To be intelligent


“I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.”

― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Previously I used to believe: If you are intelligent, you are intelligent forever. No one can take it from you. It is an inherent, internal quality. By inherent, I don’t mean genetic. I just mean it’s inherently in you. So, when people are dumb, well, they’re just dumb and you can’t help it.

And yes, I used to sincerely believe this. (I was invincible and awesome!)

Of course, it’s a false notion. I’ve come to realize that intelligence and more so, knowledge is not stagnant. It is always vibrating, growing and moving forward at the same time. Intelligence is not completely an internal quality. It is not that if you’ve been foolish and dumb, you can never be smart. I’ve seen people who I’ve revered as ‘intelligent’ indulging in self-pity when things go wrong; and I’ve seen ‘dumb’ people rise up to the occasion.

Dumbledore says it best:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

So what these supposedly intelligent people do wrong is that they tend to be idealistic to the point of delusion. I add that phrase only because, I believe, it is important to have ideals in life and to ache for them. Idealism becomes delusional when you expect it to happen just because that’s how it should be.

Moreover, supposedly intelligent people also stop learning new things that challenge their current knowledge. Their self-esteem is based on the past. It happens because at some level, one is satisfied or blindly egoistic or plain lazy.

So the exact opposite is what you do to be intelligent:

1. Be realistic

Intelligence then becomes a matter of choice.  You first choose whether you know something or not. If not, you accept that you don’t know. Then you choose to act on the decision, to work to know more or not. Ignorance becomes the “blind spot” in the Johari window of things, which one must constantly aspire to reduce.

When you think of it, the things we believe we are bad at are the ones we’ve never wanted to do in the first place. There is a mental block even before one begins to learn about it. Imagine, the beauty and horror of the fact that at every junction in life we tend to make such default choices based on our implicit attitudes about what we are good at and not.

I am not saying that we are born with equal abilities. There is always something one has a natural aptitude for. But it doesn’t mean that we shut out everything else with the excuse that we are “naturally” bad at it.
Don’t choose to be dumb, is all I am saying.

“My parents were intellectually unremarkable, possessing no obvious genetic advantages. Perhaps I decided to be intelligent rather than otherwise? Perhaps we all make such decisions, though that seems a callous doctrine.”

~Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias

2. Have a sense of self-esteem that’s not based on the past.

So you know if you were smart in school/college, doesn’t mean you’re going to be a smart adult. You can’t afford to lie back on past laurels. Whatever one does, it is important at the moment. When the moment is gone, the importance is gone. In your resume, if you quote all school achievements (including co-curricular), what good is it when you’ve done nothing for the years following that. The harsh truth is: You were that person, you are not now.

3. Never stop learning.

There is so much to learn other than what’s prescribed in a syllabus. To always keep learning requires a strong resolve backed with hard work. You need to be a sincere student all your life, and a teacher now and then.

You must’ve noticed I keep comparing everything with school. That’s because what triggered this blog-post was my class reunion (which was fun, btw!). I got a chance to speak to both “types”: the bright over-achievers and the lords of the last bench; and that is when I realized my definition of intelligence is totally screwed-up. So is the measurement of it- academic excellence. The last-bench lords were still into the same ol’ bad habits and recklessness, but it is worth mentioning that they finance it themselves now. 😛 They’ve been realistic, accepting that they do not thrive in the oh-so-respected academic environments. They are completing their graduation and simultaneously doing either some short course on interesting, practical stuff or earning work-experience. On the other hand, some bright students are in an identity crisis with no courage to resolve it, depressed or coping up with subjects they’d rather not be studying and the pressure to perform consistently all the while. Sigh.

I am yet to see how it pans out for all of us in the future. But I’ve learnt one thing, success or failure does not mean at all that one is secured/doomed for life. You’re secured/doomed for the moment. If doomed, then you just get up and move on, man.

Intelligence is not now and forever. You work for it consistently.

Getting the rust off my brain,

Signing off,

Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. “Can they be brought together?” This is a practical question. We must get down to it. “I despise intelligence” really means: “I cannot bear my doubts.”

― Albert Camus

PS: Even though I have discredited my initial belief, I still feel invincible and awesome. 

Losing Intelligence


“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve been obsessing over losing intelligence for a few months.
[Chatter:
But writing about it has been so painful. My mind keeps wandering. Now, since this is an old thought, getting back to it is even more painful. The editor in me (or maybe it’s the clerk) has tried to sort the thoughts and make it appear intelligent (or maybe it’s the PR).
Writer Woes: Current status- Whatever, get over it.]

 

Lessons learnt from all that deliberation:

Don’t let brain decay.
While at it, prevent brain damage also, if you can. Like wear a helmet. Like stop watching Hindi TV serials.
But if you’re worry about sanity, then you really shouldn’t.

“Inside every sane person there’s a madman struggling to get out,” said the shopkeeper. “That’s what I’ve always thought. No one goes mad quicker than a totally sane person.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

To not lose intelligence, simplest thing is to keep brain active. Read. Ask. Reason. Argue (not pointlessly, of course). Create problems. Solve some. To summarize: Think.

Also, don’t try to forget things. I’ve learnt there’s never an end to that, and before you know it you shut the door to making new memories. So, remember to remember and be involved with people and things.
Anyway, forgetting makes you modify the truth. What good is that?

Don’t let knowledge get lost in the time vortex.
I was reading this book ‘Letters from a Father to his Daughter’ by Pt. J Nehru. (Imagine, at that tumultuous time of the independence struggle, he took time out to write letters teaching her world history as simply as he could. It is heart-warming!) In one particular letter, he was describing Egypt and Crete, Nehru writes, “In this palace there were bathrooms and water-pipes, which some ignorant people think are modern inventions.”

And I laughed at the irony that he pointed out.

If you know me, you know how high in regard I hold the invention of plumbing and how mad I get about the issue of health and sanitation of this effing country. Every time I enter an awesome bathroom, I swear to God, I take a moment and thank the builder/architect/manager of the theater/mall/hotel for caring to have hygienic, if I may also add, ‘state of the art’ bathrooms.

I think, I’ve gone off-track again. Where were we?
Oh, irony. Yes. Ironic isn’t it. We think of an old invention as modern. We lost such an important idea of plumbing. Where did we lose that old knowledge? Moreover, Why?

So many things have come and gone; completely forgotten as if it never happened at all. Words lost. Dialects lost. Languages lost. Inventions lost. Discoveries lost. Civilizations buried. Intelligence lost. The knowledge of a civilization lost and mankind starts again from scratch; starts the whole process all over again.

[Pause. (Screaming in my head now). Resume.]

I know we can do it; but why must we? I can’t bear the thought of it.

It is regression. It’s not just regression, it is collective regression. (Breathe. Withholding the scream.)

See, I may hate creating virtual junk, but I know it’s alright. Every time I sign up for something and then I don’t like the site, I make sure I delete my account. Also when I can’t create normal, not-witty email ids and must create a new one for ‘professional reasons’, it hurts- I am yet to figure out at what level, but it hurts. I continue to see people store crap in GBs of storage space (without wincing!), obsess over storing every irrelevant picture of the same damn event, tweeting/updating every thought on record and storing movies and silly notes and music in awesome sites that saves it forever in some huge data-storing machine, with accurate date and time (goddamnit!). I explain to myself that it’s all alright because out of so much crap, just maybe 30% are ideas that mustn’t die. So it’s all alright.

Abrupt ending?,
Signing off,
Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“When you know better you do better.”

― Maya Angelou

Evolving Ideas


 

“What is the most resilient parasite? …   …
An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere. [Pointing to his head]”

~ Inception movie (edited some parts out.)

It’s … (Drum roll) Theory-making time!

The Evolving Idea of Me

Yes, it’s that time again when I can’t swallow the fact how immeasurably stupid I’ve been in the past few years.

The problem is that I have strongly believed that I am above being idiotic; but I end up indulging in everything I preach one must not do. The other day, thanks to some FB application, I saw an image in my album which was a collection of all my status updates of 2010. It was witty (proudly so), but I thought to myself: Why am I using so many exclamation marks? Why am I screaming in CAPITAL LETTERS? Why am I going berserk over Tom Cruise and Shahrukh Khan? Who cares about this specific update? Why am I such a teenager? Aaaaaargh. I don’t know why I call myself mature. I am such a… (Pause) I guess, there’s no word for that.

The conclusion is that I’ve been there, done that, hence, now I am ‘above’ that. And yes, I should just take time with people and let them reach the “above” state of mind at their own pace. (God knows that it’ll be difficult for me to sit through it all, without a word.) But today, for a change, I shall let go and forgive myself:

I forgive myself the miserable embarrassments of my own foolishness;

Of previous years and years ahead. It is all alright.

Moving on… I have changed so much. I can mark the changes in hindsight. Like really pinpoint the core idea that changed the course of that particular thought-stream in me. I’d give credit for it to some writers, friends, bloggers, vloggers, songs and movies too. Wish I had the patience to write it all down, explaining each turn of thought. But I’ll wrap it in a sentence and tell you that my self concept of who I am, what I want from life, how people are, how the world is, my ideas of love, happiness, money, education, examination, god, arts etc. etc.  has changed radically though gradually, from my school years to now. Some fundamentals got reinforced; others were simply thrown out of my mind.

The Evolving Idea of God:

Idea 1: Nasty, Moody, Spiteful.

            Forces of nature seem moody. I get why we used to pray then. The ambiguity of what might happen, how badly storms/floods/earthquakes/forest-fires may hit us was not something we could tackle or prevent or even predict. So, humans trying to please a spiteful god who is always in need of an ego massage with daily prayers, sacrifices etc. to just avoid the pain and mess is a smart human idea to cope with it. So personification of that idea of gods into mythology where they act jealous, power hungry and plain silly is in line with the belief that we held then. But we don’t need to be ‘god-fearing’ anymore.

Idea 2: Non-judgemental, Merciful.

I guess we came up with this idea when we realized, by our own standards of morality, we have sinned a lot. Forgiveness, rationalizing gives you peace: We’re all children of god. It is only human to err. Blah blah… The final acceptance and approval comes from high above. He must stamp us with holiness with his non-judgemental light. No heaven, no hell. Easier to be god-loving now, huh?

Idea 3: Us. (Yeah, man!)

The universe, all our souls, together creating an energy field that’s bigger than us, individually; but made of us definitely. The whole concept of Karma- the action and the reaction- gets intertwined intricately into the whole web of life. An awesome idea! With this idea, I can see the limitations of omnipotence of ‘god’ and its omniscience spread out in the web, than being concentrated as one body of power. The complexity of fate and free will makes some sense finally.

Yeah, I get the idea of me being my own god. But it’s sometimes difficult to accept that the jerk you know is part of it all, is as holy if not less. It is easy to accept ourselves as spiritual beings but harder to see others compassionately, with their shortcomings and their moral principles (consciously or unconsciously chosen), as part of the same journey. That stage of peace (I call it, ‘external’ peace) I am yet to find.

The Evolving Idea of the World’s End:

In the beginning of the year, everybody was speculating how 2012 may be the world’s end. I didn’t care much. (I am not dying early, I just know. I am a teen feeling invincible.) But if I ever thought about it, I always thought that the world will end because of man and man alone; not because of god’s wrath, not because of some asteroid from outer space, not even because of global warming. (I am sure men can survive anything natural. We succumb to natural forces, sure, but we always overcome.) Nothing is more horrific than man himself. We’ll destroy ourselves in war. Or there’ll be fear and frustration bursting in the streets, large-scale rioting, everyone fighting for some stupid noble cause. Or it will be some science experiment gone wrong.
Point being, I imagined world’s end as men lying dead in the ruins of everything they’ve created and destroyed.
            Until I read a blog. It just described a videogame with this apparently ‘mind-blowing’ plot. See, how vague I am being, I don’t remember anything else of the blog except the “idea”. (Link here anyway!) This ‘resilient’ idea just got stuck in my head and I mulled over it for days. The idea was that the world won’t end in doom, it’d end in perfection. (Gasp!)

I directly quote the blog:

“Cutting to the end of the game, the revelation of the secret. We get near the Apple of Eden and strange things begin to happen. We are transported to a weird place. There’s a man dressed like a god of some sort, telling us ‘the secret.’ And it begins to visualize.

Here it is.

The human race reaches the peak of civilization. Having found every cure of every disease, this, that, blah blah. And then, out of the blue, the planet destroys itself. Every last living creature dies. The earth erupts, cracks up and consumes everything inside. Then, life of the planet begins, again. Rocks, water, single celled organisms, etc, etc. Did it blow your mind? It was enough for me.”

So, play with this idea: The world ends when perfection is attained.

What is perfection? What is a common world ideal, if there is one? I don’t want to define it. You dream. You choose. The whole idea of a perfect end gives me peace. We are so imperfect right now, imagine how much more time it will take to evolve to that stage.

But a question here: Is the time when everything’s perfect, the perfect moment to die?
As a writer, I say: Yes! The circular journey is complete. Perfect! (Think: Robert Pattison in the movie ‘Remember Me’)
As a human, I say: one lifetime more please?

Clearing my head one thought at a time,

Signing off,

Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“I am an idea-holder. I am an idea-maker. I also, am an idea.”

~Tame SheWolf

PS: I quoted me in ‘Wordly Wise’ section. Cocky much? : P

Anti-Corruption: The latest fad.


The tale of Patriotic and Political Stupidity

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

My opinion: Patriotic and political stupidity is making Anna Hazare’s Anti-corruption movement a complete farce.

My advice: Now don’t blow the momentum you’ve achieved for the cause by becoming violent in jest. If you do, the cause will die even before you blink.

Let me tell you why your patriotism is stupid.

Firstly, he is no Gandhi. Don’t trivialize Indian History and even compare this to the freedom struggle, for god’s sake.

This is just mob mentality. The mere mention of ‘corruption in India’ has always brought a look of disgust on people’s faces. It is quite another issue that they themselves have had their hands dirty to get through the system.

India is filled with such kind of people- Hypocrites (like the politicians), Cynics (like me), and Patriotic Fools (like you).

Why I call you Patriotic Fools (with capital letters)? Simply because one old guy out of nowhere comes and gives you the Utopian dream: “I am going to end corruption” and what you do is- run behind him like he is some messiah. Now he stands flanked by Kiran Bedi, Anupam Kher, Chetan Bhagat and more celebrated social activists, the educated middle class and the youth. Everybody is now armed with knowledge of the Lokpal Bill but lack foresight and practical outlook.

Early this year, I remember thinking to myself: What India needs now is a strong, inspiring leader to lead the youth out of the rut of mistakes the previous generations have made.

Soon after, what do I get?

“The li’l  ol’ man in the white topi” on the news channels is the new hero.

I should have been clearer and asked for a young James Bond in suit. Sigh. My bad.

Anyway, the point being we have another oldie in the block. Old people always fast. If he wins and lives, he is the new “freedom-hero” [freedom from what, may I ask?]. If he fasts and dies, he is the martyr. [WTF?]

To the statuses, comments and tweets of the youth on FB/Twitter, I’d only politely add “Get your head out of your ***!” By that I mean, loan some perspective and not patriotism.

Why, I agree, that this is also an example of political stupidity?

Why on earth is BJP (The Opposition) not taking a clear stand? It is only sympathizing with the people and playing to the beat of the moment. Why the opposition itself couldn’t pick the issue of corruption and represent such a “Bill” to garner votes and support of the people earlier? Let me tell you why, because the decision is going to adversely affect them as much. The political parties in the opposition are criticising the government for now. I wonder how they handle corruption in their own constituencies. Cough.. suspension of whistle-blowers against Narendra Modi.. Cough. Cough.

(Okay, that was too difficult to camouflage behind the cough! :P)

Also, seriously speaking, the problem with the government is that it is not even pretending to acknowledge the graveness of the issue. It has made many faulty decisions. Examples: Ignoring the pleas, refusing permission for peaceful protests and arresting Anna. This last one acted like a catalyst. Thanks to the government, the movement has reached a crescendo it wouldn’t have reached on its own merits otherwise. The nation is emotional about Anna; even a scratch on him and patriotic stupidity will take over. This current act of playing-victim-held-in-ransom is not going to solve anything. The government must realize that they are in a better position. Logic and Power is a winning combination. They seem to have forgotten to take ‘logic’ into account.

And by the way, someone go tell America to keep off of our internal affairs. It has a crisis (economic) of its own to handle.

So my question to you is: Leave aside all your silly jargon of optimism and patriotism, tell me by the end of it all do you see corruption controlled (forget eradicated)?

I completely agree when Arun Jaitley says, “You don’t need a magic wand to fight corruption; all you need is political will.”

But corruption is a vicious cycle. It is the height of naïveté to think that the bill when passed will work as well practically as (you think) it has been theorized. There is no instant solution to deep rooted problems. Bringing out a law within the time deadline Anna proposes is foolish, un-parliamentarian and will have disastrous consequences to our legal system. A fast is the last resort; don’t trivialize it to a tantrum. In this case, it is clearly blackmailing in the guise of a righteous cause.

Gurcharan Das on a recent discussion on NDTV said, “India is at its puberty.” It couldn’t be less true.

Any reckless decision/disrespect to the power of parliament/ letting mob-power take control over government will only create more holes in the system; making us weaker to withstand future blows.

The only thing I am patriotic about, if I am forced to mention, is smart mainstream journalism.

Read ‘Times of India’ or even ‘Mumbai Mirror’ for that matter. I swell with patriotism on reading articles of logical, articulate writer/columnists and journalists we have.

For me, the Pen is always mightier than the sword or in this case, the fast.

Read some articles dated 18th August, 2011:

  • Rules don’t make a Ram, Mumbai Mirror
  • Govt fails to move Mount Anna, TOI
  • Fast and let loose, TOI

(OFF THE TOPIC:

Regional journalism does not have my respect. They have a duty to empower non-English speaking India with intelligent reporting giving an unbiased, correct and forward perspective. They should have a thicker newspaper booklet because they are supposed to report international, national and local news in addition to giving updates on scientific research and local achievements. But they only end up reporting gossip and serving the agendas of regional political parties and that too in “Hinglish” or other mixed-style language).

Anyway, good luck to the Anna Supporters. If you win by reducing corruption (and not just exposing scams [Journalists do that anyway!]), I’ll congratulate you. If you come back from your morcha disappointed, I am going to scream: I TOLD YOU SO!

Do comment with your opinions even though you know my reaction to your passionate arguments will be: Yeha, whatever!

Your Bored Armchair Critic,

Signing off,

Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.” 

— Derrick Bell (Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth)

PS:  Super-impressed by the way UK government has dealt with the riots.

New fan of David Cameron! He makes mistakes like everyone, but is the only one with the balls to accept them and correct them.

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Birthday Wish


“I feel monotony and death to be almost the same”

~Charlotte Bronte

Yawn. I’ll be 19 this Sunday.

Guess what? Life has turned out to be disappointingly normal.

Aaaaaargh! The pain of being normal: neither succeeding greatly nor failing devastatingly. Just being, like some silly, invisible, unimportant amoeba.

I’ve already warned everybody that I don’t want to celebrate the beginning of the normalcy of another year. In my last two birthdays, I’ve been all cheery in the month of July and ended up with a brain-numbingly normal year.
So this time I will not even raise my expectations for a refreshing change.
More monotonous, predictable days of life: bring it on!

Later I thought what could I change? What should I change? There are many ideal answers to give myself. But then I am already the pre-perfect version of what I want to be. The discrepancy between my ideal self and my present self-concept are all external factors that will come and fill the gaps overtime. In my head, I’m sorted. I believe that.

Best thing about this July- the Harry Potter Film. It all ends here. Man, that hurts. Childhood is officially over. Quick story to tell you here: When I read my first Rowling book, I had made a pact with your non-existent god that he let me live at least until all of Harry Potter movies release.
So when there were blasts this week in Bombay, you know who didn’t die: ME!
Yeah, I know. Morbid joke. But tell you what, it’s a free country. And it’s also unsafe.

Anyway, I made a poetic birthday wish-list for the year (and with the low rate of wishes granted per year by the Wish-approval department of the universe, it just might be the same for all birthdays).

Here goes:

Let there be a storm in my heart.

Gimme some adrenaline rush.

Force me to think harder,

To save me from the stagnant rut.

 .

Let passion control me, and the truth

When faced with failure,

Lead me to the reason to start over new.

My dreams must win against my fears

.

Oh! and finally,

That standard wish of mine:

Make me filthy rich and rib-cracking witty!

 .

Yeah thanks, this much would be just fine.

(Gasping to blow out the candles)

Signing off,

Tame SheWolf

WORDLY WISE:

“Age merely shows what children we remain.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

P.S: If I win the dell laptop then that’ll be the highlight of the month. The competition results will be out tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

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Oh God!


BLOG 19 
OH GOD!

Is man one of God’s blunders? Or is God one of man’s blunders?
Friedrich Nietzsche

I had to write this blog at some point of time, so why not now?
It is said that no one talks about god more than atheists do. Maybe true. But you know what, I respect atheists and atheism. I see them as rebels who have rejected blind faith. They have realized the futility of god-worship. Get with it- ‘In the end, you got to do, what you ought to do.’ No god is coming to save you from that abyss you got yourself into. You can either find your way out and live life or you can wait with faith in that darkness and welcome death as salvation from your pain; but really, if you’ve chosen the latter you’ve made a fool of yourself!
Me, I am not a hard-core atheist. I’m saying this because if you ask me to break an idol, I cannot bring myself to do it. It is just that I respect the feeling of “faith” that people put into it. Though I might be an atheist, I don’t preach atheism and scandalize the people around me. I don’t think atheism is preached, you realize it! But if you ask me whether I resort to blasphemy, I’ll say- all the time! God, it is so much fun to belittle the Almighty! In fact, I think God’s an ‘ant-bully.’ Let me explain: haven’t you put obstacles (like pouring water or keeping objects) in an ant’s way just for fun, just to watch it struggle to find its way out? I think God gets that kind of pleasure by troubling mortals like us. So, I like the idea of God only because then you can blame all the embarrassing crap you put yourself into onto him!
I will not call myself an agnostic. I accept I was one once. But I was never a theist, not even when I was a naïve, dumb kid! [Proves I’m not that dumb after all!] I totally consider them to be the diplomatic fools who neither accept nor reject the idea of God. They are disbelievers who want to believe in a guardian angel. They live with both guilt (because they do not reject God) and cynicism (because they do not have faith). They live in this constant doubt- is He there or is He not? To the agnostics, I say, there’s no middle way, you’ll have to choose a side someday!
God helps so many hidden agendas of a fraudster. The biggest of all cons- Organized Religion. Don’t even get me started, it might hurt passionate believers. The next one is idol worship- giving god a human face and extra-ordinary power along with it! Wow, we would have prayed to Superman also if he would have preached altruism!
You know why all this bullcrap works? It is because we all are so unhappy and scared of what life might bring us. Stop asking God- “How can I be happy? What do I do to be happy? Give me this or that, I really want it. Keep trouble out of my way.” This begging of things will not help in anyway; you need to get those things yourself. You need to think for yourself to keep trouble out of your way. You’ll also notice the first two questions will always be answered by the religion you follow. They’ll have step-by-step guidelines on how you should live life, what is good or bad for you, what you should do to be closer to God, what you should pray, how you should pray etc. You dare not reject the bogus theories otherwise you’ll be unhappy (which ironically, you were from the beginning). You become God-fearing instead of God-loving, that reverence you had converts into fear. Religion can tell you what to do, it can’t tell you how to feel. 
The meaning of prayer is so distorted nowadays. When you pray, don’t you pray to the highest power, goodness and strength WITHIN YOU and not to some invisible, all-powerful spirit who can’t do anything about it? Aren’t you talking to your highest abilities? Aren’t you gathering all the will, your dreams and desires, your strength, your mind to come together and help you out? Why do you need an idol to bend to? Isn’t the limitless sky a more beautiful metaphor for your inner infinite power?
Nowadays, whoever claims to know god and gives him a name seems delusional to me. The latest fad is to claim that you are not religious but spiritual! But I find so many people spiritually dead and mechanical. They’ve themselves made life full of lies and illusions, cushioning their ego and their faults. So what is spirituality then? All I know, it is your individual search for the truth, your bond with your spirit- the Highest Good within you. Meditate, pray or simply introspect; choose any convenient option to reach that Good within you.
I don’t know what atheism is defined as. Is it having no faith in God or no faith at all? I ask this because I believe in spirits and the ‘Soul of the Universe’. I believe that happiness is inescapable, life is not suffering. I believe that truth will triumph. I believe Love (not blind love) will conquer. I believe Virtues will be rewarded. I believe we are both– a story-teller and actor each; story-tellers spinning yarn and twisting each others tales and actors playing our roles; thereby making an intricate, inter-connecting, complex web of life. I believe we will all have our own meaningful closure to our varied, magnificent life? Who needs God, when we have us?
So should I still call myself an atheist?
At peace without a God,
Signing off,
Tame SheWolf 
WORDLY WISE:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
— Epicuras


The Beginning and End of my Patriotism


BLOG 14 

The Beginning and End of my Patriotism

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons
— Bertrand Russell
Yeah, there is an end to my patriotism. By ‘end’ I mean a limit to which I love my country; an extent of love; a border I have drawn to the patriotism as YOU define it.
When I was in school, I was patriotic by your definition. How could you not be when you are bombarded with the glorious history and the promising future of India? We used to begin the day by singing the national anthem, end it by singing ‘Vande Mataram.’ Even in times when we discussed the ‘present problems’ of India, we always reached a diplomatic and sugary conclusion. The debate used to make me feel elated that my generation will change things; that we will not fall prey to ‘brain drain’ and such crap.
Ta-daa! I grew up one fine day. My bubble was burst not when I left school but when I was in the ninth standard.  I woke up from the dream that only old-fashioned adults are fanatics. My generation was worse and able of more fanatical things. My own school-mates were examples of how religion was more important an identity than nationality. I heard fanatical views of both religion- Hindu and Muslim. And I couldn’t take it in, both times. My generation is no different. Will you believe me when I say that the most important thing I was proud of [and still am, actually] about my country was its ‘unity in diversity’? Guess now it’s just a catchy phrase like ‘Incredible India’.
See, the difference in our love for our country is because I can’t love anything without reason. My love is not blind.
I do not agree when you say I’m not patriotic because I disapprove of too many things in my country. There are many things which I’m honestly embarrassed and ashamed about. What is not right will continue to be wrong even if you choose to sugar coat the truth or be indifferent to it. I agree that when I comment I should have the ability to change it and not be just a passive critic. I’m trying hard to make myself ‘able’ and comment only on topics I’m well-read in and have a ‘genuine opinion’ on, not just a ‘passing comment.’
I do not agree when you say you are patriotic because you support India during an India-Pakistan match. I appreciate the stand you take but according to me, sports, music, arts should be kept away from such ridiculous displays of patriotism. These forms are meant to unite people. Ability does not depend on someone’s nationality. When someone is a genius the whole world should celebrate it, respecting the person’s individuality and nationality.
I do not agree when you say I am not patriotic because my ideas are influenced greatly by the west or because I listen to too many English songs or appreciate many English movies and programs. My thinking is mine. My nationality will not define my concept of good and bad.
The present-day India bugs me. How can a country be ruled by uneducated politicians? How can people be carried away by regional/religious politics? Why do we need goons to protect our culture when it is ours to nourish and passed on with education? Why do we need moral policing? Why do politicians get away with unpatriotic comments? Why do you need a politician instead of an administrator? How can people be so unhygienic and disrespectful of public property? How can we be so uninspired to change things? How can we accept this as a way of life in India and be proud of it? How can people have a ‘chalta hai’ attitude if they love their country and witnessing its retreat into poverty?
The Indians who are successful are self-made, not country-made.
What are you proud of?
Is it the history or the future? Is it culture? Where is it? Do you know anything about your culture? Have you read anything about India more than the textbook mentions?
Is it the youth? What are we doing except being optimistic about the future and having ‘realistic’ ideas and opinions? Who will act and when? Look at your own college campus, how many of them have that fire and ability to be the change. How many want to be big in life, forget country, at least for themselves?
I can’t comprehend how this country still manages to run. I agree with Arvind Adiga in his book ‘The white tiger’ says, India is a rooster coop– over-crowded, stinky and ready to be butchered!
I know I am being very pessimistic and things will not change with the snap of one’s fingers. I’m angry. Cool me down. Tell me, what are you proud of? Let me know.
Bitter and saddened,
Signing off,
Tame She-wolf
WORDLY WISE:
The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
— Pablo Casals

Right, Wrong and the Thin Line dividing them


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Right, Wrong and the Thin Line dividing them

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong!”
— Charles Wadsworth
Touchy topic! I’ve never been able to dig deeper. The more I think about it, the further I am from drawing any conclusion. This is ‘the debate’ of my life. Every moment, every difficulty, at every step I’m trying to distinguish what is wrong and what is right. I’ve never known when I’m right. The diplomatic conclusion is ‘It depends on how you look at it; depends on the frame of reference!’
In this blog-piece, I’m neither defining the dividing line nor am I trying to prove any point. I’m only elaborating on ‘the frame of reference’ and recalling my mini-battles with the right and the wrong. It may seem insignificant, on-the-surface approach to a profound topic. But hey, what do you expect? I’ve only lived for 17 years and 11 months!
[A subtle reminder of my birthday that’s coming up!]
See, like I’ve said before, we are all grey. If devils don’t exist, then even angels don’t. If we as humans are capable of the worst of sins, we are also capable of the greatest of deeds. It is all a matter of choice. Who we choose to become? What we choose to do in the circumstances? On the same lines, it is fallacious of us to impose our ‘value system’ on someone else. How can we expect the poor to live when they barely survive? How can we detest eunuchs for begging when we, as a society, are prejudiced and do not give them an equal chance to grow? If anyone rises above such conditions, then it is a story to be told, a human victory to be celebrated.
I’m a repeat offender of dumping my principles on friends and people in general. The two things I feel are unforgivable and how people blur the dividing line:-
Liars and lying:
Once a liar, always a liar. Lying becomes a dirty habit that is hard to get rid of. I hate liars. If I realize someone is lying to me on my face, s/he only earns my silent wrath. My only reaction if someone lies to me is- ‘Why do you have to lie to me? What will I uproot if you tell me the truth?’ If you can’t tell the truth, then avoid the topic but don’t lie…
BLURRING THE LINE: ‘White lies’ are kind of tricky.
Cheaters and cheating:
I’m guilty. I never cheated but I was part of it. In my defense, it was a fad in school and cheaters are excellent emotional blackmailers. That doesn’t make me any better, so I should not justify it. [Damn, I hate myself for being so naïve!] For humor’s sake, let me add that, I was caught once too. Since then, I hate cheaters and cheating. It is not justified!
BLURRING THE LINE: Cheating is no more a grave offence. We’ve accepted it as part of the education system.
Honesty is not dead for me. I respect this virtue the most. It may tend to be a problem, but it’s the only solution. So that is me dumping my idea of right and wrong on people.
There are some things ‘wrong’ that I have come to accept as ‘right.’ My mom is totally against me watching TV or chatting with friends till the weird hours of morning but I, in my natural instincts to act rebellious, have never complied with such stupid rules. Playing of songs in a disturbingly loud volume is bad but I disagree saying that I’m trying to develop a taste of good music in the neighborhood. Jokes apart, I have learnt to ‘not judge’ smokers as long as they don’t puff out smoke on my face. I appreciate the audacity of female smokers. I’m not endorsing the habit of smoking. If I can, I always will encourage someone to quit such vices.
Speaking as a writer, there will be no strong characters if it wasn’t for the grey shades. No messed-up past, no inner battles, no feeling of passionate revenge… then where is the story, guys? I really like the idea of the flawed hero who gets it right in the end or the aggressive female lead who wants to get even or the reason why the villain becomes the villain! So does that make flaws good? Is revenge necessary? Does that justify the wrong things? Don’t ask me, I’m still figuring out. I guess that’s what makes life so interesting- the stories that are woven with all of us playing our part. In reality, we never know the bigger picture and it is not as dramatic either!

Stuck in the vicious cycle,
Signing off,
Tame She Wolf

WORDLY WISE:
“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”
— Herman Melville

P.S.: The other debate of my life is ‘Man v/s Woman- Who is better?’ This one is for pure fun! I keep scores; my every experience with both men and women counts. Obviously, there’s no conclusion. Though I keep points for this debate, it is actually pointless! But if there is any close to this one, girls will win! Hands down! 😀 

What’s your relationship status?


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What’s your relationship status?
“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.”
— Woody Allen

I know. I know. You don’t need to tell me about it. Cheesy title!
And thanks to Himesh Reshamiya this question is followed by an even cheesier answer– “It’s complicated.”

To tell you the truth, I hate it when somebody asks me such questions. Let me give you a better picture.
**Grinning from ear to ear, some nutcase shamelessly asks me,
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No.” I reply with no interest to continue the chat.
“So, do you have a crush on someone?”
“No!!” I answer more aggressively this time.
“You’re straight, nah? Are you depressed?”
Without thinking much, I scream, “No!!! What? Yes…Yeah I’m straight. What the f…?”**
By now, I’m totally exasperated. It doesn’t take much time for me to make a fool of myself. Sigh!

Back to the point, I was saying I hate confessions. I hate personal questions and I hate it more when they refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer. Is it really necessary to have a boyfriend or crush every minute of your adolescence? I am in this state of blank. Damn you, don’t pity me or feel too good for yourself. I love no jerk. Period.

I wonder why we get into a relationship so soon. No independence, no emotional stability. It’s ridiculous to be in a relationship just for physical intimacy! Since when did love become so cheap and easily available? I cringe sometimes seeing some “lovebirds.” But there are also times I feel that the couple is “meant for each other.” Our generation is much more intelligent, more mature, undoubtedly. [It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes. It’s just that we’re not prejudiced and are brave enough to do things differently. I’ll elaborate about this in some blog later.] The understanding brings with it the need to be understood. This need brings loneliness. I hate seeing kids, who don’t even value friendship, claiming to be intensely in love. Friendship is the first step. If you don’t have best friends, how come you have a girlfriend? If you are scared to share your little secrets with a friend, what makes you think you’ll be able to trust your love? Will YOU be responsible and sensitive to your partner’s secrets and feelings? So the question is when is the right time to be in a relationship? I don’t have the answer. Love knows no rules.

But there are some things one must know before getting into a relationship. Let me give my unwanted pearls of wisdom. [Believe me; I have opinions on almost everything.] For starters,   don’t force love out from your heart… You don’t fall purposely, do you? So, don’t ‘fall’ in love consciously. Let it happen. Don’t date because you want to keep up with the latest trend in your peer group. I don’t care what kind of relation you get into – casual or serious. I’m no one to judge. But, for god sake, let your partner know what your intentions are. Avoid getting into destructive relationships with over-possessive, over-jealous, over-horny [if that’s a term!] partners. Don’t boss your partner around. Don’t quit on friends after getting into a commitment. Don’t cheat.

I should quit sermonizing. I really shouldn’t have a say in these things ’cause I’m single. But I know this for sure, being in love (in spite of all the trouble it invites), I bet it feels good!

Not in love,
(Copyright: Enrique IglesiasJ)
Signing off,
Tame She Wolf

WORDLY WISE:
“When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”
— William Shakespeare

Suicide- The Best Option??


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Suicide- The Best Option??

Life is what you have while you are waiting to have one”
— Anonymous

Articles on student suicides in newspapers make for a pathetic read. I don’t like to feel pity. According to me, no one deserves that. I can empathize not sympathize. The reasons for suicide can be varied (debt, unsuccessful love, child death, failure in career, depression or just plain exhaustion from keeping up with life…). But why call it quits? Is it really the best option? Is it the only way out?

At some level, I can relate to a student suicide. Maybe I know what drives a teenager to such an extreme step. Or maybe I can only imagine! Being an adolescent is not as easy as we pretend it is. This is my overview of a person, like you and me. the difference between us is that he has decided to die.

“He dreams. But he has to live someone else’s dream. He knows he is good, but he tries to fit it in the frame the world has created. He changes himself to be one of them because that is easier than being himself and putting himself up against the world. He kills the flame inside him to join the darkness of the majority. Because somewhere it seems right, somewhere he doesn’t trust himself anymore. People tell him, ‘It’s your life. Do what you want.’ But he knows he is answerable to them anyway. It has always been our life than his life alone. He wonders about what life would be where he would calls the shots. He was not optimistic about it again. Will the world respect him if he scores less than the best? Will he get a job? Will he be able to face everyone who expects too much of him when he fails to do both? The people around him love him and dream for him but do they listen to what he says, listen to his dreams. Probably. But they definitely force him to be realistic about it. Since when were dreams supposed to be realistic?

Good for him though, he is talented. What if you didn’t have those abilities that the world thinks of as talent? Is being a good human being enough to live happily? Is a good person allowed to live? He is tired now. The questions are too many and the answers are lies. After all the time he has lived someone else’s life, someone else’s dreams, questioned himself, he decides to put his foot down to choose the best option out of this farce. He makes one selfish decision. He decides to die. And still on his suicide note, he scribbles an apology!”

I wondered why is it important to choose life over death? What difference does it make? Nobody except his immediate family would have cared much, with time even their wounds will heal. The society would gossip, pity and move on. Then why exist when you could never live? Does that make cowards of us? We, who have learn to accept and live like robots. Does that make him stronger to have killed himself? Would we let a person like him live the way he wanted? Are we hypocrites then to pity him?  Are we somewhere to blame ourselves for his death? What makes life worth living? The answer was not easy to find. Or maybe I was not ready to accept the clichéd answers. I had to come up with the explanation myself. I was convinced that death was a respectable option, something you chose for yourself. Better than living the monotonous life dragging on every second and killing your spirit. Isn’t it better to choose to liberate yourself from all the pressures?

Here I found my answer. Suicide is not liberation, it is destruction. The apology is not victory [because no one can fight you back when you die], it’s a confession. You should not let fate drive you to the extremes. Also like I said before, it is our choice. We choose to live or die. We choose to be the master of circumstances or its victim. We never realize it is easier to be ourselves than wear the cloak of something we are not. All it needs to stand up for yourself is – Courage! The Courage to accept what happened until now was wrong. The Courage, and the will, to change that. The Courage to face the new challenges this change will bring with it. Every moment is worth fighting for, worth living if and only if you live it for You!

The answer to such huge questions was shorter than I expected. But I have never been more sure about it than now!

For those in the verge of self-destruct, I hope I convinced you like I did to me. I hope you re-think, re-new your hope, re-ignite the flame in you once again and choose to live with courage. Because your life, is more precious than you think it is. The only reason you don’t know it yet, is because you’ve never lived it to the fullest!

With faith in the reason for living,
Signing off,
Tame She Wolf

WORDLY WISE:

“There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.”
— Daniel Webster