Sunday, March 5, 2017

The royal house of Windsors is evolving: Why I love The Duchess!

About two decades ago, bringing up the prevailing Duchess' name among her subjects, would have invoked anger and disdain. All thanks to the suffering it had brought on to her lover's lady, the great humanitarian and ever so beautiful, Princess Di. I cannot help but accept that I too hated Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles; after all, the blasphemous affair was sold to a young girl as an example of impropriety.

Long after Di's death, the palace announced that Prince Charles and Camilla were to wed each other, stirring mixed reactions from people worldwide. Until that day, I had blamed Prince Charles for all the suffering Princess Di endured. As time passed, I grew up in the real sense and realized that until now, I was asking all the wrong questions. The right questions looked somewhat like this:

1) If a prince is allowed to lose his virginity before getting married, why was the would-be princess' virginity so important?

2) If a prince were allowed to divorce and remarry, why isn't he allowed to marry a divorcee?

3) It really wasn't Charles' mistake if his role and the church did not allow him to marry the woman he loved. Isn't love supposed to know no boundaries, be indifferent about looks, or not be calculative? At least that's what we're taught!

4) Wasn't the Charles-Di marriage, a forced one? Try loving your next door neighbor; you will understand how difficult it is to fall in love with someone you have nothing in common with; except for probably your postal address.

5) Why did Camilla receive so much flak? Doesn't it take two people to have an affair or was she the only devil that caused it?

6) Di's plight is understandable but wasn't Charles suffocated in the marriage as well, if not more?

When I asked people these seemingly right questions, I was given the cold turkey. While some people had an unexplained sympathetic sense of righteousness because of what happened to Princess Di, (as though, I was disrupting her peace in heaven), the rest didn't have answers to my questions. I adored Princess Diana for who she was but I think that the monarchy had to change a lot more than her prince charming. How can someone support or fight for gender equality in today's times when a woman's eligibility to marry a prince depends on a hymen and lack of a history of a social contract to companionship?

The press went on to vilify Charles, whose angry comments were picked up by the mic, during a vacation with his sons. Who on earth feels great and tolerates when someone digs out their trash and makes them look a devil with no empathy for their suffering?

I for one was very happy that the Queen let Charles and Camilla marry, relieving the Duchess of the public jokes and the mockery her commitment and love for Charles had become.  Frankly speaking, not many would even endure the kind of targeting and shaming that was meted out to her. She is Iron-willed and has every ounce of my respect for being true to who she is. 

Here's to "The Camilla Parker Bowles - Duchess of Cornwall" the woman with a seemingly impossible grit and possible love!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The status of Minority religions in India....

This blog post comes from my experiences of being associated with or being born to a set of parents who differed in religions. Over the next few posts I will talk about how each minority or majority religion is responsible for spreading hate throughout India.

Although I do not believe that most of this hate spreads because of the middle class or the masses, but poverty, illiteracy and divisional politics has been the root of this conflict that plagues India even till date and that too post 67 odd years post independence. 

India, a democracy that was proposed by the founding freedom fighters back in 1947 got its independence with a euphoric high. The whole country was celebrating the fruits of its struggle against the British Raj for freedom. While the whole country struggled towards being free India's leaders and her people were clueless on the list of problems that would continue to trouble her for the next 60 years. Technically speaking she was free but free from what? She continued to be under leaders that could never address her poverty, her illiteracy, blasting population, religious and caste systems and taboos. 

A country that was a landmine of resources found herself unstable enough to carry on with her state of affairs once the dominating Britain gave her her rights back. Although the constitution was formed with a lot of forethought, enforcing the same over her people was the biggest challenge that persists. She is diverse and consists of multiple religions, all accepted as a part of her identity but surely does not address the lack of unity and harmony among her people even in this day and age.

Going back to my own past, my father's family served as the goldsmiths to the Nizam of Hyderabad, whose matriarch converted to Christianity in the midst of an era where the state was experiencing communal disharmony. The city of Nizam experienced turbulence over the new found state of Pakistan and divisional politics that played over it post India's independence. It took me five months of being here to understand what went wrong in this city. With my great grandfather no more and the Nizam not in power, my great grandmother was left with children to raise and no money to feed them.

She turned to the convent and converted to a christian protestant. At a time when we talk of one religion trying to convert people of another religion, the core issue remains ignored! The core issue that plagued the country then and till date is poverty, hunger and lack of shelter, illiteracy and unemployment. The country found herself trying to own its lost people, whatever they leaned to. And from there began this socio-religious differentiation in a country that was already drowning with issues like caste, untouchability, lack of respect and equality in status and rights for women and superstitions that ensured that she will progress slower than what the founding fathers had dreamed for her. 

And in that state of confusion some policy changes affected the country's state and they do so even more today. The founding members were now battling an inner flux than an external government. The country frequently marred by countless wars in the pre-independence era with a growing number of minorities and religions now found itself in a state of conflict - It had no common values to adhere to, no unifying purpose to drive it and not a single leader who could bring her people to fight a unified battle for her progress. Independence was hers but her people wanted what it could get her out of that independence. 

But when you do not know what to do with independence, you have what you have in today's India! Still warring, bitter, poor, trying to find a place in the modern world and still fighting to get its basic needs met. An over populated nation where the needs for shelter and hands to feed exceeds than what it can accommodate. A problem that has been ignored so long that it seems now impossible to resolve. 

To be continued.....

Friday, May 29, 2015

Prostitutes need love!

Life is so unpredictable at times and at times exciting as hell. I was chatting with random strangers on a chat engine called Omegle yesterday. That's how lonely our overcrowded planet has got, that people now try to connect over the internet and trust random strangers with their problems than sharing their feelings with their near and dear ones, lest they be hurt, mocked or judged!

I have chatted with people who do drugs, people who work as strip dancers and then yesterday I had the chance to chat up with a prostitute. Her life appears to be pathetically sad, but to me it appeared as though she was a happily caged prisoner of her life. I did not do much to upset that.

After counselling a crazy amount of people on relationships, abuse and the likes, I asked her if she feels the need for love cos in her case, sex is in return for monetary gains and barred from the usual mating games and the romance a normal date would entail. Her answer surprised me, she said sometimes she was attracted to the men that came to her. Sometimes these men who came to here were screwed up as hell themselves and came to her hoping for a release.

Having a dialogue with the clients was entirely her choice, something that she got used to and probably likes it that they don't talk much. When asked if she was in love ever, she replied that she had this one customer who would come to her daily and had become a loyal lover of sorts. It was a bit weird to me, having known that men are possessive in love, so I asked her if he did not have any issue with her choice of profession? She answered it in a rhetoric manner that love is blind and when it happens, you don't think all this, and your lover gets your undivided affection regardless of how wrong or right they are.

I probed a bit further and asked her if the guy was still around? I got to know that he was a cancer patient and passed away last year, and ever since she felt heartbroken. I asked her, if she was willing to fall in love again. She was silent. And I let that silence persist.

I thought to myself, how funny life is really, we fall in love without calculating; and possessing that object of our love is triggered by our insecurity of loosing it and so we do everything to secure it. We secure it with a marriage, announcement of being together or a publicly declared engagement. When we fall out of love, after we kill it with all the necessities of an idealistic relationship, we start cancelling the certificates and hope that the next person to come will come fix it all. When we fall in it we don't quite give a damn about anything and when we seal it for security the social template starts bothering us.

I don't believe in the institution of marriage anymore, frankly speaking, because it takes two people who are truly in love to stay married, not those who are faking care and concern because that is what the society demands. From where I see it, I think its just another societal template, that shames true freedom and supports cowardice and tolerance of lies because of the attributable shame!

Until then! This free minded Bodhisattva hopes you are happy!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Its all in the glass!

Ever heard of the proverbial statement that the glass is always half full (or for the manic depressives, half empty?). I intend to explain the transition I made from half empty to half full in my ever so tragic life that I thought I had inherited.

To begin with, I have had a tough childhood and an equally punitive set of people for friends, family and husband/boyfriend. To the world they might appear OK, but dealing with them was a real pain in my "ASS" and I vouch for that. Anyway the part of the world where I stay, the lunes always seem to get the right support and convince people that you are the one instead!

Nevertheless, off late with my Buddhist practice, I discovered the furry kitten ball side to me that went missing for a very long time! So the need to prove the proverbial idiot wrong went right out of the window, because you see there are 7 billion people on this planet. Not everyone thinks the same of me and to my surprise, if I disconnect myself from the people I am surrounded with, the so called family, I discovered the universe was a brighter and shinier place!

So here are 7 steps that you can follow to transition from Dummy to Sunny side up:

1) Do not place too much importance on people's opinions. I know this is the hardest part, and rightfully so because as humans we would want dignity and respect for who we are. And not just that but also be understood by the people we are close to. But opinions keep changing, if you wanna see how then go figure how our view of a perfectly capable president changes after a five year term! Or better still how you buy things that you thought you never would! I for one am buying stupid things like Vitamin C serum! I could pop the pill fair and square but hell no, I am slathering that on my face because the beauty industry tells me, contrary to what I read in my biology class that my skin needs vitamins! Wallah!! That is a change in a 5 year period ;)

2) Know who is telling you a lie! Whether its a lie about you or you are being lied to, it doesn't matter, but when something seems off by a big scale, know that its time to not trust and disconnect. I would often get upset when people lied about people and used them as pawns to mock them or better still get sadistic pleasures by hurting them. But you know what, look at the funny and sad part, that is the only way they know to come up in life or do anything in the name of doing! Pity them and move on! The best way to look at it is from a movie reel point of view, look at them as these characters who are beyond repair and in their own funny ways are "Assholes of the nth order!"

3) Know whom to listen to! Don't ever listen to people who give advises, nor listen to people that cannot understand where you are coming from. Because there is a side effect to their advise, if all goes well they don't mind taking the credit for it but should it go bad then you my dear are screwed. They will duck and hope that you don't ever have the luck to point it out to them! So the best thing is make your own choices, eventually one way or the other, what I laid out above will happen should it go well or bad. And its better that you make your own mistakes and call it experience than fail at someone else's advise and call it a grudge!!

4) Never live by people's standards. You see, someone wants money, someone wants free booze, while someone wants women. Don't be an idiot and copy that someone, have your own standards for yourself. Its not even worth living the life you have by other people's standards that are limited! My parents had a poverty mindset. No matter how better off they get they still think poor, and I have had the privilege of putting up with people who have an assumed status of being rich, while earning a shitty salary that would get beaten by a fresher in some countries. Point is, these people do not live in the reality.. It is an assumed status and a shitty one at that. Now if you were to associate with such people, I gotta tell you one thing and one thing only, when you die and are being buried, burnt or cremated - you will either carry regret or not carry your money! Why do that to yourself really?

5) When shit happens, look at the brighter side of it: Learning this took me a long time, nevertheless I learnt it. It doesn't matter what shit befalls you, try to thank it and think through it as to what you need to do to carry on with your life! If you watch surveys you will understand that 95% of the households in this world are dysfunctional! So when someone is busy faking shit don't think your life sucks. Its just that you don't know what their shit is precisely, but you know yours! And so understand that although your conditions look gory, there is a way out of it always!

6) Do what makes you happy, only then can you make others around you happy: This one again took me a long time to follow! You are sometimes slapped with so many expectations and templates to fit into that eventually you realize you have hit rock bottom in your life trying to please others. A better thing to do is to do what keeps you happy without listening to what others say or expect from you. It might be hard to explain but it is my experience that when I am happy from the inside, I am actually attracting happier people. At least they walk up to me and ask how am I able to be so chirpy and happy. My answer to that is that I am happy because I do what keeps me happy. Sometimes people don't even know what makes them happy so why not focus on that first before you go all out to fit that fucking social template really?

7) Nothing is definitive of your life, its all transient: My friend was rather poor in studies, was from a lower income family. Imagine if he had resigned to that and lived up to it! Instead this clever little cleaver went hunting for some odd job, mastered pottery and now sells pottery online to people across the world. Boo you all because now he has a house in New Zealand, plays with sand and paints it whatever he likes and people buy that for a great sum! So where am I? The so called top five people in my class? Writing about him! Whenever you are down and out, realize that this is not the fate that you are resigned to live forever. I have met so many poor people, they take things one day at a time. I have also met some rich people who are worried about how one bad day means the end of their lives! Change your reactions to your surroundings and I assure you you will tide through it just fine.

It is the glass that is either half full or empty. The glass that holds that water! Think about it, its not about the water but the glass :)

Until then this happy Buddhist bids you a happy goodbye!
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Let's use logic with God!

I was reflecting on a lot of funny things that I have stupidly and quite ignorantly followed all my life and I would like to put forward some of the learning and views for all the readers over here:

First and foremost I would like to talk to you about the famous power spots for worshiping god  and the stuff that goes on in there in the name of god! Point number one, although the presence or blessings of some god might be all so powerful over such places, that doesn't mean that one should be treated special because of the economic status that one holds! VIP VVIP darshans that mostly baffles me, its like we also love to convey to people that yeah you got money you get to god faster? Which is nothing but a self defeating message really! And because it is so antithesis to what god is, I feel the temple authorities ought to use their brains and scrap off this rule asap!!

Secondly, I have seen people taking pledges and making offerings to god, which is fine by all means. Let us say if you happen to be Vijay Mallya who is drowned in debts, and who like a devout bhakt donated a gold door. My question is, a god that is a symbol of wealth, and who gave you wealth, how can you possibly buy out his blessings by conning so many people, not paying your employees' salaries and then sit on debts and donate this great door? Beats logic as to how he could have either paid his employees' salaries or better still help poor brahmins if at all he means to earn good karma. The normal logistic of this danam is that it will stay put in the temple with a god who cannot be bought out by wealth, simply because he is the creator of wealth! I am still trying to beat that and mind you I have done similar things albeit on a minuscule level.

Thirdly, when you go to all these great pilgrimages and come back as the same person, what is the use of going there in the first place? Eventually, you will create similar karma that landed you in trouble in the first place! I have seen this with so many people! If at all you go to all these blessed places, it is better to do some self realization of the atman, ask yourself what can I do to create good karma so that the next time I come here, I come here to thank this deity and not go there with a fresh set of problems! Without reflection, and realization neither can one accumulate good fortune nor can one even experience the so called heaven, regardless of what and how much one prays!

So let's talk of purity, and pardon me because this is going to invite taunts and attacks and rants from the so called devout followers. I was one of them, so I put forth this one simple question to people reading this post: Did Krishna desert Draupadi when she called out is name for help while she was in distress, menstruating and being stripped?

Did Krishna not eat the butter that was offered to him by a shudra lady and share the butter with her son?

Who are we to put the burden of sins for not following rituals on ordinary mortals, when the ever forgiving god himself helps those who are not pure in body but their souls, and absolves them of their sins?

I believe in no god to be honest, because the god that people sell and the god that really exists are two different entities! You don't need to sit in Himalayas, do countless japas or do tapas to realize god! You don't have to go to god to bribe away your difficulties, seek god for who he is, beyond your mind's cognizance and beyond your petty problems. Yes, I don't believe in God, I don't believe in the god that is sold to me, I believe in the god that makes sense to me with my limited understanding!

I don't do countless poojas, useless rituals and stupid consultations with astrologers anymore. I leave it to the divine to let things happen to me than a mortal predict my destiny, I thank the divine everyday for keeping me alive in the morning and giving me shelter at night to rest well, I ask the divine to give me the strength to deal with the problems my life hands me over and not crib over them. The divinity that I connect to doesn't care if I am rich, poor, dirty, clean, chaste or for that matter even wrong. So you see, I don't believe in god, just not your's I suppose.

Until then, I hope wisdom and knowledge prevails in this human race!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Benefits of chanting Shreem Brzee

Often times we are in a financial fix and sometimes to a point where we cannot even feed ourselves. I have seen those days with well to do parents and people that could have helped me. It is then that a friend of mine who had similar issues suggested that I start chanting Shreem Brzee. By then I had lost faith in gods, mantras and everything humane! So I contested, until one day when I had been diagnosed with both fissure and ulcers and nobody to help me pay my bills and the situation was daunting to take a toll on me!

After much persuasion I chanted the mantra heartlessly, along with my Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and what I did see was a change.. A sea change in terms of the help that I got. Obviously I dint make more money, but my needs for food and shelter were being met. Either people would drop me places or pick me up because I had a slip disc and could not travel on a rickety bus standing. And the ulcer and fissure made it worse!

All I can say is that this mantra might not make you millionaire rich but at times, our karma is such that we cannot even afford food, and that is where chanting this mantra helped me. I always had loose change to pay that bill or this emergency, even though my jobs dint even pay me enough to break even with my expenses. All said and done, even my fissure medicine was funded by a friend indirectly cos he had some discount coupons from the medical store where I had to purchase them from! Wallah!

So next time when you feel financially down and out chant Shreem Brzee and hope that the goddess of wealth, Laxmi showers her blessings on you!

Here is how to do it:

Sit comfortably or you can do this as and when you want, but the best time to pray to laxmi is evenings.

Chant shreem brzee 108 times, well you can chant more, but in multiples of 108 or a mala that has 108 beads.

When you are chanting, you need to have an intent of praying for the prosperity of yourself and the collective universe.

The last part is the hardest, agreeably so because we separate ourselves from the rest of the world, however the point is that studies have shown that the universe is pretty much inter related and connected like a net, everything affects everything. So as much as this sounds weird chant with an intent for the prosperity of this universe and then yourself as a collective part of it. It surely does work.

Until then, see you next time and keep chanting ;) 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dinanko!

I have been learning how to sing a poem that depicts a dialogue between a father and son in a war ravaged Japan, and will be singing the same on 3rd May 2015! Yes, you heard that right! A Japanese song! When I was asked to participate in the group I found all kinda reasons to dodge it initially but joined the group, albeit very hesitatingly. But that's not the point that I wish to make in my post today.



After reading the translated lyrics in English, I could not only understand my faith at deeper levels but also appreciate what mind alone can do when its applied for the good of the humankind. Let me explain this in detail, so the first day I yawned and sang along, the second day I literally got pissed off and thought what on earth am I doing and by fourth day I was pissed off that it's Japanese for god's sake! And I don't even know what the heck am I babbling away! Like all things blunders that I have committed, I finally went back to the mail, with which, were attached PDFs for the lyrics in English. I casually downloaded it and what I read was so profound that the next time I sang the song I did so with a lot more heart! I realized that I was singing something that was really profound and for you to understand profound it is, you need to read the translation!

Well here you go:

In the hometown of Sakurai, the evening extends and green leaves that are growing thicker
Stopping the horse below the tree, thinking of the future of this world, is it the tears that fall
on the sleeve of the armor? Or is it the dew of the rain?

Masashige choked back with tears and summoned his child Masatsura,
Hereafter, I will go to Hyogo. I am likely to die in the fight on the beaches of Hyogo!
Though I have brought you along with me to Sakurai, rush back to your hometown.

No matter how my respected father asks me to abandon him and leave him alone,
How shall I be able to return to my hometown? Its impossible for me to return back!
This Masatsura is still young and along his father, support him. Till my death I will continue this journey!

I am sending you back from here and its not for my own purpose!
After I die fighting this battle, this country will be as Ashikaga Takauji had envisioned.
You must grow up fast and serve your emperor (Emperor Godnigo!) for your country!

You must take over this sword, before I die. Let me present it to you when I am still alive.
Go Masatsura, you old mother is waiting!

Let's see each other off, as we reluctantly part at this time.
Moreover, the little cuckoo's cry is heard from the sky, from the rainfall of the early summer.
Is anyone hearing this feeling sorry about it? Crying with pity hearing about the blood and the cries?

Well.. that's what wars do! And what an apt day to sing about the miseries brought on by war on a day where we mean peace? And maybe this shook me off from my usual pitiful daily life, where I would take so many things for granted!

Its said that war creates more destruction than a battlefield. I believe that war just creates memories that are never forgotten and people that could never be healed! And after all the wars that have followed in history or in today's times, the end result is the defeat of Humanity, Kindness and Progress!

I take your leave to ponder more about this useless creation of mankind, which arose from a need to satisfy his territorial and primal ego. Until then, may all you Bodhisattvas spread the message of Kosen Rufu! Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo