My elderly friend once said to me, ‘praying for others before praying for self’ invokes invincible blessings. Indeed, her wisdom meant that our prayers are holy seam that resurrect hope even for people unknown to us. Tonight at Christmas Eve, when my family & I shall enjoy sumptuous meal, we shall pray for the million souls fed daily by Akshaya Patra, an NGO fighting hunger across nine states in India. The sanguine mission of Akshaya Patra adumbrates the legendary ‘service before self’ in its nineteen kitchens that satisfy the cravings of young children to bring back the sheen in their empty eyes. Through its mid-day meal program, Akshaya Patra feeds future of each child and liberates neglected smiles. Under its shelter, children are heirs of love and contentment. They are gladiolas of innocence, whose ingenuity and ability would otherwise be lost to streets in search of rags and contaminated food. Feeding a child reinforces their intellect, explores hidden talents, nurtures and empowers life and augurs social change. A continued drive against hunger boosts energy in each child to unnerve malnutrition that causes atrophy of human potential. An endeavor of such magnitude stirs the soul to reflect on Akshay Patra’s immense capacity to procreate in their humanitarian crusade.
With each under-privileged child fed at Ashaya Patra, lives are transformed and made viable and opportune to their habitat. With each growls of hunger killed, the verve for kindness and compassion is induced. With each nibble inside million mouths sustenance is stimulated in efforts to endow and encourage eclectic relationships. Akshaya Patra’s indomitable model of service to mankind modestly upholds the values of generosity and beatitude as new-age sermons of humanity. It firmly reinstates that each day can be merriment like Christmas if we conjoin in motifs against starvation and illiteracy that slowly is devouring life. As my dearly friend always says, ‘blessed are those who bless others’. So let’s make a ‘pledge of aid’ this Christmas in possibilities we can to Akshaya Patra and its philanthropic quest.
My dad always says, “There is nothing permanent in this life except for the rising and the setting of the sun”. To this day, I feel that his words have an astounding aura and an amazing grace. Being alive means more than just breathing and living life. It’s about rising to the shine of soul that makes us aware of being thankful for ‘who we are’ and ‘who we become’ as we move through the tunnels of time in this life. Being thankful for being alive is to accept that life is mortal in many ways. It becomes fatal when we get ruthless with nature, when we are merciless for the vulnerable and when we are injurious to our self through our actions. Life ceases to exist when we freeze our love for others, when we create endless hurdles and envy for others and when we plug out the possibilities to change. In this carnage of emotions through life, we forget to summon our mind with the time when we were born with clean slate and clenched hands and the time when we shall depart with folded eyes and bare hands.
Being alive is to honor the chastity of our soul that helps us to be thankful for the virtues of nature, an immortal gift of the supreme lineage. Being thankful today, tomorrow and forever is to enlighten myself for the blessings that I have realized and the blessings that are unrealized. I am thankful for the milieu that wakes me up to the glare of the sun and to the hope that today is good and tomorrow shall be better. I am thankful for being ‘who I am’ till ‘I am’. As Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice”.
What if you were a child with potential worth a vista but were born and bred in darkness? What if you had futile dreams given the ebb of survival in Kolkata’s (Calcutta, India) red light area? Such was the epoch that little Avijit and his friends aspired in their uphill battle until Zana Briski, photographer, filmmaker and activist saw the unseen blooming in their dingy rooms. Zana’s appetite for giving back and her ardor to share smiles through her lenses gave a group of deprived children the pursuit of happiness. Grooming an excited bunch of children on photographic skills to recognize their hidden talents gave these hapless a light of hope.
Zana’s movie ‘Born into Brothels,’ an Oscar winning documentary on the emotions of these little children in the red light district portrays that happiness is inborn. It’s an expression that is not bound by destiny but by desire. Like the Midas touch, happiness is a brush of life that has the power to endow love and cheer in an eclectic relationship called humanity. Zana’s altruism is a snap shot of brilliance with purpose that also captures incredible moments of euphoria amid eclipse. Zana’s non-profit; ‘Kids with Camera’ is a venture that empowers heap of creativity while refurbishing innocent lives. Through its charitable efforts it reinstates that happiness is a treasure of the soul, which contagiously multiplies as we reach out to the helpless and the needy.
Most talented out of the bunch of these street children, Avijit who decade ago led a bleak life on the somber lanes of Kolkata (Calcutta), today is a budding artist at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. His other street buddies too see a pie in the sky. Some of these children can fluently communicate in English today and are setting an example for others like them. Zana Briski’s ‘kids with camera’ that funds Avijit’s education in the US and of his friends and their siblings back in India illustrates that happiness is actually contentment. Its vivacity lies in sharing the elation of our heart to fill dreary lives through community service and social good. Like Zana Briski we all have a colorful fountain of affection and peace inside us that adorns our conscience. This feeling of pleasure is a paradise beyond material prosperity. It starts with exploring our true self to generate mirth in helping others. Such serene sense often lies covered beneath a worldly merriment. To uncover this strength we need to effectuate change for greater good. When such realization seeds in us we become mindful of paying it forward. This feeling of giving and receiving love is nothing but happiness.
What could be the fate of a child in a womb that is nurtured with agony and adversity? What could be it’s destiny on being conceived and born prey to paucity? How shall he or she survive while being raised handcuffed to poverty? Sadly, this is the life of 1.4 billion people around the globe who survive in trenches thwarted with misery, anger, depression, abuse, addiction and victimization. In shrieks of exigency and outage of happiness, these forbidden souls are exiled to maltreatment. Their vulnerabilities inflict brim survival with lean emotional and social recovery. Their crisis, which appears to most a void of basic amenities, is actually a trauma of hope.
Entrapped with bane, poverty incites most to beg, borrow or steal to meet the ends. As a parasite of pride, its most outrageous impact is on the lives of children who are in state of destitution. Being born and raised amid scarcity and subservience, these children hardly see a light. Lack of proper nutrition and basic education, absence of emotional and fulfilling care and untimely medication are some added injuries to their lives. Besides the bereft of bare necessities, these children are devoid of positive parenting, which is the bedrock for a healthy, meaningful and sustainable life.
Most often these children belong in slums or homeless shelters. Those who stay with their families are forced to work as laborers and slaves. When they are not serving for money, they are captive to their parent’s emotional upheavals, physical abuse and mental frustration. Their innocence and self worth is slaughtered by poverty and its consequent unending drill. Right from the mother’s womb to a vacant life on the streets, poverty eats them all. In absence of conducive parenting, fertile minds of young children squander and resort to delinquency. Competencies and capabilities that could have been suitably utilized for each and by each for collaborative efforts towards socio-economic development hence go waste.
Unfortunate yet true, in the abundance of distress and negativity that poverty spurts, there lies a dearth of intellect and untapped potential, not just in one city, one state, and one country but around the world. Poverty therefore is no more a problem but a pandemic today. Over the years, United Nations’ indispensable efforts have been elemental in raising awareness about this critical social and economic issue. However in the millennium, this goal has become a manifold responsibility for each of us.
To appreciate social diversity and understand that people in slums or families with low socio-economic status are like firefighters. Day in and day out they battle for survival.
To acknowledge the fact that poverty is the ground for most social evils like gender inequality, rich-poor divide, famines and hunger, malnutrition, poor maternal and child health etc.
To understand that making education available to all, empowering women in villages, suburbs and small towns through micro-credit financing are some basic tools to eradicate poverty.
Adult education, emphasis on controlling crime and corruption, and rescuing people from harmful addictions are ways to rejuvenate valuable human resources. Better amenities shall result in better parenting, which shall help save future generations from entrapping into poverty.
Last but not least, raising voice and increasing awareness on Poverty can encourage million thoughts. Putting these million thoughts into hundred actions can result in countable efforts. These countable efforts can then lead to fundamental goals.
As a blogger, I certainly believe that leaving these problems to federal and state government alone won’t help. However, if each of us support and participate in taking action towards these goals by 2015, many major problems shall appear minor. So Lets stand up against Poverty as a Millennium Development Goal, this time not just to shout but also to act. Copyright (c) 2010-2011 Dharbarkha.blogspot Video Courtesy: United Nations
Marriage is an entity of benign omens and configurations made in the heaven, performed on the earth. It’s a gracious threshold to unification of two souls and of two families. As a prime religious ceremony, its zenith lies in a father’s courage to give away his piece of heart, his daughter in a poised and sacred alliance to another man as her better half. Also known as “Kanya daan” in Hindu wedding, it’s the father of the bride that offers his daughter for marriage on a promise that the groom shall perform his duties as a husband according to the vedic(religious) hymns recited during the ceremony. For a father indeed this is a moment of peak emotions as he fondly remembers the time when he cuddled his little daughter in his arms, rode her on his strong back, was swept away by her fascinating innocence, hugged her when she had a nightmare or a problem just to see that little girl leave to a different destination one day! It must take a father’s breath away to give away his child with such deep feelings and subconscious fear for his daughter’s wellbeing in her new life.
From invoking loud chants to seven divine circuits of the holy fire (as in Hinduism), marriage is an inception of blushing emotions and a moment of coy as the bride and the groom decide to walk their journey together. With being betrothed comes a great responsibility on the couple to fructify a relationship based on mutual support and love. This elemental feature is the hallmark of being wedded to conjoin and be inseparable. Also known as ‘‘exchange of Vows” or “Saptapadi’’, these are seven significant steps in Hindu rites that defines marriage as an institution based on spiritual bond between the bride and her groom. It’s here that the couple vows to each other a healthy relationship, prosperous living, righteous lifestyle, happiness, harmony and faith, creating a family together, longevity of their marital relationship, and of being true and loyal to each other in order to sustain their companionship.
If these are the sacraments we preach and practice over centuries in India then
Why does the holy fire turn into a bride’s pyre?
Why are some newly wed brides estranged, silently suppressed, emotionally harassed and in worst cases abused and burned to death?
Is the idea of marriage today companionship or a competitive sale?
Has education and urbanization taught us nothing at all?
Is being religious, devotional to god through fasting and pilgrimages taught us to suck a father’s blood through dowry if he wants to see his daughter settled and happy?
When shall we cease inequalities between daughters and daughter-in-laws that cause us to be intellectually, emotionally and religiously immobile to practice what we learn from holy prayers and scriptures?
Are those people who are ready to bargain their son today, also ready to bargain their own daughter tomorrow?
If there is a price tag on an individual, is there a bargain for bruised emotions too?
Is being educated professionally, belonging to a good family, being raised with values just not enough for a girl to be happily married?
Is it moral to ask for dowry in a smart, intelligent way and then later proclaim that ‘we didn’t ask for anything, we didn’t get any anything’?
How would it feel to lose a young, lively and beautiful daughter? How would it feel to hear her cry, sob with pain?
What would it be like to face a crisis that haunts most fathers and daughters in India?
If Dowry means “stri-dhan”(gifts given by parents to their daughter, a property of the woman, her share of her parent’s wealth) then why is she tormented and trampled for her own wealth?
Can India contain the benefits of globalization if its daughters are strangled by a social evil?
Who should be blamed for this?
......the parents of the girl, the girl herself, the in-laws or the society and our state of mind that forces us to such immoral acts through its injurious social comparisons?
These are some questions that certainly dismay parents in India and abroad as their daughters turn marriageable or are in a marital relationship. If we still wait for someone else to be a Spartan to “say no” to dowry, then who shall be the first one to break this vicious cycle?
Today it’s happening to someone else’s daughter. Tomorrow it could happen to you and your daughter.
It was last year in August that a feeling spawned a thought that gave a cause to my life. In beats of my heart and the drops of the saline that moistened my eyes lay a compelling emotion, which was like a blaze of light amid darkness. It was at this very moment that the stylus of my creativity burst into sparklers that imbued me with the spirit to do something. That is when Barkha Dhar’s Blogs On Social Issues went worldwide.
For this past year my blogs have been my efforts that have shaped into deeds. They embody my intent and heed to experience life deeply as also differently. This journey indeed has sufficed the thirst of my soul. It has also led me to the idea that mindful cleansing is as important as the morning shower. This campaign of hope has also helped imbibe that change is not an ingredient of life but the essence of living not just for ourselves but for others as well. Such shift clocks in when inertia dies.
Looking back at this day past year is like smelling the fragrance of fresh flowers in a pot that leave a scent to fill the space with an aroma, which is much stronger and sweeter than a dash of Channel. In this eloquent attempt of the past year, I thank god for showing me the route to repose, for giving me the opportunity to hear and be heard. My earnest and utmost thanks to my dearest husband who like a sire recognized the hidden me. His contributions are like the chords of an instrument that give melody to my life. I thank him for being who he really is, a wonderful father, a loving husband and a wise and kind person.
Thank you also to fellow bloggers who have been nothing less than a momentum for raising awareness on important issues to help create change. Many thanks also to my critics who may not agree with my viewpoint. Well that is why they are my critics! In my view, however even if a slight change in self, as also in inspiring others has or can make a fraction of difference, then I at Barkha Dhar’s Blogs On Social Issues has had a conscientious and a purposive life.
Thank you all for your time, support and encouragement in this eclectic relationship on the blogosphere.
A zest for breathing in and breathing out is what we call life. Its exquisite motley lies in living it with maximum resonance to realize its immaculate glow. As a keepsake of memories and a prose of emotions, life is a journey through time. Its magnificent opus lies in changing from autumn to spring, in rhythm and beats, in dancing to joy, in the aura of abode, in playful and innocent enchantments, in finding your love and espousing it, in being a mother, in working together to work it out, in playing your part as an adventure of cheer and glee, in being confident of your abilities to bend your flaws into potential strengths, in trying to score deftly with each past failed attempts. So let’s raise a toast to life for not living it alone but celebrating it together to move with its flow to live in now. This drive called life however shouldn’t limit here. It may begin its opulent journey now by sharing our blessings with others, unveiling humility to give hope to others on this mystical route to tranquility and Karma.
As Gautam Buddha said, “So let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful” for this eternal gift called life. Copyright (c) 2010 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot Video Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com/user/BarkhaDhar
My toddler boy’s ethereal psyche as my chariot of change each day pulls me inward to spiritual spunk. Listening to his innocent and enigmatic expressions often seems like divine recital. Such platonic relationship between a mother and her child is a route to bliss and benign emotions. My first born, whose plush gazes and fervent heart that has uniform feelings for birds, animals and all living beings, is my pioneer retreat to a conscious state. His playful and magical enchantments is realization that children as god’s cherubs are the hymns of nature. Their eternal kindle illuminates our life with love, hope, care and courage.
At a nascent age children have the capacity to sense parent’s changing colors. They are the midget stars of a celestial empire. They show us that enthusiasm and excitement are unique ways to subsist. Nurturing a child is like rearing an angel. Their magnificent innocence instills that surrendering to god is a mode of attuning to self. With their wish lists to celebrate life our children signify the ‘power of now’ as a distinctive hallmark of living mindfully. Their glee as the adornment of our joy and a veil for sorrow helps us steer through transitions in life. As our significant couplers they are a mirror to our solemn state. They are the best cohorts one can have. With their mesmerizing ways they help expound on the fact that God resides in all, irrespective of abilities. As parents honoring these angelic protégés is respecting righteousness to commune with god.
Our children’s serenity has an invisible power to incapacitate any negativity or prejudice that could impair the aura of our home and the peace in familial relationships. As parents fostering devotion and karma through the principles of good and bad actions, early on, in our children can make their lives more meaningful as they grow older and independent. We parents are a child’s harbinger to this world. Through our spiritual chalk talk we can share chaste lessons that God is omnipresent and one. Among the poor, he is a destitute; among the rich he is opulent. Such teachings help imbibe transparency in faith and equal respect for all religion. Giving a boon to children’s apostolic self also advances their spontaneity and theological desires later in life.
As parents, especially a mother who is a child’s first guide, such discourses with our children not only incite them to a new way of life but also awaken us to a new state of mind. Such precepts for our children become conscious alerts for us in turn. Charting a child’s life with honesty, truth and wisdom hence becomes a mother’s poise. Any deterrence of self from such tranquility and serenity that we want to blossom in our children hinders the opportunity to set ourselves as model of transcendental values and religious beliefs. Recognizing this altruism in a parent-child relationship is an inspiration to learn from a child’s immaculateness and clear conscience. As parents internalizing a child’s superego through these moral principles helps them to be positive change agents in community and society. Such incorporeal narrations between us and our children enable us to control our own ego and maintain a balance between our material and spiritual self. As revered Osho once said, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The women existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” Thanks indeed to my son who made me one.
Each day around the world a woman is ostracized. She is abused, neglected, abandoned or ousted from her identity to exist. Her consort, whom she looks up to as her knight in shinning armor becomes her greatest predator. Her valor and enthusiasm for life is often assumed to be audacious. She is continuously prejudiced in her right to survive, in her will to live a life of equality and similitude. Her tolerance for pain and suffering is considered to be her fate and fear. Her emotions are speculated and judged. Soraya. M, a woman sacrificed in the name of honor and stoned to death for alleged adultery almost two decades ago in a village in Iran is a mirror of such tribulation. More than 20 years later, women still are victimized and terrorized around the globe. Their voices are suppressed and their rights are extirpated to shun them of love, dignity and opportunity.
Soraya.M’s horrific tale, a true story made into a movie by Cyrus Nowrasteh (The Stoning Of Soraya.M, 2008) is a pinch to the soul and a volcanic eruption for the mind. It is not a story of a woman, a village or a country but a story that lapidates the prerogative and state of womanliness. Like her even today many Sorayas are suffocated in relationships, trafficked across borders, abducted to brighten brothels, swindled into sexual drudgery though child marriages, genitally mutilated, beaten and infiltrated through aggravated sexual assault. Are these acts less barbaric than casting of stones? These may not seem as horrifying as stoning. But the screams from such acts emit an equal shrill. If I had simply watched the Stoning of Soraya and wiped my tears that trickled down during the movie’s climax, I would have been incompetent in my service to self and in torching justice for injustice. I hence decided to present my readers with this video to aware and educate on ostracism against innocence, independence and empowerment, which are the basic constituents of woman’s rights.
In order to understand the necessity to honor a woman’s right; one needs to appreciate the role she plays in our survival. She gives life to gift mankind with the greatest pleasure on earth in being alive. She nurtures in a way that makes one learn the essence of subsistence. As an epitome of love and compassion, she consecrates harmony and happiness in relationships. For man to accept such feature may seem unlikely of his might. But it’s imperative to realize that strength of man’s muscle and character, the power in governances around the orb and the depth of ecclesiastical tenets does not lie in her coercion and crucifixion. With each woman executed physically, mentally and/or emotionally inside her home, on the streets, in business, politics or in foreign lands leaves us with martyrs for causes just like Soraya left with her story for the world to feel her pain. Man and his masculinity shouldn’t just be a symbol of violence and transgression. Likewise regulations and axioms shouldn’t be so gruesome that they become a threat to the spirit and essence of existence. Irrespective of our physicality, for god both men and women are equal for he decides not to reside up above in the blue sky but inside us, in our wisdom and in our deeds. He created man as an epitome of care and courage to fend for his counterpart (not just through marriage or any relationship) but in the chastity of an eclectic circle called humanity.
So if you are a man and you see a women being expelled of her rights……
Stand up against violence. You shall be more of a man in doing so
Care for other women as you would care for your own
Learn to respect femininity. It may not seem as powerful as masculinity but without it your machismo certainly is incomplete
Be an advocate to stop ostracism against women. Talk to peers, family and friends or whoever you think is the smallest dust particle that causes such offense.
Everybody says that it’s a man’s world. Is it or isn’t it? is not the question. The real quest is to make this world a better place for everyone to live including every woman you meet in your lifetime, irrespective of her role or abilities.
If you are the King, she is the Queen, so treat her like one. You will be a torch bearer for others.
If you are a woman and you see another woman being blackballed......................
The best thing you can do is to stop being critical of another woman’s plight
Stop mutter or gossip about other woman’s dilemma. Stand up for truth and freedom. It will show your magnanimity and not self-centeredness.
A woman standing up for every other woman will empower so many sisters in the spirit circle. It shall lessen half the problems that we women create for each other knowingly or unknowingly throughout our lives.
Break the cycle of abuse. Call for help/ emergency or crisis network if you see or know of a woman or child being abused physically, mentally or emotionally.
Log in http://www.hotpeachpages.net/( an International directory of domestic violence agencies with abuse information in over 80 languages).
On exposing to such change and bailing out the one in crisis, we shall rescue ourselves from mental handicaps based on discriminations and radical doctrines and realize that women’s rights are human rights.
Copyright (c) 2010 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot Video Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com/user/BarkhaDhar
Our Mind is an enigma of desires. It’s the abode to infinite thoughts and ménage to potent emotions. In its oscillations through day and night it empowers us with behest. Its astounding power is the beehive of sensation. As a rendezvous of events and experiences, it’s also the stimuli to life’s uncountable expressions. Even while asleep, our mind unearths hidden pleasures and deep aspirations in dreams. Like a bubble it blobs ideas and illusions, imagination and entity, Truth and false, actions and repose, silence and sound, joy and sorrow, anger and calm, fear and strength, angst and ease. In all these bearings, mind’s lore remains the enchantment of our existence. To feel and understand this dynamism requires sobriety and self control.
In it’s longing for more, either bounty of material or lush of spiritual, our mind travels to great extent. Sometimes its quenchless soars are overwhelming for the senses that disturb the bliss in simple pleasures of life. Our mind’s such state consequently navigates us to aggression, ego, hatred and jealousy thus disturbing its serenity. However, realizing our mind’s benevolence makes us aware of our strengths in being empathetic, compassionate and balanced.
Some of us may remember the primary grade story of ‘Thirsty Crow’ that one by one dropped pebbles into an earthen pot to raise the level of water inside to quench his thirst. Practically, we are like the crow, the earthen pot is our mind; the level of water is our conscience and the pebbles are our thoughts, emotions and actions. With each good deed we incrementally help raise the level of our consciousness to embrace positivity and change. Eventually we attain peace and inner freedom to release ourselves from any resistance. Such state is also known as ‘bodhi’, the supreme enlightenment in Buddhism. However it could be practiced or initiated even through humanitarian state of mind to promote altruism and social conscience.
As the mind starts such passage, our life gains unique and ubiquitous momentum.
We ask ourselves who am I? What purpose does my life serve?
Is my net worth more important than counting on my self worth?
Do I need to slow down in my rush to exist?
Does my conscience hurt when I speak lie, defame others or purposely hurt someone?
Am I equal in sharing love with people irrespective of their abilities?
Do I believe that my mind has the power to dwell in peace?
On answering such questions life becomes meaningful to live and peace of mind becomes integral to achieve world peace.
If I had to ask about one critical function that activates our capacity to reason or imagine things, reflect on people or situations, I would vouch for the mind and its mentation in conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious states. As chief of the human body, it’s also the nucleus to our abundant emotions that aptly distinguishes between feeling and willing states and causes us to exert our energies to behave in a certain way through our actions. This synchronization of our mind (thoughts and emotions) with the matter (substantiality) has the power to transform us from potential to actual to motivate and introduce us to realms of change. Writing this post is one such attempt to attune to my sensibilities in order to connect to that of my readers. It’s an effort to unite, to think, feel and act as different identities that are living to form similarity to contribute to the completeness of our existence.
Thinking and feeling as the requisites of life, are also the cornerstones of our natural or superficial identity with its voltage to influence people around us. It’s the psychological facet of existence that differentiates us from one another. However it’s also a unique aspect of our personality dynamics that can incite appropriate actions to feat. Capitalizing on these faculties as our competencies for ‘collaborative change’ can indeed be a successful humanistic impression for wholesome life. Using at least one idiosyncrasy of our positive thought and affirmative feeling can ratify inspiring actions to sway back and forth in our courage to care and share, in our manifestation to lead and lend, in our adulation and respect for each other and in a presage to preserve and protect. By knowing thyself in such manner in spirit and touch, believe and esteem, idea and instinct, demeanor and devotion, experience and expression, a peerless mission of living life is accomplished. The video shared in this post, in its simple, plain message conveys that gift of integrity and the ‘power of being’ in each of us now, the power that has the strength and greatness to create and achieve now, and the bend to share our virtuous talents now.
Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot Video Courtesy: Youtube/Sonia Ricotti
For parents who feel that children need control forever, can be manipulated to suit personal purpose or advantage and should be treated with less stature in the relationship, indeed need to revisit their style. Today parenting is more than rearing children or providing to their desires. It’s not about commanding as in a military unit but about understanding and relating to children at a transparent level. Such unequivocal dialogue between parent and child is a model of communication, relationship and behavior that represents parenting. Over the years this facet of human development has transformed from directive to participative style, wherein a child has a privilege to fair expression and concurrence and the parent has an unbiased approach and acceptance of a child’s such right. To me personally, parenting appears to be a role reverse that helps me relate to my child and lets me honor his thoughts and emotions, as I would want him to respect mine.
A parent-child relationship sometimes also appears to be like a two way traffic sign on a street that has two arrows of equal sizes, side by side to each other, one pointing up, and the other pointing down indicating incoming and outgoing traffic in order to minimize or prevent chaos. But If the same street has these two traffic arrows unequal in size with one arrow pointing upwards larger than the other pointing downwards, it means outgoing traffic has priority over incoming traffic, something usually found when the road narrows at a particular end. This civic sense could serve as an augury in parenting. As an interchange of ideas and opinions and a junction of emotions, parenting is like the traffic arrows that signals directions in the relationship. Any wide or narrow frame of mind can either augment or taper this relationship leading to a never ending gap between a parent and his child.
With times changing fast, children today are far smarter and perceptive of their parent’s style. On the other hand parents too seem to be more aware of their tact of dealing with their children indicating a paradigm shift from conventional authority structure to new age holistic balancing of roles with concepts of accommodating and comforting the child. The idea of parenting in the 21st century is not about creating a family but comprehending the changes that a child goes through in his lifespan from infancy to adolescence and later as an adult. Most importantly, parenting is an aim to let this change penetrate through the child in a way that doesn’t define parenting as stressful or even a tradeoff wherein the parent barters a child’s love and preferences for personal temperament.
Mother Nature being the universal parent has an exquisite lesson to offer. Her tiny creatures like the sparrow bird incubates eggs patiently, feeds her young ones initially and grooms her children ultimately to see them fly independently in search of food and nest. This instance shows the thrust of autonomy on the offspring that boosts his self-sufficiency, something which we humans may or may not realize as elemental in the journey of parenting. Today successful parenting is as important as advancing in professional goals or accomplishing life’s mission. It’s about mentoring a child with expertise and wisdom rather than managing his life. It’s not just about setting disciplinary standards alone but ensuring self-appraisal before we assume a critique’s role in the child’s life. On realizing and implementing such change in us, as parents, the process or functionality of parenting becomes transformational and does not remain just transactional. It becomes far more yielding, leading to renewal of relationships rather than stagnation of thoughts in kinship.
In order for parenting to be more rewarding, aligning ourselves to the following mode of care giving can be helpful. The choice to pursue such means though can be personal.
If the child is an infant give him all the love you can while observing physical changes, eye movements, sensory agility to gauze his interests to capitalize on these as he or she grows older.
When the child is a preschooler encourage him to ask questions, reach out to people, and try new things even if it requires bearing his tantrums. If he cries, hear him out, it’s all the more reason to give him an advertent opportunity to hear himself.
In his teens nothing could be more beneficial than befriending him to open candid channels of communication, emotional support, advice and introduction to the gruesome facts of life. Here is the point where you are half way through favorable and happy parenting.
As an adult, he is no more a child. He would always be your little darling; it’s just that he won’t be that little sparrow anymore. It may sound as a bitter truth but the sooner we accept this fact, the better results we have. Also, this stage is paramount in the child’s life as this is when he outgrows from his parental cocoon to experience new relationships. The best thing to do as a parent would be not to judge but to gladly accept.
Having almost same rules for all your children (two, three or however many) ensures good sibling relations and mutual respect. Giving more freedom to one over the other in the long run can be hurtful or harmful for the siblings as it could be for the family as a unit.
When the child enters marital state and the family prepares to stretch out their nest, giving equal love and respect to your daughter-in-law and son-in-law, treating them as you would treat your children, is the first successful attempt at nesting into an extended family. On such welcoming effort, don’t be surprised if ‘love begets love’ and your daughter-in-law or son- in -law regard and respect you as their own parents.
Last but not the least, setting dual standards can bring in disharmony, which none of us want. So try to avoid that. Also appreciating the fact that every relationship is a pattern of human behavior may be helpful, what befits one situation or style may not befit other. Remember that parenting is also a state of mind so try and change if you want to make the most out of it.
On following such precepts parenting wouldn’t have to be a stage of depression or a situation of resistance to change but a gift from one generation to another to nurture life’s invaluable traditions. As Sloan Wilson once said, “The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard. As parents of a preschooler, honoring this lesson is the first task that my husband and I have decided to solemnize.
The hymns of change are like the rhymes of nature. Their gentle chime buzzes the world to sing songs on a new stage. In their aria of tunes, they awaken us to
deep thoughts on a new frame.
In their first chant is a day of emotions in a symphony to play. In its second chant, there is a fresh sight to see a new light. In its third, it swirls to the trail of purpose with an intention to venture. And on and on the chants gong the groove
of life to steer us through the tidal waves.
By chance or by choice, the hymns of change instill faith, a longing to succeed, a dream to share. As religion of hope and belief of reaching the shore, the hymns of change give life to the soul.
They speak up and speak out, they feel in to feel out, a notion to chase, a bout to set into a new phase. Here they come, here they come, hymns of change on their
bandwagon to gain.
Come one, come all, it is the time to rise to its lore for hymns of change hail so much more. Be careful though of its fragile fame, the hymns of change have no
Choose to shine now or never for hymns of change don’t wait forever. Be the one to smile and share its glare, to cast your right for a world that shines
For centuries mankind has been culpable to a way of life through enormous contributions in augmenting the society’s potential to his best interest. From as is to as it should be, humanity’s disposition has characterized a constitution that we call society. On route to action, learning & development, ideation, communication and implementation in a sundry of subjects, man has revealed social behavior. In his lifespan of understanding the essentials for existence, man has consciously and willingly fevered social settings with an acceding eye or by fulfillment through belligerence. In his longing for satisfaction through a coconut of desires, peace has hardly been man’s drive to improve and sustain social camaraderie. Abuse and antagonism on the other hand have been his motivators to an uncanny change. Be it fallacy and extremism, transgression and despotism, befouling the nature for mercenary or modern day warfare and nuclear proliferation, all have been illustrations of an injurious mind.
Over the passage of time, in the darkness of night and through the shining sunlight, man has each day grown cruel to himself, only to get farther away from his inmost self, which is his sole identity. Someone has rightly said that time never stops for anyone. It only adjudicates man’s actions as vigilant pastor of the supernatural power. In hue and cry or happiness and joy, time conveys myriad meanings in its musical tick-tock. It is for man to gather time’s lessons and learn to decipher his actions and reactions to make reparations in himself and his surroundings. Evolving such astuteness now is being sensitive to social needs and trying to become sentient to blazing social issues. Today our society is not just an identity of a particular community but a global abode that is sending SOS each day to man to stop, save, sustain as a chamberlain of humanity. It is for man to use his mind’s wisdom and his heart’s benevolence and compassion to contribute incrementally to set forth an example for the entire fraternity to follow.
The recent BP oil massacre in the Gulf of Mexico is a fresh example of how man is daunting his own soil. Not surprisingly enough this incident took place just few months later when United Nations declared the year 2010 as the year of Biodiversity. Affecting a large number of plant and animal species deep in the ocean, this episode is a reminder to man to be alert to the sensitivities of his habitat. This incident and many others over the years are stimulus for man to transform his behavior before it becomes overbearing for creation to nurture life. It is like the saying, if you give some, you get some. For some people such outlook becomes precept of life. The significance of contribution however differs from man to man. Ed Stafford, the British explorer who is currently walking the Amazon and is scheduled to finish his expedition this August is a unique example of human endeavor for conserving nature. Today he is a role model and an inspiration for thousands, many among them are young school children whom Stafford helps aware of the life in rainforests. His Amazon’s adventure blog for kids is part of the Prince of Wales Rainforests project for schools that is leading a social cause against tropical deforestation and climate change. With two most recent instances of how man can lead change through his actions and intentions shows his exceptional strength to cue social change.
Also, in this process of being (what we really are) and becoming (our potential to be) socially conscious, man has the power to self-motivate or get inspired by good virtues to end this war against survival. He has the key to all those locks that fasten free passage for positive human relations, which are the building blocks of the society. Most importantly man has the gift to perceive through his senses that if he has to begin such transition, it has to be now. Leaving things for the future may only account to more problems; it wouldn’t fix the ones that we are facing today. Learning to act now and voluntarily contributing in crisis intervention at individual or group level, in family, community or national level can save mankind from further regression. It shall serve as a turning point in man’s nature for nature. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”
A savant of western philosophy in ancient Greece, Socrates’ quest for life is beautifully versed as, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us”. Today such enlightenment is a treasure for those who believe perspicacity of the surroundings to be paragon of the self. Applying Socratic art of discernment is like an internal compass that can draw our true north, while awakening us to quandaries and solutions through reasoning and rendition. What Socrates always believed in, was questioning about things, what, how and why the way they happen. With an unfastened vision on life, Socratic teachings are like a phenomenon, that if observed can leverage life’s blueprint. As a philosopher he wandered for the unknown, which according to him could be derived from the known. He wasn’t a Management guru, relationship expert or diplomat but his back in the day social prognosis can be an invaluable diagnose to our apprehensions, perceptions and actions in the present day. Socrates’ idea of truth and knowledge was not hearsay but testimony of the actual. Realizing and implementing such insight into practice is one way we can ease our adaptation to change in our own life, lives of other people and the macrocosm.
If we habituate to Socratic state of mind by putting ourselves to test through open-ended questions related to our thoughts, feelings and actions, or even engage in genesis for our problems and situations, we in a way initiate self-management. Being conscious through such SWOT, we liberate ourselves of fears and biases, attempt at unlearning old practices and learn to be part of a distinctive genre. Such avant-garde exploration of the unknown through self questioning and rumination for the way we are, the way we act, the influence of other’s behavior on us and the means by which we construe the creation around us, we can build acumen as a competitive advantage only to contribute mindfully and intently to the society. This Socratic love for wisdom and intellectualism in each of us can further shape our acuity to live life differently by learning to focus on cause rather than just the effect. So if we relied on grapevine communications more often at work or felt productively occupied with gossip in familial relationships, we will realize that such information spreads like fire, it may have good or bad effect because it’s just a rumor but its cause most of the time remains uncertain as such communication carries partial information, which only astounds problems and gaps and does not improve these.
Elucidating admiration for Socratic logic and synthesis further, if we feel exhilarated and secured with material wealth, cash on over ambitions to prove our net worth, why do most of us feel stressed out and empty inside-out ? Possibly here too we emphasize on effect, forgetting the cause for such consequence. Why it is that ego, false prestige and greed makes one counterfeit themselves at the cost of sensitive relations? Why jealousy or one-upmanship among parent-child relation leads to clashes? Besides why do often people camouflage in public, while uncovering there real self privately? Also, are ethics and moral values precepts that only a few of us need to follow? Or is our society undergoing an intimidating phase of double standards? These are some questions that as direct dialogue can head start self examination and aid analysis of situations in one’s life. Settings, station and level of understanding of life, ourselves and of people around may differ though. However developing such sagacity is what Socrates called wisdom to answer the enigma of life.
As a little girl holding a newborn in my tiny arms was just as sufficing as playing with a new doll. Years later being a mother I felt the joy of million bucks to caress my son to feel his silk in my arms and his chaste in my heart. The weave of emotions that bonded us together was stronger and tighter than the umbilical chord that connected us for nine long months. Since then my home has the aura of my baby’s love and his soulful hugs. Parenting in my view is an enjoying endurance that enshrines us with blessedness. It's a developmental process that consecrates us with positive energy to rear children with love, no matter if they are birthed or adopted. Besides, motherhood being a poignant quality in parenting is like a divine endowment to every woman on this earth who can vent her maternal instincts to simulate colors through sweet lullabies. As a nectar of the spirit, motherhood is every woman’s yearn to cradle life in buoyant emotions, which in a way defines maternity as not just the joy of placenta but the state of motherliness in a woman. The eyes that see a child grow each day, the hands that imbibe faith in religion, peace for humanity, and the heart that seeks these values bud into strength of character, indeed is karma incomparable.
Maternity be it naturally or through fosterage is sharing fervor for raising a child with enriched opportunities. Maternity is also maturity to appreciate the inner wisdom and the power of expression that foments relationships irrespective of the ability to gestate. Like mother Mary who chose to rear Jesus as her own flesh and blood and Yashodha for whom Krishna’s pranks were more enchanting than the whole universe, there is cosmic momentum in any foster relationship. Besides a legal formality of entering into a new parent-child relationship, adoption is also celestial that unites souls across boundaries and beyond destinies. As a process of progression in nursing and nourishing a child, adoption facilitates felicity and fruition in the lineage of humanity. Couples who adopt children to raise them as their own express resilient emotions and rectitude of mind. Their adoptive effort goes a long way in contributing to a humane society where love is not bound by blood. Such unrelated yet unconditional involvement through adoption becomes an apostle of divinity in the society where thoughts and feelings are sometimes fabricated through superficial relationships.
Adoption in a way is also karmic intervention that fills up vacuums in lives through spreading uncountable smiles. Such sensibility to embrace change in perception and action gives way to happiness over melancholy. In such elucidation, adoption becomes an endorsement of hope and feat that unfolds a child and an adoptive family to a distinctive semblance in life. With a nest of joy and serendipity that has familial security and happiness of home for a child shows the infinite power of adoption that accredits a couple with compassion, abandons negativity and fears, and empowers a woman while making her capable of motherhood to save her from an emotional erosion. On opening up to such an ethereal vision, we adept ourselves to realize God’s ubiquitous power and his unique ways of making one a mom, ma, ‘la-madre’ or ‘amma’, an identity not through anatomy but the capacity to bestow love and honor a celebration called adoption.
It was only before the Securities Exchange Commission's civil suit over the Abacus 2007-AC1 deal that Goldman Sachs was CEO Blankfein's talisman. Today that juju seems far away from performing any more miracles to sustain Lloyd Blankfein's narcissism and charisma on the Wall Street. Born in Bronx and raised in Brooklyn's linden houses in a neighborhood with vast majority of occupants as working class, Lloyd Blankfein's salesman acumen and trading acuity shaped his destiny. From a commodity salesman in 1981, Blankfein rose to Goldman's hot seat in 2006. At a time when Goldman was acclimated to a banking style leadership at the top with Henry Paulson, co-COOs and Presidents John Thain and John Thornton, Blankfein was at odds to rein the company with a trading mindset. Blankfein's adeptness for profits through insistent style kept Goldman's bankers spellbound to his luminous spark even during the astounding credit crisis that quivered the global economy. Blankfein's leadership and modus operandi kept Goldman buoyant when sentiments on the main street were capsizing due to foreclosures. During this turbulent storm of emotions that had people's homes and hopes in its stride, Goldman was encapsulated by nobility in greed, a psychology of investment at the Wall Street that influences the financial and business environment at large.
With overconfidence as market maker and Abacus as smart money campaign, Goldman traded abnormal profit opportunities for plunge above and beyond fundamental risk. Creating and trading derivatives which were sub-par and certain to shake market sentiments through an incendiary bet, was like risk-return marriage that was sure to end in a divorce. For Goldman endorsing such malignant campaign to its customers certainly was a gambit on its 140 year old reputation. More than just a financial instrument, Abacus was a transactional loop for Goldman's investors that made them pay through their nose. A fallacy though but for CEO Blankfein, Goldman was doing 'God's work'. Today however the whole episode in substance appears to be not a question of numbers but an infringement of Goldman's customer sentiments and trust and violation of Wall Street's most valuable commodity called Information. A step further, this interlude post crisis seems to be a silent sin of abusing the legacy and hegemony of Wall Street as America’s economic and financial heart. On closer look, Goldman's status quo is a wake up call. For now, it is just litigation that neither has so far proven Goldman guilty nor seems like a situation of using Goldman as goad to financial reforms. However, somewhere midway the Goldman-SEC plea should be an elemental intention to restore the public confidence in operations at the Wall Street. The case should be a cardinal assessment of Goldman’s business practices and of similar other companies on the Wall Street that nurture hyper-competitive high fliers who desire to win at the cost of integrity and corporate morality. CEO Blankfein's testimony before the congress in April had a different tune of Goldman's moral obligation to its customers. It somehow fails to conform to the company's corporate values and business principles that puts clients interest first, talks of reputations as asset and puts integrity and honesty at the heart of Goldman's business. The questions that Goldman saga begets are strategic to common man's understanding of how the Wall Street operates in a scenario where each day, each bet is a scale of money vs. morality. Moreover, are corporate values today just an adornment for a company to attract Ivy League talent? Or is the CEO's role slowly drifting away from a corporate steward and leadership led by conscience to just a political and celebrity status? Goldman's catechism may take several months before we have exact answers. Meanwhile Goldman's board will have a tough run in its face lift against its customers for whom the company once represented long authentic innings in financial business. This would also impact the company’s current and near future ventures, one of them being the target date funds that would provide secured income in retirement years for middle class workers with 401(K) investments. Driving business in a sensitive target market, no doubt today will be challenging for Goldman, given the increasing skeptics of its reputation at the Main street. These are few concerns for Goldman that serve as prelude to a financial reform at the Wall Street. Also, at this point Goldman’s current corporate governance may sound like a safe bet for shareholder interests and value but may be predatory for a greater financial and societal good in the long run. Being the big daddy at the Wall Street, a better approach for Goldman may be to rethink its clout at the top. This is also in view of the watchdog set by the proposed reforms, which put consumer protection as a priority, shows implications of imposing the Volcker rule and tighter regulations on The OTC derivatives market which are the cash cows for big firms such as Goldman Sachs. While as it may take some time before the strife between the house-senate dynamics on financial reforms is actually framed into law, Goldman Sachs meanwhile should strategize for a shared responsibility at the top with clear distinction between leadership for business and guidance on regulatory affairs. It is imperative to understand that even if lawmakers are striving to groom Wall Street to a more ethical and economic friendly rearrangement, the big firms at the financial district need to resurrect and revamp their own governance for a better cohesion of what the government expects them to do and what the common man believes of them. More importantly, amid a hot debate on the viability of the financial reforms to bail out an ailing economy, we should not loose focus on Goldman and the aggregate of bungles that led to the current global economic milieu.
With a geographic location in Southwest Asia at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is a country that most may know of as third world. In its topographic terrain lie colossal poverty, indigent economy and grim possibilities of a social and a cultural transition. An impending plague of child marriages leading to physical, sexual and psychological abuse of the girl child is this country’s incessant social menace. Haley Sweetland Edwards’s crisis report about a 13 year olds death due to internal hemorrhaging from sexual assault by an older husband is a symptom of Yemen’s parasitical social and cultural outlook. How callous are the Yemeni men who treat little girls as cash reaping cattle and barter innocence for an eclipsed life. With dearth of resources, lack of education, Yemen’s social facelift today seems feeble and impervious, given the religious and stringent Sharia law that favors child marriages. At an age when dolls are like desires and physical and emotional maturity is raw, an unwanted relationship is like sailing in deep sea without navigation. From the thrill of getting a new dress and some bridal jewelry, the exhilaration and efflorescence of these young child brides turns into rage and sexual drudgery overnight. A sprout of chastity and childhood in naive Yemeni girls turns into a forced and aggressive invasion of their virginity and demure. It is not only pitiful but also shameful for a civilization to act brutal and insane against the impeccant emotions of these little lily-whites. Tormenting as it may sound but this truth is like a dark dust that covers Yemeni clouds and sand castles with its dogmatic mores. According to UNICEF’s data on monitoring situation of children and women, as of Feb 2010, Yemen ranks No.1 at 32% in terms of marriage before the age of 18, which is highest compared to its middle east counterparts in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Morroco, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Algeria. For Yemenis child marriage may be a traditional habitude and a religious precedent. But how apostolic is this cultural practice that changes marriage into slavery and adolescence into apartheid? It is important to understand that what may have been applicable in ca. 570/571 or after (the early Islamic era) cannot and should not be same in the 21st century. With a critical perspective, we would realize that if man had survived on prophecies and prognosis alone, space exploration and technological advances would have been impossible. Moreover, implementing social change through education, liberation from injustice and emancipation through equal rights would also have been Utopian. In my opinion, child marriage is an abuse not only of child rights but also of kinship. A father selling his daughter for few thousand dollars or for an exchange of a new bride for himself in no way is veneration for religion. It’s a question of attitudes and avarice for all those who preach and perform such practice. Calamitous for any society yet true, it is man’s stereotypical nature to use religion and the Holy Scriptures to shield any conservative thinking, misdeeds or sin. Besides, all religions stand alike in their humanitarian philosophy. So what could be more benevolent than letting little girls bud into maturity before they fear of marriage as rape? The Yemeni parliamentary subcommittee’s decision that is scheduled for May should be an echo of such change.
As the CEO of a nation that vividly embraces multiform, President Obama and his cabinet’s egalitarian march on universal healthcare has been grandeur for the common man. The healthcare summit, which was an apex of emotions throughout United States, has been a spectacle of leadership led by conscience. A universal healthcare plan indeed has affirmed the capability of morality in governance amid excessive political maneuvers in the Congress. At macro level this impugning against social conscience in senate has redefined healthcare as radical social issue and a resolution in the pursuit of Americanism. Obamacare undoubtedly has been palliative to the main street where health insurance has always been a catch-22. A comprehensive health care reform for the first time ever has given Jane Doe and John Doe living down the street a taste of triumph amid troubles and an inspiration to succeed and soar high to their dreams. It has given them a right as fundamental as the right to elect a president whose leadership exalts the moral consciousness of this nation and whose presidency has been percipient to change. Critics may still try their best to write off this metamorphosis that America shall witness in the form of affordability by questioning its economics. But should change always be measure of economic indicators, an only might that a county could postulate? If so, then shrewd capitalists and power hankering politicians should carry on with their gross manipulations and narcissistic manifestations. But if your opinion is otherwise then average American should be accredited to his rights and given the opportunity to sweep the benefits of fair play and justice. Obama administration’s universal health care is not a pandemonium like it is still made to believe by few. The health care law rather is a circumspect of the oligopoly created by health insurers over the past decades. It is a conscientious intention to pull out the common man from the insurer’s reticent pang of penalty, price hikes and audacious regulations. Refusing to cover pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses is a mute sin that has been tyrannical for the overwhelmed and the devastated to be racked simply because of a business norm. How ethical is such business practice that is more like a silent harassment? Thankfully whoever advocated for universal health care has certainly earned themselves a memento of unflagging social conscience along with the President and his team in the white house. A health care law essentially is making our future generations wealthy through virtues by exercising conscious wealth maximization, business ethics and morality in politics. It is saving our future from being bankrupt of scruples by means of sharing wealth and wisdom of prosperity. As a poignant political, economic and social campaign of 21st century America, health care law’s liberal and unprejudiced approach seems equivalent to President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation. More than political motivation, the proclamation became a social transformation that conquered the hearts of the oppressed and identified liberation as instrumental in propagating equal rights. Similar to this social amalgamation of the past, health care overhaul is conspicuous to economically uplift the under-privileged and the vulnerable to make health insurance not opportunity but dire amenity. Setting an embargo on the current Cadillac plans is a decision in such light. Implementing the health care law unquestionably shall relieve an average American of mental stress and material crisis to redeem the benefits of an optimal and unobstructed social change. Getting insurance affordable would mean a more secured future for everybody, meager chances of risking a healthy lifestyle, patient optimism and assurance for chronic care, lesser emotional stress, depression and anxiety among families and communities hit hardest by the recent economic recession. Overall it would mean social and moral improvement as a nation. Besides, it would revolutionize health care sector with higher competitiveness in quality, service efficiency, health center expansions and cost benefits in the near future. Prevention is better than cure framework of the law would certainly infuse fresh blood into health care transforming it from its current medical model to a new age physical, mental and emotional wellness initiative. In a constitutional sense, it would mean grappling a social impediment through shared responsibility and facilitating democratic treatment not just by charter but by the dictates of conscience. For the critics however, it’s time to bid farewell to their political resurgence against America’s opportunity for a wholesome Change. The most important step now is to execute the law without a hiatus. This shall certainly mean rising above legislative contests for November elections, personal inhibitions and prejudices to touch base with a sense of prudence as one distinct and discreet nation.