Saturday, 27 December 2014

Speaking Truth always is the easiest way to a better life

This post has been exclusively written for Coca Cola's Kinley Mineral Water, in association with IndiBlogger.

The first lesson we all learn in schools is, "Honesty is the best policy", and truth, perhaps, is the foundation of this policy. We are advised from day one to speak truth, truth and only truth, and yet, we do not (or can not?) follow this policy all the time. Mahatma Gandhi is once known to have said that we must follow the situation truth. For example, if a set of thieves ask you where the treasure is, better guide them in the wrong direction.

My experiments (or encounters?) with truth have been many. Oftentimes, when things are not in our favor, speaking truth seems to only add more trouble in the moment, but in the long run, it will be of great help. It is always a good policy to accept mistakes, be humble and speak the facts. After all, the facts can't be hidden for a long time. In the end, everything comes out in the open.

I was the goalie for the school football team and we were preparing for the inter school matches. I was made the goalkeeper in the last moment as the person who was set to be the goalie faced some serious injuries. So, we had this final practice match with a local football team, and were under tremendous pressure to win it. It was a prestige issue for the school, and all the dignitaries were present on this occasion. We wanted to show that we are right team to go to the inter school matches.

The match went on well in the first half. The local team was a very strong one. They had spent 3-4 years playing football and some players had played state level matches as well. We were at 1-1 after the first half. They had scored the first goal in the first minute and our moral was down. We scored our goal, partially by luck, as a result of a penalty kick.

In the second half, both the teams had become very aggressive. We scored a goal and took the lead, 2-1. There were some attacks on our goalpost. In an instance, the ball was kicked towards me and I caught it. However, I fell down very close to the goal post boundary. The opposition claimed that I was inside the goalpost when I took the ball and we claimed that I was outside. I was in a dilemma. I felt (or knew?) that I had taken the ball inside the line, and thus it should be a goal in their favor. The issue went on for quite some time and the umpire put the ball in my court. We had no time to lose, and I took advantage of this moment and declared that I took it clean. So, we ended up winning the match. While everyone celebrated, I kept a pale face and really did not enjoy the moment. The guilt had hit me.

It took time to get rid of this guilt. It also affected my confidence and stability to some extent. Finally, in the inter school matches, we faced similar situations, where umpire decisions went against us, and it was like, a tit for tat. In the end, we said, "Everything is fair in love and war", and the scoreboard is the truth, as far as the sport is concerned. When I saw scoreboard in our favor in the finals, I was thrilled. We all were. That was the moment, we had won, not just the match, but much more.

They say, "You can't change the truth, but it can change you".


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Say NO to Pre-Marital Sex, Patience Pays in Multiples

This blog post has been exclusively penned for IndiBlogger's "Yes or No to Pre-Marital Sex" contest. Check Poonaam Uppal's True Love - A Mystical True Love Story on Flipkart.

Historically, the world has been a strict and disciplined place. Over time, a large number of relaxations have been coming in and the world is a more liberal place now. Democracy has put an end to autocracy and dictatorship. We have seen a great change in way we life, the quality of life, the thoughts, etc. From a time when women were asked to be within the four walls with their bodies covered fully with clothes, we have reached world that accepts them uncover into a 2-piece on a beach. Some call it freedom, some call it by some other name. Marriages were meant to last all life, or rather, 7 janams (lives) and today, perhaps, we have started the 8th janam and thus relationships are a means to achieve goals, financial ones on a growth now. Many things that were considered wrong or illegal in the past are painted as art today, and people enjoy them in the name of freedom. Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Life should mix things in the right proportion for it to be a fulfilling experience. Too much or too less of anything is a negative.

It all starts with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, goes to Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, further to Mohabbatein, gets into a bit of Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, then if all goes well until Mujhse Shaadi Karoge, and reaches a Shaadi Mubarak!. Unfortunately, these people are made to feel Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya, with stories of Khwaaish, Jism, LSD, taking over their thoughts. There are enough people promoting promiscuous content, which gives immediate fame (though negative) to them. Pre Marital Sex (PMS) is a development from these thoughts over a period of time. I am against PMS, at least at the moment, and strongly believe that one must wait till marriage to enjoy the bliss of sex. Its not about moral, ethics, religion, virginity or anything. Its just that the sun rises, flowers blossom, fruits ripen at a particular time, and they are best enjoyed then. While we can debate on several points, I have tried to highlight such points that I think are more important in the longer run of life.
Genital sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communion. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not primarily a sexual encounter. Intimacy, in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs.
- Alice Fryling

Sex follows marriage.

It is a known fact that people start having sex after marriage, and not before. However, with the so called modern society, things are a bit different. People tend to get married at a later age than usual. In the meantime, the physical desires keep increasing. Thus, they decide to indulge in PMS. Most of them know this is wrong (at least they know that it is claimed to be wrong) but they go ahead and do it. First, they try their best to hide it. However, if they are caught, they try to approve of it in order to avoid a lifetime's shame. There is all probability that these people find great difficulties adjusting to married life, unless they get married to someone who also has committed the same act.

Sex and Marriage are 2 different things. Really?

Source: http://flickr.com
In the next level of arguments, we have people who claim that sex and marriage are completely different. In the olden times, people would search for social and financial security through marriages. So, you go and find these things. Today, people are also searching for sexual outcomes, and so, you get to try the other person and decide. I am appalled when I hear such reasoning, despite there being enough evidence that forced (mostly because one person questions the other person on the basis of love), premarital lovemaking leads to mental depression and dilemma. The Supreme Court of India has held in its judgement that PMS is not a crime but it is considered equal to marriage. Thus, PMS isn't a substitute. The proponents of this idea are often those who see sex as just another activity in life. If so, why do the same people do not approve of their spouses committing adultery. Its just another physical activity, after all. Most arguments in favor of PMS become null and void when they are applied to post marriage sex with a different individual (other than the spouse). Sex with multiple partners isn't an adventure. I believe these aren't withing the scope of PMS. I mean, if you don't intend to get married, you aren't having a PMS, you're just having sex.



Sex with a partner is alright. No.

No relationship gives us the right to sex. People often interpret marriage as a license to sex. This is extremely weird. Marriage is a sacred institution that brings 2 people together under a vow to live a better life. Sex is just one one part of life. Today's world has made the significance of sex go out of proportion, thanks to the Bollywood and Hollywood. All the movies have to show a sex scene and unfortunately, movies aren't about husbands and wives. So, they end up showing partners making out. It all looks rosy because movies have a happy ending. The script is written that way. Unfortunately, life doesn't give us that freedom. Apart from all the risks that PMS poses, including pregnancy, the 2volume of stress and issues it can create, if one thing goes wrong, are enormous. There are books, stories and movies on what happens to people if they do not get to live with the partner who they have courted with. On reading/watching these, all the propositions around sex being a stress buster get beaten, hands down.

Youngsters are misled.

Source: http://zcache.com
The media that youngsters watch/listen often portrays things in a way that people decide to adopt to their concept. Often, these people themselves are confused about their own thoughts. Unless Durex says PMS is good, they can't increase their condom sales. Deodorants don't get men to bed. Lingerie doesn't necessarily lead to one night stands. Things are portrayed in a very ugly and awkward fashion these days. The other day, I was watching a video, 'My advice to 15 year old'. It turned out to be a big disappointment. The video asks the 15 year old children to ignore studies, spend time in doing other things, and experiment with sex. How cheap an advice could be? Don't these people understand that most 15 year old kids don't even have their organ developed fully yet. Pursuing passions for life is great, but ignoring the basics like education is fatal. In the name of passion, a lot of wrong communication reaches the younger lot, like Bill Gates dropped out, Zuck dropped out, etc. A set of people who have been wrong themselves, try to promote their wrongs by asking the world to do the same wrongs, so that it becomes a standard and then, gets accepted in the society. Young people must watch out and understand whether opinions expressed in news and newspapers are public opinion or the opinions of the individuals. Most news articles come with news on topics like PMS and to support, they include comments from people who are pro-PMS, thus giving an image that the world is pro-PMS. It could be with any topic. Sex sells, and marketers know it the best.

Source: http://ippf.org
Ethics.

The lesser I speak, the better. I don't believe in moral lectures. I am sure that those who are in support of PMS are mature enough to understand things. So, I'd just ask them to place a hand on their heart and ask themselves, "Am I really right? Would I approve of PMS if my spouse or parents (had) or children indulge in it?".

Sex and Rape.

A lot of people interpret things related to these in a totally different ways. Some call it cultural issue, some social, some mental, some physical, and some even think that rapes just happen by mistake. Unfortunately, we also have people who think that boys will be boys and they will rape. Does such a comment represent the entire male community? How many people are such people representing? What happens to initiatives like MARD? It is a proven fact that people try to replicate what is done in movies. When Kareena Kapoors dance to songs like "main toh tandoori murgi hoon yaar, pachkale mujhe alcohol se", what is the message she is sending? The women's groups never agitate against things like this, calling it freedom of expression. Why don't they understand that women are being commodity-sed by women themselves? It is a confused world, and there are people taking disadvantage of these confusions.

Is PMS a new form of rape, rape with consent?

As long as things go the jolly Bollywood style, all is well. However, shockingly, according to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by a known person, a staggering 98%. Of these, it is obvious that a large number were PMS with consent, and then because one of the partners decides against the relationship post-PMS, it is called a rape. Tragic, isn't it? Worse enough, if the partner again decided to get back in the relationship, the rape is redefined as PMS. According to the HT-MaRS Youth Survey, an over 61% of today's believe that premarital sex is no longer a taboo, thanks to the influenced illusions around them. However, when it comes to marriage, over 63% want their partners to be virgins. These are the same people who proclaim that virginity is a thing of the past. Double standards?

Rise in love, take time to grow your relationship, focus on the long run, live life.

Source: http://mattersindia.com
It is thus evident that PMS does no good to anyone. It is like risking a jump from a 10 floor building, assuming we'll get Spiderman's web or batman's wings on the way. While Batman & Spiderman do win, as they are scripted to, the blind jumpers suffer consequences. Not everyone's life can be like Chetan and Anusha of 2 States. Don't be guided on the things that someone isn't trying to guide you on. Don't be motivated by consequences as your situation is always different from others and thus, will see different consequences. For all the points mentioned above and for many other regular reasons that we keep hearing day in and day out, I appeal to the young generation to abstain from the disillusions and traps laid to monetize you. Live by the basic values and principles of life. It is age old quote, which we all know and yet, don't follow, "You always have 2 choices. One is a little wrong, but will give you immediate success and happiness. The other one is a little tough, but will take you on the right path. Success may come or may not, but you will always be happy for taking the right path". Use the time that you get before marriage to focus on education, work and career, instead of focusing on PMS. Sex is an insignificant element in building a long term relationship value. What matters the most in life is how happily you live with your life partner, and that needs endless love from the heart. Each moment you spend waiting teaches you the art of controlling your life, and doubtlessly, each of these moments are adding up for a great sex life for you both in the future.

Let's not take relationships on the commercial path, try to look for benefits, or to find what will I get from this. True love has no means, nor ends.

Let love be the reason, lifelong friendship be the gift, kindness is the cause and till death do us apart be the length. Lets vow a Happy Married Life, and give it all that it takes!
It is the holiest institution of human relationships mankind is aware of...

AND IT MUST REMAIN SO


Source: http://shankerraomarriagelinks.com


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Get the best out of a vacation #TeddyTravelogues

This blog post has been exclusively written for Club Mahindra's contest on IndiBlogger. Visit http://www.clubmahindra.com/teddytravelogues/ to plan your vacation.

Vacations were the most awaited days of my life when I was a kid. Unsurprisingly, even today. After all, who doesn't like some break from the routine? I studied in a residential school, where sporting activities, adventure events, games, etc. were a part of the routine. So, for me, vacation was more about spending time with parents, other friends and relatives. It would also involve some travel.

If I get an opportunity to take some kids on vacation, I would take them through different experiences. Overall development of children happens when they are exposed to different fields and get to learn more about life. I would encourage them to use this time to focus on their hobbies. Drawing, painting, stamp collection, poem writing, etc, make a child creative. Physical activities would be another area of focus. Kids love to play. I would encourage them to go out and play rather than sit with the TV or computer games. Learning music, dance, swimming, among others, adds significantly to their personality.

Kids love to spend time with elder people as they get pampered. Planning a small trip or a few days at their native places, more of it is a village, will be a great experience. The green fields, cattle, fresh milk and food, clean environment, peace and tranquility is bound to create a meaningful experience and awaken their souls to beauty of the nature.

No vacation is complete without a visit to a theme park or a nice hangout place. It could be the Essel world, Wonder la, Ramoji Film City, Innovative Film City, etc. Places like these make kids very excited and happy. In the hindsight, they also see how these wonderful places have been built. They are inspired.

A visit to a religious place and a places of historical importance will definitely be on my list. I feel that these have a great impact on the children in the long run. Kids do a lot of interesting things at temples. They learn that there is always someone who they can look up to for help, support and solutions. Spirituality makes a person humble as people get to know that they are not the ultimatum in the world. Historical places add great value to learning. Moreover, these places are also covered in their classes and visiting them in person is a great experience.

Another important task I would plan in a vacation is nothing. Yes, nothing. Being able to do nothing is a task in itself as life demands everyone to do something all through the day. I would encourage them to take a full time break from everything, spend some time lazing around, keep the mind blank, relax fully, and only do such things that they love to do from the core of their hearts. It could be anything including eating, sleeping, watching TV, singing, playing or whatever. Being able to spend time the way one wants is a great booster to life. It helps to rejuvenate and get ready for life after vacation with great zeal and energy.

The winter and summer breaks also come with festivals and kids love to celebrate festivals. So, it is important to ensure that we celebrate them along with the kids. We must take time off and celebrate joyfully.

Thus, I would balance the vacation time in a way that the kids get to do what they want as well as they do what they are supposed to do. With these few initiatives, I feel that kids will be able to make the best out of their holidays.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

#RiseAboveFear Thoughtfully, Don't take that blind jump in the pool

This blog post has been exclusively written for IndiBlogger's Rise above fear! contest in association with Mountain Dew.

In 1997, I joined Sainik School, Bijapur to continue my education. It was an all new life and I was slowly adapting to it. A lot of adventure awaited me and I was all excited. We had many of these athletic events, sports competitions, races, etc. When our house master came in to our barracks to select the team for the swimming competition, he said, "Whoever knows swimming, take your swimming trunks and come with me to swimming pool. And those of you who don't know, enroll your names for the classes."

Now, I was in a dilemma. Did I know swimming or did I not? I was a 10 year old kid then and had no idea about swimming. Those TV visuals of people beating their hand and legs in water appeared in my mind. I also remembered of those couple of occasions when I had been to a swimming pool, all to play in the baby pool. So, I decided to take my swimming trunk and follow the house master.

We were about 20 of us and there were 5 lanes. The first 5 took a jump into the pool, which was about 25 meters long. The depth of on one side was 12 feet and the other was 4 feet. The 5 reached the other side of the pool, and their timings were recorded. The next 5 were asked to get ready, and I was given the lane in the mid of the pool. I took my position, and soon, the whistle was blown. With a tiger's dare, I jumped into the pool. In seconds, I was gone, deep down in the pool, absolutely unaware of what was happening. A huge volume of water went in my stomach and I lost my breath. I struggled to beat my hands and legs to seek help. In moments, our PT (physical training) instructor Sanjeev sir dived to rescue me. He took me out, and in all terms, saved my life.

For the next 5 years, I did all that I could to escape swimming and stayed away from water. I would participate in all other activities that would exempt me from swimming, so that I am occupied in those time slots. I even skipped the mandatory swimming tests in some or the other way. However, in Class XII, there was no escape. The swimming test was a mandatory requirement before passing out from the school.

I was terrified. It was then that I thought what I holding me back. It was one unplanned wrong risk that I took long ago out of my thoughtlessness. It was a bit awkward for me to note that all my friends were able to swim now and I was afraid to even go near the pool. I decided, to dare. I challenged myself to learn swimming in the next 3 months and clear the test. It was, after all, a question of dignity, when I saw my juniors swimming through fluidly.

I went to the swimming pool and requested the instructor to train me. The training started. I still remember how afraid I was when I was entering the pool. It took a lot of guts to get in. After basic training, a rope was tied around me, and I was asked to jump in the pool. Despite those training sessions and gaining confidence by learning those basic moves by holding the edges, I trembled. I was practically pushed in to the pool and I just gave up. I was pulled towards the edge. It was easy due to the rope. I was asked to leave the pool, and take "fail" for an answer.

As I walked out, something in me kept telling me that I would regret this moment all my life. Fear is temporary. Regret is permanent. I went back and requested for one last chance. I closed my eyes, put all my trust in the God and the coach, and dived in the pool. It was horrible. The rope was a savior. My kept instructing me on how I should move my hands, legs and balance my body. I was able to manage myself for some time and reached the other side of the pool. I was covering the width of 10 meters in shallow water. This completion was a great confidence boost to me.

There is always victory after you have dared and given your best. That's perhaps why Mountain Dew's "Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai" is such a catchy phrase. In a week, I was able to learn the basic free style swimming and was able to do that 10 meters without any support. In the coming days, I did the full 25 meters and I felt this was a real big accomplishment for me, as I had dodged this for year. In the end, it was not just swimming that I learnt, but also the fact that we ought to rise above our fears to make things happen. Its always better to try, than to think you can't.