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Archive for the ‘lifelong impressions’ Category

Hubris – when reality slips away and false belief sets in, when new money and sudden power settles over someone like a layer of thick dust, when psychotic delusions and manic energy gushes through the veins, and when the line between virtue and vice diminishes.

 Alexander Pope’ sums up the impact of  hubris well, “the difference is too nice – Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.”

Superbia_(mosaic,_Basilique_Notre-Dame_de_Fourvière)

The term hubris embodied a stark flaw in ancient literature across all cultures. Because of this flaw, the angel Lucifer suffered in the eternal fires of Hell. Ravana, one of the most learned men as depicted in the Indian epic Ramayana, falls prey to hubris. In Greek mythology, Narcissus’ hubris led to his death when he starved himself while admiring his own reflection.

Hubris has remained a never failing salience of humankind. Arrogant people have been knocking down others to wield more power and to get more limelight than they already do. Clout and top positions are regarded as a ticket to harassing the faint of heart and as an access card to bringing down the less powerful.629027126

Literature and movies have been shown to have hubris. Macbeth, Wolf of Wall Street, Scarface,  Doctor Faustus:  scores of examples can be added to this list as avarice, arrogance, and bigotry continues to malign the human psyche.

 

 

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capture

 

We are women, hence the strength to go on….

Way back in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “I hesitated a long time before writing a book on woman,” De Beauvoir begins. “The subject is irritating, especially for women; and it is not new. Enough ink has flowed over the quarrel about feminism; it is now almost over: let’s not talk about it anymore.”

Six decades or so later, acts of feminism still make the news.  Women continue  to fight to prove their individuality. Discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression and patriarchy still prevail.  Granted, countless paths of equality have been traversed and thousands of rights have been attained, yet this ‘ism’ hasn’t crossed the finish line victoriously.

How does the dictionary defines Feminism?

Feminism is  the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities or feminism is organized activity in support of women’s rights and interest.  

 

As the Jennifer Lawrences and malala yousafzais  of the world continue to speak up  about gender pay inequality and women’s rights  respectively, we as women need to learn from these highly accomplished women that feminism is about leading  by examples and not by mere talk.  For women’s sake, I want all women who are entering the feminist space or are considering  taking up arms against men in the name of feminism, to realize a few things.

Men are not benchmarks for women –  Yes, women should speak up when it comes to equal opportunities as a human being and equal pay for equal work  but  women don’t need to  aspire to be like men in all respects. Men and women will have different likes and  dislikes, different coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and different reactions at jubilant times. There will always be natural  differences between the two sexes and those differences are to be celebrated.Feminist women don’t need to bare their chests like men or wear feminism like a brand. The only competition each woman or rather each human being should have is with herself or himself.

Revel in your own strength as women.

Feminism is not a brand –  As I go through the countless feminist paraphernalia sites, and read about the many events where  mobs of females say or do everything that falls under the category of mob mentality, I wonder how we can brand something that stemmed from thousands of years of  being treated as inferior to men? The collective pain of countless women can’t be poured into the molds to make mugs, or stamped onto T-shirts, or blasted through  microphones in rallies.

Feminism needs action.

Be a woman in essenceWomen who are feminist are sensitive towards other women.  They empathize with the ones who are unable to make good choices either due to lack of awareness or due to circumstances.  So work on bringing out  the ‘true woman’ in you. Try doing the hard task of not frowning  upon the choices other women make. Instead, in your lifetime, help out at least one woman to boost her morale, lift her up, and encourage her to pass on the baton. Lead by example  against injustice and gender divide and  DON’T EVER practice it.

 Do what real feminist women do – GIVE!

Feminism is not a ritual that every modern woman should followThe want of feminism is to find  what you want to do in life.The key phrase  here is whatever you want to do and not what you are made to do. It is not a ritual that every woman has to follow, it is a mindset, an understanding that every woman and every man should have. It could very well  mean sitting at home and cooking for your family.  Trust me, if you as a woman loves doing so, then you are a feminist at heart. That doesn’t mean you won’t have or express countless opinions on the world political scenario, the economy or how your son or daughter should be raised.  

It is important for every woman to know what she wants in life.

 

Women need women – Through the last decade or so,  I have been relearning the meaning of feminism. From the dictionary meaning to the screaming “I am a feminist” t-shirt to the meaning taught by Sheryl Sandberg in her book  Lean In –  each one has shaped and reshaped my opinion of gender equality and feminism.  Recently I concluded  that my 86 year old grandma is truly a feminist. She never worked outside of her home, did not get the equal opportunities as her male siblings did, was taught to follow through her father’s and husband’s decisions made for her, but she always pushed her daughters to pursue higher education and never thrust her decisions on them.

Be a mentor to someone.

Men and women as allies –  Historically, women have been subjugated, looked down upon, and expected to remain mute on all financial decisions. Basically women have been on the back bench for centuries. But that doesn’t mean, feminist women have to have their horns out when it comes to men. One can’t expect to get a friendly handshake while one is looking away. Men and women can and should work together.

 Feminist Women do not mind an equal compromise – just don’t ask her to take a step back because she is a woman.  

 

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again

       The first crack in the wood sends shivers of excitement down the spine of the wood cutter. The periodic and consistent chopping thereafter yields a cadence that fills the inner ear with inexplicable pleasure.   Humans have been notorious for not only desiring patterns in music and language but also for getting agitated when it is lacking.

Literary devices like assonance, consonance, alliteration, and anaphora work on the fact that we like repetition.   Anaphora is one  figure of speech that uses a specific clause at the beginning of each sentence or point to make a statement.

Pretty sure Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s use of anaphora won her the love of Robert Browning. See how she woos her lover in this famous sonnet:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Sonnet 43 from the Sonnets From the Portuguese

Anaphora, possibly the oldest literary device, has its roots in religious songs and discourses used to emphasize certain words or phrases. Gradually, writers brought this device into practice.

From poets to writers to politicians, the use of anaphora is as widespread today as it was in the earlier times.

photo Barack Obama uses anaphora effectively in this  2008 speech after winning the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina. “I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina. I saw South Carolina.”

The more it is used, the more emotions it invokes in the audience.

Who can forget the moving speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, “I have a dream….”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech

 

The rhetorical quality of anaphora helps in fostering a connection, increases the impetus, drills the point across faster and helps in etching it in the listeners’ minds.  

Winston Churchill “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be….”

Other examples of the usage of anaphora are:

  • No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important.
  • We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity.
  •  “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings [. . .]

The 21st century social media uses anaphora as a tool to drill its message in its users’ psyche. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Sometimes the rhetoric do not have a musical quality and falls in the category of nonsense but it sure works.

trump

“Good night and good luck”

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Not too long ago, when the internet and telecom boom enveloped us all, consultants, marketing folks and bankers began to travel more than ever. The Monday through Friday work at client sites away from home increased, and a new species, ‘Friday fathers’ was born.images

Friday fathers are visitors who get to come to a familiar bed after sleeping in different hotels, only to leave again on Monday mornings. While the families enjoy the fruits that the labor and career of Friday fathers bring, all the luxury comes with a pretty high price tag.  The financial cost of all the “stuff” can seem dislocated from the true cost, which is, time away from home.

images (1)When these modern day hunters and gatherers come back home on Fridays, the only outward signs of distress they show are the results of jet lag. Never mind the two hour delay in boarding at the airport or the wailing infant in the six hour flight back. They generally do not crib if they are asked to buy liquor at an airport duty free shop, en-route home, for a house full of friends and family.  Friday fathers are expected to keep a cheerful appearance when the limo drops them at home and the wives and kids are waiting for a hug, and guests are already digging into the hors d’oeuvres. When someone asks them how their trip went, these tired but selfless souls are supposed to come up with a witty answer whether the inquirer is listening or has already sauntered away for another glass of wine.

Sometimes upon arrival, there are no guests in the house, and the families are waiting anxiously only to whisk away the Friday fathers to attend some social gathering.  Some Friday fathers do arrive home to quality family time, warm hugs, and homemade food and to cute expectant faces. But these Friday fathers make the mistake of pleasing the family too hard and make their arrival home a kind of Christmas celebration, getting gifts for the kids on the way back from their trips.  The grand entrance home is always a big event. What kid does not like Santa Claus coming every Friday evening?

At other times Friday fathers are given that “special” treatment that makes them feel like guests in their own homes.  They long for the kids to ask them a solution to a problem or hear demands from their wives which make them feel important but since the family has learned to fare all right by themselves for five days, the wives and kids leave the Friday fathers alone, making them feel unneeded. They are also given greeting-card-style sugar coated niceties that visitors get.  It feels like the family has conspired secretly to give the raised part of the soufflé or the more tender part of the meat to the weekend visitors, only to make them feel extra special where they just want to feel normal.

On Friday nights it is also a struggle to coax the little kids out of their acquired beds as they have become so used to snuggling with moms on week nights.  Saturdays fly away in birthday parties or soccer games, because some stay-at-home bosses think family bonding is better than sitting around on the weekend.  Sometimes Friday Fathers seek out the golf course as a way to relieve the work week stress but by the time they come home, the wives are ready to go for yoga classes or there could be another weekend outing already planned. There is hardly a time for them to chill at home with the entire family. They do however; get the privilege of taking the kids to birthday parties where they end up enjoying cheese pizzas in between yawning and beaming at their kids.

With those happy memories, of a very hectic weekend, Friday Fathers are too-soon back at the grindstone, preparing for their next client meeting and yet another trip to the airport where the employees now greet them by their names. Back on Monday evenings, it is usually a Skype good-night from the family along with a summary of the day.

            The lives of Fridays Fathers provide their families with both opportunity for success, and grand amenities.  It is a sacrifice that demands time away from home.  Even with a chaotic and busy weekend at home, they do enjoy the warm hearth and a kitchen with familiar smells; kids running around, and the house in a cozy mess. All this is unlike the chemical smells of hotel rooms and commonplace formalities of board meetings which rejuvenates them.  The pressures of the work week melt away with the soothing complaints of their wives and innocent demands of children. The taste of cookies cut unevenly and the chicken served without any garnish gives a satisfaction that the perfection of restaurants can never compare 

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When I crossed the oceans to be in the United States, I did not just bring back memories, I brought my own East with me. My perception of the cultural and social mores and the belief system that defined me—all came with me.

Read more at

http://www.browngirlmagazine.com/2016/01/shedding-and-retaining-the-east-in-you/

 

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Feminism only calls for gender equality in social, political and cultural aspects of a society! That is it – nothing more!

Read on!!!!

http://www.browngirlmagazine.com/2015/12/11-feminist-moments-in-2015-we-must-celebrate/

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The Chai-chantation

Chai, the Hindi word for tea, was introduced to India by the British in the early 1900s and gained popularity in the 1950s as a recreational drink for the masses. Today, India is the largest producer of chai and 70% of it is consumed domestically. This recreational drink wove its strong and addicting yarns into the social fabric of India. Chai now works mostly like a talisman for Indians all over the world.

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Clive Limpkin/ The Image Bank/Getty Images

Psychology of an Indian in relation to Chai

Indians take Chai very seriously. It is not just another drink; it is a statement that one makes to guests, both in its presentation and the mood that it is served. It is a difference between hospitality and insult. Acting like a balm, chai heals physically and psychologically. When an Indian addicted to chai (mostly everyone is) doesn’t get it on time (which is almost all the time) – it can engender serious mood swings, increased palpitations and can also sever relations.images (1)Almost every Indian has heard this statement at some point in his or her life: “we went to their house and they didn’t even offer tea!” This is a very serious allegation one can make about anyone and an equally drastic reaction by the complainant is totally acceptable in the chai drinking Indian society.

When is chai needed by an Indian?

The ever- powerful, all- inspiring chai drives almost each and every Indian to move, groove, approve and remove and is a constant accompaniment at all the times that we are logical, ethical, melancholy or unwell.

Although most Indians drink chai in the morning and in the afternoon, there is no set time or occasion for this blood pumping liquid.  Hot, freshly brewed chai with herbs is a must for Indians after a funeral, during a meeting, at the end of a long sermon or after a painful childbirth. Warmth seeps into the body just by holding a hot cup of chai on chilly evenings. Indians also drink hot tea to beat the heat in summer months …something like a Zen effect.  Anecdotes such as a family getting together to be with a dying member of the family and the dying member suddenly getting up and asking for chai are infrequent but not unheard of  in Indian society.

What a cup can mean for Indians?

A cup of good chai can transport an Indian to his or her own heaven. Chai can lead to tears of joy or feel like rain drops on dry, barren landscape. This scalding cup of nectar brings a family together, welcomes guests appropriately and is a known catalyst that seals and settles deals and disputes amicably. A second cup is better than the first and the third better than the second; the laws of diminishing marginal utility fail to impact this patriotic drink.

 Antique Rose Chintz Bone China Cup Saucer_75762641_kulhars-and-pot

 

 The regality of it all

Whether daintily drinking from exquisite bone china cups sitting in a fancy drawing  room or slurping from a clay cup standing on crowded train stations, chai never fails to influence Indians.   If one ever needs to impress the parents of an Indian girl or boy, invite them over for tea and serve it with great politesse asking them to have more. Chances of a positive outcome will be greater.

Images : google.com

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