When the popular Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide I was shell shocked. Only question in my mind was WHY?
I mean as a typical middle class person we all aspire for the success, fame and money. And he had it all.. So what went wrong?
He is not alone. Recently there was news of a 17 year old Tik Tok star committed suicide. This social media star enjoyed a huge following on various social media platforms and had gained immense popularity due to her dance videos. So again the question – WHY?
Another actress of the ‘Balika Vadhu’ fame and contestant of Big Boss too committed suicide couple of years back.
These are just a few famous people we know so their deaths have made headlines. There are thousands others – students, housewives, patients etc who give up on their life and it is just a small news…
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A group of college going girls involved in flesh trade to support / sport a lavish lifestyle.
A techie commits suicide as he was unable to cope up with the pressure of credit card bills.
Gang involved in card frauds, ATM thefts busted, revealed it was an attempt to make a quick buck.
And the matter of irony is more educated the person is more deeply he or she is getting involved in this trap of taking the wrong route. I really wonder what purpose education is really serving here.
These examples may not be some recent news but definitely something we come across quite often nowadays. A bitter and harsh reality, strong enough to make us experience Depression and question “WHY?”
Reason is simple : Our inability to find satiation and curb our “Un”wanted desires. Our incompetence in restricting our fingers from swiping left and right and to be finally get hit at the centre. We are getting carried away by fancy statements from our films “life is now; eat, drink, spend and enjoy!” – so we take “spend” quite seriously😁. We are unable to restrict our minds from falling to the rosy advertisements promising easy EMIs and hands on easy plastic money. (Banks are over friendly when it comes to lure people into their installment schemes and stand at 180° angle when its about recovering debts – as an ex-employee in such agencies I have a close quarters experience). We never refrain from drawing unfair comparisons too and to match upto someone whose situation and economical condition is no where close to us we indulge in rampant spending to pep up our Lifestyle Quotient. Compulsive buyers we have become, repulsive to the thoughtfulness and impulsive in making descions.
A small question: We feel so proud of our generation for we think that “we think and question”. We go deep into any subject matter before accepting it as a gospel truth. But despite that our so called knowledgeable generation is not happy. What could be the reason? Our direction less blind run behind maintenance of LIFESTYLE. We want brands in our kitty which we could flaunt to others. From the slippers we wear to the school our kids shall go; from furniture at our home to accessories we adorn – brands matter! To what extent? To an extent that we started feeling that if we lag behind someone in brand knowledge or sporting a particular lifestyle we won’t be respected. And to garner that dubious respect we not only spend but spend unmindfully even if it means borrowing/ begging or stealing (it’s a general expression, don’t get me wrong 😊). A simple scenario we must understand: Would we be respected by the society we live in if they know that all the glitter they saw is actually hollow from inside, is not hard earned but taken on lease? Would the people we want to flaunt our lifestyle in front of come to our rescue if the creditors knock at our doors with insults? Then what’s the use of all this frivolous vanity? On contrary our precedors were in quite a happy space, don’t believe me? Look at our parents, grandparents – satiation was the thumb rule.
An algorithm we shall follow to restrict our headless thoughts (read wants) before they turn us either victims or nefarious:
Do I need this?
Can I postpone this want?
Can I afford this?
To what extent my savings are getting affected?
This is very much required and very much in conformity to our “logical” thought process (sadly we are refraining from this). Our generation must remember that
Life is more precious than Lifestyle.
Price tags won’t determine our value, had it been so even the scamsters would be regarded as greats for the brands they flaunt.
We have to depict a right path for our successors for they are closely watching us. Therefore use brains before using your fingers to swipe 😁.
Save a portion of income before spending, this is our responsibility towards our future for its unfathomable.
A contradictory argument: Many might say if a man doesn’t desire higher than he wouldn’t have witnessed so much progress, he wouldn’t have worked hard. True indeed! But the problem lies in the direction of the hard work. On one hand we have great businessmen who desired higher and worked hard for not only their emancipation but provided a source of income for many and on the other hand we have scamsters who in order to make quick money are working really hard to invent new ways to cheat people and rob them of their hard earned money. And the world definitely hosts the second category in higher proportion, am I wrong? So restriction and direction both are mandatory.
It was an Elephant then , now it’s a cow. Species changed not their fate. Two different states (Kerala and Himachal Pradesh), two expecting mothers (motherhood holds the same importance for any creature) met the same fate – fed with food (few saying “ate”) laced with fire crackers.
Injured severely, bleeding profusely, loitering around in agony, the elephant succumbed to its injury where as the cow received the treatment (hopefully doing better now). And their only mistake is that they crossed the boundaries in search of food, something we consider among the basic requirements, isn’t it? The Elephant inadvertently came to the habitat of people and the Cow disrespected the neighbour’s boundary. And what did they expect, they won’t be taught a lesson? How ignorant they were.
When I read the story of a pregnant cow severely injured because of firecrackers , an agonized me thought of penning down my anger and it brought in front of me few more (yes among the countless, I read only few and couldn’t stand the abdominal atrocities inflicted) cases of cruelty towards animals. From beating mercilessly to being burnt alive, from skinned to be sold in markets to unnatural painful sex, from being mulled down under the vehicles to starved to death, from religious sacrifices to being butchered on roads in broad daylight to mock belief of a certain section; man has attained supremacy in inflicting pain on other creatures (not to mention on his own race as well, but that’s not the matter of discussion here).
That raked a very important question in my mind – what sets a man apart from other creatures of the nature? His ability to speak, express and communicate; ability to think; ability to attain and assimilate knowledge? Yes these are certain criterion that earmarks the technical difference between the specie called “Homo Sapiens” and the rest. But a resonating difference is that all the creatures of this mother Earth including flora is that none of them derives from the nature for their greed, they only strive to maintain balance of the ecosystem by fulfilling just their needs. It’s only man who is tirelessly corroding the nature by scooping out more and more out of it. If need is the mother of invention then greed is the synonym for destruction. History has proved it. But man never took his lessons seriously. And the other fascinating thing is that every other form of life is useful to the nature and human beings in one or more ways but humans have never been in this multi dimensional equation ever. Man has never been useful to other members of the environment (not taking into account behaviour after external effort of moral and spiritual streamlining of thought process). He has only taken so far. To put it bluntly exploited – for food (which is still understandable by certain perspectives, though I am a vegetarian and vehemently disagree with killing of any animal for satisfying our taste buds and not to mention the carbon footprint a non vegetarian food habit leaves but then it’s my personal opinion and shouldn’t be a reason for anyone’s anger against me 😊), for entertainment, for boastful extravagant displays, for making quick money, for seeking sadistic pleasures and for everything which is very inhuman.
Coming back to the incidents that triggered me immensely, I was reading reactions of people on social media. Many were definitely moved and saddened by the unfortunate proceedings but there were also people who were abrasive enough to defend the culprits saying that the fireworks were meant for the wild animals which could possibly damage their crops and the victims in the case particular were not fed but they themselves ate the food laced with firecrackers. Not dancing between “ate” and “fed” confusion, I have a question – even if the food was meant to shoo away the wild animals was it the right way? Would the “another” animal’s jaw pain less with those explosives blowing off in mouth? All the intelligence acquired zeroed on to such solutions? I have only one word erupting like those explosives – PATHETIC!
Though both laws and organisations are present to handle and deter such lowly acts I believe more must be invested in fine tuning (read educating) the people about a pivotal rule of the nature – Equal Right To Live ! High time that we go back to our roots of “simple living” which was in tandem with the nature. It’s time to reiterate that earth belongs to other species as well which survived the test of time and traveled so far.
With all our knowledge and comprehension if we are killing a speechless creature devoid of any such attributes, then calling ourselves human beings is questionable or outright wrong. Give it a thought!!!
**(If animals had a language and they have to swear among themselves possibly would have called themselves MAN)
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Can the knowledge of a particular language be the sign of intelligence of a person? Can the fluency in a particular language be an indication of one’s educational background and character certificate? Sounds gibberish, right?
Well not completely. This is just a reflection of how the attitude of people in Indian subcontinent has shaped up over decades now. Fanatic love for “English” is an IT thing (rather a HIT thing).
People getting mocked for not being able to converse in English at native level. People finding themselves to be in a fix, out of place, losing confidence, nurturing low self esteem and inferiority complex are direct of shoot offs of our fetish for one particular “International Language” English. We (A majority) somehow have come up with the terms that mastering this particular language is a ticket to a better treatment in masses ; a person who can speak English impeccably is a genius and if some accent is sprinkled he/she is already a star – knowledge, character, education, skill doesn’t really matter. Look at the wannabe insta stars, you will know what I mean .
Let me share few examples/ incidents that I came across or heard:
*I heard people praising someone who got expert skills in English “Kya angrezi bolta hai, wah!” (He speaks so good in English) never mind the grasp on subject matter is ZERO.
*My friend once shared with me his experience at his daughter’s school. The poor child faced the ire of the teachers because she wasn’t able to converse in a free flow manner in English and was comfortable in her mother tongue. Such a shame!
*If a person belonging to a foreign land (read West) speaks in any of our regional language though broken we go gaga over the attempt. “So Cute” is the expression that follows our excitement (not referring to Donald Trump saying Swamy Vivekanand ). But when the tables turn and someone among us try to speak the broken English we brand him “Illiterate” literally. What double standards!
*Parents insisting kids to speak in English (leave aside the schools) even at home (I strongly believe there are other circles/ places/ avenues where English can be practiced), it’s a matter of fame while on the other hand more and more parents are coming out saying “our kids can’t speak/ read/ write our mother tongue” almost without any sense of attachment. I am at loss of words!
*People refraining from talking in the language they are comfortable with just not to be jeered by peers. How sad!
Well I can go on and on with such illustrations not so great to put forward for any country / society. In short we are focussing on the mode/ language of instruction and completely ignoring the importance of effective communication or the content intended to be delivered.
Talking about our overtly attachment with this particular language, light must be thrown at helm of affairs in other parts of the world, countries which we see as synonyms for “Development, technology, power, economy” and every possible positive superlative. I live in Belgium, have been to France, Germany, Netherlands; Have heard the social speeches of public figures from Japan, China and the counties aforementioned. No one carries a chip of shame up their sleeve while talking in their respective mother tongue. On contrary they are proud. And this sense of pride is seen at every level. A public representative is not mocked by the citizens for his or her lack of grip on English. Preference is given to learning rather than belittling their own language (I have a friend who is a professional English language trainer working with bureaucrats, diplomats, parliamentarians etc. SP this is for you ❤) A complete inverse picture of what we see in the sub continent. We have this mind boggling equation, English = Knowledgable/ Educated. On the other hand mother tongue is given the utmost importance right from the beginning in all those countries mentioned above. Schools that lay foundation and aid development of a child from the grassroot level emphasise specifically on the country’s mother tongue. If you are a foreigner in these lands you got only two choices either integrate with them via their language or be ready to pay exhobirant charges for translation be it education (international schools are pretty expensive) in schools or otherwise. I myself have paid extra charges for translator service for driving test because of my incapacity to understand French fast 😁 . In a way they are promoting their language by using simple economics, period! Priority to the mother tongue is something we must learn from these countries.
Why? Language is a part of what and who we are. It’s an integral part of our history, heritage and culture. Precisely ROOTS! Can a tree stand still and upfront if it is alienated from the ground, if roots are uprooted? How meaningful it would be to have mastered a foreign language and yet not knowing the homeland? If we distance ourselves from our history there’s no way our future generations will know the past and future is definitely not bright.
I may sound as a fanatic talking over the clouds but a study is available that proves that for kids who start learning their and in their native language cognitive developments are better. Expression and communication comes easy to them. Better understanding of curriculum and positive attitude towards school are few more points to count. They feel more at home. This is just a bird’s eye view.
But unfortunately learning in native language may not be possible for everyone owing to the small social village world has become and constant migration of people from one place to another. It all comes to availability, feasibility and choice.
I want to reiterate that my argument is not against any language but the meaningless romanticism we have inbred within ourselves about a particular language belittling our own identity. I myself went to a school that had English as its medium of instruction but my teachers never made their students feel bad about their shortcomings in a language and most importantly my school had my mother tongue (Telugu) as one of the subjects and my parents wanted me to learn it. At home too we had an environment where we spoke to each other in our native language. For us English was just a language which we needed for a better exposure outside the safe cocoon of our home/ town/ country ( we were not aware or exposed to the other world languages at that time). English was (is & will be) required to excel in any competitive exam or other podiums. And we simply took it that way. Rather the entire emphasis was on developing thoughts, transformation of a person to personality, ethical behaviour, earning dignity and respect. In short the purpose of imparting education was fulfilled to the core. It was not washed down by a meaningless glorification of a foreign language because it is spoken by “Fair Skinned” (another obsession of my land sadly).
A petty request: I am not out of “Parenting Mode” since last week’s article was published 😉, excuse me for that and kindly bear with me. Parents please make sure that you encourage kids talking (the least) in native language. If you could impart the knowledge ( reading & writing) of native language nothing beats that. Remember their thoughts have to be eloquent and it’s never about which language they chose to communicate.
* Teachers: Please don’t shame any kid for their inability to converse in English. It’s just a language and can be worked upon. Debates, workshops, group activities, essay writings and lot more. Different tools and hard work can achieve everything including a grasp on the language but if the confidence gets shattered that might be something beyond repair.
* Schools / Authorities: Please focus on giving a buoyant support to the local language. Its a way to save our heritage and culture.
* Everyone: Learn as many languages as you can but remember your mother tongue is your inner feelings you share with your mother (loved/ closed ones), that comfort is the ultimate. And if Englishmen are speaking in English, it’s their own so nothing so great about that!
And here I rest my case.
*** Writing this post in English because it does have a mass reach and I am not against English but our shallow thinking process of trying to compare languages.
As a parent what is our constant wish and effort – nothing but to give the best to our children. Isn’t it? Be it the opportunities or the materialistic things at their disposal, we as parents never leave any stone unturned to provide our kids with nothing short of best even if we have to go an extra mile. That makes me ponder “Is providing of provisions enough to make us good parents?” Well in my quest I stumbled upon an example from the mythological story of Mahabharat:
Duryodhan (the eldest Kaurava), son of Dhritarashtra had everything at his disposal – loving parents, strength of 99 brothers, “Never Say No” best friend like Karna yet his greed led to his downfall and demise. Though his greed and jealousy were given flames by his ever conspiring maternal uncle Shakuni but it is an offshoot of Dhritarashtra’s failure as a good father. He always used his physical handicap as a trump card, as a camouflage to his insecurities that thrived against his own brother Pandu (father of Pandavas) and this very feeling made him to give in to every unjustified demand of his son. He thought the jewelled crown and the throne of Hastinapur rightfully belonged to his son and disruption of any sort will leave Duryodhan shattered and he never wanted that. He couldn’t see because of his physical disability but his insecurity piled up over the years decayed the truth in his heart, blinded his vision (morally) as he couldn’t see the harm his son is causing to the very roots of his own family in the disguise of snatching power, humiliating and even trying to kill his cousins (the pandavas). Had Drithraashtra intervened and took strong stand against the scrupulous ways and moral corruption of his son he could have prevented Kurukshetra war that saw innumerable deaths, wailing widows and orphans. But he always had crown and materialistic pleasures on his mind for his son because he thought that’s the only responsibility he had as a father. A perfect example of how providing materialistic world isn’t enough to be Good Parent.
This one character made me understand that there’s a difference between attachment and love. Attachment makes us to justify and act according to every unjustified demands of our kids lest our denial might upset them whereas love strive to work tirelessly for the evolution of a better human being and a great character. That’s some heavy philosophy, isn’t it?
Back to the present: With the family structures / set ups changing (disintegration of joint family systems into nuclear families), social dynamics changing so fast, the increasing distance between the parents and kids as to how they process thoughts and understand a particular situation parents have an uphill task of safeguarding their children from physical dangers, moral corrosion and emotional exploitation with an added responsibility of preparing them for life. What are we supposed to do then as a parent since parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual? What should be our parenting goals? Is preparing kids for competitions, making them do good in academics and extra curricular activities, giving them a comfortable cushion for a secured life ahead are characteristic traits of good parents? Well, I strongly believe that these are only perks. The foremost responsibility of a parent is to aid in character development of a child. If parents are successful in nurturing good human beings individually they are actually assisting in constructing a better society and pave way for a better environment for the country. To put it simple: parenting is about understanding and explaining the difference between literacy & education; price & value; right & wrong.
Face to Face with the current reality: Sadly incidents of cruelty, ghastly violence, atrocities are outnumbering gestures of kindness, love, compassion. And what is more horrific is that the young minds and souls are found on both ends – both perpetrators and receiving. For instance – in one incident that I came across on social media platform, a 15 year old autistic boy committed suicide because he was bullied so hard by his schoolmates that he found death as an easy escape. Both the culprit and the victims are kids only. In another incident in the Mumbai city of India it was found a school going students group (all aged between 13-14 years) were talking in an obnoxious manner in their group chats on WhatsApp, to be more precise they were talking about rape, one night stands, sex, making fun of homosexuality, tagging peers with tags like “gay”,”lesbian”. New (much talked about) to the list being the “Boys Lokcer Room” incident. That was horrendous. Where is our future heading? Who bores the responsibility for this? Schools as usual shrug off their shoulders and dust off responsibility. And to be honest not everything can be entrusted to someone else be it a person or an organisation (specifically in the times we are now experiencing where the teacher-student-school dynamics are not the same they used to be a decade or two back)
Parents time to think and act!! Perhaps time to reevaluate ourselves. Are we doing enough for our kids? Are we available to our kids when they need us? Are we listening to them? Are we aware of their exposures and exploitation? Are we setting good examples for them to follow? Before setting goals it is important to understand parenting isn’t JUST about Imposing rules and Supervision. It’s not just about telling kids “do this, don’t do that, sit there, don’t go there, don’t speak” and a long list of DOs and DON’Ts. Simply parenting isn’t a linear correlation formula. Also parenting isn’t about providing the comforts and luxuries (provision of basic needs is no more a parenting criteria sadly, we have surpassed that stage long ago). It’s a pretty complex web often comprising of simplest things. It’s about:
Inculcating the right values: Its the most tedious job of all. The paths of upright morals should be trend relentlessly to set a direction for them to follow the footsteps. Compassion, benevolence, trustworthiness and likes can never be taught by preaching only. You show, you sow and you reap, period!
Right kind of exposure: With the availability of world at the touch of a button or a click away our kids are highly vulnerable to the wrong influence. The different kind of applications and social media platforms have effectively targeted their audience and exploited their vulnerabilities. This situation demands parental intervention. Training of young minds with tools of moral stories (for young kids); history of great personalities who have contributed to the humanity and society, healthy conversations sharing own life experiences, constant to and fro communication with kids in the wake of understanding and addressing their fears, answering their doubts are few ways of providing the right exposure and limiting the unwanted ones. Praying together, eating together, doing household chores together too promote good communication flow. ** Take a cue from the past, remember how our grandparents used to tell us stories be it fairy tales, parables from epics, life accounts of great men and women and there’s no denial that they did leave a lasting impression on our minds** Since this generation is more at ease with technology, use the same for the right exploration. Parental guidance needed is not just passable condition
Building Strong individuals: The biggest hurdle in being a good parent is Our Fear! We are in constant fear that if we say no to our kids or if we tried to be strict with them they might get hurt, they will cry or worse being they might end up in depression. In few instances we also fear social embarrassment. “If we don’t oblige on something what would everyone think of us as parents” also impacts the way parents deal with their children That’s a big NO. By holding ourselves back from correcting them or by deflecting and acting / dancing to their tunes, whims and fancies we are not only spoiling them but creating an overtly sensitive brigade waiting to be released in the vast ocean of hostile world. And we all know life isn’t a bed of roses. Our children must be trained to accept “No”. In no way I am up for any kind of dictatorship but they must know that they can not boss us (one of my friends, a great woman who never ceases to motivate and inspire me shared this view with me. She is a mother of twins herself and doing a great job in bringing up her kids, we all call her SP fondly. If she is reading this she will know).
Disciplining and maintaining decorum: Every organisation and institution needs a set of rules to be run smoothly. So does a family. Without discipline in ways of life and thinking parenting is a penance without any fruit. It might be an algorithm of to do things during the day or a constructive manner of expressing the emotions or processing the same, discipline streamlines course of life.
What we have discussed so far are just touch and go pointers. Parenting is a humungous subject yet without any predetermined formulas or theories that fit into every individual case without modification. With every mind and soul beautifully different parenting is a thankless job which if done to the perfection will yield a healthy society to dwell in. And if handled inappropriately could prove to be fatal for numerous lives. This needs introspection..
Lockdown or no lockdown we spend a considerable amount of time on social media. Some derive useful information and enhance their knowledge while some use it purely for entertainment purpose. And I fall somewhere in between. And the penchant for entertaining ourselves has gone up a notch higher during this pandemic period because media houses are anyways busy scaring us with numbers and what not. Let’s not talk about that. So as I was pacing up and down my Facebook page I stumbled upon a quiz shared by one of my friend on her page. It was about testing the English vocabulary of a person. And my friend captioned it to be boring. I can understand her saying so as she is a pro at the language. There might be nothing surprising for her in that quiz. So I thought why not check myself and where do I stand in…
“Pink Slip”that left many employees pale. A heart felt / heartbreaking saga of every employee who gets / got laid off in the wake of of disastrous economic turmoil making employers think only about “costs incurred”and ways to “Cut”them off:
“Spend time with us” parents urged and I said “Not now, please understand”.
“We need a change” wife requested and I said “Not now, please understand”.
“Play with us” kids pleaded and I said “Not now, please understand”.
“Let’s relive moments together” friends demanded and I said “Not now, please understand”.
“When would you live” questioned the mirror and I said “Not now, please understand”.
“When would you pause and relax” begged my body and I said “Not now, please understand”.
When appraisals and appreciation eluded time and again I said to myself “May not be now, please understand”.
I rallied against time only to be in time in the chase of never ending deadlines, explaining to myself “This is how it is, please understand”.
When you ceased to care for me in your merry moments I still stuck around as a loyal hoping that you would understand.
But when depression engulfed in the times of distress you chose to severe and chuck me out and asked me to “Please Understand”.
For you it was always a relationship of profits and dividends but for me it was a cushion to my dreams which you would never understand.
Now I am left with questions to answer, hunger to satiate, battles to be fought, life to be rebuilt which you would never care to understand.
Still I would give you a benefit of doubt as I understand the mechanism of markets but how far will this log of rules go to dictate human relationships and humanity, can anyone make me understand?
Has the world been reduced to just a slump of Demand and Supply theories? A balance sheet of losses and gains? Just plain black and white and nothing in between? Why is this Pink scaring me today? Can anyone please make me understand?