Sunday, April 21, 2013

Religions and Stereotyping!

"Fighting" to prove which one is "Peaceful"

Today, I felt like touching one of the most sensitive topics we have. I would start by asking you “According to you, what is Religion?”

If you ask me, then my answer would be “The way to communicate with a superior Power whom we refer as God. It is the language we speak to convey our prayers and the same language in which we put faith to guide our conducts; while God is the small voice deep inside our soul who guide us in our daily conduct – the voice which reminds to keep being in the right track, the voice which would cry when we do bad, the voice which would rejoice when we do the right thing”.

Nowadays, Religion becomes a trademark. It has become a medium to stereotype a person.
“Oh, he is “this” religion. He behaves like “this”.
“Oh, he is “that” religion. He behaves like “that”.

Why have we become so narrow minded that we judge a person based on his believe about God? Like what I have mentioned in my previous posting, a man is a man not because of his religion or his parents or his environment, but because of his choice. No one wants to be bad, and no religion teaches a person to be bad, but circumstances make people take such bad decision. It’s not the fault of religion. It’s the problem of mind-set. Let’s not blame the religion.

Now, for example, by going to religious shrine regularly, donate millions to it, but without respecting the elders, without respecting people who love him/her, without helping others in need, would that make a person a good religious man? A religious person to the outside world, maybe; but definitely not a good person.

People are competing over religions, people are trying to drag other people from different religious perspective to believe their religions. What is wrong with us? Asking someone to believe something just because we believe it is possible and there is no harm at all in doing it, but to which extent? To the extent of pestering a person? To the extent of underestimating other religions to show that our religion is superior?

If we find a person who is going astray from the righteous ways, then God may be the answer in order to bring that person back to track, not religion. We could explain it through religion, but the belief that a person has is absolutely his choice and no one would have the rights to judge that.

There are so many incidents happening on earth where religions have become the mediator to take the blame. Those who use religion to do wrong deeds have definitely no courage to take action on his/her own choice of decision, while those who blame someone’s deeds for his/her religion have a very narrow perspective about life and about human behavior.

All humans share different skin colors, different religions, but not different blood. All of us are on the same boat. We share same life-cycle, our perception about food is the same all over the world, and each human being has his own struggle. No human eats stone and no human has water running in his vein.

No religions teach bad things. The ways may be different, but the destination is one. No religions want human being to act against his faith, yet religions expect humans to act based on his conscience. There is no so-called better religion or worse religion. If we do bad things which are not supposed to be done, it is not the religion which is the problem, it is us. If we do good things which are supposed to be done, it is not the religion which is the cause, it is us. It is our choice on how to have an independent thinking, yet know where our boundaries lie.

When a patient is dying in the hospital, all the so called good doctors are expected to try his/her best to save the patient. There is no assumption that “Hindu doctor would do A”, “Christian doctor would do B”, “Moslem doctor will do C”, etc. All doctors from all religions would be believed to do the same thing, and that is to give his best to save the patient. While doctors are expected to be like that, why do we other humans behave so indifferently about our basic roles on this earth?

If someone points his/her finger to you and say “Your religion is bad”, would you jump up and down trying to explain? What is the point if you do that? It won’t lead both of you anywhere except to a greater despicable fight. Every religion has its own ways and customs and if we judge those as unacceptable then perhaps we do not understand what religion is in the first place.

Our world revolves around myriad of beliefs and if we keep trying to find the pros and cons for each of those beliefs, then trust me that we won't have time to reflect on our own inner conscience and determine what kind of human we would like to be and what kind of deeds we wish to share with our people.

Let's see human as human. Forget the attributes he is carrying that identifies his religion. Judge him based on his heart, judge him based on his deeds, not his religion nor skin color because those who have beautiful hearts do not need religion to make them shine brighter than the sun.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pencil Drawing

I have always had an interest in drawing. For that short moment when I am drawing, I would be engrossed in something I like and forget what lies around.

I used to paint with water colors. Water colors have always been my favorite. I had several brushes - sharp pointed, round, rectangular, etc. I had a good palette and proper drawing carton papers. I was not a good painter, though but painting (no matter how terrible the result is) makes me happy and so I kept doing it.

When I start venturing out of home, this habit almost went out of sight due to the hectic routine of studying and working. Now, I have some time again to spend for that activities, but the problem is that I don't have THAT much time to mix the colors and to clean up the mess, but coincidentally I bumped into The Art of Pencil Drawing Tutorial in the internet. I went through it and found that it is even more fun than water colors.

If in water colors, you are playing with color combination and color mixing, in pencil drawing, you are playing with strokes, thickness, and shades. It is more efficient. You could use any kinds of paper you wish, you don't have to spend too much time to finish one work, and the most important thing, you can erase it when you think the strokes are not proper, which you can't do with water colors.

There are many kinds of pencils you could use, but my favorite has always been Staedtler and Faber-Castell. Maybe it is just a matter of brand loyalty. Well, now, for drawing purpose, you could use pencils starting from 9H until 9B pencils (based on its hardness and blackness) in order to get different kinds of strokes, shadings, and sharpness, but in case that you are not that much into it, pick the neutral one - 2B. This 2B pencil is all-time pencil. You could make the light strokes until the thick one with different pressures. In all my drawing that I am going to showcase today, I am using only one type of pencil - 2B of Faber Castell.

By the way, if you are interested in pencil drawing, you could refer to "Pencil Drawing Techniques" edited by David Lewis and if you are interested in color pencil drawing, you could refer to "ANIMALS - Learn to Draw with Colored Pencil Step by Step" by Debra Kauffman Yaun. You could download these two books for free. To be frank, I love the Colored Pencil Drawing by Debra Yaun, they truly look like real objects, but since I have not got any access to color pencils yet, I would stick to Just Pencil for now.
The Rooster

The Rose - Drawn as per my mom's request. God, She loves roses too much
Drawing "books" is not my cup of tea. I never feel satisfied drawing this one object

For This Picture, I do wish I have a cottage like this one day.... Nothing could be more peaceful than sitting near the tree and watch the sunset... Imagining it makes me feel calm already ;)
Now, drawing human beings is a challenging task... For the first time, I did it somehow ok ok :)

However, those are all my works for now. BUT, I wish to share you several shots that I had these last couple of days. Hope you could enjoy it too!

For the first picture, please have a look at the top cloud of this picture. I see that as a young boy hovering in the sky. I saw it first when I was sitting at my desk in the office and the moment I realized that it looks like a boy, I just went out and take the shot.
Now that I see it, the lower cloud looks like a warthog hahahaha :)

As the spring starts, the roses are also blooming. They are just adorable...

The Queen Rose - Right in the middle of the front yard :)

And for the last pictures, I would show you the contrast of Winter and Spring of the same location!
Our front yard during Winter

The same front yard in the Spring :)
Nature really has magnificent ways to show its beauty, power and elegance folks and I am sure, so do you. Good night and have the sweetest dreams ever. Be blessed always!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Right Ways of Parenting and Upbringing? Do They Exist?

When it comes to parenting, there is no one standard stead and fast rule. Every family and every parent have their own ways. One way that is used on a child may not work on another child in different family or different region BUT there is one thing which is common when it comes to what kind of person the child would be when he/she has grown up. What is that? Well, keep reading.

No parents despise their children. No parents want their children to face the difficulties they faced, if any, during their childhood. All parents want their children to have the best in their children’s lives no matter what happened. All parents take their children as prince and princess who must have all in their lives. But the question is NOT in “What to give?” but “How to give them the best?”

I am not a parenting expert and I definitely have not had a hands-on experience in parenting, but I do observe my environment, I do meet people; and sooner or later, in the back of our minds, we “judge” these people and in that judgment, the way those people were raised would be included in it.

How many of us feel that we would not let even one single scratch come to our babies on the very first moment we hold our babies in our arms? I would surely have the same concept the moment I hold mine.

How many of us indulge our children in luxury and give ALL that our children ask because we are financially strong enough to fulfill that request-cum-demand?

Well, let me give one simple clearance. A man and a woman get married, they make babies and they raise those babies until they become adults. THAT is ALL, folks that we could do to our children. We could not put them in a cage so that they do not get any scratch. We could not put them inside the house for eternity so that they do not meet others and fall in love and be hurt. We could not put them inside the four walls so that they do not learn how to survive when the parents are gone. ALL that human beings could do is just MAKE babies AND RAISE them. The rest would be on lie on the fate of the children. Making babies are easy as long as a woman has good ovum, strong womb, and a man has good sperm, but how about raising them?

Raising a child involves all contexts from physical condition, biological needs, spiritual health, psychological health, moral existence, empathetic and sympathetic abilities, and conducive environment for a stable intellectual development. Raising a child is NOT about:
  • Buying them all they want (trust me, if you keep fulfilling this, soon it will be a demand where they would cry and rebel and attack you back when you do not get it for them);
  • Letting them study in the most expensive and most popular school in town without really knowing whether those schools are educating the children properly or not;
  • Letting your children travel in your private car all the time;
  • Buying your children a car once they come of age;
  • Letting them eat all the so called nice food which is full of sugar, preservatives, fat, salt, and God knows what all other material;
  • Giving your children all the branded clothes and gadgets without teaching them to give away some of the clothes when they are no longer used.
How many of us have done all the above things? Maybe you would tell me, “We love them so much that we are providing all these things. Maybe you would not love your child, and that is why you speak like this”.
My answer would be “Are you sure that you LOVE your children that much, that you are ready to sacrifice their independence to lead a life where they would actually understand how to survive, how to lead a decent social life after you are gone? Are you sure that you would be there for your children FOREVER to provide them? Never give fish. Give a hook and teach them how to catch one”.

Our children would not be in our comfortable, warm, and mosquito-net covered cribs forever. Humans are bound to social interaction. How to lead a successful life in social context cannot be taught by showering your children with luxury and over-protection.

I remember when thatha once handled my youngest cousin. He was very young, maybe 1.5 years or 2 years old and we got power cut that night so we lighted candles. My young cousin was curious about that light and he approached one candle when my aunt (his mother) screams in horror of him touching the candle fire. Thatha calmed her down and said “I am here, nothing bad would happen. Let him know that it is hot, so that next time when you were not around, he won’t fool around with fire anymore”. With that, thatha stood behind him and let him approach the candle. My young cousin tentatively neared his finger on the flickering candle and when he touched the flame, he retract his hand quickly and said “sussshhhh” and thatha told him “It is hot; so next time, do not touch it, okay?” with a mix of body language to make him understand and he nodded with a smile.

The point of why I am telling that anecdote is to give a clear understanding that keeping your children in the dark by not letting them be exposed to the real outside world would not shape them into a real human being. They would be just a living thing without any single comprehension about what they are facing on this earth. All they would know is your protection and NO adventure of THEIR OWN.

Let them fall but do not lift them up, teach them how to get up.
Tell them to study but do not ask them to get the first rank, teach them to love the lesson and develop curiosity out of it. They are stressed up enough with the so many lessons to learn at school, do not put more pressure on them to get a first rank.
Give them healthy food which may not be very delicious for them, and explain them how their body would love that food so much that they would stay healthy and able to play without any problems. I am sure they would agree when you mentioned the word "play".

As a parent, you may have faced difficulties in your life before you finally settled down with a stable life. Let your children know about that. Do not cover them from it and give them the luxury, just because you do not want your children to face what you faced.

Let your children know how to ride on a bus instead of providing them a car with a driver so that they know that NOT all children in this world are like them who has all the fulfilled needs. They would observe the difference of life-style in the end, and respect those differences instead of mocking those who do not come in private cars.

Let your children help you do the dishes so that they know the responsibility of house chores.

Let your children help you fix the bike or other stuff so that they would not be a cry baby who demand everything to be perfect and functioning smoothly all the time.

Bring your children to orphanage centers and let them see you give away their unused clothes, food items, stationery or toys for those children who are not as fortunate as yours who still have parents. By doing this, you create a real environment surround the children. You bring them to a real world instead of keeping them safe inside without knowing what is going on outside. It helps them in understanding that not all things come easily to all people, it helps them to respect what they have and respect what others have, and it helps them in understanding what care and love actually mean.

Now maybe you ask, “Is there any differentiate in raising a baby girl and a baby boy?” Well, my answer would be “NO”. You may think raising a boy is easier than a girl. You may think having a boy would be more beneficial for you in the future rather than having a girl. Well, gender is not what makes a human a human. What make a human are his/her choices - The choices to lead the life - The choice to fulfill his/her responsibility of being a part of this world. Many men out there are leading decent gentlemen lives while the women are leading lives without dignity. At the same time, many men out there are behaving like chickens without charisma while the women are fighting for their lives bravely like bulls. Why? The answer is “The choices they made”.

Like Anne Frank ever said once "Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."

As parents, it is your job to guide them in making good choices, BUT it is definitely not your job in making the choices for them. As parents, it is not your job to decide their fates and destiny. As parents, all you could do are provide them with proper methods, proper mind-set, proper decency, and proper strength; encourage them to be brave to make decision which they believe in their hearts; teach them how to get up when they fall in their lives by teaching them to have faith accompanied with efforts; teach them the value of money so that they do not spend unwisely on unnecessary things; hence, once you are gone, they would not be stray people without methods and moral to survive.

Human beings are social beings but the capacity to survive in a decent manner is a matter of individual. We live in a social life with other people, but we do not cling on them. No one wants to be clung on other than parents. How long would parents be there? To which extent could they be clung on? Sooner or later, we would face the world outside the fence.

Life only happen once, do not make your children regret one day when you are gone that they have not done anything they wished just because you suffocated them with your restrictions and threats that the outside social life is dangerous or that the outside world is 100% perfect because nothing is so perfect and nothing is so dangerous. Do not make them regret by making them feel that they have not actually lived their lives as per their choices. Let them make choices, if they fall, be there to guide them to get up.

We may not be able to live without other people around us, but to live among those people as an individual, we must have our integrity. Teach your children to have that integrity. Teach them to be able to stand out instead of standing behind your shades all the time. Let them face their monsters just the way you faced yours. You did not turn out so bad anyway, did you?