post 28: Mustering up words

English Standard Version (©2001)
“My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:” – Psalm 39:3

If Like me, you are from Delhi, India & living in North America then you’d agree that the last month has dealt a double dose of tragedy. First with the Newtown School Shooting  and then the brutal gang rape in Delhi . The details in both cases are shocking to say the least. Even with the high of Christmas and the holiday season I cannot stop thinking about the victims in both the cases.

I felt ashamed for all the times in past I chose to remain silent about being eve-teased as a young girl in Delhi. I felt sorrow for the families going through the loss of their loved ones. The questions that comes to mind again and again is  ‘what has this world come to?’. Even though , I do not have an answer, I firmly believe that there is still some goodness left in the world. Even if the bad seems so strong, eventually  the good will emerge victorious. In trying to articulate what I was feeling , I came up with the following few lines:

Would you believe if I tell you ’cause I know this is true

there is a God in heaven who knows you through and through

He knows all your questions; He knows all your complains

He sees all of your sorrow and he feels all of your pain

 

The lives that were taken on that  dreadful friday morn

are not lost, are not forgotten and surely not alone

a life was violated, out of a moving bus was thrown

he knows that too and with you he does also mourn

 

if he hears our cry for mercy, for justice and solution

why does he not act right now and remove our confusion

why does not he save us now from crime and persecution

reveal himself and take away our spiritual pollution

 

Would you believe if I tell you ’cause I know this is true

God has a plan and in his time he knows just what to do

Though we struggle now in due time we’ll surely understand

how sorrows lead to the fulfillment of, his plan- good and grand

 

With so much pain abound in the world ,you ask , how it can be

that God is good & true, but Have you not heard of the enemy?

We must think, find answers and some action must be taken

but in the midst of all our doubts, God should not be forsaken

 

The battle rages on so strong in the heavenly realm as we speak

Wait my soul, on him do trust, and his wisdom you do seek

There is grief and pain on this earth but there is peace in eternity

And one day we will overcome and rejoice in God’s victory

Over the past few days I have read some articles with facts that have shocked me and words comforted and have resonated with me. I am listing those out for you in the hope that some of these might help you articulate your own questions and feelings on these issues.

A message from Ravi Zacharias on Newtown tragedy

this film maker verbalised the questions we all have about the Delhi Gang rape and what it tells about a nation.

This editorial made me think about safety of women

One poem on the Delhi Rape case 

Another poem on Newtown tragedy

Shocking article on What some Indian policemen think about rape.

Phir Milenge!!

Post-9 : Fighting Fair

I always believed all fights were unfair …unfair to me that is …because I lost most of them. Growing up in a small mohalla (community) of New Delhi, we were a group of around 20 kids from 6 different families, ranging from 3 to 16 in age. We played together in the evenings and there were as many fights as there were games. I lost most of the times( 98% of the times …I was a chubby kid and totally lacked any physical strength) The few fights , I did win were against kids much younger to me therefore it was unfair to them( I lost to them occasionally too…but thats another thing!!) I was so keen on winning the arguments and fights laid out in front of me that I would resort to all kinds of tantrums……screaming …. fake tears were shed….My mother mostly intervened with a sagely ” fight fair ” advisory. She and other elders decided what was fair and if you cannot be fair you cannot play anymore…. life was simple then.

Physical fights ave rules laid out most of the time…don’t poke eyes, don’t  hit where it really hurts…etc….. Unfairness is relatively easy to spot in a physical fight but what happens in a battle of ideas? Fairness often takes the back seat. Especially when both parties are thoroughly convinced they are right and it is made even worse when like me you really really want to win. And the absolute worst part of it all is when you fight over small silly things with the ones you love. I believe fighting fair is all the more important in marriage- primarily because both are on the same side and the decision effects both equally. One good barometer of a fair fight between two individuals is the choice of words and the tone of voice, all pointing towards the kindness or the lack thereof in the relationship (in that respect, I am constantly amazed by the patience, restraint and kindness my husband exhibits in dealing with people and I am trying to learn from him). Many times I have found that I get emotional about my own point of view and it blinds me from rationally approaching the issue at hand. In the end , I am not as happy as I thought I would be after winning.  (I am hoping there are others who have been in situations like these….)

The scene from Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks starrer  You got mail comes to mind where Meg ryan’s character speaks some harsh words to her business rival Joe fox(played by Hanks) which is against her nature and is something she never usually is able to do. However after speaking her mind she confesses to her online friend (Hanks again !) that she feels horrible! How true is that …..

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias wrote this in his book, I, Isaac take thee Rebekah;

One impression of any relationship that stands out and remembered is the level of kindness or unkindness demonstrated between a husband and wife. The First is refreshing; the latter is discomforting. I would go so far as to say that there is never a reason to be unkind. There may be reasons to struggle. After all two wills are merging into one. There are constant compromises and surrenders demanded, but there is never a resaon to be unkind, particularly when you are tampering with the very fragile nature of a person’s sensibilities. I have seen love maimed and even killed by unkind words. Unkindness can be the hatpin to the heart of love and bleed it to death. Lives and dispositions are much more fragile than e think . Every relation ship should be marked ” Fragile: handle with care”.

I am writing this post fresh off a ‘discussion’ with my husband where we both were on a different page and disagreeing. He heard me out patiently and discussed what he believed was right and his reasons for thinking so. After a lot of back and forth, we ended up going along with his ideas.  Because we fought fair, I am feeling good about the decision we took together. It became collaborative not single-sided. In our marriage we strive to be kind and patient with one another. It helps that we share a common core-beliefs, values and culture and a common definition of fairness.

Fight fair and without getting historical (without bringing what happened in 1954 into the fights of today ) or hysterical (yeah that doesn’t help either!) is possible and then the outcome is more acceptable and pleasant.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 8 : Orange

I was looking through some of my old drawings recently and I realized I use yellows and oranges a lot ….in fact orange shows up in almost every sketch or drawing. It is one of my favorite color. When my daughter was born , I wanted to steer away from the cliched pink for baby girl and I was totally into orange. All this to tell you of my love for orange color and that I had to stop and take a picture when I saw the  following at our local mall…. one of those small things that make me smile.

Image

…..sometimes some silly things make you laugh.…here is a PJ(poor joke) that floated in to mind as I clicked the above mentioned picture :

Knock! Knock!!

Orange.

Orange Who?

Orange u glad I’m here ?

I was sure glad to see you, orange scooty vespa!

and sometime some old memories make you feel happy.…simultaneously , as I clicked the pic and I smiled at the joke, I was reminded of the warm early winter afternoons in Delhi, When oranges would be in season and one of the favorite things to do during those afternoons was to lie down in the sun on the coconut coir charpai’s (cots) with friends and neighbors and enjoy the oranges! we would sit outside until the sun set (we hadn’t heard of sunblock yet and who knew SPF?) those were worry free happy days!

It’s surprising where our train of thoughts can take us . but I was thinking orange today. Is there any color that comes to your mind today?

Phir Milenge!!

Post 7 – mmmmm Movies!!

I have been glued to my TV screen lately. Watching a lot of movies back to back. It has been a very long time since I did this. Even though my list of pending tasks grew, dishes piled up in the kitchen sink and the family felt largely ignored, I am glad , I did this.

Watching movies is an escape into a world diffrent from our own and if you come from India, the home of the largest movies industry in the world, you are bound to be a little bit filmy …sometimes! For me some movies are milestones, how and when I watched them and  the impact they left on me is etched in my memory. Bollywood songs and dances were at one point reflective my own youthful voice. I am still moved to tears while watching old movies like ‘mother India’ or listening to songs like this one. Once a Bolly-bhakt  always a bolly-bhakt (my own term for fans of bollywood movies!) and It surprises me how many good movies I have missed recently. One sad part of being an NRI is that very few indian movies are released in theatres and by the time the CD’s hit the markets the movies themselves have fizzled away. I think , as a young nation India found its voice and a medium to reach the masses in the movies. No wonder then lot of views of life and love can be attributed to movies.

I read reviews for one recent bollywood movie which was based on an old classic hindi movie and that prompted me to look for bits and pieces of that old movie on youtube and the affection was rekindled. Our cable provider thankfully was providing a free preview of a movie channel  and some other channels also had a good line ups  of movies for the summer.Once I started I could not stop.  I went ahead watched lot of hollywood hits,  few Hitchcock classics for the very first time and old, all-time classics like Casablanca and Carousel. Watching old musical sort of reminded me of the bollywood musicals. It also gave me an insight into the collective popular history of this part of the world. Infact, I feel movies and literature of any generation reflects the prevailing mindsets and upcoming ideas of a society at that point of time.

These movies were a reminder of the power of good story telling. We are living and telling our individual story everyday and to some degree influencing others and impacting the world even. These words from  John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business school  (author of Leading Change) seem to hit the nail on the head –

“Over the years I have become convinced that we learn the best – and change- from hearing stories that strike a chord within us….” what he goes on to say for companies/ corporation can be applied to ourselves, ” …those in leadership positions who fail to grasp or use the power of stories risk failure for their companies and for themselves”

Whether you like it or not, your story is developing everyday. It rests upon us whether we choose to do something about it.

Phir milenge!!

Post 5: when technology gets the better of you

You have all reason to doubt my mathematical skills….after all four comes after three not before and five follows four not three. In this case however, I am safe to say that technology got the better of me. Seeing how much I have been lagging behind in meeting my blogging goals, I decided to jump ahead by creating a day four post and put in it auto-publish mode with a date. But my day three post took so long in the making that by the time I pushed the publish button, the post four had already hit the bolgosphere. (lesson learnt- keep sufficient time between the post being worked on and one of auto-publish!)
This is not the first time I have been overwhelmed and outwitted by technology though. I must confess I am not a self learner when it comes to gadgetry and computers. My younger sis however, learns to master these with in few minutes of laying her hands on them. Growing up in India in the 80’s has meant that I have been able to live in the radio age , the black & white tv era and then transitioned to computers and lived to witness the current technological revolution. I was super excited when my parents bought home a color television with a remote , it was a big deal ….. That meant my sister and I didn’t have to be the remote. Our neighbor’s telephone was our first number – india was like that (big grin) …… It was a matter of pride for our neighbors to share. they would happily call uncle jee from next door when his relatives called from out of town And a tea session ensued while uncle jee waited for his relative to call back. It was a big community builder, I must say. Our first telephone connection took more than 6 months to come by, and then we were on tea duty as well, but soon enough phones became more common place and the sharing caring spirit of the neighborhood was limited to winter knitting sessions of Aunty-jees and morning walk/yoga sessions in the park.( even those are becoming rarer by the day).

I still remember my unpleasant first date with our automatic washing machine. It looked fancy with all it’s buttons but it made such noise on it spin cycle that I almost ran out screaming ( I actually did run out screaming) and then there were video games ( sorry Mario , I could not rescue your girlfriend or for that matter proceed beyond world 1) I think the hand held controller was my undoing and you can very well imagine my shock and awe when I saw the current Xbox and play station controllers for the first time, it had controls on sides; it’s back ; almost everywhere ( I bow to young kids who are already the masters over these). And then came the Internet which took me so long to understand. As I said , I am not a self-learner when in comes to all the new technical stuff, but I did well under structured instruction in learning the softwares that were needed for work. My current nemesis is my DSLR camera, and I am struggling with the manual settings( which I assumed I would be ok with because it’s manual), I guess the auto setting were created for people like me . I think I am An old grandma in a young(-ish) mom’s body when it comes to all things technical and all gadgets.
I am glad the companies that make these products are making them easier to understand and operate. That gives me hope for the future!

Phir mileage!!!