Inspiration, Love, Nature, poetry, Uncategorized

Tropical Rain

The scent of my land
still lingers in my hair
Aroma of sun-kissed marigold
A distant faint voice of turquoise peacock 
Ruffling its rainbow feathers, signaling 
The arrival of first showers of majestic monsoon
Slum children dancing euphorically 
Running around, tanned emaciated 
Waving, rejoicing at the bounty of vast blue sky
Flavors of fried bread, tangy mango sauce
Vapors of Colonial English tea
Peddled pavements forming small ponds
Revered Koel seated on the vines of
Delicate bougainvillea with its melodious
” Koo hoo” weaves a song of rain to
consummate with a mate waiting since long
Air filled with the sweet earthen smell of mud
Infant sprouts, excited saplings 
Oozing heads in thick fertile soils 
Of the basin of holy Ganges 
The mighty Brahmaputra swelled
Brimming with sacred white waters
Eroding every habitation standing its course
Blessed monkey army of deity ‘Hanuman.’
shrieking, jumping, thanking ” Inder.” 
The rain god for its benevolence 
Thundering bells in ancient temples 
Ablutions, salutations to the God 
Of Thunder and Hail, seated on a divine lotus
Pandits Performing “yagnas” fire rituals
Sacrificing hard shelled-coconuts,
Chanting Vedic mantras to appease 
Celebrating much-needed downpour.

-Tanya Shukla


Paranoia of Difference

Cultural Paranoia

The other day while I was playing with my daughter of 18 months, in a public park, I noticed an old woman taking mine picture. I was flabbergasted at first and little confused over her behavior. I wanted to confront her as I was infuriated but before I could do she had already left. What left me wondering did I violate any law or was it my light olive complexion which sparked her suspicion. This negligible behavior left me thinking about how we humans collectively suffer from an inherent fear of anyone who is different, whether it is the different complexion, culture or race.

Fear of Difference

Everyone seems to be scared of the other and gun lobbyists and media are milking on that fear.  I fear certain neighborhoods due to stereotypes in my mind while some might be fearing me due to their perceived threat. The racial profiling is not limited to any particular race or community rather it is prevalent in every society. I guess this springs out of a primeval fear. A fear due to the superficial difference. Every time we come across someone who speaks or looks different we become alarmed. This primitive fear has been passed to us from our forefathers who were cave-dwellers and hunters. They too feared rival tribes. Every community or individual belonging to a separate physical space became an enemy. Thousands of centuries later we humans still carry the same fright and terror.

Religious bigotry and regional chivalry are not new to me as I’ve worked in several countries. For some, I was white, for some olive for some a non-believer, if nothing I was only a woman. These biases are extremely widespread in my native culture too. Maybe unconsciously I have been a part of some of status quo too. I guess no race and culture is free of prejudices and stereotypes. We humans collectively suffer from our primitive phobia of anything which is different.  No one community has autonomy over bigotry, we all are similar in our responses because we all are humans.


The Culture of Victimhood & Offense

We certainly live in a world which is oversensitive and over-vigilant. Everyone appears to take an offense for one thing or the other. The irony of the whole thing is the more we brag about the freedom of speech that we constitutionally enjoy more we are on the verge of losing the same freedom.  It wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that we are living in a world where everyone is suffering from a sense of victimhood. We are always walking on eggshells while dealing with others as the egos are so fragile right now. On one hand, the social media has provided us with an effective platform to share our opinions with the millions while on the other we are more vigilant of our freedom than ever.

Humor has lost it meaning

It’s astounding how everyone seems so ready to lash out. Every word uttered or read is viewed under the lens of suspicion and mistrust. The world has completely lost its sense of humor. We now laugh less at the jokes or everyday comedies.  The dark clouds of mistrust and doubt have engulfed our humor and wit. We are too scared to laugh on ourselves as in our little brains we are victims of all the wrongs. We are afraid of passing any judgment at the government least we get into some trouble. So, what is the whole meaning of freedom of speech if we always have to weigh our words so carefully? What kind of world are we dwelling in where any innocent word spoken can land us in a legal trouble. Who is stealing our humor? Is it the culture that is responsible for our grim and austere approach towards life.

Culture of Victimhood

In the good olden era, people refrained from talking about their weaknesses. In fact, any sign of weakness was considered undignified. To be vigorous and strong was thought as honorable and dignified. Any sign or the slight hint of illness was an act of cowardice. But times have changed we no longer believe in hiding our weaknesses or brushing our troubles under the carpets rather we like to discuss them and some like to discuss them at length. Although it’s perfectly normal to discuss issues and troubles with others but when we become perpetual victims of all the wrongs inflicted on humanity, it becomes problematic. It gives birth to a culture where everyone is a sufferer or a potential target. We are at both ends of a cultural spectrum where either we kept quiet about our issues or where we discussed only the wrongs.

People in the culture of victimhood are oversensitive and very alert when it comes to an offense. Even an unintentional comment or word can lead to a serious conflict. Victimhood in the twenty-first century has become a sort of morality. The sheer vulnerability and the need of sympathy have robbed the culture of its humor and endurance. People seem to be gloating in their shortcomings rather than improving. On top of that, the media seems to be emphasizing this sense of victimhood. Media picks up every slight and turns it into a national issue. Somone has very rightly put that it’s the sense of victimhood and perceived offense which drives individuals on the path of evil.