Posted in Lateral Thinking

The organic nature of the Organic is chemical :D

The organic nature of the Organic is chemical hehehe (read this Nityananda stye 😀 )

I have something to prove it.

Not at all a makeup or cosmetic person. Only sun protection (SPF) cream for me or good old ‘fair & lovely’ (now renamed ‘glow & lovely’) for evenings out. At home its moisturizer with mild SPF. Rare vitamin C applications that I started last year along with under eye cream. This is my maintenance routine but my main skin care essential is desi coconut oil. I do switch between olive oil, argan oil and coconut oil in the Middle east because in winters sometimes coconut oil gets frozen. Anyday I prefer body oils to chemicals.

The one brand I have always favoured has been Bodyshop. Indian chain is not good enough. I get mine from Middle east. Although against age defying formula, I have loved their vitamin C and Drops of life. I use their body butters and scrubs and shampoos. Expensive but that is one luxury I have allowed myself over years over salon visits. In India i have no use for any of these as my skin returns to normal self. In middle east in ten days on landing I tan maximum and my skin dries out. Its like I am two different persons : one in middle east and one in India. We have extreme weather in middle east with summers soaring to 55 c and winters chilling to 4 c both of which impact adversely my skin. Whereas India is a beautiful pH balanced country that asks for zero maintenance. In India, my night balm is also the natural Kumkumadi Lepam that in my teens I used to get from Lalitha pharmacy (ayurvedic). Now with improvisations it is available nonsticky.

Last year I got this body scrub from Bodyshop. I prefer Bodyshop because they claim to be maximum organic (even they admit they can’t be 100% organic). Upto 75-80% they claim that their products contain natural ingredients. Theirs are plant based and are not lab tested on animals which is very important for me. For longer shelf life, naturally the preserving chemicals and additives and colours need to be blended in. Understandable. A high price also I thought perhaps meant the quality assured. The body scrub that I use for my hands and foot once a week, I put away with lid open before I left for India. I thought leaving the lid open might remind me to use it once more the next day before taking the flight out and that way I could avoid paying for a pedicure in a salon in Chennai! Later I remembered not closing the jar with the lid but made a mental note to remind my hubby about it. Then blissfully I forgot everything as you know, India consumes you totally!

My break in India got extended and I ended up spending three months June, July, August before returning to Doha by September. The first thing I noticed in the bath on my return was that, the cleaner who my hubby engaged once in 15 days to tidy up our place in my absence, had washed clean the bathrooms flooding the still open jar in the bathtub nook. Nobody bothered to replace the lid. I rued the loss of an expensive scrub. Even before unpacking I drained the standing water from the jar. God knows how long it remained that way. Beneath I found that the scrub layer holding good. Surprised that I found no fungus, i still took out the top layer and the sides and wiped clean the jar. I left the dry jar open for again a week. The scrub smelt heavenly after all the contamination and was usable that shocked me. I skimmed out one more layer from atop to rule out any seeping adulteration. None. Nothing. The bodyscrub held the forte solid and firm! Left the jar open more for a couple of days. Then everything was fine and settled. I could use the contents of the jar once again. The bodyscrub was as good as new. That if you think made me happy, you can’t get more out of focus. That actually made me think and I dropped Bodyshop from my list of shopping.

Our Indian Ayurvedic products easily get moldy with fungus even before the expiry date – which means, the ingredients still are natural. Products from India do not have an extended shelf life like those we shop for in dutyfree shops. Every big brand or designer brand is oozing chemical. You check Bodyshop: shelf life is three to four years on average. The more French/Italian your beauty routine is, the more you pack your skin with advanced complex chemical compounds. This is the truth. I shopped for Bodyshop because their products were mostly paraben free.

Some of these foreign brands capitalize on the organic label. Some sell for their European origin. Tell me what kind of body scrub won’t go foul with 3 month standing dirty water in it. Now whenever I use the scrub I wonder what are all chemicals I am rubbing into my skin. Nothing comes chemical free. I am wary of even olive oil and argan oil that emanate a mild scent. Only India seems to be producing virgin coconut oil besides others. How far the manufacturer/supplier is keeping his words, we are not sure. But virgin coconut oil smells good thought i can’t rule out paraffin addition.

As I live between countries, I am unable to stick with just the Indian Ayurvedic. I am forced to go for longer shelf life skincare. But one thing I consciously opted out of is: anti ageing. Just read the constituent chemical next time you go for an anti ageing skin routine. Too complex that scares me. Now with the last batch of last year’s skincare. Next time in India, I shall try to top up with desi Ayurvedic.

The other day I was picking oranges from a supermarket. Oranges are mostly from Pakistan or Morocco or Spain or Australia and rarely from India. The loose jackets that we call Kamala in India are the only locals I have come across. Seeded. No takers for our Kamala sad! The more expensive the oranges are, the seedless they come, and sweeter. The cheapest oranges are from Pakistan that come a bit sourer but are the only ones that still come with seeds. Its not for their price I buy them. Its for their not tampering with nature, i get them. Nothing saddens me than filling my grocery baskets with seedless grapes, seedless oranges, seedless this, seedless that. Only one fruit is not yet seedless in our bazars: the mango! And the day when we have a seedless mango will be the day of reckoning for entire humanity. One thing I would like to underscore: the seeded naturals don’t come very delicious like the seedless sweet tender fruits. Some seedless oranges are indeed organic!

Note: Get the difference between de-seeded and seedless. Dates can come deseeded.

What about pasteurized milk. In India milk without added vitamins etc., won’t last for more than 12-18 hours even with refrigeration whereas even in dry heat conditions of Middle east, pasteurized milk can last for days, even weeks. Fruits and vegetables too rot fast even if refrigerated, whereas they can stay fresh with refrigeration for weeks in advanced countries. One reason could be the power supply which may be at times erratic in India. The other chief factor could be the absence of strong preservatives in Indian pasteurization.

You know sometimes, decay is good. Daag achcha hai! Rotting is a blessing. Death is a blessing. It means everything is normal, natural the way things ought to be.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Greyrocking The Gaslighting.

The Stonewalling Tactic

Gaslighting is emotional abuse when you are constantly put down and made to believe you are worth just that, below what you are really as a person, as an individual. This is underplaying your credibility, undervaluing you, undoing you. Gaslighting has the potential to scar you and leave you with permanent marks: if you allow it. Greyrocking is an effective method to deal with gaslighting. To whichever good samaritan who underscored this immense strength we are capable of, I would remain forever grateful. This way you stop yourself from responding to provoking situations that try to negate your character. Some of us may find ourselves gaslighted even by family members. There are two ways we can get back at those who try to undermine us and pin the blame on to us: by knee jerk reactions typical to some of the sensitive among us, and/or going quiet. The second option is not easy for empaths who are known for their outspokenness. You go verbal that comes to you naturally. You lay your cards open. Pretty transparent. The manipulators and narcissists’ best kept secret is keeping mum which helps them control situations. This kind keep their cards close to their chest never revealing what they have to play. It is up to the empaths to develop this kind of silent arsenal that can take on the gaslighters. The terms are new to me but I am increasingly identifying circumstances in my society where these neatly fit. Greyrocking is a slow working tool which can imply that you couldn’t care less. But it is bound to leave an impact in the long.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

The STEM Life.

Celebrating STEM LIFE….

The STEM guys are our life source.

STEM is indispensable. Art is NOT.

STEM is tech. Brain mapping. Art is skill that is practicable and masterable.

You never see the STEM guys go down on their knees.

Indian parents notoriously come across as tyrants for pushing Science-Technology-Engineering-Medicine (STEM) down the throat of their children, and their stand has been vindicated in the current pandemic we have around the globe. The unscathed winners in the situation seem to be the STEM grads employed gainfully in their respective areas. No excesses here. Lean cut. Yet they are doing extremely well under the duress and need a pat for their surviving skills. After all the old STEM wisdom has stood them in good stead when everyone else around them, especially the artistes of various hues, are flopping miserably. Indian parents bear the blame for ‘conditioning’ their children’s lives, trying to live their dreams through their children, etc., etc. But the time tested truth is that, the parents ensure that their children have their heads above troubled waters in difficult times. The STEM grads are hardly in limelight. They are the builders of the society. They never go about preening, ‘I saved a life today, i am the architect of that highrise, I was there working the oil rig which is fueling your car, I built that microchip.’ But they are everywhere and nowhere. They keep innovating pushing borders. Their tireless zest sees to that the rest of the community enjoy a better quality of life. The STEM professionals are the true makers of this world – they lift up their families with pride and joy. They uphold lofty principles with their work ethics. But for them, what is this world. They are the hardworking population of India and of this entire universe. The earth spins on its axis thanks to them. Without them, we will be plunged in darkness eternally, immobilized and rooted to the spot, diseased and disheartened. We will have NOTHING BUT CHAOS. But we are okay, alive and kicking, because the STEM guys are working behind the scenes. Our STEM guys shoulder immense responsibilities that cowards and zombies will never. The STEM heroes deserve a standing ovation. Crisis Management is breeze as planning and strategy are everyday program of the STEM workforce. The STEM guys make for the best sons, husbands, fathers viz-a-viz best daughters, wives and mothers. The STEM people fly the plane. Connect the wires. Put through the calls. Design our dreams. Our STEM guys are the forgotten heroes of our real lives. They make our lives meaningful and worth living. Silent achievers. We love our STEM guys who make it possible for the ART to survive. GIFT YOUR CHILDREN A STEM FUTURE. Give your children DIGNITY so that they will stay busy and have no time for ANY nonsense. STEM families are HAPPY FAMILIES. There may be work stress but never useless headaches.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

தமிழ் பாடம்

தமிழில் எழுத முடியாததென்பது இல்லை. ஆனால் இன்னொரு ராஜேஷ் குமராக, புஷ்ப தங்கதுரையாக, பட்டுக்கோட்டை பிரபாகராக அவதரிக்க எனக்கு விருப்பம் இல்லை அவ்வளவு தான்! ஆங்கிலத்தில் எவ்வளவோ படிக்கிறோம் பகிர்கிறோம். ஆனால் விரசம் கலந்த தமிழ் பக்கங்களை என்னால் படிக்க இயலுவதில்லை. அது தாய் மொழி மீது நான் வைத்த மரியாதையா என்று எனக்கு தெரியாது. தமிழில் சிறிதளவும் கொச்சையாக பட்டால் என்னால் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள முடிவதில்லை. ஆங்கிலம் பரவாயில்லை. சங்க நூலகளில் பள்ளி நாட்களில் படித்திருக்கிறோம் ஆனால் அந்த தமிழே வேறு. வெறும் சென்சேஷனலிசத்திற்காகவே தமிழில் சிலர் சில வாறு எழுதிகிறார்களோ என்று இப்போது தோன்றிகிறது. ஆனால் அதை திட்டமாக சொல்ல நானும் தமிழில் அதிகம் படித்ததில்லை. அரைத்த மாவையே எதுக்கு அரைக்க. வித்யாசமான, சமூக சூழ்நிலையை ஆராயும் தமிழ் நூல் பிடிக்கும் இன்னமும். யதார்த்தம் நிறைந்த சுஜாதா மற்றும் பாலகுமாரன் கூட நான் படித்ததில்லை. ஒரே காரணம், பள்ளி வயதிலேயே நினைப்பேன், இது வெளிதாக்கம் என்று. அப்போ நம்ம ஒரிஜினலையே படித்து விடலாமே என்று தான் தோன்றும். தமிழ் மீது பெரிய பற்று என்றுமே கிடையாது. என் வாழ்க்கையை தமிழ்நாட்டுக்கு வெளியே நான் ஐம்பது சதவீதம் வாழ்துள்ளதாலோ என்னவோ, ஒரே குட்டைல ஊறுகிற மட்டையாக விருப்பமில்லை. ஹிந்தியிலும் பெரிய மேதை கிடையாது. ஆனால் சின்ன தோஹே அல்லது சினிமா பாடல் வரியை கேட்டாலும் அந்த மென்மை என்னை வருடும். எந்த பாஷாயுமே உசத்தி இல்லை தாழ்த்தி இல்லை. உருது கலந்த ஹிந்தி வரிகள் மிக்க இஷ்டம். எனக்கு தெரிந்த மட்டில் காதலை அதைவிட அனுபவித்து வார்த்தையில் எழுத வேறு சிறந்த மொழி இல்லை. Spiritually கூட Sufi யை ஆழ்ந்து ரசிப்பேன். தமிழில் கூட கடவுளை அவ்வளவு கண்டதில்லைன்னு சொல்லலாம். நானும் தேவாரம் திருவாசகம் கேட்பவள் தான். மொழியின் உருக்கம் அப்படி. மலையாளம் நாவில் புரள்வது சுலபம், சரளமாக விளையாடும். எனக்கு மிக பிடித்த மொழி. மலாய் மொழி மிக மிருதுவானது. அரபி கூட. எந்த மொழி தான் அழகில்லை. கேட்க கேட்க தான் தெரியும் அந்த உண்மை. தமிழை அதனால் உதறி தள்ள வில்லை. ஆனால் தமிழில் ஏன் consonants and phonetics பல இல்லை. bha, dha, gha இல்லாதது மட்டுமல்ல sha, sa, ha வும் வடக்கில் இருந்து தருவிக்க பட்டதே. 247 எழுத்துக்களை வைத்து எல்லா consonants and phonetics களையும் எப்படி இந்த மொழியால் உருவாக்க முடியாமல் போனது. இருபத்தியாரே எழுத்துக்களில் கிழித்து விட்டானே வெள்ளைக்காரன். சமஸ்க்ரிதமும் ஹிந்தியும் கூட எவ்வளவோ மேல். எல்லாவற்றையும் objective ஆகா பார்க்காமல் subjective ஆகா பார்த்தால் இந்த உண்மை புரியும். ..இந்த மொழியின் பலவீனம் நம் தமிழர் எல்லோரிடமும் உள்ளதே. ஆங்கிலேயரின் மூளையே மூளை. தங்க கம்பி என்று எடுத்து கண்ணில் குத்திக்கொள்ள முடியாது. உண்மை உரைக்க வேண்டும். இருந்தாலும் தமிழ் எனக்கும் உயிர் தான் மறுப்பதற்கில்லை. அதன் குறை நிறையோடு தமிழின் மீது நான் வைத்திருப்பது அன்கண்டிஷனல் லவ். தாய்மொழி அல்லவா. தமிழின் நெளிவு சுளிவுகளை புரிந்தவள் தான். ஆழத்தையும் விரிவையும் தொன்மையையும் அறிந்தவள் தான். By default நான் தமிழச்சி. தமிழ் நாட்டுக்கு வெளியே எப்பொழுதும் நான் அதை மறப்பதற்கில்லை.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Gender Neutral & Unbranded.

Recently shopping, i picked a cute dress for my newborn granddaughter. My son and daughter-in-law put down the one in pink i selected for our baby saying, they did not favour the typical pink colour associated with girls. Embroidered on the front was the word ‘princess.’ My grownup kids found it too sexist and vain to their taste. Who says blue is the colour for the boys and flowers are for girls. The clothes I observed, they went for, were kind of unisex. This was not the first time I heard on the relevance of going for gender-neutral clothes from the young couple. They tell me how the discrimination started right from a child’s infancy with pink dresses and baby dolls given to girls, and the shorts and shirts and cars being boys’. My children are also against introducing brands to kids which is why they insist, they would have to forego ‘Barbie’ doll for their daughter. It’s important that the playthings or toys would not be gender-specific. From Walt Disney to Pokemon, the young people said, they would try to keep their baby away. Instead, unbranded animations and books on wildlife and nature would be introduced. . Which is why they opted for a neutral name for their baby as well. Well, my granddaughter goes by a tree name. Her middle name is an exotic African wild animal going extinct. Her surname is a concept or way of life. There is no religious hint to the name. This way the couple who have adopted plant-based dietary habit, cut through genders, races and nationalities, saying they do not believe in borders.

Born and raised a vegetarian in India, ideas such as crossdressing and freethinking do not go down readily with me given my conservative background. It remains to be seen how successful the new parents are going to be in carrying out in principle, their kind of universal ideology.

Looks like more guys are on the block sharing the neutral perspective. However, one of my friends opinioned that even this kind of lateral thinking, and even activism which is one step ahead, can be luxuries unaffordable to masses. You have to be privileged to afford the ‘unbranding’ exercise and be choosy about consumerism.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Time to mainstream CA as Professional Degree Course In Universities. Time to do away with May summer vacation for Indian courts/judiciary. PM Modi Note.

Reason for this blog is the above post from social media. A discussion on NEET vs CA led to some thoughts on a different line.

Why NEET is different from CA entrance.

NEET is now the standardized entrance for medicine which is more skill based. Even a butcher can be said to have the knack of skillful surgery, so to say. Medicine is basically mastering of the names and functions of internal organs. I have heard of patients complaining of how so-and-so surgeons do a poor butchery, scarring them forever. And nowadays with the machines coming to rule diagnosis, the medicos are more like programmers. It all becomes more of derivations with proofs such as CT scans, X Rays and lab tests. This is not to dilute the role of the medical fraternity, especially the hardworking and selfless physicians in serving humanity. I am merely stating that the medical work may be dogged, but it is still something that can be mastered with practice and training. It just cannot be off limits for anyone. To those with right aptitude, medical field can be appealing. Therefore the medical course is not for the mind, like engineering is or charted accountancy is. May be a little. You still have to differentiate and distinguish which vein or nerve ending when cut can cause irreparable damage. You have to study the diseases and know the implications. You have to update yourself with treating methods and changing chemical compositions for prescribed medicine. And this is one never ending job. But this is something we have in every sphere of work. Engineering updates are quickest with very short span of life before the next wave of technology erases the past sometimes totally. To a degree, all of us are born with basic engineering, medical and accounting skills. This is why we have illiterate masons and unqualified construction engineers. Book keeping is also something perfected by many of us unofficially. We have home remedies for illnesses. Similarly even an illiterate butcher without schooling can be possessing good surgical skills. In fact historically, it were the butchers who took to medicine and surgery with their practised ease with knives, for their precision in surgery, until we had modern medicine. Medicine gets better with practice and research. Mostly the profession gets better with trial and error method. Which is why even today, volunteers are sought to try even new vaccines. Everything is experimental to begin with. Practice follows success. The diagnosis skills get honed as young doctors see hundreds of OP cases every single day. This has got more to reckon with the repeated symptoms.

Which is why, you don’t have to take entrances to the level of IIT JEE to enter a medical college. It is enough if the aspiring medicos are good in general terms. If your memory retention is good, it can serve you better. If your IQ is good, you can connect the dots and make a good diagnosis. With the aid of medical instruments and tests, one can be a successful doc all said.

So it goes without saying that the rural aspirants of a medical degree with no fluency of English language, who have attended Tamil schools, can still hope to become good physicians serving local communities, mostly far flung villages and tribal areas they may come from. The unwillingness of urban candidates to serve in these outposts also can be dealt with wisely with rural appointees posted to backward regions in the country. This is how India has so far managed her rural health care, with very few urban medicos ready to shift to countryside leaving behind the creature comforts of city life.

What NEET can do to India’s self-sufficient health care system SANS MEDICAL INSURANCE is: (1) completely get rid of rural candidates who cannot excel in English language but who are otherwise smart enough and fit for medical studies (2) total seat allotment to urban candidates who will not move to rural and backward areas of the country (3) no service motivation in urban candidates to serve far flung inaccessible terrains and tribal regions (4) submission of urban candidates to corporate medical health care system in exchange for a healthy pay check (5) slow but steady take over of rural health care falling apart for lack of serving medical teams by corporate hospital detrimental to health care system of India (6) profit motive in health care anathema to democratic India (7) unhealthy insurance practices even in rural health care pushing up medical bills as we see it happening even in urban health care (8) collapse of total health care network in India with medical help accessible only by the monied.

NEET can be held for PG entrance, and that too with at least a 50% seat reserved for service candidates (with professional experience of at least 5 years as it was in pre-NEET days). This is very vital to ensure the quality of medical professionals we produce in India.

Reservation has it merits. Tamil Nadu health care so far has proved the point. Who other than reserved category candidates will serve Ramanathapuram district for instance. Our urban candidates are more than willing to work for corporate honchos selling their soul. NEET is for them. Although, I do agree, NEET promises medical seats to more aspirants on payment basis which is fair enough.

Now how about engineering or chartered accounting. Both these need much more of methodical studies mostly technical. Entrance to these streams must therefore have an eligibility criteria a bit superior to medical entrance.

Also in what way is chartered accounting special that it has to be taken out of mainstream and be pursued as a separate course. After all the much critical medicine and engineering degrees and diplomas are mainstream. Why do we have to follow everything as dictated to us by the British. Is CA a mere certification. Even so, why has it not been attempted so far to mainstream CA and include it in our university curriculam. Not even legal practice is out of scope of mainstream degree. I wonder why accounting has to be regarded special. By keeping it out of purview of maximum aspirants, I think the motive that is served is, limiting the CA outputs thereby raising their price. I can’t think of any other explanation for this selfish pursuit of capping the number of CAs who graduate every year.

The New Education Policy is shortly coming into force. Why not a thought on CA program as well Dear Narendra Modi ji. Why cannot the course be offered in university stream. CA and CS (Company secretaryship) also may be streamlined in near future, so that many many more aspirants will have access to the course not filtered by a daunting entrance.

It is ironic that a medical seat that can and must be accessible to rural aspirants must be denied to them for the only reason that they are not English medium products, but a deterrence must be in place for CA aspirants by way of an ambitious entrance. Capping of CA grads per annum increments to the price of the CAs pushing up artificial demand. Well, well, we have to have a look into this.

Life saving medicos, petroleum engineers and space scientists have to follow university curricular. But these men who cook up accounts have to have their own institutes prized by their own valedictorians. In what way is the service of these guys so special. Or above that of a medical doctor or an engineer or a lawyer.

Time to halve the hefty packages these CAs take home working in airconditioned comforts mostly cooking up books!

Time to annul the one month summer vacation for court. With cases pending and lagging behind by months, why are the judges getting May month off Dear Modi ji, can you answer me. Is India still British Raj. What stops you from cancelling the one month summer vacation for judges.Indian judiciary cannot afford this luxury or rather waste any more. Indian masses and justice system deserve this. Cancel the summer holidays for courts and judges OR give one month paid holiday in May for government doctors and pilots and train drivers etc. Are these judges royalty, my prime minister. Seventy five years since India’s independence. Time to get them down on equal footing with rest of the nation.

Disclaimer 😀 I am neither of those hahaha, just a thought!

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Concentric Circles Of Interest.

There are two circles of ‘Interest.’ Or rather three (if you include the tiniest circle of control where we can exercise control like with our family for instance). The middle or inner one of the larger two concentric circles is the circle of influence where we can hope to have our way or say. We can hope to have some positive or negative influence within its ambit. The third or the outer larger circle is the circle of (no) concern of ours! We may evince some healthy interest in this circle without actual involvement. Or we may plunge headlong into this circle for better or for worse. Where we belong to in the scheme of these circles makes for all the difference.

These circles of influence and concern were first spoken of by the American author and public speaker/mentor Stephen Covey. Now his theories are syllabus of management schools. Still the circles fascinate even the housewife me as they clearly mark a distinction among the priorities we make and the result we infer thereupon.

In the circle of influence which is the inner core, we can exert our personal influence, go for something worthwhile and be proactive. A lot of benefits can be derived from here. We have control over our own actions and behaviour. We are responsible for our own state or condition with none to blame. We can maximize our potential and reap rich dividends with optimal utility of resources at our disposal. Normally this is the story of the ‘rags to riches’ men. For that matter, any high achiever can vouch by the circle of influence. The tapping of right opportunities at the right time is crucial. Those of us who have unwavering attention on the circle of influence can truly make a mark. These guys have a positive approach to things and the good vibes can leave an impression on all around. Such men and women are worthy of emulating. Their journey with pumped up energy to the pinnacle of success and glory can be an enthralling one full of spirit and adventure.

Its not that each and everyone of us have to reach a prescribed height in life. We all have our own small and tall personal summits to climb. Every story is still commendable for the efforts and merits thereoff.

There may be rare exceptions when some can be the cat on the wall when it comes to choosing between the two circles. Media guys can claim occupational hazard as the logic for extra curricular interests. Others can be masses who heroworship sportsmen etc. Theirs is a contained curiosity with no side-effects. We can look upon this as a welcome distraction, if not anything more. A change of scene.

Finally there may be the daring or the overconfident who may be more concerned about the outer world circle. Classic examples may be our political leaders, social activists etc., for who there is a sustained interest in what need not have to concern them in the first place. Perhaps nothing is illegal, yet nothing is warranted either. It also takes a great initiative and spirit to nurture any extraordinary interest when it comes to truly ambitious among us who would like to act as catalyst to social or political change for instance. It can be about anything really, why reduce the scope of anyone’s concern at all. Sky is the limit for these hopefuls. It has to be a personal calling if I may say so.

It is when the lesser mortals get stuck in the circle of concern that can waylay them off their original intended pursuits of goal, that we have a problem in hands. Hindus may refer to such a hanging state as ‘Trishanku swargam’ Unwarranted interest in the circle of concern can prove to be detrimental. It can cost us our peace of mind. It can make us lose focus and be least productive. It is simply unhealthy when you delve deeper with this circle of concern, because it is not going to add value to one’s self. Beyond a point, engaging oneself with this third outer world of concern is not advised.

Can we stop floods or earthquakes? Can we change the flight timings. Simply none of these are in our control. Can we cleanse or reform our society in a day of rapes and other crimes. Healthy discussions and debates are fine. Getting carried away with these factors can have no positive effect on our self. Pre-occupation with these worldly issues can be disturbing. Social media is breeding more of frustrated citizens sitting on the fence of circle of concern wherein they have no business to belong. If it is not in our power to move or change anything for the better, what is the point in cultivating hate or pessimism or negativity.

How to prove proactive in the circle of concern. We can organize sections of society with our position and influence, we can raise awareness, we can channelize our energy to constructive criticism and fruitful action, we can try to usher in changes for betterment wherever and whenever possible. That will be truly appreciated. Over social activists, the social workers are good here. One has to work from grassroots level here.

Still this is no reason to underestimate or undervalue or undermine those who limit themselves with their circle of influence. Their scope is still vast for not having a damaging or counter-productive effect within their small enclosure. The motivation others derive from such simple straight soul is remarkable We need not have to aspire to change this country, this city. But we can strive to make a difference in small willing and interested circle. Which is why in Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, ‘Do your duty and leave the rest to God.’

Posted in Lateral Thinking

When & Where Minimalism Is Way Of Life

In the times of corona pandemic, maximize your spending habits and bills and consumerism for the sake of humanity. Just don’t go selfish and minimize !

Where and when Minimalism is way of life than cultivated, do we even have the need to talk about it.

Asian way of life. Stripped to the bare minimum for existence, mostly up until the turn of the century at least. Forced to change by globalization pressure.

Eating by hands. 99% of Indians have no business with spoons or forks or any other form of cutlery. Imagine my consternation at table etiquette they show you in the ‘Titanic!’

Who is to teach what is culture. Sitting cross-legged on the floor on the straw mat and eating out of banana leaf is my native culture. This is good for your knees. Except for eating with hands, only for writing do we scoop our fingers together for anything. This is a Mudra, a form of Yoga by itself. Up until at least 1993 this was my way of life even if we had had a dining table at home.

We don’t hoard chinas and crystals in our homes in India. Mostly we use stainless steelware now after having grown out of copperware. Copperware is picking up again. In south India especially, even the grandest wedding feasts are still served on BANANA leaves. Eating from banana leaves with your bare hands. Feeding the cattle with the used banana leaves. Drinking water from cups made from palm or lotus leaves. Well, this was our lifestyle just until a few decades earlier. Now even the leaf cups and plates are patented in the west I believe! I can still remember the weddings when kheer always used to be served in leaf cups only. At least banana leaves are still in use.

And then came the ceramic and teflon companies trying to sell their ware for us and we fell for their gimmicks. Most harmful to health, fellow Indians are now going back to traditional cookware such as stoneware, ironware, clayware etc. The minimalism we practised right in our kitchens stood us in good stead until there came foreign interference.

Brushing teeth with neem picks. Until now in India, rural Indians do not use plastic tooth brushes but use neem twigs and have healthy teeth for a lifetime. The MNCs of the west said it was unhealthy and denounced everything native and good for entirely selfish business purposes.

Returning to desi toothpastes packed with cloves and neem oil over the branded Colgate etc these days.

A brief time in Andhra even delighted me with the warm sight of cow being milked in front of my eyes early in the morning. Coffee in that frothing warm milk boiled for first time is heaven. Which Starbucks can offer you such a luxury. Coffee freshest from plantations of India, packed just a few days before. I guess contrary to what outsiders opine, we have a fairly better standard of living in India in true sense. If you discount the sedans and party circuits and aerated drinks and theme parks that is.

We being a certified third world country, still enjoy star comforts (as far as food and clothes are concerned) that we take for granted for which we have to pay through our nose in the west. Farm fresh veggies not much laden with chemicals and sprays – at least not the way they come in other parts of the world. What a stunning range of spices, veggies and greens and pulses and millets. Why should we even restrict ourselves to a singular repeated meal for life. Then what is the purpose of living at all. This is ridiculous and not at all healthy.

Until my 12th year at least, I used only besan (gramflour) instead of chemical soap for bath after soaking in coconut oil (coldpressed and unscented). The west forced the synthetic foaming cosmetics into India calling Indians barbarians. Anything that did not lather and was unscented was declared unhygienic. Going back to organic soaps of India now.

Our kitchens had only coconut oil, gingely oil and groundnut oil and mustard oil, never the sunflower or vegetable oils prescribed and marketed by the western companies. Cold pressed oils good for the heart. We learnt our lessons and are turning back to origins now.

Rice and wheat are staple for us in last 60 to 70 years only. Unpolished native grains and millets and pulses were our original diet. Embracing old ways yet again throwing out the Kelloggs cereals and Quaker oats. India has no place for this junk.

Sleeping on straw mat/mat hewn from coconut leaves on hardfloor did our spines a lot good before the polythene derivative filled foamed mattresses from west came into vogue. In India, even for mattresses we used either coconut coir or silk or cotton fillings for foams. Never the rubber or synthetics. Minimalism is truly this. Sleeping on floor on straw mats with your spine erect like we did in our younger years. All this was accounted cheap in others calculations. The day we changed ourselves for their approval is the day India started plunging into disaster.

Not the least is the Asian habit of using a water faucet in our toilets. From Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia to India, Pakistan and Arab countries, water was what that’s used which these westerners thought was crude and filthy and gloated about the toilet papers and tissues for which they fell and keep felling forests over centuries. I don’t think any Asian country fell for the toilet paper nonsense. You saw the toilet paper fights when corona broke out from places as far as Australia and America.

That brings us to the question of diapers. There weren’t baby diapers available in India until 2000 like the way they do today. We used only cloth handmade napkins or those cottony napkins washable and reusable for newborns. Now the diapers from western companies are flooding the Indian markets. The clean habit of rinsing soiled clothes and drying out the washed ones in the sun was touted as unhygienic and unhealthy, unsafe for babies. Chemical stuffed baby diapers made with synthetic was touted as healthiest choice even if that bruised the babies with nappy rashes. Imagine tons and tons of diapers, tissue papers produced in America and Europe and these guys who cannot give up this literal colossal waste of paper destroying Earth every minute talk big about minimalism.

Who uses dryers in India? Its Americans and Europeans who use dryers and washing machines maximum. These operate at very high degree as also the dishwashers. What about the electricity consumed for these chores that can be easily manually managed. Maximum global warming. How about minimalism here. No wonder these guys are so OBESE!

Asian climatic conditions require us to shower more than once a day. Still we don’t indulge ourselves in bathtubs like those in the west do. Washing clothes and donning fresh clothes every time is not a luxury but a necessity born out of sweaty humid conditions. Which in turn raises demand for cotton clothes which are organic produce, unlike the polythene based nylon or crepe or georgette fabrics which use synthetic yarns as used in the west. Even our textiles have mostly handblock prints, silk weaving is handloom or sometimes part mechanized with more manual participation. The dyes are invariably vegetable dyes such as indigo. And these guys who cannot even have a grasp of others’ ways of life lecture about minimalism on clothes in our wardrobes.

In this country of mine, in villages, men still go topless. The simple single piece dhoti is the preferred male garment. Mahatma Gandhi wore only his loin cloth when he went to meet Churchill. This was the way this nation of mine has been for millennia. Women’s saris are single 5.5 meters of unstitched piece of cloth only. We now add a blouse for decorum that’s all, keeping with times. Up until 1940s, women of India went blouseless only covering their torsos with their saris. Such was our simplest way of life.

Today in foreign media, the sari is ridiculed and distorted as a symbol of racial identity of Hindus. For what reason? Only because in spite of all the gimmicks tried by these guys, women of India refuse to give up sari for cheap skirts and trousers and miniskirts.

Dressing up is such a beautiful feeling in India because we have hundreds of native weaves of yarns from all over the country, with multitude of organic dyed handblocks which print the same ethnic motifs that our ancestors wore with pride over centuries. Tribal arts survive. These arts are kept alive with demand for clothes. Families of artisans feed on the income generated from weaving and dying and handblocking. Cotton farmers can have a decent debt-free life with cotton selling good with a healthy procurement price in the market. It is a cycle really. Unlike the labels you may find in Milan or New York or London or wherever. Clothes are lifelines for millions in India. These are not just clothes. You have to live and travel in this country and look at our textiles to realize what a treasure trove of natural organic fabrics India is. Silk or cotton. It is all natural yarn not manmade or fake or synthetic.

When you do not create demand, what happens to the society. Markets shrink. Production goes down. Labour gets cut. Unemployment ensues and this becomes a vicious cycle of misery.

I do think of going for vegan leather and vegan silks. But there is another theory going on. Leather and silk are still organic even if not ethically appealing to some of us. Vegan leather and vegan silk still use chemical additives which can inflict more harm on environment in the long run.

I think world will be a far better place to live in if we close the Cocacola, Pepsi and Pizza and Starbucks outlets around the world. Maximum damaging to young lives. Forcing themselves into unsuspecting Asian societies and wrecking damage to the health of younger population. Is this what globalization should be about. In that case, let India opt OUT of globalization. Take back this nonsense, we have far better option.

These guys who ridiculed curry must know that it is curry flavoured with natural vegetables and spices only that bestow us Indians with immunity to fight the corona. Maximizing on desi/native food habits and eliminating the western eating habits will go a long way in restoring health across the world.

Is minimalism only about tossing just a few chairs and tables in your living and hanging two suits in your closet. Then what do you with all that money of yours. What is even the need for money. Where is the logic to work and earn a decent living in that case.

You want to have a good life without contributing to any growth prospect around you: is this not hypocrisy. Even in the times of pandemic, the factory worker, the train driver, the advocate, the teacher, the artist, the housepainter and others have to live. Let us allow them to earn a decent living, not cutting back our demands for their goods and services.

Minimalism to me means living close to natural ways, maximizing opportunities that can result in job creation engaging population as responsible citizen and as a healthy shopper. What we can indeed cut is emission of smoke/pollution, wastages to begin with.

Normally against extravagant lavish weddings but on the other side, look at the employment this can generate. How many arts and crafts flourish. Masses still have to survive. Sometimes I buy things I don’t need because I feel that giving business to the roadside hawker can ignite hope in him/her and could go towards feeding a family.

Who I wouldn’t want to give business is to MNCs, MNCs and MNCs.

Small retailers and sellers and cottage industries are the backbone of Indian economy. What we can minimize upon is doling out licence to malls by booting out those like Disney, Ikea etc., out of our country.

Even in the case of transport, the poorest countries use mass or public transport to a large extent even if out of necessity. Can Americans follow suit. West leaves maximum carbon footprint on Mother Earth compared to rest of the world put together. How about some minimalism here. Can these guys contemplate hopping into a train for a change instead of driving out thousands of miles in their luxury sedans.

So many many of our traditional simple native medicinal practices and eating habits and healthy lifestyle have been ridiculed to the extent by the west that many in Asia thought they must switch over to western ways in order to become more ‘civilized.’

Well, some of us just don’t still!

A lot of rethinking is mercifully going on. A lot of things we are unlearning and a lot of things native and original and healthy we are trying to introduce back into our lives.

Of the things we want to be booted out of India, we have christianity topping the list followed by islam! World will truly have peace in that case. Say a big LOUD NO to the Abrahamic culture that is consumerist and capitalist without a thought to nature.

Still, admittedly it is not entirely possible to do away with anything and everything imported. After all even my family is now mixed. There is a lot of interdependency like never before that the possibility of sealing our borders tight about anything just is not feasible. Wherever therefore foreign participation is unavoidable, incorporation of the same is fine. Minimalize imports and maximize exports and local produce consumption.

What we can do for HONEST Minimalism is:

Reduce softcopies if we cannot cut totally.

Use mass/public transport maximum.

Saying NO to Coke/Pepsi/Burger/Pizza culture and opting for native cuisines

Saying NO to fastfoods

Saying No to synthetic fabrics/textiles and clothes there on. Opting for natural fiber.

Use more of handmade products than machine produced

Saying no to paper and plastic plates and switching over to organic options. In India, we have to go back to banana leaf plates totally. If not totally, at least as much as we can.

Cut tissue paper usage. Switch over to water faucets because water is replaceable with next spell of rains. Nature can balance and make good the water circulated, very easily in no time.

Reduce plastic usage

Reduce tools/add-ons/accessessories in everyday life such as spoons, forks, buttons, straws etc.

Saying NO to GM food (again this is impossible in America)

Say no to clothes dryers, electric chimneys.

Maximizing usage of handmade goods/products

Maximizing use of manual labour wherever possible

Minimizing usage of made-in-china factory-line mass production goods

Saying no to food processing/packed foods

Some of us who don’t talk about minimalism still live life minimalistic way that will never make sense to superficial minimalists.

Minimalism is not something we must be talking about during pandemic. At this point of time, we would like to have masses engaged in fruitful productive activity and contributing to national GDP for it is imperative to keep the wheels of our economy well oiled and rolling. There may come a time in a few years when we can think of shrinking our markets, but right now time is hardly perfect for such a frugal practice.

I would say, go out more, shop for things that you may not want just to create a demand. Set the production line rolling and cash registers jingling. This is not the time to preach and hold back. What a selfish philosophy this is.

We have all taken a lot from our nation, from our economy, from our fellow citizens who may be working in any capacity helping us improve the quality of our lives. It is really time to give back now so let’s not tighten our purse strings in the times of corona virus pandemic.

If you can help being a Maximalist, please be one! World and especially India may have use for you.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Toxicity aka Vakram.

Two things affected me most this week in social media.

One is comparison of Tamil Nadu with Kashmir.

Second is justification of Elephants in Hindu temple precincts.

What a toxic school of thought this can be. Extremes and kind of ‘vakram’ to me honestly. This is insane.

A thousand time recitation of Bhavad Gita cannot cleanse our souls of this kind of poison. It means, there is no use of education. Modern education has failed miserably. It is also alarming to note that this kind of irresponsible, obnoxious breed is steadily gaining upperhand in our society. India is in need of do-gooders NOT hate mongers. These self-appointed custodians of Hindu Dharma must know, some of us just DO NOT CARE. Their pathetic views will not hold good. However, the garbage they spill keeps polluting the social media space to the detriment of general peace of mind. This is a consideration.

I am no less Hindu just because I don’t subscribe to this toxic nonsense and vakram of thoughts. Neither do I have to prove my faith or spirituality to anyone. Most of us are keen on checking the spread of Abrahamic fold in India. But this is still possible without spewing venom day in and day out with crass, crude, junk and provoking thoughts that these self-important folks with typical ‘holier than though attitude’ post in social media.

The one on Kashmir-Tamil Nadu is cent percent distortion of truth. Heartless lie. Shameless playing of victim card. This kind of floating of false info can only prove to be counter-productive to Hindus. Rational and clear thinking Hindus are the dire necessity of the hour. One can be against conversion mafia and terrorism and remain a rational Hindu at the same time. Only if you have the brains and what is called ‘heart’ and some ‘conscience’ ….

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Race For Covid-19 Vaccine: Will India Make It First To Finishing Line.

India leads the pack with Covaxin, the indigenous Coronavirus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech labs of Hyderabad, undergoing clinical/human trials, promising the much-sought over relief in near future. However critics rule out success anytime before 2021.

A second Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila too bagged DCGI approval for human trials for the Corona vaccine developed by them.

Two Indian vaccine hopefuls thus among total fourteen research labs/pharmaceuticals to enter Phase 2 of human trials for Sars 2/Covid 19 Vaccine to date.

Pics courtesy: Google Images (!) 😀

Interestingly, Bharat Biotech is founded by a Tamil farmer’s son Shri. Krishna Ella who has had humble origins quite like ISRO chairman Dr. Sivan, also hailing from rural background in Tamil Nadu (not to leave out late Dr Abdul Kalam, the nuclear scientist turned President from Rameshwaram, tip of the Indian subcontinent).

India also developed indigenous Corona testing aid that minimized testing costs in May that led to far more and wide spread testing to root out the virus. This saved the nation precious foreign exchange, preventing import of testing kits.

India leads the world in Vaccine and Pharmaceutical manufacturing and export. Incidentally, India was/is also supplying the world with Hydroxychloroquine now discontinued by WHO for Covid 19 treatment (although some like Brazil continue with the administration). So it is no surprise that India is a frontline contender for invention of the Corona vaccine. After all, the world’s first ever plastic surgeon was a Hindu.

There has been the news of Dr. Sudha Seshayyan developing Corona vaccine at Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, with no latest updates.

Hopefully our research scientists prove their critics wrong this time over with their development of vaccine in short period. India will be doing the world a great favour.

Even if others beat us in the race, India will still be the manufacturing hub for most vaccines developed in other parts of the world ironically and coincidentally!

However, Indian citizens have every reason to believe, we will be receiving our own indigenous corona vaccine in future for our immunity. Our vaccines are anyway exported to most of the world for prevention of Polio and Measles to Ebola and Malaria.

India will still be in a position to make free indigenous vaccines available to poorer nations. This will be our greatest service to humanity. This is our Karma. I don’t want to think of India being in a competitive race with the US or Russia or China when it comes to developing the vaccine. I would want India to take the vaccine to the poorest of the poor nations that cannot afford the import costs of vaccines from the first world countries. Pranaams to our medical fraternity and selfless scientists who are spearheading a great revolution. Will not push you, but will wait for you to come out with your precious life-saving gift for the entire humanity. Thank you so much!

Vaccine from Russia: Sorry but excuse me, never heard of a successful vaccine on human trial completion done on 20 individuals 😀 May be that is total population of Moscow 😀