Tuesday Jun 03, 2008

Deciding culture

Last few weeks I was obsessing about decisions. I had to think about
culture. I had to think about our responsibilities 
to our kid. I am  in the US now  and we have to go
back  soon. There are  no un-thwartable reasons to
go back.  The reasons I  quote are  taking care of
parents, being at a place which is really home and
belongs  to us and  allowing our  kid to  grow up
immersed in our culture and education. She is happy here enjoying
the parks  and play school and long trips.

We have  friends here who are  questioning our sanity about  going back.
We have our parents, relative and friends in India not believing we will
come back. I  have  colleagues who  counsel  me about opportunities  and
exploiting them  and giving my kid  the best possible education.  I have
other friends who tell me how much more money I can  make and how stress
free and easy life is here.

Am I really denying my a daughter good education and  a better life only
because I value  something as ephemeral  and shifting as  culture? Would
she be a better person because of  "our" culture? Do my responsibilities
have an inflated perception factor  and a very small  reality factor?  I
thought a lot, rather I obsessed a lot and went  around with a dour face
and an irritable disposition.

Finally, I have decided. I absolved myself all sins so to say. Thinking
back how I grew up, memories I cherish, where I studied, what I enjoyed, I
don't see it being very different for my daughter. For every
luxury  I  may  have missed   during childhood  there is  an
enjoyable story, some learning, an event, a reason making it
special  and  enriching  than a  lack  of  some   sort. From
mosquito  bites to crowded   open  markets, from  overloaded
public    buses to  lack  of  shopping   malls,  from  dirty
rest-rooms to inadequate infrastructure, everything has left
an impression on me. Whether good or bad or inconsequential,
all that is what has made me.

The "could have been"s are  endless, I have decided for her.
I know I am giving her what she deserves, only the best.

Monday Feb 04, 2008

Being human

I saw Hotel Rwanda and was immediately depressed. I know worse has
happened in history. Right from almost 2800 BC there is record of
human sacrifice. Organized persecution has happened regularly. With
that as the background I thought about my arguments with my sister.
She is vehement in her view that humans are unworthy of being
considered the pinnacle of evolution.  We Humans are not humane.

I argue with her about nature being "inhuman" and killing and fighting
being part of raw nature.  Humans are nothing if not a product of
nature. Everything from stealing to cheating to gangs and wars abound
in nature in many other specees. Humans are only following natural
instincts. Everything that humans do is thus fine.

But after watching this movie I have changed my point of view. If we
humans can't control our actions beyond what nature dictates what use
is self awareness? Being self aware is more than saying "I think
therefore I am.". It also means acknowledging anyone else has the
right to be as different as they want to be, tolerance and mercy.
Mercy being the keyword.
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