24 January 2005

Pending post

These are my jottings from last week and were supposed to be posted during the weekend. But I left the textpad behind at office. A bit late, but here comes:

  • Either you hate Calcutta or you love it. Nothing grey about it. I fall into the second category, though I have lived there for a very short time. So, am I not happy to read this!
Little in Calcutta can be claimed to be ‘A’ class. Asim Dasgupta take note — Subrata Mukherjee’s civic body is one of them. In fact, A+. Credit Rating Information Services India Ltd (Crisil), which assesses credit-worthiness, has given the Calcutta Municipal Corporation the A+ rating that no other civic body in the country possesses.

  • One good blog from last week: The waiter is one of the very few sensible writer-bloggers around. It's interesting to see people through his eyes. Especially, when he is blessed with such descriptive skills.
  • A friend said: Angulimaal is the same person as Valmiki. He was transformed by Buddha. Who agrees and who doesnt? Let those comments pour in.
  • The politics of power has always interested me, be it the authority of state/society/parents over individual, or any other forms of power play. The powerful derive their power from the suppressed. There is a flow of power from the object of power to the powerful. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not. When this relationship is not of mutual consent, there will come a tipping point when the statement is rewritten. The powerful are wary of this tipping point. Both can see it coming. It's inevitable. It has to happen. But why did the tipping point come when it came? If power did not flow voluntarily, why did it flow at all? This is in the context of colonisation.

23 January 2005

Maybe miracles will keep you from heaven

A friend has sent in his report of the Benny Hinn prayer meet. For those of you who are not aware of the controversy that built up around the event, this might be useful.

"The day began quite early for me since we had to take my aunt to the cancer hospital. She had been operated upon for ovarian cancer and chemotherapy was to be done.

Later I set out with my mom-in-law for the faith healing event. Though I am thoroughly skeptic about faith healing, I try to go to such events just for the heck of it. Since there was so much controversy about this guy, I was desperate to check out. But my and mom-in-law is a firm believer.

Police had diverted the traffic to Hosur ring road and we were wondering how to head back to Jakkur (the venue). We found two guys on a bike who suggested that we head back as there was trouble ahead. We then asked them how we were supposed to reach the venue. Their statement was amazing, "Neevu namma deshada anna thinthira illva, solpa deshada bagge abhimana itkolli." (You live off this land. So cultivate some sense of respect for the country.) This made me furious. I said, "We do eat deshada anna, you guys seem to eat some shit," and sped off on my bike. They followed us and started abusing us. Since I didn't stop, they went further ahead, joined an angry mob and waited for me to make a turn towards Jakkur. Thankfully, I could see them from afar and didn't turn towards them. We finally reached the venue, after much searching.

We went inside the welcome arch and the stage was built nearly a km from there. The sight was truly awe-inspiring. There were 72 giant screens with thousands of halogen lights flooding the place. Police were doing metal detector frisking of every visitor. Why there were 22 ambulances in a faith healing event was my typical skeptic thought while entering the place!

After an hour of singing by the 2000-strong choir, Benny Hinn came on stage. In typical evangelist style, he started praising the crowd, India, the Chief Minister, the choir, God and everything around him. There were another hour of singing and praising halleluiah. His preaching was sad with just a recital of verses from the bible and an explanation on it. No real life instances or his personal experiences!

But the shocking thing was him talking about God TV and how it is affecting the lives of people all over the world. I knew some commercials were bound to be there and here they came. Finally, it's all about money honey! To top it all, he said he is not taking any offerings from the event today (Jan 21). But what about tomorrow and day after?

The climax was the healing process. I was wondering how different he is from other Christian healers in India. He created a frenzy of praise for the lord and halleluiah. My mom-in-law was fully immersed into it while I was busy looking around. He called all people in need of specific blessing to the stage. The way the foreign compere was introducing the patients and their pain, it was clear that the show was orchestrated.

The first one was a girl who couldn't walk since her childhood; she was jumping around with joy. Benny Hinn touched her and she fell down as if she got a shock. She was carried off and next came a ovarian cancer patient. Similarly about a dozen people were brought on stage and cured. Just when you thought all this is a farce, he called out for a James who was feeling a lot of pain. Suddenly out of the crowd, there emerged a James from Mysore who had tremendous headache. In one stroke, Hinn swept his hand across and everyone on stage fell down at that instant!

While my mom-in-law was totally taken in by this cathartic moment, I was wondering if my aunt could be cured of her cancer in one stroke. They say it is not the healer, but the faith in the patient that matters. My aunt was a retired nun, who spent a pious life praying and meditating. She doesn't ask god that why she is a victim. She says her god wants her as soon as possible. If Benny Hinn can cure her in a stroke, then would he be preventing her from going to heaven…?"

17 January 2005

On the edge

Posted by Hello

Most people have been there, at one time or the other. Also, everyone's thought that no one has had it as bad as them. Some come back, some don’t. But how does it feel to be there? What does it take to end it all? Just how many dreams have to be crushed, how many humiliations, how many people to not have by when you need them the most …

In my bluest of blue times, I have never actually thought of killing myself. I was born to live. Almost all of us are. What is the psyche, then, that goads some of us on to death? Maybe it's cruel of me, but I cant bring myself to sympathise with the suicidal. Suicide means absolute acceptance of hopelessness. If you can be so strong about being negative, why not be strongly positive, instead? Not that I am a raving 'positive thinking' kind of person. No amount of positive thinking will wish away your pain. If you feel rejuvenated by some feel-good book or talk, rest assured, it's just momentary. It's just a trick your mind is playing on you, so you get a breather, so you 'forget,' and get on with life. Yes, your brain does try to 'forget' things for you, which is good. But never force yourself to forget – else you will remember each excruciating detail.

Coming back to suicide: look around you, hasn’t there always been at least one person who's braving the storm and still smiling? Also, had anyone promised you that life is going to be a cakewalk? It's fine to be complaining about life, but is it that cheap to toss it away? People struggle, so they can live. And here I am with my broken heart, and think about nothing except my miseries. And cry that the world is going by without giving a damn about me. Honey, have you given the world a chance? You just slammed the door on its face. All of us who think that we got the worst deal, well, wake up. If it's a farmer in a Third World country, then I would probably not deny him the resentment (far too many things are going wrong for him, and setting these right is a global challenge), but not anyone else.

Am I wrong in the way I feel about suicide? Maybe life is simply too scarred for some. Maybe the beyond holds more promises than the present. Maybe. But too many things in my brain say I am right about this. The system could be freaking rotten. But by killing myself, I make it all the more unbearable for the people I leave behind. Kin of such people are doomed to a sense of guilt for life. The question that will haunt them forever is: "Didn’t I listen enough? If only I had done this, probably she would be living today …"

When each cell of a living organism is built to fight the battles of survival, how can some humans defy this basic instinct? And if suicide is a failure of the individual, the society, and Nature even, does making it legally punishable help? If a person does not have the right to end his life, how does the State get that right?

Death defines life. It is the knowledge about the temporal nature of life that makes it so beautiful and desirable. The gods envy us (Remember the line from Troy?), for we have life. And we have death. But the painful part is, it seems we have a choice.

Jeene ke liye socha hi nahin, dard sambhalane honge
Muskuraye to muskurane ki karz utarane honge.

07 January 2005

About blogs again

It's so easy to get caught up with daily routine things. But this year, I wont let evil things happen to me, or at least I will not harm myself by excessive slumber, or excessive activity. I want to start doing all those things that I have only dreamed about till now. But no, I am not listing my New Year resolutions here. I fear they get jinxed as soon as I let anyone know about them.

I haven't blogged for some time now, but I sure have been keeping up. Everyone is either blogging or talking about it. Some blogs in the limelight:

Belle de Jour:
Belle de Jour was, to anyone who missed it at the time, a London prostitute who kept a weblog about her adventures. She became a mini media phenomenon after adopting the Primary Colors route to stardom: remaining anonymous. In spite of all the hype, her blog was beautifully written, and now it is coming out in book form. A film can't be far off. With more than an eye for a publicity stunt Belle gave an interview via Instant Message to Monday's Guardian under the name S_Serizy, the name of the character in the 1967 film whose alias gave this particular call girl her nom de plume.

Work blogs, where bloggers reveal their motives.

More blog news: A blog for everyone