Monday, 19 May 2008

A Dilemma: Should I Ignore or Just Say No.

I simply hate saying no.

'Dude could you help me with this?’, 'Mate, I really need your help on that...’ Don’t all of us know these phrases? I, from nature, like to help people out as much as I can; forgetting at times that I may have something better to do. Don’t know what makes me do it. But I find it really hard to say 'No'. Some people call it kindness. Some say it’s just a desire to help others; supposedly a virtue. Or like a good friend of mine once said, ''s again just pure, simple selfishness in the end'. Somehow the latter does make a lot of sense.

Most of us help others just to have a clear conscience. It's that joyful feeling of having done something good that makes most of us help others out. Hence, Selfishness. Or maybe some people, like myself, believe in the old saying, 'Do good and good shall be done unto you'...which, when you take out the philosophy, translates into being selfish!
But think about it this way: thinking about yourself first is selfish. But we had established that helping someone is also selfish. So it’s just a matter of choosing one of the two evils; the latter at least give you a good feeling in the end.

But what can one do when you either need to chose between yourself or helping someone? At first, the answer may seem simple; yourself of course. Is there anything better than looking after one's own a**? In case it really does come to a point, where I don’t feeling like helping someone...what do I do? Do I chose myself first and spend the time debating with my conscious that what I had to do is more important? Or should I help someone and then get angry at myself for not finding enough time to get my job done. Let me add to that: I am not a multi-tasker. So people who come with the advice, 'Try to balance both...’ it doesn't work with me.

And how does one really deny someone help in the most charming manner? I know a few people who keeping whining about their problems till my conscience forces me to offer my help. Like I said, I just can't say no.
I have two options at my disposal. Whenever I have a conversation with someone, where I have the feeling it could eventually end in an 'SOS', I just flee the scenario, in an attempt to be selfish in, let’s say, a non-selfish manner; without hurting any feelings. Or I try to steel myself and manage a squeaky 'No, I'm sorry'. Neither of these really helps me in the end from feeling bad about of the many vicious circles of life.

Blessed are those who can say 'No' without having to fight their guilt. But I guess, it is because of the remaining 'unblessed', that we manage to survive some particularly difficult days.

Speaking of which, I need a big favor from a friend...hope he doesn't say no :-)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Unity in diversity.

Its been a while since I've been brooding on this topic. Finally today found the time to bundle my thoughts and jot it in. It has rattled in my mind ever since my last Ikea visit. Now one might wonder what it has got to do with Ikea; nothing at all. Let me elaborate.

Sometime back, Pia, a friend of mine, and I went for window shopping. We decided to look around in Ikea. After an hour jog through the showroom, we decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a lunch break. While sitting in the sun, enjoying the infamous .99€ Hotdogs on a bench outside Ikea, Pia started staring with a smile; she stares when she finds something interesting...or annoying, only then its accompanied with a frown.

I looked around to find a African-Chinese couple. I asked her what she found so interesting. She said it was one thing when a native, German in this case, had a foreign-partner. But here, there were two people from completely different cultures; Pia found that quite daring. I, a person who doesn't like too many complications in a relationship, just shook my head. Pia knew about my view on complicated relationships and now started staring at me...this time with a frown though.I tried to explain to her my logic for the umpteenth time,'everything is jolly-jolly in the beginning, then comes a time when you cant make anymore compromises...'. She shook her head as always and it was my time to stare with a frown.
On my way back home, started this rattle in my head. Marrying a foreigner has too many complications for me. I'm an Indian who intends to marry an Indian. Sounds pretty simple. But is it really so?

I've attended a lot of arranged-marriages; I've seen all the process that lead to that culmination. There are a thousand criteria that a future husband/wife needs to satisfy. I confess, I have my own too. One of the few most important among them : Religion, Caste. India is a very large country with lot of customs and beliefs. Non-Indians find it amazing how we manage to live together "peacefully". But take a closer look and one sees a country divided within itself into thousand layers; each layer claiming to be superior than the other in some way.

Why is it that two people are so different, when one is a Hindu and the other a Christian or Muslim? Lets increase the level of magnification; why is a Brahman better than an Ezhava, why is a Roman Catholic superior than an Orthodox? It was harsh enough that the way of life divides people in The Rich and The Poor. But man wasn't sad enough. He made his life even worse by dividing it further.

'I may be poor, but i am a Roman Catholic. I'm a much higher caste than my poor Orthodox neighbour.'

Inter-caste marriages are almost a sin towards The Society; let alone inter-religion. The Society will never allow it...or speaking politically correct, it will never support it.Yes, it is as absurd as is sounds. But a true fact. And finding a partner was supposed to be simple.

Every Indian knows the Phrase 'Unity in diversity'. But how many really live its meaning. How many of us look at another person as another human being? Will it ever change? Will we ever grow up? Will we ever be what the term Human describes to be?