Monday, September 23, 2013

Not For The Religious Kind

Was wondering why people become absolutely "religious" (only/mostly) when there is some sort of perceived trouble in their lives that makes them anxious and consequently makes them perform all those rituals that are monotonous and are plain abnormal repetitions (like ringing the bell "x" number of times or dangling an incense stick in a particular direction around a few particular creatively created objects of mankind at the rate of "y" number of rotations per second or giving "z" amount of tithe to the nearby institution as commanded(by who?!)) that one feels compelled, obligated and impulsive to perform dutifully; hm... could religious ceremonies and rituals-the brainchild of those who created religion-then be a symptom of an anxiety disorder capitalized due to a rising fear that the scientific warlords of psychiatry and scientific temper dare not refer to, name it and slot into their diagnostic catalogues as a certain treatable disorder for reasons quite obvious to the rest of the thinking minds?! 

Most religious people I see are carefully designed, impeccably created, wonderful crackpots-who reveal more of a broken image through their eccentric, idiosyncratic, absolutely mental and finely distinguishable (in the most derogatory way imaginable) acts that they interestingly perform for the rest of the finer world (though small) that still exists and boldly walks up and about and around to see. This small minority of carefree souls sans any religious obligation or ritualistic obsession, strolling on a spiritual journey on Earth-the minority in this aspect-are so much enviably free-that perhaps is the possible bunch that God wanted and created in his own image.

I think these religious, self-acclaimed-sacrosanct-religious creatures (some of them and their strange behaviour that I got a chance to watch up close in an organization I was caught up as a slave recently) believe in papers more than the divine; they are some of the many who believe in papers and bonds to convince themselves that marriages are sealed that way and silently head towards a divorce and would absolutely pretend to be surprized when that happens (thanks to their acting skills born out of their hypocrisy); they are like many who believe in religion than spirituality; these are who are generously referred to as the flocks that need a shepherd all the time to shoo them around and would possibly without the shepherd around be weak, blind and confused all the time; they look around the ground and miss looking towards the sky; these are who often convince me that humans can indeed survive without the grey matter along with the appendix as well; these are the parasites that the other religious parasites suck on for mutual survival; these are the ones who probably would never understand one bit of what I have tried to communicate here and would be disturbed for a while after reading this (truth always disturbs them as you may see); these are the ones that truly amaze me just like those flying insects that are a nuisance when they buzz around your ear that you manage to tolerate when you can't swat; these are the sacrosanct, moral, mad, self-advertising religious mongrels and mongers who would preach love and display hatred; the ones who talk of peace and are walking barrels of poisonous violence; they are disturbed and feel indebted to disturb others... yet, the minority few (the rest of the saner minds living in the free world) may as God would want, not mention any of these and treat them well with kindness (no matter how irritating and trying they can be and may get) as the good One above might call to do. Though unique, strange, absolutely retarded, under-developed and imbalanced they might be, they too are part of His creation possibly left behind to strengthen rationales, liberals and free souls in their reasoning and/or/otherwise walk around avoiding them like a piece of stinky crap that need not be stepped onto if and when noticed lying around... hence, smile, when they pass by or lie around when you walk by; for they are one amongst the several strange creations of God that we dare not name nor define scientifically for diplomacy's sake (Diplomacy as they say is to say "Good dog! Good dog! to the dogs till you can reach for the stones.) 

Well then, "Good dog! Good dog! each and every single one, it is nice to watch you sit, lie, bark and roll over on command to those tunes... go on and carry on-as I search for and reach for the stones (where the #u$! are the stones?!)" 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A World Without Religion(s)

"Can you imagine a world without religion?!" was the question I woke up to one morning... 

What a crazy question?! Then there would be no more crusades, no more witch hunt, no more human, animal and bird sacrifice, no massacre, no vandalism, no more destruction of works of art, no more superstition, no more tax-free accumulation of wealth in trusts, Churches, Temples and Mosques (and the Pastor'shouse), Theologians would have to shut down their school, the students from there would have to find more sensible and reasonable jobs, books of scientific temper based on progress will sell more than books of fantasy, progressive thoughts will increase and regressive thoughts will decrease, there won't be any more caste and compatibility of marriages will be based on love, there will be lesser debates on "whose imaginary friend is greater" in schools, institutions and streets, admission to mental asylums will decrease, no more wars, no more internal violence, more peaceful communities, lesser pollution (air, water and noise especially), lesser hate speeches, lesser beheadings, stoning and people walking around with that "Holier than thou art (sacrosanct) attitude, lesser politics, lesser sick politicians, there won't be priests to take us for a ride and godmen to take every woman for a bride, people will have more money to save and more to spend, instead of waiting for an external power to save them from their misery, people will be wise enough to wake up from their laziness and work their way out of their issues, time will be saved, the Earth will still spin, the sun will still rise and set, the moon will gleam through the clouds and poetry will still be enjoyed and prose will take a readable tone, art will flourish and we will all be sane and act normal... 

Yet then, why would we want all these?! How could we live without all the chaos, catastrophe and confusion we have now in this world?! How complacent we live in this "perfect" world otherwise?! How could we now imagine living in a better world?!...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dinner With God

This is a story I found really beautiful that I wanted to share with everyone for long. The protagonist of this story is the person who connects three religions-Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This is a record of an event in the life of Abraham a.k.a Abram a.k.a Avram a.k.a Ibrahim and also fondly referred to as Father Abraham-a man of God.

Father Abraham was a wonderful man who loved God and obeyed him unconditionally and he had one serious and interesting compulsion... Every time he had to have his meal, he could not have it unless he shared it with others. If he had guests, he would share and if he did not, he would find someone, bring them home and sit them at his table and share his meal. This was his practise. One day, Abraham was really hungry and there was neither any guest nor could he find anyone around. He sat at the table and felt very uncomfortable to even start with the food served for him. He got up and left in search of some stranger or perhaps a traveller to bring him to his table as soon as possible to share the food with him. 

After a while, Father Abraham realized that everyone was busy and none would come home with him to share the food. He felt sad and prayed to God to show him someone who he could bring home to share the food he had that was already served. Suddenly, he spotted an old vagabond at a distance, a complete stranger, a traveller-and he rushed towards him. After stopping him and explaining everything, he welcomed him home for a meal. The man agreed. 

As they sat at the table set before them, the man hurriedly took a piece of food from his plate and was about to have it. Father Abraham stopped him and asked the man to 'say grace' (pray or thank God for the food) before he ate. The man dropped the food back on the plate and said, "I do not believe in God and I do not pray." Father Abraham was stunned and tried to encourage him and said, "How can you not believe in God?! Isn't He the one who gives you food and keeps you alive?! Isn't He the one who gives you all you have and everything else?! How can you not thank Him for what he has done, is doing and will do for you?!" The old stranger calm as ever replied, "I do not believe in God." Father Abraham nudged him one more time and said, "Dear man, what do you lose if you pray?! Just once for my sake say grace before you touch your food." The old vagabond affirmed strongly, "It is my principle that I do not believe in God and this is the thought and the idea I have been living with all my life and I cannot compromise nor change it for a meal. I am sorry." Father Abraham grew furious at this stubborn old man by now and shouted, "WELL THEN, SO BE IT. YOU DON'T DESERVE IT. YOU CANNOT EAT AT MY TABLE." 

The poor old man humbly smiled, got up and left to continue with his journey. Meanwhile, Father Abraham brooded over what just happened and could not eat. His heart, mind and soul were troubled and he sank. He prayed and asked God what is wrong with that man he had just met. God replied.

God spoke to Abraham: "Abraham... WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? That man you brought home is 70 years old and not for a single day has he believed in Me. There is not a single meal nor an instance in his life for which he has thanked me. Yet, for all these 70 years, there is not a single day nor a single time that I have not provided for him or left him hungry. All these 70 years I have protected him and taken care of him like a child. All these 70 years, every single time. And, just for once, this day, I trusted him with you, and what have you done...?" Asking this, God disappeared.

Father Abraham was shocked at what God just spoke to him and was ashamed of what he had done. He ran in the path the man had left and soon found him and stopped him. He explained all that had happened after the man had left and pleaded the man to come home with him and join him for the meal and have the meal the way he wanted. The old man's eye filled with tears and for the first time in his life, after all these years, he looked up and thanked God. Father Abraham and the old vagabond that day had the meal thanking God for how wonderful, loving and caring He is no matter how different we are..." 

To God be all glory...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Got Milk?!

Milk that my parents and grandparents used was supplied like this:

(Anyone buying the milk will carefully monitor the thickness of the milk when poured and a stern warning can be heard immediately if the milk is thin (incase diluted) and if the action repeats, a change of the supplier would soon be under way. Immediate justice without any delay for want of a court to intervene was cool those days.)

Milk also looked like this:

(Cow's milk will be cream'ish and buffalo's will be white they used to say... perhaps they did not give a thought about what chemically made milk will look like then.)

Then the old and the young would make diverse use of this simple and humble product in households. Like...
  • The Milk as itself
  • Milk to mix with your Kapi and Chai
  • If they forgot to preserve the milk, they won't worry, they can always make Curd
  • Churn the curd and separate the butter and you get Butter as well as Butter Milk
  • Use the lard that floats on top of the milk after it boils, save it and process it and one day you get Ghee
  • Beat the curd with sugar and ice and you get Lassi
  • Various milk-based sweets and deserts like the 'Paal'koa', 'Payasam' and any sweet dish made for any occassion or celebration in India had to have milk as its base
  • Paneer or the Indian cottage cheese was also a part of many North Indian dishes and milk-based too
  • Flavour the milk (with badam, chocolate, strawberry... ) you got Flavoured Milk
  • Grind a fruit (Banana, mango, papaya...) along with milk and you get a Smoothie
  • Milk chocolate and Ice Cream and Kulfi were made by daring and darling mothers in some homes too

Those were the days when we were sure that the milk in the bottle came from this:

Well those were the good'ol days when a simple bottle of milk was good enough to make diversified and a variety of sub-products that could bring a surprizing delight to anyone. Everyone from my grandparents to their friends and family and neighbours seemed to enjoy and lived a happy (really) long life and rest in peace. Well, and then came the great revolution or so they say...

When life was to be made easy and health was to be made dearer. 'They care for us' they said. Flourishing variety-they promised. Revolution was beckoning us at our doors and we opened. 
The result:

Everything processed, packed and delivered. From milk powder to skimmed milk to condensed milk to cheese slices to curd to yogurt to cream to that probiotic milk drink to what not?! Anything I buy these days seems to have a life everlasting too and promises a life-eternal in return as well. Well, the truth is, sometimes I don't even know what I buy or what not to. At times, I am not even sure of what I buy or if it is milk at all that I buy. I need to buy an extra cream to add to the milk that comes with a label that says it has been 'processed' and 'pasteurized' just because I like to have my "coffee" these days with some froth and cream on top; and well then I add a little bit of that extra "cow's" milk powder to my liquid white concoction that I froth because I like to see a cream-tint to the milk which otherwise seems to be as white as paint. "Mega-saver" packs of all these extras now bought separately (shelling out unnecessary bits and bulks from my pocket) are available too if you decide to consume more. Though I get fond memories once in a while of the good'ol days when life was simpler and everything came in just a bottle and was at reach for all, this poor milk man I try to find these days, seems to be hidden behind the huge billboards that advertise the milk products and the corporates that run the business these days. Man succumbs to his greed-seems to be the moral of the story (as always) to this story as well-the story of the Milk. 

Our needs are decided by someone else,
Our dreams are made for someone else.
With promises of change and development floated around like this great "white" revolution,
We succumb to nonsense and give up the sustainability that was already a part of our tradition.
Stupidity comes in packs and packets 
And count yourself and me in it as we queue the stalls and markets
Milk, silk and what not?!
This trick seems to work for a lot... 
Well Dr. Kurien, may your soul rest in peace;
Seems like your life was shorter than the milk products in stores that I can reach.
Well, having said that, let me have a glass of milch...

Bottomline: In pursuit of finding real milk, show me what you think is milk and I shall show you a scoundrel...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Golden Opportunity

This is Gold:

So is this:

And this:

Did you not notice the delight, the sheer bliss and the accomplishment in their faces?!
Have you ever wondered why as 'Indians' we never aspire for these? Perhaps because we don't have to... Don't we have other ways of bringing home the gold?! Now watch this:

And this:

And this:

When the rest of the world competes, wins and earns its gold, some of us in India, walk around with trophies from our father-in-law's house... Maybe that is why we neither compete nor win... hahaha...

Food for thought or should I say 'Golden words': Pay for what is yours only then you will know what truly is yours...