Monday, December 19, 2011

The working of a thief's mind... A True Story.

Two weeks ago (November-December 2011) a friend of mine was returning from Mysore and got off the bus at Mysore road to take an auto to go home. He flagged down the only auto around then, which had 2 guys sitting in the driver's seat; he protested this and  then the  driver assured him that the other guy was his friend and that he would be in the auto only for a short distance. As it was late in the  night and  there being  no other autos in sight, my friend got in……. against his better judgement.
After a short distance, the driver's 'friend' came and sat at the back with my friend ; and then the driver drove off the route into  a narrow gully and stopped the auto. What ever you are  anticipating with dread, my dear reader, happened. The driver and his pal, threatened my friend and asked him to hand over his wallet. My friend quietly did what he was told  and then asked  the two blackguards, “How am I to get to my home now? I have nothing”.
Upon hearing  this, the driver  handed over  one hundred rupees and  sped away!
This incident makes me wonder about Bangalore criminals…….

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stuck in the India of 2004

I left Bangalore in 2004 to immigrate to Canada. Now, after two visits to Bangalore and  almost 8 years later, I am realizing how I am still stuck in the Bangalore of  "2004". I have great difficulty getting used to the new Bangalore. There are so  many changes  and sometimes I feel that   "Everything" in Bangalore  has changed. Everything seems like new and accepting this change is such an effort.

The increase in people, traffic and prices is one huge change.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Small Town India

A Small town school near Bangalore:
I am a school teacher. I have been so for the last 20+ years. Since the last few years I have been teaching English at a private co-ed school in Nelamangala.
In the 20+ years that I have taught school children, I have found my job very fulfilling and satisfying, though there are many challenges such as my low salary which is not able to keep up with the inflation; my failing health; the increasing workload and long work hours standing on my feet. But anyway I am not here to talk about myself but about my Nelamangala students.
Nelamangala, for those who have not heard of this place, is a small town, near Bangalore. About 30 years ago, travelling to Nelamangala from Bangalore, one passed agricultural fields of rice, ragi, groundnut and coconut before reaching the bustling bus stand in Nelamangala. Now, the agricultural land is covered by residential and office buildings, factories and shops. The population, traffic and noise has gone up and one cannot recognize the land anymore.
Nelamangala is now booming. Lots of farmers sold their agricultural land to builders and land developers and became rich overnight. This wealth is reflected in their homes and lifestyles.
The school I am teaching in has students from these nouveau riche families and also from families who are not doing so well such as farmers whose crops have failed, small businesses which have failed or have difficulty staying afloat.  While I was teaching here about 5 years ago, I had faced the same kind of children’s problem behaviours I had faced  during the first 15 years of teaching in Bangalore schools. These included behaviours such as copying in the exams, lying and truancy.
However I am now facing such impossible-to-handle-behaviours in this school that I am not sure whether I should continue or quit.
The new crop of problem behaviours seen recently included the theft of the class register. This had never happened before.
 Copying in exams, was there even earlier and is nothing new. But a new more serious problem/crime occurring is the stealing of notes belonging to the hard working and bright students, especially at exam time. This is such an aggravating and to me, unpardonable crime but something I am unable to handle though I am trying my best. The unfortunate thing is that the school management is not doing anything about it, inspite of repeated complaints! Apart from severely derailing  the academic life of sincere and studious students, this theft reflects the development of anti-social , callous, behaviour in youth of this school. I have advised the students who lost their notes to be more careful and to write their notes in sheets of paper than books. But this advise is not acceptable due to the rigid demands of some teachers who want the notes to be written in books rather than in sheets. The rigid following of archaic rules by the school system is another thorn in the flesh for me. {The rigid following of rules is one of the features of small town people! Bigger the city, more modern the people, greater the flexibility.Smaller the town , greater the unquestioning rigid adherence to rules}
And the behaviour which in some ways, portends doom for (1) the students of this school or (2)the people of Nelamangala or (3) maybe the whole of India
is the "absolutely disgusting behaviour & attitudes of boys towards the girls in their schools".
That boys will be attracted to girls and vice versa is true especially in their teenage years. I readily accept that. But small town India’s culture expects boys to not interact with girls .
The double standards, Indians have for boys and girls also make the punishment for girls more severe if they talk to boys . And it is the boys who are forcing their unwanted attention on girls who want nothing to do with them!
Boys and girls desire to interact is an age old phenomenon. What is new now is the technology. Literally all students have cell phones and the myriad ways the cell phone is used by the boys to harass the girls is unnerving! These few anti-social boys manage to get the cell phone number of the girls they are interested in and send romantic messages to the girls who are either not interested or even if interested, will get into serious trouble with their parents, if they respond. The girls have complained to me and other teachers but the school management is not willing to take the culprits to task. The girls have complained to their parents and some fathers have even managed to identify which boy is messaging. But taking the boy to task has no effect. The boys have become brazen and cannot be cowed down. They threaten the girls and their parents too! In the end, the girls cell phone is taken away from them or worse, the victimized girls are made to discontinue school!
I have tried to deal with this issue. I have confronted the boys but they deny sending messages…with a smirk on their faces. I have tried to tell them to put themselves in the shoes of the girls they are harassing, tried to tell them to think how they would feel if their own sisters were sent such messages, but to no avail. It is like they have become hardened and do not have even a vestige of conscience, though they are barely 16 !
What will happen to these boys when they are adults, if they are like hardened criminals at 16?
What is happening in India? What is happening to the morality in small towns? I am now convinced that there is a greater filth and lesser morality in these small towns than in the larger cities such as Bangalore.
How do these boys get away with these behaviours? I fail to understand why the school management does not think that girls being harassed in so many ways by boys  and not feeling safe in school is a serious issue, needing immediate attention. Every child has a right to be safe, to feel safe and a right to receive good education. Ideally a child should be safe anywhere; at the least, a child should be safe at home and school.....if the girls do not feel safe in school, then the school is seriously guilty and has to be severely punished! 
 Is the school management afraid of being harassed by the boys’ parents if they take action against them? Are the parents of these boys, notorious characters themselves who are poor role models for their sons? Maybe.

I am fully aware that there has been a rise in crime in Nelamangala recently. The sky-rocketing prices of land has lead to major crimes such as murders. For example,  one of my student’s father   was murdered and this was followed by other major issues in this student's family.
That the police accept bribe and let go of criminals is another well known fact and people simply prefer to put up with the crimes they are victims of, than go to the useless or worse, the  corrupt  police.
I have had a much easier time dealing with boys in private schools in Bangalore. The mere threat that I will tell their parents or that I will talk to the principal was enough to make them change. But in this small town, the boys are untamed rowdies. It makes me shudder to visualize these kids being in college. They are probably the type who will migrate to Bangalore and spend time teasing women on the streets and be hired by politicians during organized strikes.
What is tragic is that this rowdy type behaviour in boys can be easily nipped in the bud by the school management and parents. But the school management is indifferent; many parents are themselves guilty of many wrong-doings and will not bother about setting their sons right; the community as a whole, lacks a sense of community or ‘we-feeling’ and is being divided by economic and caste differences. There is rot everywhere …in the police, all government offices. Even the homes are torn apart by fights over property, dowry issues and domestic violence.  Surrounded as they are by such role models in the home and community, impressed as they are by films which depict the same, I suppose it is unrealistic of me to expect these boys to grow into model citizens.
Please do note, that I have not put in the worst behaviours I have observed in the students in this article. I feel such a sense of shame and sorrow thinking of these behaviours. Why can’t these boys feel that? Why cannot the other teachers and the parents feel that?
I believe that unless empathy and decency is taught to our children, there is no hope for India. Unless, the elders in the community have empathy and decency, the youngsters are not going to develop them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Noirs: Recently read the book, Delhi Noir’ edited by Hirsh Sawney and published by Akashic Books. It’s a collection of 14 short stories (crime fiction set in Delhi) by different writers. The writing styles of all the authors was fast paced & excellent and I finished the book in a day. Being crime stories, they held my attention.......but the stories did  kill what little innocence/naiveté I had in me!

What turned my stomach the most were the two  themes which recurred often that is betrayal of trust and corrupt cops(corrupt cops is actually just  betrayal again).   I am not even sure if I really 'enjoyed' reading the book  the enjoyment one has while eating a delicious chocolate or listening to a favorite tune.  I was revulsed by the stories but  could not put the book down! As I had been to Delhi  years ago and found the people especially men  behaving  badly(towards women in particular), the stories rang true, which made the stories even more appaling. Every one of those awful stories could actually be true!
For a few days, after finishing this book, Delhi seemed to be  the worst place on this planet with nary a decent soul in it and  I thought that I should never ever go there! Of course, I recovered from this deep sense of revulsion. Daily interactions  with decent people and seeing  decent actions daily will restore one's  faith in humanity pretty soon.

While returning the book, I flipped through the pages and discovered  that this publisher has published a whole lot of Noir books set in other cities too and these included cities I had alreaady visited or am planning to visit. There are at least 30 published and 14 forth coming books including  New York noir, Baltimore noir, San Francisco Noir, Los Angles Noir, D.C. Noir, and even a Cape Cod noir!

I love New York & I love San Francisco and have visited both many times; Same goes for D.C, Havana & Baltimore. I had great times there and never felt unsafe or threathened and found the people friendly, hospitable and helpful.  I am sure as hell, going to face  a massive cognitive dissonance when I read the  noir fiction set in these cities! How am I going to deal with it???

I know I can deal with noir fiction set in Bangalore (not seen a Bangalore Noir yet) my native city ; I know that there is rampant crime in Bangalore now, with corrupt politicians, the land mafia, corrupt police and even corrupt judiciary. I have been a victim of crime in Bangalore and hence a Bangalore noir will not shock me.
 I can deal with noir fiction set in Toronto (this book exists but I have not yet got my hands on it);   but I simply cant imagine dealing with/enjoying noir fiction set in places beloved to children, such as Orlando; or a city I have always loved but never seen such as Paris. My rigidity also prevents me from even contemplating noir fiction set in, say Tirupati .

 But reality tells me that probably these cities too  are fertile grounds for noir fiction!

PS: Since the last two days I have been reading the Haiti Noir. I  am  not going to finish this book. I dont have what it takes to read about such heartbreaking and terrible things people can do !
I am also going to postpone reading the other noir books for now. This book has so depressed me that I now, urgently need something to rebuild my faith in human beings. Maybe I should I read a nice romance with a happy ending. A Wodehouse or a Georgtte Heyer should cheer me up!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason, an Icelandic author is set in Iceland. A fast paced book, which I cant put down! Read it if you get it! Or try to get it!

Monday, October 31, 2011


I recently saw my eight year old neice  in her Bharatha Natya outfit (clothes, jewels, makeup including makeup for eyes). She is a beautiful young kid who looks like any other eight year old in her usual clothes.
She however looked so much older when she had Bharath Natya gear on ! I simply did not like how old she looked ! She did look very pretty but so much older than her eight years !

Analyzing what contributed to her 'older' look, I find these things to be the culprits contributing to her aged look: The lines drawn around her eyes; the head jewels and her single plait(two plaits make a child look young while one plait, with central parting makes one look older); her Bharatha Natya  costume itself made her appear older as it is designed for a woman's body  than a child's; the oiled or gelled hair  under the burden of so many jewels such as the Chandra, Surya and the long thing on her parting in addition to the two pieces running along the two sides of her head ( I cannot find  names of these jewels on the internet !)

I wish the dance teachers of Indian dances made changes to the clothes worn by the dance students.  There has simply been no change or evolution to the Indian Classical  dance change in the clothes and jewels, no change in the music and also in the steps, since ......ever since I can remember i.e. at least 2-3 decades !

I have seen the changes and evolving of other dance types for example the dances which fuse eastern and western styles, eastern and western musical instruments, etc......but there seems to be no growth happening where Bharath Natya is concerned. Is it because the dance professionals believe that change is wrong? I do not know. But I wish they did change and incorporate the modern elements in the dance, music, clothes, make-up, themes, lyrics of the Bharatha Natya.

When I see little kids doing Bharatha Natya at various functions I clap dutifully at the end but I am not  really happy about so many aspects of the kids performances. It looks like the kids are performing very adult stuff especially some of the themes, stories and emotions depicted in the dances. It is not age appropriate and the little ones seem clueless about what they are doing(the emotions on their faces are all wrong or they are blank...especially the three and four year olds who perform on stages!)

I wish the Bharatha Natya dance Gurus came up with new dances and themes appropriate to the age of younger dancers i.e. kids. I also wish they changed the clothes and make up used on child dancers of Bharatha Natya.

My question to the Bharatha Natya Gurus is : Is change such a bad thing??? Does classical mean,  "To stagnate and never evolve"?

Some changes to the Bharatha Natya I can think of offhand, are :
  • If they could develop Bharath Natya  around themes which are contemperory, which  impart  modern values(such as gender equality, democracy, womens rights, etc) instead of continuing to dance to the age-old themes of  ancient mythology, Bharatha Natya  would be relevent and current today.
  • Instead of the exaggerated grimaces of the limited nava-rasas (i.e. 9 emotions) , they could incorporate a multitude of emotions, and express  in a subtle than the exaggerated styles of old!


How to justify Krishna's stealing butter (one of the Bharatha Natya dance themes) to a child dancer of Bharatha Natya and also tell the same child that stealing is wrong?  While Krishna's stealing can be understood in a meaningful and different light by an adult, why confuse a child by telling it this story when it is too young to understand or asking it to dance a dance, which glorifies Krishna's stealing?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books I cannot find in Goodwill Stores of Toronto:

Books I cannot find in Goodwill Stores of Toronto:
I swing between 2 opposite beliefs, depending on what is happening to me at the moment and I cannot have faith in one belief like most devout people. When things are going Good, I hardly think of God or thank him briefly. When things are not going right especially for my friends or family (NOT ME), I lose faith in God and wonder if he exists at all!
Similarly I sometimes believe that one can get any book one wants at the Goodwill stores,  if one is patient enough to wait until one finds the book at this store…….at other times, I believe that certain books will NEVER EVER come to Goodwill stores and one is better off, buying the book in a used book store or book store or online. ( I am convinced one can get ANY BOOK online, if one is willing to pay).
Some of the books I want and did not get in Goodwill are books by authors like Stuart.M.Kaminsky (the inspector Rostnikov series), Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallender series, Modesty Blaise graphic novels by Peter O Donnell, Phantom & Mandrake comics by Lee Falk, Beetle Bailey comics, Beau Peep comics, novels by Haruki Murakami. One also cannot find authors like James Hadley Chase, Fredrick H Christian and Oliver Strange, Enid Blyton, in Goodwill, Canada(or anywhere else too as these are not new authors; Christian & Strange are also out of print; Blyton is constantly reprinted while Chase has been recently reprinted)
I can understand not getting Beau Peep comics----they are old, no longer in print and from Britain which means it is difficult to get them in Canada.
I can understand not getting Modesty Blaise graphic novels in the Toronto Goodwill stores: these graphic novels  have only been recently  republished in book form and only a few people i.e. those above 40 years seem to be aware of this comic-strip.…as we read it in our childhood when it was a newspaper strip in the 70s. I am sure the buyers of these graphic novels buy to collect and do not dispose it at goodwill stores. The same reasoning goes for not finding Phantom & Mandrake comics and Beetle Bailey comics.
I din't know that its impossible to find James Hadley Chase, who seems to be unknown to Canadian readers, even in the past; I can understand that Enid Blyton was more popular in India and other British ruled countries than in Canada; Canada produced  it’s own authors of children books and they had no need to import Enid Blyton books from UK; I know that the Western books by Christian and Strange, are maybe a century old and one may not find those books today; that other Western authors may have been more popular in Canada than the two British authors who wrote westerns i.e. Christian & Strange.
I cannot understand why I cannot find novels of Murakami, Mankell and Kaminsky in Goodwill stores ! Mind you, I am not saying I did not find even one…I did find about 8 of Kurt Wallander series, 2 of Kaminsky, one of Murakami in Goodwill but I cannot understand why my collection is not complete, though I have been searching for these authors for over 2 years!
Maybe buyers of Murakami are "Murakami collectors'' or anyone who buys a Murakami, keeps it is worth keeping and re-reading ( I read in the news that his new novel sold more hard covers than Kindle editon as his fans want to feel & own the book than own or read it on  kindle!)
Some authors I rarely find in Toronto’s Goodwill stores are P.G.Wodehouse, Alistair Maclean( I find more Alistain Maclean than Wodehouse). I also find books on Greek mythology & English Mythology (i.e. King Arthur,etc) in Goodwill but not much of mythologies from other cultures. Sometimes, one will find Indian, Egyptian, Native Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Norse mythology books. But it can take years to have all mythologies in one’s collection, if one depends on Goodwill. One can buy books one wants more quickly in online stores,in  new book stores and at the private used book stores, but then, one has to pay more!
 I did however buy several good  & a few really amazing books at Goodwill for which I am very very grateful! Some books I  bought in Goodwill and really cherish  are:
  • A few comics such as The Wizard of Id, Calvin and Hobbes, Herman, Charlie Brown,
  • Complete works of authors I like such as Lawrence Sanders, Dick Francis, Martin Cruz Smith, Alistair Maclean, C.J.Sansom, Le Carr, Salman Rushdie, Agatha Christi,
  • Many classics which are like brand new, hard bound, with original illustrations, faux leather bound with gilt edged pages and book marks such as Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom’s cabin, Charles Dickens works, etc.
One really rare book I got at Goodwill include a new looking illustrated copy of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, which may be more than a hundred hears old(There is no date of publication) . I  also  got a wonderful biography of Oliver Sacks, called Uncle Tungsten.
February 2016: Goodwill stores in Toronto are closed since January 2016. This seems to be due to the gross mismanagement of funds at the management level. I am appalled by the disgusting behaviour, lack of ethics and work-skills of the management of Goodwill stores, which were helping so many people of Toronto. It was providing employment to many people who are now jobless; it was providing cheap affordable items to lakhs of people in Toronto; these stores helped to recycle things which would otherwise been wasted. SHAME ON THE MANAGEMENT OF GOODWILL STORES. SHAME ON THE CEO OF GOODWILL.

Chinese Sati Savitri in San Francisco!

Chinese Sati Savitri in San Francisco!
On my recent trip to San Francisco, I was strolling around China town and saw a sight which reminded me of the countless stories of ''Pati-vra-te's'' i.e. Sati Savitri type women my grandmother told me about when I was a kid.
I saw an old  man, who seemed to be Chinese and about 70 years old, walking  up a steep road, with his arms clasped behind his back. Two plastic tubes were running from his nostrils to somewhere behind him. My eyes followed the tubes running from his nose to .......a bag slung on an old lady's shoulders...she was walking slowly behind him  with the aid of a cane.  I assume she was his wife ; she was lugging his oxygen container in a shoulder bag and following  him!
I asked my husband if he would lug my oxygen tank if the need arises when I turned old. Just as  expected, he  laughingly refused and said, “No way! I will put you in an old age home and run away with a young lady”.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yosemite National Park, California

Been to Yosemite National Park in California last week. It was beautiful ! I saw great big granite mountains, waterfalls, huge Sequoia trees, meadows and a few deer. There was fog in the morning, covering areas of the mountains; a play of shadows and sunlight on the granite peaks…… black shadows in some valleys and golden sunlight covering some cliffs, it is an amazing sight and one could take a hundred different photos of the exact same spot, at different times of day, night and  weather conditions.
We drove up 7000 feet to see Glacier point. I was amazed to see snow and experience chilly weather  at Glacier point after experiencing about 20 degree Celsius just before we started the climb.
Saw a girl at Glacier point, who, inspite of a board warning people not to go to the edge of the cliff, jump easily and smoothly to the edge and sit there, doing all sorts of antics (going to the very edge, lying down, taking photos, standing). She was watched by me and other tourists, who were pretty annoyed with her and asked if she was crazy. One guy, felt so sick seeing her at the edge of the cliff, he went away, unable to bear the sight! Then she was joined by two young guys, who were prudent enough to avoid the very edge but one guy had more antics up his sleeve than her. He posed on his hands in a horizontal position near the cliff edge!
I loved the smell of .....I am not sure if it was..... grass or if it was the evergreens in Yosemite. It is an amazing smell and I cannot describe it better than that. The water falls too were amazing. We saw the mirror lake and I loved the hundreds of places where water flows by, hitting rocks, creating beautiful white waters. 
The forest fires , on the way to glacier point, had darkened the trees and the colours around us were rich and beautiful…..reddish brown trees, blackened trees, white snow, grey granite cliffs, the evergreens leaves, the grey clouds with silvery sunshine at times, golden sunshine at times and an amazingly coloured sky in the evening dusk. I could not take photos of several things I liked for many reasons….we could not stop or park as we are on a mountain road, light was not good, against the sun, electric wires getting in the photo, the eyes see what the camera cannot capture (like the water drops on the fir trees looking like diamonds to my eyes but just not capture-able by the camera!)
I hope to visit Yosemite again and climb to the top of Vernal falls. I dont think I have what it takes to climb the famous  half dome.......this granite mountain reminds me of the Madhugiri Betta in Madhuguri, Tumkur district of Karnataka, India.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Linwood Barclay

Hey guys!

I discovered a new writer....Linwood Barclay. Reading his 'Fear the worst' now and enjoying it.
Hope to read more by this writer soon. His books are crime fiction thrillers which  are fastpaced  and hold your attention.

And guess how I heard about this of my clients told me  ....I work in an organization for developmentally delayed clients and one of these clients told me! It makes me think..... Wow!....if my client could read and appreciate this, where would she be if she did not have this damned delay.

Every day I am surprised by my client's strengths and abilities. I am humbled by their strengths and courage and the way they deal with their lot.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My cat's routine

My cat is a year old and has a fixed sort of routine, implying that it has a greater system and discpline than me !

It sleeps by 10pm (in the wash basin in the basement in hot summer ;  and on the sofa on the first floor in spring and fall;  and with us in bed in winter)
It wakes about twice a night, sits on my chest and rubs it's face into my neck for about 10 minutes and then goes away. Sometimes it falls asleep while rubbing it's face in my neck! Apparently many cats do this.
It wakes in the morning and comes mewing, trying to wake me so that I take it to the backyard where it watches out for squirrels, birds (starlings,woodpeckers and finches) and butterflies. It chews on the grass and tries to chase butterflies and wasps.(It got it's paw stung by a wasp once when it tried to catch one and it's more wary of wasps now!)
After this 15 minute walk in the back yard (on a leash, with me.....I am afraid it will run off or worse still, walk on/ eat the racoon shit in the garden) we go in .....and then it rushes around with such a burst of energy, it is amazing ! It acts berserk, running around, wanting me to chase it! It runs from one room to another, jumping on and off the sofa, hiding under the dining table, taking flying leaps from one place to another. If I have time, I chase it until it is tired and stops.
As I wake late on weekends, and do  not walk it in the garden,  it whines a bit and then settles itself in the bathroom window, looking out at the passing vehicles.
 I have seen this puss, sometimes trying to entertain itself, by pushing a granite ball, back and forth with it's paws, all by itself!
It eats on and off a few times a day; it poops(once a day) drinks it's water a few times a day and goes to sleep by 9 or 10 am. It sleeps the entire day until we get back home.
When I return from work, I  barely have time to  take off my outdoor shoes when it starts mewing at  expecting me to take it out to the back-yard immediatly !
We go through the same morning routine outside. It sometimes sits on a rock, basking in the evening sun. It sometimes, rolls on my neighbour's soft lawn. It likes to chew on dried twigs; I do not know why. I read a book, while it explores the back-yard. Often it does not want to return inside and whines or bites my hand or sits tight or rolls and refuses to get up....when it is time to go inside. Then I have to swoop down and carry it in!
When we come in, it wants to play again...I should either chase it or throw a ball at chases the ball and stops(does not fetch it like a dog).
 It loves to play i.e. chasing a ball or  a stick; trying to catch a thread shaken in front of it........It also loves to be chased and it loves to jump into boxes and bags lying around the house and hiding in thrusts itself into small brown paperbags, thinking, we cannot see it ! When in bed, it sometimes creeps under the bedsheet and bites our legs. It seems to love closed places and to be hidden. I try to make small spaces  for it such as a pillow placed on a sofa where it can go between the pillow and the sofa; I arrange books in piles and it likes to hide in the middle of the pile; it loves to be chased into the basement where it hides in the various empty boxes lying around. You only have to pretend to walk away, for it to come out and seek your attention again! This cat initiates play by running hard in your presence or by rubbing against your legs and running!
This cat is very specific with what it wants to do with whom; it wants me to chase it but it wants to chase my husband; it sits on me and pushes it's face into my neck when I am sleeping but it bites my husband's legs almost every night, in order to wake him or in play. It never sits on his chest and rub his face or bite my legs to get me to play.
The only variations in it's routine are:
 when it seems to be a bit sleepy/lethargic in summer and a lot more active in winter;
 it seems to be more on it's own in summer i.e. in the basement and more with us in winter;
Once in a while it vomits  (grass;  and some stuff, which I have been told is a hairball but does not look like a hair ball to me!)

This cat has certainly made me a bit more discplined than I would have been without it. Now, thanks to this cat, I have to walk it daily twice; Thanks to this cat, I have to be careful, not to throw things around the house, which it is likely to swallow. This cat has also made me  more cheerful and less grumpy. I cheerfully give up reading even in the middle of an exciting crime fiction if this cat wants me to play with it...........this is something I would not do for any person I think!

October 2011: The temperatures really fell this week and I did not walk this cat for the last two days. And is it ANNOYED! My poor cat is not yet feeling the chill like me and wants to go out....I do not want to as it is rainy and cold. I keep telling my cat, 'No', but it just does not get it. I did take it out in the rain for a few minutes, when it did not stop whining. After it got a few raindrops, it came in and finally stopped whining!
It is going to be tough in winter I think.....the cat wanting to go out and me refusing to take it! Today morning, it did not whine much, but was sitting in a sort of tight, huddled way, as if it was trying to keep warm. It did run about a bit and I gave it wants me to play with it by chasing, as a substitute for not taking it out. The poor thing is also feeling sad as I have just shut the bathroom window, it's perch for looking out at cars..........the windows glass is frosted and it can no longer look out. That window will remain shut till June of next year to keep the cold out and my poor cat will be with little visual stimulation! I hope I can fix something interesting for it to do and play, this winter..... October to June i.e. eight long months!

December 2011: More news of my cat
This cat's latest interest is cotton buds! I throw and it jumps after the cotton bud and attacks it like it were a rat( the cotton tip probably  makes it think that it is an animal with fur). I love to watch it chase the cotton bud......I throw it from the bed on which the cat & I are sitting on...then, the  cat  takes a flying leap from the bed  and skids  for a short distance before finally stopping and attacking the bud! I can watch this  leap and skid a hundred times and not get tired!
The other objects it loves to chase after include table tennis balls, cod-liver oil capsules, any small object like hairbands, small roundish objects that roll like peanuts, pomogranete least, these are the things I have thrown and it has chased.  I am not sure if I mentioned it earlier but it loves to place these things(it's playthings) in it's water mug and I have to periodically remove them! Right now, it's water mug is filled with cotton buds and one cod-liver oil capsule. Previously it was putting my hairbands ino it's water mug.
I have three dishes filled with water, so that  it can drink from one and store it's toys in the other dishes. But it insists on drinking from the mug it uses for storing it's toys!
Another thing I have discovered is that it loves to attack my finger when I insert it from a small crack in the box it is sitting in.(I was chasing this cat round the house and it jumped into a large cardboard box....then I tore a small opening in the box and put my finger in and wiggled. It pounced on my finger the moment it spotted it while I withdrew my finger for safety).

Sometimes I think that this cat not only  gives me a lot of funbut it is less trouble than kids. So maybe, it was wise of us to not have kids but own a cat instead!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is it Sickening Sycophancy and Grovelling Humility or is it merely Poor Language Skills of Indian Film Stars?

One of the most irritating things to watch on Kannada television is interviews of people in the television or movie industry. The obsequious flattery of the interviewer toward a person in the film/television industry especially if the person is a famous 'star' is to say the least, 'sickening' .  
Some of the things I really cannot stand are:
(1)Use of the word  'Sir', either before or after the name of the personality. "Ramu sir; you acted very well. I really enjoyed your acting Ramu Sir". Of all the obsequious behaviours, I think the use of the word Sir, irks me the most. I want to slap the interviewer each time he/she uses the word is about 100 times in a half hour interview!
(2) Often, the interviewee's skills are national or international or even local standards. Yet, the interviewee is never challenged during the interview. The interview is one of hundred percent flattery!
(3)There is of course no depth in the interview and one never gets the feeling of having heard or learnt something worthwhile.
(4)Now most interviews and programs on Kannada television have 25-50% or more of English words in them. It seems that the Kannada language has not evolved to accomodate today's ideas  and therefore people  are unable to express their thoughts in Kannada often intersperse their talks with English words and phrases.
It is ironical when the interviewee happens to be a 'Kannada' actor or film director or whoever and is unable to express his ideas in Kannada..... especially when these so called fighters for Kannada themselves cannot express their ideas in Kannada without using English words in their talks.
I  also find it hard to accept their half English and half Kannada conversations  when these folks   are constantly blocking the screening of other language films and serials in Karnataka.

(5)Several big shots in the  Kannada (and maybe the entire movie industry in India)Movie and television industry behave like megalomaniacs. I can accept poor acting and poor direction and poor everything else. What I cannot accept is their lack of talent coupled with their insufferable arrogance and despotic behaviour with the people lower down the ladder. They resent any criticism to boot!
If one reads the newspapers reviews of Kannada movies, one will see that the movies with the 'powerful' folks in it, will get a 'good' review, even if the movie is of pretty poor quality. The reviewer will go to any extent to find something good to say about the movie. The reviewers do not feel safe to call a spade a spade in Karnataka.
Apart from the megalomania of these film and televison stars who will not tolerate any criticism, we also have the absolute "hero-worship" of some or several people. I do not know whether it is sycophancy which makes them talk in such a manner or is it simply poor language skills?  I am convinced it is sycophancy and not poor language skills, as I do not see such fawning flattery anywhere outside the film and television world in India (except Indian Politics!...Indian politicians will take anything to newer  and worse-r depths!)
In India, you will see one megalomaniac film personality obsequiously bowing to another bigger personality! However he/she expects the same bowing and scraping from a lesser personality towards him/herself!

I do know that humility is a virtue in Indian culture; that showing respect to 'elders' is part of the Indian or Hindu tradition..........but humility and showing respect in Kannada film & television and Indian political fields is taken to the extreme extent of ass-kissing!(pardon my language).
I have not seen a single interview where the interviewee has been confronted about some particular piece of poor acting or direction or whatever. I have never seen any interviewee tell that they goofed up and will try not to do so again.
The interviews are such a farce, they are not even funny.
It is as if the Kannada film and televison personality is strongly averse to objectivity, truth, any critical analysis of their work, any reccomendations for improvement.

Here are 2 excerpts from 2 interviews of a Hindi actress and a Kannada actor I happened to find on the internet. I have highlighted in red, the sentences which I found most ridiculous, but which is repeated in various ways in various interviews of film folks. In fact, it is the sentences in red which made me write this piece. On Canadian television too (Omni...Hindi programs) I see the same obsequious behaviours of Indian film stars.

".....It was one of my dreams to work in a Yash Raj film. I'm terrified at the thought of working with SRK. I have watched him at an event and am dumbfounded by his energy. The shooting of our film is yet to begin and I wonder how I will manage to act with him......."
 Katrina Kif on September 6th 2011to Sonil Dedhia in an interview( movies)

".....I forgot that he(Devraj) was my father, but could not forget the fact that I was performing in front of a big actor. I was shivering....."
Prajwal Devraj  on August 10th, 2011 to  S.Shyam Prasad in an interview (Bangalore Mirror)

I know the two actors mean to express their humility or they probably mean to flatter SRK and Devraj. But is it necessary to show 'respect' by telling the world you are 'afraid'?

Generally I admire and respect the humility of most people coming from the east(Westerners seem to have a kind of  easy confidence or lesser humility  in comparision) But such words as " I am terrified at the thought of working with him" or "I was shivering..."  coming from the mouths of people from a egoistic filmworld, sounds so fake!

I do not know when the film goer in India finally stops his hero-worship;
I do not know when the Kannada film and television personalities will wake up and face reality....that they are lacking in quality and have a long way to go...
Until this happens, I will be fighting with my parents and siblings in India, trying to tell them not to watch television.........they will continue to watch and also defend the quality of Kannada cinema and serials....while I smash my head against a rock in frustration(literal translation of a Kannada phrase...Nanna  tale nanu che-chi-kolla-beku)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Physical health and mood states and Philosophical beliefs:

Physical health and mood states and Philosophical beliefs:

I am not sure if anyone has ever done a study linking physical health to the philosophical beliefs of a person; I discovered from my own  recent experience, that they can be strongly related!
I have come across several research work linking mood states to physical health , but none on physical health and philosophy.
I recently had a severe blood loss and was feeling extremely weak for more than two weeks. I did all that I read on the internet to fix it (except visit the doctor……….I am currently in a “Doctors-are-useless”, frame of mind) i.e. I took iron tablets, ate meat such as beef, ate iron rich food such as dhals & eggs(I dont think eggs and dhals are all that rich in iron) and  did not strain myself with physical work.
I lay on my bed, weakly, with thoughts going around in my head randomly. Somehow, I got to thinking about nihilism. And that Nihilistic  Philosophy seemed so perfectly logical !
 I tried to read a bit about other philosophies too but it was Nihilism which seemed to make perfect sense to me, at that point in time, when I was lying weak in bed!
Nihilism has been in my thoughts on and off, my entire life, ever since I discovered it while studying in college. It has attracted me, most when I am depressed, feeling hopeless or feeling physically sick.

Now, my question is, what was the state of physical health of the founders and followers of Nihilism? Did a physical checkup find that they were low in energy or blood sugar or something vital?
I am convinced that if the founders of Nihilism are given psychological tests, many are bound to score high on depression and other scales of mental illness. But it is not just mental illness or a mood disorder which can make a person think nihilistically. After my blood loss experience, I think an extreme bout of physical ill health can contribute to Nihilistic  thoughts.  What do you think?

 Of course, I have come across several sick people, who were stoic, cheerful and real gems... they were wonderful souls, all through their illness….trying their best to not be a  burden to others, trying to get better soon, trying to do as much as they can without adopting the ‘sick role’.

There are several research studies linking good physical health to good mood states and so many other positive things.

 I would like to also know, if there are any Nihilists in the world, who have excellent physical health, excellent mental health (i.e. they are cheerful; not schizophrenic; well adjusted in the world; have resilience in the face of difficulties; are honest and get along with people, etc) and are Nihilists, i.e. who do not believe in the meaningfulness of things or life. I would like to meet one if such a one exists, and ask him or her, “what makes you tick?”

Lack of scientific knowledge leading to social problems in incident

…………….My stream of thoughts go their meandering way till they reach my village folks fights and court cases!


This summer, as usual, we spent some weekends, driving around, soaking up the sun, enjoying the cool breeze(the  ac  in the car does not work, so we have to keep the windows open!) and stopping to take photos of anything which caught our fancy.
And ever since I have travelled  across  Canada and the US, the barns and silos  on the farms have caught my attention. I love the red barns in their various conditions…..falling down, new, old, semi-wrecked or totally wrecked. I have been photographing them and also reading about them on the internet. (…mostly on Wikipedia  which is  my latest GURU and probably will remain my Guru of Gurus, till I die !)
…When I read about how the cattle feed are stored in these barns and silos, read about the poisonous gases formed in the silos with the tons of feed in it and also read about the spontaneous fires in silos, I thought back of what my dad had told me recently.

My dad had told me about a huge fight between two neighbours in my village in India. The haystacks of one family had been burnt completely one night; this family had immediately suspected their ‘enemy’ i.e. his neighbour/relative with whom this family had a long feud.  The family whose hay-stack had burnt down, attacked the other family and accused them of setting their hay-stack on  fire. The other family, were furious and vehemently denied it;  the fight became violent and the head of the house of the accused family had to flee police arrest.
My dad knows both families and got a chance to talk to the man who fled from arrest. The man vehemently denied setting the fire and had proof that he and his family were no where near the hay-stacks when it burnt down .
In the light of this scientific knowledge from the internet, it is so easy to prove that the fire was not caused by a person but by spontaneous heating and combustion.
But who is to tell the family who lost a year’s worth of cattle feed in the fire, who are presently are seething  with rage? Even if one tried to explain, they are in no mood to listen. This fire is the last straw in a life-long series of fights over so many petty issues between the two families. Their belief that their ‘enemy’ set fire to their hay-stack is a culmination of so many factors…the long drawn enemity, lack of knowledge of science, lack of education, lack of trust, past memories of past ‘mischiefs’, etc. 
So many such incidents happen in Indian villages every year. I hear so many of them, though I am not a villager and have limited information about the goings on in my village.  Imagine, the full extent of such events happening daily in the millions of villages in India!
Unless, villagers have access to scientific education, which is of practical use to them and highly relevant to their lives and work, these 'social' problems in India will continue.
Due to lack of scientific knowledge, the number of avoidable tragedies I am seeing in Indian villages is phenomenal. The superstitions are another set of beliefs which prevent my villagers from progressing.
In my next blog entry, I will try to write about the tragedies in my village  caused  by  illiteracy, poor access to scientific information and presence of superstitions. I will be writing only what I have observed. I am sure there is a lot more problems out there, which I am not aware of as I am not living in a village and not privy to all that happens there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Different responses to the statement, “Guess what ? We bought a cat”

Different responses to the statement, “Guess what ? We bought a cat”
My fellow country man from India: “Why? Do you have rats in your house ?”
My colleague at work: “Hey. That’s great. What kind is it? Where did you get it?”
My fellow country woman(FCW) from Canada: “Why?”
Another FCW: “Why? You could have got a dog instead. Cats are not faithful”
Another FCM: “Why? Instead you could have had a child. Animals are not same as having children.”
Another Canadian: “Now you are a full Canadian”.
My sister: “That’s great! Is it a male or a female? What will you name it? Send me it’s photo”.
Another relative: “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
Another relative:” Don’t you have enough work? Why you want to get more trouble and work?”
Another relative: “How will you manage?”
Another FCW: “That’s great! I too have a cat.”
Another FCM: “Won’t it bite and scratch? How will you manage it when you travel?”
My dad:"Very good. You should have some pet at home."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Accident in Bangalore... and the need for "Contacts" to survive Bangalore

A couple I know were travelling by car on the Hebbal road. All of a sudden, a motorbike hit their rear and the biker and his companion fell of their bikes on the road. The couple got out and asked if the two were okay when their nightmare started!

The bikers, who were speeding and rammed into their car, from behind, started verbally abusing the couple and they were immediately supported by people on the road, none of whom had witnessed what happened. A police man was around, quickly came and took the report, as told by the bikers and did not heed the words of the couple in the car. The couple were so terrified by the hostile crowd outside the car,that they agreed to take the bikers to the nearby hospital and pay for the treatment.

The bikers started demanding to be taken to an expensive hospital (Columbia Asia hospital) and did not want to go to Baptist hospital, nearby. They relented only when the couple refused to pay for their treatment in Columbia.

The couple’s car was taken by the police and they were asked to pay a fine of 2000 rupees. No assessment of the accident was done, their side of the story was never heard and they were in fact told by the police that they were lucky to not be jailed!

This sort of incident happens over and over again, all over Bangalore, many times a day. What I learn from this incident is :

  • It does not matter as to who is right or wrong….the bully wins.
  • There is no assessment of the cause of the accident, no questions asked to understand how the accident happened, who is at fault, etc. The police who arrive simply write down the statements of the loudest guy and not of both parties involved.
  • The crowd which gathers around the scene, (if mostly of the lower class), will support the guy on foot or the guy in the smaller vehicle….the guy with the bigger vehicle automatically becomes the enemy of the crowd….there is absolutely no logic in their reasoning.
  • The best thing to survive this type of situation is to be aggressive from the outset, be aggressive/assertive with the other party and call in all your ‘contacts’ in the police or anyone with power to intervene. Do not be cowed down by the threats but retaliate. Do not fear the crowd but call for support on your cell phones immediately if the situation seems to be getting out of hand.
  • DO NOT expect Justice.
  • Be bold and be a survivor and I hate to say this but maybe, you should hit below the belt yourself if you are in danger. The Bangalore mobs are dangerous and will be against you even if you are in the right…..if you are not a Kannadiga; or if you are a youth who knocked down an old man(even if the old man jumped in front of your car when the lights turned green); of if you are in a bigger vehicle and the other guy is in a smaller vehicle. The crowd seems to become insane if a woman driver (God save her if she does not speak Kannada) is involved, even if she is entirely innocent!
  • Expect to be robbed when you are involved in an accident in Bangalore and you are in a 
  •   helpless situation…the chances of getting help from the crowd is about 50-50 depending on whether you had an accident in a ‘decent’ area or another area.

I know of an old lady, who was trapped inside an overturned autorickshaw. She managed to extricate her cell phone from her bag to call for help and someone snatched it from her bleeding hands even as she was trying to dial! (a crowd surrounded the auto to pull it upright and this guy stole it from her in the process of many people pushing the auto! Upright!)
I think anyone who steps out of their homes in Bangalore, should mentally prepare themselves for all eventualities and have some sort of plans for each of them. I am bitter and disgusted by Bangaloreans’ behaviour; by the increase in crime in that city and the utter indifference of the police and politicians.
Anyone in Bangalore should have ‘contacts’ to survive these types of incidents.
Anyone, who does not have ‘contacts’ and believes that he will get along if he ‘ is right’ and follows the rules, is sadly mistaken. You will be targeted and victimized in Bangalore by the unscrupulous and you will receive no support or justice from the people around you or the police. I have seen north Indian students victimized just because they do not speak Kannada. I have seen house owners harassing these students. Non Kannada speakers are victimized by bus conductors and auto drivers. And God save anyone who has to get any work done in a state government office! The insistence on Kannada, the use of Kannada in official documents, the refusal to talk in English to the clients by these government officers, once they know that the person does not speak Kannada is so disturbing.(Also the bribes to grease government employees to get the work done!)

If you are visiting Bangalore,I strongly recommend that you acquire ‘locals’ who are your friends and can help you in these types of unexpected difficulties
 . Contacts and greasing go a long way to making your life smooth in the current, corrupt Karnataka. I am a Bangalorean and I do know there are several decent people in Bangalore, but this couple’s accident and the people’s experiences I am hearing about now, is disillusioning me about Bangalore.
In my circle of about 200 families of friends and relatives, I have observed that the handful of families who have contacts (police and political and in high posts in the government), face less hassles in life than the several families without contacts! These privileged few seem to get seats in schools and colleges of their choice, face little difficulty in matters such as getting work done at a government office, getting jobs, etc. Because, these people happen to be my friends or relatives, I cannot even get angry! I am glad that at least some people have contacts/help which reduces their struggle! But I am sad that even simple things such as admission at a good school in LKG is such an enormous struggle for my family members and friends without  contacts (or enough moolah to bribe our way through)
I am advising a young lady, (currently in USA and planning to return to for good) to come back to Bangalore if & only if she has a powerful set of contacts in order to survive here.
In the USA, she was able to get all she wanted without having influence/contacts and without having to pay a single bribe….. She was able to get into a good university, get a good job, buy a house, put her kids in school, without any hassles. She thinks she can do the same here at Bangalore! No amount of my pessimism is able to suppress her bubbling optimism ! I hate to think of the let down she will experience when she finally comes to Bangalore!
I am off track again(from the accident) but let me add one last thing.
I may be a little biased in my perception but I am observing that youth from rich and or politically well connected families seem to want to return to Bangalore after their studies in the USA while the youth from less affluent families(without political connections) prefer to stay back in USA, Canada or wherever they go to study. The youth from certain areas of Bangalore want to return to Bangalore while youth from other areas, do not want to return. This demonstrates the impact of different experiences on the children who grow in different types of families and parts of Bangalore. Those who want to return had a great life in Bangalore as kids; those who do not want to, seem to prefer the life abroad than life in Bangalore.
I met a South Bangalore Girl (in USA)who said she misses her family, the eateries in Jayanagar, the shopping trips with her friends and wants to return.
I have also met a North Bangalore(Yelahanka) girl who faced so many disgusting experiences while growing up in North Bangalore …she hated the way women are treated by road Romeos in the buses and on the roads, she hated the autocracy of the professors in her college, the crowded buses, the attitude towards women at college and work places, even at home in families; she saw the difficulties her parents faced economically and other wise, and she does not want to return to Bangalore.
The sons and daughters of industrialists, politicians, etc return after they get their foreign degrees as their life in India is more comfortable and they can get in India what they do cannot get abroad…drivers, maid servants, cooks, VIP treatment in various places, huge bungalows, huge incomes and ability to evade taxes and connections which get them whatever they want as the law does not apply to them…they are ‘above the law’!
Life in USA or any of the other countries may have much to offer them  but they do not  relish being 'equal to others'. They  prefer the feudal hierarchy of India, where they are the top-dog!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Devil's Double

.....Saw this highly disturbing movie. I had known that it was based on 'true' incidents before I went to the movie  and I could not believe it when I actually saw the movie---how can a human being behave in such a depraved manner and be so heartless and cruel?

I was even more disturbed when I read more about this guy on the internet, after the movie. I think I will need more than a month, before I stop thinking about this movie.

I thought that Indian politicians and their families are the worst in the world...but even they seem like angels in comparision to this Uday Hussein!

Now, should I reccomend others to see this movie which so disturbed and nauseated  me... or should I keep quiet? Acting was good, direction was good but the character is so disgusting
.....should one pay to suffer a movie or should one pay and see only the enjoyable ones? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MUST-READ for all Asians planning to visit Saudi Arabia

Culture shock: Saudi Arabia  A guide to customs and etiquette by Harvey Tripp and Peter North
Graphic Arts Centre Publishing Company. 2003

This book is interesting, quick and easy to read. The authors have not tried to shock  but  you do get shocked when you read some of the macabre goings-on in SA especially their justice system.

If Asians or women  read this book and still want to visit SA, they either have a death wish or need go get their heads examined!

Monday, August 8, 2011

normality and abnormality

If a person who cannot ‘fit in’ a ‘sane’ society is ‘mad’, then

Is a ‘normal’ person who cannot ‘fit in’ a pathological society ‘mad’?

I will not go into the details of normality and abnormality as you can read excellent articles on it in various texts of psychology and psychiatry.(Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry by Kaplan and Sadock, which edition I do not remember. Sorry! And the old text). My concern here is people’s adjustment today in the increasingly pathological world we are living in, especially in those parts of the world torn by wars, genocides and countries run by corrupt, fanatical and morbid governments.

Is the Muslim  girl who wants to play mad or the girl who obeys her parents and prays 5 times a day?

Is the person(Indian citizen) who refuses to give bribe and his work is not done or the one who gives bribe.

Is the person who protests

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why not idol worship?

To strengthen moral development in children, I think it is necessary to teach about religion and about Gods (religious mythology).

For children to accept the concept of God and religion, to enjoy the concept, to feel the thrill, they need the visuals and stories about God & the mythology around God (whatever the religion). Children delight in the magical strength, powers and Goodness of God, especially if told through the colourful mythological stories, fables and anecdotes.

It is only when they become older and their thinking becomes deeper, (see stages of cognitive development in any child psychology text) that they start asking questions about God, start challenging and attacking the concept of God, his omnipotence and his very existence.

After teen years, some come out as believers but with modifications of their childhood image of God and religion and some come out as atheists. Hopefully, all come out with a fairly okay moral character, conscience and sense of ethics.
This is the type of development I seem to have gone through as a Hindu.

Even to this day, as an adult, I find that the visual images of God/several Gods has several psychological advantages for me:

The picture of God (be it Ganesha, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Narashima, Shiva, Shanimahatma, whatever) in front of my eyes helps me to focus when I pray ;  praying without any image of God in mind is next to impossible for me!
 Frankly, I do not understand, how the people who are against idol worship can pray to an abstract God, when they are so pretty concrete in their thinking!

At times of stress, praying gives a lot of psychological relief. And Hindus have a God or Goddess for everything and every type of stress in life: They pray to Saraswati to pass in exams, they pray to Ganesha for success in their efforts, they pray to Lakshmi for money and prosperity, they pray to Shani if they think he is the cause of their problems, etc. Addressing a different God or Goddess gives them great relief ........ it is like going to a specialist doctor than going to a general physician! The pray-er feels a greater trust, when he begs the appropriate God for a particular problem!

Reading the Mythological stories of the several Gods & Goddesses and each God’s powers and feats in Amar Chitra Katha comics & reading the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana in childhood, kindles the imagination of children, inspires and moves children towards positive thinking and actions. Besides the sheer enjoyment of the stories themselves!

The concept of the existence of several Gods has inspired creativity in the arts and in practice of daily living in so many ways….temple architecture, sculptures, paintings, poetry, literature, drama, puppetry, cinema, stories, clothes and jewels, cuisine, traditions and rituals, daily life and practices. I think the concept of one God and an abstract one at that(without form) would have dried up the creative flow in India over the last few thousand years!

For several(read millions) people, with a simpler and more concrete thinking style, for children, for simple folks with lower levels of education, with limited ability to think abstractly at least about religion, the multiple God concept is more comforting and acceptable than the concept of a single God especially an abstract one without form. (I find it difficult to visualize a God without form….What the hell! If he is really a God, and really has powers, can’t he create a form for himself! What kind of a loser is he that he is formless !)

If one reads Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, one will see that in the earlier stages of moral development, children 'behave' or 'do the right thing' in order to avoid punishment. The children do what is right because they 'fear' punishment.It is only as they enter the higher stages of cognitive development and thinking  that they are good because they want to be good( they are following their own inner code of ethics) and not because of society’s rules(external code of ethics).

From what I have seen of several people’s behaviours, most are stuck at the lower levels in Kohlberg’s moral development stages. They are adults and are no longer children;  yet they are stuck at the lower stages of moral development. For all these people, I think the concept of multiple Gods, concept of a God who will reward goodness and punish evil is necessary for maintaining moral standards.

I think the concept of idol worship and concept of the existence of multiple Gods ( or one God with many names and avatars) has several beneficent uses in our society.
True, the concept of multiple Gods  has caused several problems too such as the fights between different castes and sub-castes in Hindus. Some times the people of one caste accept one God (example Lingayats accept Shiva as supreme and get into fights with other caste people who accept some other God as supreme).....but these fights have more to do with economic and other issues than the Gods themselves; the arguments and fights between followers of different faiths and Gods within Hinduism but the good has been greater than the bad I think.

The reasons I wrote this piece: I have recently been browsing lovely books (with lovely pics!) about Indian art, textiles, sculptures, temples, etc. I also saw several photos of exquisitely carved but damaged sculptures of Indian deities (damaged by the Muslim invaders of ancient India who were against idol worship and so destroyed idols). I felt really bad about the damaged sculptures, especially when I think of the thousands of arduous hours gone into the sculpting of the hard granite stone.

I was also pissed off to see the best Indian works of art i.e. these temple sculptures, carved emeralds( beautiful emeralds with Koranic inscriptions carved on them), carved ivories, paintings, etc in all collections of the world except India!

The one piece which really bugged me was the fact that a lovely and cute ancient Krishna idol made of rubies is in a museum in Doha! And those guys are against idols or idol worship but they have it! I have never seen any idol made of gem stones like this. 

Photo taken from: Maharaja by Jackson & Jaffer, V & A Publishing, London.