Reveries

A mishmash of spirituality, human relationship, adult and children's literature, news analyses and anti-road-rage tirades

Are We Still a Democracy?

Democracy's Dance of Death (Illustration by Ranjit K Sharma)

Democracy's Dance of Death (Illustration by Ranjit K Sharma)

Imagine yourself standing next to your neighbourhood shopkeeper and bragging about your son’s smashing performance at the latest exam, while your domestic help appears in front of you all of a sudden only to inform on how your son’s school has sent him back to home today as a punishment for his bullying behaviour. Well, you are speechless, motionless! Isn’t it?

Indians too have found ourselves in a similar situation recently.

While Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s words, “mantle of democracy is now very much strongly held by India,” when addressing an audience at Oxford University’s Said Business School, highlight India’s strong democratic credentials, at the same time, the Jallianwala Bagh-like, mid-night crackdown on peaceful protesters, supporting Baba Ramdev’s fast unto death at Ram Lila Ground, New Delhi on Saturday night, tends to accentuate the glaring shortcomings therein.

Not in the distant past, we remember having settled down smugly self-satisfied at the victory of democratic values. The Indian democracy has deepened when members of the civil society such as Anna Hazare and others were included in the drafting process of the Jan LokPal Bill.

But with the above surprise, forced eviction, where thousands were manhandled, Indian democratic credentials have surely come under scrutiny.

Swami Ramdev’s demands might be too far-fetched. He may be a political greenhorn. He might be limelight-hungry. He might have assets worth over a thousand crores!

But that do not justify such undemocratic way of curbing his voice against the government; not to tell AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh’s uncalled-for statement of naming Baba a thug.

I think Baba has done the right thing by continuing his fast unto death.

The only positive sign about which he should feel lucky is the fact that he wasn’t arrested by the police, charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”, and force-fed though the nose like Irom Sharmila, who has been doing a Ramdev since November 2, 2000 for protesting against a similar, undemocratic law of the government.

Let’s cross our fingers and watch where we are heading towards!

Filed under: Current News, General Awareness, , , , , ,

SEO Writing Can Be a Fun Way to Great Authorship

Sometimes back, I wrote an article for an American audience with the aforesaid title. Later, I thought it would be good to share it with my readers as this is really going to help those who have decided to write for the web but are unsure of their future. Here it is:

SEO Writing—the In Thing!

SEO Writing—the In Thing!

So you have made your mind and are all set to write for the web! You already know what on earth SEO is all about and by now recognize all its sisters, I mean, jargon such as keywords, meta-tags, alt-tags, social media optimization, etc.

You also are empowered with a flair for writing; you have a good stock of vocabulary, a sound command over the written word, an impeccable knowledge of writing styles, and a fairly good idea about coherence in writing.

And, most importantly, you are also aware of all the monetary benefits, and fame that SEO writing can eventually bring to you.

With all these tools and resources at your hand what is stopping you from taking the plunge and agreeing to the fact that SEO writing can be fun?

Okay, I understand. You must be thinking, “Taking the plunge into SEO writing is fine but I am wondering how this can, in any way, be ‘fun’, given the fact that it requires so much of preparation!”

“Moreover, I am not an expert, I mean; I am not a PhD in any particular field.”

No issues. You will agree with me, I am sure, if you read further to discover yourself the great fun elements associated with SEO writing.
Need No PhD
First of all, let me make it clear that for SEO writing you need not be an expert, writing for the experts. You need not have a PhD in any field to be able to write literary pieces or expert articles interspersed with jargon and technical mumbo jumbo.

So don’t worry; you are already SEO-writing-compliant! And that’s fun.

For writing for the web, you just need to understand the concepts, and organize your thoughts into well-drafted articles that provide the required information to the readers in an interesting way. You are actually writing in common language for the common people like you.

What are your tools then? In order to be a good SEO writer you need to have good commonsense, clarity of thought, and an ability to organize information. I tell you, these are more important than educational qualification, and writing experience.

Versatility
Now the other elements associated with SEO writing—versatility! That means, after you start writing for the web, versatility in writing is assured. How?

SEO writing projects are often short, and therefore, most SEO writers are freelancers. As a result, as an SEO writer you work for more number of companies, and write for more number of topics than you would possibly do as an in-house writer in a publishing house, or a content-selling corporate house.

Isn’t it interesting to read and do research on a wide variety of topics and subjects, and then write unique, informative articles on them?

Your areas might touch writings for e-books, websites, mailers, e-zines, e-brochures, online ads, etc. These may entail research on a variety of topics such as legal, medical, academic, business, and financial. Don’t you become versatile?

Freedom
Freedom is the third fun element identified with SEO writing.

In spite of an abundance of topics and subjects to write for, you, as a writer, still have the power to pick and choose only those areas that are close to your heart? You are not straitjacketed by your employer to write only on pre-defined areas like newspaper and magazine reporters who are closely regulated and directed, or like corporate writers who are tightly controlled.

Moreover, as a freelance writer you decide your own working hours, your own working pace, and your own volume of writing.

Great Future
A great future is the last, but not the least, element of fun connected with SEO writing in my list.
With your numerous contributions to the web in the form small articles and write-ups, you are actually creating a huge compilation of your published work.

Your résumé is enriched. At a certain point of time later when you plan to write a fiction, or a non-fiction, you have twice as much chance to get a reputed publisher than a non-SEO-writer, who isn’t published yet!

Fun, isn’t it?
With this, let me give rest to my flying fingers, and wish you a happy SEO-writing career and a superb future, waiting to embrace you!

Filed under: Web Metrics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Traffic Control Measures

The Beijing municipal government has passed a new law that limits the number of new car license plates to be issued in 2011. Here’s the news link: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article1023254.ece

It is too harsh a measure to curb traffic problems. It is retrograde and highly punitive in nature for those economically backward people who, after years of hard work, have finally arrived at a position to own a car. With it, their dream might remain dream forever. The measure is bound to create a permanent divide between haves and have-nots.

Some forward-looking measures might be:

  • making carpool mandatory for regular one-route travellers
  • encouraging increased use of public transport through special concessions to regular users
  • making cycles available on rent for small-distance travellers
  • improving the transport infra-structure, wherever possible
  • building double-decker, or perhaps, ‘triple-decker’ roads in addition to multi-storeyed parking lots

Filed under: Current News, , , , , , ,

Online Legacy?

The Online Social Leaders (Collage by Ranjit)

The Online Social Leaders (Collage by Ranjit)

Hat’s off to Shail Raghuvanshi for that thought-provoking article on online legacies. With this article you have brought forth an important question among all of us—Netizens of the World!

What will happen to our online identities after our death?

Almost all us have at least an email account. A few lakhs among us might be having a social networking profile on Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. A few thousands might also be richer by a blog or two at Blogspot or WordPress!

So where will these identities end up in after we quit from the mundane world? After we cease to exist both offline and online?

Shouldn’t these online sites have a provision for their users to enable them to choose their successors?

Here also, we know that many of us might never want to bequeath any online wealth to our successors simply because our wealth won’t be palatable enough to our spouses, sons and daughters! After all, how can we reveal our highly objectionable, anonymous online exchanges (interactions between a dishonest father and his illegitimate daughter, dialogue between an unfaithful husband and his second wife or correspondence between an online street Romeo and an unflinching, helpless girl)?

What about a mechanism (a dozen of tick boxes perhaps!) to choose between the clean part and the censurable moiety?

Filed under: Web Metrics, , , , , , , , , , ,

God as I Saw Him!

Years ago I held a very heretic view on God. I even wrote a long diary entry on some day in August 2003, which I happened to stumble upon today evening. Here’s a reproduction of the same. Remember, this is very personal.

……………….

My Impression of God (Illustration: Ranjit K Sharma)

My Impression of God (Illustration: Ranjit K Sharma)

I have always been a follower of my will. I do not know how many times I have wondered at the question “How can I follow someone whom I do not know?” It was increasingly becoming difficult for me to repose faith on any of the existing Gods! So I went on to create Him as Voltaire once said “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The God I have created is out of my own caprice. I call Him the Unknown.

God is more powerful, beautiful and naive at the same time than the most powerful, beautiful and naive being you have ever seen or have thought of. God is larger or smaller than the largest or smallest thing you can think of. God is INFINITY (∞) PERSONIFIED. God is larger than all the galaxies of the Universe put together. He is also smaller than the smallest hadron or quark particle. God does not need a Trishul, Chakra or a Wand to protect Himself. He does not need a Dhoti, Saari or a robe to cover His shame! In other words, God is Someone who is beyond the wildest imagination of the human civilisation.

On God, Einstein once remarked, “God does not play dice!” to which I would add, “God does not only play dice, He does not do anything which we mortal beings do.” To sum up, I would say God is the Unknown. We can do very little using the knowledge of our present civilisation as tools to understand God.

Can you answer this? If Shri Krishna has created us, why has He given us tribulations to worry about and prayers to appease Him?

We are yet to understand God. Karl Marx once commented, “Religion is the opium of the masses.” Suppose there is a lighted candle placed inside at the centre of a circular room having colourful windows. If we take the lighted candle for God, then each window will be a religion. Since the window panes are coloured, we can never get a glimpse of the True God.

Rituals in any religion do help in disciplining ourselves; but they never help in reaching God the Unknown.

Hinduism never taught me to go vegetarianism. It is a simple discipline which I brought to myself. It is my way of saying, “Yes, I do have control over my thought and deeds.” Similarly by donning the cleanest of clothes after bath and making a prayer to Him, I only feel, “This is the time I am closest to Him.”

If there is self-discipline in you, if you can impose austerity unto you, if you can feel the pain in others then, you are a religious person.

People use religion as the tool to understand God. But by knowing only one religion you can but have a very biased view of God.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article in a newspaper. I wanted to mention about this article here because it is almost fully in agreement with whatever I said above. Here is the article.

Filed under: Heresy, Philosophy, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sex and Murder: Yet another Angle

The Daughter and Her Beau

The Daughter and Her Beau (Photo Courtesy: The Hindu)

“A young school teacher and her male friend have been arrested for allegedly stabbing her mother to death at her Paschim Vihar residence this past week and then trying to pass it off as a murder during a robbery.”

……………….

“The young man brought a bottle of beer with him and the two made themselves cosy in the house. But Sakshi’s mother, who had gone to a religious congregation in the neighbourhood, happened to return earlier than expected. She had the key to one of the entrances and caught the two red-handed. The woman lost her temper on seeing them together and screamed at them.”

These are the lines from a recent news story. Kindly read the story first in order to enjoy the discussions below.

While prima facie the murder seems to be a typical example of Walter Cannon’s fight-or-flight response of human beings towards stress-causing situations, a closure look can reveal deeper implications of the mental make-up that the youth of today possess. The first impression that any keen observer will have at this level is that the daughter displayed a total lack of values.

I am not going into the humdrum of casting aspersions on the very sexual act that was the kingpin behind the brutal murder of a mother at the hands of her own daughter. Let me assume the intercourse as an ordinary act of wrong-doing, one of hundreds of evil deeds that everyone of us does during the span of our lifetime.

Having assumed the act of Sakshi calling her beau and her subsequent engaging in fornication as ordinary, the only extra-ordinary thing that happened on the fateful day was that she was caught red-handed by her elderly mother. And it is easy for us to imagine how she could have reacted to such an unimaginably bizarre act of perversion that her daughter was seen doing—a daughter completely lost in an orgasmic ‘high’ in between ‘breathful’ of penile thrusts from her partner all in front of her mother! It was but natural for her to lose “her temper on seeing them together and [to scream] at them.”

But how natural was her daughter’s reaction to her? Quite unnatural and very disgustedly undesirable. There were hundred other ways of reacting to her mother’s lambasting words than the one that she and her boyfriend Sunny chose to. There could only be one, if any, in a trillion mothers who were dogged enough so as to not forgive her weeping daughter at her feet. And even if she would not be ready to compromise and be bent on handing her over to the police, what loss could the daughter have incurred in even receiving the noose from her mother? At least she would not have been accused of the grave moral crime for which she is imprisoned now.

Filed under: Current News, Philosophy, Relationships, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time to Read(?)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mortimer Adler in 1988 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

When I was in the tenth standard, the following essay by Mortimer Adler had a lasting impact on my mind. It was a part of our English curriculum in the form of a textbook, Learners’ English. Years later, I am still fascinated by its relevance to the current times, more so when the good, old habit of children’s reading books is in its way to the coffin, what with the advent of e-books, intensive study-packages, et al! I am thankful to him (whom I wished I could meet one day; but alas, he left for his heavenly abode in 2001, much before I could afford to visit the U.S.!) and M/s Sawpon Dowerah (who also served as my teacher for sometime) and T. C. Baruah for having included this piece in their anthology.

Please click on the following link to download a PDf document and read: What is a Great Book?

Filed under: Children's Literature, General Awareness, Philosophy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Compromise, Thy Name is Life. Do You Agree with It?

 

Below is an essay which I wrote sometime back for a special occasion. Let me share this small yet interesting essay with you:

Strong and self-confident people, like you and they, may not agree to the aforesaid line. So did Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler and many others. But, all, at one time or the other, have agreed to the diktat—”Compromise, thy name is life”. And I agree with it.

Life, at every point; from the lazy mornings, when you curse your office for having been the reason for your such a miserable life, to the cozy sweet-doing-nothings of mid-night, when you curse your wife for being such a bad partner; is full of compromises. You don’t like the kaamwali (maid-servant) for being such a frequent absentee, but you compromise and accept her as happily as you are accepted by your wife! Else, she would have left you by now. You, don’t like the government’s ban on AXN’s World’s Sexiest Commercials, but you compromise with a smile, lest your wife, or for that matter, your little son should call you an old, immoral psychopath! You don’t like the long never-ending queue of vehicles, burping and blowing at the busy crossing on your way to office, but you compromise by mouthing a few chosen adjectives at the system, or at the hefty, bald man, who overtakes his vehicle just in front of yours and makes his way! You compromise, because you just can’t reach out to the system and shout at it for its follies, you just can’t get the better of the hefty, bald man and rough him up.


So to say, there is a zillion of examples to prove the fact that, we all are the preys to Compromise and at some point or the other we keep on compromising. But, nevertheless, we must keep on fighting with all our might, not to cut a sorry figure in front of compromises. Because compromises keep on teaching us the lessons of patience and perseverance.

Filed under: Philosophy, , , , , , , , , ,

A Mantra that Assures You a Malice-Free Life

Relationships are like mirrors. Smile and your image on the mirror will smile at you.

Show your fist and the person at the other side of the mirror will hurl a fist at you too. Same is the case with human beings.

We are, by nature, social animals. And our daily routine includes interactions with dozens of other humans. All these small interactions can be related to the analogy of mirrors. When you smile and say good things to a person, he or she also reflects the same vibes. If you frown and say ill of him or her, the same is expected from the person. In other words, there is a universal application of physicist Issac Newton’s Third Law in all realms, that is to say, “Every action has got an equal and opposite reaction.”

You can find many manifestations of the same law. “Thou shalt reap what thou hath sown.” To sum it all we can say, “Every effect has a cause behind it.”

Next time, if you find yourself at a situation in which somebody has frowned at you, you should consider his anger as a manifestation of an effect. And try to find the corresponding cause for the same. For this you need to calm down and replay in your mind the entire set of interactions you had with the person, leading to this effect. If you can find out the cause, without asking him/her, half the problem is solved. This method can be used to solve an otherwise escalating situation which is bound to land up everyone in trouble.

But, if you can keep a tap on all the actions you do, you can considerably reduce frown-inviting troubles from other people. It is because, we have a control over the causes; albeit, we don’t have a control over the effects.

This way we can win more friends than foes, and can amass more love than hatred and can greatly improve our personas, our business and above all we can make the world a better place to live in.

True, this way you are actually moulding other people’s actions, taking all the malice away from them and replacing it with love and goodliness, whenever you require. This simply means, their love and smiles are just a creation of your whims. Does that mean you can never get true love from anybody? No, the route to receive genuine love is still open. It is not necessary that people behave like a mere reflection of your actions. There might be a handful few in your life who go out of the way to love and smile at you even when you are at your fighting best! Those are the people who are actually made for you (by Him!) Wait for them to come in your life.

But for all practical purposes keep spreading the most unstinted love and the cutest smile so that the supply of love and smile from others remains a continuous process.

Filed under: Relationships, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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