Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunitha Krishnan

Beyond what was said on the surface, this talk stands out for a different reason. Generally, a victim tends to become bitter after the experience. It is only on occasion that a person emerges stronger after the incident. Sunitha's life where she does that is perhaps more important in that context. On the same token, perhaps, victims should be helped and thought this way of life - to remain strong and live their life with conviction, and not feel like a victim. Sex slavery is not news (I am sad that this is in India), but the fact that people will gang rape a three or four year old child until her entrails spill out is. We live among those people, and that is the scariest thought of all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Celebrating everything

I remember this movie scene from "thambi". The head of the house decides to cut a tree in front of their house. He even works with a person to arrange to sell the wood after the tree is cut. The hero doesn't like this. So at night when all are asleep, he smears sandal paste at the base of the tree. He then adorns it with "kungumam", nails a photo to the tree. The next morning, he wakes up to see women praying in front of the tree and his father telling the person he arranged to sell the wood to that he can no longer sell the tree!

Another incident:  For a few days after I listened to "Manikandan Geethmala" the first time, looking at anyone wearing the "mala" to go to "sabarimalai" would evoke a sense of awe and respect towards that person. Suddenly, the fact that they were making this trip no longer seemed ordinary.

A third incident: This is actually a movie. Bill Murray is a news journalist who covers "Groundhog Day" every year. Needless to say, he is bored to death doing it and detests this ritual. Life (yes, the program run by the big G Himself) decides to teach him a lesson. I won't spoil the "how" of it - watch the movie yourself! In the end, he turns out to get enamored by the event and how he ends up covering and narrating the event for the rest of the town forms the story.

In all these events, the same incident was viewed as mundane and sacred in differing instances. It is a perspective. Once you view anything as sacred, you end up celebrating it. And there are also no boundaries or rules regarding what you perceive as sacred. You can go grunting to your bath or you can go dancing!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Personal goals

A lot of self-improvement programs ask people to list or create personal goals. Many people come up with objectives over the next few years for short term goals, and their end of life objective as well. But many of these tend to be in the physical realm. That is, reaching a position, or earning X amount of cash, visiting Y number of countries and so on.

It's fine, but I think a truly worthwhile personal goal should change who you are. For example, let us say you have a problem with religion or race (you are intolerant of a religion or race). Your day-to-day situations will be reflective of this. However, at places where you cannot express this, say at office, you will behave "socially" or "professionally". It is a struggle for you and the person on the receiving end. A worthwhile personal goal might be to drop this limitation.

An enlightening journey in personal goals would be to drop one limitation after another in series. This would also help [multifold] in the material objectives as well.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Story of Stuff - Cap and Trade

Ann Leonard, who gave us Story of Stuff, is now back with the story of cap and trade, just in time for the meet @ Copenhagen. This is a 10 minute video, and is definitely a must watch.

I don't yet fully understand this - the video itself doesn't delve into details and additional research is required. But there is already a jittery feeling about this concept. In the first place, I really don't understand why middlemen are required to moderate this concept. The "carbon permit" concept in itself is crazy and I think it must be "carbon cap". Additional laws that move away from fossil fuels and over period to renewable sources are required. "Cap and Trade" looks dangerously like an eyewash.

There is a classic moment in the video where the corporation hands a CFL light bulb to the citizen and the TV flashes "all is okay". We all know CFL's are nowhere close to the solution. Nor is asking the citizen to switch off fans and lights before leaving the room. As good as applying band-aid on an arm that just got amputated!

Copenhagen is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I hope some inspired leadership takes charge of the situation and does something really tangible and sincere in the onslaught of an impending climate crisis. I am really hoping against hope. And much thanks to Ann for bringing this to light.
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