Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eleven would be better...

"Actually, Ravana should have had eleven heads. Then his body would be attached to the centre head..."
That was how my daughter responded to my question, "To which head do you think Ravana's body was attached?" She took a minute to think and laughed after saying, 'fifth, no sixth' and then came up with the optimum number of heads.

Here Be Dragons....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Quote

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a
rightly timed pause.
-- Mark Twain

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thou doth protest too much....

The Kerala High Court has asked the government and the body governing the Sabarimala temple to clarify whether the Makaravilakku was man made. Point blank. The Chief Minister of Kerala had earlier said that it was a matter of faith to millions of people and the government would not conduct any probe to establish whether it was divine or man-made. How responsible.

Some Hindu Organizations had protested saying that the court must confine its role to temporal issues and not digress into spiritual realms. I don't know how to convey that I am flabbergasted, without swearing...And hear this gem: "The high court should have refrained from raking up a controversy.....They are part of the faith of millions of people. It may be man made but the important thing is that millions of devotees want to have a glimpse of it and it must continue." Oh...okay; just reveal that it is infact man made and then see if millions would still fight to glimpse it...Or maybe they will. Can't underestimate our people's capacity for credulity. I find it difficult to fathom the utter lack of curiosity. How can someone not want to know ....

So everybody after all know that there is nothing divine about the flicker of light. And they have an agenda. Otherwise they would welcome an investigation to prove the divinity. That would seal the matter..But no...all those people who protest are far more rational in their thinking than what they are given credit for. It is for the masses...just like Santa Claus is for ensuring the good behavior of children atleast during December.

The Court says that people should be told the truth. That is a real problem for the Government. If they take the Court seriously, where can they stop. I shudder to think...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sabarimala tragedy.....

The tragic incident that happened on the 14th of January has been analysed by the media as usual. Shock and condolences has been expressed perfunctorily by our political leaders and a pittance of solatium has been announced. The amount has become a standard nowadays - Rs.1 lakh for loss of life and Rs.50,000 for sustaining injury - how cheap is human life in India. So many reasons have been put forth for the tragedy and suggestions made.

But there is one thing I would like the Kerala government to do forthwith - Explain that there is nothing miraculous about the Makarajyothi or Makaravilakku in clear terms. The star that appears in the horizon is nothing but the bright star Sirius which would be visible for about two weeks around this time of the year and the other light is just the camphor being burnt in the adjacent hillock by the employees of the Kerala Electricity Board. So much for miracle. Maybe there would not be such a rush to witness it.

It is a crime for a government to let this go on and allow innocent lives to be lost. A stampede is an indicator of so many things that went wrong that day - poor planning, lack of co-ordination, nil crowd control, poor lighting, encroachments and so on. It happened once before in 1999 for whatever could happen again if no lessons are learnt. Administration cannot turn a blind eye saying it is a matter of 'religious faith' and gladly fill its coffers. Is it too much for a citizen to expect a 'pro active' government which would take this issue seriously, investigate it thoroughly and more importantly, apply it to other places where things could go horribly wrong in a similar way. The Puri Rath yatra and the Chithrai festival in Madurai Azhagar temple comes to mind.

Wikipedia has two entries - 1999 Sabarimala stampede; 2011 Sabarimala stampede. It is upto the government to ensure that there are no additions to that.


Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impresses them?

Weeping statues, and wine made out of water, a mere quantum-mechanistic-tunnel effect that'd happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes wasn't a thousand times more impressive and it happened all the time.

- Terry Pratchett

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Quote

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion."

- Steven Weinberg

Thursday, January 13, 2011

India, that is Bharat

I read in a blog ( recently - To be born in India and that too as a girl is a double whammy as the Americans like to say. I was reminded of this today when I read the news item today about a father in Vellore, Tamilnadu, murdering his two daughters aged 3 and 2 by throwing them into a well because he did not have the means to raise them. He had spared his four month old son. Initially the father complained to the police that his daughters were missing and that he suspected that they might have been kidnapped. Later police found the bodies of the little girls floating in an abandoned well two km. from their house. On inquiry they found that the two babies were never comfortable with strangers and after interrogation the father confessed to have taken his daughters on his motorbike and threw them into the well and returned home. He also said that he lodged a complaint with the police, an hour later, that his daughters, Taniya Tashiba and Ghaziya Nashiba were missing. What lyrical names.... Two lives lost in vain...what joy, what light they could have brought to any family which longed for a child and would have been more than willing to adopt them?

Apart from all those thoughts like how could a father throw his innocent children into the well, why could he not have thought of giving away the little ones to someone who would have cherished them and how did he decide that he would kill them, one thought that stayed in my mind throughout the day was this: Like any other children these two poor babies would have been wary of strangers. But when their father took them in his bike they would have happily gone for a ride without suspecting that they would end up floating in a well. The trust and security a child feels with its parents is indescribable. What could make a human being break that trust?

We indeed have a long way to go....poverty, gender inequalities, illiteracy, lack of social support systems .... we are grappling with so many insurmountable problems. How many innocents would have to lose their lives before our country gets a semblance of development?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Quote

The wish to hurt, the momentary intoxication with pain, is the loophole through which the pervert climbs into the minds of ordinary men.

- Jacob Bronowski