Closer View of Neeraj

While reading the Wide Angle film script, Back to School, the story of Neeraj grabbed my attention. I could easily picture in mind the desert village in Rajasthan. I saw Neeraj attending night school like other girls in her village, making her steps to pursue her dream of being educated.

I felt pity for Neeraj, who had to do household chores all day long, while her brothers went to school. My heart moved when I saw a girl about ten returning home at late night when every other family member is asleep. I found myself secretly praying for her safety after seeing this. I fear if anything happens to her. How much we try to protect ourselves, still a girl has to fear moving at late night because of her physique. I wonder why this bitter fact is not being realized by Neeraj’s parents. Don’t they care about their daughter’s life and safety? Or maybe this small desert village respects women and such calamities never grip girls like Neeraj. However, even this does not convince me. If women were respected in this particular village, they would have sent their girls to day school and released them from such heavy burden of whole day chores.

Despite of all these circumstances, I respect Neeraj’s determination to receive education. Gripped with the responsibilities of household chores, she does not give up her courage to receive education. On the other hand, Neeraj’s compulsion to stop going to night school is very symbolic. She was taken out of school so that she could take care of young cattle and help her family in grazing their livestock. If this situation repeats each year and each year she has to remain away from school for two months, we cannot imagine Neeraj being able to pursue her dream of education. Continuous distraction from school may bring down her courage and determination. She may give up her hope and surrender herself to the tradition of desert village of Rajasthan.

Thus, with closer view of Neeraj’s steps towards receiving education, we should be able to understand where we are. In this regard, we are the lucky ones to land here. Girls like Neeraj are around the world, waiting for educated and aware humans like us to rescue them from their deprivation to easy access to education. Our combined steps can lead to a bigger change in the world.

Isn’t Hate Merely the Result of Wounded Love?

 While reading the chapter “Rice husband” from Lena St. Clair’s point of view in the novel, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, I found myself re-reading the sentence, “Isn’t hate merely the result of wounded love?” This is the sentence that coerced me to think about human relationship with their family, friends, and other humans. I was unconsciously relating this sentence with daily life.

Love is the foundation of life. We love those who befriend us. We start to care about and understand them. We go deeper into our relationship and there is very little gap among us. However, with the passage of time, we get acquainted with their goodness and flaws. It is after we have started to love them, the sense of hatred arouses within us. Their tiny flaw infuriates us and we feel like we do not want them any longer in our life, and their presence does not make any difference in our life. This human nature in the tranquility of love and hate governs us with emotional challenges.

In order to hate someone, you need to get hurt by them. To get hurt, you should have emotional bonding with them so that they would be able to pinch your heart knowingly or unknowingly. For all these, you need to have affection with them. In other words, you should love them. We can take the example of Lena’s hatred towards Harold, her husband. He is the one who she had once desperately fallen for and loved so passionately. In contrast, now she has hatred because she is hurt by him.

Sometimes hatred becomes the way to express love. This may sound weird but it is the fact that if you are in love with someone and you can’t find out the way to express it, you start to bother them and try to grab their attention. For instance, can see the vivid picture of Arnold showing his hatred for Lena for he couldn’t express his love towards her. On the other hand, Lena too hates Arnold. Unknowingly she has already fallen for Arnold and she puts her full effort of showing hatred towards him.

So, if you hate someone, it means you love them and you hate because you are hurt. Moreover, if someone shows hatred towards you, don’t get furious for they care for you.

The Trojan War and the Deities

While reading Iliad, the Greek mythology, human characteristics of Greek Deities, the power of women and their beauty coerced me to compare Gods and Goddesses with humans, and the inevitability of fate. The sense of violence is deeply rooted into both our history and belief. The Greek God Apollo sends plague to the Greek camps simply because Agamemnon was rude to his priest and took away his daughter. The easier means to please the Gods and Goddesses is the sacrifice of innocent animals. It is an evil thought to get pleasure from the smoke of the sacrifice of hundreds of oxen and goats. This may be the reason why people still don’t hesitate to kill thousands of innocent animals in the hope of pleasing their Gods. Goddess Eris resembles human characteristic of revenge, who plants the seed of war simply because she wasn’t invited in the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. On the other hand, Gods and Goddesses in some way extract pleasure from war. They are similar to humans, who possess pride, revenge, pain, envy, and desire. The story seems like a modern family drama.

The beauty of women is the major cause for ten year long Trojan War. The most beautiful woman, Helen, was abducted by Paris, son of the King of Troy, with the assistance of Goddess Aphrodite. On the other hand, the careful observation of the text reveals that the Goddesses have more power than male Gods. It is obvious in the text that women have strong influence over men. In addition, many mythologies and religious texts suggest that women’s beauty lures man easily and sometimes cause devastating problems like the Trojan War. As a matter of fact, Goddess Thetis succeeds in persuading Zeus to support Trojans in the war against Greeks.

However, when we move on to the people, women are taken as prize. They are regarded as a material of comfort and pleasure. It is painful to imagine women being distributed to men as prize. This condition exists at the same time when Gods and humans had very close tie. Even then there is vast difference in the role of women in the earth and Goddesses in the heaven.

The other important aspect of the text is that it points out that the fate chases people wherever they go. In other words, it is inevitable to escape one’s prophecy. Priam, the king of Troy had sent away his son, Paris to avoid the prophecy that he would bring trouble. Eventually, the prophecy turns into reality with the Trojan War. Helen and Aphrodite serve as a medium to the prophecy about Paris and Troy.

We and Our Nature

We and Our Nature

Reading the poem “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein coerced me to think about the nature. The tree in the poem symbolizes the nature in general and the boy stands for us humans. We humans have always been depending upon the nature for our necessities.

The poem with the depiction of four stages of a boy has shown the perspective of us humans of different age group towards the nature. Moreover, it shows the change in our attitude towards nature as we grow older. We, as a child, seem to enjoy ourselves in the nature. Our attitude towards nature changes with the signs of adolescence. Human needs and desires rise with adolescence. Youths are the one who begin exploiting the nature without caring about the future consequences. They aspire to reach the apex of materialistic world. This encourages them to fully utilize the natural resources around them. They are too busy maintaining their lifestyle that they hardly ever realize that whatever they attain is dependent upon the nature. Then we can see adults, who are growing old and still their quest to exploit the nature is the same. They still want nature to fulfill their needs. Then finally at the old age, we humans take refuge under the shade of nature, but then it’s too late because we have used up the nature so carelessly that nature can hardly provide us a seat to rest our life long tiredness of achieving success exploiting it.

In addition, we don’t care much about the consequences of our haphazard use of nature. We just want one thing, i.e. our success stepping on the nature. Even at this point of human civilization, we humans are failing to understand that nature can’t remain the same forever. If we fail to realize this fact even after seeing the omens of nature like the tsunami of 2004, flood in Pakistan and currently the earthquake followed by tsunami in Japan, then we are digging our own ditch. Of course, it is inevitable to stop the calamities of nature, but we need to understand the cause and the underlying force of our random devastation of the nature. At some point, our haphazard use of the nature is somewhere responsible for the nature to show its cruel face and warn us of its rage towards us careless humans.

So, let us join hand-in-hand to aware human kind about the rational use of our life-force, nature, and secure the future of our children and their children.

Whose Children?

Reading the poem, “On Children” by Khalil Gibran led me to the state of dilemma. His ideas are somewhere acceptable and somewhere very hard to assimilate with. He says parents are just a means to bring a new life to the world but they aren’t the one who bring life from within themselves. Furthermore, he argues that parents can give love but not thoughts to their children. From individual point of view, that’s true because every individual has own thoughts. However, speaking scientifically, parents live inside their children. Their genes pass their characteristics, appearances and many more traits to their children. Thoughts of children are often guided and influenced by their parents.

The most concerning thing for me is that Gibran averts parents from condemning their children as their children. He states that “They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself”. Then what about the pain and suffering a mother bears conceiving her baby and holding the one on her womb for nine months? We know a baby grows from the fetus that is formed through ovulation cycle. So, can’t a mother claim her baby as her baby? Moreover, he comes forward with his argument that parents just house the bodies of their children but not the souls. Here, he tries to remain indifference to the soul inside the baby letting it remain as a mystery. On some point, we all agree the issue of soul as a mystery.  Even though can we neglect the process inside the womb a baby undergoes to take a human shape and human life?

I agree with Gibran that parents try to fiddle with the changing time but don’t try to make their children like themselves. It’s so because time never goes backward. In the later part of the poem, Gibran uses simile of bows and arrows to depict the relationship between parents and children. He equates parents to bows and children to arrows. This seems to appear quite pleasing. At the same time, he uses this simile to escape away from the criticism of undermining parents’ credit for procreating children in the first part of the poem. He brings the concept of God and tries to protect himself saying that God loves both his bows and arrows equally.

With all these agreements and disagreements, I still linger with some questions. Are parents simply a machine to produce children? Can’t they claim their children as their children? What do you think?

In Pursuit of Love

While reading the poem “On Love” by Khalil Gibran, I felt like drowning myself in the ocean of love. Suddenly! I restrained myself from diving into the ocean when I remembered the pain that I am prone to get there. Then I was in dilemma, “What shall I do?” So, I quickly searched for the sheet and went through the poem. I read each line vigilantly. Then this thought strike into my mind that life is worthy with seasonal ups and downs. It would be a hollow life to laugh without happiness and to cry without sorrow. Knowing that the path was indeed painful, I determined to aspire to steal the delight of love that would cherish some moment of my life.

After resolving that controversy of my mind and heart, I began lingering up with the question that “Who is going to assist me in diving and when?” This question coerced me to go back to the poem once more. There I found the line where it was alluding that love itself would direct the course. For some time, I was relieved. Again, I started to wonder “How is love going to direct me?” I didn’t find any answer. However, I decided to wait for the love itself to direct me (not knowing how).

Having resolved these queries, I decided to read the poem again. This was the time when some eccentric fear ran inside me. I began worrying what if I was deceived by my beloved. Or if had to forego him because of some adverse situations. Will I be able to help myself out of that pathetic condition? Can I feel the same me inside me like the past? These questions started jingling into my ears compelling me to press my hands against my ears. Then I was bound to leave my mind blank for some time.

It’s after some rest that I was able to infer that no matter what happens, our life continues. We have to condemn the facts of time and get accustomed to new situations. The theory of “Struggle for Existence” introduced by Charles Darwin led me to see the laws of nature where one tries the best to fit into the changing situations. I understood that love is the essence of life and no one is left untouched of it. The only difference is in realization of it. Thus, I am looking forward for love to direct my course.

Love: Physical or Spiritual?

I’m in the state of dilemma whether to float with the emotional changes of the poet of the love poems, or to find fault in his attitude towards his wife. It is obvious for the readers to discover that Pablo Neruda in the poem, “Body of Woman” has equated love with his physical satisfaction. He gives every minute details of his wife’s physique. In contrast, he isn’t able to present his spiritual attachment to her. I wonder why the poet related his love to physical satisfaction. This is unlike to our Eastern belief that love directly alludes to sex. For us, love is the purest and selfless feeling aroused with respect, care, trust, and honesty. It is not necessarily important that the physical relationship must be maintained with the one we love. I find it ridiculous to equate love with sex.

In the poem “I like it when you’re quiet”, I felt like I’m given a harsh blow by my spouse. The poet has no worry when his wife ignores him. He is ok with the cold gap they have on their relationship. I think it’s the result of equating love with sex in his earlier stage of life. How can one live a life without any spiritual attachment? Is physical satisfaction enough to define love? No doubt, physical satisfaction is human necessity and inevitable truth. I think the poem would have been more pleasing for me if the poet had expressed his respect, care, and affection for his wife in some lines.

Reading these poems by Paulo Neruda, I remembered the poem “She was a Phantom of Delight” by William Wordsworth. Unlike Neruda, Wordsworth in his poem describes how he adores his wife in the same manner before marriage, after marriage, and at his old age. For Wordsworth, his wife is more than a spouse who warns, comforts, and commands him. She is always peaceful with angelic light. Without the details of physical love, Wordsworth has successfully shown his spiritual bond with his wife and the same passion for her throughout his life time. His relationship is inspiring for his readers.

Thus, I want your view, what you think about Neruda’s poems? Do you too equate love with physical gain? Or you believe in spiritual connection of two souls? What strikes your mind when the word LOVE jingles on your ear? Do you think it a happy ending with you and your spouse being indifferent to one another’s life?

Emotion or Logic?

How can one live a life compressing the instinct desires with logics and responsibilities? Can we consider Hema and Kaushik as successful professionals despite the fact that they both failed to fulfill their common emotional needs? Is it appropriate to consider them independent when they always relied on their logics to rule their emotions?

The emotional failure of Hema and Kaushik clearly appeared before my eyes while I read the chapter “Going Ashore”. Hema, who had desperately wanted Kaushik since her childhood, couldn’t put enough effort to give their relation a definite shape. Her logics related to Navin and her job in Massachusetts averted her from accompanying Kaushik to Hong Kong. Her emotional need for Kaushik’s love was squeezed with her logics. On the other hand, Kaushik couldn’t convert himself on the way his emotion transformed towards Hema. He places his career (waiting in Hong Kong) before his emotional attachment to Hema. Hema too didn’t find it logical to abandon Navin and sacrifice her job just to live with Kaushik. In contrast to Hema, Kaushik cannot find logical reasons to go to Hong Kong except for his stable work place.

I strongly disagree the way both Hema and Kaushik made their decisions suppressing their emotions. They could have made a way out if they had let their emotions guide their decisions. They both loved each other and wanted their company for rest of their life. So what hindered them? Their logics separated themselves from their true selves. The term “serious” to represent adults in the novella The Little Prince grasped my attention here. Both Hema and Kaushik tempted to disguise themselves as “serious people” trying to show their maturity. If maturity comes at the cost of emotion, then why need maturity? Humans are emotional being, and if emotion has to be slaughtered for maturity, can we claim ourselves human?

Despite all disagreements, I apologize to condemn that I secretly admire the way Hema and Kaushik reacted. They both came nearer at some point of life and then made their own way out. I think they wouldn’t have missed one another as much if they had heard the call of their heart (emotions) than their mind (logics) and acted accordingly. Many unspoken words are sweeter than the spoken words. In Hema and Kaushik’s case, their unfulfilled emotion grew deeper and more passionate in their departure which might have faded away if it had been fulfilled.

Living with Poverty

An essay, “What Is Poverty?” by Jo Goodwin Parker coerced me to reminisce those days in my home country when I along with my four family members had to struggle hard to adjust with the resources we had. I equate the speakers’ condition in one way or other with mine. Although the degree of poverty varies, I had similar experience in the past. No doubt, my parents send me and my two siblings to the best school in the town. Still we encountered economic crisis time and again when the political instability in my country resulted to impair my father’s profession. Since he was the only earning member in my family, the romance between my parents sometimes met the destiny of dissatisfaction and tension.

Although other students in my school had the illusion that I was a daughter of wealthy family, I often went on through hard times giving up my wishes and demands simply because my father’s earning couldn’t support those expenses. Even today it hurts me when I remember the situation in grade 10. I had to retain myself from attending a national level speech competition although I had stood first in regional level competition. They couldn’t afford to send me out of my home town because it was the worst year for us in terms of income. I can somehow relate the speaker of the essay with my mother who too has numerous health problems. Unlike speaker’s husband, my father earns well enough that can easily sustain us, but the problem is with my mother’s health. Till date, she has had three major operations claiming high medical expenses inside the country and abroad. I can call this another blow of fate that she will have to suffer one more major operation.

I often wonder why people having enough money hardly encounter problems like the one who is struggling to manage the living has to. However, I don’t feel that bad because where I am today, counts a lot to me. It’s because of poverty that I am a part of AUW. I’m always grateful for my parents who despite their scarcity dared to send me to the best school and best college that made me able to be a student in an international university. My parents have always been my inspiration and role model who always advice me to have patience and accept what time gives, but  never give up the spirit  to move ahead.

Hello Friends

I am Munna Dahal from Nepal. I have been studying together with you all for six months. Hope this blog will bind us in a web of friendship more stronger than before. I am excited to read your entries and post mine where we can widen our horizon of knowledge. Good luck for you all and warm wishes.