Who Let the Virus Out??

Who? WHo? WHO?

Who can I blame for me having to sweep and mop the floor myself1? I have to be able to blame someone for not being able to buy my weekly essentials when I want them. Neither my friends nor I deserve to be stuck without seeing each other for what feels like ages.

We are all converting to the “it’s not that bad, we can see each other on zoom” people. Of course, I need someone to blame.

What follows is a logical flow of thoughts, my logic2. The very basis for this logic is that everyone is watching out for themselves—individuals, organisations, governments. Fair enough?

If yes, please skip the next paragraph and continue.

If no, you believe that most individuals, organisations and governments watch out for the greater good. At most times, I stand at the door of your world. I try to spend my day-to-day life, believing that while knowing it is not the entire truth. So, this once, humour my cynicism.

Can you please give me someone to blame already!?

Let’s start with the most obvious one. No, not China.

The most conspicuous one is the World Health Organisation (WHO). People will cheat. Countries are made of people, so they will cheat too. It is the enforcers who should be at the top of their game. WHO ought to have known better. They had the expertise, they had the know-how, they had the data. And boy, did they have the responsibility!

Which is precisely why I cannot blame them. They had to know that this would blow in their face when the word came out. Not if, when. Imagine you are the person sitting on that desk who got this piece of information from China. You show it to the experts—scientist, health experts, etc.

  • They say it is an emergency for sure, shut the world down. And you don’t. The world would know in weeks, and you are in trouble. So you wouldn’t do this because you are watching out for yourself.
  • They say it can go in either direction. Your choices are shut the world down or let’s take our chances.
  • They say it is nothing to worry about. You still worry about it and shut the world down. Of course, no one will listen to you.

The actual conversation could have taken any hue along that spectrum.

The reality is that they probably didn’t take it seriously, at first.

How I wish I could blame them for this. But I can’t. Almost each of us didn’t take it seriously at first. At the very least, the response was, “Let’s see what happens.” No one knows how to handle this situation, they didn’t either.

Should they have known better? Of-effing-course. Of-effing-course.

That human being sitting there didn’t do their job well. The checks and balances in that system should have worked better. Worst of all, “how do we trust them the next time?”

Sure, we need improved processes and the person(s) in-charge should be reprimanded.

Meanwhile, though, as fate would have it,
they had to be incompetent, thus they were. :/

Still, my thirst for blame hasn’t quenched. I want something less abstract.

Hello, China.

Sorry, just can’t make myself do it.

Because one, almost every country downplayed it the way, China did. Some continue to give little weight to it, right? In fact, all other countries knew the repercussions quite well. Yet, the world is where it is.

Two, they intentionally kept information. For some reason, I find it hard to believe that whoever was up there knew the severity AND chose to keep it from the rest of the world. My disbelief would like to be based on the naivete that they didn’t want humanity to suffer so. But it is not.

To say that this was intentional and not plain denial, is I think just our way to satisfy our need to blame someone. Anyone up there had to be smart enough to know that the political fallback of such a move would be disastrous. The virus’ origin couldn’t have been a secret forever.

Three, China is a country. 1,438,261,858 people3. Decisions to share or keep numbers, to treat the situation with the gravity it deserved or not, are all made by the government. Am I, one of 1,377,393,760, willing to take the blame for the decisions my country’s government takes3? Ummm, no. Even if it is one I like? Still, no.

Four, if I blame China, the only thing I can do is boycott their products. Unless I am willing to live under a rock, it is impossible and unfair to boycott. I’d be blaming one-sixth of the world’s population while typing about it from an instrument that most likely some people from the same populace toiled over? A tad too hypocritical for me.

The other thing I could do is that I demand my government to ban and imposes sanction on China, the country. For starters, I doubt anyone really responsible would suffer half as much, if at all, as the person on the factory floor. Then, the macro and micro-economics implications of such actions are complicated, and I don’t know enough to make a humanitarian comment on that. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is much more harmful than it is good.

Five, following from the two points above, not only do citizens have to pay for what the government did directly. They also have to face by-products such as hatred, discrimination, racism. Guess what, you don’t even have to be Chinese for that, you just have to look oriental. A remote resemblance will do. Jwala Gutta, an Indian badminton player, has faced racism because her mother is Chinese</a>. I cannot even imagine the wrath the ordinary Chinese person must face on a day-to-day basis. Whether I like it or not, blaming China is racist.

Virus, the next generation might grow resistant too.

Virus, if the Chinese and the Americans and the Indians and Brazilians work together, can fight, will fight.

‘Othering’, ‘us’ vs ‘them’ will be reinforced in our kids, and we will be left to fight viruses on our own. Racism and stigma have lives well beyond the life of a virus.

So, as fate would have it, they didn’t want to take it seriously at first. They didn’t. :/

And the events are squared because we didn’t take it seriously at first either. Double :/

Hey, what if the second wave comes when we open borders and some countries which took better care get hit because others couldn’t be bothered? Will we impose sanctions on those other countries and boycott their products? They knew better but were still okay with the damage the virus causes, right? Triple :/

Okay, fine. Can I blame the bats at least? Please?

Turns out I cannot. Supposedly, bats and other rodents are as likely to cause a virus as other animals. I cannot claim to understand all the statistics involved, I will rely on PNAS’ word. Instead, it’s likely that we need bats as a part of our ecosystem. hmph

Anyway, is there any way to predict which species will play host to the next deadly virus? Could be carried by the chicken you eat. Or maybe the spinach I eat is lugging it around, looking for ways to make itself truly novel as a plant-based virus. These would be possibilities even if all deadly viruses came from bats, which they did not.

Oh, and while we are at it, this virus might have come to humans from bats through uncontrolled markets and illegal smuggling. But, there is no saying where the next one will come from. Would it make it any better, if the virus came from legally sold crabmeat or tomatoes?

It had to transfer to humans, it transferred. :/

Anyone else?

No, I am not blaming Muslims.

So looks like, I can blame development.

Here’s a quote from a ‘Scientific American’ article, which talks about the origin of COVID-19:

They found that the emergence of new pathogens tended to happen in places where a dense population had been changing the landscape—by building roads and mines, cutting down forests and intensifying agriculture. “China is not the only hotspot,” he says, noting that other major emerging economies, such as India, Nigeria and Brazil, are also at great risk.

लो भई, गयी भैंस पानी में!!4 (The situation is out of control.)

What are we going to do now? Stop making roads and cutting down forests? Stop our economies from emerging? That’s not happening, is it?

Also, that seems to be pointing the finger at me. I will have to take action and start behaving responsibly and respect nature. Never mind. I will live without blaming anyone.

It had to happen, it happened. :/

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1I live in India. I have loads of domestic help to take care of my home.
2I have little faith left in news outlets. Almost every publication says what someone makes them say or they have a strong agenda and matters are tweaked to fit that story. The validity of this agenda warrants a separate discussion.
3And counting, of course.
4lo bh-i, gayi bhains paani mein, the proverbial buffalo has gone into the pond for a bath, there’s no way you are getting out, it will come out when it feels like.

To Friend or To Parent

“You can either be a friend or a parent to your child,” I often hear, “there is no way you can be both.” they pass a verdict.

I appeal.

You have to be a friend if you want to be a half-decent parent.

A parent has to be a friend+ because being only a good friend is not enough.

A friend here would mean being the person who they come to when they are in trouble or going through a difficult time. And of course, they continue to like you even when they don’t need you :).

Which is why things like grades in school, professional aspirations, how they will be there for me when I am older—all take a back-seat in my world of parenting. That some of these things are actually projections of the parents’ aspirations imposed on the child and others are plain unfair expectations—is a matter for another discussion. But I would argue, even for these aims, being friendly rather than parently would serve the purpose better.

Of course, neither do I want to take the place of their best friend, nor do I want to substitute their social circle. Not only is that the opposite of being a good parent, but that is also hardly something a good friend should do!

To be that specific friend, though—who the kid comes to and who will continue to like your company—while being a parent, is no mean task. They would have to know I am non-judgemental. Like really*. They would have to believe that I know what to do in a difficult situation. Which means they have to know me and how I have handled such tough spots. And I would have to be a person they like to hang with*. And all of this without losing my sense of self and without bending backwards.

This entails lots of non-heavy conversations. A two-liner here, a few-liners there—none of them intentionally revealing right now. But in the long term, I would like to believe, they are adding up to making me their friend+. Yes, getting to know my little human beings, is a welcome by-product.

So, of course, you have to discipline them and tell them about the ways of “society”. It is you who has to teach them about boundaries—others and theirs, and let them learn from their mistakes, be independent, and all that jazz. There is no getting away from leading by example on values like empathy, compassion, and just generally being a nice person. Taking responsibility and dealing with both good and bad consequences, that’s still a part of our job description as parents. If you have done all of that, you get a bonus responsibility—guiding them towards being aware of their feelings, emotions, reactions to situations. Oh, and paying bills. You get to do that too.

Loaded, right? Tell me about it!

But, who said we can’t build a friendly relationship along the way? This can be done without creating a power dynamic, right?** Some parts of our role can be converted towards our real goal. And guess what? Along the way I have sensed the “loaded”-ness of parenting lighten up a bit, making room for the really heavy times.

Anyway, the biggest one of them all, “discipline” covers so many activities that fill a day. The instructions are exhausting, even when you are the one giving them. “Wake up.” “Sleep.” “Eat.” “Not that, don’t eat that.”

I know I need a break from them. And I believe if we allow ourselves, the relationship offers enough opportunity to take that break. So, I would rather

– they learn ways of “society” by us mulling together about why we do what we do, rather than the finality of, “This is how it is done.”

– they discuss newspaper items with me to know my view about the world, power dynamics, boundaries, and so on.

– I tell them about my day. The boring ones and the challenging ones.

– I ask about them and their friends. They ask about my friends and me.

– we exchange things from the latest books we are reading or movies/shows we are watching.

– not make each moment of my parenting life a teaching opportunity. I could try to make it one of learning though.

And most of these things can be made age-appropriate. I remember a lesson in feminism I learnt from my daughter when she was all of three.

Isn’t this what friends do? Why keep the friend in our kid away from us? Are these not the little things that might want them to spend time with us, have fun with us, and of course come to us for help, if need be?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Attempts to speak like them makes them roll their eyes. It’s cute.

**I am not one, so I am not sure, but I reckon even submissive, permissive parents could gain some control back if their kids see them as their friends.

The P-word—Pride

What am I proud of? What can I be proud of?

Certainly not of the medal that my 10-year-old neighbour won in an international sporting event. I admire his enthusiasm. I am in awe of what he can do and how much technique it involves. None of which I have contributed an iota to. What did I do so that I can be proud of him?

Same goes for the drawings of other neighbours, a 6-year-old and his mother. I am stumped by the thought behind the pictures. The choice of vibrant colour-combinations amazes me. Still, not why I can be proud of it. I did zilch for their imagination to be where it is. 

Can I then be proud of my daughter’s artwork? Or when the school staff voluntarily tell me about my son’s exemplary behaviour? I am not sure, you know. Who is to say that the skill and the thought-process are despite me and not because of me? Right? Anyway, providing an enabling environment is my duty as a parent, not a good-to-have for my child.

Similarly, if my child behaves well, should he really be getting extra points for being a decent human being? Same goes for me. If he learnt to behave well because I set an example, I should be proud of…being what? A nice person? 

I think we deserve higher standards than that. 

See, I understand the sentiment. When someone tells me they are proud of me for something I did or my kids did, they mean well. They certainly don’t mean to take credit. Well, at least some of them. They like what I did and are trying to express that feeling. The word “pride” though, doesn’t cut it. And I think it is because of the “I, me, myself” attached to the concept. 

Let’s look at the other usage. I should be proud of my lineage, my community, my religion, my nation. Oh dear, no! For one, the first argument continues to apply—what was my contribution to me being a Baldawa, a marwadi, a Hindu, an Indian? Being born into it? Really?

Again, I think we deserve higher standards than that. 

What have I done to make Mumbai what it stands for? Have I truly, completely understood what it means to work towards *moksha*? If I did understand, would the philosophy want me to take pride in choosing it, let alone being born into it?

Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I have to imbibe the qualities of what being an Indian, a Hindu, etc. mean for me to be worthy of being called one. Of course, we are talking of feeling good about something. So, this hopefully means taking on and trying to sustain positive qualities associated with belonging to that group. 

Just imagine. I am born an Indian, into a Hindu family. But I am not allowed to call myself one till I demonstrate the capability of following the Indian constitution or the all-accepting tenets of Hinduism! Ok, let me not digress. Just tell me, which religion/nation/community is looking for a seal of approval from us?

The thought-process then drifts towards me not being able to use the word pride for soldiers at the borders, national sportspeople, doctors at the front-line of a pandemic. For many reasons.

One. I did not contribute to their process or the result. In fact, I might have been an obstacle when I, and those like me, criticised them for not behaving/performing well. These people will survive without the pressure of having to make us feel proud. 

Two. Who are we fooling? Pride is an escape. We feel proud of them, so we don’t need to do anything else. We don’t need to be supportive of them when they suffer in other ways. For instance, if a soldier doesn’t have access to appropriate amenities or food or a doctor to proper equipment, I don’t need to do anything. Because we have absolved ourselves by being proud of them otherwise. 

Three. Isn’t there a hint of us telling them, “Hey, this is what you signed up for. I did my bit by being proud. Don’t expect more from me. You are supposed to fight for me, not the other way around.” Of course, some of us donate and volunteer. Some raise voices even. But none of these actions requires us to be proud. In fact, they need humility.

So, where does pride come from?

I have been able to narrow it down to this—pride seems to rest on the foundation of identity. Whatever separates the group that I fall in from the others, is something I should be proud of. So for a French person, being French is ‘us’ and Americans, Afghanis, Indians are all different versions of ‘them’. Of course, it goes further. A Parisian would belong to the ‘us’ for Parisians, and a South Bombay-ite would be ‘us’ to people staying South of Dadar, or Bandra, is it?

Where does this stop? At a village or a suburb? Not really, right? We have the ‘us’ caste and the ‘them’ caste, the marwadis and gujaratis, the ‘us’ religion and the ‘them’ religion. Oh wait, we even have a ‘them’ apartment complex and a ‘us’ apartment complex. He he he he…this is real. Apartment complexes have an ‘us’ building and a ‘them’ building. Heck! A household would have a ‘them’ generation and a ‘us’ generation!

Let’s humour ourselves for a bit. Let’s say that every Indian can be proud of what they think identifies them as an Indian. Even then, there is little chance it will hold a hundred per cent. So, “I love the diversity that I live in,” is a lovely line. I couldn’t mean it wholly, though, could I? Because I certainly don’t love all my neighbours. Not equally, for sure. Not to mention, there are non-Indian street-smart people, and non-Indian people who are loving, and so on. So neither of them is an “Indian-Indian” trait. And I am sure this would hold true for any nationality, community, religion, etc. Then there are so-called Indian traits—like spitting and peeing on the road or disregard of civic sense in public life and privacy in personal life—that I have no inclination to be proud of.

So, in reality, there can be no complete “us” versus “them”. If fate hadn’t made me an Indian, I would have to be proud of being an American or a Brit or a Russian. Then what can I be proud of? The only identity that I might allow myself to be proud of is the education or work-space I belong to. But, that too comes from a sense of belonging and not necessarily pride-pride.

On the other hand, we could hold pride responsible for so much of the chaos around us. The otherness it brings can be held accountable for the hatred it spews. The holier-than-thou attitude it fosters on either side of the us-them binary. The bitterness and the violence it has thrived on through the ages.

Is that we like it so much? Is that why we feel we need it? So that we have a reason to kill others?

Count me out. I am at the other end of the spectrum. I don’t like the very meaning of the word and the baggage that it carries.

I want the word to be relegated to a profanity, a p-word of sorts. A word society would frown at. Something kids are asked not to use. Certainly not something you would use to describe yourself.

~ ~ ~

PS. I started writing this piece in September 2019. I didn’t want it to be associated with any current event because the concept is not restricted to this tragedy or that. Finally, gave up. The ‘us vs them’ fervour in the country/world just won’t take a “chill pill”. And here we are.

Staying Afloat

Yesterday, I went swimming.

After 4-5 years, maybe, I swam. Or rather, I tried to. That thing they say, “Once you learn swimming/cycling, you have learnt for life. You never forget.” All lies. Pure bullcrap, I say.

My head wouldn’t register the rhythm of popping out to breathe. The mind struggling between, “all those breathing exercises in yoga class gone for a toss” and “all those breathing exercises is why there isn’t water snorting up my nose.”

My legs had forgotten how to float, they just dragged behind the torso. What choice did they have? The helpless, unwilling children that they were, being dragged to the dentist.

My heart pounded hard within the first 20 meters, “You want cardio? Here, take cardio.”

My eyes refused to adjust to the particularly poor visibility in the pool on our building premises. Don’t ask. That was supposedly the cleaned-up version of the pool.

Not that a clean pool would help me recall how to move my arms to displace water smoothly and not go splash-splASH-SpLaSh-s p l a s h. What did I tell you? No rhythm. What. So. Ever.

Not that I care, but I would be an amusing sight to onlookers. Not that I care, there were none. It was drizzling. And supposedly, no one likes pools with lots of leaves, from the trees above them, merrily floating on the water. And in the water.

Not that I care, my attempt at swimming amused me too. Not that I care, it felt like I wasn’t looking either. The very act of not being able to swim was surprisingly meditative.

The gaze was internal. It was critical. But, it was also amused that it was being critical. It was unexpected. But, maybe focussing on the chaos of the crying legs, the stubborn head, the vengeful heart, and the fogged-out eyes, the gaze had no choice but to observe the debacle. It was steady. As if telling me—come what may, I am here watching you stay afloat. Watching you entertain me, but watching you, I am.

The conflict-compassion conflict

Plurality always existed as did difference of opinions. But, so did each sect, sub-sect, and sub-sub-sect’s
need for individuality.

Is it a surprise then, that there has never been a world without conflict? It goes with the theory of evolution too, right? Every group of humans fighting a fight only because they want to survive?

So, looks like there will always be war to be seen as the fittest. By definition then, are compassion, taking care of the “weaker” ones, etc relatively newer concepts that have to fight a long battle of survival?

Does this apply to non-war situations too? Can war then, be thought of as an extension of a conflict between two people?

Who knows ¯\_(?)_/¯, right? Till then I guess we have to make peace whenever we can, and make peace with whatever we can’t.

~ ~ ~

This is a thought I tried to articulate in response to a discussion on the StoryBench group about “Confilct”.

OMG modified

The kids were playing a game of cards with their friends. The usual banter of a bunch of 10-14 year olds was on. A perfect hot, summer afternoon pass-time.

Of course, I had to chime in a “Language!” every time one of them went “SHIT!” or “What the hell!?!” That would make them switch to “Oh no!” and “Oh my god”. Well, at least for the next two times.

In one of those breaks from inappropriate language, one of them pleasantly surprised me. He went, “Oh my Goddess!”

I was stumped, for a minute I thought I misheard a “Oh my goodness!” (because that is what I use. Why bother God for every little thing, right?). But, he had said Goddess.

He must’ve meant it like a quip, a pun, an attempt at being funny. But, it felt good to see that play of words by a fresh teenager, the true next generation. It was reassuring. Maybe we, the current generation are doing some thing right.

Are people phases?

Are people, phases of your life?

Are kids phases in their parents’ lives? At different ages, different phases? When they fly away, the empty nest phase arrives with a whole new world of opportunities for all parties involved?

Are friends phases in friends’ lives, with physical distance, comes a little emotional one too? You grow apart and then maybe you can’t relate to any more.

Are lovers the most difficult phases of them all? For they leave a phase of heartbreak behind.

You are the sum of a few important people in your life, they say. Makes perfect sense. For a little of each phase, each person that has passed has changed me and stayed with me thus. If it stays though, has it passed?

My daughter, she has these egg-phases. For months she ate plain boiled egg, with no salt or pepper. Then there were weeks of omellette – this time there was salt and pepper only to be followed by days after days of a recipe she saw at a friends – baida roti*. Currently, we are at bhurji**.

The egg stays constant, the flavors change.

We are the same; people come and go. Of course, there are constants, our pillars, our soldiers. But, the ones who are not, they too add to my life, nourish me so.

Then why do they feel like phases? Why does it feel like they have moved on and we are left behind? We manage fine without them, but the emptiness stays. We don’t miss them much either, yet something’s amiss.

The attachment stays, then why is there a pre and a post era? Something changes. Of course, nothing is permanent, everything is transient, ya-di-ya-da-da. We adapt, we figure it out, tra-la-la-la. But then, what did that attachment mean? Does it mean anything now?

~ ~ ~

*Indianised eggy-bread (French/German toast) of sorts

**sauted crumbled eggs with Indian spices

Faking Nonchalance

I’ve been having these intense conversations with a few close friends. Coincidentally, almost all of these friends are single. And I guess not so coincidentally, many of these conversations revolved around relationships – both romantic and platonic (but relatively close friendships). A common theme has begun to emerge. People play games – knowingly or unknowingly, even with people they are close to.

It is not just a “who calls how many times” and “responds to texts how quickly” kind of a game. And it is beyond the quality of the conversations and responses too – no more a dissatisfaction with a “hmmm” as a reply. It is more manipulative than judgement of self-worth based on these quantity and quality parameters.

They are games, I am not sure, they realise they are playing. It is things like –
– She is giving me attention, now she can be taken for granted. It’s as if some battle has been won and now the territory doesn’t need to be heeded to – by way of time or attention.
– As a converse, I should behave as if I don’t care about him. That’s the only way to get him to talk to me.
– If I share my emotions, I will be “showing my cards”.
– Let me ask this question. Her answer will tell me if she is thinking of me/likes me/is angry with me.
– I am giving away too much control. Let me not do this thing he wants, (even though I want to) so he knows, I am boss.

All the above lines of thought point towards one thing – hiding one’s true feelings from oneself and the other and ending up expressing quite the opposite – nonchalance. Faking nonchalance when you actually care.

In most cases, this isn’t a calculated move. It just materialises in the back of one’s mind in a fraction of a second. Only when questioned, might the person figure their train of thought. Unfortunately, though, once they realise it too, it gets only a shrug. It has become so ingrained in the system. When I ask them, “isn’t that a game though?” They either are stumped or they go, “That’s how it goes, Meeta.”

One close friend pointed out, people don’t “show cards” because it is self-protection and if the other person knows how important they are, it makes them vulnerable to the other. But, how does showing the opposite of what you feel help the relationship?

What is so wrong about letting the other person know you care, that you think of them at random times, that you think of them more often than not? Of course, you don’t go about saying that to one and all. How many people do you feel about that way, anyway?

What struck me was this wasn’t restricted to romantic relationships. Other than those, I saw a daughter-father relationship, a relatively close friendship, and colleagues who are friends also pointing towards, “let me not make myself too available”. Most of these people would count the other in the top 15 important people of their lives, if not better.

As far as I understand, close relationships are meant to fulfill emotional needs. Needs of companionship. Companionship comes from sharing. Not only sharing of other things going on in life, but also what you feel about each other. Of course not in words or a “I love being with you” every second day, but by actions – little by little, one at a time.

It doesn’t surprise me that people play games. It surprises me that age (maturity?) is not a barrier here, neither is gender. It surprises me that people are faking nonchalance in relationships that they deeply care about. **shudder**

~ ~ ~

Thank you Ashlu for your input.

Two TED talks and a comedy talk show.

Navin and I watched three YouTube videos yesterday. All three – must watch!

Two TED talks and a comedy talk show that is more informative than funny. These videos have all been doing the rounds on social media for a bit now. But we never got around to watching them, because well, who has time to watch 15-20-30 minute videos during the day! In no particular order, here goes –

Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems…palsy is just one

A person’s disability is not their identity. Repeat to yourself, a person’s disability is not their identity. Maysoon is not only funny because she can laugh at herself which in itself is very dark humor, but she is insightful, engaging and has a story to tell. Just imagine, she can identify herself as an Arab, a woman, non-white in America and yet she doesn’t let one of these identities take over her being.

Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame

From a nobody to globally infamous overnight, Monica Lewinsky, reminds us of how cruel we can be as a people. With a compelling and sorry experience to share, she could have let the video be all about herself and it would have been a story I’d like to hear, but she does more. She takes on cyber-bullying and asks us one pertinent question – is it so difficult to be compassionate? A question that we can ask ourselves of our day-to-day lives and life in general.

John Oliver on Government Surveillance – An interview with Edward Snowden

If the Lewinsky video gets you worked up about privacy and personal space, this one isn’t good for your health. We all know that “nothing” on the Internet is private, and even so, it is worse than we thought.

We aren’t taking it seriously enough, I know I’m not. I take it as a given for using free e-mail, free social media and so on. I, in fact, accept it as a no-brainer every time I check the “Read terms and conditions” box without reading it.

Edward Snowden geekiness is endearing. It is a complicated issue – security vs. privacy and he doesn’t help. John Oliver dumbs it down for us and how! 😀

Equally amazing is the fact that the show was aired in the US. The video is up and running. Though that is how it should be and noone needs to be applauded for allowing freedom of expression. But, we know that is not how it is always, right?

* * *

Thank you Amit Paranjape for the chromecast stick, our night time TV is so much richer now. We’d never have watched these videos, if it weren’t for being able to stream them on TV.

Make away “chewing gum for the brain” TV shows, here come cerebral video vieweing. Three videos, chromecast and so much inspiration!

Any suggestions?

Love Limited

When I was pregnant for the first time, I read these articles on mother-child bonding – how the first few months of a child are the most defining ones as far as bonding is concerned, etc. My initial instinct was – what a load of crap! How can my bonding with my child be defined by what I do in the first few months of a lifelong relationship?

Anyway, too shy to challenge research, I chose to believe it. Okay, fine, there were the hormones too. I remember being borderline obsessed with how much or how little time I got with my kids in the first few months.

I came across a similar article somewhere today. But, 12 years and another child later I realise my instinct was right – it is all over-rated. My kids and I are doing just fine, thanks for asking. It’s the other end I am talking about.

Just look at life and you see the innumerable people that came and went in your life. You didn’t connect with many and they drifted away. And there are a few that have stayed around and you became invaluable to each other.

Read that last line again. You became invaluable to each other.

Guess what? This happened even though you did not hold each other when you were a few days old! Miracle, isn’t it? Okay, so I don’t have statistics, but this just instinctively feels right.

I went further along this line of thought. Let’s say even if it were true. That the strongest bonds are those formed in the first few months. My obsession, as mild as it may have been, was so misplaced. As a mother, why would one restrict their child to bond only with themselves and/or their spouse? Thankfully, I didn’t do that. But, was wondering what if I had.

That would be so silly. As if a person’s bonding is limited. As if love is limited. As if any emotion is limited. Well, I believe that a person can be in love (romantically, too!) with more than one person at a time, but let’s not digress.

Extrapolate it though, we do have father figures and mother figures in our lives. We have motherly feelings for others’ children, even some adults. We have those feelings for our pets.

It seems so obvious that it feels dumb to even put it in writing. And its not just new mothers, right? You do see parents obsessed with their teenagers falling in love, mothers trying to resist her son’s new bride, jealous lovers, possessive spouses – they are all around.

I refuse to believe though that bonding as limited.

Love cannot be that limited. You are not that small.