June 27, 2005


I can very safely say I’m LIFEBROKEN-
I can laugh with a friend who once was
Miss a bus and patiently wait for the next
Pay a goodwill visit to someone I hate
Make a promise I never meant to keep
Compliment someone and laugh at his back
Look at something and wish it were mine
Hire a lawyer to do the pre nuptial agreement
Buy five black dresses to wear one for a funeral
Overlook another’s pain with no guilt…..
And this is only the beginning of the list!

Feel free to add your own.

June 23, 2005


Farewell! Why does that always bring a catch in my throat? Is it because I see it as an end, when in fact it is a precursor to moving on to someplace else; to new opportunities; into new relationships; in fact it is the dawn of a whole new story. Stories, that I love very much! Yet, the birth of a new one causes so much pain.

Farewell parties, farewell speeches, farewell dinners...we make such a big deal of them. However, the very word 'farewell' may never have existed if time were perceived the way it really is; as a continuum, where the past, the present, and the future have no clear boundaries; they simply merge into one. In which case, the past would not be 'just a goodbye'(CSNY), and neither would 'every new beginning..(be)another beginnings end'(Greenday)!

"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past"(T.S.Eliot)

So where's the need for farewells!

June 15, 2005

Laleh Seddigh's Iran

They protest for equal rights, if only to be included in the category of 'human' when 'human rights'are being considered! Women in Iran may have finally achieved the distinct status of 'Reading Lolita in Tehran'! Iranian women are making news by speaking up against some tenets in the 'Shariyah'. By western standards these demands are but a pittance; to have equal rights to inherited property, to travel outside of the country by ones own volition and not having to seek permission from a husband or the male in charge! Their very asking for these seems prepostrous and archaic!

Yet, it is Iran we are talking about, and an Iran that's changed considerably, and is still changing since the time of the Ayatollah regime. The fact that these women could protest, and that the protest was covered by the world media, is proof of that change; a far cry from the Iran of the eighties. No wonder we have the very first female race car driver in Iran, Laleh Seddigh, who though blanked out by the national media, was allowed to participate in all the events; so far an exclusively male perogative. She is now a popular icon of female emancipation in Iran who believes, "I have to move whatever is movable in the world". Kudos to Laleh Seddigh!

June 14, 2005

Mukhtaran Bibi, a gangrape victor

Not far from Iran, where womens emancipation is gaining momentum, in the 'moderate' Islamic country of Pakistan there is a woman who after being gang raped, a sentencing by a tribal council for the infraction committed by her brother, is now battling for her rights, with little hope of success. Mukhtaran Bibi, an amazingly brave and determined woman who was forced to walk home naked after sufferring the humiliating and excruciatingly traumatic experience of being gang raped, fought back as no rape victim has ever done in the past. She protested her ordeal by challenging her persecutors in court and getting compensation for what had been done to her. She didn't stop there ; she used that money to start two schools in her village so as to promote literacy within her community which she believes is the only measure that'll prevent heinous crimes such as gang rapes in the future. Her work and her words have caught attention worldwide and she has become an icon of female fortitude in adversity. Besides the funding that she brought in for starting womens shelters and schools in the tribal areas of Pakistan, she also became a much sought after speaker for womens rights, unfortunately only outside of Pakistan. However, just last week, a few days before she was to visit the U.S. to speak at a womens forum, she disappeared; apparently taken to an undisclosed location by those in power. Asma Jahangir, a Human Rights lawyer based in Pakistan said that the Government is behind this because Mukhtaran's words may expose the reality of women in Pakistan and would thus tarnish the image of that country as a 'moderate' Islamic state; a distinction that has qualified it to be a friend and ally of the U.S.

Mukhtaran Bibi's track record tells us she is not one to give up. Gagged her, they may have, but her spirit has permeated into the consciousness of Muslim women world wide who are watching this drama unfold; and they may not choose to be silent observers. Afterall Mukhtaran is not asking much, "I want to live like a free citizen, I should be allowed to move freely and my name should be taken out of the ECL (Exit Control List),".

June 08, 2005

Shakespeare's long haul

How does Shakespeare's appeal hold for so long? How many years has it been; close to four hundred years since he wrote and yet a rendition of Julius Caesar on Broadway runs to packed houses, as does an amateur high school presentation of As You Like It in a sheep rearing county of New Zealand. There's a Stephen Beresford, who relocates Shakespeare's romantic comedy "Twelfth Night" from the island of Illyria to the state of Kerala, in southern India! Drama clubs in universities and colleges never tire of presenting Shakespeare plays and have artists vying to be a part of that production. A recent Bollywood (film industry in India) film sold itself by an introductory credit saying the film was based on Shakespeare's Macbeth! Marlon Brando* will forever be remembered 'the best Hamlet ever', just as audiences in New York can't wait to see Denzel Washington as the very first black Brutus, a Broadway show that has already grossed a million dollars in profit upto this point.

I still remember memorizing entire soliloquies, some of which I can still recite, at the behest of my english teacher who I think was madly in love with many of these Shakespearan characters. Her readings are vivid in my mind even today, and that may be partly because that kind of passion is contagious because I fell in love; with Shakespeare! I wonder if it would have been this way had I had another teacher. In which case all those folks who are spending a hundred odd dollars or more to buy a ticket for that Broadway show must have all had similar teachers as mine! Hard to imagine, but a possibility nevertheless.

How often have these lines recited themselves back to me at crucial junctures in my quite so very ordinary love life:
"But love is blind, and lovers cannot see", "Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better", "The course of true love never did run smooth".
Just as I have found solace and inspiration during trying times by reflecting on these:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be", "Brevity is the soul of wit", "Et tu, Brute!", "Now is the winter of our discontent".
Shakespeare rocks because he has it all! He sure as hell 'shakes the sphere' and it's not just the 'The Globe' we are talking about.
* It's Lawrence Oliviere not Marlon Brando (thanks 'starkindler2')

June 07, 2005


It's a pity we don't have this show anymore! See the re runs if you haven't seen the original. It's a show that'll have you in splits, with no breaks in between; never a dull moment! It's not like there is anything meaningful about the show, in fact quite the contrary; it's a show about nothing. Yet, the situations lend themselves to the most spontaneous peels of laughter. Nonsense couldn't get any better, and neither could such alarmingly maladjusted beings be so ideally brought together as in each of the Seinfeld episodes. The characters wreck havoc in any situation, even the most serious, but never in any conscious or obvious way. They spell disfunctionality by their very presence and land themselves in the most appaling and absurd of situations. They take the tragic, the normal, the serious, and then with such finess and elan transform it into the comical which soon verges on the hilarious until it reaches the point of the absurd. Undoubtedly, they've transformed disfunctionality into an art. So much so that viewers like me feel elevated when we find ourselves behaving like an Elaine or a George. The Seinfeld crew have transcended viewer judgement; they're in a league of their own!

Watch the reruns whenever you can, or buy the DVDs that have the first four seasons of the show.

Check out this veteran blogger writing out of India. Has some catchy stuff in there, especially for those of you who want a peek into exotic India.

June 05, 2005

The fruitfly scare

Scientist tweaked the master sex gene in a hitherto female fruit fly and activated the dormant male in it; the female fruit fly instantly started courting another female fruit fly that was ovulating!

This recent scientific discovery might throw a new light on certain dearly held beliefs of ours; that sexual preference is a socially aquired behaviour; that an alternate lifestyle is not a biological necessity; that people who adopt an alternate lifestyle are immoral. Afterall, it may all be in the gene, as the fruit fly experiment proved. It may be only a matter of time before the moralists among us have to retract their harsh words against those who dared to be different.

The fruit fly experiment also brings another rather depressing thought to mind; will this finding spell the end of romance between the male and the female of a species; a write off for that charmingly arbitrary act of falling in love. If the mere tweaking of a sex gene in the fruit fly changes its courting pattern, then the male female distinction in a species may be becoming redundant and would thus be a shortlived reality. Courtship, wooing, affairs, and the likes will be happenings of the past. Sex may forever be dissociated from pleasure, and it may end up being purely functional; for procreational purposes only.

May the findings of the experiment be applicable to fruit flies alone!

June 02, 2005

A parent by definition....

By definition a parent is one who has part ownership of begetting a child biologically. But that is just the tip of the iceberg,there is so much more to parenting than producing an offspring; the outtcome of the union of the sperm and the ovum. Yet it is this one criteria which is focused upon when parents with children decide to separate, and the matter is taken to court. Till everything is okay between the two partners who beget a child, there is no problem. Both, mother and father, do everything right by the book; drive the child for soccer, for piano classes, for buying sprees at the mall; they keep vaccination schedules, send their children to prestigious schools, and many more things.

Unfortunately, it's when things go sour in a marriage that the test of parenthood begins. How does a parent do right by his child when it means so much pain for the parent: eating humble pie at various times, giving up a major part of your earning toward child support, letting go of your child for its benefit, being reasonable with an exspouse, taking on the ire of your current partner, not overindulging your child and spoiling him simply to win brownie points, and the list goes on. How does a parent do justice by his child in the face of all these odds?

Going by the very basic principles of Darwinism, a parent is responsible for the well being of its offspring till such time that the offspring is capable of looking after itself. Parents provide a safety net for the offspring while it feels out its way into the world. The parent birds not only feed their young, they also teach them to fly, and keep them safe from predators. Not very different from what a human parent is expected to do. Except that a human offspring has a developing brain which needs as much nurturing as does its body. In fact, in countries like the United States and other developed nations, the physical need of an offspring have become secondary since they can well be taken care of by the state if the parent is absent or is unable to provide for some reason.

It is the mental well being of the child which is jeopardized when marriages fall apart. A broken home cannot provide the offspring the much needed and unconditional security net which is so vital for a childs growth. It is this intangible net of security which cajoles an infant to take that first independent step on his own, to board the bus on his first day of school, to stand up for what he believes in even when he has few supporters, to take calculated risks for betterment in life, to make experimental conjectures in scientific fields which he may or may not be able to prove. It is this ability to take risks, 'to go where no man has gone before', that is developed by the parental security net.

What happens when this net is ripped apart due to differences between the two parents? The child is plunged into inaction because he's scared of falling since he feels there'd be no one to break the fall. In this mental frame the child avoids decision making or conscious action of any sort; donning a mantle of inertia, which if left untouched over a period of time becomes the child's adult personality; one that is defensive and introverted. As an adult he becomes distrustful of people and relationships and thus perpetrates the same wrong that was done to him. A picture so marred by its own creator; whose reason for being was to produce and protect that creation.

Does that mean that parenting in the human world will soon become a dying art? That cannot be so long as the forces of procreation run strong; and that they will, thanks to the Viagras of the world. Produce we will, but whether we'll be able to function as parents thereafter remains to be seen.