Friday, January 25, 2013

Whilst on my customary Skype call with the mother, she was expressing her sincerest hope that 2013 would be a better year than the one that passed.
2012 was a good year for me - professionally more than personally. There were terrible losses on the family front but somewhere I found the strength to cope, re-organised my life in the latter half the year, bettered my health and even accomplished the hitherto unimaginable task of sleeping early and becoming the proverbial early bird.

2013 on the other hand has not started off well. Strangely unforeseen things have happened cheating me of a well deserved break and also peace of mind at work. But one shall  persevere.
2013 promises to be a strange year and I almost get a sense that it will have massive crests and crushing troughs. It comes with a sense of foreboding for me - a strange feeling that I need to keep looking over my shoulder and around corners, cross my 'I's and dot my 'T's , yes you read that right - it will be a year for extra caution!
It will bring questions that for the life of me I will not be able to answer - like why is 'honour' associated with a women and not a man and which man decided this?
Is doping in sports wrong if you can inspire generations, pull a sport out of oblivion and into the spotlight and raise millions of dollars for a cause?
Do people that didn't 'invest' hundreds of thousands into their degrees not deserve good salaries? Ok granted the last one is not quite in the same league but it deserves an answer all the same.
I know that this year the world and large, and I, a small part of it, will face these questions. Questions that have no answers now, that only time will answer.
What this year will teach me (I sincerely hope) is to be true to my 'cause' in the face of all obstacles. To realise that a whole is always bigger than the sum of its parts, to realise once again what and who is important. I also hope that this year is 'calm' in spite of everything. That while my legs are running, my brain can walk. And that at the end of it all I can go home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I have been willing myself not to get worked up about the Delhi rape case. Not to yell, scream, tear my hair out and repeat the cycle! Willing myself not to rant on Facebook or even on this blog. But I am not willing myself anymore. Everything I have heard and read about it boiled the blood, but something I read today just caused it to bubble forth and pour out of the cauldron. Apparently the rapists 'did not mean to murder'. As I read this absolutely disgusting and shocking statement my brain was translating the lawyer's words to Hindi - and how much worse it actually was! It is not hard to imagine the way the whole issue would have been trivialised - 'jhagde mein to kuch bhi ho sakta hai', 'woh toh wahan they hi nahin'...
While this case has got the whole country to get off their behinds and finally say and do something it is distressing that a country that, as a country, has overlooked the abundance of rapes over the years needed something so horrific to shake it out of inertia.

There has been so much said and done but I have noticed a few things standing out like sore thumbs and also like red flags; where there is media there must be a 'Godman'- and he must take it upon himself to hold up the 'moral compass' to the masses or in this case 'the barking dogs'. He must spout garbage and it will be written about in the front pages of newspapers (tabloid in really the more appropriate word!). What this 'Ass'aram Baba said was the very definition of nonsense. Why then did it even get a mention? Why feed his narcissism by plastering his face on the news? Why make him a somebody from the nobody that he was and deserves to be? There are hoardes of 'Babas' in India who will say or do anything for a quick mention in the news and to rub shoulders with those in power who share their low-bred thoughts.
Then there was the whole 'respected women don't get raped' talk. Who are respected women? In a country where, to quote Danny Devito in Twins 'money talks and BS walks', one can only assume that respected women are rich women. If the current top Bollywood heroine went out to a movie premiere, rest assured she would be safe - mainly because she would have the equivalent of cat-commandos and half the police force with her. Is she respected for having said bodyguards and the police to protect her? She only has them because she is rich and famous. I only have two words for all the ridiculous victim-blaming - fundamentally flawed.

Then the 'case' went to court and all the hoopla about 'fair trial' for the accused ensued. Fairness in a system that is unfair at every and all levels. Of course this cannot be a fair trial just like the rape and murder was not a 'fair' thing to happen. Of course it cannot be a 'fair trial' when there is no system. To have a fair trial you need the basic premise that everything presented to the court of law is the truth and that all systems working and all things remaining equal - a heinous crime was perpetrated and carried out by the accused. When this premise doesn't exist then what follows is a farce.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I really want to just get down to writing so I have vowed that I will hit publish and not look back. You, on the other hand have not vowed to read to feel free to move on.

I went back to Auckland for some much needed R&R. The body and nerves were both frayed beyond measure and needed the kind of rest and invigoration that can only be provided by dumping self on the couch at home and on the parents.
While the trip cannot technically be termed R&R given the various engagements to attend, socialising to do and house re-arranging (which for some reason, even unfathomable to me I took on!) - copious amounts of food was ingested and the sun and surf was taken in in very good measure.
The water has a way of soothing the eyes and since eyes are a window to the soul, it soothes the soul. There is many an occasion for contemplation whilst sitting by the water and many a reason for joy sitting in the water.
This was also a holiday with a few firsts - I went to Rotorua for the first time much to the disbelief of general junta. No it does not stink of sulphur, yes it is amazing. It is New Zealand. I even brought back a Rotorua mud face pack (which is yet to be applied) and a mud face wash, which, once one gets past the irony, is quite good!
One question that haunted me throughout this trip was why in the name of all that is Holy did I choose to leave (albeit for a 'short' time). People work their whole lives to live by the beach, swim in pristine waters and to live in a place where the food is a'wonderful and the people are a'friendly. It almost seems like people work their whole lives to live in New Zealand!
After some introspection I realised that my leaving was completely in keeping with my ways. In some twisting, self-flagellating manner, I feel I need to earn my beachside bach in New Zealand. And earn it I will, so Lord help me - by wading my way through ankle deep snow in sub-zero Belgian temperatures.
Anyway, so the holiday that I had been waiting for all of last year threatened to end much to quickly and in typical fashion I called up the airline, friends who worked for the airline and changed our tickets to return four days later than planned, at a very reasonable cost of about 100 bucks a day! Totally worth it!
Then it was back to Belgium and to a snowy welcome, which is about the only thing that makes winter worthwhile and head first into work and Dutch exams.
It is some consolation that friends and colleagues seemed to miss me, the house is clean and warm and family has promised to visit very soon.
Welcome 2013 - my mantra is head up, chin up and here's to weathering all storms!