Culture Shock

culture_shock_by_yarry-300x294

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My niece T, who is studying anthropology, said  ”We are all culturally  biased. However liberal we may think we are , there are things about other cultures which will shock us and disgust us.” Got me thinking. I considered myself fairly liberal but she is right. I don’t think I can understand cannibalization, one with consent. Consent cannibalization would not raise moral dilemmas and chaos about human rights in me but just the thought one human eating another human makes me squirm. To communities and tries where this is practiced , it would be perfectly fine.

This started a series of thoughts in me. What is culturally acceptable and what is shocking.

- Is it what the majority of the population across the globe believe for that time period which is acceptable and is the norm.

- Is the what some of the ‘leadership countries believe which is the norm.

- Behavior and activities which do not harm individuals and are not forced such as gentile mutilations, is that culturally acceptable. But then how does we culturally justify war, chemical warfare, corruption and more.

There is no answer… no right wrongs…Just differences and only differences. And I guess the differences are meant to be .. to stay, probe us, make us think and react – positively or negatively.  That’s the only piece we have control over.

- Quay.

We should be in the zoo.

Post snake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We as human beings are a greedy and unbelievable race. I sometimes get surprised and sad at us all at the same time.

We intrude, we encroach and then we kill.
Like other species and wild life… We intrude their space… we decide to set ourselves up in their natural surroundings and then we kill them because we are scared of them.
There was no need for us to kill the 2 snakes in andamas. They could have been captured and dropped somewhere else. They were a set…. living together …. we decided to set up a hut here….and have them come in. Even after knowing they are harm less…. we killed them.
We killed one completely and half killed the other. What was the point. Are we such insane crazy people. Come from the cities and don’t know how to deal and live with the natural life around.  We are not even worth it. We should be the ones in a cage instead of the creatures we see to the zoo.
We should be in a zoo with boards…And the animals should be watching us.
Here is the big fat slob…. he eats all day , watches tv and farts on the couch.
Here is the scary witch…. she yells and abuses anyone coming her way… here here…. show us how you do that…. have some nuts… come on… give us an abuse.
And next my friends… is the ‘all money’ pockets…. show him the green bills… and he would chop everything in his sight to put a fancy sky scraper up for u. He will even without losing a heartbeat kill all those come in his way… trees, creatures… all of them…sometimes .. actually … most times even humans 2.
- Quay

Black or white and the GREY in between!

asura-tale-of-the-vanquished

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was reading Asura , a semi fictional or completely fictional book talking about ramayana and the sequence of events from the perspective of Ravana. As part of  the process, I realized I was also questioning the stories we have grown up on. The larger than life image, the righteous Rama was getting questioned in my head as I read. The clear line distinguishing the Devas as the good and the Asura’s being the evil was getting blurred.

I saw myself moving in the direction of them being two different races and each living by their moral code of conduct. And the fact there was good and bad and ugly in both. They say it is the victorious who writes history and it is distorted to benefit them. Is that what happened? And it got glorified and the grey of the Devas got dissolved.

The book did two things for me:

It made me realize that literature is so powerful. What you read can change the way you think so suddenly.. It helps you form who you are. I guess that’s why we emphasis that we should read and travel. It opens your mind. At the same time, a dark thought came to me. That if one book is making me question… what would some of the hate books on various religions would be doing to the minds of people. A lot of people would be only exposed limited information and books and my god! I am scared to think how that mind functions and how bitter can be. No wonder there is so much chaos and mess in the world. Word is the most powerful weapon.

The second thing which kept going on in my head why the hell can’t we expect the grey in someone who we put on a pedestal. All of us have the good, the bad and the ugly. All are gods do. They have used unethical means to establish their rule in so many stories. Mahabharata talks about it. Why when we make people our mentors and look at public figures, not accept the grey in them and appreciate them for the good and skill they have. Why do we beat them down for the grey. Are we so hungry to get rid of the grey. Do we want to build a righteous image of someone for our own faith in mankind. Is that what happened to Rama. Why are we so harsh on the grey.

WE ARE ALL GREY! DIFFERENT SHADES !

- Quay

 

Political conflict

I as a citizen of this country am confused. On one end, when I complain about the state of affairs, I am asked do you vote? And I say – No. Then I am asked, then you have no right to complain. I agree.

But my system asks who do I vote for? I have to spend hours following or reading or researching for a better man/woman or choose lesser of the evils from all the candidates there are. Or even better vote for the candidate who will work in my interest. I don’t know. I am not interested in politics. I sit on my elite cushion and bitch about the world and our government where as I do no shit about it except my drawing conversation. Does that mean I don’t care? Or let’s say , care enough? Does that mean I have no right to complain. Some will say yes. Maybe till something profound comes and hits on my face… I will not know or answer. Only there are some many like me the educated, empowered class who complains about a corrupt government but sits on their ass. Some level, we are the one who have created this government.

Another big confusion I have is this  Modi game – people revering a man who has caused state sponspored killings and massacres. The justification we get for the same is:

- Congress has done it. The sikh riots . They need to be brought to account. Agreed. But there needs to be  a beginning from somewhere. Right?

- He is doing so much good to the state… what is past is past. Atleast , there is development and no corruption. Is that a solace for a mas murderer.

- Some say, the circumstances were such. It was needed. Hindu’s were getting harassed. There were colonies where one could not enter… not even the cops. Isn’t that a law and order failure in a state.

The problem is in such cases.. its the innocent and the women and children who get killed. The ones at fault on both ends go free any which way. What was it – to say you did it and I am now showing you I can do it too… That’s an action of a goon and not a chief minister of a state.

 

All I say is we are constantly justifying murder and killings for some reason or the other. That’s what the terrorists also do. Our judgement is based on the fact which side are we on. Are we getting hurt in the process or it is benefitting us. Is it taking care of our fears and causing fear in us. It is all a cause an effect game and we will all face the consequences for the damage we are causing in the process.

 

Most say – for get what happened, look at the good. But if we forget the past, it will re occur in the future. Some may want it to re occur. My question is – SHOULD WE FORGET OR FORGIVE WHEN THERE IS NO ACKNOWLEGEMENT OR APOLOGY OF WHATS DONE?

 

- Quay.

 

 

No ‘free’ Space

I landed at the Parassinkkadavu Snake Park which is about 16 km away from Kannur town. The place said snake farm. I was excited expecting multiple snake pits and snakes breeding freely there.

What I encountered was horrifying. There was small glass boxes with snakes in them. Each of those boxes were dirty and filthy. I don’t think there was even enough space for them to uncoil and ‘stretch’ themselves. It was a zoo…. no farm.

Snake 1 Snake 2

They had some creatures  other than snakes – procupine, monkeys and some more birds. All in captivity with very little movement  space.

This was not all. To add to the icing on the cake, we reached the crocs section.

There were mutiple crocs pits in that section. There were 2-3 big crocs in one and tiny little crocs scattered around them. New borns, would fit your palm. They must be atleast 20 of them lying around.

Baby crocs

mother croc with baby crocs

The next croc pit had 4-5 teenage crocs lying on top of each other. Very little water and no moving space.

community swimmingI want some spaceAnd so it continued. There would be crocs who would never see the light of freedom as they were born in a cage and die in the cage.

Why are they been kept like this goes over my head? Do they transfer them to other zoos? Do they release them in the wild? What do they do is a question which is not answered.

The only thing it did was leave us with a bad feeling which stayed for a long time. Each one of us were quite for a while on our journey further.

Wonder what would people think if humans were kept locked up like this. It would be called slavery and there would be protests all over the world for it but any other form of living being… no chance.

- Quay

Damage to the mountains – Khardungla pass

We  go on endlessly about leh and its raw beauty. How the mountains and landscape change every few hours and how it is (or let me put it, was) still virgin and less touristy than the other done to death hill stations.

Well, leh has become the the buzz word as the next hot tourist destinations in the country. Thanks to the access and the umpteen number of flights (including the famous makemytrip carter flights this season), leh is becoming the next honeymooners destination.

And with that comes the perils of tourism. There is nothing like ‘responsible tourism’ or ‘responsible living’ in this country. We manage the convert the prettiest of the places into a dustbin.

Some images of what is happening to the highest motorable pass in the world – KhardungLa pass.

The rest point at kardungla pass

The rest point at khardungla pass

Diesel point

Diesel point

The mess we are creating at kardungla pass

The mess we are creating at khardungla pass

and more .... dump.

and more .... dump.

From a distance it looks white and serene. Only when we go closer, we see the muck we have created. True in most scenarios in life. If only we were more ‘aware travellers’.

Cat in the city!

When there is a will, there is a way.

In the midst of concrete structures and water tanks, wildlife enjoying the sun on a tuesday afternoon!

Chilling out!!

Chilling out!!

-Que

Does it have to be ‘either or’!

Greed

Greed

We keep blaming development for the damage to the environment. And as we cannot stop development, we are working towards destroying healthy living and everything else which is good about our planet.

Is it really true that development is the cause or it is the excuse and reason and there is a greater evil sitting somewhere.

Can buildings not be erected with keeping the eco-profile of the place in mind?

We have created space crafts and landed them on the moon. Can we not provide better hybrid or modes of transportation which are more environment friendly and for the masses?

It is slightly hard to believe that we cannot progress hand in hand with mother nature.

But for the HUMAN GREED.

The greed to make more profit, more money, unethically. The greed leading to cutting of trees and using every single square inch to build concrete jungles for human lifestyle and add more to their pocket. The greed where time means money and why waste time on planning and thinking ahead of how our actions would have a reaction.

The greed says ‘let me make the most, I would not have to suffer. It’s not my problem’.

Thats the cause of the mess we are in, not development. Development is the tool in the hand of greed!!

-Que

Everybody is talking about TED

There is such a buzz around the upcoming TED conference happening in Mysore this year.

There are people coming from all over the world. There are posting on various speakers and talks on facebook, on my alumni network, etc etc.

From all looks of it, I can say it would be very very exciting.

Below is a little clipping of David Gallo on the underwater creatures. Some of the creatures are beyond comprehension, some versions of the same can be seem in the ‘pirates of the caribbean’ or ‘the lord of the rings’.

Enjoy,

- Que.