The quest for perfection

For a few days now, I have been restless about judging my dad for something. Spirituality brings with it the awareness that judgements we have about others is usually something we judge ourselves for. But it is never easy to look at the things that make you uncomfortable, and so, for a few days now I have been avoiding doing some clearing work on this.

But as I prayed today morning, I felt ready to release this judgement. I am learning to honour guidance and started tapping. I usually use a combination of EFT, Clearing questions and forgiveness when I work on something. I find it works really well for me.

Aware that I needed to be honest and non-judgemental, I acknowledged all the judgements I had about my dad. It was tough to vocalize or say what I really feel, but as I tapped, I was able to release all these judgements. Remembering that these were just thoughts in the head and to not engage in guilt, made it easier to be honest.

As I tapped it the thoughts turned from the judgements about dad to judgements about other family members. Events and incidents of the past came up and led to memories of feeling judged when I was younger. As I tapped, I was also able to acknowledge hidden anger at him and others.

Interestingly, as it was ending it led to the quest for perfection, competing with God (who I believe is perfect), guilt for choosing separation from God and living as a “I”, and mostly about never really feeling perfect, good enough, or worthy. I ended it by doing forgiveness. Forgiving my dad, forgiving family, asking for forgiveness for judging them, forgiveness for indulging in this useless quest for perfection, and for believing in something called perfection.

All my life I have seen people around me struggle with their thoughts and beliefs about perfection. I have seen my mom live a life which would receive the approval of all and I in turn grew up believing that I had to be perfect too. I had to cook perfectly, be the perfect mom, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, friend, acquaintance. As I tapped today, I experienced immense anger at how I have been believing in the wrong word and its wrong meaning all my life.

I want my dad to be a perfect dad, family wanted me to behave in a way they felt perfect, others in turn had the same expectation from those family members. It turns out the whole world is trying to live up to either their notion or someone’s notion of being perfect! This led me to question – if everyone wanted perfection, then is the meaning of perfect the same for everyone? No! For someone being perfect could mean giving more importance to helping others than cleaning their home, for others being perfect could mean choosing family over helping neighbours… And yet, we spend lifetimes in this quest for perfection.

As I tapped, it became clear to me that in my eyes God is perfect. That it is only God whom I can associate the word perfect with. But that didn’t meant that God had a standardized behavior. Because each of us has our own unique relationship with God. Then what does perfect mean!

If God meant perfection, it means perfection is allowance. Perfection is being accepting of differences, perfection is being flexible, perfection is being forgiving. Perfection means allowing others to be fragile, foolish, fearful. But most of all perfection is forgiving.

As I ended the clearing, I felt lighter because I had my own flexible definition of perfection. We all need to find our own definitions sometimes, because when we attribute inflexible meanings to words, we are limiting ourselves and others. And what I still need to remember is this is still not about finding the right meaning. There is no right and no wrong. Just remembering that allows me to be human as I look for the Divine.

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The economic worth of I

One of the constant questions that arises in people’s mind when it comes to healing or therapy or even investing in spiritual courses/activities is, how will we benefit from it (or the unsaid, is this worth the expense). This often makes me sad in more ways than I let on. But I see this as a societal issue and not as someone’s personal issue.

As a society, all of us grow up associating some economic worth to every activity. Most of what we do has to do with money. The education system itself raises us to be productive clogs who perform certain activities to contribute to the smooth functioning of the economy. And so by the time we have completed our graduation, all we can think of ourselves is in terms of our economic worth. What we can earn is how we measure our worth. All I need, to be sure of this is to look around at ourselves and the people around us. What is the most common question we ask a stranger- “what do you do?” I have written more about this in the wasting my day blog post.

The thing is because of this economic association with personal worth, most people end up only spending on activities that enhance their professional skills and look good on a resume ( which results in economic benefits) or on things that bring us instant gratification like eating out, clothes, etc. But in the end, aren’t both only about how the world looks at you? Will they truly bring you lasting joy? If you had to measure your worth, would you do it with money or with the attributes of love, goodness, compassion, etc. that you possess? Our children give us no monetary benefits. It is a hug from them that fills our heart. What brings more peace, money in the bank and a lonely child or maybe a few thousands lesser but time with your child in the park? I really wish sometimes that I could shake people out of this strange self-absorbed existence and make them address the impermanence of it all.

I am not saying money is bad, it is simply a means, a product itself. Why should we spend on healing, therapy and spiritual pursuits? Simply because they are not an expense, they are probably the best investment you can make. Even better than life insurance because what you learn is something you can carry beyond this body. Nothing else on earth can allow you that. The more we invest in this personality, chase it, the more we lose out on the larger picture of our place in the universe- the real reason why we are on this earth.

The power of knowledge is limited but the power of awareness, inquiry and expansion is limitless. Knowing how to control your own mind, manage your own health and bring in your happiness is invaluable. If we keep looking at ourselves as simply money-generating and consuming creatures, we will never live up to our true human or soul potential.

The article which made it to CBSE Text-Book

In 2008, I wrote this article for TerraGreen. I accidental discovered a couple of days ago, that this article has been published in the CBSE Std X , Interact in English, Main Course book. I was neither informed nor was my permission sought since the copyright for the article still lies with me. While I am pleased that something I wrote is being used to educate and inform impressionable young minds, I am a trifle miffed that at the general lack of regard for the rights of a writer. I have written to TerraGreen and plan to contact the CBSE board too. For all those who have been asking, here is the article that made it to the CBSE Std X, English text-book. CBSE.

ROCKS OF HYDERABAD

( Please do not reproduce any part of this without permission. Copyright lies with me)

A look at the naturally formed picturesque rocks in the city of Hyderabad, their importance and what impedes their conservation.

Hyderabad is a bustling metropolis that is striving to be the city of tomorrow. With a heritage that promotes art and architecture, the city offers residents and visitors more than lip-smacking Biryani. Famous around the world for its Nizami past, in reality Hyderabad has moved beyond its rustic image. It is now matching steps with Bangalore for the title of the ITES, IT and BPO mecca of the south. Though the city is dreaded for its dry landscape and fiery summers, people from across the country are arriving here in droves to live/work here or simply to vacation at this retail capital of the south.

But one of the most interesting facets of the city simply happens to be its best kept secret. As you drive across the city, mammoth granite rocks in bewitching poses capture your eye and imagination. Rocks large and small precariously balance on one another to form shapes that mesmerise the mind. To the onlooker these rocks seem to strike poses and imitate life. These rocks, among the oldest in the world, are Hyderabad’s true heritage. Even the mighty Himalayas at 40-60 million years old are younger than these rocks!

Evolutionary tale

What caused these rocks to assume such forms? The answer lies in their creation. When the earth was formed some 4.6 billion years ago, its upper crust was thin. It was only as the earth aged and matured that the crust hardened into a thick layer. Some 2.5 billion years ago, the Deccan plateau comprising hard crystalline rocks began to form below the earth’s crust. Based on the position of these granite rocks, geologists determined that these rocks are intrusive igneous rocks by origin.

Intrusive rocks were formed below the surface of the earth when molten magma lava unable to reach the surface, cooled and solidified below the earth’s crust. As it solidified, these sheets of granites developed horizontal and vertical cracks. Over the following million of years as the earth aged, weathering caused the top country rock to wash away, exposing the granite rocks of the deccan plateau below.

While the evolution of these rocks is fascinating, it is their distinctive form that makes them truly unique. And that is where nature played her part in shaping these rocks. Primarily quartz and feldspar in composition, these granite rocks are grey and pink in appearance. Though they are resistant to erosion, weathering left its mark on the rocks. Known as onion peel weathering, the cracks in the granite once pushed up to the surface of the earth, fell prey to the environmental forces. Changing temperatures, water, wind and other natural forces chiselled away the rocks, leaving behind the fascinating sculptures that can be witnessed today. And it is not just Hyderabad that is home to these magnificent granite marvels. Surrounding districts of Rangareddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar and Warangal too have their share of such stunning rock formations.

Nature’s sculptures

As you gaze at these rocks it is easy to lose sense of place and time. The gigantic boulders inspire creativity and reverence in people, forcing them to look beyond the obvious shapes to create imaginary forms. A puppy seated on its hind legs with its front legs raised in the air, a Santro shaped car, flying saucer resting on rocks, four chambers of the heart, and a woman standing with her face to the breeze; these are just a few shapes that tickle your imagination. It is no wonder then that people have taken to naming certain rocks after the shape they think it resembles or the idea they think it epitomises. Some of these names have stuck on and the rocks have thus become landmarks in the city. And in some other places, rocks with their symbolic shapes have inspired the devout. Natural openings and cave like structures formed by the rocks have been used as temples by locals. Many people even consider them are a symbol of the divine and worship these silent sentinels.

Maintaining ecological balance

Apart from being a visual treat for viewers, these rocks play an integral role in preserving and nurturing the ecological balance of the region. Lakes and ponds have always formed adjoining rocky patches. This is no coincidence but a natural occurrence as rocks help create the natural drainage system of the area. Subterranean passages formed created by these rocks results in the natural flow of rain water to that area, aiding the formation of ponds and lakes and recharging ground water levels.

And where there is green, there are birds and bees. Rocky hills often act as the bio-diversity hub for the area. Prickly thick shrubs and dry deciduous forest ensconce the rocks. Along the lakebeds, tall grass grows in wild abandon. Often even medicinal plants and aromatic herbs are found in the area. And hidden in this medley of plants are insects, birds and reptiles. So don’t be surprised if a Baya weaver flies by or a snake wiggles past you, when you are trekking about the rocks. Fauna and flora of varied kinds thrive in rocky eco-systems. Nature is at its best in these spots and here is where people can go to for a whiff of the wild. But today, such spots are disappearing with alarming alacrity. Rocks are being destroyed indiscriminately; the price the city is paying for growth.

Development at the cost of nature

It is easy to wonder why someone would destroy rocks that are billions of years old. For centuries now these rocks have been the building material for the city. Even the famous Golconda fort of Hyderabad which sits atop a granite hill is made of the very same granite rock. The problem however lies at the speed and magnitude with which these rocks are now disappearing. Just consider the following statistics. The official 2001 census stated the Hyderabad population was around 3.7 million. But today the overflowing buses, traffic jammed streets, and expanding city borders tell a very different story. Unofficial estimates peg the actual population closer to 6.1 million; nearly double of what the Andhra Pradesh government’s website states. Years ago visitors to the city did not have to do much to find these rocks. But today these marvels are becoming a forgotten story. As time passes, this natural legacy is giving way to tall residential high-rises and software parks. Hills are being replaces with malls and buildings.

As the massive inflow of population continues, rocks are being quarried around-the-clock to cater to the exponential boom in the construction industry. Large tracts of land have been approved for residential or commercial use, without taking into consideration what actually lies on the land. The rocks are blown down, land is cleared and the hard crystalline rocks are used as construction material. In the past four years itself, vast stretches of hills around the city’s fringes have been turned to rubble or have completely disappeared. Drive where the development is taking place and an environmentalist’s heart will bleed at the sight of the half quarried, half-eaten mountains.

Growth and development are inevitable and necessary to absorb the growing needs of the economy. But the problem lies in the truth that none of this growth is monitored. Giant machines dig the earth out and transport mud to all corners of the city. Ratty trucks with the broken remains of gigantic rocks can be seen ferrying the roads primarily during dusk or night. Most of this quarrying is illegal. Contractors excavate mud and destroy rocks in remote spots often under the dark cover of night for a paltry sum.

Mass destruction of rocks has exacerbated the depletion of green cover. Precious fauna and flora has been destroyed. Loss of these rocks has meant ground water depletion which has further compounded the city’s water woes. Years ago tiny lakes dotted the entire city including the famous Jubilee and Banjara hills localities. Today lakes are found only on the city outskirts in places like Shamirpet. Lakes closer to the city are shrinking every passing year.

Fighting for Conservation

Though Hyderabad has seen the gradual depletion of rock cover, ecological conservation is an issue that has not found much voice with the population. Most citizens especially those new to the city are too busy focusing on seeing a snazzy Hyderabad finding its spot on the global map. But even in this bleak scenario there is a ray of hope for the rocks. Since 1996, a group of concerned citizens have come together to prevent indiscriminate destruction of the rocks and protect the rocky landscapes. Their organization ‘Society to Save Rocks’ (STSR) has since then been working hard to preserve the rocky ecosystem in the city and state.

Due to their dedicated campaigning, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has added nine rock formations in Regulation No. 13 of the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for the protection of Heritage Buildings and Precincts. This act of the governments was hailed by conservationists across the country as a great step in recognising the importance of the rocks and the need to protect them. Today Hyderabad is the only city in India where rocks are protected as a natural heritage. Encouraging the government to preserve these rocks by promoting them as tourist attractions is an alternative that the Society is pushing for.

But despite STSR’s dedicated efforts, the city faces a challenge as the government has already sold off much land in and around the city. Durgam Cheruvu one of the designated heritage sites is the best place where the government’s attempt to conservation and apathy towards rocks, are both visible. Years ago the lake lay hidden between rocky cliffs and was inaccessible. A few years ago it was converted to a model tourist spot with boating and other leisure facilities. But entire stretches of hills on one bank of this protected area has been destroyed in the past decade to accommodate the fast-growing Hi-tech city. Durgam Cheruvu thus epitomises the ongoing conflict between development and protection in the city.

However some individuals have successfully managed to integrate rocks that abut their house into the structure of their homes. The rock forms as much a part of their home’s interior as does their sofa or any other furniture. Some builders and companies too have taken the initiative to include rocks in their building complexes. While they have included a natural rock structure within their building premise, their focus remains on decorative appeal rather than ecological consideration for the rocks.

Over the years, due to the efforts of organizations like the STSR the rocks of Hyderabad have found a voice. But the din of the construction industry and growing needs of an expanding city are far louder than the voice of these few individuals. What the rocks require are greater public support and a deeper appreciation of their existence. Locals, tourists and governments need to take a pro-active approach to ensure that growth includes preservation of rocks and their eco-systems. After all if a booming economy overtakes billions of years of nature, the consequences and blame will be have to be borne by none other than the citizens themselves for the only people who stand to gain will in reality be the ones who lose.

Rising from silence

I have been angry all week. I have been unwell this entire week. My brain is busy trying to reconcile with the innumerable rapes it reads about and ignores in the news everyday. My heart is busy trying to tell me that it cannot rage indefinitely against eve-teasing, rape and molestation. But all I want to do is sob or vent my anger on someone. All I want to do is believe that it will end.

I thought I had put it behind, but I cannot forget the coconut water vendor who entered my building, waiting for me in the stairways and groped by breast as I was returning to school. I cannot forget another man who tried to do the same thing, in the same location, a few months after. For years afterward, I ran up the stairs of my own building afraid I would encounter something similar. I cannot forget the boy who worked at the newspaper stand which delivered the newspaper to my house. For months, often in the night when I was sleeping alone in the living room, the tiny slot in the front-door from which the letters were dropped would open and someone would peep inside. The first time I saw it, I thought I imagined things. The next time it happened I was scared. I felt unsafe, violated in my own home. My grandma and Dad refused to believe me initially. Everyone was sure I was imaging things. It happened for months on end, till one day I asked some college friends to keep watch at night. They followed the person who came out of my building and told me who it was. Then it began to happen during the day. One day as soon as I saw the letter-slot open, I walked to the door opened it and saw someone run upstairs. I told my dad and he believed me. He found the boy crouching in the upper floor and yelled at him. But it continued. I would have nightmares, wake up scared. One day I covered the letter-slot from inside with a piece of cardboard . The peeping-tom eventually gave up but my nightmares never went away. Even now suddenly they reappear sometimes.

I cannot forgive the boy who as I walked down a deserted road at 6.30 in the morning for college, walked in front of me and groped my breasts. Nor can I forgive the men who have tried to feel me up in the bus nor the perverted masturbating nude man sitting inside a van who opened the door just as I and my friend passed by so we could see him. Don’t even get me started about the college boys who thought I was someone easy and available just because I spoke to boys and believed in dating.

Of all the wounds, the one that hurts the most is that inflicted by family. I cannot forgive my uncle who tried to kiss an adult me. I pushed him away, and he claimed he was always hugging his son and how even his son said kids our age don’t like it. He fumbled for words to cover his tracks but my mind flashed as I remembered how he would casually place his hands on my thigh when I wore shorts. I struggled with that silence for months knowing it would hurt my dad and family. When I did it to tell my patriarchal grandma ( who has cursed, been judgmental and treated me as a ‘girl’ child since birth), she blamed my modernism and clothes for her son’s behaviour.

For years I believed that these incidents were partly my fault. That as a woman who lives in a perverted world, you have to protect yourself. That as scarring as it was, being felt-up is part and parcel of being a girl. But now my mind screams and asks why should it be normal when it doesn’t feel normal. This isn’t life. Normal is not about a man thinking it is o.k. to touch a stranger’s body. It is not normal to treat a girl like she is responsible for everything that happens to her. Clothes don’t cause rape, a man’s mind causes it. Molestation happens when a man uses his might with a woman he knows is weaker. Such incidents happen because we live in a world where a woman is taught to live in silence because she is taught by her family that talking about such incidents disrupts their honour.

But today, I don’t want to be silent. I want things to change. I am happy with the mass public awakening in cities. But I am still afraid because I know things like rape, molestation, incest will continue in the small towns and big cities alike, because of men who are titillated by raunchy movie stars and woman who continue to be silent. I am afraid because I know people will continue to suppress their truths. As someone who has been eve-teased by local policemen, I am not confident better policing is the only solution. This movement needs to leave cities and move to all small towns. It needs to go to schools where children are taught openly about sex and anatomies, about respecting differences. This movement needs to find ways to address curiosity, provide outlets to vent frustrations, nip perversion in the bud, support women, apprehend criminals, enable social reforms if we as women are to live more freely. Till then all I can do is rise from my silence, speak and write about this, and try to raise my son to be someone who does not crack sexist jokes, does not eve-tease  and respects women.

Confessions of a moody mind

International Woman’s day is usually a day when I pray for all the wonderful women in my family and life. But this year, woman’s day meant something different to me. After a hard 2010 year-end, 2011 is to me a chance to deal with all that unfolded last year and a chance to celebrate me. The still struggling me who has the strength to accept my problems, deal with them in the best ways possible and still make my life a joyous, successful one.

All my life I have found it difficult to make friends. In my family I was always treated as the odd-one-out with a temper no one could match. My fear to go to school which surfaced every few years was thought of as a sign of  laziness, my fear about staying away from my mom was thought of a sign of being pampered, after my mom’s death my teenage escapades were thought of as a sign of  indiscipline. I have been mocked, ridiculed, teased, taunted and scolded for my phobias and anxiety. Even after marriage when the fears and anxiety continued when it came to staying away from my husband or when I got depressed post pregnancy or when swine flu came to town, I was always counseled by my husband and my family about how I should just pray, be calm, keep control over my emotions and meditate.

But since the past 4 years, I had begun to see beyond their words. I insisted that what I felt was not mere personality issues or a matter of upbringing like they were construed to be but a deeper problem. But apart from S who said he didn’t mind if I saw a counselor, everyone ignored the issue. Then finally last year end after a great high from a round of accomplishments, I was sent crashing down by a problem. At that moment, I decided that despite everyone’s concerns, I would see a counselor. The lady was someone I had known for over 13 years and who was helping my kiddo Sairam with his ADHD/ learning-disabilities. By the second session, she diagnosed the problem which had affected me all my life- Mood disorder.

My first response was one of panic and disbelief ( I have a mood disorder problem after all!). I read up about it on the Internet and went into a tizzy wondering how on earth would I recover from it. But my counselor helped me see how I had already taken the first step to changing my life by recognizing that I had a problem. She reminded me that for years without even knowing the problem, I had dealt with it victoriously. That, she said, was in itself a sign that I was on the right path to help me cope with the problem. She also felt that I didn’t need any psychiatric drugs as my problem was not so severe. At a time when I thought I would again have to wage a war with my family, most of them began to accept and see that what I had was just an illness. Not unlike my thyroid ( which also affects moods!).  Being a journalist, I had enough information and courage to know this didn’t have to be something that ruins my life. And so I have started on the tough path of being aware of the problem and dealing with it.

A mood-disorder requires a constant state of awareness about your moods and the source of your emotions. It requires good physical health and a great amount of mental calm, both of which require steady practise. Every-time I stop exercising or meditating, I immediately see the response in my body. Stress induced by anger especially is the worst and I often end up feeling like I am having a heart-attack. Emotional stress brings on a weak stomach which often takes weeks to calm. But knowing I have a problem was and is not enough. Ensuring I do all the right things to keep my mood in order is one tall order. But the bigger problem is making people aware of this problem and letting them see that this is not something meditation alone will get rid of. It is a real illness which requires a great amount of patience and understanding from their end.

S has been unbelievably supportive and I am so grateful to god that he sent S my way. But family and friends who know are still somewhat unsure about how to deal with this. The problem comes with how little awareness others have with issues related to mental health. Mood Disorders, the word holds no meaning to them and if they hear mental health, the immediate co-relation people make is to insanity. And for that reason my in-laws don’t know about this . Their lack of knowledge would surely result in them viewing me as someone insane their son has got stuck up with. I have directly told very few people. But since my diagnosis I am aware of the need to speak about this . I am not afraid or ashamed. And I don’t see any reason to be.  How different really is a heart problem or Blood Pressure from this? They are all illness which require constant care.

That’s why on the Woman’s day, I wanted to speak about about my mood-disorder. Because for long people have suffered in silence because they are afraid what people will think about them. Women more so than others because even without a mood disorder their anger/ frustration/emotions are anyways tolerated, laughed at or mocked. And so its natural that they fear any mention of an mental-health issue would only aggravate their problems.  The stigma associated with mood disorders or disability of any kind for that matter is so high that very few women manage to find the support systems to help them cope with their problems.

But silence isn’t the solution. Many people around the globe are now realizing that though mental health issues may affect your day to day functioning, it does not need to debilitate your life. Professional and personal success are both possible ( Take it from me, after all I won an award for my writing from the Andhra Pradesh CM last year). Silence and suffering with a mood-disorder will only make the problem worse. And if you are silent because you are worried about what people will think of you- hey they are going to talk about you any which way.  So speak up and get help. Because you need to help yourself, change your life and accept your short-comings first. Treat this problem like any other illness. A disorder after all doesn’t mean the lack of something, it just means that something needs to be put back in order.

Marriage mayhem

The whole episode with Shrija, the daughter of South Indian superstar Chiranjeevi, got on my nerves. I felt that she could not have chosen a worse way to humiliate her family. Then a couple of days later she was on TV, stating that her family had kept her under house arrest for a year and felt threatened by them. Her relatives stated shock at her behaviour and then announced their support for her.Since then, society has gone bonkers debating their family issue. Some called her a fool and expressed grief for the family. Others lauded her courage and blamed the family for not bringing her up right. But what right does a layman have to comment on a situation they know little about?
But, yes, society speaks and that’s where the problem lies.

I know two friends who chose to leave home and get married. One while she was still studying, and another who was a successful professional. Both marriages ended in divorce and terrible emotional scars. The second friend is someone very close to my heart. I have seen and experienced the trauma she and her family underwent. To the family the experience was something that tested their faith and sapped up all their strength. But the pain caused by the so called friends and society around, who chose to give their opinion to them, was and is the worst injury.

Society deemed her a worthless daughter and termed her parents as bad ones, who did not even raise the child right. I see the consequences of society’s words even today on the family, rendering them incapable of making the best decisions today; just because the fear of others. So who has really caused more harm, the girl, her parents or a society that assumes the moral role of deciding what is right by passing judgements?

I see my friend struggle even today. The knowledge of the pain her parent’s experienced haunts her still. The knowledge of the shame society imposed on her parents, hurts her more. What really is the society’s contribution to making their lives happier? None.

No one helped them see that she had made a bad choice of partner and had understood what relationships are in the process. Her parents helped her overcome it and helped their daughter re-make a life for herself. But the focus is still on shame, regret and parent’s disappointment. Thats what the world around has made it about.

So many youngsters continue in bad marriages they have chosen for themselves. All in an attempt to prove their decisions right. Very rarely do marriages that begin at that age, last long and friends of the same age cannot really help. At 19 the reality that a marriage is little about love and all about managing practical day to day living, problems and expectations, doesn’t sink in. Marriage is about working for 8 hours a day so you can buy groceries, hire a maid, paying utility bills, and then about saving for a house, children, their education and if some money is left then, go eat out, buy electronic gadgets and clothes. And when you come home from work, marriage is about cooking, picking up the clothes, folding the washed ones, putting away the washed stuff, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, dusting the house and many such chores. Then come children and family and a dozen other tasks. Love is just the glue that helps two people do all this together.

Why is it that though youngsters grow up seeing our parents do all this, such things escape our head when we are in love. At that age we haven’t gathered enough experiences to formulate our main needs as people and our values. Growing up we are not part of what it takes to fun a family and so we don’t even simple awareness of the reality that is life. Parents simple aim to protect children and children pay no attention. But the world watches all this patiently and comments when it gets the chance.

But as youngsters grow older they understand the decisions they once made. The knowledge of our past actions weighs heavily on us, if we are not taught that mistakes however grave are a part of the growing up process. Someone I know said it so correctly recently, ‘We live in a world where our children’s value system is being constantly challenged.’ Parents need to know that they are not responsible for their children’s action. Shielding them from their mistakes is not something they can do. Instil values in them throughout childhood and know that those values will be realised by your children when they grow up. Don’t expect to see that when they are growing up. Growing up is a process that involves bad choices no matter how grave those choices are. And in today’s world a wrong choice of life partner isn’t the end of the all things right in you or your child. Life will become better, it always does.

The world youngsters dwell in is so different from the world of the adults. You both can find a middle path. But what that path is, only the parents and children can decide. But if the child decides to head a way where you are sure it will stumble, all you can do is give it and hand and help it up. Deal with the pain together. Don’t add to each other’s pain. And mostly decide between yourself what the experience means and has taught you all. Don’t let the world impose its lessons on you.

Some random ramblings relating to Mumbai

I am still in my own way reeling from the horrid blasts. All my life I have loved Mumbai as all people who love that city do. It is an inexplicable but true love affair. You know the city’s good as well as the bad’s and yet love it. Earlier all my views were prejudiced and blinded by my love for Mumbai. I still remember crying and getting all emotional, when during the initial days of our courtship S said something derogatory about Mumbai.

My family and loads of friends, live there. But now I don’t trust Mumbai anymore. She seems to have become too volatile even for me. I don’t know what will happen, when. I can’t help but fear for the safety of my loved ones there. And to feel this seems perfidious, for I do love Mumbai. The impact the city, its people and life there has had on shaping me as an individual is mighty. And that’s why I feel angry sometimes. At the people who have let such violence to seep in. I feel pity and grief when I think about how intolerant people are becoming. And at the same time how violence is now accepted as something so very OK. Our perceptions about what is all right and what is not seems to be flaky. Some accept violence as normal and as part of our life. And some think letting the anger inside out on people violently will lead them to peace. Why don’t we wisen up?

What made the incident worse was strangely the media and their sensationalism. Even during the Monsoons in Mumbai last year, I posted about media’s frenzied reporting. Fine, fine Media has its pluses but I seriously think there is a collapse of values and ethics when it comes to reporting. It is all about creating sensation rather than providing information. What is the true role of the media in a crisis? Why have most TV channels stopped so low. It seemed like a contest as to who could get more gory and gruesome.

The icing on the cake however was LK Advani’s comment which can be translated from Hindi as, “the king and the populace need to work together during this hour of crisis.” King? Who made him or any government, king? It is attitudes like that which make people distrust and dislike politics. I felt like tapping him on his shoulder and reminding him, that people elect politicians, so that the politicians and government can serve people. And that’s why we need more people like. Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan around.