The Closed Closet – Gay Pride

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Here’s my problem with the whole Gay Pride and LGBT Rights issue… Well, it’s the fact that there shouldn’t be one.

If you’re a homophobic purist who opposes LGBT rights, you may want to open your minds up a bit when you read this… Let’s make this simple exercise. I’ll enumerate a list of most heard arguments against gay rights and then I’ll just place my comments on them.

  • It’s against my respective Religion and a threat to it
    No, I don’t claim to have read every holy book from cover to cover, but, I’ve read and heard enough from those who have.
    Hinduism encourages all humans to attain ‘moksh‘ (Inner Peace and Freedom for the Soul), and this can be done by realizing and embracing one’s true nature. More to the fact that homosexual behaviour was not only discussed, but, also discussed in ancient Hindu scriptures and sculptures.
    Exhibit A: Khajuraho.
    Christianity, according the Bible actually mentions a few sentences like ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination‘ which have always been interpreted as a clear ban on any homosexual activities, but, some interpreters believe that there is no line in The Bible that explicitly acknowledges homosexuality, let alone oppose it.
    I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again: Blind faith in Religion is the biggest hindrance in any society’s progress.
  • It’s not natural for a man to sleep with a man, or woman with a woman
    Correction: it is natural. Gays are born that way. Genetic research has shown that at least 45% of heterosexual females have been physically attracted to other women at one point in time in their lives. Oh.. and just FYI. Only 10% of the whole World’s population is left-handed. (Yep. 10%. How unnatural must that be!) Sorry about the clich√©d ‘Science vs. Religion’ angle, but, Science wins (again).
  • Denying the child a father or a mother makes the growth environment unnatural and harmful
    There is no evidence to suggest that having two moms or two dads affects the psychology of the child in any way. American Psychological researchers have endorsed legalization of gay marriage.
  • Lack of procreation is a threat to the survival of mankind
    I’m sorry, but, gay couples aren’t stopping the straight ones from reproducing, are they? Mind your own bedrooms.
  • Marriage is the union of a Man and Woman
    Correct. Which is why the move to ‘legalize‘ gay marriage.

Here’s some other reasons that deserve more of a sarcastic snap than a logical answer:

  • homosexual_rainbow_flag-500x375-300x225It will encourage straight people to become gay
    Erm… how?? Genetic mutation? Psychology?
  • There will be a lot of discrimination
    Yeah, it’ll be the end of fair and civilized society as we know it.
  • Immoral
    Correction: Anything that hurts a fellow human being is immoral.
    Exhibit B: Racism: Immoral.
  • We should teach those drifted souls and minds to cure them into being straight and train them against the immoral wrongness and sins of homosexuality (Damn, I couldn’t wait to write this one)
    <rant>
    OK, firstly, the LGBT community doesn’t have a disease that you speak of curing them. They are perfectly normal human beings, probably with a bigger heart than the rest of us.

    Second, OK no, we’ve already covered the immorality and religion points. Next.

    Third, and again, these people didn’t choose to be gay. They were born this way.

    They didn’t just smoke-up one day and suddenly say: Hey… Here’s an idea!!! Let’s stop being attracted to the opposite sex. Let’s love each other instead. That way we’ll get discriminated, hated and looked down upon so much that we may have to fight for our basic rights. We might not even get support from our parents and get kicked out of the house! Sounds like fun, eh? Haha… Ha. Hahaha… Ha.. ZZzzzz!

    They didn’t choose this life. It was given to them and they have embraced it. It would be most human of us to accept them for who they are and treat them equally. Even special treatment and being extra nice is a form of discrimination. Let them come out of their proverbial closets free from the fear of being treated any differently than anyone of us.

The LGBT community is not robbing us of our rights. They don’t wanna hurt us. They just want to be accepted for who they are: Normal Human Beings. It’s important to know where to draw the line… To not interfere with how people live their lives, as long as they don’t interfere with our’s.

Love and Let Love. Live and Let Live.

Peace.

</rant>

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An Open Letter To Mr. Arnab Goswami

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Well Written Ms. Dreams. Do I get the citation for the “losing his credibility” mentions in our numerous discussions?? ūüėČ

Anyway, yes. Totally agree. Mr. Goswami hosts the best hybrid of daily-soap/reality shows on Indian TV.

My Dear Sir, be the journalist who is mediating a fair debate, not dictating it with his personal opinions, no matter how much others may agree or disagree with him.

Pipe Dreams

Dear Mr. Goswami,

I know that this has been done to death, that you probably receive a few thousand letters such as these every week, but I still wanted my thoughts out there. This is about the Newshour Debate (Part 1, Part 2)¬†over the state government sponsored trip to the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil for six Goa MLAs that aired on 12th June, 2014. Now the purported reason behind this trip was that this was to be a ‚Äústudy tour‚ÄĚ, that the MLAs would go and ‚Äústudy traffic management‚ÄĚ in Brazil and put this knowledge to good use in Goa. I use double quotes over certain words because anyone with half a brain can tell that this reason is utter bullshit. We all know and agree with you that this is an enormous waste of the exchequer‚Äôs money, yes, and we all watched in utter‚Ķ

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Chicago Cares… Oh, Yes, She Does! #MyChi

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Today was the 21st Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon! The day Chicago gives back to the lesser privileged sections of the society. 5000+ volunteers, corporate members plus organizers.¬†I was fortunate to be a part of it through a friend of mine interning at one of the corporate partners… Yes, families and friends were¬†welcome.

Chicago Care: Image Rights Not Mine.

Chicago Cares: Image Rights Not Mine.

So our group was assigned to go to a Public School in south Chicago and we volunteered to paint the corridors on the first floor (which, in British and Indian terms, is actually the ground floor). Oh, did I mention that they transported us between the school and Daley Plaza in those standard American school buses?? Damn, was that exciting!! ūüėÄ

Anyway… It took 4 hours of labor with lunch in the middle ending with our hands, clothes, hair and shoes (still) covered in paint, but, we finally managed to turn our assigned corridor from lime green to a¬†light bluish-green. The other groups completed their projects well on time, too. From painting the other corridors in different colors to creating mosaics and drawing hopscotch squares in the playground, all was done well. The 900-odd students of Hedges Elementary are in for a real treat when school starts after the Summer. Meanwhile, we headed back to Daley Plaza for food and drinks.

In a very touching gesture by the kids themselves, all the walls were lined with charts with art work and ‘Thank you‘ messages for the Chicago Cares volunteers. There were probably about 250 of us at our school, and all it took was one Saturday afternoon to make a difference to a public school, its students, parents and everyone related. It’s¬†a wonder what impact 5000 like-minded Chicagoans could make in one day. Thanks, Chicago Care, for making me feel so proud of being a part of a beautiful society and a City that gives back to those who need it. See you next time! ūüôā

Here are some pics. I don’t have pics of all the corridors or the mosaics, etc., but I’ll try to upload link them here when Chicago Cares releases them.

We're all Posers. That's my favorite chart. :)

We’re all Posers. That’s my favorite chart. ūüôā

3 of the 5000+ Goodfellas.

3 of the 5000+ Goodfellas.

Artwork on the stairwell, made by the students themselves. Genius!

Artwork on the stairwell, made by the students themselves. Genius!

My Beloved Shoes, stained.

My Beloved Shoes, stained.

The After-party at Daley Plaza

The After-party at Daley Plaza

For those who haven’t done any volunteering/social work yet: Please do so. The¬†feeling of Euphoria and Pride at the end makes every iota of exhaustive labor completely worthwhile.¬†Go ahead…¬†Play a small hand in making a big difference. Cheers.

9 Reasons Why Posts Like These Are Annoying

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  1. There are so many of the same topic (and with same points) on different forums that you know probably it by heart
  2. Even the topics don’t make sense sometimes!
  3. The “OMG SO TRUEEE!!!” shares by your friends don’t make it any better
  4. You don’t relate to 50% of the points
  5. The .gif clips are independently funny, but not always related to the respective point
  6. Some points are deliberately made up to increase the count
  7. Like this one!
  8. Each one of them ends with a nice sweet message that targets ‘Aww‘s from the reader. (Cue ‘Aww‘)
  9. Coz 8 seemed too less. ūüėõ

Musings of A Lone Traveler

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They tell us to travel alone. Its¬†recommend it a lot. That, and traveling without your cell phone or any device. Now don’t ask me who ‘they’ is. You know… They!!

They mention something about the joy and serenity of sitting alone in a picturesque landscape, sipping local delicacies (read: beer) and not having to tell the world about it by checking in with a selfie.

Like, why?? Selfies are awesome! They’re like the best thing to happen to individual self-photography since the invention of¬†timed shutters and the tripod. Also, my¬†parents would kill me for suggesting that I travel without any communication.

But, yes, I can see where ‘they’ are coming from, having experienced the ‘no-selfie-required’ moments myself.¬†Like most college students in Mumbai, I’ve had my fair share of Goa trips where I’ve spent many evenings watching the sunset and some morning sunrises at the beach.¬†Shack seats in the evenings and in ankle-deep water in the mornings… Deep breaths, deep thoughts and good music. Irrespective of company, you’re connected¬†to a different zone.¬†I recommend those, too.

Flying alone on the other hand, is a completely different story. It’s a brilliant fusion of being completely alone, but, being surrounded by unknown people throughout the journey. An opportunity to be your own self at the cost of being judged by strangers who will be in that same huge, metallic cylindrical bird for the next 6-15 hours. A chance to enjoy your own space within¬†a cramped economy class seat.

While it’s an interesting thing to look forward to, its normal to hope and extremely important to that your neighboring seat is either a quiet somebody¬†who will¬†mind their own business, sleep with their head straight and without snoring… Or, second on my preference list, a pretty girl who would give you company for wine and a bit of chit-chat. Nope, never been fortunate enough to get the latter.¬†The rest of the journey is rather peaceful. Eat your meals. Watch some movies or TV. Look out the window. Sleep at will. Buy a book at the airport. Yes, I read only when I travel. But thankfully (and hopefully), given my target career path, my reading time can only go up along with my flying miles. #WIN!

I also prefer the window seats just as much as I did when I was 8. The difference being that I don’t have to fight my sister for it when I’m alone. I love looking out the window for the first and last 30 mins of the flight. Try to find interesting locations in the city if you’ve never been there before or try to identify familiar places if you have. All the way from the terminal, taxiing, runway and into the skies and the other way round. I become a 10-year-old each and every time.

In my latest solo journey halfway across the planet, I had a transit at a¬†European airport without WiFi. For future reference, the Istanbul international airport, doesn’t have free WiFi¬†( ūüėģ ). So, after fighting my inner voice that said “Burger King, dude!! Burger King!!“, I bought some overpriced Turkish salad and made my way to a 6-chair table with just another man sitting with his laptop (What’s he doing without WiFi?? OK, maybe he has his own portable modem¬†or something. Stop over-thinking!!).

After 10 minutes, he asked me to guard his laptop and bag while he went and grabbed something to eat. Being Indian and living in a world where the only things non-flyers remember and remind you about the airline industry are the terrorists, air crashes, hijackings and most recently, MH 370, its questionable to trust strangers. But, I was alone and left to my judgement. And to be fair, his accent seemed friendlier and more trustworthy than that Turkish salad was threatening to be to my digestive system. I agreed. He came back in 5 minutes with a slice of Pizza. Turns out he was Canadian. See Ma, we can trust strangers sometimes. Most travelers are nice people. The world could do better with more people who trust.

I like flying alone. A window seat,¬†a good book and unlimited Chardonnay. Perfection at 38,000 ft above sea level! Which is not to say that I’d like to travel alone all the time; but, it’s a different experience… One that frequent travelers must have regularly and the less frequent ones should have at least once. Don’t forget your devices, but, don’t let them interfere with the experience, either.

Bucket list it.

Happy Travels! ūüôā

Come India, Let’s All Hate Arvind Kejriwal

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Funny¬†country, ours is. We love to hate. We are so fed up of our own miserable problems¬†and pathetic administration that we just need a media-created effigy to direct our hatred and burn. Beyond logic. Beyond rationale. Beyond the levels of tolerance and sophistication that one can expect from a country that boasts itself as¬†the world’s largest democracy.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal humbled in the recent national elections. Just four members from his party got into parliament and Kejriwal himself lost by a mammoth 337,000 votes at Varanasi to the next PM of India, Narendra Modi. Honestly speaking, it was a stupid move by AK to challenge Modi at Varanasi. He could’ve contested from his home constituency, won his seat in parliament and actually made a difference from inside over the next 5 years. Isn’t that why he split from Anna Hazare in the first place??

The hate for AK started earlier this year when he resigned as CM of Delhi within 49 days of being voted the majority government. Yes, he¬†betrayed the trusArvind-Kejriwal-2014-Picturest of Delhi, and the whole country, the eyes of which were constantly upon him. The disappointment turned to hate and we coined terms like Farjiwal, Fekriwal, Bhagoda and some of our trademarked Hindi swear words which never cease to evolve every-time they’re mentioned. In more ways than not, justified.

All he asked for this week was forgiveness and another chance. He apologized to the people of Delhi, and India. He conceded his mistake and inexperience. Gave his reasoning, and came out pleading for a chance to make things right.

And what do we do?? We lambaste him on social media, accusing him of dramatics, calling him all sorts of things, talking about flogging him publicly and what not! Not to mention his supporters being called AAP-tards and baboons (which, thankfully, is not racist in India).

Nobody wanted to touch AK before the elections. He came out and blasted the most influential people in India for corruption and money laundering, and nobody had the balls to do anything more than denying and reverse accusing him on the news. But now that BJP has swept off the elections, Nitin Gadkari comes along and files a defamation suit. Amazing things power does to people. [Correction: The case was filed a few months ago. Yet, of all the crimes people can commit, we see sense in filing a case for calling someone ‘corrupt’.]

Kejriwal, sent to judicial custody, refused to pay the bail/bond amount of Rs. 10,000 and said that he’d defend himself in court. Why do we accuse him of being above the law? Any defendant has the right to not pay the bail money. It’s an option, not a law. And he said he’d defend his stand in his court hearing. He’s not answerable to the pedestrian unappreciative masses on social media. Wake up and see sense, people. Hating him won’t get you anything.

Back in 2011, he went to jail for similar charges. Back then, he was just an activist, not a political leader. It was easy to pick on him. He didn’t pay the bail even then. He was seen as a hero back then. Why wasn’t that perceived as above the law? Our very own national hero, Mahatma Gandhi, was sent to jail by the British. He was offered bail for as little as 1 Rupee, but, he still declined.

We reelect criminals to parliament. People with blatant corruption charges, people who have more black money than most people earn legitimately their whole life, rapists, uneducated, worthless ministers. Everyone is forgiven and voted back to parliament.

Why not Arvind Kejriwal? A clean record, a degree from India’s premiere technology¬†institute and so many more qualifications that could bring the more than half of the current parliament to shame… and most of all, clean intentions a good¬†heart.

I don’t expect this article to be received well by most of you. I’m probably just another AAP-tard baboon on your timelines. Your hate for Congress and AAP has blinded you too much to read or hear anything against anyone remotely related to BJP, let alone trying to look at it objectively.

But, to those who see sense like me, I hope you’re in Delhi. Give him another chance. He’s a good man.

India Has Spoken. Your Move, Modi!

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Yes, yes, we’ve all heard the news. A mandate nothing short of a landslide which sees the NDA Alliance sweep across the world’s largest democracy in the elections of 2014, with BJP themselves getting more than half the seats in the Indian House of Commons (Lok Sabha). Narendra Modi well on his way to becoming the next Prime Minister of India on the 21st of May.

So Mr. Narendra Modi…

Firstly, Congratulations to you and the BJP. Not a single exit poll analysis across the Indian Media could predict such a clean sweep. The Congress destroyed and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) brushed aside like a speck of dust.

Secondly, let me introduce myself. I’m not your biggest fan. I admire your leadership. But I am¬†against the idea of a BJP majority government. As always, I made my opinion clear in public forums¬†resulting in your national bandwagon of supporters calling me a variety of names. You make have heard some of them… like¬†AAP-tard and a few chosen Hindi/English swear words. Some of them you may not have… Like desh-drohi (as if not supporting you and the BJP amounted to betraying the nation), Pakistani (coz, apparently, being Pakistani makes one the enemy of India)… and a few more cuss words.

As much as I like to think of myself as a neutral observer, I will admit that I am an AAP admirer. Kejriwal was a normal guy¬†like me. Living the common man’s life, when he decided to drop everything and take on the most powerful, corrupt, unethical and immoral factions that ruled and ran our country. His message was simple: Honest, clean, people-centric governance.¬†ImageHis inexperience cost him, but, I still believe that over the next few governments, he will save India, not you.

Although, as an Indian, I do hope that you do. You’ve been given 5 years and 340 seats of a House of 543.

Mr. Modi, you have been chosen to pull¬†India back from its economic, social and democratic downturn in the last 5-10 years. The absence of a coalition doubles the responsibility and expectations that 800 million voters (not including me) have put in you. You have become a demigod… The Savior. Having said that, you also know that most of your Modi-bandwagon voters are just anti-Congress people who were introduced to the Modi wave at the right time. Remember… we are fickle.

This brings me to the reason I’m writing this post: You talked the talk in your obviously successful election campaign. It’s time for you to walk the walk.

Winning the elections is not your objective. Saving India is. Watch the news. Listen to what the people expect of you in the next 5 years. Development, education, progress, clean and good governance, political transparency, cap in inflation, healthcare, growth… the list goes on. You have made people believe in the ‘India Shining’ dream again. Its time for you to deliver.

Personally, I¬†have never been appealed by the idea of you and your party ruling India. Here’s why:

  • I fear that your party’s medieval Hinduist ideologies will take the country backward with its divisive politics
  • I¬†do not believe that the so-called Gujarat Model will work for India. Gujarat is a unified state of like-minded people. It’s easy to ban beef and alcohol in Gujarat. You can’t do that in Mumbai, or many other parts. We’re a secular country, not a Hindu country
  • Hell, I even believe that the¬†Gujarat development hoopla, on which you have based your entire campaign, is a farce. Some Gujratis tell me that the development you’ve done is only in some pockets and not pan-state. That essentially puts you on level ¬†playing field with any other party ruling any other state.
  • Your government will have the same crucial flaw that Dr. Manmohan Singh’s had in this last decade: a Corrupt Cabinet.¬†You may be a dedicated and honest man, but so was MMS. The primary difference being that you’re more vocal than he is.¬†His party and cabinet failed him. Cabinet ministers can still siphon off thousands of crores of Rupees right under your nose. That’s where your true test is.

Having said all this there’s no denying that you have the faith of the people. Not Hindus or Muslims. Not the rich or poor. No castes, no religion, no gender… The whole country has unequivocally¬†put its faith in you. I only ask that you repay it, multiple fold. I’m may be an AAP-tard, but I’m an Indian before anything. I will be happy to concede that I judged you too soon if you can deliver even half of your promises. You will have proven me wrong about you; and¬†India will grow and shine. We will¬†truly rise from a 70-year old potential superpower to an actual global superpower in rightful standing.

Go on Modi. The country is in your hands, now. Set it right. Jai Hind!