Friday, April 20, 2018

Behind the "Experiment"


Since there are many enquiries about the reason behind my "experiments with colors", and when will the "experiment" end, I thought I will post a blog. Let me start with the note that it is just not an experiment for experiment sake. That is, I did not start this experiment just to see how society reacts to someone wearing black, what is the impact of wearing only back on myself etc. though I was observing all these and interpreting the data! It is an unemotional decision for an emotional cause!! It is unemotional decision as it is grounded on the theory that visual reminders that are "seen" everyday have better impact on the action. Emotional Cause was so strong to push me into this and I still have not resolved it.

To give a context to those who don’t know me well, who have not been following my earlier articles: I decided to wear only black, forego my habit of applying maruthani, make my reasonably long hair to shoulder length. (Just "black only" became more visible and became more popular as an experiment, however. It is interesting to observe that even those commented on all three, did not/could not connect these three!!) It is exactly one year and two months since I started this - on 25th February 2018. The state of Tamilnadu was so pathetic at that time (it still is, unfortunately!). It became so obvious that there were no leaders to think about welfare of the state. It is not that we had leaders before and we lost them recently. It is just that, it came out in the open and stood as the most hurtful ugly truth. It felt as if I am living in a soak pit / septic tank! I can literally feel the smell on my body even now as I write this sentence. The pain was/is unbearable. On one end, I am what I am because of this country and on the other end, I felt completely let down by the country for all the genuineness I had!!

When I reflected back on what I could have done differently to contribute to a better state, it felt like a problem I do not own sometimes and felt like a problem I should have owned sometimes. It felt like a solvable issue sometimes and a unconquerable monster sometimes. Sure, I was a sincere citizen who voted in all elections, who voted for good candidates only after careful background check (they did not win in most cases though), who travelled 600 kilometres just to vote, who paid tax promptly, who did not pay any attention to the tax exemption clauses because I thought tax was to help build the nation and getting exempted felt incorrect. But I was also a person who had an opportunity to be part of administrative system and political system that we blame today but did not take the opportunity in the pursuit of my personal choices and preferences. How can I blame a system that I did not contribute to fix or create properly? The counterargument that ran in my mind was civilization functions at the very premise of exchange of services - that I contribute to the society in some way and enjoy the benefit of being in the society in some other way. Where did it go wrong in that case? 

The more and more I thought about it, it is just not politicians but it is the way the whole system is working today. It is just that I was in a protected environment I did not get exposed to the ugliness of what was happening… I was ignorant… and the ignorance was torn… the filters were broken… Sure I was seeing many gaps in the system earlier too but they were so mild compared to what I could see now… corruption in every possible aspect of life - starting from a bus conductor charging luggage fare to illiterate women but not charging literates for the same sized or even bigger sized bags, electricity board employees charging extra money per card as collection fees while government is paying them for playing the role and so on… It felt as if I am a stranger in my own country

Dwelling in the past too much is not a good idea especially when you know there is nothing much you can learn from it. So I thought instead of thinking about what went wrong, why it went wrong, I should focus on what I can make right even if it is only a small contribution. It would be like adding fresh water to our sewage ridden rivers… when we start, filth will be more than the fresh water and the river will be dirty; but seeing a few of us doing, more people will start adding more and more fresh water, at some point the filth will be less than the fresh water and our river will become usable again is my logic. I don’t know if I will live long enough to see that tipping point but I wanted to try.

The next dimension I considered is about my starting point: I did not/ do not think that becoming a politician is the solution because people in politics are only a representative sample of  the entire population, we need to clean the whole population with both bottom up and top down approaches. Since, I don’t have the circle of influence to start top-down, I will / can go bottom up.

I also realised that there are many things that hurt us badly but in the run mill of everyday life we forget the hurt and go with the flow. I did not want my pain and my urge to act on it to be forgotten. I needed a strong enough reminder that will make me never forget. As a person, I never like to be generalised or constrained. A constraint that is so obvious and make it easy for others to generalise will help me remember it, even if it is not every day, at least every week. I chose to wear only black, forgo maruthani and cut my hair short - this is how my "Operation Black" started and as described in my previous posts, it is a powerful tool - I am reminded constantly and continuously.

Last year, I did not know what to do and where to start but I knew I have to start somewhere. Now, I am working towards making a positive change to the morale and morality of younger minds. When I touch a few communities through these young minds and there is evidence that the communities turned around I will change to colours… Sure, there are stories of Asifas, Hasinis & Anitas and stories of Nirmalas to make dent in the confidence and hope but there are also Malu Sheikas, Rifath Sharooks, and Preethi Srinivasans who build it back. With a lot of ups & downs and mood swings, my Operation Black is going on.

Looking forward to all your support and contribution so that I can change to other colours… Your action or contribution need not be same as mine… the questions in front of us are

  • How can we make a mentally, ethically, physically, economically fit/sound society and how can we make a sustainable culture of integrity
  • How can we create a safe environment for humans and other lives and how do we leave a better planet for tomorrow

I see more and more people are stepping in to make it cleaner and answer the above questions in their own way. I am hoping to change to other colours before I leave the planet!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Returning after the first quarter!


Thank you readers & friends for the inquiries on new blog posts rather no blog posts!   

My blogging journey started in 2008 with no serious plan to be a blogger. 2008, 09 and 10 were early years where I was learning what to write and how to write; I would not count them for my reflection now. Though I have written 173 articles so far, intermittent silence is not new!! I had  two breaks in 2011 and one in 2013. But after that there were no months without at least one article!!  But, 2017 has been an interesting year in my blogging career! The number of posts touched a new low - just 14 for 12 months! 2018 is even more special that one whole quarter (forgive me for the "whole-quarter" oxymoron) has gone without any article!! This is the longest break after my interest in writing picked up and my reader circle started increasing… Looks like I am in a reflection point!!

In end of 2016, I declared that I will not be able to write during the rest of the year in "எழுதாமல் போவேனோ" (How could I go without writing) expressing the time pressure and my conflicting need to write so many topics but ended up writing two more articles before the close of the year. 2017 started well with decent number of articles in Jan and then started limping along! I replayed 2017 & 2018 in my mind to see any relationship between blogs and the other potential influencers - my emotions, time pressure, access to input for blogs (or my triggers), discussions with my readers (I realise that my discussions with you are always - at least 99% of the time - offline and not thru the blogger site, hmm… interesting…)  and my writing in other forums / forms. 

Here are my discoveries or lessons that may be useful to you

  • Though 2016 made certain parts of my brain/heart dead, early 2017 took me to extreme anger!! I felt insulted, awkward and ugly by what was happening around.Typically, anger or dissatisfaction pushes one to action or writing; but extreme anger makes one completely numb with no action and dampens the urge to write looks like!! So it is better to bring down the dissatisfaction levels to be within creative discontent thresholds :-)
  • After getting exposed to very strong triggers, the usual ones lose their ability to be triggers. After "இனியொரு விதி செய்வோம்" and what followed, it took greater effort to start writing again
  • Categorising the thought process as positive or negative can be restricting / constraining! A tough/hard article may push people to take action whereas a feel-good article make them feel nice but may not make them think or act! To make people think or act or feel good are all the writer's responsibilities but not necessarily by the same article. So, there is nothing positive or negative about an article!!
  • Sometimes, life could be hard with a little or no time for what you like to do. In spite of that, it is better to allocate a few hours a month for the things you like. If not, you may even forget what you like to do :-) and you may even feel that you are not good at what you like :-) :-) After all, சித்திரமும் கைப்பழக்கம் செந்தமிழும் நாப்பழக்கம்! Practice makes one perfect - at least feel perfect ;-)
  • Irrespective your life situation, there are people who look up to you. Your output could be one of the few things they are counting on in their lives!! Satisfaction comes when you serve them!!
  • On the contrary, there will be readers to bash you :-) Satisfaction in such situations is from their attention & lessons from their inputs and not from their expression :-) :-)
  • Sharing the backlog (of blogs to be written) with others may not be the best strategy! Sometimes, not speaking about the product features before making them results in better products!! hmm… interesting
  • On the contrary, some blogs are write-ups of profound conversations. It is important to be surrounded by thought leaders and more importantly have intellectually provoking conversations with them. It is called "Sat-Sang". Sat-Sang need not be spiritual - what matters is the "Sat"!!

With these reflection, I am hoping to be more regular with writing… being an introvert interested in sharing/giving, writing is a better option for me… with readers from India, USA, Russia, Canada, France, Ukraine, Germany, UK, Indonesia, Australia and a few other countries interested in my blogs, it is better for me to respect their interest…

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Vishwamitra...

I was reading about sage Vishwamitra recently! As a child I was called Vishwamitra by my parents because I was short-tempered!! He was quoted for getting distracted and there were movies to depict him as egoistic person. I was against him for cursing Meneka for his distraction. So, my views about him were not that high when I started my recent reading. But interestingly, though most part of his story and many of the incidents were quite popular & known, there were a number of aha moments for me. This article is a compilation of the reflection points and lessons.

He challenged many traditional thinking. Though there were other kings who were recognized as sages, he was the one to renounce his kingdom and achieve significant progress & was recognized as one of the seven chief sages (in today's world he would have won Nobel prize for the kind of progress he had ;-) ). He was the first to defy class/caste for merit, consider worth over birth. He proved the power of determination and single-mindedness. Big personal and social revolution I feel. He pushed him beyond his limits, broke out of his comfort zone of being a king. He also proved that achieving wisdom is not necessarily a function of genes and it can be a function of careful effort! Hmm… I did not realise that earlier!

He was able to create a heaven and make someone go there with physical body. I interpret this as he was able to launch a satellite for Trishanku and made him travel there. Maybe the technology he used was not ripe enough that Trishanku was not able to stay peacefully there due to some gravitational issues nor return back to earth!! Despite the technical faults, I would give a huge credit to Vishwamitra!! He was the first one to think that he can create a celestial body while others were just worshipping them and thinking that one can travel to space only after death or without a body. Interestingly his efforts in this regard were despised and Trishanku swargam is used in a very negative connotation!! Is it not an irony that people despise(d) him for the greatness?!?!

Not only that, he stopped sacrifice of a human being just before he was put in the sacred fire, took him as a son & disciple and made him as his heir where the tradition was to get the lineage passed from father to son!!  Though he was well known for his short-temper and anger he was named as Vishwamitra - a friend of the entire world - because he was ready to go to any extent to save another life!!! Interesting…. And no one refers to him by his given name Kaushik - of course with just one exception - Meneka was the only one to address him by his given name after he was named as Vishwamitra. Most likely he was drawn to her because she did not consider him as a sage or a king but just as a human!!

There were a few lessons too! A striking lesson is, all of us need a Meneka to distract us and test our ability to withstand the pressure of the distraction. The key is to realise that something is a distraction and withdraw from it effectively (doesn't matter before getting distracted or during the distraction). Interesting point is, once we are able to prove to ourselves that we could withdraw from the distraction, our confidence improves and the self-control improves further. Many times in the past I thought that every time we give in to a distraction a dent is created on self-control; but now I realised that it is other way around - once we get distracted / almost get distracted & get out of it, the self-control towards that type of distraction goes up. Interesting!!

Another lesson is, both pleasant and unpleasant things can express themselves as distractions and interestingly, even if you reject a supposedly pleasant distraction in an unpleasant manner, you are distracted anyways and it reduces your ability to focus on your goals. When Vishwamitra met Meneka, he gave in to the pleasantness of the event. Later in the same situation, when he met Rambha, he did not consider that as pleasant, but reacted with anger and lost his tapas again! There does not seem to be a  major difference between the first and second incident when it comes their effect on the goal. Success lies in not getting distracted positively or negatively!! Another dimension is about what is a distraction: Anything that does not lift the spirits and nudge/nurture us towards our goals is a distraction; anything that makes us feel down in the future or present is a distraction; it is never about the events or other person or things; it is always about what happens to us. This was an interesting lesson for me!

Another interesting reflection point is the difference in his curse on Meneka and Rambha. They both were planted by Indra to distract Vishwamitra from his penance. He cursed Meneka to return back to heaven and turned Rambha to a stone!! One can argue whether going back to heaven is a curse at all :-) The actual curse is not going back to heaven rather not seeing him again probably. If he had thought she was just planted by Indra and she never loved him, why would he curse her not to see him again!!! Did he find it difficult to punish her more or did he think this was the worst punishment for her? Or was he trying to save her from the torture of seeing him but not interacting with him as before? From his perspective, did he try to save him from getting distracted further or did he try punishing him as well by not seeing her? For someone who could renounce the kingdom in pursuit of knowledge how would that have mattered? Latter sounds like a more reasonable explanation. If he only had physical attraction and never loved her, why would he care to send her back to heaven and be safe & comfortable ? Human mind and behaviours are complex and strange!! And, in real life, many times we don’t have the ability to "curse" our Meneka (whatever distracts us) to be out of our sight. To even make them disappear physically or mentally what kind of tapas (or focus) one should have? 

His story also gave some consolation to me :-) Sometimes I have wondered why I react more softly on some people than others, why was I not able to shun them or turn them to stone completely and whether I am partial & therefore mean. His story made me feel that I am not alone in this "meanness"; If a great sage like him, who could create a heaven by himself, reacted differently on different people for the same action, a very average human being like me can fall into the trap at times!! All I need to do is just move on, learn how not to repeat the same mistake again without beating myself up :-)

Having said all this, I am still wondering
a) how did he feel when he renounced his kingdom in pursuit of wisdom and brahma rishi (should I say how did he feel when he changed direction of his career to pursue higher studies and to become a great teacher)
b) how was it like to renounce something only to get distracted by something else on the way
c) how did he get over the shameful feeling that would have ensued (I am referring to only his internal feeling and not about how the world reacted to him) / did he feel shameful at all?
d) how was it like to give away his daughter to another sage in adoption
e) how did he feel when he got recognized as brahma rishi - did he feel it was worth the effort or did he feel he lost many (beautiful?!?!) things in life unnecessarily - after all he got into the game of being brahma rishi only to compete against or revenge another rishi!!
e) despite all the great heights he achieved, why do people refer to him for wrong reasons more often - being arrogant, egoistic, being distracted, being short tempered and for making Trishanku stranded
f) why are his abilities painted differently; how different is Vashista from him - he too cursed others, used weapons, was judgemental and so on?


Not only that I don’t have answers to these questions… I am thinking about Meneka as well… may be another article at a future point in time… 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

An invitation for action…

Wow! There were justifications and arguments again! Anitha  scored 1176 in school exam but only 86 in the entrance exam; would you like to get treated by such a doctor (if she had become a doctor); she died in spite of getting aeronautical engineering seat in MIT and she  went to private school not to government school are some of the arguments against கறை!

Let me take one chunk at a time "Anitha  scored 1176 in school exam but only 86 in the entrance exam; would you like to get treated by such a doctor (if she had become a doctor); she  went to private school not to government school"!! She scored 1176 in exam and 86 in entrance exam! That is the whole point!! If she was able to score so well, why was she not able to score in entrance? The scope of her studies is different from the scope of entrance exam. Let us not forget that!! Was she given an opportunity to prepare?  Sure, the school will not be able to address the scope (or syllabus) issue; who should have done that? Is it not the government? If they are not prepared to give better / wider scope to the children, how can they change the approach at the last minute? How will 12th standard students be able to mediate between the state and central governments to come to a conclusions? Both these governments should have handled it more systematically! That would happen only if we have governments! But, we don’t, unfortunately!!  Did we ever question these guys for actions / inactions? The next argument of memorizing vs. application of knowledge proven by the stark difference in the marks! If someone scored 1176/1200, their cognitive ability is much better than many others. Of course remembering and recalling are first order intelligence and applying & solving are higher order intelligence. For someone who was so very high in first order intelligence how long it would have taken to get into higher orders if given right support? Whose mistake is that she did not get the support? If the supposedly better private schools also did not give her the support, who is answerable? As a society, did we ever question the quality of these private and public schools?

"She died in spite of getting aeronautical engineering seat in MIT" What a pity! She could have called herself as junior of the great Dr Kalam; he studied in MIT and the same course - aerospace engineering!! How come we failed as a society to educate our children to aim high but at the same time celebrate the achievements? Why did we not teach our children to weigh the options? Why did we not teach our children to see the reality of life and move forward with courage? Who should have done this - parents, teachers, relatives, friends and who else? Even if we assume that someone provoked her to commit suicide, we are failing as a society to educate our children to evaluate any instructions and address provocations sensibly. On one end, we seem to be too happy / content with what is happening around us and on the other end we seem to be too fragile to handle any difficulty. Have we lost our ability to understand ground reality and respond to it positively?

I am thinking of my friends from Lebanon, a war torn nation; they were able to accept that bombing and losing loved ones as the reality of life but still able to focus on studies and come up in life. I am generalising a bit here - but - my Lebanese friends are the happiest human beings I have ever met in my life. Our reality of life is, we have "leaders" who are not interested in leading the nation; we have rulers who are keen about their welfare but not public welfare; we have politicians but not statesmen rule our country. What is our role in such a scenario? The only option we have is to focus on our social welfare on our own! Children without parents need to take care of themselves! A nation who does not have leaders should shake itself, start behaving itself and should help itself rebuild from scratch. How long can we blame Mecaulay for screwing up Indian education system and Indian culture? We don’t even know if the blame is correct. It may be a truth in all probabilities given that any country who invades other country would like to keep them as slaves and for the slaves to continue that way, their competence and confidence should be killed. But we are an independent country for the past 70 years. What have we done? We have grown from 30 crores to 130 crores in about 100 years! Many times, it feels like the only core competence! Shame on us!

After reading through or hearing all the arguments, I feel, the only thing from the great ancient India we still carry is our ability to argue for and against almost anything! Sure, this country encouraged people to argue; winning an argument by logic was respected highly. Let us remember that this country also believed strongly in integrity and duty. It is high time we move from the argument mode to action mode! I put forth my response only to clarify why I am upset with Anitha's death. The girl died a few week ago but it still hurts as fresh. In my view, any dissatisfaction or hurt should lead to a positive movement, every time. For any harm others do, the only revenge one can take is moving forward with a smile and determination. If the governments are deceiving us, the only way we have is to make them obsolete by proving that we don’t need them for our well-being. I invite each one of you to respond with your actions not with arguments anymore please. Your actions can be of any size and it can be in any aspect of social well-being… please do your bit…


You can join us in helping the students learn better and face life better. Please write to me or call me if you are keen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

கறை

நூற்றுமுப்பது கோடியில் ஒன்றிரண்டு குறைந்தாலென்ன, குடியா முழுகிவிடும்? என்ன பெரிய நஷ்டம் நாட்டுக்கு? நீலத்திமிங்கலத்துக்கு இரையானோர்பற்றி என்ன சொல்வதுவிளையாட்டுகள் வினையாய் முடிவது ஒன்றும் புதிதில்லையே! எத்தனையோமுறை பெற்றோரும் ஆசிரியர்களும் சொன்னால் கேட்காதவர்கள் முகம்தெரியாதவர்கள் சொல்வதைக் கேட்டு உயிர்விடும் அவலத்தை என்ன சொல்ல!! வலைதளத்தில் நல்ல கருத்துக்கள் பல கிடைத்தும், அறிவு வளர்க்கும் பல விளையாட்டுகள் இருந்தும் தானே தேடிப்போய் உயிர்விடுவோர் குறித்து வருந்துவதில் பயனேதும் உண்டோ!

ஆனால் விருட்சமாய் வளரவேண்டிய விதையொன்று வீணாய்ப்போயிற்றே! என்ன விதமாய் அதைத் தடுத்திருக்க முடியும்? ஒருவேளை என்போன்றோருக்கு மூளையிருந்தால் அரசியலில் ஈடுபட்டிருப்போமோ, தமிழகத்தின் தலைவிதியைமாற்றியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை முதுகெலும்பிருந்தால் அரசுப்பணியேற்று சரியான முடிவுகளைநோக்கி தலைவர்களை நகர்த்தியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை அறிவிருந்தால்  இப்படி ஒருநிலை வரும் என உணர்ந்து உங்களை தயார் செய்திருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை கண்ணிருந்தால் இழிவுற்ற கல்விமுறை கண்டு கொதித்திருப்போமோ, செயலில் இறங்கியிருப்போமோ? ஒருவேளை மானமிருந்தால் ஏற்கனவே செரித்த உணவை உண்ணும் இழிநிலையில் நாடிருப்பதுகண்டு அறப்போர் தொடுத்திருப்போமோ? இப்படி எதுவுமே இல்லாமல், விலங்குகள்போல, வெறுமே உண்டு உறங்கி ஜனத்தொகைபெருக்குவது மட்டுமே கடனென்று வாழும் சமூகத்தில் வாழப்பிடிக்காமல் போனாயோ கண்ணே!

ஒருவேளை என் மகளாய் நீ பிறந்திருந்தால் உன் மன உரம் வளர்த்திருப்பேனோ? வானூர்தியியலில் விண்ணைத்தொடும் வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தும் உன்னுயிர் பிரிந்துபோகாமல் காத்திருப்பேனோ? 1999-2000 வருடத்தில் நீ பிறந்தது காரணமா? அதற்கு முந்தைய வருடம் பிறந்திருந்தால் நீ பெற்ற மதிப்பெண்ணுக்கு மருத்துவப் படிப்பு மிக எளிதாய் கிடைத்தருக்குமே! தமிழகத்தில் பிறக்காமல் வேறெங்கோ நீ பிறந்திருந்தால் உன் கல்வி முறை இயல்பாகவே வேறாயிருந்திருக்கும் உன் விதியும் வேறாயிருந்திருக்குமே கண்ணே!


தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர் தர வாரா என்ற மொழி பொய்யாய்ப் போயிற்றே! எங்கள் செயல்திறமின்மை உன்தீதாய் விடிந்ததே! நாம் இன்று நமது பிறப்புரிமையென்று நினைப்பவையெல்லாம் நம் முன்னோரின் கடின உழைப்புக்குக்கிடைத்த பரிசுவரலாறு கற்பது இந்தப் பரிசை, பரிசின் மேன்மையை உணர்வதற்காகவேயென்று சொல்வதுண்டு! கல்வி உனது பிறப்புரிமையாய் இல்லாமல் போனதால் உன் முன்னோர்களாகிய நாங்கள் வெட்கித் தலை குனிகிறோம்! வரலாறு எங்கள் பக்கங்களை கருப்பாகமட்டுமே இனம்காணும்! எப்படிக் கழுவிக்கரைப்போம் இந்தக் கருப்பை? கறையை?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

No follow-up…

I knew there will be quite a bit of follow ups and discussions on my previous article. Many of you have felt that though other forms of disrespect are bad, they are not as bad as having another relationship. While I am absolutely fine with you having that view, to me, living with a husband who gets into other forms of disrespect, who affects the mental peace and/or blocks the intellectual progress is as hurtful/distasteful/shameful as living with a husband who has another relationship  (If you are a male, please replace the word "husband" with "wife" and read the sentence again). Though a good relationship should be like adding sugar to milk, with the current topic, the question seems to be which poison is better to be added with milk; my answer will be neither; and if you choose one of the poisons as a better poison, what can I say!! People listing all bad behaviours, comparing them and worst of all, defending them as better than one another tires me. So I am not going to write a follow up with my points against each of your arguments. Let us agree to disagree!!

Having said that, as always, I would like to look at positive side of life in spite of all the potential negatives!! Though I called/call all forms of disrespects as adultery (including the ones normally called so), I also believe that anything can be improved, provided there is genuine interest and careful attempt by both the partners. After all, today is the first day of the rest of your life!! Caring (just not care giving, they are different BTW), respecting each other, respecting each other's freedom, trusting, being trustworthy, living up to the commitment given and all other such fundamentals of maintaining a relationship (please note a. I am generalising quite a bit here - these aspects apply to all types of relationships - personal, familial, professional, social etc. b. the list is not exhaustive) are all skills / competences that one can/ needs to develop. Changing a behaviour and improving the skill need constant nurturing and practice. Which means, all the aspects listed above can be improved with conscious and consistent effort provided the individual (in this case, usually, it is individuals) recognizes the need for improvement. But, if one keeps defending the bad behaviours, they will never be able to improve. Choice is left with the individuals!

I wish you good luck with whatever you choose to do… improving or staying stuck… 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Follow up...

Life is interesting! We  never know who we will meet and when! The long flights make us bump into people we would not have met otherwise!! I met with a reader of my blogs. I was happy to hear her feedback. The good thing was, she did not know that she was talking to me  about me! She went on to talk about my writing style, topics & so on and later she suggested me to read my blogs :-) When I revealed that I write them she was surprised and we exchanged our names and whereabouts only at that point!! The fact that humans can have conversations for hours together without even knowing each other's name is even more interesting I guess:-) (that, probably, is another article - "What is in a name?"). We went on to talk about many more topics including some articles in my blog. That long conversation made me think of a follow up of an article that I wrote about three years back on "Adultery". She felt that extra marital affair is more sinful than the other forms of disrespect and I should not be justifying it. We did not discuss that topic any deeper as we had many other things to chit chat about.

I have been thinking about her views… Am I justifying it? Is it more sinful? My article was more against the single point view we have most often about many things in life (single point of view could be an article by itself)! I am not priest of any kind who can declare something as a sinful or not; All I felt / feel is, there are many other behaviors that are very close to or even worse than what is called as adultery!  In my article, I tried to highlight that there are more forms of adultery that is still accepted by the society ironically and I am amused / surprised how society ignores these aspects. The point is, adultery need not necessarily be extra marital; if the spouses do not have mutual respect and love but they are together in this act for other reasons, it is adultery or at best it is trade, in my view. Their reasons could be social (in our family, separation/ divorce is never heard of, our religion does not accept it), familial (my parents want me to be with him/her, my child needs a father/mother), economic (it is not viable option to live individually), safety considerations and so on. In my mind, it is not better than "adultery"!! It probably is more disrespectful and distasteful!

Friends, let me be clear about the best case scenario "the trade"!! I cook for you & you drive for me is just trade. I am not saying trading is bad; all I am saying is, let us not glorify trade as the best thing to do in a relationship… While there are other names/forms of such trade, for some convenience reasons, if the couple decide to settle down for the exchange of care giving actions / services, it is important for them not to forget this fact: there are ethics in all trades & only when these trade ethics are respected it is a good trade! If you decide to trade, be an ethical trader is all I can say. On the other hand, if there is no companionship, it has already failed irrespective of whether it is within the boundaries of a marriage or not. I feel, companionship is all about compatibility - intellectual, emotional / mental and physical. It is a life of blessing if the spouses can get into compatibility in all three levels; but if compatibility is only at physical level and there is no compatibility in one or more of the first two, then, it is at the most primitive form!

Of course, we may share intellectual / emotional compatibilities in other types interaction as well. If we have intellectual compatibility with someone, it will make us the best working partners. For example, Henry Ford and Edison had best intellectual compatibility; I don’t know about their emotional compatibility; but I guess, most likely they would have had good emotional compatibility as well; this does not mean that they have to have physical compatibility. (It is interesting to note how the statement feels / reads awkward when the example is about two men and how easy it is to imagine something physical if one of them was a woman!!). We may have just emotional compatibility with a few others; we may share our happiness or sadness with these individuals but may not discuss our ideas either because of our ability to communicate with them or their ability to grasp. Again, the emotionally compatible people need not have physical compatibility. But if the compatibility stops at just the physical level and does not evolve to the other levels, it is more primitive and comparable to that of the other mammals; it has a potential to die after we cross certain age! People know this inherently! This is where lack of trust and suspicion thrive. In my mind, such suspicious relationship is inferior (or at least limited & constraining) and harmful; it can affect the mental peace and intellectual progress of the couple.


Now, coming back to the topic. The term adulteration is defined as "mixing other matter of an inferior and sometimes harmful quality with food or drink". The term adultery has same origin as adulteration and it means very similar idea at a different plane of life. Any form of disrespect is inferior and harmful; it does not need to be only sexual or physical! If one harms the mental peace or blocks the intellectual progress of the spouse how does it matter if they have the best physical compatibility and/or exchange the services such as food / transportation/safety to each other? How is it not adultery?

How long would we brainwash women that "அடிக்கிற கைதான் அணைக்கும்" (literally translates as "only the arms that beat you will hug you")? How long would we brainwash men that the most possessive woman is the most loving woman!! Though the possessiveness can look to be love and give a high, it will start to become a constraint and lead to abuse! If there is emotional connection or intellectual connection will there be room for such abuses? If there is abuse, will there be higher order compatibility?

That is why, I feel, lack of compatibility and all the other forms of disrespect are adultery as they mix things of inferior quality and harmful actions! In other words, any deed done without love has the potential to be disrespectful, inferior and harmful and it is adultery. It does not matter if those involved are married to each other or not. If they love one another, they will have the best interest of the other; that means, they can't do anything that is harmful or inferior; that means they cannot do anything that has a potential bad consequence to the other in future or present! At that level, there is nothing right or wrong about it!! It is just it is! There is no need for a priest or rule book to tell us! You will just know!