My Fascination with Hinduism

sunset at vellore/shelly paul
Image by Shelly Paul

A religion’s origin, that is lost in time. A religion, that has survived the influx of many other religions, cultures, its own corruption and foreign invasions. After several thousand years, Hinduism is still the predominant religion in today’s India. It is more a way of life than a religion. It permeates into everything that’s Indian. That is why it is hard to separate India from Hinduism. Everyone who is born Indian does have a degree of Hinduism within them doesn’t matter the religion they are born into currently. Continue reading “My Fascination with Hinduism”


Comment – Charlie Hebdo

While absorbing the news about the fanatical murders of the Charlie Hebdo staff, I was reminded of something Mr. Lewis Black said on a talk show. In the stand-up routine, ‘The End of the Universe’, he wraps up the show talking about faith. He talks about the importance of balancing faith with a sense of humor. In course of the segment, he says, “…and that’s what happens when you don’t laugh. You get all wound up in what you’re believing in and nobody goes ‘eh,heh’ and you’re’re screwed.”

That is the role of a satirist in our society; to go ‘eh heh’, when group-think takes over people’s minds. Especially in today’s era of ubiquitous information, it is easy to isolate ourselves by cherry picking whatever suits us without Continue reading “Comment – Charlie Hebdo”

Comment – NY Times Article

urbanscape/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

Recently, I happened to read an article in New York Times that impressed me with its blunt honesty.

Titled “The Charitable Industrial Complex” it’s an article written by Peter Buffet, son of Warren Buffet. The article discusses something he calls ‘Philanthropic Colonialism’. He sheds light on the expanding income inequality, the role the rich and the powerful play in its creation and perpetuity.

At one point he writes about a ‘philanthropy meeting’ between heads of state and the vested rich: “All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left.”

In conclusion he asks, “Is progress really Wi-Fi on every street corner? No. It’s when no 13-year-old-girl on the planet gets sold for sex.”

It’s a short, crisp atypical piece in The NY Times. If you have the time, please read it. Click here to read the article.

Mother India’s Daughters

How did Mother India get to a point, where an innocent young girl was raped, torn apart and discarded on the side of the road bleeding, to death? While an angry nation spilled out on the streets to protest, a tender, fifteen year old was being gang raped in Bihar. Yet another young rape victim from Punjab killed herself after being subjected to the pornographic interrogation by the police.

In an effort to diminish the protests, the shameless and irresponsible police along with the criminally negligent government have the audacity to blame the atrocity on the victims themselves, by talking about cosmetics and discotheques.

What has make-up and disco got to do with a woman being raped? Continue reading “Mother India’s Daughters”

Comment : Why Assange is Wrong

For a person who fights tooth and nail against the government’s lack of transparency, Julian Assange is a very opaque person. His personal life aside, he is highly secretive about the way he goes about his method of journalism. He does not reveal any sources, either financial or otherwise.

One might argue that he is not required to answer any questions. But his method of journalism raises several questions. If his sources are secretive how does one determine if these secret whistle-blowers are not pursuing an agenda of their own? Therefore how does one determine if the leaks are objective or cherry-picked information to fill in the frame of a desired picture?

Where does his funding coming from? Continue reading “Comment : Why Assange is Wrong”

Sea Legs

sea-legs/port charlotte
Port Charlotte

I like the beach. I like the waves pounding the shore, the sun disappearing into inky blue waters. But I hate being on a ship. This was my discovery on a recent five-day cruise.

It was an exciting moment when we boarded the ship. It was late afternoon, our cabin was cute as a button as it was spick and span. We settled down nice and easy. The docked ship rocked ever so gently. As she sailed, the scenery improved. It looked like the beginning of another great vacation.

The next morning we walked around the ship enjoying the scenery. It was a beautiful sight watching the sun come up over endless waters, as the ship tore through dark-blue waters, throwing frothy white surf in its wake. The tranquility of all this did something wonderful to the soul.

The ship itself had an air of gaiety about it. There was live music on the open deck. Children were jumping around in the shallow pool, splashing water all over as they came through the slip-and-slide. The guests were trying to make most of the tropical sun, as they sipped their beverages on deck-chairs. The hospitable crew was all over the place trying to make the trip as memorable as possible. It was a festive sight worth cherishing.

I took in all this despite a vague sense of unease from all the rocking and the swaying of what were standing on. As the day progressed, I developed a slight headache. The liquidity of the ocean was beginning to upset me.

In the next few days, all the rolling and rollicking finally got to me and I became ill, unable to leave the cabin. I clung to the safety of the bed as I felt the roiling ocean inside of me.

I felt like a protractor on the captain’s chart going through every angle that were possibly there. Now the ship flattened and stretched me into an obtuse angle. Soon after that I was thrown into an acute angle. When the ship pushed me close to the perpendicular, I wish I were dead.

It was a difficult few days after that, as I pined away for the solace of solid earth. It annoyed me to see other people – including my husband – who not only found their sea-legs, but were standing on a steady pair, while the shaky world was spinning all around me.

I was incessantly hungry but the sight of any food nauseated me. It especially annoyed me to watch my husband, who has a moderate appetite on land, become a voracious glutton on the ocean. He wolfed down a heaped plate, while I struggled through a piece of bland toast.

The general cheerfulness of the ship and its people depressed me as I yearned for land. When we stepped off at the docks at the end of the cruise, I was tempted to fall on the good earth and kiss her.

So, let me reiterate my earlier point: I love the clear turquoise waters, I love the moon-beams shimmering on the ocean, I love the star-lit sky above, but I hate sea-travel, as I have no sea-legs.

When Words are Futile

afterlife/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

What do you tell someone who lost a loved one recently? How do you console someone in bereavement when, even the most eloquent of words seems trite and superfluous? These were the questions that arose in my mind when I rang up my cousin, who had just lost his father.

Although not very close, my uncle was a permanent part of the childhood memories of my summer vacations. His departure was sudden and came as a shock to me. So one can imagine the blow it dealt to his immediate family – my aunt and cousins. On the day before his unexpected demise, he spent most of the day in the house of his eldest son, who invited his siblings and their families, at his father’s request.

When I heard the news, I knew I had to call him to offer my condolences. That’s when I realized Continue reading “When Words are Futile”

American Naiveté

An uncomfortably strange first and last name, a middle name that could evoke fear in some. Then there is the discussion of his degree of whiteness and blackness, inexperience, Bradley effect to name a few. Despite all these attributes, Barack Obama a Professor of the Constitutional Law, seemed like the oddest of ducks to run for the Presidency. He simply did not seem to fit in to the formulae of a typical American running for the President. Continue reading “American Naiveté”