To Read or not to Read!

I hate news papers! What a transformation!!

As a young child, hooked to reading I used to wait eagerly for the newspaper man to deliver it. Thankfully we used to get both The Hindu and The Mathrubhumi newspapers and so we would share it – my grandfather and I. And I remember how I pored over newspapers and read each and every column in every page.

Today too much of it remains same – we get both the newspapers. All of us at home clamour to read it. I, however, don’t chew and digest newspapers like before! The panache with which news items are sensationalized has disgusted me. The Hindu appeals to me even today, thanks to its ethics and ethos. And I sincerely hope they will retain this individuality even in the changing times.

Today’s newspaper was particularly upsetting. The Mathrubhumi carried out a horrific picture of a Palestine girl’s head in the midst of rubbles due to an Israeli attack on a school. Don’t miss the placing of the picture – the left hand top corner of the front page! How can one ever read the newspaper with out glancing at the photograph? It is shameful for a newspaper of the stature of Mathrubhumi to have done this. And for a newspaper that evolved in the crucible of the freedom movement, and conceived as its mouthpiece, what a fall! K. P Kesava Menon, the editor of the newspaper for over 55 years would have been a sad man, had he been alive today.

Yes, we need to highlight the brutality of the Israeli attack.
Yes, we need to highlight how man has debased himself.
Yes, we need to highlight how we have forgotten ethics and fight with unequals.
Yes, we need to drive home our angst & helplessness when innocent children become victims.
And yes, it is also true that a single picture can convey what even a thousand words cant.

But is this picture needed? Why do we have to sup on horrors? What did we gain by such gory details? Do we ever think about what the picture can do to the psyche of adults and more importantly children? Through these graphic details what are we teaching them? Even during the Mumbai attack, the “live” coverage that the media indulged in came for scathing attacks from too many quarters that they had to think about a kind of code of conduct while reporting.

Even otherwise as an educator I have noticed how “violent” our young generation is in their thoughts, words and deeds. Why shouldn’t they be when our media – both print and visual – brings it all into their sitting rooms in all its ghastly depictions? Truly the time has come to teach these impressionable minds NVC – non violence in communication. That can happen only if the minds are free from violence in thoughts, from violence they see around them, thanks to such explicit pictures.

When will we awake to this reality and allow our children to metamorphose into adults naturally? Let us not inject the creed of violence into their blood streams, for God’s sake! This we owe it to them as they are going to be tomorrow’s generation and the nation’s promise!!

Welcome the New Year!

“But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” – Mitch Albom in his novel, The Five People you Meet in Heaven.

The winged chariot of time has taken us to the threshold of yet another year. And we do know that this ending is a beginning – the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. So, Adieu 2008 and Welcome 2009!

According to Roman mythology, January gets its name from Janus, the God of gates and doors, guardian of Exits and Entrances. ‘Janus’ is of Latin origin and means gateway. Romans worshipped Janus at every event that marked a beginning for them, like birthday, marriage, harvesting and any other kind of ending. Janus was revered so much that his dual faced image adorned the city gates and Roman coins. It is due to this unenviable position that he also got the remarkable privilege of being named as the first month of the year!

Depicted with a two-faced head, each looking in the opposite directions – one looking at what lies ahead and one looking at what lies behind, Janus is truly symbolic of the introspection one has to do when at the threshold of a beginning and an ending. Contemplate on the happenings of the year gone by and assimilate the wisdom gleaned from them while looking forward to an exciting new one. How can you make the year a truly exciting one?

Eight Gifts That Don’t Cost anything – am sure these, practised diligently, will ensure a fabulous 2009 for us…

1. THE GIFT OF LISTENING…
But, we must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning our response. Just listen.

2. THE GIFT OF AFFECTION…
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love we have for family and friends

3. THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER…
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Our gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

4. THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE…
It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT…
A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job”, or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

6. THE GIFT OF A FAVOR…
Every day, go out of our way to do something kind.

7. THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE…
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION…
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s not that hard, to say, “Hello” or “Thank You”.

We give and receive gifts each and every day. Gifts do not have to be monetary in value. How many gifts can we give this year?

Let us enrich ourselves by giving abundantly, sincerely and selflessly…
Wish you a great 2009, the best you have ever had! May you have abundant joy, wholesome health, magnetic and fulfilling relationships, serene tranquility, burgeoning wealth and boundless enthusiasm!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!