#1. Don’t use LOL unless you mean it.

Acronyms today are part and parcel of everyone’s life. You use them on facebook, while texting, while tweeting and some even have the urge to use it in examinations. And the most overused one is LOL.  Today people use it when they bored, have nothing to say, or maybe when they just smiled in silence or at best chucked a bit. To me, LOL now just means “I have no idea what you just said, but I have got to reply” or maybe “Dude, this conversation is totally dead”. So please, stop overusing it or worse misusing it and save it to really applaud something which is the cause of much hilarity.

uWatch

safe_imagewfsdfcThe latest Bharti Axa Life Insurance Advertisement is one of the few advertisements which doesn’t give me the instant need to switch the channel.

It shows a situation where a hapless customer goes to the Insurance Office and is made to run around to get the various documents photocopied, and attested etc. After sweating it all out, he’s asked to visit again as the office closes at 5pm. With the catchy,  “Aap Yahaan Aaya Kisliye” song  playing in the background,  the ad draws instant empathy since the viewer easily identifies with it.

Bharti-AXA-LifeNext, the ad promises promptness and commitment as the agent awaits the arrival of the man at his own home. The ad is directed at reducing the skepticism with which today’s consumers look at products and promises. An extremely creative, and powerful way to convey the message across.

I would say Kudos to the Creative Team behind this!

Religion, A teacher?

I often wondered if Religion is really a teacher. Does religion really teach us hatred, or anything at all? No it doesn’t. Here’s why.

 

Quite contrary to what most people around the world think, I believe that religion is a medium to express one’s feelings or interact with a higher power, if one believes there is a higher power.

Like I said in my previous post, Religion was only created by our ancestors to give us a tool to interact with the higher power, and is just a way for Man to connect to his God.

You might ask me, if religion is a medium, what then is Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam? According to me, all these are differentiated approaches of religion created, developed and followed byMan.What we on normal terms call teachings of Religion, have been developed by man, but Religion as such is abstract, what we make of it, is what is portrayed. So religion by itself does not teach anything.

You might now ask me, what about the numerous religious texts that we have with us today like the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, and so many others. You might say that these texts form the very basis of religion that people around the world follow.

These texts were often prescribed by one among the people like Moses and Jesus. And legend has it, that these people preached those things, not to carve out a particular sect but to teach people how to live, religion or no religion, god or no god. It’s important that even an atheist is loving, and giving.

Thus these texts are not exclusive bases to religions but are a set of universal values.

To explain the working of religion better, I would like to make an analogy. Religion is like a Language. A Language is a medium for people to communicate and express what they think. It connects a person to another. Religion is that language that creates the link between man and god. It’s not the language that teaches you emotions, but the emotions you express through language.

I could use the English Language to tell person ‘A’ Hello, and tell him how much I respect him. I could also use the English Language to tell the same person ‘A’ how much I hate him, and wouldn’t like to meet him ever again. The words I speak, come from thoughts and I use the language as a mere tool to convey my message.

These same words would sound and be inherently different if spoken in another language. Similarly, the various havens, poojas, animal slaughter and other such actions have been developed by Man to express his belief in God.

Without man’s ideas religion cannot exist, so it’s really what man makes out of religion and not what religion makes out of man.

It’s only fair to assume that crime or charity happens as a result of man’s feelings in the name of religion. At this point, if you ask me, whether religion teaches hatred, I would tell you point blank that it does not.

If there is an extremist group that bombs the twin towers out there, its probably because they are psychotic neurotic and just about every other word that explains that they need psychiatric help, with the only impossible explanation being Islam.

The same soap that cleanses you can be instrumental in causing a dirty explosion. You can’t blame the soap, really, it’s just lifeless. The user however, is breathing, living and thinking. Thinking positive or thinking negative. That’s the question.

 

Why Religion?

At 17, like any other teenager, I began to question the conventions prescribed and followed by the world at large, and like every other teenager, I formed my own set of beliefs, principles and values.

Belonging to a country like India, with its varied yet rich cultures and traditions, one such area that attracted my attention was Religion. I often wondered what religion is.  And after a lot of speculation I came up with my own definition.

But before that, let me tell you Why I think we have religion.

I believe that our wise ancestors formed Religion, for two major reasons.

First being that Man could have a pillar of support and strength at all times. There are many instances in a man’s life when he feels lonely, gives up hope, and might feel the need to show his anger, distress, or jealousy. Religion plays a vital role at these troubled times. It makes Man believe that there is a super power that is watching everything, and there will be justice delivered at some point of time. It gives him hope that he can survive the troubled times, and experience the light at the end of the tunnel. Religion is not important only when there’s trouble in man’s life. At relatively happy times, the same belief that God is watching from above, gives Man the motivation to be good. And that is why, Man helps the poor, develops compassion for nature, animals, and fellow human beings too.

Secondly, Religion instills a sense of fear in man and keeps him from doing wrong which could be harmful to fellow human beings.

When a man follows this, he feels good. He feels satisfied, as if he has completed a task at hand and achieved in full. This feeling of satisfaction, provides Peace. And when a man is at peace with himself and his environment, he will not cause any harm, and instead will be instrumental in helping his fellow beings and help them find peace too.

Having this ultimate goal of Peace achieved in his life, Man can live in perfect harmony with nature, and lead the perfect life, with no qualms and worries.

In addition, Religion gives him the strength to deal with grief caused by loss of another human as Man takes it to be the working of the Higher power, that he so strongly believes in.

Hope?

“Don’t Worry, You will succeed”

“Tomorrow will be a bright day. It will bring peace, prosperity and happiness into your life”

“There is light at the other end of the tunnel”

“There is a dawn after dusk”

And the list goes on and on…

For ages now, we have been hearing these words from different people, in different situations, at different places. These very words, they say, give hope. They say, hope gives one strength to fight. They say, “Hope is the only Rope in life.”  But is it all true? Is hope a good thing?

To be very honest, I don’t know. Do you?

The dictionary defines Hope as :  Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.

It’s a belief.  The question remains though, does it do us any good?

Let me tell you, this belief is very powerful. It can do a lot of harm too. Hope can make us believe that at the end of everything, it will all be fine. It will all go back to normal, when in reality, that might be a far-fetched fantasy.

Hope can be disastrous. This is how:

The belief that there will be a bright day tomorrow, can lead us to expect. And, these expectations might not be fulfilled. If that happens, and we can’t face the disillusionment, we could go into depression. As we can all see, the result is the total opposite of what was desired.

In a nutshell, hope might be a good thing, since hoping helps people to not lose heart, to be patient enough to wait and see the result. BUT. It can also lead to ends which are dreadful and undesirable. So watch out! As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad. And hope is no exception.

Worlds Apart

Late into the night with the fifth cup of freshly brewed coffee, disarranged sheets lying all around, haphazardly searching for the right page to finish your assignment, and bam! There’s a power cut! Fear & Frustration cross your troubled mind. You curse, feeling the world to be shut out, and finally there’s a wave of resignation. You realize then that there are others like you too, facing the same situation, at the same stage. A Stage of Purposelessness.

This becomes the occasion for you to visit your front porch and sit down, staring ahead, simply because you have nothing else to do. The soft breeze caresses your face, and you realize how comforting that is, inwardly thanking your sensory nerves. The leaves rustle in the wind, and you realize the music created is soothing, you realize running your hand through your hair creates music too, in a weird way.

This brief period of time, where purposelessness becomes the only driving force to realize the tree in front of your house is huge and beautiful and its branches display intricate designs. You begin to realize the coffee smells simply amazing and has more value than you thought. It isn’t just your usual doze of caffeine to keep you awake through the night. It has a lot more to it than you imagined.

You begin to realize the sound generated when soles come in contact with the gravel differs from person to person, and you could probably identify people just by listening to the sound they create while walking if you tried hard enough, long enough.

You begin to appreciate the moon, the stars, the clouds, the dark blue shade of the sky, and the darkness which is tantalizing, brining your senses alive, making you alive. You wonder how you missed all of this, when it was always there, right under your nose. Ah! You were too busy trying to get hold of things beyond your reach. You realize you want to be there for long, with no thoughts, no worries, no qualms, no grudges…but just to enjoy the moment, to live in the real sense for that moment. You experience divinely bliss, secretly wishing it would last forever.

And then, there’s a blinding light, the whirring of everything coming back to motion. You spring up, back in action, hurriedly reaching for you papers and shut the door hard. Just too hard. The world shuts out again, just this time, it’s different. Unknowingly you promise never to revisit this world until the next power cut.

My Why.

After writing essays and articles on a zillion topics, and reading a hundred biographies and autobiographies, I never imagined that writing about myself would be the most difficult and challenging things to write on. I am the person, who believes that I know myself the best, in and out. Yet, when it came to writing, I found myself pondering over it again and again. Writing and scratching repetitively, never seeming to be fully satisfied with my start. After half an hour, of writing, scratching, and re-writing I faced a white sheet with blue ink all over, yet there was nothing. Painstakingly, after a 10 more minutes of thinking harder than ever, I finally came up with the probably most clichéd sentence ever in the history of mankind – I am Me.

I chucked it then, cursing my teacher under my breath for this assignment but inwardly, I wondered. Wondered why I couldn’t write on that day, wondered why I faced a wall with everything but nothing, wondered why I couldn’t when I knew so much about myself, when I could give full 5 minute speeches non-stop about myself to my friends. A fresh blank sheet, a full-ink pen, perfect silence, yet, I couldn’t get myself to write. WHY?

Needless to say, after a whole year of wondering, thinking and pondering the question still remains unanswered but my quest to find the answer doesn’t end here. Hopefully, I will find the right answer to this seemingly simple question one day.

However, my initial problem to write about myself, I would say has been partially solved.  Partially, because I ain’t satisfied and probably will never be but anyway, atleast I came up with something! After all, something is better than nothing.

But yeah, from this exercise I learnt something we all know but so many fail to realize its full meaning and impact it has in our lives. Identification. We all possess ID cards, we all know a lot about ourselves, but hey, how many of us have an identification in the real sense. Think, my dear reader, Think hard. What is your identification? Who are you really? And, more importantly, remember to Identify You with Yourself.

And me? Well, am going to get on with life, in other words, tread on the path of self-discovery, and hopefully, someday I will conquer my quest to find the answer to my Why.