Friday, March 30, 2012

Do Fairness creams actually make one Fair ?

Ok. So I am writing this post from the posh new dust-free keyboard of my own laptop. YES! I have been gifted a brand new laptop by H. Yayyy! I am super happy because that means that now I have My own laptop to carry where ever I go, and write whenever I want to. So no more sneaking on blogger from office, and no waiting for the laptop to be free. After all, creativity cannot be scheduled. It just spills over at unearthly hours. And now I have my own gadget to channel it, just the way I want.

So, coming back to the point,  the other day I was just browsing through the infinite channels on TV, and counted that on an average, every second commercial on TV is for a fairness cream. You have one for men, for women, unisex, teens, preteens, kids, infants, anti-ageing, spot-free, wrinkle-free and what not! Not only does that make your life and bathroom almirah cluttered with so many of them, even trying to choose one could give one, moments of anxiety and restlessness. But the point is, do these things actually work?

I mean, forgive me for sounding cheesy, but do fairness creams actually make you fair? And by fair, I don’t mean only the gorapan, but also the quality of being unbiased (fair) in your life? Sorry for the lame analogy, but I couldn't help but think about the theory of beauty being only skin deep et al.We, as a nation, are obsessed with the firangis' white skin, but aren't we as a nation also looked upon as the land of beauty, principles and knowledge?

I look around myself, and find the 7-yr old and 17-yr old put on the 'creams' and make up, and trying to look like 20-somethings. And  37 and 47-yr oldies putting on different creams and make up to look like 17. All this while the 27 year old revels in her beauty and youth and uses creams to make 27 stay for another 10 years at least. Wow! Seems like only the youth is living in the present, while everybody else is in denial of their preteens, teens and middle age. In today's world, is beauty really, only skin deep? Do we judge people only based on their skin color, or by the brand of clothes/shoes/watch/fragrance or worse still, their pay packets? Whatever happened to the old world thought of looking beyond a person's outer appearance into their beautiful and gentle soul?

These days, I increasingly find myself amongst people who are judgmental, comment loosely about others' life without even realizing for a second what their life journey would have been and even have the guts to talk about rights and life-is-not-fair-to-me without knowing the basic facts about their so-called ‘rights’. I refrain from giving these crackpots a piece of my mind at the fear of sounding judgmental myself. I think "Self realization is the best realization".

And then, I had this funny thought which is why this post was written in the first place. What if we could have a fairness cream which not only made our skin tone lighter, took away blemishes and wrinkles, made us look younger, but could also beautify us internally? Science has made so much progress and Man is everywhere he has no business being in. Why can't these guys make creams that not only have lemon extracts and aloe vera but also a spoonful of Baba Kaamdev's yoga techniques. The ultimate 2-in-1 method of being gori and fit! Or may be sprinkled with Posho's teachings for the more intellectual ones. So when the next time, somebody in my vicinity tch-tches and says, "I think he is gay!", I would (not snicker) put on my best smile and suggest them to use the new Advanced Volay cream with Sri Sri Kavi Shankar ji's blessings to make their mind and thinking broad enough to accept a person with a different sexual orientation as a normal human being!
PS: All the characters' names are ficitonal and resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. ;-))

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Prerna - An inspiration for the journey of Life!

I have taken numerous trips to this place over 2 years. By bus, auto, bike and a chauffeur driven car. It didn’t matter how I reached. It just mattered to be present.
I landed up here because I loved Mathematics and I wanted to contribute to the society. And so I turned into a Mathematics and English teacher on the weekends, for Prerna. Prerna, as an NGO, supports bright students with a not-so-good financial background to continue their studies with scholarships and free tutions.
This was a journey I had always thought would be fulfilling and satisfying for me as a human being, for being able to give back something to the society. It was anything, but that. What I got to learn from that experience, and what I gained was more than I would have given to the students in those two years.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about ‘teaching’ classes XI and XII, as they are supposed to be these rowdy teenagers, who give a really tough time to the 'teachers', what with flying airplanes, asking stupid questions and talking back! And this wasn't even a proper school where I could punish them or call their parents over for disciplinary issues.
But my first class was a complete U-turn from what I had imagined it to be. I had the sweetest kids in my class. Their faces or behavior never gave away the plight back home, even if you didn't take into account teenagers minus their flashy dresses and gadgets. Even though their family income was meager, their dreams weren't. The fire in their bellies that urged them to work hard and achieve their dreams left me speechless. I cringed at my 22 year old self, of how ungrateful we were, of all that we had, when we were in school. We never took advantage of the opportunities we got in life, we took everything for granted. And here were these kids, who hardly knew if they would be able to continue their studies in the next semester or class, and still turned up for their classes unfailingly every weekend to make as much as of the situation as they could.
Joining hands for a better future!
We also had parents of these kids come over at prize distribution ceremonies, to make them understand that their kids held a lot of promise, and that they would be the ones breaking the cycle of poverty for their families. Once we asked the mother of the boy who had topped the state boards to speak about how it felt. All of us were in tears as she explained how the times had been so trying for the family, as she was the only earning member and had three kids to support. The boy would help his mother as well as study late into the night. The promise her child had, gave her a hope that all the hard work she was doing was worth it. We also had a girl who had won a scholarship to go NASA for a 3-day educational trip. I couldn't help but admire the zeal these kids had.
We also had a guy, among ourselves, who had graduated with Prerna's support and was working with a top IT firm. He too turned up all weekends, be it rain or shine. He even donated a part of his salary every month to his true alma mater. My learning just never stopped there.
This journey is something that I will not be able to forget my entire life. Even though I could not continue with Prerna because I left the city, it has taught me a lot of lessons for life. It showed me an altogether different world that exists outside our comfortable homes, AC cars and fancy offices. It taught me to be grateful for everything that I have, had or will ever have. And no matter how big I grow in life, I will always remember to give a part of it back for somebody who might not be as lucky as I was, but is definitely way more talented than I am.

This post is my entry for the contest  Incredible Stories by MahindraXUV500 and Indiblogger.
You can vote for my story here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kya Kahenge Log ?

"Duniya ka sabse bada rog.....kya kahenge log?"

Are you also one of those kinds who take decisions based on what people say? Or at least are swayed into changing decisions because your own people might not approve it? Don’t even pretend to answer because I am anyways not gonna believe you. Because no matter how much we think or bully ourselves into believing that we care two hoots about what the society thinks and we do as we like, the truth is that somewhere deep inside our hearts, we are always looking for an acceptance, in any form, from our kin.

Our whole lives, we are brought up with fear inducing threats like, "What will padosi uncle/aunty/dada/dadi/mama/chachi/teacher/dog say?" And as much as we ridicule these lines and try to snap ourselves out of its tangles, it sticks on to us, much like the flu or the virus. Unknowingly, we have caught it from the air, breathed it and it now forms a tiny little part of us. Over the years, this virus grows and we begin to realize the wisdom of our elders, and keep spreading the virus to all our progenies.

But there are some, for whom the virus hasn't grown big enough yet. And they have taken some pretty off-the-rule-book kinda decisions. But as far as I have seen it, our society isn't all that forgiving. Even though it will not ridicule you out rightly, yet, after all these years, it will keep you wondering as to what you did wrong. Somewhere deep inside, you will expect or even want to hear a good word or two about yourself/your decision, but nada. Its indifference as well as cynicism will get to you. You will try to conform to your own logic of I-don't-care, but you know that you do. And you will keep squirming in your seat at all social gatherings when you will be subtly but out rightly be siphoned off, just because having your own mind isn't (wasn’t ever) a fashion.

And I am not even trying to say whether this is right or wrong. Just because your risk paid off, hundreds of others are going to imitate you, but are not going to succeed. And so, you will have to carry the burden of their failure on your shoulders too, despite having got no credit for your own achievements, ever. Wanting a pat on the back for taking a new path is like having your cake and eating it too. And our society ain't that generous. It takes centuries to identify a genius. Almost always posthumously.

So, for all those of you, who like being happy (who doesn't?) or have a weak heart which needs a little canoodling and pampering every now and then, deviating from the herd is just not your thing. You might not be able to take the lifelong rejection. Strangling your genius might just be the best idea.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Pigeon pair that went kaput..!!

That I am not much of a religious person is known. But how I could feel God one day, all around me, is a story.

It all started with a pigeon laying a pair of eggs in our balcony, when we were away for a couple of days. Now this is not something that hasn't happened before. Although it was a bit of a discomfort as the 'nest' was right above the water drain and we couldn't use the washing machine for the fear of eggs getting damp and dead. This continued for a good two weeks, before we started running out of clothes. And I had no choice but to use the area.

We decided to shift the nest and eggs into a shoe box while the pigeon was away. The pigeon with its button-like eyes couldn't so much as make out and kept searching for its eggs near the water drain. Somewhere inside, I felt bad for all the trepidation it was going through to find its eggs, but somehow I was sure that it would not give up until it found them. And did! After a few anxious moments, I came back to the window and found the pigeon back AND inside the box, cuddling its eggs. Was I moved? You bet I was.

That day, I realized that God does have a vision. It’s just that we aren't able to gauge the boundaries of that vision and sometimes, just give up too soon. I had moved the pigeon's eggs to a safer place, but it had to make an extra effort to keep the faith and discover it. The opportunities, sometimes even better than those we can think of or dream about, exist so closely and silently about us, but we fail to discover them.

That day I thought, "Had I played God to that pigeon, by expanding it horizons and giving it a better opportunity to be warm and safe?" I was not sure. But slowly I realized that the pigeon was very comfortable with me hanging around the box, and didn't flutter threateningly to keep me at bay. May be I had given him Some faith. Maybe. And I felt strangely happy.

But My God had some completely different plans, and some ulterior motives as well. The maid arrived home, and she tried to shoo the pigeon away, unaware of that fact that the box had eggs inside it. In the confusion that ensued, the pigeon started fluttering and the box fell down. Both the eggs were broken. The amber-golden liquid that would have some days later translated into a quintessential (hopefully) pigeon pair, lay scattered about in an almost grotesque way. I almost cried and then thought about the pigeon. The maid, sensing my mood, cleaned up everything soon enough.

I moved about the house doing the chores, and thinking about the poor pigeon. Its eggs, subsequent kids. It must be so heartbroken. And I could not, so much as, even say a kind word or two to it. And then I remembered the whole I-played-God-to-the-pigeon thing. I just laughed at my foolishness, and tried to shoo the theory away. But my cynical self summarized that sometimes, even God can make mistakes. ;-)
I did feel naive and queasy with that theory, but then, better sense prevailed.

And I concluded that may be this is the time when God wants us to keep our faith in Him, and understand that may be there was a reason as to why this happened. And I am sure, that reason is around me, very near. I just have to look for it, with full sincerity. I haven't figured it out for the pigeon yet, but I believe it happened for good.

PS: <my cynical self surfacing again> Do you really  think God can Never make mistakes?