Saturday, August 16, 2008

Live to Die? No, Live Forever!

Above were the words on a pamphlet handed to me a few days ago as I was walking on Commercial Street.
Science has advanced in so many directions, even to exploring space - but the subject of DEATH remains largely unexplored. Few are the doctors, scientists and philosophers who have studied the subject of Death - of the phenomenon of Death itself and of what happens after Death. Scientists are ever expounding to the world truths about the human body and its brief existence on this planet, about the atoms, and about natural cataclysms - but little is taught about this terrible end called Death that comes to every man.
Religious fundamentalists have long stopped considering science as something they can condemn, or even make people condemn. Some time during the battle between religion and science, science won, not in the sense that the battle succeeded in getting many to abandon blind faith, but that religious people now began to accept science (while not letting go of religion) and people who favored scientific and rational thought in the first place, have long abandoned religious ideas.

The stance changed from 'There is no science' to 'There is science in religion too'.
So now how could we still incorporate something scientific into our teachings, and yet make it sound like we're the ones to follow?
And then the answer, that comes, I presume, after extensive research, is Death.
.. One person alone has unlocked the mysteries of Death and revealed to mankind the "New and Living way" to life and immortality..
Since you can guess the rest, I won't quote it.
But it was distasteful. The common man is afraid of death. To play on a person's fears to convert them to a particular religion is distasteful. It is just not right. Our country grants you the right to follow whatever religious practices you might want to. But to mislead and market a religion taking advantage of the vulnerable man's fear of death is wrong.

I disapprove of trying to convert people to another religion in a way that one would want to take over the world. If you want to co-exist with science, you can also co-exist with other religions.

It reminds me of childhood days where all of us had come up with explanations of why we all prayed to different Gods. There is only one God we believed, we all just have different versions of him. No one wondered why the one God wanted to go through the trouble of being available in different versions to different people on the earth and yet didn't want to actually show himself. A lot of things didn't add up, but we were peace-loving, unquestioning good kids who didn't try to one up each others deities. We had a lot of respect for one another.

Wonder what happened to that kind of thinking.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Silly Etiquette Dilemmas

Its a known fact that there are a lot of Indians, especially those from a non-urban background, are not very well versed with table manners. By table manners I don't mean using the appropriate utensils - even most 'urbans' don't know so much about which fork gets used for what !

I mean the more sinful ones - burping, talking with mouth open, noisy chewing.

My only question is now : what does one do when one chances to eat beside such a person?
Is there a way of letting them know that they're being improper, or is sitting through the ordeal the only way to go?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

We'll be frands foraver

It is friendship day, yet another slotted day given to us to celebrate that which doesn't need a day to be celebrated. Having said that, I'm still in favour of setting aside a day to celebrate things like love, friendship, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - those which we would never end up celebrating as much if we didn't have a special day dedicated.

So I fondly reminisce the days when we wore uniforms and met each other with typical school-girl fervour to glorify our own interpretations of friendship. The day had an extra dash of colour, possibly symbolic of what (we thought) the friendships brought into our life.

I recall the more talented and the more dedicated of us persevering for days before, making pretty little hand accessories, more famously known as the Friendship Bands. The rest of us either attempted shoddier versions or settled for the store-bought versions of our loyalty to friends. They served as more than just testimony of our long-standing friendship. For some of us, it was an opportunity to befriend another. (Possibly someone of the opposite sex that you've been eying for some time.) And for some it was a fine time to make amends with a person you've been warring with since last year.

If we didn't have a shortage of bands we'd give them to almost anyone whom we'd usually have as much as a casual conversation with. The real friends were yet to be filtered out by then. You have to have some troubled and testing times to identify the diamonds, don't you? And so it was. It took years to see the real ones shining through. And not surprisingly, they were the ones I'd known the longest. We grew in a similar environment, and that probably fashioned our compatibility the way 'compatible' must be. As we grew, I came across a few more gems, but they weren't as easy to come by anymore. I feel it had less to do with the world outside, than it had with the time we now allow another person to size up as a friend.

At the risk of sounding old and unable to keep up with the times, I say that friendship isn't what is used to be. And then to show that I can keep up with the times, I say friendship is still around, its just different. There are some people you can count on, but it no longer needs a band - thank the stars for that. For an adult, it is an implicit understanding. An unspoken dictum. If you're still around after all that, you're in. And oh, I hope you can laugh.

I did not want to end this with corny notes, and so I will end it with one that sounds ridiculous yet rings vaguely true: (source unknown)
Friends are like Bacon bits in the Salad Bowl of life.