REBEL FOR GOOD

Sab gussa karte hain, main ghar chod ke jaa raha hun” (everyone scolds me, I am leaving the house) are the lines of an old advertisement where a 4 year old is sitting grumpily in a railway station, with his small bag, but returns home when his postman uncle tells him that his mother has prepared jalebis (a special sweets). We often hear such cute stories of little rebels and let go because they are too small to understand and follow their impulses.

I always preferred to go with the rules until I realised something good can also happen when you break the rules. When I was in Class X, two of our classmates went to play during the transition time, after the bell rang for another period. They came back to the class as soon as the next teacher entered. She got angry, obviously, and punished them. To my surprise, the whole class retaliated and everyone wanted the teacher either to let those two go or punish the whole class. I, along with my best friend failed to agree with our classmates as we felt that those two boys were at fault. However, our teacher got pleased with the unity of our class and withdrew the punishment. That day I realised that it’s perfectly all right if some rules are broken, provided there shouldn’t be any negative implication on anyone. 

During teenage, many times I opposed my parents, fought with them when scolded for being out late with friends after the 8’o clock deadline, for wearing clothes which they felt inappropriate,  for not getting permissions when I needed and for other whole lot of things.

Rebelling against my parents for the love of my life was one of the least things in my mind. I had earlier agreed to their rule of arranged marriage, but the destiny couldn’t find a suitable match for me. Later, when I found my eternal love, my parents opposed. Since I was confident of my choice, I continued to portray my conflicting views in front of their emotional saga, until they agreed for our match. Lo and behold, just after the engagement, they were more than happy with their son-in-law!

There is a ‘rebel’ in everyone of us and standing up against anything, for a good reason should be the mandate. One just has to remember the limits, lest to offend anyone.

BEING REBELLIOUS IS ONLY NATURAL

“As per the definition of rebellious, a rebellious person likes to challenge the authority and break the rules every now and then.”

Teenage is particularly connected with the word Rebellion. However, we need to understand what really happens at that age. Till the age of say 10 or 11, kids are used to being told what is needed to be done and how to conduct themselves in day to day life. Then suddenly around their 12th or 13th birthday, they start questioning everything that is told to them, they talk back, they even get violent and they want to do the exact opposite of what they have been told to do. 

Let us analyze what happens to other species on the planet. Animals, for example, leave the safe haven of their parents quite early; as soon as they have grown up enough to survive themselves. And for the sake of adaptation, it is really important they leave the safe home of their parents and mate with the beings away from them. 

Humans are too build in the same way. Physically, a teenager is grown up enough to survive himself / herself. They can take care of their food, clothing and shelter. To add to it, their hormones also drive them crazy to mate with the opposite gender. Comparing this to our animal kingdom, this is perfectly natural. If we lived like animals, teenagers would quietly leave their parents at the age of 12 or 14 and live their own lives. So, going by our animal instincts, teenagers are supposed to question the authority and step out of their houses so that adaptation can continue. So, what happens with teenagers is biologically ingrained in us for the sole purpose of adaptation and survival of our species. 

Now, what really have we humans messed up this nicely set up natural process. We have setup an adult age of 18 years. And typically a well-educated person starts earning only by 21 or 22 which means they need to depend financially on their parents and still live in that safe haven which they are physically and emotionally yearning to leave. 

One of my coaches once said – “It is absolutely normal for teenagers to think their parents are useless, rather it is important for their own growth. Only by questioning the traditions that their parents follow, will the kids identify with their own beliefs and personality. 

Slamming the doors, shouting at their parents, purposely creating issues for them, getting into addiction issues are all the signs of feeling unheard and misunderstood. Because they really want their parents to acknowledge the fact that they are growing up and can take decisions on their own. However, we parents out of love and fear for our kids – we still want to keep them inside our cocoon that we have built for them so carefully when they are ready and yearning to just fly away. 

When I was 17 years and just completed my 12th grade, I was super sure that I do not want to live with my parents at any cost. I wanted to leave them and live in the hostel and that was probably a very strong motivation to study really hard and get into an Engineering college. My dad was overprotective when it came to boys in my life. And since I was passing out of a convent girls school, I was eager to meet boys and experience that side of life. All hell broke loose, when after 1st year of my engineering – my dad discovered that I was happily enjoying all the attention I was getting from boys in college and was even interested in having a boyfriend. For a very long time, I felt extremely guilty about causing disappointment to my dad, it went away only when I realized that what I did was natural. I was about 18 and ready to experiment and experience life. 

What worries me is that when I hear pre-teens being rebellious. 9-10 year old cross questioning their parents, telling lies and getting into big problems. That needs to be understood. Why are kids growing up so early now? Why is the next generation maturing so early of their age? These are some of the pondering questions that trouble the parents today. 

As far as rebellious nature of teenagers is concerned, I think it is the duty of parents to be aware of what comes to them naturally and be a support for them instead of being control freaks. 

IS THE SEED OF REBELLION GERMINATING DEEP WITHIN ME?

Rebellion according to Wikipedia is – “A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation.”

Rebellion can be individual or collective, peaceful or violent, for a good cause or bad as well. But usually, the word rebellion termed as negative and bad which we are going to discuss about this week.

When God created this world and created human being, He taught the world either directly or through the nature that this universe has a chain of command which we human can’t just breach it or go against it. The consequence of which is deadly when we go against it. We humans may be the crown of His creation, but we are not the gods of it even though we try to play ‘god’ like the kids play teacher-teacher or mommy-mommy game. When we go against God’s direct instruction and try to substitute it with our own ideas then we rebel.

Let me give you an example to make things clear…

In our office, our boss called for a meeting and delegated the responsibilities to all for an upcoming one-day event. The event was on a Sunday and one of the colleagues said, “Sir, I won’t be coming as I have some other work”. We all laughed as we knew how my boss will react. He replied, “Have I given you any option to decide? It is an official event and if you won’t be partaking it then you may leave the work”. And we all agreed to him when he said that. The hesitating colleague had nothing to say afterwards but to take up responsibility which was assigned to him.

Was he happy with the boss? Yes, definitely, because he understood his fault of rebelling against his boss’s decision.

Did he enjoy the event on that Sunday? Yes, wholeheartedly, because he acknowledged the chain of command laid down in an office set up, instead of opposing it any further.

Rebellion always begins in the heart. And in the beginning, it is never violent or active that can be seen, but it remains unexpressed. When the fire smolders, it spreads everywhere to create havoc.

Children and teenagers’ rebel against their parents and teachers which has smaller effects on everyone’s life connected to them. Sometimes, this small sparks of rebellion of college students were flared by the politicians to cause devastation.

“This is my life; I want to live it as I want”

“I can marry anyone as I wish”

“I don’t care what others think”

“It is about my rights”

“I want it this way”

“Why should I listen to him”

All the above are the statements which depict nothing but pride and rebellion in a human heart which is the first sin we commit in our hearts against our parents, teachers, elders, superiors, authorities and against the author of this life, GOD. Our sinful natures do not allow us to bend down and bow to the authority of another or God. We want to be our own bosses, and that rebellion in the human heart is the root of all sin.

It is true that we have freedom to choose according to our own wishes. But can we allow full liberty to someone who has bad temper, who is on the verge of destroying self and all around him? No, right? Then how can we cry about certain prohibitions as curbing our rights? Isn’t that cry, a cry of rebellion or trespassing?

“Rebellion is trespassing”
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Every human heart has the seed of rebellion germinating deep within. So I can’t justify that by saying, “I am not revolting“. My heart knows, I am already revolting against something deep within myself. But remember, whenever it happens, we need to let it pass through a scanner before working on it or trying to fan it further. A scanner might be your best friend who is wiser than you, an elder who is more experienced than you, your teacher who understands the right and wrong better than you… Or look to God by just saying a few words of prayer like this – “Oh true God! Help me to understand whether my desire is right or wrong… Give me the right direction and let me know how to go about it”. Trust me, I have been doing this for last 44 years in my life and was never disappointed even though sometimes things are bleak and dark for me. Though I refer, ‘the Bible’ for the clarity of my mind and conscience.

So, friends! I know it is a preachy article, but not a lie. Do not flare up the flames of rebellion in your heart. Pray for guidance.

Stay Blessed!

JUSTICE DELAYED IS INJUSTICE

On the night of 2nd December 1984, many lives changed, destinies were re-written or rather written off. People sleeping peacefully were woken up by a sudden cough which refused to stop. Some felt burning eyes due to which they weren’t able to see anything. They started to rush out of their homes into the white cloud of smoke that had engulfed them. “Run for your lives”were all the words that could be heard. Other sounds were of coughing people, wailing babies, people who were vomiting and some who were crying until they fell down unconsciously. They were running to move out of the white cloud that was not refusing to follow them. Many pregnant women had instant miscarriages. On a cold night, everything gave a burning sensation. Everyone was trying to reach the nearest hospital. Trees were shedding leaves as if it were a wildfire. But, it was worse than that. 

I am talking about the world’s worst industrial disaster- the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The disaster that took the lives of thousands of people, permanently disabling lakhs and pervaded the birth defects in the generations to come. 

The leak of highly toxic Methyl Isocyanate from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. The reason of the leak is still not clear. However, the reports suggest that it was due to lack of maintenance and a floppy management. Several cases were filed against Union Carbide Corporation  or UCC and Warren Anderson, who was the then CEO. The cases kept on shuffling between the Indian courts and the US courts for 26 long years- from 1986 to 2012. Anderson was refused to be extradited by the US government as they stated that he had no role as the plant was owned and operated by its employees. However, in 2010, eight of the plant’s employees were charged with negligence and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment, with a fine of $2000 each. For all the deaths and the aftermath of the disaster, all they could get was just a moderate fine and 2 years in jail, which they never got as 7 of them were soon out of the prison on bail, shortly after the verdict was out. The 8th convicted employee already had died before the judgement was passed. 

From 1984 to 2010, justice after 26 years! Is that justified? 

And such a meagre punishment to those who played with the lives of many! Is that justified?

Bhopal Gas Tragedy is just one example of the justice that was delayed for more than 2 decades. The punishment given to the convicts was the maximum punishment given by the Indian Law. Change is the law of nature and so the changes should be made to the rules and laws that were made decades ago. It’s high time the cases are heard quickly so that the justice isn’t delayed. But, above all that, we, as humans need to value our ethics and moral principles.

An ethical life is built of integrity, honesty, kindness, decency and belief in truth, justice, honour, love, respect, compassion, and working together to make life better.

(Inspirational quotes)

WE HAVE ENDLESS LAWS, BUT, IS THERE ENOUGH JUSTICE?

India got independence on the midnight of the 15th of August 1947, when the last ship carrying British soldiers left for England. It became a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The constitution of India came into force on the 26th of January, 1950. A week from today, it would be 71 years the laws came into effect, yet, justice being served is sparsely seen.

Swarna, I met her the first time at the session court cafeteria. Her court papers flew for the wind, and I helped her segregate them. Along with her was her 15-year-old son. Unknowingly, my eyes noticed the start date of her case, and it was way back in 2003, a divorce petition. I couldn’t resist asking her if her case was pending for 15 years, for which she nodded with a “yes.” That must be the time her son was born, and it would have been very tough on her. Later, she told me that her husband left her when she was pregnant with her son, three years after their marriage. The only reason was that he didn’t want to live with her anymore. Swarna hasn’t had any support from her parents regarding this and finally had to go through the birthing process on her own self. I can hardly imagine what would have been her thoughts like. She must be a fierce soul to have lived and fought through this for 17 years now and still awaiting justice.

I wonder what the justice system wants to do? Is the purpose to serve justice, but how?

A young girl in her 20’s left alone by her husband has been waiting for justice for 17 years. She lived all those 17 years without support, a leaning shoulder, a person to rely on and share her sorrows with – a companion to be precise. Mentally, this can put anyone under tremendous stress. I dare to ask if the divorce was granted; maybe, she would have found someone who could have taken care of her and, the kid would have had a father. She wouldn’t have had to bear the insults she has endured. It is more respectful to state that one is divorced than separated. Is it the expectation of the honorable court that after 17 years of separation, the couple will lead a happy married life, if the divorce is not granted? It sounds too absurd.

A child (Swarna’s son), who had no mistake in this is suffering because of? One might say his father, but I would say the justice system has its part too. He has to undergo the trauma of doing the rounds of the court, along with his mother, gets to see his father at times who has no interest in accepting him. Apart from this in the mediocre society, he is a fatherless child and is bullied. A teenager who should be looking forward to his future is now very uncertain. Imagine filling up those educational applications where it says father’s name. It would have hurt him to the core. Does the child not have the right to a more secure future? 

This is only one example, don’t be surprised to know that some people spend all the hard-earned money of their lifetime in anticipation of justice for decades and decades, and some leave this world before the verdict is released. Kudos to those who are staying put and have not given up. But, this brings us to a fundamental question. If justice is delayed this much, would people have faith in the justice system? If they lose such trust, the obvious is that they would take justice into their hands, which would lead to horrible consequences. Unfortunately, the loopholes in our justice system are already a significant reason why many resort to hideous crimes. The credibility of our Judiciary system is at stake. The two main reasons I feel are one, the ratio of people to judges, second, our inadequate laws.

The society is changing rapidly adapting to various reforms in many fields. Our laws cannot stay behind with respect to these fields. In fact, it is important that laws also evolve along with the advancements and changes in society. The fundamental right to life and liberty cannot be put to risk. We need justice and that justice should be served on time with a purpose to make someone’s life better and for a better society.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
― Benjamin Franklin

CONNECTING WITH OTHERS

The famous writer and philanthropist Sudha Murthy in the ‘Introduction’ of her novel ‘Something happened on the way to heaven’ writes:

‘I was filled with awe as I realised that the books I’ve been able to write are really not about me at all  – they are about the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been to and the lives I’ve had the privilege of being part of. I felt blessed – so fortunate to be in a position to help people, even as they found it in their hearts to let me inside their world and share their most private thoughts and problems with me. They’ve given me their stories and I’ve had a chance to be a character in their tales. Sometimes, I’ve been lucky enough to be the lead actor, but at most other times, I’ve been an incidental character or simply unbiased storyteller.’

When I read this I found so much of my thoughts mirrored in what she had to say. Of course, I am not a writer of her calibre or repute. I am a simple blogger but I have come to realise that I too have mostly written about the people I have come across in my life. The problems or triumphs or simple anecdotes from their life really adds colour to my articles. Being connected to people has really enhanced my writings. 

Not just in writing, focusing on people around me has helped me be a better person. I have come to realise there are phases in my life. There have been times I have been so bogged down by my own problems that I have withdrawn into a shell and lost touch with my own extended family and friends. During this phase I feel very miserable and I am not able to come out of my melancholy. Its only when I remove the focus from myself and actually focus on others that I am back to my normal self. Delving into our problems brings only more sadness but helping others with their problems or just interacting with them makes our problems go away too. This works for me, maybe because I am an extrovert. And I love to be around people and hate being alone. I feel connecting with others just enriches me as a person and makes me more interesting. 

Connecting with others is a sense of being open and available to another person, even as you feel they are open and available to you. Try connecting and it makes life much easier and lighter because we also receive the empathy and love that we give.

IF YOU CAN’T FIND TIME FOR YOUR LOVED ONES, THEN MAKE IT

I am too busy with daily chores.

These kids keep me so occupied. 

I am unable to find time. 

There’s so much to do.

These have been some of my reasons which were keeping me from talking to my family members. Talking on phone really has become a great deal for me, especially after kids. Even with my friends, I prefer chatting over phone call. With so many things to do, I seriously couldn’t take out time, which I have been regretting ever since I lost some of my close family members. I kept on thinking to talk to them in free time, but before that could happen, the ‘time’ came and took them away. Its very normal that we often take our loved ones for granted, without realising that life is short and our little gestures can make them happy. 

phone-ringing-seo-kc
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

“If you love someone, show it”, said one of my aunts once, which made me realise that we need to show our admiration and respect to our elders in some way or the other. When my mom used to ask me to call someone in the family, I used to feel weird, as I didn’t know what to talk to them. However, I gradually realised that one phone call gives immense happiness to the elders. Just a normal question- ‘how are you’ starts the conversation. 

Ever since we moved to a different city from joint family, my mother-in-law makes a video call daily to watch her grandsons. And if she gets late, I ask my kids to video chat with their grandparents. They have now started talking to their little cousin too, by making silly faces and making him laugh over the screen. Because distance shouldn’t keep the feelings apart, this way of communication holds us together. 

I am very fond of capturing cute, sometimes silly, moments of my sons, either by taking a picture or making a video. Rather than just restricting these media files to my phone, I have now started sharing to my family members and trust me, they, especially elders, feel so happy to see them. Even if I don’t get time to call them up often, I keep them updated by sending photos and videos regularly. I even send them pictures whenever I cook something special. It’s a delight for my family members, who have known me since childhood, to know the varied food that I can cook now, as I hardly entered the kitchen before my marriage!

Family is a prized possession and nothing is better than being with your loved ones and spend time with each other. So, even if you don’t stay with them, utilise the technology optimally to be ‘together’.