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Showing posts from June, 2019

Sex and Sin

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Sex is arguably the most pernicious sin in Christianity given that most people don’t commit murder.  The first thing Adam and Eve did after eating the forbidden fruit was to hide themselves from God in shame.  They felt ashamed of their nakedness.  They felt ashamed of their sexuality.  The Bible says that as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve “knew things they had never known before.  They realised they were naked.  So they sewed together fig leaves and made clothes for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7) What were the things that “they had never known”?  What led them to the realisation of their nakedness?  The Bible doesn’t explain that.  John Milton put it in brilliant poetry in his epic Paradise Lost .  Adam and Eve were intoxicated as if they had drunk new wine, sang Milton.  They swam in mirth and felt divinity taking wings within them.  Carnal desire enflamed both of them.  Milton says that they burnt in lust.  Milton’s Adam tells Eve, “We have lost so much

O Teacher!

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“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” One of Bernard Shaw’s characters said that with the typical Shavian piquancy. I have been a teacher by profession all my life and I am on the verge of retirement. When a fellow blogger suggests a topic like ‘ Can teachers today be called “the untalented leftovers”? ’ and it receives a record number of votes from bloggers, I am more amused than chagrined. Well, to start with myself as an example, I think the blogger who suggested the topic has a point because I was an “untalented leftover”. I was not particularly good at anything. I failed to secure even a bank clerk’s job. A conspiracy of chromosomes contrived to make me a priest and I failed absolutely by ending up as an atheist. The mother of a student of mine met me the other day and complained that her daughter opted for English literature at college because of me. I swelled with pride, only to have that bubble of pride punctured by her next statement: “Why did she have to s

Coward

They hailed him a great nationalist when he stopped writing politics and turned to blogging about food and fad. He had started donning a waistcoat of a particular cut. Please, don’t insult me calling me a cultural leader: His heart pleaded, silently. What culture am I to lead? Grabbing, raping and lynching? Culture of hate that masquerades as patriotism? When the TV channels were busy finding accolades for the political leaders, the cultural leader was forming WhatsApp groups for neo nationalists. The arrests of honest people didn’t disturb the cultural leader’s devotion to WhatsApp. Nor did the disappearance of hearts from writers. Nor did the death of poetry on the wayside. Nor did the rape of justice on the highway. He knew the truth, however, in the core of his heart. That he was nothing more than a coward. This article will throw light on the poem. 

Happiness is free, you silly

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  Image from here Who doesn’t want to be happy? I wasted almost an entire lifetime chasing happiness until life taught me that happiness is not something to be chased but accepted. It’s given freely. All around us. You just got to have a mind to choose it. I feel like being a little textbookish today. So here it is: Psychological researches consistently suggest that good relationships provide the strongest basis for satisfaction in life. Even introverts require a few close relationships if they are to be happy. An effective way of creating happiness is making positive differences in the lives of others . It is not hard to find ways to be helpful to others and reach out to the less fortunate. When you do that, your sense of self-worth increases and you add a greater meaning to your life. Moreover, your relationship with those people whose lives you touch will deepen. Another advantage is that this will help put your own problems in perspective and direct your energ

Madam, they're overdoing it!

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Trees vanished from the forests that adjoined Sawan, thanks to the developmental activities of RSSB. Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the godman of RSSB, visited Sawan only once. It was a couple of months after his people had taken over the school’s management. All the teachers and staff of the school were ordered to sit in the auditorium while the godman came with a retinue of policemen in many escort vehicles. The non-teaching staff like the gardeners and sweepers were all removed from the scene. Later on, Mr Tyagi told us that the godman was interested only in seeing how much area the campus covered. He refused to meet the students. When one of the little boys, unable to endure the suspense, succeeded in circumventing the teachers and prefects and moved out of the auditorium, he was chased back by a guarding policeman. I wondered why the godman was so afraid even of a little boy. As trees vanished from the Asola-Bhatti forests, soon people started vanishing from Sawan too. Many me

Books for Young Students

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Image courtesy Many Boards of school education are trying to inculcate the habit of reading among students. CBSE, for instance, has introduced reading-based projects in the senior secondary section . At any rate, it is of vital importance to bring back the habit of reading among our students. Here is a list of books that can be recommended to students. 1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: The book narrates the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy in the magical land of Oz, after she and her dog Toto are swept away from home by a cyclone. Here are some quotes from the book: ·         It is such an uncomfortable feeling to know one is a fool. ·         I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart. ·         A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. 2. The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle: Published in 1912, this science fict

Indiblogger

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Flipkart gift vouchers poured like the soothing showers in Delhi’s July. That was the heyday of Indiblogger. Apart from the plentiful gift vouchers were the blogger’s meets organised in many cities and all the hectic activity at the community’s digital site itself. My blog won hundreds of readers.   Indiblogger built my reputation as a blogger. I earned many friends. Gone are those days. Indiblogger has threatened to wrap up because “the industry’s requirements have changed.” Did Indiblogger fall into a trap of its own making? It is an arduous task to maintain standards when anything is popularised. Indiblogger popularised blogging like no other blogger community did. It brought thousands of bloggers together without any discrimination whatever.   Into that quaint marketplace of immense commercial potential jumped quite a lot of traders for obvious reasons. Gift vouchers as well as occasional bumper prizes rained like manna from a featureless heaven.   Manna cannot co

Silly Romantics

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When my neighbour complained that my cat, Kittu, steals into their kitchen occasionally, I decided to leave a window of my house open so that Kittu could sleep inside the room even if Maggie and I were not at home. I left some branded cat food too inside the room so that hunger wouldn’t drive Kittu to neighbourhood kitchens. When I returned home from school, however, Kittu was sleeping as usual on one of the chairs outside the house. Ants were feasting on the branded cat food inside. I decided to confront Kittu after dinner as we both sat outside the house with a galaxy of stars winking at us. “Did you go gallivanting today too?” I asked. “What else do you expect me to do the whole day?” He asked with unconcealed scorn. “Sleep on your carpet and eat the tasteless stuff you bring from the hypermarket?” “So you went and stole your favourite sardines from the Mathais today too?” “ Stole ? What do you mean by that?” “Taking anything that is not yours is stealin

Compassion in a post-truth world

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Book Review We live in a topsy-turvy world. Mass murderers get acclaimed as messiahs, hard-core criminals are apotheosised as yogis and sadhvis, and absolute ignoramuses are elevated as dignified gurus of ancient wisdom. On the other hand, sane voices are being muffled, if not silenced altogether. How does one create credible fiction with conventional heroes and plots in such an inverted world? Impossible. What does writing amount to in such a situation? Paul Zacharia answers that question and does much more in his debut English novel, A Secret History of Compassion . Zacharia is a renowned Malayalam writer. His stories and longer writings provide refreshing peeps into human affairs. He can be funny and serious at once, spiritual and irreverent, mystical and cynical. In his first English novel, he is most of all that, yet much different from his usual self.   A Secret History is a baffling novel. None of the characters is realistic. The whole setting of the novel is a dre