Kam Fats of this world

Synopsis : There are people you meet for the first time and find them very friendly and sincere if you just say hello. But most people do not take the first step so can not find them and think that people are unfriendly. In this blog I discuss this issue and encourage people to open up and extend a hand in friendship.

Kam Fats of this world

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Source : Google photo

Once I was in Sheung Shui which is the last but one station near the Chinese border from Hong Kong where I met with a taxi driver who said his name was Kam Fat. Now I am still not sure if that was his real name or they called him so because he was a bit fat but he was a friendly sort of guy who said that he can bring me to the border to see what we can see. So I went with him while he talked a mile a minute and wanted to know all about me.

So I told him that I was on my way to the United States where I was to go to college in California etc. I had no scholarship so I was on my own which must have impressed him a lot so first he found me a cheap place to stay in that was good and clean and then he invited me to his house for a dinner.

There is an abominable place like a swamp with foul odor coming out of it where Kam Fat lived in a shanty built on stilts so we walked gingerly on narrow planks that led to his house where he introduced me to his family and children who all welcomed me and invited me to join them in a simple but delicious Chinese meal. I still remember their hospitality because taxi drivers who are so nice to an unknown person are very hard to find anywhere so I was amazed.

I don’t remember what we talked about but they gave me a beautiful ceramic eagle as a parting gift. The next day Kam Fat showed up again to see if I needed him and promptly brought me to a dentist when I said that I needed one. This wonderful fellow fixed me up a nice tooth that fitted with a clip for only 5 dollars.

Kam Fat then brought me to an Indian doctor who happened to be a Bengali gentleman married to a Chinese lady who was very surprised to see me. Hardly any Indian ever goes to Sheung Shui let alone a Bengali so he immediately invited me to have lunch at his place and later showed me around in his car to visit Sha Tin where he had another clinic. I have very pleasant memories of such nice people I have met in my life in many countries reinforcing my belief in the goodness of the humanity no matter how many bad people we meet.

If you have traveled as much as I have then you get to meet all sorts of people some bad and some good like Kam Fat. You tend to forget the bad ones but remember the good people who made an impression on you. One gentleman offered to carry my heavy suitcase to my hotel in Hong Kong out of pure goodwill so I was quite embarrassed.

These days all we hear and see in the news is trash talking politicians who openly encourage hate and racism so some people take their cue and behave accordingly. You will see this upon arrival at any US airport where the impolite immigration people will give you a dirty look if you happen to be a foreigner with dark skin or wearing turban.

You will see this in policemen who will stop you and roughly ask for your ID while keeping a hand on their holster. You will see this in a passing motorist who shouts insults at you just because you don’t look like them. It even filters down to the children who take their cue from the parents. It makes you wonder at the dark side of the human nature and appreciate more the Kam Fats of this world.

Once I was in Messina in Italy where I wandered into a camp ground not knowing that it was where only the Italians went. The camp was full of tents and lots of children of all ages were playing there. At first they did not know what to make of me because they had never met an Indian up so close but they swarmed around me asking all sorts of questions. I did not know their language so could only say “non parlare Italiano” until a teenage girl said that she spoke some English. I then had an idea. I gathered all the kids and asked them to join our hands to make a circle. I then asked them to sit down on the ground.

They were excited and waited eagerly to know what to do next. So I explained to the girl that it was a simple game where I will drop a hand kerchief behind one kid who will not suspect it and come around to find that kid still unaware so I will pick up the hand kerchief and hit him with it to tell him that he is out of the game. If the kid found the handkerchief then I was out and he continued the game.

They learned the game quickly and had a great time playing this new game because the girl explained to them in rapid fire Italian.

After playing a while I then sat down in an easy chair under a tree to rest but the kids would not leave me alone. They brought all kinds of food from their tents and started feeding me. Someone would put some grapes in my mouth while others put some cheese. They could not do enough for me while their mothers and grandmothers looked on smiling indolently at me. One old lady asked me to take off my shirt and lovingly fixed some buttons that she saw missing. I could not believe in so much love to a complete stranger in a foreign country.

When it was time for me to say goodbye, the kids shed tears and pleaded with me to stay on and play some more with them and teach them new things but I had to move on. I still remember their tearful beautiful faces after so many years.

I love the innocence of children but also know that this innocence depends upon the environment they grow up in. They tend to lose it quickly in a violent situation like war and famine where nothing is normal anymore or in a situation where parental care and supervision is missing or inadequate like in Algeria.

But first let me take you to Vietnam where a terrible war was being fought in 1967 with no end in sight. You cannot imagine the havoc it caused in the family life and caused so much death and destruction everywhere but I have seen it and felt keenly their agony. The kids lost their innocence during the war and played with toy guns and grenades as if that was the normal thing to do. Some would come up to me in the streets of Saigon and press dirty photos into my hands for some money. One kid opened the hatch of our car and ran away with a duffel bag in the blink of an eye.

Teen age girls openly sold themselves. Young kids climbed on the back of American trucks carrying PX goods and pushed the cartons off the truck like monkeys while the driver was totally unaware of what was going on. These kids were not innocent and were cunning beyond their age. The war brought a collapse in morality and the traditional values.

Then let us go to Algeria in 1972 where there was no war and the whole country was peaceful but where I made the mistake of thinking that kids were so cute and innocent. They were anything but innocent. They were like little devils in curly hair and angelic faces. Their mothers shooed them out in the morning to do their household chores in peace and gossip with their neighbors so these kids did all kinds of mischief to occupy themselves.

When I played with them thinking that they were kids after all, the word spread fast and more and more kids started to appear. When their sheer number overwhelmed me, I had to stop but they insisted that I play with them and got angry when I would not.

In Italy the kids grow up in a loving environment and are pampered by the parents and the grandparents who shower them with attention but in Algeria this was not the case so the kids craved for attention and love. When they found it, they were not about to let it go so became vengeful and put sand on my motorbike engine, tried to break the mirrors and slash tires. I was quite amazed at their destructiveness.

So the sweetness and innocence in kids depends upon the environment they grow up in. If the kid experiences domestic violence common in many societies or lives in a community where drugs, violence and death are common then it has the effect of taking away the innocence quickly.

I have written elsewhere that the kids are like sponge. They absorb good as well as the bad things they observe specially the language and act accordingly when there is no loving parental supervision.

Ten year old children are now forced to carry automatic weapons and asked to kill people by the jihadists and other such groups so they turn into real monsters at a very young age. Girls as young as 13 or 14 are forced to sell themselves just so that they can earn a small sum to feed their orphan siblings. No one cares for them and no one helps them so they do what they can just to survive.

As long as people can remember, there has always been war, famine and pestilence brought about by people who still insist on forcing their will on the people in the name of ideology or mistaken beliefs so people suffer. The UN now says there are more than 80 million people who have been forcibly displaced due to war in various parts of the world with no end in sight.

There is a movie made called The kite runner which shows how children used to fly their kites in Afghanistan until the hard-core jihadists came to power and turned that country to ashes. Dancing, singing, playing, kite flying and all the normal things in life that you and I enjoy in our own countries were banned so deprived people of their simple joys in life in the name of a mistaken belief. It is a country rife with drug addiction, domestic abuse of women, depression and suicide where people see no future.

When the war ends someday, people may have the opportunity to go back to piece together a normal life so that their children can fly kites again. I have seen this in Vietnam that is now growing and prospering where children play in the beautiful parks instead of selling dirty photos but they paid a very high price to have peace.

We as humans have been killing each other since a very long time and still do but this world of ours is truly a beautiful planet where the nature is generous and can feed everyone given half the chance. If you travel, you will see how beautiful some countries are that are so green and rich in resources where people live in prosperity and peace, where people are kind to strangers and offer any assistance they can. Kind and wonderful people raise kind and wonderful children who later become the Kam Fats.

So I have not lost faith because of the Kam Fats of this world.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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A child prodigy called Antara

Synopsis : This blog is about a child prodigy who sings very well and was trained by her famous father. It is a video that gives the lyrics in English so that you can understand.

A child prodigy called Antara

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Antara Chowdhury is a household name in India but very few outside India have heard of her and her songs. She is the daughter of Salil Chowdhury who is a legend in India. He wrote songs and created the tunes for numerous movies and made numerous hit songs that are popular in Bengali and Hindi. He was a poet, playwright and the well-known music director who wrote the lyrics of the song below that Antara at the age of seven sang and it became an instant hit.

She recorded many children’s songs that her illustrious father wrote for her and left a lasting legacy in the music world in India. Salil Chowdhury is no more but his music lives in his pretty daughter who is now a young lady.

I now give you her most popular song called O sona Byang O kola Byang and give you the line by line translation in English. Just copy and paste the video link given below into your browser and listen to her songs and follow the English translation.

Lyrics of O Sona byang O kola Byang

O sona byang O kola byang 

O Golden frog, O kola frog

O sona byang O kola byang

O golden frog ,O kola frog

Sara raat hende golai dakis ghangor ghang

you call all night in bad voice ghangor ghang

Tora ki gola sadhis ni tora ki nara bandhis ni

Have you not taken voice lessons

Ay chole ay amaar katche sikhie debo gaan

Come to me I will teach you how to sing

Balo to balo na balo to

Say now, say now

Pa pa dha pa pa pa dha pa re ga ma dha pa  pa

Pa pa dha pa…

Very good  Kola bang tumio bolo

Very good  Kola bang you too sing

Ba ba re ba ba re baa

Bah bah re bah

Music

Sarata din lompo jhompo bondo kore dao

Stop jumping around whole day

Tanpuratay surti bendhe rewaj kore jao

Practice singing using the tanpura

Ma bolbe bhalo meye sona kola bang

Ma will say  sona bang is a good girl

Ta jodi na koro tobe bhangbo tomar thang

I will break your legs  if you don’t

Balo to sa re ga ma pa pa dha pa

Say sa re ga ma  …

Ba ba re ba ba re baa

Bah bah re bah

Music

O sona bang O kola bang ( refrain)

O sona bang O kola bang  ( refrain)

Balo to balo na  pa pa dha pa

Say it say now  pa pa dha pa….

Ba ba re ba ba re baa

Bah bah re bah

Music

Sammelane gaiben khan sagid sona bang

Sona bang will sing in a concert

Sangate sangite thaken pundit kola bang

Pundit Kola bang will accompany with beat

Tomra sobai sunte esho kola banger gaan

You should all come to hear the songs of Kola frog 

Are sunbe gaaner sheshe nana rokom taan

and will hear many tunes at the end

Sunie dao sunie dao

Let them hear you  let them hear you

Dha dha dhin dha ….   

Dha dha dhin dha….

The video link     Just copy and paste into browser or click the link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTB8qf9g_Bo

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

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An addiction like no other

Synopsis : An addiction like gambling destroys lives that the blog discusses in some depth.

An addiction like no other

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Source : Google photo

Today I would like to start this blog with a story. It is a very long story but I have to tell you only the shortest version of it because of space.

There was this gambling joint in San Francisco where all kinds of people dropped by to try their luck at various forms of gambling offered there not to mention the booze and the women who were also there to lend a hand if needed all with the sole purpose of getting your money. It was a very disreputable place as such places usually are where sometimes fights over money broke out with tragic consequences because it was frequented by disreputable people.They were inveterate gamblers who always thought that the next roll of dice will bring them the fortune that always eluded them.

One day a ship docked nearby so some passengers got down and ended up in the gambling joint for a drink and nothing more. That was on the mind of a young German boy who had just gotten off the boat and was thirsty so he ordered a beer. Soon a fellow approached him and asked if he had some money on him that he could bet because he was feeling very lucky that day.

The German boy had never gambled in his life but for some strange reason agreed to give this fellow whom he had just met a good chunk of his money and asked him to write on a napkin the terms if he won and how much and watched with great trepidation his money being used for gambling. To everyone ‘s surprise the fellow kept on winning and betting more until the German boy got 20 times what he had lent.

He then promised himself that he will never gamble again in his life because he realized that he could have lost it all that day. He used this money to buy some sheep and started a sheep farm in a rural area and over the years prospered and kept on increasing his farm and the sheep and worked very hard to become a well to do sheep farmer. He married and had a daughter.

His gambling friend too prospered because his luck was with him for a while and settled on an adjacent property where he built a nice house, got married and also had a daughter so these two children often played together and became friends.

But he was a born gambler and could not stay away from the notorious gambling dens so lost a great deal of money again. His wife was so unhappy that she died of grief leaving the little daughter called Poppy in the care of the gambler husband.

Thus the life of misery started for the little girl who was dragged all over the country from one poor flop house to another by her father who always told her that he will get back all his money  but never did and one day did not come back. Poppy did not know what happened to him and what to do so she grabbed her pet parrot and stowed away on a freight train not knowing where the train was going and ended up near the wharf in New York. She was only a child of 10.

She saw huge ships and climbed aboard one and fell asleep in one corner hidden on that big ship. The captain eventually found her when the ship was nearing France and let her go ashore and washed his hands off her. What happened to Poppy is another story that I need not write about here because this blog is about a deadly addiction called gambling and how it destroys lives.

Of all kinds of addictions, gambling surely is a destroyer of lives because a gambler can not be rehabilitated easily. I know a case where a fellow who worked in an aircaft factory in India and was in a good position and with a good salary had this addiction so kept on losing and borrowing more money from very bad people to gamble more. He managed to buy a lot and build two rooms making his wife happy for a while but it too did not last and was sold to pay for his gambling debts.

His wife and three children suffered the consequence because one day he ran away and abandoned his family because the bad people were pressuring him to pay up his huge debt. The poor wife did not know what to do so she went back to her parents asking their help to track this fellow.

Eventually he was found hiding in another town from where  he was brought home and his gambling debts were paid off by her sister and brother to save their marriage and their family. He promised never to gamble again and somehow kept his promise. It is so rare to find a gambler who reforms. While the story of Poppy is fiction ,this story is not which goes to show how some people get so addicted to gambling that they literally lose their head and end up in a bad way. This fellow was lucky that his in-laws came to help at a crucial moment although it is not known if he ever paid back his debt to them .

If you go to Las Vegas in the United States and spend just a few hours in a casino there, you can watch how people gamble enormous amount of money there in a short time and destroy their lives. The casinos are rigged in their favor where they always make money while they pay out small amounts once in while to show that their establishment is all above-board but is it?

At first it was the mafia that set up the casinos in Las Vegas which is in the middle of the desert and was just a place to stop for gas on the way East or West but that changed when a gambling town was established there by the mob bosses who raked in millions and killed anyone who stood in their way. The Godfather movie shows it all. Then they hired singers like Sinatra to sing in their nightly shows that made him famous.

Later they moved into what they called legitimate businesses using the money they made in the  casino business but gambling is a dangerous business because of the amount of money involved so you will see hundreds of security cameras everywhere watching everyone including the professional cheaters and armed security people with  walky talkies everywhere.

In Texas. a sheriff who wanted to keep gambling and prostitution out of his town made life difficult for the casino operators so one day they tampered with the brake of his sport car that killed the sheriff clearing the way for the crooks to make a come back.

In America, gambling starts early in their life. If you go to any bar where people are watching a ball game on TV while drinking, someone will shout saying “20 dollars say the batter will make the home run”. Someone says” you are on” and the money is then collected by someone for the bet for or against . This is the simplest form of gambling that goes on everywhere. Later some of them graduate to more serious gambling and head for Las Vegas , Reno or Atlantic city.

Men and women take part in gambling and quarrel later on when they lose every thing they had. How many marriages fall apart due to gambling is not known but the consequences of losing money by gambling can be very serious indeed. That fellow in India was lucky that his in-laws came to help but not everyone has such in laws.

In Italy, you will see the con men with three little cups and their pea which they expertly move around between the cups right before your eyes and always win. Then there are card players who with poker face will take all your money if you fall into their trap. There is a Kenny Rogers song that says “you never count your money while sitting at the table, there will be time enough  for counting when the deal is done“. Most people never get to count their money at all. It is the cashier who gets to count it.

People have invented many forms of gambling but the most notorious of them is the roulette where a wheel turns and stops at a  number or not where people put all their chips and lose big amounts in a few seconds. The dice throwers are also seen cheering or losing surrounded by onlookers who egg them on to bet again and again. This sort of drama plays out in all casinos worldwide making gambling a multi billion dollar business.

If you go to Japan, you will see the pachinko slot machines where people are playing whole day feeding the machines with endless tokens hoping they win something. One fellow said that he makes enough money everyday to pay for his cigarettes. He did not say how much he loses.

Once I was on a boat to Macau from HongKong which was filled with the Chinese who were all going to Macau to gamble but could not wait to get there so everywhere on that boat there were mahjong tables where the gamblers were hitting the board hard with their mahjong pieces and shouting. It is good that I was not allowed into Macau for political reasons but I was not going there to gamble. Macau now rivals Las Vegas where casinos are very big business. One casino tycoon even brought a floating casino to Manila bay to start his business here but towed it back to Macau when the local officials started asking for huge bribes.

This scourge of gambling is spreading worldwide with severe consequences socially and destroying people’s lives. If you remember the movie Deer Hunter with Robert de Niro, in it, you will remember the scene of the Russian roulette when a loaded gun with just one bullet is given to someone to see if he will kill himself . People stood around betting on whether or not he will die. If the fellow died, they shoved the body into the river.

This sort of death game was actually played in the shady quarters of Cholon which is a part of Saigon during the war but now the government cracks down on such illegal games hard in Vietnam. In China the gambling is banned for good reasons so they go to Macau where gambling is allowed. Many gamble secretly playing their favorite Mahjong games or cards anyway.

My Ma was against any form of gambling and forbade us to play with cards so I never learned to play cards or any card game. She also taught us that we should be frugal and always save a part of what we earn. This was very good advice from which I benefitted in my life and now I tell my children to do the same .

But people pick up bad habits like gambling from people they associate with at school or later at work where a gambling culture prevails in their society. Parents have  no influence over such people. I have seen some people of my age in our community who have destroyed themselves with this vice and another deadly vice called alcoholism.

I appreciate the Moslems who are forbidden to drink and gamble so by and large they obey and follow the dictates of Koran.  But in other religions they do not have such strong dictates.

One must understand that gambling is not a matter of pure luck because the gambling houses make sure that they always make money no matter what. How do they do this? You may have heard of loaded dice or secret buttons that stop the roulette wheel at a certain spot so that the house wins and bettors lose. The slot machines are their biggest money makers that are rigged in their favor. If someone wins big then they say that the machine is defective so they will not honor the win. This is an addiction that people can’t beat no matter how hard they try.

The question to ask here is why the governments allow gambling in the first place knowing how it destroys lives. You can also ask why they run lotto in every country? It is because it earns them a lot of revenue in taxes. It is like alcohol that is easily available everywhere that the governments make money out of but no one is asking you to drink. It is your choice just like gambling.

If you go to Monte Carlo , you will be surprised how people gamble there with abandon making the King of Monte Carlo very rich. Gambling and prostitution are closely linked so where you find one, you will find the other.

I am lucky that I had such good parents who taught me good values but not everyone is so lucky. Hope you will teach your children that any form of gambling is evil that they must stay away from.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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Allure of vanity

Synopsis : The vanity is found in all people everywhere. Only the method of showing the vanity varies that makes it interesting. From primitive adornment in Africa to expensive cosmetics elsewhere, vanity is explored in this blog and what it attains.

Allure of vanity

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Source : Google photo of African woman

I am often amused at the sheer vanity of women in general and some men in certain countries. Here in the Philippines just like in so many other countries, the TV is full of ads that promote skin whitener, shampoo and numerous other products 24/7  because to serve the vanity they produce a mind-boggling array of products that rake in billions of dollars worldwide.

They are the sponsors of TV programs so the telenovelas are called soap operas in some countries. This ceaseless advertisement of products to serve the vanity of women and men has its desired effect so you can see how people believe in these ads where beautiful women show off their shiny hair or their skin color. They too want shiny hair and fair skin to look like an American girl who is their ideal.

It does not stop there. They have a zillion shades of hair colors they offer you to choose from so that you too can have flax colored hair like an European, never mind if you happen to be ugly and short. So you see men and women with flax colored hair who are anything but.. in Asia of all places.

To top it off here comes the offer of colored contact lenses so that you can have blue eyes just like the white people. This sort of behavior is promoted by the TV  personalities who have a tremendous impact on the population because they saturate the air waves with this sort of vanity products day and night. They fail to promote good values because they themselves are vain and think nothing of flax colored hair and blue contact lenses no matter how incongruous they look with their short height, dark skin and bulging legs.

Once I saw grp ( grass root people)women walking by with burns on their cheeks so I asked someone what it meant and why these women had such burns. The answer surprised me. I was told that these poor women who are squatters and work as maids or washerwomen or in such menial jobs do not have the money to buy expensive skin whitening lotions so they rub acid on their cheeks to make them appear pink but are ignorant of the effect of the acid. I have seen hill women in India who have very fair skin and get easily sun burned so they have sun burnt cheeks but here women rub acid on their cheeks to look fair. The TV women are their role model who in their turn imitate Caucasian women shamelessly.

I call these women vain and ignorant lacking self-respect. GRP means grass-roots people who are poor but who also watch tv all the time. I see this sort of vanity in people giving rise to a huge increase in parlors where the transvestites and others shampoo the hair, dye with any color a woman wants, offer manicure, pedicure, massage, hair cut and numerous such services to men and women everywhere. It is not at all unusual to see a man getting his nails done or getting a facial massage because the vanity dictates their behavior. There is a great tendency among them to show off.

Now I am not against personal grooming. I think everybody should do personal grooming so that they do not offend others with their bad body odors, unwashed clothes or unkempt looks. It makes sense to appear in public looking well-groomed and with clean clothes. Dirty people are not taken seriously in offices or shops.  In many places they have strict dress codes so people must be attired normally and properly meaning no shorts and flip-flops. The churches and mosques have strict dress code as well although many women show up there in inappropriate clothing especially in churches. The Mullahs are less tolerant of such behavior and will not admit people who do not follow dress codes.

Among the primitive people specially women adorn themselves with whatever natural products they can find in order to look pretty and attract a potential mate. They paint their faces with white paint, decorate with beads or colored pastes of some kind while others may even subject themselves with welts caused by cutting the skins on their face and breast just to look attractive. Jeweleries made from seeds or cauri shells are also used by them. Among the Fulanis in West Africa, it is men who adorn themselves to attract mates and are quite vain about their appearance. These adornments are done on special occasions like festivals or clan gatherings but normally you do not see men and women showing off the way some people in Asia do so I will not call them vain.

So no matter where you go, you find that vanity in men and particularly women is prevalent irrespective of their social class and status because it serves the purpose of attracting a possible mate. This is a very basic biological reason that is hard-wired into their brain. The TV ads just take advantage of this human desire to look pretty and sexually attractive to the opposite sex and is a worldwide phenomenons giving rise to a multi billion dollar industry.

In India where people have dark skin, the rise of skin whitening products is astounding because they believe the TV commercials. The Indian women of marriageable age rub their skin with a mixture of cream of milk and a bit of turmeric powder in it to look fair especially if a party is coming to interview the girl. If they fail in the interview then there is perhaps the next time so they go back to rubbing more cream of milk with turmeric again. In the arranged marriage system, the girl has to look presentable.

In the western societies where the marriage depends only on the girl and the boy, there is added pressure on the woman to look her best for her date which may or may not lead to marriage in the end so here one can see that the vanity serves a purpose after all.

If a girl shows up with uncombed hair and shredded jeans and a loose blouse that looks second-hand then it perhaps does not make an impression on her date. If the fellow does the same while the girl is nicely dressed and smells of expensive perfume then he too fails to make an impression. Who says the first impression does not matter? It always does. Most people judge you by how you dress before they get to know you as a person. In India this is particularly true where the shop owners judge you by how you dress so they treat you accordingly. A fancy car parked in front does not hurt either which can even excuse simple clothes of the client because an expensive car is a symbol of wealth.

I am always impressed by the natural beauty of women in any country who do not burn their cheeks with acid and who do not color their hair just to look like a western woman. Their healthy skin glows without make up of any kind and their natural dark skin glistens with health that does not need whitening. I also like the self-confidence in such women who are proud of being what they are and do not feel the need to use cosmetics. You will find such women in  Africa who are tall and have very good posture. They walk so gracefully and look majestic in their simple attire or without. Some are bare breasted but look naturally elegant.

You have to go to Vietnam to see how beautiful women look in their plain Ao Dai, shiny black long hair that they don’t braid and glowing smooth skin. They are born pretty so do not need a lot of make up , lotions or other cosmetics . You hardly ever see a fat young woman there because their food is very well-balanced with lots of green vegetables, shredded meat and noodles. It is not only delicious, it is very healthy so they do not gain weight like those women elsewhere who eat junk food all the time and swell like hippos. But natural beauty and stature is often a matter of superior breeding.

The adage that one cannot make silk out of sow’s ears is very true. It is not rocket science that beautiful people make beautiful children who later pass on their genes to the next generation but to grow up beautiful also depends on healthy food and good environment and that depends largely on the economic status of the people. Poor people eat unhealthy food and live in squatter colonies so they try hard to look like the TV models ignoring the fact that they come from very poor breeding stocks where ugliness prevails generation after generation.

In any society the really tall and beautiful people are a minority because they come from aristocracy and very selective breeding so they stand out in the crowd of the ordinary people. The rich people are not vain because they don’t have to be to look good. It is in their genes. They look good no  matter what they wear . But the vast majority is not so blessed so they are the customers of the cosmetics industry.

I have written elsewhere that the island people who were isolated for a very long time from the rest of the world tend to be very homogenous in their looks because of their restricted gene pools so they may look uniformly short in height and ugly. This changes when they open up to the world and new better genes are introduced into their pool. You will see it in children of mixed races. They are tall, beautiful and stand apart from others who all aspire to be like them. They become models selling cosmetics products on TV or get into the show business.

In India where inter-racial marriage is still not the norm, you will see the Anglo Indians who are the  legacy of the British raj. They are handsome , tall and with fair skin who stand apart from the crowd anywhere although the puritans look down on them as the progeny of mixed race they do not approve of. But in other countries , such people are looked up to.

So I return to the issue of vanity and how it consumes some people in some cultures while elsewhere people do not really care about vanity because they do not need to be vain to look good or they believe that vanity is a sin that the padres talk about all the time from their pulpits.

If you visit the Amish communities in the Eastern part of the United States, you will find these simple people living in rural communities and working very hard to meet their daily needs. They are healthy, tall and handsome people whose women do not use any kind of cosmetics because they see vanity as a sin but in their simplicity their women look beautiful in their glowing skin and very clean clothes. Men also look very handsome in their simple but clean clothes and well-groomed beards.

But the epitome of vanity is found in women who stand in front of their closet full of new and wonderful clothes and say I have nothing to wear. They must have new clothes for every occasion no matter how trivial and will not dare wear clothes they have worn before lest someone make a remark like Oh I have seen that dress before on you. This sort of vanity is not limited to those who can afford to buy new clothes all the time but also found in the middle class because they imitate the rich.

At the bottom are the grp ( grass-roots people) who buy second-hand clothes so these second hand clothes stores are found everywhere now. Huge containers full of used clothes  are coming into the port cities all over Asia where there is a great demand for used clothes. In Rome there is a Thieves market just near the river where used clothes are sold in great volumes. A beautiful sheep skin jacket that costs 300 dollars in Australia or New Zealand sells there for only 5 dollars. You just have to be careful about your five dollars in your pocket because it is not called thieves market for nothing.

The second-hand clothes therefore are a boon to the poor who can not afford expensive clothes and  are not vain enough so they  buy them. Then there is cheap acid they can always rub on their cheek so the market offers everyone a choice. Just don’t be too particular.

Then I come to Asia where I see the craze of cosmetics as if it is going out of style soon. They can’t have enough and often look ridiculous. If you are dark then be proud of your skin color and your shiny black hair no matter what the TV ads tell you. They are out to make money so they promote their products but you don’t have to be so gullible.

This vanity leads some women to go to the extreme of injecting botox into their skin to firm it up or undergo cosmetic surgery to make a fold on their eye lids or enhance their breasts. This is popular in Korea or Japan where they go for this sort of thing although I find nothing wrong with their eyes or their body but who am I? If I am a plastic surgeon, I will find many things wrong with them that I can then “correct” for a big fee. Who is foolish enough to chase away a milk cow?

I therefore come to the conclusion that if you are born beautiful, you don’t need anything to look better. On the other hand if you are born ugly then no matter what you do to make you look good is not going to work for you so why throw away your hard-earned money on superficial things they promote on TV? Just be proud of who you are and walk with your head high just like the African women. It is the inner beauty that counts.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Sacred cows

Synopsis: The common perception that cows are sacred to Hindus is a fallacy that originated during the Buddhist period in India when most of the population followed Buddhism and when any animal slaughter was banned in the country. The vegetarian diet is still practiced by the millions but the Hindus ate beef and other meat long time ago during the Vedic period.

Sacred cows

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Source : Google photo

Scientists  tell us that we descended from apes long ago when we used to survive eating wild fruits and roots just like the apes today and we were essentially vegetarians. Later as humans started to live in communities, they needed a steady source of food so started agriculture and animal husbandry when wild animals were domesticated for this purpose.

Humans also hunted for food when wild fruits and roots were not available so they started to eat meat and used the animal hides for clothes and bones for tools. This was before the advent of agriculture and animal husbandry.

The domesticated animals like cows, goats and sheep  gave man plenty of meat,milk and hides where the supply was assured. The domestic animals multiplied on their own so there was no need for hunting for them in the wilderness like their ancestors did. Those who did not stay in one place like the Native Americans did not practice agriculture so essentially they followed the herds of wild animals and hunted them for food and clothing.

But the settled humans developed flourishing communities everywhere and produced enough food for themselves and lived comfortably if not in prosperity in the modern sense of the word.

Then came a period of religious upheaval where a new religion like Buddhism came into being long before Christianity and started to spread slowly through many parts of Asia bringing with it the idea that violence done to all animals to obtain food and hides must stop. It started in India that was populated by meat-eating Hindus who switched to Buddhism in large numbers at a certain period of its long history so the sacred cow was born. Throughout the country, the slaughter of all animals was banned by the order of the king .

The Hindus by and large became vegetarians and remain so even today although Buddhism as a religion has waned so hardly a few Buddhists remain except in a few small areas of the vast country and yet their non violence tenets have not only remained but have become deeply ingrained in the Hindu culture.

However, a percentage of the Hindu population always remained non vegetarian and obtained their protein from meat of goat, sheep , fish and poultry but not from cows or buffaloes although in Nepal which is a Hindu country, people eat the buffalo meat because in their logic buffalo is not a cow so can be eaten but not the cow. This logic is quite interesting.

Recently there has been an outcry throughout India to ban the slaughter of cows nationwide so laws are being promulgated to this effect and the abbatoires are being shut down. Behind this movement are the hard-core vegetarians who want to go back to the era of Buddhism when there was a total ban throughout the empire but that was a long time ago.

In the mean time millions of Moslems, Christians and also meat-eating Hindus clamored for beef so the slaughter of cows and buffaloes continues in various parts of the country even today where majority of Moslems and Christians live thus putting them at odds with the strict vegetarians.

In some states the ban is absolute where people suspected of killing cows and eating beef are beaten up and even killed by the angry mob.In other states vigilante groups stop any truck transporting cows or buffaloes and drivers are beaten up because people think that they are transporting the animals to the slaughter houses. The slaughter houses are run by Moslems so a large section of the beef eating population is affected. Meat sellers are closing shops and their livelihood is disappearing.

But here lies the dichotomy of Hindus. They will not kill a cow but beating a cow mercilessly that has damaged a farmer’s crop or vegetable patch is allowed and quite normal. They really do not venerate a cow  as much as some people believe so to them a cow is not holy as portrayed in the western press but just an animal who is not beefsteak on four legs. This notion is vehemently contested by a few die-hard vegetarian Hindus who bow down in front of a cow chewing cud just to show how pious they are. I suspect it is mostly for public consumption.

India is home to the world’s largest cattle population and they are multiplying at a fast rate so the government does not know what to do with the millions of cows that roam the streets to find food because their owners have abandoned them. They cause traffic jams, accidents and some die on the streets creating big health hazards. A cow died in front of our gate one day that made such a mess that people were in panic as the animal started to decompose in the 40 degree celsius heat rapidly .The stench was unbearable until some untouchables came and carted it away

If you travel in India, you may find such animals rotting by the side of the road and being shred to pieces by hundreds of vultures. They are the real janitors in India and believe me they render a service. People just pass by and cover their nose. To them it is quite normal to see such things.

India is also the largest exporter of beef, hides and live animals but they have to compete with Brazil or other cattle exporting countries  so the market is quite competitive.There is a huge leather industry that employs millions of people so you will see international brands like Hushpuppies making quality shoes in India because of cheaper leather price and skilled labor force that works for low wages.Bata has built a city around its factory in East India where they make very good shoes.

All these industries are now affected because of the ban on cow slaughter so they are not happy. People get very angry when their livelihood is in jeopardy so a political storm is brewing in India with uncertain outcome.

The government often does silly things just to placate the vegetarians  so they have started to pick up roaming cows from the streets of the capital and elsewhere and transport them to a pound. They insert a tracking microchip into the animal and can trace where it has been and who is the owner but I think it is just for show that they are doing something. So who feeds these animals in the pound and how long can they keep them there?

Some are brought to forests and released but a cow is a domestic animal that can not survive in a forest.India does not have millions of hectares of grazing land like in Africa where animals can survive. The pressure of the population is so great that the wild life in restricted forested areas are under tremendous pressure from human encroachment. On top of that you have millions of cattle everywhere so it is a huge problem.

In Japan beef is so expensive that the returning Japanese tourists bring home beef as a gift for their loved ones. They only shake their head in disbelief that beef is such an issue in India. My American friends can’t believe it either. I once told an American woman who was arguing with me about this issue that food is what people eat. The beef is not food to most Indians because they do not eat it no matter how much you appreciate a huge steak.

It is true that India has a great dairy industry so cow and buffalo milk is available everywhere so the milk cattle are raised in the city or in the outskirts to be near the consumer. This means there are thousands of such animals living in the cities creating a stench that is sky-high but it is good business so mayors can do nothing about it no matter how many laws they pass. It cannot be implemented and the animals cannot be moved out.

The cattle population is also the largest emitter of methane gas that goes straight up into the atmosphere. You and I know what that means. One can only visit a country like Denmark or Holland to see how they manage their beef and dairy industry. The Americans have turned it into an art so efficient they are in their beef and milk production. I am sure India could learn a lot from them in the management of the industry and bring the clean animal husbandry practices to India.

You don’t see animals roaming the streets in America or Europe or anywhere for that matter except in India but they are the quality producers of meat and milk products . But India is mired in the politics of cattle because of its wider implication .Any one who supports cow slaughter is booted out of the office by the vegetarian voters who number in millions so the politicians do what they have to do to get their votes.

India can solve its cow problem by exporting cattle on an industrial scale even at a discounted price to earn revenue and buy back the processed leather later to supply to its industries. This will eliminate the slaughter houses and placate the large vegetarian population.

It can concentrate its effort in modernizing the dairy industry by learning from the Swiss or the Danes to bring it at par with the international standard.

It can eliminate all roaming cattle from the streets in every city which will be a highly popular move and will earn the politicians great dividends.

It can promote the improvement of the dairy breed of cattle through breeding program so that they give more milk. India has some of the outstanding breeds of cattle known for their high milk production but limited to certain states like Punjab.

It can promote an alternative to beef by encouraging production of mutton that come from goat and sheep that non vegetarians prefer and even beef eaters like. The poultry industry is still primitive so there is great scope there for modernisation and improvement.

If the government has the will, it will find the resources needed to solve the cattle problem in India. Otherwise the vigilantes will roam the streets instead of cattle and that can mean only one thing. It is not good.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

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The curse of plastic

Synopsis : The curse of plastic pollution is a very serious matter because it is increasingly becoming a menace to all living beings in many parts of the world where no effective measures are taken to control it. In some countries the waste plastic is put to innovative use that is discussed in the blog.

The curse of plastic

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Source: Google photo

When I was growing up in India, I was always asked to run errands for the family. I had to fall in line early in the morning to buy subsidized wheat, rice and sugar. I had to buy kerosene and I had to go to the central market every month to buy a long list of things that the family needed. I had to even fall in line at 4 am in the coal yard to buy 20 kgs of coal that was allowed per family per week due to an artificial coal shortage.

But what I remembered most was that I had to gather all the cloth bags I could find in the house before I went to buy things. These bags were made of old pants and discarded clothes so came in very handy for marketing.

In every shop I went to, I was given the goods in a paper bag made of newspapers. In fact the old newspapers were never thrown away by my father but a fellow came every month to buy them at the rate of 1 or 2 Rupees a kilo who then resold them to the people who made paper bags out of them so the paper was recycled this way. This practice is still in vogue in India and gives employment to many people who make paper bags for the shops.

Someone also came to buy used clothes and shoes or glass or metal and my Ma got ceramic jars for her pickles in return so everything was recycled although I still do not know what they did with used clothes or shoes. I did not know the scale of this recycling nationwide until much later and was very impressed. If someone could make money out of recycling, it was done.

The municipal trucks came frequently to collect the household garbage which consisted mainly of vegetable peals and such and dumped the truck loads of garbage in low-lying areas of the city and slowly filled them up. It served the purpose of garbage disposal and the land was reclaimed that became a valuable property where new residential houses came up later. If you go there now, you will never realize that 50 years ago this was a low land full of water and a breeding ground of mosquitos. Now there are beautiful buildings and paved roads with neon street lights. My town went through this magic transformation over a period of time using garbage as filler.

With this background in mind let us fast forward to the present day and see the proliferation of plastic in a way beyond belief although India has taken drastic steps to curb this menace of plastic and banned their use outright in many states.

When I lived in Sudan, I was shocked to see the barbed wire fences for miles stuck with plastic that flew in the wind everywhere. There was plastic in the streets, in the fences, in the garbage piles, in the farms and even in places where you should not expect to find.

As soon as you arrive at the market to buy a few things, you will be assailed by the Kish boys who hang around with stacks of plastic bags in their hand and want you to buy them. Plastic is called Kish in Arabic.

I saw no one going to the market with a bag in hand like we used to so they buy the plastic bags from the kish boys and throw it away as soon as they get home. It then proliferates and covers the land like a scourge. What is worse is it finds its way to the river or water source and pollutes them as well.

The problem has gotten so out of hand that now plastic materials float in the vast oceans and cover the size of Texas in the Pacific creating enormous problems for the marine life.

The marine birds like albatross swallow bits of plastic and die in large numbers. The sea mammals get tangled in plastic and nylon mesh and die. There is no end in sight to this massive pollution and there is no international effort to clean up the oceans. On the contrary, more countries are dumping their plastic wastes surreptitiously into the water or dump them in a third country where corrupt officials take bribe to do so.

When I go to the supermarket here, what I see is shocking. I see every bit of vegetable wrapped in cellophane that we have to then unwrap and throw away so it all ends up in a land fill somewhere. The local municipal office has banned the use of plastic bags in the market so now the supermarkets sell cloth bags or bags made of non-plastic material that people are obliged to buy because they go shopping without bags. I suspect that this habit is more cultural than anything else because surely they all have tons of bags at home but always go to market without them out of habit. I should say bad habit.

My wife is an exception because she hates plastic and always goes to the market with lots of bags and is very organized. She even gives her bags to someone who is in need but people have bad habits and they seldom learn.

I saw the same bad habit in Australia where people go shopping without bags and are forced to buy the bags from the supermarket at two or three Aussie dollars apiece and accumulate them at home .Still they forget to bring them the next time around.

We all know how serious the matter is when we see a landfill somewhere where the trucks unload their contents daily or even hourly. There you will find poor people including bare feet children scavenging in the garbage piles for anything they can collect and sell for recycling. Often you hear of tragic cases where the mountain of garbage collapses on them burying them alive and yet the pile grows.

We generate all this garbage nationwide and worldwide that we do not care about because the garbage truck comes to take it all away. We do not care where it goes and what people do with it. We do not care if it all ends up in the ocean as long as it is taken away and out of our sight.

Now I appreciate how in India they recycle garbage and plastic and use it to fill up low-lying swampy areas and build houses there later. One fellow who recycles metals recovered from the garbage dump in Mumbai and turns them into shiny pots and pans says he makes about 30000 Rupees every month for his effort and he only works part-time.

But in Western countries like the United States, people throw away a mind-boggling amount of things including plastic that end up in the garbage dump somewhere. Plastic and paper products comprise a big part of what they throw away but glass ,metal and even electronic trash is thrown away not to mention toxic waste that come out of thousands of hospitals.

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Source : Google photo

One fellow in Poland collects the plastic for free because it is garbage that nobody wants and melts it down to a thick paste into which he adds color and injects this colored molten plastic paste into molds that turn out beautiful roof tiles. He jumps up and down on the roof to show how strong the tiles are and how beautiful they look. He is now exporting his tiles to other EU countries and makes tons of money.

So if others follow his example then a very large volume of this unwanted plastic can be reused this way but initially they will need financial assistance from the government to set up their factories and buy the machines needed to make such products.

Poor people know how to scavenge through the garbage pile and pick up a few things they can recycle at a terrible cost to their health but do not have the money or resources like that Polish fellow to set up a tile factory. This is where the governments can play a crucial role. They can set up schemes where they help new entrepreneurs set up plastic recycling plants that can generate employment and income.

Secondly, they must enact laws that prohibit the use of plastic cellophane wrappers in the supermarket or anywhere. If the source of the garbage is stopped then it can go a long way to solve the problem.

I know that in some countries like Iceland, they generate power by burning the plastic but that too has its environmental cost because the burned plastic generates toxic fumes.

Now an Italian scientist has discovered a plastic eating worm that she hopes to extract the plastic degenerating enzyme from and perhaps someday put it to commercial use at a large-scale but it is still in the laboratory phase and will take time to make it a success if at all.

In the meantime the scientists need to work on developing self-destructing or degenerating plastic that will crumble into harmless dust after a short time but that is in the future. Meanwhile what to do with the trillions of tons of plastic garbage everywhere? Soon they will run out of landfills because no one wants a garbage dump near their city or town but keep on producing garbage that has to go somewhere.

The only solution as I see it is in stopping making the garbage in the first place. You can do it in several ways.

  1. Stop buying plastic bags and bring your own cloth bag for shopping that can be reused hundreds of times.
  2. Stop buying canned products that are made with harmful preservatives that are a health hazard. This will reduce the metal cans in the dump.
  3. Segregate your garbage into recyclable bins. Glass, plastic, metal, paper, styrofoam can all be recycled so bring them to the processing centers regularly.
  4. Make a pit where all your vegetable peels and other organic matters can be thrown into to make wonderful compost that you can use in your garden.
  5. Donate your old clothes, shoes, books, magazines etc. to poor people. Someone will collect them and send them to the children in Somalia or Ethiopia where they will value them.
  6. Teach your children not to be wasteful and to be mindful of the environment. If we cannot reduce the pollution then at least we should not add to it.
  7. Make an organized effort to gather environment conscious people like children and clean up the streams and parks in your neighborhood by collecting garbage especially plastic and metal cans and help maintain cleanlines
  8. 220px-Maathai_and_Obama_in_NairobiFollow the example of Wangari Maathai in Kenya who single-handedly organized to plant hundreds of thousands of trees nationwide to make Kenya green again. She did it by asking the village women to collect seeds from the forest and raise their nurseries in every village and plant the trees later. You too can plant trees that will one day grow into lovely forest and clean up the air.People in Uttar Pradesh in India recently made into Guinness book of records by planting several million trees in one single day but for that to happen, one needs to plant seeds on a massive scale in nurseries and then organize thousands of people, transport them and the trees and give them tools to plants the trees with. This massive effort required government assistance but individually you too can do a lot like Wangari Maathai. She received Nobel Prize for her effort of planting trees.

9       Say No to plastic in every country and find a suitable alternative.

10.    Stop buying bottled water because it adds to the problem of the  plastic bottles thrown away. Clean tap water in most countries is quite drinkable unless you live in Flint. One fellow has built a lovely home using large plastic bottles filled with colored water and built the walls with it. The sunlight comes in through the colored water and creates dazzling rainbow colors inside the house in the United States. You too can be so creative if you just try.

I hope this article will somehow make you more conscious of the serious problem created by plastic waste everywhere and take the steps necessary to fight this problem. If I succeed in making you an environmental warrior then the purpose of this blog with be worthwhile. Wangari Maathai is wishing you good luck from her grave.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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Inter-racial marriage

Synopsis: There was a time in the United States when the mixing of races was banned but such laws have been annulled so many people of various races get married and raise wonderful children these days . I believe this trend will continue as more and more people worldwide realize that racism is outdated .

Inter-racial marriage

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Source : Google photo

Did you know that as late as 1967, there were laws in the United States against inter- racial marriages in most states? Such couples faced almost nationwide discrimination and were socially outcast. They could not easily rent a house, faced looks of disapproval and even violence everywhere and their children suffered in school.

This prejudice came due to inherent racism the whites practiced against people of other race and color and made laws that the police and courts rigorously enforced making life very difficult for two people of different race who loved each other and wanted to live somewhere peacefully and raise their children normally.

Such couple were arrested, jailed and their families torn apart. They were often viciously attacked by the whites and the waiters refused to serve them in restaurants. You have to understand this kind of naked racism in the context of the bitter racial hatred generated by the era of slavery in the United States where blacks marrying whites were lynched publicly and often killed by the KKK whose members included the police and even the judges.

But the Supreme Court struck down the law the states used to prosecute mixed married couples that opened the way to more inter racial marriages but it is  harder to change people than the law. It is harder to root out racism by making laws because those who have to implement the laws are often the ones who promote the racism they learned from their parents and grandparents.

The case of Richard and Mildred Loving:

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Source : Google photo

Richard P. Loving and his wife, Mildred, pose in this Jan. 26, 1965, file photograph. Residents of Caroline County, Va., the Lovings married in Washington, D.C., in 1958. Upon their return to Virginia, the interracial couple was convicted under the state’s law that banned mixed marriages. They eventually won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 1967 that overturned laws prohibiting interracial unions.( Wikipedia)

This was a landmark victory for the Loving couple that paved the way for more inter racial marriages in the country.

The racism is deeply rooted in low-level of education; misguided belief system that whites are superior to others so must not marry nonwhites, in the social ostracism against such people based on purely racial hatred and a firm opposition to mixed marriage that “diluted their pure blood”.

From less than 3% couple marrying outside their race and ethnicity in 1967 to more than 10% now shows a gradual trend in the growth of inter-racial marriages and a greater level of acceptance from the new generation that has moved away from their hard-line parents and grandparents in most parts but this has something to do with the greater workplace assimilation and a higher level of education in general although this is limited to great urban areas.

The heartland of the country where most of the uneducated or people with low-level of education living in poverty or even below the poverty line live are still the champions of racism and they happen to be white who do not care much about the law against open or not so open discrimination against anyone based on skin color or ethnicity. These are the hard-core people who still cling to the outdated idea that their skin color makes them superior to others.

Social changes to make the society better comes slowly anywhere no matter what the law says because as I said before, it is easier to enact a law than to change people and their attitude they have acquired over generations and are loath to let go. The idea that all men (and women) are equal in the eyes of the law is easier written in the constitution than practiced. Some will still smirk and say “some are more equal than others “or some such nonsense.

Through all my travels all over the world, I have noticed that in some countries, people tend to be more accepting and liberal in their attitude toward mixed marriages while in other countries they are still struggling with the idea that we are all of human race and should value our humanity first.

When I was leaving India in 1967 for Vietnam, many people told me not to bring back a foreign wife because they said that it was not the right thing to do although at that time I was very young and was not thinking of getting a wife foreign or not. Someone even pressured me to get married to a Bengali girl before leaving for abroad and leave the poor girl with them so that I will return someday. It goes to show the decadent mentality that existed and still persists in our society.

There was a gentleman who went to Germany to study and work where he married a beautiful German girl. When they returned to India for a visit, the relatives roundly criticized the poor German girl who asked for bottled water among other things. They criticized her short dresses, her demand for cleanliness and who did not like spicy food. Most of it was culture based but there was a latent disapproval of the foreign girl who was trying hard to please her in-laws.

This was in a country where most people are of dark skin and live in less than sanitary conditions that the Europeans are used to but have strong belief that they are a superior race so the Indian fellow should not have married a foreign woman. There are plenty of beautiful Indian girls to choose from so why bring a foreign woman who does not even drink our water or like our gorgeous food?

I will mention here another story related to this subject.

An Indian fellow who went to study in the United States married a white American girl who was beautiful, smart and educated. When they went to India to pay a visit to his relatives and introduce her to the Bengali society, they at first enjoyed the brief honeymoon period so to speak but soon the reality started to sink in and the American girl felt a deep sense of unease.

She felt that the women did not approve of her and her faith. They brought lavish gifts for everybody but that did not win their heart. The younger brother of her husband asked her help to get him an American visa so she promised to help by talking to the US consul. Then a young and obviously pregnant woman approached her and asked her help saying that she was impregnated by this rogue fellow who now wanted to go to the US and refused to acknowledge her and help her with assistance.

Her father in law who was a college professor wanted to get into politics and wanted her monetary support for his election campaign but she found out that he was into very dirty politics and was an immoral and unprincipled person who would do anything to win.

So she urged her husband to return to the US because she saw the very dark side of his family and was shocked. When she refused to help the father in law and the son, they turned against her. The only person who believed in her goodness was the grandfather who saw everything and who disapproved his son and his grandson.

What we learn here is that they did not like her being a foreign woman but took her expensive gifts and looked for more until she came to her senses and saw through their thin veneer of respectability and found only greed and prejudice. They returned to the United States and never to return to India.

I will now mention a third story related to this subject of interracial romance and marriage. This happened in the Philippines where racism persists and they look down on black people although Filipinos are not white.

One girl brought her black boyfriend to her small village to introduce him to her folks but they were shocked and disapproved. It did not matter to them that the fellow was very good-looking, educated and smart who was trying very hard to win their heart.

Then one day a small boy fell into a well while others could do nothing but this young man quickly jumped into the well and brought the kid out alive although a bit traumatized by the accident. This incident changed their heart and now they saw in the black fellow a man of character and bravery.

So what we learn again and again is that prejudice and racism exists everywhere in various degrees but the root cause is ignorance. People who come to their senses and see a person and his qualities then change their mind and accept like those Filipinos in the village.

Two people who love each other and get married overcome all their differences of faith, skin color and upbringing because they commit to a lasting relationship based on mutual respect and admiration. Such bond thus created can be very resilient and outlast all disapprobation and difficulties unless the society as a whole stands up against them to make their life difficult.

I can imagine the mixed marriage couple still having a hard time in South Africa where not too long ago the apartheid regime insisted on strict racial separations.

Adolf Hitler took this separation to an extreme where he insisted on the mythical Aryan purity of his race although some say his mother was Jewish. Remember Jesse Owens when he won Olympic gold medals in Berlin in 1936? Hitler could not stand it that Jesse was black and was winning gold medal beating all his opponents including the whites and left the stadium in disgust.

As we make progress toward a more racially balanced society in some countries and make friends with people who are of different race or belong to other ethnic minority, we find that race and color makes no difference. Even different faith makes no difference as long as they find each other worthy.

In any society, I find women more progressive who are willing to accept such differences and give it a chance to succeed with perhaps the exception of India or some Moslem countries where traditions are more important than anything else.

I find women more willing to take their chances of marrying a person very different and of another race and color or faith to be happy. If you ask them if they are happy, most will say that yes they are very happy and proud of their husband and their beautiful children.

Such women then lay the foundation of a just society where people are not judged based on their skin color but on their qualities as a human being. Barack Obama comes to mind who gained the respect of the world who came from a mixed marriage himself.

As more mixed couple gain acceptance in the society where they live, they bring a new understanding to ignorant people who cling to their prejudices. I hope that someday people will learn to look at a person based on his or her qualities and appreciate that we are all capable of excellence. The world will be richer in knowledge and a better place to live when that happens everywhere. I am hopeful but cautiously optimistic.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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Toxic people

Synopsis : This blog deals with the subject of toxic people who are all around us and shows how to identify them in order to avoid them.

Toxic people

Toxic-relationships-toxic-people-just-say-no

Source : Google photo

There was a fellow in my class in college who never talked to me or acknowledged me as his class mate although we were very few but he cornered me one evening downtown in a shopping center where I was buying a few things for our family.

He came out of nowhere and suddenly appeared. I was very surprised when he demanded 50 Rupees from me which was a lot of money in those days. He said that he was in dire need of some money but I said to him that I was just a student and did not have any money of my own to give but he still insisted to get any amount. He just did not take no for an answer so just to get rid of him I gave him 5 Rupees of my father’s money. Needless to say that he never returned the money and continued to ignore me in the class.

He graduated and left behind a mountain of debt because it turned out that he had this bad habit of borrowing money from any one he could but one day he disappeared and probably found a job somewhere. He was a toxic person whom people would rather never meet. He only left a bad impression as the user of other people. There are many such people almost everyone encounters in life.

There is another classic case of a toxic person so I will tell this story as well.

There was a young fellow who was the only son of a judge who was known as the hanging judge in England. His mother died of grief because she was so unhappy so the son decided that he will not become a lawyer or a judge and do something else. This did not sit well with his tough father who decided what was good for his son so he ordered the son to go back to his  estate in the countryside and think seriously about his future.

While the young man was staying in the estate house where the servants took good care of him, he received a letter from one of his classmates whom he did not know at all saying that he will visit him soon and arrived one day uninvited.

Their relationship was frosty because they were not friends but out of politeness, the young man accepted him and did what he could to make him comfortable. This unwanted guest then started demanding total attention all the time which he could not give and one day told him to occupy himself as he had other things to do. He had met a beautiful girl in the church and found that she was attracted to him so he started paying courts and often went to meet with her in the village.

The guest then secretly followed him one day to find out where he goes and found out that they were sitting under a tree and talking so he wrote an anonymous letter to that beautiful girl saying the son of the judge was a vile person among other things. The result was that the girl found herself very disturbed and finally broke off the budding relationship.

The young man was heartbroken just like the girl and went back to London to his morose life and bleak future. This is the classic example of a very toxic person who deliberately destroyed a beautiful relationship out of spite.

You have I am sure met many toxic people in your life who never become your friend or who  pretend to be your friend and do harm in many ways. It seems that they are everywhere. They are in your school, they are in your community, they are in your office and in your social circles. They can be overbearing, demanding, impolite, extremely narcissistic, selfish and jealous type of people who always think that it is their right to use people for their own selfish reasons.

If they are your office mates, they will show their true colors by demanding favors from you all the time and if refused will turn against you. They look over your shoulder to see what you are doing. They chat ceaselessly to disturb you while you are deep in thoughts about the projects you are planning or writing about and they gossip. This is probably the best indicator of a toxic person.

If you decline their invitation to go night clubbing and drinking in disreputable bars then they take it as an affront and will gossip about you in the office. There is no getting away from such people who are born to make other people unhappy.

At a younger age, you will find them in your school. They may be boys or girls who tend to always demand your attention, your time, your homework, your money or use your cell phone. If you walk away from them because you understand their true nature then they will spread false rumors about you. Now with the spread of Facebook and other such social media, it is easy to publish anything including compromising photos that have been photo shopped to embarrass someone.

They tend to be bullies who pick on students who are smart, belong to a minority group or of ethnic descent. This may be racially motivated but it could be simply because you are smarter than them and always at the top of the class so they are jealous of your achievements. I have seen this among girls in high school who form their own gang and behave badly toward sweet girls who only want friendship but not at any cost.

Later in life when you are working in an office, you will meet the same kind of toxic people. I knew a fellow who could not accept that I was doing an excellent job as a research agronomist and was being acclaimed as such so he started spreading the idea that I was probably falsifying my research data to look good. People who knew how hard I had to work to make my projects successful were very supportive of me but I have met many such toxic people in many countries.

What I have learned from my experience is that it is always good to leave such people behind and get on with your life. I have never accepted such people and always told them sometimes very bluntly that their methods are repugnant.

There are all kinds of people in life. Some are truly great people who will value your friendship while others will try to use you. They are the kind of people one must learn to avoid. As children we are naturally more tolerant because we at a young age do not fully understand the evil nature of others and have an inherent desire to trust everyone.

But as we grow older, we learn to be choosier and try to associate with people of similar interest and similar background. In any community you will find people who will impose on you and demand favors that you can’t often deny them. They will use the pretense of friendship but they are not your friends because real friends do not use anyone or take a person for granted.

If you are lucky, you will meet good people who will help you without any preconditions and very selflessly. Such people are rare and hard to find but will come forward  because they see in you a hard-working honest person who needs a little help. I have met a few such people who became my mentors. The head of our Chemistry department in college recommended me for a loan scholarship without the slightest hesitation and signed the documents when I approached him.

Another professor who was the head of our agronomy department signed my application for a passport as a guarantor also without hesitation although it could be risky for him to do so. But these good people believed in me and knew that I will never let them down.

How does anyone get to know a person and his character well enough to trust him? You may have noticed that in a class or in an office, you can be noticed if you work hard at the task given to you and produce excellent results often working overtime and doing more than what is normally required of you. So this trust is gradually earned.

I earned this trust in Algeria of our director and deputy director of the agricultural office where I worked by going to the field at 6 am in freezing winter to do the job assigned to me. They sent me gas coupons for my motorbike and urged me to stuff newspaper into my leather jacket to ward off chill of winter. They asked me to stay but I had to leave Algeria.

But the toxic people I am writing about are also noticed in any workplace or community where they are avoided by others. Nobody wants to be used by others or taken advantage of by anyone but there is always a first time. If you  have come across such people in your life then I am sure you know how to deal with them but children are innocent so they do not know how to deal with them.

The movie Forrest Gump is very interesting where the child with polio and wearing braces to walk learned to run and away from bullies. He later became a war hero during the Vietnam War and received the Congressional Medal of Honor but not everyone can run away so what do you teach your children? How do you teach them how to identify toxic people and stay away from them?

This is where your experience in life can come in handy. Teach them never to be afraid of bullies and users. Teach them to be kind and helpful to those who need but flatly refuse to have anything to do with the toxic people. This will strengthen their resolve and they will develop a strong character. To learn to say No is a good thing. I know I got off easily by parting with only 5 Rupees because it could have been worse. The point is that one should never accept to be used by others.

There is a wonderful video that talks about how to identify and deal with toxic people so watch it here.

Source : U Tube video

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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The concept of time

Synopsis : Time means different thing to different people. Some value it while others do not. The blog focuses on what is important in life that people should prioritize and spend more time on.

The concept of timetime-management-system-needed-in-business

Source : Google photo

Do you often think how time passes for you either too quickly or slowly? Do you often feel that you want to do so many things but have so little time to do it? What is time after all? Why it means different things to different people? Why some value it while others don’t?

These are the questions that come to my mind when I write about the concept of time which after all is the invention of man. The nature is timeless and the animal kingdom runs on what is called the rhythm of nature. They procreate according to the season and the availability of food, water and the urgency to their survival because they depend on the nature. But we as humans have always tried to control the nature through inventions that gave us greater flexibility of living in harsh climates and situations.

We do not depend on the nature to provide us food, shelter and clothing as our ancestors did long ago and have learned to grow our food even under artificial environment in hydroponic farms and on large commercial farms on a massive scale using technology and machines that were unthinkable to our ancestors who depended on the weather and rain to grow their food using primitive tools.

We have constantly tried to be more efficient in the production of everything we need for our survival including robotics although it is questionable if indeed it is necessary to do away with human intervention just to be more efficient.

This brings us to the question of what is the meaning of time and why we are always trying to save it and for what purpose? We see everyday  people always rushing to somewhere , running and speeding to get to some place looking constantly at their watches as if every second counts.

We see thousands of people all very self-absorbed walking fast while talking on their cell phones and unmindful of others whom they disturb by their loud phone conversations. We see all the time how Americans talk while munching on their sandwich while briskly walking within their offices or other places as if time is running away from them and they must use every second of it .

But we also know that time means different things to different people. When we were in Mali , we found a British woman  near the bush taxi station who was practically in tears because the taxi man kept her waiting the whole day saying that he will leave any time. She could not go anywhere even to a bathroom if that was available fearing that they will leave without her if she was gone for a minute.

I said to her not to worry. The bush taxi leaves only when it is full and will wait whole day for it .Time means nothing to people here so one must not be in a hurry and should not believe them when they say they will leave any time. So we brought her home where she had cold clean water to drink and rest for a while.

When we brought her back to the taxi stand, sure enough the taxi man was still waiting. She was not used to it in her country where everything runs on time and where you can miss a bus or a train if you are late by just one minute.

In Japan you can set your watch to an exact time and will see the train gliding in. In some countries like in the USA people will tell you that you are five minutes late and kept them waiting which they do not like. So we live in a world that is very time conscious in certain parts whereas others like in Mali or in the Kalahari they have all the time and are quite relaxed about it.

In some countries they punish you if you are late going to your office or workplace so you will see the time clocks where you have to insert a card to register the exact time you arrive and leave while in other countries people take a more relaxed attitude. This time consciousness or the relaxed attitude then becomes a part of their culture.

I live in Asia where often people keep you waiting for them because they do not take time seriously but get very upset if you do the same to them. I have seen this in hospitals where unfortunately we go once in a while where the doctors often show up 30 minutes or an hour late keeping many patients waiting for them but they get very upset if the patient is late a few minutes suggesting that their time is more valuable than others. This may be also cultural because they seldom apologize for such behavior.

I used to work for the UN when they required me to write lengthy reports etc. that had to be always completed by a deadline so I had this habit of doing what was required of me ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute.

But I am good at the time management which I learned through my long experience while others complain because they can’t manage their time well and suffer immense pressure and its consequences at their work place.

The daily grind of commuting a long distance using public transport to get to the office or workplace  makes people tired and anxious and fretful everyday which takes its toll on their physical and mental health because they live under time pressure. Some bring their work home where they keep on typing and writing the report that is due so the family life suffers in the end.

Then I see the Africans sitting under the baobab tree calmly drinking their tea and having a smoke of their foul tobacco while chatting about their farm or the rain that does not come. They are never in a hurry and take it easy. If you go to their village, you will be asked to wait under a tree while someone goes to search for the village chief. When he comes and asks you the purpose of your visit, only then he gives orders to prepare a hut for you. Women then prepare hot water for you to wash and prepare your meal. After you are all settled in and have washed and eaten the meal, the village chief will receive you and only then you get down to the business at hand. It is all very relaxed and congenial.

So time means different things to different people and is tied to their culture. I also noticed the  mañana habit in some cultures where everything is put away for another day. This habit is also known as procrastination. They will promise you the whole world but never get to keep the promise. You will be in deep trouble if you take them seriously and expect them to do what they promise.

I had a slide projector that needed repair in Mostaganem, Algeria so I brought it to the shop where the fellow said that he will fix it in a week so not knowing their culture I believed in him and went back after a week. It was not done. He kept on promising to fix it for six months or so but each time said the same thing. He always promised to do it in a week. May be his week was six month-long but it made me filled with frustration because I expected him to mean what he said.

When I was in high school, we were taught to learn to manage our time because the high school exams were a Board exam where the examination started promptly at 7 am and ended exactly at 10 am giving us three hours to answer 10 to 12 questions. So our teachers told us all to wear a watch and synchronize it or bring a clock and keep it in front. We were supposed to answer all the required questions in the time given to us and leave at least 15 to 20 minutes for a thorough review of our answers just in case we made a mistake here or there.

I was very surprised when I took the GRE exam in California one day that was required by the college so I went to the exam center in Lompoc. There the invigilator stood with a stop watch in his hand and told us when to turn our page to answer the next question. Americans do not like to leave it to the examinee to work at his own pace and decide for himself like we were used to in India so I was quite surprised. I still think our system of learning to manage time early in high school was the right way because it required us to be responsible.

Now I look back and reflect on the importance of time as propounded by the western culture and the easy-going way people treat time elsewhere and think that the African way of making you feel comfortable before any serious business talk is a good way and the job gets done under pleasant conditions often with positive results although some Africans do not take others seriously.

When I asked the villagers to build huts for us because we had to often work in their village, they mobilized the whole village and built for us several round houses. It was an enormous effort on their part but they did it except that the huts were never occupied by our staff. The project manager who was a Malian said that there should be a feast to show our appreciation for the effort of the villagers before we could occupy the huts but never managed to prepare the feast or ask someone to do it. He later died in a road accident. This was a classic case of procrastination in its extreme.

I do not appreciate anyone wasting my time because I do not waste anyone’s time. So when a person shows a callous attitude toward others and does not do what he promises to do then it can be very annoying like that fellow in Mostaganem. It also shows the character of that person. If he is a classic procrastinator and never keeps his promise and is always late for anything then people start to mistrust him. Such a person does not succeed in anything he does because he lacks the discipline to do the job.

They say that army is the best place to shape up a lazy fellow really fast. There the recruits are all homogenized in a brutal way by first shaving off their locks and beards and then put them through really rough boot camp where for every mistake they are punished with push-ups or other forms of punishment. They are punished if they are late by a few minutes, if they can’t wake up at 4 am precisely, if their beds are not made up according to regulations, if they can’t finish their meals in the time provided etc. But a softer approach as taught by our teachers to manage our time is a better way because it made us responsible.

But the most busy person also retires one day when he does not have to rush to his office and rush to meetings or rush to prepare reports. Then he starts to realize how much he has missed the finer things in his life-like forming a bond with his loved ones, like getting to know his neighbors, like fishing in a mountain stream while smoking his amphora pipe, like watching the beautiful sunrise or sunset and see how his children grew up and one day left home . He was so busy that he never had time for any of the fine things in life.

Some people are so married to their career that they overlook what is more important in their life until it is too late. They earn money, drive fancy cars and morosely watch evening news on their 60 inch curved TV munching on sandwich because the wife has divorced him and the kids have left to live their own life elsewhere.

So if you are the type that always looks at his watch then ask yourself this simple question. Was it worth it? What is time anyway if not spent wisely on things that matter in life-like your family, your kids, your grand kids, your passion which could be writing or reading or doing the things you always wanted but never found the time to do it. Could you at the end of your life say honestly that you spent your time well on this earth? If you did then I salute you.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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