On The Verge Of Breakdown…

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Nature: Ambience at every step

 

Nature’s Cry

Too benign in her ambient harmony she is
but like most other women, she is
overworked and underpaid

She takes it all with a smile
and continues to serve and oblige
bestow food, water, shelter, respite

She bears it quietly, but at times
retaliates, blows tornadoes
fumes volcanoes, warms up too much
goes bitterly cold; she goes on strike

But merciful mother nature that she is
she quickly forgives her spoilt children
hoping her wayward brats will learn
one day soon; hope not after it’s too late

© 2017 Alka.

♣~♣~♣~ ♣~♣~♣~♣

Nature, like most women, is so calm and giving…provides free fresh air, food, water, and of course a feast of breathtaking beauty to everyone. But in return she is being taxed. Too exposed, vulnerable and defenseless in the hands of humans who are using it.

Industrial pollution has changed air composition and that of rivers.
Fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gases are a reality.
Trees are being cut down via deforestation.
Genetic engineering and genetically modified crops are toxic for the wild life.
Ozone layer is getting depleted due to industrial gases. Global warming is looming large.
Resources are not just getting polluted but also depleted, while overpopulation means we are going to need more and more.

There are many more causes of natural and environmental breakdown…but what can we do? Can we change it?
Look around. We all can do our tiny bit, within our own community.

After all, looking after nature as also the women in your life, will  prove beneficial for the family…our world family of living beings as well as our own family and home.

~ alka ~

To pill or not to pill

Looking at the way people consider cooking as a chore, I have manufactured a short and simple solution, a pill to take care of our basic need of eating food at regular intervals.

Although there already are too many hunger-killing as well as hunger enhancing food items in the shops, they do not serve the purpose. These hunger-killing shakes, drinks or snack bars, curb our urge while providing some nutrition.

My pill is different. Take a pill in the morning, take one in the evening.  Vitamin-PillsWith pills, you do not stop feeling hungry, you don’t curb your hunger but it’s taken care of by a simple sweet tiny pill. As such, you all take so many pills each day – for this vitamin and that vitamin.  With my two pills inside your guts, no need for food or any extra pill.

But, having gone through some of the responses to the survey Red Pill, Blue Pill, I am disheartened. My hopes are dashed. My business that had started to take-off, is in doldrums.That’s because you people are not happy with the idea of a pill.

Animals were happier than you. I fed some cows on these pills and they seemed pleased that they don’t have to keep hanging around pastures anymore. Animals don’t even have to cook their food but they still preferred gulping a pill to eating grass. No need to munch the whole day. My pill-fed cows were still happy to donate us humans ample milk for cheap, and baby cows fed on pills felt they won’t have to feel deprived of their mom’s milk.  The race horses said, they were happy that they’ll be able to slog the whole day without wasting time on eating food.

Humans, it seems, are different.  Sensual men and women love their senses – their mouths drooling at the sight of colorful food, their taste buds getting excited upon tasting sweet, sour, spicy, salty food.

How many times a day do we have to eat?  We humans imagine that overnight we kept a fast and we celebrate breaking this fast with our breakfast.  We need so many food times – lunch time, dinner time and tea times. In fact our life revolves around these food times.  Buying of wide variety of food, proper storage of perishable food, refrigeration, disposal of rotten food. Then we fuss over buying elegant cookware and dinnerware, and spend time and money on equipment and gadgets to make our cooking easier.  Serving food on fancy tables so as to please our eyes.  After that we overeat, put on weight and then feel guilty of not exercising enough.

We love our food. But this is the food given to us by animals and birds – their eggs, their milk, and they themselves sacrifice their life for us. Plants too give their full life or else their body parts to us, so that we can hog on them and live a healthy life.

My creation – this pill – will not only save these plants and animals but also help humans, esp. the fairer sex (I dare not say weaker sex) from slogging. I can reduce their kitchen workload; so they don’t have to keep pleasing their families.

So guys, please do re-consider your response to this prompt.  It can help the animal kingdom as well as human race.

That said, honestly speaking, I myself love wide variety of sumptuous food recipes cooked by my wife. I would never like to stop eating them.  Although I want to stop being a glutton, I hunt for best eateries around town. Don’t tell anyone but I’m not sure even after marketing these pills I may find myself unable to resist food. More than that I won’t be happy if my growing kids are deprived of micro-nutrients and calories they can get only from fresh food.  No pills for them.  My aging parents may not be able to tolerate a pill.

Oh well!  Is that another failed experiment?  Hope not. Hope one day my science finds some alternative solution. Not pills. Not too much food obsession the whole day. Something in between, and better than hunger-reducing snacks and shakes.

Arranged Marriage: Third time’s the Charm

the first one came
head held sideways
looked away from her
and said
‘You are too good for me’

the second one came
head held high
looked down at her
and said
‘I’m too good for you’

the third one came
held her hand
looked into her eyes
and said
I like you just the way you are
You’re the one I was looking for
It seems you were meant for me
And I was meant for you
You are just right for me
I am just right for you”

~~~

The acceptance and rejection process in my above poem applies not only to the much maligned arranged marriages but also to all sorts of deliberate match-making, including online dating sites, where people calculate many different criteria before they decide to see that person.

The fact is, whether it is a love marriage or arranged, every match-making is mostly about the other person unconsciously falling fit into your set criteria of looks, age, race/nationality, religion, education/degrees, mannerisms etc. It may seem that it was a sudden clicking that developed into love but the clever mind and heart calculates.

In any case, it’s better to calculate first than to complain later.

~~~ ~~~

For The Daily Post’s writing prompt History of Language:
Third time’s the charm – Write a piece of fiction describing the incident that gave rise to the phrase, “third time’s the charm.”

Greece Crisis – My simple thoughts on few things Greek

Greece is so much in news these days, but for wrong reasons.

In fact it has been so for the last many years. But the financial crisis of this ravaged economy with the world’s highest levels of public debt, has now been taking huge toll on the general public, both in the form of extreme joblessness, disrupted financial institutions, general agitation and desperation in the confused public as they save their national pride.

man

Outside bank’s closed doors
Picture source: SMH

Few days ago, we saw a sobbing pensioner sitting outside the closed bank doors, as he became a ‘despairing face of Greek financial crisis‘ for he couldn’t withdraw funds what with the banks closed due to low cash reserves.
“I cannot stand to see my country in this distress”, he said. “That’s why I feel so beaten, more than for my own personal problems”

I read in my local newspaper about failing medical facilities in this “society worn threadbare by debt and neglect” , but in the middle of all this there is a huge amount of solidarity among the Greeks, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald

It’s not often we hear such plentiful news about Greece on Australian media, hence it raised my curiosity. While I acquaint myself about the reasons for this economic crisis, I just can’t help remembering little things that I’ve always associated with Greece.

~~~

One of my very early scant recollections about the word ‘Greek’, is one of the characters from the late 70s Indian movie called Dharam Veer. As can be seen in the below song, out of the two friends singing glory to their unbreakable friendship, one is a prince and the other some tribal character wearing a Greek-style dress. After seeing this movie, we school girls used to say, the movie has a stout hero who was wearing skirt-dress with Greek sandals. Such strappy ‘Greek sandals’ had later become quite a vogue in India.

Of course, later on in high school, we read a lot about this great civilization. Personally I didn’t dislike history as a subject but, in general, ancient and medieval history that involves rote-learning of dates and names, was often a butt of jokes among Indian students. Other than lengthy names of Indian Kings, we also read about Megasthenes, Seleucus, Menander and many Indo-Greeks.  For us, Greece too was one of the countries that had a long ancient history like that of India. At that time we didn’t really know that Greece had much to do with the formation of Western civilization, but we could identify with its kings and queens, ancient temples, Gods and Goddesses and perpetual wars that were won by great heroes.

One such super-hero was Alexander the Great, whose war stories have always been popular in India.  Alexander, who got named as ‘Sikander’, invaded India in 326 B.C. and won the Battle of River Hydaspes against Indian King Purushottam (Porus to Greeks). Soon after that Alexander died.  There are many strange moralistic and heroic anecdotes about this war.  Mighty Porus was reputed to be patriotic and heroic but lost because his army used elephants. Alexander, even though from the enemy side, and often thought of as clever strategist and imperialistic, is still well-regarded in India for his invincible heroic qualities.

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Photo courtesy: Greek Myths

Indians generally had positive impression about Greeks, that historically they were full of valor and enthusiasm for knowledge. Most students in India also knew about Trojan War, the story of Helen of Troy, about technique and intellect in the use of a wooden horse to the end goal of victory. Such stories, based on other distant cultures were a source of moral lessons.

Of course, philosophy and moral discourses are never complete without a Greek stamp, what with all scholarly names like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato being read and quoted in Indian text books. We were also familiar with names like Homer, Oedipus, Apollo and Hercules and so many others. People in India have no dearth of ancient Indian scholars and wise men, but they have never failed to appreciate and gain from other civilizations like Greece.

~~~

As long as I lived in India, other than bookish knowledge about Greek culture and history, I didn’t have direct encounter with anyone or anything of Greek origin. There was probably also not much trade between the two countries.

It was only when I came to Australia that we actually met flesh and blood friendly Greek-Australians. One of my early work colleagues who was from Greece, used to look at us Indian-Punjabi women and always express her surprise, “How come you Indians look so much like Greeks?” I didn’t really think so but they saw huge similarities. But our similarities end here. Sounds amusing but other than looks, Indians nowadays are more similar to the English or other Caucasian Australians, if at all. Not that it matters though.

Recently, it is Greek yogurt that is finding my favor. It caught my eye as it’s supposed to have more protein than normal yogurt and it tastes great too. Indian cuisine has its own similar yogurt, that is a sweet dessert called Sri Khand.

~~~

So what am I trying to say? You can argue that no one is refuting the greatness of ancient Greek civilization, and you can say that Greek history, culture and cuisine are not in danger. It’s only the economy. But then, in olden days at least, a ruined or weakened economy had a power to change the rulers, demographics and boundaries of nations. A weak nation-state often used to give way to foreign rulers, as it happened with the advent of Mughals whose long lasting religious influence changed India’s original soul. Also, East India Company that entered India via trade route and soon got the throne, that too for 100 years. Such was the breach of trust, that Indians, particularly Hindu hardliners are still skeptical of any foreign multinationals who want their trading feet in India.

Well, this kind of thing won’t happen in Greece as it’s a modern era. But modern capitalistic times are even more dangerous. They leech out the life-blood of its prey country (or person). We see this in our everyday life.

Say, a person who is initially marginally needy for money, ends up getting a wonderful credit card with a high upper limit, thus facilitating this person with sudden access to more money than needed, but only to be doomed further as slowly his spending habits deteriorate. More loans follow, more expenditure and a seemingly generous but opportunist bank increases the upper limit. This is the time when a wise person (or country) would reign the spending habits but if they don’t, a time comes when collapse is certain, followed by bankruptcy.

Continuing my above example, what if this person who’s heavily indebted by his credit card was originally well-off, both financially and culturally, but now hit by cyclical bad times hard to escape. He is bound to have difficulty accepting degradation and downfall of any kind. There will be self-esteem and ego issues. Ancient civilizations too carry a similar pride, a strong national pride that doesn’t let them bow easily. We will break but will not bow down, is the attitude. Possibly I’m generalizing too much, probably my analogy doesn’t apply to Greek situation as in Greece it is more of a political drama created by the ruling parties.

Moreover, when the world blames Greece for not showing any responsibility in its spending as well as borrowing, they rightfully feel why should the countries that loaned money to Greece also suffer.

Given the complexity, whether Greeks are wrong or right in their approach, whether they are resolving wisely or egotistically, there sure has to be some simplistic way to bring them out if this situation. Will it be feasible for International Monetary Fund to further waive off a major portion of their debt, not merely by imposing austerities but unconditionally? If not that, then countries can pool up and contribute funds to pay off their debt. After all, the world too is indebted to Greece for the cultural richness it gave to the world. Does it sound too far-fetched and cliche?  But we all live by each other, exist because of each other, don’t we?

In Australia, as also in all other countries, if some forlorn dilapidated building is recognized as National Heritage site, everyone tries to protect and save it. Greece and other ancient civilizations are World’s Heritage. It is in the interests of the whole world to save them. Moreover, in any case this crashing economy will influence the whole world via ripple effect.

And once saved, and having learnt harsh lessons from their previous agonizing decade, it will then be duty of Greece to be wise and sensible in future.

I was reading somewhere, that if you wish to help Greece, plan your next holiday to Greece. So what are you thinking. Pack your bags!

 

Copyright © 2015. Written by Alka Girdhar

Somebody has to Help. Links to Help Nepal !

Yesterday, another earthquake struck Nepal. Last month’s earthquake on the 25th April 2015 left more than 8000 dead. Hundreds of thousands are homeless and they need food, shelter, medicines, clothing and every other possible help.

I’ve donated via online sites. Whatever we give is like a drop in the ocean but every drop matters to those who have nothing left.

Here I have compiled some trustworthy links where you can donate online. Some of these accept Paypal, others accept as low as $5. Spend some time looking at each site and read what’s going on.

1).  Donate using Credit Card or PayPal via  World Vision:    Nepal Earthquake 

2).  Donate via UNICEF:  Help Nepal 

3).  Donate via SOS Children’s Village:  Nepal Earthquake

4).  Donate only $5 (minimum amount) via International Medical Corps: Support Nepal

5).  Donate using Credit Card or PayPal via Care International Nepal Appeal
Care International
Go to the above link and scroll down to see links for different countries – Care Australia,   Canada, India etc

6).  Donate via Credit Card or Paypal via Global Giving:   Nepal Fund

7.  Donate via Red Cross Australia:   Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal

8).  Donate via Caritas Australia:  Nepal Earthquake Appeal

9).  Groupon Australia asks for only $5 minimum. Affordable for everyone:  Groupon

Useful things to know before you donate – where and how of it.

I have no personal connection to any of these sites –  just a small step to connect large-hearted people with those who are in dire need. My fellow bloggers can share to facilitate maximum exposure to other bloggers.

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The fact remains, somebody has to help them.  Those who badly need help, can’t help themselves.
These are destructive Forces of Nature in these Himalayan regions prone to such natural disasters.

Thanks for reading !!

Image/s source: google

You always believed in me

Huh!! Now they want us to play pranks on each other.  It’s April Fool’s Day and it’s customary to celebrate it, innit?  Ready…one, two, and three…Go!!  Play a prank!!!

No I won’t.  Naah. Staying awake till midnight (in my city) only to be prompted to play pranks. Are we kids? Tomorrow if they tell us to play ‘Ringa Ringa Roses’, how in the world are all of us global writers going to do that – hopping around the whole vast planet earth?

But who am I to get annoyed?  I should be the last person to do so because, if I seriously think of it, I’ve already been playing pranks with you all, my dear readers. I have already fooled you once.  In fact have done that ever since I opened this Word Press ID of mine. You know me by a particular name. Are you sure I am who you think I am?  Why did you believe me in the first place?  I had a URL by a genuine name of a female who genuinely exists in this world and has a real face so you easily believed I am A.G.  A person who puts up her real name and real picture has to be genuine. Far from it.

The fact is, I am a very well known ‘celebrity’ – this is how you always refer to me as.  In real life I can’t step out of my house without being noticed or my kid being picturized.  Day and night I was tired of trying to be my original self, the real KK.  But nobody lets me be me. One look at my Facebook Page and you can see how the world swoons at my feet.  I soon got tired of putting up pictures that drove people to leave their important tasks and write comments on my page.  I know, people love me for all possible reasons.  And hate me sometimes.

But deep in my heart I felt a need to leave those reasons behind and hide myself from the world. And yet I wanted to be out in public in some way as I am highly addicted to public life. Therefore one day I decided to write. I am not known to be a writer, right?  I thus became a new person whom nobody suspects to be me.  I didn’t want to have a pseudo picture of a monster, a zebra or a flower as my gravatar.  A real face, a real name of an Indian lady very well suited my needs. Voila! No one ever suspected. Did ya?

Adorning a new persona gave me a new feel about myself as I slowly became what I was born to be like – a thinker, a sensitive female like any other, a normal everyday kind of person – who is not merely popular due to her bags and back-age, I mean baggage.  I left them out of this blog.

And hey! Surprisingly, you all accepted me in my new avatar.  Here on Word Press you like me for very different reasons. You like me for my meaningful words and deep thoughts. Even though the number of followers on this simple blog of mine are not even 1/1000th of the number of followers I have in other social media where I carry my real KK image, but still…who cares!!  I am happy like this. At least you all, my fellow bloggers on creative Daily Prompt, meaningful Photo Challenge/s and very friendly Haiku Challenge, are genuine.

You all are my faithful followers but you aren’t after my beauty, money or sophistication. Love it here!!  My point is, there are skinny people all around the world dying of hunger and I sincerely feel you gals and guys shouldn’t be so obsessed about the constant stream of news related to my body size and weight, my contoured nose, my personal relationships, about the ifs and butts of my life. Please please don’t ape me. Donate the money that you intend to spend on buying ridged leggings. Just because I wore them? Give these £1075 to some legless human being. (sob!).
Honestly, ever since I started writing at Word Press, my inner sensitive soul, my conscience has woken up towards the physical and emotional ailments of other flesh and bones people on this earth.

Till today I had been living with huge feelings of guilt, about hiding my true self from my dear readers for so long. This April Fool’s Day prompt brought out my truth. Hope you won’t desert me after knowing the reality.

Please promise you will stay with me and always read what my inner heart wants to write!!.  Moreover, don’t you think I too need true friends in life, like all of you here?

(sob! sob!!…sob!!!)

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My very honest response to The Daily Prompt:  Fool Me Once

It’s April 1st!  Pull a fast one — publish a post that gently pranks your readers.

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