Thursday, August 17, 2017
The Thin Line Of Hope.
“Hope is a wonderful thing. It’s the thin line which often separates life from a life not worth living for. The absence of hope is the greatest tragedy of human life. Especially when humans lose hope just when their life is going to take a turn for the better and make some hasty decisions. Of course, humans can’t see the future as we do and that’s the beauty of hope. They have to believe in it, believe that life is going to turn on its head for them in the very near future. That a benevolent god is up there watching over them and he sends angels like us down to earth to walk with them in their most care-worn states. That belief and the hope it generates is what human life worth fighting for. Loss of that belief and consequent hope for the future results in such cases” he gestured to the prone figure on the bed battling for life “and just when her life was about to get better she has taken poison to kill herself. And now we just have to wait here for the grim reaper to come collect his toll”. “But” the cherub asked the senior angel “can’t we do something?” It was its first day on the job and it was still learning the ropes “can’t we, like, turn back time and show her a little hope? Give her hints that she just has to pass over this bump in her life to be happy again?”
“Ahh”, the senior angel shook his wise head negatively “that’s just what we are forbidden to do little one. Remember the fight over the first man Adam’s creation?” he winked as he didn’t want to mention the ungodly revolt even here on earth for god had eyes and ears everywhere “well, God in his everlasting benevolence granted Adam and his progeny the gift of free will. It’s up to the humans how they use it. To better themselves or to fall into temptations. And we are forbidden to interfere in their choices even if they make some such stupid decisions like taking their own lives”. He stood there wings folded staring pensively at the woman on the bed now whooping great gasps trying to suck in air as the poison started taking greater effect. “Now look at this girl, would you believe that six months ago she was a bright and cheerful girl always with a smile on her face? Then she lost her mother, her father a drunk, disappeared around the same time and she joined up as a domestic help in a wealthy household. And that’s where the seeds of her destruction were sowed. It took six months, but that family was the one which killed her today”.
“An entire family were responsible for her taking poison?” the newest cherub to join the angels asked aghast “how is that possible? Wasn’t there even a single person in that household with a little pity in their heart?” the senior angel looked oddly at him and then making a decision “No, that single family was the epitome of all human vices- there was lechery, greed, jealousy and hate but no redeeming features in them. All in all, I would say, they are a typical human family. I think it would be better if you saw for yourself so come with me” he said, “and I will show how she ended up like this today” and taking the little cherub with him the senior angel flew off to visit Seth Narotamdas Damodardas, the wealthy philanthropist and benefactor of many temples, ngo’s and cows.
They entered a massive villa built like a replica of the Jaipur palace and the first person they saw on flying in through a first floor bedroom window was a young man snoring away on a palatial bed in an alcohol induced haze. “This is Pankaj, the only son and heir of Sethji’s vast business empire of beedi and gutka” said the angel “and also the father of the unborn child in the dead girls womb. While pankaj got her pregnant with his tender profession of love, beguiling the innocent little fool fresh from the village, it was his father sethji who drove her out of the family mansion for daring to accuse his son of being the father of her child. Sethji was angry beyond words because he knew any word of this leaking out would damage the marriage prospects of his son to some other rich business family.
And how do you guess the whole affair came to light? It was jealousy which did it. The Seth’s daughter Neerja hated the servant girl from the first, hated that even in her rags and grime she looked far lovelier than the bejeweled Neerja. She especially hated her because her fiancée, Paresh had once spent an entire dinner staring at the servant maid as she served at the table. Though plain and ugly Neerja has a haughty heart, a heart which cannot countenance playing second fiddle to anyone and she bore spite from that moment on towards the maid. And when she found out the idle dalliance between her wastrel brother and the maid she couldn’t wait to run in and inform her father and mother. Sethji was a tad less guilty in that he only dismissed the maid and sent her out to starve in the streets, it was his wife madamji -Manju madam, who not only hid her gold ornaments but made sure that the seth file a police complaint against the poor girl and had her arrested and sent to jail for her temerity in beguiling her innocent son. She was also responsible for spreading the word around in all the voluntary organizations and women’s rights organizations she served in, that anyone having the intention to help this particular girl would earn the undying wrath of the seth’s whole family.
The poor girl was driven to begging on the streets to satisfy the hunger pangs of her unborn child in the womb. She couldn’t eat enough to feed herself let alone the child gnawing in her belly even though she spent all day on her feet begging for work, some work which would allow her to live with dignity or at least feed her babe. But society, human society is a cruel, cruel thing, humans have no pity on those who are down on their luck, they avoid them like the plague to make sure that their ill-luck doesn’t rub off on others. If only they knew that nothing is ever so simple” the senior angel sighed “just this afternoon this girl fell down on the street dashed by a passing motorcar and when she reached her tenement she found her petticoats running with rivulets of blood and she felt she had lost her child, the only thing which had made her current life worth bearing and unable to face such a bleak future she took the easy way out, the only way she knew to end her misery in one stroke by swallowing a packet of poison”.
The cherub was aghast “senior angel ji you speak as if sympathizing with the action of this human. Hasn’t god expressly forbidden taking self-life by humans? Isn’t it a great sin?”. The senior angel smiled cynically “yes god, has said that, he has had it written down by his prophets and messengers and had it widely disseminated to everyone. But, you know, humans, they are a weak souled species, they cant take adversity and attribute it to gods way of testing them before rewarding them. They are so short sighted and short lived that the trials and miseries of a few years breaks their will to live”. He continued the lesson to the young apprentice “Now take this girl for instance, in a few months there’s a going to be a major car crash and the sethji, his wife and daughter are all going to die. The seth’s son, this girls lover is going to be crippled and he is going to come crawling back to her to marry him and restore to her rightful place as his wife”.
“But, but” the cherub spluttered “she’s dying right now and how can all this come to pass if she dies tonight?”. The senior angel signed long and deeply and said “exactly, that’s why I said humans are so short sighted. If only she hadn’t taken the extreme step of taking her own life tonight, her life in a few months would have seen a miraculous turnaround. But that’s free will for you- that which the humans alone were deemed worthy to receive from god and not even we angels got”. The cherub was impressed by the gravity of the senior angel’s pronouncement “so the humans have got better than us? Are they that special to god? Don’t we angels deserve something too? For following gods will without question? While they get to have free will, hope and every kindness in gods power to grant?”.
The perturbation of the little cherub brought a smile to the angels face but when the senior angel smiled this time, it was an ugly smile full of hidden menace “yes they have free will. Yes they have hope. But we, my dear cherub have got the power to break their hopes, merely by standing by and not doing anything to help them. And can you guess the best way to break hope in someone? You don’t break them, you just break something they love and if it’s something which loves them back that’s even better. That’s how they lose hope and give up themselves. And that’s how we angels get our revenge on mankind”. He smiled as gaily as if he had won a great prize.
For hope is indeed a precious gift for mankind and we humans treat it as if it doesn’t matter.
P.S. I have written a lot of short stories- crime fiction, science fiction, social fiction etc but I have never yet written a moral story, something which has a message for the reader. I have been re-reading a lot of my favorite Russian authors- Tolstoy, Chekov, etal and under their influence I have tried to write a honest-to-god message oriented short story for the first time in my life. I expect reader’s feedback to see how far I still have to go to improve. Do write in with your suggestions.
Monday, August 7, 2017
The Mental Aspects of Disease
Are you frequently fatigued and unable to bring up the drive to work properly as you were wont to do previously? Are you always sad and depressed and don’t have the enthusiasm to do anything about it? Do you keep getting fat even though you are semi starving yourself all the time? Are you anxious? Depressed? Eccentric? Is it time to visit a therapist? A counsellor? A psychiatrist? And talk things over?
Hold on a minute. Perish the thought that psychiatry comprises counselling primarily and counselling can cure anything. It never happens that way in real life despite the millions spent on counselling therapy by gullible people who are desperate for a cure for their symptoms and problems. Despite what counsellors would have you believe, venting out for an hour in a darkened room to a bored person who keeps interjecting soothing platitudes is not going to make your problems disappear or your diseases to cure itself. In 90% of the cases I have mentioned above you will have an as yet undiagnosed physical condition with the remaining being the interplay of your inherited genes with your environment.
If you are depressed or anxious visit a psychiatrist who can prescribe you drugs to bring your mood swings under control before you slash your wrists. Talk therapy can achieve only so much when the entire gamut of your neural messengers inside your brain are playing havoc with your individual neurons making some misfire and others to cease fire.
If you are fatigued all the time go visit a good internist or general physician and rule out any viral diseases -for most of the times, it’s these little culprits who drain you of your energy without any obvious reasons. If still not satisfied, the next port of call should be an endocrinologist who will assess your chemical messengers from the adrenals and thyroids which have an effect on whole body wellness even in miniscule amounts. Any absence or reduction in these little proteins can lead to a whole lot of misery in everyday life.
And finally if you are desperate to lose weight and find you just can’t control your appetite don’t listen to the counsellor who says you have weak will power and over eat. They are just putting the cart before the horse and failing to diagnose the underlying physical problem which is causing you to feel hungry all the time and makes you overeat. Go visit a good endocrinologist and check out your hormone levels. Once you get them under control, your hunger pangs and mood swings will automatically disappear. Don’t blame yourself for being fat and don’t let others blame you- especially if they are taking good money off you just to listen to your failings.
Hunger is an awful thing and you are only human if you are miserable and pre-occupied with thoughts of food when you are dieting. Add to it the emotional stress of being fat- the unspoken judgment that you lack will power, the suffering from internal starvation and the constant guilt feeling when you listen to your body and indulge its wants – none of which can be cured by lying down there and talking about how you are going to make an effort henceforth. Get a blood test done before you start keeping a fancy food diary. Re-balance your hormones so that the food is burnt up to feed you and not just stored away as fat. Do the simple things, the basic things right and the larger issues (pun intended) will take care of themselves.
The mental aspects of disease are real, no one denies that. But that’s not all we are- we are an amalgamation of nerves, hormones and millions and millions of bacteria which live inside us. Any change in any one of these components can cause disease by the very imbalance the body is incapable of managing. You are not just your brain or your mood- you have an entire system of interconnected body parts and organs which, all of them, have their own agenda and look out for their own good. The loss of balance in your physical body can and does affect the brain and vice versa. It’s far easier to diagnose and treat any bodily ailments before trying to tamper with the brain. A good therapist can make you talk your fears out loud, but merely talking them out loud (and paying your therapist for that privilege) is not guaranteed to cure you once and for all. Everyone deserves to live healthy and live happily- not either or but both. So think over your options before jumping to conclusions. All the best.
P.S. this rant was triggered by too many patients professing that they undergo counselling even for blatantly physical diseases which require medications and a boot up their backsides rather than couch talk. I am not sure how these counsellors have done it, but they seem to have convinced an entire generation of idiots that they can talk their way to good health. If only.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
On Why I Am A Climate Skeptic Despite Being A Pseudo-Intellectual.
The burden of being a public intellectual, or at least an aspiring one, is that one is expected to have an opinion on everything under the sun. At times this is easy. For example if asked about my opinion on popular Indian writers or at least the over rated ones I would have no hesitation in picking up on the grand-dame of self-delusion and the harridan of uncertain prose-Ms. Arundathi Roy whose only claim to fame is the shrill vehemence in which she complains against everything so much so that I fear that she has internalized the title of her own work “In which Annie gives it to those ones” by turning into “In which Arundathi gives it to everyone almost gleefully”.
I could also show off my sly nature with a tribute to the granddaddy of self-publishing – Mr. David Davidar whose book was self-published by his own firm Penguin where he was the chief editor. This was a fortunate occurrence for David Davidar for that book- the house of blue mangoes, reminded uncannily everyone (else) who read it of a previous and well accepted novel with a similar title leading to loud whispers of plagiarism and would have damaged irretrievably the reputation of anyone else who had done the same except that David Davidar was not only promoted, he was given the prestigious on-site offer of Penguin Canada editor-in-head. Of such strange quirks are the publishing world made.
Now to stretch the analogy a bit further and prove my snobbish intellectual side I would have to be suitably dismissive of minor Indian writers of uncertain provenance who sell a few thousand soft copies to their Facebook and Instagram followers based on their networking skills on social media (and their attractive dp’s)- people like preeti shenoy, amish etc. but I would rather not waste time trashing their books as fluff when everyone else on Quora seem to be doing the same. I would rather tread a different path to burnish my credentials as an intellectual by taking on bigger issues- something like climate change for instance.
Now for the entire week gone past there was a lot of breast beating over the American president trump pulling out of the Paris climate accords. Everyone but everyone including me had an opinion on his act and its aftermath. Although I put up an instant Facebook post, I found it difficult to encapsulate my ideas on such a small platform as Facebook and hence this more explanative blog post. The main fallacy of people with knee jerk reactions and opinions on everything – and here I am talking about the entire Facebook generation- is that they don’t have the intellectual capacity or even the rigor of hard work to read up and analyze anything in depth before positing an opinion. Ask anyone whether the Paris accord was good or bad, they will invariably reply as good. But just ask them what was in the nitty-gritty, the fine details of the Paris accord which made it so good and watch them despair and log out of the internet.
Anyway, I consider the Paris accord as one more con job perpetrated by Trans-national companies on an unsuspecting world population. Their idea of reducing harmful carbon emissions which were increasing the earth’s temperature was to offer carbon credits and offsets to be bought by less polluting countries aka less developed countries and to be traded to more polluting well-developed countries which could use those credits to keep their current levels of emission at status-quo. Now tell me what’s so advantageous about this? To the poor countries which don’t have any emissions? To the rich countries who have to pay through their noses for these trade offsets? And to the earth’s climate in general with the maintainability of current emission levels? I can’t see anyone else benefiting except the middle men who will trade on these carbon credits. So President Trump might have ended up doing the right thing for the wrong reasons- at least let’s give him credit for that.
Now if you ask me about climate change, as an intellectual with a public profile to protect, I would have to say that I am extremely climate-skeptic. I will not dispute the current methodology of working out the heat increase of the planet plotted against the emission levels. But I would argue that the entire science behind the methodology is wrong as is so often seen with respect to long held scientific dogmas based on an initial questionable data collection. The climate change lobby and the earth is in peril give me more money lobby might not agree with me but I consider that our current models of predicting or even studying climate change is flawed because we have so little idea of what sustains our current climate at its level and what the future will hold if emissions continue to rise and the planets core temperature arises by a few more degrees.
Will the earth be able to auto-correct by ushering in another ice age in response to increased temperatures? Will the weather become capricious and unpredictable based on current weather prediction models? Will we be in another era of widespread flooding caused by rising sea levels? Will plants thrive on more heat and better cloud cover- a hot house temperature effect? Will they be releasing more and more oxygen after flourishing in the abundant carbon dioxide levels and in effect changing our planet’s atmosphere into a super oxygenated world? No one has any answers to these and other critical questions on climate change. What we have are beliefs in dogmas and a rigidity in those belief’s which preclude any other point of view contrary.
If at all we are serious about reducing the impact of emissions on our planet the way to go forward is pretty much blindingly obvious to everyone of even average intelligence- to end our dependence on fossil fuels. To stop digging for coal -coal mining/strip mining is one of the biggest eyesores on the earth’s surface. To stop drilling for oil and automatically avoid and undermine all the current religious wars based on abundant oil money financing. To get over the entire damage caused by two hundred years of internal combustion engines which burn parts of the planets dead past aka fossil fuels and just jump into using clean and green fuels- a hydrogen engine’s emission is water vapor for instance, yes pure H2O. Solar, wind, ocean current- there are a whole lot of alternate energy sources available to produce the electric fuel cells necessary for clean energy with zero emissions. And finally to get over our irrational fears of anything nuclear and move on into using nuclear fusion- the cleanest form of energy and used by our sun for instance, to produce everything we use including solar energy. A dyson construct which directly taps into the solar energy near the sun and feeds it to the planet via mirrors might be the stuff of science fiction right now, but so were mobile phones and airplanes at one time. So the future of emission control should be less of control and more of eliminating the necessity of emissions.
And finally to point out the planet Venus as the end effort of climate change and increased emission levels is intellectual dishonesty- for the Venus effect was not caused by Venusian's or their factories emitting greenhouse gases. What caused it was a giant planet sized object- an asteroid smashing into Venus- boiling off its oceans instantaneously, stopping its rotation, making it lose its magnetosphere and the ability to have and retain an atmosphere which will protect against sun flares and cosmic particles. Now when was the last time you heard one of these green warriors talk about extra-planet sources of danger to the earth and its atmosphere, including climate? When will they learn to stop blaming humanity for all the ills of the planet and take a more broad based view on the dangers affecting humanity as a whole?
I have, as a responsible intellectual ( and to burnish my credentials as one) taken a more broad based view on the dangers affecting humanity which no one else seems to care about, consumed as they are in the nitty gritty of working out carbon offsets and who gets to profit out of which greenhouse gas. If the whole of humanity decides to take a similar broad based view on the fate of the planet then I would say good riddance to the Paris accord and you are welcome Mr. Trump.
And if after reading this entire blog post you are still not convinced of my intellectual heft, well, wait till you read my book on this. And, oh yeah, I too can/will put up sexy DP’s to sell my book, so there, you are warned.