climbing the Mount Everest?  Are we equipped for it? At least I am not! Then which are the people who follow the path of Adhyatma? Honestly, I am personally ok with some indulgence. I would rather walk out than going to battle with family! This what I mean by back to square one! I love the fruits of my writing the blog, your love! Am I confused?

ConfusedFace

 

 

 

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Time is Money, so Sleep is Debt!

In today’s competitive 24/7 and 365 days world, how can you waste your time in sleep? Sleep is an integral part of our day; we work, socialise and sleep. Our energy spent during waking hours is recouped when we have sufficient rest. How much sleep does one need to regain strength? Every individual has own requirement of sleep, and it is defined by the body like our blood group. This property is known as Chronotype and is described as a person’s natural inclination about the times of day when they prefer to sleep or when they are most alert or energetic.

We have different ways of describing people like an early bird, night owl and those who are in between the bird and the owl. Early to bed and early to rise is the way to be healthy and wealthy and wise, is a saying that has been popular for a long time. Does it mean that the early birds are smart people and others are not? I don’t think so because it is a natural property of human beings. I remember my friend’s daughter. For first three to four years of her life, his princess would sleep throughout the day and would be fully awake during the night. Luckily the friend’s wife was not doing a job outside. Hence she could sleep for at least some time during the day time. But day time sleep has its limitations as the world runs on a daytime cycle. They had a tough time during those 3/4 years.

Sleep2

During the last hundred years or so, we humans have started working during nights. Before that very few people in any trade required night working. I remember my grandfather’s lifestyle. He would be ready to go to bed at 7 pm after having early dinner. I am talking of lifestyle that was prevalent in ’50 s of the last century. There was nothing else to do anyway. But with the industrial revolution, night shifts started in factories. In factories first shift would begin at 7 am, second would end at 11 pm and so on. These timings started invading our way of beginning and ending the day. Before all this, there was not much difference in humans and other creatures. If we observe, even today, the birds start flying out depending on the timings based on Sunrise and Sunset. Species other than humans follow nature. They wake up with the environment; they eat and drink water when hungry or thirsty. (Only humans drink specially manufactured alcohol); in the end, they die naturally. In certain species when the death is near, they go away from others and merge with nature. All this thinking has created words describing “Time is Money”; I have added to it “Sleep is Debt”! We, humans, give too much importance to when we wake up, when we sleep, and so on. People from the same organisations working in different continents adds to the misery.

 

Sleep1But is it true? Is it right? I read about a large organisation in China. They have a vast multi-storied complex where hundreds of people work. A team from the USA went there for some meetings. The meeting started at 10.30 am. It went on till 1 pm. They were taken for lunch, and they came back at 1.30 pm. Within, five minutes, all the lights, computer screens were put off. There was an announcement in Chinese to switch off the cell phones. At 2.15 pm everything came back to normal. The Americans were shocked. Their Chinese counterparts told them that they wanted to give surprise to the Americans. The practice of switching off everything is being followed in that organisation for some time, so that people take a nap. During this period, the Americans found it impossible to go to sleep, initially many of the Chinese staff also faced the same problem, but now they are used to it. The Americans found that some of their Chinese colleagues were even mildly snoring. Majority of the staff has given thumbs up to this method of taking a sleep break. Such breaks have increased the zest of people working in the second session. I can vouch for this method. I have been following this method for quite some time in my office.

In the western world, sleep is treated as some sin. People become judgmental when someone says that he/she needs some sleep. In olden days, though everybody had different sleep cycles, some people were required to keep awake against attacks by animals. Another need was to ensure that the fire needed for warmth did not spread dangerously. In Mahabharata, the war stopped at the Sunset. Lord Krishna had taken advantage of this fact and killed Jayadratha, by hiding the  Sun in the afternoon with his Sudarshana Chakra, and bringing Jayadratha out in front of Arjuna.

I am sure that a word associated with sleep in olden days must have been fear! That is because of the animal attacks. Now in modern times, we don’t have fear associated with the word sleep, but still, we make sure that all the door and window latches are in place. Worry before sleeping is the remnant of the “fear” we had in mind. Maybe the night prowlers may break in, is the fear we still may have! On the other side, it is considered good if someone dies in sleep. The reasoning could be that the person may not feel the pain if any, while dying.

All said and done; a sleep deficit is bound to have its issues. Each human can handle only a certain amount of sleep deficit. After that, the performance gets deteriorated. The person will be anxious; the concentration may reduce and accidents while driving can also take place.

Once we had gone out for dinner with some Japanese friends, we finished our dinner at around 11 pm. I asked the friend how do they handle this in Japan. He said, “Initially we do bar hopping till midnight and then have dinner. By the time we are done, it is 2 am.” I asked him, “How do you manage the office the next day?” My friend said, “ We must reach the office at 7 am, but if I am not up to it, I take my boss’s permission to go and sleep in my car!” Great solution!

But one thing is sure; you cannot be in debt in life, as well as in sleep. You have to repay it; you have to make it up at some stage. A good way of handling this is to learn to take power naps! A ten-minute power nap will go a long way.

In modern times, during the last 15 years, things have changed for the worse. Housing loans are much cheaper than personal loans. We can call our sleep deficit due to work as a housing loan, but we also take personal loans which are costlier than housing loans. These new loans are in the form of social media or screen time. With these two loans running simultaneously, sleep deficit is bound to be there; make sure you avoid it or you may become bankrupt!

Mahabharata, real-life guide!

DassaraMy friend Sudhakar and I appear to have some telepathy connection! I just started writing this blog about Mahabharata and at the same time he shared the above painting on our friends’  WA group! I am assuming that this painting is a gift to me; hence I have borrowed the painting as a perfect fit for the blog!

I had read Mahabharata while in school, then maybe I saw a few episodes on the famous serial in 90’s on TV. Later on, when I started reading about it at random, I realized that all the stories, all narrations are our real-life stories! I am not going to write about Mahabharata as scholarly treaties as I am a common man and trying to understand its meaning. While I was reading Mahabharata, I felt that it is written as a Metaphor and the idea is to explain to common people, tough and a dry subject in the manner to make it interesting.

I will be jumping from some references from Gita and some from Mahabharat. I feel that Vyasa told the stories as a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, the war was described by Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra; Sanjaya could telepathically witness the war, as if by “live streaming”. These are typical good versus bad stories; these are Metaphors teaching us about of life. What I have observed is that we accept some of the stories as Gospel and modify others suitably. Some of the concepts we simply dump. It appears that Vyasa was a storyteller par excellence! Had these concepts been told only as poetry or prose, maybe it would not have become so famous, it would not have reached the general public. Upanishads are not read by the general public but by scholars and experts because of this reason.

In Hinduism, we say “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma!” With this background how could Krishna tell Arjuna to bear his arms and kill his own family and gurus! But the actual verse is a two-line verse.

Ahimsa paramo dharma

Dharma himsa tathaiva cha

Means

Nonviolence is the ultimate Dharma

So, too, is violence in service of the Dharma

This means that to preserve dharma (righteousness), to eradicate adharma, a person can resort to violence if non-violent methods fail. Krishna tried his best to avoid a war. But Duryodhana wanted a war so that he could kill all of the Pandavas, thus the war became unavoidable. Arjuna is a Kshatriya (Warrior) and it would be impossible for him to run away from his karmic debt and become and an ascetic. If he ran away from this war, he would have been forced to run away to the Himalayas and fight a war for food and shelter and even for his women.

Arjuna, the main character in Mahabharata is the best fighter in the world. The world in those days started and ended with Bharat Khand. Obviously, people in those times did not have knowledge about the existence of the world beyond, not that there much happening beyond. Arjuna should replace the modern world word, Casanova. Whenever he travelled alone for a duration, he would marry some Rajkanya or the other. It is very interesting that after the marriage and pregnancy (it was always predicted to be a boy!) he would tell his latest bride that he has a mission to complete; now she live with their  Putra and his memories. Surprisingly those were the accepted norms, in those days! There were some interesting episodes too! Once he had broken a vow of not disturbing, any brother who was in privacy with Draupadi. He took one-year vanavas as a punishment. Dharmaraja was with Draupadi at that time. He tried to convince Arjuna that he had broken the vow because of some urgent work. But Arjuna stuck to his words. Arjuna met beautiful Chitrangada near the Ganga river and both fell in love with each other. Chitrangada asked him to marry her. But Arjuna convinced her that since he was in penance and celibacy, he could not marry her. Chitrangada was smarter and more convincing. She argued that his penance and celibacy was about Draupadi so he could always marry her! Wow, she would have the top leading lawyer at the Supreme Court today! So another son for Arjuna and left behind wife later….

I feel that the Mahabharata war was not a war of relatives or relatives killing of relatives. Instead, it is a symbolic war between good and bad, right or wrong which happens within us all the time. The actors are symbols of various things in life. Arjuna symbolizes individual or the immortal soul within the body, Lord Krishna symbolizes the God, Kurukshetra is the field of action or our day to day life, five white horses of Arjuna’s chariot symbolize the five senses, Pandavas are positive spirits and Kauravas are negative destructive thoughts.

To me, Bhagwad Gita and Mahabharata merge into each other at the same time they remain separate entities. As we know that Bhagwad Gita was the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, when Arjuna gets depressed when he sees his grandfather, his guru, his relatives with whom he has to fight. This war shows the conflicting view of how the deceptions and tricks were used during the war. But for most of the times, it was fought in a just manner.

On the 18th day of the war Drushtadyumna, Shikhandi and many other warriors were killed by Ashwathama while they were sleeping at night. This was generally not done during the war in those days. Was Ashwathama’s attack vengeance or trickery? There is a story that all Upapandavas (Pandvasa five sons from Draupadi) were also killed on that night. What is the significance of that story? Why the rules were suddenly broken on that day? As I have said earlier, the war and the whole Mahabharata, depict our day to day lives where we are generally honest but suitably cheat! This is human nature.

I will share one interesting episode from this saga. Krishna was the strategist and advisor par excellence. Before the war he had given his Yadav army to Kauravas and stayed as the advisor or maybe the right word is a schemer, to Pandavas. He is shown as a cunning personality. In Arjuna’s battle with Jayadrath, he helps Arjuna to achieve his goal by cunning. Arjuna had vowed to kill Jayadrath on a day to avenge the death of Abhimanyu; failing which he would commit suicide! Dronacharya and Kauravas tried  their best to hide Jayadrath. Suddenly the sky darkens and it is almost sunset. It was supposedly done by Krishna by hiding the Sun behind his Sudarshan Chakra. In one version, the Sun appears to be set because of the eclipse and came out when the eclipse was over! When Jayadrath comes out to see Arjuna’s imminent death, suddenly the Sun becomes bright. Krishna tells Arjuna to kill him. He also tells Arjuna to ensure that Jayadrath’s head falls in his father’s lap. Jayadrath’s father being a sage had given him a boon that whoever was responsible to make Jayadrath’s head fall on the ground will die instantaneously, with his head broken. The father gets up when the head falls in his lap and the head falls down on the ground, the father dies instantly. Thus, Krishna avoids sure death of Arjuna due to the boon. Narration shows that Krishna was the schemer and had terrific knowledge. Till he had shown Arjuna that he was an avatar of the god, even Arjuna thought Krishna was a human and a good friend. To me it becomes tricky to understand if Krishna’s knowledge was because he was God or he had acquired the same as a human being?

You may have a question why Pramod is delving in this subject of Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita? My maturity is helping me to understand the real meaning of life, real life, warts and all! I found the stories fascinating. The stories and sequences are absolutely real life. We can relate to them as if something we have heard, observed, maybe went through in real life. Some of the points become complex, some disputable and some outright mended to create interesting stuff. I am sure that all storytellers and especially those in Bollywood treat these as Gospel (Gita is Hindu Gospel anyway!) They give further twists and turns and create a highly marketable products! Maybe you will get some more from me on the subject in future too!

Will Empire strike back?

Me Too

 

Empire Strikes back was a 1980 sci-fi movie which was a big hit! In the movie, an existing strong entity pulls up its socks, reorganizes and strikes back at the conquerors! We have a history of Patriarchal society where male domination has been the norm. “Me Too” has already threatened this dominance and maybe the women are becoming conquerors.

In Mahabharata, there is the classic episode of Draupadi Vastraharan, disrobing of Draupadi by Kauravas after Yudhishthir lost the game of dice, in which he had staked Draupadi! It’s a complex story, many things that were done and not done, said or remained unsaid, were justified by traditions, dharma and beliefs of those times. To me, all these stories and situations are Metaphors which imply a subtle meaning which is explained as a story. The worst of the incident is that Karna called Draupadi a whore. In those times, a man could have more than one wife but a woman could not have more than one husband. Has this changed in 2018? Draupadi was the epitome of a strong woman. While she was being dragged to the hall, Karna told Vikarna, the only person opposing this act, that the whore has no rights, she can be dragged in the hall even if she is naked! That is what the Dharma of those days said. When she was finally dragged by Dushasana, she was going for a bath and had a skimpy cloth around her body. Her period had started and the cloth was slightly smeared with blood. She resisted but did not cry. Krishna provided her with the supply of unlimited saris; this is explained as a miracle. Do you understand what I am trying to say? It took a miracle to save a strong woman like Draupadi! Why am I going into so many details? The subject of Me Too is not going away from my mind. I am very much agitated hence I am writing one more blog on the same subject within the last 4/5 days!

Many males and a few females have said nasty things about the affected women from “Me Too”. Why did they not slap the male? Why were they afraid? Does this mean that the ladies wanted to offer their bodies? Come on friends, in this world how many strong persons are there? Both male and female? A very small percentage has strong character. We have prostitutes and slaves for thousands of years. Slaves were both male and female. Nobody loves to live as a slave. But their weakness pushes them into this life. Our societies psyche has become such that males are always allowed to dominate females. I agree that if Draupadi were meek then Mahabharata would not have happened! She is the one who first resisted Kauravas, verbally and morally. Krishna did the rest! On the other side in the Nirbhaya case, even though the lady wanted to fight back, her boyfriend was with her; but males involved were so brutal and inhuman that they did what they did right in the middle of our capital city Delhi! That is the male Empire I am talking about! This empire theory is so much ingrained in us that we assume that it is the right of Males to do what they want, the way they want!

A commentator, Vinita Nangia said in her article on the subject, “Me Too” is breakpoint that women badly needed! To me, Point of Inflexion is a term which also fits perfectly. The point of inflexion or the Ecological threshold is the point at which a relatively small change or disturbance in external conditions, causes a rapid change in an ecosystem.  Crossing an ecological threshold often leads to a rapid change of ecosystem equilibrium. The small change or disturbance is that, a few ladies have started a movement of coming out openly to tell the world, how they were asked for sexual favours against the jobs they were trying to perform. This has started in a small way but is expected to create a typhoon over a period as many women are expected to openly talk about their difficulties. Now that the “Me Too” movement has started in a small way and it will grow in slowly and there will be no going back!

My main point of discussion is, will the “Male Empire strike back”? If so, how will they do it? After trying to do what they want, where they want and when they want, has been  going on from Draupadi’s time! Men are not going to give up so easily, their “benefits”. Will there be a thought process not to employ women, if the job description requires them to travel with males? This cyclone or this war is going to be messy, to say the least. In this war, some innocents will get hit on both sides. It may hit both guilty and not guilty! Don’t forget that in every new incident that comes in open, there are at least two families that are also going to get hurt badly! In management term or real battle terms, it has got a fancy name, Collateral Damage!

My point is that there have been flirtations, there have been illicit affairs. These must be differentiated from predatory acts. In the workplace, men’s libido comes in the way of right and just things. How will “Me Too” help? Will it make men understand that when a woman says no, it means NO! Women also have to be careful that their actions are going to hurt someone, it can ruin somebody’s career, it can ruin their family life! Ladies should clearly differentiate between breakup of illicit affair and predatory attack. Converting breakup in affair into a “Me Too” event will give set back to this revolution! This is not a battle but it is a protest, an uprising! I am not sure if current laws are good enough to make discretion between flirtations/illicit affairs and predatory attack!

Why am I asking the rhetorical question, Will Empire Strike Back? It is simply because as per my understanding, this phenomenon is city based; I shudder to think of what is still happening in smaller places and villages. If parents can kill their daughters for family honour, who is going to bother about predatory pouching? In small towns and villages, we hear of ladies being stripped and paraded in villages, on some minor issues. So, if we are under an impression that the Empire will be weakened, then we are under a great misconception. In future too, the boys and girls will keep on migrating to cities from villages and towns! There will be non-stop supply “cultured” males and girls who “expect” predatory behaviour from men, because that is what they have seen all their lives! These poor girls are then easy prey to city-bred chauvinist males! What you want is free sex; sophistication will not be a pre-condition! It has been our tradition right from Draupadi’s times, is it not!

Mythology has  been the base of our traditions which we follow as if its a gospel. When Arjuna “won” Draupadi in Swayamwara, all five brothers came home with Draupadi. Kunti thought that they have come back  with the alms that they used to collect everyday. She said, “Share the alms, all five of you!” Kunti’s words became the God’s truth and lo, the brothers decided to “share” Draupadi! After all she was just a thing, just an item, she was a woman! Even Kunti, a woman, also did not feel that she should take her words back! How can you go against your mothers words? After all Kunti had been the harbinger of non traditional things in the family! She had given birth to Karna before marriage!

I fear that unless “Me Too” spreads to small places and villages, the situation is not going to change as much as we think it will! After all, no woman openly talks about forced sex (which may not amount to rape), their periods and such things. City-bred, confident girls with family support will do it! Empire need not strike back, it has sown the seeds of suppressing women, thousands of years back. Now the “real fruits” have become low hanging fruits for them. They will simply become discreet and will learn techniques to know which girl is going to keep her mouth shut, for ever!

Tit for Tat!

These adjectives Good, Bad and Ugly are used to describe humans and their nature. Our world is made up of a combination of interactions between the humans and nature. We humans think that we know a lot about nature but we understand our shortcomings when nature shows its true nature or colours, once in a while. When we talk of nature, we talk about natural things! Nature has not changed much in millions of years, barring temperature and rain in certain areas. The variations that we see are more about the intensity and ferociousness. Otherwise, nature is reasonably predictable. It is we humans who are causing the nature to change with our indiscretions and indiscipline.

But humans? No, they are the most unpredictable lot! Good, Bad and Ugly are the basic words to describe human nature. We need many variations, different words in trying to describe the human nature. Human and Nature are two contradictory words that are always used together. Human nature changes with situations, with life experiences that are good, bad or ugly! The predictability about nature is easy but predicting human nature is 70 to 80% correct.

Whenever humans interact there is one important mix in it, the emotions. Very similar situations are seen by the same human in different ways, depending on the emotions at that time. This also depends on the nature of the group of people or the clans they are from. A small brushing of two vehicles in traffic are treated differently. The scientific name for this event is road rage! Such incidents in North India can result in a murder (UGLY) whereas it can lead to a bit of argument elsewhere. (BAD) Personally, if it is not my error, someone bumping into you from behind, I simply ignore the incident. (GOOD)  Why does this happen? During the last 500 years, there have been many attacks on us. Brunt for these attacks was always borne by northern people. This probably has made them aggressive but the aggression erupts out in the wrong situations, even today. Is it written in their DNA to take revenge, get into fighting mode? Is it happening because the old stories or war and fights and battles are told to the child during their bringing up? Are they taught tit for tat during childhood?

Tit for tat means an equivalent given in retaliation. It is very easy to interpret this as a revenge or giving back. But if we think about the term tit for tat out of the box, there can be a positive interpretation of this term. Supposing there is a dispute going on between two entities. One entity suddenly realizes the folly of the whole situation and takes a step back, a step towards reconciliation, a step towards settlements, a step to resolution. To me, since tit for tat means equivalent given in retaliation, the other entity should also take a step back and try to diffuse the situation, resolve the issue.

In the real world, it is called common sense, in politics, it is called diplomacy, in love, it is called love. In love, there is no reason to give tit for tat, if at all you want to do it, do it by giving more love in return. In friendship, of course, there is nothing like sorry or thank you, so there is no tit for tat. There are many teachings, many examples from Bhagwad Gita and discourse of Lord Krishna but we still follow tit for tat. For example, when Arjuna gets depressed to start the war with his dear ones, Lord Krishna tells him to follow the “Kshatriya Dharma”! No religion tells you to give tit for tat in the sense of revenge.

World and life are never fair to any of us. We have to accept life as it comes, we have to accept our destiny. When we see people in limelight, people succeeding in life, we think that it has been the bed of roses for them all through their lives. But when we read more details about them, when we find more information about them, we know that life is more or less same for all as far as fairness is concerned.

Friends given below is a conversation between Lord Krishna and Karna. I found it very interesting and gives us a deep insight into the philosophy of life. It talks of the better side of the idiom, tit for tat! It says life is unfair to everybody only we do not know about it. The degree of unfairness may differ. Krishna suggests to Karna to stop cribbing and says that unfairness does not anybody give license to behave badly!

Karna asks Lord Krishna – “My mother left me the moment I was born. Is it my fault I was born an illegitimate child?”

Lord Krishna replies, “Karna, I was born in a jail. Death was waiting for me even before my birth. The night I was born I was separated from my birth parents.”

At birth, Krishna’ plight was worse than that of Karna. 

Karna says further, “I did not get the education from Dhronacharya because I was considered a non-Kshatriya. Parshuram taught me but then gave me the curse to forget everything, at the wrong moment, since I was a Kshatriya.”

Lord Krishna Replies, “From childhood, you grew up hearing the noise of swords, chariots, horses, bow, and arrows. I got only cow herd’s shed, dung, and multiple attempts on my life even before I could walk! No army, no education. I could hear people saying I am the reason for all their problems. When all of you were being appreciated for your valour by your teachers I had not even received any education. I joined gurukul of Rishi Sandipani only at the age of 16!”

This indicates how tough it was for Krisha to get his basic education about warfare! 

Karna is still not satisfied and asks Lord Krishna, “A cow was accidentally hit by my arrow & its owner cursed me for no fault of mine. I was disgraced in Draupadi’s swayamvar. Even my mother Kunti, finally told me the truth only to save her other sons. Whatever I received was through Duryodhana’s charity. So how am I wrong in taking his side?”

Lord Krishna smiles and says, “You are married to a girl of your choice. I didn’t get the girl I loved & rather ended up marrying those who wanted me or the ones I rescued from demons. I had to move my whole community from the banks of Yamuna to far off Seashore to save them from Jarasandh. I was called a coward for running away!! If Duryodhana wins the war you will get a lot of credit. What do I get if Dharmaraja wins the war? Only the blame for the war and all related problems….

For Karna Life has been a little fairer than to Krishna!

Lord Krishna says further. “Remember one thing, Karna. Everybody has challenges in life. LIFE IS NOT FAIR TO ANYBODY!!! Duryodhana also has a lot of unfairness in life and so has Yudhhishthir.”

Then he tells life’s philosophy!  

“But what is Right (Dharma) is known to your mind (conscience). No matter how much unfairness we got, how many times we were disgraced, how many times we were denied what was due to us, what is important is how you REACTED at that time.

Stop whining Karna. Life’s unfairness does not give you license to walk the wrong path…

Always remember, Life may be tough at a point, but DESTINY is not created by the SHOES we wear but by the STEPS we take…”

To me, this advice is so true to today’s India!

Gay Abandon!

Aarticle-377-2

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is a section of the Indian Penal Code introduced in 1861 during the British rule of India. Modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533, it criminalizes sexual activities “against the order of nature”. Its application to consensual homosexual sex between adults was found unconstitutional in 2018.  

6th September 2018 was the D day in the lives of gay people in India. If you read the statement above, you will realize that this section of penal code was based on buggery act of 1533 (anal sex)  and introduced in the Indian penal code in 1861! Wow, this is called following the old traditions! Where was the world in 1533, then in 1861! We have been following the very old thought process without changing anything, we have been following it simply because someone said so. How is anyone concerned with private things in the lives of others? How can such a relationship become a criminal act? What is the crime?  

In most species in the world, we have males and females! This is created by nature for a natural process of procreation. I will not talk about other species as their brains are not as developed as human brains. With the improved and knowledgeable brain, the “feelings” started to come into the picture. To procreate, an intimate closeness gets created between the male and female involved due to the sexual act they perform, or at least I presume so! What I have read in old literature and history is that discussions were not as open as the love and closeness discussions, in today’s world.  

Even till the first 50 years of the last century, marriage was an event as routine as any other life process. In those times life expectancy was quite low. At the time of marriage, a male could be easily elder to the female by 8 to 10 years. Average female age at the time of marriage in those times was between 12 to 16 years. My mother was 16 and my friend’s mother was 13 when they were married. Knowledge about the birds and the bees in those days, at that tender age, must have been low.  About the “feelings”, the adage was you get married love will happen; but in most cases, children first happened. How much love was involved later is difficult to judge. With low life expectancy, the husbands simply died by the time women got into the age of feeling love. The birth of children at a young age did not give female enough time to think of love. It probably remained in closets or in mind. 

In olden times it was discussed that love and sex should be between a male and a female. Male/Male and female/female pairing were naturally considered taboo. This relationship was a given religious angle, like everything else in olden days. “God has created Males & Females to create their progeny.” Period! Do we mean to say that these so-called queer relationships never existed before? Remember Shikhandi in Mahabharat? Krishna advised Arjuna to fight Bhishma with the help of Shikhandi’s, as she was born a male and then had a sex change or maybe she was a eunuch. There is an open discussion on this subject in Mahabharata. While this subject of complex sexual identities was discussed openly in Mahabharata, different relationships between Male/Male and female/female were not discussed. Pre-marital sex was discussed differently; Kunti got “boon” from Bhagwan Surya and Karna was born! Oh, come on!

I think, as usual, the priests made this subject taboo to take advantages, to keep control on society. I am sure there must be a hidden ritual somewhere, where priests would “cure” female gay relationship problem my forcing the females to “stay” with them and perform “pooja”, the natural way. 

My thinking on such subjects is quite blunt! How is it the concern of others what a pair does in privacy? It is none of anybody’s business what people do inside their bedrooms as long as both parties agree to whatever they do. It is like eating food or having a drink or smoking cigarettes. Is someone a vegetarian or a nonvegetarian? Is someone a teetotaler or drinks alcohol regularly? It is simply no one else’s business. 

Similarly, two males or two females may like or love each other. They may have sex with each other. This is even today called unnatural sex. What is the definition of natural sex? Is sex natural when it happens between a male and a female? Is there no so-called unnatural sex between a male and a female?  Does it become natural only when sex is performed in a certain way? Sex is an act between a couple of any sex. Because someone in the government had slept over, pun not intended, such acts were called criminal due to an old law. What is criminal about a sexual act between two consenting adults? Many times, such acts are also described as amoral? What is moral? What is right and what is wrong? In sexual behaviour the operative word is adult; even if one of the two is not an adult then the act becomes amoral and I totally agree there. Before becoming adults, humans do not have the capability of deciding things on their own, because of immaturity.  

Somebody made a comment on the Supreme Court ruling that now the gays will openly show their affection in public. I totally disagree. Currently, there are so-called normal couples who show the PDA (Public Display of Affection) but not all do it. The number of couples showing PDA is comparatively quite low. I think the same % will apply to gay couples too! The gay people are also like anybody else. They do their jobs, they have parents, they have relatives. They are like you and me. The only thing different will be that they will not be able to procreate, for obvious reasons! But in the world, around 8 to 10%  of the so-called “normal” couples are also not able to procreate due to various reasons.  

Societies have certain rules and regulations. These keep on changing, sometimes an old thought process comes back to the society. But just because someone has a different sexual inclination, society should not make them criminals. The different sexual inclination is nature’s doing. Some minor tweaking in chromosomes must be happening at the time of birth which changes the behaviour of humans including their sexual behaviour. Such humans cannot be treated as criminals for the way they are naturally born!  

Next law I am told on the hit list of Supreme Court is adultery law! It is about time we repealed the old thought process from the modern society. But this is another subject of discussion.

Decisive frame of mind!

Shailu

This thought just hit the right chords in my mind. In our lives we find ourselves in many different situations, meet a lot of people. Our life is like a river which meanders through the terrain it is allotted. The river does not complain why am I being given a hilly terrain? Why am I on flat land? It just follows its course. River is a great example for humans to follow. I have added my two cents (in blue) to the important thought depicted above.

Don’t be afraid of losing people, be afraid of losing YOURSELF by trying to please everyone! To me YOURSELF means self-belief in principles of your life! 

In our lives we need to act properly to suit any situation. Over a period, we mould ourselves in a certain way; some of us become too arrogant and some become too soft, or meek maybe the right  word to describe such people. In such cases, what happens is that human reaction remains same irrespective of the situation. An arrogant person will just ignore the thought processes, suggestions of others. Whereas a soft human being, will heed to everybody’s suggestions, accept whatever others say. In both cases having correct end result becomes a 50:50 chance. In life no situation is in black and white but there is always some shade of gray in it. What I have mentioned about arrogance and softness is the same as being black or white, we need to operate in gray areas, show aggression at the same time be open to settle!

What I am suggesting is about flexibility to match the situation. In office situation it can so happen that the boss one day may have to start reporting to a subordinate. If the boss starts thinking like, “Oh! This person was my junior, how can the person be my boss? I am better than him.” But that your subordinate has become your boss indicates something different. Maybe the subordinate has become smarter with experience and has become better than you. Maybe the subordinate was better than you anyway. But the management was waiting for the subordinate to gain work experience, unfortunately under you. What happens if there is no flexibility in such a situation? The organization may suffer due to lack of harmony, the boss will suffer, may ultimately have to go. Or the subordinate may not be able to perform well.

When the river is flowing normally, things are smooth, but when there is a flood situation, big turbulence gets created. The water level increases and goes above the banks, there will be large flow of water besides turbulence. This is a situation very similar to the example I have shared above. There are some large and rigid trees and there are some soft bushes (in Marathi these are called लव्हाळी) that come in the path of the roaring water. Large trees, because of their rigidity and stiffness have to handle huge forces of water, and can get uprooted. But the bushes which are soft, bend with the flow and hence can handle the large force of water easily, without getting uprooted.

Similarly, if we do not react suitably in our life, we can get damaged, we can get uprooted. Rigid and stiff trees are like our ego. If we cannot keep our ego aside, if we do not change as per the need of the situation we will have difficulties in life. Sometimes taking such decisions can make a few people unhappy. Sometimes we are afraid to take such decisions, with fear of losing people. But if you change to suit the situation, you may lose a few people but you will be true to yourself, your thought processes, your principles. At the end of the day this will make you happy.

In life we have different eco systems. One is a personal eco system and other is the formal eco system. But in certain situations, these eco systems overlap, they cross the boundaries. This is when the complications arise. Classic example of this is explained in Bhagwad Geeta! Arjuna is in his chariot between two armies, along with Bhagwan Krishna and is confused, depressed. He sees on the other side, his grandfather Bhishma, Guru Dronacharya, his cousins and so many relatives. His bow starts slipping from his hand as he goes into depression at the thought of fighting against all these people; and probably killing all of them to win the war! Winning the war is the goal of the formal eco system and not fighting a war with all these stalwarts is the goal of his personal eco system. Bhagwan Krishna resolves his issue by saying that as a warrior it is Arjuna’s duty to fight and win the war and not bother, against whom he is fighting it. On top of that Arjuna had not started that conflict which led to the war. So, it was morally Arjunas duty to fight and win the war, which was forced on him. If he had not fought the war he would have failed, or lost morally to his brothers and self. But fighting and winning the war he lost the others. It was a cache 22 situation where acceptable solution was winning the war.

We face these kinds of situations many times. In my recent blogs, I had given a couple of examples where family members had done serious damage to the family by their actions. This happened because the other family members did not act in time for the fear of losing people. The end result, senior members in the family lost their homes, lost the peace of mind, in old age. It is with this fear of losing people, we allow bullies to push and drag!

So friends, act tough when required but be open to settle amicably! I read about a story which exactly depicts this thought process. An old man stayed in his flat with his son and his son’s family. After the death of his wife, he was lonely and the family helped him feel more lonely by reducing interaction with him. He would have his food in his room. Son and his wife had almost zero interaction with him. They came to a conclusion that old man needed to be shifted to old people’s home. On a Sunday, they went into father’s room and said, “We have planned something for you.” The Old man said, “In fact I wanted to talk to you two as I have also made some plans. Now I am old and come in your way many times. So I have decided that you and your family move out of my flat; couple of my friends, who are also widowers, will move here and we will enjoy our life in our way, without disturbing you folks. You have one month starting from today!”  Did he lose his son? No, old man was on the verge of losing himself! Be decisive when the time comes!