Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sugar Coating Business

Are you one of those who in your childhood loved anything that your mind passed as sweet? Well childhood love usually does not last long. Here is a new kind of sweetener in market that will evoke similar “feel good” emotions and if one has a heart, can last forever. On top of it, this does not even cause diabetes. The product is widely available in different forms, in all parts of the world.

A booming sugar candy business can be seen in the film industry. After all who can resist the “all is well, and even when things are not, we are still a family” films coated with sugar syrup from the beginning till the very end? This business cuts across language and space. Our superheroes not just possess extraordinary strengths but come with a heart too. With tears in their eyes and a heavy heart they take up their “great responsibilities” that come as a package deal with “great powers”. All the pretty women, maids from Manhattan, Tom, Dick and Harries & Sallies and now our “desi” Ayeshas, after many conflicts, misunderstandings and emotional drama finally manage to get hooked with their “Mr. Rights”. They are meant to live happily ever after although they have, in the past, not been able to hold on to any relationship long enough. But it doesn’t come that handy….they all need to immerse themselves in a concentrated solution of sugar syrup to prepare for the final speech dripping with emotions. They may either get on to a stage or climb some uncomfortable ladder (or do something as dramatic) to deliver this last set of dialogues that is usually witnessed by hundreds of people gaping at them with tear-filled eyes and a pasted smile along with our audience.

A large contribution comes from our renowned authors who are widely known for their meaningful writings that fill the hearts of millions of people with excessively “sugary” emotions. They make us realize how the whole world conspires to make our dreams come true when we truly wish for something (at least such is the case in all Paulo Coelho’s worlds). It has also been revealed to the world by some famous psychiatrist (who might not have been as famous by his practice as he became by his books) how “only love is real” and how souls travel together across life times for the sake of love. The articles and books where the facts are coated with a feel good layer of timeless love, selfless sacrifices and lessons of morality are read by many men and women who go to sleep with sweet dreams (that are made sweeter with these writings) only to wake up to the unhappy reality of life.

The most refined product in this industry, meant for people who are not satisfied by mere dialogues or bookish words, is the sugar coated morality. This product guarantees it’s users a feel good factor in their lives without making too many changes in their life style. They can continue buying expensive, luxurious products but only from the brands that promise to donate a small percentage of their money to a charity helping malnourished children in some remote village. It is not important to know if the same companies are in some way responsible for such conditions at the first place. One should not try to dig deeper as these products are sugar coated only on the surface. They may come out in hordes with candles in their hands in an appropriate white dress and a suitable make up for the occasion, to fulfill their moral duties and display their support for a cause that has greatly moved (or entertained?) them on television. People may feel good about themselves by donating old clothes to a drought hit village but don’t scratch them too hard or else the sugar coated morality might just peel off.

In the world of conflicts and confusions of the privileged class, who are comfortably settled in their lives but want a little extra for their entertainment, these sugar coated candies are selling like hot cakes. All interested people may hurry and grab these products to add some sugar in their lives.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Village

A banyan tree stood tall in the center of the common meeting place in the village since it was planted there many long years ago. Apart from the trunk of the tree that had grown thick over the years along with it’s branches that had expanded and occupied the nearby area around the tree and a few new huts that had cropped up, one could not spot many differences in the village during the day. In the eerie darkness of the night these small differences seemingly disappeared and the place looked just the same as it always was in the memories of the villagers as far as they could recall. It was difficult for comfort to find an entry into the village in its crudest form, although comfort was certainly not one of the priorities of the inhabitants. They had more serious issues to deal with. It was survival – the most basic instinct of any form of life that they were struggling against. Some of them had even been successful in defeating the beast and putting an end to their miseries forever. Others were still desperately clinging to it holding on to their pain and sufferings with all the strength that was still left in them. The feeling of love and compassion still persisted and the morality that they had defined for themselves still existed in most in varying degrees. The desperate struggle against hunger and pain brought in distorted beliefs. As the human attempt miserably failed to bring relief, god took an even larger form. It was after all God – the supreme who was to be made happy. God’s indifference to their issues did not discourage them much. One of the villagers unable to cope up with his struggle for survival and yet not ready to give up ran as fast as he could.

Many miles away was a prosperous town unfamiliar with these struggle for survival. Their circumstances differed but the instincts were the same. People continued with the practice of accumulating more and more although they had forgotten the purpose of it. This process of accumulation left them completely exhausted and stressed out. It was a habit that they found difficult to forego. Comfort was in abundance but they never gave up continuously creating new forms of comforts day and night. However, the accumulation of wealth and comfort failed to bring in happiness that they longed for. Their belief in god was growing feeble and many had started questioning the existing morality. They had created new set of issues for themselves and faced different kind of emotional crisis that was not heard of in the village. The man from the village found himself in this new place amidst people with completely different set of problems. Disillusioned with this new life of confusions and conflicts, he ran once again. But this time he did not know which way to go.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Gift

I instantly fell in love with it the moment it first appeared in front of me wrapped in a colorful gift pack. It was a beautiful angel and brought with it an exciting world ahead. I would sing and dance with it and was happy for no particular reason.

I slowly became familiar with all its demands, its likes and dislikes. I did all that was in my control to make it happy. Its dissatisfaction grew and I toiled day after day to meet with its demands. It gave a devilish look each time any of its demands was not fulfilled…It was an angel all the same.

One fine day I noticed its small feet that were slowly growing. I realized instantly that it would leave me when it's time comes. I clung to it and cried inconsolably. I experienced fear and sorrow of losing it like never before.

With time it’s demands grew larger. It developed strong feelings about everything. I loved all that appealed to it and hated thoroughly what it did not like. I became aggressive and hostile to anything it disliked. I saw people kill others and get killed to obey the commands of their little gifts. Without any hesitation I followed them. I grabbed more and more of what it asked me to get but could not bring satisfaction. It was no longer the angel that I was once familiar with – it had taken an ugly form!! I loved it all the same. I feared immensely each day as I saw its feet grow. I was no more happy.

The time that I feared most finally arrived. It was ready to leave me anytime. I pleaded it to stay a little longer. I suffered miserably but yet desperately tried to fulfill its demands. It was no more beautiful and I cursed it. But I could not let it go anyway.

Friday, August 27, 2010

God only knows...or may be not!!

"Donate generously and win a ticket to meet with God", I read it aloud from the notice board in front of an old structure. Had it been some other day, I would have preferred a ticket to one of those mindless comedy shows that painfully try to induce laughter in its audience to spending my evening in a gloomy conversation with someone whose existence didn't concern me much. However since it was one of those days when the conflicting and confused part of me was exceptionally active, I was willing to go to any extent of silliness to pacify it. So I made my donation and went in.

Well I was not the only one. In fact it was a rather crowded room with people standing patiently in a queue. So I waited for many long hours before I was finally summoned into God's chamber. As I stepped in I saw God standing right in front of me. "I must say you are immensely popular in today's world....I haven't seen such a long queue as it was in front of your chamber today, anywhere except of course the local wine shop in my street", in my confusion, I blabbered . God didn't seem pleased. "Based on the meager donation you have made which is a direct result of your inclination or the lack of it to meet me and considering the number of followers waiting outside, you get exactly four and a half minutes to talk...and your time starts now." he said looking at the watch.

Without wasting my time further with any more pleasantries, I came straight to the point. "It appears you have put in a lot of hard work in creating this universe. I am sure it was doing absolutely fine before mankind was launched. What I am not sure of is why you went all the way to create the human species and place it in this world absolutely clueless of what it was supposed to be doing with itself. Ever since we managed to get a little comfortable in your world, we have been trying hard to find the meaning for our existence. Some do manage to create their own meaning but the mysteries still remain unresolved...the purpose of life is as elusive as ever".

"Looks like narcissism has become a driving force in your species. Or else why would you amuse yourself with the thought that I have created a higher purpose for humans if I haven't created one for any of my other creations? May be you are looking for a meaning when there is none at all." said god. "I was coming to that.” I said. "After a long search for a meaning many of us have concluded that there may not be any. But then that doesn't clear our conflicts, in fact it aggravates them. Many philosophers have spent their entire lives coping up with the meaninglessness of their being and have filled their over exerted minds and many blank pages trying to define a reasonable way to live life in the absence of any meaning. How does one make a decision to choose something among the innumerable options that you have made available in this world if there is no meaning of any choice that one makes? "

"Hasn't any one told you that I don't play with dice? Do you think I would let you fiddle around with the rest of my creations? Do you think I would give you the freedom of choice?" God responded. "Now this confuses me further....So are you saying that this decision of mine to come here today after making such a huge donation was not my own but something which was already decided? Could I have not just walked randomly on the streets instead of standing outside your room for hours?", I probed further. "May be not, although there is some amount of uncertainty involved in this assumption...you should know this better, having been born in this modern world of science and technology…haven’t you heard of the causal chain? Are you not familiar with the philosophy of determinism?” said God. “So that should absolve me of the feeling of silliness caused due to this absurd action of mine today.”, I said hoping to find solace in God’s words. “I only said that I may have deprived you of free will…. But not from the sense of having a free will. It is after all not the ability to make a choice but the feeling of the ability to make a choice that evokes guilt or pride. Moreover, may be your emotions are as inevitable as your actions”.

There was no conclusion to be drawn from the discussion that I had so far and my time was running out. “Dear God, like everything else, the time allotted to me and our discussion have both come to a futile end and I haven’t got any definitive answer from you for any of my queries. All your answers were accompanied by a confused “may be”. Please clarify this one doubt of mine before I take leave of you – are you the god of Ramana and Krishnamurti or are you the god of Camus and Sartre or are you with Einstein and Laplace?”, I made a final attempt to know the truth. “I am the god of all those standing outside my room as much as I am the god of the ones who prefer to line up in front of the wine shops. I am equally the god of the theist and the atheist. It doesn’t matter if they see me differently and paint this world and its creator with different colors that they have access to. What is important is that they learn to love the picture that they paint of this world.”, God paused for a moment and added, “…or maybe not!!”.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Darkness

The dreadful darkness that time and again casts its shadow over me…It has become a frequent visitor and accompanies many of the setting evenings when I fail to keep my mind sufficiently guarded with the mundane activities of life. I desperately try to fight it back with fresh air and bright lights but it refuses to leave. The darkness reveals some known facts about the pain and miseries of life (and death) with such intensity that it almost feels as if I am living them that very moment. The futility of life and the inevitability of death, both stare at my face at the same time. And the impact is more that I can endure. But are not life and death the two opposite extremes of one’s world? So why should both cause similar feelings of such severe depression? In fact is any of the two such a terrible act of nature in true sense? I try to go deep into it and understand these extremes better. I haven’t been able to do so yet. But I do hope someday I would come to terms with, even befriend this darkness before it engulfs me forever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Mid Life Crisis

Nature has been most generous to us humans. It usually allows us to first settle down in this world before wrecking its torments on the mind and the body. One may argue that it's not the benevolence of nature, but a battle that man has won against an indifferent nature, that lets us settle into a comfortable life. I would agree and yet disagree but will save the discussion for some later time. For what has been occupying my mind lately is not what nature is up to and what the great mysteries of evolution are. In fact, what keeps me awake for long hours is this pathological disorder of the mind, peculiar in its kind, that has a remarkable ability to make a reasonably balanced person feel utterly worthless and disoriented. It may occur much before the torments of the body even starts showing signs and old age is yet a distant reality. They call it the "Mid Life Crisis".

On a lonely evening, not too long after my thirty fourth birthday, when I sat on a comfortable couch with a mug of coffee, contemplating where life is heading me towards, Mid Life Crisis suddenly made its appearance from no where and placed itself comfortably in front of me. I was in no mood to entertain strangers. I looked at it and turned to the other side taking a sip of coffee from the mug so as not to pay much attention to the unwelcome visitor. The Mid Life Crisis was not to be bothered by such impudence. In fact, it felt more at home by the disturbing disillusionment that showed on my face. In order to begin a conversation, it introduced itself - "Hello...I am what is famously known as the Mid Life Crisis!!". I continued with my rude demeanor and told that it was an uninvited guest and showed no further interest in a conversation with it. "I came here only when I was summoned by you. In case you have decided against it, you just have to ask me to leave", it said. I thought for a moment and since I did not have anything better to occupy my time with, suggested it to stay on for a while. I finally decided to talk. "You might have found me difficult but I was not like this always. My miseries are immense and you have no idea about it. It deeply saddens me to realize that half of my life has already been consumed and yet what is left of it appears to be such an unending and tiresome journey". The Mid Life Crisis didn't show the slightest sign of being moved by my plight. It preferred to instead stare at some point in the distant space and appeared lost in its own world. Was it because it had heard these words repetitively to the extent of indifference or was it simply trying to reciprocate my impolite behavior, I could not tell. To keep the conversation alive, I asked the Mid Life Crisis where it came from and what it did to pass time. After a long pause it began to narrate it's story.

"I have existed for many thousand years. It has been so long that I don't remember when I was born. Things were different then. There was a period when I had the leisure time to enjoy the small joys of life. People were mostly not familiar with me and did not need me much those days. But it is no more so in this modern era. I have a grueling work schedule that never ends. I am called for my services any time of the day and night...I work on all days of the week, weekends being particularly strenuous. I witness aging men and women staring at the mirror, trying to hide their wrinkles and graying hair desperately. And when they fail to do so they call upon me. I have been a part of many gatherings where people invite me only to gang up and curse me. And yet they don't let me leave. I have accompanied many bored and lonely people and watched them do weird things. They sit in front of their television sets constantly flicking through channels, taking pleasure out of the crazy things happening in some stranger's life in the form of the so called "reality shows" or gape at their computer screens, at some networking sites, peeping into profiles of people unknown to them, taking care of their cows and pigs in some fictitious farm of theirs for hours. However, it is not that I am hated by all. Many psychiatrist, novelists, film makers make huge amount of money on my account. They quite like my existence as long as I stay away from them." The Mid Life Crisis went on about it's experiences spanning across many different eras and different regions. By the end of the conversation I forgot my own issues and let it leave. But before it took leave, it looked at me and gave a mischievous smile. "It was interesting to converse with you today...I am sure you would want to meet me again soon...very soon...may be tomorrow the same time?!!", it said to me and disappeared.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Real World...

Long time ago I knew a woman. She lived in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains floating on top of the clouds and a blue lake flowing in the air alongside the mountains. It was as if God had used a special brush to paint her world. She would have been the happiest soul but for the surprisingly strange fact that this world of her's could not be seen by anyone else. Not that it bothered her but it did concern the rest to the extent that they called her insane and sent her out of their community.

When I grew up and became a part of the real world, I noticed a stark similarity between the sane people of the real world and the woman whose faint memories still lingered in some corner of my mind. They all lived in a world that was seen only by their own selves. The difference in their world being - the mountains and lakes were replaced by images and opinions about themselves, others and various incidents in life that were purely a figment of their imagination. The images and opinions formed in their minds were distorted, bloated or inflated based on their convenience or need. The incidents were interpreted in a way that suited them. This, they used in an attempt to assuage their miseries and conflicts(many a times self created) in the real world. However, they continued living as sane members of the community since they never saw a mountain or lake floating on the clouds.

The woman in reality lived only in my mind (and never died). However, some traces of these sane people could be found all around including my own self when I dared to take a glance inside.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Classroom

It had been a long time. Time is said to fade off even the most intense memories of one’s life. It does. However the impact of certain incidents and phases in life are strong enough to erupt out every once in a while. And if one tries to curb the thoughts in the awakened state, they form a part of one’s subconscious mind and are manifested in one's dreams that one has less control over. Such was her stay in the University.

So the classroom was set up in her mind. It could have been easily mistaken to be an all boy’s class if one failed to notice the four girls (including her) hurled together in a corner on the first bench of the classroom. She was facing the black board and didn’t really move from the first bench. No she didn’t have any special powers, not even in her dream, to manage seeing in all directions at a time and even peeping into other’s minds. But was practically able to do so all the same.

The professor was yet to come. Amit and Samit were busy discussing the algorithm that the teacher was supposed to talk about in the session. A group of boys sitting on the last row were eagerly waiting for the teacher to arrive and take the roll call so that they could quickly flee and participate in the fight going on in the university between two local gangs. They were discussing their strategy in the meantime. Rajesh was taking a mid day nap after a heavy meal. He would intermittently wake up to see if the teacher had arrived yet and then go back to sleep. People were chatting in small groups. It was a homogeneous mixture of conversations when suddenly Anamika called out for Suresh. "When do you intend to return my notes?" Suresh was taken aback. He was a friend of Anamika’s and was her well wisher. So he quietly went to her and warned her against talking so loudly - "Don’t you realize you are a girl?" "What is there to realize when I know it for a fact. But what is that to do with the volume of my speech?" She said. As it is she had made many such goof ups and was still trying to get used to the new atmosphere. "Where did I go wrong this time?" She wondered.

Bhumika was sitting next to her oblivious of the argument and even the presence of others around her. She was not such a bad student but was considered slow and absent minded by most of her classmates. Was it that her mind did not work or did it simply refuse to participate in the talks and surroundings that she was so disinterested in was something she left up to them to interpret.

The teacher entered the classroom disturbing the busy discussions, strategy making and heartlessly waking up Rajesh who was blissfully in a different world by now. Chandrika was just about to take down the notes when she discovered a meticulously drawn naked body of a female with the name of one of the girls carved on the hand of the chair. She wasted no time in covering it up with her notebook. Now her entire attention shifted from the blackboard to the hand of the chair. It was a difficult task to write in such a position but she had gained some practice in it by now.

"Now how do we optimize this further" the question was fired by the teacher. Amit quickly answered. Samit added a few more points to it immediately. In the middle of the discussion Gajender marched in. He was a local politician enrolled to the course to remain affiliated with the university. When he managed to save some time from his busy schedule of doing no one knew what, he visited the classroom to ogle any one of the girls he found attractive.

Deepika who was diligently trying to follow the discussion between Amit, Samit and the lecturer until then suddenly found it difficult to concentrate further. The optimization of the algorithm that she was striving to understand appeared trivial compared to the present question of how to appear least noticeable among the four of them. She already wore the most dull clothes, wore thick glasses and topped that with a plain hair-do. But so did the other girls - the competition was tough. Among the four girls, two belonged to the same city. And the guy however notorious he was, had his morality firmly in place not to bother the girls from his own city.

"So what is the final outcome of the equation?" The teacher asked. Again Amit was quick to come up with the answer. He had studied late in the night to prepare for the class. "How did he manage to answer that? I went to sleep only after the lights of his room were switched off. I got to further cut down on my sleep from now on" Samit resolved.

Anamika was still upset about the episode with Suresh. She hated Suresh for talking to her like that. Suresh was in love with Anamika from the moment he saw her. "She is a bit childish and immature but I still love her. I am sure she will learn the norms of the society with time and be up to my mark", he said to himself.

"Why doesn’t this mindless creature decide to sit in some other class and stare at someone else?" Deepika thought. Decision comes into picture only when there is a choice to make. The senior batches in the department were unfortunately not blessed with any female population.

Chandrika was still carefully covering the hand of the chair. She was equipped with a blade in her purse (in preparation for such days) that she would use as soon as she got a chance. She was waiting for the class to get over.

It was getting hotter and she started feeling thirsty. She drank some water but the thirst didn't go. The discomfort brought her back to the real world where she was sleeping in a hot room and had forgotten to switch on the fan. Her laptop was in front of her. An invitation mail from her old classmates for the evening for a college reunion party was open in her mail box. She kept looking at the mail as if trying to decipher it. She finally got up and got ready. She decided to go out for a walk by herself instead.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The College Reunion

So the three friends of old times found themselves together in a college reunion after many busy years of indifferent silence. Abhinav did not appear much different from how he looked during his student days. He did seem calmer and more contented with life. He lived in a small city with his wife and children. Wilson was balder, plumper and livelier than ever. He never stayed in the same place for a very long time. He said his eyes needed to see different places and people after a while. As the silence no longer was comfortable, a conversation began...

Wilson : Life has been a colorful collage of places and people so far and its always interesting to meet different people with such diverse ideas and beliefs.

Abhinav : It surely is. But somewhere down the line you do wish to settle down, have a family, raise children and watch them grow. After all that is the purpose nature has defined for us.

Wilson : Just because humans like all other species seem to follow a certain pattern and just because instincts for survival and procreation come naturally to all, does not ascertain that it is the highest goal set by nature. And even if such is the case, why should one be bothered about what nature wants from us? Why should we not go by our own instincts and do what we want to do? Although even that is ultimately a work of nature. I do what I want to do, for as long as it interests me. And then move on as soon as boredom casts its spell on me.

Abhinav : Boredom comes effortlessly to people. It will follow you whatever you do, wherever you try to hide. Does it not make sense to confront it and fight it back? I believe it makes a difference to give time to oneself, try and analyze one's own nature and try to eradicate whatever it is that causes boredom at the first place.

Wilson : What makes you think that natural instincts that man possesses and their outcome can be eradicated by man himself? Why should a software program that produces certain outputs have the capability of eradicating itself or change its algorithm?

Abhinav : What if the algorithm is written in such a way to shift to a different algorithm based on its input? I haven't been able to achieve this fully but I do believe it is possible.

Wilson : And my convictions drive me to choose different inputs whenever I want a new output.

All this while the software engineer sat quietly with a glass of full of whiskey and ice. He was more confused than ever. Time had ruthlessly destroyed all his beliefs one by one. He envied Wilson for being able to change his life whenever he wanted to. His own days were filled with monotony and boredom. And yet he knew that the fear of unknown and the grip of the known would never let him change his ways of life. He agreed with Abhinav that it is boredom that needs to be worked on....He was not sure how? "Both my friends appear so contented and seem to know exactly what they want out of life. And here I am not able to take a step forward in any direction", he thought. "But how can I believe in the outputs of some vague software program when I have no clues about its algorithm? How do I know what inputs to choose?". "A wise person had once said that it is wiser to know that one doesn't know than to be under the illusion of knowing what can not be known" he said to himself. He may not be the happiest person but he surely appeared to be the wisest going by the words of wisdom uttered many thousand years ago. Pleased with himself, he got himself another drink. Is it wise to continue being “wise” or is it wiser to seek happiness instead?- Unfortunately the wise man had said nothing about that.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Burden of Freedom

Once a young boy lived in a small island. It was a beautiful place with trees, a pond and a small hut. Every morning he would be awakened by the chirping of birds on the trees. He would feed the ducks in the pond and watch them swim for hours. He watered the trees everyday to keep them green. He was happy with his island until one day he saw another island far away with beautiful roses. He did not have any roses in his island. He looked ahead further and found another one with a long river and swans. He soon realized that there were many other islands far away, each having something unique about it that his island did not possess. He no longer enjoyed watering the trees and watching the ducks. He yearned for the distant lands. One night tired of watching the ducks in the pond he felt utterly depressed. He cursed god for having kept him confined to such a tiny island when there were so many other places to go. Thinking of the red roses, the river and the swans and so many other beautiful things in the other islands, he fell asleep.

The next morning when he woke up, he saw a ship parked at the shore. He was elated. He was no longer bound to his own tiny island. He was free to explore the distant lands. Before he could get to the boat, God appeared. Filled with gratitude, he thanked God for sending him the boat and giving him the freedom to choose where he wanted to go. "I have granted you your freedom all right, but your freedom has its own limits" replied the God. "The boat that you find here travels only in the forward direction. You can never bring this back to this place again".

He looked back at the blue pond and the trees. He would never get to drink the sweet water from the pond....nor would he get to climb the trees. He would not hear the chirping of the birds or watch the ducks swim ever. He wanted to stay a bit longer in his island before starting his journey. He urged God that he should be allowed to spend some more time in his island before commencing on his new journey since he was not ready yet. "The boat remains parked here. The choice is yours now" said the God and disappeared.

Every morning he would wake up to see the boat parked on the shore. He was reminded of the choice he had. He wanted to explore other places but at the same time was not willing to leave his island forever. The freedom that he yearned for once started tormenting him. He was unable to get rid of the constant stream of conflicting thoughts in his mind.

After years of indecisiveness he finally urged God to take the boat away. The next morning he woke up to find that the boat had disappeared. He sighed in relief. With new enthusiasm he watered the trees and fed the ducks. After a long time he again sat near the pond and watched the ducks swim for a long time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yet another discussion over Mars and Venus

In my younger years any argument with even a slight hint of gender bias carried a high potential to agitate me. I would vehemently argue as if the sole responsibility of saving the position of womankind rested on me. I still feel that the status of women in many regions of the world ranges from miserably bad to tolerably bad (of course, these definitions are purely my own). However, I take the discussions to disprove the superiority of men or prove the capabilities of women more as a pass time now. In true sense, I feel they are baseless. Men and women are different based on their natural roles in the process of evolution - Men being the bread earner and women the child bearer/nurturer.

Most people, with observation and statistical data, would agree that men are physically stronger than women in general. In my opinion this has been the primary reason why men have been able to suppress women and come up with various theories about the inferior nature of women through out history (more so in the olden times when physical strength was considered much more significant in the society). Some ancient philosophers claimed that women are less evolved form of human species; many were of the opinion that women should be kept under the surveillance and guidance of men. Some of the "enlightened" leaders of the past said that women are incapable of attaining the state of "nirvana" in their present lives. Although in modern society such thoughts are not openly expressed. In fact it is fashionable to project oneself to be gender neutral if not pro-women.

There are some theories and researches that also claim that women are intellectually inferior to men. It is scientifically observed that the average size of the brain of a woman is smaller or weigh less than the average size of the brain of a man (although it may not have a direct correlation with IQ). There are other differences observed between the male and female brains of humans as well. It is also statistically seen that substantially lesser number of women excel in higher education as compared to men and most of the high profile jobs are held by men. The reasons could be ascribed to social discrimination and the additional natural responsibilities taken by women. I leave the mental abilities of men and women open for a debate.

The differences between the two sexes (which I would like to believe is restricted to physical strength) have led to various gender discrimination and oppression of women. Although times are changing and men are taught to be more chivalrous (However modern society has its own biases. For example a "modern" woman frowns if a man chooses to go dutch on a date or eyebrows are raised when a woman picks up a glass full of whiskey instead of wine or campaign) My query is - Are the inequalities and suppression of women healthy for the society?

Considering a woman's well being, it most definitely will not be favored by the majority. What about the other half of the society? Let us consider what the men gain or loose from such an arrangement

A. Men gain more control over things as half the population looses its say. In turn they loose the support of the other half in decision making and many other productive activities by not equipping/educating them for such tasks.

B. Men gain more significance in the society and their lives are considered of higher value. This may ultimately result in imbalance in population and unhealthy competition to find a mate.

C. Men gain more power over women (or wives) which would result in their decisions being obeyed without any objection. And more importantly it would give them the power to fulfill their sexual needs even without the consent of the woman. They gain a sex object at the expense of a friend/companion with whom they can also share a mutually enjoyable physical intimacy.

Of course it is up to each to decide what would make a happy society that they may want to be a part of.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Narcissus and Goldmund - By Hermann Hesse

A story about the two extremes that life can offer....A life of self control and a life of indulgence...However, the ultimate goal remains the same - to find the answers to the unanswered questions....to dig deeper into the mysteries of life....To find a way to live life (And that brings one to the question - is there any difference whatsoever?).

Narcissus, the ideal man....confident, strong willed, determined. Aware of the futility of the pursuits of life. Ready to give up everything to reach the very peak.

Goldmund on the other hand, following his heart (his instincts), doing exactly what he wishes to do , that his circumstances permit. Experiencing every bit of pleasure... pain...joy...sorrow.... ecstasy and misery that comes his way. He is no less capable of finding his way to the peak....or is he not?

One seems to be trapped between the two extremes....oscillating between the two, unable to reach any final destination.