Grade your pleasures!

You are in Tahiti with your beloved, lovely weather and a glass of your favourite poison is within your handshake. Consider you are watching Sachin Tendulkar batting at his prime, Roger Federer, Sachin’s friend, is sitting next to you and says. Hey, Pramod, why don’t you come and watch Wimbledon next month and watch it along with Sachin. You are out with your with wife and children and enjoying food and rides in the amusement park. You meet your college mates after a very long time and enjoying the camaraderie. How will you grade these scenarios?   

Its tough, is it not tight to grade? Look at the world from an angle of inner satisfaction. Once we do that, grading will not be difficult. To me, the pleasures can be graded as below. The list is from number five to number one in quality of grading. 

  • Basic pleasures 
    • Basic joys like good food, good clothes are what brings universal pleasures. 
    • Then there are beautiful homes, lovely scenery. 
    • But don’t forget that HE has a significant role to play. The fruits could have been simple to look at full of vitamins and minerals. But they are made beautiful to look at too! 
    • Then there is sex; it is designed in such a way that physically it is nothing, but if two persons involved, love each other then they are on cloud nine!  
    • Enjoy all the physical aspects of the world. 
  • Money pleasures 
    • We all know what money can do in life and a lot of money can do a lot of things for you. But is it so important that we can give up on things that we love? 
    • Suppose someone offers you Ten crore Rupees. Against that the person tells you to handover  one of your children forever; with the condition that you can never get in touch with your child. Will you do it? Never, you will never give up on your child whatever the offer.  
    • After you reach home, you will find that your son has spilt up Ketchup all over the kitchen and your daughter is crying because she is not allowed the pastry she loves. It takes an hour of persuasion to cool things down, but will you exchange your child screaming and howling included. No, never! 
  • Cause pleasures 
    • Suppose you come across a do or die situation in life. You are on the beach, and you find that someone is drowning. Without even thinking you jump in the water; you are an average swimmer, but you don’t think about it. The person is saved, you are tired and are resting, but the pleasure this act has given you, cannot be compared with worldly pleasures. 
    • I have read a story about Alfred Noble the inventor of dynamites. When his brother died, the local newspaper by mistake wrote his obituary. The piece talked about how much destruction dynamites had brought all over the world. Later the error was corrected, but Alfred was very much upset about the devastation caused by his invention, as written in the obituary. That is the story behind the birth of the Nobel prize. 
  • Creativity pleasure 
    • The world has seen what havoc was caused by Hitlers and Mussolinis of this world. They banned the freedom, they persecuted the Jews. They created a negative situation in the world like of which was never seen before by humanity. The war had to ultimately end, by dropping of atomic bombs, killing a large number of people. Dictators had a feeling that by putting people under control, there will be a utopia in this world.  
    • As against this, if you give freedom and allow people to create in any field, life itself is a pleasure. Creating babies and bringing them as a good human being is the greatest pleasure that one can have. 
    • To run an organisation, you need hierarchy, but that does not mean that you have a dictator, as a boss. You give freedom and people will create. Creativity gives pleasure and dictatorship leads to destruction.  
    • Many of the world’s wonders exist because the artists were given freedom.  
  • HIS pleasures 
    • Why is this the number one pleasure? Do you remember HIM as per your convenience or daily? 
    • Do you say thank to HIM daily? 
    • Are you awed by HIM? 
    • Any situation or event in life is due to HIM. To show gratitude to HIM is the greatest pleasure in this world; whatever good or bad that happens in this world is because of HIM.  
    • Imagine birth of any species. Without HIM, there would be many complications. In the ordinary course, HE has made such a complicated process of birth, easy by HIS design. 
    • Once you learn to keep some time for HIM in your daily routine, it gives us tremendous pleasure and strength to wade through life 
    • Since everything is in His control, we never feel like asking a question, why me? It teaches us to accept life as it comes, good or bad, happy or sad!  
    • Living your normal life, you can reach a spiritual phase. 
    • A Picasso or a Tagore, A Tendulkar or a Federer are His doings. All these greats have His signature.
    • Now that we have some understanding of the different types of pleasures, I will leave it to you to grade them in your way. Each person thinks differently, you need not agree with my grading. 

Try and get genuine pleasure and avoid pseudo pleasures. I had mentioned in one of my blogs, sex is a pure pleasure but watching porn is a pseudo pleasure. There is one more similar example. Cash carrying van had a problem with its back door, and bank notes fell off the truck. People ran and collected as many notes as possible. But there was one man who could collect Rs. Fifty thousand. He took the notes and handed them over to the authorities. Who had more pleasure? Those who ran away with the money or the person who returned the money? Take your call; my opinion is the person who returned the dough had more pleasure.  

Know what you’re living for. The Almighty created us to have pleasure. It’s hard work to be an Olympic runner, and it’s even harder work to become a champion human being. But you weren’t born for comfort. You were born to have pleasure. So make a decision — travel first class. 

 

  

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Bappa’s Constitution!

Yesterday when we were going out, in the car Rhea asked a question to my daughter Priya.  She said, “Is it our flags birthday today?” It was not a simple question. Priya said, “No, it is our constitution’ s birthday!” For a five-year-old, the next inevitable question was what the constitution is? Priya said, “It is a rule book for all of us.” Rhea then asked, “Did Bappa write the rule book?” Bappa is the Marathi word for God.

In childhood everything is very straightforward, that includes life. Good things in life happen because of God, and the bad things occur because of the demons. They define everything as  0 & 1; things are either black or white. There are no shades of grey. Childhood naivety is responsible for an easy life. For kids, there are no complexities. When life is good, they laugh when it is sad, they cry.

But adult life is tricky and where everything is in shades of grey. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a book representing today’s times. For the benefit of those who are not aware of this book here is the link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifty_Shades_of_Grey

This book is about sex, control, wealth and combination thereof. Wealth is about ownership. The concept of ownership started ten thousand years back when humans started organised farming.  With farming, the nomadic tribes began to settle into areas near the water, rivers or lakes. Many settlements also started near the sea, but the drinking water was a problem initially.

With the ownership started the issues of controls. In other species like monkeys, controls were mainly about leadership and females. There were no other assets hence things were and still are simple. But today humans need to control the area, then the city, state and nation. Further people want to control other countries. Controls are taken to get natural assets.

I was just trying to imagine a naïve world as seen through the child’s eyes. Life would be simple. Children can play, chat with each other. There are no language barriers; they don’t have territory issues. We should use Google Earth, metaphorically. When we open  Google Earth and see our home,  we can get to know the house distinctly when we zoom in. Start zooming out.  First, we see our colony, then the area, then the city.

Further zooming shows us the state where we live, then the nation. As we zoom further, we see our continent — finally the whole earth. What is the meaning of this change? These images take us away from the barriers we have created, the barriers crash. We go away from our small abode; we are taken far away from the language spoken and finally from the geography of our nation and the continent. We need to rewrite the Bappa’s Rules, as seen from Google earth as there are unnecessary barriers. We need to think out of box. We should become naïve like small kids.

If you think that Pramod is trying to visualise utopia because I am trying to say something that is impossible; no sir! It has already happened to some extent in our world. What is the European Union (EU) after all? EU was born in 1993. Most of the European nations joined the EU or agreed to be part of EU and share the same rules, currency, visa and so on. They have managed to remove the unnatural barriers. A couple of years back when we took an Alpine tour, we started in Germany, went to Austria, then to Italy.

Further, we travelled to Switzerland, again to Italy and back to Switzerland. Finally, we took our flight back home from Frankfurt in Germany. No border checks, no customs inspection, we could use the same currency Euro in most of the places.

When a big continent like Europe can survive using naïve rules where they tried to remove many unnatural barriers, I am sure other nations can also work to remove the obstacles. There are problems in EU, but questions had been worse when there were more barriers. Imagine a world free of passports, visas, x-ray machines and so on! There are problems galore like terrorism, refugees who made it necessary to create such complex systems.

When she was younger, Rhea had asked me one question in a Mandir. “How does the Bappa know when I ask him to make me wise, in Marathi? Does he understand all languages?” Bappa or God is our creation. He does not bother about barriers; he understands every language in the world. We know him as God, Jesus, Mohamad. The different species look different; some fly, some are underwater. Some are two-legged, most are four-legged. Except for humans, all other species follow nature’s rules. They die when they die. Nobody takes them to hospitals. Birth and death are natural processes and should be accepted as they come. I am sure some of the species must be feeling sad when one of them dies.

In many cases, when their time has come to go, they only go away from the clan and die.

Which constitution or the rules are the correct rules or better rules? Bappa’s Constitution or the nations’ constitution? A good idea will be to have a mix of the two the way EU manages their affairs. The nation should follow local rules for running the nation and God’s rule for international relations. Writing these two lines is quite simple and bringing them into practice will be tough.

Coming to the naivety of 50 years back, what has changed in the social fabric? In India, there used to regular riots between people of different religions, the number of riots have come down. But the social atmosphere, these days, is always either tense or very tense! In the United States, African Americans were not allowed to take part in beauty pageants. There used to be open discrimination till late ’60 s of the last centuries. Discrimination has reduced somewhat, but I feel that people have become subtle, they have not changed. The coarseness in the Americas is on the rise for the last few years. The stressed social fabric of current times is due to jingoistic social media and political atmosphere both in India and the USA.

Galloping technology is supposed to bring ease of living, but it also brings in a big gap in rich and poor! Besides the usual reasons for a socially tense atmosphere, this divide of haves and have nots is going to add to the stress — all the more reason why Bappa’s Constitution will make more sense.

Let us all pray to him in any language (he will understand) to bring naivety back to our society. Pray to Him to teach us to improve ourselves so we can remove disparity, hate and barriers!

Rhea, to me Bappa’s rules are always good!

Marriages are made in heaven!

Marriages are made in heaven but we live our life in this world, on the terra firma! To me, this sentence is created by some smart cookie who is an expert in the blame game. Marriage does not work, blame the heaven’s administration! Simple is it not. But on a serious note, marriages are a union between two people of different sex; this definition has now undergone recently in India as now marriages between two people of the same sex are also legal. Another term used is they are blissfully married. By the time we find dictionary meaning of blissfully, the marriage becomes a routine relationship, a pleasant one if both spouses are sensible, practical people.

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses. It establishes rights and obligations, between them and any resulting biological or adopted children, and  creates affinity. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion. It evolves to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but typically it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. I know this is 2018, but please don’t laugh!

Enough of theoretical things and definitions. What really is a marriage? I will not delve into complications about marriage between people of same sex for obvious reasons, anyway, “normal” marriages are also complicated. In practical terms it is an event where two people start living together, (I know about live in relationships 🙂🙂) use the same bed, use the same bathroom, once they are comfortable with each other, they are not shy to tell each other that they need to use the bathroom. On a different level, they follow their careers but at the end of the day come to the same home, share the same dining table, though not necessarily the same food, go for movies, go and meet friends some old and many new! Both generally acquire an additional set of parents through marriage, hopefully. They also acquire new sets of aunts, uncles and cousins. With all these changes they are expected to get more joy. In one of my blogs, I had written about the inner circle theory. Husband and wife are in the innermost circle along with parents, to start with, after marriage. When children are born, they come in the inner circle and parents move in the outer circle. This defines the direction in which marriages are expected to move. Oh, yes! I forgot, they openly have sex. If you keep log of all the events in any marriage, sex is almost a footnote, though glorified, not untruly!

What is expected out of a marriage? Love, closeness, close friendship, support, intimacy and many more things that come to mind. The intimacy of couples is the most important aspect but its frequency starts waning as time passes. By intimacy, I don’t mean sex. This aspect gives maximum satisfaction to mind but from what we read, it has the least shelf life in most marriages. Reasons are different but “Honeymoon” period of intimacy is quite limited, pun intended.

What are the reasons for people to marry especially when it is an arranged marriage? Because the girls land is adjoining to yours, his family has a flourishing business, her father was the big farmer in town, or both families are from the same cast or sub-caste. These are reasonable sets of reasons to start with but then comes loneliness, infidelity, abuse, the hardness of heart and shouts due to reason “who should attend to the baby at 3 AM”! The reasonable marriage is not reasonable to start with!  It is based on thought processes prevalent in the society. Hence though we think in terms of bliss due to initial euphoria, on a practical level marriage is a different animal.

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. As the time passes, thoughts come in mind that one has married a wrong person! Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true definition of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition. There is never a right person but at best there can the best or the least wrong person!

We need to exchange the romantic view for awareness, that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will in return do the same to them. This can end up in our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to, is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for. Is his smoking more acceptable to you than drinking? Is her sense of bold dressing acceptable to you or is her not mixing with your family more acceptable to you? Every single person has his or her quirks. It is how each one handles them in a marriage, maturely, decides the success of the marriage.

In my blog “Tit for Tat” I have suggested “out of box” interpretation of the saying. During any difference of opinion, which happen in plenty in “matured” marriages, taking a step back, saying sorry sincerely or any re-conciliatory measure should be openly accepted, with “tat” doubling the efforts to diffuse the situation. That to me is a blissful marriage. Once the honeymoon phase in the relationship is over, what we have is brass-tacks. Does the husband share some routine chores in the home? Does wife take up some of the “Man type” of work? If both are professionals do both take an equal load in basic things like routine purchases, taking children to doctors, changing diapers, with a smiling face, as the wife has to go for an urgent meeting.

We marry, to make a nice feeling permanent. We think that the joy of proposing someone on the beach with the Sun setting, later going for a lovely wine and dinner, will continue in our lives all the time. At that time, we tend to feel that we are the only couple who has achieved such level of happiness, such a bliss. Based on this lovely thinking we marry and expect the sensation to remain permanent in our lives. In that frame of mind, we tend to forget that there is no real connection between that lovely feeling and the institution of marriage!

Marriage is the most universal relationship but it is one of the toughest one. Marriage is the only relationship where all the details, which are unknown to others, about the spouse, are known to the other spouse. It includes bodily functions, fears, habits, insecurities, fear of the unknown. As the real intimacy, other than sex, comes into  picture, one may get a feeling, in most cases, that we have married a wrong person. But friends, that is not true. It is how you accommodate each other’s unknown quirks, let me assure you both spouses have them, it is how you start taking things in stride, you may become a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian to accommodate your spouse. As the saying goes, with the intimacy, closeness is automatically created. But in most cases there are ups and owns, mostly downs! Someone may feel that the grass is greener on the side. But when you go to the other side, you may find that the grass was the greenest on your side. You never marry a wrong person, you simply are not able to take things in stride. From a little distance, every person seems fine, but post marriage and intimacy, you know the real person warts and all! Happy blissful married life!

शुभास्ते पंथानः संतु! May the tough road of marriage be auspicious to you!

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.

Women Power!

Important news being discussed today is that Jacinda Arden, New Zealand Prime Minister, gave birth to a child, while in office. She is the second prime minister of a nation to give birth to a child, while in office. First was Benazir Bhutto! Women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to drive cars now, is another news which is trending today. What is the big deal, skeptics will say? Hundreds of ladies give birth to a child, millions of lady’s drive cars, world over! But these news items are very significant looking at the history of suppression of women.  

All species world over, have males and females for continuity of their progeny! World history is always divided as before and after of some events. Classic definition is BC (before Christ) & AD (anno Domini). There can be another definition like before Wheel and after Wheel. To me this means that human life became much easier after the invention of Wheel!  

Another definition which is essential is Pre-Ownership and Post-Ownership. This to me is the most important landmark in human history. Let me explain. When humans learnt the farming, they started to live at preferred locations. As the humans were nomads before, they would move from place to place looking for food and shelter. Farming created a somewhat less nomadic, more organized stable society. The major social change that came about, was  people started to cultivate and produce things which were in surplus of what they needed; this was stored for the next season. With this change, the concept of ownership took birth. Ownership included farm, the land, females and everything within that ecosystem! This started a concept of same pair of male and female partners living at one location, for longer period. Before that, humans also moved around like other species. There were groups of humans, who would move from place to place. Weather, hunger, safety and sex were the main things that were required to be handled. With the nomadic behavior and no ownership, there was no concept of constant family. In due course of time women would procreate, I do not think that every time they knew the real father of the child.  

Because of their pregnancy and allied difficulties women would look after children and men folk would go out for collecting food. Monthly menstruation, even in those days added to general difficulties of women and their movement. I could not find how the society helped them during this tricky phase every month. In my grandfather’s time, I remember that women had to face humiliating stigma during this time, every month. I am really not sure how this was handled before agriculture. I am assuming that they were better off in those days as it was treated as a normal human body function. The organized society brought some etiquette’s about modesty, nudity and others. This may have brought more difficulties post agriculture. Though 21st century is more supporting, still in smaller cities and villages not much has changed.  

The concept of male being bread winner has continued right to the current times. Some major changes have taken place in recent 30 to 50 years, where women are taking important part in family income and financial well-being. They are taking up important positions in many places including industries and government. The important positions need them to be busy and travel all over. But society has slowly started accepting this need and accepting the biological difference that exist! To me it is alright if the Prime Minister takes six to eight weeks of leave after child bearing! On top of that New Zealand Prime minister is not married to her partner! This is also setting a trend. Live-in, anyone? I feel that live-in concept did exist before farming phase as there were no marriages, anyway!  Even today, pregnancies do come in the way of women’s careers. Latest example is of Serena Williams, the super athlete! When she decided to take part in French Open tennis tournament, several hundred points were deducted from her career points, while considering her ranking, as she was joining post pregnancy!

World over, voting rights for women was anathema! Women in Switzerland gained the right to vote in federal elections after a referendum in February 1971. In 1991 following a decision by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, Appenzell Innerrhoden became the last Swiss canton to grant women the vote on local issues. Modern and developed country? So-called patriarchal society has been suppressing the rights of women. This has kept 50% population of the world in the form of women away from many things. There are some professions which are performed better by females yet  these were performed by men! 

Women are trying to change this, but bra burning is not the solution. What will be the advantages of bringing more and more women in main stream? One thing is sure that the working atmosphere will become softer. I am sure a woman boss will never say, “I don’t care” or Go to hell” or some such statements. One more thing men can learn from women is multi-tasking. They are masters of multi-taking managing kids, kitchen and jobs. On top of that managing family and relatives; it’s not an easy thing but women do it. They not only do it but they are masters of multi-tasking.  

Humans under the garb of patriarchy, are losing the benefits of this talent. They don’t want to do it because they will lose control of the situation. Society has taken advantage of traditions of thousands of years, to keep females away from mainstream. Jacinda Arden, Serena Williams, Kalpana Chawala are great role models for humans in general and females specifically! In my family this change has happened big way! Let us all support our wives, sisters, daughter in laws as much as possible to take up the career they like! Don’t forget that we have children, nephews and grandchildren because of these women! This is one area where males can never compete with females! So don’t forget that to reproduce, a complex system in female body is needed, we just need to support that!