We enjoy playing different games while learning to play the game of life effectively..! In the process of switching from playing games to playing life we need not realise how close any game is, to the Life itself. There are couple of widely accepted games such as soccer, cricket or basketball; one of which, every bloke on the block might have tried, tested & settled for the enthusiastic observer position eventually..??
Let’s consider cricket & see how close it could be to the game of life..!!
In the world of cricket, we can play different roles. One can be a batsman, a bowler, a fielder, an umpire, an audience or a commentator. All these roles come with their own rules & a unique nature. Though we keep switching from one role to another we mostly get comfortable playing one or two of these roles.
Are you a Batsman..??
A batsman’s role is that of a defender and a counter attacker. You have a high need for achievement & the scope for recognition. In this position you play in the centre by taking the responsibility on your shoulders. Well, at least in the swing of your shoulders. Everyone around is observing each of your actions & you are busy trimming your skills, defending or attacking depending on your own expectations, self-esteem or team’s expectations. In the family, one with a batsman attitude would prefer to respond to situation & make it click rather than initiate an action. Your presence is an active one in any situation and failure is a tad hard on you.
The role of a Bowler..!!
A bowler is the main attacker in the game. You would like variety & unpredictability. It is a place where you create different scenarios for others to respond. In this role you mostly enjoy trying, testing and polishing as much as shining. It’s good if things work according to expectations else you learn one or two things from your actions. In family, this is a role of an initiator. You would prefer to create different situations for others to respond. In this position you are comfortable enough in your shoes to act freely & also trust your family or team to back your actions..!!
You are a Fielder...!
A fielder is a less noticed craftsman in the game. You are the one; bowler is counting on when he initiates an action. You are present in the game and also feel like being a significant part of the game however it could be only you who feel so. You are an active observer who gets to voice your opinion here and there only when bowler & batsman feel it to be relevant and that is your chance to step out of your position for a change. Your role is the most taken for granted one in the family or the team. You tend to enjoy being part of the game and cherish the belonging though.
Being an Umpire..!!
An umpire is someone who is in the game but not part of the game. This is a role where you watch the drama unfold; live, in front of your eyes & get involved only to enforce the rules. You are an important member who will be remembered only when things go wrong for one party or the other. You are significant but not famous. The family or team will come running to you whenever there is a conflict however will just ignore you when things are smooth. You are a rare neutral observer in your den.
Playing an Audience..!!
An audience is the prime motivation for the game. You are playing the game that you aren't playing. You are rarely a neutral spectator in the game. Though your body & actions are not reflecting, your emotions are playing the game. Once you are aligned with a side, what you mostly care about is the performance of that side you are playing rather than being an observer. You become immune to the charm, technicalities or the point of view of the other side. It becomes your opponent you care about only with one intention in the mind, to conquer. In the family or the team, you tend to identify your side, and align with the party who is to be your voice & action.
To be a Commentator…!!
A commentator is the magnifier of the game. You can bring fire where there is only water in the vicinity. You are that observer who is looking at the game from outside with your own glasses, interpreting the intention of the players and ensuring that the game goes out of the four walls in most dramatised way. You are the window through which world gets a glimpse of the game being played. You have it in you to make the game bigger, dramatised & relatable than it seems. Your intention is to ensure that the game has a grand presentation & reception from the world irrespective of its course..!!
Life, A Game of balancing roles
Life gets far more interesting than games because one has the choice here to play numerous roles, beyond that offered by any game. We may mix and match the roles & go on improvising till we feel that the game of life is grand enough..!! Question here is if we are observant enough to recognise the roles we are playing & motivated enough to drop the unintended roles we are habituated to & pick fresh ones intentionally..!!
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One fine day, at an ice-cream corner you come across one Miss. Mishra. As excited as you are to see her after years, you call her name and then comes the reply. “Hey, I am not Miss Mishra anymore, I am Mrs. Rao. I got married”..!! Isn't this a common occurrence around us..?? Once a girl ties the knot, the next natural step seems to be the replacement of the second name. She takes a second name to show her alignment with husband and his family in some way or the other. This is a gesture which doesn't need an explanation or does not call for any second thoughts because it seems to be in perfect sync with society’s expectations or even individual aspirations, At least at surface level..!! Have we ever thought about the intent behind this ritual, its possible meanings & the consequences of this small action on one’s identity & the marriage?
Men & women are biologically different. The hormonal difference makes an average man predisposed towards aggression where as a woman towards nurturing. That explains the primary role they were inclined to play in the beginning of the civilization, in the hunter gatherer society. Men took into hunting to survive & woman into caring for the today & tomorrows of existence. Mating as well went exactly like hunting for food. Men fought with each other for the mating rights so that they got the best woman to care for them & also bring in & nurture their next generation. A man did everything possible to ensure that the woman he chose belonged to him. He ensured that she stayed with him in the house he built & also carried different symbolic signs to show that she is already taken. Then, it was a world where the physical strength was the most valued asset anyone could possess. In that time, woman was no more than a valued possession. Physical needs & strong offspring was the main purpose of man & protection from other men & nurturing space for the children was that of woman.
Times have changed now. We have come a long way in evolution. Humans have become what they are now, not because of their physical strength but because of something which goes beyond. What distinguished humans from other animals is their capacity to think & the capacity to express their thoughts through complex symbols called words. Thoughts & emotions have taken front seat now. We have a realization of being something more than just the body & also needing something beyond bodily pleasures. Men & women still have the same biological differences they once had however they aren't much different in this capacity to think & express. At this point men & women have almost similar needs. On top of all other needs they have is the need for individuation or the self-expression. It is the need to become all that he or she possibly can..!!
In current times, where both men & women have found their common grounds for evolution, concept of marriage goes much beyond the physical needs, providing for & caring for the family. We rarely marry just because of physical attraction. Marriage now stands for the concept of being each other’s primary source of motivation in multiple dimensions. In marriage a man & a woman understand & care for each other physically, psychologically & emotionally besides creating a secure & nurturing environment in which the future generation can thrive. Marriage is the commitment to walk with each other as equals in the advancement of oneself, family, society & human kind.
A woman might find pleasure in going with a change in second name considering it to be her expression of love & commitment & a man might be pleased with the idea of feeling valued. What exactly does this gesture communicate in today’s times..?? It is saying on girl’s part that I am ready to alter my identity to be part of your life and on man’s part it’s putting in a burden to provide for her in all possible ways along with the expectation that she will be the one who would alter herself to accommodate him. When a girl takes her husband’s second name it is half of her & one & a half of her husband which goes into the relationship. Love between the couple is when two hearts can beat in sync & two minds understand each other. Commitment between two people is when they walk together with complete realization of where they are going and being respected & valued is in the deeds & not in the words. For a relationship to thrive & naturally lead to love, commitment & respect, it needs one & one to become two & not one and a half & a half. It is self & other understanding & self-expansion from both the parties & not adjustment which creates a fulfilling marriage.
Your parents, as beautiful people as they are individually, might have half + one and a half sort of marriage between them. Just reflect if you like what you saw & see in their marriage. If the answer's no, go ahead and experiment with something different.
Though many of us might agree with the concept of marriage as 1+1, we do not put in efforts to question the idea of marriage, which is shaped in our head through society we were brought up in, when we were growing up. We forget that society is the representation of the yesterdays and we are the architects of today, the creators of the future society.
If society has to advance, we will have to stop behaving as mere spectators and take charge of our own life…to find out what is best for us & act..!! Now, can we really think deep & hard, without prejudice…..Does she need to change her second name..??
Photo Credit : http://www.lawrencewilson.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/bigstock-Couple-Holding-Hands-And-Walki-8284004.jpg
I was going through the social media the day when BBC released its documentary, "India’s Daughter" about the horrific incident of Nirbhaya tragedy. The case itself was heartbreaking. I was further moved by the comments I saw from general public. Many expressed their disgust & some said that they were ashamed to be Indians. Now, being an Indian I am acquainted with Nirbhaya episode as it is presented in Indian media to some extent however I had to acquaint myself with the documentary which forced the Indian government to put in the vain efforts to keep it away from India & brought out this sort of emotions from people who watched it.
At first look it seemed like any other documentary about any other random topic. It looked as though the documentary is made from an objective point of view & is thoroughly rounded in handling the topic in question. However if you take a closer look you can see its impact in the larger context. If this documentary was about an incident from an insider to the country called India, the context in which documentary is made might be flawless. But it is not. This is the representation of India, through one incident to the whole world and the way it is done is no way close to objective or rounded point of view..!!
To a viewer who watches this documentary, India might seem like a country with rapists without any values (backed by statistics from one state), extremely pitiful state of the victim, rigid & biased police system, attorneys who live in another barbaric world, despicable culture, struggling & questioning youth, a convicts exaggerated view of his world which goes across as Indian situation, crooked bureaucrats & indecisive legal system. Now I ask you one question..?? Does anything here seem familiar wherever you live..?? Is it India’s daughter or is it a world’s daughter..??
Let’s take the cultural aspects to begin with. In any given society there are different sectors of people who interpret the culture in different ways. India is a country, which saw numerous invasions & has been in the state of constant flux. Right now it is not a place with a single religion, language or demographics. Even within any of these entities such as religion, there are multiple interpretations of the culture each one embraces. If India is a country with billion people, it also is a country with millions of interpretations of the way of Life. India represents the human spirit. The unity in diversity. Unification of multiple characteristics, thoughts, actions & emotions to a whole, the human. If there is a sector of society which finds fault in women even raising their voice, there is another which is ruled by women. If there is an instinctual sector which can be triggered by slightest of provocations, there is another intentional sector which could be epitome of conscience & consciousness just like any other society.
Yes, the police had taken actions against the crowd when there were protests against this heinous act. If it seems like an uncalled for action, imagine a situation where negative forces would have taken advantage of the crowd and converted the gathering to a uncalled for mob..!! What would have been our reaction then..?? Would it be something close to “what were Delhi police doing all this while..??” We would have blamed their inefficiency & lack of vision. About the criminal bureaucrats, Yes, there are crooked politicians. When we have a system called democracy and educated people shying away even from voting we will have many power hungry & superficially educated people taking the lead. However if there weren't bureaucrats around us who could go beyond self-interest & power hunger we wouldn't have seen this very own documentary in any way..!! We really run a democracy here, In India.
We might gather a lot of information about Indian picture from the interview of Mukesh Singh and make a judgement about India. Now, think about his situation. Being a convict in the case, self-preservation would be his primary goal and in his mindset he wouldn't think twice exaggerating or blaming the victim or the society in his defense.
Rape, gender insensitivity, stereotyping, abuse & self-centeredness are not an Indian specialty. They are everywhere at our own doorsteps, in one way or the other. To a smaller, or a greater extent. If you do not believe it, check the statistics. If that’s not convincing ask yourself..?? Are you entirely free from all this..?? Is any country free..?? Is an objective documentary supposed to create the sort of perception as witnessed in that of a highly educated Professor about the whole country..??
Gandhi, who is named the father of Indian nation believed in the inner strength. For him the Dharma was about the strength to stand for what you believe in irrespective of the situation. He commanded this courage from Indians when he took lead in the fight for the freedom of the country. For him, the freedom was more about the inner rather than outer. If you have studied the Greek history, characters which stands out are that of Achilles & Hector. They both were true heroes not because they fought or won the battles but because of their courage. Their inner strength to place what they believed in, ahead of their own life. That is the reason they created history & changed history which lives beyond them. So was Nirbhaya (a symbolic name representing her courage). She was a person with inner strength & conviction. She was a hero..!!
When she boarded into the bus, she was facing 6 men who carried a perception about woman entirely different from her own. Anyone else in her place would have not stood up to that count of physically stronger aliens, who did not understand your world or what you stood for. The practical behavior was to keep quite or play along with their thinking line but need not be a right one..!! What she did was an act of courage, a satyagraha, which brought out the most heinous and animalistic behavior from the perpetrator. There would be several abuses around us however this one infuriated a sector of society & brought out the passive crowd on streets because an act of sheer strength never goes in vain. It forced people to think & act. Her death is not the end but the beginning. Her suffering was great however her spirits didn't falter. Seems like, this woman wasn't unconscious when found even after undergoing the amount of pain she had faced & that marked a new rise in the consciousness of many..!!
If we have to learn anything from Nirbhaya’s case, let’s learn to embrace her conviction, her courage, her morality & kindness. If a part of our house is broken, what do we do..?? Do we prefer to despise the house or rather repair it..?? If we discard our self, because of our faults who else will take responsibility to correct it..?? If we are ashamed of our self, our home, our society, our country, our world or our universe; where else do we go..?? Who will take the responsibility..?? Who will respect us or love us if we cannot love oneself..?? The attitude of despising ourselves is more self-defeating than pointing at the problems of another’s house, blaming them & putting in efforts to civilize everyone else except the state of our own house..!!! Isn't it easier to point fingers rather than reflecting on one’s own flaws, through any medium..!!
Civilization is not about what we show to the world but about what we are. It starts with an Individual..what he or she truly is..!! Let’s learn to be inquisitive, to embrace the culture after questioning its relevance in the context rather than blindly following what was learned ages ago. Let’s repair our house if it’s broken rather than throwing stones on it. Let’s embrace our broken house & rebuild it in the way we are proud of..!! Let's listen to our own inner voice before letting other voices in..!!
Photo Credit : http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/torn-tones-elisabete-pontes-de-oliveira.jpg
It’s another day; supposed to be a fresh day, however it just seems like yesterday. I get up 5 minutes early & finish everything I do in the morning. Get dressed in a hurry & announce that I am ready.” Not again”, mutters Lila under her breath. Do you have to wear that pink striped top of yours..!! I just stare back at her. We keep going because we are already 5 minutes late as usual.
Lila is not wrong in her irritation. This top I bought, before a year somehow has become my identity. I keep wearing it compulsively on most of the days. As for now, whole world has noticed it, at least my world has. It is not that I being a post graduate student lack a wardrobe. I do have a pretty elaborate one; stacked up with loads and loads of blues, greens, reds, blacks & oranges. However I cannot say I am truly acquainted with all of them. They are all in my wardrobe, mine in technical sense, but not really.
I bought 3 other dresses the day I bought this top, with equal enthusiasm for all of them. When I was trying them at home, the red one looked really terrific. I was not ready to own it. I thought I will save it for a special day. Green one needed a lot of maintenance. Then I tried this pink stripes. It was neither fashionable nor standing out but just comfortable & low maintenance. Eye balls didn't turn when I wore it. Then, it became me; with I, not realizing it, until the world started noticing. Lila says that “I wear that top so often because I want to show only one side of me to the world”. May be she is right. I don’t know. It just feels like a part of an unbroken chain I have been making every other day. What people call a fresh day, I just add one more link to the chain. Now, that I am 21, the chains longer in size than what it was when I was 16, but similar all the way. May be over the time I get to paint the links here and there and add to the chain so that the chain looks colorful, satisfying…different.
I think about my life before I bought this dress. Was I any different then..?? Answer is Yes and No. There was another grey casual which was my identity, till it made itself redundant by wearing out. Before that, there was another black one & the green one. It’s not that I don’t want to look pretty or glamorous. When I buy those dresses I have all the intention to wear them & look as good as possible however not many leave the wardrobe, even for the first time. Lila says that I being a grown up should behave like one & start exploring with all these dresses; I own, before buying new ones. I want to, but I don’t know where to start & how it will be received by the world. I have an image in the world & a reputation to keep. I cannot forsake that. I will just do what I can, which is to keep all those colorful dresses just to myself; just like my thoughts, emotions & dreams, at least till the wardrobe overflows. I realize that some of these dresses, I want to hide in very back, so that even I do not come across them again. I do not remember buying them anyways. May be they came from nowhere. May be they were the gifted ones. All my avoiding hasn’t yet made them disappear. I guess I will have to take them out & through way.
Lila is quick to notice my pink stripes however she doesn't seem to realize about her own lavender suit. I guess it’s not her fault. After all she can see me more than she can see herself. May be she should pay attention to what she sees in mirror as well
I wonder if there would be a day when I meet those special people. The people who would love me irrespective of what I am wearing. Those people, who would not bother about how short my dress is or how tacky the shoes are. Wait a minute; doesn't that special people I am thinking about include me in it..?? Have I accepted myself when it comes to rest of the wardrobe? If pink stripes is me, isn't the black dots also me..?? If I can wear black dots with as much ease as I wear the pink stripes, people will eventually see black dots also as me. At least I can try. I know It’s uncomfortable to take out all those dresses in the wardrobe, try them on me & accept the way I look in them. It needs lot of patience & perseverance. However isn't that the only way to break the chain? I need not just change the color of the links called days, but make those links in all shapes & sizes. Don’t I want to make so many things other than a chain which I am making so far, from those links of my Life..?? The chain need not just look different but it can be different, for that matter it need not be a chain at all.
People are not born special however they can become special. Can’t they..?? Let me start with it today. How about trying that odd looking orange dress in the very corner of the wardrobe for today..?? I am on it..!!
Photo Credit : http://media.yogajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/iStock_girl_thinking_sized2.jpg
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