Friday, 19 July 2013

My Life as a Wanderlust... Atheism, Racism, Gandhi and a Writer's Block...!!

I have been suffering from an overload of ideas... ok I do know the reason for this though... I have been reading and commenting on too many blogs, too many people are giving me ideas and the true Gemini girl that I am all these ideas are inter playing in my little grey cells... I really do not know which ones to concentrate upon and which ones to leave out.

Probably this in itself is a kind of Writer's Block. I know the Wikipedia definition of a Writer's Block and that definition mostly blames anxiety and chaos as the top reasons for having writer's block... but what if the writer has too many ideas clogging her grey cells ?

What then ?

Anxiety or Chaos...?

Take for instance, the other day, I came across a webpage on Atheism, and there was this post, a young boy of sixteen had written... the post noted, how, he was an Atheist and how his mother and sister found this particular trait of his to be an oddity and as such a shameful behavior. That post set me thinking... Of course I did my best to console the child and told him that it's best not to discuss ideas that others find appalling, even if, as a human being, you are entitled to have your own ideas... to get his thoughts on paper, to write them down... that had always helped me, and even today, when I am faced with a terrible, situation which is confounding me, like this one, I find it best to put them in words...

But the post set me thinking... Am I an Atheist ? Does everyone of us have an Atheist in themselves or are we so devoted to our faith that we cannot even grasp the idea of a Godless world ? And then it came to me...

Probably each of us carry an Atheist and a Believer in us, yes the same two contradicting forces find themselves manifested in the same person. Human beings have developed too much, intellectually and socially, to blindly follow any notion that's forced into them. If we were all devoted, blind, believers of our respective faiths, then science would not have made the advancement that it has made since the invention of fire.

And if we were so strictly Atheist, religion would not have been an integral part of our lives, hell, sometimes it even rules us... So the incredible truth is Human beings are both believers and atheists at the same time. We are a clever specie... of course the way we have "evolved" is a testament to the fact, we use faith when it suits us and reason, when it does so.

So think about it, are you strictly an atheist or strictly a believer ?

 In my case I think I am agnostic... I believe in God, but my "god" is made up of all the good deeds and principles, mainly, which I sometimes strive to follow, and sometimes I fail to... Truth, Generosity, Trust, Help, Belief and my parents, these are my GOD... and I do not, never have believed, that there is some big great man or woman sitting up in heaven beyond the skies who's looking after us...

But anyhow, this post was about my Writer's Block, not about Atheism...

The second idea that entered my head and troubled my grey cells was one of Racism... actually while growing up in India, I never bothered about this particular ideology until I came to South Africa... I mean this concept actually blew off my mind, when I came here...

In India, we generally never talk about Race... we talk about Poverty, GDP, Corruption, Education, Rape... (oh my god that IS a big topic), Women's Liberation, and many  more, but never about racial inequalities...

That is a topic, that the western media makes a big hue and cry about... but when I came to South Africa... it was the first time, I was confronted with this notion and how this very vague idea is slowly transforming into a living, breathing reality for me.

My first interaction with this topic came from my domestic. She is a really nice lady, might I say, a black lady... it is important that I point this out, because, the first day when she and I were indulging in our first introductions, she touched my hand and said to me " I have never worked for this people "... her exact words... first, honestly I didn't understand, and then it came to me, actually it thundered onto me, SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE COLOR OF MY SKIN.... wow... it was the first time, in my 30 years of life that someone has actually commented on my SKIN COLOR...in a way that made me really THINK about it... Actually I should have taken offense, but after saying this, she was smiling at me, and I couldn't help but reply, " This color is of Gandhi, you know Gandhi "... and she nodded her head in enthusiasm...  "Oh a great man, great man, he did a lot for us..."

The most odd thing about this entire conversation was, when she pointed me my color, the first person that came to my mind was the one that my countrymen have generally forgotten, and when I did mention Gandhi, she said, he was indeed a great, great man... my domestic, might I say, is an extremely poor South African Lady....and she knew that Gandhi had done great things for her country...something Indian young men and women have comfortably chosen to forget...

Anyhow, so these issue are there in my mind and I do not know which one to concentrate upon, Atheism, Racism, India's relationship to Gandhi and his ideals, (well which most Indians think are dead now)... and therefore I am suffering from a Writer's Block...

Or am I ??

I really need to find out...


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can only say that you are lucky - that you have lived in India and never had to hear a comment about the colour of your skin. I believe from experience that Indians are one of the most racist people in the world. We may not talk about it, but our actions speak much louder than our words. Open any matrimonial advertisement in any of the national news papers, and look out for the characteristics that are required for a bride. In 8 out of 10 cases, you will find the word 'fair' (and, hence, beautiful) screaming out at you. We squirm at the sight of a dark person. And pass rude and insensitive comments about other people's colour and skin.
I have two sisters and a brother, all of who have taken after my mother, who is very fair and beautiful. I took after my father and am dark (and hence, ugly). I wouldn't be lying if I say that while I was growing up, I heard the term dark and ugly to describe me again and again, repeatedly. Even when I was barely five years old, when I didn't even understand the concept of skin colour, people asked me questions such as this: "Your sisters are so fair and beautiful, how come you are dark and ugly?" I was led to believe that I was the way I was because my parents took pity on me and picked me up from a gutter, and that is why I wasn't beautiful as my other siblings. The man who repeatedly abused me sexually for years convinced me that this was happening to me because I was ugly. Over the years, I may have developed enough confidence and self-esteem to not give a damn to such comments. But because you haven't experienced it don't assume it doesn't exist. Indians are very racist. And that is a fact.

SREERUPA SANYAL said...

I am really sorry, you had to face that... I won't say, I am extremely fair or beautiful, but I have never faced anything regarding the color of my skin... probably I have been called fat, which actually I am, so you never had that experience with the color of the skin... Although I do agree with you, that Indians can be very racist if they want to... but here in South Africa, it's worse, far worse... in India, you at least didn't have to deal with jobs and college or in professional level... you weren't denied education or jobs because of the color of your skin, were you... here in South Africa, people were... look what happens in India is pure idiocy... what happens in South Africa is pure hatred, and when faced with that, our travails seem really small... thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article...

Anonymous said...

I am sorry if I sounded rather harsh in my comment. I just do not subscribe to the notion that Indians are very fair people when it comes to the way we treat others around us. I think we are just plain hypocritical.
You are right - apart from fair skin, fat is another aspect of a person that invites a lot of ridicule from other Indians. I am fat too, and have always been, so you can imagine - dark, ugly and fat. It wasn't easy. By being dark we may not elicit hate like you rightly put it, but we do invoke feelings of disgust in others. I have seen people squirm in their seats openly, people who don't want to sit next to you. A lot of this does not come to the front in an urban setting, but it is there - simmering under the sheets, always. Which is why I believe we Indians are extremely hypocritical. Besides, our race problem is our caste system. Everything you have said about what a black South African goes through because of the colour of his/her skin, we experience the same because of the caste we belong/not belong to. Given all that I am not so sure what happens in India is pure idiocy. Like I said, I was lucky not to be denied education or jobs because of the colour of my skin. But that happens too in India, and at a much much larger scale. I have done my PhD in African American literature and have also written a paper studying African-American literature against Dalit literature. They are almost similar, if not the same.
I liked reading your thoughts - you are honest and you write well. I came here from the link you provided on the Modern and Post Modern course from Coursera, just in case you are wondering.

SREERUPA SANYAL said...

Hheeyy,

Thank you so very much for your kind comments... oh you are doing the Coursera course on Modern and Postmodern, are you ? I am also doing the same course... You pointed out an extremely valid reason... yes I know on some level, Indians can be very racist, but, also,we,ourselves are responsible for it on some level... I am not saying, me and you in particular...but look at our social media... all these mindless soap operas, where the ladies are denied marriage alliances and sometimes jobs because of the color of the skin or for their looks or for that matter for how rich or poor you are, it's disgusting... don't you think people who watch these soap operas get influenced by such ideas... and who are the people who devour these, it's people like "us", common women and men... Also, what I am trying to point out is see, your skin color ( please don't mind me saying that), or my "fatness" did not deny us from educating ourselves... probably, and trust me this is true for me at least, because on some levels we were conscious of how the world viewed us, we strove so hard in getting far higher degrees in the education field, than many other "pretty" girls did . But here, even if you are slim and pretty... you would be denied education and jobs just because you are "black"...In India, whatever the people might say, we had equal right to excel didn't we? But here that opportunity was denied to generations after generations... But yes, I completely agree, Indians can be very, very racist, another blog post coming on what you pointed out... thank you so very much for the ideas...thanks a ton for making me think anew... :)