Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Philanderers, Skirt Chasers and Serial Womanizers

I have always been dumbstruck why some men, and successful men at that, choose to be philanderers and cheat on their wives, risking everything they have - their family, position, power, fame, fortune, and self-respect, above all things. There is something absolutely compulsive and reckless in the manner these men go about with their skirt chasing and serial womanizing ways. It is completely baffling how otherwise sane and successful individuals could so nonchalantly throw caution to the winds and get caught in salacious affairs and have utter humiliation heaped on their sordid heads. Why does sex become so important to them that they are ready to risk pretty much everything else in life? It is as if they think with their penis and not their brain after all!

I remember being thoroughly bewildered when President Bill Clinton was caught in his infamous dalliances with the young intern Monica Lewinsky and came close to being impeached then. Why would the leader of the free world do something so petty and sleazy right under the noses of his security detail, I thought, particularly when he had a smart and accomplished wife right there in the White House with him?!? What was he thinking, or was he thinking at all? And look at Tiger Woods' fall from grace! He had everything going for him from ranking No. 1 in his game and being on top of the world with a beautiful wife, lovely kids, and sky-high endorsements, only to lose most of it and plunge to No.13 in the sport - all because of some steamy and rough sex with an endless parade of mindless blonde bombshells and bimbos. He's yet to rehabilitate his game, name and fame, mind you!

And who could forget the Republican Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, who suddenly dropped off the grid and could not be located by his own staff! He was famously said to be hiking the Appalachian Trail, only to have flown away to Argentina for a romantic tryst with his mistress. What a dumb thing for a sitting Governor to do! I can imagine how betrayed his wife of 20 years must have felt, after having had 4 sons with him and having stood beside him in campaign after campaign! Mark Sanford effectively ruined his political career, only to get into the Hall Of Infamy, needless to say. Other politicians who stick out like a sore thumb are John Edwards and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of whom were callous enough to have had a secret love child stashed away somewhere. I can't begin to say which man is more abhorrent than the other here!

John Edwards had an affair with his campaign videographer and had a child with her while his wife was battling breast cancer, and that is something totally unforgivable in the eyes of any woman out there! To make matters worse, he denied he was the father of the child, and passed off one of his own assistants as the father. Now that he's close to being indicted for campaign fund violations, I have no sympathy at all for this rat of a human being! Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone one step further and kept his love child secret for 14 years, having carried on with his housekeeper, in the same house that he shared with his wife and 4 children. How despicable is that! Come to think of the treachery of it ... his beautiful wife Maria, a beloved daughter from the famous Kennedy family and an accomplished television journalist in her own right, had no clue what was going on and the horror of horrors was that both she and her maid delivered their babies just 5 days apart! Is there any redemption for this man at all?

To the womanizers and philanderers, I also have to add the rapists, those men wielding so much power that they think they're invincible and can get away with anything they do, particularly sexually assaulting the unsuspecting women they come across. Who would've thought that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would get his kick out of forcing himself on women! His attempt to rape a New York city hotel maid has landed him in jail, forcing him to resign from his powerful position of holding the wallet of the world. I hope to God he gets convicted for rape and spends forever in jail, just as the former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav has been, and who is languishing in jail right now! No one is above the law, and men in power have to be held accountable for their testosterone-driven stupidity, just as anyone else.

Billy Crystal once quipped: "Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place." How true! Matters become worse when men find a place and continue to behave callously, irresponsibly, and treacherously, unmindful of the consequences. They go on to prove Robin Williams' words, "God gave us a penis and a brain, but not enough blood to use both at the same time." Funny, but true, eh?!?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Weekend In Hell

I never realized that my life could change so dramatically from one of good health and joie de vivre to yet another of pain and agony, all within a week's time. In my previous post I'd written about what a pleasant Mother's Day weekend I'd had, but I guess I'd spoken too soon! This weekend has just been an agonizing hell for me, and by that I mean a bone-chilling ride to the heights of pain, and an excruciating, intolerable one at that. It has made me question the wisdom of having my wisdom teeth extracted and willingly subjecting myself to torture. Every time I went for my regular cleaning, my dentist prevailed upon me to have the wisdom teeth removed from my lower jaw, the upper ones already having been removed while I was in California some years ago. Since the lower ones had nothing to grind against in the upper jaw, and since they were beginning to press on the teeth next to them, I realized that the time was imminent to have them extracted.

Friday, May 13th, was my day off towards my IPD (Individual Professional Development) and since I could work from home that day and didn't have to teach a class, I decided to have the teeth extractions done the previous evening, so I would have three days in a row on the weekend to recover from the procedure. Boy, was I mistaken! As it is, I'm petrified of the dentist's chair. The lopsided view of things from my inclined, head down position, accompanied by the shrill sound of all the dental equipment around me, always gives me the creeps. And throw in the paper I had to sign with a bulleted list of all the things that could potentially go wrong during the extractions - from permanent nerve damage to a broken jaw to a heart attack - not a pretty picture at all! With my frozen jaw and an inability to communicate, I still managed to mumble, "Oh, that's a scary list!", and the dental assistant cheerily replied, "Don't worry. That happens to just one in a million patients!" With nary a moment for second thoughts, I signed the paper like an automaton and resigned myself to whatever will be! Well, the left wisdom tooth eased off quite well, but the right one stubbornly refused to say goodbye. The good doctor exerted all the pressure he could to pry it off, and almost broke my jaw in the process. Panic began to set in as he dug in and tugged and pulled, and I began to pray in earnest around the third minute or so. "God, please let me not be that one in a million, and let me not die in the dentist's chair," I wailed silently, and mercifully at last, the tooth did come out!

It was then that my experience in hell began. Once I regained sensation in my jaw, it was as if every nerve in every tooth and every single area of my mouth was out to punish me. The searing, throbbing, pulsating, agonizing pain has to be experienced to be believed, and I have been howling in agony these past three days. I was not supposed to eat rice or anything with seeds in it, not even whole grain bread, so it was just chicken broth and yogurt for the first two days. Since there was nothing substantial in my stomach, the Advil I'd been asked to take was burning a hole in my stomach and intestines - a whole different pain altogether. From a silent, cheek-swollen mute, I slowly transformed into a whining, snapping harpie! "Mom, can you please not make that noise? It's so annoying!" said the kid. "Wait till you go through the same thing. Then you'll know," I snapped back at him. I woke the husband up with my moaning, and kept him up at night with all my pain-induced tossing and turning.

When things began to get out of hand, I called my dental centre to ask for pain medication. My dentist was away in Victoria for the weekend, and after the assistants tracked him down, he was kind enough to call the pharmacy and fill in my prescription of antibiotics and painkillers. He has called twice since then to see how I'm doing. It still hurts, but I'm sure I'll recover in time to teach my class tomorrow. Thank God I had only two remaining wisdom teeth and they're both gone now! I'm happy the teeth are out, but I'd be happier if the wisdom remained after all! Which brings me again to the question of why it's called a wisdom tooth after all, and why on earth are dentists so hell-bent on ridding us of our wisdom! Answer, anyone? :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I really don't believe in celebrating just one particular day as Mother's Day for the sole reason that a mother is the only person on earth who performs multiple roles as teacher, nurse, counselor, chef, chauffeur, friend, etc., etc., with aplomb, and therefore needs to be recognized every single day for her selflessness and sacrifice. Better said than done, so we take whatever is accorded to us with grace, and milk it for all its worth!!! Last Sunday, May 8th, was Mother's Day, and I jokingly commented on Facebook that I had finished all the maid's work of cooking and cleaning the previous day itself, so I could be treated like a queen the next day. That was just light-hearted ribbing, mind you! I must acknowledge in this post, that jokes apart, I DID have a fantastic day of relaxation and fun, and some pampering to boot!

Friends Rupa and Gopi, and their daughter Nayantara, have immigrated to Canada recently, and since Gopi has returned to Bahrain to work, it was just Rupa and Nayantara by themselves on Mother's Day. so we decided to include them in our family outing for the evening, in this case, dinner at the Saffron Lounge in Metrotown. The husband had already made reservations for the dinner, so there was no surprise there, but on an unsuspecting occasion or two, I caught the kid whispering to his Dad behind my back, with a worried expression on his face, and wondered what the fellows were up to. Come Mother's Day, I woke up quite late, to find the house eerily quiet. The kid was deep in slumber in his room, and the husband was nowhere to be seen. It was then that I remembered I'd gotten a hug and a kiss by way of greeting in the morning from the husband, all in my sleep, when I'd been half-unconscious to the world. So where had he gone? Where else? To work! No surprise there again!

I warmed the Bournvita that had already been thoughtfully made and left covered for me, and sat down to check my email and Facebook notifications, when the kid sleepily sauntered from his room to give me another hug and a kiss, and wish me a happy Mother's Day. Now this is such a rarity in my house, and by that I mean both his getting up early and also his giving me a hug and a kiss! For him to be up and about before 10 AM on a Sunday morning just to greet me is so very special just because it's rare! Anyways, he promptly went back to bed and slept on till noon, leaving the house in absolute quiet, just to myself. Solitude is such bliss at times, and when there are no attendant chores to be taken care of, it can be heaven indeed! He woke up around noon and made me an omelette with all the professionalism of a chef. I wasn't allowed to enter the kitchen, not even for a glass of water. Everything was brought to me wherever I was at the time, and then when the husband arrived, they sheepishly announced that they had ordered something for me, which unfortunately hadn't arrived in time for Mother's Day (hence the worried expression on the kid's face that I'd caught earlier)! Surprise!!!

Now what was that mystery gift that so famously did not reach me in time for my day? The kid had decided that I should take things up a notch with Zumba dancing, something he'd remembered that I'd been interested in sometime ago. I assured the guys it was OK, that it was the thought that counted, blah blah blah, while the husband dutifully gave the receipt to me and the tracking number to trace my gift's whereabouts. Looks like all Canadian orders had an extra delay in shipping and handling (am yet to receive the DVDs), but the guys made up for it by waiting on me hand and foot the entire day. The evening with Rupa and Nayanu was a very pleasant affair and when I crashed into bed that night, the thought that was foremost in my mind was that I had had a very pleasant day, and was fortunate indeed to have a wonderful son and a loving husband, irrespective of their untimely, delayed gift, or no gift at all! Who cares? My men are the best!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hunting Down A Mass Murderer

I remember quite vividly that fateful 9/11 morning ten years ago when the twin towers came down in New York, and along with them, the lives of 3000 innocent Americans, all in one fell swoop. The horror and magnitude of that unthinkable tragedy is seared into our collective memories and etched into our brain cells, never to be forgotten till the day we die. From my living room in San Jose, California, I watched in speechless horror the vilest terrorist act ever perpetrated on American soil. It has been a remarkable decade ever since, book-ended by the tragedy on one end and the killing of the terrorist mastermind at the other! What a manhunt it has been! While the whole world was busy taking in the Royal Wedding in London, President Obama signed the executive order authorizing the raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that brought the Face of Evil to justice, finally!

The historical coincidence of Hitler's and Osama's death being announced to the world, exactly on the same day, May 1, 66 years apart, is quite eerie and bizarre in itself. It was poetic justice that both the mass murderers met an ignominious end, the former having been pushed to take his own life, and the latter having been gunned down by the elite US commando team that stormed his hideaway. The legendary Navy SEAL Team 6 enacted in real life the hunt for a terrorist as if it were a scene from a spy movie, and the surgical precision with which the raid was carried out was a brilliant coup for the Americans, something that will go down as a meticulous, impeccable operation in their intelligence history. It was a moment of relief for all sane-minded individuals who heaved a collective sigh of relief that the world was a better place to live in, now that the greatest terrorist of them all had been killed.

Stories of valor and heroism by men in uniform have always fascinated me since childhood. I remember reading about the counterterrorism raid in Entebbe, Uganda, when Israeli commandos stormed the airport hangar on June 27, 1976, to free their citizens being held as hostages from the hijacking of an Air France Airbus. Idi Amin, who was sheltering the terrorists at the time, had the biggest shock and surprise of his life to learn of the near-perfect rescue operation carried out under his very nose. The Navy SEALs have done better this time, with zero casualties on their side, and just some collateral damage in the form of a helicopter that crash landed and had to be destroyed, all under the nose of the Pakistani military just half a mile away. The daring raid has kept the world agog with wide-eyed wonder and surprise, and the commandos have gained legendary status and will be part of military lore in the days to come!

The hunt for the terrorist mastermind of the century has come to fruition at last, and while it is time to move on, it is equally imperative for the world to keep a vigilant eye that terrorism doesn't rear its ugly head again. The head of Al Qaeda has been cut off, but the body of the snake still writhes, reminding us that we live in a changed world ever since 9/11!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I am not an avid Royal watcher or enthusiast, and in fact, I have been sick and tired of all the attention the latest royal wedding has garnered. Mercifully, it's over, at last, and Will and Kate have gone back to their lives, and the media has turned its attention to the more mundane things happening around us. Many of my friends might disagree with my take on this and question if I do have a romantic bone in my body at all or a penchant for fairy tale romances and the happily-ever-after. Sadly, the answer is a big NO. Perhaps I've grown older, and along with my age, so has my cynicism! Did I wake up at 3 AM to watch the Royal Wedding? No. Did I catch it at all? Yes, but only in bits and pieces, and that too because it was on all the channels on TV. I just couldn't get the hullabaloo over the bride's dress and how it was kept a secret till the very last minute, or the special cake that Will had requested, a particular favorite of his from his boyhood, or the titles that the Queen bestowed on them on their wedding day.

What makes the Royals so special? Do they deserve any of this over-exposure and fawning over by other "mere mortals"? It is my personal opinion that the monarchy is an outdated, antiquated, and irrelevant institution that should be abolished, in keeping with the growing trends of the modern world. They are royals just by virtue of an accident of birth, and the life of privilege they enjoy hasn't been earned by them in any way. While the rest of the populace strives hard to make a mark and fight through the ranks in life, the Queen has never lifted a finger in her life, and her family members have no redeeming aspects to their credit - intelligence, qualifications, accomplishments, or anything of that sort - to validate their claims to privilege. Their wealth is rightfully the taxpayers' and their status is so over-rated in a world that has seen so much of change down the centuries. There is no particular use in having a ceremonial head at the expense of the taxpayers, and in accordance with the times, the archaic institution of the monarchy that has no relevance whatsoever any longer needs to be done away with. Millions have been splurged on this recent wedding, but whose money was it, and at whose cost? Points to ponder!

Kate's engagement ring (originally Diana's) boasts an 18-carat sapphire mined from Sri Lanka, they say, one of Britain's colonies in the past. The sun never set in the British Empire of the olden days, and neither did their plundering of the wealth from all the colonies under their subjugation! A look at the legendary Royal Jewellery Collection in the famous Tower of London stands testimony to this fact, with many of the diamonds and gems having gone to England from India for the Queen, the Kohinoor Diamond to name the most famous of them all. The East India Company robbed my homeland and stripped it of its wealth, all for the Queen, and I see no reason to support the Royals in any way, well into the 21st century, and long after they had to leave my country of birth. When I became a Canadian citizen, I was asked to swear allegiance to the Queen, Canada also being one of her colonies, but I chose to swear allegiance to God instead. I don't hate the Royals, but just feel that they're like any one of us and don't deserve all this attention and hoopla.