I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Prerna

First of all, I would like to say, this idea of answering the questionnaire was quite unexpected. For me, it came as a surprise. When I came to know about this idea, I was like let’s see whose questionnaire comes into my account. So, I got Kalpana’s questionnaire. However, none of us knew whose questionnaire we will have and who’s going to have ours. But I am really happy with what I got.

1. Is there another side to you, whom we can only dream to know?

Well all of us have our private life. This private life is not shared with anybody. To world I am an outspoken, intimidating and bold person. My image is of a straightforward and I get to hear so many times that my attitude is harsh.

But only a few know how empathic and emotional I am. It really disturbs me to see any human or any animal in pain. I feel as if I am going through the pain. Every time I see people or animals in pain, the only question to the Almighty is, “Why can’t you take away their miseries?”

I like keeping this side of mine hidden. Only few can know but now I have answered this question and so it is no longer hidden.

2. The proudest moment of your life?

Actually, I am still waiting for it, I guess. There were some moments when I was proud. Recently, it was when I came to know, a guy started to write after getting inspired by my writings. And this really means a lot to me. 

3. Have you ever regretted helping someone, I mean anyone whom you realized later isn’t worthy of your time?

Yes, I did. Not once but several times. As I said, I am empathic and so I help those who are in need of help in every possible way. But it’s not necessary others will be like us. Initially, I do whatever I can do for the person who needs help. Eventually, I get to know the one whom I helped wasn’t worth it. It makes me sad at first but then I realize, not everyone is intended to stay in our life. 

4. If not present profession you are in, then what you would have been?

This question is really interesting. And I like it the most. During our childhood, all of us thought about being whatever seemed exciting and interesting to us. Well, I genuinely wanted to pursue law as my career but due to some circumstances, I couldn’t. Although I am fine with what I have now but I wanted to be a lawyer. 

Interestingly, when I was in my teenage, I wanted to be a student at Hogwarts- The school of witchcraft and wizardry (according to the famous Harry Potter series). Even now, when I am a grown-up, I still wish for the same. I know it’s fictional but I wish it was true. 

5. Your greatest weapon/trick up your sleeve that never fails you, whatever you do?

I think it’s my confidence and my fearlessness. These two behaviours of mine have always helped me in achieving what I truly wish for. Whenever I feel, I have no choice but to give my best, then my confidence and fearlessness never lets me down. 

6. If you are given a chance to change one thing about yourself, what it would be?

Actually, I love myself the way I am. I always have had pampered myself and loved all my flaws. I believe, my flaws are the most beautiful in me. Through my flaws, I get a feeling that I am strong and determined. So, I am not going to make any changes in my physique or appearance but yes if there really is a chance, I would like to change my impulsive attitude. I would change it into a very calm and serene attitude. 

7. Your Inspiration to write?

The credit for my inspiration to write goes to my urge to express my thoughts. I can never walk to a person and speak my heart. This is because I am a reserved person when it comes to expressing feelings. Only few can know and those few may or may not be always with me. Therefore I thought the best way to express is to write what I feel. Moreover, I loved reading, so it also counts to the inspiration. 

8. Intelligence (smartness) or honesty that could land you in soup- what’s your pick?

I would go for intelligence. An intelligent person is the one who can win over any situation. Intelligence always attracts me and I consider it to be the most prized possession. 

9. What is your biggest regret in life?

I think everybody has some regrets in their life. So do me. The biggest regret that I have is not one but two. The first regret that I have is: I had a pet named Bruno. Bruno was a small and an adorable puppy. To me, he was like a bundle of joy. The first time I saw him, I couldn’t stop myself from holding that little being into my arms. I used to cuddle him and together we would muffle in my blanket. One day, after feeding him I went on to the washroom without knowing that the door was open. Bruno went out and met with an accident. The poor being was slowly and excruciatingly moving towards death. All I could do was cry bitterly and pray for his painless and easy death. Had I been a bit cautious, my pet would have been with me. 

The second one is: It was the time when I was moving to a hostel for the first time. I hugged my parents and my brother before going. My grandmother was also there. She handed me a little bag full of some fruits and the snacks that she made for me. I touched her feet and took her blessing. I wanted to hug her but I don’t know why I didn’t. This was the last time I saw her alive. She died 22 days later due to cancer. This shook me and till today I feel sorry for not hugging her one last time. I could have told her, how much I love her and what does she means to me. But I didn’t. 

10. Which lane of time you want to visit and stay there forever?

Life is all about moving along with the time. It is not wise to hold on to our past no matter how beautiful it was. There were many beautiful phases in my life to which I am really very thankful, as well as there are many more to come. Also, we should look forward to what’s next. Therefore, instead of wishing to visit a lane of time and staying there forever, I would choose to wait for upcoming moments. However, sometimes I imagine how good it would it be to look at my writings and relive these days.

Thanks, Kalpana, your questions were really brain-storming. Though unintentionally but you succeeded in knowing my secrets. During answering these questions, I really felt like being in an interview. This was so nice.

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I DIDN’T DO IT; I AM A NARCISST

I heard someone tell me that when you have the guts to do something or say something then learn to say that “Yes, I did that.” In simple words ‘Own It’. But to accept one’s mistake and take its blame is not as easy as taking credit for all the good you did. Wanting others to see what you see and hear what you hear with your mindset is not an easy feat. This freedom to believe what you want is a matter of Free Will, and when we know we can’t tamper with other Free Will too, that’s where ‘Blame Shifting’ comes in.

Blame shifting is a phenomenon that is often linked with Narcissism. They tend to substitute their culpability to others. You see, it’s convenient. Shifting blame to victims is useful because it allows you to be free of any guilt and the cumbersome task of taking any responsibility or alteration plus let’s agree, it saves your face. You don’t have to go through the humiliation of being wrong or being unruly. Another reason is, narcissists are very good in vindicating everything. They can find 1001 reasons why everybody but them is to accuse. And they aren’t perturbed or fretful by the fact; it’s just an illusion they created for themselves.

They can’t see any imperfections in themselves, they have glorified themselves so much that they see themselves as ideal. So instead of condemning themselves, they criticise others. This is called Alloplastic Defense, which means they hold the world accountable for their problems, not themselves.

Narcissism is an actual condition, called NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) What we call “blame shifting” they call “protecting themselves”. While you call yourself a victim, they know that the real victim is them. You are trying to make them feel bad, guilty, or trap them. You are the manipulator. You are the instigator of this conflict. Why are you doing this to them?

Lies are just lies. They happen. There are so many ways to victimise; the NPD isn’t even aware of the fact that he/she is doing it. An NPD doesn’t (generally) intend to hurt anyone, they merely want to do what they want to do, and so they do it. What do other people have to do with that? None of their business.

Deceiving, evading, being insensitive… none of those is done to hurt people; they are solely ways for the NPD to pursue and project the life they feel they ought to have.

So, if you “attack” someone with NPD by saying, “You did something that hurt me,” their instinct is to call you the liar and utterly destroy you for trying to make them feel bad about themselves.

Since they lack “Purpose Integrity”— the ability to maintain favourable feelings about a person throughout a range of situations or distance—if you are attacking, you are the enemy. You must be destroyed.

After all, if they didn’t mean to hurt you, you shouldn’t be hurt.

But let us not forget a few things here. Not all crimes or mistakes are enormous; some are pretty small and modest, especially when done by kids. They often almost expect a parent to come to their aid.

Until my father passed away, I felt very protected and very secure. The reason being, he never blamed me for anything, be it my natural mistakes or the ruckus I deliberately or unintentionally created. He would just tell my Mom that he broke the vase, he spilt the milk, he forgot to recharge the phone, or he was the person who stained her saree. But while we were alone, and Mom was away he would lovingly tell me that it was wrong to do that, I shouldn’t have done it, and if I do it again, he won’t come to my rescue. And I very firmly believe that his way of saving me a scolding and disgrace but guiding to the right path made me the person I am. Today I am not afraid to accept 100% responsibility for the wrongs I did.

These benign incidents between a family that hurt no ones feeling, in particular, aren’t the source of anyone’s agony.

But yes,

For anyone who is a victim or a scapegoat…

Save the need for answers. Do not get quicksand in need of validation.

Save the questions. It perpetuates the vicious cycle of everything being about them.

Reverse your thought processes and make everything about you.

Get OUT. Survive.

Then go back to the whys, they won’t matter anyway. Until you are Free.

(PICTURE CREDIT: GOOGLE INC.)

IS THE MOB JUSTICE JUSTIFIED?

Hello Everyone,

Recently I saw a news clipping which brought forth the news of a mentally ill woman lynched to death by village people on the basis of suspicion that she has kidnapped a child. I emphasize on the word “suspicion“.  There was no proof whatsoever.

This is not something out of the blue.  Such lynchings have become more or less a routine.  People get killed by the mob because of their eating preferences (read beef), their religious beliefs, their voice being voiced (example: a young auto driver killed because he asked two men not to urinate in public, Reference: Times of India news site).

Reason behind this brutality:  Being hurt!  Yes people get brutalised by people because the later set of crowd gets hurt, I mean  when their religious sentiment gets hurt they don the robe of anger;  when their ego gets hurt on being pointed out they let their emotion flow with the blood of innocents.  And suspicion plays a pivotal role in such atrocities. People are losing their confidence in the slow judicial system; patience is pedestal.  Under such circumstances a slightest streak of provocation leads to news headlines for the next day which says “Mob lynched…..”.

Saddening part is that the ire of mob vanishes without a trace when it actually matters.  When a girl gets molested or eve-teased or a defenseless is being troubled in full public glare no one bothers to raise a voice because everyone is worried about the fury of few preparators of the crime.  But they forget if few can be powerful then how much more power they collectively as a mob would have.  If suspicion can motivate a mob to kill someone then why not a mob be motivated enough to take a right decision to oppose something which is evidently wrong and something not based on suspicion or instigation. Note: opposing doesn’t mean killing here.

My question:  I understand very well how sentimental one can be when it comes to sensitive issues like religion especially in a country like India but agitation based on clueless accusations leading to brutality can leave a family devastated and sobbing for life.  What if there is a fallout of the very base of suspicion that led to the fury.  Can lives be given back?  And why no one is feared of law and order and thinks twice before taking it into own hands.   Is it the failure of governance that they are assured of the mob power.  How justified is it?

As my friend Kuljeet mentioned  two days ago in her article “Salad Bowl Folks!” we have many more issues to deal with  collectively rather than passing verdicts in a fit of rage under the disguise of “Mob”.

BE ‘JUST’ WITH LOVE

A couple of days back, a colleague of mine fell victim to a purse-snatcher. She lost her mobile phone, tab, internet dongle, wallet with a lot of money and some other things – all of which were in her handbag. Her handbag was grabbed by bikers while she was returning from work in an auto rickshaw in the afternoon. Shaken by the incident, she approached the nearest Police Station to lodge an FIR. To her utter dismay, the police personnel hardly bothered and she was made to wait for a long time for no good reason before she approached them and requested them to lodge the complaint soon as she had to return home to her little child. Finally, a complaint was lodged and she was told that this was not the complete FIR and that some other details would be taken in the coming days, before the FIR was formally lodged. As she narrated the incident, she made the statement, “I don’t expect any justice from this system.”

A friend of mine who is currently pursuing Ph.D from a University in North India shared several stories of how upper caste male professors sexually exploited the lower caste female researchers who were pursuing their Ph.D under them. Is this just?

In many Indian homes, the boy child gets to study in an English medium private school, whereas the girl child has to be satisfied with being educated in a vernacular language government school. The boy child gets a major share in the goodies, whereas the girl child has to be satisfied with the crumbs. I heard a lady say a few years back that her brother (who was the youngest among the siblings) was given non-vegetarian food everyday – at least an egg, while the two elder sisters were contented with vegetarian food. The sisters didn’t mind it at all, as it had been ingrained in their minds that a boy ought to have better nourishment than girls! Is this just?

As we look around and see injustice in various forms, the question that arises is – “Where is justice?” The idea of justice has been badly mutilated by prejudices, preconceived notions, stereotypes, cultural biases, parochialism and a lackadaisical attitude not only by those in power but also by the common man. And no, it is not always the poor who are at the receiving end of injustice, but those with the ‘means’ and the ‘contacts’ also face injustice in various forms.

It makes one squirm in helplessness to see outrageous atrocities being perpetrated in the name of religion, caste, race, ethnicity and gender. Is it a sin to belong to a particular religion? Is it a sin to belong to the lower caste? Is it a sin to belong to a particular race or ethnicity? Is it a sin to be born a female? The so-called makers and guardians of justice quote religious scriptures and ancient legendary accounts to justify their acts of horrendous injustice without any guilt or regret?

Lives are lost. Families are broken. Society is in utter chaos. There is hatred spreading everywhere. Emotions are converted into numbness. Who cares? Ideology, honour, prestige, selfish interests gain predominance over and above all other things. Those with might, think that they are right.

Are stricter legal reforms, the answer to the prevailing injustice? Would sentencing the perpetrators to jail, put an end to various forms of injustice?

Hardly!

What is needed is ‘awareness’. Awareness that all human beings have been created in the image of God – irrespective of race, colour, gender, religion, caste or creed. Believe for a moment that the colleague sitting next to you, your domestic help, the vegetable vendor, that neighbour from another religion/caste/race have all been created in the likeness and image of the Almighty God. Would you still dare to be unjust towards them?

The diversity among human beings ought to be a reason for celebration and not discrimination and injustice. Have you ever pondered over the fact that the billions of people on the face of this earth are so unique? All normal human beings have a pair of eyes, ears, hands, legs, a nose and a mouth – yet each person looks and behaves so different from the other. Isn’t it amazing? The differences among us give us the opportunity to marvel at the creative potential of the Creator God. When that is learnt all is learnt!

Knowing well that some of his handmade human beings are perpetrators of injustice, God still deals with them with love – so that they would turn from their unjust ways. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’. It’s a mystery to fathom the love of God, but a necessary realization to abhor injustice. God is patient and kind to all now, but won’t remain so forever.

Every unrepentant injustice will be brought to just judgement. If you have been a victim of injustice and there seems to be no hope for you to get justice while on earth, remember GOD IS JUST. His justice is not always meted at our time and in our way. But, always comes to pass – without fail. If you have been the perpetrator of injustice in any form, small or big – whether in your family or on a larger scale, it is a humble plea to repent and turn back on your ways before God deals with you with a heavy hand.

Let the numerous sagas of injustice turn into remarkable examples of justice!

A RENWED COSCIENCE TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

In the last article of the topic “Guilt & Conscience” helps us to understand, “how bid good bye to the guilt.” 

Tonight, I will talk about renewed mind and conscience which is really important to live a life of freedom and liberty from the clutches of guilt and sin.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Materialistic thinking or desires really made us live on lower value systems. The urge to gain wisdom and thinking high is very rare. Those who live above the corruption of this world have always kept a clean conscience. We need to keep our eyes and mind open to find them as our examples.

As it is always better to think and follow,

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; 

You need to take time to think in a quiet place to understand what I am trying to convey here. 

Do not be conformed to this world any longer with its superficial values and customs, but be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of your mind focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes.

The world teaches about false and superficial value systems. The general public always follow the wrong things. Negativism is always easy to follow or imitate. But living in discipline and high values with a transformed mind is really very difficult. 

Let’s take responsibility of living with a renewed mind and conscience this Year in 2016 by focussing on things of high value, following which are good and live a transformed life.

Stay Blessed!
 

REALIZE, REPENT, RELEASE AND RESOLVE TO REFRAIN

Conscience is the soft gentle voice of reproach present within all individuals. When a person is preparing himself / herself to commit an erroneous act, there is a sure nudge of the conscience that s/he experiences. However, continuous and repeated acts of misgivings as a result of consciously ignoring the pricks of the conscience, result in a dead conscience. When a person commits an erroneous act the very first time, there is a considerable amount of guilt. This is because the person feels convicted by the nudging of the conscience. At this juncture, a person responds in either of the following two ways:

  • The person responds to the conscience by realizing the mistake, repenting for it and resolving never to repeat it

  • The person ignores the convicting voice within and goes on with life as though s/he has not committed any wrong

Responding in the first way, makes it possible for the person to overcome the guilt pangs with time. However, a person who chooses to ignore the voice of the conscience fails to overcome the guilt within. Rather s/he masks the guilt by various means. Overtime, s/he turns deaf to the voice of the conscience. As a result, the erroneous acts multiply and their intensities increase too.

Many of us have been nurturing a dead conscience within us throughout this year. And so we have ended up hurting ourselves and people around. Some others have been nursing our guilt pangs every single day, not knowing how to deal with them.

It is vital to keep the conscience alive by heeding to the gentle nudging at all points of time. To be conscience-stricken is to keep the way open to deal with the guilt within. The golden rule is: Realize, Repent, Release and Resolve to refrain.

Realize your mistake.

Repent for the wrongdoing.

Release the guilt pangs.

Resolve never to repeat it.

Bid a goodbye to all your guilt in the old year and welcome the New Year with freshness!

WHAT IS THE REASON OF YOUR GUILT?

All of us have felt guilty one time or the other in life? It might be a huge guilt that burdens our heart down or a minor one that just goes away with time. Last 2 days we learnt about true and false guilt – but how do we know the difference between the two. How do I realize that the guilt I am feeling now is really a true guilt or a false one? I could identify about 4 reasons of feeling guilty – that might help one figure out the difference.

Breaking the promise

Breach of a promise makes us feel guilty. If you promised a friend that you would go out for a movie with her and have to cancel at last minute, it leaves a little guilt inside you. I promised myself to not eat too much fatty food yet I feel guilty when I indulge in a second chocolate pastry.

Not meeting the expectations

We live in a society and people have certain expectations from us. Our family comes first in this case. I know mothers who feel guilty about not spending enough time with the kids. Sometimes siblings drift apart from each other and that becomes a reason of guilt.

Lying

Telling lies is a complex process. We all have told lies to our parents about eating an extra chocolate or bunking classes. Now as adults the lies get more and more serious and could be a strong cause of the guilt.

Hurting another person

Hurting somebody’s feelings intentionally or unintentionally does make most of us feel guilty. Nobody likes to hurt the other person unless one has a strong feeling of revenge. This is one guilt that most common.

Doing something immoral

This area is quite grey because moral values can differ for people. Highly immoral activities are also illegal like murder, rape, theft etc. – these activities are black and white, but there are also moral values that have been changing with times and also differ depending on cultures and families. For example, 20 years back a woman engaging in pre-marital sex was considered highly immoral by Indian middle class community; today it is considered ok by majority of Indian middle class. A woman engaging in pre-marital sex would have felt high amounts of guilt 20 years back than the woman of this date. So in such cases, the feeling of guilt out of morality differs largely on a person’s up-bringing and society.

So, if you feel guilty about something – try and find out which category does your reason of guilt falls into and then probably you can better judge whether it is a true or false guilt. Living with guilt is like living in a feeling of constant failures. More guilty you feel, more negative you will get. It does not help. Do what it takes to come out of that guilt – but just remember not to hurt anyone in the process of getting rid of your own guilt.