Saturday, June 28, 2014

Modern Day Chivalry



Chivalry can be defined as gallant, gentlemanly behaviour. Now I am not interested in sparking off any feminists or stepping on anyone’s toes, but does it not feel like ‘chivalry’ is dying?

Some may even say that chivalry is already dead. This may not concern many, because the times have moved in such ways that the need to be chivalrous does not arise as often as one might imagine. Just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend and she did not see the chivalry in offering a seat to a lady. She felt that women are also capable of offering their seats to men. Would it not look rather laughable though? Have women considered offering their seats to men? I mean, it seems rather alien concept to me, but I suppose there is some merit in the idea. It is possible, I often offer my seat to the elderly, injured or a pregnant lady, but I have not yet offered my seat to a youth. Dare I offer my seat? Would they accept?

I would not say that I am the most travelled person but I have been to a few countries, and I have found that chivalry is (somehow) best suited to men. It’s definitely one of the ‘ticks’ in my list of ‘good manners’ in the potential ‘one’. Yes, it definitely impresses and brings a smile when people offer seats to others out of respect, concern, chivalrous behaviour etcetera. I am well aware there are men who are very respectful, and might constantly feel cursed due to their chivalrous behaviour, as it may be instilled in them from childhood. But the number of these men is constantly decreasing, especially as chivalry is seen as a burden

Chivalry is not limited to men only, I believe 'people' should be chivalrous, mannerful, polite, mindful and generous. All this is encompassed in one. In the modern day chivalry is eroding away very promptly and without even a backwards glance we are allowing this to happen. In the world of technology, where men no longer wear hats, and speaking to strangers is wrong, where neighbours are unknown, yet sitcom characters are befriended... This world does not have space for chivalry. 

I am not willing to allow chivalry to leave so easily. It must be re-introduced in our lives, be it in a smile, an offering of a seat on a busy route to work or opening a door for a stranger. It is after all the small things that count in life. It is what makes us all every day heroes, and goodness is retained in our lives, one chivalrous act at a time.

OMG - Oh My God



OMG – Oh My GOD
This is a Bollywood film for all those who are wondering what I am doing writing about this. Yes that is the title, and yes you should watch the film. The truth encompassed in this film is definitely worth it. It would be somewhat difficult to re-watch the film straight away because it needs to be digested, but I would definitely consider it one of my favourites. Goodness knows why it has not been sent for the Oscars, it definitely is made of the stuff.

I cannot possibly divulge any information about the film simply because I cannot ruin it by giving away the plot, even slightly. Your best bet is to go to YouTube and find the trailer. Of course from the title, it concerns God. So see, you already have a head start/first clue.

Anyhow I shall share some rather eye-opening and mind boggling quotes from the film filled with truth:

“Religion was made for mankind. Mankind was not made for religion.”

“What does religion and rituals signify? Not entirely sure of the meaning, all I know is, they either make a person either a helpless being or a terrorist.”

“Where there is truth, there is no need of superstitions”

“God only made man. Man is the creator of religion, caste, creed...”

“God’s job/duty is to guide (consultant service) of the right and wrong path”

“I (God) am not amongst humans, for I (God) am sold in shops. I created the world with my hands, not with sand but with sentiments. I am constantly searching for my marks, for where are they?
Like a shadow, I walk side-by-side to you. When the sun shone on you, I became shade for you. I was constantly walking alongside you, like a life partner. Yet you are knotted and struggling in light, searching for questions in answers. Where have you become lost? I am constantly roaming, searching for my marks, for where are they?
These birds and water are linked to me, from land to the sky above, they all tell my story. You are a part of me, why do you distribute me here? I have made destinies, these photographs breathe yet they are speechless. Where are my marks?”

“Do not take people’s belief away from them, for if you take the belief away; they will make ‘you’ their religion.”

“These are not God-loving people, rather they are God-fearing people. Fear is like opium, once addicted, very hard to let go of.”

These are the quotes that really caught my attention. They have such truth and value in them, I could not analyse them separately, and it would take away all the enjoyment from them. They are so simple, so self-explanatory.

It is obvious to say that I am a believer, but this film isn’t in any way a promotion of religion. Rather it is acceptance of the Divine and rejection of religion. The correct way of finding God is not in stones or statues but in human form, living amongst us. It highlights that religion has become a money-making business, that it is the most successful religion that excels especially during recession because people are constantly looking for solutions in prayers, and fearing God. That we are so involved in our ‘fears’ of heaven and hell, what they signify, that we are unable to love and appreciate the truth. We are constantly taught to be superstitious, to believe in things, rather than believe in ourselves. We have become the generation that loves things and uses people.

I have zero intentions to preach, but this film in itself holds a never ending gold mine. I found it, and may be so shall you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Justice

Recently I went to the Imperial War museum in central London (Elephant & Castle Tube station via Northern Line).
IWM has free entry and that was extremely baffling to me, as I wondered how money was generated to sustain and support this landmark: living library of history.

I realised that the exhibits were the ones that visitors paid for, although not all were charged. I was interested in the 'Genocide exhibition' and WWII holocaust, both of which were 'free entry' based.

'Genocide and Mass Destruction' was a course I studied during my last year at Lancaster university. Visiting the exhibition brought back all the horrors and suffering of the countries that had faced such destruction; lost so many lives. In fact, the ramifications and the after effects of crimes against humanity can still be seen today in Rawanda, Cambodia, Armenia and Bosnia to name a few.

Genocide is a deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnicity/religion/caste or nation. Therefore, it is clear that genocide is not at all dependent on the number of people who have been slaughtered, the intent is also irrelevant in some ways, what matters is that a particular group has been targetted and attempts made to extinguish a community. In truth, genocide is the most heinous crime against humanity because it strips compassion leaving hatred and disaster in its wake.

While in the exhibition, a video was constantly being shown and in it the criminals were common people, women and children. Reality which astounds as there were sticks and weapons in the hands of the children, slaughter in the streets. Repeated whacking by the sticks, even when only corpses remained. The ugliness of the actions was not lost on the people who were killing mercilessly. After all, it is so much easier to view the events with a third person perspective, to be objective and state "I would never do that". Circumstances can make a man, circumstances also break men/societies.

Genocide is not just a can of worms, reflecting a particular form of country/ideology/illiteracy. Genocide is not bound to one nation, one continent, one religion or one mindset. The events can happen anywhere, with anyone and no amount of justification can be served.

Self-defence can only protect when one is under attack, but what if the scenario was different. What if the decision was to kill innocents or be killed? Would condemnation fall at the decision that to save ourselves, we opted to kill other innocent people?

In the video, the child with the weapon and the woman in the bandana holding a stick cried. They pleaded that "we had no choice".
When do we start justifying our own existence? Someone holds you at gun point and what are the consequences? How can we value one life to be of more importance than another?

IWM's exhibition really made me stop and think. I could not understand the'justification'. That is when I realised that history is obsessed with justifications. The importance is always on the thoughts of the perpetrators, the government - their rise to power and at understanding criminal minds.
There is a constant debate on the figures, the numbers are always disputed. The amount has to be bulky for effect, so that the occurrence is given the right measure of merit, or credibility of serious intent/threat.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gendercide: 200 Million Missing

Gendercide is genocide of a particular gender. Genocide is deliberate, systematic destruction of a particular group/religion/caste/community. There are currently 200 million girls missing in the world today. There is no one to save these girls from the atrocities of gender-selective abortions, abandonment or drowning.

Who can be the savior when these girls are unwanted by their own mothers?Society forces women in countries like China, India and Pakistan to give preference to the male child.

Change in everyone's ideology is necessary. The youth needs to come together and change the thinking that girls are a burden/need more protection as they can't look after themselves (rape is taboo, girls are blamed for inviting it or no one would consider accepting a girl who has been through such violence) - these are deep rooted issues of society/culture, which is why boys are preferred. Then the dowry adds to the burdens of being a girl in such a society. The society considers women to be a commodity, moving from one house to another when she gets married. It's in everything.

 Evan Grae Davis enlightens in the video, 'turn the mirror' - that it is down to each individual to say NO to  selective abortion or committing gendercide. For those who commit this heinous crime against society and girls, their acts should be punishable by law. Raising awareness can also be done through examples of having girls who are independent, strong and educated.

But that may not be enough... How can we change deep-rooted beliefs? Where even blessings that are bestowed are gender based, for e.g.:

 "May your husband live forever. May you bear a hundred sons."

Where women fast for husbands long lives. Where second marriage for women isn't even a possible thought.

This plagues the whole world. As the balance is tipped with more boys than girls, a new "Market" has already started in India and China. Soon kidnappings/trafficking of huge numbers of girls will start in the West.

I have researched and constantly thought about ways to combat gendercide. Each possibility needs the actions of government and doctors. To say every person will be educated - is not something that can be a reality immediately. But professionals need to become bigger people - doctors/nurses etc. and refuse to allow abortion.
But it isn't that simple. The real fight is still and will remain with the ideology. I find it shocking that the lady was willing to show the graves of the eight girls she killed. That's just unbelievable.
I suppose as young women who are aware of these issues, we should gather forces and our strengths (languages/understanding of culture) to go to towns/villages/cities to educate all women (elderly and young)! There should be programmes to raise awareness of gendercide being a huge terror for girls and for the future. Because soon there will be no girls if this continues. How will the world function without women?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Exciting London City

I have always loved living in London, being part of such a vibrant city has always been like a dream for me. After ten years of living in this beautiful city I am always struck with the same amazement and awe as I was the very first time I came here in 2001.

Living so close to the city, as most Londoners will agree, in our day-to-day life we are unable to enjoy the touristic sites, the museums and the history that we are surrounded with. Having recently hosted the Olympics, we have all had a real reason to explore and get reacquainted with London again. Sadly, I was unable to make the most of this opportunity but I have made up for that in the last week where I have visited Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Imperial War Museum, Charles Dickens Museum [only to learn it is under some serious renovation and will be open in December], Westminster Abbey, Camden Town, Regent Street and many more...

For me, having travelled and lived in India and England, studied in America and Germany, I have always found it easy to make connections and friends. For this reason and many others, I have found I am visited by one friend or another, family friends and family members every few months and this gives me ample opportunity to continue my love affair with London and its History.

Camden Town has the biggest mixture of people in the world. It is always overflowing with colours, spices, scents, stalls and people... Also, CT also has the most amazing souvenirs, food, and gifts... I found myself gifting myself with an early Christmas present: a pocket watch! Not only this, they also make amazing presents so I found myself buying them for my sisters as well.


Now these were the three I purchased... They all have unique personalities, and two have batteries in them, which will have to be replaced.


This was the one I fell in love with instantly, and so I bought it without a second thought.
Especially, because this one does not operate using a battery. Instead, it has to be "wound up", like the old toys. I felt like I was holding something invaluable... Ironically, something timeless! I believe I shall be very amused when I tell my family or friends 'I am winding up the time'.



And the beauties... Why would some things ever go out of fashion?!











Having been told by my brother that 'pocket watches' are meant to be for men only. I find myself even more inclined to purchase them for all my female friends, setting the trend and hence, changing history. However, I would believe we have come a long way from gender inequality and I do not have to prove anything to anyone. Is enough not being stated in my action? I bought these for my sisters, and not once did it occur to me I should purchase it for my brothers.

I believe I should join advertising, as I am sure I would very easily persuade anyone of any age, that pocket watches must be acquired. They make fantastic gifts, are invaluable because they do not have to have batteries: which saves energy and resources. Plus, they are so romantic and vintage. Every one MUST have one!




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Anti UK Immigration Policy

The UK government has new immigration policy which is centred on barring international students from studying in the UK.
What the Tories do not realise is the drain this will create on the struggling economy, because the tuition fee charged to international students is higher and taking that away will mean a huge dip in the standards of teaching for British universities. This directly hinders the economy, as with overseas students, tourism is also increased as their families are more likely to visit, and travel around the country, exploring and getting acquainted with the cultures.

The direct restriction could also be considered meddling with the private sector, which should not be allowed. The focus should instead be on the illegal immigrants, who are entering the country and then are given permanent residency after 10 years of living illegally. Surely that is rewarding and encouraging illegal immigration, because as long as they have not been discovered by the police in the first 10 years, they will then have the freedom and be supplied with solicitors who will argue why they can stay and are no longer eligible to go back to their own country.
Not only have such illegal immigrants lived in the UK, undetected but they are also evading tax and on top of it all, they are taking the jobs away from British citizens, as they are willing to earn less, below the minimum wage. Another blow that will continue for the economy.

There are so many routes that could have been taken by the conservatives to lessen illegal immigrants in the country. Yet it is the legal immigrants who have to pay the price and the invaluable brain power and skills lost will be seen over the next few years.
Even the The Scottish National Party has written to Westminister urging a U-turn on their policy concerning overseas students. Moreover, the letter from the principals of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Glasgow universities, says restricting overseas students will threaten their world-class status.
Countries like Australia and Canada are reversing their immigration policy, rather than repelling, they are welcoming international students, strengthening their economies and talent pool.

What's more, South America and Asia are focusing on raising their own standards of teaching and offering world class education, which will likely benefit more as they have a 'welcoming mat' for all who are capable and eligible. If this continues, soon UK will no longer need such policies, as international students will be repelled by the failing economy, lowered standards in teaching and expensive education that can be obtained elsewhere hassel-free.


Links:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/westminster-urged-to-do-u-turn-on-overseas-students.19077129

http://www.economist.com/whichmba/foreign-students-not-welcome-here

Monday, October 1, 2012

PET PEEVES


What is wrong with the world? Why can people not understand the importance of time? Especially mine.
Why do I find the majority of my friends meeting me but always turning up late? I cannot take it! Drives me insane.

This seems harsh, doesn't it? Well, if it happened a couple of times that's understandable, a few and far between that's not shocking or atrocious. But what would you say if those particular people were late every single time? They do not leave their homes until you are standing right outside the meeting-up place. Even though you informed them of your whereabouts constantly, to avoid having to wait: (1) when you left your place, (2) when you were halfway there and (3) almost there and (4) finally when you were standing outside waiting.
I know this has turned into a rant... I need to let out steam so what other platform is there than the Internet?

What annoys me most is the lack of apology. Plus, I have the habit of being over punctual all the time. So not only am I there before the time, I do not start getting annoyed until the time of meeting has been missed by over 10 minutes. I think that is fair, after all the efforts taken to ensure that you are not waiting around, twiddling your thumbs; it would be fair have your blood boiling at this point. (Oh boy, we could be here for a while…)

I am not exaggerating at all. So many times I have heard the lies 'I am on my way, halfway there already' and the person has not even left their home.
The best one is when I am waiting right outside their house, waiting for them to show up, in the rain... So far I have not found a way to express my annoyance to my friends because I do not want confrontations and to have a fall out over something like this, because it does seem trivial.

So many times, I have heard the advice: why don’t you turn up late yourself? And that would seem acceptable but I hate being late. I never ever want to be late, especially on purpose because that seems so unbelievably rude, obnoxious and downright evil.

So I am facing a serious dilemma. How do I convey the message to these particular people, that I cannot stand latecomers without causing harm to the friendship? In fact, an apology does not make anything better. ‘Sorry’ does not fix the problem; it will not give me back the efforts or the time I have wasted waiting around.