Monday, 29 April 2013

Zero Sided Stories : Blog # 106

Zero Sided Stories ~ Unholy confessions

       I have often wondered as to why there are things that are deemed best left unsaid. Why do people stop themselves from saying certain things? Apparently, it is for the harmony of the society itself. This became apparent from the most unlikeliest of places – A Confessions page.

why confess?            There are many thriving confessions pages on Facebook. Of the many reasons for their flourishing popularity, the prime one is that it pulls a veil on the confessor. This gives the confessor, the ultimate security of anonymity. As a result, the reputation that he/she has to live up to is nonexistent. The only person who is watching is the almighty alone. The moderators are unaware of the identity of the person who is posting – at least that is what they are saying.

            The zero reputation leads to lack of inhibition of any sort. This can be dangerous if not moderated with tact. It will lead to character assassination of the worst form. It is of the worst kind because when a person puts up a post about someone else anonymously, the story is not even one sided but zero sided. One sided stories can be dismissed or accepted depending on the credibility of the person who is propagating it. Here, the person is anonymous which makes the story zero sided!

            It is exactly because of this, the moderator of the page need to be someone who can tell black from white. One need to know how far is acceptable and how less is boring. The intention should be to have good fun and not malign people for in due time those who enjoy doing graffiti will themselves get painted and the page will die a slow death. However, it does give a sense of omnipotence to the administrator for he/she is privy to the darkest secrets and it is up to his/her discretion to let others know or not.

            The good thing about it is the complete absence of usual societal forces. There is no fear of power of any sort – be it political, monitory or owing to numbers. There is no moral police either. Many a time, we choose to do or not do things owing to fear of judgement and subsequent ostracism.  This fear of judgement is not there. Another bright side of it is that it frees one’s mind. There are things which one doesn't want to tell friends, family or worse even oneself. These find their manifestations in a confessions page.

             It is the violation of some basic norms and the absence of certain social premises which makes it interesting. If not dealt with caution, this leads to the social fabric becoming so worn out that we begin to see the society in its rawness which might not make for a pleasant sight.
                                                                                                Arun Babu.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Land of funerals & Weddings : Blog # 105

Land of funerals & Weddings

       Over the years, I have come to think of England as the land of funerals and weddings. The earliest memory that I have of England on a world stage is the funeral of Princess Diana. My mother says her memory of England is of Princess Diana’s wedding.

            The only time when there was a down play was when Prince Charles married Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall. But even that can be considered as subtle only if one were to compare it with the English standards. For the rest of the world, it was still widely publicized.

When the Queen’s mother left her people, the all too familiar Union Jack was spread out with the paraphernalia of the gleaming black cab carrying the coffin and a riot of red and black colors around it in the form of men and horses. A little earlier in the year before last, it was the wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton which caught the British fantasy.

Even recently, it was the Iron lady, Margaret Thatcher’s funeral which had all of us looking towards Her Majesty’s Kingdom.

Having seen all this, no wonder Hugh Grant, the British actor agreed to do the movie, Four Funerals and a Wedding J. I wonder if the production house is British!

I am just wondering what the commoners of Britain has got to say to all this. Especially when the unemployment rates are at an all time high and when the youth of the country is struggling to find their identity! Is it the same way we feel when the red beacons bring our daily lives to a screeching halt here in the erstwhile colony?

            My intention is not to show the country or the royal family in poor light .I am just wondering how right it is to build a country’s diplomatic image or soft power around the lives of a handful of people. The only exception in recent times was the Olympics.

            A country with such a luminous lineage of scholars and artists and achievers should start looking beyond telecasting neatly lined up horse carriages ornate with bouquets and vibrantly dressed men of majesty.For once, we have outdone the west in this regard.     
                                                                                                      Arun Babu

Monday, 22 April 2013

At Sea : Blog # 104

At Sea

        I still remember the first time I saw an Ocean. I couldn’t fathom the vastness of it. It did not fit in to the scale or measure of anything that I had seen till that day. That vastness was truly liberating in a way. There were no limits, no boundaries, no peripheries.

           The first touch of sea is when the sinking feeling of the sand sinks in :) under your feet. Then there is the unmistakable sea breeze. It is playful enough to cheer you up but not too brash that you get annoyed.

            At first, many of us decide not to go in to the water. But such is the vivaciousness of those waves that we give in, much like many of the decisions we take in life... a tad bit too late J. And then we wonder if only I had done it a while back!

            Nothing else gives us a more soothing feeling than a walk on the beach. I think it is the physical manifestation of the poetic ‘walk down the memory lane’. It is one of those few instances where our mind shuts away from the outward noise and listens to the voice within.

            If you haven’t seen a sunset at sea, it is a grave injustice to the windows of your soul. Equally mesmerizing is a moonlit night by the seaside.

I think sea is the conscience of nature for everything has come from it and if we are to go by the divine texts, to it shall everything return. May be this has got something to do with our ‘connect’ with the sea. The ‘connect’ which emerges from the fact that the sea reflects our state of mind. If we are overjoyed, the high waves sound like a hearty laughter and if we are gloomy, the waves resonate the rage within.

            May be the reason why we all love to go in to a sea is the fact that we all can allow ourselves to be tossed around without fretting about being judged. In the struggle of a lifetime of finding one’s stillness in the ever shifting balance of life, it is relieving to let go at times.

Whenever I go to a beach, this is how I feel – totally ‘at sea’. Not even once have I felt the same when I have gone to a beach and that is the reason for this welcome perplexity. Each visit was a new experience and I know the ones to come will be too.

            Of the nature’s numerous wonders the ocean is just one and it leaves us with so much of bewilderment. On this environment day, let us bow before nature’s magnanimity for allowing us to indulge in the false belief that we are its masters.
Arun Babu        

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Worth of a grain of remorse! : Blog # 103

Worth of a grain of remorse!

       We often look at guilt as a negative emotion or at least as an outcome of a negative deed. As much true it is, there is a positive aspect also to the existence of guilt.

         Imagine a situation where in a fit of rage, you hit someone. You are aware that it was totally uncalled for. You feel guilty. You go ahead and apologize.  Now remove the guilt aspect from it. The situation stops at you causing a friction between the two of you. Later on, the other person decides to get back at you. Now let’s extrapolate this situation to two groups – of different ethnicity or religion or linguistic identities. Again let’s stretch it further to the world stage. The same happens between two nations. What will the state of affairs be and where will we be headed?

       Take another instance – a person does a heinous crime. He/She doesn't repent. The court sends this person to jail. He/She returns to the society with zero guilt. Again, a crime is committed. When there is no guilt, the punishment does not fulfill its purpose. Here, purpose is lost!

         Another scenario - two parties are involved in a business. One decides to cook the books and fool the other person. The first party confronts his partner. The person who rigged the account books does not show guilt in his action. Here, the trust is lost irrevocably!

          The absence of guilt is often offensive to the affected party. If a spouse cheats and he/she expresses a feeling of guilt, the husband/wife might think of forgiving. On the other hand, if there is no expression of regret, what message does it send to the other party? Here, respect is lost!

      Often, people indulge in charity to get rid of the dark shadows of their misdeeds from the past. If a person does not feel even a grain of remorse for one’s past, there is no need to account for it. Here, benevolence is lost!

          It is important that we acknowledge the existence of guilt for the absence of guilt in this world will be made conspicuous with the omnipresence of graves!
Arun Babu.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Happy for you : Blog # 102

Happy for you

One fine day, you receive a phone call or a message exulting one of your friends’ achievement of some sort. It can be a promotion, a scholarship or anything of that kind. Have you found yourself being happy for that person, yet with a tad bit of concern that is misplaced? You are left trying hard to fathom what you are exactly feeling.

Find solace in the fact that it is perfectly normal to feel so. It is this feeling which makes us strive better and get ahead in life.

            Is it jealousy? That is a petty feeling which isn’t even worth thinking about. Is it that feeling of what is in it for me? If he/she has accomplished something, how do I stand to benefit? This is again downright selfish! If these are the thoughts on your friend’s achievement, then it’s time for some serious introspection!

The misplaced concern that we are talking about here is an auto-feedback which comes alive on its own. We are thinking whether we have been left behind in the race? Whether we have been too complacent? I think that is at the root of the misplaced concern we feel.

            How do we get rid of this? The answer is by beginning to lay down some milestones for oneself. It is up to you whether to allow yourself to feel the same misplaced concern the next time you hear of an achievement or to feel truly happy for your friend which stems from the security of being able to see your own goals in the near future.

            While we figure out the milestones to be crossed, it is equally important that we cultivate the ability to feel sincere happiness for a dear one’s accomplishments, if you don’t have it yet. The reason being it really makes you feel good about yourself and brings a great deal of positivity to the world we inhabit. Also, when it is your turn, they will reciprocate with the same warmth and sincerity which will magnify your happiness. So let’s learn to say ‘happy for you’ with all heart J
Arun Babu.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Strange bedfellows : Blog # 101

Strange Bedfellows

         Change and familiarity might appear to be the most unlikely of comrades. Come to think of it, you will understand that there exists a close transient coexistence between these two very diverse states.

         Due to certain realignments at work, I was asked by my manager to change to a different office. I should have been happy, given the fact that the new office is closer to city. The one I am working at currently is 50 kms away from the city. I still remember the first thing on my mind when I joined work was to get a transfer to the city office. But now I have grown familiar of this office. I have begun liking it.

              My friend used to tell me how much his boss bugs him. How irritated he gets of his boss’s ways and whims. But recently, his boss told him that he is going Onsite. My friend says he felt bad that his boss is leaving. Now he says; whatever it was, he learned a lot from his boss. He had grown familiar to his way of working. He does not know how his new manager will be and prefers a known devil than an unknown angel (of which the likely hood being minimal).

 Emotion also plays a significant part in strengthening the familiarity. Having become familiar to some state of being or entity, we start accumulating memories on to it. As time passes these memories become fond remembrances.

            What familiarity does is that it adds a degree of certainty to the current state of being. By nature, we all are averse to change. We prefer things to be not uncertain.

  And about the relationship between change and familiarity, whenever we are faced with a change, it takes a while to get used to it. Once we get used to it, then it starts becoming familiar. So familiarity is in a way a destination to the journey of change. However, it is not a straight road but a winding loop. Once you get familiar with something, understand you are nearing the next change lying around the corner. But then, such is Life J.
                                                                                                             Arun Babu