My Postponed Dream

While reading the poem, “My Family” by Garrison Keillor, I was deeply touched by the line, “Of dreams postponed and finally lost”. I read this line aloud time and again to understand the underlying pain in this line. I could picture an old man lamenting upon his decision in the past to set aside his dream and settle down before fulfilling his dream. Once we choose to push back our dreams, we can hardly get back to it in the future and often times it is lost. This is similar to the lost dream of John, the old man, in the poem.

While talking about postponed dreams, I remember the time right after my grade ten. I had around three months break before I could go to a higher secondary school. I thought about preserving all the memories of my grandmother, who used to share about her life before I was born. I thought of writing a biography about her, and I used to spend a lot of time listening to her past life. For me, her stories were very unique and I could clearly see the places, pictures, and events in front of my eyes as she used to describe them to me. So one day, I sat down to begin writing about her. I tore many pages and spent five whole hours trying to begin writing about her. Today, I regret for what I did after writing the first page spending five hours on it. I just pushed my notebook aside and thought I would continue it later. Time went on. I never opened the notebook or tried to continue writing. Now, I have forgotten many details of the stories she told me then. In addition, she is ninety-six year old and she has hard time remembering her past life. Even if she remembers, she mixes up one with the other. Thus, I thought that the poet was indirectly referring to me in that very line telling about postponed dreams.

However, after reading the poem, “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, a spark of enlightenment ran inside me. I realized that our unfulfilled dreams are stored in our subconscious and they always seek outlet. This also alarmed me not to repress my dream for a longer period of time as it may explode someday. Thus, I plan to fulfill my dream that I had postponed many years back.

Growing Up Untouchable in India

In the chapters “Fearless” and “Callousness and Clouds” of the novel Growing Up Untouchable in India, gender discrimination was implied. Indeed, as a boy, Vasant Moon was sent to school and oriented to achieve valuable goals such as a saheb (11). He was also the recipient of thorough care and attention. In contrast, his mother possessed nothing for herself. For instance, the decision to marry lay in her father’s hand, and all her father’s properties also lay in her brother’s hand, Laxman. The definition of the inequality between genders seemed to absorb so deeply in Moon’s community that many girls didn’t have chances to go to school because they were anticipated being wives. For example, at the age of 16, his mother was considered to be old and somehow a leftover, which would be rotten unless it was used soon. Therefore, her father, without taking into account of his daughter’s real happiness, approved of her marriage with an affluent drunkard. Besides, like other girls, his mother was raised as a beautiful flower in a garden; indeed, she said no curses or did no household chores. However, after that, she was sold for a stranger and considered as a non-living object. In fact, everyday, his husband, Waman, would savor his diversion by beating her; moreover, he was so indifferent to her cries and insists that he sustained forcing her children to drink alcohol. What a ruthless husband and father!

Furthermore, the two chapters didn’t describe Moon’s attitude towards his father. Did he awe him? Did he dislike him? Or was he afraid of him? What did he think when witnessing her father beating his miserable mother? What did he think when being forced to drink alcohol? I think that this curiosity might be satisfied according a scene in the novel: Moon and his sister went out to beg (22). His love to his mother was infinite, so he could sacrifice his reputation and shame to reduce his mother’s pressure. What a good son! Therefore, how could he express his animosity towards a person who exploited his beloved mother while that person was his father?

Clarification

                 Reading Vesant Moon’s autibiography “Growing Up Untouchable in India”, my classmates became confused and most of them asked about my religion “Hinduism”. Most of them asked me why I support this religion which creates inequality among people. They are surprised, how gods can teach people not to touch someone who are poor and work in lower professions? All these questions made me upset, and I think, it is high time to make clear all the confusions. Personally, I also never thought before about this bad practice of my religion, but one of my friends has made the fact clear to me. I want to discuss this briefly here.               

                You know that the Hinduism is the most ancient religion among all the religions. The Hindus worship many gods and goddesses of various powers, and this practice has been going on from the very beginning of the creation. In fact, it is true that the Hinduism follows only one god Lord “Krishna” of all powers jointly. There are many mythologies of Hinduism named “Ramayana” and “Mahayvarat” which are written by some people from different religious beliefs actually, these are not our main religious messages from gods. The mention of caste system is found only in those mythologies. The four casts of my religion are Brahmans, Khatrio, Baisha, and Shudro. The Brahmans are highly respected, and provided all facilities. The lowest cast is “Shudro” who are considered untouchables. They have to live in extreme poverty and their professions are fishing, carrying dead bodies, scavanture, stitching shoes, cleaning the garbage. Most of the Hindus start discriminating from this mythological belief which are not actually true, and are not based on the principle of the god.

                The only holy book of the Hindus is “Srimadvagabad Gita” which is received directly from the god, and written by Lord “Krishna”. In that holy book, there is no mention of untouchability, and inequality is totally absent there. The massage of our god is to keep away people from conflicts, and everyone should have to be considered equal to make the world peaceful. Our god never supports inequality.

                Our god is not biased, but people are biased. A group of people creates this discrimination for their self –advantages; they dominate and use these lower caste people for their own purposes, and want to persuade other people not to touch them which create inequality in the society.

                It is a matter of sorrow that this discrimination is supported by educated people, and still now, these superstitions are alive in our Hinduism. I am surprised why any Hindu never researched about this truth that the principles of Hinduism never support caste system.  

                To sum up, it is obvious that people are responsible for this kind of discrimination, not the god.

My thoughts about Happiness

What makes me happy? Many things make me happy. When I listen to music, it makes me happy. I am happy when I listen to the songs that my friends think are “not normal.” Chocolates make me happy. My family and friends make me happy. Honestly, everything makes me happy. I am happy even when I am alone. I enjoy being alone and the feelings that I savor while I am alone make me happy. Most of my friends consider having friends around. They say sharing and talking make them feel better and happy. I do not want to disagree, I do agree, but being alone is not always a “bad thing” either. You can do many things when you are alone. Things that your friends consider “weird,” but which make you happy. I feel it is not necessary to have people hover around you 24/7 to make you happy.

Furthermore, whenever I use the famous old quote, “Health is better than Wealth,” I am filled with guilt. I think, maybe, it is because wealth makes me happy. Not always, but it does to some extent. I guarantee everyone feels the same way. Come on, once you have money, you can buy things that you desire. When you get the things that you desire, it makes you happy. It is human nature. I am aware that wealth does not stay with us for a longer period, but it makes us happy when we take pleasure in the little we have. Of course, I am not saying that health does not matter, it does. I am filled with happiness when I am healthy and strong, for I do not have to take those chemicals and pills.

Do I think happiness is achieved? Well it depends. If you choose to remain happy, you will achieve happiness in everything you do. You will see everything around you beautiful, bright, and happy. However, if you choose to be miserable, you will see the whole thing around you blue and sad. It will make you abhor everything. For example, if you see someone smiling, you will dislike him or her for smiling. It sounds very unnatural, but trust me it happens. It happened to me. If you opt to stay unhappy, the world will not favor with you no matter what you do. Therefore, be happy and choose to be happy no matter how hard life gets. Listen to some good music, go see an awesome movie, and laugh even though it is not funny (do not overdo it though; everything has a limit, right!). These are what I feel like the article “The New Science of Happiness” mentioned, “happiness is inherently subjective” (3).

Achieving Dreams

In the poem, “My Family,” the Garrison Keillor talked about dreams through the story of his family. Although his grandfather desired to move to Oregon, he accepted his circumstances and temporarily conceals his dreams at the bottom of heart. I was surprised by the fact that he still wanted to be buried in that beautiful land. His determination and dedication remind me of my aunt’s favorite saying: regardless of rigors and obstacles, we should always endeavor to hold on and pursue our dreams. I like the idea that the author wants to express in the last two part of the poem. Usually, our wishes are bright and beautiful that we want to accomplish or fulfill them as far as we could. The further the distance between reality and dreams is, the more attractive the dreams are. They are like an incentive to encourage us to move forward in our lives. Dreams are diverse among people, and each person has their own view about what they what to obtain. The grandfather’s dream can be so strange, even it is meaningless to others; however, through his eyes, he can find it so significant and adorable. If the grandfather in the poem fails to catch his dream in his life, there will also be other ways for those whose yearnings haven’t fulfilled yet. I have contrived a situation of a girl, whose dream is also stamped out, but she knows how to make it work in her real life. If we really desire to do something, nothing can prevent us from accomplishing it. I want to tell a story of that girl who successfully keeps her wishes but still make others happy.   

            My friend

One of my best friends, Tho,

Who had always wished to be

An artist or a good teacher,

Had always studied diligently.

Being so sensitive, she, too, liked drawing

She liked to put all her skies,

All her emotions into her paintings

Through them, she liked to record all her life.

One day her mother cried and said

“I am sorry, but I cannot help,

You know, our money was not enough

To endure what to want to have

After twelve, you may have to stop.”

Being so shock, she cried and smiled in grief

“I will study hard if you I’m in my path

I’m gonna help you when my dream is achieved

I promise to give you a better hand

You will not be ashamed of me, indeed.”

Her relatives started to give their claims

“Please, you should understand our fate,

We want you good, but we can’t afford

Enjoy your life, before you get to another gate.”

Now, she has completed her school

But still, she keeps the dreams in her life

She is teaching the kids with best skills

Besides her work, the work of a tailor.

 

 

Thu

The Fearless Heroes of the Untouchables

While reading the chapter “Fearless” in Vasant Moon’s Growing Up Untouchable in India, I encountered some characters, which, I thought, should be bestowed as “fearless heroes”. As Moon describes in his novel, the Mahars were downtrodden to do low-leveled work. They were disgraced and labeled “untouchables” or “scavengers” (16). These people had lost their own identity. They had no value in the Indian community. Even if everybody was born free and had equal right to freedom, the Mahars were the unlucky ones. They were born “untouchables” and were treated as minority groups. For these people, it was difficult to raise voices against the Brahmins or Hindus, who were powerful and reputed in the society. Therefore, the characters such as Laxamnrao Ogale, Ghadale, and Dasharath Patil could be considered as the fearless personalities within a Mahar community, who fought for the restoration of rights of the Mahars.
All of the above characters were Mahar leaders. They all worked to help the Mahar, who were exploited during those times. However, one of these characters is Dasharath Patil, who actually contributed his life and property for the Mahars. In spite of being affluent, he was not a vain person. In fact, he used up his property and belongings to help poor Mahars, who were assigned to carry dead corpses of animals, and work as servants in Brahmins’ houses. After he summoned for reform in 1930, the social mobility of the Mahars was restricted which brought difficulties in living their life. Therefore, Patil as a benefactor started a market in his own land and bought goods with his own money. Moreover, he did not stop helping the Mahars after coming out of the dangerous nagfani forest (12). He provided those boycotted Mahars with jobs and security. Hence, his fearless activities in the period of cultural hazard in India acknowledged Patil as Bhim, a brave, fearless character in Hindus holy book, Mahabharat.
Besides Dasharath, who was a political and social brave figure, Maniram was also literally a fearless character, who Moon describes in this chapter. Although he did not bring any reforms for the Mahars, his fierce character helped to sustain honor of his caste. He was the only brave wrestler in Mahar community who dared to fight against the popular wrestling community of the nearby village. Even if got defeated, he would retaliate by finding ways to fight and make his enemies succumb.

Thus, these fearless characters described in the chapter were actually the heroes of the Mahar community.

Callousness and Clouds

The story “Callousness and Clouds” in the autobiography Vasti of Vasant Moon give us an idea that our family members, and wealth may not accompany us throughout our lives. We may have to live without them at anytime.

In the story, Vasant, the main character of the story had a troublesome life in the beginning of his life as his father was drunkard. His drunkard father used to beat his mother every evening. It continued until his mother called her father for help. Then, Vasant went to leave with his grandfather along with his mother and a little sister. After that, his life turned to be good. He was well treated in that new home. He was given well education, he started to leave among good people, and his mother also started to be happy. However, his happiness could not last for a long time. After his grandfather died, his so-called maternal uncle, Laxman suddenly appeared with his family and claimed for his grandfather’s property. Laxman and his family slowly started to torture them. After that his grandmother also died of illness. Laxman and his family took advantage of helplessness of his mother and forced them to live in a small room in the lane behind the house. In this way, Vasant passed through various events that caused him to leave his all the belongings day by day. First, he lost his father’s love, then his grandfather, and finally his grandmother along with his comfort life. (18-23)

This story is very often in our society. We can see many people who lose their property within a day. The reasons behind this may vary from person to person. Some may lose their property on business; some may lose their property because of habit of drinking alcohol and playing cards. However, it is often true that wealth rarely accompany us in our difficulties. In case of our relatives, it is a universal truth that everyone born on this earth must die and leave everyone behind. So, I sometimes think that is worthless to fight against with each other for property and other things in our lives as it is certain that all these things can leave us behind at anytime.

How to look Happy?

It amazed me when one of my friends in AUW asked, “Why are you always sad?” When I first heard her question, I couldn’t answer at instant because I did not know what kind of answer she was expecting. Some days later, another friend of mine told me that I look “like a robot”. When I first heard that, I could not stop myself from giggling. I asked her about the reason for saying that. She said that I never seem happy. She said that I look like as if I am not happy at all. At first I didn’t think about both of the compliments, but one day I really wished to know by myself if I was really unhappy. I looked myself on the mirror and tried to find out if the feeling of sadness is obvious on my face.

I had never thought about the meaning of happiness in my entire life. Till the day my friends commented on my expression, I had never thought that people can read my face. I did not know what kind of happiness I was searching for. Some days ago, in the library, I found a book called The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. I was curious to find out the happiness that my friends were trying to search on my face. I thought, after reading the book I might be able to learn something regarding happiness so that I would always be the epitome of happiest person in front of others.

When I first read the book, it didn’t hold my interest. For me, it seemed to be written for old people who are sick of their lives. Anyhow, the interview of Dalai Lama by the writer was somehow interesting. The book mostly talked about the meaning of happiness in Buddhism. At the end, I came across with some important skills to adapt with for a happy life. For example, I learned that happiness is achieved when there is no suffering, but as it is impossible to escape from suffering, we can’t be happy each day. Similarly, we can identify whether we are happier than other people or not by comparing ourselves with those who have been suffering through poverty. If we compare ourselves with them, we could identify who is happier. Furthermore, it is always helpful to train our mind to think positive and adapt the human nature around us.

After reading the book I really didn’t get what I was looking for, but it really helped me to enhance my knowledge regarding happiness. However, when I got to read the article about the 20 ways for happiness distributed in our Reading and Writing class, I found the thing that I had been searching for, the thing without which I looked like a person with no happiness. The thing that was missing in my face was ‘Smile’. Yeah! Now I’m damn sure that those friends will never ask me whether I’m happy or not.Thanks to Miss. Fatema for providing us that article, it really helped me.

Happiness

Happiness is the state of being happy.  It can have different connotation to different people. Something that makes me happy may not make you happy.  For example, my friend associate happiness with eating ice cream, but her concept doesn’t apply for my definition of happiness. For me, I feel that happiness is when I am free of anxiety, stress, tensions, and depression. In short, a peace of mind is happiness. Sometimes, making others happy also brings happiness. For example, I got a beautiful bracelet, and my friend got an unattractive bracelet. When I gave her mine, she became happy, which made me feel happy as well.

People often equate happiness with wealth. Can wealth be regarded as a way to acquire happiness? No, it is not. Even if you are a billionaire, you won’t enjoy the delight of happiness. Ironically, cynical people believe that all rich people are very miser and self indulgent. Their greediness never leaves them to rest at peace. They always ascertain for a strategy to increase their richness.  The more they become wealthy, the less happiness they get in their lives. However, some people seem really happy because of their wealth. I see them enjoy every bits of life. As long as they have money, they are indifferent to problems and troubles. However, quite often, they lose their happiness due to some chaos in friendship and love affairs. So, this indicates that no matter how much rich you are, it doesn’t mean that you are happy.

Happiness is what we make out of ourselves. Happiness is something that isn’t tangible. Here is an anecdote I got from the Indian Newspaper called The Speaking Tree. “Once there was a kitten that chased her tail all the time. One day, an old wise cat saw her. He watched the kitten for some time and then asked her why she was chasing her tail so much. The kitten gave a shrewd answer saying she was finding happiness because her mother told her she would find happiness in her tail. Upon hearing it, the wise cat advised her not to chase the tail because the more you run after your tail, the faster it will run away from you. Don’t chase your tail, it would follow you. And the old cat walked away with wagging his tail.” This tells us that happiness is not something that can be caught and kept with us forever. Be happy and cheerful, you are sure to get happiness.

Response to “My Family”

 “My Family” by Garrison Keillor, is really one of the lovely poems I have ever read. The desires, hopes, dreams and sacrifices we make for our near and dear ones can be felt in this poem. As John had dream of going to Oregon, everyone dreams and hopes to be somewhere at one point of life. The happenings in John and Ruth’s life are a kind of practical in a sense that it happen in most of the people’s lives. Without dreams, life is worthless. It is never wrong to see dreams and have faith in the fulfillment of our dreams. But often, the people we love become our weakness or barrier in the way to achieve our goal. For instance in this poem, John wants to go to Oregon, but due to his wife’s tiredness they stopped their journey. As time passes, they are accustomed to the environment and the people there and Ruth also doesn’t show willingness to go to Oregon. The desire of John to reach and settle in Oregon remains only unfulfilled desire.  He sacrifices his dreams just for the sake of his wife. He has dreamt of this place where he wants to live and to be with his wife. His dreams are incomplete without Ruth’s presence. This shows how the people we love stop us from achieving our goal. Though not intentional, Ruth becomes barrier in John’s path to meet his dream.

After reading this poem I reminisced about my past when I had to sacrifice my dream for my loved ones. Though it is not a big issue but I guess it has great impact on me. While choosing my high school, all my school friends had decided to study in same college together. But due to some family matters, I couldn’t study with my friends in same college and they thought that I betrayed them. I extremely wanted to be with my school friends but family came in between. However, I am happy now because I got to know many other friends and my life wouldn’t have been like this if I was in any other colleges. While coming to AUW as well, the ones whom I love didn’t want me to let go. It was really difficult to make them ready to see me leaving them. I guess our dreams and our love always intersect each other and if one is chosen the other somehow is affected. Looking at myself today, I believe, I have taken the right decision. Though miles of distance are in between, our heart is still connected and I am heading towards my dream as well.   If I had chose to sacrifice my study that time, I wouldn’t have been as happier as I am today.  I am finally leading my way where I have a dream of being successful and being with my loved ones.