The Moral Dilemma of Standing by your loved ones

Have you ever experienced this? That feeling of confusion when you are in a situation where someone you really love and care for is involved in a somewhat unpleasant situation and wants you to stand beside him or her? Do you try to be objective and actually try to ascertain who is wrong and who is right in such a situation? Or do you just say to yourself “So what if my friend maybe wrong, I will support him or her any way”?

It is indeed a very difficult situation. I think there is actually no wrong or right here. Whatever you do, you stand to lose in some way or the other. If you support your friend knowing that he/she is not right, you are not being true to your values and if you do not support him/her, you might end up feeling guilty for not standing by someone you really care for.

I have faced this kind of a situation very recently and it made me question what kind of a person I really am. A friend of mine was involved in some kind of business transaction and the other person was making unusual demands. Again, I did not whole-heartedly support the condiions that my friend was talking about. But, the other person was being very assertive (and let’s say quarrelsome). My friend though usually a very eloquent speaker and more than competent of taking care of himself, was unwell that day and not able to argue his point. Now, I am generally a very easy-going person but I don’t know why I just jumped into the argument and taking my friend’s side, I more or less blasted the other person. Both of them were rendered speechless because it was the last thing they expected me to do. Anyways, let’s just say that I won the argument on behalf of my friend.

But, later on, I just could not help thinking to myself why I did it. Maybe it was a feeling of being protective of the people I care about, maybe it was the fact that I felt there was an imbalance in the situation due to my friend’s incapacity to defend himself, or maybe it was just a momentary case of insanity on my part. It could be anything. But here’s the pertinent question that made me lose sleep for quite some time: How far would I really go to protect the people I care about? How far would you?

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Listen…the music is all around us

music

Music and cacophony… are they really so different from one another?

Is cacophony really an absence of music or is it our constant inability to comprehend the music that is all around us?

Music is everywhere…

The birds chirping, the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees outside,

The sound of the rain pouring all its passion on the dry earth,

It is the very harmony that binds the world together, which keeps it from falling apart,

Look at a child: he is so in peace

He is always happy and sleepy, always in tune with the music that plays around him,

He responds to the cooing noises that his family makes, the lullaby that his mother sings,

But as he grows up, he just keeps moving away from that feeling, that sense of oblivion.

His world becomes infected with noise and cacophony,

And he just stops hearing the music.

And the people who can still hear it

Well, they are the ones whom this world calls crazy.

How do we forget something that is so natural, so innate to us?

How can we let our souls be so blackened and polluted that we can no longer even hear the pure strains of the music around us?

So, just forget everything for a second, close your eyes and listen carefully

You can still listen to it: the music

The music that is all around is.

 

Liebster Award

Awards always make me feel special, especially if they come from someone whose opinion of my work matters to me. Luccia Gray (Rereading Jane Eyre) is someone whose blog I absolutely love and to think that it is she who has nominated me for this award makes it even more special. Thank you so much Luccia. To those who are not yet following her blog, I recommend doing so right now.

liebsteraward

However, right now, I can’t help feeling a little smug and happy with myself.

As with other awards, there are some rules:

  1. Post the badge on your blog
  2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog
  3. Answer the questions proposed
  4. Write 10 questions for those you nominate to answer in turn.

So on to the answers to Luccia’s questions:

1. What motivates you to blog?

Initially, for me blogging was just about writing. But then I found out that it is also about reaching out to different people and getting their feedback, reading others’ blogs and getting to know about them, their lives, and their cultures. It has been a fascinating way to connect with people across the globe and across all ages and look at the world from their very individual and unique point of view. So, my love for writing and reaching out and connecting with others are my motivation to blog.

2. Choose a post you’d like us to (re)read.

https://urbandementria.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/too-ordinary-to-be-extraordinary/

I had written this after watching the movie ‘Kill your Darlings’ and basically just typed the questions that came to my mind. You are more than welcome to answer them.

3. What do you feel strongly enough about to discuss for hours?

I love discussing almost as much as I love writing. I feel strongly about a lot of things some of which are:

a)    Condition of women across the world – No, I am not a feminist. In fact, I don’t believe in any kind of sexism at all. But, the plight of women across the world and in the Indian sub-continent in general really disappoints me. This has to stop. I plan on actively working on this area in the future.

b)    Free will versus predestination –Is everything in our lives pre-decided by Fate/God or do we really have a choice? The fight of the lone and vulnerable human being to make the best out of life in a world which always tries to suppress him is something that has always fascinated me and will continue to do so.

c)    Food – I am a foodie. Period. Any discussion on food and recipes or the best place to eat, from the local street food vendor to the expensive restaurant, is always exciting for me.

4. Write the first line of a novel.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions… There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand.”

-From ‘Rebecca; by Daphne du Maurier

These are my favorite opening lines amongst all the novels that I have read till now. With a few powerful and masterful words, Du Maurier weaves a web of Gothic mystery that sets the mood for the entire novel.

5. Write the last line of a poem.

“The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.”

-From ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton

For me, these lines are an embodiment of the everlasting hope that propels us on as a race, the human race.

6. Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

I love my place in this world and believe I was destined to be where I am now. I would definitely like to travel all around the world but I would love to come back to my home in Hyderabad, India.

7. Which book(s) would you take with you to a desert island?

I would take Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, collection of poems by John Keats, ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte, ‘Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand, ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier, some Mills & Boon books (to keep the romance alive in my heart) and ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (hopefully to get some tips).

8. Which historical person would you like to have lunch with?

I cannot choose just one person from all of history. I think that history is always from the winner’s point of view. So, I guess I would love to meet Hitler and try to understand what his point of view was.

The other person I would love to meet is Plato to listen to his philosophy in his own words. It boggles my mind to think that certain ideas that he had so long ago still holds true in this world.

9. Which book would you have liked to write?

‘The Hungry Tide’ by Amitav Ghosh. This novel is about people who come from the same part of the world as I do and in fact, I feel like I meet them every day. So, I wish I could have written something like this novel which embodies the soul of both Bengal and on a different level, the human soul.

10. Which is the next book you’re planning to read?

Currently I am reading ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone. After this, I will start reading Luccia Gray’s ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’ (which she has gifted to me very graciously).

 

I want to share this wonderful award with the fellow bloggers whose blog I love. My nominations for the Liebster Award are:

  1. K R Jefferson
  2. Love Happy Notes – Daily Fun and Inspiration
  3. Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
  4. becoming a family

My questions to the nominees:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Tell the story behind the name of your blog.
  3. Which books are you currently reading?
  4. Which are the three books that you cannot live without?
  5. If there was a movie based on your life, which actor/actress would be best suited to play you and why?
  6. Which is the one novel/short story that you would love to have been a character of?
  7. Are you more comfortable with writing poetry or prose? Why?
  8. Tell us three random facts about yourself.
  9. Which book would you have loved to write?
  10. How would you like to be remembered?

I will be glad if you accept the nominations and will be looking forward to your nominations.

Rain on me…

RAIN

Why do I love rains so much? Is it because of the fragrance of the wet earth when the rain first falls on the dry parched earth which is my favorite smell in the world? Is it because of the pitter patter sounds that the rain makes when it falls on the roof which is one of my favorite sounds? Or is it the feeling of cool and chill in this extreme and nasty heat? I think it’s a little bit of all these reasons.

As I wait in my office ready to go home but unable to go out in this heavy rain and thunder, I sit beside the window and watch the sudden flashes of lightning along with the intermittent sounds of the fierce rain drops hitting the window panes. It is a lovely sight and sound. And I am taken back to the beautiful memories associated with rain. So here are my favorite moments:

Making paper boats and floating them in the water accumulated from the rains was a favorite childhood pastime. I often innovated on the many number of boats that I could make. I even made the boats out of papers of different colors. I may be a grown up now but still I long to do the same. Wonder what my boss will think if I start tearing pages from the diary and start making paper boats.

My first year in university, I remember going to the Central Library, which was a different building altogether and located quite far from my Dept building, not bothering to carry an umbrella. And then it just started pouring all of a sudden. Without caring about catching fever, my friends and I ran all the way to our building. The exuberance of youth is indeed a heady thing.

What is rain without a little romance? That first kiss with my boyfriend on a lush green field in the rains is one of the best moments in my life. It was so full of wild attraction and tender loving all at the same time. When I visualize it in my mind, it seems to be a scene straight out of a rom-com. People change and grow apart but the memories remain forever.

And then there is food. I am reminded of all the different varieties of delicious fries that I have enjoyed while staring at the rain. Ever since my childhood and it continues till now, whenever it rains, I love having potato and brinjal fries with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on top of them.

Oh the thought of food inspires me to just get out of my office, go home and cook some for myself right now. So, I am off to my home. Cheers and a happy rainy season…

We lit up the sky..

I was just a star,

Shining alone in the sky,

Many stars crossed my path

But never managed to bring me down,

Then you came along

We clashed and collided,

And filled the night sky with light so bright

I think we blinded everyone that night.

 

Yes, you brought me down,

On this earth where I finally feel,

I feel joy and pain, love and anger,

I feel complete.

Now you are in my very veins

Running with my blood,

Invading my very heart and soul,

Filling me with you…

 

How can I live without you now?

I am just a body, infested with you

I am just a heart, filled with you

And I shudder to think

That there might be no “happily ever after”

 

But nothing lasts forever, things change

And I know you may move out of my range

But I will have THIS forever,

The moment when we collided,

When the universe came to a standstill

To watch us,

Yes, the night we lit up the sky…

Writing 101: Day20 – My Most Prized Possession: The Blessed Ring of Luck

Material things have never the motivating factors in my life. Sure, I love having a car and owning a house but somehow they were never the reasons behind any of the important decisions that I have made in my life till now. So understandably, my most prized possession is something that may not be of great monetary value but holds immeasurable value to me emotionally. It is a ring.

This ring is a golden ring with a big stone embedded in it. It was presented to me by my parents on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, the day I officially became an adult. It marks the end of an era in my life and the beginning of a new one. It symbolizes my transition from a dreamy and sometimes lazy child to the slightly jaded and equally lazy adult that I have become. I always wear the ring. It is my good luck charm. And in a weird way, I feel that it also holds my parents’ blessings. I have been on my own for the last decade and this ring has always made me feel that my parents are there for me.

You might ask why I consider it to be my good luck charm. Well consider this. It was the placement season during my MBA and it was the first Group Discussion that I was appearing for, to get a job. Suddenly, I realized that the ring was not on my finger. I tried to go back to my hostel to get it. But there was no time. The previous group had already finished their Group Discussion and we were being called in. I have always been a good enough speaker but that day somehow, my words just would not come out. Now you might present with the very valid argument that since I was so obsessed with the ring and considered myself at a disadvantage without its presence, hence I mentally accepted defeat and hence my bad performance. But a warrior never leaves for battle without his favorite sword and the ring is a weapon for me. Without it I am incomplete and not able to deliver my hundred percent. Call me superstitious but I just cannot function to the best of my ability without it.

The ring is not just a good luck charm, it is also a symbol of my independence while at the same time reminding me of my origin. Making my own way in the world away from my parents, the ring keeps me rooted to the values that my parents have instilled in me. It gives me the courage to follow my dreams and beliefs and be who I really am. It is like to magic ring of the Green Lantern which gives me the power to fight against everything that comes in my way of achieving my dreams. And just like the ring needs to be recharged from time to time by the Green Lantern, so I have to visit my parents to get myself and my ring recharged.

Also, when it comes to this ring, I like to believe that what goes around comes around. I have lost it a couple of times but always managed to get it back. I remember when I was in college, there was an occasion when I could not find it. I searched everywhere in my hostel room, asked my roommates if they had seen it and practically done everything to recover it. But, I just could not remember where I had kept it. I assumed it had fallen off somewhere. I was very depressed and called up my Dad. He said he would get me a new one but to me my ring was irreplaceable. Anyways, I was sleeping at night when I dreamt that the ring was under my bed. I immediately woke up and started searching for it much to the chagrin of my roommates who were awakened by the ruckus that I was creating in the middle of the night. Finally, I checked inside my bucket which I kept under the bed. In the bucket was a soap case and the ring was embedded in the soap. I was so relieved that I almost cried.

There are other things also that I value a lot, like the dictionary which never left my study table no matter where I went. It had belonged to my father once and when my sister needed a dictionary, I gave it away to her. But, the ring I cannot think of giving away ever. Such is my attachment to it. It is indeed my most prized possession.

Writing 101: Day19 – Free Writing: Walking through the Corridors of the Past

Recently, I visited the state of Tamil Nadu for an official tour. I was stationed in Madurai for a week. I have been to Madurai earlier as well but never managed to visit the Meenakshi Temple which is a famous tourist as well as religious place in Madurai. People from all over the world come to see this amazing work of art and appreciate its timelessness and beauty. So, this time I squeezed out enough time from my meetings and managed to visit the temple on the last day of my stay in Madurai.

As it is a religious place and as is common in Hindu religious places of worship, I had to submit my shoes at the entrance. The security also kept aside my mirror and a pack of chewing gum. Then I entered the temple campus. There are two shrines in the same campus. First, there is the one dedicated to Lord Shiva, the “Mahadeva” (Supreme God). I have never been a very religious person but I am a big follower of the Lord Shiva and the constant chanting of “Om Namah Shiva” calms my nerves as nothing else in this world. The moment I crossed all the checking and security, it was like entering into a different world.

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

The entire temple is made of stone which has withstood thousands of years. It was built somewhere in between 1623-1655 A.D. The sculptures were so intricate and beautiful that it made me marvel at the powers of perception and depiction of the artists who created them. The colorful crowd all moved around with the purpose of offering their prayers and at one side of the door was an elephant. Not a sculpture but a live one. And it was a showman. It lifted up its trunk to greet every passer-by and then demanded money by making sounds and extending its trunk. It is unbelievable how well animals can be trained. But, somehow even with an element of modern day consumerism, the presence of the elephant added to my feeling of being transported back in time.

At the entrance to the inner temple was a ticket counter. I could go and stand in the “free” line without paying any fee but the queue was longer there or I could buy a ticket of Rs 20 or Rs 100 and become a part of the shorter queue. The amount of entrance fee is, of course, inversely proportional to the length of the queue. Finally as soon as I entered the inner temple of Lord Shiva , the “aarti” (evening worship) started. The people around me said we were lucky to be able to witness it. In the darkness the idol of Lord Shiva could hardly be seen but the rhythmic sound of the bells and the thousands of oil lamps created a magical atmosphere.

Beautiful statue

Beautiful statue

After offering my prayers there, I went to the main Meenakshi temple. The name Meenakshi means fish-eyed (meena-fish and akshi-eyes). She is an incarnation of Shiva’s wife Parvati and the principal deity of this temple. Again here, there was a long queue and special tickets. So, I purchased one and entered the inner temple. Somehow looking at the architecture, the beautiful carvings, I was not at all concerned with the queue or crowd. I tried to take it all in as much as possible. After offering my prayers and coming out of this inner temple of Goddess Meenakshi, I wandered around and chanced upon a long corridor where strangely I found myself alone.

Walking though that corridor, I could not help but wonder how many different people from different periods of time, having different versions of “reality” have walked through this same corridor. I pondered over the frailty of this temporary human life as opposed to the permanence of the work we do and leave behind. This beautiful creation has transcended time itself. I was reminded of those beautiful lines written by my favorite poet John Keats in his “Ode on a Grecian Urn”:

“When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woes

Than ours, a friend to man,”

It was a truly spiritual experience for me.