Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesdays Wanderings ... light & lovely things

Shout out to Beautiful Maliha, and the Fearless Mr. Angry, dear Caco :-), Totally Tom, Before Sunrise, Lovely Louise, Beth, Oh Joe!, Jeff, Fer, Candancim, the folks at Culture for All, Zee Ya! and of-course the Incomparable Dr. Sasquatch.

Red is my favourite colour! And y'all know that I am a girly girl who believes that being fashionable is as important as being bold & intellectual in the art of fearlessness :-) Every Sunday, I scan through my closet and mentally plan my wardrobe for the week ahead. Often I forget my list and find myself putting together the outfit 30 minutes before I have to leave. Dressing up delights me! Then there is matching jewelry (limited) and make-up (light) - oh I love being a girl! :-)

So imagine my happipness in being able to wear a red t-shirt, knowing that half of the profits go to Aids in Africa - and it is inscribed with "INSPI(RED)". Tomorrow I teach lab sections of my class and it's the day I dress casually to work. So I am going to wear my "inspi(red)" t-shirt ! With blue pants with turquoise necklace and earrings ... ? Or with brown dress pants and red & brown necklace ...? Such important decisions. Heels of-course. Gosh, I am so inspi(red) to wake up tomorrow :-)

Hope you are laughing with me at my frivolties :-)

Can't wait to wear my gorgeous new CBGB limited edition this weekend - thank you, Baby!

Movie Recommendations: "The Lake House" - romantic movie that made me cry and sigh in relief at the endlessness and timelessness of true love

Music Recomendations: "Oh L'Amour" : Erasure - keeping with the love theme - why not ;-)
The album "A Posteriori": Enigma - I downloaded this last night and it is simply enigmatic

from Fernando - (Jamaica)
"The Skatalites": Occupation, "Joya Landis": Midnight Lover, "The Clarendonians & Augustus": Ruddie Bam bam, (Angola) "Bonga" Mulemba Xangola

Book Recommendations: "The O'Reilly Factor": Bill O'Reilly (all in the spirit of fairness & balance ;-))
"The Truth": Al Franken (the truth shall set you free, I hear)
"War on the Middle Class": Lou Dobbs (apparantly if your e-mail to Lou Dobbs is read out during his show, you will receive a free copy. I am composing a note right now)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday Thoughts ... on the human syndrome

I feel most alive when I remember that tomorrow is not promised to me. I feel most human when I remember that no politician, no law, no culture, no job, no religion can save me from mortality. I feel most free when I am myself.

But I am not alone, I have not made it alone. There have been people standing by my side, loving me, lending me their hand when I certainly would have fallen. I feel most grateful, most human, most vulnerable, most free, most me, when I remember that.

You know there is no redemption to war. None whatsoever. We can try to justify it. Yes wars have gained "freedom" - but why was that freedom ever taken away in the first place? I adhere to New Hamshire's spirit - "live free or die". Many of us are not free at all. We are worried about our own future, Lou Dobbs of CNN is worried about "the Middle Class of America", dear old Bill O'Reily of FoxNews is worried about the leftist media and retaining America's moral imperilaism, people are worried about jobs going overseas to those Indians. Hey - they are human, those Indians. Smart, savvy, and ready to take the challenge to survive. How inhuman some of us can be, how self-righteous and boring! It breaks me to see that people are treated as lessers because of the longitude/latitude under which they are born.

Thank goodness that Al Gore is worried about the environment, thank goodness that Zainab Salbi is worried about women who are victims of war, thank goodness Mohammed Younus is worried about enabling people living in poverty - thank goodness for doctors without borders, thank goodness for mothers who love without limit, thank goodness for people who care for people.

People quabble about how many Iraqis died - hey even one human death is one too many. What if it was you? Palestinians use desperation as an excuse to be suicide bombers. There is no excuse for murder! Heaven does not wait for you. Israelis think they are the chosen ones - what exactly did God choose you for? Why do any of us think we are one iota more special than the next person, than the person across the ocean? We are all as mortal, as human, as vulnerable, as anyone else. Some extreme groups in the Indian subcontinent keep their women under lock and key and some fathers believe in honor killings of their daughters. I don't know what god they worhsip.

Don't you see it does not matter, Indians, Israelis, Americans, Zimbabweans. In defining ourselves by nations, we allow ourselves to be defined by man-made boundaries. Man created these maps of boundaries - but they should not define us. My family used to despair when I refused to acknowledge my country of origin and declared myself a citizen of the world. I am not denying my race or heritage - I am defying man-made boundaries. The world belongs to me - as it does to you. If an Iraqi dies, if an American dies, if an Israeli dies, if a Palestinian dies - it is no different from me dying. Another human, another citizen of the world leaving, hopefully for a better place.

Do you see - you are no different from me - and I am no different from you? Do you see? Our points of view or places of birth or locations don't make us different, or better. We share the same human syndrome of mortality.

The French lower house of parliament passed a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks after WWI. In retaliation, the Turkish parliament is drafting a bill to make it illegal to deny that the French committed genocide in Algeria. People are up in arms spending time and money passing bills about PAST genocides, when nothing has been done about the CURRENT cases of rape and murder and cold-blooded genocide in Darfur? There is massive genocide and violation of human rights - right now! Infuruating!

If I were to die tomorrow, I would not give a damn about being right or wrong, or about which land belongs to whom, or about the left or the right or center - I would just want to express to the people in my world that they mean the world to me. I would want them to know that they shaped my life, that they made me feel so much, that they made my day, any day - that I am so grateful to them. I don't plan to die tomorrow, I plan to really live and love tomorrow - and today!

This is an original water color I purchased recently from a living artist, feisty delightful 85 year old Margaret Hart.

"Laugh to forget, but don't forget to laugh" - Arnold Glasgow

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Sunderings ... all cried out

Once a year, in involuntary introspection and self-evaluation, my mind rejuvenates itself. It heeds no other command from me but takes me through a reflective process that I cannot deny. Thus was my last several days. 180 degrees (well maybe 145 degrees) change in perspective. On Wednesday I was writing about the frivolous topic of “you must be kidding me” when by chance, I came across a documentary on Aids in Africa. Everyday there are deaths equivalent to 2 World Trade Centers - everyday. Just children who don’t have a chance to live because they do not have access to the few dollars that I use so carelessly to buy a soda. Then a documentary on the rape and killing in Darfur. I spent hours crying over Aids and Darfur – but crying is useless, it is action that matters.

Fearless! Ambitious! Bold! I like to think I am fearless, but it was essential for me to acknowledge that which frightens me the most. I did so these last days. I acknowledge what I fear most – and there is nothing that can erase that fear – except to be fearless. How helpful. Thank you for that introspective edge.

There is a debate and denial over whether or not 655,000 Iraqis died. That is the debate? Bloody Hell! (yes I am swearing - in anguish and disgust!) You have got to be kidding me! Ok – let’s halve the number, no let’s diminish that number by a factor of 100, in fact let’s cut the number down to 1 and let’s not even consider the nationality - and that would be a bloody loss of 1 human life too many!

My models for fearlessness are the following - my goodness - they define FEARLESSNESS!:

Bono: (Red) products - no politics just humanity

Zainab Salbi: beautiful woman helping one woman at a time and changing the world - no politics just humanity

Mohammed Younus from Bangladesh: Noble Nobel Peace Laureate 2006 - no politics just humanity

Anna Politkovskaya: fearless Russian journalist murdered on October 7, 2006

Red Cross: for reaching out to the “inhabitants” of Guantanamo – no politics just humanity

Watched a movie this weekend called “Water”. It is set in 1937 India, about the lives of widows, who according to Hindu customs had to live a rejected life in seclusion. This life-denying custom, along with the deplorable caste system still exists. Yes, I cried heartily while watching it.

Also this weekend we had a bachelorette party for my friend Jenny – and to be perfectly honest, I forgot all about world affairs and crying and such, and just had much fun with a bunch of crazy girls.

Fearless Movie Recommendation: "Water" by Deepa Mehta – this movie was made by the fearless Director, despite massive protests by extremists groups who were afraid that their deplorable customs of widowhood would be highlighted. Go Deepa!

Fearless Product Recommendation: "(Red)" - so I rushed to Gap and bought a t-shirt, half of whose profits could go to help a mother buy medicine for her children. My t-shirt reads “inspi(red)”. Oh, I am so inspired! There are also other t-shirts like "empow(red)", "desi(red)", "admi(red)" and get this "bo(red)", "hamme(red)" :-)

Fearless Music Recommendation: “Nothing In My Way” by Keane – the words say it all
“All Cried Out” by Allure - the words say it all
"Já sei namorar" by Tribalistas - recommended by my fearless friend, Caco

this is where we went canoeing in Upstate New York

this is where we went rafting in West Virginia

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings ... on Religion, Politics, and Prismatic Colour

So tonight I was invited to an Interfaith banquet. There were people from all faiths who started with the celebration of the breaking of the fast. I sat at a random table with Christians, Jews and Muslims, before which I had flitted about introducing myself to perfectly lovely strangers.

After dinner, which was a splendid affair, there were 4 speakers: the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim perspective. This was then followed by representives of the 2 Senatorial candidates, Bob Casey and Rick Santorum. Oi vey, Religion and Politics ...

The Jewish perspective mentioned that Islam borrowed the tradition of fasting from the Jewish people and made reference to the Day of Atonement - this to show the similarities of the 2 religions. He then chided the general populace for not causing an uproar against the pronoucements of Dr. Ahemedinejad.

The Muslim perspective agreed that indeed Islam was an extension, in many ways, of Judiasm and Christianity.

The Christian perspective spoke of brotherhood and love - and referenced the support after the recent tragic shootings in the Amish town.

The speaker I applauded the most - because it encompassed the concept of interfaith & humanity - was the Hindu perspective. He spoke about what was close to my heart. We should not "tolerate" diversity - we should "value" diversity. He uses the example; what if you returned to your room mate who said to you, "I tolerate you", how would you feel? He also referenced Mahatma Ghandi who when asked by Christians what he would have them do replied to the effect, "help the Muslims be better Muslims, help the Hindus be better Hindus, help the Jews be better Jews, and we will help you be better Christians".

Lovely night, lovely food, lovely talks, lovely people - but do you know what I came back with? The affirmation with which my parents had brought me up, "God-created man is greater than man-created religion". It's humanity that matters. I feel more than ever that life is short, so short, and I just want to live while I am alive - a happy, simple, lovely life with people who matter to me. So much to do, so much to see ... what a wonderful world! I really am so happy to be alive.

Oh and I also tried to colour my hair - spontaneous decision in the middle of the afternoon. Perhaps I was inspired but the Autumn colours. Let's put it this way, the results of "Brazilian Brown Prismatic Color" is such that my dark hair is as dark as ever! No one will notice any change and therefore I will have to tell people, "excuse me, I know you cannot tell, but I did colour my hair, prismatically in fact, thanks."

Music Recommendations: anything Brazlian (Caco, Cristiana ?) ... :-)
Movie Recommendations: "City of God": set in Brazil on Brazilian gang life - so vivid that you can feel actually feel the heat and the desperation and the life ...

Monday, October 2, 2006

Picturesque Mondays ... say anything

During the premiership soccer season, I live for
Manchester United games without logic or reason. I soar in delight for every wining goal, and for a loss, no words can console. The team makes me happy

...talking of happy, when my brother was 8 he wrote a poem and the last two lines were, "the dragon was happy, still in his nappy". It still makes me laugh out aloud

...talking about laughing out aloud, I have this awful habit of remembering funny things at inappropriate times. For example, someone might be talking about their car problems at tedium and suddenly I will think about the happy dragon in the nappy and then have to fight the urge to not burst out laughing

...as for fighting urges, the month of Ramadhan is a testament to discipline and will power and committment. Imagine not ingesting anything at all, including water, from dawn to dusk. It's formidable and the degree of introspection is incomparable. It is especially a time for kindness and warmth and friendship

... another shout out for my frriends at the Campaign for Kindness ! Just be kind. Why Not? To anyone, anytime, anywhere - be kind. Why not? But be especially kind to those who care about you. They deserve your kindness more than everyone ... show them you care even more!

... in a lovely show of caring, during each of the last 3 years, 3 separate friends had fasted with me for a day each. One friend "fasted" all day after having a business breakfast ... another "fasted" but had water during meeting presentations ... and the third one apparantly "fasted" twice in one day, since he had lunch in the middle of day ... :-) The thoughtfulness touched my heart...

... talking about thoughtfulness and heart, last week, I received some flowers in a fleaker - they meant a lot to me and it was the sweetest start to my Autumn season...

... talking of season, hey here is to Manchester United's winning season, for I support them with no logic or reason!