http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/a-goldfish-minute/article4373985.ece            – We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab.

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………………………………, if you ask me, it all boils down to this: we get bored too quickly and too often. We’ll try everything once, but the problem is, we’ll also usually try it only once. Or twice. Sometimes, we might even stick to it for a whole month or year but, sooner or later, we move on to something shinier or, like it is nowadays, darker. Everything catches our attention. A good-looking face, an emotionally manipulative Kony video, a really happy South Korean man. We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab..

Let’s face it: today, when we have Google and Wikipedia to tell us everything, Poirot’s favourite little grey cells are severely under-worked.

Like a lot of people out there, I feel strongly about a lot of things. A parched beggar knocking on my car window leads me into a lengthy, involved and modestly sensible debate about the state of things today, with respect to our homeless, unemployed and poverty-stricken population. A sickening gang rape and murder in my adopted city sets me off on a short, but very charged, warpath. A homophobic statement on the news makes me want to grab and shake the next person with even the slightest reservations about LGBT rights. I am not apathetic, not even a little bit. I could pride myself on that. I think I even did, once upon a time.

Not now though. Not after I’ve realised that I’m surrounded by almost identical people, cardboard cut-outs with big hearts and a short attention span. I’ve been where almost everyone else has been. I’ve held an issue close to my heart, fed it my anger and sadness and ideas and solutions, and then left it out there in the cold to fend for itself.

The cathartic, almost numbing effect words can have, the way they fool us into thinking that we’ve done our bit. And so, after a well crafted debate, whether on or off paper, most of us stop. The weight is off our shoulders. Some other, more pressing, more demanding issue is waiting to be looked after. And so, we level up.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/republic-of-the-offended/article4373986.ece      –  We are becoming a nation of individuals and groups who get offended at anything and everything. If it is not the out-of-context remarks of well-known academic Ashis Nandy at the Jaipur Literary Festival then it is the presence of Pakistani writers at festivals and sportspeople on playing fields………….For instance, when we read news day in and day out about little girls, some as young as three years old, being raped, do we get offended? Recently, in Mumbai, there was the story of a five-year-old girl in Dharavi who was lured by a man who offered her chocolates and then raped her. Her parents went looking for her and found her crying outside a public toilet. She was bleeding and could barely explain what had been done to her. Such stories should outrage us. What is happening to our society that even little girls on their way to school have to be protected from these predators?

Look at our cities. All of them are turning into giant garbage heaps. The authorities claim the mess is beyond their control. And citizens, the very same who take offence at so much else, seem not to mind as they add their might to enlarging these mountains of garbage. It never occurs to them that perhaps they too need to reduce the amount of waste they generate. So we live in the midst of this filth and do not get offended. We point fingers. Or we simply look the other way.

Here is my list of things about which all of us should be “offended”: that in this “free” country, where our 63-year-old Constitution promises women equality in all spheres, they continue to be second class citizens; that they continue to be denied the right to even be born; that they continue to be denied the right to education if they are poor; that they continue to be denied the right to have control over their own resources; that they continue to be tortured and killed for not bringing enough dowry; that they continue to face verbal and physical abuse inside their homes if they so much as dare raise their voices; that they continue to be assaulted and raped irrespective of their class or creed and that they continue to be abandoned and isolated if they become victims of sexual assault because they are deemed “spoiled goods”. Yes, take offence by all means but on issues that a civilised society should not tolerate.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/why-have-you-forsaken-me/article4373988.ece   –

Rejection happens to everyone, but the person isn’t being rejected as a whole.Some experience a sense of relief, some others bewilderment, but most are hurt, sad, angry and maybe even hostile. And, mercifully only occasionally, some may find the pain and mortification too much to handle and end up coming to the drastic conclusion that their lives have no further value and may harm themselves. Or they may angrily plot and even execute a vengeful act against the rejecter, like throwing acid on an unresponsive object of desire or affection.

Rejection happens to everybody. Certain severe forms of rejection such as child neglect or abandonment, social ostracism and oppression on account of caste, social class, religion and the like, are more intensely painful, are more closely related to hierarchical power equations, result in feelings of unimaginable helplessness, have deeper psychodynamics and merit being considered separately. I will therefore confine this exploration to the more quotidian forms of rejection which, for the sake of convenience, can be classified as taking place in the inter-personal and social spaces.

‘need to belong’, the second tier in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Although in the animal kingdom, social exclusion often results in extreme consequences, even early death of the excluded creature, it’s not always as catastrophic for the human race, only because there are a large number of social groups we can belong to, unless the group that rejects us defines our primary social identity, as do groupings like caste and religion to many of us. Inter-personal rejections, as in being rejected by a parent, a child, a lover, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker and so on, take place in the context of a specific one-on-one relationship in which we have invested our emotions, expectations, time and energy. As a result of this investment, we start looking at ourselves through the eyes of the other person. When, for whatever reason, the other person disinvests from the relationship, particularly when our investment remains intact, we experience a sharp stab of rejection for our self image takes a beating. For, after being rejected, when we look at ourselves through the eyes of the rejecter, we don’t any more like what we see.

In other words, it’s not a rejection of you, but an assessment, right or wrong, of the perceived differences between you and me. If we keep this in mind, and never allow anyone else that much of control over us that we feel completely devastated when they distance themselves, we might never need “rejection therapy”, an online game that gets you used to being rejected by rejecting you over and over again in hundreds of simulated situations. And just as we value pleasure more when we have experienced pain, or profit more when we have suffered losses, so too do we appreciate the joy of acceptance more when we have mourned the grief of rejection.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/lone-warrior/article4473319.ece             -……………  Unfortunately, society’s penchant for topsy-turvy is still going strong.

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We still live in a country of dichotomies. Not least among these is the irony that often, those who spend their lives in training, practice and discipline of various genres of dance are assessed by those who know nothing about the art. As a result, financial support for art is dependent on the whims of such non-aesthetes!

No wonder a celebrated dancer like Astad Deboo speaks of having to search for platforms despite over four decades in the profession. If he finds himself answering the tactless questions of “young marketing geeks” of the corporate world who quiz him about numbers and mileage and try to get the best deal for the money they might invest in his productions, he has also recently declined an invitation to perform at the prestigious Khajuraho Dance Festival because of the “ridiculous kind of money they offer.” He adds, “The sad part is, dancers accept it.”

That, he explains, has been his journey, and he is “not feeling sorry for it.” He takes pride in knowing that “nobody can point a finger and say, ‘He’s there because so-and-so helped him’.”