The Prison

The Prison: One of the most structured place one can inhabit is the prison. I have not been in the place in the real sense, but from what we know, there is structure there. Everything is pre-defined. There are rules that must be followed, hierarchies that are in place, and any transgression is punished. From Alcatraz to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of the English language, we are placed in structures: From the guard towers to grammar. Any attempt to break out is a punishable offense. Even if many of my readers have not been to the likes of Tihar and Leavenworth, we are imprisoned by language. Many say language is a tool. And so it is. But a tool for what? A tool to structure our lives, to offer meanings, and point towards the truth, towards what is "right" and what is "wrong." We are defined by the signs that surround us, and again tonight, after watching a movie ( The Name of the Rose ), I am reminded that the notions that structure our lives are built into langu

Living Your Dreams

Living Your Dreams: A question that people sometimes ponder: Have I have fulfilled my dreams? It is a troubling question at many levels because an affirmative response suggests a moment of termination. What is left? If indeed the dreams have all become reality? The sense of finality that would set in after that would be bereft of any further need to progress. At that moment hope is over, because dreams could be the fountainhead of hope. Because there is always an "after." For example, in the Jewish tradition, one interpretation of the moment when  Yahweh answers the question from Moses, it is said that "I am that I am" or "I shall be." This tradition reminds us that there is always "that" which comes later, because some interpret the Hebrew scripture to mean that God said, "I shall be." On the other hand, if one were to rely on science, then the moment of singularity is followed by what has been labelled as the "Big Bang," b

Are you an honorable person?

Are you an honorable person? Or do you cheat on tests? This conversation happened with my students recently. I have been a teacher for nearly three decades, and I have witnessed a lot. I remember the old days of blue books (my American readers will know what I mean), when I used to hand out a cyclostyle question paper (later a photocopy), and I would "invigilate" during the test time, as the students wrote out their answers in a book which had a blue cover, watching to see who the honorable student is and who peeps over the shoulder of the person nearby. I really never spotted anybody doing that. Because they were honorable people. They understood that there is a moral standard to be maintained. Many are not like that. They cheat. They are dishonorable men who cheat in everything they do - from their dishonesty to their bondhus, whose wives they take for the night, to the dishonesty to their professional ethics when they secretly make others do the work that is supposed to be

Deer in the headlight

Deer in the headlight: There is a common phenomenon from where I am from. Driving down the winding road to my home in North Carolina sometimes a deer will leap into the street and as the headlight of my car shines on it, the animal freezes, a confused and scared look on the face. It realizes that it has been “caught” or discovered. Its secret is out. (I just saw such a “deer” yesterday). The deer realizes that it is in a place where it should not be and doing something it should not be doing. Frozen with fright, it pauses and then flees. When caught in the moment of danger the cowards flee, the ones with courage stay and fight. This is well known amongst animals. But they flee because of mortal danger. They would die if they did not flee. What about people? Do the cowards freeze like the deer in the headlight? The sheer terror of being caught in the act – from stealing from the till to taking your friend’s wife to the beach for a roll in the sand – its all the same. I have seen these t

The Runner

The Runner: Although this term brings back fond memories amongst many of us of a song in the Bangla language from the 1970s, the term also has a negative connotation. And in my life I have seen many a runner – those who run and hide as soon a they are caught in an act that they were intrinsically guilty of doing. This runner is the coward. Much has been written about the coward and there are many perspectives, but one thing that many agree on is that the coward runs when caught or sees that the environment is not safe for the person. The runner has no emotions towards anything other than the self. It could be a person that sweet talks their way into the lives of others – a false confidant, a scared adulterer, or a fake business person – but the moment they see the environment getting a little too tricky for them, and they may get caught, they run. These are the people who will tell their “loved” one to back off or worse still tell them, “lets not do this (whatever “this” may be – from

Back I Am

It has been a while since I wrote. Life was doing things to me and the original driver - COVID - has temporarily disappeared. The pandemic wreaked havoc on us, and even as we recovered, we knew what to do and how to address this deadly virus. Yet there are many other things that bring us down, especially people who bring us down, from demonic despots to individuals without morals. Just as COVID left us in a DAZE there are humans who are far better than the virus in leaving us "dead" and spent. And in my life, as in yours, we have seen them all from the cheater who takes you on a ride to the one who comes along and makes things better. Hopefully you will like this new series and circulate amongst your network as well. Happy reading coming soon. 

Denial does not make it vanish

Denial does not make it vanish. The notion of denial is something that a bondhu pointed out to me recently. At a very personal level, I was told that my refusing to see the reality of some things around me does not mean that those things do not exist. As you ponder on this, you realize that sometimes you deny because you do not want to accept the truth you are seeing. It seems too painful to admit, and there is the false hope that denying what is staring at you will somehow make it go away. Look around you right now, if you are surrounded by people - friends and family - do you not see those subtle signs that tell you that you the truth but you are denying to yourself that your husband is sleeping with your friend, or your child is sobbing because of the abuse she faces in school. These signs surround us, a stolen glance that you want to overlook, that constant sob that you want to wish away, or that opportunity you let go that you now regret. For many, denial often occurs at the momen