Monday, January 21, 2013

Some of the many things that Jesus said

Here are some of the many things that Jesus said
Only He knows when, only He knows where
And no one really knows why
But we must follow them to our last breath
The imagination that makes this poem
Comes from the specifications of these instances and reasons
As far as they make any case at all
If they cross a certain line
Such is only the basis of these things that He said, apparently

Having gathered His beloved around Him
For some time of sweet communion
He spread his arms wide, and then with a gleeful smile
He said, "Let's talk about ME"
With his thumbs pointed firmly towards Himself
Which is why we must give Him all the praise
Talk only about him, only His exact name spoken makes any talk worthy
Because He really needs to be told how awesome He is all the time
Everything he created is a tribute to himself
Not necessarily a natural reflection of Him
By default, with souls of their own
That feed his ego, or so it seems, in a strange way
In the same tone voice, He said,
"Build me a great big grand majestic house
One that's truly worth my splendour of My Majesty
One that I will be able to rest my head in atleast."
That's why we like things in his honour to be of large sizes
The larger the building, the greater His honour
The fancier the arrangement, the more He is happy
The more money spent, the more glory He is given
The more bling it involves, the more of his riches it sings
Funnily, the empty spaces in between the high walls
Only echo lack any real worth of His Word
How more worthy would it be if the fanciness of the arrangement
Was first, always and primarily the prettiness of our hearts inside
And that prettiness was made not made into non-breathing art or sculpture
But living work that spoke the His Word indeed
If only the money was spent on living
And not dead, works of His Splendor
In the temples that are you and I
In our actions, deeds and words
With true grandness, prettiness and richness

Setting his standard higher, He said,
"I need to be worshipped in hallowed portals of praise."
So, we are to always worship Him in such a manner
Where we express our desire to put him on a pedestal up high
For, and out of, the abundance that He has surrounded us with
Where we plan the whole affair knowing we will glorify him
And put him on that pedestal, in a manner that's grand, pretty
And with the richness of our abundance
But then just imagine the effort, planning, sponsorship
And all that goes into its organisation
Why don't we break out into praise in all this abundance
When we are out on the streets
And hold it all inside for these moments so grand?
Isn't that the grandeur, prettiness and richness we should be naturally exhibiting instead?
Carrying on with the theme of grandeur, prettiness and richness, he remarked,
"I want you to devote your lives to, every second of it, to Me in worship of my Majesty"
In perfect obedience, we took our passion for Him
Along with the grandeur, prettiness and richness
And added to it tremendous organisation so that it would be efficient
After all, the corporate guys did it and they were successful after all
So, we got the funding right
So that we could present a close-enough-to-perfect picture
We need to make it sound cool and fancy
It'll sell a little bit more
That's the point after all, right?
But then we ran a ministry with no involvement
No real involvement, that is
The guys who ran the show has their designations
And the volunteers came and did as they were told
They both worked according to agendas
They sometimes even let the money that ran the show speak first
After all, you needed the money to run show now, didn't you?
And of course, there were the organisational issues
We couldn't let the organisation die either, right?
If it did, so would our means of following God's call
Ministry became a business
Wasn't it to be a lifestyle? Something we do anyway?
How difficult is A to B logic now?
Weren't we supposed to go when He said, "Go"?
We were really busy with our agendas
We forgot that people don't see what we teach
They really, really see what we preach
We really devoted our lives to Him
In worship of His Majesty indeed
Absolutely Corporately
To end the discussion, He said,
"Keep my flock. Make sure they don't go astray."
Taking these words to heart, as we should,
We did that, as we should have
In an effort to keep it simple
So that we reach out the most people we probably can
We started getting relevant, of course, with right intention
So that they indeed don't go astray
To fight the influence of the world
We started packaging Christianity in boxes that sold
Hoping that all the packages will add up to Real Thing soon enough
We must take the fastest route that will probably be the most successful
Link it to everything around and they'll obviously get the sense in it
But when you juxtapose the Word and the World in such close relation
You obviously are messing around
A little too much more than you should
The healing is not in the reasoning of the mind
The healing's in the heart, only by the Master
Not by convincing that it's the better truth off the shelf
By telling them things that are much more than obvious
Than when we preach it for its original worth
The fun'n games follows suit

When we truly celebrate each other in the Lord
The frontier that is to be conquered
Is not to be bargained for by the mind
It is one that is to be bought over by the Master
We fully and completely inform and leave for
The deal between the Soul and the Master to be sought

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rape. And the woman who gets stuck in the middle of it.

Delhi: Rape - the name the city has come to go by, not just since the infamous Amanat/Nirbhaya rape. As we, as a society, try to grapple with the situation, we tried to get an all-round, clear understanding of all issues at hand. Dispassion helps, especially when more-than-justified rage will just only make the cycle bigger, all the while remaining equally frustrating. What you need to do is break the cycle.

Anger-fueled punishment for rapists will only give us temporary redemption. While the chorus rings that stricter punishment will deter the instances of the crime, if not abolish the crime itself, it is clear that future rapists are not/will not be deterred by almost anything. Factors that contribute to this are the far-reaching rural areas where laws don't reach usually. Sheer ignorance and a non-understanding of the concept, benefit and rationale of civic compliance defeats obedience and fear of law. Add to that the quick and stern action and taken by the police, and you have a situation that one peaceful protest or one well-drawn law can start to undo with the snap of the fingers (note sarcasm).

We went around taking stock of the people's opinions to get the right understanding of what the true ground reality is among women, since the men get all the attention these days. There seems to be an unanimous ring to the collective opinion of the women in the country.

Sheila, a vegetable seller, who toils from the early hours of the morning to the evening around Chandni Chowk says, "Every morning near the Metro station, I see young college boys come dressed to kill and every other moment as they pass by, I sigh. How I'd love to hang with them, but what can I do?" She is but all of just 18. The average age of these children and sounded almost helpless. She has crushes on a few boys who pass by daily because they fit her perfect prince charming, and their tight bodylines made evident by their stick-on t-shirts and jeans only send her in a tizzy - she sometimes forgets to take the money her customers hand her. When asked if she will ever act upon those feelings, she replies with a firm, "No."  It's taboo, she feels, and certainly not a privilege she has. We were not able to make out why she started to suddenly ignore us when we asked her why she felt so - if she felt she had spoken out of turn or that she had indulged herself enough.

Down south in Bangalore, in one of  MG Road's swanky branded showrooms, Prathiba deals with many high-class clientele. Most of them well-groomed, or really rich, almost take her breath away when they come to pay their bills. What just gets her are their fancy suit cuts. That tugs at her like an elephant's pulling at her heart, and everything else along with it. Unfortunately, she fights it every second as response times with servers the swipe machine is attached to work in time units less than those seconds. From a poor family, to have a handsome man (which her job gives her much viewing access to) who is rich enough to flash cards like that is her dream. Her dream, in the last year she has worked here for, has been to find a handsome man with that perfect suit cut that comes along the perfect heart of gold that deserves it. Despite the constant war that's raging inside her, she has chosen to stick with such a dangerously stimulating environment. We asked her what drives her to stay in an environment that makes her constantly vulnerable but she funny-eyed us while the next customer came forward. You could almost see her fighting inside, like there was a battle zone in her eyes as she routinely swiped the card and delivered a, "Thank you, sir" with ultimate poise. You'd only have to be there to see it.

Mamta, a 3rd year college student from Kochi's prestigious Maharaja's College, has gotten used to tingles every time she goes to college. With the college full of hot, cute boys, she admits she should hardly expect to feel any different. A student of theatre, she likens the feeling to her experience with over-coming stage fright. Just like her master used to push her onto the stage to overcome initial hiccups, she feels a hand pushing her out there every time the hordes of cute males enter the canteen. It's worse when hordes of boys enter the library but she has garnered enough self-control to pin it down. She is not sure yet whether it indicates that she is sapiosexual or whether it's the same hand-pushing-her-from-behind effect. She didn't shy away, like Prathiba and Shiela, when we probed further. She said that sometimes it starts to feel right, as opposed to the other times that when it's generally supposed to feel (or be) wrong. She does act on tingles some of those times. 

Roopa, 35 and quite the socialite, was unlike all of the above. She's at a party every day. She keeps enough male contact, and even dances with them, to make an entire Khap Panchayat go insane in a second. She celebrates her tingles. For her, it's no big deal. She's never been taught to lie about the truths of life, and she doesn't see the need to now. She said that individuality is important in society, individuality of all kinds. Society is made from and of healthy blocks, not the other way round, is her philosophy. We asked her at any point if she felt unsafe or was abused while so, she replied in the negative. She did admit, though, that many people like her are abused - those who have learnt to enjoy, appreciate, relish and celebrate the freedom in individuality, sexual and otherwise. To them, she said, there is no consolation except revenge, of which there is only empty hope from the authorities. In defense, she questioned the logic of keeping women away on the basis of the probable atrocities per rapist, as opposed to actually putting away the cause i.e. the rapist (she made that very clear) and not just the symptom. When it came to the root of the cause, she said that the roots has too many ends which rapists use when they find best convenient. They even make new ones to justify the act.       

All across the nation, we asked women across the spectrum of age, colour, caste and economic status. It was like standing in a hall with reverberating effect, just in a different language, in a different tone - but all spelt out the very same thing, loud and clear. One thing that we asked the three of them, and the others whom we spoke for this report, was whether women are isolated in feeling this way - having to fight a war inside more than once a day. They resounded with strong, "No." We then asked them whether their male counterparts also had a struggle that was going on inside them. And they resounded with a stronger, "Of course", but they added more before the excitement of the echo ended. The added echoes implied - "At least we admit it. They wouldn't ever. The shameless among of them only justify it and we end up being the victim!"

Lil' Jesus the Centerpiece


Lying on a toy shop window
Taken from the box of Christmas Last
Was a manger with a baby in it
Lil' Jesus the centerpiece

He was kept on  that window
For it was a season
Among many other things
of Christ the Reason

As the days went by
Many things were moved and were replaced
But that on window remained
Lil' Jesus staring out, unfazed

And so days did pass on by
Even the snow started to bellow
As did the people coming in
But Lil' Jesus didn't seem to go

As the days began to grow old
And the season began to fold
The owner set to close the doors
For even his Christmas was due too

As he was clearing up
He lay all things remained in a neat little heap
To go in which came the turn
Of Lil' Jesus the centrepiece

He lifted it up
And turned it around
“To what do we owe you here, still?”
He sighed and he breathed

As he was about to put it away in the heap
A rap on the door came after scuttling little feet
In a squeaky little voice, he spoke
“Please sir, can I have that please?”

Looking at it once again he almost bellowed
“But for its price, if you please”
The young lad pinched out a penny or two
And with a smile, he grabbed it and off he went


Glad that Lil' Jesus was gone at last
The owner went to put away the rest
And in his drawing he got much a surprise
For inside was a nativity fest

But there was commotion which he could sense
And he asked what was the problem was to his little darling princess
“What is the matter, dear daughter, pray tell?”
“There's something missing, Daddy. Look, can't you see?”

So he looked hard and fast at the display
To find out what what was missing, he just may
And as he was about to give up, something caught his eye
There was no manger and baby was what he saw

So, out he went, his coat he grabbed
To find that squeaky little lad
To bring back for his little princess that priceless toy
of Lil' Jesus the baby boy

Upon the window, he stepped
And, oh, did his heart melt
There was the boy next to a plain wooden table
Which had Lil' Jesus but there was no stable

There was no Joseph and Mary either
Nor the wise men or the Shepherds
He lingered on to analyze
What for the boy only wanted Lil' Jesus Christ

Just then, a gentle voice hushed him inside
“Hello dear sir, would you like something warm?”
It's cold outside. The wind is getting strong.”
He looked at the woman and asked her the tale

The woman told him that her little son
Always dreamed of having himself a nativity display
This year, she saved just one coin
One coin which she gave up for the dream of her little son

The rest of the story's already been told
He could choose but only one little nativity toy
But he chose not the sheep, the shepherd or king
He chose Lil' Jesus the Centerpiece

He went to the boy and asked him why
He chose that single piece out of all
The boy turned to him and smiled
“Because, sir,  without Jesus everything else would be nought.”

The Delhi Post-Tales - 1

It is strange indeed when a sleeping nation like ours awakes with such passion. It is strange because they were sleeping by choice of comfort before this. These issues, most importantly rape, was something they lamented about over dinner, coffee, drinks or Facebook, if they took note at all. Some of them would be bystanders while it happens and would lament it after as well. I don't hope to be either of them. 

Two things have risen out of the recent spate of events. One that the State in India is worse in thinking than the Mob they're supposed to keep, especially in emergencies. The other is the fact that we are a very ill-informed, over-educated (some may claim under-educated, if at all) at large nation  which forms and bases our basic ideas of nation pride over things like dinner, coffee, drinks or Facebook taking myopic viewpoints that either benefit only us and our really tiny understanding of what drives society and people. You can't blame us for all of that. I believe that if we teach these things in school, instead of the useless subjects we wade through to get through it, we would actually be a cluster of generations that is free indeed - one that reasons through these things at least. Our most popular immediate reaction to something that goes wrong won't be to stone the next bus, burn the next building, avenge and hang everyone or to castrate all rapists.   

FAILED MOBOLOGY

First, the Failed Mobology that is quite evident. Sushil Shinde said that the police were but helpless to beat anyone and everyone because it is difficult to differentiate goonda and gentleman in a violent mob. If that defines their mobology, it only shows how inept they are with understanding of the problem(s) they are created to solve. When you are in power, you can get away with anything - even with gross blatant ineptitude. Blame the problem, while you're at it - but then, you are in power so that you can handle it. Any one can wield a stick and use it as best can.

One of the reasonable requirements of riot police is to exercise more control than the mob has, and not just beat it when it becomes difficult for them to control. What sport of expertise is that? That would be the basic non-contradictory function to the purpose they exist. Are we trusting administrative prowess that is essentially inherently totalitarian but one we resort to because, haplessly, that's always going to be all we can ever do about it (beat the protestors when we're done getting bugged with them)? How does the same government that is completely blameworthy on their inaction get away with beating people away when they protest against it? The condition of as-long-as-it-is-not-violent doesn't really suit any sort of logic. They cause the logic. Perhaps Manmohan Singh should speak some more. If his responses are a little more on the spur of the moment, and during the moment (not after it has died) , yet as reasonable as they are now - or maybe even more, it would serve the purpose of quelling protests before they start without the use of riot police. 

That way, mobology has more to do with pre-preventive steps based on understanding how people and society works, by people themselves, promoting better societal principles that set a healthy precedent as opposed to post-remedial and mostly totalitarian steps, blaming the uncontrollable mob for your failures. The latter method has no understanding of how people and society works. 

More soon...