All posts by adkodi

Who’s to blame?

“You never have money for anything! I wish I had a rich dad!”

SLAP!!

  Bala couldn’t hold his tears back. He had made sure that his son got the best education possible. Even after countless arguments with Sumathi he was intent on sending Bala to the highest reputed school in the neighbourhood. Bala was not able to find the strength in him to meet his wife’s sympathetic eyes. He had failed to provide for his family. He had failed as a father.

Sumathi scurried into the kitchen wiping her own tears. She was surprised that she actually didn’t regret slapping her son. He deserved every bit of it and still some more. How could she have given birth to such an inconsiderate child?  She wondered if it was her fault that Shiva acted the way he did. She had not raised him well. She had failed as a mother.

Shiva was brimming with rage as he stomped his way to school cursing his parents. He couldn’t understand why he was more furious with his mother. How could she slap him defending that ill excuse for a man? He knew within that his father would refuse anyway. What he couldn’t take was standing there listening to another one of his father’s sob stories about how poor they were. He hated being poor. He hated pity even more.

As Shiva entered his class room, he encountered the very sight he had been dreading the whole way to school. It was Azhar smiling and waving his fat fingers at him animatedly.

“Hey, Shiva! Did you watch the DBZ episode yesterday? Oh! Sorry, forgot you don’t have a TV at home”, laughed Azhar  the way only fifth grade boys could.

Shiva was hearing the joke for the hundredth time, but today it stung him more than it did previously. He was not in the mood to throw the usual fat joke at Azhar. Shiva just scoffed at Azhar with contempt and took his assigned seat next to Azhar.

“What’s up with you today?” asked Azhar quizzically.

Shiva rolled his eyes and cursed at Azhar to stay silent.  Azhar being Azhar was not giving heed to Shiva and continued pestering him. Shiva at the loss of knowing how to shoo Azhar away, decided to relate the morning’s events to Azhar.

“So you are not coming for the excursion? I’ll sure miss pauper Shiva during the trip”, beamed Azhar with typical nonchalance.

Shiva hated how the other kids in his class never had to deal with the problems he had to deal with on a daily basis. It was like they all lived in a different world altogether where money was never a cause for worry. He wanted to be in their world. He hated his world.

“Can we stop talking about it now?” pleaded Shiva.

“Sure! Right after I tell everyone in class” grinned Azhar as he leapt off from his seat.

Azhar had made sure it was the class gossip of the day by the end of lunch hour. Azhar enjoyed every bit of the banter he shared with Shiva. When he saw Shiva sullen today, he knew he had some solid content to haze him with for the rest of the week or maybe even a month. The Dragon Ball Z joke was getting old and Azhar had been hoping to find something new. Shiva stayed silent for most part of the day except for a few a few curses directed at Azhar calling him fat. Azhar smirked off the usual insults and got more creative with his own jokes every passing hour. He was not able to hide his pride coming up with the wittiest jokes making fun of Shiva. Shiva hated being the butt of the joke all the time.

The best part of the day for Shiva was when the last bell rang.  It didn’t last long as Azhar chose to tag along with him as he walked to the gate.  Shiva tried to avoid Azhar by pretending to not hear him but it didn’t seem to serve the purpose.

Azhar waved bye to Shiva at the gate without getting any response. Azhar shrugged as he saw Shiva stroll his way home. Azhar turned to see his mother waiting for him at the car a few feet away. It was not often that his mother came to pick him up. He understood it must be hard for her to support the family on her own after they lost his father last year. He ran to his mother beaming and gave her a hug.

“Who’s your friend there?” she asked Azhar.

“Oh! That’s Shiva. School would be a lot less fun without him.”

“You should invite him home sometime.”

“I would, but I don’t know if he would come. He likes to keep to himself” said Azhar as they both got into the car.

“How was your day in class today?”

“It was alright. Too bad Shiva won’t make it to the excursion on Friday though.”

The Ripple

Google Dictionary defines ‘Butterfly Effect’ as the phenomenon whereby a minute localised change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

The term originates from Edward Lorenz’s research paper, Predictability, from 1972 where he explains using Chaos Theory that a hurricane forming in Texas, USA could be traced back to an ostensibly insignificant act such as a butterfly flapping its wings ‘weeks’ ago in ‘Brazil’. And, that is pretty darn AMAZING! Isn’t it? But unfortunately, in a world where every individual wonders if whatever he/she does will make a difference in the world, the concept of Butterfly Effect seems to be appreciated only in Sci-Fi movies.

We normally measure the significance of an event or action through the number of people it has directly impacted. If we are asked to list a few important events or happenings in the course of human history, the things that usually pop up in our minds are the discovery of fire/electricity/penicillin, invention of wheel/internet, man landing on the moon, abolition of slavery and the likes. Of course all the events above were of great significance to the progress of the human race. Events like these get the spotlight because they have a high degree of direct impact on a huge chunk of the society and hence, attract a lot of media attention and find a way into history texts. This leads most of us to believe that to create a significant impact on the world we must be involved in the ‘Discovery of fire’ equivalent of our respective generation. We are tuned to think that only events causing huge ‘direct’ impact are of any significance. We tend to forget that any single action of ours, no matter how menial it may seem, has its own set of consequences and hence causing a ripple impacting everyone around us indirectly.

The Happy Daughter - HONY

“Never laid a hand on her. And that was huge for me. Because it was always the first thing my dad did.”

The photo you see above is from a photography page on Facebook called Humans of New York. Here you see a father holding his daughter’s graduation day picture. On first look we may not think that there is anything special about the picture or the father’s quote but on closer look we can see that the choice this man made to not follow his own father’s footsteps has a greater magnitude of impact than what most people realise. He chose the right path, though not the easier, to make the world a better place not only for his daughter but for the innumerable number of people around him and his daughter. His decision to never hit his daughter helped create a world his daughter saw through her eyes when she grew up which was very different from the one he spent his own childhood in. The world he chose to show her was a world filled with love and care, a world where physical abuse could never possibly be part of her childhood memory, a beautiful world. And, this was the lens through which his daughter saw the world, a place filled with love, a place with less hate, a happier place. Hence he started the ripple with his daughter which then spread to touch all others who knew her, who saw the beauty of the world through her kindness. His choice made the world they all lived in a whole lot happier and beautiful. And it still doesn’t end there; the ripple continues coursing through the vastly interconnected web of human race over time and thus impacting the lives of one and all and making the world a better place.

One of the top commenters on the photo has said, “He broke the cycle”.  Here the father chose to end generations of dreaded childhood, which could have carried on further for generations beyond his daughter’s. He could have easily chosen to accept that physical abuse was a normal part of disciplining the young. We humans usually tend to think, “Why should they deserve any better from what I got when I was in their position? The world wasn’t very fair to me, why should I be fair to them?” And this is truly what makes doing the right thing commendable. Someone has to stop this domino effect. Someone had to be the change and it is never easy to fight our own ego and insecurities and be the one to ‘break the cycle’. It would be an even more difficult decision if it is a total stranger that we have to choose to be kind to. Kindness is a habit. Like any other habit, once you get used to being kind, it becomes part of your lifestyle. And in no time you start your own ripples of kindness wherever life takes you, making the world around an infinitely more happier place. If that is not a great contribution to mankind, I don’t know what is.

Ripples

So, the next time you ask yourself, “What difference am I going to make?” remember the ripple our actions create in the vastly interconnected web of mankind we live in. We don’t necessarily have to be an elected representative of the government or a social rights activist to make significant changes to the society. We just have to realise the power and the consequences of our actions and lead a life that has a positive impact on others around you. We have choose to be the change we wish to see in the world today, and not just complain and whine till half the world has already changed and then follow the herd. So the next time when you don’t know where to throw the chocolate wrapper, keep it in your pocket or purse till you find garbage bin. Switch off that fan, if it is not in use. Smile at your security guard because your smile might be the best thing happening to him on the day and the smile cost you nothing.

Here’s a video which went viral on social media a couple of years ago which beautifully depicts how your random act of kindness sets off a ripple making the world a better place.

All In The Name Of Religion

   A kindly woman, enfeebled with age, was sitting besides the temple gate with her palms raised. I shattered a coconut in front of the idol with hopes that it would magically add points to my karma. My gaze fell on the kindly woman. I was filled with genuine grief just contemplating the sort of lifestyle she has to lead. I looked away. I dropped a 100 Rs note into the Undiyal (Temple Trust Collection Box) and spared 2 Rs change for the kindly woman’s palms. How did I forget God’s lessons of Compassion? All in the name of Religion.

   I panicked listening to the words pouring out the fortune teller’s mouth. He calmed me down with a pious grin and presented to me a crimson knotted-thread. Minutes later, I left the fortune teller’s abode with the pricey accessory around my wrist, eternally grateful for his timely help and worldly advice. Not long after, I climbed onto a crowded bus with a struggle and waded through the unyielding crowd to find a support rod to cling onto for the remainder of my journey. The bus reached my stop. I clambered down accompanied by the usual commotion only to find a hole cut in my pocket where I once had my phone. I grew furious. I felt wronged. I felt ashamed. I had been robbed. Once? All in the name of Religion.

   His eyes cringed as the miniature ‘vel’ (spear) pierced his cheeks. His eyes grew teary and the pain and ordeal he was going through were evident. But, that did little to stop him. He marched on still resolute to fulfil his end of the bargain. A bargain with whom? God?  If only pain and ordeal were currency in the ‘God-world’. All in the name of Religion.

   We don’t think twice before inflicting pain upon ourselves as a bargain for something we want but we grow apprehensive when asked to pledge our organs for donation, to be of use to someone when the organs will be of no use to our dead and decaying bodies.

   We search for God in Godly-men when he exists in our thoughts and random acts of kindness. We live in a world where the act of reaching out to god is commercialised and the promise of material satisfaction is sold like vegetables. Temples have lost their meaning. We tabulate and keep score of our karma and pray to god for material gifts quoting our karma score to justify how we deserve rewards. If only Santa Claus was real. Somewhere along the way we forgot God preaches contentment and chose the ignoramus path of using prayers and religious offerings to fuel greed and propagate hypocrisy. All in the name of Religion.