Don’t beg for me, I have a mother

In most big cities in India traffic signals are quite crowded, and in that crowd it’s not difficult to find beggars. All kinds of beggars, those who have lost their limbs, those who are partially blind, people affected with leprosy and the most disturbing kind - a woman with a crying baby. I don’t think the baby cries because it’s hungry or because it cannot take the heat, but because she’s begging on its behalf. It cries in shame, it cries because its voice is continuously ignored, it cries because it doesn’t have the choice to end its suffering.
I saw (see) something similar to that in TV. I’m not saying this to attack a particular religion (though I don’t have any problem in doing that), but to analyze one of the most irritating elements of televangelism. This woman named Joyce Meyer gets on TV and shows footages shot in India. Yes, she was showing poor people who supposedly did not have anything to eat, had no school to go to, just begging for help. Then she goes “their lives depend on you, each and every dollar you pay will feed and ensure a safe livelihood for all the helpless families here. Your kindness saves lives”. Who is she? Is there anything I can do to stop people like her begging for my fellow countrymen? My country’s prime minister sure made me proud by politely declining all the [official] foreign aid that came rushing in after the tsunami, but does that even reflect on the western societies? I don’t think so. What shapes people’s mind is what mainstream media say and show constantly. And what to do they say? - We are a country full of poor and needy people whose lives depend on the paltry sums of money they donate (Yes they do talk about our ‘booming’ economy and what not, but I think they are just patronizing. They want to us to have our silly little dream of becoming the next super-power, but they also want us to keep sleeping)

You know what? I’m going to take my camcorder, shoot all the homeless that I see here, put them all together and start talking in Tamil “en pin irukkum elai pichai kaarargalukku udhavungal, ivargal vaalkai ungal kaiyil”; they wouldn’t understand what I’m saying in Tamil. And then telecast those footages in Indian television, seeking aid for them. Would the people here approve of something like that? Actually am really confused with the whole thing. Why do my fellow countrymen not seem to have any problem whatsoever, in appearing in televangelical campaigns hosted by some white woman? Is it because they are totally oblivious to the ramifications of what they are doing? Or Are they just tired of waiting for the government to do something about their plight? Am sure some of them wish we had an earthquake every other day, so that someone will feed them, invariably.

All those questions aside, let’s get back to our dear Joyce Meyer, looks like she doesn’t have any poor or homeless person to “save” in the whole of America. As she has run out of people to “save” in her own country she has come to India looking for people who are desperately in need of her help. In my opinion she’s no better than the woman we saw above. Our people are trapped between her greedy arms, as she goes around the around world begging for them(us).

Don’t beg for me, I have a mother.

Impulsive prejudices

I’ve constantly made myself deconstruct the structures that live in me, though I often say that I would never change, I actually do, all the time. May be I’m too proud to admit at times or may be it’s just a revelation for me, a revelation which may not actually change my final approach on something.

I got back home (my room) after visiting a very good of friend mine. He/she had burnt a couple of dvds for me, both containing songs/compositions from various artists; this probably is his/her favourite collection. It had a concert performed by a few Indian artists and one white person (there goes an arrogant assumption, while all countrymen who are white are just white, all brown people are Indian). On the Indian side, I could identify Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, Zakir Hussain, 'Mandolin' Sirinivas, the rest I wasn’t sure. I’ve seen them perform in other similar concerts in TV, but don’t know anything more. But I Google this guy’s name (John Mclaughlin) to know his background, before anyone else. Though it seems like a simple curiosity on my part to know about him, in retrospect, I realize it wasn’t. I’m more interested in knowing about the ‘odd’ one out, to see why he’s playing Indian classical music in his electric guitar. To read his interviews praising Indian musical giants like Ravi Shankar. I read more of his interviews, ctrl+f “India” – read the paragraph – ‘Find next’ – read the paragraph. After a while I think about classical music, to verbalize my thoughts..
“hmm let’s download few compositions of Ravi Shankar’s…”
“Ravi Shakar – Search – limewire results - …..”
“Ravi Shankar and Philips… - click download”
“Ravi shankar and Yehudi Menuhi – click download”
“Peter Gabriel ft Ravi Shankar – click download… - what? Music for the last temptation of Christ? – don’t download it – cancel download”
--after a few puzzled moments--
“what? why not? Download it you damn bigot!” (And started writing this post)
That’s how ingrained our prejudices are. It might be fitting to explain why I cancelled the download the first instance.
Because I hate Christianity? – Not really
Because I hate Christians – no! That’s not even true
Is it because the first thing that comes to my mind when I read the words Christianity, Christian, Christ, Jesus, Savior etc., is religious conversion, followed by
->All those sections of books and articles that talk about religious conversions made by Christian missionaries in India.
->The fact that Columbus and his entire murderous cohort were Christian.
->My own experiences with evangelism.
Yes, all these things put together backed my seemingly insignificant reflex that stopped me from downloading a soothing piece of music; just because it had the words “last temptation of Christ”. As I realize now, there is no good relation between evangelism and a piece of music that has the name “last temptation of Christ”, my mind made a choice that was based on this non-exsistent relation. It acts like a reflexive action itself, eye-brain-brain-spine-nerves (even more complex if we go deeper). Each of our trivial little choices have complex thoughts and prejudices that go unquestioned for years. And before you realize, your prejudices are so old that you cannot even think of the thought about changing it (Ex: trying to convince my parents that exogamy is just as good/bad as endogamy).
It also happened during my visit to my friend’s place. He/she suggested that we could eat in “Lahore Biryani house”, I said “what? Lahore? Heck no….” then after a pause “well am not in the mood to have rice…”. Why did I say “No” in the first instance?
Because I hate Pakistan? – I don’t know, probably
Do I hate Pakistan? – May be…! It’s hard to answer, I don’t have good things to say about Pakistan even though am sure there are. I enjoy reading articles which blame Pakistan for every other terrorist act in India (which may or may not be true, I don’t try to do more research, I’m much comfortable accepting it). But I don’t seem to have a problem mingling with Pakistanis, now.
I don’t have to give reasons for my hidden hatred for Pakistan, because almost all Indians would find it obvious. Regardless of the rationale behind that hatred, to avoid eating in a Pakistani restaurant [in my opinion] is plainly prejudiced or hatred misplaced.
I don’t know how many such prejudices lie buried in me, in fact I’m afraid there are too many of them which I might never discover (like I did with the above two incidents) in my life. How often do we actually try to set a ‘neutral’ tone to our actions? Whether it’s always possible or necessary to do so is irrelevant to the number attempts we make.

Earlier in this post I’ve referred to my friend as he/she, not to conceal his/her identity but to avoid the prejudice that you as a reader might hold toward this post if you were to know my friend’s sex. But the irony is that, just because I’ve used a gender neutral tone you’d assume a particular sex in your mind, you would have made that choice reflexively. In fact as you are reading this line, the part of your mind which made that choice is seeking some kind of approval.

All about a dog

This being my first post in a blog 1(well that’s a good ‘dot’ to start with, in a sketch that is supposed to show my face, because by saying “This being my first post in a blog” I indirectly mean that I’ve been posting articles/reviews/rants/plain blandish comments/emails asking members to behave themselves 2(well yeah I own a yahoo group 3(hmm I don’t know if I can say that I own a group just because I have the membership status as ‘Owner’ in the group’s page; after all it’s a Yahoo group and according to Yahoo’s terms and conditions 4(which most of us don’t read before clicking on the “I Accept” button)4, they have all the rights to ‘confiscate’ it whenever they want to)3, that has no less than 850 real members 5(real members? Yes, excluding those who might have more than one ID in the group for whatever reasons)5)2, and none of this is new to me except that this time it’s officially meant to display my conceit and eccentricities)1, I would use it to tell you a bit about myself or narrate incidents and stories that would give you an idea about what kind of a guy I am. If you are here (meaning, you didn’t close the window saying “what the heck man?”, and have read till this line), am sure you would have realized that I tend to digress from the topic that I actually try to talk about. (I've colour coded them to help you out, and numbered them to help myself out to colour code them)

There are 2 main reasons for this:
(1) Nothing is singular and untied and hence cannot be understood without relating it to some other thing, which sometimes might only be understood by relating it to something else, like this very statement.
(2) Whenever I argue or posit something, I make sure that I let everyone(or just one) know that I gave all ‘those’ perspectives, perspectives that one might want to use to counter my argument, assuming that I did not take those in to account.

Blogs in my opinion is where you post your real experiences (yeah your feelings/opinions can be called as “experience(s)”). The problem I have with that is, blogs unlike - popular websites hosting forums - are hardly read by people you don’t know. You don’t just mail “someguy” and ask him to read your blog, but your friends, people who know you. That being the case you’re forced to be honest (at least to a certain level), you cannot just make up some story and use your new found language skill (oh yes, that’s something that irritates me. And should I say “new found” because it’d mean it existed in that person for a long time and he just happened to tap in to it? Or should I say “newly invented”, because such a skill never existed in him) to narrate it, because those who read would know it never happened. On the other hand experiences are engrossing or at least not boring only when they are different, different in a peculiar way. And unfortunately not all of us have such experiences to write about. Nevertheless most of the people in blogs do it anyway and that’s when it gets totally irritating.
“Today is Saturday. My car has been making this hip-hop beat lately, well the pioneer guy tries his best to rock the chamber but the engine’s pistons are too mechanical to beat” I go “ok so your engine is messed up and your car stereo is Pioneer, what a low life!”. Then again one’s experience however commonplace, is the most amazing thing for him, so the crime is pardonable I suppose.

But don’t worry, my experiences aren’t commonplace by any measure, they are extremely unique, some times they are so unique that you can’t relate to it and hence boring. I’ve been lazy and tardy all my life and those qualities have forced me to be brave and daring. I don’t know if you see the relation between the former and the latter. When you’re lazy you lose out on regular opportunities and now you’re left with ‘above-regular’ opportunities which cannot be utilized without a certain amount of fearlessness. I’ve never really reached an extraordinary (extraordinary by ‘normal’ standards) life so far, but the irony is that I’ve had to display extraordinary skills to get myself to an average position.
Example: When I was in my 6th and 7th grades, I studied in a school that was 4kms away from my house. An average 11 year old on an average mono-geared bicycle on an average Indian road (8 potholes/100 m) on an average south Indian terrain(4 cows + 12 dogs + 2 drunken autos/Km that get in your way, halting you to 0Km/h) would take 30 minutes to travel that distance. So if the school starts at 8.30 (and it did), one would have to leave home at least by 8.05 to reach on time, which would mean that he’ll have to wake up at least by 7.30 (assuming that you take bath, brush and do ‘all that’?). But I usually wake up at 7.50, by the time am dressed up and ready to leave it’s 8.20. So now I pedal at no less than 45Km/h, show amazing maneuverability to avoid all those potholes, 'steer' my way through those dogs and cows, and land at the school gate right on time. But this isn’t always successful. When it isn’t I take the fence, climb the tree that leads to my class’s window, drop my bag, then get in to the class through the entrance (the window was too small for me to enter), and tell the teacher “sorry sir went to toilet”. Of course there have been times when all these have failed and had to take it on my butt (by ‘it’ I mean a long bamboo stick, hey am not being figurative here!) or at times my palm (oh stop it you pervert, I’m saying that I got lashed).

*** end of example ***

This quality of mine never changed, it continues to exist in me. It’s not only physical extremities that I’ve pushed myself to, but mental too. Like I said, if you’re reading this you were probably my classmate in college and you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? If there’s any theory that I always follow before I do something, it’s the “worst consequence theory”, I don’t know if it’s coined by someone else before. What it means is that, before I do something I think about the worst that could happen (if everything screws up the worst possible way) and prepare myself for that. The best part is that I don’t just say it, I honestly get prepared for it and nothing could shock me then.

Most of my postings are simple hate speech about something (well not really, but saying so saves me from getting tagged by you!). People say I’m a pessimist, probably because bad things are all I talk about (in their view that is). The reason or the justification rather, that I give for that is “there are too many to talk good about it” ‘it’ being the subject of the matter. Yes I have a serious problem with the concept of ‘agreeing with the majority’. Some times I take my stance to a exact opposite viewpoint just because the people who I hate agree with me. Because of the ‘fact’ that anything that is cogent, logical, valid could be contested - if not refuted thoroughly - by an equally cogent, logical, valid argument, for all those attributes are relative.

Not all my posts are like this one, with each parenthesis having sub-parenthesis and so forth, no wonder I like movies like Memento and Pulp fiction. I could probably add more to this post but then again I could probably alter it by reducing its length or removing unwanted explanations, so before I think about anything else, I’ll just stop here.

I don’t know what kind of comments that I am going to get for this post, but I’ll say this anyway “I don’t care!” (Though am actually dying to read the comments and would visit my blog as often as 5 times an hour). Whether it’s true about me or not, it sure is true about a lot of other ‘cool dude’ wannabes that say “I don’t care”. It only reminds of that Lifebuoy ad “adhigama thinna gundaaiduva – I don’t care”

And one more thing, “Brevity need not be the soul of wit”. May be for one liners it is!


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