Good Models

To show what we have learnt from our “Critical Thinking” book, it would be good to apply them in our daily readings. In this book, the readers are requested to dare themselves and criticize others even if they are important persons. Consequently, I want to criticize Vasant Moon’s autobiography, Growing Up Untouchable in India. In this autobiography, the author seems to have the inclination to explain everything as much as he wants. Frankly speaking, sometimes you find yourself reading the things that are almost similar to each other and unnecessary. For example, in the chapter, “Heat and Rain,” Moon keeps telling about how he and his friends used to hang around, pick fruit, and eat them, or how the weather was. While reading the first pages you might enjoy because you can imagine boys, the weather and the neighborhood but little by little the story gets boring and you might feel tired since the whole pages are just describing the weather and children. In other chapters, you face the same problem too. While you expect to get to know about some serious matters, he starts talking about his mother’s memories, his neighbors, and some people that he had seen before, the girl who knew swimming and some unnecessary things. He includes these stories, while you can hardly find any link between them and the main point that he is talking about. This characteristic or fault leads the mind toward one conclusion: Although the author may have a lot to say, he or she should not forget the readers capacity and patience. A pattern or story can be effective when readers’ time, need, capacity and necessity of contexts are considered. Putting aside all of these negative comments and ideas I must confess that, his autobiography is so touching and informative. Moreover, sometimes the usage of Hindi words takes you closer to the community and neighborhood that he used to live in. To sum it up all, it would be appreciated to mention that all of the subjects that we study not only can be a good source of information but also they are good models for our writings. These models can teach us how to write.

How many of us lie???

The dictionary meaning of ‘Lie’ is given as, “a false statement made with deliberate intend to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.” The definition of the word Lie itself gives a negative connotation, but according to Judith Viorst, there are some grounds where telling a lie is
actually considered to be fine and is practiced in daily life. But not all lies are accepted in the society. Lies are categorizes into many namely  Social lies, Peace-Keeping Lies and Protective Lies and Trust-Keeping Lies.

For a person to lie has always been seen as a negative character in that individual but after reading Viorst‘s article “The Truth about Lying,” it has increased my perception of how lying has positive sides as well. A lie differs with situation and also to whom we are telling a lie.

We all have lied on one way or the other. For example, To save our friend from not getting hurt we tell white lies, for instance, if a friend
asks us how is his/her new dress then we answer that it’s nice and looks good on him/her. Some lies are obvious, when someone asks us how are we, we answer them that we are fine even though we aren’t.  I remember, last time I was sick and I was admitted in the Health Center for almost a week. I received phone calls from home but I didn’t tell them about my situation here. I lied saying that I am fine and I am attending the classes regularly. This lie is not a harmful lie. This lie is better than the truth. If I had told them that I am sick and I have been admitted in the health center for almost a week, my parents will be worried about me. My parents can’t come to see me within hours, since they are so far from me; all they can do is get worried about my health, telling a small lie is better than the truth, in situations like this.

On the other hand, lying is not always good. In the beginning we tell a small lie and later to hide that lie we create another lie.  Again, to maintain those lies we create chains of lie and in the end it leads to no good consequences. I remember telling my father that I got good marks in one of the class tests. Then he asked me to bring that paper so that he can see it, I told him that the teacher took it back after we had a glance at the paper. But actually, the paper was with me and I had failed in that paper. The day after that, one of my cousins came to my house and my father found out that the paper was given to the students by the teacher. And later in the evening, my dad asked me politely about the papers and I was sincerely creating some more lies and adding more to hide what I had said before. At the end of it all, I got scolding and punishment too, since he knew that I was only lying all the time.

“I am willing to lie. But just as a last resort—the truth’s always better” (Viorst 185).

Comparison Between Our Young Leaders and Previous Activists

Our Academic Reading and Writing teacher Ms. Fatema has chosen a nice non-fiction genre for us to read in Term 3. Her selected autobiography Growing Up Untouchable in India by Vasant Moon is very interesting. The more I am going to the deeper part of this autobiography, the more I am enjoying it.

Especially in chapter 7-8, I’ve enjoyed a lot reading different actions of the activists of the Samata Sainik Dal. However, at the same time I’ve felt devastated thinking that activists of the present time in Bangladesh are not as humane as those activists of the past. For example, in the chapter “Shooting Star”, Vasant Moon described how Chagan and Lila, children of his grandfather’s close friend, Gopal, were helped by the activists. In spite of being meritorious, they were coerced to leave school because of not being able to pay school fees. When they shared their sorrows with college student Moon, Moon organized a campaign to collect money with the help of the activists of the Dal. Afterwards giving this money to school, they got readmitted in the school. Such kinds of activities of the Dal were indispensable to create a generous community. In the same way, we should also help the poor intelligent students of our country to make our country beautiful. Nevertheless, such activities are not valuable to the young activists of our county. Our young activists are busy with gaining their self-interests; they’re busy with oiling the political leaders so that in the future, they can achieve a good position in the party. Hence, whenever I think about the movements of our activists, I feel bitterly disappointed.

Another activity that has moved me deeply was the attempt taken by the Samata Sainik Dal knowing the miserable economic condition of Moon’s family. When the militants of the Dal found out the economic condition of Moon, they called a meeting of the employed members of the Dal. In the meeting, they took the decision that Moon would go to their house with an empty bowl after eight o’clock at night. Their wives would give him food for his family, but the most touching thing is that they had never given him leftover or stale food. The food he received from these families was always fresh and hot. These activists not only gave him food but also provided him books and notebooks for education. They never thought that they were doing him a favor rather they believed that it’s their duty. Thank god that Moon isn’t a poor child of this time. If he were, our activists would definitely help him by providing food. However, I doubt about how much it will be fresh and hot. Besides, activists will think that they are doing him a favor; they will never think that it’s their duty.

Thus, I feel absolutely devastating when I ponder the activities of our young leaders. Won’t they ever change? Won’t we be able to change our society, our country???

 

Lies

No body is perfect. I do not think there is one single person who has not lied. Everyone lies; let it be a 5-year-old kid or an 80-year-old adult. I personally do not find anything wrong with lying. You may lie to please a person, which according to Judith Viorst is termed as “social lies” in her essay “The Truth about Lying.” Whenever our friends ask us questions like “How does my hair look?” or “Do you think these shoes look good on me?”, or “Do you like the color of my outfit?” it goes on and on. However, we, in order not to hurt their feelings, say things like, “Your new hairdo looks simply gorgeous,” or “It is awesome,” or “I love it,” or maybe “That color is so you.”

The questions are so simple and the answers are also simple, yet they are all lies. Your friend’s hairstyle may not look good or the outfit your friend is wearing may not be the “awesome thing,” but you tell them it is good because you do not want to hurt them. It is not like we are doing any crime. You lie to them to make them happy. It is in fact a good thing. Whenever my sister, who by the way is a total fashion freak, wears clothes that I think is total weird, I would never tell her it is weird or “not cool” because she worked so hard to put on a good outfit and if I tell her it looks bizarre, that would simply hurt her. Moreover, I cannot imagine staying feeling guilty because I called her hard work weird! See, we have to learn to appreciate others, even though it may seem a little out of world. A little lie will not hurt, right?

“Once you start lying, you will never stop lying,” many people often quote that, but I know it is not true. I lied once or maybe more than once, but I never kept on doing that. We can control what we say or not. We choose to lie sometimes for certain reason, but we do not do it 24/7 because one way or the other people will find out. I respect when some of my friends said lying all the time is not good, but being honest all the time is not good either. Viorst in her essay “The Truth about Lying” also stated that being morally upright constantly would make other people uneasy and may cause pain at times (181). I absolutely agree with her. Say, suppose someone you know tells you something that you do not desire to hear, an awful truth about you or maybe your family, would you say it was an act of honesty and appreciate that particular person? Or would you rather become indignant because let’s all face it, truth hurts sometimes and I don’t think everyone has the courage to handle truth.

Trust-Keeping Lies

It is quite amazing to discover that there are truths behind lies. Often times, we wonder why people tell lies. Also, we have the intrinsic feeling that lying is not good for ourselves as well for the others. However, we tend to tell lies either intentionally or unintentionally in our day to day lives. The article “The Truth about Lying” by Judith Viorst gives us four specific distinctions of lies. They are social lies, protective lies, peace-keeping lies, and trust-keeping lies (Viorst, 181-4). In a way, we think that lies are not rationale and it is troublesome. In the other way, we often tell lies in order to hide the truth or it could hurt the other person. Sometimes, we are forced to tell lies depending upon circumstances. Truths are not always pleasant to share no matter with our friends or families. Trust keeping lies is telling lies to the third person in order to prevent ourselves from betraying our friend’s trust (Viorst, 184). I have an experience with trust keeping lies. It was during my High School days when I had to make up a lie in order to keep her trust in me. I was in the hostel and I was appointed as the assistant cottage coordinator since the main captain was having exams. I had to take charge of the cottage and check the presence of my cottage mates. During that time, some border girls used to escape outside the hostel boundary to meet their boyfriends. So as being a cottage coordinator, I had to keep strict and alert eyes on my cottage girls. However, it happened one night that one of my close friends begged me to allow her to meet her boyfriend. I was in a position where I could not take any action. At first I profoundly refused, and she was deeply saddened by my refusal. Finally, she decided to go with the trust that I will cover her absence by any means. I thought matron won’t come for hostel check up. Unfortunately, that evening our matron came to take attendance. In order to prevent my friend from getting caught and to keep her trust, I told the matron that my friend was in the toilet since she was suffering from shooting diarrhea. Thank god that she didn’t check the toilet. If she did, then both I and my friend will be severely punished. So in that way, I was able protect my friend whose trust I had promised to keep.

Symbolism of food

In the article “Symbolic Systems and Meanings,” we learnt about the symbols of different things in different cultures. As culture varies from one another, the symbol of same things varies as well. We learnt about the symbolism of food, symbolic and social meaning of space, and the symbols of politics and authority in various cultures.

In the article, it is said that the consumption of food is determined by the culture. In our culture, food plays an important role. The way we eat, we serve and the food itself has its own significance. Especially in Newari culture, which I belong to, each festival contains its own food items. The food items symbolize the festival; for instance, a food called Quati, made of different types of beans, symbolizes the festival Janai Purnima. Moreover, the food cooked in festivals, in rituals, during mourning and in usual days represents their meaning and significance. In addition, the way of eating together, as described in the article, symbolizes the unity of the family. However, in my family, the person who cooks is the one who eats at last when everybody else is finished. When guests are invited, the children and the male people eat first. Then, the female guests are served followed by the other female members. I have a small family. The eldest member of my family is my grandfather, and he usually eats first. It symbolizes our respect towards our elders and guests. Furthermore, often we eat sitting on the dining table, but in festivals we eat sitting on the floor, especially during Dahsain and Tihar. While serving food, we serve the food items in different plates and bowls made of leaf. The plate made of leaf symbolizes purity and is considered the purest one to eat. Similarly in some homes, leaf of banana tree is used while eating during festivals. Similarly, in our culture food is also the symbol of God. We worship food, especially rice during the festivals. That is why, throwing and wasting food is considered to be immoral.

While the culture of eating and serving food may differ from one culture to another culture, these small symbols of practicing things adds significance in all culture. Every culture has its own importance. We should follow and respect our culture while at the same time should not undermine other’s culture. In fact, we must respect them as much as we do ours because their culture is also the part of human culture.

Digya Shrestha

Living with Lies

In the essay “The Truth about Lying,” Judith Viorst discusses different kinds of lies people usually tell in their lives. It reveals the two types of lies – one is acceptable, and the other one is unacceptable. While Viorst is giving her opinions after discussing each situation, she also asks the reader a simple but indeed difficult question, “What about you?”

“What about you?” Seeing this question again and again, I suddenly have no idea what my answers should be. It seems a little bit unacceptable that almost everyone tells lies in the world, but it is a truth. Yes, everyone, no exceptions, no excuses. In some circumstances, some people may tell lies to protect others, while some may do so to protect themselves. No matter what the intentions are, we are living with lies, and even sometimes we cannot move forward without lies.

When being asked whom I can’t tell lies to in my life, I thought about myself first. However, I soon changed my mind in the next second. Indeed, I have lied to myself a lot of times, even more than to other people. When facing some problems that difficult to deal with, I lie to myself, “It is not a big deal, I will find out the solution easily.” When I feel lost and don’t know how to move to the next step, I tell myself, “Unclear view is making my journey more beautiful.” This kind of lies is also known as self-deception, a word that seems silly, but it does provide the power of moving forward. On the other hand, I can see that too much lies will cause negative consequences – I will lose myself in the situation I imagine forever – which was shown in the story about Willy in the play “Death of a Salesman.” After experiencing all terrible things, Willy plants weeds in his garden, where the sunlight never reaches. It divulges the lies he has told himself as well as the negative aspects of his self-deception. I acknowledge that being addicted to lying is not a good thing, yet I guess there is another thing emerged from Willy’s death – when he realizes that all lies have been disclosed, when he is not able to lie to himself anymore, he is stuck in a same place forever. Perhaps, the power of lies can be shown from his story.

I have heard a lot of people saying that “living a life just like performing a play.” If it is true, I would like to say that: you may want to act with all your emotions when you are a performer, but you may not want to trust everything you see when you are in the audience, as you are living with lies, and the liar can be anyone, including you.

A Little Help – A Turning Point

In Growing up Untouchables in India, Vasant Moon writes, “Even a little help can transform life so much.” To support this argument, he mentions a story of his grandfather’s friend, Gopal Phuljhele’s children. After the demise of Phuljhele, his family had to overcome with economic downfall, so it became very difficult for his children to continue their education. In fact, they were expelled from school due to overdue fee. Therefore, Vasant Moon, with the help of Changdev Vasnik, helped those children readmitted to their school. Unfortunately, Phuljhele’s younger son, Chagan, died at an early age because of cancer. Nevertheless, Phuljhele’s daughter, Lila, continued her education and became a doctor. Thus, it seems like Moon helped Lila in a trifle circumstance, but it became the turning point of her life.

 

The similar event took place in my life too. Actually, I even today do not understand if it was my good fortune to have an encounter with Mr. Madhav Lal Maharjan, a selflessly benevolent social worker. Actually, I met him in an Interschool Oratory Competition entitled “Child Labor and My Role to Alleviate it,” in which I secured second position. I guess my encounter with him has become a turning point in my life.

 

Since I met Mr. Maharjan, he has been the one who supported and fostered me to live an independent life. For example, he was the one who informed me about Asian University for Women. I am much impressed by his ideology of making me independent. He just told the name of the organization, PAHAL, in Nepal having an affiliation with AUW. However, he did not tell me where the organization was and how to get there. He just told me the name and told me to find it out by myself by the evening of that day. First of all, I did not have any idea how to find the address; I asked my some elders, but they had no idea. Later, I thought of surfing it in the Internet, and finally I got the address and went to PAHAL for some inquiries.

 

Hence, only because he gave me information about this university, I came to know about it and became a student. After coming here, I feel like I am independent like a bird in the sky away from any control. In brief, Mr. Maharjan’s single information brought a drastic change in my life.

For Judith Viorst, and for you

You ask me what I think about social lies, and I tell you that they depend on the intimacy of relationships and situation. I may tell a rather close friend that her dress is nice, but only if I am asked; otherwise, I prefer silence to avoid telling a lie if she does not ask my opinion. Conversely, when I feel they are really beautiful, I will be prompt to applause her without hesitation. With my close friends, I always tell them what I really think.  Although you say that it is arrogant, and it may mortify and hurt others, I believe they understand that I just want them goodness. Certainly, I will not make them to follow my perception but let her decide what she think is fine. It is better than lies to keep relationships harmony.  However, I don’t consider lies as immoral wrongdoing. Under certain circumstances are lies also indispensible. Do you agree?
You ask me what I think about peace-keeping lies, and I tell you that I approve of you that I also feel culpable. Sometimes, I was angry at myself because I should have told the truth about my faults. Therefore, I endeavored to restrain myself from misleading others many times. Nonetheless, there are also some situations we need to hide the reality. Again, it depends on relationships and situations. I will tell my family the why I am late to be with them or even I forget their birthday. Some people may say it is so rude to upset them, yet it does not deserve to tell lies just because a small things with our loved ones. Suppose they know the truth one day, which one is better, tell them the reality first, or let them find out it by themselves? I believe their discovery cause more painful. Do you agree?
You ask me what I think about protective lies, and I tell you that I completely concur with you. Occasionally, I also feel culpable and often skeptical about what I did for them is really what they really want. Many times, I was fearful that I had surpassed my principles by falling into the circle of telling lies. At these times, I felt irritated to contrive subsequent lies to protect the former ones. However, I will otherwise think that it is not manipulation; rather it is my own judgments, and it is the best I can do to protect them. It is when lies are really mandatory. Do you agree?
You ask me what I think about trust-keeping lies, and I tell you that it depends on circumstances. I my friend ask me to conceal her affair from her husband, I will tell lies, but I also don’t want to over-deceive others like that. Hence, I will advise her to end her this illicit relationship because it is bad for her and her relationship also. If she persists on it, I cannot force myself to go against morality, but choose to refuse to be related to her problem. I am not a person who easily tells others my friends’ secrets, and I am not good at telling lies. Therefore, if my lies transcend my limitation of morality and goodness, I prefer not to tell lies. Do you agree?
Thu

Telling Lies

While going through the essay, “The Truth about Lying” by Judith Viorst, I first felt that I have not lied about anything yet. I said to myself, “I always speak the truth. I cannot remember anything that I have lied about.” Later when I started to ponder about the categories of lies as classified by Viorst, I began to see my lies. I thought that whatever I said before about telling lies was also a part of lies that I speak. Is not that ironic?

When talking about telling lies, I remember lying my mother often for the sake of my close friend. I often used to help her with her dates by telling both her and mine mother that we were going for shopping. If we were late, we would come up with another lie, “We met our friends on the way, so we are late.” If I have to classify this lie according to Viorst, this was a peace-keeping lie.

I remember myself as a student studying in grade nine, when I had decided not to tell lies at any cost. It was not a path of pain that would hurt me if I stopped telling any sort of lies. Under certain conditions, I used to observe acute silence and would pretend as if my lips were locked together. Despite my strong determination, I was trapped once. We were arranging for a picnic from Val Vikas Club of our school. The criteria were regular attendance and active involvement in club activities. This led to the dispute that two of my classmates would not be allowed to go. I was in-charge of the whole thing. As I have mentioned above, I was not in any condition to tell lie to the advisor and the club members so that they could join us. However, I had to lie and fake the attendance sheet. I felt guilty of myself and very weak for not being able to keep my promise.

I was upset and I can vividly see my best friend consoling me while walking past the playground of the school. She said that it was ok to lie under certain circumstances. That very day, she gave me a good sentence to remember throughout my life. “If your lie saves someone’s life, or does no harm to any one, then do not feel bad about lying, but never lie your heart.”