Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why do we need religion?

A status message on Facebook by a friend, a reply from me and comments by others in the known made me sit up and think on this subject more deeply. So the post that follows, is what I actually think about religion -
Let me make it clear at the very beginning - 'I believe in the concept of religion and feel that it is necessary for mankind'. Now, if you are liberal enough to accept that people can believe in their religion and also the existence of other religions, please read on. If not, you are exactly the kind of person for whom a religion is badly needed. :-)
To begin with, in whatever way life started on earth, I am sure there wouldn't have been any religion. There were people, geographically separated and who would be classified based on their build, language they spoke etc. They would all have their own life style considering the environment they lived in. For the generations to come they would have to set norms, a sense of what is right and what is wrong, some sort of guiding principles to live by. This would also need a vague idea of 'the ideal' - the God. This set of rules we all were supposed to live by is religion. It will be your guide to making decisions. A sort of reference.
So where did all go wrong? Why do we hate it so much today? In my opinion there are 2 reasons for it - 1. there were people who manipulated the guiding principles to their advantage. For those who understand geek-speak, the kernel itself got corrupted. 2. With education we began to think that mere rationale is sufficient for us to make decisions.
So should we eliminate all religions?  The idea of a 'unified humanitarian world' looks attractive. But we need to look beyond ourselves. It is not possible to get such a diverse human race to agree to a single point. So it becomes next to impossible to have a larger overarching concept for the entire humanity. There will always be non-believers who would want to start their own sect!
So what can we do now? For point 1 above, we need to correct it. We have to realign the core religious ideologies to what makes sense not just for us but for the entire mankind. And the onus of this lies on the literate, the thinkers and the well read. For point 2, well if work towards point 1, point 2 will self-resolve.
I am open to ideas on this and would really like to hear people speak their hearts. After all, this is how I believe religions have evolved.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Casuals

Have you ever observed what your father wore to a picnic when you were young? Or what he wore when he occasionally played cricket with you? What were his 'casuals'? Remind yourself what your mother wore at home! Casuals, as we call them today, were old clothes then that could not be worn to functions or office. Faded, repaired or possibly even misfits!
But now, we have got into the habit of buying casuals. And I am trying to figure out the reason. Every time we choose clothes, the first classification is - formals or casuals? So while the previous generation used and re-used a lot of their clothes, our old formals never end up being casuals. Not that they would cause any discomfort as casuals, but we buy equally expensive clothing for that 'casual' look. Isn't casual supposed to mean ' I don't need to be too particular'? Then why are we so particular?
Me thinks, our parents got the real essence of 'casual'.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The 21st century father

It feels different to be a father. But it is a whole lot different to be a father in the 21st Century, specially in India. The fatherhood of our generation is remarkably different from that of our father's or grandfather's. There are many aspects of this state that were unheard of in earlier times.
We live in a far open and socially volatile environment now. We need to make constant decisions, break the stereotypes and set new rules at a faster pace. As if it was not difficult enough to do this for self, we also need to do this for our kids now. What the child should eat, how much of TV is ok, what kind of friends is one allowed to have, should we communicate in mother tongue etc. I could write pages about each of these, may be later. But these decisions put us in a spot every now and then.
Secondly, we live in an era of gender equality. The lady and the man of the house share the responsibilities when it comes to household and the kids. This increases the dependence of the children on their father. The father is as much needed when the child is sick. However, our society seems to be having issues at coming to terms with this arrangement. The carer's leave may be a provision in many companies today but you should see the look on your manager's face when you tell him ' I can't come today because my son is not well'. Or try telling your friends that you can't come for a drink because it's your turn to look after the kids today.

It will be some time before we come to terms...