Saturday, February 27, 2010

God's Glorious Blessing

"Lucky," she said,'the foetus has a problem.' She opened Lucky's folder and spread the images on her desk. She singled one out and said, 'In the normal course of things, the baby's head develops first. In the second trimester, the baby is all head and no body. But from what I'm seeing so far, the foetus's head is small, almost what you would call proportional in a full-term pregnancy. This usually signals a brain-development disorder.' (P231)

When Lucky goes to visit Dr. Kapadia for her routine pre-natal examination, she is confronted with a new problem: the possibility of having a child with a brain development disorder.

For Lucky, being pregnant itself was miraculous, so one can imagine the devastation she must have felt on hearing this news. All parents want the most perfect child and any kind of imperfection is hard to bear and even harder to deal with. Having a baby is one of the most fulfilling of human experiences, an experience that evokes awe and admiration in the glory of God and his creation. Truly a child is a gift from God and all of us who have 'perfect' children are blessed indeed.

I can never forget the amazement that I felt when I first saw my own little baby wriggling around on the screen. Was this really happening inside me?

This video I came across on YouTube captures the wonderment of seeing a new life developing in the womb.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Broadening horizons

Shanti's constant refrain to her had been :'One must know oneself and one's place in the world before one can know the world'
'And how do I know myself?' Lucky asked.
'Look around,' Shanti replied.'Know the world and you will know yourself.' (P229)

Pacific Centric World Map

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Truly, the more one travels the more one learns. With every new journey of mine I come back refreshed, thinking of things a different way. No matter how many times I visit a place, with each visit I discover something new .
Meeting new people, seeing new things, experiencing new experiences ; all add up to a lifetime of learning about myself and the people around me.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Con Women

'Hell, I might be a con, but I ain't stupid. I might have smacked him around a little, just to make my point, you know, but then I started thinking about all what you said before I got out.' ( P226)

While thieves are essentially out to get your stuff if not you, they do have a Code of Conduct. I found this out quite by accident when our cook was pick-pocketed one Saturday afternoon when he took the day off to go to the Bandra Fair.

Deciding to go by bus rather than the train, he went to the bus stop at the end of the road and was surprised to find the normally quiet bus stop over crowded. He particularly noticed a group of unruly women, something rather strange in our area. This rang some alarm bells in his head which he ignored as the bus rumbled up to the stop. As usual it was quite a struggle to get in and he just about managed to hang on to the moving bus. Pushing his way in, he found himself surrounded by the gaggle of women but he held on to the overhead strap, keep his balance and take out the bus fare from his wallet.

A few minutes later, as the bus approached the next stop, the women made their way to the front of the bus and Bahadur quickly grabbed the empty seat next to him. Just then his mobile rang and he put his hand in his pocket to find that his wallet was missing!

Ignoring the ringing phone, Bahadur looked around for the missing wallet and then realised that it had been pinched. He also realised that the gang of women had vanished - really strange considering that they had used the bus for a one stop ride - and figured that they had made off with his money! He got off the bus and tried to chase them but they were too quick for him. Upset and annoyed, he retraced his steps and to his surprise found his wallet lying on the footpath by the bus stop. Perhaps the women had dropped it in panic, he thought , as he picked it up. Alas! He was wrong: the money was gone. However, his personal photographs were intact as were his train pass and the photos of his Gods.

But all was not lost. The thieves had left the loose change intact so Bahadur could afford the bus fare back home!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creatures of Habit

'He heard I got out. He had some China white he wanted to offload. He thought I might want some but I told him no way.'
'So you're clean, you didn't test dirty?' (P222)

Man has always been known to have taken mind altering or performance enhancing substances since time immemorial. While substances like tea and coffee have gained acceptability despite their addictive nature, they are considered harmless . In the course of time tobacco and alcohol too have become accepted. However, hard drugs like narcotics are banned and their use is closely monitored.

Despite the penalties involved and the tight security measures employed, drug smuggling is still a very lucrative trade and in an effort to track down this illegal substance, man has enlisted the help of his best friend to help stop this activity.

Every time I go through the airport, I see these handsome dogs waiting by the side - some to sniff out bombs and some to sniff out drugs. But while I know they are essential to catch the crooks, as a dog lover, I am horrified that the dogs who sniff out drugs actually become junkies themselves!

What can be more cruel than to make these wonderful creatures into creatures of habit?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Capital Punishment and the Hanged Man

"Lucky bit her lip. Until now, she hadn't given a thought to things from Steve's perspective. For her this was an inconvenience - for Steve it could mean death." ( p.222)

An eye for an eye , a tooth for a tooth:the basic tenet of justice which would seem fair because you should be prepared to pay for your crime.

But in reality, this extreme form of justice has several people shouting themselves hoarse in defense of the perpetrator. Sometimes the excuse is that the murderer was unaware of what he was doing as in the case of several crimes committed by persons of unsound mind; sometimes the excuse is that the life was taken in a fit of passion hence the person was temporarily insane; sometimes the evidence is just circumstantial and there is no positive proof that the murder was indeed the murderer. So very often the murder gets off with just a life imprisonment.

Is this real justice?

On the other hand, a person is killed under Capital Punishment can never be brought back if it is later proved that he was wrongly indicted and sentenced.

Finally, after killing the perpetrator of the crime, can the murdered or killed person be brought back to life?

The Twelfth trump card in the Tarot is the Hanged Man :a person hanging upside-down by one foot, often suspended from a wooden beam (as in a cross or gallows) or a tree. While this card has several meanings it essentially asks one simple question: Is the man or the world upside-down?

This hanged man seems free and liberated, almost at peace with himself. So in the end, a man receiving corporal punishment would essentially be freed of the guilt and remorse that he would have to live with the rest of his life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Without a care in the world

"There is a tradition in India of great sages renouncing the world in order to find enlightenment. But that is only one path. There is nothing that says we must give up our things, only our attachment to things." ( P220)

Materialism is frowned upon all religions and every body condemns the pursuit of pleasure for the sake of sheer indulgence. The only people who would be opposed to this theory would be of course capitalists who believe that consumerism is the only way to expand an economy or those in the show business who would go broke if no one wanted to be entertained!

But while it is easy to condemn materialism, what people fail to realise is that looking after things does require time and energy. Maintaining a good home, maintaining a car, maintaining a life style requires a lot of effort.

Half naked fakirs smoking up outside temples are a common sight in Mumbai. With matted hair, unkempt emaciated bodies they wait patiently for handouts as they watch the world go by, oblivious to their surroundings. I wonder if they are truly happy with not a care in the world?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Magical transformation

"Change does not cause pain.Resistance to change causes pain." (P 219)

We are all creatures of habit and we crave the familiar because it is comforting and reassuring. But change is like day and night or the changing of the seasons. Because these are natural occurrences with a rhythmic constancy, this change is not seen as threatening and disruptive. But there are times when we wonder why our Universe is being challenged: times when change causes us pain and anguish. We are troubled. We are upset. After a lot of introspection we finally realize that it is our resistance to accept change that causes all the chaos : not the actual change itself!

That was rather heavy!

To lighten this rather sombre mood, I would like to share this incredible magic trick of change and transformation. Enjoy!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Salad Days

After the meeting, Alec took Lucky to the village for a late lunch. Over a Waldorf salad she told Alec that she was pregnant and there might be complications. (p.218)

Like my heroine Lucky, I love salads. Nothing can be better than the Waldforf Salad a perennial favourite. At this time of year, when Mumbai is still pleasant, when the apples are still crisp and tart and the grapes are just beginning to come into the market, February seems the perfect time to enjoy this salad.

I would like to share this quick recipe I found on the net with my readers. Just grab the freshest of fresh ingredients listed in this recipe and enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Head in the Sand

Black said,'Everybody's opposed to violence until they need to protect themselves. It's a god-given tool, like any other. It can be right or wrong.'
'Yes, but taking a life is not like taking a loan- once you've done it, it can't be repaid.'
'I don't believe in "turning the other cheek",' Black said. 'You can't bury your head in the sand' (p.216)

According to Black, the only way you can solve a problem is by tackling it, not burying your head in the sand.

This expression of lying low till the problems blows over or hiding from the truth lies in the misplaced belief that Ostriches bury their heads in sand when they sense danger. Actually male ostriches dig deep holes in the sand to make a nest for the eggs. Both male and female birds take turns sitting on the eggs and from time to time use their beaks to turn the eggs during incubation. This makes it seem like the head is buried in the sand! In actual fact ,when ostriches sense danger they actually run like crazy hoping to distract the predator from the eggs. So contrary to popular belief, ostriches are aware of the dangers their eggs face and do not bury their heads in the sand!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Decorating spaces

Black's office was huge, cavernous, with windows looking east, towards the Statue of Liberty. The walls were lined with bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling. The chairs and sofas were upholstered in red silk with Chinese motifs. The floors were marble, though covered with a long, dark blue oriental carpet that led from the door to the receptionist's desk. ( P.214)

Fours walls and a roof are all that are really required to provide man shelter. However, geographic and climatic considerations affect the construction of each dwelling which is further modified according to the use of space - a kitchen for cooking, a family room , a bedroom for sleeping etc. etc. While personal space depends on personal taste, money also has a lot to do with it.

For instance, the latest kid on the block, Antilla, the world's most expensive home is supposed to have it all. According to Forbes who first featured this home on the Internet, every space and material used on each is different. While space can be differently decorated, I find it hard to believe that material cannot be repeated in a home that is definitely not small : 27 floors and with lots and lots of rooms!


This lounge which is supposed to be one of the many to be found in Antilla seems an oasis of calm and peace : something which our neighbourhood has not seen for the last two years since this mansion in the sky has been under construction.


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