Need of an age of consent to choose religion

I was born on a June 1st.  3 weeks later on June 21st I was baptized. Since then I have been writing ‘Christian’ in every column where it asked to quote ‘my’ religion. For a long time I accepted as it is, but my first and last retreat changed everything. I started having doubts about my own perception of being called a christian, coz I feel the only practicing christian I could ever think of  was Jesus Christ. All the rest which came were just labels.

But , how did my parent’s religion became mine ? When did ‘I’ choose to be a catholic ?. I don’t remember any such eventful day when I declared to the world that am going to practice a particular religion. Obviously, none does. As a societal norm every human born is an auto-convert, without his/her knowledge. However, this wouldn’t have been such an issue if people never discriminated others on the basis of their divine birth to a set of parents who happened to be believing in some faith. I mean, any of these custodians of so called divine religions can claim that they have ‘decided’ to follow it ?….they just ‘happened’ to be and there is nothing one to be proud of.

The point is, lets keep the kids away from this conditioning crap.

In India and in many other countries age of consent to marry is 21 and 18, respectively for boys and girls. This age was selected upon the logic that humans below those age are generally not capable of making such an important decision that has a serious impact on their life. But isn’t religion as important a decision as marriage is ?…isnt it something that can have a much more serious impact on their daily life forever ?…..isnt it fair that they are to be given an equal opportunity right to make such an important judgement ?

Imagine a world where kids are required to choose religion only after 18 years of age. They would’nt have to fill column for their religion in school or passport or identity cards. Instead they will be asked to fill in column for both parent’s religion. It also means none can force kids to wear religious symbols or outfits. There wont be any discrimination on kids in the name of their religion. No more boring sunday classes, no more listening to I_preach_but_I_dont_practice’ stuff.   They are absolutely free to read, learn, practice, experiment with any faith until they reach age of consent…after which the one they choose will become official OR they can choose not to be. In my opinion, any thing being forced on kids….be it physical, mental or emotional are to be equally considered as child abuse. Religious propaganda easily falls into that category.

As it is said, the only major hurdle for seeing the truth is the conditioned state of mind. Let us allow our kids to be free thinkers and not conditioned ones.

When I say no religion.. I mean no riots, no genocide, no war, no terrorism. Guess that would be some real freedom, some real democracy.

P.S: If its true that kids actually inherit their parents religion, then can religion be termed as a genetically transmitted disorder ? 😛

Would love to hear your thoughts on the arguement.

A lost world

Muslim lady walking with her son dressed as Krishna after a competition at school

Found this photo in ‘Times of India’, 15th August edition. A befitting capture on the occasion of celebrating 63rd Independence day of India. At these times of communal distress and religious intolerance, image like this is a breather. However not sure how long we will be able to witness such.

I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance.
– Stephen Fry

US healthcare: Losers & Looters

When I saw this tweet from my bro few days back, I thought it might be just another sarcastic joke of his. It took few hours for me to realize that it was actually true. 4 day hospital stay for the treatment of malaria relapse with just Intravenous medications, few tests and handsful of tablets has generated a $50,560 bill for my sister-in-law. That roughly translates to Rs.23 Lacs in Indian rupees. Can anyone explain how in this world would someone be able to ‘account’ for such a bill in a hospital ?? Even if she was being put up on a 24 ct gold bed, fed with platinum enriched IV fluid or diamond crusted tablets, it wont amount to $50k. Brother has apparently talked to hospital and they have confirmed that the figure is actual and it was not a spelling mistake. They have sent it to insurance company for refund verification and as she was rushed to hospital through emergency, there is a good chance that we will have to pay a chunk of that bill all by ourselves.

This small example shows the real face of America. How people are living in an illusion that they are covered under one of the best healthcare system in this world. No, definitely not….its a vicious cycle where only insurers and doctors/hospitals benefit and soon this bubble is gonna burst for sure. I started admiring and respecting Indian healthcare system after comparing it to this, coz when I had same malarial replase last year I took 1 course of Primaquine tablets after consulting a doctor who prescribed just one blood test to validate it. Total cost = Rs. 250 (~ $6) with a full recovery in 5 days. Now thats what it actually cost to treat a simple malarial infection.

24

Inspired from this post by Jeena, I tried to slice one of my usual day and here is what I got. May be I should relook at these after few years to know my preferences then.

Turning 25 and more..

This June 1st was special. It marked 25 years of my existence here. As usual the social circle of friends kept me busy

and special throughout the day with wishes on facebook, twitter, email and through sms.  After a while, the feeling of getting old started sinking in. Its a little strange to realize that I dont have the ‘age factor’ with me anymore. Weird ?, well not so. Throughout my life, I always had the luxury of being the youngest. I was the youngest in my family, youngest player in the state basketball team, youngest in incubator, youngest to start company etc etc.. What does it mean ? It means FREEDOM. I had no pressure to perform..I had enough opportunities to ‘commit mistakes’…and after all am a young lad who should be given another chance 😉 Hence total freedom to do whatever I wanna do. But after 25, you are no more young. Can’t get away with a mistake saying, ohh I was too young & naive to understand that :P. Well, I can still do it when sitting with a bunch of 35+ guys or when am at my home, were I would still be the youngest. Beauty of being ‘considered’ young is that you can make others believe that they underestimated you, when all you have done is normal/average/mediocre in your capacity. That honeymoon period is kinda over for me. Well, not really regretting it. More than often people don’t take you seriously coz of your age and now atleast I stand a chance there. 😉

Though its just another day, wanted to do something different this time to make it special. Obvious things  like going for a solo ride or drinking until dawn with friends didnt excite much. Hence thought of re-connecting with people whom I’ve had a fall out before. Was kinda scary coz I really suck at such stuff. But wanted to clear the cloud from my mind and attempt to re-concile with them. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Fortunately first person called me up to wish and I took her call (never used to pick up for past 3 years), and we talked normally for around 20 minutes. Felt as if I was relieved of a huge dangling weight from my mind. Its a great feeling to make someone happy, realized it late though :). Having done the first, next was comparatively easy. I made the first step and walked up to the second lady, made point clear and straight. Again, it went surprisingly smooth. Moments when you regret yourself for not having taken this step earlier. Business teaches you many things, and ‘never burn bridges’ is one such lesson. Guess it applies to relationships too. However not so sure how much I would be able to apply it in my life.

So what really happened in last 25 yrs of my life ?…Lemme do a re-cap.. Was born on 1st day of june on a rainy afternoon when mom had only few maternity leaves left. She had to join for work 6 days after I was born and luckily she had a trustworthy, loving grand mother to leave me with. I started speaking only at age of 4, to clear everyone’s doubts that I was dumb 🙂 Had an amazing childhood in the beautiful villages of kerala with 2 wonderful siblings & many great friends few who are still my best friends for past 18 yrs. During school days, got into playing basketball and had a spectacular life in it until I joined for college. Joining for engg was not of choice, but in hindsight it looks like an inevitable option. Had very turbulent college life with issues of affiliation, suspension for ragging (yeah baby :P), transfers etc. Ended up in Delhi without any prior exposure to big cities, learned to climb the ropes the hardest way, fell many times very badly… though it taught the streetsmart way of life. From Delhi, ended up in Ahmedabad, a city I never wanted to be in. What started as a final yr project, became the career and I realized this IS the city where I can work & live with satisfaction wiping off all my prejudice. Met a beautiful person, fell in love with and lost. By then, had started a company and is now running it to earn bread for self & for few others. Well, that kinda sums up last 25 years.

Looking forward to more excitements, adventures, learnings, grief, joy and to meet many more great people in life…..!

2 lovely messages i got frm dad & mom on this bday…made my day 🙂

Scribbles by Percy Shelly

Was having a relaxed evening at @detournow yesterday when I stumbled on this small book on ‘compilation of poems by Shelly’. Having heard the name many times, took it out of curiosity. I was so amazed reading ‘ Songs to the men of england’. ( a poem written by Shelly as an empowering anthem for the workers of England). An excerpt from the classic:

The seed ye sow, another reaps,

The wealth ye find, another keeps,

The robes ye weave, another wears,

The arms ye forge, another bears.

Here is another one from ‘Mask of anarchy’

Thou art Wisdom — Freemen never

dream that God will damn for ever

All who think those things untrue

Of which Priests make such ado.

Aftermath of an accident

It has been almost 12 hours since I witnessed one of the most gruesome accident in my life. Thought of recording it as a narration here for future reference.

Being a weekened, along with Nirav and Ashim, I decided to go for a late night show of Hurt Locker at newly opened PVR, A’bad. Show was quite ordinary and it killed all our excitement we had for a oscar winner movie. It was around 1am by then and we thought of having a nightout dinner at 24X7 cafe in The Grand Bhagawati hotel along SG highway. By the time we finished hogging, it had already hit 3am and we started riding back to our home near sola bridge. It was then we saw a small crowd near the service road.

It took us a while to realize that we are at an accident site. It was hardly 5 minutes since accident had happened. Initially all we saw was a maruti SUV precariously dangling on a large divider filled with trees, 1 guy in his 20’s lying near it unconsciously with profuse bleeding from his right side of head and another guy crying and shouting ‘Alok, pls get up…Alok…’ There were around 6-8 workers who were trying their best to lift the completely mangled car. Thats when we saw 3 more men stuck inside the car and one had his right hand almost hanging down like a cut vegetable.

To put it lightly, scene was gruesome. There were blood and flesh all around and none near the scene had any clue what to do, including us. 90% of people who came to rescue were standing still watching the action. Hardly any offered help. Sensing the danger, Nirav immediately called up 108 (emergency service) and they assured their presence at site in 10 minutes. In few minutes, people pulled out 3 guys from the car and luckily they had only non-fatal injuries. They appeared totally misplaced..may be coz they were drunk or may be due to the traumatic shock they experienced. After a quick look at all victims, we realized that only 1 guy has suffered a near fatal injury on his head. He had already lost lots of blood and was still spurting them out through the cut. We immediately covered his head with Nirav’s shirt and  I started applying pressure onto his wound to stop bleeding. Fortunately within 10 minutes his bleeding from wound reduced drastically, but blood started hushing out through his nose. Guess, that was a sign of massive internal bleeding. All this while we were waiting for 108 ambulance to arrive, but there were no signs of it. Ashim tried to get an auto or a car, while Nirav left to SAL hospital to get their ambulance. and to call police. Within 10 minutes, by the time SAL ambulance reached the spot, 108 ambulance had also come.

Paramedic from 108, took his pulse and told us that he is not getting any. He feared the guy was already dead. Suddenly he opened his mouth (like an epileptic) and took a long breath. I realized my hand getting wet during that moment with a sudden heavy bleed from his head. Paramedic immediately gave him a CPR, but he didnt show any signs of its effect. Without wasting time we transferred him to ambulance stretcher (i was scared to lift his head, coz I feared his skull was broken below and it might just open up further). He was safely transported to nearby hospital in their ambulance.

Other guy had his right hand broken in multiple locations and was crying in pain. He was also transported in 108 ambulance to hospital. Rest of the team looked stable in health but in a state of traumatic shock. Most were trying to dial their mobile to reach home, but were not being able to even move their fingers.

Police arrived at the scene after 30 minutes. Had they arrived before ambulance, we could have assured the life of the guy with head injury. Later we had a look at the trail of accident. It is quite sure that they were driving at 100km+ and were either slept or under influence of alcohol. Car had made atleast 3 or 4 turns in air before it came to a halt. We saw the driver of the car unharmed and probably he was saved due to the seat belt. Wish the other guy too had done the same. We didnt goto hospital to check out his condition, this is an episode we want to forget and move on…though am not sure how much we would succeed in it.

**Update: Just read in newspapers that the severely wounded guy (Alok) succumbed to brain haemorrhage later at hospital. Rest are all safe.

No sense is better than nonsense

"You were scared of me.. right Leo ?. I know, you used to walk away from me when you see me sitting infront of the house. Guess you were in class 5 then."

Trying my best to deny a fact, I mumbled: No, pauly chetta.. I was never scared of you. Why should I be ?

Again with a partial smile on his face, he continued. It’s ok Leo, I know everyone used to be scared of me. But trust me, Pauly chettan is no more the same. I’ve changed, but no one understands that now or want to believe so.

Pauly was the only graduate in his family. Studious, most beloved son of his parents and a good neighbour to us. It was in ’95, when people spotted him doing exercise on the middle of the road at mid night. It was the beginning. Unknown the reason was, but he gradually was losing balance of his mind and as any helpless mentally challenged person he too was branded as a ‘madman’ or a ‘branthan’ soon. Within an year his parents passed away and soon the eldest sister-in-law took control of the home.

It was in her better interest that Pauly stay a madman. Thus he was smartly kept away from all financial deals of home. Was never fed properly and beaten when asked for food. A hell in earth, that’s what he was in for past 12 years. His freedom came in the form of dividing ancestral property by siblings(they just had a small hut and a hutly shop), and that made S-I-L to go out of home. Since then Pauly is a new man. He has recovered tremendously and is now all words with people around. It would now be difficult to tell that he had some mental illness few years back. Above mentioned conversation to me when while at home, reiterates the fact that Pauly has certainly changed. He now speaks more sense than many living in the same street.

But, how do we take care Paulys of the world ? By medicine or just by being a little more humane ?.. Guess through a combination of both, but with more dose of latter they have a better chance of regaining their self.