The waiting game…

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Time is the King, reigning on and on

Dead of night, no sign of dawn.

How long, do you think, is this waiting game?

Not far, they say, can I go without aim.

 

Heart leans towards the priceless,

I hope. I ought to be fearless.

Against all odds, all logic,

Keeping faith on magic.

 

Flying far up high to land on Rainbow,

Have no guide, I know no way to go,

Yet, I keep floating with the flow,

Forever, until the winds don’t blow.

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Do it {the} Right a{way}

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Our health is the most crucial matter of our life. Our happiness depends on our health. But that’s the most neglected part. Right now, we have all the information handed over to us instantly, without any struggle. We have the knowledge, detailed explanations, options, opportunities, etc… Still, we are fighting with more and more diseases and facing a marked deterioration of our health and immunity. As life becomes more and more easy and luxurious for us, we tend to disregard our basic needs. As a social worker, I have been to places where people suffer from lack of facilities and proper healthcare, thereby facing poor health conditions. But there are also a large section of population who are just downright careless about their health. Health doesn’t become a priority until too late.

We know that a small change in our lifestyle can help improve our health to a great extent. Balanced diet, physical activity and ceasing of substance abuse are the major steps for improved health. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes account for the maximum deaths in a year. The risk factors for these diseases are tobacco use, inappropriate diet and physical inactivity. The government can provide new and improved cancer centers, diabetes treatment clinics, best technology to aid in the cure of these diseases. But don’t we all agree that prevention is better than cure? 

According to WHO studies, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 50%. We are aware that a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of many diseases. All the health management departments have done their analysis and have provided with quantifiable data that small changes in the human behavior and in their routine can have greater impacts on their health. These studies prove that these changes are real and that they are achievable.

The most common habit of people that causes most of the problems in their health is that of popping so many pills for a faster cure. People don’t have time. The body shows signs of illness when it needs some care. If we don’t give enough time for the body to recover, we may feel better for the time being but the weakness will recur. And this time, it may affect more fiercely adding to the side effects of the antibiotics. I am not suggesting that we should not treat our illness. But opting for a faster relief will lead you to have stronger medicines which may not help your overall health. Why our health is not figured high on our list of priorities? It is the most significant part of our life. But we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.

So what are we waiting for? It’s up to us now. We have to make healthy choices. Most of the times, we wait for something to happen and only then we realize we could have done something to prevent it. Concerning our health, it might be too late. Rather than injecting your body with too many medicines and antibiotics, adopt a healthy routine. Also remember not to overdo it and also not to stress about it.

Keep it simple :-

  • Take care of the basics like eating food on time, drinking water, exercising, sleeping and relaxing.
  • Avoid smoking and limit your exposure to toxins.
  • Meditate.

Be happy…

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Respect others’ Beliefs

Set Religion Free, And a New Humanity will Begin – Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Religion was formed because people believed that we need God. We believed that God created us, so we need to worship Him. But as we know, people have their own ideas of God and how He should be worshipped. Even in this century, we see people from different religions, forming new rules and regulations. In the same way, earlier too, people formed new ideas about how to worship God and what is He. Therefore, we came to have these many different religions. They formed different groups and they had different ideas of God. So these religions were constructed by humans.

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

― John Lennon

‘Did you know, since the beginning of the recorded history around 6000 years ago, human beings have worshipped over 3700 different supernatural beings and Gods!’ So one must wonder whether God created us or we created Gods.

Later, groups of people started questioning the idea of Religion and the idea of God. The conflict between Science and Religion have always existed in the world. It’s always difficult for some sections of people to tolerate the belief that we were “created” rather than evolved. More and more people started to disassociate with any religious groups. They stopped praying or going to places of worship.

I have always felt that there’s nothing wrong in being religious. But Religion is personal. It should not be creeping into all aspects of our lives. Politics using Religion, education on the basis of religion, certain services provided for particular religious groups, etc… Then it becomes unfair. This will lead to conflicts and the relationship between people will be strained. Allah, Rama, Jesus are all being tagged just like political leaders of different political parties, who fight against each other for power. I don’t even want to begin talking about all the self-proclaimed Gods.

People were done with all these long ago. In the 21st century, millions of people became atheists. By birth, they may belong to a religion but they didn’t believe in God. Humanism was another alternative to religion. There have been humanists since the beginning of the recorded history all over the world. They are often called as free-thinkers.

I thought that I can call myself a Humanist. I liked their idea of thinking freely rather than believing. Religion always points out that we can never prove that God doesn’t exist. Humanists accept that but also points out that neither can we prove that God does exist. It made sense because there were thousands of Gods created by humans and which one should we believe in?

I have always seen Religion as a discipline, where we are taught certain customs and norms and also provides us with a sense of culture. We are brought up following certain rituals and we follow them blindly. We are born with a Religion. We can’t choose. That was something I questioned for a long time. And also I couldn’t understand why there were conflicts between the religions. No religion teaches us to disrespect another individual. All the religions must be based on mutual respect and equality for all people. If there was really a God, then wouldn’t that be His idea?!

I was reading about the different religious alternative groups and I came up with a group called Agnostics, with whom I could identify myself with more. They are group of people who believe that it’s not possible to know for sure whether there is God or not. There is always a bit of doubt and they allow the possibility that some kind of God exists. I have got some Humanistic as well as Agnostic thoughts. I pray (at times, to be honest) and often feel that there is a higher power. We may not believe in a religion but it’s possible to believe in God without being religious. But I also respect others who have their own set of beliefs.

If people didn’t impose their beliefs on others, there wouldn’t be a problem. If the children were free to choose their religion or even not to have a religion, it would be ideal. Some people say that if there is no Religion then there is no discipline in ones life. People will be more chaotic and wouldn’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. But if that were true, then there won’t be any crimes in the name of religion. Many people commit crimes in the name of religion. Belief in a God doesn’t make people good. There are good people in all religions and there are also good people who don’t believe in any religions.

God! Faith! These should not be a weakness. In the present times, the rate of crimes in the name of religion is increasing. People are developing hatred for each other. Religion is being divisive. Religion should be helping in human development rather than wiping out Humanity.

We have seen religious wars before and we all know how it will end. Then why are we treading in the same path again? This is because Religion is not the problem but the people running it are.

I know it’s a very Utopian idea but what if all the different religions, atheists, Humanists, Agnostics, and all other groups of people respected each other’s set of beliefs and let it be… No prejudice, no judging, no discrimination, the world will be a much better place, don’t you think? An open mind leads to an open society and a cheerful environment.

Spread the love…

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First lesson of Reality

When I decided to do my Masters in Social Work, I had very little idea of what I was actually getting into. I always wanted to help people in some way or the other and I was over – confident that I have the abilities to understand their feelings better than anyone else and therefore, believed that helping in their situations would come naturally to me. This was, of course, based on the very limited experiences that I had in my small world. I was like the Little Frog in the well.

In my first semester, I was placed for field work in a small village in the outskirts of Kerala. It was a coastal area. There was only one bus service to that village. Most of the men in that village earned their living by fishing. It was a completely new space for me. Their lifestyle, their habits, their environment, the way they were brought up, were all different from what I had seen before. They even talked differently. They spoke my language, but their dialects were different and I couldn’t understand them.

Their problems were real. They were fighting for their basic needs. Most of them had no proper houses or even not able to have three meals a day.  Half of the men were addicted to alcohol and the women were victims of domestic violence. Minimum educational care were given to the children and most of the girls had to restrict themselves into doing the household chores. Very early in their life, they were forced to take up the responsibility of their family. They were not even in the state of mind as to fight for their rights. They, in fact, was not even aware that they had other options and that they are also allowed to enjoy the freedom to choose. Some of them didn’t even know that they were deprived.

That was the first blow to my head. I came to realize how little I knew even about my own State and the different people in it. That was just a beginning.

As part of our field visits, we were taken to several organizations in the city. We were introduced with government hospitals, cancer centers, mental health institutes, prisons, old age homes, etc… The image that I had of these places were far better than reality. It was not that I was unaware of these stark realities in the world. We have heard about it or seen them in movies and we think we know how it feels and we can relate to it. But only when we face them directly, we understand that we can’t even begin to imagine what they are really going through.

After choosing a specialization, in my fourth semester, I was placed in a TB hospital. There, I was faced with the cruelty of disease, which was eating away the affected patients wholly. Their physical and mental well-being were drowning with no strength and no hope. The real problem was not the disease but the lack of awareness was.

As Social Workers, we are taught to empathize with them, to understand and share their feelings. We are trained to play the role of an advocate, to fight for their rights and to provide a medium for their voices to be heard by the entire world. We are here to provide comfort and hope.

I learnt the theoretical aspects of my field and also was prepared to face the practical world. But no matter how much you are prepared, there are certain situations, where none of that helps. All the theories, all the knowledge and all the practical wisdom that we learnt will be of no use. We just get over-powered by simple emotions. In the real world, there will be surprises in every corner. We need to learn that each situation requires different approach. We need to learn that reality strikes hard. We need to accept that it may not always have a happy ending.

In all those years, I have also learnt that there are many ways we can bring a ray of hope in the lives of the people. Though the amount of success in our work cannot be counted by the number of lives that we changed. Economics doesn’t work here. We need to understand and accept that.

It’s as real as it can get. We are in constant conflict with the natural process of life and death, the state of mind, the policies of the government, the neglected herd, the loss of humanity in certain people and above all with God!

A short verse

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I want a new home; I want it right now.

A safe place in this world, anywhere, anyhow.

New rules, new doors, I am ready to explore,

Just take me away, I don’t feel safe here anymore.

I have lost faith in my brothers and sisters,

They have turned into terrifying monsters.

They’ve forgotten the bond we shared,

Money and power was all they cared.

Scarred, bruised and wounded,

My body and mind looted,

I cried for help, but in vain

Not a single soul heard my pain.

Disgrace to family, discredited by society

I am tormented by their sick mentality.

One rule for woman, another for man;

Blacken the soul from where life began.

Burdened by violence extreme,

Seize everything but my right to dream.

My wings are in ruins, though I hope to fly,

To find a safe haven in the wide open sky…

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It’s OK to come to my country!

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I am not so patriotic but I do love my country. Everybody does. No matter how comfortable and luxurious lives you lead in another country, you still feel like you don’t belong there.

I am from India. For many of you, India is a country that incites in you a sense of threat, embarrassment, disgrace, sympathy, or even a sense of resentment. I won’t blame you. In the media, there are plenty of evidences to validate your point.

Recently, with the gang-rape case attracting worldwide interest, India has been rated as one of the most dangerous countries to visit, especially for women travelers. Corruption in India is one of the greatest issues that have been in the spotlight for many years. All these infractions have managed to bring down the self-esteem of my country. It hurts..

For most people, who are not Indians, India is just one state, which is New Delhi. It is, in fact, the capital city of our country but India is not about just one state. As portrayed in some movies, India is not, either, all about poverty, famine or child trafficking. India is the second most populous country in the world and home to vast diversity in culture, climate, geography, and ethnicity. We have 29 states, each having it’s own culture, language, lifestyle, etc..

Living abroad, for the last seven years, I have to admit that there have been several instances where I felt that life outside India is much better. Especially, being a woman, the freedom and respect I enjoy outside my country is something that I have never received back in India. But that doesn’t mean that you will be badly treated or even physically abused when you come to my country.

According to recent statistics, about 44 percent of all UK women have experienced either physical or sexual violence since they were 15-years-old. A UN report found 99.3 percent of women and girls in Egypt had been subjected to sexual harassment. Surveys and reports show that rates of rape and violence against women are soaring all over the world. It’s really shocking numbers. But will that prevent you from traveling to these countries or flee away from these countries? How different is my country from the rest of the world, then?

I am neither trying to justify the callous events that occurred in my country nor am I ignorant of the level of severity of the issues; moreover, I am not disclaiming that I believe my country is in the right, just because the same happens in the rest of the world. There are certain safety measures and precautions that we are ought to make while traveling to a different country. In some of the places, we need to be extra careful. My country may belong in the second category but still, it’s not as bad as it is being depicted in the media and also in some movies.

India is rich with historic attractions, beautiful places, a range of tasty foods, and much much more. I guarantee that you will have a memorable experience.

In India, people believe in the native saying, -“Athithi Devo Bhava”, which means, “The guest is equivalent to God”. I assure you that you will be welcomed in my homeland with great respect and you won’t forget our hospitality.

I still love my country, in spite of all the weaknesses and I wish my country to be more famous for its rich culture, diverse cuisine, architecture, skills in sports, and for many other things. I hope my country will soon be known for its excellence rather than its criminal records.

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