Romanticism and Rains

The rain makes you dance and sing,

Hope and smile, for no tangible reason.

How then, is it any different from love.

There’s something romantic about the rain. It’s pitter patter somehow seems to have the effect of accelerating one’s heart beat. A loner is bound to seek at least companionship, if not love. A social group of which I am a member and where they post Urdu poetry, had something like this in one of the posts:

🌹🌹

बारिश हुई तो तेरे खुशबू के काफीले …

ऐसे उरें 🌹🌹

के शहर गुलाबों से भर गया …!!

🌹🌹🌹

This can be loosely translated as rain seems to have sprung roses all over, making the world happy and beautiful. And mind you, Rose has a close association with romanticism. True, we eagerly wait for rains to come to relieve us from searing heat, replenish our water reservoirs and fill our granaries. However, over the last couple of days, rains have wreaked havoc on Mumbai city. While water logging on roads, railway tracks and airstrip has made commuting painful and there have been instances of deaths due to electrocution, trees falling on humans and other such minor accidents, the last night collapse of a compound wall on a hutment of labours has taken heavy toll by crushing tens of people underneath ! Similar tragedies have been reported from Pune and Kalyan also. And increasingly with global warming, rains are going to be shorter but more fierce and such tragedies may continue to happen in future also.

I think the gentle rain accompanied by mild, pleasantly cool breeze, falling on leaves and creating music was probably the cause of linkage between rain and romanticism. The scenario as explained in the preceding paragraph is more a matter of survival than the rosy romanticism. Therefore, a connoisseur of Urdu myself, I posted the following on the same group site:

آوام کے لئے آفت ہو جائے

بارشوں کا انتظار اسلئے تو نہی کرتے

ارے برکھا پیاس بُجھا پانی پلا

پد لوگوں پر لہر نا برپے

The above is loosely translated as we don’t wait for rains to cause catastrophe but for water; oh rain you quench our thirst but don’t wreak havoc!

Hope the country gets plentiful rain that brings prosperity for everyone, but tragedy for none.

Don’t jump the gun

Somebody shared a very interesting video on social media. In this video, a middle aged man who seem to be married for a good number of say 25-30 years is posed a simple question by one interviewer, ” you have two options. Option A is that you have to stay with your wife for rest of your life. Option B is…..”. The middle aged Person does not allow the interviewer to finish the question and explain option B, but jumps the gun by shouting, “option B; I choose option B.” The catchline is mentioned below this video post that says, “In his anxiety, he blindly opted for Option “B” without knowing what it is. What if Option “B” is – “Your Wife has decided to Stay with you”.”

There was another anecdote (not the right word for it was a joke, but once again depicted the excitement in the mind of protagonist at something too good) that read, ” A simpleton comes across a lamp, which he rubs and there appears a genie asking him to make 3 wishes. The man asks for a bottle of liquor that should always remain filled with liquor. Immediately, a bottle filled with choicest liquor appears in front of the simpleton. He drinks to his heart content and as the bottle is about to get empty, much to his delight, the bottle is filled up to the brim once again. The guy gets so overwhelmed that when pressed by the Genie to ask for second and third wishes simply says, ” please let me have two more such bottles”.

Two humorous instances hide in them very deep learning. In our high moment, we start soaring and our mind stops thinking rationally. It’s so overwhelmed by the option proposed that other options in store seem needless. In the first case, the guy goes for option B without realising that it is same as option A or in fact, a tad worse. Ditto the second case, where the guy just jumps the gun by having 3 bottles, when only 1 would have satiated his life long requirement for choicest liquor.

Let’s hear and analyse all the options and think rationally rather than behaving irrationally at the very thought of a great option that may have several strings attached to it!

Pluralities

We have all heard about law of averages. Even the best of the teams cannot keep on winning all their games. When a team wins a few games on the trot, we generally start predicting their defeat in one of the next fixtures saying that law of averages will ensure that the team loses now. And this is true for almost everything concerning us and our lives! For example. a person like me usually gets two bouts of cold and flu in a year; if the second bout does not come for 6 months, the speculation starts and I start worrying about the next bout.

However, the problem arises when we expect consistency in the life that’s full of pluralities. We want each of our days to be filled with happiness. We want good jobs, regular promotions and increments, obedient children who are toppers in their schools and colleges, all respect and honour, loving and faithful spouse and all means of comforts.

When we do not get what’s expected by us, we ask, “why me?” We are never prepared to accept failures in our lives. While we hear stories of people getting affected by cancer day in day out, recently when we got a family member afflicted by this life threatening ailment, we asked, “why us?”. There’s another connotation of this “why me” conundrum – why not me? When our contemporaries or neighbours outshine us by making more money than us or creating bigger assets, we lament – why not me?

There’s beautiful thought that I received a couple of days ago in one of the groups in social media:

The world where we live is a world of pluralities.There will be happiness; there will be unhappiness.There will be good; there will be evil. All our suffering is because we expect consistency in the world of pluralities. We should not search peace outside in the world of pluralities; We need to search inside of us.

Monsoon magic

Just read beautiful 4 lines celebrating arrival of much awaited monsoon in Mumbai. When the primary source of potable water for the city, its lakes run dry and water tankers run amok, absence of rain is scary. However, God has bestowed his kindness and overcast sky doesn’t look gloomy but beautiful like a rainbow. Inspired by the aforesaid 4 lines, I just composed a few more lines, celebrating the onset of monsoon. The poem reads:

Land is parched without a drop to drink,

Heat is searing and sun unforgiving,

I look at the sky with hope and expectation,

For abundant water that’s the essence of living!

It’s been unprecedented the drought that is,

Farmers committing suicide every day;

Ladies traveling miles to fetch a bucket ;

Life full of misery with no bright ray.

Trains carrying water from big cities,

And water obtained by drilling deep into the earth;

Which is also vanishing fast and soon,

And creating this life saviour’s perpetual dearth!

Yet people are not learning,

Breeding uncontrollably and wasting water left and right;

Exploiting the nature to its fullest;

Till humanity itself disappears out of sight!

But nature is bountiful and God is kind,

For Monsoons have arrived albeit bit delayed ;

And pitter patter of the rain lashing our windows,

Is nothing but music to our ears and happiness relayed !!!

What can I do?

What can I do to make you love me

What can I do to make you care

What can I say to make you feel this

What can I do to get you there

English as a language has the capability of expressing several nuances of a word, phrase or a sentence. We often talk about half glass full or half glass empty, representative of an optimistic or a pessimistic outlook respectively while using the said phrase. And there are several such instances that add to the richness of English.

“What can I do?” is a simple sentence and most of us have used it often in our day to day dealings to express helplessness or despondency. While at times it possibly is the correct representative of one’s state or position (if there is a state of severe drought I cannot produce water to overcome such a state), it at times could also be reflective of shirking one’s responsibility.

On the other hand the expression, “What can I do?” also has positivity woven around it. It’s the same good feeling we get when an Air Hostess attending to our bell call comes running and politely asks us, “What can I do?”. And there are scores of examples of ordinary folks going beyond the call for their normal duties and asking, “What can I do?”. We all know about school students and ordinary citizens collaborating to clean Versova beach or a village in Maharashtra responding to “Swachch Bharat” call and making their village the cleanest in the entire state and I can go on and on quoting such real life instances. Even for the above drought example, though I am not capable of producing water through chemical synthesis, I can definitely contribute in reducing the gravity through more prudent use of and by conserving water!

Let’s not use the expression “What can I do?” to shirk our responsibilities or convey our helplessness but try and empower ourselves by asking “What can I do?” for the betterment of our society and country.

Good begets good

Pakistan cricket team has been facing rough weather ever since its rather embarrassing loss to India in a World Cup tie. The matter has reached such a flash point that it has become very personal. First it was war of words between Sania Mirza and Pakistani star Veena Malik on Twitter on the match eve celebration that Sania joined with Shoaib and his team mates. This late night party has been treated by the fans as a cause of the team’s laziness on the field against supremely fit Indian outfit. And yesterday trolling by a Pakistani at London’s mall where skipper Sarfaraz was shopping with his baby son in his lap, seemed to have crossed all barriers of decency. The guy called Sarfaraz names though Sarfaraz exhibited restraint and grace in ignoring this ignominious gesture.

This united the cricket fraternity and all right minded people, who, overcoming bitter rivalry and national boundaries, expressed solidarity with Sarfaraz and panned his troller for a very inconsiderate act. Sarfaraz has been lately leading an inexperienced and at times disjointed Pakistani team with great maturity and the team has slowly started its journey on the path of brilliance that Pakistani teams of the yore were known for. Pakistan has recorded some significant victories under his leadership and notwithstanding rather below par performance in the current World Cup, the future of the team seems bright.

The aforesaid incident also shook me and I also felt bad and twitted in support of Sarfaraz. I especially felt awful as Sarfaraz was trying to mind his very adorable young guy who seemed to be feeling cranky. And this guy comes from nowhere to use derogatory language against a National icon. While World Cup is an important event and India an important rival to conquer, no one should stoop so low to react on the outcome and that too of a game. This tweet of mine has received lots of love and support, including from twitter accounts from across the border. While hawks on either side of the border indulge in mongering that invites hawkish reactions, message of peace, appreciation and love invites messages filled with peace and love. There goes an old saying “Good begets good” and while we may have serious ideological differences with Pakistan, at some level everything should not be made personal.

Women have you heard about Yentl Syndrome?

Medical fraternity adopted the word “Yentl Syndrome” from Barbara Streisand’s 1983 movie “Yentl”, in which she pretended to be a male to receive higher education. “Yentl Syndrome,” describes the phenomenon whereby women are misdiagnosed and poorly treated unless their symptoms or diseases conform to that of men. Sometimes, Yentl syndrome can prove fatal.

I was horrified and appalled to read the article dealing in Yentl Syndrome. While we are all aware about the male bias or male domination (the words Chairman, President, Minister etc all have masculine connotation), this fact has certainly hit me hard. We all know about differences between male and female constitutions. We know that their bodily organs, muscle strength, hormonal constitution are vastly different. The physiological phenomena such as mensuration, lactation etc are unique to females. While we are all aware of certain ailments being exclusive to a sex (men getting prostrate and females getting uterus or ovarian or breast cancer), what we don’t really know is that most of the medical research and study for cardiac, neural, renal, liver related ailments is around male body and that their strains in female could be absolutely different and several times more lethal. The article says that young females are more prone to silent heart attacks than young men and there are several such ailments that hit females harder than men and may require different therapeutic protocol for females. It’s scary to learn that cures based on research done on male bodies is routinely extended to female patients without adequate circumstantial evidence on the effectiveness of such cures!

Yentl Syndrome is a wake up call for the medical fraternity to study more on female body constitution.