30 December 2012

The year that was...

2012 is definitely a landmark year of my life. A good stint at work, some very good vacations, bonding with friends and family. All in all a very satisfactory year on the personal front. A year of accomplishments.

Some spiritual initiations too - joined Usha tai's Geeta group on email to discuss the heavy concepts of Bhagvad Gita. Also, started watching Devon ke Dev - Mahadev with my daughter which exposed me to our rich repertoire of mythology.

But the last 3 months of 2012 were tragic. Death of two elders of the family and watching them suffer has been sad. Even if one is not in touch with someone regularly, death brings a kind of finality to the relationship. It is a bitter-sweet feeling; one feels good that the dead does not have to suffer anymore but sad at the same time at never being able to feel their presence amongst us mortals.

And then came the two great tragedies of December - the Newtown school massacre and the Delhi gang-rape. People were just recovering from the shock of the first, when the second tragedy struck. The 2 incidents make one lose one's faith in humanity. It is humbling that all the achievements and goodwill of the entire year seem meaningless in face of such heart-wrenching news. It made me question if I have any right to be happy when innocent kids and women are being slaughtered so brutally. It is hard to reconcile deaths of young lives.

For the Delhi gang rape case, I've been following the uproar over Facebook and media. I've so far restrained from forming any judgements or giving opinion on this topic as it was too disturbing  to dwell on it. Nirbhaya's death jerked me into action finally. I felt aghast at the unnecessary waste of her life. There are many theories put forward to explain the psychology of the miscreants. Primary ones are social upbringing and stereotyping based on age-old beliefs that good girls do not venture out late in the evening, or with men they are not related to etc. But no matter what the upbringing, nothing can condone the sheer inhuman violation of her body.

My opinion is that every family / community / social circle knows of people who are not 'all there'. They should keep a close watch on such folks and get appropriate help for them at the right time. This is an age when mental illnesses, depression and various complexes abound. These are social ailments and need treatment at the social level. People need to understand the value of kindness and compassion even toward those who do not deserve it. By stifling cases of violence, mental torture, aberrant behavior due to fear of ridicule, people put our society at risk. Therapy & medical help should be sought for such diseased individuals in the initial stages itself and care should be taken not to let them loose in society without policing.

Infact, in addition to strict policing of the streets, there should be policing of social behavior too. And the latter can only come from families, school, communities. We should be vigilant to be able discriminate between one-off behavior of our near and dear ones as compared to really absurd behavior. We live in enlightened times where there is enough material available on what constitutes normal or weird behavior. Only when we start taking responsibility for small misdemeanors of our people will we stop feeling so helpless in face of such appalling events. If every person did his/her watchful bit, surely together we can reduce such cases in future. A mentally healthy family is the key to a mentally healthy and crime-free nation.

Kuch kariye, kuch kariye, nas nas meri khaule.....

21 December 2012

Book Review: The Krishna Key

Read a book - that too a thriller, after a long time.  The experience in itself was novel :)

Buy The Krishna Key: Book

Ashwin Sanghi's 'The Krishna Key' is a thriller based on the backdrop of mythology. Its key selling point is that it is extremely well-researched. Kudos to the writer for taking so many pains to get the facts straight. The book is along the lines of 'The Da Vinci Code' but with a much more solid punch. It has combined facts from history, nuclear physics, chemistry, geography, geometry, architechture, astronomy and religion to come up with an almost plausible explanation of the Divine energy!

The book starts with the murder of a scientist that sets in motion a chain of events at breakneck speed. The killer seems to be the tenth avatar of Vishnu - Kalki. The book is also a refresher course on the Mahabharata and the Bhagvad Gita. There is also a lot of detail about Shiv lingams, Somnath and Mount Kailash; so much so that the title seems misleading at times. The way the chronology of historical events is explained is indeed eye-opening and very convincing regarding the theory put forward. Personally, I learnt a lot about history and mythology from this book. The facts presented about Somnath and Mahmud Ghazni were astounding. The entire book is like reading a lot of research papers back to back.

The downside is that the writer crams too much detail into this book which may not be digested by the uninitiated reader. Also, he disappoints by succumbing to the temptation of introducing typical twists in the plot with addition of newer and newer characters. Those who are intolerant of questioning long-established facts of religion should definitely keep away.

If I were not a software engineer

I was a topper at school. Though I was not bad at math and science, I was a whiz with languages. I was obsessed with books of all kinds ...