Sunday, April 28, 2013

Alienation - Being Inhuman

As much as I think that all humans are the same, that we have a similar way of life, similar thoughts, wants, needs there are many stages in life that a person experiences isolation from another or a group. Most of the thoughts that run through my mind are those that I have seen in the Indian society - being conservative within but putting on a very modern outlook.
This is all in my opinion and may not be entirely correct for the reader in you. 

Making a person feel different is one thing and completely keeping a person isolated is another. My mind is a bit confused about what is worse and I have entangled thoughts about both.

Schools are one of the first places where one can experiencee the divide generally categorising students as the brilliant, the average and the dumb. The worst one is perhaps being 'above average'...You are not expected to do anything great, on the other hand you are not dropped out of activities as you're neither bad not good, its like constantly playing a second to someone who's better.Ain't a great place to be.

On a personal level, the worst I saw about grading and grouping people was with sports. The school never encouraged everyone to play any sport. They picked the ones with the talent and those who were guaranteed to bring them laurels. The rest of the lot never got a chance. I came over that and stopped expecting that I would be picked for any sport what so ever. I immersed myself in sport which did not need a team. My personality took a beating on the other hand.

Then there is the time about what course you pick for your university. The very intelligent pick science, the next best pick commerce and the rest of the lot pick arts or other courses. There was a clear discrimination of who's what just by what they chose to study. No wonder most parents only want their children to be doctors or engineers.

Landing with a job was the next big thing in the rat race. Did you get a job? Was it in campus or not? Are you still looking? Oh! Did you decide to do further studies just coz you didn't end up with a job? This was the shameful divide one had to live with.

Then its the step about getting married...those who do at the right age that the soceity perceives are good. The rest have to bear the brunt of not being pretty enough or intelligent enough,not having a good enough salary or even worse assumptions about something being wrong with them. Perhaps, the worst form of alienation an individual can go through.

There are perhaps a zillion other life events which follow....people who never marry, those who have broken marriages, those who choose to marry someone outside their caste, those who live away from their parents, those who leave the country, those who quit their job at the peak of their career to start their own...I don't want to put the entire list as its embarrassing....basically there's a straight line drawn about what life's events should be and any slight deviation from it is frowned upon, talked about and not entirely accepted. 

I'd love to see this change and who knows...there might already be one now. I had to put this down as in the years of my upbringing I have seen this around me in one way or the other and detested it all along. 

I hope we all understand that each of us is different and have had our own paths that no one else would have known of. Making one feel alienated is perhaps the worst way of killing the light within an individual. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bridging the Gap

I like bridges and this post is all about the why and where and the what about it. 

I admit it's a bit silly to be writing about 'these are a few of my favourite things', but here we go.

I have always been fascinated by bridges. Somewhere in all the travels around India I figured out my love for it....from simple pleasures of walking across a foot bridge to being on a train and hearing the rattling sound while crossing the bridges, to throwing a coin from the bridge to the river beneath,  there was something that excited me about the engineering marvel in every bridge.
Every person who has spent some good time with me and have been at a place where there was a bridge would know my craze for it.
I don't have many pictures of the bridges in India, a visit to Calcutta is pending and I wish for it some day to see the Howrah. But here are some of the others captured by me.

Bosphorous Bridge, Istanbul - The significance of this bridge is that it connects mainland Europe to mainland Asia. Yes. We don't want to talk about borders and countries and communities,but that's exactly what a bridge does - fills the gap!

 Pont Alexander III, Paris - Just like cakes can be decorated, this bridge reminds me of decoration - beautiful street lamps, the many sculptures on either ends; it's perhaps the most decorated bridges I have ever seen. It's a transforms completely when lit. 
 Rialto Bridge, Venice - One of the most picture perfect bridges It's just so cute...for the lack of a better word. It also has little shops on either sides - guess a very Italian way in constructing bridges in yesteryear.
 Tower Bridge, London - My note on this cannot do justice to how pretty this looks, both by day and night.   It's one of the most beautiful sights in this city and watching it go up is a sight in itself. Can't stop clicking pictures of this. 
 Ponte Vecchio, Florence - It may come across as a very dull bridge, but the beauty lies on either side of it while crossing it, a pedestrian bridge lined with jewellery shops. Very Unique. 

Palladian Bridge, Bath - The guide notes mentioned that there are only 3 such bridges in the world. 

Kapellbr├╝cke /Chapel Bridge, Lucerne - A footbrige which has a diagonal twist along the river. It's also got many paintings all along the interiors and the row of flower basket makes it unique. Never seen anything like this before. 

I now wish I had clicked a picture of every other one I have visited and I am holding myself from putting up every bridge in London here. I do love crossing bridges and I wish there were such bridges between human hearts and minds. Everything would have been so simple.