Saturday, November 7, 2015

Some Kids are Assholes

Okay, the subject itself is risqué. I understand that. But it's so so true. I don't think I would be able to write this without having the specific experiences I have in a general atmosphere around 'kids'. I never really believed in the phrase "all kids are beautiful", or "all babies are cute". I mean, come on, we all know that isn't true.

But this isn't about looks or cuteness - this is about integrity and character. Unfortunately, some of us are just bad fruit. We don't have the character or 'goodness' in us to call us 'innocent as a kid' even if that's what we are - a kid.

Some kids are bossy, mean, and self righteous. They stomp on others. They are mean to their comrades. They take advantage of people who are nice and walk all over them.

I think as parents, part of our responsibility is to realize that you have such a character in your house. You know who you are. You know that your kid is mean, or that at least, he has a mean streak. That he would willingly hurt other kids when no one is watching, or that he would do anything to get his way. There is no way you can say "I didn't see it coming".  It's time as parents to accept that we are raising douche bags if we don't try to change their character. We need to put in that extra effort to make sure that we aren't promoting self-absorbed narcissists (I think that's the definition of a narcissist). That extra 'effort' means making them realize how much more important it is to be kind than right. How much more it means to share than to keep everything for themselves. How important it is to stand up for that one kid who is too nice, too giving or too forgiving. Even if you don't stand up for them, at least not stand ON them.

We hold every other major corporation, person, company accountable for the product they make, so I think we ought to hold parents to the same standards. I don't want to teach to my kid to be mean and angry, so please instead ask your kid to be thoughtful and nice, because otherwise, we will all just be raising our kids to be plain old assholes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

America is good, mostly..

I'm not one to defend the US or India, but this off-late bashing of the United States for the recently crowned Miss America is getting a little out of control. Sure, she's the first Indian American, who deserves some respect to overcome cultural barriers and stereotypes. But to expect everybody in America will get on the 'multicultural bandwagon' is ridiculous to say the least.
No doubt, there were some racist pricks across the country who took offense to the fact that she didn't look exactly like Barbie, but is that really that bad? I mean, to say that everywhere else in the world we have an acceptable level of racism except for the United States is a big lie, to say the least. Let's take India, for example. There are enough racists in India to ensure that newly crowned Miss America Ms. Nina Davuluri never sees the world stage. A lot of Indian people living in India are obsessed with skin color. It is automatically assumed in India that the lighter your skin color is, the better/more beautiful you are. It doesn't matter your eyes are bigger than your mouth, or that you look sideways when you're trying to look straight - that is the bottom line 'truth'. So to somehow imply that all of America is racist and evil because some ignorant losers think that Ms. Nina is not American enough is simply inaccurate. In ever country, there are ignorant people.
If anything, we should be proud of the USA that a dark skinned Indian girl got to be the woman of the year, she couldn't have had this privilege in her own 'home' country. So just stop whining and be thankful.
Be thankful that you live in a country that for the most part respects who are as oppose to what you look like. Even though it would be easy for me to pretend that I'm a target of racism - I'm not. Most people try to be politically and socially correct by not assuming they know everything about me based on my skin tone or my name. They give me a chance. They let me speak. They listen when I speak. They are genuinely impressed when I can do crazy math in a matter of seconds. That is more than what I can say about my motherland - India. I'm so tired of being called not 'pretty enough' because I'm not light enough or that I should use the cream 'Fair and Lovely' because the mean the same thing. Aren't my grandma's days over yet?
Geez, stop giving America a hard time about this. We got other bigger issues we need to discuss and worry about. How about the fact that we have experienced 250 mass shootings this year alone? How about the fact that 48 million of our people are on food stamps? Do we really need to spend all our energy discussing the ignorant 2% who think the current Miss America isn't American enough? We need to focus on constructive criticism, because simply criticizing doesn't accomplish anything.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shameful Embarrassment..

It's been a while I've been in India.. But being here has been bittersweet. It's exciting to bring my little boy here to visit his grandparents and scores of other relatives but it's sad to see that recent events here have tainted my experience as a whole. Gang rapes and utter disregard for women's right to be treated with respect has put me off a lot more than I expected. As I walk through the crowded bazaars and bargain with witty shop keepers I constantly find myself looking over my shoulder to make sure I'm not being followed, eve teased, or treated like a piece of meat by locals.
I'm sure I'm not alone. There are millions of girls who feel this insecurity, especially in the capital. It is discouraging to see even after all that's gone down in the last few months there is no awareness in the general male public regarding women's sentiments regarding these issues. Why is it so difficult to leave the perversion at home and not carry it around everywhere they go? It is an interesting discussion as to why our society is like this.
Intellectuals and feminists argue that Islamic countries treat women unfairly with Sharia law. They are secondary to men and even in the eyes of the law they have little rights compared to their counterparts. But the best thing about these countries is that they have very strict laws in place for rapists and sexual harassers. They are castrated and shamefully punished when they are found guilty. But in the veil of democracy and a fair and just trial, thousands of Indian men escape the cruelest of punishments for the most horrendous crimes due to lack of evidence. Evidence - such a strong word with the gross implication that burden of proof lies in on the state. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy, except that in a corrupt nation where policewallas can be bought out and just a few rupees in bribe will cover up almost any 'evidence' it holds little to no value.
Raping a 4 year old girl should not require a fair trial. When it is clear that there was an interaction between a deviant and this little girl, there should be no more questions asked. Hang the bast*ard. He doesn't deserve fairness. He is unworthy of a democratic and due process. He didn't give that little girl a chance. Why does he get one?
Sure, you can blame it on the corruption. Things like this happen because of disregard of the law, but there is a much bigger question in play here. Why are these Indian men such monsters? Why do they act in devious ways with innocent girls? What is driving this traumatic culture? Yes, culture. India boasts of a rich heritage and a varied culture. But when things happen repeatedly in a society, it becomes the culture. Gang rapes are the culture now. Should we be proud of being a Hindustani now? I was always proud to say I come from a land of tremendous diversity and acceptance, but I no longer want to associate with this place if we are going to do nothing about such monstrous acts. This blog won't make a difference, I know that. I'm not that naive. But there needs to be more action than talk. I'm tired of prime time news channels covering this issue with no productive outcomes. I'm tired of watching my back as I walk around in public. I'm tired of 'this doesn't happen with educated people' excuses.
India is a rural country. Most people are not educated. But lack of education shouldn't make us monsters. We need to change some things - NOW. The Indian youth needs to make some noise. Get out of your fantasy lands where money buys fairness and locks it away in a box. Let's lock up these animals instead.
Where are we headed? Let's not let these events define who we are as a people, because today, we're all ashamed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

So Much to Lose..

When stupidity is louder than common sense
When instead of sleeping safe, we prefer awakening tense
When we disagree not to defend principles but to bring people down
When compromising is viewed as a weakness and its powerful that frown

New lows threatening genuine goodness linger
Yes, it's easier to have discussions now, just point that finger
What doesn't change is the need for progress
The need to stop and listen before that angry egress

This country where we celebrate opportunistic freedom
Is blurred in political lines instead of working in tandem
Purpose, intention, empathy
Leap over, it's all in jeopardy...

What am I to tell my son of the world he lives in?
Is it better to wobble with guns than muscle with emotional strength?
Will being armed make him more of a man?
So he can rise up violently to a grand occasion of another's hostile plan?

I can't let him forget that kindness is louder than bullets
I can't let him believe that his conscience is a puppet
If he can stand up against the odds
When it is easier to buckle up and nod
He will reach his utmost potential
Regardless of policy, power and rendition

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yoga has Hindu roots - Duh, stupid..

While driving to work, I heard an interesting story on NPR about yoga. I think most people know that Yoga has Indian roots - as in it has been part of our culture/history/mythology/religion for at least the last 5000 years (if nothing else, the fact that yoga is initiated by the Hindu greeting 'Namaste' should send a clue). While embracing the intense yet physically peaceful aspects of this 'exercise', the West has chosen to stay away from the religious roots of this stressed-culture fad. When the Hindu American Foundation posed a question regarding the absence of the reference of Hinduism in the 'yoga-context' to a popular exercise magazine, they were given the shrugged response that the term Hinduism has a lot of 'baggage'. Interesting.

How belittling is it to reduce a philosophy that represents spirituality, truthfulness, peace, unity and harmony  to merely a physical act of losing some calories. Sure, a good percentage of yoga 'regulars' know that it is much more than that. But deferring from crediting the deep roots of something so powerful to one of the world's oldest religions for the fear of some 'cultural' baggage is unfair and limiting. Sure, you don't need to be Hindu to benefit from yoga - but the acknowledgement that the Hindu religion is basis or shares basis with this effective technique speaks volumes about the beauty of this religion overall - currently not very apparent to a lot of Westerners.

On the world stage of controversial religions, Hinduism does not occupy any relevance. It is and has been a non-binding, self engaging, and karmic way of life that is often overlooked as a polytheistic mythological fantasy draped in the name of a 'religion'. But this simplistic view has been stereotyped and perpetuated by many sources by simply leaving things unsaid or unacknowledged. It is perhaps impossible for most people to realize that the direct relevance of the Bhagvad Gita, Vedas, and other old Hindu legacies to our daily lives even today exists in direct correlation, but a little 'hats-off' would be nice. Anyone who would simply dismiss yoga because it has Hindu roots shouldn't be doing any yoga anyways - hate is poison for the soul!

Ah, another one of those 'common sense' Hindu teachings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liberty Alert: Firearms Kill People!

Recent news regarding a FL teenager killed by a neighborhood watch 'supervisor' has diverted my attention to violence friendly laws in multiple states across the United States. In this particular instance, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old black teenager was standing around in his friend's neighborhood while on the cell phone while another male - George Zimmerman- came from behind and shot him with his handgun. It is worth mentioning that the 'other male' was Hispanic in ethnicity (so it isn't considered a typical racist crime) and was fulfilling his responsibility by keeping his eyes open around the neighborhood looking for 'suspicious' activities. He first called 911 expressing his concerns regarding this suspicious teenager in a neighbor's yard and even when told not to follow the victim outside, did so and after a short scuffle, ended up shooting Trayvon killing him on the spot.

Keeping the race drama out of it (as suggested by some media), Zimmerman was never taken into custody because under FL self-defense law, aka Stand Your Ground law, it makes it rather simple to attack a potential 'attacker' if you 'reasonably' believe that you have to act in force to protect yourself. Specifically it states: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Rather open to interpretation. Aside from the fact that self defense homicides have gone up 300% since this Stand Your Ground law was passed, it is baffling that such incidents are not worthy enough to debate or change the necessity of having lenient gun laws, such as those present in over a quarter of the states in this country that don't require a license to carry a firearm and about a dozen that don't require a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

No matter what this attacker's intentions were, there is no denying the fact that the gun made it easy for him to commit this murder and use 'force' in a deadly and effective way. There are people who will perhaps find other ways to kill, no matter how strict the gun laws are, but simplifying the process to gain access to a firearm is detrimental to society and communities as a whole.

The so-called red aka Republican aka conservative states take pride in the second amendment and chirp songs on liberty, but what is often overlooked is that 'this' liberty and freedom acts out as self-serving and self-centered and does not usually serve interests of society and people as a whole. Isn't it time we frown upon using firearms and violence as a means to resolve a conflict? The children in our society surely think that guns make pains go away. Let's get real with guns, they kill people, or at least, make it terribly easy to do so. Almost 70% of homicides (2006-2010) across the country were committed due to firearms - smoking gun - is it not?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let the Facts Clear the Fallacies....

Listening to Romney and the likes criticizing Obama's foreign policy approach is baffling. For anyone who has followed world events and America's response in the last couple years can say that there has been plenty accomplished since George Jr. left the Oval Office in 2009. Here are just a few that come to mind:

-Improvement and in some cases creation of Arab League relations during the Middle East civil unrest movements including the Libyan civil crisis. Through constructive and pragmatic dialogue, President Obama and his foreign diplomacy team were able to protect 'humanitarian rights' (or oil-rich political interest) in Libya until the fall of Ghaddafi - leading to a relatively short climactic shift of power in the region and one without notable US military involvement.

- An upfront, brutally honest relationship with Pakistan which has led to a step-child but child nonetheless, kind of relationship in which truth is expected, conveyed and evaluated openly. For the first time in eight years, US has formally acknowledged instability in Pakistan and its vulnerability to fall prey to terrorist organizations.

-Transformed Egyptian leadership without long term goals to be present in the region

-A stern and solid yet relatively calm approach with Iran which has led to diplomatic restlessness within the Iranian regime now cracking under sanctions. Hostility between Israel and Iran continues to rise though, which means a detoured approach will now be demanded.

-Renewed relations in Asia with China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan including hosting the VP of China, Xi Jinping in the US. This trip was strategically planned to collaborate expectations from American/Chinese leadership as well as the importance of fairness in the global marketplace when he takes over as the leader in the PRC in the next couple years.

-Ended the war in Iraq as and when promised during his election campaign.

Just the regions I mentioned above account for more than half of the world's population..I think that's a modestly aggressive approach to foreign policy for a 3 year old president. Just saying.