I realized I am a Racist!

racist glasses

I write this post with trepidation as I confess to the fact I realized quite recently; that I may perhaps be a racist. I may sound flippant or a trifle impetuous in the manner in which I share this.

But the very nature by which this thought surfaced recently during one of the many nonsensical conversations that keep us entertained at times; was as shocking as the topic itself. I feel a sense of shame not by this realization itself. The very fact that racism still casts a definitive dark shadow in our minds even if not as prevalent.

Let me deal with the white elephant in the room. So going back to the innocent conversation, I realized I do not enjoy drinks that are dark or brown – Whiskey, Brandy, Rum, Coca Cola, Pepsi and such. But I like my colorless or white drinks – Vodka, Gin, White Wine, Sprite, 7-up.

Now this rare insight led to an unintended introspection – Am I subconsciously racist? Do I tend to avoid the beverages of color due to their taste or lack thereof or is there a more sinister reason? Am I being constantly exposed to excesses of xenophobia in the media? Or have we made this topic so sensitive, that even thinking about coloring agents could evoke a sense of guilt?

As you might have figured out by now, that I seem to have lot of time on my hands to introspect and come up with the “beverage color test for racism”. But then the final hours of a weekend accompanied by the spirits of the fairer variety do tend to bring out some profound moments of illumination. So here I was thinking – without any conclusion – about my obvious bias towards the white spirits. Finally, the Vino Blanc made my thoughts go blank and unsatisfied with my self-inquiry I decided to form them into words.

So here I am: confessing this shameful realization that needs further inquiry. Inquire I will as I have my next glass of wine and with courage – I may sip the darker red variety; a small step towards overcoming my prejudice of color.

Side note:
Derelict traditions, irrational superstitions and cumbersome customs have progressively given way to scientific inquests. Even the most rigid religions & patrons of faith have shown some form of malleability if not acceptance, of comportment most abhorred in the earlier days. But for some reason, even today racism holds an unwanted relevance in our lives. One of the many things that makes nature more beautiful, is its wide assortment of colors and hues. The most boring species on the planet are the humans with only a few colors to boast of – and we have issues with those too! I hope we humans are some day ‘color blind’ and embrace humans for the beauty we are.

P.S. I have always loved dark chocolate (80% cocoa or more) and it may be my soul food to recovery. I will accept it as my bitter medicine; so feel free to send them over.

‘When you write, just write. Thinking comes later.’

Thinking to writeI heard this one in ‘Finding Forrester‘ (2000)’ when William Forrester (Sean Connery) tells his protégé – Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) to write and not waste time thinking. William Forrester is a writer who writes one book that becomes a phenomenon. The debut book becomes widely popular with the author receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike. But for some reason he stops writing and becomes a myth.
Jamal has a talent in writing and starts looking up at Forrester as a mentor. On one occasion Jamal finds himself not able to write a word. Forrester sees this and asks him to start typing. Jamal says he can’t think of anything to type. That is when Forrester goes on to demonstrate on his typewriter. Forrester says, “When you write, just write, Thinking comes later”.

This statement did make a lot of sense to me since this ideology has helped me write better especially when I am stuck (which is the case most of the times). At times you too might feel stuck, when you start working on some post or article. I have come to realize from experience that when you get into the rhythm of writing words starts to flow automatically. I used to face the dilemma of not knowing how to start a topic, even after I have figured out a topic to start writing on. But when I applied this simple formula of JUST WRITING and not THINKING, it worked.

Today I just start typing and create a first draft. The first draft is the skeleton. Your ideas take form in the first draft. You might feel that the first draft is pathetic. But that is why you call it the first draft. The skeleton was never supposed to look beautiful, unless you were some Cannibalistic tribe from the Amazon and liked to use them as ornament. Once you have the skeleton, you can then decide on the flesh. Give it a form, shape and some aesthetic value.

I hope all those budding writers who are still ‘Thinking‘ about how to start, should give ‘Writing’ a chance and then see the results. Best of luck my friends, HAPPY WRITING!

…and no Malayalees dead.

patriotic I always used to laugh whenever I listened to the Malayalam news channels. I agree that most of these channels have their audience out of Kerala especially in the Middle-east and rest of India and so the channels are more of a bridge that tries to connect the distance and bring the expats closer to home and vice-versa.

So what was the funny part in the news? Well this is a typical news broadcast:
“Today a massive bomb blast tore the city of Jeddah….early reports suggest it was a suicide bomber. No terrorist organization has come forward to claim the act. 54 people died in the blast. No one among them was a Malayalee!”

Well that is where used to start laughing. I mean I used to wonder, if they were upset that not a single Malayalee (native of Kerala) died in spite of their huge nomadic numbers. I mean was it an indication that 1 in every 5 middle easterners was a Malayalee and yet they escaped or were they trying to reassure that no one that mattered died?

Of course it matters when a human dies, but then who cares. If he is not from our place then he isn’t human enough.

It is so sad that even in times of calamities, we cannot rise above petty issues of race, class, religion or citizenship, but never as humans. Another story reminds me of this is unfortunate habit of ours:

When the tsunami struck the South of India many coastal villages were hit. I overheard this person mentioning proudly about the incident at the famous St. Mary’s Church in Chennai. It seems that the morning mass for Malayalees had just got in after the previous mass for Tamilians (native of Tamil Nadu). So all these tamilians were leaving the church after the mass when they were tragically struck by the tsunami wave (tsunamis generally don’t seem to care what part of the world you belong to). Hundreds of devotees perished. And this insane man was talking about how god saved the malayalees and perhaps punished the tamilians who might have been sinners.

I have nothing against the Malayalees being one myself, but I am picking on them because of my close proximity to the community and the things that I hear. I am sure that this is the case with other communities and race and religion everywhere. I am sure CNN will also always mention that: “The Taliban kidnapped 9 civilians yesterday evening as they were returning from their work. They have been held hostage with no demands made yet. Our sources confirm that no Americans are being held captive”…..and America and rest of the Islamic world will let out a collective sigh. (Though I am not sure on the current government in America feeling too happy about that because it will be opportunity missed t bomb the s**t out of the country).

We always seem to need a reason to feel patriotic. Like the Independence Day or Republic day or some movie. If we don’t find anything then we start looking for people…people who make us proud to be Indians. I mean why is it necessary to have a reason to feel patriotic. Why do you have to search for someone or something to feel proud of when patriotism is a private emotion?

I call this syndrome – ‘convenient patriotism’ which means we are patriotic only if it is convenient for us. When M.F. Hussain paints a picture that sells for millions of dollars, then he is all of a sudden the pride of India, the artist son of India and so on. Salman Rushdie gets a Booker or a Pulitzer Prize and suddenly his Indianess is published though the man must have not seen Indian soil for ages. Same was the case when Kalpana Chawla or when some candidate in the US elections becomes the senator, we start digging up their Indian ancestry and their origins. If we have to we will go back to the Ice age to dig up their origins that prove them to have some Indian connection.

And the moment these artists or cricketers or any such symbols of patriotism messes up in their respective fields, then they are traitors. Like the poor-rich M.F.Hussain who is at one time a proud painter son of India who made Indians proud by painting pictures of Madhuri Dixit besides the ones that got him millions, and in another instance when he painted naked Hindu gods he became a tyrant and traitor of Indianess. I am sure he didn’t bargain for either of the coveted statuses.

Just because you paint your face with the tricolor in cricket matches and let out a bellowing war-cry, don’t make you patriotic but just another crazy fan of the Indian cricket team. Just because somebody went to space after getting themselves trained under a foreign space program, for a foreign space program doesn’t make them a patriotic Indian. Just because you buy a few flags and sing patriotic songs composed and sung more than 50 years ago every Independence Day, does not make you patriotic.

I feel ‘Patriotism’ is about loving your country as your home. It’s about doing what you would do to make your home comfortable, clean and protected. Be it a simple gesture of not spitting in public places or taking that public transport the next time you travel or switching off that light as you move out of the room. We keep complaining about the corrupt governments or the filth in the system and yet vote for the same corrupt politicians and are the first to bribe our way out of a tight spot.

This is why I said patriotism is not something you have to wear on your sleeve but more in your heart. It’s more of a personal emotion. So how will I be celebrating this year? Of course, by renting some movies like the Independence Day or Rang-De-Basanti and buying some flags for my office after I watch the parade at Delhi on TV. Well…Happy Independence Day!

I don’t DATE coz I am bad with numbers!!!

Yes, I hate dates…I detest them. I cannot stand the idea of dates…because dates are made of numbers and yes I confess…for the first time I confess…I am Arithmophobic or Numerophobic….well not exactly to the full extent of its defination but I am sure I lie somewhere real close.

Since my early childhood, I detested numbers. The story goes way back to when I was in 1st standard (grade). I am not sure if my deluded memory betrays me but I am sure I successfully hosted the singular Chicken pox fun-fair on me that year. So successful was it that I missed school for quite some time. So after my solar-heated neem water bath, I went to school to realize that my maths teacher had taken a surprisingly, highly enthusiastic interest in completing the key areas of the increasingly ‘i-hate-you’ subject.

Since I was left out of the conspiracy of my class to talk in numbers, I decided to protest by not wasting pages of my homework book with the dreadful numbers. Finally, my novel protest registered with my teachers and as sadistic that they are, conveniently informed my hot-tempered dad. At home, my dad ensured that I get the right dosage of thrashings which did nothing but engraved the nuisance of numbers in my formative brain. I started hating numbers with the devotion only a true number-hater can. I also started hating the medium of numbers – maths teachers, maths books, log books, calenders and even watches with numbers in the dial.

My maths teachers also diligently reciprocated the feelings I had for them. I took it upon me to be the vigilante fighting the evil of numbers. Not that I walk around in a cape or with a gun to shoot down maths professors, but I am extra careful to walk away from them with a knowledgeable smile. A smile is the greatest weapon in literary circles since it gives you a smug appearance of the the all-knowing ‘buddha’. And people avoid you like the plague lest you make them look stupid with your ‘buddha-power’. But the smile and ‘buddha-power’ is a different story.

By the way I realized that there is professional help available to deal with arithmophobia not that I am going to try it yet. I think I enjoy hating numbers…it makes me feel so free. No need to remember birthdays or anniversaries or dates or times or anything numeric…coz there is always an excuse…I am bad with numbers!!!

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