Ramblings on a Word – Anathema

Viewpoint

branches
Image by Shelly Paul

Anathema – much despised, accursed

Today, I read a news headline about how the world has been brought to a standstill by COVID-19. This type of news headline is not uncommon in times of great calamities, where planet Earth and human beings are used interchangeably, as if these words are synonymous, as if we are the world.

I find myself using these terms interchangeably and bite my tongue as I realize my ignorance stemming from the arrogance of being human, because as grand is the human ego, we are not the world. We are just one species on this magnificently intricate planet and as such we belong to the Earth. The Earth does not belong to us.

Therefore, the world has not come to a standstill because of the novel strain of the Coronavirus, humanity has come to a standstill which is actually a good thing for Mother Earth and our sibling creatures on this planet. Continue reading “Ramblings on a Word – Anathema”

Ramblings on a Word – Corruption

Golconda forts, hyderabad.
Image by Shelly Paul

Trolley Tales – Madras and DC

Corruption – Corrosion of functionality

Have you ever stood by the luggage carousel at the airport, watching baggage flow down the conveyor belt in large intermittent bunches?

Well, if you stood at the international airport in Chennai, you’d see a few hundred people at crowded around a carousel with their eyes fixed longingly at the vertical flaps at the beginning of the conveyor belt waiting for the bags to appear. After an interminable wait, one or at the most two large suitcases would traipse down on the pleated rubber sheets.

After it gets picked up, the empty conveyor belt would do two more rounds before the entire sequence repeats itself at an excruciatingly slow pace. The passengers – several of whom would have flown half way around the world, would have finished their disembarkation process in less than thirty minutes but would have to wait for nearly two hours before they can pick up their bags and leave the airport.

On our trip to India last year, the frustrations of the slow filling baggage carousel at the Madras airport were compounded by trolley complications. Continue reading “Ramblings on a Word – Corruption”

Countering misinformation – fake pork story

typewriter
Image by Shelly Paul

Recently, I came across a news-post about the purported correspondence by the mayor of Dorval city, Quebec about refusing to remove pork from the school canteen menu as requested by the local muslim community.

The so called “note” contains some harsh words for the muslim community from the mayor, chastising them for not adapting to their adopted country, which seemed fitting in the context. Turns out, that article was a hoax.

The muslim community living in Dorval city, never made such a request, and therefore there was no response from the mayor or anyone. This fake-news was an attempt to divide the community by pitting the muslims against the rest of the city population. This fake news has been circulating since 2015. Continue reading “Countering misinformation – fake pork story”

Ramblings on a Word – God

Resurrection, St.George Church, Edappally, Kochi
Image by Shelly Paul

A monologue with God because dialogue seems impossible

God – The Omnipotent, Omnipresent, benevolent creator of this world

Hello God,
I have heard so much about You, growing up. I hear You are a kind, benevolent, just and fair God, although I am not sure if that was the case when You tested Abraham’s faith.

By the way, I am not here to discuss the Bible. I want to talk to You about money. Why do You need so much money? Why does The Almighty, who created this universe in a week, with a day to spare, need so much of his favorite creation’s legal tender? Continue reading “Ramblings on a Word – God”

Ramblings on a word – Democracy

Kathy D/happy july 4th
Kathy D/Paper and ink imaginings

Democracy – Self-governance of the people, by the people, for the people.

In his farewell address to the nation, President George Washington gives sage advice to the fledgling republic he helped found, as it tries to find its footing in self-governance, in an era of feudalistic societies.

Among other things, he lays down a case for self-governance without political parties. He puts forth a well thought out argument as to how the mere existence of political parties could imperil our democracy, because by their very nature political parties stand to benefit from factionalism and divisiveness. They achieve this by false propaganda, pitting communities one against the other, thereby weakening the Union.

He writes, “One of the expedients in party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.” He cautions the voter, “You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations.”

Given the unmitigated levels of toxicity in election campaigns and the corruption in our government, the truth in these eloquent words, sounds prophetic. What if we lived in a world as advocated by our first President?

Imagine, an election cycle without any political parties – no democrats, no republicans, no green or any other party. An election cycle, where the individual candidate, unbeholden to any political party, does not have to lean either left or right, but stand upright and run for public office only on the strength of their credentials and beliefs. Continue reading “Ramblings on a word – Democracy”

Ramblings on a word – Hypocrisy

brokenglass/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

An Ode to Hypocrisy


Hypocrisy – the gap between word and deed, between the image of virtue and its reality

O hypocrisy! The juice that binds our dysfunctional society together. You make it possible for us to look civilized and not require us to be civil.

You let us sophisticate the barbarianism of war with technology and perpetuate injustice through the semantics of law.

You let us dilute moral principles that keeps the human society functional and let us call it moral relativism.

You let us hide condescension within acts of charity and hide double standards in eloquent verbiage.

You give us rituals to escape from the truth about ourselves. Thus, we can repeat our sins without compunction, because there is easy absolution. Continue reading “Ramblings on a word – Hypocrisy”

Ramblings on a word – Charity

Charity – Alms, Philanthropy

You try to get out of the grocery check-out line after paying for the purchases, when the cashier pops the question, ‘Would you like to donate a dollar to such-and-such charity?’ You look around and see a lot of cardboard balloons with names on them, which brings to mind a related TV commercial, and you wonder how much of your charity buck goes to the ad agency.

The corporations who are the latest human beings, are charitable too. ‘For every product you purchase from us, we will donate 50 cents to such-and-such charity.’

Coercive philanthropy in thirty seconds: Continue reading “Ramblings on a word – Charity”

Viewpoint – “Father of the Nation”

Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi / Source Wikipedia

When I saw the statue of Mr.Gandhi being unveiled in London’s parliament square; Mr.Cameroon giving a speech to mark the occasion while sharing the stage with India’s number one celebrity Mr.Amithab Bachchan, the ludicrousness of it all became unbearable. So I thought it was time I explained to the younger generation why Mr.Gandhi is the father of India.

Mr.Gandhi is the father our nation because he was the only leader who went through untold suffering while leading the masses to freedom.

Being one to shun the spotlight, he decided that he would leave politics as soon as his beloved nation was granted freedom by the Colonial British. In comparison, Mr. Nelson Mandela Continue reading “Viewpoint – “Father of the Nation””

Nation Dysfunction – The Magnanimous Minority

marionette
Image by Shelly Paul

When the economy began to self-destruct, the government of the nation of Dystopia took drastic actions to mitigate the catastrophe. It resorted to well touted austerity measures.

A majority of government funds were diverted from various departments to stem the financial hemorrhage, which resulted in a budget crunch. Since a balanced budget is paramount, after much deliberation marked by tormented debates and emotionally charged discussions, the elected members to the parliament decided with a heavy heart to stop funding essential services to the public.

Since the public needed these services at any cost, the government made the inevitable decision to privatize core government services. Everything, from schools to prisons, was contracted out to private entities. To pay the private contractors, taxes were raised on the majority of the population. The billionaires and the zillionaires were shielded from any tax increase, since Continue reading “Nation Dysfunction – The Magnanimous Minority”

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 ..you’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”