Tag Archives: Freedom

The Killer ‘C’.. Are You A Victim?

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.

“I have no life. I depend upon comedy shows to laugh, I don’t remember when I was truly happy anymore. There’s no connection with anyone. Inspite of working a lot and achieving too much, life seems complicated and meaningless at the same time. I have even started forgetting things now”: the 32 year old man was quite distressed when he spoke:

“Can you take a break?” I asked.

He laughed sarcastically.

“Doc, there’s so much competition in my field, that I cannot afford to take a break. They depend upon me for things to be done well. If something goes wrong, it reflects upon my career. If I am not available, I will be replaced”. He replied.

“What are your work hours?” I asked.

“I start from home at about 9 in the morning” he said. I waited for the remaining part of the reply but he didn’t speak. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“When do you return?” I knew the answer in his silence. I had heard it one too many times.

“There’s no fixed time” his wife replied, “Mostly after 9 at night, sometimes past midnight. But even after coming home his calls and online work continues.”

“That’s because I have to deal with the Western clients, their timezones differ” he snapped.

“May I speak with the doctor?” the wife asked him, a little insistent.

He nodded, looking down.

“Doc, we had a love marriage. He was not like this at all. He was full of life and vigor. He made everyone smile and had hundreds of friends. Now he has no friends, but even with me and our daughter, he gets hardly five minutes every day. On weekends he is so exhausted mentally to interact that the schedule is almost set: visiting mall, watching a movie, eating out and coming home tired again, immediately to sleep. He gets irritated without any reason. He was so attached to our daughter, she was his life, but now even she avoids playing with him. Even enjoyment has become mechanical” both of them became tearful.

Then, lowering her voice, she continued “Dr. Rajas, this is embarrassing, but who else can I tell this to? You are like family to us, so I will say it. We had a great sex life earlier. Now he seems to have lost all interest in me. We have lost our physical bonding just because of lack of time. And now we are losing the mental connection too, as he has started becoming quite forgetful” she completed. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

They were the second couple today with similar problems.

Excessive work hours, traveling long distances, continuous multitasking without resting the brain and body and eating junk have become the lifestyle for not only most software engineers, but almost every doctor, sales and marketing person, and most other careers in India.

The concept of “minimal salary” and “maximum work hours”, so vehemently fought for by the human rights organizations around the world, seem quite unrelatable and impractical in India: not only competition, voluntary overwork, unrealistic financial expectations and unemployment, but a social tendency to “shove this phenomenon under the carpet” has led to a country of human robots who cannot connect with other humans.

India is an exploitation hub since decades. Cheap manpower is our famous boast. And the worst part is that they are thrown away instantly the moment their productivity is less than excess, or when someone cheaper can replace them. Years of loyalty, honesty, hard word had zero meaning in corporate world. You are just another table with an assigned process. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande. Be it secretaries, clerks, employees, students, teachers, or labourers, the message by the employer is loud and clear: work as told or go. We have many others to replace you. Eight hours of work with two hours of travel every day is itself very taxing, add two more hours of work and on is misusing body and brain both. Health is not on the cards here.

5-6 hours of sleep has become a norm with most of the above categories. For a normal brain, 7-8 hours of sleep is essential. Whatever one may hear about geniuses sleeping less, chronic lack of sleep does cause damage in the brain, that manifests as irritability, personality changes, forgetfulness and less mental efficiency.

Years ago, gymming at the Athletic Club in London ON Canada, I met an old man in the locker room. After the initial ‘Hi’, he asked me what I did. I replied that I was a postgraduate doctor, now a specialty fellow at the University. He said “Oh I did my career in health too”.

“Were you a doctor too?” I asked.

“No. I did many jobs, whatever gave me happiness and satisfaction, but I made my career in my own health. For decades now, I have eaten only healthy food, cooked for myself, taken good sleep, read a lot, traveled the world, played with kids and of course gymmed: not to show off my muscles, but to keep fit. I am ninety two now, healthy, and most importantly, happy”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

I told him I envied that lifestyle.

“It’s a choice, doc, and a sacrifice too. If you want health, you must give up anything that is against it. I had great job offers, but they did not go with my choice of a healthy life. Now I think I was right. I don’t have too much money, but I am happy and healthy. I had many friends with millions in their bank accounts, but they are either dead or can barely walk”.

I told that couple this short story. They appeared to understand.

“I will start working upon this, doc” said the husband.

One aspect of human evolution should be good mental and physical health. However we are going backwards. People have developed funny concepts: that muscles and physical stamina alone is health, that less weight is the best health etc. We meet many who diet excessively but piss of everyone they meet as they are continuously irritable due to hunger. Mental and physical health shows upon a person’s face: peace and happiness are its prime components. These are impossible without bonding with your family, ensuring adequate sleep and rest, and opting for stress-free career choices.

As for now, the ‘Killer C’ called career is turning out to be the biggest life- killer at least in India.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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Sirs, Madams, Soldiers and Slaves

Sirs, Madams, Soldiers and Slaves
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
 
“Who will face the bullets on the border if everyone starts arguing?” shouted the officer.
He was a municipal corporation deputy chief in a metropolis. I was representing a students’ union for resident doctors, and we were demanding two major changes: that our salaries be deposited in a bank (hundreds of resident doctors, wardboys and other staff were supposed to queue up within the first three days of every month, in front of the accounts office to collect monthly salary, some could not because their duties did not allow them), and that the libraries be kept open 24 hours, as our work hours were never defined, and rooms being shared, it was not always possible to study in hostels. The demands were many years old, nothing had moved.
But this time we had decided to use a new weapon: Strike. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Sensing trouble as we had recently carried out a successful strike, the deputy chief blasted his arguing lethargic assistants who resisted every change: the hallmark of most administrations.
That’s when the deputy chief shouted upon them and ordered to comply immediately.
“Yes, Sir” they said. The next month, both these things changed in all Municipal hospitals. Threat had achieved what the system would never have allowed to happen.
 
Few years later, studying in Canada, almost every boss or senior I met insisted that we call him / her by name, and not Sir / Madam. “It stinks of slavery somehow” said a professor whose thinking affected me profoundly. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Why are so many brilliant Indian students so intimidated to openly argue, come out with suggestions or put forth a contrary opinion in front of their boss?” he once asked me, “I don’t think respect can be placed above logic. So I think fear must be involved”.
 
That set me thinking. It was true. From the parents who directly start slapping children for questioning them or talking about issues like sexuality, to the teachers who misuse their authority to suppress students by threats, failing in exams and scarring their CVs, we had grown up in the dual pressure system: cultural limitations that prevented thinking out of box, and intimidation by fear of humiliation and failure: from both family and teachers. There were rare honorable exceptions: teachers and parents who encouraged to think free.
 
What happens when someone in India argues against the prevalent system? First ridiculed, then refuted, threatened and often destroyed or outcast by the system whose malfunction he / she has questioned. From judiciary to journalism, from schools to parliament, and from doctors to labourers, his/ her own people question his / her sanity or intention. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
 
No wonder we have mastered the British art of establishing a foolproof slavery system.
 
Look at the scientific and literary outputs. Look at the productivity and innovation. A country that boasts of geniuses is happy to play the role of “cheap intellectual labour”, proudly flaunting the business, outsourced to it primarily for low costs, as an achievement. These super-talented brains in business or in any other field must only walk the narrow path, at the speed of one of the slowest systems, limited by humungous paperwork, red tapism, favouritism and corruption. . Public condemnation and humiliation await those who differ in their opinion.
 
What happens when one follows all the rules of argument in such a system?
 
Suppose a soldier tired of his heavy duty without adequate food complains about it to his superior, what is the typical answer he will get? Is it too difficult to imagine what will happen to his career? How many are the chances that a military superior, a government officer or your own boss will say “You are right, my dear, I am sorry you had to face inconvenience, we will correct this immediately” and do it? Sorry. We grow up with incessant reminders of how we are second to, under, helpless, and lesser than the people we work for, including our administrations. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
 
We live in a fool’s paradise. We like to stay hidden behind the fears of our little sins and mistakes (who doesn’t commit some?) being exposed, our socio cultural apple cart being upset and our perpetual orgasm with comfort zone being threatened.
 
When the hallmarks of slavery: calling everyone “Sir” or “Madam”, standing up, bowing, compulsory greeting, applauding and agreeing without pausing to think or argue are so perfectly blended with cultural traditions of respecting the elders, we create a foolproof prison for thought. It is indeed a mystery why a country which has so many elders, and so many respectable people, is yet to be at the top in any field! Do all these “Sirs and Madams” truly behave or achieve to match that respect?
 
A country where seniority, relation, political strength and connections, nuisance value, money and age surpass all other intellectual criteria of leading and promotion by merit, do we really dream of becoming number one in the world? © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
 
Every genuine intellectual, artist, scientist (and there will be many who will throttle up their throats to praise the existing system for obvious rewards) will dislike being tied down by limitations. The ones who have spent their youth standing up and saluting “Sirs and Madams” have had their time. It is high time we start thinking of the youth and the future generations.
 
When I returned from Canada, I had changed. I knew I could not change the system, but I could definitely change myself. I have since then never expected or insisted anyone calls me “Sir”, respects me out of context, or stands up / greets me. I prefer people, even students calling me by my name, and it has never taken away the affectionate relationship we share. I have always encouraged my children, my students and the scanty number of friends to be completely free in their thinking, to think of the whole world as their home and humanity as their culture, to politely argue without arrogance or spite, and to accept what is right without thinking who said it. Those who presume that “uncontrolled freedom will always go in wrong direction” confuse between misuse of freedom and non adherence to civil duties.
 
This small contribution to eradicate slavery of thought was one of my many duties towards life.
 
As for the soldiers on the borders of any country, who just “take orders from people sitting in air-conditioned offices, to face bullets,”, let us at least gather some courage to stand up to the sacrifice they make in the name of their country, and try to realize the meaning of this precious word : Freedom.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
 
PS:
Only for free thinking intellectuals.
Please share unedited in the interest of future generations.

A Prayer For My India

A Prayer For My India
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

From the hypocritical mindset that “I should look only at the positive things around me and ignore all that is negative”, that is like saying “Only my brother’s room is on fire, I can still keep on idiotically smiling and act only when this fire reaches my own room”,

From people who have brought great religious and social events down to roadside vulgar drunken dancing and loud shows of might, from the leaders who ingratiate themselves with superiors and masses at the cost of dignity,

From intellectual thinkers lap-dancing for the rich and powerful by wordplay and linguistic trickery, from the voodoo of political religious misuse that affects even the biggest brains, from a society that is being officially turned into a slob mob that is aroused only by hunger, sex , glamour and money,

From the powers that arrest the life-saving qualified doctors at the drop of a hat and send them to police custody for suspicion, presumption and spite, just as celebrities and politicians who kill in front of witnesses are politically and judicially protected using all the resources that power grants,

From the Testosterone Tongues of Flaccid Bodies in a political system that talk of change but troll, block, imprison, manhandle and kill anyone who dares to challenge their wrongdoings, where men in power flaunt bodyguards while women are abused everyday, where laws and rules are used to blackmail rather than protect, © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

From a judiciary which is fast losing its reputation, struggling for its own identity and independence, from the judges who act selectively and partially and then blame it upon the system’s limitations, judges who suo moto initiate actions only against the weak,

From the laws made by the chosen few who never knew the people they made those laws for, the laws that were made over 60 and in some cases 100 years ago that hinder normal interaction than protect it, from a system which uses the legal options just like mafia weapons to threaten, intimidate and harass those who challenge the system or bring good, ©Dr. Rajas Deshpande

From the mindlessly idiotic enormous paperwork at every stage in every office that wastes time, resources, money, paper and ink in a country whose leaders appeal it to turn green and modern, and invite the progressed world to witness how backward, how traffic-senseless and mannerless is our population, even the educated, who find it mandatory to bestow blows and abuses at the slightest provocation upon the roads,

From the millions who cannot raise their voice against the hundreds of rapes, brutalities, hunger deaths, epidemics or corruption in our own country because they are engaged in criticising and trolling neighbouring countries, proving one religion superior to another,© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

From the filmstars who go to the lowest levels of vulgarity and female skin depiction in the name of entertainment, and promote violence on screen as a routine reaction, confirming that this is a lawless country where goondaism coupled with male chauvinism is a heroic choice in life, where the entertainment industry is fast turning into a mental porn-industry catering to the whims and fancies of mobs,

From the fears that shut up ever good man and woman who loves this country, from the lethargy of the press and media to remove their bejewelled blindfolds and see the naked truth for once, From those in high chairs of power and policing who see the wrong but do not speak or act against it for the fear of losing their chair, © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

From doctors soaked in greed for money and fame, conducting fake or plagiarised research, from the competition and ego amongst doctors which prevents them to come together, from a tendency to take advantage of patients, and from the mindless permissions of “anyone practice anything in medicine” for political gains,

From a culture of self-obsessed, me-cultured, comfort-addicted men and women who are mostly proudly training their children to leave their own country, from a society that has started to forget the sacrifices made by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Maulana Azad, Netaji Bose, Lokmanya Tilak, Veer Savarkar and Sarojini Naidu (and many others),

From mothers and fathers who cannot find enough time to raise happy children, seeking excuses in the name of careers and necessities, From teachers who seek pleasure in material gains and marking rather than bringing up fearless generations, from schooling that teaches everything except humanity,

Lord Almighty, please grant me freedom. Lord Almighty, please save my nation.

I am not free of some of the faults mentioned above. But I get tearful every single time I hear the song “Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindostan Hamara” or even the National anthem.

The only way I can stand up to this great feeling of calling myself an INDIAN is by accepting the struggle, punishments, hardships and poverty that is inevitable when I try to bring in some good changes in my very beloved India.

This is my own personal small freedom struggle for my great nation, India.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Freedom to criticize other people’s religious beliefs / faith is redundant.

Before one can criticize or mock any God/Religion it is imperative that they come up with better concepts for mass peace and solace, at least a patient hearing that most people in pain / suffering require desperately .
The majority of world is poor and illiterate. A bunch of rich, developed, civilised, gun wielding educated people cannot decide to hurt the feelings of a majority that chooses to believe in some guiding spirit/ power which gives them solace. Religion and God are individual choices, and the first necessity of civilisation is to know that their own freedom does not preclude respecful acceptance of each other’s choices, unless they hurt someone.
Freedom is supreme, but only if not used to hurt someone. If the use of freedom is to mock and hurt and condescendingly show down weaker people for what they do to be rid of their suffering, or to get closer to their chosen concept of God, then that freedom is worse than tyranny of a dictator.
We all know that as financial status rises, Love, Ethics, Compassion decrease. Just because one has money and freedom one cannot hurt mass feelings of God and Religion. Just as we have good teachers / Godfathers in every field (including acting / film making), medicine, law etc., there are teachers in all religions to guide people, as the illiterate (even most literare) cannot understand many concepts of religion. A living example is Hon. Dalai Lama. Saint Dnyaneshwar, Saint Tukaram, Saint Kabeer, So many Muslim and Christian and Sikh saints and Gurus brought peace upon multitudes. There is no justification of superstition, no backing up treachery in the name of religion, but there is also a strong reason to question open mockery. If you have objections to God or religion, or how one had chosen to practice his / her religion, you can keep them upto yourself, or allow everyone in the world to comment, mock, question, ridicule, print anything about you, your work, family, ancestors, religion, sexuality, lifestyle etc. It is surprising that homosexuality is openly acceptable to the developed world in the name of freedom, but religious choices are not.
Good Godmen are more of a necessity in today’s world, they are certainly more necessary than filmy people who drive Rolls Royce with a “specific” superstitious number, who make crores adversely commenting about religion, but shut up like strangled pigeons about corrupt politicians, religious and other forms of terrorism, and the filth in their own film / media industry. Just because they can make fun of anything, they think they must. When it comes to open analysis of their own personal life, the beg, pressurise, buy the media to hide facts and cry invasion upon their privacy. Well, is religious belief or faith not the most private affair of people? Will you hear and solve people’s woes in absence of these real connoisseurs of humanity: the good Godmen in every religion who strive to bring peace to millions?? Shall all religious saints/ godmen direct the thousands of sufferers to the film industry for proper spiritual guidance?
There are hundreds of saints in each religion who don’t take anything from anyone and bring peace and solace to thousands, by counselling. This article is dedicated to them.

Rajas Deshpande