We cannot outsmart life!

Perhaps, the wisest among us are the ones who accept that we cannot hoodwink life. We can prepare for the worst but ultimately, no amount of preparation is enough. Unfortunately, our culture is full of messages that teach the opposite. We are taught that a mature adult is the one who doesn’t feel vulnerable (It is interesting to note that this message is similar to patriarchy’s message of “Don’t be a pussy”). So, when we grow up, we numb ourselves, devise strategies to outsmart life and death. Since spirituality is male-dominated, we have many teachers who talk about “permanent bliss”. But life is smarter than us.

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The problem with passion

The problem with passion is that most people don’t have one. Very few people know what they want to do with their life and very few actually  do it.  What about those who haven’t found their calling? Is it necessary to dedicate yourself to a singular passion? Is it the only way? Like many people, I had these questions. Even though I chose a profession that I love, it’s not the only thing I love. I have multiple interests which are not exactly related to my profession. If you are like me, you would have criticized yourself for not devoting yourself to a singular passion. But what if there is another alternative?

Elizabeth Gilbert has a solution to our woes: She says that those who have not found one “calling” can instead choose to follow something more gentler and accessible: Curiosity. She says that passion is all-consuming, head-shaving-going-to-Nepal-to-start-an-orphanage kind of drama. Curiosity on the other hand is about the small things, those little clues that we find everyday. Those who religiously follow this curiosity live rich lives. If you have found your passion, then congratulations! But if you haven’t found one, then you can build an interesting life too. Watch this Super-Soul session with Elizabeth Gilbert  (click) to know more.

Language

Telugu-speaking people often use the words ‘Amma’ (which means Mother) and ‘Nanna’ (which means father) in daily conversations, even when parents are not involved (Like you may say to your friend, “What happened to you, amma?”).  In Hindi, we often use the word ‘yaar’ in daily conversations. I’m wondering if the way we use these words describe the kind of culture we live in.

Parents are considered ‘Gods’ in our country and questioning them is almost a sin. The use of ‘amma’ and ‘nanna’ could be a result of a culture which is dominated by the older generation. The use of the word ‘yaar’ could be a result of a culture that is slowly seeing rebellion/a culture that changes with time. Parents are people whom we don’t get to choose. Friends are people we choose. Am I reading too much into this?
If you look at the mainstream Telugu films, they are still pretty conventional. The Hindi film industry, on the other hand, is offering different kind of mainstream content (there is still a place for conventional content, though). In the last few years, the Hindi film industry has offered mainstream content that deals with issues like mental health, homosexuality, dysfunctional families and live-in relationships. I’m not sure if Telugu films have done the same (Dear Telugu friends, do correct me if I’m wrong).

Vulnerability

We are taught so many things at school but I wish we are taught the ways to handle vulnerability. Human beings, especially men, don’t want to be vulnerable because

 a. It is seen as weakness 

 b. We are not equipped with skills to handle vulnerable situations.

 So what happens when a Guru you revere turns out to be a rapist? Your entire world falls apart. Since you are not encouraged to cry, you resort to violence. There is also a blow to your ego: Since you followed someone who is actually a rapist, your choice is all wrong! This injury of ego and soul makes you extremely vulnerable

Can love really conquer everything?

I was and probably still am an idealist. I believe in the power of love and have witnessed it, first-hand. But can love really conquer everything? Maybe the answer is both yes and no. If you think love as something magical which can change something/someone overnight then you might be disappointed. But if you look at love as something that you do, even when you don’t get any results for the longest time (even if you don’t get the results in this lifetime), then maybe, just maybe, the answer is yes. You cannot get your friend out of depression with (just) love. But what you can do is not judge him/her when he/she relapses. Your love is not a substitute for medication or therapy but it matters. You may not change the world with your love for a social cause but your love is a seed which will become a tree someday. It may not happen in this lifetime but sowing these seeds matter.

#Sarahah App

#Sarahah app reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s four question Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s four question test (click) to decide whether or not you should trust someone. She says that a person who is unable to put forward criticism compassionately doesn’t deserve to be there is your life (and he/she shouldn’t judge your work as well). So if this is the criteria then Sarahah app is not a good idea. If you cannot disagree with/criticize your friend in a compassionate way then what is the point of your friendship? And if you can criticize your friend compassionately then why do you need the app? If you need to be anonymous to say something negative then you are probably saying something really nasty (or you are not a good friend). It’s tempting to read the “brutal truth” about us. In a culture which is designed to make us hate ourselves, this app can work against self-love.

How you treat children defines you

We can learn a lot about a society by observing the way it treats children (after all, these children will be the future). A society which treats children as inferior beings who must obey adults and have to be “taught stuff” might have a lot of abusive families and corruption. A society that sees children as “investments” might have a lot of stress due to expectations from children. A society that doesn’t care about children’s books and films might become less imaginative and less empathetic.  A society which treats children as equals, might see a lot more gender equality, peace and happiness. Parents who believe that they have a lot to learn from their children, parents who respect their children’s opinions/intuition might live a more meaningful life. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you treat someone who is less powerful than you.

P.S. Maybe this is the reason why Finland is one of the most happiest countries in the world. It has an education system that respects children.

To the Indian women’s cricket team

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Dear members of the Indian cricket team,

No matter what happens today, you all are an inspiration to us. I have seen you playing World Cup matches in front of around 10 people in the stadium. I have read about female players who had to stay in hotel rooms with cockroaches. I have read about the battles you fight every day to be taken seriously. I have read about the sexism that you face everyday. I have read about your low salaries. I wonder what keeps you going. Then I saw your eyes and got my answer: It is your passion. Your passion for the game. Your passion for excellence. It is your passion that has got you through the dingy hotel rooms and the step-motherly treatment. I hope things get better for you all (and also the women’s cricket in general). All the best for the final!

R.I.P Chester Bennington

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Photo: http://chrislloydphotography.com/

 

They made fun of you. They refused to include you in their group. You didn’t fit anywhere. You came back from school, switched on your TV and found solace in the voice of a man who mostly sang depressing songs. Many mocked his band as it talked about the same thing in every damn song. But in a world where every second song is about romance and heartbreak, here was a band that wrote songs about insecurities and negativity. Yes, there are better singers than Chester Bennington. Yes, there are better bands than Linkin Park. But Linkin Park and Chester Bennington are special because they gave a voice to the misfits and the outcasts. Pop culture is full of “positive” messages and make-believe stuff. Just look at the “blockbuster” list and you will see that most films are about hope. To sing about despair in such a culture and become successful is no mean feat. You will be missed, Chester Bennington.

To people who blindly follow Science

Scientists, dietitians, and doctors are also influenced by patriarchal culture.They are not Gods. They are subjective human beings who are conditioned by the society. A good example of this is the way some doctors fat-shame their patients.

Don’t be like religious fanatics! Be skeptical. Do your own research and be aware of bias. Remember that even the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association had once declared homosexuality as a disease!