Monday, August 11, 2014

The Greatest Commandment

Majority of the tribe and scribes in the Middle East can identify with the passages from one book or collection of passages; a Christian like me calls it the Old Testament while the rest differently. It is from this book the greatest commandment of all emerges:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”

Religion is once again giving me goose bumps and it sure looks crazy to quote from it at this point. But then as everyone knows, religion can also be a tool to manipulate and to basically make people cooperate by making them feel different from the rest. And over the years men has perfected this art and especially in this age that provides them with sophisticated technology to aid them in this task. Religion gives many the powers to control what they cannot otherwise.

Now how are humans from each religion different?

1. The blood which runs in each is red in color.

2. The anatomy of a human is: a pair of legs, hands, eyes, ears that helps them touch, feel, hear, and basically know the world and its wonders.

3. One laughs when one is happy and cries when sad.

4. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted for what he/she is.

5. Nothing but food suffices when one is hungry and nothing but water when one is thirsty.

6. The minute one ceases to breathe, he/she dies.

I pointed out the similarities since it is a futile to attempt to do otherwise and I am very sure it is a challenge which no expert in this world has successfully undertaken.

And how do differences emerge? This takes us to the commandments that I first quoted and mainly the second one: love your neighbor as yourself. How easy it is to read but how difficult to implement! Hence let me once again quote the following text that I chanced to read from a religious site. Let me refrain from giving the link and also hope that the author forgives me for plagiarizing.

The one common denominator to all of your experiences with difficult people is you. In my case, it is me. People we call “difficult” are really people who we consciously or subconsciously identify as being “different”. Different from who? Different from us, of course!

We implicitly assume we are the standard of reference by which all other persons must be judged. To the extent that someone differs from us in any way, they could become a candidate for our scrupulous examination. They may or may not pass our “test”, based on our standards, and of course, we are the sole judge. Just remember that the other person has reserved a similar right to judge you by their standards, and may have concluded that you are a difficult person to live with.

When we understand that “difficult” means “different”, and we accept that God made us individually with different fingerprints and different DNA peculiarities, we are ready to focus less on the differences between us and more on the similarities that unite us.

Times are difficult but it can be made easy only if we focus on the similarities that human beings share in this world and focus less on the differences that humans have thrust upon themselves under the guise of religion.

Peace is what majority wants but it is this same peace that a few wants to take away for their own selfish wants. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Vacation

Am back after another vacation, hectic as usual. This time it was to admit our daughter for higher studies, a task which can be like climbing Mount Everest! Every parent who has admitted a ward anywhere, be it even a nursery, knows the feeling. Leaving her behind was even more heartbreaking and much tears were silently shed on the way to the Airport, but I thank technology for connecting us at least when it is possible. My watch continues to be on Indian time so that I don't miss the window of opportunity to call her.

Due to the uncertainty of opening dates, we could only travel to places close by. Saw a few places that I have never seen earlier in Kerala, this time too. Travelled through roads that are holding well (the monsoon was late) and left Kerala just when the rains started to play havoc. But it was enough to rock the Airplane and scare the passengers.

Alapuzha beach is the closest for us, yet it is strange that I have never been there! It was always a passing point to Kochi or other destinations and was always dismissed. Hence when we planned a day trip with cousins this was the perfect choice. It started with Azheekal beach, made even more closer to Tiruvalla due to the roads that are now better maintained. The one via Haripad has been recently repaired and ply through paddy fields. It was sheer pleasure travelling through the same. At Arattupuzha one was able to see the much talked about black sand (karimanal) and memorials for the the December 2004 Tsunami. It is still a sleepy village with a road running parallel to the beach and ending at Azheekkal, a common name for a place where the sea meets the end of the land or a lake? The locals told us that the sea is very deep around here and anyone unfortunate enough to be swept away will surely be eaten away by sharks, since it is near impossible to retrieve the body. The beach is not clean and hence we did not stay long. (the photographs are in another device and need to be uploaded later).

We proceeded towards Alapuzha and visited another secluded but a very beautiful beach: the Mararikulam beach. We were 4 adults and the rest were a big bunch of teens who immediately took to the waters. There were enough coconut trees to provide a good shade from where my camera could get some good shots. There were only a few foreigners who might have wandered away from the more frequented Alapuzha beach.

The best part of the visit was the fresh fish that we bought directly from the fishermen who were transferring it from their nets. My greed for it was so much that upon returning home quite late at night, me who very rarely handles fish (due to lack of experience) proceeded to cut, clean, fry and eat before I did anything else. No way was I going to miss this opportunity to eat fish so fresh, without ammonia or whatever they add and after having sat in the freezer/ice for God only knows how many days. The trouble was worth it. Fresh fish can taste so lovely! Nothing beats the taste and now I can understand those who patiently fish by the river that passes by in front of our home.

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