Sunday, May 30, 2010

Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has reached epic proportions, now that BP's TOP KILL procedure has been declared a failure. BP's oversight and negligence in preventing this kind of a fallout has resulted in an ecological catastrophe of gargantuan dimensions, exposing the precious wetlands, coastal areas and all its inhabitants to untold dangers. Fishermen are contemplating suicide because their entire livelihood has been wiped out for God knows how long. Marine life and birds are dying in huge numbers with a million gallons of oil spilling into the ocean each day, a disaster unprecedented in human history, even bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, experts say.

The Obama administration is facing a severe backlash for not having done enough so far, with political pundits aiming their barbs at the White House. All this political wrangling and mudslinging is not going to help. Instead of commisserating with the vain hand wringing and cries of despair from the people, BP must realize it is solely responsible for this fiasco and take further action to plug the leak right away and do whatever it takes to clean up the spill. The magnitude of this environmental disaster is so huge that it's going to take decades to recover from, a daunting prospect that sends shivers up the spine.

Yet life goes on in other parts of America and the rest of the world, as it always does. Several twitter feeds were oohing and aahing about Michelle Obama donning dots, which prompted me to post the following tweet: "Shallowness in society has reached an all-time high. People, focus on the Gulf oil spill now, not on Michelle Obama's dotted summer dress!" My heart goes out to all those affected by this catastrophe, not just humans, but all creatures of the marine and avian kind, and the vegetation of these coastal areas. Man, in his greed and stupidity, has time and again wrecked the fragile ecosystems of the world. It's high time we focused on alternate sources of energy to make this planet safer and viable to live in, for our children and the generations to come!

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Carpe Diem" - Seize The Day!

Today being the Victoria Day holiday, just finished watching the Peter Weir film, "Dead Poets Society" with my son. What a compelling movie about an iconoclastic English professor John Keating, played by Academy Award winner Robin Williams! Thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the way in which Keating so passionately goes about changing his students' lives forever, inspiring them and making their lives so exciting and extraordinary. He encourages them to break the mold and pursue their dreams, much to the chagrin of the staid school management and the enraged parents.

A teacher has the power of inspiring and challenging the students to greater heights, but when one uses unconventional methods to do so, it is not very amusing to the administration, resulting in the teacher getting fired, as in this case. The students, on the other hand, as impressionable as they are, embrace the teacher and his ideology with unmistakable, irrepressible enthusiasm. "Carpe Diem" (Seize the Day) says the teacher, as he challenges his wards to live life to the fullest, resulting in the students sneaking out of their boarding school at night to convene the Dead Poets Society meetings. Each student seizes the day in his own way, with one going on to tragically take his own life in defiance of his father who forbids him to take up acting and wants him to go to medical school instead.

I came away with the feeling of how powerful a teacher's role can be in an impressionable youngster's life. I see my own kid idolizing his teacher in a similar fashion ( he got this movie as a gift a long time ago, but chose to watch it now only because Mr. Wingerak told him in class what a great movie it was!), which only reiterates the fact of what a great responsibility the teacher has in shaping his students and guiding them in the right path. Idealistic and unconventional though a teacher might be, it is imperative that he/she also be a realist and have his/her feet firmly planted on the ground, and not just merely advise the students to wander with their heads in the clouds. Parents want their children to succeed and when they get the right kind of support from the teachers, the children are sure to make a mark in their lives.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Acrimony And Bitterness In A Marriage

I have seen first hand several supposedly strong marriages bite the dust. The rancor, acrimony, bitterness, resentment, and sheer hostility the spouses have for each other as the marriage crumbles is unbelievable. Whatever brought this on, I wonder! These seemingly loving couples who had hitherto been all over each other get to a stage where they simply can't stand the sight of each other, let alone be in the same room. If children are involved in the equation, then the wrangling and custody disputes reach unparalleled heights of nastiness. And if there's plenty of money thrown in the mix, then the fight escalates to an almost unthinkably barbaric level.

In my opinion, most marriages these days fail because of very many reasons, a few of which I think it's important to mention here. One of them is the tendency to focus on all the negative points of the partner, magnifying them and exaggerating them out of proportion, until life with the man or woman becomes next to impossible. There is also the overwhelming urge to control the spouse, which could be emotional as well as financial, and in some cases escalate to physical domination, such as hitting and throwing things at the spouse to intimidate them and make them cower in fear. Emotional control can be very damaging because one wants the other to change according to his/her wish, not realizing that the person is an individual in his/her own right. And financial control can go to a ridiculous extent as well. I personally know a case where the wife controls the bank accounts and gives the husband just two dollars a day for coffee and nothing more... something quite pathetic, considering the high station of the husband.

The foremost of reasons that leads to the breakup of a marriage is trash-talking the spouse to family and friends, and constantly berating the spouse's parents and siblings on a daily basis, but speaking very highly of his or her own , something that noone can tolerate. When there is no love or respect in the marriage, but there is only contempt for the spouse and his or her family, then the marriage is doomed to fail and is beyond salvaging of any kind. Trust plays a very important role in keeping a marriage together, and once suspicion rears its ugly head, then paranoia sets in - not a very good thing for a marriage to succeed. This only leads to emotional withdrawal in the marriage, slowly paving the way for an acrimonious tussle between the spouses.

I remember someone saying that marriage should never be considered a noun, but looked at as a verb ... what a profound truth! When one takes the vow of "I do," one has to take it seriously and work actively at it to make it succeed. The husband and I have been doing just that, and the week after next will be celebrating 23 years of togetherness. Here's to us, let me say!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poem For Recitation - I

Thought I should share some poems that I memorized and recited as a child. It's a surprise that I still remember them after sooo many years and can recite them flawlessly. Recitation is becoming a forgotten art these days and I only wish the kid at home would realize the value of learning poems by heart and reciting them. I believe it aids and improves memory and that there is something definitely uplifting and exhilarating about the whole experience. Here is one that I learned in Grade 4:


by William Wordsworth

I wander'd lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of the bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee;

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company:

I gazed - and gazed - but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure sings,

And dances with the daffodils.

What a visual treat this poem offers, and what a spectacular way of describing a scene from one of the poet's frequent walks! I absolutely love it to this day, Wordsworth being one of my all-time favorites!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Mother's Day this year was both a pleasure and a pain for me - a pleasure because both my men did their best to keep me happy, and a pain because I missed my own mother who passed away last year. My mother's death has taught me what a great role a mother plays in the lives of her children, the untold sacrifices she makes her entire life for her family, and the unconditional love she extends towards them. Strange that her death should bring home this truth to me, not that I didn't know, but only that I hadn't realized it until now! I love and miss my Mom and I hope somewhere from the netherworld, my Mom is aware of how I feel. Rest in Peace, Mummy!

Mother's Day never comes and goes without its incumbent benefits - breakfast in bed, gifts galore, brunch/lunch/dinner at a fancy restaurant, not to mention the cabernet sauvignon, the pinot grigio or the yellow tail. Mothers usually milk it for all its worth on this day, and only wish every single day were Mother's Day in their lives. The best part I loved this year was that the husband had made reservations at the Kirin Seafood Restaurant at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster, knowing very well my partiality to seafood. The multi-course meal was fantastic, a plethora of seafood before me - fish, shrimp, crab, you name it - and the requisite meat dishes of course, without which the kid would've pulled a long face. I have to make a special mention of the spicy crab dish here, something that was divine and made me think I had died and gone to heaven!

An added bonus was not the clothes shopping at Calvin Klein, but my visit to the Renaissance Bookstore in New West. Since we had an hour before our lunch reservation, that was my special time to browse and take in the heady smell of the books in print. E-books be damned, the printed version is an aphrodisiac to me! I simply love the smell and touch and colours and feel of the books arranged in all their glory! I vowed to myself that this was a place I'd return to, again and very soon at that. I couldn't have enough of the Spirituality, Theology, History, and Occult sections in the bookstore. My hunt for a translation of the Upanishads was in vain, but I still managed to buy a book on the Bible Code and a few more on Buddhist mysticism. So that's some delightful reading for me in the days to come!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable Mother's Day 2010, need I say?!!?