Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Simple art and simplicity of living*

Author : Victoria Maravi
Location : Peru 

“Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí.”

(When [s]he awoke, the dinosaur was still there) 

Believe it or not, this is the shortest story ever written. The author is Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso and it is titled “The Dinosaur”. It has a beginning, a climax and a conclusion. Food for thought, don’t you think? We could analyse this in several manners, but I was thinking on an everyday practice than can help us achieve what we want. 

How could Monterroso sum up all he wanted to say in only seven words? 


Simplicity is the key to diminishing stress, which usually hunts us in the shape of grades and social gatherings, among other issues. There are varied types of simplicity. To list a few we have:

-Simplicity of mind (the things that you should have said or done, what you have to do for tomorrow…)

-Simplicity of commitment (you promised you would do it and how have to, you have to participate in the group project…)

-Simplicity of work (as in, is taking 325781 extracurricular activities at high school or college worth it?)…

-Simplicity of space (oh my god, your work space is a mess…)

-Simplicity of goals (I want to write a book, I want to lose weight, I want to get good grades… What should I do first?!) 

Basically, simplicity implies limiting ourselves to the essential and giving priority to our “needs”, consequently leaving behind our “wants”. Maybe this will not bring us never-ending happiness, but surely it will help us focus on what we want to achieve and help us attain clarity.Because, if we want to help the world change for the better, we should first focus on ourselves. 

How should we attempt to minimise the amount of things we have to do or think about everyday? As it would be impossible to analyse all the possibilities there are, I will give you a link from my favourite Webpage that offers a few tips on how to do that: 


The fragrance of bad attitude

Author : Ashok Murthy

Location : India 

3 blasts rock Agartala and this is what I am reading as I am trying to come up with this article. For the past several weeks, it has become a matter of daily reading. Bomb blasts in Delhi, bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad and how this is just a warning sign of bigger things to come, blah blah blah. Then there is violence against Christians in coastal Karnataka and Kandhamal in Orissa. The lesson to be learnt from all this is that these terrorists are telling us something, that they can hit us anytime any place and there is nothing we can do about it. 

It doesn’t matter who the fight is between, but at the end of the day it is the ordinary common man who bears the brunt of the impact. India is at a particularly difficult point of time at the moment. On one hand we have religious tensions flaring up in Orissa against Christians and while the government was doing quite a sad job containing that, fresh anti Christian violence erupted in Karnataka. Before one could come to grips with this, there were also terrorist attacks in Delhi to deal with. Why is it that we fail to recognize any way out other than violence to address our frustrations and anger? Why is it that everytime we don’t like something, we see only one way out of it, to focus on one particular group and make them the subject matter of violence? 

One cannot help but wonder what it will take for voices of reasons like us to be heard. Time and again the rule of law is being made a mockery out of and yet the state watches around not helpless but simply unwilling to risk any bold action with elections around the corner. The people of this country on the other hand seek to be concerned during times of terrorist attacks only to the extent of their near and dear ones and once the safety of that social group is concerned, they are back to watching their favourite sop opera. Have they ever wondered perhaps, they are a party to this unfortunate situation?  

It is sickening to note that ever since a child is born, all that he/she shall learn over the course of his/her life is how helpless he/she is against the world and how futile it would be to even try and do anything about it. For those who wish to take on issues without fear, they are constantly reminded of an Indian Oil Corporation officer who was shot dead trying to bring the oil mafia to his knees but is there one person in this country who can look at that incident and envy the man for having had the opportunity to take on the forces of corruption head on and die while trying. Of course the ordinary parent’s reaction to this is, the public won’t remember that poor fellow for too long, so what’s the point? It is time that we here in India recognized what the Bhagavat Gita tells us, make your best efforts and do not seek a result. Fear is our doom, fear is our sin and fear is the root cause of all our miseries. 

The 1900’s were troubling times no doubt, but in that era we saw people come standing up for what was right even if it meant going against majority opinion. For every Hitler there was a Schindler and for every colonial power there was a Gandhi. It is perhaps time that we started wondering as to whether our present attitudes truly reflect the gratitude we owe to the people before us and whether they died in vain for making the future safe and secure for a bunch of people who are more dead than alive. Resilience in light of trouble should be exercised as a matter of proud choice and not as a matter of force. This is something that the ordinary Indian as well as the state machinery should realize and in it lies the first step towards combating the forces of communalism and terror.

As simple as a prayer !

Author : Noor Al Zubaidy
Location : Oman 

We keep on hearing about bomb blasts in different cities all around the world, we hear about cases of abduction, theft, rape, etc. And they are happening in different places. I mean we've become used to hearing about a bomb blast in Iraq, but when you hear about a bomb blast in Syria, it makes you worried. We can't count on the fact that our world is a safe place to live in. I'm not saying that because I think the world isn't safe, I'm saying that because I think the time for taking things for granted should end. We should be grateful for the fact that we are blessed to live in a place with a roof over our heads with the ones we love. Being grateful for that fact will make us feel for the less fortunate. We will understand their sorrow, and it will make us really feel for them enough to actually take a step forward to make our world a better place, and not only for our sake, but for the less fortune ones.

Feeling for others is very noble, and if we all searched deep down within we'll find compassion and sympathy. Imagine how rich your life would be if you thought about others, how they're sleeping at night not knowing whether they'll live to witness the dawn of the new day, whether they'll live to see their kids growing, whether they'll come a day that they'll feel safe and won't have to be up all night because of their fears. Let's help them, even if it's just by praying for them for a better life. 

Your Own Way

Author : Huda Al Zubaidy 
Location : Oman 

A bend will do to fix the look.

A special move to get you off the hook.

If you follow you might get noticed

in a way that you’ll have to toughen your fist.

You’ll have to keep that bracelet around your wrest.

You’ll have some nights without any rest.

You’ll have to be confident.

You’ll have to do all that and much more.

To be cool is a struggle,

because you’ll to give up so many things.

But it isn’t wrong to want to be cool,

you just have to find your own way

and then you’ll see that it only matters what you think

is cool.