Category Archives: Social issues

Chrysalis

It was a Friday night, I was pretty confused about how to spend the time after dinner. Whether to study or to watch a movie. I chose to do the latter, and this time I  watched a French movie- Monsieur Lazhar. This is the first movie, I saw without seeing any reviews or having any expectations from IMDb. To my surprise, the movie turned out to be a brilliant and beautiful. The movie went beyond just being a film, it touches upon the concept of exposure of adult world and its issues to the naïve child’s world.

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The premise of the movie is a school teacher commits suicide in a classroom, and subsequent spread of the shocking news among children, and the effect of the news on the perception of a children. Moreover, a new teacher who has fled his native country Algeria fills up the empty spot created in school. The new teacher Bashir Lazhar concerts different ways to defuse the tension created by the horrendous events, is how the film plays out itself. The pacing of the film is quite good, no scene is extended unnecessarily to showcase the tension, but the director chooses indirect ways to show the tension in school. Moreover as the movie ended, it left a lasting impact on me, and it made me tear-eyed. Bashir Tazhar is a beautiful yet tragic character facing his own demons and a troubling past. His wife and daughter are supposedly killed in an accident/murder when their apartment burns down, and so as to ensure safe passage, Lazhar flees Algeria for France. The overall theme of the film is interesting, and deals with how a child perceives the problems of the adult world, and also of whether it is healthy to expose the child to a different adult world.

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This film indeed has beautiful quotes!

Suicide and Death are in turn a complex issues, and it is extremely difficult concepts for a child to understand. Children are usually raised in a peaceful and friendly environments, where violence is completely absent, good always wins over evil, there are closures to each tale they listen to and there is an absolute scale of right and wrong. This is rarely the case, adult world is filled with violence, no absolute scale of right and wrong, but rather a grayish notion of what things are right and wrong, and most importantly with NO PROPER CLOSURES and meaning to events that happen in real time. Lazhar tries to discuss the suicide openly with children, so that answers could be given to child’s innocent questions about the complexity of the problem, but he is heckled and brushed off by the school administration. He too faces racial discrimination as he is from a different place. A scene where a little girl Alice reads out an essay, which she has written about her deceased teacher is chilling and it rather highlights an important point. Children have the ability to correctly judge the adult world, but the question of whether they could handle pressure of the complex adult world is also important. That’s exactly what the film deals with. Moreover, answering difficult questions asked by children about the intricacy of the adult world is also necessary, and well there are no easy answers, yet there are right and wrong answers. The feelings of grief and guilt are also foreign for the naïve children, and these concepts are dealt with in specific scenes. The poetic metaphor of the last scene is heart wrenching and beautiful. Monsieur Lazhar narrates a fable he has written. A Chrysalis is hanging from a trees’ branch, and the tree takes necessary precautions so that no harm would come to it. But a fire ravages the forest and burns the tree, the tree survives the fire, but it couldn’t save the chrysalis from death. The tree questions its own actions and feels guilty of overprotecting and pampering the chrysalis, and thinks that it would have being better if he had freed it and let the butterfly explore her way through all the dangers the jungle posed.

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It completely depends upon us how we want a child growing up!

It is completely up to us, whether we want to continuously protect the young and naïve chrysalis to a point of handicap, or to let it go, and make it competent enough by answering the difficult questions it poses.

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Uninspired Patriots

Exactly one year ago, I was in Pune writing a different theme article on the occasion of Republic day, here in 2016, I’m sitting in my hostel room thinking of a completely different perspective of the same theme. This year’s 26th January began at midnight in a library’s reading room, where I was watching funny stuff on YouTube. I began watching at 9.30pm and saying just one more video, it was 12.15. I hurried my way back to my room and slept around 12.30.

 

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I couldn’t resist myself from taking this from “Man of Steel”, but it is a stellar line with relevance to one’s nationalism!

The actual Republic day began at 7.30 in the morning. As I put my toothbrush, towel, soiled clothes into my bucket, I realized that at this time last year, I was sleeping in my cozy bed back home, and  here I’m this year readying myself up before anybody else for a clean hostel bathroom. I didn’t pay much attention to the activities at hand-  washing clothes, brushing teeth, bathing, but I was lost thinking about my country India, and what I was doing for her on this patriotic day. I was being a youth, educating myself and sustaining myself on my own scholarship which I earned by my own merit, and not deviating from the path of hard work. A story of an ideal Indian youth, I was doing my bit for my country indirectly, I was keeping my hostel premise (including my room) clean, and being civil in foreign place. My thought process was briefly interrupted by an empty Lays packet which lay in front of room’s door. It must have being thrown from above or maybe someone from the same floor threw it. I calmly pick up the packet and throw in the dustbin which is present on a right turn away from my room.  Thoughts regarding lack of civic sense of head explode in my head. Out of nowhere a Trojan thought emerges – What does my country do for me? Should my country do something for me or it is just a one way street- me doing something for the country?!

This suddenly reminded me of the story my dad narrated to me, when I was home during vacation. We were on our way back from vacation in a car at night and were distressed by the way people drove their cars on the road and general lack of empathy they exhibited. The story is recent one, the Japanese government was surveying train station across the country, as they wanted to find the usability of each station by people. They found out that there was one particular station, which was the least commuted by people, and they marked this station for dismantling. In all this scheming, the government officials heard news about a little girl who frequently used the station to go to her school, which was in a nearby town. Moreover, train was the only way by which the girl was going to her school every day. Dismantling the station would disrupt the girl’s education, so the government officials decide that they would leave the station as it is, until the girl completed her education. This was an exceptional example of a country caring for her citizens, it was country doing something for its people. I rarely see such an example in India. Patriotism is a two way street, just like any other relationship- friendship between two people, family relations, it requires efforts from both ends. It is just not enough to be good citizens of a nation, the nation should also treat its citizens with dignity and respect. Lack of civic sense in public space of people, highlight only one thing- bad citizens. How can such people be patriotic for its nation?? Playing patriotic songs on loudspeakers on occasion of Republic and Independence day is just not enough, doing this illuminates how superficial our love is for our country. Being good citizens is NOT enough for the progress on our nation, the nation should also display examples of inspiration, nationalism, otherwise it generates a new class of citizens- Uninspired Patriots.

 

Happy 67th Republic day to everyone.

Neutralistic approach

As I was going through my Facebook newsfeed, i came across this video- My Choice- which stars Deepika Padukone, and 99 other women. People from India, who are active on social media, or at least watch the news know about how viral this video has become, for those of you who haven’t seen it, here the link.

This video as its title goes talks about women’s freedom to choose whatever she wants; it talks about women empowerment and primarily talks about gender equality. The direction of the video is amazing, mind-blowing and powerful, but the main ambiguous aspect of this video is its content. I want you to watch the video, and have an opinion about it, but in this piece I would like to express my opinion on it.

In the recent light of events taking place in India- India’s Daughter documentary, etc. this video was clearly made against moral pollicising in India, which lies on the far end of male chauvinism. Some statements made in this video are a bit confusing (To have sex outside marriage- My Choice) and the nature of this video borders on the line that separates Feminism and Femi-nazism. The message of the video is simple- let women be free to make their choices and have freedom, but unfortunately it puts its finger on all the wrong places. It questions the fundamental aspect of a relationship rather it questions the very ideals- Trust, Respect ,etc. personally I don’t believe in the movement of male chauvinism, neither do I believe in the movement of Feminism, I believe in some simple ideals which my parent have taught me- respect for the other person regardless of the gender, equality for each and every person and also in opportunity, trust, sincerity towards a person and last but not the least- honesty towards a fellow human being. Each of these above mentioned movements are highly unbalanced they consider the opposite to be unfair, and convey a justification for their ill treatment. This is NOT right, the main aspect we are forgetting in all this is the virtues and ideals our parent give us- Trust, Honesty, Sincerity, Equality and respect- all these aspects are gender neutral and I believe these ideals. I call myself Neutralist, until and unless we start believing in these small but crucial ideals, we CANNOT solve the problem of gender inequality and exploitation. As this video by Deepika Padukone was making its rounds on social media, someone directed a male version of My Choice, which was made in response to her video. Unless we stop lashing at each other, we can’t solve the real problem.

The only way out of this, is to be neutralist- a person who believes in ideals and virtues than any of the movements- which does nothing but enrages the opposite sex.

Masculinity, violence and the expectations of a male dominated society

Yesterday I watched a movie called ‘in a better world’, it is a Danish movie, it is so amazing and beautifully heart wrenching that it made me shed a tear or two. From a couple of months I’m watching a lot of foreign movies and upto this date I watched 2 more Danish movies- the hunt and after the wedding. Both these movie and yesterday’s movie that I watched have one thing in common that they are filled with a melancholic atmosphere, they are difficult to watch because they are heart wrenching drama about family lives. I’m NOT going to review this movie but I’ll tell you what it taught me.

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The film poster

This movie, in a better world tells us the stories of two adolescent boys named Elias and Christian who share a risky friendship. Both these characters are poles apart from one another. Christian has just recently lost his mother to cancer and he is deeply disturbed by it, while Elias is a boy who is picked upon by a merciless bully in school. This film also shows the lives of their respective fathers, Christian’s father is a man who is filled with grief and guilt, he is worried about his son and his behavior, while Anton Elias’s father is a man who switched between two countries- an African country and the beautiful Denmark countryside. He too is disturbed as a result of violence during his doctor job in Africa. This movie taught me a lot of things.

The way the adolescent boys are depicted is brilliant, it makes me remember of my own mental state when I was an angst filled rebellious teenager who had hate for the entire world and was equally ineffective in distinguishing between what is good and what is bad. It also surprises me that this world is a patriarch world, where men who resort to violence are favored. This movie speaks about this and also highlights our inner dark urge for violence against a fellow human being just to exhibit dominance. This society expects that the man should be strong, dominant, cold hearted and also insensitive to emotions. These expectations are very wrong, when a man cries it doesn’t mean that he is weak it just means that he is sensitive to his emotions, and that does infer anything about his maleness at all, when a man backs out of a fight, it doesn’t mean he is coward, it rather tell his courage to not to get into trouble for the wrong reasons. All these expectations are that of a male dominated society, and they are not really the criteria for a perfect male, rather they are all signs of an irresponsible man. We should remember that man/male/boy is also a human being, he too feels emotions like pain, he is not cold hearted he too is scarred by the real world moreover he also has the right to express them. I think it is time to move on from such a hypocritic expectations, that produces a highly irresponsible man who takes up violence at the slightest instance, and gets into a fight, and move on into a world, where this society accommodates a man’s feelings, his freedom to express it and at the same time accept a man who solves problems by his wit and brain than his fist and adrenaline rush. Let’s move on to a better society and be peaceful. 🙂

Diwali- a festival of lights or a disillusionation of civic sense

Today is the last day of the festival of lights, diwali. This festival marks the glorious return of Lord Rama after he defeated raavan, back to ayodhya, the people of Ayodhya back then welcomed their rightful heir by lighting lamps, and that’s why it is called so. But in the 21st century India, the consequences of this festival are far more outreaching, it signifies the time when people with asthma, allergies and pet cats and dogs are disturbed in worst possible ways because of the smoke produced by burning of fire crackers and all this is without taking in consideration the air and noise pollution because of fire crackers. Well back in the 20th century or the beginning of 21st century, cities of India were not as overcrowded as they are today and extent to which fire
crackers were burned did not exceed civic understanding. It is during this time, when we find out that the people, who you thought had a civic sense or understanding actually didn’t care for the fellow being who they stayed with. During diwali, the myth behind the fact that people of city had some awareness about the health of city and its environment is completely destroyed, you find out they are selfish and narssisitc in their way of thinking about the society in which they live. It is sad to find out all this during a period of 3-4 days of the year, unfortunately this is the case in all areas of India. Fire crackers, which we burn are made by child labourer who work day and night, only for the happiness of us- the middle class, moreover they suffer from horrible accidents in which they are burned badly. The hypocrisy is that when people start talking about child labor, they start delivering extensive lectures about how we need to stop it, but during this so called festival of light, but burn a lot of fire crackers, and indirectly support child labor, as these industries employ children for work.

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A chilling account of child labor in the most delicate way.

Not just that people burst crackers at 2 or 3 am in the morning, just for their own pleasure and happiness, hence destroying the sleep of countless others. By doing that, not only they disturb their sleep they invite the insults of these people. Is this all diwali about, disturbing others in all possible ways and inviting bad wishes from them?? Well I would like to emphasize to you other facts too, it is a festival of happiness, friends and families visit each other, gift each other many things and lot of other stuff, in short it is Christmas time for all Indians.

There is a day on diwali called as Lakshmi poojan day, in which people perform Pooja of the lordess Lakshmi, the god of wealth and invite her to their house for her blessings. Just think after disturbing people in all possible ways, will she bless your house?? Or rather will she even visit? We seriously need to think over how this festival should be celebrated and bring about a necessary change.We need to make the festival a lot less troublesome and more environment friendly. I may be speaking of all the sins people commit, but there is a positive change in people; you see many posts on Facebook, where people encourage not to celebrate the festival in all the wrong ways, and celebrate it in all the right ways.

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An amazing message spread in a good way

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Comical way of spreading awareness(I’m sorry it is in Hindi; translation from top left to right and then bottom; date a ‘hot’ cracker don’t burn one, make the boys turn their heads, but don’t burn chakri, make boys jealous don’t burn stuff, well it is the best possible translation!!!)

There is a good will and hope in people, there are a lot of comical ways in which awareness is spread, and I think in all the worst case scenarios, when you see a change, a saying carries on.

“Where there is a will, there is a way”

Vote for democracy or stand for nothing

Well 1 days from now, my state(Maharashtra, India) will go on the round of elections which occurs every 5 years. I’m quite excited, since this will be the second opportunity presented to me rather all the residences of the state to exercise the first right of democracy- right to vote. As the day approaches, you hear all sorts of humors like what differences does my vote make, is there any difference brought about for I vote, then there are some clever chaps who quote some imminent personalities like this one- “If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let you vote”.

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Rightly said by AESCHYLUS

All I can say is that these people who don’t vote instigate all the other people who want to vote to think that whether voting will make a difference or not. But after all you shouldn’t forget the sacrifice made by our ancestors, how they fought the colonial rule, so that our nation can actually vote. I think all those people who don’t vote at all, by giving dumb excuses, are actually disrespecting all the people who laid down their lives for the betterment of the nation.lenny-kravitz-lenny-kravitz-its-very-important-to-vote-people-died

We should remember this thing….

India is the biggest democracy in the world, and if the people of India don’t vote, then is it really right to take pride in the fact that ours’ is the biggest democracy, that is pure hypocrisy. The main different aspect of democracy is that the government that runs the nation is for the people, by the people, and of the people, and the first thing comes with democracy is voting by citizens. By not voting, we are giving away the first right given by democracy, not only that we are disrespecting our democracy.

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Well that is the secret of voting, you undergo a process

For all the people who don’t vote, you don’t have the right to speak of how the government is, because it is not elected by you, it is elected by the “CITIZENS” of the state/nation. Citizens are those who care about the state/nation, and work for the betterment of state/nation in some way or the other way. So it’s my request is that we should vote whenever election comes our way and not run away from our prime responsibility  of being citizens, and those who don’t VOTE, don’t give us excuses why you aren’t going what you should be doing, moreover you should criticize the people who exercise their right. Stop giving pretentious speeches, either stand for something or exist for nothing.

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For all those who don’t vote, please don’t COMPLAIN

A teacher is……

Well today is 5th September, and it is celebrated in India as teacher’s day. It is celebrated a teacher’s day because of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday, who himself was a teacher before he was the President of India. I take this time out of my life to write some thoughts I had regarding this day.
Teacher, a person who inspires and is responsible for changing a complete generation. He/she is a person who teaches us how to write, read and take life as it comes. He is a watchful protector, who directs a child’s thinking in the right direction. I  take this golden opportunity to thank all my teachers for helping me throughout my life, helping me improve my grammar skills and inspiring me with their completely different ideas(all my language teachers), teaching me important concepts of Physics, Math, Biology and chemistry and most importantly for helping me inculcate my hobbies(my music teacher).

The Karate Kid
This movie is entirely about master and his student and their intertwined lives


     Sorceress’s apprentice

“I am not your mentor, I’m your MASTER”- Balthazar Blake

In this 21st century India, it is high time we pay our dues to our beloved teachers. They are the people who help us in many things. Teachers are one of the most important people in our lives, who help us take life as it comes, there are so many instances in movies-“Kung Fu panda 1 and 2”, “The Karate kid”, “Sorceress’s apprentice” and “Never Back Down”, where a teacher inspires the protagonist to be strong and most importantly to believe in themselves. It is this belief, which is the driving force for our excellence in our lives, and we should never forget that teachers are the ones who instil this concept in us. Moreover i’m also proud to be a part of the ancient Indian tradition where the teacher is a mentor, taskmaster and an ultimate MASTER. It is also the first time in 21st century India, that the PM held a special session to salute the teachers of India, and take some time out of his busy schedule to interact with the young generation of India, well it is first ever time he has tried to reach out to the children.

Never Back Down

                 I don’t have to say anything more………..


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The quote!!!!

Now I need to go call all my teachers!! I wish all the teachers in this world, a happy teacher’s day!!!

ALS Ice Bucket challenge: an awareness or wastage?

Just a few days ago I was going through my Facebook newsfeed, and I came across this weird challenge-“ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. Well I went on and saw the video, in this challenge, the person actually taking this challenge in the next undertake this challenge in the next 24 hours or donate money to research on Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis- this disease is a neurodegenerative disease which is at present has no cure. And it is fatal.

Initially I thought, “Hey, this is a nice way to make people donate money to charity or whatsoever”, but as days went on I found out that many people were undertaking the challenge and donating money simultaneously, but then suddenly a lightning bolt of epiphany struck me- ever imagined how many litres of water is wasted by undertaking this challenge. For those of you, who are reading this article, which I’m writing right now, this article will tell you to open your wide closed eyes right now. This challenge whoever invented it had indeed done it with a good purpose in mind, but now since this challenge has gone viral on the net (many celebrities are also taking this challenge!), it has to STOP.

Personally I don’t have anything against people donating money to research on a fatal neurodegenerative disease; I have a problem with the careless way in which water is wasted. I don’t have to elaborate the adverse effects of El Niño and Global warming, which are both major problems plaguing the entire world, my point is why waste water and energy( ICE water!!) to prove your point about donating money to charity.

If you see the stats carefully, about a million people are taking this challenge right now, ever imagined how many litres of water is being wasted for just this challenge, moreover not to forget the amount of energy wasted too for making ice in refrigerators. This challenge is wasting water, fossil fuels (needed for making ice) in general. Moreover according to what I feel, celebrities too shouldn’t support such an unsustainable activity. Fossil fuel, which is day by day declining as a result of excessive use, cannot be regenerated, and one more thing FYI we can’t survive without water, as per an old saying goes-“Life is impossible without water”.

It is important to donate money to research on such a dangerous disease, but the way in which awareness is being spread is wrong and unsustainable. Though you just might say that I’m just using one bucket of ICE water, but that is what a million people are saying as a matter of fact.

I don’t want to discourage people from donating money, all that I have to say is that in the present day, when we are facing acute water shortage and fossil fuel deprivation, the challenge is wasteful and unsustainable. Noble and sustainable awareness methods need to be developed, so as to prompt people to donate money to charity.