To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

~My Photo Blog~

  ...Worth a Thousand Words

Thursday, May 30, 2002
Sweet poem..........


ONE asked of regret,
And I made reply:
To have held the bird,
And let it fly;
To have seen the star
For a moment nigh,
And lost it
Through a slothful eye;
To have plucked the flower
And cast it by;
To have one only hope—
To die.

Monday, May 27, 2002
Read a very interesting article that was linked on a fellow blogger’s site. I would not have read it, had it not been recommended to me by a good friend. He felt it was very well written and I must say I can't agree more with him.

It is about men, women, and cheating. Why is it that men can be expected to cheat for no reason whatever whereas women have to provide worthy reasons for doing so? If a woman is unhappy in her marriage or she is ill treated, it is understandable, that she cheats. But if she is in a perfectly normal functioning relationship, it would be considered ghastly if she strayed, whereas for the man, it would be considered ok, natural, etc.

This is what the article said and I couldn't deny the truth of it. That we expect women to have higher standards than men and are not so accommodating of her weaknesses; infact, are not even ready to accept that she could have the same weaknesses as men. We expect her to justify those weaknesses with worthy motives.

Till this point I was with the author, but from here on began my doubts. I was a little confused as to what she was driving at. I wasn't sure I agreed with her moral tack. If she was saying that since the men were allowed a freer hand in the matter, the women should have it too; I had a problem.

To me, cheating is cheating, whether a man does it or a woman. Men and women may or may not cheat for the same reasons (need for variety or emotional fulfillment), but whatever it is, it cannot be deemed as "worthy".

A woman's straying cannot be justified by saying that half the men in the world were straying. Infact, I would say that the woman was doing something very, very wrong. But the same goes for the men too. The treatment that is meted out to the woman, the same should be meted out to the men too. Without any bias whatsoever.

I feel that the moral issue should be given as grave a consideration as the gender one, and in no way can one be compromised in favour of the other.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002
A book that made a vast impression on me and one I have had occasion to remark on before -- The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Would love to share a few gems from it....

* The British Physicist Michael Faraday warned of the powerful temptation "to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them ... We receive as friendly that which agrees with us, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense.

* At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes - an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.

* In his celebrated book, On Liberty, the English philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is "a peculiar evil". If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the "opportunity of exchanging error for truth"; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in "its collision with error".

* The claim is sometimes made that science is as arbitrary or irrational as all other claims to knowledge, or that reason itself is an illusion. The American revolutionary Ethan Allen had some words to say on this subject: "Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle that they are labouring to dethrone; but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

His Baloney Detection Kit includes tools for logical reasoning and definitely worth more than a look…..

Friday, May 17, 2002
I've tried my hand in the kitchen many and many a times; though the following account (written a while back) gives an exaggerated idea of my lack of skills in this area, it's still pretty close. :(

Cooking in the making

I’ll marry a cook and I’m quite decided about it. No, I’ve not fallen in love with one, its just that I have no other way out. That’s what my mother tells me and that’s the conclusion I’ve come to myself (after a lot of pondering, I do assure you). I’ve tried my hand at cooking, not once but many times (It was well worth a try, considering the alternative) and can’t say that I came out wiser in the process nor did I come out with anything better than I got in with.

My brother has such a voracious apetite, that if not for him, I wouldn’t have dared to make so many attempts. I would have liked to think he loved my creations, if I hadn’t been gifted with a sense of taste myself. The minute he knew I had taken it into my head to concoct something (It was the easiest thing to know, I couldn’t be secretive about it even if I tried), he would have to know if it was something that would particularly interest his palate. It was no use use telling him that he would have to see it to believe it (or rather I would have to first see it to know what it was, I couldn’t trust myself to churn out the real thing), but if I intended that anyone should ever see it, I had no choice but to tell him and hope that he wouldn’t be too sorry if it didn’t match the exact description.

There are occasions when you have to realise the importance of certain people and how hard it would be to get by without them. At other times, you could ignore them or avoid them or tell them what you thought of them, but not at these times. And these were those times when I had to be sweet with my brother, though I must say he tried as much of my patience as an Aloo Kofta. Here I was, planning to impress everyone with what a lovely Nariyal ka Halwa or Burfi or Chikki I had come up with (depending on what it looked like) and there he was, trying to pour cold water on my aspirations (and could it really matter to him if it was Halwa or Burfi or Chikki as long as it was sweet ?) But you couldn’t tell him that, especially if you expected him to do the honours when the time came. (What if something got burnt and it wasn’t sweet ?). The rest of the family would be more anxious than excited over my projects and tried to keep me away from what they called “Wild Schemes”

My Mother hoped she could gently initiate me into the art and with time I might be as good at it as she herself was, but she never got beyond the initialisation. She couldn’t bring herself to trust me with anything more complicated than peeling the potatoes or stirring the batter. I wondered she didn’t think of anything tamer than that.

Days flew by, then months, then years and I graduated from potatoes to cucumbers to pumpkins. I was told that stirring was supposed to be a consistent method, no matter what you stirred. Here the matter rests and I’m ashamed to admit that I’m rather daunted by the future.

I do believe we’ve reached an age where the men are supposed to be as busy in the house as the women, but I can’t believe there are too many of such liberal minded men. Luckily, If I do come across such a man, and happily, if he does agree to such an arrangement (for the sheer love of me ! ), what if he weren’t competent enough to take on such a heavy responsibility? What if he hadn’t been trained in the art of cooking and worse still, what if his training had not flowered beyond the bud, like mine?

No, I couldn’t risk that (love or not). I must find myself a cook and be done with it. After all, he might not turn out to be a good husband, but as long as he could turn out a good Kabab, I could hope for blessed relief ! !

Monday, May 13, 2002
A friend and I were once engaged in a most interesting discussion. I don't know how we came to arrive at the question, but once there, we were loath to leave it. The question was, "Given a choice, to spend an evening with a 7 yr old child or a 70 yr old adult, whom would I choose?"

Knowing me a little, perhaps he wasn't too surprised by my answer, though I suppose (am not sure), it wouldn't be the expected answer. I would have definitely preferred the old person's company.

This is not to say that I'm not fond of children; I am. But I can't explain what it is that draws me towards the old.

The friend wished to know the reason for my choice (as well he may) and though I was very much sure of my choice, I wasn't sure why.

It has always been so with me that I feel quite at a loss with children; as much as I enjoy watching their antics and frolics, I'm simply a spectator with no emotions involved. They represent a world that is lost to me and I can't imagine myself as ever having been a part of it. I sometimes try to look for a bond, that might connect me to them, and finding none, I wonder if I can reach out and secure one, but the only means at my disposal seem frightfully ill suited for such a task.

I've heard it said that the best way to be with a child, is to be a child oneself, maybe the child in me is dead. I wouldn't have much to offer a child, and the child wouldn't know what to offer me.

The old, don't know what it is about them that manages to stir something deep within me. In their company, I feel as I would feel, were I sitting under a huge banyan tree. Old and withered, yet so full of warmth and shade.

So many winds must have challenged it, so many rains must have refreshed it, so many shoots must have grown in its shadow, so many children must have played with its branches, so many stories must have been told in its vicinity, so many secrets it must hold in its bosom.

An overwhelming sense of sadness overpowers me, when I think of the changes that time has wrought on such a noble handiwork of nature, and the inevitability of future change -- the more I think of it, the more attached I feel to what is left of it now, but tomorrow may not be.

The old folks, not likely they know what they offer me, with their benevolent smiles and kindly words. A pat on the head is enough to bring back the child that lies within me dead. A child that responds to love like any other child.

And when I think of what I can offer them...I can come up with nothing...except the hope that the few happy moments I spend with them may give them happiness too...the few precious moments that are left to them...may they be joyful too...

Thursday, May 09, 2002
I have been in Bombay all my life, but I still feel a sense of belonging to my native place, Mangalore. When I visit there, I feel like a child returning to the lap of its mother: Warm, comfortable and familiar.

I would like to share a poem I had written once, when Mangalore was my dream. The choicest escape from the dreary mundaneness of everyday existence. I would imagine myself lost in its beauty and not having a care in the world.

Though now I do not engage in such fanciful thinking, the dream has always remained with me. Maybe someday it will even come true....


Across the whole wide world have I roamed
But just one place I would call my own
The soil of my birth, my very own earth
My love for it cannot be measured.

The tree and the bees, the cows and the hens
Where all nature rejoices and recreates heaven
Where the pace of life is slow
And each day very much like before
Where the people are a dull lot
Content with the little they've got
Where in each heart love and fellowship blooms
For hatred and enmity there's no room
Where ignorance is bliss and knowledge is amiss
Where each little thing holds forth promise
Where even nooks and crannies have memories for me
Such is Mangalore, the Mangalore of my dreams.

My beloved land, your blessings with me
Wherever I go, my heart will be with thee.

Saturday, May 04, 2002
……………yet another rusted piece..........from the forgotten closet…..

A little lesson of love……

Life can turn you into a philosopher; not a very happy frame of mind to be in and yet, very much imposed on those who have certain leanings. I couldn't care less about the world I live in, if it didn't interfere with my own private world, but unfortunately everything seems to be governed by everything else. There are subjects I would rather not dwell upon, for they are painful and often depressing, but I have to, I cannot help it. My mind wanders and I cannot control it.

I sometimes wonder what makes some people what they are. Is it fruitless to expect any change in them? And, if the general mass of humanity is as cold, unemotional, unfeeling, uncaring as it seems to be, then were we destined to be born as an exception? That’s hard to believe. Common logic tells you that there must be others who think and feel as you do. To whom kindness, sensitivity, sympathy, compassion, understanding and such other human qualities would mean as much as they do to you. But you never seem to come across such like-hearted people and hence the disillusionment.

I have commonly heard of people in love, who for some reason or the other , cannot make a declaration. It is a most unhappy situation, to be sure. There is a saying, which I believe to be quite true, which is " It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". It doesn't make their misfortune any easier to bear, but it is a balm to the soul, to know that one has tasted some measure of bliss.

My heart goes out to them, but my pity is reserved for some others. These are those that are loved, those who are thought of and cared for, those whose smallest words assume the greatest proportions in some others' minds, those whose mere presence is a secret joy and the sound of whose voice is pure music, those, in short, who have a place in some others' hearts but who do not know what they have. Those who break the very hearts that ache for them. Those who do not know the value of the treasure that is theirs and who happily ground it under their feet. Those who do not see the hurt, anguish and tears that follow their unkind words and still less care. Those who are offered words of comfort and reassurance, but who spurn them in an act of pride. Those who are timidly asked for little tokens of love and friendship, but who find pleasure in denying them. Those who are given the chance to love and be loved, but who cannot and will not, they are truly unfortunate and I sincerely pity them.

It is a funny world and still funnier are the creatures crawling on it. We learn to value people only after we have lost them. Then we think of how much we love them and groan, because we've no way of telling them. What is , is not forever but while it is, let's make it beautiful, this small little bubble of a life that we live. Let's give and share and make the most of hearts that care...................